Friday, December 18, 2009

Simply Amazing!

by SandWyrm

Despite the annoying marketing hype, I went and saw Avatar (in 3D) today. (more...)

I Have The Best Wife In The World!!!

by SandWyrm

Mrs. SandWyrm went down to the FLGS to get me my Christmas present yesterday. I had told her that she could pick between an army carry-case and a copy of Space Hulk for my gift. Well, she didn't didn't buy the game, but she did give it a good look-over. (more...)

1yr and counting

by: farmpunk

Well, The day has come.
The Back 40K is 1yr old now. It doesn't seem like it's been a year. (more...)

Friday, December 11, 2009

And Now For Something a Little Different...

by SandWyrm

Ever get tired of playing the same 3 missions from the 40K rulebook in your pickup games? Yeah, so do I. But GW won't have their new 40K mission book out until next March. In the meantime, here's a solution I found recently. It's a free fan-created missions book.

I haven't played any missions from the book yet, but they do look promising. Instead of the 3x3 matrix in the 40K rulebook that gives you 9 possible mission/deployment combinations, the DLT book gives you a 6x6 matrix that will allow for 36 possible combinations of mission/deployment. Plus another table of game modifiers. Plus a set of custom scenarios for each 40K army. Cool!

And these aren't bad missons either. They're very polished looking and have just enough restraint to keep them from going over the top. Check it out!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dark Wood glue and Sand for the win!

By: farmpunk

The local invitational was on the Nov. 21st, and I had a packed weekend of family stuff as well, followed by a short Thanksgiving week.

I took the same list I did last time. (Farmpunk's 1500pt WH w/IG tourney list) I like the list, and think it handles most conventional forces well. It's got some mean units, but little in the way of Close Combat, and residual psychic defenses from the Sisters.

I figured I'd need all the soft points I could get to do well, so I spent the night before the tourney with a bottle of wood glue, and sand.

I used toothpicks to smear wood glue for Dark wood on the bases, and dipped the bases in sand (from the particle filter on our old house's well), then set it aside to dry. On some of the bases, I went back after it was dry, and put some more glue and coffee grounds to look like areas of dark dirt in the sand.

Then, I went to the tourney the next morning. (more..).

Monday, November 30, 2009

Let's Fight!!!

by SandWyrm

Hey Back40K-ers,

I'm going to be up in Chicago all next week with the family, and Mrs. SandWyrm has promised me a 40K night while we're there. So I figured that I'd head over to the Battle Bunker to meet some new people. I can go either Tuesday (Dec. 2nd) or Wednesday (Dec. 3rd) evening.

Anyone from the Windy City (or thereabouts) want to fight the Tallarn 13th? I'll be bringing the 1750 tourney list I'm currently testing. If you're up for a game, just click on "SandWyrm" over on the right side of the screen and send me an email.


There's been no takers so far, and Mrs. SandWyrm wanted me to pick a day, so I've chosen Wednesday night over at the battle bunker.

Another Update:

Well, I WAS going to Chicago. But my laptop took a hop, skip, and a jump down the stairs today. Which means I can't go traveling and also get my work done until it's fixed. Oh well.

Bleep... Bleep... Dakka, Dakka... ARRRRGH!!!

by SandWyrm

Turnout was good a the South Store yesterday. But nobody was playing 40K! When I got there at 6:30, I saw 3 large games of Mordheim (one with really awesome custom terrain someone had brought in) and a Warmachine game. The regular 40K players had finished playing some MTG and were just hanging out. I'm not sure what's up, but this is the second time in a month that other games have predominated. (more...)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Contemplations On The BoLS Divide

by SandWyrm

While we're waiting for Farmpunk to post his tourney report, let's think for a bit on this question:

Why do we collect toy soldiers? Why do we play 40K? (more...)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Prior Art is Only 2500 Years Old.

by SandWyrm

The GW IP bullies are at it again. It seems they didn't like the Aquilla in the logo at Librarium Online.

It's been changed to comply. But this is stupid. The Aquilla dates back to the ancient Romans, and LO's logo looked more like the Aquilla used in several Eastern European state seals than the one in the 40K logo.

There's nothing like alienating the community that buys your products. Morons.  These websites are doing more to help the hobby than GW is. They're even going after sites that use GW images to sell GW products!

Maybe I'll finally make a banner logo for the Back 40K. I'm thinking of the great seal of the United States, with an extra eagle head, holding a paint brush and a pair of dice. Let GW complain about that!


It took some Google-Foo, but I finally did see the logo they were selling on their t-shirts. And it does look like the GW Aquila logo was copied and pasted (artfully) over the rest of their own graphic.

So hand-smack to LO, and apologies to GW.

I'll calm down now. :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Battle Report: Tallarn vs. The Death Korps of Krieg

by SandWyrm

I went down to Blue Moon Games last night for the first round of the escalation league. Where afterwards I picked a fight with the Death Korps over BMG's lovely city table. (more...)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thinking Smaller...

by SandWyrm

Farmpunk and I headed down to Blue Moon Games in Moorsville to Hook up with BlueMoon for the escalation league he was starting. Turnout was good, and he has 25 people signed up. Though some of those won't be starting until after Christmas.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Some things keep going, some things change.

By farmpunk

I wanted to let you all know we're adding to the back40K cast of usual suspects.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Goin South...

by farmpunk

Sandwyrm and I both got asked my BlueMoon to come down to his neck of the woods (Mooresville, IN) Southwest of Indy to take part in an Escalation League.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Off to War in the Man Cave

by SandWyrm

It's been a bit odd this week. What with the tourney being over and me going "now what?". I've got modeling/painting projects to do, but after 3 weeks of working like mad to get ready for the tourney, I'm just not in the mood to sit down at the work table. "MMMMMMeh..." would sum it up nicely.

Hard to leave home without it.

by Farmpunk

For each of my Armies, WH, DH, and IG, each has it's own toy that's not required, but is oh so good, and I have a hard time not taking it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

... sometimes the Bear gets YOU.

By farmpunk

The Oct Fireteam Nova Tourney was well run and most of the guys were great. I have a good time when I go to their tourneys. Part of it is getting to harass Buckler and BlueMoon.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Tallarn 13th Company...PAINTED!!!

by SandWyrm

Anybody remember the 1500 point army shown in the picture above? That was the Tallarn 13th company back in March when I first posted for the Back 40K. It's hard to believe what a difference just 8 months and a new codex can make. In that time, I've gone from a 1/3 unpainted infantry gun line to a fully painted mechanized force that, oddly, fits the Tallarn fluff better than the old one did.

Help Request: 1000 Pts. IG Mech

Daryl wrote:

Hey, im starting up an IG list (currently at around 100 points :S) but I am looking for your help on making a fully mechanized IG list.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Duck... Duck... GOOSE EGG!!!

Farmpunk and I went down to the FLGS-South for the tourney on Saturday. I came away with 2 draws (11 and 12 pts each) and a massacred loss (the goose-egg zero), while Farmpunk got a Major Loss, a Major victory, and a massacred loss. I came in 11th of 17 overall, while Farmpunk was probably 8th or 9th.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Going back to the front

By farmpunk

WOO! Flame tanks! It's Tourney Time again!

It's time for the FireTeam Nova tourney, part3. Sandwyrm and I went WAY back in June to the part2 of the 4 tourneys. (Part4 is supposed to be invite to the top placers and point accumulators in the first 3 tournaments).

This time we've learned a little about what gets scored positively, and what's frowned upon. (like filling a Force Org slot disallows some points) Which means my WH list with cannoness and DH Inq. Lord are out, which is too bad. I like him for psychic hood and anti-Deepstrike (not that I really faced either last time)

Sandwyrm's trying to come up with a beautiful fully painted and flocked force to bring to the table (being a professional artist and all...) I'm trying to gather something I think will be effective and novel that I have all the models for. (which I still need a few SoB's with Meltas. I have 4, but need 1-2 more... what SoB player doesn't?) Then I want to get everything to 3 color table standard.

I've toyed with triple raider DH lists of fun, KP denial, and AV14 troop carriers parked on objectives, but I don't think that's gonna be a lotta fun.
I toyed with going all-out gunline IG, and a few elements with assault weapons to make mad dashes for objectives, or Double Russ and Chimelta vet with allied GK's and SoB's fun.
I always come back to my first love...

Sisters, and the pretty cool exorcist tank. It looks impressive, but I also kind of like the random pelting of high Str, low AP rockets at things. Monst. Creatures? YUM! Transports? YUM! Termies? Independant Character Supermen? YUM YUM!

I also like Sisters of Battle, and am used to playing them with my reactive playstyle. Enough mobility, and enough punch when they really need it. Add in some new IG elements, and I think I've got a flexible and fun force to play with.

I'm sure SandWyrm and I will both have upcoming tourney reports, and battle reports. I know it's been kinda thin lately on Battle reports. Not a lot of new people at the FLGS, with all the kids going back to college, and school. Sandwyrm and I have bloodied each other's noses a few times, but our last few games have been fairly similar, with the exception of each of us trying out a new idea each time. (like infantry platoons w/comissar)

so stay tuned! between the Hflamers on Chimeras, and TL Hflamer Immos, there's bound to be some burnination incoming!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The wave of men

Time and Again, 40K players like to try something 'new'. I've been toying with new ideas for WH with inducted IG...

I looked through my boxes of 40K stuff, and came up with an inventory of IG Heavy Weapons:
9 Lascannons (with 2-3 more I can assemble)
10 Missile Launchers (with 2 more I can assemble)
6 Autocannons
5 Heavy Bolters
2 mortars (with I think 7 more I can assemble)

so.. that's a lotta oomph! I've got sitting in the bin not really getting used.

Then I get that old itch to try 5th ed Gunline Guard again. I'm toying with platoons with 3 Squads, each with Missile Launcher / Grenade Launcher. Sure, I know it was a better combo before the new 'dex was released, but I want to try the dual threat weapons in my line squads. Then I'm going to put a powerfist Comissar in there, to make 'em stay put, and give the unit CC threat.

The Platoon Command squads will probably get 3-4 flamers, and wait to counter-charge. I have a lot of Praetorian flamers I'm not sure what to do with.

so those 2 platoons come out moderately priced, and still leave a lot of room... FOR HEAVY WEAPON TEAMS...

and 2 Co Com's to give orders.

I'm going to hash out my ideas today.

I still really WANT to use Al 'Raheem. fire Hweapons and then run? doesn't sound too bad to me.

I'd like to use Harker too. I like the idea of a man in the backfield, with a team of meanies.

I'll prob. use Marbo. for a nice Demo charge suprise.

I might even try Kell. to help with giving orders, but I think I can do better with perhaps a WH Celestian Squad with a Book of St. Lucius and a Hbolter in the backfield to boost my Heavy Weapons teams morale.

I'd like for this to be a NO TANKS army. Maybe a couple of colossus mortars. maybe Sentinels.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

For the Greater "Umm, Umm, Good!"

I'm thinking of starting a new 40K army.

I love my Tallarns, don't get me wrong. But as I get closer to having 1500 pts. of fully painted IG, I'm starting to feel a little... restless. My IG are cool, and they win games, but I want to play something else from time to time. And I figure that by January, most of my major IG conversions and painting work will be done. So that would be a good time to start fiddling around with something different.

What might my next army be? I have a short list of the ones I've always wanted to do.

Candidate #1: Thousand Sons

I've always wanted a Tzeentch army. In fact, I used to have a half-painted Lord of Change before I lost it somewhere in the 3 moves I've done since I lived on the West Coast.

Problem is, there's no Thousand Sons codex. And the only way to do a competitive Chaos build with the current codex is to take troops from all of the Gods instead of just one. In fact, there's really only one competitive Chaos build that I ever see anyone take. And I'm not scared of it at all. Oh well.

Candidate #3: Tyrannids

Hey now, here's an army that has a new codex coming out in February. It's even being written by Robin Cruddice, who did such a good job on the Imperial Guard codex. Might I start collecting a bug force? Time to crack open the current book and... hmmnnn...

The models are cool. And the painting would be easy. But I just can't get into them. There's all these confusing mutations and what-not going on. And well... I just can't make myself read very much of it.

There's also the fact that I can't see the army being anything other than a charge-in-headfirst-and-kill-em list, like Orks. And I've got a very similar play style going on with my Chimelta-based IG already. Maybe Robin will change my mind this Winter, but for now I'll give the bugs a pass.

That leaves the final candidate in my suddenly all-too apparent 'T' fetish...

Candidate 3: Tau

Yep, the Tau. They originally came out about 6 months after I started collecting IG, and I've always had a thing for the cool look of their hover tank and Fire Warrior models. Both of the Codexes I have for them are interesting enough to read cover-to-cover, and a few days of hanging out on the Tau forum over at Librarium Online reveals that, personality-wise, I'd fit in just fine, maybe even better than I do with IG. And the play style I'd favor with them would allow me to play in a more Air/Water fashion, where I use infiltrators and other blockers to disrupt and delay the enemy while I blow out their kneecaps from afar. Cool stuff.

Only one problem though. I HATE the faces and hooves of the Tau. Can't stand them at all. They remind me of the Trade Federation aliens in the Star Wars prequels, and that is *not* a good thing!

So... how to make this work? I know! I'll convert them into advanced humans!

Really, it wouldn't be that hard. But how would I paint them? Hehe... try this:

or this:

If you're under 35, these images may make zero sense to you. But it's from a miniseries called "V" that came out in 1983, back when I was a kid and people still respected reporters enough to make them heros in action movies. :)

Anyhow, V is about a bunch of reptilian aliens that come to earth to steal our water and ship our families back home as food, mixed with a lot of cool allegory about the rise of Nazism (Go look at their symbol up top again.). It was also campy as hell and a lot of fun.

And hey, it fits the fluff of the Tau! I mean you have all this "greater good" nonsense they spout all the time, but they really just want your water and some kiddies to snack on. Plus I figure I could paint them in just a couple of weeks. Spray-paint red, paint armor black, paint faces and hair, wash with minwax and done. The tanks would be easy too, as all of their spaceships were white. Just spray, wash, and add a couple of detail colors. :)

I figure I could also proxy a bunch of "real" IG humans in the more khaki colored visitor-youth uniforms as "Re-Kroots". "Snack... er, I mean squad forward for the um, um, good!"

Friday, October 2, 2009

The new learners

I wandered down the the local FLGS for the usual Wed. night lunacy. There are 2 FLGS's on my side of town now, and a lot of the kids and collegians are back at school. Wed. night attendance is getting scarce.

I do enjoy when new kids come in. There were a pair of brothers who came in dragging their mom with them. They wanted Carcasonne. IN A BAD WAY. and most of the expansions. I forget sometimes that there ARE kids that find good games and go for the gusto with them. they were all a-twitter with how cool, and fun Carcasonne is.
My wife and I own Carcasonne, and a variant of it, Ark of the Covenant, which we like a bit better (mostly for house rules, requiring you to make sound effects for when you do 'Biblical' stuff)
There were also a pair of Brothers who came in chomping at the bit to try Warhammer. They decided on the Science fiction type, and were going to get a Black Reach box, and some paint. It's kinda nice to see a 9yr old, and a 6yr old excited to get plastic dollies.
That kind of enthusiasm does me good.

There was a new guy who showed up, with his Space Marines. He was a vet player, but had been away for the last 2-3yrs. Poor guy lived in an area with the only games being on the Navy Base. Since He's not Military, it was kinda tough to get games.
It was kind of a re-learning for him to get 5th ed. Which is good. I need to teach more, it shores up my rules knowledge. I also siezed the initiative! OMFG! It finally happened! I play a lot of games, and I don't get to sieze the init!
it was Dawn of War deployment, so it meant he was up at midfield, too. It was a good game, but getting the init really can hamstring someone.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Wait... New Desert Raiders? With Flamers?!?!

I swiped this photo from the BoLS story about the UK Games Day. While everyone there is going gaga over the new Ultramarines movie, I'm just jazzed that after more than a decade my Tallarn will finally be getting... (sniff) an honest to goodness flamer model!

Maybe we'll even get them in plastic, though these don't look multi-part to me.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Town Hall Time: What Do You Think?

Hey all B40K readers!

It's sound-off time. What do you like about the Back 40K? What don't you like?

Be honest, we've got thick skins! :)

Too much/too little theory, painting, or batreps? Not enough of something else? Or is everything just fine?

Your feedback will help us spend more of our time on the sorts of things you like to read about and less on the stuff you don't.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dude! Where's My Advance?

 by SandWyrm
After a week of 40K withdrawal due to family commitments, Farmpunk and I finally managed to get over to the North Store for a rematch. We were the only ones there... again. But at least that meant that we got our pick of tables. Protem was off in the Phantom Zone or something this week.

We rolled up Annihilation with a Spearhead deployment. I then rolled first turn... Hooray!

I brought 4 squads of Vets in Chimeras. One of which was packing plasma. The CCS was tooled out with melta and an Astropath. With a Hellhound, Russ, and Demolisher in support. The Sentinels were packing autocannons. This was one Hellhound short of my usual mix, but I'm catering to the comp rules for the upcoming 1500 pt. South Store tourney, where you lose points if you max out any FOC category besides troops. You also gain points if your troop choices are equal to or more than any other 2 categories combined.

Farmpunk brought 2 units of =][= Stormies in Rhinos, with 2 units of melta/flamer Sisters (Also in Rhinos) to keep them in line. The Exorcists were there, of course. But he also brought along an inducted IG platoon with lascannons and plasma. The Platoon Command was in a Chimera and was equipped with 4 meltas.

Farmpunk also brought along the Saint, just to show me how she works.


I chose a corner that gave Farmpunk a nice big building to hide his Platoon in on the opposite side, but I wanted to make sure that I had enough room to maneuver around. The corner I chose had 3 approaches to the center of the board, while Farmpunk's had only 2. The last thing I wanted was for one dead Chimera to hold up my entire advance! And hey, prying IG out of buildings is what Hellhounds are for. :)

Farmpunk set up his armor in cover as much as he could, with the intent to weather the storm and then hit me hard in return. The Saint was set up in the middle of the 3 tanks in his center.

Turn 1

Farmpunk tries to steal the initiative, but rolls a 3. Ere we go...

I move everything up and pop smoke on my forward Chimeras. The Russ and Demolisher reach out and immobilize the center Sister Rhino, which means they're walking into my line! Even better, the Saint is caught in both large blasts and is insta-killed. She shuffles off to heaven, waiting to deep strike back in later.

The Sentinels fire their Autocannons at the Rhino on my left. Only one has LOS, but it's enough. Both shots penetrate and blow up the Rhino, killing 4 of the 5 Stormies. Leaving a single melta gunner out in the open.

On his turn, Farmpunk moves this lone Stormie into cover, while moving the Rhino full of Sisters back towards the ruins where the IG platoon is.

(With this move, his advance is over.)

The =][= Stormies in the center move up 12" through the area terrain and pop their damned =][= smoke. His Platoon Command moves up on my right and fires it's meltas into my lead Chimera. I fail both cover saves and the Chimera is wrecked. The squad gets out with it's (painted!) melta gunners lined up for a shot next turn.

The Sister squad in the immobilized Rhino, meanwhile, gets out and they start slogging toward my dead Chimera. I can almost hear Farmpunk licking his lips in anticipation of what those girls will do to that poor Vet squad.

The Exorcist on my left manages to immobilize the Hellhound, while the one on my right whiffs entirely while shooting at my Sentinels.

Turn 2

No Marbo.

First off, I kill that lone =][= Stormie with the meltagun that's hiding in the ruins on my left. The Hellhound's Inferno Cannon makes short work of him. I don't need a hero causing trouble for me later. :)

I move up both my Command Chimera (the one with the Antenna), and the Plasma Vets for point-blank shots on the smoked Rhino full of =][= Stormies in front of me. I also move up the Sentinels for shots at the same Rhino. =][= smoke is tough to get through, so I wanted maximum firepower available.

Q: How many shots does it take to wreck a Rhino with =I= smoke?

A: Twenty Three

I fired 4 meltas, 3 double-tap plasmas, 2 multi-lasers, 3 Sentinel Autocannons, and finally the Demolisher Cannon at the damned thing before I got enough Weapon Destroyed results to kill it! Sheesh!!!

Meanwhile, I moved up the Vets from the wrecked Chimera for perfect shots at the back of the Chimera in front of them. They managed to blow off the turret and immobilize it. Forcing his PCS to bail out and move into the ruins.

On my left, the Russ spoke again and the Rhino on my left was immobilized. Hehe...

On his turn, Farmpunk moves the walking Sisters into ruins and gets off a perfect heavy flamer shot at my guys before charging the survivors. I pulled my casualties from the front to try and make it harder to get to them, but the girls rolled a 6 and dove right into combat. My guys lost the combat by 2, but held their ground. Which wasn't what I wanted with so many heavy flamers lined up all around them. Grrrr!

The =][= Stormies who got blown out of their smoked Rhino in the center now move up and lay into my command Chimera with their meltas, blowing it up. The Sisters in the immobilized Rhino to my left then get out and kill everyone in the Command Squad, save Colonel Lawrence. Who falls to his knees and thanks the Emperor for his Refractor Field.

The Chimera with the Plasma Vets explodes too, thanks to the PCS hiding in the ruins.

Turn 3

On my turn I have Colonel Lawrence order himself back to his feet and move him up into the ruins. The PlasVets then move back to the ruins behind the line to make way for the surviving Chimera on my right to move in and kill the =I= Stormies with it's heavy flamer, which it does.

Marbo pops out in the ruins next to the left-most Sister squad and kills 5 of them with his Demo Charge. The Demolisher then kills 3 more with it's cannon, causing the squad to run to within an inch of the table edge.

The Sentinels then charge the Sisters who are already in combat with my Vets on the right and kill 4. Farmpunk then loses the combat by two and... RUNS! The Sentinels run them down.


At this point it's pretty clear that the game is over, but we played out the rest of the turn before the game devolved into tactical discussions mixed with joking around. The Saint returned to earth and flamed the Plasma Vets, while the PCS and right-most Exorcist killed off the Sentinels. But after that Farmpunk was really left with nothing effective on the table. Marbo would surely finish off 2 Sisters, while the Saint was facing a fresh Vet Squad and 2 battle tanks.

Once those were gone, I'd be trading fire between the Russes and the Exorcists. Our bet was on the Russes, so we called it with the score at 6 KP to 4.


Farmpunk's error was pretty much the same as mine in the last game. He wanted to be the beatdown, even though he wasn't. You can't pop =][= smoke before the game starts, so all those transports were just sitting there waiting for my alpha strike to take them apart. I was able to stop 40% of his mobility before he even got to move.

I think that his best bet would have been to put all of his transports in reserve and come in later to threaten my far left flank. With a decent set of reserve rolls, he could have popped 2-3 of my tanks and forced my right flank to change course and double-back.

Or, he could have castled up as far away form me as possible and forced me to drive into his lascannons and Exorcists. But I think the reserves idea would have been better.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Feelin' the Heat

Nothing gets me painting like tourneys.

I've set myself the goal of having a completely painted force for the October 10th tournament at the South Store. The tanks are almost ready to go. My Chimeras need 1 more nights' work, plus one or two more for the Hellhounds. I finished the Astropath a couple of weeks ago and Marbo was finished last week. That just leaves the one thing I've been putting off over and over again... the meltas.

I had all of 2 Tallarn melta troopers when the 5th edition codex came out. So I had to scramble to collect them when the codex came out and it became even more obvious how gimpy my lascannon HWTs would be. So I trolled eBay for 5 of them, and paid through the nose for the rest from the GW online store. Collecting old ranges sucks sometimes. :)

Anyhow, I can't put off painting them anymore, as they're an ugly brown eyesore in the midst of my otherwise nicely painted squads. So I've had to set up the assembly line. I'm painting 13 total troopers, 2 of which were already painted but needed touch-ups from years of wear and tear.

There's a certain Zen to painting large multiples of exactly the same miniature that transcends the boredom somewhat. By the 5th guy, you find that you're on automatic, laying colors down in a strange pattern decided upon by your unconscious mind as you rotate the mini around in your fingers.

But it's still pretty boring... :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

"PEW!" vs. "BANG! BANG!"

According to Lyle at the South Store, there's going to be another tourney on the 10th of October. So Farmpunk and I are both busy prepping our forces. Part of that is creating an army list. And part of creating that list is figuring out how to arm my Sentinels.

Generally, I favor ether Autocannons or Lascannons. But, as I've said before, I go back and forth between the two. The lascannon is better at cracking armor, but the autocannon puts out more shots. And, as I noticed at the last tourney, Sentinel autocannons make short work of Monsterous Creatures and other baddies like Tyrannid Warriors. So a test was in order. Which weapon would be more effective against transports?

I can calculate the odds easily enough for either gun, and I know what my gut tells me. But I decided to just throw some dice and see what I came up with, since that's more real-world than simply running the math. My primary target, as always, will be Marine Rhinos. With the slimmer possibility of facing IG Chimeras. So I simulated a series of attack rolls versus AV11 and AV12 with Autocannons, Lascannons, and Autocannons + HK Missiles.

Why HK missiles? Because they cost the same as an upgrade from Autocannons to Lascannons. And hey, in most games the Sentinels are dead by turn 3 anyhow. So it's worth seeing if the boost in first turn firepower might be worth it.

Each test was conducted as a series of 20 attack rolls, so each run constitutes 5% of the total test. "Success" was measured by whether the transport was stopped. By which I mean it was stunned, immobilized, wrecked, or destroyed. Cut the numbers in half for a transport that's in cover.

Here's the Results:

Shooting at Rhinos:

3 Autocannons: 75% (5% stunned, 10% immobilized, 60% w/d)
3 Lascannons: 80% (10% stunned, 30% immobilized, 40% w/d)
3 ACs + 3 HKs: 100% (10% stunned, 30% immobilized, 60% w/d)

Hmmnnn... that's pretty interesting. The lascannons did a bit better overall, though not as well as I'd thought they would. But the Autocannons had a significantly higher number of wrecked or destroyed results. Probably because on their good rolls, the autocannons were rolling a lot more dice on the damage chart. Whereas the lascannons would only ever get one or two rolls.

Shooting at Chimeras:

3 Autocannons: 45% (10% stunned, 15% immobilized, 20% w/d)
3 Lascannons: 50% (20% stunned, 15% immobilized, 15% w/d)
3 ACs + 3 HKs: 60% (20% stunned, 15% immobilized, 25% w/d)

And once again, we see the same pattern. The Autocannons do a bit worse overall, but have a significant edge when it comes to wrecked/destroyed results.

Winner: Autocannons!!!

The answer is obvious. If you want to spend 150 pts. on Scout Sentinels, take Autocannons with HK missiles for a turn 1 alpha strike that's much better than what you would get with lascannons. On turn 2 it's a wash, and on turns 3, 4, or 5 you're either tarpitting an assault unit or dead.

Now to finish painting all those melta troopers...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Here We Went Again...

My day job sucks sometimes. I build realistic real-time 3D environments for retail research (Think Doom with shopping.). The primary platform I develop on is called Virtools, and it's the best 3D visualization software on the market for what I do. Which isn't to say it's good. It's just the best of a bad field. Virtools is written by a French company, which means it's both brilliant and infuriating at the same time, as nearly all French tech products are.

Anyhow, I was supposed to play Farmpunk over at Saltire games on Tuesday. To avoid having the game end on turn 3 again, we had planned to get over there at 5:30 and start the game early enough to get through at least turn 5 before the store closed. We set this up around noon on Tuesday, when I figured I'd get my work done in a couple of hours, deliver it to the client, and then leisurely make my way over to Saltire so I could set up the table before Farmpunk got there.

But the French wrecked that plan . It seems that you can put a picture with transparency on a "Frame", which is what they call a 2D rectangle in Virtools. But if you make that frame a button, the rectangle won't render properly with a semi-transparent image on it. Seems simple enough, but I spent FOUR AND A HALF HOURS figuring out that it wasn't my rendering setup that was causing the problem. And another 2 hours reworking the piece to get around that REALLY STUPID application bug. So, I didn't get everything done and off to the client until 9pm. Which put the kabosh on our gaming. I was so mad I went out and drove around in circles for an hour.

And, since nobody else showed up at Saltire, Farmpunk didn't get his fix either. So we decided on a do-over at the GP-North on Wednesday, where we were the only people playing a game in the store. Man, this back-to-school thing really kills 40k attendance!

IG Forces

I took my Mech IG list with an extra Stormtrooper squad this time instead of Marbo and some other things:

175 Company Command Squad w/4 x Melta, Astropath, Chimera

105 5 Stormtroopers w/2 x Melta
105 5 Stormtroopers w/2 x Melta
105 5 Stormtroopers w/2 x Melta

155 Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera
155 Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera
155 Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera
155 Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera

Fast Attack
120 3 Sentinels w/Autocannons
145 Hellhound w/Hull Multi-Melta
145 Hellhound w/Hull Multi-Melta

Heavy Support
165 Leman Russ Battle Tank w/Hull Lascannon
165 Leman Russ Battle Tank w/Hull Lascannon

Total: 1850 pts.

WitchHunter Forces

Farmpunk took the latest iteration of his WitchHunters with inducted guard:

127 Cannoness (jump pack, Cloak of St. Aspria, Book of St. Lucius, Blessed
Weapon, Frags, Melta bombs)

183 Celestian Squad 2meltaguns, 4bolters w/ Krak grenades in Immolator
w/smoke, extra armor

418 2 x Sisters of Battle squad (1VSS w/book of St. Lucius, bolter.
1Hflamer, 1Meltagun, 7 Bolters) in rhino w/Extra armor, smokes

310 2x Inducted Veterans, 3meltaguns, sargent, 6lasguns, chimera
w/multilaser, Hull Hflamer

226 GK squad Justicar w/targeter, 2Psycannons, 3 GK's

Fast Attack
140 2x Inducted Armored sentinels w/lascannons

Heavy Support
280 2x Exorcist w/extra armor
165 Leman Russ w/hull Lascannon

Total: 1849

Note: This was before the new IG FAQ came out, which did away with the induction of Veterans. This was previously allowed for 'Ard Boyz, which were the induction rules we were using.

The Setup

As luck would have it, we rolled up EXACTLY the same mission and setup that we did the week before when the game got cut short. Seize Ground with a Spearhead deployment. Then Farmpunk won first turn again. Whoa... Deja Vu! The dice gods had spoken. We were obviously meant to fight this battle out!

(This pic is actually from the top of turn one, after Farmpunk had moved.)

Farmpunk set up with his Rhinos and Chimeras forward, while his Exorcists and Russ took bombardment duty. His Grey Knights hung back on his objective in the corner, content to snipe at anyone who got too close.

My plan was to meet his advance on my right with my Russes, the CCS, and 2 Chimeltas. While deploying in such a way that Farmpunk wouldn't be able to hit me with the Exorcist on my left without risking a difficult terrain roll on the woods it was next to.

My reserves (2 Hellhounds and 2 Chimeltas) would roll onto the board and take care of my left. With the stormies dropping in to kill armor wherever needed. In this way I hoped to halt his advance on my right and at least contest that objective. While taking the objective in my corner and taking 1 or two objectives in the center with my reserves. At least, that was the plan...

Turn 1

This was the turn of nothing. Lots of stuff fired, but nobody took so much as a scratch from it. On his turn, Farmpunk immobilized his right-most Chimera on the edge of the center building as he tried to cross it. His Exorcist on my left then immobilized itself (Hehe...) trying to get a shot at my Russes.

For my part, I immobilized one of my Chimeras by trying to move through the woods I was hugging to get some melta shots off at his lead Rhino. (sigh) That cost me a first-turn kill.

Turn 2

Now things got more interesting.

Farmpunk moved up agressively right on top of the objective, and proceeded to blow my Russ apart with his melta sisters. His Exorcist on my right blew the turret off of a Chimera, while his Immoliator zoomed around his immobilized Chimelta Vets to back up the melta sisters.

On my turn I was able to bring on the Sentinels, all 3 Stormies, and my 2 reserve Chimeltas. With only the Hellhounds left off-table.

I would have preferred for my Scout Sentinels to come in on my left behind Farmpunk's forces and shoot up his immobilized Exorcist and his Armored Sentinels from the rear. But even with a re-roll from the Astropath, they were determined to come in on my right where I needed them the least.

My Chimeras though, were in a perfect position to pop his Rhino and Chimera on my left and then flame the survivors. I would have lost at least one Chimera to return melta-fire from the survivors, but I was sure that the Hellhounds would be able to mop things up on the next turn and let me grab the center objectives, sending Farmpunk's backfield into confusion.

It was perfect, except that they both whiffed and failed to even stun their targets. ARRRRGH!!!

The Stormies did slightly better, nailing all three drops perfectly with no scatters. Unfortunately 2 of the 3 squads then whiffed their melta rolls. With only a dead Immoliator for my trouble. I'd complain more about my luck, but Farmpunk was whiffing a lot of rolls too.

In my center, I only managed to blow the storm bolter off of the Rhino with 5 close-range melta shots. Grrrr! As I mentioned before, the Stormies blew up the Immoliator, leaving the Celestians in a um, blister-pack-backing shaped "crater" in the middle of everything. The Demolisher whittled them down a bit, but they held firm.

Turn 3

On my left, the WhiffMelta Vets were squeezed in a fearsome looking pincer and shot up, losing their rides and having the rightmost of the 2 squads fall to heavy flamers and bolters from the Sister Squad. While the leftmost squad ended up in an invisible crater just in front of Farmpunk's Chimera.

No problem, I thought. On my turn they'll pop the Chimera and my Hellhounds will mop up the survivors! But we'll get to that later...

On the other side of the board, Farmpunk had pulled his Exorcist and Russ back from the Stormies and threw everything they had at them. Which amounted to a fart in a headwind as Farmpunk whiffed all his rolls. The Exorcist, for example, rolled a 6 for the number of missiles fired. Then Farmpunk missed with 5 shots and rolled a one to wound on the 6th... ouch! The GKs saved him some face by shooting up the nearer Stormie squad, leaving a lone melta gunner in front of the Exorcist.

The Cannoness, meanwhile, has jumped behind my immobilized Chimera on the right and whiffed her attack rolls. My Scout Sentinels then open up on her and do five wounds, all of which she saves. The Vets inside the Chimera open up on her with meltas and lasguns, but still no joy for me. That's 8 wounds that could have insta-killed her, but she just wouldn't roll a one. Arrrgh!

Over in the center, I put my surviving Vet squad back into a Chimera as I move it up to contest the objective. I know they won't last long, but I'm hoping to at least hold out long enough to force a couple of moral tests on the surrounding Sisters. I kill 5 girls in the nearest squad with heavy flamers (WooHoo!), but the squad holds firm. A couple of Celestians fall to my meltas, but they hold firm too.

Up on my right, Farmpunk's Russ finally eats melta-death from the Stormies in front of him.

On my left, the Hellhounds come on. Surely now, I can pop that Chimera and mop up the survivors with my inferno cannons. But alas, I had forgotten to roll the pin and moral checks for the lone surviving Vet squad I was depending on. They passed the morale check, but failed the pin check. Leaving them helpless before Farmpunk's Chimera and it's heavy flamer. And, given my deployment of the Hellhounds, I couldn't threaten the Chimera with their multi-meltas, as they were out of arc. So I took a pot-shot at the Exorcist, which missed. The other Hellhound killed a few Sisters at max range with it's Inferno Cannon, but they held firm.

Bye-Bye Hellhounds, it was nice knowing you...

Turn 4

Farmpunk does the obvious and kills one Hellhound with the Sentinels. His melta-vets immobilize and knock both weapons off the other, while his Chimera's heavy flamer kills 3 of the vets in front of it, leaving 2 melta gunners. His Sisters, meanwhile bail on the party. They get back in their Rhino and head for the big fight in my middle.

In my center, Farmpunk's Sisters blow up my command Chimera, leaving my Company Commander as the sole-survivor. He'll die later in close combat.

The Cannoness charges the Sentinels, who are all wrecked immediately instead of tarpitting her. I'm no longer questioning my luck at this point. I'm simply accepting my ordained fate.

Here's an overview of the battle so far. Notice the Rhino moving up on the right. The 2 surviving melta gunners on my left kill the Chimera in front of them with a nice big explosion, causing the squad inside to run... right over to the objective. Great. I'd kill them with the surviving Hellhound... if it still had it's turret.

My last untouched Vet squad is still in their immobilized Chimera, and it's a no-win situation for them. They need to get out and claim my corner objective, but my center is gone and there's a Rhino full of reinforcements moving up on my left that I couldn't stop with my reserves. And cover won't help against flamers. So I decide to get out and fire meltas at the center Rhino, hoping for a good explosion. Whiff! They do nothing. One melta hits but fails to penetrate. Good job boys!

At least the last surviving Stormie on my right knows how to shoot. He wrecks the Exorcist nicely. Farmpunk's squad that was falling back on my left rallies and kills the last 2 melta gunners from my reserves.

By this point the game is pretty much decided. I've clearly lost and can't hope to do anything else to him, but Farmpunk wants to play it out to the end. So we finish turn 5 before the store closes for the night. Farmpunk ends up with all five objectives and kills everyone but a single immobilized, weaponless Hellhound.

Final Score: 5-0


1) Sometimes, the dice just screw you for no good reason.

Overall, I thought my tactics were good. Though my deployment could have been a bit better. But every awesome break I got, like the 3 hits on the Stormie drops, was followed by a ridiculous whiff where I might as well have been throwing spitballs.

2) If you're not the beatdown, don't act like you are.

Back in the "All Wet" post, I posted this link about play styles. One of the interesting things that guy wrote about was knowing who the "Beatdown" and "Controller" are in every game. The Beatdown is the player who has to close with you to be effective. He's the aggressor. While the controller is the player who has to defend against this and shape the battlefield to his advantage.

Well, Farmpunk and I were both playing "Fire" armies, which are best suited to the beatdown. But he rolled first turn, which, combined with his army composition and deployment, defined his role for him. I should have then recognized this and embraced the part of the Controller. But no, I wanted to be the beatdown, even though it wasn't my choice to make (Blame it on playing gun lines for over 10 years.). So I pushed my armor too far forward when I should have maximized the distance he had to travel to get to me. A little extra distance would have made for a better fight in the middle.

I had plenty of reserves, outflankers, and deep strikers for playing the part of the Controller, but bad luck aside, I spread them too thin. I tried to kill everything on the table at once, and with better rolls I might have. But instead, maybe I should have dropped the Stormies on the near side of the board to support my reserves and force him to move everything else to react to me.

The Stormies did what they were supposed to (eventually) by knocking out 2/3rds of his artillery. But maybe they would have been better spent forcing him to shift some of his remaining troops from the battle-center to the middle of the table after they wiped out the Sister and Vet squads that I whiffed against with my reserve Chimeras.

3) Sisters + Melta Vets Really Suck to Play Against.

Farmpunk has been running his Sisters and Melta Vets in pairs, with the Rhino leading and the Chimera following in cover. Given that the Rhino has auto-glance Inquisition smoke instead of the 5th-Ed cover-granting smoke, this makes it nearly impossible to pop the Rhino, while the Chimera gets to fire and save it's smoke for later.

How do I stop this? Just prior to the new IG FAQ, I found myself running die-roll tests on how many Hydras it would take to stop an Inquisition Rhino on turn one. Here's the results:

2 Hydras vs. Smoked =I= Rhino (150 pts):
10% chance of stun
35% chance of immobilization
15% chance of wrecking
Total: 60% chance to stop it overall.

3 Hydras vs. Smoked =I= Rhino (225 pts):
15% chance of stun
50% chance of immobilization
20% chance of wrecking
Total: 85% chance to stop it overall.

Farmpunk almost always puts extra armor on his tanks, so the real chances are 50% and 70% respectively. Those numbers are not reassuring given the point differences.

And just for fun, here's how 3 Hydras would do when firing at the front of an Exorcist in the open.

3 Hydras vs. Exorcist:
35% chance of stun
25% chance of weapon destroyed
zero% chance of wrecking
Total: 60% chance per turn to stop it from shooting overall. Drops to 25% if given extra armor. Yuck!

Of course, I still need to deal with the Rhinos now. But at least there's not Melta Vets coming up behind. :)

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