Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Deathwatch Killteam review

Last week at club I played Deathwatch: Killteam. Read on to find out how I got on.....

Ian had brought Killteam with him, and I'll be honest the models are beautiful. As much as it pains me to say it, games workshop are doing an excellent job with the quality of thier miniatures, and the ruleset isn't that bad either. The game plays basically like how Soace Marines are in any of the books you read. Ian described them as being are superhuman "movie marines". 

The way that this is borne out in the basic game is that the marines go first, and shoot twice. So each turn looks roughly like this:
  • Space marines move
  • Genestealers move 
  • Space marines shoot
  • Genestealers shoot
  • Space marines shoot again
This means that as a marine player you can wade through hordes of cultists and stealers as you achieve your objectives. Having only played the one game, I'm not going to go deep into the rules, but they are very simple. They've removed "to wound" rolls entirely, if you hit, that's a wounding hit. 

The game plays very fast, with the phases cycling through very quickly each turn. What's interesting for the tyranid player is that you get cards to lurk with every turn, similar to space hulk. You draw from a deck every turn and place those cards facedown, not revealing them until after the space marines have moved. It's tough to bring down a marine, and I found that they were taking out smaller groups of 6-7 cultists with ease. The cool thing is you can leave one card lurking for another round, especially as you can only place what models the game comes with. 

This creates a balancing element, as you can never have to many purestrain genestealers running around. It's nicely balanced though, as the marines are so tough you might cycle through the same models every round. 

The thing that I realised very early on was that I needed to swarm the marines to stand any chance of killing one. You need at least 5 or 6 to 1 to stand a chance of taking one down. And that's after thier attacks! So you probably need 8/9-1!  It feels very cinematic, games workshop have got that bit spot on. There is desperation on both sides and it really turns into a swirling blood bath!

Springing the trap is all important. The cards that give you cultists also give you abilities such as "attack twice" and combining these factors is the only way to take down a space marine. Even with that ability and all of these guys I was only able to take down 1 marine. They're tough!

Overall, I'd reccomend playing this game if you get the chance. It's fun, fast and cinematic. I don't know that I'd buy it, as £118/$160 is quite a lot, and I don't play tyranids. But if you have always planned to do a cultist army, then the models are amazing, and if you've got a group together you could play through the missions quite nicely. If you can, give it a go!

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Double trouble: 8 weeks and counting!

Double trouble is only 8 weeks away! Have you bought your ticket yet?!  f not, why not? Of course,my  potential excuse for that would be that the last time I played 40 was February, but we can't all use that. And I have bought my ticket. 

I've been musing on what to take, and I'm torn between two armies. The first, as you can no doubt geuss by this photo, is Space Marines. Howling Griffons to be exact. I really fancy some bike based shenanigans, as you could take two full bike squads and a bike command squad before breaking any of the comp rules. 

Taking a HQ on a bike gives you interesting options as you can take bikes as troops. Combined with the combat squads rules it gives you interesting opportunities to have lots of small units. You could couple this with some scouts in a land speeder storm, and maybe even throw in a thunderfire cannon. 

It would also give me an excuse to finish painting this guy, who is one of painting goals for this hobby season. I'm not sure of how competitive the whirlwind is really (it's completely not). When you compare it to the thunderfire cannon, or imperial guard wyvern it doesn't match up favourably. 

My other choice would be humanities true protector in its hour of greatest need. The Imperial Guard. I strongly believe that they function really well at lower points values. After all, for 200 points you could get 40 of them! There is however, something that we need to discuss. 

I may have a bit of an imperial guard sized problem. Which may seem trivial to you, but it really isn't to me. I mean, in a 750 point game, which heavy weapons do you take? If we pan out on the previous photo, we can see that I really do have a conundrum.

All these heavy weapons together would work, right!?!  My main problem with Guard is that they are to squishy, and don't really hit hard. Eldar and thier darker kin are both really squishy, but both hit a lot harder. Guard are much more about being the sum of the parts. Which is why I think they could be good for double trouble. 

One of the reasons they wouldn't be good for double trouble is that it's very objective based. And sure, they can swarm around, or mount up, but my guard army isn't very speedy. Unless I break out the old X-wing vendettas. Which I could, they haven't seen play in a while. But something about the fix bayonets, and "win by having more men than they have bullets" approach really speaks to me. Plus I could take mortars!

Love these guys. They're so cheap and not really that useful. 

Overall I can't decide. I really like the guard idea, but it's more characterful than competitive. I've spent my time in the trenches with fluffy lists in the past and they are fun. But I do like the bike idea. That's one I've not tried yet. So I'll see! I don't have to paint a thing to take the guard I don't think, so that would be nice! Thanks for stopping by! Until next time, Let me finish by asking; Have you bought your ticket yet?!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Tournament Performance Review - X-wing Spring Tourney at Weekend Warlords

Good day to you dear readers (imagine I'm saying that in a very British accent). Following on from my last post I thought I’d review the Jumpmasters. In the previous post I declared that I was taking them for three reasons. They were to see if:

A/. I could fly them
B/. If they were any good
C/. If I liked flying them
the real jumpmaster 5000 that everyones raving about
I'm going to review at least at first on those broad categories. So here goes.

A/. If I could fly them

Well, the short answer is I was a lot better at flying them by 6pm on Sunday than I was at 9am! That’s not the reasons solely for my defeats, but I was managing to get more sets of torpedoes of by the end of the day. I think that’s part of what makes a good xwing player a great xwing player, is that you can plan 2-3 turns ahead. So you know where you need to be to do the next thing, based on what you assumption about your oppenant is.

So I think I can fly them ok, but the natural turrets make them quite forgiving. You don't always need arc or your enemy that way. One game I only got off two sets of torps, but the others it was usually at least 3. 

The other measure that I'd use for that is bumping. Making a strong initative bid meant that I could use my intelligence agent to look at an opposing ships dial right before I moved. This was really helpful in allowing more blocks. Having said this, one of the games I lost was lost before the blocking really began. I am considering a fully fledged Bumpmaster, but it does lower my damage output. 

B/. If they were any good
Yes. They are good. I think everybody knows that by now. That I managed to lick half a ghost with two of them is proof enough for me. It's also a reasonably forgiving ship to fly in some respects, with a turret and two evade dice. 

The crux is that you only go green in one direction, so stress isn't good for you. It's one of the reasons I don't like the overclocked agromech, its just got the potential to leave you wide open positionally. The thing that I like is that they can just about do what you want with a standard build, but that if you want anything fancy or different you have to compromise elsewhere. So I had an Intel agent, but I sacrificed my 3rd set of extra munitions for example. 

C/. If I liked flying them
Hmmm. A tough one. There are aspects I really do like. These would include blocking your oppenants ships (probly my face thing in the whole game), causing grievously large amounts of damage, and the dial. The moves that they have available make them really fun to fly. They were reasonably fun to fly, but have a triple list with plasmas is a bit jousty, and I can't decide if I like it or not. In fairness, the main time I didn't like it was when I was flying against jumpmasters. Not because I was bothered by the powerful nature of them, just that it's a bit boring to look at! We all turn up to make pew pew noises and it's nice to see variety. But I am definitely partly to blame for that I suppose!

I'm debating dropping the torpedoes on one to have a ship fully devoted to bumping. My other option my be to trade one out for YV-666, and use that to bump with. However, I don't know if that's as powerful. I think in the end I may well fly them at regionals, if only because I haven't time to practice with anything else! 

Come back next time, when I'll be reviewing my hobby process so far this year, and looking at what I might need to paint for the double trouble 40k tourney. 

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Weekend warlords X-wing April Tournament

Hello readers! If you aren't too bored of reading about X-wing, you could read about how I got on in the spring tournament at Weekend Warlords. Hopefully, you can read and understand this bat-rep, even with only a little knowledge of the game :) I've tried to keep it quite narrative. If you are bored of X-wing, the head over to this post for details of how you could win a free Space Marine Demi Company from a fellow blogger! 

Anyways, if you've stuck around I was heading into this tournament thinking about what to take for regional season. Jumpmaster 5000s are the new hotness and I suppose I wanted to see if:

A/. I can fly them. 
B/. They're any good. 
C/. If I like flying them. 

For my readers who don't know what a Jumpmaster is, one of its pilots (Manaroo) rescued Boba Fett from the Sarlec Pitt. In game terms for X-wing a certain combo  of cards allows you to fly three of these things and they all have torpedoes that have like a +90% of getting four hits when you shoot. That you can field three of these things mean you could potentially cause 12 damage in one turn, if your oppenant doesn't dodge anything. 

So I flew the following a triple Jumpmaster list, running 1 with Boba Fett (crew) and 1 with Intel agent. Boba Fett is great because he can cause your oppenant to discard an upgrade card (even the Emperor or Darth Vader!), although it's only 1 use. Intel agent is super great because every turn you can look at opposing ships movement dial before you do yours, meaning that you could in theory get in thier way. 

My first match was against mr YV-666 himself, Shane Hibbard. Shane was running a Jumpmaster with two YV-666s, one with Boba Fett crew and one with Zuckuss crew. His Jumpmaster was relatively similar to mine, but with the addition of a recon specialist. It was a somewhat of a grudge match, with our last game being the final of previous store championship we'd both attended. The  photo above is a shot of how I made a mess of the first engagement, and flew straight into the guns of all three of his ships. Had I engaged a turn earlier I think I could have maybe taken a ship off before it got to shoot, but as it was I lost one (the right hand one) straight away. I did shoot down his right hand YV-666 a turn later but this left me massively out gunned. 

I flew around for a bit, but could dodge enough of the attacks. The 180 degree arc on a YV-666 is really hard to dodge! I lost my second Jumpmaster and then tried to engage his Jumpmaster with my one remaining ship as the YV-666 arced round to get back in the fight. It worked for a bit, but eventually he cornered me and killed me. I lost, getting half points for one YV-666 and full for the other one. 
Result: Loss 48-100

My second game was against Dan. He was flying an elite tie swarm, with the following pilots:

Youngster with expose
Zeta leader with wired
Omega ace with push the limit 
Epsilon leader 

Basically, and somewhat hilariously, youngster allows the other ties to expose themselves all the time. This combos well omega ace, as you can end up with 4 Crits. So that meant that youngster and his non safeguarding appropriate upgrade was my primary target!

The game went well, although I made a total screw up of the first engagement, misreading he game completely and barrel rolling my central ship into the path of the oncoming swarm whilst the others simply slow rolled. I did save that situation thou, and managed to take youngster out straight away. This stopped the rest of the ties exposing themselves to my pilots constantly. 

Over the next couple of turns, I did a really good job of blocking the ties, indeed 3rd round of engagement I got his 3 remaining tie fighters to all bump, meaning they had no action and less shots. Over the next few turns I whittled his forces down in a swirling mid table dogfight, launching torpedoes and bumping as best I could. I rolled out winner of this one and decided to eat a cookie to celebrate. 
Result: Win 100-65

My third game I played against jumpmasters! Nothing less than I deserve running them myself, I'm sure you agree. James had 3 Jumpmasters, all with torpedoes and astromechs, and he was at 100 points which gave me initative. I set up on the left hand side, and James set up opposite to joust me. 

The intial engagement worked well for me, I blocked 2/3 of his ships with a long 3 speed and barrel roll. I felt pretty good about that. However, next turn my Boba Fett Jumpmaster was targeted by all 3 opposing jumpmasters and went down to 2 direct hits. From being on full hull to dead in one turn! That was painful. 

This eventually left me with 1 vs 2 (mines on the left) and playing catch up. I had a set of torps that I never got to fire. In the end, I managed to bump my way to staying alive, only taking shots from one at a time. With my bump master alive on 1 health, I did get some MOV, but I lost the game to go 1-2 after 3 rounds. 
Result: Loss 49-83

Game four saw me play another triple Jumpmaster list! I once again had initative against Adam's wolf pack. Very similar to James list, this time I tried going to my right, and trying a slightly different approach. 

I weirdly barrel rolled my boba who was in the centre in front of a rock on the corner of the board, whilst my other two were slow rolling in the bottom right. I then turned in hard with Boba and barrel rolled to get in the way and made all his ships rash into each other. This allowed me free reign cutting in from the side and got a good crtical hit, reducing a rival jumpmaster to Ps0. 

This put me ahead in the shooting race, which is always really important in the knife fight. Whilst my white and green Jumpmaster with Boba Fett went down I was able to keep ahead in the arms race and ended up with a victory. 
Result: Win 100-51

I went into my final game 2-2. Could I claw out a victory for a 3-2 finish to the day? I was playing Matt, who had Tycho with rage and proton rockets, the PS3 Ghost (with dash, lando a dorsal turret and some other bits) and zeb in the attack shuttle. That allows the ghost to fire twice as the shuttle crew man the guns on the main ship. And Tycho is a beast anyway. 

I slow rolled for a couple of turns, seeing the lay of he land from my left hand corner fortress. The ghost had started opposite me, and i thought about chasing it down, but I knew it could outrun me. Tycho crept into the mid right of the star map, with both of us sizing each other up. I then broke out of the corner and went for a Hail Mary block on Tycho. It didn't work! 

However, I couldn't complain as he was still in a position to receive fire from all three jumpmasters (2 turrets, 1 torpedo). I was very fortunate with the red and green dice rolls, and Tycho went down straight away. By this time, the Ghost had k-turned and was heading into the centre of the board. The next turn (second round of engagement) I got a decent block on the ghost, denying the action  and took 8HP off. Plasma torpedoes really love 0ag ships with lots of shields. At this point Matt conceded, and it was all over very conceded
Result: Win 100-0

My final win did wonders for my MOV, and meant that I finished 6th! I got some nice swag, including some ion tokens [Edit, thanks John!] and a nice alternative art card for veteran instincts. 

As ever, an absolute blast at weekend warlords! Ash and the team are always great, and I love seeing the guys that play there. They make me feel really welcome, and they have a real community. What a game store should be like. Just that they remember my name means a lot :)

I mentioned at the start that I was looking at 3 key factors. I will be reviewing my thoughts on this later this week, so tune in weds/thurs for that! Thanks for reading! 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Hobby hack: bases for X-wing

I got frustrated very early on in X-wing with the way the bases skid around the board of you breathe on them. I wanted to do something easy to fix this, that was nice and simple, but most importantly - cheap. 

Whilst whiling away a lunch break in wilkinsons (for my international readers it's the sort of place where you can get similar stuff of a decent quality without having to pay outrageous prices for a label. It's not a thrift store or pound shop, it's just pitching somewhere above that) I discovered some small rubber pads that might be quite useful. As you can see from the below picture, they are clear, and small enough that you can have 4 per base. 

I decided to give them a go and have since bought a second set. They are quite good, giving that extra bit of traction and helping stop things knock around when hit by a dice or nudged by a template. What's really good is that the are self sticking, so you can just drop them straight on.  However, my personal tip would be to secure them with superglue. They do tend to fall off otherwise. 

The main potential concern (although it's not come up ever) is the raised profile of the base. As you can see from this picture, it means that the base is slightly off the ground. Now, thankfully we aren't playing a true line of sight game, so I'm clearly not modelling for advantage. However FFG's rules state that you can't change the ships or base in any way. So there is the potential for somebody to call you out on it. 

Having said that, this game is Not a games workshop game and has a totally different community vibe. People are much more relaxed and agreeable than most of the other systems ive played. I suppose I'd just reccomend taking spares with you that don't have the feet on, just in case!

Overall, I'm gonna give this  4 out of 5 stars as a tip. It's massively cheaper than some of the other non slip stuff I've seen and is very simple to do. As noted, the only real problem is the raised height. 

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Steele open X-wing Mat raffle!

Some of you may be aware of the Steele open. Run by Aaron Utley, it's a fantastic event in the USA for X-wing and armada and some other bits and bobs. 

Aaron was recently on the 
Nova Squadron Radio podcast talking about the Steele open and all things related to it. This included the swag and prizes! One thing that caught my ear was the custom X-wing mats that are event exclusive. And then it really caught my eye when I saw it!

It's Jakku! A commission piece of art, there was no way to get this mat short of flying to America and going to the event. Which, for me made it a very expensive mat. I mean it's nice, but it's not £1500 nice. 

Until now! Aaron has been overwhelmed with people wanting this thing, and has agreed to raffle 2. You can 
buy your raffle tickets here, and for a 1 in 500 chance, $2 isn't too bad. If he sells all 1000 tickets, he will raffle a third. The proceeds go to the event, and considering the effort he's putting in I don't mind shelling out a few beans. It is open internationally as well, which is a massive plus for me. 

Id love to win it! There is nothing wrong with the mat I have, (something that's kept me from buying another one!) but to have one that relates to Jakku, now that would be cool. I doubt I'll get one, but I can dream! 

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Jumpmaster Repaint Part 2: Darksun Life 15

Hey Guys! I've been painting my Jumpmaster 5000 more over the last few days, and its turned out nothing like the concept sketches! Check out the Vlog here:

Since it wasnt one of the two types i drew out, my bounty Hunter guild doesnt have a name! does anybody have any suggestions? At the moment, the best i've got is something from the following:

  1. Green Glade Hijackers
  2. Emerald Dust Cloud
  3. Keppel Corporation (an actual singapore company).
As ever, thanks for stopping by!