Tyranids! again


Well folks, after last week’s game with my Tyranids against JP and his Word Bearers, we’ve had a rematch where I have basically brought the same list, and he decided to change things up considerably. After seeing two squads of Havocs staring at me from across the board, I think I was just paralysed with terror and played quite badly for the first couple of turns, especially when I had my units of termagants and genestealers just scythed down in short order. Losing my Warlord in turn two was a significant blow as well, but after an initial feeling like I wanted to just give up, I decided to just try and see what happens, and was quite surprised.

I think this is something that is talked about a fair bit, when playing games and you think there’s no way you can claw something back, you just sort of give up and either don’t try, or just check out from the game and it becomes un-fun for everybody involved. When I lost that key piece, the warlord, I wasn’t really sure how I was going to come back, as he was providing a major source of synapse for the rest of the army. However, I was able to make a few things work, and it did seem to go in my favour as the game went along.


The tooled-up carnifex is quite the beast, equipped as he is with all manner of things that make him an absolute beast. Without command points, he isn’t quite as horrific, but he still hits like a brick, and was able to scythe through the Daemon Prince and the Dark Apostle with ease. The Venomcrawler put up a slight fight due to the fact JP had a stratagem that reduced all incoming damage to 0 once per battle, so my crushing claws doing 12 damage suddenly did nothing, but even so, I was able to kill it before anything too drastic happened. He was then able to charge across the field to take out a squad of Havocs and then a squad of Cultists, so he really was the MVP in that game!

The genestealers were a particular loss, I felt, as I was upset with not getting to use them as I had wanted. Well, I didn’t get to use them at all, unfortunately. That is the effects of having a shooty army vs a melee army. But regardless, through a combination of objective control and the Cranial Feasting objective, I was able to get a lot of victory points. When round 5 came around, I had reduced JP’s army to a single Havoc holding one objective on my turn, and it was 39-43 to me. We shook hands, then thought “let’s play out his turn, to see what would happen”, whereupon we realised that Havoc scored him 5 victory points without doing anything, for a Word Bearers win at 44-43! What an utter reversal!

We’ve agreed that lessons have been learnt, on both sides of the board, and I for one am already planning my next list, as I feel like changing it up a bit. Playing at 1000 points is a little hampering, although it is also good for both the size of the table we’re playing on, and for ensuring games don’t go on into the small hours of the morning. That said, given the points investment that I have made with some of my units, I don’t feel like I’m getting a lot back in terms of table control.

So I’m going to make some changes. 


Let’s start with some Hormagaunts. JP actually gave me a bunch of Tyranid nastiness back in 8th edition, although it was around the time my eldest was born, so I never really got to look at them until recently. Turns out, there are 18 Hormagaunts, alongside a bunch of Termagants, and some other gribbly bits. Taking the melee gaunts as a starting point, let’s do some math-hammer…

I like the Hive Tyrant, I really do. However, he’s a massive points sink for a 1000 point game, and he’s also a massive target. So let’s look at the Broodlord, instead. The Broodlord can improve the AP of a core unit within synaptic link range when that unit rolls a 6 to wound in melee. The Tyranid Prime can allow a core unit within synaptic link range to re-roll a wound roll of 1 when it makes an attack. The best supportive Warlord Trait for our purposes here is Direct Guidance, which allows the warlord to select a core unit within Synaptic Link range and grant them +1 to hit when they make an attack. So we’ll make the Broodlord the new Warlord, and keep the Prime in there for his ability.

A unit of 10 Hormagaunts with adrenal glands and toxin sacs costs 110 points, and will move 11”, will hit on 4s and will wound power armour on 4s thanks to the glands. The toxin sacs will make any 6s to hit auto-wound, which is very handy indeed. 

The Bounding Advance stratagem allows them to advance a flat 6” and they can still charge in a turn in which they advanced, all for 1CP. So they are moving up 17” in the move phase, and can still potentially move a further 12” during the charge phase. They have the Bounding Leap ability which allows them to pile-in an additional 3” as well, so once they’re in base contact, they can really swarm a prey unit. This works well with the Swarming Masses rule, which extends engagement range to 2.5”.

When in close combat, they have 3 attacks each and the Adrenal Surge stratagem gives them +1 attack for 1CP.

Synaptic Imperatives are the new thing for Tyranids, and give Synapse creatures additional benefits that are chosen at the start of the turn. The Broodlord allows an infantry unit within 6” to receive the benefits of light cover against an attack. Tyranid Warriors have possibly the best one for them, though, as 6s to hit in melee score one additional hit. With the amount of dice being thrown here, odds are there will be a few 6s coming out!

In terms of psychic support, there is Onslaught to allow them to advance and charge, which is fine if you don’t need that extra 6” and/or don’t have the CP to spend on Bounding Advance. There is also Paroxysm, which prevents a unit firing Overwatch, and that unit is -1 to wound when it fights back, which gives them some help if they’re going to be stuck in melee.

Once the combat is over, there is the Overrun stratagem for 1CP which allows a core unit to make a normal move after the fight phase, provided they are no longer engaged with an enemy. There is also Endless Swarm, which allows you to return D3+3 destroyed models to the unit in your command phase, to bring back the swarm to go through it all again.

I’ve been playing my Tyranids as Behemoth so far, even though they’re painted in the colours of Hive Fleet Gorgon. Behemoth, though, has got some very good utility for an aggressive bug build. To start with, they are all +1 strength on the charge. They get +1” move and can consolidate an additional 3” so they are quite vicious there. The psychic power grants a unit within Synaptic Link range +1 to wound in melee. So that group of 10 Hormagaunts is making 40 attacks at S5 and +1 to wound, with all the additional shenanigans going on. 

Gorgon makes any wound roll of 4+ a success, which is very nice to have, and can reroll one wound roll either to shoot or to fight. I really like the Gorgon psychic power, which allows unmodified 6s to wound to cause one mortal wound in addition to normal damage (to a max of 6 mortal wounds). Their unique stratagem improves toxin sacs to a 5+ auto-wound in melee.

Leviathan grants a decent camouflage for units by making it slightly more difficult to wound these models. They can re-roll one hit roll either in the fight or shooting phase, which is nice. However, I particularly like the Leviathan psychic power that allows two synaptic imperatives to be active for the army, which can be really useful. The Leviathan unique stratagem allows you to improve the AP for a melee attack for a unit, if there is another Leviathan unit also in the combat.

I think out of these three, I prefer Behemoth for the brutality of it all, although Leviathan certainly has its place!


This is all well and good, of course, but I’m fighting with the idea that actually, Genestealers might be a much better investment for all of these bits and pieces! Of course, a unit of 10 Genestealers will cost 160 points, so we’re already starting from behind, and adding in toxin sacs will bring that up to 190 points. However, the additional 80 points does buy you a more accurate, and more resilient, bug. They’re hitting on 3s and would wound normal marines on 4s without any kind of investment of command points or outside influences, plus they have the Vanguard Predator rule that allows you to set them up anywhere more than 9” away from enemy models or the enemy deployment zone.

Let’s take a look and see what can be brought over from all those buffs. The Broodlord’s aura will be very useful here, especially as he can also be set up the same as the Genestealers. The Warlord Trait of +1 to hit makes them effectively hitting on 2s, which is very useful. 

For 1CP, Vanguard Onslaught allows them to re-roll the wound roll if they charged or were charged. They also get access to the Overrun stratagem for 1CP, which lets them move normally if they finish the fight and have killed everybody. Now, their normal move is 8”, and they don’t have the myriad ways of increasing that like Hormagaunts, because you can’t give Genestealers adrenal glands.

However, when they’re in the fight, their claws and talons are S4, AP-3 and D1, with 4 attacks base meaning that is a lot of saving rolls to make for the opponent – if indeed, they get a save with that AP. Remember, the Broodlord can allow any 6s to wound to be AP-4 as well. If they gain the Tyranid Warrior synaptic imperative ability of 6s to hit causing one additional hit, that could be devastating when they’re hitting on 2s already from the Warlord Trait.

Obviously, Onslaught can allow them to advance and charge although, given how far up the field they could potentially start the game, that might not be necessary. Behemoth Genestealers will be hitting at S5 and with the psychic blessing, they’d be +1 to wound, so they’re still wounding marines on 3s but could very easily shred a unit of Cultists by wounding on 2s.

The more I’m looking at this, I think I like the idea of Hormagaunts and Genestealers working together, rather than trying to weigh up one or the other. So that’s that decision made, then. A Broodlord, a Tyranid Prime, a unit of Warriors, then the Hormagaunts and Genestealers. So I’m getting somewhere with the army now.

So with all that said, let’s take a look at the list!


The Broodlord should be a beast with all this going on. I had no idea until this week that subfaction-specific Psychic powers are known, in addition to the powers you select from a faction discipline. I know this is almost useless now because the psychic phase is going in 10th edition, but it has kinda blown my mind that it’s the case! The Broodlord can only cast one power though, so it’s not going to massively change the game. I’ve given him the Maw-Claws of Thyrax, which increase his attacks to 7, lets you re-roll the wound roll in melee, and whenever he defeats a unit in melee, he gets +1 attack until the end of the game (to a max of +3 attacks). I was toying with giving him the Resonance Barb for additional Psyker stuff, but it only allows him to know additional powers, he can’t cast additional powers unless I use the stratagem to allow that. However, 7 attacks hitting on 2s and wounding power armour on 3s with rerolls, he should be an absolute beast and I could definitely see him getting up to 8 or 9 attacks thanks to that relic. 

The Prime and the Warriors will all have some useful Synaptic Imperative abilities as we’ve discussed, so the big focus here is on sending up the Hormagaunts and Genestealers to cover the advance of the Carnifex, who will just wreck the place. Getting the Carnifex into melee is so satisfying, because he’s just so incredibly dangerous once he gets there. I think I often shy away from tooling up models like this – he has 65 points’ worth of weapons and upgrades, which is very much unlike me! But I think his recent performances have shown it is a definite investment. 

Hopefully, of course, I can make all of these plans work when the time comes, and it’ll all be just beautiful!

Sisters of Battle launch box – finally finished!

I finally did it! After its launch in November 2019, I’ve finally finished painting all of the models within. You might think, 3 and a half years, to paint 25 models? Well yes, I am slow, but we’ve been through quite a few colour changes to get here!

I’m quite pleased with the results, anyway – so much so, that I set up that mini diorama above!

The Battle Sisters are some of the best models GW has produced, I feel, and now that I’ve found my colour scheme, I’m really enjoying getting the full army painted. After finishing the Arco Flagellants from the launch box to call the whole thing finished, I’m now ready to launch myself into the 500 points challenge that I talked about the other day. I think I’m going to begin with the Novitiates, because they’re intriguing me as regards the challenges that will come from having to find a different-but-similar scheme for them.

Oh, but wait, there’s more!

The awesome Exorcist is now finished, as well! It’s such a bonkers model, I just love it so much. Very much looking forward to getting all these to the table at some point, though for now, I’m still enjoying playing the Tyranids…

Sisters of Battle: 500 points challenge!

Hey everybody,
Despite a lot of waffle from me the other day about Tyranids, my current project is very definitely centred around the Sisters of Battle, as I’ve been enjoying painting the Exorcist tank, and want to try and get more of those units painted up in time for 10th edition dropping this summer. I already have a pretty decent amount of models painted, however I have an equally decent amount of models unpainted, with a not-insignificant number of models still in boxes on the sprue!

To help tackle this, James and I have started on a bit of a slow-grow type thing, where we have a 500-point list for each of our armies, and we just go from there. He’s doing Imperial Guard, as he has an impressive collection of Forge World Death Korps of Krieg models that need some attention, and I’ve got a small bunch of Sisters to get me moving once the tank is finished.


My list is simply ten Battle Sisters, ten Sisters Novitiates, three Paragon Warsuits, and a Canoness. It actually comes in at 530 points, but as I’ve already painted the Canoness, I think it’s probably fine! The idea is to keep us going by just focusing on this small force (although 500 points of Guard is actually quite a lot!) and then see about playing some games, either as a farewell to Ninth or to learn how to play Tenth!

To some extent, it’s also scratching that itch that I talked about at the start of the week, with having a project to work on. There’s a part of me hoping that I will be able to really focus on these models to the exclusion of all else, and hopefully get them finished by the end of June. I know that I still have some Hobby Goals for 2023 to work on, and I don’t want to be getting too distracted from those, but I would really like to get a full rounded battalion of Sisters painted up, so two HQs and three troops, before the end of the edition.

Naturally, I’ve already begun to think about what else I could be adding in to this as time goes on, in an effort to get rid of the backlog in the attic. I’ve currently got the box of five Seraphim waiting for me to do something with, as I really enjoyed those models back when I was painting them last year, so I would like to get some more Sisters of flying doom finished. I also have two more Penitent Engines, a box of Repentia, an Immolator, and the Triumph of St Katherine in boxes (that I can recall – there’s possibly still more…) It would be nice to get as much as possible painted though, especially while I’m in this mindset.

Once this is all finished, I’m not really sure where I would go from there. I mean, it’s possible that the army would be pretty much finished, which is quite shocking really! I suppose I wouldn’t mind a third Battle Sisters squad, as the Novitiates are a bit disappointing for what they do. A rhino for transport might also be nice. I’m not really sure what else I would like to get, though – I suppose it would become a question of whether there is a surprise release waiting for us, a bit like the AdMech release that came out during the Psychic Awakening series between 8th and 9th. A Sisters flyer would be nice, as would some kind of biker unit, so I suppose we will see. Their 10th edition codex isn’t due out this year, from what I can tell, so I suppose that could mean more unit entries could be on the way!

I’m definitely pumped for working on these models once more, and even though I don’t really have the best of memories for how they performed on the tabletop, I am still looking forward to having a fully-painted force to push around!



I have finally had a game with my Tyranids in 9th edition, just as we have the new edition coming over the horizon! I’ve been thinking about my big army of bugs quite a lot over the years, but somehow they’ve always lost out to something else. Well, finally they hit the table, as I had a small-scale battle with JP, and it was just glorious.

It helped, of course, that I won!

Tyranids in 9th edition are a little bit confusing, I have to admit. I think this is perhaps symptomatic of the fact GW have tried to make all armies really unique and feel really customised, but it does come at a bit of a cost. There are, of course, the standard things that we know and love about the big bugs, but it all just feels like there are wheels within wheels at times. But let’s go through and see what the Great Devourer can offer.

To start with, we have the classic Synapse rule, which applies to a lot of the units across the army. Synapse creatures allow other models within 6” to auto-pass morale tests. Marvellous! In addition, there’s a thing now called Synaptic Link Range, which is basically a 12” bubble around the Synapse creature, and can come into play with various aura abilities, and psychic powers. The big change for 9th though is that other Synapse creatures will allow that range to extend, so in the codex example, a Broodlord can affect a unit of Genestealers well outside of its own 12” bubble if there is a Hive Tyrant within 12” of it, and a Zoanthrope unit within 12” of the Hive Tyrant, creating that real “hive mind” feel. It actually needed me to play it to see how that would work, but blimey, it was useful in the game!


See, in addition to the rules that each model has, Synapse creatures also have Synaptic Imperative abilities that you can choose to be active at the start of the battle round. For example, a Tyranid Prime has the Guidemind ability which allows friendly units within 6” who are targeting enemies within 24” to get exploding 6s to hit. Trying to get these to line up is a bit of a puzzle, because sometimes you might want more than one to be going on (the Maleceptor allows a unit to make ranged attacks and still perform actions, so coupled with the exploding 6s, could be good!) However, whichever Synaptic Imperative is active for that round, every Synapse creature on the board can grant its effects, so you don’t need to have all of your shooty bugs clustered around the Tyranid Prime, because the Tyranid Warriors, the Zoanthropes, the Hive Tyrant, and all the other Synapse creatures are also granting the same thing.

As we know, each army has its own set of Chapter Tactics, the Tyranids being Hive Fleet Adaptations. These are subset rules that give your army its own feel, and I have really liked seeing how different armies can be made by adopting different ones. For yesterday’s game, I went with Hive Fleet Behemoth, because it’s a pretty aggressive subset, giving +1 strength for units when they charge, were charged, or performed heroic interventions. However, this edition we have a sub-subset of rules, where we can swap out different rules based on our needs. It’s very Tyranids, and is very good at giving that kind of representation of the fact that the army has learnt from previous battles. However, it just feels really confusing!

Each Hive Fleet has an Adaptive rule, which for Behemoth is to re-roll charges, and a Hyper-Adaptation, which allows you to instead change the Adaptive rule to one from the Biomorphologies table. There are three different Biomorphologies to choose from – hunt, lurk, and feed – and each one has a choice of five different rules. Behemoth can swap out its Adaptive rule for a Hunt or Lurk rule, and you can do this after deployment but before the first round begins, so it’s really quite flexible. But it just feels like it’s yet another step to go through, another decision point prior to the battle beginning, and I can see why the rules for 10th talk about being streamlined.

We’ve also got the standard sort of army-wide things, so Shadow in the Warp makes enemy psychic tests more difficult (and makes Perils of the Warp more deadly), there is a rule for the small bugs called Swarming Masses which increases the Engagement Range for these guys to 2.5 inches, which kinda makes sense. 

So let’s get down to business. We were playing a 1000-point game, mainly because it has been a long time since either of us played, and so it was much in the sense of keeping things simple. My list was as follows:

Tyranids list

I often try to stay away from heavy investments into models, for fear of them being shot off the table and therefore being a waste of time. However, I think both of the big bugs in this list, the Tyrant and the Carnifex, have had a lot of work put into them, and they really did pay dividends during the game. The Hive Tyrant has the relic Shardgullet, which replaces his heavy venom cannon and has quite the souped-up profile. In the first turn, I one-shot a Maulerfiend off the table by dishing out 15 damage to it, then in turn two I was able to destroy a Venom Crawler which got too close before shooting the Lord Discordant off the table in the third turn.

At first, I was a bit annoyed with myself for poorly positioning the carnifex, but he was able to tear apart a rhino, then due to the adaptive physiology allowing him to always fight first, he killed off the marines inside of it as well. I think the carnifex has had the most investment, though, both in terms of points and command points. I had spent some time in the afternoon before the game working out timings and whatnot, and with all of the buffs going on, he was able to get extra attacks, dish out mortal wounds when charging, spit acid in the face of his enemies, and then crush them unto death with Strength 12 crushing claws – he proved to be so damn deadly that I was actually disappointed to be killing stuff too early!

These big bugs can clearly shred through enemies!


Another shout out has to go to the Genestealers, who were able to kill the Daemon Prince over two rounds of combat (it would have been more, if only I had a full squad going into it). I think I ended up charging with 7 of them, but each of them does 4 attacks, and with all of the Synapse buffs going on they proved to be quite accurate! However, they are the poster-child for my usual tactic of just drowning a model in saving rolls. Making 28 attacks, 12 of which got through the first time, and 15 the second time, it was quite straightforward to take off those 8 wounds in short order.

Even though they were kinda pointless, I also enjoyed the fact that the Termagants proved to be just annoying, and they were able to halt the progress of the Lord Discordant simply by being in the way. A unit of 10 probably isn’t going to do as much as I’d want, though, so I think I might have to get building up some more soon, as it would be nice to have a bigger, more annoying blob to impede progress!

However, I’m under no illusions that, firstly, the smaller board size really worked in my favour, as the units were able to cross distances with ease and get into combat early. I also lost a lot of models – I’m just thankful that I could take out key pieces of JP’s army before he could turn the tide! Genestealers are awesome when they’re shredding through things, but left out in the open, they’re vulnerable with only 1 wound and a 5+ save. Once the Daemon Prince had gone, they were picked off upsettingly quickly! 

But it was a great game, and I’m looking forward to getting them to the table again soon! I’m even thinking I might reward some of them with paint!

Sisters of Battle Exorcist (WIP)

I’m having a lot of fun painting this tank right now. It’s such a ridiculous looking thing, I just love it. In so many ways, it encapsulates that over-the-top feel that 40k has always been about – it’s a tank that has a series of organ pipes that have been converted to launch missiles (because of course). The missiles are seemingly controlled by the driver, who sits front and centre (the Emperor protects, so why should she sit inside the thing?!) Her helmet has been altered to have that ridiculous visor, and she uses a double-manual wraparound keyboard to shoot the missiles behind her. All while blasting out hymns to the glory of the God-Emperor of Mankind, booming across the field of battle from those trumpets mounted just a couple of feet above her head.

It’s just glorious!

On top of all this, the tank is decorated with statuary depicting various Imperial Saints, as well as icons representing the Orders Majoris of the Adepta Sororitas. The tank is attended to by two cherubs, one of whom clings on to the chassis having lost his legs, poor thing.

Spectacular, in every sense of the word!

The new model is a definite improvement on the older one, above, though I do love that classic, ridiculous design too. The new design is of course far superior, but it’s interesting to see how much of that design was carried over to the new model. I do kinda like the older driver, though, who seems to be playing the organ up there with wild abandon!

While I’ve been painting it, I’ve been watching Shetland from the beginning. I seem to remember we watched one of the later series last summer when I was painting the initial portions of the force, so it’s kinda nice to be back with that once more.

I had great fun painting my Sisters of Battle last year, and it seemed that I got a lot of the army painted very quickly. I’m hoping that this tank might herald the start of more models getting finished, as I still have quite a few units to get done.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about giving myself a real project, for want of a better term. You know the feeling that you have when you open a Start Collecting box, or whatever they’re doing these days, and there’s a whole bunch of sprues in there? I have been kinda craving that sort of thing, where you have a defined bunch of stuff to get done… Well, short of buying something for the sake of this idea, I might instead launch myself at the Sisters again and see about getting all of these things painted.

In addition to the Exorcist, then, I’ve still got a unit of 10 battle sisters, a unit of 10 Novitiates, and the three paragon war suits that I recently built. It could well scratch the itch!!

I’m waffling here. In the meantime, enjoy my little diorama that I threw together with some of the finished Sisters and some terrain!

Sisters of Battle
Sisters of Battle
Sisters of Battle

April 2023 retrospective

Hey everybody,
April is already over, and so it’s time once more to take a look back at the month and see what has been going on in my little corner of the internet. At least it seems to have been a bit more exciting than the month of March, which was a bit of a washout thanks to all the germs that were doing the rounds – although I was tragically struck down with some kind of bug over Easter, which then seemed to turn into some kind of sinus infection. We’re hopefully out of the woods now, of course, but I think overall the month has been pretty good! 

My gaming had taken a little dip at one point, I think due to generally not feeling that great, but I’ve begun to get some classics to the table once again, including A Touch of Evil and Runebound!


I love playing this game. One of the best things about it, for me, is how it allows you to kinda role-play the game without the need for any kind of in-built timer forcing you to keep an eye on the clock. There are a couple of timing mechanisms, of course, but generally speaking you can just go around the board, playing the game, and enjoying the theme, without the need to worry about getting from x to y in a certain time, or whatever. I do understand, though, that some people tend not to like those sorts of meandering games, and along with the mystery card, The Hour is Late, the first web villain for the game, the Delion Dryad, brought a couple more ways to ensure the game is kept moving along at a pace.

I haven’t played with the Dryad for a very long time, indeed my boardgamegeek stats tell me it’s almost ten years since I played against her. While that isn’t perhaps a surprise, as the game in general went unplayed for so long until I got it back to the table last autumn, I am nevertheless eternally surprised at how long ago some of these games were last played.

The Dryad is an interesting villain, and you can read more about that here. I had expanded the game quite a bit, all told, also using stuff from Hero Pack One and the Allies supplement. The Allies is one of those web exclusive card packs where you have to pretty much pay a premium to get if you live outside of the US; I think when I last looked at this, I was paying around £40 to get a dozen cards and the rest was shipping. But A Touch of Evil is one of my all-time favourite games, so I didn’t really mind it at the time, of course! I think these days I am a bit more circumspect, of course – there are new card supplements that I want to get, but again, shelling out £40+ for a dozen cards, or whatever it is, isn’t really top of my priority list!

The game, though, was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed playing it a lot. The Scarlet Shadow hero (from Hero Pack One) has the very interesting effect of having to take a Cunning test if he ends up in town, or else he loses investigation (the currency of the game). It’s all very thematic, of course, with him being a highwayman, and it led to some very interesting game decisions because he couldn’t always cross the town safely.

In the final showdown, most of the elders turned out to be evil and I was lucky to get both Lord and Lady Hanbrook on my side. Sophie had actually joined the villain, though, and made things a bit more difficult, but I was able to prevail thanks to some lucky dice rolls and a couple of flammable torches, which I suppose I used to set the Dryad on fire. That’ll learn her…


I have also had a game of Runebound this month, using a couple of the small card expansions as well. I have actually talked about this game on the blog, but I just want to reiterate how much fun it can be when you play a magic user and are able to tool them up for magical combat. It’s also wonderfully thematic to play a game called Runebound and use magical runes when you’re playing!

I have noticed that I have procrastinated a lot over playing bigger board games like these of late. Given the choice, I’d much prefer to go for one of the living card games (heh, I’d much prefer to go for Marvel Champions, let’s be honest). It’s a bit daft, as well, because I think there is an expectation that a big board game is going to take a long time to play, plus set-up and clear-up time, whereas my game with A Touch of Evil didn’t really take that long at all. I suppose there’s also the fact that I used to take ages playing these games, because I had the time and the inclination, whereas nowadays it’s a case of just trying to find the time to fit in a quick scamper around Terrinoth, or whatever!

I’ve talked about this before, I think, as well, but the other thing at play here seems to be a slight unwillingness to deviate from my 10×10 list, as I feel like I have to play something from that list of games back in January for it to “count”. It’s funny really, because this is precisely the situation I wanted to avoid, but I’ve ended up in a place where I only want to play a game so that I can get that closer to my goal, and not because I’m in the mood for playing a game, if that makes sense?

I think I need to have a word with myself! 

Lord of the Rings

At any rate, I’ve been able to tally up a few more games for the 10×10 challenge, and have in fact reached my second goal on that list, with Lord of the Rings LCG now seeing ten games from me this year. After recently having been playing the Ringmaker quests, a cycle that broke me back in the day, I have found myself a little more tentative with coming back to this game, however I have now made it, so will probably continue with my various cycle play-throughs but at a more relaxed pace. Overall, though, I’ve played 41 games since the start of the year – so I’m ahead of schedule if you think that we’re only a third of the way through the year, but I’ve played more than a third of the games on the plan!

Marvel Champions continues to see play as well, even though I had reached my goal of ten games for that back in February. Indeed, my current tally for the game is 28 plays this year, which I find quite funny. It’s such a good game though, and with it being quite new to me still, I’m finding that it’s difficult to grow tired of it just yet. Marvel Champions was the game I played to mark my blog’s ninth birthday the other week, using the Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch decks. There’s always so much to enjoy about this game, I am forever impressed with how it plays.

To help increase that excitement, we finally had the announcement this month of the next campaign box, NeXt Evolution, which will bring X-Force to the game, starting with Cable and Domino. We’ve also now had a preview for Psylocke, who is our second Psionic hero and her deck looks like it could be very exciting indeed, so I’m looking forward to getting my hands on all of that, from the late summer onwards! I think it’s very safe to say that it’s an exciting time for Marvel Champions, still!

Necromunda has seen a new Law & Misrule campaign begin, of course, with my Delaque vs James’ Venator Gang. Game one was a crushing blow for the House of Shadow, so we now need to figure out the next scenario while (hopefully!) my Delaque can survive it! Much like Marvel Champions, we’ve also had new stuff come out for Necromunda this month, principally the second part of the Succession Campaign, The Vaults of Temenos. I keep meaning to write a blog on the lore of this campaign, because it has been really quite amazing so far. I’ll have to try harder on that front! The book has got some very interesting narrative scenarios, anyway, which I might possibly purloin across for our campaign, even though we’re not doing anything in the Ash Wastes. We shall see!


Let’s move on to the hobby side of things now, then, and see how April has been going on that front. The short answer is, pretty damn well! I think I talked about this in a previous blog, but I’ve decided to give the White Dwarf “hobby bingo” a try, and see if it will work to help focus me on getting some projects done throughout the year. I know I have my 2023 resolutions, and we’ll get to them in a bit, but I would like to see if I could churn out some more units as the year goes on. I’ve adapted the White Dwarf grid, because a lot of the options I would just never do (how many lords of war do people generally paint in a year?!) so have a more personalised, achievable grid to work from.

In April, then, I have added three more squares to this grid, getting ten more Delaque fighters fully painted (mainly the Prospects and weird gribblies), then five Flesh Tearer assault marines as I embark upon a Space Marines army, and finally the three Canoptek Wraiths that I have had waiting for paint easily for the last five years.

I’m really pleased with the Delaque, as it has given me quite a lot of options ready to go, even if most of them aren’t in the starting gang. However, I did fall prey to the temptation of the weapons upgrade pack back in the day, so a lot of these fighters are built with improbably-expensive weapons, meaning I’m unlikely to be able to use them in the current campaign. That has actually required more building, so I have a couple more to paint up for the campaign soon! Luckily, I had more Delaque from the Hive War box, so have a lot of bodies to draw from to build my gangers.

The Space Marines force is a very slow-grow style of thing, and while my initial thoughts had been to get it ready for 10th edition in the summer, I’m now thinking of it more as a project for the year, so I don’t think it’s something that will be playable before Christmas. But you never know. Expect more to come on this topic in time!

Finally, the Wraiths are another of my Hobby Goals for 2023 that I can now check off! I’m actually doing really well insofar as those goals are concerned, getting the Crisis Suits and some Hellions finished up fairly quickly. I still have the Promethium Forge, five more Hellions, the Sisters’ Exorcist tank, and generally more Zone Mortalis scenery, but I think it’s still a solid start. Feels a bit like I’m at a proper checkpoint here, the more I’m thinking about it! Well, I guess we’re one-third through the year, so it makes sense to take some stock.

I’ve been tentatively starting to plan the approach to the Exorcist tank, after recently getting more in the mood for painting my Sisters again. While the infantry all have quite light grey armour, I’m thinking I might go for something a bit different for the vehicles, which might help to make them stand out while also tying-in with the rest of the force. Well, I’m sure having a massive pipe-organ missile-launcher on top of the vehicle will help it to stand out, of course! I’ve been thinking about it after building up three Paragon Warsuits, which I had bought as part of the Imperium magazine (saving quite a bit of money in the process!) I was thinking the warsuit would perhaps be of a different grey to the power armour that the Sisters themselves wear, so was considering a base of Dark Reaper rather than Mechanicus Standard Grey. I’m not sure yet, because it might be a really bad idea on the whole. I suppose we’ll see! The other thing, of course, would be go to very light for the tanks, but then I’ve not seen a nice looking pale grey tank, so It could be a terrible idea…

However, I want to try to finish the Promethium Forge before anything else on the list, because that is almost done, it’s just been floundering a bit for the last couple of months!

Warhammer 40k: Leviathan

Well folks, here it is. The launch box for 10th Edition 40k has been revealed in all its glory today at Warhammer Fest, and I have to say, I’m very excited about it.

I think this is the first 40k launch box where I have a genuine desire for both sides – having recently embraced the Primaris for my Flesh Tearers project, I definitely want to get all those glorious bits; while Tyranids have recently come back to the fore for me as I’ve been arranging a game for the coming week using my bugs.

The Tyranids side of the box doesn’t look to be as big a departure from the current line as the Necrons were for their relaunch, which is nice. There are some huge things in here, which I’m quite excited about, so I’m looking forward to getting some of these onto the table in the fullness of time!

The Space Marines side of the box has got a lot of interesting things as well, which I’m intrigued by, to say the least. Aside from more character models, we’re getting a squad of flamer guys, the new Terminators, a new Dreadnought and Primaris-scale Sternguard. It’s these final two that really surprise me, though.

Since the launch in 8th edition, the official line has always been that Primaris marines are not going to replace the firstborn, but here we have a clear swap-out, as the original Sternguard, one of the “newest” mini-marine kits, is now being upscaled. The new Dreadnought is basically a Redemptor-scale Dreadnought, with the las cannon and missile launcher we know and love.

It’s interesting, because 10th edition could well be the start of these things disappearing for good, not that I want to get my tin foil hat out, of course! It’s a surprise to see, I suppose. A lot of people were expecting Primaris assault marines, with jump packs, but it looks like they may have to wait.

It looks like a cracking box, though, and I’m very excited to get my hands on it, assuming that it doesn’t just sell out in the first few seconds, as happens normally!!

Delaque vs Venators: Last Stand

Hey everybody,
I recently talked about the new Necromunda campaign that James and I have embarked upon, he with his new Venator gang and me with my trusty Delaque. I say “trusty”, I’ve not played with them a whole lot of course! But they were the first gang I was playing this game with, and I really enjoy the sneakiness of the gang. Especially now they seem to have been toned down a little bit. It seemed like they were too powerful with their tactics cards, back when they came out. I suppose the ability to make the game night-fighting, and all the rest of it, wasn’t fun for a lot of other people…

For the first game, we’d again gone through the depths of the Necromunda library to play Last Stand, which was originally in Gang War 3, I believe. One gang is the attacker (me), and the other is the defender; the defender is deployed in the centre of the battlefield and the attacker can deploy to surround them. The object of the game for the defender is to survive to round seven, whereupon they will automatically win – as the attacker, I have to destroy the defender’s gang, because if there’s even one model on the board at the start of round seven, it’s a loss for me. 

I talked about this in the last blog, but I have a full ten-man starting gang, mainly made up of gangers but with a champion and three juves in the mix. Following on from the last campaign, I think the ability for juves to progress fast meant I was looking more at them to get some juicy benefits as we go along. However, it’s the perpetual trade-off, because juves have the worst stat-line.

At any rate, the game resulted in quite the bloodbath on my end, and an overall loss for the Delaque. My specialist with the long rifle was the first casualty, and he suffered a spinal injury to make matters worse! One of my juves has suffered an eye injury, which means his ballistics skill of 5+ is now a 6+, so that’s not the best start! My gang bottled out in round three, and the Venators bottled in round 6, though because we kept forgetting to take cool checks before subsequent activations, this didn’t prove to be too much of a hindrance! 

For me, I think my champion with the grav gun has to be the man of the match. He was superb, sneaking round the board to seriously injure three opposing fighters, killing two of them outright. The lowest point had to come where another of my juves, equipped with no lesser weapon than a web pistol, managed to web not only an enemy fighter, but also another ganger (who, in my narrative, was supposed to be helping him out on the field). He led to the loss of that ganger, and was himself taken out shortly afterwards – he actually suffered a critical injury and I didn’t want to try and take him to the doc, so he is my first actual casualty.

My leader, one juve and three gangers are now in recovery though, so my hopes are not high for how the next game is going to go! The one bright spot is that I have 75 credits in my stash, after collecting a bit of income from the rackets I control, and while I only managed to complete one intrigue during the game, the reward for that was to claim an unclaimed racket, so in terms of the campaign I feel like I’m not a million miles behind at the moment. But given that my starting gang for next time will be roughly 450 credits, it does mean I am eligible for some Underdog bonuses!

Underdog rules exist because a Necromunda campaign can get out of hand real quick, as I’ve seen with my Goliath. To help balance things up a bit, there are some rules to help bring things back into something like an equal footing. Almost every scenario that uses tactics cards allows the gang with a lower rating to pick an extra card for every full 100 credits difference between the two gangs, but there are also Underdog tactics cards which are quite powerful in their effects. These can be drawn instead of drawing two regular tactics cards, and are things like additional fighters, additional credits, fighters making a miraculous recovery, and so on. There are even tactics cards that give you bonus credits if your fighters go out of action, referencing the fact you probably have bad luck and you’re most likely going to see some death during the game.

I think these could be very useful to me in the next game, whatever that ends up being, because James has got too many fighters and too many credits already!

Enforcer: Legacy

Hey everybody,
After a hiatus of about five years, Dave and I have finally gotten round to our buddy read of the second book in the Shira Calpurnia series, Legacy. The first book, Crossfire, you can read about here! And Dave’s review of Legacy can be found here!

Shira is a member of the Adeptus Arbites, the intergalactic police force for 40k (they’re a step up from the local cops, the Enforcers, as they have the power to uphold the Lex Imperialis across any world they need to – so maybe like the Feds, if I understand how they work correctly…) The second book in the series deals with the handover of power among a Rogue Trader family, the Phrax flotilla. Their initial warrant of trade, affirmed by a drop of blood from the God-Emperor of Mankind himself, must be passed on physically from one Trader to the next on the world of Hydraphur, where Shira is based, and presided over by the Arbites.

It’s a great set-up, and the plot thickens first when a rival claim to the title comes into play, followed then by the attempts of the Adeptus Ministorum to claim the warrant as a relic of the Emperor, which it technically is. I loved seeing how Shira was able to juggle all of these competing factions with a wonderfully no-nonsense attitude – she isn’t written as a tough-guy or similar trope, but has a sort of slight weariness about her that makes her so dispassionate when dealing with the idiots around her, like the Ministorum priest tasked with retrieving the “relic”. 

The rival claim brings the Adeptus Mechanicus into play, because somehow the rival faction on-board has decided to basically “create” their own claimant by genetically altering the DNA coding of their candidate, so he can be correctly identified as a Phrax descendant. The process is awful and Farrer goes into some details that I rather wish he hadn’t, but even so, I just love the fact that the 40k universe is this bonkers. We have the usual clicking engines of the Mechanicus as they attempt to prove the DNA sample, and I thought it was oddly funny when the machine realises what is happening with the rogue DNA and basically shuts itself down in a huff.

The ending was a bit confusing, if I’m honest, as all of the action comes to a head. The genuine heir is making a very perilous Warp journey to get to Hydraphur, and we have all sorts of shipboard horrors to contend with, while the ceremony of passing on the warrant descends into an absolute bloodbath. What else can you expect from a 40k novel?

We both really enjoyed it, anyway – I think for me, this is a much better Rogue Trader novel than the actual Rogue Trader novel that I read recently. I love it when we get these sorts of things, as the game itself has only tentatively begun to branch out into the small corners of the 40k universe. Of course, it was only a few short months back that we got plastic Adeptus Arbites models, so it’s even nicer to now be reading about these guys as well.

I’m kinda running out of steam a bit, because I don’t have much more to say about this other than it’s highly recommended, so if you can, definitely pick up a copy and have a read!

New Necromunda campaign!

Hey everybody,
We’ve sort of finished the Law & Misrule campaign with our Enforcers and Goliath, after things got a bit out of hand with the Goliath steam-rolling the Enforcers a few times, so James and I are planning the next campaign, for which we’re going for Venators and Delaque, respectively. After we had a couple more games the other week, it seems quite clear that the Goliath gang is running away with things, while the Enforcers are finding it difficult because of the fact most of the remaining fighters are rookie cops. I suppose we can think of this as an introduction to campaign play, perhaps, and the next one should be that much better. Well, we shall see!

James has put together a whole host of awesome looking Venators, using models from the breadth of the wider 40k range, including the weird stuff from Blackstone Fortress and Kill Team. The Enforcers haven’t entirely gone by the wayside, of course, as he has chosen the new Ashwood Stranger character model to lead them. So it’s a bit of a blend of the idea of an Outcast gang and a Venator gang, although I suppose he is a bounty hunter as well, so it kinda fits. It’s all about the narrative, though!

For me, I’m making a return to my Delaque after trying them out in a couple of skirmish games back in the day against his Orlocks. I think it’ll be interesting to see just how things can go for me this time, though, as I’m hoping to be able to use the whole gamut of stuff in House of Shadow. I’ve got a ten-man gang set up for 985 credits, which is quite exciting, with another 9 gang members to be painted up next, including the weird and wonderful stuff from the prospects box. I’m quite looking forward to seeing things like the psykers in action, and I think one of my first purchases as soon as I can afford it should be the Piscean Spektor! That thing is so delightfully weird, I just love it!

The main gang is a bit of a departure for me, really, in that I’m using a lot more juves than I usually do! I think this is possibly due to having played the campaign with my Goliaths, and seeing how advancements work a lot more. I think this is why I’ve been able to get so many bodies – I have a single champion with a grav gun, but everybody else has got really cheap weapons. Even my leader hasn’t got a great deal of cash splashed his way – he’s only the second-most expensive model in the gang because of the in-built cost of a leader! I suppose this is the ethos of the original Necromunda though, and why the basic gang boxes are equipped with the basic weapons, because with those sorts of guns and knives, you can easily get 10-man gangs from the off. Indeed, if I hadn’t been so extravagant with the champion, I could probably have pushed it to 11 or 12 fighters from creation!

However, like I said earlier, I’m most excited for adding more bodies to the gang as the campaign moves along, and I think there are quite a few articles out there that suggest numbers to start, then add in fancy guys as you build up through the campaign. So I will be aiming for a 200+ credits Nacht-Ghul or whatever once I have some sort of presence on the board! 205 credits for a Piscean Spektor? Yes please!

The Piscean Spektor is a house brute, a close combat monster with psychic powers, all wrapped up in a disturbingly alien shell. I have tried psychic stuff in Necromunda once before, using the Psy-Gheist model carrying a weird worm thing, but I didn’t entirely get how it all works, so I think it’s time for a refresher…

Psychic Powers are called Wyrd Powers in Necromunda, and are a type of action just like moving and shooting. In Delaque terms, the Psy-Gheists and Piscean Spektor are natural psykers; Leaders and Champions can be upgraded either for 30 credits at creation, or for 7XP during a campaign, to become psykers. For the Delaque, though, we’re not talking about huge displays of telekinetic mastery – they have a set of three disciplines of Psychoteric Whispers, which are all pretty nasty but all lean heavily into the theme of the gang. 

The Madness discipline is a delightful set of six powers that range from forcing enemy fighters to flee (with nearby enemies becoming Broken in turn), to removing ready markers. Delusion is wonderful, and can cause an enemy fighter to be treated as an enemy by their own gang, or allow you to take control and move an enemy fighter wherever you want. Finally, the Darkness discipline is a very sneaky way to give your psyker full cover wherever they are, or forcing all successful hit rolls to be re-rolled. It’s incredibly sneaky, and I can’t imagine it’s going to make me popular, but I kinda can’t wait to try these things out!

To use one of these powers, a psyker must first pass a willpower test. Delaque willpower isn’t awful, but for Psy-Gheists it’s an 8+ which seems odd, when you think they’re meant to be natural psykers. I suppose it reflects the impulsive nature of prospects, or something. The Spektor, on the otherhand, has a willpower of 6+, so shouldn’t be too difficult to pull it off. That said, all psykers have access to the Concentrate (Basic) action, which allows them to add 1 to the next willpower check they make, so that should help. Some psychic powers are labelled as “continuous effect” as well, which requires a Maintain Control (Simple) action first – this is another willpower check, though made at +3, so should be fairly straightforward to do. As in regular 40k, double 1s and double 6s cause Perils of the Warp, which is a 2D6 table of horrible things, including the possibility of daemonic possession!

I’m really looking forward to trying out some psykers in Necromunda!