Building an Army in Age of Sigmar (3rd edition)

The Age of Sigmar exploration continues!

After looking at the core rules themselves on Saturday, today I’m looking into the other half of that, army building. It’s a part of the game that can sometimes sound a bit too straightforward – you muster an army, then start throwing dice around as per the rules, which is where most of your focus ends up. However, there are some fairly stringent rules as to how you build your army, so let’s take a look!

I’m hoping to get my first game in on Friday, too, so this will be a useful exercise as I build my list for that!

It was first edition AoS that gave us the three ways to play that have become the norm for Games Workshop now; open, narrative and matched play. That’s still true here, and as with 9th edition 40k before it, a lot of the development has gone into narrative play this time around, as we get a new and improved Path to Glory system. Narrative play, as I remember it, used to be “historical” missions that would often stipulate how the game should run, even sometimes which armies should be used for each mission. Path to Glory has existed for the whole lifetime of the game too, first as an expansion book in first edition, then as a part of each battletome. Now, it’s very much like 40k’s new Crusade system, albeit simplified.

Open Play used to be a case of “bring whatever you want, and go smash!” – with correspondingly little time given to it. In third edition, open play uses points and features a battle plan generation system straight out of Warcry, which is interesting!

Matched Play is pretty much the standard though, I would say, with strict rules around points and how many of which unit types you can bring for each level. Third edition goes a bit further and suggests table sizes and number of scenery pieces for each size of game, as well. It’s interesting to see this development, and along with the player code and other bits and pieces, I feel like GW are more than ever trying to tell people how they should be playing the game. Which is a good thing, but being the eternal optimist, I just wish it didn’t have to be such a thing, you know?

For my first game on Friday, we’re playing at around the 600 points mark, because that’s how many points James can muster from his Slaves to Darkness. I’m still back-and-forth a bit, but I’m currently planning a list of Ossiarch Bonereapers. I had been thinking I would try the Khorne guys, but I don’t have their book, and I don’t really want to buy it when it could well be replaced in a year or less! Last year, I did a lot of work in a short space of time to get a lot of these guys painted up, as well, so I think it’ll be nice to get them on the table and see what they can do!

The points limits start at 750, and within this bracket I need 1 battleline unit, and can have 1-2 leaders. Everything else is 0-1 of, so I’ve decided to bring the following:

Mortisan Boneshaper (135 points), two units of Mortek Guard (140 points each), and one unit of Immortis Guard (190 points).

The Boneshaper is a wizard, and can natively cast an offensive spell but I’ve given him a second that improves the combat effectiveness of my other units. He also has the ability to heal units, which may be very handy! My two battleline units are the Mortek Guard (both sword and spear varieties). They strike me as pretty tough for basic troops, making two attacks per model, and with a 4+ save that their sergeant can allow them to reroll with his command ability. They also have exploding 6s that the Boneshaper’s extra spell changes to exploding 5s to hit. Nice! The Immortis Guard have a similar ability, whereby they can attack with their massive shields and dish out mortal wounds on 6s. Their command ability is to pile in and attack again with shields only once combat is finished, which seems kinda bonkers but I do love it!!

I’m going with the Petrifex Elite, which is the colour scheme for my army. Interestingly, their army-wide special ability used to be +1 to save across the board, but I seem to recall that was deemed too powerful so it is now worsen the rend of attacking units that target a Petrifex Elite unit. Could be handy, I suppose!

The big thing with Ossiarch Bonereapers is that they don’t get to use command points or command abilities, but instead generate relentless discipline points which can only be spent on their own command abilities. A recent Tome Celestial in White Dwarf has helped out with this a bit, by giving more options, but it definitely feels like the Bonereapers are getting a rough deal at the moment!

Now, there are a lot of other bits and pieces that go along with list building in Age of Sigmar 3rd edition which I’ll go over now, but which I’m not sure I’m using in this list.

First up, all of the old warscroll battalions are gone, instead we have new core battalions which grant you specific bonuses based on how you build your army. The only one I could use in this force is the Vanguard, which allows me to issue a command ability without using a command point, but both of those things don’t apply to my army, sad face. They’re interesting ways to organise your force, and while I don’t know much about the game yet, I don’t think they’re too broken…

Enhancements are the catch-all term for relics, command traits and all those lovely bits and pieces that I enjoy from list building in the past. Something completely new, though, are Grand Strategies and Battle Tactics. It seems like an effort to incorporate the Objectives stuff from 40k, but as I’m not a huge fan of that, I do find myself a bit lost here. I’ve chosen Vendetta as my Grand Strategy, which is basically Slay the Warlord.

Overall, it seems like list building in third edition is a bit tighter than last time around. I seem to recall it was a little bit faffy in second edition to find all of the rules that you need, but while there is more to it this time around, I feel like it’s getting better. I suppose I need to wait for my actual battletome before I can fully judge it though, to see what I can do these days!

Learning to play Age of Sigmar (3rd Edition)

Welcome to my first musings on learning 3rd edition Age of Sigmar!

I’m sure there will be quite a few of these posts going up in the coming weeks, as I attempt to figure out what I’m doing with AoS. They’re probably more for my own benefit than anything else, but hopefully by publishing my thoughts here, experienced folks can tell me where I’m going wrong!

Very briefly, I think the game system is really interesting. While the free pdf has been called out as coming across as litigious because of the way each rule is numbered, I think this is perfect and in line with a few other games that I’m familiar with, so it’s not unexpected. Especially with a ruleset that can get cumbersome. It’s quite clear, and I think better than the 40k layout. The fact that the sidebar has useful clarifications is nice, too.

The game seems to broadly follow the same basic premise as 40k, which I think started when Warhammer Fantasy became Age of Sigmar with the famous four-page rules sheet, but has evolved and expanded into a much more filled-out game. It starts out with a player code, which basically amounts to “be nice”, and I like that a lot. While attempts are made to summarise basic rules concepts, I was surprised (like many players, I think) that engagement range wasn’t made a thing here – instead, “within 3” of an enemy unit” is used throughout.

There are six phases to the game. We start with the Hero Phase, which is basically the Command Phase and Psychic Phase from 40k. Generals get a command point for the army, and one hero can perform a heroic action. Wizards can cast spells, and Priests can cast invocations.

Next comes the Movement Phase, where units move up to their move characteristic, they can retreat from combat, and they can run (+d6 to their move). The Shooting Phase is next, where units armed with missile weapons can shoot them. Shooting seems to be very much an exception though, unlike in 40k, and within the rule book, actual combat rules are put into the combat phase. After any missiles have been shot, the Charge Phase allows units within 12” of an enemy to charge at them.

The meat seems to be in the Combat Phase, though. Both players alternate fighting with a unit, and there doesn’t seem to be a rule for all charging units to fight first. Interesting. At any rate, after a 3” pile-in move, fights are resolved with the normal roll to hit, roll to wound, roll to save. A big thing here is that it seems wounds spill over within the unit, so one attack doling out 3 damage can kill 3 one-wound models. Interesting. A unit’s saving throw can be modified by rend (AP) on the attacking weapon, and by cover if relevant. A unit can potentially get a Ward save once a wound has been allocated, which sounds a bit like magical protection or something, and can save against Mortal Wounds as well.

I find the development of Mortal Wounds kinda fascinating, as a mechanic that initially represented such devastating damage that you couldn’t possibly defend against it, to the sort of damage that was coming from everywhere, to suddenly being able to defend against it with special stuff, etc. I don’t know anything about the AoS meta, of course, but hopefully it’ll be a bit more sensible here, and mortal wounds will be a bit more circumspect. We’ll see.

At any rate, we finally have the Battleshock Phase. Here, you roll a d6 for a unit that has lost models, and add the number of models slain that phase; for every point by which the result exceeds the Bravery of that unit, another model flees. Coherency needs to be maintained, and if a unit of 6+ models has any that aren’t within 1” of two other models you must remove models until unit coherency is restored, same as 40k.

Overall, I like these rules. It’s interesting to me, that 9th Edition 40k has been somehow clouded for me, while 3rd Edition AoS feels much clearer and better, but it’s very similar. True, the Hero Phase is very different, but it strikes me that games of AoS would be much faster than 40k, and much more enjoyable, dare I say?!

I remember having this chat with the manager of my local GW back when first edition AoS was out, whereby the rules are quite straightforward but the bulk of the mechanics are within the warscrolls, and I think that holds true more than ever in third edition. With all of the allegiance abilities (roughly analogous to chapter tactics), and the command traits etc, it can become quite a task to work things out! But this comes from practice, I suppose, as you become more familiar with your chosen army.

Of course, I haven’t yet played it, so I could be barking up the wrong tree here. I think I played a couple of games with my Nighthaunt at the start of the last edition, and that was pretty good! I think there’s a huge attraction to fantasy for me, because it’s how I got started and all. Each time I find myself in this situation, it somehow feels like coming home for me, and I feel really positive about it all. So hopefully it’ll be a good time for all!

Converting miniatures (an opinion)

This is something that I’ve had bubbling around in the back of my brain for quite a few years now, and seeing as how I’m churning out all manner of blog posts right now, I thought I might as well try to get this idea on the virtual paper, as well.

The hobby of building, collecting, painting and playing with miniatures is diverse, and we’re all in it for our own reasons. There may be many overlapping reasons, but ultimately, what you do with your money and your time is entirely your own business (so long as it’s not illegal). In more broad terms, everybody has a right to be happy, so long as what makes you happy doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s right to be happy.

Hopefully you’re still with me, so far…

Something that I see and hear a lot, especially around new releases of miniatures, is “I would get one of those to convert up”, or words to that effect. That’s fine, converting models to make them more personal to you is a big part of the hobby, and for a fair number of folks, it’s almost the whole reason they’re in the hobby. I have no problem with people who convert miniatures, indeed some of that stuff is incredible to see. We see conversion guides in the pages of White Dwarf quite regularly as well, where alums of the Warhammer studio show off their efforts (always using 100% Citadel parts, naturally).

I think what bothers me is when people adopt a sort of hipster attitude to it, though, and try to make out that they would improve the original model because they have a better design vision than professional miniatures designers working in the studio. I remember it being a big thing particularly with Lauka Vai, Mother of Nightmares, above. She’s a very weird model, for sure, but that’s kind of the point. When it was shown off, I loved the fact that it’s literal nightmare fuel, but was told off by a fair few people because it needed converting up.

It’s the sort of attitude that is prevalent to a wide degree, with the half-joking “is this an Archon?” and “every new model is a Necromunda model”, which are both somewhat jokingly meant. I don’t watch his stuff much anymore, but I remember Kirioth would enthuse a great deal over new model releases with an immediate “I’d convert that”.

And I would always think, why?

What’s wrong with getting a model because you like how it looks? Well, apparently it means I’ve drunk the GW kool aid, or something, but I happen to like the look of a lot of the models that I own. It’s actually the reason why I bought them

I think it really bothers me when people make the announcement in that way, like they’re expecting praise for seeing the possibility for making it into something else. Sure, if you’re wanting to build a model to represent something, and then GW produce something else that would get you maybe 30% of the way there, then I get it. But the knee-jerk attitude of “I will get this and make something better from it” really bothers me.

Now, there’s I think a legitimate argument to be made about the lack of poseability in a lot of the new miniatures, which I do find rather baffling. I used to love the fact that Tactical Marines could be posed, and that they came with a variety of extra bits and bobs that you can you to further customise your force. But this is more about customisation, not conversion. At its most basic, a different paint job is customising your minis, but whether it’s adding bits and pieces, or hacking a model apart to make it look like it’s running, that’s all fine. When people complain that monopose miniatures make it harder to convert them, I just tune all that nonsense out. There are some great looking monopose miniatures out there – why would you want to convert the Master of Possession? Are you saying you’re better than Jes Goodwin?!

You might retort, but I don’t want my Master of Possession to look like all the rest. Well, that’s a very valid point, and I don’t really have a rebuttal for you. But then, this rambling post isn’t really aimed at that aspect of it. Wanting a miniature to look different in the scheme of your army is one thing – and if you want to include two of a miniature, but don’t want clones, then I get that too – but if you’re going to tell me that you have a fully-converted 2000-point Guard army that uses parts from 6-billion other kits to make something that doesn’t look like a Guard army, I’m not going to be impressed. Cue RDJ rolling his eyes so damn hard it hurts.

I think I resent the fact that I’m apparently not supposed to enjoy a model for its own sake, and can only like it for the opportunity it presents to make something completely different. That’s really what bothers me, and I think I’d the crux of this whole post. It’s like you’re being told off for having a lack of imagination, or something. I don’t buy a car because I think it would make a great spice rack.

You’re allowed to like what you like!

I would actually go one step further, and say that people are allowed to paint their Space Marines as Ultramarines, but I know that might be a step too far for many! (Ultramarines are great, remember!)

Of course, I’m not trying to tell people off if they also want to buy a model to make it into something else – as I said, conversion is a great part of the hobby. I just dislike that snobby tone where people seem to think they’re Truly Special (TM) for doing it, and the rest of us plebs can build our models according to the instructions, and presumably eat mud for dinner as well. I bought that Keeper of Secrets because I loved its pose, its insinuated deadliness, and not because I thought I could make it look better by using an Onager Dunecrawler for its legs, and a Treeman’s sword, and parts from a pewter model that was initially released at Game Day in 1995 (because I’m that cool).

Yeah, I know, I’m kinda ranting, but it’s all tongue in cheek. The main point that I want to make is that converting a miniature isn’t always some kind of brilliant move that ought to result in everybody bowing down before you.

If you start talking about “looting”, though, I’m going to have to walk away entirely…

Throwback Thursday

I don’t normally get into this sort of thing, but for a variety of reasons I felt the need to do so today! I think talking about a return to Age of Sigmar yesterday, more broadly about Fantasy in general, has put me in the mood, somewhat.

When playing Warhammer Invasion, I would almost always play as Chaos, and it’s a faction that I really enjoy a great deal. When it came to the miniatures, though, it took a lot longer for me to fall in with the ruinous powers. I’ve recently begun to work with some gusto on the Khorne Bloodbound models as a second army for Age of Sigmar, and I’m also still chipping away at the Black Legion for 40k. So I’m definitely feeling Chaotic at the current time!

The models tend to be absolutely beautiful though, whether it’s in the baroque majesty of the Khornate armour, or the lithe beauty of Slaanesh Hedonites. Which reminds me, I’ve got some of those mortal units still boxed up somewhere…

For me, there is a definite appeal to the Fantasy miniatures, I think mainly due to the fact that it was Warhammer Fantasy that initially got me into this mess. True, I never played the game, but there’s a lovely sense of nostalgia attached to these things, for me. I’m not about to do a complete 180 and throw my lot fully into AoS, especially because most of my gaming buddies are more 40k-centric. But I’m definitely leaning into the fantasy setting once again. And with stuff like Warcry and Warhammer Underworlds, it’s hard to stay away from the mortal realms!!

Age of Sigmar, too?

Well, that didn’t take long, did it?! I’d only talked about this on Monday, and two days later, I’m changing my plans! Well, kinda…

There’s been a bit of chatter going on around me recently as regards getting into Age of Sigmar, and James in particular has been off-and-on keen since getting the Slaves to Darkness box at Christmas. I already have an Ossiarch Bonereapers army of not insubstantial proportions, although I believe I may need more battle line units, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

However, I also have some Khorne Bloodbound models from a project that I had picked up just over twelve months ago, but was sort of abandoned when my second daughter was born.

I really enjoy the Khorne models for Age of Sigmar, I think it may have something to do with the nostalgia because they of course came out with the original AoS starter box, which was a glorious time in my memory… They do look great, though, particularly the Mortal units, like over-steroided barbarians. Glorious stuff!

I’ve talked about the Khorne models before, and it’s a project that I did make some efforts to start, but unfortunately stalled with. But now I’m really enthusiastic about getting an army underway! I’m not intending to go crazy with them, however. Famous last words, of course, but I’m in the process of thinning down the ranks, after all! I actually have quite a lot of models to start with, anyway, so it would be kinda redundant to just buy more when I’ve got so many. I’ve got the starter box, plus an additional box of the guys in armour (I think they’re called Blood Warriors?) so at this point I have quite a substantial force!

I have downloaded the rules for AoS 3, but I’ve not yet been able to really digest them. Army building is something that does confuse me a little, because I’m not sure how any of it works these days! I will definitely need to take a proper look at the rules, I think. If memory serves, though, you need two or three battleline units in the army, and certain things are made battleline when you take certain units… it’s all quite confusing to me, so I need to get a better understanding there.

I have plenty of AoS terrain, thanks to all the Warcry stuff, so I think when it comes down to it, actual games should be pretty good! Just need to arrange some dates, I guess!

Age of Sigmar will hopefully be coming to the blog again this summer though!!

May Plans

Somehow, I’m on quite the blog-writing streak here at the minute, I think this is day 16 now, which is quite exciting! Amid all of the rambles, though, I feel like I need to get a bit more focused. I’m very much in a Star Wars mood at the moment, and combined with a return to board gaming, I seem to be moving away from what has been my main hobby for the last eight years now, miniature war games. I did touch on this on Friday, but I think I need to try to strike more of a balance, and see if I can keep up the games while also enjoying a bit more of the plastic hobby. I have the coming week off work (which is just as well, really, because I’m in the middle of some pretty intense training at the moment!) so thought it would perhaps be a good time to recalibrate, and whatnot.

So, to start with, I want to try to press on with the Black Legion bits that I’m in the middle of painting. I may have said this before, but I find it difficult to come back to projects when they’re halfway finished, so I do need to keep on with these guys before it’s another couple of years before they’re fully painted. I’m not going to go any further than this for the time being: I wouldn’t say that I’m in a hobby slump per se, but I’m definitely in that realm of feeling a bit overwhelmed with just how much I’ve got going on, so don’t want to plan ahead beyond the one immediate project for now!!

It’s no secret that I have a lot of armies on my plate, but in the last week I’ve started to take some action here, and have listed my Blood Angels on eBay to try and trim down. As it stands, I’m hoping to get around £100 for the lot, which would be nice, and traditionally I would almost immediately plough that back into Games Workshop’s coffers, but I’m hoping that I can be more circumspect this time around, and resist the allure of new shiny stuff. I still want to off-load more models, including my Nighthaunt, so hopefully I’ll be feeling a bit better about the hobby and stuff once I’ve cleared away some of the chaff. It’s amazing how much noise is in my head from the variety of projects that I have at the moment.

I’m very keen to give the new Kill Team a try – well, especially seeing as how it isn’t really “new” any more. This would kinda play into the Black Legion that I’ve been painting up as well, as I could start painting those models that were built up from the Nachmund set, though at this point I have quite a few sets of miniatures from which to draw – including AdMech and Genestealer Cults from the White Dwarf rules.

Unfortunately, nobody around here appears to be that into Kill Team right now, I think in part as a result of a general downer on 9th Edition 40k that seems to be led by the main group from my local GW. So it may be a bit of an uphill struggle on that one!

I do need to finish building the terrain from Nachmund though, at which point I may just try it out with me taking on both sides, just to see how the ruleset works. I may have a better chance of convincing people if I’ve got a better grasp of the rules!

So far, then, I don’t think my plans for the month are particularly onerous! Finish painting five/six models, build up some terrain, and maybe read over some campaign books!

Of course, I’m still really keen to play lots of other games that I own, and have been enjoying quite a variety of them in recent weeks. I’m still trying to convince Jemma that the Star Wars LCG is worth playing, and I’m still in the middle of the jungle in the Forgotten Age campaign, but I’ve recently also been thinking a lot about Lord of the Rings LCG. It’s widely been referred to on my blog here as my favourite game, and I think that holds true for the first couple of cycles of the game. But somewhere around the Voice of Isengard, I just lost interest due to the game becoming so incredibly difficult to play solo.

There are about six full cycles that I have not yet played, and last year I made an effort to change that, playing my way through The Lost Realm before once again getting distracted. Now, I have a vague memory of playing through the first three scenarios in the Angmar Awakened cycle as well, and even mentioned it here on the blog, but I didn’t record it on my BGG stats, and I don’t actually remember the scenarios themselves, either, so in confusion I’ve somewhat given up for the time being.

I still want to play this game, though, so I’m thinking that I’m going to go straight in for the final cycle of the game, the Vengeance of Mordor! This should be interesting, as from what I remember of it from promotional stuff at the time, we get to explore some fairly interesting aspects of Middle Earth, and we get something of a unique look at the world. So that’s pretty exciting! Although I may not be saying that when I’ve been beaten into submission by the scenario!

I’m hoping to get started with it while I’m off, anyway, so stay tuned for more updates there!!

The Black Legion update 2

Hey everybody,
It’s been a long, long road with the Black Legion, as I’ve been doing little bits and then leaving them for ages, but I have finally finished the first group of five marines, and the Sorcerer!

Maybe I’m just a masochist, but I eventually really got into painting these guys, even with all the trim! They are incredibly detailed miniatures, of course, regardless of the fact that the trim takes forever to paint. But I did get into it, by the end! I think it helps being in a more relaxed mindset when tackling them – I’m not trying to rush things to get them finished for the sake of having finished models, I’m just painting each model and enjoying the ride, you know? While I’m not going to win any awards of course, it is great to see them finished, as well, which is spurring me on to do more! I think I am definitely over my hobby slump of recent weeks, then!

Currently, then, my painted Chaos forces consist of seven models – the Sorcerer, the Master of Possession, and these five marines. I’ve got some Cultists that are kinda sorta on the way, too, but for the time being I’ve started work on the next batch of five marines so that I have the full squad painted. I think I’ll then turn my attention to finishing the Cultists to get a 10-man squad of those, too, before doing anything further.

Of course, I have also been building a second marine squad, using the fancy models from the Nachmund box, but currently I don’t know how that squad is going to turn out, rules-wise, because there are three “odd” models who currently don’t have rules. However, with all of the codex talk now starting to take place, it seems like they will become an option for the squad, which I’m quite excited for.

It’s quite nice in general to have the new book to look forward to, with of course the promise of new kits coming at some point. The live stream from the WarhammerFest event the other day has shown some very exciting things, and of course we already have the new Chosen and Warpsmith out in the wild after that box set that came out recently. Seems like they’re really leaning heavily into the Cultist side of things this time, with a new 10-man set, plus the Cultist Command Squad (for want of a better term), plus the possessed Cultists and the abominable possessed Cultists – disgusting yet beautiful, all of them! New Possessed models, as well – wonderful stuff! Part of me wonders where the separate Greater Possessed and the separate Obliterators are, to say nothing of the plastic Mutilators, but I suppose we can’t have it all just yet.

But we are getting a new Daemon Prince…

I did talk about this when I last mentioned the heretics here on the blog, and at the time I wasn’t sure whether I was going to keep going with the army. Well, I am now sure, having enjoyed my time with the models that I’ve painted up to now, so I’m looking forward to seeing where things will be going from here! That said, of course, I’m not going to go mad with this project, because I’m actually trying to thin down the various models that I have once more, but I realise that I always say this, and follow it shortly after with “look what army I’m going to start next!”

I enjoy the Master of Possession though, and the daemonic side of the army, so I think I will likely be getting myself some of the new Possessed when they’re out. I’ve talked about having a Cultist-centric army in the past as well, of course, though I think I’m somewhat shying away from that for the moment. Maybe I’ll reconsider in due course. The new Cultists do look good, and I’ll be interested to see whether the older Cultist models remain viable with these new guys coming along as well (I think I have about 35 of these guys, after all!)

I’ve been trying to organise my miniatures into some kind of cohesive army, and have come up with a 1000-point list (well, it’s actually 999 points) to use next week against my buddy JP, who has played exclusively Word Bearers since I’ve known him, so it’ll be interesting to throw my guys against whatever he decides to bring to the table, as he has been starting an Imperial Fists army, as well.

At any rate, I’ll be keeping my stuff confined to just marines, with the legionaries and Havocs, plus two Greater Possessed and an Obliterator. Nothing too fancy. Without having the second edition of the codex, though, it’s going to be a hilarious game where I will have the old codex, one of the Vigilus books, the Daemonkin mini-codex, and one of the Psychic Awakening books on hand!

That new book can’t come out quickly enough!

However, I’m trying to keep myself under control, which isn’t easy with the amount of Chaotic good stuff coming out soon! I absolutely don’t want this army to get out of control, though, so I will be trying, as much as possible, to stay focused on just the models that I have, for the time being.

But then they go and announce this, and I’m all “oooooooh! Traitor Guard!” 🫠

Warhammer Fest 2022

Oh man, this was an exciting one! Four days of previews that are really pretty great, for so many in the hobby. Let’s try to break down some of the new stuff and see what’s coming our way in the next few months!

To start with, Chaos is back on the menu! We’re getting a lot of new Cultist varieties, including a ten-man squad, a sort of command squad, and mutant cultists of various stripes. Delightful! There’s also going to be new Possessed, which will presumably be accompanied by the Chosen and the Warpsmith when the big release comes.

Oh yeah, and there’s also gonna be a new Daemon Prince!

Points values will be made available for free, but the upcoming Chapter Approved will be tinkering with the rules, specifically around command points, and giving everyone new secondary objectives. There has been some outcry about why CA is coming out when armies like the Guard still don’t have their Codex, which I think is pretty valid, but 9th edition has been so strange to me, I suppose I’m not really surprised.

World Eaters will be getting a Codex, too, but it’s too soon to show off any new models. And the new Squats are getting a trike, which people seem to be excited for. I’m still underwhelmed with the Squat news – I’m happy for those players who have wanted this to happen, of course! I’m just happy, also, that I don’t feel the need to get any!

Next up, we have Age of Sigmar! Leaks from the Slaves to Darkness book have been on Facebook for about a week already, but it’s great to see these big lads in high definition glory! There’s a new Skaven model coming out, and Sylvaneth are getting a lot more new models!

This has been quite a surprise, to me. Seems like each iteration of the game grows this army, and they’re getting further away from their Wood Elf origins. It’s great to see, and I think I’ll need to exercise some restraint because Sylvaneth are an army that I really would love to try out. I mean, the Treelord mini is one of my absolute favourite sculpts of all time!

Big news from AoS is that Cities of Sigmar will be getting what I suppose we’re now calling “the Battle Sisters treatment”, and there will be updates for the redesign online. Could be interesting…

Big news in Specialist Games comes once more from the Squats, as we’ll be getting them in a new gang of Ironhead Squat Prospectors. Interesting, seems like 2022 is going to be the year of the space dwarf.

The next Kill Team box has been announced, Moroch, and will be Phobos Marines vs Traitor Guard, with the new Sector Frontieris terrain! I’m unsure about this one, as I don’t want the Marines, and I already have the ogryn and commissar models from their release in Blackstone Fortress, so I’m thinking that I might sit this one out. That terrain is, of course, wonderful, but given that they split these boxes up eventually anyway, I think I might just wait.

It does look tempting, though!

New logo and new location for Warcry, as we head into a cursed jungle for what many seem to think will be a soft version two. I’m not sure about the jungle, because I personally love the aesthetic of fighting in these abandoned cities (or mines!) and can’t really see that translating well. I’m prepared to be wrong, of course!

We also have a new warband preview – the Horns of Hashut – which is odd because it feels like they’re half of the suspected new box… We also have the centaur dude who looks pretty great – I hope this is going to mean we get more unique crazy sculpts for these sort of mercenary allies as time goes on!

I have to say, though, I’m disappointed to hear that the new setting is going to bring with it more AoS races “to the fore”. I don’t think Warcry is good when we have just any old fantasy race; I much prefer it as a Chaos vs Chaos game. Don’t get me wrong, I know why they’re doing it, and adding in the whole AoS catalogue has probably kept interest in the game to the point where we’ve been able to have so much amazing content for it. But I really preferred it when we were seeing bespoke, weird Chaos warbands unique for this game…

The final day, yesterday, brought the big news about Horus Heresy 2.0 that has been teased and spoiled and goodness knows what for a long while now. We’re getting a new box set, which is huge, and new MkVI marines. New plastic tanks, and a slew of plastic weapons upgrades to try to muscle in on people who have been 3D printing their own. It’s an interesting move, and I wonder if they’ll start to do these kinds of weapons packs for other armies, giving Kabalite Warriors a second blaster, etc? It’ll be interesting to see whether these Necromunda-style upgrades have any traction into 40k, anyway. Without being a Heresy aficionado, however, the final day was otherwise a bit of a whimper, to me.

But it was definitely an exciting few days, and here’s hoping that I am the lucky one to win everything they’ve previewed here!! 🤣

April 2022 retrospective

2022 seems to be such a weird year, so far. We’re now 4 months in, and time seems to be moving really strangely, like each month is taking longer than normal, but overall the year is already one-third over. Weird.

As far as my blog is concerned, April has seen a pretty definite shift from Warhammer 40k into Star Wars, as I have almost entirely shifted gears into my first sci fi love. I’ve been watching the movies again, of course, which perhaps explains a lot of this, but I seem to be in something of a hobby slump and Star Wars has taken over almost entirely. Of course, I have been doing the odd bits and pieces, mainly with the Black Legion miniatures that I began to work on at the beginning of the month. I was trying to get the squad of 5 legionaries, plus the Sorcerer, finished off, and things were going quite well for a time, but then my hobby energy seemed to just grind to a halt.

I also had a game of 40k, trying out my Tau army for the first time, and it was actually pretty nice. I finally bought a Riptide battle suit, something I had wanted for a long time, and I built up a Ghostkeel after the game, but again, the hobby energy has ground to a halt.

In an attempt to switch gears with things, I’ve once again turned my attentions to terrain, and have done a little more work on the galvanic magnavent, but switching projects like this has also not helped and I’m now at the point where I’m pretty much giving up for the time being. I mean, I always come back to it, so it’s not like I’m going to burn my armies, or sell everything off, but I think maybe a few days off completely might help to get me motivated once again.

In the meantime, I have found myself with plenty of other gaming outlets!

My wife Jemma has suggested we have a regular game night, and so we’ve had a couple of games of Elder Sign, and (so far) one game of the Star Wars LCG. Elder Sign is something of an old favourite, so that was all well and good, but then the Star Wars LCG almost did her in! However, things are looking positive for more of that, so I’m pleased there. I’ve started trying to pick up some of the Force packs that I missed out on back in the day, so I’m hoping I will be able to have a complete collection for the game to enjoy in due course.

I seem to have taken a fairly large pivot away from Games Workshop at the minute though, which I’m finding somewhat curious. For instance, the new Necromunda: Ash Wastes box has gone on pre-order today, and my interest had begun to wane until the point where I saw the price last week and decided that I’m actually not going to bother. I mean, if it’s still available in a few months down the line, then I might pick it up if I’ve gotten back into that of course, but at the moment, I’ve been thinking that I’ve actually got a lot of stuff, most of it is stuff that I’m seemingly never getting round to doing anything with, so why just add yet more stuff to that pile? My Ossiarch Bonereapers army has been painted up for almost 12 months now, and I have done absolutely nothing with those forces in that time. I have so much stuff, and the return on that investment is slim by comparison that I think it’s time to implement a change!

I said that I’m not going to just clear everything out, but it is making me think a lot more critically of my plastic addiction, and I wonder if this shift might well be good for me in that I’ll begin to finally downsize, and get myself under control! Though whenever I have tried to do this in the past, I will inevitably end up with still huge amounts of stuff!! But we shall see.

However: Star Wars!

I seem to be really riding a wave at the minute, and have been back delving into all sorts of magic and delights, as I have embarked on reading a whole bunch of Prequel stories, and have been generally wallowing wholeheartedly in the galaxy far, far away. I’ve been loving the movies, delving a lot into the background stuff once more, and have been reading a lot of the genesis of the original trilogy, which is something that I find really fascinating. There’ll be plenty of stuff coming out on the blog here as well, not just as I read through the Prequel stuff, so I’m very excited about that!

I’ve even started watching Rebels again…

I read this short book over last weekend, a YA book that was published to tie in with Rogue One that tells a prequel story behind Baze Malbus and Chirrut Îmwe, the guardians of the Temple of Kyber that we meet in the movie. It is set during the Imperial occupation, so it isn’t that much of a prequel, if I’m honest – we meet them when the Temple has already closed, and so don’t really know much about their lives before that point.

They’re both trying to help out the downtrodden people of Jedha, and take part in raids on the Imperial supply depots to get medicine for an orphanage, and mechanical parts etc. When Saw Gerrera arrives on the moon, he tries to enlist their help in his cause, but while they at first resist his call, an Imperial reprisal attack against the orphanage spurs them on to throw their lot in with the Partisan leader.

They take part in a couple of military actions against the Imperials, and eventually are able to evacuate the children from the orphanage at the end of the book. Presumably so that we don’t think too much about a group of 30-something kids also being vaporised when the Death Star is tested.

I think I would have preferred a book that tells us more about the religious movements that call Jedha home prior to the Imperial occupation, and to learn more about what exactly the Temple of Kyber was all about. I suppose that’s just me and my interest in these things – it would probably be above and beyond the remit of a novel like this, though. It was fun to see Chirrut and Baze in action, and I think it did a good job of explaining why Saw had come to Jedha. All in all, it was fine for what it was. Maybe one day though, we’ll be able to learn more about these Force sects and how they work…

Next month, though, I shall be embarking on an entirely different project, as I start reading the Witcher novels as well! I’ve already read the first two anthologies, The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, and will be reading Blood of Elves alongside Dave and Jenn, so do keep an eye out for that, as it promises to be something very special!

I’m also hoping to continue with The Forgotten Age, as I haven’t played any more with that since the initial play through of the opening scenarios in that campaign. I’m expecting to do badly, but still!

All in all, then, April has been a strange month, but I’m hopeful that May will be much more productive.

Games, Games, Games!

Last week, my wife said the words every guy wants to hear: shall we have a regular game night?

Awesome!

For our first game of the new season, as it were, we got Elder Sign to the table, and started against Yog Sothoth – which was just vicious! We started out as Amanda Sharpe and Gloria Goldberg, but the Museum cards were just so brutal that we were pretty much on an uphill slog from the get-go. It wasn’t impossible per se, but even with Amanda’s ability to complete multiple tasks per roll of the dice, I did find it very difficult. Indeed, Gloria was devoured within about two turns! We went through a succession of investigators, each one was pretty much on a conveyor belt as they turned up, stuck around for maybe a turn or two, then was devoured.

Perhaps inevitably, then, Yog Sothoth woke up and for maybe only the second time I was faced with having to defeat an Ancient One by removing doom. To start with, it was going okay – by this point, we’d made it through to Carolyn Fern and Jenny Barnes – and we removed quite a bit of doom. Then of course, we plateaued. Fortunately, we had amassed enough trophies between the two of us that we were able to keep discarding them through all of this, but with still three doom tokens on him, our final couple of trophies were discarded, and we were devoured forever.

It was a really good game, despite the lack of success! I think Elder Sign sometimes has the reputation for being a walk in the park, hence why later expansions deemed it necessary to make things much more difficult. However, it just goes to show that with the wrong combinations of investigators and location cards, we started on the back foot and things only got worse from there. I honestly don’t think any of the location cards we pulled was particularly easy, and many times we found ourselves failing tasks as a result.


But we’re going to be playing more, which is exciting stuff, so I’m looking forward to working through each of the Ancient Ones in the core game, and then Jemma has said we should also work through the expansions, which is really exciting! I’ve played with Unseen Forces a few times now, but I’m fairly sure that stuff like Gates of Arkham and Omens of Ice have only hit the table once each, and Omens of the Pharaoh and Omens of the Deep have never been played with – indeed, the tokens sheet was still shrinkwrapped in each of the boxes!

I’m really looking forward to seeing what each of these expansions has to offer, and there will doubtless be more reports here on the blog when I do! I’ve also recently bought Ticket to Ride and the Charms & Potions expansion for the Harry Potter deck building game, so that’s very exciting, as well!

Moving on!

Last night, I had my first game of Tau in 9th edition, my first game with Tau since June 2018 and 8th edition, and my first game of 40k in what feels like months! Fortunately, I don’t think I was particularly rusty with the rules. JP was playing Imperial Fists, which was a revelation, as he has only ever played Word Bearers in all the time I’ve known him, so we both didn’t really know what we were doing…

I was playing according to the plans and thoughts laid out in this blog, so was really happy that I had remembered to actually write all of this stuff out beforehand, as I could just reference it when needed! I think that was probably the first big difference, because while I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing, I was still prepared, but JP wasn’t prepared with his Fists. I don’t mean that unkindly, just that there wasn’t really a plan that took into account stratagems and so on.

We were playing the Crossfire mission, albeit on a square table rather than the usual rectangle. I was able to get first turn, which proved to be incredibly powerful as I was able to move my Pathfinders into position securely knowing that I would not be overly exposing them by doing so. As such, they snagged me two additional objectives, and were able to light up a lot of the board with markerlight tokens. Between the first Pathfinder squad and the Breacher squad, I was able to eliminate a squad of Primaris marines (and I forgot about the markerlight buff while doing so – learning point number one!) Then moving on to the Redemptor Dreadnought, my Crisis team was able to get rid of that in combination with the Strike squad. I used the Relentless Fusillade stratagem to double the shots and improve AP by 1, then the Coordinated Engagement stratagem to further improve the AP by 1, on top of having chosen Mont’ka to improve the AP by 1 for all shooting within 18”. I forgot about the Coordinated Engagement on the Crisis team, but my Fire Warriors were making 20 shots at AP-4, which is worth it just for the hilarity factor. As such, the Dreadnought was eliminated in short order.

The second group of Pathfinders then shot the Primaris Eliminators off the board, with some assistance from the Commander, whose final volleys helped to soften up the Impulsor tank. Two hours of my shooting phase later, and I had wiped out three entire units, and controlled three of the four objective markers, meaning I was already up 7 victory points. There wasn’t a great deal that could then be done, though JP was actually able to wipe out that second Pathfinder squad in a single round of close combat, thanks to the Assault Intercessors making a ridiculous number of attacks on the charge.

In the end, I lost the Pathfinder team, two Crisis suits, and a single Fire Warrior. Due to the fact that it was already getting late, and we were only having a learning game anyway, we called it after the first turn, but I think this will definitely bear further exploration as time goes on, as I really enjoyed the army, regardless of the victory.

There were definitely some learning points on my side of the table as well, though. For starters, drones are people too (kinda) – I had been treating them as basically unit upgrades and not thinking of them as actual models. As such, that second Pathfinder squad shouldn’t have been wiped out, as there were still 5 wounds remaining from the drones. Secondly, there is a very tasty stratagem called Pulse Onslaught for Fire Warriors, which makes 6s auto-wound. I think it was the Strike Squad that rolled about seven 6s to hit, which would have been quite wonderful, but no matter. My third learning point is around the Commander, who allows for nearby Core units to re-roll hits of 1, and also for nearby Core units to advance a straight 8”. As it happens, I rolled a 6 for my Breacher squad and was therefore able to advance them enough to claim the objective they were sat on for the game, backing up the Pathfinders there. But it would be handy to remember!

I do quite like the Breacher team, as they were able to play a key part in removing the unit of Primaris marines, thanks to the Breach and Clear stratagem that allows for re-rolls of wound rolls, and also denies cover. However, while this brings me on to where to go next with the army, I think I’m actually going to favour the Strike team instead as my third unit of troops, giving the unit pulse carbines rather than pulse rifles for a more mobile team. I think this could work quite well, having the unit with pulse rifles remaining fairly stationary for the battle, as they still have the stratagem to double the shots so they don’t need to move into rapid fire range to do damage. I can then have the pulse carbines moving into position to set up that Coordinated Engagement, and potentially have both units doling out 20 shots each, AP-3 for the carbines and AP-4 for the rifles. With judicious use of the Commander to allow for them to re-roll hits of 1, that could be very nice indeed.

I’m definitely thinking about swapping out the Ethereal for the Cadre Fireblade, as this guy gives pulse weapons within 6” exploding 6s to hit, and also has the ability to allow for re-roll of 1s to hit, giving the Commander more flexibility to cover the field. He also has a markerlight, which I’m thinking will be key to the battle here, as it basically allows for the troops to hit on 3s as well, which stacks up something dreadful. I mean, what other basic troop choice has the firepower for 20 shots to hit on 3s, re-rolling 1s, and 6s get additional shots and auto-wound; wounding (potentially) on 3s, at AP-4?

I’m still intent on not letting this army get away from me, though, so I don’t want to plan for all manner of horribleness and end up with too much to paint. I already have the Crisis team and Ethereal primed but not painted, and I built the Breacher squad ready for this game, but now have 23 models that need painting because of this! It makes me uneasy, so I’m not about to go building the Ghostkeel or something, just to have more toys to play with at the expense of drastically increasing the painting load!

There’s doubtless more to be said about the Tau, and I definitely think I’m back wanting to get them painted again! So that was very good!