Saturday, February 26, 2011

Novamarines - time for a revival?

After getting some paint on my new(ish) Novamarines characters, I've been looking over the army and comparing it to when I had the first 1000 points completed for a tale of 4 gamers style competition.  That was pretty much two years ago and all the quartered paint jobs were starting to get to me.

Novamarines current state
Since that time I've completed a blood bowl team (or two - lol), painted marines/vehicles from three OTHER marine chapters (space sharks, raptors, and crimson fists), the beginnings of an orc & goblin horde, several warhammer quest characters, two necromunda gangs (spyrers and pit slaves) and the odd individual mini here or there - to say nothing of all the blood bowl, 40K and necromunda I've been playing!

One of my favourite things is to track my progress on the many projects I have going on (ongoing? ;-) ) and to that end I began to build up a page for each linked from a little box titled GWpertinent Forces.  So I invite you to check out my Novamarines Army Page - I recently updated it, compiling pictures from past blog posts as well as updating the painting chart for the new (and planned) recruits.  Being my first "new" marine army, and used in the Tale of 2HD Gamers competition also means it's the most fully fledged of all my armies - I've ever written an Index Astartes where I tried to combine all the smidgeons of information into something cohesive.  Doing this review I've had some more thoughts regarding it and think I can make it even better.  I've heard through the grapevine the FLoT Badab War playaid might be getting an update soon, with the new FW Badab books out I've had an idea to really settle the fluff down and make it really unique.

Some of the characters  are quite interesting and it's made me start writing new army lists using just Novamarines.  This is probably the most optimal I can make this army at 2000 points (lower points levels gives me more options with mixing & matching).  It might not seem like much, but with Blaylock, the terminators become scoring - meaning EVERY unit except for the dreadnought, drop pods and land speeder storm (if empty) is scoring. 8 scoring units!!  It has over 50 space marine infantry models, with over 20% of them having terminator armour.  Here's the list, 2000 points on the nose, I can put nothing on the table, using deep strike and outflank as required along with the drop pod assault.  I've sprinkled some locator beacons and teleport homers across the units to avoid as many deep strike mishaps as possible.

Mordaci Blaylock  195
Mahabala Durja 190

Terminator Squad (6) 245
* Heavy Flamer

Assault Terminator Squad (5) 200

Dreadnought (1) 150
* Drop pod w Locator Beacon

Tactical Squad (10) 215
* Flamer
* Missile Launcher
* Drop pod w Locator Beacon

Tactical Squad (10) 235
* Plasma Pistol/Teleport Homer
* Flamer
* Missile Launcher
* Drop pod

Scout Squad (5) 150
* Camo Cloaks/Sniper Rifles
* Sergeant Telion
* Missile Launcher

Scout Squad (5) 115
* Camo Cloaks/Bolters
* Combi-Flamer/Melta Bombs
* Heavy Bolter

Scout Squad (5) 130
* Camo Cloaks/Shotguns
* Power Fist/Teleport Homer

Scout Squad (5) 110
* Camo Cloaks/Bolt Pistol/CCW
* Power Sword/Melta Bombs

Land Speeder Storm (1) 65
* Multi-melta

Friday, February 25, 2011

XTBBF -> new team! Games 1 & 2

After shitting the bed in the XTBBF Spike! finals and since I've decided to focus on using the undead in all the NAF tournaments I participate in this year, I've pulled out my dark elves to have a run in the league.  I have much less experience running the dark elves and agility based teams in general, but I figure the evil pansies aren't full on AG based like wood elves - they still prefer the running game.  Also how can you argue with witch elves? Dodge, Frenzy, Jump up to start with General & Agility access is a game changer piece for sure.

Since I love the witch elves so much, and because I wanted to avoid trying to bash too much, my starting roster is probably not what most people would term "optimal" but that's ok - it should force me to learn more quickly.  1 Blitzer, 1 Witch elf, 1 Runner, 8 Line elves, 3 rerolls.  I wanted 3 rerolls to start and I figured this way, I will just use journeymen so I can save up to buy Blitzers.  That way every new purchased player can walk straight into the starting 11, and I have a large number of linemen available to pick up MVPs from the get go. 
Game 1 vs. Lounge Lizards. (1-2 loss)
The lizards were a tough proposition for my first match.  Mark had 4 skinks with side-step, meaning I couldn't count on Frenzy to scare him aware from the sideline.  I got in one quick score, but a riot after he scored reduced me to one turn left in the first half, and he did a great job just holding onto the ball for all of the second half to score very late to take the win.  Biggest peeve about this game was my solitary blitzer being the casualty he inflicted and ending up with a NIGGLE. Damn! He might get cut after game three when I can afford another blitzer. My line elf who scored got MVP and I gave him Fend.  I decided to use the funds from this match to purchase an apothecary to save those linemen who have gained skills or the witch

Game 2 vs. Skum & Villany. (1-0 win)
The orcs were more the type of team I wanted to play early on, if I'm going to get bashed, at least be slow!  Illegal procedures started to dominate this game, as one called on the orcs resulted in a black orc going down on double skulls leaving the thrower open to a blitz.  I scored late in the first half (somewhat luckily as all our rerolls had been eaten up by illegal procedures) and in the second half I should have just scored with my runner, but with only a couple turns to go I took a calculated risk to pass to the line elf who had scored my earlier touchdown - hoping to earn a skill at the end of the match and it failed completely with no rerolls available to save my ass.  It was too late and too far for Chris to tie the game though. I lucked out on the line elf who gained a skill after this match and rolled a doubles.  Can you say GUARD!!!!

I've managed to get at least one completion or TD on all my line elves so far, so any further MVP picked up by a line elf will result in a skill. I'm hoping this will pay off in the long run, with a minimum of one line elf getting a skill after each game, while the positionals will gain SPP from blocking and scoring.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Scenery pics/video: inspiration from dad!

Spent the weekend of Family Day (holiday Monday for us here in Ontario) up at my parents cottage with my folks and some friends.  These pictures and video are from a visit last year but being there reminded me to post them up.  My dad is the one who got me into modeling/painting - he always collected toy soldiers, model ships, etc. and when I was getting into D&D he found a Games Workshop and probably thought it was a good way to keep an eye on what I was up to and be able to teach me a bit as well (I always used to go with him to his hobby shows when I was younger) - the rest, as they say - is history.
entire bell tower shot
My dad built this bell tower for his train set out of old business cards, using inspiration from GW's "How to make Wargames Scenery" book that he picked up years ago - he was always really impressed by the level of detail in GW models and terrain.  The bell really works (though it's not wired up yet), as does lights in the lamppost and hanging above the door, even the water fountain "works" - it uses a specially shaped piece of clear plastic that gives the impression of water pouring down when it spins around.  I thought the video had a better view of the "water" but it is a little difficult to see - still posted it so feel free to watch.
Just goes to show you that with a bit of effort you really don't need much to make a great looking piece of scenery. When I look at this piece - the few store bought bits (lamp, fountain) really tie it together and you would never guess it was anything but an entirely store bought piece of terrain. Every time I look at these pics, I want to build some scenery for my own gaming.  It's a little tough right now with minimal work space but definitely something I'm looking forward to getting to one of these days, hopefully sooner rather than later.
close up of the water fountain

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Badab War HQ - Novamarines got some paint!

showed these guys off back in January, Blaylock on the left assembled only, and Durja on the right without banner and some details.  I've gotten Blaylock up to a similar level of tabletop suitability and done up the banner for Durja.   I haven't done any highlights except for some drybrushing on some of the marble effects, but I haven't done any highlights on the rest of the Novamarines so maybe it can just be something I do to the whole army when I get there (maybe it should say whenever..)
Blaylock (FW) & Durja (FLoT)
I've been definitely struggling with "batch" work of late, so a couple character models I can pick at and just paint what I want as I please have been helpful in feeling constructive.  I still want to do something more to Durjas force weapon, and I plan to paint some freehand on Blaylocks bare shouderpad.  I've based them so they look pretty close to done and I don't mind using them as much in games, but I can still work on them piecemeal.

ps. Blaylock allows your terminators to become scoring so I have plans for another terminator assault squad.  I have all the pieces except I need 3 more storm shields with the Novamarines chapter icon.  It looks like the icon I've used on top of Blaylock.  I have other storm shields I'd be happy to trade if anyone can help please get in touch.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

XTBBF Spike! FINALS result....

Final playoff match for this round was the Spike! final vs. Anthony and his Skaven.  Our pundit's prediction was 1-0 to the Skaven but it ended up being one of the best, most nerve wracking games ever!  It was also played on one of the guys new custom made pitch! Named the "Eagle's Nest" - it's the home pitch of his PhilAltdorfia Imperial Eagles, even though the away end is built for skaven ;)
Eagle's Nest pitch

Final vs. Warpsburgh Lightning. (3-2 loss)

All I can say is between myself and my star "dead" Jennings) AG4 ghoul we blew it!  I definitely feel like I had the game in the bag - I just kept killing rats and eventually he could only field 5 or 6 players at a time.  Jennings just buckled under the pressure, failing several 2+ with reroll dodges, failing at least 2 pickups and just being an overall failure instead of awesomesauce like he usually is.  I did make one mistake where a block I threw resulted in a push which impeded me and forced me to push Anthony's gutter into the end zone to score so he couldn't waste time, but I wouldn't have needed to if Jennings could've just picked up the ball on a 2+ with reroll!!  He was also the ONLY player on my team to succumb to sweltering heat after the first drive of the second half (a 1 roll again!!) - perhaps the skaven managed to bribe him??  It was so bad I considered cutting him after this game!
Anthony's Dead & Injured box
Regardless it was a super fun game - just look at how many rats I hurt!  Thinking back I might have shot myself in the foot as I spent 100K for an Igor being scared of failing my regen rolls (past couple games had been bad for that AND his Rat Ogre had block) which gave him enough for 2 bloodweiser babes which meant that he never had guys left in the KO bin.  Thinking back I should have just gone for the throat since it was the last game of the playoffs and "Crazytrain" was just a single model. Oh well, live and learn - hopefully this experience will make me a better coach.

Team rankings have been reset and I'm going to give the Dark Elves a run out tonight, need a bit of a break from the Undead since I plan to take them to every NAF tournament I participate in this year.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

XTBBF Spike! semi-final game + FINALS matchup press release

My second playoff match in the XTBBF was Wednesday before last, at Dueling Grounds.  The match was against the (at the time) second placed team in the league.  I had a huge inducement advantage, and I took a couple of 200k cards, one only delayed the inevitable but the other (ZAP!) was quite helpful - turning his star quarterback into a frog!  I continue undefeated into the finals!

Semifinal vs. PhilAltdorfia Imperial Eagles. (2-1 win)

Last match of this season is the FINALS vs. the skaven team "Warpsburgh Lightning", coached by Anthony.  I didn't get a chance to play Anthony during the regular season, and his team is on a five game winning streak!  As with all the other playoff matches, our resident pundit "Otherdave" has written up a great press release for the final game.  Not certain about the rules during the playoffs but I think if possible I need to hire a couple more players as Anthony has 14 and I could see him fouling me enough that his speed will overcome my team.  It might end up giving him some inducement cash but I think it's a risk I'll have to take.  I can see myself spending 100k on an Igor too since his Rat Ogre has block (debatable who is scarier, "Crazytrain" the Rat Ogre with block or "dead Selmon II" the Mummy with block).

Monday, February 7, 2011

Shrike Fail... or how I had fun in a mini 40k tournament.

This past weekend I participated in a "mini-tournament" at GW Yonge & Lawrence which turned out 18 players - not so mini after all!  There was a GK type theme with each game having some special daemon/warp related rules.  There were three games in which there was one of each basic mission/deployment type involved.  I brought a Shrike based list just for fun since I had just painted up my Raptors jump pack equiped Chaplain.  Also thought a massive first turn charge would be awesome!  Unfortunately for me, the armies I faced and the deployment/mission rules meant I never got a chance. :(

Chaplain w jump pack
6 TH/SS terminators in Land Raider: Redeemer
10 Assault marines w 2 flamers, Sgt: bp & combat shield, lightning claw
10 Scouts w 4 shotguns, 5 bolt pistol/ccw, Sgt: shotgun/power fist
10 Tactical marines w flamer, multi-melta Sgt: bolter/power fist in Rhino
2 Land Speeder Typhoons
1 Predator w Autocannon

Game 1 vs. Mike F (Salamanders - Vanilla Marines)
Mission: Seize Ground (4 objectives)
Deployment: Spearhead
Result: Win (2-1 objectives)

** Special rules for this battle meant that if a unit was controlling or contesting an objective at the end of their turn, they needed to pass a Ld test on max Ld 8, each point you failed by would remove one model.  If you were outside of 6" of an objective you gained +2 to Ld. **

Mike is my buddy who lives nearby and has gotten me to start coming to this GW for gaming.  Since his army had three drop pods and he was most likely taking first turn, I chose to reserve everything which meant no first turn charge.  It meant he lost two turns of shooting but also that my reserves came on too piecemeal to really cause him any problems.  Unfortunately for him he forgot to move his troops close enough to secure objectives on his turn 5 (he was hovering nearby to avoid taking warp casualties) and the game ended, giving me the win on a silver platter (lol! sorry Mike!)

Game 2 vs. Aaron P (Orks)
Mission: Capture & Control
Deployment: Dawn of War
Result: Tie (1-1 objective)

** Special rules for this battle was a storm cloud that would randomly move each player turn and caused d6 S6 hits on any unit it touched, but also gave a 5+ invulnerable save to any units within 6" of the cloud. **

Played against Aaron and his awesomely painted Orks.  His army seemed both extremes; Snikrot w burnas is crazy, but his nobz in battlewagons weren't wound allocation builds and then he also took multiple units of grots which were almost a waste of points.  I made a crucial error not running my assault squad as they came on which left them vulnerable to Snikrot - if they hadn't taken a mauling there, there might have been some marines left to contest his objective.  As it was, he managed to kill Shrike in the last assault phase of the game, with my tactical marines in the bottom of the bunker his objective was on top of - unable to contest.  A great battle that really swung back and forth - though I have to say he never looked able to contest my objective.  Very close game with a great sportsman.

Game 3 vs. Mike K (Lamenters - Blood Angels)
Mission: Annihilation
Deployment: Pitched Battle
Result: Loss (0-7 KP)

** Special rules for this battle turned a sergeant or squad leader type model into a "vessel" trying to contain a daemon.  Could not shoot or attack in CC, but gained 2+ invulnerable save and auto-pass any Ld based test. **

This game did not go in my favour at all.  The vessel rules really kind of screwed me, I was definitely lacking enough power to take out vehicles (especially AV14) and losing a power fist to becoming the vessel didn't help.  I also made a huge deployment mistake, infiltrating my scouts and assault marines - but not deploying enough elsewhere to force Mike to deploy anything so he just reserved everything.  I needed to deploy more units at the beginning since what ended up happening was he just stood off from my fleeting army and shot me to bits with his preds and land raider.  My deployment from reserves left something to be desired as well, since I pretty much blocked off my own reserves from coming on where they could impact the game.  Oh yea, blood talons are scary good, his DC dread tore through my entire assault squad in one turn.  Brutal.  Didn't get tabled since we were mostly in a stand off, but at 7KP to 0 I think that's mostly semantics.
So all in all a very enjoyable day getting to play some more 40K and seeing some old buddies/meeting some folks who I only knew online as well.  Looking forward to the next one if I can make it - I gotta get more stuff painted up though as I was one of 4-5 armies that weren't fully painted.  Those that were looked really good too.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Capital City Kick Off - Result = 7th of 18

This past weekend I traveled up to Ottawa to participate in the Capital City Kick Off.  1.1M team build with max 80k on skills, with a skills draft after game three.  My list had 2 mummies, 2 wights, 4 ghouls, 3 zombies, 1 skeleton, 3 rerolls, 1 assistant coach and 1 cheerleader.  I took block on both mummies and sure hands on a ghoul for my skills.

Lemme preface this report by explaining about the custom dice.  Most tournaments like to use custom dice, as nobody can complain about cheaters and it's fun little swag.  Well usually the special design is the 6, but for the CCKO - it's the one.  This year's dice had hands flipping you the bird with CCKO tattoed on the fingers.  They looked really cool but damn did they ever seem to roll the F U a lot, I know everybody rolled snake eyes more than once.  They really made the tournament anybodies game because agility teams were falling over and dropping the ball and bash teams were having lots of problems breaking armour.  Very frustrating games of blood bowl though!

Game 1 vs Nate (1-1 draw)
Nate came up with a group from the US!
Nate brought necro, block on both werewolves and both golems.  I mistakenly went after killing his wolves, thinking they were AV7 but they're really AV8.  I could hardly break armour and I think we each managed one casualty each all game.  Over extended myself on the left and he blitzed the ball carrier and went for the quick score.  Next kickoff we roll pouring rain and I just can't do anything to do with the ball, and I'm not hurting him much either.  It takes me the rest of the game to eek out a tie on my last turn.

Game 2 vs Rob K (2-0 win)
Apparently I was pretty rough from the night before!
First time playing Rob - he was using pro elves, his dice/luck were horrible all day, he won the fame roll and that was about it! I just kept it simple - caged up and tried to beat him up.  Even with AV7 I only managed two casualties - but he just couldn't get a string of moves together to threaten my ball carrier and I scored a touchdown in each half.  Got to play this game on the Khorne pitch (squares were shown by skulls on all the corners, very cool looking board but a little fragile.
KHORNE PITCH - Dead and Injured box read "Blood for the Blood God"
Game 3 vs Mark D (0-2 loss)
Played Mark for the first time finally, he'd brought a Norse team - I was hoping to be able to get the hurt on, but it turned out the other way, with Mark causing all kinds of casualties early on and scoring twice, to me killing 2 a turn - twice in a row in the last couple turns of the game.  I definitely made some basic mistakes in this game, but all credit to Mark he took quick advantage.

At this point we were going to do the skills draft.  Basically everyone gets 4 free skills or attribute increases, but there are only 2 available of each (1 full set per 12 players) and are chosen worst ranked to best ranked.  I ended up with block for a ghoul, wrestle for a ghoul, piling on for a mummy and multiple block for a mummy.  The first three were great, but since I had no guard I found it hard to take full advantage of multiple block.  I was sitting with 1 each of win, tie, loss so I picked near the middle of the pack.

Game 4 vs Leathan (2-1 win)
Me vs. Leathan (in blue)
Here my luck started to change somewhat.  I've never played Leathan outside of deathbowl format.  He's a very strong player and he brought dwarves so I was quite concerned that I wouldn't be able to hurt him (I couldn't) and that his tackle would take out my ghouls (it didn't).  I don't recall him getting too many hits on my ghouls, I do know he rolled double skulls at least five times throughout our game, often at crucial moments and usually repeating on the reroll!  I scored on the last turn of the game for the win.

Game 5 vs Adam (2-2 draw)
A very fun game from my perspective, having played Adam many times. He scored twice in the first half (often pulling off some quite skillful dodging and blitzing), while I went to town on his dark elves.  I was actually managing to hurt his players in this game, and through the game killed six of his players, knocking out many more.  Pretty sure I rolled boxcars something like 5 times in a row (followed by an 11) in killing 3 of his guys in a row.  In the end he just didn't have enough models to stop me from scoring, though it might have been more interesting if he'd gambled on me failing to knock over his ball carrier instead of tripping while going for it to get completely clear allowing me to pick up the ball, hand off and score in the last turn of the game.

Game 6 vs Andy (2-2 draw)
Back to frustration against Andy's orc team, AV9 seemingly impossible to hurt, I managed to kill a single black orc all game (they all had guard) - always seeming to get knock outs when I hit his throwers.  All's fair as his black orcs were usually on the ground from trying to take down my mummies with block.  This was another game where I pulled out a tie in the last turn of the game.  I did that 3 times this tournament, and had a couple times where I should've scored and got greedy.  Definitely still need to work on not getting too excited.

All in all I did reasonably well, finishing 2/3/1 w/d/l = 7th out of 18 and having played three times on table 3 means I'm keeping myself in the top half of players. I was one casualty away from tying for most casualties, but would've needed two to win due to tiebreakers. As usual it was a blast, next year my goal is to get at least one game on the top table (etched glass squares over a volcano, with stands around and a switch that makes noise when you score a touchdown!)

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