Monday, August 4, 2008

AT-43 Dispatch #2: featuring Incoming!!!, Intelligence Report, and the Unit Review: Storm Golems vs Assault Golems

Hey everyone,

Welcome to the second installment of the AT-43 Dispatch! In this issue, we will take a look at the new releases that will be hitting the shelves this month, we'll take another look at the Cog preview picture from earlier in the week complete with a little wild speculation, and I have a new Unit Review, this time focusing on the age old debate of which is better, the Storm Golem or the Assault Golem. As an added bonus, I have a little bit of information about the new AT-43 introductory league which starts on Monday and I look at the question of just what is an introductory league anyway? So without further ado, let's get on with the show!

Incoming!!!
A Quick Look at the August Releases

August is going to be a big month for AT-43 with several new releases, including the new Operation: Frostbite boxed set!

Included in this set you will find three civil engineers, two crystal terrain pieces, new map tiles, and of course a rulebook which will cover a bunch of new rules for the game; new units for all of the factions to terrain rules and everything in between. It sounds like a definite a must-buy for anyone who is a fan of the game and you can expect a more detailed look at just what is in it soon!

On the miniatures front there are also several new releases that look really good as well.

The Karmans will be getting two new additions to their army; the last of their infantry units, the K-Shooters, and a new hero complete with a Thunder Buggy, Guru Lucius.

The K-Shooters come equipped with a massive ZZ-gun on their back which normally just a potent anti-vehicle weapon, but in this form is even more dangerous. With the potential to rip infantry units apart quickly as well, this will be a very deadly addition to their arsenal especially since the unit has the “Concentrate fire!” ability which lets the player re-roll all of the failed damaged tests. A re-roll to hit and damage? You gotta be bananas not to want one of these! (And the monkey jokes just keep on coming…)

Guru Lucius is a bit more of a mystery since information on him will be coming out in Frostbite but based on the images of him, he should be pretty nasty as well.

The Thunder Buggy combines the best of both worlds; the drum guns on front mow down the enemy infantry before the Buggy spins around to rip apart enemy vehicles with the twin ZZ-cannons. As for the Guru himself, he looks like he can be attached to an Anakonga unit and comes with not one but two drum guns! Like the Anakongas didn’t already roll enough dice when they shoot…

Next is Lieutenant G. Epstone for the UNA.

The really interesting thing about her is that she appears to be equipped with a Death Dealer TacArm. Originally the Death Dealers could only be used in their own platoon pattern so maybe this means that will be changing with Frostbite. Mounting two volcano machine guns each, the Death Dealers are the bane of infantry units as they let loose their torrent of lead and with hero attached they will become that much more deadly!

And of course I save the best for last (Yes, I play Therians…) That’s right, I am talking about the mightly Baal Golgoth, first of the type 3 striders.

Mounting a heavy flamer and a heavy particle accelerator, this strider can inflict some serious damage but perhaps the best thing about it is the ability to reduce the cost of a routine used by the Overseer on board by 1 LP to a minimum of zero! Combine this with the Web Striders advantage and you are looking at the Baal being able to repair for free. And people thought that Urod was bad...

So when does all this goodness hit the shelves? The word from my FLGS, the Little Shop of Magic (you can find the link to his online store on the right side of the page...), is that they will be arriving within the next two weeks and he is already taking pre-orders as well so if you don't have a FLGS that carries AT-43, just hit the link and John will be happy to hook you up!

But before you hit the link there is something that I need to warn you about. When you try to checkout of the online store, a warning comes up that there is a problem with the security certificate. I have talked to John about this and the site is safe, there was just a spelling error on the certificate that triggers the warning (I believe that he told me it says "littleshopofmagic.com" instead of "shopofmagic.com"). So now that we have that cleared up, be sure to hit the link and get your pre-orders in right now! We now return to your regularly scheduled Dispatch...

Intelligence Report
aka Wild Speculation

Earlier this week, Rackham released a picture giving us an idea just how large the Cogs are compared to a UNA Steel Trooper. I had posted this before but in case you forgot lets take another look at it.

Seeing just how big these critters are gives us a pretty good idea why the Karmans were used to fight them, don't you think? Mounted on the larger infantry bases, Cogs look like they will be a little taller than a Karman making them the largest race in the game so far. I also think that their size might give us some clues into just what to expect from them as far as unit sizes. Assuming that they follow the same unit coherency rules, they would only be able to fit so many troops within 10cm of the leader due to the larger bases so I expect that they will probably run up to a maximum of eight troopers in a regular unit.

The type 3 troops will be a different story but I am inclined to think that they might follow the Karman lead and just put two into a unit for the Cogs as well. That said, I can see how they might push it as high as three but more than that just seems like it would be too unbalanced.

Of course only time will tell just how far off base I am, but if you have any thoughts of your own about it be sure to post a comment!

Unit Review
Storm Golems vs. Assault Golems

It has been a while since I have done a unit review so I decided that it is time to fix that! I was recently asked by a new player which units he should look at getting first for a Therian army. For most of the units, it was pretty cut a dried but the two that really stumped me are the Storm and Assault Golems. They both have some definite pros and cons so lets take a look at the both, starting with the Storm Golems.

Storm Golems were the first Therian infantry unit introduced in AT-43. Equipped with nanoblasters, sonic guns, and reaper blades, they were supposed to be one of the first lines of defense against the invading Avans and I suspect that they are probably the most common Therian mini out there today. Heck, all you have to do is pick up the Operation: Damocles boxed set and you get eight of them!

Taking a closer look, they are faster and tougher than most of the Avan units. In addition, they are equipped with both a decent short to medium ranged weapon and a powerful close combat weapon. This makes them very versatile on the battlefield, wearing down their opponents with ranged fire before charging in to finish the job. They carry sonic guns or the optional flamers for their special weapons, making their punch against infantry units that much deadlier as long as you can get close enough to be effective. Against armored units it tends to be a different story as they simply don't have the penetration to effectively deal with most of the vehicles that you could run into.

By comparison, the Assault golems are probably slightly less common on the gaming table but they do have some nice advantages. Their standard ranged weapon is the nucleus rifle which has double the accuracy of the Storm Golem nanoblaster and one better penetration as well which is always nice. On the down side the nucleus rifle doesn't have a re-roll on its shooting test so the improved accuracy definitely comes in handy. For special weapons they can field either flamers or nucleus guns. I don't use flamers very often but when I do I am certainly not going to put them in an Assault Golem unit. The Assault Golems already cost a little more that Storm Golems and with the improved range most of the unit has it just doesn't make sense to me to give them a short range special weapon. The nucleus gun is also a great anti-tank weapon with a very good accuracy and a re-roll plus the penetration is extremely good, making it impossible for me to pass on them in favor of the flamers.

So the question still stands; which one is better? Personally I tend to favor the Assault Golems because I like having the extra range but I also tend to face a lot of walkers so having the extra punch of the nucleus guns is almost a must for me. Even so, the Storm Golems do have their own merits and if the conditions favor them (if I were facing a large number of infantry for example...) I would not hesitate to bring them out instead.

Does this answer seem a little vague to you? Well it should because I think that these are both very solid infantry units. Each of them has their own specialty but they are too useful not to at least have one unit of each of them available in case you need it. After all, even if you don't need them both now you might in the future.

Dispatch News
Just What is an Introductory League Anyway?

This Monday marks the beginning of the new league for AT-43. The scenario will be winging its way over the internet to the LGS's that have signed up and people will be throwing down their miniatures fight it out but the real league doesn't start until next month. Huh? Seems kind of odd but I think that I can see why FFG and Rackham are handling it this way.

AT-43 has never really had a solid league going for it. Sure, there was the whole Operation: Damocles campaign but that had a very erratic time table and didn't have much support from Rackham besides saying which side was winning or losing. It seems like the new league will be something more than this since I have heard that there are supposed to be official league kits that will go along with it.

That still leaves the question; why run an introductory league? My own guess is that they want to try test things out first to make sure that they are running right as far as the online portion of the thing, which is a really good idea in my opinion. It makes a lot more sense to work out the bugs first then hit the official league instead of jumping right into the league only to have it fall apart. So all in all, I think that this is a good way for them to start out and I can't wait to get in there and mix it up! But more on that in the next battle report... : )

And with that it is time to bring another Dispatch to a close but be sure to come back next week for a new battle report and I'll also be taking a closer look at all the goodness that is Operation: Frostbite. Until next time, may all of your dice come up Dragons!

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