Monday, September 1, 2008

Returning to the Beginning, aka Another Minion for the Evil Empire

While I plan on taking a break from AT-43, I definitely don’t plan on giving up gaming. Far from it in fact! Among the things that I will be touching on over the next few months are several miniatures games as well as some board and card games. So, without further ado let's get to it!

The first of these games has a place in many miniature gamers hearts, be it for good or ill. What could it be you wonder? Let me give you a few hints that will make it obvious. Over the years, I have collected several armies for it and it is still in the sci-fi genre. Hmmm… What could it be? Sci-fi, been around for years, collected several armies for it… Sound familiar? That’s right I’m talking about Warhammer 40,000.

Over the years, I had amassed a motley assortment of Chaos Marines, Space Marines, Tau and Tyranids. Notice that I said had amassed. I sold my Chaos Marines, my Tau, and a good sized chunk of my Space Marines a couple of years ago leaving me with a handful of Marines and my Tyranid horde, neither of which were really painted. Well, they were painted as in paint had been applied at some point but there was very little theme to it and nothing was ever really completed.

With the release of the 5th edition rules our local gaming community has become all the buzz about 40k again and a friend of mine has started running very small games to help people become familiar with the new rules. In fact this past Saturday he ran several 500 point games at our FLGS so I decided to break out my minis to see what I could actually field.

Digging through the small plastic box of Marine bits and minis that I have, I actually managed to find about fifteen Marine minis that I could scrounge up for a game, along with a Land Speeder, an old version of the Land Speeder Tornado, and an even older version of a Dreadnought. I had planned on taking a picture of this bunch of misfits before I started painting them but it slipped my mind until I had the base coats on all of the Marines. D’oh!!! To give you an idea of how mish mashed my minis are here is a picture of good old Eddy the Dread (this is a Rogue Trader era mini for those of you that might remember it).

Originally painted up as to be part of a Chaos army, I kept it when I sold the rest of my Chaos miniatures. As one of the original dreadnoughts introduced to the game back in the 80’s in White Dwarf #100, they are quite hard to find. In fact my friend told me that I have one of three that he knows of in Vegas.

As for the rest of my fledgling army, here is a picture of how they look right now.

With a mix of some of the original “beaky” Marines from the 80’s along with a couple from the newest version of the Marine plastic set, I actually had the makings of a couple of squads right off the bat. By just adding a force commander and land speeder with a multi-melta to my other minis, I was able to field a nice little 500 point “army”.

The question now is how did it go? Well, I arrived while they were still wrapping up a four player battle (Witch Hunters and Space Marines on one side with Orks on the other) and I was immediately struck by how negative everyone was being. I have listened to various podcasts about the new edition and a majority of them have only good things to say about it. After watching them wrap up the game and launch into more complaints about the game, I asked them if it was so horrible why did they play it? I mean really, what is the point of playing a game that you can’t stand? No one was really able to give me a good argument against this and they all started say that it wasn’t really that bad so apparently it was another case of “let’s bash the Evil Empire” that prevails in the hobby.

The other players needed to get going and Jason and I set up our forces so that I could see how things worked. On my side, I had a total of twelve Marines (including the commander), one Dreadnought, and one Land Speeder. On the Ork side, there was a War Boss commanding the army, a unit of at least half a dozen Nobs, an Orky Dreadnought, and a mob of thirty Ork Shoota Boyz. Nothing like being hopelessly outnumbered, right?

So how did it go? Well, I did have to pack up early (family emergency which thankfully proved to be not too serious) so we only managed to get into the second turn but from what I saw it didn’t seem too bad. Movement seemed relatively straight forward as well, at least from what I saw of it. Coming from AT-43 I was at a loss at first as to how far I could move. As for shooting, there were lots of dice on the Ork side (in one volley Jason rolled 38 dice compared to the paltry four dice that I had rolled the turn before, and that wasn’t even the whole unit shooting!) but after playing against the Karmans that really didn’t phase me too much. The true line of sight and cover saves also really made sense to me from what I saw.

Was it enough to get me back into 40k? Possibly though there are other games that people would be familiar with that I am considering as well, the first of which is Warmachine. Unfortunately the Warmachine community in town is very erratic to say the least but it seems like it might be making a comeback so I have sent out some emails to see what is happening with it. Either way, I am still going to add some more Space Marines to my collection so that I have a small army that I can field. After all, it is 40k and like it or leave it that is one game that is not going to be disappearing anytime soon.

Another thing that people should consider is the new starter set coming out later this week, Assault on Black Reach. Loaded with a ton of miniatures, this set contains enough to give you the start of both a Marine and an Ork army right out of the box. You need more to be able to field “legal” armies in the game but this is a great way for new gamers to get into the game for a very reasonable price. As for the quality of the minis, they are not on the same level as the regular unit boxes but still, you are getting 46 miniatures of various types including three small vehicles and one walker for $60, not to mention a small version of the rulebook and the three weapon templates. Personally, I don’t see how you can go wrong with this. After all, even if you buy and decide that 40k is really not for you, there is always Ebay.

Well, that is all for now but there will be more in the future as I track my work on my Marine Chapter, the Reclaimers, and my Warmachine armies as well. Until next time, may all of your dice come up Dragons!

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