Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sin City Dispatch #9

Hey everyone, welcome to issue number 9 of the Dispatch!

In this issue we are going to continue our look at my growing 'stealer cult army list. First up, we will had back to the Workbench to take a look at how to make your own Broodlord. It's amazing what you can do with plastics nowadays... Then, we are going to stay at the Bench to take a look at our growing rustic outpost. After all, you can't have a cult without some place for them to plot their devious little plans, right? Of course not! So sit down and strap in because we are about to hit the ground running!

From the Workbench
"Growing" Your Own Broodlord

In keeping with the 'stealer cult theme, I have decided to use a Broodlord for my HQ choice. Coming with his own retinue of 'stealers and looking like some kind of advanced evolution of the 'stealer, he is perfect for the role. As an added plus, there is already a model out there for him so I could just pick up the model, stick it together, and BAM! instant Broodlord. That's what I could do, but I decided to try to make my own instead.

For the most part, this is actually pretty easy to do. I am basing mine on a regular Warrior equipped with the rending claws and the smaller scything talons. While this makes most of the model a very simple build, it does leave him without a head. The regular warrior head just does not look right, so I had to start digging around for something a little different. I also want to give my Broodlord the feeder tendrils biomorph, so I had to make sure that it was something that I could add some tentacles to. I considered using one of the old Ravener heads, but it just didn't quite look right. In the end I decided to use a head from one of the old metal Warriors that I have lying around. This head was large enough so that it looked right on the body and adding tentacles should be an easy enough thing to do.

Unfortunately planning is as far as I managed to get with this model. Once I get past the holidays and the sixteen straight days that I am working, I plan to finish up this model so that I can get him on the table ASAP. That means that you can expect more on this critter soon, along with pictures of the WIP and the finished model as well.

From the Workbench
Home, Home on the Range...

One of the things that I am really excited about with this project is having the terrain follow the same theme as the army. Over the years I have found that a lot of my army concepts tend to be very story driven, which is kind of hard to do with the Tyranids. They come, overrun the planet, eat everything in sight, and then move on. How's that for a deep plot line? By doing a Genestealer cult, the whole story concept becomes much more accessible again as there is some kind of depth to the army. Instead of being about a massive feeding machine sweeping across the galaxy, this list can have some personalities in it. Sure they are all the same as far as stats, but at least now I can add a little somthing to their background.

This also figures into the terrain that I am building. Secrecy is vital for a new cult as it grows in strength. Their numbers start small, but gradually increase as they bring more people "into the fold". To really focus on this need for isolation, I am building something reminiscent of a small old Western town. Nothing more than a whistle stop for most travelers, this makes it the ideal location for the cult to "recruit" new members who then travel on and spread the "good word".

The first step was to decide what type of buildings I should concentrate on. To get some ideas, I took a look at the Whitewash City website. Creators of PDF Western scenery, they have several different sets available so that you can easily create a towns of various sizes. While I am not going to use any of their buildings (I have never been able to get those paper models to work for me...) it does give me a good idea what I should include in my town.

The first building was originally supposed to be part of my Ork settlement but it was easy enough to change gears halfway through.

This combination generator/mechanic shop is a vital part of any frontier community. While I imagine that most of the buildings would probably have their own power sources, a larger facility like this one is key to the long term survival of the town. As for the in game mechanics, it is considered impassable terrain since most of the building would be taken up by the generators.

The next piece of terrain just seems to fit in naturally with the concept of a Western town but then again I am from Nevada, the one state where prostitution is legal in most of the counties. Yes, that's right, this one is a brothel.

It only seems fitting to have this in a frontier town and it really fits in with the idea of the cult as well. What easier way to lure in travelers before introducing them to the darkest secrets of the cult and truly opening their eyes. Unlike the generator, I actually made this building so that it can be opened up as you can see here.

Though there are currently no interior features other than a staircase, I wanted to leave this piece so that I can add more details later. This also makes the piece much more versatile it can easily be used in a more detailed skirmish game such as Necromunda or Rezolution.

The next piece actually can have a few different uses in a game.

Affectionately known as "the water shed", this building represents the entrance to an underground water storage facility. We are talking dark corridors lined with pipes dripping condensation and large storage tanks, something which could add an interesting element to the game. As this is the most logical place for most of the 'stealers to be located most of the time, this opens up the possibility of a Space Hulk style game as the enemy goes through the underground maze hunting down the 'stealers and ultimately the patriarch (aka the Broodlord).

The last piece of terrain that I have in progress is actually from the latest version of Confrontation and is used as an objective in most of the scenarios from the new starter released earlier in the year.

I wanted to have someplace like this in the town to represent somewhere that small numbers of "converts" could be introduced into the cult during official ceremonies. No real effect on the game beyond blocking line of sight but still seems like a nice little addition to the scenery.

The Parting Shot...

That about wraps it up for this issue. As I mentioned earlier, I am currently working a lot of hours which is cutting into any time that I would normally have available. Still, I am going to try to squeeze in some hobby time when I can so hopefully I can get some more stuff done so that I will have something to talk about in the next Dispatch. With that, I am going to go pass out but until next time, may all of your dice come up Dragons!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sin City Dispatch #8: the Birth of the 'Stealer Cult

Hey everyone, welcome to the eighth issue of the Dispatch!

For this issue we will be staying close to the Workbench as we look creating a themed army, from units all the way up to the scenery itself. In this case we will be taking a step away from Waaagh Dakagrub and instead focusing on an oldie but a goodie, the Genestealer cult army list. Since there is no official 'stealer cult list, this one took some creative thinking on my part but so far I am really liking how it is coming together, so sit down and strap in because we are about to hit the ground running!

From the Workbench
The Birth of a Genestealer Cult

After playing a few games with the 'nids, I couldn't help but start thinking about Genestealer cults of old. First introduced back in White Dwarf #114, the 'stealer cult combined 'stealers, hybrids, and their human minions into one army. I used to have a copy of this magazine floating around but I have unfortunately long since gotten rid of it. Even so, I remember how cool the list looked with its blend of human cultists fighting alongside their 'stealer lords. The question is how to create this using the current 'nid list. The 'stealers and the patriach are easy enough but how could I field the cultists that the list would need?

I decided to start by comparing the Imperial Guard list to the Tyranid list to see if there were any similarities. As I wasn't really interested in fielding most of the units on the Guard list, I was actually kind of glad nothing on there came close to the stats of the 'stealers. The 'nid list proved to be another story. Gaunts and Guardsmen have an almost identical stat line but what about their lasguns?

With a potential range of 24" the 'nids don't really have anything that compares to the lasgun. Most of the longer ranged 'nid weapons have a higher strength and blast templates which just would not work in this case. In the end, I decided to go with the spinefists to simulate the lasguns. Both of these weapons have the same strength while the reduced range of the spinefists will represent the lack of training the cultists have, and the twin-linked will represent them firing wildly as they close with their targets.

This gave me a good solid core of troops that I could use between the 'stealers and the cultists, but the list was still sorely lacking in the synapse department. At least I was until I took a look at the sanctioned psyker miniatures for the Guard. I decided that these would take the place of the Zoanthropes in my list, giving me access to more synapse creatures and really giving me some fitting leaders for the cultists. The stats notably different between these two units but I decided that the increases were the result of the psykers being direct conduits to the massive power of the hive mind. 'Thropes also have toxic miasma and greatly increased armor save which I decided would represent the intense psychic field that was surrounding them.

With the basic list picked out, it's time to start building my army from the ground up.

Just Who is What Exactly?

Some of the miniatures in the list could be very straight-forward. The Broodlord is a Broodlord while the 'stealers are just that as well. Using the Guard santioned psykers for my cult leaders meant that this portion of my list is also easy to complete, just leaving me with the cultists themselves.

There are several different options out there from other companies that would look pretty good to represent cultists (Pig Iron Productions Kolony range of minis comes to mind) but I really want to keep the minis plastic so that I can maybe do some conversions. In the end, I decided that my best bet is to get a set of Cadian Shock Troopers and a set of Catachan Jungle Fighters, mix them together, and see what I can come up with. This combination will help convey the impression that they have raided the local PDF armories and grabbed anything they could get their hands on, not to mention they will be a lot of fun to put together. There are still more minis that I will add to the army in the future as it grows from a 1000 point list to a full 1750 list, but for now this will be enough to keep me busy.

Their Own Private Idaho

In addition to the army, I am also building a new board and terrain themed to go with it. The board is not going to be anything too fancy for now, though the dimensions are slightly different than might be expected as it comes in at 3'x4'. I have a lot of experience playing on a board of this size thanks to AT-43 and I really like how it puts you right there in the action. It is also something that I can easily expand up to 6'x4' once the army has grown to its full size.

As for the terrain itself, I am going for a small rustic settlement, almost like something out of a sci-fi western. In my mind this fits with the cult theme perfectly; a small, backwater settlement that the cult has taken over and is using to slowly spread to the neighboring towns before rising up to take over the world.

The Parting Shot...

And so there you have it, at least for now anyway. In the next Dispatch, I will have pictures of the terrain that I have built along with some of the models that I will be fielding in the cult, including my scratch built Broodlord! So until next time, may all of your dice come up Dragons!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Welcome from Snowy Las Vegas!

Hey everyone

Something wacky is happening around here. In the past three days, it has snowed twice and I am not just talking about a couple of snowflakes falling to their doom on the scorching hot asphalt. Nope, this has been honest to goodness snow covering the ground. Now if people could just learn to drive in the stuff...

Anyway, I just wanted to let everyone know that a new Dispatch should be going up this weekend. I have been shifting gears a little bit lately, focusing a little more on actually doing some painting and terrain building. Plus, Waaagh Dakagrub is going to be taking a short break while I focus on my new spin on the Tyranid army list. What do I mean? Well, you'll just have to come back to find out more!

Until then, may all of your dice come up Dragons!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sin City Dispatch #7

Hey everyone, welcome to the seventh issue of the Dispatch!

In this issue, we will be start out by looking over the fence as we continue with our Meet the Neighbors segment for the Cogs. This time we will be taking a look at the game mechanics side as we check out the stats for three of their officers. Then we head to the Battlezone for another Battle Report, this one again featuring Ork vs. Tyranids as the hivemind seeks revenge! Will the Orks remain victorious or will they just become more food for the brood? You'll have to read on to find out, so sit down and strap in because we are about to hit the ground running!

Meet the Neighbors
Continuing Our Closer Look at the Cogs

In the last issue, we looked at some of the fluff that had come out for the Cogs. Conveniently enough, Rackham has released more information about one of their factions, the A-Volution. This gives some interesting information but right now I want to take a look at the stats of the officers that A-Volution use to get an idea just what these bad boys will be like in game.

The three officers listed in the A-Volution preview are equipped with a mix of what look like the four most common weapons for the Cogs; quantum blades, quantum rifles, quantum machine guns, and the rocket launcher. The first thing that you can't help but notice about all of the ranged weapons is they all have extremely long range. The quantum rifle has a 50% chance of hitting out to a range of 90cm while the more powerful rocket launcher can reach out to 70cm and still has the same odds. As if this wasn't nasty enough, all of these ranged weapons roll a minimum of two dice to hit and have a re-roll making them that much more effective. Combine this with a penetration comparable to the better UNA weapons in the game and you are looking some serious firepower.

What will make this firepower even deadlier is the Cog movement rate of 18cm, putting them on par with both the Therians and the Karmans as far as the mobility of their troops. This will let the Cogs quickly take up strong fire positions early in the game and could make them very difficult to counter.

As far as armor, the three officers are all equipped as type III units and have an armor value of 11. This makes them better protected than any of the other type IIIs except for the Kolossus, but with much better ranges and movement these overall look to be a much better unit.

Even with these bits of information, there are still a lot of unknowns. How many troops compose a basic unit and how many points do they cost? How strong are the basic units compared to these officers? Even without all of this information, I think we can definitely say that the Cogs will a force to be reckoned with in the AT-43 universe.

Battle Report: Orks vs. Tyranids

This past weekend, Matt and I got together again for a re-match but this time we increased the point value from 500 up to 750 points. Still not a massive battle but 750 points just seemed that much more flexible while not being too massive for a couple of noobs to manage. Even with the change in points, I think that the biggest difference between the two games was the fact that the battlefield actually had terrain on it this time! This is what the battlefield looked like.

As can be seen, the set up for the game was a little different as far as table dimensions. We decided to just use one table at the store and set up short edge to short edge to make life a little easier. Most of the terrain just blocked line of sight though the shanty buildings on the right and left sides of the board counted as area terrain (blocked LoS and counted as difficult terrain). As far as the mission, it was a variation on Capture and Control using three objectives; one in each deployment zone and one in the center of the table (these are shown with the red circles).

On my side of the board, I was fielding a Hive Tyrant and Carnifex which were both equipped with barbed stranglers and twin-linked devoureres, two broods of nine genestealers each, and a brood of fifteen gaunts with fleshborers. On Matt's side, he had a Warboss attached to a Boyz mob (seventeen slugga boyz, two big shootas, and a Nob), another boyz mob kitted out the same(seventeen slugga boyz, two big shootas, and a Nob), an eight ork Nob mob, a six ork mob of Kommandoz, and three Dethkoptas with twin-linked big shootas.

With the battlefield set, we deployed our forces, followed by the Dethkoptas taking their turboboosted scout move and the Kommandoz infiltrating right onto the objective in the center of the board!

With all that done, it was time to get the game underway!

Taking the first turn, Matt moved up both of his mobz of Boyz while the Nobz, koptas, and Kommandos held their ground.

Moving into the shooting phase, the Kommandoz opened fire on the Carnifex with a skorcha, a big shoota, and a bunch of sluggas. Between the crappy Ork ballistic skill, and the high toughness and armor on the Carnifex (everything in my army had the extended carapace option to improve their armor saves...) I really wasn't that worried. At least I wasn't until I rolled snake eyes for my armor save on the two slugga shots that actually managed to hurt him. He hadn't even moved yet and he had already lost half his wounds and that was to a couple of slugga!

The Dethkoptas opened fire next and inflicted another wound, leaving him in very rough shape. On the other side of the table, one of the boyz mobz fired their big shootas at one of the broods of 'stealers but luckily they only managed to score one kill. With nothing in range of a charge, Matt's turn ended and it was time for some payback!

Moving forward everything except for the gaunts, I was able to get everything into a good position to be able to crush those Kommandos by the end of the turn!

As both of the 'stealer brood ran forward, the Carnifex opened fire on the koptas, lobbing a strangler shot long while the devourers only managed to inflict one point of damage.

The Tyrant fired next, again completely missing with his strangler while the devourers splattered harmlessly against cover. Well, so much for payback! This brought my shooting to an end and led right into the assault phase.

Charging forward, both my Carnifex and 'stealer brood smashed into the Kommandos. After a violent flurry of claws, the entire Kommando unit was decimated.

With their enemies completely crushed, I consolidated both the 'fex and the 'stealers, moving the 'fex toward the koptas while the 'stealers moved themselves into cover.

Heading into Turn 2, Matt moved remaining three mobz forward as the koptas continued their usual tactic of advancing to the rear.

Letting lose a torrent of fire in his shooting phase, this the Carnifex managed to hold its own against the massed fire of the slugga mob. The 'stealers didn't fair as well though as three of their number were gunned down.

Moving into the assault phase, the two boyz mobz charged forward, one engaging the 'fex while the other engaged the 'stealers. With their higher initiatire, the 'stealers were able to inflict some early loses, pulling down two boyz before having five of their own chopped down. The carnifex did not fair quite as well.

After dealing this massive blow to my army, the Orks used their consolidation to move closer to the objective in the middle of the board.

Bloodied but not beaten, it was now my turn. On the right side of the board, the 'stealers moved up through the shanty to get into position to assault the boyz, while the Tyrant moved up against the ruins in the center.

I also moved the Gaunts forward slightly so that I could try to get a few shots off against the mob with the Warboss though I really didn't expect too much from them.

Next, the 'stealers ran forward some more to get along side the boyz while the Tyrant fired at the other mob. The devourers managed to take down three of the boyz while the strangler... Well, let's just say that the blast template found new purpose in life right about now.

To wrap up my shooting, the only Gaunt that actually had range on the boyz mob fired and actually managed to inflict a wound on the Warboss!

Now it was time to kick some Ork butt! My 'stealers and Tyrant slammed into the mob on the right, ripping apart eight of the boyz in the process! Shocked at the ferocity of the 'stealers attack, the remaining boyz failed to do anything and decided that the it was time to call it a day.

The 'stealers didn't want to stop playing though and ran after the Orks while the Tryant moved over into the cover of the shanty.

Heading into turn three, Matt tried to rally the mob that was on the run but they really weren't interested and continued their sprint for the edge of the board. The Warboss turned his mob away from the objective and headed toward the 'stealers while the Nobz and the Koptas stayed where they were and enjoy the show. See what happens when your objective marker is a couple of barrels of fungus beer?

Da Boss, da Boyz, and da Nobz opened fire on the 'stealers, blasting apart five of them in a rain of slugga shells before da boss led da boyz forward into close combat.

Eagerly meeting the charge, the 'stealers surged into the green tide but only managed to pull down two of the Orks before being mercilessly hacked to pieces by the Orks while the Boss once again sat back and watched the mayhem unfold.

With my 'stealers dead, my only hope was to kill as many Orks as possible so my Tyrant turned his menacing gaze on the boyz and opened fire. The devourers let loose their streams of maggots while the strangler fell short, catching the Tyrant under the template! Amazingly enough (especially considering my luck so far this game) the Tyrant escaped unscathed while both the Boss and the Nob were wounded and eight of the boyz were wiped off the board, making the large template the deadliest coaster I have ever seen.

Trying to capitalize on this momentum the Tyrant charged forward into the mob, pulling down three more of the boyz before the Warboss lunged forward and inflicted three wounds with his power klaw.

This shifted the balance of the game back in my favor but with the Tyrant so badly wounded the future was still looking bleak.

Moving in turn four, running boyz didn't even break stride while the Nobz surged forward to join the melee against the Tyrant. It lashed out and killed a Nob and a boy but in the end the Nobz were able to pull it down and strike the ending blow.

With only a small brood of Gaunts left on the board, the hivemind turned its attention elsewhere. The greenskins would have this day but in the end the hivemind would return to consume all...

Overall this was a really good game and we both agreed that it was a lot of fun. Matt and I are really getting the hang of the rules so things went a lot smoother and the addition of terrain made the whole game a lot better experience.

As for the gameplay, I realize that I need to pay more attention to what my plan is. The carnifex is the prime example of this. Even though it was only equipped with ranged weapons I charged him forward into close combat, banking on his monstrous creature status carrying him through to a victory. If I had kept him back and used him as a fire support unit like he was equipped things might have gone differently. Then again, considering how bad my template shots were it might not have mattered.

Still, the game was a lot of fun and I can't wait to get down there again for another re-match. Vengence will be mine! Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!

The Parting Shot...

Well, that brings another Dispatch to a close but there is more on the way, including a look at the latest LGS here in Las Vegas, Battlezone Comics. So until next time, may all of you dice come up Dragons!