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Friday, August 26, 2011

Dark Eldar vs Imperial Guard

It's gonna be a hot time in the old town tonight!

Hey there my Chaos friends! Old Professor Chaos here with a brief battle report for you- this time it's Dark Eldar against the Imperial Guard. The game was for just shy of 2,000 points. The mission was Capture and Control, using the Dawn of War deployment (which, for some strange reason, I have not played that much).  Due to circumstances beyond our control, the game only lasted until the end of turn 3. But, it was a crazy fun game, with a bit of back and forth. Here's the highlights:

The Wyches again, outdid themselves. I had a squad of 10 with an Archon attached (he bought combat drugs- which turned out to be the very helpful Painbringer drug). The Wyches ran across the table, killing 2 squads of guardsmen and laying claim to the objective in record time. Wyches cannot be underestimated in close combat. The trick is to get them there.

Unfortunately, Tanks/Armor remain the bane of my existence. As my Wyches claimed the objective, the Guard's Hellhound fired it's flamers into the objective ruins- immolating 8 of my Wyches. Luckily, they held, then attacked the tank using Haywires- scoring a 6 on the vital rolls, destroying it. However, that's as far as my luck with destroying his armor went. Aside from a Ravager EVENTUALLY blowing up a Basilisk, I hit, but could not penetrate the vehicles. I massacred most of his guardsmen, but could not finish off his armor. Damnation! The only good thing here was that my opponent was rolling equally poorly, unable to really hurt me either!

My Kabalite Warriors had solid fire discipline though. They shot and killed quite a few guardsmen. The Kabalite Warrior is indeed dependable. I can't say the same for the Scourges. I had them as a mix of anti-infantry and anti-tank, and they didn't do much except get shot at a ton. I suspect I'm not using them right- perhaps I need to have them all one OR the other.

By the time we had to call the game, my opponent had no one on his objective, but 1 Wych and 1 Archon were sitting on it. Meanwhile, Kabalite Warriors were on top of my objective, with no Guardsmen in the vicinity. Therefore, the Dark Eldar won this one. But who knows- if we had gone on the full length of the game, his tanks might have prevailed, so I'll call this a narrow win.

Until next time, friends!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Maximizing Your Gaming Dollar The Chaos Way Part II

A few posts ago I wrote about how an aspiring Dark Eldar player could presumably save money on a unit of Beastmasters. While the metal models are nice for both the hounds and the Beastmasters themselves, they are quite expensive. I won't go into the money details here, but suffice to say that a full squad could break the bank. So, what to do?

Well, I realized that a box of Vampire Counts Hounds was much more cost effective and would achieve the same results. Using some old Chaos Spawn bits certainly helped, but really aren't necessary. Indeed, the hounds on their own would work just fine. So, I have fully assembled a pack of ten. Not too bad, eh?

As for the Beastmasters, I used a regular box of Hellions. This cost me for 5 plastic what it would have cost me for 2! So, how to make them Beastmasters? Well, there was no way I'd do the skull helm thing, so I decided to give them all whips! See, from all the other DE stuff I've gotten over the past few months, I had plenty of left over bits. So, I gave four of them whips, and the champion I gave a spear (from the Scourges) to make him stand out. I also gave them different heads from the normal Hellions, again, so they'd be different. Finally, I gave them tattoos and markings on their skyboards, so that they'd be a bit different from the regular Hellions.

All in all, I'm quite pleased with the results. It was a fun job to convert them, and the Beastmasters certainly look the part with their whips, pushing the beasts forward. It also saved me a good chunk of change. I did so much conversion work on my Plague Marines and other Chaos stuff; I was glad to apply some of that knowledge here for the Dark Eldar. I wonder what I should work on next?

Well, that's it for now. I hope you enjoyed this post,  and maybe it has helped you to maximize your gaming dollar the Chaos way! Until next time...

Chaos Terrian

Ah, brothers and sisters of Chaos. Welcome back to the latest edition of Chaos Corner. I haven't posted in a bit, as work has gotten in the way. Alas! If only there was a way for me to make money off of my Warhammer 40K hobby and live in the manner to which I am accustomed, I'd be all set. But, I suppose that's why it's called "work" and not "fun"...

I have been busy in the modeling front though, make no mistake about it. I've been working on various Dark Eldar pieces, as well as terrain. Yep, I've painted up a really cool terrain piece. Now, see, I've always put most of my modeling effort into the soldiers themselves, and why wouldn't I? These are the things I'll be playing with, after all. I want to be proud of their look on the tabletop. To me, terrain was just a side-business, if you will.

However, I've realized that terrain makes the battlefield all the more interesting, look and story wise. I have a ton of terrain (mostly bought and pre-painted, though not all), but I've noticed that I've used the same stuff over and over again. A little variety would be nice, for all involved (me, my opponents, spectators). So, I have vowed to make a bigger effort at terrain.

The first to come out of this renewed effort is the Chaos themed Temple of Skulls. Now, yes it's for WHF, but heck, Chaos is Chaos in any millennium, so why the heck not? So, I decided to paint it up all nice and chaos-y. I chose a mix of browns and grays for the dirt. For the steps and towers, I decided to do black with a light gray highlight, to make it look like obsidian. The skulls are painted up from Scorched Brown to Bleached Bone- I thought pure white would be too much of a stark contrast. Besides, the Bleached Bone look could mean the skulls were carved out of lighter rock, OR they could be REAL (this is Chaos after all, so who the heck knows?).

So, now I have a new, cool looking piece of terrain for my battles. Next up, I'm working on the Sky Shield Landing Pad. I'll be sure to post pics of that when its done. Until next time...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Book Review: Blood Reaver

Welcome back to our latest edition of Chaos Corner. We've got ourselves a brief review of Blood Reaver by Aaron Dembski-Bowden. So, without further ado, here we go...

I have come to the conclusion that ADB is the best writer at Black Library right now. His prose is crisp and clear, moving at a brisk pace. In quite a few BL offerings, the writing is ponderous, or the stories start with promise but end with a whimper. Neither of these have ever happened in an ADB book. All of his stories are lightning fast reads, and the climaxes are always excellent. I loved both Soul Hunter and Cadian Blood, while First Heretic (good, but flawed) is really the "first book" in the Horus Heresy series. At any rate, I look forward to any book that he's involved with (his short story in Age of Darkness is excellent), but the question is, did he do it again with Blood Reaver?

The Good: Absolutely! ADB did it again. Blood Reaver is a great Night Lords book. He has a real flair for writing for this legion. Brooding, vengeful, treacherous- ADB paints the Night Lords just as they should be. However, these traits aren't broad stroked- each Night Lord has their own personality, their own views, their own tics. And their ship, Covenant of Blood, is a character unto itself. Indeed, ADB does great characterization. Talos is totally kick ass, but so is Uzas (I can't wait to see if Khorne 'takes' him). I also love the Exalted/Vandred dynamic- great psychology there. Of course, you can't forget about Septimus and Octavia. Their "relationship" really evolves here, and its fun (and I love Hound). Then, there's the Red Corsairs. Without giving too much away, the Night Lords reluctantly team up with Huron Blackheart (written with a bit of humor and to great effect by ADB) to raid the fortress monestary of the Marines Errant. Now, you may know how the Seige of Vilmus ends, but ADB makes it dramatic and exciting. The best part of the book is that it sin't "war porn", that some BL books are- there is a siege, but really, the story is a crime story- a heist within a heist, if you will. That makes for some reading as you see Talos' scheme come together- with intriging results. Finally, the book sets up the final book in the First Claw trilogy very well... Talos is in command now- can he live up to his own twisted sense of honor? Or will he fall short, like Vandred and even Konrad Curze did? Can't wait to find out!

The Bad: Not much here, really. Just that you really have to remember Soul Hunter very well- you don't get brought up to speed at all. I read Soul Hunter over a year ago- a scorecard might have helped. The other issue is the character Variel- "The Flayer". Now, I get why he helps save Talos' life- but why does he do the rest (I won't spoil it here). It's not spelled out to me too clearly- not the worst thing in the world, but it annoyed me...

So there you have it. The second of the First Claw trilogy is terrific, as I expected. I can't wait for part III, Void Stalker. I give this 4 out of 4 Marks of Chaos. Until next time, in midnight clad...

Maximizing Your Gaming Dollar The Chaos Way

Hey friends! Welcome back to another edition of Chaos Corner. I've got a bit of a treat for you today, something a bit different. So, strap yourselves in, it's going to be a cool ride...

The global economy is in taters. 401(k)s are being wiped out even as I type, gas is going up, food prices are up, and taxes keep taking a bite out of people. How is a Warhammer 40K player supposed to build and play in these conditions? It doesn't help that GW raised their prices again... ugh!

Is this a rendition of the global economy as a battlefield?
Now, before you think this will be a GW bash session, just hang on there a second. I am a big fan of GW. I love 40K- and my wife says it keeps me off the streets. I love the world they have created- in the Codexes, the Black Library books, etc. It sparks my imagination- for me and so many others (look at all those web sites out there like Bell of Lost Souls and Bolter and Chainsword). And then. there's the models and the game itself. Its engrossing, allowing me to be creative, building something unique, and getting to be a General in a war is exciting too. I love GW, and the hobby (I never understood trolls posting on sites like BoLS saying "That looks cool/lame- but you'd never catch me buying GW"- to each his own, but if you don't play GW, then why are you on a site that's predominantly about that? Sheesh!).

It ain't bad, but I wouldn't spend $20 on one...
But, it is a fact that GW has raised prices... again. It is also a fact that GW has weird pricing for some things. 25.00 for 5 amazingly detailed Scourges is a great deal- but 20 bucks for a single, uninspired and unposable Grotesque is a shame. I don't understand how they figure these things out, but the facts remain. Wargaming GW style is increasingly expensive. What can one do? Well, here is something that a DE player might find economically useful: Building a beastmaster/khymere pack on the cheap!

OK, so lets say you're looking to get some beastmaster/kymere action (which I did recently). You go to your local hobby store, and you look at the DE section. You will notice that a blister for a single Beastmaster is 15.00. Now, if he were a special character, 15 ain't bad. BUT... there can be several Beastmasters in a squad, and that works out to be quite a bit of dough. And then, you'll want some Warp Beasts to help 'em out. The Kymere are 14 bucks a pop- with one per blister. Yikes! The models are all nice, but as I looked at this I thought to myself- "Self, that's really pricey. 5 Beastmasters would be $75, and 10 Khymere would be $140! That's a damn expensive unit... is it worth it"?

Worth is a relative term. Worth it to paint? Worth it to field? Hmm. Now, here is where my days as a Plague Marine player/modeler came in. I could make my own! I've done it many times with the Plague Marines- kit bashing, scattered bits from old sprues, green stuff- you name it. Perhaps I could find a solution here- a cost effective beast pack that I could enjoy building. Now that's a plan...

So, for the Khymere- I decided I'd do kit bashing here, nice and easy. I bought a pack of Dire Wolves. This cost $24.75 for 10 wolves. As an olde timey Chaos man, I have Spawn and spawn bits out the ying yang- now what if I used these bits to create my Khymere? Now, if you had to buy the Spawn in the store, it's $33. Add it up, and the 10 wolves will be $55.75- that's only $5.77 per animal- versus $14 for the one in the blister. For 10, its the $55.75 versus $140- now that's savings! If you do it just right, they'll look just fine. My advice is don't overdo the spawn bits, just enough to add an "otherworldly-ness" to them. Take a look at my pics and see what I mean...

Now, do they look THAT much different? Nah. With the right bits and paint job, they're just fine. Plus, it doesn't take that long to make them either. You've just saved $84! Now, what will you do with that? Buy the Beastmasters, of course. But, why buy the blister? Buy a box of 5 Hellions, and kit bash with your other DE bits that you have left over. I'm working on mine now, but I'm basically giving them all whips from the various kits. Is that SLIGHTLY curved skyboard and bone helmet REALLY worth the extra $$$? I thought not. 5 Hellions is $25, while it's $75 for the metal Beastmasters. No contest, is it?

With this, you're getting to do some great conversions/kit bashing, saving money, and you're still buying GW. It's a win any way you look at it. See that- better living (and $avings) through Chaos. Until next time...

Grey Knights- Avenge! Battle: DE vs GK

Welcome to the Chaos Corner once again! Today, I have a really cool one for you- a 1700 point battle between the Grey Knights and my Dark Eldar. From the looks of the terrain, it appears that the Dark Eldar have sacked an Imperial city (or shrine, perhaps) and the Grey Knights are moving in to avenge.

The scene was quite dramatic, no? Rubble, destroyed Imperial church, and a broken Aquilla- a great setting for this battle. Plus, the players had a bit of a time limit- the game had to be done in 2 hours. Thus, there was pressure on both generals to get 'er done, and quick.

The game did not go well for me, at first. Because of the nature of our table, we deployed on the short ends, to get to the objective (The aquilla) in the middle. I thought my Raiders would speed me there right quick, with plenty of support moving up behind, complete with a Talos, Beastmaster, Scourges, and more. But, it proved to be a bit TOO far away though... The Grey Knights dealt me HUGE shooting damage (its true, the GK are wicked shots). They knocked out my Ravager turn 1, and his Commander's orbital bombardment did heavy damage to my warriors. Meanwhile, my shooting roles were atrocious. I couldn't wound the broad side of a barn- even with the million shots the Scourges can dish out. It was a slog to get up the table, lets put it that way.

But then, I decided to take a risk, which you MUST do in order to win with the DE. I raced my last functioning Raider up all the way (Yay for good Aethersail rolls). I was in his deployment zone, when the Raider unleashed its occupants- a 9 woman Wych squad and a Haemonculus Ancient. With their high initiative, they overwhelmed both his Inquisitor and his Grey Knight tactical squad in short order. That broke his game, no doubt. Then, my shooting got better, with my Talos and some concentrated Blaster fire destroying both his Dreadnought (roll of a 6 baby!) and his Dreadknight (which is a mean machine, BTW). With time running out, his lone squad of Termies and a Land Raider had to face two full Wych squads, Talos, Beastmaster, and some lingering Scourges. Time was nearly up, and my opponent was forced to concede. A great game, with a bit of a back and forth vibe.

The enemies of the Imperium won this one...
My opponent did very well shooting, but once my wyches got to him, his life became difficult. I think we both learned some lessons here, but it was a fun game. I'm looking forward to my next match-up. I love playing as the DE- great army to model, paint, and field.