Hello there once again, my fans of Chaos. I'm here with another review. I'd been mulling it over for a bit, and decided to do a brief overview of The Eisenhorn Trilogy, by Dan Abnett. So, away we go...
Talk about being late to the party...
I must confess, I have not been the die-hard follower of Dan Abnett. I know, for many GW fans, this is heresy! I should be put to the torch for my witchery. But first, let me explain. I have read a few of his stuff. Legion, for example, is an OK book with a great twist ("I am Alpharius") and a great ending (which leaves the Alpha Legion where they should be- completely ambiguous). I've also red Titanicus, which, while it had moments, wasn't quite that well thought out as far as story pacing and characterization. Then, there's Horus Rising- a great story and great start to the Heresy Series, but I feel that it only puts a few things in place- true, it could be said of any massive epic starter- but still- it is not a complete work, and others have gone both bigger and smaller than this in this series (Big and Great is A Thousand Sons, while Small but Excellent is Nemesis). In the end, I didn't put much stock in Abnett- I perfer McNeill or Dembski-Bowden. Just a feeling; an opinion; a taste.
But, I can admit when I'm wrong. And I was wrong here. My wife decided to pick up a few books for me as a present before our honeymoon. Yes- she is very understanding toward her nerd-husband. And I'm lucky like that. In any event, She bought me both Ravenor AND Gaunts Ghosts The Lost Omnibus. I was greatful, but I also realized that both were sequels/continuations... So, as a completest, I'd have to go back and get their predecessors. I decided to start with Eisenhorn... oh boy.... I had no idea... Holy Cow! What a read! What a story!
Yes, it turned out that Eisenhorn was an incredible journey of a story. An epic with a strong, magnetic protagonist and a sense of scope and scale that have been rarely equaled in the 40K books I've read. Yep- it was that damn good. I loved the 1st person perspective here- it made Gregor totally human and relate-able. You got to know him. Like him. This perspective was unique, and gave great story-telling opportunities.
The other characters were also well-drawn. I loved Aemos and Bequin. I also got a kick out of Nayl. And poor Goodwyn Fischig (hehe!). You could see how they were a part of a team- the Inquisitorial Henchmen. Speaking of, the book was a great look into the workings of the Inquisition (which is quite inconsistent, as most human institutions are, I suppose), as well as "regular" Imperial society. The action pieces are great, as is the pacing overall. The stories move quite fast.
The only real complaint I have about the three stories is that the climaxes get resolved a little too quickly. Xenos isn't too bad here, but both Malleus and Hereticus get the "final confrontations" over and done with in a damn hurry. For example, Eisenhorn's bout with Quixos is really, really quick. I'm all for sudden violence and harsh, abrupt vanquishing, but man! He barely fights him and then poof! over and done. Ah well! It can't be perfect, can it.
Despite that detail, the truth is this is a great story, very well told. The best praise I can offer this book is that, even though I knew what direction Gregor Eisenhorn was inadvertently headed in, I hoped against hope that Abnett would "save him" from the lure of radicalism. I KNEW it, and yet I didn't want it to happen- surely Eisenhorn can get out of it! Alas... Now, that is a powerful example of storytelling when you know the end and desperately want to change it for the good of the protagonists (something that, say, the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy didn't manage until it was too late in Episode III, but I digress).
If you haven't, you should read the Eisenhorn Omnibus. It's an incredible, panoramic story, and cliche though it sounds, once you pick it up you'll be hard pressed to put it down. I give it 4 out of 4 Marks of Chaos- my highest recommendation.
Now, on to Ravenor!
Monday, October 31, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
|Archon Dave may be in trouble!|
Hey there Chaos fans! Old man Chaos is back with another post- and I know you're going to love this! It's just like the title says... Tyranids against the Dark Eldar! And away we go...
|The field of battle|
|This guy is scary!|
|Keeping fast units near slower units|
|Gaunts and a stand-in Tervigon|
Pete wisely stayed away from big critters, knowing about my poison. He did have two Tervigons, and a TON of Hormagaunts. He also had Zoanthropes, Pyrovores (which he was trying out), Hive guard. and a mess of Tyranid Warriors. Also lurking was a Mawloc. Yikes. I knew I'd have to shoot quick, before he closed the gap on the table. This was going to be tough.
|Gunning down the Gaunts|
|The Stinger Pistol killed the last Zoanthrope|
Pete said he'd have to curl up with the DE book and sniff out weaknesses. So, I know what that means- "enjoy this win, Dave. Next time, the Nids will make you their bitch". Of that, I have no doubt...
|"Next time Gadget... Next Time!!"|
Until next time...
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Welcome back to another exciting edition the Chaos Corner. This one is the conclusion of our two part "Interview with the Hivemind" series. Last time we discussed the "visuals" of the Tyranids, in terms of models, conversions, and paint schemes. Today, we will be delving a little deeper into the Hivemind's thoughts on the current iteration of the Tyranid Codex. Yikes! we're going deeper into the very heart of the Hivemind. I hope the Nids don't eat me or anything...
Q: If you were the Hivemind giving the "State of the Hive" address, what would you say about how the Nids are currently positioned in the game in terms of their storyline (fluff)?
I would rate the fluff in the current iteration of the codex as an A+. The latest rendition of the Tyranid Codex has some of the best fluff to date. The Hive Mind in particular is no longer just a vague reference to a gestalt consciousness. The Hive Mind is now possessed of a menacing intelligence that drives the Tyranids actions. This elevates them above mere mindless animals and turns them in to a more sinister threat to the worlds of man.
Q: And their rules? What would you say in regards to that?
This is a bit tougher. I would rate that as a C+/B-. While I am not one of those Tyranid players that throw their hands in the air and laments the current rules with cries of "The Tyranids are broken" and "You can't win with Nids". That being said, I am not a tournament player, nor do I have any desire to be. The new army list provides some unique challenges and some fun units. I do admit that there are some units that are now ridiculously expensive, and sadly my Carnifexs are amongst them, right along with my Flying Tyrant. The new list however offers a troop choice generating Tervigon as well as a host of units able to employ some truly nasty dirty tricks. The Doom of Malan'tai for example can be an absolutely devastating if not unpredictable unit for a mere 90 points. On the other hand there are units like the Pyrovore which seems to have been added to the list sans any play testing whatsoever. All in all I have learned that above all the prior iterations of the Tyranid Codex that you have to have units act in concert with one another. I won't bore anyone by going too deep into the intricacies of my tactics here. I'll save that for my own blog.
Q: Your own blog? <grumble- I guess they'll let anyone blog these days... grumble> Anyway, there's been a lot of complaining in regards to the fact that the Nids don't have all their models yet. Many have bitched about wave after wave of new Dark Eldar releases. What's your take on the situation?
It is what it is. I would love new models for my beloved Tyranids, but only if they are done right and fit well into the model line, I would hate to see a half assed Tervigon or Tyranofex. From what I understand that the ongoing lawsuit between Games Workshop and Chapterhouse Studios has been the major cause for the delays in the Nid release schedule. I personally like the wave style release schedules as it was a lot easier on my wallet, I'll be sad to see it go. Being that I have been asked about the Dark Eldar specifically; I think they deserve their day in the sun. Having been removed from the shelves for so long its good to see them back with so many shiny new toys and rules.
Q: Thanks for the sentiment. I usually only hear bitching about the Dark Eldar's "special treatment" and how the Nids got shafted and how the Dark Eldar should have been "Squatted"...
Look, I remember that the Dark Eldar was your first "real" army, and that was way back in 2000. The Dark Eldar was always a cool concept. Now, the new Codex does justice to that concept, and the new models are really good. Sadly, the Dark Eldar were ignored by GW for so long. I'm just glad they're back and in top form. That said, my 'Nids will wreck your Dark Eldar the next time we play, don't you worry...
Q: Ha ha! Nope. My Dark Eldar will run rings around you. I say bring it on, Hivemind Pete! On that note, though, what was the worst game with Nids that you've ever played?
It was against the Imperial Guard. Any other player would have ranked this as one of their best games as everything seemed to go my way. The dark gods of the dice had me rolling very well and my opponent had so tightly packed his units that my Biovores and tunneling Mawlocs and Trygons were able to reap massive casualties with only a few templates. My opponent took the game with all his horrible rolls with great gamesmanship but I learned nothing about my troop selection and was disappointed in what I had hoped would have been a challenging game.
Q: And finally, what was your best game with the Tyranids?
Without a doubt, it was the Apocalypse versus Dave's "Forces of Chaos" (you have been treated to some shots of my Bio-Titan in a previous update). Apocalypse is just fun. In many ways I feel its the way the game should be. We laughed as Baneblades exploded on turn one killing everything around it except for a lone Zoanthrope. We gritted our teeth and watched every die roll as my Hive Tyrants and Tyrant Guards in their Apocalypse formations squared up against Greater Daemons and Daemon Princes. The entire game was laid back, or at least as laid back as it could be within our gaming circle, it was challenging and just plain ol' fun.
Q: Thanks for the compliment about my Bachelor Party Apocalypse. That was a ton of fun. And thank you for the interview. This has been a lot of fun, and enlightening. I hope that my readers will enjoy it.
No problem, bro! Anytime. Now, about that tasty snack, er... game... Tyranids against your Dark Eldar...
Q: Gulp... well, after going through you ideas about the Nids and looking at the ugly critters... I just remembered that my Archon has left his oven on... What a shame... perhaps next time, Hivemind Pete.....
Coward... Come back and be eaten by the Great Devourer!
Well, that's it for the interview folks! Hope you enjoyed it! Of course I'll game with Pete... Coming soon: Tyranids Versus Dark Eldar!! Who will have the last laugh?
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Welcome back to the Chaos Corner. We have a real treat for you, my faithful readers. I have, at considerable difficulty and danger, managed to commune with that most awful of Xenos. A thing most foul, most destructive- a totally alien and inhuman force. That's right, I've managed to commune with the "Shadow in the Warp" itself, the Tyranid Hivemind! A one on one interview! This is going to be a doozy!
|Pete's hand-made lava table is incredible! Pictures don't do it justice!|
Q: When did you first start collecting Tyranids? What initially attracted you to them?
|My Daemon Prince is in a spot of trouble!|
Pete: I was first summoned by the Hivemind in high school. I have always loved monster movies starting with the classics from Universal to the King of the Monsters Godzilla. The Aliens rank right up into the top 5 of my favorite creature features. When I read the description of how the Tyranids operate I was hooked. Since then I've seen three generations of 'Nids' come and go. There is just something so appealing about an enemy that you cannot reason with. Hell, even a Chaos Marine can talk so there is a chance, albeit a slim one, that you could negotiate . Nids don't talk, they don't care; they just do what they do.
|"Nids don't talk, they don't care; they just do what they do."|
Q: And why did that particular aspect appeal to you?
Pete: I suppose the thought of "they do what they do" also appeals to me because I have spent my academic career studying biology and evolution. Nids are evolution gone rampant, Nature overthrowing the machinations of Man, Eldar, Ork, or whatever else they find appetizing. Brings to mind the old adage about fooling with mother nature.
Q: How would you describe your painting technique?
Pete: Sloppy, with a hint of obsessive compulsive I suppose would be the best way to describe it. Most of what I do is rough over-brushing and inks. Having to do a swarm army I try to focus on overall effect rather making every Gaunt a Golden Daemon winner. Of course I do lavish a little extra care on my larger critters. I think I'd rather differentiate my particular army from others by my conversions rather than my painting.
|Notice the fine detail work.|
Q: What made you pick this particular paint scheme?
Pete: I like the colors red and black. The Really light gray stripping on the carapace came out of necessary. When I was working at the hobby shop and I had just purchased my 3rd edition Tyranid army box and my original intent was to use Codex Gray as the carapace highlight color. When I went to the paint rack I discovered that the Codex Gray was sold out. What I did have was Space Wolf Gray and Skull White...
Q: Wait... are you saying that because they didn't have a paint at the hobby store you actually changed your ideas regarding your color scheme?
Pete: Yep! Impatience won out and I after I painted the first few "test" Gaunts, fully intending to repaint them when the Codex Gray I had ordered finally came in, I discovered that I really liked the contrast between the warm colors of the red exoskeleton and the cold highlights of the Space Wolf Gray; So it stuck. It was a "happy accident" if you will- that happens a lot in this hobby. I recall, when doing my lava table, I used resin for the the lava and I thought I had messed it up. But, after a bit of work, it turned out great. If I had followed my first thought, I might have scrapped it. Happy accidents happen, as I said.
Q: How would you describe the evolution of Nid models themselves from when you first started collecting to the present?
|Notice how the paint scheme makes them a cohesive whole.|
Pete: I think the line has become far more cohesive as the model line has evolved (no pun intended). In the pre-3rd edition days every type of model had a differing texture and personality. The old "Screamer Killer" was basically a walking egg while the old Lictor was almost "over textured". Both great models in their day, but also wildly divergent, especially since they were supposed to be of the same race. They were so divergent, in fact, that not even a unified color scheme or similar basing could make them look like a single army or race.
Q: And how did 3rd edition change that?
Pete: 3rd edition marked a renaissance in the Tyranid models, along with a 100% overhaul of every model in the Tyranid line. For the first time you could see the biological interrelationships between the different organisms in the Tyranid swarm. Gaunts, Tyrants, Carnifexs (Carnifi?) all shared similar traits (i.e. hooves, 5 plates on the head, etc.). These Games Workshop design guidelines served to solidify the look and the feel of the Tyranids. I look at every model and I get the same impression: "Hungry little killing machines". The army has maintained that philosophy ever since, which has been great for the Tyranids.
Well, that's it for Part 1 of our interview with Pete the Hivemind. Be sure to check back soon for Part 2, which will include Pete's musings about the current (and controversial) Tyranid Codex. Until next time!!
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Now, GW is getting ready to revive the Necrons. These guys have gotten the shaft for quite some time (though, not as long as the DE). I've always liked the look of the Necrons, and I love their background (which, I've heard, is changing a bit- so we'll see). I would have had a Necron army, but I was too devoted to Chaos to do so (and I still am). So, the new Necrons will be out in a month, and some of the pics have leaked online.
I think the models are not as good as the DE revision. If they were, I could say it without hurting my pride- but the truth is they're OK, just not the best. I am not a fan of the vehicles (like the Ark), though I do like the one with the big gun (THAT one fits with the Pylons and Monolith). The infantry range from cool (Deathmarks) to the decent (Immortals). They're not bad, just not revolutionary like the DE, that's all. As for the rules, its a bit early to tell, though there was one rumor of Necron Weapons that if they target one type of model (infantry with plasma gun)- then ALL plasma gunners are hit- and it wasn't clear if that meant all plasma's in a squad or the entire table... That is to be taken with a grain of salt, of course, but I just hope the book is as balanced as the DE Codex... Time will tell. I am glad to see another Xenos get the lovin', though.
All of this, however, only serves to stir my old leprous Chaos heart. I so desperately want a new Chaos Codex, its not even funny. Ugh.... I know I'm lamenting now, but its not jealousy or anything. See, as my long time readers know, I've been with Chaos since this was their codex...
Yep, I've been playing Chaos for a very long time now. I first dabbled with it by trying to create my own Chaos Marines, the "Knights of Vengeance". That didn't last. I painted up a small group of Khorne Berserkers, but I quickly found Nurgle. Ah! This was the force I wanted. It was either the static plastic ones (all holding the knives the same way) or the metal ones. They all had spike helmets, rebreathers... reminding me of WWI in many ways. Yep- I fell in love and never looked back.
Well, the best was yet to come. A few years later, the later 3rd edition Codex came out. This one had it all. A general Chaos Marine list that could then be tailored to be incredibly "legion specific". Yes, all the traitor legions were vividly represented, and each had its own flavor, special units or daemons, etc. There was a TON of fluff! My Chaos gods! The book sparked the imagination. I built my Nurgle force based on this book! It was incredible.
Even better, the Eye of Terror Campaign came out not too long after. Wow! That book was also amazing for the forces of Chaos! The "Lost and the Damned" got me going, thinking about the "larger picture" of Chaos- its not just the Lost Legions- traitors, lunatics, mutants, scarred individuals, and more, all flocking to the banners of Chaos. Now, I got to clearly see how the forces of Chaos would REALLY work. The Marines were the leadership and heavy hitters- it was the "Lost and Damned" that provides the bulk of Chaos' fighting forces around the whole galaxy. Imperium of Man- Beware!!
But then... that was before the dark times... before the current 4th Edition Codex. This book would have been excellent if it was called "Space Marine Renegades" or something. If you were building up a Marine Chapter that went wrong in the 41st millennium- maybe joined Chaos, maybe became pirates (Red Corsairs), this book would be just fine. Buuuttt.... no. This book was to apply to all of Chaos. Almost totally gone from the book was the fluff in regards to the gods or the Heresy, or the Traitor Legions. The rivalries. The "Long War" enmities... just about gone from the book. It was, compared to 3rd and EoT... a dull read. This is wrong on so many levels, especially for Chaos.
But now, I have some hope. GW has been doing well in reviving and repairing the books that really need it. The Blood Angels redo is fantastic, the Dark Eldar has been phenomenal, and the Grey Knights are strong (though not as good as the previous two). This makes me think that GW can and will repair the damage done to Chaos. So, with that in mind, I will be listing the top 10 things that I would like to see done for a new Chaos Codex. This list is in no particular order, so here we go:
1- Represent the original Traitor Legions in full and vivid terms, both in fluff and in playing. The biggest crime was that the book made all Chaos marines into "vanilla"- all were the same. Bring back (or create anew) rules for the Traitor Legions. This should be rules bonuses AND limitations. The mode of this should be like the DE- a Wych army? Sure. Haemonculus themed? Of course! All Hellions? You can d that too. There's a TON of variety in that book- a few changes to HQ can make a totally different army. Add to this system, and it would make a LOT of variety in the Chaos armies. Plus, the fluff is what got me STAYING with Chaos- so make that really good! The HH books have added so much- keep that going in the Codex.
2- New models- some of the models for Chaos are great- possessed, terminators, etc. However, the cults could all use a redo. So could the raptors. And the obliterators. And the... well, you get the idea. The latest models (Necrons included) look very good overall. So, Chaos should get the full on treatment. Have people look at these models and say "Damn- these are GWs best yet"!
3- Fluff please! The Chaos Marines have the best backstory out there, both for the Legions and more recently turned renegades. There is so much story to tell. Again, take a page from the DE- go all out with the stories these guys have to tell. Are they pure evil? Fallen heroes? Pawns of the gods? Anti-heroes? Pirates? Lone wolves? It is endless, and the book should really sell that aspect.
4- Not just "marines with spikes" OR Marine reavers (Corsairs). The last book suffered from this in many respects. Chaos Marines were just regular marines pretty much. Change that. Make these guys unique. You can balance the idea that they WERE marines, but still have them having their own rules and abilities. Push it!
5- Bringing Daemons back in- another crime was the creation of "generic daemons" in the previous edition. Now, I am all for having a Daemon Codex, but I still think Chaos Marines would get specific daemons. Maybe a 0-1 rule or something (though not for Word Barers). Let the daemons come back in, but without breaking the Daemon Codex. It CAN be done.
6- Lost and the Damned- am I getting greedy here? No. This is what the dark forces of Chaos really are. If it was JUST Marines, there simply wouldn't be enough of them to be a threat. The gods can sway the minds of mortals. This is what swells the ranks of Chaos. The Marines are the leaders. They use these dregs, and then take what they want. This MUST be reflected in the book. Let them take traitor guardsmen. Let them have mutants, spawn, etc. Again, it certainly CAN be done. EoT did it- so can they now. It would make the Chaos codex the widest, most INSANE army to face, and that's what it should be. Not necessarily TOUGH, but certainly UNPREDICTABLE. That's Chaos.
7- New unit types- I remember when the defiler was new and cool. I think Chaos needs a few newbies. 'Nids got new types, GK got the Dreadknight, etc. Chaos could use a few. Not a lot, just a couple. Maybe even these "dual purpose" models that have been appearing lately. That would be fine with me. What kind? Don't know. But nothing would excite current players (and lapsed) more than some really cool NEW units.
8- Make them competitive- the current book was good when it came out, the real problem was lack of variety and fluff. However, codex creep set in and well, Chaos became much weaker in comparison. I think they should be stronger- but not overpowering. Again, I look to the DE book- it is balanced. ALL books should be so balanced. Certainly, Chaos needs a bit of a bump to compete against newer books.
9- Make it the premier of the new edition, not a bridge between the two rulebooks. If current rumors hold true, then we will be seeing a new edition in the coming year or so. I'm afraid that GW will release the book that plays well in the current edition, but has element of the new edition coming down the pike. This is what happened last time. This is a bad idea, simply because by trying to do both, the book will accomplish neither. It HAS to be one or the other. I'd rather it be totally build with the new edition, even if that means Chaos must be delayed. Yep- I've waited this long, I'll wait more till Chaos is ready and fully aligned to the new rules. No half measures.
10- Make them cool! Chaos is cool- the gods, mythology, the Legions, Corsairs, daemons, Lost and Damned... Chaos is amazing for 40K (in fact, I think 40K would have LESS pull without Chaos). So, come what may, make the forces of the coolest thing going. That will draw players, and that will be good for us and GW.
It is time, my followers of Chaos. It is time for us to be feared again. To be dreaded again. For our names to be accursed on every planet in the Imperium. For us to be a blight on the deluded followers of the False Emperor. I think that time is coming. Until then...