Sex, Lies and Tau Rumours

December 31, 2011 · 11 comments

I think we can safely say that no one knows anything about the new Tau Codex.

The rumours have been flying thick and fast lately with regards to the 'uber suit' and 'sniper suit' which Fil Dunn from the 'Eavy Metal team made conversions of years ago.

In fact, all the rumours seem to be wish listing combined the latest new army trends with a dash of common sense for what the Tau army really needs. So essentially it's a case of 'throw enough shit and something will stick' with regards to the rumours people are throwing out. Based on trends and common sense it's inevitable that someone will guess right with regards to new units or rules changes.

But whatever happens, it's safe to say that the Tau Empire will receive an exaggeration of their background to make them larger than life, with new units and rules to reflect that.

The obvious choice would to go down the anime mecha route and have all kinds of crazy battle suits, sky fortresses and anything else you can imagine from Macross/Robotech. Throw in some subjugated alien races for good measure and you're good to go.

With the new Games Workshop Iron Curtain in place, there really is no chance of any information leaks until the imminent release of the new Tau army. Like many of you, I just wish we knew when the Tau are coming. But with almost every other army ticked off the list, we know it has to be soon.

In the meantime, I'm going to continue building my army and wait to see if there is a Tau preview on the back of the January White Dwarf. And even then I'll still be holding my breath to see if there is a Tau Empire release in February.

Just Make Pulse Weapons Strength 6

December 30, 2011 · 10 comments

December 30, 2011

I managed to catch up for a wargaming chat down the pub with James and Luke to discuss the new Necron Codex and the forthcoming Tau Codex which is currently rumoured for release in February.

Anyway, we got talking about the things which define each army. In the case of the Tau it's Strength 5 basic weapons, Blacksun Filters, Markerlights and Rail Guns.

But then James pointed out that most of the guns in the Necron Codex are now Strength 5. So what does that leave Tau with, bearing in mind that Strength 5 was one of their biggest army benefits.

"Well, why not put pulse weapons up to Strength 6?" Luke suggested. "Then the Tau might actually be able to kill something. Their weapons are 'plasma based' after all."

We debated it at length and it seemed to address a lot of the issues with the current Tau Codex while keeping the Tau 'army identity' as it were.

James also suggested that Burst Cannons should have their range increased from 18" to 24", because then they would be worth taking. He also added that it would make Stealth Suits actually function in their role without getting into range to shoot, jumping back, but still getting spotted for being within 21"-24" and killed.

Anyway, we can't wait for the new Tau Codex in February if the rumours are true. There's definitely going to be a lot of change to bring them back in line with the current set of armies out there.

Why Board Games Are Brilliant!

December 25, 2011 · 1 comments

Ever since Space Hulk, I've found a real appreciation for miniature board games.

A good board game (with miniatures of course) comes straight out of the box and is ready to play after some assembly.

You rarely, if ever, have to worry about the rules changing and you get a small selection of models to paint -if you really want to.

But ultimately, board games seem to offer everything that I love about wargaming. You get an engaging setting, a range of challenging missions and two sides to take turns playing.

Best of all, there are no taboos about playing with unpainted miniatures, so you can get straight into a game.

Meanwhile, when you do finally sit down to paint your miniatures, it's not quite so intense as having to paint an entire army.

Space Hulk, Super Dungeon Explore or even Dread Fleet are all great examples of miniature board games that give you a variety of detailed models to paint in a range of colour schemes.

For me, this makes the painting much more fun than painting a whole army because I have less models to paint, but each model is quite unique, so I can paint them differently.

This seems to break the contents of each board game down into bite sized chunks for painting rather than feeling like I have to paint 100 identical miniatures all in one monstrous session.

Speaking of which, we will be playing Zombies!!! between Christmas and New Year. And the great thing about this game is that even your less geeky relatives will want to play it too thanks to pop culture.

Last time even Mum and Dad were happily gunning down hordes of the undead, believing it to be some form of socially accepted (and encouraged) norm after having watched Shaun Of The Dead and The Walking Dead. It's amazing what pop culture can do!

In the end it was a close run between Mum and Dad.

Dad was blasting zombies apart by the dozen as was only 1 kill away from winning the game with the prestigious "Zombie Killer Of The Week" award.

Meanwhile Mum was fighting her way through the zombie packed landing pad and finally managed to climb aboard the helicopter and escape to safety, winning the game.

So how did you get into wargames?

I ask, because for many people around my age Space Crusade and Hero Quest opened the door into the wider world of miniature games.

I remember one of the older kids in my street had Hero Quest and a year later he got Space Crusade as well. Because I spent a lot of time playing my Turrican 2 on my Commodore 64, Space Crusade really appealed to me.

A few years later, I walked into Games Workshop in the newly opened Lakeside Thurrock shopping centre and bought the 2nd edition Warhammer 40,000 game with all my saved up pocket money. Good times!

Board games seem like a great way to bring people into the hobby. They're great fun, much more affordable than an army and best of all, your relatives don't mind buying them for you and will sometimes ask to play them too!

What Are You Building Over Christmas?

December 19, 2011 · 11 comments

December 19, 2011

Ah, Christmas!

A time for festivities, family, good will to all men... and a few blessed days off work to frantically build and paint your little plastic dudes with their little plastic guns!

But it really is the perfect time for this sort of thing, isn't it? Because it's cold outside, there isn't much to do out there, business has pretty much closed down for the festive period and all you do is spend your time with friends and family. Which is even better if those friends happen to be gaming buddies.

So I'm planning to spend my time at James's place, or he and Marc can come to mine, we'll stick either all the Lord Of The Rings, ALIENS or Predator films on the telly and glue and paint to our heart's content.

And because New Year's Eve has been so ghastly, expensive and utterly disappointing in recent years, the guys are coming over for an evening of food, drink and games. Most likely Space Hulk, Zombies!!! and Super Dungeon Explore before finishing off with some terrible horror movies. You know, the kind that are SO BAD that they go full circle and somehow become GOOD.

Anyway, while there's no way that I'm getting through all 4 of these Tau Battle Forces, I'll do my best to get 1 of them done. I'm going to have to spend some serious time on my army if I want it to be ready in time for the next Tau Codex.

But in the meantime, what's going to be on your painting desk for Christmas?

Why I Won't Be Playing Warmachine

December 14, 2011 · 6 comments

December 14, 2011

Warmachine has been around for 10 years now, which is scary considering I played it when it first came out.

I even demonstrated it at Kensington Olympia the following year and was badly paid in free figures.

Then 'Escalation', the first Warmachine expansion, was released and this great little game changed forever before quickly being dubbed 'Infantry-Machine' by the online community.

Since then I've dipped my toe back into Warmachine a couple of times. Most recently I picked up the new Khador book, Khador starter box and the new sculpt of The Butcher Of Khardov -my favourite Warcaster.

Lack of Opponents

Worst of all, I can only really play against James, who openly admitted that while he wanted to do Cygnar, he chose Cryx because he wants to win.

Don't get me wrong, James is like a brother to me, which could explain why he's such a close friend, while at other times I want to rip his arms off and beat him to death with them.

But he is competitive by nature. Very competitive. And anything that starts out as fun will quickly turn into a serious competition. I can't let him 'just win' of course. So perhaps I'm just as bad?

Anyway, the other side of this competitive coin is that his model building and painting standards are considerably lower than mine. He'll blitz through a whole unit in a day, base coating it black, painting the bare minimum colours, flock it with grey flock and consider it finished -Hence why he chose Cryx. But I just can't bring myself to do that.

So he always wins any kind of 'escalation' based army building. And if we're only playing each other, his army will somehow 'evolve' to specifically obliterate mine.

The reason we'll only be playing each other is because our nearest decent gaming club is too far away to get to and runs at inconvenient times. So the only other source of opponents is to attend some Warmachine tournaments, which are few and far between.

Lack of Range
Did I mention how badly I suck at this game?

This is because I can't guess ranges to save my life, which is a problem when the longest ranged gun in the game is about 12" and the slightest difference in 1" or 2" can make or break a game.

The juggling of unit activations, spells, lasting effects and focus didn't make this too enjoyable for me either. To an extent, I like to relax when playing games and trying to juggle all this was a bit too taxing after a long day at the office.

You see, this is why I quickly discarded the traditionally 'magical' Warcasters in favour of The Butcher. The man is simplicity itself! He has simple spells, thinks simple and fights simple. He may be as subtle as a sledgehammer, but playing him worked well for a while.

Lack of Time
This is the main factor, because I only have so much time to dedicate to building and painting models. Typically Warhammer 40K always comes first.

Warhammer 40K is also our main game, so it always takes priority.
Similarly, if I buy stuff to build and paint, it's usually 40K.
If we want to have a wargaming weekend away, it's always 40K.

And that's the great thing about playing Warhammer 40K, because it's convenient and everybody plays it. So it's easy to buy tournament tickets or simply rock up at Warhammer World for a day of games and we always bump into people we know there.

Warmachine on the other hand, I feel needs more of an investment in time to really plan an army. It also seems like a great effort to organise a game that we're not very familiar with and it always takes ages to set up and play.

Not that I'm wanting to put anyone off Warmachine (or Hordes), but for me it will never expand beyond the start box games simply due to the limited time I have to invest in my hobby.

It's just more productive to invest that time in the games which are easily accessible to so many, creating a much wider pool of opponents. And that's Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Fantasy.

As for board games like Space Hulk, Zombies!!! and Super Dungeon Explore, they're equally convenient, because they don't need painting straight away, there aren't as many models and there are no army lists to build. They're also a much smaller investment in both time and money.

I guess these are all the reasons that I like board games so much...but that's for another blog post.

So have you tried Warmachine or Hordes yet and how did you find it?

Blog Wars 3

December 13, 2011 · 4 comments

December 13, 2012

Blog Wars 3 has been announced for the 2nd of June. Everybody needs goals to work towards and I've decided that mine will be Blog War 3!

That gives me 5 months (and a bit) to build a Tau army, refine my tactics and make sure that Venerable doesn't win it again with another of his dirty cut n' paste army lists from the internet.

What manner of beast would bring such filth to a 'friendly' tournament, I ask you?

That said, a the new Tau Codex could be out in February if the rumours are true and that could change everything.

Now all we need is a little plasma...and a lot of luck!

TableTop Nation

December 10, 2011 · 1 comments

TableTop Nation seems to be a new tournament network created by Beasts Of War and Wayland Games which not only promotes their own brands, but also includes manufacturers and local gaming stores.

And that's the interesting part, because little gaming shops and hobby stores could get involved, expand their area of outreach and national awareness.

The best way to do this would be to get a reputation for running really good tournaments for particular games and offering those little extras that other tournaments tend to lack -like good food!

Will there be other features on TableTop Nation like a store finder for particular games, ratings for each store and a tournaments calendar? Who knows! But I'm sure that the wargaming community can ask for these functions.

As I'm planning to run my first tournament in 2012 with a twist, I'm very much looking forward to what this new network has to offer.

Black Templars...Then Tau?

December 8, 2011 · 8 comments

December 28, 2011

It's Black Templars first, then Tau in the line of new Codex books apparently. The rumour mill seems to have settled on this pretty firmly now.

Ironically, this comes just after my rather ranty post about being sick of playing with and against Spess Mehreens. So black sprays cans at the ready, because yet another army of snorting, grunting, testosterone fuelled meat heads in armour are about to come storming across your tabletop!

Word has it that the Black Templars will be awesome in close combat (as you'd expect), that they will be cheaper so that players can field hordes of them and that they'll have the old Pre Heresy Thunder Rhino as their 'special transport' which means assaults out of Open-Topped vehicles. There was also talk of a Chaplain Dreadnought and another 'big kit' which is the way Games Workshop are talking all the armies nowadays.

Their focus is to try and make all the Space Marine armies as different as possible. Fair play to them.

But What About The Tau?
The good news is that apparently Eldar have been pushed waaaay back, leaving room for 1 xenos race amongst the menagerie of Marines -the Tau Empire.

So while we cannot expect to be the 1st Codex of 2012, we should get a Codex IN 2012. Probably the same October release slot as the Necrons.

The other bit of good news, although some of you may disagree, is that Robin Cruddace (who wrote Codex Imperial Guard) may be working on the next Tau Empire book. Or it could be Matt Ward bringing his unique brand of madness to the Tau Empire instead.

Considering how good the strategic coordination and Orders system of the Imperial Guard was, I'd be happy for Cruddace to produce the Tau Codex. After all, we really do need all those Markerlights, hard wired and networked upgrades to be cost effective and function somehow.

If Ward gets his hands on it, at least we'll get a very different kind of army from all the others and probably a huge range of battlesuits to choose from too.

Tau Rumours
No doubt you will have noticed that I haven't mentioned many Tau rumours. This is because a lot of what's currently being discussed was mentioned years ago and sounds a lot more like wish listing. Or people simply suggesting good ideas and hoping that they're right when the time comes.

So until we get close to their release date, the blog will be pretty quiet on the Tau rumour front. This is because nothing feels particularly solid right now, while the Black Templar rumours are being confirmed from a wide range of reliable sources.

But one thing is for certain -the Tau Empire will be back very soon, and we'll be ready!

Anyone Else Sick of Playing Space Marines?

December 7, 2011 · 5 comments

December 7, 2011

Are you sick of playing WITH space marines or AGAINST space marines?

Because I've got to admit that after playing Space Wolves for 2 years it was seriously doing my head in.

Ironically, when I first got my Space Wolves, James warned me that they were a bit of a 'gimmick' army and at the time I didn't really get what he meant. I thought he was describing how they get into their Metal Boxes and drive straight into the enemy guns, get out, launch a massive spaz attack and proceed to punch things in a berserk frenzy.

Then Blood Angels came out. James said they were a gimmick army too. They did the same kind of thing, but with Feel No Pain, which made them harder to kill with shooting.

Then Grey Knights came out and James said they were a wait, he said they were outright disgusting! Then he said they were a gimmick army, because the whole force revolved around the success of 1 gun - the Psycannon.

So What Is a Gimmick Army?
According to James, a gimmick army is a force which relies upon 1 thing to succeed in the game. A bit of a gimmick or one-trick-pony you might say.

Grey Knights Psycannon spam, every Blood Angels army running Mephiston and Assault Terminators with Sanguinary Priests, every Space Wolves army running 3 packs of Long Fangs. These are gimmicks.

But what happens when Rending gets toned down in the rules? Or when Feel No Pain gets changed to tiers of resistance to injury? Or when the missile launcher simply isn't effective against tanks any more? Maybe the meta game will simply move on? Then these armies will need to use the other options in their Codex books to be effective.

And They Shall Know No Armour Save
Speaking from experience of playing with Space Wolves, I soon discovered that even my best strategies required me to take a round of fire to the face from the enemy.

Sometimes my Metal Boxes made it across the table. Sometimes they exploded. And when they did, the Grey Hunters inside got pounded by every single gun under the sun. Sometimes they died screaming, sometimes everything seemed to bounce off them.

But considering that a Space Marine army relies primarily on passing an above average amount of its armour saves and cover saves, perhaps it's not the most tactical thing around?

Another Kind of Gimmick
Behold, my Iron Warriors army! Armed to the eyeballs with plasma guns, melta guns, combi-weapons and Obliterators with more plasma, melta, lascannons and all riding in Metal Boxes (with combi-weapons!) this is a gimmick army too.

In fact, I really should finish painting it, dip it, flock it, varnish it and then probably sell it in time for Codex Chaos Legions to be released. Then James can tell me what a fool I was for selling it, because Chaos Legions are the new wicked sick! Or something like that.

Truth is, I got bored playing it. All I ever did was drive towards enemy in Metal Boxes, pop smoke. Drive towards enemy in Metal Boxes. Get out, shoot, charge, punch things, pass armour saves. Obliterators Deepstrike and shoot some stuff. Win/lose.

So What's The Solution?
Despite his pointing gimmicky finger, James is a Space Marine player at heart. He may have Dark Angels, but he plays the regular Space Marine Codex and fields a pure Deathwing or Ravenwing army to mix things up a bit from time to time.

However, his forces are always incredibly balanced, very versatile and able to take on any threat. Sure, he may not massacre his opponents, but he's never in a situation where he's likely to be massacred like some meta game rock/paper/scissors style armies.

While his army is nice and varied, I personally can't stand playing with it. It does nothing for me strategically and relies on your ability to nail enemy tanks with lucky lascannon shots and to pass most of your armour saves.

Although it's not quite so bad to play against once you accept that James only fails 1 in 6 armour saves opposed to 1 in 3, which is statistically correct.

I guess, this is what separates Space Marine players from non-Space Marine players. Because James (gawd bless 'im) has a wonderfully inane belief that his troops should be able to shrug off torrents of enemy fire and that even if he were facing a completely identical Space Marine army (in a different colour), that it's only common sense that his Space Marines would obviously be far better at everything.

Real life statistics don't even begin to enter into this.

More sickening still is the fact that this belief seems to work for him. He constantly beats the odds, quite literally, during the first 3 Turns of the game. Although we've since learned that the longer a game goes on, the faster his luck runs out.

6th Edition On The Way
Hitting tanks on a 2+ and 5+ cover saves could totally change the Warhammer 40K game get again, almost bringing it back to 4th edition when line of sight blocking was rife and whole armies could be wiped out by Turn 3.

Of course the Space Marines will get a brand new Codex, but with more AP3 guns in the game than ever before, how will they cope with a reduced cover save and will the mentality of simply passing lots of armour saves continue to pay off? Only time will tell.

Flog It and Move On

December 5, 2011 · 2 comments

December 5, 2011

I have a lot of wargames stuff in my cupboard. Stuff I will never get round to building, painting or even finishing. So I plan to sell it all off and move on to something better!

Let's see, there's a 2,000pts Iron Warriors army in various stages of being painted. It's okay to play, but it's a bit repetitive because it revolves around driving about in metal boxes. I'm probably going to sit down one weekend, blitz through these and keep them for a little bit before putting them on eBay once my Tau are ready.

There's a big box of Ork stuff n various states. There's about 11 Orks I painted before I realised that they each took far too long to paint for a horde army. This is all going on eBay. Although I'm tempted to keep the 11 Orks for blog photos. My Tau do need something for target practice after all!

Then there's the 28mm Rogue Trader and entourage (5 models) which cost me £50 in beautiful character models for an Inquisitor campaign that we never played. Because the models aren't fom well known manufacturers, these could be very difficult to sell. So we shall see.

I also have some spare Space Hulk Terminators, but I'm definitely hanging on to them!

There's a Necromunda Orlock gang which has never played a game because we don't really play Necromunda...unless I sell off my gang - in which case Luke then announces a fresh new campaign! So they're my insurance that we won't start Necromunda again.

Finally, I have the Warmachine Khador starter box and The Butcher of Khadov. I'm not sure how I feel about these right now, because James is the only person I know who plays Warmachine...and we don't really play much. I'm certainly not keen to expand my Warmachine collection because of this.

The Strong Second Hand Market
You can bitch about eBay and Paypal all you like, but they made selling our wargames miniatures on worth while. Before that you'd get a third of the value or desperately try to flog it for a pittance at your local car boot sale. Instead we get to pitch our second hand products to our target audience. So while I would have gotten next to nothing for all this, I can not sell it to the right demographic, make a bit of money back and fund my next project.

And If You Think That's Bad...
...then you should meet my new friend Steve. He's a fantastic chap, but he admitted to having about £10,000 worth of wargames miniatures stored up in his loft from the past 10+ years of buying, yet never building anything.

This is the man who proudly owns 2 Marienburg Landships from Forgeworld. Oh yeah!

So I suggested he do the same. "Flog it and move on".
Then I suggested he flog it and pay a good painting service to build and paint a huge army for him. Because with all that cash he could certainly afford it and he doesn't really enjoy painting anyway.

So What's the Moral of This Blog Post?
As wargamers we buy a lot of little plastic dudes with little plastic guns. Some times we buy on impulse, sometimes we buy too much. Sometimes we quite simply change our minds or decide that we don't like how something looks, how something plays or we have a better idea.

But the true moral of this story is that you can sell your unwanted stuff on eBay, making money back for yourself, but most importantly, you're making your unwanted miniatures available to other gamers for a fraction of the regular retail price. Because that way it benefits everyone in the hobby.

More Super Dungeon Explore

December 4, 2011 · 1 comments

This week I have been mostly assembling Super Dungeon Explore miniatures and having had a horrendous time with the Druid's Bear form, I didn't have much fun with the rest of the models so far either.

In fact, I'm surprised that no one else has complained about them. Or perhaps I've simply received a bad batch?

Either way, the trimming has continued with not a single piece fitting together properly.

Meanwhile, nasty joins are fairly common and I will be going back over these with green stuff and file once everything is assembled.

But once assembled, the models are truly delightful! They've all got loads of character and as for the game itself, I really cannot wait to play it with a few friends over Christmas. I may even do some Super Dungeon Explore battle reports for you all.

But in the meantime, it's back to building. Although I cannot wait to paint these in bright anime colours! I may even steal some character colour schemes from the classic Record Of Lodoss Wars.

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Warhammer Tau is a group of wargamers who feel that they have a little something different to offer other Tau Empire, Kroot, and allied players... even if it's just a starting point for discussion! Our goal is to produce at least one article per week to inform and encourage the Tau and Warhammer gamer community. For the Greater Good, of course!

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