Wednesday, October 12, 2011

5150: Star Army

For my first foray into 15mm sci fi gaming I decided to use Two Hour Wargame's 5150: Star Army.

This book is a revamp of the original 5150 and centers exclusively around military combat from skirmish up to company level.

For $25 I received a comb bound soft cover book of 97 pages. The front and back cover are color with a black and white interior. A .pdf copy was also included for free. I happen to carry my .pdf copy on my phone.

Inside we are treated to a genre specific treatment of the Chain Reaction 3.0 rules. This is not an IGOUGO set of rules.

Truth be told, even on your activation not much seems to happen. The beauty is in the reaction system. As you meet the enemy (or THINK you do) things begin to happen. Sometimes involuntary movement triggers new reactions which cascade into a whole different set of reactions. This is all handled very simply and moves quite quickly.

In the end it is not impossible that you discover the enemy and the initial contact quickly reaches a crescendo of violence that leaves one side or the other quite dead. This is roughly what happens in the real world. As the old military axiom states, "No plan survives contact."

This is a nice set of "loose" rules. They move fast and do not require a ton of time to learn. Ed (the author) has also included a little "STOP" point at the end of each major section with a suggestion to play with the new pieces and parts until you are comfortable before continuing.

These rules do not have points values assigned to the units. Period. This is not a tournament set of rules. It cannot be played that way.

What I like is that the rules can be played head-to-head, solo, or cooperatively. In fact the rules mostly seem to revolve around the solo gamer. Which is why I picked this set of rules. You do not need anyone to play against and the "enemy" army plays realistically even though dice rolls decide their actions from moment to moment.

Oh, one other thing, you only have a modicum of control over your own forces. Once the Chain Reaction is set off, your forces can fight bravely or even flee the board whether you want them to or not. The one exception is your Star. He is your, "in-game" avatar and will do what ever you want every time.

Miniatures scale is left deliberately vague and the rules work quite well with either 15mm or 28mm (the two scales I game with).

Terrain, buildings, cover, concealment, and vehicles all receive their due and are quite comprehensive.

There are seven premade army lists and a brief fluff/background section that I cheerfully ignored because I brought my own. The background is based off a RPG setting written by Wes Davis. So, you could always go there to learn more if you wanted to.

My gripe. My only real gripe is the editing. I would love to edit this rulebook for Ed.

The sections seem illogically placed for roughly 75% of the book. The are are no real section breaks in terms of page breaks. One section stops and the next immediately starts. Even though it would have made more sense to continue on a new page. Campaign rules are before the mission rules, etc. Just seems to me, to be illogically laid out in most places.

Charts...Ed loves himself some charts. They are neat and easy to read and I fully understand why they are needed. What I would have liked to have seen is ALL of the charts compiled at the back of the book so I could print them out as a booklet of only charts. That said, most of the charts aren't even needed in a typical game but, it would have been nice.

However, I would not let those two things discourage you. For the price you get a very flexible and robust set of rules. There is a very active Yahoo Group that supports these games and publishes a lot of user content that you can drop right into your game.

I give this set of rules a rating of 75%. Damn good with room for some improvements.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 - 4 month update

It has been almost 4 months since I updated this blog.

My feelings on GW have not changed.

However, I have continued gaming.

I am not only running a Pathfinder game set in Eberron, I am also playing in one. I had forgot for a long time how much enjoyment I get from a good RPG. Not to mention the price point to play is much, much lower than tabletop war gaming.

I have been playing Warmachine quite a bit more. I bought a Khador starter box ($50) and received another $80 worth of Khador stuff for my birthday. I can field a good 35-40 points. This makes for a fast and yet very tactical game. good stuff. Now that Privateer Press has released (or soon will) a 2-player starter box it is only going to get better. I have not even read the fluff concerning the Iron Kingdoms but, I am still having fun.

My Battletech fever has tapered off a bit. However, I am planning on getting ti going again pretty soon. Getting in at least one game each week is my goal. I find the depth of detail to game play a real draw. I actually enjoy more of minutiae than I thought I would.

I hope to start posting more often. I have considered changing the name of the blog to something a little less 40k-ish. I wonder if I can do that in Blogspot?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Take this job and shove it...

GW continues to knock them out of the ball park.

Trade Embargo and a price increase?

I have roughly 5000 pts of SM/BA, ~2500 pts of Tau, ~1500 pts of Necrons, and ~1000 pts of Orks.

I have no need to buy anymore to continue to play the game.

eBay will be my source of any new models from here on out.

I have only been playing for two years and it is clear that GW does not like me.

So, I am moving on. I'll still play 40K but I won't be buying anything else directly from GW.

Battletech is my new passion. My $50 starter set came with enough stuff that six people could each field a platoon's worth of mechs. Two players could run a battalion vs. battalion level battle.

Battletech has been around longer and is still on the "first" edition. Sure there have been some revisions along the way, most of those clarify or add something to the game.

So long GW. It has NOT been fun.

P.S. Your rules suck and the constant power creep with each codex release will NOT make me start a new army. Rather, I will start a new game.

Fuck You, very much.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dear GW: Thunderwolf Cavalry

Dear GW,

I am writing this letter because I love you. I feel you are currently in a self-destructive phase with the bad behavior you have been displaying since we met.

Price raises, corporate tinkering with the stores, a substandard ruleset...

Despite that I still like you...a lot. I want to help. Let me give you some advice.

First, you have screwed the pooch (pun) concerning Thunderwolves. Your players really like them. They like them so much that they have been busy converting them, kit-bashing them, and buying alternative models from your competitors. Yup, classic capitalism in action, there was a void and someone filled it. Several someones at the time of this letter. Let me tell you, your competitors are churning them out. Fast, pretty, and inexpensive.

Flat out, you are losing the market share. Sure, you might exert some will and ban alternatives from 'ard Boyz or Adepticon but, that is only a stop gap measure.

You need to get off your bum and get your own product out. Of course, I have some qualifiers. Allow me to illuminate them.

1. They must be pretty. You already do this really well.

2. They need to be plastic. Again, something you can do.

3. They need to be packaged advantageously. This means five to a box, with enough bits to customize them.

4. They must be inexpensive. You really really suck at this part. This will be painful but if you want to win back the market share you have to be prepared to lose some profit margin. In the end, you can only ever blame yourself. Also, your competitors are selling them for about $7-8 per model.

I know this has been painful for the both of us. I am only telling you this because I love you.

I won't mention the 25th Anniversary BattleTech Introductory Box that has 26 models in it and all of the supporting material for only $50. I think I'll cover that next time.


Brother Vizlani

Monday, April 4, 2011

What a Day!

I did not attend Adepticon this year. I may never reach a point where I am good enough to justify a four-day trip to Chicago to play 40K.

What I did do on Sat. was take part in my local GW's tournament.

2000 pt Last Man Standing

The rules are simple. No reserves unless they deep strike or outflank. No walking on from your board edge. Three turns or 30 minutes, whichever comes first. If it dies, it does not go into the next game. Same with immobilized or weapon destroyed results, they carry over into the next game. Using a techmarine you can repair damage "in game". Reloads are available for one-shot weapons (combi-, hunter-killer, etc.).

The goal is to be the, "Last Man Standing".

I won't bore you with details except to say, I placed third. I survived the seventh and final game with 522 points of BA intact. Dark Eldar took first with 943 points. Black Templar finished second with 602 points.

Fun was had by all. The F-bomb was dropped on several occasions. Someone got chewed out. Like I said, a great time.

For my troubles I scored a box of Death Company. Using all the bits in the box I intend to kit out a full assault squad and dress up my BA (bone-stock SM miniatures) like proper Angels of Death.

Look for another post soon, with my views on how GW can still pull a win concerning Thunderwolf Cavalry.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Future is...Grey


Played my first game against Grey Knights today.

I ran a 2000 pt Deathwing army;


5x 5 man Terminator squads with a mix of TH/SS, Power Fists, 2x Assault Cannons, and 3x Cyclone missile launchers.

2x Tactical squads with a meltagun apiece.

Land Raider - stock

10x sniper scouts

He ran 2005 pt of the following;


10x Terminator Paladins w/a Apothecary

Land Raider - stock

Dreadnaught w/ TL Lascannons

10x Grey knights

Paladins were carrying a mix storm bolters, 3x psilencers, 1x psycannon. The regular squad also rocked a psilencer and a psicannon.

1x Vindicaire Assasin

1x Culexis Assassin (I think that is the name, the one that comes out of YOUR squad)

We played annihilation from the short table ends. Deployment zone was 18 inches deep.

He walked everything. LR was empty.

I had mucho terrain to hide behind. I castled up and let him walk to me. I shot him up the entire walk, AND he did walk for about 30 inches.

Krak Missiles WILL double out paladins IF he fails his armor save AND his FNP roll. Final tally - 16 missile shots (13 total hit and wounded) resulted in ONE paladin death (7.69 % success rate).

I had marginally better luck with the lascannons. I managed to take eight lascannon shots against him. This resulted in three paladin deaths (37.5% OVERALL success rate).

He lost no other paladins to me. Period.

He ate four of the five terminator squads. Flat out killed them. The psilencers (12 shots per round) killed me. When in range he was getting off 50 shots (36 psilencers, 1x psicannon, and 12 storm bolter shots). The psilencers were getting 16-18 wounds on my five man terminator squads by themselves. Even 2+ armor saves cannot hold up to that type of punishment.

My own rolls for the day ran in the 38-46% success range, so a little below the statistical average.

In the end we played out 7 full turns and I had killed one assassin and five paladins. I had Belial and his terminator squad left, as well as an immobilized LR that had a TL heavy bolter left.

Perhaps armoring up will be a better tactic.

Against the paladins you either need to kill them with weight of fire, which frankly, any type of space marine has trouble doing. OR go for the double out using high strength low AP weaponry.

Either way, expect a LOT of grey knight armies to be showing up in the future.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Multiple Vehicle Explosions

This came up for the third time in my gaming career this weekend.

When multiple attacks against a vehicle results in multiple penetration rolls and more than one of those penetration rolls results in a Destroyed - Explodes! results, what do you do?

I stand by the position that each explosion result is counted as a hit against all passengers and all models inside the blast radius.

I have found in the rulebook or a FAQ or something that this is indeed the case. The only problem was that in the heat of the moment, I was unable to find it in an official document.

It came down to a roll off which I won. Since then I have been perusing the FAQs and forums searching desperately for the exact wording so I can highlight the hell out of it. I might even sticky-tab it.

I have read the various opinions in some of the forums. Some say only roll once others agree with my take on it.

I feel for the folks that think you only roll once. I mean to basically paraphrase their arguments, "how many times can a vehicle explode?".

On the surface it would seem vehicles can only explode once. However, if we look deeper the prevailing logic might be flawed.

Vehicles (and presumably high-tech future war machines) are packed full of potential explosion factors. Just off the top of my head I thought of the following; ammunition, fuel tanks, high-pressure systems, exotic energy plants, charged power capacitors, etc.

If only one of these were to explode it would be enough to destroy a vehicle. However, if more than one of these systems should critically fail in an explosion the force or power of the explosion has a high probability of increasing as well.

This would be replicated in-game by the multiple explosion results resulting in multiple hits against all relevant parties.

So, if any of you have the relevant page reference to an official rules document, please drop me a line in the comments section.

If you agree or just think I am totally off my rocker. Please do likewise.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stromraven, Furioso, and Battleforce for preorder

It's true!

Head over to GW's newsletter and check it out!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Does GW hate God?

That's quite a catchy title, I know.

I have no idea if GW does, in fact, hate God but, I do have some observations about GW that I want to share.

First, lets establish my base so we have a common frame of reference. I am an old fart, ex-military, Christian (more on this later), white, from the South, and middle class. I was raised Catholic and upon gaining adulthood, promptly left the church. My absence from organized religion lasted for 18 years before I, "came back into the fold". I did what all reformed Catholics do and became a Baptist. It goes without saying that I believe in God. I (try) to follow his teachings and live a good (what I judge to be good) life. I don't recruit people into the church. I have barely read 1/20th of the Bible.

I am also a sci-fi/fantasy nut. I have played Dungeons and Dragons (and other RPGs for that matter) for 25 years. I have been quite active in 40K for about two years. Active, meaning I play between 40 and 60 games per year. So, I know what our hobby is all about.

I am also old enough to remember when every well-meaning parent was hell-bent on "protecting" America's youth by obliterating DnD completely. Seems the overzealous religious types got there nose bent out of shape about "demons" and alleged "satanism/witchcraft". It was pure poppycock. Were there some troubled, depressed, and impressionable young people that took it too far? Yes. Much like there are troubled youth still to this day, busy taking things too far.

Parents are protective of their children (duh). Even the hint of danger, real or perceived, will turn a parent against you.

I do not know at what age GW intends to recruit its customers. All indications would point to children between 10-14 years old. This is purely based upon my own observations around the 3-4 local game stores that I frequent. However, GW is not doing itself any favors if that is its intended "new customer base".

For example;

I got my newest GW Newsletter in my e-mail. The subject line was, "Chapter 666: Hammer of Daemons". Say what?

Now, I know what this means. I play Space Marines and I am always looking to add more power armor to collection.

But. and this is a big one...

The average parent is ignorant. They have no idea what our fictional little universe is about. However, the parent controls the money flow. I also know that the parent is going to key off of certain words and phrases. Let's take a peek into the average parents thought process...

"Hmmm, what to get little Johnny? He likes the 40K thing... Looks okay.

What is this? 666? Isn't that the mark of the beast or something?



What kind of game is this for children?"

Yes, I believe that fairly and accurately represents what the average person probably thinks when they read about GWs product.

or take this from the back of the DE Codex.

"...pure evil in its most sickening and elemental sense..."

"Sadists and murders all..."

"...utterly inhuman, eternally thirsting for the anguish of others..."

The is no effing way I am letting my kid play a game of, "Sadist and Murders". Or so goes the thought process.


If GW is so creative and innovative of a company, why even bother digging into Judeo-Christian pop culture references like, "666"?

Why even have a religious connotation at all?

Was having aliens as the sole antagonists of this story not creative enough? Did they really need to bring pseudo-religious overtones into the story?

If the goal is to get new players between 10-14 y.o., why is there no effort to "win over" the parents? I will tell you, you do not "win" over anyone's parents by seemingly exposing them to and/or promoting occultism.

Seriously, it is only going to take one event involving a troubled youth and 40K and the media firestorm (fuelled by overzealous parents) will blow up this hobby. Look at what the false panic of the 80's did to TSR, the publisher of DnD.

Well, that's it. The rant is over. I just needed to get that off my chest and out there for discussion.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

1000 pt Shrike list

This list is extremely lean in the objective capturing department.

195 pts - Shrike

400 pts - x10 Assault Treminators TH/SS

110 pts - x5 Tactical Marines + Melta bombs and Teleport Homer

145 pts - x5 Tactical Marines + Rhino + Melta bombs and Teleport Homer

150 pts - x5 Devastators + x4 Missile Launchers

1000 pts - 6 KPs - 27 Models

Oh how I love this list.

As long as I get good reserve rolls I am looking at a 2nd or 3rd round arrival of Shrike plus his attached squad of (fleet) Assault terminators.

This list is absolute garbage for capturing objectives but, it is a brutal in-your-face-might-table-you-if-you-are-not-careful @ 1000 pts.

This list is easily evaded by a mobile foe.