Showing posts from December, 2016

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Happy New Year (and Thin Your Paints!)

The year is ending, and Games Workshop has one more piece of sage advice which Duncan from Warhammer TV sums up best:

Otherwise you may end up with this:

Happy New Year guys!!

Thanks for reading.

If you liked what you saw, and you want to help out, please leave a comment. Sharing this with your friends, and following me on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ would also be hugely appreciated.

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The short honest review of 2016

It was all right.

Okay, it probably had the biggest political upheavals in recent memory, but lets be honest here... you don't come here for the political doom and gloom you can get from the major news outlets.

You come here for the plastic soldiers. And it's been a pretty solid year for plastic soldiers.

A slew of new box sets, Blood Bowl coming back, the Deathwatch series going strong, and Warhammer Quest getting an update. New models a plenty, capping off the year with a Daemon Primarch (despite some disappointing rules for his minions).

The FAQ bits came out this year, showing Games Workshop was starting to take customer complaints and feedback seriously. Warhammer Community got launched as a way for people to actually find out information about new releases.

In the Dungeons and Dragons world, we've got a bunch of new Unearthed Arcana, including a fix for the un-inspiring Ranger class. Volo's Guide to Monsters was released with a bundle of new playable races, incl…

Warhammer Club Times

I was having a conversation on the Twitters with a fellow gaming teacher (Mike Davies), and it sparked a little conundrum in my head: When is the best time to run your wargaming club?

Most clubs I've seen run sessions during the week, and oddly enough mostly on Thursdays. Family life tends to mean that the weekends are usually out. Trying to explain to your other half you can't take the little ones to their football match because you want to push toy soldiers around for a few hours is not a conversation that ends well.

Weekdays tend to be when people are free, but usually not Friday. That's the day that tends to be saved for the social events that don't involve the clatter of dice, and usually feature more alcohol.

School clubs are a bit more challenging to find a good slot for, particularly if the school you work in doesn't have an extra curricular activity program.

Your usual times are going to be after school. Some may tempt you into thinking a wargaming club c…

Table Top Education

As it is the Christmas Holidays, it's probably a good time to remind people of just what I'm writing this blog for. It might not be hugely obvious, as there hasn't been any club activity since the end of last term.

I am a teacher, and I run the school's war gaming club. Right now that means Warhammer 40,000, Age of Sigmar, Blood Bowl, Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, and occasionally X-Wing: Miniatures Game.

I am also the Alpha Nerd of the school, with all the dubious honour that title entails. Many young neophytes tremble at the magnificence of my neck beard!

Well, actually not really. I trim the neck fuzz regularly to keep the outward appearance of a professional teacher, and fool people into thinking I'm not the kind of person who regularly day dreams about dragons.

I do, however, spend a great deal of time on the club. I mainly spend my time reminding the students to thin their paints, but I'm also the one who has to order in the paints. It's not cheap…

To us, she was Royalty

Carrie Fisher died today.

I know I deal with the table top games, and this is a little outside my sphere of geekery, but Star Wars has had such an impact on my life I want to talk at least a little about it.

Star Wars was one of the movies I watched repeatedly on VHS as a kid. I wasn't old enough to see it in in the cinema, but we had all the films. Star Wars, Land Before Time, and a little known film called Flight of Dragons were regular features on our TV, and I can recite the lines from these films near perfectly.

I have no doubt that a lot of nerds and neck beards can say the same thing, and establishing geek cred aside, I think we can all say how it affected us.

Carrie Fisher, in her role a Princess Leia, established what girls and women were for me.

You'll always hear from "socially minded" people that there are no strong female role models on screen, and that the damsel in distress is all we get. I never thought that. My impression of the damsel in distress w…

GW Christmas Exclusives 2016

Boxing day sales are a grand tradition in the UK, but it looks as though the miniature companies have put all their effort into the pre-Christmas run up this year. 
Basically nothing to report, and if you're looking for some good deals on minis today, I'd head to your local hobby shop to check out what's there. It's a bank holiday, and it looks as though my local Games Workshop is still open (albeit shortened hours).
But GW has done some special offers on their Web store for some classic minis.
Some are truly ancient artifacts from the before times when things were different, but a few of them wouldn't look out of place in a modern army.
Before any one gets excited, they're all Imperials. No Christmas cheer for you Xeno scum!

Just want to make special note of the chaplain:

Now this wasn't my first HQ model, but it was my favourite.  He led my Ravenwing Dark Angels for a long time before getting a spotty white pauldron and heading up my White Scars. 
I hone…

Merry DnD Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Nothing important to say, apart to share a bit from my buddies' Dungeons and Dragons downtime WhatsApp conversation. As a quick tip to DMs, if you can't manage regular sessions, then continuing the adventure through an instant messenger service is a great way to keep people in touch with the game.

Elric, the half-elf sorceror, pauses rifling through the now dead demon gnoll to wish the rest of the party a Merry Christmas. He uses Prestidigitation to make scatter some small sparkling snowflakes around the gnoll corpse.  The dwarf appears from a pile of gnolls on the walls, tankard already in hand, singing a festive ditty in the manner of Shane MacGowan from the Pogues.  The half-ord paladin grunts. The bard heads to the nearest tavern, returning with flagons of mead for everyone. The urchin pulls some pigs in blankets from his greasy hair, and begrudgingly offers them around. The warlock takes the mead and pigs in blankets, and leads the toast, "…

Why Thousand Son Rubric Marines Fail

It's an inflammatory title, but it's hard to escape the depth of failure for this unit. I think the strength of the feeling here stems from how much I wanted the Thousand Sons to succeed after decades of being second fiddle to the other Chaos Cults.

I also really wanted them to come back strong after being so maligned in the lore and fluff. Since having their home world crushed and their honour dragged through the mud, I wanted them to have the battlefield presence they deserve as powerful psykers.

But let's get to the point; the Thousand Sons Rubric Marines fail in their battlefield roles.

Here is a table listing the average abilities of our comparison units. To remind you of them, they were chosen for roughly equivalent army roles, points cost and wound size. They were paired Librarians, tactical and Chaos Marine squads led by their Mastery Level 1 psykers, and a bike squad with a Librarian.

Click to see the failure.

Now on the surface, it doesn't look that bad. T…

Are Rubric Marines Overcosted?: Psychic Potential

So after looking at the assault values, the only thing I can really say about making the Rubrics more defensively capable is to remove the Slow and Purposeful. If you wanted to maintain the fluff, then have the unit be Relentless unless in the presence of their Sorcerer, in which case they become SaP.

Anyone else think that acronym was done on purpose by the designers?

Anyway, the Relentless rule is going to allow them to fire in overwatch, actually making them a shooting unit. You can't be considered a shooting unit if your firepower is roughly equivalent to a standard jack-of-all trades tactical squad, especially when they can shoot in more situations than you can.

But let's look at the real selling point of the Rubric Marines; the Sorcerer surrounded by meat shields. I mean dust shields.

And at this point, hard statistics fail us. Psychic powers are very much what are called incalculables.

Incalculables are game mechanics which don't have an easy to quantify positive …

Sons of Horus Successors

Ever since the Blood Ravens popped up as potential loyalist successors to the Thousand Sons (and there is a fair bit of evidence to support this), other traitor legion Space Marine chapters have been postulated and speculated over.

Mostly this is due to the lore having a severe credibility problem in 40K. It's intentionally kept loose and flexible, to allow for new twists and the all important concept of Your Dudes. In Warhammer, the word fluff is really apt, as nothing is certain or a hard truth.

Since I haven't been able to get to my work laptop today, and thus can't get to my lovely spread sheets on the Rubric Marines, I'm going to float this as an option for the Lunar Wolves loyalist successor.

First, what do we know of the Lunar Wolves/Sons of Horus/Black Legion.

They have a thing for sudden, overwhelming assaultsThey prefer brutal close combatThey are not frothing beserkers, but simply ferocious fightersThey have a gang culture, with gang markings being the normT…

40K, News: Fall of Cadia, Black Templars

I was going to simply show the new ad videos given by Warhammer Community... but then the Community team decided to give us this instead:

A neat video outlining all the releases over the past year (and there have been some big ones!), but the best bit is a little snippet at the end of the video.

"I think, I'd want to see, Saint Celestine at the head of a Black Templars crusade, into the Cadian Gate." Since we've already had Saint Celestine in all her glory appear on the Community site, I think Black Templars fans can expect to have a very good New Year.

The other two videos below, but there's not a huge amount of info to go on. The Fall of Cadia teaser drops some very heavy hints at a Black Legion focused campaign... but is anyone surprised by that? It may be that we get some updated Chaos Space Marine models, but with the recent repackaged starter kits, I wouldn't bet on it.   Here they are though. If you can glean more from them, then let me know in the co…

40K BREAKING: New Sisters models and The Fall of Cadia

Christmas hype? Gone in an instant. Prepare to buzz with glee for the New Year!

Warhammer Community getting the scoop on all the 'leaks'out there, giving us some really nice resolution images of the new plastic Sisters of Battle models. And they are beautiful! I'm holding fire on deep analysis of these things to show you all as soon as possible.

New Inquisitor!

New Mechanicum Archmagos! Those of you following the rumour part of the Warhammer Community website are going to recognize some of the features of that model. It is without a doubt the most Adeptus Mechanicus-style crazy model produced to date!

There are two videos too for the new Fall of Cadia campaign, but I'm leaving that for tomorrow.

Good times ahead though... Looks like the 40K universe is about to have it's stability smashed with a hammer.

Great times to be in the hobby!

Thanks for reading.

If you liked what you saw, and you want to help out, please visit and donate at my Patreon. Every Little helps!

Are Rubric Marines over-costed?: Assault

Well... I don't think anyone is expecting a win for the Thousand Sons here. But we're not really looking for a victory, but rather a slim defeat.

So far the outlook hasn't been good for them. Their defensive value hasn't been stellar, and their shooting only marginally more effective. In fact, I'm going to go the extra mile here and say that the warp flame bolters should have had Ignores Cover as well. That would make them a clear winner of shooting, and would have put them on an equal footing with Sternguard/Deathwatch special ammunition. But we're not here to look at guns, but bayonets.

Click to zoom.

Not much to discuss here. As always, the first bit is a run down of the points and wounds. I then make a note of the average Weapon Skills of the unit.

From there, we don't need to talk about wounds and strengths, as each unit has the same. They're all Strength 4 attacks, meaning we can effectively make that a controlled variable, and jst need to consid…

Are Rubric Marines over-costed?: Shooting

So the Rubric Marines are hardly stellar when it comes to defence. For suits of power armour only filled with dust, they are about as durable as normal Space Marines.

It's actually a large failing of the crunch when related to fluff, now I think about it. They get all of the issues of being mindless automata, and none of the benefit. Slow and Purposeful is a fairly rubbish rule for a unit with little in the way of heavy weapons, and I think a decent house rule would be to simply change that to Relentless and be done with it.

But before we write off the Thousand Sons, let's look at the other part of their draw; the guns.

Yes, they are simple bolters, but they are AP3 bolters. Many a Marine caught in the open would sweat at that, and only the best of the best in most armies would get a save. Let's run the numbers and see what we get.

Click to zoom. Again, I'll explain what's going on here.

Top row explains the points cost and model count. And then we get into the me…

Are Rubric Marines overcosted: The reality of defence

As a teacher, I am somewhat expected by society to have an outward appearance of prim and proper sobriety.

I trust most people realise reality, and the truth behind my current aching head.

But just as I must face the inevitable flood of memories and outstanding pain behind my temples, so we must face the reality of the effectiveness of the Thousand Son Rubric Marines. Fortunately the whiff of the Excel spreadsheet is as good as bacon, eggs, and paracetemol to my foggy mind.

Lets do some maths!

Click to zoom in on the above table. I'll now explain what you're looking at.

The first part is simply a run though of model count, total wounds and point cost.

Secondly, I note the toughness, and shoot the units full of ten rounds. All ten rounds hit, and we examine what these hits would be on average against varying strengths.

We then take these average wounds, and see what the outcome is against the saves of each unit. For when the AP beats the standard power armour save, I then tak…

Schoooools! Out! For! Xmas!!

Sorry, I know I said I would talk about Rubric Marines.

However, it's the last day of term, and I'm going to the staff party. Proper update tomorrow after I've recovered.

Just to give you an idea of how full on a teacher's life is; on my way out of the classroom I was met by some tearful year 7 students. One of their fellow boarders had sat on their minis during packing up to go home.

Most people would offer sympathy, then run home. A teacher? Running the Warhammer Club? No chance.

I spent the next few hours in mini A and E (or ER for you Americans), patching up wounded Ravenwing Bikers and doing a particularly rocking conversion on a Stormcast Eternal Dracoth with a wonky Tempest Hammer.

But hey ho... price you pay for the next few weeks off.

Merry Xmas everyone!

Thanks for reading.

If you liked what you saw, and you want to help out, please visit and donate at my Patreon. Every Little helps!

Are Rubric Marines over-costed?

We can get carried away with new model hype sometimes. As Wrath of Magnus hits the shelves, people everywhere are claiming the great Psychic potential of the army, and the revolutionary new paradigm for Chaos Space Marine players.

People claiming the Thousand Sons are going to be a very powerful army are everywhere, and part of me wants to simply agree to that and ride the hype train.

Then some prick writes an article to ruin everyone's fun.

My fanboy reaction urged me to counter-attack the disappointment, and my sceptical analysis tools jumped into the fray to prove the writer wrong. Rather than looking at the unit as a normal Troop choice, I instead look at it as an Objective Secure Psyker with 4 ablative wounds that have invulnerable saves and really good guns.

But then if I do that, I do need to prove that it is decent in that role. And unfortunately, there are a number of units that can do similar things, if not quie so neatly fitting into a CAD, or a Formation.

For a start,…

House Football

Just a little thought today, as I get ready for my school house's Christmas dinner.

For those who don't know, here in the UK we have a grand tradition of School Houses. These are pastoral organisations within the school that deal with the softer side of education; looking after emotional well-being and what you'd probably call school spirit.

Each student will be placed in a House, usually in the same as their siblings if they have any. This will be a tutor group thing, with Houses having their own assemblies, sports teams and maybe even social events. In a boarding school, Houses are literal houses where students live. The housemaster is essentially the daddy/mummy to the student during term, and is the responsible adult for them.

If any of you are thinking, "This sounds like Harry Potter..." then yes. You are correct. But are you surprised? J.K. Rowling didn't invent the system herself you know.

For the record, we have four houses in my school too. I like t…

New box set formations

Since these box sets came out with some rather interesting names, we can predict some behaviours out of them, and some possible formations.

 Space Marine/Space Wolf Skyhammer

We've got two Skyhammer formations already; the bland Ravenguard formation (Turn 1 can run after getting out), and the infamous Annihilation force (absolute cheese with a beard down to it's ankles).

We can expect the same thing here: Unit turns up on turn one, and probably has something similar to the Ravenguard formation in terms of running after getting out or shooting.

Dark/Blood Angel Gauntlet

Bit of a punt on this one, but will probably involve getting out after driving 12-inches. This somewhat steps on the toes of the Ironwolves, but would certainly give the Blood Angels a taste of the armoured blitzkrieg... especially since they lost a lot of their jump pack speed in the larger formations.

Chaos Desolator

Pure wishful thinking on this on... squad gets to assault out of the Rhino. No basis for thi…

News: New Box sets!

Still waiting on the pricing for these kits, but Games Workshop is releasing a brand new set of paired unit box sets.

Some of the early runs they did of this were HQ units and retinues, such as a Chaos Terminator Lord and a squad of Chaos Terminators. It would be fair to say no one found these particularly interesting... new players would generally have all the HQ models they need from the Start Collecting! kits, and older players tend not to need bulk deals to expand their armies.

Now Games Workshop have worked out what's needed, and are selling paired units and transports... which is just miles better, and useful in nearly all situations.

So a couple of things to speculate here.

Is the price going to be good? If we're just going to get the same price for these boxes as the two individual units, then I can see people buying them out of convenience. However, if they are going to be cheaper, then we can expect to see eBay flooded with cheap tactical marines. I mean more floode…

The truth about Eldar Scatter Jet bikes

We can now finally answer this question: Are Scatter Bikes overpowered?

I have the answer, as proven by maths and science.

UnitScatter Jetbikeswith GuideScars bikes at 12at 24Shooting Value443377155Assault Value69.469.428.028.0Defense Value92.192.159.759.7Average Value68655581

We left the story here, with the Scatter jetbikes sitting neatly in the middle between the two ranges of White Scars at 12 inches and at 24 inches. The links on the table go to where these values were calculated.

This gives us an average set of point efficiency (with lower numbers being more efficient) for all ranges... but to really understand why the Jetbike appears to be doing so well we need to put in spheres of influence.

All units will influence the outcome of the battle through their assault ability, their shooting, psychic powers and special rules. In this case we don't have to concern ourselves with psychic powers, and I'm choosing to ignore the special rules part, as they somewhat cancel each o…