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About this blog

A blog about gaming life! I want to help you have fun, do great things, and be yourself. Any game could show up here, but note that I have a predilection for 40k, D&D, Magic, and Board Games. But hey, anything could appear! If there's something that interests you, let me know, and I'll see what I can do to make a post about it!

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Yarium

Just a short note about today's post; it's not mine. It's GW's. I'm posting it again here, because this is GW showing that when they said they're going to start caring about the community, they were serious about it. Thanks GW team for being a great example!

Quote

The very best of sports

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Today, a heartwarming tale of sportsmanship, generosity and the power of community…

While most games of Warhammer are played in a friendly environment where winning never trumps having fun with a fellow hobbyist, sometimes the heat of the moment and the siren call of the dice can get the better of a player. This was the case during the semi-finals of the Las Vegas Open last week. However, a courageous and most sporting gamer, Alex Fennell, opted to take the high-road, forgoing any protest that might have caused a heated debate, and played on despite being put in an impossible position. As expected, Alex lost.

Meanwhile, watching via Twitch, Marc Merrill, co-founder of Riot Games (makers of League of Legends) and himself a massive Warhammer 40,000 fan, posted a tweet… He wanted to give Alex a $5,000 sportsmanship award for the way he conducted himself during the game.

Alex, again showing himself to be a thoroughly decent human being, pledged the money to a children’s hospital. He even went on to convince his employer to match the donation.

When we heard about this, we were blown away. So we’re really pleased to say that Games Workshop will also be contributing $5,000.

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For us, this is a great reminder of the importance of sportsmanship in gaming. Fun is at the core of the Warhammer hobby, and it’s reassuring to know that even in the semi-finals of a tournament that has a large cash prize, most hobbyists play with that in mind.  

In fact, we’ve realised we really ought to do more to reward sporting play. We’re now working on plans for an annual Most Sporting award. We’ll hopefully have something more to tell you this summer. Until then, have fun gaming.

– The Warhammer Community Team

 

Yarium

So, I didn't post up a ton last week. I kept trying to type something up, and each time I'd get half-way through the article and then lose steam. So today, a topic finally hit me. Something I've been watching a lot of during the past week, and it's something I didn't expect to care about again...

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Connecting the Olympics to eSports.

More specifically, I want to talk about a gamer whom has smashed through the competitive scene recently; Sasha Hostyn, aka "Scarlett".

Let me take you through when and why I fell in love with watching Starcraft games.

Back in the dark days of my past, when I was dropping out of university during my 2nd year (went to university for mom and dad's sake, not my own, so couldn't carry the will to continue), I was living in an apartment in Ottawa. My neighbor's brother was a top-end Starcraft player, who didn't pursue the eSports career, since it wasn't a career that existed at the time. I had the pleasure of watching this guy play in person. Before that, I had always seen Starcraft and strategy games as just fun times, but couldn't win big multiplayer games. I would just build a couple bases, try to amass an army, and just wanted to laugh as two big armies destroyed each other. I had no clue about the depth that existed in the game. When I saw this guy play, I was witness to a symphony of strategy, mouse clicks, and keyboard strikes. He darted from screen location to screen location, using single units to achieve more than I could with whole armies. He would dart in and out, lure units into traps and ambushes, and just devastate his opponent before they could do anything. It was truly something else, something I knew I could never do, but done in a way that made complete logical sense. It was like watching the Superbowl; you loved seeing it happen and trying to guess what the next play would be, even though you couldn't achieve that level of play. No other eSport I witnessed before Starcraft 2 ever seemed to match up to that. And then I saw Scarlett play.

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I've followed Scarlett since I happened across an SC2 Tournament down in Toronto back in 2013. I was in Toronto for a Magic prerelease, and I found out that there was a big gaming tournament for SC2 happening. I was able to duck in to see it, and was blown away watching this amazing Canadian player, known only to me as Scarlett. She was a Zerg player (Zerg have always been my favourite Starcraft race, and were the reason that I picked Tyranids when I started playing Warhammer), so right away I was on board to watch her. Unlike every other Zerg player that I had seen compete, Scarlett was doing something totally different - she was hard-expanding the Creep. Creep is a Zerg-specific feature that modifies the battlefield in a game of Starcraft 2, as Zerg units get a movement speed boost while on it. Most Zerg players used Creep defensively, connecting their bases to travel quickly between them, but Scarlett used it offensively, sending it out to her opponent's bases so that she could quickly support her attacks, or to retreat faster to where her units were safe. She piloted that strategy to victory at that tournament, and I cheered loudly when it happened. Here was that something I had missed in all those years since Ottawa.

And then, Starcraft 2 competitive scene died down. Scarlett had a hot streak, but then faded out, and new eSports games were drawing much larger crowds. Hearthstone came out and was drawing a lot of streamers to it, DOTA became a thing, and on top of that, the competitive Starcraft scene seemed to become way too competitive. Even in Scarlett's early successes, the main methods of victory by players were based on macro strategy; execute a build, make a "deathball", and roll that ball into your opponent. If your opponent built the wrong deathball and/or couldn't transition quickly enough into a different build, then your ball would roll through their ball and crush them. In many ways, it was reminding me of the Death Star builds in 40k, which were also starting to become a thing (a very reviled thing) in the 40k community. Gone were the things that I loved about seeing those matches in Ottawa; using just a few units to pick apart and destroy an enemy better than a whole army could. Gone was the symphony. I stopped following Starcraft 2.

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Despite what you think, this is about as exciting as watching fiendishly complex long division.

But of course, YouTube wouldn't leave me be.

Something both good and bad about YouTube is how it remembers your history, and let's face it, there are times when there's history you'd rather it forget. I hadn't looked up any Starcraft related stuff in years, yet every week I would see something Starcraft related pop back up in the Recommended Videos section of my YouTube homepage. This past week, I saw that something which had excited me back in Toronto - Scarlett was taking on some big pros. Out of curiosity, I opened a video at 11pm at night in bed and started watching.

I was blown away.

There it was. The symphony! Scarlett wasn't just executing a build order and making a bio-ball or a mech-ball or roach-rush. She was hitting early and using 4 zerglings to dismantle her opponent's entire strategy. She was taking a few roaches and kitting back in and out luring her opponents into traps. She was executing totally unseen strategies to catch opponents off guard. She was trying to get maximum value out of all of her units. And yes, the heavy creep expansion was still there. And the great thing? Her opponents were trying to do the same thing. And there it was! I was hooked again! Seeing these players make actions and attacks this way is a level of the game I can never hope to achieve, and yet, I am endlessly compelled by it. Not going to lie, I am endlessly compelled by Scarlett.

Scarlett's running strong right now. She just won IEM in South Korea (an event co-sponsored besides the Olympics, meant to pair in with it), which, like most Starcraft 2 events, is dominated by South Koreans, defeating Kim "sOs" Yoo Jim, the highest earning Starcraft 2 player in the world. Now, she's at GSL in North America, and has just crushed her way into the Top 8, defeating multiple "favourites to win the whole event" (Joo "ZestSung Wook and Lee "InnovationShin Hyung). I'm hoping she can win back-to-back championships, as she's bringing back the life of the game to me.

Go ahead and check out her amazing ZvP winning match here!

 

Yarium

I am a pretty loud guy. Boisterous even. I have a voice that caries, and I am the kind of person that will forget this fact. To tell the truth, I'm kind of surprised that my opponents don't ask I quiet down a bit. But maybe that's because I'm generally just so excited to play.

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This is how I felt when I first entered a gaming club.

I also like to think that I'm a fun guy to play with for this reason. I don't just want to win, I want us both to feel pretty awesome (and yes, I also want to win, but I want it to be an awesome win). But sometimes you'll find yourself going against someone that isn't awesome. In fact, they may be downright upsetting. These are the people that you hate to win against, or even worse, are the kinds of people that you can't stand it when they win against you. It's also possible that you are one of these people. What can you possibly do?

#1 - Hi, My Name is Yarium, and I'm A Bad Sport

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The first thing you need to do is take a good, hard, honest look at yourself. It's really hard to talk about dealing with other people if you can't deal with yourself. There's always something you can do to improve. Just last night I was playing an opponent, and I was bringing the new Thousand Sons codex with me. I had probably spent a total of 10 minutes beforehand quickly looking through the book, not nearly enough time! I was looking up rules the whole time, and I probably got some wrong. I don't like it when someone does that to me, and I really shouldn't have been doing that to them. Here's some behaviours that you can identify in yourself, which are also easily fixed once identified:

  •  Constantly forgetting rules and having to look them up.

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Pictured: 7th Edition during a Rules Hunt.

Like me last night, this is an annoying thing to be doing to someone else. Nothing slows a game down more and reminds you that you're playing a game with a book and dice and paper, instead of a fantastical battle between devastating armies flinging scientific and magical might. Solution here is easy; learn your rules. Since that's pretty hard though, get some tap tabs that you can adhere to certain pages in your books, generally to the ones that give you the most trouble. For me, that's my Primarchs (because they have SOO many rules) and the psychic powers. For Thousand Sons, if I'm going to play more with them (hint: yes), I will be writing little cards for the different characters that have their powers written, in brief, on them that will follow them along the battlefield. Anything that helps you not have to ever bring your your army list or rulebook is a plus, but you absolutely want to have those on you at all times too!

  • Rolling dice before explaining what you're doing.

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Somehow the banker always wins.

You want to pick up the opposite of this habit. Why? It's not just your opponent's sake, but for yours as well. Whenever you're going to roll dice, briefly explain what's happening. "My Rubric Marines are shooting at your Scouts. They hit on 3+." This way, if something unforeseen is happening, your opponent has a chance to chime in. "4+. Raven Guard." Bam. It's different. If there's multiple things in play, you can quickly go over them to show that you've thought it through. "Okay, shooting here to here. I hit on 3+; -1 because of your Trait, but +1 for Prescience, so they cancel out.". Where this is helpful is when you have a great opponent that will then remind you when things are in your favour that you didn't notice. You go to pick up a dice that didn't hit, and your opponent reminds you that it did, in fact, hit.

A big one here is also making sure to explain things when you have a special dice involved. For example, last night, my opponent rolled for his Devastators, shooting at a guy with -1 to being hit. He had 4 dice, and one of the dice results was a "3", which would normally miss due to the -1, but he picked it up. I said "sorry, 3's miss due to the -1 psychic power". He said "That was my Signum.". I asked "so, it affects all the dice?", and he stated "No, my white dice is my signum. It's pretty obvious.". Don't do this! Because a lot of players don't know your army as well as you do. The Signum rule catches me every time, so to me, it just looked like picking up a random dice and saying that it was the signum after-the-fact. There was another dice in the pile that was a one-off colour as well, which extra confused it. Once we got that settled, I knew the white dice was the signum for the rest of the battle, but you always want to make sure in these cases that you call this out. NEVER leave it to common sense on your opponent!

  • Being demanding

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Yes, I get it. I should've finished moving that other squad before starting this one. I'm sorry.

Have you ever faced an opponent that just makes you look up everything, measure ever model's distance, and goes into long rules arguments over basic game rules? These are the players I find to be very demanding; they demand your attention and your over-the-top adherence to precision. Game-wise, this is the same thing as being a Grammar Nazi; your opponent is clearly communicating to you what they're doing, they're moving some models, and they're ending up in a position they probably can be in, but you are making sure they're doing everything exactly carefully. Great example; an Eldar player moves a Wave Serpent about 12 inches, declaring that they're Advancing while doing so. You don't need to have them measure it out, or even roll a dice, because they're really well within the Wave Serpent's potential 17 inch move. What you might do here is ask "You sure you want to advance? You probably don't need to to get there.", which, again, may result in them correcting you. "I have an upgrade that makes me -1 to being hit, but only if I Advance."

My advice to you? Learn to lay off. How to learn that? Try teaching some new players. They are going to make SO MANY MISTAKES. But instead, let the simple ones roll on by. They can be corrected later. After my match last night, I showed some teens how to play. They were probably measuring "front to back", so were gaining a bunch of extra inches, but that didn't really matter. What mattered was teaching them to roll dice at each other and have fun doing it! They will be corrected later, if they decide to pick up the game, but until then, who cares? Those are details they don't need to worry about yet.

#2 - Be Humble in Victory

So, Yarium, how about you get to what's in the title already? Okay, okay.

You're riding high after a victory. It doesn't even need to be the victory over the whole game; it could be that you finally killed Roboute Gulliman, and you're ready to hoot and holler over it. Whatever kind of victory it is, it's nice to not be an ass-hat about it, but to be humble about it. This becomes ESPECIALLY difficult when you have an opponent that isn't being gracious in defeat, and starts whining about your stuff being OP, or gets mad at you for taking a list like that, or saying that something was unfair and unscrupulous. Even in these situations, though, it's possible to help redeem the game and the emotion of that game.

  • Validate Your Opponent's Emotions

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Don't hug gamers. Unless it's Yarium. Then hug the crap out of him.

"Wow, yeah, I did have a lot of shooting. Yup, I can see how you feel that Space Marines get so much access to rerolls that it's crazy. It really is a pretty powerful list."

This is the first step in helping an opponent, especially a bitter one, to start feeling better. You need to show them that you do see that they're hurting, and that you understand why they're hurting. It's okay if you're wrong about what is hurting them, because they'll see that you're trying. You're not necessarily having to agree with them, but that you can understand and appreciate their point of view. There are lots of players you don't have to do this with, but for difficult opponents, it can be helpful.

  • Frame a Positive Moment For You As Negative

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Good advice, regardless of the situation.

"Wow, and you weren't able to stop that Warptime power. You tried to deny it, but just couldn't get there, even with the reroll! Dang!"

It's a truth of our game that, oftentimes, the best thing for you is the worst thing for your opponent. When you make save after save it feels great, but for your (difficult) opponent it feels like defeat after defeat. You've probably even felt this yourself when all the dice go your way, and none of your opponents' dice do, as if it is somehow shameful. As such, when your opponent is stressed at the loss, agree with them. What cruel twist of fate caused such a thing to happen! It was great for you (and you can even state as such), but that you definitely would feel the same if it was reversed.

  • Compliment Your Opponent

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My Chainsword is called "Natural Selection".

"I really appreciate you sticking in there for as long as you did, and giving me a tough, solid game. It's so refreshing to fight someone that's thinking really tactically, and you helped to test my limits."

When you're losing, it can feel like nothing went right. Hearing from your opponent that they had a hard time because of you can help you feel like stuff did, in fact, go right! Try to avoid complimenting their dice rolls, and focus on their actions instead. People enjoy blaming the dice for failures, but don't like to attribute dice to success. They want to hear that a decision they made had consequences. Even if it's just from a list-building perspective. Find something to make them feel good.

For most cranky opponents, these three steps will help get them out of their funk at least enough that they can start feeling good about the game again.

#3 - Be Gracious In Defeat

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No joke here. This is about being awesome.

Of course, the opposite can happen too. You can get crushed, and your opponent is a sore winner, rubbing your face in your defeat. How to tackle this? To be honest, I don't really know, mostly because I haven't encountered someone like that since high school! However, I'd say that most of the previous steps should pretty much apply. Congratulate them on that ass whumping, frame a positive for you as a negative for them ("Yeah, and you couldn't gotten me EVEN BETTER had you done this..."), and compliment them on such a good game. Get that out of your system and you can start backing away from them where they can feel like they got to hold that win over you, without you needing to sit around for 15 minutes listening to just how thoroughly you got butchered.

Hope this all helps!

Happy gaming!
 

Yarium

Towards the end of 7th, there wasn't a lot of the game I was enjoying, but there was one thing. Kill Team.

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(A real Toy Soldier's game.)

Kill Team is a 40k modification that's been around since 4th edition in one form or another, but the more recent adaptations can pretty much be surmised as "You have one squad. Go." You have an incredibly small number of forces compared to your normal game (I guess, that is, unless you're Orks, Tyranids, or Imperial Guard), and have to use them to cover the whole table. Each model in your army ALSO acts as its own unit, which had a world of effects.

However with 8th edition bringing 40k into its new form, a lot of the rules for Kill Team don't quite make sense any longer. As such, Dropping Dice is proud to bring you his rules for 8th Edition Kill Team!

 


Step 1: Building Your Army

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(Not that kind of building!)

Kill Team Detachment:
Your army in Kill Team must be a 200 point, Battle Forged list made from the following Kill Team Detachment, and no other detachments:

Quote

Troops: 0-2
Elites: 0-1
Fast Attack: 0-1
Dedicated Transports: May include one for each other choice.

Restrictions: All units must be from the same Faction. This detachment must have at least four models in it that are not a Vehicle or a Monster. Your army may not include any models with a Relic, and you may not use Command Points to purchase additional Relics for your army.

Command Benefits: Your Warlord gains the Character keyword if he or she doesn't already have it.

 


Step 2: Choosing Your Warlord & Specialists

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(The only Warlord I need. :x )

Leaders:
Your Warlord, which in Kill Team is called your Leader, can be any model in your army, except it may not be a Vehicle or Monster. Just like in a normal game, you may choose a Warlord Trait for your Leader to have.

Specialists:
In addition, you must select at least one non-Vehicle, non-Monster model in your army to be a Specialist. Specialists are highly trained/gifted/lucky individuals with fantastic abilities. Whenever you select a model to be a Specialist, choose one Stratagem for that Specialist, and deduct the Command Point cost of that Stratagem from your Command Point Total (you may not select a Stratagem that would put your Command Point Total below 0). If you use the selected Stratagem during the game and choose the Specialist to receive its benefit, you can use the Stratagem for 0 Command Points instead, making the Stratagem effectively free to use!

You must use as many Command Points as you are able to this way before the battle begins. You may select the same Stratagem more than once. (All the regular rules for Stratagems apply.)

 


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(Alternative Title - 7 Highly Effective Ways to Crap Your Pants)

Step 3: Playing the Game

Deploying Your Army:
When you deploy your army, deploy each model in your army as if it were a separate unit. That model will remain a separate unit from all other models for the entirety of the battle. If anything causes you to create a unit of models, instead it creates the same number of models, with each model being a separate unit.

Additionally, Tactical Reserves are not used in Kill Team. Each model in your army must be on the battlefield at the start of the first game turn.


Psychic Powers:
During Kill Team, no player can attempt to cast the same psychic power more than once each turn, including the Smite psychic power.


Morale Phase:
During this phase, if you have taken any casualties this turn, your Leader must make a Battleshock test. Roll a dice and add the number of models from your army that have been slain this turn. If the result of the Morale test exceeds your Leader's Leadership characteristic, the test is failed. For each point that the test is failed by, one model in your army must flee and is removed from play. You choose which models flee from your army.

If your Leader has fled or was slain, choose any other model in your army to take the Battleshock test instead of your Leader, however, a number of models equal to the dice result must flee and be removed from play, even if the test is passed. If the test is failed the dice result is the minimum number of models that flee instead.

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(Every dude in this image is awesome in Kill Team.)

Yarium

Games Workshop has done it. They've righted the 40k Ship. It took editions to happen, but they have now been relentlessly responding the the entire Warhammer community (both AoS and 40k), they've put out a great product with Aos and 8th edition, they are getting involved with the community for competitive events, and they've already released 11 codexes, and another 4 will be out soon (with Thousand Sons coming out this week!). They're making so much content you'd think they must be on some serious drugs to just be constantly churning out this much material.

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(this is how I write so many words)

But this begs the question... then what?

GW has flat out told us that they are going to have all the codexes for ALL Factions that currently exist before the end of the year. That's a huge number, and it's very impressive. Heck, on top of this, GW seems to be getting into the spirit of making new factions too, with the Custodes getting their own release recently, and Death Guard and Thousand Sons each becoming a full on faction to themselves. However, it's impossible to think that this is going to keep going on forever. Eventually, won't we tire of "Space Marine Chapter #37, the Pussycat Warriors" along with their associated Catpost Engine and Prrr-Weapons? Sure we will, so there's gotta be something else in the tank.

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(I don't own a cat. How do I cat?)

Here's a few ideas of what could happen from Dropping Dice:

#1 - 40k 9th Edition
The easy answer, when they're done the codexes, they just do it all again! Chances are this time there won't be any indexes, as that was part of the big change to the newer system, which only happened between 2nd and 3rd, and 7th and 8th, so it's likely we'll go some time before seeing such a major shake-up. Instead, this would likely be bringing the main rulebook into line with the faq's so that things are just correct straight out of the book. You would say goodbye to the sheer beauty of 10 pages of rules, but the added precision is always appreciated.

It's also possible that GW will try to upend everything AGAIN, and again update all the indexes. However, there's a couple of reasons that I don't think this would be the case:
- The players who most recently got a new codex, likely just a month back, will feel like their purchase was worthless when it's scrubbed maybe even just weeks before the big new edition.
- Unlike 7th, where many people bought Indexes for all their stuff (I myself got 3 of them), people would be hesitant to drop the same amount of money, knowing their stuff could be RIGHT around the corner. Even lots of Space Marine players were annoyed in 8th with getting an Index, only for it to be IMMEDIATELY invalidated by a codex. The main reasons to have it now are to reference for things not in the codex, like Librarians on Bikes.

Either way, players will again be waiting on their codexes for another kick at the can. GW, meanwhile, will still have to be something something with their modelling division. What happens on this front? My bet would be that you'll see yet more updating of product lines into the newer style that 40k has taken on. More Primaris Marines, fewer Eldar Guardians, that sort of thing. Again you'll see certain sub-sections of factions receiving the new hotness. This is also when we'll likely see things like Librarians on Bikes dropped completely, now totally phased out. If they again did Indexes, we might see other units shown to be on death's doorstep with units appearing in the Indexes that, again, aren't in the codex. While I doubt it will happen with 9th, this is where you'll see Tactical Marines die one day.

#2 - 40k 8th Edition, Version 2
Another really easy answer, don't change anything! Just start re-releasing codexes again. Same formula as before, same changing things up and introducing new models. If they went with this version though, I can almost guarantee that some bigwig is going to tell them to put in Formations again. And then again, maybe Formations can now work! Maybe the structure of the game has evolved to a point where we can support it, where it feels like you're actually spending something to gain access to formations rather than just "free" bonuses. Right now you can still get free bonuses (pick a Chapter, go), but there's enough other restrictions that these don't feel quite as free. You can't take Eldar alongside your Tau, for example.

I can imagine them bringing back Formations for sure, though again, there might be some added caveats that weren't there before. Maybe Formations would cost posts (as they right and well should have), or maybe they'll be Formations that get a certain Stratagem for free. Either way, they may not be here yet, but one day you will almost certainly hear that name come across the floor again. Formations spurred purchases for a lot of non-selling items, and it'd be ridiculous to think that this concept doesn't cross their desk again.

#3 - 40k, Redifined
One thing we hadn't seen at all since last year has been any focus on things outside of Matched Play. It's been a fast and furious year so far, but at some point, GW is going to bring these things back up. I wouldn't be surprised if 2019 is the year they do it. This would mean seeing GW trying to sell the game through modifications to the game. Apocalypse, Kill Team, and more. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if they made a 40k version of Blood Bowl.

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(Maybe the best image in all of the game.)

The only thing about this approach is that it is you're mostly targeting players that are already tired of the main game experience. These games are fun, but there's often a "surge and fade" pattern to them; they'll be very popular for a few months before again rescinding into relative obscurity. At best, this approach would be giving GW a buffer space between editions, allowing them a period for players to get tired and eager to buy something new.

#4 - 40k, The Expert Set
What if all of this is just the beginning? What if 40k isn't just going to be for casual games and fun tourneys? What if 40k is going to become something serious? This is pretty out there possibility, but it could be that 40k will diverge into a Match Play and Casual Game system, where Matched Play becomes accompanied by a whole extra layer of rules. And before you scream heresy, consider the following;

- Horus Heresy is already a thing, and still follows the 7th edition rules. There is already a divide in this sense, with players who want to have a "more complex" set of rules. However, this is still set in the 31st millenium, not the 41st (or is it now 42nd?) millenium, so there are players out there that think they can't play the game how they enjoyed (pfft, really folks?) but don't realize there's already a spot for them. An "Expert Set" might fix this.

- There were rumours last year of just such a thing being worked on. Likely those were silly rumours at the time, but they were well received.

A differentiation between your Tourney-goers and your Casual-players could allow GW to resell to a specific player group, without having to upend the whole kit and kaboudle.


So there you go! What do you think?


BTW...

Did you notice that these blogs have a subscribe/follow button? I kid you not! Scroll right up, just above this blog post, and you'll see a "Follow" option on the right. Click it, and you'll be notified (assuming you want to be), and you'll make one happy Yarium.

Yarium

Yarium here today with an important lesson.

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(Written in large, friendly, letters.)

There will be times in your life when things seem to go horribly, terribly wrong. Your Mortarion dies turn 1 before you even had a chance to move him, you draw 5 Mountains and no creatures on your second mulligan, or there's a Reaper in your mineral line killing all your Probes RIGHT NOW. Or maybe, like I did yesterday, you lose your wedding ring in the snow while brushing your car off. In these moments, one could be forgiven for panicking and maybe doing things that, on reflection, they shouldn't do. You shouldn't throw the game, you shouldn't keep the hand, you shouldn't "select all -> attack", and you shouldn't dive into the snow and start thrashing all about.

We say "don't panic", because when you do panic, you tend to make things worse than they already are. You're trying to achieve a "quick fix" that'll immediately reduce your stress level, but if the quick fix doesn't work, you may have made the situation worse, which will now only heighten your stress level. When you throw your game, you literally can no longer win. When you keep a 5-land hand, you reduce your chance of winning more than taking another mulligan, and if you throw all your Probes at that Reaper, it'll just hop up and down the ledge and you lose all your mineral production in the meantime. Or... you might end up pushing the ring even further away, and now it's no longer in the area that it should be.

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(Note: Wearing may cause invisibility and malevolence.)

Yes, panicking is a generally BAD THING to do.

So how do you help prevent yourself from panicking?

#1 - Talk To Someone, Anyone.
For most of the games we play, and for most things in life, we are not alone. We have friends, partners, and even our opponents. The main thing people are looking for in life is to feel some kind of connection with something or someone, and it's pretty amazing what happens when we find it. When we verbalise what we're feeling, we feel like someone else is listening, and we are able to pull ourselves back from whatever mind state we're in. Even if it's not totally, that little bit can help. The great thing is that you don't even need to see this person as a friend - you just need to know that they are present and listening. So when Morty dies, talk to your opponent and commiserate that you lost a big and important model from your army. They will either say "yeah that sucks" or "yeah, that was awesome, I can't believe I did that", but either way you will have forged some kind of connection with them. The only one where this isn't really an option is in a game like Starcraft where your only form of communication may be written text, but even here, saying it out loud to yourself can still help. "He's raiding my worker line. What do I do?" is a statement that will at least prep yourself for a next step and avoid panicking.

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It's wonderful when you're playing a game with friends, like a game of "find the wedding ring", because your friends will have all sorts of useful suggestions they can make. "Look in the immediate area." "Did you check that space between your hood and your front-end-bra?" "Pour boiling water on the snow to melt it." "Get a metal detector." Even if not all of these statements are helpful, they all make you feel like you're not alone in your suffering.

I find this step works best because it's more than just "count to 10". You're engaging your brain in a totally new way that forces it to stop thinking about the blood gushing from your hand, and start thinking about how to properly communicate to the person in front of you exactly how deep the saw cut through the bone.

#2 - Make a New Plan

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Once you're no longer panicking, you need to keep yourself from that panic coming back. The best way to do that is to come up with a plan. You may have had a plan, but that plan is over. It's done. You no longer can win because Mortarion just goes unopposed, you can't just aggro and burn your opponent out, and that sick 3-Gate build you've perfected isn't going to go so perfectly. The ring is not just going to magically appear.

So, now you need a new plan that is going to have a chance at working. It may not be what you wanted to do, and the chance of it working may not be as high as your original plan, but you need to have something. You need to say "okay, we're going to try and grab each objective we can" or "I need to keep them from assembling a force that just kills me, so I can win with my flyers" or "I'll lose some time for my 3-Gate by sending half my probes, while I keep building more probes.". In the case of the ring it may be "I am going to boil pot after pot of water and expand in concentric circles from the point that I lost it."

This plan doesn't need to be good, but it does need to be something. It should be a plan that gets you started with performing some kind of goal or task in a methodical manner so that you're not immediately losing the game or making things worse. The great thing is that sometimes you have someone there to help too. You might have a teammate, or a mentor, or a family member. These are those times when you want to use these people. They are there for you, and they know this is important for you. They can boil water while you keep searching or making phone calls. They can tell you what their army is still capable of achieving on its own and tell you if a plan is going to work or not. Even your opponent can tell you lots of things if you start paying attention to how they respond to what you're doing.

#3 - Improve the New Plan
Now that you've got something going, you can adjust and improve your plan. If possible, let your partner take over for a minute while you re-evaluate. Since your new plan is keeping you from not losing, and because you're no longer panicking, you can approach the problem as if it were something new. In many ways, looking at your problem as if you just showed up is a helpful way to think. "Hey, there's a guy here losing to a Reaper rush! I've seen this before on Twitch, and this is what Lightning-Pwner-Elite-Gamer-Dude says to do!"

Me? I did a quick Google Search for a metal detector. Princess Auto has them, but refused to rent one out to me or help me in my situation (so, in my opinion, they are jerks and I encourage you to never go to them).I think called the police station (no, not 9-1-1, just the station itself) and they put me in touch with this gentleman; https://theringfinders.com/Douglas.Bennison/

Your revised plan is going to have a better chance at winning than your "not lose plan". After an hour, the guy showed up, and another 10min later my ring was found.

If you stop and consider what's going on around you, you can make sure you don't lose, re-adjust your plan, and then just maybe there'll even be a chance you win!

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Happy gaming!

Yarium

This came up on the forums here lately, so I decided that maybe it was a good time to tackle this nebulous issue that faces our hobbies.

Rules Lawyers are a type of player personality that shows up in all games that rely on players performing the mechanics of the game. If you are drawing cards, measuring distances, or rolling dice, you are performing the mechanics of the game. This is different from a computer game, where they program performs the actions and limits your actions; you can't just choose for a Firebat in Starcraft to auto-kill everything it shoots at. In games where you have to perform these mechanics, there is a level of trust and understanding that are required to implement the actions in the game truthfully. If not, it would require looking up the rules each and every time anything happens.

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"So, you see, the Dragon can't cast the Stoneskin spell, because it has a Somatic Component that is impossible while I'm holding its tail."

You can already see where this is going I'm sure...

A Rules Lawyer is born when a player stops trusting that the game mechanics they are playing by are the same rules that everyone else is playing by. They begin to re-look and re-examine every single rule, every time. Usually they don't look up rules for their own actions, since they believe they are playing correctly, but they will look up and argue the minute details of your actions. This isn't to say that Rules Lawyers are a bad thing though. A Rules Lawyer can be helpful to make sure that a game is played correctly, and as intended. For example, I've played games with friends, and I've messed up a LOT of rules in those games, thinking something was fine to do when it wasn't. Thankfully, I have a friend who is one of these good Rules Lawyers. He reads the rules for our board games while we're playing, not interrupting anyone, and pointing out what we've gotten wrong, and we end up having better games for it. (FYI, in case you read this, thanks Brett!)

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Unfortunately, just like a Rules Lawyer can represent the Good Lawyer whom fights against injustice and those that abuse the system, there's also the Evil Lawyer, whom fights for corporate greed, getting away on technicalities, and scoring big on frivolous lawsuits.

The negative type of Rules Lawyer isn't interested in playing a fair game, but rather on exploiting the rules to either prevent players from playing the game the way it was meant to be played, or exploiting their opponent's lack of rules knowledge to allow them to cheat, while deflecting suspicion by accusing others of cheating instead. When people talk about Rules Lawyers in a negative light, this is the kind of player they're referring to.

Interestingly, the negative type of Rules Lawyer seems to be uniquely, uh, unique, to Tabletop Wargames. I think this is because the rules for moving models in a 3-dimensional space generally become very, very complex, and because no Tabletop Wargame to date has yet to create a comprehensive rules set, only a generic rules set. In Magic: The Gathering, for example, there is no real judging of people negatively for being "Rules Lawyers". People in that game tend to only care that they are playing the game correctly. However, in Magic, these Lawyers can back themselves up with a super impressive 227 page document of comprehensive rules, and can even become accredited Judges within the Magic Tournament system. That's a hard bar to beat! For the rest of the article, I'm going to call this type "Rules Abusers".

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These Rules Abusers seem to be more prevalent in tabletop wargames, so what can you do to protect yourself from them?

First off, you need to know if you're dealing with a Rules Lawyer or Rules Abuser. Most of the time you're dealing with the former, and they just aren't very good communicators. Take a moment and consider whether or not the information they're giving you is something very specific that could only possibly hurt you, or something very general that affects everyone in the game. If it's the latter, it's more likely to be a Rules Lawyer. Rules Lawyers will often call themselves out on things they're doing wrong, and will also tell you rules where they help you do something you wanted to do better than normal! In my recent game against Kevin (see; http://recklessassaultgaming.com/index.php?/entry/6-yarium-vs-kevin-40k-competitive-battle-report/), Kevin at one point thought all of his models in a transport were dead because I had surrounded it. However, due to our base sizes, there were spots he could come out, and despite it being in my interest for them to all die, I argued (maybe a bit too heavily even) that they were not dead. A Rules Lawyer like this is trying to make sure you're armed with the most knowledge at your disposal. If you disagree with this Rules Lawyer, offer to help look it up. Put a time limit on it as well. "Hey, if we can't figure this out in 3 minutes, can we just roll for it?" is a great way to diffuse this Rule Lawyer, because it tells them that it's not that important to you, and you'd like to keep the game moving ("rolling for it" means one player picks one side of the argument to win on a 4+, and on a 3 or less the other side wins). A good Rules Lawyer will understand that the fun of the game takes precedence, and spending 15min debating is not fun for most people, and will agree.

However, if the person is a Rules Abuser, then this method isn't going to work. You can tell a Rules Abuser by the fact that they tell you one thing, and then go and do a different thing themselves. That's not 100% the case, but it's a great warning sign. Rules Abusers tell you that they can see your units to shoot at them, but you can't see theirs. The best way to deal with a Rules Abuser is to first talk to them. "I really don't think this is correct. Can we please look it up?" is a great line, because a Rules Lawyer is more than happy to do this, while a Rules Abuser wants to avoid being proven wrong. Make sure they show you the rule. If they do this kind of thing a few times, you can say "I think it would be helpful if you become more familiar with your army's rules before our next game. I didn't really enjoy having to stop so frequently to look up these rules." This is a great line that expresses your frustration without resorting to insults, tells them what they need to do to be a better player, and gives you a reason to decline a game with them in the future - especially if you're hearing from other players that this person has not improved.

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Finally, there's a type of Rules Lawyer that seems to not actually want to play the game. These are people that take internet arguments as law, despite clear and obvious reasons why the game is not intended to be played that way. For example, here's a recent "rules discussion" from Dakka Dakka; https://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/749134.page

In this, one user is arguing vehemently that Howling Banshees can't make 15 inch charges. The Howling Banshees have a rule that let them declare charges up to 15 inches away, but the user is pointing out that the rule doesn't work, because it still doesn't let you select a target further than 12 inches away. But, if the rules doesn't work, and literally cannot do anything extra to the basic rules of the game, then GW would not have given them the original "declare 15 inch charge" rule. This is a great case where the intent of the rules, allowing you to both declare a charge and select a target within 15 inches, is clear. If someone tries to argue this kind of rule against you, tell them that the intent is clear. Ask if you can continue the game as normal, and that you'll post this question later and try to get a clear answer (Dakka Dakka really isn't terrible; they try to get to the core RAW, but often will admit what the intent of the rule is too along the way, except for a few purists there that can't seem to get it in their skull that there's an intent to the rules too, and cause 15+ pages of literally arguing the same point circularly. If you see a Dakka Dakka post go more than 5 pages, it's really not worth the time to read more than the first 2 pages.). The local forums here can also be helpful, as these are actually people you can expect to have games with!

Almost forgot too; if this is a tournament, just ask the TO. It's easy to do, and the TO's ruling is law for that event. Don't argue it a bunch, just present your case, and move on. Debate it later.

Finally, if none of this works, it's time to go. "I'm sorry, but I don't believe we can agree to have a friendly and enjoyable game. It seems clear to me that you are more interested in arguing semantics rather than playing an honest game, so thank you, but I concede." They may win the game, but you're not going to give them any satisfaction in that win, and you don't have to play them again. I have never in my adult life come across someone that warrants this level of a response, and I doubt you will either, but it's a last ditch option if you need it.

Thanks for reading!

Yarium

This past weekend, January 20th, 2018, Mr. AG and myself were able to go to a double's tournament in Parry Sound, Ontario, for the annual Hellmouth event! We had a lot of fun, met some great people, and even came away with some door prizes (plus an honourable mention and plaque for Best Sportmanship). But what fun is a tournament if you don't tell people about it? So here's the first Tournament Report in this blog!

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Morning Sausage 'N Egg McMuffins - the breakfast of champions on the road.

Each player was required to bring a maximum of two detachments, one of which had to be a battalion, and were allowed a single Lord of War each. On top of that, we'd have a single Warlord between the two of us, and our Psychic Powers for the day were to be rolled for once at the start of the tournament, and be held the same all day. I'll get back to these points later, but our lists were something we thought would do quite well regardless of these rules adjustments. Mr. AG brought an Astra Militarum force of Catachans, with three Leman Russ tanks (one Battle Tank, one Plasma-cutioner, and one Demolisher Tank Commander), forty infantry, six Bullygryns with a mix of shields, Primaris Psyker, and a Callidus Assassin. His list was to be the Anvil, and he was going to stack up a ridiculous number of Command Points with a Command Point Farm of Warlord Traits and Relics (every command point spent, ours or our opponents', would give Mr. AG a 5+ roll to receive a Command Point, and every stratagem our opponents' used would give him another 5+ roll for a Command Point, AND during the first turn, the Callidus Assassin would force our opponents to have to use an extra command point to get off their stratagems on a 4+). I would be the Hammer, three squads of Alpha Legion Chaos Space Marines with Lascannons, twenty Khorne Berzerkers, a Lord and Exalted Champion, and Mortarion. My job was to throw them immediately off balance with two must-answer threats that could interact with my opponents pretty much right away.

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Tammy, the TO, announces how the day's going to go down.

 

Our first game was against a mix of Dark Angels and Orks, and our plan went off pretty much perfectly. Mortarion had rolled up Miasma of Pestilence for a power, and so the Orks' shooting against him was much less effective, and Mortarion proceeded to kill off about 1750 points of our opponents' armies on his own (he defeated a Talonmaster, Sammael on Corvex, 5 Scouts, Ghazghkull Thraka, Mad Dok Grotsnik, a Weirdboy, 40 Ork Boyz, 4 Nobz with Klaws, and a Waaagh Banner bearer). Aaron took down the rest of the Ravenguard bikers, with the Bullygryns clobbering the bikes that came in close, or blasting them apart. Only Mortarion was lost in that fight, with no other models from our army being removed.

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Yes, they played Orks. Of course they played Orks!

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Chaos "snipers". Should've armed these guys with Miss-ile Launchers for how much they did that day.

 

In our second game, we went up against Skari, from SkaredCast, and his Dark Eldar teaming up with Crimson Fist Primaris army. This was an incredibly tight game that kept going back and forth, with Mortarion and Khorne Berzerkers hitting hard during the early game, followed up by Bullygryns, and keeping him pinned back. After 4 long turns, time was called, and Skari's team came out ahead. Both sides were devastated, but some great last Maelstrom pulls and a couple decisive rolls had kept it in his court. Definitely a game to remember!

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"Hello Boys." Mortarion - deadly as ever - slays Pedro Kantor. A Morty-explosion here might have won us the game! Alas, no more command points!

 

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It may look like ol' Iron Hands Strakken was chasing away some Reavers, but I assure you, it was the other way around.

 

Our final game was a comedy in our first turn, as our opponents took out Mortarion SUPER early (he died pretty much after three units shot at him - he failed almost all his saves, and three times our opponents rolled 6 for d6 damage rolls against him), leaving us really on an uphill battle. Our opponents were a Black Legion force with a Chaos Knight helping them out, and a Salamanders Primaris force. Yes, Primaris were doing quite well for folks today, likely in no small part due to 10-strong squads of Plasma Wielding Hellblasters (the damage output of these units, even poorly supported, is awesome in the truest sense of the word). We even somehow almost pulled it back, as at the end of the game our opponents had to table us and were only a couple victory points ahead with nearly nothing remaining!

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I've done you a favour and not shown you this board from the top down. This board induced a lot of nausea.

 

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What an impressive Chaos Knight! Lot of bits from other spots really came together here for an impressive centrepiece model!

 

So three really fun matches! I learned a lot of lessons (like making sure to see an opponent's list at least to make sure you remember to declare a target for your Murder Sword!), and despite the 2-1 loss, I thought we did a really great job, as our scores were not at all indicative of how thoroughly entertaining and close our games were.

I'd like to again thank Crafts n' Things for hosting this tournament.

Now, there were some issues with the tournament that caused a lot of people from Sudbury to drop out. Firstly, I do want to say that this tournament may not be for everyone. While the players are of a high quality, there was definitely a focus on "cool things first", and "power" second. Despite going 1-2 loss, I still think that Mr. AG and I had the strongest list there, and it was our mistakes that lost us game 2, and we nearly bounced by game 3 despite the devastating initial loss. A lot of people took stuff that was strong, yes, but you could feel it from people's lists that these were the forces they just wanted to play with, rather than trying to game the system.

This isn't a good or a bad thing, but it is something to note. If someone showed up with an extremely high end list, I think there'd have ended up being some sour faces on both sides, especially if a few misplaced comments got dropped in the open. One side would say that the players with the strong lists just were power gamers, and the other side would say that the changes made were trying to just protect local players.

While I do think this worked, in the sense that only people that didn't really care about having as well oiled a list as normal showed up, I also think that there was a better solution that would have made the tournament more open to all players. Quite simply, I think the TO should just come out next year and tell people that this is a casual-style tournament, and they want to see people play with below average lists. In many ways, the lists here were of the same quality that made up the BPO. It doesn't mean you can't bring Magnus, Mortarion, or Gulliman (heck, I brought Morty!), but it does mean that the enjoyment of the game really does need to take precedence. On more than a couple of occasions our opponents made "bad" tactical decisions in order to promote "cool" gameplay (each time it didn't really matter in the grand scheme of things at that point in the game).

The second thing I would suggest to the TO would be to find a consistent approach to rules adjustments. My favourite adjustment was requiring a Battalion and then only allowing 1 other detachment. This gave players just enough room to bring cool things, while also being an interesting and brain-twisting constraint (especially at 1250 points). However, the adjustments on how stratagems, psychic powers, and warlord traits worked I think turned off a lot of players. This was because there was a lack of consistency. When you're playing 2v2, the rules get a little weird, but fundamentally you need to choose between either counting both players' armies as just being one very large army commanded by two people, or counting both players' armies as being entirely separate entities commanded by two people that just happen to be on the same table. Waffling between these with some rules (Hellmouth treated Stratagems and Psychic Powers one way, but treated Warlord Traits and Command Points the other way) leads to a lot of confusion, and that degrades the confidence people have that your event is going to be a fun time. Another one here is that it was weird that we could pick Warlord Traits, but not pick Psychic Powers, and it would have made a lot more sense if either you rolled for both, or got to choose both, rather than it being somewhere in-between.

Overall, I think it was a fantastic time, and one I definitely look forward to seeing again next year!

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Next time gadget! NEXT TIME!!!

Yarium

Hey folks!

So I just recently had a game against Kevin from The Basement Collective as part of a Competitive League Mr. AG is running. We played a 2000 point Matched Play game, using the ETC mission packet, and got the mission that was both "The Relic and Conctact Lost" at the same time. Our mission; claim the center objective, and accomplish whatever Maelstrom Cards came up, with "Secure Objective X" cards able to be scored by either player. Here's the army lists:
 

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Kevin's Eldar:
Patrol Detachment (Alaitoc):
- Farseer Skyrunner w-Singing Spear, The Phoenix Gem (Psychic Powers: Doom, Executioner, Mind War)
- 5x Rangers
- 1x Hemlock Wraithfighters w-Heavy D-Scythe, Mindshock Probes (Psychic Power: Protect/Jinx)
- 1x Hemlock Wraithfighters w-Heavy D-Scythe, Mindshock Probes (Psychic Power: Conceal/Reveal)

Harlequin Battalion:
- Troupe Master w-Harlequin's Kiss, Fusion Pistol
- Troupe Master w-Harlequin's Kiss, Fusion Pistol
- Troupe Master w-Harlequin's Embrace, Fusion Pistol
- 5x Players w-4x Harlequin's Embrace, 1x Harlequin's Kiss, 2x Fusion Pistol
- 5x Players w-4x Harlequin's Embrace, 1x Harlequin's Kiss, 2x Fusion Pistol
- 5x Players w-4x Harlequin's Embrace, 1x Harlequin's Kiss, 2x Fusion Pistol
- 5x Players w-4x Harlequin's Embrace, 1x Harlequin's Kiss, 2x Fusion Pistol
- 3x Skyweaver Jetbikes w-Haywire Cannon & Zephyr Glaive
- 1x Star Weavers w-2x Shuriken Cannon
- 1x Star Weavers w-2x Shuriken Cannon
- 1x Star Weavers w-2x Shuriken Cannon
- 1x Star Weavers w-2x Shuriken Cannon 
- 1x Solitaire w-Harlequin's Kiss & Harlequin's Caress

 

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Davis' Chaos:
Battalion Detachment (Alpha Legion):

- Chaos Lord w-Mark of Nurgle, Power Sword (The Murder Sword), Bolt Pistol
- Exalted Champion w-Mark of Nurgle, Power Axe, Bolt Pistol
- 30 Cultists w-Mark of Nurgle, Autoguns, 2x Flamers
- 10 Chaos Space Marines w-Mark of Nurgle, Lascannon, Plasma Gun, Bolt Pistols, Champion w-Bolter
- 5 Chaos Space Marines w-Mark of Nurgle, Lascannon, Bolt Pistols, Champion w-Chainsword
- 20 Khorne Berzerkers w-Chainswords & Bolt Pistols, Champion w-Power Sword, Bolt Pistol
- 10 Noise Marines w-Sonic Blasters & Bolt Pistols, 2x Blastmasters, Champion w-Sonic Blaster, Bolt Pistol

Thousand Sons Super Heavy Auxiliary:
- Magnus the Red (Psychic Powers: Weaver of Fates, Warptime, Death Hex)

Death Guard Super Heavy Auxiliary:
- Mortarion (Psychic Powers: Miasma of Pestilence, Curse of the Leper, Blades of Putrefaction)

 


So, right away you can see that these lists are pretty mean. Kevin was hoping to stack up a bunch negative modifiers to being shot at (his Wraithfighters are almost intrinsically -2 to be hit), while he was just getting his feet wet with Harlequins, and had wisely taken lots of transports for his Players and Troupe Masters, which would give them a much higher degree of protection against shooting (as they're also at -1 to being hit against ranged attacks). However, the forces of Chaos were hoping to get right up close and personal, with a lot of close combat elements, and BOTH Daemon Primarchs. Hey, if you're going competitive, might as well be mean. This would be my first game using both of them outside a mega battle. I also had to choose at this point an enemy for my Murder Sword, and chose the Harlequin Solitaire. These guys rock a 3++, so being able to just deal mortal wounds through that could prove hilariously powerful.

Kevin won the roll to put down objectives first, so I got the pick of which table side to be on. I forgot about that point and probably wasted my last objective marker being put down (I could've made the battlefield lopsided in objectives in my favour). As it was, it was going to be a pretty even split between objective everywhere, and with Hammer and Anvil deployment. Kevin started deploying, and created a wall of Starweavers, with his Farseer and Hemlocks covering behind them. I deployed Morty & Magnus one in front of the other opposite of Kevin, with Noise Marines in a nearby building, and Lascannon totting squads holding objectives and ruins near the back. The cultists formed a huge blog across two objectives, ready to spread out to more as the game went on, and maybe using the Cultist stratagem to come back to life at full strength if they got hammered early. Kevin used a stratagem to put his Solitaire and Skyweavers in the Webway, and his Alaitoc Rangers were going to infiltrate. I had used the Alpha Legion stratagem 3 times to infiltrate in my Lord, Exalted Champion, and Berzerkers.

Kevin won the roll to go first (we tied 5 and 5, but Kevin got +1 for finishing deployment a turn before I did), but then I was able to Seize the Initiative! We then rolled off to see who would set up their Infiltrators first, and I got higher, so was able to set up the Khorne Berzerkers just outside 9 inches of his forces - a terrifying prospect to be sure! With them already right there, Kevin was forced to just put his snipers in a ruin as if he had deployed them there originally.

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Turn 1:
The Khorne Berzerkers, Morty, and Maggie, all moved on up towards the pointy-eared ones, while the Cultists advanced and started moving to cover a huge area and as many objectives (and the Relic, though not yet) as they could. In the psychic phase, Maggie was able to slingshot Morty forward, putting one starweaver within his 7" bubble. Magnus also got off his +1 Inv save (so a 3++, rerolling 1's), and got off a d6 smite, but it did the max 6 damage and wiped out one of the Star Weavers! Morty tried to cast Curse of the Leper on the Farseer, but the Farseer was able to deny it. Nothing much happened in shooting, due to the major penalties against the Chaos shooting, but the Khorne Berzerkers were able to kill off a squad of Harlequins using their pistols! For charging, Morty and Maggie were both slow, despite using a reroll on Morty, but the Khorne Berzerkers were able to make it in, and destroyed all but one of the Starweavers, and slew 3 of the Rangers (who remained locked in combat afterwards). Good first turn for Chaos.

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Harlequins responded by zooming their flyers into my back lines, while the Players and Troupe Masters got between Morty and the Berzerkers. Despite a huge +2 bonus to deny, the crafty Eldar were able to put Doom on Morty, and then struck at him with about 5 or 6 melta-gun strength shots, but only managed to put him down by 6 wounds. The Wraithfighters evaporated the 10-man squad of marines in the back though, and some minor damage was done to the Berzerkers. Then the Harlequins charged, and I have to admit, I wasn't ready for how much damage they could put out. With a huge number of AP -3 hits and wounds, the Berzerkers were mulched up like nobodies business, disappearing with almost an audible pop! However, the Chaos Lord and Exalted Champion still survived, partially thanks to the Harlequins trying to bring those Fusion pistols in close against Morty.

Points wise, Kevin was ahead on victory points, but the board had so far turned my way.

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Turn 2:
Without their transports, the Harlequins were going to be massively slowed down. If I could kill off all the ground forces of the Harlequins, the Wraithfighters wouldn't count as part of his army to see if he'd be tabled, so I got to work trying to track down all the units I could. Magnus flew up (and Warptimed over) a building to end up just outside of 3" of the Farseer, while Morty got into position to charge multiple different units. The Cultists advanced again up, this time reaching the Relic. In the psychic phase, Magnus was again dominant, getting a 2d6 super smite to annihilate the Eldar Farseer (who then, without anyone within d6 inches to suffer a mortal wound, wasn't resurrected), before regenerating his 3++ Inv shield. Morty got off Miasma of Pestilence again, but then periled on a second power, suffering 1 wound (rolled double 1's, then used a stratagem to reroll into a 1, then rolled a 1 for the mortal wounds, then rolled a 1 for the Feel No Paint - Yahtzee!). In combat, Morty did almost no damage compared to his normal output, only slicing down 4 Players, and failing to finish off a Troupe Master on any wounds on a third unit. Magnus, meanwhile, charged into the Solitaire that had arrived, and although only 2 wounds got through the Solitaire's 3++, with each wound dealing 3 damage, the Solitaire became skewered. The Chaos Lord was able to kill off one Troupe Master in combat, but then died to a second one. The Exalted Champion then (didn't) surprise everyone by declaring himself to actually be Alpharius, so a third Primarch was on the table.

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On Kevin's turn, he was really worried that he'd be down and out soon, so he went for broke and threw as much at Morty as he could. Kevin was able to slay a unit of Marines in the psychic phase due to two Smites from his Wraithfighters, but then wasn't able to put enough damage on Morty to really get him down (only bringing him down to 8 wounds remaining), and settled for the consolation prize of killing my Warlord... I mean Alpharius! However, he only had 1 Star Weaver left, the Skyweavers that had arrived from the Webway, 3 Players, and 2 Troupe Masters left on the ground.

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Turn 3:
I resolved to try and finish this off, giving up my Maelstrom cards to do it. Magnus jumped over to the Star Weaver and Skyweavers, annihilating the Star Weaver with a super smite for 10 damage (and box-cars on the psychic test dealing 3 mortal wounds to Magnus), and removing the Skyweavers' Inv save. Morty slew two Players with Curse of the Leper (which, out of 7 dice, only 2 managed to be a 3 or higher, leaving a crucial 1 player left), but the finished off the last player with his phosphex grenades. The cultists paid for their points, with two flamers burning away one full health Troupe Master before the second was filled with Autogun bullet holes. Being at T2 near Morty REALLY hurts the Eldar to this kind of shooting! Magnus then finished the game off by charging in and destroying the Skyweavers whom, without an Inv save, had almost no protection. With that, all of Kevin's ground forces were destroyed, and he automatically lost the game.

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CHAOS VICTORY!
BRUTALITY (Opponent Tabled)

In all honesty, this was a pretty bad matchup for Kevin, with a number of mistakes added on to boot. My forces excelled in close combat, just like his, but also had some more ways of getting through invulnerable saves, while his lacked that. Right there, that made this an uphill battle for him. And Mortarion is an absolute monster - even when he's not doing anything, he's still doing lots. His auras make just existing around him a more lethal thing to do. With Magnus warp-timing him into fantastic positions, while also being a psychic and combat powerful, the threat overload was just a bit too much to be handled.

Lessons Learned:
- Holy smokes, Harlequins are so much MEANER in 8th edition! Going from a 5++ to a 4++ is a huge increase. I thought they'd melt under my forces, but that 4++ kept them in the fight. I also was thinking of the Harlequin's Embrace as still being "extra attacks", like it was in 7th, but this weapon has undergone a MASSIVE change, making Harlequin units cut through armour like butter. I would say that this should be your main weapon for Harlequins, as the Kiss is just so lacklustre compared to it. One 5-man Player squad nearly wiped out the Berzerkers on their own! Don't think that if you catch these guys in the open that you're safe any longer.

- At the same time, the Harlequin ranged weapons have become much less vicious. Multi-shot weapons, once king, are now just "useful", and Chaos suffered very few casualties to this fire. They might work better against squads of little guys, but against 3+ armour they were very weak. Fusion pistols are still good though, if not better because you're less worried about vehicles exploding in your face.

- Harlequins are impossible, literally impossible, to pin down. If you go for them, just try and kill them, nothing fancy.

- Flyers really are a liability if you're an elite army. That's less models on the ground preventing you from just losing the game.

- Engage targets of significance. The Alaitoc flyers were really mean, but went after some basic Space Marine squads. Ultimately, this resulted in 420 points killing just 258 points worth of models... not that great for 3 turns.

- The Battle Bros, Magnus and Mortarion, and even stronger together than they are apart, able to deal huge damage to just about anything, while both being incredibly resistant to damage, and both able to handle very different targets. Honestly not sure how to handle this duo aside from blasting them to death with a prayer on your lips.

- Never forget; Infiltrators are set up after you learn who goes first, so always be mindful of where units are going to show up!

- Cultists are weak, but huge squads of them can hold a ridiculous number of objectives. At the end of the game, this one squad was holding 3 objectives, and threatening to hold a 4th, all on its own.

Thanks for reading!

Yarium

There was recently an article posted on Bell of Lost Souls about whether or not, in game Warhammer 40k, a roll of 6 should always hit (which can be found here: http://www.belloflostsouls.net/2018/01/40k-op-ed-a-6-should-always-hit.html). Would this be a good idea? Dropping Dice responds!

So, to recap for those who don't want to click the link (and given the torrent of ads on BoLS, I don't blame you), in Warhammer 40k right now there's something that's... well...it's not really a problem until it IS a problem. I'm talking about negative dice modifiers. Let's look at a totally normal situation. A unit of Ork Lootas (BS 5+) needs to move to be able to hit anything for some reason. With their Heavy Weapons, that's a -1 to hit. But oh no! They're fighting Ravenguard (or Alpha Legion, or Alaitoc), and now when they shoot, they're at an additional -1 to hit. This means that their very best roll is no longer good enough to hit their target, it is impossible for them to hit. With every way there is to take these penalties in the game, -2 is very possible when moving and shooting, or even when standing still against Alaitoc or Nurgle Daemons. -3 and even -4 is technically possible too! Yes, for some units, it would be impossible to hit.

And yet... it's always possible to miss.

The first time I really saw this in action and saw just how unfun it would be to play against was in this very recent game by frontline gaming:

In it, Frankie and Reecius do battle between the new Daemons and a fully mekanikal Ork army. It's not a good list from Reecius, but it illustrates the point. For two turns, despite a great number of attacks, Reecius was unable to do any real damage to the Nurgle forces (always wasted a turn of fire on one thing, so had to engage a sub-optimal target, and even then was hard to get through - though that's a bit more unrelated). As the Nurgle -1 (and in many cases, -2) to being hit also applied in close combat, the Orks sometimes were entirely incapable of hitting targets.

And through it, I couldn't help but feel that this isn't what GW intended. I think they intend on things being able to stack these to-hit penalties to make it very HARD to hit something, but didn't intend to make it impossible. Even in the Dark Days of 7th, with Invisibility, you still hit on 6's.

I would imagine modifying this rule (4. Resolve Attacks; 1. Hit roll, pg181) to the following:

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1. Hit Roll: Each time a model makes an attack, roll a dice. If the roll is equal to or greater than the attacking model's Ballistic Skill characteristic, then it scores a hit with the weapon it is using. If not, the attack fails and the attack sequence ends. A roll of 1 always fails and a roll of 6 always hits, irrespective of any modifiers that may apply.

Who would this benefit?

Mainly; Orks. Hitting normally on 5's is rough enough as it is, and Orks will often be hitting on 6's either due to these intrinsic penalties or from moving. Having them not even have any possibility of hitting is a bit of a slap in their green faces. Being able to always hit on a 6 would just give them an out against armies that stack up tons of hit roll penalties. In very rare cases, it will also help all the 4+ to hit armies out there, but those situations are far rarer.

However, we also don't yet have an Ork codex out there. It's totally possible that GW is going to give that rule specifically just to Orks, though chances are it's too late now (I wouldn't be surprised if, given GW's release schedule, the Ork codex is already being printed).

Ultimately, I think this is a change that for 95% of the games being played out there would not make a difference, but would see a big difference and a far more enjoyable time for those folks that get stuck in that 5% of games that do.

Happy gaming!

Yarium

Welcome to Dropping Dice, a blog about gaming life and having fun!

What to do for a first post? That's pretty challenging... need to set the tone somehow.

How about Mega Battles? Whoa boy. The type of everyone loves, but no one can figure out. Ooh wee! 

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What is a Mega Battle? Pretty much, it's a giant-normous game of whatever tabletop wargame you enjoy playing. You take a ton of models, slam them on the table, and are often part of a team of other players doing the same thing against a bunch of opponents. It could also just be 1v1 with two huge armies. Whatever it is, it's going to be huge. "Mega" even. Playing this kind of game is an experience that you should have, at least once in your gaming life. It's truly amazing to see so many models on the table, smashing against each other in huge waves and tides, getting aid from other players or lending your aid to other players.

For as great as these games can be, they have a lot of challenges. For one, these games take a long time. Even if everyone is using a force smaller than what they normally would, people tend to go as slow as the slowest player. This means you're going to want to give yourself a lot of time to do this, and everyone involved should be aware of that time. Furthermore, you can actually use a "time limit" in a way that encourages fast and reckless play, but we'll get into that in a bit.

You will also need to have a clear concept for the battle. Two big forces smashing against each other is fun, but without a clearly defined concept and goal, there will be problems. The biggest problem I find that occurs during a Mega Battle is the First Turn Advantage. Normally in a tabletop wargame, going first is very useful, but not back-breaking. This is because, while a good start is important, the size of the game gets players to really focus how powerful their lists are going to be, and so both sides are often of similar strength simply because players will have discussed things ahead of time. In a Mega Battle, you are encouraged to bring so much stuff that you will often be bringing some of your most powerful toys. This is a good thing, as this is the setting where you want to have these things! However, gamers being gamers, we will try to maximize their use and effect. What often occurs then is that two forces fighting against each other will often be woefully one-sided in terms of power, and even if they are not, the total damage that one side will do to the other in a single turn can often feel insurmountable for the opposing team. If you fail to deal enough damage to the opposing team on your first turn (even going first), the other team's damage is likely to be completely crippling in return.

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In other words, in most Mega Battles I've participated in, it feels like the battle is effectively determined after both sides have had Turn 1. For example, recently I played a mega battle against a friend; 40k, 5000 points each. He had a Thunderhawk, which eats up a massive amount of points, but can deal a massive amount of firepower. Despite getting the first turn, and the explosion caused by that model's death, once I destroyed it (turn 1), I had dealt so much damage to him that it was a nearly impossible turn 2 for him, and by the end of turn 3 he had almost nothing left. This, or something very similar to it, has been the case in every single "two sides smash" mega battle that I have ever been a part of. You need to have a way around this. Here are some of my tips:

#1 - Have a "Game Master":

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You need one player who can organize this game and not play in it. Some people love this position, but they are there to make sure everyone else is having a good time, mediate disputes, keep people on track and on time, and make sure everyone is fed and hydrated. Really, having this type of person is so incredibly important, as they really do make the Mega Battle experience so much better for everyone involved! Always thank your Game Master.

#2 - Multiple Boards, Interacting With Each Other:


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Instead of having just one board that you smash against each other on, have multiple different boards, each with a different objective or something that lets the players on that board do something. You can also do the same thing with truly MASSIVE boards. For example, perhaps there's a location that, if you control it, allows your team to start bringing in reinforcements that are normally automatically available. You are able to perform a ritual that allows you to summon forth units that normally you can just summon at any time, or you fire missiles from an orbiting space ship onto a point of the battlefield.

#3 - Limit "Battlefield" Effects:
You have a model that makes it so that "your opponent" suffers a penalty or "you" gain a bonus? Instead, make this so only you, and not your team, gets the bonus, and only the opponent directly across from you, or things within a regular battlefield size, suffer the penalty. A good example of this was a unit from 40k in 7th that could summon a lightning storm, which would have a 1 in 6 chance of striking each enemy unit. In a normal game, this would be fine, as it might hit 1, 2, or (if you were very lucky) 3 units. However, in a Mega Battle, with there being maybe 60 units on your opponent's team, this would suddenly hit 9, 10, or 11 units - a HUGE amount. It would also hit them even if they were tables away! The only way this kind of thing should be allowed is if there's a requirement that these players need to achieve first (see the first point about interacting tables).

#4 - Different Sized Games are Okay:
Oftentimes, I see people playing Mega Battles where everyone is bringing the same amount of stuff. Mega battles are actually great places to allow each player to bring and play the size of game they want. This is where having different tables that are removed from each other (or very large boards) can be very helpful! If one team starts becoming smaller than the other, give that team some additional bonuses to make up for the difference, like magical barriers, regenerating units, teleportation powers, or more!

#5 - Have a Time Limit:


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Lastly, you want everything to be moving. Set time limits for people to do things in the game, like taking turns, or deployment. You can use these time limits as some additional "carrot and stick" behaviour patterns. Players can bid time for how long they have to deploy, with the team bidding lowest going first, but anything not deployed not being allowed to start on the board. You can issue time penalties to teams that start going over their turn's time limit, like bonuses for their opponents, or penalties on all their actions for the rest of the turn. You can also issue "time sensitive" objectives, like things that appear during one team's movement phase in a dangerous position, but with a powerful bonus if it is achieved, but with a very brief time frame to do so!

Let me end this post with a description of my favourite Mega Battle I've ever been a part of.

I was hosting a New Years Mega Battle in my basement about 3 years ago. It was 7th edition 40k. We had six players. One board was a Kill Team battle over an orbiting Battle Barge. Control over the Battle Barge's control room would allow that player to initiate orbital bombardments on the main table. There was a second table with a Vortex Missile Launcher, which could be fired by whomever controlled it onto the main table as well. The main table was 4000 points of Imperial Guard assaulting 2000 points of Eldar, but the Eldar had a massive Shield Generator that would take all the hits from the Guard, and allow the Eldar to fire out of at no cost. Pretty much, the idea was that the main table's Eldar needed to survive long enough to make it a fair fight, but if the Imperials on the other tables could gain control of their objectives quickly, they'd be able to drop down the shields before the Eldar could whittle down the Guard. The shield almost went down turn 1 (Despite having something like 60 hull points and Armour 14, with "Destroyed" results removing d3 additional hull points). Turn 2 it kicked in the middle of the Guard's turn. At that point, the Imperials still had more units than the Eldar, but the Eldar could at least survive. The game ended with the Eldar and Xenos victorious, but only barely! This, to me, is a great example of how different sized games and different objectives and tables can bring things together, with everyone feeling like they were a part of something truly bigger.

Have fun, and happy gaming!