Monday, August 21, 2017

Grand Cultivator

Catching up on recent news from the gaming sphere, this chap stumbled across my desk, as I'm sure it did yours as well. Slimed on to my desk might have been a better turn of phrase though. This is Nurgle's Grand Cultivator, Horticulous Slimux. 

He is a plague bearer mounted on top of a monstrous garden snail-like creature in essence. I want to make a couple of observations here. Firstly, this miniature is one that has been featured (probably repeatedly) on the official Warhammer Community rumours mill. Check out the legs of the "snail" (I know -- snails don't have legs, but I haven't got another noun for it just yet) -- these are the ones that have been featured on the rumour site over the past few months. 

The miniature itself interests me from a number of different angles. Firstly is the sheer whimsy and joviality involved in the sculpt. By this, I mean the pose and demeanour of Slimux himself, the "face" of the snail, and the hapless nurgling that has been left dangling in front of the snail. Obviously the nurgling is being used as a kind of bait to lure the snail ever onward. Its a bit like the old cartoons of carrots being used of a lure in front of a donkey to urge it onward. The eyes of the snail are directed right at the little nurgling, who in turn is wrapped in in some kind of vine and is looking grumpy about his situation. 

Slimux himself seems to be rather chilled and laid back. He is chewing on an old bone (freshly plucked from the Garden of Nurgle probably) in much the same way as a cartoonish version of a farmer might have some wheat or crop in his mouth. Or at least I think that is what the vibe they were going for is. Given the short length of the bone, it could be that they were going for a cigar replacement instead as well. 

Striking on the painting side of things is the existence of the eyeballs. Not only on the snail, but also on Slimux. In the older fluff, plague bearers would be depicted as having white eyes (almost in totality) to represent some kind of blindness disease. This guy is just yellowed, as is his mount. Speaking of the older fluff, Nurgle and his minions are often depicted as being rather happy. Since through decay comes rebirth of life and vitality. I think this aspect is communicated very well in the sculpt overall with smiles all around (of one kind or another) and a certain level of levity associated with the vibe of what is being depicted. I've not seen this communicated outside of goblins and orcs (Orks) in a long while and its good so see something like this appear after all these years.

Further interesting aspects of the sculpt include the Venus flytrap looking plant on the rear of the miniature painted in red. I have not seen much like this elsewhere. Being towed behind are ploughing implements to break up the land ready for Nurgle's special cultivation treatments. These little details all add up to a very whimsy miniature that looks more ready for happy gardening (or even a party) than warfare. Then again, that is part of the point. Slimux is really harkening back to some of the earlier materials in a way I've not seen in a while. Its a nice new, slightly risky even, direction and one I'm pleased to see the sculptors take. 


Dear Readers,

We are now back from holidays and lining up new posts for the coming week. Thanks for your patience and support (and thank you in particular to those of you who messaged me over the holidays -- I think I've got back to you all now, but if not, just gimme a shout).

More very soon.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Summer Break

Dear Readers,

I will be taking a little break from blogging for the next couple of weeks due to the Northern Hemisphere Summer holidays. 

I hope you have enjoyed the materials so far this year. We will be continuing with the Horus Heresy Review series in the coming months, as well as the usual digest of wargaming, photos, painting, terrain and other assorted hobby goodness. But for now, its time to recharge some proverbial batteries and take a seasonal break. See you in mid-August!

JabberJabber :)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Natural Rock Stacks

Today, I wanted to write about and highlight a set of rock stacks that have been in my collection for some time. They are supposed to represent natural rock formations as might be seen in hot, dry locations around the world as a result of erosion over many millions of years. Not quite buttes, they're more of a set of rocks stacked on top of each other that have resisted further erosion over time. 

Creating these kinds of terrain is actually remarkably simple and easy to do. The key ingredients are:

(1) Plentiful styrofoam;
(2) Hot wire cutter;
(3) Paints;
(4) PVA glue;
(5) MDF base.

Obviously, one doesn't need an MDF base for these items, but I find that it does help preserve the lifetime of the piece. Also obviously, most hobbyists will have paint in their collection. However, I tend to use textured paint for these kinds of projects to try to give a more natural feeling to them. I would certainly recommend that others try them out if they don't already own some. Making your own textured paint can also be achieved through the addition of PVA glue ... but that isn't so kind on your brushes in the long term, so I tend to stick with pre-made and shop-bought textured paint for my projects. Styrofoam packaging is plentiful in this day and age. Just keep some around in your bits box rather than send it to a landfill, and you're sorted.

Perhaps the hardest item to acquire is the hot wire cutter -- I would recommend mail ordering it if you do not live in or near to a major city shopping precinct as they can be tough to casually track down. This is an integral ingredient as it is needed to slice in to the foam and shape it to the desired morphology. To achieve this, I basically rule together cubes of foam on top of each other using PVA glue and base them on the MDF board. I then slice inward and outward at regular intervals to create the rock shapes. 

Painting them over with a dark undercoat and then a textured layer of brown works wonders. A brief dry brush with a slightly lighter vanilla colour and the job is done. Total working time is a couple of hours, but I think the results are very nice indeed.

Below is a picture of the desert themed board that I regularly use them on (top right hand corner). I think they fit in very well here. Although they also don't look too out of place on Martian themed boards either.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Warlord-Sinister Pattern Psi-Titan

Assumed to be granted permission to exist by no less than the Hand of the Emperor Himself, the Warlord Sinister is a psychic version of the regular Warlord Titan.

At some level, I can't actually believe that I'm reviewing this. As amazing as the Warlord is itself, the level of "wow" goes up to eleven with the psychic variant. In short, this titan is fuelled by the mental energies of captured psykers that are subsequently bled to a dry husk in service of the Imperium. Grim.

The psychic pilot rule gives this amazing beast a psychic mastery level of 3 and several reasonable quality powers alongside it. These include the ability nova a cover-ignoring soul blaze, the ability to repair hull points on the move, and a haywire vs vehicles or d6 hits vs toughness things models auto-hit witchfire.

Anything within 12 inches has to take a leadership check or fall back due to its shroud of terror that it emits. And should anyone wish to charge this thing (why would you do such a thing????) has to take a -3 leadership modified check.

It has access to a unique weapon called the Sinistramanus Tenebrae. We shall call it the left hand of darkness for the sake of my spell checker. This weapon has a huge range of 120 inches with an apocalyptic sized blast radius with Vortex / Fleshbane / Poison within the inner, middle and outer circles in play.

On top of this, it is a Warlord Titan. Game breaking AV=15 on the front and sides and a rather impressive 30 hull points behind 6 void shields. I will simply refer the reader to my previous article on the regular warlord titan at this point.

It explodes in a 36 inch radius when it goes down. And it will kill stuff with D strength hits in doing so in all probability.

Other than that, there are really no weaknesses. Thank Alpharius!

Here are two of my suggestions. You cannot go too wrong overall though.

Psi-Titan with Left Hand of Darkness, Titan Power Claw, Two Vortex Missile Banks (3400 points).
This is a close combat titan(!). Fire off the missiles and then get stuck in once the enemy has been softened up with the Left Hand. It gives the opponent a sporting chance at least. Joking. I actually don't even like this build. But its still ridiculous.

Psi-Titan with Left Hand of Darkness, Belicosa Pattern Volcano Cannon, 2 laser blasters (3350 points).
I like the shooting output potential of this titan. I like it a whole lot. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Contemptor Galatus Dreadnought

The best way to describe this dreadnought is as an anchor point. Armed and armoured with some of the best technology in the Imperium and a pilot who was possible a great friend of the Emperor himself, the Galatus is simply an amazing power house for the slaughter of any enemy of the Imperium from within or without.

There are so many strengths here. The Praesidium shield for a starting point is amazing for the fact that it allows re-rolling of invulnerable saves. Better still, it reduces the typical to-hit roll by one (basically non-gargantuan creatures), meaning that its almost certainly going to have an edge in close combat almost all of the time.

The warblade it carries is amazing as well. Shred, rampage and AP2 mean that it will tear in to almost anything. And just for fun, an inbuilt incinerator as well. Who could want for more?

Look, it is not a Caladius. But you knew that already, right? I'm just pointing the Caladius out as it occupies the same force organization chart slot as the Galatus. That is all. There's competition here. And the Galatus doesn't move like a grav tank.

This is a very powerful choice that will literally chew up whole enemy infantry units in close combat. Getting the dreadnought there might be a challenge, but one that it should be surviving. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Caladius Grav-Attack Squadron

The Caladius is a mobile weapons platform in a nutshell. It boasts the Iliatrus accelerator cannon that would later be retro-fitted to the Sicaran for the space marine legions, and can potentially take heavy blaze cannons instead in the much rarer annihilator pattern upgrade.

Fast. Deadly. Lots of fire power. Flexible in a pinch. And very handy to have on your side.

The primary draw back here for me is the armour value of 11 on the rear. Other than that, it really is a decent tank overall and comparable to a predator or a sicaran from the more familiar space marine arsenal.

They are so fast and deadly, that they are rather forgiving on the controlling player and I think they're going to see a good amount of use in either variety.

1 Caladius, armoured ceramite (205 points).
A bit of a baseline build. Take extra armour to taste.

1 Caladius, Blaze Cannons, armoured ceramite (220 points).
An interesting choice here. The exoshock rule can provide a vital extra result for the controlling player that can readily see the demise of any tank it is looking to take out. Overall, well worth the price being paid so long as a good target can be brought in to range. It could be very good against enemy knights for instance. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Sagittarum Guard Squad

Theirs is the laying down of withering firepower from a vast distance. Theirs is also pattern recognition and recall to a scary degree. The ability to read a crowd from a vast distance away and pick out what might happen next are all hallmarks of this incredible group of warriors - rare even for Custodes.

Like all Custodes, they will be tough to dislodge.

The Adrastus bolt caliver is an odd sort of weapon. Its like a heavy bolter to be honest, but with a shorter range. Hence, although they can lay down withering firepower, other squads will do it better.

Arguably, its the second profile that you are taking the Adrastus for: the disintegration beam. With armour bane and AP2, these guys can certainly get almost any job done. But their range is very short.

I'm not sold particularly on this squad. They seem to lack the sheer firepower for their points compared to other heavy bolter units in the game. And the anti-tank mode is perilously short range. Hence they could make good distraction squads to place near enemy tanks. But its hard to see other utility for them as they're bound to get caught up in a tarpit (intentionally or otherwise) after this kind of alpha strike.

3 Sagittarum Guard, melta bombs, teleport transponder (215 points).
I wouldn't really take anything more than this to be honest. Use them to take out a tank and then tar pit the occupants and slowly kill them over the subsequent rounds. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Sisters of Silence Seeker Cadre

Purge the mutant! Cut off their retreat and encircle them all for the future of the Imperium! Or at least that's how I mentally picture this squad being used. The background indicates that their primary use was being deployed on the flanks and the rear of the field to ensure that enemy psykers could in no way escape what was coming for them. More than this, they are also an intimidation weapon. Their presence says to planetary governors that they must comply with the tithe and relinquish psykers to them. I can certainly buy that point of view with ease.

Fundamentally, this is a highly manoeuvrable flamer squad. As such, I think it has a lot of potential. However, to fully exploit it, I would recommend having a transport to unload them out of. Cadre tactics with infiltrate can be a good substitute here as well.

Alternatively, the grenade launchers with psyk-out grenades is a fascinating alternative for them to use.

Like all Sisters of Silence, their toughness is an ever present issue. Hence I think the way to regard this squad is as an alpha-strike squad. Deployed from infiltrate or a vehicle, they should be laying down some significant fire (or fire power!) before retreating away, or tar pitting an enemy.

5 Seekers, Mistress with power weapon (95 points).
Cheap and cheerful. And expendable. Set up with infiltrate to push an enemy to distraction. Take multiples at this points cost to be honest.

10 Seekers, Mistress with power weapon (145 points).
Still cheap. But so much flame!

10 Seekers, each with grenade launchers (185 points).
For when you really need to cause perils of the warp on your enemy psyker. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Pallas Grav-Attack Squadron

The Pallas is supposed to be a hunter-killer with very high quality manoeuvrability and insertion options. It does not disappoint in these arenas. Based on the Coronus, it is smaller and meant to be lighter. It is also flexible in terms of its build.

Fast. Deadly and flexible.

This speeder is actually rather weak in some regards. With only an AV=12 on the front and two hull points, the Pallas will readily be shot down. Hence one needs to think carefully about how to best use these Pallas speeders.

I would advocate here that the Custodes player uses them as a flank attack, rather than straight up the centre. They need to be thinking about exploiting side armours, rear armours and taking care of rear elements of the enemy force.

1 Pallas, extra armour (90 points).
Useful, even if there's only one of them.

3 Pallas, 1 with adrathic devastator, all with extra armour and search lights (293 points).
The points add up fast here. This unit can handle many things in the game, but it must be used intelligently with a specific target in mind.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Agamatus Jetbike Squadron

Custodes on jetbikes? You bet. This is one of the most amazing concepts in the game to be honest. Riding their golden steeds, these bikers are simply amazing and will likely be able to turn the tide of a battle if used prudently.

Where to begin? They've got it all really. Ranging from a toughness that can not be instant killed, multiple wounds, through to firing once with each weapon and re-rolling of charge distances coupled with being armed with power lances, misericordia and bolt cannons. Oh, and there is the usual custodes armour in combination with a refractor field too. Seriously. They're amazing.

I can't think of many. One can argue the points cost is high. But that is justifiably high.

I'd advocate keeping it simple here. They really don't need too many extras. Indeed, the heavy weapons that are optional here are not worth it outside of heavy support options. I'd argue they're not needed. Particularly if you think the jet bikes could get tar pitted with other units (thanks to the power lances perhaps).

3 Agamatus with melta bombs (230 points).
Keep it simple. Things will still die to them.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Sisters of Silence Pursuer Cadre

These sisters are the beast handlers. The ambushers. The quick and the agile. They hunt down targets at the periphery of the main force and given cyber jackals or hawks to help them along.

Let me be honest. I don't actually like this squad too much. Nor do I rate it particularly highly. I think it could have been actuated better than it actually is.

That said, the jackals are reasonably okay. I would take them in preference to the hawks just due to their superior utility for the squad. Although I guess that the hawks could be used as meat shields thanks to the relative high number of ablative wounds.

Other than that, they get fleet and move through cover. I'm a bit "shrug" about this to be honest.

They're still sisters of silence with a human toughness level and therefore very weak and flimsy. The beasts do little to add to this, although the jackals do have T=4 which is competitive with space marines that they might find themselves facing.

Cadre with 3 Jackals, 1 jackal with a flamer; mistress with Charnabal Sabre (100 points).
A bit of a base line build. Take a transport. Take a different unit actually!

Cadre with 6 pursuers, 3 Steeltalon Wings, 3 jackals (140 points).
Still cheap, but with lots of wounds now. Will still fit inside an Acquisitor.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Ramblings about the Death Guard Codex and Miniatures

My long term blog readers will be away that I have various soft spots for some armies, and am an avid collector of others. The latter includes the Death Guard of the 40k era.

Thus far, I have held off purchasing any more Death Guard chaos space marine miniatures. This has been for a number of reasons. Most importantly, I felt that I had completed my Death Guard collection a number of years ago and I had almost everything that I could have wanted to have in my collection (plus or minus some concessions). Vindicators, chaos lords on bikes, predators, plaguebearers, plague marines, and their rhinos were amongst many that I own and have played extensively with over the years and generally not embarrassed myself at tournaments with either. Also, I've been working on other things of later (e.g., my 30k Alpha Legion force) which is approaching a similar level of completion.

However, now that the Death Guard Codex has been announced recently along with the other codex releases (e.g., core space marines, etc.), I am sorely tempted to get back in to the Death Guard. I think the new codex is exactly what the community has been wanting for many MANY years to be honest. Well, even just cult terminators would have made many people happy I think. Myself included. I wonder what other delights the Grandfather Nurgle might have included in that book for us?

How have other people been finding the new miniatures?
At first, I thought that they were a bit dis-proportioned and not quite up to the same quality as the Forge World upgrade set. But now I'm not so sure. I do like the look of the pox walkers to say the least. And an army of shambling plague zombies does appeal at some level. But I'm still torn and not too sure.

Anyway, those are my internal ramblings for today. More in future weeks no doubt!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A quick Vanguard Detachment for 8th

I have been thinking about how to translate some of my Space Marines forces in to 8th edition recently. So, here is a quick and dirty Vanguard detachment that I came up with. It is based on the Alpha Legion 30k miniatures that I already own and is simply an experiment to see how some of the points costs and power levels might translate across.

HQ: Captain with Thunder Hammer; Librarian with force stave
Elites: 10 Company Veterans, Sergeant with Power Fist; Contemptor with Kheres; second Contemptor with Kheres; Tartaros terminator squad with plasma blaster
Fast Attack: Assault Squad with 2 plasma pistols and sergeant with plasma pistol and thunder hammer.

Total Points = 1192.

Power Level = 72.

Okay, so this is a very quick and frankly dirty list that needs a lot more thought. However, it is a viable list that will give some pause for thought for opponents in how to deal with the multiple threats (contemptors) simultaneously whilst watching out for the faster moving assault squad backed up by both veterans and terminators.

The librarian is there for utility and the captain was originally meant to be represented by Dynat and might not be a bad approximation for the model at the time of writing. 

The points and power levels are low, so this is an army that is meant for a fast moving game and one that can be concluded in under 1.5 hours with a bit of luck. I might test it out against other people at a later date and see how it goes!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Wargames Gallery: Tau Assault the Big Guns that Never Tire

Truly, the big guns never tired in this game between the Death Korps of Krieg and Tau in our Goodbye to 7th Tournament a few weeks ago!

Monday, July 3, 2017

FAQ for 8th

Released yesterday, the FAQ for 8th Edition 40k is already out and available!:

Some interesting inclusions, clarifications, and omissions:

* Units occupying upper floors of buildings still have no FAQ for them (re being charged)
* Assault squads now have access to melta and plasma guns
* The points values for Typhus vs Lord of Contagion have NOT been corrected
* More than nine inches away does mean more than 9 inches away (thank you very much!)
* You can fire your vindicator backwards. Because vehicles are always turning on the spot during a turn.
* Do Orks re roll one or two die when they charge?
* What about Warp Time and Deepstriking?

Friday, June 30, 2017

Tactical Objectives for 8th Edition

Alongside other purchases, I bought a set of 8th Edition Tactical Objectives for the new Warhammer 40,000 rules.

The quality of these cards is high. Or maybe I just used to play with dilapidated playing cards too much when I was younger? They are easily shuffled if needed and dealt out with ease. That said, these cards are matt finished, rather than anything else. I might grab some of my old Magic:The Gathering card sleeves for these cards perhaps in order to improve their longevity.

The design of the cards is very functional. This ranges from their rounded corners through to the rules themselves and the pictures on the (sub set of) cards that illustrate their point (or are gratuitous space marines!).

Now, I know that many people have a dislike to these kinds of tactical objective cards. And I for one can readily understand why. The lack of option to ditch one of these cards that is simply not obtainable is a royal pain. I would expect to see many house rules allowing players to re-draw a card that is simply not obtainable. That said, there are of course command points in play that can help a player do exactly that. So maybe its not all bad?

Of course, at its base level, the cards are adding in an extra random element to certain games of 40k in 8th edition. Whether this is good as a ground levelling concept, or bad just because it is too random is up for debate.

That said, I do like these cards and their implementation. I just had hoped for them all to be usable in all missions.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Horus Heresy Rules

I'm a bit late to the proverbial party on this one. But on the Warhammer community website, it has been announced that the Horus Heresy will be getting their own rules set. This is not new, of course, as we have known about it for a while.

What strikes me is the replies on the Games Workshop Facebook group. When asked whether the psychic phase was going to be revised or not, there were a lot of non committal answers given. Why would this be so? Have Forge World or GW not agreed upon the rules yet? Are things in such a state of flux that straight forward questions like this cannot be answered? Or perhaps are we saving ourselves up for spoilers that will be revealed later.

From what was stated though, it is clear that the Horus Heresy rules are going to be an updated version of 7th with all of the needless stuff eliminated from the set. So entries like "And They Shall Know No Fear" will likely be removed from this rule book and other rules (perhaps a full explainer of "Primarch" rules) will be inserted?

In all of this, I'm somewhat torn. I do like the effort they have made to keep things in 7th at some level. But at another level, its really disheartening that the community has been split like this. I'd still like to play against Eldar using whatever set of rules we can. But should that be 7th or 8th edition? I no longer know. No one does. Until there is a 30k Eldar book released, I guess we will do what we can. Which will probably mean I write a space marine army list for my Alpha Legion. It will lack all the character that I have grown accustomed to though. Equally, this is a fate shared by 40k armies like the Raven Guard (or basically anything that isn't vanilla marines). Hopefully the newer 40k codex releases will give some flavour back to these armies and I can write some kind of army list for 8th that would be an Alpha Legion analogue (perhaps based on the Raven Guard -- hence my mentioning them in particular).

Monday, June 26, 2017

8th Edition Command Dice - Thoughts

I decided to order a set of Games Workshop's "command dice" when I ordered my copy of the hard back 8th edition rule book.

These die are a bit of a novelty thing for me if I'm perfectly honest. In the picture above, I show them fresh out of the plastic cylinder tube (top of image) that they came in. The skulls on the die in the middle of the image make it tough to see or discern the actual number being rolled in my opinion. For die, it would have been better to just use pips or a single number in a recognisable font. 

That said, the express purpose of these die is to keep track of the command points that one has in their pool. It is for this purpose that I'm going to give them a pass mark. The thing is, these die are very obviously different to any other die in anyone's collection. As such, they are hugely distinct. This is fundamentally what makes them perfect for this kind of "keeping tabs" usage. I will personally be using them in this manner. Most assuredly, I will never be using them for rolling purposes. 

The final six die (lower part of the image) are for combat statuses. They make it simpler to keep track of various things that are going on during the game and the phases that happen. I am uncertain if I will actually use these particular die. I'm a bit on the fence about them. Take, for instance, the ones that show footprints inside an arrow. The design is precisely the same as the plastic counters / markers that came out with 5th edition. I never even used the full array of counters -- particularly the run ones! Hence, my feelings about these 6 die are exactly the same that I had in 5th edition. Just a bit of a gimmick really. 

Hence, overall, I'll be using some of these die, but not all of them. Would be interested to hear other people's point of view in the comments or via Facebook

Sunday, June 25, 2017

8th Edition Story

Most of what I'm about to put in writing has already been stated plenty of times over. Today, I wanted to chime in with an old timer's point of view. As my long term readers will be (painfully or otherwise) aware, I have been involved in this hobby since Rogue Trader days to a greater or lesser extent.

Over that time period, I've seen a vast number of things change. Not just rules, but the setting as well. Back in the old days, Tau were nowhere. Necrons did not exist. Tyranids were gaunt looking things. Genestealers were beasts that lurked on space hulks and infected whole planets much as they do right now, but were not connected to the Tyranids. Unlike Zoats. They were a Tyranid slave race. Eldar were pirates. They didn't have any aspect warriors at all. Orks were orks. And some of them liked Khorne so much that they worshipped him. (some were also hyribized by genestealers). As did some of the Night Lords. The Alpha Legion might have been Slaanesh fanatics. The Iron Warriors might have been slightly too.

Many people will contend that the 40k timeline has never evolved. I would agree, but with the critical caveat that it has evolved by ret-con to a strong degree. Eldar were once piratical maniacs to be feared. But now they're the seed of a new victory over the chaos gods. The necrons were merely asleep. The Tyranids were always on their way, you see.

With 8th edition, the timeline has truly advanced for the first time in a long time. The return of Guilliman is simply unprecedented in all of 40k. And with him, the ten thousand year long plan that no one ever heard of, or discovered, to build better space marines. The Primaris Space marines. But they don't fit in rhino tanks much like terminators don't. Drop pod armies also seem to be a thing that is about to be dropped in to the past.

The new 40k seems ripe with new possibilities. Although I am cautious about the story line being advanced significantly, I actually don't mind. I think this has been coming for a while and I approve of it. I will be looking forward to seeing where it actually winds up in the months and years ahead. Will they truly consider other sweeping moves like this? Or is it better that we all burned in the fires of Horus' ambition after all?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Note to Self: Mission Design

There exist a wide variety of ways in which to design missions for Warhammer 40,000, Warhammer 30,000, Age of Sigmar, and all manner of other games. One of the defining features of the Games Workshop approach to mission design is that there is no "automatic win" button. In some war-games, the killing of the general might represent an automatic win condition and the game would stop at that very instant. This generally does not happen in 40k.

Indeed, the closest thing to an automatic win is usually (but not always) a complete massacre of the opposing force.

When this condition is met, the winner usually is considered to have won the "primary" mission. Arguably, they have also secured all of the secondaries and perhaps tertiaries (if they are being used) as well.

But herein is the point that I want to make. If the winner in a massacre is presumed to have achieved maximum points, what about the loser? 

In our recent tournament, we designed it so that both the winner and the loser had things to still play for even late on in the game.

For those people aiming for a massacre style victory, we awarded one additional point for achieving this goal. Hence we had some players attempting to avoid being completely massacred just for the sake of not giving away that final tournament point to their opponent if at all possible. This is a good thing and reflects not wanting to give up. Added to this, we implemented secondaries and tertiary missions that could be achieved even if a massacre victory was scored against them.

The most obvious one is "Slay the Warlord". This can be achieved even if one is massacred (and obviously happens by default if one is victorious in a massacre victory!). 

Another is "First Strike" -- this is the same as first blood, but either player can achieve it. All they have to do is kill an entire unit in the first turn of the game. This not only alleviates the bias from achieving first blood from who goes first (which is undeniably a huge contributing factor), but gives both players something to aim for.

Other examples include moving a particular unit to a particular destination during the course of a game. This can still happen for anyone who subsequently gets massacred.

Hence, when designing missions, we like to frequently include at least one or two (secondaries or tertiaries) that can be scored by someone who eventually gets massacred regardless. It still gives people something to play for. Of course, there are still aspects of the game, such as having a unit in the oppositions deployment zone at the end of the game, that cannot be achieved if one is massacred. Instead, perhaps award a secondary or tertiary for moving all of ones own units out of their deployment zone (and thus score secondaries that way) rather than depend on the state of the game on the final turn. In this way, both players have things to aim for that they can achieve tournament points for during the game, and not just at the end. Meanwhile, having that extra point for a total wipe out victory will drive the win-at-all-costs player onward, and probably to distraction (as we experienced the other week!). 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

8th Edition Rulebook First Impressions

It feels like a very long time since I pre-ordered my copy of the 8th Edition rulebook. (Note to self: it isn't that long ago really!). It also feels like a long time since Games Workshop send me their notification email that it had been dispatched. (Note to self: it wasn't -- it was totally consistent with the expectation date of dispatch!). It feels like it has been in the postal system for quite some time. (Note to self: you are absolutely correct in that assumption, even if you're wrong about the other two!). 

But finally. FINALLY! It is here!

The shrink wrapping in the picture certainly didn't last too long, rest assured!

There are a number of facets of this new rulebook that I would like to comment on. I don't think I will do it all in one post though. So today, I'm going to focus on global impressions.

Firstly is the organisation of the book itself. Most of the background material is presented to the front end of the book, with a strong focus on the Imperium of Man itself. This is to be expected at some level. Yet, it does represent a deviation from some of the other core presentations where the rules came nearer to the front and the background materials to the back of the book. And of course, it differs from the 7th edition rule book that had three different volumes combine in one sturdy cardboard sleeve. 

I rather like the idea of having a lot more focus on the background and on the fluff side of things right up front. Being an old-timer (Rogue Trader) person, this certainly appeals to me. I just find it a pity that they could not small-font all the unit entries in to the back of the book as well instead of having several different pseudo-codexes produced alongside this (and codexes that are going to be outdated rather quickly if I'm reading between the lines correctly). That would have been much better, and probably would have harkened back to the Rogue Trader era a bit more for us very old timers!

Gaming Photography.
The second and final thing that I'm going to note for today is some of the photography. If I flick through the older rulebooks and search for people playing the game, they are generally (but maybe not exclusively) white males. Many appearing somewhat middle-aged. In this rule book, what is striking to me is how this has changed (for the better) to have more women visibly playing the game. Now, of course, these are probably staged photographs. But with daughters of my own who are getting in to the hobby, I welcome this change of focus away from men and encouraging women and girls in to the hobby. About (redacted) time frankly. Gaming should not be seen as a white, male, young person (possibly testosterone poisoned judging by some of the comments on various forums out there) hobby. It is for everyone who is interested. 

Good on Games Workshop for updated their marketing, sincerely from me. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Battle Report: Ynnari vs Alpha Legion (1500 pts)

The final in the series of battle reports today from the "End of 7th" tournament we had. This time, I am using my 30k Alpha Legion forces against Eldar Ynnari, in the third match of three (following on from the Tau in Game Two). 

I also have a confession to make. This was the first time ever that I'd faced a true Ynnari Eldar force. I really had not much of a clue what to expect beyond knowing the mechanics of the "burst" a little bit.

My forces remained unchanged from the previous matchup: 

Alpha Legion List: 
HQs: Autilon Skorr (Pride of the Legion Rite of War), Master of Signals 
Elites: Contemptor Mortis Dreadnought (Kheres) 
Troops: Assault Squad (plasma pitols, serg with thunder hammer); Terminator Squad (Axes, plasma blaster, thunder hammer); Veteran Squad (two melta guns) 
Fast Attack: Storm Eagle (las cannons) 
Heavy Support: Heavy support squad (missile launchers)

The Ynnari were running the following.

Ynnari Eldar List:
Reborn Host
HQs: Eldard, Farseer with singing spear and Anath'lan stone
Elites: 5 Wraithguard, Death Jester with lost shroud, haywire grenades, shrieker cannon, Shadowseer with mask of secrets, haywire grenades, mastery lvl 2, neuro disruptor
Troops: 5 Rangers, 3 wind riders with scatter lasers

Aspect Host Formation: 4xDire Avengers with exarch; 6xDire Avengers with exarch and wave serpent (target matrix, holo fields, shuriken cannon, spirit stones, bright lance), 5xWarp Spiders with exarch.

Ulthew Strikeforce:
Elites: 10x Black Guardians with eldar missile launcher platform 

To be honest, I was dreading facing this list. Plenty of firepower in there and nothing I can do against the psychic strength of the list either. 

The one thing -- and it was a very critical thing -- that I had going for me was that I managed to gain the initiative to go first. Deploying across the board, I decided that I wanted to take out the Eldar piecemeal style and target their key assets. The game objective was the simplest one possible: annihilation of the enemy. The winner would be decided by the points value of the opposition we managed to take down. Really as simple as that.

Early Turns (and the flank).

In the early turns, I advanced my foot-slogging veterans up the table to try to out gun the dire avengers that they had in front of them. They took several out.

But they were rapidly reinforced by the jet bikes who retaliated well against my marines.

A game of cat and mouse followed on this particular side of the board featuring me trying to keep pace with the Eldar and gunning them down whenever I could. The chance to charge the Eldar never really materialised, so I relied on the bolters and the melta guns I had to do the dirty work here. But it was not without significant casualties. 

Middle Turns (and the rest of the board).
In the middle of the game, several key things happened, broadly in swift succession.

The first one was that I made the mistake of killing the warp spiders with the Master of Signals. This prompted the Death Jester to spike in his burst. Its a very nasty combination that I hadn't really thought about too hard. The Death Jester shot at my assault squad, forcing them to take a morale test. Which they dutifully failed and started fleeing backwards off the table.

Rallying them the next turn, I charged them toward the Jester. Shooting on overwatch, the Jester killed again. By the time I'd taken out the wave serpent with my contemptor dreadnought, he was bursting again. I really didn't think that vehicles could cause a burst, but they do. Drat. I'll remember that for next time.

Hence, by the time I actually managed to get in to combat with the Jester, the situation looked grim for my assault squad.

However, the thunder hammer marine was able to prevail here and finish the job finally. But it was a close run thing.

The turning point in the game really only came about when I managed to get my storm eagle on to the board though. With its extra fire power, it soon started to eliminate wraith guard and shadow seer. Eldrad lasted a little while longer, but eventually Skorr claimed his head for the Legion. Not bad for the King head hunter!

Late Turns.
By the end of the fourth turn, there were few Eldar left on the table due to the fire power (and fluke die rolls that I was managing to pull off). The sheer firepower that the storm eagle was pumping out eliminated any threat to it from the board.

The last few threats were the highly mobile units that were still around.

My decimated veteran squad finally did the trick though, seeing off the final jet bikes and their dreaded scatter lasers to ensure that the Alpha Legion scored a decisive Massacre victory by the 5th turn. No eldar left on this world whatsoever.

I hindsight, I was very lucky. Although I played my set up correctly, the fact that I went first really sealed the match up. I think if I went second, it would have been a completely different story altogether. 

Combined with the master of signals doing a lot of the (lucky) dirty work with the orbital blast and the storm eagle coming on to team up its firepower with the contemptor, the game was sealed by the fourth turn. 

However, the lessons learnt here were painful. The Ynnari burst moves thanks to the death of nearby units is immensely powerful and one that I won't forget in a hurry!

Monday, June 19, 2017


There seems to have been an issue with the postal service. The issue is not quite on the scale as a certain Icelandic eruption, just to be clear.

Hence, it looks like I'll be pottering around at least one more day before the new rules and everything else arrives!

Gah! I want my new toys already!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Battle Report: Alpha Legion vs. Tau (1500pts)

Going in to this match from my victory over the Salamanders in a 30k match-up, I wasn't so sure that I could do well here. The Tau have a (rightly) fearsome reputation for firepower. That said, I was confident that I could at least pull off one charge by turn 2 with my assault marines and hopefully put them on the back foot for a turn or two. That was at least the plan. The battle would be fought over the beach table with two objectives to secure.

My forces remained unchanged from the previous matchup:

Alpha Legion List: 
HQs: Autilon Skorr (Pride of the Legion Rite of War), Master of Signals
Elites: Contemptor Mortis Dreadnought (Kheres)
Troops: Assault Squad (plasma pitols, serg with thunder hammer); Terminator Squad (Axes, plasma blaster, thunder hammer); Veteran Squad (two melta guns)
Fast Attack: Storm Eagle (las cannons)
Heavy Support: Heavy support squad (missile launchers)

Meanwhile, the Tau had plenty of firepower to call upon:

Tau Army List:
HQs: XV86 Coldstar with shield generator and stimulant injector 
Elites: XV104 Riptides (early warnings, earth caste pilot array, ion accelerator, plasma rifle, velocity tracker)
Troops: Strike Team (missile pod support, marker light, Devilfish transport); XV8 battle suits (2xShas'ui, 1xShas'vre); XV8 battle suits (2xShas'ui)
Fast Attack: 2 Pathfinder teams (marker lights) 
Heavy Support: XV88 Broadside (drone controller, seeker missile, high yield missiles, smart missiles).

Early Turns.
The set up is pictured below. And as a general health warning -- I took too many pictures for this one!

Off screen to the right are a bunch of suits that I'm aiming to charge at early in the game with my assault squad. My heavy support are holed up in the Eldar ruins on the left and I have my contemptor with my veterans near the top left who are foot-slogging along. 

Luckily, I manage to get the first turn. 

Not much happens, but the drones and the marker lights start lighting up everything that causes me to start to worry a whole lot. I distract myself by taking some cool pictures :)

Things start to get much more interesting in turn 2 as my assault squad enters close combat. Sadly, I completely forgot about the insane over watch that the Tau are capable of pulling off. All the surrounding squads take pot shots at my poor charging marines and whittle them right down before they can get truly stuck in to the enemy. 

Much pain ensues.

Middle Turns.
The combat with the battle suits pictured above will go on for another few rounds as I fail to kill them on my charging turn.

Meanwhile, the footsloggers are making good progress and are being supported by an incredibly lucky shooting contemptor who is really whittling the wounds off the enemy. (And I think this shot looks awesome as well, so I had to include it in this report). 

Despite lots of casualties on both sides by this point, the fun really starts when my storm eagle arrives and disgorges the terminators plus Skorr in to the melee. It is only at this stage that I recall the mission is to control the objectives (one in each deployment zone), so I make sure that the terminators can not only charge, but get back again to reach the objective nearby. In this game, they are classed as troops for scoring purposes due to the rite of war I'm running.

Late Turns.
The terminators try to finish off the enemy HQ, but do not succeed, and take casualties in exchange. For their troubles, the Tau HQ flies away in a hit and run effort to survive and shoot again next turn.

All of my assault squad are dead now following the melee. They took plenty with them though. 

The above picture shows the game position at turn 4. Much carnage has occurred, and more blood and fuel are yet to be spilt across this beach landing paradise board. This comes in the form of the remaining Tau shooting my Storm Eagle out of the skies. It narrowly avoids anything on the way down, but otherwise is wrecked.

Critically, the terminators are able to slog it to the objective marker nearby, whilst finishing off the remaining Tau troops. The veterans have meanwhile perished due to incoming fire. The contemptor has only one Kheres left. The Tau make a run for it to try to claim the opposite objective. But I manage to kill most of them along the way. Sadly not enough.

The game ends in a tie on the major objective: 1 objective secured each.
The game ends up being decided by secondaries. I have just one more than my opponent (in terms of line breaker), hence I win. But only just.

This was a very tough slog to say the least. I was very happy with the photos that the game produced, but tactically, it could have gone either way. I thought I was going to lose when the storm eagle got taken out and the Tau jetted away for the opposite objective. The terminators and the heavy support squad held on though and a draw ensued. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wargames Gallery: Beach Landing

++ Deploy, brothers!++

++Resistance encountered. Some kind of Xenos advanced weaponry. Caution advised.++

++Deal with them quickly. They bleed well enough. Power axes drawn and good hunting.++

Monday, June 12, 2017

Battle Report: Salamanders vs. Alpha Legion (1500 pts)

In the Goodbye to 7th Edition Tournament, the first battle was a brutal 30k face off between the Salamanders Legion and the Alpha Legion. Whichever way it would go, the Emperor was sure to win. Or at least that's what we both thought when the game began (!)

Alpha Legion List: 
HQs: Autilon Skorr (Pride of the Legion Rite of War), Master of Signals
Elites: Contemptor Mortis Dreadnought (Kheres)
Troops: Assault Squad (plasma pitols, serg with thunder hammer); Terminator Squad (Axes, plasma blaster, thunder hammer); Veteran Squad (two melta guns)
Fast Attack: Storm Eagle (las cannons)
Heavy Support: Heavy support squad (missile launchers)

Salamanders List:
HQs: Praetor (thunder hammer, halo, combi-melta; Covenant of Fire Rite of War); Master of Signals
Elites: Contemptor Dreadnought (multi melta); Contemptor Mortis (Kheres); Dreadnought Talon (2x Multi Melta and one with 2 CCWs)
Troops: 2x Tactical squads (serg with power sword)
Heavy Support: Heavy support squad (volkite culverins)

I will freely admit that out of all of the lists taking part in the tournament, this was the one that I feared the most. No less than 5 dreadnoughts combined with the Covenant of Fire rite of war in the Salamanders legion is very strong. Those heavy flamers in the hands of the dreadnoughts are to be feared, and those melta weapons were always going to be deadly.

However, the battle was to be fought over a pair of objectives -- one in each of our deployment zones. I figured that my approach here was to almost entirely ignore the dreadnoughts and instead take out the troops. That way, without any objective secured units, I could potentially still win. If I could figure out a way to stay alive.

Of course, one thing that the Alpha Legion has going for it is the mutable tactics. Hence, I decided to select Tank Hunters. Combined with the Master of Ambush warlord trait, I can still infiltrate three units -- and this is exactly what I ended up doing.

The Salamanders deployment was pretty much a straight line as pictured below.

This provided the first opportunity for me really. I would infiltrate my assault squad and try to eliminate one of the troops squads (top right) whilst using the master of signals to take out the heavy support (bottom centre on the crates). I would then shoot the remaining squad (not shown, but located further down and left). 

This plan actually worked very well. By the middle turns, I was engaged deeply in close combat. However, despite my initial alpha strike (pun semi-intended), the dreadnoughts in close combat really slew my troops very quickly. However, with the good fortune to have the first turn, coupled with my Storm Eagle coming on very early in the game from reserves, the tide slightly pivoted in my direction. 

As my units got stuck in, losses on both sides mounted up quickly. With dreadnoughts in close combat, all of my assault squad got wiped out, and most of my veterans too. The Storm Eagle brought in the terminators to the fight and eventually, I managed to seize control of the objective on the opposite board edge. The enemy master of signals started to wipe out my missile launchers, but not before they accounted for a couple of dreadnoughts. Meanwhile my mortis managed to wreck a few of the enemy. With only a few marines left and my contemptor, I had secured one objective and was pinging away at the remaining enemy dreadnought. 

As turn 5 rolled around, the game was almost mine -- just one dreadnought remained to be killed. But rather than yield the massacre to me, this dreadnought went on the run behind cover to ping my storm eagle from the sky. 

The game ended here. I had one objective, lots of dead things (basically only my mortis and a few marines left) and the Salamanders had one hiding dreadnought. The game was won. But only narrowly and at a very steep cost. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Goodbye to 7th Tournament: Boards

Friday saw a "Goodbye to 7th" tournament. I was playing my 30k Alpha Legion force, and I'll detail the battles in full reports later on. But for now, I wanted to show the tables that we were playing on and fighting over. Each was themed and some had a few special rules (e.g., difficult terrain in the water and nearby to deathworld scenery; fires that provide cover, but a certain distance must be maintained away from). The scenery is a mixture of Games Workshop, MDF terrain from CNC miniature scenery and TTcombat, plus various homemade items and other items. 

World: 1417-402.  Cognomens: Isha’s Necklace.
Classed as a death world by the forces of the Sons of Horus, 1417-402 has a single redeeming feature – a very large ocean teeming with moderately benign life. In comparison, its archipelagos are covered with all manner of flora and fauna widely to be considered immiscible to human colonization. Control of this world and its oceans could provide a food supply for planets many sectors removed. 

World: Ravishol.  Cognomens: None.
Ravishol is part of the 500 worlds in the realm of Ultramar and comes under the direct purview of the Ultramarines. After the Betrayal at Calth, the planet came under attack from unknown forces, although reports variously suggest World Eaters, Blackshields and Knights-Errant for a similarly wide variety of reasons. Ten thousand years later, Nurgle looks to attempt to gain a foothold here too. Sent here to investigate, any would-be attacker would have to contend with the corpses of the cities that litter its surface.

World: 53.417.  Cognomen: Altruism.
Discovered by an Iron Hands fleet during the Great Crusade, the world of Altruism was marked early on as a good prospect for colonization. Although at the hot end of ideal temperatures for unenhanced humans, the colonists readily took to the world and founded a settlement. It was not long thereafter that deep deposits of valuable minerals and fuel were discovered. Altruism thrived and is a prosperous, yet minimally inhabited world making it an easy target for all warlords.

World: Angstrom’s Rest. Cognomens: 1772-2.  (Imperial Fists).
A small contingent of Imperial Fists secured this world against the large predators that had plagued the small human population locked here since the night of the Age of Darkness. Cut off by warp storms themselves, the Fists established a temporary operation on the surface of the planet for the purposes of refuelling their orbital cruisers

World: Tancredi. Cognomen: 15-220.
All Forge Worlds are important to the Mechanicum and offer significant resources to would be conqueres. The world of Tancredi is no exception. Sitting at a pressure point between segmenta, Tancredi was ever on the list of targets for the enemy, and for worlds to be protected by the Imperium due to its vast shipyards. Tancredi finds itself at a nexus in both time and space.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Crate from Game Mat EU

The image below shows one of the large crates that Game Mat EU retails from their website. It is made of a type of resin that is heavier than the standard Forge World stuff. It also needs washing though, so make sure to undertake that step. The interior of the crate is also hollow. When I was washing mine, the inside started leaking ever so slightly and I wound up with water trapped inside the crate for days on end as I waited for it to dry through some small cracks in the (otherwise thick) resin shell.

For painting, I sprayed on a black undercoat and then followed this up with a mechrite red base coat all over. The metallic hoops around the crate were picked out in gold and then everything had an extensive black wash. I then picked out some limited highlights before going to town on the scratches on the surface and the rusting (mostly a creamy orange colour). The overall effect is of a worn crate that has long since seen better days. On the battlefield, it will provide solid cover and block lines of sight. The height of this crate is more than double a regular space marine for scale comparison purposes. Looking forward to using this in our games tomorrow. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Battlescape Scenery Repairs

The piece in the photograph below is the battlescape scenery that should feature a wrecked rhino, craters and several trees.

I purchased it at a discount from a retailer a long while ago. The main reason I got it cheap was the missing component. Literally the only thing that was part of the deal was the single plastic mould. It was painted (poorly), but otherwise it was in good condition. Yet it lacked the side of the rhino, and the trees themselves.

Recently I set about to repair it. Knowing that I didn't have the bits to deal with the side of the rhino, I instead opted to make the rhino appear as if it had been buried in the muck and dirt of where it had been crippled and immobilised. This was accomplished with a generous blob of filler material from the hardware store liberally used both on the underneath of the rhino and the side. I glued on a spare roof bit, and the top hatch myself that I had lying around. 

Painting them followed using a chaos black undercoat followed by a muddy red base colour. The stone work was picked out in old dheneb stone and layered up. For the trees, I disguised the branchless stumps with a good amount of rail way style clump tree foliage.

The final ingredient (which you might not be able to pick out just by looking at it) was a true experiment. The painting of the rhino was done using nail varnish. I originally had this radical idea to use this colour on my alpha legion, but early tests didn't go so well. But, as can be seen in the image, the rhino actually looks like it has turned out okay in the end. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Battle Report: Alpha Legion vs. Death Guard (1500 pts)

With a new mat from Game Mat EU, I had a game of 30k vs 40k with JK last Friday. I brought 1500 points worth of Alpha Legion using the Pride of the Legion Rite of War to make my terminators and veterans in to scoring units (as it means I can take them as troops).

I was using Skorr with a large blob of veterans inside a storm eagle transport and a master of signals. This was complemented by a squad of terminators riding in a land raider. A scout squad with rifles and a heavy support squad with missiles rounded out my list. More can be read about this style of list here which is essentially the same but without the transports.

My opponent was using a double vindicator approach coupled with two plague marine mechanised units (with flamers, melta guns) in rhinos with havoc launchers, a chaos dreadnought, heldrake and a Forge World blight drone. Templates everywhere basically. Oh, and did I mention the chaos lord on a bike with the Burning Brand? No? Well, he also had a pet chaos spawn for laughs. Or a meat shield. 

Set up and Early Turns.
The game was being fought over two objectives placed in the deployment zone of the enemy after regular squads had been deployed. I infiltrated my sniper squad on to my enemies as he castled up in the corner. This, I thought, gave me a tactical advantage. I had my missile launchers in a ruins on the lower right of the picture and kept the storm eagle in reserves.

The Death Guard, meanwhile, were deployed in a "castle" formation with the fliers in reserves. 

The early turns saw some significant damage to my forces thanks to all of the templates that were going around. Plasma carnage from the dreadnought saw off a heavy support marine, and the scouts got repeatedly whacked by a vindicator and havoc launchers. The land raider came through un-scratched though.

Middle Turns.
There was great carnage as the game progressed. My scouts got whittled down. My land raider moved up and disembarked the terminators to kill the rhino that they successfully charged. And the smelly Death Guard oozed out of the wreck to counter attack the terminators. The chaos lord and the spawn joined in the fun.

I immobilised one of the vindicators though from the heavy support squad.

By now though, the plasma dreadnought was truly whittling them down and the heldrake came on to finish a few off. I got a lucky shot in to kill the heldrake thankfully. But this did not stop the blight drone from killing off all my missile launchers a turn later.

Late Turns. 
Some unlucky reserve rolls saw my storm eagle spend a lot of time off the board. But when it finally came on, I disembarked the veteran squad on to the objective in my board zone. 

However, the other side of the board was looking grim. My scouts had been wiped out and the other Death Guard squad sat comfy on the objective inside their rhino. The storm eagle killed the rhino, but I couldn't dislodge the rest of the squad from the objective.

Meanwhile, the chaos marines slew my terminators eventually. The image above shows the near final board situation. We both have one objective each. And there is little that either of us can do to dislodge the other player from these objectives in time.

The game ends on turn 5 with a draw. Both of us have one objective each. If the game had continued, I think the storm eagle might have done more damage to the death guard on the objective. But equally, the blight drone and the chaos lord on the bike would have made it to my veteran's position for some template carnage. 

Overall, a very entertaining, tactical game full of carnage in the middle. And -- this is not our last 7th edition outing either. There's a tournament on Friday that we'll be doing using this (and more) scenery. 
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