Official and Glorious Blog of the Inglorious and Officious Warheads Gaming Club

Month: August 2012 (page 1 of 2)

How Many Points? The New Flames of War Starter Set

The Games Workshop starter sets have always been the bread and butter of their retail stores, self-contained little packages beloved of parents, children and veteran gamers alike. Even after the endless price hikes, they represent the closest thing to value for money in the range. Having experimented with smaller quick start boxes, Battlefront have finally noticed the benefits and released details of their own version.

You could buy two sets for e120 and get two full armies but the prudent move is to adopt the age-old tactic of the GW player. Buy a set, find/make a friend and swop your Germans for their Allies. Aside from the bolstered armies, each player then ends up with a rulebook, tokens, objectives, terrain and dice.

Points-wise, what do you actually get in the box?

Ze Germans

The exact details have not been released but the rear box image details all the contents and it’s not to difficult to identify the components. The Germans get an infantry company backed by tank destroyers and some anti-tank guns. One of the perks of Flames of War is the wide range of army lists, you can build almost anything with the contents of the box. You could go with the desperate rearguard of the  Sperrverband, bog-standard Wehrmacht grenadiers or something more esoteric.

We’re going to go with one of the Fearless Veteran infantry lists to get the maximum benefit from each model. The “Nederland” SS Panzergrenadier division from Grey Wolf (pg.38) seems suitable, a Dutch volunteer formation fighting on the Eastern Front. Let’s add up the points.

Infantry Platoon (3 Squads) = 220 points
Infantry Platoon (3 Squads) = 220 points
Gun Platoon (2 PaK40s) = 120 points
Tank Platoon (3 StuGs) =325 points

That’s 885 points of Germans in a solid list. If the command teams come with panzerfausts, you’ll get closer to 900 points. Considering that a tournament list comes in at 1750 points, a single starter set gets you over halfway. The infantry have a host of special rules to keep them moving under fire and the AT support will mangle all but heavy tanks. Against the heavies, you’ll need to take your side armour shots.

 The Yanks

The Allies are an armoured company with infantry support from some paratroopers. This would be about 865 points in a standard American armoured list. But again, there are so many army lists that you can build from this. Let’s go with the Irish Guards Armoured Squadron from Hell’s Highway (p.16). It’s the relief force from Operation Market Garden and the list is, in essence, British tanks backed by British/American infantry, all Confident Veterans.

Parachute Rifle Platoon (3 Squads) = 255 points
Tank Platoon (3 Shermans, 1 Firefly) = 375 points
Tank Platoon (3 Shermans, 1 Firefly) = 375 points
That’s a grand total of 1005 points. Once swopped, you’ll come in well over a full tournament list. The regular Shermans are not the world’s best tank but they’re cheap and numerous enough to menace infantry, light vehicles and most tanks. The Fireflies are a threat to all but the King Tigers of this world.
So there you have it, e60 and a friend (who can afford a similar outlay) gets you a full-size Flames of War army and all the little bits you need to play.

Flames of War at the ETC

If you’re reading this on a mobile or third-world internet connection, give up now. This is a long and very picture-heavy article.

Team Ireland went to the ETC and played some Flames of War. Sit, children, while I tell you how it went.

The venue was the Polish town of Gorzow. Lovely place but also home to the world’s most accidentally scatological statue. With a round of shots costing roughly five euro, we took an immediate liking to the place.

The locals are experienced organisers but this was their first year running Flames of War alongside the ETC. They felt had something to prove and just really outdid themselves. Let’s start with the terrain as the tables were nothing short of amazing. Here’s a small sample to show the breadth of winter, desert, urban, rural, eastern and western front tables.

The terrain maker also had an admirable sense of humour and eye for detail.

Aside from the actual terrain, it was all those little touches that warmed my blackened, stone heart and made me think very nice thoughts about the ETC Gorzow team.

On our arrival, we were issued with goodie bags. Aside from the rules pack, brochures and other paper items, we received our custom bidding cards, objectives and commemorative mugs. Cue vicious squabbling about who gets the mug with the best image.

The stall at the entrance were specialist wargaming traders rather than just generic game retailers. This was very clever. ETC wargamers are tournament veterans, they already own everything they need and are not likely to buy basic units. They will, however, go ape at the sight of piles of Microarts terrain, Titan Forge and Puppetswar products being sold cheaply.

The standard of painting was (aside from Team Ireland) of the highest standard. I didn’t run into a single army that had been painted to tournament standard only. They were all little works of art, lavished with fancy bases.

This is the English Panther list. Click it for a larger version, gaze on it and despair.

This is one part of the Soviet Cossack list. Find the soldiers playing a drinking game if you think your eyes can take the strain.

They also went all out on the optional extras. My Russian opponent had his own special objective marker for his Ersatz Engineers. He was not alone.

On to the preparation, training and tactics bit now. We arrived on Friday, dumped our bags in the hotel, visited the other Team Irelands and then swept and cleared the immediate area of all suspect alcohol. By five the next morning, we felt our work was done.

As you can guess, team morale was sky-high going into Day 1. Our glorious captain led us bright-eyed and bushy-tailed into the first round. We eagerly ran through our warm-up sessions, bounding with energy.

Day 1, five minutes before round start.

The judges match us against the Swedes. The three ETC veterans on the team start shifting uncomfortably and muttering about “they’re always really good”, ” remember 2011?” and “I’m scared”.

They turn out to be more casual than their dreaded 40K country-mates.

The mission requires the attacker to break through enemy lines, established diagonally across the board and grab an objective deep in the far quarter. Stalling my attack into the left and centre, Per lures me into a push against the unguarded artillery position on the right. Its all going well until his panzers appear on the my flank. The resulting ambush destroys most of my tanks, leaving the command units exposed and doomed.

My opponent was wily and cunning but he didn’t realise that the dice gods prefer their players drunk and stupid. As the fight goes on, his gunners suffer temporary blindness and my commanders suddenly lose their ability to miss. The flank collapses and I break through to the objectives.

Command StuGs stall the enemy attack just short of the artillery.

A quick scan shows that things have gone well. Three wins, two losses and a draw gets us the round win.

Ireland Score Score Sweden Result
Padraic 4 3 Per Win
Tony 1 6 Simon Loss
Ulick 1 3 Patrik Draw
Brian 4 3 Staffan Win
Joe 5 2 Helge Win
Baz 1 3 Andreas Draw

Eleventh of twenty teams, solid stuff. We exchange relieved looks and go eat bratwurst. We come back to find that our next opponents are the Russians. Instinctively, we feel that this might be a tough match. They’re considered good at the whole WW2 thing.

Tigers wait to pounce.
Kill it. Kill it quickly.

Once again, my blind aggression combines with unbelievable luck as I blunder through Dennis’s careful and measured ambushes, minefields and defensive fire. An ill conceived first attack fails miserably, killing my unlucky unit of StuGs but I have enough to throw in a second assault and hold the objective against all counter-attacks. Looking to the rest of the team, it appears we’ve done it again.

Despite again scoring less points than the opposition in our games, we have managed to record three wins, two loses and a draw. A second round win! We run to the board to see how high we’ve placed.

Ireland Score Score Russia Result
Padraic 4 3 Dennis Win
Tony 1 6 Michael Loss
Ulick 1 3 Ilya Draw
Brian 4 3 Alexey Win
Joe 5 2 Alexander Win
Baz 2 5 Pavel Loss

Huh? We scurry to our rules packs and realise that round victories are actually meaningless.Your score is the total of all battle won across all rounds. Worryingly as our wins were small and our losses glorious but large, we’re also falling behind the other teams on the secondary tie-breaker.

Over bratwurst, we discuss the standings. Even if we have only advanced one spot, we feel pretty good about our chances. Things are going well, we just beat the Russians. Hell, we could still win this thing. We’ve drawn the Slovenians and honestly, how good could they be?

I get a little nervous as he sets up a strong defensive line running the width of the board. Despite dozens of turns attempting to pick apart his position, he’s just too good for me. Every time I try a clever gambit, it turns out that he’s already noticed the threat and taken steps to baulk me about two turns earlier. The game ends with my first defeat. Still, the others will probably make up for it.

Ireland Score Score Slovenia Result
Padraic 3 4 Andrej Loss
Tony 1 6 Matic Loss
Ulick 1 6 Jan Loss
Brian 3 4 Primoz Loss
Joe 3 4 Frazer Loss
Baz 3 4 Tevz Loss

Or not. Poor Tony. As a Sherman player, he instinctively hates and fears the Tiger tank. Demonstrating its inherent kindness, the universe keeps raining Tigers on his battered little tank company.

That’s the end of Day 1, three games played. The last one was rough but we should still be somewhere mid-table…

Second last?! A quick team meeting ascertains that our performance took a dip as we sobered up. I swear not to allow that to happen again. Kebabs, drinking, second dinner, drinking, brief visit to a bizarre Polish squat/house rave, more drinking and an hour of sleep happen, in that order.

The next morning is quite painful but I stagger into battle. I have this strange feeling of being intensely warm. I wonder if I’m running a massive fever or if it’s some new, rare form of hangover.

My challenger steps up and offsets my discomfort by breaking into a nervous sweat once he sees my army/deployment.

It’s only after the match, that I realise that the air temperature is actually in the high thirties, I don’t have a fever and his sweating is totally unrelated to my tactical genius. Damn.

My opponent has a simple plan, sit in his trenches, hit me with anti-tank guns and tank hunters while fighter-bombers scream over me. He enacts it well and I bumble around ineffectively, getting blown up, until an unforced error leaves his right flank vulnerable. Some screams and grinding of tracks later, my armour starts to roll up his line.

But he’s done enough to stop me and the game ends on turn 8 with a deserved win for Memanja.

Ireland Score Score Serbia Result
Padraic 3 4 Nemanja Loss
Tony 1 6 Zoran Loss
Ulick 5 2 Milan Win
Brian 1 6 Milos Loss
Joe 1 6 Stefan Loss
Baz 6 1 Predac Win

Overall, provided the Slovenians have murdered some other team, we should be a little safer. Our captain, Baz, and Ulick begin to preen themselves and give long speeches about their inherent superiority and desire to win. The rest of us eat some bratwurst.

We quickly revise our objective from “win the ETC” to “don’t finish last”. Game faces are put on. People start actually reading their rule-books. The judges pair us with the Hungarians.

We face off across a crowded battlefield. I gently probe into the factory sector. He lures me in and chops up a unit of StuGs. I realise that I’m totally outclassed and start defending. Nothing else much happens as his infantry show no real urge to start standing in the open under my guns. A draw, with my opponent grabbing an extra point.

Having done nothing to get us off the bottom of the table, I go check on the others. Three draws. A loss. A win. And…. Brian gets us a last-ditch win.

Ireland Score Score Hungary Result
Padraic 1 2 Peter Draw
Tony 1 6 Andras Loss
Ulick 1 1 Peteq Draw
Brian 6 1 Andreas Win
Joe 5 2 Istvan Win
Baz 2 2 Zoltan Draw

After some bratwurst, we conscripted a passing Spaniard as the official team photographer and make him take our official team shot. And then it was time to check the final standings.

We rejoice, not last, not even second last. Third last. That’s practically mid-table. Sorta. Nearly. We wipe our collective brows and enjoy the awards ceremony.

ETC 2012 Final Results

Well another ETC has passed and as the dust settles, one thing is for sure: England put a very strong showing in this year, winning the 40K and are rumoured to have come 3rd in Fantasy.

More after the break. UPDATE- now with Fantasy results

Team Ireland have managed their first top ten finish in 40K ETC history. Well done to Mike and the boys for an impressive 3 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses. The final results are here, courtesy of the 40kETC wordpress page.

Congratulations to Team Northern Ireland for finally popping their ETC cherry by beating the Dutch and the Norwegians!

Warhammer 40,000 Results
WFB Final Results

Place – TEAM – VP Total – Actual BP – Modified BP – Penalty
1 POLAND 29978 631 564
2 AUSTRIA 5108 564 536
3 ENGLAND 13102 554 530
4 DENMARK 16917 551 526 -1
5 GERMANY 9381 547 523
6 FRANCE 7874 525 521 -2
7 GREECE 8301 531 518
8 SWEDEN 5835 511 514
9 ITALY 6561 520 506 -1
10 FINLAND 4772 511 504
11 SPAIN 9792 528 500
12 UNITED STATES 1415 490 494
13 MALTA -1746 460 488
14 SCOTLAND 6009 498 487
15 NORWAY 4604 492 485
16 SINGAPORE 1687 491 485
17 AUSTRALIA -81 482 484
18 RUSSIA -6631 481 484
19 BELARUS -1599 468 474
20 NEW ZEALAND -2009 465 474
21 UNITED NATION -7715 444 465
22 IRELAND 887 463 462
23 UKRAINE -7179 457 462
24 CZECH -6923 449 459
25 NETHERLANDS -5609 440 457
26 LATVIA -8494 436 448
27 SERBIA -4364 443 447
28 BULGARIA -3574 424 444
29 NORTHERN IRELAND -10165 429 442
30 WALES -16637 399 441
31 BELGIUM -7529 425 438
32 SWITZERLAND -16728 396 424
33 CANADA -11577 418 418
34 HUNGARY -12761 393 416

Incoming: 40k ‘Starter Boxed Set’

Reports of my death at the hands of Dagestani insurgeants have been greatly exaggerated. 
That cleared them out nicely
As the entire team are currently fighting bravely in the ETC trenches, it falls to me to provide you with this little gem from the GW site.. (Much more after the break!)
As usual for thier teasers, not much content apart from a date. Thank god for the internet as I have found the following, mouthwatering pictures for your consumption.
The Complete Kit.
Close up of the Cultists 
 I really don’t care that some of those are repeated, they’re ripe for converting and absolutely stunning. The ‘Eavy Metal team did a good job on them too!
 Terminators and Bikes
Some of the most dynamic terminators since Space Hulk, most dynamic bikes ever.. don’t forget they’re snap fit. GW shows that is is THE model company once again here.
The Dark Angels
I think I see a few ‘Macragge Marines’ but some new sculpts for the Tac Squad. The heros look amazing. Personally can’t wait to see them in the flesh, they’re going to be superb. 
Also: Mmmmm Plasma…

Rumor has it he’s special edition. Do want.
                      The filthy Chaos scum never looked better and that hellbrute is HUGE!
Kudos to BOLS Forums for the pictures!
What are your thoughts? I’ll be looking to get 2 sets and swap on set of Chaos for Marines, any takers?

Bye, I’m off to invade Poland

The Nerd Olympics are upon us. The 40K and Fantasy teams are packing for/flying to/have arrived in Poland for the ETC. The FoW teams are running a day behind. Best of luck to the Irish and an almost equal but noticeably lesser amount of luck to the Northern Irish teams. The War Altar will attempt some live-blogging from the event but we make no promises. There are likely to be technical difficulties.

Take a moment to share in my joy as my entire army fits in a single foam shelf. As a Tyranid player, my baggage requirements were sky-high. I had an entire KR case specifically to transport the eighty-plus termagaunts I’d spawn in a game. This is better.

With a day of last-minute training planned for tomorrow and all my bags packed, how can I best use my time today?

Yes… research.

Irish Wargaming Tournaments Update: 12/08/12

Ireland is a cold, dark, unwelcoming place for non-GW wargames. The tournament scene is held in a death grip by the twin monoliths of 40K and Fantasy. Every convention features one or both, with mere lip service being paid to other systems. So it has been, so shall it be.

But there are some green shoots appearing. Tournament organisers are beginning to run events focused solely on one non-mainstream system and in other cases, allotting reasonable amounts of time and space in their events to such systems.

The massive rise of Warmahordes over the last year has played a large part in this. Infinity saw more play due to the evangelism and hard work of Quozl. Flames of War is beginning to take hold in the North and a certain southern club. We’ve even been informed of Malifaux and Battlefleet Gothic tournaments running later in the year. I thought it would be nice to look at some upcoming tournaments.

 August Assault
26 August 2012
Gamer’s World, Dublin

Ireland’s longest running series of Warmahordes events continues into August. It’s a 35 point tournament played with the Steamroller 2012 rulespack. The main draw is the guarantee of a good player count as it’s a firmly established event.

Click here for more details.

 The Irish Open
 8/9 September 2012
Ormonde Hotel, Kilkenny

The first Irish Open, timetabled for the Saturday, is shaping up to be quite interesting. With players from Leinster, Munster and Connacht attending, there’s going to be an interesting mix of meta-games. It’s also following the European standard by bumping the points limit from 35 to 42 points.

There’s also some manner of doubles event on the second day for those who like teamwork and sharing. Dirty communists. Only sixteen spaces for the Open (of which three remain) so consider preregistering.

Click here for more details.

 Round 5
13 October 2012
Gamer’s World, Dublin

Quozl has announced the 5th round of the 2012 All-Ireland Infinity Cup. This is the latest event in his successful bid to establish Infinity as a regular tournament game. For anyone waiting to take the plunge, I played in the 2nd round with no prior experience and had a blast. It’s an excellent game system and the cost of assembling an army is low.

This event is a 300 points/6 SWC tournament which is an average sized game of Infinity. I also must warn that there’s only ten spaces available so if interested, you should move quickly.

Check here for full details.

 Winter in Minsk
 10/11 November 2012
 Ballymena, Antrim

Now to a popular choice in these parts, Flames of War. This is actually Ireland’s first Flames of War tournament and it’s looking good. Expect a reasonable crowd, including yours truly. It’s quite standard in format, following the traditional 1750 points and Late War setting.

With the Plastic Soldier Company making the buy-in cost for an army extremely low, it’s worth considering. With UK attendees, a strong Northern FoW presence and a big chunk of the Warheads attending, I think it’s going to go pretty well.

Click here for full details.

31 August 2012
Grand Hotel, Wicklow

I’ll have to admit that I know nothing of Malifaux. I’ve heard it’s big in Cork and I know that the models are very pretty (just google Death Marshals). Since it’s running on a Friday as part of a larger convention and the sign-up sheet is looking healthy, this is your best chance to get some competitive play against shiny new opponents.

Click here for full details.

Braycon BFG Championship
7 October 2012

And finally, a very very rare event. There’s a Battlefleet Gothic tournament on in Bray this October and the organisers do expect it to fill quickly. We’ve got three players from the small burb of Maynooth alone, so if you’ve got a fleet lying around, this is your chance to dust them off.

The organisers are using the 2010 BFG FAQ which made some beneficial changes to the core rules. With two 750 point and two 1,500 point battles, we’re looking at smallish to average sized fleets.

EDIT: This tournament is now full.

Click here for more details.

If we’ve missed any upcoming events, let us know.

Team Ireland Fantasy and the ETC

Our first post looked at the 40K team, now let’s look at Team Ireland Fantasy. We’re operating at a slight disadvantage as none of us have played for Team Ireland Fantasy. Despite the lack of expertise, I’ve gathered some key information.

1) The history of Team Ireland Fantasy starts a year earlier, in 2009.
2) Do not get into a lift with a drunken Woody.
3) Team development has been a slow-burning process.

Four Nations Championship 2009

There almost no information out there on this event but I have the final standings (below) and an artist’s representation of some of the players (above). Majestic beasts from the time before. Not very good at the old Warhammer, though. I’m guessing it was a whitewash.
Nation Game Points
England 611
Scotland 420
Northern Ireland 374
Ireland 195

European Team Championship 2009

Ireland’s first ETC team have a rough first outing, consoling themselves with some points stolen from our Northern neighbours. Despite the relentless beatings, morale remains very high. Sport psychologists trace this mental resilience to the lethal doses of alcohol consumed by the players. Really, this team shouldn’t be alive.

Round 1: Czech Republic 100-60 Ireland
Round 2: Northern Ireland 95-65 Ireland
Round 3: Portugal 100-60 Ireland
Round 4: Scotland 100-60 Ireland
Round 5: Netherlands 100-60 Ireland
Round 6: Croatia 115- 45 Ireland

Team Points
1. Italy 571
2. Poland 550
3. Denmark 529
4. Germany 511
5. Austria 507
6. Slovenia 504
7. Sweden 503
8. Switzerland 494
9. Finland 490
10. Czech 490
11. Australia 486
12. Greece 485
13. Norway 478
14. England 474
15. Russia 469
16. Belgium 466
17. Portugal 464
18. France 461
19. Northern Ireland 455
20. Hungary 448
21. Croatia 447
22. Scotland 437
23. Netherlands 428
24. Ireland 350

Home Nations Championship 2010

There’s plenty of photos out there but very little detail on the round by round results. By looking at the final table, it does not appear to have gone well for the Irish. On a positive note, it can’t be denied that they are closing the gap on the opposition. The Northern Irish and Welsh look nervously over their shoulders.

Because they don’t want surprise hugs from naked, drunken Irishmen.

Nation Game Points
England 471
United Nations 453
Scotland 414
Wales 364
Northern Ireland 361
Ireland 311

European Team Championship 2010

A glorious tournament for Team Ireland. They are awarded the Most Sporting award and score their first win, paddling a probably surprised Welsh team. Their remaining opponents are less gracious but the defeats are not total. Note that they have played the Scots in every tournament thus far. The steady, if slow, improvement continues as they stumble off the bottom of the leader board into 25th place.

Round 1: Switzerland 100-60  Ireland
Round 2: Scotland 93-67 Ireland
Round 3: Latvia 95-65 Ireland
Round 4: Canada 89-71 Ireland
Round 5: Ireland 99-61 Wales

Round 6: Northern Ireland 97-63 Ireland
1 Denmark 568 (240)
2 Italy 565 (282)
3 Germany 527 (94)
4 Australia 511 (116)
5 Norway 511 (66)
6 Russia 509 (54)
7 Greece 505 (76)
8 Poland 505 (50)
9 Sweden 503 (68)
10 United States 498 (76)
11 Spain 495 (16)
12 Slovenia 494 (82)
13 Austria 493 (64)
14 New Zealand 493 (30)
15 Finland 487 (56)
16 England 485 (48)
17 Scotland 484 (12)
18 Belgium 484 (-10)
19 Northern Ireland 480 (-36)
20 Croatia 476 (-22)
21 France 473 (-10)
22 Switzerland 472 (-26)
23 Czech Republic 463 (12)
24 Malta 452 (-48)
25 Ireland (Most Sporting) 445 (-122)
26 Portugal 436 (-76)
27 Canada 434 (-126)
28 Hungary 433 (-178)
29 Latvia 427 (-134)
30 Netherlands 427 (-182)
31 Serbia 416 (-172)
32 Wales 382 (-300)

Six Nations Championship 2011

No photos of the Edinburgh tournament can be found but I think I’ve got the essence of it. The French replace the United Nations team to make it a true Six Nations contest. The Irish may lose most of their games but the results are better than in previous years as they hold close to the French.

Some make wild claims that they might make it out of the bottom quarter at the ETC proper.

Round 1: Wales 86-74 Ireland
Round 2: Scotland 100-60 Ireland
Round 3: Northern Ireland 94-66 Ireland
Round 4: France 81-79 Ireland

Round 5: England 100-60 Ireland
Nation Game Points Victory Points
England 483 48008
Scotland 440 47332
Northern Ireland 404 41153
France 397 38031
Ireland 339 38286
Wales 337 30371

European Team Championship 2011

We’re not sure how it happened but the Fantasy boys become the first Irish team to make it into the top ten. Showboating pricks.

Drinking slightly less than normal, the Irish score three wins, including a heavy defeat of Scotland. Three years of brutal oppression are avenged. Their heaviest defeat comes at the hands of the champions, Poland. It’s all a massive shock and they actually get more cheers for their performance than the actual winning teams. Totally not jealous though.

Round 1: Poland 94-66 Ireland
Round 2: Ireland 89-71 Czech Republic
Round 3: USA 86-74 Ireland
Round 4: Latvia 88-72 Ireland
Round 5: Ireland 94-66 Scotland

Round 6: Ireland 100-60 Belgium
1 Poland 573 (242)
2 Denmark 541 (230)
3 Russia 518 (136)
4 Italy 517 (144)
5 Sweden 516 (144)
6 United States 506 (22)
7 Austria 505 (128)
8 Norway 504 (58)
9 France 497 (48)
10 Ireland 495 (30)
11 Spain 494 (58)
12 England 493 (54)
13 Finland 478 (28)
14 Germany 476 (38)
15 Switzerland 476 (-56)
16 Greece 474 (50)
17 Croatia 473 (-12)
18 Netherlands 470 (-36)
19 Latvia 464 (-14)
20 Scotland 461 (-8)
21 Czech Republic 460 (-40)
22 Belgium 460 (-88)
23 Northern Ireland 450 (-84)
24 New Zealand 450 (-94)
25 Australia 438 (-154)
26 Hungary 417 (-276)
27 Wales 401 (-210)
28 Serbia 364 (-338)

Six Nations Championship 2012

We watched with interest as they marched off to somewhere up North. The unasked question was whether the ETC was a lucky fluke. It was not. Their ETC form continues as the Irish win three out of five games to achieve their best result at the championship to date. Like the 40K team, they win by large margins, reflecting a clear skill advantage.

Only a very strong French team can deny them the top spot but our hopes are raised…

Round 1: Ireland 100-60 Northern Ireland
Round 2: Ireland 94-66 Wales
Round 3: Ireland 88-72 Scotland
Round 4: England 83-77 Ireland

Round 5: France 95-65 Ireland
Nation Game Points VP Difference
France 452 10086
Ireland 419 2028
Wales 417 4969
England 410 4826
Scotland 392 -2788
Barbarians 300 -24121

 European Team Championship 2012

From humble beginnings, Team Ireland Fantasy have built on their experience and gradually improved. I hope that the steady development will translate into steady progress in the ETC. Judging by their form at the Six Nations, I see Team Ireland holding their position in the top ten but I’m not sure if I see them pushing into contention for the medals this year. Happy to be proved wrong, though.

Team Ireland 40K and the ETC

It’s almost a week until the European Team Championship kicks off. This year, Team Ireland have three chances of nabbing a trophy. Our crack teams of hardened baby-killers will be competing in the Fantasy ETC for the fourth year, the 40K ETC for the third year and the Flames of War ETC for the first time.

In honour of the Nerd Olympics, we’re running a two part series on the history of Team Ireland. We’ll look at 40K today and Fantasy this weekend. This should give the uninitiated a quick guide to our record on the international stage. The records are somewhat patchy, we’re definitely missing some team photos but we’re pretty confident that the following is true. Please correct me on any errors.

First up, a brief history of Team Ireland 40K…

Home Nations Championship 2010

The first Home Nations Championship was held in Firestorm Games in Cardiff. Inspired by its Fantasy counterpart, it was considered a warmup for the ETC proper. It was a glorious debut. After triumphing over every other nation, they found time to display the glaring weakness of every Irish sporting team by almost bottling it against the softest opposition. For Team Ireland, their first international event was also their first, and to date only, tournament success. Great things were expected…

Round 1: Ireland beat Northern Ireland
Round 2: Ireland beat Wales
Round 3: Ireland beat England
Round 4: Ireland beat Scotland
Round 5: Ireland draw with the Barbarians.
Nation Match Points Game Points
Ireland 9 490
England 7 509
Wales 7 466
Scotland 4 386
Barbarians 3 386
Northern Ireland 0 163


European Team Championship 2010

Arrogant in their victory, the 40K team spent almost all their training time on the beach, drinking heavily. Although they won their first game, their hubris was their undoing. They suffered their first ever defeat in the second round. Most regrettably, it was at the hands of our ancient enemies, the Vikings. Draws against the Czechs and Welsh left us facing some familiar and vengeful faces. A defeat at the hands of our other ancient enemies, England, and a draw with the Faroe Islands left the team finishing a disappointing 19th of 24 nations. Hungover players trudged home.

Round 1: Ireland 86-74 Hungary
Round 2: Finland 110-50 Ireland
Round 3: Ireland 79-81 Czech Republic
Round 4: Ireland 84-76 Wales
Round 5: England 92-68 Ireland
Round 6: Ireland 81-79 The Faroe Islands
1 Poland 10 (280)
2 Germany 9 (162)
3 Spain 9 (132)
4 Sweden 8 (118)
4 United States 8 (118)
6 Switzerland 8 (16)
7 Latvia 7 (38)
8 England 7 (32)
9 Russia 7 (-30)
10 Denmark 7 (-56)
11 France 6 (52)
11 Ukraine 6 (52)
13 Belarus 6 (20)
14 Italy 6 (-2)
15 Austria 5 (10)
16 Faroe Islands 5 (-28)
17 Finland 5 (-44)
17 Hungary 5 (-44)
19 Ireland 5 (-64)
20 Scotland 4 (16)
21 Wales 4 (-70)
22 Czech Republic 4 (-132)
23 Belgium 2 (-162)
24 Northern Ireland 1 (-414)

There was a short film made at the event, which you can find here.


Home Nations Championship 2011

With the hosting rights going to the champions, the 2010 Championship was held in Cork. Our bid to retain the title ran into trouble immediately. A first round draw with a strangely effective Team Northern Ireland gave those sorry souls their second international point and riled the Irish team into action. They took it all out on some innocent Barbarians and went on to beat the Scots to end Day 1, just behind the leaders. Day 2 was far less successful, a narrow draw against the Welsh prefaced our first Home Nations defeat. The English beat us to claim the title and knock us into third place.

Round 1: Ireland 85-75 Northern Ireland
Round 2: Ireland 106-54 Barbarians
Round 3: Ireland 86-74 Scotland
Round 4: Wales 81-79 Ireland

Round 5: England 93-67 Ireland
Nation Match Points Game Points VP Difference
England 9 529 12144
Wales 8 472 4919
Ireland 6 423 2532
Scotland 4 367 1207
Northern Ireland 3 340 -7000
Barbarians 0 269 -13802


European Team Championship 2011

Following in the proud tradition of 90s-era Irish football teams, Team Ireland open their campaign by avenging themselves on the team that beat them in the previous ETC. Finland are convincingly crushed in what proves to be a false dawn. A disappointing draw with Belgium is followed by a defeat at the hands of those other Vikings, Sweden. The second day sees Ireland unlucky to draw with Denmark, lose heavily to the host nation and smash an under-strength Austrian team. Two wins, two draws and two losses show an improvement on the previous year but no-one is pleased with a mid-table finish.

Round 1: Ireland 91-69 Finland
Round 2: Ireland 82-78 Belgium
Round 3: Sweden 122-38 Ireland
Round 4: Ireland 84-76 Denmark
Round 5: Switzerland 105-55 Ireland
Round 6: Ireland 103-57 Austria

1 Germany 10 (258)
2 Poland 10 (134)
3 United States 9 (140)
4 Sweden 8 (158)
5 Spain 8 (58)
6 France 8 (52)
7 Wales 8 (-6)
8 England 7 (36)
8 Finland 7 (36)
10 Switzerland 7 (24)
11 Latvia 7 (2)
12 Denmark 6 (-6)
13 Ireland 6 (-76)
14 Belarus 5 (36)
15 Italy 5 (24)
16 Scotland 5 (-6)
17 Russia 5 (-26)
18 European Union 5 (-48)
19 Belgium 5 (-120)
20 Northern Ireland 4 (-40)
21 Czech Republic 3 (-50)
22 Austria 3 (-60)
23 Norway 2 (-436)
24 Greece 1 (-264)


Six Nations Championship 2012 

Here’s where it all becomes second-hand information. You’ll see that the competition was renamed the Six Nations Championship. Belgium were invited to join, probably due to the hope that they would bring waffles. The tournament starts badly for Team Ireland with the first loss to a Welsh side. But the Irish avenge themselves on the Belgians and Northern Irish for previous draws and beat the Scots once more. The scope of those wins suggests a team unlikely to stumble against weaker opposition. But the English once again prove too strong and take the gold.

Round 1: Wales 87-73 Ireland
Round 2: Ireland 103-57 Belgium
Round 3: Ireland 118-42 Northern Ireland
Round 4: Ireland 113 -47 Scotland

Round 5: England 89-71 Ireland
Nation Match Points Game Points
England 10 569
Wales 8 518
Ireland 6 478
Scotland 3 294
Belgium 3 287
Northern Ireland 0 222


 European Team Championship 2012

So, that’s Team Ireland 40K. Born in victory, somewhat less glorious ever since. But each year sees new hope as another team steps up.  The Six Nations results bode well for Ireland. If they can continue to mangle weaker teams this proficiently, then we could see Team Ireland 40K finishing within the top ten for the first time. The first round will tell us a great deal, the Latvians are one of the top ten teams and a good result would be excellent.

Battlefleet Gothic 2010 FAQ

If you’ve waded through our archives, you might notice that I’ve got a real fondness for the Specialist Game range and Battlefleet Gothic. The joys of spending four turns carefully maneuvering your fleet into position for that glorious moment where you storm into the heart of the enemy formation, firing double broadsides is hard to explain. Rest assured, it’s iconic and awesome.

The key reason for the longevity of the Specialist Games (despite a lack of love from the overlords) is the sense of ownership amongst the fans. This all grew from a period in which GW collaborated with the fans to refine and improve their rule sets. The 2002 Annual provided the inspiration for a lot of what followed. This level of cooperation gradually died as the likes of Andy Chambers left and the main drivers of the game systems within the company drifted away. The last joint product was the 2007 Battlefleet Gothic FAQ. But the fan committees still kept chugging away, producing multiple edition of the Blood Living Rulebooks among others.

For those of you still playing Battlefleet Gothic, there’s a little known FAQ which follows the 2007 FAQ. The survivors of the old Battlefleet Gothic rules group have produced an excellent 2010 FAQ which really cleans up some issues and generally improves the game. It can be found here.

As a brief taster, I’ll run through some of the changes from the box rules and their impact on the game.The goal of both FAQs was to move the game away from the carrier-fest it had become and back towards the Broadsides in Space game we all liked.

The 2007 FAQ revised the ordnance weapons rules and this continues into the 2010 version. the change is simple, ordnance does not run out. But to counteract the ability to spam bombers and fighters, you may only have as many squadrons in the air as you have launch bays in your fleet. This is calculated on a fleet wide basis, not by individual ship. This means that if you have functioning carriers, you have air (space?) cover.

The fighters/bombers/etc are represented by square markers and must take up as little space as possible. This eliminates the ability to fill vast amounts of board spaces with a handful of tiny, tiny ships. Likewise, torpedoes are three wide to prevent unholy seas of torpedoes from forming. This also reduces the amount of scrabbling in the box to find the right sized torpedo marker.

The torpedo volleys can now only be split when the total strength is seven or higher, to prevent people from using single torpedos to remove fighters on CAP and so on. They also cannot be split into more than two waves.

Massing Turrets
You can combine turrets which means ships can band together to create better AA screens. But the flipside is that the blast damage is more likely affect several ships. You can make the cost/benefit calculations yourself.

Brace For Impact
They resolved a key omission in the regular rules. If you fail a Brace for Impact roll against one strike, you can still attempt it against further attacks. This prevents the phenomenon where the only ship to fail to brace magically began to receive all the incoming fire.

Blast Markers
The blast markers have also been changed. Rather than being placed by the opposing player to best suit his needs, they are placed on the base and count as impacting on anything touching that base. An elegant solution that better represents the chewed up bit of space around a shielded target under fire.

Nova Cannons
Some of you may remember this guy from old-school Warhammer Fantasy, the player whose ability to judge distances was so developed that cannons became sniper rifles. In Battlefleet Gothic, even a poor player (over two or more turns) could fire one ranging shot, remember the measurement and easily drop nova cannon shots on the enemy from then on. To prevent this, they are no longer a guess range weapon, they scatter like blast weapons.

Celestial Phenomenon
Solar flares only happen once per game. Rejoice, put-upon Eldar players. Similarly, only one radiation burst can occur in a given turn. If more than one of the above is rolled during set-up, you still roll that number of dice each turn but only one success is counted.

Imperial Navy
The points cost of the Apocalypse battleship, Retribution battleship, Oberon battleship, Overlord battlecruiser, Armageddon battlecruiser, Endeavor light cruiser, Endurance light cruiser and Defiant light cruiser are reduced. The Emperor battleship bucks the trend by taking a slight points increase.

No more than two each of the Endurance and Defiant classes can be taken in a list.

Space Marines
Bombardment cannons now fire at the same time as weapons batteries and are resolved simultaneously. This lets you use the weapon batteries to strip shields before pounding their hulls with the more destructive cannons. It also means that the blast markers produced by the shield impacts don’t interfere with the cannons.

The points cost of the Retaliator grand cruiser and Styx heavy cruiser have been reduced. Simple balancing changes here.

The points cost of the Hellebore and Aconite frigates are dropped. The Craftworld Eldar hero also sees his points cost slashed and some new rules added. The Craftworld Eldar generally seem to benefit from the new rules.

Dark Eldar
The Torture cruiser sees a major points hike and the mimic engines get a major debuff. This is clearly intended to prevent the Dark Eldar tactic of remaining cloaked and spraying torpedoes everywhere. They are now revealed as hostile when their ordnance hits the enemy. This is a very good thing.

All ork ships can now buy additional turrets to give them a fighting chance against bombers. The Deathdeala, Slamblasta and Kroolboy battleships can now carry torpedo bommas. The Hammer battle kroozer also gets the upgrade.

The Savage gunship, Ravager attack ship and Onslaught attack ship see their points cost drop and the Grunt assault ship is added to the fleet list. It’s a modification of the Brute class intended as a boarding vessel.

The interaction between Brace For Impact and the Necron reactive hull is detailed. In essence, Necron players cannot claim both the reactive hull and BFI save simultaneously.

Surprisingly, no points increase for the Necrons. They remain one of the more powerful fleets and the bane of Eldar players.

In a bid to prevent hiveship spam lists, Tyranids fleets must now buy a certain amount of escorts, at least six for each hiveship. These can be bought in addition to the original 6-12 escorts per hiveship. This stacks well with the new rules allowing a percentage of escorts to act as sacrificial fire ships.

Tyranid ordnance gain an exemptions to the new ordance rules, they can have twice as many squadrons in play as they have launch bays.

The Merchant class starship gets a discount. Kroot warspheres now lose boarding strength as bits are blown off the vessel.

There’s also a few new fleets in the 2010 compendium which we’ll review at a later date. Just to be clear, this post was just a taster, there are plenty of changes not documented above.

Review: Game of Thrones (2nd Edition)

You’ve read the books, you’ve watched the TV series, you’ve read the graphic novels. If you’re Frogdog, you’ve even developed a serious crush on Daenerys Targaryen for her high-fat, low-carb diet.

Now what? Board game, anyone?

I was an enormous fan of the first edition Game of Thrones board game released in… hang on while I go check… 2003. See that, you just don’t get that level of scrupulous research on lesser blogs.

As a self-contained package, the first edition had some glaring flaws, mainly the serious balance issues. The Storm of Swords expansion worked to mitigate this but didn’t fix it entirely. No matter, the entire print run still sold out in short order.

Despite my love of the game, I never got around to buying a copy at the time and when I finally wandered into a nerd shop, found it to be out of print. Balls. But Fantasy Flight have now saved me from the tardiness of my past self by releasing a second edition of the game. It, in theory, combines the best bits of both the original game and the expansion while removing some crappier elements.

The core of the game is a military struggle between the various noble houses to take the lion’s share of the kingdom’s stronghold. Each faction has a deck of characters with various abilities to assist in this. Battles tend to be decisive and short which makes the game one of maneuver and posturing. There’s also a ten turn limit which adds a sense of urgency and strict supply limits prevent any Risk-like steamroller attacks.

The box itself is beautiful. The art is vastly improved, particularly on the faction character cards, and the playing board is nicely detailed. From looking at the game credits, it looks like they picked the most talented artist from the last set and got him to do all of the cards this time around.

Some may miss the old wooden counters. They have been replaced by hard wearing plastic versions with a faux grain. There’s also a new unit in the siege towers (taken from the expansion). This does have a side-effect. It’s quite difficult to distinguish knights from siege towers at a distance. This is bad because when planning a sneak attack, it’s a tad counter-productive to have to ask your victim what the defending force consists of.

The most obvious complaint is that the old box had a storage tray for all the components, this is missing from the new version. With the amount of pieces involved, this is a major lapse, you have to bag the entire set or you will lose pieces.

Major Rules Changes
The major changes are to the universal special orders. The Star Orders have received something of a buff, combining the faction abilities from the expansion with the main game. The House cards have also seen some major adjustments, some of the more powerful cards have been downgraded. But they seem to have been replaced by new powerful cards. All in all, I believe the power level has evened out. Yay. The faction-specific special orders are thankfully also absent.

The other main change are the introduction of battle cards which can provide random strength increases to both sides of a combat. This does make those tight battles a little tense and can result in some upsets. This does make open combat a little more terrifying as even a large advantage might not be enough to offset really awful luck.

What does all that mean for the game? I’ve gotten quite a few games under my belt at this point and honestly, it’s a lot more placid than it’s predecessor. The increase to six players leads to a stable equilibrium forming which can result in calmer (read: more boring) games. The old five player game tended to be a lot bloodier and I feel that this is a flaw in the new edition. It’s an easy fix though, just discuss it amongst yourself and evict the least popular player from the game. It’ll set the right tone for what’s to come.

If he cries, give him this card.

 Lannister Pie (everyone gets a slice) remains an issue. If you don’t assign your most devious player to the Lannisters, they will be taken apart. Generally, keep the experienced players in the centre and south and let the newbies fight it out in the North. Whatever you do, do not spread the inexperienced players out around the board. Clump them for safety and let them fight it out.

The path to victory still rests on the principle of a well-timed knife in the back but it feels as if it’s a lot harder to land a fatal blow. The stable equilibrium mentioned above means that any gain is likely to be limited and games often see little combat until the very last turns.

Can I recommend it? Yes, I can. It’s a solid, fun game and you will not regret owning it. Is it more balanced than its predecessor? Yes, it is. Is it as much fun? Sadly, no.

P.S. Baratheon are still slightly broken. I’m totally okay with that. All hail Stannis, the one true King.

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