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Unit/Model Review: Warlord Games Soviet Maxim MMG

We recently received a Warlord Games Maxim MMG as a gift from a well-meaning spouse devoid of any concern for or knowledge of optimized list building.  It’s available here.

[note: ignore the HMG designation.  This appears to be an error.  The only Soviet HMG is the DShK which currently lacks a Warlord Games model.  The Maxim above is a MMG]

We’ll be conducting a review of this unit and model.  It’s our fourth in the series where we attempt to provide an all-around assessment of a purchase both in terms of its gameplay characteristics as well as a model to be assembled and admired.  We evaluate:
1.  Functionality
2.  Kit characteristics
3.  Value (a judgement which considers the price in reference to the unit’s funtionality)

1.  Functionality
The maxim is a MMG.  As such it has a range of 36″ and a rate of fire of 4.  It is a team (3 crew), fixed weapon.  A maxim rated “regular” comes in at 50 points and a gun shield can be added for an additional 5 points.  As a MMG the maxim has no damage bonus.  It cannot damage or pin fully armored vehicles.  It will struggle to destroy soft-skins but is quite good at adding a pin to such vehicles.

2.  Kit characteristics
More fantastic sculps from Warlord Games.  Assembly is straightforward, although our crew did require a bit of tidying.  The mmg itself goes together without any trouble.  No base is supplied, but embrace the freedom this gives you as a hobbyist.  Build up a nice rubbled window-sill for your maxim; or perhaps you want to surround it with downed trees to use as cover!

3.  Value
Would you take a maxim over a medium mortar?  Would you take a maxim rather than a truck with MMG?  There is, in short, a lot of competition for the 55 points you’ll spend to field a maxim.  We do not classify the maxim as an optimized unit.  Normally we like to use a unit at least six times before we make even a tentative judgement.  However, in the case of the maxim MMG we must admit that we have never played a game with it.  On its face we never considered it a good use of points (knowing the truth of something without having to experience it is called a priori knowledge).  As such, we’ll conclude with a few thoughts regarding how we intend to use it in the next few weeks:

1.  When you need a pin.  Leroy Hoard, a running back for the Cleveland Browns once said, “Coach, if you need one yard, I’ll get you three yards.  If you need five yards, I’ll get you three yards.”  And so it is with the humble but reliable maxim.  It has a long range and four shots. Even shooting at distant concealed targets it has a good chance of landing a hit.  It might not kill much, but it can be relied upon to put a pin on a unit.  Later in the game when units are attrited that extra pin from a maxim could make a big difference.  Sure it’s not going to red mist infantry squads like a medium mortar, but it will perform more consistently if less spectacularly.

2.  Ambush.  Four shots with a 36″ range can make an effective ambushing unit, particularly against outflanking team weapons.  For example, our own nosediver loves to outflank a flame-thrower team in universal carrier.  The carrier drives on 9″ with an advance; then the flame-thrower team debuses with an advance order, moves 6″ and roasts a squad.  A maxim set to ambush would stand a decent chance of killing one model, maybe both, in that unit (remember, moral test if you pop one member of two-strong infantry unit).  In addition, if it is able to take advantage of hidden deployment the maxim has a good chance of living until turn 3 or 4.

3.  Harass recon units.  Many recon vehicles are open-topped and thus vulnerable to being pinned by the maxim.  If targeted by a maxim the player controlling the recon unit will have to decide if they really want to burn their one recon move to dodge a MMG.  This frees up your AT assets to go after other units.  The 36″ range means the maxim will always have good table coverage too.  Now unfortunately this strategy demands that the maxim receive an early order dice.  Tactically this may not always be a good idea.

This is a great model and as a unit we’re going to give it a few games.  We would certainly recommend it as a necessary addition for any collector. It’s only €9 and looks damn good.  Here’s our maxim painted up and eager to prove its value:

Model Review: Zvezda KV-1e

During a thaw in Nazi-Soviet relations in the late 1930s, legend has it, a team of Soviet officers toured a German tank factory.  Their Nazi guides beamed with pride as the latest German tank, the Panzer mk. III, rolled off the assembly line.  The Soviets exchanged confused looks and then one asked, in broken German, “Don’t you have anything bigger?”  The fascist running-dogs would soon understand why the Soviets were unimpressed.
This is a review of the Zvevda 1/100 (15mm) KV-1e.  I picked up three of them a while back at Gamers’ World.  They run 4 euro a piece.

Assembly is easy, so much so that I had all three put together before I remembered to take any photographs.  The hull is two pieces that snap together.  Each track is a single piece that snaps into the hull, and the turret is two pieces.  Although the “snap-fit” kits ostensibly do not require any glue a little dab on a few of the contact points won’t hurt.  I painted them using the practical method I previously detailed in the decent looking tank tutorial.  

In short, this is a great kit.  It’s a good looking tank and it adds an iconic vehicle to your model collection.  In Flames of War it’s a good unit and you can easily make it the core of a competitive army.  Its high armor value makes it virtually immune to Shermans, StuGs, and Panzer IVs.  It has a better than 50/50 chance of bouncing shots off the ubiquitous PaK40 anti-tank guns too.  Although slow the combination of high top and side armor and a turret-rear MG make it one of the best assault tanks in the game.  Finally, as a guards unit they do not suffer from the horrible Soviet special rule Hens and Chicks.    I’ve got the following list in the painting queue after I finish my Canadians.  The KV-1e has the same armor values as a Tiger I, and this list has eleven of them!  The KV-1e has a weak gun so you’ll need something to help against heavy armor.  I added a unit of artillery and Il-2 air support.  

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.

Blood, Guts and Glory Review

The latest FoW release focuses on the US-German tank battles in the Lorraine from September 1944 to January 1945. Following the Allied breakout from Normandy, the German position in France has completely collapsed. Little stands between the lead American echelons and Germany. Only their crippling supply difficulties slows the Allies. Patton, starved of resources, begs, borrows and steals fuel to keep his attack pressing on. In a bid to stall Patton’s Third Army’s drive on the Rhine, newly formed German Panzer Brigades are thrown into a hasty counterattack. The result was the largest series of tank battles on the Western Front.

In game terms, the setting provides us with a moderate reversal of the traditional US-German clash. We have inexperienced German troops with a surplus of the most modern tanks and equipment trying to overwhelm units of hardened American veterans. The Germans formations are operating with the bare minimum of support, lacking in reconnaissance and artillery but well-supplied with AA assets. The Americans have the full array of divisional support. If you have a fondness for armoured lists, read on.

US Section
The Americans have two special characters available, Lt General Patton and Lt Colonel Abrams. Patton provides a bewildering list of army-wide buffs while Abrams boosts your armoured assets. On a historical note, the modern day Abrams tank is named after the latter.

The advantage to these smaller sourcebooks is that the lists have a certain character which can be missed in more generic army lists. The Americans can go with the veterans of the 4th Armoured or the less-capable 7th Armoured Division. You can choose Armoured Rifle Companies or Tank Companies from either division. There is also a Tank Destroyer Company representing the 644th Tank Destroyer Battalion or the 704th Tank Destroyer Battalion. These are the classic punch hard and leg it units. Frankly, it’s the most broken list in the book and the internet is brimming with love for it.

Pimping your Sherman tank.

For me, the main draw is that a vast range of late war Sherman designs are available within these lists. Aside from the basic M4 (read: rubbish) model, we can bring the up-gunned (76mm) version, the heavily armoured “Jumbo” and the speedy but stable “Easy Eight”. These, respectively, give us the standard Sherman horde, guns which can take out anything short of a King Tiger, tanks with armour superior to the Panther and the ability to move and fire without penalty. The customisation options within a single tank platoon are generous and you can tailor it to be a jack of all trades, sniping unit or a heavy assault force.

To give an idea of the points costs, here’s a 1725 point tank company from the 4th Armoured Division.
Company HQ
2x M4A1 Shermans
Tank Platoon
2x M4A1 Shermans
2x M4A1 (76mm)
1x M4A3E2 Jumbo
Tank Platoon
2x M4A1 Shermans
2x M4A1 (76mm)
1x M4A3E2 Jumbo
Assault Gun Platoon
6x M4 (105mm)

To put it in terms that will resonate with the MMORPG-addled youth of today, that’s 6 painfully average tanks, 4 snipers and 2 shield tanks. Along with six tanks that specialise in pounding infantry and guns into field-grey goo. They can also fire bombardments.

German Lists 
The German may not have any special characters but the book lets you combine the best German equipment with the low points cost of a Reluctant Trained rating. In previous army books, sub-standard German troops were generally reserve or police formations caught in the wrong place. This meant that the lists lacked access to the good toys that make the Germans feasible in competitive play. No more.

When we say that we get all the good toys, we actually mean three good toys. Cheap Panthers, soldiers bristling with panzerfausts (each stand gets one as standard) and excellent AA platforms. Brace yourself for the shock of having points to spare after buying all your tanks. The sample list below fills all but two slots in its OOB. That’s the Force Organisation Chart to the 40kers amongst us.

There are two groups of lists in the book. The first units deployed were fully equipped and are represented by a FHH Tank and two FHH Mechanised lists. For the later stages of the operation, we have slightly more ragged Tank and Infantry companies.

For illustration, a 1750 point force from the 113. Panzer Brigade.
Company HQ
 2x Panther G
Tank Platoon
 4x Panther G
Tank Platoon
4x Panther G
AA Gun Platoon
4x Mobelwagon
Motorised Platoon
3x Panzer Grenadier Squads
Motorised Platoon
3x Panzer Grenadier Squads
Ten Panthers for the price of six. They may break if tested but the armour and gun are the same no matter who the crew are. One the best AA options in any German list at a ludicrously low price. And enough points to bring two full infantry platoons. Crazy.

Tank Aces
About a third of the book is devoted to the Tank Aces campaign, which pits small platoons of armour against each other in vicious firefights. The campaign structure is based on the fighting around Arracourt and consists of three to four campaign turns. The points totals are small, starting at 500 points and increasing to a maximum of 900 points. Each player has a Tank Ace,which acts as their avatar during the campaign.

You begin with one average commander and less than a handful of tanks. Battles are fought, your forces expand and your commander gets that little bit tougher with each fight. There’s an RPG element as your Tank Ace levels up over the course of a campaign. There are thirty-six upgrades to choose from, spread over nine tech trees.

As a self-contained series of missions leading to a grand finale, it seems very well suited to club play.

The inaugural Flames of War league in Gamer’s World, Dublin was successful (apart from the damning fact that I’m not going to win it) and we’ll be looking to build on its success by running a Tank Aces campaign over three weeks later in the year. So grab yourself a box of PSC tanks and watch this space for more.

Forge World and You: The Badab War: Part One (The Second)

Curses. I’m starting to wish I came up with a better naming system for this series.

If you’ve just joined us, this is the second installment in the review of the recent Forge World books. I’ll be dealing today with the rest of the characters from Badab War: Part One


For the sake of completeness here’s the format again:
I’ll go through the characters by firstly giving you a little on the background behind them and their disposition at the end of the Badab War. Following on from this I’ll go through:

  • The points cost compared to a Company Captain.
  • Their stat lines.
  • Wargear.
  • Special Rules.
  • I’ll explain any non-standard Special Rules or Wargear and give my opinion.
  • Finally I’ll comment on it’s relative effectiveness in-game.
Any non-standard rules and wargear will be highlighted in bold.
Lord High Commander Carab Culln

I had to trawl through too many Twilight photos to find this.

Well, we all know who’s boss don’t we? With a title like that! The third iteration of his rules, his days as the low-ranking Sergeant Culln is a distant memory for the now Chapter Master of the Red Scorpions. He had the title thrust upon him after the Secessionists ambushed and killed many of the Loyalist Chapter Masters.

HQ Unit
Points: 2.15 Company Captains
Profile: Same as a Chapter Master’s +1 Attack
Wargear: Terminator Armour, Teleport Homer, Iron Halo, Master Crafted Storm Bolter, The Blade of the Scorpion.

Special Rules: And They Shall Know No Fear, Combat Tactics, Independent Character, Orbital Bombardment, Chapter Tactics, Proud To live, Proud to Die, Hard to Kill.

Chapter Tactics: Commander Culln’s Chapter Tactics allow you to replace your Combat Tactics with his own variant, which lets you replace your veteran sergeants with apothecaries. The usual Chapter Tactics rules apply. The Apothecary has the same wargear and profile as the one in a standard command squad. I’m very much in two minds about this, in a standard space marine army this makes the squads extremely survivable. But it takes away from their upgrade potential, in the form of powerfists and the like. I’d certainly upgrade any vanguard or sternguard sergeants in my force.

Proud to Live, Proud to Die, Hard To Kill: Give him the Eternal Warrior USR, in addition to this, any Red Scorpion units within 12” add +1 to their combat res in assault, this doesn’t stack for multiple squads.
Eternal Warrior- very much needed, the +1 combat res is a nice touch.

Blade of The Scorpion.
Master Crafted Relic Blade,which gives Culln additional attacks equal to the difference between his Weapon Skill and the Enemy with the highest WS which he is fighting.
This gives Culln on average two extra attacks for a total of 7 Str 6, re-rolling to hit power weapon attack, not to be sniffed at.

Final Thoughts:
A very solid set of rules for the Commander of the Red Scorpions, he’ll be right at home spearheading terminators or providing a solid counter attack base. Points wise, he’s a bargain if you use his Chapter Tactics, not so much if you don’t.

Captain Tarntus Vale
Why does Errant Armour always have a loincloth? What are they hiding?

Praetor of the Fire Angels’ 3rd Company, with a strong flair for armoured warfare. That formation is among the best anti-armour specialists in the chapter, if not among the entire loyalist force. They were pivotal in the attack on Sagan where the Secessionists attacked the loyalist lines in Rhinos laden with chemical warheads. His lungs were replaced with bionic oxygen exchangers after he personally destroyed one of the Suicide-Rhinos setting off it’s toxic payload.

HQ Unit
Points: 1.75 company Captains.
Profile: Same as Chapter Master
Wargear: Chainsword, Bolt Pistol, Plasma Pistol, Frag and Krak grenades, Melta Bombs, Iron Halo
Special Rules: ATSKNF, Combat Tactics, IC, Chapter Tactics, No Retreat, No Surrender, Master Gunner.

Chapter Tactics:Replace Combat Tactics with Tank Hunter. In addition to this, any Rhino or Razorback purchased for a squad upgraded in this manner is upgraded with extra armour for free.
Rocket Devs with Tank Hunter? Yes Please! In this very mechanised world we live in, this is extremely deadly to anyone who hides in transports. Dark Eldar Quiver in fear at the thought of Strength 5 boltguns! Everyone and their mother rides around in a rhino or a razorback, so why not have some free extra Armour.

Master Gunner:Any Vehicle with the subtype (Tank) in which Vale is transported gains the benefit of his Tank Hunters Rule if his chapter tactics are being used.
Apart from a Land Raider Phobos, I struggle to think of any other decent candidates for Vale to use this rule in, apart from a Lascannon razorback. I really like this rule, it’s completely unique giving Vale some real character over and above the normal Space Marine Captains.

Final Thoughts:
For his points, he’s amazing. Most Space Marine armies take at least two Rhinos or Razorback saving you off the bat 30 points. Tank Hunters makes even the lowly Tactical Squad a tank’s nightmare. To really make him worth his points, I’d run 2 devastator squads and plenty of squads in Rhinos/Razorbacks. I’d like to see him rolling around in one of these though.

Lias Issodon
There’s an entire Company of Raptors in this Picture. Ninjas.

Chapter Master of the Raptors, ‘The Grim’
HQ Unit
Points; 1.4 Company Captains.
Profile: Same As Chapter Master
Wargear: Power Armour, Power Weapon, Bolt Pistol, Frag And Krak Grenades, Malice

Special Rules: ATSKNF, Combat Tactics, Cunning Strategist, Chapter Tactics, IC, Infiltrate, Isolate, Destroy.

An Assault: 4, Range: 30 Bolter that has access to ‘Special Issue Ammo’- the same as Sternguard squads.
This firmly situates Issodon as a backfield, fire support character. I’d reckon you’ll rarely be anthing but the Hellfire rounds (Wound on 2+) from this. A handy addion to a fire-support tactical squad or devestator squad but is at home really in a sternguard squad.

Cunning Strategist:
-1 to the enemy’s reserve rolls.
This is excellent, nowhere else can a Space Marine army aquire this bonus. If you take a few drop pods, this makes the enemy think twice about all-reserving as their army will come on piecemeal.

Chapter Tactics:
Lose combat tactics, gain STEALTH
No, you’re not seeing things,  it does give Space Marines stealth.

Infiltrate, Isolate, Destroy:
After scout moves, before the game begins, choose an enemy unit (not IC); if a vehicle it takes a Glancing Hit, if anything else, it takes D6 shooting wounds with AP-.
I’d almost exclusively use this on vehicles unless there’s a small squad (Say a platoon/company command squad lying around) It’d be nice to put some wounds on an MC but most have a 3+ save or better. A great psychological weapon and very in keeping with the Raptors theme as one of your units turns up potentially damaged or even dead.

Final Thoughts:
Making your units 1/3 more survivable in cover? Yes please. Point for point the best character in the book. Think about combining this with a bike command squad- turbo boost for a 2+ cover and FNP then go to town with Lightning claws/Meltaguns/thunderhammers , it even makes normal bike squads heros. His only downfall is his lack of an inv save so make sure he stays out combat and isn’t caught on his own. For some sneaky tricks, take either Lysander/Master of the Forge/Techmarine/Thunderfire cannon and fortify a few buldings. If you absolutely, positively have to hold the line: accept no substitutes.

Malakim Phoros
Yellow? Hearts? I don’t think these guys got the GrimDark memo.

Chapter master of the ill-fated Lamenters Chapter. Drawn into the Badab war on the side of the Secessionists through careful manipulation by Huron. Phoros holds a deep distrust of the High Lords of Terra after the repeated castigation of his Chapter. Huron tapped into this suppressed hatred to draw the Lamenters into the conflict. He is M.I.A. after his flagship, the Daughter of Tempests, was destroyed during the battle that saw the majority of his Chapter destroyed by the relentless assault of the Minotaurs.

Blood Angles HQ Unit.
Points: 1.75 Company Captains
Profile: Chapter Master +1 Attack
Wargear: Artificer Armour, Glaive Encarmine, Catechrist, frag and krak grenades, Iron Halo.
Special Rules: Fearless, IC, Lord of Ruin, Bloodline of Sanguinius, Rage Unto Death.

A standard Infernus pistol.

Lord Of Ruin:
Any unit he joins becomes fearless, in addition any enemy units that lose a combat that involves Phoros must re-roll successful morale checks to prevent falling back
Now, this is different. Forcing the enemy to re-roll FAILED moral checks is handy for not getting shot in the subsequent shooting phase though this may come back to bite you when you really need an enemy to run away!

Bloodline of Sanguinius:
He is a ”Blood Angel” and all rules affecting them, affect him.

Rage Unto Death:
Once Phoros has lost one or more Wounds he increases his Attacks and Strength by 1 but gains the Rage USR and confers this to any unit he joins.

Final Thoughts:
Our first Blood Angel based Character really sets the tone for the entire Lamenter Chapter. It was a shame that he wasn’t included in the actual Blood Angel book, as here I feel he’s underpowered. He needs to be in a dedicated Assault unit but not something that’s going toe to toe with Terminators or anything that has a lot of instant death attacks as he lacks Eternal Warrior. I’d stick him in a nice big squad of Death Company with a Chaplain so you won’t risk one of your scoring units Raging off an objective on the last turn.

Captain Mordaci Blaylock
Apart from having one of the most badass names in 40k, the Captain of the Novamarines 1st company is also known as ‘The Stormbreaker’. He and his Terminators were the rock that broke an entire Eldar Swordwind, Blaylock himself crushing the life from the Exarch with Foe-Ripper. Coming to the aide of the Howling Griffons when their chapter was nearly shattered, Blaylock commanded the Novamarines detachment in the Badab war, mostly attacking marauders and orks on the peripheries of the Maelstrom.
HQ unit

Points: 1.95 Company Captains.
Profile: Chapter Master
Wargear: Terminator Amrour, Iron Halo, Foe Ripper, Storm Bolter.
Special Rules: ATSKNF, Independent Character, Hard As Stone, Terminator Attack, Combat Tactics.

Master Crafted Chainfist
GW needs to start talking to the FW guys about naming their weapons. Master Crafted handy against vehicles and it means he’s no slouch in CC.

Hard as Stone:
Blaylock and any terminator unit (of any type) can choose to pass or fail any morale check they are asked to take and cannot be pinned.
This really adds to your hammer unit, not having to worry about them running away that one time you roll double 6 for the morale check. Also makes his unit immune to Psyker Battle Squads.

Terminator Attack:
If your army includes Blaylock, all terminator squads (of any type) count as scoring.
Deathwing; Eat your heart out.

Final thoughts.
Maybe not a complete replacement for Maynard’s boy (Belial) Blaylock certainly fills a gap in the Space Marine Codex. He allows your hammer unit to take that objective you’ve just cleared or even tempt you into taking Shooty Terminators. You need to take at least 2 squads of terminators to get your points’ worth here
That’s all the Characters reviewed, I was going to review the ‘Tyrant’s Legion’ army list here but I thought it wouldn’t do it justice and deserved it’s own post at a later date. Next up I’m going to review the units in the Imperial Armor Apocalypse Second Edition that are useable in ‘normal’ games of 40k.
Thanks for reading!

Gears Of War: The Board Game

On the invitation of Newbreed, I’m here to do a bit of guest blogging.
Yes, it is a board game now. A co-operative one to be precise, for up to four players, playing time around 30-90 minutes depending on numbers and difficulty settings. Myself, Aido, John and Padriac were down in Maynooth’s Gamers Hub and decided to give it a go.

You play one of the four eponymous GoW characters. Here’s me, Baird, the “science guy” (he wears goggles in place of nerdy specs). The models are all well designed, especially the Locust, but unpainted, it can be a little hard to tell them apart.
Depending on the character you pick, you’ll get different stuff to start put with in terms of guns and ammo. Along with an individual special rule, as this character card indicates. Grenades are important. Very important.
The maps are arranged with random tiles, a series of rooms and corridors. Missions are randomly selected from a group of seven. This is “Emergence” the beginner mission. Our four intrepid heroes enter on the bottom right tile, and must fought their way to the red dot (an “Emergence” hole) in the furthest one, sealing it up with a grenade, before eliminating the remaining bad guys.
Weapons match those of the game, with the “Lancer” the most common (with a nifty mechanic for using its in-built chainsaw). Using up ammo tokens allows you to add more die to your rolls, but every weapon has a base number of die that you can roll without expending ammo. Grenades though, are gone when they are gone. You can pick up weapons from dead Locust.
That’d be these nasty buggers. The Locust are actually quite weak in the game, their strength coming from swarming numbers.
And here they come. You can rank how dangerous they are by size. Wretches, the smallest, are barely a threat, while the Boomers, the biggest, can mess you up with grenade launchers. A steady stream of Locust will be heading our way all game until the objective is completed.
And it doesn’t take long for them to reach us. As in the video games, the board game operates a “cover” mechanic (the curved arrows) which allows you to add more die to dodge and defence roles.
The turn system operates on a “Player A – Them – Player B – them” system. Everytime a human player is finished a turn, he takes control of the locust, drawing “AI Cards” to determine the general instructions for what they do, which can include attack, advancing or adding more Locust to game board. The player can, sometimes, decide the specifics of what the Locust do though, such as which of the four players they actually attack. This emphasises the co-operative nature of the game, as you work to protect the weakest from Locust assault.
Attacks are made through action cards like this one, of which you are dealt up to seven, depending on the character you picked, receiving an additional two every turn. Aside from letting you do things, the action cards also simulate health as damage is calculated by removing cards from your hand. They also each have individual effects as indicated by the symbol on the top left of the card, which can allow you to dodge an attack, get in an attack on a Locust about to shoot you etc.
The Locust AI cards frequently leave the enemy piled up in front of you in large numbers, in this case, just about every bad guy on the board in one square.
Die rolls are made with black for attack and red for defence. Those red flashes mean hits and damage (of which Locust cannot take much), while skulls are “omens” which activate special rules depending on the weapon used. In this turn, John pitches a grenade at the enemy, and rolls several die.
With bad consequences for them. Grenades are powerful, somewhat over-powered for this game, and are plentiful in this specific scenario. A common game tactic is simply to wait until the Locust are inevitably jammed into one space then pitch a grenade. One of the cowards is actually running away in the top-right.
I start using movement-centric action cards to advance through the map while the coast is clear. Other scenarios might actually be better done with a “Dig-In” mentality, but not this one. Of course, it is easy to get cut off on your own if you don’t collaborate on movement.
It is not long before more Locust are winging their way towards us.
As Aido and John are stuck back in the first square (unable to finish off some Wretches), myself and Padraic take to the high ground, which offers some boosts to attack. But the Locust are not far behind and poor Baird is already down to just two action cards.
And down he goes. Like the video game, I’m not dead, just “bleeding out”. Another player can exhaust an action card to get me up, as Padraic does. The players lose when all four are down. This takes a lot of damage to accomplish, but it is a snowball effect: you can operate easily enough with one player down, but two down means less targets for the Locust to choose from, less offensive options, then suddenly three are down, then you’re all dead.
Another grenade clears the enemies and now we are all advancing down the last straight, the objective firmly in mind. The board game really does capture something of a video game in my opinion, the basic teamwork, the hordes of bad guys falling before you etc. The creators have done a decent job of translating virtual mechanics into board game ones.
We approach the objective. The way seems pretty packed, but you can move past live Locust if you wish. Question marks are ammo points, where you discard action cards to get more food for guns. Pretty important here, to get more grenades.
We make a run for the objective. The first attempt fails, but an ammo point is readily available.
Success! The Emergence hole is sealed. Getting this far was plenty of fun, and the game benefits from such specific objectives, giving it that military feel.
One last thing to do, as a final horde of Locust stream into the map depending on how many players are left. Unfortunately for them, grenades remain really over powered….
Padraic slaughters the lot easily.
Victory! Our team stands united in triumph (except for Aido who was too busy being a glory-hunter).
The game has some minor flaws – hard to distinguish models, over-powered weapons, easy enough enemies – but many of these can be overcome by playing on higher difficulties (we played on “Normal”) which throws greater numbers of more difficult enemies at you, all the way up to Berserkers. But overall it as a good gaming experience. The teamwork, combat, and Locust AI mechanics are all good, the rules avoid unnecessary complexity, and it can all be done in an hour or so. Fully recommended.
David Costelloe is the author of Never Felt Better, the bestest blog on the internet, and personally knows, like, THREE Warheads.

Flames of War for the Cash Strapped. Part I: Germans

This spring the Warheads and Gamer’s World will be starting a Flames of War escalation league.  This is an outstanding World War Two game in 15mm scale.  The timing of the league coincides with the release of the third edition rules for Flames of War.  We have always found Flames of War to be an excellent game; however, the miniatures made by Battle Front are rather expensive.  Recently, U.K.-based Plastic Soldier Company has produced several late-war 15mm kits that are ideally suited for Flames of War.  These kits, when supplemented with a few Battle Front blisters, allow for the creation of a substantial force for around 100 euro or less.

The purpose of this article is to present several lists using PSC kits and blisters purchased from Gamer’s World.    A few caveats:
1.  Our concern in constructing the lists were pecuniary not competitive.  Some of the lists below can be easily countered but can also make an opponent cry depending on the match up.
2.  From a modeling perspective our concern was WYSIWYG rather than verisimilitude.  Purists may be offended by the use of generic infantry to represent SS, Fallschirmjäger, etc.  
3.  All of the lists below were created using the recently released book Grey Wolf: Axis Forces on the Eastern Front, January 1944-February 1945.  The lists are not exhaustive,  nor do we claim that they are even the best value for money that may be possible.  Nevertheless, we are impressed with the lists we were able to generate drinking Guinness in T.P. Smiths using the back of an envelope and a stubby pencil.
4.  All of the lists are in the 1500 point range.  Specific point cost have not been included.
5.  People familiar with 40k will understand the list structure.  Lists include a mandatory HQ and two combat platoons.  These are supplemented by a multitude of support platoons.
6.  The Plastic Soldier Company late war German Infantry box comes with 90 grenadiers, 10 officers, and 15 MG42s.  The latter are crucial.
7.  Prices below are gleaned from the internet.  PSC has said the release of its Tiger kit is imminent.  We use the price of the Panther box for the lists below that use Tigers .
Without further ado, let’s consider the lists.

List 1  Gepanzerte Panzergrenadierkompanie (p. 76 Grey Wolf)
We are starting with this list because we feel it is the best “take all comers” list.  It also uses multiple units that would make for dynamic tactics and game play.  This is the most expensive list presented.
HQ: Gepanzerte Panzergrenadierkompanie HQ and 2ic in Sd Kfxz 251/1 half-tracks
Combat platoon 1: Gepanzerte Panzergrenadierkompanie consisting of three squads and a HQ section.  Each squad has two MG teams and a half-track.  The command squad is a MG team and a half-track.
Combat platoon 2: Gepanzerte Panzergrenadierkompanie consisting of three squads and a HQ section.  Each squad has two MG teams and a half-track.  The command squad is a MG team and a half-track
Combat platoon 3: Heavy Infantry Gun platoon, 2 15cm sIG33
Divisional support 1: Panther A platoon, 4 Panther As
Divisional support 2: 2 armoured Sd Kfz 7/1 (Quad 2cm)
What you need to buy:
Two boxes of Plastic Soldier Company half-tracks: 40 euro
One box of Plastic Soldier Company Panthers: 22 euro
One box of Plastic Soldier Company late-war German Infantry: 22 euro
Battle Front blister [GE566] 15cm sIG33 : 16 euro
Two Battle Front blisters [GE168] SdKfz 7/1 (Quad 2cm): 18 euro
Battle Front bases blister [XX101]: 9 euro
Total cost:  127 euro.  Point cost: 1500
List 2  Kampfgruppe Bäke (p. 22 Grey Wolf)

HQ:  Panther A
Combat platoon 1: 4 Panther A
Combat platoon 2: 3 Panther A
What you need to buy:
Two boxes of Plastic Soldier Company Panthers: 44 euro.
Total cost: 44 euro.  Total point cost: 1500.
Notes:  It may be advisable to drop combat platoon 1 to three panthers and use the extra points to get some anti-aircraft support!
List 3 Stug Batterie (p. 58 Grey Wolf)

HQ: StuG G with assault rifle tank escortson
Combat Platoon 1: 3 StuG G with assault rifle tank escorten
Combat Platoon 2: 3 StuG G with assault rifle tank escorten
Combat Platoon 3: 3 StuG G with assault rifle tank escorten
Divisional support: Schwere Panzer Platoon, 2 Tiger I E
What you need to buy:
Two boxes of PSC StuGs: 40 euro
One box of PSC Tigers when available: 22 euro (probably)
Total cost: 62 euro.  Total point cost: 1530
Note: You might consider dropping tank riders from two platoons and adding an anti-aircraft blister of 2cm FlaK38s [GE544], 17 euro.

List 4 Grenadierkompanie (p. 26 Grey Wolf)
HQ: Grenadierkompanie HQ
Combat platoon 1: Grenadier platoon with 3 squads
Combat platoon 2: Grenadier platoon with 3 squads
Combat platoon 3: Grenadier platoon with 3 squads
Weapons platoon 1: Grenadier machine-gun platoon with 2 MG sections
Weapons platoon 2: Grenadier mortar platoon with three sections
Divisional support 1: Panzer platoon with 3 Pz IVH
Divisional support 2: StuG platoon with 3 StuG G
Divisional support 3: Anti-aircraft gun platoon, 3 SdKfz 7/1 (quad 2cm)
What you need to buy
One box PSC late war German Infantry: 22 euro
One box PSC PZ IVH: 20 euro
One box PSC StuGs:  20 euro
Battle Front blister [GE735] mortar platoon with 3 sections: 14 euro
Three Battle Front blisters [GE166] SdKfz 7/1 (Quad 2cm): 27 euro
Battle Front bases blister [XX101]: 9 euro
Total cost: 112 euro.  Total point cost: 1500
List 5 Panzerkompanie (p. 72 Grey Wolf).  
HQ: 2 Panzer IV H
Combat platoon 1: 5 Panzer IVH
Combat platoon 2: 4 Panther A
Divisional support: 3 Sd Kfz 7/1 (Quad 2cm)
What you need to buy:
Two boxes PSC Panzer IVs: 40 euro
One box PSC Panthers: 22 euro
Three Battle Front blisters [GE166] SdKfz 7/1 (Quad 2cm): 27 euro
Total cost: 89 euro.  Total point cost: 1500
List 6 Schwere Panzerkompanie (p. 70 Grey Wolf)

In anticipation of PSC’s Tiger kit…

HQ: 2 Tiger I E
Combat Platoon 1: 3 Tiger I E
Combat Platoon 2: 2 Tiger I E
What you need to buy
Two boxes PSC Tigers (when available): 44 euro (or so)
Total cost: 44 euro.  Total point cost: 1505
Notes:  You will probably want to drop 1 Tiger from either the command section or Platoon 1 so you can fit in some support choices.
Concluding thoughts
Other lists that seem quite feasible using PSC products, a few BF blisters, and Grey Wolf list are:
Sturmkompanie, Fallschirmjäger, SS Panzerkampgruppe, and SS Panzergrenadierkampfgruppe.  Many of you will note that artillery is a key omission from the above lists.  This is because most BF artillery boxes cost between 35 and 55 euro.  Mortars are an excellent option if available in a list.
Next week, we will present some Soviet lists.

Forge World and You: The Badab War-Part One

This is the first instalment in a series of articles which aim to make people familiar with Forge World’s more recent books and the rules therein.

With the release of Imperial Armour Apocalypse Second Edition (IAASE. Hum. Even the acronym is a bit of a mouthful) and the infamous ’40k approved’ stamp, more and more tournaments are considering permittinging a limited amount of Forge World rules.
This series is looking to inform and educate the majority without access to the books. It will not pass comment on whether the individual ruleset should be used in tournament play. Remember that this is the opinion of only one man.
Without further ado, we’ll begin with our first book: The Badab War Part One

The Story
The Badab War is the most recent wholesale revolt of multiple Space Marine Chapters, in the Imperium’s histroy. Four entire Chapters, though one was nearly the size of a Legion, rebelled against Imperial rule. Heading the rebellion was Lugft Huron, Chapter Master of the Astral Claws. Over many years, Huron had increased the size of his Chapter far in excess of the standard thousand marines laid down by the Codex Astartes. Through careful distribution of his forces and manipulation of those sent to audit him, this was kept secret for at least a century. It is also thought that he was able to merge his Chapter with the Tiger Claws, though this was never proven. When Huron destroyed an Inquisitorial task force sent to audit his Chapter, he drew the Astral Claws, The Lamenters, The Mantis Warriors and The Executioners into a bloody war of secession

Forge World delivers a great back story for the entire campaign, giving a few short extracts on individual battles as well as an overall picture of the first half of the war, lavishly detailed with star maps and artwork. It examines the reasons for Hurons initial ‘betrayal for the good of the Maelstrom’ to his fall from grace, at the beginning of the war. The background follows the Imperium’s initial response and failures to gain ground, up until the Angstorm Incident, which was the tipping point of the war.


The book details the following chapters:
The Astral Claws
The Fire Hawks
The Marines Errant
Red Scorpions
The Fire Angles
The Raptors
The Lamenters
The Novamarines
The Howling Griffons

Accounts are given of their founding, some history, their disposition before the Badab war and selected battles they’ve taken part in. Accompanying the text are examples of marines and vehicles of the chapters, rendered in their colours through CAD. If you are a fan of any of these chapters, the Forge World writers really beef out their history and combat doctrine -developing them almost as much as the original 20- making this a must-read.


I’ll go through the characters by firstly giving you a little on background behind them and their disposition at the end of the Badab War. Following on from this I’ll go through:
  1. The points cost compared to a Company Captain.
  2. Their stat lines.
  3. Wargear.
  4. Special Rules.
  5. I’ll explain any non-standard Special Rules or Wargear and give my opinion.
  6. Finally I’ll comment on it’s relative effectiveness.
Any non-standard rules and wargear will be highlighted in bold.
Lugft Huron
One of the more badass models out of Forgeworld
The Master of the Astral Claws, this are the rules for the character as he was during the war. He would take a meltagun to the chest at the end of the Siege of Badab and go on to become Huron Blackheart in the Chaos Space Marine Codex.

HQ Choice
Points: 2.35 times the cost of a Company Captain
Profile: Exactly as a Chapter Master
Wargear: Terminator Armour, The Ghost Razors, Heavy Flamer and Iron Halo.
Special Rules: And They Shall Know No Fear (ATSKNF), Combat Tactics, Independent Character, Big Guns Never Tire, Living Legend, Shadowed Fate.

Big Guns Never Tire:
His Orbital Bombardment is Ordnance 2, otherwise it’s exactly the same as the Chapter Master’s Orbital Bombardment.
This is nice, note it’s not barrage so they scatter individually, doubling the chance that lovely Str 10 Ap1 blast will hit!

Living Legend:
Allied Space Marines may use his leadership while he is in play (Modifiers apply as normal).
Can re-roll the size the initiative dice.
Good to see the Rites of Battle back in some form, makes an army slightly more reliable. Re-roll the initiative is a common rule now for Characters, but it’s no Vect!

Shadowed Fate
The first time Huron would be removed form play as a casualty for any reason, leave him on his side, at the end of the turn this occurred in, roll a D6, on a 2+, he survives with one remaining wound. He is then placed as close as possible to where he fell. This only happens once.
Here’s half the money here! This is very sneaky, adds a lot of survivability to him as he’s not an Eternal Warrior. Lets him get to grips with larger monstrous creatures and if that Power Klaw lurking in that boyz squad snags him, he can survive it!

The Ghost Razors
Lightning Claws that force your opponent to re-roll successful invulnerable saves against wounds caused by them.
And here’s the other half of the money, With a decent WS, he’s hitting most things on a 3, re-olling 4’s to wound, forcing a re-roll on a successful Inv save.

Final Thoughts:
I’d add him to a TH/SS squad, it gives them quite a bit of anti-infantry with the Heavy Flamer and 4 attacks on the charge with the Ghost Razors aren’t to be sniffed at. I find the Big Guns Never Tire very situational as you’re staying still with what is effectively a combat character. I’d be tempted to keep him on an objective with a scoring unit providing superior LD to the army and one turn of fire support. He’d be a great deterrent against outflanking units, chewing through a squad of Wolf Scouts on his own but maybe needing help with Snickrot and his friends.

Chaplain Dreadnought Titus
Chaplain of the Howling Griffon’s Chapter, he was destroyed fighting a rearguard action against the Executioners Chapter, allowing his Battle Brothers to escape
HQ Unit
Points: 2.05 Times the cost of a Company Captain.
Profile: Same as a Venerable Dreadnaught, +1 Attack.
Wargear: Dreadnaught Close Combat Weapon (With either Storm Bolter or Heavy Flamer), Lascannon or Assault Cannon, Extra Armour, Smoke Launcher, Searchlight.
Special Rules: Living Icon of the Chapter, Venerable, Litany of Hate

Living Icon of the Chapter
Every squad within 12” of him is Fearless.
While it can be a disadvantage, fearless can anchor a flank rather well, combine this with venerable, he’s be able to hold his own, with some support.

Litany of Hate
He can re-roll failed ‘to-hit’ rolls when he charges.
This makes him particularly handy for attacking vehicles and mitigates a weakness dreadnaughts have while in combat.

Final Thoughts

As I stated previously, he could certainly anchor a flank with the fearless and makes a great counter assault unit. While the re-roll to hit diminishes one of the Dreadnaught’s greater weakness in combat, he is still slow and vulnerable to dedicated anti tank fire.

Captain Corien Sumatris
The Tyrant’s Champion, Captain of the Astral Claw’s Second Company. He was rumoured to be a member of the Tiger Claws chapter, which supposedly merged with the Astral Claws long before the start of the Badab War. He slew the previous Champion in a particularly bloody duel, a soldier who was the right hand of Huron himself. Thought dead at the end of the war, his body was never found, raising fears he is still fighting with his master.

Points: 1.65 Company Captains
Profile: +1 WS over a Company Captain
Wargear: Power Armour, Storm Shield, Spectre Pattern Bolter, Goldenfang, Digital Weapons, Frag and Krak grenades.
Special Rules: ATSKNF, Combat Tactics, Independent Character, The Tyrant’s Champion
Spectre Pattern Bolter:
An Assault 2 Bolt Pistol.
A nice addition for an assault character.
Master Crafted Power Weapon that confers two extra attacks when charging.
Again, nice, not a cookie cutter relic blade which everyone and their mother had these days, but not that powerful until you take into account the next rule

The Tyrant’s Champion
Furious Charge is conferred to both him and the squad he’s with. In addition all Codex Space Marine units (Not independent Characters) within 12″ of him have +1 WS.
Well then, here’s the meat of Sumatris. Hell, I’d pay 65 points to give this rule to a bog standard company champion. Aim at the densest part of the enemy with a few squads and pull the trigger!

Final thoughts:
This guy is well worth his points, I can see him easily rocking out of a Land Raider with some TH/SS Terminators. He is an excellent force multiplier for any squad, build a battle line around this guy or the counterattack element of your force and you won’t go wrong.

Armenneus Valthex
In the Grim Dark Future there is only….Mechadendrites?

‘The Alchemancer’ and Patriarch of the Forges of the Astral Claws. As Huron’s Chief Techmarine, Armenneus oversaw the logistics of supplying an ever increasing army of space marines and millitia. While his forges could not produce many of the more advanced weapons used, they were more than capable of meeting the demands of simpler items from the humble bolter to Rhinos and Leman Russ Battle Tanks. He carried his Lord’s body into the Maelstrom after the Siege of Badab.

Cost: 1.45 Company Captains 
Profile: Master of the Forge, +1 Attack 
Wargear: Artificer Armour, Bolt Pistol, Conversion Beamer, Indynabula Array, Frag and Krak GrenadesSpecial Rules: ATSKNF, Combat Tactics, IC, Battle Alchemistry, Blessings of the Omnissiah, Bolster Defenses, Lord of the Armoury.

Indynabula Array
Counts as being armed with two power weapons (Additional attacks added to profile), he has the counter attack USR, a 5+ Inv. save and a re-roll on the blessings of the Omnissiah.
This gives him a degree of survivability over normal Master of the Forges but not much. The Blessing of the Omnissiah is still on a 5+.

Battle Alchemistry
Gives one squad the ability to upgrade their Bolt Pistols, Boltguns or Storm Bolters to have the Poisoned (2+) ability.
This makes shooty terminators almost useable or just give it to a Tactical Squad to make them mini Sternguard. Note it’s one -not all- of the list.

Final Thoughts:
I’d really like to have him sitting in a 10 man terminator squad with two assault cannons (Or Cyclones because they look cooler!) in base contact with a Rifleman dread in a fortified (3+ cover save) ruin. Shifting that core is no mean feat. He’s definitely a support character, sitting back and blasting away with his beamer but realistically he’ll be in a dev squad as addition fire support while he gives is poison to a tactical squad.

Lieutenant Commander Anton NearvaezThought I’d drop in some old-school right about now.

The Master Locum of the Marines Errant. The Marines Errant seem the be GW’s whipping boy chapter, they never seem to be winning, at all, ever. The only reason this guy is still alive at the end of the Badab War was because his ship, the Star Jackal, took a hiding from some Astral Claws. It was too slow to keep up with the rest of the High Command, who in turn were ambushed by some Mantis Warriors and slain to a man. Being the only Captain left, he was made de-facto Chapter Master. Everyone else was either dead or in stasis.

HQ Unit.
Points: 1.35 Company Captains
Profile: -1 Wound, -1 WS, From a Company Captain.
Wargear: Power Weapon, Bolt Pistol, Thundershock, Actinic Halo, Frag and Krak Grenades
Special Rules: ATSKNF, Combat Tactics, Independent Character, Dark Void Elite.

A master Crafted Plasma-Gun.
A BS 5 Plasma gun is handy to have.

Actinic Halo
Confers a 3+ Inv. Save, but if it’s failed, roll a D6, on a 4+ it continues to work, roll a 1-3 and it cannot be used for the rest of the battle.
A toned down shadow field for the man with only two wounds. I like change up in the concept and the rules are different but it’s just not that great. 
Dark Void Elite
Anton and his squad get Scout and Move Through Cover and Void Hardened Armour (Only usable in games of Boarding Assault, more on that later)
This opens up the game for some fairly funny things such as Scouting terminators in Land Raiders and Scouting Vanguard Veterans in Rhinos. This really shines in games of Boarding Assault.

Final thoughts:
I really can’t shake the feeling that this guy is just an upgraded sergeant, which in all fairness is fairly loyal to his background. I would only take him if I was doing a Marines Errant themed army and even at that he’s not got a lot of use. I’d end up sticking him in a tactical squad in the back field, use him as a wound soak and a reliable Plasma carrier. He really shines in games of Boarding Assault where Void Hardened armour is a great bonus and Scout and Move Through Cover are extremely valuable.

Magister Sevrin Loth
I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over the sound of how awesome this armour is.
This. This is the marine Tigerius wishes he could be. The Chief Librarian of the Red Scorpions, also called the Witch-Bane. Unusually for librarians, he would rather be in the crucible of battle than meditating on aspects of the Warp. He is often accompanied by a group of Honour Guard, normally reserved for Chapter Masters. They keep him from being overwhelmed, but he doesn’t notice, he’s too busy purging xenos and murdering heretics. He is one word: Badass. He could be found wherever Commander Culln was, offering his sage advice to the new Lord Commander and fighting in the thickest battles. He survives the Badab War.

HQ Unit.
Points: 2.05 Company Captains
Profile: Same as a Librarian’s, +1 WS.
Wargear: The Armour of Selket, Force Weapon, Bolt Pistol, Frag and Krak Grenades
Special Rules: Fearless, Combat Tactics, Independent Character, Master Psyker

Master Psyker:
Can use three Psychic powers a turn, but not the same once more than once. He can choose out of the following: Smite, Machine Curse, The Avenger, Quickening, Null Zone and Vortex of Doom

The Armor Of Selket
Confers an armour save of 2+, but he may use a psychic power to make this a 2+ invulnerable save, which canont be stopped by a Psychic Hood. This lasts until the controlling player’s next turn.
Bam. Dark Eldar, you can take your shadowfield back from whence you came, we have the best bit of protective wargear right here.

Final Thoughts:
This guy is pretty dam good. The 2+ inv save, the psychic hood, (Everyone has psychic powers these days!) access to all the good powers, fearless, decent combat stats and did I mention the 2+ inv save? His one real weakness is lack of eternal warrior but most things will probably be dead once he’s done with them.

This concludes the first part on the Badab War series. Part two will come shortly with notes on the Campaign, ‘The Tyrant’s Legion’ army list and the remaining characters.

Please comment below with any comments and constructive criticism.
Thanks for reading!

Product review: PaperTerrain.com

Travel east in southern Russia across the heat saturated steppes and you will eventually reach the cool waters of the Laba and Kuban.  In between these two rivers lies the somniferous village of Bristolscalia.
The product under review here is the South Russian Village pack (http://paperterrain.mybisi.com/product/south-russian-village-pack) in 15mm.  It costs $40.00 (roughly 31 euro) with an additional $11.00 for shipping from the U.S.  We ordered the village online and received it seven days later.  In addition to the village we received a signed letter from PaperTerrain.com’s CEO/CFO.  That’s a nice touch.
The village consists of seventeen buildings–barns, workhouses, houses, and a church.  The buildings are printed on cardstock with each building clearly labeled.  We unpacked the buildings and sorted out the inventory.

.    A key feature of paperterrain.com buildings is the double-construction.  Each of the main buildings comes as a ruined “core” and an outer healthy shell that slides over the core.  This was a compelling reason for our decision to give this product a trial.  This also effectively doubles the assembly time so plan accordingly. Our xacto knives were sharp and we got straight to work cutting out two houses, sheds, and some fences 

The assembly of the house was straightforward.  A ruler with a sharp edge is helpful with the folds, particularly the small tabs that are used to glue the components together.  We used Scotch’s “scapbook glue” and it worked nicely.  
The detail is impressive, as we expected from a printed product.  The chimney is a nice touch and you can imagine a family sitting around a poorly fueled fire waiting to be crushed under the treads of an IS-2. Having assembled two houses we decided to make a compound.  The base is the cork underside of a place mat that has been painted brown.  Our compound consists of two sheds (one wood shed is just visible to the right of a house), a pig pen, and some fences.  
Next we simply applied some flock.
And as soon as we had we finished assembling our compound a ZIS-76 crew occupied it.  

Let’s conclude this brief review.
Price: Inexpensive.  Flames of War requires a serious commitment to terrain and this product gets you most of the way there.
Gaming: Perfect.  The footprint of each building is ideally suited to FoW sized bases.  The ability to remove the outer shell of each building is a great feature.  
Assembly:  The editorial team struggled to reach a consensus on this.  The general feeling of our team is: do not purchase paper terrain unless you are prepared for the assembly. Papercraft is not for everyone.  It requires a certain temperament and hands that aren’t riddled with caffeine.  It will take you hours–DAYS EVEN–to assemble your village.  We suggest that the lack of painting required makes the build time average out with other types of terrain.  This review covers only a small sampling of houses because one of the editors had an “accident” with his knife while assembling the church.   

Bristolscalia will be the site of several bloody conflicts in the upcoming months. We’ll be sure to post some AARs here and at On The Step.


Play Necromunda

Ah, Necromunda. Another unsung classic in the GW back catalogue. The rules, as with most Specialist Games can be found online, http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/content/article.jsp?categoryId=1100011&aId=5300010.

Not without its flaws, the rules set can be a little unclear at times. Some argue that the skill system favours certain gangs but this can be a function of inadequate terrain. An overly open battlefield is biased against close combat-oriented gangs. You need a lot of terrain, think city fight and then double it. No street grid, no long lines of sight, you want a tangled mess and little bits of cover in every open space.

Some can balk at the paperwork involved in keeping your roster updated. This is something of a problem with those players who have played only short and/or aborted campaigns. Gang development is very fast in the first two to three games and slows thereafter. Many players have only experienced those first few games and never get to break out into the less frantic and happy waters of a developed gang.

But I bring good news on this front. You can use http://yakromunda.com to bypass all that sort of thing. Online, updating, printable gang rosters for all. Any diehard Necromunda fans, caught without opponents, should sign up just to access the library. I won’t go into detail, you’ll just have to trust me.

That’s the negative, now for the positive. For sheer character and development, it is unsurpassed, the upgrades automatically shape your gang’s character. You don’t need to write fluff, it is created naturally over the course of the game. Allow me to demonstrate.

My favourite gang are a bunch of Van Saars by the name of the Chemdock Saints. Those readers with excellent taste in cult films will recognise my heavy-handed homage to the Boondock Saints. The leader is named after the family patriarch and the heavies were named after his sons, the main characters. Tragically one was killed in action and replaced by a thematically fitting name. The gangers and juves are all named after various supporting characters.
The leader, Noah MacManus, is a well-equipped and hardened veteran of the underhive. He boasts the hip shooting, dodge and rapid fire skills. All this means that with his trusty plasma pistol, he can sprint and shoot. If he pauses for breath, he can blaze away twice. Imagine the Duracell Bunny crossed with Max Payne.
The veteran heavy, Connor MacManus, is a medic with an old battle wound. He doesn’t make every fight due to his chronic and blinding headaches but always lends a hand afterwards when people need to be patched up.
The other heavy, Fergal MacManus, is new to the post, replacing Murphy MacManus. His vaunted predecessor died when his heavy stubber exploded in his hands, the poor git survived the shrapnel but the force of the blast threw him off a walkway. He did not survive his encounter with the ground. Fergal is something of an inventor, after each game, there’s a chance that he’ll cobble together a useful piece of kit.
The first ganger, Smecker has received no skills only stat upgrades. He is currently a middle of the road fighter. He’s a good shot, tougher than average but nothing special. This means that in the absence of juves, he gets all the crappy jobs. Death will claim him soon.
Rocco is a little more focused. The gunfighter skill lets him handle two pistols, he’s working towards becoming a short-ranged assassin. The armourer skill lets him maintain Noah’s plasma pistol, making it more reliable.
Greenly, the third ganger, is probably my favourite. With specialist and step aside, he carries a deadly plasma gun (the handle is visible on his back in the picture). The weapon maketh the man in this case and he is deadly at mid range. A Delaque club has left him with horrible scars and he now causes fear.
The fourth ganger, Dolly, is an eclectic character, with dive and disarm. This allows him to sprint across the battlefield from scrap of cover to scrap of cover. When he closes in, he snatches your weapon from you and tosses it in the nearest sump pit. As you would suspect, he tends to attract a lot of fire.
Duffy is a former juve, now full-blooded ganger. From his former role as bullet bait, he’s become a mini-Terminator. He’s an excellent shot but more importantly has maxed out his toughness and wounds characteristics. A lucky quirk of the random upgrade system. The vaguely Arnie-like haircut is entirely coincidental.
Doc, another juve turned ganger, has developed in a near-mirror of Rocco. He shares the gunfighter and armourer skills. Again he is close range combatant but in his case, its to compensate for the fact that he’s a terrible shot. He’s generally found maintaining one of the heavy stubbers.

None of the above is literary indulgence, all of it is based on in-game stats, skills and events. The advances system, although fickle and cruel, does make for a gang of individuals with a wide variety of skills. They start as merely carriers for their weapons and stats but quickly form distinct personality. Ganger #6 (autogun) soon becomes Greenly, the scarred and quick-footed ganger with a fondness for high tech weapons and certain calmness under fire. This RPGesque twist really puts it ahead of the crowd of skirmish games out there. If you’re a hardened tournament gamer craving a little bit of narrative heavy wargaming, this is your outlet.

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