Sunday, April 7, 2013

a quick look at the Greater good

Well, I was forced to stay the weekend in California, but it gave me some free time to download and read the official new Tau Codex.  It’s about time I got another post on this blog anyway!

Overall, I continue to love the digitial layout and they are finding more and more ways to utilized an interface design iBook.  but lets get to the content of the rules.

Considering I was anticipating some crazy changes to how the Bonding knife ritual [people who know know me will know how and why I thought these were coming  ;-)   ]  I was glad to see a solid rendition similar in nature to the previous rules.

I think Supporting Fire is great fun and LOOKS to be an amazingly potent rule….but if I’ve ever learned anything about successfully playing tau it is never keep too many units tangles in one place.   Tau played best follow the rules of engagement devised by Native American Light Cavalry.   Hit hard and then scatter.

Point cost wise, I think they really hit the mark, which was better than what I was anticipating [again people who know me will know why I expected differing point cost] One of the few exceptions to this is the devilfish staying at 80 points base. Being a Jinking Skimmer is nice until you get stunned.  Then you’re fodder wishing you cost little more than the overgunned/overruled Chimera ;-)      I expect this is the result of GW pushing people away dominance of MechTau armies and wanting to push some sales on their newer toys.

The New toys seem pretty great and the flyer design is growing on me.  I see the sunshark as the clearly superior flyer of the two, though my heart lies with the razorfish.  I wish they had given the Razorfish a markerlight light it’s big brother.  Also It exchanges the interceptor drones for more thrusters, but I KINDA wish these thrusters actually had some rules impact.  In essence, the Razorfish just loses these as well.   I might custom build a hybrid “Best of both worlds” superiority fighter  Razorfish that has these items and loses the Pulse Bomb generator  (no superiority fighter worth is salt would be a bomber too!)

The giant suits turned out really well and I preordered one, though I’m not sure it fits my army theme.

If I could say I had two contributions to that army, it would be that they took my advice on giving thr commander more hardpoints than the crisis suits AND for most of the crisis suit weapons, they realized that most of them should be about equally priced, with each one just specializing in a different role.

Our Deaths bring glory to the Empire!  For the Great good!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Marines of the Rising Sons Chapter

This is my pride and joy, though you wouldn't guess it by looking at my army. They are a marine Army I developed a Bushido story behind that used the Blood Angels Codex SOLEY because I knew about the Storm Raven at it's inception and said  to myself "My Marine army is going to be about Storm Ravens, even if they have to have quirky blood angel rules".  I also had a fascination with Stern Guard, and with enough time and throught, I made a coherant history for a shooty Bload Angels army who had Ronin (Death company) and a desire to fly into battle on giant gunships with shooty boltguns.

I will try to post my Index Astartes soon.  It's lengthy and still needs some editing, but it's a good read.

The chapter has a Second Veteren's Company called the ValeGuard that are somewhat detached from the chapter's "Death before Dishonor" esprit de corp.  They have a Xeno-hunters slant to them and have a seedy alliance with some of the more deceptive and underhanded cadres in the Tau empire. This has really allowed me to push the chapter's story forward and further embolden the idea of them being an army design around Air Cavalry (Storm Ravens Look a little pale when a normal marine army can have Storm Talons, Storm Eagles, and Assault Rams.)  It also gave me the opportunity to do something I've always wanted to do.  Build a Marine army fully in Truscale. 

I'm a big fan of the mk4 Maximus Head and found a guy who produces this Tau-Power armor hybrid which happens to be design in 28mm Truscale(or darn close to it)

Below are some of  Prototype models I have showing the larger Mk 16 Damocles power armor and their non-standard Bolt weaponry.  While I very much like the GW aesthetic, I find myself seeking out non-GW bits to give my armies some individual flare.

(There are actually three different guns types in the above picture.  The one on the far right is a carbine version of the first and third.)  I have about 40 figure s currently and want to get another 20.

The makings of a GW External Playtester. (The Ancient and Honorable Order of the TechPriests)

For those who stumble into this and DON'T already know me, I thought it might be helpful to know what a freak with a two decade old hobby defending and assaulting Humans who worship a guy who sits on a golden toilet.

I'm a fortysomething GIS Rulebase Analyst who bought into the game thinking the old Hard Cover Rogue trader book was a roleplaying game. I found the game difficult to comprehend, being almost completely oblivious to standard wargame concepts (If I can glue a clip onto a marine's leg, how come that doesn't let me fire more.... what do you mean we don't even KEEP TRACK of AMMO!?). I probably never would have pushed further into the game were it not for a bold stupid kid named Todd Hallchurch who fell in love with the Rogue trader Miniatures....something I had ZERO tallent building painting or even understanding. He made some AMAZING figs with guns stolen from Transformers and GI Joe figures. He actually had a standing space marine who was armed with a reasonable size DEFENSE LASER.(okay it was small, but it was significantly larger than most vehicle weapons of the day.). I

I went through 2nd edition in my college years and played the Uber power gamer with my college crowd. I had friends in ROTC and studied Platoon and squad SOP manuals (FM 7-8 is a personal favoriteof mine) and was somewhat irked that what produced game victories seldomly resembled modern infantry tactics and manuvering. I'm not fond of those years and were it not for Jervis Johnson producing a small article series called the "J files" in WD and Citidel journals, the gamer in me would have died for sure.


I had the amazing fortune post college to have a lengthy chat with a good bloke who used to work in the GW design studio and not before long I joined "THE ANCIENT AND HONORABLE ORDER OF THE TECHPRIESTS." This was GW's early attempt at external playtesting and I had the luck to be able to work directly with the game designers over the course of 7 years. I've been directly or indirectly (under the blanket of the Honorable Order) credited in 7 40k publications and worked on 2 White dwarf tidbits and some other items.

This was a dream of mine second ONLY to working as Games Developer myself and one I came pretty close to achieving despite the fact of being a "Colonial".

The Honorable Order was disbanded around 5th edition playtesting, though through what I believe is the fault of the Order(external playtesters) themselves, the group lost reputation in the Design studio as being too hard to work with (and finally prone to a major PT leak the only I know of in the history of the Order). They were a good group of well meaning playtesters and a smart bunch too, but bias and passion often overshadowed solid analysis. When a Leak finally occured that was indeed the fault of the Order all were let go besides me and my tiny band of amazying servitors.


I was Tim Sawyer, Leader of the bold and stupid Sawyer's First Chancers, the Last of the TechPriests...The last of a proud order, the last slice of grimy pizza. We had secret handshakes and code words (none of which were required or sanctioned by GW....we were just that dorky) My playtest cell rode into the mouths of Game Studios Guns...Cannons to the left of us, Cannons to the right of us.....Into the Valley of death rode we 7 dorky Rule laywering nerds....
Me clentching the Pencil, and several of my
Playtesting and D-Company gaming Buddies

What can be said of my time in Nirvana is that I feel most people in the gaming verse think they understand how the process works without having ANY CLUE of how such a process works. it's easy to blame a single Name in the studio, when really they are extremely limited by how much influence they have(or don't have) on specific details of the book that they will be applauded/chastised for. and I can honestly say that while I shared many harsh criticisms of unit design/costs, or rules, The GW design studio was a great bunch to work with and I miss my interaction with all of them. They TRY hard and WORK harder than any disccussion forum dares give them credit.

In my time since, I focus much more putting the recreation back into the game and cutting back on the 'tourney style' competitive play which I strongly feel is antithetical to what the game is best at providing. 40k is a game to me which is meant to be played with a pint in hand, hollering a hearty Waaagh! or "The Emperor shields us!" as we foolishly rush our Marine captain out to prick his little power sword into the giant Chaos deamon standing in front of his Brother marines....It is a game where an individual grot can take down a mightly Hive Tyrant if his luck is Juuuuuuuust right. and the stories that stem from those games are those to which songs will be sung in the great halls of Valhalla.


While I don’t see them as often as I’d like any more, I have the best group of gaming dorks to pal around with, and in the coming millennia, I hope to tell you a bout them, my crazy gaming stories, and the work I’ve been up to.