Friday, 27 July 2012

Drop Complete!

It has been long in the coming but Dropzone Commander is here at last!  I've just taken a detour on my way home from work to pick it up and I now can't wait to start building, painting, playing and collecting a second army!

After I had dug through all the packing peanuts and disposed of the cardboard I was able to reveal this little collection:

My order consisted of: The rulebook, a UCM premium starter army, a pair of Archangel Interceptors and a pair of Falcon Gunships. First impressions are excellent, the models look to be well cast and the book looks good quality.

I chose the premium edition army to get the KR mini-case and I'm glad I did as it will allow me to keep everything somewhere together and safe.  The internal foam liner is the standard pick and pluck type with a nice little DZC cut out on the top layer.  There are three layers to the box, the bottom of which has cut outs for the removed flying stands.   The KR case itself is the standard that is to be expected from KR and hard to fault.  I must admit at the time of ordering I thought it would be slightly larger than it is, not that this is a problem or a reason to not buy one!

The rulebook is not overly hefty but Hawk have managed to fit a good deal of background and rules into its 152 pages.  In a move I find slightly strange the book starts off with the background to the game world before starting on the rules and then the scenarios.  It finishes off nicely with the source material for the four races the UCM, the Scourge, the PHR and the Shaltari.  As Ken has said in his posts there are no prizes for guessing at who is who when comparing to the 40k universe.  Having all four races listed together, I think, is a stroke of genius as firstly it means you don't have to buy expensive extra codex books (although I'm sure before long there will be some source books) and non-collectors of the different races can get some intel on how they will perform on the battlefield.  Some may argue this will make the game purely revolve around the luck of dice roles but I think it will actually improve the level of competitiveness in games and make you rely more on winning strategy to overcome your foe.

The rules look to be a mix of those that we are already used to plus some variations on a theme, for example wounds in shooting are calculated using weapon energy and target armour value.  I am sure we will have some discussion over the rules in the coming days as we get chance to read them!  The book is colour throughout which is nice, and something that GW only seem to have cottoned on to recently.  In some places the text looked a little fuzzy to me, possibly as a result of textured backgrounds rather than bad printing, but otherwise it is good quality print and paper.  

Onto the models now - In the starter army you seem to get a good mixture of units with some AA vehicles, some main battle tanks, some infantry and transport and the all important drop ships.  The models look great and I can't wait to start putting them together and cracking on with the painting.

The models are an interesting mix of resin and white metal.  The infantry, shown on the right here are resin bases with metal soldiers whilst the vehicles and aircraft shown below are all made of resin with, in the case of aircraft, plastic bases.  

The two other items that I ordered make up a small fleet of aircraft, a pair of fighters and a pair of light ground attack aircraft.  I chose these, not realising that with the limitations of units (similar to force organisations for WFB where you are limited on special units depending on the size of force) I legally wouldn't be able to fit them into armies.  Hopefully however, and given that Ken has some aircraft in his proto-collection, we will be able to come to an amicable agreement and start using them straight away!

All in all I'm very happy with this as a starter collection although I can immediately see how I plan to extend by including a command vehicle and drop ship, some Praetorians and possibly a couple of heavy tanks.  After that I think I will probably get a PHR force because the photos in the book look really cool and have given me serious army jealousy towards Ken!  I could quite easily see me ending up with one of each of the four armies in the future however!

Now all that I need to do is decide on a paint scheme, hmm...urban, desert, winter or woodland, decisions decisions...

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Black Templar allies: a quick idea

<p>Although my copy of the 6th edition rulebook has arrived, I haven't had chance to fully read it yet. Though have been having a think about allies for my existing armies. One idea with my black templars is to take a space wolf detachment with a small grey hunter squad, a rune priest and a few squads of long fangs, this covers the templars weaknesses of heavy firepower and psychic protection, while allowing the templars to do what they do best (ram initiated down the opponents throat).<br>
with a black templar force consisting of chaplains (reroll to hit rolls on charge, auto pass zeal tests) attached to large initiate squads, with the emperors champ granting rage (+2 attacks on the charge), transported in landraiders for the ability to charge out of transport. Any additional points could be spent on assault cannon / missile venerable dreads with preferred enemy.

any thoughts?

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Some thoughts on 6th edition - Part 1

Having had a read of some of the new rules I thought it would be interesting to start a bit of a debate on the latest edition and to share my thoughts on it. In this part I will look at what I think are the key changes in the basic rules for moving, shooting, assault and morale.

The movement phase seems to have somewhat thinned down but nothing overly noteworthy appears to have happened here. The shooting phase is a different kettle of fish!

The first, and my favourite rule is the change back to the second edition style of play whereby only models in a squad that actually move count as moving, allowing half a squad to redeploy to counter a threat whilst still allowing heavy weapons to fire. I also like the addition of the snap shot rule allowing non-blast/template weapons that are normally move or shoot to fire at BS1 on the move.

The new wound pool method of allocating wounds to the closest model until it dies should be quite interesting as it means multi-wound squads such as Tau battle suits will become slightly less survivable as they get forced to take break tests quicker than they would have done before. I think it will only be a matter of time before people start to counter this by clever deployment of models within the squad to protect more valuable troops; although it does produce a slight quandary over where to position meltaguns!

The assault phase has had some positive inclusions, such as AP on close combat weapons, although I still find it amazing that a guardsman's rusty bayonet is just as like to slip through power armour as a chainsword swung by a superhuman augmented warrior! I also don't like the fact that pistols are not taken into account for AP but hey-ho at least it's a step in the right direction.  More on weapons at a later date however...

I also love the idea of over watch fire allowing the defending unit to snap shoot at the attackers as they come barrelling towards them, that conjures up some great images of brave guardsmen hastily shooting at a rampaging enemy under the command of rock steady officers!

However, I do believe they have made a right hash of the basic rules of the assault phase. Firstly they have made the highest initiative strikes first massively over complicated, especially with introducing the pile in moves part way through. My opinion is a simple statement as per fifth edition of models strike in initiative order was fine and adding in the pile ins will just make it more complicated.

The other new rule I can't abide is the everyone rolls 2D6 for charge range! Not only does this mean an army like a BA red flea army can be in combat in turn 1 it also makes them horrifically open to failing a charge at a crucial moment. I really struggle to see how in a group of highly trained jump-packed warriors Bob trips as the unit charge and so the whole squad stops to pick him up and brush him down in the face of the enemies guns?! The converse to this is that a bunch of lumbering terminators can somehow cover a quarter of a standard battlefield in one charge! Come on GW that rule is just daft! I could understand it before when units charged through cover but having to do it every assault will seriously discourage me from taking an assault orientated army!

I also don't like the disordered charge rule, how can a unit that is charging all pent up and ready to unleash hell somehow looses this advantage just because they happen to engage two units?

Morale seems to have changed very little between editions, with the exception of the introduction of a rule allowing you to shoot at BS1 as units fall back.  I think this is a great addition representing the need for units to provide cover fire in a disciplined fall back manoeuvre or just the sheer blind panic spray and pray attempts to cover one's own backside in a rout!

That's all for a fairly text heavy post, next time I'll start to look at some of the more advanced rules. Over to you for your thoughts and comments!

In the grim darkness of the far future there is only...

Marriage! In a rather soggy Dorset Ken (Firewap) tied the knot with Kat. I'm sure the war gaming community will join me in congratulating the happy couple!