Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade Pre-Alpha footage

Angry Joe managed to snag some lengthy footage of the upcoming MMO, Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade.  If you’ve not heard of it before, think Planetside or World of Tanks with mechanics similar to Relic’s Space Marine game released a few years ago – set, of course, in the grim darkness of the far future.  The game is currently in a pre-Alpha state, but is offering a variety of Founder’s packs for purchase to customers who just can’t wait or want to support the developers before the game is released.

As a long-time fan of Games Workshop’s premier franchise, I have to say my interest is piqued.  Let’s hope they can produce something that is both fitting of that particular IP, unique, and worth an investment.

Eternal Crusade is set on a planet,Arkhona, and pits the factions of Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, Orks, and Eldar against one another.  It features the ability to choose differing classes, and (as you’ll see in the video) vehicles of differing types are available as well.

A link to the whole preview can be found below.  If you’re a fan of 40k and/or Planetside, you may really want to follow this one.


WAAAAAAAAAAGH! The Makings of a Mighty Ork Force.

Nothing screams 40k like a mighty Ork WAAAGH! Oh there are plenty of things that epitomize 40k, and the Space Marine and it’s equivalents (and we will be revisiting ‘What to do with the Blood Angels Menace’) will always be the poster boys of the 40k World. But nothing SCREAMS 40k like a loud and proud WAAAGH!.

The official spelling of a WAAAGH! is exactly that, Three A’s and an exclamation mark. Anything less is just not sufficient, although as in the case of the title, additional A’s may be added for emphasis. As I progress with my Orky army, I’m going to share with you the discovery and joy of painting, collecting and fighting with a green horde.

While I doubt that my army will ever truly approach the size of a “Green Tide” army, so named for it’s numerous large mobs of Boys, but even at it’s current (half painted) 1000 point iteration it already features Ghazghkull Thraka, 2 20-man boy squads, some nobs, lootas and a Battlewagon. It’s easy to see why even a mechanized force tends to feature a huge number of models.

With the basic Slugga or Shoota coming in at just 6 points and featuring an impressive stat-line in close combat, it’s easy to see why they are so popular. Not only do they have incredible character and personality as an army, but your basic boy is more than capable of causing pain.

Taking a look at the comparable stat line, we can see that they have the same Weapon Skill, Toughness, number of wounds as a much more expensive Space Marine. However, they only have a 6+ t-shirt save as opposed to the Power Armor the Marine gets, and also only have leadership 7 on their own vs the 8 and most likely 9 the marine gets from his sergeant. Not to mention significantly worse shooting at only Ballistic Skill 2 vs 4 for the marine. Where the Ork wins is in close combat.

Even the standard Ork Boy gets the Furious Charge special rule, which confers upon them a +1 Strength bonus and a +1 to their initiative while charging an enemy. They still hit after a marine in combat, but it gives them 3 attacks each (2 base + 1 for charging) at Strength 4 – the same as a marine. Take that into account with their ability to take a Nob with a Power Klaw (Power Fist for the marine player) and it becomes easy to see how they do so well.

Imagine if you will 19 boys plus their Nob (160 points) piling into combat with let’s say a full 10 man squad of Marines (170 points). The Marines hit first, because they have higher initiative. But they only have 1 attack each, plus 2 for the sergeant. So 11 attacks. They have the same Weapon Skill, so need 4’s to hit. This should mean that keeping averages, 5.5 successful hits. The Space Marines are strong, but Orks are made of Animal Fiber and Fungus and are built to feel nothing. The Marines need 4’s to wound the Orks. This should work out to on average 2.75 wounds, so let’s say 3. The Orks don’t really wear armor so all 3 will probably die, but they might make one save. Let’s say hypothetically that 1 saves his wound and 2 die – a reasonable outcome.

Now it’s the Orks turn. There are 17 angry boys ready to krump heads. Shootas get 3 attacks on the charge, Sluggas have an extra combat weapon so they get 4. My army, and the model here is a slugga, so we’ll use that.  They hit on 4’s so that’s 68 attacks, averaging 34 or so hits. They need 4’s to wound on the charge because of Furious Charge, so they will average 17 wounds. The Marine player has the benefit of tough power armor, and saves the wound on a 3+. That should mean that he saves all but 5-6. But 5-6 dead marines is an expensive proposition. Then the Nob hits. He also hits on a 4, with 4 attacks on the charge. This should yield 2 hits. He has a Power Klaw though. It is strength 9 on the charge, so wounds on a 2. We should expect that both wound on average. Also because it’s a power weapon it slices right through the Marines and their tough armor, yielding another 2 dead marines. This should mean that for the paltry cost of 2-3 Orks, or 12-18 points, we’ve wiped out most of a Marine Squad, or about 112-136 points worth of men. Seems like a fair trade to me, especially when most marine players split their squads into 5 man groupings.

The challenge for the Ork player becomes getting to combat without getting slaughtered on the way. There are ways to do it though and in future articles I’ll talk about ways I’m doing it in my own army. We’ll also talk about the Ork Steamroller of Doom – the Deffrolla, and the amazing power of the Loota Squad – with hopefully lots of pictures like this ork here to back it up.

Blood Angels Pre-Battle

Open Topic: Dealing with the Blood Angel Menace

First part in a series on dealing with our blood hungry brothers in arms:
For as long as I can remember I’ve been a Codex Marine player.  We aren’t the best at much, but we can do a bit of everything. Where I’m finding this falls flat on it’s face is in dealing with the Blood Angels.

They have almost all the toys the Codex boys enjoy, but then get spiffy things like Stormravens, Fast Vindicators, Fast Attack tanks, Descent of Angels for precision strikes, and Razorbacks that chew up Combat Squads like swiss cheese (for only 20 some-odd points when you drop your jump packs), just to name a few things.

I’ve found it incredibly hard to compete with them. I know there are ways, but the Blood Angels I find have a very good codex at dealing with what we Codex Marines bring to the table.  So let’s look at what they have, why it hurts and then (hopefully) in a follow up, we’ll discuss what we can do about it as Codex Marines.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:

Combat Squads: One of our big advantages is being able to squad the troop choices to hold more ground and be able to fire your heavy weapon and still move the special choice. The problem is cover saves don’t work against Heavy bolters. If I can see you with my Missile Launcher/Lascannon, then you can see me and shoot me with twin-linked Heavy Bolters that hit accurately and hard against small groups of Marines. Even in 1000 pt games, it’s very very easy to be facing at least 3 razorbacks that will dump 9 shots into a heavy weapon combat squad.

Descent of Angels: Assault squads jumping behind your lines accurately with a re-roll to enter the fight can be devastating. Your vehicles can’t outrun them, so you have no option but to turn and shoot them or they’ll assault you. If you can’t kill them, which, depending on the amount of them dropping is hard to say the least, they will assault your vehicles that moved 6″ to try and shoot them, hit on 4’s with krak grenades on rear armor (AV10 most of the time) and cause significant damage. The only reasonable solution is to leave something in the back field that is then not doing harm up front. This also ignores the fact that a good BA player will be driving mech down your grill too.

Librarian/Furioso/Flying Dreadnoughts: Magna-grapple/melta at this range means that odds of them making their points back first turn is pretty high even if they get podded in.  Let’s say a Furioso with Blood Talons and Magna-Grapple pods in behind your lines or into your tanks.  The drop pod has safe landing so as long as you don’t scatter off the table you WILL land safely and almost always in range of something tasty.  Best case scenario for me is that you land on my front armor and not rear.  If you pop my Vindicator – a common target, or even get any result 3+ on the vehicle damage chart, I have almost immediately lost 125 points.  Then I have to deal with the dread in my backfield or it gets worse.

Mephiston: F*%$ this guy. Almost immune to ID, Psycher with lethal weapons and skills. Just ridiculously good. You can kill him for sure. But the amount of high-strength fire he’ll take to bring down means you’re not removing squads from vehicles as fast as you need to.  HE FRIGGIN FLIES.

These are some of the things I’ve found to be big problems in dealing with the Blood Angel menace that infests my gaming group.  I’m not saying it’s all doom and gloom, but what strategies have you found for dealing with them, with the good ol’ classic codex marines?

Post your thoughts if you’re a tabletop player and soon we’ll explore what might be available to us loyal C:SM players.

Flames of War

What is Flames of War?

I know that around here, we’ve always been primarily a video game group.  From our humble origins in 1997 and Total Annihilation to today’s MMO ‘enriched’ world, we’ve always been a video game centric group.  This tabletop ‘revolution’ as I like to think of it, is a relatively recent addition to our cadre of gaming bromigos.  For the most part, and not unfairly, the few of us that do play tabletop war games have been monogamous with Warhammer 40k, or at the very least exclusive to Games Workshop.

I will fully admit that I love their product. Their 28mm sculpts are arguably the best in the biz, they have the most visible presence corporately, online and are one of the other war games to have a “true” brick and mortar operation.  The great thing, and sometimes not so great thing, is that they have their own stores with their own staff and getting a game in or hobby advice is never too far away except for those of us who are not so blessed as to have a Gee Dub near by.  However.  The evolution of the game and the Friendly Local Game Store (or FLGS from here on out), has lead to a renaissance of gaming and a buffet of choices.  For as much as it can be a blessing to have a GW near by, they do have a reputation as “The Evil Empire”.

And much like the Empire, they have some very good employees – the kind who question when a transport is using an older clearance code for passage through the Death Star’s deflector shield.  And the kind who don’t, and accept substandard building practices that inevitably end in the horrific deaths of countless employees.  More troubling is their love of the almighty buck.  While I don’t fault anyone for wanting to make a living and for-profit organizations are definitely clutch, I’d prefer to not have to pay $17 for a can of paint, or more-over, I’d rather not pay $55 for a tank.  The biggest boon, as well as the biggest downside to 40k, as much as I love its setting, atmosphere and the world they’ve systematically built over the last 25 or so years, is that they own it’s rights.  They can tell you what a Space Marine looks like and you have to accept that, and while there is nothing inherently wrong with that, it creates a situation where you are bound to buy their models lest you not be permitted to play on their lush fields of flock.

As a consequence I began to explore alternative games. I’ve always been a bit of a WW2 ‘enthusiast’.  I hate that word… but I can’t think of a better one.  There are a variety of games out there that feature the time period, but perhaps none so popular as Flames of War. It’s a totally different scale than 40k, being only 15mm models, which I don’t mind, as it can let you field a lot more grandiose force on the field getting as large as several companies in a megabattle scenario.  Usually it’s Company vs Company.  While People will notice the difference in the models I want to talk about a few things that really set FoW apart from the empire.

When you buy a 40k army you will be forced to buy a “codex”.  Basically the listing of the troop choices that are available to your army.  There is all kinds of neat fluff inside as well and cool pictures, and the books are kind of awesome, but at 40 bucks a pop – each it is the first sign that Gee Dub wants your cashmonies.  Battlefront, the makers of FoW have designed a system that is very different.  Rather than having to buy a book for each army, you need your core rulebook, like 40k, but then all you need is a “theatre book”.  Flames of War is divided into 3 time periods.  Early War, Mid War, and Late War.  Representing both the changing face of the fronts and technology during those memorable years.  In my gaming group we’ve chosen Mid War, and specifically we are playing out of the Africa & Mediterranean book.  Now if someone wanted to play say, the Soviets, who aren’t in this book, they could still do so from the Mid War Eastern Front book, but included in the African book are all the army lists from the Germans, British (including many colonies – Go Canada), The Italians and the Americans.

Where they differ again, is that in 40k you have HQ choices, Troop choices, Elite choices, etc. etc.. and a Force Org. Chart that dictates how many of each you can take, which often, unfortunately, ends in very predictable army lists for many – as there are only so many “good” choices.  In Flames of War, each Nation is represented by a number of army lists.  Here is an example of a German Panzerkompanie – the force I’m playing, taken from the Italy & Tunisia part of the book.

Black boxes represent things you have to take, grey are optional choices.  The pages that follow detail what each box contains, how many of something you can take, the points cost, and any available upgrades.  For Germany alone there are literally 15 choices of possible companies.  Ranging from Panzer divisions, to Fallschirmjäger, to Half-track mounted Heer.  Additionally, within each list, there are a plethora of good choices to take.  Do you spend the extra to upgrade your Panzer IIIs to Panzer IVs, and risk not having infantry to support them?  Do you take the PaK38s with your Paratroopers or settle for shorter range, but more deadly recoilless anti tank guns?

The joy of it all is that things really are pretty balanced.  Because so many armies are contained within one book, there is far far less ‘codex creep’.

Now it’s not all fun in the sun, but this really is just the intro into Flames of War.  Next time we’re going to go deeper into what the models look like.  How they feel, and how easily – or maybe not – they go together.

Stay tuned.