Sunday, 29 December 2013

Special Ops, MAD style


Morning all, and what a night that was, 7 frantic games in the inaugural MAD kill team, the 'dirty seven' playing over four and a half hours to discover whose specialists conquer all.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas gaming - a few ideas

Hi all, jut a quick post today, inspired by an event we have going on at our club this evening, on the topic of gaming at Christmas, and doing something new and fun that you wouldn't normally try.

A few years ago I was involved in archery and the last meet before Christmas always involved doing something different, so shooting with your 'wrong' hand, or trying a different kind of bow etc.

 This year MAD wargames have decided to run a kill team event for 8 players, one of whom doesn't even play 40k usually, so big hats off to dave for getting into the Christmas spirit. The games will be played across 4 themed tables (industrial, jungle, ruins and fortress) and there will be snacks and festive hats galore.

So go on, try something different with your games this Christmas, why not swap armies with a regular opponent and try playing in a different style, or take on a new game system, anything goes (except maybe playing blindfolded, that way lies madness and broken minis!)

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Cutting the mob down to size - with a little help from Santa

Morning all, got a game report for you today as a treat, having spent last night rolling dice against Tonka from Tonkas blog of wargaming, the Death Spectres emerged victorious once more, controlling the lair of the legendary Phanta Claws and making off with a substantial part of his present horde (guess they thought they'd been bad this year and wouldn't get anything otherwise).

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Mondays update.


So what do I have in store for you all this week?

Painting update.

 

Ok so I’ve not managed to get a massive amount of painting done this week, what with Christmas coming up, a poorly wife and a daughter that needs looking after, but I have managed a few small bits and pieces here and there. I’ve also been using some new brushes I was given for my birthday (Windsor and Newton Series 7 no less) and I have to say on the evidence gathered so far, I won’t be going back!

 

40k

Well I didn’t play any games this week, but as Thursday is our last club night before Christmas we’ve decided to do something a little different, so we’re having a kill team mini-tournament. We’ve also been plotting a 40k campaign for next year, so there’s still plenty to discuss.

 

Kill-team

We’ve played one game of this in recent memory, I think there were six of us taking part on a single board and whilst I didn’t last long (I only had dark eldar infantry with me, and there was a distinct lack of cover around too) it was a fun game with plenty of differing style teams – varying from my mix of wyches and warriors, to a terminator squad, a squadron of dark angels landspeeders, and what can only be described as a frighteningly large pack of orks. They’ve updated the rules since then, so the terminators are no longer legal, but I’m looking forward to a series of linked games where my leader will improve as the games go by. I only have one problem, I’m trying to decide between taking a marine vanguard assault squad, a mixed marine scout and tactical squad, or a dark eldar reaver team.

 

Campaign

Something we’ve been tinkering around with for a while, and it’s now gained enough momentum to qualify as being ‘organised’. I’m involved at this level, as is Frank over at ‘The Eternal Wargamer’, and between us I think we’ve come up with a pretty promising concept. We have eight players taking part, and have picked teams at random to join either the Forces of Order, or the Forces of Disorder, the exception being Jon and Ryan, who only have one or other available to them (Jon can choose from Chaos and Orks, Ryan from Space Marines or Guard). With them installed as ‘team captains’ therefore, we drew the other players, all of whom could join either side. I drew the forces of order, so my marines will be joining Ryan’s Guard, Andy’s Guard and Cal’s Tau, facing off against Jon’s Chaos, Frank’s Dark Eldar, MJ’s Tau and Howard’s Renegade Guard. Some interesting team selections there, and I for one am looking forward to the possibility of Tau civil war, or actually playing against Dark Eldar myself for the first time.

 

The next question then was how to structure the campaign. After a few suggestions we decided to go for a simple option, so each mission from the main rule book would be played once, and we’d find a couple of other missions to add in to make 8 games. Each person therefore would play two games initially, with the teams assigning a particular player to a particular mission without knowing who the other team had assigned to the same scenario, making the matchups ‘blind’ games with no chance to tailor forces (I could easily create a very nasty list to bully a multi-heldrake chaos force, but they probably wouldn’t fare very well against a horde list so that creates interesting tactical options for army selection). The same list would also be used in all the games further encouraging balance in army selection. The winner of each of these games in rounds 1 and 2 would gain a mission-specific bonus to take into the final games, which would be two doubles games, representing different parts of the same battle, and we’re looking at devising some mechanic whereby whichever game finishes first can denote the winning units still on the tabletop to the other game as reserves. Some of those bonuses include D3 orbital bombardments for the winner of big guns never tire, winner of Crusade gets to bring back one destroyed squad or vehicle (<151 points) as a reserve from their next turn, D3 units gain the infiltrate rule for the winner of the scouring etc. We’ve tried to keep the benefits to something that will affect the game, but won’t break it completely.

 

I’m really looking forward to this campaign, hopefully it will encourage the participants to really think about their lists and what works well together, I’m very much hoping to be able to put my Iron fists onto the table for the first time (depending obviously on what arrives over and just after Christmas!)

 

Painting

 

Speaking of Iron Fists, what painting I did manage to get done this week was split with about half of it going into painting these guys. Still plenty of progress to be made, but they’re coming on nicely, and I’m really pleased with the scheme. I have noticed a couple of minor issues with my previously published list, so look for the revised version soon.

 

Necromunda

Finally then, I have a game of Necromunda coming up tomorrow. This is our last opportunity to play before Christmas, so we’ve decided to go with a scenario I found online, called the ‘Fight before Fistmas’. It looks like a really interesting scenario with a creature taking part called the ‘Phanta Claws’, which guards a horde of treasure that the gangs are trying to raid.

 

With that in mind, and following the advances my gang have made over the last few games, I’ve got three new models to include, two of which I’ve begun painting and are shown below. The first is a new model for Boone, who’s advanced to become better at shooting so I’ve given him a gun worthy of striking fear even into the hearts of the mightiest beasts. Second is one of my old Juves, who’s advanced sufficiently to be given a ganger model. His weapon skill is still lowly, but with three combat skills on his profile, including the awesome ‘step aside’ to give me an invulnerable 4+ dodge save in combat he’s not getting taken down easily.

 


Having discussed our gangs after the last game, we have agreed another house rule whereby if you roll a BS/WS advance, rather than randomising, we are allowed to pick based on the ganger’s armament – we didn’t feel it was entirely appropriate for a ganger armed with a lasgun for example, blasting away all game and then gaining an increase to his WS, resulting in us having to buy/convert/paint a new replacement.

 

That’s all for now guys,

Till next time, keep rollin’!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Because Wednesdays just aren't random enough

Hi all, I've decided that since my posting schedule is very heavy at the start of the week with nothing else afterwards, that I'm going to move random Wednesdays, which will now just be a random post when the mood takes me.

So with that in mind, here's today's dose of random thoughts occurring to me and inspiring a blog post.


'What kind of hobbyist are you, and how do you choose your armies'

First off then, I see that there are three types of hobbyist, the sawbones, who never builds a model just as it comes out of the box, they buy models to fuel their addiction to cutting up bits of plastic and sticking them back together in new and interesting shapes. 

Second there's the painter, who may or may not exhibit sawbones tendencies, but most of all lives to lavish time on the paintjob for a particular model. Anyone who understands and is capable of using the terms object source lighting, non metallic metal, freehand and blending probably falls into this category.

And finally there are the gamers, who couldn't care less if all their models are grey with occasional superglue staining, so long as they have the most powerful, points efficient units possible in their collection.

Now the reality is that most hobbyists enjoy some or all of the above, but similarly most hobbyists will have one of the disciplines they enjoy more than the others. I freely admit that I'm a painter at heart, in fact I went over ten years without using my dice in anger, but i probably picked up a paintbrush most days within that same period. 

Secondly then, what makes you choose a particular army to collect next? 

Well the first part of this answer would be related to the first part of this post, in that often a hobbyist will choose an army based on what happens to be the 'most powerful' available at the moment.

Alternatively, the painter or sawbones may be inspired by the models themselves, indeed that's how I decided to begin my dark eldar collection as the models are just too stunning to ignore.

Then there's the fluff bunny, who decides to start an army because they've read enough of the background to know that they just like the idea of having that army (guess what, that's how my blood angels and Necron collections got started). 

Next you have the good/bad guy. These hobbyists can't abide the thought of playing the 'enemy' or the 'goodie' and their collections will consist solely of one type or another. 

And finally you have the collector, who generally collects armies for one reason - because they haven't got one of that type yet!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

An evaluation of the Norse Yhetee in bloodbowl

Player Type:                       Raging wall of fur, muscle and claws
Position:                              Big  Guy
Starting Line Up:               No. Well, you can but don’t say I didn’t warn you
Strengths:                           Strength, Starting skills
Weaknesses:                     Low(ish) armour, no normal access to Block skill
The Yhetee is the big guy of the Norse team, and is a savage creature, capable of rendering down even the toughest opponent into strips of beef jerky. Just don’t ask him to carry the ball, he’ll probably burst it.
How to manage the downsides
Ok so your biggest weakness for the Yhetee is the fact that he doesn’t have block, and doesn’t have an easy way of getting it either. What that means is that realistically, despite his strength you don’t want this guy on the line of scrimmage, as he’s costly and goes down more easily than almost anyone else on your team. His armour is also such that you wouldn’t say he’s safe from being hurt (yup, just bought one in my club’s league and he got injured in the first game – fortunately nothing long-term).
The best way to manage this lack of a skill therefore is to make sure your early blocking has the best chance of success, by which I mean try to get a 3-dice block, aim for receivers who are usually ST2, or give a couple of assists.
Second, and I’ve already touched on this. Don’t. I repeat, DON’T, put him on the line, especially if your opponent is getting the first turn. DO protect him and hide him a little to allow him to make a blitz in your first turn.
Thirdly, skill selection. Ideally you want to be hitting with the Yhetee, it makes passing your wild animal test easier and lets him cause the casualties that are realistically going to be your only way of getting SPP’s. Without block though, hitting someone else becomes risky, so unless you roll a double (which you take as block, even if it’s a double 5 or 6) then take Juggernaut first. This lets you ignore both down results and count them as pushbacks instead (which has the added benefit of meaning you get to go again with Frenzy!).
How to maximise the strengths
At ST5, the Yhetee is your strongest player, and will be getting two dice against almost everyone else he blocks. Without the block skill though, he’s vulnerable even on his own turn and so until you can mitigate that, you need to pick on weak players, or ones who are equally unskilled, so at least the opponent will be going down on a both down too. Claws is a massive bonus however, and as such you also want to be hitting the best armoured of your opponent’s players (I’m thinking Black Orcs and Chaos Warriors are ideal targets here).
One of the Yhetee’s biggest advantages, in terms of potential at least, is his disturbing presence, which deducts 1 from your opponent’s roll to pass, catch or intercept if he’s within three squares of the Yhetee. On paper, that’s brilliant, enough to even make a elf think twice, but in-game the reality is that it’s a secondary bonus, there are limited opportunities to be within that sort of range of your opponent when he actually wants to pass or catch. I’m not saying it’ll never come in handy, but it’s not a skill to base your tactics around – particularly since wild animal can make your player fairly static if he’s not hitting someone.
Finally therefore, your Yhetee is good just for being there – big guys naturally gather a lot of attention from their opponents and as such they give your other players more room to operate. If your opposite number ignores the big guy, hurt something with it, he won’t ignore it again, but above all else, make him deal with it.
Do you start a league with one?
Realistically, and as much as I’d like to say yes, don’t. 140,000gp is a lot of coin to throw around on a player at the start of a league, and he’s very capable of burning through your re-rolls too. I’d normally aim to recruit him as either the 13th or 14th player, after you’ve got 2 Ulfs. These three guys in combo are terrifying for most opponents.
What skills can they take?
Limited, since as with all big guys, they only have access to Strength skills without needing a double.
Break Tackle
This is situational, but can be huge. It lets your big guy become more agile than an elf (sort of) for one ‘dodge’ only. It’s massively helpful therefore for breaking out of a ruck, providing that the square you’re dodging to is clear, as any further dodges will be made using your standard agility of 1. The downside to this is that unless you’re using it to blitz, there’s a 50/50 chance your Yhetee will refuse to move anyway.
Guard
He won’t start there, but let’s be honest, your Yhetee is likely to end up in a scrum at some point, and if he’s handing out assists to the other players involved so much the better, but I’d say it’s not the first skill you want to be taking with him.
Juggernaut
This is. Blitzing for a Yhetee is a must, and this skill is one of the reasons why. If you fail to roll a double on your first skill increase, then juggernaut lets you count ‘both down’ results as a pushback, limiting your turn ending results to just the attacker down. Early in the league, or just if you can’t seem to roll a double on a skill increase, then this drastically reduces instances of your Yhetee causing turnovers, even if it does mean he doesn’t get the points for causing casualties.
Mighty Blow
Skill number 2, unless you can take block, as with it you’ll basically be able to consider everyone you go up against to have armour 6, and that’s a very good thing.
Multiple Block
I’m not a fan of multiple block, but with assists in the right place, the Yhetee can open up big holes in a defensive line if you’ve got it. Tricky to use well though.
Piling On
You start with Claw, you’ve already taken Mighty Blow, Piling On is the third arm of the holy trinity of causing casualties. Some would advise not to pile on with your Yhetee because it leaves him open to being fouled, personally I’d say if the opposing player is worth getting off the pitch, then it’s worth doing, and opposing players are almost always worth getting off the pitch. Plus, once you’ve got these three skills then those SPP’s will start to rack up, and enemy big guys will fear you.
Stand Firm
This is a skill best used in combination with Guard on the line, and therefore not ideally suited to the Yhetee, I wouldn’t take it unless I was running out of options, or played a lot at the edge of the pitch.
Strong Arm
No. Never, ever, ever do you want to be passing with a Yhetee. If for some reason he ends up holding the ball and there’s no way of getting him to the endzone to benefit from that rarest of things, the big guy touchdown, then you want to be handing off instead.
Thick Skull
Can be useful but extremely situational, leave it at home if at all possible.
What are good options for doubles skill rolls?
Block
Essential for good blocking, if you roll a double then take this above any other consideration
Tackle
Rolled a second double and not sure what to take? Tackle is always good for putting those dodgy players down, giving you yet more access to casualty points.
What are the best stat increases to take?
To be honest, the only one I’d consider would be armour, as his AV8 is pretty low for a big guy. ST is tempting but most stuff you’re going to hit is weaker than you anyway, and you can always find a way of getting an assist in there if you need to. Agility is futile, there is never going to be a case for building up a Yhetee’s AG value, and MA isn’t too bad at its starting level anyway for a big guy.
What are the best skill combinations?
I have only one, particularly given the limited skill set available. If you roll a double at any point, take block and insert it into the list, if it’s your first skill, drop juggernaut.
1.       Juggernaut
2.       Mighty Blow
3.       Piling On
4.       Guard
5.       Break Tackle
6.       Stand Firm
Final thoughts
The Yhetee is your angry face. Combined with the two Ulfs you should have in your team, he makes it a very angry face indeed that’s capable (once they’ve all got a couple of advances) of playing the power game with any other team in the rulebook. Until then, he’s a very scary presence for the weaker elements of your opponent’s tream and he can, subject to circumstances, make their passing game much more tricky.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Necron codex synergy review part 1 - Troops



Barely perceptible progress this week means that instead of my usual painting update, I've got a synergy review for you instead - enjoy!

Ok, having laboured for ages over the synergy review of the Dark Eldar codex, Let's start having a look at the Necrons.

This first section would be the quickest ever given the limited options available, so I'll include dedicated transport in here too.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Revenge will be served piping hot from the microwave



Hi all, hope you're well and looking forward to another battle write up from the fight for shining falls.

This week three of us met again to clash over a section of the town littered with scrap the gangs had identified as being worth a few creds, so my Death Spectres, Pete's Salvage Snakes and Tonka's 78th Street Smash mob set up for war.

We used the new terrain I was given for my birthday last week, which though as yet unpainted combined fantastically with the existing set we've got and gave a very busy looking battlefield.

Monday, 2 December 2013

The value project - part 7

Hi all, comparatively slow progress this week, though I did manage to escape for a couple of hours on Saturday to focus on assembling my second drop pod, this time for a tactical squad
A small amount of construction is still incomplete, I'll need to decide what weapons to use as the focus of the doors on this model as I want it to look different to the stern guard version.

Speaking of which, I managed to snatch some time to do a bit more painting on the sternguard drop pod too.
This is coming on nicely, if a little slowly, and i'm looking forward to getting it finished so I can get it in use on the table.

I've got an extra post in the pipeline today so look out for that later!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Founding a Dynasty

The time of renewal has come, the time for the galaxy to come to know the Necrontyr, and to fear their reawakening.

Deep in the bowels of the world of Paragon VI an ancient intelligence stirs, a power immeasurable to the galaxy today, a power seeking a return to its former days of glory.

Here begins the tale of this reawakening, of the unstoppable march of the Necrons of the Sobekhotep dynasty.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The use and usefulness of 'mathammer'

Hi all, and welcome to random Wednesday, and today I'd like to say a few words about what we've come to know as mathammer, or in other words the process of judging a unit by its mathematical killing power based on the probabilities of achieving kills against a particular type of target, usually marine equivalents (T4, 3+Sv), guard equivalents (T3, 5+Sv) and terminator equivalents (T4, 2+Sv).

Now I don't want to give the impression that I think mathammer is rubbish, but I do think there's a tendency to over rely on it when picking an army list. Look on any forum and you'll often see comparisons of troops and weapons using mathammer, resulting in a recommendation for one or the other, because on average it causes more kills. 

That's great, and in absolute terms I can really see the benefit to such an analysis, even breaking it down further to establish a kills per point ratio. I don't agree however that mathammer is the only way to assess effectiveness, nor do I think it's actually representative of a unit's actual efficiency. Let me elaborate on this point therefore, using a 10 man space marine tactical squad with bolters shooting at another marine squad as an example.

Mathammer
Within 12" - 20 shots, 13.3 hits, 6.67 wounds, 2.2 kills.
So what that tells us is that realistically we can expect on average 2 dead opponents in a turn's shooting. Already therefore we're seeing the failings of mathammer, because we've just discounted 0.2 kills to get a realistic assessment of the likely damage.

My own approach is to look more at the level of firepower required from a certain type of weapon to inflict a certain level of damage, so using the example above I would say that in order to cause those 2 unsaved wounds, I would need to cause 6 wounds before armour saves, and therefore 12 hits, which would similarly require 18 shots.

Here's where you can clearly see the difference therefore, in that mathammer would tell you that you will cause on average 2 casualties with a full squad. My own approach tells me that a squad of nine marines will on average (4 times out of 5) cause exactly the same amount of damage, which saves me points to spend elsewhere. Alternatively, this approach can also be used to assess the firepower required to cause complete wiping out of a unit, regardless of range. 

Using the previous example in order to achieve complete elimination of a ten man squad you need to cause 10 unsaved wounds. This requires 30 wounds to be caused that allow armour saves, which in return require 60 hits to cause the wounds necessary. Those 60 hits require 90 shots to be fired. I can, using this approach, figure out the level of firepower I'm going to take to cause this level of damage. My approach tells me that 9 full squads outside rapid fire range would be required. Mathammer gets you there too, but the big difference is that my approach cuts out the '0.3 of a kill' that pure mathammer can leave you with.

My second concern with mathammer therefore is that it only looks at pure damage dealt, and cannot take into consideration other things such as gut instinct and threat that units can provide over and above their pure damage dealing ability.

Resilient units therefore add to the consideration, take for example dark eldar wyches. They have the potential for significant damage dealing capabilities, particularly against lightly armoured foes, however their average toughness and minimal save mean that their combat effectiveness is drastically reduced, as they are very likely to take significant casualties before getting into combat. Conversely, terminators actually have a relatively modest damage potential, due to their low number of attacks, but they are able to apply those attacks turn after turn due to their resilience to damage and as such their usefulness is multiplied.

Thirdly then, a unit's effectiveness can come from its synergistic effects. A prime example would be Dule Sliscus from the Dark Eldar codex. This character in terms of pure damage dealing potential is relatively minor when compared to many, however his ability to influence the combat drugs used by the army as a whole, plus the boost to the potential of a unit to which he is attached mean that he is significantly more valuable than the mathammer figures alone would suggest.

Finally then, the matter of the threat posed by a model also cannot be considered by mathammer alone. Here I'll consider Abaddon, though this element can be applied to many other choices within an army. 

I can't imagine many people ignoring the master of the Black Legion if he's on the table, in fact many, and I count myself among this number, would actually dedicate a disproportionate amount of effort to removing him from the field. Other situations that fall within this category could include infiltrating units forcing heavy weapons to move out of range and thus not fire, with the infiltrating unit not necessarily being capable of significant damage but its usefulness being amplified by the prevention of damage being caused to its own army.

In conclusion therefore, I support mathammer as a purely theoretical vehicle for calculating the likely damage output of a particular unit or weapon loadout, but I would strongly counsel caution against using it solely to assess a units effectiveness. In fact, I often discuss selections with my clubmates, the philosophical question of 'what's more scary' being very useful for giving you an opponents view (providing you trust them not to bluff you of course!).

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

A evaluation of the Norse runner in bloodbowl


Player Type:                       Give me the ball, give me the ball, GIVE ME THE BALL!!!!
Position:                              Runner (they may be called catchers, but believe me they’re not!)
Starting Line Up:               Probably
Strengths:                           Block, Dauntless, Agility access
Weaknesses:                     Low armour, average agility
The Runner (I’m sorry, I refuse to call them catchers) on the Norse team is probably one of the most underrated players in this team of specialists, simply because you’ve got two Ulfs, two Beserkers and the Yhetee taking all the spotlight.
The Runner however is your best option for scoring touchdowns, and don’t let his stats or anyone else tell you different.
How to manage the downsides
Well as with all Norse he’s got below average armour, by now you should know that taking the dodge skill is priority one for mitigating against that (unless you roll an armour increase with your first skill of course!). Really though, the Runner should be the easiest player to mitigate armour with, since he should be carrying the ball, and therefore should be screened off from your opponent’s players most of the time. If your runner is getting hit, things aren’t going well for you!
The biggest drawback to the Runner is his agility of 3. Now sometimes that’s not going to be a problem, but in the league I’m playing in at the moment, my Runner has the butteriest fingers of all, even a Black Orc seems more likely to catch a pass than him (consequently it’s hurting me both in terms of touchdowns and the advancement of my Thrower, but I’m not bitter, honest!). Early on then, you probably want to eschew throwing the ball to him a lot, either hand it off and once he’s skilled up a bit, then you can start racking up the completions, or just let him pick it up in the first place and run the length of the pitch (after all, he’s just as likely to pick it up as your Thrower is!)
How to maximise the strengths
Well you don’t really maximise Block on a Runner particularly, it’s more of a safety net since you can get away with Blitzing with him if your opponent is blocking your route to the endzone. Most receivers or ball carriers don’t come with block, so don’t take the offensive strategies with their ball carriers in the same way, which is exacerbated by them generally being lower strength as well.
Dauntless works in a similar way, this guy isn’t someone you particularly want to be blocking or blitzing with too often, but if you’ve got a big guy in your way, Dauntless helps you get him out of there to clear your path. It is a useful skill to have defensively as well though, since if your opponent manages to give the ball to a strong player, Dauntless is your best bet for getting it off them.
Finally, this is the only player in your team with easy access to agility skills. They’re very important to you being able to score touchdowns, and so you really want to protect this guy more than anyone else on your team. Once you get them, you need to start using them to score touchdowns and once the runner starts to skill up you can spread a few around to other players, but not until he’s got at least two skills.
Do you start a league with one?
I would, though I can see an argument for taking your full complement of Ulfs and Beserkers instead. There’s very little difference at the start of a league, but the more time you take to skill up a Runner the more difficult it is to get them there later when other teams start building skills.
What skills can they take?
Dirty Player
Really don’t recommend you try fouling with this guy, if he gets sent off your ball handling ability will drop considerably
Fend
As I mentioned already, really he’s going to be screened most of the time, so you shouldn’t need too much in the way of defensive skills, dodge should suffice.
Frenzy
It’s an offensive skill, but for someone who should be carrying the ball most of the time, you don’t want the negative side of it causing you problems, leave it at home (and this is one of only two players I’d say that about on the Norse team!)
Kick
Give it to your Thrower, if you haven’t taken one then you might consider it.
Kick Off Return
Worth thinking about, the Runner’s movement of 7 is decent, but a three square boost on the kick off never hurt anyone. Probably most useful if you’re thinking of building one guy to fetch the ball and another to score with it.
Pass Block
Probably the only player in the Norse team I’d even consider giving pass block to, but even then his average agility makes it a slim chance at best, worth thinking about if you get an agility increase early.
Pro
Ok so we know by now that I don’t like Pro much, and to be honest, the Runner can take all the skills he needs to get guaranteed re-rolls so Pro is a poor attempt at a general backup.
Shadowing
The best option for taking this skill in the Norse team, I’d still probably leave it in the box to be honest unless you really can’t think of anything else to give them.
Strip Ball
Best taken on the Beserker, who’s more suited to retrieving the ball from an opponent carrying it, it’s a wasted skill slot on a Runner.
Sure Hands
You remember that ball retriever I mentioned earlier who got given Kick-off Return? Sure Hands would be my second choice for that situation. Still better on your Thrower though.
Tackle
Shouldn’t really be blitzing or blocking too much, and when he does, the Runner should be just as happy with a pushback, as it clears space for the race to the endzone, so don’t do it.
Wrestle
No, definitely not, the Beserker fetches the ball, you don’t want any situation where you could be knocking yourself over and dropping it, which is what happens if you have this skill and your opponent has block.
Catch
If you plan on passing the ball to him, then this will be a must, though for reasons I’ll explain in a moment, it wouldn’t be my first choice skill.
Diving Catch
This is. With Diving Catch you will be taking accurate passes on a 2+, and can always use a team re-roll if you fail that until you get Catch. The vital difference though is that Diving Catch lets you attempt to take inaccurate throws, kick-offs and throw-ins that would land (not end up, land) in an adjacent square. You won’t get the +1 modifier for it being accurate, but any chance is better than none! This would be my second favourite skill on a Runner.
Diving Tackle
Leave it here for the Beserker to take, it’s a very useful skill but I prefer to keep my Runner skill slots for offensive options.
Dodge
Priority number one, take this skill first above everything except an agility increase.
Jump Up
This becomes a very useful skill if your Thrower starts to get good at passing, since it lets you threaten the endzone from a decent distance away even if you start the turn on the floor.
Leap
Only really worthwhile if you get an agility increase, otherwise it’s a 50/50 risk that’s not worth taking in my opinion, and there are more important skills you can get
Side Step
Like this, however much you screen your Runner, at some point they’re going to get blocked. Side step means you can use the full width of the pitch to your advantage, and if you only get pushed back, you can actually get yourself within striking range of the endzone, bonus!
Sneaky Git
You’re not fouling with your Runner are you. No, you’re not. Leave it here.
Sprint
Worth a pop if you get to that fourth/fifth skill, a Norse runner with 10 squares of possible movement? Yes please!
Sure Feet
If you take Sprint, then yes, if you haven’t then you shouldn’t fail enough to need this skill.
What are good options for doubles skill rolls?
Accurate
If you haven’t taken a Thrower and are using a Runner to retrieve the ball, this is worth considering, provided you’re passing and not handing off, but then if you’re doing that you’re in dire straits anyway!
Dump Off
Frustrates your opponent massively, they put everything in to get that blitz on the ball carrier, who then slips the ball out of the back door to the other Runner who’s nearby. It’s a risky play though and works better on higher agility players due to the likely number of tackle zones.
Nerves of Steel
Absolute gold if you pass the ball a lot, since tackle zone modifiers make a mess of your attempts to catch the ball.
Pass
That Runner you’re using instead of a Thrower? Give him this if you can.
Juggernaut
Worthwhile thinking about since it counts as a pushback instead of a both down, so lets you continue that run to the endzone.
Strong Arm
Still not using a Thrower? This will help.
What are the best stat increases to take?
Agility or movement, either is very important to this player, but leave the others at home and take the skills instead.
What are the best skill combinations?
The ‘Runner’
1.       Dodge
2.       Diving Catch
3.       Catch
4.       Side Step
5.       Sure Hands
6.       Sprint
The distributor
1.       Sure Hands
2.       Kick-off Return
3.       Accurate
4.       Pass
5.       Kick
6.       Nerves of Steel
The Spoiler
1.       Dodge
2.       Shadowing
3.       Pass Block
4.       Diving Tackle
5.       Jump Up
6.       Sure Hands
Final thoughts
The Runners are the players who should be getting your touchdowns, but remember that early on they are no better at ball handling than your Linemen or Beserkers, so don’t take risks, if you’re playing a team like Skaven for example they can pounce on any mistake you make, so only risk the pass when you have to, and you have the time to correct any mistake (seriously, if it’s the last turn and someone else is in range to score, don’t try and give it to your Runner instead, you’re asking for fumble fingers!)
A fully developed Norse team should have two Runners, I’d be tempted to skill one up as the classic Runner and the other as the Spoiler, who’s just there to make everything your opponent does just that little bit more difficult.
Under no circumstance though should you risk them unnecessarily in a melee – unless the ball is available, or your opponent will definitely score next turn then keep them out of the soup!

Monday, 25 November 2013

The value project - part 6 (tired of red yet?)

Hi all, 
Here's my Monday painting update for you all, as feared I didn't have quite so much time this week for painting and modelling progress, largely limited to a few hours on Friday evening. I still managed visible progress however, and got the base couple of coats of red on a combat squad of tactical marines.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Shining falls smash up.

P
Hi all, I've got a special post for you here, following on from a great game of Necromunda I had on wednesday evening.

First up, my gang rating was two points higher than Tonka, my opponent, so he got to choose the scenario and he plumped for ambush from the original rulebook. That meant I was going to be in the firing line from turn 1. Importantly, we both agreed that given how long games take to set up, we didn't want either gang bottling early, so agreed a house rule that no gang can bottle out in the first turn, even if they wanted to.

Probably a good thing, as both my heavies and crank, one of my BS4 gangers all went down early, falling off the walkways they were standing on at the time. Ouch, three down in the first turn, I needed to pull some casualties back, and quickly!

Fortunately, my guys didn't let me down, and the next six casualties were all down to the Death Spectres with Hawg, Boone, Brew, Maggot, Weasel and Butcher all picking up wounding shots or strikes. Of those, Weasel was probably the most impressive, taking down a Goliath heavy in close combat. At this point, things became even more messy, with a large combat erupting in the centre of the table as Butcher led Stumpy and Shock into a scrap with Rottmayer, Anon and Dr Hesse. Butcher quickly dispatched his opponent, and though he wasn't quick enough to prevent Dr Hesse from knocking out Shock, he was able to watch on as Stumpy took down Anon, who was toting a truly vast axe, before downing Dr Hesse as he turned tail and ran from the combat.

Hawg pulled off a master stroke, despite already suffering from a flesh wound, he loaded his last scatter shot round into the breach of his trusty shotgun, the blast spreading out to wound both Danko and Cane, and with that, the smash mob decided enough was enough, and they broke off their attack and vacated the field.

In doing so however, they took with them two captives, both Weasel and Boone having been dragged away by the Goliaths.

A resounding victory then, with only one casualty standing between me and stealing a territory from Tonka's gang (though we checked afterwards and it would have just been old ruins, so I'm not too disappointed).

Three games in and I'm really starting to see the benefits of the advances I gained early on, supplemented by some increases this time too. Boone is now BS5, Hawg can now Rapid Fire with his shotgun whilst Butcher now boasts 3 wounds. Brew is able to Rapid Fire his autogun at BS4 and Weasel is seeing the benefits of lifting weights, with his strength and initiative both now up to 4. Maggot has improved his aim to bring him to BS3, and Stumpy took a big step picking up 4 advances  this game to learn the step aside and parry skills, as well as reaching Toughness 4 and Leadership 7.

That leaves me with 4 members at BS4 or above, 3 gangers have T4, and I've got a bit of bottle resilience with two gangers at Ld8 in addition to my leader's Ld9.

Next game is the 3rd December and we should hopefully have 4 or 5 gangs involved on that occasion, so watch this space!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Distrac...ooh look, new plastic crack!


Hi all, ready for today's random musing? I'm betting you won't read all the way through cos today I'm talking about distractions.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

An evaluation of the Norse Ulfwerener in bloodbowl


Player Type:                       Ulwerener (come ‘ere so I can hurt you)
Position:                              Specialist blitzer/blocker
Starting Line Up:               Oh hell yes
Strengths:                           ST4, Frenzy, AV8 (in a Norse team, that’s good!)
Weaknesses:                     No block skill, Frenzy, low AG

Monday, 18 November 2013

The value project - part 5

Hi all, less quantity for this weeks painting update, but hopefully the quality is pretty good, I've been working on the dreadnought for my bloodstone knights, specifically a Soarta dreadnought (death company to the uninitiated).

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Asgard's Wrath vs Orcs

Hi all,
I have another bloodbowl match report for you from this week, when my team of Norsemen took on an inexperienced team of Orcs in the MAD League. Now my Norsemen were sitting at the top of the league clear by a point at the start of the night, though they'd played two games more than their nearest rival. That rival was also playing, against a team of high elves who'd held me to a draw, so it was vital that at the very least I matched their result if I were going to stay at the top.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

So what's your favourite colour to paint with?

Hi all,
It must be Wednesday, I'm feeling a bit random today, so I figured i'd talk about a subject that's close to my heart, painting.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

An evaluation of the Norse Beserker in bloodbowl

Player Type:                       Frothing Loony
Position:                              Blitzer
Starting Line Up:               Definitely
Strengths:                           Frenzy, Jump Up, Block, Skill Access
Weaknesses:                     Low AV, Frenzy

On the face of it, your Beserkers seem to fulfil a similar role to the Ulfwerener, indeed in earlier editions of the rules you could take 4 of them and Ulfs didn’t exist. There are significant differences between the two however and whilst their roles overlap to a point, if you try to play a Beserker like an Ulf then be prepared for them to die on you!

Monday, 11 November 2013

The value project part 4

Greetings all, I know, it's been a long time since I started on this project, and much has happened in the meantime to distract me from things:

An evaluation of the Norse thrower in bloodbowl

Player Type:       Fumbler              
Position:              Thrower              
Starting Line Up:               Depends on your tactics
Strengths:           Access to passing skills, block     
Weaknesses:     Average agility, no sure hands to start   
The Norse Thrower is perhaps the most debated player on the roster, particularly in terms of whether you need to take one or not. He has access to skills that make a certain playstyle possible that no other player can really give you, but his unreliability at the start of a league means he’s not an essential in your lineup.
How to manage the downsides
Well their biggest weakness is that early on in a league, they’re not particularly good at doing what they’re there for, ie picking up and throwing the ball! And I mean really not good – even an orc thrower stands more chance of getting hold of the ball than the Norseman, and that’s never a stat you really want to think about. So how do you mitigate this?
Well there are two methods really, the first is my preferred solution and that’s not to use the Thrower as such for the first few games until he gets an increase – I don’t mean put him on the line of scrimmage, but he’s going to find it fairly difficult to complete passes early in a league (1/3 chance of failing to pick up, 1/3 chance with a re-roll of failing to throw an accurate pass and 1/3 or worse chance of the receiver not catching it, statistically speaking you’re going to have to use a re-roll there somewhere and that’s not really a situation you want to be in). Consequently, use him as a slightly slower runner, or a backfield defender for the first few games. You’re really looking to get him to 6 SPP’s as quickly as possible so that you can give him either accurate or sure hands (or even more, hope he gets an AG increase) to make him more reliable in the throwing role. That’s not to say don’t throw the ball at all in the first few games, or if you need to to avoid getting scragged, but don’t throw unnecessary passes, and if you can get him to the endzone once or twice, that’s really going to help you a lot.
The second method is to save your re-rolls for the passes. The Thrower gets an inbuilt one for the pass itself from his skill set, but that still leaves picking up and catching as two real issues for him. Ideally you can throw a quick pass if no-one else is around, but I recently tried this whilst playing Skaven and watched in horror as what I thought was a safe option resulted in a Gutter Runner stealing in and grabbing an opportunistic touchdown. You can get away with saving re-rolls like this a bit with Norse since so many of your blocks in early games are fairly safe due to the presence of the block skill on most of your players. Be aware though, that your Ulfs might need it as well, so pick which is more important and do that action first.
The two weaknesses I identified above therefore both have the same long term solution – skills and/or an agility increase. Take sure hands first to give you another re-roll chance, then Accurate, Strong Arm if you get a double and if you can take an Agility increase then do it whatever else you might have access to!
How to maximise the strengths
No-one else in your team can take passing skills without rolling a double, and they’ve all got their own specialisms to concentrate on if they do, so if you fancy ever having to pass the ball with a norse team, you’re going to want the Thrower to do it. The Thrower actually becomes an extremely important and useful part of your team once he’s got those early increases though, completions come easier and the SPP’s start to flow more regularly and you can threaten the opposition much more with your runners, who equally can become more deadly as receivers.
The skill build of your Thrower therefore is the key to maximising his strength, and by taking the right skills you can really make an efficient player.  Interestingly, the Norse team Throwers actually make probably the fullest use of the Passing skills available to all teams – most others really don’t like their Thrower to get in the mix, but with the Norse, you can quite easily take Nerves of Steel, Dump Off, Hail Mary and Safe Throw to build a Thrower who’s not afraid to go where the wild things are and get the ball out of there.
Do you start a league with one?
Depends on your tactics, I started my most recent league with two, though one died in the first game, and personally I think they take so long to build to a good level that you want to maximise their chances of getting SPP’s early on. I wouldn’t criticise anyone however for playing a Norse team without a Thrower, and actually the Norse are perfectly capable of managing without a Thrower at all if you choose to play that way.
What skills can they take?
Dauntless
Meant for hitting stronger players, and whilst there is some merit in giving it to the Thrower who’s going to get the ball out of the dirty places, it’s not essential, particularly since you can’t blitz and pass the ball in the same turn.
Dirty Player
You’ve got this by now haven’t you, Dirty Player goes on a lineman, not a specialist.
Fend
Fend is an interesting skill to consider. Most would take it as a defensive move to prevent an opponent from following up a pushed or downed player on the line of scrimmage, but actually if you think about it, Fend is ideal for a Thrower who’s in the line of fire – if your opponent manages to get the block on him but fails to knock him over, then fend means you’re in the clear next turn to move and pass without a tackle zone hampering him. As such, I would certainly think about taking this skill a bit later in development.
Frenzy
No. For similar reasons to the above, if you do have to block/blitz with your Thrower, you don’t want him to then have to follow up and block again if you’ve managed to get clear of tackle zones.
Kick
Definitely worthwhile on a Thrower, though probably around skill number 3 (unless you’ve got two, in which case give this to one of them first and only use him on your opponent’s drives). It makes it much easier to control your opponent’s position and drive if you can more reliably put your kick deep into their half.
Kick-off Return
This would be worth considering once you’ve got a Thrower who will pass the ball on your drives, he’ll get to the kick off quicker, possibly even giving you a free attempt at catching it to save that tricky pickup, but his basic movement of 6 means if the kick-off lands deep in your half, retrieving it otherwise can take up most or all of your movement.
Pass Block
You’re unlikely to be using a Thrower to intercept a pass at the throwing end, and although you should be trying to get into such a position at the receiving end, more than likely you’ll normally have your Thrower between the receiver and the endzone. Norse also don’t have the agility or skill access to make interceptions worthwhile in my opinion so taking this skill is a waste.
Pro
Not sure why you’d take Pro on a Thrower since they have access to Leader as well, which allows you that re-roll automatically. You’ll see later that the skill builds for the Thrower don’t have enough gaps to justify taking Pro.
Shadowing
Nope, as with most Norse, he’s not quick enough for it to count.
Strip Ball
Now for the ‘defensive’ Thrower who’s got Kick and will be your last line of defence, Strip Ball could be magical. Further on in the league though, a lot of receivers will have taken Sure Hands by then and its usefulness is negated.
Sure Hands
One of the first skills I would take on a Thrower, giving you an automatic re-roll to pickup. It doesn’t make it a certainty, but 89% is a damn sight better than 66% when it comes to success at picking the ball up.
Tackle
Defensively speaking, tackle is gold. Most receivers will have the dodge skill, and a lot of them have block after a few games, so Tackle on those players who are going to have to make that last chance hit is crucial, it means an additional 17% on your chances of knocking them down, and thus freeing the ball.
Wrestle
Similar to tackle really, wrestle is to my mind very important to have available to the last line of defence, since it again negates one of the block dice results that a skilled receiver isn’t afraid of. Of course it’s benefit is negated if that receiver has taken jump up, but for anyone carrying the ball that means they’ve then got to pick it up again, which means potential for failure.
Accurate
Up there with Sure Hands as my first two picks on a Thrower (at least one who’ll actually be handling the ball and passing it). Accurate makes it so much easier to get an accurate pass, which in turn makes it easier for the receiver to catch it, which is kind of what you want from someone throwing the ball!
Dump Off
This would be a skill I’d definitely consider taking on a defensive thrower, if he gets in and either blitzes a ball carrier or picks it up from a melee then having dump off so he can get it out of there if anyone blocks him next turn is a serious advantage.
Hail Mary Pass
Similar to dump off really, the Hail Mary Pass is demoralising for your opponent, all they need to do is get the ball to score, but your Thrower nips in and flings it to the other end of the pitch for your runners to fight for – it’s a last-ditch tactic but one that can pay dividends if used correctly.
Leader
Who would like a re-roll for 20k? Yes please, the only problem is there are so many skills I’d like to give a Thrower before this, that I’ve never got round to using it.
Nerves of Steel
Defensive Thrower who discounts tackle zones when Throwing or Dumping Off? Sold to the man in the furry boots with horns on his helmet!
Safe Throw
Interceptions are rare. Very rare. Really annoying though when they occur, and even though it’ll probably fail when you really need it (it’s only a 50% chance after all) Safe Throw is always worth thinking about. As with some of the other skills above though, I’d take others in preference leaving this one till late in development.
What are good options for doubles skill rolls?
Jump Up
Jump up is always good for anyone who’s going to be playing near your endzone, and almost(!) negates the point in your opponent knocking them over in the first place and risking an attacker down result.
Strong Arm
Excellent skill, and really boosts your Thrower’s range. Becomes magical if you also have either accurate or AG4 by this point. Definitely my first pick for a double.
What are the best stat increases to take?
Agility, all the way. Ignore everything else in favour of skills.
What are the best skill combinations?
Distributor
1.       Accurate
2.       Sure Hands
3.       Strong Arm
4.       Kick Off Return
5.       Hail Mary Pass
6.       Leader
Sweeper
1.       Kick
2.       Nerves of Steel
3.       Strip Ball
4.       Dump Off
5.       Accurate
6.       Tackle
Final thoughts
The Thrower isn’t a necessity in a Norse team, as really they’re most suited to the running game anyway, but with a couple of skills they become good enough to be worthwhile, and if you’ve got options, you’ve got a Plan B, and if you’ve got a Plan B then your opponent had better have a Plan C, which a lot of coaches don’t since their teams are designed to do one thing and one thing only.