Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My new 'Games Room', Dark Angel progress and Apoc preparation.

Games Room- aka 'The Garage'

So I’ve managed to completely clean out and rearrange my garage just last weekend, in preparation for an Apocalypse battle at the end of this month. For the last three months it has actually looked similar to Junkion, or even the trash compactor room from the first Death Star, minus the water (although there was something living in there I’m sure). But with a baby on the way we went into cleaning overdrive, to make sure nowhere in the house could be a breeding ground for mice or other nasties, and I now have a fairly pristine vehicle storage/ gaming retreat.

The garage itself is a two roller door setup, 20 feet deep by 21 feet wide. The entire left wall has our old kitchen cupboards and benchtop on it, cut to fit around the brick pillars every 6 feet, and the whole lot is bolted to the wall. At one end of this is a metal shelving unit for all my car and household products, at the other is my steel workbench. The workbench has storage for my hundreds of spanners, tools and other bits and pieces. It’s here that I cut, shape and build all the crazy terrain and other stuff... the old kitchen bench assembly has 4 double-door cupboards that I have all my terrain and power tools stored in. The benchtop itself is awesome for lining up armies prior to game deployment- my 4000+pts of Dark Angels takes up about 1/6th of the space J

On the other wall I’ve installed some large swing-latches that pivot up and down to let me store up to 3 game boards flat against the wall (takes up no space this way, and is ultra safe). For large games like this I’ve also got an old futon (couch) that I put on this side for people to relax on.

Next modifications and additions will see a small air-compressor under the bench with a retractable overhead airline reel, several power outlets above the benches and larger multi-globe lighting banks on both sides of the garage, with dimmer switches to adjust the brightness. I’m still hunting for a small stereo to put into the top of the large cupboard on the left, with speakers in all four corners and a small fridge in the space between the workbench and the cupboards. Another future addition will be carpet- our house is getting new carpet soon, so the old stuff is going into the garage!!

Certainly beats playing at the LGS if you ask me- aircon, cold drinks, room to move and setup.

All in all, buying the necessary hardward and equipment at Bunnings and Supercheap Auto, and factoring in the recycled kitchen, this setup owes me around $200? Maybe not even that. Extremely versatile, and room for some seriously big games or convoluted table layouts.

Dark Angels- progress report.

With a load of Space Marine bitz coming through the mail recently i've been able to construct the complete Devastator squad I was after for this game quickly and easily. Although the initial outlook was for a power-armour spamfest, it now appears that there will be some Eldar and Imperial Guard being fielded, so my 4x Heavy Bolter Squad will be used for this game. I do have the choice of running Plasma Cannons (4 if i want to), but we'll see how i feel on the day- I may end up making a last minute change if i feel the PCans will be more effective.

I've also completed the basic construction and undercoating of two Tactical Squads as well, who will be given whatever Heavy Weapons aren't fielded in the Dev Squad, as well as Flamers for Special weapons- this is something new for me! The Sergeants have been given power weapons, and one of them also has a plasma pistol for some extra short ranged punch.

In regards to my construction of the units mentioned above, i've put the entire model together but have left the arm/gun assembly off. This allows me to paint up the chest/aquila sections of the model before the guns go on, which is a simple task seeing how i glue the left hand under the bolter front grip while tightly pushing the top of the arms against the shoulders of the mini where they mount. When the glue dries this means the whole gun and arms are in one ready to glue on piece, and I can paint up both arms and the gun as one seperate unit. I've even painted numbers on the inside of the arms on the mounting point that correspond with a number painted onto the shoulder of the mini so that every arm/guns assembly goes back onto the mini that I glued it up to fit. The same thing goes for the Devastators- their guns and arms are all pre-glued together, and slip into place neatly, with all the power cables to their backpacks lining up perfectly.

While this might sound a bit overkill for most people, its something i've done before during my construction and painting process that guarantees that everything goes on the right mini and is easily painted up in pre-assembled 'blocks' instead of small fiddly arms and bolters as seperate pieces.

Apocalypse Preparation- table layout sorted...

Getting there!

So here's the table for the game on the weekend (although im yet to raise and properly level the last 6x4 section, and there wont be a large wood bit sticking out the end either), im happy with this long layout, it should comfortably handle the 40,000 points that will be brought along. And once the benchspace (in the background) is cleared off there'll be stacks of space for armies, casualties and all those other things that are needed in a large scale game. So happy with how this all turned out, considering the quagmire the place was a week ago.

The long things on the table are strips of cheap grey fabric that I use for roads- they're spread out to remove the wrinkles since last i used them. Seeing how this will be a fairly open battle i'm planning to have a fair few roads around the place to allow vehicles some extra movement- big fast armoured assaults are always great fun :) I have about 8 of these strips of cloth, and they generally get held down at various points by small pieces of gaff/ masking tape.

Got a couple more hills in production for this game! More raised up 'three dimensional' stuff to break up line of sight will be good, and there will only be a few clumps of ruined outposts or intact buildings- this is a titlefight out on the (relatively open) plains...
So thats all for now. Hopefully i'll have the Apocalypse post-mortem up not too long after its all done and dusted, so until then be good!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Dark Angels & November Apocalypse

New Recruits

Up to now my current Dark Angels army has exclusively used the robed veteran models for the three Tactical squads and one Assault Squad, however I felt it was time to diversify and pad out the army some more. With a minimal budget, some small purchases and a bunch of left-over marines I’m hoping to nearly double my power armoured numbers.  

So what are the left-overs? Well I came across a whole bunch of assembled power-armour marines that were left over from the small (1000 pt) Ultramarines force I built when I got back into the hobby around 6 years ago. These are effectively the current multipart Space Marine miniatures that you can buy in the Tactical/ Combat Squad box set, and in all cases they’ve been assembled with arms on but without bolters in place, this makes it quite easy to then paint the chest Aquila section. Some were bare plastic, some were undercoated black, and two had been used to test colourschemes. Three were actually done in a very muted Dark Angels colourscheme already which i could have salvaged, but i decided to just re-undercoat them so they appear identical to all the others.

There is also a further five robed veteran models as well, which I never got around to using- they have been assembled and are awaiting weapons. At current I have ten 'normal armour' and five 'robed models', however there is enough arms, heads, arms, weapons and spare parts left to easily make another twenty standard power armour marines, at least once I buy some legs for them- its the only thing I don’t have, so I’ll jump onto eBay soon and get something sorted. Im thinking of using a mix of assault legs as well, for that aggressive running feel.

With a huge range of spare Dark Angels bolters, helmets, backpacks and small paraphernalia I’ve been able to make the current vanilla guys look like true Sons of the Lion, and they’ll obviously receive the same green paint-scheme and techniques as their robed counterparts. I’ve made sure to glue some spare loincloths on some of the minis as well, these will be painted in the same way as the robed models, helping tie the robed and non robed guys together with another common colour. I’ve also purchased and stockpiled a load of the Dark Angel Veteran shoulder pads that have the raised sword molded onto them- this way all the marines in my army will have identical chapter symbol shoulder-pads.

The new minis will ideally be arranged into a five-man Devastator Squad- two missile launchers, two heavy bolters and a Sergeant- and three full ten-man Tactical Squads, with two Plasma Cannons and a Lascannon. The cool thing is that I already have two other Plasma Cannons in my current Tactical Squads, so I can field a full 4 x Plasma Cannon Devastator squad if the need arises. Anyone that’s used one of these (or faced one) knows that the risk of overheating death is a fair price to pay considering the phenomenal firepower that it can deal out, entire squads of power armoured foes can be annihilated with a few well placed shots.

With these new models I’m going to start branching out a bit more in regards to weapons and wargear loadout, with two Flamers and another Meltagun being the special weapons for the new squads and I’ll possibly give the sergeants power-weapons- mauls or swords- as a compromise between the standard (and free) chainswords and points heavy powerfists that I have now.

Once all the minis are done up, I‘ll then have to work out whether I need or want to paint up another 3 Rhinos for them, which will obviously need to match the ones I have painted up now- am I a dedicated Disciple of Caliban, or just a sucker for punishment?

The hope is that I can have all these new squads assembled and basecoated in time for the upcoming Apocalypse on November 26th. At 5000pts per player I’m going to need every last man I can get!! However, it will be nice to field an army for once that's all from the same Codex (if you ignore the Baneblade). 

November Apoc!! Possibly 30,000pts.... maybe more!

And on that small topic change, yes there will be another Apocalypse game coming up, this one to be held at my place this time (all previous ones have been at mates’ places). This game will most likely be played across a game surface comprising of my Table Tennis table with one or two 6x4 (regular size) game boards on the ends. So the end result will be a table with a length of either 13 or 17 feet, depending on what I can fit in the garage, which will be more than enough for a load of carnage. We are looking to run with around 6 players, although we could happily accommodate 8 if needs be, although I reckon it’ll end up quite cramped like that.

As previously mentioned, we'll be trying to get each player to field 5000pts, and for the first time ever we'll be having a game without any objectives. Yep, there is no strategic plan in this game, save that you kill as much of the opposition's forces as possible. We're going to run this game based on VICTORY POINTS!! Some would say we're mad, but then again I think the idea we have is workable. The following points outline how it will work-

  1. Everyone brings a printed army list as usual, but includes the two half-points values of the unit in brackets as well as the full points. For example- "Tactical Squad- 10 men- 190pts  (   95   /  95   ). 
  2. At the end of each shooting and assault phase, scores will be added up regarding units that  are reduced to half strength or destroyed, the constantly accruing "score" will be displayed on the wallboard in a table to track progress of points acrued per turn, and broken down into seperate shooting and close combat sections. This will allow me to turn the data into some cool graphs later, but should also make it easy to record all the casualties, which might be hard to remember after a full team turn (there is going to be so much carnage!)
  3. The owner of the units that have taken damage will (when providing the points costs to the other team) cross out either one or both numbers on their list to keep track of what remains, or circle them... whatever works for keeping track.
  4. In close combat, units can be damaged or lost by both sides in either player turns- any close combat victory points accrued by the team who is awaiting their turn will be added to their next-turn CC tally.
  5. As expected, at the end of 4 or 5 turns, the winner is the one with the most points. We'll most likely call within 10% a tactical draw, anything outside of this is a definative win!!  
Being that the next game is at my place, and I wont have to pack up too early we'll most likely be able to remove the turn time-limit restrictions, kick back and relax while watching the Victory Points go up and model count go down..... in practice it might be annoying, but im hopeful. 

As a final note regarding Apoc- the original idea from earlier in the year was to end up conducting a massive “Mega Apoc” where everyone would come along and bring everything they had, however this is still proving hard to co-ordinate, as working around peoples availability, army/miniature limitations and even finding a venue to hold it in is proving to be a huge task. A lot of recent discussion has produced some excellent ideas concerning speeding up gameplay, streamlining flyer rules, reserves, using movement tray bases for infantry models etc, so once we have the rest sorted out the game itself should run quite well. So for now the “Megapoc” remains a bit of a pipe dream, but I’m hopeful that one day we’ll get a game like this off the ground. If anyone out there has any “big game” suggestions, I’m very keen to hear then.