A fez of the heart! An Arc40K report

I enjoy Arc40K. The granddaddy of Melbourne tournaments ran for the 19th time over the weekend with two firsts: the first time in February, and at a new venue The House of War in Ringwood.  Dan and team do a great job running this tournament. They run about dealing with broken software, overheated venue, and round draws, so players can have six fabulous games. A big thumbs up for all your work. (I helped run Arc for a while; it is no easy thing and takes way more than just the weekend itself.)

There are a lot of things I like about tournaments: guaranteed games, painted and often inspirational armies, catching up with friends and meeting new ones. Tournaments can also be hard work. Multiple games over the week-end, negotiating different rule interpretation during the competition. Arcanacon brings all this, plus more, including that special fug that only 120+ sweaty gamers bring on a sunny summer day.

In some ways this was perhaps my worst Arc ever. Having got my army together, managing some last minute (for me) painting, and wrestled with the Community Comp system, I got to the table and discovered that I’m out of step with the current approach to 40K here in Melbourne. Too much beer and forging the narrative on my gaming days have left me exposed like a n00b at the table. I had a couple of close losses and draw on the first day, and on Sunday three comprehensive losses. At least packing up didn’t take long.

Don’t get me wrong. The failure was mine and congratulations to my opponents who stuck to their plans, knew what their army could do and generally out generaled me.
I’m living the 5th edition dream in a 7th edition world.

I took Strike Force Varus. Perhaps there was some karmic backwash from naming my Captain after one of the biggest disasters in Roman military history (and there are some doozies to choose from).

There were lot of nice armies on show. Almost everyone had something of interest: nice highlights, a unique conversion or unusual list combination.

Check out Arc40K on FaceBook for photos from other gamers. I always seem to promptly forget my resolution to take more photos at these events.

The missions were good. Each one was basically straight from the book with one special rule added. Not much to remember, which is a plus, but often enough to deliver a twist.

Get Your Fix was Big Guns Never Tire, using Hammer and Anvil deployment. The special rule replaced mysterious objectives with new table and a twist where the function might move from turn to turn.

I was competitive until turn 3, but just couldn’t hang on and my hopes of draw faded as a daemon prince gorged on my command unit leaving the centre of the table to the enemy. Jeremy got a 5-19 win to start the tournament with his nice looking Khorne Daemonkin.

Lessons for me: read the special abilities for your formations more than 5 minutes before the game starts and read the mission sheet!

We could be heroes was a Crusade with Vanguard Strike. Mission special rules was some random rules added to our generals. Neither of us rolled rules that were relevant to our list and did not affect the game.


I faced a drop pod heavy Salamander list run by Lachlan. With just three objectives the game became crowded very quickly.  I got to the objectives in numbers but twin-linked flamers and a grav heavy vet squad took their toll on my army. The game ended with two objectives held by the Salamanders, and just one from me. A 6-16 loss, but I did get the satisfaction of seeing Vulcan go down under a hail of bolter shells.

The Touch Emperor’s Will with Vanguard Strike. The special rule was that we had to nominate just three units to be objective secured. So much for the formation bonus for my army 😦

Pav fielded Tyranids and we duked it out to a 12-11 draw. This was my best result for the tournament, and the difference was totally down to my Librarius Conclave. This was their moment: taking out the hive tyrant and a hive crone, both in the psychic phase.

So ended day one. I’ll save day two for another post, if anyone can be bothered to continue with this tale of woe.


Big Yellow Taxi

I love terminators. A couple of codexes ago my Word Bearers were built around a core of terminators.  Today the deamons provide a bit more of the cutty cutty, but the terminators are nearby to help.

Loyalists don’t miss out either. My first 40K army were Imperial Fists, and terminators were there right from the start.

I don't need a neck to kick your arse

I don’t need a neck to kick your arse

Another classic bit of kit is an assault cannon. This dude is a dark angle model, I think, but he has come back into the bosom of a chapter without any dodgey secrets:


Lightning claws have their place, but thunder hammers really are all the rage now.


IFtermie06A squad with both can be very effective.

IFtermie01I find you can’t hold back with termies, especially those without any guns. Screw your courage to the sticking place and deep strike right next to something dangerous and get stuck in. This is particularly fun in apocalypse games and titans.

Of course, if you’re going to do that, then you might as well bring along the original stubborn bastard and his S10 AP1 hammer:

You just wait until I walk over there ...

You just wait until I walk over there …

Lysander can be shot to death, like just about anyone else, but if you can get him into combat he is ace.

I still like the old school build: power fist and storm bolters. But whatever the build I rarely leave them out of a marine force.

IFtermie03With unbound arriving in 7th ed, I am going to try out an Imperial Fist strike force made up of all my terminators, with devastators to make up whatever points are left.
Led by Lysander, of course

Seven thoughts on seventh ed part 2

A guest post today, from James, owner of the rather nice looking Exorcists Space Marine Chapter and Grey Knights that generally prove to be the righteous thorn in the chaotic side of my Word Bearers Legion.

Hi James, here.

After managing to get quite a few games of 7th edition in since release and even attend a couple of ‘tournaments’ at my local games store, I thought I would also share my 7 thoughts on 7th Edition.

GD11. Too soon? Games Workshop has continued the release rate that began when 6th edition shipped not much more than 2 years ago. To my surprise, as each month went by, a new army codex was either released or teased for upcoming release. I became hopeful that after so many years (I have been playing since third-fourth) we would finally see a comprehensive edition cycle where every army got a collective update/do-over. Even more surprising was the advent of a whole new edition and my hopes of that comprehensive edition cycle were dashed. This hasn’t been a bad thing although it was a tad dissappointing and it has become more glaringly apparent that ‘business decisions’ (whether or not I agree with them, and they are a business after all) have won out over ‘game/product integrity’.

2. Change is as good as a holiday. Indeed, however not much has really changed and in many ways this is 6th Ed plus. Which I do not mind at all. Both editions of the game have been written to show the framework of game construction in mind. Many scoffed at the ‘Forging the Narrative’ byline in 6th Ed but the concept has been solidified more directly in 7th Ed. More and more tools for creating the game you want to play along with full colour shiny story telling in all the books as well as showing off the models that are still top grade quality in an ever increasing miniatures market.

DSC_00783. All the toys! Speaking of that, one of the main changes to this edition is the concept of Unbound armies. Play with the models you like/have in whatever combination (with some minor limitations) so you can actually use those 4 flyers you painted but never get to use except in big organised games. I really like this idea, and even though it is open to abuse (which honestly, practically every game is anyway) there are some balancing measures in place that work for the most part. It assists players with a more defined framework for creating those cool narrative battles you always wanted.

4. Tilt that see-saw yo. As far as balancing goes, I feel that with the tidying up of special rules, the relative subtleties involved with most of them and the sprinkling of them liberally throughout all of the updated army books, some reasonable balancing has been attained. This is more evident when looked at through a lens of reasonable army list building, so I must admit some bias there. I also don’t tend to go Easter egg hunting through rulebooks. Although there are sometimes whacky interactions, there is usally a qualifying special rule, or statement in a special rule that sorts it out. The layout of the new rulebook really helps with this too.

DSC_00975. There is no spoon. The new psychic phase is one other major change. For those familiar with Warhammer Fantasy battles, it works pretty much like the magic phase. This change is another that I like. Uber psykers tended to run rampant in previous editions with the most powerful psychic powers being buff type spells and with little to no resistance to their casting other than hoping the cast fails. Blessings are still some of the best powers but they are more difficult to actually cast now and have added risk with the revamped Perils of the Warp. The opponent also has a chance to deny these powers too. A slim chance, but a chance nonetheless.

6. My center is yielding. My right is retreating. Situation excellent. I am attacking.
Another interesting addition to the rules is the new Maelstrom missions. Utilising the new Tactical Objective cards (also represented in the rulebook with a D66 table) these are 6 new missions to play that emphasise table objectives over straight up deathmatches. With ongoing and changing objectives throughout the game putting an intersting layer on top of the existing game. Those of us moderately creative types have been doing this sort of thing before anyway (much like Unbound amries) but it is nice for it to feel like an official part of the game.

7. What is next? Whilst not explicitly defined, but becoming more evident is the redefining of armies as Factions and Detachments, and unit entries as Dataslates. On first glance it seems quite innocuous but the foundation for modular game expansion has been laid. Finding unique units in either White Dwarf (generally either promo for upcoming codex release or as exclusive random units) or in Campaign books/boxes (eg. Sanctus Reach campaign) there are more eays to add in unique or characterful units and formations as attachments to your existing armies. I may yet use the new models in the Stormclaw box as a small contingent for my Cadian army. Either as regular Space Wolves or as the character units from the campaign book. Freedom of choice!


And with that, in summary ‘Freedom of Choice’ seems to be the catchcry of this edition.

Vengeance is mine! Mine I tell you!


James Librarian does the bustop

So I held off buying the rather nice looking three volume hard back rule book for 7th end. I just wasn’t that keen on spending my hobby dollars on a set that will most likely remain 2/3 unopened until just before the next edition. (Further than two years away, please GW.)

I seriously considered getting the Stormclaw campaign box. A5 rules, rather nice looking models, but I don’t collect Space Wolves or Orks and wasn’t feeling inspired to start or convert.


With the new Dark Vengeance box I folded. A5 book – check. Nice models? Check. Collect both factions? Check.  Actual (modest) discount for buying in bulk? Yep!

I was thinking about doing an unboxing, but really, the images at the GW web site are much better than any I would take. The usual high sprue quality is there, so no surprises when you do open the box, along with the other expected goodies of templates, dice, and the standard two red sticks (one bent).

Actually there is one unexpected and rather nice item in the box: a card A4 sized cheat sheet with the most common tables (combat, deep strike mishap, vehicle damage).

That may well be the thing that gets the most use from the whole set! Not quite worth the admission price by itself, it was a welcome find.

Now, off to find out all the rules I’ve been getting wrong so far.


Sisters and Grey Knights to the rescue

Faith & Steel are pleased to report that Dr. Elphinstone Mercator, along with certain mysterious artefacts, have been rescued from heretics and aliens by a combined Sisters of Battle-Grey Knights force.


Dr. Mercator sent out a distress signal from his research station on XT-1984, a world accessible by permit only due to the prevalence of xeno-archaeology, after he became aware of a combined Tau-Chaos threat. How the Tau and Chaos came to be operating together is uncertain.  Indicative of the importance placed on Dr Mercator’s work, a rapid-response Sisters of Battle force was available in orbit, who deployed immediately.  A Grey Knight company also linked with the Sisters – their presence unexpected but welcome. Inquisition spokes-servitors would not comment on “operational matters” beyond noting that the company has been tracking a recurring source of daemonic incursions for some time.

There you have it folks: War was had over the weekend. Two on two, Tau and Chaos versus Sisters and Grey Knights, 3,000 points a side. The Imperium won out this time, rescuing the archaeologist and capturing three mysterious objectives.

With multiple players still learning 7th ed, we kept things simple. Purely by chance we all had bound lists and at least one psyker on each side.  We set up three objectives (scattered randomly) along the centre line. We also decided on a xeno-archaeologist and used the same rules as the relic to represent his capture or rescue.

Pictures follow.

The Tau go hard early and grab the archaeologist

The Tau go hard early and grab the archaeologist

A gutsy deep strike from a Nemesis dreadnought takes out the Tau Ethereal, turning the game

Chaos' turn to seize Dr Mercator

Chaos’ turn to seize Dr Mercator

But the Sisters and GK win out

Chaos Lord goes hard, but not hard enough

Chaos Lord goes hard, but not hard enough

Saint Celestine's finest moment: purging the heretics with fire and sword

Saint Celestine’s finest moment: purging the heretics with fire and sword

Thanks James (Grey Knights), John (Sisters) and Oli (Tau) for a great day of gaming.

Until next time – I’ll be back as soon as Slaneesh lets me have some more daemonettes (I don’t think this is the last we will hear of the mysterious XT-1984)


Seven Thoughts on Seventh Edition

Or how I learned to stop worrying and keep loving the game

I’m shocked people. It turns out that internet rage is not based on fact or experience. Surely a fairy dies every time a troll posts something?

Seventh edition is on the streets and people are starting to get some games in. It looks like that in the grim dark future war will continue. And this is a good thing(tm).

So, I’ve finally looked at the new rules and played a game. With this in mind, here are my 7 thoughts on 7th ed:


7th ed game one: Steef’s Khorne with Tzeentch allies takes on my Ultramarines (now with added Libby)

1. The aim of the game remains unaltered. Getting together with friends to drink beer and play with war dollies. In fact, the new levels of wackiness are going to make this more not less fun. The opportunities to “forge da narrative” with unbound and the new dimensions opened up by the objective cards both support this direction.


Maulerfiend taking a surprising long time to clean up some devastators and the attached Librarian

2. I think unbound rocks. My design philosophy has always been “I like that mode; I’m going to use it”. The possibilities for creating cool themes just got busted wide open. People who write hard lists will continue to smash those of us with a less dedicated approach to list building. I’m not going to loose any sleep over that. I play for fun and who knows, maybe I’ll learn the rules this time around?

3. The new rule looks real purty and is well laid out. I’m a big fan of the white space. It really makes the rule book easy to read and fast to refer to. The index and order also seem OK. Did I mention that it looks nice?

4. More of an unthought. I haven’t opened either of the other two volumes. They are probably beautiful. I wouldn’t know. I’m holding out buying a set until I see what other options become available before I make a choice as to what to purchase.

5. I’m not yet convinced that he new shooting casualty rules are sensible. I guess resolving one weapon-type at a time introduces a new tension. Mostly I think it will slow the game down. I’m deferring judgement until I’ve played some more games.

6. I like the psychic phase. Tooled up psykers used to give me grief anyway (f-u elder shenanigans) and I like the resource planning aspect of the warp pool. My modest discovery is even a level one psyker can mess with your opponent’s plans for not much points.  Dr Faust has left his library and joined my Ultramarines.

7. I don’t have a seventh thought; I just liked the alliteration of the title.


Chaplain gets worked up and charges a bloodthirster summoned by naughty daemonic summoning type things. It didn’t end well.

40K is still fun. The toys are still cool. The beer is still cold.

Come on in, the gaming is fine.


(The game was a cracker. Steef’s nefarious Tzeentch-Khorne combo won the day, building up tactical objectives faster than I could hose down berserkers. Thanks to Mark for the pictures, table and beer.)