Sunday, January 16, 2011

In Battle There is No Law

I am not doing that great of a job keeping my post count up this month. That trip to San Diego really got me out of sync and I finally feel like everything is getting back into place. I probably could  have done some posting while I was out there, but it was a bit of a hassle. My hotel did not feature free wi-fi, which kind of surprised me. It seems like most places I stay these days have it. They still had the goofy little router box on the desk and wanted something like $10 a day. thanks. 

Anyway, to get to something game related, I finally played Warhammer 40,000 yesterday. I tag-teamed with my buddy Dave against Rob, who writes The Little Wars Blog. It was all space marines on the table and we were playing a game where we were trying to capture specific points on the table. Each side put out about 1500 points. The game ended in a draw, but only by about an inch. Had one of our units not had to move into base to base contact after an assault phase, we would have won.

This game was a long time coming, I suppose. Growing up in Butler, I don't remember having a FLGS. We either bought our gaming supplies at Walden Books at the Clearview Mall or from the comic book shop downtown. I can't remember what the comic shop even had, but I'm pretty sure they had some gaming stuff. I don't remember seeing any GW stuff, there, but who knows at this point. By the time 1990 or 1991 rolled around, we were somewhat familiar with the game because of Bolt Thrower's classic 2nd album, Realm of Chaos. One of my friends picked up the cassette, which features Warhammer 40,000 artwork throughout.

Once I moved to Pittsburgh in 1993, I somewhat regularly visited two gaming stores that were in Oakland at the time, Phantom of the Attic (still my go-to FLGS) and another that was down on Atwood Street. I think both stores had GW stuff, but the price, combined with not actually knowing anyone who played, kept me out of the market. I was also a bit intimidated, because I had never done any painting or anything. For years I'd consider picking up one of those starter sets and figuring it all out, but it never happened.

Fast-forward to 2008. I had both feet back into the RPG Hobby. I had a 40% off coupon for Borders and was browsing the Sci-fi/Fantasy shelves for something blow some cash on when I noticed the Dark Heresy RPG. This I could figure out (and maybe convince some friends to play). I grabbed it and was almost immediately hooked by the fluff (and a lot of the crunch) of the system. I ended up playing a short campaign then later running another. I'd like to play more in the future (and actually play Rogue Trader and Death Watch, since I've been buying all the product). I read the Eisenhorn novel and I'm currently reading through Ravenor. I figured that it was finally time for me to step up and buy some minis. Dave, who plays in just about all the games I play, had been egging me on for a couple years at this point. Ben and Eric from Brass Chariot play, too, and were trying to get me into it.

On Free RPG Day, back in June, I was looking around in Phantom of the Attic for something to buy. I really feel the need to make a big purchase on promo days like that. A lot of people don't realize it, but your local store has to pay to participate in that that program. They have to buy that "free" product. I had my eye on a couple board games, but in the end, I picked up a copy of Assault on Black reach. Neither Orks nor Space Marines would be at the top of my pile for armies, but I couldn't really resist that box. Lots of minis. Not a lot of dollars. Simple assembly while I'm getting used to modeling. Good combination. I figured, if I liked it, I'd have the base minis for two armies, allowing me different playing styles at some point.

I'm really in love with the lore of the Inquisition, but the armies related to it aren't really being heavily supported right now. I've talked to some folks at Phantom and there are rumors brewing of a complete reboot, possibly combing the Witch Hunters, Sisters of Battle and some sort of Space Marine chapter. I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for that, because it's right up my alley. In the mean time, I'm going to try to get my Space Marine army up to around 1500-2000 points, so I can participate in a variety of games. If the bug is still biting, I'll probably try to boost the Orks up to at least 1000 points.

Not sure what the point of all this is, but it was good to finally play something you've been thinking about, even just occasionally for almost 20 years. Now that I've been at the table, I think the rules will start to make a lot more sense.


  1. Luckily the current rules are decent, compared to some of the previous iterations.

    I have to say I love the setting and alot of the art of 40k in general, though Bolt Thrower is reminding me of all the classic stuff I have from past editions.

    Oh and if your at all interested in the miniatures side of the hobby a good starting place is and

  2. I keep hearing that the current rules are the best they've ever been. It all still seems a bit over complicated to me, as a newbie, but it was definitely fun. Thanks for the tips on sites to check for more minis info.

  3. INCHES! I have to say between the post-assault consolidation and your deep-striking Terminators getting the "delayed" result I dodged a fair amount of bullets. The draw was gladly accepted :-)

    Can't wait to do this again! Hopefully I'll have my Guard army up and running so I can bring out the big guns.

  4. Guard? Bring forth the tanks and run him down!

    I said best, not simplest. Hehe, if you thought that was arcane remind me before next Gamesday and I'll bring my Vehicles book from the Rogue Trader era when you used clear acetate grids infront of vehicles to determine hit location and the armor value associated and then picked up multiple dice types to roll for armor penetration - and if that sounds complicated IT WAS! I discovered 40k right after 3rd edition was released. They literally had a section in the core book explaining what miniatures were no longer supported, not left waiting for their army book, but literally removed from the game. It was also the ruleset from the rise of tournament era, so the army lists had be totally rewritten from the character centric rules of 2nd edition to a very vanilla list. And grognards will go on endlessly about the army bloat that kicked in when they radically changed point costs and doubled (or in the case of Guard, I think tripled) the model count in armies. The newer editions have been much more gentle and reasoned changes that usually have produced a better ruleset.

    And have you ever seen Boltthrower MP3s? I wouldnt mind having them on when I do my mini painting.

  5. Never herd of Bolt Thrower. Pretty damn rad. They're like the Blind Guardian of 40k

  6. Cool! Glad you got to check them out. Lyrically, they stuck with the "war" theme, but dropped a lot of the gaming references. I guess the guys in the band were big in the GW stuff when they started, though.