Helldrake does as Helldrake pleases

Q:  Can Heldrake really do as Heldrake pleases? 
A:  Yes, Heldrake is now an Assault Vehicle.

“The Legions of the Chaos Space Marines have learned to climb onto the back of the Heldrake and ride it into battle. They launch assaults by swooping up high and then leaping down off the back of the Heldrake… DEATH (the the false emperor) FROM ABOVE!!!!!

Models “on board” a Heldrake can launch an assault after disembarking from a Heldrake. Measure from the Heldrakes base (naturally) in any direction (of course), however add 5d6 to their assault range to represent the boost they get from diving off a super-sonic Heldrake’s back. Furthermore, models on board can draw LoS from any point on the board to launch their assault.

Also, all models launching an assault will ignore cover saves, gain the Crusader special rule, have Missile Lock (to be redacted later), have Preferred Enemy (Tau), and naturally, gain Furious Charge.  Models equipped with Plasma Pistols gain the Salvo 4/8 rule.

Finally, the Heldrake himself can participate in the assault to support his passengers. The Heldrake fights in combat as a Walker. However, at the end of a round of combat, the Heldrake is not locked and instead returns to a Swooping/Gliding (player’s choice) state in the same position he was in. The Heldrake does not need to pile-in nor make a charge move nor has to be anywhere near the actual combat to participate. 

Furthermore, in subsequent turns, the Heldrake can continue to fight in any combat he was in that is still ongoing no matter where he is at on the board. 

Lastly, the Heldrake now has the Skilled Rider special rule and can be mounted on a Palanquin for 35 points.”

-Neil Gilstrap, host 11th Company
Neil’s original blog post can be found here.  I stole the whole thing in its entirety, QFT.

11th Company

I’m a fan of the 11th Company, a long running (maybe longest running) Warhammer 40K podcast.  Neil, Pat and the rest of the crew are fun guys to listen to.  Neil is the tactical genius and Pat is the face man.  By that I mean that Neil is a bigger blowhard than I am on most subjects while offering great insight into the tactical value of units and their codices while Pat arranges great interviews with interesting and exciting guests.  See what I did there?  You will…

Anyway, last week I had a bit of a geek out moment.  I was playing in a local team tournament; the last of my old daemon codex, when I got an email from Pat asking if he could interview me for their podcast.  If you have ever seen a 34 year old grown man giddy about anything then you can imagine what an idiot I looked like while telling my opponents that I was a minor internet celebrity (okay so I’m a bigger blowhard than Neil).

Well, today was a cool 40K day, my limited edition Tzeentch codex (damaged) arrived and I got a call from Pat.  Aside from what you hear on the interview I got to chat with Pat a bit about all manner of things.  He is every bit a nice over the phone as he sounds on the podcast.

The reason he originally reached out to me is that I’m in the top 40 on Rankings HQ (or at least I was at the time of writing this).  However, since the last codex is now obsolete he let me talk about my thoughts on the new codex.

So, if you haven’t heard these guys and like 40K, they are a must listen to.  I have 3 pod casts that I regularly listen to:

11th Company – focus on playing games and the tournament scene with interview and the occasional other topic
The Independent Characters – great fluff and hobby talk
Signals from the Frontline – twice weekly rumors and misc (I wish Reece would fix his audio issues)

Sportsmanship – Soft Score or Necessary Evil?

Personally, I think these 3 questions pretty much sum of the issue of sportsmanship, soft score or necessary evil?

  1. What is the genesis of the sportsmanship score at 40K tournaments?
  2. What does one hope to accomplish by scoring sportsmanship?
  3. If you score sportsmanship how do you ensure your players all follow the same guidelines?

Let me start by going on the record, “sportsmanship is of the utmost importance!”  If/when I TO a tournament, I have a zero tolerance policy for flagrant sportsmanship violations.  The issue is that TOs really can’t see enough of what is going on to adequately apply this mantra.  I’m also surprised by how many people I’ve talked to after a tournament tell me about someone who should have been given a stern lecture or even the boot but their opponent didn’t want to cause any problems by pointing out their bad behavior.  I hate to say it but passive behavior like this makes it so that jerks can get away with their bad behavior and the rest of us get penalized as a result; let me explain.

Sportsmanship often contributes to Best Overall.  It is designed to make sure people have fun.  But it is a soft score, and therefore subjective.  Really subjective; even more than paint.

A TO needs to decide if they are trying to reward good sports, keep bad sports away, or ad a wishy washy third value to best overall.  You can probably tell I’m not in favor of scoring sportsmanship.  I have to say that its been a long road getting here, but I am not.  I was a year ago…

My partner and I recently lost 3rd place at the Twin-inked tournament at Great Escape games to another team.  This team scored 1 less point than us, but had perfect sportsmanship, where as our first round opponent docked us 2 points.  Mark, the TO told everyone (who was listening) that if anyone marked their opponent full sportsmanship they would have to explain to him why.  I didn’t hear him ask anyone why later…

So, we played a good game.  I gave our opponent the benefit of the doubt on many rules issues that had I been hardcore I would not have.  We were friendly, we bought our opponents bottled water and we get docked 2 points on sportsmanship.  Did the desired effect come out from including sportsmanship in the mix?  Maybe other teams were on better behavior, but I don’t know what else I could have done.

Factor in the fact that the top table had screaming and alleged throwing of dice and both teams got perfect sportsmanship and I’m not sure where to go from here…

My message to Mark, and any TO listening: have a zero tolerance policy, walk around and enforce it, and quit asking your players to apply a poorly designed and poorly enforced scoring rubric that isn’t consistently applied no matter how much you try.  Unless you are going to rank sportsmanship and paint scores 1 to N (like win loss, or even on a curve) the models don’t work.

Breaking the compact with the gamer

Games Workshop has gone and done it again.  No, not raising their prices, but I’m sure we’re in for that again soon (insert sarcasm here).  This time I propose that they have done the unforgiveable.  GW has broken the sacred compact with the gamer, they have changed rules explicitely to make sales.

What’s that you say?  Everyone does this?  Well, I will agree that this is not uncommon when versions of a game are released, but there is an unspoken agreement between the gamer and GW that a new codex or new edition with shake thing sup and then you (the gamer) can expect a slow decline in the ability of your highly priced models over the course of a few years before they become good again.

A few months back GW released new Flamer and Screamer models in plastic and a White Dwarf rules update.  What is truly amazing is that from reading the updates and the new codex at the same time you can tell that GW already had the codex done.  The WD update made flamers and screamers too good to pass up (thus selling losts of models) and then turned around a few months later once the models were sold and reduced their ability by an order of magnitude (100% worse or more).

I’m not upset that the new rules are underpowered.  I think they’re a little more realistic now, but I am upset that we see such a blatant change of rules once they made their sales (and in such a short order).

Character Nonsense or The Expendables II

I was going to post this article back before the recent 40K BRB FAQ:

“If you can’t tell by the title I think that the new Character rules have a bit of nonsense thrown in that makes them laughable at times.  However, let me start by saying that I generally like the new Character rules with these exceptions:

  1. Characters taking Look Out Sir! saves for other Characters
  2. Being able to Look Out Sir! a Precision Shot with the same ease as a normal shot
  3. Monstrous Creatures being stuck in a duel with a Character

Other than that, I think the concept is great, even if some of the mechanics slow the game down a little right now.”

Evidently, I was right on account of #1.  #2 is less of an issue due to the reduction in number of characters that make precision shots.

I still think #3 is bunk…

Pwnium vs. Obtainium

I like to collect words (or terms).  Especially words that sound like what they are, or uniquely express a concept that doesn’t already have a word.  I’ve made up one term that has been published in many sources:

I coined the term “glossyware” officially in 2004 and published it on Wikipedia.  It has subsequently been removed, but can now be found referenced throughout the Internet.

Glossyware – is a slang term referring to marketing materials produced on high-gloss bond paper. Typically, the content of this material provides an abstract description of a product often too vague to obtain a solid understanding of the product and often lacking any relevant substance or evidentiary facts. Rather, the intended impact is to impress the reader with vibrant colors and loaded industry buzzwords in hopes of motivating a sale.
Glossyware is most commonly found in use marketing computer software. Often glossyware is developed from the original design documentation and may include features that have not yet been completed. Such uncompleted features run the risk of ending up as Vaporware. Other examples of glossyware use the Golden Hammer principle to illustrate how the marketed product will solve all of your problems, or at least most of them, often with brilliant use of bullet points.

But back to the topic.  My other favorite words:

Ricockulous – something that is far fetched.  Popularized by Adam Carolla in the late 1990s on syndicated radio program Love Line.  “Your new Eldar army list with a Dark Edlar Archon, Eldrad and a troupe of Harlequins is a ricockulous notion within the context of the fluff; that list is pure pwnium.”

Pwnium – an object used to conquer or gain ownership of someone else (my noun version of the popular leet-speak verb pwn).  “My four kill piont Draigo-wing is pure pwnium at the BAO; so what if I’m a douche?  I still auto-win one of the three objectives in every game.  Isn’t that all that matters?” — Some WAAC gamer.

Obtainium – materials used to create art work or sculpture that wasn’t bought new, but obtained in other ways, such as second-hand, dumpster diving, chance findings or donations.  Alternative definition: something you acquire to use one-way, find out it isn’t any good and later find another use for it that is much better.  “Check out this obtainium.  I’ve had all these Screamers of Tzeentch sitting on my shelf because they looked cool, but sucked.  Now they are useful again!”

Okay, so maybe my example sentence for obtainium is lame, but you get the point.  The purpose of this article is to discuss gamers who are always going after the next killer list vs. those gamers that are loyal to what they like and get rewarded later when their old crappy codex (Necrons) or mid-tier codex (Chaos Daemons) gets better.  The gamer that started playing Necrons after the new codex came out may likely have been looking for pwnium, but the old school Necron player who gets a bump finds that he has some obtainium.  I guarantee the later will get MUCH more joy out of the codex/change/update/etc.

If you can’t tell, obtainium beats pwnium in my book every time.