Sunday, December 10, 2017

Building our Ruined Building Part 3

Welcome back,  we are ready to add some battle damage to our perfectly rectangular wall sections and get our ruined building finished up.

My tools used were a cordless drill with a 3/8" (10mm) bit and a pair of diagonal wire cutters.  Before I began, I coated all of the foam in PVA glue and a liberal dusting of sand.  I also coated the upper floors to add some texture.  I also used many pieces of cut up sprue to fill in the gaps where it might not be obvious that models were not supposed to be placed in that spot.  I took some pieces of sprue and used them to brace the upper floors.  Although the for sale sign was good thick plastic, it still flexed enough to concern me.  I used super glue to hold the sprue in place.  In the below view you can see the post added to support both levels.  A wire rope with knots was added for decoration.

You can see how the walls not have jagged edges and there are holes from shells drilled though the walls.  The amount of destruction is really a matter of taste, as long as your ruin can fit models easily and it's easy to tell if you are supposed to be able to see the models inside the ruin. In the below image, you can see I removed a good section of the right corner on the second level to increase visibility.

I contoured the foam at the rear entrance with a drum sanding attachment on my drill.  I made sure to make two depressions like the tracks would leave after many entries and exits. 

I made a ladder out of some craft sticks I had.  I feel it's nice to show how the models will get into a ruin and since the first/ground level is blocked on this side, a ladder was the obvious choice.  In my mind, this ruin has been occupied many times and a previous resident left the ladder behind.

After I was finished with the damage it was off to painting.  I primed the whole ruin flat black and then drybrushed the entire thing with a gray craft paint.  I had to remove my predator sponsons to get it to fit easily, but it is non-standard.  Some might blame the ladder on the right or the pole on the left.  I just say if it doesn't fit, it can't get in.

I had a great time building this.  Please let me know what you think of this building and what you think would be a great rules-compliant, usability-focused, terrain project.

Some "Less Than Perfect Ruins" Examples

Before we finish up our building, I wanted to post up a few pictures that show some less than perfect ruins and explain why they sometimes cause problems in games.

Here we see a standard Games Workshop Cities of Death Building.  It is made quite sturdy, the gothic windows offer limited visibility and the blank panels often surprise players by denying shots from models on the various levels.  The biggest issue is of course on the bottom level.  When is a model in the ruins?

Here's another one where the blank panels block LOS and that has no defined boundary at the base.

There are a few pieces like this one, 2" foam with bits on top.  These can be quite tricky to place models, but it is clear who is or isn't in the ruins.

I don't want to bash the FLGS where these photos were taken, just explain some of the reasons behind the ruined building design.   They provide a tremendous amount of playing space and most of the staff is quite friendly.

Next Post: Adding damage to our ruined building.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Building our Ruined Building Part 2

So, once I had the block in place, I started glueing the walls in place. I checked the spacing occasionally with my Chaos Predator.

The white walls were cast from a 3d printed master wall I designed. The black walls were printed just for this ruin. Although the casting is faster, printing the walls is much cheaper. The windows are blocked on some of the printed walls with support material. When we start adding some battle damage, we'll make sure to remove some of it.  As a reminder, the STL files for the walls have been posted on the right.  If you don't have a 3D printer or walls to cast, this can be done with foam board as well.  If there is enough interest, perhaps the next ruin will have foam board walls.

I left the entrance open and a clear section in the back wall. I had to add some foam to support the back wall because my foam block was a bit short. These things happen with recycled pieces, but it will look just fine when we get to the next steps.

For the second level, I chose to keep it the same height. The third level I used walls that are slightly shorter. The walls are all intact, but that will change in the next post when we add some battle damage.

Seeing the areas that might be hard to reach, I've added some foam blocks as rubble piles that will keep players from placing models in those spots.

 Each of the upper levels will hold at least 5 models on 32mm bases.  Each level is fairly easy to access as well.  The right side of the tank, on the middle level has enough room for 10 models if they also use the small back corner piece and one is on the rubble for coherency. The black wall bit it there, next to the right sponson, is to provide the basis for a flat spot to place a model.

 Some of the cast walls have flashing over the windows. We'll remove some when we apply battle damage.

I used a "For Sale" sign to make the floors and loads of hot melt glue to hold things together. For each floor I made sure enough models would fit.

Next post, applying some battle damage and small rubble.

Thanks to everyone who's coming by to check this project out and especially to those that leave comments.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Building our Ruined Building Part 1

Before we can start on our terrain, let’s start by defining some parameters. 
-This piece will be able to be placed 3” from a table edge and forces deploy in it up to the standard deployment zone of 12”
-This terrain will be a ruined building with a base that clearly defines when a model is in or out of cover.
-This terrain will allow one Predator sized vehicle to gain the benefits of cover.
-This terrain will allow for the stable placement of 40mm base on the lowest level and 32mm bases on any upper levels.
-This terrain will provide LOS blocking for a typical Primaris Marines standing on either side.
-This terrain will allow all models with it to have LOS out of the terrain.  (No solid walls)
-As a result all models within the terrain will be able to be targeted by units outside of the terrain.
-Some obscuration of individual model’s LOS is allowed and expected when drawing through the opposite edge of the terrain.
-The terrain will include a raised floor to represent the rubble from the missing building elements.
-The terrain will allow no less than 10 models with 32mm bases to be placed in coherency on the lower levels and no less than 5 models with 32mm bases in coherency on upper levels.

Ok, Now that we’ve defined, or perhaps over defined what we want from the terrain, let’s start by grabbing some models and positioning them so we can have an idea of how big the base should be.

I have a standard 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheet of paper and my models set up, I’ve grabbed some foamboard strips to approximate walls, and I have a block I might use as a rubble base.
I like what I'm seeing, and I think this will work.  Now let's look at some actual ruined buildings for some inspiration.

OK, before we start constructing our ruined building, we should consider what it housed before it was ruined.  In this case, I think that rather than one of the sprawling factories, this building once housed manufactorum administration offices.  It would have had steps leading up, to remind any workers that those who worked here were above them and solid walls and floors to support the mountains of production reports and employee disciplinary records that the manufactorums generated.  But as part of the manufactorum, it would not be overly embellished like an adminstratum building might be. 

Great!  Now I've taken the liberty of cutting a 12" by 9" base out of a piece of .25" thick plywood that I had lying around.  I'm going to cut a 1" foam base just a bit smaller and glue it to the surface of the board.  This will be the foundation of the building.

You can see from the paint and edges that I'm reusing this foam from an old terrain project. Recycling is good!  The foam base and the lower part of the walls I plan to use will obstruct line of sight for infantry on either side of the building.

Talking about the walls, I'm using a mix of 3d printed and resin castings for my walls.  I'll put the file up on the site in case you want to print your own.

We've made some progress, but let's take a break for now.  Next time we'll start putting up some walls

Monday, December 04, 2017

Let's Talk About 40K Terrain

While some battles may take place on flat, level terrain with little to block line of sight, these are typically dominated by who has the most and longest ranged guns. This can be fun, but removes the battlefield as a component of the gameplay. Even in this case, after the opening salvos, the battlefield will be littered with burning wrecks and smoking craters. Intelligent forces will use these to their advantage and redeploy to make best use of the battle-forged landscape.
Before we can begin talking about different types of terrain and how to fill your battlefield with eye-catching, usable and tactically relevant terrain, we need to figure out what is the purpose for terrain and some problems we've all seen with terrain.
We will start with examining the purpose for terrain.

1. Provide pleasing visuals for the battlefield
2. Make the battlefield a component of the game by:
    2.1. Limiting movement on the primary surface
    2.2. Adding movement in a third dimension
    2.3. Providing concealment
    2.4. Providing rewards and drawbacks to being within its effects such as:
          2.4.1.Increasing armor saves
          2.4.2. Restricting movement
3. Adding depth to the choices of army composition, deployment and objective placement

I think I've captured why we have terrain in general terms. Now, let's look at some problems we've all encountered with terrain.

1. Ambiguous borders can make it unclear who benefits from increased armor saves and other benefits
2. Vehicle interaction with terrain is often ambiguous
3. Eye-pleasing terrain can be difficult to place models on without tipping
4. Multilevel terrain has multiple issues
    4.1. It can be hard to physically place the models in proper positions (deep pockets)
    4.2. It can be hard to keep units in coherency due to height differences of areas where models can be placed
5. Tall terrain may require moves beyond a unit’s full movement to ascend or descend

How can we make better terrain that complements these goals while avoiding the problems?

First we need to decide what purposes our piece will fill in the game.  Knowledge and experience help, but if we test as we build, we should be able to make some great terrain that meets its objectives.

In my next post, we'll look at one of the most common terrain pieces in the game, a ruined building.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

8th Edition and Why I Need to Change How I Play

So we've all been playing the 8th edition of Warhammer 40K for several months now.  If your experience is anything like my gaming group and mine, there have been some harsh lessons to learn. While my experience has been overwhelmingly positive, I must admit some bitterness and disappointment with some of the changes.  If I'm going to keep playing the game, I need to get past the bitterness and focus on the fun to be had playing games with good people.  The first step of this will be changing the way I play the game.

(Above: a narrative game where my forces on the right needed to sabotage the bridge and my opponent on the left needed to protect it. 75PL each)
Mortal Wounds - Cover - Falling Back from Combat

Mortal Wounds, Cover and Falling Back from Combat; these three things (amongst others) seem to cause me great problems in the new edition.  I didn't play much into 6th Edition and only a couple of 7th Ed. games as well.  The problems with these changes is that I forget how they work when building an army, and don't evaluate how they work well enough when I'm playing the game.  When Ad Mech snipers start picking off expensive characters, and dealing mortal wounds at a ludicrous rate, it hard not to start feeling bitter.  When your expensive scouts with camo cloaks get shot up by units that ignore cover, your smug 2+ save smile starts to fade.  And when you finally get into close combat only to see the unit fall back and allow other units to shoot you to ribbons, its hard not to cry out in anger.

But let this not be a post ranting about how much I hate 8th Edition.  In fact if it wasn't for my experience with 4th Edition and up, I don't think I'd have that many problems.  I absolutely love the Power Level System (even if I disagree with some unit costs) as a way to organize a game quickly and easily.

I've been reviewing my codex, and I think I need to invest in more bodyguard types for my characters.  While there are ways to attempt to regain damage from mortal wounds, the best choice would be to have someone else take the wound.  I have two Ssylth for my Drukhari Archon, and will convert up a pair of Honor Guard to take wounds from Shrike and might look at a Primaris Apothecary to keep everyone at full health.  I'm picking the Primaris one because he has two good pistols and can fire both in the shooting phase.  This means Shrike will have to move slow until he's ready to leave their protection.  I guess I'll find an Ogryn or two to be bodyguards for my important Catachan characters, although I mostly just buy more guys and expect to lose a few.  For my Chaos Space Marines, I can't find anyone to take wounds for the characters, and few healing options, as I don't play any Nurgle.

I've decided to rethink my Scouts and stop thinking that they can be viable troops.  They can be used to shape the battlefield with their deployment anywhere 9" from the opponents deployment zone and 9" from any enemy units.  My sniper scouts will ride in their bus, a land speeder storm, and use it as ablative wounds.

As for the rest, maybe I'll just take a break and go for a walk.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Ashes of Konor Tournament

I had planned to try and "live blog" my attendance at this tournament that my FLGS, Rules of Engagement Games, in Havelock, North Carolina, was having.  Unfortunately, my phone did not have good enough service.  Luckily, this has given me time to think about what happened.

Lets start with the army I decided to bring.  I chose Abaddon, a Warpsmith, a Chaos Space Marine Squad with a single plasma gun, a hellbrute (is that one or two "L"s?) with fist, heavy flamer and multimelta, Maulerfiend with lashes and a Chaos Predator with autocannon, two heavy bolters, havoc launcher and combi flamer. In all it came to 991 points and formed a patrol detachment, Black Legion of course.   The tournament was 1000 points, and I just didn't have the time to maximize the list.  You can see them below.

The first event was to display your Konor campaign card, which I had almost two rows completed, that counted as one row complete.  Next the pins for the weekly missions were tallied, and after a strong showing the first four weeks I sucked the last three.  So I earned points for 4 pins.  Next, the armies that were "fully painted" were placed on display for judging.  Lets take a look at some of them.

These were my guys, Abaddon is glowing with his internal joy at the impending slaughter.  The watch batteries and LEDs helped as well.

I faced this Eldar army in my last battle, and (spoiler alert) only victory.  It was my first real look at Eldar in 8th edition, and I think I wouldn't mind trying them again.

Yes, that is Guilliman back there in this Soviet themed Primaris (or is it "primarus"?) Ultramarines army.  Ultramarines are annoying enough with a chance to get back spent command points.  I can only say I am happy I did not face this one.

I'd faced this Tau army before and had managed a win by controlling objectives.  This time....well. The paint scheme makes it more difficult to know what is a unit.

Celestine and her "fan boys?"  I'm glad I didn't face these Custodes.  All those storm shields is why I don't bother with trying for lots of high AP weapons.

This is the ork army I would face in the first battle.  The guys in the bushes are kommandos

This was an another all primarus (-is) Ultramarines army.  10 helblasters in there. 

Some winter themed IG.  No Conscripts.  Sadly this army was tabled in all three games.

A nice looking Chaos Space Marine army, from what I saw, they did well.

I think there were 14 (it might have been 16) total players, so at least 5 armies were either not considered fully painted or not on display as I went around taking pictures.

So lets talk about the first battle.  It was "live streamed" but I tried watching it and there isn't much to see.  The place was so noisy, that I don't think they captured any audio.  While most of the missions on the tables were rehashes of the weekly Konor missions, this one was objective based.  Scour, seize or something.  With Six objectives, I knew I'd be at a disadvantage to the more numerous orks. The orks who were currently tied with me for best painted.

This was the initial deployment, there are two additional objectives out of view to the right.  All I can say about this battle was his psykers were hot, and I wish I had brought a Sorcerer instead of the Warpsmith. 
The orks in the upper right corner are all dead, but Abaddon and the Warpsmith would fall next turn.

The Predator and the Chaos Space Marine Squads survived, but it wasn't enough with him getting da'jump off every time he tried.   I earned 8 points (6 for objectives, warlord and first blood), my opponent earned 9 (7 for objectives, warlord and linebreaker)  Minor Loss for me.

Next I got to face the T'au (r'eally?)
You can see from the setup, thatI'm trying to overpower one side, or at least make him move some guys to be in range of me.
Mission:  Get to the enemy deployment zone on turn 5.  I'm the attacker. but he steals the initiative and destroys my predator on turn one.

I've got nothing good to say about this game.  I should have played the mission better and kept half my forces in reserve.  I also should have deployed Abaddon in a teleportarium (transporter room) and dropped behind him on turn 3.  I was tabled on turn 4 or 5 but enjoyed an hour break before my next game.

Well, I still had a chance to win best painted, right?  Okay, lets see that Aeldari (areallyi???) battle.

This was the Konor mission where there were objective markers I needed to destroy.  I didn't take any other pictures, but imagine my Maulerfiend climbing on top of the central building to eat some Aeldari Rangers.The Warpsmith actually repaired my Helbrute on his way to smash the guardian squad to the right.  He went from one wound to 7 with the use of a Konor Stratagem card and the Warpsmith.  I almost lost this mission by not pushing fast enough to the middle objective.  This was the first game to see my Maulerfiend survive, ever.  Abaddon, died dueling with Warlocks and Farseers.  Apparently you can only take so many Smite wounds.  And by the way we played it, Abaddon's dark destiny damage reduction power didn't work to make 3 mortal wounds 2 or 2 into 1.

Anyways, I had a great time and my opponent was in good spirits as we played.  All of th players got some loot like dice bags, wristbands and tokens, while the winners got some nice 40K kits.  However, I am very proud of this one thing:

I had tied the orks and one of the store owners had to cast a deciding vote.  So its nice to see that my fellow gamers appreciated my army.

Let me know what you think, and I'll work on more pictures of my Warriors of Mayhem!