Wednesday, March 25, 2009

40K Radio!

Fan of 40K? Like podcasts? Then take a listen to these guys! Fun and entertaining!

Favorite Retailers: Pig Iron Productions

Starting a new regular feature called Favorite Retailers where I'll provide some info and links to some of the better online retailers and various miniatures & wargames companies out there.

To start this section off, here is one I recently came across. They're called Pig Iron Productions. Right now they're just making miniatures without any rule system or set universe so that means they're open to be used in a lot of different game systems. A lot of their stuff right now could pull double-duty in some Imperial Guard armies and offer some nice alternatives. Check out the picture below from their gallery for an example of their minis and then follow the provided link to check them out! They are UK-based so keep the prices in and shipping in mind if you decide to order.

These guys certainly have a nice look to them in a very Death Korps kinda of way. Might just have to pick up some of these guys. Take a look at their minis and then comment away! What do you guys think?


News: Freebootaz Webzine Issue 1 Released!

From the great people over at 40K Radio comes the first issue of a new webzine, Freebootaz!

You can download your copy of issue 1 here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mercenary Tactica: Crossbows

Mercenary Tactica – Crossbows

If Pikes are the iconic combat weapon of the Dogs of War, then the Crossbow is certainly the iconic missile weapon for mercenary armies. The crossbow is essentially the only long range missile troop that Dogs of War players have access to. Duelists may have pistols and throwing knives, but these both lack range. The mercenary general does have access to core troops armed with bows in the form of light cavalry but it is obviously impractical to field enough sizeable units of such light cavalry to make an impact with their shooting. The major benefit of light cavalry lies in its mobility and thus using them as static shooting platforms is practically pointless. The only other troops with access to bows are Halflings, who are quite able archers, but that is best left for a future discussion. Crossbows provide a relatively cheap and powerful long range missile unit that should find a place in nearly all Dogs of War armies, aside from themed armies such as an all cavalry force. Like Pikes units, the Dogs of War player can choose between regular mercenary crossbowmen and various Regiment of Renown crossbow units. The player also has the choice between Human crossbowmen or Dwarf crossbowmen.

As with most of the units available to the Dogs of War player, the stats for crossbowmen are not impressive, in short they are your average human trooper. They are fairly cheap though and being a Core Choice means you can field several sizeable units of them. The minimum unit size for crossbowmen is ten. Typical unit sizes will range anywhere from ten to twenty depending on how and where the unit is being used. While crossbow units can have a full command it is best avoided as the full command will cost you an additional thirty points, which would be better used adding more regular crossbowmen to the unit. As with all missile units you really do not want to add a standard bearer to a crossbow unit as you will be essentially giving the enemy a big chunk of victory points should the unit break from combat. If the enemy is engaging your crossbow units in combat then you are likely facing enough problems as it is and there is no need to give the opponent extra points. The only member of the command group that could be worth adding is the musician to help with rallying.

The decision on how many crossbowmen to take in a unit depends on where and how you intend to use them in your overall battle plan. Small units of ten crossbowmen work well to cover the flanks and the combination of their range and hitting power should be able to deal with most of the fast, lightly armored units typically found there. Larger units of around twenty crossbowmen deployed ten wide and two ranks deep can work closer to the center of your lines and can pump out a large volume of shots if you’re lucky enough to get them on a hill. The volume of shots will make up for their rather average shooting skill. The large size of the unit means you can also take a few casualties before having to worry about panic tests. Deploying such large blocks of crossbowmen may also cause your opponent to change his deployment and battle plans as they will have to carefully consider placing any valuable units in line of sight of the crossbows. If an enemy unit does manage to close on your crossbow unit it may be advisable to reform the unit to gain more ranks, especially with a unit of twenty. Reforming into five wide with four ranks provides some useful static combat resolution and you will hopefully still have outnumbering on your side. This will maneuver is situational though as sometimes it may be better to keep the wider formation to gain more shots for a stand and shoot charge reaction.

The same rules for Human mercenary crossbowmen apply to dwarf warriors equipped with crossbows with a few minor differences. While their shooting skill is the same the Dwarfs have several much better stats overall, although you will be using up valuable Special Choices should you decide to hire some Dwarf crossbowmen. Unlike the Human crossbowmen the Dwarfs are rather resilient with their higher toughness, are less likely to run due to their superior leadership, and can hold their own in combat due to their higher weapons skill. The Dwarfs also come with light armor and can be equipped in any number of ways to further augment their combat abilities. A typical combination is to equip Dwarfs with crossbows and shields making them both a solid missile unit and fairly able in combat as they will gain the hand weapon and shield bonus. All of these upgrades do drastically increase the cost for even a small unit of these warriors so you will need to weigh their use against the Human crossbowmen.

Deploying your crossbow units can be tricky as long, thin lines of missile troops can have a fairly large footprint and the terrain will of course affect your deployment as well. You will want to maximize the number of shots you can get with the crossbowmen without cutting off valuable maneuvering space for your mobile units. It may happen that you will have to deploy your crossbows in a smaller frontage or even behind other units. In general you will want to avoid moving with crossbows as much as possible – they need to be shooting virtually every turn to gain the maximum use from them. If necessary you may need to have your crossbowmen sacrifice themselves to ensure other units in your army aren’t exposed to flank charges or to simply buy some time while your other units get into better positions. In my army every unit has a definite role and every unit is also expendable. If you are in a position where sacrificing a small unit of crossbowmen will prevent an enemy from rolling up your battle line or just simply breaking through to vulnerable war machines or lone characters, then the crossbowmen will make a sacrifice for the greater good. Try to angle enemy chargers so that it will take them several turns to get into a position for further charges. After all it is better to lose an eighty point unit of crossbowmen than having a big unit of pikes or your Paymaster’s Guard unit flank charged. In a typical 2000 point army I would suggest taking no fewer than two units of ten crossbowmen. As an example, my typical 2250pt army uses two units of twenty crossbowmen deployed ten wide and two ranks deep. I found that these large units just had a far greater and noticeable impact on the game, or at the very least give my opponents something to worry about – 40 potential crossbow shots is nothing to sneeze at. When I first started playing Dogs of War, I used two units of ten, and while they generally performed well, they never quite managed to kill enough enemies and were easily panicked which opened up big gaps in my battle line. I may be switching things around after a year or so of going with this setup and will try to give my unit of Marksmen some more time in the spotlight.

Hopefully the above tactica has been useful to you. Now get out there and hire some crossbowmen!


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Warhammer Etiquette

Ever have a bad experience playing Warhammer? Welcome to a multi-part etiquette tutorial on how to make the game a better experience.

Here are some thoughts to serve as a guideline to help ensure your games are enjoyable experiences.

I: The Physical Aspects
---Have a typed list, with unit costs and a total in an easy to read format. All important information should be easy to find.
---Be prepared: Have all the materials to play the game such as dice, measuring device, templates, a copy of the main rulebook, and a copy of your armybook or codex.
---Along with the above, make sure your dice a normal dice (no huge dice or micro dice please), have a working tape measurer (the game is played in inches not centimeters), don't rely on your opponent to have the template(s) you're missing, always have a copy of the main rulebook especially now that they are available in the small format, and last but not least, bring the rules for your army and know what the latest FAQ is and how it affects your army.
---Be clean. Don't propagate the negative stereotypes about gamers. There is nothing worse having to play a game in a shop full of people who haven't showered in a week. This also includes your clothes - don't show up wearing something that hasn't been washed since you've bought it or the shirt you've been wearing nonstop for the past week. Don't be that guy!

II: Measuring
---Be consistent in how you measure. It's a good idea to ask your opponent how they measure before a game starts as well to make sure you're both on the same page about measuring (this applies to dice rolling as well).
---For movement, measuring from the front of your base to the front of the opponent's base. Apply this consistently and there should be no arguments about movement.
---Be sportsmanlike and give the opponent the benefit of the doubt where possible with movement, shooting, and templates.
---Make sure both you and your opponent are aware of how facing works for the various types of units in the game (ranked units, skirmishers, ridden monsters, characters on foot, and mounted characters).

III: Dicerolling
---Be consistent in how you treat all cocked dice, if it's "okay" on a piece of terrain for one roll, then it's always "okay". A good way to aovid problems with cocked dice is to roll in a relatively open area close to whatever combat etc that is occurring at that moment.
---This ties in to the cocked dice issue - re-roll any dice that your opponent questions. Your opponent should show the same respect to you.
---Perhaps most importantly - announce what you are rolling for and which of your units is performing the action against which of the opponent's units before rolling any dice. Your opponent would have every right to ask you to re-roll your dice if you don't announce what you're rolling for.
---Once you've established the above, roll your dice, pick up any misses and proceed with any further dice rolls as necessary.
---This goes without saying but do not make any rolls without your opponent or in some cases a neutral third party witnessing a roll.
---The following are all related: use normal sized gaming dice - no micro dice or giant dice. It's simply annoying. The results on your dice should also be easily recognizable so if one or more numbers are fading off then simply replace the dice with new ones. If you wish to use "casino dice" or any other large dice then roll them in a box - dice have to bounce at least twice in casino craps for a reason.
---Absolutely no cheating with the dice: this can take the form of "practiced rolling" or using "special dice" for such things as leadership tests or break tests. These are all forms of cheating.

Part IV: Behavior
---You should always try to keep cool, as losing your temper is almost certain to make the game and the situation worse. Throwing dice, minis, measuring tapes or any other objects is rather childish and can be dangerous, both to people in the store and the store itself. Doing this may in fact get you kicked out of a store so just don't do it. If you're really angry then just take a 5 minute break from the game, cool down, and resume playing. Winning is fun, but you generally learn more in defeat, so if you're getting massacred just bear with it, analyze what you did wrong, adjust your army if necessary, and try to play a better game next time.
---This ties in with the above - be respectful and commiserate with your opponent if they have bad luck. Conversely, do not complain about their good luck or your own bad luck. In addition avoid trash talking as you'll quickly find yourself without anyone willing to play against you. Note, a little bit of friendly jesting between two regular plays is fine. In addition, do not insult another player's paint job or make any other disparaging remarks about their army (whether it be the minis themselves or your opponent's armylist). Instead you could offer your opponent some advice on painting or modeling, as well as having a discussion of the battle with them after the game and help them with their armylists. This is especially useful with new players as the learning curve for the game can be quite high depending on the army.
---If you believe your opponent has broken the rules, ask them a question rather than making an accusation. It may just have been an honest mistake. If you think your opponent is deliberately and/or repeatedly breaking the rules then ask a store employee (or other neutral third party) to act as a referee for the game if possible.
---Try to play at a consistent pace with the goal of finishing the game in the alotted number of turns for each player (typically 6) within a reasonable amount of time (typically 2-2.5 hours at 2000 points). If you agree beforehand to play at a slower pace that is fine. Playing at a relatively fast pace is good practice for the tournament environment where every second counts.
---This also ties in to the previous point. While you're playing the game try to avoid any activities outside of the game such as engaging in lengthy conversions with people who are watching the game or spending excessive time on cell phone calls while the game is in progress. It's not fair to your opponent to waste their time while you're off doing something else. Along with this, it's clearly bad form to solicit advice from other players. Asking for a neutral rules clarification or interpretation is fine though.
---Try to keep the area on, under, around the table tidy. Yes there are dice, templates, armybooks, armylists, FAQ sheets, tokens, counters, casualties, etc that fill up a table but it also doesn't have to be strewn about all over the place. Space within most stores is at a premium anyway, so don't take up any more space than necessary. Other customers still need to be able to walk around the store without tripping over your stuff.

Part V: General Etiquette
---If you're playing a friendly game (especially against a beginning player) then try to bring a friendly list instead of a waac (win at all costs). Save the 'hard' lists for tournaments.
---Try to show up on time to your game, especially if the store is busy and there are other people who want the use of the table. Let your opponent know if you're running late or can't make it after all.
---Learn the rules, and know your army's rules. It is understandable that beginning players will have a lot to learn, both the rules for the game as well as their army's rules. Help these players whenever possible. You can point out to them that each armybook has a quick reference sheet (which they can copy or download and print from GW's site) to save time looking up stats and important rules. If you have to look up the rules every few minutes you will greatly lengthen the game - no one wants to spend 5 hours playing what should be a 2 hour game. A useful suggestion to help your opponent's is to either use post-it notes or to highlight important sections in the rulebook (armybooks) to save time looking them up. If both players have a good grasp of the rules the game can actually flow pretty smoothly.
---Have a post-game discussion with your opponent (time permitting). If your opponent lost maybe ask them where they felt the battle turned against them, and you could also point out any tactics which may have gotten them in trouble. Perhaps your opponent needs help with deployment or armylist construction. All of these are useful discussions and can help a beginning player learn more about the game and their army.

Following the guidelines above should ensure for a good gaming experience. Hopefully the above guide has been useful to you.


Regimental Review: Crossbow Regiments of Renown

This will be part of series of Regimental Reviews mainly for Dogs of War units, but I may expand it for other armies and units.

Regimental Review: Crossbow Regiments of Renown

When it comes to crossbows the Dogs of War player has two primary choices among the Regiments of Renown, namely the Marksmen of Miragliano and Braganza’s Besiegers. A third option would be Pirazzo’s Lost Legion, as they are a mixed unit of pikes and crossbows. As with all Regiments of Renown, their generally superior abilities also come at a high price as you could easily hire twice the number of normal mercenaries, and in many cases this would also be better. Enough about the normal mercenaries for now, let’s dive right into these regiments!

First up are the Marksmen of Miragliano. They are the best crossbowmen and best overall long range missile unit available to a Dogs of War player. The major difference between the Marksmen and other crossbowmen is that they are all BS4 and are led by a captain level hero, Maximilian Damark who has a BS of 5! What does this translate into? As those who dabble in Math-hammer will tell you, this means you will hit far more often, and with the solid strength of 4 for crossbows you will also wound quite a bit. The Marksmen can open up holes in enemy lines with a few turns of concentrated shooting. Place them on the flanks and watch them pulverize enemy fast cavalry and other light armored units. With the crossbow’s superior range, you can also safely engage enemy missile troops such as handgunners, longbowmen, and even other crossbows. While longbows and crossbows all have a 30 inch range, the Marksmen’s superior skill should mop up most enemy units in short order and cause panic tests. Be wary of other high BS shooters that the enemy player might bring to bear, especially if playing against any of the Elf armies. A nice tactic to increase the impact of the Marksmen is to have one of your Hireling Wizards cast the spell Portent of Far on them. The re-rolls to hit and to wound granted by this spell will lead to many more enemy casualties and will hopefully open up a hole in the enemy’s battle line.

Everything sounds pretty good so far, right? So what disadvantages do the Marksmen have? The minimum unit you must hire gives you 9 Marksmen plus their captain Maximilian. Also included in this minimum size unit are a standard bearer and musician. All of this will cost you a whopping 180 points. For this price you could purchase a unit of 22 regular crossbowmen. While having a standard bearer can help tip a combat in the Marksmen’s favor against any lightly armed and armored units that might be rushing the flanks, it becomes an almost free 100 victory points against any of the high powered heavy cavalry or elite infantry units which can dominate the game in today’s Warhammer environment. The Marksmen can handle virtually all depleted light units in combat that survive their missile barrage on the way in. In this situation having a captain level hero is a definite plus. As mentioned above though, don’t expect them to survive against any serious combat unit.

In order to really have an impact with the Marksmen you will have to hire some additional troopers beyond the minimum required size and this is where the points cost of the unit quickly adds up. A unit of 15 or so Marksmen is generally the optimum size and will cost 235 points. When choosing the Marksmen you will have to weigh the potential damage they could cause along with the points compared to what the same amount of points in regular mercenary troops could accomplish. One thing you can be sure of is that the Marksmen will attract a lot of the opponent’s attention. You will need to adequately support them with units such as duelists or light cavalry that can either intercept of redirect serious threats heading for the Marksmen. However, an opponent may focus too much attention on the Marksmen which may open up some opportunities for the rest of your army to get into position for favorable engagements. As with virtually all missile troops, the Marksmen are fragile and will still die in droves should the enemy start dropping template weapons and magic on them. They have some limited protection in the form of light armor but it would be foolish to rely on that, thus it’s highly inadvisable to use these troops recklessly.

While the Marksmen can be devastating missile troops, let’s not forget about the other crossbow equipped Regiment of Renown, Braganza’s Besiegers. As you can probably infer from their name, this is a more defense oriented crossbow regiment. The Besiegers are slightly more expensive than the Marksmen, coming in at 185 points for the minimum size unit that you must hire. As with the Marksmen both a standard bearer and musician are included in this price. The drawbacks of having a standard bearer in a missile unit were already discussed above so they don’t need to be repeated again here. Like all Regiments of Renown you also have a captain level hero, Braganza, who does provide a BS5 shooter along with some solid combat support should the unit get charged by an enemy. There is no difference between a Besieger and a regular crossbowman as far as their stats are concerned. What separates the Besiegers from other missile troops is that they pack on the armor. All of the Besiegers (including Braganza) wear heavy armor and also carry a pavise which provides them even more protection from missile fire. Unfortunately, the pavise does not work in close combat so the Besiegers must rely on their heavy armor to see them through.

The Besiegers may lack the skill of the Marksmen but they can act as reliable counter missile troops as they will be able to shrug off S3 bows and even crossbows fairly well. Black powder equipped troops will be more effective against the Besiegers heavy defenses but with their shorter range, they will expose themselves to fire from the Besiegers before they can even get their first shots off. One notable exception are Skaven Jezzail teams which can comfortably sit outside the Besieger’s range and pick them off with their powerful guns. Interestingly, the Jezzails also use a pavise although they lack the heavy armor of the Besiegers. The Jezzails may even blow themselves up while shooting. The Besiegers make an excellent you to anchor one of your flanks as they can weaken most flanking units and have the ability to hold up against these typically lightly armed units. As with the Marksmen however, any of the elite units in the came that can get into combat with the Besiegers will almost certainly break through them. Again, this is where having a standard bearer can be a hindrance.

The final crossbow equipped Regiment of Renown is the hybrid unit of Pirazzo’s Lost Legion. As far as stats are concerned, both the pike and crossbow equipped troops of the Lost Legion are the same as their regular mercenary counterparts. Their uniqueness lies in their mixed formation. You have the ability to shoot up incoming units while also being able to engage the survivors with numerous pike attacks. While the initial investment in the Lost Legion is relatively inexpensive at 160 points, you will want to greatly expand the unit to maximize its effectiveness. A unit of 21 deployed in a 7x3 formation provides you with a decent number of shots while also ensuring that you have ranks and numerous pike attacks to engage enemies with. As with the other two crossbow Regiments of Renown, the Lost Legion lend themselves to holding down flanks and obviously offer the best combat potential of the three units. They don’t carry much armor though so be wary of needlessly exposing them to enemy missile fire.

So how do these units stack up against their regular mercenary counterparts? As mentioned above, using Regiments of Renown is always a gamble as their cost is simply so much more than regular mercenaries. That said, they can perform well in the right situations, if used with caution, and as with all units in your army, supported as part of the battle line instead of being left to deal with enemies on their own. Compared to Regiments of Renown you can generally get double the amount of troops for the same price. In many cases this is also preferable as you normally wouldn’t bother taking a standard bearer in a crossbow unit. The best bet is to try out all of these units in some friendly games and see how they work for you. Maybe you’ll find that they work really well for you!

Hopefully the above article has given you a good overview of these Regiments of Renown.


News: Advance Orders for Imperial Guard are up

Games Workshop has the first wave Imperial Guard releases up for preorder now. Check them out at: Imperial Guard

First wave releases will include the following
  • Codex Imperial Guard $25
  • Imperial Guard Valkyrie $50
  • Imperial Guard Sentinel $25
  • Imperial Guard Cadian Command Squad $Not listed
  • Imperial Guard Catachan Command Squad $25
  • Imperial Guard Ratlings $20
  • Imperial Guard Primaris Psyker $15

Check out pics for the Valkyrie and Sentinel boxes. Gotta love having a plastic Valkyrie for $50 as opposed to getting the resin one from Forgeworld for like triple the price. Whether is has a fewer details is pretty much irrelevant for that price.

The new Sentinel box will have multiple weapons options in the box and is all plastic now. Notice what looks like either a rocket or missile launcher in the background.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Update: Completed 40K Minis While Abroad

Just a few group pics of all the 40K minis I've managed to get finished while over here. Didn't quite manage to get that other Terminator squad done, but that'll follow soon.
To summarize everything here:
5 Lightning Claw Terminators
10 Tactical Marines
10 Guardsmen
2 Teleport Beacons
1 Lascannon Heavy Weapon Team
1 Guard Officer

What is next? Well one goal is to get the GW's spray gun and start whipping out guard tanks at a quick pace - plenty of superheavies and FW tanks to paint after all. After that I'm going to focus on getting as much stuff painted for Apocalyspe as possible. Eventually everything of course :). With the new Guard codex right around the corner though, I know there'll be several additions which will add to the long list of stuff to paint. Then there is all of the Fantasy stuff still needing to get finished. The major goal there is to get all the remaining Dogs of War finished before starting anything new.

Update: Tactical Squad VII

Well after a few months of off and on painting I finally managed to wrap this squad up! They're ready for battle now, but I'll be adding some details and touching up when I get back. Yes, you read right, Tac Squad 7, so 70 tactical marines for the whole army now.

Added some personal heraldy on his shoulder marker. Notice the kill marks on the sword as well.

Closeup of the sarge.

Front view of the sarge, still need to work on his face, torso chain and cloth. It's a bit hard to see but both of his knees have detail - the Blood Angels logo on one and some special detailing on the other. Half matches the heraldy on his shoulder marker, The yellowish part will get touched up once I'm back (just foundation paint yellow for now), and the bottom part of his kneepad has a Roman Numeral III for his company marking.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Games Workshop to sell Solaris

Games Workshop to sell Solaris books as they try to focus on their core business. To read more follow the link.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Warhammer Online Gets New Melee Careers

A new expansion is being released for Warhammer Online. Click the link for a full article detailing the new release.

FAQ: 5th Edition 40K Released

A FAQ has been released for 5th ed 40K. Click here for the faq.

Good to see GW releasing a lot of faqs lately and clearing up a lot of issues in both 40k and Fantasy.

Imperial Guard Preview!


The new Imperial Guard Codex comes out May 2!

Cadian Command Squad (This thing is packed with all kinds of bits!)

Standard Bearer


Catachan Command Squad (again packed with all kinds of cool bits!)

"If it bleeds, we can kill it"

Lord Commissar - sweet mini!

Primaris Psyker

Regimental Advisor - Officer of the Fleet

New Ratling Snipers - A W E S O M E!

Regimental Advisor - Astropath

Regimental Advisor - Master of Ordnance

Lots of cool stuff coming out for the Guard in the first wave release, including the awesome plastic Valkyrie! Can't wait to see the second wave! My Guard army is going to be expanded signifiantly!

New Apocalypse Datasheets

Several new Datasheets have been released for Apocalypse including the awesome 4000pt Emperor Titan (time to get scratchbuilding one!).

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Updated Tactica: Baiting the Opponent

I will be discussing the tactic of luring the opponent into either failed charges or situations which will be disastrous for them.

This tactic is simple enough in concept, yet often difficult to execute properly, especially when playing against a skilled opponent who can recognize the tactic and will make efforts to disrupt your plans.

There are many different ways and situations in which you can use this tactic and it will depend on which units you are using and the unit(s) which your opponent is bringing to bear.

There are two parts to effectively using this tactic and it requires 2 of your units - it can contain more units, but at its heart, 2 units are at the heart of it.

You need both a screening unit and the hammer unit [COLOR=green][COLOR=green]Ideally the screening unit will be a group of skirmishers --- for me this is almost always going to be pistol armed duellists. While we do have other skirmishing units available (Lumpin Croop's, Mengil's Manflayers etc), the RoR skirmishers are far too expensive to be used as front line shields for the hammer units.

I do use Lumpin Croop's in my army (much to the annoyance of my opponents), and they have never failed to perform. Their role is one of harassing and annoying the enemy, hopefully putting wounds on small weak units (fast cav, and generally anything T3 within their range, and of course as marchblockers). Why duellists? Why not? They are one of the best units available to a DOW general. There are several different equipment options available. Lets break these down briefly:

Vanilla Duellists - comes with a handweapon - not really good for much of anything - these guys will struggle to kill anything

Duellist w/2 handweapons - 2 WS4, I4 attacks are great, and they can chop up small weak units with relative success, although they lack staying power

Duelist w/Pistol - You have a duellist with 2 WS4, I4 attacks in close combat, but perhaps most importantly, we have a fairly powerful and often underestimated ranged attack (several of my opponents learned this when my duellists proceeded to tear their units apart in the shooting phase). One key ability the pistol armed duellist possesses over other ranged units (bows etc) is that you can always stand and shoot with a pistol (-1 to hit still applies). Opponents will often reconsider charging for fear of potentially getting whiped out on the charge. Yet for me, close combat is not the primary role for the duellists, unless the situation is just too good to pass up (judgment call).

Duellists w/Buckler - give you a wimpy 6+ save vs shooting and 5+ in CC - While the 5+ in CC could give you some survivability vs your average S3 footslogger, it really isn't worth it IMO, as their primary purpose for me is to be shooting the enemy and acting as tempting bait.

Duellists w/Throwing Knives - the other missile option for these guys - with a range of 6" at S3, is it really worth it over the pistol? NO! Unless you're going this route for fluff reasons, leave the knives at home and pack on the black powder.

Duellist w/maximum equipment - This will easily bring your duellists past the 10pts/mini margin and frankly isn't worth it either. Yes, they will be a shooting and CC threat, but with their average T3 and 6+ AS while out in the open they just will not survive, despite being at -1 to hit from being skirmishers. Your points are really better spent elsewhere.

Of the various options, I run with the single pistol duellist. I use 2 units of 9 in my 2250pts build. These 2 units screen my two 'hammer' units. As Dogs Of War, I would say we have access to perhaps the most diverse array of troops among the various Warhammer Fantasy armies (if not always the best or flashiest troops). Its always fun beating down opponents with their power units, decked out with magic banners, and expensive characters and their various magic items. No sir, we win with skill and a few common magic items.In my army I use what I will refer to as 'hammer' units. I'll explain my reasoning behind these choices, and possible alternatives.

Hammer unit 1 - 20+ Leo's Leopoard Company
Hammer unit 2 - 3 Maneaters
Hammer unit 3 - 15-20 Marauders with Great Weapons

What do these units have in common?

They are immune to psychology.

This is crucial on various levels. These units are also very capable of beating most units that they will face.Leo's Leopard Company - now I know many will say to just use vanilla pikes, or even go for Ricco's, Alcatani, or Pirazzo's, but I have found the Leopard Company to be winners. Their cost (most expensive pike unit) can be prohibitive, but I have found them to be worth it. My first few outings with DOW were without duellists and after Leo's demolished one of my opponent's units, they began drawing heavy fire in subsequent games, leaving them to be less than effective. Be well aware, with only light armor, pikes will die in droves to handguns and xbows, to say nothing of warmachines. Hence, the duellist screen. Yes, opponents, can still target them from hills etc. I try to make sure my opponents have so many things to worry about, that if they focus too much attention on eradicating the pikes, other parts of my army can and will make them pay dearly.

Now, back to the immune to psychology ability. You will get shot at and you will lose pikemen, but you will not be running away from these losses. I also find the ability extremely valuable, as I play against WE (who uses a lot of dryads, treekin, treemen), VC (undead - duh), Ogres (more fear). I can't have an expensive block of troops failing a fear check and leaving a gap in the battle line.Pikes oddly enough work best vs infantry, light cavalry, ogres, and units of that size/toughness. Pikes will struggle vs 1+ or 2+ save knights (even with the +1 str bonus). I find that the sheer number of attacks + the fact that you go first (except versus HE and magical ASF) allows you to easily wipe out the front rank if not 2 ranks of most infantry units. I should also mention I place my paymaster in my Leopard Company unit - if the paymaster dies (likely in CC) then you will have pikes + hatred vs the unit that killed him - very nice!

We also can't ignore Leo himself, a fairly generic captain, although he 'technically' gets an additional attack as he carries a pistol. Leo also carries heavy armor so he has a bit more staying power than the rank and file pikemen of the unit.

I also arm my paymaster with the following wargear: pistol, heavy armor, shield, morningstar. This makes the entire pike unit able to throw out 2 pistols shots at nearby units to either boost the duellist shooting or put a few wounds on another unit. These two shots may not seem like much but anything casualty you inflict on your opponent is worth it. Most opponents also don't expect to be shot at from an infantry unit, so its just another little surprise I use. These two shots will also hit most of the time - Leo is BS5, and the paymaster comes in at a respectable BS4. Again, they can always stand and shoot as well which can take out a couple of enemies before you unleash the massive number of pike attacks in CC.

Another hammer 'unit' is a unit of 3 maneaters. I have seen lists use units of 3 with a braces of hanguns (pistols for the maneaters) to great effect and I might build of unit of these in the near future. My unit of three contains 2 maneaters with cathayan longswords and one with a great weapon who is placed in the middle. Maneaters already come with an impressive statline and several nice abilities (immune to psych, stubborn, cause fear). I find the WS + I boost of the longswords nice because it lets these guys compete with most hero level characters in terms of speed and the extra WS ensure you should be hitting most enemy units on a 3+, and with a S5, you can expect to usually wound on a 3+, and often a 2+. The one maneater with a great weapon is there to have a S7 chariot killing machine (4 S7 attacks is nothing to scoff at). With a S7 this guy will also put fear into heavily armed cavalry with a nice -4 modifier to their armor save.

Lastly, another good hammer unit is a medium-large unit of Marauders armed with Great Weapons. Being Frenzied means they are Immune to Psychology, however you will have to keep them under control. Each marauder will put out 2 WS4 S5 attacks, a champion will put out 3 WS4 S5 attacks. Even in the current Elite Unit environment of Warhammer, they can provide a lot of punch.

On to the actual implementation of the tactic:

I deploy my duellist units as screens directly in front of my hammer units to prevent them from getting shot up as much as possible. During the first few movement phases the duellists units advance so that they are anywhere from 5-8 inches in front of the hammer units. I also try to keep the rest of the batteline roughly even with my hammer units so that flank charges on the hammers dont present themselves.

What do I do with each unit?

The duellists will engage enemy units within range using their pistols, hopefully inflicting a few casualties. I will rarely charge with duellists unless I see a strategic advantage in doing so which will help me in the following turns. There is no point in wiping out an enemy unit only to get yourself out of position in their turn. If the duellists are in range to shoot then anyone but dwarfs should be able to charge them. Depending on the enemy and the opponent, you will likely get charged. If its a weak enough enemy or if my shooting phase has inflicted a decent amount of casualties, I might stand and shoot. Typically, I will choose to flee (remember - 5-8 inches away from the hammers). I typically roll fairly high, so my duellists will flee through either of my immune to psych units who will ignore the fleeing troops. Make sure you dont have any other friendlies in their path who might be affected. It will also take some careful positioning so that your duellists flee through your hammers and not in a direction which will cause other units to panic. Depending on the type of unit that charged the duellists, the enemy will either get a failed charge or carry on through to your hammer unit. I should mention I leave a tiny gap so that my hammer unit can see the enemy unit in question so that they could be a legal charge target.

Preferably, I want my pike unit charged, whereas I want a unit getting a failed charge and stopping short of my maneaters who will of course charge that unit in my turn. Thus I usually leave the duellists screening the maneaters a bit further out than the ones screening my pikes.

As outlined above, the combat prowess of these units ensure they will win most fights, and hopefully the duellists will have put some wounds on the opposing enemy units. If everything works well, the duellists will rally in the subsequent turn and will again work their way forward to support the battleline. It can of course happen that you dont flee far enough with your duellists resulting in their death. Be prepared to sacrifice your units.

All of my opponents suffer from the problem that they hate losing their units, even more so if it is one of their favorites which they expect to do well. Nothing like psychological warfare...

Losing certain units typically results in my opponents losing their focus and they will begin to make tactical mistakes. My regular opponents become too emotionally attached to certain units and when these don't perform well they get upset - An agitated and distracted player is far easier to beat than someone who is focused.

One thing I can say about my style of play and overall strategy is this: I'm prepared to sacrifice any unit in my army if it presents me with an opportunity to smash my opponent. Thus, if I happen to lose my duellists, I certainly won't like it, but I won't get upset over it. Losing any expensive unit and getting visibly upset over it lets your opponent know they just killed something important to your army.

Case in point: My goblin wizard lord wiped out 2 units of my opponent's wood elf cavalry - a unit of glade riders and wild riders in 2 turns of magic - the way I deployed seemed to suggest it was a weak point in my battle line as I placed more troops on the opposite side of the table. This was the first time my opponent was using these units and we had been talking about the various uses of cavalry and how we thought that the wild riders could and should be deadly if they got a charge off. In other words, he valued that entire flank considerably. He also place a unit of wardancers and dryads on this side of the board. My forces in comparison were weak on the surface level. 20 gobbo archers, 1 unit of 20 Night gobbo spears (with 3 fanatics), my wizard lord, and 1 bolt thrower. I also had a unit of 5 spider riders on that side which ran up early to disrupt his movement and they actually managed to kill 2 glade riders in CC. Once in range I was able to wipe his wild riders out with a nice roll on the d6 s6 magic massile the gobbos have. Judging from his facial expression he was certainly upset about this. To make a long story short, I managed to wipe out that entire flank with comparatively fewer points. I knew which units he hates to lose and so deployed my units to maximum effect. He actually won the other flank due to fanatics not managing to do anything that game and some poor rolls on my part in CC - it was a 6 turn slugfest that resulted in a draw - I did lose several units which I find crucial, but I did not let on that their loss bothered me or disrupted my plans.

Back to Dogs Of WarIf the duellists die, then they die. The pikemen who will have their static combat resolution (paymaster helps here as well) in addition to the wounds they cause in combat will likely break most units. The maneaters undoubtedly can dish out lots of punishment which should mean that they will face few if any return attacks depending on the situation of course. As they cause fear and with a starting US9 they should auto-break a lot of opponents (in the unlikely event someone rolls insane courage). I've used this tactic quite successfully. My opponent can either charge the duellists, shoot them (which is their major weakness), or try to maneuver around them. If they are ignored, I continue to put pistol shots into whichever enemy is in range.Keep in mind that none of this is ocurring in a vacuum - the rest of the army is there as well as the rest of your opponent's forces + the terrain. Every unit in my list works in concert with the other units of my army. I try to make sure that any of my opponent's units which I try to draw into these baits have been shot at by either my xbows, cannons, halflings, duellists, and if possible by either of my wizards. The tactic isn't going to be a guaranteed success, as anything can happen at any point in the battle. You also shouldn't limit yourself to one strategy. It takes a combination efforts in all phases of the game to be successful. There are many issues within the metagame which can help make you a more successful general, but that is for another tactica.

Some other potential candidates for hammer units: Dwarfs - high WS, T, Ld, can always march, with many different equipment options, HW + Shield + Heavy Armor gives them great staying power. Giving them a great weapon brings you to S5 and can let you death with the many T4 baddies out there.

Marauders - High WS, high I, average Ld but frenzy - immune to psych but they need to be controlled, different equipment options means you can easily cut through low T, low armor save troops, or great weapons means you will put out a healthy number of high WS S5 attacks. I list them here again just because I haven't included them in my army for a while. It may be time to try them again. You could try to use Beorg's Bearmen although that will set you back a lot of points.

Generic pikes + other RoR pikes - all good for the various reasons outlined above, minus the immune to psych, although you will save some pts

Halfing spearmen - just kidding

Other ogres - high S and T, multipe wounds, and multipe attacks, but average leadership, stilll cause fear though, and far far cheaper than maneaters

Cavalry - I haven't tried this yet as the major drawback to this is that you really need to get the charge off on an enemy for cavalry to be at their best and even then rubber lance syndrome can strike. You would also need to set the screens further out than normal which might result in them either getting annihilated or fleeing in the wrong direction. Still, a potential cavalry charge (Voland's potentially) against a unit that failed a charge could be devastating.

This concludes the tactica. I hope you can find something useful for your future battles.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Update: Forgeworld Reinforcements Part 3

One more set of pics! These are mainly some closeups of the Forgeworld stuff.
Pic of the Armageddon Medusa - this will be something similar to a Hummel in my army.

Another pic of the Caidan Updgrade Pack

Hydra Flak Tank - this is going to be a blast to assemble and even more fun in the game. Long range Dakka Dakka!

Not one to neglect 40K terrain, I also ordered up the ammo dump. This will be a nice objective piece for Apocalypse and will work well in CityFight as well.

Closeup of the Autocannon turret for the Chimera. Looks a bit crooked on the front there, hopefully that will be an easy fix.

Improved Comms - my Leman Russ Vanquisher will be getting this!

Another pic of the Armageddon Basilisk!

Another shot of the Armageddon Medusa!

Oh so many sprues!

Update: Forgeworld Reinforcements Part 2

More Forgeworld awesomeness! The bulk of my order was 40K-related so let's get right to the pics!
Soo many Forgeworld pieces!

A pic of both my Armageddon pattern tanks. These are going to be a blast to paint and model.

Closeup of the Armageddon Basilisk! This will get some conversion treatment and tons of detailing. I'm goig to try to make it similar to an Elefant/Nashorn tank.

Some of the smaller pieces. On the left you'll see a Cadian upgrade sprue. I'll add this to a squad to give them a veteran look. I think I'll wait until the new Guard codex is out to see what is what before I go assembling these. In the front you'll see a little support for my Blood Angels in the form of a Plasma Cannon arm dreadnaughts. Behind that you'll notice side skirt armor for Chimeras (trying to making them look like late-model Panzer IVs) as well as the hull for a Leman Russ Destroyer. Between this thing and the Shadowsword I'm getting all Titans (looking at you Stompas and Hierophant!) are put on notice!

Another shot of some of the smaller stuff. Lots of little accessories for tanks such as fuel drums, stowage etc.

Update: Forgeworld Reinforcements Part 1

I can't even begin to describe how excited I am to see that my Forgeworld order arrived! While the bulk of the order is 40K, I did order up quite a bit for Warhammer Fantasy as well. Scroll down to see what I got.
Warhammer Well - a nice little terrain piece that was worth getting now that prices dropped. Along with my other buildings this will go towards making a whole village for scenarios, tourneys, etc.

Same as the well above, this is a nice little terrain piece.

Ohhhhh yeaaaaah! Can't wait to get this guy painted up and breaking units on his own! Some serious heavy cavalry!

Another shot of the Rhinox.

Shot of both the well and bloomery.

Collectors Mini: Ulrika Straghov

Walked into the local GW here and saw this hanging on the blisters rack. I had never heard of Citadel producing these so I decided to pick her up. They also had one of Snorri but I decided to get this one instead - should make a nice alternate captain for my Dogs of War. The Snorri one would make an excellent Slayer character for a Dwarf army.So what do you guys think of this mini? It should be a blast to paint and is certainly characterful. Discuss!

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