Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Brief Review of Chaos Space Marines Codex

This post is a little bit overdue, but up until recently, I haven't had a good chance to sit down with the codex and try to slam out a list. Now that I have, I have some general ideas about the book.

First of all, the change concerning the Legion Marines into Elites, which are unlocked by the Marked HQs, is interesting in several ways. While in terms of points it is not terribly burdensome, it does make some level of impact. For example, a list that wants to say infiltrate Khorne Berserkers will need, presumably Huron and a cheap Khorne Lord. It is a potentially awesome combination, but it still requires a bit of investment and planning in terms of list construction.

Somewhat linked to this topic, the Special Characters in the codex are pretty awesome. Lucius (who is one of my personal favorite characters in the 40k universe) still sucks ass, but the others got some definitely interesting bonuses. The fact that some characters have an inbuilt Warlord trait makes for some crazy combinations. I have heard some complaints that there are no new characters, but frankly, that doesn't really bother me at all. They got buffed overall, and that's the cool thing.

Another thing I have noticed is the overall decrease in points across the codex. Many options are cheaper, and they have a greater variety overall. The fact that Sergeants can all take combi-weapons and other cool options makes them all pretty neat. I think the codex has improved simply based on those point reductions.

Along with these benefits, however, there is one glaring issue I have with the codex: Champion of Chaos. I really HATE mandatory anything. I find it burdensome, and knowing my luck, it would be the reason I would lose a game. In addition, your Champion can become a Spawn or something else pretty stupid. Daemon Prince on a Champion? Awesome. Daemon Prince from a Lord? NO. Losing all equipment is kinda terrible. If I needed an HQ Daemon Prince, I would have just bought one myself.

Overall, it's a very fun codex that has some great benefits. Plenty of vehicles, flyers, and some anti-flyer built into the codex. Any fan of the Chaos Marines will definitely bring them back out onto the table.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Painting vs. Sportsmanship

On the Facebook event page, an attendee made a request to switch the order ot tiebreakers and place sportsmanship above painting. My response on the matter went along the lines of this:

Both scoring systems are fairly subjective. This is a simple fact that cannot be overcome. Opinions on Art can vary greatly, with no little reasoning beyond personal gut feeling. Sportsmanship is also a very subjective aspect; people may or may not get along with another person based on some past history or misunderstanding. There may also be some unexplained circumstances that could be bothering the poor sport in question.

The reason I believe painting should be placed above sportsmanship is overall very simple: Painting has more concrete details and effort put into the score. A judge can go through and notice the different techniques used on a model. They can notice the wash, highlights, lining, transfers etc. These are concrete objective techniques used that allow a judge to make note of effort put into the model. Regardless of overall quality or feeling generated by the army, a judge can at least base scoring on the complexity of the techniques used. In addition, the same judge reviews each of the models and armies, at least in this case. I have a certain rubric in my own head concerning the things I am looking for in the models.

Sportsmanship, however, has a number of the opposites playing against it. There is often a lack of concrete details in "sportsmanship." It can mean drastically different things for different gamers. To me, for example, I can enjoy a more serious game-focused individual, but I don't mind a gamer that is willing to crack a joke. I care more about his interactions with the rules and how he works to handle disputes. In addition, the attendee mentioned the idea that the "majority" felt the gamer in question was a good sport. The reality is: the majority doesn't get a say. Scoring for sportsmanship is based on the individual games played, so only 3 people give a score. These three people may have drastically different thoughts about a good gamer.

So, overall the distinction is simple. Painting is much easier to judge objectively, particularly when looking for completion, details, and advanced techniques used. Sportsmanship does not have these objective qualities, so it becomes more difficult to score. They both are important in terms of winning the tournament, and they both factor into ties. There is a specific set of reasons, however, that one is placed over the other.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Conclusion of my Fall 2012 Semester

As of today, I have completed my last day of classes for college this semester. I have learned a lot in all of my classes, and I have found out some details I'd rather not have figured out.

It is unfortunate to me that the humanities classes are so subjective. There is an unfortunate lack of standardization for the study, and it does genuinely irk me. It would not be so difficult that a department could sit down and collaborate to create a rubric. It has definitely taught me that I NEED to create a rubric for my own English classes, once I begin teaching.

The one benefit from this semester: I have found my writing improving immensely. I think this blog has helped that endeavor, and the countless essays have also contributed to this improvment. I hope that I continue to improve with next semester, and I fully intend to blog more thoroughly next semester. I really enjoy blogging, and I want to keep it alive and well.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Why I LOVE 40k

The moment when two six sided dice can determine your victory or defeat. These are the moments that make me want to play 40k. To be mentally challenged and have fun with a fellow gamer makes 40k the game to play. Then, you have the intense moment of suspense when a die roll will make or break it.

Shout out to my buddy Jordan for an amazing game.

PS. I bought the Rakdos Event deck, which has given me most of the elements for my new Mono Red Deck :D

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fantasy Football!

So, this football season I made a promise to myself to stay active in my Fantasy Football leagues, particularly the one with money on it.  I am happy to say that I have been able to keep on top of it and it has shown!

Two of my leagues I have an 8-5 record with a playoff berth in sight. The other put me at 5-6-1 and 6th in the League. Thankfully, that one was with my family and some friends with no money attached :P

I really enjoy Fantasy Football. It allows for me to further appreciate the game of Football. I can turn on any game, and I will some vested interest in watching players excel. It is great fun, and I recommend any Football fan to try it.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Are Plasma Pistols Worth It?

A friend of mine and I were discussing the use of Plasma Pistols on Chaos Space Marine Champions. He swore by them, and he really liked them in combination with the potential Preferred Enemy: Space Marines.

I, however, vehemently disagreed. Here are the specifics as to why I dislike them.

1. Point cost. If a number Plasma Gun runs from about 10 to 15 points, why should a Plasma Pistol be 15? Some would argue that the benefit of a Plasma shot on the charge and the extra close combat attack is the benefit. But for less points, you can get the same value for longer range and more shots? I don't think PPs are really worth it. Particularly because..

2. Risk. If your Champion/Sergeant rolls a 1 and fails that armor save, you have lost WAY more than 15 points worth of effectiveness. Generally, you lose 1 LD, 1 A AND whatever other upgrades he had. Not worth the risk to fry yourself.

This is, of course, my personal philosophy when choosing wargear. I'm interested what others may have to say about it?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Some Tournament Theorizing for the Arkham Games February Tournaments

I am on a roll! Three blog posts in as many days! Woo!

I have been writing more on my blog, mainly because it is a pleasent escape from my writings concerning The Handmaid's Tale and Confucian Philosophy.

Anyway, I wanted to write a short article on some of the philosophies behind the creation of the missions and tournament rules for the upcoming 40k tournament I am hosting at Arkham Games. By explicating my feelings on the matter, it may help myself in furthering the tournament scene. It may give some greater insight for those unsure of how to handle the tournament.

First of all, I want to point out that the tournament is automatically won by the 3-0 player, assuming only one exists. I genuinely feel that tournaments should be based primarily on winning the games. While this may create a feeling of WAAC or strong competitiveness, I think that is ok. People should want to perform well, and they should want to try and get some bragging rights amongst the store. Friendly competition is overall healthy for the store and community. It generates more lists, more discussion, and more items being purchased. Everybody benefits from some friendly competition.

Next, there are a series of tiebreakers built into the tournament. This is planned in the case of two 3-0s or several 2-1s. Having this series of tiebreakers will allow a definitive placement and ranking. This is important to pairings and final standings.

I also want to point out the simplicity of the missions. They are directly from the main rulebook, with no modifications or changes to them. I allow for fortifications and allies. I utilize mysterious terrain and mysterious objectives. The first is a little bit more rare simply due to the terrain available at the store, but the mysterious objectives can really add some interesting dynamics to the game. They are not game-breaking, but they are useful and should be considered when playing the game. These decisions will allow for those entering the scene to rely on their main rulebook for guidance. There is no additional mission primer or set of FAQs that can entirely change the game being played. It's simple and easy for newcomers to understand.

Finally, I think the addition of painting and sportmanship scores are very important for the community. There is some tangible benefit for painting your army, but it is not entirely necessary. Sportsmanship is encouraged by making it scored, but it will be a lenient system. People cannot simply dock points just because it will hinder their progress in the tournament. While these scores are not competitive, they represent the minority of scores. They can still make a difference, but they won't be the bottom line in placement.

Hopefully, these points explain better my tournament structure. I am always open to criticism and ideas for the tournaments. Please comment if there are any ideas you may have.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gaming Progress

So! After my small rant, I wanted to share my hobby progress.

Warhammer 40k- I have put some basecoats onto the Fallen Dark Angels for my Daemons list. I have been contemplating adding some level of fluff to the Daemons list. I had just listened to the Independent Characters podcast about creating your own background, and it inspired me to try and create my own character. Thinking more about it, I would definitely be a Tzeentch sorcerer. So, I want to take one of the absolutely awesome character models from the Dark Vengence set and create my own Sorcerer.
My Tau Broadside Bits took more than a month to arrive at the store, but I have the final pieces to my Tau army!
Necrons and Grey Knights are at the same level of completion.
I have been playing more games of 40k to help out the participants in Arkham's February tournament. One thing about being the tournament organizer is getting to scout the competition! The games have been great fun, and I have been learning more about 6th edition the more I play.

Magic: The Gathering- I have been playing less Magic. While I have been enjoying the current standard, I haven't been motivated to participate in any local FNM. It has been mostly with friends and my family.

The rest of my time has been spent doing massive amounts of homework with the occassional video game thrown in. Hopefully, I will be able to write more once the winter begins.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Community: The Impact It Has On Gaming

Greetings!

It has been a very long while since my last blog post; I mostly blame school for that one. :P It has been quite hectic, but I'll have some hobby progress to report in another post.

This post, I wanted to discuss the positive and negative effects the community can have on gaming and individual gamers. I would argue that the community is one of the most important aspects of a game. For many, it's the friends that bring them back to gaming. This is definitely the case for me. When I play WoW or other MMOs, I find myself drawn to a certain type of community. I find those who are like-minded, and we bond over the game. The same is true of Magic and Warhammer; the major difference is the ability to play many MMOs by yourself and the latter requiring another participant.

MMOs (I'm mainly thinking of League of Legends and WoW) generally have a decent community, but those choice people will ruin your experience. You can't avoid them; they will appear and they will ruin the experience. My advice? Find your core group and stick with them. Find a cool ranked team, find a solid guild, and you will have excellent experiences. It's a pretty simple fix.

The tabletop games, however, have a totally different issue. It is generally more difficult to avoid those lackluster gamers. They are there, and they are likely to stay. What can you do about them? You can try to enact change in your store. Bring up your concerns to the community. Make a change. Host a new event, or create a discussion board to invite debate. You may be surprised by your results.

I have a few more points in mind, but this makes up the jist of my post. Overall, I find myself drawn to games with strong communities that are positive. The negative communities (looking at you LoL) make me want to quit the game.

Be a cool dude. Everyone will have more fun.