Friday 25 March 2016

Deathwatch Overkill Review

Hi folks,

Last weekend I got together with Sgt Waz and Wade to have a krak at Deathwatch Overkill. I was interested to see where the game sits in the pantheon of GW boardgames. The miniatures are exquisite and, whilst expensive at $280 AUD, worth the price of admission considering the cost of other kits. I was after something more, though; a "come for the miniatures but stay for the game" kind of deal.

Ordo Xenos was the last Ordo to get a "look" for itself. I can remember the days when Grey Knights were old news and the Sister's of Battle were the flag bearers of Hereticus but nobody really had an idea of how Ordo Xenos would operate. When the concept of the Deathwatch was unleashed it was attractive for a number of reasons: it involved MOAR Space Marines, they had access to interesting ammunition types, the squad had a dirty dozen feel to it and you got to enjoy using other Chapters for once (...and didn't that feel just a little decadent). Deathwatch marines brought a strong narrative with them unto the tabletop or roleplaying session, which struck a major chord with me.

Opening up GW's new game Deathwatch Overkill I instantly gravitated towards this guy:

Each marine has a special ability which reflects his Chapter; in this case Gydrael can be killed early in the turn but he still hang around until the end, potentially allowing the Deathwatch Kill-team to complete its mission. Overall, each character seemed to be a convincing representation of their Chapter, which I think is vital to the success of a Deathwatch game. Dirty-dozen feel: check.

We deployed for our first scenario and played out the first few turns. I experienced my first twinge of misgivings:

The board is very simplistic and open-plan, providing uninterrupted lines-of-sight. Whilst this is great for mowing down the enemy in large numbers every turn ("Overkilling"), which is vital for surviving, I missed the room-to-room/cramped corridor battles of Space Crusade or Space Hulk.

We quickly realised that each marine was capable of doing horrific damage to the enemy and heroic, cinematic deeds; here is Cassius wiping out three Hybrids then leaping across the gap in the playing board to support the right flank.

We managed to wipe out the requisite 25 hybrids in the first scenario, whilst only losing a single Marine of our own. Another turn and I think we would have failed.

In the second scenario we each played two Marines and I put together this tag-team:

This scenario was a very different beast. The board was rapidly flooded with Hybrids and Genestealers appeared out of nowhere to bolt in and kill marines in one turn.

We lost our Ravenguard and White Scars Marine in quick succession. The White Scar is a beast in the game, with the ability to blast 5 or 6 enemies a turn at 3+ and block squares to prevent ambushes. He also has a teleport homer which we were relying on to move the Salamanders Terminator into position. Without it, the Salamander had a long walk to the generator room. We needed all four remaining Marines up there, standing in the right spots, to win the scenario.

My Space Wolf and Dark Angel hacked there way up the right flank and got into position, along with Cassius. Frustratingly, the Salamander was one move away from victory when Sgt Waz launched a terrific ambush that wiped us off the board; so close!

Feeling confident... a few minutes later every square was filled with Hybrids.

Overall, Deathwatch Overkill was great fun. The miniatures are wonderfully detailed, the characters are convincingly depicted through special rules and the Genestealer capabilities are suitably challenging. There are also plenty of scenarios to try and scope for expansion.Where the game falls short is in board design and a lack of customisability/character progression. My first thought was to try the game again, but use the Space Hulk boards. I can also see the game combining well with Assassinorium Execution Force. If we get around to it I'll post some alternative scenarios for people to try. At this stage I give the game a solid 3 out of 5, with plenty of room for improvement if you are willing to invest the time.

See you across the table.


Tuesday 22 March 2016

Hobby Bingo: Biovores TO-DONE!

Hi folks,

I added the finishing touches to this brood of biovores tonight, which will be added to my growing Hive Fleet of metallic Tyranids. The paint scheme is specifically formulated to reduce painting time; it all but eliminates the need for brush control. Before you judge me too harshly on that, it is my only army/scheme in any gaming system that I speed paint. Basically, it is the equivalent of a weekend at a B&B for me! Later on I will paint some spore mines as well, I know I have 20 or so of them floating around somewhere...

I have been desperate to make any kind of progress at all the past couple of weeks. Work has been a bit sad this year, as one of the students I have all the time in the world for was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. I can't express the amount of energy and thought that has gone into doing our best for him and the other students. Hell, sometimes just fronting the classes has been tough. Trying to be creative when I get home has been too difficult, so not much is getting done. I am planning on really getting stuck into my Dark Angels over the Easter long weekend and hopefully getting my Ravenwing squadron finished, just to banish that feeling of uselessness.

I did manage to build up the courage to re-pose my long suffering Mawloc. It is one of my favourite models, but originally I assembled it in a contorted pose with longer claws that looked very awkward. A bit like a dead huntsman spider, for those of you who know what I am talking about. So I snapped the larger arms off (some more cleanly than others) and added shorter arms which were then painted. Here are some shots of the finished Mawloc; if you want to see the original it will still be on my Hive Fleet Numereji page for a while, until I replace the old photo.

Now, if only I could get the blighter to stick a landing and kill something...

I'll leave you with a Hobby Bingo update:

See you across the table,


Monday 7 March 2016

Astoran: Dark Angels Master of the Arsenal

Hi folks,

This Company Master figure came out with a Dark Angels Army box many moons ago, during a time when I definitely couldn't splash out a few hundred AUD just to get my hands on a single limited edition figure. A few years ago, thanks to the wonders of eBay, my mates rectified that problem; thanks guys :o)

The new Dark Angels Codex names the Master of the 3rd as Astoran, which I have decided to adopt. To celebrate, I did a backpack swap and repainted the glow on his plasma weapon to match the new turquoise scheme I have been using. Originally, I had a simple banner on this guy, but I like the idea of the Siege Masters in the Badab War campaign army lists. Siege Masters are equipped with Signum just like a Devastator Sergeant and have access to some interesting Warlord Traits.

I am thinking that Astoran could have been a Veteran Devastator Sergeant, who has made his way through the ranks of the Inner Circle, re-directing fire to support units hunting the Fallen and besieging their hide-outs when required.

I have played a few games with this guy armed with the Lion's Roar combi-plasma and a powerfist (who knows what he has under that cloak...). The Lion's Roar is a nice surprise if you can drop that blast on a compact enemy unit, followed by a charge. I am aiming to add some more plasma weapons to his command squad, to take full advantage of the Relentless USR afforded by the Sacred Standard I take. And because MOAR plasma ;-)

So, in between the other 5 projects I have going on,  I will be tinkering with the Command Squad and getting it game ready. Looking at these photos, I'll have to add a bit of the old Dark Angels Green to the backpack to brighten it up a bit, just like I did with my Dreadnoughts earlier. Ahhh... the joys of miniature photography!

See you across the table,


Wednesday 2 March 2016

Old Stuff Day!

Hi folks,

Over the past couple of years there has been a movement among regular bloggers to rediscover and share classic blog posts. I still feel that Old School Gaming hasn't been around long enough to warrant any serious blogomancy, so I thought I would share some photos of two miniatures I have never posted before instead. I originally posted WIP articles of these projects on my old blog "Bravest of the Plains People", which has since disappeared into the ether.

When the Assault on Black Reach box first came out I snaffled a friend's unwanted Space Marine Dreadnought and combined it with the new Blood Angels Dreadnought kit, spawning a Deathwing themed Dreadnought with a sniper rifle.

With the remaining parts I assembled an Interrogator Chaplain Dreadnought with a crozius arcanum and flamestorm cannon:

The crozius was made out of the Blood Angels Librarian Dreadnought force weapon arm and two Dark Angels icons filed flat and glued back-to-back.

The fuel drums were from an old terrain kit I had lying around, which I cut to size. The robed sarcophagus was from a veteran Dark Angels marine torso; the hood is green stuff sculpted poorly :-)

The flamestorm cannon is from a Landraider Redeemer. Coupled with a heavy flamer, that makes for an epic degree of burnination.

In the spirit of the new Deathwatch release,  my second offering is a Dark Angels Deathwatch Techmarine that I converted for a Deathwatch RPG campaign. Sgt Waz teamed up with me to paint it and introduced me to the joys of weathering powders. The aim was to make him look like he spends a lot of time under Landraiders doing grease and oil changes. It also represents my first forays into OSL and NMM painting techniques. I have many fond memories of playing this character, in particular, a Lion and the Wolf grudge battle with another Deathwatch character that I narrowly won using my combat knife. After that, it just had to go on the model:

I leave you with this old chestnut: a photo of me I found on the weekend, caught with a mouthful of chocolate, reading a 2nd Edition Eldar codex in 1996, on the day I learned that 40K was a thing.

Thanks Tim and Ben!

How's that for old stuff :-)

See you across the camping table,