Thank You, GW

Recently I wrote a rant on Deep Space about people who bitch about Games Workshop all the time. I decided to write this corollary to it in my own blog where I thank GW for some things which really help me personally as a player and make the game more satisfying. This article is very much from the Eldar perspective, and there are two reasons for that: 1) I'm an Eldar player, so it's what I've been following most closely, and 2) If I tried to cover all the Xenos-related material, I'd be here all night.

Now, I'm no fanboy. Ask any redshirt I've spoken with; I'm not the "Thank you, Sir. May I have another?" type. I have had some frustration with GW's Marine-Centrism which has been followed to the excusion and detriment of other armies. Just to recap my perspective on the point; I don't resent so much effort being put into Space Marines. I would just like to see some of that high-powered creativity and skill used for some of the less tended-to armies such as Tau, Orks, Eldar and Dark Eldar. Naturally, I have a personal stake in the Eldar content, but I'm aware that there are several armies which are in need of attention. Before I dig in, let me just say that what they're doing with the Tau in particular right now is really exciting. Maybe I'll write that up another time, though.

Lately things are starting to change, and I couldn't be happier. I picked up this month's White Dwarf and saw a lot of emphasis on Xenos armies in the "Enemies of the Imperium" article. There are some great items in there for Xenos players (OTHER than Tyranids, which is nice), including the article I just mentioned as well as a scenery how-to for Xenos defense structures (more Eldar!). Additionally, some interesting Kill Team updates which shine light on all armies equally (not just Imperial or Xenos, but a nice spread of both), and - surprisingly - a very comprehensive tactica for Dark Eldar; just when you think the GW folks are ready to make "Dark Eldar? Who Are They?" into their company line, this shows up. There's also an announcement of a US campaign which pits the newly refreshed Black Templar chapter against Xenos, featuring all the lesser-seen armies (save Dark Eldar) quite prominently in the two-page spread. Lastly, the Canadian supplement has an absolutely kick-ass article about converting Alaitoc using the new Wood Elf models as conversion resources. A quick review has me raising both eyebrows and confirming that it's actually really damn good. Not earth-shaking, but I got some great ideas and inspiration from it, and that's all you can ask from any article of that sort.

White Dwarf is, to some extent, a barometer for where Games Workshop is headed and what they think is important. This has been abundantly obvious, especially over the last few years. I've found that there wasn't much in WD for me as a Xenos player for the last 18 months, so being able to really sit back and pour over an issue is a very welcome and refreshing thing.

Rumors abound about new models for Eldar and, frankly, once you start getting reports of people having laid eyes on sprues coming from different sources, you start to think that the rumors at least approximate the not-so-future plans of GW if they don't actually frame those plans perfectly (which they rarely do). So far I have received reports of the following (each having been reported by at least three independent sources, but remember these are still rumors): New War Walkers, Rangers, Path Finders, Heavy Support Platforms, all in plastic, to be released mid-2006. Additionally, I have heard reports of plans for a new Wraithlord being on paper, but unlike the previously reported items I haven't heard anyone tell me they've actually seen the sprues, so who knows what the plan is there. What's more, new models aren't released like this without a new codex to back them up. Why? Because a lot of those models need new rules. Honestly... how many people are buying and using War Walkers now (I mean other than me, because I'm kind of stupid that way)? If GW is releasing War Walkers (the one model I have heard the most chatter about), then they want that to make sure they're bought. What's more, GW always accompanies new codices with new models. If, therefore, they release five Eldar models in 2006 but aren't releasing the codex till, say, 2007... are they then going to release five additional models at that point? I'm rather certain we're going to see a lot of new models (I'm predicting six to seven new models because I expect an Autarch and Bonesinger) and a new codex next year.

What I'm saying isn't so much "OMG I KNOW WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN", because I don't. The rumors I hear are just rumors (or are, at least, uncomfirmed and therefore subject to change). What I do glean from the stuff I'm hearing and seeing is that GW is now taking a slight breather from Space Marine-related releases to bring the Xenos forward a little and give them some attention. I don't know what attention that's going to be, what the measure of it is or exactly when it'll happen... but I am absolutely clear that GW is now putting some serious thought into armies other than Marines and Tyranids, and that makes me feel quite grateful because, if any of these rumors are to be believed and if their work on the Xenos models and codices echoes the quality of the Space Marines, Witch Hunter and Tyranid releases then it seems like it will have been worth the wait.


Perspectives On USF

I just got finished reading these design notes on Ulthwe Strike Force by Phil Kelly. It's really interesting for me to read it because I've taken so strongly to USF that it will likely be my army of choice for games of 1500 points and up.

Go give it a read.

I like the way that USF is a strict no-tank diet, and takes away most of the Eldar player's heaviest hammers. The interesting thing is that Kelly really stresses the idea of playing out with more power as the turns press on. "After extensive playtesting," he writes "and a rule that kept half of the army in reserve, I was left with a very fast, infantry-based army that has to play carefully on the first few turns, but hits like a ton of bricks when the cavalry arrives." I find it sort of thought-provoking because it seems as though the design of the army is meant to rely on finishing out the game with a heavy webway strike which will be, presumably, deep in enemy territory, overruning them and saving the day. It certainly keeps with the fluff that it would happen like that. Obviously with half the units starting in reserve and later popping out of the Wraithgate then that's the tactic the army seems to beg for.

The thing is that I don't play it much like that. I pull the glove off the iron fist in turn one and try to carve off a thick slice of the enemy's ranks before they can even put their tactics into drive. I have stuff come into the fray later to support and add extra muscle, but my hope is always that the worst damage will have been done by then, and those extra units which arrive in the 11th hour will simply help beat back whatever enemy survives the first two turns. It's almost the opposite of Kelly's maxim that the USF player will play carefully in the first two turns and then the real damage occurs.

Also interesting is that most of the friends I have who have tried playing USF play it Kelly's way, and most of them stop using USF shortly after because they just can't get the hang of it. Now, I'm not dishing on Kelly's design; this is as much a matter of trying to shake off old habits and get into new patterns of thinking as it is a matter of army-specific rules. Yet, I have heard more than once about how people reconsider the idea of playing USF once they see the huge swath of damage that gets laid out early-on in the game by my approach.

If nothing else, it goes to show that USF, despite its rigid rules and long list of handicaps, is not only powerful, but versatile. If Phil Kelly can make the magic happen with his late-in-the-game striking and I can do the same early on by using a different list and different approach to tactics, then USF is broad enough to adapt to several playing styles - even those that fall somewhere between my and Kelly's approach.

Kelly's approach puts his forces on the defensive early on as they find the right place to drop the gate so the cavalry can come. It certainly suits the background story. My own approach puts the Eldar in fortified positions; heavy units and infantry (well, as heavy as USF lets you use) dug deep into cover, intractable and fortified. It seems to diverge from the storyline, as my forces rarely advance into the field before turn 3 at earliest so they're not particularly eager to get the Wraithgate into a forward position (I usually drop it right in my own deployment zone). It's contrary to the spirit of the army. I don't happen to feel any regrets for it, mind you; I see it as my right, not my privilege, to exploit every power the list lends me (especially considering the hard limits which are imposed on no other force in the pantheon of Eldar Craftworlds). It does give me pause, however, to ultimately wonder if I'm getting the most out of my lists. Though I've probably played a good 40 games as USF, I believe that Kelly's playtesting has probably been more exhaustive and more experimental. I wanna know if I could be playing a more dynamic, interesting game by learning some things from what he does.

If anyone knows how to get Kelly's email address, I'd love to hear about it.


USF Fact #13

I should have added one more tidbit to this post while I was writing it. So here's the one thing you have to know about playing USF that I didn't post and should have:
13. USF really doesn't get off the ground below 1500 points. You can do it, but the sweet spot is actually 2000 points and over. USF is one of the few Eldar army lists (hell, one of the only lists period) that continues to get better between 2000 points and 3000 points. But below 1500? It's hard to turn the engine over. It's too expensive and resource-heavy to make the magic work at that point, so switch back to Ulthwe or Vanilla at that point.

I feel better now.

Roll Call

I sat down and made a comprehensive list, once and for all, of all the Eldar I currently own. It comes out to 193 models. And here's the list:

Eldrad Ulthran
Asurmen, the Hand of Asuryen
Karandras, the Shadow Hunter
Maugan Ra, the Harvester of Souls
4 Farseers
8 Warlocks

32 Fire Dragons & 4 Exarchs
4 Howling Banshees & 1 Exarch
8 Striking Scorpions & 1 Exarch

9 Dire Avengers & 1 Exarch
40 Guardian Defenders
4 Grav Platform & Crew
24 Storm Guardian
3 Wave Serpents

Fast Attack
8 Swooping Hawks & 1 Exarch
12 Guardian Jetbikes
3 Vypers

Heavy Support
15 Dark Reapers
2 Falcon Grav-Tanks
1 Fire Prism
3 Support Weapons & Crew
3 War Walkers

Scorpion Mark II tank

...and one Wraithlord named "Henry".

There are some units I just don't take anymore (or never have). Here's why:
- Avatar: In the current codex, the Avatar just isn't inspiring enough.
- Warp Spiders: Great unit. I have a few, but I don't use them. I just can't seem to get the "hang" of them.
- Shining Spears: Because they suck.
- Rangers: My use of them has tapered off this year because I find if I want a long-range unit that can't move and shoot, I'll use Dark Reapers instead. Not knocking them; they're just not for me.
- Wraithguard: So tempting, but they're so expensive and what they return for the investment (in both points and money) just isn't there right now.
- The other Phoenix Lords: I barely use the ones I have.

There are a lot of units in my list that I field rarely, but if I own the model then it's something I'll put on the table sooner or later. That's kind of a rule with me.

That's why I haven't yet written off the Warp Spiders. :)


How To Survive As USF

After having lost about 20 games playing Ulthwe Strike Force, I learned a few things about what doesn't work with that army. Thing is, after incorporating some of that experience into my playing, I almost never lose with USF anymore. I know a lot of people want to try USF, but they're scared of it because it's such a strange army that they're not sure how to play it or use it. I'm going to give you twelve hints on how to make your USF army really kick ass so that you don't have to lose 20 games to figure it out like I did.
1. Spend as many points as you have to on your Seer Council to make it a menace on wheels. This is one unit about which you shouldn't be concerned with being frugal. It's the backbone of your army, moreso than in regular Ulthwe. Spend the points and give it serious muscle.
2. Use Eldrad Ulthran whenever you can. Normally I don't advocate the use of special characters as a perennial strategy, but in this case I do. His role in the Seer Council as a psyker will really matter for the survival of your Strike Force, and for USF in particular the ability to redeploy really helps a lot. Again, don't be afraid to drop seriously big points on that Seer Council (which adding Eldrad will necessitate that you do).
3. Drop the Wraithgate as early as you possibly can. Unless you have a very specific strategy in mind for it, don't wait till the last minute to put it into play. Reserves can start arriving in turn 2, so don't wait. Getting hung up on dropping the gate deep in enemy territory can sometimes make you hesitate, which isn't necessary.
4. Take at least two Wraithgates. You will often need the options for deployment.
5. Forget using the Spear of Khaine. Though I encourage players to spend lots of points on the Seer Council, the Spear of Khaine just takes too many points out of the list to make it practical... especially for the ROI it offers. Try it for fun if you want to, enjoy it, but don't even dream of making it a regular part of your army.
6. Make a point of creating as many distinct units as possible. Half of your units, rounded up, will start in reserve. The more units you have, the more you get on the board during deployment. Do this by splitting up units of War Walkers and Vypers, for instance, making each an individual unit rather than just making a single group.
7. Anything infantry you have which fires heavy weapons should be part of the initial deployment. If you wait and bring them on as reserves, you'll lose a turn of shooting because when they arrive they are moving, and therefore can't fire a heavy weapon. Think about it: If you keep your Dark Reapers in reserve and they arrive in turn 2 you still can't shoot with them until turn 3, which is almost half the game -- and that's if they arrive in turn 2, which is far from guaranteed.
8. Don't ever forget to cast Fortune on your Seer Council. A 4+ invulnerable save is a good save, but being able to re-roll it will make your Seer Council almost unkillable... and you want that advantage.
9. USF lends itself to staying back and firing from a distance in a tight cluster behind cover. Be prepared for deep-striking units by keeping something in your deployment zone that will quickly dispatch enemies which arrive out of nowhere. Your Seer Council should be able to accomplish this.
10. If you are playing a "shooty" USF army rather than a "assaulty" one (which is what you'll likely do, as USF isn't best suited for assault-heavy lists), you'll do most of your serious damage in turns one and two. Don't hold back at all. That's your window of opportunity; any later than that and you will have racked up enough casualties that your ability to do harm will be tapering off. Crippling your opponent early doesn't just get pesky enemies out of the way, but it also demoralizes him and makes him rethink his strategy, which will often cause him to make a lot of mistakes.
11. Remember that most people don't know what USF is capable of. In fact, most people barely even know the rules for USF. Make sure you use the element of surprise.
12. Don't take any crap for loading up on "cheesy" weapons such as Starcannons. Remember: You have to start half in reserve, you can't take any heavy tanks of any kind, you can't take any Wraithlords or Wraithguard, aside from Dark Reapers you can only take one Aspect Warrior unit and if any of your precious units (including your fat Seer Council) loses even a single leadership roll, they leave the table without passing Go or collecting $200. With this many handicaps you're entitled to use whatever you have to get any kind of advantage. Those who don't like it can just suck it up.
13. USF really doesn't get off the ground below 1500 points. You can do it, but the sweet spot is actually 2000 points and over. USF is one of the few Eldar army lists (hell, one of the only lists period) that continues to get better between 2000 points and 3000 points. But below 1500? It's hard to turn the engine over. It's too expensive and resource-heavy to make the magic work at that point, so switch back to Ulthwe or Vanilla at that point.

Hope this helps and encourages you kids out there to give USF a try!


One Down, 200 More To Go

If you recall this mockup, you'll see that the red portion of the Scorpion Mark II Tank is going to be covered with itty bitty runes, painted in silver. Well, as you can see, I've managed to accomplish one so far. There it is, the Eye of Isha, in all its glory.

While I do have the undercoat of red pre-mixed in a pot, I wouldn't be able to reproduce this particular shade... as it is the product of several mistakes I made along the way. See, I painted it in silver (as I often do to really create a strong, distinct undercoat), and then something about the coat I covered it in didn't look right, so I painted it in silver again and tried once more. Then, with a touch of Blood Red (from GW) and red ink, it finally came around right. Think I could get that combination again? Not likely.

So this means I have to paint roughly 200 runes and get every one of them perfect. Ha ha. What the hell is wrong with me? Why didn't I just spray this thing black and dry-brush it with boltgun metal?

I must say, by the way, that the rune you're looking at is 75% courtesy of Reaper Mini products. I had some Games Workshop Mithril Silver that was just too thick. After adding some RM flow improver, it loosened up and became useable. Then, with a RM sable brush made for detail, I painted it on. Man, that brush is amazing. It's like working with a felt-tip marker, only sharper.

Don't worry. I don't make any money from Reaper. I don't get any bonuses aside from the occasional gift my friend throws my way. I just really like their products and wish more people knew about them. It's as simple as that.


Tan Lines From Typical Summer Activities.

Thanks, Jeremie. :)



Something of a more personal nature than what you're used to reading here on Hammerblog: I suffer from a somewhat severe case of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, and for the last year or two I've been working to the best of my ability to get it under control. In doing so, I have experienced some victories and some defeats, but I'm always going forward - and that has to be worth something.

Anyhow, the reason that it's relevant to this blog is because I've recently started a new drug. It's called Dilantin. It's not particularly powerful and it has relatively mild side-effects, if any, but my body is definitely adjusting to it. What I'm finding, at present, is that I don't sleep quite right and I have a pretty powerful headache; I can't tell if this is from the drug or if it's from the fact I'm not sleeping quite right... because of the drug. What's particularly difficult is that I'm having some trouble getting my attention to really lock onto something. That might sound odd when you consider that it's ADD I'm trying to overcome, but you see... those who suffer from it not only have a hard time getting focus on something when they want to, but they also have to wrest their attention from certain other things which they cannot ignore. In fact, when "ADD" was first being explored by experts, there was some discussion as to whether or not it should be called Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Surplus Disorder. Often, those who have ADD are able to work without interruption on something for a dozen or more hours without needing a break or feeling fatigued. In fact, last year I painted roughly 2500 points of Eldar over sixty days, thus astonishing my friends who thought, even for a madperson, that was incredibly fast.

So now I find that my ability to paint all night has vanished. If this turns out to be the net effect of Dilantin, I won't stay on it for long.


What The Hell Do I Do With This?

Accidents happen.

That's where we left things on Saturday when I took my two adorable children into an Ottawa market shop that sells various foods and trinkets from the far east. When my back was turned, Dora and Ruth were checking out a statue of a dragon holding a pearl (which is traditionally meant to bring power and wisdom). The next thing I know, it shattered on the floor (and by "shattered" I mean its foot broke off). Neither of them wanted to accept the blame, but I didn't have to be Columbo to realize that it was Dora; her curiosity is stronger than her will, and that's how she's always been.

So now I own a dragon holding a pearl (for the low, low price of $6.99). It's plastic and, for general purposes, quite sturdy (except when dropped several feet from a high shelf).

What the hell should I do with it? I need suggestions.

It's Hard To Fathom The Awesomeness

I have a friend who works at Reaper Mini. In case you don't already know, Reaper makes some of the best fantasy miniatures in the business (yes, rivaling the mighty Games Workshop and, often, surpassing it). What not many people know, however, is that they make absolutely amazing paint. Apparently their lead paint engineer/creator/something used to work for GW and got fed up with the politics there. After moving on to Reaper Mini, she decided to make a series of paints so good that they would positively out-do GW in every way. Having used the Reaper paints somewhat extensively, I can definitely say that this goal was achieved; incredible pigment that seems to cover everything (including traditionally difficult colors like white or yellow), yet light and thin enough that there's no need to add water. There is flow improver mixed directly into the paint (this is a good thing) and it even comes with a tiny skull-shaped agitator in the bottle to mix it more thoroughly when you shake it.

Anyhow, after charming my friend and promising a whole lot of favors I'd really rather not repeat here, he managed to find a way to send these products off to me:
Neutral Colors Triad
Pure Blues Triad
Brush-on Primer
Basic Brush Set
Standard Sable Brush
Detail Sable Brush
Super Detail Sable Brush
Flow Improver
Brush-on Sealer
Silver Metallics Triad
Templar Blue
Breonne Blue
Ashen Blue
Each "triad", by the way, is a trio of bottles which are a light, mid and dark version of the same color (perfect for wet blending, highlighting, you name it). The paint brushes are, supposedly, fantastic (I haven't tried them yet). Anyhow, all I can say is: Rock on, Reaper.

How This Is Gonna Work

First of all, I'm going to try using Blogger's photo hosting service rather than Imageshack.us. I've been getting reports of m4d popups there (as a Mac user I don't have to worry about that), so I'll see how this works instead.

To the right you will see my Scorpion Mark II Superheavy Tank, which is a work in progress at the moment. As of the time of this post, that's all I have done. I have a vision, however, for how I'd like it to look when it's completed: I have done up this very rough sketch of what I have in mind. Though it looks very stiff and lifeless in that particular image, the actual implementation of it will be quite organic and rich (hopefully). I've borrowed some concepts from this, this, and this... guessing that the Eldar would more closely resemble the artists and painters of the far east more than they would the American Military (for instance, warning signs for jet intakes, kill markings, unit designation markers, emphasis on the technological and functional over the style and artistry). I'll be trying to lend that hard script you see in the mockup some of the organic, soft lines and styles of traditional kanji. It's a tall order for someone like me who has never tried kanji in his entire life, but it's what I see in my head... so I've got to be able to make it real somehow, right?

The Eldar see their tanks and war machines as works of art; each an article of artistry and beauty in and of itself (which is one of the reasons, I think, you rarely see Eldar models with battle damage). I felt that their supreme tank, the Engine of Vaul, should look as though it could just as easily hang on someone's wall as a tapestry as much as it could skim the surface of a planet and blow the living bejeezus out of upstart rhinos and predators. It's not going to be an easy job to do this (I'll probably do several painted mockups on CD jewel cases or tissue boxes), but once it's done I think it'll be memorable.

Either that or I'll toss it in the trash and pretend it never happened.


The Lustrous Red Engine Of Vaul

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSilver, Red Gore, Red Ink, Brown Ink, Blood Red (both GW and Reapermini) all went into the red you see in the photo to the side. I finally got it where I need it to be. It's got lots of brush marks in it, there are places where I spilled out onto the white and have to clean that up, and it even chewed up some of the detail. I'm sure it doesn't look like much in the photo... but all of that means nothing. Why? Because I got the tone I wanted and, after sanding the painted area (with a piece of paper and, later, a Kleenex), it is as smooth and glossy as glass. Those were the hard parts to achieve. I can always fix the white or whatever... but if the red is wrong then the whole thing is wrong. Luckily... the red is far from wrong. In fact, it's perfect. Just where I want it. Now I can move on to the next phase because the red is plain old fantastic.

I'm very happy.


Attack Of The Quint'Aan

Last night I hosted two games at my home, both against Quint'Aan (also known as Bill). Bill plays a Chaos Undivided army he has named "The Black Storm", and is something of a legend in the Ottawa area. Known for his obsessive-compulsive gaming prowess and, at the same time, his laid-back demeanor, Bill is one of the first people I ever played 40k against. Lately he's been much more interested in Epic (Games Workshop's game of gigantic scale warfare which uses miniatures much smaller than 40k), but he dipped a toe back into 40k for the purposes of this particular battle.

Before I discuss the games, I'd like to first apologize for the quality of the photos. For some reason my camera goes stupid in my kitchen. I believe it's the lighting or some such, but I just can't seem to get a nice, crisp focus when I want it. The nine shots below are the best of over sixty shots I actually took. A bit of a let down, but you can still get the sense of what was happening on that nice, big, reddish brown table I have spent so much time talking about.

The first of our two games was a 2000 point secure-and-control game at gamma level. Now, I have a few things to explain about my own approach that I'm not exactly proud of: Basically, I took a completely goobed-out mechanized Biel Tan list. The main and over-arching reason I took this list (consisting of five tanks and three vypers) is because I've been going so anti-tank for quite a while now in an effort to try to wean myself off of the powerful Eldar skimmers and refocus my skills on tactics and strategy over simple brute force and near-indestructable armor. The second reason I took this list is because if there's anyone who would know how to disassemble it, bolt by bolt, it'd be Bill. He's an experienced Eldar player and has been for many, many years before I even started playing. He knows every move, every tactic and every approach (save for one, which I describe below).

Having said all this, Bill did not do well. To be honest, his dice rolling was pure garbage... ones and twos over and over again (except when it was time for leadership checks). I did fight awfully hard to stay out of harm's way, but by turn three it was pretty clear that he simply wasn't going to get a foothold. He just resigned himself to getting a king-sized smackdown and, shortly after, conceded. I realized that - just as I have been thinking for a long time - a heavily mechanized Eldar list of any kind is going to be nearly impossible to beat and demands a perfect game from your opponent just to give them a chance. The passing of time did not even slightly affect my memory of how that list works and why it is I left it behind. Bill suggested that we try another game, and I was fine with that; we'd done everything we could with the Biel Tan feeding frenzy and we were both craving something more nourishing.

The second game I played my standard Ulthwe Strike Force list against him, and I got to pick the mission. I chose Seek And Destroy, as it's what my USF force is best at, and again we played at gamma level. Now USF is not like mechanized Biel Tan. Anyone who knows anything about Eldar will tell you this; it's more of a list of things you can't do or have than things you can. You can take no skimmer tanks whatsoever, you must start with half your force in reserve, you cannot take Wraithguard or Wraithlords, you must take a Seer Council, you can only take a single unit of Aspect Warriors (save for Dark Reapers) and if you lose a leadership test for any reason, you retreat off the table, regardless of whether your unit is over half strength or not. The up side? All your Guardians are Black Guardians, and both they and all their vehicles (War Walkers, Vypers) are all BS4. This one small change in the Eldar list makes Ulthwe Strike Force an extremely powerful and potent army, but it takes work and practice to "get the hang of it". I also added Eldrad Ulthran to the Seer Council, boosting its collective points value to roughly 750.

Though I smacked Bill down with a fury in the second game, it was not like the first. Bill half-smirked his way through the first game, shaking his head in resignation and wearing the expression of "I knew this was going to happen from the get-go". With USF, it was a complete surprise. Two full squads of Dark Reapers and three War Walkers, all armed with Star Cannons, unleashed themselves into the Black Storm without mercy. Bolstered by several castings of Guide from the Seer Council, twenty Reaper Launchers (Str5, AP3) and eighteen Star Cannons (Str6, AP2) turned two squads into confetti right from the outset. Bill was so very not expecting that. You see, his own attempts at playing USF a while back were abortive - as they are for many people; the right combination of ingredients in your list and their extremely deliberate usage are vitally important to success and it takes several dismal failures to get the knack.

Bill's reaction wasn't so resigned in the second game. There was some jaw-dropping when he saw what USF - an army you rarely see on the table - could accomplish. Now, I am hoping that a second bloody massacre didn't dampen his spirits too much (as his troops started dying like flies he mumbled about being impatient to get back to playing Epic) because I really enjoyed being able to show Bill something he hadn't seen before. That's not something that happens much when playing against the Quint'Aan... so I will tuck this cool memory away for safe keeping.

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Pity The People Whom I Love

Using this as a reference base, I've come up with something which perfectly describes how I interact with my friends and family.


Thread: Locked

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usEldar Online. I dislike it and there's a plethora of excellent reasons why. Some are just a matter of personal taste, like how I find a lot of the topics to be rather repetitive (i.e. "What's the best craftworld?", "What's the best aspect?", "What's the best Phoenix Lord?", etc). I don't hold that against anyone, however; I've been known to ask a lot of stupid questions in my life, so I can't exactly point a finger at someone else.

Another reason is that I find it sometimes smacks of the condescending argumentative nature which defines Dakkadakka; it's not unusual to have one person telling another that their idea, their painting, their army list or whatever is "useless", "pointless" or some other perjorative adjective. I find that unneccesary. Dakka is much worse, but EO still has that problem (I'm a lot more frustrated when it's the admins who are doing it, as they should know better). I very sincerely believe that if admins aren't cultivating an atmosphere of encouragement and mutual support, then their forum is going to have nothing to offer either novice or experienced players; it'll just be a matter of sumo wrestling between over-inflated egos.

The main reason that I dislike EO, however, is that the admins are positively thread-lock-happy. If there's one thing that turns me off, it's admins who lock threads down for the flimsiest of reasons. Locking a thread is your last option for getting a completely out-of-control discussion in hand; first you guide, warn, encourage... whatever it takes to get the discussion going in a good direction. I'm also a believer that unless a discussion is a) encouraging illegal activity or b) somehow interfering with other peoples' ability to enjoy the forums, that an admin should stay out of it (as the head admin of a large online forum, I have given this much thought). I go to EO, pull up a random part of the forums, and see something like the pic to the right (go ahead and click it). I just shake my head in disappointment; for a nation that has an irrational obsession with free speech, people sure like locking the clamps on other peoples' desire to talk.

I'm going to talk to one of the admins about it, because I do think EO is a really great resource in a lot of ways. I am not interested in going onto EO and posting publicly about my thoughts, as that's just trying to stir up trouble. I'll just make my points here on my little blog that no-one reads.

Anyhow. Back to Deep Space for me.


What? Did you run out of all your other paint or something?

When I was recently reading this, a thought came to my mind: I don't like pink Genestealers.

I do love the idea of Space Hulk, though. If you get a chance to check out that whole article, do so.