Thursday, August 20, 2009

Change to plans and a Feedback Request

So I thought I was going to be in Seattle this week, but things did not work out that way. Since my Seattle work trip was cancelled, I decided to join my family on vacation in NH. I love the fact I can do my job remotely and be just as effective!

So, the larger purpose of this blog entry is a request for feedback.I finally received the final scores from the tournament referenced in my previous post. The organizer was also kind enough to send me the scoring criteria used for each of the areas. I will have to wait for a full picture of my army before getting feedback on the Overall Army, but in the interim I would love your feedback on the model I submitted for painting and conversion. First I will post pictures from 4 angles, then will post the criteria. Please provide me your opinion of how you would score the model, and some feedback on why you choose each score. I am very interested in improving my overall scoring for future events.

Warp Spider Exarch from the Front

Warp Spider Exarch from the Right

Warp Spider Exarch from the left

Warp Spider Exarch from the back

The scoring criteria is as follows. Assume a 0 score for the subjective:

For painting, it was 0-4 subjective, and 1 for each of:
  • 3 color minimum
  • clean lines
  • details
  • masterful details
  • shading
  • clean shading
  • masterful shading
  • freehand
  • flawless freehand
  • subjective
Conversion was a little different, a rating of 1-4 in each category of ...
  • extent of conversion
  • craftsmanship (clean, gaps not greenstuffed / etc.)
  • aesthetics (pleasing to the eye, believable pose, etc.)
  • ingenuity (concept and execution)
  • humor (not just comedic; blending with the overall army theme, etc.)

So, I understand I likely score myself higher than judges would (thus I want wider feedback)!. Here is how I would score each area:
For painting, it was 0-4 subjective, and 1 for each of:
  • 3 color minimum: 1
  • clean lines: 1
  • details: 1
  • masterful details: 0
  • shading: 1
  • clean shading: 0
  • masterful shading: 0
  • freehand: 0
  • flawless freehand: 0
  • subjective: 0
Total: 4 points (~41%)
Conversion was a little different, a rating of 1-4 in each category of ...
  • extent of conversion :4
  • craftsmanship (clean, gaps not greenstuffed / etc.): 3
  • aesthetics (pleasing to the eye, believable pose, etc.): 4
  • ingenuity (concept and execution): 3
  • humor (not just comedic; blending with the overall army theme, etc.): 4
Total: 18 (~90%)

My scoring from the tourney was:

26. Bill Anderson, Eldar: 1-3
  • 63% sportsmanship
  • 25% victory points
  • 18% kp
  • 41% army
  • 30% convert
  • 23% paint
  • 2.25 rating

As you can see, my painting was in line with their scoring, I assume they did not score a point for shading. My conversion score was way off how I was scored. Essentially, the only way to come to a 30% was to score a 2 in a single category, and a 1 in all the rest. For those interested, the army scoring was as follows:

For Army Score, 0-1 points for (again assume 0 for subjective):
  • Army is fully painted to a 3-color minimum
  • Painting is uniform across the army
  • Clean basecoat
  • Army is based
  • Bases are painted and flocked
  • Details are painted (eyes, guns, etc.)
  • Details are masterfully painted
  • Highlights/shading discernible
  • Highlights/shading clean
  • Highlights/shading masterful
  • Well-conceived conversions / additional painting of key models
  • Extreme army conversions
  • Army is possessed of a clear theme
  • Subjective (up 1 - 4 points)
So, please provide your feedback. I am on vacation for the next week but plan to get some painting done while out of town. I brought some moonscape craters and a blastscape package with me and aim to paint it up before getting back home. I also owe pictures of the tank bases (I have 2 painted up and 1 in process).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bitter and Salty - Need to improve my hobby

Its been a rough month since the last post, and I am working to push through and find the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Since the last post I have:
  1. Started on the Lentrel Prime campaign at the local GW
  2. Played in a 4 round (1 day) outdoor tournament
  3. Started painting my Tank Bases and Magnetizing my Tanks

Today reached the middle of Round 1, Week 2 for Lentrel Prime. So far I am 1 win, 3 ties for a record, and my Hero has died 3 times. My 5th game against Jay (an opponent I enjoy playing) was not able to complete due to store closing, so we will revisit the battle on Friday.

I also attended the SGi Outdoor Charity Tournament in Franconia VA last weekend. This tourney was 1 day, 4 rounds, played outdoors with a mini cookout (hot dogs, burgers, soda, water). The idea of an outdoor tourney is something I really appreciate. I ended going 0 wins, 1 tie, 3 losses for the days record. Through the day I played Tau, Nid-Zilla, Space Wolves, and IG.

This brings the armies total record to 3 wins / 12 losses / 5 draws.

I found myself in a strange situation leaving the tourney on Saturday night. I was extremely "salty" over the tourney and not making "consideration" in any of the additional categories. The awards given out at the tourney were:
  • Renaissance Man (Overall)
  • Win At All Costs (Record + VP/KP/Sportsmanship)
  • Heart of Gold (Sportsmanship)
  • Greater Than the Sum (Army Theme/Paint/Convert)
  • Well Beyond Crayola (Best Painted Model)
  • A Miniature Frankenstein (Best Converted Model)
  • If Mission Didn't Matter (Highest Battle Score Sans Record)
Clearly with my record I did not make it close to the first two awards. In fact, I ended up 26th out of 29 total players. Not a big deal there, I have lost Tournaments worse and still enjoyed the games.

I feel that I am a good sport when it comes to gaming, and especially tournaments. I am not a "joker", putting on a show during a game and I focus on the game while playing. At the same time I think I am fairly easy going, open to quick and friendly dispute resolution, and really out for making a game enjoyable. In the past I have won best sports in a couple tourneys I have attended, and generally rank highly. Not getting an award here did not bother me much as there were several great sportsmen at this tourney, and the scoring was a bit different. What did surprise me (after the fact) was that I only scored 63% on my sports score, which means I came in a solid average game for all 4 of my opponents.

Painting, I am very aware that I am no where near a Golden Daemon painter. The model that won best painted was a beautiful Wraithlord model and looked fantastic. I thought that I may have a chance to make final cut here as there were several unpainted armies, but I did see at least 3 other armies I thought looked very nice on the painting. A little salt but nothing overwhelming.

What really hit me hard was "Greater Than the Sum" and "A Miniature Frankenstein". I did not even make final consideration for these two categories. I found that this really started getting under my skin after the tourney, putting me in a fairly foul mood overall. For conversion, I entered my Warp Spider Exarch (see below) and thought it would at least make consideration for the award.

Especially when compared to the stock Warp Spider Exarch:

In addition to that, I did not make consideration for the Army theme award. This surprised me as I had groups of people at my table during 2 different games commenting on my models, my army, and my overall army theme. Each time there were judges in these groups and in my first game some of the spectators even went and brought other people over to look.

Even now I do not want this to be complete sour grapes. The winner of the best converted is a blog that I follow: Tau of War and his model is very nice. (See Old Shatterhands here) I do think his conversion is very good and do not take anything away from him winning the trophy, it is well deserved.

Overall, I find myself in a very discouraged and bitter state of mind toward the hobby. I certainly need to improve at my game, as I am growing tired of losing. There is only 1 game from the tourney where I can clearly identify where things went badly, and I made big mistakes in that game. The other games just did not go my way, but I was tabled in 1 and nearly tabled in the second.

As for painting, I know some of the areas I need to improve on my painting. Slow down and use thinner layers is a big one. When it comes to conversions and theme, I am at a loss. One rumor I heard was that all the armies that made consideration for Theme at the tourney had display boards. This is something I will need to put time into. Outside of that I am unclear how to improve this area of the hobby and that disappoints me with the effort and energy I have put in.

At this point I am continuing to plug along and trying to pull out of my funk. I am playing in the campaign games and will be taking my army to Seattle with me (hope to get some games at the Seattle Bunker next week). In addition, it looks like I will be headed over to London for a business trip during September. I play to take a day and head up to Warhammer World in Nottingham while I am there. At a minimum I will down a pint of Bugman's XXX XXX, get a mug, and pick up the Bugman's exclusive model.

For those reading regularly, I mentinoed in an earlier post some outstanding items I would be putting up. Two of those (My time with the DLT crew) and (Games Day Chicago Review) are going to be summarized and skipped.

For the DLT guys, they are a great group of guys! I look forward to syncing up with them next time I am in Chicago and will probably be going to Adepticon next year, partially to hang out with the guys again. For those interested in podcasts, I crashed onto their podcast while I was in town. Listen here: Dice Like Thunder Episode 50.

Overall Chicago Games day was as good as Baltimore Games Day from 2 years ago. It was not great but was far-far-far better than Baltimore Games Day this year (2009). This is both promising and disappointing to me. Promising in that GW admitted (in a round about way) they made mistakes with Toronto and Baltimore, but disappointing in that Baltimore was so bad and Chicago seems to be on the decline.

Lastly, pictures will be slow between today and the end of September. I will get them up as I am able but work travel will be impacting my hobby time over the next 6 weeks. I am currently working on my Tank bases, and my objective markers. My plans are to focus on my Avatar, Wraithlord, Dire Avengers, and 4th Wave Serpent as my next projects. Even though this is not listed to the left, those projects listed over there may slip behind these. I also have some Blastscape terrain I plan to paint up.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lentrel Prime - Round 1 Week 1 Game 1

*Image from Deviant Art.

Tuesday I had my first game of the Lentrel Prime Campaign at the local GW store. I played an ork player (Ryan), who is building his army modeled on WazDakka and has named his army "Hell's highwaaaggh".

Rules and highlights for the campaign are here. My list for the game was:

List for the game:

Autarch (Mandiblasters, WJG, Power Weapon, Fusion Gun)


9x Dire Avengers
w/ Dire Avenger Exarch (Bladestorm, 2x Avenger SC)
w/ Wave Serpent (Spirit Stones, SCan, TL Bright Lances)
9x Dire Avengers
w/ Dire Avenger Exarch (Bladestorm, 2x Avenger SC)
w/ Wave Serpent (Spirit Stones, SCan, TL Missile Launchers)

9x Warpspiders
w/ Warp Spider Exarch (Withdraw, Powerblades, 2x Deathspinner)

His list was:
Boss on bike

16x Ork Boyz w/ big shoota

16x Ork Boyz w/ big shoota

3x Bikes and Nob Bike w/ Power Klaw

3x Bikes and Nob Bike w/ Power Klaw

6x Nobs w/ Klaws and eavy Armor
Nob w/ Klaw, eavy Armor, and Waaagah Banner
Painboy w/ cybork body
Truck (Dedicated Transport) w/ Ram and red paint

The game went well overall. We had Dawn of War setup, with 2 turns of Night fight and a Seize Ground objective mission with 4 objectives. I started with 1 Serpent (Missiles) and 1 DA squad on the table, and got first turn. He started with his Boss in a unit of bikes, hidden in a building on the back side of his table, along with a second unit of bikes on the board at the mid-point. Objectives were scattered around the middle of the table, with 1 in a forest at the table mid-point (to my left), 1 in a building in the middle rear of my deployment, 1 in the middle of the board (in the open) and 1 in trees to my right, just over the line of his deployment zone.

The game was fairly straight forward. I scooted around the board and shot the serpents, aiming for his bikes moving toward me. My spiders came in and attacked 2 squads of boyz on the objective to my right. His nobs moved onto the board, lost their truck, and walked into the trees to my left to sit on that objective.

On the first turn I made my night-fight rolls and wiped out his entire bike squad minus the Nob. Over the next 2 turns I blew up the Nobz Truk and continued to be chased by the Nob on Bike. Finally, the Nob caught one of the serpents (Bright Lance) and actually scored a penetrating hit, causing it to explode. This left 7 Dire Avengers and the Exarch sitting near the ruin at the middle of the board (with the objective) staring at a Nob on Bike. I have to point out at this point that Ryan is a new player. I conducted my movement, shifting the DA toward the objective, then declared I would blade storm with that squad at the remaining Nob on Bike. Ryan looked at me and asked "Blade storm? Whats that, I am not familiar with Eldar." I took the time to play out my dice and explain how blade storm worked, and what the rolls were for shooting. It was fairly amusing to watch his reaction as he looked at that and then at the dice I Was laying out each turn for the Spiders. Ryan was a great sport and the game was very enjoyable, even after he learned the lesson about Eldar Torrent of Fire.

At the end of turn 5 I held the middle objective and the objective in the ruins on my side of the table. Ryan had 1 unit of boyz on bikes and his Boss remaining, hiding in the building at the back of the table. He also had his Nobz on foot in the trees on 1 objective, while my spiders were on the other side of the board, in trees, on the other objective. We rolled, and the game ended up continuing through not only turn 6 but also turn 7. Ryan did a good job (with some advice from me and another store player) of maneuvering his bikes and nobz to assure a tie game, contesting both objectives I held.

Overall, an excellent game and I believe Ryan learned a couple things. He is a good player and an excellent sport. He is a welcome addition to the hobby and the group that plays locally.

To Date Eldar Game Record: 2-8-3

As this is a campaign, the tie ended up with both of us keeping our "Catalysts" and each of us awarding a veteran skill to one unit. I chose my Wave Serpent with EML and rolled on the Veteran table. I ended up with a Serpent that now ignores Shaken results on the damage table. This will certainly make things interesting moving forward.

My son and I are headed out Friday to play more games. He has his orks and will get his first campaign games in while I will be hunting for a win, an elite or HQ catalyst, and additional veteran abilities.

History of the Dead Tau Project

*Original Biel-Tan Craftworld Eldar Army

So I have fielded a number of questions lately about the Dead Tau Project. Several of these are along the lines of "Why do you hate the Tau so much?" Based on this and the feedback I have received as I explain the story, I thought it would be good to post a little history up on the blog. I will also use this as a little history about my GW gaming experience.

So we start by looking way back to May 2004. Here I was, a "normal" Table top role-player running a D&D game from my house. A couple friends of mine who were playing in the game invited me to a "Gaming Convention" called Games Day. I had heard of Games Workshop years before (2nd edition Screamer Killer Carnifex?) and based on their urging, figured what the hell. Games Day blew my mind! I knew I was not very artistic and also not terribly interested in painting, but holy shit this hobby was incredible.

*Swooping Hawks

So, over the next 6 months I began to poke around with the hobby. Trevor and his wife Jen started building their armies, Tau and Witch Hunters respectively. I was not convinced what I wanted to play, testing out Necrons, Tyranids, and Eldar. Toward the end of the 6 months I found myself playing Eldar more and more, in addition to drifting toward Craft World eldar, specifically Biel-Tan. Then came January 2005, when I found an Eldar Aspect army online (ebay) and bought it. This fit my needs (at the time) perfectly, with a full army mostly painted that I could play with. This is the army pictured above.

So, this started my term of playing Eldar. Nearly 100% of my games were against Trevor and Jen, so I got lots of experience with WH and Tau. In fact, the larger percentage of the games were against Trevors Tau. After a time the decision was made to retire the Eldar force and switch to Tyranids. I love my Eldar but it was the correct choice to make. This playing time happened after 4th edition rolled around.

*Scorpions - I never left home without them

Then the announcement was made that the Eldar would be coming out with new models and a new codex. This excited me and I loved the new model's being released. I made a decision to rebuild an Eldar force, and started buying models. Toward the end of 2007 I also started playing around with WHFB, with a Goblin army and a Dwarf army. After making a big push to put together a 2250 painted Dwarf army for a GT, I decided I embrace the entire hobby, painting and modeling customizations onto my Eldar army once I got underway.

Through 2007 I had been playing my Tyranids when playing 40K. I had modeled a unit of flying Warriors, and had the idea to build them as diorama's battling my daughters pink marines. With some help we modeled up some great scenes, which I really liked. This provided fantastic inspiration for customizations to my Eldar army.

*I loved my first Wraithlord. I even repainted him myself

Thus, starting January 2008 I started this blog and also started building my new Eldar force. The idea (look back at post #1) has stayed true, although my model choices have changed over the past 18 months.

So, do I hate Tau? Nope, not at all. Tau were my first regular opponent and I thought it would be fun to model up a theme of Eldar in combat with the Tau for my army. It seems to have worked well and I receive compliments often. Interspersed through this post are pictures of my original Eldar army. Painting was just ok, and I am much happier with my own painting and modeling. As a note, I recently resold this original army on Ebay. With luck, the new owner will become as excited as I am about the Eldar and will gain their own inspiration!

*Rangers - these were some of the best painted models in the army.

*My Multi-colored Falcons...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Heading to Seattle, WA

I will be headed out to Seattle Washington for business in a couple week (August 19 & 20) and am looking forward to the trip. I took a similar trip last year around this same time and it was great! The picture above is from that last trip.

In addition to looking forward to the trip, I just received confirmation that I have a shipment coming from Battlefoam! This should be my new army case, which means I can bring my Eldar with me on the trip. I know I have some readers from the Seattle area, so I hope to get some games in. I will be at a business dinner Wednesday night, but would love to play a game or two on Thursday. afternoon is possible. I am on the red-eye out of Seattle @ 10pm, so plan to stop by the Seattle bunker in the afternoon.

Shoot me an email or a message if you are in the area and can play a game Thursday afternoon at the Bunker!

Battle for Lentrel Prime - 40K Campaign

*Image from Deviant Art.

As I made a quick mention to in an earlier post, the group at my local GW is running a 40K campaign that I will be playing in. The campaign is an 8 week, 4 round escalation campaign, scaling from 1000 points to 2000 points in 250 point increments. Each round will be 2 weeks long. In addition to escalation, the campaign also uses Catalysts that are risked each round and veteran abilities.

Initial force org is:
  • 1HQ (required as a named hero, no Codex named characters)
  • 1 Elite
  • 6 Troops (2 required)
  • 1 Fast
  • 1 Heavy
Catalysts can add force slots to expand this.

For the campaign, everyone had to create a hero for thier army that must be used in all games. Several participants also wrote a small piece of fluff to introduce thier army and hero. Here is my opening for the campaign:

Army Fluff Name: Biel Tan
Codex: Eldar

Hero's name:Autarch A'thiar
Hero's codex applicable name: Autarch
Base point cost: 70
War Gear: Total cost: 55
    Power Sword - 10
    Fusion Gun - 10
    Mandiblaster - 10
    Warp Jump Generator - 25

Autarch A'thiar stormed away from the robed group clustered around the wraithbone stand. Mentally he reviewed which of his squads he could split from thier primary mission to dedicate to this new task. How could the farseer's expect him to divert resources to this Mon-Kiegh world while he was in the middle of the campaign to suppress the current pollution of the maiden worlds? He understood his forces were closest to this "Lentrel Prime" imperial world via Webway, but the Mon-Keigh Tau were increasing thier push through this sector! A'thiar had to believe the farseers had forseen an impact to his current campaign, and that was why this diversion was presented.

A'thiar nodded to the two Dire Avenger Exarchs snapping to attention as he left the Wraithbone chamber. "Prepare your squads, you will join me in the first wave. Full load on the Serpents, and retrofit the lances as we should expect anything." Each exarch snapped a crisp salute and turned to begin preparing their squads and transports. A'thiar centered himself and quieted the anger in his soul as he prepared to enter the warp. With a thought, he activated his Warp Jump Generator and stepped into the warp, quickly traveling to meet with the Warp Spider Exarch. As the air snapped, filling the vacuum left by the Autarch's jump, the Exarch's glanced at each other. The mon-keigh would learn well the meaning of a swordwind!


and my army list for round 1:

Bill Anderson - Biel-Tan Craftworld Eldar

3: Relic of Light. Your Hero counts as having defensive grenades.
6: Tank Depot. Gain 1 Heavy Support Slot.

Week 1 - 1000pts
HQ - Autarch A'thiar w/ Power weapon, Fusion gun, Mandiblasters, WJG - 125pts

Troops - Dire Avengers (9 + Exarch) - 307pts
    Exarch - Blade Storm, 2x ShuriCat
    Wave Serpent - Stones, ShuriCan, TL-Bright Lance
Troops - Dire Avengers (9 + Exarch) - 292pts
    Exarch - Blade Storm, 2x ShuriCat
    Wave Serpent - Stones, ShuriCan, TL- Missile Launcher
Fast - Warp Spiders (8 + Exarch) - 262pts
    Exarch - Power blades, 2x Death Spinner, Withdraw
Total: 986

Today is my first game, we will see how things go. It looks like I will be playing on Tuesdays (when not traveling) and then again on Fridays. My son is playing his orks, so I will be bringing him out on Fridays to get in Campaign games.