Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Game Clubs

Game Clubs…how cool are they? I read an interesting article on BoLS ( the author is Strictly Average) that got me thinking about game clubs and what it takes for them to be successful. You could carry on that statement by defining what is successful. Since getting back into the hobby I have had a chance to get acquainted with many gaming clubs and some of the philosophies behind them. Now the Blade ‘n’ Bolter Boyz will feature heavily here just cause it is the one I am a member of. The purpose here is to spark conversation and look at your own groups for the purposes of bettering your game club. The BnB may even see some things that can be improved on.

What is a gaming club?
Game clubs to me are guys and gals who all have a similar interest in a particular game. Could be chess, Dungeons and Dragons, Warhammer 40k etc, etc. It does not have to be just one game, it could be a multitude of games or just a particular genre. Whatever it is, this group of people comes together on fairly regular basis to play the game they love. For the BnB it is a multitude of various games but 40k is the predominate one. It stands above all others. Thursday nights at the Game Keep might as well be BnB 40k night.

Are you a fun club, serious club or both?
Fun clubs are just that…fun. They get together for a good time of hanging out throwing dice playing with their new and cool unit whether it works, is cost effective or spammed out. These are the guys that build the “fluff armies” and could care less about tournaments. They may have T-Shirts for going to conventions but all in all they are there to play and have fun. They will create whacky scenarios or recreate famous battles they read in the codex. Good fun for certain.

The serious clubs are the tournament heavy players. These guys build the min-maxed internet insanity. Hell they are probably the ones posting the internet insanity. They have read all of the theoryhammer and mathhammer and can probably quote it to you whether you ask or not. They have the games shirts, the banners, the club dice (sound like anyone). They may have their own website or blog; some may even run their own tournament. Some may even go so far as to have a governing body or leadership of some type.

And then there is the muddy middle ground that a lot of clubs seem to fit into. They play for fun and for tournaments. They have all cool stuff like the shirts and the dice. They have players that are perfectly happy recreating the battle for Macragge as they are testing their latest tournament list. I think many clubs probably fall into the “both” category.

So what makes your club successful?
Here is where the rubber meets the road. How do you get a club to last and be productive in the gaming community? What is success and how your club defines it will contribute to everyone’s enjoyment. For some clubs, success is defined by winnings. How often their members win tournaments, how many members place in the top ten of a tournament. For some it could be growth. How often they bring in new members. How successful their very own tournament is. It could even be how popular their website or blog is. All of these things can contribute to the success or failure of a game club.

For me, the defining thing within a club that will make it last forever is nothing more than friendship. Without this your club will last only so long as your definition for success will allow for it too. Many do not realize this but the Blade n Bolter Boyz have been around for almost 20 years. The original core group of friends that started the BnB are still together. We now have about 20 or so members. We have everything in our game club. Guys who love to build terrain, hardcore tournament players, fluff and fun players, master painters (even a golden demon winner) guys who can talk rules like Supreme Court justices. We have contacts in the game that span the globe and yet we can all get together and throw some dice at any given time. But what makes us work is friendship. We can blast the crap out of each other and argue till we are blue in the face but come Thursday it is time to play. Some of the best times at the Keep have not been playing 40k (though killing Angarath was close)but standing in the parking lot till 2 in the morning talking about everything imagineable, the whole time bemoaning that we have to be up early that morning.

What kills the game club?
Game clubs come and they go. We are just now getting several strong clubs in the Tennessee that are really into the game and into growing it. We have a couple of shops in the state that are huge for promoting 40k growing the scene here. The future looks bright. All it takes though is a one or a combination of things and the club is toast.

Things like a bad LGS. If the store sucks and no one plays there where are you gonna play? How are you gonna get your fix for your addiction of choice. A place to buy and a place to play are critical. In Cookeville, the locals had had enough with their cheesy game store so one guy built a building in his back yard for the purpose of providing a place to play to all the local gamers.

Direction and compromise. If you have tourney players and fluff players and neither is willing compromise on what gaming is going on then the fist fight should ensue immediately. A good club should be able to do both…together. We have many that can throw down some stuff for whatever suits us at the time. We have a few that cannot turn off the tourney portion of their psyche and we forgive them for it. It is all about playing the game. One is not better than other. There are days I want to play my tourney list and there are days I just want to play.

Personalities. Let’s face it we are all nerds to one degree or another. We have strong personalities and sometimes our nerdness can be too much to handle. All it takes is for one douchebag to be allowed to run rampant and your club is done. Clubs have to police themselves. The guys were talking recently about a team from North Carolina who consisted of 4 really nice guys and 1 complete jackass. If you are being a jackass and you represent my game club then yeah there will be a talk. I feel bad for those 4 guys because that is a part of how they will be remembered by everyone who played them.

So there is my take on gaming clubs. I am sure there is stuff that I did not touch on and I am sure that there are plenty of clubs that do not fit what I have discussed. Look at this and then look at your club. What do you like, what do you dislike, what would you change? All valid questions that need answers. Just remember to keep things in perspective. This is a game and we all enjoy playing it. Game clubs are great and are a lot of fun but if taken too seriously they can kill all the fun in the game. Nobody wants that.

Blade ‘n’ Bolter Forever!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ATC - The Aftermath

Here's a break down of how we did - my compadre's can add details about their matchups.

Our team:

Al - Wolves
Matt - Black Templar
Greg - Dark Angels
Brian - Space Marines
Dung - Chaos

Round #1 was against Chicago Kamikaze's (some of Greg's Peeps from Chi-town). Matchups came out pretty good. I was Champion and played a Mech-Eldar list. Guy was a good player - we danced around but his speed killed me at the end - as did a bad round of armor saves from pathfinders on my Termies (5 died to shooting - and they all had Storm Shields). He contests everything with hulls on last turn - I fail miserably to take any of them down (3 melta's - Two Cyclones, and HTH with Logan and a termy against various and sundry hulls - nothing happens). Sigh...I lose 5 to 25.  As a team we draw with them basically 70 pts to 80 pts.

Round #2 - against 4 really cool guys and the biggest A-hole I've ever met at a tourney from North Carolina. Matchups for us went perfect - with the most favorables going our way. I matched up against the other team captain running Blood Angel. We had an AWESOME game - tactically dancing around the objectives. I win KP's, he wins Seize Ground, and we draw on C&C. Rest of the team rocks - we win 120 to 30 if memory serves.

My buddy Dung'er got to play a real piece of work in this game - constantly question rules - and never right, asking people about the rules and when the answers weren't what he wanted to hear - yelling at us to stay out of his game, extremely belligerent - dropping F-bombs, telling us to F'off and stay out of his game, then asking more questions a minute later. The rest of the tourney the other guys on the team kept apologizing for this guy - saying they barely knew him and he was a friend of one of their guys that the rest had never met before. The other guys were really good dude's though. I had a blast with the guy I played and would play him again any time.

Round #3 - another team from NC. Matchups are a total flip flop from last round - nothing favorable. I wound up with a Mech Kan/Dread wall - that I thought I had down ok - but failed to stop him from getting into my lines. I pull a zero. Solid guy to play - I took my beating like a man - shook his hand and wished him luck. Rest of our guys follow suit - except for Swanson who takes 25 and one other getting 5 pts (can't remember who) - we fall on our swords for 30 - 120 point loss.

Round #4 - draw some fella's from Alabama (Jeff O'Neil and friends who knew a lot of our guys). Matchups go so-so. I draw a Chaos Dual Lash. We duke it out at range as he closes. It's a touch and go match - looking like a draw/loss for me going into turn 5. At bottom - I run termies to contest an object in SG, Run squad to contest his objective in C&C, Snipe a demone prince with Jaws, Logan smacks a Rhino for a KP. I'm up on all vp's - but probably can't hold them if it continues. He rolls a one and Game ends - poor guy is in shock that he went from at least 15 pts to zero. Good solid guy - fun game. Can't remember how the rest went but we scored around 90 overall I think to 60 for them.

It's been a long/hot tiring day - we go grab a few beers and chow - continue the BS'ing and making fun of Matt.

Round #5 Sunday Morning - we draw the WC-East team - Solid team of Parker, Cauley, Poole, Delgado, and Migliano. Match ups are rough for us. I draw Brian Delgado (who I hadn't met before) and Blood Angels. Again one of the most fun games for me in recent memory. I have early hand at beginning dropping Stormravens with ML's. We have a big HTH with Termies and DC that was epic. At end I have the SG's, He has KP's and C&C. 10 to 20 loss for me but I get a few points. Overall round was bad for us - think we pulled around 30 points to 120 for them. Was our back breaker. They go on to play for first place - we fall from the rankings.

Round #6 - We are playing against some guys from Alabama - the same guys that BikeNinja and I played in the doubles at Supremacy in Round #1 and their friends. Match ups go pretty well for us - with me facing a rough BA list (the guy who ran Demon's in Supremacy). We had a good game - he's a solid player and was cool to play. We dance and duke it out - semi-close game - but at the end I fail to damage anything (in the last three rounds I had 13 melta/Tank Hunter ML's shots on light armor - I did nothing more than stun for damage - I SUCK). My feeble attempt to achieve a draw on SG fails when I immobilize myself when moving a Rhino up to take an Opjective. I pull a zero. Rest of the guys do pretty well - I think we get around 90 points or so.

So all this brings us to 8th overall. But this was a GREAT format and a ton of fun. Hard fought games against a bunch of great players. It was hotter than hades without Air in the room - that's my only major complaint.

Oh yeah....Brian and I won the doubles tournament. My ride on his coat tails continues!  I'll do another post on that one.

Was a blast to hang with my buddies, talk a lot of gaming geekiness and general BS, and not worry about a lot. Wish I hadn't let my team down battle wise as much as I did. Already looking forward to this next year. Was great to get to know Greg better and he fit in great with our crowd. Our team will be back next year hopefully and will improve.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

ATC Tournament This Weekend

This weekend the Blade and Bolter Boyz will be sending two teams to the America's Team Championship tournament in Chattanooga at the Seige convention. 

Really looking forward to this event - going with a pretty solid team of myself, Corwindal, Sabote, Dung Trihn, and Greg Swanson (buddy from Chi Town).

Army lists and registrations fee's are done - a little finalization to a a couple squads - and we are good to go.  Still noodling on how we want to run the Champions Mechanic for our team.

Here are the rules for the tourney:

5 Member Teams / 40 Team Maximum Capacity.
Every Member on the Team Must use a different Codex Army.
2000 Points per player.
Maximum 1 Special or 1 Named Character per Army List.

6 Games ( 4 - Saturday 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.)( 2 - Sunday 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

No Painting or Composition Scores. Although Painting Quality is not a factor in the overall score, Armies must be painted to a minimum 3 colors and bases must be painted or flocked. Any Army not meeting these requirements will suffer a significant penalty to their overall Team score.


Sportsmanship will be taken into account. Sportsmanship is always a very important factor in all of our events. We are playing a game (supposedly for fun) and any unsportsmanlike behavior will not be tolerated. Sportsmanship will be a factor each game in the overall scoring (not a huge amount, but enough to matter) and any low scores each game will be reviewed by the judges and players to ensure that the system is not being abused or that you received a low score because you hurt someones feelings because you beat them! There will be a reasonable warning system and a "Slow Play" system in effect as well.

Trophies will be given for Best Painted, Best Sportsmanship, Best General, Best Team (each member will be rewarded a trophy) and Best Theme.

The Mission (So Far):

Each round will be 2.5 hours of game play plus an additional 30 mins for TeamCaptains to pair off their players against each other.

How Pairing will Work:

EACH Round, After teams have been paired against each other by the Tournament Judges, the 2 Team Captains will then pair their players against each other. This will be done as follows:

Team players pairing system :

Captains will have 30 minutes before each match to decide who will play with which opponent. They can consult with and use the help of the rest of the team as they wish. All army lists will be available at this time for both Teams review and consideration.

Players during match will be matched by Captains in the following way:

"Secret challenge" - At the start of the pairing captains chose secretly one player - a champion. Champions can be different from round to round. Both names of champions are written down at the start of the pairing on a separate piece of paper and revealed and the end of it. Champions play on the last available table.

After that:

1. Both captains roll a dice.
2. Captain A who rolled lowest puts forward player A.
3. Captain B puts a player to fight player A.
4. Captain A chooses a table for that game.
5. Captain B who rolled highest puts forward player B.
6. Captain A puts a player to fight player B.
7. Captain B chooses a table for that game.
8. Captain A .....

There will be 3 Primary Mission Goals in Every Mission:
Goal #1 - Two objectives for Capture and control
Goal #2 - Three objectives for Seize Ground (separate from C&C)
Goal #3 - Kill Points
Achieving more of these goals than your opponent wins the game.* (see exceptionunder tabling/wiping out your opponent, below)

There will be 6 games so each deployment (Spearhead, Dawn of War and Pitched Battle) will be used twice each throughout the tournament.

Seize The Initiative and Random Game Length will be used in every round.


Each Mission Goal will be Worth 10 Game Points if Achieved, 5 Game Points if Drawn, 0 Game Points if not achieved.
So, Possible Game Points EACH Round is 30 Maximum, 0 Minimum.

Should be a lot of fun!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why Reaver Jetbikes Are Totally Rawk-uh-Saurus !!!

Dark Eldar Reaver Jetbikes

by Black Blow Fly

The article is about the use of Reavers as a fast attack choice for dark eldar. Reaver jetbikes can serve several different roles depending upon how you build your unit:

Tank Hunters
Anti Troop
Harassing Unit/Disruption

Reavers are not overly priced point wise - you can field a unit of six with some nice options for under 200 points. A squad of six has a small footprint so they are easy to hide behind cover then later they can pop out and wreak havoc. Some players like to field their Reavers in a unit of nine jetbikes so they can take a third melta lance. A unit of nine starts to get a bit pricy though and then it's not as easy to hide them.

Basic Stats
The Reaver is T4/5, I6, 5+ armor save, two base attacks and has combat drugs as well. The Reaver is armed with a splinter pistol, splinter rifle (mounted under the bike) and has bladevanes. On paper they might appear at first glance to be well equipped for close combat but in reality you want to keep them out of melee if possible. Dark eldar has access to other units that are much better at close combat - Reavers are primarily intended for shooting and harassing your opponent. I have swept genestealers with my Reavers on the charge but I waited until they had a couple of pain tokens (Feel No Pain and Furious Charge) to charge the genestealers plus I shot them up to soften the enemy unit first. If you find that you're having to assault with your Reavers a lot then you might be doing something wrong. It's very easy to avoid melee as Reavers are currently one of the fastest units in 40k.

Reavers can turbo boost up to 36" which is quite powerful as it's easy to move them into a good position to target enemy armor the next turn while hiding them behind cover. There are only a few units in 40k that are this fast and speed is one of the dark eldar's main assets. Reavers also have the Skilled Rider USR so it's okay to land them in difficult terrain if space is tight and you want to make sure that you can hide them for a turn. The Reaver jetbike counts as an eldar version so they can make a free assault move as well. If you've equipped your Reavers with melta lances it's fairly easy to move up 12", pop a couple of melta lance shots (18" range) at an enemy tank then finally use the free assault move to jump back behind LOS blocking cover. I typically will place mine such that only the Reavers with melta lances are out in the open to negate any cover save for my opponent then finally use the free assault move to jump them back out of sight again.

Never place your Reavers in a position where a Space Marine player can move up with a transport and rapid fire. I learned this the hard way. :'(( Even with the 3++ cover save following a turbo boost the Reavers will drop like flies to bolters.

Arena Champion
I always take an Arena Champion and typically arm him with a venom blade. The champion boosts their leadership up to Ld9 which I think is very helpful once they start to take morale tests due suffering unsaved wounds from enemy shooting. The upgrade is cheap points wise and there is less chance they'll break. If the Reavers break it can be quite dangerous for the unit since they fallback 3d6". The venom blade only costs five points and it's a poisoned melee weapon that wounds on 2+. If you've whittled a monstrous creature down to it's last wound the venom blade can finish off the beast. You are typically striking first due to his being I6 and the Arena Champion has a decent number of attacks, hitting on 3+ as well versus monstrous creatures that are WS3. It just depends upon the circumstances - like I've said above typically I don't like to assault with my Reavers but there are a few situations where it might be worth the risk.

You have two main options to choose from - either the melta lance or cluster caltrops. The melta lance is for tank hunting while the cluster caltrops are for strafing enemy infantry outside any transports. I prefer the melta lance since mech is so popular and this weapon is excellent at cracking enemy armor. As already stated above the melta lance has 18" range and is both a melta weapon plus a lance (obviously... Duh :p). Combined with the basic 12" move you can place your Reavers at half range starting up to 21" away from an enemy tank. If you're playing against a heavily mechanized opponent then it's going to hard for them to effectively hide all their armor - typically it's just not possible. Also remember that Reavers come standard with bladevanes so they can still execute the fly by which works quite well versus units such as gaunts and guardsmen.

Cluster caltrops are great versus units such as tactical Marines and Long Fangs. You can fly over the enemy unit and inflict a lot of wounds (1d6 S6 AP- attacks per caltrop that automatically hit). You have to be careful though so that you don't end your movement phase such that your opponent can either shoot or assault your Reavers the following turn. Reavers as stated can turbo boost up to 36" so if you are careful it's possible to fly over an enemy unit, drop the caltrops and end your movement in a safe spot. If you can land your Reavers behind LOS blocking terrain that's most often the best choice.

Starting in Reserve
I always hold my Reavers in reserve. It helps to keep them safe plus often your opponent will forget about them and move a unit into a compromised position so that you can pop a tank the same turn they arrive. You can move them up to 75 percent of the way across the short side of the table so there is no real loss in terms of positioning them effectively once they come in from reserve. If the deployment is Spearhead remember that Reavers can come in from anywhere along your long table edge... To me that can be another big advantage if you hold them in reserve.

If you use the webway portal this is another great way to bring your Reavers in from reserve. Currently I'm not using the portal I've seen other dark eldar players use them very well with their Reavers. It's definitely worth noting if you do use the portal.

Reavers were one of my first choices when I decided to build a dark eldar army. Reavers are a solid choice and can integrate well with most dark eldar army lists. Reavers are one of fastest units in 40k and have many special abilities that can make them stand out if properly applied. Reavers give you rare access to meltas with great range and are helpful versus enemy armor including landraiders. Reavers can also disrupt the enemy's battle plan and take some heat off your other units.

Are you thinking about running some Dark Reavers? How would you equip your unit?