Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Narrative Campaign

So, when Dustin comes to visit a large chunk of our time is going to be devoted to 40k. Since we are both total fluff-heads (we love Necromunda because of its Role Playing Game qualities), I am working on a narrative campaign for us to play using pretty much every painted model we have. There will be five missions, based loosely around the idea that Tyranids have landed on planet Deseret (*wink*), and Imperial forces as well as locals (Orks and Tau) are responding to the Tyranid invasion.

Here is a rough outline of the five games:

GAME #1: 1 objective, + neutral Orks & Tau. This is a crazy, silly game to help Dustin and I both get up to speed on our 5th Edition rules...and also just be crazy and silly! Dustin will have a 750 point Tyranid swarm, and I will have a 750 pt. Blood Angels armored convoy. There are also Orks and Tau that start on the board, and after our turns, I roll to see what silly thing the Tau do and Dustin rolls to see what silly thing the Orks do. There is even a potential for Dustin to roll well and gain control of the Orks for the rest of the game. There is only one objective we are fighting over, using Stelek's modified objective rules. Below is my VASSAL diagram of the game 1 deployment:

GAME #2: All of Dustin's Tyranids VS my Marines, in the ruined outskirts of town. D3+2 objectives, long table edge deployment just like a standard game in the rulebook. No crazy special rules (although we may still use the modified objectives rules), EXCEPT: If any of my named characters or his Hive Tyrants are killed in this game, they cannot be used in the big final battle.

GAME #3: Dustin's Imperial Guard and my marines (played by Dustin) VS Tau and Orks, played by me. Dustin is rushing in his "R&R" time before he gets leave to paint up a small I.G. army, so in this game he can test it out. We also thought it would be fun to let him have a few of my Marines just so he can play around with them and boost the points of his I.G. force. We'll probably play a standard mission from the rulebook, with all those random dice rolls for game type and deployment. The weird allies (Orks and Tau? For the Greater Good?) is enough wackiness for this game.

GAME# 4: Dustin and I team up to form like a 3500 or 4000 point Marine/I.G. joint force to play some guys at the store, and it ties in to our campaign somehow. Hope we can find some willing opponents!

GAME #5: The nids are just too much....all of Dustin's Tyranids, plus many "infected" Tau and I.G. VS. a bunch of my Marines with a few Witch Hunters or I.G. heavy weapons teams...there is a breach in the city walls...only if it holds can the civilians be evacuated before the planet is virus bombed into oblivion! Of course, we will make up some fun siege rules.

So that is pretty much the plan. It is a work in progress. I hope Dustin enjoys it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Return of the King

Well, my best friend Dustin got back from Iraq on Friday. He told me that they flew from Iraq to camp "Al Udaid" (or some-such; where is that, Qatar?), where they waited several days, then flew to Ireland, than Baltimore (where they stayed overnight), before finally making it back to Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.

He is supposed to come up and visit on leave in about two weeks. How am I supposed to wait TWO WEEKS?? I am putting in overtime on my 40k painting and terrain building, and also writing a lengthy narrative campaign for us to play through. Should be fun.

Glad to have you back, Dustin.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Unrelated Information

1. Just saw Transformers 2 last night. All told, I was just as dissatisfied with it as the first live action Transformers movie. Too many human characters, doing too many stupid things, with too many stupid lines. I keep waiting for them to just REMAKE THE ANIMATED MOVIE, which was the apogee of animated action movies as far as I am concerned. I have read some hints online about introducing Unicron for the inevitable third Transformers movie. If only we are so lucky.

2. So what is this? Micheal Jackson is dead and everyone is *mourning* ?? Everywhere I look on the internet, it talks about people "mourning" his death. Is this really the right word? I don't mean to hate on the guy and his memory, or his music, but are we all supposed to wear black for a month and be sad because the "King of Pop" died? I don't know...it is always unsettling to me when a celebrity dies and the public and media talk about how it is a tragedy, but more so in this case.

3. Buy Local First Utah is starting their "Independents' Week" tomorrow to celebrate local businesses. They will be set up at the Downtown Farmers Market on Saturday, and more importantly, there will be a big hullabaloo Sunday at The Peoples' Market, involving silly games and contests with lots of prizes and giveaways.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cast of characters in my 40k army, Part 2: the Veteran Sergeants

Well, I missed a day in there (busy, busy, busy), but here is the afore-mentioned write up of the veteran Sergeants in my fluffy Warhammer 40,000 army.

SERGEANT CHAMPAGNE - The senior sergeant of the detachment. Champagne is known to carry his large axe with him everywhere, as a sign of his rank and authority. He commands a five man squad attached to a razorback transport.

SERGEANT TAEBERIUS - Horribly wounded after an aerial jump-pack insertion, Taeberius' life was saved only by fitting him with advanced bionics. He now commands II MARS' lead tactical squad, often the first to deploy from their transport into battle.

SERGEANT ARGENBRIGHT - Only recently promoted to veteran status, Argenbright has yet to paint his helmet gold in honor of his station. He has instead spent his time since promotion relentlessly drilling his squad, constantly inspecting their weapons, and consulting with the squad's transport operators.

SERGEANT COSTIGAN - Having served with Lt. Tadena in Brother Corbulo's Honor Guard, Costigan now leads his five man assault squad in repelling attacks made against the II MARS Command rhino. During his time as a member of a veteran assault squad, there were several battles that only Costigan survived, leading other Blood Angels to endow him with the epithet "Lone Wolf", a title he has embraced by carving a wolf onto his breastplate and wearing a Baal desert wolf pelt into battle.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cast of characters in my 40k army, Part 1: the Command Staff

My army is mainly based around some fluff I wrote when I bought some of the first all-plastic tactical marine squads and the newer rhinos and razorbacks. So, there are several named characters in the army, presented for posterity and fluffiness:

LORD CAPTAIN VALENTINE - The Captain himself. Born to a noble family on a feudal industrial world near Baal, but exiled at a young age to Baal Secundus, Jonas Valentine was inducted as an initiate into the Blood Angels chapter of the Adeptus Astartes. There, he quickly rose through the ranks due to his heroism in battle. He now commands II M.A.R.S. (Mobile Armored Strikeforce), a mechanized quick reaction force that is a joint effort between the Blood Angels and the Inquisition.

CHAPLAIN MANILLA - Manilla served with the Veteran Company for thirty six years before his induction into the Chaplain Corps, where he made a record seventy four consecutive combat teleports. As a Chaplain, he initially served detached from the Blood Angels chapter to aid the Inquisition in rooting out cultists spread throughout many neighboring star systems. Manillia is second in command of the II M.A.R.S. detachment.

LIEUTENANT TADENA - The Armor Officer of II M.A.R.S., Tadena directs the many armored vehicles of the detachment from the unit's command rhino. In an early act of heroism, he drove his Rhino forward directly into enemy autocannon fire, covering friendlies and allowing them to advance as he rammed the enemy position, disabling it. He served as a member of Brother Corbulo's Honor Guard before being requested by Captain Valentine for the second Mobile Armored Strikeforce.

FIRST SERGEANT VANOSTRUM - The company First Sergeant, serving as an aid to Captain Valentine as well as leader of the Captain's Honor Guard. Vanostrum's courage and ferocity are legendary, as are his preference for basic weapons and close assaults. He has served as company First Sergeant alongside Captain Valentine for five major campaigns.

...tomorrow: the Veteran Sergeants


Aren't they terrible? And I am not even working right now! Even still, I am finding it hard to get motivated and work on my models. That and I need more spray paint, both to prime several pewter models and some terrain I am trying to make.

Looks like Monday errands....

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Unrelated Information

Taking (stealing) a cue from Better Living, I will reserve Friday posts for random bits of news, info, game talk, and stories that bear little or no relation to one another.

1. Warhammer 40,000 "Planetstrike". So GW came out with a new "expansion" for 40k, "Planetstrike", detailing invasions of planets from space. While that sounds awesome...I just don't know if it merits an entire new book. Also, and I might be wrong, I can't see there being a whole lot of new material in there. We already have drop pods, orbital bombardments, and deep-strike. Are there going to be rules for all sorts of *NEW* drop pods, orbital bombardments, and deep-striking? I guess I can see this sort of as the 40k version of Warhammer Fantasy castle sieges. Which are cool. But I'll bet there won't be, say, cauldrons of boiling oil for your Marines to pour down on the invading Tau. If they are going to put out this product, I would hope for it to have detailed rules/scenarios for sieges, boarding actions on enemy ships, amphibious assaults from the oceans, etc. We'll see.

2. Peoples' Market is in the lead! Apparently, someone nominated the Peoples' Market for a "Nickelodeon Parents' Pick Award" (I am assuming some parent). Now, anyone can vote online for best farmers market in salt lake city...and Peoples' Market has currently edged out the behemoth Downtown Farmers Market for the #1 spot! We're ahead 36% to 32%. So come on, you one or two people who read this, click the link and vote for Peoples' Market! You can vote multiple times; once per day.

3. North Temple / TRAX Community Planning. Last night I attended a "community planning workshop" addressing the TRAX line going in on the the west end of North Temple street going out to the airport. The Mayor and his crew have expressed their desire to turn this stretch of North Temple, home to the power plant, trailer parks, the famed Red Iguana, and some blight, into a "Grand Boulevard". So there we probably about 200 people in attendance, some of whom I knew (thank God), and we listened to different people talk about the TRAX project. It is expected to open late 2011 or early 2012 if I am remembering correctly. Then, we broke up into dozens of little "work groups", where we actually drew on nice big maps of the street what we would like to see. I was pushing for lots of greenspace, community gardens, a community supported agriculture urban farm, and of course several large, impressive 5-15 story office/residential buildings. Let us expand downtown to the West, across I-15, only instead of the empty lots and surface parking that plague the current downtown zone, we'll have green space and parks and gardens and farms. Sounds good to me anyway.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend. I won't get any gaming in, although I will probably have some painting time.

Valentine, signing off.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Command Rhino

So, I wanted to show off my command rhino because it is nearing completion. I will post some better pictures when it is totally done and highlighted, clear-coated, and Corbulo and his squad are painted up as well. When I decided to add Corbulo to my Blood Angels Army, I knew that he would need a sweet ride. What better vehicle than the Damocles Command Rhino by Forge World? I even added some extra little targeter-thingies and small com dishes and things, and got the Forge World Blood Angels door set.

Below, I have taken the top off and you can see the dudes inside, manning the radios and satellite up-links, and directing the battle.

My army includes Dante, Lord of the Blood Angels, and Corbulo, High Sanguinary Priest. Dante is off charging in to battle with his jump pack, so I figured Corbulo would ride around in this tank and fluff-wise, be the one actually calling the shots. It also helps to have his apothecary ability and his special "Red Grail" powers extend not from his base, but from the hull of the rhino ;)

Below, I just want to show a side-by-side comparison between the front of the C-2 rhino and one of my line APCs. Obviously, the C-2 on the left has the Forge World front plate. The standard tank on the right has got the Blood Angels emblem decal on the right , and a V decal, for "Valentine", on the left (as do all my other tanks). The command tank has some etched brass bits...mainly because I ordered the command rhino as a complete kit from Forge World, and wouldn't you know it...NO DECALS!

Finally, I wanted to highlight some stuff I did that I think is pretty cool: The guy coming out of the turret on the command tank has a gold helmet. Of course Corbulo's rhino would be crewed only by veterans. Also, the veteran is holding an "Auspex" scanner; I just wanted to do something different and I think it adds to the whole "command and control" idea behind this vehicle. Lastly, when you have an army with seven tanks and you put all the extra storm-bolters all over them, you eventually run out, since each tank only comes with one, but my rhinos all have two. So, I rigged an unused dreadnought storm-bolter. Hope anyone out there checking this out likes it...I love modeling and converting and all that stuff.

Valentine Out.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

War Story Wednesdy: Music Edition

So, as I am prone to do...I decided suddenly last night that I needed to go play at an open mic night. I invited my band's horn and violin player via phone about 1/2 hour before the open mic was set to start, but they didn't get back to me until an hour in to it. Another hour later, I played my set, to a fairly positive reaction. Since everyone is half drunk and clapping for everything, it was probably a better response than the average applause I get when playing at The Peoples' Market. I'd say it was a much better reaction than when I used to play at the open mics around Camp Lejeune. Those were rough times...driving almost an hour off the base and in to town, playing a fairly late set, and then coming back...all in time for platoon PT in the morning at 5:45.

However, the "gig" last night got me all revitalized to work on some music stuff today, so I have broken out the old recording rig and will give it a go or two. Still, my Warhammer 40k projects are languishing unfinished, so I might have to work on that a bit too. Tomorrow I will post pictures of my Command Rhino, which is nearing completion.

Valentine out.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What a fine Tuesday!

Look at that, Salt Lake City!

A big, bright, sun-shiny day! I think I might go play around in the garden! Of course Warhammer is always, always calling to me...I have to finish my Blood Angels for the tournament in August (and I am close to doing so), but then I have decided to re-boot my tiny 500pt Tau force also...and then, my best friend Dustin is coming to visit on leave upon his return from Iraq in a few weeks...so I am scrambling to make some terrain and write some scenarios so we can play at home as well as making some trips to the Friendly Local Gaming Store.

Still, with all that sun...my thoughts turn to gardens and vegetables and such. Speaking of which, I had a great time this weekend at The Peoples' Market, a local west-side farmers market that runs all summer on Sundays and the International Peace Gardens. Some of the issues with the band were a bit off, but I felt that my set went well. I hope everyone else had as good a time as I did!

Well, blogging world...I have a lot to do today...and hopefully some of it can be outside!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Inaugural Post

So, this is my first post. My real name is Josh, but since the internet was invented FOR nerds BY nerds, my moniker around these parts shall be "Lord Captain Valentine". I guess some explaining is in order...this is my first blog and it is just for me and any of my friends who should stumble on to it. The title, "Anima Æternus" is a latin phrase meaning, roughly:

"Everlasting Breath of Life"

The chief focus of this site will be for me to ramble on about cool things. Stuff that I think is cool, and maybe you will to...if anyone reads this.
Some future posts might be about:
*Warhammer 40,000
*Video Games of some varieties
*Good Sci-Fi and Fantasy books
*Real-world military stuff (I was in the Marines for four years...maybe I'll have "War Story Wednesday?)
*Politics and Business (I do tend to think that the meaning of life is in the "Accounting Equation")
*Men's Fashion (and no, I don't mean your shell necklace and sweet board shorts, dude)
*Gardening, Urban Farming, sustainability, and all that green stuff
*MUSIC...oh god yes the music!
*Movies, etc, etc, etc.

So, without further introduction, here is something nerdy and awesome that I have just gotten the hang of: Using VASSAL to make Warhammer 40,000 battle reports. Apparently, the VASSAL engine can be used to re-create many classic board and tabletop games. I have done a very, very rough mock up of a battle a played a few days ago (coincidentally with another 40k gamer al
so named Josh...in fact, around the store I am known as "Other Josh"). My apologies to Josh if I have got the details of the battle mixed up. I don't honestly remember enough to even do a turn by turn, but the VASSAL engine reminded me so much of the quality battle reports that used to feature in White Dwarf, and I wanted to show it off to my few good gaming buddies. For some reason getting the pictures on here caused them to lose a lot of their resolution. Sorry...

Here was our deployment, as best I recall:
Josh is all of that Eldar stuff in the top left corner (He actually had nicely painted blue Eldar, but there weren't any blue Eldar in VASSAL). I am, of course, the red stuff in the bottom right. Long live the Blood Angels!

The first few turns...
The early game consisted of my baal predator and a rhino BOTH getting stuck in the trees along the bottom, while the razorback with them got blown up, forcing its five man squad to try to dash across open ground and into cover. I advanced my wall of armor, and offered Dante and his Death Company guys as bait, to try to get the seer council locked in combat so I could counter-charge them with my dreadnoughts. Instead, a falcon flew up, delivered its Dire Avengers, and they promptly gunned down Dante and his buddies (All those skulls on the hilltop). So far I was down, 3-0 in kill points, but at least one falcon also immobilized itself in terrain (far left).
The Seer Council strikes...and fails
So my tanks down at the bottom are still just sitting there, apparently unable to get the logs out of their axles. The Seer Council charged through the ruins in the center to engage my Baal pred and two dreadnoughts. Unfortunately for Josh, two warlocks died going through the terrain. Also, the council stuck last since they assaulted through cover, allowing me to squish two more. They did knock out the Baal predator that had entered the ruins. Still, the counter-attack I had hoped for worked out, and the assault squad I keep riding around with Corbulo jumped out just in case the dreads counldn't handle it. And so, the last warlock and the farseer went down. You can see in these pics (sorry; I lost some resolution somewhere and so it isn't looking good to enlarge them...also I was too lazy to go in and crop the battle layouts) the Eldar tanks just sitting back there, though. With a lucky pop of my standard predator's autocannon, suddenly none of of my long range weapons could even scratch Josh's tanks. To make things worse, all of my meltaguns were stuck on my slower-moving dreads and with my infantry, who were foot-slogging around due to their transports being destroyed, stuck in the woods, or having stalled engines. Josh shot up the five-man squad that had lost their razorback early on, giving him a firm 4-2 lead in kill points. I would have to pull something out...

The End Game
I was steadily advancing on the Eldar in their tanks, and without the Seer Council, they really had no credible close combat threat to me. Still, they could just keep backing away out of melta range, leaving me entirely unable to harm them. So some fun stuff happened in the last few turns. I rammed one wave serpent with my autocannon-less predator, stunning it so it couldn't move or fire. I lost one more tank to the constant flurry of long-range Eldar firepower, tipping to score even further towards Josh, who led 5-3.
Then, I finally got some lucky melta hits and popped two tanks. One spilled o
ut six Fire Dragons and the other a bunch of Dire Avengers. If I could eliminate one squad, the game would be a tie...both, and I would seize victory at the very end. Ultimately, I failed...just barely. You can see at the top of this pic that my squad has assaulted the Dire Avengers, but they didn't wipe them out easily. Making it frustrating for me too was the fact that one of my dreadnoughts was only 1/2" outside of charge range. You can see he's lost both weapons, but a Death Company Furioso has plently of attacks, even without its arms. I gunned down all but one Fire Dragon, and also frustratingly, he was outside of assault range for my other two dreads.
So, the game ended on turn 6, with Josh defeating me 5-4. Still, it was a great game, filled with fun moments and surprising turnarounds. I think that for a player of my general skill level (which is fairly low; been out of the game a while), I can claim a big moral victory for defeating the Seer Council. I HATE those bike seer councils. I know that my army is not alone in its lack of a WHOLE UNIT with INVULNERABLE SAVES...oh, and throw in Eldrad so that they can get fortune and re-roll those saves. Still, Josh's mistake of assaulting me through cover really cost him, although that council was going down on the counter-charge, even if he hadn't had been at a disadvantage (well, maybe). These were both our probable tournament lists for the Mind Games Yearly Classic 3 in August, so it was nice for me to not just get easily rolled over.

Well...that is about all I have to say about 40k tonight. If you are thinking, "hey, Lord Crap-tain, I found this blog I want to get learned-up on my tactics...you should get on over and talk to Stelek and the Crew and learn something.

More to follow later,
Lord Captain Valentine