Sunday, June 6, 2010

Blood Angel Blues

I've been working on painting up my new jump-packers, but I am still not sure what exactly I want to do with my Blood Angels army. I definitely want to keep cranking out jump pack models, but I am not sure what exact tweaks to throw in. I am thinking that I want to keep my number of jump packers small, and really kit out some honor guard and vanguard veterans. The high points cost means that I won't have to get too many models...

Of course, the new codex presents some very interesting opportunities for the mechanized army. With Baal Predators being moved to the Fast Attack section of the force organization chart, the heavy support section is opened up to take more tanks. Maybe Vindicators? Or triple lascannon tank-hunting predators? I also only just realized that Blood Angels Land Raiders can deep-strike. Doesn't that just open up a can of worms? I'm not exactly sure what I would put into a land raider or two. Of course, assault terminators are the obvious choice, and I have been wanting to get my big boys back into my army. The clerk at my friendly local gaming store suggested death company; 15 of them and a chaplain could ride in a crusader. However, this death-nugget would cost around 650 points. What also really disturbs me about trying to deep-strike in a land raider is the fact that the model is huge, and could scatter up to 12". Putting over 500 points at risk by potentially having to roll on the mishap table is really scary. Depending on the terrain layout and enemy unit placement, there might not really be anywhere on the table that would serve as a feasible deep strike target.

I am really enticed by the Stormraven gunship, but alas, at present there is no model for it. I am definitely not up for scratch-building one, and I am not sure what would really work as a proxy. The best option would be a Thunderhawk gunship, but the $550 price tag HURTS; it would have to be, essentially, my only warhammer purchase for the whole year. Still, I have always wanted one as a centerpiece for my army, and I would have it around for Apocalypse games and whatnot once GW actually puts out a Stormraven model.

So, yeah, I really don't know what to do. I guess I need to get out there and start playing some games and testing some smaller lists, getting a feel for how the new codex plays before I go all-out and settle on a full scale 2500 point army and variations. Any advice from you gamers out there would be appreciated!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fun Stuff

I've been keeping busy lately. I'm working three days a week at my new job and keeping myself well entertained in my free time. I've gotten really into the game Red Dead Redemption, by Rockstar games. As many people have observed, the game plays largely like a western-themed Grand Theft Auto, featuring a large map where players are free to roam about and do as they please. One can steal horses or shoot whomever they fancy, becoming wanted in the process and fighting off lawmen and bounty hunters. You can cheat at cards, and if you lose, slaughter your opponents and loot their corpses for your lost cash. However, this is what I find least intriguing about the game. I was showing off the game to my parents and our friends (It really is beautiful - dusty trails wind off towards distant mesas, wildflowers sway in the wind beneath stunning photo-realistic sunsets), demonstrating the breadth of freedoms granted to the player, when I was asked if the game would let me kiss a passing woman.

"No," I told them, "but I can lasso and hog-tie her." There was laughter all around as I proceeded, but it occurred to me then that most of the freedom in Red Dead Redemption is violent in nature. You can shoot anyone and everyone, but kiss no one. In fact, you can't even talk to most of the game's vast population. I suppose that gamers like the high level of action; I don't really mind it, but I find myself wishing there were just a bit more in the way of pacifist activities. This is what I really like about the game; exploring scenic canyons, hunting down the wildlife and trading animal hides and meat in town, taking the time to play a round of horseshoes, and collecting the various medicinal plants scattered around the game world. I enjoy taking a slower pace, riding off the beaten path, and just exploring the rich digital desert.

Last night I was talking to Dustin, and I spent a sizable chunk of the conversation gushing on about Red Dead. Dustin had tried to buy it, but I guess the Walmart out in South Carolina was sold out. We're hoping to get in some online gaming together before he has to deploy again, this time to Afghanistan. He seemed to enjoy my scathing critique of the movie "Avatar", which I did enjoy, but which features many glaring holes I was only too happy to point out. Chiefly, after the "blue hippies" (as they were christened on 30 Rock) defeat the humans and force them off of the planet...everything is rosy? Um...wouldn't people back in the world be angry about all of the workers who were killed, and the sudden loss of their uber-profitable mine? I can't help but envision more redneck former Marines coming back to nuke the site from orbit. Also, where is the government throughout the whole movie? There are apparently jittery corporate shareholders back home, but no regulatory bodies or compliance inspectors? I tend to think that a crazy planet with lifeforms that can all connect to each other via a network of sentient trees would be extremely conspicuous, even in the future, drawing the attention of all sorts of red-tape slinging bureaucrats and a swath of non-bathing, hemp-wearing, sign-waving activists. Finally, why is the foolishly named "Unobtainium" (I had convince Dustin that I wasn't making it up) so important? They disclose that it is highly valued, but not one application is named. This kind of omission doesn't add to the mystique for me; it interferes with my suspension of disbelief. In the "Dune" novels, the pivotal Spice Melange is given myriad uses critical to the function of that fictional society; hence it's high value.

Which brings me to my last bit of rambling today - Dustin told me about a new Dune movie that is in the works. We'll have to wait and see what happens, but things aren't looking so good at the moment. Apparently, a first draft of the script has already been scrapped, along with the first director. Worse, Twlight's Robert Pattinson has supposedly been having talks with the director about playing Paul Atredies. Hey, no thank you. Also, the director's interest in doing the movie in 3D doesn't sit well with me (I smell lackluster CGI sandworms). Sigh. Let's all get a dose of 80's Dune by checking out these videos of conversations between David Lynch and Frank Herbert. Cool.