Author Archives: Corelin

A Simple Scribe

“Remembrancer, this way!” barked a nasal voice over the din of the embarkation deck.

“Yes… sir” guessed Danse clutching his tote tight and weaving inexpertly through the bustle of servitors, crew, crates, vehicles and hoses choking the deck. The grated steel deck, larger than a football field and freckled with robust pads for the Stormbirds, Thunderhawks, and cargo lighters thronged with hundreds of people, and thousands of pieces of equipment and machinery all moving in a chaotic, atonal ballet. Danse crossed the short gap to a crewmember, a scarecrow of a woman tall and lean, her face pocked with scars from some manner of wound. She wore the crimson trimmed grey robe of a legion thrall. Danse himself wore a traveler’s outfit, soft, sturdy trousers, boots, loose fitting shirt, and a light robe over it, belted at the waist. His hood was down in the hot, dry heat of the deck and sweat beaded every bit of skin.

“Follow me, High Captain Beattie will speak with you, then I will direct you to your quarters” she said over her shoulder, already walking stiffly away.

Danse stumbled, recovering and struggling to keep pace. “Did you see High Captain Beattie?”

The crewmember didn’t respond, her shock of hair, so black it nearly shone blue, bobbing away from him as he struggled free of the press of flesh and steel on the deck. Trotting to catch up, panting from the heat, exertion, and confusion of the new environment it took Danse a moment to take things in. The deck below him was steel, somewhat blue to his eye, repeated along the walls, with the ceiling being a blood red with gold trim. Lights in ornate niches and hatches were all perfectly worked into murals and frescoes adorning the walls and rugs and screens broke up the sounds that normally echoed down the halls.

“Your quarters will be forward of the embarkation deck, they’ve set aside a number of petty officers and junior officer’s quarters for you lot to use.” She spat. The sides of her head were shaved to the skin, and a pair of augmetic ports gaped from raw wounds in her skull. “As soon as your interview is over I will take you down there and return to my duties. You will find a list of important rules and directions to key locations in your room. Please make an effort to not break any of the rules or get lost.”

“Of course ma’am… miss… I’m sorry I don’t know your name?” Danse knew he was whining a little but he could barely catch his breath. And a meeting with the High Captain himself? His cousin had heard from a friend that many remembrancers didn’t meet with an astartes for weeks and he was to meet a High Captain his first hour on board?

“Lieutenant Avorla.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant Avorla.” Danse said, she slowed fractionally, turning into a corridor much broader and taller than the one they’d been in.

“We’re close. Don’t waste his time he has much to do to prepare Misericorde for her next battle.”

“Of course, Lieutenant Avorla.”

“Just Lieutenant will do.” She bit off. He’d come even with her, finally and saw ahead of them a large arched doorway, its wooden door completely at odds with everything else on the ship. The ornate tasseled rug they walked on felt impossibly thick under his boots and he felt an odd desire to remove his boots as they crossed it.

Avorla walked right up to the door, pounding it twice then turning off to stand beside it resting on a small seat jutting out from the wall. “ENTER” barked a deep voice from within.

“He doesn’t mean me” Avorla said, seeing Danse hesitate. Danse took a breath and pushed the massively heavy door open. It moved easily once started and got away from him to slam awkwardly against the wall. Danse stood awkwardly for a moment the loud noise and sight before him stunning him momentarily.

Astartes had to be seen to be believed. Danse was used to looking up at people, not even 155cm tall he looked up to almost everyone even with the lifts artfully concealed in his boots. In his bare feet Beattie towered over him. The back of Danse’s brain told him Beattie might well double his height in full warplate. The astartes was wearing a bodyglove with a crimson robe over it, trimmed in gold. The simplicity of the trim seemed to emphasize its luxurious fabric and perfect craft and the artfully made chair, sized perfectly for him seemed both incredibly rustic and perfectly complementary to the holo table next to it. Beattie looked directly at Danse “Well, come in, let me look at you.”

Danse breathed deeply, straightened up and walked to the table, letting his tote fall on its strap to his side. His father had told him, when it’s time to face the music stand straight and walk tall. Come to think of it he could hear music, soft, deep chants echoed into the room. He forced himself to continue his determined pace across the 10 meters or so to the table. Slowing down he glanced at the table to see a map covered in odd symbols and arrows on it before darting his eyes back to Beattie.

Like all the IXth legion, Beattie shared facial features with Sanguinius, his eyes betrayed passion and intelligence, and there the similarities ended. Beattie was broad, powerfully built with hands like hams, and dark skin. His soft smile gave away… something. Danse wasn’t sure what. “Tell me about yourself Remembrancer” he said, his voice deep and somehow harmonized with the chants.

“Well my lord, I’m a remembrancer, just out from Terra…”

“Tell me about YOURSELF, Remembrancer. Don’t make me repeat myself again”

“Ah, well, I was born in Albion and did my schooling there, me Uncle wrote for one of the broadsheets there and took me under his wing, er as it were” he trailed off a moment, looking up at the fresco of Sanguinius, with his wings spread hovering over them. “I would bring him news and he’d jot it down, maybe liven it up, or bring in other details to put it in context, you know? After a while he had me doing it meself. Some of my stories caught some attention, and I thought I’d be in trouble. Apparently, I’d noticed some recruiting efforts by some of the legions or something. Anyway, I was brought before a couple folks who said they worked for the Sigilite, They said if I was so good at finding out the truth that I should be where illumination was needed and next thing you know, I’m on a ship here.”

Beattie looked at him, no, through him for a moment, his mouth moving. “Thames river trader, eh? A block down from the theater right out from the pumphouse?”

Danse froze a moment, how could he know?

“The recruiters found me hawking papers there. I’d been jumped by… well… that’s a story for another day for sure. How Malcador knew…” His eyes widened as another voice spoke

“He might have, but I chose Danse for this duty my son.”

Danse fell prostrate. No mortal surprised by the Angel could possibly be expected to stay standing and Danse was certainly no tougher than any other man. “I became aware of your connection and, well, there’s no coincidences as my Father says. Added to that he’s a clever investigator and an insightful writer. I look forward to his chronicles on your battles with great interest, Beattie.”

“Yes my lord.” Beattie said

“Leave us brave Danse, I must impart some instructions on Beattie. I am glad to have met you. Please be careful closing the door, I’m told it gets away from people.” Sanguinius said with the hint of a grin on his impossibly flawless face. Danse scrambled to his feet, forcing himself to walk normally from the room as he carefully, gently, closed the door. Avorla stepped out to ensure it closed silently her eyes more than a little wild from her own encounter with the Angel. She looked down at Danse.

“Let’s go. Let’s get you to your quarters.” She stalked away, somewhat slower than before. “Did he really pick you himself?” She asked, clearly thinking about each word.

“It’s what he said. I can’t imagine taking the time to think about me.”

“The Primarchs don’t waste time. If he picked you, if he spent time on you there was reason for it. Don’t you worry about that.

Star Wars Legion: Ignominious Defeat

Played another game tonight. Didn’t take pictures. Brought an Iden gunline with the intent to use Tactical Strike to get an early lead then grind down my opponent.

Iden with enough Suppression to threaten a late Annihilation Looms

I was pretty happy with this list, at least until I saw what I was up against.

That’s 12 activations, 5 of them vehicles with Armor.

I deployed to try to get pressure forward early, but I couldn’t infiltrate very far as I deployed the ISF late so I was barely out of my deployment zone with them. We ended up playing Key Positions, Danger Close and Limited Visibility. I was hoping for Fortified positions but with it in the last position I had no chance without my opponent helping me out. So no extra bunkers for cover and to prevent his vehicles from having freedom of the field.

Turn 1 wasn’t terrible, I got some chip damage out and he took out a single ISF trooper. Turn 2 started well with me playing Tactical Strike and my opponent, John playing Covering Fire. I won the roll off and got a good chunk of damage on 1 of his T-47s. Then he moved up with an AT-RT and used Fire Support to dump 9 dice with Surge to Crit into an unactivated ISF, which took them down to just the leader, getting rid of the heavy weapon with the critical Critical 2 keyword. I drew from my order stack and got Krennic who handed out an aim and then dodged himself, then my opponent landed 6 hits on the other unactivated ISF unit and I rolled… 2 saves. Again leaving them without their heavy weapon. This pulled the teeth on 2 of my most important units on a critical turn. I was able to get both Speeders to half health but John was able to set up more Fire Support attacks with the AT-RT / each of which virtually deleted a unit.

By the end of turn 3 I didn’t hold a single objective and was only contesting 1 with a severely depleted shoretrooper unit. At this point I just went for blood, swatting a Veteran unit, both Airspeeders, 1 going down to Iden, the other to my E-Web before it ate another fire-support shot deleting it. Iden then took down an AT-RT before the battle ended.

I only think I made a few mistakes. The list I faced was a poor match for me, I didn’t have enough crit/impact, and had way less mobility after failing to take advantage of my infiltrators.

I should have absolutely used both of my ISF units once I realized they were more exposed than I thought, but I really think the only way I win this matchup is with near-perfect tactics and above average dice, and I had a couple bad rolls early that snowballed through the game.

I learned some, especially about activation priority and a bit more on targeting but it wasn’t *AS* great an experience as I might have wanted. No shame on John at all. He was a good opponent, patient with my pace and desire to learn, friendly and even made some suggestions as well as insisting on calling the game rather than finishing me off despite my being game for it as he’d definitely earned the win.

Star Wars Legion: Boots on the Ground

Ok, so I played a game of Star Wars Legion today. This is the first game I’ve played since the Big Bang despite preordering a copy for release day. I have loved how the models looked since day 1 and built up a decent collection of which I’ve also largely painted the Imperial side. I played at Game Kastle in Ankeny, a somewhat unpleasant 20 minute drive since I could just WALK to Mayhem in 5 minutes but I had Today off so it could have been worse.

For my opponent I matched up with a gent named Tim who is a regular there and who brought his 3 kids. His kids also designed the list for them and I probably owe them a drink or something because they did me right. Near as I can reconstruct it was this (missing some upgrades as he had next to no bid.

Tim’s list, minus some upgrades I know he had but cannot recall and not sure what his other command cards were.

I on the other hand got some excellent advice from a friend who knows his stuff and coaxed me from 8 activations to 9 which ended up being pretty decisive.

For Iden I ended up going with Seize, Situational Awareness and the DLT-20A because… clones.

My original list had one fewer stormtrooper unit and a BUNCH more upgrades, especially filling every training slot.

For the mission it was Key Positions, Battle Lines, and Rapid Deployment with him putting his naked clones in reserve and me putting a DLT Storms in the bag.

Deployment I put my objective as close to the middle as I could and Tim put his way out. On reflection we should have reversed that, he probably would have been better served with a deathball to share tokens while I wanted to spread him out to prevent that. Either way we ended up with the token placement we kinda wanted just not the efficient way. He deployed his 2 Phase 1 squads and Rex well out on the flank with his objective, with the Phase 2s supporting somewhat towards the middle, ready to flex either way. Yoda was in cover closer to the middle and the Arcs were just past the midline of the board. I deployed Shores with their mortars from the center line to the left, with Iden backing them up, then Vader, with Storms to his right, and the Special Forces in front of him.

Turn 1 was mostly us shuffling around. I played Darkness Descends, giving Vader his much-needed Surge tokens, Tim played Air Strike which he used to throw some damage around. With some long-range speculative shots, he picked off one of my ISF troopers and put a couple wounds on Iden I took down an ARC trooper, a couple clones, and laid out a bunch of suppression. For those not familiar, suppression is the way the game represents friction and it’s a neat mechanic, below a unit’s courage, there’s no effect, from 1x to 2x a units courage, they lose one of their 2 actions, which makes everyone less effective, above 2x they panic. Units lose suppression at the end of their turn and can shed some (1/3 chance) at the start of their move. I tried to focus on getting multiple suppression on a couple units to ensure that the effects persisted. Also he dropped his naked clones WAY out on my right, his left, and I countered by putting mine flanking them, pincering him between the two Stormtrooper squads (either of which had more firepower than him to begin with.)

Turn 2 was nasty for him. I played Pulse Scan and he played Size Matters Not. He blitzed out with Yoda, putting 3 wounds on Vader and double Force Pushing my ISF well out of cover. He moved Rex out ahead of his troops but forgot Rex’s jetpack (until the end of the game in fact) leaving him exposed while the two clone squads behind him milled about in cover. He put some shots on my ISF but a lucky token pull got them in cover and landed more wounds on his ARCs leaving Fives on 1 wound. More fire on Rex left him with a couple wounds. Throughout the turn I focused my fire on unactivated units early, landing a lot of hits and, more importantly, suppression, on units that still needed to go, forcing him to give up several actions from his army due to higher levels of suppression. Iden activated late in the round and moved up to the exposed Rex, putting a bolt through him, leaving the brave Clone Commander dead in the dirt. When Vader went he managed to completely fail to wound the Jedi Master, but Force Pushed him away, triggering Iden’s standby which… whiffed. She needs aims. However the shore troopers behind her put 2 wounds on Yoda, losing one of their own to a deflected blaster shot.

By this point the game was really leaning in my favor. I had 2 squads ganging up on one of his out on one flank, with 1 of mine camping an objective. My dice had been blistering hot (my ISF had rolled 4 black 4 white and landed 7 hits, my shores fired 6 black and 2 white and landed 8 with 3 crits… just absolutely unreal amounts of luck) while my opponent was probably under 33% saves with red dice and a bunch of surge tokens.

Going into turn 3 Yoda was wounded in the center of the board with a wounded Fives in cover behind him. Tim played There is no Try. I played Implacable. Yoda and 1 other trooper squad (his Phase 2s) got orders, as well as a dodge, Outmaneuver and Relentless. I got an order for Vader, as well as a Dodge. By playing a 1 pip I ensured I went first. I activated Vader and the Dark Lord of the Sith took an Aim token, Walked up to Yoda and hit him for 6. Burning his dodge he rolled 5 saves, needing to make 3… and made 2. Yoda fell under the crimson blade, Vader then threw Fives out of cover and into the open. Tim then activated his Phase 2s and moved them up. He wanted to attack Vader, who had taken a wound to shuffle his token back in the stack, but they were his 1 basically undamaged unit, and he didn’t want to eat a bunch of deflected shots so he blasted away and the out of cover ISF unit. His dice totally betrayed him and only 2 of the ISF troopers fell, leaving the squad leader and the heavy weapon. My mortars threw out more suppression, my shores did more damage, and Iden picked off 5s with a disrespectful shot.

At this point Tim’s sons had finished their games, and it was getting close to closing time. We called it and shook hands with 2 objectives firmly under Imperial control and the 3rd about to fall. It was a crushing victory but it really came down to the top half of turn 2. I felt that there were a couple things that really hurt Time and really helped me. First: My luck was absolutely unreal early, and his was awful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game of any type where my dice were THIS hot and my opponents were THIS bad. Red dice are 1/2 in defense 2/3 on surges, which he had tokens for, and they just refused to cooperate. I doubt he’d have won even without his mistakes the way the dice were rolling.

But he also had some things he did wrong, he didn’t know his list, which, I get, your kids come up with a list, you play it, suboptimal or not. 7 activations wasn’t great, and it meant he had to get the most out of them and I *FEEL* in my inexperienced state, he didn’t always do that. He put too many shots into units that had already activated and spread his suppression out, so I rarely had to worry about it. In fact, I think I lost only 2 or 3 actions over the course of the game, and I feel like he lost far more due to suppression each turn after the first. Second, he didn’t focus fire, which was harder to do with fewer units and widely spread out both physically and by the terrain. He couldn’t bring his army together which from what I’ve heard the clones REALLY want to do so they can form a token-sharing deathball. I feel like if he’d grouped up more and focused his firepower on my troops to eliminate units before they could activate, or at least suppress them, he could have done much more to slow me down.

On my side, I did a better job utilizing suppression and I am looking for ways to maximize that going forward. I did deploy my mortars poorly and, while I used them to some effect, had they been better located they’d have contributed more, and they were SUPREMELY lucky to not get vaporized. I’m talking one finished the game without a single wound token despite having to roll 9 saves. I need to really think more about objectives and how to take advantage, Tim did me a big favor not putting all 3 on top of each other (to the extent he could) which would have forced me to face a big death ball of token sharing clones. Not ideal.

But it was a great learning experience. I am going to tweak my list, I’m sure he’s going to come up with something spicy and hopefully next week we will both do better! Also I will take pictures, not video as the free WordPress DOESN’T LET YOU INSERT VIDEO/GIFS GRAAAAAAH!

Why Napoleonic Wargaming?

Ok, I saw a post on r/wargaming with a prompt that was just too juicy. There’s others in the post I’ll be stealing but this one should really be the lead for the series so here we go!

Can you discuss what makes the strategy, tactics, and feel of the Napoleonic battles different to those of other popular black powder era was such as ACW, AWI, French & Indian etc.

dboeren on Reddit

Great question. The answer to this question is: Yes.



Gros Freres

First, the feel of the Napoleonics. The awesome and terrible pageantry of 19th century warfare peaked early, and it peaked here. A well-painted Napoleonic army is an absolute joy on the table, and something that has to be seen to be believed. Regiments wore a bewildering array of brightly colored uniforms that contrasts sharply with later wars as uniforms became more drab.

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16 Different Uniforms for 14 regiments of ONE type of troops!

These armies also featured very professional officers. Despite some of the reputations that came from the war, from Battalion command on up, there were few truly awful officers, and while some armies struggled to comprehend Napoleon’s way of war (Sorry Mack) there weren’t many mistakes due to poor soldiering. At the same time, command and control was basically writing a note and sending it with a rider to whoever was carrying it out. Many games model this quite well, with General d’Armee / GdB doing it particularly well.

Strategically and Tactically the Napoleonic wars come at a very interesting time. Infantry combat featured both fire and shock tactics, requiring different formations, changing formations and maneuvering under fire, intricate marching, timing, communication under the most dire circumstances, and situational awareness in a field covered by noise and black powder smoke.

Cavalry formed the apex of military strength, with the Heavy Cavalry of the Cuirassier, Carabiniers, and Heavy Dragoons being nearly unstoppable, with infantry forced into densely packed squares simply to defend themselves. Artillery could be devastating, being able to roll up and unlimber within canister range and unleash withering fire, especially in the tightly packed columns and squares of the more shock-oriented infantry formations. Infantry remained the bulk of most armies, and could deliver its own devastating attacks in close formation, or spread out in long lines to deliver impressive short-ranged firepower of its own, and with a good ruleset all of this is modeled quite well.

There are varieties among troop types. Line infantry differs from Light or Grenadier infantry, Guard troops often have their own rules, setting them apart. Conscripts often represent the most and least enthusiastic troops. Some are willing to die en masse leading the charge and some aren’t willing to even smell powder lest it affect their delicate constitution. Light cavalry darts around the edges, often struggling to make much impact, but presenting a real threat to exposed units, and forcing their enemies to account for them, battle cavalry presents more of a threat but lacks the fleetness of foot of their light brethren, or the strength to face heavy cavalry, which are the true monsters of the field. Artillery forms the last of the major components, dealing long range fire, in attack and defense, to support the line or create breakthroughs against vulnerable elements of the enemy army. Additionally, it comes in several varieties, foot artillery comes in regular and heavy batteries, you also have horse or light artillery which moves faster without sacrificing much in striking power, and Austrians get the Wurst artillery.

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Not a comfy chair

Which neatly brings me to national character. The armies of this era each has their own national flair, which I’ll go deeper into later but to give you an idea, in 1805 alone you have: A French army that consists of a mix of new, but well-trained and drilled soldiers, veterans from Italy, the elite Imperial Guard, and massive artillery. The Austrians have a much more ponderous army, with far less in the way of light troops and skirmishers to screen their movements and keep the enemy at arm’s length, but their units are large and their morale tends to be quite good. The Russians have equally large battalions, but their training is awful. This is mitigated somewhat by excellent morale and massive artillery batteries. Finally you have the Prussians who are slow, poorly led, and not that well supplied in support troops, but they do have high morale… until Jena…

So, I hope I’ve adequately answered the question presented by dboeren. I know I didn’t really compare the Napoleonic wars directly to the others, and perhaps that would be a good article for later on, but for now I think I’ve adequately covered what I wanted to.

Why do you?

A good friend asked me why I study the Civil War. I’m going to expand on her question a little, because I don’t just study the Civil War, I study almost every major 19th Century War. I’ve read about the American War of Independence (which is really REALLY an 18th Century War) the Napoleonic Wars, the Mexican American War, the Civil War, of course, the Franco Prussian War, all the wonderful Wars of _________ Unification, Crimea, Spanish American, and even WWI, which is the true End of the Long 19th Century. A lot of my focus is on the Civil War, the Napoleonic Wars, and WWI.

Part of the reason I study the Civil War so much is that I always have had a fascination for it. Ever since first learning about it I studied it. Of course, growing up in Florida you learn to worship at the Church of Bobby Lee, something I’ve managed to break from rather conclusively. I’ve been to Gettysburg twice, and believe me I can help you plan a trip! I’ve visited Stone’s River and have plans to visit the Peninsula next year to retrace the 7 days. I consider myself very well studied in the militaries of the American Civil War. This doesn’t make me a master of the Civil War, there is a lot that goes into it. I’m familiar with a lot of the industrial changes that enabled the war, the system of private contractors and government foundries that armed the armies, the railroads and the sordid deals that kept tracks being laid during the war, the changes to the agricultural system that fed the North (and provided food to export to Europe during crop failures there) and the centralized decision making of Jefferson Davis that hurt the Southern economy so much.

Our Boys in Blue

I study it because I love learning more and there’s so much more to learn. Let me give you an example. Name 5 US Army generals from the Civil War. Most of my readers (those that are left anyway) can probably manage that. How about 5 more? Get as many as you can. Now start naming rebel leaders. I bet most of you can name more rebel leaders than US Generals. And the US Generals won!

I study it because it lies at a completely fascinating intersection of technology and strategy. Railroads and Telegraphs changed strategic planning, troop movements, and supply. Industrialization made arming and equipping troops possible on a grand scale. Improvements in metallurgy and innovations in weapons design changed battlefield tactics, but command and control in the field hadn’t caught up, leading to some of the worst trench warfare the world would see for another 50 years.

It’s a war that was written about. A lot. Some of these guys wrote letters like they didn’t have jobs. Henry Jackson Hunt, chief of artillery for the Army of the Potomac filled a Banker’s Box with letters just in 1863 (and UGH why didn’t they invent the damn typewriter a few years earlier…) His file at the Library of Congress is 4,500 items, in 14 boxes filling 5.6 Linear Feet. Just imagine that! And he’s only one player, and probably not one you’ve heard a lot about unless you follow me on twitter.

I study it because, for all that, it’s poorly understood. The Lost Cause movement has sadly done immeasurable damage to our understanding of the war, it’s causes, and turned it into a rallying point against the very people freed by the sacrifice of so many in the war.

I’m going to go off topic a bit and state some simple truths about the war. The southern states seceded over the issue of slavery. Their articles of secession, their constitution, their speeches, their letters, and their behavior on campaign all clearly state this. They tried to change the history books after the war and were very successful, but the only rebels fighting for States Rights were under the command of States Rights Gist. One of the armies in the war was the United States Army, and army that still exists, and in which I served SOMEWHAT more recently. The other killed the men serving in the United States Army.

While not every US soldier enlisted and fought to free the slaves, in fact the majority did not, from 1863 on Emancipation was a stated War Goal for the United States. Even before then the United States Army engaged in local liberation of slaves under the Contraband policy. The rebel leaders screamed bloody murder over this attack on their property.

I study the Civil War to learn more to more convincingly amplify these truths, and to better arm mysefl to fight back against people defending the indefensible.

At the same time, I study to learn more about the United States, and how the leaders worked, though, and fought during the war. Even as we find today, the military is a conservative (though far less politically connected) instrument, and its leaders didn’t want change, or wanted to minimize it. Look at the difference between McLellan’s stance on slavery, and even the contraband policy vs. that of the Shaws or even actual Conservative politicians-cum-generals like Ben Butler or Dan Sickles. Interestingly Butler was most definitely NOT an Abolitionist until he recognized that the slaves were incredibly useful to the rebels in a military sense, at which point he very quickly changed his stance on the basis of expediency. Something many more professional officers missed. Butler was WILD.

I study to learn about people like MG Gordon Granger of Juneteenth fame who… wasn’t actually that great on the issue of slavery, and wasn’t great on the issue of emancipation as it turned out, and it’s important to learn about this and talk about this because even though emancipation became the law of the land, it was hastily done, poorly handled, and did a LOT of damage to the black communities even as they were supposed to be lifted to the status of equals, as in “All men are created equal”.

And finally, I learn about these wars as a whole because they are fun to read about. Because the big red and blue lines and arrows on the map make sense in a way, I doubt the movements on the ground ever made sense (or even aligned that well with the actual movements of the troops but that’s a story for another day).

Warhammer 40k: Indomitus

Ok, I know I’m a bit late to the party but now that the Dark Angels book has come out I want to talk a little bit about a couple things. First, the game is different. The rules changes from 7th to 8th edition were huge, but somehow I feel the game has changed more, and more for the better from 8th to 9th, even though the actual changes weren’t that big. I still don’t like some things (proliferation of invuln saves and mortal wounds being 1 and 1a) but the game focuses a LOT more on objective play and scenarios. You have to build an army that can do a LOT more than just kill things (while, you know, still killing things). Marines going to 2W is, well, about 7 editions overdue in my not so humble/biased opinion. Terminators hit 3W which is very spicy, even with significant 2D weapons out there, firstborn marines are back with a vengeance.

Xenos haven’t had much to get excited about. Necrons got a pile of new stuff and they climbed the tier list, kept their flavor, and, I think, brought some new life to the lifeless robotic hordes. Aeldari are hoping for a similar pass, but they got a bit of a pass with Ynnari (which then got nerfed out of existence) and a handful of new models for Howling Banshees and Drazzhar. While Aeldari and Orks both BADLY need new models, I’m not holding my breath.

Ok, now to talk about the DA releases a couple weeks ago.


Dark Angels are R-E-L-E-V-A-N-T now. Like, hellooooooo meta. No more excuses for getting my head handed to me anymore. Automatic free Transhuman Physiology (never wounded on a roll of 1-3 no matter the weapon’s S)

Basically the Deathwing and Ravenwing are both troops if you put them all together in a detachment, and you can take a Vanguard/Outrider detachment as a Battalion (i.e. no CP cost) if it has your warlord in it, which is just… YES! The only problem is doing 1 of each to give you a classic Black & White army leaves you with only 8 elite slots and YOU WANT TO FILL EVERY ONE OMG. I’ve been making lists for a game next week and just… EVERYTHANG is good. Plain old Deathwing? Knights? Bladeguard? Champion? Ancient? Ravenwing Apothecary that works in both detachments and is the BEST APOTHECARY IN THE GAME? Relic Terminators? Deathwing Command Squad? Probably the only stinker is the Deathwing Apothecary because he’s so completely outclassed by the Ravenwing version. The Ravenwing rejoices in speed with so much elan it’s probably going to make any White Scars die-hards just give up. ObSec, great weapon options, and really useful stratagem kit that lets them deliver a ton of firepower as well as their jink invuln save (5++ 4++ if they advanced) is just brutal Oh yeah and a top notch Psychic discipline that gives you buffs, debuffs, tactical fuckery and just seems SO good thematically.

The big downside is that you are going to be a small elite army. There’s some real potential to be outnumbered by everything except Knights. Fortunately you can just pile in obsec units. Deathwing Terminators, Terminator squads, Close Combat Terminator squads, and Relic terminators can all be obsec, as can Bikes and Outrider bikes. Greenwing exists, but why? I mean I literally have an almost completely mechanized battle company and I just can’t see it hitting the table without some serious nerfs to Deathwing and Ravenwing. But, there was a clear swing and a miss in the releases. The Patrol Box.

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WTF is this?

That…. That isn’t a Dark Angels box. That’s a bunch of random crap painted Dark Angels colors and thrown in a box. They didn’t even bother to use the Plasma Inceptors, just the Assault Bolter version, with a combat squad of intercessors, a Dread, and a Chaplain. No thanks. You know what box WAS a Dark Angels box despite GW not marketing it as such?

See the source image
You painted your Dark Angels Wrong

In 8th edition I complained (correctly) that Dark Angels were little more than slightly different Ultramarines painted Green. Clearly GW has someone specifically reading my blog who saw that and acted on my criticism to differentiate them better. Good job. Because now we have a whole box of Dark Angels painted Blue.

I’m not even kidding. The Captain, the Lieutenant, the Blade Guard, the Blade Guard Ancient, and the Chaplain all can be Deathwing. The Outriders are Ravenwing, the Judicar can SADLY be in neither, and will be relegated to Greenwing detachments despite being an awesome model with amazing rules. The eradicators are a rare bright spot in the Greenwing, being excellent with the DA special rules, and the assault intercessors are good for learning how to paint, I guess, because assault marines are just awful and assault marines without a jet pack are even worse so why even bother putting them together.

Last Son of Caliban: Changing Times

Master Cain gripped his sword, his relic shield dragging on his arm, blade point down in the ground, bone white armor scarred and dusted with the detritus of the battlefield, he watched his Blade Guard squads stalk back to the Overlord. Beside him, Grand Master Belial watched his Terminators file into their Thunderhawks. “Your warriors did well, Master Cain” Belial voxed over their subnet. The purge had been completed, the foe was not there, the resistance completely overwhelmed by the might of the Dark Angels. Most of the melee weapons his Blade Guard carried hadn’t even been bloodied, the disorganized rebels had been so shattered by the initial assault, and the fire of their guns that none had lived to meet the Deathwing blade to blade.

“Today was not their test, Grand Master. Your training is more demanding than today’s… operation,” Master Cain returned.
“You are right to expect much of them. Much will be demanded of them, and soon. This blow was ill-aimed. The next will not be.” Cain glanced at Belial. One of the few firstborn whose height brought him close to the towering height of the Primaris, Belial in his armor carried a bulk and yet a grace that was manifest, even as he stood watching the battle’s aftermath. The last of the warriors filed past the two, and the engines changed pitch as the pilots warmed up for flight.
“Back to the Warrior, Cain tonight we dissect this mistake and tomorrow we set it right.”

Cain turned to climb into the Overlord, in the distance the jet black craft of the Ravenwing took off from another side of the fortress they’d just demolished.

Painting 15mm

So I’ve been painting 15mm Miniatures, both for Team Yankee (Modernish 1980s Israeli Defense Force) and Napoleonics (French Imperial Army)

15mm is a VERY different scale from the 28/32 mm I’m used to. It’s a bit more involved process, and it forces me to really embrace assembly line painting in a way I haven’t had to do since I gave up on Orks and Goblins.

So let’s do a bit of a hobby post. Step one for infantry (which is all I’m going to talk about today) is to get them mounted for painting. You do NOT want them on their final base as painting everything will be too difficult in close order.

So first I cut out strips of hard cardboard I clip the edges with a heavy clipper, then score along the traced line, fold and tear.

Next I glue the miniatures to the temporary base. I use Elmer’s glue for this to make it easier to remove them later. These Chaussures a Cheval are a little closer than they might be but still looking good. I did glue the riders to the mounts so that’s something I may regret later.

Here’s some pictures of infantry, cavalry and cannons mounted for painting from a previous batch. I changed the orientation of the horses and I’m NOT painting the riders like that ever again. That much I remember.

I paint entire units in a bloc. One color at a time, for the entire brigade / battery. 15mm still has a lot of small details to pick out and I spend more than a little time going back to fix mistakes and do touch up.

Then we mount them on bases, of course I forgot I don’t need 6 men for front rank of light infantry units so I have an extra base to throw around.

Then we do some basing I like the citadel texture paints for gritty mud and soil. I will probably need to find some more before the Corona days end.

Then it’s back to the Elmer’s glue, using a toothpick to spread it wherever you want grass. Then dip the whole base into a bowl of flocking, lift it up and shake/blow on it to get it all off.

I can usually get a fair amount of work done, but with the coronapocolypse going on I’m hoping to alternate a brigade of frogs and a platoon of Israelis for the next couple of weeks. I’d like to get a battalion of Israelis and a corps of French done, we shall see how it goes.

So, I’m back.

I’m back in EvE. I’ve found a home that feels good. I joined up with Pandemic Horde, moved out, spent a bunch of isk on a personal armada of ships in doctrines that are strange and yet familiar.

100% the most annoying thing in the game for me right now is the things I cannot do. Logistics frigates? Had to train that. T2 Siege and Triage? SUNUVABITCH! Heck T2 cap guns. Somehow I had all the fighters, I must have fixed that in one of my brief forays since I last played seriously.

I’ve worked to get better use out of my in game time, partially through monitoring discord to see when is good and when isn’t as far as logging in, partly through just having my life better organized. EvE can dominate your life like no other game and I need better balance than when I last played.

Pandemic Horde is an interesting alliance. Hordlings are mostly incredibly enthusiastic newbeans. They make mistakes, they learn, they get better. Things that would make me red faced and livid as an FC back in my Aridia days are just a sigh and a nod now. It makes the game more fun. Corps like mine (Remember the Fallen) are generally bitter as fuck. Not in a harsh or dark way, but very prone to laughing at people doing stupid stuff, and corp chat tends to be a sidebar filled with snark. But we’re mindful of new people’s need to enjoy the game, and that their enjoyment helps us enjoy it more so we MOSTLY keep the bitterness away from the new players.

I’ve had a lot of really fun experiences, my first supercap kill, more time in my own caps than ever before, figuring out interesting ways to use alts in the new metas. I should have more interesting and specific blog articles, especially with all the changes going on and how it’s affecting people. I do have some other stuff I’m going to work on as well as blogs do not seem to be the done thing anymore. We’ll see, I like blogging.

I’m using it every time I can

Scraping the Bottom

So the new Space Marine Codex for 8th is out. With it came updates to the non-Codex chapters. Blood Angels, Space Wolves, and of course, my beloved Dark Angels. To call this update a sop gives it far too much credence. I’m going to talk about 4 main portions of the update, and examine the effects that DA players have to work under while we wait for a new codex that hopefully will rectify the situation.

But first a bit of context so you can see the power level DA were in before the update. Here’s this morning’s ITC rankings.

One guy over 550, everyone else under 400, even dropping down into the high-mid 200s by #10
Vs. One score under 500. The #10 Vanilla Marine army would be the #2 Dark Angels Army

Ouch. So before the Codex, DA were virtually non-competitive vs regular Space Marines. That’s the environment we existed in Friday. From there we see four main changes to the new Marine Armies.

First off is Doctrines. This is a huge one, handing out -1 AP to either Heavy and Grenade weapons, Rapid Fire and Assault, or Pistol and Melee, depending on which you are on. This basically puts regular marines back where they were in 7th as long as their doctrine is going, and boosts intercessors a LOT, with grenades and grenade launchers getting some real “reach out and touch someone” on turn 1. Dark Angels did not get this in the update, leaving all our troops with inferior AP, and no way to “tip the scale” depending on what phase of the battle is going on.

Second is Litanies of Battle. This is GW’s attempt to make Chaplains much more valuable and I am here for it. Basically each chaplain gets to pick a Litany he can recite every turn. Some of these are very powerful, even if virtually all are situational. Of course DA didn’t get this in the update either.

Third was stat changes. This affects DA in a different way. Lots of Primaris units received +1 wound. Gravis units in particular. This DID get given to DA; however it’s still a nerf. Gravis units are now tougher than Terminators, relegating two of the few special DA units rather less effective. Those being Deathwing terminators and Deathwing knights. While DA has access to the units with more wounds, these units don’t have the same access to power boosts that vanilla space marine units have.

Finally there’s point changes. Many units received new, lower costs, which DA do not have. There were some increases (especially Thunder Hammers) which haven’t hit DA yet, but in general Dark Angels armies built to mirror vanilla marines will have fewer, less potent models on the table, compared to their basic bitch brethren.

I do want to point out that some changes did hit equally, Angels of Death being a big one, but even these hit equally. Every change has had either zero net effect or a negative net effect, leaving an already weaker army further behind the power curve.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. GW has said there will be something for DA next month, but I am less than sanguine about it. We’re pretty late in the day for us to get what I think would help the most (The Lion) and I strongly doubt we will get more than a near-equalizer. Rules that bring things roughly in-line with Vanilla marines but don’t address the larger power imbalance.

I would LIKE to see a new chapter tactic. Grim Resolve doesn’t mean much of anything in a world of buff auras and MSU. I think something like a +3″ to aura abilities would be suitably strong, and also show the control the inner circle exerts over the Unforgiven. I know that’s very strong but… DA need something very strong at this point. Space Marines got boosted because they honestly needed it to be a top tier army. DA weren’t a top tier army, or even an average tier, now they are getting shoved even lower, and Space Wolves, Blood Angels, Grey Knights, and Death Watch with us.