Friday, April 8, 2011

Warhammer 40k, an Introduction (The Lore)

And so it Begins...
The Aquila - the symbol of the Imperium of Man

The lore and back story behind Warhammer 40k is vast to say the least.  Official canon is derived from the various rulebooks and 'army'-specific codexes as well as the vast host of novels written on the subject.  Known as the Black Library, somewhere around 100 books have been published by a handful of authors to fill the racks of lore and knowledge about this expansive and detailed world.  To tell the story of the 40k setting would take many pages, but I shall try and compress it into a 'semi' short read.  Perhaps I'll make more detailed posts later...

Holy Terra (Earth) - the center and origin of humanity

The old days...
As the name of the franchise implies... we are presently around the year 40,000.  Faster than light travel, laser guns, aliens, and all that good stuff exists in some form.  So how'd we get here?  
By the year 15,000 mankind had reached the peak of its technological innovation.  Man had spread throughout the stars of the Milky Way galaxy.  All was well for another 10k years until the Age of Strife, around the year 25,000.  The method for human (faster than light) travel and communication relies on an entity known as the Warp.  It is an alternate reality that persists everywhere - ships (aided by 'Navigators') and telepathic messages (sent by 'Astropaths') enter the Warp temporarily for fast travel.  However, the Age of Strife is marked by massive Warp-storms throughout the galaxy.  These storms disrupt travel and communication, isolating most of humanity into individual planets or small clusters of planets.  With a cessation  of trade and communication comes conflict.  Battles over "agri-worlds" (which focus on food production for the highly populated city-worlds who can not sustain themselves) and other resources ensues.  Individual planets see strife over local control.  TL;DR - shit is bad.  Humanity is scattered.

Brave soldiers of the Emperor - the Imperial Guard

Recent Past...
By the year 30,000 the Warp Storms subside and a single force unifies Terra.  The new master of Earth is known only as the Emperor.  Using genetically modification he enhanced his soldiers into 'Space Marines' - demi-god like in power, these warriors are physiologically superior to any normal warrior.  With the Space Marines at the forefront of his army, followed by untold billions of normal soldiers of the Imperial army the Emperor set off on his Great Crusade to unite the stars.  

Space Marines of the Dark Angels Legion

Heading the Space Marine legions are the Primarchs.  The Primarchs are Space Marines themselves; but are the direct 'sons' of the Emperor - vastly superior to their normal marine brothers.  These 20 primarchs each head their own legion of marines.  200 years after the launch of the Great Crusade humanity is almost unified. However, Horus - the most favored son of the Emperor and head of the primarchs was corrupted by Chaos: an evil entity that thrives in the Warp.  Corrupted, Horus talks many of his brother Primarchs and their space marine legions into joining his cause to rebel against the Emperor.  After bitter warfare, Horus and his allies failed, and retreat into the Warp.  The Emperor is left mortally crippled - interned in the Golden Throne: a life sustaining device.  While the Emperor is not dead, he also does not live.  Only his mind remains alive.

The God-Emperor of Man before his internment on the Golden Throne 

The year is 40,000.  The Emperor still remains on the Golden Throne.  The High Lords of Terra - a council of the Imperium of Man's most senior leaders, rules in his stead.  Humanity is beset on all sides by threats - internal and external.  From within, chaos corrupts the minds of men - heretical chaos cults and rogue planetary governors rebel.  From outside, various alien species threaten the Imperium - Orks, Eldar, Tau, Tyranid, and Necron.  All with their own back-story and lore.

The Emperor now; interned on the Throne in a not dead, yet not fully alive state.

That's all for now... I'll post more lore later!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Warhammer 40k, an Introduction (The game)

So one of my favorite hobbies of all time is the Warhammer 40k tabletop gaming franchise.  I originally wrote a pretty detailed review of one of the "armies" in the Warhammer 40k universe a few posts ago, but I wanted to give a nice, broad, introduction to the tabletop game so that when I make more detailed posts in the future there is an intro to the 'world' of 40k.  This is going to be part 1 of a "2 parter" - part 1 will explain the game itself and its basic mechanics.  Part 2 (which I'll write up.. eventually) will be an introduction to the lore and backstory of this rich piece of ip (which includes something like 60 novels and a wealth of other information and lore).

Imperial Guardsmen, being led by an officer and his command squad

Where to begin when explaining the 40k tabletop game?  Well, I suppose we can start with the most basic principles.  40k is a tabletop game - that's right, this game isn't played on a console or on your computer (well.. they made those after the fact).  Rather, it is played on a large surface (somewhere in the magnitude of 6x4').  There is no "board".  Each player possesses an army, and that army contains individual models; most are 28mm (1.1 inches), but there are also various vehicles [walkers, tanks, aircraft] and other types of units.  

Before you play,

Before you get into the heat of battle you need to get your army ready.  This typically includes purchasing the models from Games Workshop or from some 3rd party.  You must then assemble them (most are plastic and come on "sprues" which you must cut the pieces out of - think gundam model box kits).  Assembly requires nothing more than some super glue and a nail file for rough edges.  After the models are assembled you need to paint them!  Painting is great because it lets you give your army a unique feel - are they a stealth force dressed in mostly black, or from an old chapter whose color scheme is already set.  Once they're painted and you decorate their base a bit (the base is the little circular piece of plastic they'e glued to - see the above picture) you're almost ready to battle.

A battle force of Ultramarine-chapter Space Marines are ready for battle!

Making an army list,

After you have your troops purchased, you need to make your army list.  All units in 40k have point values.  As such, players with two different armies can compete on an equal footing in say.. a 1500 point battle.  Each "army" in the 40k universe comes with a codex - aka, army-specific rules.  Armies range from the human Imperial Guard, to Orks (space orks~), Tyranids (think alien from AvP), eldar (space elves) and a bunch of others.  The army codex contains various ways to customize your army and get it ready for play.


Find a friend, or local gaming store where 40k players gather, and play!  Most competitive matches will include detailed terrain (miniature structures/bombed out ruins/trenches/bunkers) with which to do battle in.  Ask for tips from your opponents on how to improve your army or check out various internet forums dedicated to the hobby.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

eRepublik - Fun browser based game I like

I figured I'd make a post about a browser-based web game that I've been playing for some time.  It goes by the name eRepublik

The game is a global political, economic, and militaristic sim where players are "born" in a nation of their choosing (the game currently supports something like 70 nations).  After doing so, the citizen participates in daily activities that raise their experience level as well as gains them in-game currency.  I'll break down the game into the 3 primary aspects of Politics, Business, and War.

Citizens get to vote in elections 3 times per month.  On the 5th is the Presidential Election for each country.  Citizens may vote for a candidate backed by a top party for the highest office.  On the 15th of the month are elections for Party Presidents.  These are leaders of the various political parties that a citizen may join or create.  Party leaders have the power to endorse (permit) candidates to run for the presidency, and select which party members may run in congressional elections.  Congress elections are on the 25th - the number of seats in a nation's legislature is determined by the number of territories the country controls.  All posts are held for a 30-day term, with no term limits.


Players can work daily in companies for a wage.  This wage is set by the manager of the company (who is a fellow citizen of the eWorld).  Once a citizen is wealthy enough, they may open up their own companies and hire others.  Goods are then put on the market.  If I was operating a grain company I would put it on the market so that a food company manager could purchase the grain and have his workers churn it into food - and then sell that on the market for all to purchase.  There are many businesses, from Raw materials (grain, oil, etc) to weapons and houses.


If the president and congress of a nation find it necessary, they may attack the territory of a neighboring country. Reasons range from being bound to attack by an alliance, needing the resources of that territory (certain territories/resources give passive benefits to certain business industries, like +% grain production), to simply being bored and having citizens clamoring for war.  Once at war, citizens from the country may arm themselves with weapons (purchased from weapons companies who rely on the iron industry) and go to battle.  Most countries have an organized military system with ranks and weapon distribution infrastructure to help the war efforts, in addition to the mobs of citizen soldiers.

I've been playing the game on and off lately, but it's definitely worth giving a shot.  If you want to play feel free to use my referral code.  It doesn't do much, but you'll automatically be friended to me and I'm happy to give a helping hand to new players (monetary or otherwise).  CLICK HERE to sign up.  It's a fun way to kill a few minutes every day =D

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sucker Punch - aka Go watch this shit now

So a change of pace from my prior Warhammer 40k bantering...

Just saw Sucker Punch after a nice Ruth's Chris steakhouse dinner.  The movie was ridiculously EPIC.  Great soundtrack and great action scenes.  The story was meh, but the way the action scenes were spliced in was just priceless.  Fighting steampunk nazi zombies? -check.  Giant Japanese samurai-mechs with gatling cannons? -check.  A cast of all hot chicks?  -check and check.

Go watch this shit now.  That is all.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Grey Knight Codex - Heftier review

Alright so, I was finally able to run a 1500 point match utilizing the new GK codex.  In fact, I was able to test pretty much every unit with myself controlling an all Inquisitorial army and my opponent using an almost entirely all Grey Knight force - both with the new codex ruleset.

~ Inquisition-focus List ~
My Inquisitor list (tl;dr version) looked something like...
Inquisitors Karamazov & Coteaz, techmarine, land raider redeemer, and 5 henchmen squads being taken as troops as per Coteaz's special rule.  Of the 5 it included; 1 deathcult assassin squad,  2 plasma cannon/hvy bolter/multimelta servitor squads, and 2 psyker squads.

All I have to say is, the force wrecked massive havoc.  I'll go into the pluses/detractors of this all-inquisitorial list.

What I Liked:

  • - The psyker squads have a ridiculous psychic shooting attack with a 36 inch range, utilizing a large blast template.  The best part is that the Strength of the attack goes up 1 and the AP goes down 1 with teach psyker in the squad.  Drop down 5 or 6 of them and you have a nasty AP1 large blast template launching at a yard.
  • - The servitor squads are cheap.  Plasmacannon servitors (limited to 3 per henchman squad) are only 20 points, with the hvybolter and multimelta ones being 10.  
  • - The techmarine gets to fortify one piece of terrain to get +1 cover save for the duration of the game.  I dumped most of my shooting-heavy force into a ruin that now conferred a 3+ cover save to all of its inhabitants.
  • - The techmarine got to carry both Rad and Psychotroke grenades.  The rad grenade removes a toughness, the psychotroke grenade has ridiculous effects (determined by a d6 roll; all options but a roll of 1 are great).  The best part being that both grenades can be used when assaulting or being assaulted.
  • - Inquisitor karamazov gets to dump an orbital bombardment with perfect accuracy if placed on a friendly model.  Is that friendly squad who's locked in assault about to lose in the ensuing assault phase?  Help end their misery - dump a template on them!  

What I didn't like:

  • This army is great for annihilation or capture and control missions, but slightly less pro at capture points.  The 11 assassins+techmarine in the land raider is a deadly mobile force, though.
  • Both inquisitors must be kept attached to the servitor squads to prevent the mind-lock special rule (50% chance the servitor and its unit will be un-usable for 1 turn if an inquisitor isn't in the squad)
  • If the assassin team is out killing/capturing shit, your shooting forces might be vulnerable to deep strikers/assault vehicles.  While Coteaz will allow a free shot at anyone deep striking within 12'' of him, this isn't helpful if they deepstrike near a squad out of range, away from Coteaz, or if the enemy charges in an assault vehicle which you can't stop.
We played a capture and control mission, which I won handedly.  He played a high-cost/low model Grey Knight list; using the new Paladins (cooler sounding terminators which can include a GK apothecary which gives feel no pain to the squad).  While their new Aegis ability makes it more difficult to cast psychic attacks (-1 ldrship on the psychic test), it is nothing compared to their Aegis from the old codex.  All in all I was at a large advantage with all the plasma and such, fighting grey knights.  But both lists seem viable against other lists / opponents.

That's all for now.  For the Emperor!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Well crap, now what

So I started the blog.  I guess I'm supposed to talk about Warhammer 40k or something along those lines.  I'll probably get more into the regular routine in the next day or two, but I'll start with that new Grey Knights codex.

The new GK codex is loaded with a craptonne of new units and stuff for those deprived GK players.  I mean, shit, before hand you had 3 options for GKs.  Terminators, normal doods, or normal dood squad that got to carry some extra special weapons.  Now there are like.. 15 different GK options from techmarine to librarian.  It's pretty awesome and I definitely plan to take full advantage of the new system.  The inquisitorial part of the codex is also beefed up a bit - the new inquisitorial henchmen options are much improved upon in this new codex, and lifts the limit on the number of each type of henchmen you want to use.

I'll talk more about the codex and some cheesy army lists I'm working on later.

As for current Warhammer 40k book of the week - I'm re-reading Dan Abnett's The Founding.  I forgot how great it was since I last read it a few years ago.  It's the first omnibus (which means set of 3 books for all you noobs) in the Gaunt's Ghosts series.  Pick it up from your local Borders or something next time you get a chance.  Definitely worth it.