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The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth» Forums » Variants

Subject: Adapting BaC for other Races rss

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D. Patton
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There's decent interest in BaC on our local scene but folks want to play their nids, orks, etc. Was curious of anyone had adapted any home brew stuff yet.

We were looking at things like:
Horde - Can fit up to 5 models in a hex. Opponent may count shields as hits on hexes containing more than 3 models.

Dakka - Orks may shoot as part of any advance action. Orks only ever hit on criticals, which have no special effects.

Grots - Ork units may include one grot. This may be combined with Hordes to allow up to 6 models in a hex. Grots are nothing more than meat shields for their larger greenskin masters. They produce no dice for attacks and do not count as units. If a grot is the last model in a hex it is immediately removed as a casualty---running off to hide somewhere.

Synapse - Nid units with this ability may not have their tactical points taken by their opponent's special abilities. For example, a bolter firing marine unit gets a critical hit on a unit of hormagaunts. This would normally reduce that nid unit's tactical points by one. If they are within range of a synapse leader, the gaunts can ignore the bolter's critical effect.

Synapse Leader (x) - Bolsters any synapse units within x hexes. The synapse leader does not have 'synapse' however so it may lose tactical points through game effects.

Fleet - models with this ability may run through rubble and similar cover hexes. It may not pass through solid obstacles/impassible terrain hexes.



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Kevin Outlaw
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I think the game system lends itself to adding new races relatively easily. I think the fun part will be working out a deck of command cards for each race.

Personally, I would avoid taking away any race's ability to score crits. A lot of the colour and excitement in the game comes from those effects.

Furthermore, if you make units that are immune to bolter fire crits, I think you are probably screwing the marines. At the moment, bolters are one of the best weapons in the game because of their ability to control and restrict the enemy.

Finally, sticking six models in a single hex is going to be a bit messy. I would try to stay within the normal bulk limits, really.
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Cutthroat Cardboard (Barry)
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I've done some surfing on this topic and the best thread I've found so far is this one.

http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/topic/316048-hh-betrayal-...

Possibly the hardest parts will be coming up with balanced, well themed command decks and designing generic scenarios that require movement as well as combat.

Whilst considering this topic I did wonder where GW were going with this whole idea...if anywhere! BaC seems absolutely on the mark as a board game for all those 40K players who have good memories of the game but never expected to pick up a space marine in anger again. The way this has been released however doesn't suggest a marketing strategy that will appeal to that demographic. I only found out about the game by accident and picked up a copy without mini's on eBay for £10! 20 minutes in the garage and a bit of painting to tart up some mini's that haven't seen the light of day in the best part of 15 years and I was good to go. Great value for me not much of a revenue generator for GW...but I suppose at least two people are happy with the contents of one copy of the game
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D. Patton
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Cool discussion. The ideas were just spitballed.
Any ideas on how Hordes could be handled if you want to preserve the 3 bulk limit?

Coming up with cards that are balanced would be very challenging but extremely cool if done right.

It'd be really great if GW would treat this as a core for other similar releases using this type (or even this very) set of rules.

On dakka folks have been talking about a Space Marine/Genestealer Cult boxed set at some point. Would be very cool if they did a BaC type treatment for those models, too. I realize that cardstock and printing of rule booklets is a limiting factor but I can always wish.
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Mark
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Hordes could count their Bulk as two-for-one (so, each 2 count as 1 Bulk). BUT, I would make that cost them something. Any unit with more than 3 models might be unwieldy, and get only 1 Tactical Point. Or, the opponent gets an extra shooting die or two due to the crowded target. Or, the unit can only use three models when shooting more than 3 hexes. Not all these things, but something to counter-balance the advantage of having more firing and assault dice, and more "wounds" in one hex.

I would not let units move faster then 2 hexes. I might let some fleet units like Termagants or Jump Pack marines move 2 hexes when Assaulting. Orks might not count "regular" hits when firing, unless they roll a Critical Hit. Then, they count all hits, including blanks. Orks that fight in an Assault might get another Tactical Point, because they are psychically inspired (2 remains the max). Tyranid Synapse creatures might be able to "give" their Tactical Points to lesser creatures (2 remains the max).

I don't know if that makes an elegant game fiddly.
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Kevin Outlaw
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The game is very clean and compact, and I think part of that is because, even though the forces are asymmetrical, it is still marines against marines, and therefore they have very similar abilities and weapons. Adding new races, while relatively easy, requires careful implementation to keep some kind of balance regardless of which races fight.

For example, an army with the ability to resist effects that take away tactical points would probably be overpowered fighting marines, whose bolters would be useless, but would potentially be underpowered against other races that do not rely on bolters.

I think the main focus of the game is around maxmising tactical points while denying your opponents those options. Most of the scenarios are races of one kind or another, where movement and pinning the enemy is as important as killing them, so I think many abilities need to revolve around that aspect.

Thinking about orks, my initial thought was to allow a free consolidation action after advancing, as it would simulate the orks massing together, but I admit I haven't thought about it for more than five minutes, and suspect that ability would be overpowered.

Other options would be gaining a tactical point when moving adjacent to an enemy, or allowing an ork unit with no tactical points left to use the tactical points of an adjacent unit. A relentless assault might be nice, where if they win an assault and move into the target unit's space, they get another free assault action (limit one free assault per activation).

I quite like the idea of a psychic assault where you can take the tactical points of adjacent ork units to add additional dice to the attack.

I think fleet is a sound ability for 'nids, allowing them to always run, even through difficult terrain, although they would probably still have to be subject to the pinning rule to prevent steamrolling.
 
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Mike Dudek
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It's a slippery slope making changes to a game system. Recall Space Hulk - it worked well because of its limits. It offered a relatively slow shooty force versus a fast melee army on a battlefield accommodating to that.

It started to break down when GW and fans started to add other things to it, and the game system could not handle them. Like both sides shooting, or the insanely overpowered psychic rules. While Deathwing produced some good(since retconned) fiction, and Genestealer had the nice hybrid models,I judge them both failures as actual game addons. To say nothing of the White Dwarf articles that tried to add regular marines, Guard, Orks, etc. to the game.

Calth works because of its limits, not in spite of them. It features two mostly similar forces, with a different 'flavor' to them added by the command cards. I would expect a similar result to Space Hulk when trying to make too much out of the game - it gets broken easily.
 
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Mark
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Yes, no, maybe. BaC is beautiful, baby! For its elegance, and simplicity. But, I suspect it might be a wolf in sheep's clothing. I think under the mountain of miniatures, and the glossy trappings of a boardgame, strip away all references to hexes, and we will find lurking in that rulebook, not-so-well concealed squad-level miniatures rules.
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Cutthroat Cardboard (Barry)
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It would indeed be easy to jump in and add rules and ideas that were not of the same refined simplicity as the base game. How many times have we all seen this happen before as a beautiful concept dies under the weight of less considered expansions. I agree however that the engine beneath the covers here could deal with the challenge as long as the ideas were kept in line with the original concept and heavily play tested before being released in the wild.
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D. Patton
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Agreed with all the caution. Our local talk is just that, local house rules to see how other races might be able to be played.

Eventually some nut will want to put a landraider in the mix and it will all explode

Still, I wouldn't fight too hard if GW made a hex-based game using this engine. Maybe it could occupy the space between Necromunda and full-blown 40k.
 
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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For the Orks, I think you can represent their traditional inaccuracy through their weapons. For example, Shootaz and Sluggaz are essentially knock-off bolt weapons, so I would do something like

Shoota: SHOOT 2 Critical Effect: The target unit loses one tactical point. Critical Hits are not added to the damage pool.

So it simulates the mass of fire that has a "pinning" effect on the target unit, but with a reduced effective damage.

A Big Shoota would work the same but be SHOOT 5.
A Slugga would work the same, but SHOOT 1, and the "Close Assault" pistol rule of bolt and plasma pistols.

 
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Mark
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I'm also an Ork man, Man. I envisioned Ork shooting as a blizzard of poorly aimed slugs. As much making noise as shooting to kill. So, I've tried to come up with a Critical Effect (CE) that is different from the Marine's Bolter. My first thought was that a CE would Pin the target unit. But, I haven't thought of a clean way to designate that. Plus, lingering effects can be messy. My next spitball is the CE would mean the target gets no cover for terrain (this would not effect Obscured shots, those don't get CE's, anyway). That's not much of a boost, but Ork shooting probably should not get much of a boost. The downside is it wont effect Assaults.

My other amazing ideas are all Orks always get a +1 when they make an Assault Action (Hand-to-hand is their Jam, Man!). But, never get a cover Bonus, cause they don't hide from nobody.

These uncanny ideas are very untested.
 
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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Don't discount copying the marine bolter. If anything, the designers gave us a good example by giving all bolt weapons the same crit effect. Ork guns being the cheap, back alley, knock-off bolter of the 40K universe, I think it's ok to copy their effect. They're effectively the same weapon, firing roughly the same ammo, at more or less the same rate of fire.

I think Assaults get handled with their base stats. A basic Ork should probably be Assault 3. If armed with a slugga and choppa, he'd get plus 2. That's not shabby.

Denying them a cover bonus is unnecessary, as the bounds is more often a matter of relative positioning rather than being in cover.

I think an assault bonus can be done with command cards, such as 'WAAAGH!: All Ork units advance one hex toward the nearest enemy unit, and if adjacent, assault with +1 attack each.' or something like that.

Their unit special rule should allow them to do a free consolidate move to an occupied hex at the end of the turn if it moves them closer to the enemy than they currently are. That's them mobbing up and refreshing the front line.
 
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paul jamison
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It seems the general feeling is 'be careful about variants'.

Is anyone here actively trying/testing different unit types?

There were some ideas presented in this forum that i recently added/amended to my own variant list, and i thought i'd try open up the dialogue to see if anyone has any constructive ideas/results/criticisms/comments/advice.

Scenario 7 from WD indicates to me that variation is not only possible but probably expected by the designers.
 
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Try these on if you like Death Guard. You could use the Word Bearer Command Cards if you want. I'm working on an alternate set.


UNIT ARMOUR STAMINA ASSAULT BULK SPECIAL RULES
Typhus 3 5 4 2 Sorcerer. Equipped With Manreaper
Destroyer Hive: At the end of an Assault action, roll 1 die for each model remaining in the target unit. For each Critical result, mark the target unit with 2 Plague tokens.
Fearless: This unit will not Retreat.

Typhus (Reverse Side) 3 5 4 2 Sorcerer. Equipped With Manreaper
Fearless: This unit will not Retreat.
Master of the Dead: Plague Zombies in an adjacent hex add 1 to their Assault value.

Plague Marine 2 3 2 1
SQUAD COMPOSITION: A Plague Marine squad consists of 1 Plague Marine Champion, and 6 Plague Marines. Each model in the squad is equipped with a boltgun and Plague Knife.
WARGEAR OPTIONS: Up to two Plague Marines may replace their boltguns with a flamer, meltagun or plasma gun. A Plague Marine Champion may replace his boltgun with a combi-weapon, bolt pistol or plasma pistol. He may also be equipped with either a Plague Sword, power fist, lightning claw, or power sword. One Plague Marine per squad may be equipped with a Plague Banner in addition to his other equipment.
Nurgle’s Rot: At the end of an Assault action, roll 1 die for each model remaining in the target unit. For each Critical result, mark the target unit with a Plague token.
Blight Grenades: Models assaulted by this unit subtract 1 from their Assault value when making a return Attack.
Fearless: This unit will not Retreat.

Plague Terminator 5 4 3 2
SQUAD COMPOSITION: A Plague Terminator squad consists of 1 Plague Terminator Champion, and 6 Plague Terminators. Each model in the squad is equipped with a combi-bolter and Power Sword.
WARGEAR OPTIONS: Any Plague Terminator may replace his combi-bolter and power sword with two lightning claws, or may replace his power sword with a power fist, chain fist, or lightning claw. Any Plague Terminator may replace his combi-bolter with a combi-weapon. One Plague Marine Terminator may replace his combi-bolter with a Reaper Autocannon or a Heavy Flamer. One Plague Terminator per squad may be equipped with a Plague Banner in addition to his other equipment.
Nurgle’s Rot: At the end of an Assault action, roll 1 die for each model remaining in the target unit. On a Critical result, mark the target unit with a Plague token.
Fearless: This unit will not Retreat.


Plaguebearer 2 2 1 1
SQUAD COMPOSITION: A Plaguebearer squad consists of 7 Plaguebearers armed with teeth, claws, and Plague Knives.
WARGEAR OPTIONS: One Plaguebearer may carry a Plague Banner.
Nurgle’s Rot: At the end of an Assault action, roll 1 die for each model remaining in the target unit. On a Critical result, mark the target unit with a Plague token.
Daemonic Save: This model may re-roll dice for a Defense roll.

Nurgling 1 3 3 2
SQUAD COMPOSITION: A Nurgling squad consists of 3 Nurgling swarms armed with teeth, claws, and feces.
WARGEAR OPTIONS: Nurglings may not carry or use any sort of equipment.
Small Target: Attacking units roll one less attack die.
Vulnerable to Blasts: Cannot make a Defense roll if the opponent uses a Flamer weapon Critical Effect.
Daemonic Save: This model may re-roll dice for a Defense roll.

Plague Zombie 0 1 1 1
SQUAD COMPOSITION: A Plague Zombie squad consists of 10 Plague Zombies armed with teeth and claws.
WARGEAR OPTIONS: Plague Zombies may carry random items, vestiges of their previous lives, but they will not use any sort of equipment or gain any effect from anything they might happen to be carrying.
Shambling Horde: Plague Zombies may not share a hex with another type of model, but may hold up to 5 models in a hex. At the end of the Round, models may Consolidate to an occupied hex if it brings them closer to the enemy than they currently are. During the Ready Phase, this unit may only be assigned 1 Tactical Point.
It Will Not Die!: Only Critical Hit results count as Hits against Plague Zombies.
Fearless: This unit will not Retreat.
Join Us In Death: If this unit moves into a unit as a result of successful Assault, add 1 Plague Zombie model to the unit for each enemy model removed from the board in that Assault.

WARGEAR

PLAGUE KNIFE ASSAULT +1 Critical Effect: If at least one wound goes unsaved in this Assault, mark the target unit with a Plague token.
PLAGUE SWORD ASSAULT +2 Critical Effect: If at least one wound goes unsaved in this Assault, mark the target unit with a Plague token.
MANREAPER ASSAULT - Critical Effect: PSYCHIC ASSAULT. Re-roll any number of Blanks or Shields. Do this until none remain or you wish to stop. If the Attack roll contains 4 or more Critical Hits, Flip/Remove Card.
PANDEMIC STAFF SHOOT * * Number of models in the target unit. Close Assault: A model equipped with a Pandemic Staff adds 1 to its Assault Value. This weapon can only be used in a Shoot action if the target is within three hexes. Critical Effect: PSYCHIC ASSAULT. The first target counts its Stamina value as 1 when allocating Hits.
REAPER AUTOCANNON SHOOT 2 Critical Effect: The first target subtracts 2 from its Stamina value (to a minimum or 1) when allocating Hits.
PLAGUE BANNER Once per turn, a unit with a Plague Banner may use an Action to target an unoccupied hex within Line of Sight. Roll 3 dice. For each Hit scored, place 1 Plaguebearer model in the target hex. For each Critical Hit scored, assign 1 damage to the model carrying the Plague Banner with no Defense roll possible.

Plague Tokens: At the end of each round, roll one Attack die for each Plague token assigned to each unit, resolving Hits as a standard assault. If a Critical is rolled, mark the unit with a Plague token. If a Miss is rolled, remove a Plague token. Note that each marked unit only rolls dice for the Plague tokens assigned to that unit. If a marked unit Consolidates, mark the new unit(s) with a Plague token.

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paul jamison
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Scarbuck wrote:
Try these on if you like Death Guard....

that's a nice, comprehensive faction list there. looking forward to giving it a try.
have you given this a play yet? if so how did it go?

also i like the idea of the remaining effect (plague). is the plague marker removed at the end of the turn after the plague hits are rolled, or carry on to next turn (indefinitely)?


 
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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Thanks.

Just made a few corrections to Typhus. Noted him as a Sorcerer, as some of the Command Cards I'm working on are Psychic Powers. Also split him to a front and back (wounded). Also added the Terminator heavy weapons.

Have not played it yet. Looking forward to it though. Not sure when I'll have a chance so as many people who can give a hand in playtesting would be appreciated. Keep in mind that this offering is based on a more traditional (old school) Chaos Codex, and not the modern "Chaos Skittles" you would find in the current edition. It's also not representing an early 30K Death Guard force (which would be more represented by simply painting the box figs in Plague Marine colors and using the Word Bearers rules with character name changes). These are fully turned veterans of the Long War Plague Marines. Do NOT breath deeply in their company.

Overall, I don't think it's overpowered, but it IS elite. As a rule, these guys are tougher than their Word Bearer cousins and have more special rules. Balancing the forces will be very important. You will not be able to do a squad for squad swap - I shouldn't think.

There should be less of them on the table than there would be Word Bearers. With the Plague Marines this was a little easier as I made the squad size 7, compared to a standard marine 10 (aren't 30K squads 20 marines?), but even then, I think that the 7 Plague Marines still have an advantage over 10 Word Bearers.

The Terminators are harder to balance as their squad size is also 7, compared to the boxes 5 Ultramarine terminators. I wouldn't be surprised if Typhus, 7 Terminators, and 10 zombies is more than a match for the box's full Ultramarine or Word Bearer compliment.

You could try matching up total Stamina points for the opposing armies. It's tricky, because the mission is also a factor. Asymmetrical battles can and should happen, but we do need to be able to balance the odds. This is for fun. One side having no chance at all is no fun. Also, mind that this is for a game that's for fun and flavor, not "competition". There's no tournaments here, though I'm sure some people will try it.

The Plague tokens ARE persistent. Those squads are sick for the rest of the game, getting sicker and spreading it to other squads if they mob up. In trying to keep the rules for that as simple as possible, I noticed an interesting effect. You could have a unit of 3 marines with say 5 Plague tokens on them. You could send one of them to another unit (he would give that unit a Plague token) and send another to form his own unit (which would also get e token). So now you have 7 tokens on the table, but 5 of them are on 1 "quarantined" guy, and the other two are on guys who thought they were clear.

I thought about having the guys that leave the unit take one of the tokens with them, starting with the first one to leave, whether to join or form a new unit. This also has an interesting effect of quarantine; the main difference being not so much in the total number of tokens on the table as that by strategically moving guys around, you could potentially draw the infection out of one guy, into another, and leave some guys clear.

Both, I think work reasonably well, though I like the version I posted a little better because it sticks to them. Once they're sick, they're sick. I did just add a line to remove a token if you roll a Miss at the end of the turn. There should always be a little hope.
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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Something to consider on the topic of balance...

The two forces supplied with the box are, for all intents and purposes, identical. Which is as it should be. They represent a time period where all the Legions were outfitted more or less identically (sort of), and two Legions of fairly equal tactical doctrine.

The Death Guard force I've presented here is, compared to the stock armies, fairly lackluster in the shooty department. With the exception of the Terminators, they have no heavy weapons, and even those carried by the Terminators are few and not terribly powerful. On top of that, the zombies and daemons have no ranged attacks at all.

They do however lean very heavily toward close combat, with more Attacks, dedicated close combat weapons, and special rules that reward getting up close and personal, and of overwhelming numbers over time. The Death Guard are not a force to get into a battle of attrition with. Your day will not end well.
 
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paul jamison
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having spent some time considering balance in the main game i'm fairly convinced there is no easy formula available for gauging equality; not for an ordinary brain like mine anyway. using just e.g. stamina doesn't reflect the overall 'quality' of the unit.

it's probably easier to accept that various units have biases toward attack/defense/ranged/assault, then play test to get the unit numbers to a 'reasonable' (plus/minus) level. which is definitely subjective but it's homebrew so who cares.

with this format it's probably easier to come to an agreement on fielded forces/units between players (aka AoS).
doesn't necessarily make for 'competitive' structure but still allows fun games.
and even if someone has an obviously superior force then consider turning the narrative into a surprise attack on an unsuspecting enemy, or reinforcements have arrived.

from my own test games using nids and bloodletters the close combat only units can definitely take a substantial beating before they get into assault range. therein lies the challenge... activation order etc.
 
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paul jamison
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i like the idea of Horde for smaller, numerous models. Opinions for whether the following should have Horde attribute?

zombie (y)
cultist (n)
imp guards (n)
bloodletter/plaguebearer (n)
hormagaunt (y)
termigant (y)
ork boyz (y)

considerations:
organization (IG and cultists possibly are, orks and zombies are possibly not),
size (nids are smaller, bloodletter/plaguebearer are bigger)

tried it out and you can fit 5 x 28mm bases on a hex ok but armor and accessories can make things a bit awkward.
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Agree with you on that list, except for the boyz. Grots, on the other hand... THOSE wee buggers.

The boyz though, should have the 'mob up' portion, allowing them to consolidate forward and replenish their front ranks at the end of the turn without an action.

Did the same exercise and also got 5. 6 if you can stack one in the middle, balancing on the other 5, but then you're playing styrene Jenga. Not that this isn't without precedent in 40K. Back in the day, the transport capacity of an Ork trukk, was how many models you could balance on it. If one fell off, it was dead.

But yeah, 5 is a physical max for standard sized bases.

As 'civilians' breaking the game system like this (altering the bulk limit) is tricky and dangerous. In the zombies, I balanced it by allowing them to only ever have one action, and precluding them from mixing with other troop types, both of which are also thematic.

At the end of the day, it IS our game, and we can break it how we want, but when getting others to accept those same rules, it pays to be careful about things like that. Others may not interpret things like you do, and some people are sticklers for the RaW. So know your group.
 
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paul jamison
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Scarbuck wrote:
Agree with you on that list, except for the boys. Grots, on the other hand... those wee huggers.


thought the zombies was a nice solution. to use your definition 'thematic'.

also like the ork 'mobs' and grot 'hordes'. are grots really hordes fluffwise (numerically or by mass)? similar to nurglings i guess, or ripper swarms, or scarabs.

re last point it's more (for me anyway) getting feedback and guidance on factions i know less, little or nothing about, rather than trying to enforce anything on anyone. gives us a chance to chuck the other units on the board.

we just finished a great game with assault bias marines vs nids (including 'hordes'). was briliant, hordes definitely changes the dynamic of the smaller units, making them both an easier shooty target but a greater CC threat.

would you mind if i included your plague marine items in a list i'm compiling?
 
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Mark
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paulJam wrote:
we just finished a great game with assault bias marines vs nids (including 'hordes').


No, no you didn't "finish." Not without posting pics!

Feed the Beast, post some pics!robot
 
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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Snotlings. You seek snotlings. Those are the small orkoids that are typically played on large bases, like nurglings or ripper swarms.

I would leave the ork boyz as normal bulk 1 models, the grots as a hoard, like the zombies, and snotlings as a bulk 3 swarm model.

Use away. Let us know how it works. All that stuff is up here to share and get feedback.

And yes, photographs are required, or the activity in question never occurred.
 
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paul jamison
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good suggestions re orks, i will update my list accordingly...

photos as requested. still getting my head around the forum syntax, so if these are wrong format i apologize in advance.

Force 1 - nids
Force 2 - sm

Turn 1 (start)
Turn 2
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