Author: scutarii

Epic: Armageddon Factions 101 – Part 2 Orks

This week we get to plumb the depth of knowledge of Guildford Games Club member Matthew Arnold who has kindly written up his thoughts about the different Ork army lists in Epic: Armageddon.

Ork Army Lists Here

I’ll hand you over to Matt.

Ghazgkhull’s Horde

Ghazgkhull’s Horde is an all arms, flexible list, in fact it is noteworthy for being the most varied and flexible list in the game!  Here’s why it can be so much fun!

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Special Rules
The most important aspect of any army in EA are the race specific special rules, and the Orks have some gems, these two being the best:

Mob Rule
Orks believe that as long as there are a bunch of them still fighting together (slightly more than they can count up to is ideal!) then there’s always a chance that they’ll prevail, no matter the odds. To represent this, Ork formations with more than five units, not including Grotz or Big Gunz units, receive a +1 modifier to any rally rolls they make, and formations with more than ten such units receive a +2 modifier. For the purposes of this rule, war engines count each point of starting damage capacity as a unit.

Power of the Waaagh!
Orks are not noted for their organizational abilities, and thus usually have a pretty low initiative rating. However, if there is one thing that will galvanize an Ork warband, it’s the thought of a good punchup! Because of this, Ork formations that are attempting to take an engage or double action receive a +2 modifier to their action test roll. Ork flyboyz similarly relish the chance to shoot things up, and receive a +2 modifier to their action test roll when attempting to carry out interception or ground attack actions
These special rules also apply to all Ork lists including Speed Freaks and Feral Orks.

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Some of Matt’s fantastic conversions

Strengths

Reliability
Orks are born for war, it’s instinctive, so as long as you play aggressively as is natural for Orks they will carry out orders with a reliability on a par with Marines, just don’t expect the outcome to be quite as reliable!  The results of Ork shooting, engages, and armour saves are volatile in the extreme!
But even the unpredictable nature of how Orks react to coming under fire or being in a fight can be used by a wily Ork player … moving an ‘Uge Mob of Boyz up to an enemy formation and shooting them a little will cause little to no damage, but it will put a blast marker on them and leave them with the tough decision as to what to actually do about that mass of Orks taunting them, the Mob Up rule makes them surprisingly difficult to shift and it can be tough predicting the outcome of a toe to toe fight with Orks!

Variety and Adaptability
Ork players also have access to a massive variety of units and key word abilities such as sneaky Scouts and Infiltrators, Disposable Grots, Supa Gunz with Titan Killer or Barrage, Stompas with Reinforced Armour and so on.  This pick and mix of units are available in battlefield formations which are highly adaptable, Ghazgkhull’s Horde is one of the few list where players are encouraged to upgrade and beef up the base formations through discounts when doubling or tripling the size of the formation as listed so no two Ork formations or armies will be alike.

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Ork players are able to take advantage of synergies like few other lists can.
Your Boyz getting shot up?  Add some “Disposable” Grots as a bullet screen or heavy armour and mobile cover in the form of Dreads and Stompas, or both!
Need some more firepower?  Add Big Gunz or Odd Boyz!
Trouble with aircraft?  Speed around the table with an entire formation of Flak Waggonz or take a squadron of 20 Fighta Bomberz!
Almost any grand strategy or crazy tactic is possible with the list, you can build a force of purely infantry or armoured vehicles and watch your opponent weep as all their las-cannons or heavy bolters are rendered useless, you can take hordes of light vehicles giving you un-paralleled speed and manoeuvrability, a whole army which Garrisons on the objectives from turn one and still retains and enormous amount of variety, go for an air assault list with five Landas…. Ork players always have the opportunity to do something really surprising, and/or a bit mad!

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Cost
Both in game terms and hobby terms Ork armies are cheap to build, they have a huge variety of useful and cheap upgrades with handy key word abilities which can be easily knocked up out of parts from your bits box!  Keep in mind those unreliable aspects of using the Horde list can be remedied by taking lots of models to ensure the job gets done!
Hint: Getting more than one of anything for 25pts in EA is a bargain and you can’t go wrong taking advantage of it, be that shots or units…. beware getting carried away though as you’ll risk getting timed out in tournament play as you’ll have lots to do each turn!

In summary
The units don’t look stellar on paper but they’re cheap, can be mixed into formations how you like for brutal combinations of attributes and abilities, and most of them have the excellent mob up rule making them extremely reliable.  The challenge of using Gaz’s Horde is capitalising on those reliable command and control aspects of the army without falling foul of how fickle it can be close up.

Authors view: When it comes to winning games and tournaments the key for the Ghazgkhull’s Horde list is surprise and invention, if you want to build one optimised list and get to know it inside out for best results, a Horde may not be for you.

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Kults of Speed and Feral Orks

These variant lists both sacrifice a little variety in favour of slightly more reliable performance when getting to grips with the enemy making them far more straight forward.  The Horde is a mid-tier list which will always have something to bring to the table, both Speed Freaks and Ferals are top-tier lists but are far more predictable and can come unstuck verses some armies and opponents. Neither Freaks nor Ferals are seen as frequently as Gaz’s Horde lists at events as they’re both most effective as Horde lists requiring a lot of repetitive painting (up to 120ish mostly red or brown tiny models!) and the models are slightly more difficult to cobble together from your bits box!
The Speed Freak list sacrifices access to slower and/or heavier units in favour of more fast light vehicle units at a discounted price.  Whatever Speed Freaks do is fast and on mass, their usual tactic is to overwhelm one section of their opponents’ battle line and then sweep through before any coordinated response or plan can be put into action.  Its great fun moving formations of dozens of Buggies and Bikes a meter at a time whilst making engine noises but it can take some time!  Speed Freak players need to play as quickly as their army moves in order to finish games at tournament (and to avoid annoying their opponent).  On some occasions Speed Freaks will come across an opponent who know exactly what they’re doing or have a formation that a massed assault of light vehicles just can’t crack (Hello Warlord Titans!) and the main thrust of the army will bounce, at that point it’s anyone’s game!
Hint: Boyz mounted in Truks are exceptionally good value…..

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Feral Orks sacrifice access to anything which looks much more sophisticated than a kettle in favour of numbers and a few oddities.  The main tactic will always be a general advance which is just tough to stop as there’s either a tide of typically enthusiastic Orks, or the army is riding on a menagerie of armoured dinosaurs!  Often both!  Opponents are limited by their ability to manoeuvre around so many bodies, even aircraft have a tough time as Feral or Weird Boyz have the ability to swat aircraft out of the sky with a devastatingly powerful psychic attack (say goodbye to your fully loaded Thunderhawks and Vampires!).  Again, with certain builds Feral Ork player run the risk of having too much to do if they’re not focussed and they will sometime meet opposition they just can’t overwhelm by force of numbers.
Hint: Junka Truks are great value and hordes and hordes and hordes of Boar Boyz can make for a really tough list!

Author’s view: In contrast to Gaz’s Horde a Freak or a Feral player will do really well building a list they love and works for them and sticking with it, play well and to the Orks’ strengths and they will perform consistently well…. Also you don’t want to have to paint even more brown or red right?!

Gargant Bigmob

An Ork list with lots of Gargants at its core, including the majestic Mega Gargant! Still in development this list is frequently played casually but not yet legal in all tournament formats, it will be though so don’t be put off!  I can’t really say much about this list as it is still a bit in flux, sufficed to say it’s the shootiest of the Ork lists……

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Thank you Matt for your input! Hopefully this will inspire someone to give the Orks a try or dig them back up out of that dusty box and give them some table time!

Happy Gaming.

Epic: Armageddon Factions 101 – Part 1 Imperial Space Marines

EPIC Armageddon Hub

Epic: Armageddon Factions 101 – Part 1 Imperial Space Marines

Epic: Armageddon Factions 101 – Imperial Space Marines

When starting out (or expanding!) people often like to have some idea about the factions in the game. How they play, what strengths and weaknesses they may have, if they have a style or theme that will fit with their personal preferences. Additionally whether there are units or options that are popular or not can be important (after all, if you like a faction because of a unit or two on their list and then find those units are generally not useful it can make it a lot less fun to play as that faction).

I want this article to explain each of the army lists in some brief detail to give you a starting point to selecting who you want to play and maybe giving you some ideas of the different kinds of strategies people use in Epic.

I plan on putting up a sequence of articles looking at the different faction groupings in Epic: Armageddon and giving a brief overview of them. This will be from my own perspective and experiences and I have not played with nor against every permutation of every faction so there are guaranteed to be bits I miss of get wrong (though, I will try to reach out to broader community voices and expertise where I know I am sorely lacking in useful information). However, I should hopefully be able to provide an at least generally accessible point to begin looking at and assessing the different – EpicUK – factions for Epic.

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Space Marine Terminators and Land Raiders ready for battle

But first a note on how Epic: Armageddon designs army lists. The game tries to avoid ‘generalist’ lists where it can and instead tries to have lists that focus on a playstyle. For example there is no ‘Imperial Guard’ list, instead there is a Steel Legion, a Baran Siegemaster, Ulani Tank Regiment, etc. list. This is because the relative value of certain units changes within the context of building a list that is trying to rely on aerial attacks or swarming heavy armour or scout dominated play. Remember that just because a list is called the ‘Blood Angels’ doesn’t mean it can only be used for playing Blood Angels and successors. Instead it’s a list for more close combat and aggressive engagement based play and anyone who wants to play their space marines that way would be well served in giving it a look. Consider the case of a Space Marine chapter that has recently fallen to worship of Khorne…Blood Angels with a different lick of paint all of a sudden makes a lot of sense for your marines!

The Imperial Space Marines

The Imperial Space Marines. Bioengineered warrior monks and crusading knight analogues in the sci-fantasy future! The razors edge on the blade of Imperial might. Keepers of dark secrets, wild ravaging nomads, crusading brethren and much more.

Link To Space Marine Codex

There are several chapters with their own lists as well as a basic Codex Marines list. Dark Angels, White Scars, Blood Angels, Space Wolves and Black Templars. The Codex Marines list may appear at first glance as a more ‘generic’ list but it focuses on an aerial assault playstyle so may not be the best pick for how you want to play.

IN GENERAL

Space marine lists tend towards having larger numbers of smaller formations. They tend to roll fewer dice but have better to hit values and armour values in return as well as the And They Shall Know No Fear special rule to overcome some of the weaknesses their smaller formation sizes can lead to. They also have good access to a lot of mobility options and ways of entering and leaving the table.

Space marines are a finesse force, requiring a firm grasp of how to get your models into positions to support one another, focusing their force in a small area of the table, destroying the opposition there and then often leaving the table again to rapidly shift the focus of attack to a different point. This makes them less beginner friendly than might be expected from Warhammer 40k but it does mean they play more like a group of special operative teams finding ways to overcome far larger numbers of opposition.

CODEX MARINES

The Codex Marine list generally favours use of aerial assets and scouting forces. Using landspeeders, scouts and warhounds to create space on the table and to control how your opponent can move around the board whilst also placing blast markers on the enemy. Then, once an opportunity presents itself (or has been engineered by your scouting forces) you land a hammer blow with your aerial assets and destroy a part of your opponent’s army. Then ideally you extract the hammer blow formations back from the table and repeat the process next turn.

This is mostly achieved through the use of a pair of Thunderhawks and a formation of Terminators. Terminators are extremely powerful and their weakness in mobility is overcome by using the Thunderhawks to land them on the table and then have the second (empty!) one land and pick them back up again to fly off the table. Cycling them on and off the table each turn.

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Terminators crash into the heart of traitor guard from their Thunderhawk! – Note the supporting tactical company

The list also supports more traditional ‘marines in rhinos’ rushing about the place though this exposes your smaller numbers of models to greater risk than the aerial approach. Or use of spaceships for orbital drops – which plays similarly to the aerial circus approach but lands more powerful assets in a single strike in exchange for losing the ability to recycle them for later turns.

Codex marines also have many options and a very flexible army list allowing a great deal of freedom to make skew lists and play themes of your own devising. Taking nothing but Terminators or an armoured division with predators, vindicators and land raiders everywhere is…while not particularly advised from a competitive stand point probably a lot of fun to play.

However the Codex marines have a general lack of good anti-Titan tools and dealing with large numbers of, or particularly powerful forms of, War Engines will take care and the correct use of the support fire rules to get enough models to be involved in the fights to overcome them. You will also likely find that your shooting phases are not a game winner, the combination of smaller numbers of models and shorter ranges overall means you won’t be defeating your opponents hordes of Boyz with raw firepower, instead the shooting should be looked at as a way of setting up your decisive Engagements.

Playing successfully with the Codex Marines will likely require a good understanding of how to use the blast marker, Engagement and Supporting Fire rules so brushing up on those will probably help your play considerably!

DARK ANGELS

Very similar to the Codex Marine list in playstyle. It sacrifices access to the Titan Legion and Imperial Navy assets (because Dark Angels need to keep their secrets, can’t have some nosy guardsman stumbling across something…) to gain better Devastators, Nephilim and Ravenwing formations.

The advice for Codex Marines holds true here, scouting forces and aerial assets will be your bread and butter but the Devastators can make your orbital attacks more powerful (their better shooting is well worth the slow firing penalty because generally you’d want to shoot once and then be stuck in Engagements rather than standing off and firing multiple turns over) and the particular stand out is the Ravenwing formation. It mixes Bikes with Landspeeders and because of the Garrison rules allowing a formation that has at least half the models with the scout rule (the landspeeders have scout!) to Garrison that means you can have a strong combat formation on the half way line before the first turn even start!

Dark Angels are arguably an even better version of the Codex Marines list. Due to their cost and list skewing impacts the larger Titans are not a common sight so their loss here is not really felt and the Ravenwing compete for the same role the Warhound would have taken. Nephilim are better – but more expensive – substitutes for Thunderbolts too.

Incidentally the Ravenwing formations and other mobile assets of the list in general mean that they could make a different spin on the lightning warfare role the White Scars are famous for. If the sacrifices the White Scars list makes for its unique toys are too much for you perhaps consider the Dark Angels with a different paint job 😉

WHITE SCARS

The White Scars diverge from the template laid down by the Codex and Dark Angels with larger bike formations (with Walker!), loss of Dreadnoughts and an element that changes the list the most from the Codex list is the loss of the ability to mount Terminators in a Thunderhawk. Instead the larger more powerful Bike formations will need to pull their weight. These formations do fit inside a single Thunderhawk though so you can double dip on mobility while also having the ability to retreat formations off the table to safety.

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Space Marine bikers plough into the unprepared traitorous Sentinels – with supporting fire from Devastators deploying from Drop Pods

Another point to note is that the 8 strong bikers (they also gain the Walker rule to deal with rough terrain well) with ‘And They Shall Know No Fear’ are extremely tough to completely remove from the table and can form a real battle line.

The supporting elements are still small and vulnerable to casualties though so playing intelligently is key. Rushing headlong forwards might at first glance appear a good idea but the Khan would shake his head in shame to see it. use your speed to get your marines where they need to be in support of one another. Make sure every fight is in your favour and crush your opponent piecemeal while your mobile support assets hinder their ability to counterattack.

BLOOD ANGELS

Retaining the flexibility and mobility options of the Codex marines but gaining access to some (expensive) fearless CC focused units in the Death Company and Dreads as well as larger assault formations (6 stands rather than 4) your focus should be on getting your excellent fighters right into the enemy as rapidly as possible – whilst still paying attention to getting supporting fire elements in place first!

The aerial, orbital and ground based transport options available to the Marines should make delivering your powerful fighters fairly reliable too.

The main risk here is that you are forced to take the expensive death company and without some supporting elements (transports for example) they can be difficult to get into a position to do anything meaningful making them a larger points sink. Furthermore many of your unique units are CC focused which means enemy skimmers can render them notably weaker and their CC ability only really comes into play on the offensive as the enemy can engage you and remain outside of your CC range and force firefights (bear in mind the attacker will only ever go for CC if they stand to gain from doing so while the defender can be stuck in firefight unable to use their fantastic CC ability). The Baal Predator however is fantastic and use of Landing Craft to deliver right into the thick of the enemy is recommended.

Wether Baals make up for the loss of Devastators is debatable as is the inefficiency of transporting Assault Marines in Thunderhawks (because they are 6-strong you can only fit one formation in a Thunderhawk while you can fit 2 of the 4-strong ones inside meaning you can deliver 8 in one go rather than only 6). Assault Marines with added Vindicators can be a good option, bringing meaningful firepower alongside potent CC troops. Also very thematic to have the bunker busters breach a hole that the assault marines then pile into and pry open!

Overall I’d consider the Blood Angels to be a very potent list, it loses some Codex options in return for a few other unique options of its own. Arguably stronger than the Codex list but with enough stuff lost to make it a conscious choice to play this way.

BLACK TEMPLARS

Black Templars are a tweaked form of the Codex Marines list that can be played in the same way as them, if so desired. They are intended to be a space ship and orbital drop oriented faction being required to take at least a Strike Cruiser (which many lists would want to take anyway) and gaining access to more ways of transporting tanks to the board and access to larger tactical formations. In return they lose a bit of flexibility and lose Scout formations (instead gaining the neophyte option to bulk up Tactical Formations).

Their unique strengths are in the ability to bring on and deploy more assets by either air or planetfall and retaining  mobility while doing so through use of Thunderhawk Transporters. A Tactical Company with Neophytes and Rhinos can planetfall out of a spaceship mounted inside a pair of Thunderhawk Transporters and retain their tactical flexibility and mobility through bringing their transports with them. They’d also gain the ablative toughness of the Transporters for their initial landing. This option is not cheap however, costing 275pts for the Transports on top of the marines themselves.

Overall I’d consider this list slightly inferior to the Codex or Dark Angels list in overall competitive power but adding in more options to make orbital drops effective. If you want to run an Orbital Drop focused list however this is probably better than what you could build from the Codex list.

SPACE WOLVES

A fairly major divergence from the Codex here. Almost every formation is different, either larger, lacking certain options, gaining others and so on. While the army as a whole remains focused on engagements and mobility to get your fighters where they need to be for support it’s less likely to be hitting and leaving the table again, instead relying on their greater numbers in their formations to power through and keep their assault going.

Be careful with the upgrades, taking too many will reduce your overall activation counts but taking a few in the right places can make for some decidedly tough formations. The Grey Hunters with additional Grey Hunters in Rhinos can rush forward early and take up a major position and hold it against most enemy threats or be used as part of a broader assault to provide a huge amount of quality supporting fire. try to engineer scenarios where you have your Grey Hunters within 15cm of two different enemy formations and then have two separate smaller formations engage those enemy one by one. The 10 additional 4+ firefight shots from the Grey Hunters is extremely effective especially if you can use it multiple times in a single turn.

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Tactical marines with support from Devastators and Dreadnoughts engage Imperial Guard traitors hiding amongst the trees

Due to the way army construction works for Space Wolves you will almost certainly be taking 2 Grey Hunter companies so learning how to effectively bring their numbers to bear is valuable as they will need to be proactive to get into firefight support range or CC engagement ranges as the loss of their missile launchers means they don’t have quite the ability to drive up to a position and reach out to threaten in the same way a tactical company can. If you can’t get a handle on getting into that 15cm support range bubble you may struggle with having a sizeable portion of your army unable to attack efficiently.

What you lose however is missile launchers on your grey Hunters so you need to find other ways of placing your blast markers to set up your engagements. Luckily you retain access to Land Speeders who are fantastic at doing exactly that.

Overall the Wolves of Russ play differently to the rest of the marine armies, able to bring greater numbers to bear and being generally more resilient due to formation size they can be more forgiving and playing to their particular strengths can mean skipping out on some of the more common Codex elements due to costs. They do however retain the ability to play like a Codex list and air dropping a pair of Grey Hunter companies can be a fearsome sight and challenge for your opponent to deal with!

Painting 6mm EPIC Armageddon miniatures

Painting at 6mm (or thereabouts…)

Hi again, in my last article I mentioned giving a guide to painting models at 6mm scale so it would be remiss of me to not at least give it a go.

A common refrain I hear from people when they are faced with the prospect of 6mm is that they could never paint something that small or their eyesight would never handle it or there’s just so many models they’d never want to attempt a project that large.

What I’d like to do with this article is try to dispel some of that and maybe get you to give it a go, I think you’ll find that a few simpler techniques can turn up a nice looking force you can be proud to put on the table – even if it wont be winning any painting competitions!

First though setting some expectations. I am not a particularly noteworthy painter, I’m more interested in getting some paint on my models and getting them on the table. I do, however, take a bit of pride in having something I’ve worked on at least look the part.

The miniatures and choosing colours

Right now I am building a Thousand Sons army for Epic

Thousand Sons Army List PDF

I did some hunting on eBay and raided the remnants of a few friends bits drawers to get together enough for 10 stands of demons and 4 silver towers. Ebay is not the only place to go to get things like these incidentally, there are some good proxies here.

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At this first stage we want to clean up any plastic spurs or metal flash etc. and then spend a little while looking at the models and their features and deciding what we want to paint and how we will pick which parts to paint what colours.

And it’s here that I’ll mention the first key take away point.

1. Contrast and colour monotony

At 6mm (and other small scales) gentle colour gradients and variants tend not to come out. You have a small amount of space to make the model have some visual interest so strong contrasts help achieve this. The second point is with colour monotony. That is, having large blocks of the same (or very similar) colours. At 6mm this can make the entire model appear to just be one colour and thus not visually interesting. What is worth looking for on your models is small bits or details that you can pick out in a different colour, a little bit of variation to break that monotony.

For the Silver Tower the colour palette is going to be yellow, blue and gold as those are the colours of the Thousand Sons, luckily these are strongly contrasting, thanks GW! I know that the main body is going to be blue so that’s simple…but it runs right into the colour monotony problem but looking over the model all those small gun turrets and little tubing/piping things give me places to sensibly place the gold (or other colours) to break up that monotony. Finally the roof tops of the towers can be in yellow…but again that’s quite a lot block colour yellow and not really much in the way of detail bits to pick out. So I will go back to the well of ideas on how to resolve that and Tzeentch comes to the rescue again. Flames. Instead of painting the roof tops in block yellow instead paint them red/orange/yellow in bands to represent some flame which should make them a touch more interesting.

What I’d recommend to anyone out there starting to paint (especially at 6mm but other scales too) is to spend maybe a little bit just looking over your models and working out what bits should be what colours and how you’ll keep it looking visually interesting. Google other people’s painting, steal ideas liberally. If you really want to go in-depth you can use this moment to plot out the order in which you’ll paint the colours on. As a hint for doing that remember that drybrushing tends to be a messy process so generally you’ll want to do it before doing your detail work.

Executing the plan!

Now that the colours are chosen and I’ve got a little bit of a plan in mind (paint blue, ink blue, drybrush white, pick out details) we do the starting point, basecoat and blue and we get the next tip for painting at 6mm

2. Favour lighter shades

Because a 6mm model is so much smaller the likelihood of seeing the detail is reduced, especially for parts of the model that share the same colour. This means that darker colours especially blend the details away into nothing as the natural shadows that might highlight the detail are not readily visible against the dark paint. What can end up happening is a model looks like it’s just one colour slapped on (and…I mean…we’re being lazy painters here so slapping on a few colours and calling it a day is what we want but we don’t want it to look like we’ve done that!).

In this case I chose a mid-tone blue (Altdorf blue) as my main body colour and just painted that down all over. Many sources will tell you to paint two thin coats for a better finish but I’m going to share a dirty 6mm secret that many superior painters will reel in horror from. For what we’re going to do here one coat is good enough! The next two stages will serve to obscure the comparatively poor coverage that only a single layer provides. Save yourself a bit of time 😉

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Now we roll on to the next stages that will serve to highlight the detail and differentiate parts of the model. These stages are dead quick and real easy and they even serve to conceal the finish of that single coat of prior paint. At 6mm these are an extremely useful tool, even more so than at bigger scales.

3. Ink washes are good, drybrushing is better

Because we chose a mid tone blue for the prior step we can really easily just use a dark shade wash. So grab your wash, grab your brush and apply it all over. Quick and easy. Then let it dry (takes a bit longer than a normal paint and then wait even longer because the step after is a drybrush so we don’t want any remaining wetness from this step affecting the drybrush).

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After the ink/shade is dry we drybrush. For those not in the know to drybrush you

  1. choose your paint and get a sturdy brush you don’t mind losing its point
  2. get a little bit of the paint on the brush and then wipe most of the paint away on a tissue/etc.
  3. Then draw the brush over the surface you want to paint slowly, the small amounts of paint you have left on the bristles will tend to catch only the raised edges of the model, highlighting those bits whilst leaving the recesses darker

I chose white as the drybrush colour for the heavy contrast, but reusing the same mid shade blue or a paler blue would also work just fine too.

At 6mm drybrushing is fantastic because the models do actually have meaningful detail, it’s just difficult to pick all of it out with painted highlights using a brush normally and when you need to paint 30+ individual guys to make a single playable formation it can get real tedious real fast. Drybrushing is both quick and gets those details. It also helps to break colour monotony from point 1 by putting another differing colour onto the samey colour blocks.

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Next comes the details, where we pick out the pieces we want in our different colours. For me this is gold and yellow (with some red and orange for the flames). For these colours (especially the yellow) you might need multiple coats to get the finish you want, don’t skip out here like we did for the earlier blue layer though.

The flames are achieved by painting red all over the section I want in colour (red 100%), then painting back over part of the bits in red with orange (orange 75%) then again with yellow over some of the orange section (yellow 66%) which leaves three distinct bands of colour. When painting I made of my brush strokes vertical, brushed towards the tip of the towers and I didn’t care too much about the places where the colours cross over being too neat. The last thing to do was to wash all over the ‘flames’ with a yellow wash (casandora yellow) as this blends the three colours together a bit and stops them having such harsh crossover points.

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Does it look amazing when we look this close? Nope. Quick and easy though. And remember another key point:

4. You’re going to be 20+ inches away most of the time, worry about how it looks at that range!

That’s mostly a point to help give some confidence and encourage you to go out and give it a go. I’ll leave the advice and guides on how to get fantastic close-ups at this scale to painters more accomplished than I.

Anyway on to the final part and the final key point:

5. Basing makes your model

At 6mm basing is very important. It doesn’t need to be some mini diorama all its own, but it should always be done. A middling quality basing job can make a load of middling quality models look great on the table. How about we cheat to get there?

I use textured paint (from coat d’arms specifically) as it’s basically paint+sand and is fine enough that the grains don’t look weird next to a 6mm figure. Slap it down on the bases all over, just avoid getting (too much…) on your models.IMG_0720.JPG

Remember how we like contrasts? I then glue on some flock (with watered down PVA glue) that stands out. My Thousand Sons are fighting on an ice tundra apparently. (though £7 for a box of flock is steep…)

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You might notice the 5p pieces piled on top of one another. I use these to add some height to skimmers that feels much sturdier than the thin flight stems models sometimes come with.

Now finally the finished pieces. Notice how the camera is a little bit further away? That’s how you’re going to be seeing them on the table most of the time! Focus on how they look at this kind of range, not when zooming in.

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In closing

Now, you may disagree that they look good or that you’d be happy to field them looking like that and that is, of course, perfectly fine. Paint to the standard that you’re comfortable with or proud of. For me though this is a quick, simple way that doesn’t really need much fine brush control and doesn’t need spending ages highlighting details.

Hopefully you’ll be able to take a tip or two from this, hopefully you’ll find maybe a bit of confidence to give painting at this scale a go. Maybe even it will help dispel some of those ‘I can’t paint something that small!’ comments.

Go on, give it a go!

Happy Gaming.

EPIC Armageddon Hub

Playing EPIC Armageddon at Guildford Games Club

Hi, I’m Dave and I play Epic Armageddon at the GGC. I’m putting together this article to try and encourage more people to play this great game and maybe perhaps entice some more people from outside the club to come on down and give it a go.

But, who am I and why do you care what I have to say? I used to play Warhammer back when I was a teenager but I gave up on it when I headed off to University and got a job and all that life stuff. After a while though I ended up getting the itch to play a wargame again and went looking for something to suit my needs. I wanted something that had lots of options and strategic play but with a – comparatively – low cost and that would not take up too much space to store.

I went looking for 10 and 6mm games as those would give me plenty of models for a decent price and would be pretty easy to fit a big army into a shoe box or cake tin, perfect!

Then I found a 6mm game that mixed those perks with a setting I already knew and had enjoyed before so I set out to try and find a game.

I reached out to the GGC (as they were local to me) and found that there were a few players about and jumped right in under the tutelage of Matt. Now I own 5 full armies (oops!) and am building another 2 (what is wrong with me…), have played at tournaments (and placed alright) and spent time coming up with different scenarios or ways of integrating other 40k set games into narrative events alongside Epic. Chances are if you want to play Epic at the GGC we’ll have a conversation at some point!

Now enough of my pointless blather, on to the real reason you’re here.

What is Epic Armageddon?

Epic Armageddon is a 6mm scale mass combat game set in the sci-fi (sci-fantasy?) universe of Warhammer 40k from Games Workshop. It’s the most recent incarnation of a set of rules originating in Adeptus Titanicus and Space Marine. It is, however, not that recent. The rules were originally published around 2004, underwent some FAQs and updated for a while and then were dropped by Games Workshop.

The game typically plays out with a player controlling multiple company level formations fighting over objectives on the field with a focus on securing objectives rather than being the last man standing (though being the last man standing does kind of help…). Now, you may be wondering ‘what do you mean by ‘company level formations’?

Let’s take a quick look at a Steel Legion Imperial Guard mechanised infantry company as an example. You get a command stand (5 models), 12 stands of regular infantry (5 models per stand, 60 models total) and 7 chimera to transport them so 65 guardsmen and 7 tanks. Normally you’d have two or more of these companies and then half a dozen or more supporting elements too.

Space Marines might bring 30 tactical marines (6 stands) and three Rhinos as a single formation so fielding entire marine companies from the 1st to the 10th is entirely plausible in a standard game.

Fielding 10-12 formations per player is fairly standard for a game

Basically it does what the Apocalypse style games of WH40k do just with 6mm models and notably less cost!

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How does it play?

Epic Armageddon plays using an ‘alternating activations’ style turn system where one player chooses one of their formations, gives it an order, resolves that order in its entirety and then passes control over to their opponent who does the same, selecting one of their formations, giving an order, resolving and passing back. Turn continues until all the formations of both players have had a chance to receive and carry out an order and then the turn ends and the cycle begins again. The primary benefit of this system is that it means players are able to more rapidly react to one another’s actions and reduces the time between each player getting to do something.

Most games play out over the course of 3 turns and games usually take 2.5-3 hours to play through.

Scenarios vary the victory conditions but in a standard game players fight over achieving 5 objectives, only one of which requires actively destroying the enemy (though…come one…you brought that big shiny gun so you may as well use it anyway…) while the rest revolve around controlling specific points on the table or denying your opponent access to your half of the table. Broadly this encourages planning out how you will achieve the various objectives and playing to those rather than going for a giant orgy of death in the middle of the board and also diversifies how valuable units are encouraging more choices in army construction.

The resolution of actions such as moving and shooting is nothing revolutionary and should be fairly comfortable to most wargamers and simple to pick up for those new to it. The models stat lines are simplified compared to wh40k and follows trends used by many other games of this scale. It is designed to allow the seamless and balanced interaction of units of very different power and scope within the same force and in opposition to one another covering air, land and space wth units able to enter and leave the table (and return again!) throughout the game.

You roll a small handful of d6s, need to equal or exceed the numbers on your models stat line to have an effect and the opponent rolls a save to not die.

Movement and the control of space on the table is critical and many formations have surprising speed, able to cover 90cm+ in a single activation on a table that is typically 180cm by 120cm thus attacks can be sweeping and quick and forces can reposition in response to threats rapidly thus making the ability to block or control the movement of an opponent with your own (often lighter, scouting) troops essential, especially considering the control of objectives on the table requires board position to achieve.

Psychology is abstracted from the individual unit level and up to the company/formation level through a mechanic called Blast Markers. You accumulate these by taking damage and coming under fire and they represent the confusion, panic and disruption that units face in combat. As your formations accumulate them they degrade in performance and may refuse to follow orders until accumulating too many and withdrawing. As the controlling player you have methods to remove these Blast Markers to restore your formations to combat readiness.

It uses a point system combined with semi-fixed formations and upgrades. By which I mean you don’t buy ‘two leman russ, a basilisk and four imperial guard infantry stands’ to make a formation in a pick and mix style. Instead you’d buy an ‘Imperial Guard Leman Russ Company’ that comes with 9 leman russ and 1 leman russ vanquisher for a fixed number of points and could then add on some upgrades (such as hellhounds for close support, infantry, etc.). The common game sizes are 3000-5000 points and there are some variant rules for playing at particularly small sizes (100pts or so).

Wait, isn’t this game dead?

Yes and no. Yes in that Games Workshop has desupported it after a period of general neglect. No in that the community playing the game has not gone away and has instead taken up the mantle of updating, balancing and producing models for it themselves.

New armies and updated armies are released every year. New 6mm miniatures are produced every year. Tournaments are held consistently, especially in the UK but across the world as well. Communities on facebook and internet forums are alive and well and who know if your local game club will have people who played back in the day to dust off old models or buy new manufacturers latest creations?

How do I get started? What do I need?

Rules, models, space and an opponent! (which is probably less than helpful…you knew that already…)

Luckily the rules are available online for free here:

http://epic-uk.co.uk/wp/rules/

All of the army lists (that are balanced for tournament play if that’s your thing) are here:

http://epic-uk.co.uk/wp/army-lists/

There are several manufacturers of 6mm sci fi models that can be used as well as a good search on eBay or buy and sell pages on Facebook

If you need an opponent or would like to try the game out why not ask on the Guildford games Club Facebook page! :

Guildford Games Club Facebook Group

Otherwise there is a major community hub: Taccomms 

Taccomms has all sorts of development and playtest lists so if there’s not the specific thing you’re looking for on the ‘approved’ lists page then perhaps there will be something more to your taste in development somewhere?

There’s no way I can paint something that small!

This is a common comment and I think you’re selling yourself short! Painting at 6mm is NOT the same as painting at 15, 28, 30 or larger scales and I think you’ll find that you can do a satisfying job without too much difficulty.

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I plan on putting together a simple article on how to paint to a game table ready standard at 6mm (I’m no artist, I just want models that look alright on the table!) but generally you can get away with a few tips to get started:

  1. ink washes are good
  2. drybrushing is better
  3. don’t worry about painting all the details, the thing is 6mm tall and you’ll be playing from around 24 inches away, think anyone is going to notice you didn’t paint the belt pouches!?
  4. brighter shades or strongly contrasting colours work better at these smaller scales
  5. don’t neglect your basing, often times a competently based stand will make even a simple scrappy paint job look great on the table

Epic at Guildford Games Club

At Guildford Games Club there are several Epic players and usually a game or two being played every few weeks. By my count there are 5-6 frequent players with experience ranging from a handful of games to finishing in the winning UK team at the European Epic Championship and players whose interest’s span the breadth from just putting some models on the table and having a dust up to tournament tuning of their lists so there’ll probably be someone who matches your preferred gaming style too

Best way to get involved is to just post on Guildford Games Club Facebook Group

In closing and future plans

Hopefully there’s something useful for you here, maybe piquing your interest in giving Epic a go for the first time or rooting around in the bottom of that cupboard for that box from 1997 you remember is back there somewhere…

I would like to write a few more articles looking at some of the different facets of epic, from painting to playing and maybe even throwing up a few scenarios so maybe I’ll get around to writing those up and putting them here.

Happy gaming!

EPIC Armageddon Hub