Friday, March 1, 2013

Daemon or Daemoff???

 Not only a famous actor but also a super cool 40k army

Being a store has certain advantages, like being able to read codexes before we sell them to you fine people so here goes!!!!

Daemons! Love them or loathe them we’re confronted with a new iteration of our favourite warp denizens this weekend! So I’m here to give you a quick run down of what’s new, what you’ll probably like, what you probably won’t and all things in between. Lets go!

Firstly, no more waves dividing the army in two. This was one thing that distinguished the army from everything else on the 40k table top…It was fun in many ways but it also led to much wailing and gnashing if you didn’t get the wave you needed when you needed it. So some people will be happy to see it go others not, personally I prefer daemons playing a little straight but that’s just me.

This wave removal is combined with the days of massed forced deepstrike deployment being now passed…This once again was a double edged sword as against some armies it allowed you to get one hell of a jump on the opposition, but with the ever increasing number of Grey Knights standing around giving the sky the finger a lot of people will be happy to have the option of happily running at the enemy.

For the astute reader you’ll see a massive problem for your expensive and fragile units having to run wildly screaming at the enemy (read also “weebling” or “zoidberging”). You’d be right…which leads to a major and fantastic change for all things Matt Daemon, they’re now cheap, I am talking filthy cheap in fact! You can field a max unit of blood letters for the price of a storm raven and those homeboys are on the expensive end of the daemonic spectrum! Daemon players are going to up their numbers of course, but in many ways this makes a lot of sense, daemonic incursions aren’t portrayed normally as 30 funny looking dudes scaring everyone off the planet. No they’re gibbering hordes of nutcases suppressing planetary forces with weight of numbers.

A much talked up change is the warpstorm table. This will occasionally screw with your plans mightily but at other times it’ll help you out massively in gleefully wrecking important pieces in your opponents army or even giving you an extra unit when you really need it. Its not something to build an army around or even rely upon really. But it should be fun to use and adds an extra element for Daemon players. All the better to “forge that narrative”

Let’s hear from you folks what you’re most looking forward to in this serious 40k tour de force from Lord Kelly


In his role as Jason Khorne (I should be just killed....)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Scaling it up by Scaling it down

Oh Post Human Republic, how I love thee, let me count the ways

For a good number of people, at its core gaming is about creating something awesome, cinematic, exciting and imaginative. Something that could easily fit in to our favourite tv show, film or book. A truly epic conflict on a grand scale against all the odds and expectation your forces do battle with their foes. The problem is that sometimes our games of choice do a pretty poor job of really capturing this sort of grand scale of imagination, 40k will in a standard game use at most 180 models per side and while this may look damn imposing on the table top, when you actually consider this 180 orks aren’t actually that scary a prospect for a whole planet. Doug Seacat writes absolutely incredible fluff for all things Iron Kingdoms, its about the fall of nations and mighty armies clashing to decide the fate of gods…A few warjacks, a caster and a smattering of infantry will more than likely provide a brilliant game for you, but will be far less likely to set the imagination on fire.

A pretty cool looking Apoc game....but it has its problems
Here’s my point, 28mm is just too big to really capture that epic feel (that seems slightly oxymoronic but I think you get the point). Transport for them is difficult and if you up the numbers to more epic levels via apocalypse, unbound or some other clever mechanic then you’re forced to spend an awful long time doing it. The problem being that we with lives, significant others and jobs all too often don’t have time to dedicate to these big games, what’s the solution then?

Make the models smaller! Or as I look to put it, scale it down to scale it up

There are lots of smaller scale games floating around the place that one can really sink their teeth into. We have Gruntz, Flames of War, Epic and what I really want to talk about, Drop Zone Commander.

From the moment I laid eyes on the models I knew I had to play this game, the scale is small (10mm) but the model quality is off the charts as well as the realism. In brief one of the key components of the game is moving your units around the board via dropships, so unlike many other games air power is important (not unlike real life). Also combat is based not just on weapon ranges and rolling to hit, but also ranges of potential counter measures that might be employed (like real life, that doesn’t have armour saves).

Another great complement to the smaller scale is the pretty huge scope of the conflict that we’re talking about. I won’t spoil anything too much, but think mass planet and even system wide invasions from space and you’re in the right ballpark.

One of the things that you’re going to need to do when playing a game like dropzone (or whatever small scale game you might be interested in) is really revamp your terrain collection. The most excellent article by Brandon pointed out issues with 40k terrain and it’s importance to a really great game. This is even more so when you’re fighting over whole cities and planets. One must also consider that smaller scale terrain isn’t always going to be readily available for us, so its good call to potentially size up what kind of terrain you’re going to need, how you’re going to construct it and then simply go and do it. If you struggle with this I’d suggest doing it as a group, which leads me on to my next point

Dropzone terrain, made purely of paper
When starting a new game, particularly a small scale game like Dropzone, don’t do it alone. There is nothing worse than killing yourself painting up a lovely little army, making great terrain and then having no opponent. So if you’re making the plunge try and get some friends involved, try and play different factions, maybe organise a terrain building day or even set deadlines for when everyone’s stuff should be ready for. Simple stuff like that can really ignite a new game for you and what’s more if people see you and your crew having fun then it’s a great advertisement for them to pick up the game themselves, meaning more people for you to play with.

So with that in mind, next week in the shack is Dropzone week, we’ve already started cranking out terrain and four of us have each picked a different faction. I’m really looking forward to finally putting my PHR on the board and really scale it up a bit, I want to defend the next step for humanity (READ THE FLUFF)

Anywho, hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings, if there’s interest I’ll post up some pictures of some of the terrain that Mo and this weeks addition Ross/Tom have been working on and some WIP stuff of our armies, let me know in the comments


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A brief history of Irish 40K Tournaments/A love note to Warpcon

Warpcon is Ireland’s largest games convention and since the Shack is its main sponsor for Wargames this year I reckon it deserves at least one post from us, particular when you consider the influence that this jewel of the South has had on Ireland’s gaming scene.

This post might be all new to some people, or a friendly trip down memory lane for others. Ireland’s tournament scene wasn’t always like it is now, we forget so easily how blessed we are with the myriad of tournaments that there are now. From Q Con in the North, To Retcon in Dublin, Itzacon in Galway, Conspiracy (Towncon) in Kilkenny to our very own Shack Attack Tournaments a 40k player need never look too far from his own doorstep to get 5 quality games of 40k with new people in new surrounds. A decade ago this wasn’t at all the case sadly

Way back in the mists of time there were three tournaments that occurred with any sort of regularity. We had Gaelcon, my first tournament (in 2001…I shudder to think how badly I did). This was a great event for me mostly because of the novelty of not playing the same 4 people all the time and the fact that it was on my doorstep, the problem with Gaelcon was that until 2009 the quality how the tournament was run varied massively! Some years it was great, other years it was simply terrible! The second tournament was the Games Workshop run Grand Tournament. This was always a highlight for me and I still remember my first one in the Clarion Liffey Valley as one of the best weekends I’ve ever had in gaming. The problem with the GT was firstly despite the herculean efforts of organisers like Ronan Murphy (now owner operator of the most excellent Dungeons and Doughnuts) there was never any consistency of location and the poor old GT was bandied from pillar to post in the 3 years I went to it. We moved from the Clarion in Dublin, to the now dearly departed Valhalla Games in Athlone with a pit stop at the Red Cow Hotel in between…As you can imagine the venues varied in quality but the games were always pretty solid.

The one consistent event, the one guiding light in it all was Warpcon. A trip down to Cork was always worth it. They always had good terrain, the format was always interesting and there were always loads of new gamers to play. Things have changed over the years, points have gone up, there are cool class trophies now, the top tables are even more hotly contested than they’ve ever been, armies are as pretty if not more so. But the point is that Warpcon has always been the daddy of them all, pre ETC driven tournament explosion, before rankings or big time prizes and players Warpcon was still awesome and it’ll continue to be, that as much as anything is why we as a company are truly chuffed to have our name associated with it….See you in Cork in 3 days!!!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why we like all things Dark Angel!

Hey guys, today its not so much focussed on painting goodies, but why in fact we are loving the new Dark Angels Codex.


Madeye and I are very different people, in that when we crack a new book I’ll head straight for the in game rules and give a cursory glance to the fluff at a later date, Madeye however will gleefully troll through the fluff and if he doesn’t like it then there’s no interest from him in playing the army at all! Well let me tell you that he’s mightily pleased with the fluff for the first legion. Describing it as a real return to form from Games Workshop writers. As much as anything else they’ve done a great job of collating all of the great pieces that have been done in previous editions of the codex (the elder amongst us will remember the most excellent 2nd edition ‘dex “Angels of Death”). Also there has been further exposition on the inner working of the chapter hierarchy, their eternal quest for the fallen and how this plays out in a military sense. Basically it’s all good stuff and should keep everyone from veterans to Neophytes pretty satisfid… And no, we don’t care about Cypher…at all

You tournament hard cases will by this point be saying something like “enough of the flowers and poetry Quigley, get me to the rules and junk”

If you insist...

I think this codex has some of the most interesting ways to play the game that we’ve seen in 6th edition so far and what’s more I think a lot of people have as yet been overlooking them. For starters let’s talk about debuffs, this codex has them in spades and on good platforms. The Ravenwing Knights access to grenade launcher is pretty awesome. The way I’m reading drops the toughness of the whole enemy unit and with them having str 5 on the charge, they can comfortably be wounding enemy units on 2+ in cc…another insane combo is the ability to reduce the instant death threshold for multi wound units and then follow it up with a volley of plasma shots to the face…paladins, nob bikers, even monstrous creatures should be seriously concerned about this type of ability! Another prevalent debuff in the codex is blind, which can reduce your WS and BS to 1….also stasis can do the same trick. The Dark Angels may be a small and elite force, but if you do it right you’ll be so far ahead of your opponent in the stat race that numbers really won’t matter!

On the other side of it we have buffs, of which there are loads! For starters we have the Sacred Standards, these bad boys are only one per army but with bloody good reason. A lot of attention is going to the standard of devastation, giving boltguns salvo 2/4 while within 6”, its hard to protect and expensive but if done right can be absolutely horrifying for an opponent (particularly in this era of infantry hammer). Fortitude passing off FNP is brilliant and even the mass counter attack of retribution has its place. We also have the most excellent dark shroud speeder…passing off stealth to its super friends, deathwing knights getting bonus toughness for basing up is just another example of an excellent and yet simple mechanic!

One thing that really strikes me is that you’re not paying an abundance of points for anything, marines are cheaply costed to balance out the expense of the first and second company goodies. Regular land speeders are cheap as chips to allow back up to be bought in the form of the “super speeders”, librarians are cheap because command squads are not and so on and so on. This sense of balance is prevalent all over the codex and is something that I’m going to enjoy seeing on the tabletop over the coming weeks and months (at Shack Attack 2 in particular) and has inspired us to knock together a store army for ourselves to use until some good customer takes it off our hands.

So lets here from you, good people! What are your thoughts on the Dark Angels?


Friday, December 28, 2012

 Making the most of your Christmas Gaming

Hey guys,
With the Holiday Season well and truly upon us we’ve been talking about what sort of gaming we can do over the winter break that the season gives us…Here are a few ideas on how to make the most of your time and or spread the hobby love over the season

Board Games

Board games are a truly great way to pass a cold winter evening over the holidays, here in the Shack we held our board game night on our last club night pre Christmas and it was a roaring success. Games like Small world, Settlers of Catan and the excellent Battlestar Galactica are always firm favourites with everyone including the uninitiated to the world of nerd and can potentially be a great gateway for anyone looking to get into the hobby! In essence board games are awesome and can serve to show our families and better halves that our hobby isn’t just for us, but is open to all

The ever elusive “Big Game Day”

With time off, there is always the opportunity to look to do something completely different with our hobby time. For the 40k players amongst us an apocalypse game could be on the cards, for Privateer Press aficionados a game of unbound could be a great way to spend a day with your buddies. One thing I’d advise with these big games is to take the time to plan it out. Don’t just arrive and throw things down, take your time to come up with a story or idea for your game. Also get the right venue, your Local Gaming Store’s opening hours will probably be a little different over this period so make sure they’re open and what’s more has the space to accommodate you! Also try to pick a day that suits everyone as much as possible.  But assuming that you cover all of these bases you should have a great time! A cinematic holiday time game is a real treat so go for it!

Paint + Brush = Painted Army

Christmas is a great time to catch up on some of the models that accumulate over the course of the year, some good eats, a well lit room and some of your fave holiday tunes is a brilliant setup to being productive. It also links in well with the above big game idea….there’s nothing quite as satisfying about getting a whack of new toys painted for something a big game. Particularly if, like me, you struggle most of the year to get stuff done on the painting front!

Something New

With a New Year upon us, so it’s a great time to potentially pick up a new game or two. Christmas present requests can be allocated over to stuff you resist buying for the rest of the year. I personally have asked for some Dropzone Commander stuff and shall spend the Christmas hatching my plans for my Shaltiri and trying in the nicest possible way to break the rule set and fun wreck all over Mad Eye and Big Mo in January!

Anyway enough of my seasonal take on all things Hobby. Have a great one folks, from our family to yours have a happy and safe Christmas period

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Can you make it....Taller?!

Hey Guys,

So we're having a busy week with out commission work for the Christmas period, we thought we'd show some of our latest work...

One of our customers recently purchased himself the new Chaos Warshrine, a beast of a model in every sense (God God IT'S TALL) He loved the model but the thoughts of the time commitment it would take to get this bad boy together was just that bit too much. So in step the shack boys to get the 'shrine ready for the battlefield.

The general brief given was "make it look really cool" away we went. This pics are rough and ready as they're straight from the paint table but I think everyone can really the awesomeness of the job that Big Mo has done on the Warshrine, it's weird, wonderful and should make a great centre piece for any chaos army 

A close up shot of some of the flame detail....painting fire by all accounts is something of a pain in the rear end!

front shot of the Warshrine

 I call the purple giant Grimace....for obvious reasons 

Side shot of the Warshrine.."thats right, I have a severed head"

And of course a close up of the nutter ordering the giants to carry him places

Here's hoping you like the work...If you'd like to see some sexier photos do let us know, or if you like to enquire about getting some commission work done drop us a mail at


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Terrain and all things tournament

Hey Guys,

through sure weight of sheer bullying I got my buddy Brandon Vallee, American tournament player and all round good human, to put together a post for the Shack..This is a particularly topical discussion because of Shack Attack 1, our very first tournament, being on this weekend....So over to Brandon to talk about good terrain and good tournaments

Terrain Placement and 6th Edition

Hey Everyone, Brandon here to shed some light of what I think makes good terrain in a tournament setting

I am writing up this piece in light of a few tournaments I have recently played in.  The premise of this article is written in a tournament minded individual.  The way terrain is set, how fortifications are handled, and the quality of terrain has varied greatly in all three of those events.  The need for consistency is essential in order match up results to not be determined by the terrain, but rather the skill of the player.  

Key Definitions

Line of Sight Blocking: These pieces come in various shapes and sizes and the sole purpose is to block line of sight.  What they are capable of blocking depends on the size of the piece. 

Non Line of Sight Blocking: These pieces also come in various shapes and sizes, however it is close to impossible to be completely obscured.  Their purpose is to provide cover to advancing units.

Extremely Large pieces of terrain:  These should simply not be used in a tournament.  Yeah they may look cool, but they simply on are not practical for small, fast pace games of 40k. Anything larger than 15” by 15” should be placed in this category.  The one exception to this rule is if the vast majority of the terrain can be played upon with relative ease (i.e. a base with scattered ruins to hide behind but most of the piece is covered in rubble). 

Large pieces of terrain: These pieces should include both LoSB and NLoSB terrain.  If the terrain is designed to block line of sight, it should be able to block out the view of the largest of models.  A land raider is primary measure of this.  Therefore, if it can completely hide a land raider at multiple angles, it is a large piece of terrain.  As far as dimensions are concerned, the terrain piece is somewhere between 15” by 15” and 9” by 9”.

Medium pieces of terrain: These pieces should include both LoSB and NLoSB terrain.  If the terrain is designed to block line of sight, it should be able to block out the view of the average sized tank models.  A Rhino or Devilfish is the primary measure of objective.   In regards to dimensions, this terrain piece should be between 9” by 9” and 6” by 6”.

Small pieces of terrain: These pieces should include both LoSB and NLoSB terrain.  If the terrain is designed to block line of sight, it should be able to block out the view of a standard infantry model.  A tactical marine should be the measure of this.  In regards to dimensions, the terrain pieces is less than 6” by 6”. 
Impassible terrain: This terrain can be in any shape or size, or may even be one segment of  a larger terrain piece.  Generally speaking, impassible terrain is defined by being unplayable.  In a tournament, impassible terrain is ok, as it adds extra dimensions to the game, but the trick is to not go overboard, and for the pieces to not being gigantic.  Anything larger than a medium sized piece of terrain that is impassible should not be used. 

Terrain Setup

Preset Terrain is about establishing balance in all games of 40k.  While it is not possible to ensure every table is balanced, this is a recommendations. 

Preset Terrain coverage should be done in an “X” formation on the board, utilizing Large and Medium sized terrain pieces at the center and the points of the “X”.  A large line of sight blocking piece should be placed in the middle of the “X”.  The reason for this is to prevent shooting oriented armies from blasting the opposing army off the table.  It forces them to make decisions on deployment and positioning of key units.  In regards to the points of the “X” I recommend alternating terrain and line of sight blocking options.  This way both sides are even. 
In the gaps of the “X”, this where small terrain elements come into play.  These pieces allow for cover of advancing forces while not being completely obscured.  Therefore, depending on the collection there should be roughly 2-3 large pieces of terrain, 2-3 medium pieces of terrain, and 3-4 small pieces of terrain.

There are two ways to set fortifications on preset terrain.  First is deploying the fortification within the gaps of the set terrain, leaving a few inches between pieces and if it can’t be placed it too bad.  Second is completely removing a terrain piece from the game in order to deploy the fortification. This judgment call should be made depending on how fortifications are viewed in your area.  

Player set terrain is about letting opponents set the terrain in an order which benefits them the most.  If the same style and quantity of terrain is given (2-3 large, 2-3 medium, 3-4 small) then there should be some coverage on the table.  However there is a risk of shooting armies or deep striking armies lining the board edges with terrain to leave massive terrain gaps.  In order to prevent this from occurring, perhaps prohibitions on  placement should be developed.  Such as:

·      No terrain within 6 inches of another piece
·      No terrain within 6 inches of the table edge
·      Only “x” number of terrain pieces can be placed in your deployment zone
·      Alternating terrain set up

Fortifications should be set up before terrain placement.  If one player has a fortification and the other doesn’t, the player who does not have one should be the one setting the first piece of terrain.  If both players have fortifications, then roll off to see who places it first. 

Special Terrain

There has been plenty of discussion based on the whether or not mysterious terrain or bunkers should be utilized in tournament gaming.  Personally, I think the rules are pretty cool and add extra dimensions to the game.  However, I can see what people don’t want those rules to have an impact on the game, because of maintaining balance.  Therefore, the use of these rules should depend on the climate and mood of the tournament.