Ciaphas Cain Hero of the Imperium Review

December 13, 2010 1 comment

The cover is probably the best part of this book.

Hero fo the Imperium is the first piece of licensed literature I’ve read in a long, long time.  My general opinion is that licensed novels are little more than marketing for whatever product they are associated with, they tend to be watered down, simple-minded, easy to read, and censored; more or less perfect for a teen audience they are written for.  Sure I loved the Drizzt novels when I was in High School, what nerd didn’t; that was then, this is now.  

I wanted to go against my better judgment and read a 40K novel while I was in the midst of a 40K expansion phase because I wanted to have a better understanding of the 40K universe.  I picked Ciaphas Cain for a three  reasons, I liked the cover, it was huge and a good deal, and finally someone had recommended on a forum somewhere.  I have now read almost all of it and am ready to give my opinion. 

After reading Ciaphas Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, my opinion of licensed novels has not changed.  Nothing in Ciaphas Cain has surprised me and changed my expectations in the least.  The gist of the novels is that Ciaphas Cain is an Imperial Guard commissar, whose exceptional leadership and heroism has made  him a hero.  Ironically Ciaphas thinks of himself as no hero;  has exceptional good luck and an uncanny sense of self-preservation.  He always seems to find himself in dangerous situations where his presence saves the day when he really expected the mission to be a cakewalk.  At first it seemed a clever plot device but after 619 pages of being constantly reminded that Ciaphas is outnumbered by these blue alien, Necron, Chaos Cultists because he thought it would be the easiest job, all he ever thinks of is himself even though he always seems to save the day I want to start ripping pages out of the book. 

structurally Hero of the Imperium is three separate Ciaphas Cain novels in one omnibus.  They are all narrated first person by Ciaphas and represented as his edited and collected memoirs.  The fictional editor is Amberly Vail an inquisitor who also is apparently Ciaphas’ lover?  I’m not sure if that’s accurate because such emotional dimensions such as love are not attempted in these books.  There are countless footnotes inserted by our fictional editor that explain, expand, and opinionate on Ciahphas’ narrative.  At first I thought this was clever and interesting, but now I want to take the footnote key off the author’s computer. 

The plotline for the books is one-dimensional, very formulaic, and boring.  The author never really makes us care about any character’s but Ciaphas and his aide de camp, Jurgen, whose most interesting character trait is his smell.  Seriously its like reading a script to a cartoon, GI-JOE or something;  I’ve found myself trying to get this thing read so I can go on to something else, anything else.  I would just quit reading it, but I don’t like being a quitter. 

I know I sound like I hate this book, and I do, but I want to qualify my review with this little nugget.  Hero of the Imperium is a collection of 3 novels; they are not meant to be read all together.  I actually enjoyed the first one, and I think if I’d put it up for a while and then went to the next one a few months later I might have a more positive review.  As it stands Ciaphas Cain Hero of the Imperium is a one trick pony whose trick wares thin really fast, I can’t recommend it.

New Lootas, Painting ork HQs

December 4, 2010 Leave a comment

I bought some Lootas for my orks a few weeks ago.  Seems like they are a popular choice and my Orks could definitly use a boost in ranged firepower.  I’ve used them in one game in which they killed a few space marines.  Their shots are Strength 7, but they get d3 shots per turn so somtimes I’m taking 13 shots with these 4 guys.  The real kicker is the incredible 48 inch range.  They are a threat nearly to the entire board.  I haven’t finished painting them yet but I have most of them done.  With the Lootas purchase my new Grand Total for Warhammer spending is 411 dollars.   



I’ve also been working on my Ork HQs, the Assault on Black Reach Warboss, and the metal Big Mek.  The Big Mek was primed with Armory Primer which has way to much texture.  The Warboss in Krylon.


Finished some Assault Marines

December 4, 2010 1 comment

I recently finished up and my assault marines, I sprayed them with cheap clear coat from Wal-Mart, which is a little shinier then I’d like.  They have a rough texture from the spray primer I used, Armory brand.  These were some of the first I sprayed with the Armory primer and I’ve found that unless you spray super thin coats and let it totally dry between coats yout get a real rough texture.  I’ve since gone back to Krylon.  That’s what I get for spending money.

Easy concrete Barriers 40K scenery

December 4, 2010 Leave a comment
I like to have the occasional chocolate bar and sometimes its a Toblerone, that delicous Swiss milk chcoclate that comes in the distincive triagnluar prism box.  I had this idea the other day that the Toblerone box would make a great concrete barrier for Warhammer Scenery.  So I painted one up.

The Toblerone box is ready to go!

I sprayed the whole thing with grey prime and put it on thick.


I next lightly sprayed white and black in alternating layers to get a speckled concrete look.

I added several more layers of spray and some some yellow lines.

 You could add some yellow lines, graffete, paint some little cracks, or just use it like it is.

Weewar Review

November 27, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve recently got sucked into playing this game called weewar which you can find at  It’s a turn based tactical wargame much like Panzer General, but with a style more similar to chess.  The units are generalized versions of real military hardware, and everyone plays with the same set of units.  You have land, air and sea units, all together there are 19 different units to build. 

The game is based around online social play, you have a ranking which seems to be just like chess.  Beginners will go through a game with the AI, but anyone with an inkling of understanding of tactics will destroy the AI and be looking for real players to challenge.  You can set up a game and wait for someone to join, or look through other’s games and join in.  Up to 6 players can play at once and form teams if they choose. 

Games have a time limit per turn that is specified when they are created, anywhere from 5 minutes to 3 days, making the game very flexible.  IF someone doesn’t make the deadline they can be skipped or kicked.  Be warned it can make for very long games,  I’ve been playing one six man game with a turn limit of three days that has been going on for weeks and I’ve only played a few turns.  Along with time you can specify the map, units available and point range of your opponent.  A map editor is included and all maps are playable by anyone so if you build a good map it could become a classic.

The art style is one of my favorite aspects of the game, units are simplistic little brightly colored figures.  If Fisher Price made a wargame it would probably look like this.  Terrain is simple and has an 8-bit NES feel to it.  When two units fight a little animation graphic is displayed that is neat at first but gets kind of annoying later.   

The game play is pretty standard, and requires a combined arms approach.  You need to incorporate infantry, armor, and artillery to gain ground, and achieve air and sea superiority to support your ground units.  The gameplay feels pretty balanced, it seems like no one unit is broken, and only a small bit of chance to built into the combat resolution.  For example, two equally balanced units will almost always do equal damage to each other.  Of course terrain comes into play, infantry does well in mountains, armor does well in fields.  Bonuses are awarded when an attacker hits the same target multiple times each round, the bonus is tripled if attacked from the rear so holding a solid line and preventing enemies from penetrating your flanks is crucial. 

As for things that could be better, an improved AI would be a start.  If one wants to play against the AI, they must set up a game and specify the AI as the opponent, it’s kind of odd.  It would be better to just have single player games as an option and a easy, medium, or hard setting.  Playing single player games isn’t the point of weewar, but new players need a way to learn the game and practice.  

Understanding what units can do and how they fare aganist other units can be a bit tough.  Very little information is offered in game, units are classified as hard, soft, air, water, and sub and a neat little chart shows how a unit performs against those categories, but such basics as how many movement points and armor points they have must be looked up on the specifications page, it should be available in game. 

Winning a game requires a complete annihilation of your opponent, you must destroy all his units and capture all his bases.  This can make the game drag on, and I’ve noticed that some folks will slow down, or stop taking turns once they’ve realized they are going to lose.  Many wargames have objectives, such has control more bases than your opponent for x number of turns.  There should be an option to specify an objective for the game and set a number of turns so that games don’t drag on. 

On a stategic level it can be kind of hard on the larger games to workout your situation, a strategic view which showed the whole map at once and color of occupied spaces would be nice, as well as a built-in way to communicate with your team mates. 

One thing I like about this game is the complete lack of any kind of lame story or theme.  You’re not fighting for freedom on an alien world, or killing Nazis, you’re just playing an abstract wargame, like chess.  So I think its cool how simple the units are, but it could add a lot to the game to one day add more unit sets.  Like a complete set of units that have more range but are very fragile, or overall weaker but have a few special units with more power. 

After spending some time on the forums it looks like weewar has an uncerntain future.  It was purchased by Electronic Arts, but that powerhouse company seems to be completely neglecting the game.  There seems to be plenty of active players right now though so it’s a good time to try it out.   As of now weewar is free to play for 3 months, then to continue playing anything but basic limited free games you must become a member for like 24 dollars a year.  I figure I’ve already got more than 24 dollars of fun out of this game, and turn based wargames are hard enough to find as it is.  If you’re a fan of turn based tactical war games do yourself a favor and check this one out.

More Marines, new purchases

October 24, 2010 Leave a comment

The new forces

I got on ebay and bought some more space marines a couple of weeks ago.  I purchased

6 scouts with Shotguns
3 bikes
2 full Tactical Squads
5 terminators
1 dreadnaught
1 Drop Pod
1 Captain
1 Libarian

I spent 70 dollars with shipping on all of this.  I estimate that if I’d bought everything new at the game store I’d have around 260 dollars in all this.   The terminators, Tactical Squads, and Captain are from the Assault on Black Reach set, which doesn’t bother me at all, but means that they don’t have quite the same value as regular guys, and I don’t have any extra bits. 

I've started painting the scouts and bikes

I now should have plenty of figs to build a 1750 point army which seems to be what the game store tournaments always are, but do I even want to do that.  Even better I should easily be able to accomodate4  players with around 500 points each of either space marines or Orks for multiplayer games. 

This new purchase brings my total up to 386 dollars.  I’ve spent this over the course of about  2 months.  Not to bad, I think that if I started selling stuff today I’d get close to what i put into it back out, I’ve had a few fun games and I think I’ve found a few people who are willing to give it a go.  I need to start focusing now on making an interesting playing surface, I don’t really need any more troops.  Maybe just a few more Orks so that I can have a nearly even level of each.

Heroscape with Space Marines

October 21, 2010 Leave a comment

the group

I had 3 people over last night for a teams Heroscape match.  Because I wanted to show off my 40K figs, I found some rules adapting space marines to Heroscape.  You can download what I used as a word document here

This game didn’t go all that well for me, it seemed like my troops were way over powered compared to everyone else’s, and between my partners Marro it seemed we were

the table

decimating our opponents. Sure I wanted to win but I caremore about having decent game.   We were doing really well, but part of it was good luck, and the other part is that we were wiping out their cannon fodder.  I also found out that my soldiers weren’t really all that overpowered, they had strong defense, good attacks, bad movement, and short range.

the Space Marines

I tried taking notes during the game again, but that didn’t work all that well, I couldn’t stay focused on the game and taking notes at the same time, so you can check out the pictures and synopsis next.

Matt – Space Marines
Kyle – Marro

Justin – Sargent Drake and his WWII guys and a dragon
Jared – As usual Jared’s army is a mash up of all kinds of stuff, lizards, knights, robots, winged dudes

terminators advance

Turn 1, Justin takes the fight to me and blows up a bike, he then lands on massive curse, I lost one shotgun guy, but Jared lost 3 dudes.

Kyle kills one of Jared’s winged dudes

Jared moves around

I move around get the initiative glyph, I go again

the dragon

Turn 2

I move some more

Justin kills another bike, wiping out the bike squad, and kills a few marros, he’s landed on a glyph that makes all his soldiers immune to ranged attacks, heroscape is stupid.

Kyle puts his marros in regneration mode

Jared's Dead pile

Jared sends his snakemen after the marros, and also gets a rez glyph which gets me a bike back, as can be expected he didn’t get anything, his luck sucked.

Turn 3

I send the assault squad against Justin’s glyph guy and kill it, then I kill off a few more of his troops

Justin kills an assault marine

Kyle keeps regenerating, he’s like swamp thing over there.

Jared has some good luck with Deathwalker 9000,

I kill another winged dude,

Jared tries to kill Kyle’s Agents that are mixed up with the Marros and fails.

Kyle kills one of Jared’s knights.

Kyle gets a glyph that lets him give anyone a wound at the end of his turn, again, Heroscape is stupid.

I sent all my stuff against Deathwalker 9000, and they all die, I can’t stop that thing.

Sgt. Drake wins!

I’m pretty much out of it, Jared’s robot gets blown up, Justin sends his Dragon against Kyles stuff and ends up eventually killing all of Kyles stuff with Sargent Drake.  It was kind of nuts to see one guy kill off a horde of Marros.

Categories: Battle Reports, Stories

Transcript of Heroscape Game

October 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Three guys played a game of Heroscape the other day, I took notes, here they are.

Jared takes Knights

Justin forms an army of  Demonic Aliens

Matt (me) takes orcs

-discussion of rules

-Justin turn 1, figures out how to count, gets movement glyph

-Jared moves towards me

I move towards Jared

Justin kills a samauri, after Jared tells how good they are at defense

Justin kills another Samauri

Matt cheats

Jared attacks Justin with Samuri, kills something

Jared attacks my dino riding orc and sucks

Dino-Orc takes on the Templars, I don't know how they put the two together but it's exceptionally cool to have Orc's that ride Dinosaurs

Matt kills a templar with DINO-ORC

Short discussion on the merits of 17th century Baraque art

Arches suck, can’t hurt anything


Justin will die, he attacks orcs, kills one blade

Jared sucks with Templar, gets one wound on Dino-Orc

I kill another Templar, also kill one of Justin’s gargoyle things

Justin kills more orcs with gargoyles, he will die I swear!

Jared can’t kill Dino

Matt is tild he hasn’t used any of his special orc powers, he should have won an hour ago.

Justin attacks little Dino

Justin tries to disengage from combat and loses a dude

Justins giant, Krug tries to kill little Dino and fails

Jared fails to kill DINO-ORC again and also sabertooth cat riding Orc.

Matt’s Grots kill off Frug

Some of these figures, like this guy are pretty awesome looking.

Justin’s vampire guy climbs on top of a hill to survey the battlefield and hide since he’s all that’s left.

Jared kills an arrow orc, I don’t care no self respectign orc would shoot arrows anyway.

I do nothing

Jared kills off arches and one blade

Matt finally plays right and kills off two templars

Jared strikes back and kills off 2 gruts and little Dino

Justin lands his last guy on a summoning glyph and kills one of Jared’s last guys.

I kill off Justin’s leader and Jared’s leader to win the game with 2 units left.

Great game, but my army should have won pretty quick, if I’d been playing right I would have used every unit every turn.

The Orc's have dominated those foolish enough to stand against them.

Heroscape is growing on me.

Rematch, Blue Box again

October 10, 2010 Leave a comment

I realized that I got several things wrong in my last game, not only my tactical decisions, but also basic rules. 

In an attempt to get things straight I played the game again, basically the same setup, same deployment, I did everything my cousin did, and tried to make the best decisions for the orks when I changed my movements.

Turn 1

  • Assault Marines jump across the board to the left, Dread moves up
  • Terminators shoot at Grotz and kill 8 of them, they run.
  • Dread destroys truk weapon
  • Tac 2, the 5 man squad destroys the big gun in shooting
  • Kan shoots and catches on assault marine in a skorcha buring him alive

Turn 2

  • All 3 marine squads move about 3 inches back
  • Terminators and Tac2 kill 5 boyz
  • Tac1 immobolizes buggy
  • dread immobolizes kan
  • Nobz drive up and assault Tac 1 and kill six marines but they hold their ground

Turn 3

  • Assault Squad and dread assault and destroy the Nobz
  • Terminators assault big mob and dish out 4 wounds, but take 4 wounds from powerclaws
  • 2 remaining grotz regroup and head for objective, this was wrong they should have kept running
  • Big Mob kills off last terminator
  • Deffkoptas outflank from the side of the board and kill one Tac1 marine

Turn 4

  • Assault Squad, Tac2, and Dread kill 5 boyz, they fail and fall back
  • Close Combat with Koptas is pointless
  • BigMek and Warboss turn around and slaughter the assault squad

Turn 5

  • Dread kills off warboss
  • Tac1 kills another kopta, koptas aren’t to good in close combat, they should have used hit and run to break off and fire missles
  • Big Mek assaults the Dread and dies
  • Turn 6
  • Dread kills off 2 grotz, but herder makes leadership, he shouldn’t even be there.
  • Tac1 kills another kopta leaving 1

Turn 7

  • roll a 1, no turn 7, Marines should win even though its a tie since there are enemies within 3 inches of the objective

What did I learn?

Target priority, keep units out of assault range, don’t assault the warboss, shoot him to death, read the rules.

Looking forward to game against another person.

40K beginer paint set and Tamiya Big Gun

October 8, 2010 Leave a comment

40K paint set.

I went to the Game store last weekend with intent to purchase 40K stuff, I planned to spend some big money and try to get my Space Marine army up in the 1500 point range.  When I got there I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I wanted to buy some kind of tank, but the cheapest one was over 50 bucks, I wanted to buy a Tactical Squad, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay 38 dollars for ten small plastic models.  Before I spent that much I think I’d order another Assault on Black Reach box set.  In fact the box set it so cheap compared to the units in the game store that I could buy a set and throw the orks away and still be money ahead. 

I didn’t go home totally empty handed and bought a 40K paint set, this was the set I was looking for back when I first decided to get into 40K, either the game store didn’t have on then, or I just missed it.  You get 5 generic marines and 6 bottles of paint.  The game store sells the paint for 4 dollars a pot, so if you look at it that way you’re getting the 5 marines for free.  I regret this purchase now though since I really only needed a few of the colors and I just bought a nice Space Marine army on Ebay. 

I also bought a Tamiya scale model of a German 75mm anti tank gun.  I’m using this as an Ork, Big Gunz model.  The

Some Grot unearths an ancient Nazi anti-tank gun and realizes it's better then what they were using.

Tamiya model was 8 bucks at Hobby Lobby, and took me a couple of hours to assemble.  It is exceptionally detailed and a much better model then Games Workshop.  Of course it’s a scale model and not meant to be gamed with.  I’m not sure how much of the detail will hold up over extended gaming, but it looks awesome on the table manned by a mess of stinkin Grotz.  I may wrap some wire around the barrel and use it as a zap gun. 

283+33 menas my new grand total is 316 dollars.