Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Warhammer 40K: Math Team Deathwatch Special Issue

So the Deathwatch Killteam looks pretty solid in the new kill team.  Good customization options still and you can build them with a inexpensive box.  They are a little light on wounds with only 5 models but even their base guys hit pretty hard in both ranged and melee.   While the Grey Knights are probably better than the Deathwatch due to their storm bolters and powers, the special issue ammo for the Deathwatch does have its uses.


When the target is not in cover than the for low armor targets (6+ to 4+) the best Special Issue ammo is the Vengeance round where the extra point of damage on normal hits is better than Rending or P1.  This is sort of a surprise but if you look at the damage vales for weakly armored targets the baseline is about 7 so a little better than 2 hits.  An extra point of damage on both these normal hits would net you 2 additional points of damage.  You do not get this entire boost as some the damage is related to criticals which are 4 points for all the round types.  The Dragonfire would not be used as the target is not in cover for this example.  Once you get to 3+ saves then switching to the Kraken round is the best choice.

When the model is in Cover the obvious choice is the Dragonfire rounds to deny the automatic save of the cover and are the best choice for 6+ to 4+ armor saves.  At 3+ the Hellfire is the best choice while it 2+ the Kraken narrowly beats it out but by such a tiny margin that sticking with Hellfire to have less to remember is pretty much the same.

Monday, August 23, 2021

40K Math Team: Space Marine Intercessors


Now I am a dedicated First Born player, so I stay away from Primaris lines but the very first data card from the Compendium is the Space Marine Intercessor who has 3 options for a ranged weapon.  They all share the same Bolter Standard Stat line of 4 Attack Dice BS: 3+  and Damage: 3/4 so the only thing changing is the special rules.  So the test here is just the average wounds inflicted vs Armor Save.  The basic bolter is included for reference as other weapons also have this basic stat line.  First noteworthy thing is that the Auto Bolt Rifle is almost uniformly better than the Bolt Rifle.  Only at 2+ saves does it any advantage and would generally not be worth having on your team or in your roster most of the time.

The Stalker Bolt Rifle starts to show its value once you get to 3+ and 2+ save targets but since it is Heavy which restricts the very much needed movement for a team with only 5 models and 3 APL.  One might place 1 or 2 into the roster incase you are fighting models with excellent saves.

Adding in Cover keeps the stories pretty much the same.  Only on Save values of 3+ and 2+ does the Stalker have value and then it might not be enough to have a heavy ruled weapon.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Warhammer 40K: Math Team


So back in the day, I wrote several series working on various parts of what is called Mathhammer where you look at the probabilities of events in table top games.  I had a series examining 3rd edition space hulk and then a series looking at vehicle damage for 5th edition 40K asking how many missiles to the center of a Razorback or what it takes to crack on Chimera.  

Now this is all in the way back machine but as probability problems they were interesting because unlike normal 40K attacking they were not linear problems.  A normal 40K attack has N dice but each die is treated seperately really.  Each die has a chance to hit, then a chance to wound, then forces a save attempt, then a feel no pain (or what ever now).  You can essentially calculate the chance for each step multiple them together to get the chance of something per attack.   Then if you are really just interested in the average number just multiple this chance for a single die by the total number of dice.  It is very straight forward and pretty easy to see how any change to any of the test will change the results.  

Current 40K has become slightly more complicated with like unblockable mortal wounds on 6's and such but these are usually secondary things that can be treated without much issue.  It makes this all not very interesting from this stand point.  Those series looked at event where how multiple dice interact like the dice pool combat in Space Hulk or dependent events where to kill the tank you might have two knock out 2 weapons first then immobilize it.  The pathways to the end are more complicated and the problems become more interesting.

The new kill team game is like this.  Since it uses dice pools for both the attacker and defenders with comparisons of results all to determine the outcome it cannot be broken down into little steps.  There are also lots of special rules which influence the test and it is not initial clear what is the best choice.  Is a Crit:P1 better than a Ceaseless all else being equal?  Is a 5th die more useful or more damage on the weapon.  

To take a look at this I built a software program to essentially roll the dice pools millions of times with a specific set of conditions and determine the outcome in terms of approximate probability of each damage result and then determine average damage or the chance of killing a model.  

For example a basic guardsman will do about 1.54 wounds to a tac marine on average and have a vanishingly small 0.04% chance of killing him with 1 shooting action.  While in return that tactical marine will average 5.66 wounds on the guardsman and kill him about 39% of the time in the single shoot action.  That guard better find some cover which drops the damage down to about 4.05 wounds and decreases the single attack death to 25.6% of the time.  Now one would normally expect the Auto defense of the cover to do more.  Should it not drop it by like a whole 3 points since that is what a retained hit does but you need to remember that 1/3 of the time that die would have been a success.  So that cuts the value.  Next sometimes the opponent has nothing to block with that success.  You either already got the successes to block all his damage or he only has criticals which it does not help with.

So As I go along I will be looking at some data cards and evaluating the weapons on them against some example targets to see how balanced they are.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Dungeon Saga: Dwarf Kings Quest Solo Play Pdfs


So I have started creating a set of pdf's which do the map and rule reveals for the Dungeon Saga Core game like I did for the Star Saga core game.  It is pretty late but they do not take that long to do since DS mission structures are simpler than those found in Star Saga which has lots of text to match different events during the game.  I will take some time to get through them all so check back occasional for updates for more of the Adventures from the Core game to be added.

The pdfs can be found here:

Currently they included the 2 Training Mission A,B and then missions 1 through 6.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Battletech Clan Invasion

So Catalyst Games Battletech Clan Invasion Kickstarter finally shipped Wave 1 rewards.  I late backed this and went with just Wave 1 stuff as I am just dipping the toes in and not going all in so to speak.  The Kickstarter came with a exclusive box but I sort of like the other box better.  Personally I was never much of a Clanner in the past as we mainly did Inner Sphere Mercenary stuff in the 3025-3050 era.  We were starting to get out of it by the time the Clan Invasion started initially and the Clan mechs were just so over powered in an Era before Battle Values that it did not seem right.

While it was fun to discover lost tech during the 3025+ era and integrate it into our mechs in a roleplaying type campaign structure, looking back on it I see it more as how FASA was trying to tweak the game.  Most mechs picked up considerable additional firepower either with better weapons or heat management but often the Armor or Speeds were only slightly increased.  This increased the carnage rate of the game and who does not like to see things go boom (as long as you are not in it). 

Clan Invasion just took this to a crazy level as they were just another step above.  If it was modern large corporate wargaming one would acuse the company of making unbalanced rules to sell more models but given that you would get like a 100 standees in the box of Reinforcements 2 it does not seem like there was a ton of money in it.  It might have had to do with the right issues that they were having with many of the 80's mech designs so they needed to make people really love these new mechs.

Anyway, Battletech has come full circle and is back to 3050 with a new clan invasion box which is an expansion box to the Game of Armored Combat box.  It is not a full game and does not come with the core game rules.  It comes with rules for the new technology that the inner sphere has access to by 3050 and the new clan technology of 3050.   So it has mech contrusction rules for both factions set at 3050 timeline compared to those for 3025 of the Game of Armored Combat Box.  It also has rules for the Elemental power suit infantry of the Clans as well as rules and discussion of the organization of clan units and their system of Honor.

Here are the contents of the kickstarter box.  You get 5 Clan Mechs, 2 Points of Elementals, 2 Double Sided Game Maps, Reference Sheet, Standee and Terrain Card Sheet, Clan Invasion Rulebook, Clan Invasion Fluff book, 2 dice, card set with Clan Pilots and Clan Alpha Strike cards, Large Double Sided Map of the Inner Sphere in 3025/3050, and one record sheet book that has both the Clan Mechs and record sheets for the 3050 versions of the mechs from the Beginner Box and the Game of Armored Combat box.  I would have liked also seen some new Alpha Strike cards for the 3050 versions of the Armored Combat Mechs as the lance packs generally have a 3025 on one side and 3050 version on the other side.

These are the Elementals.  Pretty nice looking and well scaled to the mechs.

Nova and Adder Mechs

Executioner and Grendal

 Timber Wolf (but always Mad Cat to me)

Now this set retails for 50 dollars while the Star Packs of 5 Clan Mechs are only like 25 or 30 so your are paying quite a bit for the other box components.  So you can get 2 Stars for this box which is probably a better buy if you are doing this with your friends and do not need multiple copies of the rules or already have those rules from other sources as they are not changed that I could see from one already in print. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Star Saga Solo Play PDFs

 I created a set of pdf's early in the year to improve solo play for Star Saga.  Essentially the pdfs use internal hyperlinks to keep as much secret from the players until they have to know.  So it only shows you the map one room at a time.  It shows you only the terminal options available when you select a terminal and it lets you know if an item needs a search roll or has nothing or something special for the mission when you select the item.

They can be found here:

If you have rules questions for the Core game, most of those are covered in this boardgame geek thread:

Friday, October 30, 2020

Dungeon Saga: Heroes of Dolgarth Quest

Heroes of Dolgarth Quest

So with the New version of Heroquest coming, I though I would give the game another look.  I did not play it as a kid since it came out well after we were played Advanced Dungeons and Dragons in the theater of the mind.  The price point for the crowd funding is quite high, the rules are to basic for my desires, and I already have quite a collection of Dungeon Crawl components so I thought I might use it as inspiration for a new Dungeon Saga campaign.

The purpose of this project is to pay homage to the Classic Heroquest Adventure Arc in a Dungeon Saga quest set without directly trying to map it in as a one to one copy.  To capture the feel of those missions in the game of Dungeon Saga is the goal and to help that happen some rules changes are made to the structure and preparation of the games.

The game is going to be designed for use with the Coop rules from the Adventurers Companion with the missions revealed in linked pdf format to maintain the surprises for the players for any twists of turns added to the game.

The following Rules additions or changes will be made:

Adventure Setup Changes:

Each mission will have details for setting up several decks in more detail than usually done in Dungeon Saga.  The Overlord Deck or Invisible Overlord Deck will provide instructions on how to construct those decks.   Two decks  for the treasures are created to draw from.  The Random Treasure deck is created for drawing based on the results of searching.  The Set Aside Treasure Deck is a collection of cards which might be used in the mission which can handy to have available when playing.  A trap token pile will need to be created as a described mix of blanks and specific trap types and the cards describing those trap rules should be collected for reference if the trap appears.

Search Action:

 A new Action is available to Heroes which is used to Search Furniture items on the board like chests, barrels, tables, etc.   Rooms or hallways are not search, only items are searched.  Neither the piece of furniture or Hero can be in enemy’s front arc.  Any object can only be searched once regardless of the result.  When searching a furniture piece, first check the Adventure rules to see if the item might have specific rules in the Adventure.  If not the Hero player rolls a die and consult the search table for the results.

Search Table:

1: Apply Adventures Wandering Monster Rule

2: Trap.  Draw a Trap Token and apply the associated card to heroes square.  If a blank is drawn, then nothing happens.

3: Nothing Found

4: 1 Silver Found

5: 1d6 Silver Found

6:  Draw from Random Treasure Deck 


Overlord Interrupt Usage:

 An overlord may use an Interrupt Command Card to open any unlocked or locked door currently on the map.  A warded Door cannot be opened in this way.  This will then cause the zone to be placed.  This can be done either between hero turns or during the overlord turn.  If the card has additional activations beyond 1 or the overlord has activations remaining from their normal allotment, then those activations can be used by any model now on the board.  The Invisible Overlord can use this option anytime the card played has the Interrupt keyword and there are not enough models on the board to use all the available Activations.  It will open the closest eligible door to the highest threat Hero based on the card drawn.

Energy Crystals Usage:

 The Heroes in these adventures are able to use energy crystal that they find searching or buy at the Market location to provide one time improvements of one or more dice to any opposed test by declaring that they with discard it before any dice are rolled.  Add the same number of dice as would be provided for a spell.   Note that if the crystals are created with the Crystallize spell then those crystals can only be used by the creator for magical tests so they should be kept separate from crystals found or purchased.


Unlocked Doors can appear in these missions, an Unlocked Door can be opened at the cost of 1 movement point while adjacent provided the character is not in the front arc of an enemy.  The area behind the door is built and all object placed then the character can continue his move if squares remain and take an action as normal.  A model may not open a door with Movement provided by a Feat.

Map Traps: 

Some Adventure Maps will list the location of traps.  Take a trap token from the pile and place it face down at the space indicated on the map.  Traps cover the square the token is in and all squares adjacent to that square.  A model moving into a square covered by a trap can either move normal or cautiously.  A model moving normally must roll a d6 each time they move into a square covered by the trap.  On a 1-3 the trap is triggered, reveal the token and apply the rules from the matching card to square the hero moved into.  Revealing an actual trap token that is not blank also ends the Heroes activation regardless of the result any tests from the trap card.  On a 4-6 he can continue moving.  If the Hero clears the trap squares without triggering the trap then the token is still in play and may be trigger by another Hero.  Heroes who do not trigger traps during their movement may take Actions normal even if they are still in a square covered by the trap but any movement to another square covered by the trap will require the same roll.

If a Hero decides to move cautiously around the trap, it costs 2 movement points per square to move but the trap is only trigger on a 1 instead of 1-3.  Models that are moving using a Feat or are forced to move do to another special rule (spell, ability) cannot move cautiously.   

Disarm Traps: 

If a model with Disarm Traps moves through trap covered squares they can add one to their die rolls.  This means that while moving cautiously they cannot trigger the trap.  To disarm the trap, the Hero must move adjacent to a covered square and then use an Action to Disarm the Trap.  They cannot be in the front arc of an enemy model.    Roll a d6.  On a 3-6, remove the trap counter.  Otherwise leave the counter in place.  Only one attempt maybe made by a character to disarm a trap.


Pdf's can be found here:


Thursday, October 29, 2020

Lost Patrol: Crypt Hunters Inspired Change

So GW came out with a new one box game called Crypt Hunters which bits the Fantasy Ultra Knight type guys against ghosts.  It uses the same hex style map structure as Lost Patrol and many other similarities.  It is not totally a reskin as they changed the Stats on the models and how they attacks are resolved but it is very similar.  It is not a bad value for the game as it has like 14 GW models for like 45 dollars including the game when the models sell separately for 55 dollars.

While the games are different, there was one change I saw that I thought could be applied immediately to Lost Patrol and totally change the way it played for the better.  This is a change to the turn structure.  In Lost Patrol second edition, the Scouts move and then new tiles are added or removed based on what they can now see.  This creates a problem that whenever a new tile is placed that is not straight to add another tile this becomes a possible spawn location.  This makes it very easy to spawn 3 genestealers directly next to a Scout every turn which means even optimally positioned Scouts are likely losing a scout half the tile.  Quickly it becomes roll a 6 or die as you lose your support and get isolated.

In Crypt Hunters, the new tile placement is at the start of the turn.  So the turn starts with placing new tiles, then the Knights move, then tiles are removed, then the ghosts act.  So if this is used in Lost Patrol, the new tiles are placed, then the scouts can move.  They get to decide if they push forward into new tiles which prevent spawning on those tiles or do they fight the stealers.  After removing the tiles which can no longer be seen after moving 2 tiles, the stealer player now needs to think about whether he wants to spawn models or move models after the progressing Scouts.  It is much harder to just stop the scouts as you cannot just drop 3 right in front of their path almost every time like before.  The stealers are more likely chasing the scouts through the jungle and using their movement across paths. 

I tried a game with these rules and while the scouts still lost, the Sergeant would have seen the dropship at the start of the next turn and it would have been in movement range if he could make two bramble moves.  I left all the carnage from the mission in the above picture.  You can see how the stealers followed the Scouts and then had to finish him off using a cross path attack.  If the curve had not been so tight, our scout Sergeant might have made it home.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Battletech: A Game of Armored Combat Contents

With the Clan Invansion Kickstarter shipping soon people grabbing that box at retail might need some Inner Sphere mechs to curb stomp.  Those can be found in this box along with everything you need to play some classic Battletech in 3025.

All the contents spread out nicely.  You get 8 mechs, so each side and have a lance with 1 light, 1 medium, 1 heavy, and  1 assault mech.

You get 8 mechwarrior cards if you want to not name your own pilots but instead use those provided.

You also get Alpha Strike cards for the more miniature wargame version of Battletech that is Alpha Strike.

 Background materials.  A second short story to go with the one in the beginner's box.

Full rulebook.  Honestly finding differences between these rules and the ones we played with like 30 years ago is not easy.  Partial cover is different.

Certainly looks nicer than the second edition book I had back in the day.

You get 8 stand ups and some tokens for modifying the maps along with the very important reference sheet.

They provide the mech sheets as a booklet but they have a free digital copy available online.  There are like 16 mechs in the book with most of the mechs have 2 variants.

Significantly more complicated maps than the one from the Beginner Box.

Commando and Locust

Shadowhawk and Wolverine which also appears in the Beginner box.

Thunderbolt and Catapult


Awesome and Battlemaster

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Terrain Crate Abandoned Factory for Star Saga?


Mantic has now released their Terrain Crate 2 kickstarter to retail.  Most of it is designed around a modern time period but some of it might be useful in other games.  Here I look at how the Abandoned Factory Set scales and looks with Star Saga models.

It pairs pretty nicely with some of the tile sets from the expansions.  The Devil's Betrayal and Blackstar Station sets have tiles that are a little less neat than those found in the core game.

Core game tables on left with similar sized substitutes from the Abandoned Factory set. 

One square sized stuff which might actually have something in it as tables are almost always empty when searched.

These two on the right would likely be fully line of sight blocking.

Possible door for less high tech areas.

While it was designed for something like Here's Negan, I think this set works with Star Saga also.