Funny Things

Friday, September 10, 2010

Join Us or Die!

Hey everybody!  Hey Dr. Dethtron (well I'm not really a Dr. but I'll be an MBA before too long...).

Well anyway, I just wanted to write and implore all of our readers to make sure they not only "follow" this blog, but also to submit your blogs to us for the roll.  As you'll see if you poke around, we're not particularly discriminating when it comes who we include.  Basically, as long as your blog is about tabletop gaming or roleplaying, you're in.  Right now we seem to have a lot of GW related content, as that's what the site owners play for the most part, but if you know FoW, Warmachine/Hordes, Battletech, or whatever, we'd love to have you on the network.  We're working to get some authors to talk about other systems right now, but that is a long range project.

I've also noticed that there are a few "followers" who have blogs, but haven't asked to be included in the network.  What the hell are you waiting for?  Click the "join us!" link up top and get on board already, or die.  Ok, so you won't die, at least through any fault of my own, but I just wanted an excuse to use a picture from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.  I secretly like that movie even if Kevin Costner is involved.  Well I guess it isn't really a secret any more. 

Lastly, if you would like to contribute to our posting schedule, let us know at  We're not quite ready to start adding permanent extra authors yet, although it will be happening soon, but we'd love to re-post an article you're particularly proud of or- better yet- put up some original content for the HOP that you wrote.  Fair warning though, I'm a stickler for editing, so don't be offended if you get an article sent back with lots of red notes on it.  I'm not trying to be a dick, I just want this site to be that good.

Have a great, safe weekend everybody, and we'll be seeing you shortly.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Math- Can't Truss' It

You know an article is going to be awesome when the title contains a Public Enemy quote.  Those of you that have been following my work on Dick Move already know that I'm a sucker for math.  I enjoy a good round of mathhammer nearly as much as a game of Warhammer.   Statistics and probability are things that you really need to have a grasp on to elevate your game.  Knowing the odds of killing an enemy, surviving a reckless action, or passing a leadership test are invaluable in my own decision making process.  I won't lie and say that I always calculate the exact odds of accomplishing what I want, but I know that if I want to take down a Landraider with missile launchers, it's going to take more than just a handful of shots to do it. 

Don't fret if you're not math savvy.  Heresy Online has a good 40k combat calculator that can help you out of a jam. 

Having said that, I will also let you know that I am extremely mistrustful of the application of probability to a game of Warhammer.  Frankly, you are rarely going to be rolling enough dice at one time for the outcome to logically follow predicted outcomes.  Perhaps something like Khorne Berzerkers on the charge come close, but keep in mind that rolling 20 is less likely to behave as we would assume, but rolling 1,000 dice would probably yield pretty close to average results.  Rolling an infinite number of dice will yield average results. 

Here is a real life example based on a series of highly improbable events that happened to me recently.  It's centered around these assholes here:

Yeah, these assholes
This past weekend I got a chance to play my first game of Warhammer Fantasy 8th ed against my good buddy Hoagy.  He already went to the trouble of making up a battle report, so if you're interested in reading it or seeing more pretty pictures of mostly unpainted miniatures on my desert board you can read it here.  For me, the game was fraught with bad luck from the outset.  Turn 1 saw my cannon misfiring itself to death after my Lvl 4 Life Wizard miscast and killed 3 greatswords while resurrecting 3 crossbowmen- not a good trade off to say the least.  Over the course of the next few turns I lost both my other artillery pieces (a mortar and a Helstorm Rocket Battery) to misfires- it was a small game and I was more interested in trying out as many things as possible than having a cohesive army, so I didn't have a lot of artillery and didn't get to spam anything. 

Anyway, let's crunch the numbers on my suicide artillery.  I took a total of 5 shots over the course of the game.  3 of those were fatal misfires. 
  • 1 result on the artillery die is a misfire, so the probability of rolling a misfire is 1/6
  • 1 result on the misfire chart (a roll of 1) results in a wrecked piece, so the probability of being wrecked is 1/6
Noting the above, the probability of an artillery piece getting killing itself with a misfire on a single shot is 1/6 * 1/6 = 1/36

This also means that the probability of not killing itself (inclusive of non-destructive misfires) is 1 - 1/36 = 35/36. 

Since in my particular case I got 2 shots off and died on 3 others the odds of that happening were:
(1/36)^3 * (35/36)^2=  1,225/60,466,176 = .00002026... or odds so low that my calculator just had to resort to scientific notation.

I stood a 0.00203% chance of exploding my 3 war engines over the course of 5 shots.  Ordinarily when you fire a cannon or what have you, you assume that you're going to the shot off.  Statistics even tell you that you have a 35/36 (97.2%) chance of at least not destroying yourself.  Seems like a pretty safe gamble.  Hell, I'd take odds like that in Vegas all day long.  Sadly, just because something is likely to happen doesn't mean that it is guaranteed to happen.  Despite the fact that there was nearly 100% certainty that I would not lose all of my own units to misfires, it happened.  Shit happens. 

And that my friends is the moral of the story.  Shit happens.  Despite your best efforts and confidence in  statistics, you can't expect all of your rolls to behave as predicted.  Even if you know that firing 10 lasgun shots at BS3 will yield 5 hits on average, it is still possible or even likely that you will get 4, 6, 10, etc hits when you roll.  At the same time, even though I know that shooting a single missile at a Landraider at BS4 only stands a 11.11% chance of glancing, so it's not worth the effort if there are other viable targets.  If anything is to be learned by this, it's that knowing your stats will help you to make logical decisions, but don't be surprised when things don't work out quite as you expected.

So there you have it.  Anybody else pulled off any ludicrous rolls?  Got advice for applying stats to your game?  Inevitable math errors to bitch about in my calculations?  Sound off in the comments section.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Philip K. Dick Presents: the Weekly Top X

The House of Paincakes crack team of researchers has been hard at work for the last days searching for some of the coolest things are members have committed to the internet.  This week, we have a double theme (loosely speaking).  Without further flim-flam and rigmarole, welcome to today's Philip K. Dick/hobby Weekly Top X!  Remember, these are in no particular order!

1)  When Cannons Fade - How to Make Your Own Movement Trays

John: I know I’m stating the obvious here, but movement trays are the kind of thing that can make or break a game of Fantasy. Unfortunately, the options GW sells just aren’t as ‘one size fits all’ as the package claims... or as cheap as you’d want them to be. With all the new interest in Fantasy cropping up, ideas like this are pure genius. Not only can you make ANY size you want, but its also no big deal if they get destroyed!
Brent: I had my doubts about this one, but I’ve actually seen a local try it and it works quite well. It’s stable and light... and cheap! My biggest peeve about the GW brand is how perfect they are for 20mm models and how unperfect they are for 25mm. Make your own and avoid all that.

2)  Musings of a Metal Mind - Gunheads and Walkers

Brent: So, here’s a blog that was getting on this list this week regardless. First of all, it’s always cool. This dude is a true original and I dare any of you to call this kit-bashing. Anyway, I preferred the Lackeys article but I see where Lauby is going with this choice. It is a great example of the crazy vision Mark has. Mark is that robot dude who does all this - I betcha didn’t know that, Lauby.
John: Are you saying Mark is a robot!? Quick! Break out the Voight-Kampff machine! Well, even if he is a robot, Mark has cranked out some seriously impressive robo-conversions. A lot of love and creativity went into these models and you can tell... even if he didn’t come right out and say it. HA!  Not only are the gunheads pretty freakin’ sweet, but they’re an appropriate eulogy for the sorely missed GW bitz service.

3)  Drunken Gamers of Ottawa - Pre-Heresy Night Lords

Brent: This... is... freakin’... awesome..!
John: Kids, there are pre-heresy armies and then there’s this. I’ve seen very few people this committed to including original models in their armies. And the conversions - that’s were the real genuis is. No wait! Its the scratchbuit drop pods. No wait! It's the hand painted...
Brent: Let me interrupt you there, Lauby - you’re distracting from the pure win that is RTB1-era Space Marines. I love these old models. I actually have an army of my own, but I’ll admit right here that this one blows mine way out of the water. Truly inspiring.

4)  Indy 40k - August in Indy

John: Hmmmm, this feels a lot like you’re trying to sidestep the arbitrary limits I’ve set. A link in our top X to another top X - for shame, Brent!
Brent: You’ve caught me! I’m a rebel I am, and I did bring this one to the party because it’s like a freebie. We pick him and he picks others and voila! It’s like Amway, except we’re at the top of the pyramid!
John: You sly devil!  In any case, this is the same kind of thing we hope to promote with our own top X.  Damn, we are like Amway executives.  Maybe we can introduce Ubik into the product line?

5)  40k for the New Professional - A Real Pennfield Mood Organ
Brent: This is the one I had to make sure got on the list. I like this post for a variety of reasons, some of them personal, I’ll admit. First up, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was a firm favorite of mine growing up. It was the first work I ever learned to appreciate rather than liking right off; it was worth the effort. Even now, I can picture the protagonist going home to his fake animals and dialing 888. That’s bleak shit, it really is. Point is, Kennedy is right: we can shape our own moods with music. That’s got to be better than sitting in front of the television, right?
John: I dunno.. if I’m in a ‘c-beams glittering the dark’ kind of mood, a funny movie or some hilarious tv tends to do much the same as the music could for snapping me out of it. The big thing here, is that Kennedy’s article has some very useful applications for going about the business of painting your dudes. I use music and telefilm myself to alter my mood and get me focuses in a distracted kind of way.
Brent: (Dial 888: the desire to watch TV, no matter what’s on.)
John:  Note to self:  Buy Philip K Dick anthology.  Read anthology.

And there you have it.  The second Weekly Top X has come to its esoteric close.  As always, we look forward to tormenting you with our banter next week.  Read like the wind!  - Lauby

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tactica: Warbuggy vs. Deffkopter

For the HOP staff, its not a question of whether or not Orks suck but rather a question of what color of green should you go with.   Mercer over at Imperius Dominatus also felt that the age old rivalry between dune buggy and personal helicopter also needed to be addressed - Ork Style!  As part of our continuing quest to promote the HOP network members, we bring you the entirety of Mercer's post on the subject with minimal edits.

Here's a article to possibly end the debate of which is better; Warbuggy or Deffkopter!