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Source: Important Announcement (GW Coverage) – Beasts of War.

In June of this year, GW published a new set of trade terms that their trade customers must adhere too, in these terms was a clause that effectively meant that, Wayland Games would have been punished for any advance reporting of any GW release by Beasts of War Ltd (Article 9.4) despite Wayland Games not providing any such information to Beasts of War, and despite both companies being separate.

As a result we feel there is no option but to abide by terms set out by GW.

I’m as much a GW fanboy as the next guy, and I try to give them the benefit of the doubt in many of the questionable moves they’ve made over the last couple of years, despite how they treat the wider community.

But this is really a dick move as far as I’m concerned.

I’ll hopefully manage to post a more in depth entry about this later, but I’m super busy with work at the moment, so for now I just wanted to get this out there.

In the meantime, if you want to support Beasts of War, please consider buying a Backstage Pass.

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Force Requisition Screenshot

Just a small Public Service Announcement for this morning: last night Games Workshop released an updated version of Codex: Space Marines that included the missing audio and Force Requisition feature, the recent FAQ/Errata, plus some additional content by way of an apology.

First impressions of Force Requisition are that it’ll be handy, but it’s not yet complete, and it’s a little fiddly in places. The data for the Elites and Fast Attack slots is missing (it states this before launching), and the “View Collection” button doesn’t do anything. So not exactly ideal! I can only hope this gets addressed ASAP, and that the partial upload is only to get something released quickly while further problems are being fixed.

The new Xbox One looks pretty ass-ugly. The integration features sound great in theory, but I’m not convinced they’ll work so well in the real world outside America. The “always listening” thing sounds creepy… But finally – it has Blu-Ray!

It’s taken around 15 years or so, but thanks to Forge World, there’s finally a Space Marine bike miniature that I like! Continue Reading…

Flesh Tearers

I didn’t manage to post to the blog nearly as much as I wanted to in January, but if you were following along on Twitter, you will have seen plenty of work-in-progress shots. Many of these have been added to the gallery at the bottom of this post. Sadly, I didn’t have time to get “proper” photos of the completed squad before delivering them to my local Games Workshop store for display/entry into the contest.

So, where did I get to?

I finished my goal of completing an Assault Squad. While this doesn’t seem like a lot, to some, it’s quite good for me… especially as January turned out to be a lot busier than I expected! It was also my first time using my airbrush for a whole squad, and also my first time using many new tools and techniques. To say I learned a lot on this squad would be a big understatement!

So what did I learn?

Number 1, was my original choice of base colour for the red wasn’t quite as effective as I’d hoped, and that my pre-shading skills suck. I’d planned to use Vallejo Model Air: Hull Red as the main colour, using some pre-shading with the same colour to provide a deeper colour in the shadows and some white highlights over the grey primer to provide natural highlights to the red. It didn’t work… the shadows got lost when the next layer went on, and once the paint “cured” it went more towards a brown than I was looking for. In the end I sprayed a thin layer of VMA: Fire Red over everything, which brought it closer to what I want. In future I will pre-shade with Hull Red, then base coat with Fire Red.

Secondly, MicroSol and MicroSet make decals not suck!

  1. Prepare your surface with gloss varnish
  2. apply some MicroSet to the target area
  3. apply the decal in the normal manner, carefully dabbing away excess water
  4. apply a little more MicroSet
  5. carefully dab down the decal with a cotton bud, to shape it to the surface, and remove excess liquid
  6. allow to dry, then apply MicroSol over the decal – do not touch after this, for 24h!
  7. (optional) seal with your varnish of choice

I used this process on my squad’s pauldrons, and it turned out looking like the decal was printed directly on the surface.

Anything else?

I tried oil washes for the first time. while they’re pretty good at “lining” details on a model, they can make a hell of a mess if not careful when preparing/cleaning up after you paint session. The ability to erase mistakes using a cotton bud and thinner is really nice.

Cork is awesome as a basing material.

Pigment powders are pretty hard to get right. At first, I mixed some with isopropanol, and applied to the model like paint. It didn’t turn out correct, so I used a cotton bud to apply some powder directly. That looked awesome, but when I applied a final coat of matte varnish, to seal/protect the model, all of the pigment virtually disappeared – even the sealed on stuff.

What’s Next?

February should be interesting… It’s a shorter month, but I have a week off for my birthday, and will (hopefully) be less busy. As a pie-in-the-sky, I’m going to try for an Assault Squad, and 2 Land Speeders. It probably won’t happen, but it’ll be fun to try!

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The sky is not falling. Unless you count the incoming Ravenwing fliers – in a narrative sense – that is. Reaction to the new Dark Angels kits has been… polarising to say the least. Love or hate the new models (personally I like them all except Asmodai – yes, even the Landspeeder, but that’s a rant for another day).

One criticism a lot of people have been most vocal about are the new prices. The Dark Angel kits are generally several pounds more expensive than their “vanilla” conterparts. I guess people are worried this is a sign of an incoming price rise. It’s not. Yes, there will be a price rise in the future, but the Dark Angels are not the harbingers of it. They represent something different. Something I think is a logical and sensible move for Games Workshop.

What the new Dark Angel kits represent is a final end to the “Chapter Upgrade kit”.

Until now, if you wanted to make your Dark Angels look like… well… Dark Angels, you likely would have bought the Dark Angels Veterans set and likely some of the upgrade sprue’s from GW Direct. Ravenwing players would have bought the Ravenwing upgrade sprue’s  This is on top of the cost of the standard kits you were customising.

With the new Dark Angels kits you no longer have to do this. Instead, you buy some of the key units for your army – which you’re likely to buy anyway if you’re actually a collector of the army – and you’ll get enough spare bits to spread through several other units. Lets break it down from the perspective of the new Ravenwing Black Knights/Command dual purpose kit:

Ravenwing Command/Black Knights:

  • 3x Space Marine Bikes
  • Biker Command Squad Parts
  • Black Knight Squad Parts
  • Ravenwing iconography
  • multitudes of extra DA parts (shoulders, icons, weapons, helmets…)

Total: £30 (OMGWTFBBQ!!1!!)

Now lets build as close as we can with the “cheaper” vanilla sets:

  • 3x Space Marine Bikes – £24
  • Ravenwing Upgrade kit – £9 (we could just stop here as a minimum, and still be more expensive)
  • Space Marine Command Squad – £15.50
  • Dark Angels Upgrade kit – £12

Total: £60.50

Your honour, the defence rests.

I’m surprised more people don’t recognise this move towards including Chapter upgrade parts in key kits. It started a long time ago, at least as far back as the Blood Angels. Ask your nearest BA player how many extra Death Company kits he’s bought to give his army a more “flavourful” feel. But no, instead we got a knee-jerk reaction, that frankly, was embarrassing to watch.

Maybe it’s my old-timer/non-competitive gamer view of things clouding my judgement, but I just don’t get it. If you stop and think about it logically, these kits are great value to a Dark Angels collector and/or hobbyist. I can only assume those complaining the loudest were looking to jump on Dark Angels as the latest flavour of the month but have been put off by “sticker shock”. If that’s the case then my advice would be to follow the alternative option you always had: don’t buy the new kits.

If you have an iPad, and have browsed Games Workshop’s digital product line in the iBookstore, then you may have read (or be aware of) the A Call to Arms series. If not, the quick summary is: each month we follow the progress of four gamers as they collect and paint an entirely new Warhammer 40000 army. They each have a fixed monthly budget which they use to expand their forces.

Personally, I’ve always found this sort of article fascinating. I love getting insight into how others go about their hobby – the mental process behind how they choose, model, paint, and game with their collections. I also love seeing “real” armies – not the bog-standard GW Studio armies on display in the Codexes and White Dwarf battle reports. A look at other hobbyist’s collections are always my favourite articles in White Dwarf, and the reason I read many hobbyist forums and blogs.

Call to Arms - Flesh Tearers

One of the Armies we follow in GW’s A Call to Arms book is Stefano Carlini’s Flesh Tearers.

So what has this got to do with me? For one, I think it’s an inspirational and fun way to approach a new army. Secondly, my Local, Friendly, GW Store is running their own version of Call to Arms to kick off the New Year.

Each month until April, participants aim to paint up around £50 worth of miniatures for their new army (any GW game system). Every month the entries will be judged by the store manager, and there will be a prize for the overall winner. The competitive element is a great motivator, and the whole thing should be  sociable and well-spirited. No doubt there will be plenty of games as our armies grow in size, so it will be win-win for me – I’ll get my new army started, and I’ll get to play more games than I’ve managed so far!

I’ve already planned out my army. More details will be posted in the blog over the next few days, so keep an eye out! I’m always looking for feedback, so once I’ve posted the details feel free to give your opinion!

What do you think? Would you take part in a similar challenge? Are you already? Leave a comment below!

This is part 2 in a look at the changes to our hobby I have witnessed since my return at the start of the year. You can find part one, which looks at the changes in game-play here: On Returning to Warhammer 40000 – The Game. This part is a bit more ranty.

By far the biggest change I’ve noticed is in the general attitude and culture surrounding the game. In many senses it feels less like a hobby, and more like a competition. There seems to be a “win at all costs” mentality in a large section of the gaming community. I don’t want to sound like someone espousing about the “good old days”, but I find, particularly amongst the younger players things are a lot less friendly than they used to be.

Everywhere I look I see people asking for advice on building lists to beat their local “meta” (WTF?) – what happened to playing the game for the enjoyment of playing the game? I get that winning is fun, but it’s not everything in Warhammer 40000. Our game is as much about telling stories as it is about playing to win. It’s why I’m so glad to see the focus on “Telling a Narrative” in the new rulebook.

By all means, play to win, but if your opponent hasn’t still enjoyed him/herself while losing, then you’ve both failed in my opinion.

TrollFace

Trolls. Don’t feed them.

Another cultural change I’m not so keen on is the rumour-mill on the Internet, and the general sense of… entitlement that the more vocal side of the community displays. So you don’t like a miniature? That doesn’t necessitate a profanity-riddled screed about how the model sucks, GW sucks, you’re never going to spend another penny on their products again, an you could have done so much better while blindfolded and with both arms cut off… and so on, and so on. Put your toys back in the pram. Don’t buy the miniature – or, if for some reason you are “forced” to – convert it; change it to suit your tastes. Just stop complaining about it. Likewise, when a rumour turns out to be off the mark, don’t get all tetchy. It was just a rumour, after all!

Relatedly, your army (or an opposing army) is not “broken”. It may need a rules update as we’re in a new rule set, but that doesn’t mean it’s unbeatable, or can’t be won with. Every codex has its faults, for sure, but nothing that can stop you enjoying the game if you don’t let it. View any such “brokeness” as challenges to be met, and a test of your skill as a player. If you can overcome a “broken” army then you can take comfort in knowing you are better than any of the faceless complainers out there.

I dislike “mathhammer” as a way of proving something is awesome or that something sucks. If you’re spending your hobby time working out a stream of maths over the chance or likelihood something will win you your next game, then it’s not a hobby any more. Take what you’re drawn to (my armies mainly consist of what I want to paint), and just play it. Leave the maths for professional poker players!

Right, now I’ve got that out of my system, it’s not all bad, I must say. The hobby is bigger than ever. I can get tips and feedback from like minded people all across the world. I have access to a whole raft of information which just wasn’t available before.

The things I’ve noted a dislike for above are merely the dark side of the passion 40K inspires in its fans. It’s the same passion which drives us to spend hard-earned money and countless hours slaving over our miniatures and army lists. Properly channelled, that passion is what leads to amazingly painted armies and miniatures, brilliantly fun games and camaigns, and what ultimately brings players like myself back to the game after so much time away… and that is no bad thing.

I have been out of the hobby for a long time. This was made clear to me when I realised the majority of the regular players at the local Games Workshop store weren’t even born (or were still in nappies) when I last rolled the dice in anger.

2nd Edition Books

When I last played properly, Warhammer 40,000: 2nd edition was still the dominant ruleset (3rd had just come out when I put down my heavy flamer template). Dark Eldar were brand new. Necrons only had about 3 models in the entire line. Space Marines consisted of: Ultramarines, Blood/Dark Angels, Space Wolves, and miscellaneous. Sisters of Battle had their own codex, and it was good. Templates were bigger. Wargear came as cards. We needed dice with more than 6 sides. The world – and the game – was a very different place.

Change is inevitable, particularly if anything is to survive as long as Warhammer 40000 has. 25 years is a long stretch for what is realistically a niche game/hobby. Off the top of my head, here are just a few things which are entirely new to Warhammer 40,000, from my perspective:

  • Tau
  • Grey Knights having a codex entry (with points costs), never mind an entire codex
  • The Force Organisation Chart
  • Deep Strike/Reserves
  • Missions, objectives, warlord traits, etc.
  • Flyers

Other notable changes include most special rules (sniper, feel no pain, eternal warrior, and so on), completely revamped movement rules, cover working completely differently, close combat (sorry, “assault”) changes… I could go on all day, to be honest!

Some of this change is good. Assault is generally a lot quicker and more streamlined when compared to 2nd edition. No more (as an example) Space Marine assault squads with 10 different weapon combinations, due to itemisation streamlining. Less rediculous weapon effects – prime example being armour penetration against vehicles (D20 + D4 + D6 + 10 for a chainfist… don’t even get me started on lightning claws!). Many parts of the game are more sensible than those of old. The FOC is a brilliant addition to the game in my view.

(from top): 6th Ed. Collectors Edition, 6th Ed. Standard, 5th Ed.

(from top): 6th Ed. Collectors Edition, 6th Ed. Standard, 5th Ed.

Other changes I am on the fence about… generally because it seems at times I’m rolling dice for the sake of rolling dice. Random charge/run lengths are the first thing which comes to mind. The various  terrain tests are another. Random missions, random deployment types, randon warlord traits, random psykic powers, random special rules and effects, objectives… on average I find it can take around 20 minutes of faffing about rolling on various tables and setting up stuff (other than my army) before I actually get to play the game. While on the one hand it leads to more varied games, on the other it takes an unnecessary length of time in my view.

One thing I have an impression of – and correct me if I’m wrong – is that overall, points costs are lower than before. This might be why games seem to be a lot bigger than I remember. Time was you’d have ~2 squads, a character, and a cheapish vehicle in an average game (1000-1500 points or so). Now I’m seeing games with scores of infantry, a couple of characters, multiple vehicles and creatures, all at around the same points level as before. The jury is still out on whether I see this as a positive change.

Nightfighting I hate with the heat of a thousand burning suns! But that’s just because I’ve never really wrapped my head around it in a way that doesn’t have me reaching for the rule book every 5 minutes.

Originally this post was a lot longer, and took a look at the cultural changes I’ve seen within the hobby since my return, but I decided it would be best to split this off into its own post, which you can read here: On Returning to Warhammer 40000: The Culture.

Every time I think that I’m out… they pull me back in.