Wednesday, May 30, 2007

NEW MODEL FUND: As one army leaves another arrives

I've been mucho busy on e-bay over the past week or so, building up a war chest to finish off my Chaos WHFB army and my Blood Angels 40k army. I have put almost an entire Tau army up for auction and I still have quite few units to list.

Nevertheless I thought I'd update my New Model Fund with the results so far.
  • Total income from sales (and my penny jar) £102.33
  • Less selling fees £12.63
  • Less models bought £84.00
  • New model fund £5.70
With my plunder I bought another Knight, to bring my unit up to six strong, and a box of 16 Marauders on foot. This should comfortably allow me to field a 2000 point Chaos Horde army. Result!

Now I just have to build and paint those last few models...

Rumours - Dates for the 40k Chaos Marines

A while back I posted some rumours about the forthcoming Chaos Space Marines codex. This new book will have big ramifications for both me and my regular gaming buddy as we both collect Chaos armies. It is also likely that the codex will be released before the next Games Workshop Grand Tournament, which will see an end to all those hideously overpowered Iron Warriors lists. Huzzah!

Gordy 2000 confirmed the release schedule on Dakka. It looks like a late August release for the army deal with the codex and new plastic kits arriving in mid-September and after. His post confirms new Possessed (5 to a box), the new plastic Terminators and a model for Huron Blackheart. Nice.

Shebnar and Wraithlord on Warseer commented on the release dates and added more rumours to the initial thread. I have reproduced a summary here.

******NEW CODEX RUMOURS******:

Generic Points:
- Daemon summoning to remain basically the same
- All daemonic gifts are gone
- most god specific wargear is gone... Though the armoury is gone only in the sense of there being one huge page of stuff to take. Now all the options it would have contained are in each individual unit entry for easier use. According to the source of these rumours, the Chaos Lord entry is similar to the Carnifex entry, with nearly 3/4's of the page given over to all the options he can take. Chaos Lords have apparently just as much choice as before if not a little more. (thanks Wraithlord! :-) )
- Veteran skill upgrades are gone
- books of chaos are gone
- no special rules for any specific legion
- Marks/Icons work as follows Khorne +1A, Tzeentch 5+ invul save or +1 to existing invul save, Slaanesh +1I, Nurgle +1T. The units which can take them are identified as such below.
- Daemon weapons are generic, simply give +1S and +D6 attacks, but if a 1 is rolled something bad happens
- NEW: there ARE god weapons. Khorne weapon becomes +2D6 hits, the Nurgle one always wounds on a 4+, the Tzeentch weapon is a S4 or 5, AP3 storm bolter or similar (wasn't super clear on this one but basically said it was a better Kai gun), and the Slaanesh one causes instant death regardless of wounds (he thought this applied to Nids as well). They are also counted as 2 handed weapons. (Thanks Wraithlord! :-) )
- daemonic steeds do exist, simply giving IC's which are given them stat bonuses. A juggernaught of Khorne gives the character +1S and +1A, but he takes up 2 spots in a land raider. Others include tzeentch discs, steeds of slaanesh, and nurgle palanquins (rumoured to provide +1W and +1A).
- most troops come with a bolter, bolt pistol, ccw, and frag and krak grenades as standard (yes, all of those)
- Rhinos reduced in points cost, as in the Dark Angels codex.
- Vehicle upgrades ARE still in the book (whoo hoo, first confirmation of this afaik). Most are the same as now however, Daemonic Possession has been slightly altered (didn't say how) and Mutated Hull is completely removed. (thanks Wraithlord! :-) )

NOTE: there are no cult units beyond those listed in the troops section. For example, the only plague marines are the "plague marines" unit entry in the troops section. You cannot take plague marine havocs or plague marine terminators. You can give terminators the mark of Nurgle, but they only gain +1T, they do not get FNP or blight grenades. This is true for all 4 gods.

- comes with daemonic aura as standard
- can be marked

- can be marked,
- there is one god specific psychic power for each god (except Khorne) and many of the existing psychic powers remain
- new power 'warp time' allows re-rolls to hit and to wound in close combat
- nurgles rot acts like a pandemic staff
- bolt of change is AP1

Daemon prince
- may be marked
- may have psychic powers
- Deamon Princes are all S6, T5 now and are immune to instant kill. The rumours of the gifts they have already posted were pretty much dead on with the Prince having the option to buy wings and maybe a couple other things. Cannot take deamon weapons but apparently make up for it in just sheer power on their own. Cost before the few upgrades allowed is -just- above 100 or so apparently. (thanks Wraithlord! :-) )

Generic Greater Daemon
- does not take HQ slot
- does not fly
- CANNOT be marked
- Greater daemons have generic stats. Reported WS9, Str8, In5. (thanks Wraithlord! :-) )

- has the nurgles rot power without a psychic test
- has daemon weapon that is also a force weapon

-Talon/Drachn'yen now one weapon. Counts as a Daemon weapon (DW's are a generic weapon now, all grant +D6 attacks and +1S, but if a 1 is rolled you cannot attack) but it doubles his Strength and you can re-roll failed hits and wounds.

- can use 3 psychic powers a turn including force staff
- knows all the chaos psychic powers except the god-specific Slaanesh and Nurgle powers

- more or less the same as he is in the current dex except:
- gorechild has 2D6 penetration vs. vehicles
- he's immune to all psychic powers.
- WS 8? maybe?


Fabius Bile

Huron Blackheart
-Tyrant's claw is a powerfist with built in heavy flamer.
-Hamadyra grants him the "Warp Time" psychic power (WT allows you to re-roll all failed hits and wounds in HTH)

- have a randomly generated ability (nothing, fleet, power weapons, furious charge, rending, feel no pain)

- one reaper autocannon
- may all be upgraded to aspiring champions with +1A
- can be marked
- squads can be 3+ models

- only unit with infiltrate
- can be marked
- many options, a bit like DA's Veterans

- may be given 2ccw
- frenzy table still exists but is slightly changed

Chaos space marines
- can be marked
- min size need for some weapon upgrades
- aspiring champion limited to basic wargear upgrades (PW, PF, PP)

Khorne Beserkers
- have the +1A over normal marines, WS5 and furious charge
- no bloodfrenzy or chainaxes

Plague Marines
- +1T, blight grenades, feel no pain

Noise Marines/Emperors children
- +1I and access to sonic weapons
- doomsiren AP3
- blastmaster on max power is a small blast krak missile

Thousand Sons
- slow and purposeful on 1 dice
- AP 3 bolters (inferno bolts)
- 4+ invul save
- only 1 wound
- sorcerer sergeant with 2 psychic powers, but no power fist option, and allows 2d6 for slow and purposeful

Generic Lesser Daemons
- do not take up a troop slot
- CANNOT take marks

- no more hit and run
- can be marked
- price reduced

- may be beasts/cavalry
- do NOT take up a Fast Attack slot

NO Daemon beast units

- can be marked

- CANNOT be marked (heard somewhere on the net, highly contested)
- S and T 4
- no longer 0-1
- possibly lose power fists for power weapons (contested)
- possibly only access energy weapons, not ballistic weapons (ie lascannons but not bolters)

- currently highly contested between two sources

Land Raider


- no more indirect fire
- WS3
- A3
- can trade in some of its shooting weapons for more CCW having up to 6A
- can be given fleet (probably it will be a default upgrade)
- loses the status of Monstrous Creature, but gains S10 (thanks Wraithlord! :-) )

- Can be marked


- There WILL be a codex down the road that focuses on cultists, Latd, and daemons which is where you will see the return of the daemons we all know and love now. (thanks Wraithlord! :-) )

Must resist buying models for my Exigators...

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Masterplan

I've been mulling things over for a while and I've now got a masterplan for my gaming future.

I began thinking about this because of my Warhammer Fantasy Chaos army. I massively underestimated how long it would take me to build and paint this force. My original idea was to start at 500 points and then escalate our battles by 250 points per week until we had 2000 point armies. Gary managed this quite easily, his approach to get as many models constructed and painted as possible in one run, then not do anything for weeks after. I kept holding him back, my painting much slower and more methodical. My time for painting was severely curtailed by work, this blog and many other commitments.

So the first part of my plan is to be realistic about what I can achieve. Here's what I think I can do comfortably.
  • Paint one 40k 1500 point army per year.
  • I can also paint a few 'fun' models to complete a second army or for a secondary game system (e.g. a team for Blood Bowl, a gang for Necromunda, more models for my Fantasy Chaos army).
  • I can finish one terrain project.
  • I can complete one or two sections of my website (e.g. a sub-sector of the Skolarii Sector, update the Blood Bowl section).
  • Update my blog every one or two days.
That gives me a wide range of projects which I can dip in and out of over the whole year. The official Games Workshop tournament season runs from 1st August to 31st July, so it makes sense to fit my year around this timetable. I plan to attend the 40k Grand Tournament every year, and this will allow me to go with a different force each time.

The 1500 point army per year also fits in with my long term aims for 40k. There are 11 main forces and factions in 40k. I want each faction represented as models in the Skolarii Sector. Of course, some armies are more relevant to the sector than others. The main protagonists are:
  • Imperial Guard (Cadian 271st and many other regiments)
  • Orks (common right across the sector)
  • Chaos (Exigators and The Hooded renegades)
  • Space Marines (Blood Angels)
  • Daemonhunters (fighting the Chaos invasions)
Secondary armies are:
  • Tau (Third Sphere expansionists)
  • Tyranids (splinter fleet has devoured Dyram)
  • Witch Hunters (small commandery)
  • Eldar (small craftworld, Harlequins fighting Chaos)
And tertiary armies are:
  • Dark Eldar (scattered pirate raids)
  • Necrons (single tomb world)
I'll work through the list from top to bottom until I have a 1500 point army of each faction.

Aside from 40k, there are other games I'd like to play. Some will inform the Skolarii Sector too, such as Battlefleet Gothic which would allow me to simulate space battles, especially the first and second Chaos invasions. Aeronautica Imperialis looks excellent, and though I don't have the rulebook or any models, I'd love to fight out some dogfights between Imperial Navy Wings and Chaos Hellblades. I have some Inquisitor figures and they will allow me to uncover some intrigue in the sector, especially amongst the Inquisitorial factions. Epic would let me play some larger scale battles and would be great to depict large Imperial Guard armies fighting the Ork hordes. Finally, I could get into Necromunda to simulate the gang wars in a Hive somewhere in the sector.

Outside of 40k, there are several other systems I enjoy. I've been getting into WHFB with my Chaos Horde, so I could always add more models to that army, or I could collect another. I have a massive bunch of old Wood Elf miniatures which could easily be used as the basis for my second army. Warmaster appeals to me because of the scale; it's how I imagine these semi-historical battles should look. The models are relatively cheap and quick to paint, so I could finish a force or two quite rapidly. Last, but not least, is Blood Bowl. This is one of my favourite ever games, and I have played numerous leagues over the years. Gary and I played through one a while back and will use the same teams when we return to it. I do like the look of those pro elves, though.

Phew! That's quite a list of stuff I see in my gaming future. Some of it years off. And of course, I have no idea what Games Workshop will do in the coming time. They might release new games, armies and expansions which could make me re-evaluate my plans. In the meantime, at least I have a direction.

So, that's the long-term, what about the short-term?

Here's what I plan to achieve over the next tournament season.
  • I will build and paint 1500 points of Forgeworld Renegade Imperial Guard.
  • I will add some models to my Blood Angels Space Marines to bring them up to 1500 points, and they will be my main tournament army for the year.
  • I will finish my trench gaming board (which is currently half built).
  • I will complete subsector 1 (the Salazar systems) for the Skolarii Sector.
  • I will get all my battle reports up on my website (around 150 of them!).
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What responsibility do you owe your opponent regarding how you play the game?

One of the most memorable games I have ever played was a game of Horus Heresy, a Games Workshop boardgame written by Jervis Johnson. My opponent was Gary, my gaming buddy and long term nemesis. We had been playing lots of 40k and Blood Bowl and were getting jaded. For a change of pace we broke out the Horus Heresy boardgame.

Being a goody-two shoes Imperium-lover I played the Emperor while Gary explored his dark side by commanding Horus. It took an hour and fifteen minutes to set up the counters. It's not that we were particularly slow, it's just that sort of game.

We had just two hours left to re-enact the single greatest battle in the whole of humanity's history. Would history repeat itself, with the Emperor teleporting up to Horus' battlebarge in a desperate final gamble? Would Horus risk his life and the whole crusade by setting foot on holy Terra? We were about to find out.

The forces of Chaos had first turn.

Gary dropped Horus straight onto the Emperor's Palace. The best defended location on the map board. Hell, it's the best defended place in the entire Imperium. And Horus volunteers for the first drop pod.

Of course, the defenders shot up the pods as they came in and the Emperor smacked Horus upside out. The game ended after twenty minutes.

I was shell shocked. Was that it?

Even if Gary's audacious plan had worked, and Horus had killed the Emperor, the game would have been over in the first turn.

I felt no elation or sense of achievement in the win. My tactical acumen had not been tested. It was an entirely pointless waste of time. We didn't even have enough time to set the board up again, so our gaming night was over.

This recollection leads me to the point of this post and the following question.

What responsibility do you owe your opponent regarding how you play the game?

I'm asking this question now because I played a couple of games of Warhammer recently which made me question my own, and my opponent's, approach to the game. The first was played after a three week hiatus caused by my work commitments. Gary deployed his Dark Elves almost entirely within a third of his deployment zone with most avenues of approach blocked by a large wood on one side and rocky columns on the other.

His stated aim was to slow my units down as they came through the gap and let my own units get in my own way.

My initial thoughts were to refuse the bait, sit outside the terrain and play for the draw. But I'd waited three weeks for the game, I wanted to have a battle, not just shuffle a few units around, and besides, I was Chaos dammit! In the end I charged right in and was defeated. Gary congratulated himself on his superior tactics and I went away with a peculiar feeling of disenchantment.

In the following week's game Gary repeated the trick, deploying all but two units of his army inside the bend of a river. This time I refused the bait and simply destroyed the two units with my whole force then shuffled into the table quarters. I won a marginal victory, but I felt worse than I had done the week before. This time I had participated in this travesty of a game.

I was deeply unsatisfied. I felt that the 'unusual' deployment of my opponent had significantly affected my enjoyment of the game.

Did Gary really have some sort of moral obligation to consider how his play might impact upon me, though? Surely it is none of my business what my opponent does with his own army?

Does the context matter? Are the expectations different in a tournament versus a 'beer and pretzels' game? What if you play three times a week or only play once a month?

Let me know what you think.

The thin red line

I've had a good old rummage through my models and dug out all of my Blood Angels miniatures. I have more than I remembered.

I'm going to list them all here, starting with the painted models.
  • Dante
  • Mephiston
  • Corbulo
  • Chaplain with jump pack
  • Chaplain
  • Techmarine
  • 10 Deathcompany with jump packs, 2 power fists
  • 5 Veterans with jump packs, powerfist, plasma pistol
  • 10 Assault marines with jump packs, 2 plasma pistols
  • Razorback with twin lascannon
  • Furioso Death Company Dreadnought
  • Dreadnought with multimelta
  • Predator Destructor

These models are built and undercoated.
  • 5 Honour Guard with jump packs, standard, plasma gun, Techmarine, Apothecary with twin lightning claws (!)
  • Landspeeder with multimelta
  • Landraider
  • Whirlwind

And then I have some models awaiting construction.
  • Landraider Crusader
  • Techmarine in Servo Harness and 4 servitors
  • 6 Sniper scouts
  • 5 Close Combat scouts
  • 3 Shotgun scouts
  • 1 Heavy Bolter scout
Some of the painted models could do with more highlights, weapon swaps and a bit of TLC in general, but they're certainly table top quality. I reckon, and this is without seeing the final list, I just need to add a unit or two of Tactical Marines and I'll be good to go.

Can't wait for the next White Dwarf.

Fire Warriors for sale! And in other news...

If my posting has been erratic of late I apologise. I've been suffering with a heavy dose of 'manflu' and have finally raised the white flag and taken some time off work. You can make me feel better by buying some of my old gaming gear so that I can re-invest my cash into my Blood Angels army. You do want me to feel better don't you?

Here is the linky:

Tau Fire Warriors, Tyranid codex and Eldar Craftworld codex

While I'm recuperating I'm surfing the web because I can't be bothered to do anything productive.

I came across some interesting stuff, though.

Gav Thorpe has been posting on Warseer. I'll reproduce some of his posts below because they give some insight into Games Workshops' thinking on 'the hobby.' The link to the discussion is here. There are three separate posts here which are divided by many other posters comments in the discussion, so this may be a little disjointed. I'm sure you'll get the gist.

We've long been aware of the 'beer and girls' phenomena that hits young lads around 15-17, it's been the same for many years. It's important to consider, however, that these returnees may not have played or collected for several years, sometimes a decade or more. Although they have experienced the hobby before, the details of the range, stable access to the rules, where to get stuff is all as useful to these guys as it is to the 12-year old who picks up WD in the newsagents.

As to support for veterans, I have been working for GW for nearly 14 years and I have never had anybody tell me that we do not care about veteran hobbyists. Continuing to strengthen recruitment is not mutually antipathetic to established gamers. However, veterans are expected to be able to look after themselves for much of their needs – they're wily enough to find painting, collecting and gaming advice from peers and elsewhere. There is also a large and healthy global tournament circuit, which tends to appeal to more established gamers, as well as other events. Not to mention many, many websites and forums where veterans can exchange opinions and ideas. Much of this stems from a mature community that requires occasional support from GW, but would be hampered by too much control or interference.

Put simply, other than cool toy soldiers and occasional pokes with different ideas such as Cities of Death or Mighty Empires, what exactly could GW provide to experienced, literate and confident veterans?

I'll start off by saying that the 'GW hobby' appears to have changed dramatically since I began playing in the 80's. Even when I was in full hobby mode in my mid-teens, I visited a GW store only once every few months (usually Luton, though sometimes we jumped on a train down to London). For the most part I bought my miniatures at a local hobby store (well, actually it started as a market stall, and the guy leased a store later!) and from Mail Order. All my gaming was done at home, with a group of mates from school. I contacted a local club, but they pretty much laughed at me when I told them I played Space Marine. Occasionally I would take Blood Bowl to a friend's house, but I wasn't going to lug my 5' table around on my bike! I bought WD every month to find out the new releases, read the battle reports and maybe get some painting or modelling tips – for the most part the rules they printed were really just lifts from books that I already had. Oh, and I would get up at 4 in the morning with my friend Dan and get a lift from my dad down to London so we could get the coach to Games Day and Golden Demon every year, and we'd blow all our money in the first 30 minutes and then spend the rest of the day playing as many different games as possible! I remember the coach or train journey back from GW or Games Day, as we'd open up everything we'd bought and lovingly fondle those miniatures

I would say, from conversations with many other gamers of the period, that mine was a fairly typical hobby lifestyle. So, that was my experience of becoming a gaming 'veteran'. These days three things have changed dramatically:
  • A lot more GW stores.
  • A lot more players, meaning a lot more clubs that play GW games, as well as tournaments and other events.
  • T'internet.
I think that the expectation on what GW provides has grown with the first. A lot more players are raised on the experience of gaming in a store, so that players concentrate on collecting (and hopefully painting) with their army. With the new terrain releases that are being released this summer, I'm hoping that more and more players are able to create a better gaming set up at home - it really is the ideal atmosphere for a game of toy soldiers. The running of stores and Vet's Nights isn't under the control of the Studio, so I can't really comment on the pros and cons. I think the idea of a Veteran's Night is kind of cool, but it's not really essential is it?
Finding opponents is a lot easier than ever it was, particularly the rise in the number of clubs and independent stores that have gaming facilities.
This has significantly altered the ratio of 'basement' games with friends compared to pick up games with 'strangers'.

The global communication allowed by the Internet has a twofold effect. Firstly, players can get great advice, tips, conversation and such 24/7. Secondly, they can discuss gaming and rules with a far wider audience with a much broader approach to playing games (and in many different languages). The scrutiny on rules has never been greater, and I think communication and pick up games is more the issue than tournaments per se. The demand for instant responses is high, but we have to maintain the integrity of those printed books as far as is possible. Officialdom and tournament-legal are concepts that have entered into the vocabulary of gamers in the last few years, and really it's a debate we would rather avoid - not because we're ducking the issue, but because it shows that we haven't done our jobs properly has far as presenting a single unified game system is concerned. Important lessons have been learnt in this regard.

The Internet also also the rapid exchange of images and experiences, so that for those who want it, there's a great deal of rumours, photos and so on for upcoming releases. On a personal level, I avoid most of this sort of thing – I don't like spoilers for TV shows I watch, I don't go hunting down every piece of news for a movie I'm looking forward too. Even when we first started working on LOTR I tried to avoid it as much as possible so as not to spoil my enjoyment of the movie! I prefer the full sensation of watching a show, seeing a film, reading a book, without any pre-judgement. I would imagine that if I were still a customer and not an employee, I would likely be the same – I wouldn't be hanging round on Warseer trying to snaffle up every tit bit of info. All of which is a way of saying that if people are going to go out of their way to get sneaky peeks and inside info, they can't expect GW to pander to it. We have a website, events and WD to showcase our forthcoming releases, if hobbyists pre-empt these media they have to understand they're not going to get the same buzz as they would if they were seeing them for the first time. For some people, knowing as much as possible as early as possible is what gives them their kicks, and good luck to them. For those who perhaps are missing a bit of that excitement you used to get each month with WD, I'd suggest spending the next 3 months avoiding all rumours and sneaky photos, and then look at WD in Aug/ Sep and see how you feel about it. This is the experience many of us had with WD when we first starting out, and it doesn't have to be lost forever.

WD is, as you've all heard before, an evolving beast. It had got out of hand, the idea of a variant army list pretty much every month was simply unsustainable, and towards the end was causing as much frustration as it was excitement - what's official, what isn't? Is it worth collecting? Etc etc. These began appealing to a niche within a niche, and although entertaining to read, very few people actually collect or game with those armies. Apologies to those who do, no offence is intended, but the fact of the matter is that compared to the number of Tau players, say, the number of Kroot Mercenaries players is very small. Is it better service to address these very small groups within the community, or to focus on the armies that the majority of players collect, paint and game with? We were very extreme, resetting the bench mark for WD to deliberately ensure it was focused on the miniatures people can actually collect and game with. Confident that we've now left behind some of the more awkward excesses of the past WD is restoring some of the balance and certainly will be including more gaming material in the future - the Blood Angels army list for instance, as well as some articles for Mighty Empires, in the next few months. There's no perfect mix, but we would like to get WD to a place where people will have their favourite issue, will check it out every month.

I shall finish this long-winded reply with a short summary!

I think it's sometimes easy to forget the infrastructure and community that has been grown by GW that exists beyond the company. That community didn't really exist fifteen years ago, and it's there that hobbyists can always find the greatest support. Clubs, tournaments, forums, all of these things are now possible to allow players to meet new people, play different opponents, exchange ideas and keep their hobby dynamic and invigorated. With the various tribulations involved in recreating the 40K codex range and the Warhammer armies range of books, it's been very hard for GW to find the time to create the sorts of supplements and products that expand the gaming available to players. We are now in a much better position, and with Cities of Death, Mighty Empires and many other supplements we have planned, we hope that we can continue to add fresh appeal to players who have been collecting their armies for many years and are perhaps looking to freshen things up. This part of the range will continue to grow over the coming years.

Thank you to everybody who has responded, it's far more than I was expecting (I suspect my post being cut out of the original thread sparked much more interest than it would have done!). We live in an age characterised by increasing cynicism and disenchantment, and I would hate for that to grip people's hobbies as well as their work (or school) life. I think it is a testament to the passion of players (and the lure of toy soldiers!) that such arguments and debates can take place. I would be more worried by apathy than misgivings!

The point of describing my own experience was not to say I share your pain or any other attempt at empathy, but pretty much the opposite. The conditions in which I became a hobbyist were very different to those today, just as the gaming hobby was very different when the likes of Rick and Jervis were growing up. It is because of this that perhaps I don't really sympathise with some of the issues being raised in this thread - not that they are not genuine concerns, simply that I have never found myself in a similar situation. I never had a venue other than my parents' house to play in. I didn't have access to a wealth of advice and discussion on the Internet. I certainly didn't have starter sets and army books to get me started.

These days an incredible amount of effort is expended introducing people to the principles of collecting, painting and playing with miniatures. Many of us take for granted what a wealth of knowledge we have accumulated over our years of gaming, and forget how little we knew when we started. Our aim is to remove as many obstacles as possible that stand in the way of people who are going to enjoy collecting, painting and playing with toy solders - what we call the 'hobby gene'.

For me, being a veteran is about being the controller of your hobby. A veteran has the experience and know how to own their own hobby and to know what they want from it. A hobby is a personal thing and miniatures are no different. A veteran knows what sorts of games he likes to play - competitive tournaments, wacky scenarios etc – and he understand his level of painting and modelling, the armies the collects, the types of miniatures he likes and so forth. Once a hobbyst has been introduced to the possibilities available, they will make their own informed choices. However, it's important for everyone to remember that a hobby is a personal journey, each person gets something different out of it, and it's not the place of GW or others to dictate to individuals what their hobby should be.

One of the things we are looking to do is make sure that we continue to support all of those possible choices in a better fashion. We'll run GTs and other events for players that like that sort of thing, but we'll also still have Golden Demon for the painters, Black Library for the background-lovers, Forgeworld for the treadheads, and so on. What we've identified as being a gap in recent years is the 'non-Codex' gaming side of things. We recognise how popular Kill team was in the 40K rulebook, for instance. We have a number of supplements planned that will give gamers more variety - different game types like Cities of Death, campaign tools such as Mighty Empires, large free-for-alls in Apocalypse, and others. We're also dedicating some time to purely collectible miniatures as part of our direct sales offer. Over the last couple of years there has been lots of talk about the 'veteran offer' in the Design Studio, and it is an area we're seeking to address, so it pains me to see people claim that 'GW' doesn't care about veterans.

On the suggestion about the evolving storyline, this has proven to be impracticable. The Warhammer and 40K background exist as settings in which players can create their own armies and battles, write their own stories and invent their own characters. They serve as a backdrop, not an ongoing narrative. To overlay too much narrative onto this background will again start to restrict the choices players can make. Have Grimgor leading your Orcs army? You can make up any number of storylines for him. However, if we followed through on Storm of Chaos any longer, for example, players would have to wait for GW to tell them what their 'army' is up to. Although we create the background, we've come to realise it is a shared part of the hobby as much as anything else, and it's not there for us to hijack away from players.

We've managed to get into a position where officialdom and dictating the hobby to players has created a great deal of restriction about what people collect, how they paint, how they game, and how they interact with the background. Our aim is to release hobbyists from these constraints so that they are again free to enjoy toy soldiers in whatever way the like, without GW (or the community) having to endorse it.

I hope that makes my position a little clearer.

Much food for thought. Whether you agree or disagree with Gav I'm glad he's at least putting his point of view out there.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A bitsbox of gaming

I've been up to lots of game related things this weekend. I haven't finished my Marauder horse yet, but I've added the metallics, horsehair and fur. I'm going to break out the foundation paints soon to paint the flesh.

The latest issue of White Dwarf dropped through my letterbox on Friday. I was really looking forward to getting my mitts on this as it had part one of the Blood Angels codex update. There were no points costs listed, just some background material, the Blood Angels special rules, a wargear section and the stats and unit descriptions of the models unique to the Blood Angels. The full army list will follow in the next issue.

I noticed a few things right away. Some rules are as per the Dark Angels codex - all models now come with frag and krak grenades and ten man veteran, tactical, devastator, assault and scout squads can be split into combat squads. I haven't really thought through the implications of this as I don't play Dark Angels, so I don't know if it is a good or bad thing. It fits the background of the Marines, though, so it can't all be bad.

Assault Marines are now Troops. This is a relatively unexpected development (for me at least) and means a big change in background and army play style. I can't really imagine many people investing in Tactical marines now. My own plans were for a mechanised force so I don't know how this change will affect my planned army. The loss of Furious Charge across the whole army makes them slightly weaker, but I still expect most BA armies to contain lots of these jump-packers.

The Death Company look nasty. They come with two attacks basic, fearless, feel no pain, furious charge and rending. Ouch. There is no confirmation of the rules on acquiring the Death Company, so these must appear in part two of the codex.

The Furioso Dreadnoughts can now upgrade to Death Company Dreadnoughts. This is great news for me as I had modelled a Furioso to represent Chaplain Blackblood, an old hero of mine since Rogue Trader days, who had been mortally wounded and placed in the dreadnought while gripped by the Black Rage. The movement rules probably make it not so great in the game, but at least I can play the model 'correctly.'

Speaking of vehicles, the over-charged engines are much better. You now roll a d6 - on a 1 the vehicle stalls and cannot move, on a 2-3 it moves normally and on a 4+ it moves up to 18" as a fast vehicle. This will make a massive difference to predators with heavy bolter sponsons in particular, as they could move 12" and shoot their main weapon and secondary weapons. Baal predators are therefore very nasty indeed. I already have a predator destructor painted and ready to roll.

Mephiston has lived up to the pre-codex hype. His statline is excellent and he can cast all three psychic powers per turn, and can even use them in the opponents turn. He is a close combat monster, hitting with 6-8 attacks with a Force Weapon. His only slight weak point will be no invulnerable save and a probable high points cost. Still, I expect to see him on a lot of table tops.

Two rules queries came up immediately.

1 - Mephiston. His Lord of Death special rule says ...Mephiston has all three BA psychic powers powers, and can use each one of them and his Force Weapon once each player turn... Does this mean he can use Wings of Sanguinius to fly around in the other player's turn? The implications are huge.

2- Over-charged engines. Can you try to use these on the turn you enter the table from reserves? If so, what happens when you roll a 1 and can't move?

If anyone has any ideas I'd like to hear them.

The new Blood Angels codex has really stoked me up and I want to build an army of the bloodthirsty protectors of humanity. In order to do that, because of my vow to only buy models with the proceeds of sales of my gaming gear, I need to sell a lot more stuff. To that end I dug out all of my Tau stuff. All laid out it looks quite impressive.

Here is the full list of models.

  • 2 Hammerheads
  • 2 Devilfish
  • 6 Stealthsuits
  • 9 Crisis suits
  • 3 Broadsides
  • 8 Pathfinders
  • 24 Kroot
  • 60 Firewarriors
  • 31 Gundrones
By my rough and ready reckoning I estimate there are around £300 worth of models in this army. I'd be more than happy if my sales pulled in half this amount. That would leave me with more than enough to finish my Chaos Horde and complete a 1500 point BA force (I already have a number of models).

In future posts I'll let you know how what BA models I already have and post some pics of the finished models. I have also begun to flesh out the background of the Imperial fleet for the Skolarii Sector. I've also been ruminating on a master plan for collecting and painting future armies and using or losing the models I currently own. When I've decided on the details I'll post it up here.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Out of the red and into the black

A while back I worked out my new model fund and found I had overspent my budget. My remedy was to sling as much stuff on e-bay as I had time to list. The auctions are over and my finances are looking a little better.

My new model fund now looks like this:
  • Total income from sales (and my penny jar) £81.26
  • Less selling fees £8.28
  • Less models bought £59.00
  • New model fund £13.98
That's more like it.

My next purchase will be a single Knight to bring my cavalry unit up to six models. After that, my last purchase for the army, to bring it up to 2000 points, will be Marauders.

Speaking of Marauders, the next unit on my painting table is the Marauder horsemen. I've already blocked the base colours on the horses and I really want to get them up to table top painting standard by the end of today.

Those Blood Angels are still on the horizon...

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Black Library sale - my swag

I've been away for a few days, trekking up hills and through valleys in the Lake District, so no blogging or even sight of a computer! Here is a pic for proof.

I returned to find a nice little package waiting for me.

Black Library have had a sale so I picked up an assortment of publications. I got The Life of Sigmar, a background book for Warhammer Fantasy Battle, that tells the early story of Sigmar, founder of the Empire. In look and feel it is very similar to the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer. Most of the internal art is drawn to look like woodcuts. Very characterful.

Also for WHFB I got Darkness Rising, a background book covering the history of the Storm of Chaos campaign. This is the limited edition version (copy 123 of 300) with a silver metal cover and slip cover. It looks stunning. Both books should help fill in the background to WHFB as I get back into the game.

40k did not go ignored. Another background tome I indulged in was the Insignium Astartes. I hadn't bought this in the past because I play Blood Angels if I play Space Marines at all, and they are not a strict codex chapter. Of course, the Ultramarines get the biggest chunk of attention as they typify a codex chapter but the sections on vehicle insignia and army badges could be useful. The only problem with this book is that it is too large to fit on my shelf!

I also picked up the 40k quiz book. I can't ever imagine a time when I would want or need to read this book and I chose it on a whim. I've had a quick flick through and some of the questions are very difficult indeed - I thought it would be easy-peasy and more aimed at kids. I might post up some questions on this blog and see if anyone can get the answers.

Tales from the Dark Millennium is a collection of short stories based in the Pyrus Sector, the setting for the Sabertooth CCG. The Black Library ran a competition for authors to submit their work to be included for this volume. I entered but was rejected. I'm curious to see how the winners fared. Besides there are stories by Dan Abnett and Graham McNeill, and they are always worth reading.

There is a book set on Necromunda, Cardinal Crimson. I thought this book might be intriguing because I am trying to develop the background for my own hive city, Kaerlund. I wonder if these books are different in feel and scope to the more mainstream 40k fiction. I want my own corner of the 40k universe not to be totally driven by world shattering conflicts, but instead to delve a little more deeply into the rich background.

Blind is the third Shira Calpurnia book by Matthew Farrer and is probably the novel I am most looking forward to reading. The first two were very interesting for the reasons I gave above. The previous books did not deal with soldiers and wars but were slightly lower key, dealing with the Adeptus Arbites and other non-combatant organisations. I get the feeling with these books that half of their function is simply to examine the 40k background in more detail, and Farrer's books so far have done that.

Well, that little lot should keep me out of mischief for quite some time. Expect reviews as and when.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Decadence and exile - selling the Eldar

I had a rummage through my Warhammer 40k model collection and found a cache of Eldar models to sell. These were given to me by my sister a while back, I think, and so the painting quality is not up to my normal standards. Still, most of them are painted to tabletop standards and virtually all of them are metal so they would be easy to strip.

Here are the e-bay listings:
On the painting front, I managed to completely finish the four War hounds and I made good progress on the Marauder Horsemen. I got the base colours on the horses (three shades of brown and an ink wash) and they just need their manes and tails tidied up before I move on to the riders. I'm really hopeful I'll have them finished before my next game.

Friday, May 4, 2007

The future is bright, the future!

I've completed my four War hounds, so I'll have at least one extra unit to field in my next Warhammer game. I have moved on to my Marauder Horsemen now, who are all modelled and undercoated. I've spent a bit of time on their bases and I'm hopeful I can at least get the main blocking done on the horses themselves this afternoon.

The rest of this post is just a quick follow up to the last where I talked about the Blood Angels. I came across this rumour round-up on Bolter and Chainsword, compiled by Owl and Moon guy, and thought I'd share it here.

Fluff Changes

* The new fluff will emphasize the BA’s progressing descent into madness and the degenerative effects of their gene flaw. This is mentioned but not emphasized.

Army Special Rule Changes
* BA infantry will no longer automatically receive the Furious Charge special rule.
* The Black Rage will no longer force mandatory movement, i.e. the 1/6 chance of running D6” forward.
* BA infantry units will receive the Combat Squads special rule.
* BA infantry will retain ATSKNF.

Death Company Changes
* DC are no longer mandatory for all BA armies (if you call it that)
* Max DC squad size is 10 models.
* 1 DC marine can be added to the squad for every Honour Guard, Vet Assault, Assault, Terminator, Tactical and Devastator squad in the army (either 5 or 10 man strong, doesn’t matter).
* Point costs of DC models are tied to the contributing infantry squads:
- 30 pts base (i.e. w/o an infantry squad affiliation)
- 25 pts from tactical squads
- 15 pts from assault squads
- 0 pts from terminator squads (i.e. 1 free DC model per squad), VAS and HG
* The infantry unit that contributes a marine to the Death Company will not have to “lose a model” to do so.
* DC marines will retain furious charge, and feel no pain.
* DC marines will not be able to have power weapons but all will gain rending attacks in close combat. This represents the myriad of cc weapons that may be included in the DC squad. You may continue to use DC models that include power weapons and fists but they count as normal cc weapons (w/rending) instead.
* For an additional point cost, the DC squad can be given jump packs, a Rhino or a Drop Pod.
* DC will be forced to move towards and assault the nearest enemy unit unless a Chaplain or Corbulo is within 6”, this rule is aka the “Black Rage.”

Overcharged Engines
* Will be included on Rhinos and Baal Predators
* When employed on a 4+ the engines will make these tanks count as Fast vehicles, moving up to 18”.
* Rolling a 2-3 will allow them to move normally.
* Rolling a 1 will mean that the tank cannot move at all.

Changes to Special Characters and Units
* Dante has an Inspiring Presence that grants Preferred Enemy vs. their current opponent to all BA’s within 12”.

* Corbuolo will grant Furious Charge to all infantry models that start their move within 12” (this is actually the power of the Red Grail).
- Is for some reason still not equipped with a power weapon and cannot take mobility upgrades (like bikes or jet packs).

* BA Librarians will gain new psychic powers
“Wings of Sanguinius”
- If footslogging, the Lib will be able to move like jump infantry.
- If equipped with a Space Marine Bike, will gain a turbo boost.
- Adds +D3 attacks in cc

* Mephiston will be able to use all (3) of his Psychic Powers in the same turn.
- “Wings of Sanginius,” “Quickening” “Transfixing Gaze” & employ his force weapon.
- “Transfixing Gaze” will force all models in b-2-b to make a Ld check. If failed, those models will not be able to attack that turn and will be automatically hit by Mephiston.
- Gains Feel No Pain
- Does not have an INV save.
- Has a very impressive stat line.

* Tycho retains Preferred Enemies: Orks
- No longer has digi-lasers
- Is also not equipped with a power weapon

* Lemartes employs a Death Mask that reduces enemy leadership by -1 within 6”
- Comes with a jet pack and an improved stat line over generic Chaplains.

* Moriar the Chosen has been dropped.
(See the rumors concerning Death Company Dreads below)

Army List Changes
*HQ choices are limited to Captains, Chaplains and Librarians – there is no longer a Snguinary High Priest HQ option (other than Corbulo).

* Honour Guard with same stats as Veterans (2 Attacks base)
- 5-man squad
- Can be given jump packs for 25 pts (+5 per model)
- Will include several character upgrades
- Upgrades include a “tech adept” character along with the other choices.

* Vet Assault units can employ Jump Packs or Rhinos.
- They have 2 attacks on their stat line.
- The can take up to 3 powered cc weapons: power weapons, lightning claws or power fists.
- 5 models base and can be increased up-to 10 strong (and thereby gaining Combat Squads).

* BA Terminators will be limited to 5-man squads, w/one heavy weapon
- Will not gain any other veteran skills.
- Note that there are no teleport homers in the BA army list.
- Can still be deployed via Drop Pods

* All Dreadnoughts will be Elite choices.
- BA dreads will have the option to take Plasmacannons and Autocannons.

* Furioso Dreads
- No longer have the Tear Attack special rule.
- Can be deployed via Drop Pod
* Can be upgraded Death Company Dreadnoughts (+20 points)
- +D3 attacks per turn
- They lose the “ignore shaken & stunned results” special rule
- Must move and attack the nearest enemy.

* Scouts will be an Elite choice with no special cc limitation, i.e. they can all be equipped with the full assortment of scout options.
- Gain S4 Shotguns

* Assault Marines will be a Troop only choice for all BA armies
- A special character not required.
- May not be equipped with Flamers
- Will alternately be able to take Rhinos or Drop Pods (like their DA equivalents).

* Landspeeders will cost the same as in the Dark Angel Codex
- They may have up two 2 tornadoes per squadron.

* BA Whirlwinds will include incendiary rounds.

Other Interesting(?) Changes
* No teleport homers
* No auspex (oh well)
* No Scout Bikes
* Librarians come with Rights of Battle – though still only Ld 9
* Mephiston does not come with Rights of Battle

New Models?
* Some character models will be re-released.
* There will not be any new models or plastic sprues.

Must concentrate on WHFB Chaos army...

Chaos Mortals 2000 point list

I have re-undercoated the non-fur parts of my hounds and while I was waiting for the paint to dry I drew up a 2000 point list. Here it is.
  • Heroes
  • Sigurt Volsung, Lord on Daemonic Mount, Gaze of the Gods, Enchanted Shield, Helm of Many Eyes
  • Thaer, Exalted with Book of Secrets, extra hand weapon, shield
  • Angur Boda, Lvl 1 Sorcerer with 2 Dispel Scrolls
  • Core
  • 12 Warriors, full command
  • 10 Warriors, full command, Banner of Wrath
  • 6 Chosen Knights, full command, War Banner
  • 5 War hounds
  • 5 War hounds
  • 25 Marauders, light armour and shield, full command
  • 10 Marauders, flails, full command
  • 5 Marauder horsemen, musician, flails
  • Chariot
  • Special
  • 8 Furies
I am about 25 points over, but there are a fair amount of points invested in wargear and magic weapons so I will still be able to change things around a bit if necessary. The only thing that slightly grates is the inclusion of the Furies. Game-wise they are invaluable but they don't really fit my theme. I may swap them out to include an Aspiring Champion carrying a Battle standard depending on how well I get on putting the rest of the army together.

The real test will be the Marauders. Two full boxes (plus a few random models I have lying around). Gulp.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Tick, tock, tick, tock...

I plan on posting quite a lot today. I have a day off work and about nine hours to concentrate entirely upon gaming. Huzzah!

The clock is ticking because I have just received the latest White Dwarf which confirms that the Blood Angels are getting a codex 'refresh' over the next two issues. The Blood Angels were my first army in any game system and if ever I am asked which army I play in 40k I always say Blood Angels even though I have owned and played virtually every other army in the game. The only problem is that I haven't used them since the early days of 3rd edition and the models I was using were a mix of RTB01 and 2nd edition 'static' poses. Not very inspiring.

A while back I started investing in the new Space Marine vehicles so that I could create a mechanised Blood Angel force, but something always seemed to crop up before I could start the army (my Warhammer Chaos Horde just the latest). I also felt wary because the mini-codex was so old - the third in third edition, while we are now well into 4th edition. In fact the BA codex is copyright 1998 so it is almost 10 years old. I could never be sure how Games Workshop would update the rules. There would be nothing worse than investing an extra £100 and eight weeks of painting into an army that would never be used.

Now I know I am just two months away from having the new book in my sweaty paws I am salivating at the prospect of fielding my red-armoured marines. But...

I still have at least three units to finish before my Warhammer Chaos army is complete. And I have no money. Minor problems.

My plan, so cunning you could stick a tail on it and call it a fox, is to draw up a 2000 point Chaos army, including all the units I need to finish, and paint up all the models over the next eight weeks. Since this will involve buying some new models for my fantasy army and buying a whole heap of models for the Blood Angels, I need to get busy on E-bay. In fact, I am reluctantly considering selling my Praetorian Imperial Guard army as a way of generating some decent cash. I have never painted most of the models and I am just coming to the conclusion that I never will.

So today I plan to write up my final 2000 point Chaos list and post it here. Then I want to construct and paint as many models as possible. I also want to post some models on E-bay.

Wish me luck.