All posts by ZombiePirateXXX

Games and Gears – A Warning


GandGBoardsHello dear readers. It’s been a long time with only a Gribblin to keep you so I thought I’d turn up and bring you all a warning about a company that some of you may be familiar with or may not be.

The company in question (no surprise I know as it’s in the title) is Games and Gears. I own a set of their Ichiban Pro brushes that I backed the Kickstarter for and I have to say they are excellent products and I enjoy using them. However, my next experience with them has been far from acceptable let alone good.

In late 2013 Games and Gears started up a Kickstarter for their “next generation battle boards” a 6′ x 4′ set of boards that you could get for a very reasonable price. As they were offering a 10mm scale Dropzone Commander board I leapt on board and pledged for a set, with the May 2014 delivery date being barely 6 months away this seemed like a great project to back and would get me some nice boards to share with friends for our games of DzC, a bit more stable than the card tiles we used from the cityscape set at the moment. So, I bit the bullet, sent off my money and even added to that by pledging for some dice trays and model trays to enhance the board and keep things tidy.

All was going well, people were excited about the boards and then China had a flood. Now, this isn’t really an issue, folks are understanding and these things happen. However, what happened thereafter has been a tale of misery and woe that any company could do well to learn from as G&G have just run their reputation into the ground among those who have backed and supported them.

Originally we were told that only some of the boards were damaged and things would carry on with a few boards being delayed slightly. This was quickly then changed that all the boards would be scrapped and remade and G&G were sticking with the company that had been flooded as a gesture of good will. I’ve got no problem with that either. What people did take issue with was the fact that this is pretty much the only information that was given until December 2014. Every single update mentioned that the flood had taken place, but that the boards we were getting are awesome and we’d be excited to get them in our hands. We were also updated that in December all the boards were in the UK for QC testing.

We delayed this Friday update hoping to get all the answers prior posting this. We will get the info next week.

– Once cleared customs on the the road to our warehouses.  In Jan 2015 final QC checks, insuring each board has arrived safely as well with trays. Recount of the 50000+ clips. Pretty much final preparations before we release these to you and that we have insured you get top quality. If anything Ichiban Kickstarter has shown us the slow process we take to insure every step is done properly pays off with great customer satisfaction.

Still on track:

-Dropzone Commander Battle Boards (10mm) Expected to be ship from Shenzhen port end of this coming week. Worst case beginning of the week after but it finally bound to get out of China :)!!

– Anima Wars Still Projected to be Shipped out on the 22nd.

– Anima Paint Job to be finished today. We going to allow one more working day which will be Monday just to be sure it is all completed. Then QC check and pack.

– Hellscape 5th final paint job still under way.

We were told that the QC testing involved them unpacking and checking every single board and then repacking it. Rather exhaustive and people were just asking when we could expect to see the boards if they were all in the UK?

We received updates saying that the Hawk Urban Wars (the boards that had been received by G&G and were undergoing QC in that December update quoted above) would be shipped to backers by April 15th. No-one received their boards by this date.

– Hawk Urban War Battle Board: Are turning up. Please allow till the 15th of April for your gears to get to you. When you do get them please post pictures of them and share them with us.

What if I don’t get my Hawk Wargames Urban War battle board by then?

Don’t panic. Some will slip past the delivery times as have done with our other kickstarters, or missed deliveries. Just pm us and give us a few days to sort it and get it back to you as we have to locate it, most times it is just on it’s way :).

When did these boards start arriving? Last month! People in Hong Kong and then Australia were the first to start receiving their boards, odd considering the boards were supposedly in the UK after having been held up in customs….

Unsurprisingly the backers of the Kickstarter asked questions of G&G as to where all these delays were coming from? All people wanted was honest answers. We even got a response from the head of the company saying that they’d messed up and would do better. So, what happened after that? Well, they actually cut off any and all communications with the backers.

Unless you PM them asking only about tracking numbers for packages or saying you’d got your boards you’d not get a response. We now have updates saying that the people that were responding to the comments no longer have the time to do so. Any questions that have been asked on their Facebook page have vanished as soon as they’ve appeared, leaving only positive things to be shown.

We still have no idea about when (or if) any of the other boards are going to be delivered because no-one is talking to those that put their money in to allow G&G to actually manufacture them. The backers have been fed the same recycled soundbites over and over again and all the community has asked for is a proper explanation of what is going on and where this project is. This is greeted by stone cold silence from the company.

People showed patience at the start, But over a year since the delivery date should have been (we know Kickstarters overrun but at least there is normally some communication and not out right lies from the people involved) and a lot of people are getting upset about things. G&G have even made accusations against some of their backers that they are determined to harm G&G by being slanderous about G&G. It’s untrue, all that has happened is that G&G have been called out for lying. They give one date and then change it. The boards were sold as “base painted” they are not, they are plain grey plastic, not the “two coats of grey” that we have been told. This has been confirmed by every single person that has received their boards.

The carry case that was supposed to be included has been cut from the final deliverable, this is apparently due to the weight of the boards and the expense of shipping. To keep the Kickstarter in the black, things that were promised to the backers have been cut, so we’re no longer getting everything we were told that we would be. We are basically getting a set of bare plastic boards with a few painted areas on them. For the £62 I pledged I’m not going to complain too hard about that, but if I was buying the £140 retail set I’d not be happy about what you get for the money.

I’m still waiting for my Dropzone boards, I have no idea when they are going to get here and G&G will not speak to anyone about that. So, we’re over a year late, a year in which everything that we have been told is happening, and every date we have been given has more or less been shot down and passed. Yes, some people finally have their boards, but they’re all saying that what they’ve got wasn’t what they were expecting. And, while the boards are OK, they’re certainly not the standard that the Kickstarter seemed to promise.

I’ve backed many Kickstarters by now and none of them have been this poorly managed. Completely cutting off communication with your customers is never a good thing to do, especially in as close a community as the wargaming fraternity.

So folks, if you fancy yourselves some “next generation battle boards” you’re better off buying the GW ones, yes you’ve got to paint those, but you get someone to carry them in, can get them easily enough and you’re going to put as much work into those as you can do for these ones that are just plain grey plastic too.

I’m really disappointed in G&G and the way they’ve handled this. Being honest with their customers would have stopped a lot of the vitriol. People can accept when things go wrong, what they don’t accept is misinformation, lies and being accused of slandering the company that is seemingly doing everything it can to cover up and ignore what’s going on.

Every So Often….


…something comes up that is so stupid you have to wonder about the thought processes that went into it!

As I’ve documented here on this very blog I finally gave GW the boot earlier this year. It wasn’t an easy decision at the time and, on rare occasion, I wonder if I was too rash. Then I remember all the reasons that prompted my decision and feel very happy and secure in what I did.

However, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to completely ignore what the biggest name in the hobby is doing. What has been of interest recently is the “End Times” story arc in Warhammer Fantasy. It’s certainly shaking up the game with its changes to army composition as well as throwing out some monstrous new kits for people to shell out on. These are progressing a story arc, reintroducing some old favourites and costing a lot of money (I had to get in a price jab when talking about GW or the Internet would eject me).

For the most part this has been for me the kind of curiosity similar to when you see a car crash, or something else going on where you’d like to know the story behind it. So, I’ve been happy to watch people snap up additional books for the game at £40 a throw and then splurge on new kits costing yet more again. I’m not going to talk about whether or not this is justified, that’s down to the individuals who are buying, it’s just a little steep for me when I consider where my money is now going.

However, this latest End Times release was a tough one. It was Elves. As anyone that knows me, um, knows, Dark Elves are like my all time most favourite of Fantasy races, I’ve had several armies of them over the years and even had Dark Eldar in 40k too. So, when there was a new book coming out that would maybe cover a unification of the warring Elf factions. Well, you can see how my interest was piqued. Despite my misgivings about GW and their future I went to take a look at the website after receiving the preview email of what was coming up.

SOLD OUT! Yea, that’s right, day 1 in the early hours of Saturday morning the pre-order was no longer available. I’d not entertain the notion of the collectors edition, but that was sold out too.

These same books that even Wayland are showing as “Unavailable” on their pre-order section are showing up on eBay going for over £100…. and I thought GW direct were pricey.

I cannot believe that a company the size of GW is doing something like this, such a limited release that there don’t even seem to be things going to retailers (I know there is no love lost between GW and independent retailers). So, for anyone that wanted one of these rather expensive army lists (let’s face it that’s what they are with or without the story) you’re now forced into paying over twice the price of what you could get in store (if you’re lucky and your store has one), or, even worse, was a collectors edition I saw going for over £500!

Yes, the value of anything is what people are willing to pay and once again GW punters seem to be showing they don’t really value their money or are just so addicted/enamoured with this company that they blinker themselves into justifying their purchases.

I think them being sold out did me a favour.

/rantoff

Kings of War 2nd Edition Kickstarter


Mantic games have launched yet another Kickstarter, this time for their highly acclaimed Warhammer wanna-be Kings of War. You can choose to either grab the rulebook ($50 nets you a full hardback one that includes the rules and all the current army lists as well as a smaller format one for taking out with you in your army case). Or, for the princely sum of $150 you can get the rules and your choose of 2 starter army sets or one mega army.

I must say that I’m tempted by the mega army, as I’ve been looking at the Abyssal Dwarves for a long time and I’ve only ever heard good things about the system. The new Abyssals look like they could be fun. The only criticisms I have is why Mantic can’t just release stuff like a normal company, everything has to be Kickstarted? Also, why are they running this in November with the funding cycle set to end in December when Amazon will then automatically hoover money out of accounts.

Surely it’s the worst time of year to do that with Christmas being right around the corner and barely over a month away at this point! I even made a statement of that on the forums. Then, someone rather helpful suggested why not back it fort $1 and then up the pledge when it comes time to submit what you want off the surveys.

So I did.

Dropzone Commander: Reconquest Phase 1


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Here at 6 Inch Move I think we’re known for two things; really irregular content and a great affection for Dropzone Commander. For our little gaming circle DzC has come to replace 40k as the go to mass battle tabletop game in the sci-fi genre and we think it does a bang up job too.

We may be a little late to the party but, as you are all probably aware, there has been much chatter about the first expansion to the game Reconquest: Phase 1.

This continues the story of the game whereby the UCM are finally now starting to strike back against the Scourge that administered a good kicking to humanity on Earth and all the lovely planets that the Shaltari had shown mankind. This has also opened up a new faction for play, while they’d been previewed for a long while I don’t think anyone was surprised to see the Resistance (men and women left behind after the Scourge opened their six-pack of whoop ass) added into the mix.

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So, the book itself. It follows the same format as the original rulebook, it’s a decent size for the price (RRP £15) and packed with a lot of new artwork. I happen to really like what they’ve done with it. There is background that expands on each faction, you find out what is going on on each of the planets and there’s a timeline for what is happening. This really does pull you in and make the universe come alive. While I’ve heard it said that, in terms of story, the Shaltari have been left out I have to say that I don’t see it. While we are left to ponder their motives, not only in the current battles raging across the Cradle Worlds, but also in why they were gifted to humanity in the first place, I don’t see them being a bit player at all. If one were to ask for this humble author’s ideas, I’d suggest that the Shaltari had effectively used humanity as a human shield (pun intended) to perhaps protect Shaltari space from the predation of the slimy parasites.

There’s a lot of intrigue as the PHR are up to shenanigans and the UCM discovering how tough some places are to shift out the occupying forces and that not all of the Resistance fighters are happy to see them.

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There’s also new scenarios in the book, many of these utilise the new terrain sets that Hawk are selling. I must say that I do like the bunkers and might grab a set of these when my shiny new boards turn up.

The main part of any expansion though, and the one we all look forward to, is the new models and new faction. Every faction in the game gets some new toys to play with. These were previewed and play tested through Hawk Wargames’ experimental rules programs and tweaked base on feedback. While not everything will be according to all players wishes I think they’ve done a good job in giving people more options with which to complete their lists. One of the things I’ve always enjoyed with DzC is the list building. Because of the Battlegroups you have to be careful in making sure that you take the right variety of units and what they activate alongside.

However, I suppose the main talking point is the Resistance new faction. These chaps come in two flavours, Allied and Feral. The Allied Resistance are backed by the UCM and have some tasty units and different card deck. Many UCM players would love to take the UCM units that the Resistance get access too, but that’s by the by. On the other hand you have the Feral resistance that can’t take some of the more high-tech units and have a different card deck to differentiate them. Most of their units lack countermeasures (for both sets of Resistance) but do introduce Evasion as a new way of changing how hard a unit is to hit in the first place.

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They have some cheap units and all kinds of interesting options, this is one of those times when you have to fight off the urge to start a new force and it certainly isn’t easy. There are plenty of options for how to transport your guys and varying levels of technology for an underground movement only coming out now to really fight off their oppressors. I really like the imagery they evoke and they’re certainly a welcome addition to the game.

There are also some named generals for each faction. These limit the units that you can take in an army but also have other impacts that tend to make some units cheaper. While not sanctioned for use in tournaments these can be used to add flavour to your forces.

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For what you pay there is a lot of stuff crammed into the book and I certainly enjoyed reading through it. I look forward to using these new units in the game too. I know that Gribblin has been building his own cityscape for it and I’m furiously painting away trying to get to a point where I’m not in the undercoated only brigade. I do enjoy painting the 10mm and it’s easy enough to make them look half decent.

As a first expansion they’ve done a bang up job and I look forward to seeing what else they come out with. This is only further cementing Dropzone’s place as our go to game when we want to throw down on a large table.

Operation: Icestorm – Infinity Starter Set Review


Many, many moons ago, my father and I attended the UK Games Expo in Birmingham. While there SMG were running one of the event only bargains and I grabbed a copy of Infinity and some PanO models. These models lay, barely undercoated, among my miniatures collection for a long time and then eventually, as with so much of my other hoarded loot, I sold them off. Not long after that, while I expanded my circle of friends to include gaming stalwart Carabus we decided to chuck some money at Corvus Belli and try to actually play the game. We’d already proxied some models and had a really fun time of it. Carabus had already gotten himself some filthy Asians and so I went with the all-encompassing brand new faction of Aleph and its host of AI robo-babes. Yes, that was my criteria for picking the army.

A handful of games and some re-reads of famously dodgy spanish to english translations we kind of fell away from it. It was a fun game but I think we tried to do too much too fast. Recently I’ve been hearing things about a new version of the rules and then, a new starter box to introduce them. As I still have all my models perhaps now was the chance to dive back in?

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I grabbed the starter from Element Games as it was the cheapest way to get it overall. It arrived in quick time too, so it was that on Friday I had the box in my hands. In all honesty the box was smaller and lighter than I expected, considering what I knew was in there I was surprised at how compact it was. That didn’t stop me from popping it open and taking a look at the goodies inside.

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The starter set comes with the core of two armies, I consider the price of the set a bargain for what you get. The two sets of models would easily set you back £30 a piece in my opinion and you really do have enough stuff to put on the table and play games beyond the starter missions that teach you the rules.

The models are metal so there really is no difference from these to the rest of the range which is sometimes what you get with starter boxes. Being Corvus Belli the sculpts are brilliant, if you’ve never checked these guys out then go and do it because they are stunning and are only getting better. There are also some D20s for each side, these are OK, not the highest quality of painting of the numbers but as they’re effectively a freebie I’m not too fussed. Each one has the faction symbol as the number 1 and because these are cut from the die themselves the only thing I did wonder was if this altered the weight and therefore the potential distribution of numbers over a lifetime of rolls. Most people probably aren’t going to care too much about that though. It’s not like you’re forced to use them either!

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Then there are two shrink wrapped packs. One contains the buildings and playmat, the other the rulebook and token sheet. The token sheet I thought looked a little thin for my tastes, however after punching them out they work really well and are going to be very useful. I’d like to see this expanded on to provide a full sheet for all the various tokens that are available in the full rules.

The buildings are similar to the card stock produced by Hawk Wargames for Dropzone Commander but are shinier and a little thicker. They go together well with no gluing required and there is space for them to be reinforced by inserting the starter boxes underneath them, a nice touch. These went together with no issues whatsoever and, even though they are card, feel like they’re going to survive the gaming table. It was all tight and held together really well. The cargo crates especially are a welcome addition.

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As for the rules themselves. So far it doesn’t seem like a huge amount has changed, but then these are only the starter set so the main rules will expand massively on this. The core rules are introduced over a series of missions that introduces more complex rules as the missions progress, all themed in a story set around the factions involved. It really is very good and I was hugely impressed with this set and the way it’s been laid out. The rules are actually much easier to understand in this version. Where there were times with the older rules you’d struggle to work out what was supposed to happen this really does make it easier to figure out when and how things happen.

Please ignore the gratuitous crotch in this photo
Please ignore the gratuitous crotch in this photo

If you’ve never played Infinity before than I can highly recommend this as your entry to one of the most original and interesting sci-fi games out there. If you’ve struggled with the rules and played before then I can also recommend this set, however, it may be of less value if you’re not interested in either of the factions included (there is a page in the rulebook which give you a very brief introduction to all the other factions and even provides an expanded army list for the starter factions to get up to the default level of 300pts). In fact, if I was forced to point out just one criticism it’s that, once assembled, the buildings do not then fit into the original box. Now, you could just flatten them out again, but I worry about their longevity if you keep doing that with the card stuff. I’d expect them to last a long time of you care for them though. There is also a great choice now for getting your Infinity terrain and this is a game that greatly benefits from plenty of terrain.

I’m now looking forward to playing through these missions and then seeing the full 3rd edition rules and getting back into the black ops battlefields of the future!

So, at the Weekend, Some Gaming Happened


That’s right, through the aligning of various celestial bodies and arcane rituals of a sort we’re unable to share on a publicly available medium, Gribblin and I turned up for some tabletop bases gaming goodness.

In usual 6″ move style it’s taken us a good while to get together, more people were invited but apparently the virgin’s blood may have been contaminated as not everyone was able to make it on the day.

What did we get up to then? Well, I’ll tell you.

Firstly we got around to playing a game of Star Trek Attack Wing. It occurs to me at this point that it might be nice to show some photos, especially as we’re now playing over a lovely GF9 space mat that I purchased a day earlier. I have the asteroid one if you care, it is very nice. Gribblin brought his fully upgraded Borg Tactical Cube while I took a species 8472 fleet composed of two Bioships with a far more frugal load out. I really enjoy the customisability of Attack Wing, it builds on what was started with the upgrades available in X-wing, but with the extra crew and pilot talents, as well as being able to mix and match from across the range, there’s a lot of potential there. Yes, I know it can be frowned upon to take things out of faction but I like to think of them as in faction versions of stuff that there aren’t options for currently. You also pay extra for it of course.

It was a very good game, I kept my ships in formation and unleashed the very best that Fluidic space could muster. The first few turns put some serious hurt on the Borg as the Bioship Alpha’s ability ensured there were auxiliary power tokens on the Cube and an early crit scuppered its actions as well, thus reducing its ability to regenerate. It tried to make a run for it but the agile Bioships doggedly pursued their quarry. In the end I lost a Bioship to the Tractor Beam/Cutting Beam wombo combo but that left the Alpha with a target lock on the Cube which it used to good effect by unleashing a blast of energy so vast there was no chance of regeneration. It was a tough game and losing the one Bioship delayed that killing blow as it was poised and ready to unleash something itself.

Following some lunch and a brief respite we cleared away the Trek and setup a game of Dropzone Commander. Gribblin once again fielded his alien warmongering Shaltari against the righteous forces of my meat shield UCM.

It was a game that I felt up against it a lot of the time. I refused one flank and left it to the fast-moving Shaltari, knowing that if I took the fight to them I’d be in a poor position as I could be outmanoeuvred. I took the centre building with two Bear squads, sadly, in a moment of poor planning I lost the Condor supporting them, even the 2″ bonus movement for moving on roads was not going to help. Luckily though I used my air cav infantry battalion to swap the objective over and flee the board with my “home” objective I’d won earlier. So, on turn 6 we both had 2 objectives off the table, however, Gribblin had is grubby downloaded consciousness on the final objective and was trying to evac by land with a Terragate. Luckily for me not only had I plinked a damage point off it earlier, but my Wolverine scouts had a clear line of sight to it and so it was, at pretty much the last roll of the dice I used the Kodiak’s orbital strike to target the gate. I rolled a hit and then watched with bated breath as the dice that would ultimately decide the fate of the game span across the table.

When the die came to rest it showed that a gaping crater in the earth was all that was left of the plucky transport. Having no infantry actually inside it meant that the Shaltari could only watch with horror as they lost the objective. The UCM won on kill points as I’d managed to take out several of Gribblin’s units and all of mine were still healthy enough to not count for anything. Needless to say it was a very close game and was a rather nail-biting finish. Just the kind of game that we enjoy.