Category Archives: Games Workshop

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

You Knew It Was Coming….


Ability_gougeLong time readers will no doubt be sitting on tenterhooks as they await the public and visceral berating of Gouge Workshop for daring to release a new version of the rules, slightly more expensive than the last!

Fanbois everywhere will scream from the rooftops “wait for the small book in the box set” or “they’ll release just a plain rulebook like they did for 6th.” Or other such declarations of support.

60040199041_40kStandardEdition01

I will admit that the new 40k book looks very shiny and nice. Of course I’m not convinced of it being £50 of nice. For the same price I can get a starter set for pretty much every other game under the sun a long with the rules. I still know that people are going to buy it, it’s your money and you are entitled to spend it how you will. For me though, this is the first edition of 40k I’ll never buy. I’ve been in this hobby for the entirety of my adult life and most of my formative years as well. I still remember every time we went to the Merry Hill Centre when I was younger that my dad would take me into GW. So, dear wife, if you are reading this, it’s your father-in-laws fault that the disposable income dries up!

Yes, this book isn’t that much more expensive than the old one, but this constant creep has to stop, there has to be a point where it is unsustainable and for me, personally, it’s been reached. As I mentioned in another post this is sad for me. I’ve spent so much time around the GW IP that I don’t like leaving it, but sadly, this is the only way that I can register my displeasure at a company that no longer provides something I am happy to pay for. Again, I am only one man and a very small drop in the ocean of customers that GW still maintain.

In finishing my discourse on GW I will say that all the “hatred” I’ve been accused of isn’t that way. Imagine watching something that you love, something you’ve invested a lot of your life into, slowly crash and burn and there’s not a thing you can do about it other than walk away. It’s that sadness and pity that I feel. GW has lost what made it great in the pursuit of a larger bottom line. While I understand that it’s a business and it needs to make money, there is a point where becoming a faceless corporation turns the customer away.

It might not be too late for someone to turn the business around. However, with the competition having gotten better and needing far less of my hard-earned pennies to get into, I can’t see a way back for me personally.

For those that also play Fantasy, I’m not sure how folks feel being asked to spend £100 just for the rules for both games. Unless a Qatari magnate and went for the Munitions set…… that’s just insane and yet I know there are people who will have pre-ordered it.

Floating Citadel Turns a Corner


It might seem tricky that a castle in the sky would be able to turn anything, yet, this bank holiday weekend saw the furious rattling of dice and page-flicking of rulebooks as once more we got to throw down with some toy soldiers.

While getting some games in is an event worthy enough of note for our little group it’s probably not something to make a blog post over. However, as happens whenever gamers get together, we spent some time discussing the hobby as a whole, what we are doing as individuals and what our desires are for the continuation and evolution of our hobby time. Even in the run up to yesterdays festivities I’d been talking to Gribblin over email about my feelings towards the gaming landscape and the orgy of models I have littered around the house.

Bearing in mind that we’d just been to Salute barely a month ago and seen everything on offer in today’s gaming market we really are treated to a cornucopia of miniatures goodness.

After looking at the way our gaming is developing and the larger factors at work I’d already decided to ditch Warhammer Fantasy. I have two armies for that games, over 3000pts each of Ogres and Dark Elves. However, with the Sherriff’s well publicised and much criticised issues on pricing I cannot justify these forces any more. I only play against one person and we’ve not played a game in at least 18 months and I don’t see that changing. Better to get rid, get money and reinvest in something I’m actually going to want to play and get use out of.

We’ve recently played more Dropzone Commander, which is a game I genuinely enjoy. It makes you think, not only about how to build your army but each and every turn about what battlegroup to activate when and trying to second guess what your opponent might be up to. Then there is also Dreadball and Deadzone that have graced the tables too. Both games are excellent and don’t take much time to set up and play. The fact you can run them in a limited space is also a big boost in their favour.

I gave Gribblin the option of playing some 40k this weekend as we’d done Dropzone the last time we got together, but as his reply was less than enthusiastic we went with DZC again. This, to me, as well as seeing a preview of White Dwarf with what the future of 40k holds, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to be ditching that too.

This is actually a very hard decision to reach. When I first started gaming over 20 years ago at the tender age of 12 GW was the only real entry into the hobby. Over the years that has kind of generated this perverse brand loyalty. I see it manifest in other gamers as well that go out of their way to seemingly justify that they’re not getting hosed by GW. To each their own and if folks enjoy things and are willing to pay then that’s their prerogative. I’m not going to tell them how to spend their money, it’s almost like WoW players who end up addicted to the game and can’t break free. However, finally, I think I’ve had my fill. I have fond memories of all the games I’ve played, but I’ve moved on. Other companies produce better games that are far better supported, not to mention costing less. Even the age-old argument of “GW’s models are better” is something that is so open to personal aestheticism as to be a moot point.

The consequence of this decision is not only that I’m going to have a ton of floor space again, but also I’ve actually got more chance of getting stuff painted. Rather than knowing I’ve got 20-30 dudes in a squad to paint I might have that number total for the whole army. That is one hell of a smaller hurdle to climb and having less around the house will mean a happier wife and a happier mental picture of just how much work I’ve got to do to field armies that actually look like they belong.

So, whatever you’re playing out there, I wish you all the best, may you roll plenty of 6’s, 1’s or 20’s, or whatever.

To the Sherriff, it’s been nice playing your games but I’ve finally had enough of what you are doing. Thanks for the memories but I’ve got a whole load of new ones to make that I look forward to.

Sherriff Releases New Online Marketplace


Unless you’ve been living under a very non-GW rock for the past few days you cannot have failed to notice that there’s been a bit of a shake-up with the Lenton based purveyor of plastic crack. Today they have unveiled a new website, well, I call it a website but it’s really more of a web store.

Capture

Now, it’s well-known among the general Internet that Games Workshop are often lambasted as Satanistic money grabbers, filled with an insatiable greed for not only gold, but the tears of long-term, loyal gamers that were cradled at its loving teat since Warhammer burst into the world aeons ago. So, this new website seems to pander to that meme rather well. Gone are all the hobby articles, gone are the (necessary to play) FAQs for their games and we are solely left with a site where the only option given to us is to buy their stuff…

Here, comfy in my chambers inside the 6 Inch Move floating citadel I happen to quite like the look of the new site. I’m not so thrilled at the idea that we are actually now being presented with the GW true face. The hobby is now something we do at home, the game is irrelevant, just shut up and buy our stuff.

I don’t want this to turn into yet another rant about GW and their prices (although I did find it funny that the first picture the new site presented to me was the image to buy an Imperial Knight) but when you remove all content save the store. Sorry GW, you’re not doing yourselves any favours in the reputation stakes there.

Tyranid Army, 2000 points


Sorry It’s taken me this long to post this one up folks, had a chaotic week.  As ZombiePirate has already written his list up, I shall add mine.  I went for a horde list with the idea of including as many of the new models as possible, it is however a little light on upgrades.  So here we go.

  • Hive Tyrant: Wings, Bonesword & Lash Whip, twin-linked Devourers, Electroshock Grubs.
  • 3 Tyranid Warriors: 2 Deathspitters, 1 Venomcannon.
  • 3 Tyranid Warriors: 2 Devourers, 1 Barbed Strangler.
  • 25 Termagants (x3 units): Fleshborers.
  • 1 Broodlord & 5 Genestealers: Rending Claws.
  • 2 Lictors: Scything Talons, Rending Claws, Flesh Hooks.
  • 2 Venomthropes: Lash Whips, Toxic Miasma.
  • Haruspex: Grasping Tongue, Crushing Claws, Acid Blood, Adrenal Glands.
  • Red Terror & 4 Raveners: Scything Talons, Rending Claws (Raveners only), Prehensile Pincer (Red Terror only).
  • Hive Crone: Drool Cannon, Four Tentaclids, Scything Talons.
  • Carnifex: Scything Talons, H. Venom Cannon.
  • 2 Biovores: Spore Mine Launcher.
  • Mawloc: Prehensile Pincer.

As I said it was a little light on upgrades.  Other than the Tyrant all I added was a set of adrenal glands for the Haruspex, ‘heavy’ weapons for the Warriors & Carnifex, rending claws for the Raveners and a prehensile pincer for the Mawloc.  Despite my earlier posts talking about the upgrades, I wanted to go for cheap & cheerful.  One of the problems I have when playing Tyranids is that I tend to go into autopilot mode of advancing as fast as I can without any real thought into what I am doing.  So here’s the plan;

Tyrant & Crone fly around causing all sorts of problems, the Crone waiting for the Chaos Helldrake, whilst the Tyrant attacks targets of opportunity.  The Warriors & Termagants advance under the protection of the Venomthropes (3+ cover saves for the Warriors) with the Carnifex & Biovores providing fire support.  The Raverners & Haruspex advance in support of each other to reach the enemy battle line quickly.  The Broodlord & his retinue will use the Horror power to suppress the enemy shooting and assault when ready.  The Lictors are a bit of a gamble.  I’ve always loved the image of the Lictor, but they proved useless in the last edition so I’m hoping that not having to Deep Strike them will help, and my plan is to use them to drop the Mawloc onto something, say a quad-cannon.

Chaos Space Marines 2000pts


Gribblin made the suggestion that prior to our game this Saturday that we write-up a few thoughts about the army lists that we are taking. This was to be done before the game so that the results of it would not affect our judgements if we were to do this exercise afterwards. My lists are pretty much designed around the models that I own (as I imagine it is with most people) but, in the interest of full disclosure and the fact that someone, somewhere, may benefit, I’m going to write-up my list and why I’ve included the things that I have.

First then, the list itself;

Chaos Lord – Burning Brand of Skalanthrax, Lightning Claw, Mark of Slaanesh, Chaos Bike, Melta Bombs, Sigil of Corruption

5 Chaos Terminators – Mark of Tzeentch, Combi-plasma, Veterans of the Long War

10 Chaos Cultists – Champion and Flamer

10 Chaos Cultists – Champion and Flamer

5 Chaos Space Marines – Plasma Gun

5 Chaos Space Marines – Plasma Gun

5 Noise Marines – Blastmaster and 3 Sonic Blasters

5 Noise Marines – Blastmaster and 3 Sonic Blasters

7 Chaos Bikers – Champion with Melta Bombs, 2 Meltaguns, Mark of Slaanesh, Icon of Excess

Heldrake – Baleflamer

Forgefiend – Hades Autocannons

2 Obliterators – Mark of Nurgle

2 Obliterators – Mark of Nurgle

Aegis Defence Line – Quad gun

It all comes to 1997pts and typing it out makes me realise just how much stuff you can actually cram into 2000pts, even if it’s only 59 models plus the emplacement. I know that I am going to be horribly outnumbered.

Being outnumbered by Tyranids is pretty much a given but overall this list is not something that I’d define as “anti-nid.” Yes the MSU elements of the troops choices may be that way because I am expecting some big templates to come my way, but big units of CSM aren’t generally that fantastic anyway.

Splitting my units up means that I am not likely to lose large chunks of my army to 1 or 2 decent shots. It also means that I have lots of units capable of claiming objectives. Yes the Cultists are likely to die (and I fully intend to use them as a cheap meat wall for the rest of my army) but that’s what cultists are for really. They screen the Marines who will be doing the shooting. The Noise Marines will frustrate anything that thinks a Venomthrope makes them safe due to their Ignore Cover weaponry while the other Marines contemplate making plays for objectives. This configuration is also making use of the troops that I have. I need a decent firebase to counter the oncoming Nids and time will tell if this works. The Aegis Defence line will be manned by the CSM, in this way I can use one of the Noise Marine champions to use it against any Harpies or Crones that turn up.

With the troops out-of-the-way let’s take a look at everything else from the top down. The Chaos Lord is a bad ass. Putting him on a bike makes him tougher to Instant Death and makes him far more mobile. Chaos Bikes are one of the stand out units in the book and having him in there gives them a decent punch. The only thing that really scares him is the Hive Tyrant, other than that he should be able to carve through anything he comes across and has a decent shooting attack with the Brand.

The Chaos Terminators are kind of an experiment. I’ve not used them but think they can be dangerous with the Combi-plasma. They can deep strike in to the Tyranid backfield and hopefully cause some damage to anything that’s left behind from the main advance. The Mark of Tzeentch makes them a little more survivable with a 4++ for those times when their normal 2+ doesn’t quite cut it. They also have a variety of power weapons to give them tools to open various units up in combat if it comes to it. Hopefully they can prove a distraction and alpha strike something.

Chaos Bikers are more than an entourage for the Lord, they put out a load of shots, can get where I want them to, T5 with a 3+, 5++ and Feel No Pain makes them very hard to remove as well. The melta guns are in there for tank hunting which I won’t have a problem with in this game but that’s why they are there. I’ve taken 5 of them in the past and felt like I needed more, so I got some more. The unit of 7 feels like a really good size and when they’re backed by the Chaos Lord this should be a very dangerous unit that attracts a lot of attention.

What can I say about the Heldrake that hasn’t been said already?  If I can establish air superiority this thing is a beast. Torrent AP3 flamer just deletes units of stuff and I am not handing air superiority to the Nids. Yes a Flyrant or the Crone can be a threat but hopefully between it and the Quad gun I won’t have much of a problem dealing with the flying bugs. Plus, Gribblin knows how nasty this thing is and will go after it, I may be able to exploit that fact.

Forgefiend – this guy is a new addition and I don’t mind admitting that. I wanted one from the moment the new Chaos book landed but opted to build a Maulerfiend first. Taking a Mauler against Nids would be a bad idea I feel. Its WS3 and AV12 would be horribly vulnerable to any number of horrible alien monstrosities, especially as it has to get up close to do any damage. Ideally with the Nids I want to stay at range, remove synapse and thin out the herds of little gribblies as much as possible. This is an army where I’m going to need a plan and stick to it. Going “rabbit in the headlights” is going to see me dead so I need to be focussed.

Then we come to Obliterators, these guys are pure gold. Having two units means I can keep the same heavy weapons going turn after turn with no let up. Normally an Obliterator cannot choose to manifest the same weapon from turn to turn, however, having two units gets around that restriction nicely. Between the Hades autocannons and “choose your death ray” Obliterator weapons there shouldn’t be much that I can’t kill. Giving them the Mark of Nurgle makes them less susceptible to Instant Death too.

So there you have it, my list and why I’ve chosen the various units. No matter what army I face there is something to deal with it. Whether it’s the most efficient at it, or even workable I don’t know and I’m not all that bothered. I’m no tourney gamer and as long as we enjoy the battle and it’s not decided by gimped dice then it’ll be a good game.

All that’s left now is to build two more terminator and the last Bike I need so I can actually use this list tomorrow!

The Future of Games Days & Games Workshop


It’s a fact that the internet is full of cats. Just occasionally though you stumble upon something which is not at all feline related, but is simply brilliant (in a non-cat way; cats as we all know are naturally brilliant), please dear googlespiders go check out the following series of articles. Note that this series was started back in August 2013.

http://masterminis.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/the-future-of-games-days-games-workshop.html

Now that you’ve gone away and read the many, many delightful walls of text that this series has to offer I would hope that you would agree with me when I say all other blogs in comparison in this niche hobby, including ours, make the Ewoks look like Shaft.

    So can Games Workshop really turn this juggernaut around and actually avoid the possibility of crashing and burning?

Does anyone really care anymore? Is this a tragedy that everyone but GW management could see coming a mile off?

So GW need business. Once, I was a fanboy and my regular bucket of cash I threw at this hobby ended up in their coffers. Not any more. But, hey, if anyone from GW bothered to ask me, the humble fan, what would make me spend cash with them again here’s what I would say:

1) Quit it with the Ridiculous Prices! Now, bear with me, I don’t mean in the regular internet whinging type of way. Anyone who has ever eaten at a fast food restaurant will understand that quality doesn’t come cheap. GW makes the best toy soldiers in the world so feel free to charge high prices for the best goods. BUT even if you are richer than Scrooge McDuck you aren’t going to buy something if it represents poor value for money which leads me nicely into…

2) Make Some Games I Want To Play! Seriously, I’m done with Warhammer 40k and Warhammer Fantasy Battle in their current incarnations!

I quit WHFB many years ago because I was so hacked off with the stupidly obvious imbalances and evident lack of rulestesting! Poor ZombiePirate has seen me rage on the subject of gamebreaking magical items many times, but that for me was just a fly on a massive turd.

I quit Warhammer 40k after the introduction of 6th Edition. To me it just seemed like change for changes sake and a cynical ploy to adjust army balances just enough to make me buy a whole host of new models to stay in the game as well as a massively overpriced rulebook. Then comes the regular new codices which again upset the army balance a bit further forcing you to buy another overpriced book and new models in order to keep your army competitive. Now again, it’s not the direct cost I’m talking about here. If WH40k was the best thing ever I’d stump up the cash. But the imbalances remain, codex creep happens and I simply haven’t got the time to paint an extra 40 models because some bozo changed a subtle rule making a bunch of my units hopeless.

What I would buy into is if GW took WHFB and WH40k, and the years of experience they have with these systems and just made one really awesome set of rules and codices which were set in stone and did not change every few years. These rules would have been rigorously playtested to allow some degree of balance meaning games would actually be fun and down to luck and skill rather than the whims of whose army is flavor of the month or who had done the most math hammer. Let’s face it, that’s not going to happen, so…

***WARNING OLD FART GAMER ALERT***

How about releasing some of those boxed games you used to do so well? Space Hulk is still a floating citadel favorite. Blood Bowl was great and I have fond memories of Space Fleet, ManOWar and Dark Future. What GW maybe doesn’t realise is that a lot of older fans, yes the ones with jobs who don’t have to pester their parents to buy overpriced tat don’t actually have the time to commit to core games. Most of us have families and none of us has the time to paint 2000 points of Skaven to play a 4 hour grindfest. So instead we play RPGs and board games. Games like those that GW used to do so well. If GW don’t want to quit their current model line-up then we’d even play something like a Mordheim or Necromunda revamp. Youngsters might need to look a few of those games up!

***REMINISCENCE IS NOW OVER YOU CAN STOP ROLLING YOUR EYES***

3) Use Your IP Effectively! Stop it with the cease and desist crap it makes you look stoopid! How many times have I wanted a Space Marine hoodie or an awesome poster, an Imperial Guard forage hat or even a ‘Tea for the Tea God’ mug and been disappointed? Rhetorical question, it’s every time! Wow, if I was in charge this would be one of the first things I would be churning out. How a company with quite possibly the super coolest IP on the planet has failed in merchandising anything except for lots of little plastic doods and a handful of computer games is beyond me.

4) Make Me Want To Come to Games Day! I am not paying a fistful of cash to go to a painting competition and sales event. Either make it a proper day of games and demos like every other Games Day not run by GW or make it the must attend event for all gamers. I paid serious cash to go to EVE Online Fanfest but for that I took part in the biggest celebration of online spaceships the world has ever known. Tournaments, games, freebies, powerpoint presentations, dinner with the developers, live demos, feedback sessions a massive party and even a show by the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra. If Games Workshop did something like that people would be selling their firstborn to attend.

5) Oh, and stop making White Dwarf a massive advert for your new stuff. It wasn’t that great back in the day but at least it did things other than sell to you.

But is any of this going to happen? As I said earlier does any body care any more? I am sure the world will keep spinning if GW goes to the wall. I expect someone would snap up all that juicy IP and hopefully do something useful with it. There is even a chance that the situation in miniatures gaming improves with the extra room. Or, and this is my worry and I feel already beginning to happen, a million and one different manufacturers develop a million and one ‘new’ and ‘revolutionary’ games systems to fill the void and we end up as a community investing in too many games and so end up playing nothing.

– servitob