Category Archives: Warhammer 40000

No-One Expects The Imperial Inquisition!


Eisenhorn. The name conjours images of aphrodisiac teutonic sexy ice-cream. Unless you’ve ever heard of a chap called Dan Abnett. In his world Eisenhorn is not a naughty dessert but actually an collection of stories of an Imperial Inquisitor in the dark far flung future of the 41st millenium.

Science fiction books, to be frank, tend to be quite lame, especially when compared with fantasy and more mainstream novels. However the turbulent times of the Warhammer 40,000 universe give an excellently dark and deliciously gothic backdrop in which to base stories. Times are dark, with mankind living in a cesspool of their own devising. Chronic poverty and pollution across a million worlds, with aliens threatening from without and corruption and mutants threatening from within. Warp travel has allowed mankind to span the galaxy, but unleashed the horrors of demons upon civilization. Add to that a complete stagnation of technological advancement and a theocracy which worships the carcass of a near dead Emperor and you are close to the setting of Warhammer 40,000.

It is to within this maelstrom which Gregor Eisenhorn, Imperial Inquisitor, is flung. Tasked with seeking out corruption, mutation and xenos in society and wiping them out. He is just a man, and as he faces tougher and tougher challenges he begins to bend the rules he is trying to enforce further and further. One might even question whether he actually steps over the line at points and becomes what he is trying to eradicate. The stories are excellently crafted, and as we follow Gregor’s exploits we are drawn further into a world of corruption. As the hero bends the laws further and further we see that he really may not actually be such an hero after all. And this is what I find so appealing in these stories. It’s not the case that he is a straight up hardened Space Marine who kicks butt, saves the day and praises the Emperor. He is an Inquisitor who kicks butt and will use every dirty trick he knows to save himself and pay lip service to praising the Emperor.

Eisenhorn is then, an exciting roller coaster of a ride. An excellent science fiction triumph. Lots of action, plenty of twists and turns with the morals often put to one side to get the job done.

Read more about it here.

The Shadow Draws Near


“That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness” – Zephaniah 1:15

Sorry to go all biblical (actually no I’m not), but I felt a prophetic quote of doom and darkness was appropriate to herald in the return of the Great Devourer.  Yes the Tyranids are coming, the shadow draws near and those friends who play wargames with me may not want to anymore as their new codex is released in the next few weeks.  The new stuff is shown on the GW website and my local gaming store has preview examples of some of the models.  The new gargoyles in particular look fantastic!

As the resident Hive Node to 6 Inch Move I feel it my duty and responsibility (that and I just really, really want to) to provide a review of the Tyranids as the new stuff becomes available.  So watch this space as over the coming weeks I will be writing a series of Tyranid themed articles, and no doubt my good friends ZombiePirate, Servitob and nBreaker will be voicing their opinions of the latest monstrosities to be spawned by the Hive.  So until then cower under your beds and prey to the Emperor that they do not come to devour a planet near you!

Bugs! – Now With Extra Cheese


Dropping through my virtual mailbox this morning was a preview of the new Tyranid stuff for 40k. Now, as much as we all love Gribblin this is his No 1 40k force. It is one of the most evil armies in 40k by my reckoning and no doubt the new Codex makes them even scarier, find details of the new releases below. I’m sure the fact that his current force can reroll only half its dice will now be rectified, he’ll be rerolling everything and ignoring all the core rules in the Big Grey Book!

Time to load up on more Boyz I think “Oi Mekboy, make me sum mo’ scraggin’ Klaws! Me ladz be needin’ sum extra hitty stuff.”

Codex: Tyranids The Tyranids are the ultimate predators. Engineered at a cellular level for combat, they seek to consume the galaxy. Read all about the history of the Tyranids and learn about their frightful bio-weaponry in the new Codex: Tyranids.

Ravener BroodRaveners are for the first time available as a multi-part plastic kit that includes a host of weapon and assembly options. Now’s the time to overwhelm your foe with a brood of these fast moving warrior beasts.

Trygon/MawlocThese all-new Tyranid monsters tower above the Hive Tyrant and Carnifex, and are some of the largest models we’ve ever produced. Add these lethal creatures and their potent special rules to your Tyranid force.

How Do You Eat Yours?


Rather than being a discussion of one of the best chocolate products invented by the hand of man today’s topic is going to be about how you plan and build your armies. There are a number of different ways in which this can be accomplished and I’ve actually been through a couple of ways myself, although I have one method that, while not the best perhaps, seems to always come out on top when I get that buzz of “ZOMG, new models, must have!!!!11!!!!!!one!!!!!”

I’ll split the various ways out and then expound on them, please feel free to comment on which is your preferred method or add something totally different.

 

The Core Method

This method revolves around the fact that most games have a set amount of stuff that must be included to field a minimum sized force. Games like 40k make this easy as you can pick an HQ unit and two Troops choices for a viable army, to play with though you’ll need an agreed points value, this is where I like Privateer Press’ products as you can get starter boxes which give forces balanced to play each other in order for people to learn the rules. Uncharted Seas and the new Firestorm Armada also work off this premise with their starter boxes.

We kind of hybridised this method when starting 5th edition 40k. We knew we wanted to play 1000pts games, I’d sold all my 40k stuff to get something a bit different and therefore started my Orks at that points level, I could then see what I lacked and adapt accordingly (more boyz!). This is in fact one of the core benefits of doing things like this. You can play your force and see what is lacking which can guide future purchases when you expand your army,  my 1500pts force therefore fills practically every troops slot available and after playing it I’ve further modified the list to make the Boyz squads fewer but bigger. They butcher stuff in close combat even with only a few of them but they tend to take horrific casualties as they cross the plains to reach their foes. Bumping them up in size means there are more ablative wounds hopefully meaning that more boyz can get stuck in later on. I do realise though that with making the squads larger that there are therefore less squads which means less targets for the enemy to worry about. Hopefully the covering fire of the Lootas still provides a distraction as well as Big Mek “Mr Suicide” who has yet to build a Shokk Attack Gun that lasts more than one shot.

Starting small also means that you aren’t laying down a lot of cash straight away. Obviously if you are starting out with something for the first time you’re going to be guided by what you like the look of, not necessarily knowing how it will play. You may like it, you may not so spending as little as possible is a potential benefit.

 

The Proxy Method

This has happened with a number of the lists I have produced for my Daemons in Fantasy. If you already have some models then this can work out but you’ll want to have your opponents consent and make sure he knows what is what. Proxying (for the uninitiated) is the process whereby you use a model you have to represent something else. I’ve not done this for an entire army as I believe that would get very difficult for your opponent to deal with, but I have expanded units beyond the model count I own or used single stand in models before spending money on proper representations. This has the advantage that you don’t go out and spend money on something before you know if it does what you want or work in the way you expect.

 

The ZombiePirate Method

Here we go, the method by which I generally do things. With most people when they first look at getting anything the first place that is started is with the ruleset for that particular army. This works across all systems as if you get a rulebook with all the forces in them or you have to pick up individual army books you’re going to be looking through them working out what you like the look of. The start of this method can work with other methods already described, what I do is have a nice read through the book, I looks at the units and their physical stats as well as stuff that I like the look of models wise. I will choose not to collect an army if their models luck bad, no matter how awesome the rules might be and so I take my picks and write-up a list for the normal game size, 1500pts 40k, 2000pts Warhammer Fantasy, 25ss Malifaux, 35 or 50pts Warmachine/Hordes etc… For the majority of these times what I will then do is make a purchase of the entire army, maybe in stages but sometimes in one huge bank busting blaze of debit card. Now, obviously depending on the army you’ve chosen this particular method can do more or less damage to your wallet. This also means you are laying down a whole wad of greenbacks on a force that has not yet seen action so you’re not sure about how it is going to perform, this is the chief downside of doing things this way, however, there is also another drawback that is almost at the same scale.

When you’ve bought everything you need in one batch you have an entire army arrayed before you, this can cause morale issues as you are presented with just how much stuff you’re going to need to build/paint. In days of yore I’ve assembled whole armies and left them on my painting table showing me in no uncertain terms just how much work I have left if I want to do it all. This is perhaps one of the greatest reasons why I never get stuff done, after seeing it all I chop and change from one thing to another. My current project is not done in this manner, I am doing things one at a time and leaving my table clear in order to do so, nothing else is cluttering it up (bar a Lord of Change and the aforementioned Big Mek “Orky McSuicide”). I am hoping that by having a more structured approach to things I stand a better chance of getting things finished. I’m looking forward to this weekend and setting myself the challenge of getting some figures actually done, I am away in London on Saturday so this may not be achievable but I’m going to give it a shot to push myself.

Time and time again I’ve fallen back on this method, written out an army list and then gone out and bought more and more stuff so that I have it all. I don’t know why I do this but I know that getting things piecemeal can actually be more beneficial (method 1 in the list here).My preferred method is probably the worst one but I’m sure each gamer has their own style and works in their own way, so don’t let anything here prevent you from doing what you want.

 

So then Intarwebz, when creating your ideal army, how do you eat yours?

Time Loops


OK, so just a quick post today, but this relates to a very interesting article I read only last week. It was about people writing letters to their younger selves, in a kind of time warp fashion. Essentially, what nuggets of wisdom would you give to yourself?

Then I became a father, so it got me thinking what would I tell my younger sidekick? Obviously some pretty important and serious stuff, but this being a gaming blog and all and being in a jovial mood, what gaming lessons you had learned do you think would be important?

1) Don’t mistake six sided D3s for D6s.

“I can’t believe the dice rolling was so bad in that game! I don’t think we rolled a single good dice all game! I didn’t realise a minor skirmish game of Warhammer could take so long to play!”

“Hey mate, where are the 6s on these dice?”

2) Don’t buy a Standard Land Raider, ever.

“Raarrrgh check out the mega twin-linked lascannons on this behemoth! Pew pew! Oh no that flying demon has a really big sword….. Arrrrgggh NOOOO!” Crump.

“Grrrrr time for revenge with my mega all round super armour! Hey! Where did those wimpy Eldar come from? Wimpy Eldar shouldn’t carry big melta guns!!!” Kaboom.

“Right now its time to cause some havoc with my badass assault ramps! Haha outta my way foul Orks! Beep beep! Oi what are you doing with that power klaw?! Not again!!!” Kablam.

3) Don’t substitute models for pieces of paper.

“Hmm so if I move my tank army into the Ukraine I can support with 3 divisions of infantry from… Achooooo! Aww crap, now the entire Wehrmacht is at the north pole or in my Dr Pepper!”

If I can think of any more I will add them in! Feel free to add your own invaluable lessons!

The Almighty Land Raider, Steel Fist of the Space Marines, a nice bit of target practice for everyone else!

New Army Syndrome – The Condition Explained


Most veterans of the art we call “miniatures gaming” will no doubt be aware of, if not afflicted by the pathological condition that I henceforth call “New Army Syndrome” or NAS for short. I think that the greatest casualties of this virulent disease are those who grew up on the staple systems of the great gaming behemoth that is Nottingham’s finest, Games Workshop. From the selection of games that I am involved with, releases are staggered across all factions except for the Warhammer and 40k crowd. I’m not saying that this condition is therefore solely restricted to those involved with Games Workshop’s games, however I would hazard a guess that it is far more prevalent in that environment, our pathogen has found its ideal incubation zone.

For those of you who may be staring in bewilderment at the monitor wondering what it is that I am babbling on about let me give you the 6 Inch Move dictionary definition of the pandemic NAS.

New Army Syndrome

Due to the release schedule of the Games Workshop product every few months a new army book is released for one of the major systems produced by said company. At this point a person infected by NAS will feel an overwhelming compulsion to purchase the new book and, once read/glanced through, will be almost helpless to resist coming up with an army list and thinking seriously about collecting said army. In terminal cases the victim is an unwilling thrall destined to collect every single new army that comes out. He or She finds him/herself unable to control the impulses that drive them into kitting out a full army of the new release. Some severe cases have been reported where the infected has gone out during a lunch break, picked up an army book and has “woken up” from some sort of waking coma and realised their front room is packed full of plastic sprues looking suspiciously like this quarter’s flavour of Space Marines. These poor souls as well as having 6 million fantasy armies and 5 million 40k armies can also field the entire starting Legions of every single First and Second Founding Space Marine Chapters.

The real sadness arises from the fact (not that they have so many Space Marines) but that there is no known cure for this condition. Instead, long-suffering spouses/girlfriends find their houses consumed by a never-ending tide of gribbly alien horrors, scantily clad Elven maidens or Technicolor armoured supermen. Only the strongest willed of humankind can fight off the insidious disease and success at doing so varies year on year.

It is more than likely that someone you know, or someone you love is afflicted by this crippling illness. Hopefully, they haven’t entered the final stages of debilitation. If you have come across someone rocking themselves, huddled in a corner crying like a little girl that they’ll “never get it all painted” then I’m afraid you have found someone in these last agonising moments of self-realisation. This melancholy exists only until the next release however, and then their poor hypothalamus is forced to produce greater amounts of Endorphins giving them the dizzying high of collecting yet another 2000pts they’ll never get around to taking out the box.

 

Some may wonder if this unhealthy expertise with such a disease could only come from one who suffers from it themselves. I would however only class myself as a minor case. I do enjoy looking over the new releases, however, I am free of Space Marines, having only one army for 40k and Fantasy but I do cast an appraising eye over most of the new books that come out. I can hold my head up proudly though as there are a lot of books I do not own, ones that have passed me by without sucking me in and I am thankful for it.

So, the next time you see your other half standing there looking over a new army book, drag him/her away! Break their arm if you have to, they’ll thank you in the end! Remember, you may be living with a NAS sufferer, this is an illness to be understood not ridiculed, the infected will need your help and if you have just picked up a paintbrush or assembled your first model, chances are you may already be incubating this condition.

We’re DOOMED!

Conventions in Gaming – The Female of the Species


This was always going to be something that came up, however, we may not be discussing what you think we are. I could also start by saying that all three authors here at 6 Inch Move are involved with members of the opposite sex, two of us being married for a number of years. My intent here today is not to discuss the abject look of horror that crosses most ladies faces if they have to step foot in their local Games Workshop while every face stares at them in confusion as to what this figure is that has invaded their sacrosanct domain. No, more about the way in which the female form is represented through various mediums in game terms. We’re going to touch on stereotypes for sure, it would be difficult not to considering the genre and the male bias that our hobby most definitely caters for.

As you are more than likely aware if you check out any of the plethora of Fantasy movies that came out during the 80s (to be honest, probably the only good things to come out of the 80s were a lot of sci-fi/fantasy movies) women are portrayed in one of only a couple of ways. These include; being draped over some (no doubt well paying) gent, a girl who has no idea of the outside world and is therefore completely dependant on the hero (normally she’ll end up naked at some point too) and the warrior women that can kick anybody’s butt and normally does it while half naked and without getting so much as a scratch on her. OK, I’ll admit that Conan doesn’t wear much but if you read Howard’s work it fits the background, although in most of the stories the chicks are the second type listed and they pretty much are all naked half the time.

You may notice a theme developing here, this is no doubt down to the fact that products in the Fantasy realm are normally aimed at the male half of the population and are also created in the majority by those men. Now, I’m not dumb enough to postulate that these characters fulfill the whims and lusts of the creators who have a lack of experience in dealing with the female half… I don’t think that’s it at all, even though we can all picture a stereotypical gamer locked in his parents basement fantasising about conquests with amazingly hot women. We’ve all been teenagers after all. Yet, being in my third decade upon God’s Earth I obviously have different sensibilities than when I was younger and still, even though I know a large portion of gamers exists these days that are not in their teens, many have even left the confines of parental subterranean domiciles, we find that a large proportion of models showing females are less protected than might otherwise be reasonably expected. Whether this is a mere continuation of something that has existed since gaming first crept from the fiery chasm whence it came or a deliberate design philosophy is not something I am in a position to declare, but in Fantasy in particular, this theme occurs again and again. I know of a great many companies that make astoundingly detailed models and yet when you get down to representations of women, well, they must spend a lot of the time a little on the chilly side. My wife tends to be cold when we set our central heating to “African Summer” so I can only imagine what these poor model ladies go through if their physiology matches that of my wife and other ladies I know.

In Sci-fi things get a little better. The Sisters of Battle for 40k are equipped in the same kind of armour that protects perennial GW favourites the Space Marines, but even here we have a unit of silk shrouded lunatic chainsaw-wielders in the form of the Sisters Repentia. Filling a stereotypical need? Maybe, the models are good but the rules suck so you don’t often see them. Privateer Presses Iron Kingdoms universe with its Steampunk theme also means that we get women who wear a little more, however, as anyone who plays Cryx knows, that doesn’t hold true for all factions. Most of the Cryxian Warcasters are a little less armoured than other factions and we even have a triumvirate of teenagers with side-boob capacity the envy of women twice their age.

Is it purely down to male flights of fancy that all these female figures are defined by a pretty standard set of guidelines. They are invariably thing with large chests, many of these bosoms on display as part of the model, sometimes even fully exposed rather than just a prodigious cleavage. Is there a need for it? I don’t think so, I am sure that sales of female figures would not dramatically decrease if we suddenly saw a reduction in the output of such things. Do we want to see fat chicks modelled? Well, probably not, we play in a stylised environment that is heavily male dominated. Male figures with wang all over the place would not be nearly as endearing to the female audience as busty beauties are to men. We use these games as an escape from our humdrum every day lives and therefore having scantily clad babes all over the place caters to the most base of male instincts. It’s amusing that a hobby that has matured over the years still sticks with those themes that may have piqued the interests of those of us who still play during those formative teenage years. Things probably haven’t changed to entice a new generation of players. It amuses me though that we can still stick to these things that inevitably draw criticism from other quarters regarding the portrayal of these characters. Now, it may be that women in the universes we play in are happy with their lot but if we want to encourage ladies to engage in our hobby and not feel objectified as soon as they step into a store perhaps we need to change how they are portrayed upon the tabletop?

THOSE models!


Yesterday afternoon before being carted away to the in-laws I got some time to sit down and assemble some of those models I’ve been Twittering about for what seems like an age. Kind of needed to at least make a start as it looks like this weekend is going to produce some gaming, not least of which is the Fantasy grudge-match between the Vampire Counts and my Daemons. I’ll be talking more of a concept in this post as well as providing specific examples, the reason behind this may get posted after things have appeared on Saturday as I don’t want to give away too much before the big day, so to speak.

Now, I’m sure everyone out there that has been involved in making models for their games is about to give one of those knowledgable bobs of the head confirming their consent to what I am about to speak about, you know what they are, THOSE models. These models you have glanced at, either in glossy magazines or on the pages of the geeky depths of the Intarwebz and declared that you must own it. Either due to its amazing quality of craftsmanship or its unbridled power on the tabletop. We all have models we really love and the sculptor obviously took his time when putting it together. However, when the manufacturer took decisions on how to break it down in order to be packaged and then assembled by you or I that person seems to have had an overwhelming case of the brain farts! I’ll give you a specific example as a starter for ten, the Tomb Kings Screaming Skull Catapult, in game terms it’s pretty evil and the model it decent too, however, trying to put that thrice-cursed model together is an exercise in futility. Now matter how much glue or green stuff you chuck at that thing you still need about four additional sets of hands to hold it together and it’s quite a substantial size of model,

I’ve also heard things about Mortenebra from Warmachine, she has loads of little spider legs that go (or don’t go as the case may be) around her base. Problem is that these things are tiny, therefore not conducive to being pinned and with a very small contact area for any glue to hold. I was assembling a new model over the weekend that fell into just this kind of category, not matter which way you choose to build it the pose and bulk of the model make it hard to hold together, this gets even worse when some of the parts are ill-fitting and are going to need a lot of green stuff later on to plug the holes before I get around to painting it. If the model looks good (or at least should when it’s finished) I find this adds even more frustration to the process of trying to get the damned thing to stick together.

I know lots of techniques, pinning, adding a small blob of greenstuff into the join, cleaning the parts first, scoring each side of the join to give the glue a better surface to grip to, but still, this thing almost got thrown across the living room. Bits fell off at various points even after vigorous attempts to get it to hold. What really gets my goat are joints where all the weight is at the other end of the piece, thus naturally the parts try to snap the bond you are trying to create, I just know that if this thing is unfortunate enough to ever have a brief relationship with the floor that I’ll be picking up the individual parts again even once I have filled in all the gaps with green putty. I thought therefore I’d add here my own list (in no particular order) of some of the most evil models I’ve ever had the misfortune of trying to assemble. Please feel free to comment and add your own;

  1. Any Warmachine Cryx spiderjack, those legs are evil and they don’t ever stick to their base.
  2. Witch Coven Egregore, not so much of a problem to put together but mine is no longer attached to the base as the whole ball is supported on a stick thin piece of bendy white metal.
  3. The aforementioned Screaming Skull Catapult
  4. The new contender from yesterday….
  5. Pink Horrors, one piece models that get incredibly annoying when they come with horns or extra arms that need attaching…
  6. Obliterators, stupidly fiddly little weapons that need gluing into their fists… &*£%!@* annoying I tell you.

I am sure there are others but these are the ones that stick out in my mind as the royal pains in the lower back!

Gaming vs Simulation


So we play games. And more games. And if our wives will let us, will will do it while eating KFC and drinking Dr Pepper. Life can be good like that sometimes, relaxing with the mates, throwing dice and generally ganging up on the tyranid player whenever possible.

But here’s an angle I feel has slowly been sliding out of gaming in the last few years. And it’s actually due to gaming systems becoming better. Back in days of old when your average gamer thought chunky knitwear, beards and smoking pipes were the height of glamour, games were generally an excuse to push your finely painted (albeit with a roller soaked in blue humbrol enamel) model Frenchmen around a table; while your friend pushed around some equally dazzlingly detailed Redcoats that looked like they had been cast by the teletubbies on a gas hob with lead stolen from their grandmother’s bathroom.

Rules weren’t really that important. What was important was the detailed historical ‘debates’ about how the Redcoats were better shots because this happened at this battle, and how the French artillery was better organised because of this event blah blah blah. Overall it was a good excuse to have a lively debate about common interests while the wife was busy curtain twitching.

The games therefore were based somewhat in history… which meant they were nearly always simulations. No battle ever fought in the history of the world ever was balanced, and the sock and sandal wearing gamers of old knew this and incorporated it into their games. Then came the sweeping reformations of decent games (popularised largely by Games Workshop), and slowly games became, well, more game like. Slowly, games becamed balanced, akin to chess. No longer were battles fought and won by daring generals who out-manovered a much larger force.

What we now play then, with the likes of Warhammer 40,000 is the super refined, super condensed ‘arcade’ version of battles. It matters not that your army is highly mobile, or that it excels at long range combat – you are going to end up slugging it out in a meeting engagement on a tiny 6×4 battlefield. There is no opportunity on a table of that size for fast units such as landspeeders to actually use their speed to their full potential and outmanouver slow formations. You know they are gonna get crumped in close combat by about turn two, which to me seems daft. A unit like that would harass slow moving infantry indefinitely, much like horse archers from ancient history. They wouldn’t harass the infantry for a bit, then run out of table, then get crumped by an ork with a power klaw. Similar story for some of the massive artillery available. Having a tank with a massive cannon ending up with melta bombs in its exhaust after turn three seems unreaslistic. What the heck was happening before the armies closed to point blank range and the battle began?

Then there is the issue of balance. Games are now balanced so armies can fairly fight each other. This is also taking into account that the battle will be fought on a miniscule field. Makes sense from a fun perspective, but life is never fair.

I hope you can see the point I am making. Modern wargames are essentially games with fairness, speed and fun in mind, and are not true representations of battles fought. If you want a more realistic experience, then hark back to the days of our chunky knitwearing forbears. Make the playing field as big as you can. Set up one side in defense for a change. Let the defenders set up all the terrain (good real-life generals will pick where to fight). Make sure the armies do not in the slightest bit balance. Make up some kind of scenario (battles always had an objective). Most importantly, enjoy the experience.  Let me know how your games fare!

Remember, you will have more excuses when you lose!