Tag Archives: Wargames

DropZone Commander – UCM Seraphim Strike Fighter


Today we have the UCM Seraphim Strike Fighter – a ground attack powerhouse according to David over at Hawk wargames.

I have to say that this fighter looks a beast! I expect a large payload capacity, on a sleek yet powerful looking airframe. The twin cockpit is interesting; the Seraphim looks like it has the capability of a Joint Strike Fighter with air to air and bombing capability. Very nice! πŸ™‚

Another nice miniature for ZombiePirate to swoon over.

UCM Seraphim Strike Fighter
UCM Seraphim Strike Fighter

Carabus

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DropZone Commander – PHR Juno A1 IFV


Today we have a picture from my beloved Post Human Republic, this time some armour in the form of the PHR Juno A1 variant IFV. Dave informs us that there is also a A2 variant which has a pair of miniguns. Sweet!

I believe that the silver socket on the turret is the connector to attach the Juno IFV to a carrier, this socket is seen on most of the miniature from the PHR faction, again nice attention to detail and consistency. I am not sure if this IFV is a front or rear engine, looks most likely to to be rear, but they maybe space for some infantry carrying ability? We will have to wait and see πŸ™‚

Enjoy.

PHR Juno A1 IFV
PHR Juno A1 IFV

Carabus

DropZone Commander – UCM Bear APC’s


Well today we have for you the UCM Bear APC.

I really like the clean lines and the small turret mounted weapons on the top for infantry support. I think I would paint the dome on the front as either an armoured drivers window or some sort of sensor. Until we have the rules for them it’s hard to tell what is best, but I think that would add some character. Looking at the front wheels it seems that the front pair turn together as the tyres are smaller than what must be the rear drive wheels. Nice attention to detail!
πŸ™‚

UCM Bear APC's
UCM Bear APC’s

Carabus

@carabus03

DzC – Scourge Warriors – Human hosts


Well lets start the Bank Holiday weekend with some more excellent infantry from Hawk Wargames, this time we have the Scourge Warriors – Human hosts.

My first though was, “what? I expected more alien looking infantry from the Scourge?” That before I read the “Human hosts” part. Ahh now they make sense.

Enjoy πŸ™‚

Scourge Warriors - Human hosts
Scourge Warriors – Human hosts

Carabus

DropZone Commander – A little for the weekend


Well I hope you are not all getting bored with all this DropZone Commander stuff I keep dropping on you, but as you can tell I am getting a little obsessed with these breath taking miniatures. So each evening I check to see what’s new on the interwebs and have even signed up to twitter to get tweets from Dave over at Hawk Wargames. Sad really πŸ™‚

So while checking mail a few blogs and forums I came across an interview with Dave and some more stunning pictures on Political Dice. I have to say it’s worth a read, and is an excellent interview getting Daves ideas of how he would like to take the game forward. Here are some of the great pictures pictures of the dropships from DropZone Commander. (I am sure you know the ganmes name by now)

Ahhh the beautiful Poseidon! πŸ™‚

Tired of Wargaming?


This is something that has been playing on my mind now for a few months, and I worry that I might actually be completely burned out with wargaming.

I have been part of this hobby for ages now, and it has always been good fun. Primarily I’ve been in it for the social aspect, the opportunity to meet with and have common interests with nerds from all over the galaxy has been great. The artistic modelling, painting, stories and narratives have all been a bonus, not to mention the incessant smack talk and DPZ.

I don’t think for a moment that I have a problem with the people in the hobby. I have made some awesome gaming buddies over the years. My current gaming group is amongst the best.

Without trying to sound too much like a prima donna though, I just think that gaming has got too commercial. It just seems to me that wargaming at present is just an endless cycle of imbalances, releases, further imbalances and further releases. Add in a heavy emphasis of win-at-all-costs style gaming and you’ve got a right royal banana skin. This is something that the sheriff has been keen to implement over the last few years to boost sales. I’m sure you regularly reading googlespiders are aware, but in practice it goes a little something like this:

1) Release game system
2) Release codex
3) Release slightly better codex
4) Release slightly even better codex
5) Rerelease game system to add more imbalances

But that’s not the whole story. In the background of all these cycles win-at-all-costs-gaming styles soon take precedence, whether intentionally or not. No-one likes to get trounced all of the time, so people with earlier codices or inferior army lists look to the internet and other sources to tweak their forces just to make them a bit more competitive. People then nudge their forces closer and closer to tournament standards as the cycle perpetuates. All of this obviously involves the purchase and painting of new miniatures or even new armies, so the games companies are happy to keep things cycling. Go to any games club to see the effects – hordes of new unpainted miniatures battling it out with hordes of other new unpainted miniatures in a vain effort to have a reasonably balanced game. Gaming ceases to be about fun and more about micromanaging your selections and purchases.

But what about the companies who do not adopt this approach? Much kudos to them. Remember, companies are out there to make money. Don’t forget that most games companies would like to sell as much stuff and with such incredulous mark-up as the market leaders. A case in point is Spartan Games, a niche games manufacturer. A few years ago they released ‘Uncharted Seas’, a decent but by no means perfect fantasy sea battle game. It was fun. Within what seemed like a few weeks they then went on to release and hype ‘Firestorm Armada’. Essentially the same game in space, with many improvements. Uncharted Seas almost became obsolete. Again, what seemed like a few weeks later they released ‘Dystopian Wars’ to further large amounts of hype, again a very similar style of game making their previous efforts almost like last year’s fashions. What they managed to do though was sell the Uncharted Seas fan 3 separate rule sets and probably 3 sets of models. Now there’s nothing wrong with this, and in fact I think their games are pretty good. Personally though this just makes me sigh, as none of these great games truly got the run they deserved. I know that no-one will be playing Firestorm Armada in five years time, as it is surpassed, overlooked and replaced by something newer and shinier. The great models sit there unpainted on eBay. The sad fact is that the new systems people will be playing will probably be no more fun than those they replaced. A few tweaks to suit a few tastes, but essentially games are games and not simulations. The gamers have not benefitted, only the companies that produce the stuff. See what I mean about gaming becoming too commercial? It’s unfair to single out a company like Spartan, as I reckon this could be applied to pretty much any company that needs to make a profit in the wargames market.

So what’s the future? For me, things have been quite fortunate of late. Recently at our gaming sessions we have been sticking to ‘boxed’ games. Games where force selection is severely limited or non-existent. There’s no need to buy and paint more models to counter your opponent’s latest models only to discard them in three months when something new comes along that renders your models obsolete. The games come ‘as is’, and are not going to be subject to errata or FAQs because they are so unbelievably complex or imbalanced. Games where there are no doubts over movements as tape measures are not required. Games such as Dust, Formula D, Blood Bowl and the co-operative experience of No More Room In Hell. Over the last few months I have found these types of games to be the most fun of all.

For sale: 5000 points of awesomely painted Space Marines soon to be hopelessly outclassed by the new Necron codex!

Where Do We Go From Here?


A few days ago I made a post about the much derided business model of the Sherriff and his gang. Following on from that I thought it would be interesting to hypothesise about the future of gaming as well as also take note of the past. Now I am in the fourth decade (think about it) of my life I’d like to think I have enough experience to comment on these kinds of things without being declared a fanboi or whatever is the current term for a detractor towards any of the companies in my hobby. I mean, I even managed to find a completely related image to start the post with, I was going to go with a simple question mark but then I found a dice with question marks on… my google-fu is strong today!

Anyway, I mentioned before that I started out with Games Workshop and I imagine that this may well ring true today as the high street presence of GW is superior to a local games store that has a more diverse range. When I started the hobby the competition was nearly non-existent and GW certainly had a much better product than anything else I came across. Pen and Paper RPGs were de rigueur and anything else was Magic: The Gathering. At least, that is how it was perceived through the eyes of a 12-year-old when I started looking around.

I personally got started with second edition 40k and have fond memories of the truly disgustingly unbalanced armies my teenage brain came up with. Despite friends falling by the wayside as we grew up I still kept going with my hobby and the ever-increasing expenditure required to keep it up. It wasn’t really until the early part of the 21st century that I really started to see viable alternatives show up on my radar. I saw Warmachine and was bowled over, they had some really nice models that were totally different to anything I’d encountered through Games Workshop and you could get a box of metal troops for like Β£12-14, the same as a basic 10 man plastic set from the Sherriff. While never bringing it to my play group I’d also gotten some pieces for Confrontation. Rackham produced some of the finest (literally and figuratively) metal models that I have EVER come across.

It was these that really began to open my eyes to the increasing level of competition to Games Workshop. By the time this was happening GW had changed from the company I had known in my youth. Gone were the sales and offers in White Dwarf, the magazine itself having gone downhill in quality over the years too. There were online stores that offered all kinds of things I’d never seen nor heard of and with these new games I only needed a handful of models to play. Confrontation minis came with a small rulebook in the blister allowing you to play without purchasing a rulebook, same with Warmachine, the basic rules were included in the starter sets. I don’t think GW could ever do this considering the length and complexity of some of their rules. I know of some games that have more complex rules but condense them into much smaller books than GW puts out and they are often much clearer, even when translated out of the non-English language they start out in.

However, the new market of competition has not been without its winners and losers, nor has it been static. While I think GW has struggled with this competition (something it has not been used to in the past considering its dominant market position) in the past few years we’ve seen a marked improvement in the quality of what has been released I feel. Unfortunately they still seem committed to their rather draconian price increases. You have to commend GW because even in the face of this they are still going strong while others have fallen. I speak of course of Rackham, the French company that was at one point going strong with Confrontation. They had amazing minis, I still have a few of them lying around. The version 3 rule set was interesting even with the dodgy translation to English and considering the updates they made for 3.5. However, the company scrapped the line and decided to go pre-painted (that’s a very short version of a whole host of events that could make a post on its own) and people voted with their wallets. Late last year the company finally ceased to be and we lost what could have been something much greater.

Privateer Press have done well with Warmachine and Hordes, however, they are not without issue themselves. Even with the new Mk2 platform Warmachine is not as cheap to get into as it used to be. Sure you don’t need to pick up the large number of books there were for Mk1 but PP have raised their prices too and come of the newer kits really are pricey. While GW will charge you Β£25 for 10 plastic models in some cases you can get 10 much chunkier metals from PP for a fiver more. I know that the denizens of the floating citadel love their plastics but I know of many that favour the solidity of cold, hard alloy.

Both games that I have mentioned however are also very different to Games Workshop, they are more skirmish games than army games, although with large-scale Warmachine games you do need a lot of figures and I know that Rackham had Ragnarok when Conf 3 was out, and that would cost you more than a GW army to build too. However, predominantly you’d need very few models to play. Over the years there are a vast array of skirmish games that have come to the market, some have kept going while others have failed, each trying to carve a niche in a pretty saturated marketplace. We’ve got games that work off dice and those that try to innovate through card decks or other more abstract systems.

We’ve even got a company made of ex-GW employees trying to do an army size game (there are others out there besides Mantic I know). What I see these days is that the juggernaut that is GW keeps rolling, like that big wheeled thing at the start of the second Transformers movie;

Many of the newer games seem like those NEST dudes or the other Auto-bots trying to take it down and grab some glory for themselves. I don’t think we’ve yet seen any company being the metaphorical Optimus Prime that’s going to be the final nail in the coffin of GW though. Obviously as long as there are players willing to spend money our games will continue to evolve. There are such a great set of options out there for anyone starting the hobby, GW are doing people a favour on one hand by getting people into the hobby and I like educating people about cheaper alternatives. I don’t think we will see a dominance of army games against skirmish games, nor vice versa, after all it’s the pricing point that becomes the important part of those equations.

For years the competition has been these skirmish style games, fewer miniatures but of a really high quality. An army game won’t match this in my opinion considering how many more models you generally need. But people also like those big sweeping battles and I see more new releases in this genre now we have so many skirmish games.

I don’t know if the market is going to go one way or the other. I know that personally I’m in favour of the skirmish offerings, especially now I am in the position of being really careful with my cashflow. A figure here and there is all I need to expand rather than having to boost or buy new regiments completely. Will GW survive with so many other snapping at their heels? The recent financials show increased profits against reduced sales, I reckon the way they have treated their customers will come back to haunt them at some point. You can only turn the screw so much on people and the screws are currently coming from a lot of directions for many.

How do you see the market developing? Is there something you see that I’ve missed? Are GW doomed and on a slow decline into real trouble? Is there a potential heir to the Sherriff’s thrown?