Tag Archives: Warhammer

Nostalgia is a Dish Best Served With a Side of PWNAGE!

Over the years the Sherriff and his motley crew have made a lot o’ games besides the main titles of Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 and more recently Lord of the Cash Cow Rings.  If you walk into a store today you will only find the main titles, gone are the days when a GW store held a plethora of games set in the universes that they had created. We’ve seen some truly excellent tiles come and go, even Epic which was given a lot of support during my time starting in the hobby has drifted into a game with nearly no releases and supported by a hardcore fanatical few.

While I am sure that GW have their reasons for this I think that the company I grew up with has lost something with this lack of diversity they currently have. These days I spend relatively little on my GW purchases whereas when I was younger there were always new releases coming out for the various games and I’d be at my local GW at least once a week to see what was there and pick up the new shinies. With current prices I’d probably have to sell off my wife to fund such exuberance but hopefully you get the picture.

I’ve made mention before of the fact that some of these “specialist games” as they are now termed were amazing. Necromunda is still up there as one of my favourite games of all time, however, there is another game that I enjoyed and actually managed to get my younger brother to play as we grew up. Yes, the picture at the start of the page gave it all away a couple hundred words ago… sue me.

It was during our gathering for our little Superbowl party that I began thinking about a game called Blood Bowl. We were four gamers sat around watching the most viewed sporting event of the year and there is a game based (loosely) on Football, surely this should be something we could investigate. I remembered that my Dad had bought a copy when it came out and had the Death Zone expansion as well. He dropped it off this weekend when he and my Mom came to visit my wife and I.

Looking over it the whole thing is complete and I was even astounded to find that one of the many teams I had bought back in the early nineties was still in there, my all metal Chaos team. Coupled with the plastic Humans and Orcs there is a good diversity of teams sitting around right now. I spent many an afternoon playing my brother at BB, it was one of the few GW games he’d actually agree to play. Now, none of the other denizens of the floating citadel may want to play it at all, but we’ll have to give them the chance. Older GW games were a lot more tongue in cheek than the current offerings, things weren’t taken anywhere near as seriously, hence why gems like this are now unsupported. Even though for some reason the Sherriff still has copies for sale on its website although at twice the price it was when it first hit store shelves.

I’ve started to re-read the rules and the fact there’s only ten pages of them really gives you a feel for how things used to be with these games. They were pretty easy to pick up and play, wouldn’t take half as long as the major games systems and were generally just a bit of fun. I know that Blood Bowl still has an active community out there in Internet land and there are PC versions of the game to appease fans all over the place. However, from a personal point of view, nothing beats getting your buddies over, grabbing some snacks and pounding their figures into the dirt as they try to catch a long bomb!

I may be older and seeing things through rose-tinted spectacles but I loved these side games and I think the market is poorer for their loss.


Miniatures Gaming – Voting with your Wallet

If any of you out there in Internet-land are like me, not only is the world doomed, but when you first got into miniatures there was really only one place you could go. I was introduced to the hobby through my Dad, I remember being taken into the stores and looking at all the stuff on display, two Rhinos for £5 and the like. I understand that there were other miniature games around, a million different sets of historical rules for every period following Adam and Eve’s departure from the Garden of Eden for example.

However, it was the high street presence of the Sherriff’s crew that was likely the reason that many of us first engaged with the imaginary worlds crafted b Priestley and co. I spent most of my youth (and money) on things like Necromunda, Warhammer 40,000 and a few bits here and there for fantasy, I bought every issue of White Dwarf that came out and had models for nearly every system going.

Much is made on public forums about the Sherriff’s business model of raising taxes on us poor folks, odd isn’t it how our oft-used metaphor actually fits in quite well with English mythology? I remember a time when you could get a box of plastic troops, entirely the same of course, for a few coins, of course you’d end up with a unit looking exactly the same but for the time this really wasn’t an issue. Metal models were around £3 each and most units came in blister packs rather than the regiment sets we are used to in more modern times. The quality of the models has of course increased dramatically and we get optional extras galore with the newer plastic kits. However, now more than ever people complain about consistent increases in prices.

I was reminiscing with friends over the weekend about how you used to get vouchers in White Dwarf for sales and store re-openings. You’d be able to get 3 for 2 on boxed sets and blister packs, £5 off the boxed games etc… they even had sales to shift old stock. None of this is carried over into the same high street stores that carry the legacy of my childhood spent in the hobby. OK, I have more disposable income now and I understand the principles of inflation, but when you have 10 plastic miniatures for £25 you have to consider how you spend. I know there are a lot of customers who only purchase through eBay or discount stores and I don’t blame them. GW haven’t done themselves any favours, but they do tend to have a loyal fan base that may decry price rises and yet still throw money at the same company.

What we need is a Robin Hood to rescue us from the evil of overpriced toys. The problem is that we still enjoy these games and with GW still having that high street presence, even if it is one guy on minimum wage staffing it full-time, you have an advantage there over the competition.

While looking for that Robin Hood the fact that GW has a long-established legacy in the market also means that it has a dominant position. Now, over the past decade or so that dominant position has begun to erode. I remember early in the noughties when I got into Confrontation it was something of a revelation. I’d had my eyes opened that there were other games out there with models that simply blew away what GW were making at the time (I imagine their dominant market position had led to laziness for pushing the boundaries on what they made). Skirmish was something I was wholly unfamiliar with, the exception being Necromunda which is still probably my favourite GW game ever. Yet Confrontation had a lot going for it,, it is unfortunate that bad management and poor decisions have since led to their demise.

Not all was lost however, Privateer Press came on the scene and stomped into the gaming arena with an amazing system that was a joy to play.  Setting up your force was easy and you got the basic rules in the starter boxes so could play right away with what you picked up in the store. Something very hard to do with any of GWs products without heavy investment in the starter boxes and even then, the armies weren’t really balanced to fight with. PP grew out of their success and capitalised on taking players off GW, this led to games and eventually an updating of the rules. However, Warmachine is now not a cheap game to get into with all the different options and factions available. Plus there are a lot of big, expensive metal models now. I’d still consider it a game worth playing though.

Then there are the other skirmish games. True, no-one quite does large-scale battles like GW does, but then you’re looking at spending a lot more money to play it. In an age of austerity such as we are now entering I wonder about the long-term future of GW and its model. Now really is the time of the smaller games, where you don’t need to drop 100 models to play at the point the rules were designed for. It is quite possible to get a game right now where the investment is less than £50 and you have a fully playable army to the normal level for that game. Many of these are not as full of glaring writing errors and special rules abuses. A lot of games also present the rules for free online as a download rather than in a disgustingly over-priced tome.

You might wonder why I am writing such a GW bashing post, well, I certainly don’t want to be seen as a GW basher. I’ve enjoyed their products over the years and still do. I have a 3000pts Fantasy army and a lot of stuff for War of the Ring and bits now for 40k. With my circumstances about to change forever though I look at the amount of money it would cost me to finish my Dark Eldar, then look at the current feelings and trends of my play group and it looks more and more likely that I would get next to no use out of them. I may have been waiting a long time for the new models but after having spent the better part of £100 and needing to spend around the same again to complete the army it doesn’t look like it will happen.

Following on from my earlier post about skirmish games there are some out there where the layout is like I said earlier. For £50-£60 you can have a pretty large force with options for swapping around or playing larger games now and again. It may then be that through unplanned and organic means I’ll never play 40k again, I still have some stuff to shift on eBay that may result in me finishing the army, at the moment though it is just going to be a painting project on the side.

The landscape of gaming has changed and will continue to do so for sure. I’ll have my War of the Ring and Warhammer for the big game fixes but I can see the fact that being on a tighter budget will drive how much I consume more now than ever and the skirmish market seems by far the best way of getting my fix.

The more people cotton on to this the slimmer the Sherriff’s market will become. While I don’t want to see the company fold, there must be a threshold whereby the constant increases in prices plateaus. While GW customers do tend to have a pretty good disposable income I know that there are a lot of people who have been forced to stop because they can no longer afford what they’d like to buy. Then there is the morality of continuing to fund an organisation that seems blind to its customers.

I’m looking forward to seeing how our playing goes this year. We’ll have to set up a weekend again soon and go at it, 6 Inch Move style. Having a foreknowledge of some of the projects that may spring up this year, certainly should be interesting here on the blog!

Skirmish Games – WTB PST!

A Skirmish Team, Yesterday

In June of last year I wrote a post posing questions about how people choose what games they play. When you look at it it was really just a bit of a diatribe on how we’ve ended up playing what we are playing. Looking at the second list on that post and what we’ve done gaming wise things have changed slightly, inevitably things do as real life happens, let’s review and see where we are now.

  • Warhammer 40,000
  • War of the Ring
  • Malifaux
  • Warmachine
  • Firestorm Armada
  • Dungeons and Dragons

This was the list as was, below is the list according to stuff we’ve actually played recently;

  • Warhammer 40,000
  • Warhammer Fantasy (Just me and Gribblin)
  • Malifaux (Just me and nBreaker and we need another game soon!)
  • Firestorm Armada
  • War of the Ring
  • Dungeons and Dragons (although I need to pen the next part of the campaign soon)

Warmachine, despite being popular has not been touched for ages. In all honesty we haven’t played any Firestorm for a while either and Gribblin has the rules and a Starter set for Dystopian Wars. I imagine he’d like someone to play against but I’m somewhat distrustful of Spartan’s business model. In under a year we’ve got 3 games each with starter sets and they aren’t exactly a huge company. There are other games on the horizon and I wonder how they are going to sate their customers who play only one of their offerings, although I imagine that many of them play all three. I do wonder how long it will be before even those playing all three games start complaining that there aren’t enough releases for one of the games.

When we were out and about on Monday I overheard the comment that one of the team was looking for a decent skirmish game. Now, as regular readers may know, this is my favourite kind of game. I know that Gribblin prefers his big sweeping regiments kind of games and I have room to accommodate that too, but small games are awesome because they cost less to get into, take less time to play and are more in-depth.

The range that was being looked at at the time was Infinity, a game I have the first edition rulebook for and used to have some models before selling them off. It was voiced that this game is quite complex and it is. Obviously we also have Warmachine, however, considering how much you need to play properly I view Warmachine and Hordes as a kind of halfway-house between skirmish and army games. A basic army will have more models in a squad than a typical skirmish game has in total. I think what is being looked for is something more akin to Confrontation 3.5 and that was an excellent game, even with its complexity but you could play it straight away due to the fact the rules were included with each blister pack.

Over the Christmas period I’ve spent some time looking into proper skirmish games, games that require a maximum of around 7 or 8 figures to play the default level of game. This kind of game is proper skirmish in the vein of the now deceased Confrontation and due to the number of models required is pretty easy on the wallet too. While your typical Games Workshop army for any system will set you back around £200 just for models, the skirmish games will come in at around £50 a 75% saving. It’s also lighter on the storage requirements which tends to keep wives/girlfriends happy.

Rulebooks these days tend to come in around £20 and providing you’re not GW there are no army books required either, you get everything you need in the one book (although I have to give props for War of the Ring having everything in the main book).

Luckily, the number of skirmish games right now provides a lot of choice to the consumer. The one problem with skirmish games though is the somewhat insatiable enthusiasm of gamers. While it may be that a skirmish game costs only 25% of the cost associated with an army game your average gamer cannot resists pretty models and therefore splashes out more cash on a second or third faction for a game, thus raising the expenditure towards the level of the army type games anyway. Self-restraint can be difficult at the best of times but decent looking models really can wear down a gamer’s resolve.

Off the top of my head I can list a number of skirmish games that might scratch the itch for the inhabitants of the floating citadel, providing a cheap game to get into and vastly reduced quantities of stuff to transport to gaming sessions;

  • Eden
  • Hell Dorado
  • Anima: Tactics
  • Infinity
  • Malifaux
  • Freebooter’s Fate

These would be my top picks. Eden has starter boxes that come with the rules included. Hell Dorado was sold off and the resurrection of the franchise is upon us with an English rulebook expected to drop soon along with new starter sets. Anima has some amazing models and requires only a handful of models, this was one of the major investigations I was doing over Christmas, you can also get the entire rules free online. Infinity has some gorgeous stuff, however, it was mentioned that it is quite complicated in its rules and you need a bucket-load of terrain to play it. Malifaux is already in 6 Inch Move HQ, however, I know some people have reservations about it with regards to the balance of certain models and the vast swathe of special rules each model has. Still, from a personal point of view it’s easy to learn the basics of the game and the special rules for each model are where your strategy comes from. Freebooter’s Fate I’ve looked into only slightly, although any fantasy game that requires no dice, one card deck among all players and has lots of pirates is on to a winner from the start.

As was mentioned in my post last year, the games we play generally come from consensus, although there are the times when one of us runs out and buys some stuff and the others take a look and then do the same. Obviously with a casual play group you want to be careful about spending other people’s money for them, hence why I don’t own a great raft of stuff and then try to get others to play them. The consensual side of things keeps everything amicable as people voice whether they are happy or not.

My top picks from the above list, discounting Malifaux, would be either Anima or Freebooter’s Fate. Anima has a vast array of stunning models to get and while Freebooter’s Fate does have some expensive models, they are very good and you need a handful to play at the default level.

We’ll have to see if anything new comes up this year in terms of the games we play, a decent skirmish game would get me excited though. Maybe we all need to save money and just start playing some Warmachine instead?

Asking the Big Questions; Metal Vs Plastic

Believe it or not, there is a universal topic that can divide gamers. It’s rare to find anyone that straddles both camps, normally feet are planted firmly in one ideology or the other. There are two main options and while others do exist the majority held by the first two camps dismiss any others into obscurity so that they are rarely, if ever, considered a part of the argument. What can this argument be? And how does it relate to the seemingly random image posted at the start of yet another diatribe from your favourite undead buccaneer?

The models that we play our games with generally come in one of two flavours, metal or plastic. Historically our metals were made out of lead but due to namby pamby european sensibilities new alloys are used in many cases. Plastic comes in many forms and formulas, from the hard resin style favoured by Privateer Press to the “normal” plastics we love from our friendly northern Sherriff.

When I first thrust myself into the fantastical worlds of our hobby it was metal models that dominated everything, plastics were virtually unheard of except for vehicles and some larger boxed sets. The boxed editions of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 introduced more mainstream plastic lines and (in GW’s case) the propensity towards plastic models has increased. While there are still plenty of metal models around no longer do you have to play a game where you carry a metric ton and a half to each game. Games Workshop have led the way with this and now we see such offers as Kings of War from Mantic being entirely plastic, Privateer have recently released their ‘Jack kits in plastic with troops and starter sets also having ditched the metals.

Plastic sets on the whole tend to cost less than their metal counterparts although the dastardly Sherriff is doing his best to rectify this with the oft maligned, inflation-busting price increases for which the Nottinghamshire-based villain is renowned. Yet, there are die-hard fans of metal models, I know first-hand from the older Confrontation community (before all this pre-painted rubbish) that the fact the models were metal was one of the great selling points for their range. The fact the models were fantastic also helped. Therefore the metal vs plastic debate tends to polarise the gaming community while supporters of one stick vehemently to their medium and vice-versa.

For example, esteemed writer and Space Marine suicide machine Servitob is a lover of all things plastic (quote not to be used out of context!). Show him a metal model and normally he goes a funny shade of green! I myself have tried to remain neutral in this fight, I’ve appreciated some metal models for a long time but the simplicity of plastics is a great boon when you’re putting together hordes of figures. However, I have now chosen a side due to an experience I had recently when assembling my Warhammer army. I don’t want to ruin the surprise of what is included in my Fantasy force I’m hoping to break out this weekend (only one model left to build!) therefore I’m going to leave some of my details deliberately vague.

Sunday afternoon/evening while enjoying watching the NFL coverage on Sky I gave myself the task of assembling all the metal models I needed for my army. These tend to take more time and effort than the plastics due to the difference in their construction medium. Some of the models I have in my collection are renowned as being particularly difficult to assemble due to small contact areas and fiddly parts. With plastic this is not an issue, slap on some liquid poly and the glue melts the two halves together and forms a solid, nigh-unbreakable bond. Superglue by comparison however, seems to buy the two parts a drink and then involve itself in an overly elaborate scheme to get the two parts to hit it off, perhaps over a romantic dinner at an expensive restaurant, walks on the seafront and romantic getaways for far off exotic lands. Eventually getting the happy couple to tie the figurative knot and bind themselves in a blissful union until someone bangs the table and they fall helpless to the floor.

Anyone that has put together a metal model will have their own set of horror stories to share regarding some fiddly part or another, a sadists idea of how a model should be split up for assembly causing almost suicidal thoughts from even the most expert modeller as the horrible maelstrom of metal, green stuff and superglue combines into what you hope is the way in which the model is supposed to look. It’s a bonus if you manage to avoid gluing any body parts in these situations!

By comparison plastic is a joy! No matter how small the part a dab of glue can hold it in position for centuries, even the death-dive floorward will not faze a bonding area smaller than a flea’s testicle. Luckily the majority of my Fantasy army is plastic, the same is true of my impending Dark Eldar. While the odd metal model here and there is almost inevitable (I have a lot of them coming up for War of the Ring) the joy of plastic really does stand in stark comparison to the sometimes brain-addling, super-human efforts required to get metal to stick to metal.

In many ways a plastic model these days is almost indistinguishable from their metal counterparts once painted. See below;

"The spikes tell you I is metal!"
Plastic fantastic! And no loss of detail.

I know some people prefer the weight of a metal model as it is harder for them to topple over but once they do go over you are going to at least bend that spindly part or even worse, see it plunge in slow-motion towards a spirit crushing impact on even the most soft of cushioned carpets. Unless of course you add even more metal than a road traffic accident victim in terms of pinning the living crap out of it.

Plastic provides many more benefits, with current modelling processes they can be as detailed as metal and are a lot easier to clean, trim and assemble. The great strides that have been made in this regard contributes to the increasing frequency of plastic models and I for one am grateful for this. I cannot think of a plastic model that has ever frustrated me as much as some of my metals have. I’m an almost 20 year veteran so would like to think I am pretty experienced in assembling these things by now and after all this time I can firmly place myself in the camp that unashamedly declares;

“Plastic is better!”

Warhammer 8th Edition – Exploration of Magic Items

Not only have we (very) recently witnessed the shattering of Azeroth and the changing of a world but a mere handful of months ago probably the biggest Fantasy tabletop game in the world underwent its latest major revision. There were a lot of changes made to the rules and, as with any set of changes, there was wailing and gnashing of teeth at the same time as some people were a little less dramatic about the state of their beloved game.

There were a lot of changes made, not least of all the increase in the number of pages in rulebook! Army building was changed with the new percentage system, meaning that in many cases the options for including Lords and Heroes increased. While the Internet was decrying this change when it was rumoured I don’t think it has turned out all too bad. With the increased number of magic items in the rulebook the ways in which you can kit out your heroes has also increased and I welcome this. Many of the magic items fill gaps that are present in some Armies books and while some of the magic items in those books became redundant with the new rules there are also some that became a lot better for their points!

Therefore I thought that for today’s post we’d leave behind the current spate of World of Warcraft posts and dive back into tabletop. As my own table is currently saturated with Warhammer figures, as a break from the painting and construction of my Fallen Realms (although I’ll need to build more ready for our next game), then perhaps we should take a walk through the different options there are for kitting out the bad asses that lead our armies to conquer our foes.

As with any unit that is added into an army roster, each character should have a role in mind. This should be something greater than just providing the Leadership bubble for being a General. While improving the leadership of the basic troops shouldn’t be underestimated in helping the rank and file to stick around in a tight spot, it should not be the sole purpose of a character that often has far more utility than a normal GI.

In any army list there are generally two options for Lords or Heroes, these are the Mage and the Warrior. While there are variations of these within lists these archetypes hold true for the vast majority of Armies books. If a character has a magic level it should be relatively obvious that the character is a Mage, these chaps are not generally much use in a fight, there are exceptions to this such as Vampires (of the non-sparkly kind), Ogre Butchers and Wizards of Chaos springing immediately to mind. There are also characters that blur the lines somewhat such as Tomb Kings and Princes, primarily combat characters that have a smattering of magic and of course items such as the Wizarding Hat that, while taking up your entire magic items allowance for a Lord, can give a surprise to an opponent.

As Wizards tend to have a defined role based upon their magic abilities and what spell lore you pick I’m going to focus my time on the more combat oriented characters. While Magic can and will win you games under 8th edition, if you are anything like me, nothing is as satisfying as a tooled up combat lord going all bat-poop crazy and smashing in faces. Many are the tales of titanic clashes between Lords as Gribblin and I have squared off to see who manages to get that killing blow (sometimes literally).

In the spirit of assigning roles to characters there are probably 3 main roles that spring to mind; number one, character or mage hunting, number two, cutting down troops and number three, monster or war machine hunting. Certain races characters can obviously cater more or less to any of these specialities and the diversity in Armies books changes where you might look for those roles to be filled. The Magic Items available in each list can also have an impact however, for the purpose of this investigation we are going to look purely at the BRB as these generic items are available to everyone other than those dirty, dirty Daemons and the diminutive Dwarfs.

Within any of these roles there are degrees of course, do you go all out offense, balanced defence or unkillable? Each of these options have merit and some may be better suited towards specific roles than others. How good the characters are at these roles will also be dictated somewhat by the race of those characters. A Human Elector Count is not as beefy in combat as a Vampire or Chaos Lord for example, but is also dramatically cheaper.

Let’s have a look at some items then. An offensive combat lord may likely take some items from his own list to improve his efficiency but the BRB itself has some pretty tasty items. The sharp end of combat is going to be in the weapons category, an all out offensive Lord is probably going to forgo the choice of armour or a ward save because he’s probably going to live in a unit where his armour is the warm bodies around him.

The Giant Blade can be a nasty surprise when going up against a poncy Elf with a fancy hairdo, however, 60pts for only one more strength than a Great Weapon might not be worth it. Sure you wouldn’t be striking last and your attacks are magical but you pay through the nose for it. Perhaps you’d be better off with a Potion of Strength for far fewer points to win that important combat.

Sword of Bloodshed isn’t too bad, if your Lord has a high WS anyway the extra attack are more likely to hit, more hits equals more chances to wound which improves your chances of crumping whatever it is you are fighting against. The Obsidian Blade doesn’t seem worth it but the Ogre Blade gets around the major problems of the Great Weapon (Always Strike’s Last) and is much cheaper than the Giant Blade. A High Elf with this would be a combat monster, with high WS, ASF and +2 Strength, could surprise someone who isn’t expecting it for an easy to swallow points investment. The Sword of Strife is the junior to the Sword of Bloodshed, slightly smaller effect for a cheaper points cost so can go on a Hero rather than a Lord or leave more room on a Lord for other goodies.

Fencer’s Blades provide an extra attack for being paired and certainly make the enemy easier to hit, however, I would think this item more balanced between offense and defence as while you hit more easily you are also more difficult to hit, the extra attack is the only real bonus here and therefore on a strictly offensive character killing build you’re probably going to go for something with a little more oopmh! Sword of Anti-Heroes would seem to fit out offensive character killer to a tee, yet, while this may be the primary role for our Lord we also need to consider how much use he is going to get out of his equipment. If there are no characters in a combat we are involved in you can still pick out unit champions but then you’re wasting the bonuses of this sword going for overkill or even being stuck taking out rank and file. The Spellthieving Sword should be left at home, considering a combat Lord will likely kill a Mage in one or two swings (and they generally can’t cast magic against you whilst in combat) robbing them of spells seems like a waste of points for your combat monster.

Sword of Swiftslaying provides one of the most useful special rules and a character with decent Initiative benefits even further from those handy re-rolls. If you have a character with a decent base strength (or one that is buffed from spells) this really comes into its own, especially in challenges which is where I’d imagine you’d be making the most use of your uber-character killer. Really the only other weapon worth a mention considering what we are tasking the Lord with doing and thinking of possibilities for weapons from a races own lists is the Gold Sigil Sword. Low Initiative races benefit greatly from this, not least for the surprise factor of striking before a generally faster opponent (usually an Elf).

To prevent this becoming an absolute behemoth of a post I’ll split it up, we can look at the other magic items options in another post, so, stay tuned for a further examination of the BRB items.

Conventions in Painting – Work Area

After a recent diversionary foray into building my 3000pts Warhammer army I’ve readjusted my priorities towards getting my War of the Ring stuff painted. Saturday night saw the recently expanded (welcome Carabus) 6 Inch Move team released from their individual cells to commune in one of the floating citadels grand gaming halls (Servitob’s lounge). It’s been a while since we’ve done so, so long in fact that Gribblin just stayed away and spent time with his girlfriend!

After a game of Firestorm Armada, we sat around talking about War of the Ring, in fact, Carabus and I were talking about it while Servitob and nBreaker were playing. This has done a lot to rekindle the fire I had when I first bought the rulebook, the fire that meant I actually had a fully painted unit for a game I was going to play prior to playing. In order to facilitate this change I have cleared my working area (no, the picture if not of my work area) and moved all my Warhammer bits away. I was going to fully assemble the Warhammer stuff to give me something to game with while I was painting the War of the Ring, but really, I’d be better off painting my War of the Ring and then assembling my Warhammer stuff. The plastics are pretty decent and easy to do but the off few metal items I have need more extensive work with greenstuff and maybe some pinning too.

After having cleared stuff away and had a tidy up I’ve reviewed the amount of space I take up as well as the amount of stuff I have out. Currently I have the Easterlings sitting on my mat along with my usual pallet and water pots (one for metallic and one for normal paint) along with a few tools. All my paints are stored in a little cardboard box and I put my brushes and tools in here when they need moving. The only paints that are on the mat are the ones I am using for the particluar model at hand, this means I have within easy reach the seven colours that comprise my Easterling paint job. This is a trend I want to try to continue as the virtue of a clean and tidy painting area is worthwhile sticking too.

The more crap we clutter up our work areas with the greater the temptation to move onto something else. It can be quite a daunting task looking over a fully ranked up unit let alone a whole army. As I’ve talked about before I’ve broken my army down into a structure that provides a range of things to paint. I already have over the 1000pts we’ll be using to play although the parts I am not using will stay safely wrapped up until we have played and I have therefore painted that 1000pts.

A clean paint area also means that I can find what I need, organising things as I have should allow me to focus on actually getting the models painted, the Easterlings have a deep wine red as one of their main colours, this is a pain to paint as it is quite thin normally out of the bottle and I thin it some more to get better coverage. While I have the unit arranged I can see how far I am through finishing the whole formation and while this may seem daunting to start with as each one gets a coat of paint for a particular area the workload decreases. I need to reign in my fickle nature now and continue to get stuff done, interspersing painting with some Mass Effect 2 should help keep me committed as I get a reward for having so much done, unfortunately that exact amount is a little arbitrary right now.

So Interwebz, I’d like to exhort you to the benefits of maintaining a tidy work area. Not only will this help you out in terms of reducing potential wife-aggro but should also provide a safer environment for all your loot. I know how frustrating it can be to not be able to find something so organising everything or even just sitting down and thinking how you could do it better is a worthwhile exercise in all aspects of life. Now that I’ve taken the time to clear things away and streamline what I have ready I’m looking forward to getting it painted again, at least until I make a start on those multi-coloured Haradrim infantry…

Warhammer and Comp Restrictions – A Viewpoint

Wow, I suppose that this is another milestone, the 250th post here on 6 Inch Move. We’re certainly crunching through numbers here recently. I suppose that with so many cool things being released at the moment (new version or Warhammer, expansion for Malifaux) that there is a lot of things to write about, even if we here at the floating citadel are experiencing a drought after a month that was filled with all kinds of gaming goodness. I suppose we each just have a lot going on at the moment, I know I do.

Yet, even if we are not spending every night with a paint brush in hand or stopped over a table filled with little plastic men, we will not let the Internet down by spewing forth our thoughts on the gaming hobby. Following on from yesterday’s opinion post I wanted to really push the boat out and make another one. We’re boarding up the windows of the citadel, just in case the tweens have developed some kind of long range siege weaponry.

As I stated in yesterday’s post I am not a tournament player, although I read enough articles and forum posts to understand what goes on and the kind of armies that people take. There is also one particular point, that, while not universal to all tournaments, crops up often enough and can be quite divisive with many people being “for” it and equally as many being “against”. This system is Composition or Comp as it is more widely called. The basic premise of this is that various people (not GW developers) take the army lists and the rules and then change things around. Primarily these restrictions and changes are there to “balance” the perceived differences in the army power levels. Sometimes Comp is used in this restrictive format, other times players are asked to score one another’s armies (it is generally accepted that many players will mark an opponent down if they lose to them).

There are many different systems and variations of those systems in use, your tournament score can be affected if you take certain units or models and certain things are banned altogether. With the new spell lores in 8th edition I have read about sets of Comp restrictions that remove access to the top spells from some of the lores. Historically Daemon armies were the focus of some quite horrific restrictions to stop them being “broken” or “auto-win” and there were many arguments back and forth on various forums about whether this was fair or not and if Daemon players were being penalised because other players were not stepping up to the challenge and just whining that they couldn’t win taking their normal armies.

First off, I suppose I need to put forth my stance on tournaments and how I see them. For me wargames are about competition in general, you are trying to win against the player opposite you according to the specifics of the game/scenario you are playing. While at home this is done with a bit more of an atmosphere about having a laugh and enjoying the game in a relaxed manner, in a tournament I’d expect a more cut-throat “win at all costs” attitude as you are being rewarded according to your success. While some people might go just to play some games against some new opponents if you are paying money to go to one to these things and there are prizes on offer I’d hope that each person goes there with an attitude to try to win.

Within this environment you are therefore going to try to make the most optimal and strong lists possible to give yourself the best chance of winning, I mean, hey, it’s a tournament you’re supposed to try to win right? That is what I’d expect. Now, from that stance you can probably quite easily work out which side of the comp argument I come down on. I can hear the counter arguments already, “but some armies are better, we need comp to balance things to make the games fairer!” I am sorry but I say “suck it up”, do you think that Leonidas stood in the Hot Gates with his 300 Spartans (I know there were more men at Thermopylae than just the Spartans) and looked over the Persian horde and said “man, these teams are stacked, Xerxes, why don’t you send some of your guys over to play skins to even things up a bit?” Somehow, I don’t think so.

My main argument against Comp is that you are changing things around with the rules and the army books, arbitrarily altering people’s choices because certain things are too strong. I hope people can see my argument there, I can agree that GW should write books that are more or less similar in their power level but a perfect balance is not something that is ever going to be achieved, this is a tournament after all. While in the confines of our own home we play around with units and armies to have fun in a competitive setting the winning is not the be all and end all of the game. In tournaments it is, yes that may mean that we only see a few armies at a tournament, the perceived “strong” ones, but that doesn’t stop someone from coming up with a winning list from something outside that group when the playing field leans in a particular way. If you are going to a tournament why wouldn’t take the strongest list you can? Doesn’t that give you the greatest chance of winning?

Results show that there isn’t just one army that blitz’s all before it, if there was then I’d imagine that everyone would take that list, on a good day any one army can take another due to the fact that a sizeable part of the game comes down to luck. Dice rolls make a lot of the decisions on what happens irrelevant of the strategy of the general.

Personally I don’t think that Warhammer in its new incarnation lends itself much towards tournament play, there are a lot of options and a lot of random elements. Plus there is the decisive nature of some of the top spells, I understand why some organisers want to nix these in order to try and create a more tournament friendly rules set. However, when anyone does this it detracts from the game by superseding what the games developers were trying to achieve when they wrote the game. I’m not saying that Warhammer players shouldn’t hold or attend tournaments in 8th Edition, I just have the opinion that there are other games that lend themselves better to tournament play (Warmachine, Hordes and Malifaux spring straight to mind).

I dislike Comp because it removes options rather than allows players the full run of their armies. If you are attending a tournament you can pick what you take, no one is stopping you from taking the biggest, baddest list you can come up with and in a setting that glorifies winning, I don’t think you should ever be stopped or penalised from bringing the best you can. After all, if Warhammer were real a rampaging army wouldn’t ask one of their elite units to sit on the sideline because they are a bit too strong against their opponents, it’s just silly.