Tag Archives: Warmachine

Gouge Workshop – When is Enough Actually Enough?


m3280143a_60030104006_IyandenCodex01_873x627Yeah, I know, we’re flogging a dead horse again. You can tell from the title what is coming up and we may be recovering old ground but if people don’t speak out nothing changes. Not that it’s really all that likely that one small voice will make a difference but still, this is the Internet so why not give voice to my feelings, it is my blog after all.

First, some context. Before Christmas I got the new 6th Ed 40K box and have been slowly building a second army for it. I’ve also been building another army to go alongside my Ogres in Fantasy. I’ve got all the models I need for my Fantasy force and am a mere couple boxes off having all I need for my 40k army done too. However, I’ve not played a single game of Fantasy this year. Not at all, and even worse than that (maybe) I can count the number of GW games I played last year on one hand. They’re just not as popular with our group as a whole and it’s really only Gribblin and I that ever play each other.

So, why the volatile post title? Well, the clue, as the more eagle-eyed readers will have noticed, is in the image attached to this post. No-one that plays GW games is shocked by the constant price increases, we’re all well aware that they are not basing their prices off inflation in the UK, more like that of Zimbabwe. I am old and remember Codexes costing £10, they are now three times that price, yes they are full colour, yes they are hardback, I’ll concede that the presentation at least has improved. What I am not happy about is what I hope is not a new trend. The latest book out was Codex: Eldar, worth a mention in and of itself for the fact there’s a £70 model in their range now. I think someone took a look at what Privateer Press were doing and decided to hop on a bandwagon without realising that the entry cost to their competitor’s game is much lower. Thirty quid Codexes I’m not really happy about but can’t complain as I’ve bought a couple. What I really don’t like is the Direct Only Codex: Iyanden. I am not against supplements that allow you to change your army up and play to a theme, what I am against is that this book is only available from GW and costs the same as the original Codex! I know that there are going to be people who will not only buy this but will also defend it by virtue of the fact that you don’t HAVE to buy it. I know that, but the fact that there’s a company that thinks that what amounts to an addendum to a book, that is completely useless without the first book, should be the same price as that first book, well, that’s crazy to me.

I can show my displeasure by not buying it and choosing not to buy any more products from the company. Considering this latest decision by them I am really thinking about ditching all my GW stuff. It would make a lot of room available in my miniatures storage and would allow me much greater focus on the other games that I have. However, that’s not necessarily as easy as it seems. You see, GW’s real value is in the fact that, in the UK at least, they are everywhere. No matter where you go in this country you are going to be able to find people who play GW’s games. You’re less likely to find folks for other systems although I believe that WarmaHordes may be gaining a lot of traction these days. So, if I did get rid of it would I have to buy in again at a later date if I move house to somewhere that doesn’t have anyone to play X-wing or Dropzone Commander against. I do have some Warmachine but nowhere near a full armies worth.

So, rather than just rant at things here, let’s look objectively at some of the options we have for gaming and the various costs.

Budget GW entry: £65 for either Fantasy or 40k set, two basic armies that you could play through with the scenarios. Imbalanced in parts on either side. To play either properly add £60 for Codexes in 40K or £50 for Fantasy. So, budget entry just to play £115 or £120 if you’re not fussed about playing equal points games or how the game is balanced to play. Total: £120

Fantasy Entry: £45 main rules (yes I know you can get the mini rulebook off eBay for £20 but is someone new to the hobby necessarily going to be aware of that?) £30 army book, £70 battalion set and £12 for a character model. Depending on the battalion this might not be a valid army either, but should get you in the ball park of at least being able to play. Total: £162

40k Eldar Entry: Normal 40k should be pretty much the same as Fantasy, but if we take this as a measure of what GW might be doing for the future let’s put this together for the sake of completeness. £45 main rules again, £30 for the main Codex, another £30 for the Iyanden as that’s what we want to play. £70 Battleforce set and then £12 for a Farseer. Note that this may not actually include any of the units you really want for the Iyanden army, Wraithguard and a WraithKnight will set you back another £100. Total: £187

Dropzone Commander Entry: Rulebook £15, Starter Army £88, let’s even be generous and throw in a Cityscape so you have a complete battlefield to play on as well so £30. Total: £133

Warmachine Entry: Rulebook £20 for the Mk2 and a starter box for £35. Technically you don’t need the rulebook because of quick start rules in the boxes but for completeness against other options I think it’s fair. If you do want to really expand though you’re also going to be looking at another £20 for a softcover army book. Then the same again for the extra books to bring you up to date with everything, although technically these aren’t needed as cards are in with the models. But still, book purchases can get expensive as you add to stuff. Total: £55

Infinity Starter: Excellent game but has a huge learning curve. You’re also going to end up spending a lot on terrain for this one, but we’re not factoring that in to start-up costs. £30 for the rulebook and £30 for a non-sectorial starter set are all you are going to need. Total: £60

Malifaux Starter: Rulebook £20, starter set £26 and a deck of cards £5. Total: £51 

I left Dropzone Commander in here as it is widely seen as a very expensive game to get into. To play at the same level as the GW entries though the cost is fairly comparable and I even added in a full tables worth of terrain for you too so it isn’t a bad deal by any stretch of the imagination. For the other games you can see that the entry cost is literally half of the GW cost. Yes, I know that these are skirmish games and not mass army games but then 40k plays pretty much like a skirmish unless you are play Orks, Guard or Nids. Most other armies have a few squads and some vehicles which is not all that dissimilar to PP with some Jacks/Beasts and troops rounding our your army. All of these games play differently and I’ve by no means put down an exhaustive list of all the options available. Yet, we can see now just how badly GW are trying to gouge their position as market leaders and ubiquitous presence on tables the world over. I do know that GW have been losing customers because of their rather aggressive pricing and from speaking to my FLGS this is only going to get worse. This is the company that got me into tabletop gaming so while it may seem that all I do is rag on them I’m actually upset that they are trying so hard to destroy their legacy. I’d love them to carry on, to be the same company as it was when I would happily spend every penny of pocket-money I had on their new releases. Sadly though, I find myself once more contemplating abandoning them completely as I do not feel I can support a company that does so little for its customers while expecting them to pay through the nose at ever-increasing values.

 

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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?

ZombiePirate Announces His Retirement…


… from Warhammer Fantasy and 40k.

Yeah! This might take some explaining.

I have been involved with gaming for almost 20 years, ever since the day my Dad and I I first stepped into GW Dudley and bought me my first Space Marine Captain. I saw second edition 40k arrive and although I didn’t touch Fantasy for many years I remember the High Elves Vs Goblins box set as the current edition when I was little. Over the years games have come and gone, and as all long time (proper) hobbyists know this is never just a hobby, it is an obsession. Speak to any gamer and the norm is to recount each other with tales of swathes of metal and plastic models hidden in almost every available nook and cranny numbering similarly to Xerxes’ crusading Persians in the 5th Century BC.

I can attest to this as I’ve bought far more models than was ever possible for me to paint or even play, I am a sucker for a good-looking model though, it’s the artist in me, that’s my excuse and I am sticking to it. The rather sensationalist headline to this post is not something that has come idly on a whim however. Various other denizens of the floating citadel can attest that I have voiced this particular idea before it is just now, after a long and hard thought out plan of what I want from my gaming future that this decision has been reached. I’ve looked at my model count, looked at what we as a group are playing, and then made a decision. This may come as a shock, considering that 8th edition of Fantasy has come out and we reviewed it rather favourably, I also have 3000pts of models for it too. Not only that but the Dark Eldar are on the horizon, being released next month, an army that I have been waiting an awful long time for to come of age. It’s an awful long time since we last had a game of 40k and I can’t see Warhammer being much of a goer with War of the Ring now making appearances on our gaming tables.

I am therefore pledged to sell off my 40k and Fantasy stuff, I’ve already got rid of quite a bit and have a swelling Paypal account to prove it. I’m sticking with War of the Ring, it’s a very good game, is less prone to arguments over rules and gives me my army level fix from a universe that I enjoy a lot. I really like to models and the simplicity, the fact it is inspiring me to keep painting is another plus point. Malifaux is staying too, we haven’t had chance to throw down recently and I need to assemble my Collette box but it provides a different experience to the other games we have so I am sticking with it, the fact it needs only a handful of models is another bonus. Firestorm Armada gets a lot of regular play and we are starting to properly expand the fleets we use. I need to assemble some ships to get me ready for our 750pt games but this is also staying on my play list. We then also have Warmachine. Everyone in our play group has at least some Warmachine stuff and I know generally people like it. I’ll therefore be adding a little to my Retribution force to hit 35pts, enough for a proper game, I think I need to buy one more boxset and a couple of blisters to be done, £30 tops I think. That will then constitute the capacity of my regular gaming along with Space Hulk of the board and card variety. D&D will continue and having a reduced number of models to paint now I should also be able to spend more time writing campaign adventures.

In order to compare what’s changing, here is a list of games systems I currently have models for;

  • Warhammer Fantasy – 3000pts one army plus various other models
  • Warhammer 40k – over 4500pts from two armies
  • Uncharted Seas – 2 Fleets
  • Necromunda – Original Escher boxset (still boxed) with additional Heavy Plasma Heavy
  • Firestorm Armada – Can probably do almost 1000pts of Dindrenzi
  • Warmachine – Not a lot these days, but working towards that 35pts of Retribution
  • War of the Ring – Almost 1500pts from the Fallen Realms list
  • Malifaux – Ressurectionists and Arcanists forces

Those are the major systems that I have stuff for. I’ve already started selling the 40k stuff, still plenty of other stuff to shift. Once I’m done I’m hoping the results will be me having stuff for;

  • Firestorm Armada
  • Warmachine
  • War of the Ring
  • Malifaux

Much less gaming real estate and still a good variety of games from skirmish to army level. This feels like a good move to me and I’m waiting for the Sherriff to cancel the pre-order I chucked up for the Dark Eldar. With fewer games I reckon not only will I be able to get to play them all but there is also a universe-ending chance that I may end up with it all painted…

I wonder if retiring from those games qualifies me for some kind of pension?

What Makes Games Fun?


There is no mistaking that the tabletop gaming arena is getting crowded with competitors. While there have always been a number of companies who have made models it seems increasingly that these companies are now striking out into the gaming market by producing rule sets, Freebooter and Wyrd are just a few that spring to mind.

While this may mean that as gamers we have plenty of choice it also means that we have a lot of games clamouring for our attention. We don’t all have the limitless wealth that the our friendly Sherrif may think we do, so buying into every single game that comes our way isn’t feasible, although for some of us, we do try. Long-suffering wives see their beloved homes turned into galleries of metal and plastic in various stages of construction and painting, while us menfolk surreptitiously try to hide our latest purchase in among the forest of toy soldiers that is almost impossible to catalogue without an expert’s eye.

Some of the decision-making for what we play is based around aesthetics but nowadays we are also seeing innovation in the mechanics of the games, moving away from dice to cards or using cards to represent models and their stats rather than lots of chod crammed into a bulging rulebook. While choosing games to play is a deeply personal choice surely there are going to be some offerings and one game has the potential to not be as good as another. Some rules are clunky and difficult, some leave room for ambiguity due to poor language, others are the efforts of extensive writing and play testing and are a joy to behold. How do we know which games are which when we are making our decisions and how do we know what we will enjoy and be able to coerce invite our friends to play with us.

If we were to do a comparison between the offerings out there today we’d end up with a rather large post, there are certainly a large number of games I can think of available to joe public. A direct comparison between them isn’t always going to be possible either, while you could probably get away with comparing War of the Ring, 40k and Warhammer Fantasy as they are all games based upon army scale conflicts. Adding in Warmachine, Malifaux, Hell Dorado etc… would be unfair as they are skirmish games and therefore play differently. However, whether skirmish or army the one thing that I think unites games is that they should be fun. If you spend the majority of your gaming time poring over the rules then you probably aren’t having much fun, but if the core mechanics are easy to learn then you can get on with playing and things are much more enjoyable. Again this is a deeply personal view on things, I love games like Malifaux and Warmachine where you have a few models to play with and unit cards on the table in front of you give you everything you need to play and provide a quick reference to speed things up. Malifaux’s rules are wonderfully short, once you have the turn sequence and the concept of duels sorted then you can play, the trick to the game is combining the models in your crew, all the abilities and special rules are on the model’s cards and you spend more time with those than having your nose stuck in the rulebook.

Warhammer relies on you remembering a lot more, the rules are longer and more prescriptive, you can make yourself little notes so that you remember all the magic items bulging the pockets of your heroes and the numerous special rules that your army has. War of the Ring handily condenses a lot of the rules that we see in Warhammer and looks completely different. Warmachine has a whole host of options for you to use within the rules and you need to remember those, but the core mechanics are simple but rely on you unlocking the combinations in your army to maximum effect, I suppose it is a little like Magic: The Gathering in tabletop form.

But what makes a game fun? As this is a hobby we aren’t doing this for the work and effort required to assemble and paint an army, we are doing it to relax, to get away for a while in another world that allows us to (temporarily) forget our jobs and other responsibilities. While it is possible to take each element of our lives to extremes I’d like to think that some alone time is something we all do while not neglecting our family, employment or other areas of our lives. Anyway, enough of the heavy stuff.

What makes a game fun is surely an opinion rather than anything we can probably define. While I find both Uncharted Seas and Firestorm Armada to be fun, I prefer the spaceships, they are more “fun” as a game. I know others prefer US or even the 6 Inch Move blog nemesis Full Thrust, which is why this is interesting to me as gamers have vastly different tastes.

I think that on the whole Warmachine is more fun that Warhammer, however I enjoy both games sufficiently that I invest in both (although I haven’t played Warmachine in a while). I like Warhammer because of the sweeping battles and it plumbs different areas of my brain to the skirmish games I play. I love Malifaux because the mechanics are so different from a dice game and things can be far more brutal if Fate is with you, it’s a very different play experience to any of the other skirmish games I like as well as being totally different from army sized games. Warmachine is fun because you can use magic robots to headbutt each other into the ground and chuck stuff across the table. Each of the games that I choose to play are fun for different reasons and that is why gaming is such an interesting hobby. To my wife they are just toy soldiers or whatever, but to me, they provide different experiences that I can enjoy with my friends and I think this final point is the key.

Gaming is at its heart a social hobby, while you can play with yourself (pun intended) the hobby takes on a whole new and more satisfying dimension when these experiences are shared with friends. While sometimes we will whine about the dice deserting us, or a sub-par unit choice, or that cheesy magic item combo etc… each time I spend time with my good buddies thrashing out some fantasy conflict between zombie hookers and metaphorical personifications of axioms or whatever I have memories of fun times spent quaffing liberal quantities of Dr Pepper and sharing the highs and lows with a bunch of people who add something to my mortal experiences.

So, what makes games fun for me? I’d have to say it’s the people I play with, for me there couldn’t be a better bunch of nerds to share my time with!

A Wild Tabletop Game Appears – GW Competitors, I Choose You!


Last night I got a call from Servitob and was asked to come and help give a demo of Firestorm Armada to a chap considering diving into the Storm Zone. So it was I packaged up all my gear and made the drive over to his house picking up Gribblin along the way. Even though I had planned to spend my time sat at home painting my Haradrim it was nice to get to have a game of Firestorm for the evening and it was a close game. By then end all that was left was a heavily damaged Dindrenzi Battleship supported by two undamaged Cruisers beating on the Terran Battleship that was also starting to take damage. Servitob conceded at the end of turn  7 but it really was a game where out fortunes went back and forth as to who was holding the upper hand.

However, this isn’t a post about Firestorm, that was just a pre-amble to what I have been trying to come up with the words for over the majority of this week. There should be no surprise that personally I am unconvinced by the new version of Warhammer Fantasy and that all of us here feel a great sense of excitement about War of the Ring. Odd how two games from the same company can bring about such different emotions. I know there are a lot of people out there in Internet land that cannot stand 40k, I happen to find it an interesting and fun game, this may depend on the environment in which you play it though. My friends and I enjoy chilling out and playing with each other, we don’t take the super competitive armies nor do we go to tournaments.

From this I have been wondering about how people decide on which games they will play. For many years now GW has not been the main player, there are a number of viable competitors exciting the market, I’ve had the fortune to play a number of these and some I’ve looked into but never took off. Sure I’ve gone through a large part of my adult life with no one to play with (yeah, I know, /violin) but since getting in with my current pals we do play some games and not others. Firstly, I think I should make a list with all the games I’ve spent money on getting the rules and/or models for in the not too distant past;

  • Warhammer Fantasy
  • Warhammer 40,000
  • War of the Ring
  • Warmachine
  • Hordes
  • Infinity
  • Secrets of the Third Reich
  • Malifaux
  • Sphere Wars
  • Necromunda
  • Confrontation
  • Dungeons and Dragons
  • Magic: The Gathering
  • LOTR: CCG
  • Uncharted Seas
  • Firestorm Armada
  • World of Warcraft: TCG

That’s a lot of stuff that has come around, far more than any of us could actually get around to gaming with, yet as I have said in previous posts I am a sucker for fantasy worlds. Some of these games all I ever got was the rules, some of them have good models, some of them don’t. I like the rules for Secrets of the Third Reich but the models are hideous. So, let’s put up another list of the games that are really the ones that our group will be playing in the foreseeable future;

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

This is still quite a long list, Warhammer Fantasy may pop back in there later but at the moment I have little inclination to get the new rules and finish off my High Elves. But, how did we come to the conclusion that this is what we would be playing. Well, a large part of it is what people are willing to spend their money on, a lot of the games listed at the top I guess most of our group has never even heard of. I am always looking through gaming forums and spotting what is new and if the models are good (we bought stuff for Sphere Wars from Salute just because the models were really awesome, I don’t see us playing it ever if I’m honest with everything else happening). Warhammer 40,000 is a long time favourite of the group, it’s what we started playing together and we all have armies for it. War of the Ring is obviously the newbie for us but it looks a solid rule set and we are all really excited by it, more so than anything else for a while. Warmachine is throw back to our individual gaming days as we all have models for this game already, we’ve had a couple of games of Mk2 and people are keen to keep it around to play now and again.

Malifaux is awesome, currently there are only myself and nBreaker playing it, but I love the Fate Deck mechanic and the game is a lot of fun, it is quick to play and is different from the other games that we play, hence it stays. Firestorm allows us to take a break from normal gaming as it is a completely different setting, we all really enjoy it so again, it stays. D&D got a resurgence after we tried 4th Ed at Salute, Servitob is currently DMing a campaign and I think we are almost at the end of his current set of prepared stuff. It tends to be a quite light-hearted game (we are currently running through a mine that has a beholder as the foreman who has a magical hat which allows him to look human for public appearances) and expands the gaming circle to include Mrs Servitob playing her emo Wizard.

So, we have a broad range of games that are across genres and settings, each has a rich universe to enjoy and allows us to test our grey matter against one another. But with all the other games out there how many do you feel comfortable playing, how often do you get to play them all and how do you decide which ones are keepers and which drift into obscurity?

Internet, I Need Your Help


If there’s one thing you can count on the Internet for, it’s unsolicited opinions and advice. Therefore I am hoping that when I actually want people’s opinions and advice we’ll all be able to come together in a conflagration of self-enlightenment and personal growth. At least, that’s the theory.

I have already given Servitob a brief heads-up, he knows what I’ve been thinking but not necessarily how much I have been thinking on it and how it pertains to our gaming. This isn’t a massively serious topic in the grand scheme of things but still, I need to get things out there if only to clear my head and have the opportunity for angles I may not have considered.

As I’ve mentioned in a couple of posts over the course of running the blog I really do enjoy skirmish games. The awesome fun we had with Malifaux recently only brought that into sharper relief and the majority of the games we are currently playing fall into this type of gaming. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy 40k or Fantasy, sometimes it is good to have sprawling armies fighting it out and this was evidenced in our recent battle with the new Tyranids.

To put things in context I have also made the pledge not to play Warhammer Fantasy again until I have a fully painted army. This has so far caused me no stress other than I have yet to paint anything for that system this year, I’ve been focussed on other things. I am currently trying to get my Cult of December painted.

Due to the fact that I enjoy the Warmachine we’ve recently revived slightly and Firestorm Armada/Uncharted Seas plays so well and now Malifaux has come up I am looking at all the various models I have lying around my house and wondering what to do with them all? The skirmish games tend to play faster and more aggressively than those requiring a lot more models to play. With my incredibly slow painting style a game where I only need between 5 and 20 models seems like a real bonus in terms of getting painted models onto the tabletop too. Everything about these games gives them a resounding thumbs up for the way I like to play. Small numbers of models means that a game may only take an hour to play, this means we can get more games in during a day and generally also means that the games are cheaper to buy into as well.

So, my current dilemma is whether or not to sell up and get rid of all my Warhammer Fantasy and 40k stuff and then focus on the couple of smaller skirmish games I really like and making sure that I have fully painted forces for each of them. Should be much easier considering the total numbers of models I own for each of these systems is less than one full mob of Ork Boyz.

You might think the decision is obvious, everything fits the puzzle so far, but please bear with me while I present the counter-points.

I’ve already mentioned that we have some new gamers in our group, nBreaker is one of these. When we first started getting these guys in what we do we were playing Warhammer Fantasy, neither of them have played a game yet, nBreaker has some Dwarves and the other fellow has his hands on my old Warriors of Chaos. Servitob does not play Warhammer anymore and if I packed it all in as well I feel I’d be abandoning my friends. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the game, I do, it’s just that perhaps I’d be better off time, money and game wise by sticking to the smaller styles. I could just kick off playing Warhammer but then I’d be breaking my resolution to get stuff painted, even though none of it is on my desk at the moment as I try to prepare Malifaux for a proper demo game for those yet to see it.

Another point is that Servitob and Gribblin play and enjoy their 40k. I know that in the future it may well be that our new players also jump on board for this. If I got rid of my 40k stuff I’d be losing an opportunity to game with my best friends, guys I love and respect in a totally masculine and none gay way. I don’t want to lose out on that outlet, again I do enjoy the game immensely.

If I had my time all over again then I’d probably have stuck with the skirmish games. You could be playing 10 games with 10 models each rather than 1 game with 100 models as I love my gaming worlds and their background you can see why this is appealing. I want to have one force that I focus on for each of the games I love, this should help me restrict the often excessive spending that can come with this hobby and give some floor space back to my much beleaguered wife. I don’t want to be tempted by each new army book that comes out (waiting on Dark Eldar which I would sell all my current 40k stuff for if they do the models right). I am already looking at budgeting my wargaming quite harshly and I would really like to spend more time in Malifaux and Warmachine, but I don’t want to feel or look like abandoning the friends I have.

This was meant to be a short post but has ballooned quite horribly, so Internet I ask for your help! Please, comment and help a dude out.