The logs of another dice chucker
Gaming, ranting, bitching, and moaning

Jul
28

Oh baby am I excited about this. I freakin’ love Lizardmen, and while I do think that Wood Elves and Bretonnia needed new books far more than Lizardmen do this still has me all giddy.

So yeah; Lizardmen are the newest army release for Warhammer Fantasy, and I thought I’d take the time to show off the new toys they’re getting. Why? Because I’m a Dinosaur nerd and Dinosaur people riding bigger Dinosaurs is awesome.

So let’s start with the new Lords and Heroes here, and let’s start with Gor-Rok.
m3360335a_99800208018_LMenGorRok01_873x627
This guy is pretty cool looking, and the detail on him is really crisp and clean. The hand gripping his shield does look a little wonky, and his weapon looks a bit dumb, but overall this guy is just great. I really love the Saurus Warrior design, and this guy pulls it off wonderfully.

Next up is the new Skink Priest.
m3360355a_99070208002_SkinkHighPriest01_873x627
I’m just going to go ahead and get this out of the way for every new model involving Skinks: they look too flat and plan. Maybe it’s just the paint job on them, but all the new Skink models look for 2 dimensional to me. It’s hard to comment on the details of this guy because he basically has none. I suppose it’s a competent model, but it just lacks any depth or character.

Next is another Skink character; Lord Tetto’eko.
m3360385a_99810208019_TettoEko01_873x627
And now we have a Skink trying to infringe on the Slaan gig? Not really sure what’s going on here, or why this guy needs to exist. Still; that chair is pretty bitchin’.

So Tiktaq’to essentially got a new model as well, but it’s part of the new Terradon Riders kit(which I’ll cover in full in a minute).
m3360460a_99120208013_TerradonRider02_873x627
And y’know; this isn’t half bad. The new Terradons look great, and I love his helmet/mask thing. Maybe the mount could have been a tiny bit more dynamic, but overall this is a nice model with quite a bit of character to it.

Kroq-Gar also got a new model, and much like his buddy up there he comes in the new Carnosaur kit(which again I’ll cover in a moment).
m3360205a_99120208012_LMenCarnosaurKroqGar01_873x627
Now I don’t want to go into too much about his mount here because I want to save that for the full kit, but suffice to say Kroq-Gar looks crazy mean and awesome in his cool armor. I do find it interesting that GW has decided to make these two characters out of a general kit rather than their own separate kits, but I guess this does mean if you want Kroq-Gar and an Old Blood on Carnosaur you need to buy two of the same $85 kit and be left with a metric ton of bits.

So nothing new in Core, which means you either take Saurus or you spam Skinks still, but Special does have plenty of new stuff. Let’s start with the new Bastiladon.
m3360155a_99120208011_LMenBastiladonSolarEngine01_873x627 m3360135a_99120208011_LMenBastiladonArcOfSotek01_873x627
As you can see this guy comes in two varieties; Solar Engine and Ark of Sotek. So basically it can shoot either lasers or snakes, both of which are awesome options. While a bit less dynamic than I’d have liked considering you’ll never need to rank these things up; this kit is pretty damn impressive. It’s just a big, mean, carnivorous looking Ankylosaur dude. The scales are all nice a crisp, the detailing on the shell is great and both weapon options look pretty good.

Next we move to the new Terradon Riders, which can also be made into…ugh do I have to say it? Fine; Ripperdactyls.
m3360455a_99120208013_TerradonRider01_873x627 m3360415a_99120208013_RipperdactylRider01_873x627
I just want to make sure I’m not the only one who thinks “Ripperdactyl” is both extremely lazy but also sounds full blown retarded here. Still the new Terradon Riders look pretty awesome and the mounds look a ton better than the old metal ones. I also like that the kit comes with different level flying bases, and the big stones the Terradons are carrying look great(and yes it does kill me a little knowing they left of the P at the beginning of Pterodactyl). The Ripperdactyls, though, just look like garbage. They have big silly under-bites and their faces in general just look bad. It’s a shame because that’s essentially 50% of the kit that’s worthless.

Before I move on to Rares I just want to point out that GW is again pissing away golden chances to fix models that really need it. Instead of pumping money into paying someone to come up with Ripperdactyl and then making them all look like flying stroke victims they could have been fixing the Saurus Cavalry because they’re still riding their own stroke victim mounts. Seriously; why do they not have the cool Cold Ones like Dark Elves get? Why did GW not fix what is one of the most glaringly bad design elements in the entire army? Drives me insane.

Ok, on to the only new Rare choice: Carnosaur/Troglodon.
m3360220a_99120208012_LMenCarnosaurOldBlood01_873x627 m3360255a_99120208012_LMenTroglodon01_873x627
Now this is a bitching kit! I don’t get why they decided to call this a Carnosaur when it’s more like a really big Baryonyx mixed with a Raptor of some sort, but whatever. The head is a bit stumpy looking, too, which I feel takes away a bit from the fierceness of the mount. Still; hot damn does this thing ever look cool. The detail is all there and super clean, the rider looks great, and it has a good sense of motion about it!  The Troglodon shares most of the praise and complaints from the Carnosaur, but with the added “wait, what?” factor of the fact that is has no eyes. It’s a bit weird that it looks like it just has horns growing out of its eye sockets, but I suppose it works. Overall this is a pretty fantastic kit with just a few minor faults. I wish they had called it something else, though, and kept the old Carnosaur kit around because that worked perfectly for the name.

Now this new release set has a lot of fairly bit models in it, which the Bastiladon and Carnosaur being the two that come to mind. I normally complain about that with other armies where it’s pointlessly shoehorned in because of 8th edition’s “everything should be massive!” policy, but if there’s an army that deserves several huge models it’s the guys with frequent access to freaking Dinosaurs.

Overall a pretty solid set of releases. If I could stand the 8th edition rules, and had enough money to just piss away, I’d totally jump in with some Dino fun good times. So yeah; new Lizardmen, despite some flaws, are freaking awesome and get a thumbs up from me.

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Jun
18

Alright, I missed the last two weeks I know. Which is why I’m starting this week with an announcement: I’m dropping my “every Tuesday” schedule. Now I’m basically just going to post stuff as it comes to me. I’m still going to try and keep a post a week, but I’m not making any promises. I’m just getting too busy these days and I constantly forget to write these things(hell I’m only writing this one because I’ve been a bit under the weather all day so I’m not out playing Flames of War tonight).

Anyway; let’s move on to the meat of this post. I mentioned a little while back that I was pretty excited about the new army coming out for Warmachine: The Convergence of Cyriss. That still holds true, so today I thought I’d do a little “early impressions” deal on the models currently up on the Privateer Press website. I figured it’s time to start doing reviews of new stuff that isn’t made by GW(who incidentally got punched in the dick in court; which makes me happy) so maybe my little model reviews will stop being me just bitching.

Starting off with the two Warcasters we’ve seen the models for! We’ll start with Axis; The Harmonic Enforcer.Can't touch this...
First off; what’s with that title? Seriously, between “Harmonic Enforcer” and having hammers for hands it’s like they just want all the MC Hammer jokes the internet can throw at this guy. Sadly I think this dude looks awful(and already I’m bitching). The D battery legs, the hammer hands, and just the overall design of him doesn’t do it for me. His stats look great from the brief glimpse we caught in the Convergence announcement video, but his model just ruins it. He just looks a bit too dopey for me. If this was a solo, maybe I’d buy it. But as the centerpiece of my army(because I’m not buying a colossal or a battle engine)? Nope.

Next is Aurora; Numen of Aerogenisis.
I believe I can fly...
Now that’s better. She doesn’t look silly and clunky(despite having a stupidly clunky and silly title) and she actually looks like she can do things off the battlefield(what’s Axis going to do, tenderize meat?) She is a little cheesecake with the very strategic placement of her little remaining fleshy bits, but it’s not overly silly and I can dig it. I’m also loving those wings, despite the fact that it means she’ll take up a huge spot in my foam. Still I’m very much impressed overall, and I’ll be buying her.

Next we’ll talk about units, starting with Aurora’s creations: The Clockwork Angels.
I already ran out of music jokes.
YES. These girls look awesome. The wings are maybe a bit small, but I’m sure they fly via magic or something so the wings are purely symbolic I guess. Still I’m loving these things and totally plan to buy a unit for my army. I would have liked the swords to be more of an integrated weapons, maybe coming out of the forearm or something, but I think I’ll get over it(or get someone to convert them so that they have integrated swords). $25 for 3 models on the smallest base in the game is a bit of a pisser, though. If they were on bigger bases, or you got 5 to a box, then maybe, but as it stands they are $8.33 a model.

Next are the Obstructors.
Got nothing.
These guys are pretty cool…I guess. They aren’t terrible, but they aren’t mind blowingly amazing either. They’re…passable. I like the flail-mace weapons, but the shields look a bit weird. I get those are deigned like that so they can link together when doing shield wall, but they still look a bit off. Also some of the poses are just dreadfully boring. Thankfully they’re plastic so that can be fixed, but the details on them(such as exposed gears and such) will make that all the more difficult. Still; I expect better in 2013.

On to Warjacks! Or in this case; Vectors! Starting with the light Vector known as the Diffuser.
Diffusing my jokes...jerk-bot.
Not bad, not great, but not bad. The “head” part looks a bit goofy, and the arms look a bit flaily and weedy. Still I love the art-deco design of the Convergence and this little guy sticks to the theme pretty well. Not sure if I’ll be grabbing one of these(need to read up on the light Vectors again), but I can’t say I’d hate to have one in my army.

Next we get the heavy kit, which can build three Vectors: Cipher, Inverter or Monitor.
Spike hands joke?Inverter? I hardly know her!He watches you sleep...
Yeah; I’m digging the hell outta’ this kit. Each of the Vectors shares a similar looks while still looking unique at the same time. The Cipher has its gun face, the Inverter it’s ball n’ chain and power piston, and the Monitor has…holy sweet hell it has a gun that shoots saw blades! That’s the greatest thing ever, and I want one. Now. Like right friggin’ now. WHERE IS MY MODEL PRIVATEER PRESS? Seriously; I’m all about this thing. The quad-legged design(I loves me some quad-bots), and, again, the art-deco designs just make me smile. I’ll certainly be getting at least two of these kits for my army, and then magnetizing the crap out of them.

Lastly we have the only solos up on the website; Attunement Servitors.
Fly like an eagle...
First thing’s first: Servitor is a real latin word; no Games Workshop did not invent it so shut up before you even start. Now that that’s out of the way, what’s there really to say about these? They’re little floating ball robots. I do like the flying stands Privateer Press is using, though.

So that concludes the first part of our journey. I know there’s some pictures floating around of the heavy infantry from Lock N Load, but I don’t feel like hunting them down right now. Also I want to leave something for the next installment as Privateer Press shows more of these guys. I know already I’m getting some of the heavy infantry, but I’m waiting to see if Father Lucant’s model does his awesome art justice.

Also; if you’re wondering why I’m not talking about the battlebox it’s because I can sum it up like so: Forge Master Syntherion looks completely retarded(he’s a flying robo-cocoon with Swiss army arms), and the two light Vectors are probably quite good but I’d rather do legit reviews of those models when they get their own entry.

Overall I’m kind of on the fence with Convergence. I’ll be getting them because, finally, a mainline army that I like so I can at least know that one of my armies won’t be getting pissed on constantly(my poor mercs). So far only Aurora and Lucant have caught my attention design wise(because that’s the first thing I look for; not stats, not anything game play related, but whether or not the model looks cool) among the Warcasters, but everything seems to be shaping up pretty nicely. So yeah; I think this summer will be good for me, if not so much for my wallet. But hey, at least the guys will stop complaining that I never play Warmachine with them anymore.

May
28

So I’ve been away for a little bit, sorry about that. I’ve been dealing with some stuff and getting my life sorted out so I haven’t really been able to focus on this thing for the last several weeks. Anyway; I’m back and with a very touchy discussion that I certainly hope doesn’t spark a shit-storm like I think it might if I had more readers: religion in gaming. I’m not talking about religious people gaming, I’m talking the presentation of religion in gaming.

Generally religion is kind of put on the back burner, unless it’s a completely fictional setting where you can make up all the crazy faiths you want and it isn’t a big deal how you portray them. The main thing I want to discuss is the portrayal of actual religions in tabletop gaming; mainly between the games Hell Dorado and Infinity.

Now Infinity may not seem to come off with strong religious tones, but when you read the Pan-O fluff it’s very clear that they’re pretty hyper religious. Hell you can field Joan of Arc as a model in your army. Pan-O is presented as both a massive financial powerhouse, and also as the Catholic Church with power armor. Haqqislam is also religious(both armies feature the highest percentage of models with the “religious troop” special rule), but presented in a different way. Obviously Islam and violence is a touchy subject because there’s apparently more close-minded dolts than there are rational people on this planet these days, but Infinity presents them as enlightened and highly intelligent. They present this New Islam in a very positive light, and I like that. But still; religion isn’t a major part of the game. The back-story touches on it and there are religiously themed units(all the Knights, for example), but it’s never really overt about it.

Hell Dorado, on the other hand, is very overt about it since it’s entirely about a literal holy war against the forces of Hell. So there’s very overt religious themes going on in this game, especially since faith and religion are stats and keywords for units. It can be a very touchy subject when you have a band of Muslim warriors from the Ottoman Empire fighting against fallen angels, or even worse against Florentine Christians. Things can get very touchy and if not handled properly your game can suddenly be presenting one religion as better than another. I think Cipher Studios(the folks who make Hell Dorado) do a good job at keeping the game from devolving into a “which faith is better?” debate with every match. Still; stupid people will do and say stupid things(like the one goon in a  batrep who, when asked who he’s playing, replies with “I’m playin’ tha mooslims!” in a think southern drawl like the hillbilly he is).

So should faith be avoided in games? No. There are very few things I think are off limits, and religion is not one of them. Look; any game set on Earth is going to have the question of religion come up because, let’s face it, there’s a whole lot of religious people on this planet. So long as the game handles it tactfully and doesn’t make it into something bigger than it needs to be then I fail to see any problem. And we, the gamers, can’t let our beliefs dictate how and what we play or how we treat our fellow gamers. So no; it doesn’t make someone a bad Catholic for playing Haqqislam.

Apr
30

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

So this week I don’t have anything else lined up(it’s Valhalla for us folks at BTP so I haven’t been keeping up on the news lately), but GW was kind enough to grace us with some new High Elf models since that’s coming out next week. So since I don’t feel like dwelling on jokes too long, let’s get high! Elves.

So normally I try and organize this based on army organization in the game, but this week I want to start with the new stupid, ugly, fully retarded big model for the High Elves; the Lothern Skycutter.
Lothern Skycutter Lothern Skycutter 2
Seriously? Flying boats being pulled by giant Eagles and one of them has a bolt thrower on it. This is the best the folks at Games Workshop could come up with for High Elves? What happens when the Eagle suddenly turns upwards when you’re firing that bolt thrower? You crash. And die. Horribly. It’s not even that flying boats can’t be cool(I did a review over on youtube on a game that’s all about skyships), but this just looks eight kinds of dumb; even for GW.

Just in case you have some sort of giant bird fetish(you weirdo), GW has you covered with another stupidly over-compensatory bird kit: the Flamespyre and Frostheart Phoenix.
Flamespyre Phoenix Frostheart Phoenix
So Phoenix Guard riding on Phoenixes, eh? Seems like GW has been reading one too many X-ibit memes. Not only do the birds look stiff and unnatural, but the guys riding still have those stupid giant wings on their helmets which would only serve to catch the wind and snap their necks the second their mount gets up to speed. I don’t even get why these damn things need to exist; High Elves already have an awesome flying beastie. It’s called a freaking DRAGON.

You know what pisses me off most about these two new kits, though? They took time. High Elves still have the same stupid, ugly, Gorilla handed, dress wearing Spearmen and Archers that are in dire need of a makeover, and instead GW craps out two absurdly mediocre kits involving giant birds. It’s bullcrap like this that makes me lose faith in the gaming industry a little(then I see new Infinity models or read more about the Convergeance for Warmachine and get happy again) because people will buy these with whatever flimsy justification they can think of for encouraging GW’s practice to just churning out bigger and dumber looking kits and charging you more and more and more.

Ok now that I have that out of my system let’s look at one of the infantry units GW did opt to remake; Shadow Warriors. This is a double kit that also makes the Sisters of Avelorn.
Shadow Warriors Sisters of Avelorn
Now those Shadow Warriors are what I’m talking about! Those things look baller as hell. Alright the poses are still blander than week old bread that’s been left in the sun, but the new design is pretty sexy. The Sisters of Avelorn, though? I’m a bit torn. It’s nice to see that GW is at least attempting to learn how to sculpt lady faces, and the bulk of the models look nice, but those bows and that hair just kill it for me. I’ve already made my point a few times how I hate sculpted flame because it always looks so fake, and these are no exception. The hair just looks weird, though. I get they need modularity(is that a word?) in the heads for posing, but surely ponytails would have looked better and conveyed a bit more of a womanly charm? Overall, though, I’d give this kit a solid B+. Also it’s $50 for 10 plastic models, and that’s just a wee bit silly in any game.

Let’s move on to the new single models, starting with the new character lady; Alarielle the Radiant..
Allarielle
She’s apparently the Everqueen according to the fluff on their website. It’s not a terrible model. The face is a bit manly, the hair is a little over the top, she’s barefoot on the battlefield like a true idiot and she seems to be sprouting flowers where she walks which strikes me far more as a Wood Elf thing than a High Elf thing. Also she has a heart on her stomach like a friggin’ Care Bear or something.

Next is the Handmaiden of the Everqueen.
Handmaiden of the Everqueen
Now this is actually a pretty legit looking model. Feminine, but deadly. Graceful, but will stab you in the face. Showing off a little leg and a lot of spear. My only major complaint is that, like the Everqueen herself, she’s covered in hearts like she just stepped out of Sailor Moon. Also it makes me wonder if the Sisters of Avelorn will have a spear option since she’s toting a pretty hefty one.

Lastly we have the new Loremaster of Hoeth.
Loremaster of Hoeth
And holy freaking hell! A Fantasy model in an exciting, dynamic and action packed pose?! WHAT WITCH-CRAFT IS THIS?! In all seriousness this guy looks pretty rad. The silly horns/moon on his helmet are a bit dopey, and the heart there on his shoulder doesn’t really convey his awesome swordmage persona, but overall he looks great. I hope that if GW ever gets around to doing a legit plastic kit for Swordmasters they’ll look half as good as this dude. Oh who am I kidding; they’ll be in the same crappy pose their in now because GW never learns.

And that’s it. There’s also a heraldry book, but it seems a bit pointless to pay $33 for a book that serves literally no gaming purpose. Also; if they keep up their stupid quota from the last book it’ll probably say High Elves all wear white anyway, so enjoy pissing away your money suckers.

Apr
23

I’ve noticed something over the years in this hobby, and I’m starting to notice it more and more as I get more involved on a personal level(between work, this blog and writing three freaking game systems); people are terrified of not getting to play games. So much so to the point where they will actually subjugate themselves to playing games they don’t enjoy, or playing with people whom they can’t stand, simply so they can play something, and this just outright astounds me.

I come across threads on various websites all the time where people discuss their RPG group and why they suck, and it usually comes down to either a terrible GM or, if the person recalling the story is the GM, awful players. We’re talking bottom of the barrel awful; power-gamers, “that guy,” people who just don’t care enough, and so on. So why do these people stick with these groups? Simple; they don’t have anyone else to play with. I’ve seen GMs try to introduce their group to new, exciting, games only to get stuck playing Pathfinder yet again because their players are closed minded goons who just want to be Gimli clones because thinking hurts, but the GM can’t go anywhere to feed their hunger for better games(spoiler; I think Pathfinder sucks) because there’s just nobody else around who plays RPGs. So out of a desire to play, and a fear of not getting to play, they stay with a group of un-creative dimwits who probably need a detailed diagram telling them how to tie their shoes every morning.

I’ve seen it with miniatures games, too. There was a gent not too long ago I was chatting with who expressed how he wasn’t a fan of Warmachine after having played for a good while. I asked why he still played then if he wasn’t enjoying the game(after all; that’s what made me stop for the better part of seven months) and his answer was simply “nobody here plays anything else.” I asked if he had tried getting people into other games and he said he had, but that people gave him the classic answer “I’ve already invested a lot into game A.” So he keeps playing a game he doesn’t enjoy, a game he’s actually come to loathe, simply because he wants to game and his only options are to keep playing Warmachine or piss right off. I’ve had the same thing happen with 40k; people will state that they, much like I, think the rules are a giant steaming pile of regurgitated 80’s garbage that will never get updated because the company that produces it is run by retarded chimps. Yet they keep playing because nobody in their area plays anything else.

And it’s sad, really; both that people can be so absurdly closed minded as to not want to try new things, and that there’s such a fear of not getting to play. The internet has mostly fixed that second problem, though. There’s enough programs out there to play just about anything you can think of. VASSAL has modules for tons of board and miniatures games, Megamek simulates the Battletech tabletop game perfectly(and thankfully does all the record keeping for you), and between IRC and Roll20 there’s more than enough places to get your RPG fix for free(because screw paying $40 for Fantasy Grounds basic).

But we desire to play, especially if we sink a lot of money into a certain game, and when it comes to either playing and being miserable or not playing we always seem to choose misery. Maybe gamers are just a bunch of masochist.

Apr
16

Let me start this week’s entry by offering my condolences to the people and city of Boston after yesterday’s attacks. My family is originally from the Boston area and I’ve been many times, so I do feel some connection to that city despite having grown up in Maryland. Still; it pains me that this sort of thing has happened again, and if any of my readers are in the area I hope you stay safe in these dangerous times.

So scale; it’s something I touched on once before I ever really got into smaller scale games. Now I find myself playing Flames of War every week, and it has sort of shown me that scale is much more important that I had previously considered. It really came to my attention with my watching more games of 40k played at the studio and the discussion of fliers, and also with having a few titans come through recently. It made me realize that things like titans and fliers…they just don’t work at 28mm. It’s much the same with DUST and their fliers; they just don’t work very well at that scale.  Fliers work well in Dropzone Commander, Tomorrow’s War, Heavy Gear Blitz and Flames of War(just to name a few) because they don’t take up nearly as much space. Fliers in 40k have a pretty big footprint on the table, and titans have even bigger ones.

You also have to consider the purpose of them; a strike fighter isn’t ever going to be seen on a 28mm game because they would, realistically, kill you before you ever saw or heard them. So you basically have a giant, expensive model that, if the rules are any good, will only be on the table for about 30 seconds each game. If they were all VTOL type gunships a la an Apache Attack Helicopter then it may work, but even then it’s kind of sketchy.

It’s even worse with things like titans because those models cost hundreds of dollars each. Small walkers work just fine, but something that’s supposed to be the size of a small skyscraper just doesn’t work at 28mm. Why do you think Battletech is a 6mm game? Because it doesn’t work if the infantry are 28mm and you need to make the Mechs in scale.  Now I get that titans are only for apocalypse games, but even then I don’t really think they work all that well just because they take up too much damn space.

You know what the worst part is? Games Workshop has a way to deal with this issue; it’s called Epic 40k. But no; they figured they’d be better off axing the specialist games department in favor of giving every army in Fantasy and 40k increasingly bigger models that eventually everything with be the size of titans anyway. Epic, for those of you not familiar, was a 6mm 40k game with titans and entire armies rather than little contingents like the standard 40k game. The rules now seem a bit dated(then again so don’t all of GW’s rules), but it was the perfect scale for massive battles with things like titans and fliers and massive tank armies.

Now I had mentioned DUST with having fliers and it not working at 28mm, and the reason I haven’t gone into more detail is because I honestly have no clue how fliers in DUST work(I have yet to get around to grabbing the expansion books for Warfare). Still; that scale just doesn’t lend itself well to vehicle heavy games I think. Small vehicles like jetbikes, small walkers and the likes? Sure. A tank or two? Sure. It’s when you get into 5th edition Imperial Guard tactic of “turn your deployment zone into a parking lot” that things start to go horribly wrong. That’s why the walkers in DUST work so well; you’ll generally only have 3 or 4 of them in a game, and that requires to to really skimp and go the bare minimum on your infantry units.

Another comparison could be Bolt Action and Flames of War. Bolt Action, as far as I know, doesn’t actually have rules for airplanes because…well they wouldn’t ever really be seen. Flames of War does because at 15mm scale you’re actually covering a massive amount of land on a 6×4 table. At 28mm not so much. You can do an entire armored company in Flames of War because the scale allows for it to work, even at larger points. Bolt Action? Not so much. There are allegedly rules in the works for doing armored company combat, but I suspect that those will probably be 4 tanks per a side or so as opposed to Flames of War were an armored company can have 4 tanks in a single platoon.

I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that large vehicles and large quantities of vehicles just don’t work at 28mm scale, and I don’t get why games keep trying to cram bigger and bigger models into that scale; I’m looking at you Privateer Press.

Apr
09

OK so first thing’f first: yes I know I missed last week. Tuesdays are crazy hectic because I basically get up, get ready for work, go to work for 6 1/2 to 7 hours, come home for 10 minutes and then head up to Orem to play Flames of War all night long. In fact I generally write these either the Monday before or even earlier in some cases, but last week I just totally blanked on it.

So anyway; new Tau codex means new models. Now I actually had someone ask if I knew anything about the new books that GW puts out and the answer is yes; between the selection of books we have at BTP and the shady parts of the internet I do check out new GW books out of some morbid curiosity. Why don’t I ever discuss them? Well as I’ve explained before my entire method of gaming is “pick whatever you think looks cool and/or fun and play it” which tends to lend my discussion of new books and army lists to “who gives a damn?” That’s why you only ever see me discuss models here.

So HQs. Starting with the new Cadre Fireblade.
Fireblade
Honestly this guy has potential. Basically his only problem is he seems a bit too busy for a Tau model, especially considering how reserved Firewarriors tend to be. I also don’t like that he’s holding up the bonding knife, it just doesn’t seem fitting of the Tau being the only race in 40k to understand that guns > knives. I do like the scope on his rifle, though.

Next we have some new named guy; Darkstrider.
Darkstrider
I like that the Tau are getting more HQ choices, but I can’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed by this dude. He’s basically just a pathfinder with a fancy monocle. I think he’d work better as one of those named characters who isn’t an HQ, but rather just a squad add on(like Pask in the Imperial Guard).

Next up we have the baddest DJ this side of the Damocles Gulf; Longstrike.
Longstrike
Ok this guy isn’t technically an HQ choice, but he’s a named character and he’s a perfect example of what ol’ Darkstrider up there should have been. He also actually has legs, but I’m not showing that because he looks so goofy that every time I see them I giggle like a little girl. This guy is like the last two; not bad but he never really wowed me in design. Also that’s some sort of worthless mini-battlesuit he’s wearing apparently, but at that point why not just get a legit battlesuit like a man?

Next we get a new Crisis Suit Commander.
Commander
I guess GW decided it wasn’t nice to suddenly take the parts that make a Command a Commander and sell them separate to the actual suit they go on for an absurd fee. Then again this guy clocks in at $41 so who am I kidding, right? Still he’s at least dynamic looking, a bit. He’s got a sense of motion and gives an idea that yes indeed Crisis Suits can bend their knees. This guy also has his hands out(as a sign of his rank according to the book), but his arms look oddly skinny for some reason. I’m not a fan of the bonding knife on the leg, though. It’s a battlesuit; if you need something dead in melee I’m sure giant metal fists will do the trick just fine.

Speaking of Battlesuits let’s move on to my single favorite character in the current 40k fluff: Farsight.
Farsight
Yes indeed, Commander Farsight; bad-ass of the ages. This dude is probably one of the only interesting characters in 40k because he’s the only one who seems to have actual motives and thinks. Also his model is pretty snazzy. Not digging the flowing scrolls a stuff(seriously GW; now you’re just providing the “Tau are weeaboo” idiots with more ammunition), but he’s got a pretty awesome pose. He’s got flow, movement, and most importantly he doesn’t look boring. You know why I love Farsight so much? Simple: he slaughters Orks without mercy, and one day I hope he destroys them all so I never have to deal with those stupid comic reliefs or their fans ever again.

Strangely there’s no Kroot HQ. In fact Kroot get absolutely nothing new in the codex. I think GW is missing out on prime market here because people really like the Kroot mercenary list Forge World put out.

Moving on we have the new Elite options because GW figured Tau were good on troops with just Fire Warriors and Kroot. And since there’s only 1 new Elite choice let’s just get this guy out of the way; the Riptide.
Riptide
Yes the Tau get their own stupid big model that probably doesn’t need to exist except GW needs to milk it’s remaining fans for every penny they’ve got before they either die, go broke or realize what a terrible company they are. Anyway; I’m not all that terribly thrilled about this thing. It’s just a bigger Crisis Suit; well except the tiny dorky head. I get the thing is just sensors and stuff, but it is seriously small and silly looking. This thing does have a fairly impressive range of posing options since its legs are more than two parts(although you’d be hard pressed to guess that since the damn kit only has 2 sprues). Still; it just doesn’t make me go “OH  GOD MUST HAVE!” like so many other models in so many other ranges do.

Now remember how I said I don’t discuss rules stuff? Well I need to discuss something about the rules for this thing: it’s Ballistic Skill 3. Now let me put that into perspective for you: a 16 point Space Marine is BS4, and yet this 180 point model is BS3. And no I don’t care how many markerlights or extra systems you can give it to make it better; you shouldn’t need to pay points or take an entirely separate unit to make a 180 point model(that costs you $85 in real world money) shoot better than you average Guardsman. That’s stupid.

Ok so on to Fast Attack with the new Pathfinders box.
Pathfinders
Actually these guys turned out pretty boss. The new support weapons are a nice touch(although it still boggles my mind why Firewarriors can’t take some sort of man portable Burst Cannon for a little extra bang) and this box is actually quite the steal at $35. I maybe would have liked the guy with the rail rifle to be looking down the sights or in a cool sniper pose, but I guess I can live since the box turned out as well as it did.

Moving on we have the new Tau flier coming in two styles per box: Sunshark Bomber and Razorshark Fighter.
Sunshark bomberRazorshark fighter
And oh dear how did we go so wrong? Seriously; where did these things come from? The fliers Forge World cranks out look so good and these look so dorky. I get that 6th edition is “he with the most fliers is king” and all, but god did GW ever miss the mark here.

Alright lastly we have the only new model for Heavy Support(not counting DJ Longstrike up there): the new Broadside.
Broadside Railgun
Yowza; this baby got a facelift! Much like the Commander GW decided to stop selling the base suit and upgrade kit and release a whole new $50 a pop model. Still; this thing is proper hefty. It’s huge and bulky with a giant ass gun, and it’s on a friggin’ 60mm base. That rail rifle(yes they demoted it from legit railgun to just a big rail rifle -whatever the bloody difference is) actually has two barrels. I ahve to say I’m pretty impressed with this big bugger, and it comes in Macross Missile Spam!
That's right; all the missiles.

GW also opted to release the Crisis Suits as a 3 pack, but they’re still the same crappy old suits instead of the glorious, poseable and much sexier Forge World designs. Way to miss a sure bet there, GW.

So where do I stand on the whole of the new Tau stuff? Eh. The new Broadside is great and Farsight’s model has so much character to it, but the fliers and the Riptide just do zero to impress me. They also dropped the ball by not putting out new Crisis Suits or giving the Kroot more stuff. There was a lot of potential here that GW wasted in classic fashion. Still; this is probably one of the more solid releases GW has had lately, but that wouldn’t take much considering the last batch of new models was pretty floptastic. Overall it’s not a bad release, but it’s not as exciting as it should have been for a former Tau player.

Mar
26

I know exactly what everyone wants me to talk about, but I’m not going to do it. GW is just being GW and tossing around more hollow BS reasons to try and screw over the many people who have supported them over the years and it’s just not worth my time.

So instead let’s talk about how to make this a less wallet crushingly expensive hobby.

Obviously the biggest barrier to tabletop wargaming, aside from it being considered a hobby populated exclusively by neckbearded weirdos, is the price. It’s not a cheap hobby, and everyone knows that little fact. Is it the most expensive hobby out there? No; I’m sure all my guitar equipment adds up to more than my miniatures in value. Is it cheap? No. There’s no two ways around it, but is there ways to make this a cheaper hobby while still retaining the level of quality we expect/demand from it?

Well one way is the material models are made of. Metal can be a pricey material as the price of tin seems to go up pretty high every year which makes metal models more expensive. So how do you counteract that? Make them out of a cheaper material, such as plastic! Well there’s one major problem that the “if it’s not plastic models the game is garbage” fanboys seem to leave out: molds for plastic models are crazy expensive. They cost more than molds for metal models, which is why many smaller, up and coming, companies start out with metal: it’s cheaper for them. Sure some companies can start with resin(which is even more expensive per mold than plastic) and plastic, but those companies usually have a lot of start up capital to work with. The Warzone kickstarter is a good example of this. They had the capital to make resin models for three factions, and each of those factions would have molds for their troops(10 to a starter box), a single large model and a hero(again going by the starter boxes). Their kickstarter is set up to get the extra funding to produce more models, more factions(they’re up to five now) as to get money to create plastic models. Hell; the entire Reaper kickstarter(you know, the one that made 3.5 million dollars) was set up get money to create more plastic models and cover a large portion of the costs of getting plastic molds made.

Why do you think Privateer Press started off exclusively with metal? It was cheaper on their end to do it since they weren’t going to bring in as much revenue per player as something like 40k because Warmachine requires less models to be playable. Hell; you can play the game on a single $50 investment. Plastic molds right off the bat would have cost way too much to do. Same with Infinity; although I suspect they stick to metal despite their apparently quite good profits because of its ability to hold detail as well as it does.

Now mind you this is all speculation, but I suspect that a company like Dreampod 9 could lower the cost of their products by switching to a cheaper material. Whether they have the spare income to do so is the question. Still; it can suck trying to get people into a game like Heavy Gear because, despite how good of a game it is, the cost is simply too high for some people. Now they have their bigger stuff like striders and tanks in resin, but really is would do wonders to release the Gears in plastic or resin simply because it would mean they wouldn’t need to charge $50 for a box of five models.

Of course the profits made from model sales fuel more model production, new books and the likes so it’s not like they’re just over-charging to see how much they can get away with(although it really does seem like that’s what GW is doing sometimes). It’s all a very delicate balance between making sure they have enough money to produce new products while at the same time not pricing themselves out of the market.

In the end it’s a tricky subject. I don’t have solid numbers to say it costs X dollars to create a single model, or that a unit box really costs X dollars to do from start to finish. I’ve heard some numbers on how much molds cost, but they seem to vary depending on both material and where you do it. Some companies have to cover the costs of working out of China, while others don’t(Reaper manages to keep prices pretty low by doing everything in house). There’s a lot more going on than my simple little brain can wrap itself around, and since I’m no business or economics major I can’t say anything is for certain. I can take guesses and give general ideas, but that’s about it. Still; it would be nice to see some of my favorite games become a bit more affordable. Doubly so if it would make it easier to get other people playing more games and expanding their horizons.

Mar
19

Seriously, is anyone else sick of this damn debate yet? It seems like every time someone brings up the fact of how expensive this hobby is some idiot brings up “well 3D printers will destroy the miniatures industry anyway, so all these greedy companies will be out of business soon.” No. That’s not how it works you dope.

Honestly; why does everyone assume that 3D printers will somehow be the beginning of the end of the miniatures business? Do these people know how much a 3D printer costs? I’ll give you a hint: more than  small army in a miniatures game. There’s this stupid idea that 3D printers will become so affordable to the general public that we’ll be able to print out our own miniatures for just a few dollars per a squad of guys, and it comes from no where. Why do people think that this technology will suddenly drive an entire industry out of business?

The printers are expensive as hell, then you need to buy the material and you need to be able to work the damn thing in the first place to create the models. Does nobody in this hobby understand how technology works? The overall cost of everything involved to print a single miniature is just too high to be worth anything.

I’m sorry, but very few times does a single technology destroy an entire industry. Remember when iTunes came out and everyone claimed that within a year the CD would be completely obsolete and record stores would all be out of business? Yeah; guess what you can still buy in any Walmart in the country? I’ll give you a hint; it starts with C and ends with D.

I’m sorry, but the fact this comes up seemingly every discussion about prices in wargaming just pisses me off. It’s a stupid argument, it’s not even remotely sane and can we just bloody stop already? The industry won’t be ruined by 3D printers, they won’t bring the companies to their knees and we won’t be printing our own miniatures en masse anytime soon. Just stop, please.

Mar
12

No witty titles this week; gotta’ make this short and sweet.

So this week I’m talking about the new Chaos Daemons stuff that GW put out, so let’s get to it shall we?

First up we’ll start with the new Herald models. First with Khorne.
Image
Khorne probably has the best looking Daemons(and it kills me a little every time I have to spell it that way), but they are a bit cliche. Red, horns, evil, done. Still they tend to look the most fierce and be the more dynamic looking ones. Of course Khrone is also the most boring god, so it sort of balances out to “meh” in the end. Also GW continues their stupid “having the tongue hanging out makes it look bestial and not retarded at all” style of modeling.

Next is the new Herald of Nurgle.
Image
And a resounding “eh” escapes my lips because Nurgle single handedly has the most boring models. They’re all exactly the same and, again, the mentality of “it’s covered in sores and puss, that’s how you know it’s evil!” makes you look like a moron. Nurgle is just the laziest design, even more so than Khorne or Slaanesh, and yet people seem to love it. This guy just does absolutely nothing for me.

Speaking of Slaanesh.
Image
I get it; it’s a hellspawn monster, but that doesn’t mean it needs to have a man-face. Also; why does so much Slaanesh stuff have crab-claws? When did Slaanesh become Warhammer’s crappier version of Posiden?

Lastly the Herald of Tzeentch.
Image
Now unlike the other three you can only get this guy if you buy the whole Burning Chariot of Tzeentch kit(more on that in a second) which is a bit of a dick move to Tzeentch fans like myself. Also I’ve never liked how the Tzeentch Daemons looked outside the greater ones. Somehow all the Greater Daemons are these awesome bird monsters and the others are just random mis-shapen blobs of crap. Why not continue with the bird theme? It just boggles my mind, and it’s a shame because Tzeentch is my favorite Chaos God but most things themed to him are just ass. Such as…

The Burning Chariot.
ImageImage
You know what my other problem with Tzeentch is? His rides suck. They’re frisbees, and these are just bigger ones being pulled by malformed Stingrays. Khorne gets an awesome monster to ride around one and Tzeentch’s dudes get discs? That doesn’t even make sense. Give them big old bird monsters to fly around on or something! Seriosuly these things are just the stupidest. Detail’s nice, though.

Next is the new Khorne chariot thingy. Coming in two hardcore 90’s metal band flavors: Skullcannon and Blood Throne.
ImageImage
And what? So instead of awesome stuff using those awesome Juggernauts you have, you instead give us this? Does GW even think before they produce this crap? I mean; just look at it. It’s some weird ass motorcycle thing with a mouth on the front and skulls embedded in the side. Who could possibly think this looks cool? No joke I almost had a heart attack from sheer rage when I first saw these things. And what’s with those names? I know Khorne is more one dimensional that a drawing of a stick figure, but is this the best GW could come up with? And they pay people to think of these stupid ass names. Just let that sink in for a minute; someone got paid, in legal tender, to come up with the names Skullcannon and Blood Throne. 

And lastly the new Nurgle unit; Plague Drones.
Image
I know Nurgle stuff is supposed to be ugly, but good god these are just hideous in the worst way. The riders just look like they’re sort of standing there, bored out of their minds. No dynamic poses like the Bloodcrushers of Khorne(seriously, someone makes money every day to come up with that crap; how am I the only one infuriated by this notion?), just guys standing on giant bug things. They’re not even holding on to anything! Look at them; there are no reins for those guys to hold. One of those bugs makes a sudden turn and the rider is on the ground without a moment’s notice. The only positive I can take away from these is that if you’re a Nurgle player in 40k these could make some nice Blight Drones with a little conversion work(especially when you consider that a single Blight Drone costs as much as a box of three of these guys).

Overall; not that impressed. I really always hope for more and better stuff, but I guess my hopes are constantly misplaced in a company that doesn’t care. Khorne easily gets the win here since, no matter how stupid the deathcycle may be, he still has the overall best selection when it comes to Daemons stuff.