After a (long) Break …A 40k TOURNAMENT!

So after our last post, celebrating the store’s first anniversary, I was waylaid by prepping for our participation at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo (which included getting a new website for the store up and running) …and then suddenly time got away from me and here I am updating the blog.

Two months later.

So….here we are; it’s time to get back  on the blogging horse. But first: a recap of the last two months.

Heavy Gear Blitz Logo

Heavy Gear Escalation League

The Heavy Gear league wound down, and was generally successful.

There were things I was scared were going to happen, and generally they did happen. The points escalation was set so that players’ armies would grow by 300 points every two weeks; there were some on the Dream Pod 9 forums that said such a rate was a bit too ambitious. And they proved out to be mostly right. After resetting the escalation to an easier-to-handle 200 points every three weeks, I was afraid that the league would go on longer than people could commit for  (as far as showing up every week for gaming). That fear also proved to be true, and the last few weeks of the league had less participation than the opening weeks.

All in all, the league was a huge success, and we grew our Heavy Gear player base by double or more–at the league’s conclusion, I’d say we have a player base of roughly ten committed players plus another five who are on their way to having full armies. Not bad. Not bad at all.

The Xenos Spring

!Tau Codex Cover

April and June saw Games Workshop acting convincingly as though they believed there exists in Warhammer 40,000 more than just Space Marines. We saw the re-release / revamp of the Tau in April –and were treated to a rather candid display of just how disconnected GW is: they had absolutely NO clue how Tau would be received, as evidenced by their inability to fill more than 40% of their orders for the new models. That’s right: they missed filling SIXTY PERCENT of all their Tau orders. Not only that, but it wasn’t until the first week of June that stores (such as mine) were able to restock any model of their choosing from the Tau range.

!eldar-codex-cover

The arrival of Eldar this June was definitely not the clusterf*ck that the Tau release was. What’s more, unlike the last time Eldar were revamped, this time around the book has actually managed to revitalize and energize the Eldar player base. Funny how not putting out a codex written primarily by the copy and paste buttons on the keyboard will do that. The net result of the Tau and Eldar releases has been a reinvigorated 40k community: six months ago every battle on every table had one (or both) sides comprised of Plague Marines and Aegis Defence Lines; and I’m glad to say that variety has made its appearance once more in the shop.

Which brings me to…

 

Warhammer40KLogo-big

THE JERICHO ANOMALY

At the extreme eastern galactic border of the Imperium lies the Jericho Reach—which was, long ago, a sector in the Imperium of man. Now, it is no more than a frontier rife with suffering due to the predation of chaos and a multitude of xenos sovereignties.

A sudden temporary rift on the warp has gifted a dark corner of this region a small planetoid. The event would have gone unnoticed had the planetoid (now labeled ‘Anomaly J2512’ ) not begun emitting a powerful psychic beacon upon entering realspace—more than a beacon; it was also a targeted signal, aimed at another system in the Jericho Reach.

All able factions and armies in the region have now begun scrambling expeditionary forces to ascertain the nature of the planetoid, Anomaly J2512, with equal goals of reconnaissance and plunder…

jericho anomaly

A Warhammer 40,000 Campaign Tournament

Date: Saturday, July 6.
Place: Imaginary Wars Gaming and Hobbies (Unit #150, 10233 Elbow Drive SW)
Time: 08:00 – 18:30
Entry Fee: $20
Army List Due Date: Saturday,  June 29.

WARNING!!

This is not a standard tournament, and my use of the word “tournament” to describe this event is not quite accurate of what we’re aiming to do this coming weekend. The primary goal of this event is NOT the same as most competitive events –that is, to provide players with a controlled environment where they vie to build the best army possible and compete to decide which army performs best under controlled conditions. This event focuses less on being a competitive tournament and more on creating a collaborative opportunity for the participants to help shape an unfolding story.

This event requires players to build an 1800-point army list that will represent their army’s expeditionary force dropping down to the planetoid, Anomaly J2512. However, AT NO POINT will the players field all the models in their list in even one of the games. To represent the focus on recon that the armies would have in this situation, the forces players will be playing with in every battle will range from 650 points up to approximately 800 points. The 1800-point army list is essentially a menu of options so that players can modify their armies from one battle to the next and adjust their army to meet the challenges of the next mission.

This is an ideal tournament for players who, having played enough games of sixth edition are comfortable with the prospect of gaming outside the relative safety and comfort of the standard missions from the rulebook. Definitely, asking players to change their army list with each battle –and presenting them with scenarios that will demand it– will be asking players to understand their army, rather than simply understanding their army list. I think it’s also appealing to those who are starting a new army, seeing as how battles will be limited to 800 points or less.

 

TOURNAMENT ARMY LIST PARAMETERS

  • Force List Maximum: 1800 points
  • Maximum ONE flyer per 1800-point army
  • No Fortifications
  • No allies
  • All the battles during the day will be set at approximately 700-800 points.
  • No Unit can be worth more than 225 pts (dedicated transports do not count towards this point total; however the transport as well cannot be worth more than 225 points).
  • Maximum THREE HQ Choices following these guidelines:
    –You can have ONE Expeditionary Force Captain worth no more than 200 points.
    –You can have up to TWO Lieutenants worth no more than 150 points each.

What I Shouldn’t Have to Mention (Yet Can’t Believe it Must Still be Mentioned)

This is an event that celebrates both gaming and the hobby that is intrinsic to the Warhammer 40,000 game. As such, all models MUST be fully painted and on completed bases.

FULLY PAINTED:

Number 8, 1949. 1949 Oil, enamel, and aluminum paint on canvas 34 1/8 x 71 1/4 in (86.6 x 180.9 cm)

Number 8, 1949.
1949, Jackson Pollock.
Oil, enamel, and aluminum paint on canvas
34 1/8 x 71 1/4 in (86.6 x 180.9 cm)

Fully painted in a tournament setting means: the model is appropriately displaying three or more colours. Primer is NOT a colour. Models don’t have to be masterpieces; they just have to evidence some effort on its owner’s part. (…And by “appropriate” I mean your model’s paint job shouldn’t be doing its best impression of a Jackson Pollock.)

If you’re trying to prove your chops with abstract expressionism, this event is the wrong venue for doing so.

Go to university for that.

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COMPLETED BASES:

Completed bases simply means your models are not on bare, black plastic bases, nor are they on a basic base that has simply been painted over; models based this way cheapens whatever effort has been put into the models and robs from the magic created when two fully painted armies are on a gaming table with painted terrain. All I ask for basing is simple flocked bases –which is actually easier and less time-consuming to do than painting a model’s base.

PROXIES:

Proxies will NOT be allowed and all models must be What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get. The only exception is on vehicles with secondary weapon upgrades where the upgraded weapon doesn’t come stock with the kit. (Though similar proxies can be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.) Because this is a tournament that allows players to switch their army list from battle to battle, I don’t have much sympathy  for players who feel they need to have their models be armed with weapons the miniature isn’t modeled with. I would suggest instead of arguing for a proxies, include another squad (or what not) in your master list that will do the job of the weapon option you want to proxy.

I consider home-built models dangerously close to proxy models. Anyone looking to use custom, built-from-scratch models in the tournament MUST take that up with the Tournament Organiser (IE: me) before the tournament list is due (IE: June 29).

Any proxies that aren’t approved beforehand that show up on tournament day risk being counted as casualties before the start of any game they are used in. You have been warned.

Why So Specific?

Why? Because most players put a ton of effort into their armies out of love for the hobby. To go to a hobby-based event without displaying honest effort to a similar degree as the others at the event displays a complete lack of respect for your fellow enthusiasts. Being a game with tons of variables, endless possibilities and myriad ways of understanding (and interpreting) its rules, respect for your opponent is paramount.

 

And Lastly…

The other way this tournament is different is that it will be used to kick off the store’s summer  campaign for Warhammer 40,000!

More info on that will be presented soon.

 

 

March!

Rather than risk boring everyone with my non-stop Heavy Gear updates, I thought I’d take the time to bore people in other ways –namely by highlighting the in-store gaming for this month!

Regular In-Store Gaming?

Over all my years in hobby retail, I’ve worked at stores that were role-playing games focused, comic-books focused, Warhammer Focused and board-games focused; over all this time, I’ve learned it’s the warm bodies in the store –the ones that aren’t employed there– that makes a store feel like it’s thriving …or at least like it’s not in its death throes. Hence, every games store that isn’t blessed with being a high foot-traffic location tries to have in-store gaming as much as possible just to feel like the place is a busy hub …and also to keep away the oppressive crushing silence that dominates an empty store during business hours.

March events 4 blog

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Gaming This Month

I was first going to give a synopsis of how gaming’s been going and then follow through with a run-down of what games are being played on which days. However, at the starting point of writing that, I realised I being fairly redundant …and then I looked at the games-nights flyer and saw that if I continued on that course I’d be triply redundant. Triple redundancy is a great thing in passenger planes …and the space program. For a blog: not so much. I’ve decided to simply scribe a few thoughts with each day’s gaming (the format of the flyer we hand out and display really limits how much we can say / advertise for each gaming night; some of the gaming days could stand some fleshing out).

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Infinity Mondays
Infinity has really surprised me: I’m of the view that any game where the one of the first things players say about it is “and you’ll never need more than a dozen models” is a game that is likely living on borrowed time. Infinity sure seems to be bucking that trend! My hobby plate is more than a little full, so I’ve side-stepped this sci-fi skirmish game, but it sure seems to scratch enough itches that the players who buy multiple factions are more the norm than the exception. For an upstart game, our nights are well attended; we do get some slow nights, but we get some quite busy ones too.

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Tuesday’s Warhammer Fantasy Battles
Warhammer nights for us are up and down. That said, we have a few regulars, one of which has been posting battle reports on Youtube regularly (quite a few of them done at Imaginary Wars too!). What’s interesting is that on more than a couple of occasions, we’ve some guys (relatively) new to Warhammer 40,000 show up on Tuesday evenings –mainly because their schedules can’t accommodate Thursday or Sunday gaming. Say what you will about Games Workshop, but the pervasiveness of 40k in the gaming world easily rivals Coca-Cola’s in the world abroad.

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Wednesday: Canadian Minis Night becomes Strange Aeons & Paint Club Night
With the Heavy Gear slow-grow league in full force …and being regularly attended on Fridays and (some) Saturdays, I felt having a Heavy Gear night in the middle of the week was risking players showing up to play on several days during the week without ever actually meeting other players.

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So for now, gaming on Wednesdays will focus specifically on Strange Aeons. As has become tradition, Uncle Mike (the creator of Strange Aeons) shows up at the store on the first Wednesday of each month to run introductory games, show off new rules etc; and though our Wednesdays are attended by a smaller crowd, our Strange Aeons players show up every week …almost religiously. They are one of the store’s most solid groups, and anyone hoping to get into this more casual skirmish game (it’s almost a mash-up of X-Files, Call of  Cthulhu and Mordheim) could do no better than to come down to the store on Wednesdays.
(In other Strange Aeons news, it should be pointed out that a new scenario was just released for free on the Strange Aeons website!)

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Warhammer 40,000 OWNS Thursday Evenings
Once, we had this one disastrously slow Thursday evening (I think there was a blizzard or something to that effect) and only six people showed up to play 40k.  Not all nights are crazy-busy, but Thursday is one of the best nights of the week for guaranteeing players an opponent.

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Eclectic Fridays: More than FNM!
Where Thursdays are dominated by 40k, Fridays usually sees double the amount of players engaged in a broad assortment of different games. The tent-pole games are really Magic the Gathering’s Friday Night Magic and Flames of War, but we’ve added Heavy Gear to the repertoire (which is seeing success; I think we have 12 people active in the league right now!). That said, Friday Nights at Imaginary Wars have been no strangers most recently to Victory at Sea and previously Dystopian Wars, Black Powder and Firestorm Armada.

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Saturdays: Open Gaming and Events
Saturdays remain the domain of open, unscheduled gaming and special events. We’ve run more than a couple very successful tournaments on Saturdays; non-tournament events tend to fall on Saturdays as well and they’ve all been well received. I’ve been pondering making Saturdays our board game day…

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Sunday: 40k in the Afternoon
Proving that Warhammer 40,000 is the game ’round these parts, we have it running on Sundays as well –though on Sundays we also tend to see one or more Firestorm Armada games hit the tables as well. For me, Firestorm Armada scratches the itch that GW’s Battlefleet Gothic stopped being able to take care of years ago. Though games regularly take longer than standard 40k games, the rules are elegant enough that players rarely notice the time going by. Easy to learn, difficult to master, great game play and awesome models: all reasons to get into the game!

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Paint Club?
Paint club is our effort to provide space (and supplies) for players to meet up and paint their models. This is all done under the auspice that when people do creative work in concert with others, their productivity flourishes. Sometimes that productivity is evidenced by how much work is done, other times it’s in skills learned or ideas that would never have been struck  upon had others not been around to help germinate the initial thoughts and ideas.

Anyways, this is what I experienced in university …and (oddly enough) while working at Games Workshop. In fact, ask any ex-Red shirt who worked for GW –back when the Hobby Centres painted store armies– about how their painting improved during their tenure with the company. This is my hope with our painting club night (right now being directed towards Wednesday evenings).

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So there you have it:
that’s what a week of gaming at Imaginary Wars tends to look like. In the coming days, I’m hoping to do an update about our Heavy Gear Slow-Grow League, as well as announce some exciting events on the horizon for the store concerning Flames of War, Firestorm Armada …and possibly Warhammer 40,000 (and maybe Heavy Gear also).

Also, Imaginary Wars Gaming and Hobbies: the store hits its first anniversary next month, and we’re going to do something special for that!

March’s White Dwarf Reviewed

This would be Issue #398 if White Dwarf was still being numbered,

…and this issue –unlike the last two– arrived right on time!

As is the new reality with the White Dwarf, the figures shown on the cover denote what the current month’s issue focuses on. This month, it’s demons Daemons.

This issue is the second in a row for “the new ‘Dwarf” to come poly bagged despite there being no “extras” included with the issue.

White Dwarf 2013 March Front Cover

WHITE DWARF: MARCH 2013

Inside CoverThe White Dwarf Team.

Page 1: Opening Salvo: Jes Bickham’s editorial. Double-dip month! Daemons for 40k and for Fantasy! …plus they have some birthday celebration ideas in mind for next month’s issue –perhaps something extra to include with the magazine, thereby warranting poly bagging the future issue?

Pgs 2-3: Table of Contents:  Break down of this month’s issue.

Pgs 4-5: New Releases:  “Beyond the material realm, the Dark Gods plot…”

Pgs 6-7: New Releases:  Epic gate-fold pages shows off a giant Daemons army while the “magazine side” talks about the Plague Drones of Nurgle.

Pgs 8-10: New Releases:  The Burning Chariot of Tzeentch. Cool enough model….but probably not cool enough for it to sell.

Page 11: New Releases:  The new Herald of Tzeentch (on a chariot) makes me think it’s just a set of alternate pieces inside the Burning Chariot kit.
(…I really should have read this issue before going through with this page-by-page breakdown; I then wouldn’t wonder about such trivial matters.)

Pgs 12-13: New Releases:  The Blood Throne of Khorne comes ridden by a (new) herald. Okay, this one is totally an alternate build from the new Daemons of Khorne kit, which is:

Pgs 14-15: New Releases:  The Skull Cannon of Khorne. Two Bloodletters stand atop a Khorne-plywood sheet , manning their toothy version of a pirate ship deck gun, all done while cruising around on an awesome manga-motorcycle that’s driving backwards. At least that’s what it looks like to me.

Pgs 16-17: New Releases:  The new FINECAST(TM) Herald of Nurgle. After seeing the Heralds of Khorne and Tzeentch, it looks like Nurgle players are getting the short end of the stick with this release. Good.

Pgs 18-19: New Releases:  A second Herald model for Khorne! Does this mean the Khorne daemon rules are so spectacular that GW projects Khorne stocks going up enough that model sales will follow?

Page 20: New Releases:  The new Herald of Slaanesh. This looks to be an awesome plastic kit ….unless it’s in fact a FINECAST(TM) model, in which case this is GW completely NOT making a model that embraces the resin medium’s advantages over the plastic and metal mediums.

Page 21: New Releases:  Battleforce/Battalion box, the Battle Magic and Psychic Power decks for Daemons in Fantasy and 40k. Nothing to read here; move along, move along.

Pgs 22-27: New Releases:  The cover paintings to the Daemons Warhammer Army book and the 40k Codex, followed by two pages dedicated first to the fantasy book and then again to the 40k book.

Pgs 28-29: New Releases:  The Hobbit: Dwarf Warriors of Erebor. These are nowhere near as awesome as the Dwarf Grim Hammers from last month. I wish I could be more excited about the Hobbit range, but GW seems set on making the line bland and pricey: $40 for 12 single-piece plastic models? No thank you. Games Workshop, you can charge me the $44 for ten Space marines because I can build/pose and equip them as I see fit (and with bitz left over!); these Dwarves offer me none of that. I sometimes feel like GW is running with the Hobbit license just so that no other company can.

Pgs 30-31: New Releases:  The Hobbit: Warriors of Dale. I honestly don’t remember seeing any of these guys in the first Hobbit movie, but okay. These models I can at least respect, despite their price point and dollars-per-miniature ratio being the same as the Erebor Warriors kit. Plus I could use these for both player characters and NPCs in The One Ring role-playing game. (GW:  please take note of how Cubicle 7 properly handles a license for Lord of the Rings!)

Page 32: New Releases:  The Hobbit:  Dwarf Grim Hammer Captain. He doesn’t look as cool as the regular rank-and-file Grim Hammers …and, being made in FINECAST(TM), he also clocks in at half the price of the whole box of Grim Hammers. For one middle-of-the-road model. I say skip this one.

Page 33: New Releases:  The Hobbit: The Dwarf lord, Thror. Despite being set at the FINECAST(TM) price point of $25 for this single model, at least it’s cool enough to tempt me. He really is cool.

Page 34: New Releases:  The Hobbit: Lindir of Rivendell. I really wish they hadn’t shown me the close-up of the model’s face –never since Shannon Doherty have eyes been so crookedly set on a face (and it’s only rubbing salt into the wound with GW’s caption of “”see the intricate details sculpted onto his face.”)

Page 35: New Releases:  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hardcover rules manual. WTF??? THIS IS NOT NEW! I suspect that the sales of this are SO infernally dismal, that Games Workshop has been left wondering if they forgot to advertise its availability back when it came out before Christmas. No, GW, you didn’t forget to mention the existence of this rules manual; it’s just that people know when they’re getting hosed.
40k players take note!! Next time you’re going to grouse on about what a raw deal the 40k rulebook is at $90 for 432 full-colour pages; THIS is what getting hosed is: The Hobbit’s rulebook is $100 for 288 (full-colour) pages. But GW can’t figure out why it’s not selling, so they list it as a new release …again.

Pgs 36-37: New Releases:  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Escape from Goblin Town starter box. OR PERHAPS the game hasn’t come out yet! OR PERHAPS I’ve gone back in time and am reliving the world as it was three months ago. …Or more realistically, the writing’s on the wall, and we have front-row seats to see just how well the Hobbit game is performing for Games Workshop. Despite my absolute love for all things genuinely Tolkien, and my persistent desire to want to like GW’s Hobbit range, I can’t.

Pgs 38-40: New Releases:  Black Library:  Death of Antagonis,  a novel about one of the 13th (“Cursed”) founding’s chapters, the Black Dragons. Remember back when White Dwarf published rules to make your very own game-legal Cursed Founding chapter with its own special traits / abilities? Probably not. But I digress; hot on the heels of the Path of the Renegade novel comes Path of the Incubus written by none other than Andy Chambers! …who always struck me as a rules writer, not a prose writer. Also out this month: keeping with the Daemons’ double-dipping theme in this month’s magazine, The Masque of Vyle is a second Eldar novel (okay–it’s a novella) out in March. Lastly, for Warhammer, comes Van Hortsmann and has the tag line “Egrimm van Horstmann is the most promising wizard the College of Light has ever seen, but he harbours a terrible secret.” I’m betting it’s that “Freaky Friday” mirror of his. Just sayin.

Page 41: New Releases: Digital Products:  Buy the White Dwarf issue you’re currently reading, the Daemons codex / Army Book –heck, even the 40k Psychic Powers are all available in digital format!

Pgs 42-43: New Releases: Forge World:  More Warhammer 30k models: Terminators for the Death Guard and the Sons of Horus that both look like space marines in Mk VII armour that have let themselves go a little bit. Rounding out the releases is the Vulkite Caliver upgrade pack….whatever those are.

Pgs 44-45: New Releases:  Licensed Games:  And by licensed, they mean iPad games. Warhammer Quest comes out in March for the iPad! Also coming down the tubes is the next battle pack for Warhammer Invasion by Fantasy Flight Games.

Pgs 46-47: New Releases Summary:  Full listing of this month’s extensive releases, complete with prices.

Pgs 48-49: Advert: GW Online Store. Surely, after the whole “we own every use of the words Space Marine” debacle, ‘Workshop has proved they firmly believe there’s no such a thing as bad P.R.
…Which makes me wonder why they don’t mention in this advertisement that Games Workshop Online carries items (such as the Death From the Skies supplement) that aren’t available from GW Hobby Centre Retail stores –and they won’t let independent stores order or carry.

Pgs 50-55: Army of the Month: Dave Roberts’ Lamenters Space Marine army. One day I will chart how many Marine armies (versus anything NON marine) get featured here.

Pgs 56-57: Standard Bearer:  Jervis tackles how to solve perplexing rules questions. He admits that designers don’t always know how their games will always play out …and then goes on about how normal and acceptable and just generally how good it is to just rely on a random dice roll to solve those tricksy rules dilemmas.
…Which makes me wonder if this solution hasn’t also been applied to other facets of Games Workshop’s business.

“Okay, on a 4+ we spend a lot of time crafting good rules that do proper justice to Tolkien’s works, then we really push the technology and see of what we can accomplish in the smaller 25mm scale with plastics and Finecast; on a 1 to 3 we’ll just shill the same old thing but mark the price up another 15-50% over the last edition’s products and act like it’s always been that way. [rolls] Hmmm , I rolled a 2; right, shill it with an inflated margin and damn the consequences, it is!” **

**I have no proof this conversation ever actually took place in a GW executive meeting.

Pgs 58-73: Battle Report – 40k:  Daemons of Chaos piloted by Adam Troke take issue with Matt Hutson’s Imperial Fists. I think I’m more concerned with how Daemons do when up against another sixth edition (or even a late-fifth edition) codex. But what I’m REALLY curious about is how stacked the odds are against the Daemons when they rook up against Grey Knights. However, this battle report tackles neither of those issues and instead goes after the vanilla marines. The Imperial Fists lose their battle as a result. In hindsight, I’m finding that I kind of wish they’d list the points values of the armies in the battle reports. 

Pgs 74-77: Blanchitsu:  John Blanche shows off some models that a fan sent him. The models look like Mr. Blanche himself did them –and the accompanying portraits of each model in the Inquisitor warband look even more like paintings done by John Blanche. I wonder: when John Blanche talks about playing games with the inquisitor warbands he paints up (or in this case gets sent by a fan), what game is he playing? The old Inquisitor game? I’m truly curious.

Pgs 78-79: Hall of Fame:  Urien Rakarth. I would argue that inducting models barely three years old into the “Hall of Fame” really makes the hall of fame feel not all that prestigious.

Pgs 80-95: Parade GroundUK Golden Demon, 2012 …part 3:  Despite the quality of the entries, having a third installment of Golden Daemons models makes me suspect that the magazine in general is starved for good content ideas. I’ll say nothing else negative here as the entries are truly inspiring (all except the Space Wolves ones…just because, well, Space Wolves).  The Nurglish Ettin on page 95 is absolutely breathtaking.

Pgs 96-101: Kit Bash:  The “secret ingredient” this month is Warhammer 40,000 Ork Fighta Bommers. And every model is awesome! I should go on at length about these, but the words will do the models no justice.

Pgs 102-109: Battleground:  Coverage of the best entries from the 2012 Armies on Parade competition at the UK Games Day …again. All four are superb. Three of the four are mostly yellow. A repeat of last month’s topic again leaves me thinking the ‘Dwarfers are stretching one article across multiple months in order to bide time. Only one Marine is showcased here, and it’s truly good to see some Tau!

Pgs 110-117: Paint Splatter:  How to go about painting up all your Daemons stuff. Warriors of Dale are then touched upon, before this segment then moves on to painting using a GW spray gun, featuring Matt Hutson’s yellow Imperial Fists.

Pgs 118-119: Jeremy Vetock:  A list of things Jeremy Vetock doesn’t like. Overall the article is pretty innocuous, in all senses of the word. I’m kinda’ holding out for Jeremy to hit his stride with this column. I mean, if Jervis brings game design (if you will) to the table, and John Blanche brings art design, what niche can Mr. Vetock fill? I know I’d like to see less “opinion of the minute” columns from him and maybe more about the various campaigns/leagues he’s run over the years –heck even if his column tackled designing satisfying campaigns every now and again, that would be pretty nice.

Page 120: Advert: “Follow us on Facebook….and Twitter!”

Pgs 121-124: Advert:  Games Workshop Hobby Centres! Also: GW Hobby Centre “birthday” celebrations & upcoming giant games at the Memphis battle bunker.

Page 125: Advert:  GW advertises that their products are carried by independent stores, and encourages YOU to encourage your local store to carry GW products.

Pgs 126-135: Advert:  Listings of GW Hobby Centres (worldwide) and GW Independent Stockists (North America).

Page 136: Advert:  White Dwarf suggests you consider having your White Dwarf magazines mailed to you every month. 

Pgs 137-151: This Month In…

-White Dwarf:  Details about “The Hobby Challenge” laid down by Matt Hutson: to paint up a new force and battle with it before next month’s White Dwarf. By the sounds of it a “force” is roughly a battleforce-box amount of models (more or less). All three games systems will be represented.

-The Design Studio:  John Blanche talks about the history of the chaos powers –from a codex point of view. Aly Morrison, Colin Grayson, Dave Thomas and Mike Anderson all talk a little about the daemons models they’ve sculpted for this month’s releases. Then John Michelbach talks about the map he made detailing the realm of chaos itself.

-Around the Studio:  Snapshots of some projects belonging to non-White Dwarf studio staff. The Nurgle-themed Chaos Marine army is the one that truly stands out.

-Forge World:  Shots of more 30k models, the Minotaurs chapter Sternguard, two half-finished orc character models and another new tile for the Realm of Battle board, this time Fantasy themed.

-Black Library:  Ben Counter talks about his new novel, Van Hortsmann.  Also snapshots of models inspired by some Black Library releases, all of them space marines.

Page 152: Parting Shot:  If last month’s parting shot picture of the Necron flyer could be seen as heralding the Death From the Skies 40k supplement, I really do wonder what a picture of Space Wolves on their Thunder Cats Cav fighting a Tyranid could possibly portent. Perhaps Workshop has pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes and is about to release a new Tyranid codex? Probably not.  Still….

Inside Back Cover: March Events Calendar:  I very much enjoy how this calendar also includes February 23rd –when the advance orders for all the early March releases first go up on GW’s website. Just seems kind of redundant to me.

Thoughts on the Issue

I don’t know what’s up with this issue. I think, for the most part,  I liked last month’s issue (especially the irony of Jervis Johnson speaking against the homogenisation of the hobby while working side-by-side those whose goal is to homogenise the Warhammer hobby!); and yet, this month’s ‘Dwarf has left me feeling, to be blunt, a bit pissed.


 

STREET BEEF

Beef #1: For the second month in a row, this issue came poly bagged –despite the utter lack of anything extra being included with the magazine to make poly bagging it a necessity.

Beef #2: The worrying possibility that I mentioned in last month’s Street Beef, that the White Dwarf can’t keep up the creativity momentum established in the new format’s first few books, sure looks like it’s coming closer to being actualised: not only is there no bonus content included with the magazine but 15% of this month’s book (the page count of the Golden Demon entries and the Armies on Parade spotlight) are, creativity-wise, the exact same as last month’s issue

Then there’s what has transpired in the last month: Games Workshop deciding that the term Space Marine has never existed prior to 1989 and the advent of Rogue Trader (I tell you, it’s a good thing Tolkien has such good, long-serving lawyers…otherwise Amazon might be considering yanking Tolkien’s books too!). BUT, too many people have written about this already, so I’m not going to say much more.

Lastly, there’s the GW’s handling of The Hobbit. I may not be the biggest Tolkien nerd, but I am a huge fan. I may not own everything ever made for gaming in Middle Earth, but I own more than my fair share: I’m closing in on having a complete collection of Iron Crown’s Middle Earth Role Playing system, I have everything except the starter box for Decipher’s Lord of the Rings RPG (based off the movies) and have everything so far for Cubicle 7’s The One Ring RPG. I also own several different board games based off of Tolkien’s books as well as the co-op Living Card Game being made by Fantasy Flight Games. As  far as GW’s products go, I didn’t bother with The Battle of Five Armies (I owned Warmaster already), but I’ve avidly collected GW’s Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game and have actively played it for years; I’ve made my own campaign system for their Battle Companies free expansion For LotR SBG, and I still think that GW’s War of the Ring game is one of the best miniatures games GW has put out (it is not without its flaws, but it remains one of the more satisfying games to play that GW has made).

So when I start saying only bad things about GW’s The Hobbit game, it’s not because I’m a hater. And yet I was barely able to say one good thing about the Hobbit new releases in this issue. As a fan, I feel completely bent over the barrel by the stranglehold GW has on this game. The price-point of all the models is noticeably higher than the GW products many already consider “already too expensive;” the decent level of detail the models do possess is betrayed by their simplistic design (single cast, not multiple components and options that promote customisation) –which is only worsened by the fact that the quantity-of-product versus price-point ratio feels worse than anything else Games Workshop makes.

So I guess that boils down to my Beef really is with this issue: that White Dwarf has me actively disliking GW’s  Hobbit releases.
Me.
The guy who defends The Hobbit movies being done as a trilogy; the guy who still points out that the sixth edition of 40k and the eighth edition of Warhammer Fantasy both have the War of the Ring game to thank for having their mechanics reinvigorated; the guy who still really wants to play more games of GW’s War of the Ring; the guy who’s planning on getting back into playing/running/GMing a role-playing game (thanks  to The One Ring rpg) …or at the very least, to play more Middle Earth Quest and the Lord of the Rings living card game. Of all the hobbies I have been passionate about since my mid-teen years, it’s the Lord of the Rings I’ve liked the longest. It’s been one of my hobby mainstays for over twenty years now –I mean, I barely touch video games at all, and yet I’ve got a lifetime membership for Lord of the Rings Online.

And here’s White Dwarf, on Games Workshop’s behest, convincing me to hate it.

February’s White Dwarf Reviewed

This would be Issue #397 if White Dwarf was still being numbered,

…and this issue was late. I’m writing this review three days after it arrived at the store…with the store’s supply of the issue arriving two days after the local Games Workshop received their copies. Sigh.

As is evidenced by the models on the front cover, this issue focuses on the new Warriors of Chaos release(s) due out the first Saturday of February…today–or rather, yesterday (seeing how I’m posting this on Sunday, February 3rd).

Of note: this issue came poly bagged even though there are no “extras” included in this month’s issue.

White Dwarf Feb 2013

WHITE DWARF: FEBRUARY 2013

Inside CoverThe White Dwarf Team.

Page 1: Opening Salvo: Jes Bickham’s editorial. he talks about the Warriors of Chaos, this month’s battle report and mentions there’s more Golden Demon models in this month’s issue.

Pgs 2-3: Table of Contents:  No surprises: a listing of the articles and what-not in this month’s issue.

Pgs 4-5: New Releases:  For the glory of the Dark Gods, the Warriors of Chaos come from the cursed north in search of bloodshed and exaltation…

Pgs 6-7: New Releases:  Dual gate folds showcasing the Slaughterbrute and Mutalith Vortex Beast versions of the newest super-sized kit for Warhammer.

Pgs 8-11: New Releases:  Dragon  Ogres. Plenty of photos showing how stiffly posed the front legs on all the sculpts are capable of looking.

Pgs 12-15: New Releases:  The new, ALL PLASTIC Chaos chariot. Also shown is the Gorebeast version of the chariot….which I kind of really like.

Pgs 16-17: New Releases:  Chaos Foresaken models shown off.

Pgs 18-19: New Releases:  The Warriors of Chaos ALL PLASTIC Lord. At first I didn’t care for this model, and then I found out he wasn’t a FINECAST(TM) model but one with the same pedigree and price as GW’s other awesome plastic heroes (the Cairn Wraith etc). For a plastic model at the price point he is, this guy is pretty awesome!

Pgs 20-21: New Releases:  He’s hellishly expensive. He’s a FINECAST(TM) model. And yet Throgg is just super cool.

Pgs 22-23: New Releases: Vilitch the Curseling. Cool model and awesome paint job–though I’m a little unsure of that giant spike coming from its shoulder.

Pgs 24-28: New Releases:  Warriors of Chaos Warhammer Armies book, in its newest iteration and given the same treatment as all other new army books and codices: full colour and hardcover.

Pgs 28-29: New Releases:  Battle Magic deck for Warriors of Chaos and the brand-new …Chimera? I thought the Chimera was a new release back when Storm of Magic was new. Mayhaps they’ve made its rules significantly better, thus earning it a second chance to step up to the plate?

Pgs 30-31: New Releases:  The Hobbit: Knights of Rivendell. I think these models are pretty awesome…even though they ARE being released about ten years too late. Also, I THOUGHT THESE ELF-KNIGHTS WERE SUPPOSED TO BE TOUGH; WHY WOULD AN ELF PLAYER WANT DEAD ELF MODELS INCLUDED IN THE BOX SET HE’S BUYING???

Pgs 32-33: New Releases:  The Hobbit: Grim Hammers. Some of the coolest dwarf models I’ve seen GW put out. Mind you, they had an art team from a movie studio design the models for them, so I should hope so. 

Page 34: New Releases:  Elrond on foot and mounted. Cool model in two poses that clocks in at almost the same price as a tank in 40k? It’s like GW is advertising just how good the cocaine is at their executive meetings.

Page 35: New Releases:  Radagast the Brown in FINECAST(TM). I have the plastic version that came with The Hobbit starter box (the store still has two Ltd. Edition starters on its shelves). I’ll take a pass: one hobo wizard is enough for my collection right now.

Page 36: New Releases:  Yazneg on foot and mounted. Cool model in two poses that clocks in at almost the same price as a tank in 40k? It’s like GW is advertising just how good the cocaine is at their executive meetings.

Page 37: New Releases:  Goblin King throwing a minion…in FINECAST(TM). I have the plastic version of the king that comes with The Hobbit starter box. I’ll take a pass: one testicle-chinned herald of Nurgle is enough for my collection right now.

Pgs 38-41: New Releases:  Black Library:  A Gotrek and Felix book not written by Bill King??? INCONCEIVABLE! Also, with the new Yarrick novel, there are now three 40k book series that are written around specifically from the viewpoint of an Imperial Guard Commissar…one of which (Ciaphas Cain) is also released this month. Also out this month: a Gotrek & Felix omnibus, a Mephiston novel and a duo-book with Space Wolves and Blood Angels stories in it. Looks to be a pretty good reading month.

Pgs 42-43: New Releases: Forge World:  Voss Pattern Lighting (flyer) and WH30k Marine Legions Champion and Master of Signals models. It’s very hard for me to tell whether the marine models are painted with extreme field wear on their armour or if the quality of the castings on these examples is exceptionally crappy. Perhaps they were just painting them with chunky paints?

Pgs 44-45: New Releases:  Digital Products & Fantasy Flight Games:  Download the new Warriors of Chaos codex or this issue of White Dwarf. 

*puts on conspiracy hat*

I for one, am curious how many more months the paper edition will suffer “delays” before GW starts making mention that the e-version of the magazine won’t ever be late or held up. As for Fantasy Flight Games, another Talisman expansion and adventures for two 40k RPGs: Deathwatch and Only War. 

Pgs 46-47: New Releases Summary:  Full listing of this month’s extensive releases–with their prices listed!

I should mention again how I REALLY NEED to use Games Workshop for converting my US funds into Canadian funds: I’d make 17-25% more money than when I follow the actual currency exchange rates! (Because that’s what GW calculates the value of the US Greenback being over the Canadian dollar…even though we’ve been hovering around parity for a few years now–and it’s not the same as Australia where GW has infrastructure and manufacturing present in the country (and following that country’s wages and taxes etc). GW Hobby Centres in Canada are nothing more than company-owned importers, and independent stores are just foreign purchasers….but I’ll stop my rant here.

Pgs 48-49: Advert: GW Online Store.

Pgs 50-55: Army of the Month: Paul Gayner’s Crimson Heralds Space Marine army.

Pgs 56-57: Standard Bearer “You should do what you want to do, and don’t let others tell you what you can’t do.” Very good advice from Jervis this month…though it does come off as a bit rich–but I don’t blame Jervis: there’s a disconnect between what he says and how GW the company acts.

Jervis eschews the homogenisation of the hobby (and strongly hints that the serial tournament players shoulder most of the blame…I’m not so sure he’s wrong about that either), yet Games Workshop continues to cast their baleful eye on all things Space Marines: there was a time where most people had one marine army in their collection and some who played none; these days, most people play one or more marine-flavoured armies exclusively …and some people might own just one marine army. If that’s not homogenisation of the game, I don’t know what is.

But this matter is a topic for another rant entirely.

Pgs 58-73: Battle Report – Warhammer:  Warriors of Chaos versus Orcs and Goblins, featuring Hidden Deployment! Awesome! I’m a great believer in adding elements to games that remove the predictability of army lists. The best generals adapt and overcome. All the list builders who try to make their armies as reliable as possible should just accept the fact that they cannot emotionally cope with the fundamental tenet of these dice & miniatures games: players have to roll dice. Perhaps a switch to chess, where all the terrible randomness has already been removed, would make their lives less sorry…but that’s a rant for a different post entirely and doesn’t really belong in the paragraph where I’m talking about the battle report where despite having a new book out this month, the Warriors of Chaos were defeated by the Orcs & Goblins.

What I also liked about this battle report was the post-game ruminations by not only both players (Andrew Kenrick and Jeremy Vetock) but also two ‘Dwarf staffers and the Warriors of Chaos army book author, Robin Cruddace.

Pgs 74-77: Blanchitsu:  John Blanche brings on awesomeness that simply drips what 40k’s grimdark should be:IG by Blanchecreepiness combined with an overriding sense of hopelessness. John Blanche excels at this, and a customer who was flipping through this issue at the store even off-the-cuff remarked how he didn’t care for Blanche’s models because of the dark and unsettling tone they possess! The Factotum Eraxaus Parnor (click on thumbnail to the right) model on page 77 seals the deal for me.

Pgs 78-79: Hall of Fame:  Space Marine Sternguard Veteran.

Pgs 80-95: Parade GroundUK Golden Demon, 2012:  Last month’s issue (which I haven’t even had a chance to read yet!) covered Golden Demon winners across the world, while this month’s fifteen pages of Golden Demons are focused solely on the UK’s 2012 Games Day. Astounding works, all of them.

Pgs 96-101: Kit Bash:  Iron Chef style, the “secret ingredient” this month is Warhammer 40,000 Command Squads. I originally said it back with Kit Bash‘s first article, I’ll say it again: I really do appreciate that all the conversions are presented as expertly painted creations foremost and the work-in-progress shots are added only for extra detail. This month we’re presented with a Tau Battlesuit and its Bodyguard plus examples of command squads for WH30k Sons of Horus Legion, Dark Angels, Imperial Fists, Solar Hawks and The Remnants Space Marine Chapters.  What’s that about the danger of the hobby becoming very homogenised, Jervis?

Pgs 102-109: Battleground:  “Four of the best entries from the 2012 Armies on Parade competition at the UK Games Day.”  And they are indeed all fantastic! Interestingly enough, each is also rather…tall and features a LARGE building as a prominent vertical features on the display boards. It looks like if you want to place at your GW Hobby Centre’s next Armies on Parade competition, plan on a board that’s at least sixteen inches tall….more likely twenty-four.

Pgs 110-117: Paint Splatter:  All things Warriors of Chaos are covered before branching out into painting litanies of faith on 40k battle flags (etc) and how to paint this month’s Hobbit releases, the Grim Hammer Dwarves and the Knights of Rivendell.

Pgs 118-119: Jeremy Vetock:  I think I really like Jeremy Vetock, and I think he does (and brings) a lot of good for Games Workshop. So it’s kind of sad that this month’s article comes across more as him shilling the company’s terrain kits than anything else. I don’t doubt his sincerity–and I myself love their terrain kits, but this article read like how late-night infomercials watch.

Page 120: Advert: “Follow us on Facebook….and Twitter!”

Pgs 121-123: Advert:  Games Workshop Hobby Centres! Also: GW Hobby Centre “birthday” celebrations.

Pgs 124-125: Advert:  GW advertises that their products are carried by independent stores, and encourages YOU to encourage your local store to carry GW products.

Pgs 126-135: Advert:  Listings of GW Hobby Centres (worldwide) and GW Independent Stockists (North America).

Page 136: Advert:  …Have you considered having your White Dwarf magazines mailed to you every month? Or just paying for them now and picking them up at our Hobby Centre?

Pgs 137-151: This Month In…

-White Dwarf:  A fairly banal run-down of what each staffer at White Dwarf was painting / playing in the month leading up to this issue (so, what they were doing 4-5 months ago). The highlight is the megabattle run by Jeremy Vetock. I’d certainly entertain the idea of running something similar in the store…

-The Design Studio:  GW design staff talk about what went into making the Warriors of Chaos new releases for this month.

-Around the Studio:  Not much more than a few snapshots of things mentioned elsewhere in the book (such as Jeremy Vetock’s purple-themed Orc & Goblin army). Ho-hum.

-Forge World:  Shots of the new Garviel Loken and Ezekyle Abaddon models being put out by Forge World. Also some shots of the half-completed (possibly more) Necron-themed tile for the Realm of Battle board.

-Black Library:  Adam Troke interviews the Chains of Golgotha and Mephiston author, David Annandale.

Page 152 & Inside Back Cover:  Parting shot: a picture of the Necron croissant-shaped flying vehicle with the quote, “Superior technology does not guarantee victory unless wielded by a superior being.” Well, judging from the amount of Necron Flying Circuses I’ve heard were present at many top tournaments, I’d wager having superior technology still helps out a lot. The inside back cover is a “hobby calendar” for the month of February; though generally bare, I think this is the better place to list all the GW Hobby Centre “birthday celebrations” rather than full-page adverts in the magazine.

Thoughts on the Issue

As I’ve said elsewhere in this post, I didn’t have enough spare moments during the Christmas retail season I was able to dedicate to reading the December and January issues of the White Dwarf. So really, this issue is only the second one I’ve read since the “big format change.” But this issue being the fourth month of the new format, I’m really able to see how well all the new changes have stuck.

All in all, things seem pretty good; I can tell they adopted set themes for set articles (for now)–which is good! I’m glad to see the Kit Bash article going the direction it’s going; I’m glad that John Blanche is continuing with the miniatures painting and converting articles he’s doing. I even like that Jervis Johnson’s article happens quite early in the magazine; it sets a nicer tone to read his musings just after all the new releases are covered, rather than what felt like an “in closing” column, back when it was nearer the end of each issue.

As for making each month strongly themed towards the game system that gets the Big Release for that month, I’m still on the fence: doing it this way means there’s almost no reason for a 40k player to pick up this issue with its focus right now being on Warhammer’s Warriors of Chaos–and certainly there’s NO reason at all for a Hobbit / Lord of the Rings player (if such a beast even exists) to buy this issue at all. That said, perhaps it’s more fair to players of each system to give them a full issue of content followed by a one or two month break from the magazine–unless they so choose to buy it. Thinking of it that way, it sure does seem like a smart and fair way of doing the magazine.

Which of course begs the question, “So why would Games Workshop being doing that then?”

 

STREET BEEF

I said it at the start of this review: this issue is poly-bagged….and yet there are no “extras” included with the magazine –hunh??

I’m clearly too lazy to dig up where I read it, but I seem to recall a boastful comment being made that the NEW White Dwarf would include a cool thing with each month’s poly bagged issue. Now, considering that it was a poster-checklist of product (debatable value) being included with the last two months of White Dwarf, I’m not too upset by the lack of a prize with this month’s magazine. However, the concern that I voiced back at the first month of the new format was that the cynic in me has decided each issue is being poly bagged so consumers must buy the book before knowing what’s inside each issue. Which, if true (will we ever know?), just reaffirms the sense I keep getting: that while GW may talk about how awesome all their stuff is, their actions show far less confidence in the superiority of their product.

It’s not a big beef, but it does point to a worrying possibility: that White Dwarf can’t keep up this creative momentum. If they run out of ideas for prizes to include with the magazine in the poly bag after only three months, how much longer can any of its more creativity-demanding articles last? Hopefully I’m just paranoid.

2012 in review

Well, running the Imaginary Wars Gaming and Hobbies store has successfully kept me COMPLETELY busy throughout the Christmas season–so much so that I’ve managed to totally stop blogging (I even managed to miss doing my regular–and late as always–White Dwarf review for the December issue of Games Workshop’s magazine).  I’m not yet at the part where I start making New Year’s blogging / gaming / whatever resolutions (though, seeing as how it’s New Year’s Eve, now would be an entirely appropriate time for blogging resolutions for the new year!), but already I know I need to work on regular blog updates…I used to be pretty good at getting a post or two done each week.

Anyways,  the number monkeys at WordPress crunched my page stats for 2012 and formatted the report to be easily posted; so in an attempt to turn a new leaf, I’m posting that report in hopes it will jump-start me in 2013 to blogging regularly once more; without further ado, here’s the 2012 WordPress highlights report for the Imaginary Wars blog:

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 66,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

Work in Progress: Demons! The Second.

Hello folks! Scott here again. I’ve been diligently trucking away at getting my Tzeentch Demon army painted up, and figured it was about time for another post.

Here’s the army in its current state of paintitude:

1500 points of deepstriking, flamethrowing pain.

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November’s White Dwarf (#393?) …Reviewed!

First off:

I admit it: yes, I missed reviewing last month’s White Dwarf–though thanks to Games Workshop getting rid of printing the issue number on each month’s magazine, had I not bothered mentioning it here, it’s likely no one would have been any the wiser!

I have to admit, I was working on more important (dare I say exciting?) things when last month’s issue came out–as I talked about a little in my last post …not to mention that when I wasn’t too busy building a weekend 40k tournament or preparing for a bunch of Black Library authors coming to visit my store, I’ve also been busy trying to stay on top of the (at times) mountainous pile of paperwork that comes with running one’s own business. And I do have to admit it: once I’ve dragged my feet for a couple of weeks on a review, it becomes very difficult to motivate myself to get the thing done–I mean what’s the point of “reviewing” an issue that’s been out for several weeks and is on the cusp of being replaced by the newer issue?

Being that I haven’t had much chance to fully go through last month’s issue, I didn’t realise until I was well past the half-way mark of doing this month’s review (or whatever it is that you want to call my coverage of the magazine) that the magazine has undergone a subtle, yet fundamental change in the manner it’s organised: it has moved away from being a conglomeration of “articles” about each game system and moved towards being a publication comprised of  themed, regularly occurring columns, with each column then focusing on a different game system (or what-have-you) each month. I think this is a change for the better.

This subtle change has had me rethink how I present my review; before I used to label which system each listed article was for–and colour code it accordingly–but I’ve decided with this review to colour code each article’s title according to the system it’s covering (white is used to show that article isn’t geared to any single system). I do feel a bit silly writing about how I’m going about doing things, but I thought I should try to explain why my page-by-page rundown of the magazine is so multi-coloured.

And now, without further ado…

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