White Dwarf #386 Review

So it’s a week after the White Dwarf was released, and I’ve had plenty of opportunities this week to flip through it (many times even). The extra time I’ve taken has meant that I’ve had the opportunity to flip through the book several times; which is good thing: in many ways this is actually a really good issue of White Dwarf. I’m not sure how much of a passing grade I’d give this issue, but it does have its strengths–which is exceptional considering how many past issues over the last few years have been nothing more than a conglomerate of weaknesses and failures.

This issue is a little different compared to the last…two years of White Dwarf—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The first thing that struck me was that the table of contents (which, for my format for reviewing the magazine, is practically the most important part of the rag) was shifted forward a little.

More interestingly, the month’s editorial moved as well: no longer relegated to the backside of the front cover, it’s been given its own proper page. More significantly, the editorial is presented less as a footnote and more as an introduction to the month’s issue, due mostly to the mug shots at the bottom of the page of this month’s contributors to the magazine.

I think this may be the first signal that GW knows there is something wrong with their magazine: to me, this feels like a first step to making real changes. I’m hesitant to attribute the changes to the editor, as it has always felt to me he lacks the personal initiative to really try and improve the book. No, Andrew “Cut-and-Paste” Kenrick’s efforts seem to be more about perpetuating the “just good enough” culture that has permeated the magazine for the last few years.

—Indeed, as I was writing that last paragraph, I had to double check the spelling of the editor’s last name; at the top of his editorial page, the editorial header says this is White Dwarf #387 (which it is in the UK)…even though the front cover of the North American edition clearly shows it to be #386! Come on, White Dwarf: either change the numbering system to all the White Dwarfs across the world, or perhaps make sure your editor is able to know what issue number he’s working on! Sloppy.

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Campaign Tournament: June 26 & 27

More info also at: http://conquest-calgary.com/

On Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28 myself, Great White and the fine folks who ran the ConQuest tournament in the fall of 2009 will be doing a tournament weekend unlike what’s become the standard style of tournament in these parts for some time: we’re bucking the trend and running a campaign tournament weekend.

Our tournament will combine competitive tournament play with what makes map-based campaigns so attractive to us gamers–namely, an atmosphere of fun and camaraderie , the feeling that our games are part of a big picture and the sense that at some point the whole thing could turn out feeling, well, epic. Basically, this campaign weekend is all about contributing to an adventure where the story is as important as the games themselves, where it is just as important to achieve victory for your team as it is to gain glory for yourself.

This is campaign weekend will not be a standard tournament where only your score is important!

Games will be driven by the narrative of the campaign; the games you play will be connected to part of a greater battle – the assault upon the Cadian Gate by the armies of Chaos and the forces of disorder. (The link to the full back story can be found at the top of the column on the right-hand side of this page titled, oddly enough, “14th Black Crusade back story”).

How well your team does will matter just as much as how well you yourself do; even if you lose your individual battle, achieving some of your objectives may help out your faction more than you tabling your opponent would.

I’m hoping that players will get into the mindset of the army (and faction) they’re bringing to the campaign and use this weekend as an opportunity to try something new with their armies — without being worried that straying from their tried and tested ‘tournament’ lists will result in them doing poorly over the weekend.

A Win is a Win is a Win

The other thing I’d like to point out that will make this tournament different is that for each player’s personal battles, there will be NO degrees of victory. A minor victory counts as tabling your opponent; a major victory counts as tabling your opponent; tabling your opponent counts as …you guessed it: tabling your opponent. My aim  is that we can all play this tournament to win but won’t have to stress over by how much. There will be other factors beyond merely decimating your opponents that will create the points spread necessary to determine winners.  With any level of victory counting as the same kind of victory, we should also be able to focus on having some fun: we all know that the best and funnest games are the ones that  –win or lose– are close and hard fought.

My hope is that players will make lists where they can try a new thing (or few) without hampering their ability to place in the top five. I’d really like it if this tournament became more about generalship than list-building, about how you play your army on the board than what you put in your army while still at home.

Army Lists& Construction Rules

Though I’m still getting the player’s pack finished up right now, I thought I’d post this info beforehand …for those who want as much notice as possible.

Army Size:

All players will make up a list of 1400 points called your army core list.

They will also make up a list where they add an extra 250 points to their army core list (total 1650).

They will also make up a third list where they add an extra 500 points to their army core list (total 1900).

Apart from the 1400-point core, the 1650 and 1900-point lists need not be the exact same lists (ie: the 1900-point list doesn’t have to be the 1650-point list with an extra 250 points tacked on). Lists must be emailed to info@ConQuest-Calgary.com

Submission deadline is midnight, Friday, June 18th .

Players should ensure that the rosters include all of the models in their army, the correct points values and all equipment, skills or powers upgrades taken (along with their proper point values). Army lists can still be submitted later than June 18th but run the risk of incurring a penalty on their overall tournament score and MAY be ineligible for the Best General award (called the “Ambitious Opportunist:  (   faction name  ) ” award in this tournament.

Army army lists must have the following clearly stated at the top of the page:

Army Type,  Name of Player,  Phone Number,  Email Address

Points spent on:  HQ  /  Elite  /  Troops  /  Fast Attack  /  Heavy Support

Army lists can be submitted in Microsoft Word or Excel (versions 2003 or lower), in Notepad or in Army Builder format.

Armies cannot use more than one Force Organisation Chart and must follow their most current codex according to this list:

Codex: Black Templars                  Codex: Blood Angels (2010)

Codex: Chaos Space Marines       Codex: Daemon Hunters

Codex: Daemons of Chaos           Codex: Dark Angels

Codex: Dark Eldar (2nd Ed.)         Codex: Eldar

Codex: Imperial guard                  Codex: Necrons

Codex: Orks                                  Codex: Space Marines

Codex: Tau Empire                       Codex: Space Wolves (2009)

Codex: Tyranids (2010)                Codex: Witch Hunters

Other Army Construction Guidelines

  • Individual units that may have multiple rules versions will follow the rules presented in that army’s codex. (Yes, this means a Black Templar Land Raider will function differently than a standard Space Marine Land Raider.) Please take the time to review the relevant codex and GW FAQs for clarifications.
  • Forge World/Imperial Armor/ units are not allowed; however, players can use Forge World versions of legal unit(s) from their army’s current codex.
  • Apocalypse-only units and/or Formations may not be used.
  • The Vehicle Design Rules may not be used.
  • Allies may only be used where allowed by a particular codex (i.e. only Witch Hunters or Demon Hunters may be allies, and only as per their rules).

For Inquisitorial Armies:

Imperial Guard and Space Marine allies are allowed. As both of these codices have changed substantially since the Inquisition books were originally released, use the following amendments to the lists presented on pg 30-31 of the Daemon Hunters book and pg 26 of the Witch Hunters book:

Troops: Space Marine Tactical Squad, Space Marine Scout Squad, Imperial Guard Infantry Platoon, Imperial Guard Veteran Squad.

Fast Attack: Space Marine Assault Squad, Land Speeder Squadron, Space Marine Bike Squadron, Scout Sentinel Squadron, Armored Sentinel Squadron, Rough Rider Squad, Scout Bike Squad.

Heavy Support: Space Marine Devastator Squad, Space Marine Land Raider (Crusader and Redeemer as well), Space Marine Dreadnought, Space Marine Predator, 0-1 Leman Russ Squadron (Pask may NOT be taken).

NOTE:  Grey Knight Terminators may not travel in Valkyries or Vendetta Gunships.

Regarding Special/Unique/Named Heroes:

Special or named Characters CANNOT be used. Period.

…but there will be an allowance made for certain characters whose special rules change how their army is made up or who confer a special cross-army rule when present in the army(Like Belial or Pedro Kantor do).  This will be covered in the upcoming Player’s Pack.

That’s all I’m going to go into for now, but I will leave all interested parties with the factions break down –for those with multiple armies who aren’t sure which one they want to play yet.

The Forces of Destruction: The forces motivated to destroy all bastions of the Imperium surrounding the Eye of Terror.

  • Chaos Space Marines
  • Daemons of Chaos
  • Space Orks
  • Tyranids
  • Dark Eldar

The Forces of the Imperium: The forces seeking to contain Chaos within the Eye of Terror.

  • Black Templars
  • Blood Angels
  • Daemon Hunters
  • Dark Angels
  • Imperial guard
  • Space Marines
  • Space Wolves
  • Witch Hunters

The Forces of Self Interest: Those forces looking to their own goals and are willing to fight whomever they need to achieve them. They do have a faction they ultimately side with, included in parentheses after the army (this is done so that this tournament avoids becoming a six-way competition).

  • Eldar (Imperium)
  • Necrons (Destruction)
  • Tau (Destruction)

New Painting Contest & Updates!

Well, looks like it’s painting competition time again!

I was striving to get something going for March fifteenth, but with my running the Rolling Thunder tournament for Warhammer 40,000 and with getting prepared for my shop’s attendance at Cal-Con this year, a March painting competition just wasn’t in the books.

Ah well. Mayday has as much ring to it as Ides of March.

This competition will follow the same format as the previous ones I’ve run: two categories determined by model size where models from the three main Games Workshop systems will be judged against each other along with a third category for inexperienced hobbyists. The departure this time will be the addition of a staff-painted models category. All those who enter will be allowed to judge (through voting) the models submitted by the store staff. From the sounds of it, all the staffers want to paint up larger models, so I need to figure out what I have that’s of comparable size to what they’re all talking about; there’s no point in submitting a Sartosan Vampire three contenders are talking about Carnifexes, Steam Tanks and Carnosaurs.

I have a few things in the works:  Buhrdur  (Angmar Troll chieftain from Lord of the Rings). an Eldar Falcon grav tank, a Space Marine Venerable Dreadnought and Gulavhar (again from Angmar-Lord of the Rings). Both Buhrdur and my grav tank are about 25% done, while Gulavhar and my Venerable Dreadnought are just past the gap-filling stage. I’ll have to make up my mind pretty quickly as to which model will be my entry. (And if I really have my  act together, perhaps I’ll even do some work in progress posts!)

Rolling Thunder Results

On the sixth of March, 2010, I ran my fourth tournament put on by Great White. Rolling Thunder was the store’s second Warhammer 40k tourney (and my third one which had custom scenarios whose aim was to give players two challengers in the each game they played: the player opposite them at the table and that scenario’s victory conditions). All in all, things went extremely well: despite being the consummate procrastinator, I’m managing to get more and more organised with each passing tournament (I’ve left the realm of ‘simply embarrassing’ far behind and can now be solidly ranked among those ‘a  tad disorganised’); I’m also still managing to avoid gaining enemies in real life due to the tournament missions I put the players through.

This time through, we had twelve players: eleven registered plus a ringer spot (which was occupied by a couple of friends who helped me once I realised I was in a jam: twelfth player had registered quite early on and then summarily dropped off the face of the earth–and I hadn’t figured it out until a couple of days before the tournament). Still, things went off pretty smoothly, even with the mall stealing some of our tables first thing in the morning!

PLAYER LIST

Player            —      Army

1.   Kevin K.     — White Scars Marines

2 .  Trevor B.   — Space Wolves

3 .  Jason H.     — Eldar

4 .  Rob D.        — Tyranids

5 .  Scott S.       — Space Wolves

6 .  Mike D.       — Tyranids

7 .  Alem A.     — Salamanders Marines

8 .  Nick G.       — Chaos Marines

9 .  Ryan F.       — Necrons

10.  Conor M.  — Khorne Marines

11.  Peter H.     — Ultra Marines

–an okay variety of armies but still a bit too Marine-heavy for my tastes. Despite that, I am pleased that every list was distinctly different from every other list.

Again, I’m very pleased with all the work put into the armies that took part in Rolling Thunder; the players that keep showing up for the tournaments I run are doing a lot to claw back the poor reputation that ( in my experience) a bulk  of 40k players have established: namely that 40k players care more about gaming than they do gaming with good-looking armies.

Let me explain that comment. During my five-year tenure at Games Workshop, from the GW staff down, I had noticed Fantasy players always tended to have their armies fully painted while 40k players’ armies–who, I might add, had less models–tended to be works in progress…or painted only to the barest of minimums. I had even been to a couple of the annual staff tournaments (held for all the Ontario staff and cell managers, plus one staffer from each province);  both years I went, there were one–maybe two–armies that showed up being either bare plastic/metal or primer only–and remember this was a staff tournament during the era of  “you can’t play in a GW store if your army isn’t completely painted–invariably the offending armies were 40k armies. And I’ll reiterate it: this was happening at a tournament attended by those who were supposed to be setting the standard for their customers. (In following years, I had also heard similar accounts of a 40k army or two showing up for the staff tourney sans paint job.)

I’m not trying to crap on 40k players by saying all this; I’m trying to describe the level of pleased I am at the quality of paint jobs brought to the tables at this tournament; not only were all these armies fully painted, but all were painted to a level well above bare minimum. Up until this tournament, I had always lived under the presumption that 40k players were more gaming-minded and Fantasy players were more hobby-minded; it looks like the two may have reached an equilibrium.

Tournament Results

Name Army Battle
Sports Comp Painting Total
Kevin K. White Scars 21 32.5 28 35.5 117
Trevor B. Space Wolves 19 34.5 26 23 112.5
Jason H. Eldar 39 49.5 23 39.5 151
Rob D. Tyranids 24 32 25 25 106
Scott S. Space Wolves 29 34 34 41 138
Mike Davey Tyranids 41 34.5 31 47.5 154
Alem A. Salamanders 31 34.5 29 20 114.5
Nick G. Chaos Marines 42 37 20 24 123
Ryan F. Necrons 21 34.5 31 23 109.5
Conor M. Khorne Marines 31 32 30 30 123
Peter H. Ultramarines 27 25 23 8 83

Best Overall: Mike D.

Best Sportsman: Jason H.

Best Painted: Scott S.

Lessons Learned

Organise! Organise! Organise! The opportunity to do this tournament came at me quickly and unexpectedly, with a local gaming convention organiser approaching me to run a tournament with tickets to the con as prizes. I agreed running a tournament would be  a win-win situation, thus leaving me only a few scant weeks to organise, advertise and create all the missions. It was pretty hectic for me at times because I wasn’t well prepared to get all this up and going in just a few weeks; luckily I have a (very) little bit of a routine with how I put together my tournaments that this was able to fall together with a bit of hard work and late nights–but thankfully not much stress.

The show went off without a hitch (more or less); and what’s better: I had not only new attendees, but three first-time tournament players! I also noticed quite a few players exchanging contact information,which I suspect is a pretty good indicator of a community growing. And I mean, really, that’s the main hope I have behind doing tournaments: grow the gaming community and have a hand at bringing what I love about gaming to the table.