Hobby Plans for 2019

Well, as we’re two weeks into 2019, I suppose I really should start doing some kind of planning!

First, I really want to track my work, as though I lost track towards the end of 2018, logging my painting made a big difference in getting things done.  I’m going to take part in #painthammer2019 – you can find loads of details over on JewelKnightJess‘s blog Silent Dream.

Second, as a rough target for the year, I’m going to aim for 100 painted minis.  I think thats achievable, and should keep me pushing and painting hard enough to get it done.

Third, I want to “finish off” my Sisters of Battle armies, which are coming up for a major relaunch.  I have two armies, one in green (the Order of the Verdant Garden) and one in silver (the Order of the Argent Shroud).  Both need some reworking for the 8th edition beta codex, and both need some key models painted for a “complete” force of around 2000pts.  Things like a couple of Gemina Superior to protect Celestine, finish off any odd or missing people from complete units, do extra Rhinos for the various squads, add an Exorcist to the Silver Sisters, and so on.  It’s not trivial amounts, but not impossible amounts either.

Fourth, I want to start a new Sisters of Battle army in the traditional Black and Red when the new army is released in plastic.  I can make a start on this with Celestine and the Geminae from the Triumvirate set, and a Canoness Veridyan.  Fingers are crossed for an all plastic exorcist and a Sisters flyer of some kind.

Fifth, I want to try and keep on top of Warhammer Conquest.  I’ve done a rubbish job so far, and its rather starting to build up, especially as I’ve built my Dark Imperium set alongside it and picked up a few extra copies of some of the issues, as well as kitbashed some primaris, and added a chaplain and a box each of intercessors, reivers and plague marines to the mix too.

Sixth, 2019 is going to be the year of the terrain for me!  With RubbleCity and a Suluco (think space hulk tiles in Resin) due from Fenris Games this year, and with terrain coming in from Warhammer Conquest and from my Shadow War and Kill Team starter sets, plus a _lot_ of old Sector Imperialis buildings that need gluing back together after a move, I should have enough terrain to run my own club!

Seventh, I want to paint up one or two Blood Bowl teams, like the new Dark Elves and my cracking Iron Golems set of Halflings.

Eighth, I want to cherry pick the odd fantasy mini to paint for fun, so I don’t get stuck grinding on tasks for the hell of it, so I’m staying subscribed to my monthly bones pack.  I won’t get them all painted, but it’ll be fun.

Ninth, and this is unlikely, but I would like to also pick one of my board games like Zombicide, Dungeon Saga, Imperial Assault, Blackstone Fortress or Star Saga, and get at least the basic starter minis (or alternatives done).  Completing all the minis I have for one game would just be amazing.

Tenth, I want to make it to at least 2 Parent Players events this year, as they are just mind-blowing fun.

Eleventh, I’m in a Blood Bowl league online!  Hopefully it’ll be really fun, and I can make time for it!  Some cracking people in the league.

There are many more possibilities and projects on hold if I blow through these like some kind of hobby demon, but it’s pretty unlikely.  Time just isn’t going to permit it, I think.

#ParentPlayers4

What is Parent Players?

Parent Players is a semi-regular meet-up with a group of wargamers who all have children and don’t often get to game. We plan the events months in advance so we can arrange childcare and make sure it’s in family diaries, and hope no emergencies, illness or accidents intervene!

As we’re all parents, we all are in the same boat, and it’s nice to play some really relaxed games and have a few beers with people who enjoy your hobby, understand the pressures you’re under, and are pretty relaxed about the fact you haven’t played a game in months and keep remembering the rules from 2 editions ago.

Most of the focus is on GW games, predominantly 40K. We meet up in Warhammer World in Nottingham on a Friday, play big games all day, retire to a nearby hotel where we get a few more beers in and play games like Fluxx in the bar. The Saturday tends to be smaller games in Bugmans as it can be hard to get tables if an event is on, and some of us may be a little worse for wear…. (Just to be clear, beers are optional and several of the regulars are teetotal. Playing silly games is the important bit!)

Tables are harder to arrange since the events team stopped taking bookings, so it’s particularly hard to guarantee availability on the Saturday.  Several of us live close enough to be able to pretty much guarantee a decent spread of tables on the Friday at opening time.  There is some talk of looking at visiting Warlord Games to try some Bolt Action or Test of Honour on Saturday if WHW is particularly crowded.

When is the next Parent Players?

The fourth Parent Players is on Friday 22 and Saturday 23rd February 2019

What do you need?

Well, to play, you’ll need the latest rules and a force for the game. We’re definitely expecting Warhammer 40K, Blackstone Fortress (with TheFirstAutarch’s gorgeous set) Bloodbowl and Shadespire to be on the agenda – if you don’t have a force for any game you’d like to play, it’s not too hard to arrange to borrow one from one of the other people attending, but you need to arrange it in advance to ensure it’s there on the day. For 40K, we tend to play fairly fluffy 2000pts lists (though we’re going to use the Chapter Approved rules and turn our warlords into Legendary Heroes). Bloodbowl tends to be standard starter teams of 1,000,000 crowns, and Shadespire is generally standard gang starter decks.

You’ll also need transport to Warhammer World, and somewhere to stay. We generally stay in the Holiday Inn near Warhammer World and several people have already booked rooms. Its certainly not compulsory to stay in the hotel if you want to arrange somewhere else, but we do have some cracking games.

It’s a pretty laid back event – some of us make up our own t-shirts to match our armies with our names and twitter handles, but again, that’s really not necessary.

How do I stay in touch?

We all can be found on twitter. I’m evilkipper and seem to be co-ordinating it at the moment, but the whole thing was the devious concept of thefirstautarch. Other regular attendees include oneoflots, avarrisxbox, grimdarkness40, bigbadbirch and alphadevilinak as well as horde of possible attendees who haven’t been able to escape the kids!

Say hi to any of us, and we’ll keep you in the loop on twitter with all the updates.

Model Releases, Rules and Limitations for GW with 8th Ed

This is a response to a common question, particularly from veterans of early editions:

“Why don’t we have XYZ option in the rules right now?”

Examples of this include Blood Angel Primaris having Chainswords as an option, while normal marines or dark angels don’t, for example.  Why aren’t the rules the same for the basic units?

Now, I’m not a lawyer at all, but in my understanding it comes down to a legal decision in the states when a more litigious GW went into conflict with Chapterhouse Studios a few years ago over some of the additional models and conversion packs they were producing.  The decisions were pretty mixed, and no one came away happy, but one point did come out:

If you have rules in a game and don’t actively sell the parts or models for those rules, it is legitimate in the US for third parties to produce their own version.

So if they released rules for all Intercessor Sergeants to have chainswords, and only had chainswords for Blood Angels in the Blood Angels Primaris upgrade packs, it might be legal (I’m staying well clear of morality here) for another company to actively produce and market chainswords for the other chapters.  It might even be OK to produce Primaris Sergeants with Chainswords.  And if that happened before GW released them, there are all sorts of issues.

Essentially, it means that GW are in a position where they literally cannot provide rules for conversions unless they also produce the models without opening the door to alternative manufacturers in the US.  That’s just the way it is.  It’s one of the main reasons that the current codexes have entries exactly matching the single weapon load outs of the manufactured models.

Its also why they release new data sheets with new models, rather than putting all the rules in a new codex months before models arrive, and why we don’t see any named characters without a specific matching model.

Its also why a token selection of Sisters of Battle have been kept up on the site in metal for years – if they don’t have them on sale at all, others could potentially actively start to sell and market Adeptus Sororitas minis.  Actually as Sisters of Battle.

At most, you can complain a little as to why a specific load out hasn’t been chosen and released yet, but differences between ranges and codexes have to match the produced models.  It’s just the legalities of the marketplace. 

One interesting note on this – by providing the legends rules for AoS and one last made to order sale of the classic model before closing down the moulds, they may be opening up the production of some of the classic characters to third parties for those wanting to play narrative games at home too.  It’s a brave move with valuable classic IP, and fantastic for the community, so kudos!

Hobby Resolutions for 2018

I have many hobby resolutions for this grand new year, many of which may fall by the wayside!  I’d rather have ambitious targets and get halfway than just potter along though!

First of all, I’m going to take part in multiple hobby challenges through the year, particularly #hobby500, aiming to finish 500 models this year, or approximately 10 a week, and the #painthammer2018 challenge (which is a smaller 365 models but has a few other goals and a really nice painting log involved).  Will I hit them?  With 2 small kids and recently moving house, probably not.  But I’ll give it a damn good try and get properly back into the hobby game!

Second, my hobby purchases are going under review.  I want to finish more of what I have, and I want to focus slightly more of my hobby fund on smaller miniature manufacturers.  Games Workshop is fantastic, and honestly I’ll still buy a chunk of their new releases, but regular small purchases to support independent mini makers like Hasslefree Miniatures, Heresy Minis, Bad Squid Games and the like can make all the difference to them keeping their doors open, and I’d hate to see those fantastic models vanish forever.

Third, I’m going to attend the #parentplayers event towards the end of April, meeting up at Warhammer World with a Fallen Angels army completely painted just for the event.  Its going to be awesome, and a great focus for getting a reasonable chunk of minis knocked out.

Fourth, I want to get some regular games on the go, with my brother and maybe attending some events or a Sheffield gaming club.  it’d rock!

Fifth, I want to keep this blog more active, with painting guides, techniques and the like.  Its great for my reference and a lot easier than working out what paints i used in 2 years time!

It doesn’t sound too unreasonable, does it?   On with 2018!

Let’s maybe, just maybe, be a little kinder to our fellow gamers

Well, the new edition of 40k is upon us, following the Gathering Storm series of books, which are a close echo of the End Times books from Fantasy Battles.   Some people are excited, some are tentative, and some are worried … and those groups keep shifting as we get more nuggets of information about the new game coming out.

This isn’t a discussion about the new game.  Its a discussion about the levels of vitriol I’ve seen directed at each other by those who are supposed to share a love of the game.  Its really not good!

There are a lot of people who are genuinely upset by the prospect of a major change to the game they love.  Since 3rd edition, the game has gently evolved, rather than radical changes to the game engine.  That’s a long period of stability, and while most people would agree the current rules are overly complex, with so many varied sources for the rules including the main rules, codexes, codex supplements, data sheets, downloads, and errata, it doesn’t mean people are comfortable with change.

Some of the changes being talked about remove core rules that have been in play since the days of Rogue Trader.  Thats 30 years of experience with those rules in my case.  Its not easy to see some of those changes …. even if they bring improvements.  Its something I have to overcome every day when running projects – fear of change.  This article gives a good idea what people are going through.

In addition, lots of people have significant amounts of money tied up in the game.  Its not an investment in any real sense, but there’s certainly a cost associated to walking away from 40K if the new rules don’t appeal.  Trying a new game?  You’ll need to reinvest in new rules, models, time to learn it, and trust that the new game won’t be changed like 40K was.  The more you have “invested”, both financially and psychologically, in a game, the harder it is to see it change.

There’s always an argument when these changes happen that you won’t lose anything.  You don’t have to play the new version.  You and your group of friends can carry on playing the old version.  Except that’s rarely true for most of us.  If you want to play a pickup game at a club or store, you’ll need to play the current version.  If you want to take part in any tournaments, you’ll need to play the current version.  Not everyone is lucky enough to have a small group of friends who will happily play the older version … and even those who are are likely to be a bit torn between people who want to move on and people who want to stay with the older version.

I’m not advocating that the game should remain fixed and unchanging.  We need to recognise that our fellow players are human, and many will have issues with any major change.  And that assumes that those changes are good – a game played for fun is highly subjective.  A change you find speeds the game up and makes it easier and more accessible may feel like dumbing down for kids and losing a lot of the individual feel of the troops on the board to someone else.  And the killer?  Both people can be right for them.

I’ve been around the edition wars of 40K, Fantasy Battle and D&D for some time, and major changes don’t work for everyone.  But they certainly won’t work for everyone if we don’t try to support our fellow gamers.  Rejoicing that people are talking about quitting the game because of the change?  That shouldn’t be a celebration, its a tragedy.  And if the people who leave are the ones being driven out by intolerant behaviour, that doesn’t say much for the community that’s left.

Make the game fun for others when it’s released.  Look at alternatives like the mad range of board games reintroduced by GW and keep people in the hobby. Get people excited for troops that have been obsolete for years and will make a comeback as we find out more about the rules (like space marine devastator Elder Dark Reaper and Chaos Marine havoc squads!)  A large part of people overcoming change is down to the community encouraging them to give the system a chance, to try the new system in a welcoming way, and yeah, walk away if they don’t enjoy it and still play blood bowl with them with a smile later.

Just remember that the person on the other end of the screen screaming about the change may be a kid who has just dropped 3 years savings on a FW model and feels that he might have wasted all that money.  It might be someone who has loved 40k for 30 years and is worried the game he loved is going forever.  Or yeah, it might just be a bit of an arse.  But you?  You’re better than that!  Please?

Every time I see someone laughing about the “tears of the haters”, or good riddance to all those whiners, it makes me want to play games that still welcome players, not drive them away.  And that’s got nothing to do with rules.

Is Hobby Creativity on the Wane?

Of late, I can’t help but think creativity in the hobby is at a bit of a low ebb.  I’m not detracting from the amazing painting and techniques I see used on Facebook or Twitter (which are frankly spectacular), but I see fewer and fewer physical changes to models that surprise me.  At best, I see kit bashes, not scratch built pieces or crafted conversions.  The only exception tends to be for diorama or display pieces, not for the tabletop.

Pondering why, I think there are several reasons.  The most positive, of course, is simply that these days the sheer range of models on the market is so broad that there isn’t the need to create things yourself as there was in the 80s or 90s.

While I don’t mean to bash GW, as I understand their business model and it seems to work for them as a company, their policies do impact this a bit at the moment.  They only release rules for models that exist now (due to some copyright entanglements), which means you don’t need to scratch build or convert for them.  Their store and event policy specifies all GW parts – technically even scratch built pieces wouldn’t pass muster, so you can’t go beyond kit bashes with only GW parts.  And the current pace of releases means more involved conversion projects get obsoleted by newer models – I was considering a Deathwatch squad with custom conversions and team members, and a rumoured deathwatch box put me off – I thought I’d just wait and see the new models.  Great for GW sales, not so great for unique pieces!

I’ve seen some weird and wacky conversions for Malifaux, but generally there is a high level of tournament play with the Faux crowd, and that does mean the core of the models are Wyrd standard.  The same definitely holds true for Guildball, and even more so for the prepainted Armada and X-Wing crowd.

I think this is one of the big reason that Frostgrave is hitting so many buttons for so many people.  There are no “official” models.  There’s a strong fluff and theme around it, but the characters are blank slates, letting you convert them however you like, and it means that boards and warbands for this are just all kinds of wacky fun models.  Its definitely the system I’m seeing the most creative modelling for, except perhaps Of Gods and Mortals, which is similarly unfettered.

Hobby Roundup (Week 3)

Again, far too little hobby actually getting done at the moment!  But lots of interesting stuff going on in the hobby community.

Bit disappointed by Shieldwolf Miniatures cancelling their shield maiden vs orcs kickstarter.  They had over the £30,000 funding they were aiming for 7 days in, so to pull out because they wouldn’t have enough is really bad planning – if their target wasn’t high enough to cover the project, they hadn’t planned right.  Great looking minis, but I think I’ll steer clear of them going forward.

Some really cracking stuff coming out at the moment – the new Fyreslayers for AoS have been getting very favourable mentions.  Too high magic for me in theme, but amazing craftsmanship.

Seeing lots of enthusiasm for Guildball, and judging by event sales, its continuing to grow. I’m eying up a union team at the moment, but I’m trying to be good, given a plastic mountain taking up lots of crates.    I really feel that its a good game to try though, so hoping to sneak in some vassalball.

It looks like the next week will just be sorting hobby stuff rather than painting, but hopefully will get back to the point that I’ll start actually using a brush again – I need models sorted out and primed to sneak in a few minutes here and there!

Hobby Roundup (Week 2)

Well, still no real hobby so far this year!  Fascinating stuff happening in the hobby world within the #warmongers community though – Frostgrave and Of Gods and Mortals go from strength to strength, Dropzone Commander seems to be making a bit of a resurgence, and Kings of War seems to be proving massively popular as a ruleset, though acceptance of Mantic miniatures seems a way off yet.  Star Wars Armada enthusiasm seems to be settling back down until the next wave of releases, but X-Wing enthusiasm , especially with the Force Awakens tie-in, seems off the chart.

Horus Heresy stuff is still the hot ticket on my social media feeds though!  The original legions, in all their glory, boosted by the Battle for Calth plastics, are probably a good 50% of my vicarious hobby fun at the moment.

Personally, I’m really looking forward to painting some Imperial Assault stuff, especially some of the main characters that pop back up the in the new movie.  Just awesome!   2016 is looking like a great year for hobby!

Unfinished Business

I was sorting out some bits the other day and I came across this in my DE drawer:-

dscf0140

I’ve always liked the Vect model, It’s nice to see that at least one general in the Warhammer world knows how to PARTY!!

one day I must complete it!

Oh! one of the ‘Young Ladies’ is not original.

Struggle for the Galactic Empire (played)

Just completed a game of SGE, absolutely brill!

In short this is how it played out:-

I chose scenario 1, Over the Edge, basically the Empire is about to collapse!

The game starts with all sectors that contain system symbols occupied by Empire systems and the player places a number of empire units, 20 in all the chaos index is set at 80!

Turn one starts with the random drawing of chaos event chits, the number is usually governed by the level of the chaos index, in the case of 80 this should be 8, but in THIS scenario for turn one only it is 24!

In short I spent the first 3 game turns fire-fighting and the easiest way to do that is the spend income, now luckily when you buy a new fleet you can put it in any imperial controlled system limited by the system resource value, value of 1 only one new fleet can be placed, 2=2 etc, irrespective of the purchase cost of the fleet. Great for getting forces to where they need to be.

Needless to say I ran out of ‘money’, and that causes its own problems but, by the start of turn 4 I was ready to start the build up for the fight back, planned for turn 5.

Turn 5, The Empire Strikes Back (almost) SGE-GT5I had very clear goals for turn 5, Reduce the chaos index by 15 points, convert 3 rebellious systems back to imperial control and convert 2 Independent Empires back to  imperial control, I failed to convert the 2 Independents and only reduced the chaos index by 8 🙁

To make matters worse one of the fleets that I had assembled the deal with things was taken over by a Usurper and started to move towards the core!

By game turn 8 I was once again ready to strike, the Usurper was defeated and his/her fleet was destroyed, bit of a shame as I’d spent quite a lot putting it together but, needs must :).

The 2 Independents were converted, all was ready for the big push in the last two game turns.

I’ll just comment on Aliens are abstract, they are not the humanoid aliens of Sci-Fi rather more ‘effects’, in SGE Aliens get in the way, they can stop you and chaos doing things or completely wipe everything out in a system, real pain in the arse types.

So in spite of Aliens, Rebellions Usurpers and other unforeseen events I made it through to the end of GT 10 and in spite of the chaos index edging to 97 during the early part of the game I had managed to bring the Empire back from the brink!!!

A great game that I thoroughly enjoyed!