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:-

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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!

Struggle for the Galactic Empire (SGE)

Is a board-game, but it’s a Sci-Fi board-game so I thought I’d post here.

SGEI’ll start with why I was drawn to the game, 1. its about ’empire’ empires have always fascinated me, their rise, fall and influence. 2. Its a solo game

Struggle for the Galactic Empire is designed by Joseph Miranda and is published be Decision Games, the link will give you  a brief description.

The counters are 5/8″ square and the map is uncluttered even with a lot of counters on it, the map also contains most of the charts and tables you will need during the game.

The goal of the game is to save the Empire! Your success (or failure!) is given as a rating in each scenario ranging from Collapse  to Galactic! This is measured by how many systems the Empire controls at the end and how high the ‘Chaos Index’ is (more on that a little later).

The game could be said to be resource driven, every imperial system will produce a between 1 and 4 resource points, you collect them, spend them maintaining current units or buying new ones (best keep a ‘slush fund’ back for emergencies though). It’s a simple system that doesn’t consume too much time or effort in the game.

The core of the system are the chaos chits, not the 40k type of Chaos , this is the generic chaos of your average Galactic Empire, Rebellion, Insurrection, Alien Invasion et al. Chaos chits make up approx. half the counter mix and are drawn at random at the start of each turn, the higher the chaos index the more chits you draw. Each chit drawn represents an event that could be good but more than likely bad for the Empire!

Once the chaos chits have been drawn and acted upon its the turn of any chaos forces on the map to move/attack, this is governed by die rolls, but in general chaos will be drawn to the galactic core and the seat of galactic power.

There are two forms of combat, Military – where units are destroyed or Morphogenic – where units are converted to the winners side (counters are double sided Empire on one and chaos on the other).

The chaos index is affected by the results of combat, it goes down when the Empire wins and up when it loses – if it passes 100 instant death for the Empire.

Once you get into it the game flows well and keeps your interest, its easy to run a turn and leave it for a while.

For me I had two overall questions about the game, 1. Is it good Sci-Fi, well that sort of thing is all in ones head but for me Yeah, its not Starship Troopers or StarFleet Space Battles, it’s mega strategic and it gives a passing nod to most classic themes in Sci-Fi, but it does have a good feel about it. 2. Is it a good solo game, ok what makes a good solo game? A system that can’t be predicted but is not completely random, SGE balances the two, the chaos chits ARE random but once a rebellion has started or a Usurper has appeared for example their actions do conform to a general plan.

So Yeah I would say it’s a good solo game and even though I’m loosing the current game I have a plan and will fight to save the Empire till turn 10.

 

Useful Tool

I have a Minicraft mains powered mini-drill and most of the time its OK, unless you only need to drill one hole or its in soft plastic, I find that the Minicraft is too fast even on low speed for soft plastics – it tends to melt them!, so its back to the old hand drill or it was, enter the Tamiya Electric Handy Drill.

Actually it’s battery powered, works at a relatively slow speed, is light and easy to control.

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What I didn’t realize when I ordered it wasDSCF0118It was a kit 😀

15 or so minutes with screwdriver and pliers got it up and running, a lot easier and more accurate than the hand drill!

Bit expensive at just under 15 quid but I wouldn’t be without it now 🙂

DE Wyches

Just completed 4 ‘production’ DE Wyches, I’ve changed the paint job slightly from the prototype (the last in the set below) in that I’ve brought the Red Armour to the fore and made the hair brighter, I felt the original paint job was too dark against the warriors.

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Priorities

Earlier this year as the weather got hotter and drier I once again turned on the watering systems and fixed the various problems, blockages, kinks in the pipes and a number of leaks. One of the hose runs takes the mains water from the front of the property to a pressure reduction valve to water the vegetable patch, a run of almost 50 meters (stay with me here we’ll get to gaming soon!). Well the aforementioned hose  was springing a leak almost every week and I decided that the only thing to do was to move the pressure reduction valve to the front of the property and lay a new (low pressure) hose all the way. To that end when we took my Brother, Cousin and their wives back to the airport in mid June we went to the store and got 50 meters of low pressure hose and I undertook to lay the hose as soon as the time was right.

Now I have two gaming tables each 6 feet by four feet (I told you we’d get to gaming, now just wait to link it to above!). The two tables fit together in a variety of configurations and are very useful, when not in use they reside behind my desk/workbench. Unfortunately its not straightforward to get the tables, or table out, especially if the workbench is full of ‘in-progress’, also its a bit overkill to get out a 6 foot by 4 foot table to play a game that only requires a ‘standard size map’ 34 inches by 22 inches!

I got a small fold-up table from Lidl and although it is not big enough to play a 34×22 map it was very useful.

So this morning we decided to go into town early as Sue wanted to go to the market and I decided to go to the wood shop and get a top to fit over the Lidl plastic table to take ‘standard’ size map. Now when I say ‘wood shop’ I’m not talking B&Q depot or some other mega store, this is a guy who does woodworking and sells wood. The shop has all the power tools required to work wood in an industrial capacity has a reasonable stock of wood and has absolutely piles and piles of off-cuts, that means if you only want a small piece it doesn’t cost a lot!!!

I wanted a piece 60cm x 90cm and after rummaging round various piles in various rooms and discussing (as well as we could as my technical Greek is non-existent and the proprietor speaks little English) I settled for 16mm MDF. The piece was cut and all four sides trimmed to razor sharp edges and exact size for the grand some of 6 euros.

Now within an hour of arriving home I had lightly sanded the MDF and had applied the first coat of varnish to the top and sides, I took an hour because I stopped for coffee and to scan through this months Wargames Illustrated that I picked up from the post office while in town. So two coats of varnish on each side and plenty of time for the varnish to harden off and the new gaming table top should be ready to use over the weekend!

The Hose? well that’s top of my list and will be done as soon as the time is right.

Priorities you see 😉