Monday, 12 December 2016

SinSynn Guest Post - Games Workshop Musings

Those of you with long memories may recall that I used to write articles for a blog network called the House of Paincakes. One of my fellow writers on that network was a strange creature known as SinSynn who has decided to return to the world of blogging that quite frankly has been lessened by his absence...well...there were less tentacles at least...and Megan Fox was marginally safer...

Having no desire to manage a blog of his own will be utilising mine so here's his second article this time with some musings on Games Workshop....


Hey, folks. SinSynn here.

So I visited Games Workshop's slightly fancier-than-I-remember-it website today and had a lil' lookie. It's been awhile, G-Dubz...I see you call your website an 'online store' now. That's nice. The internet is a thing.
I'm not sure how many folks have a love/hate relationship with GW similar to mine. I know I'm not alone here - Games Workshop seems to have a gift for...I'm not sure what to call it...being somewhat insular, perhaps? Is that a fair thing to say?
When it comes to dealing with things like their fanbase, advertising, hype and rumors, timely releases, and, welp, pretty much any instance where contact and/or communication with the world at large is required, Games Workshop has historically just uninterested a fair thing to say? Lackadaisical?
To be fair, I hesitate to use words like 'confused' or 'dismayed,' but honestly there's not another company out there that's given me as many SMH moments as good ol' G-Dubz.
Bless their crazy hearts, but OhMyGawd they're a frustrating company to be a fan of.
Y U make me have psychotic episodes and take to the keyboard, where I spill out all my insanity? Sigh.
*I'm sure we can fit a few moar in there...*
I've spent so long in the 40k Universe that I'm positive the Warp has crept into my cold, dark Xeno fluid-exchanging valves, and there's just no way out now. I've tried walking away, creeping away, sneaking away, giving away all my 40k stuffs and turning my back on the whole thing...all to no avail.

Don't get it twisted - I love many other sci-fi and fantasy universes.
By way of a fer instance, I've been hearing rumbles about a new Dune thing; a movie, a series of movies? A big budget show akin to HBO's Game of Thrones, mayhap?
 ... Oh, excuse me. One of my tentacles had literally started touching something in impure manner... ...I'm sorry, desk...we'll getchu cleaned up. I haz shame...
I'm gonna need a towel here... 

Seriously, though, imagine all of Frank Herbert's Dune books, from Dune to Chapterhouse Dune, presented live-action, in proper chronological order, with a millions-O-dollars budget, giving us every scene with no corners cut...with Fremen riding giant worms into combat, knocking down the outer walls of a city as thousands of lasers trace back 'n' forth, and...
...Oh, OhMyGawd desk I'm sorry...Oh jeez you didn't deserve that...
Wow, Imma run outta towels here...I am so, so sorry, desky desk. I luvs you. U R friend...

Anywho, yeah. I've heard names like David Lynch attached to these rumors, so who knows?
Dune, the book series, has a lotta 'people thinking within their own heads,' and as readers we're privy to all of it, and their inner monologues are ever-so-important to the whole thing.
If you've seen the 1984 movie, then you've had a taste of how kinda, sorta awkward making Dune work on film is, so I've never really had high hopes for a proper Dune thingy.
Still...there's gushy residue on my desk, so, ummm...I sure do luvs da Dune 'verse...
I am sorry, desk. Really I am.

*Dune - And yes, I only consider Frank Herbert's Dune books worthy, not the follow-ups written by his son, or whatever. As you can see, Dune is a lil' light on Beakie Chapters, but there is a God Emperor, so that's something*
40k remains pinned to the top of my 'favorite places to visit in my mind' list, and it ain't goin' nowhere, so when I first heard rumors of Matt 'I luvs da Beakies' Ward returning to the Games Workshop fold, in an unknown capacity even (or has that changed? Do we know what he's up to?), I absolutely did horrible things to the nearest piece of furniture I could wrap my tentacles around.

Don't you judge me. I've seen what sports fans get up to, y'know.
Besides, you should see how glossy alla furniture in my lil' Bronx apartment is. It gleams. So nyah.

Yes, I know I, uh...might've complained a lil' 'bout Matt Ward during his initial tenure as Mr. Main Codex Writer Guy at Games Workshop, but it was just a lil.'
A tad. A wee bit. A smidgen, maybe.
*looks innocent for five whole seconds*
Okay, maybe I riffed about him incessantly, 'specially after the Grey Knights release, but I won't deny that 5th Edition was by far the most fun I had playing 40k, like ever.

6th Edition felt like a deliberate punch in the gut from GW.
It felt like a disavowal of everything the 40k scene had evolved into; the conventions and huge tournaments, the blogs and forums dedicated to the game, all of it driven for the most part by fans who love this silly thingy. Games Workshop threw a few official events every year, and welp, there were a lotta happy 40k'ers in the world.
Until, that is, GW did the world's slowest rug pull out from under the 'competitive scene' by first cancelling any and all of their own events, then cancelling any and all support for independently run events, and then releasing the absolute clunker that was the 6th Edition 40k ruleset.

In typical Games Workshop fashion for the time, there was no real explanation, no interaction with the community that supported them, so it kinda came off, in my opinion at least, as if Games Workshop was upset with us for playing with their toys in a fashion they didn't approve of, and decided to literally friggin' murder the fledgling competitive scene blooming up around 40k.

What ultimately happened, however, is that following a period of confusion and fumbling around, a lot of gamers (and the tournaments and conventions they attended) simply moved on to other games, and here we are a few years later and our hobby is massively, massively fragmented, when once so many of us united beneath the Games Workshop banner.

Is this a good thing? Bad thing?
I dunno.
Those gamers, myself included, took their money elsewhere.

KickStarter came along about this time as well, and boy-oh-boy, do we ever have a lotta choices now. Minigamers went from having pretty much two games to choose from - do you wanna play 40k or Warmachine? - to literally having entirely too many choices.
Now your biggest problem is gonna be finding someone else to invest in a new game with you, and then hoping you can grow the game so you'll actually have someone else besides your buddy to play with.
'Tis quite a conundrum, but I don't think we ever would've seen games like Malifaux, Saga, Infinity, or oh-so-many-others gain traction like they have in a Games Workshop dominated hobby scene, so...there ya go.

*Battlefront still commissions their art at high schools, apparently*
No one, single company seems even remotely capable of grabbing the torch and running with it, and flat-out 'replacing' Games Workshop.

While there may be a dozen or more companies out there making models that are every bit as detailed as a 40k fig, and others offering cheaper figs, and meow meow meow, Games Workshop always has something they lack - the Warhammer Universes.
Two of them.

Not long (in GW terms, that is) after they got done with the 40k makeover, they set about killing off one of those Universes.
Like, fer realz.
Boom, dead.
And there was much lamenting...

While I'll admit that I'm not a swords and sorcery guy when it comes to my minigames, the way Games Workshop handled the whole Warhammer Fantasy debacle poorly handled a fair thing to say?
I'm not gonna say 'shocking,' cuz the time Fantasy's demise rolled around there's not a lot GW could do that would surprise me. Honestly, it would've been more surprising, 'round that time, if they had done something I thought was awesome.

*Viya Con Dios, Warhammer Fantasy. You deserved better*
Look, I'm not ever gonna act like a company owes me anything because I purchase their products. Any involvement I have with Games Workshop ends with me getting a receipt for my purchase and walking outta the store, or whatever. Anything after that is on me. If I ever write something that somehow convinces someone to go buy a 40k figure, well...I'm glad, but at no point will I ever feel as if Games Workshop literally owes any of us poor, warp-ridden sods anything.

They're a company. Companies are supposed to be all about making money (I haz doubts, sometimes, where G-Dubz and 'profits' are concerned).
That often means making decisions that may be unpopular with some customers, but will hopefully net more profits when it comes time to count the money. I get that.
What kills me about G-Dubz is the amazing consistency they seem to have for making what seem like extremely counter-intuitive business decisions. Combine that with the fact that whenever they release their financial statements their stock looks as attractive and upwardly mobile as a dead sloth, and you've got half of the gaming blog-o-sphere swearing their cat could make better business decisions than the folks at Games Workshop...and then we started making fun of Age of Sigmar...

Games Workshop killed off one of their signature franchises, and replaced it with something laughable, as far as comprehensive rulesets for games with hundreds of figs go.
It was painful to watch.

I understand there are some folks out there that kinda like Age of Sigmar, but that's not ever gonna make me think it was a good idea. The Twilight series of books and movies has fans, too.

On the flip side of alla the bad news, Games Workshop had done one good thing, and maybe two...but two is pushing it...
Firstly, they had re-released the Space Hulk board game.

Yes, they got all stoopid, claiming it was like, a one-time, limited, deluxe sooper-collector's edition type-o-thingy (sigh, G-Dubz. Just sigh), but hey- we got Space Hulk, so whatever. I'll take it. And yes, we were all hoping for a re-release of Blood Bowl the following year, but hahahahahahahahahaha! G-Dubz pulled a massive troll on us by giving us...Dreadfleet.
I know, right?
Remember Dreadfleet?
The game no one wanted, no one asked for, I don't know a single person that purchased it, and had to be the best example evar of GW's hubris.
At the time, I remember being amazed that we were getting this...thing instead of Blood Bowl, which seemed like a no-brainer following the success of Space Hulk, and also being completely put off by GW's 'just shaddup and buy it cuz we made it' way of presenting things to us.
The Games Workshop staff were firmly ensconced in their ivory towers, or whatever, and it felt like there was no way we could even ask them a question.
Perhaps I'm a lil' overly dramatic, but...welp, I don't have an excuse, actually. I'm just riffin,' but that's kinda what I do.
So...Ivory Towers. 
G-Dubz haz dem.

*Games Workshop Headquarters. Yesh*
The second thing they did (and I realize I might be pushing it here a lil' bit) was release their first important free, downloadable ruleset. Sadly that came in the form of Age of Sigmar, but nevertheless I found it curious.
Sure, in typical Games Workshop form they got there in the most awful way possible, by killing off one of their two most recognizable brand names. Warhammer Fantasy didn't go out with a bang, like yer average comic book or movie franchise - a big, crash-bang, explosion-filled, fan service-filled finale, unfortunately.

Was Warhammer Fantasy losing money?
Dragging G-Dubz down?
Was it beyond saving?
I very much doubt it, and please don't get me started on their whole 'Lord of the Rings' phase. Please. -_-

All I'm gonna say is that GW took the opportunity to dip their toe into a new paradigm for them - give the rules away for free, and sell the models gamers need to play it for cash money.
The theory is that, if the rules are good enough, they'll drive interest in the game, and folks will buy models to play it. I'm sure we'll never know how Age of Sigmar is making or losing money, cuz lord knows GW is so secretive we'll need the Russians to hack their servers if we ever wanna know what the heck G-Dubz is getting up to.

I've found that everything always works in theory, it's when you put these things into practice that they tend to go awry. I will give GW a tiny bit o' credit for giving the free, downloadable ruleset a try, however.
They tried.
At least they tried.

Just when you think they can't do any more outlandishly backwards stuffs, G-Dubz catches me out there and releases the Mechanicum Codex for 40k.
I, uh...what?

When this happened, I speechless a fair thing to say? Dumbfounded?
Nah, cuz I'm dumb most of the time...
How long have 40k fans wanted some Mechanicum stuffs?
Only forever.

*This is cool. The Mechanicus stuffs from GW is cool. It's weird an' unique an' no one else out there has anything quite like it, fluff OR fig-wise. THIS...this is part of what makes 40k so darned awesome, and GW gave it to us finally*
I mean, sure...I could see Forge World makin' some Mechanicum models.
Just a few of this and that to look good. Not a whole Codex worth of stuffs, and not in plastic for us scruffy nerfherder 'can't really afford too much Forge World' types.
Yeah, Games Workshop released a whole new army for 40k, with a new lineup of models and a Codex to accompany them. And...wait for was something we wanted.
It wasn't moar Space Marines. 
Go figure.

I was a lil' wary, cuz GW had managed to turn basically one model into an entire Codex with Imperial Knights, but no...Cult Mechanicus may be a wee bit on the thin side, overall, but I think it was an actual good move on GW's part.
...An actual good move...
It could happen.

To my (much greater) surprise, they didn't stop there.
Expansions like the Harlequins and Skitarii, Thousand Sons and Deathwatch...Ok, sure GW could include those as part of their Parent Codexes, and methinks g-Dubz is bein' typical ol' greedy-ass G-Dubz, but it does show they're committed to Digital Publishing, and we prolly shouldn't expect a lotta free downloads outside of the odd formation or two...and yes, I think formations are a sneaky/clever way for GW to move models that aren't selling well.
'Sure, these guys are stoopidly overpriced and underpowered in their original Codex entry, but if you buy twelve of them...'
Sigh GW. Just sigh.
Whilst I don't approve of the method, I approve of the content. Moar content is almost always a good thing...

*Hey - Y'know who needs their own 'Dex? POINTY HEAD SOOPER BEAKIES!!!*
Games Workshop gave us Genestealer Cults...I can't complain about the lack of Genestealer Cults in 40k if Games Workshop actually gives us Genestealer Cults now, can I?
I guess I can't complain about the lack of big, stompy Knights for da bad guys if they gave us that, too...
Now we've got a Traitor Legion book, Matt Ward might be back, and how far away could a new Edition be for 40k?

The Ultimate Rival was texting me all week, telling me he'll be building a Salamanders army 'for his son,' which is an excuse he's used many times in the past. I was so amped to find out that I may actually get out of playing Team Yankee that I didn't call him on it.
Apparently a buncha folks from my old gaming club are either digging out their old 40k stuffs, or are coming out of pocket to re-up.
They're psyched about turnabout a fair thing to say? Change of direction?
Something is going on at Games Workshop.
I'm not sure what, and I'm extremely loathe to genuinely believe in Games Workshop due to too many years of 'abusive relationship syndrome,' but...but...

*Sigh. Fine. We'll buy the damn Custodes Codex*
Somewhere, deep in my twisty Xenos guts, there may be a tiny spark.
A very tiny, wee lil' spark.
I mean, all it would take is a decent ruleset to pull it all together. The disparate mess is all there, we just need someone to codify it, organize it and make it fair 'n' fun.
Easy peasy, amirite?
OhGawd please let this happen. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I hafta sacrifice a box o' Grey Knights to da Chaos Gods, and chant Matt Ward's name into the Warp.

Until next time, folks...
I still gota come up with a good exit line, dammit.

- SinSynn


  1. "Warhammer Fantasy didn't go out with a bang, like yer average comic book or movie franchise - a big, crash-bang, explosion-filled, fan service-filled finale, unfortunately."

    Objection, sah! What was the End Times if not exactly that big, crash-bang, explosion-filled, fan-service filled finale?

    A poor choice for the medium, certainly - you see, the thing about these finite 'narrative events' is that they make the likes of me Suspicious. The likes of me do not drop big money on rulebooks, models or games with a six month half-life, or worse - with an unknown half-life.

    Sadly, the big Black Crusade thing for 40K seems to be in the same boat: here's a load of new books, covering a load of isolated events, muddying the waters, feeling a lot like there's an apocalypse on the horizon... and there's no real rumour control coming out of Lenton Lane, so it's hatches battened down, wallet sealed in concrete, "wait and see if any of this will be worth owning in a year's time".


    Future proofing. Rumour control. Convince me that this £45 rulebook will be worth jack shit by the time I regret buying it. (Considering that Traitor's Hate happened, then Wrath of Magnus happened, then Traitor Legions happened, and the books have... some of the same rules, but spread out between them, with everything BUT those super-popular Knights ending up in Traitor Legions... I don't even know what to buy to start planning an army, and that means I buy nothing.)

    And this is a huge BUT. It's so huge it's made me violate my core principles of Writing for the Internet twice in one paragraph.
    I give a toss again.
    I'm not pissed because GW is making a game I don't want to play.
    I'm pissed because GW is making models I want to play games with, and not making it easy for me.
    That's an improvement, believe it or not.

    Like you, I hear the wild wind blowing down Lenton Lane, bringing... if not change, then a willingness to experiment, to try things. I've bigged up things like Kill Team and Gorechosen as the 'gateway games' that GW sorely needs, and things like Death from the Skies as a cool incentive for people to just buy a couple of kits because they like them, and have a silly skirmish game to play with them.

    Blood Bowl coming back, and being sensibly more-or-less the game that FUMBBL and Cyanide and the NAF have kept alive for all these years? That seems like a smart move - provided they don't fuck around with it and leave it half-done like they did Epic. Twice. On the trot. (I'm not bitter about that, not at all, not me.)

    The new Chaos releases for 40K are a mess, but they're a mess which is targeting some of the things Chaos players have bitched about for literally years. Actual rules for Traitor Legions? Psychic powers that don't suck? A bone for Tzeentch players (goodness knows they deserve it)?

    At this rate they might decide to rerelease Mordheim - I hear the PC game's pretty popular - and a new-old Mordheim box with a Possessed warband that doesn't suck and a Skaven warband that isn't OP... well, that would be almost impossible to complain about.

    A good solid standalone game plus a warband box and a promise that it won't be dicked around with? That's an easier sell than "spend anything up to £185 just on the rules for your army". That might have legs.

    I'm not sure how I feel about the current GW. There are days when I want to run out and buy myself a Thousand Sons army RIGHT NOW and days when I try to work out how I'd go about putting stuff on the table and avoid paying for the same rules three times for the sake of one crucial element and say "fuck all this I'm playing SAGA instead."

    But I do want to buy stuff, which is more than I have for the last couple of years.

    1. I know that the End Times books were the send off Fantasy got, but I don't think that's the end Fantasy deserved.
      Could they have tied the books and game together better? Or something? Could they have transitioned the whole thing better, so it felt like less of a punch in the throat?
      I think so.
      Hindsight is always 20/20, as they say, and there's no going back now, only forward...
      And yep, it seems as if G-Dubz is actually moving forward. Doin' stuffs, makin' moves.

      Two things I should've mentioned in this post - GW reigning in their license and ending the whoring.
      Cuz OhGawd the whoring...
      When big-time YouTube game reviewers are throwing your awful lane-defense game up as one of the 'top 10 worst games of the year,' simply because you allowed your name to be applied to it (and it's garbage), then it's time to reign it in...
      And they did.
      Vermintide was good, there's a Death Wing game and an Inquisitor game on the way, and they both look cool.
      That was a move I was happy to see GW make.
      Oh, and Dawn of War III is on the way as well.
      So yay!

      Blood Bowl...they better not screw up Blood Bowl. I gear there might be angry mutterings from the corners if they screw up Blood Bowl.

      It always kinda bugs me when things get 'remade,' and end up being changed for the worse.
      We just wanted moar of the same, gawd dammit. We didn't want changes. We didn't want fancy new stuffs. Just moar of the same, maybe with a fresh coat of paint.
      Don't re-release a game that's suddenly missing features that'll find their way into an expansion. Don't get crazy with new features...that's unnecessary.
      Keep it simple. Just give us Blood Bowl, as we know and love it, please.
      That would be great, thanks...

      Hey, I'll TOTALLY take bad 40k over bad Battlefront game, any day.
      Team Yankee is cringe worthy, IMHO. It MIGHT be fun, if played on a 12 foot by 8 foot game board (not sure what that is in metres, but...double-sized game board), where range might actually be an issue, but otherwise it feels like the mini game version of duck hunt.
      So for that alone I'm happy.

      As I mentioned in the post, 40k feels very much like a buncha disparate elements that just needs a proper tying together.

      I know it's prolly foolish to hope. This IS Games Workshop, after all, and I've been hoping for some time now.
      The signs are all there. The ingredients are all there. If Matt Ward has returned in anything like his original capacity...this could be something.
      Not quite sure what, exactly, but it feels like there's something materializing and taking shape.
      *crosses tentacles*
      So I'll hope...

      Not fer nuthin,' but it feels like I've watched a bunch of great/good/decent game systems get flushed , usually in favor of a quick buck. So many, it seems.
      It would be a refreshing change of pace to see a system I love get picked up, brushed off, given some love and turned loose, better than ever.
      I'd LOVE to see this, and if it turned out to be 40k, welp...that would be a dream come true, I won't deny.

      Keep hope alive!
      Please G-Dubz - don't kill mah hope.

      Try hard not to crack jokes about xenos, gender-neutral pronouns and wacky forum threads...
      I lol'ed.
      I'm building to that post, trust me. It's in the pipeline.

  2. I've found GW's turned around quite a bit since Kirby was ousted from his dual-position as CEO and some other position that he held. Utter f**kwit I think the position was called. Anyway, since Rountree has become CEO we've seen from GW:

    -Points and some structure added to AoS, coupled with active playerbase feedback for the 2017 Generalissimo's HandNoun VerbBook.
    -A return of specialist games, including LOTR to be taken over by FW.
    -Plastic Heresy (it must've grown from all that Idleness)
    -Some kinda value boxes in the 30k boxes, SC!, and other bundles.
    I must admit, the brain is wanting to start some 40k spehhs woofs when the drop pod + 10 mooks hits, but I need to consider the "Ooh shiny" reflex and clear house first.
    -GW is actively spreading their own "rumours", Magnus and Tsons being some, and there's some kinda soul washing machine thing they teased.
    -GW has social interaction. Praise be! Word from Terra!
    -Thousand Sons and the other 8 Traitor Legions get new rules! Dunno how good they are, but they're a thing now.

    And that's just some of it. Hell, the new Island Spire of Blood Dawn re-release is cheaper by 25 AUD here- SC! boxes at GW retail are $140 AUD, but usually contain $220-300 worth of goodies. The Island Spire of Blood Dawn was $165 for WHFB 8th, now $140 and has both square and round bases.

    As much as I wish WHFB didn't die, 8th was a fustercluck and epitomises Kirby's ideals of "shuddup and buy". Orcs went from 19 to 10 (11) and were $50 Aud to $48. Then you'd need like 4 boxes minimum to field an appropriately sized unit for an Uber spell to "initiative test or die, lol you're I2, roll 5's plz" insta-delete that unit. Additionally, if WHFB didn't die, I'd not have gotten into Malifaux- I'm enjoying the game and the models are sweet.

    After I clean house in the new year, I may look at GW's spehhs fantasy game if the new edition is decent.

    Til then, I'll be playing Malifaux and SAGA. Feel free to stop by the House or our other blogs. It's good to have you back behind a keyboard.

    Take it easy

    1. Heya Warlock.
      If there's one thing I hated, it was the whole 'shaddup and buy' thing GW had goin' on.
      It sure is nice to see them give us stuffs we want.
      Just holding a Traitor Legion book has made a few folks I know happy.
      Haven't read a review of it yet, but hey - it represents a wish fulfilled, and really it just seems to be following a trend of wish fulfillment from GW.
      Blood Bowl could be huge for GW.
      That would be nice to see, cuz I know a few fans of that, too.

      There's a buncha games I never would've played if GW hadn't screwed up 40k, so there ya go.

      You're another Saga player, huh?
      That game seems to be pretty darn popular...

      I'll be around, bro.
      Stuck doing mostly holiday nonsense this time of year.
      As you know...Evil visits every year...and it's that time of year...

    2. The 40k stuff is definitely wish fulfillment, the other stuff, is probably more like "See that iceberg ahead? It'd be reaaaaaaly nice if we didn't hit that. Help me un-stick the helm and confine the former captain below deck"

      I'm a SAGA player in so far as:
      a) I need to assemble the stuff I have, then play a game or two.
      b) Cedric posted an article about Skirmishes in the Roman Empire. I acquired some 28mm Romans. Then James talked about SAGA at Cancon next year.I got in as I'd like to game/meet other blog people.
      c) I need the fancy dice

      From looking at the rules, it seems relatively solid for a 4-5 year old game. My brother is keen on SAGA too as he's a Dark ages through Medieval buff (even does HMB- Historic Medieval Battling- literally wearing armour and hitting other competitors with special blunted weapons. Is really cool).

      Was looking into BB, hopefully once FW releases more teams the game will kick off in more popularity. Not sure how many teams are in plastic. Orcs, gobbos, chaos or even elves would be on a potential 'pick a team' thing.

      I need to source some games in QLD, but everyone who seems to play lives Northside of Brisbane, which is ~1.25 hours away once driving/parking/walking is all said and done.

      What I've noticed this year is that many gaming groups in QLD are quite insular and loathe to travel. Nobody likes traveling long distances for games, which is why I've been trying to find games that aren't MTG or 40k closer to home.

      Or I could like, move interstate once I graduate. That's a plan in the making given the deficit of gaming in QLD. It's almost as if...Queensland is the bogan state :O

      Anyhow, I think I have an idea for a blog post- How much we owe GW for their screw ups? If it weren't for the hot mess of 6th and 7th 40k -and- the wet-fart sounding death of WHFB, how many gamers would've found X,Y,and Z games? Something to that effect anyhow.

    3. SAGA is a great game. It'd be even better if Gripping Beast could keep their books in print and in stores. I've had to take some heroic measures to hunt that shit down.

    4. The Traitor Legion rules have gone down pretty well, really. Night Lords purists are salty because psychological warfare doesn't work in a morale system as crude as 40K's, and Death Guard still luck out because of stuff like the Mark of Nurgle being just that basically, solidly GOOD, but in a lot of ways it's like having the old 4e Chaos back again. It doesn't take much to make a Traitor Legion stand out; put them on a more or less equal playing field with the Loyalists, give them an obvious link with a troop type and some characterful special rules, job done.

      I'm a bit pissed because everything BUT the Knight rules are in there, but they have to sell Traitor's Hate somehow.

      SAGA is mint. I'm currently cranking out a Crusader/Norman warband out of Fireforge plastics (the 'away game' force that I don't mind getting trashed/lost on the train/whatever). Next SAGA project after that is Byzantines, if I can ever get my hands on the rules for them. Studio Tomahawk really are bad at keeping things in in print.

      With ref. Blood Bowl... I'm still buying a Greebo Necromantic team, because reasons (Renaissance undead! Renaissance. Undead. It's like they're trying to bankrupt me), but I really want to see what the new Citadel Nurgle lads look like. If those look good I'm down to infect and putrefy and finally scratch my Nurgle itch.

      With ref. GW screwups... we owe them quite a lot, but I do think the emergence of 6th edition 40K (ironically) rang the death knell for Warmahordes. I'll save that for another comment, though - and I won't write that post. I'm trying not to sink back into "bitch ceaselessly about a community I'm no longer part of" territory.

    5. Von, I think there's some in Stock in this country, is expansion 3 barjeezous and um the other hard to spell word? I want to find the Saxon rules at least, so there's a reason to use all those plastic thegns.

    6. I might be picking up the Legions book.
      GW really needs to come up with a new boxset for the bad guy spikey beakies.

  3. Blood bowl, some long-desired stuff for 40k (pity the game as a whole is still a shambles, but at least there are interesting things to it now), probably more specialist games to come...and believe it or not, some meaningful discounting for the first time in years. Yes, GW is doing some things right. Still not VERY much I'm interested in (Blood Bowl maybe, and poke me if Mordheim or Necromunda comes back), but signs are decent.

    As far as I'm concerned, the Total War PC game is the send-off WHFB needed. I know the pay structure has some people out of joint, but it's a great game--lots of familiar characters. Skarsnik and Gobbla made me happy. Just finished the Wood Elf mini-campaign, and they're a blast to use. Constant hit and run, both on the campaign map and in battles. Very flavorful experience. Once Bretonnia becomes playable (February), the game will really have something going.

    As to Matt Ward, all signs point to him doing contract work, not employee status. He's a freelancer, writes fantasy. Odds are, Black Library, not codex design.

    1. That would be the standard career arc for ex-developers. Few years out of the limelight to let the hate die down, then they come back and write novels.

      Not hugely enthused about that. Ward's background was never really better than adequate. I like what he did with the Necrons, but that comes at the price of the whole... you know, Spiritual Liege thing. Ward's strength was as a writer of faction rules which were OTT compared to other authors', but had generally decent internal balance and competed well with each other.

      I'm not saying "Ward for Overfiend", but... no, sod it, I'm totally saying that. Matt Ward for 40K Overfiend.

    2. It appears from his social media stuff that he's trying to make an honest go as a fantasy novelist. No idea of the quality.

      I will say that he managed to make all three Elf factions in WHFB effective at the same time, and all felt different from one another. As typical, Dark Elves felt a touch strong, but this is Matt Ward.

      Yup, he should've been put in charge of a whole system. But GW never did think that way. Still doesn't.

    3. 'Few years out of the limelight to let the hate die down.'
      You're terrible, Von.

      Well...I guess it worked for Graham yeah.
      How is he gonna write Fantasy for the Black Library, though? They killed the line off. Is he gonna write Age of Sigmar stuff?
      It'll be interesting to see what they do with AoS, I guess, and I'm sure they'll have a Black Library tie in.
      40k really needs a new ruleset. There's just so much...stuff flying around now...
      Time to tie it all together...

  4. Good to see you writing out here again! Have to admit I pretty much stopped playing 40K when 6th Edition hit... Real shame watching a huge, robust local scene simply disappear like that, but the game lost me when it became the "everything is broken, bring whatever you want and throw loads of dice"... Meh, not a lot of actual thought required to roll the dice and move the mice. Could just be that I was no longer their target audience of course... A real shame though as I have WAY too many armies just sitting on shelves in the Basement of Doom (tm)... Says nothing of WFB, but to be honest I stopped playing that even longer in the past... Almost lost my temper playing that and so decided it might be best not to put myself in that position again :-)...

    Great points about the hoping you have buddies playing... I'm mostly playing X-Wing/Armada these days just because I KNOW I can get opponents locally and there is a fairly healthy "larger than local" Tournament scene if I want to get into something more competitive at say a convention or Nationals level... I'd LOVE to play FoW, but really sparse local scene... Eh, I guess not a lot of us ex-GI types wanting to push around wee tiny tanks :-)... Read over some of the Team Yankee stuff, but it just didn't seem like something I'd enjoy... Might pick up a few pieces at some point, but honestly something in the 1/35 scale makes more sense if I am just picking up vehicles I saw when I was in... :-) Have to also be conscious of the "do not annoy your wife" rule by getting even more in the "toy" area to fill up the Basement...

    In any case, hoping all is well with you out there, and looking forward to seeing more from you!

    1. Heya Paul, and thanks!

      I need a Basement of Doom.
      GMort's is scary as hell.

      You're not missing much with Team Yankee...which was a great book, much like Sword Point and Red Storm Rising.
      Man, there is a great, great game in there somewhere, but at the scale Team Yankee plays at Russians vs Americans feels like Orks vs Tau, pretty much.
      It's not terrible, in truth, but it's not great either.
      A much smaller scale would've been...way moar betterer...

      Knew I wasn't alone with the whole '6th did it for me,' and drove me out into the wild, to find new games to play.
      And thank you for your service, good sir.


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