Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Golden Age of Wargaming.

Hi everyone,

So I think it's time for a lengthier than usual post about a big topic - The Golden Age of Wargaming.

Now to many of the older gamers who fondly look back upon the earlier days of GW when White Dwarf had more hobby content and less advertising, specialist games were flourishing, there was a solid bits service by GW, the prices were lower, the beer was colder, the grass greener etc., that represents the golden age.

This is not wargaming, it is beer...however, I live in Slovakia, where the
 local brew is great and my wargaming is fun. Beer with a game....mmmmm

I think it's now.

Contentious perhaps but I believe I can support my opinion. Let's take a look at why.

40k has sixth edition.
Here's a ruleset that seems to have people enjoying the game a lot more, whether it be cutthroat tournament play or the more casual scene. 6th edition seems to make for easy cinematic games, people can take allies, which lets you collect more of what you want to collect without the big investment, introduces fliers for more fun on the tabletop. Last, but by no means least, it comes in the form of a fantastic boxed set in Dark Vengeance. 

I think the future is bright (ironically) for 40k and GW in this sense. They are stepping up model quality, as always, look to have moved to a more complete release format, perhaps due to the Chapterhouse lawsuit, the rules are fun to play with and in general, the interwebs seem to be happy with 40k.

Warmachine & Hordes have gone colossal.

As probably the second biggest wargaming company out there, Privateer Press continues to develop and grow. The big news recently was their release of the colossals and gargantuans for the players who want a centrepiece model that just doesn't get any bigger. Combined with the ever moving story line, solid Mk2 rules and a shift to plastic models, PP looks set to continue to with what they do best. They''ve also got two really solid starter sets for their core games of Warmachine and Hordes.

They are nicely diversifying too with the release of the Iron Kingdoms RPG and Escape from Level 7 board game.

Dropzone commander has just dropped in.

Here is a game that seems to be taking people by storm. It's got fantastic models with real variety between factions, the dropships are actually big enough to carry units (and have mounting points), good gameplay and just a nice fresh vibe for everyone to enjoy. I love the models and I'll keep an eye out for anyone playing this locally. 

Infinity has a new campaign book, and consistently gorgeous models.

Infinity is growing as a skirmish wargame and I hear more and more about what is going on with it. The models are fantastic and when I got to handle some in person I was extremely impressed by the casting quality, especially given their extremely delicate size. I want to pick up a starter set of this and get some games in for sure. 

Malifaux gets weirder and more wonderful.

Check this lady out. She's shooting a flaming skull out of her hand and looking pretty awesome doing so. As one of the few games that doesn't work with dice, I'm really interested to try out Malifaux but, as ever, limited budget and play time means I'll put it on hold until I find if there is a local scene for it. 

But the older days were better, weren't they?

I think a major part of what is shifting is that in earlier days, Games Workshop basically was the wargaming hobby. They offered the big, core games but also the smaller specialist games, hobby advice and a lot more of the less tangible things. That still happens in GW but has been tempered by their business model now, which focuses on their core lines and making them the best way to sell admittedly excellent plastic models. At the moment, I think few companies can match GW for quality and consistency of plastic models, and fewer still can hope to offer a similar range. That said, the role of variety in the wargaming falls less to GW now and more to the other companies who are on the rise:

40k/WFB/LOTR          - Games Workshop
WM/Hordes                 - Privateer Press
Flames of War              - Battlefront
Infinity                         - Corvus Belli
Dropzone Commander   - Hawk Wargames
Malifaux                        - Wyrd Miniatures

WFB/40k                      - Mantic Games
Fantasy/Sci fi                 - Reaper, especially with their bones kickstarter
Fantasy/Sci fi/Post apoc   - Ramshackle Games

I'm sure that there are many more I've missed out on and no offence is intended to the companies that are out there.

But....but.....GW is evil and expensive. 

I think, and hope, that the signs we're getting are accurate as it seems to me that GW are listening more to their hobbyists and working at least towards giving us what we ask for. The rules have been tightened, allies are in, the fun has been bumped upwards, the models continue to impress and the latest word is that White Dwarf, which is already adding rules and expansions for the game,  is moving to a new publishing base where they can deliver more value and less of a catalogue of advertising. Fingers crossed on that.

Is Games Workshop expensive?


Are the prices ridiculous?

I don't think so, at least for the most part. There are some models that are pretty silly in price (Blood knights for example) but overall they offer pretty solid value for money, as long as you're not going crazy and building big armies. Perhaps it's just that I've curbed my spending in a bit and tend to collect now in the way that GW promotes (get a starter, add a unit, paint, add another etc.).

Also, if GW is too expensive for you, now is the time to branch out to other games with much lower cost of entry. You've got a wealth of game types, models, rules and styles to get involved in, from the near(ish) future skirmish of Infinity, to the Steampunk naval Dystopian Wars, through Malifaux's weird and wonderful, the steam and iron of Warmachine and many more besides.

If you love gaming, now is the time to enjoy the Golden Age of what is on offer.

All the best,


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

20 minute painting update, a spillage and the army in full.

I'm still here and still painting. It's approaching that busy time of year when the new courses begin at the language school but for now my schedule is quiet and so I'm trying to paint a fair bit. Unfortunately I've finally discovered the Half Life 2 series, or finally allowed myself the time to play it. It's really good and is competing with my wargaming time. If you haven't tried it yet I can recommend it as one of the best-written, compelling to play and developed video games that I've ever experienced.

That said, on to the painting.

This is where we started. The turtle skeleton Dreadfleet terrain piece,
a dwarf ironclad and two Deathwing with armour done. 

Here I've done the water and started to block out the colour on the turtle,
I washed the ironclad with Devlan prior to the next highlight and did the 
crux terminatus and fur highlights for the terminators.

Then DISASTER! My menoth white highlight takes a tumble. Luckily
all models are missed with the exception of the terminator's base you can
see in the background. I got a good amount of paint back into the pot so it's
not a complete loss. I've done some more on the terminators too.

Progress Check

Here is my Deathwing army (plus a buddy painted by Edina). Belial and the
librarian are done, as are the command squad. One of the assault squads is 
getting there, one shooty squad is done, at least with armour, leaving two entire
squads yet to be done. Still, it's nice to see them all lined up.

All the best

Pete :-)

Monday, August 27, 2012

The weekend's painting. Thank you 20 mins challenge.

Hi everyone,

So thanks to starting my little idea of a 20 minute painting challenge, I've had one of the most productive painting weeks of the last year or so. I'm really pumped up for Dark Vengeance (ltd. edition pre-ordered) and this is my way of justifying it. The more I can get painted before the new set drops the better I am doing at being responsible with my purchases. 

A responsibly collecting wargamer might be an oxymoron don't you think? :-)

Anyway, on to the pictures.

This the elf ship when I started the weekend. 

Here are the models I worked on. I've done a bit with the elf ship's
decking and a lot of base colours are done on the Skaven one. You can
just see the list of painting stages on the paper underneath. This was an idea
from Tristan in the comments and it's a great one.

No in progress shots but here is the Scabrous all finished. It's an unpleasant
looking ship but I'm happy with how it turned out. I'm glad that I added the 
yellow tone to the bright green as that makes parts jump out.

The Seadrake ready to take to the waters and slay the Dreadfleet ships'
crews. In hindsight, the white is too bright for the ship. If I did it again
I'd probably go for very light bone, like the Deathwing.

Here are two of my Deathwing that I got finished as well. The lightning isn't
quite as nice as I'd like and I'm not sure about the OSL on the librarian's staff
and hood/cowl. I think I might give it a quick glaze with the colour to even things up.
It looks a bit better in person and not so zoomed in, but still. 

So all in all I'm happy with the weekend. I now have 3/10 Dreadfleet ships painted up. The Deathwing are quite behind, especially considering that they will have a big stack of Dark Angel reinforcements coming in the next few weeks. 

My next painting goal is to get my Deathwing cranked out. I should be able to get the basic squad members done at a fairly quick rate. At the moment everyone is base coated and washed, most of them have highlighted armour, the command squad, Belial and (now) the librarian are done.

That means I just have to get about 20 more terminators finished in two-ish weeks :-)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

20 minute painting challenge days 2 and 3.

Hey everyone,

Been busy with work and other such things, plus writing on my other blog but I've managed to keep to my twenty minutes per day painting. 

Here are the results of what I've done recently.

I got another layer on the dragon and it's starting to look a lot nicer now. I prefer the mix of colour having a green dragon on the ship and a red dragon as the free-flying model. The sail patterns have been tidied up, the flags made bright and I started with a few gold bits to add detail.

Here I changed tack with the gold a little bit, doing the ram and figurehead in metallics and basecoating the gun ports with grey. I think I'll pop a quick wash into them and then paint some silver for the actual weapons. Though you can't see it on this side, I've started painting the waterboard line with blue and I plan to add the same yellow as the sails to the pattern at the back. Hopefully I'll get it done tonight. I also need to shade the windows and finish the tower colours.

Hope everyone is well and I can vouch that this little kind of stimulation can help boost your tired painting muscles even when you're not that into it. 20 minutes is a very short time and seeing the progress is great. I suggest keeping your painting area set up and only having one model in front of you at a time. It's a lot more inspiring that way.

Not long now to the Dark Vengeance pre-orders. That limited edition sounds pretty tasty to me.

Pete :-)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The 20 minute painting challenge to get the Dark Vengeance starter set

Hi everyone,

So like many of you, I recently saw the leaked 40k Dark Vengeance starter box miniature pictures. I think they are pretty stunning and I'm generally very keen to get my hands on them and develop my Dark Angels force. To be honest, with the quality of the Chaos miniatures in there and my long time like of Nurgle forces, I see a chance to start a small gribbly evil army too. 

For those of you who have missed out so far, then head over to Faeit 212's 40k rumor site to check out the pics in this post.

Here are some of the Chaos and Dark Angel models. I am very impressed with the quality in this release. I think it's a nice step up in dynamism and sculpting detail from the already excellent Assault on Black Reach models.

So with these fantastic looking models coming out very soon, my plans to add some Infinity models as allies, and my current painting backlog (about 30% of the Dreadfleet models and 40% of my Deathwing finished) I need to step up my game. 

My girlfriend is awesome, no questions. She has painted a model (very well for a first time), played Dreadfleet several times, winning each of course, and generally is very happy for me to be involved in a hobby that doesn't have me drinking, partying or doing bad things. 

She is also a voice of reason though. When I gushed excitedly about the new models and how I couldn't wait to buy them she said two things: 

 - You have only played 40k once since being here in Slovakia.
 - Why would you buy more models when you haven't painted the ones you have?

Curses. The inner collecting geek was foiled by cold logic. Instead of getting pouty, I decided to make a challenge for myself to address the two points above. I'm going to find some opponents so I can start getting games at the local store at least monthly. I'll browse the Slovak wargaming forum Old Shatter Hands linked me to and find some people who speak at least enough English to play against me. My Slovak is improving but I haven't reached 40k levels yet ;-)

The painting issue will be addressed by the 20 minute rule. 

I struggle to find the time and motivation to paint a lot of stuff and easily get overwhelmed by the stack of models that I need to do. I keep my paints tidied away and so it's annoying to get them all out and start painting, only to lose interest, energy or have to run off and do something else soon after starting.

No more.

Instead I'll keep my desk set up for painting, limit myself to two models on the table at a time to minimise getting overwhelmed and I will paint for a minimum of 20 minutes per day. I can do this even on a day when I'm tired and not feeling like it and it'll help me get through the pile of models that need to be dealt with.

First Installment.
Here is my Elf warship from Dreadfleet. It took me a while to brighten up the white tones over a black spray undercoat and I'd been losing energy.

Here is the same ship after my painting session (admittedly longer than 20 mins, but hey, here's to enthusiasm). The dragon has another layer of highlights, his first claw layer and red eyes. The sail details are started, the masts are brighter now (still need the white over the top) and the ship is looking nice. 

Stay tuned for more painting updates as I go. Any and all comments encouraging, nagging or prompting me to work harder or better will be very much appreciated :-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why 6th Edition allies are Infinitely good.

Hi everyone,

It's been ages since I've blogged and I'm a bit out of the loop with respect to the hobby. Hopefully I can start to rectify that soon and get painting, collecting and playing more. I've skimmed through the 6th edition rules but haven't really figured out the new edition or played it yet. I am excited about the soon-to-come boxed set that will offer me some Dark Angels love. Hopefully the models are a step up over the, already good, Black Reach ones as that would make the set just incredible.

One thing that everyone is talking about and I want to join in on is allies. At first, perhaps because I've been reading the interwebs too much and been exposed to competitive gaming that way, I thought about how it would be used for power gaming. I can shore up my weaknesses by stuffing in a bit of this or that as I need and then win some more games.

I don't think I was thinking normally and it took me a moment to see how great the Allies section is.

What's a huge problem with starting a new game system?

You don't want to invest in something that you're not if you'll be able to play. What is the local scene like for Warmahordes/Infinity/Malifaux/Dystopian Wars/Flames of War etc. etc. etc.? Will I have a chance to use my models or will they just be display pieces? What if the interest dies down around me?

This is where allies come in.

I play Dark Angels, Deathwing to be precise. I like the terminators but I'm getting a bit tired of painting bone white armour. I need a change.

Enter my Grey Knight allies lead by this Inquisitor.
Now I know that he's an Infinity model and will be very playable if and when I find the local scene for this game, but right away he jumps out as just an awesomely badass Inquisitor. Power sword, combi-flamer, psychotrope grenades (because....random fun) and a mean attitude. 

Where would an inquisitor be without his loyal henchmen. In this case a group of seriously tough hombres decked out in power armour, sporting storm bolters and power swords. Conveniently enough they represent a starter set for Infinity about that? ;-)

Last but by no means least is a model of a rather kickass lady who I think will make a great representation of Inquisitor Valeria on the tabletop. She's got a funky blade, a cool gun I can play as a graviton pistol and a whole heap more dynamism than you see in a lot of GW figures.

Thanks in large part to Tim over at the Tau of War, I've taken up an interest in Infinity that was spurred more when I saw the local shop's stock of starter boxes and so on. I am a little hesitant though since I've not really built a gaming network for 40k and so I don't know how much I can play Infinity here.

What 6th edition will allow me to do though is to get these great models, enjoy painting them, and be able to use them in 40k even if I lack Infinity partners. Now if that isn't a win win situation, then you really can't be pleased ;-)

All the best to everyone,


PS: I'm aware that I'll need to take a troops unit for it to be a legal allies choice, unless my opponents consent to just an HQ plus retinue. If that is so I'll drop in a PAGK squad (I have some old metals) or assemble five of the metal terminators I have. Ironically, sticking to the FOC rules in this case makes my fun, fluffy addition of Inq+Retinue a bit more punchy with another powerful terminator/marine unit.