Month: July 2016

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 104

If it wasn’t for the eight pointed star of Chaos in the banner I wouldn’t have guessed that those are Chaos Knights.

WD104cover

On the next page GW advertises two plastic Land Raiders for £12.99, wow, I know with inflation that works out at £32.99 but the company must have really undersold the value of the kit at that time. Remember the only other armoured vehicles in 1st edition rogue trader were Rhinos, a few dreadnoughts and maybe some scouting vehicles like land speeders and Eldar War walkers so the impact a heavy tank must have had on anyone’s battles at this time must have been huge.

WD104raider

We continue the article on Monstrous Regiments with more shield and banner designs. There is an article on the Golden Daemon awards 1988 with the best dressed man winning the Slayer Sword

WD104golden

The BloodBowl Skaven team looks alright but maybe it’s because they are next to a group of 40k robots painted by a man on drugs.

WD104skavenrobot

After detail in the new vehicle damage rules last issue they publish the same for Bikers as a lot of the rules for turrets weren’t appropriate, this will eventually end with every single vehicles getting its own damage table on second edition.

Obviously it was too long for White dwarf to go without another article on in character role play demonology so we get a WHRP article on Ancient Spirits in Kislev (Warhammers pseudo Russian city setting) it’s a nice little flavour piece that could come in useful in a by other setting.

Next up its the famous Chapter Approved article on Imperial Robots, this had very in depth rules on constructing a robot using a number of Build Points that would give you a unique statline, then allocating Built Points towards its Power Plant which would give you its movement characteristic, giving the access to new systems like a power field or camouflage and then programming in its movement and shooting actions using cardboard counters to create a flow chart. It even includes a D100 special damage chart to simulate some crazy effects after taking fire such as treating all friendlies as enemies and vice versa. This is without a doubt one of the most complicated articles on war gaming that I’ve ever seen, while interesting to talk about and theorise the end result would either result in the unit being horribly crippled by an oversight by the creator of the program or provide no extra abilities than a human controller. The rules would go out of use, not making it knot second edition 40k and the artwork for the castellan would be created as a support unit for an Adeptus Mechanicus army.

WD104diagram

Realm of Chaos – Slaves to Darkness gets a full colour title page this week and focuses on illustrations and painted figures which are starting to look pretty neat, the highlight is the Greater Demon of Slaneesh which looks like it’s come staging of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

WD104darkness

Eavy metal inexplicably seems to think there is a need to show a conversion to give a chaos mutant a really long neck but whatever. They even give stats for some of the conversion jobs possible just incase.

WD104neck

Large monsters in blood bowl, now known as Big Guys introduces Minotaurs, Ogres, trolls and Treemen along with cut out proxy models for them. Rules for the tiny Snotlings are included as well for sadists.

Thrud explores the possibility of a future Mad Max sequel featuring the aforementioned giant lump of lard in the main role, presumably this is why the films were canned for so long before the reboot.

Critical Mass leads us into a Dark Future article around an interview with an operative called Redd Harvest. It’s fairly unremarkable except that this was published in 1988 and Dark Future appears to have been set in 1995.

WD104redd

This is followed up by an article on how to make some of the converted rhinos from last issue, the vision hatch at the front looks too ramshackle for anything other than an Ork conversion but the enlarged turret hatch looks like it could work.

This issue ends with an advert for Dark Future and a selection of colour schemes for the robots featured.

WD104robots2

This is of interest to you because:

  • The Adeptus Mechanicus robots rules are crazy, you wouldn’t get anything like that published today by anyone ever.
  • More Realm of Chaos artwork and some interesting colour schemes if you wanted a Harlequin army.

Everything Wrong With Miniature Gaming part 2 of 3

If you didn’t like the previous article you’re really not going to like this one. Before you start I am aware that the people who create miniature games are doing it for the love and aren’t marketers or PR guys but if no one else is going to call them out on the issues they run into I guess I’ll have to be the guy who casts the first stone. This is the second of three articles on everything I don’t like.

About the marketing:

On every box or book I would like a QR code taking you to a 2 minute video elevator pitch about the game. Selling is not about looking excited while sitting next to a board while you give people a blow by blow description of the rules. It needs to look like this, this or this. And not like the frothing love fest that Beasts of War churns out.

Working-with-QR-Codes

Key sales point. Games Workshop has a network of shops you can go into a find a person to play a game without buying a table or scenery, it’s the biggest. X Wing has pre-painted miniatures. Warmachine has the steampunk flavour locked down as well as a group of supporters who are all embittered former squat players who hate Games Workshop. Tor Gamings Relics has an army of patchwork cloth British infantry, Malifaux has pigs. Flames of War is the best way to command an army of real historical tanks and infantry. The Laws of Marketing suggest that if you aren’t the first in the market (Games Workshop) you need to be the first in a subsection of it.

Dials.jpg

Read books on marketing and human psychology. Marketing is not a scammy way of exploiting your customers to get them to buy from you, it’s a way of keeping your customer base happy and allowing you to provide them with a great experience. This does not mean you have to antagonise them with pop up windows or clickbait. Did you know there are 6 major ways to persuade people into following a certain course of action, find out more here and be amazed.

images.jpg

Create website, create mailing list, create content for website, add the subscribe button to the bottom of every post, build subscribers, send emails on your progress, repeat until you have enough subscribers to sell products to.

photo.jpg

Don’t undercharge. Frostgrave, Warlord Games’ Historical and Bolt Action lines can sell you a standard infantry model in a set for £1 each, Mantic will match those prices when they run a Kickstarter but often seem to run at about £2, other companies seem to approach £3-£5. Character kits which will usually only need to be purchased once can be sold for £7-12. If you want to read about why you shouldn’t chase the bottom of the market you can read here, here and here. The bottom line is companies need money to continue making good products and so giving them less money will only make their next product less good. Another point is that these companies are making a product for you to spend real time putting together and painting. This will take at least 2 hours but sometimes 4 or 5. As an experiment take your current hourly wage and work out how much money you could have earnt while you were painting a model, if you look at it like this you’ll see that there really isn’t as big a difference between £1 and £5 as you think.

Don’t overcharge. Games Workshop has tried to sell single figure character kits for £18 before rapidly backing down and stuffing them in with a bundle of other miniatures. They have also tried to charge £30 for a unit of 10 models or £22 for a unit of 5 models that you will need to buy two copies of to complete a unit. While this does average out to the £3-4 mark I have just identified as being ideal for infantry you’ve got to remember that as part of a standard sized force both will be making up less than 10% of it.

1835

Overcharge if you are offering extras. Kingdom Death offers models for £16 with base inserts, numbered and signed cards and two prices of artwork. If you only want to sell single models that will only be purchased once this seems to work out pretty well.

Xmas_Twilight_Knight_Pinup.jpg

Mobile and tablet friendly website please. There are free products on the market that handle dynamic web design so you don’t have to, this blog for instance resizes itself depending on screen size. This website doesn’t:  don’t be like them.

Shipping costs front and center. Anvil industries is what I want to see, hiding shipping until the checkout point like Kingdom Death is what I don’t want to see.

anvil.jpg

Well done, 2 down, 1 more to go, read part 3 here



White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 103

That front cover artwork is pretty sweet. Dark Future deserved better than what it got. Interestingly this issue we got Rhino marines which are marines in Mad Max poses that can be added to vehicles like the Rhino or if you are like Games Workshops customers never brought and never mentioned again.

WD103cover

In Culture Shock there is talk of a Games Workshop comic, the only one I ever heard of is Warhammer Monthly but that was late 90’s so I guess this project sunk without trace.

WD103rhino

We then enter The Vermilion Pawn, this is the start of what will become a long running series of WFRP encounters that go into detail about a particular area that your characters might need to visit, this one is about a pawn shop the party might need to take an unidentifiable magic item to. The shop can also be used for loans or it can be the hub of various adventures. The owner even has a Daemonic cabinet used for appraising certain items which can be cut and pasted into other adventures by itself.

WD103pawn

This 7-page article of win is followed by Critical Mass and the streak of quality is only broken by Thrud the Barbarian beating a disabled man with a telescope.

White Dwarf reminds us the 40k is a thing they sell with a page of Pirate models for it. These are pretty bad. This is followed by Chapter Approved rules for the Rhino APC, this is a classic plastic model on sale for £9.99 (for 3) that will remain in production for 14 years until 2002 after spawning loads of variants. This is followed by a page for Eldar Artillery and some Squat bikes. The rules were pretty heavy amendments for the current Rogue Trader rules and introduced the vehicle hit chart where you would roll to see which part of the vehicle you hit and then roll to see what damage you did.

WD103squat

It’s saying something that even the letters page this issue has a quality selection of issues raised. Next up Dwarf and Elf teams in BloodBowl with paper proxy models included.

WD103BB

Followed up by On the Boil with queries about WFRP, followed by another excellent article on Realm of Chaos Slaves to Darkness. This week it’s about Chaos Weapons and it involves a D1000 table although with only 78 properties you wondered why they needed to make it that large.

WD103darkness

After this we get rules for a Chaos Dwarf Whirlwind and Tenderiser which were improbable weapons mounted on sleds and pushed into an enemy unit, they look like they would fall to bits in a light breeze.

WD103chaos

Eavy Metal had painted pictures of Rhinos in camp as the idea of brightly colour space marines at this time was still a long way down the road. There is a section exploring the making of the plastic kit which was the first plastic vehicle created at this time, obviously the studio wanted to kitbash it into something else and there are pictures of models which will become the Immolator and Predator by Bob Naismith as well as a third variant with an exposed front and two small bore cannons.

WD103pred

Illuminations features the art of Carl Critchlow who is the man responsible for Thrud, he has some pretty cool sketches for Dark Future.

WD103future

The rules are published for the Rhino, it has a powerfield, something called an auto-fac and ejector seats. I personally think all tanks should come with ejector seats, it would make war documentaries much more entertaining.

WD103colour

The issue finishes off with an Orc and Goblin army list for Warhammer Fantasy.

This is of interest to you because:

  • It’s awesome.
  • This might be the most content packed issue so far between the roleplay article, the information about the Rhinos and the Slave to Darkness piece it’s well worth re reading.

5/5 please more.

 

Everything Wrong With Miniature Gaming Part 1 of 3

I went to the UK Gamers Expo this year and indulged in a binge of demos for various miniature games and I can happily report that there are a number of shining stars out there that could easily take off based on theme, quality of models or elegance of rules. However, I’m also sad to report that it exposed the Achilles heel of miniature wargaming in that the rules are often impossible to teach while keeping the game fun and that the models themselves are often simply avatars for a tableau of cards with hit points, energy counters and special rules that sit on the edge of the table and challenge each player to try and remember them.

Wrong1

I had a think about what I would be looking for out of a new game on the market and everything I don’t like in the current offerings. Make no mistake, I play these games because I like them but its hard to sit back and claim that this hobby churns out the type of quality products that the current Golden Age of Board Games is producing.

This is the first of three articles on everything I don’t like…

About the miniatures themselves:

I want everything to stick to around 28-32mm heroic scale models so they match everything on the market today (GW is 28mm Warmachine is 30-32mm), I love the look of 52mm stuff but you can’t get scenery to match it, ask the guys who created Smog 1888, I also like the look of 15mm and 10mm models but they have the same problem with scenery and also the fact painting infantry that small fills me with dread. Picture found here)

Scales

Multi part sprue. As a kit basher the ability to swap torsos and legs around as well as extra parts fills me with an uncomfortable amount of joy. Not everyone wants a model to look exactly the same as another, different arm and head combinations take up a tiny amount of space if added to the mould correctly. In fact if you are going that far why not add things like tiny familiars to a wizards sprue, flying drones to a futuristic soldiers kit or tiny goblin creatures to a giant Orc model. I’d go so far as to say that you need to fill up as much space in the sprue as possible, just cram stuff in there as long as it doesn’t effect the quality.

space_marine_commander_unboxing2_636

Hire a decent designer. Its 2016, we use computers and 3D modelling these days so there is no reason to produce models that look like this, this or this any more. It’s unfair of me to expect every company to do this but at least publish the free stuff sculpts to your viewing public for feedback.

displacer beast

Hire a decent painter. Its 2016, we use things called Washes and Airbrushes so there is no reason to show your models looking like this, this or this. Again you could say I’m being harsh because as soon as you take a photo and blow it up to the size you need to stick it on a box or a website you will see some uncomfortable specks of dirt or parts you missed but I can forgive the pointless use of Photoshop here.

img7752.jpg

Get a painting guide for the figures, show people what to do with their new models with a HD video or even a narrated slideshow on Youtube. As long as it’s a decent quality you can show your audience how to paint up these figures, here is a guy going through Imperial Assault, here are the Games Workshop versions.

A kit that fits through a letterbox. Possibly not practical, the current restrictions on large letter sizes are 35.3cm x 25cm x 2.5cm. If this is possible it would be great as even though I use a separate mailing address to take deliveries of large objects a lot of people are put off of shopping online due to having to take a trip to their local post office if they are out when the mailman comes. Obviously some units are going to be too large to manage this but they can be flagged as such on the companies website.

large-letter-postal-boxes_1.jpg

No lipped bases. The bases used by Warmachine and Malifaux make no sense to me at all, I can only assume someone saw a standard GW produced slottabase and decided that they wanted to make something so entirely different it would make their miniatures stand out, which while a idea that sounds good on paper produces bases that you can’t pick up, and leave you manhandling the actual miniature in order to move it around. The reason they look so nice is that Games Workshop kept putting models on undersized bases for years before coming up with the 32mm size they now use for Space Marines. I’m not saying that all companies need to rename their products but if you are starting from scratch just use the old school standard.

Plastic or Resin or UniCast when it’s ready. Plastic is ideal but most companies don’t have that kind of money so I’ll settle for resin as its light it won’t scratch and its tough as long as the kit is thick enough. Lead or white metal is awful to work with and leaves horrible to find mould lines and fragments everywhere. UniCast is a very flexible system that allows you to cast models in one piece in a way that would be otherwise impossible. Jake Thornton has Ben talking about this a lot recently.

Extras in the box. Steve Jobs worked out that unboxing a product was important to ensure the users experience was as good as possible. Miniature companies ignored this for a long time and then along came Fantasy Flights’ X Wing Miniatures game with a prepainted model, cardboard tokens, equipment cards, multiple pilot cards and a manoeuvre dial squeezed in. Several years later its one of the highest grossing miniature games on the market meanwhile everyone else stuffs a plastic sprue or metal model out of the mould and into a box with an appropriate sized base. Tor Gaming’s Relics models have laser cut wooden counters, it wouldn’t be hard for someone to throw some artwork, glass gems to count damage, plastic tokens to mark shields or explosions, poker chips with decals on, transfers, the list is almost endless.

EMPIRE BATTLE WIZARDS.jpg

Painted pictures of the models on the boxes. This really winds me up. Now I understand that the production process these days starts with a 3d model that gets sent away to be cast and by the time it comes back there is no time to change the picture on the box but at least stick a bloody QR code on the front of the kit that links to a webpage that will hold a mobile friendly shot of the models after a professional painter has finished with it. This seems endemic in this industry, especially with Kickstarters more and more common. I constantly see 3D shots of the model or prototype pictures and have to hunt down the painted shot of the model or models on someone’s Facebook page. I’m left wondering if anyone is ever actually painting up Malifaux or Guild Ball models these days or even if the models advertised actually exist anywhere outside of a computer. And while I’m on the subject I don’t want photoshopped images of the models stuck up anywhere in the sales page. I’m looking at you Games Workshop. If a model is holding a burning sword then I want to see how well that sword looks, not a photoshopped rendered version of it to make it look better. Dreamforge Games sells itself extremely short by trying to combine both worlds by giving the 3D models a computer painted skin and putting them on a 3D background. These aren’t Revell models, you can’t just paint a picture of what you hope it will look like and hope that I will buy anyway.

Herald-of-Obliteration.jpg

Still reading? Why not move to part 2 here

FYI that header image of unpainted miniatures and unfinished terrain is from Wikipedia, well done wargamers, good job.



 

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 102

White Dwarf 102 increased the price to £1.50, what is this? Do they think i’m made of money? OMFG “Sellouts” I cry. According to my inflation calculator that’s £3.62 today increasing from £3.02. Is this worth an extra 60 pence?

WD102cover

Straight off we go into Illuminations which features Pete Kniftons 2000AD comic book style drawings for the release of second edition BloodBowl. Culture Shock discusses the band Hawkwing coming round to the design studio and the success of Sabbat (remember them and the White Dwarf flexi disk?). The casting of Sylvester Stallone in the Judge Dredd film (apparently the deal had fallen through because he wanted to remove the mask) and the Daemonettes of Slaanesh, referred to as the lust lobsters. Oh if only they had hindsight that I had, Heavy Metal articles vanish from White Dwarf within the year I think, Stallone would do them film, remove his helmet and get panned for it and Slaanesh would become persona non grata in Warhamers replacement Age of Sigmar due to sex and boobs being agents of the devil.

Critical Mass is good. Thrudd is bad, the Fimir were a race made up by Games Workshop but will soon be forgotten despite a nice full colour art page and several maps, faer not they appear in Heroquest and Forgeworld remade the models to they could live on.

WD102fimir

Dark Future will also be forgotten, but at least White Dwarf advertises it well, you can see the artwork, read about the background and a little bit about the rules, it’s all quite competently handled compared to their other releases.

WD102dark

There is a return to the shield and banner competition which shows if some pretty flash artwork, I’m sure there are plenty of references in this I’m not getting, I did notice the Screaming Fist design which is straight out of Neuromancer by William Gibson (this is necessary reading so go and buy it now).

WD102banner

Eavy Metal takings about painting the faces of miniatures and skin tones, it once again falls back into the trap of drawing a picture of a face to illustrate the article rather than doing a macro shot of several stages of painting one, they do show plenty of finished examples on the following pages, it’s fair to say that faces are the hardest things to do right as humans are wired to focus on facial recognition.

The Eldar Warwalker is up next, the idea of these was that the crewman was exposed but covered by an energy shield that protected him from any harm, the plastic versions these days has the crewman in a cockpit and look much nicer, however this model, like all of the Eldar miniature range lasted a long time before being fully resculpted.

On the Boil talks about magic in Warhammer Fantasy Battle and this is followed by rules for kickers in BloodBowl, kickers will incidentally eventually just exist with a single skill that they can pick to reduce the kicking scatter distance despite several articles to try and add them into the game as a major tactical piece.

Gobbledigook gets a third of a page this month, I’m not even sure if it’s s comic as there is no dialog, I would say that’s its 2/3rds of an improvement.

Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb gets a few pages but I have no further idea about it, its never been mentioned before or will be mentioned after, instead of looking myself I’ll just point you to Board Game Geek and let you do all the hard work.

Realm of Chaos, Slaves the Darkness is again the star of the show, the first page is an elaborately drawn title page for the article with Slaaneshi and Khorne Daemons facing off against one another. The article features tables to generate a Daemons true name and its use-name, the idea being that you can only control one once you know its true name. True names are generated by taking the number of the God, either 6,7,8 or 9 and adding 1D6 or 2D6 to generate the amount of rolls on a D10/D6 table that gives you an insanely garbled collection of syllables, then you roll 2 or 4 times on a second D10/D20 table with results such as Foulsmut Pukebeatle. This opens a world of possibilities if you need to come up with a fake name to give to the police or writing wedding invitations and I cannot recommend reading this enough.

WD102chaos

Index Astartes closes the issue by discussing field medics for Space Marines, Squats and Imperial Guard with a chunk of proto background material and an injury table for you to roll if your characters are killed in battle to allow them to continue playing the campaign.

WD102medic

This is of interest to you if:

  • You want to read more about the ill-fated Dark Future game
  • You are running any campaign involving Games Workshop style daemons and you want to give them the appropriate retro names.

Review – Dreadball version 1

Dreadball is Mantic Games’ Tron style future basketball sports game. It was conceived as an attempt to get a slice of the BloodBowl gamers pie and launched on Kickstarter back in the day, its about to get a second edition soon like Deadzone but I gave the latest version a whirl to see how it played.
dreadball
First impressions, I liked the board but the low resolution artwork and the blur effect on everything left it lacking in visual effect, the miniatures are some of the worst ever sculpted, even with nice paint jobs they eye wateringly ugly. Giant oversized spikes shoot out of the goblin’s hands while some of the human (Enforcer) sculpts looks like they were sculpted from scratch in one go and left next to a hair drier to melt and distort while the designer went to the pub, sadly this is endemic of Mantic and a serious issue that are only hair trying to fix.
humanteam
The only benefit is that they are all plastic which makes them super light and durable although if you were going to invest in plastic moulds you’d have paid more attention to the models. The rules are both simple and abstract at the same time, your team has 5 activations a turn, you mark which players you activate on a table to the left on the board and can activate models twice if you need. I liked this a lot as its an elegant way of marking which models you use and ensuring that the turns get done quickly and saves the 11 player shuffle that starts off some games of BloodBowl. There are turnovers which also end your turn but they only trigger if you make a mistake while carrying the call, again I like this as explaining everything that can cause a turnover in BloodBowl to a new player is tricky to say the least.  The combat, dodging, picking up the ball and other tests are done by Mantics trademark dice test where you roll a number of dice and count the number of successes you get. It works well here but I did like the special block dice BloodBowl gave you that produced a much more thrilling result when double skulls get rolled. When you attack another player you count the number of successes you have against theirs then the difference is how many turns that player is out for, 4 turns means the player is dead, but before this happens the defending player rolls 3 dice and for every 5+ reduces it by one. Unfortunately this kind of streamlined, mechanical, elegance causes the game to lose a bit of the humour BloodBowl had in its slightly longer injury system. For instance in Dreadball your Enforcer Jack can be removed from the pitch for 2 turns after taking a strike from a opposing Striker, however in BloodBowl your Orc Blitzer can be pushed into the crowd and in the ensuring brawl get knocked out. Notice how one of these statements sounds good and the other sounds a bit bland.
0075da0d19e7d3d24169300b36b545c0
Simple is all well and good and there is a benefit for having a lighter simpler ruleset, unfortunately when it come to Dreadballs turn to inject its own flavour into the matches everything takes a turn for the worse. One of the most evocative parts of BloodBowl is the invisible referee that is constantly abused by the players on the pitch and the crowd. He might send a player off for carrying a secret weapon or assisting a foul but other than that his involvement is minimal, in Dreadball you move a ref model around the pitch every turn, the only trouble is that fouls in both games are rare enough to sometimes never occur during a match. This is fine as fouling a downed player is a “Win More” mechanic and really something only high end players have to be worried about remembering to do but it does rub the wrong way against all the other streamlined parts. Another part I didn’t like was the deck of cards that sits at the side of the board and is dealt out to players at the start of the game to give random free additional actions during their activations, I really didn’t understand the need for this other than also being used to  generate movement for the ref and sometimes powerful random effects, it’s obviously a replacement for the Kick Off table in BloodBowl but the only problem is the Kick Off table used to add flavour into the game by depicting crowd riots and random gusts of wind to effect the ball however this just seems to churn out cards like “Your striker gets an extra move” and the like.
Season-4
One thing I do like is that the game doesn’t wait till you stop the half before allowing you to send new players onto the pitch to replace those that are injured, you can move them on from the back of your side of the pitch with your standard action orders, this allows you to push up into the opponents pitch, lose some players and be pushed back down again only for fresh players to bolster your defence leading you to rebound back down the pitch, weirdly it reminds me of a multiplayer online battle arena game like League of Legends or Smite with the shifting focus on different areas.
All in all there is a mechanically sound game at the heart of this system although heart and soul is what the game is missing, there are 25 races for Dreadball but virtually no trace of any crowds watching, virtually no hint of a larger universe that can be gleaned from gameplay, no debris from previous matches in the roll out pitch just distorted figures moving around a hex grid system trying to move a ball into the glowing red or blue areas so they can make a dice test.
DB-DM-Reek-Rolat
Sadly I wouldn’t recommend buying this, not just because of the poor quality of models or the flabby rules, it’s because you could improve the game immensely by replacing all the miniatures with hexagonal tiles like the ones in Hive with the position of the player and their stats and have the fast cheap experience that the core of the game is supposed to provide. That being said giving how Mantic have no problem in gutting their game and provide a better experience I wouldn’t be surprised to come back and find the cards and ref had all been replaced with the dice based order system in Deadzone.
Like mirrors in a Terry Pratchett Novel, Chilvers Industries feeds on a little part of your soul every time you look at it, to continue enabling me please Subscribe now.

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 101

WD101cover

So last issue we had the Eldar dreadnought or what became the Wraithlord released, this issue we have something called an Eldar Robot, it’s functionally the same model with a small shrunken head, adding to that we have the squat Thudd Gun and an Imperial Guard land speeder and we enter the land that time (or the designers) forgot. Meanwhile check out the queue for the first ever Oxford Street shop, you don’t get that kind of excitement these days.

WD10140k

The tactics article for Warhammer Fantasy Battle has some general good points as well as some specific advice to that system which is no longer applicable meanwhile Critical Mass takes us straight into the letters page which this month is in the middle of the magazine. It mainly focuses around the balance of the last few months adventures with a little bit of 40k bashing creeping in from Judge Dredd and Warhammer Fantasy players.
Blanchitsu talks about the process of drybrushing and the slightly more exotic method of tearing up cotton wool, painting it with red ink and sticking it to your model to create a gore effect. I don’t recommend that one. Also a bit of trivia here, their orcs and goblins are painted green due to Kevin Adams rather than the black and brown they are in Tolkien books at this time. Thrud breaks me out of my need to fact check this latest revelation which leads into another Griffin Island adventure for Runequest about a triple cross over some mining goods.
A preview article for Blood Bowl is up next, it’s second edition and comes with a plastic pitch, the artwork is very 2000AD and has all the dark humour that it is known for, it could do with a bit less fluff and a bit more of how to play the game, but it’s an improvement on most Games Workshop advertising at this point.
WD101BB2nd
There is another WFRP scenario and we are back in full roleplay mode for White Dwarf, the pictures here are again quite nice, they provide a contrast to the Chaos Warriors on the previous page.
WD101rp
Chapter Approved brings us prototype background for the Eldar Infinity Circuit and Ghost Warriors which are robotic assassins. Also we have rules for the squat Thudd Gun, and imperil guard land speeder, the Thudd Gun has a spectacular multiple blast template that was always a paint to use as it was constantly catching on things and ripping.
WD101ghost
Next up the colour section on Blood Bowl, the designers obviously didn’t care much about team colours back then.
WD101BB2nd2
Hooray it’s a Paranoia scenario that was run at Games Day 87. This is much less controversial than the one last issue except for the ending that involves the GM smashing his hand down on a giant cream cake and covering everyone within 5 meters with whipped cream. Well played Games Workshop, well played.
WD101Para
Eavy Metal and Blanchitsu merge this week in the second article on painting as they discuss freehand painting of shields, freehand isn’t covered a lot these days so it’s a pretty spectacular article showing what players used to do before sculpted shields became all the rage.
WD101free
Remember Spot the Ball competitions, White Dwarf does one for the release of this edition of Blood Bowl. For those that don’t know Spot the Ball was popular with people who read newspapers on park benches in the 80’s like the guy from Parklife.
There is a reader survey that you could use to tell the designers how awful you thought Thrudd and Gobbledigook were, I can only imagine the responses.
WD101thrudd
Chapter Approved has an incredibly brief history of the Badab War and a colour illustration of the Space Marine chapters that fought in it, this was back when they used to wear camouflage, strangely it’s only a page long which is very restrained for a Chapter Approved article. The Badab War will eventually be fleshed out in more detail in a variety of sources including the excellent Forge World Badab War books 1 and 2 which have been removed from their website presumably for reprinting.
WD101badab
Warhammer Siege continues its launch, in my opinion sieges don’t work in a war game, mining castles, biological warfare and starvation work as abstract mechanics in a board game but can’t be represented with miniatures. The issue finishes with BloodBowl freebooters, I liked that he cards have the Likes and Dislikes of the players on them, it adds a level of flavour that is missing from the hiring of mercenaries.
This is of interest to you in 2016 because:
  • It’s a lot of proto background material for 40k.
  • Paranoia is again very good, this might be one of the last articles on it in this magazine and due to the rise of Games Workshop exclusive games in White Dwarf it will gradually fall out of favour until it’s next edition in 1995 which led to the breakdown of its publishing company and the eventual Kickstarter.

Review – Deadzone version 2

Do you like Necromunda, if so I’m sure Mantic Games would never try to exploit the facts it’s out of production with a similar style game for you to buy instead. Actually that’s a poor opening statement, the only real similarity between the games are the skirmish setting and the plastic scenery in the box. Now it looks like I’ve written click bait in order to distract your gaze from the latest multi part Space Marine or Warjack kit out this month in a desperate attempt to further increase viewers to my blog, well it worked and now you can either stay here and read my thoughts on it after playing some games or close the browser is disgust. It’s your choice but as the WordPress dashboard doesn’t record how long a click-through lasts I’ve already won.
Deadzone.jpeg
We used the deluxe gaming mat and fully painted scenery with two fully painted forces courtesy of my mate Simon “Morat” Brown. Simon airbrushed his scenery to achieve a oily used look where as I hit mine with a couple of different colours via spraycan before giving it a white spray coat and using ripped foam to stipple dark brown weathering all over it. I think I will use some Flory Washes to darken it down in the next step, but they served their purpose for now. The game seems to come with 75% of the scenery required so I would say those ruin sprues with the expansion are mandatory for someone wanting to buy into this.
The rules were easy to pick up: roll the command dice, move squares and when necessary roll tests to shoot or fight against your opponent, the process of learning them and playing a first 100 point game took slightly over an hour and left me quite happy, I screwed up, was punished for screwing up and could see what happened and why so I could alter my mistakes in the next game. The key rule here is that you roll a number of command dice at the start of a turn which give you extra shoot actions, extra combat actions, extra movement or can be used to individually add extra dice to a test, you can then re roll any number of them if over half of your force is still alive. You then have to pick when to use them all during your turn. The real zinger is that one dice result is a Special Order which can be used by whichever leader you picked to produce a special effect. Enforcer Sergeants can order their squad members to make an extra free move, while Plague stage 1A‘s can mutate a friendly model for a random effect.
IMG_1706
I found that playing as Enforcers and moving into the centre and shooting didn’t work as trying to bring down large creatures in cover with laser rifles was completely ineffective, I discovered standing on scenery and shooting down was much better too late as after early luck a stage 2 got in amongst my forces and tore them to pieces.
We swapped sides and discovered that when used correctly Enforcers can manoeuvre quickly into great firing position and rain down pain, in fact I managed to lose a stage 2 in my deployment zone on the first turn before even activating it after Simon used a combination of special dice and his leaders ability to sprint a Enforcer over to the top of a building to shoot into my deployment zone. The game was saved by the monstrous stage 1A mutating itself to give itself the ability Agile via a special order and extra movement order then leaping over a nearby building and ambushing and killing a Enforcer who got too close while trying to capture a 2 vp objective. The following turn he managed to shrug off the effects of the remaining Enforcers fire before once again using a move order to pounce on the Enforcer Sergeant who was nearby giving me another 3 vp.
This prompted a discussion on how exactly to kill giant creatures like this, we thought that every force needs to have access to some ranged weapons with an AP value or ensure that they keep further than two squares away from it at all times while they capture other objectives, however in a following game we found that rolling the command dice until you get the extra dice result and then waiting until you can get a clear shot on it ensures that you can get a couple of wounds in.
Regardless, the rules are quick simple and engaging, the combat mechanic is one of the fastest ones I have seen in any skirmish miniatures game and lends itself to making tactical decisions based on model positioning rather than giving someone the best skills and weapons and watching them clean house. Squeezing models into the squares could be tricky as although Mantic has made the bases for the models very small sometimes they have to rest ontop of gantries or barrels to fit in the squares.
As I was writing up this report Jake Thornton published an FAQ for the rulebook which clears up some areas of confusion and fixes overpowered units making the game even better, sadly some of the errors were in the editing and they could have saved themselves some embarrassment by more in depth reading, however that being said with loads of leaders, troops, specialist and vehicles to test some balance issues are going to creep through.
Another thing I liked is that for 100 points you have a huge variety of things you can use and you really only scrape the surface of force design, we only used between 5-7 models each so it’s ideal for painters who work slowly as they can slowly build up their forces over time. The models are a mixed bag, the Orc equivalents and some of the weird aliens in the Rebs faction are embarrassing ( but appear to have been removed from sale) while the larger stage 1A Plague leaders and Enforcer Peacekeepers are quite nice, the tiny bases size for the infantry are the only problem because you can’t easily use alternate miniatures like the new 32mm based Space Marines and expect them to fit into the squares.
On the whole this is an ideal entry level miniature skirmish game to show to people who are put off by measuring distances or painting huge amounts of miniatures why miniature games are fun. Once Mantic start producing nice miniatures as standard as they are starting to do with Dungeon Saga: The Dwarf King’s Quest or The Walking Dead hopefully they will revist the models and I will be able to recommend this as one of the best miniature games around.
Like mirrors in a Terry Pratchett Novel, Chilvers Industries feeds on a little part of your soul every time you look at it, to continue enabling me please Subscribe now.

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 100

To celebrate my 11th review of White Dwarf we have the 100th ever issue (of volume 1). In this issue you could win a chance to get White Dwarf magazine for life starting 1988. I wonder if that continued after it became weekly, you would have to find the winner and track him down somehow.

WD100Cover

Adverts this month are the Imperial Guard Rapier, the Eldar D Cannon which looks more like an autocannon and the Eldar Dreadnought which must be one of the most enduring models ever released it will have resculpted guns but remain in production until it’s replaced 18 years later by the plastic Wraithlord kit in 2006.

WD100kit

Talking about things that are enduring Steve Jackson writes about FIST, Fantasy Interactive Scenarios by Telephone, these adventures will pop up in adverts in White Dwarf for the next year until finally vanishing out of existence with the rise of the computer. The premise is that you phone up and complete a chose your own adventure campaign by phone and at the end of a section get given a password to allow you to save your progress. The picture of Steve Jackson here is nightmare fuel.

WD100fist

There is a preview of a game called Highway Warriors which will eventually become Dark Future, it’s the Mad Max style road combat game that will launch, flop and eventually be rebooted in 2016 by another company called Devils Run, Route 666. The Mad Max style game genre has been strangely under serviced by the games industry, the only other I can think of is the thematically excellent but mechanically flawed GorkaMorka.

WD100Devilrun

At Games Day in 1987 a special Warhammer Fantasy Role Play scenario was played out with some gamers so the rules are published here so you if your group wants to be a cannibalistic Pygmy who starts the adventure eating a Watermelon. Some of the Pygmy characters are called Rubba Dubb and To-Ka Bong, it’s not the most comfortable thing to read about these days but instead of getting into the complicated issue of racial stereotypes in board gaming and role playing I’m just going to press on and pretend it never happened.

WD100pygmy

In the middle of this was yet another competition, the third this issue, this time for producing a shield and banner design. Thrud for once produces a welcome relief and drinks a potion to become a farmer, presumably he later contributes to the EU butter mountain. More Space Marine and Ork miniatures, again they aren’t good.

WD100marines

Eavy Metal provides quality content once again, this week talking about inks and glazing and washing. It has a nice list of what to use the different colours on for best effect, as I’ve said before this must have been life saver for painters at this time.

WD100eavy

Critical Mass gets an extra page this week so Dave Langford can vent his frustrations at generic sci if and fantasy titles he was sent to review by imagining a computer program set to generate book titles out of the products he gets given, and then another that trawls through his previous columns to write reviews of them. The title “Trillion Year Sneer” is my favourite of the speeches /essays he collected together for these reviews, I’m dying to use it myself as its been out of print since 1988 so it can easily be repurposed.

The next part of the WFRP adventure takes us up the rules for the Eldar Distortion cannon rules for 40k followed by dwarf gyrocopters in fantasy battle followed by an advert for Warhammer Siege which is very strange as it starts off talking about fantasy battle races besieging stone fortresses but later gets into using them in 40k with a picture of the Eldar Dreadnoughts breaking down the stone walls. It sounds quite interesting with foraging, construction and mining rules as well as making sure your armies have enough supplies. They are tricking things to capture in the space of a miniature wargame. If you have an interest In this I recommend Stronghold the board game.

WD100gyro

Next a colour section on well painted miniature dioramas with some pretty far out themes. The letters page returns again this issue where White Dwarf staff defend their decision to cut out other company’s games to concentrate on their own products.Chapter approved talks about dreadnoughts and their rules this issue, it’s highly detailed as you would expect and there are rules for generating the power coming out of the power plant and hard points for extra equipment. These miniatures at their time were the alpha male of the sci fi wargame as no dedicated anti-armour squads or vehicles existed to stop them with the ease they can be stopped today. Finally, we have an art page with colour schemes for the models, a couple of which belong to Yriel’s Eldritch Raiders, I think this makes him the third named special character (not including the Primarchs) in the 40k canon behind Calgar and Pedro Cantor.

WD100colours

This is of interest to you if:

  • You wanted to feel awkward reading that roleplay scenario.
  • You needed indepth rules for giant armoured dreadnoughts in your sci-fi role playing game.
  • Two page of Dave Langford.

As you can tell this wasn’t a great issue for nostalgia, old competitions, previews for games that flopped like FIST or Dark Future and the cringe worthy role play adventure. It was probably great at the time but a magazine full of shortform content has no value in rereading. In the last 10 issues White Dwarf went from a magazine publishing great thought provoking roleplay and hobby content to a company trying its hand at selling miniatures, this is a huge transition and therefore it’s not without problems, there are some shining lights like Eavy Metal but the company still has to find its feet again in a new market. The main issue here is that none of this stuff is being advertised in a way that makes me want to go and buy it.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén