Month: August 2016

Warhammer Visions or free content?

I have always striven to publish long-form content on this blog so that the articles won’t go out of date before my single reader has a chance to look at them so the releases from Games Workshop rarely get any time given their blazingly fast turnaround (I’m struggling to think of a list of all miniature games they have released this year let alone plastic figures) however for the purposes of reviewing all miniature games publications I thought I would buy a copy of the long reviled Warhammer Visions for £7.50 ($12, €9) the 180 page monthly magazine from Games Workshop.


I would describe it best as a curated look at the best painted Games Workshop and Forgeworld miniatures either released that month or picked from reader submitted pictures, as there is minimal text in the magazine I will simple break down the pages devoted to each different format in the copy I picked up.
Games Workshop or Forgeworld releases this month or the store directory, 79 pages. This is the bugbear of most people who have have an issue with the magazine because all of this content is already being shown as advertisements by Games Workshop.
Readers armies, 70 pages. 90% of this is nicely painted or converted curated content. People might argue that this can be found online either by a Google image search or on Pintrest, however I would counter that the success rating of either of these mediums is significantly less than 90% and the nice photography, instant access and the accompanying explanatory text of a hard copy magazine makes this the preferred medium.
If you like this kind of material I would suggest Pintrest
Golden Demon showcase miniatures, 16 pages. Just because this section is curated from a professional painting competition it sadly doesn’t mean it’s all 100% great, some is truly exceptional but a quick search on Cool Mini Or Not could have produced a better selection.
If you like this try the Official website of Golden Demon here or the unofficial version here
Blanchitsu 4 pages. This is more reader content but labelled under Blanchitsu as it fits into his personal style.
If you liked this try the Iron Sleet.
Forgeworld diorama 8 pages. This is a quite spectacular diorama that you really only could see at a gaming event or a ForgeWorld open day, although it is all stock miniatures and gaming tables that are produced by Forgeworld and the quality of painting is mainly batch airbrushed so personally it’s not that inspiring.
If you like this try the actual Forgeworld website
Eavy Metal painted showpiece miniatures, 4 pages. A subdued effort by Games Workshops professional painting department, these models are showpiece style and very nice but take up the smallest total amount of space in the magazine.
Now as you can see most of this content can be picked up for free online, the quality of the paper and photography is great and I truly believe that miniature painting is one of the most undervalued of all the arts, however the execution of this magazine simply doesn’t justify its high price. If you can pick up a copy on eBay for half price or less you might find an interesting conversation starter for your coffee table, if you own a hobby shop you should open one up and chuck it on a gaming table to intice newbies into looking at what kind of things are possible in the hobby but otherwise I can’t imagine buying this again. It’s the magazine equivalent of fast food, nice but filled with empty calories.
This is for someone who:
  • Wants to buy a magazine but doesn’t like reading
  • Has the GW spending bug
  • Wants content curated for them available in one place
This is not for someone who:
  • Has a budget
  • Wants a long and engaging experience

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 108

Here comes Adeptus Titanicus, this is unusually billed as a 3D Roleplay Hobby Game which is suppose is correct. It comes with 6 plastic Warlord Titans with multiple weapons and some cardboard scenery.


Illuminations give us some more Realm of Chaos artwork, as I’ve said before there is a tremendous amount of free content from these pair of books that has been featured in White Dwarf over the past 6 months, you can tell there are someone’s labour of love. It makes it look great. I’m going got see if I can get a copy for a review special.


There is an article on Chaos Dwarf missile troops which can be added the Realm of Chaos army list and the standard Warhamer Armies: Chaos list followed by an extract from the dubiously titled White Line Fever expansion for Dark Future.


Realm of Chaos gets another articles on the experience system for Chaos Warbands with rules for injuries and pillaging each others resources.


Next up we have an introduction to the Witch Elves of Naggaroth. Now I passed up on going into detail on the Deamonettes of Slannesh when they were released but as GW wanted to produce similar female models right afterwards I will point out the elephant in the room when it comes to retro wargaming: The fact is that scantily clad female models are regularly produced for the primarily male audience, if you find that offensive then this is the wrong hobby for you. But you would remember to cut yourself off from all high fantasy films and shows and never watch or read anything made before the 90’s. This notably includes the Return of the Jedi scene featuring Carry Fisher in a metal bikini.


This was followed up by some errata for the Warhammer Armies supplement.


Next comes rules for Chaplains and Commissars in 40k. Chaplains seems to be almost fully fleshed out however there is only a small reference to the Commissars favourite hobby of field executions in the article most of it goes unsaid which I think makes them infinitely more interesting and sinister than the gun friendly cliches that characterise their newer versions.


The Ambull returns in an WFRP adventure by Carl Sargent. In this adventure one is teleported into a mine from its original location in a 40k Deathworld. I’m not sure why they couldn’t have said that Ambulls existed in both universes but there you go. The Ambull and the Fimir would be races eventually forgotten in the mists of time.


Critical Mass returns in its old format except it’s still written by Dave Pringle who is ok but finishes every review by verbally stating that the book is 7/10.


Next we have a list of the 12 missing BloodBowl star players that never got reprinted in 3rd edition Blood Bowl (except for one article in the Citadel Journal) these include Frank N Stein and Pudgy Baconbreath. This is followed by some painted examples of the models. They aren’t that bad and certainly show an improvement on the stuff being produced 10 issues or so ago. We also get an obligatory Chaos mutant with a face for a torso.


Eavy metal show off some Warlord Titan models and colour schemes and also indicate that the game took place during the Horus Heresy, filling in some important backstory to the fledgling 40k universe. There is a painting guide (in black and white with ink sketches) and a page of awesome looking banner designs to hand off of the models. There is also an advert for the legendary Reaver class battle titan with a funky faux camo paint scheme or at least I think it’s and advert as there is no release date or price so it could be a preview.


This of interest to you in 2016 because:

  • Adeptus Titanicus version 1.
  • Some nice retro BloodBowl models that have disappeared in the mists of time.

A selection of (mostly) human sized models, from least expensive to most

This is an experimental picture post meant to capture a quick look at human sized 28mm miniatures, I know I have left a few companies out and sorry to all Saga, Deadzone and Lord of the Rings fans but the purpose here is to show that miniatures companies can charge what they like for very similar products.
Ex Illis – Paper proxy
Few Acres of Snow or Invasion of Canada – Wooden token
Games Workshop – Freeguild Archers £15.50 for 10
Warmachine – Kossite Woodsmen £35 for 10
Dropzone Commander – Ares Battle Walkers £5.25 for 1
Infinity – Hassassin Govads £27 for 5
Bushido – Cult of Yurei starter £30 for 5
Hive expansion piece £5 for 1
Warmachine – Forward Kommander Sorscha Kratikoff £7 for 1
Infinity – Tariqa, High Rank Councelor £8.66
Games Workshop – Freeguild General £9 for 1

Initiative Magazine

When I heard about a new wargaming magazine 112 pages long for £1.30 ($1.71 or €1.54) in full colour I jumped on it. It’s from the same guys who already publish Figure Painter Magazine so they have a pedigree, the catch is that it’s online only and you have to download it from a link you get emailed to you after you order. Ultimately I can live with this as it means the magazine can be 3 to 4 times cheaper than a version that had to be printed out. We live in the computer age damnit, fire my toy soldier magazines to me via the intertubes.
This issue is rammed with content, 4 unboxings, 3 painting tutorials, 3 game previews, interviews, event reports, terrain building and even a battle report to cap it off, it’s so jammed in you don’t even notice the almost complete absence of adverts. I don’t mind adverts in gaming magazines, except the ones in the historical magazine for their stairlifts and denture glue.
Obviously adverts can take many forms and the previews are non critical although puff pieces on Kickstarters are a dangerous game to get into given the current fulfillment problems a lot of them get into.
The weakest part is sadly the Bolt Action battle report at the end with unfinished scenery and unpainted miniatures taking up some of the shots, hopefully this gets improved on in later issues as it’s clear the writers are trying the same format as the old volume 1 White Dwarfs that a certain website reviews.
Overall this a spectacular effort for a first issue, if they can keep up this level of content and polish off some of the rough edges I will be very happy, thought I would ask for it to be priced higher as I have no idea how they intend to pay their writers at this rate.
You can pick it up here.
This is for someone who:
  • Is on a budget
  • Likes their magazines instantly available
  • Wants a variety of content
This is not for someone who:
  • Demands the highest production quality
  • Likes the tactile feel of a magazine
  • Wants another historical wargames magazine

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 107

Prepare your retinas here comes White Dwarf 107. It can also be used to signal for help if lost in the sea. I wonder how many acid house raves took inspiration from the front cover or the Realm of Chaos Champions of Chaos advert inside.


There is an advert for Realm of Chaos – The Lost and the Damned which features Nurgle and Tzeench and is suggested for mature readers. Given that White Dwarf at this time is written by Roleplay fanatics and had robot flow chart diagrams a few issue back I assume they mean the kind of people who take boat holidays on their pension money.


Critical Mass is replaced by First Impressions by Dave Pringle which substitutes the critical nature of the original for a more blow by blow synopsis of the books. This is great if you want to pick any of them up but boring if you are reading the article as a diversion from miniature gaming or roleplay articles.


We have a one page rules and background piece for the Harlequin Jetbike with its famous laughing prow. I once threw away my copy of it when I was clearing out a bitz box. Sad times.


There is a preview of Dark Future – White Line fever. I hope they mean road markings and not cocaine.


Did you know the first Realm of Chaos book was 5 years in the making but needed three pages of errata this issue because of some editing mistakes? Whoops.


Dark Future gets trikes, I can’t see any models to represent them here but maybe I’ve missed something.


BloodBowl gets cheerleaders, foul play, and Snotlings medics, all of which will be incorporated into its third edition in a much more streamlined ruleset.


Warhammer Fantasy Battle gets an army list for the Norse. The games designers insisted that there be rules for them in almost every edition at this time despite never producing models for them. Presumably it was the historical wargamers in the studio who wanted to see how Vikings played against Orcs or Elves.


Elements of Risk in WFRP is a way of introducing your characters to Elemental magic, the kind that summon rock monsters who can shoot their arms into the back of people’s heads.


Miniature adverts this time and we have Harlequins in blisters and below that, the classic Imperial assassin model with the combi weapon and sword on the backpack, this guy would be a nightmare in 40k second edition with the ability to turn up anywhere and throw an instant kill vortex grenade onto the top of your commanders head.


Dave Landford leaves White Dwarf while Gobbledegook gets a half page, I’m not sure I want to live in a world where this is fair.


Realm of Chaos gives us the army list for Chaos Renegades in 40k and I think the first reference to the Emperors Tarot – the preferred method of divining the future in the 40k background. The army list assumes the Chaos force is disembarking from a space hulk with all kinds of slaves, Deamons and psychics in tow, a veritable circus of madness. It also seems to allow you to generate the size of the original host and then select specific forces from that to allow you to run a campaign with the same group.


Interestingly we have the first ever battle report in White Dwarf next, it’s a charity 24 Warhammer Fantasy report fought on. 9′ by 5′ table and is backed up with sketches of each turn, I’m guessing this must have got good feedback because they would eventually become a staples of the magazine.


There is another article on Shades, the UKs best Multi User Dungeon at the time, this was a real throw back where you had to buy a dial up modem and connect to it for 25 pence a minute, or at 1988 Games Workshop prices that’s nearly a pair of Land Raiders an hour.


The letters pages gets two pages this issue with one of the letters complaining about the lack of Thrud, the editors asked for original script ideas, here’s one: Enter scene day, Thrud looks into the camera, apologies to everyone and kicks the stool out from under himself. Scene fades the black. Next week more Realm of Chaos. I think I nailed it. There are a few queries asking what Adeptus Titanicus was as last issue we only got a 1 page sketched advert for it, don’t worry you want have to wait for long.


Eavy Metal finishes us off with more Dark Future conversions and paint jobs


This is of interest to you in 2016 because:

  • First Chaos army list in 40k
  • It contains the first ever Warhammer battle report
  • You can now play Wargames using actual balanced (probably) forces in Rogue Trader between Space Marines, Eldar and Chaos.

Flory Washes, are they better than Badab Black?

Everyone has fond experiences with Badab Black the multifunctional wash that allows you to shade everything in one go. However I was recently told there is an even better wash out there, intrigued I decided to investigate.


Flory washes are water based clay weathering washes used by people who would call themselves professional miniature painters and spend their time using an airbrush to complete their scale tank or aircraft models, the important thing about them is they are completely water soluble, this means that once they dry they can be removed by adding water back to the area or in cases they are used over a smoothly varnished area just rubbed off with a piece of paper towel.


After you are finished and have a look that you are happy with just cover it with a spray matt varnish to seal it in place and continue adding more paint as necessary.


I ordered the colours Black, Dark Dirt, Rust and Mud to give me a reasonable selection that matched the washes I would normally use and set about trying it out. The first thing was to test it on some Deadzone terrain, this was large and cheap enough to write off if it didn’t work, however a coat of Flory-Black and some wiping down with damp paper towel later it came out quite nicely, not bad for a spray undercoat and some foam weathering.


Flushed with success and already imagining how quickly this would speed up scenery painting I decided to take it a step further on some of my miniatures, I had some Battlegroup Helios ships that I needed to paint up for a review and so gave them all a spray coat of Army Painter Purple followed by coat of gloss varnish and let them have a brushed on coat of Flory-Black as well (I didn’t use an airbrush for any of this) after it had dried it again got a wipedown with a wet paper towel. This was even easier as the gloss paint allowed the wash to wipe off with nearly no pressure and any mistakes could be fixed with a wet brush reapplying the colour into the crevices. The effect was much cleaner and looked like a natural clean shade of dark colour in the shadowy areas of the ships. After I was happy I sealed this in with matt vanish again and painted the detail straight on top of it.


I was pretty happy with both of these effects as one wash being used for dirt and grime and then later used as a precision pin wash is impressive but the speed at which I was able to achieve these results was the icing on the cake. They really open the door for a lot of different uses.


If you want to check out some videos of the process, try this one about applying shading to a rally car here and the collection of walkthrough on the Flory Washes site which show how easy it is.


Above you can see what it looks like after sealing and then a drybrushing of a lighter colour. Next on the agenda is going to be applying this to a Deathknell Watch kit I got second hand on eBay and a Dropzone Commander UCM dropship as if I can get this working on both of them I will be very happy indeed.


Overall I would say this a great product, the only caveat is that you will need cheap matt and gloss spray paint to ready the model and then fix the paint job in place afterwards but other than that it produces airbrush style results without the airbrush.
If you have a model with a lot of shading needed and a wash wouldn’t do it cleanly enough, use a Flory Wash instead.


White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 106

Significantly less phallic imagery on the front cover of this issue than the last time a Chaos Marine was on the cover, probably because it’s backed up by a Great Unclean one.


GW bumps up their retail presence to 15 stores in the UK and one in the US. Trish and Aly Morrison form Marauder miniatures and the first Games Workshop will soon launch in Scotland.


Dave Langford writes a farewell to his Critical Mass column. Like I said in my last review this is due to Dave losing interest in reviewing these sci fi and fantasy books rather than a cynical attempt by the editors to cut this article out of the magazine and replace it with more advertising as many people would think. Ultimately he will be replaced with Dave Pringle from Interzone for a few issues until the article vanishes completely.


In the mail order section we have Realm of Chaos – Slaves to Darkness – the full book and a book covering the Golden Demon winners in 1988 as touched on last issue, I hope I can pick these up from eBay and review them as well. There is also an advert for Combat Cards plastic scenic Craters for Rogue Trader and some Warhammer fantasy and Roleplay supplements. As for models, there is the box of 18 metal Harlequins for £9.99 which is a good deal if you consider that was the cost of the 20 RTB01 Space Marines when they came out.


Speaking of Harlequins, here is the army list including a section on looted vehicles and robots (using the rules from a few issues ago) which are programmed to “dance” alongside the Harlequins in performances. This sounds like a Daft Punk concert. Though the idea sounds ridiculous I get the impression they just wanted to use whatever models were lying around to play games with.


Next we are introduced to Ork Boar Boyz in a pretty detailed 5 page article on them including rules, a story a map and a glossary of Orc vocabulary.


Next up rules for armed racing in Dark Future, including a table for a power to weight ratio. If this interests you try Formula D, the board game about Formula 1 race cars that uses various different dice to simulate your gear changes.


Then, boom, out of the blue we get a one page advert of sketches for Adeptus Titanicus first edition, the game that is a precursor to Epic. I will be going into more detail about this in later reviews.


Realm of Chaos gives us some pictures of Fleshhounds and the extremely spindly Bloodletter models as well as the Daemonettes and the super creepy looking Fiends of Slannesh which looked like a human / goat / scorpion hybrid. Next there were unpainted Juggernauts of Khorne which looked like children’s toys and an all metal Eldar Jetbike with a very droopy prow.


BloodBowl pitch variants and alternate balls leads us into a preview of Warhammer Armies the supplement that allowed balanced forces to be fielded by players.


A solo adventure for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, oh the jokes I could use here about sole adventuring would cut to the bone. It actually looks pretty good with a choose your own adventure vibe and 116 possible locations to visit. I’ve long thought these kinds of adventures could be revived in the modern age, I can only think of one example in Destiny Quest who published a few huge books on the subject. You can’t knock the amount of effort that went into producing something like this


Realm of Chaos gets its second article this month with a background piece on Chaos Beastmen and their affiliation with the different gods of Chaos like Khorne and Nurgle, i imminently turned to the part where they described Slanneshi Beastmen but found only that they have pastel shades of fur. Boo.


There is a small article on the 40k craters and how to use them in games as if you needed any help, and then we are into Eavy Metal which this month is 4 pages of painted showcase models. The letters pages is the last article before 5 consecutive adverts. The Oscar Wilde Eldar Dreadnought is excellent.



This is of interest to you in 2016 because:

  • Last ever Critical Mass
  • Yet more Harlequins
  • A Choose Your Own Adventure in the Warhammer World
  • Yet more Chaos content

How I would fix BloodBowl 3rd edition

If you’ve ever hear people talk about BloodBowl at any time between its third edition in 1993 and now 2016 (before its forthcoming re-release by Games Workshop) you’d think they were discussing the second coming of Christ In 28mm scale. If you haven’t heard of BloodBowl it’s fair to say it’s possibly the most popular out of print game at the moment, people love it. The US tournament in 2015 had 78 players 11 years after its last release, the Official UK tournament would draw around 200 players before GW canned it, in 2007 they held the record for most attendees of a GW event ever with 272 players.
Naturally I think I could do it better.

The teams vary in power. A quick look at the tournament rankings puts a half dozen teams at the top all the time, you’d think this would be a negative point but in fact this is advertised as a game were certain teams like Goblins and Halflings are much harder to win with and people still play them. I would personally let this continue and wait for the momentous time when a 3rd tier team wins a major tournament.


The models are all metal and have to be placed on their side, face up or face down after they suffer a block or fall over. This is going to be less of a problem once they all get re-released in plastic but it always ended up in chipped noses and chest plates if you weren’t careful. The problem I always have is that the model has to be positioned so that it’s clearly face up or down, sometimes with small models or models in more interesting poses they will roll around over the pitch. Unfortunately, Games Workshop has decided to “solve” this problem but positioning all their human linesmen with their arms outstretched as if they are pretending to be group of goalkeepers.


Here’s good joke, how do you kill all interest in playing BloodBowl in your local club. The answer is to form a league. Ok, you caught me that isn’t a joke it’s more of a terrible waste of potential, a bit like the standard rules on how to form a BloodBowl league. The problem is that once teams start injuring other players and scoring touchdowns they will start acquiring skills that allow them to injure even more players and score even more touchdowns. Meanwhile once other teams start to lose players to injury they will continue to lose players and struggle to acquire the same skills. The bottom half of the league will lose interest in spending 1-2 hours playing a game against the top teams and almost certainly will resort to flinging their own faeces at the other players until you take the electric cattle prods to them.


This issue has been “fixed” by allowing teams that perform badly to use special star players extra re rolls and coaches for one off matches but this rarely seems to work. As the introduction of a player of fixed skill into a match rarely is exactly what a lower ranked team needs to compete with a fully fleshed out veteran team. The answer is simple but unpopular, automatically replace anyone who is killed or injured with a standard version of that player if the injury or death occurs to a player who is on 0-5 SPP so that injuries only concern the high ranked teams, make an apothecary require an upkeep cost so that these teams can risk games without one for a saving of gold but doing so can come back to punish them.


The final and most controversial change I would enforce is to only allow teams to have 3 players who can have extra skills and stat increases. This allows them to actually cultivate actual star players rather than farm an entire team of them and will cut down on the amount of explaining of individual extra skills like that painful process of working out which players in your lineup has “Guard” in a Dwarf team or the exciting realisation you have just declared a Blitz action against a player with extra Strength and are likely to lose your Blitz and cause a Turnover.


White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 105

If you thought the paint schemes for the robots from last issue were far out, here come the Harlequins to knock them out of the water. In fact we have some pretty important things going on this issue which will have huge consequences for White Dwarf, Games Workshop and its (soon to become) main game.


Starting off with an article about the new (old) plastic Land Raider kit, there is some interesting background about their construction involving the sacrifice of a local natural predator inside its frame and implying that each tank has an accompanying engineer that is solely responsible for its upkeep. There is a picture section which I believe is the first mention of the Red Scorpions and the Raptors and also includes some machines used by Imperial Guard. As in the style at the time they all have wildly colourful camp camouflage patterns, even more weird from someone looking at these machines these days, there is a piece of background fiction around the existence of Eldar Harlequin looted Land Raiders. There is even a bonus quote from Commander Carab Culln from the Red Scorpions, Forgeworld made a model for him a while back, interestingly the price of Forgeworld has now caught up with the standard prices for Games Workshops current character lines.


Illuminations gives us some art from people like Chris Collingworth and Tony Roberts and then it’s onto the sad news that Critical Mass will wrap up in the next few issues. Dave Langford had grown jaded of the large boxes of sci-fi books he had to review and wanted to move on to something else. It’s interesting that this is entirely his decision and he isn’t being forced out as many people could believe as they will replace him with another reviewer. However the book reviews feature will disappear soon afterwards.


Realm of Chaos Slaves to Darkness just has ink illustrations this week which are followed by rules for Goblin Stone Throwers in Warhammer Fantasy and some details about Golden Demon 1988 yet no pictures of the painted models.


Chapter Approved gives us the first look at the background of the Space Marines and their organisations, fun fact: according to this article the drivers of all Space Marine vehicles are Techmarines and Techmarines appear to be outside of the normal structure of a chapter so that 1000 space marines per chapter hard cap on membership they adhere to doesn’t account for the 100+ Techmarines that drive the Rhinos, Predators and Land Raiders. There are some elaborate details of the shoulder pads of the commanders followed by a pretty graphic drawing of a Marine executing an Ork. There is still a lot of rules for randomly generating weapons which don’t really work in the scheme of a miniature game but still this is Codex Space Marines version 1 for all you nostalgia buffs out there, its brought to you by Brian Ansell, Derrick Norton and Nigel Stillman.

Bonus points if you notice the similarity between the wargear table here and the one published in Necromunda some 10 years later.


Next up its a full article on Harlequins in 40k, it’s worth remembering that the Eldar only had some basic troopers, a War Walker, some suppot weapons and a Dreadnought in their arsenal at this point in time so this added some much needed flavour into their race. The problem was that Harlequins are incredibly hard to paint. They would go out of fashion and be replaced by the more versatile and easier to paint Eldar Aspect warriors and only be revisited in 2012 I think.

The picture reminds me of David Bowie or at least the Goblin King from Labyrinth.


Next up is a WFRP article about a kidnapping followed by rules for Chaos, Chaos Dwarfs, Skaven, Dark Elf and Goblin teams for BloodBowl. In the back there is a full lineup for the Chaos All Stars team, I wonder if anyone has used that collection of players in BloodBowl? Probably not. It would make a good final boss for a Blood Bowl campaign. Once again there are proxy players in the magazine for you to photocopy and use. It’s like they didn’t want to sell you anything.

Thrud drinks all the milk.


Eavy metal paints up a lot of Dark Future miniatures. And the issue is finished up with rules for small arms and pedestrians in Dark Future as well.

This is of interest to you because:

  • Space Marine codex vol 1
  • The first ever Land Raider
  • Harlequin codex vol 1
  • Its pretty much a treasure trove for old 40k stuff and features loads of pencil and ink art sketches which are getting pretty good.

Everything Wrong With Miniature Gaming part 3 of 3

If you want to catch up on the previous articles on the models or the marketing click here and here or you could just continue reading, the articles can be viewed in any order. This is the third of three articles on everything I don’t like…

About the games themselves:

Key rules point. X Wing has a hidden manoeuvre dial system (taken from Wings of War), Gates of Antares has a random order dice activation system (taken from Bolt Action), Warmachine has a focus point boosting system to allocate power around your force, if you fail a critical roll on BloodBowl your turn ends immediately, if your system is just a bland series of rolls to hit and damage like Dark Age you’ve lost.


Small numbers on the stat line and smaller dice results. I understand that working out percentage chances with a D10 makes more sense than a D8 but 6 and 9 look remarkably similar and that little line under the number to see which way it is viewed from does not help. Dark Age is again a culprit here with a D20 system that really doesn’t need to be that complicated.


No excessive marking of wounds for each model. If you have to put sleeves around cards and then mark off the boxes with a dry wipe marker it means your combat damage system is too complicated, I don’t mind a few large models needing many wounds or health points but rank and file humans or goblins don’t need this.


2′ by 2′ or 3′ by 3′ game areas. I live in the UK, the UK has tiny, tiny houses which have equally tiny tables and I don’t have room to stick a stick a 4′ by 4′ or 4′ by 6′ piece of MDF down and play on that. I understand that FLGS (or Friendly Local Game Stores if you’re not in the know) have tables that size but squeezing the established gamers off of them is a hard prospect.

Living Rulebook. Rather than publishing a large FAQ for each problem that is found in the rulebook why not keep a cut down digital living rulebook online for an instant lookup. Then set one or two dates in the year to review the rules to cut out the ones that don’t work and / or make new rules official for organised play.


Balance your models. I understand games might be unbalanced, that’s fine, no company can playtest the games more than their fans will put it through, however the idea that the rules need to be changed or FAQ’d because they have made mistakes in balancing the models themselves is literally insane. Again I’m looking directly at GW while I type this but they are not the only ones by a long shot. As a 40k gamer for a long time there have been several eras where individual models dominate the game whist others get left unused, there was an ten year gap in updating the Dark Eldar and Necron codexes the first time round meanwhile Necron flyers, Wraithlords and Grey Knight Paladins have enjoyed spells of domination that only stopped when the rules or codex cycled out or when you dropped £600 on a new army to counter them.

Optimsed Stealth Cadre Pic (not rules).jpg

Quickstart rules video. This leads me to a point I have been meaning to make about tactical miniature games for a long time. Why is it so hard to record a video showing off how to play the game online? Typing “Lets Play Deadzone” into YouTube results in a number of videos about the previous edition of the game, however it does have two playthroughs, one from Mantic and one from Beasts of War both of which are extremely bloated and look like they have been done in one take. The Mantic guys make a rules mistake in the first 2 minutes by forgetting to roll the command dice. When I was being taught the basics it took less than 10 minutes including set up. It’s a shame as the quick nature of the rules of this game are one of its strongest points.

Call to action. I want a reason to buy and get involved now. I’ve often looked at various miniature sites and wondered if I should buy their models or games systems and most of the time I think “no, I’ll come back and look at that after I’ve finished project X, Y and / or Z”. Kickstarter gives you an impetus to buy as soon as possible, this is great as the company gets all the cash in one go and can start producing content and the players all start playing at one time once the rules and share their feedback. However if you want to give an added incentive I would recommend what FFG did with X Wing and offer competitive play events with limited edition tokens and cards.

While we are on that subject Fantasy Fight Games has the market nailed down for competitive play, just offer a box of goodies that tournament organisers can buy with limited edition kit in and let them host their own tournaments. Job done. FFG does this 4 times a year but your mileage may vary.


All done, you can go back to what you were doing now.

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