Month: September 2016

Netrunner: Still the best card game

A provocative title I know but hear me out. You might have heard of Fantasy Flights living card game Netrunner, it gained widespread popularity in the first few years of its release after being championed by Shut Up and Sit Down but also you might have heard of it because it’s great.

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White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 112

Terminator honours on the front cover, a Space Wolves predator inside.

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40K: Lord Varlak

Here’s the thing. I know you liked 40k.


Regardless of what your feeling are now, you liked it at one point and judging by the fact you are reading this article I’m pretty sure you really liked it.

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White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 111

Turn your eyes away there are Squats on the cover. If we don’t look they will just go away. Ok, they aren’t Squats yet, they are Space Dwarfs and they come 36 miniatures strong in an all plastic box, the name Space Dwarfs will last for 27 pages until they are announced as Squats, oh well.


More changes afoot in the preview section as Games Workshop prepares to release the Space Marine Predator, Heroquest, the game that will eventually become Mighty Empires (called only Empires at this point) and the renaming of the Letters Page to Battle Lines for some reason.
Critical Mass appears this issue after taking a break last issue. For those not in the know it’s on it’s way out after many years of glory.
There was a habit at this time of naming background people and places after real world history and fantasy settings and this can be seen in the next article on Imperial Guard. Avar, Klondike, Dolgan, Temujin, Cochise, Kosaki (Cossacks),  Avalon and Tokugawa get thrown around in quick order. The models aren’t great and despite being designed to fit on the bikes and jetbikes that already exist they don’t look good.
BloodBowl creates rules for actual referee models years before they would be a thing in Dreadball.
Squats arrive until with a Huge article that covered virtually every aspect of them including history, colour schemes and banners and even Chaos Squats just incase you wanted a niche version of a niche army. Unlike the Eldar Titan last issue these miniatures will not stand the test of time.
Chainfist! in Adeptus Titanicus gives rules for advanced close combats using a set of actions to pick that remind me on the current combat method in Moonstone.
There is an article on how to incorporate Wardancers in WFRP rather than the Fantasy battle article that you would expect.
Then a tactics article for Warhamer Fantasy, these are quite rare at the moment due to the lack of competitive play in the hobby at this time. The article is smaller than the following article on craters in Adeptus Titanicus.
Eavy Metal once again finishing the magazine off with more Chaos miniatures and some Adeptus Titanicus titans.
This is relevant these days because:
  • If squats ever become a thing again there is a whole heap of background for them
  • The squat banners are so bad they’re good
Model kit of the month:
Not all months can be winners

Wargames Illustrated

The worlds premier tabletop gaming magazine is the tagline, I’ll be the judge of that. Not to be confused with the Women’s Institute, Wargames Illustrated is £4.95 ($8.95, €6.95) for 106 pages with 27 pages of adverts including one for a military history degree course from the university of Wolverhampton.


After that i probably don’t need to mention that this is a heavy going historical wargaming magazine but the weird thing about it is that it only occasionally loses my interest, the only time in fact was when one of the writers started frothing about the exact equipment in use by German paratroopers during World War Two. Most of the time it is happy to use history as a great big story book with which to add flavour to wargames and explain enough if the story to the satisfaction of the reader while inviting them if interested to pursue greater knowledge elsewhere.
Much like Wargames Soldiers and Strategy it has a theme to stitch everything together, this months was military blunders in whichever shape and form they took.
Further to the impression of the magazine as more of a history book than a miniature gamers mag there is an 8 page article on the historical use and equipment of German airborne troops as envisioned by the Warlord Games plastic set. It’s all very nice and acts as a supplement to the models rather than a review of the plastic kit.
The production quality continues to impress as the writers begins to try and feature historical blunders into their articles with contents that are half history book and half suggestion for extra rules to add into the games, every page has pictures of nicely painted and displayed miniatures to illustrated the multiple historical examples and and as the article on the 1896 battle between the Italians and Abyssinians points out you can take the suggested rules and layout and apply them to any period.
There are wargames show reports which again have a lot of very nicely taken photos and do a pretty good job at summing up the events and capturing the best displays which are quite spectacular, it reminds me of going to a Games Day and seeing the giant Horus Heresy diagrama or The Siege of Antioch display with Brettonians vs Lizardmen.
There is even an unusual article about how John Lambshead published a rulebooks about classical war galleys which is interesting if you ever fantasise about publishing your own set of Wargames rules published by Osprey (the premier historical rulebooks publisher).
All in all I quite liked it, I never felt it was a chore reading this for review and even though historical and sci if gamers typical turn their noses up at each other i would pick this up again for a long journey or holiday reading.
This is for someone who:
Likes history
Is a sucker for detail
Isn’t that bothered about hard and fast guidelines for gaming
Likes the idea of historical gaming
This is not for someone who:
Enjoys sci if or fantasy settings
Likely to turn their nose up reading about the lengths someone will got to ensure their model church has historically accurate gargoyles

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 110

As we’ve reached issue 110 and for those counting we are up to 18 GW stores including the one in New York. Add to this another 16 independent games stores stocking their products and the expansion is starting to take place.


Illuminations gives us Wayne England who will eventually be responsible for some of the best artwork of the era.


Carrying on from last issue we have an article about Ogryns in Imperial Guard armies however how when it comes to showing the models of they looks like standard Warhammer Ogres, this was because in the accompanying background only one of them gets the Bonehead intelligence augmentation and is able to use a Ripper Gun.


Just incase you’d forgotten White Dwarf advertises their other game: Warhammer Fantasy Battle, before giving the rules for Dwarf Firethrower teams.

Remember the Terminator from last issue? Well that’s old news now as there is a new Terminator model and this one comes with a Genestealer as well. This is looking like some radical modern day rapid prototyping style approach for the forthcoming Space Hulk game that is next down the pipe after Adeptus Titanicus.


Dark Future rises from the depths to produce organised play rules or as they used to be called tournament scenarios which looks like a pretty comprehensive re-write of the rules for creating vehicles.

Next up infantry in Adeptus Titanicus, or more specifically Space Marine and Imperial Guard infantry. The article has rules for infantry movement but at the time of going to press only Space Marine infantry existed as the game was set during the Horus Heresy. The pictures are excellent for this era with some cool dioramas of Titans and Space Marine forces clashing against a painted backdrop which at this time were pretty unprecedented. You can even see the standard squad types of the Marines in the stat cards with tactical, assault and devastator squads mentioned for the first time.


Remember the citadel catalogue pages that took up the last 10% of the magazine during the 90’s? Well here’s a black and white prototype of those with the amazing Eldar Phantom Titan and accompanying Dreadnoughts. It’s amazing how a lot of these metal Titans would find themselves ranking in the top 3 at almost every painting competition for the next 5 or 6 years.


Amazingly there is an article about Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay after vanishing from the magazine for a while, don’t worry, it won’t completely disappear from White Dwarf for at least a year. This article is about Morglums Marauders, a groups of Orcs that can be applied to any campaign as a kind of antagonist if the GM decides the PC’s need some to fight. Morglum Necksnapper, their leader would eventually graduate to Warhammer Fantasy Battle where he would have a miniature and a fateful death in a battle report being run down by the Reiksguard. Oh sorry, spoilers.


If the earlier pictures of the Eldar Titan lot wasn’t enough Jervis “Big Daddy” Johnson gives rules for the Eldar in Adeptus Titanicus, there are some of the prototype logos for the Eldar Craftworld and this is again capped off with another couple of dioramas like the ones from earlier in the issue.


In Eavy Metal this issue there appears to be the realisation that people want to paint up large armies worth of models rather than individuals so the first part is based on how to paint up their Imperial Guard squad and characters. The second part gets back to the business of painting up the assorted Chaos models that were produced to go with Realm of Chaos.


The issue is finished up by a page of Rogue Trader dioramas in the same style as the Adeptus Titanicus ones from earlier.


This is of interest to you in 2016 because:

  • The crew at White Dwarf seemed to realise that painting all their models up and displaying them in a diorama fighting each other made everything look awesome.
  • For a 1989 release those Reavers and Phantom Titans still look awesome
  • Although the rules aren’t that relevant these days you have to admire the amount of extra content Adeptus Titanicus got after release. Of course if your glass is half empty you could say it should have all of these rules in the box.

Model kit of the month:

  • Adeptus Titanicus Eldar Titan

Wargames Soldiers & Strategy

Continuing my magazine binge I picked up Wargames Soldiers & Strategy, from hereon known as WSAS, from my local WH Smiths for £4.50 it’s 82 pages of which only around 7 of which are adverts which is a refreshing change from the Games Workshop publications, not that third party miniature companies adverts are a particular eyesore.
The unique selling point of this magazine is that each month it tries to base itself around a different theme, this month was creatures like aliens, zombies and other horror tropes. The general content of the magazine is based around miniatures reviews mixed in with various scenarios either historical settings or harnessing the overarching theme of horror. The review segments are mostly just statements of facts like prices and scales next to unpainted miniatures which is fair enough to avoid any painting bias, sadly the critical natural of them is lacking to avoid the hard job of stepping on the toes of a company who might be a future sponsor.
WW1, Boche, Horror Mausoleum and Ma.K 069
The scenarios are a fine mix of various different periods all well illustrated with a few double page spreads of essays from people including Rick Prestley break up the content, added to this are half a dozen game reviews and a couple of historical non fiction reviews. The standout feature is the zombie viking scenario that shows how the player actually created the unique force used.
Everything is competently done, but nothing stands out as excellent and after reading it once I felt like I didn’t need to go back and read again unless I was playing one of the scenarios mentioned. The theme while quite interesting to hold the magazine together, fails to mention the elephant in the room in that there are several very competently done board games that explore horror mechanics in a way that a simply porting a miniature skirmish game to a survival setting can’t. It also sadly tries to occupy the same space as the other historical wargames magazines, Wargames Illustrated and Miniature Wargames with Battlegames but doesn’t have enough of the historical perspective or some truly inspiring content to compete with either.
This is for someone who wants:
  • Historical scenarios
  • A thorough review of the different historical miniature releases that month
  • The theme picked that month
This is not suitable for someone who wants:
  • Any of the more popular wargames
  • A more critical review of releases
  • A really hard look at the historical elements involved in the battles.

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 109

The front cover gets a full spread of artwork this issue, no mention of what’s inside it. In other news this is January 1989, oh how fast these years go by. This year White Dwarf advertises models that I would still happily buy today.


The editorial mentions Adeptus Titanicus and the associated vehicles and miniatures that are going to be released alongside it, there is more mention of the Warhammer Comic being produced by Ian Rimmer that I’m guessing must have folded as I can’t find any reference to it elsewhere and there is a note about Ratspike the Ian Millar and John Blanche art book that looks awesome and appears to be totally out of print. This is going on my wishlist.


You can even see a picture of an early playtest version of Space Hulk and word from the 1988 Warhammer Fantasy battle championships where 20 players fought for two days to determine the winner of an actual forged Warhammer, back then players were hardcore.


Critical Mass come next, but is rapidly losing its place in a magazine sandwiched between miniature games articles and a colour photo of Adeptus Titanicus.

Jervis Johnson gives us rules for the Land Raider, Rhinos and Robots to fight alongside the giant titans in the newly released game, I’m guessing there wasn’t enough space in the rulebook and things spilled over into White Dwarf. This article features an excellent full couple of pages of story about a squadron of Land Raiders fighting a Titan in full world war 2 style, it is also backed up by painted pictures of Titans, tanks and infantry on a scratchbuilt cityscape. This is a massive improvement on how Rogue Trader was advertised with its dioramas and some individual shots of models, this time round you get a good sense of what this game is about. My only quibble is that the infantry and tanks are in block colours of either black or red but you’ve got to remember that this was before they had a full department painting up entire armies and the drop of a hat.


This is followed by this months Realm of Chaos article on Lords of Change and Great Unclean ones, its quite a short one on the rules for these models. I’m wondering if there was anything on these books that wasn’t published in White Dwarf at the time.


Next up, Goblins on pogo sticks in BloodBowl. I once got a pogo stick for Christmas, after a few bounces someone mentioned that the largest amount of check-ins to accident and emergency departments were on Christmas Days so I stopped.

There are some pretty interesting pictures of prototype terminators in the next article, giant shoulder pads and blocky faces are the distinguishing feature, they went with an accompanying prototype model shown off later.


The rest of the issue, and by that I mean most of the second half is taken up by the introduction of the Imperial Guard in Rogue Trader. This is a wealth of information for Imperial Guard players, several ideas like Beastmen and Human Bombs and even the idea of Penal Battalions have been cut out of the codex in previous generations and the uniforms have moved away from the “conscripted street gangs from Judge Dredd” style. There is a full army list at the back featuring yet again Land Raiders, Robots and support weapons but none of the other Imperial Guard specific fighting vehicles, you’ve have to wait a fair few years for them to make an appearance.


Illuminations gives us to pretty wild art including some Deamonettes attacking a giant Khornate Titan.


Next we have a weird cramped article on Orc stone throwers and Goblin wolf chariots, it has a mini story, army list entries, artwork and banner outlines but feels like its been cut down too much by all the other stuff in the magazine.

We have an advert of the mixed metal and plastic Imperial Guard set and the prototype terminator followed by a Realm of Chaos themed Eavy Metal section.


The issue is finished off with Warhounds and Reaver Titans in Adeptus Titanicus, interestingly they are just armed with the weapon that are scaled up 40k variants like Lascannons and Autocannons. Not to sound like a total nerd or anything but the colours of the Warp Runner Reaver Titan here were changed to be more sane when Forgeworld painted up their 40k scale Titans and renamed them the Legio Astorum.


The final page is a mental siege diagrams that although an interesting design looks like an impossible puzzle.

This is of interest to you because:

  • This felt like the expansion to Adeptus Titanicus. the base game came with giant warlord titans, but this gave you all kinds of smaller vehicles and 2 different Titan classes on top of this.
  • Imperial Guard codex version 1
  • Nice background story of a Land Raider attack.
  • Dark Future doesn’t get a look in, poor Dark Future.

Model kit of the month:

  • Adeptus Titanicus Reaver Titan.

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