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White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 115

Did you look like this while you played Heroquest? I think they missed out the bits of crisps and foam around the mouth but it’s pretty close.

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Battlegroup Helios Interview

Aaron and Zac at Battlegroup Helios kindly answered some of my questions on the painting and design process for their amazing ships as well as offering some advice for aspiring model makers.

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White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 114

Space Hulk is now in full force, 40k gets its compendium and Death on the Reik campaign which I swear has been released before.

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Great Mechanics – Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

So this year we have had a frenzy of excitement around a board game translation of the Dark Souls video game series, this isn’t that noteworthy as franchises and board games have got on hand in hand since someone first made an Egyptian chess set. It’s so pervasive I’m surprised we don’t yet have Game of Thrones monopoly (Oh wait). I can remember getting a copy of the Lost board game when that was at its peak of popularity and expecting the special rules for John Locke to read “you win”.


The thing that worried me about this franchise is that the Dark Souls video game is known for its hardness and that doesn’t really translate well into a board game for 2 or more players. If you get beaten down by a player over the course of 2 hours you are unlikely to ever want to play it again, many games have mechanics to stop players from taking too much of a lead, the thief or robber in Catan for example or the in-character alliances in Diplomacy. They also tend to shy away from player elimination unless the game is so quick it’s not much of a problem having players repeatedly “die”. The developers have promised that the hardness will make its way into the games design so it remains to be seen exactly how they will balance this out while keeping it fun for all players.


The awkward part about this is that some people are drawn to hard challenges, the game has been widely successful because like many retro games it punishes people relentlessly, there are many reports online about people taking hours to clear the first level and getting hooked on trying to get further and further into the game. Is there any way of taking that kind of difficulty and porting it into a board game? Maybe instead of causing death, you could be investigating it.


Yes, I know a transition from Dark Souls hack and slash fighting into Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective seems like a tenuous one but SHCD has also got a fearsome rep for difficulty, the difference is only that in Consulting Detective you are working cooperatively to solve a crime (the rulebook has a mode for working in individual groups but that would require working in silence for 3-4 hours at the time while players across from you silently read a book).


After you start your investigation and decide on where to visit on the giant map of London provided you are free to travel anywhere, just take the number of the house and the compass direction and search though the mission book to read out what you find. If you need to find a different person then try the games huge directory of everyone living in London, get their address and visit their house. Still stuck? Why not go through the days newspaper for clues, a double sided broadsheet sized page of news done in an appropriate 1888 style is included for ever case. There are even areas of interest like Scotland Yard and characters like Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes himself ready to lend a hand.


After you think you have got everything you need skip to the back and read out the conclusion to the case where Holmes himself tells you how he solved it in typical Holmesian style. The trouble is that murder investigations are really hard work, and the investigations are so well written to give you red herrings, uncooperative witnesses and even people who out slam the door in your face to avoid being questioned, thus ending certain lines of enquiry unless you take another path of course Sherlock has no problem and will happily point out how logical his solution was leaving you feeling so small if you got it wrong.


I have completed all 10 missions in the game, my success rate is around 60% but despite this I will be going back in once the original French expansions are translated to English. I hope they come with a pipe and deer stalker.

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 113

After a lot of teasing for the past few issues, here comes Space Hulk.

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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

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