Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Meta Has Shifted.....Again

With one small piece of information the meta of the WHFB just experienced a seismic shift.

The information that we have on Wood Elves says that the Lore of Athel Loren is gone and in its stead the Weeds have access to the eight Lores plus High and Dark. A small change? Not bloody likely. This is a significant shift.

Why do I say this?

Well suddenly with access to previously out of reach Lores the Woodies become scary. Very dangerous indeed. Prior to the change they had no way to deal with armoured opponents - well they did but it was largely character driven and situational. Now your Spellweaver can take Metal Magic to do the job. Searing Doom looks a great choice for prime Mage but especially good on a secondary wiz.

Look at he synergy with Shadow Magic. Not only do you get Pit. You also get The Withering which when teamed with Strength 4 bows is brutal and the old favourite Mindrazor should the enemy get to contact.

The bowline now looks scarily viable. No-one will want to play 60+ archers backed by Shadow.

Mark my words there will be horror stories in the first few months post book release as the access to new Lores ramps up the effectiveness of the WEs.

This change alone has shifted the meta.

Upcoming FOB Events

This is early notice that two events planned for later in 2014 are now not likely to go ahead.

Warpfire III was listed for late August and Skitterleap for late October (Labour Weekend).

This decision hasn't been reached easily. It basically comes down to numbers. Apart from NZTC numbers at FOB events have been declining over the past 18 months to the point where they are now being run at a financial cost to myself.

To give you a wider appreciation of the situation here is some background. The venue I use - Cashmere Avenue School - is also used by a variety of community groups, most notably the local Theatre group. At the start of each year I go through a tortuous process of negotiating which weekends I can hire the hall. This is not easy as the theatre group has first call and guards it jealously. What it means is that once agreed there is no flexibility around the dates. So I have to choose what I think is attractive and what is available.

On top of the rental I need to cover costs for trophies, trailer hire, terrain upkeep, printing, gift for umpire etc. The margins are typically very tight. Essentially I need 20+ people to make the event economic. Note that there is no recompense for time - these are purely financial costs.

I have been very lucky in that I have had a dedicated group of locals over the wider Central region that have supported the events. However as noted those numbers have been declining.

Why is that?

Well I think that there are a number of reasons. One is competing events. Over the past couple of years more events have popped up so gamers have more choice where they go. This is a good thing and I really appreciate the opportunity to go to events without the responsibility of organising them. Secondly, I do think familiarity breeds contempt. Effective same old, same old. I heard that last year and this year have made an active attempt to change things up - 4000 points, Swedish, ETC and so on. But this has probably had a negative effect. Numbers have declined more rapidly. Thirdly - and following on from the second - people get sick of the same voice. I understand and respect that. People just want to go and do something different.

Our small playing community though means that if people pick and choose then I tend to get left running multiple uneconomic events. After awhile that is non-sustainable. So I've decided to change my tact.

Horned Rat VII will run as advertised but Warpfire and Skitterleap will be canned. In the future I'm going to put my efforts into three events - NZTC, the NZ Masters and a new event in 2015, the Fields of Blood Grand Tournament. This later event will be run most likely in May/June and will be a hobby event aimed at attracting 40-50 gamers.

In the interim I urge all the local gamers to support the events being run. I understand that Kapiti are running a one-dayer, Masterton have Cracks Call in September, Palmerston have Panzershreck in July and the Warlords, Call to Arms in August. Later in the year there is Vermintide.

I've seen this cycle previously. It happened with 40k over the 2007-10 period. Events became uneconomic and had to be shelved. It is then important for other organisers to step into the gap.

TLDR: Horned Rat will be the last FOB event this year (NZ Masters excepted). There are other events and gamers should support these


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Adepticon Recap #9 - 40k Teams Championships

Probably the marquee event at Adepticon is the 40k Teams Event. Teams of four players - typically decked out in custom shirts - compete with four complementary armies.

There is a lot of kudos to the winners of the Best Presented and on Saturday night the best of the best are displayed in the Westin Lombard Main Lobby.

The Tiered Avatar World &Tau Incursion

This was a multi-tiered jungle world heavily influenced by Avatar. It was accompanied by a very professional movie trailer which explained the army and the background.

The tiers were lit by LEDs and the rockfalls had running water. Overall it was a very striking display.

Besides the inevitable two dozen Riptides it had some lovely Forgeworld Kroot included.
As you can see the paintjob was clean and crisp, providing a striking display.
You've gotta love the effort that they have put in.

The Hivefleet

These guys arrived and the first thing they installed was an inflatable Tyranid Hive Ship. You can see the size of it as it floats above the table.
The stem running up to it was a conduit for the biomass harvested from the planet surface. This had running liquid coils going up to Mother.
They then started displaying the big flappy Nids that patrolled the skies above the planet.
You can see the biomass ponds and the bottom of the stem feeding up to the ship. In the foreground is a Tyranid bone spire
With all the lesser Nids deployed the overall effect was quite amazing.

The Space Hulk

This was my favourite of the displays. It depicts a Space Wolf incursion into a Nid infested Space Hulk.
On the walls you can see the breaches - the pentagonal fan shapes - where the Space Wolves entered the hulk. Below the Aquilia is a Tervigon in a birthing nest.
And the staggering part is on the back. Each of those pentagons lines up with a drop pod or assault ship. Cool.
What a great display. And what a fantastic and evocative scene they have created.

The Pyramid of Kairos

This was a multi-level display showing a Marine assault on the Temple of Kairos.
Here you see the surface with the assault elements securing the temple area.
And the action continues in the levels below.
Ending up in the centre of the Pyramid itself.
The Rest
Enormous Pew-pew
Burrowing Orks
"We Will Fight Them On The Beaches"
Mixed Imperium Force
And heaps of Pointy Eared Gits
There was this very excited Mexican boy who excitedly told us his Lizardmen army "El Mucho Skinko" had more Pew Pew
Some lovely airbrushed Eldar
Finally there was this enclosed box which had an automated display and commentary that created the story of the army.


Creature Caster Kickstarter

Jeremy Glen the artist behind the Ultraforge models has launched a Kickstarter for his new venture "Creature Caster". You can get all the details here

The models look great and from all my reading he is making every effort to ensure that the KS is customer friendly.

Essentially you are buying resin monsters. At the moment it is daemons and dragons but there is the promise of more.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

FOB Fantasy Rankings - Updated for NatCon

The rankings are updated for NatCon.

The winner, Locky Reid, jumps to a career-high 4th. Basil Moskovis is now knocking on the door of Masters qualification.

The rankings will get a shakeup next week as last year's Runefang drops out.

Natcon Fantasy Results

Natcon is run at Easter every year here in New Zealand. It is unique in that it is the only three day event on the calendar. This year it was held in Christchurch and attracted a field of 19.

Here are the results:

I'm thinking that this may be Locky's first singles win. Certainly good to see eight different armies amongst the Top 8.

These results will be uploaded to the rankings later today.

Wood Elves Confirmed

White Dwarf Cover - My Dad is an Imperial Knight

Fly My Pretty!

WarGamma Oak Lord Sales Soar

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Importance of Background

It takes me about a year to finish an army from start to finish. Some armies are never finished because I keep adding to them.

In order to keep me inspired, I need a rich background that I can create about the army I am making. It helps if the background can come in multiple forms. Visual images, movies and background books are all good sources of inspiration. For example

 The Good

 The Bad

I like a game background that is rich and varies but still allows me the space to create my own part of it. I prefer to make up my own characters rather than be straight jacketed into using predefined characters. My most enjoyable phase of playing 40K was when several of us created our own sector and set up planets to have our battles on. We named our characters and created our own part of the history. I prefer the open ended backgrounds of the Games Workshop, Judge Dredd or Battle Tech universes to the locked down universes of Warmachine or Malifaux.

I also like universes that progress. I don't understand why GW can't progress their timeline especially the 40K, universe. What's so wrong with going into the 42nd millennium? The Judge Dredd universe has undergone massive upheavals during the evolution of the stories. None of those events would affect the games. Warmahordes even have a mechanism where you can use different versions of the casters representing their development as they progress.

When introducing new events and especially new races to the game the designers need to be very careful. Warzone introduced a new supplement and made the huge mistake that the capabilities and points were not compatible with the existing game.

Privateer Press got this right when they introduced Hordes and ensured they were compatible with the existing Warmachine forces

I understand that some people don't like or care about the background and to them the game is everything. I think these people are missing out on a rich dimension of the hobby. To me if you don't enjoy the background, you might as well be playing chess.

Earlybird Registration for Horned Rat VII

Earlybird registration for The Horned Rat VII closes on Thursday.

Any regos up to this time are $40 ($10 discount). Later registrations will be at the full price.

Adepticon Recap #8 - Pointhammered Team's Armies

Over the past couple of year's I had heard a lot about the quality of painting of Joe Rodgers and Johnny Hastings who host the Pointhammered Podcast.

Both had one numerous painting awards - e.g. Joe at 2013 SGCT and Johnny at the 2014 US Masters. So them teaming up for the teams event was a great opportunity to admire the quality of their work.

I wasn't disappointed.

 Joe's army is Daemons of Chaos but all the models have been converted into a Cthulhu theme with facial tentacles. Johnny's is a Beast-Ogre army - here they were being used as Ogres.

The quality of painting - especially the blending - on Johnny's army is absolutely staggering. The transitions are flawless. I'll happily say I have not seen another tournament army painted to the same standard as these Beastmen.

The colour palette used is very muted for the skin and furs but the army pops because of the use of the blue cloth on banners and what rags they where.

Joe's army is different again. All the models are converted but a large part of the eye appeal is the use of a pearlescent paint which gives the models a "shimmer". In the background here you can see the Beasts made from Rot Fly bodies. 

At first glance the bases look a bit "meh". But once you look closely you can see the sculpting and painting that has gone into them.

Johnny makes use of a range of models from different races and eras in his army.

The photo doesn't do justice to the subtle shimmer effect Joe has achieved with his army. You start to see the mix of colours on these multi-purpose core.

Simple basing complements Johnny's army. As I said the quality of blending on skin has to be seen to be believed. It is pretty much flawless.

This side-on view hopefully captures some of that.

Here is a side-on of the Daemons. You start to get an appreciation of the effect Joe has achieved.

Prior to the event I was keen to see these two armies and they certainly lived up to expectations. I was surprised they didn't win Best Painted.