Friday, January 23, 2015

Tablescapes Imperial Sector Table Complete

Over the past fortnight I have been reconditioning my old imperial sector terrain for my new Tablescapes table.

Here are some photos of the finished product. Sorry they are taken in my garage where I've been doing the work so lighting isn't fantastic and background does detract.

Tried some different techniques on different buildings and will continue to work on them when I get more washes and powders.

Looking forward to getting my 30k Death Guard Legion out to crush some loyalist scum.




Necron Lord - Excellent New Model

Recently I haven't been commenting on new 40k models as I haven't been invested enough in the game to really have an opinion.

However I saw the cover of next week's White Dwarf and I really like the Necron Lord model featured.

The model seems to tip its hat to the very first Necron models GW released over 16 years ago. They were metals and I remember they gave one away in the White Dwarf.

Here's some more photos showing details of the figure.

I really like the scaled cloak and the broad carapace.

Well done GW! An excellent sculpt.


FOB NZ Rankings - WHFB Updated for Archenemy

Last weekend Archenemy was held in Auckland with the Fantasy event attracting 12 players.

High Elves dominated with both 1st and 2nd places going to players running PEGs.

The rankings have been updated to reflect the results.

Next events I am aware of are OTT in Hamilton mid February followed by Fluffycon at Battlecry a week later. Into March there is Equinox in Auckland and then Natcon at the same venue the first weekend in April.

All events I get notice of are posted in the Events Calendar on the top banner.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

End Times, 9th Edition, Forums, Blogs And Negativity - Or "Down & Out in Tilea"

One of the more popular posts I’ve done here on Fields of Blood was titled “Blogs versus Forums”. In it I looked at why I had tended to gravitate towards reading blogs rather than “participating” in forums. The reasoning centred on the negativity you encounter and the open “trolling” or interaction with “internet warriors”.

If anything, the last six months have seen even greater polarisation of this in my mind. Eight to ten years ago I was an active participant on forums and I could troll or rage with the best of them but somewhere along the line I thought “What’s the point?” It started with me writing an incredibly insightful and cutting post where I would (in my own head) clearly demonstrate my intellectual superiority and invariably finish with me hitting the delete rather than send key. Over time I weaned myself off even having to craft a reply.

I slowly came to the realisation that there were no winners in forum debates. In fact I’m pretty sure that no-one ever said “Well that vitriolic and cutting post that pointed out my logical inadequacies really made me change my view”. So over time I gravitated to reading and of course writing blog posts. Generally (and in my own case hopefully) the medium means that the posts are more reflective than confrontational. The idea is to provoke thought or in the case of hobby elements provide some inspiration.

To this end I have started to require people who post under the Anonymous banner leave their name or identifier. I generally find that the cloak of anonymity “encourages” a more confrontational style and if I’m going to engage with somebody I always find it more polite to refer to them personally.

The recent End Times developments – initially rules but increasingly fluff – has seen a ratcheting up of the negativity on the net (again far more in forums than blogs). I find this interesting because for a long time the lack of storyline progression was used as a weapon to beat Games Workshop and now it is the opposite. Admittedly I am relatively lucky as my three favourite armies – Skaven, Nurgle and Tomb Kings – have emerged unscathed (and potentially stronger) from the process. So I understand some of the angst re the Elves, Dwarfs, Lizards, Brets etc but let’s see the end point before passing final judgement.

The rules have generally been greeted negatively rather than positively. In a lot of cases they have been dismissed untested. From my point of view I have concerns about some of the higher pointed characters – Nagash, KFA, Malekith the Eternity King – but think a lot of the other new units are good additions. Certainly I’d be happy to use and play against the Mortarchs, Morghasts, Blight Kings, Maggoth Lords, Verminlords, Thanquol and Stormfiends. However I do realise that these are all new add-ons for armies I favour.

Up to 50% Lords/Heroes causes concerns. Yes there could potentially be holes but like comp systems that knock the hard edges off, it is relatively easy to put constraints around this rule if you deem it necessary. These were typically being addressed by spam caps/flyer caps etc. The magic system was largely dismissed outright. In my view this was premature as it introduced a mechanism that limited the opportunity to do 6 dice casting. Was it perfect? No, but the holes were identified pretty fast. The biggest concern from my own viewpoint was loose wording and potential to slow down the game.

However the forum response was largely negative and we saw a spawning and re-spawning of negative threads. Into this storm were dumped the 9th Ed rumours of the past fortnight. This was the touch paper that a lot of posters needed to “complete” their day. Every interpretation was towards the worst outcome and the extrapolation that occurred magnified this even more. Forums became an even less fun place to visit.

My view remains pretty much that we should see the end product before we dismiss things out of hand. This was consistent with my view at the outset. When Nagash rules were released a number of commentators piled in saying how wonderful things were. Some of these same people are now at the other end of the spectrum. In both cases we hadn’t (and still haven’t) seen the full End Times and we certainly haven’t seen 9th Edition. This may well be the End Times but let’s not bury things, hold the requiem mass and post the eulogy before we see how things pan out.

Part of the clue is that we are talking about Warhammer Fantasy Battles 9th Edition. It means the game has come through 8 previous editions and the majority of readers are still here for the ride.

End Times V Rumours Build

The rumours are starting to hit regarding the next (and supposedly final) End Times book. As previous noted it is Chaos (especially Khorne) focussed but we see the Orcs involved.

“Archaon is indeed book five of the End Times, and will be new models coming too.

It will be released sometime in March. Book one has an artist’s rendering of Archaon weilding the Kingslayer on the cover and Book two’s cover is a very nice picture of the current model of Archaon.
The book concentrates on the forces of Khorne, however Orcs and Goblins finally make their appearance in End Times and Grimgor is featured heavily in this book (with rules).

All eight of the Incarnates are revealed, including some BIG surprises on a Shakespearean level.

I talked about the blood thirster recently, but there are more units coming too. Khorne will also be getting Skullreapers, and Wrathmongers.

The Skullreapers are infantry with tall doublehanded halbreds, and the Wrathmongers resemble miniature humanoid versions of the Lord of Skulls, but with leather armour.”

I'm not too sure on the two new Khornate units - like a lot of Khorne they seem a bit naff. hopefully we still get the rumoured Dragon and Bloodthirster kits.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Rankings Updated for Archenemy & Battlefront's Mid War GT

The 40k and Flames of War were updated this morning for two events held over the weekend.

This saw Isaac Henderson claim the top spot in the Flames of War rankings displacing Mike Haycock.

Archenemy in Auckland saw the first 40k event of the year with more than a smattering of Blood angels on the tables.

End Times: Thanquol - My Thoughts

Be aware that this post will contain spoilers so if you don't want to know please don't read.

I finished reading Thanquol last night - 400 pages of fluff. The book takes place in three theatres - Lustria, World's End Mountains and the Empire. The Skaven are involved in all three of these conflicts either by themselves against Lizards, Dwarfs and Empire respectively or in "alliance" with another party.

I was quite lucky in that last week I read "Headtaker" and Warlord Queek is one of the two main characters in the fluff (along with Thanquol).

Without going into Garagehammer type detail of the story, it's fair to say that both the Empire and the Dwarf kingdoms are stuffed. Nuln falls to Thanquol and Middenheim to Archaon leaving the last major Imperial city as Averheim. The Emperor is holed up there and is now being besieged by Chaos under Vilitch the Curseling.

In the Dwarf mountains, Karak Azul falls to Queek and then eventually so does Karak Eight Peaks after the Skaven and Night Goblins under Skarsnik come to an arrangement. Clan Skyre's Ikit Claw destroys the Slayer hold after detonating two Hell Pit Abominations filled with receptacles of poisonous gas. In a funny twist the second one dies but then gets up walking five miles through the hold killing all the inhabitants.

The background for the story is one of intrigue and backstabbing. With Seerlord Krislitch's death at the hands of the Horned Rat there is a vacant seat on the Council of Thirteen. The other incumbents decide to expel the Grey Seers which hatches a period of manoeuvring where each try to secure the vacant seat to gain pre-eminence. The Seers try to redeem themselves with a plan to crash the Chaos Moon Moreslieb into the planet while Skyre build a doomsday device (enormous WLC) to blow the moon up. Clan Pestilens invades Lustria to try and kill all the Slaan before they can wake and have an impact on the End Times.

There are some great descriptions of the battle fronts, particularly in Lustria and the Dwarf mountains. Certainly Karak Eight Peaks turns into a cross between Stalingrad and WWI Western Front. In the descriptions you get a real feel for the overwhelming superiority in numbers that the Skaven have and just how uncaring or unconcerned their leaders are over the loss of life. Typically slaves will be herded in with units of Stormvermin behind them to ensure they don't break. The other continuing motif is the backbiting and treachery between the various Skaven. That no other clan or intra-clan rival succeeds is as important as winning itself.

In the end Skyre blow up the moon but the Slaan limit the damage....dying in the act....while a lot of the Lizards begin the Exodus. Thanquol achieves a great victory in Nuln by finally having an ingenious plan work while the Skaven win the war of attrition versus the Dwarfs. Thanquol also brokers a deal between the Council and Chaos parlaying with Archaon and Kairos.

To achieve his success Thanquol comes across as a far more likeable character than he has been portrayed in previous fluff. In this he is helped by the Verminlord Skreech Verminking who becomes his mentor and protector. This was a little bit of a disappointment to me as the real attraction of Thanquol in the past has been his truly nasty nature and duplicous approach. That and the failure of his schemes. Here he is almost Disney Thanquol (he's so nice I expect he'll be in Frozen 2 voiced by Tyler Sweft).

There is a body count though....and there are some wins and some losses.
Belegar has probably the shortest life of any plastic character being killed by Queek. Gobbla dies when the gobbos get involved. Valten is killed by a Verminlord who steps in at the last moment to deny Archaon the kill. Martaz is turned into a throw for Archaon's throne which also features the Emperor's Warhammer taken from Valten's corpse. It is confirmed that Thorek is indeed dead - yay!!!

The real unfortunate event is the death of Queek at the hands of Thorgrim. He then sees off an attack from a Clan Eshin assassin only to be assassinated by the Deathmaster as he reflects on the Dwarfs' future.

Essentially now the dwarf holds are gone. The Slayers have headed off to the Empire while Karl Franz is holed up in Averheim.

The one really interesting development was that while Achaon is the Everchosen he may not have as much power as we thought. Kairos Fateweaver certainly has no fear of him and is constantly reminding him of the debts he owes while the last passage sees a shadowy figure reminds him of Khorne's expectations.

I enjoyed the book given my Skavenphillic tendency. I thought the story was an interesting advancement of the timeline. The most important thing I took away is that a lot of the races now accept that the overwhelming numbers of rats mean that they are faced with an unwinnable task - even if they see off Chaos they will be swamped by a Vermintide.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Weekend Hobby Update

This was a long weekend in Wellington so I got an extra day to do hobby stuff.

The main focus for me was continuing to work on my Imperial Sector terrain for my Tablescapes board. I've now finished over half of the buildings and intend to finish the rest this week. I also pulled out and started on some concrete barriers that I picked up at last year's Adepticon. They were by WarGamma and fit the roads exactly.

On Saturday morning I picked up Skaven dice from GW and downloaded my copy of ET: Thanquol. I've now finished all but the last sixty pages of fluff and I'm loving it. Expect some discussion in the next few days.

I preordered a box of Stormfiends and the new Skaven characters. Also ordered some more washes and weathering powders as well as some rare earth magnets.

So the rest of the week sees more terrain - Expect pics by the weekend

Unexpected Consequences

Two to three years ago Games Workshop stopped updating its customer base about upcoming releases, be they rules or models. Prior to this, they held seminars at Games Days and showed "greens", "three-ups" and "WIP" of figures. Designers were also open about what rules they were working on.

This all stopped and an iron curtain descended over the release of official information from the Company. However GW realised that a vacuum is wonderful and so for at least for the past few years we have had "leaks" to a selected number of individuals who trickle this information out to the market via forums, particularly Warseer.

Last week we saw the amplification and cross confirmation of rumours around the future of Warhammer Fantasy. This foreshadowed significant changes in the aftermath of the End Times campaign which is currently nearing its climax.

The "squat-ing" of races, the destruction of the current background world, limited factions (I hate that word) and the move to round bases all hit a largely unsuspecting customer base like a sledgehammer (or an exploded moon).

Much gnashing of teeth ensued.

Now that the initial clamour has died down we are seeing something very interesting. People have reacted in a way that I don't think GW considered.

If you read forums, listen to podcasts or even talk to your fellow gamers you'll find an interesting development. People have shelved plans for any current WHFB purchases. There is a thread on the Warhammer Forum and an episode from the always fun Skull Bros Awesome podcast on this very subject. Conversations with local gamers show that this isn't isolated either. Unless you are a Skaven player you are unlikely to be buying new models at the moment.

I can see an absolute drying up of Fantasy purchases until further information is forthcoming. If sales of Fantasy were down before, I can't see the lack of clarity about the future helping in the interim.

Personally I'd be very surprised if they were selling much more than End Times books (and a Frostheart Phoenix to Dark Elf players).

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Mierce Miniatures Banebeasts Kickstarter

Mierce Miniatures have just launched a new Kickstarter. Whereas the previous five have been aimed at their Darklands game this one takes a different tack. Here they are taking monsters developed for that game and converting them for a Fantasy setting.

The first four announced - and it looks like three are sculpted already - are:

  • Orc Warboss on Wyvern
    • Greater Daemon/Daemon Princess of Slaanesh
    • Bloodthirster
    • Shaggoth

      Here is the concept art and sculpts:

    Mierce have a good reputation for delivering on time for their Kickstarters. I have previously backed two and have had no problem with eith quality or delivery.

    This time I'm in for the Wyvern. And we'll see what others they produce as stretch goals are unlocked.