Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Warhammer 40k - New Dawn Fades

"New Dawn Fades" was one of my favourite songs by one of the few good things to come out of Manchester, Joy Division. In 1981their lead singer Ian Curtis topped himself leaving behind two albums and a string of truly memorable songs. From the ashes of Joy Division rose the more commercial New Order who while occasionally hitting high points never received the critical acclaim of Joy Division.

This all a long-winded way to introduce a metaphor for the Warhammer 40k game.

Now I loved 3rd and 4th Edition 40k. For me it was a golden age where the rule set was strong and most of the design out of the Studio was driven by the fluff rather than commercial decisions. I loved the Index Astartes rules, the Eldar Craftworlds and the Ork Klans. You had variety of armies  - note I say armies as they had rigid rules around what could and could not be included. This golden period ended for me with the Gav Thorpe Chaos codex, the late 4 ed Ork codex and the coming of 5th Ed in 2008.

I didn't buy the Kool-aid of a new cinematic dawn where armies became liquorice all sorts. And so I walked away and played Fantasy. A lot of people loved 5th but here in NZ you saw as many people fall away from the game as you saw join it. Maybe it was just people got old and had different priorities but there was a seachange in participants. Over the course of the edition I kept and eye on things and we saw the introduction of further vanilla books eg Eldar and the expansion of flyers and a general increase in vehicle size e.g. Dread knights. This was coupled by the game expansion Apocalypse and the rise of the internet which gave rise to instant net-lists eg nob biker, leaf blower, Draigo-wing, Venom spam etc.

Still to me it was still an interesting looking game. It was the New Order to my Joy Division but I understood the attraction.

Then in 2012 6th Ed arrived. Now your army choice was less important because you could have Allies to paper over your weaknesses - unless you were Nids. And the fluff behind the game didn't seem to matter. Lists began to look less like an army and more like a series of unit choices. Backing this up was the introduction of fortifications and a further expansion of flyers.

And recently we have three new additions to the mix. Escalation letting your Apoc toys in - yay D-cannons, Strongholds and the Data Slate. The upshot of the last of these is that a lot of the constraints of the Force Organisation Chart have gone by the wayside. You like Riptides, hell go for your life! Like the Wraithknight model, sure your Space Marines can have one. Want some Warlord traits from this list and others from another book...well you get the picture.

The really interesting thing with this was that 40k players were all drinking the Kool-Aid until suddenly they weren't. It's hard to pick the exact date but sometime in Q4 2013 something changed. The internet suddenly blossomed with threads, blogs, casts on how the game is broken. Schisms developed where some groups wanted to ban things, others wanted to change the rules while still others wanted to sit in a circle singing Kumbaya and embracing the wonder and freedom that was 6th.

And in the last week we've had rumours emerge that the much forecast Fantasy 9th Ed has been pushed back to 2015 to allow a new version of 40k to be released in 2014. What isn't known is whether this is to overhaul the edifice or to bring all the disparate parts into one new core rule book. I hope it's true as Fantasy is currently in a good place and I'd be more than happy for GW to release the last five books before a new edition. I know it's a forlorn hope but if it keeps Allies out of the game a bit longer all good by me.

So 40k seems to currently be on the edge of a cliff. I'm glad my investment is in the aesthetics of 30k and the Heresy rather than the game system itself.

As I said New Dawn Fades.

Runefang VII & Other 2014 Warhammer Fantasy Tournament Dates

For those of you who like to plan your year, I am looking at running the following events over the course of 2014.


Ruination (4000 Points) - January - Sold Out
NZ Teams Championships - March- Sold Out
NZ Masters - December 6/7

Venue Dependant:

Runefang VII - April 26/27
The Horned Rat VII - June 21/22
Warpfire III (1000 points) - September 13
Skitterleap 2014 - October 18/19

I have asked for alternative dates a week either side if not available.

This year I will be umpiring Runefang VII. I intend to use Swedish Comp but with a twist. Instead of the normal Swedish handicap system I will be designating a level and players will have to build a list with a Swedish Comp score equal or higher. There will be no benefit if your list is higher.

For me this achieves the aim of variety in list-building that Swedish encourages but is less rewarding who those who want to "game the system". The event will also be using the FOB Painting Checklist system (as will all FOB events in 2014), however this will be revised over the next fortnight based on feedback received in 2013. It will be posted here in mid to late January so everyone knows what the expectation is for full painting points at these events.

EDIT: Dates edited because of incompetence

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Warhammer Expansion - Triumph & Treachery

Another parcel arrived yesterday as well. This was from Element Games in the UK via Youshop (thanks to NZ Post, great to see my tax dollars put to good use). The service delivers GW product for less than 74% NZRRP, a not insignificant discount.

The box contained two sets of Dark Elf Warlocks, some Greenstuff, paints.....and the Warhammer Expansion "Triumph & Treachery".

Now I'm not a big fan of the last Fantasy expansion "Storm of Magic" mainly because it reminded me of "Apocalypse" for the Old World. However, the latest release "Triumph & Treachery" really piqued my interest. Why? Well, it offers an opportunity to play multiplayer games.

In 2011 I organised a Karak Eight Peaks event at Call to Arms which saw teams of Goblins, Dwarfs and Skaven battle for control of the ancient fortress. It culminated in a three player game (one army for each race) set in the K8P Throne Room. I played against Sam Whitt and Peter williamson and it was a total blast. All I remember were the pleas for help, double dealing and oathbreaking - and that was just the Dwarfs!

The opportunity to have up to  five player games sounds really appealing and something I'd like to try during 2014.

New Ratty Dice Bag

Yesterday was the first post after Xmas and as well as a box of supplies from Element Games via Youshop in the UK (thanks NZ Post - my tax dollars put to good use), I received another parcel.

A lot of people on the UK tournament scene are aware of "The Dice Bag Lady". Annie Norman is one of the rare females that plays tournament warhammer and has a unique Chaos Gnomes army made of alternative models. She also has a unique sideline - she produces hand-made "dice" bags.

A couple of months ago I contacted her to see if she could make a suitably "ratty" one for Seerlord Morskitta's Uber-Army. She asked me various questions about colour, design etc. And here's the finished article:
It is hand-crocheted with drawstring and its own unique "Skaven" patch made from felt. The colours match those of my army.

You can check out more of Annie's Dice Bags on www.facebook.com/TheDiceBagLady or contact her on

Friday, December 27, 2013


Here's the field for RUINATION:

Hagen Kerr
Hamish Forbes
Mike King
Tane Woodley
John Murrie
Simon Switzer
Bo Patterson
Joel van de Ven-Long
Hugh Dixon
Ryan Lister
Tom Dunn
Neil Williamson
Jeff Kent
Pete Dunn
Mal Patel
James Millington
Raymond Dick
Stuart Robinson

We'll post the lists when they go through the beady eye of Umpire Jeff Kent.

EDIT: So managed to get enough tables to let Raymond and Stuart in on the carnage

Thursday, December 26, 2013


All 16 spots for Ruination have now been snapped up so we will have a full house for the first 4000 point event to be held.

There are rumours of three stunties armies turning up. Lizards also are likely to be pretty prevalent - I'm guessing probably three of the cold-blooded race as well. Joel van de Ven-Long has threatened to bring a Nuln Empire list.  No doubt everyone has read the players pack and seen the instruction to bring "fun" armies. If not the umpire's veto stick is likely to get a workout.

Remember it's Battleline and Blood & Glory so plan accordingly. I'll post the full field in the next couple of days.

I'm running a waiting list for anyone who has missed out. Just in case RL intervenes.

EDIT: Sam Whitt has had to drop out so there is one place free

EDIT: And gone again!

EDIT: And an extra spot has opened up. LMK if you'd like it

EDIT: And gone again

Monday, December 23, 2013

NZTC - The List of Teams & Team Members

There has been a request from Team DILF as to who they are likely to be playing at NZTC.

After 15 training camps so far they are narrowing down their choice of armies to 8 and hope to use this further knowledge to get it to 7 by the end of January. Actually Team Captain James Brown has instructed the NZTC organisers to only accept any team lists from him. And we are to alert him immediately should any one of them try to submit a list....or show independent thought!

So here are your teams:

#1 - The von Trapp Family
  • Jack Dunn (c)
  • Tom Dunn
  • Joe Dixon
  • Pete Dunn
#2 - Team DILF
  • James Brown (c)
  • John Willenbruch
  • Antony Kitson
  • Glen Tibbles
#3 - Shirts Off!
  • Sam Whitt 
  • James Milner (c)
  • Ben Wadsworth
  • Mal Patel
#4 - The Wolfpack
  • Dan Butler (c)
  • Ross Hillier-Jones
  • Jeff Kent
  • Locky Reid
#5 - Southern Raiders
  • Basil Moskovis (c)
  • Damon Quaid
  • Rhys Hodgson 
  • Darren Urquhart
#6 - Stonefalls Massive
  • Joel van de Ven-Long (c)
  • Glen Burfield
  • Ryan Lister
  • Wil Hoverd
#7 - Beauty & the Beasts
  • Sam Campbell 
  • Fern Campbell
  • Hamish Gordon
  • Nic Jebson (c)
#8 - Grumpy Old Men
  • Raymond Dick (c)
  • Mike King
  • Reid Pittams
  • Paul Davison
#9 - Legion of Doom
  • David Oemecke
  • Hermann van Krandenberg
  • Luc van Kradenberg
  • Rex Foote
#10 - The Nice Team
  • James Millington
  • Bo Patterson
  • Dave Appleby
  • Tane Woodley
#11 - The Bucketheads
  • John Murrie (c)
  • Adam Richards
  • Brendon Johnston
  • Regan Ridge
#12 - The League of Extraordinary Nerdymen
  • Paul Clarke (c)
  • TBC
  • TBC
  • TBC
#13 - The Philosopher's Stone
  • Nick Munn (c)
  • Phil Wu
  • Paul Dalton
  • James Cardno
#14 - Redheaded Stepchildren
  • Tim Joss (c)
  • Rory Finnemore
  • Hagen Kerr
  • Neil Williamson
#15 - Team Victoria
  • Greg Greenfield (c)
  • Nick Hoen
  • Jabe Brown
  • Ben Leopold
#16 - Team Australia
  • Tim Stewart (c)
  • Mark Skilton
  • Sam Morgan
  • Lachy Mulcahy
So those are the teams as I currently have them plus name where I was given them or my own substitutes. Please let me know if team composition has changed or team name is different.

Friday, December 20, 2013

NZTC 2014 - Updated Players' Pack

An updated Players'Pack for the NZTC can be found here

It has up to date information re Umpire and the intention to create a Tournament FAQ for the event.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

FOB NZ Rankings - Flames of War Launched

Flames of War has now been added to the family of FOB NZ Rankings.

They can be accessed by hitting the FOB NZ Rankings button under the title banner. It has the usual features - Best Army icons, Masters winners etc

This means that the three events that comprise the NZ Masters all now have their rankings on this site. TOs can sent their results to me at pete@thefieldsofblood.com or request the input template which they then return to me filled in.

Thanks again to Jack for his work in getting this up and running.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

6th Annual NZ Masters Results

The 6th Annual NZ Masters were recently held in Hamilton and run by Rob Shirley.

This was the 4th time that Flames of War have been included while both 40k and Fantasy have been there since the inception.

Here are the 40k results:

Well done to Haydn Korach for winning his first Masters. He just edged Charlie St. Clair who would have secured a fourth crown.

In Flames of War the results were as follows:

Congratulations to Michael on his first Masters title. The tiebreaker between 2nd and 3rd was the result of their game, won by Paul. The event this year was run using Early War armies.

The 7th Annual NZ Masters will be held in Wellington the first weekend of December 2014, organised by myself.

Death Guard Spartan

My Death Guard Spartan is starting to take shape. Spasmodically over the past few weeks I've cut and cleaned the FW sprues, tested fits etc.

Last night I finished glueing the superstructure together and it now all fits flush.

Next stage is to mask then undercoat the various components.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

First Tentative Steps Towards The ETC

This weekend I am looking to play my first games under the ETC rules. NZ ETC veteran Mal Patel will be in Wellington and a few of us are getting together to play some games with the first draft of the 2014 comp.

I'm going to run some Skaven around - probably in the guise of "Furry Dwarfs" - a list built around ranged attack but sans Bell. Looking to use two Seers and see how they work in today's meta. I expect the list runs the risk of being run over but small steps.....

The key thing is is to get my head around the rule changes - Line of Sight system, 5 Die Casting Limits, Half Points for Fleeing/Depleted Units and Multiple LOS for insta-kill spells.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Games Workshop's DLC - Data Slates & Battle Scrolls

An interesting situation is developing (or about to develop) for the NZ Gaming scene. Games Workshop is flooding the market with a whole lot of downloadable content.

This content includes new riles for both Fantasy and more prevalently 40k through the Battle Scroll and Data Slate mediums. These rules are fully official and released for inclusion in your GW games.

There is only one problem. In a lot of cases the only release mechanism is digital which means you can't walk into your local store and buy it. In fact you may not even be aware that new rules have been released. Some material eventually finds it's way to a physical release but not all. Also with automatic update available it may be that some download updates while others don't potentially creating problems where people are playing with different versions.

To complicate matters further no GW DLC is available for Apple devices here in New Zealand. Therefore a dichotomy exists between owners of various electronic devices. This arises due to Apple /GW take on NZ copyright law.

Now none of this is insurmountable, however it is something for TOs to be aware of when they are looking at what is "legal" at their events. In the past it has always been 30 days after physical release but such "conventions" may need to be revisited for DLC.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tomorrow Belongs to Us

So an hour of patchup work with a tube of Super Glue and the Seerlord Morskitta's troops are back to normal. Approximately 20 parted bases which is staggering given the impact and subsequent tumble they had. Mr A-Bomb has his fingers back and reattached nails.

Can't recommend the Battlefoam case highly enough!

Skaven at the Masters

This weekend I attended the NZ Masters in Hamilton. This was the sixth running of the event and my fourth appearance (I qualified for the first two but ended up umpiring the event). The field for this weekend’s event was the best ranked of any of the six tournaments so far – ten of the Top 12, last year’s winner and #15.

When I saw the field I tried to work out what the make up of race selection for the field would be. The only surprises (for me) were Locky (I didn't know what he’d take), James Brown (I thought he’d take Ogres) and Rory (I thought Vampires). I was pleasantly surprised when I got these incorrect (vampires being a hard match for the two armies I was considering).

My initial selection was the Daemons I've been using recently but I shelved them when I considered the potential for cannons and poison. That proved a good choice and so I fell back on Skaven, generally my army of choice.

The list I took was modified to reflect what I thought I would be facing and I likened it to a Swiss army Knife with a tool for every job.

Seer – General, Bell, Earthing Rod, Skalm, Dragonbane Gem

Chieftain – BSB, Standard of Discipline
Engineer – Level 2, Doomrocket, Condenser
Engineer – Level 1, Ruby Ring, Dispel Scroll
Engineer – Brass Orb
Assassin – Weeping Blades, Potion of Strength

30 Clanrats – Full command
22 Stormvermin – Muso, Standard, Storm Banner
40 Slaves – Champ, Muso
40 Slaves – Muso
40 Slaves – Muso

6 Gutter Runners – Slings, Poison
6 Gutter Runners – Slings, Poison

Hellpit Abomination
Warplightning Cannon

The list has more toys than I’d normally like – I've never been a big user of the Orb – but it gave me an option in most circumstances. Critically it gave points up sparingly and was risk averse in that I took the Rod over my more usual Power Scroll.

So how did it go?

Monday, December 9, 2013

NZ Masters 2013 - WHFB Results

The 6th Annual NZ Masters were run in Hamilton over the weekend. Six rounds with 2400 point armies using rulebook scenarios.

The results were as follows:
 *Unfortunately Ross was taken ill after Round 4 and did not play the final two rounds

Best Sport: Richard Barby

Best Painted: Sam Whitt

Here also is the breakdown of the highest scorers Day One and Day Two
Thanks to Rob Shirley and his team for organising the event.

The Desolation of Skavenblight

Leaving the NZ Masters yesterday, there was a skqweel from the back seat to stop.

The boot of Rory's car hadn't been properly closed and it popped open. My Skaven army - in its Battlefoam case - was seen bouncing down the road behind us. We stopped and I went back and collected it.

I wasn't brave enough to open the case until this afternoon.

So not too bad at all. The HPA lost his fingers, the Storm Banner was broken and a variety of plastic infantry de-based.

I'm glad they were in a Battlefoam case!!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

NZ Masters This Weekend

This weekend the NZ Masters will be held in Hamilton. This is the 6th Annual Masters Tournament and it is well established on the tournament scene.

For the Fantasy event this year sees what is the highest ranked field yet. Two of the Top 11 are not attending - one because he's overseas, the other because he is known as a notorious clubber of baby seals and this event has drawn a field of carnivores with multiple apex predators.  Their invitations have passed down and been snatched by the #12 and #15 ranked players.

This means whoever wins the event will have gone through a very strong field to achieve their goal.

The lists are very strong across the board. There has been some bleating from the Elf players that they are weaker than the others but closer inspection of their lists still shows them to be hard list. However some of the apologist commentators have drunk the Kool-Aid (it's always easier than analysis) and dubbed them "Lists of the People". What a crock of shit!

In fact it's funny. So many of the contenders are trying to say they have the weakest list there is now a queue at that particular bus stop. However they can't help themselves and in the next breath name themselves contenders.

I still think Locky Reid has the best all round list given the event's lineup. A half competent chimpanzee would be able to steer it onto the podium. And I haven't changed my opinion that Dan Butler and Tom Dunn are the men to beat if you want to take out the event.

What is interesting is what will be the required score to win the event. Personally I think you'll need to score 75-80 points to win the event. This is less than the normal 90-95 in an open 6 round event. Effectively you will need to ensure that if you take a big loss that you have the ability to hand one out. More likely I think people will be a little tentative in their approach so if someone turns up with an aggressive attitude then they could blow the event apart. Personally I can only see 1-2 lists that have that capacity.

We'll see how the dice fall.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Death Guard Reinforcements Roll In

With Adepticon going to 1850 and with the Phobus Land Raider perennially out of stock, I bit the bullet and purchased a Spartan Assault Tank for my Death Guard.

I arrived home from work yesterday and there was a lovely big parcel waiting on the front step containing the Spartan and also a Demios Vindicator. My copy of "Betrayal" tells me that these were the two most prevalent tracked vehicles in the Death Guard Legion. A lot of tank crews - being of Terran birth - were wiped out on Istvaan III so tanks became scarce in the years after the cleansing.

Well this certainly is a big kit. It is all resin and you can see from the pictures that there are some solid lumps.

The kit comes in three bags - one which contains the main superstructure. Those side pieces are solid resin and over six inches long.

To give an idea of the size I have placed a WIP Legion Tactical Marine in the next shot.

So this model is going to be my main focus over the Xmas break. I'll be working on construction and then painting this beastie.

The intention is that this will be the ride for my Terminator Praetor and the Deathshroud.

Friday, November 29, 2013

"RUINATION" - Warfare On Another Level

"RUINATION" is a Warhammer Fantasy event to be held in Wellington on 18/19 January 2014.


However this is something different from the norm with 4000 point armies battling it out. Big armies, big tables, great terrain - RUINATION is a hobby event aimed at ensuring all participants have a fun weekend.

You can download the Players Pack here

Bad Dice Podcast Does the NZ Masters

Yesterday Ben Curry of Bad Dice Podcast did a daily show on the lists for the upcoming NZ Masters. You can download it from his website at www.baddice.co.uk

Ben went through each of the lists giving his thoughts on the relative power, strengths, weaknesses and how he thought it would go in the match ups.

His favourite for the event is Sam Campbell with Daemons of Chaos though he had a lot of love for Locky Reid's Empire and Sam Whitt's Dark Elves. He also felt that Hamish Gordon's Warriors could cause people trouble.

So Sam is now got the Kiss of Death of worldwide expectation and celebrity endorsement. It will be interesting to see how he copes under the inevitable pressure from his thousands of new fans plus the expectation.

A particular highlight of Ben's review was when he correctly identified Aucklander James Brown as "The Saddest Man in Warhammer".

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"So What Army Are You Collecting"

We've possibly all heard that question before - certainly if we've ever been into a GW Hobby Centre.

Well now I can give you the tool to answer the question. Listening to a recent Garagehammer episode they made mention of an online quiz that lets you determine which army best suits you. You can find it here

Now it is a little old - ok very old, it refers to Hordes of Chaos - but gives you the info you desire through a series of - often leading - questions.

Here is the result of my responses:

Chaos Dwarfs


Orcs and Goblins

Dogs of War


The Empire

Beasts of Chaos

Dark Elves

Tomb Kings

Wood Elves


Vampire Counts

Hordes of Chaos

Ogre Kingdoms


High elves

The higher the %, the better suited they are to you.

Given that Chaos Dwarfs aren't a real book then the results are probably not too surprising. Still it points me in the direction of what I should collect next.

Post up what army it thinks you should collect.

"Ruination" - A Goer?

I have booked a hall for the third weekend in January to run "Ruination". The intention was that it would be a big army bash with forces of 4000 points.

To make it economic I need at least 12 participants. I have been receiving some signals that this may be a stretch.

Therefore I'm asking local gamers what their preference is:

A. Ruination - 4000 points, 4 rounds, no Grand Army

B. Fellblade - 2400 points, 6 rounds

Please only vote if you intend attending or if there is a high chance you'll attend. If you go for "Fellblade" can you select a preference:

1. No Comp
2. FOB-Lite Comp
3. Swedish Comp
4. ETC Comp

I'll take feedback up to Friday evening and then make a decision.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Landspeeder Javelin for Heresy Death Guard

Last night I built my new Forgeworld Landspeeder that will be part of my Death Guard force.

It is a beautifully crisp model, wonderfully detailed and surprisingly hefty.

The variant I've built comes with Missile Pods and a Heavy Bolter. I suspect I will swap the Heavy Bolter out for a Multi-Melta.

The vehicle is crewed by two marines in Mark IV armour. I am going to see if I can swap it for Mk II Crusade or MKIII Iron Armour but I think there are slight scale differences,

The weight of the vehicle means that I'm going to have to use some magnets to attach it to the flying base.

A very nice model and a nice addition to my force, especially given its rules are included in Book 2: Massacre.

NZ Masters Predictions

Looking at the Masters lists I think it makes for a very very hard fought event but already a view things are starting to coalesce.

By far the best list on show is Locky's Empire list. This really has all the tools to take apart a lot of the other armies in offer. I know I certainly don't want to play it. Three cannons. Hell blaster. 1+ armour out the wazoo backed up with Light Council. If Locky can steer this beast in anything like the correct fashion then he'll waltz the event. However it remains a big "if".

If I was framing a book then Dan Butler would be a very short priced favourite. Clearly the best of the northerners he has the list, skills and temperament to take out this year's Masters. The only question mark is that while he can dominate northern events, he has never done it on a wet and windy Sunday in Wellington. However I have an inkling that in his home town this could be his year.

The other big chance is the reigning Master. The list he has put together has real potential to get the big wins. As always he'll be underestimated especially by the Twitterati for whom the enfant terrible remains an unknown quantity. Be warned social media junkies at 18 this is his third visit to the Masters and he is also a member of NZTC champions the Von Trapps. The only impediment is his lack if recent match practice.

As for the rest of us I think we just have to be realistic, know our role and enjoy the experience. We've all "Achieved" just by being there. But remember there are no street parades for 6th.

White Dwarf Bouquet

It's not very often that White Dwarf gets much praise from the Internet community, be it blogs, forums or social media. The magazine was relaunched last year - to dome fanfare - but quickly fell back into glorified catalogue mode.

The last few months I have done little more than flick through my subscription issues and look at the pretty pictures. I've given the new dumbed-down Battle Reports a miss and the hobby stuff - away from spruiking the latest models has been patchy to say the least.

However this month I have been pleasantly surprised. I haven't read anything up to and including the Battle Report as yet but the articles post that have been a real eye-openner. The painting showcases are inspirational while the background blurbs on new models have been very informative. There is lots oc great terrain in the photos - mostly 40k - but I spent over an hour going through just the back part of the magazine.

If you haven't bought WD for a while the November issue is a good return issue

Saturday, November 23, 2013

NZ Masters Lists Released

The twelve lists for the NZ Masters to be held in two weeks have been released and can be found here

We have:

3 Warriors of Chaos
2 Empire
2 Daemons of Chaos
1 Lizardmen
1 Chaos Dwarf
1 High Elves
1 Dark Elves
1 Skaven

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Horus Heresy's Least Likeable Character

Is there a more sanctimonious and unlikeable character in the whole Horus Heresy series that Nathaniel Garro?

 I've just finished listening to "Flight of the Eisenstein" having read it on its release and I can not stomach the pious prick. Not only is he duped by the hocus-pocus of the Imperial Creed and its "The Emperor Protects" malarkey but he has also turned his back on his battle brothers, Primarch and Legion.

What a self-righteous tool he is - obviously the character is modeled on Capt James T Kirk. In the audiobook he speaks in the same nauseating slow manner as the original Trekkie.

 He really is a weak-willed individual who deals with change by closing his mind. I hate the pompous prat of a character he is.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Kickstarter Burnout?

It seems over recent months the whole Kickstarter phenomena, as it relates to the miniatures game has started to quiet down a little bit. There are still regular new Kickstarters but the hype that surrounded the vehicle early in the year appears to have died down.

Are we seeing some Kickstarter burnout? And if so, is this coming from the manufacturers or the customers?

It is hard not to get the impression that a lot of offerings that went to Kickstarter were in fact Business as Usual looking for some pre-sales to provide the working capital. I certainly would place the first Mierce Miniatures and the Reaper Bomes in this category. And you'd definitely place all the Mantic Kickstarters there. All these ranges were scheduled for production at some time but used Kicjstarter to accelerate the process.

That's not to say that this was always the case. I think that the Secret Weapons Miniatures "Tablescapes" is a good example of a project that wouldn't have occurred without Kickstarter.

But now we have the hangover. A lot of manufacturers have their design and manufacturing capacity taken up for the foreseeable future. And they have a customer base who expects large dollops of free miniatures as the cost if their support.

It is interesting that a lot of the heat has gone out of the sector as manufacturers have scaled back the freebies and stretch goals to something more realistic. A good example is the difference between the first and second Darklands offerings from Mierce. Both supported but I certainly think the first had more buzz because it offered the customer more.

The good thing is that we haven't seen a failure of a big Kickstarter. I have supported three - Mierce, Secret Weapon and Deadzone (terrain) - and they provide regular updates on progress. Mierce has delivered over 80% of what I've ordered and the rest is following their timeline. Expecting Tablescapes and Deadzone in the next few months.

As an observer I think there has been a lot of dross delivered under the Kickstarter e.g. Bones and pretty much the majority of the Mantic stuff but the purchasers got this at a decent price.

What will be interesting is to see what 2014 delivers and whether we ever hit a failure to deliver on a major Kickstarter.

I do think we are seeing signs of burnout in the vehicle as people reassess whether the 2013 model is sustainable.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fields of Blood Honour Roll Updated

The Fields of Blood Honour Roll has been updated to include the results of 2013 Warpfire and Skitterleap.

Warpfire was a 1000 point event that use WDL scenarios and objective points. It proved very popular drawing a number of new or returning players.

Skitterleap provided a certain amount of controversy with the implementation of a checklist painting system. This has had the desired effect of increasing the focus on army presentation particularly in light of expanded awards and trophies for this aspect of the hobby.

Horus Heresy - Tangled Web Begins to Make Sense

For those of you reading the latter Horus Heresy novels and seeing all these unconnected storylines – Cabals, Perpetuals, fate of the Lion, Vulkan, Kurze and Sanguinius, as well as the numerous short stories in “Mark of Calth” – then some closure is at hand.

I have just finished Dan Abnett’s latest Horus Heresy novel “The Unremembered Empire” and it is far to say it ties together threads from at least ten different novels and novellas in one neat package. The work of the Perpetuals and the Cabal who have been wandering in and out of books as far back as “Legion” becomes far clearer and with five Primarchs converging on Macragge there is a lot of temporary closure of these story arcs.
In the “Afterword”, Abnett said it was the hardest book that he had to write given the divergent genesis of the storylines. I think he has done a great job, really enjoying the book even though my level of interest in Guilliman, the Ultramarines, Johnson and the Dark Angels is minimal. Undoubtedly the star of the show is Konrad Curze and I can’t wait until Forgeworld create a miniature of the Night Lords’ Primarch. He is a fantastic character and having enjoyed his prolonged torture of Vulkan in “Vulkan Lives”, it’s great to see him making the Salamander’s life hell again.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Adepticon Tickets Locked and Loaded

Friday New Zealand time tickets for Adepticon 2014 went on sale. After seeing the event coverage from Bad Dice this year I decided pretty early on that I was going to go in 2014.

However it has been a process fraught with no small amount of risk. Accommodation at the hotel where it is being held sold out within three days of going on sale. I took the risk of booking a room ahead of getting my flights and securing my tickets.

About a month ago I booked air travel when Air New Zealand put flights on sale securing 20 hour flights rather than the 35-40 hour trips some of the other carriers are offering. So I fly Wellington - Auckland - LA - Chicago with very little lay time. Leaving here at 5 pm on Tuesday I arrive in Chicago at 9 pm that same evening - after 21 hours in a plane.

All that was great but I still didn't have event tickets. These went on sale on Friday.

I managed to pick up the Weekend Pass, tickets to the 2-day WHFB Championships, the WHFB Teams Event and then I had to make a choice. In the end rather than play in the 1000 point WHFB events on the Thursday, I chose to sign up for the Horus Heresy Massacre event. This is a three game tournament using 1000 point and 1850 point armies. It has 32 spots and is advertised as a hobby event celebrating the Heresy setting. I had worked on the basis of a 1500 point army so now will have to add 350 points. More purchases!!!

I am playing the Teams Event with Battlefront US Head John Matthews. John was a member of the 2010-12 NZ ETC team and a good mate. I'm looking forward to it. The Championships sold out in an hour so it will be interesting to see the field that has assembled. There was talk of a British Invasion for 2014 so it'll be interesting to see if it materialises.

Obviously the blog will have full coverage from the event.

Masters Lists Submitted

So all Masters lists should now be submitted and we have thread weeks until the actual event.

Tom had a thread day extension from the Umpire as he had uni exams then had to vacate his hostel. He arrived homed last night and lodged his list this morning.

My expectation is that Umpire Carl Templeton will check them this week and we should see them released by next weekend. The Kiwihammer boys have already predicted that it will be a WoC/DoC slugfest with over half the field rocking the denizens of Chaos. Personally I expect to see the Special Character crutch out in force with 3-4 of the Masters rookies looking for them to give them the competitive boost.

Once the Umpire releases the lists I'll post them here so that you can digest them

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Slaaneshi Score

On the weekend I was lucky enough to win a Trademe auction for 30 Juan Diaz Daemonettes that local Sam Whitt had alerted me to. I was really happy with the price -$96NZD including courier.

The seller said that he'd to rough in a little extra given a few arms were missing. Imagine my surprise when I opened the parcel to find six Diaz Daemonettes on Steeds (4 NIB) and a Dark Elf Chariot chassis.


I now have over 100 of the Diaz nettes

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Games Workshop Purchasing

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a post on Games Workshop pricing. As we are all aware two and a half years ago games workshop put in place an embargo on UK retailers selling product outside the European Union.

Presumably the aim of this was to get ROW gamers to buy their GW product from their local supplier, preferably their Games Workshop Hobby centre.

For me, the upshot of this policy has been threefold. Firstly, I tend to buy less Games Workshop product. In the past I would happily drop significant sums buying the latest release albeit from a UK internet retailer. Now I am more likely to buy alternative figures – particularly Mierce and Kromlech – or Forgeworld (still GW but not embargo) or old metal GW figures (eBay/Trade Me). Overall I’d suggest my Games Workshop purchases have fallen by 80% over the two and a half year period. Secondly, my trips to my local Hobby Centre have got less and less. Over the past few years Games Workshop’s direct influence on the hobby of a veteran gamer has decreased as they focused their marketing activities on the new gamer. Whereas previously I’d direct a certain percentage of my purchases through the shop now with the advent of digital products there is little need for me to go in and get new books on the day of release. These were generally accompanied by hobby supply purchases, the odd new model or the must-have purchase; I’ve now got well and truly out of the habit.

The third thing has been to source what Games Workshop product I did buy from offshore sellers who generally offered a 30-45% discount (including postage charges). For eighteen months this was through US bits resellers who sold complete sprues. However eventually stock problems and US postal price hikes have made that less palatable. Enter NZ Post. Who would have though the NZ postal service would accommodate local gamer needs. I now own postal addresses in both the UK and the US and can access UK pricing once again. Sure GW has belatedly realised Asia-pacific pricing is out of whack and insulated us from recent price increases – see cross border relativity of Lizardmen and Dark Elves compared to earlier releases – but using UK retailers I can source my GW product from the UK for 65-75% of retail (depending on volume).

Of course all this comes at a price. And that price is instant gratification. Purchases take around 3 weeks to arrive but this has an upside as well. Gone are the impulse purchases I use to make. Now I generally wait until I have sufficient product I need and then place an order.

That’s not to say that there isn’t a niche for a local supplier willing to split the difference between offshore pricing and full NZRRP.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Yankee Doodle Dandy - The US FAQ

The US are having their first Masters this year.

The scoring system sounds like a trainwreck - five rounds unbridled Swedish Comp with your comp score counting as sixth game - but I suspect that's what you get with 5 different regions trying to settle on a system.

However they have also developed an "American FAQ" to address grey areas in the game. Again this is probably needed given the different communities.

You can read the FAQ here

I've only given it a brief perusal but it seems a pretty solid document. I've noticed at least one answer that is incorrect so I'll give it a more thorough reading over the next few days.

The Masters - Phoney War

Masters lists are due in this weekend and we are already seeing an outbreak of the Phoney War.
All sorts of games are being played on Twitter and by email, as the more insecure Masters participants try to get a handle on what the weekend holds for them. This is most obvious in the Masters rookies who – let’s face it – are just happy to get a ticket to the dance. In their most honest moments I’m sure they visit dark places where they know they will be in for a number of sound beatings over the weekend.

So we have pictures posted on Twitter of WIP models for an army not being taken. We have numerous builds being discussed trying to bluff people into thinking that some weird unit or build is being contemplated. There is talk of borrowing armies some of which they’ve never run (Tip: it will neither increase nor decrease your chances). Personally, I had 3-4 emails and 2-3 DMs from people looking to borrow armies or individual units. All this in a sad attempt to try and determine the machinations of Chez Dunn or to construct a bluff in the hope that they will be taken seriously. One particularly sad individual has asked to borrow models for three different armies such is his clear confusion ahead of list submission.
Then we have the Mathhammer battles going on if Unit A meets unit B on a hill, in a storm etc etc etc
Perhaps the saddest are the pleas on twitter and by email to regular visitors to the Dunn-geon to find out what armies they’ve faced.
Sad, sad, sad.
In the end there is only one palatable truth….It doesn’t matter what you bring!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Space Wolves - A Re-Think

A few of you may have picked up from previous posts that I am not a great fan of the misguided followers of the corpse-god. Ever since I first played 40k I’ve had a really dislike of Imperium forces (although those with long memories may recall my first army was Black Templars). I started the game when 70% of forces were Power-Armoured and at least 90% of those were loyalist – primarily Dark Angels, Blood Angels and Space Wolves.

Remember Your Flea Collar & Worm Tablets

A lot of my early games were against Hagen Kerr and his Space Wolves. I have lost count of how many times Plaguelord Colthrax and the Noiselord, Challis Drant mercilessly crushed Haakon Ironwolf and his motley pack underfoot. Seriously it must have been hundreds of times. About once in fifty games I’d let Haakon get a narrow victory and that would keep Hagen interested for another year of merciless bashings from the Death Guard and Emperor’s Children. Aaaah, fun times. Oh course it all had to end and the Destroyer in this case was Gav Thorpe and his bastard-child, 4th Ed Codex Chaos Space Marines – more accurately described as Chaos Allsorts.

So the Space Wolves bring back a mix of memories – crushing victories but also mind-numbingly boring stories of how Haakon Ironwolf once made nine 4+ Invulnerable Saves in a row, the dreadful fluff with pseudo-Viking trappings etc. I hadn’t given Space Wolves much thought lately until working through the Horus Heresy series I read “Prospero Burns”. It was okay but I never understood the attraction of large hairy men sitting around in saunas, getting drunk and eating raw meat. And I certainly didn’t want to read chapters of it. Recently I started listening to the audiobook version and I can say that it is the only HH audiobook I have given up on. Translated to audible form it was truly dire and dragged forever.

Given this history you can probably understand my reluctance when I started the latest HH book, “The Unremembered Empire”. Early on a squad of Space Wolves appear and I thought “Oh no, here we go again”. However it got me thinking about the figures that Forgeworld will produce when they get to the Space Wolves. I think they could be quite cool if they follow the description that Dan Abnett has portrayed in the book. No, not enough that I’d ever buy them but enough to at least make me interested in fighting them.

Abnett makes much of their feral nature. They sit on their haunches crunching on bones and whetting their knives. If Forgeworld could capture this aspect rather than the GW Space Vikings it would be great. The squad members are described as wearing laced leather masks, furs and almanner of totems and talismans. However the key would be the posing of the models. It would be great to see a departure from the normal SM poses and have a feral, animalistic force that captures the barely civilised nature of the corpse-god’s attack dogs. Certainly it would be a departure and I believe it is probably a step too far for most loyalist apologists but at least it would make them interesting.

Go on Forgeworld, take a step in the right direction!

Winter is Coming!

Unfortunately the Golden Summer is over. This year has seen a sustained release of Warhammer Army Books that have injected continued life and interest into the game. We’ve seen Warriors of Chaos, Daemons of Chaos, High Elves, Lizardmen and finally Dark Elves released. I’m not a huge fan of High Elves, in fact I despise the pointy-eared gits, but it is nice to have an updated book that at least gives us new units to crush. Also given the significant boost they have received – still denied by PEG apologists – it is now a challenging and more rewarding crushing of their hopes and dreams.

It's Going To Be A Hard Year Rat Brothers

But from here on in it is all downhill. The next three books are assumed to be Dwarfs, Wood Elves and Bretonnians (oh that GW would just release them as a single book called Warhammer Insignificant Armies for People Who Like to Whine About How bad Their Lot Is. Yes I know this might be a little hard on Bret players but seriously who cares). Brace yourself for 6-9 months of incessant grumbling from the handful of people interested in these armies.

It is so depressing thinking how these releases will sour what has been a great time for Warhammer. I wish I could just fast forward to the release of new Skaven and Beastmen books.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

First Draft of ETC 2014 Comp Pack

For those of you interested, here is the first draft of the ETC Comp Pack.

It has been posted for comment by the various teams

Special Character Poll Results

Yesterday I posted up a poll to see what locals thought on the inclusion of Special Characters in the FOB-Lite Comp System.

Over the intervening twenty four hour period 21 people posted a preference in the Comments section. The results can be summarised thus:

Ban Special Characters Outright - 7 votes

Allow All Special Characters with No Restrictions - 7 votes

Allow Special Characters but with some Specific Bans/Restrictions - 7 votes

I can't say I'm surprised. I did not expect there to be universal agreement. It is interesting just how distributed the responses were. The evenness of the outcome in relation to the spectrum of options shows how divergent people's opinions are on the subject.

Currently the FOB-Lite Comp System steers a path along the middle ground allowing virtually all Special Characters but with some specific restrictions and nothing in the survey response suggests to me that it should steer away from that course.

Obviously that is the course with most grey areas as it is not as objective as banning or allowing them all. I can still see some unhappy people as their particular favourite or nemesis has  restrictions placed or removed from them.

Thanks to everyone who contributed. It was an interesting exercise.

Friday, November 8, 2013

6th Annual New Zealand Masters WHFB Field Confirmed

The field for the 6th NZ Masters for WHFB has been finalised.

2012 Master - Tom Dunn (Wellington)
#1 - Pete Dunn (Wellington)
#2 - Ross Hillier-Jones (Tauranga)
#3 - Dan Butler (Hamilton)
#4 - Sam Whitt (Otaki)
#6 - Sam Campbell (Kapiti)
#8 - Peter Williamson (Masterton)
#9 - Hamish Gordon (Kapiti)
#10 - James Brown (Auckland)
#11 - Rory Finnemore (Auckland)
#12 - Richard Barby (Auckland)
#15 - Locky Reid (Wellington)

Nobody has every won the Masters twice. No #1 Ranked Player has won Masters.

Ross, Sam C, Hamish, James and Richard are at their first Masters.

Good mix of players from around the North Island. The Kapiti club have done well to get two players there in essentially their first year of play.

Time For a Tournament Terrain Tidy-Up

I’m home alone this weekend – well the four cats will be keeping me company – and I’m going to use the time to put assemble a whole array of terrain that is still sitting unbuilt.

First there are three Tabletop World buildings to put together, then a Games Workshop Fortified Manor House and a Witchfate Torr. I also have a series of sets of Warlord Games Ruined Farmhouses that I am going to build. Finally there is a Garden of Morr, a Citadel Wood and some Arcane Ruins. I am hoping that Saturday will see them all built and undercoated. Once this is done, I can work them across my painting desk over coming months. They all need to be finished ahead of the NZTC but I would like to get them done for “Ruination” in January.

The following weekend I have Vermintide but on the Sunday I am going to take the opportunity to have a repair session on my existing tournament terrain. Most of it is kept in large plastic bins and so it does get knocked around a little bit when being transported, set up and stowed away. However, now the tournament season has finished I think it can be repaired and put away ready for next year with the investment of 8-10 hours.

I must say that I’m lucky with the local tournament community who take great care of the terrain at events. Breakages are minimal and easily fixed.

Special Character Poll

The post early this week on Special Characters sparked enormous comment both on the blog and also Twitter.  I’ve been accused of trolling, playing mind games and implementing diversionary tactics in the lead up to the Masters. In fact, I was asked whether I envied Throgg’s honorific and whether I had considered renaming the site “Fields of Trolls”.

So, let’s address that first. I fundamentally believe that – Special Characters aside – you can play Warhammer straight out of the book with minimal comp. I believe that the external balance between books is currently the best it has been in ten years. However, the inclusion of Special Characters introduces balance considerations. Generally 90% of Special Characters are fine and have no undue influence on army balance. There are though up to 10% who skew normal balance considerations. That is why I don’t like Special Characters.

I thought I’d run a poll with a couple of questions and people can give specific feedback on Special Characters.

Question 1: Should all Special and Named Characters be banned under FOB-Lite Comp?
A. Yes
B.  No

Question 2: If you answered “No” to Q1, should specific characters be banned and/or have restrictions placed on them?
A.  No bans or restrictions
B.  No bans but some restrictions
C.  Some specific characters banned
D.  Mix of bans and restrictions

Question 3: If your answer to Q2 was that some bans and/or restrictions should be included, please list the characters you feel need attention and any suggestions to potential restrictions (if deemed warranted).

Please put your responses in the Comments section. I appreciate the poll is not scientific, probably not balanced and if deconstructed the questions may demonstrate survey bias. That’s just the nature of my unbeautiful mind.