Friday, January 31, 2014

Warhammer Visions - Marvin Gaye Edition

So tomorrow is the big day for the re-launch of Games Workshop’s magazine offering.
Prepare to be disappointed.
Effectively we are getting a new weekly White Dwarf that will cost $7.00. That means that effectively monthly outlay will likely double – assuming you take the magazine each week. This will have the New Releases, painting articles, Jervois’ insight, Battle Reports and even rules. Don’t get excited about the rules though I’m guessing this won’t be additional material rather it will be a reprint from the latest Army Book/Codex/Supplement to pad out material supporting the models on sale that week. Given the level of gravitas evident in the past 3-4 years, I’m not expecting anything more than a 5-10 minute read. Fun fact: It does have a return of the “Ask White Dwarf” column. I’m guessing that a lot of my questions wouldn’t make the cut.
The real problem, though, is the new monthly offering “Warhammer Visions”. It is in a new format – the smaller A5 rather than A4. This publication has pictures of miniatures taken in a gaming setting. The first issue has a battle report of sorts and a pseudo-WIP on a 40K Ork vehicle. The paper is good quality but it is really just a series of battle pictures.
Now there are a lot of problems with this magazine. The first is that by design it is retro. As it comes out the first week of the month, it conflicts with GW’s new release schedule. Therefore it will always be looking backwards. Secondly, it is almost totally devoid of narrative. The pictures are accompanied by a short paragraph or sentence “The Sternguard’s surprise attack rattles the Tau Fire Warriors” repeated in German and Spanish.
So what do I think is going on? And how will “Warhammer Visions” play out?
Well I don’t think it will be here in 18 months with the possibility to be gone in 12 months. Why? Well I don’t understand its niche. It is just a series of unrelated photos. I’m pretty convinced people don’t have a pressing need for this. There’s this wonderful invention called the internet and I’m told if you go into “The Google” you can search for images all by yourself.
So why do I think GW are releasing it? Well first it is not coming out in digital form, it is purely a print offering. You’d think that if there was a long term commitment there would be some buy-in to what is becoming the industry norm. They did this for the old White Dwarf, why not Warhammer Visions?
I’ll tell you why. This is purely a contractual release. Games Workshop are going to transfer existing White Dwarf subscriptions across to Warhammer Visions so they have to refund less money paid upfront. They are banking on the fact that if there is a monthly “product” less subscribers will request refunds given the change in offering. It is pure and simple a cynical financial measure. As subscriptions roll off it will reach a point where it is not economical to produce vis a vis contingent liability that they can call it a day.
In the meantime efforts will go into developing a digital weekly White Dwarf and a subscriber copy that would get physical copy delivered in time. The physical delivery service over the past 16 months – since last relaunch – has been abysmal. Issues have been arriving 2-3 weeks after release day or in some cases not at all – requiring them to send replacements. I have no confidence that GW would be able to deliver to a weekly release date and believe that is the reason why it is currently shop only. I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid that it is purely to get people physically into the stores(I’m sure the White Knights will fly to the rescue and say that I wrong – not buying it).
So in my view Warhammer Visions has all the hallmarks of being a monumental clusterfuck.
Time will tell if I am correct.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Meet The New Bully

So just how strong is the new Dark Elves book?
If you read international WHFB the answer is quite clearly………….very.
Obviously there are an enormous number of variables to consider – victory conditions, scoring system, use of scenarios, acceptability of Special Characters etc. – but the maddening throng are labelling Dark Elves as “the Next Big Thing”.
So why is that opinion emerging?
Well first and foremost it is the new unit – Doomfire Warlocks. Not only are they Fast Cavalry, they also have two poisoned Strength 4 rider attacKs, a 4+ Ward Save, they are also magic users with little or no downside. One spell is Doombolt (and tbh I think the casting value is sufficiently high to reflect its damage output) but the jewel is the second spell, Soulblight. Combined with the Fast Cavalry rule it is easy to get this unit where required to get a bubble Soulblight off at the crucial time. The Horror-esque casting mechanic just makes things more of a risk free option. They also function as a Level 2 caster for magic defense.
So the Warlocks are attracting a lot of heat. Most competitive lists you’ll see two units of 5, all for the not so princely sum of 125 points per unit. For the real adventurous there is an opportunity to create a bus with characters bringing MR2 capability to deliver a 2+ Ward Save against Magic Missiles, DD spells and the like.

But before you go looking under your bed for Warlocks, remember they don’t come unaccompanied. The darlings of 7th Ed, Shades, are still there providing scouting, skirmishing firepower with ASF combat ability. Repeater Bolt Throwers have re-emerged – why wouldn’t you at 70 points – being cheap enough to be expendable. Dark Riders provide more Fast Cavalry (and mobile firepower) while access to magic lores has been expanded so DE can utilise all the eight main colleges. Of course it is hard for them to go past Death and generally your Sorceress will be sniping like a bitch!
If you haven’t got six units of Dark Riders (yet) then you can use Witch Elves to fill out your Core. These little ladies work as throwaway MSU units or Cauldron-ed and Hellebron-ed up to give you a hammer. And not a nice hammer but a filthy, scratchy, poisoned hatchet!
To round it out you get two high end Special Characters with the afore-mentioned Hellebron and the Mother of Tears, Morathi (+8 to cast, gazooks). These are backed up by your amount of 1+ AS, ASF, Pegasus-riding, Great Weapon-toting characters.
And don’t get me started on the Medusa……”those things are broken”*
So no wonder every bandwagonner from Te Atatu Peninsula, Tauranga, Linton, Otaki to the deep South in Invercargill is jumping on the Pain Train! Hang up those Daemon Princes, disperse that Skink Cloud, put the Phoenix back in the freezer, take the book back to the library…..Dark elves are where it’s at!

* The immortal phrase uttered by NZ ETC player Mal Patel at Ruination.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Over There - UK's Mohammer Updated

One of the more popular comp packs in the UK last year was the so-called Mo-Hammer pack. It has just been updated and you can see the latest iteration here

It's interesting to see how other locales view the meta. There is no comment in this as to scoring systems but it seems to have been designed for 20-0 scoring.

Certainly his take on armies - and the feedback on The Warhammer Forum where it was posted - would differ from that of some NZ players. However we should always be mindful that given the size of our community player skill potentially has a greater impact on tournament results.

Anyway have at it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Warhammer Fantasy - Downsize Me?

Over the past week there have been numerous rumours emerging that any reboot of the Warhammer Fantasy game will be focused on making the game smaller.
These moves are apparently driven by feedback from customers that the cost of entry to Warhammer fantasy is too high. This barrier has resulted in less new customers taking the game up.
Now there is so much that could be said around the drivers that create the barriers to entry - it seems in GW world that figure cost is not one of them. However I do think that they are missing one of the key reasons people play Fantasy over say 40k or dare I say it Warmachine. WHFB is an army scale game rather than a skirmish game and while some people are drawn by the fluff I'm sure that there are just as many drawn by scale of the game i.e. manoeuvring blocks of infantry. I know I'm attracted by that aspect more so than the derivative Tolkeinesque fluff.
I would hope that GW think long and hard before they take radical steps to downsize the game dramatically. Once that genie is out of the bottle they may not like all the consequences.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Flames of War Rankings Updated

The rankings have been updated for the Late War Valleycon event.

Latest Terrain Piece From Tabletop World

Tabletop World in Croatia have released their latest terrain piece, the Coaching Inn.

I've ordered a copy and it should arrive any day now.

My intention is to have it painted in time for Runefang VII in April

GW Confirms "New" White Dwarf Rumours

White Dwarf, now weekly.
Available exclusively through Games Workshop stores, independent retailers, and White Dwarf is an exciting and essential weekly hobby magazine that contains something for every hobbyist, every week - guaranteed!
·    36 pages of everything that is exciting and new in the hobby this week.
·    Detailed information on all the week’s other new releases, and the latest hobby news.
·    New features, new modelling and painting techniques, new rules, new columnists and much more.
·    All this every week for the same price as a single Citadel pot of paint!
Issue No.1 launches Saturday 1st Feb and subsequent issues follow every Saturday
Warhammer: Visions, now monthly.
Experience a visual feast of super high-quality Citadel Miniatures.  In more than 230 pages you’ll find a completely new take on the worlds of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 in a stunning new extended pictorial style.
·    Contains all your favourite sections from Army of the Month and Blanchitsu, to Kit Bash and Paint Splatter.
·    Over 70 more pages than the previous monthly White Dwarf with more Golden Demon and Armies on Parade photos and more fantastic photographs of Citadel miniatures than ever before.
And it’s wrapped up in a fabulous new format that you will want to keep and collect! Issue No.1 out Saturday 1st February

So we now have a weekly White Dwarf to coax us into the Hobby Centres and hopefully trigger that part of the brain that initiates impulse purchases. The weekly is hard copy only - not digital.

What this may mean is that we could see more splash releases of models away from the main monthly release as GW has 4 weeks to fill. This would clear some of the backlog of releases that the Studio is likely to have generated. It also immediately monetises this backlog which is something I suspect GW is keen on.

We had the fanfare or a White Dwarf re-launch 15 months ago. I hope that the delivered product offers more this time.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Kickstarter - Secret Weapon Miniatures - Tablescapes: Urban Streets

Mid last year I backed a Kickstarter by Secret Weapon Miniatures for their Tablescapes projects. They were looking to create 1 foot by 1 foot tiles that you could use in your gaming.

Now I have a Realm of Battle Gameboard (okay two and a half) but what attracted me to this project was the variety of themes they offered.

The initial offering was "Scrapyard" but as stretch targets they offered "Urban Streets", "Damaged Urban Streets", "Rolling Hills" and "Ruined Temple".

The ones that I was interested in were the Urban Street tiles, so I pledged for 36 tiles in a mix of Damaged and Undamaged forms.

Secret Weapon Miniatures have released WIP shots from the factory and I'll include them here for you to feast your eyes on!

The detail on the tiles looks excellent. They are being shipped in March and I can't wait to get them.

Hobbytime Headstart

Given I have introduced a painting schedule to get the Death Guard ready for Adepticon, the key thing is to ensure that I actually do the necessary hobby work it requires.
One thing I have done to achieve this is started painting in the morning before I head out for the day. To allow this I set my alarm clock half an hour earlier and I find that this gives me 30-45 minutes of hobby time I wasn't otherwise getting.
Normally it is a quiet time of the day so I've found it quite a relaxing start. It also takes some pressure off at the end of the day. I generally find that when I get home I want to vege for half an hour to an hour so hobby goes on the backburner.
The Grave Wardens are now all base-coated and ready for transfers and the oil wash before highlights and weathering powders. Next up on the desk are five Deathshroud. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Meanwhile on the History Channel

The current nonsense going on with the game is not unprecedented.

Rare footage unearthed in Berlin shows that even one of the most influential figures of the 20th Century despaired at times.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Clan Skyre Sabotage

I'm getting the feeling that Seerlord Morskitta is currently having to operate under budgetary constraints. That (or Clan Skyre sabotage) can be the only explanation for the mishaps that have befallen him recently.

In particular I believe he has purchased a dodgy batch of Doomrockets. At Ruination over the weekend the "Magic" weapon misfired in three of the four games. In the other it clipped two models of its target unit. What a waste of 30 points. Surely it must be a concession to take it?

But perhaps it's not the products themselves but instead the Clan Skyre suppliers. Morskitta set up a beautiful and wondrous shot with one of the Warp Lightning Cannons - strangely the one Skyre supplied the night before - and yet it misfired destroying two Plague Claw Catapults and 25 Stormvermin with a misdirected beam.

Oh how we loled.........Not

GW Apocalypse - Financial Edition

Last Thursday Games Workshop released their interim report for the six months to December 2013. This showed Operating Profit down 38% and when the stock opened it fell 24%.
Since then it has been open season on the internet. The full range of responses have been evident from outright glee to "Keep Calm and Don't Panic". Suffice to say internet forums and wargaming blogs are not the first place I'd go to get financial advice and the response to the GW result has reinforced that in spades.
The first thing people have appeared to have missed is the GW did not lose money. They just did not make as much money as they did in the same period last year. In fact GW has not lost money since 2004. The drop in share price is a reaction to profit expectations. Investors were pricing the share based on certain earnings expectations and they did not eventuate so the price is adjusted to the new expectations.
So what does this all mean? Well GW isn't broke and isn't going to be broke anytime soon. It has little debt and has cash reserves of GBP 9 million. However even Games Workshop would be able to say with a straight face "This is Great News!"
The most telling metric was that turnover was down 12% on the same time last year. This takes out any seasonal variation. However even this figure needs to be looked at in context. First the positive; these turnover figures were achieved in a period where new Playstation and xBox consoles were released. Now GW might not see these as competing products but I'm going to say any Venn Diagram of Warhammer/40k players would show an overlap with console gaming. Given finite hobby spend then you'd expect an impact on Gw products. Second, the negative; this has occurred against a backdrop of GW's accelerated release schedule - five books for each system in the past 12 months. From a 40k viewpoint this includes two elephants - Space Marines and Eldar. All things being equal I would have expected a significant increase in sales given the refreshed IP and new releases associated with it. To have turnover reduce against such a release schedule should at least be viewed as problematic.
So how has the internet reacted? With its usual hyperbole.
The change in reporting lines of GW shops in Germany directly to the UK Head Office was seen and reported as "GW closing down Germany". No, what they were doing was removing a layer of management.
A comment on Facebook regarding the transfer of GWNZ's Queen Street Store Manager to St. Luke's was extrapolated on WargamerAU to "Games Workshop Quits New Zealand".
A rumour surfaced that GW were "squat-ing" Beastmen, Wood Elves, Bretonnians and Tomb Kings. Why they would remove a quarter of their range from the game was not supported with any evidence other than they weren't on store shelves in Hobby Centres anymore. Here's a little lesson on inventory control. If you have 30 stores in a region and 10 products in a specific range (say Fishmen), all of which are unspectacular sellers. Rather than having each shop carry those products - inventory 300 - you supply on an as needs basis from the warehouse - inventory 50. This can be done by in-store ordering - wow look GW have these terminals - or from home via this funky new invention, the internet.
More likely what is going to happen is exactly what we've seen with Sisters of Battle. Codex/Army Book goes to digital i.e. DLC via iBooks and product supplied from stock centre either to hobby centre or to your letterbox. Why would they shelve something where they have a sunk cost and any sale from here is gravy. Does it mean we'll see new models? Not as per the current release practice. However the new White Dwarf form allows a load more scope for supplementary releases.
So overall the sky is not falling, the end is not nigh nor can we expect a firesale any time soon. What we can expect is continued changes to their retail and inventory procedures while they try to squeeze every last dollar they can over coming periods.
A lot of what GW does pisses me off. For example the Embargo has not led to nirvana for Australia/New Zealand sales - no, not at all. Revenue is down by 22% which is far worse than any other jurisdiction. Surprising to no-one but GW we haven't rushed into our local GW and purchased product. Instead people have looked at other games or being resourceful buggers continued to source product from offshore….or cut back on purchases. Hard to view this other than a Wil-E-Coyote moment.
Similarly the attitude of the company to "veteran" gamers. Yes I understand that new gamers are the target market but seriously do they think they will get sufficient new customers to grow purely through exposure to GW Hobby Centres and White Dwarf? Whether they like it or not existing gamers are ambassadors for the game and I can't help thinking they would be better off having them inside the tent rather than outside.
And while I know the new White Dwarf Weekly and Warhammer Visions is Great News. So was the re-launch of White Dwarf 15 months ago, the introduction of Finecast, the cluster-f#4k which is Warhammer 40k 6th Edition. We're not stupid. If it looks like a duck etc. You don't have to tell us what we think, really.
There you have my thoughts on the GW Apocalypse that has been sweeping the net. Remember you can always stop a vortex at any time.

Ruination in Warhammer Rankings

Ruination has been added to the. Rankings. As anticipated it has had little impact given that four round events only have a contribution of 80%. This lower ranking contribution is in keeping with the fun aspect of the event. However it does give both Tom Dunn and Raymond Dick a second ranking result, moving both back up the table

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ruination Results

Ruination - 4000 points of Mayhem - was played on the weekend. Four rounds using Battleline and Blood & Glory scenarios.

Here are the results:

Tom and Raymond fought out a tough 10-10 in the last round while Jeff - strangely avoiding all the Dwarfs - was fast-finishing in 3rd.

Mike King picked up Best Sport.

Thanks to Jeff for umpiring and to all the players for making it a great gaming weekend.

EDIT: Apparently the result of Hagen vs Stuart was not entered and so their point totals are incorrect. Hagen scored 38 points placing him 11th while Stuart totalled 22 points (unchanged placing)

Friday, January 17, 2014

WHFB Event Calendar

The observant amongst you will see there is now a Warhammer Fantasy Events Calendar tab on the FOB banner

You can click there and see upcoming events here in New Zealand with information on venue, points, comp, umpire and a contact.

I've populated the calendar with those events (and details) I know.

If TOs/Umpires would like their event promoted then just send me the details. All I ask is that you have the venue and date confirmed before you do.

Ruination Tomorrow

So tomorrow Ruination kicks off the 2014 Tournament Year.

I'm really appreciative that this event has been supported by the local community. It is a tournament I've wanted to run for a few years but have never progressed until now.

The genesis of a 4000 point event comes from my attendance at Kompleat Fanatic in Melbourne in 2007. This event was run by long time Victorian GW Head Honcho  Andrew Long. Using early 7th Ed rules I used 4000 points of Ogres. Other players had allied armies but I was lucky enough to play against 4000 points of O&G in one game and 4000 points of Lizards in another. I have fond memories of a unit of three Rhinox Riders destroying a 2nd Gen Slaan and 26 Temple Guard in a single round of combat. I also remember them fleeing off the board as a result of panic.

Anyway what struck me was the grandeur of the armies. They were big, really big. And that's what I hope we achieve this weekend. Big Armies and big battles with significant events that people remember long after the dust has settled.

And there will be pictures Monday.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Jobs Half Done

One of my biggest disappointments with Games Workshop over the last 12 months or so has been with regard to the issuance of FAQ.
About 18 months ago there was great fanfare that FAQs for the two core games would be issued regularly; the Studio had dedicated resource to doing this etc.
And for 6-9 months they did. The customer was happy, the feedback positive…..You'd go on forums or blogs and people would be glowing (myself included). GW had turned a corner re their rules support.
However it was a false dawn. We have now had nothing since mid last year. Very simple clarifications required for the Lizardmen Book, the Dark Elves haven't eventuated nor have unanswered questions that had backed up in regards of previous books.
GW, have rightly been congratulated for upping the speed of the release schedule. However they have failed miserably in providing ongoing rules support. Yet again they have been seen to overpromise and under deliver (same with the relaunch of White Dwarf, the introduction of Finecast and so on).
They make it easy for the critics to deliver pot-shots by failing at some simple things. They compound that situation when they make great fanfare re their intentions. If you wish to remain objective you find that GW Central Office are great… providing regular doses of disappointment.
Must be hard for the frontline staff who have to trot the company line "This is great news…." Knowing that their customers are going to be let down.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Painting to a Deadline

Adepticon is less than 12 weeks away and I realised that I need to get off my backside and get my Death Guard Legion force finished for the Horus Heresy event (it might even be a good idea to have a game of Sixth Edition before I go.

So over lunch today I totalled up what Death Guard models I still had to paint - 23 infantry (11 of which are Terminators), a Spartan, a Javelin and a Vindicator. That will give me around 2100 points to choose my 1850 point army from.

In true Project Manager fashion, I set up three Steering Committees, wrote Terms of Reference, constructed a PID and submitted it to the Programme Management Office. Like Hell, I did.

Ignoring the tenets of the Contractor Work Creation Industry, I got out a piece of paper and drew up a schedule. It blocked out gaming weekends - Ruination, HomeCon, NZTC and ETC Practice Days - and then allocated a certain number of nights to each unit. It took 15-20 minutes and it gave me a workable plan. More importantly it told me if I realistically wanted to get it finished and have some practise then I need to start now.

Far better to do something as rudimentary as this than to wait until a month....hey a week....out and burn the midnight candle.

So here is my schedule and now I've just got to follow it.

With technology like this I may even do a display board!

My Ruination Predictions

After looking through the Ruination lists here are my predictions for the Top 3 spots. Being a 4000 point event over 4 rounds it is a little harder to predict but based on the lists:

#3 - Hugh Dixon (High Elves)

The Book, the Banner and not one but two Dragons. This list is going to cause our Dwarven friends all sorts of problems. A big unit of White Lions and also one of Phoenix Guard and surprisingly only a single Frostheart. With this much firepower it's hard to see how Hugh won't be challenging for the top tables.

#2 - Joel van de Ven-long (Empire)

Not only the Emperor but two Level 4s and an Arch Lector. Yes Joel you can take up to 1000 points of Lords, but it doesn't mean you should. Minimal Core (check) but almost half of that is 1+ AS, 10 more Knights in Special, Demigryphs, a Steam Tank. It would be poetic justice if he played Metal Magic all weekend.

#1 - Raymond Dick (Dark Elves)

The only thing thing that could make this nastier would be two units of 10 Warlocks. Thankfully Ray has shown restraint and only brought a single unit of 5. This is a great list with excellent choice of Special Characters. Facing Morathi is a task, also facing Hellebron....eurghhh. With Ray driving it he'll win the event going away.

My fervent hope is that the three Dwarfs end up playing each other or even better Skink clouds all weekend.

FluffyCon at Battlecry - 15/16 February

I asked Richard Barby, Umpire at this year's Fantasy event at Battlecry to give me the lowdown on Fluffycon.

Fluffycon makes its return as this year’s Battlecry. Why come and play at Fluffycon I hear you

Well Fluffycon is a fun weekend like most Warhammer weekends however this is a
 weekend where it’s about your skill as a player alone and not about writing the hardest meanest

I have selected the Swedish comp to use for the weekend to even out some of the harder armies compared to some of the weaker ones.

It's also at Battlecry the biggest gaming weekend in the country and the closest thing new Zealand has to gaming convention
TO: Richard Barby (

VENUE: ASB Events Centre, Kohimarama, Auckland

DATES: 15th and 16th of February 2014

Hopefully the event will be well supported by the local community and will also attract out of towners to what I'm sure will be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bite The Bullet

Over the weekend I was downstairs in the Dunn-geon and looked at how much untainted hobby material I have. Quick answer - Too much.

So I've added to my New Years resolutions and committed to not buying any untainted plastic, metal or resin models in 2014. Bold call but it needs to be done or the modelling equivalent of the 1980's EEC butter mountain will never get any smaller.

My last purchases were all in 2013 and I've now gone 14 days without buying models - only 351 days to go.  These last purchases have now arrived - Savage Orcs, two boxes of Demigryphs and 20 old metal Corsairs. So Trade Me, eBay, Kickstarter and all web stores are off limits for untainted models.

Of course I am leaving myself some outs - Forgeworld Horus Heresy Death Guard and Emperors Children specific models are still fair game as are terrain pieces by Tabletop World. Everything else is verboten.

I'll let you know if (when) I lapse.

More Thoughts on Triumph & Treachery

Reading through the rules again last night I found that there was one rule we had overlooked. That is that whoever scores the most VPs in any given phase picks up an extra brass coin - 50MPs. This means that there is an incentive to pick a list that competes in every phase to build your kitty.

I was listening to Skull Bros Awesome and they had been playing T&T and had been awarding VPs for each individual model removed. My reading is that it is Victory Points and so it is who finishes the unit get the points - which is how we played it.

The other question is re Army Size. We discussed it after the game and came to the conclusion that you want 5000-6000 points on a 6' x 4' table. That means about 1000-1200 for 5 players, erring on the side of caution ie 1000 points.

One thing that can occur is the potential for a player two have two turns in a row and you need to factor that into plans. Turn order takes place by random draw and can vary turn to turn. Therefore when it comes to your turn you know that if somebody has already gone that game turn then there is a 50/50 chance you'll have two turns before their next turn. This opens up all sorts of possibilities....and risks.

Looking forward to my next game!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Taking Triumph & Treachery For A Test-Drive

On Sunday Peter and Neil Williamson, Mike King, Ryan Lister and myself had a game of GW’s Warhammer Expansion: Triumph and Treachery. For those that don’t know this is a set of rules to play multiplayer games where each person fights their own corner.

We decided to use 1200 point armies with Peter using High Elves, Mike Lizards, Neil Bretonnians, Ryan warriors of Chaos and me, Skaven. It was interesting to see the makeup of people’s armies:

Peter – Level 4 (Beasts), 20ish Spearmen, 5 Shadow warriors, 5 Reavers, 10 Silver Helms and a Frostie.

Ryan – Slaanesh Lord, 16 Chaos Warriors, two Slaanesh Chariots, a Spawn, 5 Hounds and a Hellcannon

Mike – Scar-Vet on Cold-One, 24ish Saurus, 3x 10 Skink skirmishers, Skrox block, 2 Salamanders

Neil – Bret Lord, Paladin BSB, 2 KotR Lances, 30 Men at Arms, 5 Yeoman

Me – Warlord, BSB, Level 2, Level 1, 22 Stormvermin, 2x 35 Slaves, 8 Gutter Runners, Hell Pit Abomination

So a real mix of troop types. Peter was the odd man out and while the rest of us deployed in the corners, he was forced between Neil and Mike. The scenario played rewarded the person nearest the table centre point with 100 MPs per turn.

The game was great fun and while there wasn’t much treachery there was a lot of hilarity. Some of the memorable moments were:

  • A Hellcannon misfire that hit Peter’s Silver Helms killing 8 out of 10
  • A Slaanesh Chaos lord who never fought a combat
  • Mike’s relentless pursuit of the Phoenix that wiped out a unit of skinks and salamanders Turn One. He chased it down and finally poisoned it to death.
  • Neil’s Bretonnian Lord HKBing the Hell Pit only for it to get up with 6 wounds and kill the Lord and his unit
  • A very strange Doomrocket shot misfire that killed 16 Stormvermin.....very strange
  • The Bret Pegasus unit that charged the lone Skaven BSB and lost their Champion before killing him in the second round. They were then destroyed by the lone Warlord with Weeping Blades and a Potion of Strength
  • Ryan picking up Peter's Spearmen and Mage Lord on the last turn to jump from 5th to 2nd.
However Peter W was the clear winner slowly accumulating points throughout the game despite being hammered in the last few turns. At the end he had less models left on the table but plenty of money in his paychest.

Overall it was a great afternoon of gaming. And there are still more scenarios to try.

NZTC Spots

A couple of the Grumpy Old Men have decided the pleasures of a Bruce Springsteen* concert (and likely the good humour of their wives) hold more attractions than the NZTC. Charlatans.

So this means two spots have opened up for the NZTC on the Grumpy Old Men. Now I've been assured you don't have to be old, or even particularly grumpy to take up one of these spots.

You can either contact me at or Mike King (a Grumpy Original) to take up the spot or spots. It would be great if someone could so that we ensure we retain an even number of teams.

* Joe Strummer said famously that if Springsteen hadn't got his drivers licence he'd have nothing to sing about

Friday, January 10, 2014

White Dwarf - TheTimes They Have Changed

There is breaking news hitting the intrawebs re White  Dwarf

White Dwarf will be changing from monthly to weekly, meaning releases will be spread across the space of a month rather than all at once. 

The change will mean army updates will now start with the codex/armybook with a few new releases (kit Re-do's) on the first week and bigger or newer kits the second week. With the hobbit releases on the third week and other releases on the fourth though how pre-orders will work is still yet to be seen. White dwarf will be smaller with about just 34 pages and prices will also drop to about £2.40 in the UK per weekly issue. All hobby related articles except painting guides on the new releases will be removed.

 The new monthly magazine will focus on just 40k and fantasy hobby like modeling, painting, converting etc.. This will be bigger than the current white dwarf but will also be around £7.50 UK price. This will feature things like army on parade and army of the month style displays aswell as hobby tips, conversions, paint schemes and much more.

This means people can just buy the issues that feature products they are interested in rather than a whole white dwarf, and those who prefer the hobby side can buy a magazine just dedicated to hobby rather than advertisements. The anouncement is set to be this saturday, with the new style of magazines starting from the first of February.

So this is a major change. 

Two things jump out:

1) People won't be able to negatively compare and talk of golden days of WD

2) I think this is the next fight in the war to stop leaks 


This is from the Helsinki GW facebook page: 

Stop press, we have a new format of White Dwarf incoming! 

Starting February 1st. White Dwarf will appear weekly. Within it's 32 pages you'll find everything you need to know about all the week’s other new releases and latest hobby news. 

You’ll also find new features, new modelling and painting techniques, new rules, new columnists and much more. All of this will be available, for the price of a paint pot! 

Alongside the the new White Dwarf, we'll have a brand new magazine; Warhammer: Visions. Warhammer: Visions contains all your favourite sections from the old monthly White Dwarf – from Army of the Month and Blanchitsu, to Kit Bash and Paint Splatter. This 232 page tome will be available on the first Saturday of every month, for only 9€! 

For those of you with subcriptions to the old White Dwarf, fear not, you will still be able to use them monthly. We'll have more information on the subscriptions for you on Thursday, so check back with us to find out how the new system will work

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ruination 4000 Lists Released

......and it looks like I have brought a small scritchy paw to a gunfight.

You can check out the lists here

Toughest lists are Hugh Dixon's High Elves, Joel van de Ven-Long's Empire and my pick Raymond Dick's Dark Elves.

Two of the three Dwarfs have brought the most unimaginative lists possible.

And a chocolate fish to the man who has to play 4 Lizards

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

ETC 2014 Comp Pack - Draft 2

The Army Restrictions Committee (AR.Com) have released the second draft of their comp for ETC 2014.

I thought a few readers might be interested in what they are coming up with.

A copy of it is posted here

As always observations welcome in the Comments section

February 2014 - The Lost Month

This was the month when nothing meaningful was released and hobbies were ruined.

Much boredom followed

And that's all I'm going to say on the matter. Wake me up in May.

Seerlord Morskitta's Urban Assault Vehicle - The Ruination 4000

Here's my list for Ruination:

Seerlord Morskitta - Screaming Bell, Skalm, Dragonbane Gem Earthing Rod

Chieftain - BSB, Standard of Discipline
Plague Priest - Level 1, Plague Furnace, Flail, Scrying Stone, Ironcurse Icon
Assassin - Weeping Blades, Potion of Strength
Engineer - Level 2, Doomrocket, Warp Condensor
Engineer - Level 1, Dispel Scroll
Engineer - Brass Orb

40 Slaves - Full Command
40 Slaves - Full Command
40 Slaves - Full Command
40 Clanrats - Full Command, Shields - Ratling Gun
29 Stormvermin - Full Command, Storm Banner
29 Stormvermin - Full Command
2 Rat Swarms
2 Rat Swarms
2 Rat Swarms

34 Plague Monks - Full Command, Banner of Dripping Death
9 Gutter Runners - Poison, Slings
9 Gutter Runners - Poison, Slings
5 Poison Wind Globadiers
5 Poison Wind Globadiers

Warp Lightning Cannon
Warp Lightning Cannon
Plagueclaw Ratapult
Plagueclaw Ratapult
Hell Pit Abomination

So seven infantry blocks, 4 warmachines, sprinkling of chaff and a bag of tricks a weasel would be proud of.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Update on 2014 Fields of Blood Events

Okay, I have venue confirmed for a lot of the Fields of Blood events in 2014. Horned Rat VII will need to be moved to July

Edit: Horned Rat VII now confirmed for late May. Only viable date for venue. 


Ruination (4000 Points) - January - Sold Out
NZ Teams Championships - March- Sold Out
Runefang VII - April 26/27
Horned Rat VII - May 24/25
Warpfire III (1000 points) - August 30
Skitterleap 2014 - October 25/26
NZ Masters - December 6/7

So this is all FOB dates confirmed, venue booked

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fields of Blood 2013 Awards - Part II

So Part I covered the GW releases for the year, Part II will cover the remainder of the Warhammer Fantasy field.

Best Kickstarter - 2013 was really the year of the Kickstarter and there were a number of great to not so great ones. The two I single out for praise were the Secret Weapons Miniatures "Tablescapes" and the one that gets my vote Mierce Miniatures Darklands. Rising from the ashes of Maelstrom Games this Kickstarter gave discounted access to the existing Bane Legions range but also provided investment for a bunch of new sculpts.

Best Local Tournament - Ok, I'm biased but I believe that the NZ Team Championships were the tournament highlight of the year. Not only did it attract most of the top tournament gamers but it also introduced team tournaments to a lot of the locals. It is no surprise that the 2014 event sold out six months prior to the event.

Best Non-FOB Tournament - Given my best event was an FOB organised event I thought I'd award another event the seal of approval. The event I enjoyed most was the NiCon Fantasy Event in Napier in June. Away from home, a good though small field and well run by Jeff Kent. It gets my vote ahead of Panzerschreck.

Best Blog of the Year - By far the best was Raffazza Time by Raf Harbinson in London. Always insightful and thought-provoking it was great to see some in-depth comment on the game, tactics and list design.

Best Local Blog of the Year - I have to give this to Tim Joss's Plastic Krak. Tim always had early access to pictures of upcoming releases and for this alone was invaluable. Mixed in were some good insights on the game and his list design.

Best Podcast of the Year - While the quantity of Warhammer Podcasts increased over the course of the year, I'm not sure that the quality did. All too often the end results had poor production quality, were woefully unstructured or strayed way off topic and suffered from "And then I rolled a 6" syndrome. Two I did find really good were "Pointhammered" and "Skull Bros Awesome" and in general I enjoyed the US-based casts more than those frome other parts of the world. However overall my vote goes to Bad Dice Daily which was consistently good, varied in content and tight with its production values.

Most Influential Rule of the Year - the introduction of Mark of Nurgle being -1 to Hit. First Daemon Prince, Gorebeast Chariots and then GUO, Plaguebearers, Drones and especially Beasts of Nurgle infested our tables.

Best Painted Army - the best painted army I saw this year was Graeme Fry's High Elves. Technically these were top notch and while they have been on the scene for a couple of years they are still the benchmark.

Best Presented Army - Skitterleap this year saw the proliferation of display boards - it's a wonder what one point on your painting score can generate. Those that were there saw a significant uplift in the presentation standard of armies. Head and shoulders above any was Charlie Lloyd's Dark Elves complete with their own Dark Tower.

Most Innovative Player - An easy one this - Peter Williamson. He always came up with interesting lists that generated power through synergy. A lot of people dismissed his lists as weak but generally because they become focused on netlists and any deviation takes them out of their comfort zone.

Worst Gaming Accessory - Pink dice with white pips. Two podcasts released them this year - Bad Dice and Black Sun - and both sets of dice were a nightmare to play against. The colour combination didn't work. Sorry.

Best Gaming Accessory - the iPad. Especially with GW, Quartermaster and Army Builder all releasing apps. I know have lists, rules, army books and FAQs at the swipe of the finger. It is such a shame GW do not release their Army Books and Rules in iPad format here in NZ. A UK iTunes account is a must to maximise the potential.

Best New Tournament Player in 2013 - again I think this one is relatively clearcut - Jeff Kent. Jeff arrived in February and was very unlucky to eventually miss the Masters. He won his first event in Tauranga with a Lizardmen Skink Cloud and is now working on a fourth army, Dark Elves.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Forgeworld - Calas Typhon, First Captain of the Death Guard

A New Year "surprise" with the first FW release being the First Captain of the Death Guard, Calas Typhon.

When I say surprise, this model featured late last year as the Xmas Jigsaw Model. It is a very characterful model and the paintjob really emphasises the no-nonsense nature of the Legion.

The model comes with a custom plinth for display purposes. And yes, I've already ordered it!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Fields of Blood 2013 Awards - GW Edition

It is the time of the year to do a wrapup of the year that was so without any further ado, here are my awards for 2013 - in no particular order. This first section will look at GW Fantasy releases.

Best  Infantry Model - in 2012 it was the Nurgle Chaos Lord and this year for me it clearly was Skink Priest. What a fantastic model and no wonder so many Golden Daemon painters chose it.

Worst Infantry Model - there can only be one winner this year and that is the Loremaster of Hoeth. Whoever thought it would be good to have a Swordmaster running while projecting a squid from his hand.....well, you got it wrong. Everything about this model looks wrong. Please don't do it again.

Best Warhammer Unit Models - for me these were the Plague Drones. A brand new unit and a truly inspired design. I painted up six of these models and they were a real pleasure to paint. Something GW hadn't done before and they added to the spectacle of the Daemon army. I don't think that the website paintjob does them justice.
Worst Warhammer Unit Models - there weren't any stinkers this year and so it was hard to come up with something for this. In the end I was picky. The new Dark Elf Executioners are a step back from the exquisite metal models of the previous edition. There's something about the pose that represents an opportunity lost. This may well be a function of the need to produce dual kits.

Best Warhammer Single (Non-Infantry) Model - a little bit of a cheat here as it was released at the backend of 2012. Nothing came close to the absolutely stunning Slaaneshi Chariots. Again a real triumph of design and a new take when they could have taken safe option (see entry above).

Worst Warhammer Single (Non-Infantry) Model - and from the sublime to the ridiculous. In 2012 it was the Warshrine but in 2013 there can be only one winner. The Skullcannon of Khorne. What Were They Thinking! Not only does it look out of place in the Old World its overall design is ghastly. The only redeeming feature is you can make it up as a Blood Throne....oh wait.

Best Warhammer Monster - for me there were no standout Monsters in 2013. Certainly nothing like the Araknarok Spider which is still GW's best. Probably the best was the Carnosaur which scores points for irs impressive size and the added extras you get with the kit.

Worst Warhammer Monster - This is my first tie and I can't really split what are two absolute stinkers. What is it about the Chaos Wastes that compels you to put your foot on a rock and punch your fist in the air (like you don't care). Chaos Lords do it. And now monsters do it.

So it's a tie between the Slaughterbrute and Throgg. Though looking at them together I'm now pretty sure that Throgg is slightly more dire. And at least you see him on the table.

Best Army Book - we were spoiled this year with five releases. Four were good releases in my eyes. The Lizardmen book tidied up a lot of 7th Ed hangovers but really suffered from a lack of Core choices. If anything it reinforced the netlist Skink Cloud build and introduced another underpointed Special Character, Pseudo Echo. The Daemons book had more possibilities than a bag full of weasels (though Beasts of Nurgle are 20 points undercosted IMO), while the High Elf book propelled them from also-ran to a very strong contender. But for me the Best Warhammer Army Book is the last released Dark Elves. It removed the 7th Ed hangovers AND gave a book with diversity and good internal/external balance. Warlocks are probably 5 points undercosted but although we have had three months the Net is no closer to publishing its list.

Worst Warhammer Army Book - Having mentioned the other four books, it is no surprise as to what I see as the weakest release. And when I say weakest I mean in terms of balance and mechanics because on-table the book has been a powerhouse. What were they thinking with making Chariots Core? Or including the updated 3rd Eye? Also Throgg as a Special Character that transfers Trolls to Core was particularly brainless. It is a real shame for what is one of the most characterful armies - Warriors of Chaos.

So that's my take on the GW releases for WHFB. Love to know your thoughts.

ETC Hammer Time & Scenarios

Over the holiday break I've been playing a few games of ETChammer to get used to the various changes in the core mechanics - Magic, LOS and VPs. Can generally say that that the changes aren't as huge as I thought they would be and require adjustments in play rather than a rethinking of the game.

The most radical thing is playing "Battleline" continuously. I can see this getting old very quickly. The scenarios bring something to the game and I always find it slightly humourous the thought that to be serious you shouldn't play them. I understand that at the ETC (with its multitude of variables) but not in singles games where they bring and added challenge to the table.

It does seem to be a very "English" thing as well. The UK tournaments - especially at the top end - seem to eskew them as the have the potential to be "unbalanced and ruin the game". All I can say to that is....nonsense. The rulebook scenarios force you to make concessions in your list, plan your composition and have a plan where you can accommodate what life throws at you. If this means, for instance, that Brets might need a unit of Men At Arms, then so be it.

So it was with some bemusement that I listened to a UK podcast review of 2013 where they bemoaned the lack of infantry in the game. Perhaps if they included scenarios in the event they organise they might see some different behaviour.Perhaps if they played Blood & Glory there might be a need for banners perhaps? Or Watchtower you might need that infantry block?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

NZTC Timetable

EDIT: I have had a request to start 30 minutes earlier on the Sunday to help with flights out of the Capital. So to that end the Sunday timetable will be moved forward on the Sunday starting at 8.00am.

However I would caution against booking flights leaving before 7.30pm as we can not guarantee it will run to time (2013 did) and take no responsibility for you making your flights.

I've been asked to post the timetable for the NZTC so people can make their travel bookings.

Saturday March 1

8:00-8:30 am - Registration

8:30-8:45am - Round One Matchups

8:45-11:15am - Round One

11:15-11:45am - Lunch

11:45am-12:00pm - Round Two Matchups

12.00-2:30pm - Round Two

2:30-3:00pm - Tiffin

3:00-3:15pm - Round Three Matchups

3:15-5:45pm - Round Three

Sunday March 2 

8:30-8:45am - Round Four Matchups

8:45-11:15am - Round Four

11:15-11:45am - Lunch

11:45am-12:00pm - Round Five Matchups

12.00-2:30pm - Round Five

2:30-3:00pm - Tiffin

3:00-3:15pm - Round Six Matchups

3:15-5:45pm - Round Six

6.00-6:15pm - Prizegiving

So for those working on transport out of Wellington Airport on the Sunday evening, you should look to book flights departing from 7:30pm (Airport Check-In 7:00pm).