Thursday, July 30, 2015

Interesting Insight from GW Financials

GW has just published its Annual report for the Financial Year ending May 2015

Earnings per Share: 38 pence

Dividend per Share: 52 pence

Putting aside the fact that they are paying out more than they earned, GW has obviously decided that cash is better in the hands of investors rather than re-invested back in the company. That's an interesting insight into how they few their long term prospects.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Warhammer v8.5?

Reading through the Ninth Age thread on The Warhammer Forum it seems contributors/posters fall into four camps:
  • Those that want 8th Edition updated to address known issues in existing rules - things like Pred Fighter, Swift Reforms etc
  • Those that want ETC mechanisms incorporated into the rules
  • Those that want a new edition with new rules, mechanisms - effectively a rewrite
  • Those that are either wish listing their army books or have an axe to grind against a race or unit
I'm not sure that the writers will be able to please everybody. In fact I know that they won't! My expectation is that their efforts will coalesce around the third of these options - an updated version of the Warhammer game.

Long term I think this will be good but I suspect getting there will be a long tortuous journey which probably requires more work than the authors envisage.

In the interim I'm keen to see whether any of the other of supposedly multitude of Warhammer initiatives beavering away out there is aimed at a more modest outcome? I'm especially interested to see whether any of them more address the first objective listed above - a minimal update of 8th to address known issues. I expect this is in essence a comprehensive FAQ.

If anyone is aware of such a document can they please tag it into the comments section. Before I start trying to collate one myself I'd prefer to draw on an existing resource.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

CTA Warhammer Fantasy

I've spoken with the registrar for Call to Arms and can confirm that there are 17 people registered so far for Fantasy.
If you haven't registered and are keen to play check out the players pack at

Friday, July 24, 2015

New Devastators Spotted

New Devastator model spotted on teh intawebz

Unfortunately they have left the backpack off.


Thursday, July 23, 2015


Over at The Warhammer Forum, there is an initiative to preserve a massed ranked battle game for Warhammer Fantasy Battles. You can find the forum here

The initiative is called "THE NINTH AGE" and is being led by members of the group that put together the Swedish Comp system and includes contributors to ETC comp and FAQs from the past few years.

Now generally I am skeptical of attempts to keep an unsupported game going. However I think that if there is any chance of success then it is probably best with this grouping of guys.

I'm really interested in what they come up with. There is a sneak peek of both rules and army construction ideas up with promise of a full beta within a couple of weeks (the intention is to have a playable copy available for discussion at this year's ETC).

While we don't know how Age of Sigmar is going to crystallise I think it's good that there may be alternatives available.

I'm looking to contribute ideas - under Skaven I've suggested a reintroduction of the "Mainstay" rule to ensure armies contain a backbone of Clanrats - which have the potential to breathe new life into existing books (preferably without a change in points). There are some point changes mooted - DE Warlocks are 35 points - so it will be interesting to read the discussions.

Interesting times.

EDIT: Sneak Peak of the first draft can be found here.....very much WIP with not all rules sections addressed and only two books (Beastmen and Daemons) given full review

Monday, July 20, 2015

Newton's Law

I was looking at what models I had bought this year…..mainly as my bank balance seemed unusually healthy.

Since the turn of the year I have purchased the following stuff:

  • Clampack Grey Seer (new) 
  • Clampack Warlord (new) 
  • Stormfiends box (new) 
  • Metal White Lions (subsequently sold) - used 
  • Metal/Plastic Chaos Dwarf army – used but unpainted 
  • Metal Archaon on Foot –used 
  • Metal Shorgar on Foot –used 5 
  • Metal Phoenix Guard and Eagle Bolt Thrower - used 
  • Tabletop World Bridge 

The great thing is that I have sold off more than enough to cover those purchases plus new airbrush(es), air brush paint set and weathering powder set. There have been less than 5-6 GW paints purchased in the year so far.

So I guess the Games Workshop premise that veterans don’t buy is at least partly true. However I would say that that is also – in part – self-imposed. Typically in the past I would spend $2-3,000 net on product each year. This is my main hobby and pastime. In addition to product spend I would have outlays attending events, many overseas. The local GW pricing policies have removed virtually all my local spending – apart from immediate requirements – because I don’t like being played for a fool. I therefore use a UK supplier such as Element Games or Firestorm Games and the Youshop service provided by NZ Post. This has in the past given savings of up to 40%. With the recent fall in the NZD this has diminished somewhat.

The other thing that curtailed my GW spending was the past year’s “cloud” around releases. GW has had in place a “no forward promotion” policy for the past 3 years – which I find ludicrous as it goes against pretty much every tenet of marketing. Compounding this we had the “End Times” and the wait for "9th".

 The ET release galvanised parts of the community who did not like the fluff direction. I enjoyed the story progression but felt the model/rules release –particularly in retrospect having seen the entirety – lacked the support and commitment that I would have expected from GW. In light of subsequent events it is hard to see it as anything other than a money grab from the company.

And this is probably what annoys me the most and has definitely factored into my buying habits.

Games Workshop knew 12-18 months ago that there was no “9th Edition”. They knew they were discontinuing the game and yet they sold expensive sourcebooks with rules they knew would be invalidated in 4-8 months. IMO that was a kick in the balls to the people that bought them. The target market was hobbyists/veterans and they sold them to them knowing full well they were shitting all over the very world they were shilling.

Yes you can use the models in the new game. But it is a new game. It was a radical departure from their behaviour of the past thirty years and they deliberately kept it hidden while they squeezed the last juice out of the orange.

Now I’m lucky. I hate the aesthetic of the new Stormcast models. I’m not looking for a new skirmish game. That makes it easy for me not to give Games Workshop my money. In effect, they have created the very situation of reducing a veteran’s hobby spend to zero. I appreciate I’m not their target market anymore….but you know what? I’m not sure I want to be the target customer of a company that treats its customers as GW has done over the past 18 months.

Weekend Hobby Update

Much hobby over the weekend.

I assembled my Luminarch and Hurricanium into the various sub-assemblies and primed them. Using my airbrush I base-coloured the main colour for each of the sub-assemblies. From there I have painted up the main chasis for each and tonight will work on stairs before moving to the cabins (where a lot of the work is). The Luminarch has had all its metal done and the Hurricanium the first metallic coat. I’m guessing that they will take the next two weeks to finish.

While on the Empire “bend”, I based the six Demigryphs I had painted and have textured the bases. Tonight I’ll start painting the bases up.

Unfortunately I haven’t got my lightbox out yet to take photos of the stuff I’ve finished (silly Civilization) but will endeavour to do so this week.

Signed up for another 8th Ed tournament – Crack’s Call in Masterton at the end of September.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Fantasy Model Resale Value

With the release of Age of Sigmar there has been some discussion that eBay would be flooded with WHFB armies.

The basis for this was firstly, that the game wouldn't appeal to everyone so people would get out; secondly, that existing armies (and in particular existing models) would be made obsolete by prospective releases; and thirdly, people wouldn't want to rebase their models so would sell and start again. All of this would lead to a glut on eBay driving prices down.

Complicating this scenario is that there "appears" to be some semblance of an active rundown of the existing WHFB range on GW websites. Go onto a forum and there is a "doom and gloom" story about how the webstores are regularly posting "Sold Out" signs on particular models.

So the picture is a little bit mixed.

What I do think you will see is a shift in the market. I'm pretty sure all the "Spec" painting companies (particularly some of the big operations in Asia who use eBay) will shift their entire effort to painting new Age of Sigmar miniatures. Expect to see a lot of Stormcast dominating their offerings. You won't see many Bretonnian Lances or Black Orc units for sale from them.

What I suspect will happen is that older models that are NIB (plastics) will hold their value at levels we have seen previously. Very well painted armies will still hold value but that might dip in the near future while the playing field (pun intended) is murky. Poorly painted figs will continue to sell for a substantial discount to new.

Things will be situational - the rumoured Orc replacements apparently have a new aesthetic and that will see the existing mark depressed for the replaced figures.

But in reality this has always been the way through the thirty years of releases depress the market in old figures....for a while at least. However there always seems to be a market for readily useable figures.

Personally if I was looking to sell armies I'd wait a few months to see how things develop. If you are worried by a change in aesthetics then that may influence your decision. However remember there has always been a resale market for figures. I don't think the AoS changes that.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

FOB NZ Rankings - 40k Updated for CavCon

And the winner of the 34 person Cavcon event, Sam Wooding is the new NZ #1, also securing the Necron icon.

Definite Southern flavour to the Top 10

FOB NZ Rankings - WHFB Updated for Panzershreck

Panzershreck was held over the weekend in Palmerston North.

The Fantasy event was run by Jeff Kent using ETC comp and attracted 17 people.

It was nearly won by everybody's favourite Dark Elf Brian Smith (not really but he was 2nd). Sam Whitt (also Dark Elves) amassed 99/120 to finish a clear winner.

Best Army went to Neil Williamson while Charlie Lloyd was Best Sport.

The rankings have been updated and the FoW results will go in later today.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Hobby Update

While Panzershreck was going on in Palmerston, I had a very productive hobby weekend.

On Saturday morning, Ryan and I had a game - Dawn Attack - which was characterised by mis-behaving war machines and low winds of magic rolls. In the end Ryan beat me by 215 points in a very tight encounter - both of us struggling to inflict meaningful damage in later turns.

Later that day I finished painting my Stormfiends and the three Tomb Kings' characters I had on my desk. These were all based and magnetised on Sunday morning and have move to the "finished" pile. I'll get some photos up in the next 24 hours.

Sunday evening I started painting my Empire Steam Tank. The army is from Averland and was originally painted by GW Australia manager Troy Forster and then Gav Clarke. I'm adding a Steam Tank, Hurricanium and Luminarch while also expanding the Great Swords. I then have a unit of thirty Sisters of Sigmar to add. Local painter Sam Whitt has just finished six Demigryphs for it.

Current GW Pricing on AoS

I'm not normally one to bitch and moan about hobby pricing. My view is largely that it is a discretionary purchase and you can either afford it or not.

However GW recently made cost an issue - that is if you accept the line that the introduction of Age of Sigmar was partly to address the barrier to entry that WHFB provided.

Here in NZ we have the following AoS costs (USD equivalent price in brackets):

  • Starter Set $250 ($165)
  • 5 Stormcast Liberators $100 ($66)
  • Lord Castellan - Single plastic on foot $65 ($43)

The starter set is the most expensive starter GW have released, yet in past the sets have had included the mini rulebook. Yes the rules are included or can be downloaded for free - but the entry cost is 15% more.


Withe the Liberators we have a new price point created. $20 per rank and file model while with the Castellan any previous price point has been blown away.


I'm struggling to see the lower entry barrier here. People will say you need less models to play a game but at this pricing 20 Liberators plus a Hero is quickly near $500 locally (US$330).


The open ended nature of the game "Bring Your Whole Model Collection" encourages escalation. Sure you can play the game with 10 models but you could play WHFB with 5 Chaos Knights, 10 Chaos Warriors, 20 Marauders, 10 Hounds and a Lord on foot for $40 less (eaten up by Army Book I guess).


I'm skeptical of just how much the entry barrier has been lowered.



Thursday, July 9, 2015

Call to Arms WHFB

So there has been some talk in the local community about continuing to play WHFB. Well here is an opportunity for any who would like to do so.

Call to Arms the Warlords Annual Convention is being held on the weekend of 15/16 August in Kilbirnie, Wellington. The event is being umpired by Robert Higgins and you can get details at

I've signed up for it after initially thinking I'd put on some multiplayer games. It would be great to see a strong turnout for the event. If you are quick I think you can still get in at the earlybird rate.

Hopefully it will be well supported.

FOB NZ Rankings - 40k & FOW Updated

The 40K and FOW rankings have been updated for events held last weekend.

Wolfcry was held in Auckland and consisted of two one day FOW tournaments. Thanks to Gavin van Rossum for sending the results through.

Warmonger was a new one day 40K event held here in Wellington. It was organised by local GW Hobby Centre Manager Luke Henning and attracted fourteen participants.

Competing Erections

On the weekend Games Workshop unveiled a new statue outside the Lenton Reichstag. This celebrates the release of Age of Sigmar and you have to say it's a nice touch.

Not to be outdone Mantic erected their own statue overnight.

Nice to see a sense of humour in the industry.


Goodbye Slaanesh?

Hard on the heels of exploding the Warhammer World, Games Workshop look like they far from satisfied in redefining the background.

So after you blow up a world, what's left? Kill a God, that's what!

The new AoS fluff apparently only mentions Slaanesh once in the storyline.

"Against Sigmar's orders, Lord Tyrion led his improbable allies to capture Slaanesh whilst he was still glutted with the souls he had devoured."

It also includes an illustration of the pantheon of the Dark Gods where Khorne, Nurgle and Tzeentch are prominently displayed but Slaanesh is strangely missing.

There is some conjecture on why this is so but I'm picking that it is in response to the demographic GW is now chasing. The box set is marked "12+" and we can't have Little Timmy being corrupted by the Prince of Pleasure. Far easier to retire Slaanesh rather than have to explain to Soccer Mum models with barely covered breasts and embracing the philosophy of hedonism.

This is a progression of a strategy of the past few years. The Juan Diaz Daemonettes were replaced with more child-friendly models during the last cycle.

I'm betting we won't be seeing any Slaanesh releases for AoS any time soon.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

AoS - Combat Mechanism Issue

AoS was always going to be a hard sell for me as I wasn't really in the "market" for a skirmish game. That shift away from ranked units plus the new aesthetic meant that there were hurdles I needed to get over to embrace it.

Having read through the AoS rules a couple of times now, I have a real issue with one of the key mechanisms in the game. Unlike other GW games, and indeed most Wargames I have played, AoS's key combat dynamic has a singular focus. Put another way - what you are fighting has no determinant on your ability.

In WHFB if you fought something with a worse WS then you got a benefit. If you fought something with a significantly higher WS then you received a handicap. This was even more pronounced in the "to wound" roll where it varied between 2+ and 6+. That has all gone. Now a model has the same to hit and to wound rolls regardless of whether he is fighting a goblin or a bloodthirster.

To me, this mechanic is lazy and dumb downs the game too much. With the added curtailment of tactical movement the game would be prone to becoming a scrum in the middle of the table where winning is determined largely by who can roll the most 4+.

Now I may be underselling it - and if so that will become evident over coming months - but the single-determinant nature of the combat mechanism looks like a real detriment to me. I would think long term playability would suffer significantly.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

40k - Iron Warriors

Over the weekend pictures emerged of the latest Forgeworld Horus Heresy - Perturabo of the Iron Warriors Legion.

I love the sculpt as I think it captures the essence of the Siegemaster.

Downstairs I have a ten year old project. I was building an Iron Warriors army for 40k before Gav Thorpe released his bastard child destroying that "dream". I painted up the rhinos for it about 18 months ago and I also painted a squad of marines. They are mostly metal made from the Legion specific bits for Iron Hands and Iron Warriors.

This model inspires me to perhaps put the project back on the table as a slow burn. Especially if some of the locals are going to get into 40k as a game.

"Iron Within, Iron Without"


Hobby Update

Back to the painting table after a few weeks off.

I'm painting up some Tomb Kings characters that have been sitting half painted for ages. So Khalida, Settra and a Tomb Prince are getting finished - finally!

I've also signed up for the Warhammer Fantasy event at Call to Arms. This will be my first NZ event in over a year. The key driver for this has been the release of Age of Sigmar. As I've intimated in previous posts I'm not looking to be an early adopter of the new game so I'm keen to take opportunities to play some Fantasy games. I had thought of putting on some big multiplayer games at CTA but have decided it makes more sense to support the tournament Fantasy event. Hopefully we'll see good support from the local community.


First Historical Footsteps

On the weekend I had a game of DBMM - Ancient Historical. I've played a lot of historicals in the past but not much in the past 10-12 years.

Over the past month I've painted up some new elements for my Patrician Roman (410-480AD) army and enjoyed the change from high Fantasy. The new elements were because there had been changes in the army lists since I last played. Luckily I had some unpainted models downstairs.

My battle was against New Kingdom Eygptians so not historical. They are made up of a mix of heavy foot, chariots, poor bow and Sea Peoples' warband. My army is composed of Palatina (pictured above), heavy foot Legionarii, lots of horse archers - Romans and Hunnic - and heavy cavalry - Goths and Clibanarii.

In the end, after some initial setbacks, I was able to make my superior mobility tell. My Goths supported by Palatina broke his centre and while I lost all my Clibanarii to his heavy foot, I was able to redeploy my horse archers who enveloped them when they pursued my withdrawn right flank.

The game was a lot of fun and whetted my appetite for more games. I need to learn the rules more as they have changed considerably since I last played. Nice to use the old army again. I'm lucky in that I have three fully painted forces that are all different. The Romans are combined arms while my Mongols are all mounted and Vikings all foot.

Certainly can see me getting a few more games in over the coming months.


Another New Faction

Looks like the rift gate is well and truly open!


Monday, July 6, 2015

So You Say We Need A Revolution....

All the details for Age of Sigmar came out over the weekend.

On Friday I got the White Dwarf and flicked through the content. I then spent time on the various forums around the net reading AoS game reports. Saturday morning saw the arrival of the datascrolls for the existing armies.

It was with this I caught a sucker punch. Let's say I was unprepared for some of the rules contained therein. I'll call them "Munchkin" rules. When you start getting re-rolls for riding an imaginary horse, talking to that horse, dancing and doing stupid voices, then it is either one or both of two things. Either GW have jumped the shark or it is time to realise that you really are not the demographic this game is aimed at.

On this basis I won't be playing Age of Sigmar from the get go. I'm going to wait and see if it develops. I'm not optimistic.

The key things I was looking for was a continuation of the Warhammer background that I enjoyed while playing the game. The second and most important was for a massed ranked battle game and as it stands AoS doesn't come close to ticking those boxes.

With time it might. Over the next six months we might see this base built on to deliver a game that I would like to play. As it stands the absence of ranks, lack of tactical movement, single dimensional combat mechanism, all point to something that I'm not optimistic for.

In the interim I'm going to paint my models to flesh out and finish my Warhammer armies. I'm happy to continue to play 8th until the ash has settled. Either AoS will develop into something I want to play....or it won't. Alternatively we may see developed of the various mooted fan-based v8.5/9 rulesets. Again I'm not optimistic as I feel more fragmentation is the likely outcome.

Hopefully over the coming months there are enough locals willing to continue having some games of 8th until we can see where things fall and then make an informed choice about future gaming avenues.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Stay Calm and Rant

I've found the last few days really interesting. As details around Age of Sigmar leak out people seem to be taking entrenched positions and the intransigence is palatable.

There is real anger out there. On both sides of the divide. The Internet forums are full of people shouting past each other. Now I understand how people can form their views but I don't really understand the vitriol. Sure people are invested in Warhammer and I can understand that they don't like the change - I personally err to that camp - but no one is stopping you playing it if you want to. Sure GW won't be supporting it but surely there is sufficient evidence of past community innovation - ETC, Swedish - that some fan based alternatives will survive. Whether it will be coordinated or fragmented is up for debate - the cynic in me thinks without some central authority gamers will find it hard to reach a consensus.

Then you get the other side. These guys seem even more zealous. Yeah, I understand it is cool to be an early adopter but there seems no realisation that people might like to see how a game develops, all the info, what support etc before they jump on board. A lot of the "zealots" seem to lack this empathy.

Personally, I'm going to buy the White Dwarf to read the rules and then see how GW close some of the concerns I have. These are that I'm not really looking for a skirmish game so for me it will be done to whether this system provides for a massed rank type battle.

One thing I did see posted yesterday that I thought raised an interesting question. If this was not GW but Company X releasing Age of Sigmar (assume 8th still supported), then how many people would be embracing it based on what we know so far?

Hopefully the next week will see the vitriol die down a bit. I'm not hopeful....this is the internet after all.