Friday, April 29, 2016
Robert Higgins is Umpire for the event which will be six rounds at 2000 points over two days.
Dates for CTA are 6/7 August and it will be held at the usual venue of St. Pat's Kilbirnie.
Last evening I received a parcel from FedEx containing the latest mats I had purchased from Gamemat.eu in the Czech Republic.
First point, delivery. Six days from Prague tracked the whole way. The six days included one day spent sitting at the FedEx depot in Rongatai (Wellington), 20 minutes away. Sigh. I guess FedEx are just too efficient.
Second, the mats. They are great. I purchased one late last year and was so impressed that this time I got two.
The first one is Sands of Time. Egyptian themed with a sunken road running through it. It should prove excellent for my Egyptian desert terrain. Above is the website photo that gives a great indication of actual colour. The photos I took had the colour a little washed out as I was taking them just before dusk.
As noted they are 6' X 4' and printed on a sheet with rubberised backing - think mousemat.
The detail is exceptional. You have photo quality with great resolution. The above photos give an idea with collapsed columns, exposed paving and dried stream beds.
I think Gamemat.eu have done a wonderful job to capture the field of a decaying desert culture.
The second purchase was the Highland Meadow.
Again I have grabbed the website photo that gives a better colour indication tham my photos. However the detail on the mat has been captured and gives you an idea of the surface.
The mats come in carry bags to protect them between games.
They have double zips on them and multiple handles.
These game mats are two of the best I have seen on the market. The surface deal is fantastic. Their website is well constructed and easy to navigate. For those of us outside the EU they remove VAT (sales tax). You can check it out at gamemat.eu
Any for you 40k fans they are currently selling a limited edition Mars Forgeworld mat, ideal for Skittari or Adeptus Mechanicus.
This has been done to avoid a clash with Panzershreck 9th Age event in Palmerston North. They were both scheduled for 16th July and I believe that this would cannibalise numbers for both events.
Thanks to the Warlords for allowing me to shift the date. Think it is a win for Fantasy gaming.
Thursday, April 28, 2016
After last year's ETC, a vote was held to determine the major Fantasy gaming system for the 2016 tournament. Not surprisingly - given a lot of the authors were voters - The Ninth Age was selected.
This must have been disappointing to Mantic as they had made efforts - including supplying a free Rulebook giveaway at ETC 2015 - to get Kings of War selected.
By way of consolation, it was proposed that KIngs of War be included as a two day side event to increase European exposure and position itself for future growth. Initially this seemed to gain good traction and it looked hopeful that a significant event would be held.
I was checking through the ETC forums on TWF the other day and saw that this KOW event appears to be in trouble. It was initially envisaged that there be four man teams arranged along ETC national lines. Some countries, notably France, pushed for multiple teams from each country. I note now that there appears to be less than half a dozen committed teams and three of these are French.
Again this looks like a massive missed opportunity for Mantic. I appreciate that they must have been disappointed to miss out on the big dance but they did have a real opportunity to widen their community. However the company, and their marquee players have put what appears to be little or no effort into build a foothiold at what is a substantial gaming event. There was no reason that given support by the existing playing base that the side event could not have grown to a "main ev enter" like Flames of War did.
To me this is real symptomatic of what I have seen from Mantic since I have been interested in KoW. They get an opportunity and then they fail to capitalise on it to the extent they should.
At present they seem to be relying largely on the adoption of KoW as the system for the US Masters as their key KoW growth mechanism. I've seen little evidence that there is real growth in the UK despite the opportunity they were presented with WFB's demise. In the rest of the world the push is purely from motivated individuals rather than from any efforts by the company as to how they can help. Yes, I know they see things as community led but I am seeing no evidence that they reach out to the community.
Here in New Zealand, for instance, the game is in a delicate state. It could easily flounder in the next few months as competition from other systems - T9A, possibly a revamped AoS - come online.
Mantic really need to do some community intelligence because as I see it they are letting things slip through their hands......regularly.
However I did find the snippet below from Hastings who is one of the GW rumour oracles (generally he and "Harry" have a view into both the company and future releases.
I have reproduced it here because I think it is a good read. How true it is I'm not sure but as I said in the past Hastings has proved to have his finger on the pulse.
Be aware I am open to charges of confirmation bias here because it supports my view that AoS is doing very poorly.
I guess the important question is:
Why would GW change tack so dramatically nine months after the product launch and travel down a road they had previously been so dismissive of?
Remember all the lines around "our customers are collectors" and "we don't do market research", well I think a few chickens have returned home to roost.
Have a read of the below and then I'd be interested to hear your take on it.
Let’s look at Age Of Sigmar (AOS) vs. WFB “spending”.
Let’s imagine the costs for development were GBP 5 and the cost of production of each box after development were GBP 1 and a box retails at GBP 10. That means if you only sell one box you have made only GBP 4, i.e. sale is GBP 10 minus GBP 5 for development and GBP 1 for production. If you sell 2 boxes your profit becomes bigger, example GBP 20 to buy 2 boxes, minus GBP 5 development, minus GBP 2 production costs equals a profit of GBP 13. Obviously the more units you sell the more profit after you have paid for that initial development fee.
This is where GW got greedy, initially not so much, but towards the end of WFB they certainly made starting out in WFB harder.
A basic unit for WFB was say 40 infantry (4 boxes)(certainly under 8th) that would be a total spend of GBP 40, minus GBP 5 dev, minus GBP 4 production, that’s GBP 31 profit on the 4 boxes, or GBP 7.75 per box. Now let’s look at AoS, a unit no longer needs to be large, in fact as a skirmish game you are probably looking at say 20 models, that’s 2 boxes. So that’s GBP 20 sales, minus GBP 5 dev minus GBP 2 prod, that’s a profit of GBP 13, or GBP 6.5 per box.
Herein lies the problem, to support the AoS business model you either have to:
A/ sell in much larger volume, however as a skirmish game it is not promoted in game to buy multiples of each box, it serves no real purpose or
B/ increase the sale cost of a box from 10gbp to say 15gbp to account for less sales of each unit.
However GW are reporting reduced sales DESPITE having raising the sales cost, this makes the model unsustainable where the outcome is one of three things. You end up selling very small amounts of units at a very high price or you reduce dev costs to maximise profit but at the expense of quality or you find a way to start selling multiple boxes of the same product again, it’s almost a vicious circle and one that outpriced WFB players which in turn then goes back round to reduced sales. Without the sales volume improving I cannot see how GW will be able to continue supporting AoS, either that or they end up with a very small customer base that will pay whatever they ask . Neither is good for growth or sustainability.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Visit any news site/forum and I expect podcast and you'll now hear how wonderful GW are in addressing the issue of points/listening to the community etc. You'll see comments like "Every FLGS xxxx reached out to over the past nine months said Age of Sigmar was in trouble and not selling" or words to that effect.
Yet wind back a week and these very same "media" never mentioned this supposed trouble. If there was any negativity it was minor.
You can't help feeling that rather than objective, a lot of "media" are totally reliant on good press to get both information and reward.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
But one thing I did do was spend some free time that I found fixing all the breakages in my Ogre
Last evening I downloaded some more Winterdale files and have GCODE'd the Outpost and the Chapel. My tavern is now undercoated and I'll start work on that this week.
I've downloaded a few of the Ninth Age Army Books to get a feel for their rules - Khans, Swarm, Empire and Daemons.
Introduce Race Specific Magic Items and Spells.
This doesn't mean added pages to each list but rather give certain/all races an additional couple of unique Magic Items...weapon/artefact/banner.... and a couple of unique spells.
These would reflect the character of the race.
This would not be too onerous nor would it unbalance the game but it would definitely increase the attractiveness to a lot of people.
Currently there are 13 people signed up and I'm hoping to see a few late ones join up this week.
Lists are also due in this weekend and I'll publish them after I have checked them all early next week.
If you are keen to come along then let me know. There are a variety of skill levels so you can expect a fun day of gaming.
News announced yesterday is that you can now play the game in three modes - Open, Narrative and Competitive. Who would have thought? But thanks GW that's pretty rad (or Amazeballs as a bunch of 30-somethings who are trying to appear down with the kids would say).
In this brave new world where "competitive" gaming exists, GW have joined forces with the world's premium tournament organiser and porteled in their comp system system (I wonder if it can be called Dan's Veal Curry).
So now if you play AoS you are allowed to keep score.
Winners all round here. GW save development costs by the Design Studio and get free IP. UK Podcasters continue to get free Battletomes and maybe even store credit. And, the players they get a new mode to play.
But the real winners are Finance. They get another roll of the dice for minimal cost.
I know it's got me excited.
Monday, April 25, 2016
Ninth Age is being keyed up for this year's ETC and I can help but think that there may be a rude awakening just around the corner.
Call me a cynic, but there are different motivations at play. While one group is trying to write a ruleset there are a series of groups trying to win an ETC. let me say that I'm now sure that the two factions are necessarily aligned and altruism will always be evident.
The ETC groups are trying to get every advantage they can and I think it would be very naive to expect that every broken combo being found is being dutifully reported back to the writing teams. Indeed, as we speak, I would guess there are private gaming sessions going on in Kraków, Düsseldorf, Roma etc where lists have been developed with the express intention that they won't be revealed before rulesets are finalised...and lists lodged.
I suspect there will be a number of extreme lists come to the fore in the coming few months and that a pretty significant patch will need to be developed post Greece.
Until then we'll sing Kumbaya but come August "The Weak Will Be Punished".
On Saturday I had my first game of Ninth Age against McCrae. I hadn't played 8th much in the past year focusing on KoW once AoS dropped.
Spoilt by KoW I wasn't going to be happy removing models and so I got the Ogres out. I decided to run a few of the big monsters to see how they'd go.
Here's a few pics of my deployment:
And looking into the eyes of the Dwarf throng!
Nice to get the big boys out for a run. I'm keen to give them another try once I've read the army book.
With my wife away for the weekend, I took the opportunity to have a few gamers around for a Wargaming weekend.
Sam came down from Otaki for Saturday, McCrae from Palmy, Neil from Masterton and Peter from the wilds of Lower Hutt.
On Saturday we had a day of The Ninth Age, trying out the last beta of the rules. Other than McCrae, none of us had played it before (well I played an early beta game) so we were keen to see what it looked like. Over the day five games were played with the general view being that it was essentially 8th Ed with a more internal balance evident in the army books.
Sam disappeared around 5pm....I expect so he could watch the NQ Cowboys in peace while the rest of us headed out to Tawa for a Chinese meal. We found the appropriately named "Yum Yum House" where we demolished one of their set banquets.
Back home, McCrae was keen for us to try the game he'd brought "Eldritch Horror". We started playing and I can honestly say my sole contribution to the game was to be continually "Delayed".
We proved to be singularly unsuccessful and eventually the game beat us.
On Sunday morning Neil, McCrae and I set up Neil's "Republic of Rome". Fancying ourselves as the new Sulla, Ceasar, Marius etc, the game involves building up your Senate faction. Just as McCrae was approaching a victory - though Neil and I had lined up waiting assassins - the unrest escalated and the mob stormed the Senate killing us all.
I think the upshot from our board game experience was that we need to be far more collaborative rather than Neil and McCrae scheming behind my back.
The guys disappeared about 2:30pm giving me the chance to do a quick tidy up before picking Lynne up from the airport.
Great weekend. Thanks to the guys for coming down.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Yes, I have Civ 4 and Civ 5 but I really like Civ 3. Every now and then I fire it up and play it through. At present I'm in the throes of a series where I play the various Asian cultures with their different core characteristics.
This is all well and good.....until the game finishes. At that point you get a lovely little message which details the Saved File time expended in getting to that outcome.
And then I feel guilty. I want that time back. How much better that time would have been spent on hobby.
Civ 3 is the Devil!
Monday, April 18, 2016
I recently established an informal KoW group to meet up at the Dunn-geon on Thursday nights to get some games in. There is enough room for three tables.
On the inaugural evening there were three of us - Tane, Hugh and myself. As two had travelled I suggest that they play and I'll take the photos.
Managed to get through some hobby on the weekend.
As posted earlier I constructed my hobby drill Saturday morning and have already used it three-four times this weekend. Good buy, worth it if you see one.
On Saturday afternoon I got in my first game in three months. The Ratkin took the table versus Robert Higgins' Dwarfs down at Warlords. We rolled up Kill & Pillage and I was able to cede the objectives 2-3 but kill enough for a solid victory. My Rat Daemon cleaned out a Troop of Brock Riders and a Regiment of the same tried to withdraw from the flank. "What is good in Life?" A Rat Daemon catching Badger Cavalry in the rear with 39 attacks. My Weapons Teams managed to remove some of the De 6+ wall sitting at 10" and blasting away.
All in all good fun and it was enjoyable getting the Ratkin out again.
Yesterday I primed some figures and finished priming some terrain. This left enough time to make progress on the 5-6 figures I'm currently painting (Frenzied Mob and hangers on) last evening.
This week I'll be looking to finish this batch as well as start on the Winterdale Tavern which is now fully primed.
Sunday, April 17, 2016
At present there are eight signed up. Now I remember a lot of locals indicating getting a weekend off for a tournament was difficult but they would jump at being able to attend one day events. Don't tell me you were all pulling my leg!
It would be great to see as many of you along as possible.
Saturday, April 16, 2016
For my birthday my in-laws bought me a low speed hobby drill. I'm sick of shredding my delicate hands with the pin vise especially when drilling pinning holes in metal figures.
The parcel arrived from Japan this week. Imagine my surprise when I opened it and saw this.
They were expecting me to make it. Now being the technically savvy guy I am (ask Jack or Tom for their supporting view), I approached it with some trepidation. This might be one case where I need to check in my man card and actually read the instructions.
Well I needn't have been so worried. Ten minutes later I had this.
And even more surprisingly it works. What is good about it is that you can put in 1mm drill bits and drill holes at very low speed.
Excellent. My manicurist will be happy.
Thursday, April 14, 2016
I keep an eye on the share price of Games Workshop and it is currently poised at a various interesting level.
It has been trending down since the start of the year and is currently at four year lows. Thr latest decline was initiated by the negative trading report for December released by the company in early January. The stock is reasonably tightly held but the share price is down almost GBP1.50 since its December/January high. That is approximately 25%. Last night it dropped 15p to close at 464p.
This is against a backdrop of rapid releases by Games Workshop. We've had Calth in late 2015, the Deathwatch game, the new "Start Collecting" box sets plus continued releases for their benchmark game, Age of Sigmar. This month they have the 30th Anniversary of the Space Marine with the hoopla that involves.
What is interesting is that despite all this, the share price is consistently declining. Somebody is not drinking the GW Kool-Aid and bringing supply to the market. If we do see the price dip below its current level then technical traders may get interested in selling the stock.
All eyes will definitely be on the report to the end of May. GW needs to pull a rabbit out of the hat to arrest its recent decline.
While it is hardly evolutionary - and certainly not revolutionary - here's a tip I've put in place recently.
When I painted 15mm historicals I used to blu-tack the figures on the end of wooden clothes pegs to paint. This allowed me to get access to all parts of the model, made sure I didn't touch wet paint or otherwise mar the paint job and gave me a handle to hold onto. Strangely I gave it away when I started painting 28mm figures. I think this was due to their bigger plastic bases.
Recently I purchased 20 wine corks off Trademe and have started to use them to mount figures when painting. These have advantages over pegs as they are squat and so stand alone (don't need a rack), are lighter and are big enough to hold 28mm figs.
I've found that it makes painting much easier.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
All in all it was a great experience.
They have just announced their new Kickstarter today.
Based on last year's experience I have pledged again this year. I have every confidence that the Kickstarter will be just as smooth on their second run.
One of the things I like most is that they allow you to choose what pieces you want so you can tailor to your needs.
One option is to paint as Lava but I am also considering using the pieces for a Nurgle table.
Good luck to the guys.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Over the weekend the South Coast GT in Portsmouth, England attracted 124 participants to the two day event. From my understanding this is the clearly the largest AoS tournament/event ever and probably twice as big as the next largest (held in Cardiff).
The amount of work that the organisers did to ensure they had an attractive tournament proposition really reflects well. They will be extremely heartened by the response.
The UK seems to be the AoS heartland where it appears to be at the forefront of tournament events. It will be interesting to see how The Ninth Age competes when the full rules are released. There seems to be less take-up of Kings of War in the UK. Certainly at least one of the AoS podcasts was extremely negative towards Mantic when I lasted listened.
Across the rest of the world the pick-up for events seems to be "patchy" to say the least. I understand the Midwest in the USA seems to play it (though I'm not sure how many it attracted to Adepticon) but I've seen little events advertised for Europe, the rest of the USA, Australia or New Zealand.
What is encouraging for those in those locales interested in AoS, is that the SCGT organisers now have a tried and tested tournament system. It will be interesting to see if it is maintained as a living document so others can benefit from their efforts.
So well done to the SCGT organisers, I'm glad your efforts were rewarded.
Monday, April 11, 2016
I managed to print off ten trees and they will form the basis of a new forest. The next printing project will likely be one of the other Winterdale buildings, likely the outpost.
The Stone Mill was mounted on its river section and hopefully will see tabletime in the next few weeks. Coupled with the TTW Stone Bridge I now have some incentive to use a waterway in games from here. I also grassed the TTW Merchant's Townhouse and that is near ready for the tabletop.
Figure-wise, I painted the first four figures from the Mordheim "Frenzied Mob". These were the Stonemason, boy with catapult, man with fish on his head and the Living Scarecrow. The next four are now ready to be started and I'm looking to get them going this evening. I do enjoy painting these unique figures and have found that four at a time keeps me interested and ensures that they each get the necessary love.
Via our local eBay equivalent, Trade Me, I managed to pick up a few interesting figures yesterday. These included a mint Empire War Wagon, a Mordheim Sigmarite Priest, Johann the Witchhunter and a Warhammer Roleplay Warrior Priest. All were bare unpainted metal. I will be looking to paint the War Wagon up in Averland colours to match the rest of my Empire army.
Noted the other day that because of real life I hadn't played a game for over 2.5 months. Starting this Thursday, I am hosting a regular gaming night at my place for a group of local Kings of War players. Gaming room and garage allow three tables to be set up so hopefully this can develop into a long term success.
Finally, Lynne is away over the upcoming Anzac Weekend and so a group of us are going to try out "The Ninth Age" rules over the weekend. I've keyed up two days of gaming at my place. This should let us get a feel for the rules and decide if it is something we want to play.
Sunday, April 10, 2016
I am a member of TheLongWar.net Hall of Veterans. While I don't play 49k anymore I really enjoy the material these guys put out and am happy to support them will a monthly stipend.
Recently they released a YouTube video on the 3rd Edition Chaos Space Marine codex. You can watch it here:
It goes through what was unquestionably in my mind the greatest army book Games Workshop ever released. CSM 3rd Ed was released in 2002. Written by Pete Haines, it was so good it went through at least three printings (there was a rumoured fourth but I always felt that was just a re-release of the second printing). I had all three of them as the book got a lot of use. In the Dunn household there were two Death Guard armies, the Emperor's Children, Word Bearers, World Eaters (Jack's), an Iron Warriors army (regular readers know it isn't finished) and Thousand Sons.
The video is a real walk down BITD-land. It goes through the various Daemonic Gifts even mentioning the difference between Daemonic Speed and Daemonic Flight (Silly Hilly!!!).
There will be a second part in the next fortnight.
It was great to bathe in the nostalgia of a time when Plague Lord Cothrax and Noise Lord Challis Drant strode the battlefields like colossus winning six Games Workshop Grand Tournaments between them (including the only ever Australian Grand Tournament). On their path of destruction they destroyed the myth of Haakon Ironwolf consigning him to little more than a side note in their glorious tale.
But check out the video. Reminisce about the Dark Blade, wallow in the goodness that were Combat Drugs and relive the glory days of the Shattered Legions.
And then go and curse the name, Gav Thorpe!
Over the past day and a half I've been printing some of the Winterdale trees to see what they come out like. In the Kickstarter they have four variants and I've been cycling through them to build up a stock.
Here are two I've cleaned up. The one on the left is Wildwood while that on the right is Gnarly. There are two of each variant.
Here's another shot of the trees. They rake 2-3 hours each to print on my printer. Once painted up you can add clump foliage or you can leave them bare (undead or chaos theme)
When you print them they come with printing supports that are easily clipped off. Generally it is 2-3 minutes to clean them up.
Given a week I reckon I could easily print 30-40 up. Currently I have done 8 and that is under no time pressure.
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Checking out eBay I see that it goes for quite a high price - particularly in a pristine state.
However I knew I bought it for a reason and now that reason has eventuated! I am going to use the figures to populate the various buildings I've made and painted over the past few years.
These are a great group of figures. There is the local butcher with a string of sausages around his neck. The guy with the fish on his head - fish were a Mordheim in-joke. A scarecrow, a sullen girl, boy with catapult, two Blacksmiths, a thief, the one legged man ...it goes on.
Last night I stripped the flash and mould lines and tonight I'll prime them. Then it's painting them in groups to have them ready for the various buildings.
So if you are playing at the Dunn-geon in coming months, have a look at the building on the table. You may get a surprise.
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Over the weekend the Lonewolf GT was held in Houston, Texas and represents the largest ever KoW event. It attracted 63 participants.
Lurker2 over on the Mantic Forum has published some stats and I have replicated them here.
Interesting 19 different armies were used. That is pretty wide coverage. What is not shown is which armies used Allies and what those allies were.
Obviously it doesn't take matchup, individual scenario or player skill into account but it gives a flavour of how things went.