Friday 17 July 2015

Giving Age of Sigmar a fair trial

I went into GW yesterday. In hindsight, it probably wasn't the best of plans, but I needed some more 32mm bases for an upcoming game with my Sons of Horus and didn't feel like waiting for delivery.
 Pretty much as soon as I walked int the door, a staff member started the expected sales pitch for Age of Sigmar. I told him I wasn't interested, explaining my issues with the fluff and removal of points, but he was determined to try the hard-sell on me. Eventually he convinced me to at give it a try and to play a test game on their display table. I figured I had an hour to spare and I may as well try the game at least once.

I came away from the game surprised. Not a convert, but surprised nonetheless. It plays very well, with the game ticking along very nicely. We played three turns in less than twenty minutes, even with his overenthusiastic explaining of the rules, complete with over-the-top descriptions clearly aimed at a young audience. It was fun to play too. There are a few issues, like the fact that a Goblin can wound a Dragon just as easily as a Skavenslave, but on the whole it was a fun experience.

The game seems to seriously favour whoever has the current turn, as they get to strike first in combat. I personally find this a little silly. A Dwarf shouldn't be able to strike faster than an Elf just because it's his current turn. It kind of broke the suspension of disbelief for me, but I suppose it keeps the game flowing nicely.

After he'd decimated my Chaos forces with the Eternals, we got back to the subject of balance. He tried to convince me that the game was balanced, pointing out the instant death conditions and the 'social contract' in setting up a game - basically relying on your opponent not to be a git in what he brings. I couldn't be bothered to point out that this effectively kills the tournament scene, as his 'do it by wounds' suggestion still doesn't result in a fair game. My hundred 1-wound Goblins vs your ten 10-wound Dragons still does not make for a fair match.

 I'm still not going to play Age of Sigmar, as I have too many issues with the balance and the direction the fluff is taking, but I've at least given it a fair try. The Chaos models are lovely (on the whole - I'm ignoring the big ugly beastie) and seem perfect for conversions. The guy told me that the boxed set was designed with conversion potential in mind and I can believe him. Even 40k players who shun Age of Sigmar might be convinced to buy some of the Blood Reavers to turn into Khorne Berserkers, or else pick up some of the Stormhost Eternals for true-scale Space Marine conversions. I've seen people turn them into Custodes, Inquisitors and even Thunder Warriors. I'm guessing that the higher-ups in GW realise that even if Age of Sigmar isn't a success, the conversion potential will sell boxes where the AoS rules cannot.

Now people can't say I didn't give it a chance. I played a game and it failed to wow me enough to pick it up. Can't say fairer than that, really.

Thursday 16 July 2015

Poundland Scratch-build Idea

I found this in Poundland the other day. Whatever it was originally meant to be, it caught my eye as a good base onto which I can scratch-build an Arvus Lighter for my Militia/ Warp Cult:

If it doesn't work out, it's no big deal. It only cost me a quid, so I figured it's worth a try. If I can make it work properly though, I can build myself a fleet of flyers for not very much money at all.

I'll let you know how I get on.

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Random Traitor WIP

Jsut a quick one today. I just wanted to show off the latest addition to my 30k forces. I had planned to make a Maloghurst the Twisted conversion when I sat down to build stuff last night, but somehow it evolved into this:

I'm not even sure what I'm going to use him as, but I love how the model turned out so I'll find a way to fit him in somewhere. I thinks he's got a distinct Cthonian or White Scars look about him, so I'm thinking of probably painting him up as a traitor member of the fifth legion who's now serving my Sons of Horus, maybe having him fluffed-out as being one of the rebel 'Scars who fled after the battle above Prospero.

Looks like I'm saving my Mal conversion for another day, once I can get hold of the Huron parts again. Oh well, at least I got a cool homebrew character out of it.

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Techno-Barbarian 'Grenadiers' WIP

One of the advantages of things being so quiet at work today is that I finally have time to schedule blog posts. Things have been a bit hectic for me recently, so it's nice to catch up.

As promised, here's the beginning of my Techno-Militia, starting with my Grenadiers, built using a combination of discarded old bits and a little sculpting:

My plan is to field this force using the Gene-bulked and Dark Age survivors provenences, giving me heavily muscled brutes in scavenged equivalents of Power Armour, as well as giving me access to transports smaller than a Gorgon. Expect lots of Mad Max-style modifications to some Rhinos to follow in the near future. I plan to add at least 20 'Grenadiers', as I need them for my compulsory troop choices. After that I'm going to be adding all kinds of lesser scum and mutants to support them. I'm liking what I have so far though and think they'd make a great allied force for my Sons of Horus.

What do you guys think?

Thunder Warrior Militia Commander

To distract myself from my disappointment at Age of Sigmar, I've been working on my Imperial Militia force for Horus Heresy, having fallen in love with the Militia & Warp Cult list FW have just given us in Tempest.

I've decided to go for a Techno-Barbarian theme, partly as a way to use up all the odds and sods from my bits boxes, but also because I'm liking the idea of a Mad Max-inspired force, with lots of salvaged weapon and vehicles.

Inspired by Babu Dakal from The Outcast Dead and also wanting a place to finally include the model, I decided to use the Mk1 Marine from the 'Armour through the Ages' set as my Force Commander, with his background having him be a rogue Thunder Warrior who escaped Terra and is now a tribal leader on the fringes of the Galaxy. With the quick addition of a 40mm base and a pet mastiff from the Kings of War range, he was ready to go.

Vesh N'rada, Rogue Thunder Warrior, Techno-Lord of the Dark Wastes

Kudos if you get the reference in his name. I'm really liking how this turned out, considering it's such a simple kitbash. I'll post some of his minions soon,

Monday 6 July 2015

A Sad Day

So Age of Sigmar has been released from GW and quite frankly it's rubbish.

I'm not just saying this to complain, or because I don't like change. I can see some good points in it. The rules seem fairly fun and easy to pick up, apart from a few key points

  1. There's no points values at all. They expect players to self-regulate what they use. That's fair enough, but it's so open to abuse that it's not even funny. Yes there's bonuses when you're outnumbered, but that doesn't help when you're playing three units of Skaven and a Grey Seer vs 3 Dragons, 4 units of Phoenix Guard, 5 Units of Swordsmasters and a Dozen Bolt Throwers. Outnumbering is done on models, not power either, so 5 Goblins are equal to 5 Chaos Knights, in the eyes of the rules.

    There is absolutely no way you can be guaranteed a fair pick up game any more, or even pre-make a fair list to use against someone before arriving at a club. Points worked just fine, there was no need to change it other than the fact that list restrictions hampered sales.
  2.  Silly special rules: Wargamers have enough problems with credibility amongst the uninitiated, without being forced to ride an imaginary horse around to gain a special rule, or trying not to kneel throughout an entire game (god help you if you drop a dice). Yes, there's the argument for fun, but there's better ways of making a game fun than making a fool of the players. In fact I'd argue that if you have to resort to that kind of thing to make it fun, your game's already a failure.
  3. The background: or rather, the lack of it. They've basically thrown out 30+ years and thousands of pages of deep and nuanced established background, all for the sake of IP protection and shaking things up. The background was the main thing which drew me into the game and it was the main thing which kept me playing. Now it's all gone and replaced with the bland High/Heroic Fantasy pulp which doesn't interest me at all. No more than the End Times did.

    If they'd wanted to shake things up, they could have held a major campaign and advanced the background, like Storm of Chaos or Albion did. There was absolutely no need to reboot the universe. In fact,it's probably driven off more players than it's drawn in.

    The result of these three issues on myself and my hobby (apart from wanting to go and knock some sense into the GW Design team) is this: effective today, I am leaving Warhammer Fantasy behind me for the foreseeable future. It's just not the kind of game I want to play any more in terms of both rules and background. Instead I will be migrating back to Oldhammer (probably 5th Ed, as that's my favourite edition) and playing Kings of War. These represent the kind of games I want to play, so will be what I'm focusing on. I will be buying no new Fantasy models from GW, as I refuse to add to their sales figures for this shambles of a game. Instead I will be buying either secondhand or from bits websites.

    This does not mean I am abandoning GW altogether.I will still buy 40k and Horus Heresy stuff, but I cannot and will not endorse the mess that they're promoting as the future of Fantasy.