Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Slowly, But Surely
I've been bouncing back and forth between various projects. I've got the Skaven for the campaign (yes it's still alive!), the new Undead Legion models, and various commission work, including some terrain that might get to see the light of day in the coming months.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Lost Hemisphere's Templecon Charity Raffle
Templecon is in a few weeks, and Lost Hemisphere will be running its charity raffle to combat Alzheimer's. Proceeds from the raffle go to the Hope Alzheimer's Center. Prizes for the raffle include things like unopened miniatures product to fully painted models and armies. You can see the full details about the raffle and the charity on the Lost Hemisphere site.
To contribute to the prize support, I painted up this set of Asphyxious and Vociferon (models generously supplied by Seth Peterson). If you're at Templecon, be sure to swing by and show your support!
'Til next time!
Sunday, January 18, 2015
Warhammer: Thanquol, A Look Inside
I picked up a copy of the End Times book Warhammer: Thanquol this weekend. Here's an overview of what's inside. There won't be any story spoilers in this review, it will mostly focus on what's inside the rulebook. I will say that the story book focuses on the Skaven fighting in Lustria and the Dwarf holds, so there are a lot of beautiful shots of Skaven, Lizardmen, and Dwarf armies fighting. The story book is almost as thick as the Nagash book– 232 pages (compared to Nagash's 296).
One thing that I got a kick out of is the text on the back cover. "The world is ending, though few believe it." I can't help but wonder if that has a dual meaning, also referring to the fact that we, the players don't believe that maybe this is the end for Warhammer as we know it...
I'll also point out that the infamous photo of Thanquol with the round-based Bell and Furnace in the background does not appear anywhere in these books.
The rulebook is 64 pages, and covers the following:
Realms of the Lizardmen
Like Nagash, Thanquol had some new battlefield rules, this time for fighting in ancient temple-cities and Lustrian jungles. Structures in the temple cities can contain treasure that award extra victory points in battles, but are also cursed and have an adverse affect on the unit that found it. When fighting in jungle battlefields there is a table that each player rolls on at the start of his turn to find out what the jungle has in store for him. It could be anything from charge ranges being reduced because of the humidity to units sinking in quicksand!
There are six scenarios recreating the battles fought in Warhammer: Thanquol. Some of the scenarios use a combination of battlefield rules from Nagash and Thanquol, and all of them use the Magic of the End Times rules from Warhammer: Khaine.
Lords of Battle Campaigns
These rules describe how to fight a Lords of Battle campaign– a series of linked games that follow a track through a series of "battle boxes" that describe the scenario and special rules for the battle. There is a 3-battle campaign laid out in the book, based on the clash betweenthe Dwarfs and Skaven.
Lords of battle campaigns (and these rules seem pretty complex for the three battles that are laid out in this book, so I suspect we'll be seeing more of this in future supplements) use Strategems and Stategic Charastics (the three characteristics are Guile, Planning, and Persuasion). These elements affect the battle by allowing the player to employ special rules and tactics for the game. The campaign in the book (and likely all printed campaigns) list how many stratagems can be used. The rules appear to be open enough to allow you to create your own campaigns.
The Stratagems are related to one of the three strategic characteristics. There are a few common stratagems listed in the book, and the campaign(s) have unique stratagems available as well. The stratagems are things like being able to redeploy your units, forced marching for extra movement, scouting mysterious terrain ahead of time, and affecting the stats of your own (or your enemy's!) models via potions or poison.
Seems like an interesting way to spice things up if you're getting bored with the standard scenarios. I first wondered if 9th edition might do away with the standard scenarios altogether and replace them with stratagems. Perhaps not, as the campaign battle boxes still list scenarios as part of the game.
New Armies and Units
Unlike the previous End Times books, Warhammer: Thanquol does not have a combined "legions" list. (Sorry, no combined Skaven and Chaos list!) Instead, it has Battlescrolls. These are formations that can be added to (or played instead of) a standard army. Each formation is accompanied by a few additional special rules that apply for the game.
Each Battlescroll specifies which race (army book) it is for, and has a formation of characters and units that must be included. These units do not count toward the army's allowances for troops and characters, or duplicates of Special and Rare units. All of the formations in the book specify that if they are included in your army, you do not need to spend a minimum of 25% on Core units.
The units in the Battlescroll formation are otherwise paid for out of your army points, and follow the normal rules for unit size and options. The formations don't specify how large the units need to be, only that they need to be included.
There are two Skaven Formations, one for Dwarfs, one for Lizardmen, and one for The Empire. I'm sure we'll see more formations added in the future.
The new characters and models in the book include, Thanquol and Boneripper, Lord Skreech Verminking, the four Verminlords, and Slayer King Ungrim, Incarnate of Fire.
The Stormfiends are what interest me the most– Rat ogres on 50mm bases with weapons and armor. They cost a flat amount of points per model (a little more than double the cost of a normal rat ogre). Each one can be armed with one of six weapons at no extra point cost. The model kit includes three poses, each of which can be built as one of two options. In a nutshell, the weapons are:
Grinderfists: Allows the unit to tunnel onto the board and still charge or shoot.
Windlaunchers: Functions similarly to the poisoned wind mortar weapon team.
Warpfire projectors: Works similarly to the warpfire thrower weapon teams.
Ratling cannons: Heavier ratling guns, they roll 3 dice for the number of shots.
Doom-flayer gauntlets and warpstone-laced armor: Strength bonus and D3 impact hits.
Shock gauntlets and warpstone-laced armor: Strength bonus and D3 stomp attacks.
*The warpstone-laced armor gives the Stormfiend a 4+ armor save, which applies to all the models in the unit (whether they have the heavier armor of not). The "force field" effect can be negated though; if an attack targets a specific model (like a melee attack or a ranged attack that can single out an individual model in a unit) any non-warpstone-laced model uses it's regular, light armor save.
One thing I notice about these Stormfiend weapons (and Boneripper's warpfire projectors work the same as the Stormfiends') is that there is no chance that rolls of 1 or misfires can harm the unit using it. Some of them specify that the hits are directed at the closest friendly unit in line-of-sight, but if there isn't a friendly unit to suffer the hits, then nothing happens and the shot just misses. That seems oddly un-Skaveny to me. These are the first Skaven-designed weapons that don't explode when used!
Overall, the book is pretty solid. I think the campaign and Battlescrolls give a little insight into the future of the game. I really dig the Stormfiends. Although, as I suspected, some of the options are obviously better than others. Since a single kit can't build three of the same weapon, I may have to get creative with my conversions.
'Til next time!
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
If you've been keeping up with the rumor mill like I have, you'll know that this is an uncertain time for Warhammer Fantasy. I've been involved in many-a-discussion on forums and in chats with my own friends and fellow gamers. 2015 was supposed to be the year of hover boards, flying cars and 80's punk fashion, not mass hysteria and predictions of doom for my favorite hobby game. (I haven't even gotten to wear my jeans inside-out yet!)
I've had some time to process all of the rumors and see some widely differing opinions on the matter, so here's what I think about all this...
The Old World gets shattered into bubbles of reality that float through the warp and occasionally bump into each other. Some have suggested that this will create a more plausible reason for different armies to fight. (So, when the Sylvanian bubble meets the Athel Loren bubble, Vampite Counts and Wood Elves will clash, I guess.)
I could see something like this happening. Not that there would be little spheres of land, with the Skaven on one, and the Empire on another, but rather "chunks" of an exploded planet adrift in a sea of energy. They wouldn't necessarily drift into each other like rafts in a swimming pool, but rather the dimensional veil would momentary collapse, allowing travel to an area of the old world that wasn't there previously. The End Times are host to some cataclysmic events, and I really think that the "landscape" of the Warhammer World will be changed.
The idea that this would allow a more plausible reason for armies to fight is just silly. Even before the End Times, the world was in a constant state of war. The Warhammer world is always on the brink of the End Times (it says so in almost every iteration of the core rulebook). I don't think anyone had a problem justifying how and why their army marched a few miles to invade another territory.
There's talk of the 8th edition army books still being valid, and all the End Times rules and lists still being playable. The "bubbles" of reality will probably be rifts in space-time, allowing the past (Warhammer 8th army book lists), the End Times, and "Newhammer" to exist simultaneously. In the future of 9th edition, the world may well be shattered with fragments of it held together by the Winds of Magic, each trapped in its own time period. This could be a way of allowing everyone to have their own unique universe– one group plays with straight 8th edition rules, another plays with End Times, and others play whatever the new (possibly skirmish) form or Warhammer will be. Since the rules and models will be cross compatible, Someone from group A can tweak his list to play a game with someone from group C. If they need a logical reason as to why a pre-End Times army is fighting a Post Apocalyptic Warhammer force, it's simple: The barrier between worlds had dropped, or the realities have merged allowing armies from different time periods to interact. (This is sort of in line with some of the discussion on Faiet 212.)
Part of what makes Warhammer a fun hobby is creating the back story for your own army and characters. People want the overall story to advance but, what difference does that really make? What does it matter if Karl Franz is killed or replaced as the Emperor? How does that affect the games we play? From a modeling standpoint, the overall story is kind of irrelevant to me, as long as I can still play with my toys.
There will be a new faction of heavily armored human warriors who fight with the power of gods. People have speculated that these will be Space Marines in the Old World.
Introducing a new army is a great way to generate interest in a game and attract new players. It has been 10 years since there was a new army for Warhammer. And it makes sense that, if the Warhamer World is ending, the Slann or the Old Ones could summon or send forth "anti-Chaos" warriors.
Why would GW introduce another army in a system with (rumored) abysmally low sales when they can't even maintain all of the armies they already have? Why add a whole, new faction when every other faction is being condensed? Also, the other rumors say that there will be 6 army factions in 9th edition. "Good Holy Warriors" isn't listed as one of them.
Ehhhhh... Sure. maybe they'll come up with a "good" version Chaos Warriors. If we do see these, they'll probably be allied units, able to be used by any of the Forces of Order. That will encourage more people to buy and use them, rather than creating a brand new army that may or may not take off.
9th edition will have 6 factions– Chaos, Elves, Empire, Undead, Orcs and Goblins, and Skaven.
These factions fall mostly along the lines of the consolidated lists we've seen in the End Times books. Combining the armies gives each player more opportunity to diversify his model collection while keeping the bulk of his force intact.
I refer again to the rumors that say the 8th Edition army books will still be valid. I've heard rumors that Dwarfs, Bretonnians, and Ogre Kingdoms will be rolled into the Empire army. But if all the army books are still able to be used, then these armies will still be able to stand on their own.
As with the reality bubbles, I think everything will remain valid. The 9th edition "Newhammer" will likely have condensed armies, but the entire spectrum of armies will still be in play. If there's a skirmish version of Warhammer, that will likely make use of the combined lists exclusively.
Each of these 6 factions will have a limited selection of core units and other units added through periodic updates, with those models being available only for a limited time. And they may be dropping the majority of the Fantasy range.
If mold costs are recouped in the initial run of a product (as I suspect they are) there won't be any "back stock" sitting around not earning money. The idea that these models will come with their own rules, so they can be immediately added to an existing army without having to organize it around the release of a new army book makes sense. I can also see this working from a storefront point of view– Stores already have abysmally low levels of Warhammer Fantasy inventory. Keeping a few core units and then having a new release section that cycles through on a regular basis means that in order to carry the whole Warhammer range they don't need to dedicate shelf space for hundreds of products covering the different armies. Since they'll be in production for several months, it's not going to be a one-and-done print run and a mad dash to buy them before they sell out, either.
Having plastic kits go out of production after a few months is robbing yourself of further profit on that kit. Once the mold cost is recouped, the sale of the kit is generating more profit than the initial run. This is also contrary to what the hobby of miniatures wargaming is: spending months and years collecting and painting models. Allowing each army to be "done" (no new products) for a few years lets the hobbyist play around with his army lists and catch up on painting. Also, how can the 8th Edition army books still be valid if most of the models that make up their army roster aren't availible?
This could go either way. I've been saying that GW wouldn't likely drop plastic kits that are only a year old, but if the plan to drop kits after only 6 months or so is true, then I guess dropping a kit that's a few years old isn't out of the realm of possibility. If they do still want players to be able to use the 8th edition army books, it's going to become increasingly difficult if most of the models are unavailable. I just don't see how a "fire and forget" it strategy will work for a hobby game since it's all about the investment of time and work. I've been loathe to shovel my models into the trash, but if there really is no army support in 9th, I don't know...
Models will be on round bases in 9th edition.
If "proper" 9th edition really is a skirmish-style game, then maybe they could make use of round bases. There's talk of using War of the Ring styled movement trays, which would allow the skirmish version of the game interact with the army version of the game.
Is GW really going to repackage every kit so it has round bases? If they're scrapping most of the range, I guess it's a moot point. But how about the newer plastic models that have modeled square bases right on the sprue? They would need to be completely retooled. And all of the new End Times kits come with square bases.
Models like the casket of souls, war machines, and the steam tank have been "baseless" for a while. If they were to go on a round base it wouldn't be any different than it is now. Night Goblin Fanatics are already on round bases. Maybe single models like monsters would be round-based, but things that need to rank up (like cavalry and infantry) would remain on square bases. If someone were to collect a round based skirmish force and wanted to play a ranked up game they could use a movement tray. I used to think the whole idea of round bases being shoehorned into an "infantry block" game was pretty unlikely.
But then this picture surfaced:
Those certainly appear to be round bases on the Screaming Bell and Plague Furnace. Oh well...
'Til next time?
Thursday, January 8, 2015
New Years Resolutions
As we kick off the new year I've decided to make a few resolutions:
Resolution #1 is to post on a regular schedule. I've been trying to make Tuesday the regular day that blog posts go up. But life and work keep interfering, and they usually go up late. Last year I fell behind in the number of posts, but almost caught up at the end. I've already blown Tuesday for this week, but hopefully, I'll be able to get things on track next week.
Resolution #2 is to finish my Space Hulk models. The Space Marines are the real killer, since I intend to convert them into Black Templars, with magnetized bases so I can interchange them between round bases (for games of 40K that I never play) and square "Space Hulk" bases.
That's a lot of work, since I need to remove all the Blood Angels details and replace them with suitable Templar details. I've decided to tackle one per month. The 11 Terminators and Librarian are all bagged and each month I'll pull out a random marine and finish him. At some point I'll tackle the Genestealers as well. By the end of the year I'll (hopefully) have the entire set finished.
First up for January is Brother Noctis. He's pretty straightforward, with only a few blood drops to remove and sculpt over. Here goes nothing...
Resolution #3 is to finally start producing resin terrain products. I've talked about this before, and I've been compiling ideas and concepts for everything from bases to buildings, so it's time to put my money where my mouth is.
Annnnd I just found out that the world is ending. Stay tuned.
'Til next time!
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