March 2– Back from vacation, the shop is open!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Playing Catch-Up

I've been under a deadline crunch for a few scenery commissions, so my blog has been getting neglected for the past few weeks. I managed to keep up with my #HobbyStreak however, so I've got a bunch of projects that I'll be posting about this month...


If you follow me on Twitter @RobHawkinsHobby, you've seen me chipping away at my Nighthaunt army. I've got just over 1000 points finished. I don't think I'll clear my entire Nighthaunt painting queue this year, but I'll have the bulk of my core units finished. That leaves the Grimghast Reapers, Kurdoss, and Spirit Hosts among the list of started-but-unfinished projects. Two of them will count toward my Wargame Hobby Bingo card– a small unit of Glaivewraith Stalkers for the "scenic bases" square, and a mounted conversion of Korak the Grim for the "new version of an old character" square.



I've also got the Bone Giant's painting underway, and I still have the final three endless spells to finish this year.



My Primaris Space Marines have finally been taken out of mothballs; I was waiting for the Imperial Fists Primaris upgrade sprue and, now that it's out, I'm able to progress further with them, but they'll likely have to wait until next year, even though the new codex has just been released.



And that segues nicely into a news discussion. The new Space Marine codex system has dropped! Only two years after the previous hardcover codex. And now I have to buy two codices to play my army– the main codex and the supplement for my chapter. And because my main chapter is Black Templars, their rules are in one of the Psychic Awakening books for some reason. So rather than paying $40 for the Space Marine Codex and a $30 marine chapter supplement, Templars players have to buy two $40 books. And they have to suffer the indignant HERESY of having their rules in a book series dedicated to PSYCHIC POWERS!

People used to complain about armies not getting updated frequently enough, or that Games Workshop was more focused on models than game rules. Well now we've officially swung to the polar opposite– They can look forward to buying a new army book every other year, I guess.

I think I'm officially done buying more books than models, and I'm going to skip this cycle of Space Marine rules. (By the time I get my Imperial Fists painted, it will be just about time for next marine codex anyway!) Buying rules doesn't excite me. At all. Spending $100 a year on rule books is money that could have been better spent on more models, especially when those rules are going to have such a short lifespan.

On top of it, there are small-scale side-games like Kill Team and Warcry that potentially use the same models but require the purchase of full rule books, and even more add-on books if you want to play the "whole" game. I haven't tried Warcry yet, but I hear good things and it looks fun and interesting. I've got some ideas for a thematic Flesh-eater Court warband, but I'm not sure if I'm willing to spend over ninety dollars on rules and stat cards for a game that only uses 5-10 models. (Edit:  Now that GW has announced the Tome of Champions, I'm looking at $120 to play with my 7-model warband.)

On a positive note, the new Sisters of Battle models look phenomenal! Someone had posted a picture of a classic metal sister next to a new plastic sister, and there was a noticeable size difference. I'd probably be annoyed by that if I already had a Sisters army that I was looking to expand. I'm seriously tempted by these models, so they might have to compete with my Imperial Fists for 40K hobby attention next year.

In other news, GW announced the return of the Old World. That's great from a story standpoint because those of us with classic characters will again have a place for them to "live." Vince from Warhammer Weekly had it right when he pointed out that it wouldn't take three years of development if there weren't going to be new models along with the release. So I'm hopeful that we'll see new Tomb Kings and Bretonnian models on the shelves again. It would be nice to get updated models for classic characters like Heinrich Kemmler or The Green Knight, and that would also make sense from a "historic wargame" perspective. I'd prefer that it's not a straight re-issue of the old Fantasy Battle rules as there were plenty of things in 8th Edition that needed ironing out (namely the out-of-control magic and Death Star units), but it's really early to speculate on things like rules.

One thing I'm fairly certain of, is that the release of The Old World will be used as the Official™ excuse to say "beat it, squares" and remove any possibility of using square-based models in the Age of Sigmar. Even if GW doesn't use it as an opportunity to finally draw a line quantifying that "round bases are for this game, and square bases are for that game," I'm sure we can count on the competitive community to gate-keep. After all, the best thing about Age of Sigmar is that you can do whatever you want... as long as you do it the "right" way.  (Seriously, people, squares are not a significant advantage over rounds.)

It's too bad that this will probably result in yet another split among the fantasy community. I've really come around on Age of Sigmar since the early days. I've got story beats kicking around for my Nighthaunt and Flesh-eater Court forces that will set them firmly in the Mortal Realms. I really enjoy the game-play of Sigmar, its only real shortcoming is that it's a detriment to large armies because of the time the game takes to play– Moving and piling-in dozens of models and measuring to see if each individual one is in melee range takes forever, not to mention the number of re-rolls that apply to everything. I think I'm most excited about a rank-and-flank game returning just so I can play larger games that incorporate more of the miniature collection that I've spent decades amassing. I'm looking forward to seeing what's in store for the future.

'Til next time!


  1. Don't forget Chapter Approved for the points updates and FAQ/errata.

    1. Points updates really need to be part of the codex/battletome's errata, because they were initially published in those books. There's no reason to buy a $35 book just to find out that multi-meltas are 5 points cheaper. At least AoS has made the General's Handbook irrelevant.

  2. The whole GW rules cycle is nuts these days. For a slow hobby practitioner like myself, there will be several iterations of rules before I get anything painted and ready to play, so it makes absolute no sense to buy into the roller coaster now.

    Back in "my day" (20 years ago!) the main rules and codexes changed slowly enough you could be enjoy an army for a while without being forced to adapt on a designer whim.

    1. Exactly– This "constantly-changing meta" is nonsense, specifically *because* this is a miniatures hobby. getting ready to play requires a significantly greater time investment than simply opening a foil pack of cards.

      I guess this is the result of the "Magic the Gathering" generation trying to apply their game experience to miniatures. And it seems like GW is directly catering to people who don't care about models and only want rules crunch and a pay-to-win mentality– If a player doesn't want to get deeply invested in modeling an ARMY, they'll at least get them to buy hundreds of dollars of rule books.

      It's like the idea of playing the same army for more than 2 years is for suckers. If that's the expected turnover rate, why BOTHER painting, or converting unique units, or naming your characters when it's just going to end up on ebay?

    2. Yes, exactly! Magic the gathering and changing meta and seasons, and ongoing story and UGH. Not my cup of tea.

      $500 or whatever an army costs now is already such a high barrier to entry, assembly and painting of an army is such a high barrier to entry, that it makes no sense at all to make it even harder to play by changing the rules so frequently (and still charge so much for them!)

    3. Yup. And if they ARE going to make the rulebooks have such a short lifespan, WHY make them full-color hardcover books and add to the cost? Just go with softcover, black & white with a color insert for the model gallery and cut down on the price so we don't feel cheated when it needs to be (essentially) thrown out in two years.

      OR --And this would be great-- Make a fancy, full color hardcover tome for the army with all the lore and model galleries for $35, and sell a separate $10 B&W booklet for the rules that can literally be thrown away and updated every year or so. The main army book could get redone about every 5 years when there's significant updates to the army & model range.

    4. Fancy color hard cover army book with PDF rules...


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