Sunday, May 25, 2014

An Inquisitor's Thoughts on 7th Edition

This is as pretty as they get.

I've had the weekend to think about the new rules, how they'll affect the game, and the quality of Games Workshop's eBook editions.

The Good

First off, the changes to army composition. My mind literally cannot comprehend what it's going to do. It's too busy being inordinately excited about the possibilities. Unbound armies? You can run an old school Inquisitor with Storm Troopers leading squads of Sisters and Grey Knights with Storm Talon support. The possibilities are intoxicating. Yes, I'm thinking of having a small troupe of Inquisitors driving a swarm of Tyranids at their opposition. ALL OF THAT IS POSSIBLE NOW.

But what's crazier is that you can do these combinations as Battle-Forged armies as long as you fill out the Detachments. There are no limits on the number or types of Detachments you include in a Battle-Forged army. Inquisitors have an extremely light Detachment requirement. It can simply be a single Inquisitor. Or you can have them as part of a GK Detachment. A Canoness with a squad of Battle Sisters fills an Allied Detachment. Storm Troopers? I haven't looked into the Militarum Tempestus codex, but it likely has a small Detachment included to allow you to add them to larger armies. Storm Talons a little trickier, but Throw a SM Captain and some Tac Marines in and you can add them.

To a fluff gamer, the changes are an amazing boon. To a WAAC player, they are as well, however there is an important caveat one must consider: the rule book itself says that players need to agree on limitations on unit numbers, composition, etc. When it comes to tournaments, expect specific restrictions on Force Organization. When playing friendly games, play friendly. Just because the rules technically allow you to field all the most overpowered unit combinations you muster . . . don't expect others to ever play against them unless that's what they're looking to fight.

In addition, the Psychic Phase will change things tremendously. Sam will likely discuss it in more depth, but I do like what it does for the game. I've never been one to really deal with running Psykers of my own, but if I get in some games in the future, that'll likely change. I mean, I'm a Grey Knights player. They're Psykers all over . . . after the last codex. Incidentally, my last game was shortly before it dropped. I even own a couple Dread Knight boxes, but I haven't gotten around to putting them together. But back to the point, the Psychic Phase sounds like it consolidates and limits some of the crazier things that were being done with Psykers. Eldrad cannot Fortune everyone 4 times a turn.

The Bad

Speaking of Grey Knights and the Psychic Phase, the Aegis now does nothing as Sam brought to my attention. It reduces the Leadership for Psychic tests . . . but Leadership is no longer involved for Psychic tests. I put forth the idea of it cancelling a hit on the test or making hits only on 5+, but that seems awfully effective . . . probably too effective. Sam thought it could give Adamantium Will, but I thought that was a bit too close to what the Sisters do (in fact, they nearly all get it through their Shield of Faith).

Which leads us to a gap in how the Sisters operate with the new Psychic Phase. Deny the Witch, a Sisters specialty, is based on spending Warp Charges. Since the Sisters have a grand total of ZERO Psykers in their list, they get a grand 1d6 Warp Charges to spend on Deny the Witch rolls. This is a bit weak. My solution is to give the Sisters this rule: "Every Unit with the Act of Faith Special Rule is treated as having Mastery Level 1 for purposes of Warp Charge generation." Why Act of Faith instead of Shield of Faith? Simple: it prevents vehicles from generating charges.

The Ugly

I purchased the eBook edition of the 7th Edition rules. As beautiful as Games Workshop's physical books are, their eBooks are awful. I have no experience with the enhanced iPad edition, so they are likely better. Perhaps it is merely a limitation of the formats they use. I have several PDF copies of Paizo's Pathfinder books. They're virtually identical to print copies. The same applies to PDFs of White Wolf / Onyx Path games. Really, it applies to pretty much every other company out there that sells electronic copies of their rules. GW, however, sells the books only in ePub and Mobi formats. Formats designed for straight text. The artistry of the book layout and design is simply lost. Which is truly sad. While GW may make terrible business choices at times, their products are definitely top notch. I cannot say that about their eBooks.


A lot of the new rules aren't very new. Other than a few major changes such as the Psychic Phase, it's sometimes hard to tell where the rules deviate from 6th Edition. It's not too hard to get the feeling that FAQs and errata would get us to the same spot. In a way that's not a bad thing. transitioning from 6th to 7th will not be difficult. I truly love the opportunities that the revised army composition rules allow. The bad part is that some of my favourite armies need some errata to work better in the new paradigm.

And GW really needs to start providing good PDF versions of their eBooks.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Other OTHER Dice God: Ash

Nom, nom. Crunchy Power Armour coating, tender squishy human inside.

Wait, who's this guy?

Let's face it, we all know that one guy: the guy who just can't win a game. It doesn't matter what game he plays, what dice he uses, or what army he fields. The guy just can't win a game. That's me. I'm Ash, the Dice God of Despair. That picture above? My poorly painted Sister as she's devoured by unpainted Nids run by a new player. Never give up the faith! The faith is my shield! *chomp*

I'm pretty sure Sam got me into 40k so he could have some easy wins.

I haven't talked much about gaming on the blogs lately. Frankly, I've been out of the loop. I'm living out in the middle of nowhere with the Only Game In Town being a comic store that sells some 40k, but no X-Wing. (That's not the actual name of the store. But it should be.) I don't think they have a 40k community. At least they have Magic? That I don't play? Ugh.

So why are you here?

My point is that 7th Edition 40k is coming out. Man, it seems like it's only been a couple years since I was talking about the new changes in 6th Edition. Oh wait. It was. Like, the week of 16 July 2012. At least it sounds like the rules will be good. Unbound Force Orgs? I've been dreaming of this day. Sisters with Exorcists all day long. EXTERMINATUS just got serious. I'm talking Grey Knight Techmarines with Orbital Strike Relays all over the board. My Steel Dragons Chapter can have all the Devastators I can field. Cheese aside, I'm looking forward to reading the rules as soon as my digital edition can be downloaded.

So do you actually PLAY any 40k?

Erm, well, I did mention the lack of community where I am. However, this does not stop my love of talking about the game! And the occasional wistful glance at the boxes of miniatures I'll one day paint (I swear!). But not only do I like talking 40k, I also enjoy talking about X-Wing and other tabletop games. My heavy gaming of late has been Legend of the Five Rings using Roll20 and Skype. I try to get some Pathfinder in too.

Okay, fine. Tell us about your dreams and aspirations then.

. . . .

I think I just sassed myself. *cough* Right! I'm not the super painter dude that Sam is, but I love rules. I am not however, the type to wield them as a sword. I earn my losses fair and square. What I'm saying, I suppose, is that I enjoy analyzing the rules and what they mean from a more narrative standpoint. I care more about what the special rules say about the army than how the special rules make an army unbeatable if paired with some bizarre ally combination. I'm also a sucker for pretty models.

That's me. I'll be over here clicking "refresh" on my Black Library downloads page until I can read the new rules.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Adepta Sororitas (Sisters of Battle) Army Commission Project WIP (Part 2)

First Completed Squad

     Five down and 36 more to go.  GUH!  I shouldn't say it like that.  How about one squad down and seven more to go?  That's slightly better.  This squad took me about a week to complete from primed to finished.  I can only paint after 8:00 pm and I didn't paint every single night during that week.  I think that I can refine my process and get another five models done in perhaps 4 or 5 days (and that's allowing for some nights were I don't paint).

Thoughts About the Models

     I'm becoming more familiar with these models now.  I want to remind people just how old these sculpts are.  Some of these models are on the near side of almost 20 years old.  That's INSANE!  Unfortunately they show their age in a number of ways.  Obviously the first tell-tale sign is that they're metal.  I've been over that before so I'll move on.  The next big indicator is the faces.  The faces are a bit crude.  They aren't ugly, but there is a HUGE difference in the finer detail that can be achieved via plastic or resin crafted through modern sculpting techniques.  And finally there are just some bad looks that had to be made given the technology of the day.

     When these models are sitting at normal gaming distance, none of these faults really matter.  They still look like a part of the 40K aesthetic.  The only thing that might strike you at that distance is that there appears to be quite a large number of repeat poses.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

First Completed Scion

Astra Militarum Tempestus Scion Showcase

     I've completed my first Tempestus Sci... BAH nevermind that silly name... STORM TROOPER! HAH! Yes I've completed my first Storm Trooper from the new kit.  I'm not planning on cranking this squad out just now, as I've got bigger fish to fry.  I really wanted to completely assemble and paint one of these new models, however, so I could learn a bit more and give you guys a more detailed review of the model.


     This kit, more than any other infantry kit from Games Workshop, demands that you follow the instructions.  On my previous post concerning this kit, I mentioned the instruction booklet (which it actually is, not a single sheet but an actual little booklet) and how impressed I was with it.  After completing the first model, I now know that the amount of detail they put in there was absolutely required.  The power cords coming off most of the weapons require that you match them to certain arms and backpacks.  Test fitting your model before you start gluing is mandatory too.  The backpack's power cord needs to meet up with the weapon's power cord and that determines the angle of the arms.  I would recommend plastic glue for assembly over super glue.  As long as you check and double check the fit of everything prior to gluing, you'll be fine.


     Games Workshop released a two part video tutorial on their YouTube channel (you can find part one here).  I want to first point out that this recent trend of them releasing these tutorials to coincide with their recent releases is actually really smart.  The videos are easy to follow, and well produced.  Even a 6 year veteran to the hobby can still learn some things from these.  I decided to follow their basic path to completion, but I altered colors to match with my existing guard.

Here are my other Imperial Guard Infantry... sorry... Astra Militarum *sigh*

     I tend to fully assemble infantry models before painting as I figure that if it's difficult to get my brush there in order to paint something, it's generally difficult to see that area.  That said, if I were looking to paint this figure up to a competition standard, I would have left the weapon off to better paint the chest armor.  There are some very fiddly details on these models so I also recommend just base coating pretty much everything first, then coming back to clean up prior to applying washes.  This should be pretty standard practice, but with all these fine details (like the metal trimming all over the armor) you want to make sure your base coats are nice and clean, carefully going over all the edges where two colors meet.

     One thing that stood out as I neared the end of painting on this model: no decals.  I wasn't a fan of transfers when I started in the hobby, but after becoming more familiar with all the tips and tricks in applying them, making them blend into the model, and weathering them, I've come to quite enjoy them.  My guard veteran squads all have transfers, each with a meaning as to the organization of my particular regiment.  I like these little visual story bits.  The new Storm Trooper kit does not have a transfer sheet at all, which isn't a surprise because there isn't any actual real estate on which you could apply them.  I decided that I would copy the GW style of paint job on their box-art Temestus Scions and have an arm stripe, but instead of a brighter shade of blue, I would incorporate white, as that can be seen as a common color across my existing guard.  This decision turned out to be a wise one.  Once I added this stripe, the figure seemed to be complete.  If you are planning on following your own custom theme for your Scions, and perhaps you were on the fence about the arm stripe, I am here to say that it's a good idea.  Here are some pictures followed by a few last words.  Enjoy:


     I like these models, but I actually like them a slight bit less than I did on first impression.  These models are perhaps too detailed.  With hardly any larger open surface areas, I found it difficult to express the same amount of freehand blending and weathering.  Weathering seemed to busy up the model a bit too much given the existing level of physical detail.  I'm going to try more edge weathering on subsequent Scion models.  I still like the models, just not quite as head-over-heels as I was when I saw those first leaked pictures.


     The base used for this model can be purchased from the fine folks over at Secret Weapons Miniatures.  This is from their "Urban Streets" bevel edged resin bases line found here.  I like the fine detail that Secret Weapons Miniatures has on their bases, but I have a few points of contention with this set.  The first complaint is that they are a bit "tall" which resulted in this Storm Trooper being about a head taller than my other guard on standard bases. The second complaint is that the beveled edge was rather rough and required a good bit of clean-up.  Both of these complaints certainly aren't deal-breakers, and I will most certainly continue to use them for my Tempestus Scion squads.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Kris - The Other Dice God

I'm still figuring out this whole "painting" thing...

Better late than never!

     Hi there!  As I'm sure you've gleamed from my clever post title, my name is Kris.  I started this blog along with fellow Dice God member Sam almost 2 years ago, but this will be my first post.  Right now, the name of the game is Warhammer 40K.  I've previously played Grey Knights and Necrons, and currently have two army projects in the works - an Adepta Sororitas army (to which Sam is lending his amazing brush skills) and a still undecided Xenos army (more on that later).  I'm not a great painter, but I'm slowly trying to get better.  However, for my Sisters of Battle, I'm leaving that to a pro.

I may paint poorly, but at least I'm organized.

     Outside of 40K, my interests are spread all over the tabletop world, including Warmachine (Menoth), Firestorm Armada (Relthoza), BattleTech (Clan Wolf), X-Wing, Magic the Gathering (mono-white Angels), Yu-Gi-Oh! (Dragons) and Heroclix.  I've also got a big box of Relic Knights coming sometime later this year, containing 4 separate armies (Doctrine and Shattered Sword Paladins for me, Noh Empire and Black Diamond for Sam).  I also do a bit of board gaming with a group of friends, including games like Zombicide, Descent and Super Dungeon Explore.

I painted these when I was 11.  Don't mind the dust...

Where did he come from?

     While I'm still relatively new to 40K (having only started mid-way through 5th edition), my entry into tabletop war gaming began almost two decades ago.  It was the summer of 1995.  MechWarrior 2 had just released for the PC and reruns of the BattleTech animated series were airing every morning.  What can I say, I was a pre-teen who liked him some giant walking death machines.  It was no surprise that when I saw a group of people playing BattleTech at my local comic shop, I was instantly hooked.  I spent several years as part of our local MechWarrior's Guild, but then high school happened any my attention shifted to girls and sports.

I won one of these!

Then what happened?

     Graduation came and went, and I felt the desire to game on the tabletop once again.  But when I went looking for the BattleTech community, they were nowhere to be found.  Instead, there were two new games out that everyone was talking about locally: Heroclix and Yu-Gi-Oh!  I dove in head first and ended up playing both at the national tournament level for a while before pulling back to a casual interest level (though I do still dabble in both from time to time).

     Fast forward to 2009 and Dawn of War II for the PC.  I found the world of Warhammer 40K completely fascinating.  I began reading wikis and searching for any fluff I could find.  So, when my good friend Sam mentioned being interested in getting into 40K, I was all in. For the second time in my life, a video game led me to the tabletop.  I suppose the rest is history!

You mentioned something about an undecided army?

     Indeed I did!  My main work in progress 40K army is a heavily mechanized Adepta Sororitas list.  I desire a second army, but I'm unable to decide between the following three ideas:

  • Necrons with Triarch Stalkers, Annihiliation Barges and Immortals in Night Scythes.
  • Iyanden Eldar with Wraithguard, Wraithlords, a Wraithknight and a Forge World Wraithseer
  • The same Eldar above, but dropping the Wraithseer and putting the Wraithguard in Wave Serpents
     I tend to build army lists around models I like and themes I enjoy.  Sure, Necron Wraiths are awesome and Eldar Jetbikes tend to dominate, but neither of them fit my army vision.  I'd rather lose with an army I love than win with a win-at-all-costs list.

     So...  What are you waiting for?  Leave a comment and let me know which army you think I should move forward with!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Scions Kit Has Some Surprises

New and Improved

     The release of the new plastic Storm Troopers (or Tempestus Scions) is pretty exciting for me.  I've had an Imperial Guard army in the works for quite some time.  One of the units I had on my wish list was Storm Troopers, but the metal models turned me off a bit.  The Kasrkins looked alright, but the unit didn't come with the weapons I wanted, so that meant having to buy multiple special weapons models.  The price of a single unit really began to be completely unappealing.  I figured that the Storm Troopers would be redone in the next Imperial Guard codex, and it looks like my guess was spot on.  I'm glad I waited.

     I purchased a box of the new Tempestus Scions ahead of the Astra Militarum codex since I know that I'm going to have at least one unit, and this would allow me to to scope out the models, and plan how I was going to build them.  It has been quite a while since I've purchased a brand new release from GW, and what I found in the box was pretty surprising.

     The density of parts on the sprue meant that they only needed two sprues and they were truly packed with detail.  The one box allows you to build out a command squad or 5 members of a regular Scions squad, including all the options for that.  I am a big fan of the Imperial Guard Cadian Command Squad box, and this reminds me of that.  Lots of extra options and choices for assembling unique models across multiple squads.

     While that's nice, there were a few things that really stood out.  The fidelity of these sculpts is beyond anything I've seen from Games Workshop before.  The details were very crisp, and there was some clever features for helping a modeler assemble the characters properly.  To show off the improved "resolution" of the models, I would like to show an example.  The Hot-Shot Volley Gun has such fine detail that there are actually TINY gaps in between the barrels within the model.  Check it out:

That's impressive!

     The instructions were an improvement as well.  This booklet covered all the different model types you could build out, labeled all the weapons, and showed all the decorative elements.  There are five backpacks that combine with five of the Hot-shot Lasrifles, and five specific sets of arms.  The instructions shows all of these five pairings, gives you sprue numbers and what's great is that the physical arms have the numbers for the set imprinted on them as shown below:

The two arms marked with a "5" pair together with a specific rifle and backpack.
     I'm no fan of Games Workshop's business practices, but there is no denying their technical capability.  This kit is pretty clear evidence of that.  I'm looking forward to assembling these, and when I do I'll be sure to share some more pictures.  Thanks for reading!

Adepta Sororitas (Sisters of Battle) Army Commission Project WIP (Part 1)

Sisters of Battle Project is Go

     A few years back, a good friend of mine asked if I would be available for a commissioned army.  He had long been a fan of the Adepta Sororitas (a.k.a. The Sisters of Battle) and had desired to have an army.  A few road blocks presented themselves for him when deciding on this army:

  1. The Codex - At the time they were encapsulated in the "Witch Hunters" codex, which was generally pretty poor performing in Warhammer 40K 5th Edition (which was the new edition on the scene when he and I entered the hobby).  It was badly in need of an update, but no credible rumor foretold of an imminent refresh.
  2. The Price/Kits - The sets up models that you could purchase from GW were expensive.  Generally they were lacking in the specific weapon choices that my friend wanted to run.  This meant that he would have to spend even more to pick up additional models with the proper weapons, and he'd have a pile of models holding weapons he wasn't even interested in running.
  3. The Metal - In addition to these model kits including or excluding options he didn't/did want, they were ALL metal.  Even after Finecast came on the scene, these models remained metal.  Now metal as a medium for delivering a detailed miniature is just fine, but working with metal for extensive conversions or giving you choices for assembly, metal is terrible.  Compare these metal models to one of the modern plastic squad kits and you'll see the obvious short comings.  Among the units he wanted to field there would be a huge number of repeated models.  And if you had a specific look that you wanted, like helmeted heads, forget it.  You got what you got.
     The arrival of their new (digital only) codex brought them a refresh, but not much of one.  They changed the faith powers (making them a bit more "meh") and tweaked around here and there, but that was it.  No new units, no new amazing special rules, and certainly no new models.

So many blister packs!

The Beginnings

     He decided that his dreams of new kits, amazing new codex, and modular plastics as far as the eye could see were a bit of a pipe dream.  Given that the only constant with Games Workshop is "price increases" he would be better off just buying them now before they went the way of the Squats.  He showed up at my house with some very hefty boxes stuffed full of metal infantry and piles of vehicles.  The journey began.  We spent most of a day just filing, clipping and cleaning up the infantry.  If you've never worked with metal, you might not be familiar with the process.  Just like plastic models, mold lines are an issue, but unlike plastic, metal models can have all sorts of "nibblets" poking out (and 'poking' is the right word as these things can be sharp and generally pointed directly outward from the model at your beckoning flesh) as well as some pretty beefy "gates" where the metal has the be clipped and filed in huge chunks.  In addition to all that, pinning is generally a must for a quality long-living model.  If you drop a metal mini that hasn't been properly pinned, expect an explosion of parts.

Heavy Metal!

     I also wanted to be sure to pin all models to their bases, again assuring that they'd weather the wear of time far better.  Pinning mean drilling.  Drilling and filing combine to make some unhappy metal dust that I would recommend avoiding if at all possible.  I might have shortened my life span working on these models.  The work must go on!

Testing the Paint Scheme

     Long before we began the assembly, my friend had carefully thought out his desired paint scheme.  He wanted something unique that would stand out, and colors that he obviously just liked in general.  He ran these thoughts by me.  This is great because I could work with him to figure out what would work best in color theory, and advise about techniques I had tried so I knew what would work and what wouldn't.  He sent me along a reference picture and I grabbed his one extra Bolter Sister and conducted a test run.  Here are the results:

     This first test was painted slightly rough for speed.  No matte coat was applied so some parts of the model are overly glossy, but I wanted to get some idea of how the color scheme would look, and how the model was to paint.  Learning your way around a model is very important.  I have, at times, sat at my painting desk for a good 30 minutes just looking over a model prior to painting just to understand where things were, and what order I wanted to paint things in.

     This first test was pretty good, but it just didn't feel right to me.  My big concern was the reds.  While they looked red, they really didn't pop.  Looking at it now, it seems like the red is very "realistic" which sounds great but this is 40K we're talking about.  Realism is for historics and people making military dioramas.  I wanted to have another pass:

     This pass was much more along the lines of what I thought this bad ass Space Nun should look like.  I used Citadel Mephiston Red base (or 'foundation') paint.  I just painted directly over my previous Reaper Violet Red.  I then used an orange edge highlight with a yellow final highlight.  This really made the model stand out at normal gaming distance, but still looked great close in.  My friend was pleased with this version and now I'm ready to move along.

In grey primer, they almost look plastic!  If only...

Primed and Waiting

     I went ahead and primed all 41 of the infantry models.  I'll be working on them in batches of five.  A five model batch, I feel, is the right volume in order to do some very detailed painting, while still affording you some assembly-line benefits.  The only down-side to five versus ten is that you might still have some waiting to do when applying washes or other slow-drying techniques.  I save the larger batches for things like Ork Boyz.  It also works out that his squad sizes are nearly all five models, so I decided to just do these as squads which also allows me some (limited) variety in the models that I'm painting.  It's good to mix models up just a little bit within the parameters of assembly lining things to give you a little mental relief.

Stacks on stacks on stacks of vehicles.

Get on the Bus

     These lovely ladies need a ride, so my friend purchased seven Immolators in addition to three Exorcists (to provide some vehicle/elite sniping support).  I think that I can now assemble a Rhino chassis in pretty short order.  I would like to take a moment and tip my hat to the Sisters' vehicle kits, because these are amazing.  For the price of a Rhino, the Immolator offers a HUGE amount of decorative elements that are either Sister specific or just Gothic and grim-dark as all get out.  The Exorcist is no exception.  If you can look past the fact that the quarter and front panels are all metal, along with the massive amount of metal on top of the vehicle, there is some stunning detail here.  I think I would describe it as "lavish" and that's no stretch.  The pipe organ is apparently not to everyone's taste, but I can't think of anything more Gothic than a freaking pipe organ on a missile launcher.  The Forge World alternative is boring, dull and boring.  I said 'boring' twice because it's doubly boring.


"Uhhh... Nottingham... We have a problem."

     All is not sunshine and hugs in the land of Sisters' vehicles, however.  There is an error in the instructions.  I've pointed to the error in the above photo.  There are four lengths of tread per side of a Rhino chassis.  A single tread, a double tread, a triple tread, and the enormous long tread length for the bottom.  The instructions show a triple tread piece being used on the rear of the vehicle, on the top of the tread curve.  This is wrong, however, and you should use a double tread piece.  This error would have been easily caught if I was just assembling one Rhino chassis, but when you're batch assembling 10 vehicles, and you've just clipped out all the basic chassis pieces and put them into one box, you might just be dumb enough to follow the instructions.  Thankfully, after contacting Games Workshop's customer service, they have sent out addition double triple tread pieces so I can complete the remaining three chassis.  

     Maybe this bit of text stops someone from making the same mistake in the future, but I doubt it will come up all that often.  How many people do you know are out there assembling 10 Sisters of Battle vehicles?  That's pretty much what I thought.

More to Come

     There will be more updates to come as I complete some painting.  If you have any questions about these models, or if you're interested in the army list that my friend is planning on running, please feel free to comment or email.  You can also see some more pictures of the test model in my Flikr feed off to the right.  Enjoy and thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Top Tips: How NOT to Grow a Gaming Community

List of things to do if you want to stymie the development and growth of a gaming community!

     So you have a few friends, a willing store, and a day marked on the calendar for your game of choice.  That's great!  What are some things that YOU can do to make sure that this fledgling community never gets off the ground?  How can you make success impossible?  I have some wonderful tips that I can provide you that I've learned through my time traveling and experiencing gaming communities of various sorts.  These are sure-fire methods to repelling even the most enthusiastic and willing gamer.

Tip #1: Store Setup

     I have played in small comic book shops, small Games Workshop stores, large purpose-built war gaming stores, and even large Games Workshop Battle Bunkers (picture at the top of the article is one such bunker).  If you want to make sure that no new-comer will return, these are some must-haves in your location of choice (should that location be a store):

"Uh yeah we can move some of this an maybe squeeze a table in. We're dedicated to our gaming community."

  • As few gaming tables as possible - One table is always enough.  You definitely want to make sure that only two people can get a game in, and that those two people will be spectated by loud-talking gamers that will be sure to slow the game down by second-guessing every rule or decision made by the lucky two gamers that got the one table. 
So much evocative terrain here on Planet Plywoodia!
  • No terrain is best terrain - People love playing on a table filled with evocative terrain.  That's why you ditch it completely.  Line-of-sight blocking terrain should be the first to go.  If you absolutely must have terrain make sure it is flat uninspired area terrain made from foam.  A nice touch is if this foam terrain has been dragged around the parking lot to ensure that the blue/pink foam is visible from chips and chunks removed from the thin dry-brushed paint job.  Another plus this clearly very open terrain will provide is explained later.
"Meh... Gaming between the hours of 5pm and 6pm. Gotta avoid the Yu-Gi-Oh crowd."
  • Less is more when it comes to time to play - At 1500 points, with two veteran players, you can get through a game of 6th edition Warhammer 40K in about an hour and a half.  That means that three hours should be plenty of time for a newbie to mingle, talk, and then get tabled by a Win-At-All-Cost tourney list.  More on that later.
Tip #2: First impressions Last.  Bring your "A" Game

     By "A" I of course mean "Asshole."  Allow me to provide and example to explain.  Let us assume that you are a key member of this community that you're hoping to ram into the ground.  Upon arriving late to the three hour gaming window at the horrible location you find a new and willing victim gamer.  He or she says something like "I played back in the day, but I was hoping to get back in.  I thought I'd check out the local scene and get a game in."  Perfection! Or "I'm new to 40K. I just assembled and painted this army and I wanted to learn how to play." Even better! This victim gamer probably is far out of touch with the most recent tournament meta, and likely has forgotten some rules or never even knew them to begin with.  This is an excellent opportunity to make sure that no fun is had.  If you have brought multiple armies, choose the most over powered of those that focuses specifically on the biggest weakness of their army then get ready to club a baby seal.  Here are some finer tips on what to focus on when working on your "A" game:

  • WAAC isn't whack - Win At All Costs (WAAC) is the way to be.  Remember when people talk about "themed army lists" that "Winning" is a theme!  Be sure to bring the most relentless death-star heavy list you can.  If you noticed that this victim gamer doesn't have much in the way of anti-armor, be sure to bring plenty of armor 14.  What's that?  They're playing an army the relies on cover saves? Play Tau of course!  And remember Tip #1's "No terrain is best terrain" advice? Time to make sure the table completely favors your army is hinders or exposes the visitor's army.
  • It isn't cheating if you don't get caught - If this is a completely new player or possibly someone not familiar with the current edition, they likely don't know or remember the rules.  You can just neglect things that aren't favorable to you.  But what do you do if they think they remember a rule and it still isn't favorable to you?  That's easy.  There have been 6 versions of 40K, and somewhere in all those version is a way out.  Just remember the version of the rules that most favors you, and argue strongly that this is the way it should be.  If the visitor insists on looking it up, use your venerable veteran status as an excuse. "Oh man... so silly, I was just remembering 4th edition.  That happens when you've been playing as long as I have."  All is forgiven.  The chances are that this newbie will realize 
Tip #3: Be the stereotypes

     Gamer stereotypes come in many forms.  They only exist as stereotypes because they actually exist in real life.  There will be some that are completely familiar to you already, but don't limit yourself to just these well travel paths.  When attempting to repulse, confuse, or generally make people feel uncomfortable, you can't go wrong with choosing any of the following:

That fog is "the smell"
  • Smelly Gamer - One of the most obvious ones is up first.  It doesn't matter if it is a lack of bathing/showering or filthy clothes that have been worn a heck of a lot more times than they've been washed, smell is the goal.  But don't just limit yourself to bad smells, try over-powering smells too!  Perhaps you do bath regularly AND you've washed your clothes.  It's not too late to drown yourself in some sort of Axe product that now makes you smell like all of the worlds' car fresheners vomited on you.  People certainly won't be back to bother you with enjoyable pick-up games ever again!
  • Obnoxious Gamer - We all know this character.  Vocal volume was set to eleven and the knob was glued down.  He/she is desperate for some attention so they leap at every chance to interject.  Obvious jokes are the BEST jokes, so make sure you point them out, frequently interrupting someone else's conversation to do so.  What is so great about Obnoxious Gamer is that you can actually be a really friendly guy, polite even, but you smother all others in your booming exultation such that you can make sure that no one will have a quiet and enjoyable conversation.  The great part is that no one will be likely to call you out if you're being polite simply because they'll be labeled the asshole! 
"I'll be playing Tau. Pip pip and tally ho!"
  • "Look How Unique I Am" Gamer - This one just ramps up the uncomfortable factor.  Essentially you need to dress or accessorize in a very attention grabbing manner.  You have to play this well because these days people have a pretty high tolerance for insane wardrobe choices (thanks Lady Gaga! Jeeeez!).  Gone are the days that you could just wear a kilt and weird everyone out.  You'll have to go further.  Dedication is key here, thus I recommend dressing all out in one of the following flavors: Renn Faire (the 'e' on the end adds authenticity. Extra points for wearing leather bracers all the time, and extra extra points for affecting an accent), Steam Punk (Top hats or bowlers are a must.  Extra points for goggles, even extra extra points if you insist of carrying a Nerf gun re-painted with a can of bronze spray paint), Alt-Alternate-Counter Culture (you were a hipster before hipsters weren't cool, must go further. Scarfs in summer are still a must)
Neck-beard implied
  • Fedora wearing Neck-beard Gamer - Hat and neck-beard are great but to seal the deal, all black is best.  So the hat is just and accessory to a bigger character role.  Neck-beards can spoil more fun than anything of the previous types.  Essentially, whatever someone likes, you hate.  Poo-poo all ideas of fun, argue about fluff, hate on all things at all times.  Snark about fluffy lists, complain about WAAC lists, blame GW for all problems in your gaming life.  You are the devil's advocate without the principles.  Hat and neck-beard optional, but shitty attitude is a must.
Imagine the thick smell of 10 year old cigarettes
  • Dirty Gamer - Smelly Gamer and Dirty Gamer are different, though sometimes manifested in one being.  Dirty Gamer arrives with a shoe box filled with the misfits of 40K.  No two models are primed or assembled the same way, and everything seems to be coated in a layer of dust or dirt.  Dirty Gamer tends to be a smoker, so his models might have quite a lot of tar on them.  If they aren't a smoker, they might live in a house filled with 20 smokers.  Why 20?  I can only assume it takes a large group of people, smoking in shifts around the clock in order to generate the fumigating cloud of disgustingness that covers these game pieces.  Dirty Gamer never has to worry about other people touching his stuff because the fear of tetanus is very real.
"Sup? I come here often."
  • Creeper Gamer - This is a bonus for all those people that maybe weren't off-put by all the previous stereotypes.  Creeper can be anyone of those listing, but in addition to their normal powers of dissuading a visitor from joining a community, this type games special abilities when confronting gamers of the opposite sex.  Creeper Gamer will make disturbingly obvious flirtatious jokes towards the opposite sex.  They do this is large quantities, and constantly.  Opposite sex + their hobby = uncontrollable horn-balls.  What is so remarkable about the Creeper is that they're so socially awkward and uncomfortable to be around, they make all genders freaked out.  No one wants to see the Creeper plying his/her trade (that's right, female creepers exist).

You're on your way to success failure!

     If you've deployed these tips, I'm sure you'll have people clamoring for the door in no time.  Obviously this editorial is heavily sarcastic, but I'm trying to express some of the pains I've experienced each time I've relocated and then searched for a solid 40K community.  I'll be sure to share some specific stories in the future.  All I know is that each time I've started the search anew, I run into the least pleasant elements of our community.  I've decided that more and more the people I'm searching for to get some games in with are all hiding at home.  They've got their circle of friends, all of them "normies" and they're pleased as punch to play in their own houses with nice tables, fun rules, narrative campaigns, and few distractions.

Share your pain

     If you've had a run-in with these communities that seem to chase away new comers, please share your story with me.  Leave a comment, or email us.  If you are an existing critical member of a community (you know who you are) tell us what you might do to counter-act those negative influences that might creep into your group.  Until next time: keep the dice rolling!    

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ork Blitza-Bommer Completed!

Here's the Finished Product!

     I completed the base this evening.  Unless I decide to add some flocking or grass tufts (which I'm likely to do).  The painting, at the very least, is totally complete.  I kept the base simple, but focused on some weathered accents in the abandoned oil drum, and rusted bucket.  I really enjoyed mucking up these two items, especially the barrel.

I Love Rust and Such

     I used some very simple techniques and the outcome was terrific.  Here's a quick step-by-step:

  1.  I based coated the barrel with the old Knarloc Green which is now called Loren Forest (Citadel paint).  
  2. Then applied the transfers like this: a gloss coat, put down the two transfers, applied micro-sol, let it dry, then applied matte coat to seal the transfers in.
  3. Once the matte coat was dry, I took a sponge and some Knarloc Green (Loren Forest), and dabbed it over the transfers to "rough them up" a bit.
  4. Applied a wash of Agrax Earthshade across the whole barrel.  I made sure to reapply to recesses that would have a larger collection of dirt, rust, and oil.
  5. I then used the new technical paint Typhus Corrosion.  I applied it very heavily to the bottom of the barrel, and along the underside to show that it might have been slapped around in the mud just a bit when it was hurriedly left by the Imperials.  Typhus Corrosion leaves a grit, which would be vital to the next step.
  6. I dabbed Vallejo Pigment (or weathering powder) Dark Red Ochre (sic) around the bottom of the barrel were the Typhon Corrosion was thickest.  Once applied fully, I took a clean brush loaded with white mineral spirits and carefully tapped over the powder.  The mineral spirits really flow of the brush and quickly run across the model.  I do this to "pull" the pigments onto the model.
  7. Once the mineral spirits have dried (this is a pretty quick process) I now very carefully dabbed matte finish over the rusted areas, and then eventually brushed over the entire barrel.

Oil Spill

     Another really easy effect is the look of some leaked oil onto the mud.  It's a bit hard to see in the picture, but shows up well in person, but essentially all I did was apply a pool of black wash to the earth near the lid.  Once dried I then coated the same area with a gloss coat.  This looks like oil soaking into the ground, but still a little fresh.

Secret Weapons Miniatures Base Review

     This base from Secret Weapons Miniatures is quite nice.  Though it doesn't scream out with detailed features, it fits perfectly with the rest of the army.  I pictured my Orks on a dreary wasteland, harsh and unforgiving, but with plenty of space to speed about.  I liked the subtle tire tracks through the dirt, and the very simple rocks.  The most important feature for me was that there would still be space for me to attach my flight stand and most all of the Secret Weapons line of bases seem to be very reasonable in the amount of room you have to actually mount a model.  I have a number of other bases that I've purchased from them and all bases arrived nearly completely flash free and with a low amount of mold release on them.  This means they are quickly cleaned up and ready for models.  My one possible complaint would be that the edges sometimes need a bit of filing to get absolutely smooth.  This is really a very minor complaint and honestly if you're in this hobby you're probably more than willing to spend a few minutes filing or sanding to make sure everything is just so.

     A quick word on how I put the flight stand and base together: In order to attach the stand, I traced out the stand before I painted, and carefully carved out a very shallow smooth footprint for it to make solid contact with the base.  I then pinned it in as a final measure.  I'm still going to be awfully careful with this flight stand, as it certainly isn't the most aggressive way to attach it to a base.

Thanks for Stopping By!

     I appreciate everyone that comes by to view my work.  Any feedback is appreciated and I'll be happy to answer any questions.  I'll just leave you with some more pictures of my completed project, enjoy!