Sunday, 12 September 2010

Malifaux - The Guild

I was originally put off Malifaux by the aesthetic of the game - it looked too cartoony. BUT everyone seems to be playing it at the moment so I thought that I would try and paint up a box of minis to see if I could try and overcome what I didn't like about the look of the game.
I decided to go for The Guild and bought the Lady Justice boxset. I've spent this week, among other things, painting it up, and I'm pretty happy with the outcome:

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Ultramarines: The Movie - EPIC FAIL

I've returned to the blogosphere (more on that tomorrow). What has brought me back is partly the need to comment on the trailer for the Ultramarines film that was released a few days ago. In many ways I'm reiterating and expanding on what others have already said: that it's not very good, looks low quality, that codex should go back to square one etc etc.

* The Pictures: We've known since the first teaser trailer that the quality of animation on the film was going to be poor. Everyone seems to be comparing what we have seen to the intro movie to Dawn of War very unfavourably with some reason. What Codex has produced so far is indeed below par and a complete letdown, even for those of us who weren't expecting Avatar-like graphics. Really, though, did we really expect anything else? The budget for this film is no doubt way below Avatar [sic] as well as most computer games. If you want decent graphics then GW would have to either stump up more cash or try and get a major studio to make the film - neither of which is likely to happen (remember when GW were sniffing around Dreamworks almost a decade ago?). Without a decent budget to do it properly, GW should really just leave it to the fans (for example, this and this).

* The Story: One common refrain seen across the blogosphere and on the comments for the clip, is an acknowledgement that the imagery is poor, but that the story will in some way save it. The fact that Dan Abnett is involved is, in some way, seen as a saving grace. Leaving aside the debatable quality of some of Abnett's work (notably Legion), do we REALLY expect a decent story? Just look at 99.9% of the Black Library's releases, including the audiobooks. It's all bolterporn with, in the case of the audiobooks, the only thing to signify different characters being that they have differing levels of gravel-ness in their voices. Equally, who is the film pitched at? Unless GW are insane, it will be pitched at their core audience: 8-14-year-old fanbois, who just want to see bolterporn and 'cool stuff'. Anything approaching an interesting story (at least for adults) is never going to happen as the core audience wouldn't want it. The story is going to match the imagery - it's going to be basic fodder to milk the fanbois

* First this and then...: Another response is that this is just a way of generating interest in the fluff, and once it becomes a success, a mainstream company will become interested in 40K and make their own high-budget release. Again, this doesn't appear to make sense: which Hollywood company (that wasn't already interested) is going to watch a poor 70 min piece of bolterporn that is just released in specialist outlets and think 'wow, we should develop this'? It's never going to happen. This is GW's only chance to make a go of it

Again, as I said waaaaaay back in the day when the project was unveiled, I'm willing to stand corrected on this, but....

Thursday, 10 June 2010

One Month without GW and Counting (and some Flames of War)

Using considerably less willpower than I thought it would take, I've managed to avoid buying any GW products (even my secret weapons: babab black and devlan mud washes) over the last month since my post/moan about the price rise. This has to be the longest that I have gone without since I got back into the hobby about three years ago, and considering how much I often spent every month it feels like a major milestone. Of course, I havent saved any money as I have sublimated my desire to buy GW plastic crack into buying FoW metal/resin crack.

Last week, I also had my first go at FoW - three massed tank battles against Russians at 2,000pts (i.e. lots of Panthers & Panzer IV Hs versus T-34s). It was fun, and the rules (or at least the basic set we used) began to make more sense on the table than just reading them in the rulebook. My next goal is to build up an infantry list, maybe with some planes as part of divisional support.

Monday, 31 May 2010

1500pts of Imperial Fists Completed

In record time (at least for me), I've completed the 1.5k gold Imperial Fist army that I began just over a month ago. I would have completed it faster if I hadn't got distracted by painting up my FoW Panzer list and generally got disillusioned by all things GW-related with the news of the price rise.

The final list is:

Captain Darnath Lysander (200)

5 Scouts (Missile Launcher & Teleport Homer) (100)
5 Scouts (Missile Launcher & Teleport Homer) (100)

5 Tactical Squad (Powerfist & Razorback) (190)
10 Tactical Squad (Powerfist, Flamer, Missile Launcher & Rhino w Storm Bolter) (240)

5 Terminators (storm bolters) (200)
5 Terminators (storm bolters) (200)
5 Terminators (storm bolters) (200)

Fast Attack
Land Speeder (Heavy Bolter & Multi Melta) (70)

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Ultramarines: The Movie Trailer: WAS THAT IT???!!!

After much hype and speculation, a trailer for the forthcoming Ultramarines film was released today on the official site. The production company had been previewing loads of shots of what the weapons are going to look like (cos, hey, that's all we are interested in, right? forget plot, characterisation etc. Just give us a nice bolter and we are happy. er....)
Well, my initial reaction is that even the diehard fanbois are going to find it hard to say anything overly fanboi-ish about it. Clocking in at just over a minute, the majority of the trailer is John Hurt narrating (with his AMAZING voice) and then a shot of a hagged-looking Ultramarine....and that's it. really.
Aside from the fact that the trailer doesn't really give you much at all, the CGI marine looks really poor - about on par with the one on the start of Dawn of War intro movie from back in the day (in fact the guy on the trailer looks like his grandfather).
I'm always willing to stand corrected, but my guess is that this is shaping up to be bad, really bad.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Getting Started with Flames of War

Further to my plan in the last post to diversify the wargames that I play, I've decided to take the leap into playing Flames of War with a German [sic.] Panzerkompanie. I've spent the last week or so painting up StuGs and Panzers and getting my head around the basic rules for moving and tank/tank and tank/infantry shooting, although the assault rules and rules for artillery still have me fumoxed . The 2 gamers that I play 40K regularly with have gone for US and Russia, which is helpful for battles :-)

It helps me think about the basic rules for FoW in terms of 40K:

Phases --> Steps: The phases in FoW are called Steps and operate in an identical way to 40K. The only real difference is that FoW adds a Step prior to movement - the Starting Step - in which you can do things like rally troops or try and get crews back into tanks if they have bailed out during all the shooting.

Experience and Skill: An interesting new (at least to me) twist that FoW adds to the mix is the emphasis on how the experience of the troops impacts on the game. Various features of the game, such as the ability to avoid getting shot, motivation to get up while bullets are flying around etc., are determined by the relative experience of the troops in question. So, for example, veterans can work further away from commanders than conscripts; fearless troops are more likely to pass motivation tests than reluctant ones etc. (even with my dice rolls)

Movement: is again recognisable from playing 40k: you move a certain distance determined by your mode of transport, you can run at the double rather than fire (although this, luckily, isn't determined by a dice roll), and get bogged down. The two main differences - at least for me in my simplified version of the rules - is that you can dig in rather than move (and thereby get a better cover save) and that troops have to remain within a certain distance of their commanders (which, again, is similar to the synapse rule with Nids). There are also some cool rules about vehicles getting bogged down and how you can try and get them out and back into the action.

Shooting: One of the things that I always struggle with in 40K is remembering the WS, BS etc tables (although I know that BS is always worked out from a total of 7). FoW has a much more streamlined system based on the ability of the guy at the dangerous end of the bullet to avoid getting hit by it. Another major difference is that a platoon can split its fire between multiple targets rather than everyone just blasting away at the same opponents. The best thing, though, for me from a narrative view of the game is that if a platoon gets pinned down they have to pass a motivation test to get back into the game or stay with their heads down.

Tanks! Tanks! Tanks!: I've left the best to last: with FoW its possible to field a list of just tanks (which is fortunate as I'm not getting my head around the assault rules very quickly). Tanks attacking tanks works in FoW in roughly the same way as in 40K, but rather than just having glancing or penetrating shots, you also have the potential for crews to bail out, wait until it's safe and then get back in.

Anyway, speaking of tanks, here are my platoon of Panzer IV Hs:

And my two potential 2,000 pt lists are:

Option A (1985 pts)
2 Panzer IV H

5 Panzer IV H
5 Panther G
4 StuG IV

Option B (1980 pts)
2 Panther G

4 Panther G
5 Panzer IV H
4 StuG IV

Monday, 10 May 2010

ANOTHER &%*$£^ GW Price Rise???!!!

Well, it looks like it's that time of the year again: the time when GW hike up their prices. Since I got back in the Hobby in 2007, there have already been two rises and this latest one will mean that, for example, Terminators will be 2 quid more, codexes £2.50 more and a Monolith will be £37.50!!! (All this in spite of a pretty large rise in profits). Couple this with GW's awful attitude to fans - i.e. no official forums, no incentive to buy online rather than in stores, hyperactive lawyers, generally ignoring veteran gamers etc. and it feels to me like a line has been crossed. I'm going to keep playing 40K, but will try as long as possible to resist GW by:

Not Buying New: I havent bought new at a GW store for probably a year anyway; buying instead either online via Maelstrom Games or if I need it NOW buying at the Wargamestore. I'm going to try (famous last words!) and not buy anything new from GW, buying either alternatives (see below), painting other types of minis (see below), or secondhand from ebay. This means, at the very least, that my plan of painting up some Tomb Kings has probably gone out of the window lol

Find Alternatives: Rather than just painting GW minis or using GW products, I'm going to also try and find alternatives. For example, I'm really liking the look of the Greatcoat Troopers by Wargames Factory, and I'm sure that there are enough different mini companies out there to keep me occupied. This will also mean that rather than feeling that I have to paint up 1k or 1.5k of minis, I can just paint individual minis that I like the look of. I'm also going to start replacing my GW paints and washes with Vallejo ones (which are cheaper and contain more paint) as they run out.

Diversify: I've found myself drawn more and more recently to playing Flames of War. So, as well as painting other types of minis, I'm going to diversify into that as well - collecting a small German Eastern Front army in tribute to Cross of Iron.

Let's see how long I can go cold turkey for...