Thursday, June 30, 2011

The history of modern mini games and/or Games Workshop

"Games Workshop is like the McDonalds of wargaming, because it’s a reproducible, franchiseable concept" Henry Hyde, Interview with Rick Priestley.

I happened upon a good interview from 2009 with Rick Priestley and John Stallard (old time UK GW people who really have helped shape the entire gaming world via their projects at GW over the years).  I found this thanks to a great blog The Fighting Fantasist. Its really cool because they are basically talking about the old school gaming revolution ... without really doing so.  It also makes me wonder when mini games is going to really and truly get its own OSR.  Ya ya I know historicals has basically never left the 1970s but I'm talking  fantasy and sci-fi based games.  I see lots of mom and pop companies out there but nowhere near the level of community that the OSR RPG community has.  I think perhaps 15 MM sci-fi has potential to maybe be the first big OSR breakout with mini gaming.  Who knows though.  Thoughts?

Beyond that though this article had alot about gaming in general and game design in terms of rules appeal based on ones generation.  I never really thought about how age really can give one a preference for specific rules complexity.  These complex rulesets appealed to teenage boys alot (in the 1960s-early 90s anyway) because it gave them certainty in the games they were playing and allowed them not to have to worry about making judgments.   Today its probably not true as everyone's attention span has been reduced by 80% thanks to the internet and all our wonderful (and destructive) internet gadgets.  We all have popcorn brain now ... hehe. I'm beginning to see it applies to all facets of mini gaming beyond just RPGs.  I'm waiting to see it happen with board games (though one could argue it kinda already has).   Its really nostalgic in the beginning with alot of talk about the infancy of the miniature gaming industry (which incidentally spawned the RPG industry ... don't forget that Gygax and Arneson were historical gamers before they created D&D and D&D itself comes from Chainmail which was more a fantasy minis game than a RPG). Its long and if you don't know who these guys are you might not find much interest in it but I really enjoyed it!!

Really this hits at the heart of game design and how we gamers of different generations have different levels of appreciation for different types of games.  My patience level for rules complexity is not what it once was.  In my early 20s I was a fount of rules minutia and I memorized tables and charts and could ramble them back to you at will  ... now that just pisses me off.  I care about concepts, about what it is people are trying to do ... not some specific rule about "oh you get a D4 there not a D6."  But in my teens and early 20s that is all I could focus on ... because then I didn't have the capacity for judgments and generalities that I do now as an old guy.   I really like how Rick goes over how this plays into game design, etc. 

I love the quote from Mr. Hyde regarding D&D its a classic (one that most gamers can relate to). 
"I remember my first D&D game seemed a really bizarre to me because it was without
miniatures, just the Dungeon Master sitting in the corner, making it clear that you had to imagine
what was going on, it was all inside your head, and I came away feeling like I’d smoked something
particularly strong –it was just mind expanding. And it was actually quite a long time before I saw a
game using miniatures."  Henry Hyde 

When asked about Warhammer being a "six move" game he replied ..

"Yes, the premise there was that you have to be able to play a wargame that starts when you get
home from work, which can be played in its entirety, and then allow you to get to the pub in time
for last orders with time for you to discuss it! Now, because we’ve changed the licensing laws in
this country, this has undermined an entire generation of wargames developers! It’s a serious
problem! But that was indeed the basis on which we developed our games, because that’s how we
did it."  Rick Priestley

All in all  a very good but really detailed  interview... (so if you have ADD skip it. I loved it though.). 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Extremely poigniant discussion of the portrayal of armor on females in fantasy settings

Extremely poigniant discussion of the portrayal of armor on females in fantasy settings ... INDEED!

Alchemy itself as RPG inspiration

I'm sure there is alot of pseudo-science (De facto) and pseudo-history (gross over simplifications for sure) in this film.  YET ... really inspirational in terms of RPG seed potential.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Going off the grid ... BLASPHEMY!!

My friends all know my standing rant of "this isn't Dungeons and Dragons ... that died when 3.0 was introduced and the grid became a requirement for the game."  Usually a one way ticket to hell in the minds of most D&D fans and or an automatic mental ignore. Such is the life of a garrulously loquacious wanderer.

Again don't get me wrong ... sure I have extensively played 3.0, 3.5, pathfinder and 4e.  I've spent hundreds (probably thousands) on books, supplements, modules, minis ... to play in a grid world. Hell I'm a mini gamer, I play Warhammer, 40k, Warmachine, etc.  I actually enjoy modeling and painting minis.  But to me the core of a role playing game is players delving into what makes their character tick and finding a living breathing character there.  The DM can use that to make the game better and better.  The grid pulls everyone out of that immersive experience and brings them into something not very different from 40K or Warmachine, etc. but in a cooperative board game style of mini game.  Its cool and fun ... but its a very watered down version of role playing in my opinion.  I usually get shouted down as a grumpy old grognard when I say this in public though these days.
 I recall the old days though back when Hexes were traditionally used for large maps (entire regions) where the grid was reserved for smaller scales stuff (anything from buildings to dungeons to towns). In that regard the grid and hex seemed to be better suited for their respective uses.  I still use hex for large maps and grid for anything smaller when I'm doing my own campaigns, regardless of the system.  As was mentioned with 3.0 onwards for D&D you needed to use the grid for game play due to so many rules that you needed to track in terms of player proximity to things, etc.  Abstract combats became a thing of the past and the rise of grid gaming was complete (for D&D anyway) "Oh combat ... 10 minute pause as the grid is brought out and everyone drops out of RP mode into tactical board game mode."  Again as I said I've been engaging in 3.0 grid based gaming as most of us have for a long time now ... but I remember the days before the must use grid to be able to play ... RPGs.  Also I've heard the "oh you can play 3/3.5/pathfinder/4e without a grid.  In response to that I've always said don't give me any lame shit about how the grid games don't need a grid ... you can't bullshit us ... most of us have tried it without the grid and it sucks.  Half of the rules in the games are combat advantage, flanking, attacks of opportunity, AoE stuff with specific square effects, etc. etc. it would be so labor intensive for the DM to run a non-handwave fudge all the rolls game of 3.0-4e it wouldn't be worth the effort and there would be so many interuptions it would still disrupt the game with delays.  That or it would just turn into the DM faking everything and essentially railroading most of the game.

Having recently returned to non-grid based RPGs I am beginning to remember what made them magical and I'm enjoying it.  As a DM I'm seeing the story remain in play for the entire session. With the grid based games as soon as the grid rolls out its tactical board game time and all meta conversation about tactics.  That doesn't mean that in non-grid games players don't attempt to do so but in my experience you get less of it.  Also as a DM I am finding its easier to shut down the meta talk and excessive BS tangents and non-game talk.  I'm seeing my players have their characters do alot more RP type actions in combat situations.  I'm seeing players seem to get into their characters more etc.  This might not be the case for others and other gaming groups but so far in mine my grumpy old grognard theories are proving true.  So its been refreshing.  On the flip side of the coin though its not a balanced fight against me as the DM the way things were in 4e, etc.  I am more the stage manager again ... instead of an mini game opponent to my players ... I like this role more I think.

SO here is to twisted Blasphemy and heretical teachings!! Down with the grid! Up with pentagrams!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Windmills of Wargaming in Northern Utah

I'm fighting the blahs ... the blue bitchings ... the wailing Wally's ... in terms of gaming.  Lately I've felt pretty owned by all the stuff going on with two of my favorite games. Warhammer 40,000 and Dungeons and Dragons.  But really the more that I have talked to others and thought about whats going on I'm seeing this as a great opportunity to get into some other games I might not otherwise try.  To take a break and take a chill pill and just smell the roses and enjoy my time here with my family and friends.

See about two years ago I moved away from Las Vegas up to northern Utah.  I moved from an area where I knew dozens and dozens of fellow gamers (who I'd gamed with for years).  Was a member of a big 40K oriented war gaming club. Beyond that I had a well established pattern of traveling down to So. Cal and Arizona for gaming cons, tourneys (Gencon So. Cal and Gamesdays back in the old days), etc.  But that all came to a screeching halt for the most part (I still make trips to Vegas now and again and down to So. Cal ... but its just a couple times a year).  So I have spent the last two years trying to find fellow gamers up here and it hasn't been easy.  Utah (at least where I'm at) is a much more insular place where gamers band togther in little garage groups and don't get out into the broader "community" much.  Game stores thus dominate the "public" gaming options and there are literally zero game clubs to speak of.  I have for two years attempted, along with the dozen people in my home gaming group, to build a game club.  But its just not gone anywhere.  I helped build a club in Las Vegas that in its heyday had over fifty active members and over a hundred on the dues paying membership roster.  Sadly that club due to most of the founding members moving and the ravages of the recession has died ... but that was after I left Las Vegas so that didn't directly impact me.  Anyway though we've been trying and trying to build an independent gaming community in our area and its been rough.

That said though I have a great home gaming group that I really enjoy gaming with.  So my approach with what games I look to possibly add to the mix, etc. has changed.  The GW stuff will always, always have a special place in my heart.  GW brought me into gaming again as an adult around 1998 or so and mini war gaming was my first gaming love (again as an adult, as a kid I was brought in with Red Box D&D).  But that just hasn't taken off in my home game group.  About six of the twelve to fifteen people who are in our gaming group are GW fans and have a desire to maybe play.  Some of them have armies that they can never bring themselves to paint (not blaming them, its tough finding the time and energy to paint in some cases nearly 200 mins) and the costs for just something that is going to be very casual is a deterrent for several of them.  I've tried team painting nights and paint challenges, suggested house leagues, campaigns etc. We tried Necromunda and Mordheim and they just didn't click ... in the case of Necromunda its so alien to the 40K of today people were turned off.  Mordheim was tough because of the warbands some people wanted to play were imbalanced and not "official." We tried some various skirmish rules for 40K and they just didn't click with the group.  So essentially due to lack of numbers of committed players they have fizzled.  Another big deal with my group is the lack of actual willingness to play longer duration games.  The big reason that is is that our group has a strong tendency towards BS tangents (for RPGs the GMs work hard to keep people on track .. but with a GM-less system there is no such restraint).   So a game of 40K can easily take 4 hours (for a 1500 point game ... sad but that is just an ongoing problem with this gorup). So with the big storms raging in the GW community these days, the lack of quality public play options in my area and just the realities of my own overall GW gaming prospects here in northern Utah I've put GW on the back, back burner ... maybe I'll make an attempt to return when 6th ed hits for 40K.  I'd love to do 8th ed WHFB but that just seems like an even more daunting prospect than 40k.

For D&D see the last post I made.  We all had some fun with 4e but for a variety of reasons the group has soured on WoTC and 4e for now.  So we have moved off into other directions with RPGs.  RPGs are not a worry for me I know our group will continue to have an ongoing game or two of something ... they are easy to put together and fun and there is no end of good systems out there to suit our fancy of the day. 
But what I have been looking for now is simply a different approach for myself in terms of mini gaming especially.  I am buying all four starter sets for Dystopian Wars (land and sea), I'm buying all the starter boxes for Warmachine and Hordes, I'm looking at some 15 MM sci-fi options, etc. I'm going to buy the stuff, paint it up and run the games like a board games.  I have all the terrain completely finished for all of those possibilities so my group can use my stuff and we'll cycle through.  If people want to go out and buy their own stuff and paint it up ... awesome ... but if not ... we will have fun mini gaming.  I know my group would be A-OK with this.  Its sad that I have to resort to this, but really with all the distractions of the internet, video games, and just fast paced modern living ... people just seem to have less and less time for mini gaming.  By the way this all might sound INSANE to some of you but bear in mind I have five kids who are young (the oldest is 7) and they are all budding little gamers.  So having a big selection of mini games, etc. all painted with core rules that I can eventually play with them is something I've been thinking about for a long time as well.  So this does effectively kill to birds with one stone for me and therefore makes more sense than it might if I was just a single guy with no kids trying to get gaming going.

I'm a little worried that I'm attempting to bite off more than I can chew here ... but I feel like this is the surest path to keeping mini gaming alive for myself.  In the past I've partaken in many, many crazy mini game related projects and had some huge successes and huge failures.  But just a few of the things I have been able to pull off in terms of similar commitments have been: painted a dozen 40K armies to a decent standard.  I've worked on huge game club projects from a full 40 player tourney setup (tabletops, terrain, etc.) to big club game table projects for Gamesday (back when we still had them down in LA), etc. So I'm confident I can pull this off if I can just master my own laziness and keep myself motivated.  I just need to get a fire burning and keep it going.  So my hope is that within two weeks I have my Dystopian Wars minis in hand and then once that project is in I'll start in on Warmachine.

Bye bye miss dungeon pie ... the demise of 4e for our group.

Reading some stuff online (in particular over at a much more interesting blog than mine ... hehe) and the widespread general discussion about Bill Slavicsek leaving WoTC got me thinking about what really is going to happen with 4e now.

First I want to say this isn't a version war thing.  I'll flat express my opinion and that is 3.0 ... 3.5 and Pathfinder are no better than 4e in really any way shape or form.  That is my opinion and I'm sticking to it.  Feel free to differ ... but that isn't what this post is about.  Its about WoTC's poor decision making skills with how they managed what started out as a good system.  Manged it right into the ground.  Also its about how our group finally just couldn't take anymore.

This all started back when 4e came out  obviously. In the beginning myself and my gaming groups embraced it.  Having largely rejected 3rd ed in favor of just continuing 2nd ed until pretty late in the game (after 3.5 for sure) .. we thought we'll be early adopters and see what its all about.  We did and I have to say it took several games with different groups (in different states no less) for me to finally have 4e click.  Once it did though I appreciated it for what it was.  A group tactical board game with really balanced characters and a really fine balance between players and the DM (if everyone was 100% on top of the rules and their game that is ... on both sides of the screen).  So we had a good year or so of 4e (after we worked out the initial kinks and before the essentials shat hit the market) and then the rug was pulled out from under our feet.  Essentials hit our group like a typhoon and we never recovered from it.  Since late last year we have moved on to other game systems ... oddly enough my group has split partially in two with one half playing Vincent Bakers Apocalypse World and 2nd Edition Warhammer Fantasy.  We were all heavily invested into D&D ... well beyond the PHB level.  We are all 10 - 30 year D&D fans ... so the decision to take a long break (and in some cases make vows to never play anything related to 4e) was a tough one for most of us.  But the game just doesn't provide for us what it was and the change was so unforeseen and abrupt, after we all really took a leap of faith and left our comfort zones in the first place to just give 4e a chance we felt a deep sense of betrayal basically.  We have collectively lost any faith or trust that we had in WoTC.  Clearly to us we have fully experienced that WoTC is utterly under the thumb of Hasbro and those pulling the strings have no clue about what they are doing.  We made the investment of cash, and probably more importantly of time ... time to learn the rules .... really well and really think about and talk about all the nuances of 4e.  That represented hundreds of collective hours of toil, blood, sweat and tears.  So losing all that ... really pissed us off.  Now yes, did we "lose" it no ... we didn't because we can just go back to rules compendium and stop right? Use one of the cleaned up versions of character builder that resembles the old one we learned to love.  No for us we were as much suckers for new releases, new content, new tile sets, yada yada ... as anything.  Once they stopped moving the game in what was a then familiar, cherished even, direction that we thought it was going in ... we just collectively lost our will to go on.  The spell was broken, the magic lost its hold over us and we all realized ... we actually like to OWN our own rules.  We like to just have certainty of where things are going to go.  So we moved off in that direction.  For good bad or otherwise that is what happened to our group and I can't help but wonder how many others have had this same experience.  I hope Hasbro (I won't even bother to say WoTC anymore) comes up with a wiz bang game with 5th edition ... all that I know is I will not be an early adopter this time.  I can't see myself touching it for at least a year or two ... just to make sure.  I do really hope the stick a fork in 4th soon though ... I just can't stand to look at it anymore :(

Again I really do hope they are coming out with 5th ed I think that it would be a chance to start anew.   I hope they finally listen to the legitimate criticism of the game by all sides (there is alot of just idle ... "its new and its not my old comfortable " complaining and that is going to be there regardless) and just stick to the core things that have made the game what it is.  Focus on creating a fun game that people enjoy playing ... first and foremost ... and give people time to embrace it before they start totally remodeling the game.  If they would do that stuff alone I think they'd really gain and retain alot more support and acceptance. Anymore though ... I just wonder if Hasbro isn't going to sell off D&D.  I wish they'd sell it off to Fantasy Flight or farm it out at least to FFG or Green Ronin or something ... they just can't seem to produce it in house anymore. 

All this said it does seem unlikely that D&D will go new version soon, but it seems like something is up.  I don't care what the supporters are saying the fanbase is really pissed ... the core 4e fans are dropping like flies.  People have been citing amazon sales numbers of essentials as though that means things are going well.  I think the only thing WoTC has done well for awhile are the D&D board games.  Perhaps that is their plan.  Tread water on the RPG and release board games to keep some interest ... for another year or two ... then around year 5 of 4th edition ... drop 5th ed. Time will tell I guess.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Warhammer Fantasy RP 2nd edition game

Ok so last night we finished our 5th session of  a Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd edition game.  The game is going well so far.  My home gaming group is an eclectic mix of folks based largely on my geography (Ogden area of Utah) and also being somewhat new to the area (been here about two years now). The group is all folks in their 20s (save the old man GM … me … mid 30s). College students and all pretty hardcore gamers. But not grognards, more video game fans that dabble into tabletop gaming a bit.

The group started out playing 4e together and right after the first of the year that fell by the wayside for several reasons that I won't go into right now (not a bash of 4e or D&D at all, just our group has lost our interest in it for a variety of reasons and I hate 3.5 and pathfinder … again not a bash just my personal feelings). I'm a big indie RPG fan but this group is mostly not of that persuasion. I have a nostalgia and affinity for old school RPGs as well but this group mostly has the take that “if we are going to play D&D lets do 4e or 3.5 … period.” So pulling off a T&T, Labyrinth Lords, Castles and Crusades, LoTFP or whatever is a non-starter with this crew.

So a few months back I tossed out the idea of running a 2nd edition Warhammer Fantasy Role play game. I don't dislike 3rd ed. … but I have 4/5ths of the books from 2nd and the entire group has played Dark Heresy so there is at least some intuitive familiarity with the mechanics of it. Plus everyone is a HUGE fan of the Warhammer universe. My final twist which got the entire group 100% on board was … we are going to do a Chaos centered game (evil) and they were in. So the group rolled up characters and we have a Chaos Dwarf engineer and human Warrior, Marauder, and Sorcerer. I'm running the game sandbox style with some key milestones/plot points. We have a central storyline that involves a journey to a lost dwarven hold far to the north in the chaos wastes (loosely based on Karak Dum for any of you Felix and Gotrek fans). However the party has stopped off to aid a large tribe of beastmen (actually nearly enslave) and become embroiled in a battle against undead who where plaguing the tribe.

The party has pretty considerable resources and they are sort of mid-level (2nd nearly 3rd advance) … basically the equivalent of 7th or 8th level D&D characters. The combats have been decent but the issue I have with the WHRP system is the crazy critical charts, the cumbersome (but optional) armor system and pretty complex combat mechanics. I've boiled down the combat system and magic system to its core mechanic (following the suggestions in the main rulebook to do so) and things seem to be going pretty smoothly. Fortunately the group is really interested in the story more than just randomly killing things. I also engage in a lot of email/out of game conversation with each player about things. We've had dream sequences, visions, extended research sessions, etc. etc. I'm having a blast with the game and the group seems to be as well.

The big thing that I'm looking at adding to the game though is the plundering of a rules mechanic from the new Deathwatch Space Marine RP game by Fantasy Flight. Particularly the “Hordes” mechanic. Essentially to simulate the awesomeness of the battle brothers the game employs a combat methods for GMs to use in terms of combat against large numbers of mooks/minions/etc. In Deathwatch those encounters are treated like fighting one big beast basically.  To quickly describe the essence of it, the hits are just multiplied and so instead of a swing of the sword or axe hitting one baddie ... it hits 5 or 10.   Similarly with ranged.  So I'm going to basically just hack it to fit fantasy ... I'll have to toy with the mechanic a bit and figure out how powerful I want it to be. But even there the player power curve isn't as big of a concern as it normally would be for me.  I'm not worried about them being over-balanced and having it ruin our fun.  They are basically heading off to hell ... where the laws of the universe no longer apply ... they'll likely be facing hordes of demons and all sorts of chaos/warp tainted monstrosities.

So as I am not running the standard Warhammer game where players die every other session and crazy random criticals are potentially one shoting bosses or the PCs, etc. its not a standard game. The players are very heroic (anti-heroic rather) and while I want them to feel danger and consequences for their choices … I don't want them re-rolling characters every third session (characters that they have invested hours and hours into now, developed deep backstories, etc.). Also I want them doing really epic, fun, stuff. I want meaningful, memorable combats. None of us are interested in grid based, tactical miniature game 3.5/4e style combats in this game either. So I feel that adding this mechanic will also help us have really big fights that feel epic.

I'm excited about using this mechanic and I think its something that will add to the game. So far we've been able to really have a solid campaign with a lot of player involvement and a really fun narrative story that the players are really helping weave and so the game really feels live and full of action and adventure. We've had a lot less cheesy “we get in a barfight” “my character gets drunk … hehe” this time around which was a hallmark of our D&D games and a lot more focus on individual character goals and the central storyline. I've also had a lot of in game player vs player conflict (all in a good way) that is adding to the suspense and tension (again in a good way). I just hope we can keep it up for another 6 to 8 sessions. At least until the end of the summer.

I know I haven't posted much (any) original content on my blog for ages. So of the 58 people “following” the blog maybe 1 random person actually reads something here every few months .. lol. Such is life and really this blog is just mostly a mental placeholder for me. Honestly a place where I post and a few old friends occasionally check it. If I pique any actual “public” interest … cool!! but that isn't why I do this. I make no pretension of being a “pro” blogger. I don't have the time, nor probably the talent, to be such. That disclaimer aside I'll try to do some more posts (more coherently as well) on the game. Our group is taking up Warmachine/Hordes and Dystopian Wars as well so I hope to have some pics and updates on that too.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Longing for the simpler days of baddassery ...

Longing for the simpler days of baddassery? Well back when America was single handedly saving the world from those evil Soviets who just wanted to nuke us all!  Well heroes and villains are usually a product of their time as they say. So we had heroes like Chuck to take our minds off of that reality and remind us of how friggin bad ass we could be if we just practiced our forms! 
I've been looking more at 80s pop cultural relics for ideas for some games I'm planning on running for my kids who are just starting to hit the age where RPGs are a possibility.  I'm considering Thundar the Barbarian, of course a Dungeons and Dragons cartoon style game (eventually I want to do the classic 1st ed mods and some OSR stuff with em, but I'm thinking when they are a bit older ... 10-13 age group).  Anyway that clip just seemed pretty funny ... but very adaptable to the mind of a 7 year old.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Is 6th ed really coming?

Is 6th ed really coming? I posted to another blog with a reply and basically this sums up my take on it.  For me I once lived, breathed and bled GW.  It was the only gaming related hobby I engaged in really, it was all consuming.  From about 1998-2004 those were the golden years for me for GW.  Then bit by bit at the tail end of 4th edition I started to lose interest.  Mostly as GW's own support out in the Western US started to wain and the hardcore tourney set took over more and more.  Don't get me wrong, I was a competitive player back in the day, a tourney organizer myself for years.  Our local game club traveled en mass to the GTs and large RTTs.  But the mix was a good blend of amazing painters/hobbyists with the more hardcore tourney win at all costs guys.  Slowly that mix has evolved to today where in my experience at a big tournament your looking at about 85% win at all costs/just bought their army from blue table and about 10% hobbyist with 5% just walked in off the street and doesn't know whats what yet (but if they stick around they'll likely become a win at all costs guy ... drooling over BoLS lists o' the minute).

6th edition will be coming ... we all know it it is just a matter of when.  Who knows if this is really the hearkening of the real release or not ... all I know is it is within the window of reality in terms of the ever 5 years or so new rules version.  As for the rumors who knows.  It is apparent that there has been massive complaining about 5th ed for years and GW isn't about making tourney players happy GW is about selling models. They've farmed out every other aspect of their company to others (Fantasy Flight, usually THQ for video games, etc.).  They want to make money from their mini lines obviously ... so the new edition will be designed to maximize that.

Who knows if the rumors that there will be a 6th ed are true, I'm not even going to pay attention to the specifics just yet.  40K was on the back burner for me anyway ... I've sold 3 armies in the past six months (out of over a dozen that have been mostly gathering dust) and 6 more in the year before that (I have a massive amount of GW stuff what can I say).  WHFB has been a pipe dream in the area I live in ... its just not viable.  I'll probably dump more 40k stuff and wait to buy anything new until we get more info on all this.  If its a hoax oh well I'm clearing out armies I'll never play again ... regardless.  The hobby has changed so much for me though each passing year it has less and less to draw my interest. Fewer people in the local area care about painting, about the backstory of the 40K universe, about the things that brought me into the hobby fifteen years ago. In the local area the percentage of MTG/Store Trolls playing the game has increased dramatically (to the point that is the majority of the players now). GW's own support has dried up (on the West coast anyway).  So the annual trip to Gamesday to get me psyched has just become a faded memory. I will forever love the GW 40k and WHFB universe and probably always buy their black library releases and play any decent video games they release (what rare titles those are).

For the future I find myself looking more and more to other companies in hopes they'll begin to fill the place in my gaming life that GW used to.  Mantic's line is looking better and better ... Spartan Games stuff is looking cool.  There is always the rise of Privateer Press (a new sci fi system next year! Level 7?? Huh??). So I'm in a holding pattern with GW ... I pray they bring back the fun that drew me into the hobby ... that they clean up the shat codices that Chaos has to choose from.  I hope they figure out a way to bring back some balanced support to the hobby and curtail the net list o' the minute crew a bit.  If not I'll always have fond memories I guess.

The past will never come back.  Things have changed with GW forever.  My only hope is they find a new way forward.  A way to help new players capture the magic of the overall hobby of miniature wargaming.  A way for fans to get even more cool models at hopefully at some point ... stabilized prices?!?!  Time will tell I guess.

More on GW pricing, etc.

I also agree with this post ... though I think some of the statements about the flexibility that local retailers have in terms of their pricing on GW products.   Its a long video but the guy gives a pretty detailed  explanation of where GW has been and where he feels they are going.  Its general, but its accurate.  The first 20 minutes gives a good summary of the situation.

I only really disagree with a little of what he says about how local retailers can reduce their margins easily on GW stuff. I know for a fact that at least here in the US in some markets, GW has gone after local retailers for discounting GW product.  Yes those retailers depending on where they are getting it can simply tell GW to stuff it ... many times they just cave and stick to MSRP and maybe do selective 10% discounts.   Other than that, though this guy is spot on ... this is the same thing I've been ranting about for years.  GW wants you to ultimately only be able to buy their product from THEM.  Is that evil? Is that bad?  I don't know ... but I think at least in my part of the world ... its bad for the hobby.  Maybe its just my selective attention on this topic, but it seems to me that there is more discussion on the internetz on this particular price increase and the switch to resin than there has been about GW for a long time.  Most of its in a negative light.  But maybe the "no publicity is bad publicity" adage holds true ... time will tell I guess.

Games Workshop ... please listen ...

I agree with what this guy is saying.  Clearly they have a financial/business stake in the industry and I do not.  Yet as a mere fanboy (and a proud one for nearly 15 years now) I agree with this message ... please pass it on!

Sunday, June 19, 2011



To all you gamer dads out there!! HAPPY FATHERS DAY!! 

A fun filled morning of thumb wrestling and bacon consumption ensued in my crazy ... five kids under 7 ... household (sadly I had no nubile young bacon concubines to serve my bacon ... but one can dream can't they!)!  Nothing like playing Warhammer Fantasy RP until 3am and then being awoken promptly at 7 AM with a plate of steaming bacon.  Needless to say I got up and consumed away!

Privateer Press going Sci-Fi? What is the world coming to!

WHOA!! First Mantic Games announces they are going Sci-Fi with the Warpath system  ... now ... Privateer Press follows suit! Watch out GW here comes more competition! Yeeeeeehaaaaaaw!!! Who knows if what these two will put out will really be head to head 40K competition but I am looking forward to more "main stream" (if you can ever call anything mini gaming related that) options in the market place.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Hobbit ...

Somewhat old but I hadn't seen this yet ... don't know what the deal is but lately I've been on a LoTR kick again ... anyway .. enjoy :)  Hopefully they finish this damn thing at some point!!!