Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Game Tonight- Cryx vs. Retribution

My first real game of Warmachine in... Well, a long time is tonight. I have played a game to get my feet back under me, a tiny little nothing affair, but tonight- Well let's just say if it's worth doing it's worth overdoing. Straight to a 50 point list, because that's what all the big kids use. My Miniature Market order came in and has been assembled (as you can see) and so, despite their unpainted state, the army list I want to run will hit the table. DakkaDakka wasn't the greatest help ever, as I should expect from a Warhammer 40,000 oriented forum, but I did learn about Bane Knights, Epic Asphyxious, and Darragh Wrathe. Apparently Darragh makes all undead armies very scary for one reason- Deathride. Advancing everything in your command area (9") one inch while on a large base is, well it's awesome. Sure, he can cast Hellfire, and Beyond Death taking 2 off of enemy damage rolls is spiffy, but that movement bit- it just plain extends your threat range noticably. Giving Bile Thralls that little boost they need. Shunting Bane Knights from a position where LoS is blocked (more than 3" into a forest for example) into a position where they can use Ghostly to perform a charge. Spinning around to face an enemy that has outflanked you. Shenanigans with eGaspy's feat (suddenly they're not so bunched up). The list goes on and on. Here's the bonus- it works on everything undead in his command range! I am (in an admittedly uneducated way) impressed with this fellow on paper. Tonight will be my first attempt at using him, so while it may be a bit awkward using him, I'll see what I can do.

So, here's what I'm running:

Bane Knights (10)
Bane Thralls (10)
-Officer & Standard
Bile Thralls (6)
The Withershadow Combine
Bane Lord Tartarus
Darragh Wrathe
Gorman di Wulfe
Pistol Wraith
Pistol Wraith

As you can see, except for the 'Jacks & Gorman, everything- INCLUDING ASPHYXIOUS is able to benefit from him. Best. Four. Points. Ever.

...Or so it seems. I'll see what I can see tonight.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

...And Cryx

Remember how I said I was done with Warmachine? Well, that all may have changed.

I have broken down and posted a thread on Dakka Dakka asking for advise on getting back into the game with a minimum of financial expenditure. I put up a list and got one very long bit of feedback- that being that I need Bane Knights. Well, there goes the whole "minimum expenditure" concept. I was given a budget, and allowed to go not a penny over. Luckily this was well more than I needed, so I would be able to grab a Bane Thrall command section as well. Thus I did venture out into the wilds of NoVA to seek out my much needed minis. I started with the store Demitra frequents. It's only a hop, skip, and a jump from my place, so I got in the ol' car and headed on over.

I walked briskly and confidently into the store, bent on picking up one of the two items at the least. As I entered the store the friendly staff greeted me and asked what I had stopped in for. Cheerfully I answered "Warmachine"! They pointed to the display immediately to my right and I stared at it intently. "Is there something you're looking for?" I was asked. "Cryx- I can't seem to find them."

It was then that the employee's face fell. "There was a customer in the other day. He started a new Cryx army- by which I mean he bought all of our Cryx stuff". My heart sank. Nooooooo!!! I had just gotten myself to get back into the swing of the game, and there was not a blister or box to be had! I thanked the employee for his time, and shuffled out the door.

All was not lost, however. There was always my Friendly (not so) Local Game Store! They always have tons of HordesMachine stuff!

Back to the car, down route 50, and up route 28. I got there a few minutes after 12:00, and the gaming tables were already in use. *It's good to see the store is doing well* I thought as I walked over to the display wall.

And found the Cryx section.

And found the blisters.

No Bane Thrall Command, but that was secondary.

Over to the boxes.

No Bane Knights.

It was thusly that I learned a lesson- do not trust that your FLGS has anything in stock. Always call beforehand.

It's unfortunate that this was how my attempt to support my local brick-and-mortar stores ended, but what could I do. On my way home I stopped by Firehouse Subs to drown my sorrows in some pastrami. That helped, but dagnabbit, if I was getting back into this game I'd be getting back into it! To the Miniature Market! Fingers crossed I began clicking away. Bane Knights? In stock! Bane Thrall Command? In stock! I even had some money left over. I remembered reading that Darragh Wrathe was a force to be reckoned with in an all-undead army, so I tacked him onto the purchase. Still a few bucks left, eh? How about a little X-wing? Blammo! Just a few cents under my limit and enough spent to get free shipping. After heartily patting myself on the back I finalized placing the order and went back to watching "Cops" on TV.

These minis cannot show up soon enough.

It looks like tomorrow is the big day, but as the UPS guy never really shows up until after 6:00, I may have to go back to painting my Greys. I'm taking a bit of a break from them, as having their paintjob get slammed really derailed my mojo. I'm not going to repaint them, but I'll have a hard time motivating myself any time soon. Whatever, too many people would refuse to play them any way since they're "too small" and "not GW minis". They'll probably go into a box and sit in the closet until I get inspired to paint them again.

Any way, let's end this on an upbeat note! I'm getting back into Warmachine, a game that I loved ever since it first hit the scene! Hooray!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

GW & Stock Price Problems

Funny that this is post #300. Originally this was a Facebook rant, so the formatting is a little off for Blogger. I'm assuming you'll forgive me.

Well, every other one of my gaming nerd friends has said it, I might as well say it as well...

Problem, GW?
Games Workshop's sales fell 12% last quarter, causing their stock prices to plunge 24% in a single day. I want to laugh so bad, and to a degree I did at first, but could this be bad for the hobby community? I'm a bit worried that the loss of the "gateway" into wargaming will cause the expansion of the player base to dwindle. It is with a heavy heart that I have to stop "ROFLMAO-ing" at them and actually get a touch worried.

True, I prefer the company of grown-up gamers to Little Timmy across the board who I have to hold the hand of throughout the entire game, but Little Timmy may eventually become one of those adults who continue to play the game as they are more able to comprehend the nuance and complexity of the game and become competent opponents. I want this for the hobby (by which I mean wargaming, not Games Workshop), as it spreads the word of the game, brings more people in, and despite the natural attrition of such a hobby, further increases the player base. Wake up GW, it is the community, *the players of your game*, who spread the word. If nobody wants to play your game, they WILL NOT bring new players in, and get this- your sales will dwindle.

Took me a bit to find a hydra with three heads.
Now, why (in my not so expert opinion) is this happening? To me it is a three headed monster. The first, and most obvious head of which is the one everybody knows- price points. The tidy sum of $100 for the rules to the game and two unbalanced and not even playable by your own rules armies. Oh, wait- you wanted to play games using those little plastic dudes? Sorry, that's another $100 JUST FOR THE RULES FOR YOUR ARMY. That's right, if you want to know how many points and what the capabilities of your troops are, you have to fork over $50 per army rulebook. For those of you keeping track, we're at $200 just for the bare minimum needed to play. Wait a minute- now that I've written an army list and checked the charts to build my armies you have discovered that not only is one of the armies ILLEGAL, the other is drastically under the point cost of the other, and so you have to buy more stuff to make both of them work. For army "A" you're looking at $37.50 just to make the army legal. At least twice that much for army "B" to have a fair chance against "A" on the table. Total outlay *just to start playing the game*? For those of you who are non math inclined like myself, $312.50 is our total JUST TO GET ON YOUR FEET. Let's just throw in the glue you'll need to put your mans together, a bit of primer (I'll ball-park it and say you need three cans), and the paints & brushes to get your dudes looking spiffy. There's well over $400 right there. Oh, you wanted to play the game on the correct sized surface? That's another $350 or so for the board (assuming you have a table to put it on). Oh, let's not forget (easily) $250 for the terrain features the rules call for. Yep, we've cracked the $1,000 barrier right there- just for you and a friend to start playing the game. Obscene.

Head #2; alienation of the player base. I already explained why this is a Very Bad Thing above, but why else are players leaving? Rules. Bad ones that are unbalanced and poorly written. I'm talking basic grammar here. The singular of "dice" is not "dice", it is "die". Not only that, but the rules are vague, contradictory, and frequently bland. But rules can't be all that's wrong, right? Righto, bucko. Veteran players are treated like crap. The GW business model is to suck teens in with oodles of disposable income (by the way, tell me when you see one of those), grab as much money as you can from them, and then discard them. Look, attrition (as I stated above) is to be expected. As these targets become older they frequently become "too cool" for the game and drop out. Some stay though. They gradually get to the point where they actually really *do* have disposable income, and then they buy your plastic crack en masse. They are also good for the developing player base (and granted, there can be exceptions) as they, like myself, will take the time to teach these newbies the tricks of the trade. How to get a better paint job, why that squad with four different types of heavy weapons doesn't perform as well as the one with nothing but anti-tank kit, how to maneuver on the table to maximize your position and stymie your opponent. Learning these things makes the game more fun, and in an environment like your Friendly Local Game Store (where let's face it, most of us grognards game), means your employees will actually have people going above and beyond their own job description free of charge. That makes those kids (who you wanted to make a money grab from) much more likely to stick around, even as "closeted gamers". I have encountered some people in my day that you would least expect to be standing across the table from me- don't count anybody out. GW no longer runs tournaments (in fact they actively discourage them). One has to wonder why this is. Could it be unplaytested rules that are horribly lopsided? Hmm... If you're not the aforementioned Little Timmy with his mom's stolen black American Express card in hand, they think you won't buy anything and you can just get out of the store and pound sand. Oh, the fact that in their own stores they constantly push product on you doesn't help either. Oh, and why preview product to build hype? Let's just sue anybody who posts a picture of our unreleased stuff on their blog. This all stems from being a publically traded company which only focuses on short-term profits, but I digress here.

Get it? Alienation?

Head #3; competition! Games Workshop likes to act like they are the only fish in the sea, but there are growing shadows. Privateer Press, while just as expensive on a per-model basis (don't argue this one, I've been pricing stuff) requires fewer minis to play their games. This lowers the cost of entry barrier. They actually, get this, playtest their rules! While this doesn't mean that some models aren't better than others in terms of "value" per point or are more synergistic than others, everything *tends* to be more balanced. They also actively encourage tournaments with prize support, and they promote their stuff ahead of time. These guys are growing at what should be an alarming rate for GW, But they *actively* bury their heads in the sand. If you want to wargame, you've gotta go GW. Not any more. Corvus Belli makes amazing stuff. Mantic is actively targeting the players who GW have driven away by ceasing to (even passively) support the favorite games of. I'm looking at you Necromunda, Space Hulk, and Blood Bowl (also further examples of alienation). Vallejo and Reaper make superior paints and painting supplies. The list goes on.
Remember these guys? Owned by Hasbro.

Oh, let's not forget games like Magic, which admit it or not DOES suck away players.

Look, I'm not just going to sit here and club GW all day. They make some amazing looking stuff, and I *want* them to stick around, but come on. Shape up or ship out guys.

...And by "ship out" I mean "get bought out by Hasbro like every other floundering gaming company".

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Take Me To Your Leader

Well, there he is. My "Ethereal" is complete. I was probably a bit bold using my general as my test mini, but luckily he turned out just fine. Here's the color scheme in a nutshell:

Exposed cloth or gizmos are magenta.
Armored areas are blue.
Gloves, boots, eyes, antennae, and robot claws are black.
Metallic areas are the purple metallic I bodged together.
Skin is, of course, grey.

For the magenta I started with Vallejo Warlock Purple over a black primer, and then inked it with some Magenta Ink I found (from the days when GW made such things). I then gently wetbrushed the areas with the original Warlock Purple., From there I added a dab of a nice bright pink, and carefully added the final highlights. The blue is Ice Blue, a dab of Blue Ink in the recesses, touchup with Ice Blue, and then I added a bit of white to the blue for nice bright highlights. The skin starts with Cold Grey, which gets a Nuln Oil shade. Next I coat everywhere but the recesses with another pass of Cold Grey, and then a highlight of Fortress Grey. Finally, the purple metallic. This is simply Leadbelcher as a base, wetbrushed with Silver, and then a coat of Purple Ink. After touching up the areas that remained black, the minis are ready for basing. I used the same green I have been using for... Pretty much everything lately. Over that goes a drybrush of  Scorpion Green. Finally, I hit the rims of the bases with green, and there you go.

Once the basis for the army was determined, I went on to the first of my squads. It's kind of annoying that there are only five poses plus the commander, but it allows me to get into a rhythm better. You can't really see it in the picture, but their right shoulder pads are all purple (the color I was originally going to use for the armor) and I'm going to keep doing different colors as the army rolls along in order to distinguish squads (relatively) easily.

Next up is one of my "counts as Riptides". I'm doing all the exposed internal workings in magenta, all the armor plates in blue, and then a few black touches here and there. The purple will be on the sword arm as well as the barrels of the gatling gun. This is a pretty big model, and it will take several coats to eliminate the streaking left over from the brushes, but I'll try to post some work in progress pictures as I go since this will probably be a time consuming process. After that another squad, then another robot (or group thereof) and I'll keep alternating until the army is done.

I may break things up with another Super Dungeon Explore mini here and there, but I'd really rather not break up my momentum again, so we'll see.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Crusher Crushin' and Robots... Robotin'?

Let the hero crushing commence!
Well, after a struggle with Blogger's... interesting interface, I had to delete my last post and start all over. On Monday I finished up Crusher (above) and took a quick break from Super Dungeon Explore.

I went ahead and hit Michaels for beads to convert my minibots into scouts, and hit gold. I went ahead and snipped the heads off of all my lil' guys, glued the beads into place, and took a step back. The robots now had the look I wanted, but they had holes in the tops of their heads. I could either; A) fill the holes with green stuff, or B) get creative. As you can most likely tell from the image, I got creative. Looking for the more cheesy sci-fi approach, I snipped off little pieces of paper clip and glued them into place to look like antenna. Now, not only did they look more goofy, but they could relay the positions of enemy troops back to their Grey Alien handlers as well. More in line with them being used as marker drones n the table. Now for primer.

I did a poll of my wargaming buddies and asked what colors I should use for their suits. The unanimous decision was purple. I'm going to go ahead and take a tip to break up the purple with a nice icy blue. The models will have a "cool" coloration from head to toe, which leads me to wonder if I should paint their bases red (like my Chaos Marines) to offset the mini, or brown (like my Dark Eldar) for a more neutral color, or to come up with an entirely new color (dare I say green?) to branch out my painting.

Priming is soon to come, and following that the first drop of paint will hit the minis. I hope to have everything sorted by then, rather than waiting for the muse to take me. Time is running out though, acceptable priming weather is (supposedly) on the way.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

SDE Progressey Goodness

More of the Rock Top Gang and...
Friday saw some more painting from me, in particular the completion of some fellows that had been sitting unfinished in my closet for about a year. These six turtles have haunted me for a long time, so I decided to jump on the painting wave and get crackin'. I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out, in particular their eyes where (I believe) I achieved a rather demented "not all there" expression.
...Nyan Nyan!!!
I ultimately did roll a die to determine which hero to paint, and Nyan Nyan won out. While painting her I made the discovery that she's not actually a catgirl, just a girl wearing tiger pajamas! Again I am not pleased with the way the white came out. I think I need to find a new brand of paint to try (perhaps P3?) and see if I can get better results. Her orange areas could use a little... Something to liven them up too. Looking at this photo I think I should go back and retouch the open area around her chest too. I guess I'm just plain not satisfied with the final outcome. Perhaps I should add some yellow to the orange for some higher highlights?
While I've been contemplating what I should do to Nyan Nyan to be satisfied, I've been getting started on another member of the Rock Top Gang, Crusher. This is a pretty big boy, so it will call for a fair bit of patience on my part painting him. I just need to keep my eyes on the prize, as once I finish him I'm two models and the Spawn Points away from being able to use them. I guess I could use them now, but unpainted minis seeing table time? Blasphemy!
I've laid down the base coat and chesnut ink (yep, I still have a tiny bit of that treasure laying around) on his skin. I figure that this is the best way to get the closest results possible to the card art. I want even new players to be able to know who's who at a glance, plus I can be a little OCD about such things.
Gettin' ready to crush some stuff.
Next I'll just need to go back over the skin with the base color, mix up a highlight or two and put them on, and then it's just shell (which I have gotten good at), the tummy, the claws (which are also quick) and the eyes (which I enjoy). In my opinion the skin is the only real hurdle in my way. We'll just see how this turns out.
That's today's update, tomorrow should see some real results, as I'll have all day to listen to podcasts and apply paint to minis.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Grey Aliens Walking Tall(ish)

Arrayed for conquest.
Another shortish post. So far today I have put together my Grymm walkers, to represent Broadside Suits in my "not Tau" army. As mentioned in an earlier post, I have decided to go with the "missileside" option for my heavy walkers. The gatling guns will use the High-Yield
Missile Pod stat line, as it's pretty close to the "baby Assault Cannon" look they sport.

Unfortunately it's 15 degrees outside, and it just snowed, so I can't prime them. That's okay though, as I have Super Dungeon Explore stuff to paint. Later on I'll try to post my next Rock Top Gang minis. After that, I think I'll roll a die to determine which hero to paint next.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Super Dungeon Explore Hobby Bonanza

Flame on!
A fair bit of hobby news to report today. I have finished all of my Burning Gels and Fire Gels. For the most part I'm happy with how they turned out, bit the big fellows above could have had better looking eyes. It's hard to tell in the above photo, but the white paint didn't come out perfectly smooth. It's a little streaky, a little textured, and it goes outside the lines a touch.
Lil' squirts.
The little fellas came out much better, but as you can see in the picture above, somehow the mini in the middle of the front row got scratched twice above his eye. It may be hard to see, but I know it's there. It annoys me greatly.
Getting ready to roxor your soxorz.
I also picked up some white primer yesterday. This means I was able to prime the rest of the models for the Caverns of Roxor...
Heroic heroes.
...As well as prime my heroes and the small mini-bosses. I'm going to finish the turtles I started in the picture of the Roxor box above, but once they're done I'll paint one of the heroes to break up the monotony of painting the Rock Top Gang, I'm torn between Nyan-Nyan, Princess Ruby, and the "I sear I'm not Link" elf.
There was also some progress on the Von Drakk Manor set, where I primed the big fellows as well as the spawn points. I'll have photos of them as soon as I remember to snap them. (^_~)*
A Grymm situation.
Finally, on the Grey Alien front, my walkers from Hasslefree just arrived. I am now torn about my army list, as I want to swap out the Heavy Rail Rifles I currently have in my army list (represented by the weapon on the right) for High-Yield Missile Pods (to be represented by the linked gatling guns on the left). I'll have to fiddle around with my "army construction software" tonight to see if that's even an option, but it's hard to resist that many shots. No matter what, I'll be interested to find out which bases they'll have to go on. They come with a 50mm base, which is not the correct size. They'll either end up with a 40mm or 60mm base, depending on how wide the finished models are. I'l be pondering that tomorrow as I clean and pin all four of these walkers, as well as head over to Michaels to try to get beads for the heads of my robots. I checked on their website and couldn't find anything, so wish me luck.