Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sins of a Game Store

Sins of a Game Store

The big gaming news around here is that the Game Parlor in Woodbridge is moving to a smaller store. The current store has a lot of miniature gaming space as well as considerable space for card games and board games. It was not uncommon for the IFL to run a 40k tournament there and have upwards to 30 people show up and for there to still be room for other games to take place. Combine this with the store being clean, decently stocked, and off of 95 and it was a good combination. This store managed to foster and give birth to several gaming groups and was a great addition to the community.

Even though the store managed to give a great gaming venue for many people it failed to make enough money to stay in its current space. Going to the Game Parlor in Chantilly compared to the Game Parlor in Woodbridge was like night and day. While Woodbridge had about 50% more gaming space it would often times be quite empty whereas Chantilly would be quite busy. Outside of Tuesday night and the odd Saturday the Woodbridge Game Parlor often seemed barren and underused. I understand that Woodbridge is less populated and that Chantilly is quite busy because it is in a more densely populated area. All the same, I believe there were many things that both Game Parlors could do better.

First, it would be nice to have a sale once in a while. If you were ever in the market for an early 90s computer flight stick at origianl retail price you can happily go to the Game Parlor. There is a lot of stock of Void, Starship Troopers, WarZone, Chronopia, Battlefield Evolution, and tons of other games that won't ever move at full retail. I've seen the stores reorganize space so they can make room for new product and instead of tripping over themselves to reorganize and dust off their Legions of Steel figures they try new ones to fit everything in the store.

It isn't just about a sale, however. I have literally had instances where I wanted a specific model kit for something, such as some out of production Starship Troopers, and found them on eBay for several times their original MSRP. Instead of buying them online I'd go into the Game Parlor and get them at a cheaper price. Being a flakey guy who has more time to come up with ideas and plans than I do to painting I've then sold some of these same kits on eBay and made a decent profit. It seems to me that there could be many items that they have in store that they could sell online without losing any money. I'm sure there's someone who really wants those Chronopia figures. Basically, I feel that they do not use their considerable inventory to their advantage.

I feel that this problem has lead to another issue in how well they stock items that people actually want. There seems to be two reasons to shop at a local game store instead of online. First, it's nice to support the store you play at so it'll be open tomorrow. Second, it's convenient. There are many times where the Game Parlor won't have a product I want for weeks at a time and they make ordering it a hassle. I'm not talking about hard to get items or old items, but instead I'm speaking of wanting the new Cygnar book for WarMachine and things of that nature. My politics are such that I have no problem wearing a shirt with Eugene V. Debs on it but I understand the marketplace enough to realize that maintaining space for stock that won't ever move while not stocking items that do move only works in the Twilight Zone.

All the same, the stores still have a lot going for them. Unfortunately, customer service is no longer one of those attributes. A few years ago the staff were polite, well informed, and prompt. Things are different now. Game Parlor has moved to a system where you can only play in the store if you spend $20 on product or purchase a day pass for $2. It's there to stop freeloaders, of whom there were many, from purchasing everything online and using the store to game. I don't mind this fee but they have been exercising it poorly. At Chantilly, this has never happened at Woodbridge, I've felt harrassed about showing proof of my right to be there. When I'm annoyed three times during the course of two 40k games to prove that I've chipped in my fair share it's annoying. When it happens after spending over $100 on models it becomes offensive. Unfortunately the staff at Chantilly can be a little too interested in talking about models and it can be annoying to hear complex back stories of their D&D characters and ideas for what they would do for their miniature armies if they had the money. Chantilly is still better than Woodbridge with staffing.

At Woodbridge you'll be ignored. I literally spent 15 minutes at the counter trying to purchase items the other week. One employee was busy with World of Warcraft and told me to wait while another was out on a smoke break. This is fairly common there. Half the time I actually purchase something there I'm told by a certain employee that what I'm purchasing is lame or not fun or otherwise bad. I've never been bothered to show proof of paying the table fee but that's largely due to being ignored.

The last problem that both stores have is a peculiar one. The owners don't seem very interested in games. The store never sponsors or runs events. The space in the store is there for clubs and other people to organize. On the one hand this is great as it allows clubs a lot of freedom in organizing events and the store is good at making sure clubs don't step on each others' toes. On the other hand it isn't very good for business. I went up to play in a Magic the Gathering pre-release at Dream Wizards in Maryland and the store organized it. There were close to 60 players in the Sealed Deck tournament and afterwards I believe they ran 5 or 6 Booster Drafts. With just those events they probably came close to selling $2000 worth of product. While there I picked up a figure and some paint as well and I'm sure I wasn't the only one. Both of the Game Parlors have a lot of space and instead of scratching their head wondering why they aren't busy they could take the initiative and run events to use that space. Not to mention that store run and sposored events is more welcoming to new players. Existing clubs can be intimidating for new people to try to play in.

Don't get me wrong, I like the Game Parlors. They are good stores. They are well lit, clean, and have great gaming space. I'm just worried that they are doing a lot to push away players and have in turn made the Woodbridge store unprofitable which will further hurt people that play there. I know a large segment of the IFL is going to have a hard time finding a new place to play and that will hurt that club considerably.

In comparison the Game Vault in Fredericksburg is in an even more remote area, has a smaller store, is not as clean, but maintains a devoted customer base. The owner is wonderful, will special order items, offer discounts, and will stay late to make sure players can finish games and tournaments. She has really tried to actively foster the community down there and the people I know who live near it are very loyal to that store. Even Dream Wizards always appears to be fairly busy whenever I visit despite being filthy, having a bathroom that makes me want to gag, and employees who are incredibly rude. They sponsor and run events and this seems to bring in people.

The owners of Game Parlor seem complacent and seem to blame all of their problems on the crappy economy. I'm sure that's not helping but they aren't doing all they could to remedy the situation.

My recommendations for the store are this:

1) Try to put items that are not moving on sale and set up an eBay store to slowly start phasing our product.

2) With this new space try to better organize your product and then consider moving to a smaller store. I don't not think I am being optimistic in thinking that the store could sell a lot of product online and through sales and move to a store 2/3 the size and that no one would notice the difference.

3) Encourage pre-orders! Island of Blood was $100! If they offered it for 20% off and took pre-orders and then advertised the day it would arrive as a day for people to trade off Elves and Skaven and rulebooks they would have done very well for themselves. It would have brought new players in and let them meet active clubs and this would pay off in the long term as well.

4) Encourage large purchases. I've asked before but when I start a new 40k army I like to buy a lot at bulk. If they offered some discount for this I would purchase from them in a heart beat. I still do, honestly, but it seems simple to me that if they can make money for doing nothing more than taking my money and giving me product when it arrives than they are making out. I understand that putting items for sale that take up shelf space is difficult, but if all they are doing is acting as the middle man than it costs them nothing and they still make money.

5) Run events and endorse them! It's great that they have open space for clubs to fill but if they were to Friday Night Magic and organize booster drafts I know I would and others would go. The same can be said for other events. The IFL runs a lot of events there that are just for the IFL. That's crap! They should tell us to open it up to all players and they should advertise those events in store and online.

6) Have an online presence. There is seriously no reason not to encourage, through discounts and 'atta boys, active players to post on DakkaDakka and other websites endorsing the store and events that take place there. If nothing else if they took an active role in events people would feel more loyal and customers would do it anyhow. Huzzah Hobbies seems to be doing this well.


They have a great space and a great selection of product. If they work better to foster community and to help players find groups and to encourage groups to grow the store would be stronger and players would be happier. Much of what I'm talking about above, especially when it comes to organizing events, can be done by customers. I know Eagle and Empire encourages players to run events by giving the organizing person discounts but they also advertise those events. As far as I can tell that store manages to exist almost solely on Flames of War and a lot of this is due to their willingness to organize events and hand them off to customers to run.

I apologize for the long post, but in summary the Game Parlor is a good store that could be a great store and a more financially sound one with small changes.

Be seeing you!
Casey

Sunday, October 3, 2010

WarMachine - A New Beginning

Hello!

Now that I'm taking a break from 40k I've been looking for another game to play. I'm looking for certain qualities in a new game. I'm looking for a game with the following:
  • Active local players
  • Active national tournaments
  • Ability to travel a few times a year for tournaments and conventions
  • Chances for modeling
  • Fun models to paint
  • Fun and interesting background
  • Interesting metagame to give me something to look at and talk about
This leaves me with a few options:
  • DBA
  • Flames of War
  • WarMachine
  • Malifaux
  • Warhammer Fantasy
  • Lord of the Rings SBG
I really enjoy DBA. It is one of my most favorite games. Hordes of the Things is lots of fun as well. I suspect I'll be replacing a lot of the armies I've sold over the years and play this fairly casually. On the whole, though, it doesn't have a terribly deep metagame and I would have a hard time going to tournaments to just play DBA.

Flames of War is fun. I played it some years ago and I enjoyed it. I know of players that play locally, although my limited experience with them has made me think they're military fetishests and that bothers me. It does have a good national tournament scene and a solid metagame. I am interested in WW2 history but at the same time I don't want to trivilize it by playing a game dealing with it. There isn't much in the way of modeling and the painting doesn't inspire me. On the whole, it's not something I can get too excited about.

Malifaux is a game I might look into. I like half of the figures. The game seems overly complex. Every figure seems to have a thousand special rules. The low model count and rich opportunities for conversions might see me starting a force should someone I want to play with ask me to.

Warhammer Fantasy is also fun. I've played a few games of 8th and it's alright. It plays and looks more how I want it to. The game still has some fundamental balance issues in terms of Magic and Psychology and I'm having a hard time getting excited by modeling or the background. I like the guys that play at Game Parlor in Chantilly, though, so I expect to finish my Ogres over the next few months and play. If I do and I enjoy it I might look at going to the Colonial GT in Atlantic City.

Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite games. I like the way the game flows, I really like the figures, I love the background, and I just have the highest opinion of it. I know Richard isn't a fan but it's just a game I really enjoy. It's also one of those games where I want to do every army available. The local group that plays, The Lords of Middle Earth, are pretty good guys from my experience. They meet Wednesdays in Woodbridge, which sucks as the Game Parlor in Woodbridge is moving to a smaller store and it's questionable about how much space there will be for gaming. I'll wait to see how that shakes out until I dive in, but I expect to do a new Mordor army before too long.

Years ago I played WarMachine. I played from before Prime was released up until Superiority. Cavalry seemed goofy and I disliked how the game continued to minimize Warjacks. I also felt that new units would replace old units in effectiveness (Stormguard > Stormblades) and that armies would have as many models as a 40k army but the mechanics didn't work for that many models. Combine that with price increases that make GW seem cheap and haphazard model quality and it became an easy game to quit.

Mk 2 seems to have fixed some of my issues. Some of the guys I've met who play seem like good guys. There are lots of tournaments available both locally and nationally. There are enough Cryx and Cygnar models to make nice looking and competitive armies. Menoth and Khador aren't quite as lucky, to my eye at least, but two out of four isn't bad. And yes, I'm ignoring the Apple iAnime faction they just released.

With all that being said my general plan of action is to paint up 50 point Cygnar and Cryx armies. Then I'll be moving around to do some 15mm Sci Fi, some 15mm Ancients and Fantasy for DBA and HotT, and then some Lord of the Rings. Hell, looking at Dark Eldar might mean I might end up painting them up just for fun.

Be seeing you!
Casey

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Taking a break from 40k

Hello,

I've decided to take a break from 40k. I played pretty heavily for about 3 years and had a lot of fun. I've met a lot of really great people, dedicated hobbyists, fun players, and a had a lot of fun.

I used to go to a lot of tournaments, especially GTs, so that I could play against new opponents who would have nicely painted armies and who would play strong armies and put up a good fight. Look at my Mechanicon report for what I'm talking about. That was a well run tournament that had a lot of really great players and great people.

I've not had a lot of luck this year in finding similar experiences. Before I'd face some jerks and cheaters but they were not so numerous as to be really bothersome. Almost as bad was playing against people who would bring unpainted armies and who would not really know the rules so well. That's fine when playing with friends or groups but in a major tournament environment it was just annoying. Time pressure and the pressure of a competitive environment really makes such players more annoying than anything. Not that I'm discouraging new people from playing, but I think it's important to be ready for a major tournament to get the most out of the experience but to also give the best experience possible for other players.

I'm of the opinion that if you're going to go to a major tournament that you are responsible to bring a decently painted army, know the rules, and play fast enough so that a full game can be played. Having games end after 4 turns due to time is not fun for anyone except for the person who won because of it.

I've also been frustrated with the online community of 40k. There are a lot of great and productive bloggers that really inspire me to play, paint, convert, and to think about the game. There are also a lot of very strong personalities that only want to destroy the community and to promote their view of how the game should be played at the expense of all else. I remember what it was like to be a little younger and a lot more brazen but to see grown men harass, bully, disrespect, and otherwise belittle the efforts of others is just a bit too much for me.

At the end of the day I've stopped having fun. I could ignore a lot of my problems if I thought I was going to have fun at a tournament. I have a few large problems with how tournaments are being run these days, though. My larger problem is the change in game size. 2000 points is a large game and a lot of the balance in 40k (and there is a certain amount in the game) goes away at that point level. I really feel that 1500 - 1750 is the sweet spot. 2000 points is also much too big to play in two and a half hours, let alone in less. I understand that 1750 in two and a half hours means that some people are going to be done with their early and have a good amount of time to wait before the next round. I'm okay with that and I've been on that side more times than not and I was glad for the chance to hang out, talk to people, and look at other armies. It gave me time to breathe and to enjoy the day. It's also enough time and at a small enough point level to mean that most people will finish their game and not get short changed turns. 2000 points and with 2 hours just means I'm rushing to finish a game and then rushing to start the next round.

I also don't like how many tournaments are not using Kill Points. I know some people will say they don't balance the game and that their data supports this claim. I don't buy it. Rhinos and Razorbacks and other transports are cheap because there is also a secondary cost associated with them in their KP value. It works. I am not so staunch in this view that I could not be convinced otherwise, as the Mechanicon did by using an interesting Victory Point scheme, but so far everything I have seen has pointed to the need to "punish" mutliple small unit armies. It is more than just MSU, however, it is how missions without any KP objective promote mechanized and that gets boring.

I was getting a little less excited about 40k in general. The NOVA Open was a pretty bad time. My first round opponent was a good guy but Mech Guard versus an Assault army with Dawn of War deployment and Victory Points (which is a bad combination, period) for objectives was a bad matchup. That we only made it four turns before we had to quit was also annoying as by time anything I had made it to Assault the game had ended.

My second round opponent was not at all fun to play against and cheated. He did some things that annoyed me greatly. I managed to deal with it and was about to pull out the win until he was trying to contest objectives on the bottom of the fourth, and last, turn by Tank Shocking with his Vendettas and then became visibly upset when he found out he could not do that. Several minutes later and some of my models magically repositioned later lead to his win and my leaving the tournament. I only ever left a tournament early once before, and that was due to it being advertised as running until 6PM and the last round started at 6PM and I had plans that evening, but this guy was too much for me. I admit that leaving was not the most mature thing for me to do but I was seriously not looking forward to playing two more games where I might get four rounds in before time was called. Mike, the TO, is a good guy but it seems as though he is a little reluctant to take any criticism as being anything more than aberrant.

The game has become something I am less and less excited to play. The modeling opportunities, fluff, and variety of army builds are still exciting and I would still recommend 40k as being a great game. For a variety of reasons, however, the competitive scene is not something I want to participate in.

I am looking at some other games. I have started looking at and painting a lot of my Reaper Warlord figures. It is a fun game and has a very small buy in and great figures. Some other people I like to play with have showed interest so I am going to give that a good try. Uncharted Waters, Flames of War, and Warhammer Fantasy are also games I expect to try in the near future as well. For the immediate future I am going to work on my Ogres and Reaper Warlord figures.

I have also started working on a set of rules to use with my West Wind Vampire Wars figures. They are really nice but so far there is no set of rules I want to use with them. The system I have started playing around with is a mixture of Lord of the Rings, Savage Worlds, Warlord, Starship Troopers, and some other ideas. I will probably be running a Halloween game with it in late October and I will be sure to post any pictures and thoughts from it.

I might give 40k another look come 6th edition. Until then, I am going to play and enjoy other games.

Be seeing you!
Casey

Friday, August 6, 2010

Final List for NOVA Open

Hello!

So I've decided on a list for the NOVA Open. It's a variation on the list I've been using but I think it's a little better. I want to try out a few more games with it but so far the three games I've played it in it has done better.

Here it is:

The Swarmlord with 2 Tyrant Guard
Tyranid Prime with Lashwhip + Bone Sword, Deathspitter

8 Warriors with Rending Claws, Deathspitters, and 1 Barbed Strangler
9 Genestealers + Brood Lord with Scything Talons
9 Genestealers + Brood Lord with Scything Talons
10 Termagants with Spine Fists
Tervigon with Catalyst, Scything Talons, Cluster Spines, Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs

3 Hive Guard
3 Hive Guard
Doom of the Malan'tai with Spore Pod

3 Raveners with Rending Claws


The major change is dropping the Zoanthropes for Hive Guard, dropping two Genestealers and one Warriors, and added 3 Raveners with Rending Claws.

I've not liked Raveners when I tried them out before but that was in large part because I was not using the Swarmlord. I've found his 18" Synapse to be a big difference and having the Raveners stay within Synapse lets them dart out to take out Razorbacks and Chimeras without fearing being out of range of Synapse. I've also misused them in the past to dart out and attack Rhinos, which they would do well at, only to die from Bolter fire on my opponent's turn. I know better now and some games they will be used to tie up units, take out squishy static fire bases like Devastators, attack high priority vehicles or to sit back and act as a counter attack element for the rest of the army.

I'm still not happy with this list. It's the happiest I've been with any Tyranid list and I've tried everything from Warrior spam to Trygon spam to multiple Tervions to Stealer Shock and combinations thereof. I know this army can do well against a lot of different armies but I'm very unhappy that it will almost automatically lose against Imperial Guard. I expect to put this army away after the NOVA Open while I play some Fantasy and work on my next 40k army for the Mechanicon.

Be seeing you!
Casey

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ogre Tyrant Painted!

Hello!

I got a Beastman Minotaur with Great Weapon off of eBay for $13, including shipping, and added some Ogre bits and green stuff and ended up with an Ogre Tyrant.

I'm happy with him. Richard gave me the idea from the Games Workshop site and I thought it would be great to do for my Tyrant. He was inexpensive and looks unique and that's a great combination.

He's also considerably larger than a regular Ogre so he'll look appropriately mean next to all the other gentlemen in the army.

I hope you like!




I've made some headway on other models, my Butcheress is near done, but not enough to show just yet. Unfortunately I'm shelving the army for a week while I finish up my Tyranids for the NOVA Open. All I need to do is dip and work on their bases but I'm painting up a new unit of Genestealers, using the Space Hulk ones, to go with the Space Hulk Brood Lord so the two squads will look different. I also want to finish up the Forge World Tyranid terrain pieces I have. Nothing too serious but I don't want to get distracted by my Ogres which are more fun to paint and feel less like work than my Tyranids.

Be seeing you!
Casey

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ogre Pictures

Hello!

Here are a few pictures of the models I've been working on for my Ogre army. My aim is to have a fairly unified vision for each model and to have each model look unique.

Unfortunately I think my vision is more ambitious than my abilities will allow but I'm happy with how things are coming along so far.


This is the first model I worked on. I really like the Skraag the Slaughterer model and wanted to go for something similar. I like how he has a butchers knife and cleaver for hands. I imagined his hands, and leg, were torn apart to feed the tribe and they shoved knives into his stumps and a log onto his leg so he could keep going on. He lost his lower jaw in some freak accident so he has all sorts of gore hanging from it and his tongue sticks out in a horrifying manner. This was partly inspired by that awful picture of a man's face after a motorcycle accident. He was originally going to be a Butcher but I decided to make him be a regular Bull. I sculpted a belly and continued his belt so he doesn't have a gut plate because of my intention to have him be a Butcher. I'm actually quite happy with how he came out.


This gentleman was a lot of fun to put together. He is going to be one of my Butchers. I think this model has a certain comedy to it as he's chomping on his own intestines but on the back of the model is a hunk of meat hanging from a hook on his belt. I took the Bellower arm and replaced the hand with a fist and then modeled the intestines in it. The other arm has been eaten away over the years and there's a bloody stump remaining for when times turn bad for this tribe of unlucky monsters.



This unlucky fellow took a canon ball to his body and managed to live. Unfortunately in a previous battle he lost his hands and now has rusted blades jammed into his stumps. He shambles along with his guts hanging out but he's a bit too dim witted to know when to die. Unfortunately tetanus is common in the Old World and I think this poor chap doesn't have too many days in front of him.


This poor guy was disemboweled and he is frantically trying to shove his organs and guts back into his body. This was inspired from a scene in Akira where one of the characters is having a nightmarish vision in which his guts fall out and he tries to shove them back into his body. This model, more than the others, shows how my vision is outpacing my skill. All the same I think it'll look decent when painted. The picture doesn't show it but he is also missing a hand, a common feature amongst this cannibalistic tribe, and he has a sword blade strapped to his forearm. It looks pretty nifty.


This is my second Butcher, or Butcheress in this case. She's one ugly Ogre woman! I modeled her to be massively pregnant and to have no shirt because it seemed like a fun idea. This is one of the very few models in my army that does not have any wound of any sort because I was a little (or very) uncomfortable with inflicting a pregnant woman with any bodily horror. I'm not totally happy with how she's modeled holding the heads of two poor victims by their hair but I think once I paint it it'll look better.


I'm going to keep at it. I'm almost done with the first batallion box and hope to finish the second soon.

Thanks for looking!

Be seeing you!
Casey

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

IFL RTT and NOVA Open mission thoughts and Starting Ogres!

Hello!

The IFL RTT was this past weekend and it was a lot of fun. Jeff Payne and I ende up going undefeated and him and I will hopefully get a match in for the IFL 40k Ziggurat tonight to decide who is top dog. Unfortunately my last opponent and all around good guy, Chris Shriner, had to go before the end of our game. I feel confident I was in a good position to pull out a win but things can swing wildly and the game was close. It's a real shame we didn't get to finish, though, as it was a good game.

My army worked well. The Genestealers were rad and the Hive Guard and Zoanthropes were spot on. The Swarmlord only made combat once, against Mark Callan's Salamanders, but he managed to swing the game by killing Vulkan and wiping out a squad of Thunder Hammer Terminators. The Swarmlord worked as a huge threat in all the other games and Doug McNaron's Wolrd Eaters and Chris Shriner's Tyranids tried to avoid him.

The Warriors and Alpha never made it into combat. I'm actually fine with that. They shot quite a bit and managed to really do a lot of damage and they were solid anchors on objectives. Since the other two missions were based on Victory Points and Table Quarters they were solid in denying Victory Points and by having a tremendous amount of points parked in a Table Quarter. If they shoot and provide Synapse and provide a threat bubble then I'm happy.

The list worked well on the whole. I'm torn on the Tervigon but he was solid in all of the games if not flashy but aside from that feeling, one I don't think is based in reality, I really do like the list and I managed to make it dance well. I made a few mistakes I won't likely make again and because of those lessons I feel more confident.

I liked the NOVA Open missions. I'm still leery by the absence of Kill Points and I've heard arguments why tournaments don't need them but I'm still not entirely sold on those reasons. I still feel very strongly that the reason things like Rhinos, Razorbacks, Chimeras, and the like are priced so low is because they were designed to be offset by Kill Points. I still think this is an elegant solution. I'm also not totally sold on 2,000 points being a good tournament size. I'm
happier with 1,500 to 1,850 (with 1,750 being a sweet spot) as army lists at that point size really force decisions to be made. At 2,000+ points I feel like I can take whatever I want and don't have to make too many hard decisions. I also feel like some armies scale up better than others. Whereas Tyranids, for instance, need to use all three Elites slots an army like Imperial Guard has a lot more power and flexibility.

All the same I'm eager for the NOVA Open and think it'll be both well run and a lot
of fun.


Ogres!

I'm excited for 8th Edition Fantasy. I've read the book and have seen a lot of games played. As I've talked about before I have a severe case of the WADD but I have stabalized on doing an Ogre Kingdoms army. I'm going to make a 2,500 point list out of the following:

2 Battalions
2 Rat Ogre Bodies from eBay
1 Beastmen Minotaur with Great Weapon from eBay
1 Ogre Kingdoms Butcher
8 Ogre Bodies from eBay
4 Irongut plates, arms, and weapons from eBay

From this I plan on making:

1 Tyrant with Great Weapon (from Minotaur body inspired by this)
1 Slaughter Master (using Butcher box)
2 Butchers (using Ogre Bulls and green stuff)
1 Bruiser BSB (using Iron Gut model)

10 Ironguts
15 Ogre Bulls with Iron Fists
5 Leadbelchers
2 Gorgers (Using Rat Ogre bodies)
3 Man Eaters (using Iron Guts with green stuff and lots of other bits to be Man
Eaters from the Chaos Wastes)
60 Gnoblars


The overall theme of the idea is that this is a tribe of Ogres that have fallen on hard times and that they've had to resort to cannibalism. The Road by Cormac McCarthy is one of my favorite books and I'm not ashamed to admit I cried like a monster made of sadness by it. It also has lots of really horrifying images and I'm hoping to capture some of that with this army. Lots of models will have wounds, missing limbs, and lots of other gruesome bits. I'm also very very tempted
to see if I can find a cheap Jason Voorhees action figure so I can take his hockey mask and make the Tyrant look like Lord Hummungus since the Minotaurs are incredibly ripped.



My next goal for this army is to have it painted and done by the time of the IFL Fantasy 8th Edition League Tournament, which should be in the middle of September. I've already started working on a modeling models and so far I really like what I have.

Once the first Batallion box is put together and modeled I'll do some pictures.

Be seeing you!
Casey

Friday, July 23, 2010

Painting, Tyranids, RTT

Hello!

I've been busy painting as of late. I've been cracking down and painting Tyranids and Tyranids and even more Tyranids. My color scheme is simple and I'm going through pots of Bleached Bone at a fast pace.

I'm tired of painting Tyranids, however. I have a few more boxes I want to go through and then I'll be done. I'll have every unit from the book, minus a Mawloc, finished and ready to go in another month or two.

A big part of painting them is the dip. The Drunk Dwarves had an article years ago, I can't find it anymore as they've redesigned their site, that I used for painting and I'm using their approach of Bleached Bone carapace, Camo Green skin with a MinWax Polyshades Antique Walnut Satin dip. I'm using Mechrite Red for gribbly bits and tongues, which I think works as a nice splash of color.

Here's what they look like when dipped and finished:




I honestly am very eager to be done with them. I've had some fun doing some conversions, my Tervigon is rather neat and I need to finish a second, but the painting is just tedious.


Here's my Tervigon painted but prior to the dip:




I've also been bitten by the Warhammer Fantasy bug. As is predictable with me I have a bad case of Warhammer Attention Deficit Disorder (WADD) and I've gone from wanting to do Lizardmen to Empire to Ogres. I have quite a few of the first two, eBay has been very good to me, and a battleforce of the Ogres. I think I'm going to do the Ogres as they're the ones I can get painted and put on the table the fastest while having them look good and they are also the ones I can do for the least amount of money. I also really like my concept for them and I think my putty skills will be enough to pull it off.

Once that's done I'll be back to painting what I want and when I want. I started work on a Terminator from Space Hulk last night and it was fun and relaxing. He's also coming out very nicely and I think this is in large part because of my desire to paint him instead of painting for a deadline.

I've also been selling a lot of figures. I need the room in the apartment and my miniatures take up too much space, oddly enough. Because of this I'm selling a lot of figures and trying to downsize to just what I want. Once my Tyranids and Ogres are done I'll buy a box and paint it up. And then buy another box. And then another. I don't want to get stuck into the routine of buying entire armies all at once just to lose interest or get annoyed at how many models I have left. I need to better incentivize my painting and only allowing myself to get models once I'm done with the ones I have might do the trick.


Anyway, the IFL is having our quarterly 40k RTT tomorrow. I'm taking Tyranids and here is the list I've worked up:

HQ
The Swarmlord with 2 Tyrant Guard
Tyranid Prime with Lash whip, bonesword, deathspitter

Troops
10 Termagants with Spinefists
Tervigon with Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs, Catalyst
9 Warriors with Rending Claws, Deathspitters, Stranglethorn Cannon
10 Genestealers with Broodlord with Scything Talons
10 Genestealers with Broodlord with Scything Talons

Elites
Doom of the Malan'tai with Spore Pod with Cluster Spines
3 Hive Guard
3 Zoanthropes


It's a little light on models but I think it'll do strong. The Swarmlord has been very strong for me in most games and I'm trying out Warriors one last time. Warriors have been very hit or miss for me but I think they'll work in this list.

If I don't do well I'll better revise it for the NOVA Open.

The only downside to this list is that while everything is painted not everything is dipped and based. Since painting is not being scored tomorrow, which is a change from our regular RTTs, I'm not really caring. Dipping is such a pain and since I didn't need to do it for tomorrow I didn't and I'll get to paint more before I have to dip for the NOVA Open.

Speaking of the NOVA Open I'll be helping to supply terrain for the event. I purchased two sets of the Tyranid Capillary Towers and one of the Tyranid Spore Chimneys years ago and I've started painting them. I also purchased a HeroSpace starter that came with a nifty piece of terrain that I've painted up in my scheme. Here are some WIP pictures:




I'll try to take pictures this weekend and have my thoughts on this tournament as they'll be using the format and scoring from the NOVA Open.

Be seeing you!
Casey

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lava Bases for Salamanders

Hey there,

I've been working on my Salamanders. I'm hoping to bring them to the NOVA Open. I'll post up an army list soon, although I'm sure it'll change as I play a bunch this summer.

For now, though, here are some lava bases I've done for them. They look better in person, the dab of white isn't as noticeable in person. I like the effect and they were done pretty fast. I'll post a tutorial if anyone is interested.



Be seeing you!
Casey

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tyranid Thoughts


It's been a while since I've updated!

I've not been playing much, work and personal life have kept me quite busy and quite happy, but I've played a few games, done a lot of reading and thinking, and am planning some summer projects.

First, I want to discuss some thoughts I've had on the new Tyranid book. Tyranids are easily my favorite army in 40k. They're giant dinosaur insect aliens that are like locusts on the universe and they have some really excellent miniatures and their playstyle is very distinct.

The new book is interesting. I'm still on the fence about it. Oddly enough, it really caters to the style of army I played before (A unit or two of gaunts, a unit of Genestealers, lots of Warriors, some support elements, and a Monstrous Creature or three). I never played Nidzilla and never had much interest in doing so, but I still made the old Codex work for a much more balanced (balanced in terms of having a mix of small, medium, and big bugs) army.

This new book really strengthens those armies while putting a hurt on Nidzilla. While I'm not sad to see it go (While it wasn't as bad as Mechdar it still was obnoxious) I think they might have gone a little too far in making Carnifexes almost never worth their points.

Here is a summary of the units and my thoughts on them:

The Great:
The Swarmlord - He's a beast. Giving him a 5th wound might have been a mistake. WS9, able to use two Psychic powers a turn (with Paroxysm being one of the best powers in the game), forcing rerolls on successful Invulnerable saves, always causing Instant Death, and the ability to take Tyrant Guard just make him ridiculous. I realize he's a lot of points but I dare you to find 400 points that can win against him and two Tyrant Guard.

Hive Tyrant - While The Swarmlord is great I think there is still a place for the Hive Tyrant. He's cheaper, can be given a better Armor Save, is able to give Preferred Enemy to all friendly models within 6", and is a beast in close combat. I could see a Hive Tyrant being good competition against the Swarmlord as he's a lot cheaper and does some things the Swarmlord doesn't do. I don't think we'll see both too often because of the awesomeness of the Tyranid Prime.

Tyranid Prime - I think Warriors are a must have and he makes them better. He's great, cheap, and adds a lot of utility to the army. Him + 9 Warriors might be the cornerstone of every Tyranid army I make from now on.

Hive Guard - These guys are good. I don't like doubling up on units outside of Troops but I can see why people want to do that with these guys. I'll always take one unit and would take a second if they were in Heavy Support. As it is I think taking multiples really cuts down on some of the utility the army needs to succeed as this is an army that needs its Elite slots.

Deathleaper - When I first saw this guy I thought he cost too many points. He's a lot. He also gives the army a few things it needs in a 5 game tournament. Namely, he makes Psychic Hoods less able to affect your army and he also hurts enemy Psychic attacks. Combine this with his general utility of being an unstoppable killing machine and I think he has a place. He's not an auto include for me but he's very good.

The Doom of Malan'tai - He's good. I don't agree that he affects embarked units (I generally think the game tells you what you CAN do and whenever it breaks a rule it should do so explicitly and not implicitly) but regardless of the interpretation he's either great or awesomely great. He's undercosted either way and is a fun model.

Tyranid Warriors - As I mentioned up above I love these guys. I always have. I've been giving them Rending Claws and Deathspitters. They provide for a solid anchor that scores and are also one of the most aggressive and dangerous assault units in the game. They provide synapse, shooting, scoring, and excellent assaults. I doubt I'll make a list without 9 and a Tyranid Prime.

Gargoyles - This is going to be an overlooked unit. They're fast and pack an amazing punch. I've been giving them Adrenal Glands so that they can strike first against I4 on the charge. They have a huge threat range, some decent shooting, and are very good in assault. They're also undercosted by a point or two. Whereas I feel termagants and hormagaunts are overcosted by a point these are undercosted.

Spore Mine Cluster - This is another unit that'll be over looked. They provide a ton of utility and can seriously affect the course of a game. They can also be ignored and tank shocked until they're dead. Against some armies, though, they'll be a great asset.


The Good:

Tervigon - While I don't think anyone will ever take these as HQs they do make for a good Troop. They provide a lot of utility and are tough to take down. I'm not as in love with them as everyone else seems to be, but they're good and have a place.

Zoanthrope - I think that these guys, while not great, are essential to every Tyranid list I'll ever take. Just the threat of being able to destroy a Land Raider affects how the game is played. They're also Synapse and have a great save so don't need to hide in cover.

Genestealers - They're Genestealers! They're good, cheaper, and Brood Lords are an upgrade character now. I like them and will likely take a unit in every army. They're too iconic, and worthwhile, to not take. Nothing too exciting but they're as good as ever.

Raveners - I know these guys have never been popular but they're good at dashing out and destroying transports or getting into an enemy line. My major problem with them is that they get out of Synapse really easily and don't have grenades so they aren't always the most dependable unit to get stuck into an enemy with.

Trygons - They're slightly more expensive than a similarly equipped Carnifex and they're just better in every way. I like them and I like being able to use my FW model in regular games. They're good and worth taking.


The Borderline:

Venomthrope - I love the model. I really do. I also like his rules and he does some really interesting things that are massively helpful for the army. He has two large problems, though. He's fragile and almost requires taking multiples in a unit. All of a sudden giving a 5+ cover, defensive grenades, and forcing enemies to roll difficult terrain can cost a ton of points. The other major problem is that he's an Elite. I think the Venomthropes are worth while and add something the army really could use, especially certain builds, but he's competing against Hive Guard, Deathleaper, Zoanthropes, Doom of Malan'tai, and Ymgarl Genestealers. I want to take him but there's just too much else out there that really should be chosen first.

Ymgarl Genestealers - I tried these guys once and loved them. I don't know if I had a freakishly good game with them, I'll try them out more, but they were amazing. They're pricey but they can work amazingly well. They are also in the Elites spot and two of the three choices are always going to be filled (Hive Guard and Zoanthropes) before I get to anything else so I doubt they'll make the cut for any serious tournament I go to.

Termagants - I want to like these guys. I mean, you have to take them. I have dreams of them being awesome as they shoot up a unit before Furiously Charging and Poisoning them to death after a volley of shots soften them up. It never happens, though. They're good at screening units, capturing objectives, and just being there. Don't expect them to kill anything ever and if they do it'll be great. I kept expecting them to do something and I grew annoyed at moving these guys around and rolling dice for no real reason. You need to take them but it doesn't mean you need to like it.

Hormagaunts - A lot of the same problems as Termagants. They don't open up the Tervigon so I doubt I'll use them often. I understand they'd be too good if they were beasts still but lowering their WS just hurt.

Tyranid Shrikes - I have 6 of these guys painted up. They do okay. They're fast Synapse which has its uses. They're not bad but I think Raveners are better. Shame, really, as the FW wings look great on them. I won't laugh if someone uses them as they can deliver quite a punch.

Old One Eye - Yes, he's expensive but in half of the games I've used him in he's just been amazing. If you screen him so he gets a cover save, not impossible with a Tyrant and other models, he lasts a long time. I wish they had given him a 5th wound instead of the Swarmlord, though. Some games he dies to one turn of shooting and other games he single handily takes on half of the enemy army. I like him but don't trust him to deliver any wins.

Carnifex - Well, these guys are bad now. I'm not sure they're worthless (I think 3 Screamer Killers might be very good) but for now I doubt we'll ever see them.


The units I've not described are units I've not played with and I don't want to judge something without playing it.


This summer I have a few projects. First I'm going to finish painting my Tyranids. I have lots on sprue and lots that needs to be painted. I have around 4000 points painted right now and hope to add another ~3000 points this summer. It's boring, but I'll feel liberated once I slog my way through.

Then I'm going to work on Space Marines. I hope to have my Salamanders done in time for the NOVA Open. I've wanted to do a Space Marines army for a while and I doubly want to do one because I've been saying for a while that I don't think anyone plays them the right way. I can't make such a big claim and not prove them wrong.

I've managed to get my lovely lady into the game and she's eager to start working on her Slaanesh Daemons army. We'll hopefully have it together and painted by September so she can go to the Mechanicon with me and some other tournaments!


Below is some pictures I took when Richard and I played a game a few weeks ago. We played a Battle Missions game and it was a lot of fun. We played at the Fair Oaks Games Workshop and it was decent.

I'm not a fan of the Realm of Battle board. I don't think it looks that much better than their mat and some nice terrain and it's not as playable and I don't like the sectioned elements.

It was a fun game, though! I hope you like the pictures.

.
Be seeing you!
Casey
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