Monday, March 30, 2009

GW vs. Privateer Press

The following was my response to a discussion held on "The D6 Generation" Podcast discussion the move of Warmachine to its new rules set, Warmachine Mk. II. Specifically, the guys were looking how this move was being viewed by the community at large, and how it impacted their GW vs. PP discussion in episode 1A. This is especially relevant as many former GW players have jumped ship to Privateer Press's Warmachine and compatitble Hordes "steam punk" minitures games.

my response follows:

I found your discussion on GW vs. Privateer Mk. 2 to be fairly interesting. I am a huge GW fan, who loves the universe and Fantasy battle game. I do feel upset however by many of GW's policys and practices in past years (I've been playing since '97). I don't play PP games other than M-Poc mainly b/c I don't live by any gamers right now, and when I do get a rare occasion to play, all my friends play GW games. So while I am intrigued by Warmachine/Hordes, its an outlay of costs and time that makes no sense for me currently. I spend enough time and money on WHFB and Necromunda for the 10 games I get to play a year, that I don't need to try to do it with a whole different gaming system. That being said, I do love to buy books and read rules, as well as look at cool new minitures, so I do own Prime:Remix and I recently bought a couple No Quarter Mags while on vacation in NYC. Interestingly enough, this was in response to me picking up the new White Dwarf to buy, and seeing that it was $9. I am so disgusted by how this magazine's content has been gutted and the price has continued to rise in the last 12 years, I couldn't stomache another dollar increase. I remember the glory days of Fat Bloke, Tale of 4 gamers, inserts, and when resigning a subscription got you a box set of minitures. Now I pay twice as much for a quarter of the content and perks. Thats not just inflation at work... but i digress. Or do I? I do see how PP runs things, the content the including in NQ (thats why I got it), how responsive they are to the community, and how they put out new content all the time. Its refreshing. In fact, I feel the White Dwarf issue is a microcosim for GW in general the last 12 years. I guess to me, when I first started it felt like GW was my buddy, the local butcher or pharmacist I'd go to that would ask about my family as he filled me order. Now, GW feels like Wal-mart. Granted, some of that is probably nostalgia, but I do think that people who assert GW has become this faceless corperation who does what they want, and has an attitude that consumers can take it or leave it have a vaild point. I also believe they have realized this, and working to correct it, just not very quickly. Having said all this, I probably seem to be a disenfranchised GW fan, ripe to be swept up in the PP frenzy, but I am not. Certainly some of it is the investment I've already made in GW, some of it is because my friends whom I play with (when I can) are barely even aware PP exists, and some of it is just how sweet and diverse the GW universe and model range is, but its more than that. Here are 3 main things I think you missed in your discussion, and they are reasons I think some of flak GW gets is unwarrented.

1 - Privateer Press is still a new company. This leads us to a couple issues.

First, they still have a great and dynamic figurehead in Matt Wilson. Mr. Wilson is the driving force behind his company, and its his ideas and commitment to them that have created and driven this company. He is still around, he is still the driving force. Not only does this mean that his creative genius is in full flight, but he also gives the PP fans a leader, a rock star if you will. Whose in charge at PP? Matt Wilson. If you love somethign about PP, thank Matt Wilson. If you are pissed about something, blame Matt Wilson. How about GW? I consider myself fairly informed in GW affiars, but I don't have the slightest inkling whose in charge there. Every army book seems to be done by somebody else. Warhammer and 40K are related and yet overseen by different people. I have no idea who makes decisions for the company policy as a whole. If I love something, who do I thank? If I hate it, who should be the object of my ire? It makes a difference. Jervis Johnson, Andy Chambers, and Rick Priestly are gone... its been 25 years.

Second, being new, Privateer still has a lot of great ideas, and you are seeing those in action. I'm not talking about just game ideas, but I'm talking about ideas on how to use the internet, how to market, how to fix problems. How to sell and do right by retailers in an E-bay/Internet discount world. GW started up over 25 years ago. They have to adapt to the internet and the evolving gamer and radically shift paradigms espeically at the corperate level. PP had to understand both of those and utilize them just to start up. They were born into the current enviroment, thats an advantage.

Third, there is no greater zealot than a convert. PP does benefit from a huge fanboy base. I have nothing against fanboys, I'm probably a GW one, but many of the people singing PP's praises are people who felt burned by GW and switched. There is nothing wrong with that, nor is it unusual, but if you've left one company for another, I think you going to be quick to find faults with the old and doggidly support the new. This can go both ways, but I think PP fans are probably a little too optomistic with their game, and bitter about GW's.

2 - 40k sucks. one of my gripes with this whole debate is a lot of people, and you guys espeically seem to focus on 40k. Now, I understand that. I know that Russ was a huge 40k guy, and this love affair bore the store and the DakkaDakka site, and so its only natural that you discuss what you know. I also know that the "steam punk" aspect of Warmachine gives it some basing in science fiction, but I think this is a mistake. Its a mistake to compare warmachine/hordes to 40k only b/c 40k sucks. It does. I've played both WHFB and 40K, and its not even close. Don't get me wrong, 40k's imagery, fluff, and models are so amazing, its almost worth it. I mean, I love science fiction a lot more than fantasy, but the game itself is terrible. The problem is scale the table isn't big enough for the range of weapons or speed of the models. Either the game needs to be brought down to a skirmish game, or it needs a size reduction, which is why Epic is so awesome. Warmachine works well b/c it plays at a size that 40k should be around. I think if you compare PP games to fantasy, GW comes out a lot better. Fantasy didn't need a complete rewrite (like I agree 40k does), its a great game. Is there some balance issues, yes, but overall its a highly competative game that will see a more skilled player win 19 out of 20 times. I think its easier to extoll the virutes of GW when you look at that game system, that plays beatifully in a the 2000-3000 point range on a 4x6 table, then comparing 40k which is not a good game. I want it to be. I would love it to be, it just isn't.

3 - Size matters i felt like you guys sort of touched on this, but then passed over it. Size is a huge, huge factor in this debate. GW is massive. Its a monsterous corperation that has a lot more people employed worldwide than PP. It produces 3 major miniture games that all independant of each other, and while using similar D6 mechanics and charts, are not interchangable at all. PP produces 2, though I'd call it more like 1 since while they use different mechanics (focus vs fury) they are interchangalbe and not unlike play an Undead army vs. a dwarf army. Within each game, GW has double the factions or even 3 times as many if you consider warmachine and hordes to be totally seperate entities. When PP does a release for everyone, they only have to release for 4 factions (maybe 5 if you count mercs). Compare this to GW, GW has to release for 12-14 armies. Not only is this a huge difference in terms of number of model and rules needed for a joint release, but also consider this. PP has four factions, so they only need to keep 4 distinct flavors to their armies. This isn't tough. GW has 13 distinct armies. It becomes much harder to keep these 13 armies feeling different in terms of fluff and rules. No one wants to buy the Tomb Kings Army book repackaged as the Vampire Counts book. There has to be distinction. This Distinction is easier to achieve when you produce all the units for one army in a book together. But it leads to long intervals between new armies. This lapse in "real time" leads to people departing and changing jobs, and so codexs and army books are being written by new people all the time it seems. This creates a lack in vision and clarity, as well as consistant language. I do blame GW for this to some extent, but its hard. Additionally, I know some people are upset their special army no longer exists or is supported. it sucks, and at times it has seemed dubious by GW, but again, this is an issue of size. As Russ has smartly pointed out various times, stores don't have the SKU room to carry more and more armies, especially for 3 systems. The Size of GW makes them much more inflexible and slow to change. Its not an excuse for all their transgressions (Slayer armies, no online store listings, White Dwarf Pricing, horrible retail support) but it does make things tough on them. The assertion that GW could easily switch to a card based system where all cards were released for 13 WHFB armies and 12-14 40K armies is unfair and honestly, in my opinion silly. I'd like to see them create decks of cards, but to try to do this 2 or 3 years out for a new army just woudn't work. I suffered for years with terrible dark elves through most of 6th edition and part of 7th, but its the price I am willing to pay to have an army level game with the diversity of options that WHFB has. I would love for GW to operate more like PP, but I wouldn't want it at the price of being reduced to 4 or 5 playable armies.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Necro Update

Played my first game of Necromunda with my Goliath Gang. Perviously, I had rolled up a Cawdor gang b/c while I loved the gang models for Goliath, I noticed on the forums they weren't very good in the long run. That being said, I came to the realization that I probably won't play enough for this to make a huge deal, so I decided to create a Goliath Gang. Additionally, this is the most fun part of the game anyway, and we realized in our previous game we had screwed up some of the money parts. My gang looked fairly similiar to the Goliath gang I posted below, but I dropped a heavy in favor of another ganger and bringing a hired gun - in this case a scavvy named "Dirty Harry." He was underwhelming, and I might go with a ratskin Scout - Tonto - for next game.

The game was very fun, but I have to say that my luck was not impressive. I had 5 guys take a wound, which wasn't unusual persay, but all 5 of them rolled a "1" to be knocked out of action on their first rolls! Thats 5 natural 6's following 5 wounds... ouch. We played a straight gang fight, and when I finally bottled out, I had 7 guys rolling on the serious injury chart. Highlights of the postgame festivities included my Leader losing an inch of movement due to a bum left leg. I also had a Juve drop a ballistic skill from 2 to 1... ouch. Get that fella a knife! On the plus side, I had a juve score 5 kills. That, along with his survival bonus, gave him 3 upgrades. He rolled pretty well getting +1 WS (yawn), +1 W (BEAST!) and the weaponmith skill. I also lucked out and found a Juve recruit for free from my settlement.

All in all, it was a fun game on great terrain, and we had an eventful and wild post game. Everything Necromunda probably should be! Below is 3 of my gang models. As I said earlier, I did not really paint these models. All I did was repaint the pants and paint a blue circle around the base. I saw Driver do this with his gang, in red, and I really liked the effect. The middle model is my leader, and I am painting him from scratch. He is still in progress, as you can see, but I'm happy with how he looks thus far. Comments welcome!

Angels - the beginning

I have finally begun construction on some of the angels for my brother's Warriors of Chaos "Angelic Host" army. The first model I have begun to paint is a test model of sorts. I need to sort out the wings, armor, skin, and additional colors in my quest to create a decent looking angel plan.

The wings are rough. I sought some help on the wings, and originally tried to paint them white, wash them black, and then highlight them white again. That didn't look to good. Driver came up with the idea of using gold to accent the wings, and i think it looks pretty good. I am going to have to get the angel totally done and take a look at it before I declare it decent. I am happy with the cloth. I painted it a sand color, washed it brown, and then highligthed it with sand/white and finally a very thin line of white. It is also not done, but i like its look for now. The skin and armor are both in very, very early stages, so please be patient with them and don't judge them to harshly.
I am hoping to finish this guy off by the weekend, solicite some advice, and then correct myself and begin the other angels next week. And here... we... go.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


our little foray into Necromunda appears to be building steam. Mr. Driver has purchased some scenery, Mr. Finke is begining construction on his first foray into gaming, and I have bought and recieved my first "real" gang. Its a gang of House Goliath. I love the minatures, and fluff, so I decided to get them. Unfortunatly, I am reading on the forums they are worst gang due to their skill tables. Oh well, I'm not sure we'll play often enough for me to feel the ill effects of a less potent skill base. Anyway, here is list. I have based their names off of real nordic names from some baby name website, to sorta stick with the massive, weightlifter theme.

Leader - Thor - Chain Ax, Autogun, Bolt Pistol
Heavy - Aksel - Heavy Stubbor
Heavy - Oden - Grenade Launcher, Frag 'nades
Ganger - Torsten - Shotgun, manstopper shells, massive axe
Ganger - Balder - Autogun
Ganger - Bjorn - Autogun
Ganger - Asger - Massive Axe
Juve - Sigfinn - autopistol
Juve - Egil - Laspistol
Juve - Ull - knife
Juve - Hans - knife

I have very little idea of how this will play, but we shall see. The models I ordered came painted to an ok standard, defiantly playable. I am modifying them a small amount, and should have them done this weekend. I will post pics when I have them done.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Terror is in intersting rule in Warhammer. Causing all units starting their turn within 6 inches of the bearer to take a panic test can be a huge boon to a side. The infamous terror bomb has been the undoing of many a warhammer general's best laid plans. This is all the more true for armies with low leadership such as Orcs, Skaven, Ogres, and even some Empire builds. In 6th edition, every army strove to have this strategium in their arsenal. Interestingly, the newest books in 7th Edition, which are the consensus "hardest armies around" seem completely uneffected, or at best mildly annoyed by this rule. The Vampire Counts and Deamons ignore the terror bomb while the Dark Elves massive leadership and liberal sprinkling of Fear causes seemed little troubled. What has happened is the terror bomb has become ineffective against the toughest armies around, while still remaining a potential game breaker against the weaker armies. So the question stands, in your tournament army build, how important is it to get a terror causer with high mobility into your roster???

a couple updated pics of the "Faithful" mauraders as well as a couple angel models. The two on the sides will be part of the dragon ogres while the one in the middle will be the deamon prince.