Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Hokey Kooky List Building

Due to parenting, and visitors, and life in general I have made next to no headway with my Ogres.

I have managed a couple of hours fiddling around with the gnoblars for my scrappies, but it doesn't really amount to much. And as is the way with things during a project, I have found my mind wandering to other projects, and specifically building a list for my Orks - perhaps as displacement for actually just breaking open the paints and getting on with things.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have christened my Orks the 17th Heavy Breakthrough Brigade - and in an even earlier post that my buying was less than efficient, meaning that I am now in position of having to go on a spending spree in order to get a force that even vaguely matches my sense of what I want the unit to look like.

The core of the army is simple, it's your bog standard 2 units of 30 Boys with a Nob with a Power Klaw - I went slugger and chopper because it's more Orky.

But it's the rest of the army that bugs me.

I realise I shouldn't complain, because this arguably demonstrates how well the Ork Codex is written - and I am not complaining, simply tearing my hair out trying to work out what I should buy when I place my next order (and yes I should get on and finish the ogres first).

It seems that everytime I look through the book I find new things that I like. And it might be because I have started thinking like an Ork - which might have something to do with parental sleep deprivation - i.e not entirely logically or rationally.

Here's an example.

As I mentioned before I have nine bikers modelled for max wound allocation abuse as nobs (I did this because I wanted to get the army to the table as quick as possible, not because I am a power player/min maxer/or whatever). It's a nice unit, but it's 700 points. If you have that and the 2 units of boyz, you pretty much have nothing else. So I started fiddling with lists in which one unit was a 4 nob biker squad with a warboss and the other was just 4 standard bikers. Which then got me worrying about morale. So I came up with the cunning plan of having 20 stormboyz, lots of bikes, and getting all giddy at the prospect of first turn charges and attacking in waves. But then I decided against the stormboyz because I couldn't make them troops and I only had one HQ in the list. So I was going through the book again, after deciding that Dreds and Kanz was the way to go, and I happened to notice Wazdakka Gutsmek and got very excited until I worked out that I was back facing the basic problem with Orks, that the HQ's are just so expensive - I can have 12 burnas or Lootas for the price of Wazdakka Gutsmek.

This wouldn't be the case if they had transport options for the HQ - which obviously Wazdakka has.

For instance in the Dred list, that I think I will go with, there is Mek with a KFF, he's 100 points which is perfect - have him, the two units of boyz, that's @600 points, which leaves room for lot's of 100 point units - which is perfect to fit the fluff of a brigade - and is my idea of an Ork army. But I want him in a Trukk, which means I have to have some Nobz, at which point you start fiddling about kitting them out, and adding Pain Boyz and Cyborg Bodies etc.

But I guess this is something all Ork players face - indeed all armies face.

Still this list building and puzzle solving does give me something to think about when I am pinned to the settee by a 7 week old, for whom the slightest movement of the arm is the differnce between an hour of sleep and an hour walking around trying to get him back to sleep.


Monday, 16 August 2010

Historical Gaming

Too Much Lead highlighted a very interesting interview that Henry Hyde, of Battlegames magazine, did with Rick Priestley and John Stallard.

In case you are thinking John Who?

John Stallard was one of the driving forces behind the world wide expansion of GW, and is now running Warlord Games. I'll assume you know who Rick Priestly is.

The interview is interesting for any number of reasons, not the least of which how far wargaming - and gaming in general - since all three of these gentleman became involved back in the 1970's.

Oh and maybe point this out to people who complain about the prices and how it is all nonsense about the necessity for GW price rises, that at one point the company was using lead of an equivilent weight to a British Armoured Division. I realise they have moved over to plastics, but the principle of bulk buying still applies.

To me the most interesting aspect out of the interview was the admission that Warhammer grew out of WRG Ancients... or perhaps it is more accurate to say that it was heavily influenced by... even going so far as to have an implicit figure scale of 1-20. Unlike other systems the scale in Warhammer is never specified, which in turn leads people to believe that it is a 1-1 scale, and in turn leads to gripes that Warhammer is not a massed battle game at all. This doesn't affect the gameplay, but it does offer a different perspective to think of that block of 20 Orcs is actually representing 400 Orcs, which multiplied across an army does reflect the fluff and the supporting artwork.

The interview is also interesting when considering the the RAW arguements, and tournaments. (Gav Thorpe has an interesting piece concerning this on his blog)

I have lost count of the number of times GW has said the rules are not designed for tournaments, and tournament types have countered that they should be, because they are the heart of the hobby.

Yet when you see that actually the rules were written to give people somethng to do with the figures they were buying, in an age when tournaments were largely non-existent, for a hobby that was more about collecting and painting, suddenly Jervis Johnson's Standard Bearer articles fall into place. Not to mention that were the company to radically change the ruleset to make it 'tournament friendly' there would be a bigger outcry.

The historical aspects of the interview is also very informative about the structure of GW, and the philosophy behind the company. It would not be unfair to compare GW with Ben and Jerry's, in that they were just a bunch of hippies doing what they wanted and felt passionate about, and as if by magic they have became a 'hated' corporation simply because they are operating in an age of anti-capitalist rhetoric that is cynical of advertising and branding.

Perhaps the most startling revelation is that the companies biggest seller Space Marines almost never happened. Which looking through this end of the telescope is amazing, but there is logic in the thesis that because Warhammer grew out of the WRG Ancients culture that perhaps a company seeking legitimacy would push the fantasy game because a game set in space was just too out there. And perhaps this also reflects the literate tradition of wargaming in that it is somehow proper and acceptable to play a game based on a book such as Lord of the Rings, but not to embrace films such as Star Wars and Aliens (yeah I was amazed when I noticed the other day that Aliens is 30 years old).

Which reminds me of the first time I was exposed to Warhammer. At the time I was playing 15mm French-Indian wars using WRG rules. And a guy at school heard me talking with my playing partner about the intricacies of one of the rules -we were using WRG 1685-1845 - and this guy came over and tried to join in the conversation. We knew he played D&D - which back then was like saying you are a transvestite today (btw does anyone remember that made for TV movie about the boy playing D&D who lost his mind?) - and we listened as he tried to explain why Warhammer was great (bare in mind that Warhammer then was seen as an add on to D&D, and was something that your mother warned you about). I remember he used the line, 'but wouldn't you rather fight battles with dwarves and goblins?' Heresy! In fact we laughed about that at the wargames club for months.

So perhaps one can understand the caution with regard to Space Marines. Let's not forget this was pre-internet, and everything mail order was largely done via magazine advertising - and historical wargaming wouldn't carry articles about fantasy, and were loath to carry advertising. Which in part explains why White Dwarf was born.

Indeed it is rather odd that Henry Hyde did this interview at all, since he is of this old school wargaming approach - and before people say, there is nothing wrong with that.

Still the article is a good read and well worth condsidering when reflecting on the state of the current GW games and wargaming in general.

Oh and before I forget, the Waaaghcast is 2 years old, and celebrated with a very entertaining eprisode including their wives. Curiously they covered some similar issues of geekdom and legitimacy. Well done to Joe and Chuck for sticking with it, and they can be proud of the great show they put together.


Sunday, 15 August 2010

Burning Bridges

Send in da Burnas....

Gosh that feels better.

A while ago I was listening to Bill and Jay over at the Gamers Lounge and they were discussing how they very rarely use forums, prefering instead to read blogs. At the time I didn't think very much of it. But I guess I have had a moment of clarity.

In part this relates to my decision to devote more time to this blog. And one of the ways of providing content to readers, and in theory generating more traffic, is to link to other blogs. Which makes it sound like a tawdry exchange, and me like a traffic whore. The reality is, that leaving aside the potential for mutaul traffic sharing and communication, providing links is an easy way of filling the void of the sidebar.

That said when I started searching around of links to stuff I thought interesting, what struck me was a diversity of voices. And perhaps more important that diversity did not set define itself as mutually exclusive and mean spirited.

Hence my summoning of the Burna Boyz.

I decided that what was needed was a karmic realignment. If I am to truely free myself from the narrow toxicity of forums that has been slowly poisoning my enjoyment of the hobby I needed to take a dramatic step.

Therefore I have been working my way around all the forums I have joined over the years and asking them to delete my account. And boy does it feel good. One might almost say that I have succumbed to the fluff and turned my back on chaos.

Yeah I know it sounds dramatic, but really I am doing them a favour, since I'm sure if everyone who has had enough of a particular forum were to do the same the administrative task of managing the database would be much simpler. And who knows if large numbers were deleted it might do something to make forums less pointlessly poisonous and more socratic. Idealistic I know, but hey! If you don't try it, then you will never find out.

The irony of this is that the piece I wrote yesterday was picked up by a forum in Malaysia and true to the posionous form of forum junkies was twisted into being 'rant' supposedly about people playing with unpainted models - whereas I was of the opinion that I was lamenting the fact that gamers don't get to play as much as they like, and therefore wargaming takes on a greater importance than being simply a game: with victories and defeats magnified.

Still it did give me a wry smile, as I bathed in the anti-oxidant goodness of my new macrobiotic forum free hobby diet.

So I guess I should thank Bill and Jay for planting the seed of liberty in my hobby soul and freeing me from the daily questions like, 'I'm a new player and I want someone to tell me what army to buy?' or 'is the thong of Sheleba better than the Codpiece of Ra?' These questions always struck me as odd, because the answer to just about all such queries is, 'I don't know, since I don't know how you like to play your games or what is that you are trying to achieve with your army.'

Which is not to say that bloggers or their commenters don't discuss such matters - or indeed rant about GW prices or people playing with unpainted figures or whatever - it's more that they only do it once in a while - not every single hobby soul destroying day.

Oh and your opinion doesn't depend on the number of comments under your hokey avatar and anonymous moniker.


Saturday, 14 August 2010

It's More Than A Game

The editorial on BoLS today was rather interesting.

It wasn't exactly a plea to play nice, but it wasn't far short.

The problem with a hobby like wargaming is that the element of competition is implicit. Add to this that in reality people don't actually play very much.

If you compare the amount of time fanatics spend playing, for instance, WoW, with the amount of time an equally fanatical wargamer actually spends playing with their little plastic/tin soldiers, I suspect there is no comparison (indeed the WoW player will have maxed out their character many times over before the gamer has a painted army on the table). This is for the simple reason that to wargame one needs both a place to play, some organisational skills and someone to play with.

And as soon as this other person enters the equation that the problems start.

Now fair enough it is true to say that you are playing a game, but to say that it is 'only a game' is to miss the point of what makes wargaming so frustrating and so competative.

For one thing there is no pretence of balance - the points system, which nominally and theoretically should create parity, are deeply flawed in WFB, and questionable in 40k. But the basic truth that undermines the arguement that it is 'only a game' is the essential lack of replayability.

If you play monopoly, and pretty much every board game, and lose, the next time you play you are essentially playing the same game again. The same applies to video games. The narrative of the game will change, in terms of what actually happens, but the experience and the enjoyability - or otherwise - doesn't vary greatly. Add to this the basic mechanics of the game don't vary greatly depending on the situation, meaning that the rules don't lead to disputes.

You might also add that you have made no prior investment. You are not required to build the board or the pieces, or program the computer - you might be asked to 'design' your avatar but in terms of playing the game this design process is pretty limited, basically choosing hair colour etc.

So perhaps it is understandable why people get so worked up about wargaming.

People don't get to play as much as they want, it takes a lot of time and money to get started, the rules are bent/inconsistently applied/vague/prone to the whims of a few big mouths on prominent forums/constantly under threat from the internal politics of the GW design studio that resulted in the unholy trilogy that ruined 7th edition etc, and 'That Guy' is always on hand to ruin your day..... oh and it is almost entirely male.


Friday, 13 August 2010

You Fail - Move On

I know if you don't like magic 'GO AND PLAY WAB'.

But what is it with people who fetishise magic and 8th edition?

The new magic deck in 8th has been ramped up, but that is balanced out by the rules for winds of magic, miscasts, and my own personal favourite rule Not Enough Energy and Broken Concentration.

Ever since 8th came out rather than just accept that magic has been balanced out people have been trying to get back to the broken, predictable and boring magic that eventually destroyed 7th.

GW have even had to go so far FAQ the bleeding obvious that you can't use ward saves to avoid miscasts.

And it only seems to occur in relation to magic.

You don't get any of these attempts at 'cheating' in relation to movement, combat, morale - ok there are issues with all rounds of the game - but nothing like the politics of magic.

I mention this because what is so difficult about the reality in 8th that if you roll a 1 or 2 then that is the end of the magic phase for that caster?

The solution is simple - throw more dice.


Thursday, 12 August 2010

Forum Awards - I Didn't Say That Catagory

I must admit to giggling at this thread on the Warhammer Forum.

It's a shame that it got locked as it had the potential to develop into one of the truely greats of it's genre.

The line that particularly tickles me is this:

"Again I totaly agree, however again that's not what I said. The OP specificaly asked if people would have a problem with his idea, I would, hence why I said as much. And in point of fact, you always need an opponents permission to play him at all, so asking permission to use something unusual is not just common courtsey, its nessasary."

Not only is it pompous but in it's pomposity it completely misses the irony of stating the blooming obvious.

What a marvellous idea that there are gamers sneaking into garages, cellars, attics, church halls and spare bedrooms around the world to play people without their permission.

And thank the Lord for valiant forum warriors who are willing to stand up and point out that this is just plain unsporting.

Who knows perhaps this explains those signatures where people claim to have played 109 games, won 106, drawn 2 and lost 1.


Tiers For Fears

Maybe it's because my old fella has always done the two things that I have asked of him, that I have never been bothered about how big he is.

But I have never understood the cult of the tier system.

You people on forums writing things like, 'but that's because you don't play a top tier army', or 'now that so-and-so is Ini 3, that makes it a mid to bottom tier army.'

To me this is code for 'I have no idea what I am talking about but the older boys told me to say it.'

Don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting that there are no issues of balance across army books and codexs. And nor am I saying that any army build can beat any other army build given the roll of the dice - technically this may be true, but let's face it.... yeah...

It's just that tiers are based on trends within a self selecting group. And what is more that the constants within that group change as people gravitate towards the armies that are percieved to be better. Not to mention that when prizes are factored into the equation it compounds the imbalance by allowing the player with the flavour of the month to expand their collection of options for nothing. Quite why TO's don't award trophies and raffle the prize support is beyond me. After all surely it makes the competition mean more if you win a trophy with the names of the last 10 players ot win the tournament?

Since the release of 8th, forums have had threads asking about the tier system.

Which to me misses the point, given that 8th has far more random elements, and therefore lacks the predictability required to construct a ranking system.

But it also misses the point of 8th being a chance to break free of this sterile exercise and build a healthier hobby.

I guess what I really don't like about the tier system is the way in which it stifles creativity.

A fairly common thread that one would see on forums was a new player wanting advice on starting a new army. After the first couple of replies, it would often get sidetracked into a bickering argument about how the particular army was 'lower tier' or 'upper tier', which often as not would get personal. I would read these threads and think 'why on earth would this person want to get involved in a hobby with jerks like these?' All they wanted was a bit of friendship and encouragment, and maybe validation for their choice of army. Yet suddenly for no good reason their dream of, say, an Ork War Boss smashing a skeleton's head in with an axe is being trampled on by some numpty, who in all likelihood they will never meet or play, for no other reason than they are repeating 'percieved wisdom'.

Yeah fine point out the shortcomings of various units, warn the player that certain combinations are dangerous, but don't bang on about how they will never win aginst this army or that army, because the simple fact is that it ain't so.


Tuesday, 10 August 2010


I've been working on my Orks.

Don't worry, I haven't been doing anything silly or dramatic like painting them. Instead I have been trying to work out a list that I like; and then looking through what I already have in order to see what I want to buy and where I want to take the army.

My problem is the Nob Bikerz

I really like the unit, and really like the idea of having a War Boss in a small unit of them. But conceptually I find myself defining the army as a reconnaisance force.

I don't have a problem per se with this.

It's just that I have always had the name, '17th Heavy Breathrough Brigade' in my head when thinking about and painting the army.

Of course there is no reason a reconnaisance unit should not be a breakthrough unit - as opposed to a lightly armed intelligence finding unit - but my ideal is to create a unit akin to the Russian anti-tank units at the battle of Kursk, with large blocks of infantry providing the backbone. Which in turn leads me towards kustom mega blaster Killa Kan squadrons and into the realm of spending money to get stuff I don't have - and ultimately away from Nob Bikerz.

But they just look so nice...


Monday, 9 August 2010

Emperor's Clothes

One of the main problems with the ETC is the opacity of the decision making process.

As mentioned yesterday the official website, Rankings HQ, for the tournament, singularly failed in it's declared task of providing live scores, or indeed any information.

But don't worry, because today there was an announcement that far from failing in it's task - they had actually succeeded, because their primary role at the event all along was to provide an historical record.

Which is frankly bizarre. Given that Ranking HQ exists to do this anyway, and no doubt would have fed the ETC results into it's database - unless we are expected to believe that garage players orgnising tournaments with friends, are on the database, but they were not going to enter the ETC result without official recognition.

Apologists for Ranking HQ point out that had the tournament organisers changed to using Overlord then the results issue would have been sorted (ignoring that RHQ only require the results in a spreadsheet format, and don't require the use of their Overlord product).

Which maybe true, except as was pointed out in another discussion - that for no apparent reason was locked (with the ominous warning that constructive criticism only would be accepted - more on that in a while) - there exist other software systems that are free and widely used, and appear to have been used in the tournament.

The issue that the apologists, for the lack of coverage, overlook - even allowing for there being no explaination of what measures RHQ had put in place to provide the coverage they claimed they would - is that by having an official website discourages enthusiastic amateurs from covering the event.

Without two rules judges and some German enthusiasts deciding to ignore the official channels no one outside the hall would have had a clue what was going on.

The response of the ETC Chairman?

"There are advantages and disadvantages to having been as loosely organized as the ETC has been and still is. It is not a huge enterprise with lots and lots of people attached, it is a relatively small number of people that make a huge effort for everyone else. I think that is very important to remember when there are bumps in the road and there has been and will be in the future. You can rest assured that it will be evaluated though, both by the ETC Chairmen, likely the Captains and undoubtedly RHQ itself. In many ways it is still a learning experience for all the parties involved, and if you stop and take a look at the bigger picture just have a quick think about how far we have come with what is a community event in just five years :D

The real naivety, as far as I see it, is expecting the ETC to be more than it is. Having said that critique is more than welcome, constructive critique obviously preferred. And we are not naive enough to expect all critique to be constructive so we have learnt to ignore the non-constructive part of the posts and take what we can use, and do with it what we can with the limited resources (human and financial) available"

Back to the weasel words about constructive criticism.

But more surprising is the idea that people expect the ETC to be more than it is.

Hang on - five years, or so, ago it didn't exist - and now suddenly hundreds of people are coming from all around the world to take part. That's a pretty remarkable achievement. All of it done on a non-profit making basis by people not seeking financial gain.

Suddenly commerical interests become involved and the whole thing falls apart.

And while it is true that a small number of people may be doing all the hard work, it doesn't give them a free pass when things go wrong. And they also have to recognise that unless they can excite a wider public then an event that is growing, is going to go the way of all flesh. And it would also be interesting to know what efforts had been made to expand this limited pool of human resources? Can it really be that only those playing in the event are interested in attending? (Which seems to be the implication of making RHQ the official website and Bad Dice the official podcast)

Which is the point about the current opacity.

Yeah fine, it's all very well to ask for constructive criticism - but there is also a point when such a demand is actually a request to only hear want you want to hear.


Sunday, 8 August 2010

Poles Save Danish Bacon

I suppose I shouldn't feel too much Schardenfreude - or however you spoll it - about the ETC result.

But the sight of little Denmark winning the WFB fells me with a certain spiteful glee.

Not least because a year or so ago, when the Americans first muted that they might send a team - in response to the sending of a team by the Austrailians - the argument went that they should be allowed more than one team on account of America having a bigger population that all of the other countries. When it was pointed out that Russia has a larger population, and land area, the argument switched to, why should Great Britain have 4 teams (well 3 because N Ireland is not part of Great Britain - unless you define it as Greater Britain in which case it would be 5 because Ireland would be included), or why should the Faroe Islands have a team at all.

Now I don't doubt that much of this talk was simply internet chatter, by players never likely to actually attend the event, but it did serve a purpose - to annoy people.

Then there was the posts on BoLS about how the European lists were antiquated, and the supporting audio on numerous podcasts about how Team America was going to go and show that they were the best 40k players in the world - for some reason the WFB players didn't indulge in this activity, perhaps because the wisely recognised that list building is only less of a part of WFB and it is therefore slightly more difficult to predict an outcome, and maybe because there are fewer WFB podcasts in the US.

So the fact that Denmark - a country many of the internet jockeys have never heard of - and by their reckoning should have been excluded in order to allow the Baltimore and Rhode Island chapter of Team America to participate - walked away with the title is especially pleasing. Not least because this is the first time they have won - and without them (and Poland) there would be no ETC.

Having said the Americans should be congratulated for their commendable finish.

As for England...

Well let's just say that everything was going well until Dan Heelan twittered that they were on for a podium finish... which kind of follows the pride before a fall theme.... because at that point they had won four rounds were firmly in touch with the leaders, and whilst not setting the world on fire with their results they were playing a solid game. Two defeats later, to Italy and Germany (2nd and 3rd in the tournament), England found themsleves scratching their backsides in 17th and wondering where it all went wrong.

Oh and special mention should be made of the strongest team in the WFB competition from Wales, who finished last and were therefore holding up the table. N Ireland performed this honourable task in the 40k competition.

It would have been nice to be able to talk about exciting incidents and the cut and thrust of the competition - it appears the final game between the Italians and the Poles was a spicey affair with the judges being called on numerous occasions, or so I gleaned from Twitter - but as mentioned yesterday the promised live coverage from Rankings HQ failed to materialise, and left the English speaking world relying on Google translator and stumbling upon foreign language fourms - in particular Tabletop Welte - in order to find out what was going on.

Which really is something that should be addressed next year.

People following the event want to know things like the Poles and the Italians had a stormy encounter, or that England were contenders until round 5, or that Team US were up against the Welse who until a couple of months ago were still advertising for players - or whatever.

They don't just want to know the scores - 12 hours afterwards.

I'm not asking for every dice roll, or in game interviews. But it would be nice if each captain - or a nominated player - were required to post an update of the games onto an official website, to which freelancers could contribute, and a live copy of the scores. I mean it's not rocket science.

Anywho, well done to the Danish Fantasy players and the Polish 40k players.


I couldn't resist the headline.

I would have thought of something equally Sun-like had I a clue of what happened in the 40k tournament, beyond the final table.

In a totally bizarre move, the Warhammer Forum, which appears to be the forum for discussion of the ETC has now locked all the forums discussing the abject failure of Ranking HQ to provide the coverage that was promised. Quite how the ETC expects to resolve the issue without discussion is not clear... but that is the way of things.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Rank HQ

I would love to tell you what is going on in the ETC, but unfortunately I can't.

Getting information is proving rather difficult.

I know from tweets that Team America is leading the 40k tournament - here, here, here.

And I can give you the scores after the 2nd round, here.

And if you speak Germna you can find other information, here.

But it is all rather unsatisfactory.

Especially after the organisers gave Rankings HQ the gig of being the official website of the event. The accompanying press release stated:

" During the tournament, we will be doing live updates of both the Fantasy and 40K events including photos, scores, draws and commentary on interesting match-ups. After the tournament, we will be posting full results of every game of the championship with post-tournament commentary, interviews and data analysis"

Which makes it all the more annoying that anyone trying to follow the event is having to rely on the odd tweet and photo'd result sheet. Whilst the official website provides this.

Hardly what was promised.


A quick update, by digging around I have the 1st day results.


1. Germany - 287p - Difference: 94
2. Denmark -281p - Difference: 130
3. Italy - 279p - Difference: 164
4. Switzerland - 278p - Difference: 108
5. England - 270p - Difference: 98
6. Greece - 268p - Difference: 80
7. Austria - 266p - Difference: 94
8. Sweden - 264p - Difference: 62
9. Poland - 264p - Difference: 48
10. France - 258p - Difference: 54
11. Australia - 254p - Difference: 72
12. Norway - 251p - Difference: 26
13. Russia - 246p - Difference: 8
14. Portugal - 244p - Difference: 20
15. Croatia - 243p - Difference: 6
16. United States - 239p - Difference: -2
17. Belgium - 238p - Difference: -22
18. Malta - 235p - Difference: -2
19. Slovenia - 234p - Difference: -4
20. Finland - 233p - Difference: 8
21. New Zealand - 232p - Difference: -12
22. Scotland - 225p - Difference: -34
23. Northern Ireland - 223p - Difference: -60
24. Czech - 220p - Difference: -28
25. Latvia - 220p - Difference: - 68
26. Netherlands - 216p - Difference: -122
27. Hungary - 215p - Difference: -110
28. Spain - 211p - Difference: -72
29. Serbia - 202p - Difference: -130
30. Wales - 199p - Difference: -180
31. Canada - 194p - Difference: -118
32. Ireland - 192p - Difference: -108


Name Points Army Total Difference
1. United States 6 0 6 146
2. Sweden 5 0 5 98
3. Denmark 5 0 5 72
4. Switzerland 5 0 5 32
5. Poland 4 0 4 128
6. France 4 0 4 88
7. Italy 4 0 4 74
8. Ukraine 4 0 4 60
9. Spain 4 0 4 46
10. Finland 4 0 4 16
11. England 3 0 3 16
12. Germany 3 0 3 -22
13. Czech 3 0 3 -38
14. Ireland 3 0 3 -50
15. Hungary 2 0 2 -14
16. Wales 2 0 2 -14
17. Faroe Island 2 0 2 -28
18. Belarus 2 0 2 -32
19. Latvia 2 0 2 -38
20. Belgium 2 0 2 -42
21. Russia 2 0 2 -72
22. Austria 1 0 1 -106
23. Scotland 0 0 0 -74
24. Northern Ireland 0 0 0 -246

Friday, 6 August 2010

The Real Test Of Skill

I guess it's living in the media age we are used to stuff being hyped.

But this weekend sees the high point of the competative gaming calender in the form of the ETC.

This being wargaming the competition offers plenty to carp about - it's not the European Team Championship anymore, it's not the best players. it's all a bit cliquey etc - but it never ceases to make me excited.

The main reason I like the event is because it is a team event. Wargaming can be a rather solitary pastime, and that isolation in turn often leads to some of the fierce debates on forums, not to mention the development of tropes and norms of builds and styles of play (though thast might be in part due to it being a largely male activity, which in turn leads to homo-erotic hero whorship of the kind often seen in adolescent boys). And it is precisely the team nature of the event that makes the tournament so strong.

If you take 'that list'... which would normally have a cake walk to the winners table... well at the ETC a canny team will have a list that is specifically designed to narrowly lose to 'that list'. Make note of that - to lose - because if you can stop 'that list' winning big, then the team stand a better chance of winning the round with their version of 'that list'.

This year's event sees the arrival of the Americans, who are supposedly going with the intention of proving they play the best Warhammer in the world.

The argument runs that because Americans play non comped Warhammer then they will walk over the namby-pambys who play nice.

This is something I have mentioned before, but the problem with non-comp is that it effectively comps whole armies and units. Therefore it is entirely possible that the Americans will face combos and builds that they have never encountered - except perhaps in the hand sof tournament newbs prior to their acceptance of the conformity of 'winning lists'. Theory hammer is fine but it only goes so far.

It remains to be seen how this will play out.

However it is nice to see that the Ashes have been retained by England 96-84 in what can only be described as a good ETC performance - 3 wins, 3 draws, and 3 defeats - with one player swinging the victory with a 20-0. It remains to be seen if England can carry this form into the tournament proper.

Not that it matters particularly.

What matters is that English listeners to Podhammer don't have to put up with Geoff running off his Aussie mouth about the subject of the Ashes.... lol.

Now the crucial issue of the day is what happens to Wally?


Thursday, 5 August 2010

More Plastics Please

There is supposed to be a change of policy from GW, in which they are fcusing more on figures and less on books.

How official this change is, is not clear. Discussion tends to be on forums that trade in rumours, and it's pretty much I heard it from a bloke who heard it from a red shirt.

If it is true, I for one am quite excited.

This excitement is focused more on my Orks than my Ogres, because I really want some new buggies - preferably in a box of three and sold for £27. I don't care if they are smaller than the previous model, all I want is for GW to do with the buggies what they have done with the Killa Kans - oh and make sure their is a rocket launcher option in the kit.

I understand entirely why they work the schedule as they do - holding back figures to be released with the book, but that only really goes so far.

The Dark Eldar is a case in point. The book is so old, that it really doesn't matter much that they stick the big launch schedule. In fact it will probably work to their advantage. The army will be the flavour of the month - after all who doesn't want a bunch of drug crazed psychos with Dark Lances totting up the VPs with every kill?

But for every codex/army book that has lingered too long on the back burner - there is the Demon Prince, that has skulked in the warp of the pages of WD and fuelled endless rumour threads for more than two years, and has finally deigned to make an appearance.

As an old grognard, who back in the day sneered at D&D types for not playing a proper game like 6th edition ancients, I never thought I would see the day when I was happy to have plastic models. But if this change brings about the day when GW have an entire range of plastics across all the armies then so much the better. And if it also means that these plastics come out without a book then so be it.

Obviously the books are nice to have. And it is exciting to get a new set of special rules, or equipment. But personally I don't think WFB needs an new books at the moment, while players are settling down with the new rules - and it certainly doesn't need the books to do to the game what the army books did to 7th.

Ok there is an argument for Tomb Kings, and as an Ogre player I wouldn't mind a book without pointless restrictions, but I would rather have plastic butchers, gorgers, a scraplauncher kit with instructions...


Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Panzer MkII

I managed to get more of my Ogres painted.

As with all pics so far, this is the basecoat.

A brace of Gorgers

I've done a little bit more work on the scraplauncher.

Basicaly I have added the catapult, and a plank to link between the platform and the firing mechanism.

And I made the second scraplauncher.

This is a more traditional design of trebuchet.

I need to add a bucket - more likely the barrle form the giant kit - for the ammo. It's made of balsa wood and string, with the odd cocktail stick and panel pin to peg the bits together

I rather pleased with the way it looks. It is ramshackle enough to be biult by gnoblars.


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Careful What You Say

My current favourite podcast is Chance of Gaming

You probably shouldn't listen to it if you kids are about, but it is certainly informative on a number of topics. It is perhaps no coincidence that it was one of the few podcasts to even mention the Battlefoam v Outrider Hobbies court case - perhaps because they are about the only podcast that hasn't taken the Battlefoam shilling.

For those interested, Living Dice have the details of the case, and of the ruling. The case isn't actually over - which you will discover if you listen to the interview - but it is a triumph for the little guy, seeing as Bryan of Outrider Hobbies had to defend himself in order not to go bankrupt.


Chance of Gaming has an interview with Bryan with Outrider Hobbies.

Still at least all those gamers who bought into the Battlefoam vision can rest assured that their hard earned money is not being wasted on spurious legal actions funded by over priced products.

It's odd how people jump up and down at GW pricing, and GW waving the IP hammer, yet have nothing to say over matters like this.

Oh and Outrider are now sponsoring Chance of Gaming.


Monday, 2 August 2010

Gnoblar Panzers

Having a 2 year old and a 6 week old makes hobby time at a premium.

But today I managed to grab a few hours and managed to get some stuff done.

Enter the scraplauncher.


I'm rather pleased with how it turned out. Balsa wood Gnoblar tanks!!!

I haven't decided yet how I am ging to do the launcher part. My preferance at the moment is for a catapult firing a baggage gnoblar....

Baby needs changing....


Sunday, 1 August 2010

First Session Free

Beasts of War have been running a Mantic Games weekend.

And Alessio Cavatore has been outlining his plans for their dull.... sorry... forthcoming ruleset, Kings of War. I was amused to see a comment on a forum saying that if you like chess and you like wargames then this is just for you. Which kind of reminded me of a line Kramer might have come out with when outlining his latest scheme on Seinfeld.

Quite what chess has a got to do with wargaming is not clear to me. The developement of wargaming has got nothing to do with logical problems - indeed the origin of the modern wargame is generally agreed to be a game played by the Prussian/German general staff, which was more like D&D than it was chess.

But seemingly we are supposed to be believe that chess is the highest form of tactical game, and therefore in order to be a genuine wargamer - and a competative gamer (for some reason this link is also made) - that you have to like chess. And you are expected at the same time to ignore Napolean who prefered lucky generals and believed that the force of will was what decided battles. Oh and that chess has no rules for terrain and supply, and that it is a pretty poor comparison of a wargame because in a battle half of the pieces - the castles, bishops and Queen in particular - are not present - and generally if they are it is a siege and therefore not something that can be gamed in an afternoon.

Suffice to say I don't like chess.


Come and lay on the couch for a moment.

It got me thinking: as I mentioned previously it may or may not be of significance that Mr Cavatore revealed in an interview on podhammer that when he played toy soldiers he did so on a chequered carpet.

Which in turn led me to cast my mind back to the games of toy soldiers I used to play in my bedroom. These were played with 1/72nd Airfix figures. I had loads of different types, ranging from the Robin Hood Playset, through the Napoleonics to most of the WWII figures.

What I also remember about these games was the way in which I divided up the forces.

Obviously the battles essentially boiled down to the British fighting the Germans - Sunday afternoon war films and the excellent World at War series saw to that - but I had enormous dilemmas about some of the troops. The Romans were no problem, because they fought the Ancient Britons and therefore had to be the Germans. And the Napoleanic French likewise. But what about the Cowboys? And later the NATO Germans?

And don't get the idea that the British always won.

In part this was a function of the figures in the boxes. All of the kits had casualty figures, but some of them had very bizarre figures and poses. For instance the WWI British had two men running along with a hoop, and the WWI Germans had figures surrendering - which made them perfect for supporters when I played subutteo (colour in a paper scarf and they wouldn't have looked out of place on the Kop). These ancillary figures would often decide how the game would play out. If the German's were left with the surrendering figure, or the strecther bearer team when the marble had come to rest, or the imaginery machine gun had been fired by the tank, then that meant the unit had surrendered.

And this kind of reasoning wasn't just in solo play.

When I played toy soldiers with my friends it was a collaborative affair of the imagination in which reasoned arguement and consensus was the order of the day. And there was no point cheating - by claiming that a particular figure with a machine gun could see when the British Commandos in their canoe, when he was quite clearly facing the other way and behind the gun emplacement

Of course all of this sort of thing was before our balls dropped.

It was around this time - when my balls went south - that I happened to find in the local library a copy of rules for wargames. It was either by Don Featherstone or Charles Grant. And what was noticable was that a mixture of testosterone and fixed rules, soon meant that the negotiation and fair play stopped. If the rules said you could do it, then no amount of reason could shake that belief that you couldn't - or it would be better for the game if you didn't. And indeed that both sides had to be equal, and that before even attempting to play it was often necessary to offer an advantage to the other player or they would take their figures home.

Gone was the notion of playing for the sake of playing.

Which I guess might go some way to explain why I prefer rule sets in which both players have as much interaction as possible - or indeed play on the same side. And that the game is as important as who wins and loses.

Ok session over - next week we'll talk about how much you cuddled your mother.

Which in a sense is why I find it so odd that Beasts of War were so unquestioning in their interviews with the guys from Mantic. Not that I am saying they should have done a Paxman on them - or heaven for fend a John Humphreys - or indeed that I have anything against Mantic.

It's just when they were discussing the release of 8th ed, Warren in particular was keen on using the rule system and expanding on it with stuff like random magic item drops, and using the GM. Yet was completely unquestioning when Mr Cavatore was laying out his vision of a game in which when it isn't your turn you might as well not be there. Which is the antithesis of what he had been so excited about the week before.

And in a sense the antithisis of my childhood experiences wasting time playing with toy soldiers. And perhaps what lies at the root of why as adults we play toy soldiers.