At The Table: Palazzo

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Recently I’ve been getting into eurogames, board games that are quick, rules-lite, and player-friendly, the kind of thing that’s perfect for a few games in a lunch hour or in the evening. The most popular of these eurogames are big titles like Settlers of Catan and Carcassone, but just before Christmas, Joe (he of Barry Arrers fame) recommended the following gem to me…

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Aaaah, Palazzo. How I love you.

In Palazzo, players take the role of Renaissance-era architects constructing palaces. The winner is the player who manages to make the tallest, most aesthetically pleasing palaces before the mayor arrives; pretty simple. The players get building materials either by buying them from the main supply, or auctioning for them at quarries.

It’s a fairly simple game, but there’s a lot of strategy to it, which is why I really like it. Each building tile represents a floor of a palace, and is one of three materials (brick, sandstone, or marble), and has one, two, or three windows; the more windows the better. You also get a bonus at the end of the game if you make a palace completely out of one building material, and those points can easily mean the difference between winning and losing. Due to the random nature of where and when certain tiles will appear, it does mean that every game is very different.

The fun comes in when you have to balance your money and your spending habits; if you buy a load of tiles from the main supply, will you have enough money for an auction? If you skip a go to get more money, will one of the other players get a tile you really need? And then there’s always reconstruction/demolition to consider, especially as one-storey  palaces give you a penalty at the end of the game!

As for the end of the game, you’re never sure when it’s going to happen. In the third and final pile of tiles are five special tiles that combine to form a picture of the approaching mayor; if all five of those come out, the game’s over! I’ve had games when the mayor’s arrived when there’s still half the pile left, and others when it’s gone down to the very last tile. It definitely puts some pressure on you, especially if you need to do last minute reconstruction/demolition to get your palaces looking as lovely as possible!

Palazzo really is a great little game and I thoroughly recommend it. It can be a little tricky to get your head round at first, but I’ve introduced it to a few people and they’ve all picked it up and gotten wise to the strategies halfway through their first game. It does start a bit slow, but soon tiles will be piling up, money will be coming and going, and palaces will be getting higher and higher.

A fantastic, quick and casual eurogame perfect as a filler between something more complicated and lengthy. What more could you ask for?

Gareth

At The Table: Sentinels of the Multiverse

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I’ve acquired a new card game for my collection. It’s superhero-themed, and cooperative; two big thumbs up as far as I’m concerned! What could possibly be wrong?

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You do not know true pain. Not yet.

So, Sentinels of the Multiverse. Pretty effin’ rad. The basic setup is thus; each player takes on the role of a super hero and has a deck of cards that represent that hero’s powers, equipment, resources, etc. The players are trying to beat the super villain, who has their own deck of cards and particular methods for winning; Baron Blade is trying to crash the Moon into the Earth, Citizen Dawn is leading a revolution of fanatical mutant followers, Omnitron is trying to eliminate all biological life with his various death machines, and so on. The fight takes place in a hazardous environment, which is another deck packed with traps, additional enemies, and if the gods love you, a benefit. Aim of the game is for the heroes to beat the villain by depleting their HP with powers and attacks. Simple.

Simple, but definitely not easy.

This is ideally a game for three or four players. I’ve tried a few two-player games before, but it’s simply too hard as the heroes are unable to pump out enough damage to deal with the various mounting threats. Thankfully there’s a fairly easy house rule around that problem (see below).

Each hero and villain is given a complexity rating; how difficult they are to play as (if a hero), or defeat (if a villain). For example, the hero Haka (the game’s Hulk equivalent; there are plenty of affectionate homages to existing Marvel and DC characters) has a straightforward strategy of “do lots of damage all the time”, whereas Absolute Zero’s combo-centric “kamikaze” playstyle is a bit more complex; his basic power is to do damage to himself, for Christ’s sake.

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More like Absolute Emo, hurr hurr.

Personally I’m a big fan of  Fanatic (a kickass female warrior angel) and Storm/Aquaman mash-up character Tempest, who’s a good jack-of-all-trades character, able to heal himself and team-mates, do crowd control on lots of weak minions, get stuff back from his discard pile, or focus damage on one target.

Tempest

NEXT TIME ON DRAGONBALL Z

The rules are fairly simplistic at the core; anyone who’s played Magic: the Gathering could pick this up quickly. On a player’s turn, they play one card from their hand (for free, there’s no resource or mana system). If it’s a one-shot card, the effect resolves and it’s discarded. If it’s an ongoing card, it sticks around and provides a constant buff. Then the player can use one power. Each hero has a basic power listed on their card (Ra shoots something with fire, Bunker draws a card, etc), but every hero has ongoing cards that give them extra powers to choose from, and some heroes have cards that let them use additional powers on their turn. Then you draw a card and end your turn.

On the environment turn, the top card gets flipped over, and just like with hero cards it can be one-shot or ongoing. If it’s ongoing, there’s usually a way to get rid of it (defeating it if it’s a creature, or discarding cards or suffering some other penalty if it’s a hazard or trap). Then the villain acts; the top card of their deck gets flipped over and played (again, one-shot or ongoing), usually damaging the heroes in some way, or summoning minions. Very simple.

There’s some number-crunching involved to keep track of buffs and debuffs going around, and the real challenge comes from the “spinning plates” style of risk management; does your team divert attention to defeat the rampaging kraken that’s been summoned by the environment? Oh wait, someone needs to deal with that ongoing card that the villain’s got that increases all the damage he does.  But you also need to keep pressure on the villain and do some damage to him! But he’s got that minion out that reduces the damage he takes! But you can’t do damage to him until you destroy the minion! But if his minion is destroyed, he’ll change into his more powerful form! Why is that fucking kraken still alive!?

All this serves to grind you down, exhausting your resources and your options. You need to work together as a team, coordinating your efforts. There’s nothing more satisfying than when you have a finely-tuned engine running, as the first player shuts down an annoying environment card, then the second player gives the third player a damage bonus so that they can windmill-slam the villain for 15 damage.

Of course, then the next villain card is some bullshit that ends the game, but them’s the breaks.

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“Kneel before Voss!”

One thing I really like is that when a hero is defeated, the player is not out of the game. Each hero has a “defeated” side with a list of three powers; that player still takes his turn, and can use one of those powers, which are usually very good; after all, the heroes are down one guy, so they need all the help they can get! It’s a nice way of ensuring that a player knocked out early isn’t sitting around twiddling their thumbs for another half hour or so.

As for the actual look of the game? The artwork’s okay; there’s some stinkers but for the most part it’s bright, colourful, and very evocative of the feel of a Silver Age comic book. I really like how each card in a hero’s deck has a cool little quote on it from an issue of the (sadly non-existent) Sentinels of the Multiverse comic book.

On top of that, there’s just the value. I picked up the core game – ten hero decks (40 cards each), four villain decks (20 cards each), and four environment decks (15 cards each) – for under £30. That’s 540 cards. That’s mental. The box also comes with a load of tokens for tracking damage (I prefer using dice but each to their own) and conditions such as immunity, damage buffs/debuffs, etc, and best of all, dividers for organising all the cards in the box!

There’s a ton of replay value in Sentinels, as you can have mix up the combinations of villain, environment and heroes for a different game each time. Plus there’s a truckload of expansions adding more heroes, villains and environments each time. I’ve got my eye on Rook City, because holy shit I want to wreck villain face with Mr Miyagi Fixer.

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Obligatory “everybody was kung fu fightin'” reference.

As I said, it’s a tough game; sometimes you get lucky as the villain and environment spend their time tearing chunks out of each other instead of you, but most times some new problem will come out while you’re still trying to deal with three other things. Expect a few times when the game gives everyone a royal spanking. That said, the turns go by quickly, so a four-player game should only take about an hour; quick playtime added to a wide range of different heroes, villains and environments gives it a very “just one more” feel.

Like I said, I had some house rules, which are…

House Rule : Two Hero Variant

The game rules advise that if you’ve only got two players, one or both players should play two Hero decks each, which hasn’t gone down too well; you have to split your attention between two decks with different strategies and separate book-keeping.

The problem with fewer players is that it’s harder to kick out enough damage to deal with the mounting threats presented by the environment and villain, as the HP of these threats doesn’t scale with the number of heroes involved; meaning that Omnitron has 100 HP whether you have two, three, or five players. In one game, Trev and I couldn’t deal with all the minions of Citizen Dawn – let alone get through to her – and we got thrashed pretty thoroughly.

This is my two hero variant, which has worked out pretty well after a few test-runs. The game remains hard, but is no longer frustratingly impossible.

Players draw five cards at the start of the game. With only two heroes, you need all the help you can get, so an extra card will be helpful!

H = 3.  Some villain and environment cards do “H damage”, where H is the number of heroes involved. However this “H damage” is usually modified by minus one or two, meaning that if “H” was 2, it would usually do minimal damage or even nothing at all, which makes some villains like Citizen Dawn or Baron Blade’s second form nonthreatening.

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Because God forbid we make that charismatic cult leader who harnesses the power of the sun *non-threatening*, the poor lamb.

 

And the big one…

Halve HP (rounded up) of all Villain and Environment cards. Their damage output remains the same, but now they’ll be less of an ordeal for only two heroes to try and deal with! This doesn’t stop stuff like the Kraken from Ruins of Atlantis or Omnitron’s Electro Pulse Explosive being nightmares to deal with, but it means that two heroes have a chance, rather than none at all!

Other than that, everything’s the same; round structure, turn order, etc.

So go ahead, pick up the game and go save the whole damn Multiverse!

Gareth

I’m Sure Meghan Trainor Would Approve

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I make no apologies.

bass

 

Carry on.

Gareth

Rules House: Warmachine – High Command Part 2

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Okay, so following on from part 1, let’s actually discuss the changes I’ve made to Warmachine – High Command to make my “High Commander” variant.

Here’s the link to the actual nitty-gritty rules.

And for giggles, here’s my card list for each faction.

Let’s talk about the big changes.

The Turn/Round Structure and the High Commander

In the original rules for High Command, one player takes their turn in full; purchasing cards, deploying units to locations, and then initiating battles. I found that this made the game a little slow and lacking in player interactivity; now, players alternate buying and purchasing units (the Orders phase), before there’s one combined Battle phase, and finally finishing with the Capture phase.

The obvious change I made was to drop the need to pay a unit’s Purchase cost to deploy them from hand; this makes the game a lot quicker, and ensures that a decent number of units see play, resulting in bigger, more satisfying combats. To offset this, nothing can be rushed until at least one Location is captured; this represents the escalation of the war, and how each faction becomes more committed to send warcasters, soldiers and ‘jacks to the front lines.

The holder of the High Commander title changes turn by turn, and represents the faction who has the particular edge in the war at that time. It may seem strange that they actually go last in the order, but this allows them to react to the deployments and purchases of other players, and how best to assign damage in battles.

Other than that, the core intent of the phases remain. I didn’t mention it in Part 1, but one thing I really love about High Command is that you can use your best units to capture a location, but then those units are moved to Occupying Forces and are then out of the game; it definitely creates an interesting dynamic.

Wording

Blame this on years of playing Magic: the Gathering and Fantasy Flight games; both of these games have very tightly written rules, and I’ve tried to keep to the same model and write fairly comprehensive rules. Some of it may seem more complicated than it actually is, but that’s just because I’m trying to cover all situations; when you tweak fundamental elements of a rule-set, you need to be careful to clean up your mess!

Card Abilities

This was the annoying bit; with so many cards with different abilities, it was a pain to make sure that they all matched up with the new rules. Most of them just need tiny tweaks as to when they work in the revised turn structure, but some abilities (Create Scrap Thrall in particular) simply don’t work as intended and needed a more thorough rewording.

Also, I changed the feats for Sorch and Witch Coven; their abilities were simply too good as written; they can cripple a player totally for a turn, and are obvious no-brainer picks over other warcasters because of how strong the ability is. Their amended versions still allow for a lot of dickery without being too overpowering. Fuckin’ Sorcha…

Bonus Sub-Variant: Patrol Commander!

High Command is a great game, but it takes a while to play. Darryl and I are looking to play some games during our lunch hour at work, so we’ve come up with the “quick-game version” of the High Commander variant rules.

  • Two warcasters per player (meaning only two detachments each).
  • Five Locations. No Home Turfs.
Final Destination.

Final Destination.

The result? A much faster game, perfect to satisfy that all-consuming cardboard craving when you’re on a strict time limit; funnily enough I don’t think my manager won’t accept “I was waiting to rush my Decimator and Winter Guard Artillery into Fort Falk!” as a valid excuse for being late back to my desk.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed my rambling about High Command; I certainly have.

Next time, we’ll be looking at saving the universe… no, wait, scratch that; the Multiverse.

Gareth

Rules House: Warmachine – High Command Part 1

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Hello all! I hope 2015 is treating you well so far. Me, I’d just be happy if it could stop being January now, please thank you.

But enough of the pleasantries, let’s talk about games! I’ve gone a bit mental these past few months for card games; Magic: the Gathering is now dead to me, despite the recent rush of enjoyment at our “Low Standards” games, so Cryptozoic’s deck building games are my current top choice, but I’ve recently picked up Sentinels of the Multiverse (which is due its christening game this weekend), and I’m casting covetous glances towards the many, many LCGs that Fantasy Flight make; I’m torn between some of my favourite franchises – Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Warhammer 40,000 and Call of Cthulhu! 

But there’s another deckbuilder in my cupboard that’s currently gathering dust; Privateer Press’s Warmachine – High Command!

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I snatched this up when I learned about it; after all, Warmachine is probably my favourite wargame (Warhammer dishonouring itself a long time ago), with a great setting and characters. How could I not want a DBG for that?

Glossary Break!

CCG or TCG (Collectible/Trading Card Game) – A card game in which players purchase booster packs to obtain random cards, which they then use to build a deck to play. The better and rarer a card, the more expensive it is to obtain in trades or on the secondary market, resulting in a very competitive “pay to win” mindset. Examples – Magic: the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!

LCG (Living Card Game) – A card game which provides one or more players with several ready-to-play decks out of the box. Players can add cards to their deck just like a CCG, but new cards are released via fixed distribution, eliminating the “blind-buy” element of CCGs and putting a cap on ridiculous secondary market prices. Fantasy Flight love to make these. Examples – Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Warhammer 40,000: Conquest.

DBG (Deck Building Game) – The new kid on the block. A card game in which each player starts off with a small deck of basic resource cards, and uses those to gain cards with more powerful effects – usually from a shared pool – to improve their deck as the game goes on and achieve victory. Examples – DC Heroes, Dominion, Thunderstone.

Okay, good, so now you’re up to speed. Back on track…

Unlike the Cryptozoic DBGs, High Command is a bit LCGish as well, with lots of expansions adding a set number of cards to the available card pool. It’s a weird hybrid voodoo baby of mechanics, and I love it. There’s High Command sets for Warmachine, Hordes, and another one for Warmachine called Faith and Fortune which deals with the less popular factions (cue the Retribution fanboys).

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To their credit, they are the most badass elves in any fantasy fiction ever.

 

The aim of High Command is to capture locations. You do this by recruiting warjacks/beasts and warriors from your Reinforcement deck and deploying them to said locations. If there are enemy jacks/beasts and warriors at said location, fisticuffs ensue.

The jacks/beasts and warriors you can include in your Reinforcement deck depend on what warcasters/warlocks you select. At the start of the game, after you’ve picked your faction, you select three warcasters/warlocks. Each warcaster/warlock has two choices of “detachments”, represented as colours. A detachment is a set of 12 cards that are loosely themed; red cards are usually heavy, expensive jacks/beasts, orange cards are usually cheap warriors, and so on.

As an aside, the decision to use colours rather than icons was a poor one on PP’s part. One of my friends is colour-blind, and it’s annoying for him as he tries to differentiate between red and orange cards, and blue and purple. Even to me, the red and orange look very similar at a glance. Icons probably would’ve been better to convey the theme of a detachment; a warjack’s face for red, a magic-looking symbol for purple, etc.

Anyway…

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Let’s look at Stryker’s card. He gives you a choice of taking either a red or a blue detachment. He also has a pair of special abilities that makes ‘jacks at his location stronger, and makes all his buddies harder to kill. However, a warcaster/warlock can only be summoned to a battle once per game, so choose wisely when to use them!

The playing area will look like this from your point of view;

Jesus, I need a better camera.

Jesus, I need a better camera.

In the above picture, I have my three warcasters at the bottom; Vlad, Sorcha, and Irusk. For my detachment choices, I’ve chosen red (granted by Vlad), orange (granted by either Sorcha or Irusk, but in this case Irusk), and yellow (granted by Sorcha, as I used Irusk to get orange). The 36 detachment cards form my Reinforcement deck.

To the left of my ‘casters is my Army deck, which at the start of the game is just full of basic resource cards. When I buy cards from my Reinforcements (the four cards at the top), I add those cards to my Army deck discard pile, and when my Army deck is empty, I reshuffle and get the chance to draw and play the cards I’ve bought.  As I buy cards from my Reinforcements, I refill the empty spaces with new cards drawn from the top of my Reinforcement deck.

Volingrad and Steelwater Flats are the two locations that we’re currently fighting for. Volingrad would give me more victory points and give me a better chance of winning the game, but Steelwater Flats has a useful special ability if I capture it, and gives a hefty 4 WAR resource when played. Decisions, decisions! When a location is captured, it goes to the winner’s deck just like a card bought from his Reinforcements, and a new location is drawn from the location deck.

Sounds fine, right? Well, sort of.

Ian and I tried playing this game out of the box with the rules as-is, and really didn’t enjoy it. There was a paradoxical feel between how slow the game play actually is and how fast the game wants you to play! You see, your units have two costs; Purchase and Rush. Purchase means they go into your deck, you shuffle through and eventually draw them. Rush means that you can move that card straight to a location. Naturally, Rush costs are higher because they ignore the drawback of having to wait to draw your new card. However…

When you eventually draw your nice shiny new warjack or warrior, you can deploy him to a location. Fine. Except you have to pay his Purchase cost again to do so, which is… is… just so dumb. Meanwhile, the “Winds of War” deck is counting down. The Winds of War is a deck of cards that grants random bonuses to the players each turn – cheaper Rush costs for a turn, warriors have higher Health for a turn, etc – which seems fine. HOWEVER…

The Winds of War deck is not big. And in the bottom third of the deck will be the “HURR LOL GAME OVER” card. Ian and I played two games where we got the HURR LOL GAME OVER card and we’d barely managed to purchase, draw, and deploy a few units each. It left us with a sour taste in our mouths; we were looking forward to a big game of warjack violence and gruelling, down-to-the-wire combats to conquer another location. I don’t mind an in-game timer mechanic when you’re not sure when the game’s going to end, but in High Command you’re told to pack up your toys and go home before you’ve even got the chance to play with them.

So in came the house rules, and the “High Commander” variant was born. Now that I’ve given you the background on High Command, next time I’ll get into the nitty-gritty and I’ll discuss the changes I made to the rules, and why.

Gareth

 

 

Crimbo Photodump 2014

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A long delay since the last post I know. Things have been pretty hectic, as they usually are in December! On top of that, my laptop is dying a slow death. Using it at the moment is about as much fun as eating a bucket full of Lego.

As we wave farewell to 2014 – a year that thankfully had far more ups than downs – I thought I’d just dump a load of photos here from the last few weeks.

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I guess the biggest thing is that I officially joined Club 30. My birthday’s fairly late in the month, which doesn’t usually synch up well with people’s calendars as they do Christmas-related things. I had my party at the start of the month; drinks were imbibed, an excellent Grimm Reaper cake was consumed, and merriment was had.

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“LeT iT gO lEt It Go…”

 

I make artistic adjustments to an advent calender I had at work. Some of my colleagues appreciated it. Others tried not to make eye contact with me.

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Because of *course* I’m Deathstroke.

 

Trev got his mitts on Cryptozoic’s latest DC Heroes deckbuilding game, Forever Evil, so we had a few games! In Forever Evil, you play as villains trying to defeat super heroes! This was at the start.

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And this was a few turns later, when I used Vibe to get Power Girl to the top of my deck, then hit her with a Firestorm Array, and nothing about that sentence could possibly be misconstrued when taken out of context. Funnily enough having an additional 3 Power every turn for the rest of the game made it kinda one-sided.

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Then we played a game of Crisis! I’ve fallen in love with the Cryptozoic deck building games this year, and I sort of want to do proper in-depth reviews of each set, maybe video playthroughs and tutorials… who knows. Something for next year maybe.

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Emma got me Survive!: Escape from Atlantis for my birthday! I love this game. In fact if you so desire, you can watch a video of my friends and I playing it earlier this year!

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Em and I had a little pre-Christmas celebration. I know beef wellington isn’t exactly traditional for Christmas, but it went down well.

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Upon the Eve of the Saviour’s birth, I did make pilgrimage upon the iron carriages, travelling from my coastal lair to the hills and fields of the Land of the Eastern Grin to feast with Parental 1.0 and Parental 2.0, because I sure as hell wasn’t cooking Christmas dinner.

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I went to visit Ian one day, and after we’d gone to see Battle of the Five Armies, I went through his model cabinet and took pictures. Here’s a Tau Riptide he’s painting up as Superion to go along with Metrauplex.

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And here’s a “Wood Eldar” Wraithlord!

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And here’s a Librarian with crazy hair and Kaneda’s bike!

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And here’s Warboss RAAM, ready for fightin’ and obeyin’ da Queen!

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Then we played a shitload of Mario Kart 8 and the latest Smash Bros. I find that Mii to be hauntingly accurate.

So, plans for next year.

  • More writing! – well duh. By the way, did I know I’ve done some micro-stories and novellas as cheap reads for Kindle owner? Take a gander…
  • More D&D! – I was surprised at how popular my Phandelver series of D&D articles was this year! As I’ve said we’re on a bit of a hiatus, but planning to start back up in the new year, though exactly when is something else all together. Why not give the series a read if you haven’t already?
  • More painting and model stuff! – I have a ton of unpainted models in cupboards and boxes, and I’m going to try and get as much painted as possible next year… and of course, share the results with you, dear readers.

So, yeah, that’s it for 2014. If you were here at the start of the year, thanks for sticking around, and if you’re brand new and your appetite has been whetted, then 2015 promises to be even more succulent.

A belated Merry Christmas, and an early Happy New Year!

Gareth

10 GW models that need an update

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Our D&D sessions are on hiatus at the moment as some of us (i.e. all of us) work extra hours to get plenty of tasty overtime money ready for the Christmas spending spree. That doesn’t mean we haven’t managed to get some gaming done; Pandemic, Coup and Palazzo are all new favourites at my table, and I recently picked up the Desolation of Smaug expansion for Cryptozoic’s Hobbit deckbuilding game, which has been great fun.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I still like occasionally checking out the main Games Workshop page to look at shiny new models. Most of these are really, really good…

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Comes with a teacup to drink your opponent’s tears.

And others… not so much.

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DADDY ARE I REAL ELF NOW :-(

 

But with all these new models for shiny new things, it seems like some stuff that sorely needs updating keeps getting pushed back and back. For example, Chaos players have been calling for a plastic Obliterator kit for years. And plastic Greater Daemons. And plastic Havocs. And plastic Cult Marines. And… well, look, Chaos players need a lot of love, okay?

So what models need new shiny updates in my opinion? Well I’d be happy to tell you…

10 – Chaos Furies 

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Man, I remember a time when Furies were amazing. This was back in the heady days of the 3.5 edition Chaos Codex, before The Great Loss, when GW went “DURRR Chaos Marines and Daemons should be different armies!”. My old Word Bearers army ran a full pack of ten, and they were a cheap and surprisingly choppy suicide squad (WS 5, Initiative 5 and 2 Attacks if I recall). I loved ‘em. You know what I didn’t love? Gluing twenty chunky metal wings into tiny slots! I was/am a lazy modeller, and I had/have no patience for all this fiddly stuff like pinning, green stuffing, and so on. My Furies lost wings in transport, or even in mid-game. These guys are no longer popular, which is a shame. GW could easily relaunch these guys as a cool updated plastic kit with better rules.

9 – Fiends of Slaanesh

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Another Daemon. That model is really old. The Fiends are models that have been around since the 90s, a trait shared with many of the models on this list. They’ve never been updated to plastic, which seems a shame for such cool, weird and creepy models. I’d love to see these guys be redesigned to look more dynamic and come as one of those “2-in-1″ kits that GW do these days, enabling you to make Fiends and some brand-new type of daemonic beast.

8 – Verminlord

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Ah, the classic incarnation of the feral cunning of the Horned Rat. Tremble, mortals of the Old World, for your doom approaches! Oh, wait, he’s the same size as a normal Rat Ogre? Oh. Hmm. Yeah, like another entry further down this list, Vermy hasn’t aged too well when it comes to scale. He’s technically a Greater Daemon, he should be towering over everything! Forge World have make a badass Exalted version, but that’s like having to use An’Grath instead of a normal – and cheaper – Bloodthirster model. Nice new big impressive plastic kit please!

7 – Avatar of Khaine

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Last daemon, I promise! Now, the Avatar is pure sex as a model (Jes Goodwin, go figure), but again, it doesn’t measure up to well to recent models. It’s hard to envision him as an incarnate space-elf god of war when his fancy hat is the only thing making him bigger than Chapter Master Smashface the Generic. Again, old Bloodyhand here is desperate for a nice new plastic kit similar in scale to the recent Wood Elf Treeman kit so that he can loom over all the puny mortals that are so eager to have some face-time with the Wailing Doom.

6 – Ork Warboss

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Aside from the plastic Warbosses in Black Reach and Stormclaw, these two are the only options Ork players have had for a Warboss for nearly 15 years now. That’s simply ridiculous. Where’s the big Ork Warboss kit with tons of weapon options and bits, like the Space Marine Commander or Chaos Lord set?

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I must’ve bought about seven of these over the years. One of my absolute favourite kits, even if it only makes one model.

And while I’m on the subject of Orks…

5 – Ork Warbuggy

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Look, GW, I’m happy you finally updated the Ork Trukk… but couldn’t you have updated the old Warbuggy and Wartrakk while you were at it? I mean… look at it. The Orks are 2nd edition, pre-Brian Nelson style, i.e. not what Orks look like anymore. Urgh. Thank Gork that Ork players are usually creative enough to find or make alternatives.

4 – Eldar Jetbikers

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Eldar and jetbikes are two of the coolest things in Warhammer 40,000. So why has that winning combination not been updated? Like the Warbuggy, this is a 2nd edition model that no longer matches the modern aesthetic of its faction. To be blunt, Eldar Guardians don’t look like that anymore, and haven’t for a significant amount of time. Plus, there’s the rider’s dull pose. He looks like he’s having a relaxed tootle around the block, not dodging bullets in a battle. That’s not a jetbiker. These are jetbikers.

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3 – Ragnar Blackmane

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Let’s talk special characters. A lot of 40k special character models are still the same as they’ve been since the 90s; Mephiston, Dante, Azrael, Ahriman, Eldrad… all sculpted by Jes Goodwin, I might add. For the most part, they’ve managed to stand the test of time. Unfortunately there are a few that haven’t.

I mean, Ragnar’s still a cool model, but he doesn’t exactly scream “bloody-handed slayer” does he? That pose – the Goodwin Slouch, as I’ve decided to name it – is the same pose used for a lot of 90s GW models. It works on Mephiston, because the guy is a regal, composed Chief Librarian with the mother of all popped collars. It works on Fabius Bile, because he’s a cunning, diabolical scientist who leaves the fisticuffs to his genetically-enhanced murdermachines. On Ragnar though? He’s meant to be a dynamic hothead, a guy who charges in, kicks ass, and takes names. His model is sterile and lifeless, and GW missed a chance to update him for the recent Space Wolf Codex. Of course, after seeing what they did to Logan, maybe it’s for the best.

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Congrats GW, you turned one of the most badass Chapter Masters into fucking Santa Claus.

On the plus side, when Googling to get the above picture of Ragnar, I saw some amazing conversions using Kor’sarro Khan and Gabriel Seth as the base model, so something positive there.

2. Abaddon the Despoiler

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Aaah, Abaddon. That model is glorious, but it falls into the same sort of trap that the Vermin Lord and Avatar do; compared to modern-day Terminators, Abaddon is just a wee bit on the short side! Plus his own proportions look a bit off; the funny thing is that if he took his hair out of that topknot, he could cosplay as grimdark red-haired Rapunzel. Dude needs a fresh sculpt; a fancy scenic base, a dead Marine in his clutches… I don’t know. It would nicely capitalise on the popular new Talon of Horus by Aaron Dembski-Bowden though.

And at the very top of my list…

1 – Battle Sisters. Just, like, all the Battle Sisters

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Yeah, technically that’s not one model. But hear me out!

For a long time, people were worried that the Sisters would go the way of the Squats, gradually falling further and further out of the spotlight until they could be quietly disposed of. It’s a shame, because the Sisters have a large and vocal fanbase. Why? Because they’re an army of pyromaniac warrior nuns!

I love the Sisters. One of the last armies I ran when I played 40k was a proxied Sisters army that ran Celestine, three Exorcists, and as many full-size Sister squads as I could manage. Did it win? Not really. Did I have fun with Acts of Faith? Absolutely!

I can see the problem why Sisters aren’t popular to the mainstream crowds; all the models are Finecast and thus expensive. No one buys them, so they’re not deemed popular enough for a reboot, so they don’t get new stuff and their models remain expensive and difficult to acquire. Then again, the Grey Knights exploded out of nowhere with a powerful new Codex and two excellent multipurpose plastic infantry kits and firmly established themselves as a “proper” faction, maybe the Sisters could do the same! You could have three really good kits for Celestians/Retributors, Seraphim, and normal Battle Sisters, and suddenly bam! The Sisters are back in the spotlight and getting attention and sales again! Sororitas players have been crying out for plastic Sisters (and a proper Codex) for years! Come on GW, give the Sisters some love! Do it, and I promise I may consider getting back into 40k…

That’s my thoughts, but what models do you think need updating?

Gareth

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