Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Why the great Comp debate is sound and thunder...

Sit 10 gamers in a room and you will get 12 different answers on whether comp is needed or not(2 people will change the answers to fit in better...).

Its all a load of shite.

I mean seriously, Internet, what the fuck?

What is actually happening when you try and change the rules to provide a more balanced play environment?

  • You are taking on the role of games designer
  • You are second guessing intent
  • You are excluding people
  • You are creating a reason for disagreement
  • You will create disharmony in the player base for your event 
  • You will have a herd of cats shouting that their way is the one true way

Now, is that really worth it because you cant accept that Games Workshop have no interest in 40K being played as truly competitive game?

In this months white dwarf the head face man even says "Lets face it, when all is said and done, ours is primarily a collecting hobby"  and "our games [...] boil down to 'my collection vs your collection'".

So the headline?   Games Workshop does not give a flying monkey fuck for tournament players, the tournament scene, balance or you.

You want a balanced tournament game?  Play chess.
You want a slightly more balanced than 40k game for tourneys?  Play Warmahordes or Malifaux, maybe even Warpath/Kings Of War.

Warhammer 40K is a brilliant game, and 6th made many improvements, but it is primarily a game by men in their late 50's who started out when wargaming really was about actual plastic toys en masse in a suburban front room.  Gentlemen who have left a legacy that confused youngsters, fresh from Pokemon, Magic, Yu-gi-oh and WoW:TCG just cannot on any level connect with.

In short, the very notion that comp exists is anathema to these people.  That people do not just play 40k for shits'n'giggles and play events with better, purpose built rules is a source of constant amazement to me.

Still, among things that wargamers will never agree on, this is way fucking up there.

Better to argue about comp than abuse of privilege , than sexism, misogyny, bullying, racism, class politics and cliques eh?

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Henchmen Unite!

Just a quick happy post to say my application for the Wyrd henchman Program was successful!  Over.  The.  Moon!

Saturday, 30 June 2012

This moment wont last forever...

We live in a unique moment in time...The new edition of 40K is out and everyone is excited, running around like newborn babes with hope and joy in their hearts and eyes! wont last!


Right now, this instant, people are falling in love with 40K again, people are excited and the new Allies rules means that the paper and pens (or more convenient tools like BattleScribe) and working out what they can do with what they already have, or planning what they should buy next.

For my part, I have not really enjoyed the actual playing of 40K since 4th Ed, and what I have read so far in 6th seems all good.   There's nothing in these early hours that makes me go "huh?" , everything seems to be golden and new.   The wound allocation rules, fortifications, CC weapons getting varying AP and varying strength, etc etc are all pretty bloody good.

My pen and paper moment came when I realised I could take some Eldar with my Dark Eldar and they will be effectively one army, united against the common enemy...a kind of West/East Germany moment for the Eldar race.   I have just bought some deamons for Warhammer, and now, again, I can ally these to a small CSM force and play out the games of my youth.

The actual physical book is up to the standards set by warhammer, i.e. pretty bloody good.   I cant wait for the new codex books to start hitting the shelves, it's just a shame that  Dark Eldar and Chaos Demons will be years off...but hopefully Tau will be soon after the rumoured Dark Angels and Chaos Legions books...them boys need some loving!


In other news, I am definitely feeling back to my self after cleansing my pipes with the last post, it was great to get that off my chest.

Here in Glasgow we are also getting a changing of the guard with our Press Ganger provision, Andy making way for Scott, so fresh blood with fresh ideas are incoming, which is usually a good thing.  Scott's first event will be held at Spellbound Games, it's an unusual format with 15 point games, 1 list and 2x4 tables, but it will be aimed at newer players and should be pretty good fun for all concerned.  I have played a fair few games with a newer local player to get used to the format and I'm fairly confident about what list I should take and how each game will play out, but a gentleman's agreement is in place with the three more experienced players that we will only go all out on each other, and make sure that we try and keep the newer guys happy and have a fun game.

Cant wait to finish this shift, get back home and get my teeth into the 40K rules.

Monday, 25 June 2012

A post about anxiety, and not about rules...

First One...

Been a while, and here's why....Facebook arguments.  I appear to have been afflicted with a disease which makes me constantly fail to communicate in the manner in which I intended...or the other guy was in fact acting like a massive penis, It's one of the two...good thing I have actual evidence of the Penis acting, such as multiple complaints about the other guys behaviour and comments within our clubs page etc etc...but to the chase we go...the whole thing blew up about a month ago and I have been quite badly and emotionally affected by it...I'll spare you, gentle reader, any details, but suffice to say that no one was squeaky clean, and one party was guilty of applying his or her own filters to anything that was written, and disregarding anything the other said as irrelevant trolling.   It just really knocked me for 6 and put me on the back foot in a way I genuinely didn't know that something like that could.   I went through a month of examining my behaviour and really holding a mirror up to what I was saying and where.   I now try so damn hard to be unambiguous that I can barely communicate at all...I'm over sensitive to the slightest thing, perceiving everything as an attack, having to read things several times over and eventually just giving up.  

In short, I feel completely cut off from the wargaming community locally....I know this is just me being stupid, as I game several times a week with good friends and still try and get out with new games to new people, but the anxiety and social dread that I spent years overcoming has just flooded back.   The only way I can think of to get over this is to get out there and prove that it wasn't my fault to myself, but I cant, I'm too fucking scared to go out and be around people.  It took me years to get confident enough to get out and do things, Wargaming when I was a nipper was a place you could go to be weird and alone, but I always tried to be more normal, and for a few years there I was doing quite well, I even got elected (well, no one else stood so I don't think it really counts) to represent my local gaming group on line...and now...crippling anxiety has me on the back foot.

Other One....

Remember a few posts back I talked about how I had never met "that guy" at a tournament?   Well, I met that fucking guy in a local hobby discussion forum...the guy threatened and cajoled me, even though I was on his side in a "debate", then made it personal and threatened legal action etc etc...all the Internet tough guy bullshit, I have it on very good authority that that individual is essentially persona non grata almost everywhere , and that no one has been spared his particular brand of bullying and that one I could chalk down as a weird blip and move on...after all, I have many more people that I can talk hobby with on the back of being that bastards victim.

So that was strike 1 , if you like...that was a while ago and I had promised not air my laundry in public, but this is why I haven't been writing anything for a fucking age...I have the bullshit of two Internet arguments blocking up my was just one guy who is universally regarded as a fucking knobber by the entire Glasgow scene(he is a stranger to me, I have never met him in the flesh and never want to, but the knobber title is one that has been earned by him from several people, so I use it here as the majority term).   The second one , from my PoV , its a guy who said the wrong thing, got a beef about it then perceived anything said by the other as hostile or trolling, even when the other party tried to smooth things over they rode roughshod over things as they believed they were right.  Now its mortal enemies over misunderstood words.

So that's why I haven't blogged in a while...I'm a fucking pussy who has let two random Internet bullshit conversations drag me down into a spiral that I need to fight to get out of.   I would have been the first in the past to ride on in here and say "don't worry about it, move on", but I just had to get this off my chest and out of my creative pipeline...After all...the world is about to end for 40K!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

The great price wars among the big 4...GW comes out ahead?

OK, you know how the internet tells you that GW is too expensive and Warmahordes is cheaper? Well, is the internet probably talking shite?  Lets find out shall we!

First things first, we are not comparing apples with apples, so this is all subjective, and Im fully aware of that as I write this.  The first thing we should do is define terms.  We are looking at the cost to get a list that is playable at tournaments, with what are known good tournament forces(again, according to the collective wisdom of idiots...the player makes the difference not the list).  For warmahordes thats Jamie P's Khador, and for 40K thats grey knights.  We are also only going to look at the raw, list cost of models, ignoring discounts, and the books/templates you will need to use them.  It should be noted that Jamie P used khador with a fairly uncommon caster, and that Cryx and Circle tend to do very well. 

Now the lists!

In the Red Corner we have Jamie P's UK Masters winning Khador force:

Old Witch & Scrapjack (+3) £16.94
Spriggan = 10  £19.94
Behemoth = 13 £32.95
10 Winter Guard + Unit Attachment & 1x Weapon Attachment = 9 £29.95+£6.95+£5.95
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich = 2   £6.95
10 Nyss Hunters = 10   £19.94+£6.95+£6.95
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt = 4   £10.50
Gorman De Wolfe = 2   £4.94
Epic Eiryss = 3   £9.95

Total without discount = £178.86 for 32 White Metal Models giving a force worth 50 points.
Disclaimer! This is one list from three that Jamie took according to the Steamroller 2011 ruleset, we will ignore that he had to take two alternate lists that add at least £60 to this total.  For Cryx the cost is similar.  Now we add books(all Hardback because we aint be Ghetto):

Warmachine Prime Mk2           £29.95
Force Of Warmachine:Khador  £25.00
Warmachine:Wrath                   £29.95  (rules for Battle Engines, could be omitted at a pinch)
Tokens                                       £7.99
Templates:                                 £7.00

This brings our total up to £278.75.   Thats without paint, dice, tape measure etc.  Just what you need to turn up to a tournament and play.

Thats no small potatoes, now in the Blue Corner, Grey Knights(shamelessly copypasta'd from Warseer, because warseer is perfect in all knowledge of course(fuck off).  

I have redacted the wargear to 'stuff', and look at just the models.

Grand Master|incinerator|180 points£14.95(assuming a Finecast counts-as)
10x Purifiers|Shooty Stuff||rhino|some stuff|340 points £20.50 + £20.50+£20.50
5 grey knights (terminators)|Stabby stuff|205 points £28.00
5 grey knights (terminators)|Shooty stuff|215 points £28.00
1 Stormraven|Stuff|235 points   £41.00
1 dread[sic]|shooty stuff| 145 points   £28.00
1 dreadknight|stabby stuff|195 points   £33.00
Total 1500(ish) points

The total cash cost?   £234.45 for 25 individual pieces, all of which are plastic, 4 of which are HUGE!  Who knew!  however, add in books and we get :
Warhammer 40,000 Hardback A4:£35.00
Codex:Grey Knights   £20.00
Templates:  £5.10

Ultimate Totals:  Warmachine £278.75  Warhammer 40,000 £294.55!!!

Honestly, I had expected this to have gone the other way.  For example a circle list I faced on Tuesday night easily cost over £350(the Celestial Fulcrum is an expensive model!).  But based on this, Warmachine might be marginally cheaper, but it is nowhere near as cheap as the internet would have you believe, and the optimised list I chose is most likely not representative of actual cost.

The take away from all this is that whilst GW might be expensive, so is the rest of the hobby.  Its only cheaper when you drop down to Malifaux and Infinity levels of skirmish games, and only then because you need vastly fewer models.  When you do a per model price comparison, Malifaux and Infinity et al work out almost as expensive, look:

Malifaux Dreamer Crew   £28.00
Daydreams   £10.00
Malifaux A5 rules £10.00
Malifaux Twisted Fates £25.00
Malifaux Rising Powers £25.00
Fate Deck £5.00

Thats £98.00 for the models and books/accessories I took to the last Malifaux Tournament I went to.  Cost per model comparison(averaged across list regardless of size):

Warmachine:   £5.58

40K:                £7.56    (£9.37 if we count vehicles)

Malifaux:        £4.22

If we are totally fair , lets compare one unit with one unit
Warmachine Winterguard+UA+Attachment = £42.85
Grey Knights Purifiers = £41
Cost per Model:  WM £3.29 GK £4.10

Again, the takeaway from this is that the entire price of the hobby is high.  But compared to Xbox/Steam/Ps3...its not that bad!  Instead of that Old witch list you could buy 3 new games a second hand one, 4 new games instead of the grey knights and 2 games instead of malifaux.  I know people who think nothing of spending £100 at a pub but baulk at £2.30 for a pot of paint.  In terms of money invested and the joy you get back from building, painting and playing, wargaming is too damn CHEAP!

See you later.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Mantic and GW...a failure to connect. A rant.

Droogies, Boozers, strumpets and losers...welcome to krusha's cosmos...well, not really, but welcome to Grumheldens Grotto at least, I wonder how many people reading this remember krusha?  He was big around the time a new game arrived on the scene, and was as instrumental in my development as a 10 year old with too much imagination as that game was.

VERY METAL \../. .\../

Yes, that was really just a convoluted intro to a riff on last months 25th anniversary of Warhammer 40,000.  Its hard to believe that the franchise has existed for my entire adult and teenage life, and worse, that my entire outlook has been shaped by it.  It was the game that got me into gaming, that cemented my love for sci fi and it went hand in hand with that peculiarly teenage obsession of loud music and moral absolutes.  I was into metal, then punk and the whole 40,000 universe was obviously informed by the same imagery and politics that the music I was listening to was.  As I got older both the music and the game got more popular and more commercial, which was good for one and not so good for the other.  As sure as the punk of the late 70's and early 80's(and all its myriad sub genres) lead through commercialisation to Avril Lavigne, the wide open, humorous and back of a fag packet Rogue Trader lead the entire hobby to where it is now.  Bad deal for music, pretty good deal for wargaming!
And this brings us to Mantic.  Oh, Mantic, how we despair.  My good friend and spiritual leader El Presidente(of the G3) puts it something like this:  "I am a working man who can afford real GW toys, why would I spend less money on an inferior quality,cheap knockoff by a company that does everything GW does in a slightly poundland way?"

My initial reaction was to glorify the choice and options that mantic provides, to rail against his curmudgeonly ways, to espouse choice, to praise the plucky underdog.  You know, to be very British about the whole thing!  But i slowly realised that he was correct in his assessment.  The total cost savings are *not* offset by the sneaking feeling that you are wearing cotton when you could have had silk.  Now, don't get me wrong, sometimes cotton is just the dab, its not as sweaty and you mind so much when you have to replace it, but there is a visceral joy to wearing silk knickers that you just don't get with cotton.   Shirt...not knickers, SHIRT!

Then there's the general approach to customer interaction that pisses me off from both companies.  Have a look at the colossals video from Privateer Press and you are looking at a company that treats its customers like grown adults who enjoy cool toys.  Contrast and compare this with Mantic and GW; they both treat you like a special bus passenger who has to be spoon fed information in condescending, saccharine chunks.  They talk down to you, talk at you, and expect that you have the sense of humour of a biffy comics character from sometime around 1950.  They are just hopelessly out of touch with the reality of who buys the stuff they make.

As an aside, we are not all a fucking 10 year old called Tarquin whose father works in the City, while mum polishes the AGA and goes on three holidays a year, and hasn't had a haircut yet because his mum thinks his golden hair looks positively splendid and isnt he so cute, just like a pageboy at kate and wills wedding. I resent the idea that the boys in Lenton have that the majority of its customers(paying customers, not the ones who hang around in the shop all day) are upper or middle class future leaders of industry.

The whole thing this week on the main GW site..the 145 teaser video with the words"were not even sure were allowed to show it".  Just. Fuck. Off.  Your like the guy in the office who introduces himself as "wacky" and "zany".  Your fucking neither, you're a boring twat with no sense of humour who thinks that fucking whoopie cushions are the height of being naughty.  Fuck off, just sell us your shit and stroll on.  I'm not buying your bunty comic bullshit, I'm buying your fucking plastic. Shit pirate voices , a marketing department that probably genuinely drinks Pims with no trace of irony and thinks a three day working week is barbaric just put me off, and I cant be alone.   You see , I buy your stuff IN SPITE of your marketing, not because of it!  The recent BBC article was proof positive that the majority of people who spend money with you are not the majority of people you try and target.

That mantic ape this bullshit approach with jolly, jovial fucknugget simpering and rubber masks and shouting "waaaaagh" whenever the adults are out of the room just proves El Presidente's point that they are Poundland to Games Workshops John Lewis.  Everything they do is kinda similar but not as good.  Yes, they embraced youtube faster and the videos make me wince less, but they still make me wince.

We grew up on space marines, but we grew up...throw us a fucking bone and treat us with a modicum of decency eh?


Friday, 3 February 2012

Shit just got REAL

At first I was like NOOOOOOO!  Then I was all like OOOOKKKKKK, now im all like OMGSQEUEUEUU!

This is massive, huge, colossal!  Pitched just in time to compete against a potential 40k rth ed release, we have titanic 'jakcs, no doubt closely followed by titanic and monsterous hordes equivalents.

Looking at the card preview for the Merc Colossal, (INORITE! Mercs get some love!), it seems that we have multiple weapon systems, multiple discrete damage boxes, and no doubt a whole host of special rules.

An educated guess would say pathfinder on the lot of them, ways to generate focus internally, either via souls or reactors, massive trample and the ability to throw battle engines like they were bonejacks.  The cryx Kraken has massive tentacles, ending in vicious blades, hinting at stupid movement and reach, the cygnar one looks like your baseline ranged beatstick, the retribution bring yet another bland boring 'jack to the table, and Menoth bring a towering collosus of HOLY FIRE!


New forums for G3, and a website in the works

We done got some bling ladies!

Mylocal gaming group, G3, has been on the go for over 10 years now, and they have entrusted me with getting our name out there so that people can come along and get on board with the fun.

I started a board on the ivision free service about 10 months ago, and whilst its been used its never been as popular as I would have liked, never quite gaining the traction it should have, with less than 50% of the membership using it.

I have started building a fully fledged site in PHP, leveraging several existing technologies, but its going to be end of february/march before that is ready for prime time.  Im kinda rusty with these sort of things :).

Moving to a paid-for host and URL should be the bump that is needed for G3, pushing us over that next hill in terms of membership. 

Our email will also be an @ g3gamers address, meaning gmail cant just arbitrarily delete our account again.

Join us on the forums here, fellow bloggers are especially invited, even if you will never get to g3 in person.

Happy Gaming!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Occupy wargaming!

A recent post/discussion made on the scottish malifaux players group got me to thinking about the average gamers perception of what exactly competitive gamers are.   The more I thought about it the more I realised that I was being stupid for taking the meaning of words literally, much like hacking is used by the mainstream when they actually mean cracking, competitive has become a synonym for arsewank.  Its time to take the power back.  There is no dichotomy between "hobby" and "competitive" outside of GW.  Its all hobby, its all fun, even in a competitive setting.

The overwhelming response to an innocent question on Rankings was not, as a I may expect, "oh, rankings?  cool, dont matter to me either way", but a rabid frothpit of "NO DOOMDOOOM!  THE HOBBYKILLERS!  THEY COME! THEY COME!"(editors note: it was actually a reasonable discussion between adults that respected each other, but that doesnt fit this particular narrative, drama added for comic effect only).

Which leads me to my main thrust here.   If you dont like competitive play, why do it?  Why not just not show up, and continue in your smug belief that everyone who wants to measure themselves against their peers is doing it in relation to penis size?   Not everything in this fucking universe was made for you, and not everything that you have no experience of is how you think it is!   The world outside of Games Workshop is not full of absolute cunts!

I have met people at GW tournaments that I would not shit on for money.  I have met people at GW tournaments that are complete and utter, irredeemable cunts, with absolutely no saving graces at all, people I would gleefully stab to death becaue they have that weird, GW centric world view where every little thing has to be picked and prodded and nitpicked until the fun is so drained from it that its dead.  The people who talk through and down their fucking noses, who fester in the GW shop and put anyone off going in.  Little, self-important wankers who use their own lack of social adjustment as an excuse to fail, who never get the fuck over themselves and get out and try to be nice, wankers who are just *hard work*, they always know better, always had one bigger, or seen someone do it better/faster/bleh.  The people, in short, who will kill this hobby stone fucking dead.   
Get them tae fuck.

Now, on the flip side of that, I have met people at gaming clubs and warmachine tournaments that I would cut my own balls off for, that I wished I could go back in time and meet them when we were younger so I could be their best mate for life because they were so fucking awesome.  People that you would meet in any workplace, pub or street.  People who make the effort to be polite and practice basic social ineraction (relatively speaking, they are still, like me, socially retarded, painfully shy, geeks). 
People who try and work even when they hate humanity(again, like me). 
I have never met a hypercompetitive wanker, hobby killing fuck outside of GW, in 25 years of gaming.


Now why do you think that is?  I may have just been really lucky.   I may have even been "that guy" ( I know I'm not, I'm nice to a fault at tournaments, even helping my opponents win when it makes a cool story).  I reckon its the same reason you dont get into fights in a rock club.  Its the same reason you dont see many fights in any alternative scene actually.   
This may be obvious to you, but to some it is not.   If you dont exclusively play GW games, you are in fact, not one of the arseholes mentioned earlier.  What is more, if you do play smaller games and want to play in an organised setting, you *have* to be reasonably fragrant, personable and ok to get along with, or you will have no one to play against.  The tournament scene for smaller games is self-selecting, and selects for the desirable social traits in almost all settings.   The very things that drove you away from geedubs and its denizens are the very same things that most of your new peer group also left for.  They hated those bastards as well!  And lets be honest, if your reading this far then you also hate that our entire hobby, in all its infinite diversity, is characterised by those snotty little pricks that fester and seep in that fucking shop.
WE ARE THE 99%!  

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Losers always quit, winners do the prep work then quit.

It was with a heavy heart that I sat across from Jim, I knew I would lose, the interesting part would be in the how.  Let me tell you how I got here...

You see Jim is the best player in the UK, he has won masters on several occasions, being beaten by the slimmest of margins and strength of schedule alone at this years event., and I...I'm a noob who has played for a year and a bit.  In fact, let me go back further, let me qualify that, because Im a Noob who has played around 50 games all told, with a 50/50 WLR, and a declining form.   Why is my form declining?  Quite Simple...Gamer ADD has made me go full fucking spastic when it comes to WM(DISCLAIMER:  Spastic is not really used as term of denigration in these parts any more, its just a nice shorthand way to say fucking idiot)
I first experienced a tournament last year, almost 14 months ago now, and instantly fell in love with the whole format and experience.  I didnt do too badly either, 2/2/0 and a respectable attrition rate on the losses.  I got better after a couple of months and then fucked it all up by starting to play "other" games:  Malifuax, Infinity, Memoir '44 and C&C:Ancients being the culprits. 

My WLR started to skew toward the loss, and week after week I would be playing a boardgame or a cardgame and then every so often a tournament would come up and I would take to game 3 before I remembered the rules, let alone the plays.

Multiple invites to mates places to play the game went by as I spent week after week in a job I was fighting to keep, missing all the fun and games and the weddings of good friends.  The only thing that kept me going through the last year(as must be the case for so many of you) was the thought of our wonderful hobby and the friends you can make through it. 

The Tuesday nights away from reality, pushing pieces from one side of a board to another kept me sane frankly.  This dripped and dragged for a year, and there I was, across the table from the best player I know or that I am ever likely to meet, and in all previous encounters before the year of toil, I would fight Jim to a close win(for him), and yet on that Tuesday, I wasted his time with unprepared and unplanned mish mash of a list.

  So how do I turn this around and make myself someone worth playing against?  
One simple thing that can improve anyones life in any area.  Prepare. Nothing more, nothing less, just prepare.  Heres my own plan for whats left of January: 
  • Create a list and stick to it, change what doesnt work one thing at a time.
  • Paint the things I will use most often, not the random shiny
  • Make a concentrated effort to play games more often and against as many people as I can.
Sounds simple enough, and points 1 & 2 are easy.  
The only one that will need more work is point 3, between The Job ( I fully plan to find a job this year that lets me have at least one weekend in 52 off...) and my lack of driving ability, getting games whenever and wherever is a push.   I can deal with the driving part in an achieveable and managemable way, it requires time and money, but if I dont spend money on toys I cant use I can spend it in a way that allows me to use the toys I have.
So in this obligitory first post of the yearm I have a resolution of sorts, finish my driving lessons before I hit my next birthday and get the fuck out and play more.
I hope, sincerely, that you all have a good year, that the holidays were fun and that this year you get out and make some new friends, put yourself out there and get it done.  Its up to you.