Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Games Workshop told it's shareholders it's not a gaming company, but a miniature company?!

I stumbled upon this financial analyst's article after he attended the Games Workshop annual general meeting to shareholders last September (link here). I'm surprised to read that GW does not consider itself a game company but a miniature company instead.


I too all these years assumed the "Games" in "Games Workshop" meant they were into games, but I was wrong it seems.. Of course, it could be the usual stuff to slough off shareholder questions, but seriously... only 20% of its customers are gamers? Is that what they think? Is it true?...

This explains quite a bit really...
  • why the ridiculous and convoluted settings of 40K and Sigmar.. 
  • why they don't listen to fans who complain about the rules and fluff
  • their heavy investment in finecast with sculpts that are too ornate and difficult for the average 13 year old kid getting into the hobby, to paint.  
  • why they raise and raise their prices as it gives the impression of exclusivity for collectors and  modelers only..
  • why they keep increasingly make more and more outlandish sculpts.. I mean seriously, some of the space marines stuff seems a bit ridiculous, what with the powered armour and swords thing..some space marines even go into battle with a flag pole attached to their armour even..

Yes, yes, a bit much. Some of the 40K sculpts look like extras who just wandered out of an S&M scene..



Of course you would walk around a futuristic battlefield bare-chested wearing a gimp mask, silly.. now buy, paint and display.

 Sigmar has been called Fetishammer by some..the "Sigmarines" being an example..


Hell, the guys with the golden armour and sprouting angel wings look downright impractical in battle. but hey, it looks good and edgy and begs to be painted up and displayed in a glass case only..



All of the ridiculous fluff lately and lame 4 page rules are just excuses to buy and push expensive GW models around, game logic and balance be damned. Who cares about having no points, no bases, game gimmicks like talking to your sculpts I'm told in the Sigmar rules, etc.. all a pretense to just buy the models.

They just are catering to modelers who want fine detail on sculpts that look great only but would never dream of moving them around in a table to play.. That's toy company stuff...

Sigh. it all makes sense now.. They are just alienating 20% of their fans who are gamers, but not the 80% core they believe are modelers only.

I really need to downloand their MD&A one of these days to see what they're telling shareholders, not that I am one by the way..


With such bold statements like they intend to make a profit "forever" selling miniatures in this age of discontent, increasing game company competition and 3D printing on the horizon, you have to admire their optimism. We shall see, but something tells me that sooner or later, they will have to deal with the gaming end of their customer base which I find hard to believe is just 20% of their customers.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

My workbench: Frostgrave warband and skeletons painted

I recently did a Frostgrave checklist and # 1 and # 2 on the list was the warband (my wizard, apprentice and soldiers).

I chose Reaper's Amathor, Arch Mage



and  Drake Whiteraven, Young Mage as my apprentice


Well, I have done both of them this week, in matching purple of sorts..


Please feel free to vote on Amathor on Coolminiornot here, with 1 being the lowest, 10 the highest and 5 good enough for tabletop play. 


I chose purple to contrast with their hired muscle, whom I  painted in drab medieval colours as I wanted to give them a tougher poorer look. The Wizards look rich while their hired thugs look poor (journeymen sellswords in it for a quick turn of coin).


Please feel free to vote on the warband on Coolminiornot here, with 1 being the lowest, 10 the highest and 5 good enough for tabletop play. They are now ready for tabletop adventure as they loot the ancient city.

Also on my checklist were some skeletons. I used the Wargames Factory ones, and man that was a huge pain to assemble.. It was six sprues where you had to assemble everything, even the feet to the legs.

I lost a couple of skeletons early on as I couldn't glue the feet to the legs and used green stuff..


I finally realized that you don't clip off the connector between the feet to keep some stability.


Lots of fiddling with that kit.. The pieces were delicate and did not glue easily. I had to drill a hole on top to properly glue the skull to the body for instance...




It was a cheap kit to start with and you really need to be an experienced miniatures person to assemble them...

You buy cheap, you get cheap.. 

Anyways, I made 8 skeleton swordsmen per the list.

At the last minute, I decided on a cobweb pattern on their shields..




The rest I used for Kings of War as archers.



More Frostgrave preparation to come!


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Star Wars Rebellion: Blowing up planets is the bomb...

In April, I played a session of FFG's Rebellion with my friend Jim. I reviewed the game in detail, as discussed here.



Jim and I just tried it again in another round of galactic civil war goodness. I was the Empire again but this time, it was a very different game. Last time, we were getting used to the rules, but now it seems we both "upped" our game. I had a harder time this time around play-wise.. And lots of bad rolls that didn't help.


Most of my die rolls this time were a wall of  blank colour and looked typically like this:


I had more blanks than a re-enactors convention.


First, the use of the heroes on both sides were as enjoyable as the last time, but more elusive for me as the Imperial player.  Less Rebel heroes in my grasp.. I finally late in the game caught some prisoners despite failing to do so time and time again.. I caught Luke Skywalker and put him in carbonite and then shortly afterward captured Han Solo..
 


Aha, I thought, my luck is finally turning against these pesky heroes as their sabotage and propaganda lies about the Emperor were taking their toll on me production-wise.

But noooooo...

First, I couldn't torture them properly..



It was late in the game and I was getting desperate to find the location of the rebel base, but bad rolls proved that Skywalker resisted the delicate caresses of my interrogation droid..

Then I tried a trick, trying to "free" one, but with a homing beacon attached so they can lead me back to their hidden base and rid the galaxy of the rebel scum once and for all.


But no, more rolling failure attempting to do so, as my fleet was continuing to flounder about looking for it.

Then Jim hit me with some bullshit rule that I didn't recall from last time that said I can only have one prisoner collar at all times. If I capture someone new, the other goes free. This rule visibly annoyed me. It means if you have a high profile prisoner, you shouldn't bother going after someone lesser. They can thus run amock as the Imperial player looks helplessly on.

Also where this game was also different from last time was me moving my fleet quite a lot this time around. I was all over the place... holding back leaders and sending armadas to conquer 90% of the board  looking for the Rebel cockroaches in their little hidden base..





Last time, I never got the card that allowed me to blow up planets with my Death Star.. This time, I got it twice early in the game and I quickly blew up not one planet, but two in short order...
 
First Mandalore..


Then nearby Ord Mantell..


They were effective demonstrations to the galaxy indeed, and I quickly robbed Jim of a lot of production capacity, just as he was doing it to me with propaganda lies.. "Don't let him breathe" was my Rocky motto in this case.. Squeeze his capacity. It was the bomb!

As for the Rebel base, I inched closer to it, and Jim was forced to move bases when I got near.. His first base was Mon Calamari...


Then a funny thing happened... As Jim was going through the probe droid deck to look for a new base, I was looking at his eyes to see where he was looking at the map as he was making his decision..

Then Jim suddenly looked up at me realizing what I was doing...

We both laughed as he was too experienced to fall for it..

I left the room afterward to give him some time to pick his new base..

Anyways, at the end, I conquered most of the civilized galaxy and thought his base was in Geonosis, and thus most of my fleet heading galactic North-East to meet it.. but the hidden base was Dantooine far to the West....


Time ran out and Jim won.

A good game that was tense throughout for both of us.

This game well deserves the 8+ on Boardgamegeek.

Thumbs up!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Checklist to get started for Frostgrave.. I now have all 30 different types of miniature figures needed..

I want this and next year to get more into fantasy so I bought the rules for Frostgrave (skirmish level) and Kings of War (mass combat). The only problem is that I have, except for some Blood Bowl, virtually no fantasy minis. I've been primarily a sci-fi guy.. Even 35 years ago when I was a kid, I played very little D&D, but was more into space opera like Traveller and Star Trek.

Anyways, someone on Boardgamegeek listed the minimum needed to play Frostgrave, not including terrain. I've been slowly buying, trying to get Reaper Bones if possible to be as cheap as I can as there are 30 different types of minis needed.

My friend Jeff has a lot of pre-painted plastic D&D stuff that can be used, but still, I would like to build a fantasy force to use, and possibly port over to Kings of War.

Checklist:


1 and 2. One Wizard and one Apprentice





3. Five to 8 Soldiers



4. Six Treasure Tokens




For Scenarios and Random Encounters:

5. Eight or so Skeletons



6. One Genie


7. Six Statues



8. Two Giant Worms


9. Two Armoured Skeletons

As per no. 5 above, plus I can use from my Undead Blood Bowl Team..



10. Two Ghouls

 I can use from my Undead Blood Bowl Team. Plus these two Vampire Spawn look ghoulish..




11. Two Zombies



12. One Wraith



13. One Vampire

I can use one from my Undead Blood Bowl Team

14. One White Gorilla



15. One Bear



16. One Boar


17. Four Giant Rats



18. Two Ice spiders



19. Two Wild Dogs



20. Two Wolves



21. Two Ice toads

Well, I got one at least.. Good enough.. If necessary, I can use one of the rats as a substitute.



22. Two Trolls

Missing one these at the moment, but I'm sure I can get another one soon.




23. One Frost Giant




24. One Small Construct



25. One Medium Construct

As per no. 24 above. 

26. One Large Construct



27. One Imp


28. One Demon

As per no. 27 above.

29. One Large Demon

As per no. 27 above.

30. One Werewolf (Wolfman form)


I got my work cut out for me paint-wise, but I won't go for the overkill on the paintjob.. good enough for tabletop play for the most part. Luckily, a lot of these have fur (bears, boars, wolves), so those are good for quick dry brushing affairs.