#warmongers Miniswap 2014 – Update!

warmongers miniswap 2014

Time for an update on the #warmongers #miniswap for 2014!

Lots of activity going on and some have even completed their models! Others are in transit (sorry Darren, it is on its way!) and some are preparing to swap after a false start.

Anyway, here are some shots of the minis swapped thus far:

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Miniature for Jay (@souljacker1974) painted by Patrick

patrick-by-Jaynffc-complete1Miniature for Patrick, painted by Jay

And some unpainted swaps that have already taken place:

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My miniature to paint for Darren (@darrenbogus)

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Wouter-for-richardWouter’s (@woutertje_l) miniature, being painted by Richard(@Tango_Taylor)

 So, as you can see, lots of fun things being swapped back and forth and plenty of progress going on. Keep the wip shots coming in miniswappers and I’ll do another update post soon – hopefully with some proper progress of my own to show off!

– Rob

Warhammer 40,000 7th Edition – White Dwarf Leaks

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Following some mysterious trailers and the promise of the 24th of May being a significant release date in the Warhammer 40,000 schedule there are now some leaked White Dwarf images for us to pore over and, judging by the state of Twitter, get in a bit of a tizzy over.

You’ve no doubt seen them already, but just in case you haven’t, here they are:

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Prometheus unbound?

Much of the furore has been around the comments surrounding the Force Organisation Chart which, apparently, can FOC off in the new edition (it’s called ‘Battle-forged now anyway), if you want it to with the introduction of what are described as ‘unbound’ armies. Of course lots of ‘jumping to conclusions’ has inevitably ensued. We do like to have a good cathartic rage out about these things don’t we? I remember when flyers were the death of 40K, then it was lord of war choices, etc. etc. – judging by the sales of Imperial Knights and Imperial Guard Astra Militarum models, there are plenty of people out there still enjoying playing the game… Still I digress, battle-forged/unbound is the point under discussion here.

For me, whatever the end result of armies appearing on the tabletop, most of the internet is missing the big picture here, Games Workshop has just handed all 40K players and tournament organisers a ridiculously easy way to restrict some of the crazier combinations that the unbound choices may allow (it’s important to note that unlike some people have been suggesting, this will not lead to armies of 20 riptides rushing at you and all you get is some poxy ‘bonus’ for being battle-forged – unit count restrictions and NEW allies restrictions will still need to be considered). How so, I hear you ask. Well, it goes like this. You are arranging a game with a friend and you say “are we playing battle-forged or unbound armies?”, your friend replies “I fancy battle-forged this time”, you say “OK”. Job done. Tournament organisers can follow the same approach, simply stating “Battle-forged lists only”, if they wish. That’s all I’ve got to say on it before I actually see some proper rules from the actual rule book, but it feels to me as though Games Workshop might have handed us an easy way to choose whether we want to play normal or crazy-ass 40K and to state that clearly before any game we play.

BFFs?

There’s a new allies matrix promised as well, which I think could be one of the more interesting additions in this edition, as it gives GW a chance to tidy up some of the mismatched advantages that some allied forces obtained in 6th, and which were the bane of many a tournament player in recent times. Obviously we don’t have any details yet, but I’m hoping that allied forces as a whole will be less beneficial to both sides of the ally relationship, especially with the new psychics phase in play (I can see a shift towards Warhammer Fantasy ally rules coming), but we shall see.

New Magic Psychic phase

It also appears that we’ve got a brand new (or not so new, depending on how long you’ve played 40K for) dedicated psychics phase, utilising the tried and trusted approach found in Warhammer. The more astute amongst have already suggested that this is an example of ‘rules alignment’ to encourage, in the same vein as Privateer Press do with their Warmachine/Hordes formats, cross fertilisation between Games Workshop’s two main games. There’s also the promise of two new disciplines available to all (except Tyranids, who as we all know don’t mess around with the warp for their psychics): Daemonology. It sounds as though the two flavours it has ‘Santic’ and ‘Malefic’ may have a banishment/summoning mechanic within them and the side bar that you can’t quite read in the second image tells the tale of a Space Marine Librarian, reduced to his final wound and desperate to turn back the Tyranid tide, summons forth a Bloodthirster to do his bidding… Now I know to many this is anathema to the way of the Space Marine, but (and it’s a big but), don’t forget that the current trend in 40K is about the narrative, and there are plenty of novels and bits of fluff around that describe desperate times being the downfall of many a Space Marine on their fall to chaos.

Millions of tictacs!

We’re all getting minty fresh breath! Oh, wait, no I got that wrong again. Tactics. They’re changing through the introduction of Tactical Objective cards alongside the standard missions we know and love and it looks like we’ll about to get about a billion (or so) options based on the myriad of combinations that they offer. This feels like a bit of a gift to tournament organisers to me (yes, I said it, GW helping out tournaments!) as tournaments often use secret objectives and so on to spice up the standard missions and this way they can draw those from a pool of well-established and universally understood options, rather than thinking up their own, trying to word them in an easy to understand way and explain them to players, etc. It will also mean that people will be less resentful of the in-game effect that secret missions or tournament objectives can have, as they’ll be standard fare and everyone will be used to playing with them in hand and being on the look out for the ones their opponent might be attempting to achieve.

Lucky number 7?

Anyway, those are my ramblings on what’s now known about what is (almost certainly) definitely Warhammer 40,000 7th edition. I’m enthused for it all (I’m a fairly enthusiastic chap in general when it comes to hobby, to be honest!) and I’m looking forward to the 24th to get my sticky mits on the latest edition of 40K. There’s obviously change afoot, but my impression thus far is that it’s change to allow narrative gamers to play even more narratively (I’m sure that’s a real word) and tournament players to have more established ways to standardise their games. Of course we don’t actually know anything yet, and that’s important to bear in mind, but there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful!

– rob

White Dwarf “Wood Elves” – A Review

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From the mists of Athel Loren emerge the warriors of the Wood Elves to repel the encroachment of man and daemon alike…

Today we get our first official look at the new Wood Elves as they return with a vengeance to the world of Warhammer. Anyone who’s been involved in the fantasy tabletop Games Workshop scene will know that Wood Elves have been long overdue an update (to put it mildly) and there’s no doubt now, that despite many of the rumours regarding scrapping them, combining them into a dual or multiple army book with Bretonnians, Games Workshop have given them a full army book makeover and the results look pretty special!

Thematic shifts

One of the most interesting shifts in the Wood Elf army is the emphasis that Mat Ward seems to have placed on the duality of the Wood Elves and their alignment to nature as both a creative and destructive force. This is borne out in what little we know of their rules (through things like access to both Dark and High magic lores, with the suspicion of more like this to come) and in the way that they are described, as walking a dual path, embracing the unpredictability of their choices and revelling in the somewhat chaotic environment that they reside within.

New Models

The most obvious changes with the release of an army book refresh prior to anyone actually having seen the inside of it (not available until next Saturday), is the model range. This week’s White Dwarf (issue number 13, not unlucky for Wood Elf players) contains new models across the range, including characters, monsters and new infantry in the form of what could be a new Eternal Guard kit.

Treeman!

Model

The biggest release, in both change of style and size of model has to be the new treeman model. Available as a ‘triple kit’ and capable of being assembled either as a Treeman, a Treeman Ancient, and the special character Ancient ‘Durthu’ (that’s him with the giant sword on the front cover) it’s a stunningly detailed kit with a myriad of options available to the hobbyist putting it together. The leaked pics available earlier in the week have already proved that it’s something of a marmite kit on first impressions, but I predict that few will be unswayed once they see it in the plastic, as it were. It’s obviously a break from the traditional Tolkien-esque versions available for the Wood Elves previously and I suspect that’s in no small part due to the Lord of the Rings line that Games Workshop have been selling since the Wood Elves were last re-done. The new Treeman kit certainly will make it clear to everyone whether you’re using a model that is what Games Workshop call a “Warhammer Wood ElfTreeman” as opposed to a “Lord of the Rings Ent”.

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Rules

The rules for Durthu, included in full in White Dwarf, are interesting and he looks like he’ll be a very cool option for anyone’s army. Your standard Treeman probably hasn’t changed that much but the Ancient Treeman certainly has – they are now all spellcasters (as is Durthu, as the oldest of all Treeman Ancients) and though it remains to be seen what lore choices standard Ancients get (Durthu is a Level 1 in Beasts) it will certainly give Wood Elves an interesting new dimension – especially given that standard spellweavers now have access to Dark and High magic alongside the 8 standard schools, albeit with their own special lore attributes. Durthu is also listed as having the “Blessings of the Ancients” special rule, which isn’t articulated anywhere. I presume that’s what makes him a Treeman Ancient, or possibly the big cheese of all Treeman Ancients, but that’ll take the army book to work out. Durhtu also has the rather nasty Tree Whack option in melee, which allows him to sacrifice his 5 standard attacks (at WS7, S6!) for one big bertha, that requires your target to fail an initiative test for you to deal d6 wounds with no armour save – ouch!

Araloth and other special characters

Model

The main character model featured in White Dwarf is Araloth, again with his rules, a Wood Elf noble who was diverted from his arrogant path by an encounter with an Elven Goddess. Araloth’s model is rather nice, posed giving flight to his hawk Skaryn, who can pluck the eye from any enemy careless enough to leave it unguarded. There also look to be a number of other new special character models appearing, but pictures are rather small so we’ll await confirmation on that front when the army book arrives!

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Rules

Araloth has a number of generic special rules, such as Always Strikes First (does this mean this isn’t a standard rule for all Wood Elves as had been previously rumoured? Or is it simply Games Workshop listing it this way in White Dwarf to avoid revealing more than they want to?) and Stubborn. He is armed with an Asrai Spear, which itself appears to suggest that any ‘Asrai’ weapons will be armour piercing (Asrai arrows, anyone?). A further interesting comment by one of the Games Workshop staff interviewed about using Araloth is the comment that “If you keep him in a wood, he’ll be able to re-roll To Wound rolls of a 1”, which suggests that Wood Elves may gain some benefits from being inside a wood as a general army special rule.

Eternal Guard?

One of the most interesting new models on show (though you have to peer quite hard to see them) are potential new Eternal Guard models. The Eternal Guard are definitely still in the army, as they’re mentioned several times in White Dwarf by those interviewed, and it would seem that they will retain their role as the ‘elite guard’ and ‘hard hitters’ of the Wood Elf army. The new models, if Eternal Guard they are, appear to be armed with a two-handed extended axe type weapon that could either be a halberd or a two-handed weapon. Whatever it turns out to be, I’m assuming it will be an ‘Asrai’ weapon as well, meaning it’ll either be S4 Armour Piercing, or S5 Armour Piercing. If Wood Elves don’t get ASF across the board, it’s probably going to be a halberd, but it will be interesting to see how it turns out. Either way, the new models look pretty damn cool.

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And what models are not there?

No pics of stag rider models in this White Dwarf, though two different art-works featuring them are in there, including those in the leaks earlier in the week. There aren’t any pics of treekin either – which given the way that the Treeman model now fits the theme of the dryad models suggests that there could well be new models forthcoming from them, but that’s a long way from confirmed. There is a very ‘in the background’ picture of a warhawk rider, but it’s impossible to say whether it’s new or old.

And the rest…

There’s also a nice paint splatter section on painting a Treeman, a whole load of interview content with people who’ve used the new Wood Elves in battle and lots of lovely pictures!

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New Wood Elves White Dwarf Leaks

The internets are aglow with many wonderful pictures of the new Wood Elf releases due out in May.

First up we have the teaser video from Games Workshop themselves:

And then there are the lovely, lovely White Dwarf leaks from Saturday’s forthcoming issue, enjoy:

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I don’t think it’s too early to say that Games Workshop have absolutely nailed this one on. The Treemen alone are enough to make me consider picking some Wood Elves up!

 

Mordheim: City of the Damned – factions and more details

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Since our last post about the Mordheim: City of the Damned PC game, Rogue Factor have been busy working away on the game, but luckily not so busy that their lead developer couldn’t spend some time to talk to the strategy informer website about the progress they’ve been making.

The interview covers a nice amount of ground, but without masses of detail, but the key highlights are:

Core factions

The main playable factions announced so far are:

    • The Empire
    • Skaven
    • Sisters of Sigmar
    • Cult of the Possessed

It sounds as though the campaign will involve plenty of the other ‘usual suspects’ (how you keep the constituent races of the Warhammer world a secret is a little beyond me, but hey ho) possibly as fully playable factions, possibly as cameo or mission-driven elements. It’s also not yet decided whether the single player campaign will allow you to play heroes and villains, so far it’s just The Empire, apparently.

Proper warbands

It looks like the full range of on-going conditions are likely to be present in the game, with the ability to hire in new members for your warband, permanent injuries (like losing an arm) and even death.

We’ll be able to customise equipment, gain experience for warband members and even hand-pick which team to use for each particular mission or match up. It sounds as though some factions may have built-in restrictions in terms of equipment use (Sisters of Sigmar can’t used ranged weapons) so each warband should have its own particular flavour that matches the Warhammer fluff.

Wyrdstone weirdness and magical chaos

One interesting addition is the role of wyrdstone as both the major ‘currency’ but also as an element with an in-game effect. Picking up wyrdstone may trigger something suitably chaotic and it sounds as though you might even be able to try to actively ‘use’ it to swing things your way. We also get spell casters in the game, but the designers decided to use the chaotic origins of magic to perhaps make it less game-changing than it otherwise might have been, again through the use of random consequences from its use.

Campaign and dynamic maps

Players in multiplayer games will be able to switch between procedurally generated (i.e. pseudo-random) maps and the campaign maps, so things should be kept interesting.

Games Workshop enthusiasts

One of the key things with Rogue Factor is that they appear to be tabletop gamers through and through. As you’ll see if you go and read the interview for yourself they have a real desire to get things right for the Warhammer fans, not simply in terms of making the 3D renders match up with expectations but also in terms of creating a game that reflects that original sense that Mordheim the tabletop game gives you of a grimy city crawling with critters, with everyone struggling for survival and influence. If they get the ongoing warband elements right and get you to really care about one-armed Jim in the same way that I’m sure we all mourned when our best bowman lost an eye, then it should be a cracking game – it’d certainly get me to dust off my PC again!

 

Wild West Exodus – A First Look

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Howdy Stranger! Eat hot lead!

Out of the rising darkness come the heroes and villains that make up the world of Wild West Exodus. Set just after the American Civil War, Wild West Exodus combines the still raw battle scars and rivalries of the Union and  the Confederacy with a looming dark power, embodied by those known only as The Dark Council. Against this backdrop, a new wave of outlandish cybersteam technologies and spiritual attunement are transforming the conflicts between the factions and threatening to wreak havoc and tear apart the fragile peace…

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After initial setup. Dave has some great scenery from playing lots of Dead Man’s Hand, so the game looked great on a desert prairie board

One of my main purchases at Salute, the Lawmen posse I picked up, got their first run through last night courtesy of one of the club regulars, Dave. He was playing the Outlaws, and we decided to keep things fairly simple with a $500 limit on hiring our posse (spending dollars being the ‘points’ system that Wild West Exodus uses). This meant I was using Wyatt Earp as my boss, a UR30 Lawbot (this model reminds me so much of the movie West World), my light support deputy with a gatling gun (lots of bullets!), 2 long range deputies and 3 close range deputies. Dave had Jesse James and his incredibly annoying gun of death, Cole Younger, a light support bandit with a quad barreled shotgun, 3 close range and 3 long range bandits.

The game itself plays really smoothly. All either of us had done was flick through the quick start rules and glance at the full book before setting out across the prairie, and when we met in the abandoned town of “Tharsasnake in Maaboot” the lead started flying faster than a cat on a hot tin roof. Or something.

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The Lawmen and the Outlaws close each other down, at this point I’m still doing pretty well…

There ain’t no law in these parts

No laws, but some good easy to grasp game rules. The basics are straightforward, each model has a stat-line that describes how good it is at doing physical stuff like jumping, climbing and hitting people in the face with their fists (or with their handy pet snake, which we’ll get to later, yes, seriously, a snake) and how accurate they are at the all important activity of shooting their opposition across the street like the low down, good fer nothin varmint that they are. It also covers the number of actions they get each turn, how far they can move, how likely they are to turn tail and hop it and all of the other fairly standard game stuff.

The game has an alternating activations mechanic with an initiative roll at the beginning of each turn to determine who is fastest on the draw. Each activation ‘chunk’ allows you to pick between 1 and 3 models and perform their actions according to what you want them to do, whether that be move lots, move then shoot then move, or just blast away at that threatening looking cactus that said something mean about your dear old ma. All actions that require a dice roll use D10s rather than your standard D6 and this gives things more of a probability range, which is a good thing in general. Though not when you roll lots of 1’s as I did at some fairly critical moments last night…

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Lawbot UR30 surveys the scene of his impending destruction…

Influence matters in this town

The extra spice comes in the form of a concept called ‘influence’. Various models in your posse have an influence stat and this gives you a number of influence tokens each turn that you can use to re-roll a specific die. You have to nominate exactly which die you want to re-roll and you have to do it before you roll that die for the first time, but you can throw as much influence as you like at it. So, if you really, really, really want to hit that pesky hill-billy swanning across the street like he owns the place, but your weapon is only Rate Of Fire 1 (meaning you only get one roll to hit), you can assign 2 influence (assuming your posse creates that much influence each turn, of course) to your marksmanship die roll and then if the first one misses, you can re-roll, then if the second misses you can re-roll that as well. The kicker is that you have to accept the result of the re-roll, even if it’s worse. Given that there is such a thing as a critical hit (a natural 10) and these are generally good, particularly if the hill-billy in question is wearing lots of armour, you may want to re-roll even if you’ve already hit – but the cost could be that you miss completely instead.

The cool thing about influence is that it can be used to re-roll any of your own die rolls any number of times (but you can’t influence an opponent’s die roll), including initiative, which Dave did. A lot. Because he had tonnes more influence than me, which was completely unfair! It actually kept the game really interesting as I had to be really careful with my choice of how I spent my 2 influence each turn, whereas Dave could be a little more carefree with his 4. The influence mechanic, combined with being able to group between 1-3 models each activation kept each turn different – it wasn’t a race to get to a certain model each time and you could obscure your intentions by activating a model in one group in one turn and then another in the next, it’s a nice fluid way to keep things moving and gives you lots of options when planning your turn as you only declare the group when it’s your activation.

My gatling gun attempts to cover the street with a withering hail of suprresing firepower. Then remembers this is the Wild West, not Warhammer 40K and dies.
My gatling gun attempts to cover the street with a withering hail of suppressing firepower. Then remembers this is the Wild West, not Warhammer 40K and dies.

The game itself (oh yeah, I remember, that’s what I’m supposed to be telling you about…) was great fun to play. It started off well for my Lawmen posse, with me plinking a few points of lifeblood off one of Dave’s bandits hiding behind some barrels and completely wasting another. Then it started to go bad, particularly when Dave discovered that Jesse James is, effectively, armed with an ICBM (OK, maybe my rubbish positioning had something to do with it, but… meh). One of my core ‘mechanics’ is called Forward Echelon, which basically gives my guys an armour buff when in base to base. Jesse James, however, is armed with a fiendish weapon that not only halves your armour, but also is very high power and uses a 3″ blast when it hits. This meant for some very, very messy shooting and I suddenly went from a slight numerical advantage to having three guys left as my boss attempted to call out Mr James! I did at least set him on fire and when he failed his ensuing courage test I like to think he lost some serious face running around like a little sissy-girl yelling “Sumbaaady put me outt!” What in actual fact happened was that he rolled on the ground, put the fire out and then got up and blasted my face off. Similar to what I thought, but subtly different one could argue…

Jesse James, on fire last night.
Jesse James, on fire last night.

It of course didn’t help that I was swanning across open ground with my guys as though the fact that they were huddled together would throw Dave off the scent (weirdly, that only encouraged him to shoot me, stupid bandits), and a large measure of the end result (a very clear win for Dave) was my fixation on wanting to stand in the middle of the street and call him out. Yeah, that didn’t work, he hid in buildings and behind scatter terrain and picked my guys off (or, as previously mentioned, blasted them off the face of the earth).

Trouser snakes and ICBMs

The weaponry itself is interesting and varied, with plenty of options for even your low-level bandits and deputies to pick from each activation, including Jesse James’ personal nuclear arsenal. My close combat deputies have one of the oddest options I’ve ever seen in a game, an actual snake (well, an Asp, anyway) that has a 2″ range. Er… yeah. Suffice it to say we had a good laugh about my deputies attacking Dave with their spitting trouser snakes, sadly he never got close enough to risk that threat. Next time Dave. Next time… [This sounds like a night out with Phil – Ed]

The last stand of Deputy Dawg

My last stand was a lone deputy with a rifle squatting on the ground next to an outhouse who, despite the reek of effluent in the air, was stubbornly and stupidly passing his courage rolls and trying in vain to take out any of the approaching swarm of bandits. Sadly, as expected, he didn’t make it out and the long-departed town now echoes to the sounds of descending vultures, coming to pick at the fresh corpses of Wyatt and his posse. Jesse James and his low down dirty gang flee justice once more, escaping the hangman’s noose for another day!

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Awww crap. Literally.

I definitely can’t wait to play our next game (I get now that my guys are closer range, hence the snakes I suppose?!) and am really looking forward to getting on with painting the models. I really like the 35mm scale (though it does make the 28mm scenery we were using look a little odd) and the models fit together and clean up beautifully – they are great sculpts as well. Lots of character, movement and variation such that even the deputies in my Lawmen look great.

See you around, strangers…

Salute in Review: So long and Thanks for All the Models…

Salute 2014

Salute 2014, you are done! What a day!

My head is still spinning slightly to be honest. This year Salute was everything I’d hoped for in some ways and something of a missed opportunity in others. Anyone who knows me in real life is well aware of my propensity for taking on way too much stuff (still, it works out occasionally, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this, here and wouldn’t that be a pity…) and yet again I managed to overcommit my time for the day. Worst of all it meant that, for the second year running, I missed out on the #warmongers lunch time meetup. Boo me! Boo I say!

Thing is, I distinctly remember my phone alarm going off at 12:45 and then snoozing it, about 14 times or so… Damn… Then I walked out of the hall at about 2pm, rang Phil to find out where everyone was and it was all over. Not even a trace residue (okay, I just made myself feel ill) of #warmonger was to be seen and I trudged disconsolately back into the hall to BUY ALL OF THE THINGS instead. [Mat would be proud. -Ed.]

That’s part of the problem with being on a stall most of the day I suppose (I have a nefarious alter-ego, beware!), but to tell you the truth I really enjoy that aspect as well. It means I get people coming to talk to me (the poor mad fools!) and I get to ask them all about the hobby they’ve been doing, what they’ve seen at the show and what shiney things they have been tempted into buying. It’s a brilliant thing to be able to get so many different views on the hobby with people covering everything from 6mm historical right through to the usual suspects like Games Workshop and the like. The big difference from last year were lots of folks talking about Malifaux, Warmachine, tonnes and tonnes of X-Wing, and a bit more Bolt Action chatter (I think Phil will have more to say on that front in the not too distant future).

It’s obvious that the hobby is in an amazing state at the moment, with almost too much going on to be able to keep track of it all and it’s generating masses of enthusiasm across the community that without doubt followed me home!

The haul ™

It was my most satisfying Salute haul yet I think. I picked up the three main systems I had planned on, didn’t get massively distracted by anything else and found a couple of little bonuses along the way. Here’s a lovely picture of all of my awesome shiny from the day

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Besides three new skirmish games: Wild West Exodus, Dark Age and Saga, I also picked up Zombie Dice (which I’m looking forward to being a staple family game) and a lovely dice bag from @TheDiceBagLady. All great stuff. I’ve already been cracking on with the assembly of my Wild West Exodus miniatures clocked my first game (see my article going live tomorrow), watch this space for a lot more on that front as the miniatures are gorgeous! I’ve also had a good peruse of my other figures and I’m very pleased with my choices. I’m loving the character of the Irish war band with the wolf hounds (one of my favourite breeds of dog besides my own of course) and the Core models from Dark Age have a nice alt-feel to them despite the obvious superficial comparison with the Convergence models from Warmachine.

I also got the chance to meet all of The Shell Case team for the first time and they’re all quite normal (yes I said ‘quite’) and a great laugh to mooch around a show and generally enthuse about the hobby with. We made some great contacts and are all really excited about what’s happening with the site over the coming months, stick around, it’s going to be ace!

FaQs are dead! Long live the FaQs!

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One of the immediate hot topics of conversation (OK hobby rage) after the launch of the new Games Workshop web site was the notable absence of the FaQs section. Any attempt to access them via saved links was met with a pretty clear message:

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Well it would appear that all is not lost. People are reporting receiving a common response to their enquiries to Games Workshop customer services about the missing FaQs which looks like this:

Thanks for the email regarding the FAQs on the new website.

Currently the FaQ’s are not available on the website, as the design team are taking this opportunity to fully update all the FAQ and Errata articles. This is only temporary and these FAQ’s will be made available again in the very near future. 

So, really it’s a case of “good news everyone!” as it would appear that not only are the FaQs not dead, they aren’t even just sleeping, they are getting a full refresh! Hopefully that’ll see some of the more glaring issues with some of the newer codices and army books dealt with (Lizardmen, I’m looking at you with your skink characters on terradons not being able to join units) and a nice fresh set of random rules (undead crumbling randomness, you know what you did) for us all to pore over.

 

New Games Workshop Website Live!

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After the mysterious activities on the Games Workshop website yesterday, presumably just to build tension (given that these days there is no technical reason to take a site offline for a whole day to launch a web site!) it’s back, it’s new and, er, well is same but different.

It’s still just Games Workshop

No clever attempt at an integration of the Forge World and Black Library sites (as expected really, given that at no point yesterday did these sites disappear), it’s just the Games Workshop website, with some differences (see below). This is a good thing in my view, Forge World and Black Library have great individual identities and if they had been subsumed into a new ‘pure eCommerce’ site like this one then the community would have lost a significant amount of the flavour that they bring to our hobby.

The new design

Isn’t a million miles away from the old one. It’s still image-driven but now it’s even clearer that this is a retail store. Pretty much all of the ‘hobby’ content, bar the “What’s new” and “White Dwarf” sections, has gone and the menu layout and options are definitely geared towards purchasing, with options to select by price range and force organisation/ army composition rather than just driving you through the standard ‘army’ channels.

There are some good tweaks here, specifically to make the site more generally accessible across more devices, and as a result the hover menus have died a necessary death. It’s slightly annoying that you have to click on check boxes, not words as that gives you a smaller target area to aim at (especially on a mobile device), but I definitely prefer it over the last front end, much cleaner and easier to read and the new ‘list’ of products view is nicer.

One potentially useful new feature is the ability to select multiple categories at once from the side bar, very much a standard eCommerce feature but I’m not sure how necessary it is for this site. Unless of course you really need to look at Beastmen and Dwarves in one product list…

gw_newwebsite_newsitelayout

Mobile/ tablet friendly

Probably the biggest change folks are talking about (on Twitter, where Games Workshop notably still are not) is the introduction of a ‘proper’ mobile site. My feeling on this is, yup it’s nice, but really if there had been a site relaunch without some response design to accommodate mobile users then that would have been a serious negative point against it. It’s good to have, but should be auto-include for a retail web site these days.

FAQ off!

This is probably the ‘biggy’ in this revamp, Games Workshop have completely stripped out the FAQs section.

gw_newwebsite_faqsgone

This isn’t totally unforeseen, after all the FAQs haven’t been updated in a long while, and Games Workshop’s general shift towards digital content might suggest that they’ll simply shift them into automatic codex/army/rule book updates plus possibly a return to the old days of ‘official’ update books? I think that latter option is unlikely, Games Workshop have put considerable effort into their digital offerings of late and I suspect they want us all to just buy iPads and receive over the air updates so that we’re all using the version of rules they consider to be ‘the right ones’. Not that that’s much help if you don’t have a fruit-based tablet, of course…

We will have to wait and see what impact this has on the tournament and general hobby scene. After all if Games Workshop have taken them down, does this mean they won’t allow them at Warhammer World events? Most tournaments, I suspect, will still count them as valid (after all, they’re still an official Games Workshop offering), but how will new players get hold of them if not from the Games Workshop web site?

Your account is dead, long live your (new) account!

Part of the revamp involved a new platform and I guess rather than attempt (and therefore pay for) a migration of existing accounts, Games Workshop have scrapped all existing accounts and wish/gift lists. Not a massive issue really and certainly not worth holding up a new site for, but something to be aware of nonetheless!

Final thoughts

So all-in-all not a bad revamp, but clearly another step towards Games Workshop’s online presence being about two things, retail sales and retail sales. Oh wait, that’s the same thing twice. I do think they’re trying, with the White Dwarf revamp, the weekly release schedule and the hiving off of all social content to the stores to explicitly split off our relationship with Games Workshop HQ as a retail body from our relationship to the stores, hence retaining the store Facebook pages. It’s an interesting move on their part and I guess time will tell how successful a strategy it is, but with their one-man store policy and a clear desire to drive footfall back into stores as hobby centres you can see a picture developing where we go back to the days of our primary relationship to the Games Workshop part of the hobby being bricks and mortar centric. At least I suspect that’s what Games Workshop are trying to achieve.