Rogue Trader Skirmish Game Revealed

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Just when I’d convinced myself not to buy any more hobby stuff for a while, Games Workshop has gone and done it again.

The latest box of beautiful is the Rogue Trader skirmish game. Details are sketchy right now but with models this cool and a teaser trailer that couldn’t rock the Guardians of the Galaxy vibe any harder – who really cares?

It looks like a Space Crusade-esque board game which is indescribably cool. Based on the pictures below there’s some natty modular scenery which will work nicely with Necromunda too and a model range comprising of gribbly Nurgle beasties and some incredible looking Imperial models.

I’ll share more as it becomes available.

RT-killteam2RT-boxed-game

Big Damn Painting Competition: Announcement.

In the last few days we have received a few messages from concerned entrants with regards to the voting on our site. We have been investigating this and can now substantiate that unfortunately there has been an indeterminate amount of manipulation/cheating happening. We at The Shell Case are extremely disappointed and saddened with this realisation.

We cannot prove that any particular entrants were actually involved in this, so all entries still stand, but the public vote has been closed and will be discounted. The voting will now fall to The Shell Case team and we will be looking to make a unanimous decision and the winners will be announced tomorrow.

I do find it sad that some people found it necessary to manipulate the vote in a community such as ours, and hope they feel ashamed of themselves for ruining what was our first – and now our last – public vote painting competition.

– Mat

Mierce Miniatures’ Darklands

Visiting Salute this year we saw some pretty amazing things. Genuinely original games, very patient girlfriends and wives who clearly weren’t gamers but still willing to feign interest as their other halves dragged them around the hall – girls in the room at all is always surprising (which says a lot), Boba Fett wandering around and models that defied belief in their quality and detail. One such range came from the Mierce Miniatures stand. The whole team fawned over the plain resin and painted models, cooing approvingly at dragons, chimeras, minotaurs and other creatures of myth and legend.

As one would expect, premium models come at premium prices. But Mierce Miniatures are running a kickstarter. Whilst it’s fully funded this is very a sexy looking range it’s worth a punt.

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Mierce are looking for money to fund their latest version of one of their games. In return, you get a sweet deal on some models. They’ve already reached their target of £20,000 and are well into the stretch goals. With 9 days to go, you can invest in a great new game. Plus minis like this:

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As Matt would say- “PRETTY TOYS”

Whilst at The Shell Case we avoid pledging on Kickstarters to retain objectivity, if we were going to put our hands in our now distinctly empty pockets, it’d be for this. The Kickstarter runs until April 23rd. Just follow this link and check it out yourself.

Eisenhorn: Xenos The Video Game Announced

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Games Workshop and Pixelhero Games have announced the production of Eisenhorn: Xenos, 3D action adventure game based on part 1 of the best-selling Eisenhorn Trilogy.

It looks to be a fairly faithful adaptation of the much-loved book and Pixelhero promises to faithfully recreate the full weight of the grim darkness of the 41st Millennium. So expect it all to be a bit depressing.

Personally I can’t wait for this. I loved the Eisenhorn trilogy and will watch with keen interest as this project develops towards its eventual release next year.

To get all the skinny – such as it is head over to Pixelhero’s website.

Wayland Games to Acquire Vesper-On Games

It has been revealed to me by an anonymous source that as part of Wayland Games’ bid to launch a game studio that they will be acquiring Vesper-On Games, the people who product Carnivale.

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What this means for the company is yet unknown beyond Wayland clearly looking to use their infrastructure to produce HOX. I suspect Carnevale will continue to be sold as a revenue stream for the new business whilst they get their own game off the ground. But time will tell…

Hawk Wargames Justifies Scenery Pricing

It seems the general outrage from the wargaming community – much 0f it coming from me – over the prices of Hawk Wargames scenery has provoked a response from them. It can be read in full here. In my opinion it’s largely bollocks.

RANT INCOMING

The general gist surrounds cutting edge technology and a modular system allowing limitless potential and superior resins etc. This is all crap. Their resin is not the best. Not even close. The technology is the same technology that Spartan and the Games Workshop uses. Spartan seem to be able punt their wares out at a reasonable price. And if the tile system was resulting in shrinkage in a ‘cheaper’ resin then it’s a flawed concept and should have been abandoned in favour of something else, not passing on the truly stellar costs on to the customer. Who were hardly demanding a modular scenery system that’s only any good for that one game. Plus, there’s nothing innovative about mounting tiles on foam board. Innovation would have been scenery sets that you can just build out of the box.

There’s also some cock and bull about the tiles being super detailed. They’re not. Don’t get me wrong they look cool, but they’re nothing to hit your hobby spot. The overall finished effect is very striking but they are nowhere near the detail or other scenery kits out there. I also have to ask the question; how important is a modular system in a game where the emphasis is on air units – so you’re only looking at the roofs – and when buildings are essentially obstacles rather than things to be interacted with?

But it boils down to total lack of commercial sense. £720 for 15 buildings make no sense. Even if all of the crap about the finest quality blah blah blah was true, anyone with a shred of business acumen would conclude it is not commercially viable to punt out scenery, the lowest priority purchase for probably 90% of gamers, at those prices, and instead look at an alternative way of doing things. It’s either naivety, arrogance or petulance.

It’s great that Hawk Wargames have such high standards but they’re forcing those standards on the customer. The majority of whom simply can’t afford it. The number of gamers I’ve spoken to who are just going to bust out old Epic scenery or just use the paper buildings compared to those that’ll actually spend the money is 20 to 1. I also have to ask; where’s the innovation in system that requires you to mount your lovely expensive scenery tiles onto foam board? True innovation would have been a system that looks good, is easy to build, and doesn’t bust the bank. Unfortunately it doesn’t do any of those things.

I really feel Hawk has blindly stumbled into the same position the Games Workshop are in now in so much as they are producing a desirable product at a ridiculous price. But whereas the Games Workshop have 30 years of canon to draw in loyal customers time and again to hide their dropping customer numbers by paying increased prices, Hawk just doesn’t. But more than that, gamers can buy proxy models to cut costs so they can continue to play Games Workshop games, short of building paper buildings Dropzone gamers don’t have the option. And for gamers looking at getting into a new system I struggle to see how they can look at Dropzone Commander as a financially viable option any more.

Especially with the stand out comedy moment of the FAQ being when they recommend just 10 buildings for a 4×4 game. So only a £460 layout.  So that’s all right. What makes it worse is that it’s bullshit. We played on a 4×4 board with 15 buildings and we were told that ideally, to play the game the way it was design we’d need at least another 10. And you know what; I’d agree with it. Interestingly as well, pretty much all the scenario diagrams have 15 buildings in them…

I think it boils down to the this. Hawk Wargames may think they can justify £720 for 15 buildings and claim they’re awesome. Maybe they are awesome and maybe £720 is good value for money, but they’ve missed the point. It never should have gotten this far. At the product development stage someone should have said ‘fucking hell, this is gonna come out a bit expensive’. It’s a classic example of being too close to a project to objectively look at it and question it’s viability. The tiles are a great idea but if it wasn’t going to work whilst making it affordable it should have been canned.

As it stands Dropzone Commander is one of the most expensive games in the market with zero justification to be beyond an alleged high quality resin. My sources in the know tell me this is balls. Yes, okay, so they may be positioning themselves as a premium product but in a recession that’s retarded. Plus it isn’t a premium product. Erratas for the rules hit the site the day of release and continue to be updated. The rule book itself is badly laid out. For all their posturing about casting quality, miscasts have been rife. And let me ask this; what happens if the tiles even slightly warp? You’ve paid out a fucking fortune for something that doesn’t line up.

I full appreciate how bilious this post is coming across, but I don’t care. I don’t feel Hawk Wargames have a solid perspective and instead of reconsidering the viability of the scenery, they have instead tried to justify the colossal expense. Because, quite simply, I can buy myself a Warhound Titan from Forge World for less money than the supposed 10 buildings (minimum) I’d need to fill a 4×4 board for Dropzone Commander.

It’ll certainly be interesting to see what they come up with next…

Dark Vengeance Delayed

Sources within the Games Workshop revealed to me yesterday (and since been all but confirmed by Bell of Lost Souls) that the standard edition of Dark Vengeance will be delayed.

There’s some speculation about why but my source tells me that it’s a combination of the Limited Edition box not being as limited as was originally implied and the sales of said box not being as strong because customers are holding off for the cheaper box.

It’s a rare thing for me to feel sorry for the Games Workshop as the limited edition box was a nice idea. Personally I’d like them to pay a bit more attention to the video games market to understand what a limited edition box should be. One extra bloke a special box does not make. But that aside, they attempted to garner some excitement with the release and it all seems to have fallen a bit flat. Although the whole thing was compounded by the retail division not getting their copy until the day before release which meant they couldn’t ramp it up.

I remember the days of preview nights, the odd cheeky peek at the book or WIP models both as a staff member and as a customer. It built hype and the life blood of the hobby – enthusiasm. This new ‘strategy’ of not telling anyone anything until it’s about to happen just doesn’t work because the world is on a budget. Plus all that happens is pages of White Dwarf get leaked on the internet by a disgruntled employee.

This is bad for three reasons.

1. Crappy photos taken on someone’s iPhone (other smartphones with crappy cameras are available) don’t do the models justice

2. It garners ill feeling from the community because the Games Workshop should be, perhaps, a little more willing to share in lines they’re expecting us to buy

3. Customers don’t necessarily have £65 handy at a week’s notice. I certainly didn’t.

Marketing aside, perhaps the answer to lacklustre sales would have been a limited model for each side making it worth while for gamers of both factions to spend that extra little bit of money.

But whatever the reasons and whatever Games Workshop should or should not have done, the message is clear; if you’re holding off for the standard box set, give in and pay the extra two or three quid because you’ll be waiting a while.

I shall be reviewing 6th edition 40k and the Dark Vengeance box set very soon.

Dropzone Commander News & Downloads

Not only is today The Shell Case’s birthday but Dropzone Commander, by Hawk Wargames, ships to an eager wargaming community. When I wrote my first look post a month ago I’d just played the game with the fine chaps from 6inch Move and the rules were still in the process of being set. Now it’s done, dusted and looking, frankly, the tits.

And as a little treat Dave has released a few free downloads but first a few words from the man himself…

It’s been a long road and a long wait, but at last Dropzone Commander is escaping into the wild! First off, I’d like to thank those who pre-ordered products and all those who’ve been patient with me in particular. It’s been a very tough month which has demanded a whole new level of exertion from all of us!

It’s been 2 years and 8 months since I first put pen to paper and I’m excited to finally be able to let DZC loose. We’ve given it absolutely everything we could and I hope that you’ll feel that our efforts and your patience have been well worth it!


Stock going out today!

Aside from this, we also have several other pieces of news:

1) Downloadable Buildings now available!
Structures are important in games of DZC and we appreciate that many players don’t have a large stock of buildings already in place, especially in 10mm scale. We felt that for a new game the cost and availability of scenery should not be either a barrier to entry or to playing the game as it was meant to be played. As such, we’ve created a vast selection of self-print buildings available for you to download and build at home which are absolutely free!
Our Downloadable Buildings are totally accurate in scale, and are cross-compatible with all our future scenery lines. This means you’ll be able to add detailed resin accents to these buildings, use resin lobbies and card upper stories – anything you want!
We’ve been working hard to ensure that these downloads are available from day one, giving all our players an extremely low-cost scenery option from the start. We hope you have fun building a few of these, and using them in your early games of Dropzone Commander!


Here’s a few I made earlier – don’t worry, you won’t need this many!

2) Token sheet downloads now available:
While DZC does not rely heavily on the use of tokens, some are always useful. The general token sheet is available in print form in the back of the rulebook, but has also been made available online to provide an easy print option. We will be producing physical tokens, but in the meantime these should serve you well.

We’ve also included a set of Carriage Tokens for each race except for the Shaltari, who don’t need them. These aren’t mentioned in the book since they’re not officially required. Their purpose is to indicate a dropship’s content easily, making it simple to remember what is carrying what (especially when you’re not yet familiar with your army!). Simply cut them out including the slot running to the centre, which allows them to slide onto the dropship’s flying base.

3) Other gaming aid downloads now available:
We’ve produced a quick reference sheet for all the general use tables in the rulebook. We hope you’ll find it useful during games! We’ve also released a quick prompt guide to The Turn Sequence.

4) New product photos:
Product photos have now been added to the Hawk Wargames website for the Rulebook, Command Cards and for the Starter Army retail boxes.


Products not to scale

5) Facebook Live Chat 02/08/2012:
Since the last Facebook Live Chat was such a success, I’ve decided to run another on Thursday, August 2nd. Just as last time, I will be on Facebook from 9am to 9pm GMT, hopefully giving most people a window in which to chat and ask questions. With a brand new ruleset and range I’m sure there be lots to discuss! In addition to this, I’ll be on Facebook frequently in the next few weeks and will of course be able to answer questions outside the Live Chat.

6) The Hawk Widget:
We’ve added an extra component to all our kits which use flying bases! It’s a small, injection moulded, non-brittle clear acrylic part which can be glued to the resin hull (but NOT the flying base) of all our aerial units. This piece tightly holds the main stem of the flying base when in use through friction, preventing the dreaded wobble during games. Once you’ve finished playing, simply remove the flying base and store separately in transit. This makes it much easier to store and transport your models (all our custom cut KR cases feature spaces for detached flying bases).

Please bear in mind that these are small, clear components which are packaged loose inside blisters and bagged with flying bases – be careful not to lose them!

7) Demand and Stock Levels:
The response to Dropzone Commander so far has been fantastic, and well beyond our initial estimations. We are working as hard as we can to keep up with demand, and are currently in the process of upgrading our tooling to double the rate of production. In the short-term we feel we should make new customers aware that it may take a short while to fulfil new orders in the next few weeks while we undertake this transition. As such, we have updated the product descriptions on our site to state this.

8) In-store availability:
We fully intend to make Dropzone Commander widely available in stores as fast as humanly possible. With the pressure of the expansion (not to mention getting everything ready on time!) we simply haven’t had the time to organise and coordinate a formal in-store release date.

Shipments to our distributors will leave us on Friday 27th, and should begin arriving in stores at the start of August. We will be able to deal with stores direct as soon as our production rate increase is complete (we are currently waiting on the arrival of new equipment which is due by the end of the month).
In the meantime, we thank stores for bearing with us, and will be prioritising and covering the needs of those who have already contacted us as soon as we can.

I hope you all enjoy your products!

– Dave

Dropzone Commander downloads: