Space Hulk: Deathwing Teaser Trailer

Holy fucking shit!

I couldn’t care less what this game is about – this trailer looks immense. And finally gives tell to why Dark Angels were the first army I properly collected as a young hobbyist.

However, I’ve been a good boy and looked into it and oh my poor pants. Space Hulk: Deathwing will be a first person shooter available on the XBox One.

I’ll be watching this one very closely because it has the potential to be incredible. Or a miserable pile of shit like all the other Space Hulk shooters that have preceded it.

April 5th 2014 – International Tabletop Day

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One of the most spectacularly wonderful things about being a geek who games is being part of a wide, vibrant and varied community that organises some brilliant events.

We’ve got Adepticon on right now and Salute in a week or so, and this Saturday, 5th April it is International Tabletop Day.

“What is International Tabletop Day Rob?” I hear you all cry. Well, gather round and I will tell you a tale of valour and intrigue, oh wait, wrong blog post. Sorry about that, where was I? Oh yes, International Tabletop Day. Well in a nutshell it’s a world-wide tabletop gaming extravaganza, where anyone who wants to can organise and register an event through the Tabletop Day website. The site then serves as a really clever discovery tool for anyone wanting to find an event local to them. There’s a great map-driven interface so you can see whereabouts all the events are near and far and find something that will entertain you for the day.

I, for example, happen to be in Munich for the day and a quick search reveals that there will be two events local to me, one organised by the “Toytown fan group” and the other at a place called “Funtainment”. I will be trying my level best to get to one of them just to see what’s going on and join in the gaming fervour. At the very least I’ll be taking a couple of games in my luggage to play with my family; my daughter is hooked on Labyrinth at the moment and I think I’ll be slipping my copy of Boss Monster in there as well.

Phil and Mat will be X-Winging it up all day and they’ve registered their event through the site, so go find them and shout ‘pew-pew’ noises in their general direction, they’ll bloody love it. Mat also said he’s going to try to spread the good word about the hobby a little closer to home by teaching his wife how to play Dreadball. Anything that encourages understanding and appreciation of the hobby (and potentially gives  you more freedom to spend!) is all part of the fun of the day.

Ashley is of course already caught up in the mega-maelstrom that is Adepticon (she laughs at our one-day gaming feebleness!), and will be playing Necromunda, or Saga, or Lord of the Rings. Or all three, though presumably not simultaneously. I assume that Adepticon (it is registered on the site) will be the largest playing group on the day, would be interesting to get the official word from the organisers on that front.

Reece informs me that he’ll be starting out his celebration of all things tabletop by doing unspeakable things to his washing machine. Rock and roll. Sounds like the afternoon will definitely improve the awesomeness quotient of his day with a spot of painting Lizardmen with his wife and then rounding the day out with a bunch of friends playing Zombies and Space Hulk – now that’s more like it!

So far there are over 2,300 events registered world-wide, which is seriously impressive, including well over 250 in the UK. So, if you’re hitting up your FLGS on Saturday, get them registered on the site so that the world knows you exist!

Follow events as they unfold by looking up @TableTopDay and @GeekandSundry on Twitter and lots of folks seem to be using the #TableTopDay hashtag already.

I love stuff like this, it reminds me just how huge our community is, and how wide the range of options is for participation in tabletop gaming. It also shows the world and celebrates what a social and sociable group we are and that we have bags of enthusiasm for welcoming new people into the gaming fold and dragging those who are already playing one lot of games into intriguing and exciting new gaming formats.

Want to find out more? There’s a video for that:

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Having just recently played the thoroughly enjoyable Firefly game, The Chaps caught a bit of board game fever and wanted to organise an evening playing a myriad of our favourite cardboard based entertainment.  A second go on Firefly was welcome and Space Hulk always goes down well, amongst the numerous other potentials.

Now Space Hulk is a game that’s close to my heart and really demonstrates what you can do with a boxed game through the quality of the pieces, variety of the board, and tactical game mechanic. Whenever the game is mentioned I’m reminded of the time I was fortunate enough to get the last copy in London (really) when its release sneaked out so sneakily I almost missed it entirely.

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I was late picking up my copy of White Dwarf that month and was not yet keyed in with social media, so by the time I realised that yes, one of my favourite childhood games had actually been re-released, I was very late to the party.  My local store at the time was the Plaza on Oxford Street and upon walking in the lack of Space Hulk shaped boxes on the shelves worried me – and my fears were confirmed when the staff informed me they had none left and then proceeded to reel through all the other stores they had already called trying to get more.  The only possibility was the Bromley branch (barely even London) which had two left – down to one by the time he managed to get the words ‘reserve it’ out of his mouth.  Lucky me. But even more luckily the store manager was attending a meeting at that store in a few days, so he let me have a box that had already been sold and was awaiting collection in a week and would bring the reserved one back with him.  So I got to walk out of Plaza that day with the last box of Space Hulk to be sold in London grinning like an idiot – super mega lucky me.

All this got me thinking, are Games Workshop missing a vitally important component from their Machine Spirit?  Their special release games have largely been a success (although they over egged it a bit with Dreadfleet), but is there a place for something a bit more permanent?  And focussed?  Board or Boxed games provide a ready-made doorway into their IP’s and their absence seems to be a missed opportunity. There were two (well, three) games that led me up the path of war gaming and I know I won’t be alone when I say their names; Hero Quest and Space Crusade (and to a lesser extent Battle Masters).  These are still two of my most favouritest games to this day, I own them, I play them, I’ll never forget them. For those of you who don’t know, these three games were made in conjunction with MB Games and had a very wide distribution as a result – retailers you would NEVER see Games Workshop products in today.  They even had TV adverts (I know, right?!) such was the benefit of working with a mainstream manufacturer like Milton Bradley.  And it worked, an entire generation of war gamers born out a present they got for their birthday from granddad that he picked up in Argos [I got mine at the tender age of 7 from my parents. -Ed].

We all know the company recently posted far from good financial results and this has been largely attributed to their prices over anything lacking product wise.  From what I’ve heard, they conducted price tests which demonstrated customers (i.e. us) were willing to pay whatever the price (with a pinch of salt) to obtain what they wanted from the company.  You can form your own opinions as to the veracity and ethicality of this information but taking it at face value I would say in principal it’s true – we all know we are paying significant amounts of money for things that don’t have an inherent value to anyone other than ourselves as a community, but we enjoy our hobby and are willing to pay to do so.  Am I not going to buy those Empire State Troops because you only get 10 in a box now?  Of course I am – eventually.  Although the rise of eBay has provided the savvy wargamer with an alternative retailer with which they can obtain their wants cheaper, not to mention the Independents who regularly sell for less than RRP.  Games Workshop has taken steps to limit the impact these have on its sales by cutting the range available to its independents stockists as well reducing their trade discounts, and some would argue that part of the reason for phasing out metal models entirely was to tear the bottom out of the resale market.  I must assume they would have factored in people leaving the hobby as a result of the prices rising, so far above the rate of inflation (at least I would hope so), and is expected anytime prices go up, but one area I think they have seriously underestimated the affect their business strategy is having is at the entry-level – the young ‘uns.

I am personally of the opinion that the hobby has never been harder to get into as a child than now, despite the games having been aligned more to younger gamers than in the past – the myriad of products at very steep prices means the start-up cost has gone way beyond the reach of your average 12-year-old to enjoy fully, even with birthdays and Christmases.  You can learn more complex rules with practice, but you can’t magic money into your pockets.  I don’t have any numbers to back this up but I can’t imagine the new starter uptake could be improving given the current economic climate combined with the premium pricing of products, and their financial results seem to agree. I did notice Games Workshop were cunning in their approach and closed a number of stores in order to open others in the more affluent areas (of London) no doubt as part of their strategy to raise prices whilst maintaining the influx of new starters, but you can’t say that it worked, at least not on a company-wide basis. Maybe because even though kids with little knowledge on the value of money may be willing to pay whatever the cost, perhaps their parents weren’t? Or maybe that new Xbox or Playstation game which is cheaper than a box of centurions is just too tempting – and better value?

I know times change, businesses progress, tastes differ, the world moves on.  GW no doubt had its reasons for not continuing with this particular approach but is it time to re-evaluate this view?  I don’t see their prices coming down any time, like ever, maybe freezing for a while at best, so a moderately priced all in one game could eventually (we’re talking long-term) provide the sorely needed influx of new blood the company needs to brighten its future.  Cast your net far and wide, as the saying goes, and you will catch many…er… children?

There’s rumours abound as to what the next special release will be, if there still is one, Bloodbowl perhaps?  Regardless, I will most likely buy it as these are the games I grew up with and still enjoy. The seed was planted long ago and has taken route so deep it can never be fully torn out.  But I fear I’m in a dwindling group with the fewer young gamers coming through having no experience of these games and sharing a lesser bond with the hobby for it. Older gamers will understand even more than I having seen the birth of the company and the changes it’s gone through.  Specialist Games have gone the way of the Dodo that’s yet another way uptake has been eroded by the company’s need for profit.  But all is not lost, things break and can be fixed (anyone who’s bought Games Workshop’s glue can attest to that), it’s just whether those who make the decisions can make the right ones this time.

ODAM 7 – Warning Might Contain Phil

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In the seventh Of Dice and Men show, we manage to insult just about everyone including Warmachine fans and, as it goes, Firefly fans. So go us. My bitterness levels may be slightly higher than normal, which may have been proportionate to the amount of alcohol I’d drunk just before the show.

We had come connection problems during recording but do bear with us, because we are ridiculous.

As usual there’s explicit language from the start, and unfortunately for some…me.

Enjoy…

ODAM Episode 7

I also have to apologise to my fellow countrymen, the English Civil War was 371 years ago not 700 years ago. I got a bit carried away trying to make a point.

Space Hulk Pre-Order Trailer

Full Control have released the pre-order trailer for the soon to be released Space Hulk video game.

The finished product is leagues ahead of the early shots and goes to show how hard Full Control have worked. Needless to say I will be reviewing it as soon as possible.

Space Hulk Gameplay

So here’s a video of some game play (plus an interview) from Feat the Flames, of Space Hulk from Full Control. Since the video from March the graphics have been tidied up loads, the light sourcing and over environments look ace and the terminators walk now. And the shoulder cam is extremely cool. I think there’s still a little work to be done mind. Watching the video it kinda looks like each action performed by the terminators are independent of each other rather than a fluid series of motions. Otherwise, the game is shaping up quite nicely.

Could this be the first good Space Hulk video game?

Space Hulk Video Game News

Well, news to me at any rate…

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You may remember back in December I posted the announcement trailer of yet another Space Hulk video game. I was quite unkind about it. And for good reason as the track record for the Space Hulk video game franchise is not a good one. And, to be honest, looking at what Full Control has punted out these last few years I’m not coloured impressed. This could be me being overly critical of the mobile games market. I could have my standards set too high. But maybe they should be set high as the whole point of having something as sophisticated as a smartphone with an HD screen in my pocket is that shit should look good on it.

But on to Space Hulk. As it has been a while since I heard anything about the game I thought I’d do some scouting about to see if there was any news. Aside from this screen grab below there wasn’t really anything coming from Full Control themselves.

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To be fair, it looks a lot better than I thought it would. But that’s not saying much. If the game was nothing more, upon download, than a photograph of a semen stained serviette with a Blood Angels terminator drawn on it in Biro, it would have been better than I expected. Harsh? Yes. But only because I’m bored with video games companies thinking they know how to make games better than wargaming and board games companies. That’s not to say that there isn’t room for a first person Space Hulk shooter, but it’s logic engine shouldn’t be built on a turn based strategy board game.

Anyway. It doesn’t look bad. And, whilst browsing the interwebs I came across a Gamespot video put up back in March which demos the game. Although rough around the edges it is, amazingly, showing promise. Be warned it’s 15 minutes long.

It’s still a work in progress quite clearly as the legs of the terminators don’t move for a start. But at least it feels like a Space Hulk game. It’s dark, it’s gritty and the developers seem to understand the aesthetic of the universe far better than any before them. Although my worry is that they’ll just end up building maps that are basically bits and bobs robbed from the plastic building kits.

The action cam feature is a nice touch providing the graphics are up to scratch otherwise it’ll just be a continual reminder that the boardgame sat under your bed gathering dust is vastly superior and that you should be ashamed for buying a digital knock off.

They were about half way through development in March so we should be seeing Space Hulk ship in the next couple of months. Needless to say I will be reviewing it…

 

Space Hulk the Video Game

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Yes, that’s right; yet another shit looking Space Hulk video game. I seem to remember the first one coming out back when I had a Commodore 64. It was gritty, intense and scary. Everything since has been an unmitigated dirge of toss that focussed far too much on copying the board game into a first person format rather than making a game based on Space Hulk. There is nothing fun about playing a game in which your storm bolter jams every third shot. This time round it’s Full Control’s turn. A Danish company that seems to have produced a raft of crap looking games. Which makes me ask this question: is the licensing team at Games Workshop fucking high?

Here’s the announcement trailer…