Somewhat amazingly, I’ve never even read a #DND book, let alone played the game. At least one of those things will change in 2019…
And with only one input controller as well! Both games are setup next to each other, and are taking input simultaneously from the same controller.
Mega Man X is probably in my Top-10 all-time favourite games – and compared to modern games – is really unforgiving. I can’t even fathom being able to do something like this.
Almost immediately we both agreed it was an amazingly beautiful game. I could quite happily frame the board itself to display. The illustrator, Xavier Gueniffey-Durin, has done an amazing job.
The game play of Tokaido seemed to be that winning combination of simple to learn, but with enough depth to make it a challenge to master.
Last year I backed the Games and Gears Battle Board Kickstarter. At the time, the estimated turnaround to get backers their boards was expected to be around May (so I figured it would be summer, at the latest). I was looking forward to getting a detailed gaming surface which I could use for playing Warhammer/Warhammer 40,000 on, much cheaper than the comparatively bland Realm of Battle board by Games Workshop.
I built a table to support the board, made some scenery to play with, and then… waited. By this time I’d found an interest in Dropzone Commander, so I ordered an extra, small version of their speciality board for playing that on.
In Mid-May, Mother Nature happened – a big flood hit the factory where the boards were being produced, and understandably delaying the project. No bother, G&G were still saying we’d have our boards in July, which fit right in with my “summer” estimate. Only, it didn’t happen.
Update after update followed, and the shipping date slipped. Then it slipped again. And again. Sometimes with no acknowledgement until after the fact. In the end, G&G stopped trying to give us estimated shipping dates. The main reason given seemed to be “we haven’t been able to take any good pictures of the boards yet.” What the heck did that have to do with getting the product into the hands of backers?
Then we had a revelation: the entire product had been redone. Redesigned, remade, and repainted. This was why things had taken so much longer than had been said at the time of the delay. If this had been communicated early, when the dates started slipping, with an explanation as to why it was being done, then I guess I would have welcomed the upgrade to what I had ordered. Instead, I was annoyed.
And so we come to today. The first batch of boards are being loaded onto a ship in China. From there it will be roughly 30 days at sea, then a week or so to sort them out and deliver when they get to the UK. Great. Only they’re shipping them in batches by theme – and the theme I ordered is last. The current hope for that one is end of February. So I might see it by April, along with my extra board?
I know this is all part of the risk of Kickstarter projects, and to be fair, the Games & Gears team have had some to deal with a situation you can’t really plan for, and have no doubt learned a lot and would do many things differently if they could. Hindsight is 20/20, after all. I’ll get my board one day, but the excitement in the anticipation of it has gone. I don’t want to bash them too much for what’s happened, due to the nature of the disaster, but I’ll be very reluctant to consider backing any of their future Kickstarter projects.
This is part 2 in a look at the changes to our hobby I have witnessed since my return at the start of the year. You can find part one, which looks at the changes in game-play here: On Returning to Warhammer 40000 – The Game. This part is a bit more ranty.
By far the biggest change I’ve noticed is in the general attitude and culture surrounding the game. In many senses it feels less like a hobby, and more like a competition. There seems to be a “win at all costs” mentality in a large section of the gaming community. I don’t want to sound like someone espousing about the “good old days”, but I find, particularly amongst the younger players things are a lot less friendly than they used to be.
Everywhere I look I see people asking for advice on building lists to beat their local “meta” (WTF?) – what happened to playing the game for the enjoyment of playing the game? I get that winning is fun, but it’s not everything in Warhammer 40000. Our game is as much about telling stories as it is about playing to win. It’s why I’m so glad to see the focus on “Telling a Narrative” in the new rulebook.
By all means, play to win, but if your opponent hasn’t still enjoyed him/herself while losing, then you’ve both failed in my opinion.
Another cultural change I’m not so keen on is the rumour-mill on the Internet, and the general sense of… entitlement that the more vocal side of the community displays. So you don’t like a miniature? That doesn’t necessitate a profanity-riddled screed about how the model sucks, GW sucks, you’re never going to spend another penny on their products again, an you could have done so much better while blindfolded and with both arms cut off… and so on, and so on. Put your toys back in the pram. Don’t buy the miniature – or, if for some reason you are “forced” to – convert it; change it to suit your tastes. Just stop complaining about it. Likewise, when a rumour turns out to be off the mark, don’t get all tetchy. It was just a rumour, after all!
Relatedly, your army (or an opposing army) is not “broken”. It may need a rules update as we’re in a new rule set, but that doesn’t mean it’s unbeatable, or can’t be won with. Every codex has its faults, for sure, but nothing that can stop you enjoying the game if you don’t let it. View any such “brokeness” as challenges to be met, and a test of your skill as a player. If you can overcome a “broken” army then you can take comfort in knowing you are better than any of the faceless complainers out there.
I dislike “mathhammer” as a way of proving something is awesome or that something sucks. If you’re spending your hobby time working out a stream of maths over the chance or likelihood something will win you your next game, then it’s not a hobby any more. Take what you’re drawn to (my armies mainly consist of what I want to paint), and just play it. Leave the maths for professional poker players!
Right, now I’ve got that out of my system, it’s not all bad, I must say. The hobby is bigger than ever. I can get tips and feedback from like minded people all across the world. I have access to a whole raft of information which just wasn’t available before.
The things I’ve noted a dislike for above are merely the dark side of the passion 40K inspires in its fans. It’s the same passion which drives us to spend hard-earned money and countless hours slaving over our miniatures and army lists. Properly channelled, that passion is what leads to amazingly painted armies and miniatures, brilliantly fun games and camaigns, and what ultimately brings players like myself back to the game after so much time away… and that is no bad thing.
I have been out of the hobby for a long time. This was made clear to me when I realised the majority of the regular players at the local Games Workshop store weren’t even born (or were still in nappies) when I last rolled the dice in anger.
When I last played properly, Warhammer 40,000: 2nd edition was still the dominant ruleset (3rd had just come out when I put down my heavy flamer template). Dark Eldar were brand new. Necrons only had about 3 models in the entire line. Space Marines consisted of: Ultramarines, Blood/Dark Angels, Space Wolves, and miscellaneous. Sisters of Battle had their own codex, and it was good. Templates were bigger. Wargear came as cards. We needed dice with more than 6 sides. The world – and the game – was a very different place.
Change is inevitable, particularly if anything is to survive as long as Warhammer 40000 has. 25 years is a long stretch for what is realistically a niche game/hobby. Off the top of my head, here are just a few things which are entirely new to Warhammer 40,000, from my perspective:
- Grey Knights having a codex entry (with points costs), never mind an entire codex
- The Force Organisation Chart
- Deep Strike/Reserves
- Missions, objectives, warlord traits, etc.
Other notable changes include most special rules (sniper, feel no pain, eternal warrior, and so on), completely revamped movement rules, cover working completely differently, close combat (sorry, “assault”) changes… I could go on all day, to be honest!
Some of this change is good. Assault is generally a lot quicker and more streamlined when compared to 2nd edition. No more (as an example) Space Marine assault squads with 10 different weapon combinations, due to itemisation streamlining. Less rediculous weapon effects – prime example being armour penetration against vehicles (D20 + D4 + D6 + 10 for a chainfist… don’t even get me started on lightning claws!). Many parts of the game are more sensible than those of old. The FOC is a brilliant addition to the game in my view.
Other changes I am on the fence about… generally because it seems at times I’m rolling dice for the sake of rolling dice. Random charge/run lengths are the first thing which comes to mind. The various terrain tests are another. Random missions, random deployment types, randon warlord traits, random psykic powers, random special rules and effects, objectives… on average I find it can take around 20 minutes of faffing about rolling on various tables and setting up stuff (other than my army) before I actually get to play the game. While on the one hand it leads to more varied games, on the other it takes an unnecessary length of time in my view.
One thing I have an impression of – and correct me if I’m wrong – is that overall, points costs are lower than before. This might be why games seem to be a lot bigger than I remember. Time was you’d have ~2 squads, a character, and a cheapish vehicle in an average game (1000-1500 points or so). Now I’m seeing games with scores of infantry, a couple of characters, multiple vehicles and creatures, all at around the same points level as before. The jury is still out on whether I see this as a positive change.
Nightfighting I hate with the heat of a thousand burning suns! But that’s just because I’ve never really wrapped my head around it in a way that doesn’t have me reaching for the rule book every 5 minutes.
Originally this post was a lot longer, and took a look at the cultural changes I’ve seen within the hobby since my return, but I decided it would be best to split this off into its own post, which you can read here: On Returning to Warhammer 40000: The Culture.
Blizzard announced the pre-purchase for the digital editions of Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm this weekend. March 12th, 2013 is the release date. It’s quite likely I’ll be booking the following week off work!