My inevitable to-early-to-tell Age of Sigmar Post

Most normal human beings would never know anything about the drastic changes to what used to be Warhammer Fantasy Battle recently by Games Workshop.  Those few sentient mammals that even know what that is have another subset that know what Age of Sigmar is and another subset of those people post about it on the internet and this week, it’s been very important for them to do so.  This sub-set of a sub-set has had their cages rattled fiercely by a complete change to a steadfast, yet ancient, tabletop game that has stayed fundamentally the same since 1988 or so.  The results, just monitoring various outlets like Reddit (for the rather dull, but relatively nice people) and 4chan (for the awesome and ruthless and terrible) are spectacular.   After a series of leaks, and the game not even hitting the shelves, there are already pictures like this:


Needless to say, the reaction has been really negative so far for the rules and a bit berserk over the fluff and I think, despite the leaks prepping people, it’s just been a big shock to everyone.  The models are really awesome looking, but are they Warhammer? Certainly a departure from what was.  After looking at a bit of the rules, what I see here is a flat out 40k-izing of Warhammer Fantasy.  Good? Bad?  For play, actual tactics and fun, Warhammer Fantasy Battle is by far the better game between it and 40K, especially 8th Edition– but WFB does not sell as well.  You can say Spotted Cow is a better beer than Bud Light, and of course, it is, but Bud Light sells BILLIONS more to casual drinkers and people who ride their bike to the liquor store every morning and stay there all day.  Viva paper towels are far superior to everything else (you can REUSE them for fucksake!), but it’s a niche– people get the Scott standard crap because it’s cheap and works, just like bud light right?  I just see 40K as GW’s kids game where everyone mobs their stuff into the middle of the table and it’s a big close combat with tons of dice. Fun, but not really a tactical challenge– it’s more of an ‘army list’ game, where WFB is both an army list and a tactical game since mobility and placement is so important.  Sigmar looks like 40K. A lot.

First, Sigmar is skirmish level, with smaller amounts of models.  The rules are simpler than Fantasy with a reduced stat line and a different method of determining game balance that I haven’t figured out quite yet.  There are army lists, but they don’t have points like WFB.

Second, the close combat rules are very close to 40k’s.  This is not inherently a bad thing, it’s just not the brutal shield-wall clashes that are such the heart of the Warhammer Fantasy Battle experience.

Third, fluff.  I stopped reading the WFB fluff years ago, it’s just regurgitated shit for the most part that I read in 1987 and the early 90’s and since it’s all seemed like Fanfiction to me. Chaos, Dark Elves, Skaven– it’s nothing new anymore and there hasn’t been much change despite editions coming out every 5 years or so.  The 8th edition book has some AWESOME fluff parts in it, but I just couldn’t be bothered, except for the pictures, which I needed tissue and a private bathroom quite a few times.  The Sigmar fluff is where we get into part of the drastic change GW made after years of retread.  The Europic style Old World is gone and replaced with– realms, which without the actual books, I can’t comment on except it ain’t Kansas and it appears that it’s survivors of the Old World are fighting across various floating demon realms.  There’s been a storyline building with some of the WFB expansions that led to the END TIMES that destroyed everything, but really the kid getting his parents to buy the Age of Sigmar.  How I see it is stuff kept escalating from the 90’s to bigger MORE SPIKY MORE CHAOS and where could they go after yet another massive ork or chaos incursion?  You look at a unit of Rieksguard and while they look really awesome, they’re no SKULL CRUSHERS OF KHORNE.  The mundane simply was pushed out completely from the continual escalation of high fantasy elements.

Fourth.  Unit Cards.  Like Confrontation or AT-43, units and models will have cards.  What’s more, ALL cards will be released for older models this week in PDF form so we can take the rules from the new WD and start playing straight away. I think that’s pretty cool.  Why did Confrontation have Unit Cards?  For impulse-style movement.  Does Sigmar have impulse movement?  Nope.

Last, round bases.  Squares suck for skirmish, that’s just a fact, but you can’t rank circles, and those fucking trays they tried in War of the Ring (the big LoTR game that went to the discount bin moments after release even though the rules were pretty good).  This means they’re going whole-hog into the skirmish realm.

While I’m a bit shocked, I really think 8th Edition is amazing and based on GW’s other forays into skirmish rules (Battle Fleet Gothic, Necromunda, Gorkamorka, Lord of the Rings, Legends of the Old West) they have the chops to make a really great set of rules, not a solid set of rules or an OK set of rules, but an exceptional one.  I totally dismissed Lord of the Rings when it came out, and it took Legends of the Old West to show me that it was actually really really good.  Time (and plays) will tell if the system can hold.

Here are my predictions:

1) Sigmar is a BIG MONSTER SLUGGATHON type of game with massive and gorgeous monsters being the centerpieces of battles.  These miniatures will be some of the best ever seen in human history.  What we’re seeing in the base set is not indicative of the final set (like 40K with what a Maccrage battle set looks like and what a real 40K battle looks like with tons of vehicles)

2) There will be a WFB 9th edition that will be a set of rules for larger battles. It will not be like 8th, but will scratch that same itch (and we’ll be able to use our models)

3) There will be nostalgia UNRELENTING for 8th Edition and the oldhammer movement will continue unabated as well.

Let’s see if I’m right.

Tomorrow is Free RPG Day

Stores have stuff–free.  No LotFP adventure this year, but DCC and 13th Age for sure.  I think one of the key questions that people need to start asking is not how D&D and rpg playing started but how has it survived for 40 years and why is it so awesome.

For me personally:
1) Captures my imagination and focuses it while making up and running adventures. I’m not exactly the scatterbrained type, but I have a lot going on and I really like it when I can focus on JUST THIS ONE FUCKING THING because if I don’t it will suck for everyone. The pressure of being a referee gives imagination a purpose and goal.

2) Stress relief. I have mountains of potential stress, stress you can’t understand until you’ve had unprotected sex a few times and when before you had no cause to worry, now you have ALL cause to worry about everything.  The RPG action is a huge stress reliever to me, even though prep and the actual act of running a game can be stressful in of itself. Once I get past the first 5 minutes, It’s all go go go and the stress of the actual world dissipates entire.

3) True social interaction. The one thing the smell nerds at the game store playing Pathfinder know is that they are actually interacting with other human beings in a meaningful way. Some of them will never have girlfriends or touch an actual human female bodies’ nether region, but they will have actually socially interacted with other people during their mountain dew time on earth.  This is not social media pseudo-interaction either, despite it being about fantasy lands with robots and vampire dragons, it’s more real than that.

4) Exposure to art.  While the actual physical modules are works of art themselves (some are shit and some are profound with lots in between), the process of play, which is the actual game, is also a collaborative work of art.

Enough sappiness and navel gazing– time to tear some players to shreds or send them to CARCOSA.

A very short academic paper on Murderhoboing.


The second Nicole Gingerbottom

This week I had the pleasure of running Lamentations of the Flame Princess again with a group of five wary but enthusiastic players. I ran, for the second time, the small adventure ‘A Stranger Storm” which was a layover part of a larger adventure that will remain unnamed at this time.  Spoilers abound.

The first time I ran ASS (see that?) I had only two players, so they were very wary of fighting, especially since they were outnumbered by EVERYTHING, the Morris Dancers, the Merchants, the horses, and even the Inn staff if you count Nicole and both Innkeepers. They were extremely cautious and did not have a magic user or cleric with them to try to snuff out the changelings magically.

The second group from this week had 5 players: two fighters, a specialist, a pretty badass elf and an ancient cleric with terrible stats (a ‘zero’ as my players have started referring to characters that have no net stat bonuses).  They were on the way to an abbey to ask the Abbess about some sort of magical box for their master when bad weather hit and a broken wheel brought them to the Incontinent Vicar where ruination ensued.

In both play-throughs, I think the moment the players realized that the insanity with the changelings was not going to let up but would continue unabated was when the second Nicole Gingerbottom arrived at the inn to make breakfast. This is when both groups of players started saying “we’re fucked,” which, when confronted with a LotFP “player-fucker” is the correct assumption.

The second group had shown the first Nicole the dead body of Doodles (the inn keeper) and Patrick Roktar in the common room, so she was near catatonic when the second arrived…. and then they showed the second one the bodies as well. As the merchants were trying to leave, I had one of the Nicoles change into the Elf and they fought and one of them (turned out to be the Changeling) went down in a single hit.

Eventually they made their way to the nearby village and met the local Priest (Father Naylor) who let in on the secret of the jewel in the changeling’s hearts. That’s that’s when the frustration and ‘we’re fucked’ became ‘we can make a lot of XP off this!’ and instead of wanting to get away from the changelings, they wanted to go straight at them!  Matt had the quote of the night to Father Naylor with “You’re low fantasy, I’m HIGH fantasy.”  He was playing the elf.

Given the knowledge about the jewels, when confronted with the duplicated knight on the road they just sat back and watched and then cleaned up the survivor.  Afterwards slicing up all the bodies (horses and men) to get at the jewels.  I wondered how long it would take someone to cut out a horse’s heart in the pouring rain.

So the bad part of ASS is coming next and we’ll see if the players can navigate the narrows of morality ahead.  And what happened to the Morris Dancers?

Steam sale wallet rape – week 1

So far I have either held strong or already had the stuff I wanted from the sale.  the one game I picked up for 4$ was APOTHEON which is a side scroller fighter where you need to go fight the Gods to get to Olympus.  I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks pretty cool.  My thumb is still healing from some glass up in there so I can’t play Dark Souls 2 or anything on my controller quite yet but this is one I wanted.

Shit I’m checking out:

  • Invisible Inc.  – Sneaky spy game that may scratch the Jagged Alliance itch.
  • Road Redemption – biker gang  in real time.  Reminds me of Mount and Blade a bit, except on motorcycles…
  • Shadow of Mordor – still expensive at 25$ but this is supposed to be a good one.
  • Abyss Odyssey – another side scroll fighter (like Castlevania).  Looks great, but I need my thumb to heal up a bit before playing.

And what the hell is this monster game on steam?

Chaos Warbands! First play since 1993!

Last Saturday, Mouth was in town and we dragged Dan and Amie into a 4-square of the old-school Chaos Warbands using 8th Edition rules and a mish mash of stuff from the two wonderful and awesome Realm of Chaos books.

For those that don’t know about these, they are absolutely essential to any gaming library, whether you play Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Warhammer 40K or none of them.   You simply must own them both even if you have to pirate the PDF’s.  Inside each are rules for the four major demons of the Warhammer world, plus rules to make your own, plus a kitchen sink of rules for all three of the systems listed above.   These are both a MEGA supplement, one that these days would have had content split across 16-20 separate books.

What’s more, there’s a fucking GAME in these books that’s separate from all three games they supplement where you roll up a character and his warband and fight it out to get favor from the dark gods. I played this in college a bunch, probably 50 or so battles with multiple warbands and only one guy “won” the game with his champion becoming a minor daemon.  The rest of us either got turned into spawn, or died in pools of blood and urea. And that was fun as shit.


My champion was one MAGROK ROCKSLIDE a chaos dwarf with FITS and a flail.  Pretty weak to start except he was accompanied by a Dragon Ogre!  After four battles, I ended up with a chaos weapon, four chaos spawn who gave people the evil eye, and eight beastmen.  My spawn had 6 chaos attributes a piece and here is where the old Chaos warbands rules start to fray a bit.  You can end up generating demon weapons, attributes, spawn inside other spawn that transform into other types of spawn longer than you end up playing out the fights!  Now a bit of this is a ton of fun, and the randomness is one of the fantastic elements, but based on the recent play, there would need to be a cap on the amount of chaos attributes at least.

In addition to the chaos attributes, all entities in your warbands that get wounds have them applied individually.  What this means is when you have a unit of beastmen or humans, you need to know which one has -1 toughness and which has a busted leg.  This gets tedious as hell.   More modern designs like Mordheim (which had it’s own terrible problems*) and Legends of the Old West, solve this issue by differentiating between Champions and minions. Minions are treated as a group and have less complex rolls associated with them.

Overall, it was a fun day of gaming.  I only got four games in, and probably could have had a bunch more if I had just an hour or so more.  I worked on an updated set for Mordheim ages ago (here is the PDF) and I think based on rumors of 9th Edition WFB being skirmish based, it may be a good time to rewrite them for 9th Edition in the coming year.  Note, statements in the PDF are contradicted below.  We learn stuff over the span of time…

Dragon Ogre vs Minotaur!


*Mordheim is a fantasy game with swords and stuff should have a focus on close combat, naturally , and yet, it’s sci fi brother with lasguns and bolters and stuff, Necromunda, has much, much better close combat rules.  I wouldn’t say Mordheim’s close combat rules are bad, I’d say they are terrible.


What is the worst genre for games and why is it steampunk?



A question asked recently in a certain region of the internet and I wanted to capture responses before it went away for good.

The fat people.
All the fucking fat people.
Morbidly obese? Have I got a genre for you!

Near future, because it attracts the intersection of realism spergs and powergaming shits.

I really wish I could repeatedly beat the hell out of whoever started the whole “Tesla is literally science Jesus” bullshit

FUCK victorian england aesthetics.

It’d be the same as putting any 50 people on a desert island. They’re gonna fuck. Suddenly you’re not competing against the other 50000 guys in your city. You’re competing against that dozen guys over there, because you’re only kinda fat, and Susy doesn’t like any of the REALLY fat guys.