Weekend links and Gloomhaven impressions

This was a busy ass week, but I got a game in of Gloomhaven which is… interesting.   It’s definitely not a game I would want to own or try to get people to play (or read the rules) but it was pretty fun.  Gloomhaven is a mash up of Kingdom Death and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd edition with all the cards-as-actions and tons of counters for everything;  except instead of an RPG, all adventures are pre-codefied in maps that unlock as you play.  Classes unlock as you play as well which is interesting.   While I don’t think it’s especially good after the first play, it’s still worth giving a good college try.

Comparing it to another similar, recent game: The Others, it’s the opposite in that the basic Gloomhaven gameplay is clunky and card driven, while the Others is very smooth and streamlined.  However, the Others has zero as a campaign mode and is replayable only in that you can play through different missions with different hero teams.  The lack of a Campaign mode in The Others really hurts the game, while the campaign mode in Gloomhaven makes a rather lackluster miniatures combat game much more exciting to play.

Anyway, here’s some other interesting stuff from the interweb tubes this week:

New 8th ed 40K FAQ.  I love some of the questions (and answers): basically people are asking if they are planning on AOS’ing 40k.  Seems not.

Freemium ios games are the worst of the worst trash mobile gaming has to offer, but there are exceptions.

An AWESOME rundown of the launch of the original Warhammer 40K.  I read this and then started re-reading it right away.

And another GW-based post about 1989.  That was when I was totally into the Warhammer stuff full bore (as full bore as a highschool kid could be) and it lasted until 1993 or so when we started playing too much Jyhad and MTG (and still a lot of talisman).

 

Necromunda – Cawdor vs Eschers

Got in a good shooting yesterday with the Scavengers scenario.   Matt had a brand new Eschers gang vs my dead-hard Cawdor (with 4 games under their belt) and it was a bit of a slaughter, though in the end, both gangs had to start taking bottle tests which was surprising.  The core issue was that the Eschers were full on close combat, and they had to move across some areas where they got shot up bad.   Also, I had some crazy lucky rolling throughout the whole game.

Matt had the idea to use the Talisman cones (which are USELESS in Talisman) for the status of Overwatch, Running, etc. in Necromunda.  I’m going to pull those things out and throw them in next game.

The new weapon from the community rules I hadn’t experienced before was the heavy flamer.  That thing is super beast.

Necro-1-17-1

Shotguns can work well on overwatch.

Shotguns can work well on overwatch.

 

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Things are about to get real nasty…

Warhammer inception interview with Rick Priestley

This is an excellent interview with Rick Priestley on the inception of Warhammer and 40K and those two big beautiful books from the 80’s that I still pour over from time to time (3rd edition Warhammer and 1st edition 40K that is).

With the release of Gates of Antares, which does not have the amazing aesthetic that 40K does (what with Jes Goodwin and John Blanche), we have Priestley’s seminal rule set for sci-fi gaming.

Good Quotes:

“The fact that the Space Marines were lauded as heroes within Games Workshop always amused me, because they’re brutal, but they’re also completely self-deceiving. The whole idea of the Emperor is that you don’t know whether he’s alive or dead. The whole Imperium might be running on superstition. There’s no guarantee that the Emperor is anything other than a corpse with a residual mental ability to direct spacecraft.

“It’s got some parallels with religious beliefs and principles, and I think a lot of that got missed and overwritten.”

And this:

“When you’re doing something something as wacky as a huge toy soldier game with goblins, it can be a bit of a tough sell. But when people can see how glorious it is, see the beautifully painted armies and all these people hooting and hollering and rolling dice, it gives you an instant idea of how much fun it is.”

And finally:

“The studio, the creative part of Games Workshop, had always been kept apart from the sales part of it. One thing Bryan said was that if the sales people got to be in charge of the studio, it would destroy the studio, and that’s exactly what happened.”

Haven’t been playing video games…

…Because surfing the internet to read all the AGE OF SIGMAR rage and retaliation is too good right now. Posts on Reddit, posts all over 4chan with a level of humor that is difficult to even comprehend because when you can say whatever you want anonymously on a topic, people tend to say some real silly shit.

My verdict? The base set game is shit. There’s a big ass rulebook coming out that may make the rules better (or even viable), but whatever is in the box set is aiming to be the CANDY CRUSH of miniature games; e.g: it’s aimed to sell a lot to folks that ain’t to discerning. No thanks.

Is WFB dead? Fuck no.  And as a long time GW fan, who thinks a lot of their game design is dead brilliant but they kill off the good ones for business reasons (which makes sense), I’m personally used to this and really don’t begrudge them because once I have their rules, that’s all I really need in the long run.  Necromunda, Mordheim, Battlefleet Gothic, Space Marine /Epic 40K, Legends of the Old West and soon to be LotR and the Hobbit are just a few.  All will still be played, all will have stuff you can buy for them if you want to play, either GW second hand or some other manufacturer.

Rumor is that the developers of the SWEDISH COMP are going to develop the first fan version of Warhammer Fantasy Battle.  Once it’s in the hands of the fans, like Blood Bowl, it will never ever die.

sigmarstatue

>What is their new statue made of? The broken hopes of a million loyal WFB players.

There’s some videos around of note. First is a dude that I have a lot of respect for for his CONSTANT battle reports of 8th Edition games commenting on Age of Sigmar. He’s a reasonable man and passionate about the game and despite his care for the tournament scene which makes no difference to me, it’s a good listen.

and Some rich idiot that burned his Dark Elf army to a crisp.

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:

orukks

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.

Battlefleet Gothic TEASE

My question when seeing this and the fact that Total War: Warhammer is coming out soon is when will the Games Workshop IP exceed in popularity the entirely derivative work by Blizzard Entertainment. Starcraft is played out, Diablo 3 was a complete mess from the story perspective and there hasn’t been anything original from them…ever really. Warcraft 3, for all it’s awesomeness, is just a derivative of Warhammer in the end.

GW has had some strange and capricious relationships with development houses and video gaming in the past, and who knows what the future will bring. Looking at this trailer though we are reminded that while Blizzard has the copy-cat Samwise, GW has both John Fucking Blanche AND Jes HOLY FUCK THAT’S AWESOME Goodwin.