Friday, September 22, 2017

Warhammer 40K - 8th Edition Battle Report: Ultramarines vs. Hive Fleet Kraken

Strom and I recently tried out our first game of Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition.  It had been a while since we last played, but with our large selection of fully painted armies we decided that the classic matchup of the Ultramarines and Hive Fleet Kraken would be a great introduction to the new rules.

We decided on using the new Power Levels and decided on Power 40 for the size of the battle.  Strom took a good mix for a classic Ultramarine force - a Tactical Squad, a Dreadnought, Terminators, and a Landspeeder.  I selected a force focused on a Tervigon with lots of Gaunts, along with some Tyranid Warriors and a Carnifex.

I brought over my winter table for the battle.  We setup the terrain and decided that a 3x3 battle area would work well for us to test out the rules and based on the size of our forces.

Our first 8th Edition battle was fast, easy to play, and fun.  Unfortunately, the Tyranids did not fare so well, with only a few Tactical Space Marines being defeated.  My Tyranid Warriors and Carnifex did the worst, getting fully wiped out in hand-to-hard without even causing more a single wound on the Terminators.  In the end, my remaining model, the Tervigon, did manage to destroy the Dreadnought with its Smite power, just prior to losing its last wound.

The new rules use Datasheets, which make for a quick and easy reference for a unit's stats, weapons, and abilities.  The fixed "to hit" rolls speed up the game, without losing much from gameplay.

In all, the game was fun and stream-lined compared to older versions of Warhammer 40,000.  We're excited to try out more games using our different painted armies.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Founders of Games Workshop - A Short History

In the early seventies, Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson decided to start a business around their favorite hobby - gaming. They were both friends since meeting in grammar school and enjoyed playing strategy games in their shared flat in London. They named their company Games Workshop and started by manufacturing and retailing fantasy games and models. Livingstone, who had graduated from Manchester University in business, worked for an oil company in London. He spent all his free time running the game business out of their London flat. 

Livingstone and Jackson started a newsletter named Owl and Weasel, which they distributed to others they knew in the gaming hobby. This caught the attention of Gary Gygax, the American creator of Dungeons and Dragons. He needed a European distributor for his role-playing game, and contacted Livingstone and Jackson. Gygax gave Games Workshop a three-year exclusive distribution deal for Dungeons and Dragons. He had no idea the only access the two had to a telephone was outside the hall of their flat, and that the two had no office and no staff.

Steve Jackson (left) and Ian Livingstone in the 1980s
Quitting their day jobs, Livingstone and Jackson devoted all their time to running Games Workshop and distributing Owl and Weasel, now a full-fledged magazine. They left their flat, rented an office, lived in a van, and used the toilets and showers at a squash club that they joined. After Game Workshop opened its first retail store in 1977 to a waiting crowd of 200, Livingstone said, “I think we’ve got something.”1 As wargaming and role-playing become more popular, Games Workshop became more profitable opened more retail stores in Britain.
Up to this point, Games Workshop had sold mostly games from other companies in its retail stores. In 1981, a Games Workshop employee named Rick Priestly combined role-playing, miniatures wargaming, and miniatures collecting to create Warhammer Fantasy Battle. That same year, Games Workshop acquired Citadel Miniatures, a manufacturer of lead miniatures for role-playing and other games. Citadel Miniatures started producing miniatures for the Warhammer game. Owl and Weasel became White Dwarf magazine, and in it the company began promoting Warhammer.

Games Workshop started producing other games; (many based off the same Tolkien mythology used in Warhammer). Due to the popularity of its own games, Games Workshop concentrated solely on promoting and selling only its own games. Livingstone and Jackson left Games Workshop in 1991, but Games Workshop continues to keep many gaming enthusiasts on its management staff.

1. H. Kunzru, “Not Connected: Not Playing When He Plays Wired World: The Dungeon Master Hari Kunzru Meets Ian Livingstone.” The Daily Telegraph, December 8, 1997.
2. M. McGrath, “A Visit To The Fantasy World Of Ian Livingstone.” Independent, June 6, 1998.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

"Painting" 40K Space Marines with Sharpie Pens - Ultramarines from Battle for Vedros

Based on a short Youtube video from Lukes Affordable Painting Service (APS), I was curious to see how quickly I could "paint up" Ultramarines from the Battle for Vedros Starter Set using only Sharpies.

I first primed the Space Marines with The Army Painter's Ultramarine Blue.  I then proceeded to "paint" the miniatures via Sharpie pens, afterwards dipping the models.  Unfortunately, the dipping media did dissolve some of the pen marks, so I had to reapply after dipping.  The colors white and red were a pain.  For red, I first had to color the spot white, then add the red afterwards.  I also had to use flesh paint for the faces (Sharpie doesn't make a flesh-color pen).

To see how cheap I could paint them, I decided to try out a cheap acrylic paint for the base.  I now know why good acrylic paints are so important.  Even after more than five coats I could still see some of the original color underneath.

The crackle paint I used did not work very well for the bases, and the only noticeable crackle effect was on the Dreadnought's wide base. 

I have never been good with decals, and the Ultramarine ones were the worst.  The bunched up and generally look poor, especially with the frost effect that decals can sometimes get.

Ultramarines were a good candidate for this method due to their blue color scheme and gold trim.  I found coloring the cape white, then coloring it red was a waste of 25 minutes.  I think the Dreadnought turned out the best of all the models.

I just purchased a Build+Paint Landspeeder that I will quickly paint using the same method.  I'm curious to see how quickly I can complete it using the lessons learned from these models.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Mice and Mystics - Three (Not-Blind) Mice

I painted these up a year or two ago, for the Mice and Mystics game by Plaid Hat Games.  I painted them up simply, and then dipped them per my usual method.  Although the models are fun, the game was unfortunately not a hit in our household.  I decided to keep the miniatures however.