Category Archives: Games Workshop
So I’m going to do a simple year in review for 40k. Not much structure as this is just a horrifically busy week for me. More an overview.
The Best of Times
8th Edition Release(s)
So after going through the fiasco that was the Age of Simar release, and watching as PP fucks up Warmahordes almost as bad with their 3rd Edition release, GW manages to orchestrate a very careful, organized launch, and carry that momentum clear through the end of the year, starting well before the actual release with the return of Magnus and Guilliman, and continuing through the release of 10 codexes this year, massive upgrades to Space Marine armies, and some pretty solid balancing of armies.
The New Kits
Holy shit these are great. The Primaris look very good, even if they are a bit of a pain to assemble, the Death Guard look amazing, and all of the Primarchs look simply incredible on the table.
Fate of Konor was a ton of fun. Armies on Parade was great fun. There’s plenty of chances for events from purely collecting/modeling competitions to ultra-competitive high intensity tournaments. Des Moines has had at least 1 major event every month, and that’s JUST for 40k.
On Message, On Target
Ok, look, we all know I’m a feminist, and that representation in 40k is a bit lacking. Female dominated armies are a bit lacking, and boobplate shows up a lot more than it should. In addition the features of nearly every sculpt are very “European” even for armies that supposedly aren’t. GW has been vocal about increasing diversity and cutting down on some of the more sexist elements of their models. While there has been limited opportunity for them to do it with their long pipeline from project inception to release, they’ve played a lot of the right notes, now let’s see if the players on stage match the music.
I mean, yeah buying Chapter Approved every year is going to be a bit of a drain, but MAN it’s nice to see them FAQing and Errata-ing and just maintaining things. SO nice.
The Worst of Times
(Not) Fixing the Rules
So the biggest things they needed to fix were invuln saves and re-rolls. They did not fix them. They added mortal wounds. Now there’s army comps that can spam them through psychic powers that made the problem with Alpha Strikes just incredibly worse. I think they will need to figure out what to do about the huge number of 4++ or better invuln saves (I think even special characters shouldn’t have them very often) and re-roll auras… I like how they make any character interesting but holy hell does it slow down the game. Just give a +1 to hit or wound and call it a day.
First turn is huge. Way too big. I’m hoping next year’s Chapter Approved brings us some alternating activation because the way things are it’s just ugly sometimes. You can be crippled in a turn and that before you get a chance to go.
Marines are great, what else is there?
Not. Much. Eldar got a brief re-release of old models. No real upgrades or new releases. Nids got a little love, but not much. Grey Knights got nothing. CSM other than Death Guard got nothing. Other Chaos got only stuff originally designed for AoS. I get that Space Marines sell better than anything, but they HAVE more than anything. Give Eldar or Orks that kind of love and see what happens!
Things aren’t all steak and sunshine even for the Marines. More and more, chapters with distinct and carefully developed histories are being turned into Ultramarines. This isn’t good, it isn’t interesting and it doesn’t help the narrative. Hopefully GW starts looking at the issue and either puts someone in charge of fluff development that isn’t Matt Ward.
It’s been a great year. Probably the best for 40k in a long damn time. There’s clouds on the horizon but there’s a lot of sun and a lot of clear seas too. Just a matter of navigating the waters wisely, and so far GW seems to have hit more clear water the storms.
So the new Blood Angels Codex is imminent. Recently we got a look at the “New Units” to be featured in it. Here’s the list from Warhammer Community. Inceptors, Reivers, Cataphractii and Tartaros pattern Terminators, Stormhawk Interceptors, Stormtalons Gunships, Hunters, and Stalkers. Stormraven Gunships. None of these is actually a new unit. I’m guessing they get all the other Primaris units, since they come in the FUKHUEG BOX that GW has up for pre-order (not a great savings BUT if you want to add Primaris to your existing blood angels, or start a new army there ARE some savings so go for it) but there’s 0 in the way of actually new units. All of these are units that currently exist now with the exception of the Primaris Lieutenant.
What’s more interesting, or concerning, is that these new units do not have the Black Rage. So that’s no Death Company, no tragic flaw, just a Red Thirst bonus to attacks. From the stream we got a lot of stratagems, most of which are picked up from the Space Marine codex although they did steal some speed from the Craftworld one. I worry a lot that the Blood Angels are becoming Ultramarines painted blue. Sanguinary Guard, Death Company, and the special characters are… ok. Librarian Dreadnoughts are great, Furioso Dreadnoughts are great. Death Company Dreadnoughts are apparently amazing. All the flavor comes from old units. OLD units. Like, Eldar old. Like Squats old.
I think this is one of two things. Either a missed opportunity where GW wanted to get this army out fast without bothering to add anything good so they just threw in all the old shit they hadn’t given them before, or a deliberate step to bring all the chapters closer together. This has happened before. Black Templars used to have a codex. Imperial Fists used to at least rate a supplement. Then they stopped getting new stuff and started losing stuff they had. Now they sit in the “other” section of the Space Marine Codex.
I don’t think GW wants to get rid of the Blood Angels. After all, before the obsession with Ultramarines came about THEY WERE THE POSTER CHILD FOR 40k
3rd Edition btw featured the Black Templar. 4th Edition’s Battle for Macragge actually brought the Ultras into the spotlight.
I do think GW is painting themselves into a corner. Primaris are lore poison. They are so loyal and pure they never fall to chaos. They are better at shooting, they are better in close combat, they are tougher when taking damage. Have you ever been cornered by a guy in your FLGS telling you about his homebrew chapter that are “like X chapter but better”? That’s the primaris marines. There’s no flaw. In fact they clean up flaws that already exist. I have to think going forward that something will change. Right now they are literally a bad fanfic of existing marines. Only they are GW’s bad fanfic. They are GW’s bad homebrew, and they are mucking up the Blood Angels.
Here’s the funny thing. I don’t hate Primaris unconditionally. I think it’s great that GW is advancing the story. I think it’s very interesting to have these new troops joining the chapters. I think conflicts like that between Dante and Seth in Devastation of Baal and soon whatever happens in the upcoming Dark Angels book are super interesting. But so far all the flaws, all the conflict drivers emotionally are coming from non-primaris characters. War of Secrets doesn’t come out until 2018 so any real resolution is going to take some time to get to us Dark Angels fans. On the tabletop they are very interesting. Intercessors are very good overall, but have no ability to specialize for better firepower up close or at long range, just solid, above average firepower, 2 wounds, and 2 attacks in melee. Hellblasters have less power individually than devastators, but everyone gets a big gun! 2 wounds each! And now for something completely different. Inceptors are just plain neat. I love them and already have 6. I may go up to 12! Repulsors are crazy tanks. I’m VERY MUCH disappointed by the build, it’s just sloppily executed, but they are great tanks. Ton of firepower, ton of points. Really neat and go well with the slick, lots of firepower look of primaris. There’s so much to like about them.
Fluff wise I love the idea of them being less experienced, less adept at the little things, and having some penalties to go with their strengths. The recent Alpha Legion book played on this some. They simply don’t know what they don’t know. However they haven’t shown any fundamental flaw. GW fluff operates on pretty much the classical model. Heroes have a tragic flaw. Guilliman can’t NOT build an Empire. The Lion can’t NOT be secretive and sinister. Dorn can’t NOT be defensive and stubborn. The Khan can’t NOT be inscrutable and hate centralization. Horus can’t NOT desire power. Perturabo can’t NOT be jealous. The Primaris can’t… what. What is their tragic flaw? When do they stop being the bonnie blue boys.
And next week pre-orders for the Dark Angels codex go up. I was hopeful at one point that we’d see the Lion come back in the codex. Now I’d settle for not having the codex be a glorified index with 8 pages of badly updated fluff.
No, it’s not a political post. It’s way more divisive than that.
So GW leaked part 3 of their
end times of 40k GATHERING STORM! THE LONG AWAITED DECISION TO ADVANCE THE STORY LINE. Guilliman, Cypher, and Grand Master Voldus. Fighting together. For the Imperium*. What’s that asterisk doing there? They are fighting for the Emperor. Why the hell is that struck through? What’s going on?
Oh. Ok. History lesson time.
So back during the Great Crusade the Emperor was promulgating something called the Imperial Truth. The Imperial Truth is a very strict ideology based on secular beliefs and tied to a rational process for explaining phenomenon. There was no religion in the Empire. There were no gods, no demons, no magic. There was, of course, a problem with this. There ARE gods, there ARE demons and there IS magic. The Imperial Truth was a device created by the Emperor to destroy the Ruinous Powers. Basically if no one worships them, they lose power. The idea of the Imperium was to cover the galaxy in humans to the point where xenos races might as well not exist (and soon wouldn’t) and humans didn’t believe in anything other than things with strict, rational explanations.
Unsurprisingly the Chaos Gods objected. Rather strongly. The end result of this strenuous objection was the Horus Heresy. Whoever won, the Imperial Truth lost. Hard. The Ecclesiarchy was on the rise almost before the Emperor’s ass hit the Golden Throne. It went so far that the Imperial Truth was quickly replaced by The Imperial Creed. The Lectitio Divinatus was rising even as the Heresy started. Now the Ecclesiarchy dominates Imperial politics through a strict religious creed based on “The Emperor Protects” and “Worship the God-Emperor of Mankind!”
So Guilliman and Cypher were alive back in the Crusade Era. They remember the Imperial Truth, and many other truths. And they understand its importance. What they may not understand is the importance of the Imperial Creed. As I mentioned earlier, the goal of the Imperial Truth was basically to starve the ruinous powers of worship. To “kill” the Chaos Gods by letting them wither on the vine. The Chaos Gods aren’t going anywhere. They are widely worshipped and have large and powerful armies in the form of the Chaos Legions to “recruit” followers. So the Imperium has its own “God”. Whatever the Emperor wanted, the spirit of the Emperor has become not just the literal guiding light of the Imperium, but also the psychic shield behind which humanity crouches to defend itself. Without that shield the Imperium would be in a lot of trouble.
So Guilliman is back, and with him Cypher and Voldus. Honestly Voldus is a bit of a puzzle to me. He’s a really minor player where Guilliman and Cypher are huge pieces of the lore. Guilliman literally wrote the book on space marines, and Cypher probably has a weekly game of cards with Cegorach to trade tricks and pranks. But why are they on the same side? The Fallen Dark Angels have pretty conclusively been shown in league with Chaos right? Well… yes and no. A significant number of them were worshippers, and Luther fell and became a Demon Prince, but many of them were just disgusted as what they saw as mistreatment at the hands of the Lion, and then got caught up in a battle when Chaos worshippers opened fire on the Lion’s fleet. Cypher apparently represents loyalists to not only the Dark Angels Legion (as opposed to the Unforgiven) but also to the Imperial Truth. Guilliman would be, frankly, enraged, to see what has happened. He wrote the Codex Astartes as guidelines. In fact he’d written much of them before the Heresy and then put his captains and chapter masters through simulated battles to teach them to go beyond them in thought and deed. You see….
So to find the Smurf Brigade being basically thoughtless automatons, enslaved by the codex will make him unhappy. Oh and the fact that they are RELIGIOUS FANATICS to boot will be… well. Incendiary.
Fortunately for him the Smurfs are also obediant as a well trained dog so I’m fairly sure that all 500 Smurf-based chapters will be breaking out the blue paint and singing
hymns SONGS! SONGS of joy at the return of their beloved Primarch.
Where does this leave the Imperial Creed though? They certainly won’t be agreeing much with the Creed, the Ecclesiarchy or even the Inquisition. Guilliman is a pragmatist at heart but he also wants to, you know, win. You can hold off the Chaos Gods with faith in your own Chaos God as it were, but to beat them, you need the Imperial Truth. Cypher certainly understands this, and rumor has it that a good portion of the Dark Angels will paint their armor black and be following him.
But other Dark Angels won’t. This leads me to believe that in 8th edition, once the dust settles from not-the-end-times, we will end up with two “Imperial” Factions. Creedists and Truthers. Creedists will be centered on the Ecclasiarchy, most of the Inquisition, and the Adeptus Mechanicus, and be based out of Terra. I suspect that the Lion or Russ will be their Primarch (The Lion might also get killed during the Gathering Storm, which would make me very unhappy) and many chapters focused more on faith will be gathered to them. The Fists (Crimson and Imperial), the Space Wolves, Black Templar, the Asmodai faction of the Unforgiven (Dark Angels and their descendents that don’t follow Cypher) Iron Hands (who are just there for the AdMech) and Blood Angels.
Truthers will be more interesting. And also make me regret painting my Dark Angels green, I suspect. They will be centered on Guilliman, who will start YET ANOTHER IMPERIUM. Yes he has done it before. His smurf legions will be the center but other, more secular legions and their descendents will be in the fold. The Cypher faction of the Unforgiven (the Forgiven? The None-of-your-fucking-business-whether-we’ve-been-forgiven?) the Salamanders, Raven Guard, and probably the White Scars, and maybe the Alpha Legion. No I’m not kidding. I would be totally unsurprised if they came back to the Imperial Truth (NOT the Imperial Creed) and other legions could come over as well. The Iron Warriors spring to mind. Basically any legion that rebelled against the Emperor, but not in support of the Ruinous powers would probably see a lot to gain by leaving behind the corrupting influences of Chaos.
This would be amazing. It would also make Imperial factions much more interesting. And more dynamic. Does Guilliman become accepting of the Tau? Does Eldrad and his new pet God of Death try to work with the Ecclesiarchy? Do we end up with two inquisitions? I could actually see the Grey Knights going more for the Truth than the Creed. Again, battles are fought to be won, and the Imperial Creed is a big factor in the stagnation that has taken over the Imperium. I’m not saying this is the way things are going, but this is what I smell from the rumors.
Two organizations I love to hate. PETA for their overbearing moralism. GW for… basically being GW. Yes it’s self referential but at this point if you don’t know why “GW being GW” is bad… I don’t have 10,000 words to describe it.
There’s been some great responses.
Fur is murder. In a universe where star ships sail through a sea of liquid murder guided by a murder powered lighthouse
No. Seriously. The Warp is the realm of murder (and a lot of other things) and the Astronomican is powered by the souls, not just the body, and blood, but the very SOULS of psykers being consumed to power this lighthouse.
Then there’s the Daemonculaba. 1D4chan, a rather infamous hive of scum and villainy refers to this is Chaos’ “Aristocrats” joke…I’m not even going to describe it. It’s beyond horrific.
Now let’s look at our fuzzy little cuddly bears in the 41st millennium.
Most of the ones you see are Fenrisian wolves. Think of a horse. No. A draft horse. Good. Now bigger. Bigger. Bit bigger. Ok, close enough. Now add fangs, teeth, a skeleton that would make Wolverine blush, and add a dash of PURE RABID PSYCHOPATH.
So yes. That fur is murder. Angry, bitey, scratchy murder.
So why would anyone buy just a Rhino anymore. Seriously. $37 bucks. Rhino.
Here’s your other choices. Razorback, $42 bucks. For 5 dollars more you can choose a pile of extra bits that give you a lot more flexibility in the build. Basically for each Razorback you see yourself needing, you buy the kit and you can swap it for a rhino just by changing the top deck.
Then there’s the armored assault squad. For $55 you get a Rhino, a tactical squad, and I do love the current tac squad kit, for me there’s a Dark Angel upgrade sprue. Finally there’s one of the REALLY hard to find Dark Angels Squad Transfers. I’d rather get one of the really big ones, but even these are really useful. My current build needs at least 5 of them. Either way, this is a steal at less than $20 more than the Rhino on its own. Heck just the upgrade sprue is $14. The squad is $40. Another way of looking at it is, any Dark Angel player that wants a tac squad gets the transfers, the upgrade sprue, and a free Rhino. Basically there’s a lot of value in these packs. Where there isn’t a lot of value is in units on their own. Any unit you are looking for, look for it in a package these days.
So I managed to get time and motivation to take pictures of the progress so far. The goal for January is all the infantry for the first Lion’s Blade demi company. I’ve got the two 6 man tac squads painted. The 10 man squad I’m still working on the paint scheme for. The old Mk III armor just needs a bit more to look like you aren’t mailing it in.
So there’s what I have. As you can see I’ve gotten a lot of green out there Not much else so far. Priority is on the big tac squad, and assault squad. Then at least getting the vehicles colored. I will treat myself by painting Master Balthasar at some point soon.
I did some modifications on the command squad. The sergeant has a power axe and one of the nice DA Power pistols, and the champion has a DA Power sword. I didn’t go for the robes, but I might eventually do some.
Assault squads are really underpowered in the current edition. I do plan on using them in a 10 man squad because I figure I need to make sure something is still there to hit when they finally arrive in close combat.
Need to touch it up quite a bit. I like the theme so far, but as you can see there’s a lot of details that I could add to it, but at a certain point I’m worried it will look busy, but anything short and it might look like I’m mailing it in.
I will be doing transfers on the shoulders. That will help a lot. But below the waist there won’t be a lot of detail, just highlighting and shading and… I’m not sure.
One last Mk III view. Got to fix the eye and the helmet, but not too much else, just highlighting, the bolter, and shading.
So the next project is the Mk III tac squad. Then I’ll probably do the Chapter Master. Depending on the weather I’ll be spraying the vehicles I have, to get them to mean green machines. Beyond that I’ll be working on the assault squad. I do need to work on how many devastators I want to have in this squad (and in the other squad).
So GW posted one doozy of a letter to investors. I mean. Wow. Look at THIS whopper. If he wasn’t leaving he should be thrown out anyway.
Games Workshop has had a really good year.
If your measure of ‘good’ is the current financial year’s numbers, you may not agree. But if your measure is the long-term
survivability of a great cash generating business that still has a lot of potential growth, then you will agree.
W ell, sure. If you ignore some other facts. Successful, capable competition, stagnating internal ideas, technological advances threatening production. Everything is lovely!
He also announces he’s stepping down. Thank. Almighty. God. For those not paying attention that’s their chief lawyer and their CEO.
So I thought of what I would do if they picked someone more capable. I figure there’s got to be 4 to 5 billion people who could do a better job running GW than the buffoons right now, and for once that’s not hyperbole. This company is still operating like the economy is going great, there’s no source of information on alternatives or their own activities, and that local brick and mortar stores are unnecessary to their operations. None of these things are true, and their inability to realize this is leading them down a dark spiral, and they are even ignorant to this fact.
So what would I do? Well first off the whole pricing structure needs a radical restructuring. Prices for GW minis are absolutely ridiculous even granted their high quality. The prices for the books are even worse. I would operate on the theory that bringing new people in is absolutely essential to the game. Books would receive between a 50 and 75% price slash. If that meant selling them for a loss then so be it. People without books are people not playing my game. I want this to be the marketing scheme for next year:
The second thing I want to do is change how the boxed armies are done. I think GW is inching in this way already (look at the dwarf one for example) but they need to really look at how things are being done outside the company. They can outprice Privateer Press handily and still attract fans. Their games are good and their fans are rabid, but they need to encourage more people to pick it up. Here’s my ideas for their established products:
- Get rid of Finecast. Yesterday.
- Reprice all books to 25-50% of their current cost.
- Better staff and stocking at GW stores. These places should be destinations, palaces of GW hobbies with examples and demos going on every hour. Not sad slovenly stores stocking the most basic material.
- Stop. Suing. Everyone. It pisses people off and it is being done far in excess of what is necessary to preserve copyrights.
- Every Box like the Dwarf Box! Useful models, a good solid core and a little something extra tossed in. Islands of Blood is another great example. For $100 dollars you get at least 3-4x what you pay for AND the rulebooks.
- Box sizes should equate to regiments. 20 for elite infantry, 30 for line, 40 for swarms. Pricing will also be going down. 3$ for elite minis, 2$ for the rank and file, 5-7 for cavalry.
- Army books brought up to date for legacy armies, Brets, Skaven, Vampire Counts, Tomb Kings, look there’s a lot that needs some love.
- 1 Book for Marines. 3 Tops. Not a dozen. (Not counting CSM)
- Price reduction on boxes. Box sizes are ok. 40 bucks for 10 basic tactical marines isn’t.
- Rebalance everything. I mean a serious balance pass. Fliers especially but every army needs a good hard look to avoid spamming of OP units.
- Encourage the “skirmish” aspect. Too many games end up like WWI slugfests with neat weapons rather than fast sci fi games with Marines shrugging off loads of fire to desperately try to accomplish their objective.
- Epic 40k will be back. Armageddon was a great ruleset that rubbed people the wrong way. That can be fixed. Big battles in 40k have always been amazing and there’s no reason not to have this product out there.
- Blood Bowl is GW’s best game ever. Seriously it’s fun, it’s fast paced and it needs to be out front.
- LotR… does anyone play this? How much are we paying for the IP? Create some fancy models and move on.
- Necromunda. Am I showing my age yet? This is a hoot of a game and should be re-release with gorkamorka as a twofer. Maybe even a “big scale” 54mm model game. Something to throw down once in a while to mix things up.
Finally attempts have to be made to reach out to the community. A lot of the games biggest supporters have been turned off by GW’s litigious nature, and heavy handed treatment of the humble LGS. This has got to end. GW should be proud of each and every store and should offer incentives to high performing stores, not harsh quotas and minimums. For example a store that runs a tourney every month with a minimum of 10 players gets free scenery packs. X amount in total sales gets a discount on product, or more favorable payment terms. Finally I would practically dismantle the GW website for orders. Let the retailers handle the retail. Every GW sale takes dollars out of the pockets of the brick and mortar stores that host most Fantasy or 40k games. Treat these stores well and they will reward GW with higher sales. Treat them badly and they will wither and it will be more and more difficult for gamers to find a place to play a game. It will be more and more difficult to bring new people into the hobby, and it will be more and more difficult to increase the companies sales.
This was fun. Next up: Privateer Press, and then CCP Games!