Saturday, November 8, 2008

Plastic Legions- The state of things

Just a general rundown of where my heads at, hopefully some of you can relate so this isn't only for my own benefit.

Warhammer Fantasy Battles- The state of WFB here in my neck of the woods is strong. Between my local shop (Oak Park) and the Chicago Battle Bunker I now know two pretty large groups of organized players that are playing all the time and I also hear there is decent scene at the new Niles shop. Club nights everywhere are thriving, and personally I am making the effort to get out play some people from other stores on a more regular basis. Despite the complaints about power creep in the new books I feel WFB can be a balanced game..while subject to same failures as any game by those who want to power game, our last campaign was a really great example where I felt games overall were very balanced. The playing field has evened in terms of our local player skill in the last year and we seen alot more Draws and alot less Massacres for the most part and that's a good thing....I'm looking to illustrate this point a bit further by hosting the 1st Plastic Legions tournament here at my place in November. That is "IF" I can get 8 people to all commit to the same day (which is proving problematic) so this may get pushed to the post holiday season. Regardless- the idea is a "General's Tourney" with balanced armies held in check with rigid comp requirement playing a variety of tough scenarios. Personally I love the idea..we'll see if it becomes reality. Overall the there is lot of excitement over new Chaos mortals book and the upcoming Lizards book..the new plastic models I am seeing are amazing and I look forward the upcoming releases for Empire in 2009. WFB seems to be stronger than ever from where I sit.

Warhammer 40K- You can't mention one without the other so lets start with a gimme I am sure I am not alone in the opinion the Apocalypse was an absolute failure in terms of "game" viability...the people I know that played in various Apocalypse events were only disappointed despite the explosion of model sales at the time of its release I just think the mass appeal of people wanting play games of that size is extremely limited. 5th edition seems to only breathed half a life back into a player base that seemed to be slowly slipping away. Despite the initial rush that the new rules have brought to the game. I still know several people- that after giving it chance -have since abandoned the game completely. While 40K's popularity overall remains undiminished I sense a lacking in our local environment, that I can't quite put my finger on.

I had a conversation the other day with a friend and we were talking about the rules as in they don't fit the "size" of game..I feel that as a skirmish game- the focus should be on "smaller" not "bigger" games. GW always wants to make the game bigger, even more epic with bigger and badder models (to sell of course) and for me the rules just get lost there. Again I have to mention the "true line of sight" fiasco as part of my own lack of forward progress on the game, Initially it really sounded cool, but in reality it wasn't. Perhaps moving to more squad based mechanic for the bigger games is the answer I really don't know..I read the new rules they sounded cool..but not enough to set up a game and go out and still get blown off the table if I lose 1st turn? I feel there isn't a game out there that could benefit more by dropping the "I go" , "You go" model more than Warhammer 40K. That being said...the 40K scene is absolutely thriving on the internet..there seem to be 20- 40K blogs to every Fantasy Blog so there is no loss in popularity across the thing everyone agrees on..we all love the models -but will that continue to carry the game as older players move on and new players have way too many options and distractions? I guess we will see, 40K is not going anywhere anytime soon. That is for sure.
I'm looking forward to checking out the Imperial Guard releases this year.

Lord of Rings- I wish there was more interest in this, the skirmish style rule system is awesome and easily modable to variety of other games ( see Legends of the High Seas.) I've read about a guy translating 40K to the LotR games model for smaller squad level games, which sounds interesting. Anyway there is strong local following for LotR in Chicago, that I personally am not involved in but they are organized and motivated. Some of the guys from our shop got me into the game and I like it quite a bit and look forward to playing it seems to be the game most of our local crew is interested in when we are not playing WFB.

Historicals- I'll lump these all into one, As a former History teacher my interest in Historical Wargaming is huge. Warhammer Historicals fall into this catagory but unfortunately both my attempts to play have been less than successful. Legends of the High Seas seems to have more people creeping out of the woodwork that want to play..its just matter of getting together for a game and with my schedule that's tough. As far as Ancients go...I wanted to get it together with Rich from Chicago Terrain Factory for the WAB doubles tourney at Adepticon 09- but Wargames factory has really dropped the ball on helping me make that happen...They STILL haven't shipped the Celts I ordered back in April! I tried to get around this by getting the Warlord games models but after building two boxes of those- there just isn't enough variety in the Warlord games models and poses (which aren't that conducive to easy ranking either, double whammy) . This made it very difficult to stay motivated to keep building and keep the project on track. I was content to wait for the Wargames Factory models to ship so they could breath some life into my army so I would not be bored to tears when faced with painting the 100+ models . When they didn't ship as promised- again in October I eventually had to renege on Rich for Adepticon and ask him to find another partner. I needed to be well into painting by now..not still waiting on my freaking models. I feel like total shit about this, but better I saying it now than waiting until February when I'd have to go..."umm sorry I don't have time to finish my army". I should have just ordered my whole Army from Renegade last spring..I really like the models that I do have..and they where AVAILABLE...the whole Ancients thing right now is kind of a let down.

On the postive side...I have come into some gaming cash lately between selling a bunch of old collectibles on ebay and dumping off some other stuff to online retailer. I came up with enough to pay for the GW table everyone is griping about and I took a 25% bump in value buy agreeing to trade from the retailer.. I'm seriously looking at Flames of A) I love WW2 gaming, and B) I know some guys that are starting to play. 15mm kind of throws me...but its good way to spend my trade dollars, I'm not 100% committed so we'll have to see but if I could get out once a month to play some FoW....I'd be very happy as I hear plenty of good things about it. That also brings up the point how cool would 28mm WW2 gaming be using the LotR system as base for platoon vs platoon skirmishes?? damn that'd be cool..there are a ton of great models out there..Anyway don't be shocked to see some Flames of War here at Plastic Legions should I get into it.

This is getting a bit long so save the future rambling for another least this is where my gaming head it at.


Bill Lim said...

Intresting "state of the game" post. I didn't know you were getting any FoW stuff. My group (well really just Billy and Myself) have been eyeing it for quite a while. Perhaps afte you get your stuff I have my arm twisted to try out a couple games with ya :) Also we do have to talk some more about the tourney (more on that in a normal e-mail later on).

Ray said...

Glad to hear WHFB is going strong in your neck of the woods. Allot of folks here in NC are coming into it as well. Most are 40k players looking for something new.

One question... where did you hear rumors of Empire being redone in 2009. I had heard Lizardmen > Skaven > BoCh. The only reason I ask is that I am conidering starting an Empire army, but I don't want to invest in the older models now, if new boxes might be out in the next year.

Great Blog BTW, I enjoy all of your posts!

John@Plastic Legions said...

Hi Ray- Thanks for checking out the blog. I havent heard a word about the Empire book being redone. Since the Empire is second of the 7th ed books released (orcs being the 1st)
redoing an army book within the same edition before doing all the other undone armies would shock me. ( thou I guess they did update the Dwarfs book twice within 6th Editon, but the second dwarf book was the crossover book just before the 7th ed books)

While I think the Empire is a little bit behind the power curve compared to the newer 7th ed books, its still totally viable and the most flexible army. if you need to compete against the tough armies you just need the Steam Tank or War Altar..or just become an expert general...I am opting for the later but its a long road my friend.

There are new Empire model releases in 2009 I hear new Knights and a Plastic steam tank and some special release Handgunners..all of which look awesome. release dates are unknown. I definitely recommend Empire as a great WFB dont be hesitant to go for it..
the only thing I would hold off on buying is the steam tank wait for the plastic, knights and handgunners might as well go with the current models because you can always use more when the new releases come of luck.

Anonymous said...

I hear what you mean about all those 40k blogs, us WFB boys need to stick together.

Scott said...

Apocalypse an absolute failure?! No way!

I just played Apocalypse last week and it was awesome. I guess that's just my one opinion among several others who are negative.

I still think 5th edition is the best version of the 40k rules ever. In any of the half dozen games I've played, line of sight never seemed akward.

I think a lot of people that you and I both know never even gave it a fair chance. There are people who simply read the rules and said, "I'm not playin'."

I'm not directing this so much at you, John. I know your heart was always more in WHFB rather than 40K. I just get frustrated by people that want to play 2nd ed the rest of their lives.

John@Plastic Legions said...

Hey Scott.. you know thats funny just as I mention I thought Apoc was a failure and both you and Bill both tell me you just or are about to play it!.

I guess my opinion comes from a bunch of things, everything from online forum posts, to the negative opinions you know about from the HTR crew and my own observations of guys standing around reading magazines for a half an hour when its not their turn. I just cant wrap my head around that much abstraction with that many models in an "i go", "you go" model..there are so many things I can think of off the top of my head that would ease that pain...staged deployment, initiative,-( simultaneous kills every turn from models with the same ini.) etc.. I'm not very high on the WFB legendary battles either without some major modifications. I guess the difference is that was just a WD article and not marketed as a full blown "game" selling $450 boxes of 200 Space Marines while at Oak Park I struggle to find people with the dedication to get a squad painted.

I agree that the 5th Ed rules are better than 4th..I just can't over the hump and the LoS thing is just
after all the hype about True LoS
and use of cover to find out one man exposed from cover still exposes the whole squad just kills it for me..the rarity of such of thing aside. Anyway...Rock on!
I am glad you are having fun because that what its all about
I hope we to hang out sometime soon!

Billy said...

The biggest issue with Apoc is that people played their first few games in stores, and it burned them, badly. Most of the more serious 40K players in our area avoid in-store Apoc events for that very reason. There were a number of players that were getting into 40K just as Apoc came out, and never really learned to play, which leads to VERY long games that don't reward players for the effort necessary to put together a massive game. Bill, Joe Farnworth, and I are playing a big game tonight, if you get into the shop, you should check it out, Apocalypse is pretty darn cool when the players actually know the game.

Billy said...

Also, tiny correction to your comment regarding 'I go-you go': In 40K, models with the same initiative DO strike simultaneously. It's one of the things that's always bothered me about WHFB. Of course, in 40K, Initiative is one of the most important stats for CC in general, as charging does not let you go before someone that's faster.

John@Plastic Legions said...

That simultaneous is only CC thou right? I was thinking that it would help the first turn problem if shooting casualties were resolved at the of the full turn so say your ini 3 marine gets blasted he would still get to a shoot another ini 3 or lower target before he got pulled...complicated yeah...but offsets some of annoying abstraction I dont like. I think you hit the nail on head with the "in store" event thing as the root of the problem...I could only assume house rules or more control of the situation would make it better. Thanks for the comments Bill, I will see you tonight and check out the game!

Anonymous said...

RE: 40k and 5th edition.

When a new codex or edition we know we'll have to adjust our lists to compensate for the changes.

However no one seems to have caught on to the idea that perhaps our terrain collections might have to be adapted to compensate for TLOS rules.

I like the idea of APOC: take what you like, stratagem bonuses, plug-n-play data sheets etc. but have a hard time wanting to find the time and space to have a battle that large.

I'd like to see we the fanbase finding ways to add stratagems and data sheets into standard 40k games.


Ray said...

Ohhhhhhh new Empire models. That makes more sense. That's actually great news. The only thing holding me back from starting Empire was missing out on all the great new plastics coming out in the recent and upcoming army rewrites. The current Empire barded horses look like they belong on a carousel compared to the newer armies' cavalry. I do like to paint and I want a great army to get my imagination going.

I bought the new mortals book, while the models are mind-bendingly awesome, their play style seems just a little blad to me. Empire on the other hand.... plus in the 2 communities I game in, I no know Empire players.

Billy said...

A little note on TLOS and the "one exposed model exposes the whole squad", which I think was from Alessio's podcast on the new rules- Conceptually, the guy peeking out from behind the wall is holding the relevant position, the other guys are stacking up, waiting to advance behind him, so the logic behind the others being shootable is that either they're taking up his position as he gets blasted, or (in my opinion more plausibly) the enemy sees that guy, and lets a few shots go into the wall, in hopes that they penetrate and hit anyone hiding. Considering the firepower of the 41st Millenium, shooting through walls isn't too hard...


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