A quick past today following the recent announcements out of privateer Press for 2013.
A new faction! – the cult of cysis is the new faction for warmachine and will come released with a battle engine and colossal as per the other factions, though apparently lacking cavalry on release. Those that read the fiction form the game are pretty happy with this, they are a dastardly evil cult that put souls of their men into machines. I was shocked at their release as a faction as they were always sold to us in the fiction as having low numbers and being more of a background thing then a major combatant, though having infernal’s as a faction would have been worse as it probably would have gone against the fiction. So the whole army is clockwork robots of various sizes, powered by the souls of men. I guess they wont give cryx corpse token when killed by will give off souls so they will be interesting from a game perspective once released. The aesthetics are ok, but are not wowing me just yet – im expecting their colossal may change my mind? I think its called the alpha omega or something along those lines.
Pp also announced a new card game that looks interesting as well as new tournament formats that whilst I will run events this year, wont have a major impact on me from a hobby perspective. The big news for me was a Warmachine Anthologies book. What this will contain is anyone’s guess but I hope it will be some kind of epic tome covering fluff, model releases and with my fingers crossed Karchev the terrible will go epic and they will put his body into a conquest …. Though perhaps my eyes are bigger then my belly but hey I may as well hope for what I am wanting!
Id also like to make mention of this particular model:
Why? Not only it is amazing but it sees the return of something ive been wanting – scenic bases for epic warcaster models. So +1 fr PP there, I hope they keep this up and give us more epics on sexy bases like this one.
On a side, the new faction is already being abbreviated as CoC … now sure if that’s really a good abbreviation but its kind of funny if you have a filthy mind like I do.
A few years ago my mate Jason and I adapted the rules from one game to suit warhammer because we wanted to have a game but did not want to pay for, and learn new complex rules, plus it means allowing some of our old models to become redundant and not being used. To cut that long story short it was a small success and we went away from it having learnt that there is a better way to play wargames and working on our own rules is fun. For me I took away something a bit more, inspiration. The following week I spent my lunch hours working on a set of rules to make the game even better as we found some things that didn’t work as well as we would have liked. I eneded up calling the rules set generica because I had successfully designed a set of rules that would work across game systems and would not only allow you to use old army lists for warhammer but would also allow for historical vs warhammer or warmachine vs warhammer… you get the idea. I had mathematical conversion rules for basic stats but otherwise core model rules could remain unchanged.
Fast forward and im now fatter, balder and have far less spare time on my hands. In the interim I have had another daughter born, got married and bought a house. I shelved the project with some ideas scrawled on some note pad paper for what I could do with them, firtst off was to release it as a book and how I didn’t get sued for IP infringement, the other was to launch my own game system with them and I planed out the basic armies, what the starter sets would look like and what add on expansion units I thought were good ideas.
Without giving away exactly what it is, I can now reveal that I have not only got two artists working on design and scupts for the project but I also have my first fully sculpted miniature here in my hot hairy hands ready to be cast. My ambition and ideas have got the better of me and im going to go forwards slowly and affordably but forward none the less and once im at a point where I have two starter sets, im going to throw it up on kickstarter and see if I can generate any excitement, interest and investment into it.
I want a small Australian wargames company that does good quality, fun miniatures with some good old fashioned business ideology. But im learning quickly, compromise and stress seem to be standing in the way of my dream from time to time and its become a small side job – but one I am enjoying. Who knows, perhaps one day I can do this for a living but for now I need to be realistic and look at getting this idea out of my system and into something that I can make, market and sell.
What I am also finding interesting is that what I think is good isn’t always what others agree with, with one of my designs ive had a mix if reactions from someone who was blown away to someone who thought it was necessary to tell me how to redesign elements of the miniature. Thankfully if the money I have spent on this is wasted and no one buys it then at least I can hold my head high and say that I gave it a honest go, because of this I have the mentality that I can do things my way and if someone does not like it then they don’t need to pay money for it…. Obviously that won’t work once the ‘business’ (being optimistic here) is up and running and I have creative people arguing over simple things like how a models helmet should look. I don’t envy the likes of Matt Wilson or Adam Poots who have to manage these kinds of personalities, though thankfully for me its not a huge stretch from what I do in my professional life now working as a health services manager at as mental health facility.
Right now the greatest challenge is the finding barrier as well as learning who can do what, what casters to use? Do I go 3d or traditional with the sculpting? Do I cast my rather large miniature I have here ready to go in resin or white metal? Can I realistically sell a miniature with a $10 cost to me to get it in my hands before I goes on to the customer? Will people pay for the stuff I have had worked on? Can I overcome the little bit of doubt I have to saying yes I know what im doing? Well for my sake and the sake of the amazing bits of work that have already been done I hope im up to the challenge and I hope it pays off! The one thing I do know is that I am enjoying the challenge!
I was in Canberra for a mates engagement party this weekend just gone and had a great time, both because we got away, saw some friends and got to visit shops we rarely get to see. Not even the fact that our 1 year old refused to sleep in Canberra could ruin what was a pretty good escape from the country for a bit over 24 hours.
On my list of places to check out was the two gaming stores in Canberra, one was in the city and the other was way out in the middle of nowhere (at least from a tourists perspective). Having visited both I was left reflecting on a theme that often comes up on the online forums such as Wargamer AU where people strongly argue against gamers buying from online retailers who on the whole (though not always) have far cheaper miniatures. Heavy discounting on miniatures is how they get your business and selling in volume is how they make their money. Ill come back to this point because its pertinent to what I have to say about the stores in Canberra and one in Penrith.
The two stores in Canberra were not quiet but I wouldn’t say they were busy, at least in selling stuff. The one in the city had a number of Magic the Gathering players there playing the game, I was unsure as to if they were paying to sue the space but if they were not then they did not seem to be spending heaps of money on cards. Similarly the other store had people in it but they did not seem to be customers, playing casual games and gossiping… on a side note I was surprised to see girls in the stores as this is a rarity in most of the stores in NSW that I have visited, admittedly they were no supermodels but it was still surprising to see, and welcome.
Both stores in the ACT were charging above US retail for their stock. I bought some miniatures (in blister form) that are going out of production as Privateer Press move to sell all the units at maximum size. My current project has been filling the gaps in my existing collection whilst I still can. This project started last year when the winter guard box set was announced, as well as a cygnar one were they looked to ditch production of the add on blister packs for existing units. In a panic I started buying everything I needed to get my units to their highest allowable size and this presented a few hurdles. One was for the Cygnar trenchers and the other major hurdle was for Menoth Exemplar errants (metal). My main options were to order from PP in America directly at great cost, though still not as high as buying old stock here in Australia. With some determination I started ringing around to see what stores had of what I was after. Defiant Gaming – my usual online retailer was as always a absolute dream to deal with and I have a few items coming from them with the release of the new hordes book next month. Beyond that I resorted to contact the brick and mortar stores as well as a few other online retailers such as games empire who were also helpful and provided a great service. The brick and mortar stores here seem to have a huge contrast in business philosophy to the online retailers and that is the core of today’s post.
Of the two stores in Canberra one had the fables trenchers in blister form for $11ea, above what I expected to pay but I stomached this as I ‘need’ them to finish my cygnar project, likewise they had one of the two blisters of pyg burrowers I was after for the same price. US retail on these is about $8 or $9 and that’s what I roughly would have paid to defiant if they had of had them in stock. Going back to Christmas, I called the Tin Soldier in Penrith who had the exemplar errants I wanted, now these are about $12 retail (or were before they were phased out) so you can imagine my disgust when after playing phone tag with them for a month and in all honesty being given the run around I was asked to pay $18+ per blister, then postage etc… By the time I got to Canberra and paid for my trenchers I was not shocked though disappointed to see them asking $150 for the colossal models that should cost around $120, and one of these stores is the new Australian distributor, though I believe that that arrangement is also almost dead due to other stores ordering directly from overseas so that they can sell the product at a more reasonable rate.
Ordering off ebay stores like the troll trader is also painless and well less then US retail + a small amount of shipping ($5, sometimes less) certainly less shipping then for the tin solder to send me those errants 200km up the road via Australia post. So I bought the errants off the ebay seller and waited … a week to get them, amazingly fast and hassle free. I spent more time haggling and trying to get the tin soldier to sell me the product then I did in waiting for it to show up form over seas. But this is not the major problem with the whole online retailer vs local gaming store debate.
Online stores are run generally by business minded people who know that customer service, price and simple things like being quick to get back to a customer result in them either having high rates of returning customers or if they do some trading via email like defiant do with me, they can up sell and ill usually cough up more money for other things. Defiant also interacts well with its customer base on Facebook, often holding discount promotions and competitions.
Regular stores are generally run or staffed by gamers, and lest face it – a large portion of wargamers, collectable card players and the ‘comic book store types’ do fit the stereotype of having poor people skills, let alone business skills. Case in point, the owner of the tin soldier was never there and when I called and he wasn’t, his staff would complain (rightly so though perhaps not to a customer) that they were in on their day off because he was off playing his x box or some such. Geeks in this hobby also have some weird idea in their head that because a store offers a gaming space that they can charge a premium for you to buy your models from them. Well that’s bad business because what tends to happen is that they go there to use the gaming space and buy form the online retailers who are a good 20%+ cheaper.
There is a myth that online retailers have no overheads and that the retail stores have massive overheads that also justifies the premium you pay to buy models form them, this too is a fallacy. I know for a fact that Defiant gaming has to rent out a rather large warehouse for their stock, furthermore they have staff, electricity bills and so on just as a retail store does… though most retail stores don’t also have to maintain warehouse items such as forklifts and Work Health Safety certifications. I would hazard a guess that the money saved by not having to pay for and maintain a gaming space with wonderful terrain (though im yet to see this be really true of a retailer that isn’t games workshop) should offset the costs incurred by the online retailers who need to sell in high volume to make the same profits (in theory).
Many of the miniatures I saw in the two gaming stores in Canberra had dust on them, that tells you that perhaps they don’t have the product turnover that you’d expect them to given that people are playing in their store and there is the chance for impulse buyers to just grab it off the shelf – a retail stores best weapon against the online retailers. Retail stores without stock are doomed to die, likewise if they can’t move the stock out of the door they are also doomed. The solution? If you cant beat them then join them. Retailers need to get smarter and find ways of discounting the stock so it sells. The reason it isn’t selling isn’t because its more expensive, its because it’s a lot more expensive then the online sellers. If those stores in Canberra were just 2% to 5% more expensive then defiant I may have dropped a few hundred $ in there, instead I got home and mentioned on defiants facebook that I was after some of the crystals that the retailers were selling for more then I expected to pay… now im spending more money then before because ill get it cheap online, they are moving more stock because they are cheaper – and they listened to the customer.
It saddens me to see these stores sit there with untapped business potential because the stores overseas make more money (larger population helps) mostly due to better business models and that means a better store and experience for the customer… and more profit for the owner. I drove home thinking that if Defiant opened a gaming space up at their warehouse then the other two stores would be in serious trouble, perhaps less so for the one that sold regular games such as chess sets and so on, but the one specialising in wargaming miniatures would really have no purpose being there. There is a decent market in Canberra as there is in Sydney – one decent store in either city would make an absolute motza… meanwhile ill keep visiting the stores in the hope that one will have products at a price I am happy to pay and continue waiting for the postman to deliver my models on a weekly basis. And whilst I open my less expensive models (with postage costs) ill keep on reading about the plight of Australian gaming stores on online forums and how people think we should be supporting bad business models instead of the good ones.
My next post should be less of a rant and more content as I get back on track following receipt of my new desktop computer that was preventing me from bogging over Christmas due to my old one sadly bidding me farewell on Christmas day.
So today are pics of the finally completed Cryx army for my mate Jason. they are a very deep purple and grey, a minor twist on the PP scheme. a ton of work went in to these, and additional work on a 2nd unit of bile thralls and a 2nd bloat thrall due to the originals being thought to be stolen at a tournament only to show up in Jasons cupboard 9 months later 😀 so lets hope PP release a bloated caster and some kind of bloated cryx warbeast in 2013,,, wishful thinking but hey we didn’t see the colossals coming did we?
without further ado or pomp.
So a large chunk of 2012 and some of 2011 were dedicated to painting my mate Jasons legion army. the project started because i wanted to have a go at painting a blueish legion model and it just went on… and on…. and on. at a time it was difficult to keep up with the rate of him buying them. so without too much pomp, here is a view of the whole army, each one hand painted and based by your truly.
The army is a blue hue with darker blue, silver and gold metals, purple cloths (my mates preferred color) and snow for the bases.
some more pics:
The army is huge and im pretty damn happy with how it came up! Ive probably put in hundreds of hours on these and the photos don’t do the models credit but i hope they give a good idea of what they look like.
Commission wise ill be hitting my mate up for some models in payment, it was a labor of love to get them painted but now its done i am glad its over.
One of the few models i did for myself while working on these was the bombshell so here she is..
Stay tuned tomorrow when i show off the cryx also done for jason.
So it’s the silly season and I have decided to squeeze in some blog time!!! Hopefully ill get to both do my backlog of updates ive been wanting to do but also get some awesome work done of a few of my projects over the next 4ishy days have off work. Where to start….
First off was that I managed another colossal game, this time facing the dreaded epic stryker with the storm wall and storm strider. My Khador test is still underway and this time around prime butcher got a run with the conquest. The list was mostly man o wars (demo corps, shock troopers & Drakhun) and doom reavers (escort and fenris also came along for some dastardly fun). The wardog, koldun lord, behemoth and juggernaught all got another go along side the conquest and overall im pretty happy with how the army went, more so as Justin took a pretty good list that included a few too many for my liking minion and mercenary buffs as well as cavalry (plus dragoon) and the token storm clad that’s now become a staple in most of his cygnar lists .. the dreaded ol’ Rowdy was there too, its one of those cygnar models that could probably cost a point more given what it can do. The cygnar cavalry is in my opinion, amazing. Everyone knows the khador cavalry is disgusting with their buffs and that the cryx ones are disgustingly good at swathing through troops… the menoth and cygnar ones tend to get less press and I think overall the cygnar cav tend to preform very well for their points.
The outcome; well we opted for kill box and had to squeeze the game in before D&D so we played to a strict limit of turns and in the end it came down to victory points and conquest enjoyed thumping ol’ rowdy into the ground. Terrain again played a massive role as there were serious choke points, and with 3 massive based models on the board real-estate was again at a premium, my man o wars still struggled to get where I wanted them though this time it was better given my experience last game with needing more real-estate on the board for them. With that done we are going to continue on to more 75 point lists over the coming weeks and try to get through all or at least most of the casters for khador and cygnar with the colossal before I move on to doing the same with a gargantuan or a different colossal.
For the rematch we went 75 points haravech vs 75 points kara sloan. I HATE cara, she is one of those casters where if her feat is hard to understand and ive lost a tournament because the TO and a player misinterpreted it… needless to say she had to go down, and she did 😉 so we have called a re-re match for some time in the next few weeks, though ill have to tweak my list and post something up closer to when me make that happen…
Hobby wise ill start with the newest stuff first and then I hope to show my backlog over the next day or two once I finish their bases and varnish… to start with we have epic Irisk, I had already painted this model but having looked at my airbrushed base coat on the winterguard (and prime irisk) I had to give him a touch up, plus I wanted to use some really nice yellow ink I got from an art store in Bathurst. The ink is still my preferred brand – Daler Rowney FW and I think it made the flames pop a little more, I also got some highlights in with my custom blue black mix I use now (it started with painting Kang) it was also good to touch up the snow and his face a little… Hint, one of the models I am working on it lurking in the background.
Next up is the Privateer Press exclusive Ashlyn model. It was sculpted by a talented Australian so I had to get my hands on this… after fiddling with the pose and base, I ended up with this
I sculpted some details in, vines etc just to give it a more custom look that should translate well once its painted, I also want to put some autumn leaves on the marble floor, so im yet to work out where people buy the leaves from… paint on this one might wait a while whilst I research it a bit more..
I had two metal carniveans and I knew I wouldn’t use one, in fact I want the extreme one so I might not end up using either of the ones I have. I had some left over bits from the plastic kit from a mates build so I threw the scytheans ones on to the metal carnivean and it worked well.. so well that I wouldn’t mind turning the other one into a ravagore if I can get the extreme model.
I dug up prime feora and nemo (not pictured because he is a nancy) from my bits box and based them up to match my existing stuff, I figure I might as well use them seeing how people are starting to want others to use the prime model to represent the prime incantation. It irks me a little but I get it so they are back in.
Sylus showed up with a few other items that ill talk about another time, he had to be based on something nice, a ruined face was what I went with and it looks great, itll be even better once I paint him up.
Last but not least I have put together some trolls acquired from my mate rob. I’ve given the sluggers (only one pictured) thematic gun flash effects to make them look like they are firing their guns. These are sold by armorcast. Their postage is pretty damn expensive if you live in Australia but thankfully griffin grove games stock some of their stuff, well worth a look! Horthol is based up and once I get two more long riders (ordered but still waiting to show up) ill get some paint on the unit to match the war wagon ive already painted.
So that’s it, a taste of things to come over the next few days… the next few updates should be far more exciting.
Sunday saw my first game against my mate Justin in quite some time. It was the perfect opportunity for us to try the first colossal vs colossal game for our group. Knowing Justin and him knowing I was taking my Khador with the Conquest I knew hs main options would be to give Nemo 3, Stryker 1 or 2 or Darius a run. Of these Darius and Nemo 3 were the ones I was the most concerned about so I built my list knowing that either way he want, my troops would take a pounding and my jacks would have a hard time surviving against the storm wall. My options were to take more troops then he could deal with but this wasn’t an ideal approach for Khador, taking 30 odd banes would be ideal If I were taking my Cryx but this time around I decided that taking a army that could take the hits and then deal them back was a better option and by doing this I would be playing with Khadors biggest strength, armour.. lots of armour. If I had do deal with a Storm Wall then id need some serious damage output by my jacks so this narrowed the caster down to the butcher and Karchev – my two personal options for beefy Khador armies. I was going beefy then ill go all out and go with Karchev, if I’m honest I was saving Karchev + Conquest for Jason or Justin as they are the two better players in our group. If I was going Karchev, then id go all out at 75 points, tier 4 theme.
So my list looked like:
Battle Mechanics (full) + Man-O-War Mechanic Officer
Man-O-War Demolition Corps (full)
Man-O-War Shock Troopers (min)
Justin went with Nemo 3 , a model ive been worried about since I got my copy of the colossal book. His list looked like:
Gorman Di Wulfe
Full unit of storm Lances
3 storm callers
We played the guidons scenario from SR2012 without timed turns. I’ve personally been leaning away from timed turns unless I know I’m playing someone who is going to draw the turns out to about an hour each. This is a scenario neither of us had played and if I am honest this was probably a large mitigating factor for the outcome of the game.
I won the roll and opted to go second thinking it would give me a setup and a tactical advantage come scenario time. So on to setup and here it is.
Please note the poofter strangeways hiding behind a storm wall and the storm strider. The terrain was for our games, minimal. The imperial eagle thingo was rough terrain and the rest of it was self-explanatory we used the base of the tree as impassable with the path into it as the exception. Khador had a rough time with setup and the terrain though so did Cygnar. With two colossal and a battle engine on the board, real estate for the other models was at a real premium and we found that this was probably the biggest tactical challenge of the game. That said, I wouldn’t change the amount of terrain we used for future games as it plays on a colossal downside, its size.
was pretty standard, everything advanced with the Cygnar cavalry on one flank and a combo of Gorman, storm clad and a storm caller on the other. Khador moved up on a two from karchev so I had three jacks awkwardly up nea Gorman with karchev .. I knew what he was going to try there but I also knew how to deal with it so I left things as they were. Behemoth sniped the storm caller and that was about as exciting as the first turn got.
was nearly as eventful. Justin positioned his lancer ready for chain lightning to go silly, set his cavalry up for the charge and moved up near the flag (but not in contact with it). Knowing I was about to get a cavalry charge I set my army up to take the hit, man –o-War Kovnik and Drakun were ready to counter charge on my right flank. I set my jacks up to both protect Karchv but also hammer the storm wall if Justin was ready to throw it at me, my man-o-war units were horribly bottle necked by the terrain so I had no choice but to run the demo corps and move the other unit up in shield wall. Conquest was also bottled up a bit but he managed to lay down covering fire and took a shot at the lancer, softening it up for the Frey that was about to start.
It looks like the spriggan is in base to base with that flag, it isn’t and neither of us got a control point due to being a pair of twits. Turn 3 Justin moved his cavalry so that my drakhun didn’t counter charge any of them, moving them in towards the conquest. Not what I was expecting but I could deal with that. Thunderhead took his flag to ensure a point. Justin then proceeded to throw everything thing he had at my flag, with the storm wall, storm strider and nemo bringing it down to one point of health. Storm wall also layed down some covering fire, bottlenecking my man o wars for another turn. On the other flank Justin set his stormclad up for a charge and moved Gorman up for the black oil I knew he was going to try and get me with. Khador’s turn three was eventful with the man-o-wars charging and failing to hit the bloodly cavalry. Drakhun and the Kovnik were ready for counter charge and if need be, to have a go at the flag next turn. The spriggan charged the storm wall after a two and managed to damage it but Justin had a Ne3mo spell on it to knock the thing back. I had karchev there ready to take a charge from storm wall with the wardog next to him to increase his def and camped focus on him to prepare for the high damange hits if the thing could hit him. Behemoth took out Gorman with his bombards as expected. My mechanics were standing around doing nothing and I failed to put one on them on the bloody flag.. again. My koldun did little except for the lord who allocated a focus. My marauder charged the lancer and not only nearly killed it with its attack but also managed to slam it throught he covering fire layed down by stormwall, that was enough to take it down to a few damage, a man o war finished it off…. Justin had lobed a stom pod to my flag to contest it, but i checked and its not a scoring model so it does not count. a mechanic killed it anyway. I took out another storm caller this turn with conquest, I couldn’t get to his flag this turn and hoped he would focus on the caster kill next turn.
The camera failed me here but more or less, Justin moved his cavalry , taking a counter charge form drakhun, resulting in a death. My war dog was killed somehow.. I don’t recall how and storm wall charged karchev, missing him on 2 of its 5 attacks, including the charge attack. It pays to boost the hit on the charge attack!! Needless to say, karchev survived three hit from the thing that was only doing dice -3 damage. Other ranged nonsense saw shots and chain lightning managed to kill one mechanic and a Man-O-War. Thunderhead pulsed and killed the Drakun as well as damaging a man-o-war, he bought extra attacks with it taking out the dismounted Drakhun but failed to kill the model contesting the flag, so no points for Cygnar on that turn. The Storm Strider failed to hit the khador flag the first time and on its 2nd shot failed to damage it… that was all of justins options out.
Khador turn 4… well well well, the opportunity to crush some smack talk was in front of me. Not only was karchev in combat with storm wall but it was in charge range of every jack in my list as well as the conquest. I allocated my focus and started off with the man o wars. Now here is where I threw the game away not only did I forget to activate the drakhun in my excitement, who could have seriously damaged the Cygnar flag, but I had no less then 4 man-o wars in charge range of it, but I hastily opted to kill the pesky cavalry and in a utter brain dead moment I neglected to bother with the objective. I obliterated the cavalry and solos in the immediate area of my mass of man-o-wars, ignoring the thunderhead as it was probably not an ideal target and THE ideal target was lost in the lust of wanting to kill the storm wall. So that was that done. The storm wall was then turned to scrap by karchev and the conquest with a little help from the spriggan as I had to move it out of conquests way so that it could charge. Karchevs feat + unearthly rage and it was all over pretty quick. Behemoth squished the storm clad without being given any focus… all that was left was a damaged storm strider thanks to a brave man-o-war demo corp who charged it on his own.. my ternion had nothing to do but de-buff the storm wall by -6 Def, in hind sight THEY SHOULD HAVE MOVED ON TO MY OBJECTIVE FOR SOME POINTS!! .. with Justin’s army all but annihilated we opted for a 5th turn and this is what happened.
He activated nemo, killed my flag and won the game… with only a few casualties – Drakhun, War Dog, 1 mechanic, 1 demo Corp and 1 shock troop, I had a boot load of victory points having slain most of the Cygnar army only to give the game away out of stupidity.
So in sum:
Pay attention to the objective.
Real estate gets valuable once you start adding a few huge sized models on to the board, in our case there were 3
Storm wall goes down like butter in the summer sun when faced by conquest or when you throw the right resources at it. Its not the invicible monster we think it is.
75 points is the sweet spot for collossals, the game was fun, smooth and time manageable.
Im an idiot.
A well-played game by Justin who deserved the victory.