Thursday 30 July 2015

Dodgy GenCon Attendees Deported

There is a story doing the rounds that a bunch of GW reps trying to enter the USA to demonstrate Age of Sigmar at Gencom have just been deported back to the UK.

Seems like US immigration officials must have been warhammer fans.

Black Library

Dropped in to the Black Library website to check what's new and came across a limited edition novella for £30.

A thirty quid short story???

Well these limited editions must be profitable or BL wouldn't offer them. "Limited' no doubt accurately describes the sales figures but on the other hand the profit margin must be staggering.

I guess this reflects the "pile 'em low, sell 'em dear" policy of GW in general.

It's quite interesting how GW seems to be turning its business model into a low volume 'luxury' manufacturer as opposed to the high volume toy manufacturer it aspired to be in the 90s. The target audience appears to be 'rich kids' - of various ages :)

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Germany Strikes Models by Andy Singleton

Professional painter Andy Singleton will be at Rochester models tomorrow evening, Wednesday 22nd July, to show off some of his work.

You can contact Andy here.
See you there.

More of Andy's work.

First Review - German Strikes

The first review of my new book is up.

It's a video review by Tabletopbattle.

They describe it as 'Excellent': coughs in an unconvincing attempt to show modesty.

Monday 20 July 2015

Rochester Models, Germany Strikes, Book Signing Wednesday

My new Bolt Action Wargaming Campaign book, Germany Strikes, is now available. It covers the Blitzkrieg era: Poland, Denmark, Norway, Low Countries, and France.

I will be doing a book signing at the Rochester Models Bolt Action club Wednesday 22nd in the evening from about 6pm onwards. There will a display of models and the club will be playing a few games.

Andy Singleton, the professional model painter, whose art has graced the Warlord Games website will also be present to talk about his work.

Rochester Games Models & Railways
21 Corporation Street

Tel: +44 1634 815699

See you there: John Lambshead

Review, Wargames Factory Samurai

Wargames Factory plastic 28 mm models fit into the cheap and cheerful category. No they're not the best sculpted or manufactured models in the world but they're not bad and great value for money.

I bought a box of these, they retail at about £18 for 25 models, to use in fantasy games and also to try out the new Japanese skirmish games that have come on the market - Ronin and Daisho.

The models are the usual multi (almost)fit: I found it useful to sometimes cut the hands to rotate them.

The results are not bad.

If I start playing one of these games seriously I will probably buy a few metal premium models but these will do as a starter and will eventually gravitate to a KoW Army.

WF produce mounted cavalry and Ashigura with guns/bows and spears so £40 will buy an army.

Recommended (with caveats).

Wednesday 15 July 2015

New Light Tank for the British Army

This is the new British Army Scout SV light tank equipped with a purpose-designed 40mm Anglo-French gun.

Note light is a relative term. It weighs in at 38-42 tonnes. A Sherman tank weighed 30 tonnes so in WWII terms it should be classed as a medium. A Challenger II is 63 tonnes but I suspect the MBT is about to go the way of the battleship.

Monday 13 July 2015

My Antares Boromite Army

The Boromites are a bioengineered para-human group of clans who are involved in mining and heavy industry. This is a security detail. In the centre is the three man HQ unit armed with high-tech military plasma weapons.

On the right a squad of young gangers with sophisticated rail guns - low tech civilian weapons. Note the more yellow brighter skin of the younger Boromite. The guns are made from metallised ceramics.

Foregrounds a lavamite pack. these are bioengineered rock boring life forms used as biodrones for mining. They are driven to attack by a Boromite with an electrowhip.

A rock excavator: this is not a weapon but a sort of rock boring transmat. The blob on the right is an observation drone.

However when raised to the horizontal it can make a nasty mess of structures, or anything in the way.

A Boromite mining work gang. The machines in their hands are not weapons but rock crushers.

However, they will crush most anything they are pointed at - walls, armour, people..

I chose an orange colour scheme because these are mining workers, not soldiers, but any military equipment is in metallised hues.

Sunday 12 July 2015

Interview with the Creative Director at GW

Interesting interview with the Creative Director at Games Workshop here about the design philosophy behind Age of Sigmar.

Saturday 11 July 2015

Hitler Reviews Age of Sigmar

Der Fuhrer is not entirely happy about AoS replacing Warhammer. See his review streamed straight from his gaming bunker here.

Cavatore's Kings of War II, Free Download

Mantic's Kings of War II is free to download here.

Also available are the first army lists.

Kings of War is a Cavatore design which means it is particularly smooth to play. It is essentially a simplified and cleaned up warfare and is great for tournament and pick up games. KoW is what Age of Sigmar should have been.

The format is open plan so you can use your Warhammer or Historical Armies.

Friday 10 July 2015

75th Anniversary of Battle of Britain

Scramble: Spitfires take off over a crashed zerstroyer.

The celebrations of the great World War II victory of the Battle of Britain are underway.

The battle marked the limit of Hitler's western expansion placed him in the position of Napoleon: dominant in Western Europe but facing a hostile and implacable naval power that had the ability to strangle his economy.

The victory was won by British, Commonwealth and East European pilots, notably the fighting Poles and is the first campaign to be decided almost entirely by air power.

Like Napoleon, unable to conquer or intimidate Great Britain, Hitler turned east instead and invaded Russia. But he did it with a Luftwaffe that was weaker than twelve months earlier.

I have put up a few artworks that I have swiped off the web (I do not own the copyright) that I think sums up the heroism of The Few.

ME109 Ace shoots down a Spitfire over Kent

Hurricane blows the tail off a Dornier bomber over London

109 escorts a damaged comrade to safety

To win a VC

Dusk landing

Homeward bound over the white cliffs

Hurricanes close for the kill

Spitfires triumphant

Swirling dogfight

JU88s streak low level for home

"Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few," Winston Churchill.

"He must have been thinking of our bar tabs," Unknown RAF fighter pilot.

Thursday 9 July 2015

Technical Advantage

I just got the proofs back for my short story in a new Baen anthology dedicated to celebrating the work of writer David Drake.

It is written in a style rather different to my normal work. I have tried to show the reality of guerrilla warfare versus killing at a distance and what it does to the people who have to do the dirty work. War is nasty. People in war behave nastily. Hollywood does no one any favours by glamourising the vile business. Guerrilla wars are perhaps the nastiest of the lot.

The piece is called Technical Advantage: the book will be called Onward, Drake!

The anthology includes great writers who will be familiar names, like Larry Correia, Eric Flint, Gene Wolf and Sarah Hoyt and others. I am very proud to be included in that number.

Sunday 5 July 2015

Review of The Age of Sigmar Rules by GW

Warhammer is dead and has been replaced on the GW website with The Age of Sigmar. Most of the current models are still available, albeit under new names - all the old Tolkien names, Dwarves, Elves, Ogres are gone presumably because of GW's obsession with IP protection.

The rules and 'Codexes', now known as 'Warscrolls' are available to download free on the GW website, which is an improvement over the ridiculous sums being charged for 40K material. GW have followed Mantic in another regard in that the AoS is hugely simplified compared to Warhammer. The core rules are a mere four pages long.

However, in every other way Age of Sigmar is a poor competitor to Kings of War.

Players start a game by dividing the player area into two - they each own half the territory except for a 24" neutral zone in the centre.

Players then alternate in setting up their armies one unit at a time. They continue this until (i) they run out of units to plonk down, (ii) they run out of space to plonk them in, or (iii) they lose the will to live. If your opponent tires first it doesn't matter You can still drop additional units onto the table for as long as you like or as long as you've got more to unload from the boot of your car.

There are no points. I'll say that again: there are no points!

So what constitutes a unit? Weeeel, it could be a single figure such as Nagash or it could be a regiment of troops such as Skeleton Warriors. There are minimum regiment sizes, usually five to ten models but there are no upper limits.

I'll say that again: there are no upper limits on the size of a regiment.

Want sixty Blood Knights? Well go ahead my son. The only limitation is how much cash you are willing to spend down at your GW Warhammer Shop.

By now you have probably grasped that there is no such thing as balance in the armies deployed. The concept just don't exist in Age of Sigmar. There's no balance in the victory conditions either. You fight until one side is completely eliminated: there's no army morale. If you are in danger of dieing of boredom you can just stop and the loser is the one who has lost the highest percentage of his army as measured by models removed.

All models count the same for victory purposes! I'll, no on second thoughts I won't repeat that. I'm sure you get the picture.

Nagash is no more valuable than a skeleton warrior for purposes of victory.

There is a Sudden Death victory table that seems to be an attempt to balance the system for games with unequal armies - and they will all be unequal -  BUT IT WON'T WORK.

If one player has a third more models in his army than the other, the outnumbered player can choose a sudden death objective such as 'get any model to within 3 inches of a specified terrain feature by turn 4'.

Note: all models count the same for army size purposes. Again, Nagash is no more valuable than a skeleton warrior.

So I choose an army of ten super heroes, one of which flies. I am inferior to your modest force of troops so I get the sudden death victory condition on account of my army's inferiority (ho ho). On turn 4 I fly my badass hero to the specified terrain feature and thumb my nose at you. Want another game?

Then we get onto bases. They've changed the bases from square to round(ish) but to incorporate the old models you no longer measure from the base but from a 'point on the model' - like a spear point. This has all sorts of practical issues as melee weapons have a range, believe it or not. WHY? One inch in the case of swords, which may make it very difficult for a swordsman to engage Nagash on his large square base.

Forget your ranked troops fighting mighty battles. The close combat system is bit 40K-like with loose groups of troops that only fight as individuals when they get within striking distance of an enemy model.

I just don't know what to say about this. I can't make up my mind whether it's simply a cunning cynical plan to sell large, expensive, high-profit margin models like Nagash or just gross incompetence.

No name is attached to the rules as a credit, just the corporate copyright. And to be fair it does read like a piece of complete corporate drek without a scintilla of wit or creative spark.

You can download the rules for nothing, and that's about what they're worth. If this is the answer to the decline of Warhammer then GW have framed the wrong question.