Tuesday, 26 May 2015

White Dwarf 148

Continuing my look at old issues of White Dwarf, I thought I'd examine issue 148, which arrived in the post a few days ago.

This is an exceptional issue in the sense that it has zero decent gaming content for 3rd Edition or Rogue Trader!

The issue starts off with an article on modelling rivers, which may have some use. Unfortunately, the next piece of interest doesn't occur until just over 30 pages later (and even then it is a game report)!

24 pages are given to a battle report telling the tale of The Battle of Blood Keep between the Empire and an alliance of Dwarfs and Wood Elves. It's a fairly decent read if you like bat reps. I enjoy them but always find myself getting bored by the end! It's just an aesthetic thing really, I can't engage fully with written reports when wargaming for me is about the visual appeal.

The report is interesting for its use of the 'new' Empire army list, published the issue before, and also mention of the 'new' card-based Magic system, which would make an appearance in slightly altered form when 4th edition came out.

And that's it! The rest is mostly ads and 'Eavy Metal pages. I should mention for completeness sake that there is a rules article about the Chaos forces of Khorne for Space Marine as the Renegades expansion was soon to be released. 

So no stats or rules for 3rd Ed or Rogue Trader this month!

So why did I buy it?! Well... The piece on making rivers does contain a pic of Bretonnians fighting Undead. This gives me another view of the knights, which should come in useful when I'm painting them in 15mm! I also would like to play it out as a battle just to see what happens!

So there you have it. Not an issue I'll be referring to much, I'm sure! 

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

White Dwarf 137

Due to a delay in my painting schedule, I thought I'd get cracking on what I hope will build to be a comprehensive look at issues of White Dwarf from the 'Oldhammer' era. By 'comprehensive', I mean I hope to look at all the issues as I re-read or acquire them. I will mainly be referring to articles for Warhammer Fantasy and Rogue Trader in my write-ups. Each post will be noted under the tab at the top of the blog for easy reference as well.

To kick things off, I thought I'd take a peek at issue 137, notable for a change to the Bretonnian army lists...

Page 14-15 show some painted up figures from the new range. This is one of the things which inspired me to start this blog and reproduce the units pictured in White Dwarf, so I hope to have 15mm versions to show you soon. Although I am not playing in that scale, I do really like the old 28mm figures from that era. Much more pleasant to look at than the new ranges, which are far to 'busy' for my liking with every tiny thing rendered in complete detail!

Page 16 contains the stats for the new figures. I think this is a large improvement over the page in Warhammer armies. All of the options and variation is pretty much still there, but contained within fewer troop types. Plus you get the addition of Foot Knights as some harder hitting infantry. This unit type was to be done away with when the Bretonnians were 'reinvented' for 5th edition, but still existed in 4th edition during the 'dark days' when Bretonnia didn't warrant it's own army book!

Next up, Andy Chambers describes his Skaven Army. This is an interesting and thorough piece with plenty of pictures. Having just extolled the virtues of 'old' figures, I have to say I am not a huge fan of the grimy brown mass that his units look like. But never mind. It is interesting to read how the army came about from playing Mighty Empires. But even more interesting to read a reference to a 'new magic system "using randomly dealt power cards". This sounds more like 4th Edition, but this was a while off at this point. Guess they were play-testing at that point? I don't know of any such magic system for 3rd edition at this time...

For people interested in modelling, there is an article about how to build a 'fantasy townhouse'. I find it interesting to compare this to the house described many issues later. The one in this issue is quite detailed and you stick on strips of balsa wood for the timber framing. I'm pretty sure the one later on does the same with just card. In any case, it is an interesting article.

Finally, while not technically Rogue Trader, this issue has two parts of the ongoing serialisation of the Confrontation rules, dealing with combat and trading. Readers may know this is what eventually became Necromunda, although the original Confrontation was a much more complicated set of rules. I'll definitely have to give it a go when I collect all the issues. Probably worthy of having a few blog posts dedicated to it!

So that's it for this issue. There was also coverage of the Golden Demon finals and a Space Hulk scenario. Let's finish off with a pic of the back cover, depicting the noble Bretonnians from earlier in the issue defending a town against some rampaging Orcs!

Monday, 11 May 2015

My basing problems...

Who would have thought that choosing a base size for a 15mm project would be so hard?!

My original thought was to go with 10mm, but when I tried this it definitely seemed on the small side, strange given that DBx uses a 40mm frontage for 4 figures! With the next convenient amount of mm being 15, I cut up a few of those. Now the problem was they seemed too big!

Here's a picture for comparison:

And here is another reason why I went off 10mm squares... my standard bearer just wouldn't stand up!:

Then I saw this post on TMP asking a similar question. The first reply caught my interest. 'Nazrat' said he used a 1/2" square as the basis for his WAB basing. It had never occurred to me to use inches... 1/2" is 13.7mm, not something I would want to measure out a hundred times using metric measurements! But the convenience of a half inch can not be denied. So I went ahead and cut out a base to see what it looked like (middle):

Seeing the results I am pretty much converted to the idea. Not too small and not overpowering, it seems a good fit to the figure size. So the next question is, what do I use for cavalry and larger monsters?!

Off the top of my head I can see the convenience of 3/4" and 1" frontages for them, but I'll wait and see when I get some cavalry for my first army.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

The curse of WYSIWYG?

Okay, maybe the title of this post is a little over the top, but I was thinking about how figures are armed and the impact (if any) on the game for two reasons recently. 

Firstly, there is a paragraph in the Warhammer Armies book which sets out a quite different approach to the one commonly accepted today. Here's a picture:

The above paragraphs generally state that as long as both players know what a unit is armed with, the absolute details on the figures don't matter so much. As long as several of the figures in a unit are armed in the way listed in the army roster, it really doesn't matter if the rest are armed differently. A good suggestion given is to put the 'appropriately' armed or armoured figures in the front rank for easy identification, and remove others as casualties first. 

All of this is really about common sense and fair play, an agreement and understanding between two like minded players. 

I like how it mentioned that the guidelines given are meant to help make things easier and specifically "not to restrict players, or make them use specific models." Compare and contrast that to attitudes from other times as you will!

I think the only line that really matters is:

"The important thing is that all players know what armour and equipment troops have. So long as both sides are happy in this respect, other restrictions are superfluous."

A good example of this is shown in the pictures of the Bretonnian army. Compare these two knights:

Without checking the book, can you tell me with absolute certainty which is classed as +4 Shock Elite and which is +1 Shock Elite? Probably not. 

In fact the whole of the two units pictured look pretty interchangeable. But you know, if your opponent says that the chaps with a particular banner are a certain unit, what more do you need?!

The second reason I was pondering this topic is more directly related to this blog. When you play with 28mm it is fairly easy to get close to the enemy figures and see what they are carrying. This becomes a bit more tricky with 15mm! Also, a lot of 15mm figures come in bags of 8 with some variation between them. So you need to think, does it matter if one guy in my unit looks like he has a two handed axe? Personally I am pretty sure no one would notice during a game unless you pointed it out them them.

I put a question mark at the end of the blog title for the reason that I don't even know whether "What You See Is What You Get" is even significant enough to be called a curse. Sure, in a tournament setting it helps, I guess, but unless you are trying to substitute goblins for ogres or something similarly daft, a quick consultation with the other player should still be able to sort it out. 

So how strongly do you feel about this issue? Do you adhere rigidly to WYSIWYG or is it not so much of a problem for you?

Personally I think the paragraphs in the army book sum it up nicely for me and reflect how I'd want to play. 

Comments welcome as always!

Friday, 1 May 2015

Which rules I use.

There is much discussion on the interwebs about what exactly can be regarded as 'Oldhammer'. Whilst the majority seem to be in favour of the 3rd edition of the rules, there are also many (including lots of the aforementioned majority) who believe it to be more about the ethos and approach taken by the players. 

This is something I wholeheartedly agree with and is how I generally approach games. Because of this, I am perfectly happy to enjoy 4th edition along side of 3rd. To me, this is the edition in which the Warhammer World truly came together and became what I would recognise as being 'modern' Warhammer. I love the army books (easy to collect now without spending much) and the background they contain. I love the simpler rules which give quick, fun games. I love the unique and different troop types and warmachines which emerge during this period. It is just plain fun. BUT, it is best approached with an Oldhammer mentality. In fact the magic supplement for this edition specifically recommends placing a limit on some of the power. If you agree to limit magic and heroes then 4th is a perfectly good edition of the game (and isn't the Oldhammer spirit all about cooperating together to play great games?!)

But to me, it is 3rd edition which is more serious, detailed and full of depth. It is the flip side of the coin. There are many things I like about third which are missing in 4th, but there are also plenty added in 4th which I miss from 3rd. To me, which I play depends on what kind of fantasy game I want. The more bonkers 4th or the more serious 3rd. And there is room in my collection for both!

So while this blog primarily covers my adventures in 3rd edition, you can expect to see some 4th as well. 

And as for Warhammer 40k, well, I only own and play Rogue Trader, so I'll leave that side of the discussion to someone else!

What rules do you use for your Oldhammer games and how do you approach them?

Comments always welcome.