Wargame Dork

A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Operation Game Collection Special: White Dwarf Through the Ages 1:Issue 159

It is less than a year before I get into Warhammer 40K properly.  (Ish.  My earliest games were.. kind of stupid with really badly built armies that I hang my head in shame about.  Even if nobody else cared because I still really didn't cheese while everyone else was running around with nothing but Land Raiders, Terminator Squads, and every hero character possible and more proxied weapons than any sane person could keep track of.)  The Fourth Edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battle was less than a year old.  That is where this issue of White Dwarf , Games Workshop's long running gaming magazine who had by this point effectively become a house organ since the issues numbered around the 90s.  (40K Rogue Trader was famously covered around issues 93 and 94.)

In between my fanzine coverage and other projects I will sometimes review an issue of White Dwarf from random eras based on my ownership of them, and which ones I buy to support existing games I own.

(As always I am an overly goody goody wiener.  While I have very little issue with looking for and printing up articles from online and scans I ALWAYS prefer and try to own the legit thing.  To me its the right thing to do.  STUPID, but the right thing.)

This issue I purchased recently for the article on Eldar in Tyranid Attack, a game I own the components for, but not the box or miniatures.  About a year ago for a fair price I got a mostly complete boxed copy of its mostly same componented sister game Advanced Space Crusade so they can be stored together and I am slowly collecting what pieces I want to replace from the sets for whatever reason.  (Like the Space Marine Scouts which are the ugliest and goofiest things ever.  The early 3rd edition era metal scouts, or the plastic ones out nowadays are MUCH nicer in every way.)

While sadly this glorious bit of quality and value is no longer in production and if it was GW would charge an easy 100 dollars plus for it, I can now and then get deals and replace or complete both TA and ASC, and possibly find people interested in playing it where they might not want to play 40K of any edition.  (Mainly because its expensive and most editions suck in some way.)

(As usual Click for Bigger Images)
I think about getting this set for around 40 dollars and I am immediately sent to my happy place.  This place also includes tons of 80s robot toys and old computer games.  

The Five out of Six Tyranid Warriors that came with my copy of Advanced Space Crusade, with my old Tyranid army one in the back left so I can get their paint scheme as close as possible.  As of when I am doing most of this post, a first coat of orange touch up paint has been applied where I made mistakes with the blue paint pen or even the "properly" painted yellow bits.  I need another "Bucktooth" Warrior to complete the set for both games and then the fellow in the back there can go back with his proper 40K army in not being used as the 5th and 6th edition codexes really really suck unless I want to spend a lot of money.  Guess what I don't wish to do?

As always, click the images for larger.  Unlike the previous Inquisitor review, I have gone back to my digital camera with a flash.  Sadly White Dwarf uses shiny paper so sometimes I have to either turn the flash off, or deal with it.  Anyhow, it is supposed to be a review not a form of piracy.  Given how GW is infamous for their litigiousness even fair use is something they hate.  So images with a flash or mostly just whatever lighting is nearby makes it not scans, but photographs for REVIEW AND DISCUSSION.  

So there!  IT IS MARCH 1993.  IT IS TIME FOR KLAX.

The back cover on the left showing the studio Blood Angels up against pretty much all of the available Tyranid models of the time.  Ok.. no Patriarch or Hybrids or Zoats but..  A lot.  The right is the cover, which I think was the 4th edition Dwarf army book cover.


Another of the lovely bright color painted minis in a game play type scene.  Interesting to note at this point 75000 copies of WD were printed.  So if we presume around 10% of the active player base was buying the magazine we have 750k players or so in 93.  I would say that is pretty good.  Funny to see things listed as ads that isn't just the whole magazine as it mostly has been since 2005 or so.

And the news.  GW takes advantage of a bit of US legislation banning lead figurines to go to pewter/white metal type formulas as the entire games industry does.  And everyone shoots prices up on our little metal mans.  On the upside lead is very bad for you and the few lead minis I get I handle with rubber gloves on until they are primed.  GW mentions some independent retailers in the days they planned on hosing the US game shop markets the way they did the Uk.  A little game called Magic basically saved many stores and killed many companies and thus prevented this.  An add for the first half of the 4th ed WHFB Magic expansion is shown.  Buy a 50 dollar game.  Drop another 35-40 for the practically required expansion box.  This was the GW sales design back then.  40k would do the same with Dark Millenium.  Blood Bowl had one.  Gorkamorka and Necromunda had em.  

Man o War.  A well regarded game I never got to play.  GW made a game inspired by it recently that was loathed.  And Spartan Games had Uncharted Seas that is great but they dropped it because reasons.

Next up on the docket is Jervis Johnson's article allowing Eldar to be used in Tyranid Attack.  He has some basic Eldar fluff for people who might not know of the Space Elves, then a force list allowing for Avatars, Guardians of all types, Fire Dragons, Dire Avengers, Howling Banshees, Striking Scorpions, Swooping Hawks, Dark Reapers, Aspect Exarchs, Warlocks, and Farseers to go have some quick n fun fighting in a Tyranid Hive Ship.  

There is a set of item and power cards to cut out and glue together with a bit of user supplied cardboard in between.  And the editors helpfully put a lovely ad for the game in between so it wouldn't cause an article to get ripped up while doing so!

See?  And what VALUE.  6 Tyranid Warriors.  8 Genestealers.  1 Terminator Librarian, 4 Terminators.  10 Scouts including Sergeants and Heavy Weapons.  I got just the game bits from this set for like 5 bucks back in 1995 or so.  I am slowly getting replacement figures so I don't have to raid my army boxes when I hope to play this game.  Getting it's sister game (Advanced Space Crusade) helped with this.

Hopefully I can one day do a full review of Tyrand Attack and test out the two rules expansions from White Dwarf.  (The other one has Dreadnought rules.)

A proper ad page for a Space Wolf Blood Claws squad box is next. 

Then Andy Chambers gives us rules to use Marine and Eldar Scouts in Rogue Trader!

It seems pretty solid.  The Eldar Longrifle isn't as amazing as it is nowadays but it isn't BAD.  S3 when Marines were still T3 (unless you had all the rulesbooks or appropriate WD articles), -1 Armor Save (when Power Armor was usually 4+), and no Save if you roll a 6 to hit.  They would make nice Terminator hunters I think.  10 of em for 170 points means you can wipe out a Termie a turn.  Or 4 squads and basically for the same cost as 5 Terminators you can eliminate them as a genuine threat in a couple of turns.  Even if they have a Cyclone Launcher.  450 points for a Termie Squad without any upgrades.  Versus TWENTY FIVE ELDAR SCOUTS FOR 425!

(Playing MATH HAMMER for a moment: At normal range, 12 Scouts are going to hit a turn.  6 will wound.  At least 1 will roll a 6 to hit ignoring armor.  In general a Terminator will die to this volley every single round.)

OH GOD I WANT TO PLAY ROGUE TRADER 40K NOW.

We have an ad for a 30 pack of plastic WHFB miniatures called Fantasy Fighters.  Five each of six different factions.  It seems a bit strange to do this, but for RPGs or the like it could be ideal.  Or for people building multiple armies or forces with allies.   

Then it is time for the Eavy Metal section where we see lots of lovely new minis all painted up in what would now probably only be 7 out of 10 CMON (Cool Mini or Not) scale.

That Space Wolf Iron Priest is a sweet mini!  I love the GAME IN ACTION Eavy Metal pictures too.  One of the pages has a nice step by step guide for Orc and Goblin painting.  Seven fine pages of "Miniatures Porn".

Rick Priestley himself gives us rules and fluff for Gorfang Rotgut, an Orc Big Boss in WHFB 4th.  He really doesn't like Dwarves.  

Then we have a nice two page spread covering half of the known North American stores selling GW's goods.  Anyone know how many of these places are still open and if they still sell GW?  The first store on the second column (Crazy Egor) is what kind of got me into 40K at all.  Called in an order for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay book.  I was sent 40K Rogue Trader instead.  Best retailer mistake EVER.  Even if I didn't actually get into the game itself till 94 thereabouts.

Andy Chambers is back with Space Marine 2nd ed (Aka: Epic or Titan Legions) rules for Tzeentch flying and floating units.  I can make use of this as I have some Silver Towers.  No Fire Lord or Doom Wing though.  And I sort of need them to deal with indirect weapon armies.  Which is most of them, especially in the terrible Epic 40K ruleset.  (Maybe not having a couple Wings and Lords is why I hated Epic 40K so much?)

I believe the Doom Wings are now known as Heldrakes .  Though the Hell Talon/Blades from Ripoff... I mean FORGE WORLD yes , might be Doom Wings as well.  Depends on which one spits fire down at stuff more I guess.  The Heldrake also looks more like a silly mechanical birdie like the Fire Lord and Doom Wing models.

We then get an ad for Space Marine as you might expect to pimp out the stuff for the game they just provided a supplement article to, more cutout templates for said Tzeentch fliers (with an ad for a High Elf on a Griffon from Marauder Miniatures which was like an allied minis company with a couple of ex Citadel sculptors running it as to be something irrelevant to keeping in issue), and then we have another game content article!

A complete two level adventure for Advanced Heroquest!  Carl Sargent gives us a whopping TWELVE pages covering a nifty adventure involving the Undead including rules for new monsters and spells.  (Presumably.  I do not own Advanced Heroquest or its expansion though after reading this article I REALLY want to even though I have Heroquest original AND Warhammer Quest!)  

It looks like a fun and challenging adventure that could probably be tweaked and mined for use in most modern RPGs or RPG lite boardgames.  (Like D&D 4th.  Descent.  Warhammer Quest.  Maybe even Heroquest if you are willing to make your own maptiles.)

Within the article and before the next one we get ads for two Warhammer Armies army books (Empire and High Elves), and a US subscription offer.  35 bucks for 12 issues a year and get an embroidered ball cap with either WHFB or Games Workshop on it.  Or 63 for TWO and get a plastic minis case with foam holders for around 50 figures.  Either a 15 dollar value for the cap, or 20 for the case.

That is how you get subscriptions folks!  GIVE US FREE GOODIES.  The one year I subscribed to GW was when they were giving away Gorkamorka boxed games.  Because two sets made for a great foundation for a 40K Ork army.  That I eventually sold to a chubby pothead drunk from Australia.  Who then gave it to someone else.  

The ciiirrrccllleeee oooof  WAAAAGH!!!

Speaking of DA LADZ, Jervis Johnson is back with fluff writer boss Bill King for a WHFB battle report!  SEVENTEEN PAGES of fluff story, army strategies, and battle reporting on a turn by turn basis.  If you couldn't get in a game often (or at all for whatever reason.  AND THIS INCLUDES NOT WASHIN YO ASS!) battle reports were almost like a life line at experiencing a game.

Jervis is running the Orcs and this here is his force, based on what miniatures they had available at the time.  This is what GW people thought a 2000 point WHFB 4th edition army should look like.  Actual PLAYER armies usually had about half as many figures as everyone just loaded up on beefed up heroes and wizards.  And artillery pieces.  Jervis' force is a bit restrained in comparison.

The report goes on with pictures of the game in play (probably reconstructions done by a professional photographer), and the fancy art battle reference pictures that were probably computer generated.  (Anyone know for sure?)  Bill King's hair is.. special.  Also the Orcs won.  So Jervis was victorious.  

The final thirteen pages of our 84 pages including covers issue is the catalog section.  Excellent high quality images of all the models that were either new or something GW wanted to spotlight sell thanks to the issue's articles.  For converters and the like (GW actually sold components and back catalog minis in those days.  It would have been a pain for non UK folks but you could do it!) every single part of the models were listed with a code so you could get exactly the bits you needed.
An example of the catalog action.  Somewhere someone has taken that Empire model and painted it up like Rainbow Dash or Fluttershy from MLP.  I don't know if I find this pathetic or hilarious.  Depends on what miserable neckbeards think or react to it upon seeing it I suppose.  (Even Brony crap beats those ridiculous Marine Scouts.  Man do I hate those Shakespearean fluffy bicep thingies!)

So we have a twenty one year old issue of White Dwarf.  I read the entire thing for this review and to make the 10 bucks or so it cost to ship to me (because lots of Ebay sellers like to rip you off.  This was one of the CHEAPER options!) fully worthwhile.

What did I think?

I LIKED IT.  It provided me with plenty of useful material for games I own and now has me jonesing to own Advanced Heroquest!  While I am no fan of battle reports I am apparently in the minority there.

So my review score?  GOOD.  

I can recommend this issue to fans of the early 90s Games Workshop era!

I will do this again sometime soon.  I am still reading the final issue of Inquisitor and starting the first issue of Citadel Journal I have, but this was a nice break from the fanzines!


Friday, March 28, 2014

Operation Game Collection Warhammer 40K Special: Fan Magazines Part 6: Inquisitor 17



I am trying a little something different with this one.  I am seeing how my iPad Air does for photo taking to see if I can't get better pictures without having to deal with my 14 megapixel camera's annoying flash.

Let us see what we can see in the second to last issue of Inquisitor!

(Well for those few who may care the images aren't bad but they need to be transferred back to the PC and edited there if I want to put them at a decent click to see them large size in this blog.  So yay I guess?)

Well, still four dollars.  Twenty eight pages including covers this time.  The Amorcast ad page lists what was probably a dream item for most of us at the time, and it is now probably one of the more rare 40K minis.  A super detailed Baneblade for 130 1998 dollars.  And an extra 30 bones if you wanted METAL TRACKS.  That's pretty sweet.  I recall once GW's Forge World took over their own Baneblade cost like 250.  Without said metal tracks.  The 2005 Forge World catalog lists their two Baneblade models as 270 and 285 US dollars.  Their current PLASTIC Baneblade kit?  LOOK AT IT. LOOK AND DESPAIR .

Also we see how GW is pulling the plug on Armorcast in general.  They claim their 40K kits were only a minor part of their business.  They are still around as of this writing so.. maybe it was true?    But Games Workshop is infamous for being awful in new and horrible ways.  This week their subsidiary companies pulled themselves off of Social Media websites (like Facebook and Twitter) entirely at behest of the higher ups.  For those who wish to read or remember if this is read in the future:  http://www.belloflostsouls.net/2014/03/gws-recent-decisions.html

 This is a picture I took at a local game shop showing what Games Workshop thinks someone will now pay 30 dollars for.  The left side is the same model in the blister.  Yep.  

Tim opens the issue mentioning their Combat Engineer rules have been updated from issue 8 which was apparently during the Rogue Trader era.  His mention of Third Edition rumors were correct.  (Contents.)

The big article this month is a five page Combat Engineer ruleset.  A bit of fluff on them, some new gear to use, fortification rules for mines and wires, conversion/modelling tips, and four squad types.  Overall it seems fun, but probably not for most games.  Now six plus turn games or a GM run scenario?  Could be super fun and interesting.

 GI JOE MEETS 40K!

Leland Erickson is back with his Hot Lead miniatures reviews.  Its a page and a half with the other half taken up by a wishlist of minis, about half of which have been produced since.  He covers some Geo Hex tanks and scenery kits, and a 15mm scale sci fi minis line by Irregular Miniatures out of York in the UK.  He continues to use silly Ork speak from time to time in his coverage but overall is positive on the goodies he mentions.  

Jim Dieter gives us four pages on painting Chaos Marines with some semi useful black and white phots and a fair step by step guide on painting them.  Seems useful enough.  But I am a weird heretic who plays minis games for the GAME PRIMARILY so don't care too much anyhow.  Nice enough info though.

Now we get SEVEN vehicle datafaxes, and their rules when needed.

The Tyranid Dactylis is up first.  It is a conversion of their Haruspex kit and uses much of the same rules as its' three cousins from last issue.  This one throws 2" S8 2d6 Damage, -4 Save Modifier Bile Pods up to 72".  However the rules mention models within 1" of the blast marker are hit on a 4+ so presumably this means that when it lands things not even within the template but within 1" of it have a chance to be hit as if they were half under a normal template.  Kinda nasty really.   200 points for you conversion types out there.

 The Hydra gets a day in the Second Edition sun with options for extra wargear cards only it can use.  Not a bad little vehicle against Eldar or naughty naughty Tyranids with lots of Gargoyles.  It is kind of funny that apparently it's Heavy Bolter is also designed for air defense in spite of obviously being for ground defense of the tank.  The rules say it's targeters give it problems with ground units.  Well this IS Imperial Guard.  They probably would be dumb enough to do that.  It seems like a good little vehicle.  Dunno if I would burn 200 points on one in 2nd ed games however.

Next up the Vindicator, Ork Two Armed Dreadnought, and Mk1 Imperial and Space Marine Land Speeders are up.  The Vindicator in this is kind of a weaker Demolisher Cannon from the Leman Russ variant but still pretty nasty for 145 points.  (Plus gives 3rd-now era players a fair set of rules to use them in early era games!)  The Two Armed Ork Dreadnought brings the old metal mini back to life for 75 points plus 10-25 for weaponry.  Killa Kan rules for those units going back?  I say yes sir!  They also recommend the current Four armed Dreadnought to be reduced in cost to 110.  I dunno about that...

They finish up with rules for the original ugly old lead Land Speeders with their open everything.  Nice if you want to have cheaper but easier to kill Speeders I suppose.  Those things were hideous.  Now I love the 2nd ed era metal Speeders in spite of them being a big pain to assemble.  They just looked.. COOL.

We finish up with the Blood Slaughterer as Inquisitor thinks it should be.  It takes advantage of the Chaos Codex for their current vehicle rules and makes a fair little infantry support unit.  Run it near a squad to aid it in both close and ranged combat.  I can dig this one over Fallout's.  The BS is back now but it is Forge World and looks a bit dumb:  http://www.forgeworld.co.uk/Warhammer-40000/Chaos/DAEMONS_AND__BEASTS/KHORNE-BLOOD-SLAUGHTERER.html

We get some Q&A on our Titan and Superheavy rules from a few issues back, some Squat errata, and then we close the issue out with Convention News, Want Ads, a full page advertisement for the miniatures game Clan War (A terrible game similar to WHFB but in the Legend of the Five Rings setting.  It had "exploding dice" mechanics and still ended up being similar to that era's WHFB with it being hero and magic happy except with also buying a game card deck.  Some nice minis and a great setting though!), and the back page shows us some nice Armorcast scenery to buy.  The Bone Walls and Tech Bridge looked really nice!

Sadly it seems like the Tech Bridge is no longer available.  A shame because it looked cool.  Most of the other items on the back cover are still available however.

Overall this was another GOOD ISSUE.  So on my scale I shall score it:  GOOD.

Join us next time for the final issue of Inquisitor.  That review might not go up for another week or two as I both need to read said issue, then do some research.  (Which I am already working on to some degree.)







Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mechwarrior Online: Hey We Have Achievements Now.

Dear Prince Victor Steiner-Davion, why won't anyone love us?

Yes, I have three more of Mechwarrior Online's biweekly patches to share.  There isn't much to share actually.  Unless you like doing things to make a thing change color and saying you have in fact done a thing.

(As always you can click images for larger ones.)
 Now this is not from MWO, but I saw this image on Something Awful I believe.  Also I believe it kind of explains the development team as well since they come from Vancouver up in Canada. 

 Well now we can get the Firestarter which is a light mech for C Bills.  Don't care.  A few bits of tweaking to the mech lab is nice though.  Laughing at the NOTE section though.  HEY GUYS DON'T PLAY THIS MULTIPLAYER GAME.. WITH OTHER PEOPLE!  Because it is just so fun playing an action game without any genuine team coordination right?

 No idea what the Starter Bundles are.  Probably a way to get a bunch of mechs for real money.  The Warning system is nice though.  It actually tells you if your build is doing things you might not like now.  A bit of a range buff to Pulse Lasers might make them a bit more useful too.  And more bugfixes.  Yay?

Hooray!  We can now know if our mechs are causing GHOST HEAT.

The patch on the 6th of March was kind of blah.    Some tweaks to Jump Jets are kind of welcome however.

 Now we have CHEEVOS so the game can pretend that doing things to have the game tell you that you did enough of a thing to be notified about is sure is content right?  Locusts are still 20 tons of INSTANTLY DEAD MECH, and LRMs are back to being popular again thanks to this patch.  A minor AMS beef to counter them seems to be virtually useless.

 Some image zoom modifications if you are unhappy with the defaults.  Killing turrets is now slightly easier and you get a little bit of a reward for doing so.  I am ok with this.  More tweaks to the UI.  They have a lot of work to go to make said UI a good User Interface.

And more info on the CHEEVO SYSTEM OF NON GAMEPLAY CONTENT.    

We have yet another mech you can buy with your Real Life money.  Its an Assault class.  Yay.

In the Mech Bay there is now a massive pile of achievements you can click on to see what you have to do to get them.  They go from super fast and simple to ones that will take dozens of hours or more to complete.  Some provide you with various rewards of XP or C Bills while others I presume give you a fancy title or something.

In match if you get your Cheevo Achieved the game will both tell you in the lower left hand corner, and that big blue bar pops up in the lower center in case you are ignoring most of the amber text.

 And my rewards.  I guess it is NICE and all but most of the rewards are not exactly lighting the world on fire with their quality and value.

 Oh yeah, Alienware had a deal where you wasted time signing up for their forums and giving out your email address and all sorts of other time wasting and you got this ugly looking hanging Alienware head.  I couldn't be bothered to do it.  Just like the last two challenges.  OH NO MY ACCOUNT NOW HAS LESS FANCY CRAP ON IT.

The community is as Lemming like and autistic as always.  LRM boats are back in season, and I presume this one fine fellow was upset with me roleplaying an Ork from Warhammer 40,000.

Yeah folks.  Still nothing really worth coming back to the game for yet.  Maybe by 2015?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Operation Game Collection Warhammer 40K Special: Fan Magazines Part 5: Inquisitor 16

It is now Inquisitor's Sweet 16 issue.

And you know what?  It is actually pretty sweet.  Not quite as amazing as last issue but.. mighty good nonetheless.

Let's get going before my attention span moves on to some other bit of shiny, shall we?

 Still Four Bucks.  28 pages including covers.  Actually a quarterly release from the last issue for a change.  That Medium Mantrap terrain item looks really cool.  They still sell it, currently for 20 US Dollars.  Yay!

I have tried the URL there but no joy.  Armorcast acts like it doesn't even want to remember this magazine.  Come on Timmy Dee!  Put this stuff online for us to enjoy!  Hell, make PDFs we can buy for a buck or two!  I have already had folks on the Oldhammer Community Facebook Page ask me if I had PDFs of this stuff.  And I have had to tell them to contact Armorcast and ASK FOR IT.  Or hell, just for Tim D. to give me permission to scan & share.  As is, I am merely taking okish photos of a couple of pages just for review purposes.  I went to the Internet Archive and the last known issue was issue 18.


FREE THE KNOWLEDGE TIM.  FREE IT.

(Or again, let me go through and scan issues 14-18 and share them.  Course knowing Games Workshop they would fire off a Cease and Desist for a fanzine from 1996-1998 covering editions of Warhammer 40,000 that are well over 15 years out of print.)

Anyhow, Tim opens the issue up with mentions of Datafaxes only being allowed in this magazine and not included with the models.  He mentions the super heavy tank datafaxes are well revised over the originals to be far more accurate to what is on the models.  He gives an address for Simtac who made the Kryomek tanks he used for #15's Squat tanks.  (A company out of East Lyme CT.  The models still available from the line are now sold by MSD Games .  The problem is?  Can't tell if they are the same models or not due to the lack of photos.  Only some of the figures have VERY small photos.  Maybe I should email them and ask if they have any photographs of these kits?  They are still located in Connecticut.  I will do so and if I find anything out I will mention it.)

 The first big article of this issue has Tim D. giving a pair of Datafaxes, and the rules plus modelling tips for making three different Imperial Guard Chimera variants.  You are limited to one variant Chimera for every normal Chimera.  The Chimerro doesn't have a proper Datafax with the rules and restrictions the other two do as Tim says it is just a Chimera with FOUR HUNTER KILLER MISSILES mounted on it.  This basically breaks multiple rules for 40K even though the conversion pictured looks sweet as hell.  I would say it is banned and shouldn't be allowed PERIOD.  The other two are pretty cool and fair however.  The 200 point Chimerax has Quad mounted Autocannons and the 170 point Chimadon gets a Battle Cannon for when your Guard army wants to get into battle without CS Goto's Multilaser fetish.  (Check http://1d4chan.org/ if you are willing and able to put up with 4chan shenanigans covering tabletop gaming and more than likely enough NSFW content to make a whole army of Mormons "Lose their battle" if you know what I mean.  But there is some fantastically useful or funny material there in between things to make you want to drink until you can no longer feel feelings.)

Then Leland Erickson is back with another Hot Lead installment.  A mere two pages this time, mostly pictures.  No star ratings this time but he gives praise to more Geo Hex, RAFM, and ICE models including many gorgeous Silent Death miniatures.  Such an excellent "Machine Sheet" game deserves equally quality miniatures don't you think?  He also covers some terrain and a Texas mail order retailer called Squadron Mail Order.  ICE's plastic sci fi minis are still available from Red Shirt Games out of Canada and EM4 Miniatures out of the British Isles and are still a pretty good deal though with shipping outside of their home region it might make the decent but not fantastic mid 90s plastic sculpts not quite as great of a value.  

We then get our corrected Eldar Phantom Titan Datafax, which was apparently mostly just a lot of fixed typos because in the age of Windows 95 I guess there wasn't any spell check features available.  (Inquisitor has a LOT of these in nearly every issue.)  Tim then explains the changes to the three Super Heavy tanks included, the point changes to Vehicle Wargear cards if used on these machines, and how a Tank Commander works for them.  (Basically directing fire and providing a +1 to hit against a target.)

There is a small box out mentioning models they want Games Workshop to produce.

Of the twenty or so things they list a good half of them have been made either by GW or their Forge World subsidiary.  (Primarchs, new Sentinel, Land Raider, and Rhino being the biggies.  Some of the others like Chaos Androids and Slaaneshi Eldar became their own entire army of a sort!  The Shining Spears Eldar Aspect was another one I am glad they finally did.  Even at GW prices!)

 Then we get the three big guys!  The 400 point Baneblade!  The 350 point Shadowsword!  The 320 point Eldar Tempest Grav Tank!

These 38-60 dollar (as of the magazine's printing)  terrors actually cause that effect in game and all of them are full of dead hard weapons and lots of them without being ridiculous.  Though the Tempest follows the Falcon rules and can even make Pop Up attacks with its' turret mounted TWIN LINKED Pulse Laser.  Each laser has a Sustained Fire die, Lascannon 60" range, S9, 2D8 Damage, -6 Armor save attack with a Targeter!  Its Front Hull armor is a mere 22 however compared to the 24 of the IG Supers.  The 18 Armor Shuriken Cannons and Grav Engines make this one a bit risky for Eldar to take in smaller games.  It is just one giant target!

After that Chaos gets Datafaxes for The Cannon of Khorne & The Cauldron of Blood.  I own both models though only the Cannon is painted to my poor standards.  (And as the picture will show, both it and the Tempest need some touch up, extra linework, another coat here and there, and to be dusted more than once every 4-5 years!)  

The Cannon is a slow and pokey S10, 2d6 Dam, -6 Save Mod UNLIMITED RANGE artillery gun that blows itself up if you roll a Misfire + Arrow and always hits on Hit with a D10 divided by two for blast radius.  Its chaotic but could make many big resin toys cry.

The Cauldron is basically a Demonically Possessed, Destroyer vehicle that uses a slightly superior version of the Imperial Guard's Inferno Cannon.  (Heavy Flamer template weapon with S6, D6 Dam, -4 Save Modifier.)  It is a MUCH cooler looking model than the Cannon but of less actual gameplay use.  Especially since half of its' Damage Tables have Armor of 20 or less for a close in unit.)  The Cannon is a reasonable 140 points to the Cauldron's less useful 180.

Even with a bit of toothbrush cleaning these two special little guys need more dusting.  But the Tempest might have been one of the first times I tried to Panel Ink.

Next up are the three Tyranid critters with a Subscription and Convention Schedule page in between them.  Each model has a Datafax and a rules page.  Two of these guys are available in normal 40K games now as a 73 Dollar dual build kit.

The Haruspex which is the coolest looking of the three Armorcast kits and is basically a line smasher with a nasty Acid Jet attack that can cause a S5 hit on secondary targets within 3", and being a vehicle for most purposes but allowed to ram with less risk.  Also those nasty claws that can even grab Infantry units as it scuttles by!

The troop carrying Malefactor has Spore Cysts that explode when things get too close to it and gives 2nd edition Nids a troop transport for 80 points.

The 165 point Exocrine (Who shares a GW kit box with the Haruspex.) has the Cysts plus a S8, 3d6 Damage, -6 Save Modifier Bio Cannon that can keep damaging a location it penetrates at a -1 roll to the effect every Tyranid player's turn until you get a 0 result.  Nasty!

These larger Tyranids lose access to Biomorphs and have their rules for how Psychic attacks affect them, and their Instinctive Behavior when the Hive Mind isn't nearby.  

Overall this was a REALLY solid and useful issue of Inquisitor.  Outside of that Chimera with all the Hunter Killer Missiles everything seems fairly pointed out and balanced.

Plus many of them are things you can purchase today at the GW price level of PAIN.

(The Exocrine isn't too bad.  He looks more like a giant Tyranid Warrior who is VERY HAPPY to see you and wants to love you with his thing.  That is on his back.  Yeah.....)

So my rating for this issue?  Good!  Another issue 2nd edition players should probably try to get a copy of if they can.

Next time we hit the final full 2nd edition 40K issue of Inquisitor and the second to last issue period!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Operation Game Collection Warhammer 40K Special: Fan Magazines Part 4: Inquisitor 15

Its now August 1997, a massive ELEVEN months since the last "Quarterly" issue of Inquisitor.  Tim DuPertuis mentions how he and his wife moved, he mentions the release of my arch enemy game Epic 40,000  (BOO HISS!), and says that GW has now forced him to take the Datafaxes for the models he sells out of them, because they are only for models and not for gaming in their eyes as how they want them sold.  So next issue will be full of Datafaxes!  Yay?  Yes yay.

Because now one can see what a toy can do before buying it, or nowadays to convert or buy the ridiculously priced (but honestly better looking though not a good FOUR TIMES or so better looking Forge World kits.  Even if I would adore getting a Chaos Warhound.

Last time we had some overly long and complicated Titan class rules and very little else.  Let's see what a year gives us!

 Notice in a year some prices have gone up.  50 dollar superheavy tanks now 60.  30 dollar Eldar superheavy now 38.  Ouch!  The issue itself is also 4 pages less and costs another buck.  Eh, its all still worth it really.

 The highlight of this 32 pages including the covers issue is the Squat Brotherhood and Engineer army list.  Being a mixture of conversions (many figures shown with what they were converted from) and figures from both Games Workshop and other companies like the tanks.  

I have played with the Brotherhood list before which is actually quite nice without having remotely the absurdness of most of the official GW Codex lists.  Its flavorful and fun.  I had to proxy a lot or use toy vehicles that were close enough though.  But you can have Exo Armored heroes with AT weapons!  (Like Space Marine Terminators but its 4+ on 2D6) Troop Transports with Heavy Stubbers!  (Unlike the Space Marine Rhino, most other transports in 2nd edition tended to have infantry support or light antitank weaponry on them.

Squats gain the parry ability with axes (BECAUSE DWARVES AND AXES!) but it only works on a 4+ roll.  The Guild Engineers list has some fun motorbike and demolitions weapon goodies which are cool but do not overwhelm and generally require stationary targets to work on.

The points are overall fair and the basic statline of M3, WS4, BS3, S3, T4, I2, A1, and Ld9 is solid but not mindblowing.  Dependable but not overwhelming.  14 points a basic Squat trooper with Laspistol, Mesh Armor, and Frag Grenades.  Not ridiculous by any stretch.  You can combine Brotherhood and Guild Engineers as a team list but most wargear restrictions apply to BOTH forces and not just one.

The normal Strategy Rating is 2, raised with an extra D3 if an Ancestor Lord is taken.  Once in a while they will tie the Marines but not often.

There are also a couple of fun bits like Throwing Axes, Hammers with Jump Packs installed, and a hover option for their tanks which merely allow them to float over terrain and not to make pop up attacks.

 The tanks were from a line called Kryomek.  I wouldn't mind getting a couple honestly.  But any 25mm scale tank with the same basic weapons loadouts would work for them.  

Nowadays Mantic Games is probably your one stop shop for NOT SQUAT models.  In fact an upcoming project may involve said Mantic figures.  (They call them Forgefathers.)

And the other feature this month!  Datafax rules for Titans.  Four total rules pages as opposed to the TEN in Issue 14 (not counting the multiple reference sheets and charts and table of contents that ruleset contained) makes this version a LOT better.  You can see some of the same basic rules and concepts but they are sped up, simplified, and streamlined with the Warhound, Reaver, Eldar Revenant, and Eldar Phantom given said cards as you can see our friend the Warhound here.  As opposed to 14's Shield system, now the shields work like Khornate Terminator armor and nonsense like "flicker" are removed.

It is better in every way though it may generally make Titans a bit weaker.  I am ok with that.  As is, these things really shouldn't be showing up till 3000 point games as even the cheapest Titan will burn through 460 points out of your normal 25% Support choice cost.  (My own house rules we will get to brings up the percentage, but some of the more overpowered Troops choices get moved over.  Like Long Fangs, Wolf Guard Terminators with the Assault Cannon and Cyclone Spam, Chaos Veteran Teams with Two Heavy Weapons out of Three Man Teams, ect.)

The points on everything seems really fair and balanced, and while these Titan rules do still add some more things to deal with, it is honestly fine for the size of games they are intended for.

This issue has far less spelling and grammatical errors too.  A damn fine issue and almost a MUST BUY for 2nd edition 40K players.

My Rating:  Good!  

The only reason it didn't get the special rating of DRACULA is because it is all unofficial rules and thus some people are really unlikely to let anyone actually use them in a game.  And the Phantom gets a slightly revised Datafax in the next issue whose changes I was unable to discern so it is probably in the damage table part.

(Though to be fair if you are playing 40K 2nd edition at this point and have a game group you are probably using far dodgier fan made works than that of a playtested out set of works from a longtime 40K fan who has made it a bit of a business.  And you know, most of your fellow players are probably your friends at this point.  Who else are they gonna play?  Nobody?)

See you next time for Datafaxes!  Tyranids!  Super Heavy Tanks!  Some normal non mega articles!  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Operation Game Collection Warhammer 40K Special: Fan Magazines Part 3: Inquisitor 14

Well it is another week and once I found some time to read the issue I decided to bring you all the love.

Ok not love.  This issue is... disappointing to be nice.

It was 3 dollars.  Inside cover has an ad for Armorcast products since its mostly a house organ for said products.  But by a FAN of 40K who sells 40K support goodies.  Fair enough.

 This issue is 36 total pages counting the covers.  The main feature this issue is why I don't like it.  Pages 14-33 (note the contents page is WRONG.  There are many grammatical, spelling, or text formatting issues in this issue.) are the Titan rules.  They are not good.  Look at their prices for resin kits.  I personally own the two Chaos releases and an Eldar Tempest.  I have seen a number of the other ones in real life.  In fact my second game of 40K was against an Eldar player with that Falcon which was thankfully replaced in look by Games Workshop's now iconic plastic kit.  I never chose to play him again.  Throwing resin stuff and other complicated bits at a new player aint COOL.  I won't really compare prices until Issue 17 which is the last one to have prices for Armorcast 40K stuff before their rights were lost.  (And GW would release their own resin for three or more times the price.  As GW is wont to do.)

This issue opens with Tim D. saying between issue 13 and this one FOUR army codexes have come out.  At the 2nd edition 40k Games Workshop schedule (roughly quarterly.  What this magazine is supposed to be.):  Tyranid, Imperial Guard, Angels of Death, and Chaos.  He then talks about a 150 dollar foam cutter from a company called SVN out of Lompoc CA.  And insists this magazine isn't an Armorcast house magazine.  (It is.)

There is then a three page article on converting the Fourth Edition Warhammer Fantasy Chaos army book into being used for 40K.  Seems fairly legit and thought out.  But given how around this timeframe Warhammer Magic and Chaos would get new rulesbooks/boxes for 5th ed WHFB I don't know how useful it would be.  Plus you know, Chaos 40K codex is out and basically replaces this article's utility with its THREE army lists to choose from.

Then is the Hot Lead review section where Leland Erickson reviews a number of models from GW, Heartbreaker, Grendel, Fortress Figures, Grenadier, Geo Hex, and Pewtercraft.  He gives high marks to the new Tallarn Desert Raiders, and Ultramarine HQ figures.  The Fortress Figures robots and NOT GRETCHIN get high marks too.  I wouldn't mind having the "Bogey" riding on a NOT PULSA ROKKIT all "Dr. Strangelove" style.  He gives the mostly TERRIBLE 1st edition Warzone minis from Heartbreaker good scores as well.    He is positive about the spaceship minis he covers and talks about his paint schemes to use as 40k universe ships.  Which will pretty much get made redundant in a year or so when Battlefleet Gothic comes out.

We have a two page Q&A rules article compiled from rules questions Ed Etkin's website Gates of Fenris sent off to the men who killed Epic (Andy Chambers and Jervis Johnson, the men who are honestly most responsible for the state GW game rules are in nowadays.  Maybe they took their orders from their corporate overlords, but they brought the suck to us.) who are mentioned to be doing Q&As in White Dwarf now, but this is their Opinion on how things are.  Not official but their intent.

(Let's face it.  GW game designer intent and how the PLAYERS handled things were usually a 180 degree turn away from each other.)

I won't go through all the Q&As as most people probably won't ever play 2nd edition again and don't care.  I will note however two whole paragraphs basically show how Andy and Jervis realize that the Ally rules are BROKEN and should be considered OPTIONAL.  Except nobody ever played it that way.

They insist if played sensibly they should be ok and various allusions to cheesemongers being ostracized but this never happened.  Everyone used Allies as a way to take more super units than their army list already allowed.

Thus 3rd-5th edition 40K removed this option.  6th brought it back and I hear it is back to breaking the game with ever more cheese.  

 The biggest part is their core titan ruleset.  It sucks.  Its overcomplicated, fidgety, adds in tons more die rolls, record keeping, record SHEETS to write on, and is just sort of adding Battletech levels of aspie detail to a game unsuited for it.

 Look at all this nonsense.  Pages and pages of rules, and exceptions for all the gonzo equipment out by this time in the Codexes.

And an example of the record sheets.  This optional ruleset BLOWS.  Has anyone ever used it?  If so how many hours of tedium did it add to the game?

We end the issue with a two page listing of Titan and Knight Legions and Clans with their homeworld, forgeworld, and color schemes if known.  A LOT of the entries have an "Unknown" in them someplace.

Back cover has six conventions listed including one Armorcast will be at.  Want ads for people looking for stuff in this pre Ebay age, and the Subscriptions and Back Issue form.  10 bucks for four issues.  3.50 for back issues including 1-2 as a combo, 4-7 as singles, and 10-12 as a 60 page combo for 10.  I wouldn't mind getting them all.  Though somehow I doubt I would get them for that price before shipping, much less after.  (Most ebay sellers seem to charge 5 dollars in US to ship a single issue of White Dwarf.  This is ABSURD.)

So what did I think about my first issue of Inquisitor?  Well I was mostly pleased with everything but the thing that took up almost 2/3rds of the issue which was a complete waste of space.  Other than historical curiosity this issue is pretty much USELESS to anyone trying to play 2nd edition 40K today outside of the Q&A section.  The Chaos rules are replaced by the 40K Codex, the Titan rules are overly complex and fussy.  You can totally skip this issue and miss NOTHING.

With my Bad-Ok-Good scale I have to rate this one BAD.  

Don't go out of your way for it unless its part of a lot or you want to play 28mm scale Titan Battletech with mostly 40K rules.  And not really use normal 40K figures much if at all in your game.

Thankfully next issue is MUCH better and provides a superior Titan ruleset that won't overtake your Infantry Miniatures Game.  (We have modern 6th edition 40K with Apocalypse 2nd edition for that.)

See ya then!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Operation Game Collection Warhammer 40K Special: Fan Magazines Part 2: Louis Porter's Fallout #5

Well, let's get this party started!

In general I plan on covering an issue a week going with a rough chronological order.  I will photograph about 10% of the pages per issue I review and include the Table of Contents page.

This should be enough to show what the magazine is like while still being under "Fair Use" laws.

(Why any company would care about 2nd edition era Warhammer 40,000 fan submitted works magazines nearly 20 years later is beyond me but.. never hurts!)

The front covers are again in the introductory post if you want to see the fronts.

To save me having to write this every installment, I will now say to click most pictures for larger images, and also for those few who care about inflation and the like, a single US Dollar in 1998 has the buying power of  1.44 in today's money.  So basically a 20 dollar 2nd edition army codex in 1998 would be the equivalent price of 28.70.  (Which is funny that today's 40K army codex books are 50 dollars.  Inflate much GW?  Even the codex books released in the 5th edition softback format closest to 2nd edition currently cost 33 dollars.  Also a single hero/commander miniature made of out plastic in stores is 20-30 dollars.  This can be some ammunition to rage against the Workshop if you want.  Although to be fair the 60 dollar 2nd ed era game boxes for GW's game lines is much closer in buying price to their current 100 dollar ones.  And the modern boxes have a MUCH higher quality of components in the box.)

 Going by time, this here is the first 40K fan mag I bought, back in 1995 during the earlier days of 2nd edition.  There is a total of 20 pages including covers.  This issue isn't exactly full of amazing content, though I bought it for the Blood Slaughterer datafax.  In Rogue Trader it was an automated robot thing whose final appearance was in the Vehicle Manual.  

 Missions from Hell is the biggest section in the issue.  2 pages each for the scenario for each player.  In general I couldn't see anyone USING these.  Not only does each player need to have the correct selection of miniatures, but the scenarios are VERY simplistic.  It does show a closer to GW intended army construction as opposed to the Herohammer style of play most people had which was full of nothing but Heroes, Heavy Weapon/Elite Units, and Tank/Dreadnought class machines.  I haven't checked the points values, but it looks to be 1500 or sized, with an average of 40 models a side.  (The Orks in their mission versus the Eldar have over 80 models, some of which were incredibly rare if not long out of print.)

There just isn't enough utility in these missions.  The Third Edition 40K missions had more flexibility and FUN in them than these.  Its mostly a bunch of unpointed out army lists with some minor special rules.  Bleah.  

Of note is the official GW logo designs used on some of these pages.  Attributed to Games Workshop with all rights and the like but.. seems odd to me.  And something the modern GW would go out of their way to crush.

 And the reason I bought this issue.  Rules for the Blood Slaughterer.  The army card for it and the Holocaust Predator conversion are simple but nice looking.  Being pre Chaos codex, the Blood Slaughterer's Heavy Bolters get the option to use the explosive Hellfire shells which have since been made as Loyalist ordnance made to fight the Tyranids, a threat that has only been known of and fought for a few hundred years.  Its 145 points and reasonable overall.  In comparing it to the Battle Manual it is priced a little bit higher with a slightly higher stat line.

The Holocaust on the other hand totally doesn't fit into what we know about Chaos Marines.  Multi Lasers?  A Power Field that is connected to the weapons?  Add in the rules do not quite say if the field replaces the Data Card's Armor values, or is in addition to said values.  Plus a KHORNATE weapon not made for engaging in close combat?  Point cost is merely FIVE above the Blood Slaughterer.  For something that is capable of laying waste to enemy armor or infantry alike while being incredibly survivable.  And the 2nd edition Chaos Codex Predator with Autocannon and sponson Lascannons is 180!  

Sorry but the Holocaust has NO use in 2nd edition outside of maybe being in a GM ran scenario game as an objective to be protected or eliminated.  And probably being turned into a Squat or Imperial vehicle, not Chaos.

If I ever find the next issue (if it was actually released) I can see how said Dreadnought is and if we should be glad he warned us.  In doing some quick research it does not look like such a thing was ever canonical in 40K, though the Blood Angels would eventually gain some HQ unit type Dreadnoughts in 5th edition.

Not that the concept doesn't make sense.  In fact I found a couple of forums threads devoted to this concept.

Below this warning is an advertisement for some of Epicast's resin kits and conversion parts.  Within 2 years the Vindicator, Whirlwind, and Falcon would have official Games Workshop releases, the Termite basically put into the mists of history, and the Stomper would get a kit in about 12 years for 40 dollars more.  (Currently 115 dollars, and for the non tournament Apocalypse class games.)  

The Gobsmasha seems to have entered the mists of time, never to return, though Forge World sells a spiritual successor; the KILL BURSTA, though the Kill Krusha in their vehicles section is also conceptually similar.  And they all cost about 4-6 TIMES what the Gobsmasha did.  (Or you could make your own.  Whenever I get around to reviewing the Vehicle Manual for Rogue Trader I will talk more about this.)

So are we off to a great start?

No.  Not really.  This issue is kind of tiny with honestly less than half the pages actually having any sort of content on them, the rest being ads, contents, or a silly 5 question trivia contest thing.  But for 3 dollars at the time (about the cost of a Value Meal at McDonald's around this timeframe, and the same price as an indie comic book) it wasn't too bad.

But using my general 3 point scale of BAD/OK/GOOD (with special ultra low and ultra good rankings for special specialness..) I honestly have to rank this issue as BAD.  It has no real use for anyone any more and barely was of use at the time unless you were a Chaos player desperate for something to turn the tide of Tyranid, Space Wolf, Eldar, and Imperial Guard Codex ultra cheese while you were stuck with the Black Codex list from the 2nd edition box.

Join me next week for the first issue I own of Inquisitor.  Timmy D. has some resin to support!


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I like to play nerd games! I am a nerd! Join our nerd ways at http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/SECTRPG/ Say hi to me on Xbox Live with the same name!