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 30, 2014

Operation Game Collection Warhammer 40K Special: Fan Magazines Part 7: Inquisitor 18

Well, it has taken a while, but let me finish with my Inquisitors before I either move on to a new project for a while, or at least say things are complete before reading a TON of nice big Citadel Journals.

(I also have a few more classic White Dwarf issues.  Plus I want to review a couple of the new weekly ones.  And my very first issue I ever bought.)

In between the 17th issue and this one, the final issue a BAD THING happened.

Warhammer 40,000 Third Edition.

Like Epic 40,000 before it, this ruleset involved Andy Chambers simplifying everything, making your old rules and armies completely irrelevant, and removing Squats entirely, only to replace them with the largely disliked Dark Eldar faction.

This changeover also involved my local 40K group effectively all quitting over the space of 2-3 months.

I was one of the few players who actually was ok with Third Edition, though the store owner basically told me I wasn't ALLOWED to tell the group if I disliked it.


Not surprisingly this store ceased to exist within a year, exacerbated by his employee who may or may not have killed their expansion store via using tax money for a vacation instead.

(Given the owner came back with a new store about 7 years later and taxes yet AGAIN took him out I no longer know what to believe there.)

This employee basically started using GW style rules and marketing for play at the store while in the Second edition era we pretty much played how we wanted, with house rules, campaigns, and massive team games.

(The latter actually had one guy hate my guts passive/agressively feeling as if I was some ringmaster preventing him from playing the one on one shorter games he only had time for.  In spite of the majority of us always wanting to play big team games, with a ton of nerd talk and the like.  I guess that time on my birthday when I splurged for pizza and breadsticks for everyone gaming meant I was really Super Space Hitler.  Oh wait.  I NEVER KNEW HE HAD AN ISSUE AND HE NEVER EVEN TALKED TO ME ABOUT IT.  I found out from someone he did tell.  Even though I tried to make sure everyone got games in every week.)

One week I decided to not show up and sleep as this was frustrating me.  Everyone else quickly quit after this week as the employee started saying how much better it was that I wasn't there.

He got fired shortly thereafter, but the damage he and Third Edition did to the community was well done.
(The fact a LOT of people from this timeframe are still happy to see me when we run into one another, and in some cases ask me to play or just what's up.  So maybe I was not a douche so much?  Hell, the weekly Second edition games was a really important thing to help me deal with my mother passing away a few months before we started playing 40K there.)

The only upside about Third was so many players sold off their miniatures cheaply, which netted me quite a few goodies.

Anyhow, let us get on to the magazine.

It is still Four Dollars.  Printed in May 1999, with Third Edition having come out in October 1998.  So roughly six months.

(We all know the deal.  Click for larger images.)
This issue is 28 pages including covers and ads.  The majority of the issue is for the Third Edition playtest rules, with only slightly less for the Second Edition articles.

Opening Shots is mostly mentioning the release of Third edition, and talk about how plenty of people were still playing Second.  In my region?  NO, NO THEY WERE NOT.

Any mention of future issues was a laugh as this was the final issue.  Meaning any of us who subscribed to the magazine got burned.

There are playtest rules for both Superheavy and Titan units.  Being Third edition tanks were VERY easy to kill over later editions, especially the current one with its' added Hull Point system.  

For the era the rules seemed.. OK.  About a year or so later some of these models would be redone by Games Workshop's Forge World division, costing 2-3 times as much.

 Initially, the books were inexpensive softbacks.  Later on GW would turn them into a bunch of very expensive hardback books that would be far less useful as anything other than a coffee table book, and a number of units would eventually even get more "official" rules to be used in normal pickup games.  (Originally the main 40K ruleset got the Apocalypse coffee table book for silly big games where such machines would be, later on selected units would become part of the regular game with Escalation.  Also a second Apocalypse rulebook for the 6th edition era.)

Here is the Imperial Armor softback version of Superheavy rules.  An odd year between when Inquisitor had it's rules and when Forge World was up and running.  Given the age of Third edition I don't want to confuse myself with the massive changes so if you wish, just click the images to see what they did different.

I have looked at the current Escalation points for the Baneblade.  It has now shrunk to 525 points plus a few tiny point upgrade items.  Now we have the stupidly powerful D weapons which go beyond even the AP 0 or other kludges these older rules had.

Without getting too deep, pages 5-11 are all Third edition rules and vehicle stats.  Given how different Sixth edition's vehicle rules are compared to back then, the few units from that day that still haven't had GW or Forge World redo them would still really not be that useful outside of giving one a ROUGH idea of how you could possibly remake and transplant them.

(And given Sixth edition being replaced next month already it could be even more complicated even if it is more or less supposed to be a cleaned up version of Sixth with some tweaks!)

Also at this point most armies did not even have codexes so Inquisitor was really just guessing.  Look at the images above and compare yourself!

 We get a conversion/creation points guide for making your own Second edition units which I suppose has some utility even now.  Actually for those of us nutters who prefer the older days this article is very helpful!  It is just not helpful ENOUGH overall.  Needed info for vehicles, wargear, weaponry, and maybe even creating entirely new army lists really.

Then is the other BIG article this issue.  Codex Harlequin!  These 12 pages give Harlequins their own full Second edition list.  It is kind of nifty but honestly?  Mostly useless outside of bringing a handful of Rogue Trader Harlequin players into Second edition.  Seven months into Third.  Yeah.

 Harlequin Psyker powers are sometimes useful, sometimes junk.  Much like their vehicle choices which seem more like Ork Looted Vehicles than what an elite group like Harlequins would use.

Also Harlequin Psykers don't get to really choose a power.  They get what they draw first off.  And most of the above kind of.. stink.

We get most of a page covering Q&A from previous issues but not really referring to what question is for what thing from what issue which could lead to some confusion if you didn't have the last few years of issues.

We end the era of Inquisitor with the Second edition Datafax for the Eldar Knight, which would now be known as the Wraithknight.  As of this writing, only 115 US Dollars for a plastic model kit costing treble the price yet a third the quality of a Gundam Master Grade model kit.  

The Knight seems decent though.  So the current Eldar players with their small army of Wraithlords can now bring big robot cheese to 2nd ed games!

A tiny Hot Lead section just covers plastic minis in the starter set Sci Fi games of the day.   A subscription section that probably screwed a few dozen people over (including me if I am remembering correctly), and that is it.

The back page is an ad for the miniatures gaming disaster of Clan War and Inquisitor is done!

This issue wasn't too hot.  For a current 40K player it isn't really useful at all outside as a bit of historical interest.  For 2nd ed folks it mostly is only useful to Eldar players with Wraithknights, and Rogue Trader fans who want to bring their Harlequin lists over to Second even though they probably stuck with Rogue Trader anyhow.

It is just an.. OK issue.  It is full of melancholy for the changeover.  

Given the age and multiple ruleset changes (albeit not to the level that 2nd to 3rd was mind you...) it just doesn't have a lot of utility.  If for some odd reason you play Third or "Three Point Five" edition still (why would you?) this issue has a LOT of use and would get a GOOD rating.

For the rest of us?  Its just... Ok.  An end of an era.  Not awful, but a step backwards.

Much like Third edition itself.  

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Retro Computing: Why Bother? Atari 8 Bit Update 1

It has been a while since I last did some Atari 8 bit computer fun hasn't it?

Well, in between seeing horrible things on www.somethingawful.com and working I have finally gotten around to getting a few more goodies over the last few months.

(And losing a lot of bids because I both lowball things as a cheapskate with a sense of self loathing and an understanding I have too much stuff already and really need to lower my purchasing even if I am paying off bills well ahead of schedule like a boss.  Oh yeah, and last 10 second snipers.  Lots of sniping.)

Over the next few weeks as I have time and desire I am gonna show my recent pickups and even take a few pictures describing them and my thoughts.

Just for fun, you know?  PLAY THE GAMES.

Don't hoard.  Don't get them graded.  They are meant to be played and enjoyed.

(Even if I still haven't taken Mail Order Monsters out of its wrapper.  It just feels bad.  I mean I will but I dunno.)
(As usual if in doubt click for bigger.)
Most of my haul from the last few months.  Necromancer  is sealed so when I open it I am destroying yet more collectible collectibleness I got cheaper than loose copies go for anyhow.  Adventure Creator is a game creation tool I had back on my C64 so I kind of wanted it again.  I had played Jungle Hunt on my friend's C64 as a kid that was also then a cartridge.  Mountain King I somehow had as a kid on the Atari 2600 but had no idea what I was doing.  (Glad to have it with manual as it is.. complicated.)  Kaboom! is something I am very happy to have as I have finally gotten my own set of Paddle controllers and now have it to play with them!  K-Razy Shoot-Out is a nifty Berzerk clone.  Field of Fire is both another SSI game which makes it a want, and its a Squad level strategy wargame which is kind of my jam.

The most I paid for any of these was 15 bucks for Necromancer.  It, Adventure Creator, Mountain King w Manual, and Kaboom!  Were from one seller.  I bid on more stuff, some of which he relisted and I got sniped on most of it, though I WILL have two more loose but with manual cartridges to go with these titles.

First I plug in my untested paddles.  For those not in the know, Atari paddle controllers were 2 controllers to a single DB9 socket.  Which is why the old 2600 had some of the first 4 player games on a programmable game console.  (And the Atari 8 bit computers originally came with 4 DB9 ports.  I am unaware of any 8 player games sadly.  Not that in this day and age I could get people to even try games on a computer from the late 70s.)

Yes it is sitting on top of my NES Advantage joystick.  Both could use a good cleaning.  Its amazing the kind of mung a 12+ megapixel camera can pick up!  

Also the paddles still work after however long they were owned by whomever then ending up in a Connecticut retro games store.  They do need a little refurbishing to deal with the "jitters" paddles sometimes get as the years go on.

 The game in motion which is the only way to get a shot as it has no pause function.  In Kaboom you have to stop the Mad Bomber above from having his old timey bombs hit the ground.  In between waves you get to rest until you press the fire button.  Every 1000 points you get another bucket down at the bottom.  

To make your life harder, when you miss a bomb, the bottom most bucket is removed first.  When you lose a bucket it slows back to the previous wave's speed.  However you get points per bomb based on the wave.  Yet you cannot store extra buckets at all.

There are a lot of things neat about this version over the 2600 original.  For one you see a simple city backdrop up top.  The bombs themselves have slight differences with the lit wick being on the left or right.

Plus as you catch bombs a simple version of The 1812 Overture's famous bit that happens around the 13:50 mark on the full arrangement happens, with it sounding more "correct" if you catch the bombs via your paddle controlled buckets in the right order.

It is not exactly a MAJOR change from the 2600 version but.. its nice.

I have never owned the 2600 one but on emulation packages but I can say controlling Kaboom with a paddle is so much better and playable than touchscreen, gyro, analog stick, or any other way.  The symbol by the score up at the top shows me using a paddle with wide buckets.  You can also have thin with paddle, and the same two options with joysticks.  

There are alternating two player modes, and a nice versus mode where one player controls the Mad Bomber and the other the buckets and you duel it out, switching sides if you miss.

 The biggest high score I recall getting is around 2500 or so which is "Badge Score" with a joystick, but 3000 is paddle.  These scores here are my normal so far.  On other formats even with a mouse I can't get even HALF of this.

The Epyx 500XJ is plugged back in and it's time for some CRAY-ZEE MONEY!
 Actually no.  Its K-Razy Shoot-Out.  It is a Berzerk clone.  Unlike that game this one has your enemies teleport in, sometimes right on top of your head.  You can also hold the fire button and aim in any direction.  One odd bit I have noticed is that you and the monster robots only are allowed a single bullet on screen at a time.  Also you have a timer bar that counts down with the obvious timer bonuses.

 It is a fun little game.  Here are some robots roaming about the randomly generated maze while my latest death has a nice little animation of my man dying at the bottom.

 It is fun but I need some more practice time with it.  If you like Berzerk it is well worth trying though.

Now it is time to go on a hunt.

A Jungle Hunt.

(As opposed to a hunt for my life.  I have none regardless of my attempts otherwise.  I do not game to escape life, but to have something to do that is enjoyable.  And affordable.)
 Based on the arcade game, in Jungle Hunt you have 4 stages with a countdown timer.  In the first one you have to take your WHITE MAN'S BURDEN guy and jump from vine to vine with the one you are about to jump to mostly obscured till you jump.  It is a mixture of timing both when the vine will be towards you enough to catch it.  You have some leeway though if you jump too late you will end up lower and lower on the vine if not miss it outright.

 Part two has you swimming a river, with nasty bubbles bringing you to the surface out of control in the middle, plus alligators and a nasty air bar if you spend too much time underwater.  You have a VERY short ranged knife that can stab said crocs.  Unlike the arcade version it seems pretty easy to hit them in this port.

 The third part has you jumping and ducking boulders as they roll and bounce down the mountain.

 Most obstacles you conquer give you points which they turn into.  Here we see a big boulder coming our way.  Do we wait till it lands and push up and fire for a big jump forwards? Stand still and duck and let it fly over us?  Run under it?  You have control.

 And in a final stage these fine (old) cannibals are preparing the blonde chick for a tasty stew.  You have to time jumps over both the offensive stereotypes while evading their movement, then jump up to catch the girl.  I need more practice at that part.

And finally, Mountain King!
 This is a game you NEED the manual for otherwise it wont make a bit of sense.  You have a man on a mountain.  Pressing fire works his flashlight.  Diagonally up makes you jump in that direction.  

Collect 1000 points of gems to earn the special fire.  Look for a tiny blinking light and you can find it.  Use your flashlight (which when using doesn't allow you to collect gems) to find it.  Press down to grab it.  The chest on the far platform on the light either makes bats or gives you 260 points.  Bats will steal your next goody.  To help you, there is a tune that plays louder or quieter to let you know if you are getting closer.  (In the Hall of the Mountain King.)  On higher difficulties you have limited time to find the item.  Jumping is VERY difficult in this game which can make things tricky.

Then you have to bring the flame down here, also avoiding the Spider that can web then kill you if you fail to escape (also like the bats will steal your two items based on difficulty level), then press down in the correct spot to raise the ladder.  Climb up, align yourself properly with the crown, push up, then pull down with the crown on your head.

 Now run and jump back up the mountain to the SACRED FLAAAME.  I in my limited time have yet to do this part.  Bats keep stealing my crown.  The only real nicety is that the stages are wraparound.  It is kind of hard and like I said, jumping is awkward at best!  But it is pretty fun.  I can totally understand why kid me with no manual couldn't make sense of the Atari 2600 version at all.

So there we have it!  The first three of my new pickups played and talked about.

So far I have enjoyed and spent the most time with Kaboom! but I do want to spend more time playing all of them.  I haven't gotten Adventure Creator to work yet, so I need to check it out and also see if it simply is not compatible with the XL/XE series of computers or if it requires the disk drive to be active merely to play even though that is just used to save games.

So next time perhaps I shall be able to show that title.  And defile a sealed Necromancer.  And hope Field of Fire has working disks.

Friday, April 25, 2014

My Pathfinder Society Character: Let Me Show You Her!

Ahh yes, Pathfinder.  3.75 Dungeons & Dragons for people who like the 3.x D&D system but were enraged by Fourth Edition.

(I find both games to be good in some ways, and utterly dreadful in others.  Castles & Crusades is closer to what I actually want out of my D&D gameplay.  D&D Next might fit this bill too.)

By now WOTC is basically using the D&D Encounters program as an extended preview of 5th edition D&D, making it very difficult for 4th edition fans to actually USE the current modules for play.

So instead of going to Next, the local venue runners have decided to go to Pathfinder!

(I would lie if I haven't at least been a little instrumental in pushing them over to it.  Not a large degree, but some cheerleading and mention of the game repeatedly has helped a bit.  Just a BIT though!)

So instead of D&D Encounters we are moving to Pathfinder Society which is Paizo's organized weekly short game session deal.

It has a TON of PDF pages to read to see what and what not is legal for play, and in many cases you have to "earn" the right to use certain classes, races, and the like.  To me this is kind of assy as PF Society does allow you to use whatever you have books you purchased, but some things you need to do stupid things to play them in game.

Even moreso as a LOT of Pathfinder is available as free website pages to read or print out.  Which is good given how ridiculously large just the Core Rulebook is.

(And I vastly prefer the Beginner Box set they did.  Sadly they never made an Expert Box with additional races, classes, and levels for people such as myself who don't like how ridiculously large and unwieldy the full game is.)

While I have a concept for a character, a Dwarf Gunslinger is a bit too complicated for a newbie game so I have decided to play my second choice, which will give me more impetus to paint up my Warmachine Khador Widowmaker variant model and the Guard Dog miniature who I use in said miniatures game already.  (And normally pet it and call it a GOOD BOY.  Because I love doggies.  Especially armored ones that eat off faces to protect my Warcaster.)

So I present to you, printed fresh from the Freeware PCGEN character generator,

Natalya Welyenko:

The miniature is a leather and furs clad NOT FANTASY RUSSIAN woodslady (with silly midriff showing outfit) wielding two axes.  So I thought about either making her as a Barbarian, Ranger, or Fighter with dual weapons wielding.

Given her outfit and my thoughts of a nimble woodswoman hunting enemies of the Motherland in snow covered forests Ranger ended up being a superior choice over the Barbarian.  With her Dexterity based combat style the Barbarian Rage ability isn't as useful and a Fighter loses out on skills.

So Rangers get some handy woodsy skills, the good old Preferred Enemy power, and later on a pet and some Druidic magic!

(If you wish to know a bit more about how the Pathfinder Ranger rolls, here you go:  http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/classes/ranger.html#_ranger )

So she is pretty damned evasive, has a fair damage accuracy and output, and will get better as she goes.  (Weapon Focus and Specialization are normal feats I plan on grabbing.  My 2nd level Ranger feat will be Quick Draw which will allow her to more accurately charge into combat with one handaxe for 2 handed bonuses and damage, then grab her second axe next round for lots of dual wielding murderfun.)

If I was willing to sacrifice Two Weapon Fighting as a feat I picked up at first it would replace her Quick Draw at second.  But for first level having double swing actions is gonna be HUGE.  Also having 12 Hit Points and 17 Armor Class is pretty solid.  A pure Strength Fighter probably won't have as high of AC or will have its equal yet with severe penalties to his or her already poor skill ratings.

This is also why I went with the lighter Studded Leather Armor over a Chain Shirt.

Anyhow, let us see her basic story:

Natalya's young life was simple.  She grew up in the cold northlands with her mother, father, and numerous pets.  Living miles away from the nearest village her father Sergei was a woodsman and tracker, hunting dangerous animals and keeping trade routes safe.  Her mother Anya was a druid's assistant and healer who helped keep the local Druid's Grove safe and who tended to the locals which normally lead her to be away for weeks at a time.

Natalya then mostly became her father's daughter, being taught the ways of a Ranger when she wasn't busy playing with woodland animals.  The times she went along with her mother to deal with medical needs and the like of nearby villages she found people in general and the children her own age odd and distant.  

People were mostly evasive.  Dishonest.  Clannish and self serving.  More concerned with money and collecting useless material goods.  Animals were better in her mind.  She tended to be shy around these awful people and their ways.  (Not to mention she never understood most people spending money on fancy clothing and spending the long and cold winter months hiding indoors with hearths spouting smoke into the air.  This particularly bothered her during the summer months where she rarely wore much at all and even then mostly because of her parent's urging.  The amount of scars all over her from crashing through wild brushes and landing on sharp rocks did more to make her realize clothing had at least some benefits.)

As she came of age her parents tried to introduce her to potential suitors and get her to do more with people besides just swinging axes at the odd bandits that would make the mistake of moving through this well protected region.

But this protection is what caused her to eventually leave.

A group of bandits were soundly defeated by Natalya, Sergei, Anya, and Anya's Druid Superior.  The Druid decided to let a few of the younger ones escape, feeling that they were more or less bored young nobles who clearly would learn from their misadventures with the dregs of society, go home, and grow up.

Instead one of them, Windsor Hawson decided to funnel his family fortune into getting revenge.  He found a group of young Necromancers and Vampire groupies who were much like him except dabbling with the forces of the Undead instead of just doing a bit of banditry.  Over the course of a year his parents had untimely and unfortunate deaths, and his elder brother never returned from a business trip.  Now with a fairly large estate and more money than he really had any need for, he was able to fund and patronize these Necromancers and even get in contact with a recently turned Vampiress he would free from her mistress, and get her to fall in love with him.

He was only using them all.  

He then brought his group to get revenge on the region, burning trees, slaughtering animals, raising the dead, and finally attacking both the Grove and Natalya's house simultaneously.  While nobody was at the house it was razed, with many of her beloved animal friends' corpses defiled and left for the family to discover.

The attack on the Grove was less successful, as more Druid initiates were present at the time, but the battle was costly for both sides leading to the Druid Superior's demise along with at least 28 Necromancers and their flunkies.

Windsor and the Vampiress chose to hunt down Sergei and Natalya who were out on a camping trip, investigating reports of a rampaging Dire Bear who was reported to be attacking travelers in the region.

When they attacked, Windsor was merciless.  He used what little magic he had learned from his dupes to attack with summoned skeletons and all but forced the Vampiress to attack suicidally.  Natalya and Sergei fought a defensive running battle, taking advantage of running streams and the terrain to confound and evade the superior enemy and her enraged "lover".

As the fight continued for hours and Windsor's resources ran out he became more and more unhinged, becoming more abusive to the Vampiress, and taking further risks.

Using stealth Sergei and Natalya were able to figure out what was going on and what Windsor was up to, eventually getting the Vampiress to turn on him, causing him to flee.

Heartbroken, she let the two in on everything that had happened and helped them come to a last minute rescue of the Druids.  

As the sun rose, the Vampiress wept tears of blood and let the Dawn Star claim her.

The Grove and the Forest were gutted.  They survived but much was lost.  

Natalya begged permission to go bring Windsor to justice no matter how long it took and no matter where he would go.  She told her parents that they had wanted her to interact more with people and this would be the perfect way for her to do so.

With worried looks they knew there was no way they could stop her, fearing as she left (with a surviving puppy who had managed to not be noticed when their home was destroyed sneaking behind) they would never see their daughter again....

Personality: Natalya does not entirely understand people and civilization.  To her simple hard work, direct discussion, and being true to oneself and to others is the way things should be.  Laugh when a thing is funny.  Cry when sad.  She doesn't get the masks people wear in plain sight to hide their true selves.  She finds collecting finery and wasting resources to be foolish.  She finds caging animals repulsive.   One should earn the flesh of the Deer, the flesh of the free and the wild.  

She WANTS to understand society.  But she fears it might always be beyond her.  No matter once she takes out Windsor she plans on going back home anyhow.  If she can earn some money to repair what time and hard work alone cannot so the better.  And magical axes to deal with the vile Undead wouldn't hurt much either.

Plus bears and wolves don't care if she wants to climb a tall tree naked and just listen to the songs of the birds and enjoy a good nap in the sun.  Or a brisk winter swim.

People are strange.

Quotes:  Deez eeez not how vee duu eet in zee wilds.  Wilds are good.  Citeez are pointless.   
Vhen can vee go back outside?  
You vear those clothes to hide your fatness.  Your clothes would make good tent.  Two tents even!  Should buy good axe and go make bridge to fish off of.  You not be so fat then.  

Combat Style:  Natalya's style is simple.  Attack from the woods, strike hard, strike fast, get back into the woods.  If woods aren't available she will make use of any and all terrain she can find.  

There we go!  A brand new character ready to go on adventures and hopefully not die horribly.

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.)


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!


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