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.)


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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