Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blood Bowl!

So Blood Bowl finally arrived stateside for the Xbox 360 and while I don't think I'm completely in love, I can definately be talking on the phone with Blood Bowl behind my wifes back.

So it's a basic line for line translation of the board game and that works for me. I've been away from the actual game so long that I've forgotten half the rules but a couple rounds in and it's all coming back. I love playing the orks, but it took a while to figure out how to save your team when you're playing in single player mode. I don't want to complain to much but every other game has figured out an autosave feature......

It's not all the games fault, it did come with an instruction book that I've completely ignored so far.

Graphically it's weak but it gets the job done. There is no way to modify the apperance of your team, or name them, or recolor them so it's always red vs blue. The animations repeat a lot and the camera is lousy.

And yet it's Blood Bowl. It's overpriced, it's graphics lack and I hate not being able to mod my team out but I can't put it down.

If they make a Space Hulk game, I can't pass that up either. Fail for me?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Come Hungry, Leave Happy!

I love the Tyranids. As far as armies go they are one of my favorites. No overwhelming empire, no ancient black doom brought upon themselves, no stupid resurrecting robots, just pure simple hunger and a willingness to eat everything put in front of them.

Just like me at IHOP during all you can eat pancakes.

The upside to the Tyranids is the sheer number of minis you end up with on the table during a proper swarm attack. Ideally you should be outnumbering your opponent by at least 3 or 4 to one and seeing a swarm not so much being set up pregame as just trying to find space to fit it all in can be a huge morale killer right from the start. Your opponent ends up spoiled for choice on what to shoot at and as the 'nids cross the table no decision is the right one when it comes to what needs to die next. Everything you get into him is going to hurt him most of the time.

The big problem is that having a swarm army means having lots and lots and lots of guys to paint. With my 'nids though I go pretty simple.

Basically, when you see my swarm together all I want you to see is Chitin and Claws.

I did this scheme for a couple of reasons. First, when they're all mobbed up and charging and all you really see is the mass of claws coming your way it's very scary. Second, it's the easiest way I found to paint them.

Basically all my 'nids have two base colors on a black primer. One is a darker green for the fleshy bits, as I kind of had the notion that this swarm was involved in the major hive fleet that attacked the ork worlds, with a lighter green drybrushed over to provide some highlights. The second is actually a single coat of a light yellow over the black primer that almost comes out looking like a thin ivory or bone, which is perfect for the bony/claws bits. Over that I put a lighter dry brush of bright red, especially along the ridges which contrasts on the yellow to make the claws and armor stand out more. After that it's down to the detail work like painting in the eyes and pinning the frakkin' Hive Tyrants arms back on because pewter is a lousy thing to work with!

So as I work my way through the new codex I'm seeing what looks like a move away from the swarms coming in across the table and towards an army that is much more mobile around the table. Mycetic spores providing deep strikes for basically any unit, including monstrous creatures, more units with the options to deep strike from a wider variety of places (Death Leaper, Parasite, etc) and the changing of the synapse rules to more easily allow units outside range to still be effective are all very cool!

My only complaint so far, and it's relatively minor, is the reduction of unique characteristics for everything. Granted, it makes book-keeping on all the units much more simplified and it's not like you can't still rework most units to an extent but I loved being able to hand craft each brood so that they were each like an evil little jack in the box just waiting to pop surprises all over the target army. This is still very do-able with the variety of units provided but I guess it's like complaining about getting a glazed donut when you wanted one with sprinkles. It's really all the same, just a differant flavor.

I'm going to get a game together with Curtis later this week. The Hive Mind is calling, and it's Hungry!

Tau do look amazingly like blueberry pancakes.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Great Devourewaarrrrrgh!!!!

Got the new Tyranid Codex today, which is very much a huge WOOT-Burger!

Getting it was a pain though, and that's where the ARRRRGH! comes in.

Before I get into my rant, I did want to say that so far the book is great. New Hive Fleets are detailed, the new units are very cool (Death Leaper! Old One Eye! Utini!) and the army list as a whole is definately a better fit with the new 5th edition rule set. It will do my old heart good to see The Great Devourer charging across the field again and making life extremely uncomfortable for Curtis and his lousy Tau or Sisters of Battle!

Anyways, onto my gripes.

Our only local game store is not generally a 40k store from my understanding so I'm not faulting them on being able to provide the new book. It's more of a service issue.

Around 1 today I called them to see if they had it on hand. Their website said it was present but of course the web is not exactly known for it's accuracy so I called them to make sure.

The kid on the phone was less than helpful. The whole conversation seemed very much like he was doing his best to get off the phone as quickly as possible. The question was very simple, "Do you have the new Tyranid Codex?"

"What's a codex, is that like a card game or something?"

To be fair, calling a book a codex is extremely confusing I'm sure. Websters Dictionary defines Codex as "a manuscript or book especially of Scripture, classics or ancient annals" but I can't expect that to be common knowledge. He might've looked at his pile of manuscripts, Scriptures or ancient annals and not seen it so that's probably not his fault.

So I told him it was a new Games Workshop book and spelled Tyranids for him. He very quickly said they didn't have it and he'd never heard of it and then hung up.

I swear I'm going to invent a device one day that allows me to stab people through the phone.

Part of my frustration is that I called again after 5, spoke to a differant person who assured me they did have it on hand and when I arrived they had 3 to 5 copies on display directly in front of the register which is located conveniently next to the phone. I didn't see any Scriptures so they must have sold out before I got there. I missed this guys name but he at least was more helpful, though when I spoke to him about the kid on the phone from earlier all he said was "Maybe we didn't have it in then."

The second part of my frustrations is that I've been treated poorly by this store before. I can't say it was the same kid but the last time I went in there I had taken my son with me. At the time he was roughly 4 so of course young children tend to touch things. He had his hands on their glass case and the person on hand snapped at him and then gave me the stink eye.

I work retail so I get that occasionally an employee is not willing or able to provide a reasonable level of customer service for a variety of reasons and I'd have been willing to leave and never shop there again if this had been directed solely at me. However it was directed at my son and that's where I take issue. In my experience, taking a customer aside and politely asking them to reign in their child is perfectly acceptable. In fact, one time at Gaming Experience that same son of mine spilled a paint pot and the staff on hand were very forgiving, even trying to refuse my payment for the wasted paint. I paid it anyways but they were kind about it whereas this kid was unpleasent.

I will gladly control my children if they are out of hand, it is not your job as an employee to do it for me. That being said, the kids are very young and Windex exists for a reason.

It makes me feel bad since this location is basically the only tabletop game store left in town. Also I've met two of the owners, one at Gaming Experience during it's proposed takeover and the other at a local comic book convention and both of these individuals were very pleasent and I would love to shop with them specifically. As for shopping them in the future, I don't know. If I do, and don't just skip straight to online ordering, I'm not going to do it anytime I call and get the same employee or physically visit the store and receive equivilant treatment directed at myself or my kids.

I'm not asking to have my ass kissed when I walk through the door, I'm not even asking to be greeted (which is a requirement in my business) but I am asking that employees remember where their paycheck ultimately comes from. Businesses like these ride that razor thin margin and creating an environment that is unpleasent and unprofessional is a great way to reduce that margin very quickly.

Again, the two owners I've met where great and if they are on hand running the shop I'd be glad to shop with them. The person on hand this evening, after 5 or so, was acceptable and I'd shop with him as well. Whoever was on hand earlier in the day would've cost them the sale and will Not get my business should I visit at a time he is present.

And since this whole thing is supposed to be about me painting stuff, I got three ork wartrakks finished and two ork old-skool trukks done so those pics will go up soon. After this I'm thinking I may need to build my Hive Tyrant into a Swarmlord since he's basically death on toast.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Da Boyz!

Finally got a little bit of time to work this week. Having small children around while trying to paint is not the ideal working environment.

So here is my first kit bashed ork vehicle!

It's a looted Imperial Chimera. The chassis has been reversed to allow for the modified barrel which was taken off of a Baneblade, because why not have the gun with the biggest boom?

Ork Big Meks remounted the engine into the crew compartment and reversed the commanders station to allow the ork the ability to drive and see whatever it is he's blowing up. Also Da Teef of Mork provide additional cover for da loaderz who take care of da big gun.

The rest of the night was spent trying to clean up some inherited Wartrukks. They had a heavy hand with the primer and the trukks were based in red so I'm going back over them now. My goal is to use the same paint scheme that Da Teef of Mork uses which was red (cause red onez go fasta!) with a drybrush of metallics across the body to emphasize the wear and tear da boyz tend to put on their rides.
I'm going to try and get better details as work progresses, unfortunately lighting conditions are not ideal at 9 at night.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Getting Started.

So I got into 40k back in it's 2nd edition phase. I was at Dark-Con in Oklahoma City with my brother Curtis when we saw this table set up with all these really cool miniatures. One side was Space Marines painted in black, I'm not sure they had any particular chapter in mind, and the other side was old school Tyranids.

The guy who was running the table invited me to play along with some other guy whose name I don't remember at all. Now back during 2nd edition your average game was 2000 pts and lasted 6+ hours at a minimum. We literally got into the 2nd or 3rd turn before everyone had to do something else. But I was hooked.

I begged family for cash on my following birthday so that I could get my own starter set. This box included 2 squads of space marines with sergants and heavy weapons, as well as an ork force with gretchin support. One thing about those gretchin, they had very pointy helmets and the absolute last thing you wanted to do was step on one in the middle of the night in bare feet. I swear I still have pointy gretchin helmets still embedded in my feet.

Pointy helmeted bastards!

I never painted the orks, I just wasn't into them at the time and I made Curtis play them every time. It's a perk of being the oldest brother, the youngest always has to be Cobra, or the Orks, or the Cleveland Browns.

That's a bit of a low blow, I don't follow football at all.

So the two squads of space marines I put together and painted one up as close to Space Wolves as i could get, then the other became Blood Angels. I couldn't paint worth anything, still really can't but at least I've learned tricks to compensate for that.

Then I started building on top of those. Got some eldar, got some tyranid warriors and on and on, nothing really put together or with any sort of theme, just whatever I could get. I never really got it together until several years later after getting married.

We were living back at mom's house while we were saving up for our first house when my brothers and I started talking about 40k again and how much fun we had playing it before. I think Curtis mis-remembered his exact amount of fun since he always complained about being the bad guy. I tried tracking down what I had left of my space marines but between 2 moves and having them stored at various friends' houses they were all gone.

I started back up with the Imperial Guard while Curtis went with the Tau who were a brand new army at the time. We were painting and building and having an awesome time. We built our first gaming table together. It wasn't a solid table, we had 12"x12" tiles that we build terrain onto, then divided them up with 12"x6" road sections and once we were set we got to playing.

Curtis definately got his revenge for every time he had to be the Orks or Cobra or the Browns.

I can't remember a single game that entire first year we played that I won. I think the best I managed was a draw and that was only once or twice. He still wipes the floor with me regularly. I have had one or two victories with my Imperial Guard against him, a handful of wins with my Tyranids and have utterly decimated him with my Orks. I'm always surprised at how much trouble he has with the orks since I have no specialty units but the best he's managed against them is a draw and even then it was down to the wire.

Actually they're not really my Orks. I'm starting them for my oldest son so that when he's able to understand the game I can start teaching him and their will be an army ready for him. I picked Orks for him because they share a lot of similarities. Wild, bursting with energy, completely fearless and ready to leap into anything without thinking twice.

Also now that he has access to watercolor paints they both tend to be very green....