Friday, February 26, 2010

In the Grim Darkness of the Far Future, there is only Cake!

Today my eldest son turned 6, so first of all Happy Birthday! The Emperor Protects!

I've known since before he was born that I'd be geeking him to some extent. The kid loves Star Wars (I'm So Proud!) and his army men get daily play and for the longest time I've known that I was going to teach him how to play Warhammer with me.

The wife has made fun of me because I've already picked out which armies are going to which boy. My eldest is non-stop energy, rambunctious, loves the thrill of speed and has on occasion painted himself green so naturally he's going to be an Ork!

I've been slowly gathering an ork army together (and of course I've had to play with it a couple times to make sure nothing was broken hehheh) and I think we're getting to the point where he'll be able to understand the very basic rules. I don't want to dive headfirst into the big fancy rule book but I'm thinking we stick to the simpified game rules such as Kill Team or Combat Patrol. This way it limits the number of figures on the table, provides the opportunity to learn how the pieces and dice interact and with the simplified rules it keeps him from being overwhelmed in some of the more complex aspects of the game.

Has anyone out there had luck with similar situations? I've got all the issues of teaching a virgin player mixed in with the general spazziness of a kindergarten kid. I know he's more than capable of grasping the basics and I'm looking forward to sharing my hobby with him.

So here are my 40k birthday wishes for my son:

The Emperor Protects!


Don't Let the Tyranids Eat All Your Cake!

No opening gifts from Slaanesh until you're over 18. (15 if you don't tell your mom, and so Help me if you tell her that I told you not to tell her!)

Never trust an Eldar gift.

The Tau firmly believe that you should send a present back to them with a thank you card.

Frak the Necrons and the Dark Eldar. Much like those birthday candles that relight themselves, you're better off tossing them off a bridge.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Space Hulk!

No, not the recently re-released board game version. Though I do love every bit of the new version, especially the new Genestealer minis. It makes me sad that we can't play on a setup like this:

Nope, this is about the pc version that fell out of the wayback machine and landed in my lap. If you have ever felt an overwhelming desire to have your ass handed to you by an ancient pc game then friends, you have found your new lord and master!

I'm not saying that this game was impossible to win. I mean, people have climbed Mt. Everest several times right? But there was no let up at any point. Even the first level, which was supposed to be a tutorial, made absolutely NO apology for taking you to the cleaners, staining all your dress shirts pink, handing you back the wrong pants and then overcharging you.

Using a First Person view point you guided your Space Marines thought the corridors of a space hulk, completing missions that were taken directly out of the Space Hulk board game that was available at that time. You could point to each individual view point to switch which marine you had direct control over at any given time. Whatever marines you weren't controlling would defend themselves automatically and there was a tactical map available where you could plot out movement paths for your marines to follow.

As you advanced through the maps towards your mission goal, genestealers would constantly be stalking your squad. Combat was point and click however in the background it was rolling the dice so your normal amount of Jams would keep happening. The game was very effective at keeping the tension high. Unless your marines had line of sight on any genestealers then all you got were red blips on the tactical map. If they managed to sneak up on your marines or flank them from the sides then their viewpoint immediately snow crashed and you felt very, very alone.

Personally I only remember beating maybe the first few missions. And yet, not only did I still go back for more, over the years my brother and I have purchased two full versions of the actual boardgame! The newest one was built to an amazing level of quality and if you have the opportunity to pick it up I highly recommend it.

As for the PC game, if you have an evening to kill, really feel the need to be slaughtered mercilessly by genestealers and can actually find a copy than totally hunt this down and give it a try. Otherwise, try these guys as they've built a very unofficial version of the boardgame to download and play. It will also kick your ass pretty competely.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Final Liberation

I love this game!
Final Liberation was the only Epic scale pc game published and featured the planet Volistad as Imperial Forces under the command of Commissar Holt repel an Ork invasion. For the single player campaign mode, you commanded the Imperials over two differant maps, one was a world map that is similar to Risk where you could move and build your forces. The second was the battlemap where your forces deployed and faced off against the orks in turn-based combat. The diversity of units was huge, featuring the standard Imperial Forces such as PDF, Tallarans, Mordians etc., tank companies full of Leman Russes and artillery and expanding to the use of warmachines like Baneblades and Titans!
The Planetary Governer has completely failed to put down the initial ork invasion and Commissar Holt is called in to take command of the situation. While the player is the overall commander in the game, Holt has a force in game and is represented in game when you take command of that particular force. The scene below is one of my favorites simply because Holt is not in the mood for the Governers nonsense.

As you fight your way across Volistad you link up with various forces that went to ground following the invasion. Regaining the Space Port is one of your earlier missions and the Space Port serves as a general arrival area for the Space Marines though unfortunately you only gain access to Scouts through the game.

As you progress various units join up with you and add to your existing armies or form armies on their own so you can have several fronts operational at one time. My personal favorite though is when you liberate an Adeptus Mechanicus Titan Base. Now as the background fiction for 40k has advanced since this game came out one can assume that the producers of the game just didn't get what a Tech Priest should look like as the human in the robes has no visible modifications or mechanical bits. However, in the novel Titanicus, we are introduced to characters who are part of the Mechanicus but must serve as go betweens for the Mechanicum and the Imperials. Due to this, they do have mechanical upgrades internally however they are kept as human looking as possible on the outside so as not to unsettle the Imperials they work with. I know I'm digging but linking these two items up at least excuses how human this guy looks.

Finally your armies push through the Ork lines and make an assualt on the space hulk that they Warboss had crashed into the planet during the invasion. I don't recall the final battle being very challenging however by then I had perfected my first turn Death Strike missile barrage (9 void missiles spread across the map in turn 1 is a great way to destroy around half the enemy forces) and had legions of artillery ready to hit the enemy from across the board.

Now I personally don't remember letting any Orks go free but I'm sure they were trying to set the whole ending up for a sequel. Not that one ever happened unfortunately.
So, aside from Dawn of War, Final Liberation is my all time favorite Warhammer 40k video game! Next I'll be taking a look at my least favorite, Fire Warrior. Stinkin' Tau!

Friday, February 5, 2010

New car, caviar, four star daydream

So I saw this while reading the Bell of Lost Souls today:

So we have been getting steady reports of some subtle shifts in the retail policy of Games Workshop stores. It looks like broadly speaking there is a new emphasis on formal retailing (selling of products), and the introduction of the hobby to new customers. This is coming at the expense of a downplaying of the hobby and secondary games side of things. Some customers report being told to curtail their hobby/painting activities in store, and others report an inability to play Specialist Games on the premises.

So my friendly local game store, Gaming Experience, closed recently which leaves me with ZERO Reliable local outlets for my Games Workshop need.

I loved GXP, let me say that first, but it seems to me that part of why they closed was because it became a hangout instead of a retail establishment. Chad, Rich, Guys, you all know that I mean absolutely nothing against you in that statement. I loved hanging out there and I'll be the first to say I wasn't the most spendy customer you guys had but anything game related I did buy was always from you.

Stores are in Business, Business means making money, people hanging out all day generally doesn't contribute to your business in any meaningful way. I personally run a video game retail store where I have regulars who do nothing but come in, talk about whatever game they want but won't buy or reserve, play the demo units for 2 hours and leave while spending Nothing.

These people, and don't get me wrong I'm always glad to see people in the hobby, are a drain on store resources, the most important of which is an employees time. If that employee has to chose between talking to you for an hour while you paint some mini or actually selling to the customers who are making purchases (purchases that eventually become his paycheck) then the ONLY right choice for him is to make those sales.

I love this hobby, truly I do. I've got 3 armies for 40k, own Blood Bowl, BFG, Space Hulk and Necromunda. I've put my fair share of cash into the business and I would literally kill for a local battlebunker, or a solid store that could cater to my needs. I could care less for the tables in the store if I had friendly staff ready to sell me whatever I happened to be looking for. I'm not there to play 40k with the manager, I'm there to get my whatever product I'm looking for and then leaving.

For those who are griping about how the "retailing" of these stores is going to ruin everything then please, use your fatty trust funds and lottery winnings to open your own game store where people can play free of charge 24/7. Since making a profit or at a minimum keeping the lights on would not be any sort of worry for you, you would be in heaven I'm sure. Or, if you don't have a Scrooge Mcduck size piggy bank to invest in a store, then just take out a business loan and see how many of your non-paying regulars come to save you when that payment comes due.

GW Stores are a business and business need to make money or else they cease being in business.

I try not to read comments sections for things like this because all it's going to do is make me want to choke people. Everyone basically says "Let me paint, give me free stuff blah blah blah" and none of them want to face the fact that them hanging out all day is not contributing to the business. At best they say they like the store to someone who will actually make a purchase, at worst they bring their broke-ass friends to hang out as well and that helps nobody.

Maybe I've been in retail to long, but it's getting harder and harder to see things from the "free" point of view when it really comes down to me paying my own bills and feeding my kids. These people need to grow up and understand that when that store they love to hang out at but buy nothing from closes, they don't just lose a place to play at but they cost the entire staff their livelihoods.

I'm in the mood to paint some Commissars now.