Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Finding it harder to enjoy GW Games - Rant

Bolt Action has got me incredibly excited about playing it. I have been watching battle reports, planning themes and even planning future armies! It probably doesn't help that history is my main interest in any form of entertainment over Sci Fi and Fantasy, but something about playing other game systems and even GM'ing and participating in Role Plays has really shined a light on how bad GW games really are. 

Dont get me wrong, I love my Praetorians and their allies. My WW1 French Guard army will be nearing completion soon and im still planning on building the last 3 Assassins! But making and creating models is where the fun ends for 40k and even Fantasy. Which is a pity as the beauty of the genres is that there are no limits to what you can and cannot do. But when it comes down to the game itself, I noticed many games can be one sided and many units prove to be dead weight in an army. 

Take my Lizadrmen army for example. I have a big block of Saurus who on paper look really good! I mean aside from their initiative, they actually have hardy stats. But in practice, they are usually bested by many foes, proving useful only when an expensive lord is with them. Most people on the internet suggest I scrap them and take Skink Skirmishers instead. But I do not want to take skink skirmishers as not only are they a pain to paint, there are also potentially hundreds of models that will be needed for this! People at the club say the game is balanced and I just need to find the combinations of units that work and so on. But this advice annoys me as I shouldn't have to buy more units or change my intended plan just to have a viable army (within reason of course). 

With 40k, the problem is similar, but far worse. The Eldar players at the club, have powerful armies. One enjoys his army being powerful (as a result you wont often see his army on my blog...) and the other has a force he made well before learning the rules (my usual Eldar opponent). His army is potentially very scary and although it thankfully lacks things like jetbikes, its still a hard fight for an army like mine. In-fact, its a wonder I have done as well as I have against him. Against the Grey Knights, something as free as demons made the last game I had very one sided and ultimately kinda killed the game for me. My opponent saw it as something he needs to improve on and work out a new list, but when somebody has a TAC army at 1000 points, I cant help but think this is an issue.

After playing Flames of War my eyes where opened to how wargames could be played without this imbalance I had grown up playing. When a game is objective focused and uses missions to balance out the possible bad match ups (and there are some) it feels like tactics take a front seat while simply killing and having better stuff takes a back set. Then after looking deeper into Bolt Action where things seem vastly superior to the way GW does its games has made me decide to seriously push and collect new game systems and limit my 40k and stop my Fantasy expanding.

A cool Flames of War Diorama
So what does this mean for the future of my wargaming hobby? Well I will finish the projects I have started. This means slowly building my Rough Rider Army, finishing the WW1 force, getting the conscripts I planned a long time back and then building the last assassins. I have enough to play Fantasy and although I love the Lizardmen models I will not be buying more. There is a lot of fun to be had with these games playing the narrative, but this is getting harder to do. I feel its time to finally bring the focus on other games. 

My friends have heard me talk about focusing on historic games and so on for a while. Well now im finally doing it! After Bolt action has been started and my 2 starter armies are done (and maybe one more army...) I want to work on another game and go from there. 

Dystopian Fleet (I love the Aircraft Carriers)
Over the course of 2015 hopefully I will work on getting around 4 small game systems to play of various scales on genres. Dystopian Wars really took my interest when I saw a demo game not too long ago. Black Powder and Hail Ceaser look decent as well. The list of games just keeps getting bigger. 

Fire Storm Armada Ships. 

As it stands here is my plan:
  1. Finish current 40k Projects.
  2. Start and Finish the Bolt Action Stuff thats on its way.
  3. Finish starting Fire Storm Armada
  4. Start Dystopian Legions
  5. Begin a Black Powder Force
  6. Dropzone Commander 
All this will take time but unless GW changes how it does its games I think its time well worth spending. Of course im sure 40k will be frequently played given the current state of the club. But the only thing that will change that is actually trying new games and demoing them with the other members. 

I think I have a good mix of Historic and Sci Fi games there. Lets hope all goes to plan!

Anybody else planning to try a new game anytime soon?


  1. Been working up the courage to start dropzone commander for a while now. Its just released a new edition and cheaper starter sets too.

    1. Some of those look amazing. Hmmm I might add that to my list as well... Good luck mate, let me know how it goes.

  2. Just to defend WHFB (because i wont defend Wh40k) the reason why your Sarus block is being bested is probably down to your lack of experience with the army. I mean no offense but i have seen Lizardmen players with big Sarus blocks crush all before them, they use things like reforming and magic (Walk Between the Worlds from high) to get their block into a good charge postion.

    And to be fair with WHFB you do have to try out a whole lot of units until you find the right combination. I had this with the Wood Elves and still do but you dont have to buy a unit to try it out, you can proxy it or juts borrow it from another club member (although proxies are easier).

    As i said i wont defend 40k as i dont like it enough to, but i feel that your issue with WHFB is just down to lack of experience with your army and with the game as whole. WHFB is a great game you just need to give it a chance and use all the rules to your advantage. After i fully released the potential of the movement rules and how they apply to my Wood Elves i have gotten a lot better at the game (just a few dice rolls got in the way).

    Like i said i mean no offense but i would advise that you give WHFB, its still a good game

    1. I disagree. I dont feel like a game where you have purchased the "wrong" unit combinations and so on is balanced at all. Especially when its not marketed and sold in that way.

      I look at the amount of models and units you have purchased and used over the last year or so just t get your army working and it seems like just another 40k style arms race. A good game means tactics come with experience, not combos.

      I will keep the army I have, but I dont need another arms race game to play. You know for Flames of War, I didnt buy more units to make my army better, I got more units to change up how I play a bit for fun. The units I got blindly at the very start work fine and still do. The only thing that changed since I started was how I used units. Not what units I had. FoW has not killed my joy of the game because I lack experience like Fantasy has.

      Im not gonna lay down heaps of cash in a game just to compete in a casual setting because the models I liked and wanted werent in the correct combination. Its a terrible flaw in an already expensive game. Im sure if I played it enough like I do 40k, I can make terrible units work ok. But then I look at how much I spent on 40k and think screw it. Not worth doing that AGAIN for another 40k army.

      So defend all you wish, im not overly impressed with the game itself as a whole. But since I love the models I will salvage what I can from my army.

    2. So proxy the models until you find the combination that suits you. Thats what i would re-commend at all new WHFB players (and i mean those getting into the game for the first time not WHFB players on their second army).

      As for FOW, Battlefronts online service has killed my desire for FOW. I will stick with WHFB and Firestorm and leave the rest.

      The thing with unit combos is that you only figure out how to use them effectively with experience, you do juts buy two units and know that they combo well, you have to play with them and gain experience in using those units to know that they combo well. So as you see WHFB tactics come with experince.

      As for the "Wrong" unit idea, like i said proxy units so if you find a unit doesn't work for you then you haven't spent money on it, but that should go for any game not just WHFB. In any table top wargame proxy units unit you find the right combo.

    3. So, what you have just said is confirming exactly what my issue with the game is.

      The only games that have this problem are well known. They happen to be GW games. The few games in mainstream gaming where you can excitedly buy some models that look great and match your theme, only to find you need another 3 units to make them useful (as an example).

      Its not good. You may enjoy having dud units that dont work (just wait till the next book, then you can buy more and get rid of more!) but I personally do not. Especially at the price GW charges.

      Combos and arms races are not tactics. What do you say to 2 people who have never played a wargame before hwo pick up armies to give it a go when they find out one guy has beastmen and the other guy happened to get a dark elf list of killy things? You cant seriously tell me the beastmen guy needs to cycle through countless combos and new models to make it work. Thats not good game design. Thats shoddy money making game design.

      Anyways, as I said at the beginning, what you are saying is a good thing, is exactly what I think is a bad thing. I would like to stick to games where I can safely buy an army that wont suck because I hadn't learned what to buy.

  3. I find myself in a similar situation with 40k. But my love of the lore and the models keeps me looking for ways to still enjoy them.

    I find this next question a bit odd considering how long I've read your blog but... How do you guys play the game? Is it always just a random mission out of the book run by itself? While I still take issue with many of the imbalances within the game playing the Tournament missions made by Reecius and Co have greatly extended my interest in the game.

    I highly recommend trying them as they are really well made and work to counteract many of the problems in the game.

    Also I must agree with Rex in the WHFB side of things to some extent. That game rewards your actual use of the models to a far larger degree than anything in 40k and there are a lot of advanced things to get your mind around in terms of chaff usage and the maneuvering game in general.

    Also judging from what I know of you and your passion for creative modeling I would highly recommend you think about making some diorama style models/units for the game.

    Since the overall footprint is the most important facet of each unit you could easily make new units by covering bases in foliage and temple ruins interspersed with models to create any units you need for next to nothing in comparison.

    What ever you decide I look forward to following your progress.

    1. I will try answer in order :)

      We either play from the book or just kill depending on the mood of my opponent. But I will check out the missions in your link, because most games turn into a killing fest regardless of mission. Definitely will give it a try!

      Yes, I agree with that aspect, but what if I wanted to play an all Saurus army? It means im stuck with little to actually use as chaff etc. The way the game works is it forces you to buy particular sets or a variety of models to adequately compete. Which is my main problem.

      What I have planned for my Lizards, is make each unit a giant diorama. So ill put a unit count marker on the back somehow and then have the diorama just a few models with lost of foliage and so on to make it look cool. Thats whats keeping my interest in the game right now. I had planned to do this a few weeks ago actually I just have yet to get around to it. Overall I will hopefully use 1/4 of the models I would usually use doing it the standard way.

      Cheers for the input mate, Some decent things to think about there.

  4. Chaff is too important a part of the game to ignore so Conversions and "counts as" are your best bet to use the models you like.

    I would go with something more to your liking aesthetically. Maybe Saurus conversions on the skink sized bases. Perhaps invent a new hunter/stalker concept of Saurus. Add cloaks to them maybe some foliage on the models. You could even make some of the bases as traps like trip wires and spike pits etc.

    Or maybe a Beastmaster type unit with a Temple Guard or Saurus leading third party jungle beasts into battle. That would look really cool I think.

    1. I have been hunting for cheap budget dinosaurs to add to these dioramas and so on. If I have the time I will do a test Diorama over the next week (unless my bolt action arrives) and see what you guys think. As long as im not buying more im happy at the end of the day, which was my main issue really.

  5. That sounds like fun either way :)

    Just make sure you still construct the unit on bases. as the size of the unit in regards to casualties and Base to Base contact for melees in the flanks are still important in game.

    You can get away with using huge bases for the interior portion of the diorama though. As you just remove small guys first and then swap them back in for the large piece once there are enough killed.

    1. Yea I will make them in sections with the 2 front ranks being bases of something. I have been told im allowed to do it provided it doesnt mess with game play.

  6. Jayden, i will back you up! I have to agree that warhammer 40k is taking a dieing light in mine own eyes, though i am still planing on making at least a vet squad of my scottish badboys, if any thing for a diorama. I am currently working on hail caesar, and am considering both black powder and bolt action (Also Warlord Games) to suplement or replace my WH40k hobby. As for other games, not sure yet, but its possible
    Also, Jayden, since you are so into the look of the Praetorian guard, you could try black powder's anglo zulu war units.
    But yeah, my marines and tau are gonna go bye bye soon, which is sad cuz i liked the tau.

    1. Congrats man! Its sad to see your 40k stuff go, but those other games out there are brilliant from what I have heard.

      Let me know how you find the other Warlord games. Im hoping to try all three over the next year!

      I have eyed up those minis for a while, but im worried nobody will want to play as the Zulu Forces. So I'll have to see what others have planned for this first.

      Thanks dude, I hope you enjoy them as much as I hope to!

    2. You know, i am sure you could put together some indian revoltists and french or german pioneers or something, those are basic style british colonial troopers, and it would allow you to do some custom modeling and stuff

    3. Good ideas as usual mate. Did the British wear pith helmets during the mahdist revolt? I may ask around the club tonight and see what people are interested in doing.

  7. They did, but they did not wear the red and blue, they wore khaki and tan

    1. Thats fine. I quite like that look as well to be honest.

  8. Hi Jayden, I hear your pain regarding your woes with WFB, 40k and GW in general... I can certainly empathize but wont 'stir the pot' anymore...

    I have played FoW quite a bit over the last couple of years, but have fallen away from playing that due to negative gaming experiences - which could also be called 'being crap at it' despite collecting and trying every armylist combo in the book! So I know where you are coming from with your WFB woes...

    As for other games out there, I do like the Black Powder and Hail Caesar mechanisms. I don't really have any suitable BP force but do have a load of germanic barbarians that might do for HC... I also have medieval troops which might also do for Later period HC/ Pike & Shotte.

    Thinking laterally but still in genre if you like fantasy and like the HC rules mechanism there is the Hail Caesar - Fantasy mod. Maybe you could use your fantasy troops that you love but in a HC rules setting? I can ping you army lists and rules if required...

    I still love my LOTR SBG gaming as you've seen at the club recently but I'd also like to play that on a larger scale similarly using the HC-Fantasy rules... Food for thought anyway :)

    1. I wouldnt mind a link to those rules for fantasy HC!

      As for FoW, at least you tried everything first haha. With fantasy I have tried 2 armies and well lost interest now. Not being open minded about adapting probably doesnt help me at all...

      Next time you stop round the club, do you mind bringing these rulebooks? (if not I understand) I would love to read them and plan my forces ahead of time.

      Im pretty open to trying new ways of adapting rules and trying new games, so feel free to throw out suggestions next time you see me! Who knows, we could find ourselves clashing on the fields soon.

      Keep bringing your stuff to the club by the way, I have heard whispers from a few people who would like to start Lord of the Rings after seeing your stuff (which looks great by the way).

    2. No worries, I'll ping you an email via Google+

  9. That's certainly great news and sad news at the same time. Great news because there is a whole world of wargaming out there outside of GW, and you are going to have an awesome time! I started wargaming in prehistoric days with Airfix books and models, then onto Napoleonics and WW2, and it was a blast.

    Sad because there are just too many people taking the same track you are. My current main wargames collections are 40k and FoW, and I enjoy both. In fact, I personally enjoy 40k more. But since 7th broke, there are fewer and fewer people turning up on hobby nights with 40k armies. Some nights, no one turns up with 40k. Having said that, there are other games groups in town with a thriving and growing 40k scene. But it's starting to sound like that's more of the exception rather than the rule.

    1. Yea I certainly look forward to the history aspect of things. I cant stop looking at other game systems and so on right now so times are exciting!

      But you are right, it is sad because 40k was such a huge game for many people. I was playing last night and half way through my opponent and I just sort of stopped playing. The lack of enthusiasm for gameplay is currently a big issue for 40k for some us right now. Who knows, it might just be a fad.

    2. I really think it's a phase of some sort. It's happened before for sure, and it will probably happen again. I've got a few 40k games lined up for today - trying out my veteran mech infantry IG for the first time, and another friend would like a game against either my Thousand Sons or Eldar. The 2nd Denerair Highland Rgt is coming along nicely. You sound like you enjoy military history, and that is going to drive your hobby somewhat. WW2 Japanese, redcoats of all ages, alternate history, naval, etc. But you can always pick up your Guardsmen when you feel like cleansing some heretics, xenos and traitors! :)

    3. Thats exactly the plan. At the moment my friends are very GW orientated, so I will always be playing 40k. Heck, I play Guard so my Historic Miniatures will always have a place in the Guard when I feel like it!

      I do look forward to your highlanders dude, the test model was impressive. Also, take some photos of your men in action today. Good luck dude.

  10. It's a shame you feel like that. Personally I'm really enjoying 40k at the moment and my local club is really good, with lots of casual 40k players. I've never been a fan of WHFB so can't comment on that, but I've player FoW, bolt action and rapid fire, as well as a couple of WW2 navy games, and the thing that turned me off of them was mostly the attitude of the other players. Maybe it was just the players I played with but everyone was far to hung up on reality, "you can put that colour scheme on that model cos it's not accurate" type of thing. Half the joy for me is the fluff and modelling,

    If you local group are not to bothered but the historical accuracy of paint schemes or army compositions that'll just make it easier for you to enjoy yourselves. One histories game I do like though is a very British civil war, VBCW, set in 1938 Britain. And you get the best of both worlds, the history elements and getting to use your imagination.

    1. Also, just thought if you doing ww2 jap,at least you wouldn't have to change the blog title!

    2. Yea I think the models are great as I said in the article there are no limits in GW games modeling wise. But thats as far as I get. But dont worry, I wont stop 40k! I will just try more ways to enjoy it but I will try other games as well. I just find myself less enthused at the gaming side of things.

      Rivet counters are the kind of players you describe. I personally try keep to history, but I dont care what my opponent does. I mean, at least they are playing is all I care about haha. So I will take the same attitude I have with 40k to historical games in the sense I dont really mind what your army is, as long as I can shoot it.

      And dont worry, Praetorians are here to stay for sure!

  11. Tactical cards have made a huge difference in my last three games ( DE, GK and Eldar) Every time my opponent killed more of my force than I his, but I won every game.

    I think that coming up with strategies to optimise ones army is part of the fun with 40k. Every army has something which causes an opponent problems. My Eldar army relies heavily on wave serpents, although I do have some jet bikes now. And the Wraithknight is really formidable.

    1. I used to enjoy doing that, but the issue is if I wanted to, I could build a very scary army. But I have found I enjoy themes and so on instead of building better lists for 40k. Its just personal prefferance really.

      Bikes look pretty cool, and are incredibly useful ingame. I think you will enjoy them.