Top 3 – Space Marine Models

I thought, in the typical age of lists that the internet lives on, I’d start doing my own. I thought I’d keep it to a top 3 and so this starts today with top 3 Warhammer 40k Space Marine models. These are my own personal opinions of course.

Primaris Vanguard Librarian

I adore this model. Space Marine librarians have always felt a little uptight. Designed to sit back and fire off warp energy to buff your units or blow up the minds of the enemies. This however has a movement about it in fitting with the vanguard marines. These guys are usually found up front on the battlefield hidden away ready to sneak out and destroy whilst the main force is moving up the battlefield.

With Space Marine HQ options they often have these lavish cloaks that are attached to their backs via a huge collar. Whilst looking amazing they always seemed a little bit of a hindrance. The cloak or shawl that this librarian has on feels like it’s doing something. Designed to assist in hiding the character it feels a useful moveable piece of clothing that is there for a job, not for show. This then leads to his force sword which finishes off this model to perfection.

Ironclad Dreadnought

I love dreadnoughts, love them. They are the reason I play as Iron Hands (no not because there were powerful for a minute there), no because the lore states they use a lot of dreadnoughts. Back in third edition when I started playing they were one of the few armies that could have a dreadnought as a HQ choice (if I remember correctly).

I had to decide however which of the dreadnoughts I liked the most. The new Redemptor dreadnoughts are huge beasts and are of a much better scale than the older models. They certainly fit better with Primaris marines and are the size they should be, however there a little too clean and neat. The original dreadnought & venerable are good looking still but there’s something about the Ironclad that stands out. It’s bulky, and unwieldy but I can imagine if this lumbered over you you would be scared. There’s nothing you could do to stop it. Whilst not the best model rules wise, I do like the rules and often due to its size it’s ignored in favour of the Redemptors which is a mistake as when it gets up close, your dead meat.

Deathwing Knight Terminators

Terminators are such great models however sadly there rules just don’t cut it anymore. They have their uses however there’s newer models that can do similar things but better. I will say however that if I ran a Dark Angels army these guys would be in the army no matter what. They look so dark and fearsome with a hulking frame and huge weapons but with a strong religious overtone towards the Emperor that says don’t mess with us. Everything about these models screams powerful and if they deep strikes behind my lines I know I’d throw every gun possible at them until they were down.

Also the fact the Flail is such a powerful close combat weapon also adds to this awesome looking unit. In fact when I initially considered coming back to 40k I bought the start of a Dark Angels army purely on this unit.

What are your top 3? Let me know on the Grump Geek Facebook group

A Rant About Games Workshop Fans (or are they?)

The internet is a wonderful place at times and there are some amazing communities covering all areas, especially Warhammer. Sadly amongst these great communities there are many negative (toxic) people who’s life long struggle is to whinge and moan about a topic they are supposedly a huge fan of.

Games Workshop have made mistakes in the past, huge mistakes. There was a period of time where they actually shut themselves down, deleting all social media accounts and seemingly focusing on nothing but sales. They changed their magazines to essentially regular catalogues and seemingly ignored any customer interaction at all. In some ways you can’t blame them. Prior to this they had forums on their website which were nothing more than a toxic minefield of ‘fans’ complaining which they moderated. The depressing comments and whinges would be enough to put anyone off having an open system.

So what were people complaining about? Exactly the same things as today. When’s my army coming out? Why’s this so expensive? This isn’t fair… that isn’t fair… it was better when… why don’t you… whinge whinge whinge. Now don’t get me wrong, everyone is entitled to an opinion and we can all state our opinion but if your a fan of a system why be so negative about it?

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Some people seem to have the opinion that Games Workshop is the enemy. They are out to drain our bank accounts but do so with little or no care to the customer what’s so ever. You see this with comments with people saying their not surprised at certain actions or stating that the company doesn’t care. Now, lets look at the company. Yes its essentially governed by shareholders all chomping for their pennies at year end however its run by hobby fans. The bare bones are a core team of people who are trying there hardest to make rules and models that people will love. They don’t want us to hate them, they want us to enjoy their products and buy more of them. The sculptors are working hard creating models they hope we will love, and they arnt always successful however they are trying. Whilst its all fair to state you don’t like a model, fans tend to go way over the top on disliking it. The writers are creating fiction and rules that they hope will work within the game and sell models and trying to balance this at the same time. Mistakes are made yes and whilst the company was slow to act on these in the past, they are now much quicker. Imagine trying to balance a system with so many units, armies and rules as well as keeping it fun to play, fit within the lore and have all the armies feel different.

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I think what annoys me is not people who complain about certain rules or models, but those that complain with an anger and hate towards the company. If you feel like they why play their games? Why join fan groups? If you hate the company and what it does stop giving them money and go and play a different game as if the only enjoyment you get is moaning to people who do enjoy the games well, we don’t want you in what is a great community. I will say this, there is under all moaning a great community of gamers who enjoy the games they play and really this is what we should focus on. Until next time…

Edit: I just want to add after numerous comments that I’m not sitting here stating we have no right to moan and should just buy all the products. You have the right to feedback, say what you enjoy or don’t enjoy and criticise this company and any other. That’s very different from the hate that I’m discussing here. Very different. I even took out the word ‘toxic’ as someone stated that wasn’t a good word to use. I actually disagree now. The people who I’m discussing here are toxic and it happens in all forms of fandom sadly. The internet is mainly to blame for giving faceless people a platform but unfortunately it ruins it for others as they spout their pointless hateful drivel to all. There, rant over…

Kendal in Lockdown

Something I’m trying to do is work more with video and have a few ideas I want to try out. I filmed a walk around Kendal in preparation for a short documentary on how local residents have dealt with the lock down but that’s gone by the way side, so instead here’s a short video of some of those recordings of a quiet Kendal.

Podcasting

For the past couple of years, with the aid of my better half Nikki, we have been running the Lakes International Comic Art Podcast. The podcast was setup to help promote the festival of the same name (minus the podcast of course) and has opened up a whole new world for us. The most surprising part of the show however has been the guests we have been able to get on which has excited and scared us in equal measure. I thought I’d have a run down of some of the guests that stood out for reasons you will see.

Dan Abnett

The first one I’d like to mention and also our latest gust was Dan Abnett who’s work includes Sinister Dexter for 2000AD, creating the Guardians of the Galaxy, writing Gaunt’s Ghosts and kicking off the mammoth Horus Heresy series of books as well as continuing to create stories for the series). As with many gusts I simply sent him a message asking if he’d like to be on the show. I send these assuming it will be a no as these people are far too busy creating this amazing worlds, yet, as usually happens, they soon reply saying yes. Dan was an amazing person to talk too. He so obviously loves what he does and strives to create the best stories he can whether through a novel, through comics or games. The chat with Dan will be available on June 1st.

Charlie Adlard

The Walking Dead drawn by Charlie Adlard

Charlie is best known for drawing the Walking Dead comic from issue number 7, 15 years creating zombies. Many of the TV shows characters are based off his work so to have Charlie as our first ever interview was scary as hell. He was, and still is however a true gentleman and happily explained how his career came about and the comics he’s created. He came back again on episode 46 to discuss his time as Comics Laurette and again he was a true gent.

Ian Livingstone

So lets get this right, we create a podcast based on comics and one of our earliest interviews we get to chat to one half of the creators of Games Workshop who also created Fighting Fantasy books which you loved reading as child. Never in a million years did I think this would happen, yet on just episode 3 it did. Ian came on to discuss the comic adaptation of his Fighting Fantasy book Freeway Fighter which had been written by Andi Ewington. The chat featured Ian, Andi, artist Simon Coleby, executive producer Matt Mastracci plus Titan brand manager Chris Thompson. It was so hard not too just focus on Ian, but we did get a little bit on the creation of GW from him.

There have been other amazing creators, in fact everyone weve interviewed has been amazing. Its been a learning curve and we still make mistakes now when we interview. I remember when we got to interview crime novelist Ian Rankin I managed to say the incorrect number of books that he had created which he didn’t seem too amused about. I also remember on just our 2nd episode making an issue that women weren’t covered enough in comics with Emma Vieceli which she’d been asked so many times, well it didn’t go down well and she teased me on the spot.

Our worst mistake, well mine was doing an interview with editor John Freeman face to face, and having the hand held recorder incorrectly setup so it didn’t record. Luckily he didn’t live far away so we could redo it, but it definitely taught be a lesson on checking the tools before the interview.

The podcast logo created by Pete Taylor

I look forward to the future and what it brings and thank every one of our guests, as well as the podcast contributors Pete, Mike & Tom plus of course my co-host Nicole. Its been a great ride. Find out more about the podcast here, and until next time…

A look back at Warhammer Fantasy 8th Edition

After yesterdays tournament look back, it generated a lot of chatter about Warhammer 8th edition so I thought I’d look back at the game and look at the good and bad points of this edition. The group of people that played the game were generally great fun and whilst many had a serious side to playing, at the end of the day they wanted to have fun and that was what mattered.

The game itself however was certainly far from balanced and was never intended as a tournament style game. The game in its basic form revolved around movement of units and pre planning to ensure your units could be at certain places doing certain actions to ensure the goal was met. Usually this meant your main unit being able to charge first against your opponents main unit and so have the upper hand.

The difference to most modern wargames was the rank and file setup of your army. Most units were packed together in a square/rectangle formation getting bonuses depending how wide and deep they were. Some units, such as orcs, were designed to have up to 40 models in a formation charging forward never running away and getting extra dice in close combat. Others such as high elves, were better in smaller units as they always fought first and could whittle down any opponents close up.

You also had ranged attacks from archers or huge war machines such as the Empires cannons or the skaven’s warp lighting cannon. Some of these were exceptionally powerful, and often a bit too powerful, which was my first frustration. Monsters in 8th edition looked amazing and I loved having a huge beast on the battlefield. Cannons and other similar machines made them pointless however as a cannon or two could destroy a monster very quickly. Whilst it made sense, it didn’t make it fun and so it stopped the use of monsters. Exceptions to this were the Dark Elf Hydra as it had invulnerable saves against such machines, or dragons that could fly and get into combat quickly.

Dwarf cannon

Movement was the biggest difference between this game and others such as Warhammer 40k. Because the units were in block formations they had to wheel and move so couldn’t just turn on the spot (well they could with some dice roles, but lets not go into the finer details). This made the game particularly tactical as you had to consider this when planning charges, moving round terrain or lining up to shoot. It did however allow some very gamey moves such as being able to put a small cheap unit at an angle in front of a big unit forcing them to either charge that unit, sending them off out of the way or sit there for a turn and do nothing. It didn’t make sense but it was so powerful most people used this. It was so frustrating and could ruin games very easily and suck a little bit of fun out of it. I still used this tactic however ill admit, but I wish it hadn’t of existed.

Magic.. oh magic. Magic was a vital part of playing Warhammer Fantasy 8th edition. You as the caster would roll two dice and the number would be your dice pool for casting. Your opponent would roll one dice and that would be their dispel amount of dice. Each spell had a value ranging from a small so one dice roll could achieve it (say a 5) to vast that requires multiple dice to roll for it. Obviously the higher the role required generally the more deadly the spell. Some spells made your units better and tougher, others could destroy a unit outright.

Ok so I’m going to moan here about some of the spells as they made for some annoying games. If you rolled a double 6 when casting a spell the opponent could block it in any way. Some spells were so over to top that successfully casting could mean the death of a whole unit. An example was purple sun, which created a template that passed over a unit a random length. Each model in that unit took an initiative test and if failed they were destroyed. Some units had to roll either a 1 or a 2 meaning that death for the majority of the unit was inevitable and it didn’t matter how many wounds they had each. Dead! This made the game sometimes all abut whether the wizard could get a spell off or not by rolling 6 dice. Again, I used this trick so shouldn’t moan, but some spells were just too powerful.

Orc shaman

I had to laugh many times however as a roll of a double 6 or double 1 did mean that your wizard could blow themselves up and out of the game. This was such a funny part that whilst annoying when you did loose your wizard, it was so cinematic it was worth it. The games were wizards blew up are the ones I remember the most. I blew many wizards up!

Something Games Workshop still struggle with to this day is power creep, and 8th edition certainly had its fair share of this. When a new army comes out they obviously want it to sell well and so the rules tend to be particularly good for them. A good example of this would be Ogre Kingdoms which came out late in the life span of 8th edition. They had a unit, the mournfang’s, that were deadly and could wipe out most units in a charge and were tough enough to withstand most fire power (maybe not cannons or purple suns). This happened often and whilst it changed the meta and made people change their lists, sometimes it was frustrating. I don’t however feel this will ever change, as the Iron Hands for 40k have shown us, but at least Games Workshop are a lot quicker to try and fix issues such as this now (maybe too quick, but that’s another complaint not for today).

Overall however I enjoyed 8th edition Warhammer fantasy. Games Workshop eventually destroyed the whole system which created Age of Sigmar. The biggest issue with this was that they now expected models to have round bases instead of square and the game played much more like 40k than what we all loved. The game has gone on to be a great game in its own right but it dispersed the community who went on and found their own games. I eventually landed back on 40k, which I started my gaming on, and others have stuck with AOS but it does feel like the old days will never come back.

I sound old don’t I? Until next time…

Warhammer Tournaments

Whilst sat here in lockdown I began to think about what we aren’t allowed to do currently. In regards to gaming this generally means meeting with friends and playing games which seriously sucks. I then began to meander my mind back to simpler times, when models came on square bases and magic blew up my wizard multiple times. These were the times of Warhammer Fantasy 8th edition. In particular I was remembering the fun times I had at tournaments with this game and my gaming club, The North West Warriors.

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Richard, myself (pre beard) and Paul at Warhammer World

My first tournament (I think) was down in the mighty Warhammer World in Nottingham, UK. This place is a shrine to Warhammer and a place every fan must visit once in their life. The tables are great, it has a forge world shop which is just too tempting and an awesome bar with some amazing food. I can heartily recommend the burgers as well as a pint of Bugman’s Ale on the side.

The Warriors are a group of fine people who whilst enjoying rolling dice, also enjoy the odd tipple or too on the side. I was well aware of this before venturing to this tournament and planned to have the Saturday night as a big old booze up of a night. This however was unstuck on the Friday night. You see I thought I could drink and so drank… and drank.. and drank. My first ever Warhammer tournament on the Saturday began with me spending copious amounts of time over a toilet bowl. Lets just say the Saturday night wasn’t as ‘large’.

Tournaments continued and I went to Warhammer World again for another A Gathering of Might. I believe if I remember rightly the bar tab on the Saturday night of this event was the highest Warhammer World had ever had. We also somehow managed to break a sofa when someone said a certain word (I’m not even going to go into that on here for the fear of being crushed by many sweaty men) and fun and frolics were certainly had. As far as how I placed in both these events, well we don’t discuss that. Its all the dice’s fault ok, not mine, the dice.

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TuTu at Stockport!

A Gathering of Might tournament moved to Stockport as Warhammer World changed how they ran things. The Stockport Gaming Centre, at the time, was truly a vile run down place however it had a few specific things ideal for a group of mainly sweaty men to role dice. This being wargaming tables, terrain and a bar (well a means to sell beer). I stupidly around this time came up with a wonderous idea that whomever was doing the worse in the tournament between myself and my friend Paul would have to wear a TuTu. I think secretly I just wanted to wear this wonderful piece of clothing, either that or I assumed I’d always beat him. The centre itself had some of the filthiest toilets ever witnessed by mankind but it did the job and we played a fair few tournaments here. They have since improved as Element Games took over the running.

We even had a stag do at one of the events. Richard was getting married and what better way to have a stag do than during a weekend tournament. I devised a cunning get up for him to wear (full on yellow to stand out) as well as a table of consequences for him during games. If he rolled specific dice rolls or his army did certain things he would have to drink shots supplied by Paul. His early games started off very slowly and he began to show off that he didn’t have to drink. Things changed however and by 6pm he was in bed. He didn’t stay there for to long as he was dragged out later on the continue the party in a sticky floored nightclub.

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Richard in full stag do gear

I sit here writing this on a chilly but nice Sunday morning and think back to how lucky I have been to of had these weekends. Yes there silly and yes childish but we all need this in our lives. We have to keep smiling and enjoying life no matter what it throws at us. I must also admit how lucky I am to of found such a stupid bunch of wargamers who enjoy similar things and continue to roll dice, enjoy the odd pint and generally know how to let their hair down.

I haven’t played in a  tournament for a few years now mainly due to the death of Warhammer Fantasy however I hope once the world is free again, that this will change. I intend to pull out the Iron Hands and march forward to slay, drink and generally fail at rolling dice. Until next time…

Lockdown BLOG

I’ve tried many blog sites over the years always with the best of intentions. This one has a domain name attached so it has to work right?

My plan for this whole lockdown was to become much more productive and create and make and design. I have so far failed on this and done very little. I sarted off very well paiting up some Blood Bowl minatures as well as assembling a Last Days squad but other than that its kind of dried up. Oh no, I bought and paintined a goblin to lead my Frostgrave orcs into battle once freedom comes around once again. 

I did however order Warhammer Underworlds Beastgrave as a game that I could play with my other half Nicole. She has, whislt tried, never been a fan of minature based games however she has enjoyed card games in the past, particularly Yu GI Oh. I too have dabbled in a little Magic the Gathering and so I felt this game, with its mix of card based collectables with hex based board gaming would be ideal.img_1172I will do a full review on Beastgrave down the line once weve played a few more games, however so far its been enjoyable. We haven’t strayed from the basic decks which come bundled in the game however the urge for more has already struck. Within days I had ordered a booster pack and the Hrothgorn’s Mantrappers were soon added to the game. Its amazing how different each warband is and how much the cards change how they play. 

We hope to play more of this with Nikki playing the elven warband Skeaths Wild Hunt, and myself continuing with the big old ogre hunter. Lockdown has been funny  however and has managed to drain me. Ive been lucky enough to have a podcast to keep me going, with a HUGE Warhammer based guest coming on soon plus I tried my hand at making a short movie which I’ll add here. It was in aid of a competition ran by director Roger Corman, to create a short movie, under 2 minutes within the confines of your house only using a phone. I really enjoyed this and hope to create more in the future. Anyway, that’s enough rambling, enjoy the movie and until next time.

Trapped from Ian Loxam on Vimeo.