Games Workshop in 2015

Hey everybody,
It’s a two-for-one here at spalanz.com today, as I present another retrospective over 2015, this time looking at the beautiful plastic pumped out by Games Workshop! A controversial year, some might say, but we’ll get to that all in good time. Inspired by the article in last week’s White Dwarf, I thought I’d present my top five favourite miniatures here (as well as sending them in to Nottingham), so without further ado, let’s get started!

5. Age of Sigmar – pretty much everything, but specifically – Liberators
So let’s get this out there right away – Age of Sigmar made a lot of people upset and angry, as it wiped the Old World from existence with the End Times, and replaced it with a setting that still feels a little muddled. While I mourn the loss of the original Fantasy setting, I absolutely love the new Stormcast Eternal models, having been excited by them like I have been for nothing else I can think of in a long time. The Liberators are essentially tactical marines in a fantasy setting, but the kit is just a wonderful collection of bits that you can assemble into some really cool-looking stuff. Even those from the starter set were amazing, specifically the Liberator-prime, swinging his warhammer high above his head… Seriously epic stuff!

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And here he is, finished! #Warhammer #AgeOfSigmar

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4. Adeptus Mechanicus – Fulgurite Electro Priests
2015 was a crazy year for Warhammer 40k, with some pretty unexpected releases, including a plastic Mechanicus range. While I haven’t yet sampled any of these guys, I’m continually drawn to the box of Electro Priests when at my local store. While the consensus seems to be that they’re not particularly great in-game, they nevertheless look fantastic – I’m particularly drawn to the bandaged-eyes look, for some strange reason. No doubt soon I’ll cave and buy a box, and somehow attempt to ally them with my Space Marines, for no better reason than they look so intriguing. But definitely a great-looking model, right there!

3. Khorne Bloodthirster
Oddly, this third slot was the most difficult of the five to fill. There are so many great releases that I’d wanted to put here, but somehow none of them managed to match the sheer awesome presence of this guy. Sure, the new Archaon model is pretty spectacular, but seems too much somehow. The Bloodthirster has just the right amount of daemonic presence, in my book, to make it a worthy third-place. I don’t have one, and doubt I will get one, but I can’t help admiring the model as a truly great piece of crafting. My personal favourite of the three options has to be that of Insensate Rage, with the massive double-handed axe.

2. Horus Heresy – Betrayal at Calth – specifically, Kurtha Sedd
Another huge release for the year, plastic Horus Heresy had people in a froth pretty much since the year began. The rumours appeared quashed when the Mechanicus range arrived earlier in the year, but November finally brought us the boxed game, Betrayal at Calth. Pitting the Word Bearers against the Ultramarines, I was trying to resist until I saw a series of unboxing videos, and specifically, the chaplain figure of Kurtha Sedd. There’s just something about that look that has me really enamoured of the whole thing, and sure enough, when I got round to assembling the first minis from the box, it was this chap I put together first.

Plastic Heresy seems to be here to stay, and I find myself hoping that we get a lot more top-quality miniatures along these lines over the coming months and years!

1. Age of Sigmar – Prosecutors
If you followed my Summer of Sigmar over, well, the summer, you’ll no doubt remember I was a huge fan of the Prosecutor models. The models are just fantastic – the starter set models were amazing (the Prosecutor-prime being a truly beautiful piece), while the multi-part kits blew me away with the awesome array of bits and whatnot. There’s a distinct majesty here with the unfolded wings that models like the Celestant-prime, and even the Knight-Azyros can’t quite match. My personal favourite of the build-options is that with stormcall javelins and sigmarite shields, the latter in particular evoking ancient Greece, always a favourite.

So there are my top five! I’ll shortly be emailing these off to Games Workshop – you’ve got until midnight on Sunday to do the same! What do you all think of my choices? Are you disgusted with my lack of Imperial Knights? Let me know in the comments!

Fantasy Flight in 2015

Hey everybody!
Welcome to game day 2016! For the inaugural games blog of the year, I’m starting with a look back over 2015 for my favourite games company, Fantasy Flight Games, and all of the awesomeness they brought us – including my top, er, six games from the year! These were incredibly difficult to rank, so I’ve basically not even tried – instead, they’re presented roughly chronologically, along with a look at the new editions and other great stuff out of Roseville. Enjoy!

Elder Sign – Gates of Arkham
The second expansion for Elder Sign, Gates of Arkham totally changed how the game plays, with double-sided location cards and the new gates mechanic. With the recent announcement of Omens of Ice, it seems to have set the tone for the future of the game, also. While it’s true that this expansion is vastly different from the base game, and lovers of the game may be turned off by such a drastic change to the system, it’s nevertheless a wonderful Arkham-lite experience, and definitely needs to be tried!

Star Wars – Force and Destiny
When FFG’s Star Wars roleplaying system was announced back in 2012, we all knew Jedi and other Force-users would be the third tranche of the game. Well, that has finally come to pass with Force and Destiny, which debuted in the summer. Starting with the beginner game, we’ve also had the core book and two supplemental books before the year’s end, providing yet more adventure for Jedi players out there! While I haven’t yet gotten to try this game, it is a beautiful product, and everything I’ve heard about it has been extremely positive. Hopefully next year I’ll get to try this out at last!

Lord of the Rings – The Lost Realm
The fourth deluxe expansion (not counting saga expansions) for the card game, The Lost Realm takes us to yet more uncharted territory as we investigate Angmar, to the north of Middle Earth. This is an expansion/cycle that I was particularly looking forward to seeing, having play-tested the cards last year. As usual, the artwork is amazing, the new rules are interesting, and the scenarios are all pretty compelling, adding up to a really exciting addition to the game! We also get the long-awaited Arwen hero card – I’m not the biggest fan of the character, I have to admit, but I know she’s a fan favourite…

Forbidden Stars
A really interesting game, a bit like Warhammer 40k in space rather than the usual ground-based battles. Forbidden Stars is a game I’ve only tried once, and is the usual FFG affair of lavish boardgaming that I can never say no to. It’s certainly one I’d like to get round to playing more often, as I feel there are layers upon layers of strategy here that need to be explored!

Warhammer Quest
Another Games Workshop tie-in, Warhammer Quest is an interesting amalgamation of card game types, perhaps most strongly of Lord of the Rings LCG. The game certainly has everything fans of the Old World will enjoy, with FFG’s trademark high quality production, and proves to be a really immersive experience. Replayability is perhaps a concern during this early release period, however the success it appears to have been so far should warrant expansions soon enough, so I’ve high hopes we will be enjoying some dungeon-delving fun for a long time to come!

Under the Pyramids
Ending the year with another Lovecraftian game, the second big-box expansion for Eldritch Horror takes us to Egypt with a new sideboard, new investigators and ancient ones, and new adventures! I really enjoyed this expansion, perhaps not as much as Mountains of Madness, but all the same, it gives us fans of Eldritch Horror a lot to enjoy – so much so that a few games will only scratch the surface. I really like the tradition of having a new big box for Christmas, so hope we’ll see this continue for the next few years, at least.

Re-releases and new editions
2015 seemed to have a lot of these. Drakon, Cave Troll, Tigris and Euphrates… Biggest on my list, however, were Fury of Dracula and Runebound. I’d only actually played the earlier edition of Fury of Dracula once, and it wasn’t the best outing due to being merely a two player experience. However, the game seemed interesting enough, so it’s been on my radar somewhat following the re-release. It’s definitely one that I feel would do best in the multiplayer environment, however.

Runebound will forever be one of my all-time favourites in its second-edition incarnation, but the new third edition looked far too interesting to pass up when it came out. Again, one that I haven’t had a chance to try yet, expect an exhaustive review once I have brought it to the table. Let’s see how well Terrinoth is re-implemented!

A Game of Thrones LCG also got itself a new edition, barely with the first edition ending back in May. I love the first edition, and consider it to be one of my all-time favourites, even if I do struggle to get any games in anymore, so I haven’t jumped on this particular one, however it is good to see some continued games in Westeros.

Other notable news
After what felt like an age, the Imperial Raider was released for X-Wing. First promised around February, and eventually arriving in August, I’d actually dipped out from the game by the time is came along, so have yet to pick up a copy. It’ll no doubt happen eventually, of course! We also got a second huge ship for the Empire, the Imperial Assault Carrier, which looked too hilarious for me to pass up on. Coming with a slew of new TIE-fighter pilots, however, it’s actually worth getting if you have no interest in epic play.

Speaking of X-Wing, a new core set was released to tie-in with the new movie, with a new damage deck and some slight amendments to the order of actions etc. Perhaps crucially, though, it also helped to steer the game closer to the new canon, rather than continuing to explore the now-legends expanded universe. Expect more as the new books and movies roll out!

With the end to Call of Cthulhu LCG, Fantasy Flight are now down to five living card games. However, they’ll be back up to six next August with the release of Legend of the Five Rings, the long-running CCG, re-envisioned as a LCG. While I’ve seen some criticism, it could be a fine step for the game, so we’ll have to see how this one plays out.

On the subject of LCGs, we also had the fourth deluxe expansion for Android Netrunner, Data and Destiny. I feel this one is worth a mention because of the neutral runners it has introduced to the game, something that is a particularly interesting development. I’ve not had much chance to try any of them out yet, though have been tinkering at one deck, so hopefully I can get to try that soon enough!

FFGames 2015

So there you have it, my retrospective of Fantasy Flight’s 2015 releases. What did you think of the year? Have I missed out anything you thought was amazing? Let me know in the comments!