40k Catch-Up time

Hey everybody!
It’s been a while since I’ve properly caught up with all of the goings-on in 40k here on the blog, and it definitely feels like there has been a lot to catch up on, to say the least! At the start of the month, we had GenCon, and some early looks at stuff like Aeronautica Imperialis, which I don’t think is for me, but certainly seems to have a lot of people excited, nevertheless. Of course, while we were enjoying the boxed game goodness such as these previews, as well as the eventual landing of Warcry, things quickly became all about the Space Marines, as GW began to reveal the next wave of power armoured good stuff on the way.

I think it’s been pretty much expected since Heretic Astartes had their second edition of the Codex earlier in the year, but the second edition of the Space Marines Codex seems to have both surprised and angered several folks here on the internet, who keep clamouring for more Xenos and so on. Sure, Space Marines are everywhere these days, and it might feel a little bit like Astartes Overload, but the simple fact remains that these guys are the brand icon for GW, and they’re clearly going to put their main efforts into producing stuff for them.

Despite all of the negativity, however, it’s been really interesting to see how GW are going about the release this time around, with these Codex Supplements that focus on a single Chapter. It does feel a little bit like a money grab, how you need to pick up the main Codex to get the rules for all the generic stuff, then your Ultramarines-specific supplement to get the rules for Ultramarines characters and whatnot. They’re a business, of course, but this is perhaps the first serious time I’ve felt like people may well be priced out of the hobby. It’s cool to get an Ultramarines codex, don’t get me wrong, but not if you need to still buy the main book. Wasn’t 8th edition meant to be doing away with the bloat of 7th? Why are we once again faced with the prospect of carting around most of a library to play this game?

However, there are some very pretty models coming out this time – and by pretty, I mean badass, such as Chief Librarian Tigurius in his post-Rubicon Primaris iteration! White Scars are the first non-blue Chapter to get the Codex Supplement treatment as well, without any kind of biker emphasis which seems decidedly strange, but never mind… Maybe Primaris bikers will be a thing sometime? Who knows…

We are set to get all of the Shadowspear stuff though, which is exciting, along with some more units to more fully flesh-out the Phobos-armour section of the force. Not only that, but Space Marines are now building battle suits! I do quite like this chap, and I’m thinking I might treat myself to one at some point in the future – when I eventually decide what I want to do with the various Space Marines that I’ve picked up over the years!

Kill Team is well over 12 months old now, and is getting a new starter set in celebration. Well, I’m not sure if that was the actual motivation, but anyway! T’au Fire Warriors vs Space Wolf Primaris Marines, battling it out among the ruins of the Sector Mechanicus. Cool beans, though I’m not sure if that is going to prove to be as popular a box as the initial one, simply because of the terrain on offer. But it’s good that they’re recognising the game is popular enough to need the starter box as a range item.

I can’t do a 40k update blog without mentioning the latest reveals from the Battle Sister Bulletin, starting with the incredible new Canoness model. What a sculpture! I suppose the centrepiece model of the army will still be Saint Celestine, but to have a really ornate character model like this to stand out is a real treat, for me. Several people have pointed out the fact that it’s nice for GW to be portraying a more mature lady for the role as well, which I suppose is a good thing, though I wish it was something that didn’t have to be made an issue of. I’m sure she’ll be the subject for many painting competition entries for years to come, anyway!

I was a bit sceptical when I did my Bulletin round-up blog last month that we’d see the Sisters Repentia, but in the very next bulletin, we got the first look at these girls, and they are pretty good, I have to say! The half-naked look has been replaced with one that is vaguely unsettling, but which echoes the purpose of these miniatures really well.

If the canoness miniature is going to form the subject of so many competition entries for years to come, I think the latest reveal is going to be adorning display cabinets across the globe for decades!

The Hospitaller model is stunning. There’s no other word for her, really. She’s got a similar sort of scenic base to the Primaris Apothecary, I suppose, but what an incredible model to include in the army! The rules for the Hospitaller in the beta-Codex are actually quite bland, albeit fairly powerful when used at the right time. I guess the miniature itself seems to suggest a much more grand position than just returning D3 lost wounds / a single miniature to a squad per turn. She costs less points than a swarm of Canoptek Scarabs, but the model is just insane!

Sisters of Battle should be a very cool army once they start to be released, and I’m sure there will be forces cropping up all over the place! My inner-hipster wants to wait out the initial flurry, and see how the land lies and the Codex fares before I go all-out, though. It’s not like I don’t have plenty of stuff going on, after all!

I’ve talked about my Necrons project, the Great Reanimation, plenty of times now – most recently, after the flurry of games that I’ve managed to get in with the army. It’s definitely a work-in-progress, as I try to get to grips with the force and experiment with new army builds and the like. I’ve recently passed about 5 years of being in the hobby, and in sort of a celebration of this, I’ve been trying to rescue my Tomb Stalker, the first Forge World model that I’d picked up in the Autumn of 2014. I wrote up a blog about this gentleman that you can read here, but it’s time to try to bring him up to date with the rest of the force (and, sadly, to repair all of the various breaks he’s experienced over the years!) So far, so good, though there’s probably a lot more to be done before he’s ready for the tabletop once again!

I’m really enjoying the Necrons, I have to say – they’ve been enjoying a lot of air time with me recently, and I think I’m getting more and more ideas as to what I can do with them, and so on. They were, of course, my first army, and the attention that they’re finally getting from me is, I think, befitting that status! I’ve got a few more games lined up, where I’m planning to change up my army build to include some (for me) really exotic units, so stay tuned for my further adventures!

Finally, let’s talk about this Psychic Awakening trailer that dropped at the start of the month!

40k Endless Spells seem to be the forerunner for what it means, and while at first I thought the same, I’m no longer so sure. Endless Spells feel a little bit like GW’s attempt to make AoS different to 40k. The fact that they’ve been quite successful, by all accounts, doesn’t make me think they’re suddenly going to port over the idea into 40k just to make more money. I feel like we’re going to be in for another campaign idea along the lines of Vigilus from last winter.

The sigil that forms the main visual interest in the trailer is that for the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, the organisation responsible for finding psykers out in the galaxy and, where appropriate, training them. Such psykers often become sanctioned for use by the Astra Militarum, become astropaths, or sometimes join the ranks of the Inquisition. So far, in the game we’ve got the old Primaris Psykers and Wyrdvane Psykers models for the Imperial Guard, and the Sisters of Silence.

This is where we are, but the announcement that went alongside the trailer promised “a new, galaxy-spanning event that’s going to have a significant impact on every Warhammer 40,000 faction“. The fact that it’s called an event is probably what is causing the Endless Spells speculation, as Malign Portents that introduced them for AoS came with the same tagline. But I’d much rather see something much like the Gathering Storm that came at the very end of 7th edition, which brought out Triumvirate boxes of major characters for a few factions.

I don’t see how every faction can have something linked to a Psyker event, as so many of them are anti-psychic, such as Necrons, Dark Eldar, Adeptus Mechanicus and T’au Empire. So I wonder what we’re going to be getting? Plastic C’tan Shards would be cool, and maybe plastic Grostesques for the Haemonculus Covens that act as Psyker-hunters? I suppose we don’t have too long to wait, if it’s coming this Autumn! At least the Ultramarines got to have a Primaris Tigurius to help them!!

To finish, I thought it worth mentioning the next expansion for Blackstone Fortress that is coming up for pre-order this weekend. Escalation is a sort of traditional big-box expansion for the game, and one that I hadn’t honestly expected to see until much nearer Christmas, if I’m honest!

It’s exciting to see more esoteric corners of the 40k universe being explored in miniatures with stuff like the Primaris Psyker and a third Rogue Trader model. I do wonder if we aren’t in for a full Rogue Trader army soon, given the amount of stuff we’ve seen for this faction since Kill Team Rogue Trader came out last year. There are a lot of possibilities for them, after all!

The next few months are going to be pretty exciting for 40k players, I feel!

Mid Year Hobby Check-In

Hey everybody!
Things have been a bit sparse here on the blog in recent weeks, due to the fact that I’m moving house again at the end of this week. Two moves inside of two years isn’t really all that bad, if I’m being honest, though it’s still one move more than perhaps I’d like! Well, anyway – we’re having lots of fun because Jemma is now six months pregnant, so can’t do a great deal of anything when it comes to packing and moving stuff, but the heir is apparently developing beautifully, so that’s the most important thing!

Anyway!

I’m a bit late to the party on this one, for sure, but I wanted to check in with how I’ve been doing, hobby wise, especially in comparison with the hobby resolutions that I made back in December! So let’s get cracking, and see how widely I’ve strayed from these goals…

First of all, though, let’s take a look at what those resolutions were to be:

So then! I think the easiest thing would be to just run through the list quickly and see, one by one, what I have managed to do…

Build and paint a third Ravager
This one is still a work in progress. But it’s on my mind, which is good!

Build and paint an Imperium tank of some sort
I was hoping to do a Predator or something – you know, something that really looks like a tank? But I haven’t gotten anywhere with this yet.

Buy, build and paint Inquisitor Karamazov
None of these things has happened yet.

Continue to build up and paint the 1500 point Grey Knight List
This project has well and truly stalled!

Finish off painting the Deathwatch models that I have
This project has also well and truly stalled!

Work out what to do with those Tyranids, if anything
Finally, something that I can tick off! Check out this blog post for those plans! I’ve had several thoughts, plans and ideas since then, as well, though I don’t think they’ve yet made it into blog form. But give it time…

Work out what I want to do with the Tau army, if anything
Another big tick in the box – I’ve sold the whole lot on ebay, including the Codex. That Tau bridge has been well and truly burnt!

Paint 10 more Neophyte Hybrids, and paint 5 Hybrid Metamorphs
The models are built and primed, ready and waiting. I just need to get myself sorted out! This has actually stalled in favour of the next bullet point, however:

Paint 10 Skitarii, the Tech Priest Dominus, and the Dunecrawler
Well, I haven’t quite managed the Dunecrawler yet, but the Skitarii are coming along quite nicely, as it happens!

Paint some Ravenwing Black Knights, and the Deathshroud
Okay, so this has also well and truly stalled, but my buddy Matthew has been recently sharing some progress he’s made with his Dark Angels, which has in turn started me thinking once again about a return to the First. Watch this space on that one!

Paint at least one proper terrain piece (not just an ammo crate)
Well, I have plenty of terrain pieces that are built and primed – it’s just finding the time, at the moment, to get anywhere with them! I think I’ve just been much more focused on getting dudes painted, their surroundings have kinda lapsed into nothing for me at this point. Though I have started painting four more ammo crates…

Paint some Nighthaunt and see what AoS is all about
Okay, so this is probably the biggest one for me thus far – I’ve painted up quite a decent chunk of spooks at this point, and have had three games of AoS, which has been really positive overall! I’ve had some hiccups with it, whereby I’ve almost been branching out too much again, but I think I’m now contained to just Death and Slaanesh armies, keeping my AoS adventure much more understated and in keeping with the factions that hold the most interest to me.

Hopefully when I move, I’ll be able to get some more games in!

Paint the Doomsday Ark
Well, this one is still in pieces somewhere, so let’s move on…

Try out ShadeVault and Necromunda
Again, not managed to do anything here except paint gang members, so let’s continue…

Play more games, dammit!
Well, I’ve managed to play 9 games so far this year, across 40k, Age of Sigmar and Kill Team. Bearing in mind that I only managed to play 11 games in the entirety of 2018, 9 games in 6 months isn’t bad at all! So I feel quite good about this one, even though it isn’t as good as perhaps it could be!


So far, then, I’ve not been doing that well, but I think that’s partly because I was so focused, back in December, on getting my Deathwatch and Grey Knights painted, that I somehow thought I could do it to the exclusion of all else. Now, my buddy Kev has often said I just need to be focused here, but I do tend to lack that over a long stretch. I mean, if I had two weeks where all I painted were marines every day, then I might actually come out with a few hundred points of army at the end of it. However, I’ve been painting for one or two nights a week, for one or two weeks per month, and my focus is diffused over a wide variety of projects. Inevitably, I just end up doing nothing, or very little, and I think I need to get better at that aspect.

Last month, I started painting Skitarii like there was no tomorrow – at least, by my standards! And while it might not sound that impressive, I managed to get fifteen Skitarii Vanguard, a Tech Priest Dominus and a Tech Priest Enginseer painted up! That’s not bad, considering I’ve also been slowly packing up the house!

So I think I need to really try to hone myself into just concentrating on one project at a time, and going from there.

However!

Lack of concentration is one thing, but there has also been a number of new releases that have just grabbed my attention, and I feel now like I really need to alter my original resolutions in order to take account of them!

First up is, of course, Slaanesh. I’ve been a great fan of the Dark Prince since my Warhammer Invasion days, and I am thinking more and more about the need to start painting more of these things, and soon! I did also get a new Keeper of Secrets, which is just glorious but, due to the impending move, I haven’t yet made a start on it. So I’m thinking that might be a good project to keep for later in the year – we’ll have a small person to contend with, but I’m sure I’ll be able to cope with a centrepiece miniature! Ha!

Slaanesh has been a big deal for me for years, so I’m really looking forward to getting some of those daemons painted up – both the new stuff, and the old!

Towards the end of last year, I got into Chaos Marines again in a pretty big way. All of that Blackstone Fortress stuff was coming, and it really fired my imagination. Well, Shadowspear brought us loads more, and we’re currently on the cusp of Traitor Command for Blackstone Fortress, so it’s probably little wonder that, with so much heretical good stuff coming, I’m once again feeling the pull of the dark gods. I really fancy having a Word Bearers army, and have made some fairly slow progress in getting these things planned out. Chaos was one of my three “going bigger with” blogs from February, as I really fancied getting a Chaos force to the table sometime this year. The way that real life has intervened, I don’t think that will be possible now, but it’s something that I have on my mind at the moment, along with some other bits and pieces for a Chaos army, so I really hope that I can at least get a few more things painted before the end of the year!

I think I need to take a minute to talk here about the new line of Contrast paints from GW. They came out last month, to much fanfare, and I was actually pretty surprised at the results when I finally managed to try them out myself. The genestealer above was painted using Gryph-Charger Grey, and the blotchy appearance it left was really quite a surprise, and quite an eyesore. I’ve had that finish before with washes, and haven’t always managed to remedy the situation with some drybrushing or overbrushing, but considering these paints are supposed to get the model ready for the tabletop with one thick coat, I think the results are very poor.

Maybe it’s just because I’ve been doing it wrong, but even when mixed with the medium, that seems to tone down the pigmentation, while still leaving this blotchy finish. Is there some secret to it? I’m applying the paint as I think I’m supposed to, but it’s just leaving this horrendous look that I’ve yet to see work well.

I did try it on some space marines today, while I had some small dose of calm amid the flurry of cardboard boxes, but they just look bad. I’m particularly annoyed at this, because one of them was the 30th anniversary Primaris Lieutenant, which is actually a very nice model. Very annoying!

So I’m not a fan of contrast paints, which is just as well because I’ve only bought four of them. I think I’ll stick to the usual methods, but I’m quite pleased GW have brought out so many more base and layer paints, as it means I can start exploring new territories with them! I’ve already been thinking of a new Tyranid colour scheme after getting my hands on some of the old Forge World colours, so that’s exciting!

I’m also keen to continue painting up units for my Dark Eldar army that I’ve not had as a part of it so far. Incubi and Mandrakes, as well as Scourges, have been on the table as I inch closer to getting these chaps finished! So that’s all encouraging stuff.


In the middle of all of this, however, is my desire to just improve as a painter. There is so much that I can do to get better, top of the list being calm down and have more patience! A lot of the time I see myself rushing through things and getting sloppy, only to then need to go back and revisit the whole thing. I think I also need to try and get better with my brushes, as I usually wear them into the ground, while still using tufty things as if they were XS artificer layer brushes. While I have no problem replacing them when they wear out, I’m still a little nervy about starting to use a new one. I think I need to get over that, as it’s holding me back a bit.

There have been a few miniatures that I’ve churned out in the recent past where I’ve thought: yes, this is actually a decent looking mini. The one that immediately comes to mind is that Rogue Psyker from Blackstone Fortress, which is really quite neatly painted, and while the majority of the miniature is actually just basecoat and shade, I still look at it and think it’s come out pretty well. I suppose I’d like to try and capture that more and more as I go along, and paint in an unhurried manner but still get to make decent progress. It’s the dream, for sure, but I’m fairly positive that I could actually make it happen! It does help, of course, that the Rogue Psyker is one model, and did not require any sort of batch painting nonsense that I’ve recently been encountering as I’ve been doing the Skitarii, or preparing myself as I look down the barrel of the Chaos Marines from Shadowspear!

As the year goes on, then, I’m thinking I’ll be doing some much smaller-scale projects, five marines here, five daemonettes there, maybe a vehicle if I can manage it. Certainly from October, when Junior will arrive, I can’t see me getting much of anything done this side of Christmas 2020! But hopefully there will be bright spots on the horizon, as I can begin to get some things finished in the small hours while on the night shift!

But I don’t think I’ll get 1500 points of Grey Knights finished in 2019…!

Kill Team Elites & Sector Sanctoris

Hey everybody!
So I’ve picked up some of the new shiny stuff for Kill Team, and thought I’d come along here to ramble about these expansions, and just how much I’m actually quite excited for what they bring to the game!

Kill Team Sector Sanctorum

First of all, let’s take a look at the new book, Kill Team: Elites.

This is quite an incredible book, with the rules for using Elite model choices in the game only half the story. There are 67 datasheets in the book, but 30 of them are new Commanders, some of which are actual named characters from the lore such as Sly Marbo, Darkstrider and Illic Nightspear. That was really quite the surprise to me, if I’m honest, as I was expecting a similar situation to the core book, where we’d just get a progression of Elite choices and that would be it.

Not only do we get these, but we also get the sub-faction rules that now permeate regular Warhammer 40k, such as Chapter Tactics, Cult Creeds and T’au Septs, etc. This was something I really hadn’t thought to see in Kill Team, but it is quite nice to see this game closely mirroring the regular tabletop game. Sure, there are people who are no doubt calling this 40k by another name at this point, and I think the more rules that get bolted on to Kill Team, the closer it is going to become. But there are now a myriad of different ways that this game can be played and enjoyed, so I don’t think we need to be calling it anything just yet.

I do find myself wondering just where this game can go, if I’m being perfectly honest, as it is already running the risk of getting silly. What I mean is, what will the next expansion be? We now have troops, HQ choices, and elites playable in the game. We’re left with fast attack and heavy support, and while I can see a couple of these porting over quite well into the game, I’m starting to feel like the cynics are correct, and this could well just be re-named 40k lite. There are fundamental differences of course, and I do quite like those, but so far as expandability goes, I’m not sure where the game can go.

Within the elites book, we get pretty much all of the contents of Shadowspear as playable units, which may well provide a hint as to what is next in store for Kill Team. Rather than going down the route of allowing us to use Space Marine Devastators or Drukhari Reavers in the game, maybe we’ll just get updates for it every so often when new box sets come out. I know we’ve had the free pdf for the units in Blackstone Fortress, and maybe we’ll get that sort of thing rather than hard-copy books to buy. But that does feel like the main support for the game is going to just die off.

The other way for the game to continue, as far as I can see, is tied into the long-rumoured Inquisition vs Daemons expansion. Along the lines of last year’s Rogue Trader expansion, maybe we’ll get a book that provides a system for making up even more bespoke kill teams, which will look similar in style to those found in the Rogue Trader expansion. I’ve talked about this before, of course, and as I think about it, it’s something that I keep coming back to as being a potential for keeping the game alive.

I don’t want to come across as being down on Kill Team, of course, just a little intrigued, maybe confused, by where they could be taking this thing next! Of course, one way that has worked out really well for them so far is the Killzone environment expansions, and while the most recent release in this line hasn’t had quite as much good press paid to it so far, I do find myself actually really enjoying it – indeed, whereas with others in the line I’ve just bought the boards and cards off ebay, this is the first environment that I’ve actually sunk my teeth into in its entirety!

Sector Sanctoris combines some quite disparate scenery pieces into one box, and currently retails for £50 like the others. Within the box, you get the two Imperial statues that were formerly available in the Basilicanum terrain set; the walls from the Sector Imperialis set, and the scatter terrain that came out in Urban Conquest earlier this year. There is also a short pamphlet with some background/fiction set around Imperial shrines, a short construction booklet showing how to build the scenery, and the environment card, mission cards, and tactics cards. People have been decrying this online for not being as good value for money as other sets, but I think this is such a subjective argument that I find it difficult to agree with. I really wanted that scatter scenery, and it would have set me back £60 to buy Urban Conquest. So I’m already up on the deal buying it this way.

The set comes with the standard set of tactics cards that can be used by players using this killzone, as well as four mission cards (two for matched play, two for narrative play) and a killzone environment card that can add some extra effects to the game. As can probably be expected from a set focused around Imperial ruins, these effects tend to bolster factions under the IMPERIUM keyword. Even if you aren’t running Imperium factions, though, I do feel that the terrain is just so cool and so iconic – and blends in so well with that from the core set – that it’s really going to be worthwhile getting this one for the collection. Indeed, of all the killzone environment expansions released so far, this is probably the best one to pick up to complement the core set for the fact that they both use the new style Sector Imperialis terrain.

Kill Team Sector Sanctorum

I’ve only built up the scatter terrain so far, and even just having that on the board, it’s quite wonderful. I say “built up” like it was a complicated job – only two of these pieces actually have to be assembled, the rest is just clipped off the sprue and away we go! The terrain pieces are quite huge, as you can see in the photo above, and are really quite detailed. It’s definitely a chunkier plastic than the usual stuff, very similar to the other terrain we’ve had now, but that doesn’t really detract from the overall effect. I’m definitely looking forward to getting this lot painted up, probably with the new contrast paints when they come out, so I can give some colour to my games. I think I should finally be able to paint all of that Sector Mechanicus scenery that has been hanging about unpainted all these years once I get those new paints, as well!

I am definitely a terrain fan, though, and I think it’s a very important component of the hobby for me. It’s something that really brings the setting and the game to life, and so I might place a little too much import on actually getting terrain, collecting it and (hoping to one day start) painting it. Boxes like this are just wonderful, and while I could have picked up one of the army boxes like the Scarab Occult Terminators and gotten that scatter terrain that way, I already have those chaps, so it was either a case of buying more or else getting this and having all of the additional scenic bits, the cool add-ons like the cards, and of course the board to play on.

While I have no real clue how GW are going to set about expanding their line of Kill Team to keep the game alive and fresh, I think environment boxes like these, and then perhaps campaign books that might give us some rules for prescribed Teams, are likely going to be the way forward. I could well be wrong, but I’m very interested to find out, regardless.

Playing catch-up!

Hey everybody!
It feels like it’s been a while, due to real life intruding quite rudely once again! But I’ve now sold and bought a house, and while playing the waiting game, I thought I’d catch up with some of the new (and not-so-new!) stuff from recent weeks and months!

new stuff!

There has been a lot going on, it seems, with stuff like the Kill Team expansions coming out the other week. Kill Team Elites and the new killzone will be featured in their own blog coming soon, as there is quite a bit to go through there, but suffice it to say, I like this tranche quite a lot! I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to pick up the Vigilus Ablaze book, though I suppose I have stalled a bit with my Chaos Space Marines project due to the impending house move, so that does at least kind of explain that. And the Ambull has been out for a while already, but I’ve still only played Blackstone Fortress the once, so I hadn’t really been feeling the need to expand that game quite so soon. In the end, though, my natural curiosity won out and I’ve picked up the big monster to see what I’ve been missing.

I’m actually keen to try out the Fortress again soon – it’s something that I’ve thought about a couple of times since Christmas, as I’m sure I hadn’t been playing it properly when I had that first game! Should definitely make more of an effort there! I don’t feel quite so bad, though, as I had heard that a couple of people in my local group had only just finished the base set campaign and opened the mystery envelope a week or two ago, so that feels like it might have a lot of game in the base set alone!

Of course, we’ve got Traitor Command coming out soon, so that’ll be even more stuff to look forward to! I was recently reading a thread over on boardgamegeek where someone had been decrying the state of expansions with this game, which I thought quite funny as I suppose I just hadn’t been expecting expansions to come out for this game with anywhere near the regularity other people had been expecting! Personally, I was expecting we’d see another expansion, along the lines of a big-box thing with new models and a new campaign, around November this year, and that would be it. We’re already getting different enemies to try with missions of their own, and Combat Arena coming at some time will apparently give us new heroes as well. Warhammer Quest isn’t, to my mind, the sort of game system that will come with multiple expansions month on month. Remember when games like Runebound and Arkham Horror had one small box and one big box every year or so, and otherwise all was quiet? Seems like we’re getting a lot more support for this one already, and we’ve not yet reached the one year anniversary!

I suppose I just find it amusing how expectations have changed, perhaps with the rise of Kickstarters and the ability to get a game and multiple expansions all in one sitting. I realise that I do tend to demonise Kickstarter a lot, but part of me feels like it has spoiled us for how game releases used to be!

Ultimately, though, Blackstone Fortress is a third-tier game for GW, after the big wargames and the skirmish variants of those games, so I think we should all just calm down a bit.

As well as all of this Warhammer goodness, I’ve also decided the time is possibly right to try and get back into Magic! I do this every so often, it seems, dipping out for a couple of sets then coming back and trying to play catch-up. I picked up some boosters for Ravnica Allegiance when I was collecting my Warhammer purchases the other day, and have also ordered some more online, for both Ravnica Allegiance and War of the Spark. Seems like all hell has broken loose since I was last properly in the game, around a year ago! I did pick up a Guilds of Ravnica bundle, but didn’t really spend any time properly looking through the cards due to the set not having many of my favourite Guilds within. Orzhov and Rakdos have returned in Ravnica Allegiance, however, so I thought it might be fun to get back into the swing of things now, and see what’s been going on.

Turns out, a lot! Just looking through the cards in the set for War of the Spark, it seems like that has broken with a lot of tradition by giving us 36 Planeswalker cards, something previously unheard of! It is, however, an “event set”, and shows the culmination of the story from, as far as I can make out, Battle for Zendikar block, when the Gatewatch was first formed. Wow! So there’s a hell of a lot to catch up on, and I think it might be about time to jump in with the new novel, as it feels like there is a lot of story going on here, and I’ve heard rumours that a lot of the Planeswalkers that we’ve seen and enjoyed over the years might actually be dying… The novel is out in August here in the UK, from what I’ve been able to see, so I’m looking forward to picking it up and seeing what I’ve missed! As the first novel set in the multiverse for, I believe, 8 years, it will hopefully be an event!

Planeswalkers, powerful mages from many disparate realities, must unite against the elder dragon Nicol Bolas, who has claimed dominion over Ravnica and is perilously close to completing the spell that will grant him godhood. Now, as dozens of Planeswalkers fight alongside the Gatewatch – led by Chandra Nalaar, Jace Beleren, and Gideon Jura – against Bolas and his relentless army of Eternals, nothing less than the fate of the multiverse is at stake.

Exciting stuff!

MTG Modern Horizons

I’m weirdly also really looking forward to the Modern Horizons set, the first time a set is going to be released directly into Modern (and other non-rotating formats, such as Commander!) I’ve had a brief look through some of the spoilers that have made it into the wild so far, and it was actually these cropping up on instagram that got me looking into the game once again! I’m not into the whole competitive Modern scene, or anything, but I was really enjoying building some decks just with the cards that I have, regardless of Standard, and seeing the interactions etc. So I could see myself picking up some of these in the future!

I do miss my days playing Magic, I have to say. I enjoy the Warhammer stuff, of course, but playing a card game is so much cleaner than fiddling with glues and knives, after all! While I think this pattern of drifting in and out of the game will likely continue for quite some time to come, I can certainly see myself always being around the game, even if it’s just collecting some cards for a nebulous possible future use. I mean, the artwork is just beautiful, and so incredibly evocative. It’s cool that Wizards are making efforts to have a properly-contained story now, as well, so maybe we’ll have more of these event sets in years to come…

Warhammer Fest catch-up

Hey everybody!
It’s been a while, as real life has once more taken over. I’ve been buying a house, which has been all manner of joy! But it’s a bigger place, and hopefully it will all be sorted by the time our firstborn arrives in October! I’ve found I’ve had barely any time to keep up with the world around me, as hobby stuff has been pushed a bit to the back burner while we were selling ours. But I’ve had a week off, down on the south coast of England, so it’s been nice to get away from it all!

Well, it was Warhammer Fest at the weekend, and while it probably wasn’t as exciting as last year’s event, there were a few things of interest to come out of it. Let’s talk first about the new paint range, which is probably the biggest thing to come from Coventry, despite my liking for more model announcements…

From what I’ve been able to understand, from reading the myriad posts on facebook groups since the weekend, they’re pretty much like the Nighthaunt technical paints that came out with the new ghosts last year. I’ve painted a fair number of my Chainrasps with Nighthaunt Gloom, and found it to be quite a decent way to paint them up quickly, though of course I can’t see how I’d do an entire miniature in these colours, but rather use them to do the heavy lifting and then fill in some details later. Of course, it’s best for horde armies, which would have been ideal for my Slaanesh plans, but I’ve now got a colour scheme for these that wouldn’t really help things, so I’m likely to pass over these for the most part until I have a use for them. Probably once I get my Khorne plans underway…

I’ve been quite surprised to see a number of Space Marines painted with these colours, and looking quite well for it, too. Unfortunately, though, I’ve set my heart on painting my Space Marines as Novamarines, which I’m not sure would work. But maybe – I suppose it might work for the cream quarters, but I feel like these paints might be best used on the many scenery pieces that I have waiting in the wings!

I’ve been looking forward to seeing the new Sisters of Battle coming along, though I have to say, now that we’ve seen the first painted one, I’ve begun to wonder whether I’ll actually pick any up. Don’t get me wrong, they look great, and I think it’ll be exciting to see the army come out fully-formed later this year, but I reckon I’ve got enough to be getting on with. Maybe if they come out for Kill Team…

Speaking of Kill Team, the new Elites book is due out tomorrow, and I’m cautiously excited about getting it. I’ve been playing a fair bit of Kill Team recently, and have been enjoying it, so I think it’d be cool to add some different units to the mix. I’ve been playing my Necrons, using four Immortals and two Deathmarks, so I think it might be nice to add some Lychguard or Praetorians to the mix. Maybe both?!

I’m also quite excited about the new killzone, Sector Sanctoris:

There has been quite a lot of annoyance online with this one, given that it only seems to have odd bits of terrain rather than the more full kits we’ve seen coming with the other battlefield expansion sets. I suppose part of the issue might also be the fact only the walls are available separately so far, so it isn’t immediately apparent how big of a saving it might be. Personally, it has all of the terrain that I would want – those two massive statues from the Basilicanum set, as well as the scatter terrain from Urban Conquest. With some low walls to boot, I think it’s a great set and I’m looking forward to picking it up – I’d otherwise been thinking of getting the Scarab Occult terminators set in order to get that scatter terrain, so this has worked out well for me!

I think I might branch out a bit soon with Kill Team, and have been considering either Space Marines or Militarum Tempestus. I’ve got plenty of models for both of course, but it might be nice to have an Imperium force. I’ve thought this about regular 40k before, and had wanted to get moving with the Adeptus Mechanicus army that I’ve been wanting to do things with for what feels like forever (though in actual fact, it’s only been two years!)

While we’re on the subject of the Mechanicus…

Yes, there are Chaos Knights coming, complete with their own Codex – but I’m not interested in that. I’m much more interested in this:

The Skitarii are finally getting a transport! Cool beans, for sure. I’m hoping it’s open-topped, as well, so I can be throwing out a butt-load of galvanic rifle shots (or better, radium carbine shots!) in a binharic drive-by! While there have been plenty of people unhappy with the look of it, thinking it belongs more appropriately as a Cadian transport, I think it looks really on-point for the faction. Doubtless that is helped by the design cues such as the top hatch and all the vents, but it looks exactly like something you’d expect to see floating across the radium wastes.

I also like the tank variant. Up to this point, we’ve only had the walker vehicles for the army, which I think have helped to establish the faction as being, well, weird. Seeing this version as well really just reinforces this weirdness, and I love it!

The AdMech aren’t the only folks getting vehicles though, as the Primaris Marines are due for a variant on the Repulsor tank. The new Repulsor Executioner looks, well, hilarious, but also like it would likely fit in perfectly with a Primaris force.

While we’re on the subject, I’ve been thinking a lot about perhaps finally painting up all the Primaris marines that I have hanging about, from Dark Imperium and the like. I split the Shadowspear box and only got the Heretic side of things, but I’ve since picked up some phobos-armoured bits, and feel like trying my hand at a small marines force, maybe to go alongside my Skitarii or Tempestus Scions… I’ve previously thought about an all-Primaris list, headed up by Marneus Calgar, though I’ve more recently been thinking about making a list around the Vanguard marines.

I’ve painted a small number of Primaris chaps in the colours of Genesis Chapter before now, but I can’t currently decide if I want to continue like that, or else do Primaris Novamarines… 🤔

I’ve never even considered playing Apocalypse games, as I’ve previously given over an entire day to playing just regular 40k back when I was first getting into playing it, and I can’t say as though I really enjoyed it. In all honesty, it’s just a bit draining! But it’s exciting for those people who do enjoy the game that much, so I’m glad to see folks getting what they like!

There’s been some further news for Necromunda expansions, with the alternate heads and weapons for the Delaque gang, and some more hive scum and a champion for the Cawdor gang. While of course, that dude looks cool and all, I think it has made me more excited to think about how the Delaque hero will look! Aside from all of this, however, I think the more exciting thing here is the prospect of Palatine Enforcers coming for the game! Of course, I think it would have been amazing to have actually seen models for these guys, and given the rumours that these things are due in Q3, I find it a bit of a let-down that we’ve not seen anything. I’m therefore assuming that the rumours are false, or else I think it would be a bit of a shame that Warhammer Fest didn’t have anything more for us…

I think this is a very exciting development, seeing yet more warbands for the upcoming Age of Sigmar skirmish game. I’m still going for the Iron Golems, as I find them wonderfully creepy (and almost perfect fodder for Dark Eldar Grotesques), but the snake folks are pretty exciting, I won’t deny:

I mean, look at this chap! With such a proud beast of a cobra at his feet there!

I’m really looking forward to this game, though obviously I’m not sure about whether I’ll be able to pick it up at release! I think we’re probably in for a similar situation as Kill Team last year, with the core set selling out quickly.

On the wider subject of Age of Sigmar though, we’ve got more releases to look forward to in just over a week, with the arrival of the new scenery pieces that form the Dominion of Sigmar stuff. Much like the new Sector Imperialis terrain that came out of Kill Team, I think it’ll be really exciting to see these things come out and what people do with them.

I would have liked to get hold of some of this stuff myself, but while I do enjoy playing AoS, I think I’m still more of a 40k player when it comes to this sort of thing.

Forbidden Power has finally be revealed to have been basically Malign Portents volume 2, bringing more generic endless spells and a book for their use. The spells look cool, but I’m hoping that we’ll get the book released separately so that I can take a look at what the whole thing is all about.

It’s interesting, isn’t it, that while I started my AoS journey with the Nighthaunt and have been branching out almost expansively with ideas for Legions of Nagash as well as Chaos Daemons, I’m still more interested in the wider world of 40k than AoS, and stop myself short when it comes to getting this sort of stuff as well.

I suppose last year was a hard act to follow, bringing the new edition of Age of Sigmar, as well as Malign Sorcery and Adeptus Titanicus. But there are definitely some exciting things on the horizon to look forward to!

It’s the GAMA Trade Show 2019!

Hey everybody!
It’s the GAMA Trade Show, and as I have done in the past, I’ll be keeping an eye on the proceedings to see what we’ve got to look forward to in the coming weeks and months!

First up, it’s none other than Games Workshop, who have just updated their community site with a first look at the next expansion for Kill Team – Elites. I mean, of course they have – not to be too proud of myself, or whatever, but I saw this coming a good while ago

We’re getting all manner of delights here, from terminators (as we can see on the cover) to Drukhari Grotesques! It was almost prescient of me, then, to have just bought a pair of these delights!

For all my cynicism of expanding the game like this, I am actually looking forward to seeing how it continues to grow – the danger, of course, being that it will soon turn into just low-point 40k if it isn’t careful. But so long as we continue to get intelligent choices with reasonable rules behind them, why not, right? Just let me take Lychguard now!

I suppose this also answers the question, where has the Thousand Sons faction box been?

Along with a Kal Jerico model for Necromunda, we’re also getting a Halfling team for Blood Bowl, with promises of more announcements to come in the next couple of days!

…let’s see what else is on offer!!

Next generation of the DC Deck Building Game, with the Rebirth branding? Very cool. Not sure about the more board-gamey aspect with moving cardboard chits around – it is supposed to be a deck building game, after all – but linked campaign scenarios and character progression do sound like they should be a lot of fun. Gonna keep my eye on this one!

You know, I’d forgotten about the two Fortune & Glory expansions until reviewing last year’s GAMA blog, but now that I’ve had my memory jogged, I really feel the need to have them in my life! It feels like Shadows of Brimstone has taken over Flying Frog, and with the third kickstarter for this game currently ongoing, I have to wonder if they have their sights set anywhere near the more traditional games manufacturing route. Not that I’m trying to be bitter or anything, but I do miss their games like Fortune & Glory, and A Touch of Evil. Last year, they were in the middle of making sure the Forbidden Fortress SOBS game was shipped in time, pushing the FANG expansions back to the first quarter of 2019. Well, we’ll just have to wait patiently for something not weird-west related to arrive, I guess!


GAMA day two has arrived, and my goodness, how exciting is this:

Traitor Command, the next Blackstone Fortress expansion, gives us a Traitor Commissar and a Chaos Ogryn, both of whom look delightful gentlemen – and will have 40k rules, to boot! Awesome! Forging alliances with unlikely friends sounds interesting, too…

I’ve said it before, of course, but I really love how GW are using Blackstone Fortress to explore these weird and wonderful bits of the 40k universe. The Commissar in particular looks like a stunning chap, I’m really looking forward to snapping these up when they’re out!

Warcry, the skirmish game set in the AoS universe and first teased a few months back now, has finally been shown off to be really quite the interesting game! Pitting different Chaos warbands against one another, at first it sounded like it might be a bit too exclusive – I mean, what about us Death players, right? But whether Chaos is just the first wave or not, it’s difficult to not be enamoured with at least one of these factions, particularly the cute looking devil-bats! I like it, which I’m a bit sorry about, as I feel like it might well become another juggernaut like Kill Team, and I’m not sure my bank balance can cope with that!

I really like the look of those pit-fighters with the welding masks, they remind me of Haemonculus Covens creations among the Drukhari, and I’m sure plenty of us will be using them for Grotesque conversions as these things move along. The scenery looks pretty amazing, too!

Not sure, of course, but this could tie in with the rumours of Warriors of Chaos/Slaves to Darkness getting an overhaul soon. I suppose we’ll see!


At any rate, that appears to be that! Plenty to look forward to from Games Workshop, who appear to have taken over with their exciting announcements of new stuff! Nothing from FFG, though the distributor Asmodee has announced a deal with Cool Mini Or Not, which may bring those incredible games to the masses (personally I try to avoid CMON as I find it difficult to resist them!)

It almost feels like the landscape of boardgame news has changed, and the big trade shows are no longer that important for getting a picture of what’s coming up next. Even the big daddy of them all, GenCon, hasn’t been that explosive for the last year or two. Is it a result of Kickstarter seemingly taking over the world of boardgame production? Speaking from an entirely personal perspective, it seems like the companies I used to watch – FFG in particular here – just aren’t knocking it out of the park anymore, with nothing really overwhelming me with its excitement. Meanwhile, established companies like Cryptozoic and Flying Frog Productions seem to be using Kickstarter more like their business model than not, and it’s leading to an over-saturation of stuff. Shadows of Brimstone has been a case in point here – when that stuff eventually found its way to me, it was like receiving 5+ years’ worth of expansion material in one hit, and I’m not sure I want that from a board game. Has our modern sense of impatience and always wanting the next thing caught up with us, to the point where we suddenly need everything for a game right now? All of these companies using Kickstarter to distribute games, and somewhat by necessity producing almost an entire game’s run in one go just to ensure the crowdfunding, seems to have led to a point where they just don’t have anything new to announce, because we had it all in one hit a year or two ago.

Makes me wonder what GAMA 2020 will have in store for us…

New Year Open Day 2019!

Ohmygod you guys! Ohmygod! There’s so much good stuff in this latest round of reveals from the New Year Open Day, I just don’t know where to begin! Well, I’ll start at the top, I guess, and go from there…

Genestealer Cults are getting a slew of new and interesting figures, and I just don’t know how to explain how excited I am for these guys! Well, the female magos seems to be a little pandering – I mean, the Magos from Overkill is a classic sculpt, I’m not entirely convinced by this one as she seems a little too… 1950s sci-fi? I don’t know. I really like the mysterious chap with his pimp-cane (seems like GW are really pimping it up after the Delaque chaps arrived) and the vox-hacker chap is also really cool. Not sure about the assassin-type model, either, but anyway.

Someone on the GSC facebook page suggested these might come as something akin to the Court of the Archon for the Dark Eldar, which would make more sense than having a massive selection of different HQs to deal with, but I suspect we might have a similar situation to Space Marine Command Squads, where they’re now separated out into a number of elites slots rather than being fielded as a unit. But I would also like to see them packaged together and come as one, so hope springs eternal on that one.

As well as the bikers, we’re also getting a new terrain piece, which I do like – hopefully we’ll be getting a lot more custom terrain for each force as time goes on. Necrons could do with having something interesting, I feel! It’s certainly an exciting time to be a 40k fan, that’s for sure!

But 40k isn’t the only system getting the love, as we see a new Battle Box for Age of Sigmar coming out, featuring Flesh Eater Courts and Skaven! I’ve recently been thinking about investigating the little rats, as several of their models remind me of the Mechanicus minis, and I think that’s cool. I’ve been thinking about, but ultimately passing over, several of these boxes since we initially had Forgebane, but I think I might well pick this one up and sell off the zombie portion, instead getting a decent start on some Skaven models!

Looks like we’re getting Stormfiends, a Warp Lightning Cannon, a Doomwheel, and the new character model, the Warlock Bombadier. I find it a little bit odd that there’s no infantry for the box set, but then the Skaven models included come to £79.50 without the new character, so I suppose the set is going to retail around £90, and still provide a massive saving. Definitely one for the list, anyway!

I’m also looking forward to some Grots, though given the sheer amount of new stuff being announced here, I think I’m going to not only be planning out very carefully what I end up buying, but also downsizing my collection of existing miniatures in order to make room!

Back to 40k and Kill Team now, with a look at the next batch of good stuff. I’m not honestly all that sure about Kill Team: Arena, as it looks a lot like a rehashing of the Rogue Trader box. Maybe it’ll be worth it for the additional rules content, but the box size initially made me interested, then I saw that the terrain was mainly doors and barrels, with rules for fighting in close quarters. Well, I suppose it might be a cheaper price point than the Rogue Trader box, which might make it worth getting for some, but I might be holding off for the time being, until we see some more.

Interestingly, however, there are two new expansions for the two Kill Teams that came in the original box – an AdMech team that features Sicarians, and a Genestealer Cults team that includes Acolyte Hybrids. Both of them come with a Commander model, though, and the usual sheet of tokens and terrain and whatnot, but I find it interesting how we’re seeing the evolution of the different Team expansions from last year. Commanders is presumably a more integrated part of the game than we’d originally expected, and they’re using this game as a delivery method for new models for the regular 40k game, with the Cult Eastwood gunslinger Primus, alongside a new sort of Tech-Priest, the Manipulus. I’m not 100% sold on the latter, if I’m honest, as he does look a little too much like he was originally intended as a Nurgle model. But maybe he’ll be better in the flesh, or else with a little converting.

I’m glad to see more for Kill Team, for sure, and I hope this new type of expansion could herald my idea for “famous teams” to come further down the line. I especially like the idea that they’re expanding the original two teams from the core set, as that is a fantastic way to build on last year’s box for people new to the game, as well as to get them hooked into buying more for regular 40k in true gateway-drug style!

While that’s all for the stuff that grabbed my attention over on the Community site, there are a few other choice morsels doing the rounds of the internets, including an expansion for the Blackstone Fortress game!

Blackstone Fortress Dreaded Ambull

I’m not that old in the hobby to remember the Ambull from back in the Rogue Trader days, but this has got a lot of people excited! Looking at the additional contents in this picture has got me wondering, though – if we’re having a new ship tile, will we be getting a new Hero to go along with it? And there’s another mystery envelope in this one, as well! How exciting!

I really like the idea of this expansion, and it once again puts me in mind of Shadows of Brimstone, only done correctly. I mean, FFP have definitely worked their socks off for that game, and I don’t mean to be too harsh, but it just didn’t feel anywhere near as polished as it perhaps could have been, possibly due to the amount of stuff they had to do to fulfill peoples’ pledges. But that’s a topic for another blog!

Finally (for now!) we’re getting two plastic Am-bots for Necromunda! Not the Adeptus Arbites, but it’ll do!

And finally, we have what looks like a new kind of Chaos Sorcerer for the Black Legion, presumably coming out when the whole Vigilus 80-day countdown thing comes to a conclusion:

I don’t know if this would happen or not, but I do quite like the idea that he might be a part of a wider Servants of the Abyss release, alongside the Blackstone Fortress goodness that is reputedly coming out in March. I think he certainly looks cool, and I’m thinking I might actually get myself a small Chaos Space Marines force soon! (Who am I kidding, small…!)

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Vigilus will burn. #PaintingWarhammer

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Overall, it’s been incredibly exciting so far this New Year Open Day. I’m really excited to see what’s next from Nottingham, anyway!