Friday, January 28, 2011

My Predictions for the Future

The last few weeks have seen some interesting new stuff from GW. They released a long-overdue FAQ for the older Marine books and announced that the Grey Knights will indeed be the next Codex to come out, on the way for an April release. Between this, a few rumors and what's been going on at GW for the last year, I have an interesting picture of 2011/2012.

Let's start with the FAQ's. I think it's great that these armies finally get the new wargear rules and with them a shot at being competative again. This is good. Yes, this should have happened 2 years ago, but better late then never, so I won't complain about that. When I saw this, I did read something else into it though and that is don't expect a DA or BT codex anytime soon.

Next we have the Grey Marines book, following the Power armor/non-power armor pattern again. This I have mixed feelings about for the sole reason that I liked running a squad with my Ultramarines and I won't be able to anymore. Of course I may end up with a GK army some day so I can field my models but that's way down the road.

The other thing I've considered is last years lack of Fantasy releases. They did one army book and the 8th ed rulebook. Now when 40k got its 5th ed book in 2008, GW supported that with 3 Codex releases that year. I can't help but think Fantasy got the shaft, and I hope to see them make it up this year.

So having said all that, here's my predictions....April 2011 will be Grey Knights...yeah we know that. Rumors say this will be followed by Orcs & Goblins. I think we'll see Necrons in the fall...probably around October and likely have another fantasy book (hopefully Tomb Kings, Bretoninas or Ogres) around the same time. There's rumors of some flyer expansion and I don't know if this will be the epuc fail Planetstrike was or the moderate fail Spearhead was but we'll see. I think that's all we see this year. This will be a bit slower release year for financial reasons as we've all seen GW numbers falling and they'll probably pull back production to compensate but also to gear up for 2010 and...

Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition! Yes, I'm calling it now that we will see a new rulebook in 2012. I will also say that I am 100% against it. I think 5th has lots of life left and could easily go another 4-5 years but the evidence is piling. Yes, we were told a while back that there were plans to update every codex before 6th, but that was Alessio Cavatore's plan and he's long gone. Rumor also had it Jervis was against this plan and with Alessio out of GW, Jervis will likely get his way. The semi-update FAQ's support this theory...why give them this equipment so far after the Space Marine codex unless you aren't giving them a book for a while? This is espically true if until more recently you were functioning under the idea that their book is 18 months off or so. Also a 2012 release gives 5th ed a 4 year lifespan. 4th edition had a 4 year lifespan so that's consistant. I see another 40K release next winter followed by another fantasy army in the spring and 6th edition next summer, then of course Codex Space Marines in fall 2012 and GW will coast through to the end of the world.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

2010 has Rhino Tracks on it...*

Well here we are. It's 2011 and a new year of gaming and hobby goodness. But how can we know where we're going if we don't look at where we've been. 2010 was a good one hobby-wise...well mostly. Sure, I'm a little late in the "year in review" department, but with it. So here we go...2010. Which started with...

January: This was a big one. Tyranid players have been eager for a new book ever since 5th came out and this one was nice. Sure it wasn't the powerhouse that Wolves and IG were but it's a potent book with lots of great new stuff, some redesigned old stuff and the obligitory useless unit (pyrovores I'd say. Here's something that has to get very close to be effective, but it sucks in CC so if you don't kill what you flamed you're boned) It was balanced and it came with some gorgeous new models. The Trygon is an epic plastic beastie, Gargoyles are finally priced so that players without a healthy trust fund can field them. Sure GW continued their new tradition of leaving gaping holes in their new lines with no models or pictures of several popular new units, but overall it was a good month. We also saw the release of the Legion of the Damned models...great figures from a unit that no one uses.

February: We saw what was to be the only Army Book released in 2010 with the Beastmen. More great model kits came with this one bit somehow the rules were a bit lacking. It's not that it's a bad army, it's just a bit bland and not very Beastman-ly. They were an army that didn't see much use in my neck of the woods and it looks like they'll remain that way.

March: March started off with an expansion to 40k with the Battle Missions book...and to it I say meh. Sure it has some fun stuff to play around with, but it was not worth the price tag and anyone with access to Google can find fan-made scenarios similar to those for free. What was nice was the accompanying models. We got a more user-friendly Chimer chassis which also found its way into the Basilisk box, and some plastic walkers. The Ven dread has lots of bits for customization and was a vast improvement over the metal one. The Kans and Deff Dread models are just fantastic in plastic and honestly the only critique I have is the typical GW policy of shorting on weapons for people like me that want 3 Kans with the same weapon but still it was another good job by the GW sculptors.

April: Finally the Blood Angels got their own book...and not a PDF but a real book with pages and paper and everything. The army plays well compared to the fluff and has some character. And the models...just some amazing additions to the line-up. The unfortunate thing is that the Death Company is gorgeous, but the rules that accompany them are somewhat less desirable. Once again, there are missing models with no pictures, but if the flying fry basket is an indicator, they may not have much longer to wait.

May: May was a big LOTR no one cared. When will the contract expire so GW can focus on their real games? We did see some Orc and Goblin models that were good. The Boar Boys had a very dynamic pose and the vomiting River Troll is just perfect.

June: June saw Spearhead...meh again, but at least it was free. It's kind of Apocalypse light, but if I'm running that much armor, why not play Apoc anyway? At the very least it was an excuse to put out a bunch of tank models. IG players got a bunch of new toys and Eldar even got in on the new goodness with an all-plastic Fire Prism (because metal-plastic hybrid models blow) that doubles as their all-new and aparently codex-legal Night Spinner. Not the best unit, since I think Eldar have better uses for their Heavy slots, but still it's nice to see GW remembers back when White dwarf was more then a catalog and Chapter Approved meant something.

July: Here it is...the long-awaited 8th Edition Fantasy ruleset. It's a polarizing book, with quite a few people critizing it. I think it's pretty good myself and honestly I'm more interested in playing 8th then 7th. My Vampires got a huge kick in the crotch, but honestly they needed it. I think maybe they were taken down a bit too far since an army canm't rely on Magic anymore but still I like what's come from 8th. The release was accompanied by...well nothing really. There was a new template set that was meh and a few other play-aid bits and pieces but overall, nothing special came from the book except the massive price tag. This book is my answer to critics saying GW should make full color codexes..."Yeah if you want a $60 codex". They did come out with the magic cards which are pretty handy.

August: Finally Demons get some new models. The Bloodcrushers are great and the Demon Prince is epic...though I can't see how to make it Nurgle-y and besides I like my metal one. Demons now only have one troop left that's metal only. GW's plastic keeps getting better and these kits are great. If I have one complaint it's that I'm not fond of the current Demonettes and the Seekers are just those on lizard-things.

September: Another light month, but we have Island of Blood, the 8th ed starter kit. Like Black Reach before it, we're given 2 decent-sized forces with quality models for the simplified construction they use. Sure, the High Elf army as given isn't legal since you can't fit a Griffin-mounted prince in the points provided, but it's still nice.

October: We had a few more fantasy releases with High Elves getting plastic Special kits. again some nice sculpts, but it looks like GW is going for a new $40+ price point for a mere 10 plastic Special models. The Greatswords started it and the White Lions and Phoenix Guard continued it.

November: Hell froze over. After 12 years the Dark Eldar return. Seems like it was worth the wait as they got some cool new toys. Again it's a mostly balanced book. There are some over-the-top goodies but largely it fits the fluff. DE are fast and hit like a freight train, but their armor is all but non-exsistant and their vehicles have as much armor as your average snowblower. The "glass cannon" is very DE so I was glad to see it come back.

December: GW typically doesn't do much in December and again they've kept to this. The Empire got an upgrade kit and there was some new terrain, but otherwise they ended the year with nothing.

All in all it was a busy year. Fantasy players should feel shafted by only getting one army book and GW can't use the edition as an excuse because 2008 saw 3 codex's and 40k 5th edition. We also have a few dex's this year that showed that GW does indeed remember how to write a book that's balanced. Guess the Wolves and IG will be sitting pretty up there for a while longer. Not to say that Angels and DE aren't up there, but those two are still jacked-up. 2011 is already starting with some new Skaven and the announcement of the Grey Knights. I have a few predictions...

I think we'll see GW all but neglected Fantasy last year aside from the new rulebook and I think they'll make up for it this year. I think we'll have 3 Army Books this year, but only 2 codex's. We know Grey Knights are coming and rumors suggest they will be followed by Orcs & Goblins. I think we'll see another fantasy release in fall and a Codex close to it. Possibly a Tomb Kings and Necron release in September/October and a third army book (Ogres? Bretonians?) late in November or possibly very early in 2012. We ahve still heard of some flyer-based 40K expansion in the summer. Only time will tell, but the next 12 months could be interesting.

*Get's behind us...hence the tracks....Well fine, you come up with something better then "2010 year in review" or some such crap.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My take on the Fry Basket

In the beginning there was a Blood Angel Codex...a real one with pages and a binding and everything...and it was good (for BA players anyway). But as has been the norm for GW recently there were units with no model, no description and no pictures. Ask Tyranid players how that works...that's almost every new unit in their book. It's a modellers dream and nightmare at once. They can do what they want, but have no big is too big? How small is too small? what happens to my scratch-build if GW makes an official model? These were big issues for people who wanted to field this big guy, but GW had a plan...a new model was in the making and a few months this picture was leaked. Yes, the Stormraven was apparently this monstrosity. The Flying Fry Basket in all its glory. I've had time to look at it and consider it and I still am amazed by it. Looks like they got a Thunderhawk and its sister Valkyrie hammered. They had a wild night and nature took its unholy course. Then the Valkyrie drank a lot during the pregnancy and the resultant inbred retarded mutant offspring that this union produced was called "Stormraven".

Then a few weeks ago this second pic surfaced. It looks marginally better and may even be worth the likely $60 price tag. There have been comments that they improved it...that GW made a model look better and even that they listened to the comments after the leaked picture hit, but lets be honest here, huh? This is THE SAME MODEL! Yes it looks better at this angle but it's also missing a few parts. The B-24-esque ball-turret doesn't have the guns or clear parts..the cockpit isn't there and the front weapons haven't been mounted, but it's still the flying fry basket and it's probably coming with the newly announced Grey Knights in April.
Oh yeah, GW announced the Grey Knights are coming in April. Pretty cool that I can cover months-old news and finish with yesterday's announcement, huh?