July- The first month without an army release. Instead we got the long awaited Apocalypse update for 6th edition, and with it some very expensive and polarizing new models. Of course the book alone cost $100, then you need new templates that aren't cheap and are a bit tough to deal with. We did struggle with the new massive blast marker coming apart. As for models, sadly we didn't see the long wish-listed plastic Thunderhawk. Instead we got this really cool mega Monolith thing for the Necrons and...um... something that looks like the unholy offspring of a bloodthirster, warhound titan and baneblade threesome. Some people liked it...some hated it. Me, I still want to know why Khorne the lord of punch your skull out of your ass suddenly has this obsession with killing from a distance. All I know is my local game store stocked one at launch...and it still looks great on the shelf.
August- We're back in Fantasy world with Lizardmen and I think this launch can be summed up best in one word...meh. Is it a good book? Yeah I suppose. Are the new models good? Mostly, yeah. Honestly though, not much really changed. They still have limited Core, their good choices are still good and their bad choices are still bad. The Slan got tweaked/nerfed but is still a very useful option and their magic was adjusted in interesting ways. Personally I didn't like that they got the High Elf lore instead of one of their own which would make sense since they basically invented spellcasting as every species now knows it. Still, they were a decent army before and they stayed a decent army so it could have been worse, but I also think it could have been better.
September- Here was the big one...the army that's needed an update ever since their superior cousins came out...the Space Marines. They did lose most of their "you do everything we do but cheaper and better" issues, passing that baton back to the Dark Angels. I liked that the chapters in the book were given more individuality with the new Chapter Tactics. Each one has its own interesting tricks and lends itself to a characterful and useful build (except Raven Guard. You guys are big on jump troops but your tactic doesn't work on those so...sorry) I've said many times that the defining characteristic of a great book is the ability to have multiple builds that are very different and also viable and competitive and that's exactly what we have here. Let's enjoy it while we can because Blood Angels and Space Wolves are right on the horizon to make us feel like second class Astartes soon enough.
October and November- This was a 2 part release so I'll put it together here. This month saw the release of the Dark Elves and basically replaced their entire line. Sadly, not much was done to nerf my hated hydra as they're still stupid awesome and got cheaper. Otherwise they have some interesting tricks here. It's a decent army and they're still near the top of the heap. They also saw basically every model re-done which was why they were a 2 month release. This was also the single biggest price-gouge we've seen from GW and that's saying quite a lot. The witch elves are now
December- December usually is a slow month, only seeing some garbage for lord of the rings or the hobbit or whatever they're calling that game that no one buys and we're all waiting for them to stop renewing the license and focus on the real games. This year they released 2 controversial expansions for 40k, and please note that these are SUPPLEMENTS in teh same way that cities of battle or Planetstrike. I don't care what some misguided tournaments may say, this stuff does not belong in core 40k. What am I talking about? Well if this is the first time you've looked at the internet in about a month, Escalation allows super-heavies which confused me because we already got that and it's called Apocalypse. Then there's Stronghold, which added new fortifications. So what's the problem? These things come with D weapons, which basically erase things off the board. in Apoc, that's fine because that's what's supposed to happen, but in standard 40k, that just doesn't fly. There are those that say this was their answer to their previous screw-up in the Screamer star, but we used to have fixes for those called errata, but no, instead lets break everyone. Now there's been a very mis-guided debate that these are ruleds for use in standard 40k, and that's just not the case. Standard 40k is standard 40k and these are optional rules for different ways to play, which as I said one was unnecessary as we have apocalypse for it. I could go on, but this is a year in review, not a rant on the latest stupidity.
December also brought us dataslates and battlescrolls. Yeah, I have issues with these, too. First, a few of them were a bit imbalanced, but it's just more evidence that GW either does no playtesting at all, does it, then ignores it completely and does whatever they want anyway or their playtesters are awful at it. They are a model company so these scenarios don't seem all that unlikely. That's not my problem with them. My problem is why are they charging for these? Their better competitors...the ones that actually will have an open dialogue with their fanbase, would give these as free downloads because, hey, that drives model sales too. No, the big thing is they have a now $11 monthly catalog that hasn't had any substance in it for years now. That would have been a great place to put these things. Give us a reason to read White Dwarf again. I could go on, but two mini-rants in one article is enough, isn't it?
Finally, December brought Firestorm Armada 2.0 from Spartan Games. The more I see of this game, the more I like and the more I want to play it. Sadly, I live in a part of the world where the gaming community is extremely small and while I do have a few people who like me are interested in playing it, the stars have yet to align so I can make this happen.
So there it is, 2013 in a very large nutshell. Personally I had a good year and as far as my gaming life, I finally went to a Grand Tournament, I managed to post here about once a month which is good and while I didn't get my pipe-dream goal of being a guest on a podcast, I got the Christmas carol I wrote sung on Garagehammer so maybe next year, I'll have a show interested in tapping into my insanity and giving a voice to the forgotten gamers of New Jersey. Until then, I still have this as my little asylum for plastic armies and soon, fleets too.