Friday, December 28, 2012

Review of 2012

Just like everyone else on the blogosphere I'm going to finish the year with a review of my gaming and hobby over the last 12 months. I'll stick up another post at the start of next year with my plans for 2013 and my "hobby resolutions" but for now let's look at what happened in 2012.

According to my dashboard I've posted 106 times in 2012. I suspect that the vast majority of these were about Blog Wars and I apologise to anyone who's sick of hearing about it. I'll try and minimise the amount of posts on the subject.

As you can see I've had a lot more views this year. There was a huge spike in pageviews in a September but that was down to posting pictures of the ForgeWorld Istvaan III display and also a post with leaked pictures of the Chaos codex which I took down once they'd spread into the aether! Hopefully in 2013 I'll get views for my own, legitimate, content!!

I've got big plans for the blog in 2013. The blog needs a bit of refurbishment as soon as possible. I've had this blog in a similar form since it started so it's about time I did something more interesting with it. I'd like to have more hobby content on here too and go back to the blog's roots with more battle reports. Also it's hardly a SW blog anymore so I'll have to address that. More about this in the New Year post.

I started off the year determined to give my Tau a strong showing at a tournament. This also gave me a good reason to get them all painted up. I was pretty pleased with my eventual choice of colour scheme and despite only painting them to table-top standard I think they look great on the board.

The Tau made their first tournament appearance of 2012 at Jolly Toys in February. Thanks largely to me failing miserably in my second game (snatching defeat from the jaws of victory) I came away with four losses and a single win. Still at least I'd achieved what I set out to by winning a game with Tau at a tournament.

My Tau got their second tournament outing at Open War in April. Miraculously I managed to finished 16th (above the middle) and undefeated! There were some great games at Open War where I really pulled back draws from what looked like certain defeats. This was certainly some of the best 40K I played all year.

Dark Eldar
2012 was definitely the year of Dark Eldar for me. I even briefly started a second blog for them which I only recently deleted. I have to say they're still my favourite army to play. I love the fact that they're all or nothing. They can be devastatingly deadly one game and pitifully ineffective in the next. Despite a steep learning curve I managed to steer them to 2nd at Blog Wars 3 in June. This surprised me greatly but frankly was down to my opponents having never played against webway DE before. The pressure of a looming tournament also saw me throwing paint onto a lot of models, not quite as completely as I'd planned but nevermind.

With the advent of 6th edition the webway DE army is dead. Not being able to assault from reserve completely gimps this tactic. I can't decide whether to sell my portals or not but I'll certainly not be able to use them in the current form of the game.

DE for me are one of the most underrated armies in 6th edition 40K. People believe that the changes to FNP etc make them much weaker. In my experience they're just as good as they ever were but tactics have to change like with any army faced with 6th edition.

I ended the year with plans to field DE at Blog Wars 4 but never quite got them painted. This was disappointing but turned out to be a good thing since I didn't actually get to play!

GW Doubles Tournaments
Matt and I took a disgusting list to our first doubles of the year at the end of June. Whilst we threw away a win in the first game we still managed a draw and went onto win the rest. Our final game was the worst game of 40K I've ever played despite winning it! We lost out on 2nd place thanks to the unique way GW score their tournaments. I'm not going to slip back into a rant about it but we've basically accepted that's how it is at GW tournaments so I won't be as bothered again.

For the second of our doubles tournaments we decided to take something a bit more fun and didn't expect to do very well. Unfortunately with our double dreadknight and thunderwolves combo we still managed to end up on table 2 for our last game which gave us out first taste of how strong Daemons were about to become.

We'll be playing in the Battle Brothers (GW's new doubles event) at the end of January so look out for our report from that.

Blog Wars
This year saw the 3rd and 4th outing for the Blog Wars event. What originally started as a blogger-only thing has seen a wider range of people attending. I think I need to make it a bit more obvious that you don't have to have a blog to come along! Anyway, more on that later.

I don't know about the people who attended but I certainly thought both of this year's events went well. I've got plans for BW5 & BW6 that I hope will be well received. Keep your eye on the blog for more details.

6th Edition
This was obviously the big thing for 2012. Frankly my current thoughts on 6th need their own post so that's what I'll do. Suffice to say 6th is the main reason I'm not using my Space Wolves very much at the moment as, although they didn't get hit too hard, I don't find them very exciting in the new ruleset.

Specialist Games (Dreadfleet, Space Hulk, Bloodbowl, Necromunda and Horus)
Matt got a copy of Dreadfleet for Christmas and early on in the year we played through a few games. We all really enjoyed it but never really managed to make it a regular thing. I'd still like to get some more games in but I suspect it won't happen.

Matt's previous present of Space Hulk got a bit of an outing this year as we made good progress through the campaign. Sadly we never got much further with it. I still think it's a fantastic game and I'd hope by this time next year we'll have found time to play through the campaign twice (each getting a turn as the terminators).

Matt and I bought ourselves copies of Bloodbowl and despite some early interest we again crept back to 40K and left our teams gathering dust on the shelf. We're determined to play in our first Bloodbowl tournament in 2013. Between now and then I really need to get my dwarves painted up. I'd love to take part in a regular league but committing to a weekly game is difficult for both of us. The 1st company vets run a perpetual league but I'd never make it to WHW in time for more than one game on a Thursday so it seems a bit pointless. I'd still love to start up a Sheffield league (or join an existing one) and I'm looking into this once I'm back in England (I'm in Ireland with the in-laws for Christmas).

This year saw us complete another couple of Necromunda campaigns with my Cawdor gang finally taking victory. Unfortunately, Matt predictably won the others and with one of our regulars leaving the country we struggled to keep the momentum going for another. I have to say that I've quickly lost interest in Necromunda so you might see the models on eBay at some point. We did toy with the idea of starting to play Malifaux but frankly I'm really not a fan of the models. I may still get a set at some point but there are plenty of thing higher up my list than that.

My copy of Fantasy Flight's Horus Heresy board game didn't get much of an outing this year. I played a few games of it but I'd still like to work through some of the other scenarios as I think it's got an interesting mechanic. I'm also working my way through the Black Library books (I've just finished Mechanicum today) so my interest in HH is high at the moment.

In summary we really haven't played enough of the specialist games this year. With limited amounts of time to play our normal 40K games it's difficult to slot some of the other games into our gaming days. Hopefully that will change in 2013 but I suspect I'll be saying the same sort of thing this time next year.

As I've said, this year saw my Tau finally get a paint scheme. A lot of my DE getting three colours and a few more models for my Space Wolves getting finished. Sadly I still don't have any of these three armies finished! I'm about to start a 4th army too so hopefully 2013 will see me find more time to paint them all up! It'd be great to finish the year with all my armies to table-top standard.

At the end of last year I said I wanted to have at least 2,000pts of each army finished by the end of 2012. I've spectacularly failed in this endeavour but hopefully 2013 will be different!

Thanks to picking up a couple of copies of Dark Vengeance (which is a fantastic kit) and selling the Chaos models I've got a good start to my planned DA army (more on them shortly). This will be my main project for this year and I've got high hopes for the codex.

I had hoped to get a lot of my scenery finished and even hoped to make a brand new board. Sadly, I only managed to get my Aegis Defence Line (handy for 6th edition) and Citadel Woods finished which is a bit of a sorry effort. I'm determined that by the end of next year my board will have completely painted scenery!

Matt, Jamie and I also attended both the Design Studio Open Day (I just had to post Matt's disgusted look at Matt Ward again!) and Games Day UK this year and I'd love to go to the events again this year. Both really inspired me to improve my painting and put some work into my collection on miniatures. Hopefully I might actually put that into practice in 2013.

This turned into a bit of an epic post in the end but it's been a pretty busy year. I hope 2013 will be the same. As I mentioned above I'll throw up a New Year's resolution post in early Jan.

For now, thanks to all my opponents in this year's tournaments, everyone who for some reason continues to read my ramblings and finally, for everyone who's helping Blog Wars carry on into it's third year in 2013.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Blog Wars 4 Painting Competition (pic heavy)

Sorry for the delay in getting these up but I've finally managed to get the internet installed in my new house so I should be back to regular posting. There's already a lot of things I need to post about that I haven't been able to but I thought I'd finish off the Blog Wars 4 stuff first.

Let's with a look at some of the entries from the competition. First off here's the tournament winner, Andy Humphris' (Sons of Sanguinius), Necrons. I have to say I'm a fan of the fading purple look and this army makes me determined to try airbrushing at some point. If for no other reason than how quick it seems to be!!

Here's Nathaniel Gibbs' Grey Knights. There are some excellent conversions in here and in particular the dreadnoughts with wrist-mounted autocannons. Nathaniel was a close runner up in both the Best Painted Army and Best Painted Special Character votes.

Andy Gosling (Iron Legion) has been working on his "one force" marines. The idea being that his models can be used to represent an army from several different space marine codexes. It's an intriguing prospect as it helps keep both costs and painting time down. Think of it as insurance against your codex becoming useless in comparison to that new one that just came out! Here they're used to represent Blood Angels in his "Team Fist Bump" which sees them in an interesting combination with Necrons!

Here's Andy Lane's (Claws & Fists) Tyranids. He's been working on the army for a little while and its always interesting to read how someone develops their list over time.

So let's move onto the winners. Firstly the Best Painted Special Character award went to Dimitris Kiourtsoglou (hopefully spelt that right!) who was a well deserved winner with his Epidemius conversion:

Dimitris' army also featured some nurgle jetbikes which at first glance you might think were converted from the new Horus Heresy ForgeWorld models. However, as Dimitris demonstrated they were actually scratchbuilds, impressive stuff! You can read more about this army on Dimitris' blog.

Last but not least, the winner of the Best Painted Army award was Graham Sanders. You could tell from the look on his face when I announced it that he wasn't expecting it. However, I was thrilled to see he'd won when I totted up the votes. Had I been judging the competition I'd have certainly picked out his Squats for the prize. Graham has been working on that army for as long as I've known him (if not longer) and it was great to see them finally making it onto the table top. Some people (not me, honest) would call his Squats the "Blue Peter" army since he's made use of various household objects to make them. Anyway, I'll leave you with the pictures but you should read more about the army on Graham's blog.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Blog Wars 4 - Results & Tournament Report

The fourth Blog Wars tournament took place this weekend at Maunsfeld Gaming (Maelstrom's old "Eye of the Storm" venue). Normally my coverage of the event would begin with the results, cover the painting competition entries and then move on to battle reports from my games at the event. There's one slight problem with the battle report part.... I didn't end up playing! With one participant unable to make it through sickness and my back-up not able to take part I was merely a spectator this time around. However, all was not lost because this meant that I was able to appreciate the event as a whole which will hopefully make future events better. More on that later but for now here's a rundown of what went off this time around. Incidently there will be a post about the painting competition still.

Like a Monkey with a Miniature Cymbal
First things first, as you may have read over on the Sons blog, Andy Humphris managed to take victory for the fourth time out of four! This prompted many a discussion about what we can do to stop it happening again. Let me say before I go on that I don't for a second think that Andy didn't deserve victory all 4 times. My first though was that perhaps we need some sort of handicap for him (no I don't mean breaking his thumbs). The problem with that is if someone else wins it will seem like a hollow victory. This applies for any of the other plans that result in Andy in some way being limited. What we need is for someone else to take the trophy from him fair and square. Not saying he wouldn't deserve to win it again but frankly I'm tired of giving him your money!

I think the problem is perhaps in no small part down to the pairing system. Now Swiss pairs isn't something unique to Blog Wars, it's pretty standard at most 40K tournaments. I could write a whole post entirely about the need for a better system and if I ever get the bleeding internet installed in my house then I'm sure I will. Anyway, the thought crossed mind that we should seed Blog Wars. Now, since everyone doesn't come every time we couldn't do it on past form and not everyone has been to a ranked tournament before so we can't use RankingsHQ. However, Andy himself suggested we do something similar to what I think Brighton Warlords (?) do in that they look at the army lists and divide them into tiers. Whilst I know most of the guys that come to Blog Wars, there'd still be some who might have an excellent list but not know how to use it or vice versa. Anyway, this can be saved for a future post. The point is I throw it open to anyone reading this. Everyone loves an underdog so if you reckon you can topple Mr. Humphris from the top of the Blog Wars pile then I invite you to come along to Blog Wars 5!

There were certainly some contenders this time in the form of Frank Marsh, Graham White, Franco Marrufo and Gary "The Voice" Percival who took second. Let's hope next time they can step up their game and stop him.

Clash of the errrr..... what's the opposite of titans?
For me the highlight of the day was the hotly contested battle for the wooden spoon. At the start of game 3 Graham Sanders and newcomer Andy Cox were on the bottom table. Graham's Squat guard against Andy's Necrons. History would teach us that bottom table in the final round is Graham's heartland but the new pretender to the crown (or whatever the opposite is) might offer a strong challenge (or weak whichever is better at this sort of thing).

To cut a long story short the game was close throughout. Andy was sending plenty of Necrons forward towards Graham's Aegis line (that his squats couldn't technically see over!). Volleys of fire from the tiny gunmen cut them down but they couldn't hold out forever. The Tyranids in the previous round had managed to eventually triumph and given enough time it looked like it would be the same with the Necrons. It wasn't looking good when wraiths managed to make it over the barricades and begin their assault. Sadly time's incessant progression would prevent the world from finding out how many squats it takes to kill a wraith. When the clock ticked down it turned out the result was a draw. We'd need to know the victory points (4th/5th edition style) to find out who the biggest loser was. Everything looked good for Graham to secure victory (but lose out on the title) leaving Andy to claim the spoon.......

I entered the results into the spreadsheet, hit sort, scratched my head, called over someone to check results and then realised that a certain Andy Lane had managed to come out of nowhere and steal the prize! The good news is that Graham took best army (more on that later) and Andy Cox managed to take a raffle prize.

The Results
Here's a full rundown of the results:

All that remains of this report is to say a massive thanks to everyone who continues to support this event. There are a handful of people who have been to every single one (or nearly) and that sort of dedication makes it worth the hassle of organising it.

PS. I'll add some more pictures to this post just as soon as I can sort my google storage problems out!


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