Well, 012.M3 is in the books, and the world didn’t end or nothin. According to a local newspaper in the town where I spent New Years, 14% of the population is disappointed with that. Me, I’m just glad the world didn’t end before I got to play a game with the Horus Heresy Legions army list.
In the true spirit of lazy (and belated) holiday blog writing, it’s time for a look back at the year that was. My personal top 5 stories for gaming:
5. Kickstart my Hobby Heart
Everybody and their chaos hound has been getting into Kickstarter, or so it would seem. Some of the bigger names like Reaper have done it, as have many smaller start-ups.
I’m really not sure how I feel about this trend, I mean having the little guys use the site is one thing, but it irks me a bit when established companies act like they need a handout. If the product is good enough, and properly promoted, gamers will buy it. There’s plenty of small-time companies growing on their own.
On the other hand, there is some legitimately cool looking stuff on Kickstarter, and Rick Priestley’s Beyond the Gates of Antares seems to be the next big project everyone’s talking about. You’ve probably read about it on BoLS (part 1 and part 2) or elsewhere, but I happened to skim this article here, on a blog that looked eerily familiar, so I decided to throw them a link as well 🙂
This game, despite the dodgy name, looks interesting and Mr. Priestley has a strong resume. This one could be worth watching, and since it’s actually a startup and not just a money-grab from people who just want to minimize risk before taking a finished product to the manufacturing stage, I feel a little better about the whole thing. Godspeed, Rick.
4. Back on the Competitive 40k Horse
This is definitely a bit more personal than some of the other items on my list, but I got back into somewhat serious tournament gaming somewhat this past year, after having spent more time running events recently.
I brought my Raven Guard (using the BA codex for shits and giggles) to Ward’s Onslaught tournament in October, and much to my surprise, I did pretty well. Pretty well, as in Best Overall, with 3W-0L-1D and the backing of some top of the heap soft scores. Who saw that coming?
Granted, luck may have had something to do with the result. I played with a tougher list than usual (complete with Corbulo clone), and for the most part my tactics fit the Raven Guard motto of “Attack, withdraw, attack again!” but for the first time in a long while my dice didn’t take a steaming dump on my chest for any extended period of time. Forgive that mental image, but sometimes that’s just how it feels.
Anyway, I did have my plasma cannon trooper blow himself up on turn 1 two games in a row (despite FNP and everything), but more often than not the results were solid. As TJ will attest, the dice were downright amazing at times. In one game vs. Grey Knights, my Divination Libby with Terminator armor and stormshield soaked numerous multi-meltas, psycannons, approximately 8 perils of the warp wounds (mostly due to Mindstrikes but I think he actually rolled a snake-eyes as well, passing them all due to FNP) and also killed a full health GK Librarian in a challenge. Through all that, he lost just one wound. Precognition is awesome enough on a character with 2+/3++ for defense, but when you literally can’t fail a FNP roll when using a BA list in a Kill Points type mission, it’s hard to lose.
3. Rumor Mill Shenanigans
There has been some serious backlash against many of the top rumor mongers this year. There has been and always will be a lot of chatter surrounding the hobby, but the ever-increasing security of information by GW has made things difficult for anyone to know what’s out beyond the next month or two. Consider the Dark Angels codex, which obviously could have been the first book out after 6th. It was supposed to be the first book, then it was going to be released at the same time as Chaos Space Marines, then it was going to be out in November, and in the end it will hit the streets January 12.
Even looking at White Dwarf, which has been leaked early numerous times lately, there’s little or no specifics about rules or stats to be found in the articles showing off new figures.
Many of the rumors that get posted are so vague as to be completely useless, and others are accompanied by as much text devoted to disclaimers of liability as actual content. We all understand that rumors can’t ever be taken as gospel, but there is good reason to suspect that some folks are just posting for notoriety, and not because they know anything useful from a credible source.
One of the possible causes of this rumor mill chaos: A certain thread on Dakka was brought to the attention of many, a thread that tracked and posted statistics for the predictions of every major rumor contributor. Not everybody was happy to know that people are keeping such a close eye on them. Whether it’s concerns about outing a source, loss of credibility when certain predictions don’t come true, or simply a case of being uncomfortable with that level of scrutiny, who knows? Either way, some folks are less willing to post rumors now, and in the absence of good information, bad information will prevail.
Hopefully rumors in 2013 will be more than “Army X will receive 4 new plastic sets including a flyer, some new units and some updated old models. It’ll be out by Q4, unless it doesn’t come out by then.” That doesn’t do anybody much good at all.
2. Horus Heresy Betrayal
It’s here! And never has my level of excitement been so negatively correlated with my bank account balance.
I don’t want to say too much here on this subject, because I can go on for days and I probably will anyway in the near future. But damn. Forgeworld really hit this one out of the park. The rulebook is gorgeous, and filled with an insane number of units. The basic legion list has something like 38 unit entries, not including the 8 types of Centurion (Chaplain, Librarian, Moritat, Vigilator, etc.). And then you get the legion-specific stuff and Allies. Oh and Primarchs. Can’t forget the Primarchs.
And that’s just the Crusade era list! There will be more as the series unfolds, and as they have taken a page from the Black Library, it seems like there will be many, many books coming out with more goodies.
1. 40k Ascendant
Overall, I think the #1 story in wargaming this year has without a doubt been 6th edition 40k. This is a real game-changer, as we have already seen. Allies and Fortifications have forever changed how we will be looking at Codices, and IMHO the good outweighs the bad here. Let’s face it, 5th edition was fairly one-dimensional and something needed to shake things up.
Yes, Allies and Forgeworld being legitimized for regular gaming will open up some loopholes. There will be shenanigans, such as the rules debate over Fortune applying to Dark Eldar characters joined to Craftworld Eldar units. Nobody wants to deal with a re-rollable 2++ save, but there’s probably bigger issues in the game than that. Flyers being more prevalent than anti-air units, for starters. Flyers that you can’t afford to ignore, like the Heldrake, will change the meta more than an army of flying croissants. There isn’t much point building an army to fight that, but even one Heldrake can be a nasty mother in 6th, as the game had been tilting towards footslogging armies of massed 3+ troops — perfect targets for the Baleflamer.
Thank God for Forgeworld, which grants aircraft to armies with older books and some options for shooting them down. The coordination between GW and Forgeworld on the release of Imperial Armour Aeronautica just as 6th edition 40k launched was brilliant. Vehicles, which were the core of FW sales since the beginning of time, had a major rules update and some of the most hyped up vehicles (Flyers!) were the first to get proper 6th edition rules.
6th edition isn’t perfect but it really did reinvigorate a lot of the 40k community, which was growing increasingly frustrated with 5th.
I only wish 8th edition Fantasy had the same effect, instead it has seemingly lost a lot of steam as the months went on. I can’t really think of many Fantasy highlights at all from 2012, let alone ones for the top 5. And for a long time I had considered Fantasy the better game (and 40k the better fluff universe)… Maybe that’s another thing we can look for in 2013, something to shake up Fantasy a bit. A new Errata/FAQ that makes flanking, skirmishers and fast cavalry more useful would be a good start…