Posts Tagged Spartan Games
So, the big buzz amongst my fellow Warmongers on Twitter today revolves around the latest GW news. First off, there are the leaked images of the forthcoming Space Marine, Ork and Necron aircraft for Warhammer 40,000. Most of the talk is about who does and does not like the new Storm Talon gunship for the Space Marines. I personally think it has some strengths, in this is clearly inspired more by helicopter gunships rather than fixed wing aircraft the way the Storm Raven is and it does look interestingly futuristic. That said, the weapons do look cumbersome and over sized and like they were bolted on as an after thought. I will wait until I can see a better image than a scan of a magazine page before I make final judgement.
The bigger news – in the eyes of many – is the news that price rises are imminent from GW. Details are sketchy at the moment, though some rumours suggest that some kits (like the aforementioned Storm Raven) could go up by as much as 25% – though the average price rise should be much less than that.
I’m not going to launch into a rant about Games Workshop and their pricing policy, for what would be the point? I know I’m not qualified to provide any kind of worthwhile analysis of the financial implications and I have no desire to throw my lot in with whiners and haters and the sort of people who seem to think it’s unreasonable for a business to act as such. But this still unwelcome news.
As mentioned in a relatively recent blog post, I have been becoming more well disposed to Games Workshop in recent months, after having been turned off them by last year’s price rises. I had started to paint up by Brazen Angels Space Marines again, and I even succumbed to temptation and splashed out on some of Forge World’s excellent MK IV Marines to use as a unit of Sternguard Veterans. I was even thinking of starting an additional army, to compliment my Brazen Angels, but that plan might now need a rethink.
This is a hard hobby sometimes, it requires us to balance our hobby against all our other commitments, work family and all our other interests, just to get our toys built and painted and read our rules, let alone to play any games. Paying over the odds is another thing to make the hobby just that bit more difficult.
My fellow Twitter Warmonger @TheBlueHeretic (aka Ryan) expressed it thusly:
I’m thinking this is the year GW prices itself out of my reach. Not Doom & Gloom, or rage quitting, just realization I’m not made of money. A price increase, plus a new edition of 40k (new rules, new models needed to counter new tactics), means unhappy wallet. Not going to decide on it right now, but it is a distinct possibility. Then again, its not like I play much anyways.
I had been drifting back to 40k. I had been won around by so many excellent Black Library books and some cool new model releases. I was even thinking of painting up another Space Marine army using some of the cool new Forgeworld Marines and Terminators and the new Storm Talon gunship. But Ryan’s words crystallized in my head all the reasons why this is not a good idea.
A new edition of 40k is imminent, it will probably be presented in a sumptuous rulebook that will have to be paid for in diamonds and platinum. Every player will then have to go through the traditional period of optimization when they have to tweak their army to gel with the new rules – maybe retiring some models in favour of other unit choices, maybe bringing a little-used troop type out of the depths of the cupboard. Then will come the march of the new codices, new troop types, new models, more changes. It’s a lot of work and potentially a lot of money.
And the thing is, I just don’t think it’s worth it.
Games Workshop are very good at making you want their stuff. Their models are arguably the best in the industry and their background is one of the most compelling – that’s how they were tempting me back. Spartan’s models are fantastic, but there’s something just a bit more visceral about toy soldiers compared to model ships. But the models cost, and so do the books, and more than any company, a GW army is never finished and as time goes on there will always be new models to be sandwiched in and rules changes that mean you have to recompose or enlarge your army. There’s little question that GW are aiming to have gamers playing ever larger battles so they can fit in the growing number of cool super-monsters, mega-tanks, aircraft and other super units. I have never felt the same pressure to buy toys for the other games I collect for that I have for GW games.
So, yeah, I think I’m done. And if this cause me any anguish it’s because GW will always be what got me into this hobby and will always be one of my favourite fictional universes and dabbling with their games if like a familiar comfy coat, or a security blanket to ward of the frighten unknowns of the gaming world. Plus, as the market leader they do dominate the gaming scene and Firestorm Armada and Dystopian Wars will have to pick up a bit if I want to get a game in the local clubs. Part of me wants to finish painting up the 2000 points of Brazen Angels I still have cluttering up the study, though that might be a futile endeavour. That said, painting is fun in itself and I like painting Marines. Otherwise, I will start getting my Firestorm Armada and Dystopian Wars stuff sorted. I have two fleet for each and only a fraction of them is painted.
Maybe, in the future, something will come along to scratch my 28/30mm itch – maybe Privateer Press will finally release their long promised sci-fi game. Maybe my fellow Warmongers will convince me of the virtues of Warmahordes yet. Or maybe I will turn to the ways of the 10mm game and give Dropzone Commander a try (though I’m buying an Odin Attack craft just to paint whatever happens).
Spartan Games have released an exciting new preview of the upcoming Oroshan releases for Firestorm Armada:
The Oroshan seem to be unique (so far) in that they are not allied with either the Alliance of Kurak or the Zenian League and are eqaully dangerous and hostile to all the other factions in Firestorm Armada.
Of the three designs previewed so far, my favourite is the Defiler class cruiser. I’m less keen on the battleship, probably because it looks rather liek the Cardasian ships from Star Trek. The frigates look interesting, but I’m not entirely sure which end is the front yet.
Still, on top of the new RSN, Aquan and Dindrenzi stuff previewed the other day, it looks like Firestorm players have plenty to look forward to. It’s always nice to see Firestorm getting some shiny new stuff, especially stuff that opens up the game world like this.
Caito recently posted an interesting article over on the Shell Case:
Apart from demonstrating the urgent need for an intervention to stop Caito collecting yet another Space Marine army, this article makes some good points.
There isn’t much point holding a grudge against Games Workshop. It won’t make anyone feel any better and it prevents you appreciating those things that they do well. Resenting price increases won’t magically undo them and I have no desire to throw my lot in with the sort of people who seem to resent the idea that a business should seek to make a profit, or the people who are convinced that all Games Workshop employees are secretly trying to sabotage destroy the company from within.
Like Caito I have been tempted to do another 40k army. Imperial Guard in my case, though the new Necron stuff is also very shiny. Thus far I’ve resisted because I have had ships to buy for Firestorm Armada and Dystopian Wars and I know that I only have so much cash to splash. I’ve now decided to hold a moratorium on buying new toys until I can reduce my backlog of unpainted models so there will be no new armies any time soon. But I do still have my Brazen Angel Space Marines to finish, and I would actually quite like to play at least a few games with them.
Of course by the time the army is painted. 6th edition may have come out and I will have to do a lot of thinking about whether to upgrade my rule book. It will probably depend on my financial situation at the time and wow likely I am to be able to get a game. Certainly, the idea of laying out what will probably be a not-inconsiderable sum for another back-breaking tome of rules and fluff does not thrill me. Perhaps it would be wiser to wait for the starter set and get the mini-book and sell on any unwanted minis. I’ve not paid much attention to the rumours about sixth edition as I have enough stress in my life without exposing my self to that level of internet fan-rage.
Of course. I am now quite happily invested with my toys from Spartan, but I’ve not found much else that grabbed me the way 40k did. Warmachine came closest but I just don’t like the models enough and there’s no faction that makes me want to buy and play them as much as some of the 40k, FA and DW ones did. Dust Tactics briefly held my interest but I’m not sure that’s for me either. I will keep an eye out for news of Level 7 from Privateer Press though asi t could be good.
It was not simply the prices that frustrated me about GW, but I felt that I wasn’t getting value of a kind that I wanted. Objectively, the £50 hardback rulebooks with their sumptuous colour illustrations and exhaustive background sections might broadly be worth the cost, but I do wonder if they are fit for purpose as a wargaming rule book that you have to cart around with you. Similarly, I sometimes feel like a lot the price of a new plastic box set is going on kibble rather than important components. Games Workshop have always tried to push the envelope in terms of the quality of their products but I do feel a lot of the time that they are pushing it far beyond what a lot of gamers actually require. Or to put it another way, just because modern sculpting technology allows you to produce a model that looks like a John Blanche sketch in 3D doesn’t mean you should (I’m looking at you Vampire Coven Throne).
So, while my hard line rejection has softened to a more open minded ‘never say never’ point of view for the time being I’ll stick with what I’ve got, but once I’ve caught up with my painting, if I feel that I have enough spaceships and steampunk warships I might feel tempted to venture back to the grim darkness of the far future. Perhaps with the Imperial Guard, or perhaps by then there will be shiny new Tau or Eldar Codexes to dazzle me with their Xenos hyper-technology. Alternatively, perhaps some other game will be unveiled that will make we want to buy a million shiny things from elsewhere.
But we shall see.
Spartan Games have posted a veritable slew of rule updates for Dystopian Wars on their website. These include updated MARs, revised rules for tiny flyers and other updates that players will be keen to get their hands on. Check out the new rules here: Master Rulebook Updates
We can only speculate whether a similar update for Firestorm Armada will be forthcoming.
Important Dystopian Wars related updates from Spartan Games:
Check out the latest information published on the Spartan Games website, giving new information for Britannia, Prussia or Blazing Sun players.
I’m not really interested in Uncharted Seas. While I appreciate the quality of the models (in particular the Sky Pirate battleship), it’s just doesn’t grab be the way Dystopian Wars and Firestorm Armada do.
But I thought that the Guardian-class Floating Citadel for the Iron Dwarf faction deserved a special mention. It is a truly impressive model and says everything there is to say about the inventiveness and imagination that Spartan bring to bear on their games. Bringing new and interesting ideas to what could be quite restricted settings.
I can imagine that many Iron Dwarf players will make this model the centrepiece of their gaming table.
Two more Mobile Airbases for Dystopian have been previewed by the insane geniuses at Spartan Games.
At first glance this Prussian model seems like a ridiculous, gimmicky design. But it actually grew on me very quickly. The model has the right sense of solidity to make the quirky crosswise stacked flight decks look plausible. The overall effect is of a very purposeful unit and I like that it is clearly very well tied in with the solid, utilitarian look of the other Prussian land units.
The Covenant of Antarctica model is amongst the most striking models Spartan have produced. I like all the little details like the energy turrets in the legs. I particularly like the dome in the centre of the main body, surrounded by what appear to be warhead launch bays. I anticipate that this model will be subjected to an infinite number of spider analogies, although the pedant in me makes me feel I should point out it only has four legs. I do collect CoA, but I would have to think about whether to get this one as using it in-game would involve branching out into a land force and having to put up with the annoyances of the fighter rules. That said, this one might be cool enough to make it on to the ‘buy it just to paint’ list.
Like many of you, I await Spartan’s next preview with anticipation.
@CaitoGalenus has posted a review of the Tarakian ships for Firestorm Armada.
Spartan Games have released preview renders of some of their upcoming mobile airbases for Dystopian Wars.
The Kingdom of Britania Brunel is quite a cool and imposing model. The St Paul’s-esque dome underlines the quirky steampunk nature of the Dystopian Wars world. Coupled with the pleasingly chunky track units and the rather cool forward cannon battery it’s quite powerful looking. I am intrigued by the ironwork on the hanger roof. I cant help but wonder how it might look painted up as stained glass.
The Empire of the Blazing Sun Kagoshima is certainly characterful. I think I like it less than the other two previewed so far, mainly because the legs look a bit stumpy and ponderous and I can’t help but envisage it shuffling along rather than striding purposefully. Someone more knowledgeable than I about Japanese culture will have to comment on how appropriate the temple-like structure is.
The Alamo for the Federated States of America is perhaps my favourite of the three previewed so far. It’s much more utilitarian compared to the more stately Brunel and Kagoshima. I like the banks of triple mortars at the front and the omnidirectional rocket battery. For some reason the enlarged tread wheels at the front make me think of dragsters.
Let’s stay tuned for the Prussian and Covenant of Antarctica mobile airbases which no doubt will be previewed in the next week or so.