Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Good, the Bad and the Shiny...

Greetings fellow wargamers.

It's been a little while since my last post, but the slave masters have conspired in recent months to keep me my from writing desk. In other words, work has been exceptionally busy, and has left me with less time than usual for hobby. As the dust slowly begins to settle, I have managed to start painting again, though gaming is on a bit of a break at the moment due to unforeseen circumstances (my wife has taken up a new hobby which clashes with games nights!), but I am getting the itch to sit down and type again, so here I am.

So, what has happened since we last met? Well off the top my my head, a couple of books have dropped for armies I collect (Orks recently and just yesterday the Dark Eldar), and also the End Times: Nagash book for Fantasy, which I am part way through reading and thus far am very excited by. This could well be just the kind of thing Games Workshop needed to put out, and might turn out to be one of those historical benchmarks for the game I think. This book, and what comes next, promises much - fingers crossed.

On to the essence of this post. Forgive me if I ramble more than usual, things may pop into my tired cogitator as I type to add to the list of things that have happened since my last publication. Speaking of which, has anyone else heard rumours about something happening to or with Warhammer Visions?

Today, I would like to talk briefly about expanding your collection of miniatures, and deciding what to buy next between the options you have when a wave of models is released, hence The Good, the Bad and the Shiny.

Since the release of the Nagash book and the accompanying Warhammer Visions picture book, I have spent quite some time ogling the amazing new models. The three Disciples riding their flying constructs (a bit of a 'Marmite' release, but I like them), the fantastic Monstrous Infantry Morghasts and the extremely well designed Spirit Hosts are all spectacular kits, and as a long time Vampire Counts (Veteran Undead player right here folks, circa 1994), they all pique my interest.

We cannot of course forget to mention the incredible Nagash model, and I for one think that Games Workshop have done a real number on this one. The dynamism, motion and scale of the model are combined to give us the Nagash we have dreamed of for twenty years. And herein lies the rub.

Scant weeks after the release of the aforementioned Undead models and Nagash book, the new Codex Dark Eldar has been released, and thanks to Games Workshop doing a much better job of keeping the fine details of their release schedule quiet in the last year or two (or certainly quieter - I don't think many people saw the End Times book coming much in advance of it's unleashing), I found myself in a state of discombobulation.

The Dark Eldar have been my army of choice for playing 40K for my last half dozen or so games, as I have become determined to develop my skills with one particular army rather than my usual approach of flitting from one force to another to make sure I don't neglect any one collection of miniatures - they get grumpy when they don't see their fair share of tabletop action you see.

So in comes the new Codex and some tasty new models to go with it, and I am left having to decide between the Nagash model, and something for my Dark Eldar. My heart says go for the Nagash model, because it is amazing, and I really have been waiting two decades for this guy to get an update that does him justice.


I do love all of my armies, but to be fair some get more love than others (we all have our favourites I am sure), but at some point in my deliberations about which of the new releases to invest in, a thought bubbled to the surface that has manifest previously when I haven't had the funds to act on it.

Many of my armies are fairly old, and I don't have anywhere near the same amount of disposable income to dedicate to the hobby as I would like, because other things must come first, like food and nursery school mortgages - I mean 'fees'. The result of this, and especially when combined with the number of armies I have (six for 40K at last counting), is that when there is a fundamental shift in the way that one of the games works - like the introduction of flyers and anti-flyer measures as a staple of 40K armies - instantly updating all of my armies with all the necessary new tools required to thrive in the new environment is often a slow process.

This can sometimes leave me with a 'resource shortfall' on the table, such as my Dark Eldar going into battle against an Imperial Guard army toting a pair of Valkyrie Dropships and a Vendetta Gunship when I have precisely zero dedicated anti-flyer measures in my army and a proliferation of poisoned weapons which cannot harm vehicles at all, despite the jaw dropping rate of fire.

So a decision had to be made - do I buy the brilliant Nagash model (he is my one true master after all), or do I throw in my lot with Lady Malys (which is another topic altogether now that the special character is gone from the book and I can construct my own from the ground up using the generic Archon rules!) and the Kabal of the Poisoned Tongue? A fine coincidence really that I only just decided a month ago that Poisoned Kabal was the paint scheme I was going to use, then all of a sudden Malys is gone from the book!

In the end sometimes even when your heart tells you one thing, your head must lead the way. I decided to go with a Voidraven Bomber for my Dark Eldar, and intend to convert up some 'Dark Eldar' style Quad-guns for more anti-flyer defence. However much I love the new Nagash model, in the end I considered which would see more use on the table, and which would have the greater long term impact on my gaming. The chances are that I would be buying Nagash more as a display piece to be used in games only on special occasions, whereas the Voidraven will see use in the majority of the games I will play with my Dark Eldar once I get back to gaming, as I make a concerted effort to fill gaps in my armies where flyers and equally importantly anti-flyer capabilities. The Good won out over the often dazzling Shiny.

In closing then, it's always nice to pick up a model because it's the new shiny thing, and might well be cool to use and a terror to your enemies, but armies must be constructed with thought and planning and a degree of balance in order to be consistent and successful on the tabletop. It's like a football team - and that's football for any of my American friends reading this, not American football, though I guess the analogy works as well for both - a team of stars looks great in the publicity photos and on the team sheet, and they sure get some attention, but if they can't play consistently well as a team and cover all the necessities on the pitch, they are less likely to win games. You have to have the basics covered to give you a solid foundation before adding in the glamour-puss star players.

Until next time - hopefully soon! - thanks for reading...

...P.S. Speaking of Dark Eldar, here are my first completed Kabal of the Poisoned Tongue Warriors for anyone that hasn't already seen them splashed all across my Twitter feed.