Sunday 13 October 2013

A Tale of Many Gamers: 1000 points army list

The first “monthly unit” deadline for A Tale Of Many Gamers is November 2nd so I should get started. I've built my ten Darkshards, which were a joy to put together, but I haven't started painting them yet. At the moment I think the sea green colour scheme of Karond Kar would suit, though I don't think I'll do the armour entirely in sea green.

Just to give me something to aim for I knocked together an army list. A simple thousand points to start, nothing too fancy until I know how much the second wave miniatures cost:

Master armed with hand weapon and shield, wearing heavy armour and a Sea Dragon cloak. 78 points
Sorceress armed with hand weapon. Level 2 Wizard using the Lore of Dark Magic. 115 points
10 Darkshards with hand weapons and repeater crossbows, full command. 150 points
20 Dreadspears with spears and shields, full command. 210 points
20 Witch Elves with two hand weapons, full command. 250 points
5 Cold One Knights with hand weapons, lances and shields, full command. 180 points

Total: 983 points

A decently equipped general; a basic wizard; a nice spread of Core choices so I can see what works before I start expanding; and some Cold One Knights because I love Cold One Knights. Nice and simple, relatively inexpensive, largely off-the-shelf (the Master I'll have to mail order). I wonder if I can get it done by Christmas.

(No, I can't.)

Saturday 12 October 2013

On the epic Troughton repatriation

In spite of reading it on the BBC's own website, seeing it covered on Philip Sandifer's site and from other third parties, it's still hard for me to credit that we're not being epically trolled. Nine episodes! I can't be certain but I think this might be the biggest haul of missing episodes ever recovered at once.

And what episodes they are: four from The Web Of Fear (so only episode three remains missing) and five of The Enemy Of The World (which is therefore now complete). It sounds like a wishlist because look what we got out of the deal:

The Web Of Fear is absolutely iconic: the story that brought us the phrase (if not, thankfully, the reality) of “a Yeti on the loo in Tooting Bec”. It's got Nicholas Courtney's first appearance as the Brigadier and what fun it'll be to see how he played it as a one-off character (and a red herring villain to boot). The London Underground sets are brilliantly atmospheric. Season Five was the season of endless bases under endless sieges, which has suffered a bit of critical freefall in recent years and there's nothing like rediscovered episodes to start a new reappraisal (just look at Galaxy Four or even The Underwater Menace, which has been reappraised even before the rediscovered episode has seen general released).

Then there's The Enemy Of The World, our newly-completed story. It's David Whitaker's final solo script (yes, it is: The Ambassadors Of Death is five sevenths Malcolm Hulke) and the only Season Five story that doesn't fit the base-under-siege house style. Even better, the story's big claim to fame is that Troughton plays not only the Doctor but the villain Salamander as well. Troughton was a fantastic actor and what makes the destruction of his episodes so galling is that he played the role so physically so to see him play two roles should be a real joy.

Aside from that this nearly doubles the number of surviving episodes featuring Deborah Watling as Victoria, a character who could do with a fair reconsideration in many ways.

And every time this happens we think “This must be it.” because there can't be any more, not after all this time.

Maybe someday I'll be able to see the sight gags in The Myth Makers and The Feast Of Steven; follow the whole weird epic of The Daleks' Master Plan; or work out if the lesbian subtext of Marco Polo is just an artefact of surviving photoes or present in the whole serial.

One can but dream.

Friday 4 October 2013

A Tale of Many Gamers begins (Cult of Slaanesh)

So the local GW is running “A Tale of Many Gamers”. Simple rules: start an army, finish a unit a month, bring it into the shop for photographing for the store's Facebook page. I know my track record on these things is awful but since I was planning to start a new army anyway this'll be a decent enough target to aim for. Might also persuade me to pursue an army in a sensible fashion: one box set at a time (doomed...).

The Army
The new Dark Elves models are out tomorrow and I can't resist. I've wanted to play a Dark Elves army for years but the old Spearmen always put me off. My friend Matt felt the same way so he's starting on Dark Elves as well. He's going for a heavy Khainite theme so I'm going in the other direction and resurrecting the old Cult Of Slaanesh from the Storm Of Chaos campaign.

The Plan
The old list isn't legal or terribly competitive any more but what we have nowaday is Storm Of Magic and the Daemonic Pact scroll of binding. So the plan is to make a 2,400 points Dark Elves army with a 600 points Slaaneshi Daemons Of Chaos allied force.

I'm also consulting with my regular opponents over house rules for updating the Druchii Anointed and using some Warriors Of Chaos models to get the feel of the old list.

The First Move
Pop into the shop Saturday morning, get the new Army Book and a box of Dreadspears to make as a ten-man unit of Darkshard crossbowmen for a nice, slow start to the project.

Wednesday 2 October 2013

It's galling the way it creeps up on you. There I was sitting on the Games Day coach on the way home Sunday having a perfectly civilised, adult and reasonable conversation about films when my interlocutor casually drops into the conversation the following fact:

“I didn't see it in the cinema,” he says of all-time classic Jurassic Park, “It was three years before I was born.”

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Games Day was... a bit odd

This past Sunday was Games Day UK, the first one I've attended in a couple of years. I enjoyed myself immensely, got a lot out of it, but there were some format changes that left a lot of people cold. None of it stopped me from enjoying the day but I met some other people who were very put out.

For my own part I had a fantastic time wandering between the various stalls and talking to games developers, artists and authors. I had a chat with Phil Kelly about Chaos Space Marines (mainly to thank him for making the Lost and the Damned legal and canon once more) and Robin Cruddace about the Empire (my friend Matt asked why Grand Masters couldn't take demigryphs as mounts, turns out it was originally intended but pulled from the book when the budget wouldn't stretch to a model) and how inspiring the new Space Marine book is.

Matt and I had a nice long natter with Brian Nelson in front of the Dark Elves 3-ups display about sculpting (CAD versus by-hand) and the influence that modern dance has had on the design of the new Witch Elves (no, really). There was also a demonstration of 3D CAD (Computer Assisted Design) sculpting which was fascinating, the technology amazes me...

(Okay, all technology amazes the man who for years thought his internet worked better at night because the presence of the Sun caused interference but you know what I mean.)

… as well as a stage-by-stage display of the mock-ups, greens and 3-ups from the new Space Marine models.

I even dropped by the White Dwarf stall and got to wax lyrical about Black Templars with Matt Hutson, which was nice since it was his Templars army that provided the visual hook to get me into 40k, specifically the Dreadnought with the spiky halo off the Chaos vehicle accessory sprue

The basement level hosted Golden Demon and Armies On Parade which were, as always, a curious mix of inspiring and shaming (how is anyone that good?). Hopefully White Dwarf Daily will have pics up soon because the Armies On Parade winner was fantastic: a mostly-Slaaneshi Chaos Daemons army on a board built to represent a cityscape in the middle of an earthquake: there was a Keeper Of Secrets made from Gorgon, a Daemon Prince made from a Maulerfiend and a Carnifex and towers crawling with Screamers Of Tzeentch.

It was all very inspiring and there we come to the problem. One of the main sources of inspiration for me at Games Day has always been the gaming boards and armies made by GW stores across the country. This year there was no participation gaming, due I imagine to lack of space and the corporate decision to end in-store gaming. Games Day this year was more of a showcase, which is no bad thing to be, but it felt lacking.

There was one area that I have to say was much improved since last I went to Games Day: the retail area. There were queues, the last time I went it was a scrum, best elbows got the event-only miniatures. There was a queue for the GW area, a queue for the Forge World area that then fed into the GW area ad copious tills at the end of it. I was in the Forge World queue at its longest and was still at the front in only about twenty minutes and in the meantime I got chatting with a charming young couple from Nottingham.

A Games Day queue is a social experience that should be enjoyed as part of the day. The only cloud was the fact that Forge World were anticipating so many Horus Heresy sales that they weren't very well stocked on the Warhammer Forge products I wanted. Still, didn't stop me spending my money on Death Guard and Renegade Militia to resurrect my Lost and the Damned.