Thursday, 3 April 2014

Richs Thursday Ramble: 'Choice' and Other Stories.

Hello Nerds!

Following last weeks troubles in finding a topic, I found myself blessed with two things I wanted to write about this week. So, rather than do the sensible thing and save one for next week, I thought I'd shoehorn them both in to one.
Thus, I'll be splitting this article into two separate halves.
This weeks first topic will be 'Choice - is it possible to have too much?'
The second will be generally focused around the latest issue of White Dwarf but with a specific focus on the 'eavy metal promo shots including within.

'Choice - is it possible to have too much?'

This topic has organically grown into my thoughts over the recent weeks largely due to some internet-based discussions I have been reading and occasionally participating in regarding various Codexes.
The seed was planted back during a Dark Eldar 6th Edition Codex wishlisting discussion, but finally came to fruition on Tuesday following some Astra Militarum rumours regarding a Tank Commander HQ choice.

My thoughts over the Dark Eldar book were fairly pedestrian in all honesty, I like the way the book generally feels, it just has the problem of having suffered at the hands of a number of 6th edition rules changes, so some relevant tweaks to stats, rules or points costs would generally be enough to keep me happy. I think its fairly likely there will be some big new kit, but I cant really begin to imagine what it would be, maybe a super-talos?
However, the only real change I truly wanted to see was the reinstatement of mount options for HQ choices. Back in 3rd Edition i did have a small Dark Eldar force lead by a Drachon riding a skyboard. I'd love to be able to do that again. If that change does take place, I also think that it would therefore make sense to follow the Codex Space Marines route and allow the specific unit type to be unlocked as troops. If your warlord is riding a reaver jetbike, let jetbikes be troops. Same for hellions.
The book has a decent amount of choice as is, but a little more would be all the sweeter.

Flash forward a few weeks to Tuesday and I read some fleeting rumours about a possible Tank Commander HQ choice featuring in the forthcoming Codex Astra Militarum. If true? Excellent!
Obviously the details are currently scarce and I would be surprised if this included any sort of FOC swap to allow Leman Russes as troops. This would be stepping on the toes of the Forge World tank company list too much.
More than likely this would be intended as an HQ choice to lead a more armoured fist style list with some heavy tank back-up from the other slots.
Even so, yet again, more choice here is clearly a good thing.

So, you've probably noticed i posed the question 'is it possible to have too much choice?' and then blathered on about how great it is to have lots of choice.
So, ladies and gentlemen, i present to you, the counter-point: Codex Tyranids.

Now, I'm not speaking from a huge amount of experience with regards to the Tyranid book beyond a handful of games against them and opinions of fellow gamers I've gleaned from conversations.
It's not even as if I'm suggesting that Tyranids are somehow entirely lacking in choice (though I think some may disagree with me on that!). Neither are they overburdened with choice to the point of it becoming tiresome.
The reason i picked out Tyranids, however, is that they're the biggest culprit so far in terms of supplying 'premium choice'. With this release more than any of the others it felt like GW were saying 'here you go, heres your book. Its flat average. If you want more choice, give us another tenner'. Which is quite abhorrent really.

If this is truly the way the game is going to be taking, i think something more akin to Daves idea of split content would work. I'd be much happier about dropping £8 - £10 on an add-on if i hadnt already had to drop £30 for what should be the whole Codex.
If the Codex was advertised as the 'core rules' for a race and had its price point dropped by £10 or so, then the additional 'dataslates' would be a bit more palatable.
Case in point, Codex: Militarum Tempestus.
I've always had a soft spot for Imperial Guard Stormtroopers from when they were those plastic dudes in berets, and i am tempted by the new range. But £30 for Codex: Militarum Tempestus this week, followed by £30 for Codex: Astra Militarum very soon after feels like gouging.

'Phoning it in'

Part 2 of this weeks ramble is focused on the latest issue of White Dwarf Weekly.
This is the first issue of the weekly magazine that I've bothered picking up, mainly because i decided it was worth it to have the rules for the Scions and Taurox for Kill Team games without having to drop £30 on the full codex.To that end the outlay of £2.50 is justifiable.
There didnt strike me as a whole lot else in there, i was quite surprised about the current state of their 'battle reports'. A few photographs of the miniatures involved with a rough description of what occurred throughout the apocolypse game. Paint splatter is still worthless to me. I'd even question the need for it for the younger folk by this point, considering its basically the same process every time with different colours.

Another thing that struck me was that, after seeing bigger, better quality photos than the earlier leaks, I'm not as sold on the scion models themselves as I had originally thought. I like the beret & 'tache heads, and i do quite like the weird looking special ops helmet and faceplate constructions (though it would be nice if you had at least a few of the same head rather than something like 13 completely different heads for a 5 man unit). But the actually armour i really dont like upon closer inspection, the 'gothic cuirass' look really doesnt chime with me for what, in my mind, should be a high-tech, utilitarian looking unit.
I am now strongly considering picking up a box of Dreamforge games Eisenkern troopers to use as a scion kill team instead. And as much as i have come around to the taurox, the Eisenkern APC model would also make a perfectly good stand-in for the Taurox which would save me the effort of having to replace any of those tracks on the Taurox with wheels.

Anyway, the main thrust of this section is thus: as I was flicking through the pages over a coffee, ogling all the pictures, something struck me as off. The models actually looked rather shoddily constructed. The IG Taurox being by far the worst offender.

This really seems very poor, no-one can argue that White Dwarf has been little other than a selling tool for their brand new kits for many a year. So surely if that is your aim, publishing big glossy photographs of these new models with gaps and sprue flash still on seems like very poor form indeed.

1 comment:

  1. I agree on your point about the overwhelming choice in 40k being very poorly handled. My really complaint isn't so much the price but the fact that I feel the quality of the background has slowly deteriorated. Maybe it is grumpy old man syndrome, where everything was better when I was a young chap, but I remember reading the background and being excited by the 'new' developments in the 40k lore. Now I feel that the focus has shifted to more of a historical wargame perspective where I'm being treated to snippets of what happened in the past. I have two problems with this. Firstly I've found I don't much care for the way GW writers have whole sale changed parts of the background just to shift models. This undermines my investment in the stories as they may just rewrite my favourite parts! Secondly, if I'm not investing in the background I would a fair quantity of rules or hobby content for my money and these supplemental codices are pretty thin on those.

    The Tyranid codex is an odd publication as the data slates feel as though they are a knee jerk reaction to a missed chance.