Saturday, 24 September 2011

Zombie Pirates and Adeptus Astartes

So it's been a couple of weeks since my last post and it's been a bust few weeks. For me personally, it's been very busy as we've had lots of projects on at work but in GW land it's been busy as we've seen stuff about the new boxed game Dreadfleet as well as the release of Space Marine on all the computermagigs.

Looking at Zombie Pirates first (aka Dreadfleet) we seen that a lot of the rumours seem to be true. Dreadfleet is a board game set in the Warhammer world and features a lot of the things we love about Warhammer (basically magic, undead, and big massive monsters). The GW PR machine is in overdrive as the website has been showing all kinds of cool stuff about the game and even this months White Dwarf has had it's release date changed to coinside with the release (1st October). So far I have avoided going into a GW and being pounced upon by the manager asking if I want a copy.

The game looks fantastic and you get a nice variety of ships in the set as well as all the lovely card markers and other gaming aids. You even get a sea playing mat to play on! Overall it looks nice but unfortuantly I'm going to be a bit negative now.

Firstly I think GW have missed the boat here (pun intended). Most wargamers like the idea of pirates and having pirates with magic, monsters, and scary things is great. I think GW could have made a nice little wargame out of this, especially with Finecast and we could have seen a nice variety of ships. It would have been fairly easy to do, by having Dreadfleet as the core game and then releasing expansions with a selection of ships in them (a bit like what GW did years ago).

Secondly I'm unlikely to be buying a copy of this game as it's £70 and I think that's a bit too much for something I'm only going to play a few times. It's a shame as this looks great and its brilliant that GW are doing things like this but I just wish that they didn't do it as a limited edition and left it as something to come back to in a year or two.

Next up we have Space Marine. If you've been hiding under a rock, THQ and Relic Games have taken the Warhammer 40,000 IP and made some great games out of it (the Dawn of War series on the PC). They've now decided to have a go at a third person shooter and they've made something beautiful. The game follows a Ultramarines Strike Cruiser answering a distress call from a Forge World due to a Ork Invasion. As you progress through the game you find out that there is a Chaos invasion happening at the same time and somehow you have to destroy the Xenos and Heretics before things get out of hand.

This game is going to get lots of references to Gears of War and there is no surprise as there are some simularites - however this is not Gears of War: Space Marine edition. Relic have chosen to dispose of the cover system used in most shooters and changed the health system, so you regain health for ripping the enemy in two. This makes the game very fluid and you'll find yourself moving around a lot which is great. This doesn't stop you from using your brain and standing behind some cover to sniper things which is useful later on in the game. The single player campaign is fairly well designed and you get a nice mix of action and marveling at the game world. Only issue I have is that they seemed to have copied the GW plastic sets a bit too exactly when the early screen shots of the game showed a more detailed world.

This game also comes with Multiplayer and it's a lot of fun (even with the week wait for them to fix the PS3 matchmaking issue!). There are two races in multiplayer (Chaos and Space Marines) and you can customise the look of your Marine quite extensively and quickly. As you level up you gain more bits to customise the look of your marine as well as access to more weapons and perks. There are three different classes for you to use (Tactical, Assault, or Devastator) and all work well and nothing seems too over the top. You can even copy the load out of the person who killed you so you get to try all kinds of different things even if you don't have access to them!

Overall Space Marine is a great game and while does have a couple of minor flaws is well worth picking up.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The future of Competitive Ogres?

So the Ogre Kingdom army book for Warhammer has come stomping out of GW HQ and been released upon the world. As with the previous 8th edition Warhammer Army Books (Orcs and Goblins and Tomb Kings), it's another hardback affair and is all in colour (and there is even an added touch of blood splatters every now and then in the book). Looking at the army book as a whole, it's very nice and all of my previous fears of Jervis being involved have so far been proven wrong.


Whilst looking through the book, I have noticed that you can make a very competitive army which is strictly not in character for the book. Now when we picture Ogres in Warhammer, we think about big hungry monsters, always hungry wanting to rip people limb from limb. Now this is something you can do with the book as all Ogres got cheaper, got a better bull charge (impact hits from any distance and gets better if you roll 10 or more for the charge) and got some nice toys. Ogres still aren't great in Close Combat due to having low initative, Weapon Skill and not much armor and with some of the massive units we are currently seeing in the game, they need a helping hand.

So whilst looking through the book, trying to come up with ideas about how to help soften up enemy units, I noticed the humble little Gnoblar. After reading it's rules and costs I had a very big evil grin on my face.

The idea I have for the army centres around you having as many Gnoblar units of 10 with Trappers. Now a unit equipped like this is cheap to include in the list, doesn't cause panic if it gets destroyed, can stand and shoot and more importantly thanks to the Trappers causes a dangerous terrain test on EVERY model charging the unit. This effectively means you can create a mine field of Gnoblars in front of your ogre army to die and slow the enemy down whilst you pepper them with shooting (which Ogres actually have a lot of now) and then counter charge. This sort of list may suffer against static shooting armies (such as Dwarfs or Empire) but all the Ogre stuff that can shoot is actually still okay in combat, plus a Gnoblar unit buffed up by Gut Magic is actually a bit worrying as well.

I think in the hands of a good player this kind of list would be very competitive. However nothing beats playing an army in character and having loads of Ogres instead. What do you think?