Monday, July 26, 2010

First Blood

Finally got in a game of 8th Edition on Saturday. I went down to Legends in Cupertino to play with the store owner. Turned out that he didn't have time to play himself. However, he was trying to get one of his employees up to speed on the rules so they could start running events in the store, so I ended up playing a teaching game. *shrug* It's better than nothing. Plus, I had to make sure I understood the rules well enough to explain them to someone who was mainly familiar with the 40k rules but knew a pretty decent amount about the Fantasy fluff.

It's hard to draw any conclusions from that game. He was playing an Orc army that didn't belong to him and looked like it was a couple of editions old. We put together the best 15oo point list we could from the models we had available, and I tried to dissuade him from some non-optimal choices he was making based on his 40k experience (no, you really should make one big unit of Black Orks, and you should probably put your General in there instead of two small units and 5 guys to hang out with your General). But he had fun and we got through the game without any major issues.

I already like the Magic system better than the previous edition. Magic defense no longer has to be a list design requirement. I tried out a Level 2 Sorceress with the Tome of Furion (knows one additional spell) and was quite happy with the result. Taking the Tome always seemed like a waste to me in the previous edition since you rarely had enough power dice to successfully cast the couple of spells you already knew. But with the new rules for generating power dice, a single lower level caster can have significantly more dice to work with than before (7 on average, up from 4). Suddenly 15 points to know an additional spell seems like a pretty good use of points. Previously if you wanted to be more effective you had to spend significantly more points and another Hero slot to get another caster, just so you could get a couple more power dice to work with. Now, adding another caster just splits the randomly generated power dice between them and all you really gain is a couple more spells and maybe some additional magic items. Granted, those can be valuable in and of themselves if you are going for a heavy magic list. But now instead of needing a 'scroll caddy' you can turn that same amount of points into a decent amount of offensive magic. I had been playing a magic heavy list with 3 casters until 8th came out. It seems like adding more casters in 8th will result in diminishing returns. You might gain flexibility by adding additional Lores, and maybe some extra punch with additional magic items, but I don't see the power scaling up the way it did in the last edition. I think this it a good thing.

Friday, July 16, 2010

FAQ me? FAQ you!

I'm still working my way through the new 8th edition rulebook. Already, Games Workshop has put out a revision to their FAQ's. I see this as a good thing. Does it mean that the book was poorly or vaguely written? I don't think so, at least not more so than usual. There will always be questions that come up, and the best thing that they can do it address them quickly instead of just leaving them out there for players to argue over. Many of us still have a bad taste in our mouth from disagreements over how War of the Ring was supposed to work and haven't touched the game since. A timely FAQ could have avoided much of that.

The Dark Elf FAQ update was sparse. Only one of the few changes they made has me scratching my head. The Manbane + Rending Stars combo may have been over powered. It may have been cheesy considering that the Assassin was BS 9 and didn't take up a hero slot. But it was one of the few sources of high strength attacks in the army, has a short range, Assassins are fragile, and everyone expected to see the combo if you had a unit of Shades and an Assassin so they could keep their monsters away from him.

Seeing a change to the ruling doesn't surprise me. Changing the rule so that the extra +1 to Strength is up to the current player seems like a poor choice. Mental muscle memory in Warhammer is a hard thing to fight. Games go much faster once you get used to what you have to consistently roll. Having a stat that will flip back and forth based on who's turn it is is just asking for confusion. Plus, I'm having trouble coming up with a fluff justification for why a poison's strength would oscillate from one player's turn to the next. The only time it will come up, that I can think of, is if the Assassin makes a Stand and Shoot reaction to a charge. If the combo needed to be fixed, why fix it like this?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Square 1

This blog begins, as all epics, in medias res. That's Latin. It means 'in the middle of things'. But at the same time, also at a new beginning.

If you're reading this, then you already know that this is my wargaming blog. As I sit here writing up this first entry, I'm watching the beginning of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'. The Indiana Jones films all start in medias res as well. Indy is already on an adventure when the film starts.

So, as this blog starts I also am already on an adventure. I moved clear across the country a couple of months ago and have already started going around and trying to find out what the local wargaming culture is like. I've found lots of people playing 40k, but not much in the way of Warhammer Fantasy. Which is unfortunate, since Fantasy is what I prefer at the moment. I've found some nice stores near my house, but haven't really found a place in the community yet.

In addition to the new beginning of finding a gaming community,Warhammer Fantasy 8th edition was just released yesterday. Games Workshop has made massive changes to the game, hopefully for the better. Everyone, regardless of how much experience they had playing previous versions, is back to square 1.

This is a wargaming blog, so you can expect some of the standard things from it. Painting discussion and photos, battle reports, etc. But specifically, at least for starters, this blog is going to be covering my efforts to find a home in the local gaming community and my thoughts on the changes between 7th and 8th edition, specifically changes pertaining to my current army, the Dark Elves.

So, away we go. I purchased a copy of 8th edition yesterday from my closest LGS, Legends in Cupertino. The book is huuuuuuuuge. Other people have already posted quick reference lists of major changes, so I'm not going to go into them until I've read the book more thoroughly and have something new to add.

In addition to getting it for a 10% discount I also got to chat with the owner of the store about it. He was hoping the new edition would generate some interest in the game, which he also prefers over 40k. Furthermore, he wanted to start up a Fantasy League in his store in the next couple of weeks. This is big progress. Not only is the closest store to my house potentially going to have a League, but the owner of the store told me to give him a call if I wanted to come down to the store and play with him. This store has only been open a couple of months (it's an expansion of a comic book shop), but it seems like it would be a decent enough place to play. It just needs some time to gather a community.

The next closest store to my house, Game Kastle in Santa Clara, had a couple of release day events. I wasn't able to attend them since I was working on getting scuba certified, but I'm hoping that those events went well. Game Kastle is a very nice store with lots of tables and people playing various games. The only thing it was missing was people playing Fantasy. Hopefully there will be more interest in playing Fantasy now that the new edition is out. I hung around the store a couple of times and it reminded me a lot of Game Parlour, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that in the near future I'll have two good, close choices of stores/communities to play with.

And if not, I guess I could just start playing 40k.