Games Workshop at Gen Con 2012

Games Workshop had something of a phantom presence at Gen Con. To be sure, you could spot a Games Workshop banner hanging overhead in the Vendors’ Hall, but the floor space beneath it was being used for its subsidiaries, Forge World and the Black Library. The vast main gaming hall comprised of Halls C, E, F, and G had hundreds of tables seating thousands of gamers (which may be quite an understatement), so it was surprising to only spot a handful of Warhammer 40K games as I passed through day and night and no games of Warhammer Fantasy.

Warhammer 40k Apocalypse game unfolding with alien Tyranids versus valiant Dark Angels

A Horde of Tyranids Have Breached the Imperial Defenses in a Game of Apocalypse

One evening I did spy a game of Apocalypse unfolding with a Forge World Imperial Fortress attempting to hold the line against the teeming hordes of Tyranids which had managed to infiltrate into the landing pad area fashioned out of sytrofoam.

Specialist Games

On the other hand, GW games that have been relegated to Specialist Games status like Space Hulk, Warmaster, and Mordheim actually seemed to be more prevalent. Several Mordheim Warband leaders competed against one another across three to four tables bedecked with Miniature Building Authority buildings and other pieces of terrain.

Small skirmish Mordheim warbands battle through ruined city streets in 28mm scale

An Undead Warband Battles Against an Imperial Faction in Mordheim

The beautifully painted Warmaster armies below ironically belong to two Privateer Press employees who were marshaling them one evening. Besides the actual lettered halls like D, E, and F, Gen Con has large hallways which make taking pictures of cosplayers pretty easy and prevent congestion. They are also used after hours for impromptu games like Warmaster, but more frequently for social games like Are You a Werewolf? or card and board games.

Warmaster-scale Dragon and Eagles for High Elves army at Gen Con

A High Elves Army for Warmaster Boasting a Dragon and Giant Eagles

This was actually the first time in over 20 years of gaming I had ever seen any Warmaster being played, much less seen any fully painted forces in person. While it’s quite possible the two generals of the armies see one another more frequently than at Gen Con, for many gamers Gen Con provides the rare opportunity to get in a game or two of a favorite niche game system with a different opponent than normal or simply to play a favorite game at all.

High Elves versus Undead in Warmaster Game at Gen Con in tiny scale

A Tiny Battle Unfolding Pitting High Elves vs. the Undead in Warmaster

Space Hulk was also going on in the main gaming hall. Outside of Warhammer 40K, Warhammer Fantasy, and Lord of the Rings, Space Hulk does seem to get the most playtime of Games Workshop’s smaller titles. The fairly recent rerelease of the game has also captured new gamers’ interest as well. While I didn’t see any Dread Fleet games at Gen Con, on my flight to Indianapolis, an employee of a different gaming company was touting the virtues of Dread Fleet’s ancestor, Man O’War, the epic-scale fleet action game set in the Warhammer Fantasy universe which was released in the 1990s. I am positive that the gamer on the plane would have loved to get some games of Man O’War in at Gen Con if he were given the chance.

Gamers enjoy the Space Hulk board game from Games Workshop at Gen Con 2012

A Whole Swarm of Genestealers Waits Off the Space Hulk Board to Assault Unwary Terminators

The Omnipresent Emperor is Watching

Even outside the gaming halls, Games Workshop maintained a presence. In Cardhalla, builders can come and make anything they desire with the donated playing cards. The resulting structures are then knocked down on Saturday evening at 10:30 with change and coins wrapped in dollar bills. The money collected is given to a charity, the STARS Youth Foundation, with the honor of throwing the first donation going to the winner of a special auction.

Games Workshop trademark Double-Headed Aquila made of cards at 2012 Gen Con

Initially the GW Aquila was blue when I stopped by Cardhalla on Thursday night. Nearby I was pleased to recognize an Inquisitorial emblem, also from Warhammer 40K. While I may have just gently nudged some of the cards behind me, the pile of Austin Powers cards at my feet in the photo below was not my doing, though I do appreciate Dr. Evil’s trademark pinky smirk on one of the cards at my feet. I also appreciate that the double-headed Games Workshop Aquila and the Inquisitorial emblem are made out of Star Trek and Star Wars cards respectively, with some Magic: TG cards laying the foundation of the Aquila. I have to imagine that the creator was very aware that GW’s emblem is trademarked and fiercely protected and that he appreciated his own irony.

Cardhalla Thursday night at Gen Con with an Inquisitor symbol from Warhammer 40k made out of playing cards

By Saturday though the Aquila had undergone a face lift and was now using the red Austin Powers cards in place of the Star Trek CCG cards.

Games Workshop Aquila Symbol Made of Red Austin Powers cards at Gen Con 2012 Cardhalla

The red Aquila wasn’t the only change. The forces of Chaos had put an end to the Inquisitorial reign at Cardhalla. While it’s quite possible that it was stepped on and sloppily repaired, I have to suspect that a servant of Tzeentch took offense to the emblem and corrupted it for his own purpose.

Games Workshop Inquisitor Emblem Tainted by the Forces of Chaos on Saturday in Cardhalla at Gen Con

Vendors and Licensees

Painted Ork Warlord warboss Ghazghkull Thraka for $22 at Gen Con

A Painted Ghazghkull Thraka for $22 is a Steal

One of the strongest Games Workshop presences I saw actually was a shopkeeper in the form of Darryl Dean from the Game Room in Toledo, Ohio. Within the world of Adepticon and Gen Con though, Darryl is known as the “Bits Guy” for the huge quanitty of storage containers full of plastic and metal bits that he brings to the shows. He also was selling completely intact and painted miniatures with low prices like $5 for a Brettonian or Empire knight. Around the painted miniatures Dean had team upon team of painted Blood Bowl miniatures for about $80 a team. He also had a selection of Imperial Guard and Space Marine vehicles.

Ghazghkull Thraka for $22 with a pretty good paint job caught my eye (and helped empty my wallet). I also picked up a Looted Leman Russ battle tank to join my growing Waaagh!, as well as various Witch Hunter and Daemonhunter Inquisitorial servants, including an interesting conversion featuring Necron parts with a plasma cannon.

Painted rack of Space Marine tanks on sale at Gen Con for around $30

Darryl Dean tends to pick up the armies which he then resells en masse, when a group of players switch from one system to another, such as Warhammer Fantasy Battles to Warhammer 40K. Sometimes he buys 10 armies at once. Dean is leery of eBay, only selling at the Game Room and at shows like Gen Con and Chicago’s Adepticon, but is thinking of expanding to Rock-Con in Rockford, Illinois and WinterCon in Rochester, Michigan.

Another aspect of Games Workshop’s phantom yet pervasive presence at Gen Con came through Fantasy Flight Games. Fantasy Flight Games has held Games Workshop licenses for quite some time and the company was showing off Relic at Gen Con, offering attendees the chance to play the Warhammer 40K-themed board game for the first time. Relic draws heavily from Talisman, but pits its 2-4 players against one another in a race to vanquish as many foes of the Imperium as possible.

Board game Relic from Fantasy Flight Games at Gen Con based on Warhammer 40K universe

Relic Board Game from Fantasy Flight Games at Gen Con 2012

Web Comic Creators Stan Yan and Kevin Freeman on SubCulture

Way back in 2003 or 2004 I picked up The Wang from writer-artist Stan Yan at Comic-Con. It had nothing to do with gaming (at least, not that I recall). Years passed and then I had a Random Encounter with Stan Yan’s SubCulture, written by Kevin Freeman. While it is a web comic, the pair also sell printed collections of the strips. It revolves around a comic book store and the twentysomething, listless main character Jason. When not reading comic ashcans, Jason is fond of the occasional dungeon delve and playing Space Jaunt with the rest of Subculture’s characters. Space Jaunt is Subculture’s science fiction space odyssey game. While gaming references abound in Subculture, I’d say that maybe less than a third of it actually pertains to RPGs. However the whole of Subculture is good stuff, well written by Kevin Freeman and evocatively drawn by Stan Yan respectively with the end result being a pretty funny strip. As a web comic, it’s also free and worth checking out.

The Process of Making the Subculture Web Comic

Stan Yan holds the printed version of Subculture at Comic-Con in 2012 in front of a zombie posterCG: How do and Kevin know one another and what’s your process like for working on SubCulture?
SY: I responded to an ad on Digital Webbing’s message board back in 2006. He was looking for an artist for SubCulture, and I was ironically the first to respond. Kevin typically e-mails me script ideas. Kevin gives me quite a bit of creative freedom in his scripts, and he rarely objects to geeky little things I put in that are not in the script, like t-shirts on the characters and such.
KF: We are in synch almost all of the time. We are of similar age and have similar life experiences, so working together has been very easy. Plus Stan is very professional, which makes my job that much easier.

CG: How many times do you two reject a strip as not being funny enough or put it on hold and then what is your backlog like? Do you have a number of backup strips in case you run into problems during a particular week?
SY: We rarely agree to reject a strip, but we often collaborate on fine-tuning jokes. I might even add a panel for pacing purposes without consulting with him first. I have yet to have him tell me that I was wrong for adding a panel. Once with a storyline where Jason goes with Noel to buy a new car, Kevin asked me to draw Noel in some provocative clothing. I guess I went too far, and he had me change the school-girl mini-skirt to low-rise jeans. That’s one of the few times outside of typos, where Kevin has asked me to change anything. My backlog used to be one month, but over the last couple of years, I’ve been sadly working week-to-week. With, our recent guest artist, Corie Marie Parkhill, I’ve been able to build a 2 week backlog, but I’m seeing that go away quickly as I finish up with my summer camp teaching season and do a weekend-long convention this weekend. No backup strips. If something goes wrong, we’re sunk!
KF: I try to stay about six weeks ahead, just in case I get hit with a case of writer’s block.

D&D players talk about 5th edition but their GM is still focused on first edition and his Wilderness Survival Guide in web comic strip

Other Projects for Subculture’s Creators

CG: I know your Wang is pretty nice, but what else have you been working on?
SY: I’m currently working on writing and coloring a post-apocalyptic car race adventure webstrip called REVVVelations: at www.squidworks.com/revvv, I just finished writing and illustrating a comic book for the Melting Pot restaurant, I’m working on writing and partially illustrating a promotional comic book for the GalaxyFest convention, and I hope to resume work on a graphic novel about my best friend’s battle with cancer.
KF: I’m working with small-press publisher Action Lab entertainment as well, where I do a lot of editing. I’ve also got a story in the pipe with artist Des Taylor, but it probably won’t hit the shelves until sometime in 2013. I am a college professor in real life.

Specific Questions About Subculture Itself

CG: Looking back, what are your favorite story arcs so far on SubCulture?
SY: I’m still very fond of the storyline where Arthur goes to Bart to get dating advice, and they’re forced to talk in gamer code, since Travis is eavesdropping on them. I think it’s a strip that is in the second printed collection of webstrips.
KF: That’s probably mine too. I also like Babs’s cosplay party storyline, and any time we do a convention story that is a lot of fun.

CG: What does XP on the Hoof that your gaming buddy John says mean, Stan?
SY: Honestly, I don’t know where that saying originated, but basically he’s talking about how fighting certain creatures is like money in the bank. He’s typically being sarcastic about it to taunt the game master, or if he’s game mastering, he’s typically trying to goad us into a battle we can’t win. At least, that’s how I take it.
CG: If Kevin would be a Bard, what would your D&D class be?
SY: I’d also be some sort of performer — probably a jester, with absolutely no battle skills.

CG: Is Bart based on an actual comic shop owner or is he more of a stereotype?
SY: I understand that Kevin based Bart on a comic book store owner he knows or knew. Lots of things we wrote for Bart are things that actually happened, like sleeping on the back table, slathering everything in ketchup, and probably lots of other stuff I wasn’t even aware of when I was drawing it.
KF: Bart is an amalgamation of a number of people–Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons, the shop owner of a store I worked at in Alabama, and Weird Pete from Knights of the Dinner Table, just to name a few.

CG: What do Bart, Babs, Arthur, Jason, Travis and the rest of the crew usually play as in SpaceJaunt?
SY: I think no matter WHAT game they’re playing, they’re always playing certain archetypical characters for them. Babs typically plays a seductress who probably flirts with Jason’s characters. Arthur normally plays a woman of some sort. Jason probably plays a character that is as bland as he is at times. I imagine he’s more of a utility player than a role-player. Skip will always play a ruthless, bloody barbarian, if not an assassin. I imagine Travis is a thief and scavenger, but I can see him trying to play a paladin before he went against his alignment in looting or pillaging along with Skip’s character and ending up as a level 1 fighter.
KF: Yep. They tend to stick to archetypes based on their personality, regardless of what they play.

In web comic strip a player loses a Warhammer 40k wargame and then immediately goes to buy a new army on the last panel

Stan’s 3.5 D&D Campaign and Kevin’s 40K Days, Background in Gaming

CG: I know your gaming group hasn’t moved beyond 3.5 to 4th Edition. What’s your campaign like and why have you guys stuck with 3.5?
SY: My theory is that John doesn’t want our spell casters getting too powerful, and on the flip-side, we probably don’t want him unleashing unbeatable spell casters upon our party either. At any rate, I think we’re happier with our ability to truly role-play our characters in 3.5, and we don’t want to risk the faster-paced 4.0 degrading that at all.
CG: What about sci-fi RPGs like Space Jaunt/Traveller, do you play in any of those?
SY: We play one space RPG — Gurps space right now.
CG: What about 40K? You have a nice 2010 Space Marine panel in a SuperCon strip.
SY: Kevin used to play, but I haven’t. I admire the game pieces, though. We will have a 40K storyline coming up. I hope I can do it justice in light of the fact that I don’t play.
KF: I was heavy into 40k for years and years until I moved to North Carolina. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to the hobby any more. But I still subscribe to White Dwarf and pick up the books and supplements. I’ve always been loyal to Imperial Guard!
CG: How did you get into gaming in the first place?
SY: My friends got me into it in 5th or 6th grade: Basic D&D. I still have the set and introductory modules!
KF: I started about that same time, back when D&D was at its peak, but started with AD&D rather than the pink box. I collect pre-1983 D&D stuff. It reminds me of my childhood.

SubCulture comic strips and cover art are copyright Stan Yan and Kevin Freeman and used with permission.

Making Rubble: Design and Materials

Part of my plan for my Cities of Death table for Warhammer 40K is having plenty of rubble. It adds Difficult Terrain, can occasionally block Line of Sight, creates Cover, and adds visual interest to the table. Since I don’t want to game exclusively on a table with ruins, but instead want an equal or greater number of intact buildings, I don’t want any of my buildings to have fixed rubble glued to them. They need to be added as needed.

Getting the Rubble Right: Influences

Long before making my first rubble pile, I was struck by some observations Mike made in this Terranscapes Youtube video on the Ruined City he made for a customer. His rubble looks quite believable.

The second major influence is the Pegasus Hobbies Rubble pack (which I’ll be reviewing briefly separately). Its three pieces were useful to look at and compare to as I made the various ones below. They have a very standard tabletop painting quality to them and my goal is to equal or exceed them. Their design though is excellent, even though my needs are slightly different.

My Approach to Rubble

  1. Modular/Removable: I need to be able to model intact buildings and ruined ones. I can’t have the rubble glued to a building.
  2. Realistic Presence: Most rubble scatter terrain is designed as being an irregular circular shape. From the brief research I did and just a lifetime of experience of watching movies and consuming media, it is natural for rubble to accumulate against the sides of immovable objects. Tanks with Dozer Blades would push the rubble out of the way. In photos of bombed out WWII sites, avenues have been cleared out to let vehicles and supplies through. The Grand Bazaar level in the game Battlefield 3 also meshes with my understanding of rubble smooshed up against the sides of buildings.
  3. Semi-Circular Design: The nice thing about two semi-circular rubble piles with roughly the same width is that they can be pushed together to create a single larger rubble pile.
  4. Use Rubbish: A major driving force of my creating rubble is to use up my plastic sprue and Hirst Arts miscasts. I can’t afford to chop up perfectly good Cities of Death buildings to have even more natural rubble. I have almost enough Pegasus Hobbies buildings to spare a few sections, but I would always rather keep them usable for buildings and unblemished.

Rubble Materials

For all of the rubble bases I have been making, I have used For Sale signs from Wal-Mart for $1.59 or so. They do bend, which is an issue, but they don’t warp from glue or water, and polystyrene cement bonds with them.

Sprue Rubble

The first material I turned to for my rubble piles was sprue and only sprue. After gluing down pieces of varying sizes and realizing that the look was odd, I tried to keep them all about equal in length. I didn’t fuss over trying to make them resemble actual bricks though. I think the overall effect is alright, especially at arm’s length. It doesn’t bear much scrutiny though, but certainly helps with recycling sprue. I realized I needed something to cover empty spots on the base and glued sand down to fill them out.
An early rubble pile made with plastic sprue with gaps.
I took the idea of sprue rubble pretty far in this 1’x1′ section for my Cities of Death layout:
Plastic sprue has been chopped up to represent the rubble of a building.

Cork Rubble

I had a ruined bulletin board, but ended up throwing it out because the cork on it was so cheap, but the idea that I could use cork for rubble lingered. I also had a roll of cork purchased years ago from a craft store. For my semi-circular designs the roll of cork has the wonderful advantage of two straight edges. I used hot glue to affix it and worked in layers, switching to tearing off pieces towards the top. I think it needs further crumbles to make it look more realistic and ultimately cork is a poor material to use.
Rubble pile made from cork doesn't look good.

Architecture Blocks or Modeling Blocks

A former colleague once brought in a model building kit because he knew about my interest in gaming. It had a bag of wooden building blocks inside and a bag of shingles. I have never been tempted to use the bag until I set about creating rubble. The bricks work wonderfully. My supply of them is quite finite though, but I’ll be glad once the bag has been used up. They are near the scale used in the Hirst Arts Small Brick Mold. I also glued some round craft sticks and painted them as rusted metal.
Rubble pile made from architecture blocks

Plaster Miscasts

When casting with Hirst Arts molds, especially earlier on, I would end up with a lot of pieces that were either too low, not having enough plaster, or which had a large piece of plaster on the top, because I had scraped the molds too late. You can sand or chip away pieces that are too large, but that’s a lot of work for a good brick or accessory. I realized recently that I could probably top off pieces that are too low, but have already saved many in a plastic bag. I also have the plaster from scraping, the plaster from the cup used to mix and pour it from, and plaster that dried on the spoon.

The look is the closest to Pegasus Hobbies’ product and is superior to the other methods. The variety of shapes in the miscasts gives just the sort of chaotic jumbled effect found in real war rubble.

Hybrid Rubble

Perhaps not surprisingly the best looking rubble comes from combining the architecture bricks with sprue and a lot of plaster miscasts. To me, these all meet or exceed my expectations for quality realistic rubble.

Conclusions

One of the things that I ignored as I went through creating my initial rubble piles was the fullness that real rubble has. There aren’t conspicuous gaps in the densest parts of rubble piles. Those areas would naturally be filled in. Both Terranscapes and Pegasus Hobbies get this aspect right. I think I will go back through on my earlier pieces and add plaster fragments to help fill in the gaps.

I also think that a small variety in coloration really adds a lot to rubble piles. I may add a few muted colors to the existing piles as well.

Moving forward on future rubble piles, I may include a few recognizable Hirst Arts pieces that are not miscasts or cut up a few panels from my Pegasus Hobbies Gothic line and strategically place them in prominent positions in the new rubble piles. I think a few IMEX Platformer pieces might also make their way into rubble.

Magnetizing Ork Killa Kanz

I love magnets. I love versatility. I love multiple points of articulation. I really do want to make toys out of miniatures. So as the years have gone by and more and more gamers’ miniatures feature magnetization, the possibilities have become increasingly exciting.

The plastic Killa Kanz kit has a wide selection of posing choices. At the very least, removing weapon arms is good in the event of weapon destroyed results on the Vehicle Damage Table. I also want to be able to swap out weapons so that my squadrons of 1-3 have the same loadout. I believe the arms can also be exchanged with the plastic Deff Dreadz’s. Part of my desire to magnetize them also was a mistaken belief that I could choose to have 2 Dreadnought Close Combat Weapons (CCW); having more CCWs is only an option for the Deff Dread, not the Killa Kanz.

The Evolution of my Attempts at Magnetizing the Kanz

1. Disc Magnet to Disc Magnet. I happened to have a disc magnet, a K&J Magnetics D41, that looked like a good fit for the socket. When I glued it in and one on a Dreadnought CCW arm, it worked, however the arm stuck out straight, but still rotated 360 along the horizontal X axis. At this point, I could have a variety of poses, switch out the arms for others, and remove them for Weapon Destroyed results. Pinning the arms would also offer the same three advantages. However when posing my Kanz I liked the variety of poses the ball-and-socket design seemed to offer, so I needed something better.

2. I knew that K&J Magnetics had ball-shaped magnets and ordered 18 of the 0.25 inch S4s, having measured the Dreadnought ball joints as having a diameter close to 0.25 inch. Once they arrived, I glued one in place of the plastic ball. And then I realized, after putting in on a Kan with a D41 in its shoulder socket, that the sphere magnets still have two poles. It is possible to get an odd side attraction, but there is repulsion from the other pole. Gravity also pulls down the arm because the attraction doesn’t overcome gravity and the joint has very little friction. Of course, I would never have the ball resting on the disc and not sitting in the socket, but I got the same results with a magnet disc inside the Killa Kanz torso.

3. I next thought that I might place a small magnet in a drilled-out hole at the bottom of the shoulder socket hole. Then I should be able to rotate the ball-magnetized arm around as needed. Fortunately by just putting one of the small magnets (a D21) near the arm ball magnet, I realized that this would not work either. The ball magnet was not going to rotate as desired. The issue became the sphere magnet having polar attraction. What if I used a steel ball instead?

4. After having no luck finding ball bearings at Lowe’s and AutoZone, I went online and quickly located VXB Bearings in Southern California. $3.33 later and I had ordered 100 chrome steel 0.25 inch ball bearings. After gluing a bearing to a Kan arm I was pleased that they were the right size, but dismayed because the magnetic attraction with a magnet glued to the other side of the socket, inside the Kan torso, resulted in a floppy arm. Even the simple disc on disc would be better.

5. My final solution was to keep the strong disc magnet pulling inside the torso, a D41 or D42, but to bore out the hole in the socket and implant a smaller disc, a D21, so it would be in contact with the steel bearing, but also have the larger attraction of the disc behind it. It worked! I now have Killa Kanz with fully rotating arms. The arms maintain whatever pose I leave them in.

Some Other Points About Magnets and CA Glues

I used HobbyTown USA Insta-Cure Cyanoacrylate to glue the discs into the arm sockets as well as to affix both varieties of balls to the weapon arms. I then had a very hard time trying to remove the discs which were a near perfect fit for the holes. While trying to make sure I knew how to pronounce cyanoacrylate, I had read the wikipedia article on the chemical. I recalled from it that acetone, found in nail polish remover, weakens the cyanoacrylate bond and kept applying some to the socket and eventually worked my magnets free.

The other point about using super glues/CAs is that the bond between the metal and plastic is incredibly weak. While I could augment it with some green stuff, the answer is simply to use care in handling the weapon arms with their steel shoulder bearings. When I bring them near a magnet, such as the ones in the socket, I need to apply counter-pressure to slowly bring them into contact. Similarly, turning the steel bearings in the socket is fine as long as it is done slowly and carefully. Jerky motions will just snap the CA bond off.

LITKO Industrial Tower System (ITS)

ITS Overview

I originally began with only one of Litko’s 3-Hex Industrial Tower System (ITS). The basic hexagonal design was refreshing. Unlike other CNC terrain manufacturers, parts are sent in individualized plastic bags with labels, already punched out.

Getting the Pringles can in through the laser-cut central holes was a bit of an effort and a very tight squeeze. I thought I might break something, but it ended up working. I saw enough potential to order three Base Plates and another 3-Hex tower. Using the ITS for games of Necromunda is a no-brainer, as well as for games of Infinity, Dust Tactics, Combat Zone, and Void. Of course, the ITS towers can also be used in larger games like Warhammer 40k, Dark Age , or AT-43. It is also industrial enough to fit into modern wargames, though I have never seen a stucture quite like it.

Assembly is a snap, quite literally. I haven’t glued any part of the ITS. To my eye though, a Pringles can is too short an object to be convincing as a smokestack or exhaust. I added two widths of PVC piping to create, I hope, a more convincing exhaust. There is more on the innards of my metal smokestack in the Youtube video.

Another thing I like about Litko’s wooden products is that they give you the parts that were laser removed. In the case of the tower system, it’s the 2.75 inch diameter plugs that were cut from the centers. The same is also true for their movement trays: you receive the base-sized wooden cut-outs. I love versatility and variability in my terrain, so being able to add the plugs back to the hexes for a larger playing area is excellent.

Floors are separated by 3 inches, perfect for Warhammer 40k. If you have the Pringles can in the center of the 3-Hex, you only have about 34mm clearance, so models on 30mm Dark Age bases (including Warmachine bases) are fine. Otherwise larger miniatures on 40mm bases like Terminators and Meganobz are too large. You could always arrange with your opponent whether they can walk around the smokestack or not.

Getting the Most From the Industrial Tower System

One way you could possibly use your product is having a rust-stained, dirty filthy hex tower. If you want a clean version of the same tower, just flip it upside down. The rusty dirty tower will then be on the bottom, out of eyesight while the clean parts are face up on your gaming table. Another variation of this would be to have industrial toxic sludge made with Water Effects tinged with paint on one side of the platforms, while the others were “clean”. You can get a lot of extra mileage out of “the Flip”.

I also like that a larger tower can be constructed in a second or two from two smaller ones simply by stacking them. The thickness of the wood is only about 1.75mm and not that noticeable if you decide to stack yours.

If you are using the Short Wall Sections, it is possible to have reversible pieces with decoration on one side and the other left plain. This is much more viable if you have the Pringles can inserted to block the internal view.

Leaving off two supports creates a different feel to the tower. I can’t vouch for its stability after doing so, but it’s another direction you could take your build in.

A Few Drawbacks

As seen in the Youtube video, the tower sections cannot be joined up next to one another while still preserving the ability to install the short wall pieces. The supports can be turned inwards and then the hexes can butt up against one another, but then the wall sections do not fit in. They can imperfectly adjoin each other though and just be off by a centimeter or two. I don’t know that many buyers might want to adjoin them like I do, but it’s possible. I really envision six or seven hex stacks adjoining each other to create one mega hex.

The other related drawback that I can see is the design of the wall pieces themselves along with their pricing. To pay $9.75 for 10 pieces of thin wood is a bit much, especially when they don’t fit in precisely. Instead, the tabs used to hold them in place remain a bit conspicuous and there are gaps. When inserted, there is a 3 millimeter bit of vertical support sticking out past the wall sections.

Litko’s Shipping

Having placed two orders with Litko now, I must say that they have the slowest shipping times of any manufacturer I have yet encountered, Terranscapes excluded. An order placed on Jan. 1 wasn’t shipped until Jan. 24, while my first order was placed Dec. 12 and shipped on Dec. 28. In every other respect including their email list, website design, and wide selection of products, Litko seems like a burgeoning small business, but when the order is actually placed, I get the feeling that it is a one man operation.

Final Thoughts

As I’ve already said, I’m very pleased with how my 2 3-Hex towers have come along. The design problems are minor and I recognize their existence now and look forward to working within their parameters. I will be adding a few more 3-Hex towers and trying out some of the other wall sections and the railings, so check back for those in a few months.

Grey Knights lose again to Eldar, but beat Dark Eldar to a bloody pulp

Originally posted at vegasgamers.org.

From her perfect vantage point atop the agri-silo, the Autarch rained down missile death on the Grey Knights, but paused when her name and gender came into question.

So Harry and I played our fifth small game a week or two ago. The forces were the same as the last game. This time we played table quarters and there were 5 objectives for my Grey Knights to wrest away from the Eldar.

Those damn Warp Spiders

Ah, look at the pretty Grey Knights below. Now let the Warp Spiders let loose on them and then we have not so many pretty Grey Knights.

Seriously as long as I continue to have nice bits of terrain for the Warp Spiders to hide behind they will haunt me. Also Dire Avenger Exarchs shooting 4 shots that almost never miss is a pain too. My squads really wanted to get their hands on this cool objective Harry made:

Witness how one Exarch can dominate and take control of the objective himself.

The game came down to troops choices and claiming objectives. Harry had a very intact squad of Dire Avengers claiming their objective. A critical moment was when my Justicar, alone and abandoned by his fallen squadmates was himself abandoned by the Emperor in close combat with the Swooping Hawks. He might have killed one of their number, but it was not enough to send them packing. I was indeed surprised when they Sky Leapt out of combat the next turn.

The last of my troops were killed in the games final turns and my Brother Captain was all alone to enjoy the spoils of a captured dead female Eldar.

So that brought my Grey Knights to 3-2 versus Harry’s Eldar. But Harry differentiates between his Amaris (?) Vertigo Tribe Eldar that I just faced and his Guardian-inclusive other Eldar.

Game 6: Grey Knights versus … Dark Eldar???

This morning Harry and I had planned on playing a 1000 point game. Harry planned, I just worked and worried about some other things I have going on. But I was also worried about what Harry might have added to bump his force up from 750 to 1000. I incorrectly reasoned that it might be a Falcon gravtank that he had finished and decided to proxy a Dreadnought armed with a Twin-Linked Autocannon and CCW w/Storm Bolter. Trying to get to 1000 points I thought: why not? And took an identical GK Dreadnought. I also took a micro squad of 3 Terminators, two squads of 7 GKs with Justicars, and a 5 man GK squad.

I noticed Harry’s Dark Eldar book out and he explained that why yes, this would indeed be the force I’d be playing. We rolled Annihilation and table quarters and he let me go first.

Amidst explanations of Disintegrators, Splinter Rifles, Splinter Cannons(?), Shredders, Blasters, etc. my Dreadnoughts opened fire and blew apart two of his Raiders and I picked off a Scourge or two, I think.

The game essentially kept going that way for me. I lost the 5 man GK squad and the sole remaining member of a squad with a Shredder fell back for the rest of the game and along with his Drachon were the two last remaining DE alive. The Drachon took out 2 of my GK Terminators and was locked in combat with the squad’s Brother Captain when we shook hands to end the game.

Denying Armor Saves is very nice to experience! So is having most of your army around at the end of a game! :-p Phew.