COREHAMMER FEST 2016 Review – Swinton so much to answer for

This is an article nominally about my trip to Stockport to attend Corehammer Fest 2016 in October. If you can’t be bothered reading the whole thing, it was a great time and you should go to the next one if you can. If you can be bothered slogging through my ramblings, hopefully you come to the same conclusion.

Corehammer Fest Flyer

“Come to the fucking North”

This was the response I got when I floated the idea that I’d be over to London in early 2015. Not exactly the warm welcome I was hoping. You see, for Americans, the UK wargaming scene is often seen as a sort pilgrimage to be made. The motherland where the hobby in a modern sense was launched, where the biggest and most influential companies are based, and where every field and lane probably has dead soldiers from some medieval armor wearing era buried beneath. But on this trip in 2015, I saw none of that. I did manage to meet up with one very special Stevie Boxall, who took a couple Californians to a British Mexican restaurant and a walking tour of brutalist London architecture, cheers. But that was the start, when I returned for work almost a year later I finally made it out of London and to the wonders of GW and Wargames Foundry (covered in a previous DungeonPunx Podcast, you should listen, but probably won’t) and was shown an incredibly warm welcome by a bunch of good dudes. That experience planted a brain worm that burrowed deep, and ensured I’d be coming back again, and would make gaming a priority when I did. So, when the dates came out for the October 2016 event, I said fuck it and plotted a way to make it happen.

What did I get myself into?

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Nerds on Film: Dungeons & Dragons, Roleplaying Games and Wargames in Film and Television – Pt. 1

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This article contains NO Stranger Things spoilers. Don’t worry.

Like a lot of people, I raced through Stranger Things on Netflix in a weekend and absolutely loved the freaking thing. Story, tone, setting, details and music all combined into a perfect warm broth of nostalgia and entertainment. I just wrapped myself up in it like a comfy blanket and enjoyed my time in that perfectly imagined world. Don’t worry, I’m not going to discuss any actual spoilers, but I will say there is some Dungeons & Dragons being played, and it’s handled pretty damn excellently. This made me ruminate again on a topic that crosses my mind every so often. How does the media, and specifically film and television, portray Dungeons & Dragons and roleplaying games in general? Are they laughing at it, honoring it, terrified of it or just ambivalent towards it? How has this portrayal changed over time? What trends does it speak to? And how does the treatment of roleplaying in these works of creativity and art reflect on the creators and the audience they’re speaking too? To answer these questions, and bore you kind folks to tears, I’m going to be taking a look at all the D&D in media I can, and waffling on about it because that is what the internet is for (well, besides porn, porn and cat videos).

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Corehammer Fest 2016

Things may have been a bit quiet on the blog front, but we’re still rolling dice, chatting shit and having a laugh, but it’s time we all got together for some fun, so we are proud to announce Corehammer Fest 2016. This will be at the newly refurbished Element Games NWGC and we have plenty of activities planned. Tickets are just £5.00 and limited to 40 places, so grab one asap from the Corehammer Munitorium . Details below the poster, but all will be revealed over the coming weeks

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Oath of Moment – Bad Moons part 2

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It’s starting to look like a real army now.

My previous update focused on the troops component of my 40K Bad Moon army so far. I cheated slightly in that a lot of them were units I mostly painted last year, then added a few extra guys. This time, I’m going to get into the slightly more snazzy stuff, all of which, I can assure you, has been 100% completed since I started this project.

Bad moon lootas

I hate youuuuu.

The lootas were almost responsible for completely torpedoing my enthusiasm for getting this army painted. I picked them up because they seemed like a good choice for the army, both rules-wise and fluff-wise, despite not particularly caring for the models (although I think they’re improved – from both a visual and practical standpoint – by popping them on 32mm bases), and I’ve definitely learned a lesson from that; from here on in, it’s purely models I like and am enthused about painting, regardless of their potential effectiveness. My attitude towards them soured further when I discovered what an absolute bugger they were to paint and assemble, two processes that had to happen in weird, overlapping stages because of how fiddly it would have been to paint them all in one piece. I think my mistake was assuming I’d be able to chuck them together and paint them as easily and quickly as regular boyz, meaning I got frustrated and impatient with them when that turned out not to be the case.

Because of my lack of interest in these guys, I’d initially painted them to a the absolute bare minimum standard I could stomach, based them, then kind of ignored them since the latter part of last year. When I was painting my big mek in January (more on which below) I decided, having got my head around what went wrong previously, to try and tart them up a bit. They were a bit more enjoyable once I’d initiated the necessary adjustment of attitude, and I’m reasonably happy with how they turned out with a bit of extra attention lavished on them. I can’t see myself looking to expand this unit in a hurry, though.

My first proper introduction to the 40K universe’s Orks was via White Dwarf 134 ,which contained rules for Ork mobs in Space Crusade and the feature on, and painting guide for, Andy Chambers’ first iteration of Waaagh! Ghazghkull. And ever since digging into that, and subsequently the colossal, bonkers 1st-edition Ork army books, the Bad Moons have been my main guys. (Seeing the pointy-hat-sporting Bad Moon models, from that very WD article, at the Corehammer Christmas Chiller was my own personal highlight amongst the onslaught of nostalgia the cabinets at Foundry subjected me to.)

It seems that since the start of my time away, when the shooty yellow guys were very much supporting cast to the dour, assault-focussed Goffs, the Bad Moons have had something of a reversal of fortunes and become the poster boys for the GW Ork range. However, I’m not really too keen on the way they’ve approached the paint jobs on the official materials; it seems to be a case of painting any available surface yellow – what always appealed to me about the colour scheme was the combination of the yellow with a darker colour, and I feel like there’s not nearly enough contrast, in terms of colour or hue, with a lot of what I’ve seen via official GW channels. In addition, everything looks too clean – skating a bit too close to the gleaming, primary-coloured 90s aesthetic for my liking.

Bad Moon nobz in mega armour

I’ve literally just realised I haven’t finished off the teeth on that guy’s banner pole. Rats.

As such, I wanted to paint up my mega-armoured nobz in a way that I found both more appealing, and more realistic (as much as an 8-foot, semi-robotic, fungus-based space monster can be deemed “realistic”), than the Tonka-truck vibe given off by GW’s take on the models (although I’m still far from convinced this vibe isn’t exaggerated further by the new, plastic kit – I limited myself to adding a few accessories from that kit to my existing, old-school metal versions). I’m pretty chuffed with how these guys came out – I think the yellow is sparing enough to provide some nice contrast with the grimy metal and darker armour plates. I’ve still got a few more of these knocking about, unassembled, so I’ll probably paint a couple more to add to the mob. I feel like one carrying an enormous banner might be nice.

Bad Moon big mek with shokk attack gun

Nice to have you back, pal.

For me, the Shokk Attack Gun was the ultimate encapsulation of the orks’ propensity for daft weaponry that could mess people up in a variety of hilariously unpleasant, and unpredictable, ways, and was a staple of most of my 2nd-edition 40K experiences. This meant I was delighted to see, upon returning to this army, that it had made a comeback. I was less delighted, however, to see the face on the new sculpt, which just looks super-goofy. Initially, I was contemplating a fairly elaborate kitbash for this model but, since I already have a converted warboss in the pipeline, I thought I’d just get an HQ out of the way and expedite the completion of a playable army. As such, I just stuck to a simple headswap, using the one from the plastic mega-armour kit.

I’ve a few more bits on the spreadsheet for the orks (63% competed at the moment, stats-fans), but I think this seems like a good point to give myself a break from them for a bit – I have a fully-painted, if small, army and Duggan’s offered to pop round soon and ease me into 40K’s latest ruleset. Also, I need to get cracking with my Frostgrave chaps so they’re ready in time for the forthcoming CH tournament.

To close out, here’s how The Spreadsheet’s looking.

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Not too bad, so far. If I can keep this up I’ll be well ahead, but I have a feeling I’ll be hitting a few speedbump models once I’ve exhausted all the easy options. Looking at you, mountain of Space Hulk Genestealers…

Choosing a Legion – Andy Hoare of Tales from the Maelstrom’s Emperor’s Children

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Emperor’s Children in black look absolute nails.

It’s been a while, but we’re back again with the What Legion series, this time Andy from Tales from the Maelstrom steps up with his Horus Heresy Emperor’s Children army. If you’re unfamiliar with his blog, and you’re reading this, you’re in for a treat. There’s a tonne of classic gaming and miniatures from the Rogue Trader era. This is an article that will take you down memory lane, back to flicking through those late 80’s copies of White Dwarf.

First up, can you let us know who you are?

I’m Andy, I’ve been a gamer since the mid 80s and worked as a games designer for Games Workshop, Fantasy Flight Games and various other companies since 2001. I’m currently product manager in charge of bringing the most beloved of the specialist games range to a new generation.

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Saga Figure Showcase: Viking Age of Quarrel

Last article I introduced the game Saga: Viking Age to readers. What I left out of my ridiculous and meandering prose was discussion of how to get your grubby hands on one of the most important aspects of any miniatures game, the figures. See, historical games are a little different than the current incarnations of Warhammer, Malifaux, WarhmaHordes etc… in that there are often times a plethora of miniature companies that make compatible figures, and there is no IP infringement or cease and desist letters on history. It isn’t always as easy as just purchasing the exact thing they show in the book, but with this added effort comes incredible choice on how you want to spend your hard earned stacks of cash.

If you’ve been primarily coddled by the sweet retail presence of Games Workshop or Privateer press, you might find sourcing figures for Saga a different (and sometimes challenging) experience. The purpose of this article therefore is to quickly discuss a whole host of manufacturers, what Saga relevant figures they’ll have and some thoughts on their quality. Its a primer, a showcase of this particular period and some of the best (and worst) the internet will throw up on you. This is not meant to be a totally exhaustive list, but as close as I could come to with the knowledge I have. About 95% of these manufacturers I own miniatures from, sometimes from the ranges I’m picturing, so while this is my highly subjective opinion, it at least has some false grounding in experience. Finally, I’ll throw in some good pop culture inspiration to get your mind working and ready to jump on board the fad train as it once again leaves the station. First however, I’d like to discuss a couple realities for those new to the historical miniatures scene.

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Oath of Moment – Bad Moons part 1

Since starting up on OoM towards the end of January, I’ve made some fair progress with the first stage of this plan – to finish off the bulk of the figures that I’d started painting over the course of 2015 but, for assorted reasons, fell by the wayside before they were completed.

Most of the models that fell into this category were bits and bobs of the 40K Bad Moon Ork army I initially started putting together way back in the days of 3rd and 4th edition, and I’d set about sprucing up and updating last year, following a decade-long break from the hobby. Also, several were additional members to add to units I painted the bulk of in 2015, so my first couple of  update posts seemed like a good opportunity to show off the army so far, and share some thoughts regarding what’s changed since I was last having a crack at it.

This time round, I’m going to concentrate on the Troops choices – these were always what served in the past as the biggest stumbling block to me in terms of staying disciplined about completing an army. I’m pretty pleased with having overcome this to a sufficient extent to have well in excess of the bare minimum requirement.

 

Bad Moon shoota boy

This is the only guy in the mob entirely composed of post-2005 bitz, I think.

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Saga – Introduction to that Dark Ages Mosh

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The first time they raised her she said, ‘Behold, I see my father and mother.’

The second time she said, ‘I see all my dead relatives seated.’

The third time she said, ‘I see my master seated in Paradise and Paradise is beautiful and green; with him are men and boy servants. He calls me. Take me to him.’

That’s right folks, we’re going to do an introductory article for a 5 year old historical miniature game. Here at Corehammer, we like to be only the most current and cutting edge with our content. Stay tuned for our Warhammer “The End Times” thoughts and possibly some rumors on a shadowy new edition of the game with talk of controversial round bases. Maybe a quick review of the first Avengers movie and bitching about Tom Hardy’s Bane while I’m at it. Also, did you know women can vote now? Topical. So why am I actually spending time introducing Saga? It started with a simple WhatsApp message from the frozen Nordic lands, “Did I hear you played Saga?” I gave some quick thoughts, praise and warnings back and went on about my day. But something about that little conversation stuck with me. I started thinking about the game again, how more people should be playing it, how it is such an interesting introduction to the historical miniature hobby, and how dammit, I want to be playing again. Some weeks pass and the fad light has been switched on (not by me) and my friends group were all looking to dive in for some sweet, sweet, Saga gaming. I quickly realized there is still a lot of information out there that is either missing, or hard to find, and is relevant for someone looking to get into the game. This means that even though the game was released a little while back, and was reasonably popular for a niche wargame, there is enough of a gap out there that makes it worth my frankly pretty worthless time to write up an intro. This first article will focus on the original Viking Age flavor of the game, a part 2 with shopping and figure recommendations and a follow up to cover those Mediterranean romps in the sun from Crescent and Cross. This ultimately will be my utterly cack-handed attempt at opening the vault and sharing my nonsense ramblings on what really is a superb little game.

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Weathering tanks for the 31st Millenium

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Up from the motherfucking idyllic coastal regions of Colchis!

In this article I’ll go over a few techniques I use to weather my tanks, these have been predominantly word bearers tanks so if you’re starting a XVIIth army then this is a good place to start. that said, the techniques are mostly things you can use over any paint scheme so worry not if you’re painting up a different legion.

The techniques are all military modelling skills, and will give your tank a much grimier, dirty look and feel to the bright GW/’eavy Metal schemes, if thats the look you’re after then theres going to be little of use here. If you want your tank to look like its actually just driven off a real life battlefield complete with dings, mud, smoke, oil, and burn, then read on.

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KickStarter Review: Wild in the Streets

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I’ve grown up surrounded by gaming dreamers. My school friends talked about making their own RPG for the entirety of our younger teenage years. Another group of friends attempted to make their own Warhammer 40k Codex and wanted to send it to GW because “maybe they’ll publish it.” After a number of contentious arguments and broken dreams that project flamed out with barely a page written. A totally different friend couldn’t read a gaming book without wanting to chop it, change it, or add comic book characters to it. When I had found a massive box of micro machines in my late teenage years, I filled up half a notebook making a weird racing/destruction derby game that would have been an absolute ball ache to ever play. This is but a shallow dip into the pool of stories I could tell, but what is most important, is to understand my entire gaming life has been filled with stories about new video game ideas, RPG’s, miniature rules etc… There is always someone at the game store, on the internet forum, hanging around the club or part of your friends group that has some idea “in the works.” What almost all of these have in common is that they never actually finish anything. This is the nature of things, what we’re passionate about one week might fade as the months go by, the hard work and real life issues pile up, or you just figure out that the great idea you thought you had, was actually pretty shit. Look, finishing stuff is hard. Juggling life priorities, especially as an adult is some damn tricky business. My jaded self has tended to just summarily dismiss works in process I casually hear about. I honestly just nod politely and mentally file them in the “never going to actually happen” section of my brain.

So when I first heard from friend of Corehammer Chris a while back that he was making his own skirmish miniature game, I have to admit, I was skeptical. So I need to quickly interrupt this post with an apology, time to stand up and say how fucking wrong I was, Wild in the Streets is not only here, but pretty damn fun as well. While I waffle on about games, Chris actually went out and made one. He’s taken that magical leap out of the soupy swamp of “dreamers” into that rarified air of “doers” and for that he deserves a firm handshake and some excellent San Diego Mexican food. Well done sir.

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So what is Wild in the Streets? It’s a fast paced miniature skirmish game where gangs of youth subcultures clash in quick and brutal street fights. What does that mean? You get to take a gang of goths and go have beef with those crust punk dickheads that are illegally drinking outside the club. Or maybe your working class skinhead gang has just been jumped by the devilish murder cult girls and need to use all your skills to not end up crushed under their high heels and hate. You can even throw all of the gangs on the board and have an all-encompassing melee punctuated by windmills, circle pits and goth dance offs. Wild in the Streets uses small gangs, a card driven initiative and event system and minimal setup and record keeping to throw you straight into the action. What this means is each individual figure (or group of figures) has a card that activates it. These are shuffled together and drawn, so you’re never quite sure who is going next and what kind of beating is getting laid down. Special cards, which is where a lot of the flavor of the game comes in, are also pulled out of this deck so can influence the game a little randomly. This creates an unpredictable and light game that moves quickly. This will never be a serious tourney game, or something you spend hours planning lists for, but there are enough of those games out there already. Seriously, if you don’t want to play a game where some crust punk lady is about to smash your face, but a free beer card comes up and stops her death blow as she chugs away…then you can probably fuck right off. The game is quick, can be hilarious and makes for great multiplayer.

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One of the most interesting things about this Wild in the Streets to me is how much I heard about it before ever playing it. Folks I knew would wander up in all kinds of settings and tell me how they’d gotten a chance to playtest it. Now hearing a bunch of nerd excited by new games is nothing all that original, we’re all about jumping into a new system as soon as the fad claxon goes off. What intrigued me about Wild in the Streets was the amount of usually “non-gamers” recommending it from our friends group. These weren’t the folks I normally geeked out about Warhammer with, these were civilians, and they fucking loved this game. It is easy to see why, when I finally got a chance to play it I found the game to be entertaining, relatable and quick to dive into. These things combine so that it makes it a great time for people who would be bored to tears with an average game of 40k. Trying to talk someone only vaguely interested in gaming into 4 – 6 hour multiplayer game where most of your shit got blown up turn one and you’re just hoping you get to do something cool while everyone else argues over inches and cocked dice can be rough. Grabbing a few friends, learning a page of rules and fucking up those sXe kids with your crust punks, easy sell.

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Look, regardless of how jaded I pretend to be, I have a pretty childlike and innocent view of how things are created. I still at some fundamental level think that someone, somewhere was so passionate about a product or thing, that they just sacrificed and created it themselves. I pretend that things started with that bootstrapped/DIY ideal and then just grew through hard work and smart choices. Now I’ve had the veil lifted a few times and understand most entrepreneurs are not necessarily passionate creators of that one thing, but instead, are passionate creators of companies. I now know that not every cool bicycle company started with some weird guy in his garage welding frames. That not every game bursts out of a designers unfettered imagination, but can be instead a carefully wrought piece of sales and marketing built to fit into an open niche or follow a market trend. What excites me about Wild in the Streets is that it fits that true DIY design ethic. It was built as a labor of love, and with a strong player first mentality.

In the end, Wild in the Streets is a quick play, easy to learn, skirmish game. It’s great for a group of friends to kill a couple hours and just have a damn good time around the table together. The game, at its core, allows for the creation of unique gaming moments, something different and possibly more entertaining than a bunch of Orks or “Space Fascists” smashing each other. And in the end, having those moments around the common campfire of the gaming table is what this hobby is all about.

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Available on Kickstarter Now! Get into it

Check Owain’s interview here!