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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Oath of Moment – The Dwarves no more shall suffer wrong – Part 1

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“The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.”

This time of year breeds resolutions like a fetid swamp spawns plague carrying mosquitoes. Gyms, health food stores and libraries get packed as legions strive for self-improvement after the decadent and sometimes soul crushing holidays. A newer better version of your life is tantalizingly close if you just change these small things, form new habits and check boxes off a list. Easy as can be right? Eat less, exercise more, be kinder, care less about work and more about friends, value experiences over things. Now resolutions rarely work, and often if you look back at previous resolutions you could just carry them forward year after year and nothing changes. Honestly, when you catalog what you don’t like about yourself, these are usually those things that don’t change, so you find some outward trait to attach meaning too. A month of pushing off hard in all directions, trying to do everything at once as part of the new you, crashes out, and by March you’re cheating yourself and by June you’ve forgotten all about it. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try though. This hard look in the mirror at the lazy bastard staring back at you is important, and can be quite positive, you just have to do it more than once a year. So this is the 1st of what I hope to be a monthly update where you have visibility into, and hold me accountable, to my gaming goals. Instead of just talking shit about all the things you should or could be doing, I’ll have to actually step up and produce. God help you. Continue reading

2016 Oath Of Moment Challenge aka My Yearly Attempt To Eat My Hat

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Painted up for me courtesy of Chris Mcgreevy. A GW oldhammer Red Redemption cultist, a Wyvern from Reaper Miniatures and a Barrow Warden from Reaper’s budget Bones line.

Over the past couple of years we’ve developed a bit of a Corehammer tradition that we like to call The Oath Of Moment. At the dawn of each new year we take stock of our respective piles of shame. With sober and unclouded eyes the participants in this cleansing ritual swear a solemn vow to make a significant dent in reducing said pile. More often than not these well intentioned boasts of change and progress fall to the wayside by March but for some amongst our number these Oath’s have motivated some serious hobby development. Continue reading

Unfinished Projects: Embracing the chaos of my mind

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If you have a hobby, you have projects. Honestly it doesn’t matter if you’re into miniatures, rpg’s, fishing, music, ridiculous cars or quilting, you always have things you want to be working on if you just had the time. Now the nature of our modern lives means we never have the time we think (or want) to move this stuff forward, which creates a backlog of unfinished, sometimes only dreamed of projects. This is the chaos of your mind. That disheveled area were wild ideas are left to roam. Now there are two methods of dealing with this chaos, especially in gaming.

  1. Complete each project you start methodically, focusing all attention and thinking on one thing at a time. Don’t even consider other creative endeavors until you’re at a finished stage on the previous item. When people ask what you’re working on, it will be the same thing as last time and you always complete what you start.
  2. Keep those dreams alive. Embrace your hobby wobbles and tangential flights of fancy filling your life with mental explorations of those things you’re passionate about. Love the chaos.

So if you can do method 1, congratulations, you’re probably a robot. Seriously, look at yourself hard in a mirror, try and remember the last time you got sick, have an expert ask you cross referenced questions about empathy with a Voight-Kampf machine, because you might not be human. If you can seriously tell me you never think about something new till you’ve finished the old, I don’t fucking trust you. This article is for the rest of us. Those that fall more squarely into method 2. It’s about the rich landscape of the mind and how planning projects, dreaming of armies/systems/terrain and games is an important part of the hobby that should be acknowledged and celebrated. Continue reading

Rage Of Sigmar or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

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5 months down the line after the great sundering of Warhammer Fantasy Battle, and the reverberations are still being keenly felt. The End Times was the herald of the new age, and the clue was in the name. Communities split, armies were shelved or even burned on Youtube, popular WHFB podcasts ground to a halt, and a torrent of rage was directed at GW. Some of the nonsense posted on forums and social media was so ridiculous a Facebook page was created to laugh at the sheer absurd nature of the finest comments, I give you the Rage Of Sigmar. So, where are we at now?

If you can look beyond the sheer negativity attached to it, and accusations of being GW apologists flung at anyone championing it, you will find that some people are actually enjoying the new game and setting. Games are more scenario-focused, with more emphasis on the narrative and scenery, and a better scope for alliances and mixed armies. These are things that I enjoy from the 40K side of things, with the tactical objective cards, and whilst kill points/push it forward were good for learning the game or a quick pick-up, they always lacked depth. Round bases and the loss of “rank and flank” has opened up modelling options with more room for elaborate poses and basing schemes, and a dynamic looking table. Simplified rules help avoid looking up endless charts and flipping back and forth through a telephone book. The depth and synergy can be found in the warscrolls though, and as you play more games you find there are tactics with things like order of combat, direction of pile-ins, retreating, and gambling on the double turn. If you don’t believe me, head over to Youtube to check out Ash Barker’s channel Guerrilla Miniature Gaming and you’ll witness some fun games Continue reading

Oath of Moment – Daemons of Nurgle Part 2

Quite some time ago (14th July 2014), I made an initial post about my Daemons of Nurgle project. Obviously, the moon has waxed and waned many times since. I’m happy to say, that they are finally finished (for now – everybody knows armies are never finished). In fact they were finished a while ago.

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Age Of Sigmar Book Review: The Gates of Azyr, by Chris Wraight

04-07-AoS-carousel-ppageA new game, with a completely new setting, means that we get boat loads of brand new stories and background. For someone who thinks the best slice of the Jervis Johnson Hobby Pie™ is fluff, I couldn’t be more stoked! So instead of diving right into the book review, we need some background. How did we get here, and who’s in the new world? Chaos won The End Times (again, the clue was in the name), and the Old World blew up, Sigmar clung to the metallic (hard)core, and was flung into the void. After meeting a celestial dragon, he founded a new realm of heavens/azyr, discovered that the 7 other winds of magic also had their own realm, and alliances were re-forged, plus there’s a 9th one for Chaos. Each seems to have remnants of the races from the old game, so there’s the narrative for you to use your existing collection. Anyway, as time is a flat circle, dudes fell out, Chaos went to war and conquered and corrupted said realms, so Sigmar went home, and locked the gates.

Which brings us the to this book, by the excellent Chris Wraight (author of Scars and Battle of the Fang) where we get inside the heads of each of the different units and characters included in the new boxed set, as this is a companion novel to the scenarios found within. Sigmar, with the help of Grugni, has forged an army of Stormcast Eternals, these are the new Sigmarines everyone is going crazy about, and they are at the forefront of the battle to reclaim all the realms from the foul grasp of Chaos.

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Self Reflection in the Age of Sigmar – Brinton Williams

imagesCAWPFW2YGiven Corehammer’s current propensity for causing minor upset to specific corners of the gaming community, we figured it was time to cement that position and add our two pence worth to the (R)Age Of Sigmar discussion. My man Brinton Williams of San Francisco, California, stepped up to the plate to lend a calm voice of reason to the debate that’s currently causing perhaps the most intense nerd-rage meltdown since Uncle George decided that Greedo shot first. Here’s what Brinton had to say….

So it’s happening…probably the largest shakeup in Warhammer Fantasy Battle in 20+ years (some could argue ever) and the Old World as well as the old edition we once knew has been blasted away and replaced by the folks at Games Workshop (GW). Age of Sigmar, released this week online and in White Dwarf (and this weekend as a boxed set), strips away so much of what was believed to be core to the Warhammer experience that it is difficult to see it as the same game. What is left is a remarkably streamlined and entirely odd release that bears examining on a deeper level, even if you don’t specifically play Warhammer Fantasy. The folks over at GW have extraordinarily pulled away all of the safety nets around the game, forcing a player to stop and ponder exactly what kind of gamer they are, and crucially, who they choose to surround themselves with. Age of Sigmar challenges the player to consider a much wider range of social and competitive engagement, and in doing so, has fulfilled a design direction that GW has been pushing towards for years (and some could argue since the beginning).
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