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.
“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.
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).
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.
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.
Warhammer 40k is the most popular wargame on the planet, full stop. It is a sprawling franchise that encompasses novels, video games, a theatrically released film, RPG’s, board games and miniature games (that happen to dominate its industry). The grimdark future world created by the Games Workshop design team decades ago still captures the imagination of gamers across the world and drives sales of a massive product line and supporting hobby supplies. This doesn’t surprise me; the world of 40k (and 30k) is pretty fucking cool. Even as I’ve aged out of their core demographic, Games Workshops dark vision of space has a lot that can draw me back in. Powerful imagery, insane power struggles and every aspect of military cultures turned up to 11. Massive hive cities where 100’s of millions of inhabitants live on top of each other in Dickensian despair, in their midst hide alien conspiracies and brutal gang warfare. Powerful manifestations of chaotic gods pour forth from a rip in space and time so massive its swallowed whole planetary systems.A devout order of space fascists, sitting in a fortified monastery on a surviving chunk of their destroyed planet, secretly hunting traitors from their own order. This world is batshit crazy and insane in some of the best possible ways. It’s a Tolkien fantasy world ripped to pieces, thrown into deep space andstitched back together with a punk rock ethos, space opera drama and a heaping helping of gothic trappings. Warhammer 40k is without question the showpiece game of the hobby (for better or for worse). It is the most popular, best selling, widely known and most visible game of the entire wargaming world. Sadly, it’s a game that is still lacking in female representation, and that’s some shameful shit. It’s a world that quite frankly deserves female Space Marines.
“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 →
My name is Tanya and I have a bucketload of shame. I have many models, shelves full of them, but almost nothing is painted. I know, I’m a monster. As someone who doesn’t play tournaments and barely gets to play due to living in a relatively isolated community, painting has always taken a backseat to my other nerdy endeavours. I’m also a very relaxed gamer; I love to play but I do not care if my opponent needs to proxy some stuff, or his/her models also aren’t painted, and certainly I don’t care if marines are in mix and match power armour. Seriously, let’s just play! I’m a busy woman: I am training to play my first roller derby game, I am a full time pawn broker, and I have other hobbies too(like RPG night once a week, and squeezing video and board games in every once in awhile). That being said, I want to work on painting more in 2016.
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.
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.
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 →
“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
I was introduced to RPG’s at a reasonably young age by two little shits on the school playground. It was the very end of the 1980’s and I was an introverted 10 year old at a new school. At lunch I overheard two kids talking about killing some form of demonic wolf creatures that couldn’t be seen without a magical spell. Now being a fledgling fantasy fan who had watched the Ralph Bakshi ‘Lord of the Rings’ at least 20 times, this sounded supremely interesting. I edged closer and closer hoping to enter the conversation through some weird form of social osmosis, willing them to notice me. They finally stopped talking and looked at me in unison.
“What are you guys talking about?”
“Roleplaying” came the brisk reply
“What is that? Sounded cool.”
“We play a game were we’re warriors and wizards who kill all kinds of monsters and get magic. It’s called Dungeons and Dragons.” The words sort of escaped in a lazy rambling manner as if this was the most boring question I could have ever asked.
I conducted this interview with Joe Wilding almost a year ago, certainly prior to the devastation wrought upon the Old World by GW’s End Times storyline so apologies if it seems a little out of date. Joe has been a part of Corehammer since our inception and it has been my distinct pleasure to have worked with him on a number of small projects over the last couple of years. Joe is a hugely talented artist with an illustrative style that takes heavy influences from northern european folklore, occult horror themes and western esoteric traditions. You can find his distinct artwork scattered throughout the underground gracing posters, t shirts and fanzines and most recently he provided the stunning artwork for the new Unholy Majesty album. Feast your eyes upon his Ashen Host, a High Elf army on the cusp of betrayal and read what this peculiar man has to say. You can check out more of Joe’s incredible artwork HEREContinue reading →