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.
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 →
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 →
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 →
After much procrastination we have finally got our finger out and recorded the debut episode of the Corehammer podcast, which I have dubbed Dungeonpunx. I had been wanting to try my hand at podcasting for a while but the opportunity to get the rest of the OG Corehammer mournival around the table on the regular was proving to be an impossible feat. Despite my best efforts, conflicting schedules, geographical hinderance and a generous serving of good old fashioned apathy amongst our ranks put the clappers on my plan for full media dominance. I sulkily resigned my podasting ambitions to the steadily increasing mountain of ‘that could have been cool’ ideas.
Regular readers may recall my crisis of faith a few months back HERE Increasing pressures from work and university as well as recently volunteering a couple of Saturdays a month to work with autistic kids have led to a gradual withdrawal from regular posting and editing here, as well as a re-evaluation of what I really want out of the hobby. And whilst my 13th Company have not graced a battlefield since last years Corehammer Christmas party, I HAVE been playing D&D 5th Edition on the regular for just over a year and absolutely loving it.
A change in personal responsibilities meant that I recently had to take a hiatus from my usual Wednesday night D&D sessions. In anticipation of this I set up a regular Sunday afternoon session with a group of close friends that were keen to give D&D a try but had very little experience of actual RPG’s. Being the only member of the group familiar with 5th Ed D&D I grudgingly found myself sitting in the DM’s chair and after a few clumsy sessions we have found our feet and really got stuck into it. The natural rapport that already existed between Boardy, Max, Ager, Tom, Connor and I translated well into creating a comfortable and entertaining gaming dynamic. It soon occurred to me that this gang of cocky dungeoneers could perhaps serve a dual purpose and so I revived the idea of starting a podcast with the rest of the crew as my conspirators & co-hosts and lo, Dungeonpunx was born. Continue reading →
Given 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). Continue reading →
When you spend over 300 quid on 5 books, the accompanying novels, a sweet t-shirt, and the net result is the destruction of the Warhammer world and 3 decade’s worth of fluff and literature, you have to question your sanity. The clue was in the name, they called it the End Times for a reason. Typically, the crybabies are upset, it’s all Matt Ward’s fault, and they’re firing shots from the cover of their keyboards. See this example directed at Josh Reynolds (author of the book 5 novel). So much rage, I’m guessing a new Chaos god of tears has been birthed
Punk: a style or movement characterized by the adoption of aggressively unconventional and often bizarre or shocking clothing, hairstyles, makeup, etc., and the defiance of social norms of behavior, usually associated with punk rock musicians and fans.
Of course, we all knew that around here, didn’t we?
A few years back, hobby blogger and all-round thoughtful bloke Dave G posted a very well considered post about the… not to put too fine a point on it, the saminess of the high-end paint-jobs that you see around the place. The point was not to deny the skill, talent and bloody hard work that goes into learning to paint the Serious Business way, but to ask whether we can or can’t and should or shouldn’t be doing something different, just because… well, you see one realistically-done lovingly-weathered pseudo-historical not-a-brushstroke-in-sight Khador army, you’ve seen ’em all. Is it good form to pursue the Golden Daemon or Cool Mini Or Not style, or is it better to follow your heart and realise your own vision?
It’s now been 10 months since I agreed to paint up some classic metal ‘stealers and Termi’s to go with a full set of Space Hulk tiles obtained from eBay. 10 months and I’m still not finished, although getting tantalisingly close. I’m the first to admit that I’m a slow painter in general, but this delay has arisen more from a lack of general painting inspiration than any physical slowness. There is however a new box recently dropped that once again has the gaming community abuzz with excitement, or at least has gripped those who missed the last limited edition run; and there’s nothing like a bit of communal excitement to get motivated and gather supplies.