Thursday, June 24, 2010

Change: What GW Can Do to Improve

Change, something that Presidents Clinton and Obama have preached about. Change is also what you have in your pocket after purchasing something with cash. This post will be about both types of change and how one type of change will effect the other type of change for GW.

The first item on the docket for change is fluff. While GW's fluff is nice and all, it has become somewhat stale the past few years. I understand that the 41st millennium is grimdark and all that but there has to be some type of major event going on to shake things up just a bit. GW could introduce something as minor as a Global type campaign (ie Medusa V or Eye of Terror) or something major, lets say a schism between the various Space Marine chapters or a rogue Inquisitor losing it and virus bombing a major planet (let's say Ultramar or Cadia). How about an Eldar craftworld suddenly showing up in the Sol System or a Tyranid hive fleet doing the same? How about some fluff written by some Black Library authors? I honestly feel that introducing a story arc along these lines of this will greatly increase people's interest in the game. It will make things more exciting and give GW a chance to trickle in new campaign books and units that everyone will be interested in. Also, if these story arcs work their way into 6th Edition, people will be extremely excited, and a lot of old retired players might come running back.

The second item on the docket for change is their schedule for releasing new models. Currently you have to wait for the codex to come out, then wait half a year to get units that are in the book that do not yet have a model (The Stormraven is a prime example). Some of you might say "well it gives us a change to kit bash and make our own". I understand this and I 100% support people to make their own, but what if the size or base you are using are totally off? I think GW should either state in the codex what type of base all of their models are on or take a page for Warmachine and include the rules in the box when the model comes out. By this I mean only have rules for units you have models for in the codex and introduce new units later on with the rules in the box. Granted if GW did this, no one would currently know anything about the Stormraven but consider this. The BA codex is out for 6 months, sales for the codex and troops have slowed down, when all of a sudden BOOM, here comes the Stormraven with the rules inside the box. People would flip out and interest in BAs would shoot right back up. If GW were to do this, they could also give old armies a little band-aid in order to keep them fresh and competitive until their new codex comes out. What if the Necrons got another troop choice that didn't fold in assault or what if Demon Hunters got access to a cheap transport? A small simple addition of 1 unit could make a huge difference to an army. I personally think that the Night Spinner helps keep Eldar fresh and give them a nice little boost to hold them over till their new codex.

The third and final item on the docket is support. GWs customer service when it comes to sales is top notch. GW takes care of you when an item you bought is defective. The support I'm talking about is on the rules side of things. Not to sound like a broken record but take a page from Warmachine and have a way for players to have their rules questions answered. Whether it be a message forum, email or even old fashioned snail mail. You can even publish randoms rules questions and answers in White Dwarf. Another change that would be nice is attempt to do more play testing for new rule books or codexes. Maybe even involve a few gaming clubs in the play testing (after signing NDAs of course). Changes like this will make GW's customer base feel that GW cares about their customers (a feeling that has been lacking as of late).

Now you might ask how will these type of changes put more change in GWs pockets? Easy, almost every idea I put forth will increase sales for GW. New story arcs and fluff (with the possibility of a campaign) will boost sales for new books and new models introduced here and there. Also the possibility of bringing backsomeone who stopped playing will be huge. Packaging the rules with new models for either new armies or old will increase interest in all armies, not just the flavor of the month, which will increase sales across the board. Having a Q and A column in White Dwarf will increase subscriptions. Making your customers feel like they are appreciated will keep them happy and make them buy more of your product.

Sometimes you have a give a little to get a lot back. Risks have to be taken because you miss 100% of the shots you don't attempt. Doings things just because "that's how we've always done it" is not the way to keep your business afloat.

Any changes you think GW should make or is business as usual the way you think GW should continue to conduct business? Are my changes stupid ideas or do they actually make sense? Am I just wishing GW to be more like Privateer Press? Sound off and let us know!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Order of Operations, or How Do You Write Your List?

List writing, probably the most important part of 40K. Without a list you simply can not play a game of 40K. Now I'm not going to talk about min maxing vs themed fluffly lists, I wanna talk about how you make a list, not what type.

Where do you create your lists? Are you the type that sits down and uses the old school pen and paper or are you the type that uses Armybuilder? I am the type that uses the basic text editor on my Mac. I just sit back, put on some tunes, light up a cig and get to work. I have contemplated getting Armybuilder but it's not available for Mac and I don't want to have to use my netbook all the time to make lists. I also wouldn't be able to use Armybuilder with home brew codexes. 

Now that we have the setup out of the way, let's get to the main point of the article. In what order do you write your list? I mean specifically is there a specific order you write your list? For about 95% of my lists I always start out with my HQs. I think this might be a force of habit because I'm a Black Templar player and it's mandatory to have The Emperor's Champion in any list over 700 points. Even when I'm making an Eldar list I normally start with the HQ choice. I tend to use Eldrad a lot and when I do I center the whole list around him because he is such an effective HQ choice. Now if I go with an Autarch, I'll still put him in first because odds are if I'm running one, I'm playing the reserves game. If I'm running a Seer Council I'll put them in first because they are the primary focus of the list, everything else supports them. Even if I'm running multiple HQs, I still normally put them in first. I'll throw a Chaplain in a LRC with a squad of 10 Initiates and 5 Neophytes so that way the whole squad will be rerolling to hit on the charge (Neophytes don't benefit from the EC's preferred enemy vow). Depending on the situation, I'll split the Chaplain off from the squad when they disembark from the LRC in order to take something else out (Leman Russ Squadrons hate my Power Fist Chaplain). 

I think the only time I don't base a list around my HQ choice is when I'm running a LRC full of Furious Charge BT Terminators with Twin Lightening Claws. They are such an effective hammer unit I have to be able to use them to their full potential, so everything else in the list supports them. 

I don't think I have ever really made a list where I put down my troops first. I have heard of a lot of people doing so but I guess I'm just different in that regard. Maybe there is still a portion of 4th Edition inside of me that refuses to let go.

So share you thoughts or techniques with us. Do you write lists in the same manner as I do? Am I totally missing the boat by not starting out with troops? How do you get in the zone to write lists? Does anyone start out their list with Fast Attack or Heavy Support?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thank God My Prediction Was Spot On!

OMFG I WAS RIGHT, HAWKS WIN IT IN 6!!!!!!!!!!! Check out the best radio call in Blackhawks History...

To show you how emotional of a moment this is, look at this video with my child hood hockey hero Jeremy Roenick

Granted I was not the kid he was talking about but I was 12 at the time and crushed when the Hawks were swept in 1992. In a way I felt that JR was talking to me and it hit me hard deep down inside and almost made me cry. This shows you how difficult it is to win the Stanley Cup, and it's no joke when people say it is the most prestigious and difficult trophy to win in all of sports.

To the Blackhawks, Thank you sooo much. I was there through thick and thin, when tickets were only $8 and there were only 5000 people in the stands, on a good night. I will be at the parade tomorrow celebrating my ass off!!!

I thought nothing could beat the White Sox winning the World Series in 2005, guess I was wrong.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Enough is Enough!

/rant on

For those that don't know, Games Workshop has just jacked up their prices in the US and the rest of the world (again). I could not find a list of official prices but this is the best I could find

Now a few things stand out to me. $90 for Assault on Blackreach?! I understand that it is a very good deal and you get a lot for the price, but isn't this supposed to be the set that get people into the game? This is now a 50% price increase from the original price of $60.

Onto the next thing that stands out, the price increase for Codexes. Keep this in mind, when you purchase AoBR you still need to buy a Codex in order to get all of the rules you will need for either Space Marines or Orks. Keep in mind the Space Marines Codex is still $30, but now with the price increase the Orks Codex is $29. Last time I checked the Space Marines Codex is almost twice as big as the Orks Codex, so what's their rational behind this?

Moving on, now let's say that you did the smart thing and split AoBR with a friend and you are borrowing a Codex from a friend of yours that is already in the hobby. What's the next step? Upgrading your army. Well the costs of each unit on average has been increased by $3. Ok that's not too bad but let's say you want to get a Land Raider or Battlewagon. Well the price of both just increased to $62! That's insane! My GF (who is currently building up her Chaos Space Marines) has been eying a Land Raider for quite some time. Now with this price increase she's not so keen on the idea of buying one now. I guess her Chaos Space Marines are going to be using a stolen Black Templars Land Raider for the time being...

The point I'm trying to make is that I honestly feel that the new price increases are crippling. They are crippling for players who:
  • want to get into the game for the very first time
  • have just started and want to flesh out their first army
  • would like to get a few odds and ends to complete their army
  • were considering starting a new army
The new player looking to start for the very first time might consider this already expensive hobby to be too expensive for their budget, and I wouldn't blame them. I'm glad I started when I did. The player that just started might not be able to afford to expand their armies to the sizes they originally dreamed of. Now the player who just needs a few odds and ends might just cut their projects short. I wanted 2 more Land Raiders to complete my Black Templar fighting company but at $62 a pop I'm thinking otherwise. Finally the player who wanted to start a new army (which is boku bucks for GW) might price things together and be turned off by the higher prices.

Now I understand that times are tough for GW and they are looking to make a bit of profit by increasing prices, but I know a lot of players who are getting sick and tired of this. I believe that just the huge price increase of AoBR will end up hurting GW in the long run because I believe that the $90 price tag will turn off a lot of people. I also find it ironic but very GW-ish to introduce Spearhead (which specializes in tanks) and at the same time jack up the prices on tanks, especially the new ones.

Taking what I said in my FLGS post and what I've just ranted about, GW is starting to earn a top spot on my shit list. As I have predicted on an earlier episode of Dice Like Thunder, I honestly believe that GW has about 5 years left before they go under. They still haven't recovered from the blunder known as Lord of the Rings and now they're trying to plug that hole, much like BP.

Both companies are British, coincidence? Sadly, I think not...

The other thing GW needs to worry about is people going elsewhere to satisfy their plastic/metal model habit. Most will go to EBay (I know I have recently and have saved a shit load of money), some will go to online retailers (The Broken Forge, The War Store, FRP Games, shit even Amazon has some good prices) and a few might even jump ship to another gaming system. Personally, Warmachine is looking pretty interesting to me and I feel their prices are more reasonable (full color rule books that update all the armies at once? sweeeeet!).

All in all, I really think that enough is enough! What are your thoughts on this matter? Am I on crack? Is there something I'm not seeing? Do you think GW's price increase will fail like Top Kill? Are you planning on taking your business elsewhere? Do you also think that GW's future is GRIMDARK? Feel free to comment away.

/rant off

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Support your local FLGS, but what if you really don't have one?

FLGS = Friendly Local Gaming Store. Most of us have a flgs that we frequent every week or so. Now I am a big supporter of small businesses so I avidly support the local flgs (in my case, Leisure Hours Hobby Shop). The problem is, Leisure Hours does not have any space at all for gaming. I've talked to the owner about it and he shot down the idea, which is kind of depressing. So instead I go out to the famed Chicago Battle Bunker with the rest of the DLT guys.

The Bunker is nice and all but I'm really starting to get tired of it. It has now become a spot where suburban parents think they can drop their kids of for a few hours (if not the whole day) while they go fool around with their personal trainers or Mailman or whatever. We were also told that we would have access to the annex of the Bunker because of our gaming club, which at time was was awesome. These days we are basically having to pull teeth in order to get to the annex we were promised access to. There has been times that we were told to play in the main room  because (paraphrased)your armies are painted and we would like new customers to see painted armies which would hopefully boost sales. Are we a marketing ploy for GW? No. Do we get a discount if you are using MY army to try to boost sales? No. All in all I am getting sick and tired of the Bunker.

As I said earlier, I am a big supporter of small businesses. The GW Battle Bunker is not a small business. Now, I have heard stories of independently owned gaming stores that are as big as the Bunker, stock every gaming system (not just GW), have tons of tables to play on, give discounts to regular customers and are open till the wee hours of the morning. I honestly don't think a store like this exists in the Chicagoland area. I have heard of Games Plus and Black Sun games, but they're at least an hour drive from my house, if not longer. I am greatly disappointed that the third largest city in the US doesn't have big independently owned flgs's.

If such a store existed in my area, I would do all that I could to support it because I know a store owner would appreciate the support and he would return the favor. GW just wants my money, that's all they care about. Because of this, GW has lost a huge chunk of my business to Leisure Hours and The Broken Forge. I still buy the random product at the Bunker because I do believe in buying where you play, but no where near as much as I have in the past. Now let's say I want to give another gaming system a try, if it's not GW I can't play it at the Bunker. Fuck that.

So how is the flgs's in your area? Do you even have one or does GW have a monopoly in your market? Do you support your flgs? If you don't have one, which online site do you use? How can I remedy my problem, start my own store with the guys? Feel free to speak your mind.