Friday, July 15, 2011

Free loot!

One of my buddies is running a contest that YOU can enter to get free loot! 

This contest is brought to you by Darthburn, Lord of Gamers' Guild in Tennessee.  Not only is the gamestore beautiful, but he runs a contract painting business (Paint It Black Studios) that's well worth the price (trust me). 

Here are the rules of the contest:
  1. Make a video that describes what your favorite 40k army is and why.
  2. Send it to Darthburn.  He has a Youtube channel at this address:
  3. He'll choose the three best and award them with a fantastic prize!  Then, he'll choose three more and send them a drop pod.  So the top six spots win something!!! 
Please enter now.  Here's the contest posting, straight from the Lord's own living room!

Good luck, and Happy Recording!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Still super pumped!!!

On saturday night, I went to the game shop.  It was nearly 11pm and I was in the middle of movie-time with my family.  But I would not be deterred.  In fact, I'd even written it into my planner.  I walked into the game shop, watched the shop owner fidget with his Warhound Titan for a bit (that was a nice surprise), made small talk, and made my way to the counter.  The owner pulled out the very last book in stock.  He even suggested that I buy the limitted card set to go along with the book.  After agreeing, I purchased Storm of Magic and the Spellbook cards.

For this post, I'm gonna pimp the hell outta the Storm of Magic book.  I'll even let you know what my concerns are.  Overall, I just wanna tell you everything you need to know.  So let's get started:

Notice how the 'front' and 'back' of the book are flipped?

The first thing I noticed was, of course, the cover.  It has beautiful wrap-around artwork and uses a very cool new format.  Because the spinner for the Winds of Magic is three-dimensional, the book had to make room for it.  GW did that perfectly by placing it inside the front cover, and then making it fold out to the right instead of open to the left!  Ingenius.  The book still uses 'perfect' binding for the pages, but I suspect that the 'box' made by the cover will protect the pages better than sewed binding.  Again, ingenius.

Another great part about this non-traditional cover is the ability for a player to mark their page.  I was initially going to complain that GW didn't include a page-ribbon (or whatever that thing is called), but then I found that using the front cover was just as effective.  Imagine this:  the front cover is slimmer than than the pages, so it never reaches the binding or spine.  You can leave the front cover as a page marker and risk little damage to any part of the book!

But here's my favorite part about the cover- it's magnetized!  That's right, when you flip the front cover back down, a magnet inside the boards pulls the front together and holds the book closed!  This is quality, if you ask me.
It's pulling itself together!
I can't talk about the cover without talking about the most important part of the book- the spinner!  This is actually well-made.  The spinning-needle isn't loose in the hole nor is it too tight.  I have had no problems spinning while the book was held upright.  I don't know if GW did anything really special but I CAN say that this part of the product is far less chincy than I thought it would be.  Again, this is high quality if you ask me. 

The artwork inside is some of the best artwork GW has ever put out.  I gotta admit that I even saw some pictures in the book that weren't as...  Games Workshop IP as what I'm used to.  But all the artwork is still very dark, malicious, and downright scary- as fits the GW way!  I highly suggest picking up the book if you like fantasy artwork; it's that good.

I'd like to show off one particular picture from the book- it's, by far, my favorite.  Being a High Elf guy and having loved Dragons for longer than I've been able to read, this picture 'struck my fancy' immediately.

Notice my fingers?  That's a HUUUUUGE dragon.
On top of the fantastic artwork, GW made sure to include a photo of tons of wizards.  As soon as the rules start, every page's margin is decorated with various wizards from every race.  Of course they're well-painted.  Of course GW is trying to sell more models.  But let's be serious for a moment- aren't we all happy to just stare at beautiful models sometimes?

The rules for Storm of Magic games are simple: 
  • After deploying terrain, also deploy 4 or more Arcane Fulcrims onto the table.  They count as buildings and my be occupied by ANY wizard (even mounted on a Dragon!!!). 
  • Wizards on Arcane Fulcrims my change the Winds of Magic, utilize Cataclysm Spells, and gain additional protection.
  • ALL Wizards also know Cantrips.
  • When choosing an army, a player may include an ADDITIONAL 25% of their points just for Artifacts, Monsters, or Pact Allies.  There are few limits and every army has access to almost everything.
  • The game is then played as normal with some additional magic rules (TWICE as many dice and no casting limits!).  At the end of the game, the player that controls the most Arcane Fulcrims wins.

The coolest part about Storm of Magic is the ability of armies to include monsters from around the Warhammer world.  From the lowly Chaos Warhound to the mighty Emperor Dragons, they're here.  Check out the list to the right there.

In addition to being able to include all kinds of monsters, Wizards are allowed to use Cataclysm spells.  These spells are very powerful and can change a whole game if used properly.  Luckily, the casting value is usually very high so they should be rare.  However, SoM games give players tons of dice and even gives bonuses to casting based on the Winds of Magic. 

Speaking of the Winds of Magic, would you like to have a +5 to your casting value for that almighty Lore of Fire spell of doom?  Yeah, that happens.  Add your level, magical items, and any other bonuses and that Wizard will suddenly find magic a bit easier to toss around.  But be careful, many a sorcerer has passed into legend the hard way when he got just a bit careless...

Lore of Fire- for when you really gotta burn down that village.

The book isn't only cool artwork, some monsters, and some new spells.  It also has a couple of cool scenarios that really represent the Warhammer World at its best.  My personal favorite is Scenario 1:  The Mad Mage. 

In this scenario, two armies are clashing while searching for a Fulcrim.  Unfortunately, deep in the haunted forest where they've marched is a Sorcerer of great power that attacks anything nearby.  This scenario is great because oodles of models will die just trying to take the Fulcrim while still showing off the looney, chaotic universe that IS Warhammer.  It should also be noted that this scenario is great for newer players since you'll only need a few woods, a single Fulcrim, and one random Wizard model to play.  On top of being a simple mission, it's also a great distinction for the setting.  If I ran a game store, I might use this scenario as an Intro Game.  But that's if I ran a game shop...  :-)

Before I wrap up my final thoughts, I'd like to go a little 'outside the box' for a minute.  I know a lot of gamers that aren't simply Warhammer or 40k gamers, but play anything they can get their hands on.  In fact, for alot of my friends, GW games were not the FIRST games they were into.  SHOCK!!!  I know, but I'm one of them too. 

I have been an avid DnDer since '87 and that will always be my first love.  But I do love the Warhammer world alot.  I've spent the last decade thinking of a way to translate Warhammer into DnD.  I KNOW there's a Warhammer RPG out there, but I never really liked it.  It was too dry.  DnD has done a great job injecting ACTION into the rules (that's all 4E is, in fact), but there's no stats for monsters and races for Warhammer.  Every online adaptation I've found has been terrible.  The only answer I've figured out is Warhammer Skirmish (you'll find that in the back of the 5th, or maybe 6th edition rulebook (it's been a long time) as well as a whole booklet on scenarios and special rules (I even got credit in that booklet!  Go go gadget game publishing on my resume!).  In any case, the Storm of Magic book makes a fantastic 'Tome of Artifacts' as well as 'Monster Manual' for the world of Warhammer.  Any DnD-playin' Warhammer gamer should appreciate the hell outta that.

So let's get to the point with a couple of shots of the monsters:

 The cool part about the Chaos Spawn is that GW didn't just include the monster but also included the stats for the relevant Marks of the Gods as well as the stats for a monstrous Spawn!  This Spawn has 3d6 random movement, 2d6 random attacks, a Toughness of 7, and 5 Wounds!!!  If you are a Chaos player, then you probably have a ton of bitz from Spawn left over.  All you need is a basic body and some glue and I think this'll be monster that we may see alot!!!  I plan on using a toy elephant for mine...

For the longest time, there was a rumour that the Zoats and Fimir were going to make a comback into the Warhammer World.  Then, the rumour shifted to there being 'ally' units in the SoM book for armies.  As I happen to own five copies of Heroquest, I became very excited.  As it turns out, there is only these two creatures (neither of which I have).  But because I love you guys, I figured I'd post these pages so y'all can see 'em yourselves.

I do have some concerns over this book, though.  There are mainly two:
1.  The cheezy factor.  Including the rules for FW models such as the 4 Greater Daemons of Even Greaterness or the Emperor Dragon makes me think that the 'richest' gamer will win games of Storm of Magic.  I've fought Angrath AND an Emperor Dragon personally and there was nothing fun about it.  They killed me, killed me some more, and then killed the rest of me.  Why anyone would want to face such broken monstrosities is beyond me.
2.  There's a few monsters that aren't represented here:  the Thunder Lizard, the Roc, the Gorgers, the Varghulf, etc.  I understand that GW likes to keep things to release online later on, but c'mon.  Why do I have the ability to use a Stegadon in my army but not a Treeman?  It's not a huge deal, but it does seem odd.
But that's it!  Not alot to complain about, all in all.

To wrap it all up nicely:  I think the Storm of Magic book is well-worth every dollar it costs.  You'll still need to buy Arcane Fulcrims and may need to buy some extra monsters or even Wizards, but it's well worth it.  Here's why:
  • The setting is very enriched by these games.  Nothing says 'Warhammer' like your own Fireball blowing up in your face while a Manticore is also eating your face.   
  • The battlefield itself is affected muchly by the rules here, making objectives a viable victory condition.
  • The quality of the book, the spinner, the artwork, and the presentation is above the quality of anything ANY other game company has put out.  While still being a GW product, this book smacks of Fantasy Flight-quality.  And FF is never playing around with their quality...
  • This book is finally a comprehensive Bestiary for Warhammer, something that has been missing since 3rd edition. 
Moral of the story, GO BUY THIS BOOK!  And Happy Gaming!