What I am digging in the Warhammer Universes

I am a really casual player… as beer and pretzels as they come. I would probably consider myself an assembler/converter first and a gamer a much distant third or fourth. I am happy with my approach to the hobby. I try not to get stressed out with all of the hobby stuff, it is supposed to be fun after all.

Games Workshop has created some amazing worlds between the realms in Age of Sigmar and the Universe in 40K. These two universes have me geeking out quite a bit recently. Let’s take a step back in time to set the mood.

About five years ago everything was stale and flavorless. Warhammer 40,000 was still on the precipice… as always… Space Marines continued to be the greatest of all things. Nothing was changing, the Emperor sat on his throne and the hive fleets never quite pushed into the galaxy and the Orks were always just beaten back and the Eldar were a dying race with the best tank, and the best models were produced by Forge World. In fantasy, no one was playing. The Old World was going on as normal and all the races fought and nothing much came of it. People had enormous armies and stopped buying new models. Games Workshop seemed stuck in a rut… they produced cool looking models at ridiculous prices and their CEO talked about GW as a luxury product with a luxury price. People were fleeing the hobby in droves.

Then something interesting happened. Games Workshop shook their heads out of their asses and blew up the Old World. They let the bad guys win and destroyed a setting they spent decades creating. It reminded me of when Steven King killing a bunch of characters in his epic The Stand. Kind would say he had written himself into a corner and needed to kill his characters in order to allow the story to progress. I believe GW did the same. They needed to create a new world for their fantasy setting and shake of the limits of the Old World in order to create a world in which they could really engage their customers with.

Then they brought the Primarchs back to 40k and brought the space marine chapters to the brink of extinction.

It has been glorious.

And now as a hobbyist I feel that both universes couldn’t be in a better place.

There are a few things that totally get me geeked out with the current setting. The increase in the detailed look at the weird stuff in the universe. Geller Pox infected showed us what can happen to humans who listen to the whispers of the warp and Rogue Traders give us a vision of the men and women who command the fleets in the universe, as well as showing us their unique men at arms. Men of Iron coming back to the fore and showing us that artificial intelligence is still out in the galaxy. The rebirth of the Daughter of Khaine into a force to be reckoned with in the realms. We are seeing the heralds of Slaanesh playing the harp of human flesh and beastmen have reemerged in every part of both universes (pestigors in Blood Bowl, beastman bounty hunter in Necromunda, Tzaangors, chaos beastmen in Black Stone Fortress). Throughout both ranges we have dynamic models that add range and depth to the universes. We are seeing far more female models weaved into the ranges, from the full armies (Daughter of Khaine) to the gangs in the underhive (Escher) and the female Van Saar models and Stormcasts to the Rogue Traders and Chaos Guardwomen in Blackstone Fortress. These additions are done without announcement or fanfare from Games Workshop but they all a level of depth to the universes they belong in.

Are these settings perfect? Of course not… there are some aspects that are difficult to engage with and are confusing. But that is for another blog post.

What are some of the things in AoS or 40K that have you excited?

The Bolter Hole Retail Store has officially opened for business.

Over the last week we have been bombarded with positive feedback and suggestions. The community in Bellingham has been incredibly supportive.

There are a bunch of things that have surprised me as well. I have been surprised by how many people have stopped by just to have a space to model and build and paint. We had set aside some space for people to sit and hang out, but I did not realize how important it would be for people to have a place to sit and hobby.

I have also been surprised by how immediate the response would be. While I have been thinking about running a store forever… there are so many day to day items that I did not think about: the volume of emails and messages, managing distributors, managing all of the social media (FB, Instagram, the website/blog). This is all before the ever increasing size of the to do list.

I say all of this to acknowledge that opening a store has been one of the greatest risks I have ever taken. There have only been a few times in my life that I have ever felt this excited and nervous at the same time… the birth of my daughter jumps out at me… and buying a house… but this business has so much potential to grow and do amazing things for the community. We are already starting to make plans for board game and Dungeons and Dragons nights, as well as bringing in additional games people have asked us to order.

It is all very exciting. If you get a chance, stop by 799 South Main Street in Bellingham MA, 02019 to say hello and check us out!

BolterCon is tomorrow!

I am pretty excited. Tomorrow marks the end of one journey and the beginning of another. Tomorrow the BolterCon occurs and it really marks the end of the “Preparations phase for The Bolter Hole.” I mean, so much has happened over the last few months as we have put all the pieces in place to open a retail store. The search for property was extremely daunting, from non-responsive realtors to property owners changing the price per square foot at the last minute to ridiculously high triple net prices… we were lucky to find a retail location at all. We ended up at a terrific location in Bellingham that boasts a Dunkins and a delicious pizza bar. One of the toughest parts of the early phases is just realizing how expensive it is to open a business in Massachusetts, fees and fees are piled up and I sometimes felt that we would never get off the ground. And please don’t ask about distributors or second hand dealers certificates… Gee Whiz! But here we are about 18 hours away from our mini-con with a location in place and a plan for a soft opening. So here we end the “getting started phase” and start the “open the doors to customers” phase.

Going forward from the event tomorrow we have solid plans to get our doors open as soon as possible to begin growing our gaming community. And truthfully, the growing starts tomorrow. We are excited to hold to BolterCon as an invitation to the future of our community. What you see tomorrow is just the first steps of what we hope will be a great adventure fulled with gaming, fun, and community. Ultimately, we want to make the store a reflection of the community, because ultimately, the community is the driving factor for the store. We want your gaming to be fun and comfortable, so The Bolter Hole will endeavor to be the best game store for the community. The BolterCon will kick off the first taste of many, regular events ranging from Warhammer Underworlds, Necromunda, KillTeam, Magic the Gathering, and many other games.

Let us know what you want and we will do everything we can to provide you with the product or experience you are looking for. Hopefully, we will see you tomorrow!

The Ork codex has arrived and what it means for long time ork players.

Let’s acknowledge that the new Ork codex is pretty amazing and it is going to bring in new players to the existing community like Nob Bikers did in 5th edition. And that is really good for the Orks. It is. I know lots of older folks will be grumbling about lots of young folks showing up in and jumping on the bandwagon… but more people buying Orks shows GW that Orks are an important army to keep planning campaigns and model releases for. So more players are good.

But I want to talk directly to those old school ork players, those folks who had scratch built battlewagons years before we ever saw an official model. Those Ork players who had units of skarboys from 3rd edition and those folks with the old metal dreads.

So let’s take a look at your collection. If you have been playing Orks for multiple editions, it is a good bet you have a bunch of stuff. Hundreds of Ork boys, both shootas and sluggas with choppas, well the good news is these units are now so much better. With the new ork special rules, the basic boy is now significantly improved. Worried about the 7 point per model cost? Don’t. Once you think about the overall benefit of the special rules and CP stratagems, the basic boy is much better than previous editions and significantly better than the index. A slugga/choppa mob with over 20 models is hitting on a 3+ and swinging with 4 attacks. Goffs are exploding sixes on close combat phase. Evil Suns are getting the additional 1 inch move. Want some Badmoons with shootas? Great! Exploding 6s on all hits and Badmoons reroll ones. Use some CP to make a Goff squad of 30 skarboys with Strength 5… or go with Snakebites or Deathskulls for some extra durability with your mobs. Or be sneaky Blood Axes with some free saves. Boys are suddenly a terrific option.

Now let’s take a look at the bad. The new Codex combined with the “no model no rule” business strategy for GW, we saw a lot of units left in the Index. Mega armored warboss? Index. Kannons, zapp guns, lobbas? Index. Big mek with KFF or bike mounted characters? Indexed. The codex dropped options for the DeffKoptas. I know this stinks. Especially for those of us who have spent years lovingly collecting and converting every single option for our Orks… But overall, the new options and rules more than make up for the fact that we lost a handful of options.

Back to the great stuff, like Bikers. Bikers are going to be a huge threat on the battlefield. With two Dakkaguns with assault 3 and strength 5, bikers are going to have a 32 inch threat range for a pile of shots. Including the Dakka Dakka Dakka rules exploding sixes and the speed freeks rule allowing assaulting after advancing with the Wartrike… and this unit is going to be a big part of any Evil Suns armies. This about mobbing up 12 warbikes with another unit of 9 at the beginning of the game and you have 21 bikes shooting 126 strength 5 shots at any unit within 32 inches (or more if you have Evil Suns) that explode sixes…. Ouch.   Add in the trike boss to keep them company and you are changing whatever is left over…

Two words. Grot shield. Need to protect your unit of Badmoon lootas? Just put a 30 strong grot mob within 6 inches.

What about those nobs? Can they get some love? Sure. They are going to get the same attack bonus with choppas. Add in a Waaagh Banner and Nobs are hitting on 2s with their standard strength 5. Ten of these fellas in a truck is going to be a real threat for elite units with the number of attacks before any upgrades to the unit.

Remember tank bustas? They just keep getting better. Tank Hunters rule and Bomb Squigs will make mincemeat out of enemy light vehicles and even heavy armor will need to look out with rokkits having a straight 3 damage. Or Stormboys? Guess what… stormboys deep strike now. In mobs of 30. Or Dreadmobs with units or Kans and Dreads. Close combat oriented Kans and Dreads will benefit from additional attacks with high strength and multiple wound close combat weapons. Battlewagons are now split into 3 different flavors. So you can mobilize your heavy armor in a way that better suits your army.

I could go on… but I don’t need to. Ork players that have been around will likely have everything they need to play their old army in a much more competitive way. This codex drops a ton of options for existing ork players. Create a list and you will see that it will perform better than Orks have performed in many editions.

The Joy and Pain of Fixing Miniatures

One of the joys of miniature collecting is that once you finish something, you put it down and it is complete. You get to bring it out and play with it at your leisure. But sometimes… sometimes a finished miniature needs a fix, and while fixing a finished miniature can be a pain and take away from current projects, there is a subtle joy in a small fix job. For example, while trying to take photos for Orktober, I snapped the plastic join for my Morkanaut’s close combat arm. Initially, I figured I would just need to glue the entire arm into place. But the size of the plastic join allowed me to get a large piece of brass rod to drill and pin it. So some hobby fixing had to happen!

You can see the initial damage in the picture below. I used a large rod to pop the piece that was stuck in the arm (going from the other arm hole… which took a hot minute). Then I drilled and glued a large bit of brass rod in order to hold the weight of the arm. After the pin had been glued  the most important thing was to clamp the parts together and walk away for a few hours. Letting everything set takes some patience but it is important. After a few hours I returned and filed the parts down to ensure a smooth fit back into the model.

Viola! The model is as good as new, ready for a Warhammer 40k game, and it was satisfying to the hobbyist in me looking for a little side project to break up the overwhelming amount of terrain I have been working on lately.

Oops

Drill Drill Drill

Clamp!

File and smooth the join.

How’s that feel, Little Fella?

Ready for the battlefield!

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Blackstone Fortress pics revealed!

GW just blew us away today with the new Blackstone fortress pictures they released. These will go well with the heroes set they had previously released. Here they are here:
blackstone2

Blackstone Fortress is going to be similar to Warhammer quest, a game for 1-4 payers to travel through one of the famous blackstone fortresses, a mysterious spaceship. Blackstone Fortress is going to be similar to Warhammer quest, a game for 1-4 payers to travel through one of the famous blackstone fortresses, a mysterious spaceship. Blackstone Fortress is going to be similar to Warhammer quest, a game for 1-4 payers to travel through one of the famous blackstone fortresses, a mysterious spaceship. Blackstone Fortress is going to be similar to Warhammer quest, a game for 1-4 payers to travel through one of the famous blackstone fortresses, a mysterious spaceship. Blackstone Fortress is going to be similar to Warhammer quest, a game for 1-4 payers to travel through one of the famous blackstone fortresses, a mysterious spaceship.

blackstone3

Here is a close up of that eldar. Just look at that right there now… jeeps! Isn’t that bonkers? This game seems like it will take forever to paint! Seriously, its going to be crazy intensive. It also looks like they will use it as a way to launch some plastic IG pseudo characters too – hopefully. Maybe they will go along with the guys from Rogue Traider and be a mini faction.