My Dark Eldar warriors took first place in The Fang last weekend! I also placed third with a Skaven Warlord in the fantasy singles category.

Click here to see GW Stockholm’s Facebook album with the winners and runners-up. They’re posting one new category each day, so keep on checking back 🙂

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fuckyeahbritisholdschoolgaming:

FFFFFFFFFFUKKKKKKKNNNN XENOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111111

Ultramarines Special from White Dwarf 97, January 1988. They don’t like to talk about this sort of thing any more.

Lesser known fact – this article was originally submitted to the GW Studio (finger-spaced and in wax crayon) in 1987 by an infant Matt Ward.

This sort of blew my mind. So. Weird.

Check it out, it’s Power Metal about 40k! And it doesn’t suck!

Tad Morose’s ex-singer, Urban Breed, is an old gaming buddy of mine. We’re talking way back. My gaming group (age 14-ish at that time) introduced his gaming group (10 years our seniors) to 40k, and they introduced us to legendary stuff like Axis & Allies, Supremacy and Advanced Civilization. That, in turn, led to him writing songs about Space Hulk and Warhammer dwarfs. Check the embedded playlist.

Urban was also my first contact with competitive gaming. He’s a powergamer who takes delight in the intellectual challenge of gaming; boardgames, wargames and cardgames alike. In short, what I’ve become now. Cheers mate, it only took me 20 years to catch up!

EDIT: I messed up the video embed. Should work now, and here’s a playlist with more Tad Morose as well as a track from Urb’s next project, Trail of Murder.

Jervis Johnson versus the opulence

I like minimalism in design. I like Scandinavian furniture with clean lines and magazines with lots of whitespace. Sir Jonathan Ive’s philosophy of subtracting everything but the essential is wonderful.

I like minimalism in games as well. Carcassonne and Bohnanza are small masterpieces, distilled experiences boiled down to a few easily grokkable* mechanics. Adding more rules and variations simply doesn’t add more to the gaming experience (as shown by  many of Carcassonne’s expansions, which are just so much chaff).

At the same time, I understand opulence. Kitsch and weirdness have a purpose. Contrast against the whitespace can create texture and something interesting for the mind to chew on, so to speak.


James
and Lexington both wrote
about the undeserved bad reputation of the Dark Angels codex. When it came out, I absolutely loved it. I also loved Gav Thorpe’s Eldar and Chaos codexes. All of them focused on simplicity and clean presentation. The writers were seemingly conscious of the game’s basic mechanics and what the respective books represented in the greater whole. They aimed to reduce clutter and did so very effectively. To quote Lexington from his piece:

It was a model of elegance and restrained game design that promised a 40K which relied more on maneuvering and focused application of force rather than comic book explosions and squads min-maxed for the sake of obscene firepower.

What the books lacked, however, were evocative rules. The Internet was all aflame.

  
40k does not
aim for simulation or realism – not even within its own universe. Instead writers capture the feeling of the background history with abstracted rules. Large parts of the audience has come to expect the rules to be scenic in their own right. To exaggerate: a unit that doesn’t break at least one one basic rule is bland.

That is opulence for opulence’s own sake. It’s hard to balance and creates spectacle instead of competitive gaming. Not necesssarily a bad thing, if that’s what the audience wants – which it is.

Don’t get me wrong. I still like 40k. I think it does what it’s intended to do very well: giving us an opportunity to piddle around with model soldiers.

I’m just not sure it’s the game I want any more. I want to be competitive, in the intellectual sense. I want to be challenged. I want elegant design. When the choices presented are heaps of units and equipment, where there is almost always only a few competitive answers (within your local meta-game), that takes away from the creativity of army building.

  
I’m interested to see
what 6:th edition brings. I’m certain that the models will keep on being wonderful, and that I’ll keep on painting them. But games-wise, I’m losing faith. I find myself dreaming of a version of 40k where the Dark Angels codex represented the future.

  
* Making easily grokkable games is one of the most important aspects of game design, in my opinion. It’s also why I like minimalism. If you grok grokking, you know what I mean.

Nine projects I’d do if I had infinite amounts of time

1: An army building program for iOS. Then I’d sell it to GW.

2: An 8-bit RPG with a teenage hero who ends up as the bad guy.

3: A proper ruleset for LEGO: Heroica.

4: Learn how to draw.

5: Write a series of (six or seven) pulpy post-apocalyptic short stories, with a meta-plot overarching them all.

6: Adopt the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay mechanics for a skirmish wargame, à la Mordheim. I love card driven rules.

7: A deck-building game with tarot cards.

8: One of those boutique skirmish wargames that seem to spring up like mushrooms these days. We are in the golden days of miniature gaming, truly!

9: A dungeon crawling boardgame with the fighting mechanics from Blood Bowl.