Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hobbit Game by Games Workshop

The Hobbit Strategy Battle Game: Escape from Goblin Town

Crazy Gamer here to give you a crazy review of Games Workshop’s latest game, The Hobbit Strategy Battle Game: Escape from Goblin Town, from here on out referred to as The Hobbit.

Let’s dive in.

The rules:  The Hobbit is based on the original Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game, which is not to be confused with the War of the Ring games, also released by Games Workshop.  Whew, that’s a lot of titles.  Back to my original point: the Hobbit is essentially a new version of the Lord of the Rings games rules.  The rules are fundamentally the same as LOTR.  In essence, one player plays the good guys (in this case, Thorin’s dwarves) and the other plays the bad guys (the Goblin King and goblins).  Heroes and monsters have special abilities and equipment like their movie counterparts.  Players recreate the movie moments in six scenarios.

This is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg, but I will discuss that in the hobby section.

The rules themselves are easy to learn and are fun.  Most of the rules are identical to the previous version of the LOTR strategy game with some confusing elements refined.  What has changed are more sophisticated moving and shooting mechanics, shooting into and out of terrain, fighting behind obstacles, heroic actions, and monsters.  Monsters have been given new options to use that make them more tactical to use and heroes now have twice as many heroic actions that they can call.

The game has plenty of tactical decisions for players to make - just because the rules are easy to learn doesn’t mean the game is easy to master.  Players must balance the need to modify their dice rolls with calling heroic actions.  The canny player will be rewarded; the careless player will lose regardless of how mighty their models may be.  The game is fun to play if you give it a chance.

The models: Having played miniature games for almost 20 years, I am still amazed by what can be accomplished in plastic these days.  Even if we go back to 2001, when the original LOTR game came out, there were only a handful of poses and none of the models in the basic set were heroes.  The Hobbit game comes with all the members of Thorin’s company, all heroes, plus the Goblin King, 18 different posed goblins times two, plus Goblin Town scenery.  Each member of Thorin’s company is excellently sculpted in the likeness of their movie counterpart.  Thorin’s model has the option of his Oakenshield or Orchrist, while Bilbo can be equipped with Sting if the player wants it.

The goblins, thirty-six of them, are hideous, lumpen, grotesque critters.  The models are nasty, just like in the movies.  The Goblin King is large and imposing, bigger than a cave troll, not quite as big as a Balrog.  Goblin Town itself is functional and includes the goblin scribe and the Goblin King’s throne.

Overall, the miniatures are excellent, coming in at a little over $2 a piece for the collector’s set.

The Hobby: The one weak area of the Hobbit box game is its tight focus on Goblin Town.  All the scenarios revolve around that portion of the movie when the dwarves and Bilbo are in the clutches of the Goblin King.

This can be fun, but players will quickly want to explore other portions of the Hobbit movie.  There are miniatures for other parts of the film (and the other Lord of the Rings movies), but this will require purchasing the hardcover Hobbit rulebook and additional miniatures.

As far as what’s out there for you to collect, gamers can collect all of their favorite characters and can recreate all their favorite events from the movies and books – everything is available from both the Lord of the Rings movies and the Hobbit.

Overall – worth a buy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Warhammer 101 (Armies Fantasy Flavor) Vampire Counts

Vampire Counts

Crazy Guy here to write about another army article.  This time I will talk about the Warhammer Fantasy army Vampire Counts

Fun Fact, Games Workshop released the Vampire Counts army around the same time as the second to last Twilight movie.  Did GW do this to benefit from the popularity of the Twilight films?

One quick read of the Vampire Counts book will tell you this isn't the case. 

Let me write the Twilight saga if Edward (I cry that I know that) was a Warhammer vampire...

Bella walked to school.  She didn't much like the cold cloudy weather that assailed her as she made the short journey from her dad's house to the brick building that was her new school.  Although she wasn't thrilled with starting a new school she hoped her new classmates were decent.  Teenagers could be nasty if they wanted to be. 

Suddenly a darkness descended, a snaking black cloud to be precise, fell upon the school.  Screams could be heard, carried as it was, on the fell wind.

A figure emerged from the dark cloud, a pale figure on a monstrous dragon. 

Bella locked eyes with the man.  He is so dreamy she thought. 

The dragon descended opening its maw as it did so and swallowed Bella whole. 

The end

Warhammer Vampires are not broody emo guys.  They want to destroy the world with dark magic.

If you start a Vampire Counts you will have:

The worst troops (statistically speaking) in the game

Elite troops that are more expensive than other armies

Powerful, yet vulnerable, leaders

So why would you want to play this army?  Well beyond controlling an army of horror movie monsters yours is the only army (well, except Tomb Kings but they are also undead) that can get your troops back. 

Skeletons, zombies, ghouls, wights, whatever can be summoned back to the battlefield using Necromantic magic.  You will lose a lot of models, but unlike other armies you can get those guys back.

The army is considered a solidly mid range list.  You will be able to compete and be successful.  The range is largely new so you will not have to worry about new models replacing the models you just bought. 

Older kits that COULD be replaced soon include vampire bats, Blood Knights, the Black Coach, bat swarms, but that's about it.

Painting is pretty easy, kits are nice.

Be aware that a Vampire Counts army is MORE expensive then the average army.  Why?  Since you can summon models back and add models to your units that weren't originally purchased for the army you will need extra models.  Games Workshop's rule is once you don't have any more models left then you can't summon anymore. 

A note on Zombies:

I'll leave you with this, if you want to play this army and you don't play in an officially marked GW store, you may want to look into alternative companies for zombie models.  Mantic games makes a good set as does reaper miniatures.  The GW zombie kit is a weaker kit and isn't likely to get replaced anytime soon.  Just FYI.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Coming Soon!

Coming this week! 

My review of the Hobbit: Unexpected Journey Strategy battle game


Crazy Gamer Story TIme!

Check back for these fun articles.

Warhammer 101: Tools of the trade

Hello all,

Sorry for the long delay in getting back to you.  I have journeyed long and far to a strange land to partake in local rituals of consumption.  I traveled through arid desert where rocks teetered upon other larger rocks until they reached the heavens.  For long hours I thought that perhaps the whole world was nothing but dirt and sand but then suddenly a temperate climate appeared with trees, and grass, and, and... water.

But I am back...

In my Warhammer 101 series I have discussed several armies.  This time I will discuss several tools that every gamer needs. 

These tools are necessary for you to get the most out of your models.  Citadel Miniatures do not come assembled.  You have to do this for yourself.  If you make sure that you have the proper tools you will reduce your frustration.

First, you need a knife

No, no no

Not this kind of a knife, you're not fighting off pirates!  You need this kind:

This kind of knife is used to clean off mold lines on models.

What are mold lines? 

(Face palm)

See that line that runs down the models leg.  That is a mold line.  It looks bad in plastic, when you are painting it's even worse.  A knife will get rid of this.

It is also wise to purchase a set of small files.  These are good for metal miniatures primarily.  The metal will dull your knife quickly so files will save you money on blades.  You can use files on plastic miniatures as long as you are delicate with it.  Under no circumstance should you use a file on Citadel Fincast miniatures. 


Adhesives are a sticky subject (badah boom, I'll be here all week.) with different models needing different glues.  Let's look.

First- Super Glue

Super glue is used on metal models and resin models.  I advise that you use a super glue gel as pure super glue has the consistency of water which makes it difficult to work with.

Some things to note:

Less is more with all glue, but especially super glue as the more you use the longer it will take to dry.  Too much super glue will leave a white residue on your model. 

Super glue is strong but it will not hold a piece if that piece is too big or heavy.  As a good rule of thumb if the piece was thrown at you and you think it would really hurt, it probably needs something stronger.  Look for my advanced modeling techniques coming soon.

Usually warnings on products are just for stupid people, but as the wise man once said "There are two types of people who use super glue; those who have glued their fingers together and those who will glue their fingers together."  Watch what you are gluing, it will take only a second for your fingers to glue together and boy is it painful getting them apart (your knife is good for that also by the way)

Super glue WILL ruin whatever it touches that isn't your model.  Clothes, carpet, wood, plastic, whatever.  Make sure you use the glue in an area that has protection against the glue. 

2.  Plastic glue

This is a catch all for several different substances that are designed to glue plastic.  Games Workshop does offer a decent plastic glue. 

Some things of note:

Plastic glue will only work on plastic models.

Some types of plastic glue actually melt part of the plastic to create adhesion, be very careful to make sure that what you are gluing together actually should be glued together.  Plastic glued models are more difficult to break apart then metal ones.

Elmers White Glue

White glue like Elmers has a use.  Your models bases will need to be flocked or given sand.  In order to put this on your models you need white glue like Elmers.  There is no other modeling use for this glue so one small bottle will last you for a long time. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Warhammer 101: Armies (40k Flavor Grey Knights/Sisters of Battle

Welcome to another installment of my seemingly interminable Warhammer 101 series.

Grey Knights

I was originally going to consider the Grey Knights as another type of Space Marine army.  I have since changed my mind. 

To be certain, the crux of the army are Space Marines albeit Space Marines with unique weapons and abilities.  Grey Knights have the same stat line as a regular space marine, and the same armor save.

So what separates them from their generic brethren?

1. Terminators can be chosen in larger numbers.
2.  All Grey Knights are psykers.
3.  Inquisitors and their boys n toys.

Let's get to each of these in turn

1. Space marine Terminators are among the most feared of all troops in the 40k universe and why shouldn't they be?  Terminator armor gives the best save in the game (2+ on one six sided dice) allows you to use some truly fearsome heavy weaponry which because of that awesome armor you can still fire on the move (most regular guys can only hit on a 6+ if they move and shoot with a heavy weapon).  A regular space marine army can use 30 of these bad boys but with the Grey Knights the sky's the limit (well more likely the points value of the game will be the limit, but you catch my drift).

2. Psykers have potent abilities that regular troopers don't have.  Think of the Jedi force powers combined with more generic fireballs shot from hands, the ability to predict the future, and many can put their dirtiest dishes in the dishwasher without the need to pre-clean (okay, not that last one, no psyker is that powerful.)  Most armies have to purchase special hero's to get access to psychic powers, but Grey Knights have them as standard.

Before I go on to my last point, it should be noted that the above abilities come at a price.  Namely you will likely field a tiny army.  At 2000 points (a medium sized game) you will be lucky to have 40 models.  This really isn't bad or good, just don't be shocked when your ork opponent outnumbers you five to one.

3.  Inquisitors are CIA + MI6+ Mossad+ the ability to kill worlds all wrapped into one.

Here is a quote from one of these guys  "I carry with me an Inquisitorial Seal.  It is a small, unassuming object contained in a neat box of obsidian.  It is a modest thing.  Plain, adorned with a single motif and a simple motto.  Yet with this object I can sign the death warrant of an entire world and consign a billion souls to oblivion."

Inquisitors and their henchmen are human and set against the stats and equipment of the Grey Knights they may go ignored.  However they have key abilities and crazy equipment that you shouldn't overlook out of hand. 

Gregor Eisenhorn: Inquisitor


The Grey Knights are fairly new with a complete model range.  It is possible that GW will add plastic inquisitors and henchmen later but you can be confident that when you buy your models they will be in service for years to come.

On the tabletop:

Grey Knights are considered a top level tournament army.  This is a double edged sword so be careful, because they are seeing so much success now, many gamers are gearing their armies to be optimised against Grey Knights. 

The Sisters of Battle:

I'll be honest, I wasn't quite sure where to put this.  As of this writing, the Sisters of Battle are an independent army (at one time they were part of the Inquisition) that have a White Dwarf Codex.

There is some murmur that they will get their own Codex and new model range.  This is far from certain.  Currently the range is all metal, models that were originally released in the late 90's.  If you love the range then go for it, but don't be shocked if they never get a codex or new models.