Warhammer: Silver Tower Review

I have a hard time believing that I’ve never written a blog post on Silver Tower.

Back in May of 2016, Brandon wound up buying a copy of this game and trying to drum up interest in our local gaming group.

In hindsight, I now see that’s kind of his thing. He keeps buying into new games and trying to get the group into them: Silver Tower, X-Wing, Imperial Assault, Age of Sigmar, Shadespire, Destiny, etc. Now that I think about it more, they all seem to be either fantasy or Star Wars related. Maybe that’s why our game group has fallen out of favor with him?

Anywho, he bought Silver Tower last year and tried to drum up interest in the game. Now, I’d played Warhammer Quest before, back in the 90’s, so I was immediately on board. We also got some tepid responses from others. It wound up competing against other games at the table (including eventually another campaign of Star Wars: Imperial Assault), and it eventually died outright.

Well, I do like to complete things, so this summer I made a push to finish both our Imperial Assault campaign (which was an easy sell to those involved) and also our Silver Tower game. The latter eventually wound up being just Brandon and I grinding things out at his place over a couple of sessions with his Dwarf my my Elf.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about the game itself:

The Components
The models are standard quality for GW, which means to say that they’re fantastic in the box. They’re all great looking, and I’ve heard of people buying the box just for some of the chaos models inside it (originally I think it was the only way you could purchase most of the models–though by now I’m sure they’re available seperately). The cardboard is thick and well laminated. Literally nothing about the game comes across as cheap. Continue reading

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Deathwatch: Invasion Review

I don’t play video games much anymore. Back in the 80’s, I got fascinated with games like Wizards Crown & Phantasie on my Apple IIe. Later, in the 90’s, I got a 486 and played the hell out of games like Warcraft II, Quake, and even Duke Nuke’um. That eventually lead to the monstrocity that is Everquest. That game single-handed sucked away the better part of a few years of my life and caused me to swear off MMO’s completely.

Well, sort of. I held WoW off for a year, but eventually caved. I also played some City of Heroes and Warhammer: Age of Reckoning before remembering of my lack of self control.

It got bad for a while on my phone as well. Phone games are generally quick to play, but they’re always with you, so a couple of years ago I decided to delete all of the games off of my phone to increase my productivity, and it’s helped out.

Well, back in September, I went to a conference out of town that involved 14 hours of travel, so I figured I’d splurge and throw a game on my phone. The game I chose?

Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion. Continue reading

Finishing Our Imperial Assault Campaign

Though the blog is primarily focused with 40k and all things Games Workshop, game night around my house is anything but.  In fact, because we often have odd numbers of players, people that don’t bring armies, or just attendees that don’t play 40k, we more often than not find ourselves playing board games.

For those wondering, this is the number one reason why I struggle to get in 12 games of 40k per year.

Many in our group are big fans of Star Wars, playing games like Star Wars Destiny, X-Wing, and Armada.  I’ve dabbled in a few of those, but never actually purchased any of them (I figure I have enough sunk costs in 40k and Magic: the Gathering to justify playing yet another massive money sink.)   Well, one of them also went out and purchased a copy of Star Wars: Imperial Assault and even went to the trouble of painting it all up, so that naturally inspired a group of us to start playing. Continue reading

Tyranid Bastion Progress – All the Tentacles

I fudge a lot of timeline stuff for my blog.

TentaclesMy last progress report on my Tyranid bastion went live just last week, but I’d actually done that work back in February and shelved it until recently.  For anyone that reads my Frugal Gaming page, you would’ve seen that I actually made the purchases for green stuff & tentacle makers back then.  Of course, I’m under no delusion that anyone actually reads that part of my site, but it is there to expose how much of a fraud I really am.

Anywho, time has passed and the green stuff and tentacle maker (along with more sculpting tools) have arrived.  They’ve been here for probably over a month as well, but they took a back seat to <No Hobby Progress>.  In an attempt to buck the trend, I busted out the bastion again and started going to town with tentacles.

First, let me say that the tentacle maker I purchased was from Green stuff industries.  Apparently the version I purchased is no longer for sale (man, I must’ve purchased it right at the end of it’s life), and has now been replaced with the version 2.  I’ve heard about these devices in the past, and had a friend who’d tried them out, but never saw a need for one; however, a big empty bastion seemed like the perfect thing to cover with vermiculated tubes.

If you’ve heard that word before, that probably means you played Everquest back in the day–likely as a druid in the Plane of Fear.  I remember thinking it was an odd word when I played the game and wound up looking it up.  It meant “covered in worm-like markings.”  Sure, I probably used the word incorrectly above, but any chance I have to harken back to my days of nerdom past…

So the tentacle maker came and may or may not have had instructions, but I clearly didn’t follow them.  I just rolled up some green stuff and scrubbed it between the plates to see what it did.  I won’t bore you with too many of the details, but I will go through some of the things I discovered during my use:

  1. Tentacles (3)Water is your friend.  I found that the green stuff likes to stick to the plates, but if you just coat each one with a little water, they glide smoothly.
  2. At first I would just put the green stuff between the plates however I felt, and that works, but it does have the potential to make the corrugated lines less defined.  This is because the plates are designed to line up with each other.  If you use the supplied guides when making them, you’ll end up with the well defined versions.  If, however, you wing it and do whatever you like, the plates may not line up correctly and that seems to lead to the less well defined lines (and therefore more worm-like appearance).  Frankly, I like them both, but it was interesting to note.
  3. I apparently didn’t capture a picture of it, but if you alternate the plates so they’re facing different directions, you can get an effect that’s similar to an Imperial Termite’s drill bits.  It’s really kind of nifty looking, but not one that I was able to easily recreate.  I wish I’d have taken a picture to show you…
  4. Timing the putty is kind of important.  At first, I rolled up a batch of green stuff and just started going to town.  What I found was that it was very soft and lead to me accidentally touching it when working on other tentacles–it also meant that they stuck together a lot.  Alas, I only seem to have taken photos of the back of it, and the front of it is where I had most of my problems (I likely took the rear pictures because of this–the back just looks cleaner/better).  So what I found later is that it’s best to let the green stuff cure for 30 minutes or so before working with it.  It was much more resilient to my ham-fisted efforts after it had been given time to dry.
  5. Again on the timing, I think that you’re going to want to do this sort of work in stages.  Certainly if you’re building up a model with layers of green stuff, it’s best to let the base cure before adding another layer.  The same logic wound up serving me well here–even though I’m not really dealing with layers.  I found that the tentacles all started drooping if I allowed the model to stand up naturally, so I laid it on it’s side and worked in stages: front, back, & top.

Tentacles (2)This go around I didn’t do any changes to the model other than putting tentacles all over it.  Since it was my first time, I didn’t know what I was doing or where to stop.  I wonder if it’s a little over the top, or if it’s the right amount?  Frankly, I suspect that whatever you want to do is the right amount, but it seemed like a pretty good place to start.

Based upon the sheer quantity of them, it’s probably pretty clear that I had fun making the tentacles.  I’m also really happy with how it makes the armor plates look–they don’t feel as goofy as they did before.  I’m not sure if that’s really the green stuff, or the fact that the model has had several months to grow on me though?

My next stage will be working on some more detail work.  I’ll need to cover up the metal bits on the various hatches, plus I want to try to work in some more transitional elements between the carapace pieces and the underlying tree/volcano structure.  I wound up buying some more sculpting tools to help me out with that.

By the way, if you’re looking into purchasing a tentacle maker, I’d certainly recommend this one.  I found it via ebay, but noticed that if you buy direct from their website, it’s far cheaper.  Shipping is very reasonable, and fast (considering it’s coming from Europe).  Then again, if you’re local, you’re welcome to come borrow mine as well…

 

“Ultramarines: the Movie” Review

Back in 2010, Games workshop released a full-length digitally animated movie set in the 40k Universe called “Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie.”  Given that my chapter of choice is the boys in blue, it seemed inevitable that I’d own a copy of it.

Of course, I’m a cheapskate and didn’t want to pay MSRP on a GW item, so I put off purchasing it in the hopes that someone else would let me borrow it sometime.  Years passed and I almost forgot about it–well, until last year when Kurt was goodly enough to purchase it for me for Christmas.

For some reason, it took me almost a full year to actually sit down and watch the movie, despite the fact that it was sitting in a DVD case on my mantle.  It’s not because I was too busy, or insufficiently bored.  It was a little out of the way, so it was easy to forget about, but I’m sure it also had something to do with the reviews.

You see, everyone I’d spoken with who saw the movie generally said the same thing: if you like walking, you’ll love this movie!  Each person seemed to say that the movie largely consists of a squad of marines walking, and walking, and walking with very little action.  Some also mentioned the fact there was a landspeeder that zipped around from here to there, but almost nobody spoke of the action.

ultramarinesmovielogo-20170404-500pxAnd there’s good reason for that: despite being a movie set to the theme of a futuristic war-torn battle game, there really isn’t that much in the way of fighting.  The movie is really more of a coming of age story of a newly anointed marine into that of a captain.  Given that the average person playing the game, that seems like a questionable decision.  It would seem more likely that people who purchased the movie really expected to see more of an action flick than they did a movie about maturation.  I think that’s ultimately why a lot of the reviews are a little sour.

Overall, I think it was a pretty decent film.  Rather than go through a detailed review of everything, I thought I’d list a few things that I liked and a few that I thought could’ve been better improved.  Let’s start with the former:

Three things that I liked above the movie:

  1. The voice actors.  It took a little getting used to the fact that all the marines were British, but when you consider that’s where the game was born, it makes sense.  The level of voice actors that they got for what seems to be a low-budget movie was relatively impressive though.  I mean, General Zod from Superman and Winston Smith from 1984 (or, if you’d prefer, the bad guy from V for Vendetta)?
  2. The apothecary.  He was a stoic sort of character that really served as a role model as the young recruits developed.  He was especially solemn when extracting the geneseed from fallen comrades, and he had a cool light on his backpack that turned wherever his head faced (something that the actual model has, but I’ve never really considered before).
  3. Little things with big meanings.  It was subtle, but things that are often ignored elsewhere seemed to stand out as having actual value.  For instance, it was never spoken of, but they made an effort to ensure that the standard never hit the floor during combat.  As soon as one marine fell, another would wordlessly take up the banner and continue to fight on.  Likewise, fights themselves seemed to mean something.  Even when it was just a small skirmish between them and a chaos marine or two, spatter of bolter fire would cause real damage (unlike in the table-top game), and heavy-bolter fire was enough to take down a citadel.

And here are three things that I would’ve liked to have seen done differently:

  1. codexmarineThe graphics.  The graphics in video games are never as good as the cut scenes.  The graphics in this movie seemed more akin to those in the actual game than they did to those of the cutscenes.  Granted, the film is now 5 years old, but I don’t play video games anymore, so I’m basically comparing it to games of that era.  They looked alright, but I would’ve have been overly surprised to see any one of those characters walk into the original Morrowind video game either.  They also had some weird proportions on the marines themselves.  In particular, the backpacks and the helmets looked out of place, both were too tall and narrow.
  2. The animation.  Much of it was decent, but there were a few things that really stood out.  In particular, the gait of the marines looked off.  Watching them walk wouldn’t have been bad if they walked at all normal.  Also, the banner seemed to stick out to me.  Though it was strung up on both the top and the bottom, it really never moved.  Seeing as the majority of the film took place on a desert planet wracked with windstorms, you would think that it would’ve moved a bit more.
  3. The flamer marine seemed to discharge his weapon an unnecessary amount as he walked around.  Having never been in the miltary, maybe this is something one must do to keep the weapon operational, but I think they just got giddy with the flame effect and wanted to use it more…

Overall, I think it was a decent movie.  It wasn’t a must-see by any means, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who wasn’t already interested in the 40k universe; however, if you are (and you must be, if you find yourself on this blog), and you can rationalize that the movie isn’t entirely about killing things, it’s worth checking out.  I’m not sure I’d buy it, but if you know someone who owns it, there are worse ways you can spend an hour.  And, if you’re local, feel free to borrow it from me…

Image Credit: All image copyright Games Workshop.