I was considering putting this up in News and Rumours or in an article, but this will do I think.
Ok, so where does my epic tale of UK
Games Day 2009 begin? Well, right at the beginning.
At 5:45 am. I wake up, and am already cursing Games Workshop, Stagecoach and National Rail in equal measure. Sunday morning, no trains until 10, no buses until 8:15 and I live 45 minutes to an hour walking from the town centre. A bright and cheery start.
So, eventually I get to my local GW
, after taking a wrong turn in the dark(!) and on to the GW
coach for 8 am. We start off with a pleasant surprise, one of a local stores staffmember's come round with a bag filled with books they haven't been able to shift and tells us all to pick one. Very neat.
We also get given a wee A4 sheet with a 2 page 'story' by Nick Kyme about his Salamanders, I wish I could understand the significance of it, but it looks like it was a wee 'pre-credits' sequence to one of his new books or something. The name Hazon Dak
'ir mean any significance to anyone?
Alright, so, a bit of chatting and after a journey that seems way too long for the distance, we arrive at Birmingham to this sight.
This, ladies and gents. Is the short
So, our procession with another few coaches wandered round until we got into a giant, almost aircraft hangar. This is now the first of what will likely be many points where I apologise for the poor picture quality. There's just something about the building that completely wrecks my pictures. So, we get inside and we're around the middle. This was a picture of HALF of the queue.
So, my mate who was travelling down from Glasgow got in much earlier than me and managed to procure me.
Despite there being a limit of 500 copies, they supposedly still had some left from last year. Yeah... doesn't make much sense to me either. By the time he had gotten in (and he'd been waiting outside since 7:30), the mystery bags were gone though and there was a giant scrummage in the cheapo table. A confused phone call later, and I had agreed to buy a 'lord of the rings' poster for a pound. Uh..... Anyone want a 10 foot long wall banner advertising War of The Ring? Yeah... Didn't think so.
Eventually, about 40 minutes later and I think nearing to 10:30 we drumroll and.....
First stop, meeting up with my mate at the Hobby Zone.
Fortunately, I was able to get a seat and managed to walk away with
Admittedly, I wasn't really there to make a terrain piece, it was more to try to throw together something that could be used as a potential Hydra turret. It's not TOO bad for that function, I think.
The scrap demon table was mobbed, so I never got near that unfortunately.
Wandering over to the next hall, we came across two guys (late teens, early 20's, student looking) handing out small flyers for the ultramarinesthemovie website. Then, to my surprise, asked my mate for an interview about what he'd like to see in the film. He talked on for a few minutes about stuff, saying it was important that they didn't follow BloodQuests mistakes (the two guys looked like they had never heard of it) - having too many different sides and that they should keep it to a single, story, like the battle of Macragge or a fight against orks or whatever. They even made him sign a release form and stuff. So, if in a few days a Scottish bloke in glasses with black hair appears at http://ultramarinesthemovie.com/
that's my mate. If there's another Scottish voice heard off at the side, then that's me.
Next stop for me and my mate was the Forge World uh... Yeah, I'm going to stick with the word 'scrum.'
Picture 8 to 10 tables lined in a row, then throughout its whole length, 6 ranks of people charging at it in a disordered mob. Orcs would have been afraid of the sight.
And most surprisingly of all... Forgeworld was the site of the greatest deal of the day - and it seemed not too many people were interested in it.
Vultures for £30, Valkyries for £25.
Why? They were the resin models and they weren't allowed to sell them online so...
I bought 3.
Well, more specifically, 2 valkyries and 1 vulture. Then I got good ol' Hector and the Commissar on Horsie (I swear that's the models name!
) for good measure. Now, there's a little bit of a story here. See, I was a good boy for Forge World and made my reservation up for them.
Specifically, the thunderbolt pilot, Ork Skwadron commander, Ogryn with Dead Dude, Commissar on Horsie and the Death Riders squad, totalling £93.
I then got an email back from Forgeworld saying they were out of everyone except the Ork and Imperial pilots. So... On the day, I went to forgeworld, spent all my money on Hector and the planes, then went to pick up what I thought was 2 guys. And inevitibly, of course, I get to the reserves section (which yes, was NOT labelled, I had to overhear it was there from someone else
Organisers). There, to an awkward mix of elation and horror (wallet), the bag with my name on it was torn open, a sticker saying £93 stuck on it, and it was filled with... everything I had ordered.
Two hundred and fifty pounds (if not more) of stuff bought. Two hundred and fifty pounds. What oh what oh what was I thinking? Oh, and on top of that, I needed to update my White Dwarf subscription, where of course, I decided to get last years model.
So um... yeah. I'm insane.
Moving swiftly on from money stuff and my stupidity.
Next port of call for me, while my mate went to the design seminar was photo's. First off, the Battle for Heaven's Gate. I'll be honest, I wasn't THAT impressed by the 'heavens gate' itself, it was just a very tall piece of card glued round a podium with some bits stuck on it I felt. But the individual tables that made up the battles round the gate were pretty impressive. On one side, we had a Titan defending the front door. On another, Valkyrie reinforcements charging a stompa horde. Oh well, I'll let the pics speak for themselves. Again, I must take the opportunity to blame the lighting/hall set up. To quote Han, the picture quality is not my fault!
There were a few other impressive titans on the assorted tables as well.
And the most impressive of all.
Sadly, I completely frakked up the close up.
There was also a leviathan there, done by Games Workshop Glasgow I think. - Or, at least, it was sitting in their store half finished since about May.
One of the oddly funny things I found, was the complete loss of scale between all the different titans/models. Everything just seems to fall apart there.
Valkyries really were a big feature this year. As evidenced by
That battleship was really interesting though.
There was a really great 'Cityfight' style board there as well. I wouldn't mind having a few of these buildings made up myself!
As someone said... I feel sorry for those dudes in the tower...
The classic LOTR
boards were there as well. Think they've remade them since, or are these guys still kicking about from 7 years ago?
Both War of the Ring as you'll notice. I think there was a tiny section for the strategy battle game off in the hall someplace, lost amidst the warhammer historical stuff.
There were a few display boards set up too. Near the Dawn of War 2 area (which had a queue of folk lining to play it... I didn't even see if they were playing Chaos Rising or just the basic one). And yes, the Rhino had broken down, so it wasn't there. They did have some Blood Ravens on show though. Wonder if it's Relics own army.
I found this next pic quite entertaining too. It seems that the Space Puppies have stolen the Ultramarines thunder.
On the subject of Ultramarines, there was a chapter in attendance, and it WASN'T them... The Outriders Chapter.
Back to the Forgeworld section before heading off to Games Development.
First of all, we've got a played 'Forgeworld' based Game. Showing the reaver matching up with a Revenant titan.
Finally, for my last great pics I have what, personally for me, was probably the most impressive display. The Siege of Vraks.
I was originally considering on getting a Centaur, but it just seems piddly. So I'm glad I didn't spend the money. Small isn't the right term for this last pic though.
So, my friend was sitting on his butt in the seminar, hearing about how the Space Wolves, which were essentially already out by now, were awesome. Needless to say, he was not impressed with the seminar at least 'too corporately controlled' were his comments. I, on the other hand, seemed to be learning stuff by hanging round the Games Development area.
First of all. Jervis. Stood round his section for a while. I came to a conclusion. Everything he writes about in Standard Bearer. He really does believe it all. Every single word. I'm not going to quote him, mainly because I can't remember the exact quotes by now. However, a lot of what he was talking about was his belief to almost re-educate many of the players. He wants to promote the 'social hobby' focusing on telling a story, relaxing with mates. No matter your, or my personal opinions on this philosophy, that's his and his intents on the game.
I wandered round to Matt Wards next, and I'm a bit embarrassed to say this but I can't remember what he was talking about!
So, on to Robin Cruddace. He had a lot to say really and I stood there listening to him for a while.
One of the things he was talking about was the same sort of thing as Jervis. He was giving a bit of an example too. He was saying that there's almost a scale of gaming. On one end, you have a purely rules driven strategy focused, entirely skill based game like chess and on the other end, he said you have the roleplaying games, specifically mentioning Dungeons and Dragons. He was saying, "yeah, dungeons and dragons has like rules and stats and stuff in it but they're entirely just guidelines which are referred to occassionally, that the players will ignore or modify whenever they want in order to pull off something cool. We're kind of in a tricky position in 40k
with trying to straddle the middle and it's a fine balance to get right."
There was much talk about the tyranid codex too. He started off by saying he can't talk about specifics and it'd be available in "January or February" (now confirmed on GW
's site as January). Lictors were a really big topic as well which he talked a bit about on, again repeating specifics. He was however, quite amenable to talking about the issues with the current lictor rules.
"Well yeah, the way the rules for them work at the moment just doesn't make much sense with the current edition. Why would they be encountering 'dangerous terrain' if they were hiding in it all along..."
Continuing on, he talked about the design process a little.
"When we sit down to work on the new codex, we had a big pile of letters
with all the issues of the last codex in them. So we basically split it into 3 piles. Must-fix. Should-fix. Then a would-be-nice. Now, I won't be giving much away by saying the first pile was filled with Spore Mine and lictor issues. I think what we've done with the lictor is the best representation yet of their abilities. But then I would say that, wouldn't I?"
Someone also asked him "whether biomorphs are back?"
"Well, I can't talk about specifics, however, you should take a look at the 5th edition codexes, they all follow a similar format with their army lists. The tyranid codex continues the same way, so make of that what you will."
- I think that's games developer speak for, "there will be biomorph upgrades and they will take the form of the 'every squad member may take adrenal gland upgrades for +X points per model.'"
For Imperial Guard, he mentioned that when they were adding the new tank variants, the sprue redesign came first due to all the extra wheels and stuff that noone saw, they discovered they had some sprue space left over, so then the new tank types were added in.
Phil Kelly was my last port of call and he had quite a lot to say to people about stuff too! Where to start... Space Puppies likely.
He was talking a bit about the rules changes and things, giving storm shields as an example. He even apologised to Dark Angels players for their storm shields being... And I think this is a direct quote; 'pants'
He then said, the designers of the Marine codex and later on, him had a choice. Do they fix the storm shields, making them better, or leave them 'pants' in the name of standardisation. Ultimately he said, they chose the former, as otherwise they would be propagating the mistake for a whole edition and it was better to fix it there and then.
Someone then said, "couldn't you just FAQ
it?" I wasn't too happy about this, but he replied, "well... we could. But the thing is, we want a book to be a book. A new player starts an army, buys the codex, it isn't exactly good business if as he's paying for it, a staffmember then hands him a sheet of paper with all the 'fixes' for the book that he just bought."
- Yeah, didn't really convince me either. I think he did concede the point that FAQs
could be updated more frequently.
Another wee tidbit from him. "I only tend to work on one army book and one codex a year." Also, Robin Cruddace added that "the development for the Imperial Guard codex lasted a year."
Now, some good news, ish from Phil.
Phil Kelly would really, really
love to write
the Dark Eldar codex. He said that the work he was most proud of was the Eldar codex and he feels that him writing the Dark Eldar one, I can't think of the exact words he said but it was along the lines of, "it would be a great extension and conclusion of it." I can't understate the feeling I got from him about this, it's like he feels he was meant to write the Dark Eldar codex. Almost as if the Eldar one is an unfinished tale without their dark reflection being done justice. So, the good news is. Dark Eldar players really do have someone batting for them in the studio and quite heavily too. Secondly, from what Robin Cruddace was suggesting, if you want GW
to hear your opinions, don't whine on internet forums or write emails. Games Workshop pays attention to actual physical letters sent to them via the postie. If you want to be heard, that's how you do it.
And, the bad news. From Phil Kelly's talk, the Dark Eldar codex is not
So, with my talking to fowk over, and a stupid impulse buy at the end of the day of a second Valkyrie and a complete and utter inability to get anywhere near the Black Library stand until half the authors were gone and Sandy Mitchell's line was closed by a security person, I went to meet up with the coach party.
Stood on aching feet through the giant list of Golden Demon winners, with a screen where you could barely make out what game the models were for, never mind their painting. (Something looking vaguely like an Empire Handgunner won the slayer sword... I think.) Then it was bus ride home and another hour walk before finally home and me collapsing exhausted on my bed at the end of Games Day 2009.
Overall, a good enough day out I feel. And between the GD
model, the free book, terrain piece and free forgeworld shipping (plus the unexpected sale) I think Games Day was really quite a worthwhile investment for me and I hope you guys enjoyed reading my account of the day. Good Night folks!