Friday, 2 December 2016

Faces and bases

I’ve felt entirely uninspired the past couple of weeks (not helped by getting quite sick over the weekend), so progress on my painting has been extremely slow. I did manage to finish the latest batch of Bugman’s Rangers:
In the past I’ve experimented with a variety of techniques for painting flesh – from normal layering to wet-blending. While this has produced some nice results, it’s also slowed me down a bit, so I finally caved and bought a flesh wash. It’s not as smooth, but it’s quicker.

This brings me up to something approaching an actual unit (and it only took me a year!):

I think I’ll paint up another three troopers and then move on to the command unit.
For my next project, I’m going to paint some (seasonally appropriate) December’s Acolytes and Silent Ones for my Arcanist Crew. I’m hoping to play some Malifaux over Christmas, and I need a bit of punch.

The first step (after assembly – a non-trivial job when dealing with Wyrd miniatures) is getting the bases ready.

I use a texture roller from Green Stuff World, which works quite well. Just make sure to keep it very wet, or the green stuff will stick to it.
Afterwards, I make a light impression of the model’s feet. This does distort the texture a bit, but it helps with gluing the figure to the base afterwards.


Monday, 21 November 2016

A few thoughts on: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd Edition

When I wrote about the end of the FFG/GW relationship, I mentioned that I wanted to write something about Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd Edition (WFRP3). A post-mortem if you will.

Since FFG seems to have sold off the rest of their stock during the current Christmas-sale, now seems to be good time to actually do that write-up.

WFRP3 is without comparison the system I’ve GM’d most. It’s the system that got me back from a decade-long hiatus as a game master and in a way it’s the system that got me in to Oldhammer. But, as I mentioned last time, even though I respect the system a lot, I don’t really think it’s a very good one.

I’m not going to do a thorough A-Z-review. Other people have already done that better than I could, and it would probably end up as an unreadable mess anyway. Instead I’m going to write about some of the great ideas behind WFRP3; why they were great, how FFG managed to mess it up anyway, and what they could have done to make it better.
I’m going to assume a level of knowledge about the system, but otherwise you should check out some of the original posts about the game from FFG, where they go through the basic rules. Link.

Please understand that I harbor no ill will towards FFG in general or WFRP3 in particular. I’d gladly buy a WFRP 4th Edition from FFG and I think that they were brave to try something so radical. I just think that WFRP3 it too unpolished to really be as good as it could have been.
I should also mention that I’m approaching this purely from a GM-perspective. When I eventually switched to 2nd Edition, my players were very unhappy (they were having a lot of fun), but I felt that I was having to work way too hard as a GM under WFRP3. YMMV.

Several of my gripes can be answered with “just make up your own rules”. I know, and I did, but eventually you start to wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to just make up an entirely new system and be done with. FFG seemed to agree, and eventually made the much more polished Star Wars RPG, which fixes most (but not all) of my complaints. I’m not sure it would be a good fit for the Warhammer setting (it’s possibly a bit too simple), but it shows FFG’s dedication to learn and improve, and I’m sure a WFRP 4th Ed from them would have been even better. Sigh.

Onwards to the ideas:
1: Taking the rules out of books and putting them in front of the players
Why it was a great idea:
When it was released, WFRP3 caught a lot of flak for being “a board game dressed up as an RPG”. This is simply untrue, and I’m willing to bet that anyone who says so hasn’t actually tried it. It does look an awful lot like a board game though, with all the cards and tokens and whatnot.
While it might have been partially driven by the desire to sell some cardboard, FFG’s stated purpose was to remove the need to look through a bunch of books to find whatever little-used rule you happen to need at the time. Instead you simply had a few cards in front of you with the specific rules you need. What an awesome idea.
It also allowed them to make special abilities a little more complex, as you didn’t have to remember everything. You could just look at the card in front of you!
How they messed it up/it was messed up as a concept:
In a few ways:
1: Only giving you a single copy of each card (baring a few exceptions). What do you do if two of your players want “reckless cleave”? I guess you could photo-copy the card or have them share or whatever, but then you aren’t really benefitting from having the rules on a card, are you now? Might as well write it in a book then…
2: Say, do you like to play somewhere other than your dining-room table? Well, forget about that. You need space to play this. A lot of it. And forget about playing outdoors; A light breeze is just going to ruin your day.
Are you the GM? I hope you own the world’s largest GM-screen, ‘cause you are going to need even more space if you want to fit in your notes, monster cards, upgrade cards, action cards, health tokens, stamina tokens, progress trackers, and so on and so forth...

A reconstruction of the view from behind the GM-screen during an encounter. If you are thinking “holy cr*p, that looks busy”, you’d be absolutely right. And I’ve even left out the heap of dice, decks of cards and rulebooks you’d usually place on the front, so the players can reach them.

What they should have done:
Severely limit the amount of extra stuff needed and/or make it optional – you know, like they did with the Star Wars RPG.
Also, did we really need seven bajillion different actions? No, no we didn’t. In fact, it probably makes the game worse (see my point about combat below). Instead they should have made a manageable amount of different cards, but included enough copies of each.

2: Creating a fast, easy-to-use, semi-abstract range system
Why it was a great idea:
This is the thing that originally drew me to WFRP3. I never liked the way previous editions (or most other RPG systems for that matter) handled ranges, and WFRP3 has a system that’s just brilliant in its elegance with none of that grid-and-miniatures-based nonsense 2nd Ed relied on. I know, I know; technically you didn’t need the grid – you could use graph paper #burn.  
WFRP3 still needs miniatures/standees, but it’s much faster and less reliant on exact positioning.
Bonus great idea:
Creating these beautiful cards you can use to mark locations. Seriously, I could just sit and look at these for hours on end…
A small sample from my collection.

How they messed it up:
By failing to account for anything more complex than a three-way engagement (and even that isn’t very easy to do).
The system works great for “bandits burst out of the trees on each side of the road” types of situations, but eventually you are going to run into a “several groups of goblins are shooting at you from the first floor windows of the tower you are assaulting, while you are surrounded by angry wolves and the villain you are chasing is running away in another direction”-situation, and the system is just going to break. Bring out the graph paper. Even a simple bar-brawl quickly degenerates into an amorphous blob.
Also: Remember those beautiful location cards? Well, they made them so small that you couldn’t really see the art unless you picked them up. Kinda ruins the whole point.
What they should have done:
First of all they should have made the location cards much larger. Show that art!
Secondly, the system needs some options to take the more involved situations into account. The funny thing is that it actually works fairly well if you do use a grid. It takes away some of the elegance, but it’s still much faster than 2nd Ed.

3: Making combat fun.
Why it was a great idea:
Time to be honest. Combat in previous editions isn’t really all that fun. Shut up – no it isn’t. Critical hits are fun, but they only happen after half an hour of people standing around failing to do anything impressive at all.
WFRP has always been played in spite of the combat – not because of it. I think that’s partially why is tends to be drawn towards horror and mystery. Sure, you can have exciting combat encounters, but that’s usually because the GM has devised a way to make it so, and not because of anything inherent in the rules.
WFRP3 does have exciting combat. Players have more decisions to make each round, it’s not nearly as slow, and it’s just good fun to slap a card onto the table and shout “Reckless Cleave” you !¤”#$€2&!!!
And then throw a bucket of dice.
How they messed it up:
Three ways:
1: By making it less balanced than a two-legged elephant trying to stand up in a canoe.
An example: When I started GM’ing WFRP3, one of my players was a former MtG player of some ability. He made a troll slayer and immediately picked a combination of stats and actions that allowed him to do around 20 points of damage each round. That’s dragon-levels of damage from a starting WFRP character. The player wasn’t even trying to be an ass; he just picked some actions that seemed good together.
I don’t care if he’s a troll slayer – that’s just ridiculous, and it made designing combats very frustrating, as anything that could stand up to the slayer would be much too dangerous for the rest of the party.
What’s worse is, it sorta ruined the fun for the bright mage in the party, who had to work much harder and take more risks to do, maybe, half as much damage.
That’s just one example; there are a many broken combinations to be found.
The strange thing is that FFG, as a company, has a lot of experience designing card games, but it seems like they didn’t make any of their card game designers test the combat here. I’m sure someone like Lukas Litzsinger would have been able to remove the worst problems if he’d given it a look.
2: By taking inspiration from MMOs – specifically actions that recharge over time. MMOs are generally horrible games. They may occasionally have good world building and fun social interactions, but take that away and you end up with slow and simplistic action-RPGs, so why on earth would you incorporate mechanics from them?
Sitting around waiting for your actions to recharge is one of the least fun things you can do, and it’s not even a very good balancing mechanic.
3: The magic system, while interesting in theory, is horribly overcomplicated and almost a mini-game by itself.
What they should have done:
1: Create fewer different actions, but make d*mn sure they are balanced. Also, maybe include more ways to pacify an opponent without killing him/her/it.
2: Why not balance actions by making the more powerful ones cause fatigue and/or stress? That way, people might even use the “Assess the Situation” action (which lowers fatigue) once in a while.
3: Reduce the amount of book-keeping needed. I’m personally a fan of the 2nd Ed rules, but whatever.

4: Taking social interactions into account
Why it was a great idea:
I realize that this is an area of near-religious disagreement, but I’m of the opinion that it’s odd that many RPGs devote entire chapters to combat but wave social encounters off with a “do some role-playing and roll for fellowship”.
This is even mostly true of WFRP, where it’s a long-standing convention that you need someone who’s good at social stuff, in addition to the normal fighter/mage/rogue/healer quartet.
WFRP3, on the other hand, actually gives GM a framework for designing social encounters and a bunch of actions to go along with it.
How they messed it up:
By not making it explicit enough. I can make up a complicated multi-evening encounter on my own initiative, but sometimes my players just run into some random guard who they want to persuade to look the other way for five minutes. In cases like that, it would be really nice to have some firm guidelines, so I can use my brain cells for something other than figuring out how long the progress tracker should be (roleplaying said guard for example).
Also, if combat is unbalanced, social encounters are a horrible, horrible mess (if you follow the rules to the letter). Almost any social action is less effective than taking a simple skill check, which in turn is worse than “Steely Gaze”. All a party really needs to do is to have a strong (and therefore intimidating) character stare every social encounter into submission.
What they should have done:
I personally rewrote the rules to give some structure to social “combat” and make social actions more effective but only able to "influence" once per encounter. They should have done that.
I’ll post it, if anyone wants me to, but I feel like this post is already getting way too long.

5: Using components to make book-keeping easier
Why it was a great idea:
Tracking fatigue/stress with counters is easy and pleasantly tactile. Wound/disease/mutation/insanity cards are cool, and I really like how they did the front/back mechanic (a system FFG still uses). Progress trackers are, at least, not an awful idea.
How they messed it up:
By using it in places where it doesn’t make sense. Long-term effects are one example. 
Why is that, you ask? Well, let’s say that you are tracking the overall progress of a nefarious organization using an organization sheet and a counter. What happens when you are done playing for the day and need to pack up? That’s right; you have to write it down on a piece of paper (unless you are one of the ten people in the world who can simply let your games stay on the table when you aren’t using them). And then you might as well have written it down in the first place and saved the table-space in the meantime.
What they should have done:
Recognize what physical components are good for and what they aren’t.

6: Simplifying NPCs
Why it was a great idea:
I was continually amazed by how easy it was to convert older scenarios to WFRP3 on the fly, and a lot of that has to do with the simplified NPCs and FFG putting their stats on cards. Did the party just encounter a goblin? Pull out a “goblin” card. Is it a really tough goblin? Just put the “goblin” card on top of a “hero” upgrade sheet. Easy.
How they messed it up/it was messed up as a concept:
By (over)simplifying player characters as well. It’s mostly a problem of granularity. A character with a toughness of two is basically a dead-man-walking while a character with a toughness of five is extremely difficult to kill. That just leaves toughness 3 and 4 for the vast majority of more-or-less normal characters. Same goes for for the other stats. Two is (mostly) useless - five is overpowered.
Oh, and it seems like every NPC is fighting unarmed, if you compare their damage to the PCs’. Not a big problem, but you should keep it in mind.
What they should have done:
I’m not sure it’s fixable without reworking the whole system in a major way, but characters with Toughness and/or willpower two really should be made more viable somehow. You also really shouldn’t allow players to take any characteristic of five at creation (excepting ogres).
Now we are on the subject, maybe don’t use a point-buy system for character creation. WFRP has always been about embracing the hand you were dealt by fate and this just runs counter to that whole idea.

7: Disregarding the worst excesses of GW continuity and creating some good scenarios
Why it was a great idea:
Duh! Of cause it is.
Ok. I’ll get a little more specific:
Unlike 2nd Ed., WFRP3 is set before the Storm of Chaos event, which basically allows you to ignore the whole thing and run whatever adventures you want to. That’s nice. It also doesn’t mention of any of the really stupid later developments from the wargame (like demigryph-riders). That’s nice as well.
The “three tiers of economy” idea is really interesting and provides a great way to regulate the PCs’ relative wealth. Well done.
On the scenario side, WFRP3 includes the usual variations on cultists-in-a-Reikland-town/city, though it often mixes things up quite a bit. But in addition to that, we get some really interesting examples of under-utilized themes and places. Of particular note are the excellent The Witch’s Song and Crimson Rain (from the Omens of War supplement).
The new version of The Enemy Within is also a really, really solid campaign.
All in all, I’d say that WFRP3 generally has better scenarios than 2nd Ed and the two mentioned above almost rival the best from 1st Ed.
How they messed it up:
This is nitpicking, but it seems to me like they simply converted the 2nd Ed. prices to the new coinage-system. This is problematic because the 2nd Ed. prices were supposed to represent a post-crisis economy and as a consequence certain things are horribly overpriced, which doesn’t make any sense in the WFRP3 timeline.
Also, while I get the idea behind the simplified equipment list, it’s another thing that increases GM-workload in a game that’s already fairly intensive to run.
What they should have done:
They didn’t make any really big mistakes in this area, so no big changes are needed. Review the prices and provide a detailed equipment-list and you’re set.

I could think of several other things I love/hate about WFRP3, but this seems to cover the most important parts. As I said, I think it’s an interesting but fatally flawed system, though I should mention that it works better with low level PCs.
Normally I wouldn’t recommend that people buy it – mostly because of the seer amount of supplements you’d need to buy to get the same flexibility you got from the 2nd Ed. Core rulebook*.
However, if you can get a pdf of some of the scenarios, you could at least use them as inspiration for another system.


* Which supplements would I need, you ask?
To be honest, I think you need all of them (except the pure adventure-modules), including the hardback rulebooks, which include some very useful rewordings on some of the rules. The “vaults” are also quite nice to have – especially the Monster Vault.
You could maybe get by without Lure of Power and the dwarf supplement (if you don’t like dwarfs). Also, don’t buy the GM’s screen – it’s crap.

Friday, 4 November 2016

The small things

Just a quick update this week.

You may recall that I mentioned seeing the exceedingly rare Sigrid from DotR on eBay a while ago. While I didn’t get that figure, the seller also had a few other gems up for auction, most notably (from my perspective) Renate (which I didn’t get either) and this little guy:
It’s probably the single most expensive figure I’ve ever bought, though the price ended up being pretty much in line with earlier auctions I’ve seen for this particular model. The weak British pound helped, so at least there’s some upside to the whole Brexit-thing (from my perspective). Even so, I couldn’t afford more than one of the three figures I wanted, so I had to pick one and hope my bid was high enough.

The three-legged goblin is fairly pivotal to the events of the whole Enemy Within campaign, but the PCs won’t interact all that much with it (and that’s probably all I can say without spoiling anything). In that light, I probably should have gone for Renate, who can actually become a PC, but the goblin is just so iconic that I couldn’t resist it.

Friday, 28 October 2016

The gang

I’ve finished Cassandra.
Even though she isn’t the master of the crew, she’s supposed to be the flashiest personality, and the one most likely to be up in your opponents face, slicing it off, so I wanted to save her for last and make her really stand out. I’m not entirely sure I accomplished that goal – the red on her dress could have been better for instance – but it’ll do.

I’ve now officially painted my first Malifaux starter crew. Yay! 
As much as I enjoy my other little projects, it feels really good to actually finish something.


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Not dead – not dead

Uh – It’s been how long since I last wrote something? This time I can’t even blame some new Battlefleet Gothic-related product; I just never got around to writing anything.

I have been painting a bit though and am almost done with my Colette crew. I’ve already started a few proper Oldhammer figures (more dwarves), so if you’ve been holding your proverbial nose through all this new stuff don’t worry, normal service should be resumed shortly.

Here’s what I’ve done over these past weeks:
Now I just need to do a few finishing touches on Cassandra. That doesn’t mean that I’m entirely done with Malifaux though. I’ve played my first match with the crew, and even though it works reasonably well as it is (as long as you don’t have to kill too much stuff), it really needs some extra units to round it out.

In other (and much more Oldhammer-relevant) news, I saw this up for auction some time ago, and I just thought I'd show it to you:
It’s Sigrid from Death on the Reik!

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but this figure is so rare that I’ve never even seen a picture of it before, outside of the official flyer. I did place a bid on it, but the price reached a level I simply couldn’t justify (though not quite Kemmler-levels).

It’s a shame, ‘cause I really wanted it for my collection, and I’m not sure I’m ever going to get another chance, but that’s life I guess. At least now I can use the money to round out my Malifaux crew instead.


Thursday, 29 September 2016

All dolled up/Leviathan

I finished the first mannequin of my Malifaux crew yesterday.

As with the performers, I tried to stick fairly closely to the color-scheme on the box, but I weren't able to mix a purple/pink that was as vibrant as the artwork. I’ve ordered a Vallejo “pink” (along with a bunch of other stuff), but I didn’t feel like waiting for it to arrive, so the figure ended up with a dress and leggings in a much more muted shade of purple.

Combined with the grayish “skin”, it looks slightly faded-out besides the much more colorful performers, but maybe that isn’t such a bad thing. It is, after all, supposed to be an assistant.

If you look at the date of my last post, you might be led to believe that it took me about ten days to paint this figure, which isn’t the case. For all its tiny details, it was actually fairly easy to paint and has a simple, but attractive, three color paint-scheme.

No, the delay was, once again, caused by something related to Battlefleet Gothic, though this time it was the new(ish) mobile game Battlefleet Gothic: Leviathan.

For some reason, it seems to have flown under the radar; there aren’t many reviews out there at any rate. I’ve been aware of it for a while, but until recently it was only available on IOS (I’m an Android person myself), but I finally got started on the campaign last week, and immediately lost 20 hours to it.

It’s basically a near one-to-one adaptation of the board game to mobile devices and it’s actually very good. If you like BFG, you should like this as well, even if you will spend a bit too much time fighting the interface in addition to the enemy. It usually works though; once you learn what all the buttons are for.

The main part of the game is a campaign where you try to defend a star system against the advance of (surprise, surprise) Hive Fleet Leviathan. It’s very tense, and you’ll constantly be struggling to make your (painfully sparse) fleets be at the right place at the right time. I’ve only just gotten my first heavy cruiser, so I’m probably not even close the end, but it already feels like an epic adventure.

If I do have a criticism, it’s that you’ll spend all your time fighting Tyranids (though you can play skirmishes against imperial forces). The ‘Nids have a very specific playstyle, which in turn means that you’ll have to adopt an equally specific style to combat them (torpedoes… lots of torpedoes). It would have been nice to see some Chaos or Ork raiders to spice things up a bit. Maybe even some Imperial rebels (‘Stealer cult, anyone?), which wouldn’t have required creating new assets for the game.

Fighting all those Tyranid drones has made me reevaluate the value Cobra Destroyers however. Sure, those puny guns are utterly useless, but the ability to fire off a torpedo salvo (almost) wherever I want to is simply invaluable against escort-heavy fleets.


Monday, 19 September 2016

Dressing up

I’ve finished my second Malifaux figure. I spent way too much time on this one, but I simply couldn’t get the color of the dress right. The end result is acceptable, but not really my best work. If I ever go back and redo any of these figures, this one is probably the one I’d start with.

Here’s the finished figure:
I made another mistake in that I didn’t paint the black parts till after I’d done the dress and skin. Since they are such light colors, each slip with the black took several layers, and a lot of time, to cover up.

One thing that did work quite well was the legs. To give the impression of nylons, I painted them black, and then highlighted with black mixed with more and more flesh tone. I think the result if fairly life-like, and it didn’t take too much time to do.

Last time I mentioned that I’d had a lot of trouble painting the (very small) eyes after I’d done the skin, so this time I followed some advice from the internet and paint the eyes first. Doing what people on the internet tell you is usually an awful idea, but in this case it worked out very well, as I could get the pupils to look right first and then slowly define the shape of the eyes. It was much faster than the other way around, and I think that the end result looks better.

A few pictures of the process:


Monday, 12 September 2016

The FFG/GW breakup – a buyer’s guide

I case you haven’t heard, Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) and Games Workshop (GW) have “concluded their business relationship”, which means that, as of February 28th next year, FFG will no longer sell any of their RPG’s or board and card games set in the Warhammer and 40k universe . Announcement and a list of games this will affect here.

There’s no word about which side initiated the breakup, but my money’s on GW. Several of FFG’s games are quite new or in mid-lifecycle (especially Warhammer 40.000: Conquest, which is having a whole tournament season cancelled because of this) – games they must have put a lot of resources into and which they can no longer capitalize on.

This is a sad affair for at least two reasons:

One: Many of these games are very good, and it’s doubtful of they can or will be re-implemented in some form. This is certainly true of those games which combine the GW setting with original rules from FFG – akin to what happened to Heroquest and the Dune board game.

Two: In hindsight it’s fairly apparent that FFG must have known for some time that this was a possible outcome, and they have been holding off on creating additional content for some of these games. It’s certainly understandable (they’d essentially be throwing money in the trash), but it’s still a d*mn shame, as some of these games could have benefitted greatly from one or two expansions.

So, if you are at all interested in this, you must be wondering: “do I rush out and buy these games right now?”

It’s a fair question. As you read this, stock must be dwindling and prices rising. If you wait too long, you may not be able to get your hands on a copy (some of them are already very difficult and/or expensive to get hold of), but unless you have a couple of thousand pounds you don’t know what to do with, you won’t be able to buy everything.

Fortunately, I’ve played most of these games, so I thought I’d give a brief rundown of which ones I think you should pick up first.

Keep in mind that I have no insider knowledge whatsoever, so when speculate that something probably won’t be re-implemented and/or get more expensive, it’s just my assumption. Also, because I don’t’ want to repeat this every time, when I say that you “absolutely must buy” something, what I really mean is: “Absolutely buy this, unless you can’t stand the theme and/or type of game”.

With further ado and in alphabetical order:

Black Crusade (and the rest of the 40k RPG line, Dark Heresy, Deathwatch, Only War and Rogue Trader):
We’re off to a bad start, as these are some of the games I haven’t actually played. They are (loosely) based on the rules from Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP) 2nd Edition, and I’ve heard both good and bad things about them.

I did buy the Deathwatch book some years ago, but the rules seemed overly detailed, so I never played it.

In general, it seems to me that books remain more readily available, and closer to their original price, on the secondary market than games, so I don’t think you need to be in quite as much of a rush here.

If you are interested, FFG has some free introductory modules, including abbreviated rules, available for download that I absolutely think you should get your hands on. Look under “Support” on each game’s page. The Deathwatch one seems like especially great fun (it’s what made me buy the full rules in the first place).

Verdict: If you really want to GM these games, I guess you’d better get them now, but otherwise I’d wait. Unless you have a strong preference for some of the other themes, I’d go with Rogue Trader, which seems like the most versatile setting.

I own and really like this game, but it does take a surprisingly long time (and lengthy rules-explanation) for something that, at first glance, seems like a rather “light” game.

It’s a fun premise, and the game-play is unlike anything else out there, but it’s probably not going to be a fondly remembered classic.

Verdict: Get it if you see it on sale.

Now we’re talking. This is already a classic, and it’s the game that put Eric Lang on many people’s minds as a designer to be aware of. It’s a finely balanced, beautifully made and generally fun game.

The only minus (if it actually is a minus) is that it’s a game that you get better at over time. Expect cries of “Khorne of sooooo OP” the first couple of games, followed by varying cries of “Tzeentch/Slaanesh/Nurgle is sooooo OP” depending on who’s doing better at the time.

It has a single expansion that, while not absolutely necessary, adds some options to the base game and allows for five players. It’s also out of print and very expensive.

The game has been out for a while, so there are a fair few copies floating around, but since it’s so reliant on the GW background and based on original FFG rules, I don’t see how anyone can remake it without losing a lot of the charm.

Verdict: Buy it! Can you get hold of the expansion? Buy every single copy you can find and sell them for mad $$$’s (in fact, you should write me, so I can buy one from you).

A reprint of an old GW game. Quite simple and not all that good. Also, GW could probably just reprint it at some point.

Verdict: Skip it.

This is a real loss. Sort of a spiritual successor to the long out of print Starcraft board game, this is a deep, long and very thematic strategy game. It’s been (deservedly) well-reviewed, and was a shoo-in for a bunch of expansions. That would have been great, but it’s still a fine game as it is.

It's only been out for about a year and many people (myself included) probably held off on buying it because of the high price-tag, so expect stocks to run low quite quickly.

If I was a betting man, I’d say that FFG will probably re-implement it using their Twilight Imperium setting, but that’s fairly bland (if you ask me), so it won’t be as good.

Verdict: Buy it right now – unless you can’t stand the thought of a five hour long game (which is a fair position).

Aw man! This game has been out of print for a decade and only came back into print last year, and now it’s going out of print again. The humanity.

Before its re-release, Fury of Dracula was famously pricy on the secondary market, so it’s a fair bet that it’ll happen again. On the other hand, it’s one of the games where GW might also own the rights to the rules, so it’s possible they’ll make their own version. I just don’t think it’ll happen anytime soon, and I’m not sure it’ll be as good at the FFG edition.

Verdict: Buy it.

FFG’s version of Talisman set in the 40k universe. It’s quite fun – honest. They’ve managed to remove or improved a lot of the really annoying things about Talisman, while still maintaining the laid-back “just having a laugh with my mates” feel.

Pro: It’s like a better version of Talisman in a more interesting setting.
Con: It’s still basically Talisman in space.

There are two expansions available, though I haven’t played either.

Verdict: It the thought appeals to you, sure, why not get it. I’d probably wait for a sale or put it on my Christmas wish list instead. Maybe read a couple of in-depth reviews first if you are unsure.

A brutally unforgiving game of getting murdered by aliens in space. If you hate the thought of losing you should stay well clear, but otherwise it’s a nice filler on a game night.

Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game does a lot of the same things better, but maybe you like this theme (and it’s slightly shorter). Also, this game feels more complete out of the box.

There are four expansions to this game, but they seem to be out of print.

Verdict: Buy it if you see it lying around, but I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.

I don’t like Talisman (you may have guessed from my remarks on Relic). I know it has a following, but I honestly believe that people mostly like it because it gives them an excuse to spend a couple of hours with their mates and not because of any positive qualities in the game itself.

Also, it’s one of the games GW could potentially reprint, so it’s not likely to become a “lost treasure” like some of the others.

Verdict: Do you love Talisman? Well, you probably already own a copy, but otherwise this is the time to buy. Otherwise skip it (or go look at Relic instead).

A really underappreciated game if you ask me. FFG tried to make it a part of their tournament scene, but it never took off, so they put it on the back-burner. 

It’s still very good, even if it really could have benefitted from another two expansions to round out the different factions – which will never happen now.

One of the saddest casualties of this whole affair (though it might have been abandoned in any case).

Verdict: I think you should buy it. Just be aware that you need two copies of everything to get the most out of it. Might get expensive.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP 3rd Edition)
This one is a bit tougher. I have a lot of respect for what FFG tried to do with WFRP 3rd Ed, but ultimately I think they failed. I’ve actually been meaning to write something about the subject and it seems like I’d better do it soon: before it becomes totally irrelevant.

It’s actually one of the few cases where I’m fairly pleased FFG is losing the license. I love WFRP and FFG obviously weren’t going to do any more with the property any time soon. At least now there’s a chance someone else will pick up the torch (unless, god forbid, they change the setting to Age of Sigmar’s).

Verdict: Maybe pick it up, if you really like the idea and it’s on sale and you don’t already own one of the previous editions.

Actually, some of the scenarios are quite excellent, so if you plan on running WFRP (using any ruleset) you should at least pick up Omens of War, The Witches Song and the new edition of The Enemy Within, which (IMO) are the best.

I haven’t played it but I’ve heard reasonably good things. On the other hand, you’d have to invest a lot of money to really get into it, and it’s probably not that good.

Verdict:  I wouldn’t bother.

This one hurts me on a personal level. The game is sort of an evolution and mix of FFG’s Lord of the Rings and Space Hulk card games. It’s an excellent little game, but it could have been even better with a few expansions to give it some variety. I’ve written about it here.

Verdict: Get it, along with the two mini-expansions. Just be prepared to be saddened that there’s never going to be any more.

I never got into this, and now I’m glad that I didn’t. It must be a real sucker-punch to see a game that’s only just reaching maturity get cancelled in this way.

For what it’s worth, it’s supposed to be quite good, but, as with Warhammer Invasion, it would be very expensive to get the most out of, as you probably have to buy multiple copies of everything.

Verdict: Unless you’re just swimming in money, I’d skip it. If you are swimming in money, you could probably do worse than this game.

So, that’s my personal epitaph to a very fine line of games. Long live their memory.