Thursday, 29 December 2016

End Year Review: 2016

So as I write this the news that Carrie Fisher died earlier today is still sinking in. Of course she is not the only original cast member to die this year. Kenny Baker was lost to us in August. It's odd, I'm kind of inured to Star Trek original cast members dying, even Leonard Nimoy was no great shock and I'd been saying he was next for some time (though I mourned his passing none the less for it). But Star Wars is a little different, Carrie Fisher wasn't even that old at 'only' 60. Still we must accept that all the original cast are getting old now and I'm sure we will lose more in the next few years to come, made all the more poignant by the continued relevance of the film series. I've just put on Episode IV: A New Hope, it seemed fitting.

To us she was royalty. 

I must also mention Wayne England, Inimitable and a giant in his field, his passing was a low point of the year. Such will be the same when other artistic masters leave us, as they are doomed to do one day. I'm still surprised that GW haven't done an Illuminations tribute. Surely they own the images.

SO tough to choose one picture of his but I have always liked this piece. 

With honours paid to the dead let's move on. Although 2016 has been a horrific year for celebrity deaths (Bowie, Rickman, Prince, Anton Yelchin, to name but a few) it has been rather a splendid one for the hobby. And I don't just mean GW. Many other companies have had a sterling year with some very exciting releases.

Fantasy Flight have released ships from Rebels and now Rogue One for Armada and X-wing, I think it's fair to say that they make enough from Star Wars to offset the losing of the Games Workshop license, although I expect it is a blow nonetheless. However, it was fully on the cards given the amount of standalone games that GW has been releasing recently. In addition I suspect that blurring the line between board game and miniature game recently may have forced GW's hand as FFGs output could be seen as encroaching on their territory more with each release. In addition FFG have continued supporting Imperial Assault and their usual eldritch horror line of games. They have also released the Doom Boardgame, I have picked this up and should be reviewing it at some point, the models in particular look terrific.

Hawk have managed to get Dropfleet Commander launched and started to fulfill the Kickstarter pledges. It's not all been smooth sailing though and they still haven't finished fulfillment several months later, citing all sorts of problems for the delay. Hopefully they haven't done too much irreprable damage to their reputation in the process. Damage control needed methinks over the next few months. I'm still waiting on one of my pledges myself, thankfully I am a lot more patient than some of the denizens of the Kickstarter comments board.

Speaking of Kickstarter, I am still waiting on Prodos and Marrow to finish their respective campaigns, this is three years on now so that kind of puts Hawk's delay into perspective. I also backed IDW's Turtles Board game (and forgot that I did so) and that is due in the next month or so, sitting in customs over the christmas period. Prodos must also be mentioned for purchasing and ruining the Space Crusade name in one fell swoop with a line of poorly considered and gratiously explicit models.

I'm no SJW but this is utter crap.

Wayland Games bought Wild West Exodus, I must confess I already play more than enough systems but I will be keeping one eye on events there, It will be interesting to see what transpires.

Jason Fairclough has expanded his fledgling Wasteman game, (which is a lot of fun, you should check it out) with two sucessful Kickstarter campaigns to expand the range and also a fee PDF expansion. With a fantasy version coming out soon, the fun is not over yet by a long shot.

Privateer Press launched new editions of their flagship games and continued their own move into plastic and there were a raft of the usual board game Kickstarters which I SOMEHOW managed to keep myself from backing.

This is the KS that came closest to breaking my resolve. So very very tempted. 

And to GW, the big one, and I think it is fair to say this was one of the best years the company have had in a long time. Certainly it was the one in which feelings of old were rekindled and GW felt like the company I used to love back in  the day. A relaunched and largely excellent White Dwarf, The superb antics of Warhammer TV, (The Sisters of Battle in a bin will be long remembered) the return of the Daemon Primarchs, The resurgence of Age of Sigmar, Overkill, Blood Bowl, Prospero Burns,.. the list goes on and on....I almost forgot the Genestealer Cult's return. It has been a sterling year for the big GW. Rowntree's excellent work continues. Let's not forget the return of GW to social media too!

Just one of a series of highlights from Games Workshop this year. 

And by all accounts this is only the beginning. Next year is 40k's 30th anniversary and it seems certain we will get an eighth edition following Abbadon's 13th Black Crusade. It looks very much like 40k end times and all sorts of things are being rumoured such as the return of loyalist Priamrchs and an AOS-ing of the rules. Personally I hope the core rules do not change too much, AOS is too simplistic for my tastes and I would hate to see 40K go the same way. A streamlining of the rules would be welcomed though, it would be nice to be able to play the game without referring to multiple books.

A peek at things yet to come? Nice hat.

And what about personally? Well, the Conclave website finally became unviable financially and I need to back up the content and get it archived on this very blog before the hosting expires ( I think I'll keep the domain just in case, however). The property I was looking to buy fell through (in more ways than one) and I ended up renting a much smaller (yet structurally compliant) place. Thus ended my dreams of having a dedicated gaming room, at least for the time being. Still, these things happen and I still have a corner for my painting desk and a table for gaming.

A little something to ease myself back into painting.

And speaking of such I have at last managed to relaunch my hobby, having played quite a few games (admittedly mostly boardgames as opposed to wargames) and get a bit of painting done. A small fleet for Dropfleet Commander and the start of my Heresy Ultramarine army. I have also done a lot of assembly for what it is worth. Sadly personal issues continue to impact my productivity and creativity so I have learned to be thankfully for what little I do accomplish. I got Dreadfleet out for a bash the other day though my ship was sunk by my girlfriend, and am half tempted to do a write up as I feel it was a bit harshly judged at the time. I really want to get the models painted too.

She only won thanks to her stupid lucky fox...

The excellent yet brutal Rogue One has dictated my painting for this week though. Imperial Assault has some very nice miniatures and after stumbling upon Sorastro's painting channel on Youtube I have been inspired to get the core set done, of course I haven't made all that much progress, true to form but the Royal Guard are done at least, painted this very day (edit - 3 of them are, I had a feeling there were four and indeed it appears I left one on the kitchen worktop. It won't take long though and I can use it to show progress shots compared to the finished ones.

Really satisfying to paint. Probably the last models of 2016

Overall my hobby year has ended on a high note and it is just a case of trying to continue and keep what momentum I have gained, I'll keep writing stuff for the Conclave as time allows and am planning regular games with Lee for the new year. After all, there is a 13th Black Crusade to repel and I don't think GW will be retconning this one.

And that is about it, When I first started writing this the Tantive IV was being boarded, now Luke has blown up the Death Star and is about to get his medal from Princess Leia.

RIP Carrie Fisher. May the Force be with you. Always.

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