Tag Archives: War Games

From Then to Now – Warmachine Changes this Edition

Last summer, Privateer Press released a new edition of Warmachine and Hordes. They probably rightly judged that this was enough change for the moment, and purposefully planned to give people time to play the new rules, try out all the newly redesigned models, build new and different armies…

They planned for about 6 months of that, with changes starting to hit in December. The changes represent changes not only to the game but to their fundamental business practices. And the changes have been increasing in speed and there have been some pretty big surprises for the community. So I want to try to keep this short and high level for if you don’t play the game, but oh man, there’s been a bunch of stuff. Thoughts!

Army Command Books

The first thing that we knew was coming was that Privateer Press changed how they were going to release new models. In the past, they had released what they called “anthology books,” full of new story pieces and then a few models each for a number of armies. They tended to release fairly even releases across the armies, as well, with everyone getting the same sorts of things in the book (units, warcasters, whatever it was).

It would often take a year or more for all of those models to actually come out once the book was out, so in actual practice people weren’t getting synchronous releases, but it felt that way. The rules existed, at least. They could think about the models.

To try to make the rules releases and the model releases closer together, they decided to change how they release things. The story elements are all coming in novels now. Then they are releasing books based on the individual armies, with them getting new models, and those models coming out in a few month window afterwards.

In practice, this reduces that lag time between the rules existing and the models actually being available for purchase and use. However, it also creates both the feeling of and the actual practice of the armies having an uneven amount of releases.

Somebody has newer toys than someone else.

I was fine with it, what with the first book out being the Trollbloods book… Which also with it came the rules for the first Theme Forces.

Theme Forces

They’ve been racing through on the base Command Books, resetting the basics for the armies and releasing a few new things each – oh, and they’re not similar releases anymore. But coming up this fall, the rest of their new releases and new models will be coming out with Theme Books centered around thematic elements of the armies.

One of the things that stands out about Warmachine and Hordes is the way that there are themes and sub-themes within the various armies, and they create rules for playing a limited options army with perks for following the theme. They’re cool. They’re a fundamental part of how the game works in the minds of Privateer Press, as far as I can tell.

One of the big things they changed with the edition change was that the themes used to be associated individually with each warlock or warcaster in the game – hundreds of them. The majority were cute, perhaps, but not necessarily good. Or just subtle variations on a theme. Now, they’re releasing a handful of themes per army (fewer than that even now), but that are open to a much larger part of the army.

The really good themes in the old edition were played a whole lot, and were generally considered a problem with the game. They tended towards singular list builds. Everyone is holding their breath, since the themes started showing up in December, as to whether a handful of them will once again break the game, or otherwise be just plain better than others. And the related question: is the “right” or “only” way to play the game be to play a theme?

I think the answer they’re going for might actually be “yes,” so, we’ll see how that goes. The first Theme Force book will be Trollbloods, so again, I get to see how it turns out first…

Errata, Errata, Errata… or… Dynamic Update?

There have been quite a few errata at this point. After a bit of rules cleanup shortly after the edition dropped (wording mainly), but then since December there have been quite a few. Balance updates: nerfs, buffs. A lot of things players wanted, although especially with the buffs, not as much as players wanted.

There has been renewed effort to communicate with the community about the changes to the game, as well. For people to ask questions of the designers. To recommend things that need changed.

The most surprising was a “Dynamic Update” that we weren’t warned about in advance – fixing some last items that the community was upset had not been changed in the official errata. And it also sounds like… the official errata, previously something on a 6-month rotation, is a thing of the past. In the future, we’ll have these Dynamic Updates hit.

The thought is, it’s like an app or video game updating. Cleaning up the rules, the balance. It’s a good business model. If done well, it’ll be great for the game.

Community Integrated Development

Along with talk about the errata and the work they put into balance… they also revealed that they are now working on integrating anyone in the community who wants to into the playtesting process. Basically, to continue the video game analogy, it’s like a public test realm, or a beta test. The models and rules will be close to release, and they’ll send the rules and their thoughts on how they’re supposed to work out to the community, and we’ll playtest it.

What’s amusing to me is that this moves back to the realm of getting rules for models far earlier than they release… But they might change, so hey.

This has been met with a lot of cautious optimism. It seems like it could be good. It seems that it makes it harder for us to complain about things. That process began this week, with a whole new army available for playtest!

But we’ll see what happens with the community input. Cautiously optimistic. But also distracting!

The Forums

In preparation for the Community Integrated Development to start this week, they took the Privateer Press forums down for maintenance, to update them and create a spinoff forum for development talk.

Aaaaaaand in doing so they decided not to bring everything back. They especially took down the army-based sub-forums, which was the main place I went on the forums. No more place to go talk to the other Trollbloods players. At least, not officially.

They said that discussion like that are better suited for social media, which is interesting, because that moves the discussion away from them and their sphere. Away from their moderators and rules. I mean, okay, most of them can be found in the Facebook groups, but still…

We didn’t quite get a solid answer on it, either, until it was done and gone.

No More Press Gang

And then, the news after the forums were gone… after we started Community Integrated Development this week… we found out they were ending their volunteer program, the Press Ganger program. I talked about this program with Chad a couple months back.

Chad is our area’s Press Ganger, so this affects him most directly. Press Gangers had a special forum, could talk with each other and got inside information. They organize leagues and events and tournaments. And for doing so, they get points which they can redeem at the Privateer Press store. Okay, so free stuff… in exchange for volunteer work. Seems like a fair trade.

Taking this away impacts the rest of us too, though, because if it removes some of Chad’s motivation for running events and getting us engaged with the game and playing with each other… that takes a lot of wind out of our sails.

They claim they will be working more directly with the game stores and such, but our game store doesn’t do much with the game so that doesn’t help us.

That’s all my local thoughts on this, and I think that all sorts of small communities playing this game around the world are having similar thoughts right now. We’re all hoping that our Press Gangers keep doing what they do, now just out of the goodness of their hearts and the love of the game. To be fair, that’s the majority of the reason they did it before. I think we’ll be fine with Chad here locally.

Still, we’re only a couple of days into this. I guess we’ll see.

Final Thoughts: Coming Soon

Well, so much for short post. It’s been a lot that I have been processing in the recent months, about the game, about the company that is bringing it to us. I think I understand the business reasons that most of these things are happening. Maybe the rest – the most recent things – will make more sense given some time.

But the rate of change has been increasing. They gave us 6 months to ease in, sure, but it’s been a rollercoaster since then.

The next big change we’re seeing down the way is the new Scenario packet, which are randomly chosen before games for what zones and objectives you’re fighting over in your game. They had decided to keep the last set basically unchanged so that it was one less thing changing along with the new rules. Part of the nothing-much-going-on-for-6-months. But now, they’re looking at big changes to that.

In the midst of all of this change, we’re hoping to travel to Privateer Press’s big tournament they put on themselves, Lock and Load, this summer. I just hope between now and then, things remain fun… because in the end, the element that’s true other than that this is a business, is that this is a game.

New Journeyman League Starting Today!

I know I know this is normally webcomic day, but my mind has turned back to Warmachine and Hordes for the moment. The reason why? We’re starting a Journeyman League today! That’s a slow-grow league where you start with a starter box and add a little bit over time to get started. There’s bonuses around both painting and games played, and a new award for sportsmanship. The goal is fun!

We did two of these in the old edition of the rules, but haven’t done one yet in the new edition. I get to play the new Trollbloods starter box so that’ll be a changeup for me. Most of our local players are actually using the opportunity to get going with a new faction, but I’m using this more as an excuse to get more painting done now that I’m off to a good start with that!

The last model I painted was the Runebearer, who has a lot going on with runestones and such, a common motif for the Trolls.

There are two major areas I haven’t done yet. One is adding some sort of color and glow to the runes on all those runestones. I’m trying to figure out what color I want that to be, and then I need to figure out a technique! That’s certainly something that could be good to figure out and then hit a lot models at once with that.

The other is the tartan area. If I’m honest with myself, I’m not a good enough painter to do a tartan plaid. I’ve seen pictures of peoples’ Trollbloods where these areas are a single, eye-catching color (reds look particularly good), and I’ve been thinking about that. There’s one model on the horizon that has me thinking about one color in particular…

That’s the 3-D model of the Sea King, coming out later this year. The pirate lover in me really likes the idea of a giant Troll with a pirate ship on his head and a ship anchor as a weapon. With all that seaweed and stuff running down, a brighter green color for the tartan area could be an interesting unifying color, and would then match with the Sea King one day. I may try that out!

Because I’m liking how the Runebearer turned out, I am thinking that next I would like to paint the Runeshapers, who are the more combat-oriented mages. More runestones!

They’re more armored, but really most of that is just more runestones. I think the simple browns I was using will look good with the earth-magic theme for these guys. I also love playing them, so it’ll be great to have them painted!

If I’m doing them, it seems to me that the next thing to paint is then the leader of the Runeshapers, Janissa Stonetide!

Janissa is one of the excellent combat ladies in Warmachine and Hordes (there’s actually a number of these in Trollbloods, one of the things I like!). I may have stolen the rock effect piece from a Runeshaper… I think she looks great with it, something I had seen others do online. Unfortunately, when drybrushing her with white I had too much water and paint on the brush, and it ended up less drybrush and more just painting. So it’ll be really nice to get her painted just so that the model looks cleaner.

I happened to see an excellent looking Janissa on eBay. I didn’t buy it, and I don’t know who to credit with this… but it has me inspired on painting her. It made me go to the model and look, and lo and behold, there is a faint line along the bottom of her robe that you can easily paint another color. The gold with the red pops really well and I might do something similar, maybe with a bronze. 

Anyway, that’s where I want to get started with painting my Trollbloods for this Journeyman League! I hear rumors that the Troll starter box is awful against the other boxes (but they’re great models to own and use otherwise), so I have no aspirations of winning. Just painting and having a good time! I’ll share some pictures as I go along!

Painting Again!

I know today ought to be a webcomic, but as I said before, I’ve been funneling most of my creative energy into that… and I needed to use some of that this week.

It’s Platypus Con this weekend, and that means we’re doing a Warmachine/Hordes tournament! I work best with deadlines, which means that I do the majority of my painting with an event like this coming up. Where I’ll be publicly playing the game, where people can be walking by to see. And because they do look better on the table painted…

The first challenge for me was just figuring out what I wanted to be playing in the tournament, what I wanted to bring along. I don’t have the time to paint particularly much, and I wanted for the painting I did do to be for models that were going to be at the Con. We only just decided last week officially what point level of armies we were playing, so I had to actually scale down because we’re going smaller skirmishes (so we can definitely get a full tournament in!). I’ve hopefully optimized a couple of armies, or at least, I committed to them and boxed them up so it feels final in my mind!

With primed models – something I was also furiously working on last week – my next step is to drybrush some white on, to draw out some of the details on the model and to begin the work of doing some highlighting on the model. Or at least that’s the theory. There’s definitely some detail that pops with this method, so by having (almost) all the models at least to this stage… that’ll help.

And at lower points, the decision was pistoleros. The Trollkin Highwaymen! Pew pew!

Because the one model I had previously painted was one of the basic Trolls from the starter box (picture below), I decided that the next ones to get some paint ought to be his companion light Trolls, and from there, I hope to get some paint going on the Warlock from the starter box, so that I would have a totally painted Trolls starter box/demo army. Maybe I’ll join Chad in doing some demo games!

Some of what takes a lot of work in the early parts of working on an army is figuring out what you’re looking at, and what you’re going to do with it. Is an area skin? Leather? Metal? Some other material (I considered going for more of a stone look to the axe, for instance). These two models share legs and torso, so those decisions will carry over from one to the other. However, with their different weapons and poses, you get some very different angles on the details. And I’m not sure what I want to do with the back there, with a region that – with the Scottish inspiration of the Trollbloods army – could be a kilt pattern, or at least a brightly colored accent.

Anyway, I got some initial work done on those two, which gives me a decent run towards completion on the starter set!

Here’s that first guy again… from not quite a year ago. I’ve added more to him as well, even while looking back at him to see how I was approaching things. I found that he actually seems to have different legs and torso from the other two, so it wasn’t quite as helpful to look at him – although it still helps with looking at materials, and deciding what they are.

The other thing I like on this model is the marking I’ve done on the base, for marking what the front of the model is (for sight lines). I might do that on all the models I’m bringing, since that’s a useful and important game element, and because it’ll add some color to what might otherwise be a kind of dull looking primed collection…

I’ll hopefully have more to share in the coming days, but for now, thanks for taking a look!

Audio

Comparative Opinions – Wargaming – Episode 28

Welcome to the Comparative Opinions podcast! This week, David is joined by guest host Chad to talk about tabletop miniature wargaming. What it is, a bit of history of the industry, why people get into it and love it, and closing out with the game they play: Warmachine and Hordes by Privateer Press. Find Chad on the Privateer Press forums as PG_cavebaby and David as CompGeekDavid.

Comparative Opinions is a weekly half-hour-ish podcast hosted on ComparativeGeeks.com. Subscribe for new episodes every Sunday!

https://www.facebook.com/ComparativeGeeks/

https://twitter.com/comparativegeek

Music is by Scott Gratton: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Gratton/Intros_and_Outros

General Thoughts – Selling on eBay

Last week I talked about my first experiences buying on eBay, with my particular market of buying models for my war gaming. This week I want to talk about my first experiences selling on eBay, which was also war gaming related. It’s been probably ten years or more now since I played Warhammer Fantasy, and it was well past time to sell my armies, with the thought that I could turn that money into models for my current game, Warmachine and Hordes.

Now I actually had a friend back in my Warhammer days who did a lot of buying and selling of Warhammer models on eBay, so much so that despite a full time job he was also making a bunch of money on eBay. Some of his basic strategy, as I remember it, was that you buy the larger lots of full armies, which are often posted as a steal in terms of value, and in his estimation were often poorly titled, had bad pictures, etc. Maybe unpainted, certainly not presented in the best light. He would get them, break them up by units or models, make sure they were painted and photographed well, and then sell them individually like that. Buy in bulk to sell broken up, sounds like business!

His other major point with this strategy was that it was important to do this with a market that you understand, so he did it with Warhammer models because he knew them, knew their value, how to break them up appropriately, things like that. He considered other markets but just stayed away – too easy to think something is a deal when it isn’t!

So with these thoughts in mind… I promptly took my Lizardmen army and sold it as a single lot. Part of my thinking was that it wasn’t fully painted, but also that my color scheme was so non-standard (green with purple scales) that I felt it would be better if it all stayed together. What I need to do now, with that experience behind me, is sell my High Elves army more piecemeal – with my painted and based units going individually, things like that. It’s certainly going to be more work to do, so I’m ramping up to do that! But here are some of my thoughts from the selling experiences I’ve had so far.

The Good – Item Sale Interface

I have to say, the first experience of selling, as you go through the sales interface and create your listing, was pretty good. The different elements I had seen while buying have controls and places to input information, so that you can tailor things to suit your items and your needs. For example, there was a place to put how many business days you anticipate it taking before you shipped, which I used to give myself a couple of days just because of the Geek Baby. Better to say you’ll take a while and go faster, right?

You can upload a bunch of pictures, and maybe I should have done more than I did but oh well – I probably fell in the trap of this being a poorly-placed whole-army lot. You can choose which is the main picture, things like that. Then there’s all sorts of text options, the description and all that.

It also has recommendations based on what it perceived as similar listings, but that was painful – it recommended from $0.99 through several hundred dollars. Not a helpful range. Some hunting myself – useful for trying to find the right listing title (although I eventually changed that, since I later found that the Lizardmen have a new name in the game!) – gave me an idea on a starting range, and I started on a higher end. I also chose to do a bid and then a higher Buy It Now, rather than doing a best offer or just bidding or some of the other options. It is a lot of options, though, so you can really choose how you want to do things – I may use the Best Offer options as well when selling individual units.

The Good – Ways to Share Your Listing

So right after I created my posting, lo! Forsooth! It popped up with “share me on social” sort of page. Those pop up on lots of other things, generally when you’ve just bought something. As much fun as telling everyone what my shopping habits are, or doing free advertising for Amazon or whoever… Not interested. However, when what you’re sharing is something you are selling? Well, that’s a whole different matter!

It’s a small thing, but I hadn’t thought of it myself so it was a nice touch from eBay!

 

The Annoying – Biting Your Nails While You Wait It Out

I mean, there’s probably nothing to be done about this. But as I said about buying, most of the activity happens at the end of the listing. My listings had people watching… but not bidding. Indeed, they didn’t end up with a bidding war or anything. And it’s hard to tell what to do during that time. Maybe a social media blast again?

This element might get better with time and more selling, or perhaps when I have a lot of items up at once instead of just one… Then if some things move but not everything, well, that’s okay. But when it’s one big item? Come one, bid! Bid high! BUY IT NOW!

No takers.

The Confusing – Re-Listing If It Doesn’t Sell

So I have to say, this is actually a pretty nice element for eBay – it saves all of your information and photos for re-listing the item. Then it gives some hints on things to adjust to maybe be found or to sell. So especially things around the price – what can you change there? And again, I had the unhelpful huge range from $0.99 to hundreds of dollars.

And this is the confusing thing – what should I do? How should I re-list? Major edits? Minor? More pictures? New price or bidding scheme?

The first time I re-listed, I just dropped my prices a bit. It didn’t sell again. For the third time, I did some more looking and digging. Here’s where I found out the Lizardmen had become the Seraphon – so people playing the game looking for models would likely be looking for that term! I unfortunately also lowered my price again, and I wonder if maybe I didn’t need to. This listing finally ended up with a bidding war (which was unfortunately only going up like a dollar at a time… so maybe some auto-bids versus a live human). So it didn’t drive up too high over my starting bid price.

age-of-sigmar-lizardmen-v-seraphon

The Good – Shipping Cost Estimator

Alright, it finally sold! It had been weeks, at this point, with three listings. I used some of the shipping materials I had received from buying (though I saw somewhere a thing from eBay saying they would send you shipping materials – I may have to use this next time!) and got everything carefully loaded up into the box to send. I weighed and measured it, and used the eBay postage system, curious about the shipping it had estimated – especially because I felt like it had lost some of the settings I had put in about the estimated dimensions and weight for the shipment!

And while it was not precise, by golly, it was within a dollar for the shipping cost! I think not in my favor, but I also think I sent it Priority Mail so that’s pretty good. It was a good sized box for a whole army, and from Alaska, so it getting the shipping right to within a dollar was great – it meant that I left alone the amount that eBay charged my buyer (I think there’s ways to change this, since I know some people I bought from did so with combining shipping!) and I called it good.

This is an important element for me both on the buying and selling end, one of the main reasons I turned to eBay in the first place. The fact that it’s accurate on both accounts is really excellent, and I applaud them for this!

The Annoying – Not Getting Money As a New Seller

 

And then… nothing. I went to look, and apparently when you’re new to selling, eBay holds the funds for weeks, waiting for confirmation from the buyer (presumably) that they received the product. And… dang it, that makes sense.

Some of what got to me, though, is it sounds like there is a limit on this – like, if I had sold for a bit more, I would have gotten the money sooner? Who knows. It also got to me as a system because I’m not the sort of person to do reviews of sellers or items (like Amazon is always asking you to do), so sorry people I’ve bought from but it’s true! I now realize I may have held up someone else by not reviewing my purchase, and for that I’m sorry.

So I’m annoyed with eBay for giving me this guilt!

I finally got the money, though, and in less than the maximum, so there we go. And hopefully I won’t have the same issue in the future as I start selling more!

The Annoying – Additional, Random, and Inconsistent Fees After the Fact

 

I didn’t mention it above, but when listing and re-listing there were boxes with mentions of fees but then a mention of “free.” At least for my sale. But then, after the fact, fees started showing up. I paid for the shipping through eBay, so that was one thing. Then it seems eBay maybe takes 10% of the sale? I don’t know. I saw several different fee numbers, in invoices sent, PayPal statements, and then it seemed to be deducted from the amount I eventually received… which did not add up based on the other numbers I had seen.

In the end, I have no idea what eBay charged for the sale, nor exactly why. eBay getting a cut just seems like something to keep in mind when listing items – don’t go too low – but it makes sense. And I may continue to use them for the postage. And 10% is just less of a concern on smaller listings – but it felt like a big chunk of my big army sale, and I again wish I had known to have listed a bit higher! But it’s done, it’s gone, and my mind is clearly churning for the next sales.

Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading to this point in my two-post series about getting my head wrapped around eBay! I hope you liked it and maybe you learned something. If you have something to teach me, definitely let me know in the comments below! Or any stories from using eBay, great finds or horror stories or whatever. I’d love to know!