Tales from the Jungle, Volume 10: “Should a Player be Allowed to win even if he didn’t paint his Army?”

Used without permission.

Interesting topic this week… one that really hits me close to home because I really enjoy painting a participating in Grand Tournaments. Here’s this weeks:  “Tales from the Jungle – Volume 10: Should a Player be allowed to win a tournament even if he didn’t paint his Army?”

From the very first time that I got involved in Warhammer and table top gaming I always thought that the biggest (and most important) part of the hobby has been in the actual painting of models. I’ve been around for a long time and have seen sculpts of models go from decent to absolutely stunning. The detail work nowadays is immaculate and I think having a good paint job on it makes it even more beautiful, and therefore more easy on the eyes. It makes somebody look at it closer. Makes them think about how they can achieve that paint job, or how they might want to go about painting that same model… Hell, it may even prompt somebody into starting that same army because of how 1 model is painted! It’s this reason alone why I believe that painting is such a huge part of this hobby. And yet, for a lot of people, painting is viewed as a chore, or task, or even punishment… and some people hate the thought of having to paint just one model, let alone entire armies…

Since I’ve been participating in Grand Tournaments over the last few years I’ve been privileged enough to see some of the best paint jobs in the world… right in front of me. It’s no secret that some people even offer their services of painting models for somebody… Because painting is such a big deal in this hobby, most tournaments and TO’s include prizes and awards just for that: to recognize somebody for such an excellent paint job they’ve given to their models. But what happens when the person that wins that award didn’t actually paint his army…? What if he took advantage of said services and had somebody paint his army for him? Does that make him ineligible to win overall champion at these tournaments?

For me, this is a very interesting topic because I can see both sides of the argument. I personally enjoy painting my own models and showing them off. Yet I know others who absolutely despise painting and do the bare minimum when it comes to painting, just so they can get the basic points for appearance on the score card. But let’s say that I win a 3 games and draw 2… but my painting score gives me extra points because most people thought it was the coolest one there… and those points put me ahead of a guy who was sitting at 2nd place, who had a decent paint job and won 4 out of 5 games… is that fair? What this means is that my painting score pushed me ahead of him – and most people – even though I had fewer wins than some guys. To me, that’s fair because painting accounts for a big part of the hobby, and it should be rewarded as such. But now let’s take the same situation except this time… I didn’t paint my army. In fact, I borrowed it from a good buddy of mine that doesn’t like to play but instead spends his time painting. I borrowed it for the day and am using it to participate in this tournament… So now, at the end of the tournament, I move up to 2nd place with an army that I didn’t even paint… and win the Best Painted Award – even though I didn’t paint a single model in the army… Is that fair?

One side of the argument is that you put your time and effort into making your army look as good as possible… and you have something that you can say that YOU did… and YOU can be proud of. The flip side of it is that some guys will charge huge amounts of money (upwards of $2500 for a standard 2,000 point force…) and others will pay this money to have it done. As the painter, I can say that I took my time and effort… long hours of getting the models assembled and painted just right… made the movement trays… drybrushed for hours… touched up details… etc, etc, etc… and that is my contribution to making it look as good as I can. The guy that doesn’t paint his army can say that he has to work extra hours on the weekends to cover the big bill he has accumulated by having somebody paint his army. Both come down to one thing: time. Should it really matter where or how the time is being spent? One guy sits in front of a desk for hours making his army look good… another guy sits in front of a computer (or something else) for hours on the weekends so that he can pay to have his army look good. Should one take precedence over the other when it comes time to judge painting for both of these guys?

My thoughts are that painting should be separated from the overall score. If you want to judge painting, then judge painting. Make it so that whoever wants to win the painted portion knows that they have to have a fully painted army and whatever else you’d like to throw in there. You could even make it so that if you had your army painted you get a certain percentage of points like, say 60% to 80% instead of the full 100%. But then you’d run into honesty issues… “Did you paint your army? You get 80% of the score if you had somebody else paint it…” “Umm… yes…?” So it’s a very fine line as to how it needs to be scored. I don’t claim to have the answer here and I’m not sure that anybody ever will. I don’t like the idea that a person can win “Best Painted Anything” if they didn’t paint it themselves. But I am ok with somebody winning “Overall” if they paid to have their army painted. A painting competition should be held only for people that actually painted their armies – in my opinion. So again, this is a very interesting topic that I’ve had a few run-ins with… and I’m sure I’ll see more in the future. So what do you think? Should a person that had their army painted be allowed to win a tournament? Or even a Best Painted award? As always, thanks for reading.


Tales from the Jungle, Volume 9: “Losing touch with the Game…”

Used without permission.

Recently I’ve been involved with a ton of different game systems… ok… it seems like a ton… but in truth it’s only 3. I’ve been playing Warhammer Fantasy, Warhammer 40k, and Warmachine / Hordes. It’s been very tough for me to dedicate my time to one specific project because there’s so many things going on with each of them right now. There’s tournaments right around the corner for all of these systems and I try hard to give attention to each army / faction. However, it becomes difficult and I just want to put down the brush because I feel like I’m losing more time deciding what to do rather than just picking one and going. Throw in the daily things that I have to do like my career, family, and my other hobbies… It’s like I’ve hit a sort of painter’s block… It’s inspired me to write this article. Maybe you can relate to it… maybe you can’t. Anyways, here’s first article for 2012, I give you… “Tales from the Jungle – Volume 9: Losing touch with the Game.” 

Long ago when I started playing this hobby I can honestly say I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had no idea the friends I’d make, the painting abilities that would come out of me, or the many long hours each and every year that I’d dedicate to tabletop gaming. I have now begun my 12th year of gaming… and I’ve played countless games across all systems ranging from Mordheim to Warmachine, and as I look back on all the armies that I’ve painted, all the games that I’ve played, and all the time I’ve put into it… I remembered a few times during my “gaming career” that my heart just wasn’t in it. I think everybody that plays knows the feeling that I’m talking about. You know… that feeling that you get when you’re burnt out on painting, burnt out on playing, and just burnt out overall… about everything! It’s the gamers equivalent to the writers’ block! I can remember times when I hit the college portion of my gaming career and the only thing that was important to me was where the party was going to be! Then another time I remember having an issue with our gaming store and decided to take a hiatus from gaming… it was at that point that I was introduced to online gaming! Throughout it all, though, I found myself going back each and every time to tabletop gaming.

Now I know that we all have everyday life issues that will absolutely take precedence over gaming. Most of us that are older have kids, a wife, and a career to worry about. These things take up a huge amount of our daily time and it’s very easy to cut out the extracurricular activities such as gaming in our lives. On top of that, if you’re like me, I enjoy participating in sports leagues outside of work ranging from softball to football to even volleyball! These are even more things that take up a good amount of time in our lives. If you’re an avid sports fan then you have to make time in your busy schedule to watch your favorite team take the court or field, right? And what about your “other” friends? LOL! We all have ‘em, right? We all have the other group of friends that are not our gamer buddies that we like to spend time with… All, of this – and so much more – takes up time in our lives and sadly, gaming doesn’t rank that highly on most of our charts and so a lot of times it will get pushed to the wayside while we get our lives in order. It is because of these reasons that I believe a lot of lose touch with gaming and allow our paintbrushes, paint cans, models, and paint tables to collect massive amounts of dust.

To me it’s very important to not let go of your hobbies or the things that you hold dearly in your life. I’ve said many times before that one of the main reasons I play this game is because of the camaraderie I experience between lifelong friends that I’ve made over the years. For me, it’s never been about winning or losing, I enjoy playing the game because it takes my mind off of the everyday hustle and bustle of life. I don’t have to worry about what bills I have to pay tomorrow, or where I’m going this upcoming weekend, or what time I have to have that project done at work. All I’m focused on when I play the game is the game itself and my opponent. It’s an escape… an escape from the reality of life that we all have to face daily. And, at least for me, this is what keeps me coming back each and every time I find myself getting burnt out and hitting the “painters block”… I think it’s this reason alone why I constantly come back whenever I decide to take a little break from gaming. And also the reason why I feel like right now – more than ever before – I need to get through this painters’ block and continue forward with my many projects.

So the next time you feel like you wanna take a break from gaming or like you wanna get rid of all of your stuff because you’re just not into anymore… Take a deep breath (or several deep breaths…) and think about why you started playing in the first place. And think about the experience you get each and every time you play a game and get to roll the dice. Think about the friends you’ve made and the favorite models that you’ve painted. Think about your best conversion work or that time you won an award for coming in last place! Think about anything that makes you remember why you started playing this hobby in the first place… And then after you’re done thinking about it all… come on back and join the seemingly endless amount of tabletop gamers, because this hobby (and the escape it offers…) will be around for a long time… and so will we!

So in the famous words of Robert Frost, “I can sum up in three words what I have learned about life: it goes on.” Now get back to painting!

Thanks for reading.  PEACE!

Tales from the Jungle, Volume 8: “That Guy.”

Used without permission.

This one’s a contribution article from a fellow gamer by the name of Khorne53. He’s a long time bud of mine and actually got me introduced into Warhammer Fantasy. He fills us in on what it means to be “That Guy”… C’mon, we all know him… maybe even you’ve been him… but does that necessarily mean being “that guy” is a bad thing? Khorne53 tells all… “Tales from the Jungle – Volume 8: That Guy.” 

Ok, so we’ve all been to a tournament without our buds.  On the way home we’ve all been part of conversations about “that guy”.  So… who exactly is “that guy”?  Well, it’s not easily defined, so I share some qualities of “that guy”.  One important note about “that guy”.  Being “that guy” isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Being “that guy” can actually be a really good thing.  So, here we go…

You might be “that guy” if…

…You have an excellently painted army.  It’s clear that you’ve spent much time developing your skill.  You should take pride in your work because I guarantee that we notice your work and we talk about it on the ride home!  Some advice to you.  Take time to answer any questions n00bs like me may have about your technique.  I may not be able to paint like you, but that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to learn.  Be cool about it.

…You have sweet conversions in your army.  Hey, I don’t know how to sculpt.  I don’t know how to build a tank outta plasticard.  I do know how to recognize expert craftsmanship, and I thank you for it!  Once again, on a tournament debrief you can count on sometime being spent discussing “how did he do that?”.  A suggestion to you though, continue to push yourself.  Don’t show up to the tournament next year with similar conversions.  Putting your skillz on cruise control is beneath you.  Keep pushing the limit of your skillz is why we talk about you in the first place.

…You have an excellent theme.  Hey, I’m like you… I loved Dukes of Hazard when I was growing up, but I would have NEVER thought about making an army themed about it!  Way to go brother!  Keep being creative.  Your themes always bring up cheerful memories.  Thanks for that!  The advice to you, a “Private Ryan” theme or “300″ theme, while cool… isn’t too original.  A for effort though.

…You were extremely friendly.  Thanks for reminding us that it’s only a game.  Conversations about you usually involve something that totally didn’t go your way, but you took it in stride, just like a champ!  The only advice to you, know where the line is.  This is a tough request because the line is different for each individual.  Just remember, you’re super cool, but you’re not everyone’s best friend.

…You’re extremely loud.  This can be either good or bad.  To me, it’s a good thing.  You make the game fun and enjoyable.  It’s a great time to game with someone that let’s himself go.  The only advice to you is to be aware of who you’re playing.  You’re loudness may come off as obnoxious or annoying.

Of course, being “that guy” can go the other way too.  You might be “that guy” if…

…You look up rules constantly.  It’s one of two things, bubba.  You don’t know the rules, or you’re trying to squeeze a  little advantage to your side.  If it’s the first, learn your rules before the tournament.  If it’s the last, it’s a game.  Don’t take it too serious.  Note, there isn’t anything wrong with looking up rules.  The problem arises when you do it non-stop and it becomes clear that you don’t know how to play, or you have an agenda.  Either way, stop wasting our time.

…You don’t know the rules.  If you don’t know the rules you’re doing several things.  You’re slowing down the game.  We kinda touched on this above.  You’re not providing a challenge.  We show up to a tournament because we wanna play skilled opponents.  We don’t wanna provide a demo game.  That doesn’t make us bad people, just people that have paid money to play against opponents that are equally as good, or even slightly better.  Advice is to take time to learn the basic rules and basic strategies at your local gaming store or club.  I’m sure you’ll find folks willing to teach.

…You don’t have proper dice etiquette.  Couple rules for the folks.  First, don’t touch your opponents dice unless they ask you to.  My rule of thumb is, if you’re willing to touch the guys junk, go ahead and touch his dice.  It’s a little extreme, but you don’t know your opponent.  Err on the side of caution.  Side note: if you’re willing to touch the guys junk… maybe Warhammer isn’t a good hobby for you.  Second, don’t roll too fast.  Give your opponent the opportunity to see what you rolled.  It’s not a secret, so share.  Finally, pick up your misses.  Picking up misses takes out all the gray area.  If a dice is incorrectly picked up, it’s your mistake, and you’re the only one that suffers for it.  Side, side note: if you take your time and make a mistake, your opponent may point it out to you (ref the second point).  Anywho, plenty of tips there for the folks.

…You take the game too serious.  Hey, I like to win just like the next guy.  At the same time I don’t go out of my way to make sure I win.  Roll with the punches man.  Also, you’re not Sun Tzu, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, or Norman Schwarzkopf.  Don’t act like real men’s lives are at stake.  We’re talking about little army men… nothing more, nothing less.  Put down your copy of “The Art of War”, pick up the dice, and get back to gaming.

…You come back later in the tournament to explain how you could have won the game.  Hey we all make dumb decisions during a game.  The fact is that you don’t know how the game would have turned out if you wouldn’t have made that error.  Also, we all get the rules wrong from time to time.  Another fact is that these little mistakes most likely didn’t cost you the game.  So, here’s what you should do.  Suck it up.  You lost.  Focus on the good side.  If you’re able to honestly tell yourself that the game came down to a single crucial point, then most likely it was an EXCELLENT game.  Be thankful that you got to partake in one.

So, that’s it.  Hope you all enjoyed the read.  One final note about “that guy”…  If you’re on your way home from a tournament, and you didn’t run into “that guy”, odds are you are “that guy”.  Let’s hope that you were the good “that guy” and not the bad one.

Thanks for reading.  PEACE!

Tales from the Jungle, Volume 7: “Is Best Sportsman a dying breed?”

Used without permission.

Back again this week with a new write up about sportsmanship. We all know what it is and how big a part of Warhammer (and table top gaming, in general) it is.  Read along and let me know what you think about this week’s article…. “Tales from the Jungle – Volume 7: Is Best Sportsman a dying breed?” By: Ro. Nevarez. (a.k.a. Iggy Koopa)

One of the first things I do when attending a tournament (after setting up my army, of course) is walk around and check out the other armies that are there – as well as the players. I usually make it a point to introduce myself to other players, ask how long they’ve been playing, what army they brought, etc, etc… you know, the typical stuff to carry on a gamer conversation. One of the things that I’ve begun to notice more and more is the amount of people you can pick out who are there to win certain trophies / categories. I’ve met guys that have straight up come out and said they’ve won the last 3 tournaments they’ve been in, swept another one last year, and will accept nothing less than overall champ at the current one… I’ve also had guys tell me they’ve been painting late at night, prepping for the tournament, getting every model looking wonderful and mistake free, all in hopes of walking away with the best painted trophy…. And still I’ve had other guys tell me that they’re there simply for the swag, hoping they can walk away with some new, cool stuff. Now, in being around the GT circuit for the last few years, I must admit that I have NEVER heard anybody say they are trying to win Best Sportsman… EVER. Why is this? When I was first introduced to the hobby one of the things that appealed to me was the camaraderie that I felt from the guys that I started out with. It was cool to talk about how the game was going, teaching me new rules and tactics, and basically just enjoying the game for what it is. It was through this learning process that I believed that sportsmanship played such a huge, pivotal role…

Because of the nature of Warhammer it has the potential to bring out the absolute worst sportsman in each and every person. It seems that nobody is immune to it. I’ve seen some of the nicest guys in the world become irate when something doesn’t go their way. I’d also be lying if I said that I hadn’t gotten upset before during the heat of battle… It’s just the way it goes. But does that make you a bad sportsman? One or two outbursts every blue moon…? Dunno. One of the things I have noticed, however, is that most people that are there to win it all tend to throw Sportsmanship by the wayside, accepting that they are going to get dinged along the way because their army outmatches most others that are there. But what about their opponent? Shouldn’t it be considered bad sportsmanship for them to instinctively mark the guy down just because he handed out an ass whippin’? Even if the guy is genuinely a nice guy I know people that will mark him down just because they felt his army was too powerful… Bad sportsmanship, right?

Flip it back to the guys who are out to win Overall Champion… they will usually make their lists so tough that you have to use your “General-ing” skills to match them, just to have a chance.  Are they considered bad sportsmen because they know the other guy doesn’t have much of a chance…? In any event, take the guy that’s there to win it all and the guy that’s there just to have some fun and get out of the house for the weekend and neither one of them will tell you they were there to be a good sportsman. If you’ve ever noticed, when they announce Best Sportsman in the final awards ceremony, usually the guy that wins it  is the most surprised! I guess what I’m saying is that in this new GT world that we live and play in, the world where we can get tickets into the final Las Vegas tournaments for winning 1st or 2nd place, and win hundreds of dollars in prizes and swag, the world where we can reap the benefits of making a “nearly impossible to beat” list and simply trounce opponents along the way to the top… has this made the Best Sportsman a dying breed? I hardly ever hear anybody say “The guy I just played should win Best Sportsman this weekend, he was just too nice of a guy…” When it gets down to the final game and the top 4-5 guys that are in the running to win overall are at the top tables you will notice that they tend to draw a crowd… people want to see who is going to win Best General or Overall Champion… You never see anybody standing around tables saying  “Yep, he IS the best sportsman here…” Maybe the promise of the many different prizes and awards you can win has made the competition overtake the sportsmanship aspect (although I’ve seen Best Sportsman walk away with some pretty good swag before)… So has the rise of tournament play over the last 10 years made sportsmanship fall by the wayside? Or is it just something that every player is aware of, but choose to keep it in their backpocket, because outwardly, it’s really not that big of a deal? As always, thanks for reading.

Tales from the Jungle, Volume 6: “Game Rituals: Do you have any?”

Used without permission.

Rituals. We know what they are. We know what they can do. We know how powerful they can be. Especially when it comes to rolling dice… We’ve all rolled that “1″ when it was the most inopportune time possible… then had the chance to re-roll it and do the same damn thing again! It’s frustrating! But alas, that’s the way the dice roll and… some would say… the way the Dice Gods had willed it to be… Perhaps you have a ritual that you perform to have the Dice Gods look down favorably upon you and your army as you march to war. Perhaps you think it’s a bunch of shennanigans and it’s purely luck. Either way is fine and it really comes down to what you think and believe.  I was thinkin’ back the other day about one of our popular Blood Bowl Leagues and how focused people would get during the weekly games. It got me to thinking about rituals and how they affect the games that we play…. “Tales from the Jungle – Volume 6: Game Rituals: Do you have any?” By: Ro. Nevarez. (a.k.a. Iggy Koopa)

So, back in our former glory (and by” our”… I mean my current gaming group “Look Out, Sir!”) we used to have one of the longest running Blood Bowl leagues in the world (I’m guessing, but probably so.) I believe it had been going on for about 10ish seasons in a row. It was a very popular league around our shop and everybody was excited when the season was about to start. We would get our previous season’s rosters out and decided who was going to be carried over, who was going to be dropped, if we would start a new team altogether…. it created a buzz around the shop and everybody was so excited when it finally started. As the season got underway, it never occurred to me how much people would use “rituals”…. By that, I mean there were certain ways that they went about doing things. At first, it seemed kind of odd to me because I never do anything superstitious and don’t believe that luck can be altered in any way… it’s just luck and it’ll happen when it’s good and ready. Purely by chance. We would have about a 10-12 game season each season and as I became a veteran at playing in this league it became very interesting to see how players would do things…

No joke. I have seen guys set our all of their dice with the “6″ facing upwards in order to “convince” them to roll that way as well… Another guy would put his favorite CD into the CD player and would come out to the field (table) as though he was being introduced by a loud speaker. Yet another guy had “reserve dice” that were only used when he would “push it” (this is the term for attempting to move another space, which succeeds on a roll of 2+).  All of this got me to thinking about Warhammer and Table Top games in general… and about the different rituals that we all may use, whether it is consciously or subconsciously…

I, for one, don’t have any rituals (that I know of). As stated earlier, I don’t believe that luck can be altered in any way, shape, or form. It just happens. Sometimes at the most convenient times and others not so much (i.e. “bad” luck)… I don’t have a set of “leadership dice” that I roll and I don’t only roll dice that only I’ve touched… that’s just the way that I am. I play this game because I enjoy playing it, painting the miniatures, and meeting awesome people while doing it. That is not to say, however, that having rituals is a bad thing.

Like I said, I know several people that do things before the game has even begun, during the game, and even after it. I knew one guy that would give it up to the “Dice Gods” after he successfully won a game, thanking them for smiling down upon him with favorable rolls all game! It’s very humorous to me, but not in a bad way, it’s just something that makes me smile because of how people will put so much into what they believe. And through the years of playing this game I have definitely seen some very interesting rituals…

So what is it that you do? Are you like me and don’t have anything that you do to “inspire” the dice to roll good? (I once seen a guy throw his dice across the room because they were consistently rolling badly, go find them, then take them outside and smash them with a hammer… all while his other dice were set next to the massacre “watching”, just so that they would know what would happen if they started rolling badly… Yet, another time, I seen an Empire player yell “Praise Sigmar!” every time his rolls were favorable!) Do you do a little clap / whistle / dance every time something goes good to keep the good luck going? Do you roll the dice behind your back for a leadership test? It’s a fun topic and one that I think most of us that play Warhammer can relate to. What are your thoughts? What are your rituals? Let’s hear ‘em… Thanks! As always, thanks for reading.

Tales from the Jungle: “Knowing the Many Rules of the Game.”

Used without permission.

This week’s “Tales from the Jungle” is a repeat from another blog that the Look Out Sir! Guys tried to get going. Sadly, it never got off the ground even though we had some good material on there. So, for some of you, this article may be a repeat, but for most people this article will seem brand new. Anyways, I went back and touched it up a bit and got it good to go. Enjoy!

Recently I played a game against a friend of mine and we were encountered by what I can only imagine is an all-too-familiar situation in the game of Warhammer… or table top games in gneneral for that matter. The table was set… 3,000 points each… terrain set up… dice ready… we rolled to see who would go first… everything was primed and ready to go. As we played the game we were moving smoothly along until about the middle of Turn 3… His horde of Beastmen were meeting the mighty Lizardmen in an epic battle and things were starting to set in. It was anybody’s game at this point… nobody held the upper hand… it was sure to go down to the end and the battle would only be decided by one dice roll… surely… It was at this point that we were in my Magic Phase. I had a skink priest on the Engine of the Gods and he had a total of 3 spells from the Lore of Heavens. We were right in the thick of it as his General was engaged with my BSB and Oldblood and the battle was getting bloody. I cast the spell “Harmonic Convergence” which is an augment spell that can really help out your army at this point in the game. I will now type exactly what the spell says:

“…until the start of the caster’s next Magic phase, the target re-rolls all To Hit, To Wound, and Armour Save rolls of 1…”

It went back to his turn and it was then that I sat down and randomly started reading through the spells… for no particular reason. I realized that I had been cheating him on this spell because I had just then realized that I was interpreting it to read “re-roll the To Hit, the To Wound… and Armour Save rolls of 1”… to me, that meant that I could re-roll any failed rolls on the To Hit and To Wound dice rolls, and only the 1’s for Armour Saves… and that was exactly how I had been playing it. It turned out to make a huge difference in the game because it was at that moment that I had just ran off his General and crashed into the flank of one of his bigger units. I stopped him with what he was doing and made him aware of the situation. We looked over the battlefield and tried to “go back” and fix what had already been done but too much stuff had already been moved, taken off, killed, etc… so I decided to forfeit the game and call it. We had a somewhat lengthy discussion about it while we were packing up and he had hit on several points like knowing what the spells do, knowing the verbiage, knowing how to play your army, etc. I agreed with him on a lot of points and can honestly say that I didn’t do it on purpose. It was the way that I interpreted the rules and as soon as I realized I was doing wrong I fixed it. Now, going forward, I know how that spell works and will play it accordingly when I roll the spell. There was a huge discussion and I felt really bad because it had made a good game go horribly wrong and it was one that couldn’t be taken back because so much had already been done. After going through this debacle it got me to thinking about this game called Warhammer… and table top games altogether…

With this newest 8th edition rulebook you have over 500 pages of stuff to take in before you’re ready to play the game. Luckily for me, I’ve been playing since the 5th edition so there’s only the new stuff that I have to familiarize myself with, since I already know the basics of the game. But with this new book came new spells, new magic items, new combat rules… and it really forced people to do their homework. I’ll admit that I haven’t fully read through the rulebook and there are some rules that I’m not 100% “in the know” about. That said, what happened the other night during our game can easily be avoided. We need to take the time to go through the rules and learn what needs to be learned. Go through your army book and make sure you understand how the army works. If somebody calls you on a rule, be ready to show them where they are wrong (or right!) I’m not saying that people need to be rules lawyers but it is a very important aspect of this hobby to know how to play the game and know the rules that govern it. Like I said, I felt really bad because I had messed up a really good game up to that point but afterwards, I didn’t feel so bad because I knew in my heart that it was an honest mistake… but ultimately one that could have been avoided. So since that day I have taken the time to go back through the book in the evenings and re-read stuff that I’ve already read, just to make sure that I know what’s going on. I’ve even seen a couple of things where I nod my head and go, “Huh… I didn’t know that.” It will help me the next time I play a game and in the future when a situation like this comes up again.

The point of this all is to make gamers everywhere be aware of this game, the rules, and that you know how to play. I have played hundreds of games over the years and have come across games where people know every rule inside and out and then others where it’s really just a learning experience. Be sure to know which game you’re getting involved in before playing. Also, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a casual gamer or a competitive gamer… knowing the rules will make the game go smoothly and quicker, and will make for a more enjoyable experience. I’m sure all of us, at some point or another, have gone back through the rulebook and said “I knew he couldn’t do that” or “I knew I was right”… Use the learning games to get those things out of the way so that, if you compete in serious games and tournaments, you will not end up looking like somebody who doesn’t know what they’re doing. A challenge to all my fellow gamers out there… Read the rules. Read them again. And then when you’ve read them twice… read them one more time. Just to make sure. It will make you a better gamer and, in turn, a better opponent when you are called upon to bring your army to battle.

Tales from the Jungle: “Unit Fillers: Practical or the Cheap Way Out?”

Used without permission.

One of the things that I tend to notice about WHFB is the many growing trends that have taken place over the last several years. You may know that I’ve been playing for 11 years now and have seen some cool things along the way. Some of the latest trends that I’ve seen are the use of a display board for showing off your army at tournaments, Homemade Wound and Tick Markers, Spell Cards, and Homemade Turn Markers. Many of these things go above and beyond the normal requirement of just having a fully painted army. Some of the best converted models I’ve ever seen have nothing to do with the army at all but are instead just a placeholder to serve as a centerpiece… If you’ve read my blog lately, you’ll know that I recently created a Unit Filler for my Saurus Warriors. This is now the 3rd Unit Filler that I have in my army and it is by far the biggest one. It is on a chariot sized base and therefore “counts as” 8 models. Unit Fillers have become a huge trend in Warhammer and one that I don’t believe is going to go away. The most current edition of Warhammer focuses more on large blocks of infantry and many of us felt that when we switched from 7th edition to the 8th. It caused us to upgrade our units to include more troops than we were normally accustomed to. With that, came the inclusion of Unit Fillers. I myself had to upgrade units of 20 Saurus Warriors to 30 and 36, which is not cheap in this hobby. So I’ve heard people talk about unit fillers and their role in the Warhammer world… Some say they are nice addition to the unit, if done correctly, and really make the entire unit stand out. Others say that it’s a cheap way to get out of buying new models and a way to save yourself some money so that you don’t have to go buy that $35 box of 10 (plastic) models… To me, it’s a little bit of both.

There are many opportunities to make a cool Unit Filler in your army. Some of the best things I’ve seen are the Orc Boys squabbling, showing their animosity to each other and are fighting within the ranks instead of readying themselves for battle. I’ve seen Beastmen emerging from the forests, ready to defend their lands and attack any that come to trespass. And I’ve also seen Dwarf Miners appear as though they are breaking through the ground to come up from beneath the enemy, showing their skills as Miners and catching them unannounced. All you have to do is figure out what your unit does best, or where they come from, or what they are trying to achieve, and you can bring it to life on a Unit Filler base. To me, seeing Unit Fillers (of any kind) is an awesome way to draw my attention to that unit. I instantly see a bigger base that stands out and makes me look at it. When converted / painted well, it stands out even more and makes the whole unit act as a centerpiece. So imagine if you have 4 units and all of them have a unit filler of some sort! It helps to tie in the entire army as a whole and shows some “uniqueness” as well as uniformity to the army.

The other side of the coin to this debate is to try to save yourself some time and money by creating a Unit Filler on a much bigger base, setting it in the middle of a unit, and calling it good. I have absolutely no problems with this. I think that some people see the downside in it because there are only a 1-2 models on the base when it is going to “count as” four models. Some people will look at it and think you are just getting out of painting and don’t want to put forth the time and effort to make your army look well. I believe that these people are in the minority (though I could be wrong) and either don’t like the Unit Filler creation altogether or some other crazy reason that I don’t know about…

As I said earlier, I’ve noticed a HUGE growing trend with Unit Fillers and it’s almost becoming commonplace on the table top. I was at a tournament back in January where your army was in the minority if you DIDN’T have a Unit Filler somewhere in your army! So I think they are here to stay and the more and more people come to realize that you can actually make a small diorama out of your unit fillers will eventually make them even more appealing. You can scroll down a bit to see my latest Unit Filler and see how actually big it is. In essence, I gained 8 models by adding this to my unit so now it’s 28 strong instead of 20… and I only painted 1 Saurus Warrior… So where do you stand on this debate? Do you see anything wrong with Unit Fillers? And is this the wave of future in Warhammer or is it a fad that will come and go eventually? As always, thanks for reading.