Can't sleep. Preoccupied with stuff.
Content note: Swearing, and way too much talk about miniatures, sexism, and messed-up unethical companies.
Between the "Spots the Space Marine" legal attack on a writer whose character had nothing to do with Astartes, the removal of nearly all of its internet presence except for a web store, the attack on online retailers / discounters that caused many third party stores to shut down, and the general hostility towards and price-gouging of its biggest fans, Games Workshop is fucking nasty.
Any one of those should disqualify it from consideration as a trading partner, and those are just its biggest hits. There's also the super-nasty corporate environment and the random firings going on in it.
And then there's Age of Sigmar.
Warhammer 40,000, the game we've been playing a lot of, is a sci-fi offshoot of the original Warhammer, which developed around the same time that original D&D did and has roughly a 30-year history. One full of whimsical fantasy models and characters, like talking rats and elves riding gryphons, and dwarves that drive steam tanks and stuff.
Games Workshop blew it all away earlier this year, literally asploding the planet that it took place on, and replaced the whole of Warhammer with a game called Age of Sigmar. Named after the world-conquering "hero" who wielded the titular warhammer, Ghal Maraz, it has a total of four pages of rules, and free online stats for every model they've ever made, including the new Stormcast Eternals who are basically fantasy space marines.
This would not be so bad, if Age of Sigmar were actually fun to play.
The 8th edition of Warhammer was an extremely complex and in-depth game. Ranked fantasy infantry maneouvred in solid "bricks" of models, trying to outflank each other and win by routing the enemy (not necessarily killing them to the last). Hero models and war machines could plow through entire formations of enemy soldiers, but you were limited in that each model cost a certain number of points and you could only spend like 1/4 of them on each type of special model. So the core of the game was extremely in-depth, and rewarded tactical thinking.
In contrast, basically every Age of Sigmar game I've seen or heard people discuss devolved into a dogpile in the centre of the board. Either that, or one player taking a force of nothing but the most powerful models and sweeping the table. This is because there are no point costs, there are no restrictions, and there are basically no victory conditions besides murdering the fuck out of whatever your opponent brought. There are "sudden death" objectives you can declare if you're vastly outnumbered, but that just means you can take a single dragon and declare sudden death against your opponent's peons.
Maybe, maybe this game would be fun if they added some more onto it, like scenarios and model restrictions. And if it were a special "skirmish mode" or "introductory-level" Warhammer. But no. It, and its $75 rulebook and accessories like a $40 dice shaker, have completely replaced a 30-year-old game that's gone through eight editions of rules. This is what Warhammer is, from now on.
There are lifelong fans who are so utterly dejected that they are eBaying entire collections. One person on YouTube burned theirs.
There are economic reasons why Games Workshop abandoned their flagship product line. Fuck those reasons. Their fans gave more to that game, and worked harder on it, than they ever did. I don't know what that work should entitle them to, but it's not this.
Now their CEO's saying in the yearly financial report that they're going to do a top-down restructuring of their whole product line. I don't know if that means 40k is going to get the Age of Sigmar treatment, and I'm not sure I want to wait to find out.
I'm just frustrated that I've spent a lot of money and effort trying to play this game with a bunch of cismale tech company employees at the store, and I still can't play in the league they are starting next week which requires a 2000-point list (twice as big as the game I played today). And all the work I did is probably going to amount to nothing after all.
I thought I knew what I was getting into.
Meanwhile, in Immoren
So yeah, Warmachine and Hordes, those are their biggest competitors right now. I picked up the latest issue of No Quarter, Privateer Press' official magazine, at the games store. It had some cool stuff for both games.
Something didn't sit well with us, though, while we were reading it. And I don't know if Wundergeek's criticism on "Go Make Me A Sandwich" rubbed off on us, but it's like suddenly we noticed that all the female characters had boobplate, boob windows, fucking high heels, and so on.
For their 10th anniversary issue, a couple of months ago, the cover had WWII bomber style pinup art of one of the main female characters, on a warjack's shoulder. And there were people on No Quarter's Facebook page basically shouting down anyone who thought this was questionable.
Why do I even bother with these games? Maybe I should just play BattleTech, which has historically been much, much better about portraying women and people of colour. Or maybe, you know, I should actually write something for a change.
Like an epic rant, about Sigmarines and the $24 cans of gold spray paint you're supposed to buy for them.