Thursday, September 18, 2014

Generals Gathered in Their Masses...

     Welcome one and all to another lovely Thursday with your old pal the Shadow. Are you excited? I know I am, can't you tell by the look upon my face. Well take a look, look closer, closer, closer... BOO! Well darn that only really works if A you're gullible and B you are actually in the room... oh well I tried. So what Shadow fans does the Shadow know on this fine day? Well in truth lots of things, but today in this very moment what I know is this. After laying out some more ant traps to help rid myself of such vile vermin I happen to notice this little nugget of wisdom. Apparently ant traps contain peanuts and should not be ingested in case of allergy... WTF! Again I find this world we live in bursting at the seams with the rocket scientists of the world. Hmm, I dunno if I would be concerned so much with the peanut allergy after ingesting a nice lethal dose of cyanide! Hey what the heck do I know. I am just a little guy with a blog. I am not one those smart peoples of the world. So any who be leery when you suck on your ant traps if you are allergic to peanuts. You could go in to anaphylaxis and die. May the force be with you. So now onto How I Geek, on with Greg and the gang. This week we will be discussing for your ear lobe funtertainment Transformer's in honor of their 30th anniversary. I hate inviting the Decepticons over to the house. They get energon all over the house and I don't think, Ravage, Lazerbeak, or Buzzsaw are house broken. So come on by and we'll fix your leaking lubricants. It will be a blast I tell you a blast, (well it will if Michael Bay stops by... oh yes, it will be). So we will catch you then.

     So here it is game number two for a month of gaming and that little nugget of joy is Games Workshop's Warhammer 40K. I think number two is very appropriate because Games Workshop often takes a dump on it's fans, but alas I digress. Created by Rick Priestley in 1987 40k takes place in the 41st millennium of mankind's history. It is a thousand years after a great war with the evil chaos Gods and their twisted minions for control of the universe. In that time the great emperor of humanity has created the perfect gene seed and seeded 20 great generals (his progeny as it were) to lead his massive Space Marine armies. These soldiers have all been turned into the ultimate super soldiers and they are tasked to defend the great Imperium of man. To consolidate his new Imperium the emperor rallies his troops to unite the far flung colonies of man under one banner. It is during this time that the chaos gods begin to warp the mind of the emperor's greatest champion Horus. It is though Horus' arrogance that he is forever warped and changed into a being of pure evil and brings with him several legions and generals with him. The Horus Heresy as it will be called dragged mankind into a massive civil war with the emperor himself felling the final blow and ending it, but only at a great cost to himself. The minions of chaos scurried back into the warp. This all occurs in the 31st millennium. We fast forward 1000 years and that is were they game begins.

     One would think that after all that work there would be peace in the universe. Alas you would be wrong as the victory is a short lived one. The minions of chaos continue to fight the heroes of the Imperium through what seems to be a never ending struggle. To top this off many great technologies and the knowledge to build them were lost during the the great war. Also many enemies of man have surfaced (some ancient and others new) to attempt to take their place in the universe. First are the ancient Eldar. They are the ancient elves of old. In their own arrogance they released a chaos god and caused the slow demise of their race. They travel the universe  on world ships hoping to stave off their eventual extinction. Next is the Orks. In some editions they were said to be made of plants. In any case they were created by the Eldar to battle the chaos forces they unleashed only to discover their creations thirst for blood and battle was to insatiable to control. The Ork only knows war. It is all he thinks about, dreams about, or even talks about. They are quite a bit slow and dimwitted, but have a way of somehow stealing other races tech and converting it for their own uses. Next come the Tyranid. These beings are intelligent in their own right. They are comparable to the James Cameron movie Aliens, aliens. They scurry across the universe spreading their seed to devour entire worlds. They have no interest in conquest, but only rather to exist and grow as a species. Perhaps that is what makes them the most terrifying to those of the Imperium. They can't be bargained with or reasoned with. They simply wish to devour, consume, and continue. This brings us to the next race the Necrons. They are a race of mechanical beings who have had all their humanity as it were removed to become soulless machines. Soulless is really not true as they have a soul. It is just trapped in a emotionless body that is bent upon conquest. With each new soldier they kill upon the battlefield becomes a new soldier amongst their ranks. They are similar in appearance to James Cameron's terminators from the movie of the same title and they to cannot be reasoned with. They simply exist to conquer and reshape the universe (also not to unlike the borg). Next up are the evil counter parts to the Eldar, the Dark Eldar. These dark elves in space are more like pirates and live more to feed their own needs rather then conquest. They broke away from the Eldar long ago and basically pillage and plunder across the universe... yo ho ho and a bottle of rum. Next up is the newest of races and the greatest shooters in the game the Tau Empire. The Tau are considered the bringers of light and justice. They are a highly advanced culture that is doing it's best to protect its lands from the encroaching races across the galaxy. They have allied themselves with the more primitive Kroot as the Tau are rather squishy on the battlefield in hand to hand combat. Finally we have the Daemons of chaos. they are those foul things that go bump in the night and the horrors that live within your nightmares. These entities come through the warp gates and bring terror and death to those they touch and cannot convert for their chaos masters. They ride along with the often mutated fallen chaos space marines side by side. These are the enemies of the Imperium. This is just really an over simplified synapses of what is out there. There are many different sects and subgroups within the Imperium itself, but I will not get into them here. As you can see the world of 40K is filled with a lot of diversity and complexity, but what of the game itself.

     Interesting fluff and story telling aside Games Workshop will be the first to tell you they are a model making company first and a gaming company last. They do indeed make many wonderful models and once painted up look really great on the battlefield, but unfortunately the rules made from edition to edition do not match these wonderful models. Since 87 there have been 7 editions of 40K with 4th and 5th being my least two favorite editions and also a new codex released for every army under the flag of each edition. One of the first big issues I have here is that with every time they do reset they nerf (or blunt) something that was big and bad in the previous edition and thus making it a walking waste of your money. The second thing that bothers me with these edition changes is that they restructure (reinvent the wheel) on most armies forcing you to be constantly buying new minis. This would not be so bad if it wasn't for the fact that they keep hiking the prices with each new edition as well. When I first started playing I could get a Space Marine land raider tank for just under 40 bucks (back in 2005 for those wishing to know). Now you would be lucky to find one for under 80. Codex's that are required for your armies are up to 50 bucks apiece and the core rulebook almost 100 bucks. With other miniature gaming companies pumping out better quality models with superior rules sets it is only a matter of time before Games Workshop has painted itself in a corner.Don't get me wrong I love playing this game and I love seeing big armies crush each other on the battlefield. I just think that for what you get with your money (as far as rules) this game just isn't worth the price you are paying. Perhaps you feel different and I say to you that is OK, but me I have a family and not the kind of disposable income I had when I was younger. I feel more and more priced out of this game every year and as with my role playing I have gotten fewer and fewer games in. I dunno perhaps it is time for me to sell at rock bottom prices. As my Aunt is always fond of saying it is what it is, So alas I digress. Warhammer 40K is a pretty sweet game and I have had a lot of fun playing it over the years in spite of Games Workshop. I encourage anyone to give it a try and see for yourselves. I just hope you don't have a stroke when you see the price if you buy all new.

     Well folk that is it again for another installment of the Shadow Knows. What did you think this of this weeks installment? Do you play 40K? What is your favorite army? Do you play any miniature war games? Did you know that witches have black masses? I am just saying that when generals gather in their masses it is just like witches and their black masses. I know this cuz Ozzy told me so. He bites heads off bats, so he must know everything.

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