As my spare time becomes more scarce and I prefer to write fewer blog posts but with more interesting content (at least more focused and containing less offtopic clutter), it's been quite a few months since I posted something about my painting progress or CRPG related entries.

As a summary, that I will probably do again in the future, this is more or less all what I've been doing:

Boardgames

D&D Castle Ravenloft: Not much to say, we played the first missions, it is interesting but hard to win the bad guys!

Our ongoing Risk Legacy campaign: Finished battle 9, really cool how the game develops, and still way to go until the map "becomes fixed".

Descent 2nd edition: I liked it so much I bought the base game. Expansions seem a bit meh, until I get tired of the base game I doubt will buy anything else.

Flash Point: A collaborative game where up to 6 firemen try to save 7 people from a house while fire and smoke spreads and causes explosions.

CRPGs

Braverly Default: I'm loving it. Same as Final Fantasy series are dead (last games being a disgrace), this is a nice spiritual successor, combining Final Fantasy III job system with summonable friend special moves and combat tweaks, plus configurable difficulty setting and encounter %. And lovely graphics. Did I already say I'm enjoying it a lot?

Zelda: A link between worlds: I was reluctant to play this because the 2D Link wasn't appealing, but I tried and I actually like a lot the puzzles, but I agree on the general consensus that it is quite easy. I haven't finished it yet, but due to lack of time.

Project X Zone: More tactical than RPG, it's very similar to Final Fantasy Tactics but with simpler "fighting-like" battles.

Diablo 3 expansion: Now it finally is a roguelike and action house went to hell, so has become what it should have been two years ago.

Warhammer Quest on iOS: Along ALL expansions, and now I'm playing the additional characters, so you can imagine how much I like this game. One of the best purchases for my iPad, it's so great to have a "portable WHQ" even for holidays.

Space Hulk: One of my big dissapointments, and not due to the game itself, because the mechanics are so nicely replicated, but due to the mess of technical issues and bugs that come and go on most game updates. From neverending turns to glitches, sound muting or crappy 3D performance (I recently updated my graphics card, which makes the situation even more absurd), if the game worked tecnhically correct it would be great.
Also the DLC plague made it a "just buy the basic game, and if on sale, better" approach.

Shadowrun Returns: After finishing the main game, how with the Berlin campaign/addon free for being a backer I'm having more netrunning and turn-based combat. I still have my hopes in the fan-made content for the long term, but even without it is a nice old-school like RPG.

Fire Emblem: Awakening: This was a cool strategy-RPG mix, that hooked me to my 3DS for weeks. I pumped 30+ hours to finish the main story and didn't managed to do every side-quest and character sub-plot, so it can become a really long game if you want.

RPGs

Not much, although I'm reading a lot of Warhammer 40,000 codexes for the lore and background (literally skipping the rules). I must have read around a dozen codexes, along with companion books (new Games Workshop way of squeezing more money, put half of the lore in another book), and of course the books which I still do reviews here.

But no pure RPGs since a while...

Painting & Assembling

I'm still assembling all Deadzone minis, plus a cool Imperial Knight and some unexpected things; GW's new website and the exclusive minis touched my collector weak point so I grabbed my wish list and now have a few more things to take care of.


I'm currently painting the Imperial Knight, and had some started minis pending (some old Rogue trader-era MKVI Space Marines and some Necron basic troops) also on the queue for whenever I want to change a bit.

As usual, with my rate of painting It'll take weeks, but I prefer to go slow but leave it in a decent painting level (decent for my skills, not for normal standards which are way higher).

http://kartones.net/blogs/theelderthoughts/slideshow.aspx?g=wh40k_2

Apart from normal miniatures, I've finally started painting a Star Trek Enterprise model I had from my trip to Australia a few years ago. I expect to finish it soon as I don't want to ad too many details.

Star Trek Enterprise model

Book Cover

I had Titanicus in my wish list since a while, having had Space Marine/Epic 40,000  and owning some Space Marine, Chaos and Eldar titans I wanted to read a book about their battles.

After finishing it, my feelings are quite mixed.

The book uses the typical trick of telling multiple stories and points of view of the same event (a series of battles in a forge world between imperial and chaos titans), and while some are quite interesting and indeed provide different angles of what is a fight using titans, others seem out of place, redundant and could have been removed without any problem.

I got lost sometimes with so many names and scenarios, and some characters/stories don't add much (if something, chaos to the reader). Also, while some fights are really well depicted, detailed and thrilling, there is one special big battle that is so quickly finished and so briefly described that dissapoints a lot.

Not a bad book, but I definetly expected more. It falls halfway of what could have been.

Posted 12 April 14 by
Filed under:

Comic cover

I can't remember exactly from where I got info about the presence of the comic book Inquisitor Ascendant, but I wanted to get my hands on it. Now that I've read it here are my thoughts.

As the name implies, the comic talks about Gravier, an inquisitor apprentice that follows a hardass inquisitor called Defay. The story is split on two parts, first of it telling some stories while Gravier learns from his master, and the second one afterwards when Gravier itself is an interrogator and Defay has gone missing.

It was originally published in fragments, and thus the drawings are from different artists. I really liked some of the styles, while others were just good. It is a bit of a pity that you make a visual idea of a character and some pages later it gets redrawn differently, but there's no option so... we must embrace it.

The story is nice, nothing incredibly deep but an enjoyable read, depicting some of the typical adventures an inquisitor would have, moral decisions he would have to take, and quite some action. It is partly from Dan Abnett, although there is a fragment from the second part suspiciously similar to Apocalypse Now movie...

Overall, quite good B&W comic, recommended if you want inquisitorial tales.

Comic Cover

Road Rage is a comic book adaptation of two stories: Duel, a Richard Matheson tale about a normal guy who is chased by a crazy truck (there is a great movie about it!), and Throttle, a rethinking of Duel written by Stephen King and his son.

As I enjoyed a lot watching Duel for the first time when I was a child (and the other times I've watched it again) but haven't read the book, I bought Road Rage to see how was adapted into a comic.

There results are quite nice: The drawings are nicely done, with dark tones of browns, greys and reds. The pacing is good and you get nervous admiring each page.

But there is a clear separation between both stories. Matheson's original one is as nice as expected, and the changes regarding the movie are small. Instead, Stephen King's tale… is a bit dull. It changes the characters (a gang of motorbike riders), it changes in other important aspects (they are not so passive/defensive as the original chased driver), but in general feels still too similar to the original. Maybe I just expected something more different and elaborate.

I recommend it even despite my unmet expectations.

Posted 01 March 14 by
Filed under:

White Dwarf #113 cover

Background

White Dwarf is like your first love. It might not last forever but you will always remember it.

I've been reading the magazine since I can remember. The cover at the beggining of this post is from the #113 issue, the first I think I ever read; it's been a long time, but I think I made my parents buy it because of the Space Hulk contents.

I kept piles of old issues, when it was at least 30% lore, stories and background, instead of a mere shopping catalog and painting showcase. When "battles" in Warhammer 40,000 were with less than 15 miniatures per side, and there were new rules in most issues.

As I was young first my english was pretty basic, using constantly a dictionary and guessing many "strange" (fantasy) words. But I gazed at the impressive drawings, at the beautifully painted miniatures, even at the ending pages order lists and metal pieces.

I read them over and over, because I could convince my parents to buy me one each few months, until I could subscribe to it... well, really a local store near my house would bring it to Spain, sometimes missing a number or arriving quite late. But it was ok as I still got the chance to read more articles.

I read about Space Hulk, about Advanced HeroQuest, about Blood Bowl and Epic 40,000 ("Space Marine" in the edition I have) and Necromunda... Games that not were "pure Warhammer", and that either I already had or I've ended up buying years later because of that nostalgia and earlier reading.

But I've also known about Battlefield Gothic, about Man'O'War or Mordheim or Gorkamorka, games that I haven't played but I have read lore and articles and seen great minis and scenarios based on them.

 

I had too the first spanish number when White Dwarf was translated, with months of delay and older contents, before it was monthly and fully localized. I stopped buying it but I've been able to read many many issues and kept it's evolution "under surveillance" during most of the latest 15 years.

In the last years it slowly became a pure, badly concealed, marketing tool. A beautified shopping catalog with a few interesting articles among tons of new products showcasing.

When in late 2012 it was redesigned and a digital version was presented, I decided to give it another try and subscribed for a year for the digital. After those 12 numbers I've kept reading it all months until now.

In all it's "redesigned existence", the magazine has slowly falled even deeper into the marketing pit. Despite the beautiful HD zoomable images and embedded 360 degree images of some new minis, the digital version is only better in the fact that is cheaper than the physical one. And both have zero lore articles, crappy battle reports that no longer are consistent, repetitive conversions and endless miniature showcasing (there's a chaos champion mini that I love and have but I've come to hate because of having seen it so many times in the magazine).

It promised more quality and just had more advertisement. It is like a big ad, a pure catalog that you pay for. You get more and better news from internet this days, and for free.

 

And now, the next genius turn from Games Workshop: You want rules in the mag and no ads? No problem, you'll pay for it! And just in case you are interested in the new catalog items, you can buy it separately too, in a weekly basis!

Simply brilliant... charging you more for fixing mistakes and removing self-advertisement, when the main purpose of the whole magazine is already that. And even use it to speed up the release cycle so the information leaks around the net are less effective.

And it gets even better... So let's review both magazines separately.

 

The White Dwarf (weekly)

Imagine compacting the normal White Dwarf into 30-something pages. Imagine almost 50% is pure "new releases" and the other 50% is what was in the "old" WD plus the "new and awaited" rules for a single model.

Images are bigger so less text is needed to fill pages, but you get so few actual content (less than 20 pages) that should almost be free.

The paper magazine has exactly the same paper width and height, just with less pages. There is an epub/mobi version at Black Library, which further demonstrates the bigger images by having just one or two paragraphs per page and a big image (not all pages but many).

So basically is an ultra-minimalistic version of the old WD, with some sections missing.

3.20€ per week (2.99€ the digital edition), almost 13€ per month if you want all issues. Nice marketing idea to allow you to choose but end up charging you more than before.

 

The Warhammer Visions (monthly)

This is actually quite surprising, and really dissapointing. It can be summarized as hundreds of pages... of photograpies of miniatures and battle scenes. The "sections" are only as a way of categorizing the photographs, but the text is so scarce it could be entirely removed.

It is "multilanguage", as texts and descriptions come in english, french and german, but at least there isn't much around the photos.

Photos are nice, until you notice they are overabused. Tons and tons of Tyranids, same units in different angles, zoom levels and color schemes, until smells like pure page-filling.

Digital version needs to be read in landscape mode (rotated), but the plus is you don't get "cut" images as in the paper version.

It has a new releases section (like the weekly WD), just having tons and tons of pictures, Parade Ground and battle report... full of images and that not even tries to make sense anymore or just communicate properly what happens in each turn.

Kit bash is also here, as Blanchitsu, and the small painting tips. As everything is in big pictures, what was a 3-4 pages article now spans over 6 to quite-too-many pages of and unnecessary huge photos.

And the store list is here instead of in the weekly WD, which also makes no sense except to make fatter this magazine and thinner the weekly one.

Last White Darf was about Tyranids, first Visions is also focused on Tyranids on the 40k part. Repetitive and looking as not wanting to make much effort for a first issue that should be amazing to hook people up.

The "best" thing is that, as some people around blogs have been suspecting, some of the photos of the Tyranids are actually repeated. I have also January 2014 White Dwarf digital version and I can confirm 100% sure that some images are repeated from last White Dwarf.
For example the Hive Crone images are the same photograps, some of them cleverly cut in different rectangles, some like the first one with violet background exactly the same in Jan WD and Feb Visions WB.

Se we have like half of the old WD, with less text and going towards a photo catalog. Such a dissapointing "new" magazine.

9€ per month (9.99€ the digital, more expensive than paperback one!).

 

My conclusions

They've lost their minds. They have hacked into pieces the old and already bad White Dwarf and made it even worse and way more pricey for just a few rules and more photos. Whoever thought it was a good idea to divide the magazine in two should probably be congratulated by getting fired.

The nonsense goes as far as not even being consistent: Weekly version has a cheaper but worse digital version (with quite minimalistic formatting) in compatible formats, while the Visions one is more expensive, only available for the iPad but with the paper version design.
Why they didn't just went one way? we can't know, although maybe they want to get the most from the new weekly magazine not sharing any revenue with Apple.

Either WD will die, or I'll lose my faith in humanity if people really welcomes this absurd and money-grabbing change. This is the worst movement they could have thought about.

More Posts: Next page »