GW, in 2016 you gave us what we asked for and much, much more!
So much new kit came our way this year. Some things that have been on those wish lists for a long time, some great surprises. All in all, something for almost everyone. 'Ere we go!
- THE FAQ: How friggin long have we been waiting/asking for this? That doesn't really matter to me. What does matter is the way GW went about putting this together, and the way the final product was delivered. It was a very open process, with plenty of opportunity for feedback. Best of all, the 2016 FAQ provided clarification to many issues that have been confounding players, literally, for years. It also, to the dismay of a few, delivered a few surprises. No Allied taxis comes to mind right away. Bottom line...thanks GDub for a quality effort on the behalf of the community.
- Monthly White Dwarf: I am thrilled about this change. Was never a fan of the weekly; just too much clutter and not enough substance. Gobs of ads and really, IMO, just a weekly product update, with little or no value to the player-hobbyist. The new White Dwarf has been a joy to sit down and read. Packed full of not only new product breakdown/detail, but great hobby articles that are actually useful. New rules, great photo galleries and ongoing features. The Battle Reports are fantastic. I have read each one more than once; there is so much detail you will certainly miss something if you just give it a cursory once over. It really feels like I am getting my monies worth.
- Start Collecting Boxes: What a great way to get started in the hobby. Age of Sigmar Starters, in particular, seem to be an amazing dollar value. Just pick something that looks interesting, spend less than $100, and you put a playable army on the table. This has also been a great way to explore AoS factions that you might have an interest in without a major investment. I purchased a Death Starter and a Seraphon Starter. Finally expanded my Seraphon, but I have the core of a Death army if I ever change directions.
- General's Handbook: HOME RUN GDUB! This tome changed the way AoS was looked at by the rest of the world. There had always been a core of Sigmar loyalists, but so many were on the outside looking in. This threw open the doors to so many sideliners. Based on the way Sigmar has become a regular topic on several popular podcast and other Interweb forums, it should be apparent that AoS is on the rise with no end in site. It's great to see the amazing turnaround the General's Handbook has provided, and how Sigmar in now part of the mainstream GW community. Hey Gdub, how about some General's Handbook love for 40K?
- Traitors Hate/Traitor Legions: They are certainly not a new dex, but if you play Chaos and you can't make something work with these new tools, you will probably never be satisfied. There are so many build options in these books...many of them force multipliers and enablers to previously obsolete/unusable units. The Traitor "chapter tactics" give each Legion something thematic, and as a narrative player, it is a welcome sight. For those who are tournament players, you have the means to bring Chaos Space Marines back to the table. Maybe not (or maybe so) top tier, but certainly competitive and resilient. Personally, Wrath of Magnus has brought me to a point that I am actually going to start a Chaos army. Thousand Sons...really Dan? They are not that great. As previously stated, I am a narrative gamer, and the story of the Sons of Magnus has always been among my favorite Heresy tragedies. The Wrath of Magnus story did a great job of moving the entire 40K story line forward (no spoilers), so the rules be damned. I will enjoy building, painting and playing them; maybe even winning a few games in the process.
- Genestealer Cults: In terms of plastic toy soldiers, this was for me, the biggest and most pleasant surprise of the year. It seems that the new mechanics have already had an impact on the competitive meta, and is a breath of fresh air in terms of both models and game play. How do you defeat an opponent who appears out of nowhere and disappears to the same darkness? Many folks who have faced this nightmare have discovered the answer is...you don't! Well done to the design team at GDub for giving us such a novel and highly anticipated addition to the table top. I came very close to this being my next new 40K army; I was a Nid player for several years. Before I could pounce on this, rumours of the new Thousand Sons started appearing, and here we are. No regrets. Just happy for the 40K community that Genestealer Cults are finally a reality. By the way, notice how all the cool armies have a dude carrying a glowing staff of awesomeness?
- Betrayal at Calth and The Burning of Prospero: Plastic 30K?! No freakin' way! Two great games and sprues full of plastic Heresy! Wonder how many new 30K armies have had their beginnings from these boxed games? I have not played Calth, but I have played Prospero...loved it. As a board gamer as well as a 40K hobbyist, the addition of quality board games in the universe I enjoy was most welcome. Seriously made me consider a Thousand Sons Heresy army. Perhaps still a possibility. Have to wait and see what Volume VII of the Heresy series brings. If the rules are interesting enough, I may end up building 30K and 40K Sons of Magnus...my wallet feels like someone just set off some Butcher's Nails!
- Silver Tower: Last, but certainly not least, a boxed game set in the Age of Sigmar. Have played it several times, even have the Hero Card Deck. Playing Silver Tower is actually what got me interested in Age of Sigmar. The models, as you would expect, are exceptional. Have not painted a single one, probably never will. For me, the game is great fun without that coat of paint, and honestly, with all the 40K painting in the queue, I don't ever see it happening. Probably get a game in once a month at this point, just enough to satisfy the itch. The best part for me is playing the same scenarios with different characters. A new game every time. Nothing like helping to feed my board game addiction.
Thanks again, Games Workshop, for a great year. Lots of positive changes in dealing with the community, value added product support, and many great new products. Best wishes for another successful year in 2017!
What was the highlight of your 2016 hobby year?