The day started out at 2am. That's the time we showed up in Atlanta, though previous planning figured on an arrival time of 4am. After a stop at a restaurant, it was now 4am, and we hopped over to the convention center to wait for the opening of Games Day.
Being first in line had its perks. There was time to chat with the volunteers showing up to set up the event, and snap some quick shots of the event hall before it was invaded by the gamers. Registration was quick and easy, but the wait from 8am to 10am (registration opening to the opening of the doors) seemed to drag on. Some entertainment was providing as Rogue Trader Tournament players scrambled in to start the tournament at 9am, some of them showing up late and dashing to their tables. During this time, quick scans of the parking lot and gathering crowd produced no sign of the Jacksonville GW club, The Guardians of the Sanctuary (though they did manage to make it before the doors opened).
Once the doors were opened, chaos ensued. There was a mad dash to the store, everyone wanted to grab the new Terminators and limited edition figures. Luckily we made it to the store in time to grab two boxes, as well as another Space Marine Veteran, a Witch Hunter Inquisitor, and several blisters of bits. Surprisingly, the grab bags promised in all the flyers and on the website were not present. The Forge World store had the longest line, and it was a half-hour wait to get two sets of Land Raider doors.
A few events were going on, and I jumped over to join the Conversion Contest. I didn't expect to win, nor did I care. By the end of the day, I had three new converted Space Marine characters to add to our Space Marine armies. One of them will likely become a Chaos Marine Lord, but the ways of the Imperium are fickle...
We spotted the new figures and grabbed some shots of them, which will be posted as soon as they get developed. There was a new Hive Tyrant, Brood Lord, High Elf Bolt Thrower, various Skaven and Lizardmen.
And after all of that, it was time to join the seminar.
This is the time that everyone was waiting for! Though it was going to have to be a good seminar to make up for the awful videos that were being shown beforehand. The videos got a good chuckle. The small trivia contest was good for bagging a new pack of Sanctioned Psykers, the question being, "Who was the captain that was sent on a quest in Bloodquest?" And you had to spell it. Ironically, earlier that day we had picked up a copy of the collected Bloodquest trilogy, though the answer was already known well in memory.
On to the seminar, which was hosted by Phil Kelly, this year's games designer quest.
Lord of the Rings
The first part of the seminar involved Lord of the Rings. The Scouring of the Shire was shown, and was explained as skirmish-level battles (the polar opposite of Pellinor Fields) with some humor injected (special rule named, "The umbrella is indeed not mightier than the sword.") Games Workshop plans to continue supporting the Tolkien books. To help push the line in a new direction, they are releasing a 240 page hardback rulebook, "One Book to Rule Them All". To supplement this is a boxed set titled "Mines of Moria", which will include a getting started booklet, a small rules book, a new plastic Fellowship, a plastic cave troll, and plastic goblins, as well as plastic ruins. If this setup sounds familiar, you're on the right track. It is indeed a copy of the Warhammer 40K strategy, releasing the hardback rulebook and the intro boxed set.
Upcoming supplements include Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers companion books, which escalate the hobby throughout these two books' storylines. Basically, this means they give you suggestions on how to build your forces and create new and more impressive terrain as the book goes on, as well as providing scenarios for each. Other new releases coming in 2006 and after include Shadows in the East, which will include the lands East of Gondor and introduce plastic Easterlings to the line; and Mirkwood, which will include army lists for spiders and elves, and will be supplemented with plastic Elves.
Next up in the roller-coaster tri-system seminar was Space Marines. Marneus Calgar and his bodyguard were shown off. Mention was made of Calgar's Land Raider shown in White Dwarf 303, which Phil refered to as a "Pimp My Ride" Land Raider. The Space Marine painting guide and the new Terminators were shown off, the latter being largely nothing new as most of us in the seminar room had already gotten our mitts on a box (or two!).
The seminar then headed into Warhammer, with the Lustria campaign book. This book is designed to introduce new campaign systems, new army lists for Skaven and Lizardmen, and be supplemented by new releases for both of those lists as well as High Elves. Also new is an Encounter Phase between the Magic and Combat phases, in which players can spend Encounter Points to cause jungle effects to happen to their opponents. Examples include carniverous plants, and the nastiest surprise, quicksand that kills troops if they pass their armour save! There will also be a table for events before the battle, which can give rise to such effects as troops arriving early (free move) and your entire army catching an infection.
The Rat Ogres boxed set not only includes plastic Rat Ogres, it also includes plastic Giant Rats and Pack Masters - two whole regiments in one! There is also the new plastic Plague Monks. The Lizardmen get plastic Saurus cavalry, with Cold Ones that are supposed to lean more toward a raptor image, and the High Elves receive a plastic repeated bolt thrower.
The summer campaign will be a booklet in White Dwarf titled "Conquest of the New World". This is a historical campaign, so events will not effect the Warhammer world at large. The reason for this is that GW is trying to move away from the "World Is About To End" campaign style. Many battles will be played in an area and only one result will be submitted, not several. The Ogre Kingdoms-vs-Lizardmen table at Games Day, "The Big Eat," is part of this campaign.
There will be a limited release miniature, Marco Colombo. This is the same figure released by GW Spain a while back.
To help the players with the campaign, there will be plunder counters, gold coins, and more released for use with the campaign.
The Engine of the Gods seen in so many pictures online and in the magazines is not a new model. It is a conversion. An article will be run in White Dwarf suggesting how to convert this model.
Practically the whole Tyranid range is being redone. Brilliant stuff! The Gaunts, Stealers, Warriors, and Carnifex will be plastic.
The Brood Lord is a nasty HQ choice to help you create an all-Genestealer army. He has S5, T5, counts as a power weapon for attacks, and can Infiltrate. He cannot, however, use Fleet, as he's simply too big.
The Zoanthrope can have two psychic powers, and has vanes that belch out a gas containing bacteria that attack nearby organisms. This gives the Zoanthrope some bite in an assault.
Synapse creatures aren't the only ones that benefit from no Instant Death. All models within the Synapse range are immune to Instant Death! This was done to promote more use of the "midrange" bugs, such as Warriors. It is said to represent the Hive Mind adapting to new combat methods.
Living ammunition now has rules! You can reroll to wound rolls with any weapon that has living ammunition. This includes fleshborers, devourers, and deathspitters. Termagants are now mighty little bugs with their guns, but the points cost for these weapons has been adjusted to match their new effectiveness. Make of that what you will.
A silhouette of the new Carnifex was shown, and it's a big, hunched bug. He has several options, including +1T, +1W, 2+ Sv, D6 Attacks, and Regeneration. As has been rumored, any Carnifex under 115 points counts as an Elites choice. No minimum army points were mentioned for this, so it's possible any size Tyranid army has the option of running six Carnifexes.
"Make your own hive fleet" is gone. It was too confusing, so they scrapped it and made Tyranids customizable to a degree hardly ever before imagined. As they suggested, there is no "special hive fleet", the Hive Mind will be quick to spread useful mutations, and will test other mutations across several warzones.
Tyranid seeding swarms will still be around, but as a downloadable list on the Internet.
No models were shown, only a silhouette. All models are being redone, the whole army list is being "reinvented". Forest Spirits are more like typical fantasy representations, tough fellows. There are medium sized treemen (Tree-kin) who will form regiments, as well as Dryad characters and Treemen characters (Ancients). Several new characters are being added to the Wood Elves, at both Lord and Hero levels (even a Wardancer Lord!).
They are going for a dark look with the Wood Elves, to the point of having demonic-looking treemen.
The biggest shock was a little taste of what Waywatchers are like now. They have Killing Blow with bows. That's right. Killing Blow with bows. As Phil put it, these aren't your "tree-hugging pansies" anymore.
Codex: Black Templars
We were shown a picture of Paul Dainton working on the cover for it, and hinted that it could be out soon. There is supposed to be "lots of goodness" for them, both with rules and models.
Questions & Answers
I'll skip the questions and give the answers. Some answers have been added to the appropriate sections above.
Dark Eldar are being "reinvented", much like the Wood Elves, and this is taking a while. So they are on the design back burner. However, it must be noted here that the Games Day store had several Dark Eldar boxed sets and blisters available, enough to suggest they are still a fairly popular army.
The Dark Elf Cold Ones will not be replaced with the new Cold Ones any time soon.
A new Regiment of Renown is popping up for the Vampire Counts: Zombie Pirates! These guys will be featured in the Lustria campaign.
Warhammer Fantasy Battles will get the "deluxe treatment" that 40K4 and LOTR received, when WHFB 7th Edition is released in 2007. It is said to be going the route of the 40K3-40K4 transition, where they try some new modifications to the rules and go with a slightly modified game that can still use the current army books.
Basic work on the Eldar has started. Phil hinted at new aspect warriors. The same answer was given for Orks: A lot of preliminary discussion, but not much actual work so far. Alien Hunters are even worse off.
Warhammer 40K will be getting a campaign book like Lustria in the future, but not any time soon.
The design studio had to do a lot of work on the Chaos Dwarfs to get a good feeling for the Hellcannon, so the groundwork is already there for them to get an army book in the future sometime. The current idea is of evil Dwarfs that use Chaos as a tool - daemons to power machines, distilling daemonic essences, etc.
Harlequins could get a Chapter Approved list in the future to allow people to continue using the current model line, this will be a holdover until they can figure out what direction they want to take Harlequins in.
Ghazghkull is not dead.
And I managed to corner Phil in the hall and ask the obvious question. "What about the Squats?" He laughed, replied that they were eaten, and even made motions with his hand to simulate a bug's mouth chowing down on something. Hey, someone had to ask the question.
Sabertooth Games was on hand at the Black Library booth to show off their new 40K CCG, Dark Millenium. They handed out posters with the following information on the back:
The Warhammer 40,000 Collectible Card Game
Sabertooth Games is pleased to announce the upcoming release of Dark Millennium: The Warhammer 40,000 Collectible Card Game - the next chapter in Warhammer 40,000 collectible card game.
Dark Millennium propels the Warhammer 40,000 collectible card game forward. Horus is dead and the Emperor lays interred on the Golden Throne. The brutal Ork horde and deadly Eldar warhost join the battle for the entire galaxy.
Dark Millennium: The Warhammer 40,000 Collectible Card Game lets you take command of massive armies, letting you determine the fate of strategic planets in the galaxy. Flesh and steel collide as you deploy your forces and determine the strategy and tactics needed to win the battle and destroy your enemy.
Dark Millennium will include four of the most popular races of the Warhammer 40,000 universe:
The Armies of the Imperium – The Emperor has been confined to the Golden Throne but his might is still felt through his loyal followers. Their forces are comprised of the heroic Space Marine chapters, the loyal Imperial Guard, and ever vigilant Inquisition. The empire of man has been battle hardened by thousands of years of warfare and is ready to face any new threat.
The Forces of Chaos – Chaos forces reemerge from the Eye of Terror in the form of traitorous Chaos Space Marines and Imperial Guard led by the daemonic forces of Khorne, Slaanesh, Nurgle and Tzeentch. Horus shall be avenged and the worlds of the galaxy will run red with blood.
The Eldar – The ancient Eldar appear from the void to follow their mysterious agenda, wreaking havoc with their alien technology and powerful psychic abilities. The Eldar Craftworlds of Ulthwe, Biel-Tan, and Saim-Hann are ready to unleash their aresenals.
The Orks – The brutal Ork hordes rumble on to the scene, bringing with them their own unique brand of destruction and mayhem. The marauding tribe of orks comprise of the Evil Sunz, Bad Moons, and Deathskulls have already consumed thousands of worlds and are bent on washing the galaxy in a tide of green.
Dark Millennium: The Warhammer 40,000 Collectible Card Game is the perfect entry point for any new player, and an awesome addition to existing fans!
Coming October 2005!"
SEMINAR - LORD OF THE RINGS
SEMINAR - WARHAMMER FANTASY BATTLES
SEMINAR - WARHAMMER 40,000
PREVIEW FIGURES - WARHAMMER 40,000
Brood Lord; Hive Tyrant Resin Master Copy; Hive Tyrant and Art; Various Tyranids; Marneus Calgar and Honor Guard
PREVIEW FIGURES - WARHAMMER FANTASY BATTLES
Rat Ogre Sprues; Plague Monk Sprues; High Elf Repeater Bolt Thrower Sprues
Various Warhammer Figures; Various Warhammer Figures; RBT and Ogre Kingdoms Giant
PREVIEW FIGURES - LORD OF THE RINGS
Phil and Tim
Before the event took off!
ROGUE TRADER TOURNAMENTS
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