Sunday, 11 November 2012


Last week, I asked you all to contact me through Twitter, Facebook and, in some cases, even face to face with questions you would like answered regarding the GW Hobby. Sadly, the stringencies of a National Managers Meeting (and by that I mean beer, gaming, food and, occasionally training) followed by a beyond-midnight stock check this week has pushed this post right back. Without further ado, let's go!

"Do you believe Cypher is really a bad guy?" - Warwick @pocketfulofgeek

Ah, I love this question! First of all, "bad guy" is fairly subjective in 40k where the Imperium, then"good guys" are the galaxies biggest and most oppressive fascist regime; but I'll take the question at face value. SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

Cypher, or Lord Cypher (as its a title, not his actual name) was one of the heavy lore keepers for the Dark Angels, and one of the ones to disappear during the Horus Heresy after the events at Caliban. What we see of Cypher is rare, he features in the 3rd ed Chaos Codex (or was it White Dwarf?) and then disappears until the book "Atlas Infernal" and audio drama "Malediction". Certainly Cypher is at the top of the Dark Angels wanted list, they stop ANYTHING if there's an inkling he may be nearby.

As for his actual agenda, who knows? The Lion Sword went missing and he has a big sword chained to his back that he never draws, so rumour abounds about that... Is it the Lion Sword? We really don't know yet.

Is he Chaos? That's a different question entirely. Certainly, he bears no iconography of the Ruinous Powers and is never seen to offer them supplication. In fact, in "Malediction", it transpires that he arrives to assist the Procel Regiment in defending their city against almost unbeatable odds... Against Chaos; helping them hold out just long enough for a Dark Angels relief force to arrive. Chaos do tend to fight amongst themselves, of course, but rarely do they so directly aid the Imperium against Chaos. Perhaps he was just toying with the Dark Angels, but since they were oblivious to his presence, and he swears the narrator to secrecy would indicate that his motives don't lie against the Imperium per se.

Cipher is an enigma, to be sure, but I don't reckon he's out there fighting the Long War alongside the Chaos Legions. I don't think he has the Imperiums best interests at the fore, but rather he's persuing his own agenda. - for whatever ends we may never know, but I reckon we'll see more of Cypher. Maybe in WD, a Black Library novel, or the next Codex: Dark Angels? Those would be my guesses.

"Why did the chaos dwarves fall?" - @KingCrowGoblins

Back in the days when the mountains were young and the dwarf ancestors roamed the Old World an expedition of dwarves pressed further and further east. They crossed the Worlds Edge mountains and found the Badlands. They crossed the Badlands and there they found a land of fire, death and shadow which we know now as the Dark Lands.

There, amongst the hellish landscape, the dwarfs dug and uncovered a dark and murderous god; bull headed Hashut, Prince of Blood and Shadow. It is not written how the first dwarves fell into the worship of this malign entity, casting aside their long beloved Ancestor Gods, but the years to come we're not kind to those trapped within the darkness.

Great blood sacrifices were offered to supplicate Hashut, the most gruesome of which involved a giant brass furnace into which thousands were herded and burned alive, their screams reverberating around the chamber and up a tall brazen spout. Atop this spout sat a bull head effigy, the anguished screams of the damned souls within emerged as a braying growl.

The dwarves, now hideously twisted by the darkness of Chaos embraced the magic Hashut taught them, their bodies bending into demonic visages. What once had been a fight for survival had now become a way of life to the Chaos Dwarves. No longer did they yearn for the secrets of the earth, now only the need to enslave nearby races to build their dark city rules their blackened hearts.

"In your opinion, what is the strongest army (not individual character, but whole army) in Warhammer, and which is your fav?" - @KingCrowGoblins

Haha! Oh, this question! I get asked this quite often, so I guess it seems fitting that I write it down here, once and for all. I'll start with the second part.

My favourite army? This is a very difficult question for me... As I tend to have three at cycle around the top spots. Beastmen, Skaven and Vampire Counts. The Beastmen are just something that I really love and its hard to pin down just why. There's something about their image that is just SO chaotic, so evil and twisted. They're bestial, primal and murderous. They're without a doubt the most 'naturalistic' of the bunch, and I'm quite fond of such things myself - I'm a great believer in the power of nature, and these guys epitomise that, albeit a nature twisted and perverted by the powers of chaos. They believe the world was theirs and that mankind stole it. This, to me, is a dark reflective look at how we interact with nature ourselves, that fight between man and nature.

However, there's something awesome about psychotic ratmen that blow themselves up, and who can deny the coolness of Vampires?? Ultimately, I think the Beastmen just win out.

Which is the best army? That's, again, very subjective. The best shooting army? The best at combat? The best for monsters? ...The point I'm making is that there is no best army. If one army was inherently better than the others, that'd be the army everyone did. Yes, some armies can make hard-to-beat lists easier than others, but I do honestly believe that any army can beat any other... With the right general, of course. To kind of illustrate this point, Bretonnians and Wood Elves often get referred to as weaker books, yet we see plenty of these armies tearing up the tournament scenes, and even my humble Beastmen have torn down everything from Warriors of Chaos to Ogres, Vampires to Dark Elves.

"Based on the tyranids ability to adapt to their enemies, how long would you estimate until the galaxy has been scoured of biomass?" - Luke Friend @lukemfriend

Wow, now that is a question. Let's examine the timeline in Codex: Tyranids for a moment. The first recorded contact with the Tyranids was the death of Tyran in early 745.M41, but Tyran is not a world right on the fringe, so we can assume a bit of back travel. I'd place it at approximately 741.M41, given how long it then takes to reach Macragge.

Hive Fleet Behemoth came from the galactic east, and hits Macragge in 745/6.M41. That's less than a year to cover approximately 1/9th of the radial of Segmentum Solar. That is a BIG distance covered VERY quickly.

Looking at the amount of damage done between Behemoth (741.M41 - 746.M41) and now, at present, Leviathan, (997.M41+), we can see that currently Tyranid invasion covers approximately 1% of galactic realspace. Multiply this out with the speed we saw Behemoth move at (for the slowest incursion) and I'd estimate that, at current rates, the galaxy will be a shell of its existance well before we start dating things as M43 - probably around 400-500.M42.

"How long, do you reckon, until we see a plastic Thunderhawk?" - Luke May

Haha. Yeah. Next question.

"What are the official base-size rules? Can you mount 25mm on 40mm?" - Jeremy Stange @jeremystange

There are no official rules on this, as every one of our rulebooks contains the golden rule of having fun, making house rules, and most of us run the 'rule of cool' (Does it look good? Then do it.). Ultimately, I like to use a couple of rules of thumb on this one:

In Warhammer, as base sizes are an integral part of combat, and combat is an integral part of the game, I believe base size is very important. A unit of bloodletters, if put on 20mm bases instead of 25mm, and kept at the same points, are notably different to being mounted on 25mm bases. As such, in Warhammer, I personally tend to take base sizes quite seriously and use the ones out of the box.

In 40k, in contrast, I'm a little bit looser. My Warpsmith is mounted on a 40mm base, rather than 25mm. All of my Tyranid Hive Guard are on 60mm rather than 40mm. Why? Because, in my opinion, it looked better, more stable. Is it particularly game changing? I'd argue no, but again, I am willing to accept other opinions on the matter; especially when looking at characters like Canis Wolfborn.

Canis has a rule that means he can do his usual attacks in combat, or one for every person in base contact. Naturally, the bigger the base, the more people can get into base contact. In Canis' example, changing his base can dramatically alter his abilities, to the end that there is a designers note on him requiring a certain base size. Some tournaments take this literally across the board and I have been told that my Hive Guard cannot be entered into some tournaments due to their irregular bases.

If GW were to take an official stance (which, I must point out, I am not qualified to make for them, this is ONLY my opinion), then I imagine it would be something to the effect of:

"If it looks cool and isn't going to spoil the game for someone else, then do it"

"When was that moment of "OMG THIS IS AMAZING GOTTA DO MORE :D" - @KingCrowGoblins

I don't actually think there was ever one real point... My hobby all started when a friend came into school one day in Year 4/5 (I was 7/8, can't remember which) with a copy of the 2nd Edition Warhammer 40,000 box which he'd picked up at a Boot Fayre for the pricely sum of 50p. We looked at the cool models and the guides, and then he pointed out that a local (well, 45mins walk away) bike shop also stocked it.
A couple of my friends were interested and we started collecting, but none of us really had a clue what we were doing or even that, about an hours train away was our closest GW who would have been glad to help us. As an explanation of how crazy I was with my purchases and how little clue I had, besides paints etc, this was my shopping list at first:
  • Six Tyranid Genestealers
  • Metal Khorne Champion on Juggernaut
  • High Elf Army Book
  • Metal Tyranid Lictor
  • Battlefleet Gothic Boxed Game
  • Eldar Falcon Grav Tank
etc... In honesty, I think it was about the time I picked up my first White Dwarf. It was the issue that Battlefleet Gothic had been released in, and I remember reading the battle report for BFG and resolving that I wanted it all. Eventually, I would finish my fleet (since destroyed due to the enthusiastic painting of 9 year old me) but to this day, have never gotten myself a gaming table for BFG or otherwise. That issue of White Dwarf inspired me to collect. It was also the issue where the metal Chaos Lord was released for 40k, and it had an article where all the 'Eavy Metal team had painted him, and I resolved then too that I'd learn to paint properly. That one issue of White Dwarf would be the closest thing I had to my lightbulb moment; but in fairness, from the moment we opened the 2nd Ed box (which I later acquired from Jacob by trading him some of my spare Pokémon Stickers - I also got the 3rd Ed rulebook from a friend as a trade for a Micro Machine car; I was good at trading) I was in love.

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