Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Odds and ends

Couple little things here that don't deserve a full post by themselves, but put together will do fine.  First up is a very mini book review.  I finished Savage Scars a few days ago, "A White Scars novel by Andy Hoare" as the cover proclaims.  It was a pretty standard Black Library book in that it had plenty of hack-n-slash action, lots of talk about duty and honor, and an underwhelming grasp of how to write a book of real quality.  Not to say that the book was bad, or the other Black Library books I've read, just that they're no The Sun Also Rises, but then again they don't aspire to capital-l Literature status.  I found two surprises in this book, one a total left-fielder and the other a big disappointment.  The left-fielder is a bit of a spoiler, so I'll do some nifty trickery to obscure it for those who wish to remain pure: the book ends with some Deus Ex Machina in the form of...Tyranids.  Apparently the book is set in the recent past, before the "first" appearance of the Tyranids in the form of Hive Fleet Behemoth and the epic clash on Macragge that broke the fleet, but also dealt a serious blow to the Ultramarines.  After poking around a bit on the interwebs just now I see that if I had a deeper knowledge of all the extant fluff, that is if I'd read other 40k novels before this one, then I would have had a bit of forewarning, but nothing that would have spoiled the surprise.  Black Library loves to do this, sly little references here and there for the folks who have devoured everything GW has ever released.  While I have a long history in the game, being immersed in the universe for something like 20 years now to varying degrees, I'm making my first forays into the novels, so when books cross-reference each other like this I don't always get it.  I suppose that's half the fun though.  My second, even less pleasant surprise, was the reason I moved the book to the top of my reading queue in the first place.  I like the idea of a biker army and have contemplated a White Scars (or Ravenwing for that matter) army on many occasions.  You can imagine my surprise when I turned the last page and did a quick mental count of the number of bikes in Savage Scars: zero.  I didn't expect the whole book to be in the saddle, but I thought a decent part of it would be, perhaps even the majority, considering how the White Scars fight.  To be fair the White Scars squad that was the focal point of the book was mounted in a Rhino, but when a White Scars book has more heavy weapons (1) than bikes (0) then I think there's a problem.  Maybe this book suffered from following Fulgrim in my reading list, which is the best Black Library book I've read thus far, but even in a vacuum the complete lack of bikers would be a disappointment.

Moving on, my birthday was this past Monday.  I've found that the best way to not get what you want (gaming paraphernalia) is to ask for it, but I keep asking anyway.  Figuring that asking for a gift certificate would be better than asking for a Stormraven or Beast 09, I pointed the family towards the Warstore's gift certificate page.  Disappointment followed, but there was a silver lining.  Actually it was more of an emerald lining in the form of a stack of cash.  I took a trip down to the FLGS, where they finally had a copy of Wrath in stock mere weeks after I got tired of waiting for it to show and found it elsewhere.  Finding something to get was harder than I thought it would be.  I'd seen an eVlad or two there in the past, so he was top on my list, but was nowhere to be found.  Kayazys?  Great Bears?  Battle mechanics?  A plastic Khador jack kit?  None of the above.  I did see a Field Gun but it wasn't what I wanted.  Turning my thoughts to the future two player box I took a look for the guys that I figure, with my nigh total lack of Menoth knowledge, will best run the Exemplar heavy list that I'm already thinking of: Reznick and eKreoss.  Skunked on both of those, though they did have more than enough of the High Reclaimer and some pKreoss variants, though I'll get him in the starter box anyway.  I took a look for some merc solos like either Eiryss (no), Aiyana and Holt (nope), or Gormann di Wulfe (strike three).  Then I remembered the Mage Hunter variant that I liked so much, but no dice there either.  It wasn't all doom and gloom though, as I found both the Mercs book and the Menoth book.  The final decision was between those books, the Old Witch, Winter Guard Rifle Corps, a Death Company box, and a Sanguinary Guard box.  I went with the Old Witch and the Mercs book, reasoning that I could do a slow grow, build with the cards approach to Menoth while I can use the Mercs book now as a sort of reference for what solos I'd like to add.  Plus I can finally find out exactly what Kell Bailoch does, and perhaps make a ghetto card for him until I finally put in that order for a mortar spotter spyglass and tack on cards for Kell and Reinholdt.  On the way out I spotted the first two books in the Empire army series, Reiksguard and Iron Company, that would complete the series I've been collecting from the fire sale at Borders.  Had I looked for these on the way in I probably would have gotten those and the Mercs book, as I have yet to dig into the Old Witch to stir up a burning urge to play her right now, but that isn't how things worked out.  Considering how little the GW novels move at the FLGS I don't think I have to worry, and I can always get them (cheaper) through the Warstore.  The end result here is that I finally got some gaming goodness for my birthday, even if it took a circuitous route to get there.  Plus I'll get to see what having an arc node is like.


  1. Yeah, it sucks that our FLGS just doesn't carry much of anything we want, but in this climate we probably ought to expect that. I'm thinking of trying to order my last two ALEPH models from them, because judging by their latest performance it may cost just as much and take just as long as the War Store.

    Glad to see you picked up the mercs book. I need to grab their deck myself, and I'll give you the card(s) you may need out of the deck if you allow me to ride with you to Huzzah Hobbies next time you go.

    Happy Birthday, by the way- you need to let me know this stuff ahead of time in the future, as it results in a bottle of birthday booze from me and the S.O. For now, however, you need to let me know your drink of choice so we can get you something. Declining will result in us grabbing something randomly and forcing you to take it, so tell me your preference or else...

  2. To be fair, the had gotten some new stuff in at the FLGS the other day, just not what I was immediately looking for. I wonder how much is PP's stocking issues and how much is the FLGS's stocking issues. I'll get to a mercs deck eventually or not. As long as you don't mind me using a scrap of paper to track damage on Kell, should he see the table, then I'm satisfied. Also I won't be as hesitant to pick up a stray merc solo from the FLGS since I have the book for backup if the card is out of date.

    As for booze, it's hard to go wrong with vodka. I love margaritas, and I have a soft spot for Bombay Blue Sapphire gin, but vodka just works in all situations. No worries about what sort of mixer you have, or don't have, vodka will work with it. Of course we'll have to do an info swap here, as my shoddy memory has dropped your birthday as well. Plus I still owe you something from Christmas that I may or may not have been meaning to work on for months...