Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Statistics

I thought that I would post a few random observations using data from Warpstone Flux derived via Google Analytics.

Most of my hits to my blog come from the UK and USA. Australia is a distant third, and then Germany and Canada. There's then another gulf to sixth place (France / Sweden / Spain). This is about in line with my expectations from previous years and at least points to a steady stream of viewers who are always coming back here and is consistent with previous years.

Age group modal value is the 25 to 34 year old age bracket. This is again consistent over the years. What is perhaps a little surprising is how I've (apparently) grown my gender balance. It used to be highly male dominated. Yet google analytics now reports that the male percentage of hits is just under 55%. Maybe this is related to who actually *owns* the device that is browsing my web site more than anything. Yet I remain hopeful that my writing is inclusive enough that there are now many more women involved in the game and reading this site.

Most hits are from Chrome. There is then a gulf to Safari in second place and then Firefox in third. IE and Edge fall way behind these top three. Windows is by far the most popular OS, followed by iOS, Mac and Android in a distant 4th place. Desktop access is an order of magnitude more popular than tablets or mobiles to access this site. I find this aspect curious given how much technology in recent years has gone in to optimizing sites for mobile access.

Most hits arrive here organically or via google (by an order of magnitude). This is followed by direct hits (i.e. people who regularly come here or have bookmarked it, or similar). Lagging behind is the internal links I have embedded in each post (link within technology). Behind this is Bell of Lost Souls and Natfka. (Thanks guys!).

Most popular pages.
By far the most popular page is the homepage. However, in terms of individual pages, the top ten for this site for 2017 are:

10. Thousand Sons Legion Rules Review. I'm slightly disappointed that this post from 2017 is not higher up in the top ten. But clearly this is a popular legion by all accounts.

9. On Primaris Space Marines. A post from 40k in the top ten! Excellent!

8. How to automatically explode tanks in the Horus Heresy. You might not be able to do this without the consent of your opponent. Heck, it might not be possible depending on how you read the rules. But here is the method / combo regardless.

7. Night Lords Legion Rules Review. I don't particularly like the Night Lords (or playing against them). Yet here they persist in the top ten!

6. Dark Angels Legion Rules Review. They may not yet have rules for the Lion, but the legion rules being in the top ten suggests a very strong interest out there for the First.

5. Imperial Fists Legion Rules Review. A little bit of an eye-opener to me, the fists are clearly still popular in 2017!

4. Space Wolves Legion Rules Review. This is the top post that was actually created in 2017!

3. Alpha Legion Rules Review. Clearly my interest in the XX legion is shared by many and folks are keen to still read about my views of this legion in 30k. Thanks for the support! Hydra Dominatus, my loyal brothers.

2. Horus Heresy Army List Building: Basics. There's obviously a deep hunger out there for 30k information and thoughts how to make armies. So this post in number 2 slot seems like a no brainer.

1. Horus Heresy Review Summary. No surprises here for me, and probably anyone else. The resources I've made available here seems terrifically popular. Even if the older ones are now dated. This is by far the most popular page of the entire year by a very good margin!

The most popular non-rules related posts are about army building (at number 2) and painting Alpha Legion marines (a bit of a way off the top ten).

Happy New Year for 2018 Folks :)

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Dark Sun Reviews: Thri-Kreen of Athas

In a similar way to Elves of Athas, Thri-Kreen of Athas expands on the player character insectoid race to provide a rich smorgasbord of background materials and roleplaying opportunities for both players and dungeon masters alike to feast upon. 

The background materials commence with an in-depth analysis of the psychology, physiology and biological nature of these insect creatures coupled with their basic mentality -- clutch, pack, and nation. This, combined with their daily "hunt" mentality set this race apart from all others on the planet. 

Much of the middle of the book is taken up with rules. Clearly these are not present day Dungeons and Dragons rules, but they can certainly be adapted if a Dungeon Master has the time and patience to do so. For instance, there are some easy ones to consider such as the innate ability of Thri-Kreen to perform large leaps thanks to their powerful legs. This would be easy to translate. Their antennae however, is open to some amount of discussion and interpretation as to how they should be handled (blind fighting analogues being more obvious). 

The final few chapters of the background deal with the nations of Thri-Kreen, ranging from those that have settled in to the human cities (e.g., Raam and Urik), to those who belong to the scholar group of Kreen. This gives a good set of divergent ideas to any player to run with in order to better characterise their character. Along with some NPCs, a fold out poster, and a genuinely interesting and intriguing (plus open ended) mini-adventure called the Taste of Fear, this book has a lot of materials inside its pages, including possibly expanding beyond the known regions of Athas that have already been documented elsewhere. 

All this said, none of the materials in this book are necessary for playing Thri-Kreen or for Dungeon Mastering them. The core game materials are enough, and enigmatic enough, that players should feel very content with them. However, for the dedicated Dungeon Master or player, this is a rich gold mine to be used widely and freely. As such, I'm giving this tome a mighty 4 out of 5 stars. Very enjoyable. But by the same token, very highly specialist with no real need to purchase it. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Dark Sun Reviews: Black Spine

Today is the restart of a short series of role-play reviews of the old Dark Sun materials. This series was commenced a very long time ago but I never finished it out. Hence the next few posts scheduled by me will consist of a series of reviews of the remaining materials. The Dark Sun tag can be used to follow and access the previous materials in this line up. 

The first thing that I want to mention about Black Spine is that it is supposed to be a follow on from the previous adventures in this "series": Black Flames, Merchant House of Amketch, and Marauders of Nibenay. The only problem is that this series is anything but. It is a series of adventures that lack a connection or joined-up thinking between them. There is very little to no motivation for a player character group to follow the plot lines as specified in these adventures. 

Secondly, this is an epic scale adventure, along the same lines as Dragon's Crown. It is technically a series of adventures and subplots that commences with an operation to protect a Slave Tribe and eventually winds up with the player group facing an other-dimensional invasion of Githyanki forces. However, the set up for the first adventure (protecting the Slave Tribe from marauding Gith) is rather weak overall. There's no point in the adventurers participating. Hence there has to be some set up here to help the group think that this is what they want to do, or some railroading in this direction. Apart from this, the adventure proceeds very nicely from a skirmish, in to a large battle that one is recommended to use the second edition Battle System for, through to an exploration of the Gith's base camp. 

Enacting vengeance upon the Gith, the players then discover a metal mine, and eventually a lost city of the Gith - Yathazor (As well as a powerful psionicist Gith leader). Eventually this leads to the Nightmare Gate - a magical portal for the Githyanki to move their troops to Athas. Naturally by this point, the player characters might see that it is in their best interests for this invasion to not happen. But really - would it be any worse than living under the yoke of the Sorcerer-Kings? I do wonder why no one ever questions this. 

Personally, I like the fact that there is an extra dimensional threat, and the build up to discovering it. However, why hasn't a Sorcerer-King or a Dragon already thought this through or detected it? Would it not be better that this is some machination of a wheel within a wheel for the Dragon to make one of his rivals weaker somehow? That's just my take on it. The adventures themselves are largely linear in format. Although there is not as much rail-roading as in other adventures (or as much "you are now slaves!"), the linear nature of the plot means that it feels a little bit constrained in parts. What rescues it is the sheer scope, epic scale, and audacity of the plot line itself. It cannot be underscored enough what this book provides: three lots of 96 page books (288 pages in total), coupled with fold out maps and everything else. With work from a dedicated Games Master / Dungeon Master, this adventure can be turned in to something special along the lines of Dragon's Crown. 

Overall, I would give it just under 4 out of 5 stars ... hence I'm rounding it up to 4 out of 5. Good overall, but not as strong as others in the series, and features far too many Gith in the absence of anything else. The lack of a lead up is also a big problem here.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017 (Editorial)

Well, this is likely to be my last editorial post of the year as I'm about to take a bit of a break from work and from blogging too.

Thank you very much for your input this year and the comments, feedback, and everything else that goes alongside that in the blogosphere.

In the coming week, I have scheduled a few posts on roleplaying games - mostly to finish off the reviews on Dark Sun that I started many moons ago. I am also aiming to do an end of year wrap up before the New Year arrives, depending on time.

So, once again, thank you very much for being here. And a very Merry Christmas and New Year to you all out there!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Age of Darkness Rules

Okay - I admit to being excited. After the delay caused by quality control a while back, the Warhammer Community Team has just announced that the Age of Darkness rule book will be being released before the end of the year. There's only 11days left, so one assumes that the order will be available either in the next couple of days, or in the period just between Christmas and New Year. 

I'm excited! 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Warhammer World: Dragon and Knight

I wanted to finish off this week with a picture that I took at Warhammer World a while back. This one was in the classics section of the exhibitions. It features an older style dragon pouncing on and combating the attentions of a knight.

Interestingly for a piece like this is the wooden mount that can be seen for the base. Show pieces like this one are somewhat rare, even in the modern era. It is really pleasing to see the effort gone to for a diorama like this. 

I like the colours on the dragon as well. At first, its not clear that a cream colour for the leathery wing sections would go so well with the reds and blacks of the dragon. But then think of the Blood Ravens chapter of the space marines for whom a similar approach works so nicely. The blue and white of the knight also work well together, albeit in a starker manner. However, this would be a very reasonable choice for an historic knight to pick as well. 

The base is nicely flocked and the overall effect is a joy to linger and stare in to. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Large Sector Mechanicus Forge

This is what happens when one combines a Ferratonic Incinerator to a Promethian Forge in a horizontal layout (rather than a vertical direction).

In terms of just the sheer dimensions, this is more than enough for a centrepiece item of scenery. One could easily imagine this being at high level tournaments on various boards. However, I think that to truly do a board complete justice, one may wish to have double this (i.e. two lots of each) to fully complete a board's look. This would have the knock-on effect of creating more line of sight blockages, and interesting areas to run around on top, as well as fire from. In some ways, the walkways at the top are rather exposed. Hence although my thought was "I may need more of theses sets", perhaps what is instead required is simply an abundance of ancillary pieces to finish the look of the board. In particular, the crates sold by GW provide a good counter balance to the walkways with true line of sight (solid) blocking and several of them scattered around would be a good thing to employ. Pipelines as well at ground level would be a superb addition to complement what is already here. 

I will leave it at that for today ... the snow is falling and the ice is forming thick underfoot locally ...

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Vertical Forge

Carrying on from my two previous posts on the mechanicum series of scenery, today I wanted to just briefly show and demonstrate the kind of vertical arrangement that is possible when one stacks them together. 

Here I have taken some items from the Promethian Forge and some from the Ferratonic Incinerator, just to see what it looks like.

The hard reality of a centre piece scenery item like this is that I don't think I would make too many of them. And moreover, I think I would want to be playing on a smaller board as well -- say 4ft x 4ft at maximum. This gives a good "condensed" area in which to play and is very suited to kill teams and similar games. Ultimately, I think those kinds of games are probably best for such vertical arrangements. Large armies on these kinds of ensembles are tough to do (and to place). Anyway, just thought folks might like to see what is readily available to construct with a bit of forethought and planning. I reckon the piece looks good - very good in fact; but I just don't think that in a 6ft x 4ft board, it would be too appropriate to have too many multi-level items like this, unless the entire board is geared toward this type of game, or it is a simple one off central terrain item. Just some random thoughts. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Complete Promethian Forge

Its been a little while coming, but the Promethian Forge is finally completed. 

For this scenery piece, I wanted to adopt the same modular approach that I had started to take with the Ferratonic Incinerator. Indeed, I want both of my assembled kits to be interchangeable with each other and also be transportable. Hence although this piece looks glued together in this particular configuration, it is not. The octagonal platform for instance is in two parts - one containing the chimney and one containing the other have plus the first segment of the bendy walkway. The other bend constitutes the other fragment of the overall modular design.

Having learnt my lesson the hard way with the Ferratonic Incinerator, I made sure to dry fit each and every under-hanging bit to the piece before gluing it in to place. Moreover, this meant that I could readily add the sidewalk shields or bannisters (sorry, not really sure what the correct noun is for them yet!) without worrying where the support struts actually were located. 

The kit is large, and I have intentionally made it apparently even bigger by making it occupy as much of a horizontal distance as possible. I did not want to opt for the picture on the front of the box where the curved walkways are surrounding the central octagonal platform. This serves the purpose making sure more of the board appears to be covered in scenery (to be clear, I know it is the same area, but having it more snaking around the board creates a bigger impact which is something that I want). 

In future posts later this week, I want to show the modularity of the kit in two ways. Firstly in the vertical direction, and then by combing it with the Ferratonic Incinerator to make a centre piece building. They both have their pros and cons in terms of gaming, and I'll talk through them this week.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Sequestered Industries