Monday, August 20, 2012

Dark Vengeance boxed set confirmed

I was in a local store today when I overheard a conversation between the manager and the GW account manager.  Dark Vengeance is confirmed.  Special (limited) edition with Chaplain model is $107 and releases on 8/1/12 while the regular box set retains the $99 price point of AoBR and will release a week later on 8/8/12.

This makes the limited edition version a steal/no brainer/deal as it provides access to the set a week early and has a limited edition model.  It also makes the regular box set the best deal GW offers in the 40K range.

Games Workshop opening a store in Sacramento?

GW sent out a monthly newsletter this morning via email.  I normally just scan and delete these, as the content doesn't interest me much; however, this morning something caught my eye.

Games Workshop is looking at Sacramento for store! The closest store is in Antioch, about an hour from the south end of the Sacramento area.  While I wouldn't mind seeing a store nearby, I think Sacramento already has enough game stores that carry GW products.  I find this issue to be interesting, as GW sells through independent stockists, and also runs their owns stores.  When a city is served by both indys and corporate a conflict of interst arises.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The value of Army Builder for Warhammer 40K

So recently, Homer (Homer_S on DakkaDakka) posted in the Dakka "News and Rumors" section that The Army Builder 40K Maintainers ( would not be publishing any more updates, implying that Games Workshop had contacted the group...

What ensued was the normally collection of questions, whining and trolling.  I wanted to respond on Dakka, but there is frankly no point, because the posters there often do not bother to read, fact check, and/or think intelligently before responding.  The original thread is here and was locked down after a day or two because people are trolls.  So, I get to respond here.

Some general data points:

1. LoneWolf is the developer and publisher of ArmyBuilder.
2. You buy ArmyBuilder and then pay an annual support fee (standard practice for software that gets constant updates).
3. are the maintainers of the 40K data files.
4. AB40k releases updates to data files once they have a chance to read, understand, and code the changes to the codex rules.

nkelsch writes:
Pretty sure someone else could take up the effort and go through the hassle of moving the new files around the internet if they wanted and learn to edit the ab files. 
I think some of it is converting the 5th edition army builder files to full blown 6th is probably too much effort. Changing the force org stuff and allies is probably a huge undertaking for the software.
My response - Yes.  Anyone can write their own data files for AB.  The tools come with the program at no additional charge; however, it is not a simple process.  I've personally edited the Chaos Daemon file for myself to make all the 6th Edition updates and most of the recent White Dwarf updates.  It took hours, but I was learning the process at the same time.  BTW, message me if you want the Daemon Updated file.  Also, the 6E general rule changes are HUGE!!!  Not a small effort.

Hulksmash writes:
Wonder if AB does refunds. I just renewed my license last weekend so if this is true I'll be pursuing that option....
My response - See numbers 1-4 above.  When you buy AB, you are not buying a license to the 40K dat files.  Even though there is all sorts of speculation about the legality or otherwise of the AB40k maintainers providing free data files, I think most people would agree that LoneWolf will/cannot sell 40K dat files for fear of a lawsuit from GW.

Squigsquasher writes:
To be fair, they kind of had it coming to them. They knew the risk of using GW IP and they took it, and they paid the price for it. Sad, I know, but it's the law.
My response - SS appears to live in the UK, based upon the flag next to his profile.  I cannot comment on copyright law in the UK, but here in the US (where LoneWolf is based) the US Copyright office has posted the following on their website:

Copyright does not protect the idea for a game, its name or title, or the method or methods for playing it. Nor does copyright protect any idea, system, method, device, or trademark material involved in developing, merchandising, or playing a game. Once a game has been made public, nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles. Copyright protects only the particular manner of an author’s expression in literary, artistic, or musical form.

While I am not a lawyer, and will not pretend that I know what I am talking about.  When you combine the above with US Fair Use law, the amount of data contained within the AB40k dat files is limited to rules, and abbreviated rules at best that refer the user back to the actual copyrighted material by page.  It is not practical to play a game of Warhammer 40K with only an Army Builder list and without the actual rulebook and codices.  Sure, you could make a go of it, but you'd get all sorts of stuff wrong.

nkelsch writes (again):
The thing is people bought Army builder, downloaded 3rd party files which had copyrighted materials and then relied on the copyrighted materials and never bought the codexes. So many times people used army builder lists for a source of rules and validations and did not own codexes to know what the original rules said or reference the original lists. I don't think I have ever met a person who owned a FW book and knew the FW rules for their model... they just go by what is in AB (and sometimes it was wrong or not fully written out so they don't know their actual rules) Hence lost sales as people were not always buying codexes in addition to the army building software.
I find these sorts of generalizations to be the problem with posters on Dakka.  Case in point, I own ArmyBuilder and about 11 of the 13 codices.  Most of which I don't play.  I don't find it practical to play 40K without the rulebook and codex.  What comes in the Ab40k dat files might be "okay" but the rules are highly abbreviated, such that you NEED the rules to play the game.  Further, I know a few guys locally who don't own any Codices or even the Rulebook.  They pirate it all, because they don't have a lot of cash.  I don't condone this; however, none of them has shelled out the $35 for ArmyBuilder either...
Recreating GW's copyrighted rules in armybuilder files, excel, PDF, Word is illegal and we have all known this for a very long time. Nothing has changed. GW has targeted any place the offending files exist and the people who put copyrighted materials in those electronic materials. Armybuilder is fine as a software... but if someone puts copyrighted material in part or whole in the electronic format AB makes... then the builder file is infringing. Unlike Excel and word... about 99% of Lonewolf's function requires the user to have copyright infringing datafiles for the software to have value... opposed to word and excel which have other valid uses. Sure someone could make up their own game system and make their own files... but no one pays 39.99$ a year for that 'functionality.' Tehy pay to avoid buying codexes and have access to multiple gaming systems copyrighted rules. 
This guy clearly doesn't understand that AB supports at least 20-30 game systems, not just Warhammer 40K.  But more importantly, I don't think there is actual case law that has determined that this is, in fact, illegal.  He also doesn't understand that part about US fair use that allows us to use copyrighted material "in part."  Finally, AB doesn't cost $39.99 a year.  Just once, and it is $12.50 a year for software updates.
I would expect no less from a book publisher if someone took a copy of a book, put it in MS word and posted it all over the internet. They would have every right to have that file taken down and the person who made the file held responsible. It really is very reasonable and common even if annoying... There is a reason there is a whole industry on locking down electronic versions of book contents to make sure people have to purchase them to gain access to the info inside them.
And we continue with the bad analogy that an AB40k file is a copy of the whole material...

Redbeard writes:
From the EFF's website: (
There are no clear-cut rules for deciding what's fair use and there are no "automatic" classes of fair uses. Fair use is decided by a judge, on a case by case basis, after balancing the four factors listed in section 107 of the Copyright statute. The factors to be considered include:
  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes -- Courts are more likely to find fair use where the use is for noncommercial purposes.
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work -- A particular use is more likely to be fair where the copied work is factual rather than creative.
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole -- A court will balance this factor toward a finding of fair use where the amount taken is small or insignificant in proportion to the overall work.
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work -- If the court finds the newly created work is not a substitute product for the copyrighted work, it will be more likely to weigh this factor in favor of fair use. 
Now, while ArmyBuilder is a commercial venture, it's important to remember that the data files are not. They're produced, for free, by volunteers. So, I'm not sure they fail on bullet one. 
Bullet three certainly goes towards Fair Use as well. AB data files use a few names and numbers, nothing close to the entire codex. I'm also thinking that bullet 4 goes in favour of Fair Use, as a data file is not a substitute for a codex, especially lately where the 'rules' for wargear items direct you to a page in the codex, rather than saying what the item does. 
So, the sticking point is bullet two. It's clearly a fictional work. 
Even still, looking at these, I'm not sure that this isn't a case of GW swinging their legal stick, hoping that the datafile maintainers will blink. It would be interesting if they found some pro-bono representation, like chapterhouse did, and mire GW in another legal fight.
My response - Finally a voice of reason...

Finally, if you want some history from the AB40K Maintainers themselves, go here:

It's a good read and I recommend understanding the history...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

New Chaos Daemons Codex incoming?

According to Hastings over at Warseer:
"To clarify....


Chaos Daemons

All will be realeased within 4-5 months of the CSM codex hitting (sep afaik)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Playing for the draw

I joke with my wife, who does not play with plastic army men, that I always play for the draw with my Daemons.  The reality is that my goal playing 40K, even when I play in competitions, is to have fun and enjoy the game and my opponent first with the added bonus of a potential win.  In a previous post I mentioned that I chose to play Daemons due in part to their randomness and chaotic (pun intended) play style.  This play style can lead to either a major victory or a resounding defeat.  When things go just my way, it is possible to do some serious damage, but let's face it, 40K is a game of dice and when a single die roll can effect the outcome of a game, things don't tend to go my way all that often.

Case in point, my game last night against a local gamer and all around good competitor, let's call him Joel.  Joel normally plays vanilla marines and is very adept at using them to defeat his opponents.  When he asked for a game yesterday, I assumed I'd be facing his marines (not that it mattered, because I don't tailor my list).  To my surprise, he brought a (new to him) Tau army to the table.  He used the double force organization at 2000 points:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pwnium vs. Obtainium

I like to collect words (or terms).  Especially words that sound like what they are, or uniquely express a concept that doesn't already have a word.  I've made up one term that has been published in many sources:

I coined the term "glossyware" officially in 2004 and published it on Wikipedia.  It has subsequently been removed, but can now be found referenced throughout the Internet.

Glossyware - is a slang term referring to marketing materials produced on high-gloss bond paper. Typically, the content of this material provides an abstract description of a product often too vague to obtain a solid understanding of the product and often lacking any relevant substance or evidentiary facts. Rather, the intended impact is to impress the reader with vibrant colors and loaded industry buzzwords in hopes of motivating a sale.
Glossyware is most commonly found in use marketing computer software. Often glossyware is developed from the original design documentation and may include features that have not yet been completed. Such uncompleted features run the risk of ending up as Vaporware. Other examples of glossyware use the Golden Hammer principle to illustrate how the marketed product will solve all of your problems, or at least most of them, often with brilliant use of bullet points.

But back to the topic.  My other favorite words:

Ricockulous - something that is far fetched.  Popularized by Adam Carolla in the late 1990s on syndicated radio program Love Line.  "Your new Eldar army list with a Dark Edlar Archon, Eldrad and a troupe of Harlequins is a ricockulous notion within the context of the fluff; that list is pure pwnium."

Pwnium - an object used to conquer or gain ownership of someone else (my noun version of the popular leet-speak verb pwn).  "My four kill piont Draigo-wing is pure pwnium at the BAO; so what if I'm a douche?  I still auto-win one of the three objectives in every game.  Isn't that all that matters?" -- Some WAAC gamer.

Obtainium - materials used to create art work or sculpture that wasn't bought new, but obtained in other ways, such as second-hand, dumpster diving, chance findings or donations.  Alternative definition: something you acquire to use one-way, find out it isn't any good and later find another use for it that is much better.  "Check out this obtainium.  I've had all these Screamers of Tzeentch sitting on my shelf because they looked cool, but sucked.  Now they are useful again!"

Okay, so maybe my example sentence for obtainium is lame, but you get the point.  The purpose of this article is to discuss gamers who are always going after the next killer list vs. those gamers that are loyal to what they like and get rewarded later when their old crappy codex (Necrons) or mid-tier codex (Chaos Daemons) gets better.  The gamer that started playing Necrons after the new codex came out may likely have been looking for pwnium, but the old school Necron player who gets a bump finds that he has some obtainium.  I guarantee the later will get MUCH more joy out of the codex/change/update/etc.

If you can't tell, obtainium beats pwnium in my book every time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What does my Tzeentch list look like?

Since the "net list" rules the conversation for many people who play 40K I figured I'd post up the concept for my list.  I change it up a little each time to try out different combinations, but it generally looks like this at 2000 points:

Fateweaver - 333 points

Tzeentch Herald w/ Master of Sorcery, We Are Legion and Bolt - 95 points

Tzeentch Herald on Disc w/ We Are Legion and Bolt - 105 points

4 Flamers with Pyrocaster upgrade - 97 points
4 Flamers with Pyrocaster upgrade - 97 points
3 Flamers with Pyrocaster upgrade - 97 points

20 Pink Horrors, with Bolt and Changeling - 355 points

10 Pink Horrors, with Bolt and Icon - 205 points

5 Pink Horrors, with Bolt - 95 points

5 Pink Horrors, with Bolt - 95 points

4 Screamers - 100 points

Tzeentch Daemon Prince w/ wings, iron hide, Bolt, Boon and Daemonic Gaze - 280 points

Monday, August 13, 2012

Why do I play Chaos Daemons in Warhammer 40K?

I was listening to a relatively new podcast over the weekend, Hitting on 3s.  I've heard two whole episodes so far, so I don't have enough perspective for a review.  However, I did hear a great bit of wisdom that I want to share.  The hosts of Hitting on 3s shared their thoughts on how someone comes to settle on their ideal Warhammer 40K codex/army.  The thought goes like this:

  1. You choose your first army based on what looks cool.
  2. Your second army is often what wins.
  3. Your third army is the one that you pick because it fits you best.