I care a lot about Warhammer, to the point where it's probably unhealty (if there's a healthy amount of caring for Warhammer other than "not at all"). So of course I think that it is important to commemorate the best and worset releases - not strictly miniatures - that Games Workshop either blessed us with or inflicted upon us. How grimdark were the 2016?
Janary's White Dwarf implores you to vote for the best miniature of the year. If you're basket case sociopath space cadet with about two brain functions, you will vote for the ARMOURED CONTAINERS.
Best Warhammer 40,000 Release of 2016
Goliath truck is the best Games Workshop model in a long time. First, it's probably the first official civilian model. Second, it's a wonderful stubby and blocky truck that may or may not have been inspired by an Adeptus Arbites (yes, there's only one "r" in Arbites, get it into you thick heretic mutant traitor skull) comic short story. It's beautiful in its lack of sophistication, its ruggedness and the "it has been milled out of a fuckhuge block of metal" visuals. Too bad you can't use them in regular Imperial Guard codexes without proxying it for Chimera - something "real" 40K fans wouldn't do as to not give height advantage to the enemy - but it's still a very cool model. As with the 4th generation Neophytes, you only need to do some creative filing to turn stupid horrible aliens into awesome 80s Guardsmen.
It's the anti-Taurox.
Incidentally, Genestealer Cults fluff is mostly hot garbage, but the Goliath and 4th Gens save the codex.
Worst Warhammer 40,000 Release of 2016
Piece of shit.
Codex: Imperial Agents was supposed to be a good book. Hey, maybe they're releasing Sisters of Battle! Inquisitors are getting more rules (and miniatures) to be something more than Deep Strike-denying servo-skull vehicles! What we actually got was making Inquisitors worse, not giving Sorroritas anything more than one new model, and some shitty formations that don't make sense.
However, the book lets you take small detachments of, say, Death Watch or Grey Knights with your force so that you would buy minis nobody needs or buys have some fluffy representations of the elite of the elite on the table.
Planetary Onslaught, however, has zero fucking redeeming features and is a total waste of trees. Bringing together City Fight (or was it Cities of Death?), Stronghold and Planetary Assault books into a single tome, it strips basically everything that made those books/modes of play unique. Instead, you get 6 missions for each mode with a smathering of special rules. Planetary Assault gets some special pre-battle traits, but that's all.
Cities of Death had wonderful ideas that made you mouth water. Splitting squads to have more manageble fireteams while fighting in ruins. Various strategems. Other cool stuff that made you plan to kill someone on contract and then spend the money on Citadel terrain kits. Instead, we get the blandest of shit in the shape of mission templates while the Cityfight part layers on more turds by adding RANDOM MISSION OBJECTIVE ROLLING, possibly the worst thing infecting Warhammer right now. You can showe your stupid random objectives where sun don't shine.
Best Age of Sigmar Release of 2016
General's Handbook does't "make Sigmar great again." Age of Sigmar is still very much a failure on many fronts, from horrible unit and faction naming conventions, to the extremely boring setting, to some rules quibbles. But General's Handbook fixed many of the other crap that plagued the game.
Namely the lack of point system.
Sure, many historical games lack point systems because grogs don't care about that:they want to recreate historical scenarios. They also like playing scenarios (instead of just missions) that have pre-set forces. Plus, you have to mind the fact history is still basically humans fighting humans: shoot an Irishman and he's as dead as a Frenchman. On the other hand, nobody plays Warhammer in scenarios - the mission temlates, Battle plans or whatever don't count - so you needed points for matched play, and just counting wounds (HP) in an army wasn't good.
Enter General's Handbook.
Written by the hand of Sigmar himself, it introduces army creation rules and points. It also introduces thematic limitations and benefits for armies. The rulebook also lets you identify a miniature as your general, then give him a general trait, a magic item and maybe a spell. Most importantly, you don't have to roll for them.
In Warhammer 40,000, a player rolls for warlord traits and psychic powers, since some of those powers and traits are obviously better and some are totally useless. Balancing them and giving them point costs would be hard, so leave them to the roll of the dice and say that you don't have to balance it becauce lol dice. However, this overlooks the fact that it strips away player agency in making their own heroes. When my Space Marine captain takes the field I want him to be tailored to my fantasy of who he is. That captain is MY DUDE. And if my dude has (warlord) traits and psychic powers - pretty God-damn defining features for a dude in a wargame - that are outside of my control, this strips agency from me.
Luckily, General's Handbook does away with that nonsense. I will be starting a Sigmarine army this month for a project at my FLGS.
Worst Age of Sigmar Release of 2016
In a faction made up of near identical fantasy Space Marines (Sigmarines), Lord Veritant stands out as the blandest motherfucker to have never left an impression. He's offensively boring in that he's supposed to be the witch hunter of the faction. Witch Hunters have always been these dark and sinister characters in WHFB and one model still lives. They always stood out from the brightly colored troops and looked like badass agents with unknown aims.
Lord Veritant looks like a dude who was entrusted a gryph hound to keep him out of trouble and given a stupid staff. Does he look dangerous? Mysterious? Sinister? Any different from other Sigmarines? No, no he doesn't and his rules suck.
Best Lord of the Rings Release of 2016
Skies will burn and seas will boil before I call it the Hobbit game
Iron Hills Dwarf Warriors
Released by Forgeworld, it's the most expensive way to get into the dead redheaded stepchild of the game. But Games Workshop is trying to repair the damage of wasting one of well known IPs in the world (and a good ruleset), so take that as you will. Problem is, the game is branded and marketed as the "Hobbit Trilogy" game; the newest book, called The Hobbit: Motion Picture Trilogy™ There and Back Again - sold out despite the abominable name - is doubling down on the movie-trilogy-that-should-have-never-been-more-than-two-movies thing.
Pricing and trademarks aside, these are probably the best looking dwarves you have ever seen. Plus, unlike the old GW boxes, all of the dwarves come with the same weapons, so it's not hard to build a homogenous warband.
Worst Lord of the Rings Release of 2016
The most self important, egotistical and petty thing of all is that I hate GW trying to tie Lord of the Rings to the movie franchises. I don't want to be playing the movie or book characters, or trying to replicate their adventures. I want to take my band of nameless dudes and show goblins what for. Is that too much to ask for?
"Yes," says Games Workshop and releases a starter that is Named Characters vs. Goblins, and this abominably named book full of movie-ish scenarios.
Worst Forgeworld Release of 2016
"Wait, where's the best Forgeworld release?" you ask. Fair question! Truth be told, I don't remember Forgeworld releases that well, and if you want to nominate something, do so in the comments. I will be powerless to call you a tiny commie mutant traitor, what with the ban and all. However, I do have OpinionsTM on which one is the worst!
Sobad Pattern Shitbird is a huge, ugly piece of bloated shit. It's a "yo mama so fat" joke leveled at a Thunderhawk and cast in resin. It's Jabba the troop transport, it's super expensive and it looks absolutely disgusting in yellow. And that's before you get to the fact fliers don't belong in 28mm games rant rant rant meow meow meow
There were other contenders, like Russ the Mehmarch (serial Not!Primach producers Kabuki have a better model that comes with weapon and helmet options) and all of those silly Knight head releases, but Sokar takes the cake. Every day. And eats it.
And there you have it, my self important, totally objective and right opinion about Games Workshop releases in 2016. Of course, many things went unmentioned: the Burning of Prospero box (also known as "30 plastic Mk III Marines and some other stuff"), the Dawn Spire set, the IRONJAWZ books, the Kill Team release, the absolutely horrible Beast series of books from the Black Library... In general, Games Workshop is trying and mostly succeeding in not being the worst big studio in the miniatures hobby - a toy soldier Electronic Arts if you will - and we saw some great releases. We even got Blood Bowl back, even if it is a mixed bag release-wise.
White Dwarf is now readable and fun, many of the new computer games aren't trash, Age of Sigmar is now somewhat playable and 40K can be readily ignored in favor of the much cooler 30K (ironically, it achieved what GW always wanted to do with 40K, namely, make it a Marine vs. Marine game) until the 8th edition comes out and (hopefully) makes many crusty nerds that aren't me cry.