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.

via Games Workshop
Career Selection Centers
Want to run your own store? Games Workshop is looking for people in the following locations and will conduct onsite interviews for candidates interested in learning more and pursuing a career in a Games Workshop Hobby Center at scheduled Selection Centers. Apply online and we will contact you about Selection Center dates and locations.

Los Angeles/San Francisco, CA – Apply by 8/18
Sacramento, CA – Apply by 8/22
Seattle, WA – Apply by 8/30
Philadelphia, PA – Apply by 8/31
Phoenix/Tucson, AZ – Apply by 9/6
Birmingham, AL – Apply by 9/10
Las Vegas, NV – Apply by 9/25
Portland, OR – Apply by 9/25
Columbia, SC – Apply byer 9/27
Buffalo, NY – Apply by 10/1

I find it odd that this is the first I’ve heard of the Sacramento store, but the applications are due in 3 days.

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…

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:

Force 1-

Commander – (Cyclonic Blaster, Misslepod, Targeting Array, HW-MultiTracker, HWDrone Contorller) – Warlord
2x Gun Drones

4x Stealth Team

6 Firewarriors
DevilFish – (Flechette launcher, Target Array, Multitracker, SMS)
12 Fire Warriors – (Shas’la, Drone Contoller, Markerlight drone, HW-Blacksunfilter)

HammerHead (Railgun, SMS, Multitracker, Target Lock)
3xBroadsides – (3x multitracker)

5 Pathfinders
DevilFish – (2 Seeker Missiles, Flechette launcher)
Force 2-

Commander – (Misslepod, Plasma, Targeting Array, HW-MultiTracker, HWDrone Controller)
2x Gun Drones

4x Stealth Team

6 Firewarriors
DevilFish (Flechette launcher)
12 Fire Warrior (Shas’la, HWDrone Controller, Marker Drone, HW-Blacksunfilter)

HammerHead – (Railgun, Burst Cannons, Multitracker, Target Lock

5 Pathfinders
DevilFish (2 Seeker Missiles, Flechette launcher)

I essentially brought my bog standard Tzeentch list, but I threw in a Seeker Cavalcade to try out the new rules since I have some older Chariots of Slaanesh.  My list at 2000 points:
2x Tzeentch Herald (Master of Sorc., Legion, Bolt) – Warlord

3x 4 Flamers (Pyrocaster)

20 Pink Horrors (Changeling, Bolt)
8 Pink Horrors (Icon, Bolt)
7 Pink Horrors (Bolt)

4 Screamers

Tzeentch Daemon Prince (Wings, Master of Sorc., Bolt, Breath, Gaze)
Seeker Cavalcade – 2 Exalted Chariots

We played The Scouring (Fast scores) on the long table.  Sparse terrain, mysterious objectives, mysterious forest, objectives were generally centrally located.  I won the toss and took second turn.  “Joel” deployed about half his force and moved and then I got my preferred wave (Fateweaver, Herald, 20 Horrors, 2 Flamer squads, Screamers).  Then is all went wrong…

My first unit to deepstrike is generally the PH blob squad + Herald.  However it scattered 11 inches, I couldn’t get the 3rd ring of models to stay over an inch away and rolled a 1 on the mishap table.  There went 450 points.  My opponent was a gentleman and let me try to deploy my blob squad for about 5 minutes to see if I could make it work, but to no avail.

He scores 2 VP (warlord and first blood). I have 3 (2 + fast) scoring units left to his 8 (6 + 2 fast).  Winning likely went off the table with the 450 points so now I’m playing for the tie!  I’ll skip the gorey details of the six turns of the game.  When the game is over I have 3 PH on an objective, but he’s contesting and I have Fateweaver locked in close combat with his other Commander too far away from his remaining scoring unit (a single firewarrior), and a lone spawn on the other side of the table.  I made some stupid mistakes at the end…

I forgot that Fateweaver had changed to gliding and didn’t assualt his last firewarrior.  This might have had an impact (or so I thought).  I forgot to shoot at his contesting tank (I later rolled to see what would have happened – no change).  So “Joel” won the game!

Or so I thought.  We had been keeping track of VP on dice, and just out of habit I re-tallied the results (running totals).

1 Warlord
2 First Blood
3 Screamers (fast unit)
4 Controlling 1VP objective

1 Fast Attack
2 Fast Attack
3 Fast Attack
4 Warlord

So, a tie after all.  The game ended on Turn 6.  Had it gone to turn 7 I would have tried to Boon the remaining Firewarrior and shoot his denial unit with a Bolt.  The mysterious forest would have killed another PH.  His suits would have killed the rest of my PH.  So, I would have had about a 20% chance of winning as killing his Firewarrior would have netted my another KP and reduced him by one.  Most likely it would have been a quick last round with no change to the outcome.

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.

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
My general deployment tactic is to take Fateweaver, 1 squad of flamers, a herald w/ the 20 horror squad and the screamers as my preferred wave.  That way if I get my non-preferred wave I have the icon to use on turn 2 as the rest of my army starts coming in.
With the new deep-strike rules, daemons come in much quicker than in 5th edition.  I go balls to the wall with in your face deep striking and let the chaos gods decide if I win or loose.  Good tactics?  Probably not, but its fun.
I suicide the flamers and have yet to have them not earn their points back.  They generally earn them 2-3 times over.
But the centerpiece of my army is the 20 Horror squad coupled with a Herald and Fateweaver.  800 points of awesome.  Keeping Fateweaver within 6″ has become more challenging, but it more than made up by his flying rules.  I recently played a foot Tau list, who spent 2 turns concentrating all its fire on the DP and Fateweaver to no avail.
The idea for the mob squad of Horrors actually came from Niel Gilstrap of the 11th Company podcast. My favorite, so check it out.  He was ranting about kill point denial lists a few month back and the and Pat came up with an idea for a KP denial Daemon list.  Funny concept, but I have yet to loose the mob squad.
In a recent game, I played the infamous 4KP Draigo Wing list (20 paladins, Draigo and a Librarian).  We called the game after 4 turns due to time, but had the game gone to 5, I would have won.  My screamers arrived on turn 4, and were prepared to assault into his remaining, and already engaged, paladin squad the next turn and beat face.  It was an early 6E game, right after the new Daemon rules came out.  I didn’t have enough horrors with me so I threw a squad of 7 flesh hounds into the list instead, which turned out to be Draigo’s demise.
Anyway, that’s about the core of my army.  I change it up.  The disc is new.  We’ll see how it plays out.

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.

There was a a bit of conversation between the hosts on this topic, but the general consensus was that this seemed to hold true with a general exception (if your first army is also a “top tier” army then you may go straight to your ideal army as your second army).

For me, I fall into both categories.  Let me explain.  When I got back into playing Warhammer 40K at the end of 2010 I inherited an old 3rd edition Dark Eldar army from a friend.  It was in horrible disrepair, but with the new release of the Dark Eldar I found the sail boats to look awesome.  Unfortunately, I never got around to actually playing the Dark Eldar.  While I was acquiring models I picked up the Space Wolves omnibus and got sucked into the world of the Vikings in space.  I loved the story and the general consensus at my game store was that Space Wolves and Blood Angels were both excellent army choices (top tier) at the time.  So, my second army (but the first one I actually played) were the Wolves.
Not being a very good general, it always frustrated be to hear people tell me that my army was cheesy and I was playing a broken codex.  I don’t keep track of my win/loss record, but if I did it would have been like a handful of wins to a bucket load of losses.  So, while I still love the Wolves’ fluff and will always play this army as my favorite power armor codex, I wanted to find another army to play more casually.
I was at a local tournament, the Contest of Champions or COC at Great Escape Games in Sacramento, CA in early 2012 and saw someone’s Daemon army with the old metal Pink Horrors painted in brilliant colors.  I was immediately drawn to the aesthetic of the army.  I had the opportunity to play my first game against a Daemon army later that day and I was hooked.  I found that the army rewards my play style, chaotic and chance taking.  I also found that it was generally considered to be a mid-level, if not bottom tier army in the waning days of 5th edition when I started playing the Daemons.  It was a perfect army for me.  I get to make crazy, chance taking decisions, the play style is different from every other army, and no one could accuse me of being a power gamer.
Fast forward to 6th edition and we see a few nerfs to Daemons:
  • Fleet is now less advantageous than it was
  • Close combat generally plays second fiddle to shooting
  • Khorne takes it in the shorts (hell sword AP3 gimp and the loss of furious charge initiative bonus)

Funny enough, I was drawn to Tzeentch because of the look of the metal Pink Horrors, Flamers and the Screamers, and so I was playing an all Tzeentch list before the change over to 6th Edition.  With the change to 6th Edition and recent White Dwarf codex update, my Tzeentch Daemons haved moved on up the ranks of armies:

  • None of the nerfs above had much of an effect on Tzeentch’s daemons
  • 6th Edition places more emphasis on shooting, which is squarely in the realm of Tzeentch’s daemons.
  • Fateweaver, when flying, is harder to take down (but harder to keep placed well for his 6″ reroll bubble)
  • Flamers can overwatch and glance the crap out of vehicles for cheap.
  • Screamers are more well rounded and now a very viable anti-TEQ choice in addition to their improved, yet already good, tank busting ability.
  • Deep striking has improved (less mishaps, quicker reserve deployments).

Anyway, I picked Chaos Daemons because the look cool, play a different meta game than any other army, are random, and aren’t hardcore (like Grey Knight Paladin’s, Necron Flyers, IG Leaf Blowers, and debatably Wolf Missile Spam).  What I didn’t realize is that they are a little less random and just got a bump in power in the early days of 6th Edition.