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AICN TABLETOP: Rackham shakup! Realms of Battle Board! Forgeworld! 2000 WORDS OF EXTREME NERDOM!!

Hola all. Massawyrm here.
RACKHAM SPLITS FROM FFG – WEIRDNESS FOLLOWS! Okay, this is the saddest, weirdest and probably least surprising news I’ve heard recently. Just last week I got notification that Rackham was parting ways with recent distribution partner Fantasy Flight Games. This was met with a mixed reaction as some folks who have been around the bend with Rackham took pause, while others thought that this would fix Rackham’s constant distribution woes. For the time being FFG will still be shipping stuff out but will soon be replaced by some unknown system or distribution partner. But this week things got even stranger when they issued the following press release.
Thanks to the support of ENTREPRENEUR VENTURES, one of the leading French actors in the field of Venture Capital, we are pleased to announce the creation of the company RACKHAM ENTERTAINMENT. RACKHAM ENTERTAINMENT has acquired on October 28th, 2008 all assets and production means of RACKHAM SA. RACKHAM ENTERTAINMENT will continue to count on the unique expertise of the RACKHAM SA Design Studio. RACKHAM ENTERTAINMENT plans to continue developing the existing game universes, AT-43 and CONFRONTATION, as well as new game universes including by acquisition of licenses. The Design Studio has already conceived the products for CONFRONTATION and AT-43 for the next 12 months. We are pleased to announce that RACKHAM ENTERTAINMENT will be able to market these new products within a very short period of time. These releases will be available on a monthly basis, and will be released simultaneously worldwide. A new releases planning for the 2009 year will be available in the upcoming days. This sure will delight even the most demanding players. Thus, RACKHAM ENTERTAINMENT is able to announce that the Wave-08 will be available in stores at the end of November 2008. This Wave will be followed by Wave-09 in December 2008. RACKHAM ENTERTAINMENT, and its american partners, will work in unison to ensure the North American stores will receive on a regular basis these new releases as well as marketing and promotion tools. For this reason, in the next couple of weeks North American Distributors and RACKHAM ENTERTAINMENT will start developing various marketing operations, including the establishment of organized play. Very soon we will be able to tell you more about your favorite games and all the suprises we have ready for you. RACKHAM ENTERTAINMENT SAS Lucas Velimirovic
Within that carefully worded statement you will find these salient details: Rackham as we know it is no more. It has been dissolved and reformed into a newly named entity that controls the rights of all the previous efforts. Jean Bay, Rackham’s longtime head and frontman isn’t the guy making this press release, as he often is. There is also no mention of who or how they will be accomplishing this new distribution wonder. Being that Rackham long ago filed for bankruptcy protection, sold its foundry and put its focus more upon expanding markets, it looks like some moneymen have swooped in to either save the day or get a bargain on an established company and take it in their own direction. So which is it? Is Bey in or out? Will the company’s focus still be games, or will that take a backseat to whatever these new plans are? I’m very curious. But I have to admit, I’m happy there’s been some sort of shakeup. I’ve been a Confrontation player for a few years and bought into AT-43, but the community and sales here in Austin are abysmal. Confrontation 3 was marred by constant, almost daily rule changes and updates and a LIVING FAQ that swelled to over 40 pages at the height of the insanity. Following that was their Age of Ragnarok release which I’ve always felt had some issues. The concept was solid and their ruleset is great (save a few slight issues that have arisen) – but in failing to consider cross market appeal of their pre-painted miniatures, they pretty much neglected a market hungry for non-randomized pre-painted miniatures. D&D Players. What D&D players need is simple. Undead. Orcs. Monstrous mythical creatures like minotaurs, centaurs, trolls. Barbarians. Knights. Swordsmen. Wizards. You know, the kinds of things contained in Rackham’s Acheron, Bran-O-Kor, Kelt Sessair and Lions of Alahan armies. What did Rackham put their early focus on? Werewolves, alchemical sci-fi monsters and inquisitors. Not exactly the stuff that fantasy roleplayers want 50 or more of. Sure – Acheron, Alahan and Bran-o-Kor are on their way – but on the heels of WotC’s own non randomized/semi-randomized miniature line. Can Confrontation take off in a big way once there are more mainstream fantasy miniatures in the marketplace? Are the new moneymen at Rackham saavy enough to turn this and AT-43 into the kind of hit that MONSTERPOCALYPSE currently is? We’ll see. You can bet I’ll be keeping an eye on this over the next few months.
CITADEL REALMS OF BATTLE GAMEBOARD AKA GW’s MODULAR GAME BOARD. For those of you unfamiliar with it, the Realm of Battle Gameboard is an inventive “it’s about time” creation coming out of GW in short order. For those of you familiar with it, me talking about it is bound to reopen fresh wounds. To say that this whole affair is a boondoggle is a bit extreme, but in truth there is a lot of wackiness surrounding its release. I’ve seen the board, I like it. But the real question is: is it worth the money? What GW has created is simple and fills a very specific niche. The board is a 6’ by 4’ game board broken into 6 2’ x 2’ sections, each made of very sturdy, high grade plastic. The plastic is highly detailed with two flat boards and 4 that grade up into a flat hill. They can be rearranged in a number of patters allowing the creation of a large central hill, four small hills with one in each corner, two medium hills along the edge, etc. Each is beautifully textured with sad types, rocks, skulls and a few skull pits. It is supplied unpainted with a large carrying bag that makes this 30lb monstrosity of plastic portable and easily storable. Take it to your buddies place, run it down to the store for an extra table at a tournament, or if you’re like me, hide it in a closet when you don’t need it so the wife doesn’t complain about all the geek stuff over taking the house. Effectively, this is a product for those without the space to build a permanent board of their own or with a game store that doesn’t supply permanent tables. It’s also great for said game stores that just don’t have the space, but would like to provide an awesome area to play on. Sounds incredible, right? It sure is. I’ve seen it in person and it rocks. It is every bit as solid as I heard and the detail is fantastic. I want one. And at the $175 price listed in the fall catalog, it would be the must buy wargamer gift of the year. Trouble is, they raised the price to $200. I know, I know, what’s an extra $25 for all that awesome? Well, days later they raised the price again – to $290. And that’s where everything went downhill. Is it awesome? Yes. Is it $300 of awesome? Weeeeeellllllll….. No. At least not for me. I had the extra cash sitting around from selling off a few spare armies I’d been sitting on and was dead set on buying one for $200. But at $290 I balked and instead dropped $30 more dollars and picked up a super awesome piece of terrain instead – a jaw dropping wow inducing centerpiece. The RoBG is great – you look at it and say “Cool.” But you don’t WOW. It won’t drop jaws. Sadly this has led to a series of geek elitists spamming the threads of the world with their various Name That Tune style “I can build you a table just as cool for $80.” “Yeah, well I can build one for $50!” No you can’t. I’m sorry. But you can’t. Not that is portable, not that is this detailed, and certainly not as nigh indestructible as this. You can build a cool board, and you can dress it up nicely. I hang out on Terragenesis. I know what can be done for $80. And you can’t do this. Anyone who can needs to sit down and write the tutorial to end all tutorials. But what I’ve been seeing is a lot of bragging and people expounding upon the wonders of felt. Seriously. Felt. That’s like being the douchebag who walks up to his coworkers and talks about how awesome walking is when they’re discussing what kind of car to buy. If you do however have the $300, a lack of space for a permanent board and this sounds right up you’re alley, you aren’t gonna do much better than this. It’s pretty damned cool.
FORGE WORLD TIDBITZ So what did I do with my $300? Well I’ve been saving up for quite some time to pick up a large Forge World order. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Forge World is GW’s specialist branch that makes highly detailed, very expensive minis, vehicles and upgrade kits for the various games. Made of resin instead of the normal plastic, each piece carries much more detail and they sell the kinds of things that they could never really sell mass produced – like special dreadnought arms, chapter specific doors for rhinos or strange weapon variants. The problems with ordering from Forge World are that they are located in England, the shipping cost is murder and once Apocalypse came out last year, they got obliterated with orders. I’ve heard horror story after horror story about ordering from these guys – especially since last fall - but with several buddies telling me they’d improved steadily and with the British Pound down so far against the dollar right now, it’s like they’re having a 20% off sale. So I dove in and I got what is normally $950 worth of Forge World for $750. The prized piece in the set is the Ruined Watchtower of Amon Sul at Weathertop – the super badass 28mm to scale replica of the Weathertop set from Fellowship of the Ring which you can check out right here. This has been out of production for several years, but I heard a rumor that they’d recently recast them – which proved to be true. So I had to have one. And it is even more impressive in person, most likely becoming the centerpiece of every battle I run here at my place. I also picked up a slew of conversion items and demons for my Chaos army, the coolest of which are the Khorne Lord Zhufor (who looks even better in person), The Greater Demon of Nurgle and the Nurgle Chaos Dreadnought. The kicker is that I ordered these things this past Monday at 4 in the morning (9AM Brit time) and the box arrived with everything but my two backordered items on my porch Wednesday afternoon. It took less than 60 hours to get ordered, processed shipped across the ocean with their express delivery (Roughly $25 or free if you order more than 250 GDP of items.) And while I had prepared myself for the standard 1-2 weeks delivery, I instead found it shipped faster than American companies get me my orders. So why am I (as someone, somewhere will no doubt put it) kissing Forge World’s ass here? Because you hear a lot of negative things about companies. The old adage that “a happy customer will tell a friend, the unhappy one will tell ten” is far too true – especially in the internet age. It’s rare that a satisfied customer goes out of their way to thank someone for not just doing their job, but doing it to exceed all expectations. I was like a kid on Christmas on Wednesday. Hell, I’m still unwrapping and assembling things. And if you’ve been thinking about FW but hesitating, well, you can get the pieces BOUGHT and SHIPPED cheaper than some of those folks are selling the pieces on Ebay. And apparently, if you order right, you can get it faster too. Lots of stuff in the coming weeks guys. Battlestar Galactica. Two big Wotc releases. Some cool indie stuff. And I’ve been offered a cool special look at something I can’t wait to tell you about. Back with more next week.
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Massawyrm
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Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 3, 2008, 9:19 a.m. CST


    by ArcadianDS

    Retards. Do they even bother checking things like, oh i dont know, the status of the economy?<p> For 300 dollars at a craft store I could buy enough supplies to turn my entire high school gymnasium into the world's largest WH3K game.

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 9:22 a.m. CST

    Rackham = Art

    by MOTHdevil

    Not a player of the Confrontation game, but as a guy that drooled over and bought a few of their minis, I think hands down they have the best sculpting and art direction of any game out there. Exquisite stuff. It pained me to see them focus on plastic.

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 11:22 a.m. CST


    by MOTHdevil

    Massa, any way you could provide product links for more items in the future..? I normally hate self-serving ad-shilling (gods-knows this site is packed full of 'em), but in this case it would have been great to not have to chase down a decent picture of that GW battlefield...

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 11:24 a.m. CST

    It's Nerd-dom, Not Nerdom.

    by xevoid

    Nerdom isn't a word. It's Nerd-dom. Or Nerddom. I'm A Nerd. But not dumb.

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 3:51 p.m. CST

    by Dmann

    man, for 300 bucks you could probably engineer something pretty neat and portable. 175 or 200, is a deal, but 300?

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 4:20 p.m. CST

    That was like trying to read a proteomics paper.

    by dr sauch

    The amount of jargon, acronyms, and abbreviations was roughly the same as in any serious bioinformatics paper.

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 4:35 p.m. CST


    by GoDFaDDa42

    I've been playing one of the con copies of BSG. It. is. TERRIFIC. This game is going to be huge, and for once FFG is pricing for mass-market (under $30) with quality pieces... they may get into Target with this one. The rules are straightforward, at least for FFG Ameritrash, and every rule implements the theme. This is the best example of theme informing gameplay that I have ever seen in a board game. Crisis after crisis, cooperation amidst suspicion, betrayal... the "sleeper agent" phase, and the far superior implementation of secret-contributions, make this a big improvement over the traitor mechanic in Shadows over Camelot. For fans, this is a complete no-brainer, and even non-fans should enjoy this guy. It's fun with strangers, and it's even better with friends.

  • Nov. 4, 2008, 1:05 a.m. CST

    Need pictures for a miniatures article, Wyrm...

    by Duke of Hurl

  • Nov. 4, 2008, 9:31 a.m. CST

    Im amazed at the amount of GW dick sucking

    by theagonists

    Waaaay overpriced resin, what idiot would pay that much for something that is cheaper than plastic. FFG singlehandedly is resposible for the state of AT-43 in the US. They NEVER had stock, so I hope Rackham taking over will help.

  • Nov. 4, 2008, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Theagonists, it's nice to see...

    by Massawyrm 1

    <p>...that those life skills classes are paying off. But you probably shouldn't be jockeying a keyboard just yet. After all, you haven't quite come to grasp that with FW you are paying for the craftsmanship of the mini and not the cost of the resin.</p> <p>And I'm curious how long you've been with Rackham products. If you'd been collecting them as long as I have, you'd have long since realized that their past three distributors all seem to have the same problem receiving and keeping stock. It kind of makes one pause everytime you hear the "Slow boat from China" and "Caught up in customs" excuses. One has to ask themselves - is the problem the distributor, or the company that had to file for bankruptcy protection? We may never know as proper distribution could either be the result of direct handling...or new management.</p>