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The Tiger Roars 

4 Things I’ve Been Thinking About Lately… (December, 2007)
Presented below (in no particular order) for your consideration….

I Don’t Miss White Dwarf
For about 10 years, I had a subscription to White Dwarf, but a few months ago, I let my subscription expire (WD #327 was my last one). Why? Because, like many other readers, I believe that while the price of WD had increased ($6 an issue, last I checked), the quality of the content had decreased. Specifically:

  • The number of 40K articles had gone down vis-à-vis the number of articles devoted to Fantasy and Lord of the Rings;
  • It seemed to me that most of the 40K articles were related to new product releases, of which I had little interest;
  • Articles that weren’t about new releases had little depth;
  • There were no more new, official rules—apparently, the “Chapter Approved” section had gone the way of the Squats;
  • Battle reports had become so condensed and superficially reported that I learned nothing from reading them, and even had a hard time following what had happened;
  • Battle reports seemed to be rigged in favor of the army that featured the latest products released. Ever since Third Edition 40K was released, the rumor has been that “new army wins” in White Dwarf battle reports. It seems to me, though, that WD stopped trying to be subtle about it a few years ago when they featured a Terminator-heavy force of Ultramarines (the plastic Termies had just come out) against a Necron army without a single Resurrection Orb—do you know any Necron player with more than 12 minutes’ of experience who DOESN’T take an Orb? If that wasn’t a set-up, what is?
  • Ads, ads, ads, ads, and more ads. More and more each month, it looked like White Dwarf devoted more and more pages to ads for its products, that WD was becoming less like a magazine and more like a catalog. And paying for catalogs offends my principles: if I’m not willing to pay to get the Victoria’s Secret catalog, I’m not to going to pay for Games Workshop’s. 

The last White Dwarf I'll ever buy?

And so I didn’t re-up my subscription. The first month, it felt really weird not to get a WD in the mail, but by the second month, I had gotten used to it. I don’t miss WD at all: if there are products I’m interested in, I can find sneak peeks of them online at several forums. I don’t think I’m missing out on any tactical knowledge: the insightful “On War” series that WD had been running had stopped running before my subscription ended. And the batreps had long ago stopped being interesting, informative, or authentic: long gone are the days when Andy Chambers and Jervis Johnson would slug it out in epic combat. 

Maybe White Dwarf has gotten better, or maybe it will get better again in the future. If it does, I might consider re-subscribing. When I started buying, WD had lots of ads and pretty pictures, but it also gave me a lot of useful, informative, entertaining content. It was essential. But from what I saw the last year or so before I stopped buying, WD was no longer useful, not longer informative, no longer entertaining, no longer essential.

How Many Tigers Can You Fit In a Box?
Several years ago, I had purchased three GW figure cases for my Fighting Tigers army. I also used several other boxes to hold my tanks (I have lots of Rhinos, a few Razorbacks, two Land Raiders, etc.). 

Perhaps you have a few of these yourself...

Even back then, my collection was big, and it’s only gotten larger over the years (my estimate now is about 9,000 points). While I liked the figure cases, I have always wanted to be able to keep all my Tigers in one or two boxes. With fewer boxes, it would be easier to store them, transport them, and keep track of everything (I lived in mortal fear of leaving or losing a box of Stripeypants somewhere).

A few months ago, I was wandering around my local Value City discount store when I saw these:

Gaudy? Yes. But huge: the big box is 20 ½" long, 15 ¾" wide, and 16 ¼" deep. The smaller box is 18 ¾" long, 12 ¾" wide, and 8 ¼" deep. Both have hinged tops and lined interiors, and are very light (I’m not sure what they’re made of: some kind of light wood or dense cardboard). 

The larger one has two leather handles on the side for carrying. It retailed for $40, but the story was having a 10% discount that day and I got another 20% off because the box has some small scratches on the outside. 

I took the foam figure trays from my GW cases and stacked them inside. There was plenty of room left over for vehicles. So now I keep almost my entire Fighting Tigers army—over 200 figures, 10 Land Speeder Tornadoes, over a dozen tanks, three Dreadnoughts—in here. 

The big box holds six figure trays and several shoeboxes with tanks and other vehicles--and there's plenty of room left! 

My three drop pods, my Land Raider, and my Land Raider Crusader go in the smaller box. I can stack more figure trays in the larger box and I can squeeze some more vehicles in the smaller box, if need be. The larger box cost me $28 (plus tax and the price of the trays, which I had already bought); the smaller box cost me $14 after discounts, if I recall correctly. 

The smaller box holds my larger tanks and vehicles: again, plenty of room left so I can add more

I shudder to think at how much it would have cost me to put all my stuff in GW figure cases. Not to mention that none of them come in those way-cool, matching tiger stripes (remember, kids, it’s your ability to accessorize your army that separates you from the lower gamers). 

BethHammer 40K
I’ve been playing since before my daughter Beth was born, so she’s always known I was a gamer. When she was little, she used to watch me paint, and she had her own collection of cast-off figures, which she covered in several heavy coats of different-colored paint. If I recall rightly, she had a Space Marine (with a melta gun!), a Sister of Battle, and several plastic Gretchin from the 2nd Edition boxed set. She and I would play “pretend” with them and my Nazdreg figure (Nazdreg imparted to Beth age-old wisdom, such as “red ones go fasta”). 

Me, Beth, and Fighting Tigers circa 1997

A few years back, when she was 9 ½, we played a few demo 40K games, just to give her an idea of how it worked. Last year, when she was 13, I let her borrow the rulebook and we played some more games. 

Now she’s 14, and my friend Jennifer Burdoo was kind enough to purchase two Space Marine Assault sets for Beth. Beth has put together the models (10 Space Marines, 16 Genestealers, total) and is deciding on a paint scheme for each. I’m pretty sure she’ll keep the Marines, but I’m not sure about the Genestealers—she may wind up selling or trading those. 

Beth and her Genestealers, circa 2007. Lord, how did she get so much bigger so fast?

I’m hoping we build her an army and I can start taking her around to gaming stores to start whoopin’ up on the boys. 

Fixed or Fluid?
I create fixed lists for all of my armies. I organize my figures into squads and mark those figures so I know which miniature goes in which squad. I write up “master” army lists that name each squad and notes how many members it has, what weapons and wargear it uses, and how much that squad costs. For example, here’s an entry from my Fighting Tigers of Veda Space Marine list:

Tigers of Puchan, Tactical Mode (Scouts). Scout Sergeant and eight Scouts w/ bolters; one Scout w/ missile launcher (140 points). 
If the squad can be upgraded, I’ll make a note of that.
Scout Sergeant may be upgraded to Veteran Scout Sergeant w/ bolter-flamer for +18 points; may have auspex (+2 points) and/or teleport homer (+5 points).
Whenever I’m selecting an army, I take the squad as written up. Thus, if I’m playing Fighting Tigers and I want a Scout Squad, I’ll take this one as it’s described here: ten men, one of whom has a missile launcher. Not five men, not eight men; not a heavy bolter instead of the missile launcher; not a powerfist and bolt pistol instead of the bolter-flamer for the Vet. All the figures in this group belong to this squad and only this squad: I never use them in different Scout Squads, for instance. It’s either the way I wrote them up or not at all.

I imagine a lot of gamers organize their armies in a similar, fixed way: determining squad size and equipment ahead of time, marking the figures, and noting them on a list. Is that how you do it? Or are your lists fluid? 

That is, do you just have a bunch of minis in a box and you only organize them before the game, with no permanent, “master” army list? So that when you’re getting ready, you take out what you have and put them together as the mood strikes you? 

For example, let's say you own:

  • 22 Marines with bolters;
  • Two Marines with bolt pistols and close combat weapons;
  • Three Marines with heavy bolters; and,
  • Two Marines with plasma guns. 
For one game, you could organize them into:
  • Tactical Squad 1: Sergeant w/ bolt pistol and close combat weapon; four Marines w/ bolters; one Marine w/ plasma gun; one Marine w/ heavy bolter
  • Tactical Squad 2: Sergeant w/ bp/ccw; five Marines w/ bolters; one Marine w/ heavy bolter 
  • Tactical Squad 3: Sergeant w/ bolter; five Marines w/ bolters; one Marine w/ heavy bolter
  • Tactical Squad 4: Sergeant w/ bolter; six Marines w/ bolters; one Marine w/ plasma gun
And the next game, those same figures could be organized into:
  • Space Marine Commander w/ power weapon and master-crafted bolt pistol (one of the figures w/ bp and ccw)
  • Devastator Squad: Sergeant w/ bolt pistol and close combat weapon; five Marines w/ bolters; three Marines w/ heavy bolters
  • Tactical Squad 1: Sergeant w/ bolter; three Marines w/ bolters; one Marine w/ plasma gun
  • Tactical Squad 2: Sergeant w/ bolter; four Marines w/ bolters; one Marine w/ plasma gun
  • Veteran Squad: Sergeant w/ bolter; seven Veterans w/ bolters
I can’t ever imagine organizing my army like that, from game-to-game in a fluid fashion, but I’m sure there are many players out there who do it like that. I don’t know that there’s any advantage to doing it one way or the other. Why don’t you e-mail me and let me know what you do: fixed, or fluid?

Posted December 2007. White Dwarf and GW figure case images copyright Games Workshop, 2007; used for review purposes


Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle