May 072012

Please take the 2012 Podcast Listener survey and show your support for UnderDiscussion: The Undergopher Podcast.

This week Hooligan and 8one6 sit down for a brief discussion of Fantasy Flight’s Warhammer 40k RPG Deathwatch. We touch on the fluff, the mechanics, and rant a bit about Games Workshop. This episode clocks in at about 30 minutes.

Oct 282011

This week I review a grim world of perelous adventure, a comic where the writers just don’t care, a novel where the author obviously does care and a guide that may know too much! Let me know what you think in the comments.


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: A Grim World of Perilous Adventure (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay)Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: A Grim World of Perilous Adventure by Green Ronin

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this RPG. On the one hand I hate the setting. I hate the heavy handed grim darkness of all of Games Workshop’s IP, and warhammer fantasy has always felt like someone just took a bunch of fantasy tropes and threw them in a blender with half a gallon of despair and a jar of dirt.

On the other hand I once played through a year long WHFRPG 2e campaign run by a fantastic game master who managed to make the game enjoyable despite the crapsack setting. I have a few fond memories from that campaign that colors this review.

On yet still another hand (we’re up to three) I feel that the mechanics of the RPG itself, seperated from the setting, are easy to use and allow for a variety of character choices that matter (or would if you didn’t have to work against the random career thing) but there are a few issues that keep me from being able to recommend it as a good RPG engine. For example, the way the combat initiative works you might as well not bother rolling to see who goes first as it will be very rare for combat order to deviate from one fight to the next. My dwarf character always and without exception went last in combat. That might have not been an issue were it not for the two archers that were able to end almost every fight before it started, leaving me nothing to do. (I ended up annoying the GM a bit because I resorted to bringing a book to the games to read when combat started, because it would almost always end before it rolled around to my turn to act.) This game is only well loved because the critical hit charts go into gory details describing someone’s death.

If you like random character creation, random character death, and a setting devoid of any hope then this is the game for you.

I’ve talked about the Warhammer Fantasy campaign I played in on the podcast. The campaign that That Damn Punk ran for the group was one of my favorites, but it was great only because he made it great.


World War HulkWorld War Hulk by Greg Pak

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book really highlights why I wish they would have left the character on the alien planet of the previous year’s storyline for another year or two.

Short version: hulk was shot into space because Marvel didn’t want to have to deal with him during the Civil War storyline. While on the alien planet Hulk has some really awesome Conan and Spartacus style adventures and ends up in charge of the place (I personally would have stretched the adventure part out for another year before he gained control, but I don’t work at Marvel, so what do I know.) Some spoilery stuff happens, Hulk comes back to Earth, wrecks up New York while making some other heroes fight each other, then the book ends with the Hulk fighting the golden Deus ex Machina know as the sentry and giving up.

I was incredibly disappointed that they took one of my favorite characters from a setting that was perfect for him and brought him back to a place where no change can last longer than the development time for the next movie.

I seriously hated how this series of issues was basically a hulk sized waste of everyone’s time and had no impact on the Marvel universe.


Voyage of the Mourning Dawn (Eberron: Heirs of Ash, #1)Voyage of the Mourning Dawn by Rich Wulf

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So far this is my favorite novel set in Eberron. Most of the characters are well rounded. All of the side characters are developed enough that they don’t feel like they’re there just to dispense plot coupons. A lot of the book is travel from one location to another and the author does a good job of keeping it interesting and of making the different locations feel different. I’ve been really enjoying the action scenes, which for the most part fit into the story without any forcing on the part of the author. My only real complaint is the antagonist and his group aren’t really developed all that much, but I expect that is to keep the central mystery of the trilogy interesting.

I’m in the process of reading all three novels in the trilogy and I meant it when I said that so far this is my favorite of the Eberron novels that I’ve read.


Conspiranoia!: The Mother of All Conspiracy TheoriesConspiranoia!: The Mother of All Conspiracy Theories by Devon Jackson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fun little book that will have you either laughing, scratching your head, or closing the blinds and huddling in the corner. The author manages to show you how all the biggest conspiracy theory targets are linked in a vast web of evil. The real treat is the flowchart infographic on the first page of every chapter. This is a great reference for any modern game of conspiracy and weirdness.


Running a campaign set in the modern day and want to add a little conspiracy? Look no further than this book. This is like a wikipedia of secrets, each entry is cross refrenced with each other to show the how and why of who and what.

Oct 032011

This week on UnderDiscussion Hooligan, Kat and Slacker join WDR and myself to talk about Gaming Paraphernalia, all the extra stuff that can improve gaming. We talk about minatures (taking the time to pimp Reaper), tokens, standees, battle maps (like Gaming Paper), cardstock terrain (like Fat Dragon), the D&D 4e terrain, Paizo Gamemastery stuff, the basics like pencils and paper, Digital stuff like character builders (Hero Lab is a good example) or digital character sheets on a laptop or tablet, the Sultan Gaming Table, and the ultimate piece of gaming paraphernalia: the custom gaming cave! We also give a shout out to Obsidian Portal and Perram’s Spellbook. This episode clocks in at just over 42 minutes.

Apr 242011

So as some of you may know, I’ve gotten into playing Warhammer 40k. The army I chose I think really captures my inner cheeseball nature. No, not orks, I’m playing Necrons. My friends sold me on the army with two words, “zombie robots.” I’ve got a game under my belt with them, they’re assembled, but they’re still that games workshop plastic gray.

Baseline gray

The baseline gray necron, for comparison

Looking around at the different color schemes that people have been painting their necrons, I’ve decided that the drybrush silver on black had been done to death, so again, befitting my nature as a cheeseball, I’ve decided on a color scheme for my necron army: Sunshine!

Very Yellow

The pic is a little fuzzy, but you get the idea.

I would like to point out that this is, in fact, the first mini I’ve ever primed. I’m using that as an excuse if this looks like crap to anyone who’s been doing this for longer than a week. I’m going to bring these down to paint night at the FLGS and ask the people who know what they’re doing if this looks decent and if not what I’m going to need to do differently. If everything looks alright then I’m going to prime the rest and start doing in with some bright orange and florescent green.

Paint night at Pulp Fiction Paint night at Pulp Fiction Paint night at Pulp Fiction Paint night at Pulp Fiction

The guys at paint night, being all competent and stuff.

Below are the rest of the necron images I took for this post, including a picture of the saddest destroyer.

The Saddest Destroyer High Contrast Side by side very yellow

Apr 182011

Ladies and gentleman, I am proud to present the UnderDiscussion One Year Anniversary episode! I want to thank you all for your support and for listening to us this past year. When I suggested to WDR that we should do a podcast he thought I was crazy and that no one would ever listen to us. It’s a year later, we have 38 episodes released, we’ve have reviews and interviews and last month we had our first episode to go over a thousand unique downloads! So if we’re crazy, then we’re crazy like a fox!

This week Nockergeek, Slacker, and Hooligan join us with new guests Hida Man and Dennis to discuss a bit about the tabletop wargame Warhammer 40k. We also announce our IronDie giveaway and a spinoff podcast!

“What’s that?” you say, “What are these ‘IronDie’ you are referring to?” IronDie are solid metal dice made in Italy and we’re giving away a base set of the nine different shapes! What to learn the details? Then listen to this week’s episode!

Logo for IronDie

IronDie, made in Italy, won by you!

8one6 & WDR pose for the UnderDiscussion IronDie Giveaway IronDie green metal dice

The contest will run through April 29th 2011 (we plan to do the hat draw and the winner announcement recording on April 30th.) The winner will be announced on the May 2nd episode of UnderDiscussion.

We are also announcing Preferred Enemies, a Warhammer 40k podcast hosted by the Undergopher’s own Nockergeek, Slacker & Dennis! They recorded their first episode this week. Head over, give it a listen, and let them know what you think!

Here’s the link to our iTunes feed.

Here’s the link to the UnderDiscussion RSS Feed.

Wizz by Bob Wizman

Apr 012011

Greetings gophers.  It is once again past time for a rambling wall of text from yours truly.  Despite most of my free time this month being swallowed by basketball and watching westerns to prepare for an upcoming episode of Underdiscussion, I managed to work in a important gaming first for me. I know what you’re thinking. ” But W.D.R. surely a gamer as worldly and sophisticated as you has done it all.” Amazingly this is not the case. This past weekend the local high school held their twice yearly game convention, Recruits, and I ran my first two convention games. I have to admit that I needed a little prodding to decide to do it. The idea of some random group of strangers sitting down at a table and then me trying to run a game conjures images of every rpg horror story I’ve ever heard. Thanks to the owners of my friendly local game store, Pulp Fiction Comics and Games, I took the plunge.

I was quite pleased with the experience despite my initial misgivings.  I ran a session of Gamma World, which many of you are familiar with from the podcast, and a session of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd edition. I must say that Gamma World makes for a mighty fun convention game. I ended up with a full table of five including a couple of folks I already knew.  Thanks Eric and Ted for making my first attempt a little more comfortable than it could have been.  The game went smoothly and the goofiness of Gamma World produced a fun time for all.  At the end of the game the players had retrieved the yellow cakes and celebrated their missions success. I was relieved that I had made it through the game and had actually had quite a bit of fun.

Next up was Warhammer, which was a much more serious game.  It also has some unusual but good mechanics that could be an issue with new players. I had restricted this game to four players because of the game design and once again had a full table. I was pleasantly surprised to find that one of the players from the Gamma World game had come back for another session with me. I have to admit that this really made my day. I find it a huge compliment for someone to enjoy my game enough to devote another chunk of their convention time to my game. While Warhammer did not go as smoothly as Gamma World, it seemed to be another successful session as everyone involved seemed to have fun. I know I really enjoyed it. I will be running some more games at the next Recruits if I am able. If any of you out there have considered running a game at a convention and haven’t, you should give it a go. It is certainly not like a regular game but it really is rewarding.

When I wasn’t running games, the table behind where I was running caught my eye.  It was a display by a miniatures company out of Atlanta, Georgia that makes 15-20 mm figures. The thing that got my attention was the amazing detail for such tiny figures.  It didn’t hurt that they all had absolutely fantastic paint jobs as well.  I recommend checking them out.  The name of the company is Splintered Light Miniatures. The owner seems like a great guy and hopefully we can find a way to have him on Underdiscussion. I also checked out a local company DGS Games.  They are working on what could be a very interesting system that integrates a rpg, a skirmish game, and a large scale battle game. I would suggest checking them out as well.

That will just about do it for this edition.  I can make no promises about when the next Chat will show up but there will be another one soon.

Jul 162010

The Warhammer Fantasy Battles 8th Edition Rulebook arrived this past weekend and I am the proud owner of a copy.   It is impressive just based on the sheer size(531 pages) of the tome, which is nice but not what really matters.  Upon opening, the book reveals that the oft maligned folks at Games Workshop labored long and lovingly to produce a beautiful and comprehensive tome detailing all aspects of the Warhammer Fantasy game.  The book is printed in full color throughout and the numerous illustrations and photographs are frequently awe (and game) inspiring.  The ribbon bookmark built into the spine is a nice touch and has proved quite useful.

 Something I consider vital to a good rule book is ease of reference and the table of contents and index of the book is clear and useful.  The rules section takes up the first 153 pages of the book.  It starts with basic information about dealing with the models and then proceeds to present the basic rules in the order that they apply during a turn of the game.  This is followed by a lengthy section covering the myriad special rules required by the variety of unit types and factions in the game.  The rules are filled with well written and easily understood examples of play, most with illustrated examples.

After the rules section, there is a section entitled “The Warhammer World”.  It begins with the rich history of the Warhammer World, including a timeline.  Also in this section, the background and motivation of all the factions available in the game are explored.  There are some truly striking pieces of art in this section of the book. 

The heart of a table top miniatures game is the miniatures themselves and the third section of the book is jealousy inducing proof.  It is 100 pages of painted miniatures categorized by their faction.  This “Miniatures Showcase” section culminates in several pages of advise about the assembly and painting of an army. 

The final section of the tome is a section entitled “WarhammerBattles” and details how to use and create scenario based battles.  It has information on how to run a campaign and how to gamemaster a battle.  I also features several narrative battle and a section on what they call legendary battles, which includes a battle report and a listing of participating units for the battle discussed.  This section should be a boon to gaming groups that choose to take the time to use the design tools provided.  I certainly look forward to gamemastering battles between my friends.

I have chosen not to go into a profound discussion of the rules because they are legion and most are written by those with more experience.  The bottom line is that the Warhammer Fantasy Battles 8th Edition Rulebook is worth the money I spent on it.  In fact, despite the $75 price tag , I would say you get more than you pay for.  The book is so impressive that it will draw new players into the hobby by its presentation and it just doesn’t get better than that.