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Beasts of War 2014 Gaming Awards

 

Beasts-of-War-2014-Gaming-Awards-Finals-Night-394x221

On January 4th Beasts of War 2014 Gaming Awards Finals show was put online.

After user-submitted competitors and a subsequent online vote four finalists in each category as well as one winner were voted for. In the following I list the final nominees with the winner in each category in bold letters.

The categories, finalists and winners, along with my thoughts:

Best Sculpt

Warmaster Horus (Forgeworld)

Horus-main

Foot Knights 1450-1500 (Perry Miniatures)

perry-miniatures-foot-knights-1450-1500_WR50

Kum Motorized Troops (Corvus Belli)

kum motorized troops

Antipodes (Corvus Belli)

antipodes

I think that the fact that Corvus Belli actually were in there with two finalists is more telling than winning the award.

The thing about Infinity is that right from the start they had very, very pretty miniatures which then caught my eye and despite not starting to play Infinity myself I found myself gawking at their minis time and time again.

It’s good to see the Perrys on there as well, gettying by the Sci-Fi/Fantasy competition with historicals is NOT easy. However, the Perrys got very loyal fans all over the world (and I definitely consider myself one of them) because the models they put out just are SO good and SO well researched.

Especially when it comes to medieval models the Perrys are several cuts above the rest. Not the least because they manage to sculpt human beings  with realistic proportions.

So Horus won. It’s not a bad figure, that’s for sure, and of course it’s all subjective to whom one sculpt is better than another (early on bloody Nagash and the Imperial Knight models were amongst the nominees).

However, the outcome might also be due to the fact that 40k still is the big cheese. Not that I dislike Horus. I got one myself to be honest.

My personal pick: The Raven by Werner Klocke

Best Paintjob

Kum Motorized Troops by Angel Giráldez

kum motorized troops

World Eaters Contemptor Dreadnought by Bohun

contemptor by bohun

The Last Light by Roman Lappat (yup, that’s jarhead)

the last light

Enchantress by Jérémie Bonamant Teboul

enchantrress

Now here we enter the realms of complete subjectiveness.

I’ve seen all of these pop up several times on facebook and the likes before. Angel Giraldéz, who of course is THE big mini painting superstar nowadays due to his effective communication via social media, backing by Corvus Belli and of course due to his really effective painting, won with the “studio paintjob” of the Kum Motorized Troops which themselves were nominated for “Best Sculpt”.

Of course he deserves it.

However, does he deserve it more than any of the other entries? This whole category is a bit wonky in my opinion because most of the entries are bordering art  (opening a can of worms there), so it’s really, really hard to measure up some of these against each other. So out of all these categories, I think that this one suffered not only from “fan favouritism”, but also from a certain lack of validity maybe?

Out of these finalists Enchantress probably is my favourite because there is so much going on with this mini. There is nothing mind-blowing about it, but there are a LOT of different things and skills put into this diorama.

I really like the Contemptor too. You could say that it’s based on one trick and that’s one you see on a lot of Forgeworld models especially nowadays (mostly Primarch armour it seems), but it’s just so darned well executed.

When painting things and you want to make them look interesting paint some texture, freehands, what ever onto those big, flat surfaces. I can’t quite decide if I like the vegetation on the base, but I’m 60% sure that I do. I also like the pose on the Contemptor. It’s surprisingly hard not to go for an overly dramatic pose (which on this model usually comes out looking slightly weird). On top of that, I really like the colour balance on this one.

The Last Light is a classic 40k motif with a ton of models all rolled into one and Space Marines fighting in the face of certain doom. It’s 40k in a nutshell and there must have been so many hours gone into planning and converting this.

Usually when you see a diorama and think how many hours this must have taken I think it’s safe to say that tripling your first guess is usually what comes close to the truth. A really impressive undertaking.

Compared to the other finalists (maybe with the exception of the Contemptor) the Kum Bikers  are as straightforward as can be and I think that pretty much anything Giraldez painted for Corvus Belli over the past two years or so could have entered. This is more of an award for his constantly top quality output and sheer presence on the news feeds of people. He’s an exceptional painter to boot of course.

All very inspiring pieces on their own right.

Best Sci-Fi Game

Dropzone Commander

dropzone commaner

Infinity

infinity3

X-Wing

xwing

Deadzone

deadzoneh

Nice to see Dropzone Commander being nominated. It came as a surprise to me that X-Wing didn’t win but am I ever happy that it didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, X-Wing is a darned fine game, but I don’t view it as a miniatures wargame. I know, many of you do, but to me it’s not. It’s got a HUGE fanbase and it IS a very fun game, I know.

I also found it interesting to see Deadzone being nominated. Is it popular in the area where you play? I know my local gaming store stocks some Deadzone boxes.

Dropzone Commander is nothing short of being an impressive endeavour. Big props to them having gotten this far in a sci-fi/space fantasy market which is just insane these days.

I think that some things came together for Infinity to win.

First of course all the buzz about 3rd edition in which Corvus Belli clearly decided to take a step up and into a more professional, even more sleek and more profitable product. I don’t think that Infinity 3rd edition is the best Sci-Fi Game around. Unfortunately there is that thing that miniatures are somehow viewed as being a part of the set of rules, which is a thing advertised and practiced by all of these finalists and which of course was cooked up by GW back in the day.

I think that the very, very sexy Infinity miniatures of course helped as well. Infinity as a rules set is fine. It’s d20 based which is fine by me because I like when a game can fine-tune things. And the core rules are fine.

What I find problematic and a bit unwieldy about Infinity is the slew of special rules and equipment. And I think that this cheerleader thing still is a problem in many gaming groups It’s a fine game though, I’d like to play it again some time.

Another thing which probably helped Infinity getting voted to win maybe was the fact that Beasts of War have been pushing Infinity a lot in the past. So maybe the site is a favourite amongst Infinity players so they were more prone to voting for “their” game?

My personal pick: Tomorrow’s War

 

Best Fantasy Game

Warhammer Fantasy

Warhammer_8th_Edition_Cover

D&D 5th edition

d&D5th edition

Warmahordes

warmahordes

Kings of War

kings of war

I was very surprised to see D&D on the list. I guess Beasts of War do everything now, not just miniatures wargaming? Because if I understood it right, D&D took a big step back from basically requiring you to play with miniatures (or cardboard chits or what ever) on a ‘tactical map’.

A bit weird.

Warhammer Fantasy was nominated, which is fine by me.  It’s a fine game still, possibly haunted by the usual GW problems of player compatibility and all that army book business.

Truth to be told, I never ever played a single game of Warmahordes in my entire life. I keep hearing it’s super good, and I believe that. It’s got combos and points and abilities and all of that and this I’m sure appeals to a LOT of people. Not me for various reasons, but if it works for them it’s cool. There is the question of which category this belongs in of course.

Mantic’s Kings of War is a game I at least read, never got to play it. I hear it’s much fun though. I have no idea (apart from the obvious reasons) why Mantic requires a kickstarter for the second edition of their rules but oh well. They’re Mantic and Kickstarter is their #1 marketing tool.

My personal pick: Song of Blades and Heroes

Best Accessory

Vallejo Game Air

vallejogameair

 

4Grounds Fantasy buildings

4groundsd

Battle Systems cardboard sci-fi terrain

battlesystems

Mantic Games Battlezone terrain

mantic battlezone

This clearly is a very, very broad category. 4Ground, along with Sarissa Productions, of course are probably the biggest currently in the whole MDF terrain business. I’ve got a review of one of their products lined up on this fine site, so I won’t go into detail on my opinions on their models.

Never seen the Battle Systems terrain. I did see the kickstarter over and over back when it was up, but wasn’t too endeared with the idea of cardboard terrain. Of course it looks neat in the pictures, but I’m not too sure what I would have used it for and about the sturdiness of the parts over longer time spans.

What I did see in person already is Mantic’s Battlezone terrain. Maybe this again is a matter of taste, but I was not impressed. It looks like gaming terrain more than an urban battlezone or anything like that. To me it is very reminiscent of the old Necromunda terrain and that is nice, but I wouldn’t buy it for urban sci-fi gang/warband combat games.

I do own a few pots of Vallejo Game Air, I don’t know what to say. I assume it’s my favourite product out of the finalists, but mostly because these paints are the only thing I would use often as opposed to the other products listed. The paints are alright.

I don’t think that they are a mandatory buy or anything and of course there are so many other manufacturers who do exactly the same, but the Vallejo Game Air paints are not bad.

My personal pick: Green Stuff

 

Best Pulp, Punk, Horror or Weird Game

Dystopian Wars

dystopian warsh

Malifaux

malifauxh

Dust Tactics

dusttactics

Zombicide

zombicide

Here is an interestingly named category. I can see why they named it the way they did, because it’s pretty much impossible to come up with a name for such a category that makes sense.

I think the winner in this one surprised me the most. Glad it won over Zombicide though.

I keep on getting confused over Malifaux‘ state of popularity. The game itself from what I hear is also kind of ability-combo-based so, along with the style of the figures, it probably resonates with the Warmahordes crowds.

Dystopian Wars has some rather fun miniatures and rules. But of course it’s not 28-32mm scale and has no character models, so it’s got a bit of a tough spot between all these other things.

There is Dust Tactics and Battlefield too. I got nothing. Insert a little jab at Battlefront here. 😉

My personal Pick: All Things Zombie

Best Historical Game

Bolt Action

bolt action

Flames of War

flames of war h

SAGA (including Crescent&Cross)

sagahg

By Fire and Sword

By Fire and Sword

Now here is the category I can ramble on about for hours, but in everyone’s best interest I will not.

It’s nice to see By Fire and Sword getting in there. 17th century warfare is a bit of a pet period of mine. I do not own the rulebook and certainly don’t collect the miniatures sold under the By Fire and Sword label, but I hear it’s not too bad.

So good for them for being on the list. I’m sure the kickstarter campaigns helped a lot with their popularity and for getting featured on Beasts of War.

It’s weird to see Saga on the list, because this one has been all the rage a bunch of years ago. Crescent&Cross is a stand-alone release. Sure, Saga still is very popular, and with good reason. Some time in the near future I plan to post my review of Saga on here, so no need to get into too much detail of what I think of the game. I just don’t see why they didn’t just put up Crescent& Cross. Maybe a bit pedantic of me, maybe a bit outdated in thought but oh well.

Flames of War is a game I never had much of an urge to play. I’m not sure why, but it never appealed to me, even when I was way more interested in WW2 than any other period. This has nothing to do with the scale, it was much more of a matter of the rules as I perceived them.

Now for Bolt Action. I don’t know if you ever read anything I have written elsewhere, but if you did you probably read that there is not much love lost between me and this set of rules.  It is insanely popular though, not the least because of the mechanics which will be instantly familiar to 40k players and many other things. Not the least the way it’s marketed. Maybe I will review it some day.

Probably not though, because I’m too biased when it comes to this game.

My personal pick: Chain of Command

Final toughts

Overall I like Beasts of War. They put on a professional looking vidcast show, they produce content like crazy. If I had one wish I would very much like them to showcase games and miniatures which are less mainstream and less of the latest fad kind of thing.

I don’t know in how far they live off advertisement and sponsoring by companies. I guess it’s a very important part to keeping the show running.

They probably represent the broad wargaming audience nowadays pretty well and this is represented by the results of their votes. The whole purpose of these awards of course is to get a show and for people/fans to participate.

If games/people got nominated or even won a category they can put that on their next kickstarter project page if they have to rely on stuff like that.

beasts of war

There are some things I’m not sure make any sense in this whole thing, especially in terms of relevance of the nominees to the year 2014. Is it meant to show what people played the most in 2014? Because most of the finalists weren’t even released in 2014.

Of course such shows are not important. It might be representative of BoW’s audience, but apart from that it’s just a fun show. The fact that this is based on user votes of course makes it a popularity contest.

But that’s okay. Seems like people had fun, BoW got a lot of hits and reactions (mine too of course) and it gave the BoW guys a reason to dress smart and have a nice end-of-the-year event.

What are your opinions on the awards, the finalists and the winners? What would you have picked or what did you vote for in the polls?

Share your opinions, I’m eager to hear what you think!

Sigur Squirl

Sigur is the painter behind "Battlebrush Studios" and a familiar face in many wargaming circles online. Plays a metric ton of skirmish wargames and shares his experiences here on the blog.

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