2018 a look back at the year

As we say goodbye to 2018 and prepare to look forward to and welcome 2019, it’s time to take a quick look back at the year in general!

2018 has in general been a good year, with the majority of the year being more or less normal and only a few minor hiccups along the way.  We have had loads if new releases, both games and miniatures and more, some amazing movies and television shows and conventions. And sadly we have lost some of the greats this year, people we have welcomed into our lives and have become family.

January

Gamers Web came back online after an absence of several years in August 2017. The site was very successful for a long time and was getting about 100,000 hits a day but due to health issues I had to close the site down in 2005. This was a difficult decision to make has I had invested twelve years of my life and a lot of my own personal money into Gamers Web, but it needed to be done I guess.

Sadly after the launch of the site again, I found myself changing jobs and January was a very difficult time to keep up with posts and articles and it was several months before I had the time and opportunity to dedicate more time to Gamers Web.

So in a sense January right through to June this year was pretty much a wash out for the site, with little or no updates or articles.  For this I must humbly apologise.  My previous job had me working extremely long hours, often being away from home for many hours at a time and due to the nature of the job it was pretty difficult to make regular updates.

June

So a change of jobs meant more time to do the things I love to do and I made the conscious decision to concentrate as much as possible on Gamers Web and try to bring as much content and coverage from the games industry, cosplay and more as possible.

I made a decision to do something that I really didn’t want to do in all the time that I have been doing Gamers Web, concentrate on just the games that I like rather than trying to cover as much as possible.  Gamers Web is basically myself with a couple of articles by my very good friends George Fyvie and Alif Chang, but nearly everything else is down to me.  For many years I used to cover as much of the hobby as I could and did have over a dozen helpers who would write articles, news reports and even fiction, but when you are doing everything alone something has to sort of give or you get swamped.

So I decided to cover friends companies and products from companies I liked or games I liked, and throw in whatever news I could.

I started to bring coverage of Modiphius Entertainment, a company run by my very good friend Chris Birch, and the guys behind Star Trek Adventures, Conan, Kung-Fu Panda and the long awaited Fallout: Wasteland Warfare.

Add to this Warcradle Studios, a company that I had only just discovered a few months earlier thanks in part to my involvement (albeit a small part) with the now sadly defunct Spartan Games and their Halo range (and Dystopian Wars).  I first saw Wild West Exodus when it was on Kickstarter a few years ago but at the time I was unable to become a backer.

Now Warcradle had taken over the reigns and were under the umbrella of Wayland Games, one of the largest distributors of games in the world.  WWX was really a shot in the arm that I needed and within a few weeks I had not only painted my first posses, but had dug in deep and painted up several from different factions.

I also was preparing terrain for the upcoming Fallout game all during June and July as it was hotly anticipated to be released in late July (see August) and I found some awesome terrain from TTCombat and did my first MDF buildings which was great fun.

Warlord Games surprised most of us with the sneak announcement of the Strontium Dog Miniatures Game, and a full range of miniatures and buildings to support the game.  Written by Andy Chambers, one of the industries legends, the game was teased with no date given other than soon, but we really didn’t have long to wait.

June also saw the last ever Q-Con at Belfasts iconic Students Union building in the heart of Belfast.  I have been involved with Q-Con since 2002 and this was a pretty emotional time for everyone who came to attend the largest and one of the best shows in the games calendar.  For many years I have run the pub quiz at Q-Con and for eleven of those with my dear friend Andrew ‘Narky’ Gordon and the quiz has become a staple part of the the show, with tickets selling out very quickly and a good time had by all.  This year we had almost 700 people in the Speakeasy of the SU building and we literally raised the roof and had an epic time.

Q-Con is held by Queens University Belfast’s Dragonslayers games club, a group of extremely talented and smart people who are more family than just friends and it is one of the best organised and run shows in the entire games/cosplay circuit by far.  This was Q-Con XXV and we were determined to go out with a bang!

I ran demos of Fallout Wasteland Warfare with Martin Tooney and showed off the upcoming miniatures we had with us, and for the first time in many years didn’t actively run anything else, preferring to spend this final hurrah at the SU with friends and for that I am so very glad I did.  I have made so many friends over the years at Q-Con and this was difficult as nobody was sure if we would ever have another Q-Con again, though hopefully the show will return once the new building is finished but that won’t be till 2021 at the earliest.

July

July was a pretty big month for miniature games, seeing the release of several titles, one of which that would pretty much dominate the industry for the rest of the year.

While Necromunda may be a fantastic game with legions of fans around the world it was Kill Team that dominated most of 2018.

This streamlined version of Warhammer 40,000 brought with it a newer and quicker game style and was supported by loads of great sets during its launch period, most of which featured some pretty awesome terrain for use in the game!

With more expansions coming out in the following months, this game became very popular, very quickly and a lot of die hard 40K fans found themselves turning more and more towards this cut down version of the game, less time meant more games right!

Warlords Strontium Dog Miniatures Game was released in the early part of July and what a game it was.  Packed with loads of stuff to keep any 2000AD fan happy for weeks, and some amazing miniatures, it was also one of the first things that I covered on our YouTube channel.

These days most people want things drip fed to them, and if you have taken the time to read this far, you are not one of those people and I thank you! When I first began reviewing products for Gamers Web and for magazines such as Valkyrie and Imagine, everything was done the old fashioned way, using written descriptions and accounts, but now it seems that you need to have a video presence to get noticed, even if you go into far more depth with a written article.

So Gamers Web got its very own YouTube channel and though it is still in its early days really and I have had a few teething troubles but its getting there slowly.  Of course its isn’t all glitz and glamour with amazing graphics and inserts from other videos, just honest to goodness plain video.

July saw the rumblings of rumours of two big priced products from Games Workshop and Fantasy Flight Games, that were going to be pretty expensive if they were to be believed and the following month we got the Executor Superstar Destroyer for Star Wars: Armada and the release of Adeptus Titanicus from Games Workshop, both with hefty price tags and needless to say both sold really, really well.

Our good friends over at Modipius Entertainment held a very successful launch evening in London for their highly anticipated Fallout: Wasteland Warfare, which went down great guns.  People came from all over to see the game in action, meet James the creator and be among the first to play demos of the game itself.  Soon after the game was on general release with those who had pre-ordered the product getting their copies before retail which was a great bonus for those who had supported the company and really good to see them honouring their promise (unlike Bethesda but more on that later).

The Expanse Roleplaying Game was successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter with the game being fully funded in under an hour!  Based on the novels by James S.A. Corey and set in the not to far future, this high action science fiction game will bring to life the universe of the 23rd Century  that is actually grounded in science rather than fiction.

The Expanse television show was also in the news as it was abruptly cancelled by its network with no real reason, despite having huge ratings and a massive fan following.  A huge petition led by star Cas Anvar managed to get a second chance of life from the streaming platform Amazon so thankfully the series will live on to fight another day and tell more of the story of the crew of the Rocinante, as it explores the Gate and the strange universes beyond our solar system.

On the comic book front, Rebellion the owners of 2000AD announced that it was in the final stages of finishing scripts for the long awaited Judge Dredd and Mega-City One television series and Duncan Jones the multi-award winning director of Moon and the son of rock legend David Bowie announced that he was going to direct a movie based on Rogue Trooper one of 2000AD’s other iconic characters after Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog.  This was met with a great reception given his track record with directing movies, but as of yet no cast has been announced.

Warcradle upped the ante with the 1.08 version of the Wild West Exodus rules which would replace the previous editions and make the game faster to play and iron out a few bugs that had crept in.  The new rules would also be used for all upcoming tournaments of WWX.

August

Speaking of Warcradle, August was a very busy time for the company, with the launch at the end of July of the 1.08 version of the WWX rules, followed by the open beta for Dystopian Wars launching very shortly afterwards.  Add to this the parent company Wayland Games celebrating its tenth birthday in August and it was a very busy time all round for them.

EN Publishing the owners of the excellent EN World had announced late in 2017 that they were going to release a roleplaying game based on Judge Dredd, and characters from 2000AD.  For months they had been pretty quiet about exactly when this was going be released and in what format, but during August that lull in communication was finally broken when Russ Morrisey announced that the game Judge Dredd and the Worlds of 2000AD would be going to Kickstarter in September!

I managed to interview Russ, Andy and Darren about the game, their hopes for it and its future and their influences for the line which you can read HERE.

By August Fallout: Wasteland Warfare was out and in the hands of those who had pre-ordered it.  It was one of my first unboxing videos on our YouTube channel as my copy arrived on August 1st! The game is a thing of beauty and the miniatures are lovely, and of course the game play is fantastic.

Our good friends at Warlord Games announced another new game from legend Rick Priestly.  Black Powder is a game that is set in the Napoleonic era and the pre order sold out pretty fast.  Releases for Strontium Dog Miniatures game also dominated the first couple of weeks of the month giving a lot of support for players.

Games Workshop announced Tooth & Claw which would feature Space Wolves against Genestealer hybrids and cultists and this was met with a great deal of delight from players of both factions.  The new models were fantastic with a lot of attention to detail and really fluid animation.

Kill Team still was a great seller and dominated most of the last part of the year, and Kill Team Commanders and Rogue Trader were both announced for a release in September.  The big news was that Adeptus Titanicus had sold out even before its launch, despite its lofty price tag of £175!  This goes to show that people will pay out good money if the quality is there and having seen the models up close they are pretty much perfection in plastic.

In early August, Games Workshop made a few announcements over on their Community Page that had a lot of gamers either confused or worried.  Firstly was the announcement of a new range of books aimed at very young readers was going to be released.  Given the average age of a player of normal games from the company is around 11 years old and a lot of these children have younger siblings it was only a matter of time before something like this happened and I am just surprised it hadn’t happened sooner.

Games Workshop also announced the launch of Space Marine Heroes, a blind box product (sold in packets that you don’t know what your getting hence the blind part) that would be in stores within a few weeks.  This had already done extremely well in Japan in 2017 and was at last being offered to other markets around the world.

And a few Ork vehicles were also teased during mid August, but more on this later!

Finally from Games Workshop in partnership with Hachette Partworks came Warhammer 40,000 Conquest a week by week (part works) magazine that built up to give you a playable game of Warhamer 40,000 with two complete armies, Chaos and Space Marines!

Conquest had been released very briefly in early 2018 as a market tester and the first four issues did pretty well, well enough to warrant a full release of the magazine towards the end of August.  For the past fifteen issues (as of typing this) I have covered the magazines on our YouTube channel so please check them out.

September

A pretty big month really with Games Workshop leading the way with Wake the Dead boxed battle set, the two Kill Team expansions, and Warhammer 40,000 Monopoly  being licensed out!

New arrivals for Adeptus Titanicus also helped Games Workshops coffers during September with some truly beautiful models coming out.  Warhammer 40,0000 Inquisitor Martyr was also released on consoles during September to a mixed bag of reviews.

Following on with the success of their range of Star Wars franchised games, Fantasy Flight Games announced several expansions for Legion and X-Wing almost every month during 2018, with several of these coming in August and September!  The company also launched X-Wing 2nd Edition, which saw a revamp of sorts of the rules, the introduction of The Force into the game and brand new sculpts on the X-Wings themselves!

X-Wing 2nd Edition had been announced at GenCon Indy in 2017 but it was over a year later till players could finally get their hands on a copy to play at home.  I did an unboxing of the core rules, and to be honest even though I play X-Wing I wasn’t that overly impressed by the new layout of format.  Sure the X-Wings now had S Foils that could be open and closed but this is little more than a gimmick really.

Chris and James from Modiphius went over to Ireland and spent some time with Jason and the guys from Beasts of War promoting Fallout: Wasteland Warfare, with several videos that featured game play, interviews and more, in the usual format that BoW tend to do!  One of the videos featured a look at the future of the game and some factions that had not been shown  before and if you like Fallout check out the videos as the miniatures are excellent!

Modiphius also released Vampire the Masquerade 5th Edition to a lot of critical praise.  This iconic roleplaying game has gone through many changes over the years but the fifth edition has really turned the game on its head!

EN Publishing launched their Kickstarter campaign for Judge Dredd and the Worlds of 2000AD and the whole thing was funded in just NINE minutes!   In less time that it takes to drink a cup of coffee the kickstarter was funded and guarentted for gamers who had backed it for a January release!

I did my own look back kind of  retrospective article on the previous editions and versions of Dredd in roleplaying games the day before the launch of the Kickstarter and while I was positive that the campaign would be successfully funded, I doubt that anyone even remotely dreamed it would happen so quickly!

True to his word, as soon as the campaign was over Russ emailed out links to the PDF of the rules and first supplement The Robot Wars campaign book for all the backers who had funded the campaign. Expect a full review of both next week!

October

October was rebranded Orktober by Games Workshop as the company released a whole slew of greenskin related miniatures, terrain, rules and even a full game Speed Freeks teased throughout the month and most released before November crept in.

Loads of new kits came out, mostly Ork vehicles but October given over to Orks, as Games Workshop announced the release of Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress, a standalone game that followed the successful Warhammer Quest but with a 40K twist!  The game featured some amazing models that totally fit with the setting and for your money you get a load of cool stuff.

Warlord Games announced the arrival of its latest game set in World War II, with Cruel Seas, a naval combat game that instead of using battleships and frigates, saw the players using MTB boats and E Boats and protecting and attacking shipping lanes.  I have not had the chance to play this game yet, but have heard nothing but good things about it, and hope to get the chance in the new year with luck!

Our friends at Riverhorse ran a very successful Kickstarter for the Hunger Games board game, and given the previous games they have created under license it should be a fantastic addition to anybodies games collection.  They also released the Equestra roleplaying game based on My Little Pony which was a bit of a runaway hit!

October an November was a bad time for losing people but I will go into that in a moment.

November

Things were pretty quiet on the games front for a lot of November, with the exception of Warlord Games who seemed to have something new every single week!

With Cruel Seas, Black Powder and Strontium Dog miniatures games all released from June to October, you would think that Warlord may want to take a wee rest and gather its strength for the coming year.  Well you would be wrong.  Okay they didn’t actually release a new game, but one was announced Warlords of Erehwon the a fantasy skirmish game by legendary designer Rick Priestley.  The game was teased and more details were leaked during the month with a launch date of January for the game to ship, the game is currently on pre-order right now and we hope to bring a review of it very soon.

Games Workshop announced upgrades for their Warlord Titan for Warhammer 40,000 and this huge kit would come in at well over a £1000 but boy does it ever look amazing.  The detailing is insane with rails for troops to fight from on its legs and a fully detailed cockpit for the Princeps to sit in!

Blackstone Fortress came out finally and got a great reception and was pretty well received too.

Terrain and MDF experts TT Combat ran a very successful Kickstarter for their range of fantasy Halflings which outstripped their expectations and had some pretty awesome stretch goals which included a nod to my next highlight, a Halfling team for Rumbeslam the fantasy wrestling game.

This game has been out for a while but I only discovered it a while ago and was so impressed that I awarded Rumbleslam the Gamers Web Game of the Year award 2018. A pretty awesome game that is fun and fast and very easy to learn but with a lot of scope for strategy and tactics, making it a good family game!

Riverhorse teased another Kickstarter for 2019 with this one being all about, well running a kickstarter campaign! Krowdfunder will be launched in early 2019, we will of course bring you news once it launches!

December

And finally we come full circle.  December was pretty light on the ground for news really as most companies tend to  wind down for the festive season and only a few go full on with releases.

Fantasy Flight Games had a lot of previews and releases, mainly for Star Wars: Legion and some of the highlights included Chewbacca and the Wookiees expansions, which I should hopefully have very soon for my Rebels!

Games Workshops announced audio dramas of their younger readers books, narrated by ex Doctor Who stars David Tennant and Billie Piper, this will of course bring new people into the hobby as they discover the games via these famous stars.

Towards the end of the month, the new take on Goblins from Games Workshop for Age of Sigmar was teased, with more details being released by the Warhammer Community team towards the end of the month and over the festive period!  The models look fantastic as one can expect from the worlds leading maker of miniatures and will be a great addition to an already great game.

Finally from Games Workshop we had the news of Angels of Death, an animated television series based on the Warhammer 40,000 universe.  At long last fans would be able to see a full on show set in this fantastic universe!

Other Highlights

Of course 2018 wasn’t just about games, other things happened and I had the privilege of being invited to a press night covering a convention here in Scotland ‘For the Love of 80’s’ and managed to meet some stars of very popular television and movies such as Lou Ferrigno and Sam Jones!  The evening was fantastic and the weekend itself was a very well organised event!  The show returns to Edinburgh next year with For the Love of Fantasy which I am looking forward too very much.

Our friends over at Rebellion had a great year and managed to scoop one of the biggest libraries of comics in the world with some dating back to the 1800’s , giving them a huge back catalog to add to their already impressive portfolio.

The biggest news however was the acquisition of a former Daily Mail printing plant meant that Rebellion would be owning and opening one of the largest studios in the UK!  This means that the company has not only space to do the Judge Dredd television series but will be able to hire out its facilities to the rest of the world, bringing more revenue into the country and creating jobs!

In Memorial

Sadly 2018 was a sad time for losing famous names and the games and comic book industry are not immune to such losses either!

This year we lost some amazing people, with Spider-Man artist and co-creator Steve Ditko passing away in June, games designer and all around awesome gentleman Greg Stafford who founded Chaosium Inc and created some of the best loved roleplaying games of all time passed away in October.

We lost so many amazing people in 2018 with actor Scot Wilson passing away on October 6th, a wonderful guy who had just signed back on to reprise his role in The Walking Dead.

And the saddest news of all for me personally this year was the passing of two people that can honestly be called legends!

On October 1st the world lost one of the most wonderful artists to ever pick up a pencil or brush as Carlos Ezquerra died after a long battle with lung cancer! Carlos was the co-creator of Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog and his passing was a complete shock to many, myself included as only two weeks before he had announced that he had beaten cancer!

On November 12th 2018 it was announced at just after 7pm GMT we learned that Stan Lee had passed away, (as I type this on what would have been his 96th birthday!) at the age of 95. Stan had been in poor health for many years and was very frail and had lost his wife of over seventy years Joan earlier this year.  He had many problems in the last years of his life with people trying to cheat him out of money or use his name for their own advantages and accusations had also been flung at him too, which would not have helped his health.

Sadly Stan died but we all knew he didn’t have too much longer left and on that day my childhood ended! Writing the obituary for Gamers Web for both Stan and Carlos, two of my childhood heroes were both difficult and among the hardest things I have ever had to do in many years.

2019

And we now draw to the end of the year, and wonder what the next year has in store for us all.  Which new games will be gracing our tables, or television shows will we tune into?  Shows like The Witcher and Judge Dredd will be joined by a whole host of superheroes on the new DC Network channel when it launches in early 2019!

We have a new version of Hellboy to look forward too, with Stranger Things star David Harbour now donning the Red Fist of Doom as he takes over the role made famous by Ron Perlman.  We will finally get closure on 10 years of Marvel movies and more as Avengers: Endgame will finally be released and answer all the questions left by Infinity War this year!

Games are always evolving and showing us new ways to play and who knows what the next big thing will be? We had some pretty amazing games in 2018 and some of them will naturally bled over into next year. There is already talk of an update to Star Wars Legion which will give players a new way to play the game and refine the rules and it’s rumoured that this will be set in the Clone Wars era of the myths! If and when this happens is anybodies guess!

Other games companies are working hard right now to bring us some great new titles or revamp older favourites. Warcradle will reinvent Dystopian Wars in 2019 and launch it as a brand new game, set in the same universe as it’s excellent Wild West Exodus. And who knows what other games they have planned?

Warlord will release its new fantasy skirmish game Warlords of Erehwon in just a few weeks time, making it one of the first new games of 2019. The guys will also have other games in development right thus very minute and when they tease or announce them Gamers Web will be right there to cover it.

Games Workshop have Sisters of Battle due out in 2019 and my prediction is February to tie in with Valentine’s Day! May sound odd but its a guy feeling.

Of course they will announce more big game projects next year and who knows maybe we may actually see a brand new race for 40K!

Modiphius Entertainment will not rest on its laurels and they guys are already hard at work on more factions and expansions for Fallout Wasteland Warfare with loads of beautiful new models due out in waves two and three of the game.

As one of the leaders in the roleplaying industry you can also expect some other games to come from our good friends and maybe another Kickstarter campaign or two.

Here are a few image highlights of my 2018 including con pics.

So that’s 2018 done and all but dusted. What’s been your highlight of the year? Let us know in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading this and here’s to 2019 being the best year ever for you and yours.

Marc Farrimond

Gamers Web

December 28th 2019

 

 

 

About Marc Farrimond

I'm a 55 year guy from Wigan in Lancashire living in Edinburgh, Scotland with two of my four awesome kids and my long suffering wife Laura. I have worked freelance over the years for some of the biggest names in tabletop and roleplaying and I am a very keen cosplayer and photographer.
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