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The Tiger Roars 

“The State of the Jungle,” 2010
Every January, the President of the United States goes before Congress and reports on how well the country is doing. Seeing as how I run the Jungle, I thought I’d do something similar to a “State of the Union” address. It seems especially apropos now that this site is turning 10 years old.

What the Jungle Is…
For those of you who are new visitors, the Jungle is dedicated to exploring new ways to look at 40K. Our goal is to inspire, to educate, and to entertain. Since Day One, we’ve tried to post material that people can use or at least would consider using for their own games. We’re not afraid of challenging deeply-entrenched notions (no female Space Marines, for example), or of putting noses out of joint (“Perspectives on Painting”), or of posting opposing viewpoints (see here and here). Our ideas aren’t always golden, our experiments don’t always work, but we are always honest with our visitors.

…and What the Jungle Isn’t
Here at the Equatorial Rainforest, we don’t have the coolest graphics, we don’t have a whole team of people (it’s pretty much a two-man show, with the occasional contribution from a visitor), and because we’ve been around so long, some of our stuff is outdated. We don’t always glom onto the newest thing right away (we still have not gotten around to doing a review of Codex: Chaos Daemons, and I don’t think we ever will). We do our own thing, throw it out there, and hope people like it. Which they seem to do.

Sorry, but we just don't care...

Looking Back
The Jungle first went online on February 2, 2000, and of course, a lot has changed since then. When the Jungle premiered, the Third Edition of the 40k rules were in full swing, a fellow named Andy Chambers (maybe you young pups have heard of him) was calling the shots on the design side of the game, and multi-part plastic models for basic troops was a relatively new thing. Back then, most 40K websites (the ones I knew of, anyway) were:

  • “Magazines,” with “how-to” articles, commentary, regular features (or “columns”), and more-or-less regular updates; or 
  • “Showcases” that displayed photos of the website owner’s army, with descriptions of each unit, and perhaps some tactical advice or army-related fiction; or,
  • “Rumor” sites that tried to break the latest news about upcoming Games Workshop products; or,
  • “Portals,” which featured links to 40K sites; or,
  • “Forums” where gamers could interact; or,
  • Some combination of the above.
Examples, for those of you around back then, were Portent (the 800-pound rumor site), the Millenium Gate (originally a “magazine” site and a forum; now only a forum), The Warp (a portal, a forum, and a web-hosting service), and The Realm of Inisfail (a showcase and "magazine" site). 

The Jungle has always been a magazine/showcase site: big chunks of it are dedicated to my first army, the Fighting Tigers of Veda, but as the years have gone on, the focus has shifted away from the Tigers, to other subjects. Which is as it should be: there’s only so much Stripeyness one can enjoy.

In the beginning, I updated the Jungle every week (there was even a month when I was updating it twice a week). As time went on and my life got busier, I had to cut back to every two weeks, then monthly, and last year, I took a three-month sabbatical. Stuff happens.

The Jungle was among the first of sites—if not THE first—to champion female Space Marines (which STILL generates a lot of e-mail and heated discussions on forums), to offer something like A Thousand Points of Light (which has since been replicated by other sites and even White Dwarf itself) or Jungle Juice, and to produce themed army ideas for visitors’ consideration. The Jungle has helped start and promote multi-year, grass-root gaming get-togethers like Fall From Grace and Counter Offensive, where the emphasis is on play and fellowship, not winning-at-all-costs and hype. And we’ve broken some new ground and gotten some kudos for fiction pieces, particularly the quasi-epic Traveller of Both Time and Space.

Dvergar come under attack by Space Wolves in the final battle of Saga of the Wolf King

Looking Around
Recently, the Jungle wrapped up its latest campaign (Saga of the Wolf King), introduced a new feature called Armies of the Jungle, and started doing reviews of the more interesting new codecies (Chaos Marines, Orks, and Space Wolves are some) as they are released. Assistant Jungle Guide Patrick Eibel has started a new series, The Jungle Top Ten. Visitors have told us, through e-mail and on forums, that they have enjoyed these. 

I went on this kick the last few years where I’d been trying to incorporate Warhammer Fantasy miniatures into 40K, the Dvergar and the Kurindans being notable examples. The point has not been proxying for the sake of proxying, but to introduce new visual concepts into the game. Again, visitors have responded positively: I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on my “Space Dwarves” and “Space Lizardmen.” 

Leapin' lizards! The purple-people-eatin' Kurindans

We generated quite a bit of buzz by introducing my daughter Elizabeth (see this battle report) and her Aquamarines army. Parents who play really liked seeing “the next generation” in gaming. We’ve also kept up with the times and new technology opportunities by starting our own presence on Facebook (just search for “the Jungle” under “Pages” and “Game” under “Type”).

All is not sweetness and light, however. We have gotten away from writing themed army ideas. The reasons are that:

1) We have been focusing on Armies of the Jungle; 
2) I have not been particularly inspired by the new codices; and, 
3) That I’m reluctant to write something that might be outdated very soon. Don’t hold your breath waiting for a new Dark Eldar, Necron, or Daemonhunter article.
I think I owe it to the Fighting Tiger fans to do more with the Stripeypants, and I will (more about that later), but I have been distracted by my other armies. In all honesty, I have, of late, soured on Space Marines: the current codex is my least favorite version, sacrificing flexibility and character for power-gaming…but you’ve probably heard that rant before, so let’s move on.

We could also do a better job at providing new installments for our series: I know that when I was writing Traveller, it would sometimes be many, many months between new “episodes.” I’ve even had the unpleasant experience of having to cancel one series (which came as a relief to the author). In our writers’ defense, I’ll point out that a series is difficult to keep going, especially if you have plenty of other things going on.

Looking Ahead
This year’s campaign will be Return to Auros IX, pitting the Fighting Tigers against the Orks under the ruthless Warboss Sho-T BigHed. We’ll also continue to feature the Armies of the Jungle in various batreps (I sense a Necrons-Tyranids rematch once Codex: Toasters comes out). AotJ will hopefully (hint, hint) have more of Pat’s armies and more of the Aquamarines. August has Counter Offensive 7—if you can be in Maryland at that time, why don’t you attend? 

Tiger Scouts have landed on Auros IX and are preparing for invasion, in a follow-up to the Jungle's first campaign 

In honor of the Jungle turning 10, I’m planning on some special things. First up will probably be a new logo, color scheme, and background graphics: I’m working on it. I also would love to do something with video—while you probably wouldn’t want to watch an entire game, it might be fun to show some SportsCenter-like highlights (“All he needs is a 2 or higher…and the Archon FAILS HIS SAVE! He’s down! Instant death! Orks win! Orks win! Orks win!”). I’m also considering some Jungle swag, either for sale or as prizes for contests. More about that as it develops.

The State of 40K on the Internet
Most of the sites that were around when the Jungle started are either gone or, sadly, ain’t what they used to be. It seems that they have been replaced by blogs and even more forums. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling about finding good 40K sites online. Hell, even Black Gobbo is gone, and that was Games Workshop’s attempt at a “magazine” site (and a good attempt it was).

Sometimes I think that the Jungle is a dinosaur, the last of its kind. I’ve seen plenty of seemingly exciting new stuff (Firebase comes to mind) come, but none of them seem to endure. So be it. Here at the Jungle, we’re just going to keep doing what we do, for as long as it’s fun for us and for as long as visitors like it. Thank you, Gentle Visitor, for coming here. Without you, none of this would exist. 

Let’s talk about this again in a few more years, ok?

--Kenton Kilgore

Posted February 2010. Image of  Codex: Chaos Daemons  copyright 2010 Games Workshop


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