Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Hello Blogosphere! Probably not going to get to post anything until next week but I wanted to wish everyone who sees this a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! May your families and yourself be blessed, may peace reign in your household, and may you and yours be safe through this wonderful holiday season!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Feel of the Old Fear

The term "old school" and its variations are being thrown around the gaming hobby world a lot. It seems this inherently applies to gaming developed in the mid seventies to mid eighties and their accouterments, at least in general. Wizards' website has an article talking about the Ever-Elusive Feel of the game they are trying to develop with the implication is to catch that old school feel of original Dungeons and Dragons. I could go on and on about this article, the Oldenhammer movement, the OSRPG movement, and all that jazz. But instead of rehashing what you can read i'm going to give you my take. I can sum this up in just two words...


...then use many more to expand on that simplicity.

I think what the old rules sets had that in general aren't present in new rules sets are the complete and utter lack of both seat belts and seat belt laws. When I was a little kid I rode in my parents brown the "luggage rack" that was the shelf behind the back seat. One good collision and I probably would have been thrown through the front windshield to my death. I didn't think of this as a kid and I can't help but believe my parents didn't either. Cars were inherently less safe. No air bags, no anti-lock breaks, steel bodies, you get the idea.

Well the older games were about like that car ride but my parents followed the traffic laws improving my survival odds. The typical fantasy game from that time did not follow traffic laws and instead drove the car as fast as it could over train tracks in the snow and in a rally race with other cars who were doing the same. All with from two to five kids in the luggage rack.

What i'm trying to say with such a terrible metaphor is that the old Dungeons and Dragons and Warhammer were fraught with extreme and unforgiving danger. This brings to mind a game I discovered last year and fell in love with...
...yeah this game again. It's unforgiving game play with giddy pay off is a direct descendant of those first dungeon crawlers and I think some people yearn for this. Modern games are safe, very safe, and it is only through particularly poor decision making or terribly foul luck can you really find yourself on the receiving end of death. The old games though, not so much. You could maximize your odds, equipment, and walk very carefully and still end up on the scythe. Those games actively stalked you with violence on the mind and all the skills and natural abilities needed to hunt you down and kill you in the most terrible or efficient way possible. The environment was also stocked with improbable fauna designed to weaken you before something ate you (such as the Disenchanter and the Rust Monster).

This is what makes them great. You can even see it in the old Warhammer where wizards wielded unit obliterating spells, magic items could turn you into spawn with one hit, and dragons rampaged across the battlefield. I think players want this kind of danger. What value is a conquering army that disposes a passel of foot men? One that throws down the foot men, dashes aside the knights, and bears the dragon to the ground to cut out his steaming heart is worthy of telling tales about.

The same goes for characters too. We don't take the time to generate something (ideally) unique to have it waltz through danger. What story do we have to share then? No one tells how their character successfully walked through a room to open a door. Few tell the tale of defeating a monster without being hurt. Many are the tales that are shared across a soda that detail how they nearly died, but didn't. And even some are about how their character died and was lost forever.
Not everyone likes that kind of danger of loss. They may invest too much in the army list or character or they may just disdain the act of creating anew and prefer to keep what they started with. But there are those of us who define adventure gaming and fantasy gaming through the possibility of our efforts being stolen by the Grim Reaper.

You pick up a crown off the floor your king.

You pull it off the corpse of a smoldering dragon your a Hero.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Wizards, Orcs, Undead, and what is going on...

So while it has been a while since the last time I posted I have not been inactive! I've finished another unit for the Romans, no picture since they look like the other unit. I'm also almost done with another so that will bring me to three. I also did some work for a friend and am part way through a squad of Imperial Guardsmen as a test unit. Also I cleaned up a couple Ultramarines units I got in trade to bring them into coordination with my third company adding a terminator assault squad, another tactical squad, and an assault squad. This brings my Ultramarines to over 3,000 points and I still have a couple units to paint and add to them! Very exciting!

Talking about exciting how about some miniatures? The bones have been getting painted up surprisingly fast. Mostly because I am not putting any degree of complexity into the paint work and I enjoy painting fantasy figures that aren't part of a unit. There is a certain freedom in them that you don't get when you're working to get thirty five men-at-arms on the battle field. Anyway here goes...
A wizard with something on his shoulder. The loss in detail makes it hard to know exactly what is on his shoulder but I decided it would be green indicating it may be reptilian. This is more a display piece than a play piece as it has that look about it and a huge stack of books behind him, and its unlikely he hauled those into the dungeon isn't it. 
Speaking of dungeons this guy will fit nicely into some brutally dangerous encounters. You can't tell but he is quite large in comparison to a "normal" sized figure making him a little intimidating. The absurdly huge axe should reap a terrible toll I would think and that shield, well, lets just say there is always room for another hand right?
I find that my collections tend to coagulate into certain pools, such as lots of undead and lizards. It was nice to add something a little different to the collection with this harpy even if she is a little scaly. It is a nice figure and a great addition to my RPG collection. I'm sure my son will find a use for it pretty quickly ;)
Finally some zombies. I just said I tend to have pools of certain types of figures and adding five zombies to my considerable undead collection is like adding cat's eyes to a marble collection. Never the less zombies are easy to paint and you can never, NEVER, have enough of them. I love throwing the undead at war games opponents and players both.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Re-blogging is like Necromancy

So I rarely re-blog something but this is something worth re-blogging. A super fine old school Warhammer undead army.

I'm so jealous of this army I can feel it in my bones...pun intended. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cleric with a Book (UPDATED!)

So as I said I'm throwing a single bones miniature on my table as I paint other projects and in general because I'm not looking to create a display piece, just a finished painted miniature that could be used in gaming later, they get done pretty quickly. I am almost finished with another Roman unit, but until then this should tide you over...

...with the nights coming on so soon in Ohio now it is at best freaking hard to get a good picture. Also, i'm not so great a photographer either so that means you get work like this. I also have finished a set of 5 zombies finished but forgot to photograph them, which is a shame as it would have made a great scene of him fighting them!

Oh well, maybe next time.

I'm moving along with the Romans/Celts nicely and with this unit about to be finished that puts me at 2 Roman units and 3 Celt Chariots. I think i'll keep plugging away at the Romans till they are done. I've got a conundrum though; I don't really have enough Celts. No matter what rules system I look to I'm really short. My Roman's will have six infantry units, a cavalry unit, and a psiloi unit but my Celts only have the 3 chariots and what will be six units of war band. If I was going to adhere strictly to Neil Thomas' rules I would need at least another 9 chariots as he units them in groups of 4. I'm thinking i'm going to have to write some of my own rules, but even then, I think I need some Celt cavalry.

Well either way it will work out I'm sure. Tomorrow night I'm supposed to get some war gaming in so i'll try to do a batrep and I plan to use my Doom Wheel which has never seen the battlefield yet! HUZZAH!

Oh yeah, meant to do this too...
...doing NO SHAVE NOVEMBER and I am growing a manly beard sir!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Celts and Monsters

So while it has been...fifteen days...since the last post I will have you know I have NOT been idle in the least. As a matter of fact as of yesterday I have cleared my paint board! Huzzah! A rare feat for me as commonly more and more projects slide onto the board and others just don't quite get finished. Many projects got completed as a matter of fact; some plague marines, some historical, some reaper miniatures, and various other stuff. I'm not going to post them all at once ya know, but i'll give you some of them!

First up I think it's important these get the limelight...
BAM!  Chariots...
...slightly three-quarters view...
...and in the back of the most important chariot Boudicca herself!
These are Wargames Factory Celt chariots and they are nice enough for such a good price for three. These have been sitting in the "soon to be done" box half primed for a long maybe a year. I finally decided it was time to get on my historical project and these were on deck so I got them finished.

My Boudicca isn't the best figure but it was the one that came with the chariot so I wanted to make use of it rather than buy another one. I will probably get another later, its not so much the garb (which is wildly inaccurate) but instead it is just not that well molded the detail is kinda muggy.

With those done i'll look to either dig into the Romans to completion or the Celts, I'm unsure at this point.

With the Celt chariots done lets look at something less authentic shall we?
"Rawwrr! Don't look at the gap in my arm!"
"..." I have no idea what an Owlbear would say, sorry.
As I have said before I put a reaper mini on the painting board any time I'm working on a project and paint on it along with the project. This has resulted in a surprising number of them becoming finished actually. The two rather large monsters above were pretty easy paints since they weren't complex. This adds a nice set of monsters to my collection for delves or war gaming. I plan on keeping up with this practice as they bones aren't terribly hard to paint and my pool of painted miniatures needs some that aren't GW models :)

I have more to share and will post it soon, but now back to the bench.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I have been pulling out a figure from my Reaper Bones collection off and on to paint up just to slowly work through them while I work on other projects. There are so many great figures, even if I don't get to use them, I do get to display them. My most recent one is this lady...

...quite a nice warrior woman I think. She is well armored and armed with a substantial sword and quality shield. Definitely looks like she is ready for some battle and looks like she can hold her own against any foe. I went with a blue theme and made her a redhead because frankly I make most of my female figures redheads because my wife is one and I think she is a very strong woman and in my mind redheads are fierce and popular literature kinda backs that up a bit. It is a complete fallacy of course (maybe, not sure) but I like to honor the strong woman my wife is with incarnations of her in miniature.

With swords...

...I'm not saying I am afraid of my wife...

...okay maybe a little.


This great figure aside I gotta say that the bones are lacking in comparison with other plastics and metals. I have some of the bones in their original metal and detail has been lost. Also, some have had to take short cuts in order to make the mold easier with the plastic they are using. For example on this figure her side below her sword arm becomes kind of a blend with the cloak and loses definition. Not a killer by any means but noticeable from Reaper's normally very high quality work.

As a side side note Dark Souls has me stumped again. My one son has beaten it, the other is nearly there even as I write this, but my cleric is in a tough place again. After accidentally killing Andre my weaponry is lacking. I'm trying to level my lightning spear to +5 but I need a piece of titanite I don't have...a slab I think...and I can't seem to find one. I did kill the hydra in dark root basin and the undead dragon in the valley of the drakes. I have the lord vessel and I can get to the four kings but I haven't tried fighting them feeling inadequate.

I so wish Andre wasn't dead :(

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Shattered Bridge

So I posted something a while ago about delving into dungeons.

My sons have been exploring the hobby of role playing with 4th edition D&D (which is a good game naysayers, just go away!) and so far it has been hit or miss. The concept of role playing games is something that is an exercise in active thought in my humble opinion. Board games and war games don't require the same mental insertion that rpgs do. You have to become the character, you have to actively try to see the world the character is in, and you have try to work out the decisions the character would make based off these ideas. I think this is the essence of why role playing is fun but also why it can be so alien to some people. I think it teaches a lot of things to the players and one of those valuable skills it teaches is empathy. That aside, everyone loves to chop up monsters with an axe!

I've been writing short "delves" for them to play in. Three to five room dungeons with some monsters and traps and treasure and sometimes hidden treasure. I try to set them in interesting places or interesting events. I've made one a timed run (a terrible magic storm that would blast them to pieces) but usually they just get to explore the area as they wish. Last night it was a bridge that was broken in the middle with two toll houses that could be explored and beyond it a statue in a ruined neighborhood.

The "gotcha!" moment was the young white dragon that would pounce upon the party as it crossed the broken gap in the bridge. It was suitably dramatic and I had written the dragon to flee after taking only a small amount of damage. It was looking for an easy meal, not a fight.

The dragon caused suitable panic in my party when it crashed even to the point that one character rappelled down into the ravine to avoid being a target. The dragon did some great hurt but they perceived and drove it away.

I think they are starting to get the idea of how role playing works and how the game is meant to be played. I also think they are enjoying it more than originally. I know I am, it is really nice to be a father and have your children play the games you love :)

Friday, September 27, 2013

4th Century Indians

De Bellis Antiquitatis is a game that has always fascinated me. It is considered THE historical war game. I don't know if it is because the rules are so well done, it's apparently so simple, it is relatively easy to build armies for, or if it is because it is played on such a small space.

As I looked through the various armies from the 2nd edition of the rules I decided I wanted to select something I normally wouldn't and came upon the Fourth Century Classical Indian and saw it required 3 elephants and I was sold! I was kind of embarassed I was a war gamer with out elephants in some army somewhere. I mean I have a stegadon in my Lizardmen army which is a fantasy dinosaur elephant, but no TRUE elephants.

My understanding is that this is a pretty tough army to fight. I think that is because it has 3 elephants which have the best combat ability in the game and one of them is a general which makes it even tougher.
Seven elements of 3 Bow. SEVEN DO YOU HEAR! I will darken the skies with arrows and drive my foe to his table edge!

Two speed 3 Cavalry units. They seem kind of out of place in this army but I think i'll use them to threaten a flank or defend a flank.

BOOM BABY! Here they are, the ancient tanks! Three death machines ready to stomp and grind my foes into little pieces of...ground up foes.

The entire 12 elements in all their glory!
The army list has space for some blade, psiloi, and chariots and while I could easily field the blade and psiloi I didn't feel one blade element would enhance anything and the 2 psiloi seemed like a bad replacement for the long bow elements. The chariots would be SUPER cool but I didn't have the miniatures for it and it seemed excessive to buy them when I could field an effective army. If I really get into playing DBA I may add them. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hunting for Cards

I don't normally provide game recommendations, and in general I don't even talk about the video games I'm playing as most just go by (and are fun) but really don't require exposition to an audience. After all you can only tell everyone you jumped on a walking mushroom so many times, after all they have jumped on the same mushrooms.

Obviously Dark Souls does not fall into this category. Anyone who has played it will readily discuss their encounter with even the most mundane enemy. Sure we have all fought the first black knight in the Undead Burg and we all love to tell how we put due to that mother!

Card Hunter is worth a blog post about. Not so much the game play (which is good) or the graphics (which are fantastic) but the feel of it. Not everyone will get the same feel but it hit me right in the nostalgia and it feels good just to look at the game, much less play it. So if you're a gamer born in the 1970's go take a look :)

Oh yeah, ubiquitous eye candy...
That blue makes me think "Isle of Dread" and dinosaurs.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


So a while ago I posted I was going to kill the fire drake in Dark Souls that night which didn't happen. Well my character (Uther the cleric) has been through a lot including accidentally killing Andre of Astora (don't ask) and slaying such massive monsters as the Ceaseless Discharge (worst name ever).

So last night I thought it was time to bring the hurt back to Steven.

Which I did! It was a pretty solid fight still but I had some good anti-fire equipped and between some awesome miracles and the use of Astora's Straightsword I put paid to him and he is now sleeping with the other dead bosses.

Geesh I grew to hate that guy so much!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Batrep Vampires Vs. Empire

So not common for this blog I actually have a battle report to provide to you. This is no great detailed report but it is interesting and worth a read. My friend Greg and I have been playing a sort of campaign by playing through all six of the scenarios in order and this is game number 3 Battle for the Pass.

Vampire Counts Army
*master necromancer with staff of damnation (also known as a shovel)
*2 units of 20 skeleton warriors
*2 corpse carts; one with lodestone and one with balefire
*3 spirit hosts

Empire Army
*captain on warhorse with ogre blade
*level 1 light wizard on warhorse
*30 spearmen
*30 swordsmen
*10 handgunners including a longrifle
*10 crossbowmen
*luninark of hysh

We opted for no terrain, which is unusual but not "unrealistic" as this was a pass we were fighting over. I knew this disadvantaged me but you can't always choose your battles can you?
Turn 1 Start
Set up was a simple battle line for both of us. He went without artillery this time which threw me as I am used to dealing with at least a cannon or two and instead put his power into the luminark. He won the first turn and proceeded to hail crossbow bolts into the corpse cart on the right doing a wound and successfully casting the luminark's spell with irresistable force but rolled a 1 to wound the spirit hosts and failed to do any injury and then it saved the wound it would have taken from the miscast, his wizard did blast my varghulf for a wound though. My turn involved marching forward to come to grips before his magic could do more damage. The varghulf moved to threaten his flanks which I was hoping would draw more attention than it did. My magic phase was quality with a successful incantation that healed the corpse cart of it's one wound and augmented almost all my undead with vigour mortis. Also I blasted the luminark with a solid gaze that did 4 wounds to it, but nearly got sucked into the warp.
Turn 2 Start
Turn two was fair for both of us with his army holding their ground and he tried to throw some magic that I was able to fend off. His missile troops did a few wounds as well. In my half I pulled off a long charge on the swordsmen and supported it with the varghulf which did a nice 6 wounds but the skeletons did none. I won the fight but they were steadfast and did not flee.
Start of Turn 3
Turn three was filled with all kinds of excitement...for the Empire. During his turn he successfully nailed my necromancer with the luminark casting with irresistible force and blew him off the table. I mistook what the distance for "look out sir!" was and regretted it. My army began to crumble immediately with some heavy losses and disappearing corpse carts. But I was undeterred as I truly believe in playing the game out. I wasn't playing to win now, I was playing for the EPIC if it could be found. Which I did find as my charged his spearmen and defeated them causign them to flee past the crossbowmen which were pursuit charged by the skeleton warriors. The other unit didn't fair so well and the combat resolution killed the varghulf and I lost the rest of the warriors as well. But even in the midst of catastrophe I was putting it to the Empire force!
Start of Turn 4
Turn four was pretty predictable. He did a lot of moving things around to better bring his superior force to bear and used the magic in his advantage to blast the remaining spirit hosts. The skeletons that remained continued to impress though and even though they were reduced to just a champion and standard and they proceeded to drive off and run down the crossbowmen then pursue into the spearmen ready to bring it again! Turn four and my two remaining models were ready to kill everything on the table.
Needless to say, they didn't. I didn't have a turn five although Greg did. My skeletons still impressed even in their loss. The captain of the empire charged and was only able to kill the champion. The spearmen attacked (nine of them that is) and they failed to kill the standard bearer as he made his armor saves or parry saves! HUZZAH! Ultimately he failed to kill anyone and the combat modifier caused him to crumble, which was a shame since he was such a hero.

As an aside I still have a problem with the unstable rule. The problem I have is that every unit in the fight takes the hits without saves. So when I teamed up two solid units, but had some poor luck, I lost by 4 but my army lost 8 wounds. If there had been three units that would have been 12 wounds, just seems unbalanced a bit. I know the army can raise back losses but not so fast as that. Especially any unit that is multiple wounds which will only recover one.

Either way, it was a fun game and very cool to fight it to the end. I'm looking forward to our next fight!

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Not this guy...
...although he is totally  hoss yeah, but these guys...
 These 35 men at arms for my Bretonnians took me a long time to get done. This was a little more intimidating of a project than I thought it would be. I am over all pretty intimidated by my Bretonnian army as I want it to look the best I can but repeatedly it doesn't look very good at all, well, in my opinion.
The benefit to a unit of 35 men-at-arms isn't in it's combat strength but in it's cool factor :) Even though individually the pieces aren't all that well painted when you put 35 of them together they look quite nice. As a combat unit they are really only "so-so" as they are poor fighters (WS 2) and the halberds nicely boost their strength score (to a 4) it costs them their shield save and parry save so they only have a 6+ in close combat.
They are cheap too, I think the entire unit of 35 rolls in at around 127 points. This means I can almost always field a huge block of infantry to face off the enemy. Not in the center most likely, you'll see them more on the flanks than anywhere probably since they can't hold ground very well with a low leadership.

I am concentrating on completing my first DBA army so that should be the next thing you see up on this blog! Cross your fingers and hope that more 40k models don't lure me in.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


For a long time I've had a bunch of Wargames Factory Romans and Celts and for just as long I've wanted to build two armies for Boudiccan Revolt games. I have completed the first unit of Roman Legionaries based as suggested by Neil Thomas in his war games books. I like it well enough. The shield transfers from Wargames Factory are freaking amazing though! I wish Games Workshop would use a similar technology for their decals.
I think they unit turned out really nice and would be good for a variety of war games rules. I would start on another unit but I've made a new war gaming buddy who is into historical gaming and we have decided to pursue some heavy DBA learning. I am going to finish my Classic  Indian army (elephants yes!) and he is doing Macedonians. I  hope to have that done by the end of this month which involves 3 elephants, 2 cavalry, and  another 4 bow units being painted and based be fore then. Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Improvised Weapons in Syria

In Syria civil war is going on as anyone with an eye and a news page knows. I'm not sure I understand all of the aspects of this war but I know determination when I see it. These pictures depict the improvised weapons of the Free Men of Syria Army and you can say what you want but as far as "improvised" goes...this is some determine and professional looking improvisation.
This is an improvised rocket launcher and you have to commend the work that was done here to establish this piece of equipment. Agreed it is not up to modern military standards but you are going to see some effective use from this weapon I would bet.
This lathe operator is putting serious work into his armaments. These photos really spoke to me. Right or wrong the men in these photographs are putting determined effort into producing effective and professional arms. They are an army, not a rag tag group using stolen weapons.

This blog doesn't really hit on anything serious for good reason. It is a blog about hobby, scifi, and fantasy but ultimately I can't always be blind on here. There is a serious global event taking place and it needed noted by me.

This link will also help you understand the Syrian civil war as it helped me. If you are even vaguely interested I encourage you to read it.

One day we might be playing war games of this event.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Bring Out Your Dead...Again!

So a long time ago, and by long time ago I mean years ago, I purchased two corpse carts off Ebay for a song and they were effectively NIB. I set about assembling them and then painted one. I completely assembled them first which I knew would make them harder to paint but I had no idea how much harder; kind of a dumb choice. Anyway I painted one completely with the launch of my Vampire Counts army. The second one (this one) got about 30% painted then pushed off the board for other projects that didn't make me want to kill people for real.
So the second cart actually found its way into storage only half painted and I resolutely pulled it out and placed it on the paint board. I've made a monolithic effort to clear the board of partial projects and I'm making considerable progress. This cart is painted similar but differently than the other which will do good to set it apart.
Top down view just looked kinda cool. All those partial zombies reaching up.
 I usually paint zombies or other undead in pale skin colors but both my corpse carts have fleshy zombies in the carts. In my thoughts the bodies in the cart are more recently slain and not worth putting into the field as troops because they are missing too much to be effecting, but can do well to draw upon dark powers so they go in the cart.
The Corpsemaster on both of them are whipping the zombies pulling it just because I find that to be common sense for something so absurd. I accidentally went the RvB route with them although a very dirty RvB and I purposefully assembled them with different upgrades. I think the lodestone/balefire combo will be fun to play with and just having two carts on the battlefield at the same time should look suitably epic.

Speaking again of the paint board sitting on it right now is my first finished Republic Romans unit. I will be posting them in the next few days. Also the board is going to be cleared of a unit of 35 Bretonnian men-at-arms, a group of servitors, and a piece of terrain from the old BFSP box. After those though, after those, I think i'm going to jump into a full on Roman army project. I am looking to build it to meet Neil Thomas rules so it will be 8 units and I think it might be sweet to get that done nicely.

But we'll see...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Grenadier Classics

So these are the last of the many figures my friend Adrian gave me to paint for him. Three boxes later I am finally done. He got into a spree of ordering old miniatures from ebay and he doesn't paint so he traded me a box full of Reaper paints to paint them. It's been a process as I don't tend to stick to any one project for too long. My Skaven I did earlier this year was the most focus I've ever had.

These came from the Grenadier Fighting Men small box, number 2005 in this link. Needless to say as you look at these pictures this was not a correctly stocked box ;)
First up we see a wizard with a sword and shield and what I take to be either two thieves or two "adventurers" these old figures often have so little detail but the back of the guy on the right was festooned with exploration gear. I gotta ask, why does the wizard have a sword and shield?
A good array of fighters and all from the original box. These old Grenadiers are not the best quality but their elan is so great I just love them. An entire army composed of such figures would be fantastic!
Again, obviously not from the original box but I guess you could classify them as fighters since they are all armed with weapons and ready to fight. The middle is a classic bug bear and I am pretty sure the others are goblins. I thought it would be a good idea to give them a bit of uniform coloration. I love the bug bear's shield, very Cthulhu.
...and finally we have two figures that are not old 1980 Grenadiers. I am not sure who the manufacturer is but the fighting in full plate on the right with the sweet feather in his metal hat!

I like painting what I consider "adventuring figures" as it lets me break away from uniformity for a bit. I still try to theme their colors though, just habit probably.

Coming soon is a corpse cart and some Romans :) I am wanting to focus on some historical figures, lets see if I can do it!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ender's Game (spoilers maybe)

So a while ago my wife bought Ender's Game for my sons to read. One read it, then she read it, then she said I had to read it. I've been on a kick lately that can only be summed up as "reading science fiction books that I haven't read but are reported to be very important to the genre".

So Ender's Game seemed to fit the widget in this case.

I knew of Ender's Game for a long time, since childhood and I know some when I started reading it and put it down. I am pretty sure I didn't read that far into it during that event. I read through it pretty quickly for me, under two weeks, and I enjoyed it pretty much all the way through. While written in the 80's it definitely had that old school 60's/70's scifi feel to it for me.

I can't really review the book. It was a good read, go read it if you like scifi and don't read it if you don't, but I can say I don't like the idea of sequels to the book. That sounds crazy doesn't it as there are in fact sequels to the book and off shoots too if I remember my wikireadia correctly but it just seemed Ender had been through enough by the end of the book.

If I had to pick an indicator of a good body of writing I would certainly classify the fact that Card was able to make me care enough about the fictional character Andrew Wiggin that when I learned there were sequels that it annoyed me that he didn't get to rest. I know that he is only 12 at end of the book but considering that in about six years he burns through what appears to be sixty and then commits a very VERY (did I say very?) complete form of genocide almost by accident it just didn't seem fair for Card to put him through any other tragedy.

Let the poor boy rest.

As for the movie on its way out, well, it is not going to impress me. Ben Kingsley will sure and the special effects will be great but there is no way they are going to evoke what the text did. Movies are never as good as the book with me...well almost never (Fight Club was an exception)...but they can be just fine.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Auspicious Indeed!

Okay, so, Games Workshop is doing this thing where when new releases come out they have nice tidy "one-click bundles" where you can buy the entire release all at once. Also they have other bundles that provide sets or whole armies. They are cool to look at but not a deal, they don't discount you any for buying a large bundle. With the release of Apocalypse they have formations you can buy and some of these are quite costly. I don't really consider these viable purchasing options for the most part. Sure the release bundle yeah, I mean if you are really into an army and they have a new release and you want all in the release and have the money why not? Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

But, that in mind... this...
...the "Auspicious Phalanx"... Woooooow! Now that is how one assembles a one-click bundle. This is got to be someplace around 4,000 points (sans upgrades). More than you would normally play and really just a massive project even if you were both rich enough and crazy enough to drop sixteen hundred bucks on it. My personal (ahem and classic) Lizardmen collection covers about 25% of this and it is plenty to play with. I never field all of it and I can field 3,000 point armies when you figure in magic items and such forth. But to be honest it is one of the coolest advertisements I have seen in a while. Someone at GW realized that while probably only 1 or 2 will buy this collection everyone is going to look at it and it is going to put the idea in their head of how cool their army will look if it was larger or has some seriously fat units in it.

I remember reading an old White Dwarf article about having large units that even then I thought was pretty cool and at the same time too costly for me. Now at the time I had both far less financial capability and personal ability to enact a unit of 50 models but today I could do that without much hassel, honestly my Lizardmen have their 40 model horde, my Vampire Counts have two of them, I'm working through a 35 men-at-arms unit for the Bretonnians. The general idea of a nice thick unit of infantry to hold the center is pretty easy to consider.

But this guy? 330 models is more than a collection it is the Lizardman section of a local hobby shop!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ask Not for Whom the Wheel Tolls!

EDIT (8/10/13): I neglected to make a statement here. It should be noted that this fine vehicle of mutual destruction is not actually titled to me. While I own the model in regards to repairs and maintenance and use in war I am not the legal owner of this model. My sweet gracious wife, in a spirit of conquest, when shown the model immediately lay claim to it much like the Empress she is. It is now hers :)

That is all...

It tolls for whomever is on the other side of the table from it...generally...after all this is Skaven "technology" and it isn't all that reliable is it?

Behold my loyal viewers!

In this picture you can see apprentice engineer Squkit pumping the bellows furiously on the open platform at the rear.
This view shows warlock engineer Haxxor piloting his doom wheel.
This is actually the third doom wheel model I've painted having done the first two for a friend. This one is all mine though and I look forward to seeing it trundle and bounce across the battle field smashing into my enemies! I can see why Skaven players get into their armies so much, there is just so much wonderful destruction to be brought about.

A while ago I got a bundle of Skaven in trade so I plan to add to the army a little at a time. Next I'll probably paint up a unit of plague monks with a plague priest I have although I am tempted to go storm vermin, or add the couple more rat ogres I have as well as swell my giant rat swarm to huge numbers (like 20!).

Also I want to paint some Ultramarines, and some Dark Angels! It is too much!

Anyway, astute observers will see there is a corpse cart in the background underway. I am trying to get it finished with just a rough table top paint job so it doesn't sit around half finished anymore. I'm hoping to put two into my next game with Greg just for the cool effect!

Monday, July 15, 2013

So Now Dark Angels

My army building habits are at best eclectic. Most of the time I select what armies to build mostly based off what I end up with. It isn't uncommon to find myself in possession of most of an army, or an entire army, and I just kinda shrug and realize that is now an army and I need to take care of it. Cultivate it. Hug it. Paint it. Then put it on the table and hold in the tears as it gets shot/chopped up. With the exception of my Ultramarines and Lizardmen I can honestly say most just kind of happen. I will say my Skaven have been intentionally cultivated after I started with half and IoB box, but that cultivation has been mostly happenstance except for a Doom Wheel that I targeted getting...which I should have pictures up for soon.

So all my blather aside, these guys:
These started as an allied force because I wanted the new DV box. The chaos side was going to be added (and still will be) to my csm. But now I have found myself in possession of a second DV box and it just seemed silly not to consider a Dark Angels force force lol! So basically I have 3 HQ's (company master, interrogator-chaplain, and librarian), two good troop choices in a pair of tactical squads, two Deathwing terminator squads, and a fair Ravenwing squadron with six bikes.

I've already modified the extra bike veteran sergeant into as close as possible to a normal biker (got a helmet head on it and reduced to one wing on the back) and I've also put a helmet on the other tactical squad veteran sergeant. With two HQs (probably going with chaplain and librarian), two tacticals, two Deathwing, and a Ravenwing i'm coming in at a little over 1,300 points. I think I'll focus on getting these painted before deciding what to add to it to bring it to 1,500.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Delving into Dungeons

My son is getting into exploring role playing and several of my friends are trying to get a group going. I recall from my years of role playing many years ago that putting together a group and keeping one together is a full challenge in and of itself. I'm trying to pass on this realization but things don't always get all the way from one brain to another do they?

 About six or seven years ago I discovered an event WotC was running at Origins called "Dungeon Delves" for 3.5 edition of D&D. Basically a party of up to 6 players would move through a 3 room dungeon as quickly as possible to score tokens they could exchange for rewards. You had 30 minutes to get this done and each room was progressively tougher. On top of that they game masters had a selection of modules you would enter into and you never really knew what was coming. It was extremely cool and I search for something similar every year with little success. WotC kind of stopped it and as far as I know no other role playing game picked it up.

Anyway, the idea of Delves just seems great (after experiencing it) and it just seems like a great way to enjoy role playing without a large commitment or the difficulty of herding cats. Building dungeons that are a small 3 to 5 rooms for the party to rush through would be exhilirating and keeping all the information tracked between each session would be no different than tracking a regular campaign.

I have always viewed fantasy role playing a something close to survival horror mixed with heroic fantasy. I just have always felt that if there wasn't the danger of character death there is little value to the rewards. I found out this was not so with other players always and that can be surprisingly awkward the first time a character dies. With this in mind I think Delves should be very dangerous to reflect their short and hectic nature.

I'm going to start trying to build a series of Delves just for the exercise of it. Maybe i'll get a chance to run a couple of them but this isn't the dynamic reason for the exercise. I've always liked the act of dungeon and module creation and I haven't really done it in a while.

I'll also try to scan in the maps and put them up with the encounter key to get feed back from the community :) the hard part of the post. I never know how to end these things...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Pew Pew Pew! (Storm Talon Shooting Sound Effects)

So, when I saw the Stormtalon I realized it was something I had to add to my Ultramarines. This thing is the epitome of "gunship" in the 40K flavor and I got one in trade (already assembled but we take what we get right?) and added it to my que to paint up. My Ultramarines painting technique isn't terribly complex and I went with minimal decals on the ship.
The light kind of streamed in the pictures which seemed pretty cool, kind looks like it's zooming!

If I had built it I probably would have gone with missiles over lascannons but this armament is pretty solid. Good  multipurpose armament so it can go tank hunting or infantry support.

The fast attack symbol on the wing took me a while to hand paint and isn't that great but it gives just a  touch of individuality to my Ultramarine Stormtalon since, well they are all gonna be blue lol!
The canopy was already glued in place but I would have done the same. I like to be able to see pilots for display models but for play purposes it is just better imho to have the canopy screened. 
I need to do some work on the base, it came that way which is sufficient to the needs of the model but would greatly benefit from a little terrain or ruins I'm just not sure which yet. Either way i'm looking forward to putting this baby into the fight and seeing how well flyers perform on the table. Maybe I can actually get a batrep done with it?!?

Yeah, i'm skeptical too.