Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The Obligatory Rambling First Post Of The Year

It's been a while since I updated... for which I entirely blame Empire Total War.

In the meantime I haven't done a whole lot of gaming, what with Christmas and all. Though I have started painting my Christmas presents, as well as investigating a new period - namely Napoleonics, using Black Powder rules.

As such I goot my first game of Black Powder at the weekend, down at the club. My British brigades were swept away by a bunch of Zulus, in part due to one of the brigade commanders failing just about every one of his command rolls, and my indecision.

Though in truth it was perhaps not my indecision so much as my failure to understand the importance of controlling one's troops and reorganising damaged brigades in the face of the enemy.

Still it was a very enjoyable game, and has inspired me more than aany set of rules in a very long time.

As for my troops I have decided to play the French.

So far I have a box of Victrix and a box of Perry's infantry - which should make a 4 battalion brigade - and a box of hussars. I have just about finished painting the horses for the hussars - pictures will follow soon.

It does make a nice change from 40k - not least because it gives me the chance to start reading history books again.

Indeed it was whilst reading the excellent book 1812 by Adam Zamoyski, that it suddenly struck me, that despite the spin, 40k novels are really rather tame. Ok I know that truth is stranger than fiction, and that were Ragnar Blackmane to drink horses urine from a rut in the road because of extreme thirst, or the Tanith First and Only form a human pyramid in a desperate attempt to scale a wall - as Poniatowski's Poles did at the battle of Smolensk - people might start complaining that the story is just too extreme and unbelievable. (btw let's cross our legs and not think about the penchant of various bandit leaders for castrating their prisoners)

And I suspect the Daily Mail might have something to say about the suitablity of Black Library novels for teenage readers - and middle class teenage readers at that - if the Thousand Sons were to begin acting as your average common soldier down through the ages by raping all and sundry because the city elders of the town they happened to live had refused to surrender - or indeed because they just happened be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But I digress.

Suffice to say that it is nice to be collecting and painting plastic toy soldiers with no regard to points levels, power builds, etc.

Speaking of plastic toy soldiers, I am intrigued by the recent news concerning Wargames Factory and Bastion.

At first sight there is no connection between the two - until you check out this link - as it seems that both companies are using the services of a company called Ghost Studios for manufacturing.

It would be untrue to say that I know what is going on, but it does seem odd.

Though I am grateful that I hung on from ordering Wargames Factory's WSS figures - thank god they looked a bit naff and wonky - and I went with Perry's and Victrix - despite Napoleonics not being my absolute favourite period in the Horse and Musket era.

It is of course no surprise - given the age that we live in - that discussion of the Ghost Studios situation has provoked accusations of racism against those who are criticising the Chinese - not that anyone knows exactly what is happening - not least the people who have placed orders and been left waiting for months.

And leaving aside my dislike of the aesthetics of the figures, I was also drawn to Wargames Factory because I was under the mistaken assumption that the figures were American made. Ok I have seen the Simpsons Cherie Bobbins episode, so maybe American Made is not necessarily a great selling point, but to be honest I would rather buy stuff that isn't made in China - yeah, yeah, I know GW and all that. But is it really racist to want to buy stuff not made in China? Perhaps in the hope that the money will be used to promote skills and bring on the developement of choice in the community as a whole.

What is even more odd from my p.o.v is that the defenders of Wargames Factory claim that the figures might not be Perry quality but then again they are not Perry prices. Which is strange because when I looked 32 Wargames Factory figures were about £17, and 42 Perry's were £15.

Ok I can understand that this might not be so in the US - to an extent - if you ignore the free shipping that UK online resellers offer (don't get me started on US postal costs).

But given the accepted wisdom that manufacturing costs are less in China, it does seem strange that top quality plastics, designed and manufactured in Britian, are cheaper than somewhat wonky American designed figures manufactured in China.

I suppose the truth might be that Wargames Factory are working on a bigger profit margin - which in a way makes their downfall all the more satisfying - if there is satisfaction in this business - given their spin about offering the 'community' the best quality product at the lowest possible price.

At which point I will stop before I get onto that other champion of the humble wargamer charging premium prices for their Chinese bags.

Which reminds me....


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