Thursday, 30 June 2011

Laden with Rumours

And so the light infantry begin to take shape...

Cue blurry photo...

The Hrud are coming... or not.

The Ogres are getting a Bantha.... or not.

I am rather liking the changes at GW.

Ok it is a bit annoying not knowing exactly what is coming - and when. But it is rather exciting that they have decided to cut off rumours and focus on producing miniatures. Suddenly all possibilites are... well possible.

I realise the counter argument is that they should be concentrating on updating the army books and codices, but frankly that is as dull as the people who propose this approach.

In other news I am... as a pedestrian and user of public transport.... rather excited at the latest product from KR Multicase.... a backpack.

Quite why no one thought of this before is not clear.

All I know is that as I am struggling along the road on the uphill climb to the bus stop, with my KR aluminium case bumping off my hip, rhythmically rattling the dice to reinforce the impression that I am a straggler on the retreat from Moscow, I have dreamed of having a backpack.

So good for KR multicase.

I will have to get one at the earliest opportunity.

Of course I won't tell the folks at KR what I intend to put in it, or they will claim I need eight to fit my army in ;-)


Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Brain Farts

I have a dilemma...

Cue blurry photo...

Regular readers may remember that there was an issue with an order I placed with the Perry's....

Don't you just know it, just as I start to write this blog I recieved a reply from the Perry's to my earlier email.

Still it doesn't change what I was going to say... even if it exposes my brain fart.


I suspected that the order was wrong - or to be more precise different to what I thought I ordered - and sure enough when it arrived I was surprised to see that instead of the infantry bases I was suspecting, they had sent a box of British infantry.

The reason for this is because when I placed the order I had used a prodct code that doesn't exist and they sent the item that most closely matched the code I had invented.

I sent off an email about the error.

Which brings me to my dilemma. Because I found myself thinking about the figures and pondering what I could do. My prefernce for an allied Penisula army would be the Spanish, and in the latter part of the campaign the Spanish wore British uniform. So I could use this box as the start of that army.

And so to the email. In which they explained that my brain fart in ordering had caused the mix up. But no worries and that I should keep the figs, they would give me a refund and send me the bases that I thought I was ordering. Which is frankly above and beyond the call of duty.

As to the figures that I did order FN1, they are some of the most beautiful figures I have ever seen. They came in a small jewellry type box and that is very fitting for the quality of the figures.

I have long been a fan of the Perry's work - and we needed go into the time one of them shot me in the backside with an arrow - but this has made me even more of a fan, and more of a happy customer.

In other news at the Finecast science lab on Dakka, the originator of Finecast melts rumours has showed up. After spending a couple of days using his 'story' to drum up traffic for his blog, he is back pleading innocence, and victimhood - supposedly the offending post has been taken down because of death threats.

According to him, he never said that Finecast melted and is surprised... yadda, yadda, yadda. One thing his display of reasonableness has failed to address, is his assertion about the models in the GW window... but seeing as the page is now removed, the rebuttal is implied.

Still it is mission accomplished, as the story was mentioned, including the Leamington Spa window incident, on Chance of Gaming during Adam's weekly GW rant.


Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Shocking Finecast News

Oh well here we go again...

Cue blurry photo...

After a detour into the Russian Civil War, it is back to the grind of painting another 36 man French battalion. Though this should be less of a grind, as I have decided to paint this unit up as light infantry, which means they are pretty much one colour for the uniforms - dark blue. I realise the figures have the wrong jackets, but seeing as I have already painted the previous two battalions with the wrong turncoats, you will probably have noticed that I am less interested in historical accuracy than the general look of the army.... they look French to me, and that is all that matters.

From two boxes of Perry miniatures, and a box of Victrix, I have got 3 36 man battalions and still have more than 20 figures left over. The actual figure is @23, because I have decided not to use all of the kneeling Victrix models, as they do not rank up very well.

In other news, I notice that the denizens of Dakka Dakka have taken an interesting diversion from their usual habit of unsubstantiated argument and applied scientific principles to their deliberations.

The reason for this outbreak of rationality is a claim made at the time that Finecast was launched that the resin melted. The source was a blog post, by someone whom I suspected at the time was traffic whoring, which claimed that a Finecast model of Gandalf the wizard had melted after being left on a window sill. There was also mention of the models melting in the window of the GW shop in Leamington Spa.

It was pointed out at the time that from the description given - the figure had an imperfection on one of the standing legs, which had been pinned with a metal pin - the most likely cause of the warping was the pin, which effectively acted as a heat conductor and caused the model to melt from the inside (microwave it if you will).

But this didn't stop the GW baiters form leaping on this scrap of information, which had been tarted across every major blog and forum by the bloggerist, as proof.... well I'm not sure what they were hoping to prove, since the gist of the subsequent argument was that if the resin melted in the artic British summer, then what would happen in the apocalytic conditions of real places like Smiley City Iowa, or Woola Woola in the Northern territories (I have no idea if these places exist, but you get the point).

And over the intervening weeks this information has provoked a lively discusion concerning the temperature of greenhouses in Aberllwelli and relative humity in Los Makeys New Mexico: and offered GW baiters ammunition to further their conspiracy theory that GW hates people in the colonies. After all only an evil genius like Jervis Johnson could come up a plan to sell plastic - or resin plastic mix (or whatever Finecast is made out of) - soldiers to unwitting colonials that not only melts but wreck your expensive foam trays as well.... MuuuuUUUUUUuuuuhahahahahahaha *cough*.

And so people have set about sticking Finecast figs in ovens and microwaves, under magnifying glasses, leaving them in front of wood burning stoves, and various fires of mathmatically calculated size (ok I made some of that up) to discover if in fact Finecast minis are indeed liable to melt - as was claimed by one blog, who admitted at the time that they were touting for trade.

And apparently - like the story that Finecast gives you cancer - it is not the case that Finecast miniatures melt (unless you stick a heat conducting metal pin into the model, at exactly the point where the model fails, and leave them on a window sill), and you can safely cook them for 18 minutes at 230 degrees celcius, and indeed leave them on a car dashboard at the beach for four hours whilst the outside temperature is 90 degrees.

Oh and if you do happen to do these things, and then prod them, bend them and generally make mischief with the model, providing you don't dunk them in ice cold water (or take them outside in the British summer - has it been hot enough for you these past few days?) the material will resume it's former shape within five minutes or so - which is perhaps a problem if the figure had a bent sword when you bought it.

Perhaps the GW baiters will take this as proof that the models are imbued with a kind of witchcraft - or possessed. They are bound to find ssomething wrong.

Which leaves the question of what happened to the models in the window of the GW shop in Leamington Spa?

And indeed why the news has not reported on the thermo dynamic event - possibly akin to the Midwitch Cuckoos - that struck the antique hunters, on the day that supposedly all the models melted.... which is not a bad title of a B-movie horror film.... The Day The Models Melted, staring Vincent Price and Timmy the Fanboi Wonderdog.

Oh and btw, working through the back episodes of the D6 Generation, I was intrigued to listen to episode 2B, from 2008, in which like all good Warmehordes players they couldn't just say they like the game, they had to turn it into a Beatles vs Stones 'debate' about the short comings of GW. What is interesting is that all the arguments they came out with are exactly the tropes and memes doing the rounds on the internet today.

Given the Press Ganger program and America being the home of negative advertising - which in part explains why they get useless Presidents (due to negative advertising, not PP) - if I were a conspiracy theorist I would begin to detect a plan/pattern.

And let's not get into the irony of people drumming up support for PP being called Press Gangers. Still I guess it is slightly better than Child Snatchers or Friztlers.


ps the ashtray and fags, in the blurry photo, were there purely to feed my nicoteine habit, I was not conducting heat experiments on Perry and Victrix miniatures.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Random is Good

The Bolsheviks are just about finished....

Cue blurry photo....

I'm happy with the way they are looking, though there is still some detail to add, so it's time to gloss varnish them, give them a spray of dull coat and then add the bells and whistles.

I'll admit that I haven't read the 6th ed rumours that have appeared on the net. I have seen them and glanced through them, and I have read the reaction.

From what I have seen I am rather pleased in the direction the game is moving and I really don't understand the way people are leaping up and down. I also don't understand the linked criticism that 40k is moving toward 8th ed.

For instance, I noticed someone complaining about the always wound on 6 rule and claiming that it was stoopid that a grot could wound a Deamon Prince. Yet in 8th ed it is hardly game changing, though the fact that it is there suddenly makes things that were considered next to useless in 7th have potential in 8th.

A good example is my Gnoblars.

Yes they can wound on a 6, but they also need a 5 to hit. When I played them in a tournament recently, I gathered up 40 dice, rolled, and got like.... 2 wounds. I have no idea if this is above average or not, but I rather like the drama of rolling all those dice... and maybe one day breaking all the odds and the Gnoblar become legendary (and no I don't mean they become the manager of a GW shop).

Of course that pre-supposes a number of things, like you are playing the game to create heroic moments, and not simply relying the company creted fluff to tell you that this unit or that unit is heroic - due to events that have precisely bugger all to do with your army.

And it also supposes that you are someone who has understood the principle of narrative wargaming - as opposed to mathhammer.

Another reaction that piqued my interest was someone complaining that there is too much dice rolling in 8th ed, and that somehow this undermines the game balance.

Well forgive me for stating the obvious, but the more dice you roll the more likely it is that in the game the probabilities will even out, and in doing so either create balance or expose the imbalance inherant across the various army books and codexes.

It is also a rather odd complaint, because surely the more often you are called upon to roll a dice, or move a figure - in fact do something/anything - then the more you are involved in the game. Quite how this is a bad thing, is beyond me. I suspect the generally inclusive nature of 8th ed is one of the reasons that I have noticed a marked increase in laughter and jocularity of peoplle playing 8th ed as opposed to 7th.

A clue to the negativity is that those making their 'intelligent and considered' contributions also refer to Purple Sun. And sure there are numerous stories about this spell - many that appeared within a day of 8th ed coming out (if not before) - and supposedly this spell breaks the game and destroys the fun, and sure, if you are on the end of it it is not a pleasant experience. But, if it destroys your army on turn 2, and you have the time, then surely you just shake hands, say 'well done' and start again - and who knows they might not roll that spell the second time around.

No doubt when 6th ed hits there will be something similar to Purple Sun that leads the GW baiters to share their 'wisdom' but really all of these supposed game destroying additons are generally more theoretical that actual.


ps - I'm listening to Garagehammer as I write and they have mentioned that the Storm of Chaos has Ogre magic in, and it is no longer Gut Magic. I'll probably not get the book straight way - if at all - but it will be interesting to see if this gives a clue as to the way Gut Magic is heading with the release of the new Ogre army book gettng ever closer.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

The Fun is in the Journey

The Bolsheviks are progressing....

Cue blurry photo....

And my ebay auctions have closed.

Not everything sold - so I shall have to wait for the next free listing weekend - and I am reasonably happy with the money I have made. I was amsued that someone tried it on, offering to buy whatever didn't sell and then offering me next to nothing... yeah right, I'm not as green as I am cabbage looking.

As the summer is heating up, and having a couple of kids, I noticed we had an ice cream container laying about. So I fished out a bit of pick and pluck foam, cut a sheet of greaseproof paper to size, and viola (a word I use out of either humour or pretension - I can't say, not having spell checked) I had a wet paint tray.

Surprisingly this is something I have never used before, and I have to say that I am pleased with the results.

So after my analysis paralysis (I'm still working my way through the back catalogue of the D6 Generation) I have decided to go down the historical naval gaming route, and due to prompt payment from some of the ebay buyers, I am going to fill out the Navwar order form and get it in the post.

Speaking of podcasts, the latest episode of Chance of Gaming offered an interesting insight into the mind of a GW baiter.

According to the host, Adam, GW has broken EU competition laws by stopping UK online stores/shops from shipping to continental Europe - which they haven't - that Wayland Games was responsible for the video that did the rounds a few weeks ago, pleading with GW to... well I'm not really sure what the point of the video was.... - which they weren't, it was Mini Wargaming - and that Wayland Games is the biggest retailer 'over there' - which may or may not be true, but I have never thought of them as such.

It was nice to see Skyler (or however you spoll it) back, and an amusing listen as Adam didn't get the reaction he had hoped for - indeed the main question seemed to be, 'why are you even bothered? you don't play the game.'

Which is a question I wonder myself about GW baiters.

Sure many of them used to be players, and maybe some of their passion is akin to a jilted lover. But I don't get why, often years after the break up, they continue to stalk the company and slag them off to anyone who will listen.

Oh and in other gaming news, my three year old had some money from Grandma. And I thought it was time to learn counting and probability through gaming. So after trawling the charity shops we got Mousie Mousie and Frustration.

One thing I have noticed is how much effort I have to put in to make my three year old care about winning. I noticed this first when playing Snap. The enjoyment comes not from the winning but from the playing.


Saturday, 25 June 2011


I've done a bit more on my Bolsheviks...

Cue blurry photo...

The latest episode of Fantasard has a very interesting interview with Rick Young.

Tangentially I have been thinking about historical accuracy in recent days.

Even though I made a trip to the library yesterday to print out the Navwar order form (and before you ask I do have a printer but I object to paying for the ink that gets wasted when the missus prints out knitting patterns in full colour, and usually with half the website for good measure) I still find myself pondering whether or not to go down the historical naval path, or to go down the path of Dystopian Wars.

My reasoning runs thus.

If you wanted to recreate Pearl Harbour, it would be easier to do it using Dystopian Wars because the moment you use the models for the actual ships involved people will start to make assumptions about how the battle should be fought. Perhaps there would be an issue with Dystopian Wars being a system game, and system game players have a seemingly genetic releuctance to play anything that isn't produced and endorsed by the maker.

I will probably go for the historical option, mainly because I really like the rules, but as my mind began to idle into zen, as I dibbed and dabbed minute amounts of paint on the Bolshies, creating shadows that no one will see whent he blending starts, I found myself wondering why people don't use 40k figures to recreate the Iranian Embassy Siege. Or if it would be possible to recreate Lepanto with WWII aircraft. Or what about Waterloo using WFB? The possibilities are endless.

I suspect Spartan had such things in mind when they developed Dystopian Wars. Indeed as a system it does seem perfect for such campaigns as Gaudalcanal. Which is another reason why I am tempted by the game.


Friday, 24 June 2011

Empty Vessels

I've started working on the Bolsheviks....

Cue blurry photo...

Whilst searching for stuff to flog on ebay, I found some ECW pike and musketeers that I painted as the vanguard of a counts as Empire army for WFB. What struck me was how delicately painted they were - and indeed how well painted. Which is not to say the French I have been working on lately are badly painted, it's just that I haven't bothered about detailing them.

I thought I would go back to the detailed work for the Bolsheviks.


A couple of days ago a rumour emerged on the forums that GW plans to stop supplying independent retailers like Maelstrom. Like most of these rumours, it was based on a conversation with someone in a GW shop - I mention this in part because the rumour-monger is a member of my local wargaming club.

Now being the internut, and being as it appeared on a forum, the numpties started jumping up and down, making wild statements, arguing with each other without the slightest reference to what the person they are arguing said, before strapping on the sandwichboards and marching up and down declaring the End is Nigh for GW.

Incidentally there is a marvellously ironic thread on Dakka about the silent majority. Anyone who has ever read Dakka will know that there is a gaggle of ten, or so, posters who post on every thread about GW (despite all of them declaring that they don't play GW games), they shout down anyone who disagrees with their idiotic theses, and generally act as trolls to derail any sensible discussion. When faced with the question of the silent majority, I found myself giggling at the self delusion of the gang members in their assertion that there is no silent majority, and that they are representative of the 'community'.


Back to the rumour that GW is to stop supplying independent retailers.

This is clearly nonsense. Not least because the stated reason for the change in the supplier contract to enforce regionality is to protect independent retailers within the sales territorities.

However, I can see it as perfectly feasible that GW could stop supplying independent retailers like Maelstrom, and indeed Wayland Games.

After all they are the companies feeding the nerd rage - Wayland in recent times have threatened GW with legal action, declared that they have found a loophole that allows them to break the regionality stipulation, and today have announced they will stop selling Finecast and have done so in a very aggressive fashion.

What is odd about the actions of Maelstrom and Wayland is that they have been very vocal in their dealing with GW. And if you are the type of numpty who believes what is written on forums, you might be forgiven for believing that these two companies are the only internet retailers. Which is frankly not true. They are not even the cheapest - indeed they are both among the more expensive - though when Maelstrom has a sale they do become more comparable (depending on your order size) - not to mention that Maelstrom has terrible customer service.

Wayland in particular interests me.

I do wish I wasn't so anal with my inbox and deleted the email they sent me when they started, because I seem to recall that when they started up they stated that following a successful career in the City, they were seeking to put into practice the business practices they had learned and by using a just in time ordering system they would be able to offer discount wargame figures - or something like that.

However when they adopted the role of Robin Hood in recent times - they claimed that the business started in a back bedroom, and painted a picture of being Del Boy and Rodney.

Of course both may be true, but they certainly paint a different picture. The former picture seems more likely given their supposed use of lawyers - which don't come cheap (and perhaps shows the value of the VAT carousel that they are so annoyed at losing)

I suspect - and time will tell - that the Finecast announcement has less to do with being the gamer's heroic guardian and more a PR stunt. It certainly offers a face saving out should GW pull the plug on the supplier contract for them breaking the terms of the retailer contract.

But it still doesn't answer the question as to why Maelstrom and Wayland have been so vocal and turbulent over recent events, when other companies such as Triple Helix, Total Wargamer and Dark Sun have just got on with business.


Thursday, 23 June 2011

Farting Around

The painting cupboard is filling up...

Cue blurry photo...

All quiet on the painting front. In fact I have done very little today. I finished basing the second French battalion and spent 28p out of the penny jar to base my Bolsheviks, and that's about the sum total of what I have achieved.

I was pleased to see that a new episode of Life After the Cover Save has hit the interwebz. So I listened to that while cuddling and lullabying my youngest to sleep and reading the latest issue of Private Eye - multi-tasking FTW.

Amid the usual know jokes and farting into the microphone, there was an interesting discussion of tournaments.

I know there are some that don't like LAtCS but I have always liked it. The main reason being they don't spend their time boring the shit out of me by telling me how I should play and what units I should take - or getting involved in the pointless mouthing off that other podcasts in the 'community' think is there duty.

Right the bases of the Bolsheviks are dry, and I want to prime them.... have fun....


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Tora Tora Tora

I listened to the Overlords first birthday marathon show.

Cue blurry photo....

A French Battalion that I managed to get partially based (the base needs inking, highlighting and grassing, but I find it best to let the superglue dry first ;-)) four hours of Overlords rabbit gives planety of time to get on with little jobs. I also spent the time rediscovering my wargaming youth, via Navwar.

I mentioned yesterday that I was going to spend some of the money I get from selling my Orks to get back into naval wargaming. And in my search to find a copy of General Quarters I found the Navwar website. I have always prefered the Navwar models to the Davco. But my nostalgia was further poked when I found that Navwar has no online shop, and require you to print out the order form and order via post or fax.

This being the age of the interwebz, whilst I was looking for something else - pictures of their 1/3000th planes - I discovered that this denial of instant gratification has angered some people - who have used the minor inconvience of using their scanner as a fax machine to declare to anyone who gives a shite, that they are rage quitting Navwar.

Personally I found it rather charming.

My personal fly in the ointment was that General Quarters Part II (WWI) is out of print - it was first made in the 1973 - but they do have copies of General Quarters Part I (WWII). I do have a copy of the Part II rules floating around my mother's house - though I don't think I have the record sheets or turning widgets - but it will take the poor dear months to find it, and will no doubt involve recieving countless unwanted rulebooks, before the desired book arrives - yes I know I shouldn't complain as people have to pay good money for the storage facilities offered by my mother.

There is a newer version of the rules but they are £20, which goes completely against the spirit of this side project.

Which leaves me with a problem.

My prefered period would be WWI. But being able to get hold of the WWII ruleset - and thus instant gratification (allowing for old fashioned mail order) - is rather tempting.

And as I have already mentioned that I was looking for information on 1/3000th model aircraft, you can probably guess in which direction the money burning in my virtual pocket is leading me.

I'm leaning toward the War in the Pacific.

Like everyone, I am guessing, I have assumed it would be all carrier actions and therefore not really suited to tabletop gaming - indeed this was the rationale all those years ago for not getting into the period (I suspect these wargamer prejudices really only kick in because people want to tie opponents into their game). However doing a little research on the net I quickly found that this was far from the case.

I found I could get all the ships I need to refight the Java campaign of 1942 for @£20, and not a carrier in sight. Which is not a bad starting place. The drawback historically is the Japanese were fighting an allied fleet, and I want to build a purely American force - but it is hardly a major issue.

So I have decided to get a small force of a couple of cruisers, and eight or ten destroyers on each side, and some aircraft, (along with the rules) and go from there.

Bad news while I was writing this I got an email from the Perry's saying they are having trouble processing my order - something to do with my card.... good news, bad news I guess.


Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Action Stations

The French are progressing nicely.

Cue blurry photo....

I still have enough figures - before having to buy more - for another infantry battalion.

I have put my Orks on ebay, and they are starting to sell, so I have been doing a little window shopping. I haven't given up on 40K, I just have no desire to play Orks anymore, and I need the case they are in for the other armies I have.

Whilst window shopping I found myself looking at the stuff by Spartan Games. I have seen the models in the flesh a couple of times and they are lovely. And it wasn't long before I found myself looking through the ranges and trying to decide which I like the most - and then doing mental calculations about what I could afford, and how much money I would have for when the new Ogre book comes out.

But what checked me in my musing was that as much as I love the models, and as much as I would like to get back into naval gaming, it doesn't make an awful lot of sense to spend fifty odd quid for a game that I may or may not like, when I can spend 20 odd quid for two small squadrons from Skytrex and play a set of rules that I do like; General Quarters.

Obviously I don't have shiney newness. And probably by now the Davco ships will be showing their age. But I don't really mind about that, since as I have mentioned before some of my happiest memories of wargaming have been playing WW1 naval games.

I suppose I should really check that the rules are still available.


Monday, 20 June 2011

Rambling Sid Rumpo Rambles On

I like podcasts - I am currently working my way through the back catalogue of the D6 Generation.

I am less interested in what the people are talking about in the podcast - and get a little frustrated with the numpties that complain that a podcast contains misinformation, or doesn't have enough content, or goes off topic - than I am in the relationship between the podcasters, the in jokes etc.

Thus I was a little dismayed to learn that Ben Johnson has left Bad Dice. The Ben's had such a great repartee and their personalities really worked well together. I guess regular listeners will just have to wait and see how the show develops.

Speaking of podcasts, Chance of Gaming had an interesting discussion about American games companies and why so many games originate in Europe.

As a side they also had a chat about how gaming had 'gone underground' in central Mississippi.

To me the two issues are connected.

Without wishing to sound like an old grognard, over the years that I have been involved in wargaming I have been a member of a number of wargaming groups. These invariably meet in a church hall, and people would play any number of games, in every period/genre you can think of, and though cliques often developed there was a general openness to gaming - rather than have a proprietorial attitude to a fixed system.

This to me contrasts with my understanding of the FLGS culture that appears to be the way games are played in America. If Tuesday is Warmachine night, and Wednesday is 40K, and Thursday is Magic and Friday is Board Games, and each night is being used by the owner to sell more product, then to me that is a recipe for turf wars. Plus any new game has by implication to be a system game, which can fit into this model.

It's a subtle distinction.

The D6 had an interesting interview with Neil wots-his-name at Spartan Games.

I would define Spartan Games as producing system games - in the sense that they provide everything you need to play the game, and there is an implication that you can only use their rules and models to play the game. He made it clear that the success of the company took him completely by surprise. He was planning for a slow build of the company - which to me suggests he is in the tradition of the church hall games club - people will find the models and take them along to the club and the game will be played a few times by a few people, and others who are playing something else drift over and take interest in what is going on, and they then pick up a few models etc.

However, the models flew off the shelf - and they are certainly very nice models, which filled a hole in the market - because it was ideal for the FLGS model.

The problem for American companies - ignoring the insular nature of American companies, and the tendency to price themselves out of the market - is that the process doesn't work in the opposite direction. Even if you can get the models, the slow burn of the church hall club model tends to mean that business plans get sunk below the waterline below they have a chance to establish themselves. There are companies that have managed it, Wyrrd are certainly doing it at the moment, Privateer Press is establishing itself and D&D in it's various forms has always done well.

But regardless of business, I do find myself wondering why American gamers don't adopt the church hall gaming club model on a wider basis. It certainly offers a solution to the underground gamers in central Mississipi, and gets around the issue of Magic players crowding them out of the FLGS - and it might even get historical and sc-fi/fantasy players to try each other's games and find they have more in common than they imagine.

Ramble over....


Sunday, 19 June 2011

Fat Boy Slam

After months waiting in cupboards and cases growing fat, the Ogres finally got to have a run out.

Cue blurry photo....

It was a tournament at the local club - 4 games, with a knock out system to decide the winner (not that I was bothered about that... I didn't choose Ogres to win).

Game 1

My first game was against Dwarves, three units in horde formation and two cannons - and we were playing scenario 6m Watchtower.

This was never going to be an easy game.

I had set up my characters to combat magic - Great Helm, Rune Maw etc - plus as neither of us knew the rules for cannons the game was pretty chaotic and hap-hazard.

For instance, my Iron Guts got pretty decimated by the cannon, and the Tyrant was killed due to a failed 'look out sir' roll - not much that could be done about that - but the Iron Guts shouldn't have taken the casualties they did as they should have stopped the cannon ball with their fat gut.

Then I shuffled about to put the tower between my units and the cannon. Which led to the cannon shooting at the Bulls in the tower. Which then led to further debate about the rules and the decision that Ogres in a tower is pretty much suicide. We agreed because I didn't know this I could move them. But it hardly mattered because the Iron Guts failed a panic test for the Leadbelchers being destroyed and ran off the table. The Bulls charged a horde of Dwarfs - since there was nothing else they could do - and I was left with 30 Gnoblars.

I pondered what I would do if I had done differently, and in that scenario with that match up, there is not a great deal I could have done. A Gorger coming on from the back might have helped.

Still on the positive side, a loss in the first round meant that I was less likely to face the cheese.

And so it turned out.

Game 2

Beastmen - Pitched Battle.

The army had three small blocks and a huge horde, plus some chaff.

After the first game I was less than sure about the fighting abilities of the Ogres. And frankly I was a bit confused at the start when my opponent starts explaining the rules for fighting in rivers. I wouldn't say I didn't have any idea what he was talking about, but I figured that if he was taking the time to explain the rules to me, then maybe the best idea would be to get across the river as soon as possible and go from there.

This plan was hampered by a unit of harpies, which charged a couple of Leadbelchers as they crossed the river.

And my anxiety was further increased when he declared he was going to cast Pit of Shades on the Iron Guts. As they had the Rune Maw and the Great Helm, two things happened. Firstly he rolled a double 3, so had to take a miscast. And second we had to seek a ruling as to whether I could palm off the spell onto the Gnoblars - which after all was the reason they are on the table. The miscast inflicted a wound on both of his casters, and it was decided the template shold be placed over the Gnoblars - which were barely an inch away from the Iron Guts. But when it scattered the result was that four Gnoblars disappeared and the Iron Guts were fine.

The Leadbelchers stomped the Harpies into the ground, and the rest of the army continued to get across the river.

The poor Leadbelchers were then charged by a herd of Beastmen, and despite losing the combat managed to outrun the pursuers. They managed to rally but got charged again, and this time were forced to run off the table. However by this time the Bulls were in a position to charge the Beastmen, and they forced them off the table. While elswhere on the river bank the Iron Guts smakced another Beast herd about a bit, and the Gnoblars manged to fight off and effectively kill two small units of skirmishers.

The final turn was an epic battle for the river bank between the Iron Guts and the horde. The horde, supported by a flank charge by a Pumbagor - I really should learn the unit names for the Beastmen army - charged but the Iron Guts won the combat, driving off the Pumbagor.

Three events decided the battle.

The Beastmen cast a buff spell, it casting it the caster miscast and blew himself and the other magician up. Then my Tyrant got three hits that were all parried on a 6+. And I charged everything - the Bulls and the remaining Leadbelchers - into the combat, which performed less than admirably and effectively gave free combat resolution.

It was nice to have a sixth turn combat, and it was a game that could have gone either way, but in the end I snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Game 3

Chaos Warriors - Pitched Battle

The Chaos army was one unit of Choosen, one of Warriors, and one of Marauders - oh and a Warshine.

The spells he got were a buff, a fireball thing, and a comet.

By this point I was going well for the wooden spoon, as was my opponent, and in truth I was less than certain about the fighting abilities of the Ogres... after all in two games the only unit that had suvived was the Gnoblars.

Now I claim not great strategic insight as to how this battle played out, but serendipidiously I happened upon something that Ogres are good at, that I never would have guessed from looking at the book.

With a comet due to come down in from of the Iron Guts at any minute, I decided that the best policy was to get away from that point at the earliest opportunity. So I ran as quickly as I could. This meant that all of the Ogres ended up moving around the flank of the Marauders. The Gnoblars, having little legs, were left behind to face the Choosen and the Warriors.

Three comets came down in the first three turns, the second hit the Iron Guts, which only made the Ogres run faster.

Luckily in placing the third comet, the Sorceror Lord miscast leading to him losing all magical ability.

The plucky Gnoblars continued their gallant duty throwing sharp stuff at the choosen, and so gallantly did they perform this duty that they drew the Choosen and the Warriors to them, leaving the Marauders isolated and facing the Iron Guts and Bulls - who were suddenly brave again, now that the sky had stopped dropping flaming lumps of rocks on them.

The Choosen charged the Gnoblars, who evaded and ran off.

The Iron Guts and the Bulls charged the Marauders. Perhaps the Marauders had lost some figures from magic or shooting, I don't recall exactly, all I know is that by the time the impact hits, Tyrant with his always strikes first sword, and the Bruiser BSB, had gone to work the Marauders were no more - they might have hit back, but I know I was a bit disapponted that the Iron Guts didn't get to attack. My opponent looked at me - he had never faced Ogres before - and said "boy! they really hit hard."

I didn't know what to say - nothing in the first two games had led me to think this sort of thing possible.

Flushed with success, there was only one thing to do....

Yeah that's right, get tot he end of a game with some living breathing Ogres.

So I did the sensible thing, and ran as far and as fast to the corner furthest from the Choosen and the Warriors.

The game ended with my Ogres flicking the 'V's at Chaos's finest with the butcher handing out buffs like sweets.

So we went to points to decide the winner.

I lost 170 points - the Gnoblars and unit of Leadbelchers.
The Marauders cost 167...... but..... but.... they had a banner.

Merde.... I've won.... I can't get the wooden spoon (stop it, stop it.... stop being competative).

This was the most enjoyable game that I have played in many a long day.

Game 4

Vampire Counts - Pitched Battle

And so to the last game of the day.

The Vampires had 2 units of Ghouls and a unit of Grave Guard.

So with three games of 8th and three games of Ogres under my belt, I went into this game with a 'plan'. That plan can be surmised thusly - I was wrong to thing of Ogres as an army that can just run up the guts and win. And so I lined up on the flank with the intention of using the Gnoblars as a distraction unit, while the Ogres worked their way around the flanks.

Suffice to say the Gnoblars worked perfectly as a distraction unit. The Ogres turned out to be more than up to the job of pounding the undead. And miracles of miracles, the Ogres won their second game.

It was an enjoyable event.

And I found myself wondering why I have waited a year to play 8th edition WFB.


Friday, 17 June 2011

Friday Night Wine


I'm having 'another fag', I've cracked open the Friday night win (Bastide de Garille, 2008), and will probably have another fag... a cup of tea... another fag....

All of this bidjing is displacement activity to put off from making a final decision with regard to the list I am going to take to tomorrow's WFB tournament.

As it is the first time that my Ogres will hit the table, any decision can hardly be considered informed. I will probably go the route of leadbelchers and a gorger, rather than the scraplauncher - though part of me wants to take my giant.

Part of me considered dropping out earlier in the week - in part because my kids are going to a birthday party, and it might have been fun to tag along. But the main reason is that the tournament is for prize money - *yawn* - but let's face it, I didn't choose Ogres because I am obsessed with winning. I just wish that instead of giving the 'winner' money, they could be given a trophy and if there are other prizes then decide these with a raffle.


(The Bastide de Garille, 2008, is very pleasantly fruity - £4.99 reduced from £11.99)

Today I have been mostly working on my Dragoons.

The horses are base coated and I have started working on the highlighting.

Apart from that I have been doing quite a bit of reading.

Part of this research is to decide on how I am going to paint the second brigade. The first brigade is going to be all French, but I thought I might have an allied brigade made of Swiss, Germans and maybe some Italians.

What struck me when trying to research OOB's was how often the British OOB details the regiments, yet the French simply say 'Soult 6700 men.' Maybe French websites - and/or books - would have more details, but if they do, it seems odd that English sources would simply choose to ignore these - especially given that Gerry Embleton is often mentioned as the researcher and when I knew him he lived in a Swiss castle and to my untrained ear spoke fluent French.

There are of course any number of reasons for this. The French might not have been so beaurocratic in their army organisation, they were operating in hostile country which took a heavy toll on reports and communication, and conversely they had less pressure on manpower, so they didn't need to maintain such accurate returns.

Yet the oddity is less pronounced in the later battles - in which the French OOB is more precise as to which regiment was present.

I will probably go for the option of mixing some Swiss into the French brigades to give them a little colour - rather than go for the full allied brigade

For those following the thought process of drawing up my BoB rules - I am moving towards a card based system, with very limited use of dice.

Right time to dig out the list.


Thursday, 16 June 2011

King of the Internet

Right that's another French battalion painted - just needs basing.

Whilst making my daily trip to warseer in search of Ogre rumours - which have dried up of late - I noticed this rather interesting thread.

According to the OP:

"It turns out that the reason GW has stopped leaking rumours, pictures, previews and whatnot is a response to the overall negative feedback to their leaks on the internet."

Quite where this information came from I can't say.

And needless to say the 'discussion' was of the normal slack-jawed, flat nosed variety - mostly off topic, plenty of meme based negativity, and lots of strawmen queueing up to express their wisdom in an effort to be king of the internet.

Now I don't know how true this rumour is, but I have to say it does make sense to me. Indeed I am surprised GW hasn't done it before.

Contrary to what the internut would have you believe, GW does take on board the feedback from forums, blogs, etc. In interviews I have heard, and read, the game designers state quite clearly that part of their job is to read the internet to find out what people are saying about the various projects they are working on.

Funnily enough the 'modernist marketeers' are condemning this move as a terrible decision and being 'modernists' decrying it as a backward move, and not part of the zetigeist of 'modern' marketing. Which says a great deal about the education system and very little about these people's understanding of business.

What people overlook is that the reason companies like PP, Mantic etc have to embrace the 'modern media' is because without it they would go bust. GW doesn't have to bother with this approach because they have invested in a chain of shops that does their advertising for them. And it is not like they don't use the internet, if you want to you can subscribe to their newsletter you can, they have a blog, a website, webstore etc - but hey! let's ignore all of that.

My favourite piece of pointless spouting lately was the claim that GW had put FLGS's in the UK out of business, which left me scratching my head. Since I can't recall there being such things. There were model shops, and toy shops, and the very occasional dedicated wargames shop (which generally didn't sell GW stuff), but if anything the growth of GW retail in the UK, has created a model that is now catching on. But then the moaning minny was American, so you can hardly expect them to be informed ;-)

But hey! this is the internut - and like football according to Sky Sports - nothing existed prior to the 1990's and the only reality is here and now.

I am also interested in the tittle tattle surrounding White Dwarf.

The meme is that it is not worth buying, that it isn't as good as it used to be, and it is just a glorified catalogue. GW have clearly taken this on board and appear to be moving to make it more central to the hobby with such things as the proposed Sisters of Battle codex release.

Have the internut experts reacted well to this.

Of course not. They have done what they always do. They have ignored the reality and while the meme has changed slightly, but they are still banging on and slagging the company off.

And let's face it no one with any sense wants to spend time with the type people playing king of the net in forums. And GW have obviously realised this, and switched from broadbrushed spamming - supposedly the only way to use the net (did you know it takes 12million emails to sell $100 of viagra) - to specifically targetting their audience, in order to try and flush the negativity from the 'community' they are trying to build going forward.

And frankly who can blame them?


Wednesday, 15 June 2011


Hey ho!

Following the Blackpowder game the other day, I was left with a number of questions, so I asked on the club forum and raised the points of interest to me.

Regular readers will know my dislike of forums and the reply I recieved was pretty much standard forum behaviour.

I was told it was 'umpire privilege!'.

Now rather than go through my questions, and point to historical inaccuracy of a number of misreadings that were 'umpire privelege!' I have found myself pondering a slightly different question. Namely why in wargaming is it so often impossible to ask questions?

I have read the Blackpowder rules maybe six or ten times, but like any set of rules it is impossible to fully assimilate the words on the page to the abstract of the game without playing. Reading and rereading is fine, except it is pretty much human nature that you end up reading the same rules over and over again, and completely missing other rules. Add to this that you often completely forget rules - though when you look at the page you think you remember the rule because you have read the page before.

One way of dealing with this is to debrief after the game.

And in truth a couple of the questions I had were due to 'umpire privilege' extending to not actually explaining certain design decisions/special rules either prior to or during the game. Which left myself and one of my team mates - who was also trying to learn the rules - scratching our heads, looking through the rule book and wondering what the heck was going on.

Still on the positive side I now know the relevant rules - and having found these out I am more of an admirer of the rules set due to the mechanics and game decisions taken by Rick Priestley when writing the rules.

I just don't understand the reluctance to enter into discussion.

Hey ho!


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Revolution Begins

My Bolsheviks turned up today.

Copplestone Castings are very nice models indeed.

And now I have them in my grubby little hands, my urge to start selling stuff on ebay, to buy more, has increased. But the question is what to sell. As I have various bits and pieces knocking around that I will never use but for various reasons I am loathe to get rid of. Principle among these is a 15mm Seven Years War army of ancient Freikorps miniatures.

It doesn't help that I have been looking around at models for the interwar period and have tapped into a seam of extraordinary inventiveness. The new models from Muttonchop are particularly tempting, with the stand out being the Croydon Crusher.

I have ordered the Napoleon set from Perry's that will serve as my Divisional command for the French. I principally wanted it for the model of Ney at the table, and the rather useful figues of various officers. I haven't decided what I will do with the figure of Napoleon.

One posibility is that I shall use him in Back of Beyond.

The chances are that I'll use him as part of the Divisional command, even though I have an aesthetic objection to doing so.

Other than that I haven't done much other than plough on with painting an infantry battalion, whislt idly imagining what I want to buy - and what I want to sell to fund the new purchases.


Monday, 13 June 2011

En Avant.... Retreat....

I played a Napoleonic game yesterday.

Cue blurry photo...

The game was a recreation of Fuentes d Onoro, though I didn't now that until afterwards.

It was a multiplayer game with myself and two other players commanding the French, and the Allies were commanded by four players.

On the French side we had a Grand Battery, 3 Infantry Brigades, and 2 Cavalry Brigades - one of which was a heavy brigade made up of Cuirassiers (which was a little odd given that we were in the Penisula). The British had a cavalry brigade, a mixed Spanish Portugese brigade, 2 British Infantry Brigades and a Spanish Infantry brigade.

The French plan was pretty simple. Two of the infantry brigades would attack the village from either side, supported by the heavy Cavalry and the artillery. I was tasked of defending the flank of this attack with my infantry brigade and the medium/light cavalry.

This being Blackpowder, things didn't work out like that. The heavy cavalry surged off towards the village, while two of the imfantry brigades failed their command check and stood watching from the rear. The other infantry brigade did manage to push the Spanish and Portugese out of the village, but failed to break the brigade, and then spent the rest of the game fighting with the British cavalry with varying ammounts of success.

From my point of view I ended up facing off against two brigades, and we fought to and fro over the ridge line. That is when I manged to get my infantry moving - which took three turns - and then I found myself slightly hampered by my commander being rated as hestitant, making giving any orders risky (as I had to reroll any order that gave me three actions points).

Ultimately my infantry did succeed in it's task of holding up the Allied left, but as the rest of the army was beaten in detail and forced to retire it didn't make a real difference.

It was a good game, and really showed the rules in a very good light.

I'd like to say that the French defeat was the result of poor dice - and there certainly was an element of this, particularly when an infantry column charged the flank of the Spanish artillery, failed to beat it in combat and was forced to retreat. But the reality is that the basic tactical plan was not entirely sound, and there was poor co-ordiantion between the French commanders.

Though it was rather splendid to watch the commander of the heavy cavalry brigade throwing his troops into battle, rallying them (after a fashion) and then throwing them into the fray again. They didn't really achieve much, but they did little with great elan.

The main thing is that after the game, I came home more deteremined to carry on painting my troops, and when I did so today, that 36 man unit didn't seem half so tiring to paint.

In other news I ordered the first of my Bolsheviks the other day. In part because I wanted something quick and easy to work on between my blocks of Frenchies. It did cross my mind to sell my GW stuff to fund my other projects but for the time being I decided against it.


Thursday, 9 June 2011

Where Is Everybody?

This writing rules malarky is a really rather fun.

I've been digging around on the interent looking for various free rules that exist for the period, I can't say I have actually pinched anything as yet, but I have picked up a few pointers with regard to the general period, and possible lists.

One thing I have not been able to find is any suitable civilian models.

I have found the odd model here and there than is useable, but usually thay means buying a box of eight in order to get the one model I want.

It's strange that wargames tend to take place in a vaccum. True civilians appear more in more modern periods, such as Vietnam, and there is more choice in ancients and medievals - yet there is a huge span of time when you can get plenty of soldiers but no civilians.


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Something I Will No Doubt Repeat And Come Back To

I found this post on Too Much Lead rather interesting.

Having been around the block, in wargaming terms, I found myself not so much wondering what games I would and wouldn't play - but thinking about my favourite wargaming memories.

One I recall was a WWI naval game between a German cruiser and a flotilla of British destroyers. After a couple of crippling salvoes from the crusier the game descended into a game of cat and mouse as the two most battered destroyers laid smokescreens, while the rest the flotilla tried to close to within torpedo range. I don't recall who won, or who lost, I just recall it was a really fun game with ships we hardly ever used.

Another that sticks in my mind was a game set in Medieval Spain. The table had a village in the middle with a flock of sheep nearby. Both players been given secret instructions - I think mine was to collect taxes from the village. However the fun started when I rode my knights through the flock of sheep, which provoked the villagers to attack me - had I not ridden through the sheep apparently the villagers were going to give me the taxes in order to save them from bandits. There were a couple of other random events that occurred. Which ended up with the players never actually fighting each other, and the umpire controlling three factions, who as well as attacking the players, were also attacking each other. Which gave the game an organic flow, with the various factions making and breaking deals.

The fact is I like games that have random events.

I play GW games because I like painting the figures, and I can generally find a game if I want one. But to be honest the way the game has developed - or more perhaps the assumed culture of the game - mitigates against imaginative play. And no amount of finger wagging by Jervis Johnson, in his standard bearer column, that the game is not meant to be a point based tournament game makes much difference to the 'generals' (self described) who 'represent' the 'community'.

Something that has always made me smile is when people say such and a such a game is tactical, and that it is like chess. And often they will further advance this argument by proclaiming that it is 'balanced'. Supposedly these three factors are the epitome of wargaming, and a true way to demonstrate who is the best general.

Which is frankly nonsense.

All it demonstrates is that the game is suited to WAACos with fragile egos who really should grow up.

But hey! I guess we are all a product of our culture.

Another thing the Two Much Lead piece got me thinking about - although it is something I have know for a long time, and one of the reasons I was so late in getting in Warhammer - and it does connect to the creativity point - is this whole notion of buying into the gaming system. That you buy a starter box, and then you buy into the 'fluff', and overtime you become entrapped within the world of the game.

A while ago I played an Ancients game, Romans vs Carthaginians, and it was decided that the Romans hadn't had breakfast and therefore suffered this penalty, and that penalty. And so we played the game, and of course the Romans lost - hardly surprising since they also lost the real historical battle.

Was it impossible for the Romans to win?

Well maybe with better dice rolling is the obvious answer. But then seeing as the game wasn't being played for a row of houses - as seemingly so many people seem to believe (you gotta win to have fun) - it was decided to review the penalties suffered by the Romans for being sans bacon baps.

Of course it wasn't balanced in the modern wargaming sense, but then were Alexander to be a warjack - or whatever - he would not have won the battle of Guargamela, and faced with Darius' army Alexander would have rage quit - and no doubt retreated back to Macedonia to play a different 'boxed game' - that was more tactical, balanced and a bit like chess - and spend his spare time bitching about how overpowered Darius is to anyone who would listen on the interwebz. Oh and when was the last time his Macedonians got an update?

My point is not so much that historical games are more flexible, but rather to wonder why this culture of experimentation doesn't carry over into proprietorial systems. (I fully expect there are thousands of people around the world who play among their family and friends and never go near a club, forum or tournament and just have fun)

I guess what todays ramble is getting at is that I am more interested in the process than the outcome (guess whose be reading child development books? Yes that's right the missus but I have to hear about it).


btw - I still working on my rules. My latest wheeze is using cards - the result of some will allow the placement of terrain, stuff like ditches, mines, traps, etc. I like the idea of your supposed uber unit that you've mathhammered and statisticated into oblivion finding themselves, like the Old Battalion, hanging on the old barabed wire.


No but but it is war, and it is real and it makes terrain count for something.

(don't worry I'm working on scout mechanics and over stuff to 'balance' things out)

Monday, 6 June 2011

Taking Advantage of Illness

I've got pneumonia - well a chest infection which according to the doctor is the same thing.

Which means that I have been forced to take to my bed with a hot toddy, and gives me plenty of time to work on a set of wargame rules. I'm sure I mentioned before on this blog that I wanted to write a set of rules for the Indian Mutiny, but having looked around for suitable figures, at a reasonable price, I decided that the the project was not a goer.

However I really like the Copplestone Castings Back of Beyond figures.

And have decided to write the rules for the largely ignored battles in East Asia in the 1920's.

I have worked out the shooting mechanic already, and am rather pleased with how it works. So it is now a question of buiding the rest of the game.


Saturday, 4 June 2011

Manic Mantic

I was emptying my spam folder this morning when I noticed that Mantic have a big announcement.

Excitedly I wondered if they had had an original idea - but sadly not, it was just some blather about a new sci-fi ruleset they are bringing out as a figleaf for their IP camping GW.

Clearly not everyone is as jaded as me, because according to the interwebs the news is the greatest breakthrough in wargaming since.... well ever.

This coincided with the 'accidental' 'leaking' to Beasts of War of sketches for the proposed figures and vehicles to accompany this 'breakthrough'. And as Mantic is the new black, numpties across the net have been literally bowled over that one of the proposed vehicles is a Humvee in space. 'Wow' they cry, 'I'm going to buy fifty of them....'


Then why not get one from Antenociti’s Workshop.

Indeed purchasing from this excellent online shop has two very distinct advantages over purchasing from Mantic.

a) You can buy it now.
b) It is much better quality than the half baked lump that Mantic will create.

(Shame really because I really like Renedra's work - they are clearly highly skilled craftsmen, as can be seen in the quality of Warlord, Victrix and Perry plastics, whereas Mantic don't appear to worry about such things as design and proportion - if you took the clothes off a Mantic figure I swear they would all have anorexia - a novel twist on the maxim, 'never mind the quality feel the width'. )

I realise that criticism of Mantic is heresy, but what strikes me reading through the threads of people chattering about this proposed ruleset, is how narrowly focused people are. There is of course no reason that anyone should know about Antenociti's Workshop - I only found it because I was looking for some brass etched leaves - but I do find it slightly ironic that in this age of nerd rage at GW, people appear unable to think for themselves. Perhaps when you have been institutionalised into believing that you can only play with one company's figures, using net approved lists, in standard sized games, in a limited number of scenarios - it is natural that when seeking an alternative, you seek to find a game that imposes the same restrictions. Which is obviously Mantic's plan - in part.

I also find it rather strange those defending Mantic point at their prodigious output - four or five figure ranges, a dungeon crawler, 'a set of rules' etc. Whenever I have seen any of these figures reviewed, the review will usually be fairly negative but invariably ends with a reference to how cheap whatever it is, in comparison to 'competitors' and for some reason people think that makes it all alright.

To Mantic Rolling Stones fans I am a Beatles GW fanboi, for daring to point at the Emperor's willy, which makes me chuckle when I am painting my Napoleonics.

Oh well, what can you do?

I think I might go and dig out my old copy of Soldiers of the Queen, which I seem to recall had some really interesting game mechanics.


Oh and apparently all of this was announced on Beasts of War, which is back up and running - it seems they were pulled by Utube because of a legal letter, or something.

Oh and apparently the new scifi rules have the same name as Mantic's US distributer - which is perhaps another indication of the lack of inventiveness. I suppose we should be thankful that the invoice happened to be on the table when they chose the name, and not the gas bill or a birthday card. But then if it is anything like Kings of War, there should be no problem with copywright, as they will be giving it away.

Oh and for those attempting to break out of the flock, if you check through the Chance of Gaming podcast archive, you'll find plenty of sci fi rules discussed and reviewed.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Ethics, Outside London


I've been listening to the Fantasard podcast, well worth checking out if you haven't heard it.

Among other things they had a discusion about female characters - and characteristics - in games.

In a sense this is a typical feminist arguement. The basics of which are that women in games are dealt with as sex objects - big boobs etc - and are simply there to be saved. Which is fine until you consider the role of men in games which is just as stereotypical. After all if you look at real life heroes - holders of the Victoria Cross for instance - they are just pretty ordinary really, and the males that do follow the mega-muscled route are generally a bit dull - far from fighting dragons on a misty mountain they are more likely to be selling speed while doing a bit of bouncing down at the local boozer.

But as it is a feminist issue, the guys on Fantasard made all the right noises until the little lady blew herself out and they moved onto other topics.

In a more recent show they had a discussion about ethics in gaming, and particularly the issue of slavery. Now it should be pointed out that they are teachers, so you should expect them to think that slavery is a big deal. And yes historically it is of relevance to a great many people - but equally the way the issue is handled today is frankly a little bizarre. Because it is largely ignored that the British Navy was expaneded in institutionalised to prevent British citizens being taken in slavery by North African pirates. That navy then became the instrument of creation and expansion of the British Empire, of which the West African slave trade was part. Yet what is always overlooked is that running parrellel to the process of populating the colonies with slaves was a program of exporting debtors, criminals and over undesirables. A program that continued for half a century after the abolition of slavery - enforced by the Royal Navy - and only stopped in the mid-nineteenth century with the discovery of gold in the Australia, not out of moral concern for the condemned, but because transportation was the cheapest way to reach the goldfields and people were deliberately committing crimes in order to seek their fortune.


They interveiwed the designer of the game Endevour and asked if the issue of slavery had been a problem when trying to get the game published - to which he said no, no one had even mentioned it.

I mention this because the Fantasard crew are embarking upon Malifaux.

Now I have seen the game played, and the mechanics of the game interest me, but it is not a game I will ever play. Our youngest is currently getting back teeth, so it so happened that the missus was up trying to settle him while Fantasard were doing their review. She said that it sounded like an interesting game.

At which point I explained why I won't play the game, namely because of the Never Born, and the use of dead children.

As our first child was stillborn at 34 weeks, let's just say I am a little sensitive to the notion of playing a game which for reasons of playing to the gallery of sick minds includes such characters. Which no doubt sounds very strong, but until you have been through an experience like stillbirth you don't really notice how much psychopathic and generally warped views surround the issue of dead children.

But hey! I'm just too sensitive, right?

Still check out the Fantasard podcast, it's a very nice painting companion.


ps, I really do need to find a gamee I can play with the missus - no smutty replies - perhaps when Bloodbowl comes out......

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

En Avent

I have finsihed the first battalion.

Cue blurry picture...

I'm rather pleased with how it turned out.

I'm particularly pleased with the freehand work on the flag.

I can't say I spent ages doing it, and it helps that I have commisioned Henri Matisse to take the photgraphs, but it does look rather nice.

Seeing as my painting head is firmly afixed, I have painted four cannons - for my battalion guns.

And whilst attending to my child care duties, I managed to read and reread the Black Powder rule book.

Though for most of the day I have been daydreaming about organising a 'tournament' that I intend to call, The Island of Mystery. It will be a WFB tournie, but with a twist.

One of the ideas is that before the tournament begins, each player draws a card/number of cards. These will be things like, all enemy spells miscast on any double, selected unit gets frenzy, reroll winds of magic dice - things like that. They can play these cards at anytime in any of their games. Another idea is that before the tournament, all the players are asked to nominate their least favourite spells. In the first game if someone casts the least favourite spell, then each table rolls a D6 and the result is the number of magic phases in which there are no winds of magic in that game. Plus some other stuff like weather, random characters wandering through the games.

The last game will be a small point last man standing quest style game in which all the players play on the same table in order to find the gold or whatever.

Meh... it amused me.