Friday, 7 December 2012

Watch This Space prt 1

As previously threatened here's the first instalment of blogs I follow and why I think you might be interested to do so as well.

First up we have  Carmen's Fun Painty Time whose posts form a regular part of my pre-work browse. My mate Shaun made the recommendation to me and he was spot on!

Skirmish is Carmen's speciality of the 28mm and 54mm scale with some old school role-play figures and an occasional watercolour illustration thrown in.
What really impresses me is the quality of his work, paint and sculpt, along with his ability to actually complete projects on a regular basis.

Some are a little quirky but always high quality with plenty of "labour of love" care and attention lavished upon them.

Recent projects have been Dark Future-esque post apocalyptic spins on a ruleset that the author probably didn't have in mind.

Carmen's stuff just speaks to me and leaves me equal parts inspired and vaguely envious.

Frontline Gamer was another solid gold recommendation, this time by Stewart.

Mr FG is a big sci-fi gamer and does a very good job of keeping track of what he thinks is hot and more importantly tells you why.

With plenty of industry contacts he's always got a view on the main frothing points of the day / week / month but always seems to manage to keep it constructive with a healthy dose of reality.
His Sunday Sermons are a personal thought provoking highlight and the inspiration for my altered blogging content during my hobby hiatus.

To me Mr FG is something of a real world gamer and seems to maintain a hobby position that I think many of us would like to occupy. Kudos!

Anyway, hopefully I've spread some love and / or inspiration. Until next time :)

Friday, 30 November 2012

Meine Leibling?

Hello again, apologies for my lack of attention to you all. Life stuff happened. Meanwhile I have at least continued browsing the blog-o-sphere and noticed the recent spate of posts regarding the Leibster awards.

First off I assumed that they were another brand of pass it on, slap on the back to your mates self appreciation society type of thing.

Does that sound bitter at all? It's just that I've noticed these types of things before and had mixed feelings feeling that they relate to the filler or re-blogging posts that I've mentioned before.

If it is bitterness is it because I've never got one? Should I or anyone care?
Not trying to rain on anyone's parade as it always nice to be appreciated, especially when deserved.

Best Army / Best Sporstman awards are a very good thing. Does the virtual nature of what it's about change pr diminish anything?

A bit like a chain e-mail someone hands out the first piece of candy and extols the virtue of doing the same for 5 of your blogging compatriots.
Found some interesting blogs this way as well as some mates rates back slapping.

But I digress, mainly because I was wrong! Reading a bit further the Liebster is "awarded" for bigging up other blogs with a lower hit rate, though preferably not as a minimal effort re-blog of course :)

Suddenly it occurs that isn't this what a blog roll does, in a very basic way?

Anyway back at A point I've decided to try and make myself take a positive spin on the whole thing (as well as try and motivate myself to post a bit more). What I'm going to do is put out a bi-weekly post featuring two blogs that I follow and tell you why I do so. Not a review or critique just what I get from them to keep on tuning in. I'd like to provide a different slant :)

Meanwhile the Dreadball Kickstarter and Hobbit release seem to be popular subjects of comment. Don't really feel the need to comment other than "I understand but it is only TOYS!" and "Holy Crap that's a scary pricing structure for figures that most of your market already has in very near proxy form!".

Hopefully see you soon :)

Monday, 19 November 2012

Winter Warmer?

So as previously promised its part deux of the Mantic Day roadtrip.

As previously mentioned it was held down in Hockley, Essex at Tabletop Nation. With an open mind and a styrofoam coffee cup we set out four up in Rich's car happily chatting geek for the hours drive.

I had googled up their flyer and had a read but until arriving I didn't realise it was also Wayland Games HQ (not going there!).
A Nation of Tabletops
Wandering around bumping into some old faces it reminded me of the Foundry open days I occasionally frequented many years ago.

Reassuringly expensive
First impressions were good there being plenty of good to high quality gaming tables available and plenty of flyers for their weekly games nights. There was plenty of room with tea and coffee on tap and some welcome cakery. It was rather brass monkeys with heaters installed just the day before but nothing too terrible.

All in all good facilities, on many necessary levels, and plenty of room to develop and expand into. Still a bit work in progress so I'm informed. You do need to take your lunch as there's nowhere on the doorstep but a cafe is an apparent future addition.

From the flyer I recognised a few olds gaming buddies from a number of local clubs which was heartwarming to see.

Just browsing round the racks was pleasant enough but seemed to confirm my recent observations about industry creep towards GW practices and prices. You takes your choice and, hopefully, gets what you pays for. New starters certainly aren't shy about the quality / price coefficient!

Back at the point it was a very enjoyable day at a pretty good venue, hopefully to become a very good venue. Locals have a real gem on thier doorstep.

The chatter during the trip home was all that its "only" an hour away. Evening events just a bit impractical but at the weekend??

Good stuff :)
Scarily, scarily expensive!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Smash and Grab

Brace yourself people its another two parter except this time some actual gaming is involved! With my better half away for the weekend I took the opportunity to go down to Tabletop Nation for Mantic's Dreadball day.

Having heard and read a fair bit about it and as a fan of Mantic's previous boxed games offerings I was keen to have a go. Hell I was just keen to roll some dice.

As a headline I was impressed! Despite obvious comparisons its definitely not a Blood Bowl clone. Think more of Speedball for those of you that remember :)

As often with Mantic there's a simple mechanic with the devil in the detail and a strong element of resource management. It makes for another trademark tactical thinker whilst also rewarding proactive play.

Statlines are basic with plenty of action based options. Actions are completed by achieving a number of successes against a target number. Number of dice rolled is the variable.

Nothing complex but 6s explode for a bonus roll and how much you succeed by gives you bonus actions or defines how hard you hit. Positional and combo play is key.

Rolling play with no reset after a score keeps things fluid as does the incremental scoring system. 1 point for the easiest score upto 4 for the most difficult. Game score is the differential so a couple of big scores can win it for you before time.

In short lots and lots of variation and options. Tactics far beyond a Blood Bowl cage are a definite requirement. Games are quick and pressurised. I'd originally been dubious of chess clock Kings of War but with Dreadball I'd be an instant proponent.

Played three games as a novice and quickly picked it up with plenty of spare time for a mooch between the racks and glances over shoulders. Would have been more than happy to have played a bit more as a mark of my interest.

I did manage to resist "investing" in a starter deal mainly due to my hiatus status. Talk has been to get the PDFs and proxy the figures but I feel that would be somewhat disingenuous even in the face of some criticism of an established company using kickstarter. The undoubted demand settles that issue!

Humans, Orcs, Veer-Myn and Dwarves first up with plenty of others to follow including droids and tentacled xenos. How could any Bowl/Ball-Head say no?

One to mark for definite action once I'm reestablished. Humans in London Wasps colours I think :)

Friday, 9 November 2012

Don't get me started?!

Browsing around TGN the other morning I noticed that Warlord have released a starter set for Bolt Action Assault On Normandy. Rulebook, dice, 20 yank and fritz PBI a piece plus and a ruined farmhouse to do battle over. £60 for a tidy little boxed package.

A good idea I've often wondered why more manufacturers haven't taken the same path, all seems very no-brainer, or is it a case of how they might be following?
Is this the slippery slope.......... this and all that comes with it?

I'm, hopefully, quite obviously referring to GW and their particular business model and practices. Controversial as it might be I don't think anyone could deny that they've raised / dragged up standards and expectations across the hobby. I spent 6 years with them 5 as a store manager so I'd like to think that my opinion holds some validity but feel free to disagree :)

Full colour perfect bind rulebooks and supplements replete with fluff and hobby sections. High quality multi-part plastic regiment sets and terrain pieces, many good to go from the box. Stores that are actual hobby centres with painting and gaming facilities and the customer service to back it up.

None of this was invented by the big Gee Dub but like or loathe they certainly refined it.

Turning tack I'm going to chanter on about two companies that I got in on the ground floor with Privateer Press and Battlefront.

When both appeared they were a breath of fresh air to the jaded GW bred gamer, or at least for me and many I gamed with. Both felt like they benefited from NOT being GW and a little bit cult even. Both had good the necessary good product but seemed able to present a less corporate and far more personal appeal. It felt GOOD to spend your monthly hobby fix money with them and like you were finally bucking the GW system like you always wanted to but could never quite manage.

But I digress from my intended point...... :)

These guys and their games found justified success and their business grew. They also grew up in all sorts of ways an necessarily to.

Full colour perfect bind rulebooks and supplements replete with fluff and hobby sections. High quality multi-part plastic regiment sets and terrain pieces, many good to go from the box. Stores that are actual hobby centres with painting and gaming facilities and the customer service to back it up.

Sound familiar? Yeah maybe :)
Good thing all round? Your choice.

I'm well gone from 40K and Fantasy for many reasons we all know too well and I'm not going to repeat here. In time I also dropped away from Warmachine, Hordes and Flames of War pretty much for the same reasons. Recently looking back at all three the initial investment cost and  then ongoing maintenance cost seemed to be similarly scary.

So my eventual point revolves around the GW business model whatever whoever might think of it warts and all. For the smaller wargames company NOT being GW seems  to look attractive to many including your potential customers. The success that this might bring would seem to bring you back towards said business model whatever whoever might think of that particular course good, bad or indifferent.

For myself I've experienced myself falling away from companies and products that I've enjoyed and wanted to succeed as a potential result and outcome of that very success.

My ACTUAL point is does anyone, including said wargames companies, feel that treading the path towards the GW business model HAS to lead to lead to a fixed point? Is it a "price" that companies and their companies are happy to pay?


Thursday, 8 November 2012

Sixth Sense

Pretty much part II this one.

As previously posted i made it down to the club the other week. Was only about for a couple of hours but enjoyed sucking up some nerd "secondary smoke" of others miniature melee.

No dice rolled but happy enough to get a bit of a fix it occurred to me on the way home that this hobby of ours hits every sense and maybe another besides;

Sight; Nothing more impressive than a table groaning under a stunning set of terrain playing host to two fully painted forces of whatever floats your boat. Shows wouldn't give specific awards for this otherwise.

Plenty of us have given a moments silence at the sight of the tin horde advancing over book hill or the display game of fading glory, snobbish as it may be.

Sound; From jolly banter to inglorious rules lawyering, woeful groans and jubilation offered to the dice gods.Most of us have heard it all as well as the soundtrack in our heads from our favourite movies.

Smell; Nothing like opening that new regiment box, the first leaf through the pages or the first step into the gaming hall. We all know exactly what I mean or definitely should!

Taste; The tang of the thankfully non toxic acrylic from the brush. The sweat of a anticipation prior to the bones being rolled. The fried goodness of bacon butty and vaguely soggy chops. Victory or defeat.
Mmmmm..... tasty!

Touch; Pewter or Plastic? What weight do you prefer in your non brush hand? Do you caress or cast your dice towards statistical oblivion?

The Itch; When was the last time you got your fix? Stroked the brush, rolled the dice, spontaneously added to lead mountain? I FEEL the itch :)

I see lead you? :)

Friday, 26 October 2012


Not so much a musing as a rant though one with, hopefully, a purpose as a try out for a new line of post as part of the whole enforced hobby break thing. A view from the sidelines if you will.

Nothing wrong with a rant as long as it has a point to make. I've read quite a few that I've enjoyed greatly and have made me have a good think.

So today's subject is re-blogging. Some time ago I chatted on about competitive blogging having noticed a number of offenders afflicting various blog groups / rings etc.

Recently I've noticed the phenomenon of re-blogging as a single post as in a post that's a link to someone else's post. Originally I was unimpressed seeing such an act as hijacking someone's time, effort and insight. All in all a further mutant strain of the filler post.

My ire has been liberally fuelled by the fact that I've regularly scrolled through TGNs blog roll to find the original two down from the re-blog. Grrrrr.....
Being a quizzical / sucker sort of a chap I've still continued to follow through on a few of said posts that had caught my eye. I have to admit that I've stumbled upon a few posts and blogs that I was rather pleased to find and seen my watch-list grow such as THIS ONE!!

So hypocrite or convert? Feel free to let me know :)

To me it seems, as ever with the blog- o-sphere a matter of quality and repetition. By this I mean primarily on the part of the re-blogger.

Do they offer their own quality product? Do they need to if the link leads you to the end of a rainbow?

How does the original poster feel about the whole thing? Is this a form of flattery or battery?
I've been linked to a couple of times and been quite chuffed :)

What's the motivation? Share the love or pad the profile out a bit?

Does anyone (else) care??.............

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Only H.U.M.A.N

Should set out my stall now and admit to the first instalment of a two part vaguely related post.

Bolt action!
Made it down to the club last Tuesday for the first time in a while. Bit of a test run for how my recently extended hobby commute might work out. Was only about for a couple of hours in the end but enjoyed catching up with the toys-boys (no innuendo, no Zs).

When I've been explaining my miniature affliction to a "normal" I've almost always attempted to draw attention to the social side of what might otherwise appear to be a rather solitary hobby.

It suddenly occurs that video games are far more reclusive, offline definitely online on slightly less so, where the proper nerds need to congregate and, possibly, not just for mutual protection.

But I digress which might become more of a regular feature :)

So in short I didn't roll any dice but still got to immerse myself for a bit. The 40K infestation reared its head briefly as I sought out and then flicked through the Chaos Codex wondering how viable a cultist base force might be.

I feel the pain!

Flicking through the various unit entries considering their relative stats points and special rules I realised that I didn't have the blindest clue anymore when, some years ago, I had the second sight that allowed me to pick out worthy vassals from the pages themselves.
Not so sure that's such a bad thing :)

A few of the guys were running through some Bolt Action action four to the table learning as the game played through. Positive human experience +1.

Two of the 40K games featured Gaurd deployed behind Aegis Defence Lines which I'm aware are now part of the army list.

I was then joyfully informed by one such player how "We've already broken this game!" and how scenery can be traded in for groups of static quad autocannons. I scurried away as he informed his how "we've worked out that I could get 21 on the table!"

I closed the codex and gratefully returned it to its owner. Positive Human Experience -1. Or am I being a bit harsh??

So back at the apparent point a lot of this geek-tastic hobby revolves around actual human interaction which to some might be something of a surprise. The quality of that interaction, and its relevant importance to those engaged within it, may vary but it's always there.

Live long and prosper my friend :)

Saturday, 6 October 2012

That was the month (and a half) that wasn't

Hello people!

So as some of you may have noticed September was an utter non-event on here. I have now moved and the vast majority of my stuff is now in boxes up a loft. As such I can pretty much guarantee non more Painting Points this year. Bit of a shame in some ways well worth it in other non-hobby / geek related areas :)

Yes it's all about a girl! Not a boast post (honest!) but relevant because WE are in the process of buying a house. Three bed with conservatory and garage. Further relevance is that I've been guaranteed a games room of some description probably by doing some work on the garage.

So recently I've been reduced to being a browser rather than a blogger whilst contemplating how to keep things spinning along on here. I've finally had the epiphany of providing a view from the fence during my enforced hobby abstinence preferably when I have something relevant to comment upon.

So without further ado I took a lunchtime breath of air around Leadenhall Market the other day and took a wander into Waterstones to browse the graphical novels only to find this lot proudly displayed at the front of the store. Bit of a mix along the nerd-o-meter I grant you but I still never expected to stumble upon Magic and Zombies!! and Warhammer Invasion in my nerdiest of dreams.
So the question; Is geek becoming more mainstream? Is it just a case of more.... ahem.... exposure? Do we all owe Big Bang so much to be able to come out of the closet more freely.

Over the past few months I've discovered a few nerds-in-arms at work mainly when caught browsing at lunch. Somehow it seems so much more socially acceptable. Is there more of a divergence as more "traditional" board game offerings make more headway into the hobby from Settlers of Catan to Zombiecide and many tabletop conversions to board-top and card game?

In offering some form of conclusion I'd suggest that geek in general has become somewhat more acceptable or at least we're less afraid of coming out from behind the lead mountain. Surely this has to be a good thing.... :)

Just out of interest this is my first blog by app! No internet at the current abode :( Not sure if I've uploaded the photos properly but were about to find out and I'm sure I can fix bits on the work stand-alone at lunch tomorrow. Assuming I can get everything to work then blogging while travel will become a regular thing.

So without further ado.......

EDIT: Only thing seems to be that Blogger app sticks all the photos at the bottom of the post or at least I haven't worked out how to put htem anywhere else.......yet. Minor victory!!

Friday, 31 August 2012

All Slow Ahead

Getting down to the distasteful business of packing up my toys and paints I realised that I have now fully painted up the DW French starter box fleet so here you are and I'm well pleased with them. I also have the Toulon Cruisers and the subs done but the Ecuyer Cruisers didn't quite make it so not a fully painted project just yet!

Two heavy flyers and six more destroyers nets me another 10 Painting Points though these will be the last until I get myself re-established which may take a little while.

Until that time I'll concentrate on gaming and have selected a few sets of figures to leave at the club for ease. Space-Hulk, Dystopian, Mordheim, Gladiators, the Oni and a portion of the AWI / TAM stuff plus whatever else I blag in onto. Re-establishing roleplay is another option.

As with every move I've had something of a clear-out and its quite scary how heavily I've "hobby-slimmed" over the last few years with the painted percentage rising substantially. This has also radically reduced my current projects list and the upside is that it'll let me reset somewhat.

Once I'm back up and running I can see my SAGA LOTR Orcs getting some time along with the AWI / TAM stuff. The break may just have saved me from the 40K infestation as odds are that I won't get reestablished until the end of the club's campaign.

Near miss? You tell me!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Flying High

Just a quick one as I managed to find some time this afternoon to get some paint on my DW French Voltaire heavy flyers. In the end it was much easier to follow the tiny flyers scheme through than I thought it might be.

Possibly a little bit simple but I'm more than happy with them and the contrast that the whole air aim provides against the surface fleet. They need a bit of highlight and the bases sorting out, along with the Marseilles cruisers, but they're almost there.

Meanwhile the final six destroyers have just been washed and I've built and sprayed my Ecuyer squadron. Very keen to get this project finished before the enforced break that will be brought by moving.

Bon chance as some might say :)

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Creeping Infestation II

Well that didn't take very long........ The paypal account is now empty as impulse drew me in to picking up three AT-43 Oni Tac-Arms,or should that be Nurgle Terminator proxies to go with the three I already have which is just one away from the sacred number if you remember that sort of thing.

It was only after I parted with my virtual folding that it occurred to me that rather than outing the Dark Angels of the Dark Vengeance set that I'm still wary of buying I could use them as fallen modelling on various degrees of plague / rust / ruin etc.

Once again the froth seems to be building and my mind has gone into over-drive as to how I could put together a Nurgle cult force for a game that I'd apparently decided that I'd never touch again with any form of bargepole :/

One option, which my wallet seems to be following already, is to pick up some Oni vehicle support via E-Bay as and when bits come up. About the same price as GW bu pre-built and block coloured I also really like the look / design of them.

Got one of these in Green / Sand washed and weathered sporting Tau decals for a Manga look. Fluff would be a rogue Bio-Engineered super-soldier project turned fully to Father Nurgle.

The APC would work nicely as a Rhino or Chimera and being non GW would allow me to go either way to field alternative list via use / abuse of ALLIES.
Got one of these to but done nothing with it. To be honest I find the cannon somewhat oversized but I'm sure I can shorten the barrel without a problem.

Could easily run as a Russ, Basilisk, Predator or Vindicator. Possibly even as something particularly funky from the Forgeworld garage. Could add some of their secondary weapon kits.

Haven't got one of these or it's ramapaging owner but I'm very sure I'd like to! All sorts of options as a command or scout vehicle whilst the man himself could be good as a lesser Lord or warped Psyker type.

Combined with a possible swap-out of the Dark Angels with a willing participant and I have a substatial sized Sci-Fi army of grizzled scumbags willing to invade any set or rules you might like to profer.

It does occur that I might like to look at possible army lists at some point. Dodgy PDFs of the current Chaos and Gaurd codexes would be next I suppose followed by the new Chaos Codex whenever it appears.

Not sure if there's any form of Traitor Gaurd codex knocking about. I'm sure Google will let me know :)

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Thinning the Ranks??

Hello people, longtime no nothing.

I am potentially moving abode in the near-ish future and as such I've recently E-Bay'd the outstanding painted Orcs. Didn't get as much as I'd hoped but nothing terrible. The built and basecoated ones may follow just as they are as I'd rather not put the time and effort in for minimal return.

So there is a few quid knocking about in PayPal burning the metaphorical pocket.

And with 40K running ever stronger down at Enfield Gamers one potential purchase may be the upcoming Dark Vengeance boxed set. The apparent £65 felt a bit stinging but then I got sight of the figures involved and OH MY GOD!! Double 6 on a morale check and run for the credit card!

As if by the design of the ruinous powers themselves the chaos force is probably just what I would have been looking at to blend in with my AT-43 Oni zombie types to form a Nurgle cult army.

I haven't got any spare sprues anymore but I'm sure I could make do with the greatest of ease as I'd probably out the Dark Angels. September 1st suddenly looms large though I'd just have to pack it away which might not be the worst idea as that way I already had it when I arrived if you know what I mean :)

Still feel wary about the whole thing but there you go. Once bitten twice shy but there you go.

We'll see :)

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Vive La Difference III

Well I think its part III but it's taken so long that I honestly can't remember.

More importantly I've finished the Masrseille Cruisers the Epulard Submarines and the last five stand of tiny flyers for a total of 15 Painting Points and seem to have got back into a bit of a rythem with the brush.

Same scheme carried through, which I'm now more than happy with, though basing reared it's head with this batch. TO be honest I made something of a mess of the cruiser bases during construction so I've resorted to a coat of black which I'll now have to carry through the rest of the fleet.

The subs came with contoured bases which I've left simple rather than going for the apparently fashionable extreme higlight "A Perfect Storm" look. I did drybrush up through a few mid blues over a base of Regal finishing with a touch of Shadow Grey. A wash of Green and then thinned Blue found the result that I was after :)

Should probably do the same for the crusiers eh?

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Creeping Infestation

Good evening one and all. First off I am pleased to report that I am physically recovered from various bouts of the lurgy.

As I've blogged repeatedly I've been slowly preparing to finally definitely cut the cord on GW and other than holding onto Mordheim, Necromunda and Blood Bowl finally turn my back on their games systems and continue my hobby life in blissful ignorance of whatever they wave at the masses in the future.

So a strange thing happened at the club tonight......I played a 500 point game of 6th Edition 40K.

It all started a couple of weeks ago when Rich picked up a discounted semi-whim copy via a contact who assured him it was definitely worth a go. From there a few of the guys blew dust off figures and codexes and suddenly a 500pt campaign was being touted.

Last week I looked on with interest before playing a game of Zombies!!! noting a few interesting mechanic changes and an apparent shift towards firepower over assault. This week there was no "escape route" and I borrowed Shaun's Marines to take on Nick's Imperial Guard.
Having watched Nick floor Shaun with "1st rank, 2nd rank" fire across an open plain I first placed as much scenery as possible to limit lines of fire [like the scenery deployment rules] and then took advantage of  deploying second to deploy everything far left.

Early doors I did incredibly well at losing my Devastator squad to incredibly poor dice rolls whilst wondering why I bothered to hide them in a wood [no cover save if you have your normal armour save]. The few frag missiles that I did kick out weren't overly effective as all blast markers automatically scatter [though I quite like the BS modifier thing]. It did leave me feeling apprehensive for Ork players :/

Thankfully Nick's Master of Ordnance was even more inaccurate though the appearance of Sly Marbo spelt plenty of marine death. He was at least good enough to take himself out in the blast though

After that mobile short-range rapid-firing bolters proved their effectiveness and carried the day for me. Another nice touch is bonus victory points for claiming first blood, killing the enemy commander and moving into the enemy deployment zone. Cool sort of side-plot thing.
Haven't played any of the other scenarios, fairly obviously, but I've heard nothing but good things. Sceptical as I was keen to be on one 500pt game everything flows well. "Cinematic" is a phrase I've heard thrown about amongst the blurb / froth and that's the feel I got.

Scarily I found myself discussing the upcoming starter set with mini-rulebook, no way I'm coughing £45, and how the chaos figures would fit in well with the Oni and GI figures I already have. Could really go for a Nurgle / zombie cultist theme...........slippery slope?

I did grasp at the straw of being unhappy at paying £25 for a codex only to be referred to and offered one of many knock off PDFs.

Just when I thought I was out...........I find myself pulling myself back in!!