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? :)