Friday, August 12, 2016

The OmniGamer

It's become something of a joke, both that I make about myself and by friends that know me well enough, that I tend to spread myself a little thin when it comes to my gaming choices.  In the typical banter among friends that one can experience at the game store or on Facebook, there has been an interesting question posited in my direction multiple times in recent weeks:

"Is there a game you don't play/have models for?"

Well, yeah.  I mean, of course there is.  We tabletop gamers live in a time of plenty, where there are more games and lines of miniatures available than any sane person could even hope to be a participate in.  But I'll be damned if some of us don't try!

Actually, ironically, my wife and I were recently discussing personality traits and characteristics as defined by a book in our collection.  In this particular version, it uses the ennaagram types (9 total), and, as you might expect, we were reading it together and trying to classify each other. To make a long story short, everyone has a combination of different traits, but my main one is Number #7: The Enthusiast.  While there is a "good/healthy loop"  and a "bad/unhealthy loop" for each one, the basic idea for the Enthusiast is "a fear of being deprived or missing out" with the defining keyword being "Anticipation", which is definitely a simple explanation of my internal struggles.  I actually, legitimately stress myself out over my miniatures.  I need to assemble this, or I need to paint those to have them ready to use, or I need to acquire these to complete this list, etc., etc.  I'm never a person who "finishes" an army, nor am I one that can be content with a paint job on an army past a couple of years.  I'm hoping that now my painting skills have plateaued enough to prevent this, but who knows?  I'm clearly a crazy person. :P 



Primarily I'm writing this post to catalog/list my sickness, with the hopes that in looking at it in a compiled format I can tempt/shame myself to makes some cuts and lessen the stress I place on myself with my toy collection.  A wise friend told me yesterday, "The more games I get into, the less of each I get to play."  It's something I've known for quite some time, but having it verbalized back at me sparked in my mind the curious thought of how I must look to other people.

Pathetic?  Spoiled?  I honestly don't know, but I do care.  

When I stop to think about it, though, how can I actually be passionate about all of it?  Why do I feel like I need to belong to or claim every different game? 







GAMES:


Warmachine:


This is my oldest game, and the genesis of my sickness.  Faction creep saw me build, paint, and play every single faction available at least once from the span of 2003 to 2011.  This is also the game that began my unfortunate backlog.  Once upon a time, I bought a model, assembled it, painted it, and played with it.  At some point I began trading on Bartertown, and I would get thrills by trading up, acquiring armies that had been nerfed or were at a downswing in popularity and then saving them for their inevitable swing back into high demand, acquiring more and more each time.  I actually haven't even played this game in a few years, having become disenchanted with the tournament mindset the game sets out to achieve.

Currently I'm sitting on a brand new Convergence army, waiting for the right inspiration to get to work on it.  A handful of other things are around from over the years (I always kept at least one model from each army I traded or sold off), but I don't really have any usable armies anymore that are assembled and ready to play.

Age of Sigmar:


Never being a Warhammer kid, I only got into Warhammer Fantasy in more recent years after reconnecting with a good friend who played it as his game of choice.  I built a small Ogre (now Ogor) army but only ever used it once or twice, and have since acquired too much of this stuff for any sane person that hasn't really even played it.  Age of Sigmar itself is very exciting to me, though, and I love pretty much everything about it.  This is one that I am very anxious to get a force together and play.  

STILL the coolest piece of art I've ever seen for a miniatures game



Warhammer 30k/40k:


Word Bearers with Mechanicum, some Dark Eldar, and Blood Angels.  Largely picked up stuff because everyone seems to play this, but the power gaming that tends to be the norm around here is definitely a turn off and honestly intimidating.  It's also one that seems empowered by peoples' negativity, and that gets old immediately for me.

Beyond the Gates of Antares:


My new favorite game to play, for sure.  My Boromites are my current favorite miniatures I own, and are spread across my workbench in various stages of assembled and painting this very moment.  I also have the two-player starter (Concord and Ghar) but I've not done anything with it yet besides put the rulebook and templates to good use.  This game isn't going away anytime soon for me.

Boromites are cooler than whatever faction it is that you like

Infinity:


This game... I don't know.  I really love it, I think.  This game suffers, for me, from being very complicated.  There are a lot of details to remember for this game, even just in what you can and cannot do, and it requires a lot of focus.  As evidenced here, I'm spread too thin to be any good at it!  It's only so much fun, both for me and for my potential opponent, if I'm sitting there trying to figure out how to do things for the whole game.  The models and the background are phenomenal, though.  Currently sitting on sizeable forces for both Aleph and Haqqislam, and a bit of Ariadna as well.  I have struggled with trying to make myself get rid of some of it but I can never make myself do it!


Dark Age:


This game is like a sickness, for me.  I really love it.  This game has maybe my favorite story/background of any miniatures game that I play, and it has amazing models all-round.  It's doubly difficult for me to rid myself of any of it because I'm a Legion member for the company produces it (CMON), and they pay for the time I spend demoing or running tournaments or whatever with more toys!  I have... well, I have a lot of it.  Stacks.  Boxes.  Wanna play some Dark Age?

Outcasts gunna wreck ya

Wrath of Kings:

What a damned cool game this is.  Also made by CMON, this is a more army-sized fantasy combat game where Dark Age is the sci-fi skirmish.  I Kickstarted this one, and actually have a nearly-fully-painted army of Nasier, as well as a work-in-progress Teknes army.  I will hopefully be playing a lot more of this game, I'm just waiting for the hype cycle to come back around on it and have my friends want to it play it again.  This kinda replaced Warmachine for me for a time, as it feels similarly sized on the tabletop.

"Fall of Oni's Bane"

Marvel Universe Miniatures Game:


Made by Knight Models, the game itself is a little goofy but the models are the 12 year-old comic nerd that lives in my heart's dream.  We've actually been playing this a bit, with intent to play more soon.  

My most recent project: Mr. Magnet Man

Batman Miniatures Game:


The other side of the coin to the Marvel game, but with much less super powers and more tactical decision making.  I'm sure we'll get back to it, but Marvel has taken its place.

Pulp City:


A unique super hero miniatures game, I picked up some of the models and the rulebook in a kickstarter.  Still haven't managed to play it, but we likely will really soon to see how the rules differ from the Marvel game.  If they're much better (which they kinda look like they will be), we'll use the Marvel miniatures and characters and mix them into this game's ruleset.

Relic Knights:


Kickstarted this, and actually managed to get rid of a lot of it because no one else was really interested.  I kept my stuff for the Paladin faction and the Speed Circuit faction, and would love to actually have a reason to assemble and paint and play it.  Maybe someday.  ;)

GorkaMorka:


After a short-lived stint of a local revival of this game last year, my work schedule got in the way of us maintaining it and it kind of died. I'm still itching to get back to work on my Diggas because the modeling aspect of this silly game is just so much fun.  Check out some previous blogs for my crazy vehicles.

Just... mayhem.

Arena Rex:


I really should just buckle down and paint my stuff for this beautiful game.  A couple of good friends are all about it, but I've just never managed to latch on to it.

Judge Dredd:


I love Judge Dredd as a character and a comic book.  I have some of the models and the rulebook, but I've never gotten to play it.  That kinda sums it up. 

Bushido:


Models look awesome, I love samurai/Japanese culture stuff, and the game is a small commitment in terms of it being skirmish with a handful of models for each side.  I picked up a few models for two different factions and the rulebook on a whim in a clearance sale, but I've still not gotten to actually play it.  Really want to, though.

Guild Ball:


I only have a simple starter box for the Alchemists, but I am extremely curious about this game.  It seems like it might be amazing.  And I'm not even a sports guy. :/ Unfortunately the only other person locally who's invested *also* picked up Alchemists, and way more of them than I have, so I need to find a new faction.  Maybe Union?  (See how this addiction works?  SEE!?)

Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit:


I'm a fantasy nerd.  Can't be helped.  I enjoy collecting these as much as anything else, so they're really in the list on a technicality.  I'm hoping to play it with my sons at some point when they're a little older though, as the ruleset is pretty simple.  Plus GW is bringing it back as just the "Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game" so I'm glad I've kept it all!  

Wasteman:


I've written past blogs about it, but I picked this up largely out of the inspiration it gave me in its creation.  The brainchild of a single man (all rules, art, sculpting, etc.) the game is super goofy and 80's, which I just love, so I bought into the kickstarter.  Actually haven't really gotten to play in any significant way yet, as only one person I know cared enough to also pick it up.  Very much a small, "indie" game.

I'm not even sure the little punk pig on the hood has rules, but he's my favorite of the ones I've painted so far!

MERCS:


Tiny little skirmish game that I've not gotten to play since it originally released years ago, but that might change soon.  At least it's fully painted!

Deep Wars:


Underwater setting skirmish game that we picked up starters for at Adepticon a few years ago, but only played a couple of times.  I like to think we'll go back to it because the models are gorgeous and the ruleset is really unique, but there are just so many other things to play.
 

 X-Wing:


I'm included this here because, as a part of my sickness, I don't want to play with any models that I didn't paint myself.  That means I repaint all of these things.  I'm a glutton for punishment.  I do love playing it, though, even if I hate the tournament mindset that a lot of people have about it.

Confetti Squadron, fall in!

Star Trek Attack Wing:


Star Trek version of X-Wing that I totally like better than X-Wing.  Yeah, I said it.  I like Star Wars more than Trek, overall, but I think the ruleset for this style of game is more fun with the way Attack Wing implements it.  Worth a note that I'm a faction purist, though, and only play all Federation ships.  I'm not a fan of the aspect in the ruleset where you can combine any ships from any faction incurring various points penalties, allowing some crazy combos which is how the tournament gamers play.  

Star Wars Armada:


Have the first wave of stuff from release, and have played it a handful of times.  It's definitely very good, but I'm just not sure that it can keep my interest.

Firestorm Armada:


I have a fleet of Terran ships that I've gotten to play once or twice, and this is basically the space fleet game I wanted.  It suffers a similar problem to Infinity, though, in its just a tad too complicated to be casual about it.  It needs some study.

*DUN DUUUN DUNNNNNNNN*

Firestorm Planetstrike:


Sitting in the boxes, one friend and I picked up starters on the cheap during a clearance sale with idyllic dreams of playing out fleet battles with Armada and simultaneous ground battle with Planetstrike, but we've never managed to make it happen.

Dreadball:


Man, screw Mantic.  Fooled me into kickstarting this game, acquired too many teams because of how they flooded the free stuff into the pledges, and then they ran the value of it in the ground and released ridiculous additions to the rules in multiple new kickstarter campaigns, outdating everything before I even got a chance to use it.  The base game itself is pretty fun, but damn did Mantic just trash it.  Plus the models kinda sucked. They even just did a Dreadball 2.0 kickstarter in the last week or so!  Never again, Mantic.  Never again.



Wild West Exodus:


Sigh.  I am remiss to even list this game, because I kind of don't want to give it any more attention for someone new.  Long story made very short, I kickstarted this game and got very involved with it, both in the sense of it taking over my hobby time and in my involvement with the community.  Turned out the owner was a horrific piece of shit.  I will never give that company another dime.  Unfortunately, the game is fun (if sloppy) and the models are really cool.  So... yeah.

Picture of the models I painted one time for a painting contest, won anonymously, then lost when they found out it was me.  Joy.

Konflict '47 (Bolt Action):


Just getting into this one, and currently waiting on the British starter box to release.  Some cool people are going to play it and I've grown to trust Warlord games, so why not? Plus I'll get to use that box of British Bolt Action soldiers I bought but then never did anything with! ;)


So I guess that kinda sums it up, aside from the random one-offs or boutique lines of miniatures that are just for collecting or proxying into a game, or board games filled with miniatures (Zombicide, Super Dungeon Explore, Myth, etc.).  I'm not sure if this has proven therapeutic, honestly.  Even just sitting here typing it I've been coming up with mental excuses to not let any of it go.

There is another aspect to this, though.  Have you ever heard of misery shopping?  It's basically the idea of being unhappy or frustrated or stressed, and then buying new things to make yourself feel better for a brief time.  There are times where my job has me very stressed, and I know I've scoured eBay or Bartertown for cheap deals on more than one occasion as a result.  It kinda feels like cheating on a diet at the time, because you know you shouldn't, that you probably won't be happy later about it... but you do it anyway.

Maybe I should just work on self control?





 
 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Tale of Wrath - Post Numero Uno

I've been meaning to write about some Wrath of Kings for quite a while, now.

For real!  I'm serious!

This game has become my main tabletop game (aside from its older brother Dark Age) that I am able to play on the regular, with our group even establishing a once-a-week game night for it.  I've been getting curb stomped with my Nasier repeatedly since... garsh, like November or thereabouts.

Hey, I'm a painter, not a tactician.  Don't look at me like that.

ANYWAY!  Our group has somehow amassed around 8 people... but no Teknes players.  Having a few Teknes models laying around from the Kickstarter, I decided to take it upon myself and become our group's Teknes contingent.  Luckily for me, at the same time the folks over at SCREWED-UP-DICE have started up a paint and play initiative focused on Wrath of Kings, called "Tale of Wrath".



So, the good-news-made-even-better-news about your interest here on P.O.W.'s focus on Wrath of King's Teknes faction is that, should you decide you want to see blogs about the game's other factions (you traitor!), they are readily available on S.U.D.'s hub page:  Tale of Wrath Hub (http://www.screwedupdice.com/p/taleofwrath-hub.html)  You could still even sign up yourself, should you want!

Okay, now, back to me.


The logo of the Teknes peoples of all shapes and sizes.

Teknes is a funny choice for me, because upon first looking at the game, they were easily tied for last place alongside the werewolf/vampire horde of Goritsi.  It's not that I didn't appreciate their fiction or their slice of the world, because on that front they're possibly my favorite.  It's that they're weird as hell.

In Wrath of Kings, each faction has a kind of... underlying aesthetic and theme.  Nasier are demon summoning, kabuki mask wearing samurai, mostly, and are aggressive individualists.  Shael Han are the Golden East, with lots of cool dragon imagery, and they are profoundly synergistic with each other in battle.  Goritsi are, as mentioned, vampires and werewolves and dark European aristocracy, lashing out with high speed and maneuverability.  Hadross are the ocean-dwelling children of the Old Ones, with anthropomorphized sharks, jellyfish, crabs, etc, ready to slow creep across the field in a dense group, take a punch to the face, and punish you for it.  And then finally, you have Teknes.  They're kind of like communist Russia, but with technology and mutants?  They're the mad scientist faction, and they wear armor, and... I don't even know.  They seem to be the median of everything else, nestling comfortably in the middle of the pack, jack-of-all-trades.  Their troopers seem decent, their specialists really good, and their leaders trying desperately to make everything else better than just decent.

Here is a good example of what I'm talking about:

Left-to-right:  A Union Worker, the C.O.R.E., and a Lineman
On the left, we have the regular trooper/infantry/grunt/whatever that is a Union Worker.  These pigmen are what I see typically associated with the Teknes faction, and what people tend to think of first.  They're cheap, they get better when they get hurt, and their leader is literally a dude named the Union Boss with a whip.  These pigmen were normal people once: criminals, "volunteers", and the like, before getting a large dose of Science.

In the middle, we have the specialist unit called a C.O.R.E., which by his being a specialist means he fits into a different slot of the army composition making him limited.  He's a funky robot who either just dropped a phat beat at the turn tables, or dissed yo momma, or was astounded by the lack of an opposing werewolf's fashion sense.  I mean, just look at that left hand!

And finally on the right, we have the regular, steampunk-armor-wearing infantry dude, simply called a Lineman.  They're cheap like pigs, but more of a defensive piece, with rules to "rescue" friendly models from engagements by moving them around.  These guys are going to be my bread-n-butta.

Oh, and there's these things as a troop choice, as well:

Floating psychic murder babies.  Yeah.
 So, like I said... weird.

I have to give credit where it's due, though, and say that the sheer originality of the Teknes is surprisingly refreshing.  Also, while I wasn't crazy about a lot of their models from seeing pictures, actually having them in hand makes a world of difference, and I think they've maybe become my favorite?  Stockholm syndrome, maybe?  I don't even know.  But now I think they're rad as hell.

So that brings us to this:

A faction starter box, and a heap more of the Linemen
Now I have to say, and not just because I'm a fan of the game, either... but I have to say, Wrath of Kings has the best faction starter boxes I've ever seen in a miniatures game.  They are affordable at a retail price of $70.00, and they are absolutely packed to the gills with models.  We're talking full field-able army at the mid-tier range (not the "intro" tier, but typical mid-tier game size).

So many models. So. Many. Models.
Now, like I said, the Linemen are my jam.  Wrath of Kings is a game with a slotted composition system, simply meaning you're allowed X number of "ranks" (points, essentially, but all models are either 1 or 2, respectively) of infantry, X number of "ranks" for leaders, X for specialists.  That's literally as complicated as it gets.  So you're able to slot in however you like, but paying heed to obvious bonuses of something like having the Union Boss on the table leading the Union Workers for the best effect.  I'm going to build primarily Linemen, with *maybe* a small group of unionized pig people.

Even just a box of infantry comes with tons of dudes AND two leaders!
Also of note, every model in these boxes comes individually bagged, making organizing assembly and storage of the remainder much more convenient (no big sprues to cut up, here).

Much convenient. Yes.
And that's, basically, an unboxing of one of these things, too.  Just a pile of those bags and a heap of bases.

And now... assembly!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

WASTEMAN... Let's talk about it.


THAT is one hell of a logo, right there.


WASTEMAN... Let's talk about it.

*setting the Way Back Machine to February 2015...*

Sometime in February of 2015, I became aware of a company called ThunderChild Miniatures (TCM hereafter, and for reference: http://www.tcminiatures.co.uk/) by way of various ads that had popped up in my Facebook feed.  As a certified miniature junkie, such ads for various companies and impending Kickstarters are commonplace on my feed; in fact, that's basically all that I utilize Facebook for in the first place.  But these... these caught my eye.  They were bright, colorful, and absolutely oozing with style.  I had to know more.

How could you *not* be intrigued by a teaser like this?
One of MANY ads, this one showcasing the "Kritters" faction

Cut to March 7, and the Kickstarter for WASTEMAN, the premier game from TCM, launches.  I remember it vividly, in fact, because I was so anxious for the launch to begin I was actually the first backer.  I was, apparently, that crazy weirdo rabid fan.  I ultimately backed the project at a level that would get me one of everything available in the Kickstarter.

Now, you have to understand something about TCM and how it relates to me.  TCM is a company that is run by literally one man.  A single person with an idea and the motivation to make it happen.  A single person to create the game rules, the artwork, the digital elements (website design/maintenance, etc.), the sculpting, the photography, the marketing, the "studio" painting, the casting, the shipping, the paperwork... All of it.  This fact, all by itself, typically will get me on board with a project if only because I personally want to see a fellow artist succeed (assuming I believe they deserve to succeed based on the quality of the work, of course). 

The project was run tightly, with a myriad of updates and a flurry of posts at the end to bring the overall project well into the success column.  I was ecstatic, legitimately.  It felt like a personal victory, seeing something I felt so strongly deserved to succeed in this gaming climate we find ourselves in where big established companies with teams of people are running projects on the very same platform and making, literally, millions of dollars.

Over the course of the past year, TCM has been wonderfully transparent with updates about the creation process, letting the backers know each time a milestone had been reached.  Updates for the printing of the rulebook, the casting of the models (now in metal, cast by a third party due to the quantity), etc., were all posted up in a timely fashion to keep the project backers in the loop.

And now, nearly a year later, here we are.  The product (or at least most of it, Phase 2 will only be 5 models or so) is finally in hand.  Let the objective review begin!


I'm a wordy son of a bitch.  So sue me.


Now, the first thing to understand is that TCM is a company run out of Europe, and I happen to be an American (hey don't blame me, I don't like Trump, either; we're a bunch of crazies over here apparently).  This means that while TCM did manage to start sending out packages very close to the scheduled goal of November 2015, the first packages sent out were smaller bundles, and apparently the more local ones to the business.  Because of this, I've only just received mine, and you can read the date on this post as well as I can.  Am I mad/hurt/angry/thrashing in self-righteous despair?  No, not at all.  It was a brutal wait, certainly, watching other backers get their toys, but it was worth it.

THE MINIATURES:

All of the minis I've received thus far (not counting ones ordered direct from TCM's "Rad Town Ruins" line) are of the metal variety.  The minis themselves are 90%+ single-piece sculpts, with only maybe 3 or 4 having multiple pieces and needing to be assembled.  Because of this and the style of the sculpting, the minis only have a single mold line running up one side, across the top, and down the other, and it's usually very easy to scrape/file off.  I've not found a mini yet with any mold slippage offset.  They were cast cleanly and obviously inspected well for defects.

Now, I'm going to say something, and I want you to read it and take it in before you read the justification below it.  You know, just as an interesting social experiment.  See how it makes you feel.  Note your gut reaction, and what it inherently means to you.

These minis feel old.

Depending on how you read that, and your personal experience in the hobby, it could mean a wide variety of different things to you.  What that statement means to ME is a very good thing.

TCM's miniatures are all hand sculpted, and the artist's style is very evident in the sculpting itself.  These are not miniatures produced in painstaking, sterile detail on a computer screen, printed out and cast up in bulk in a Chinese factory.  These are individual pieces, sculpted at scale.  The robots have sometimes lumpy, sometimes inconsistent metal plating.  The humans having bulging faces and inconsistent weaponry.  The ladies are thick, and the men bulky.  They invoke in me a nostalgia not just for the miniatures of yesteryear, but for the time period they so powerfully invoke.

These are miniatures with a heart and soul.

And that's not to say I love all of the sculpts, because seriously, I honestly don't.  And that's a good thing. The range has a healthy variety, and I shouldn't necessarily think everything is equally wonderful.  But I appreciate every last piece, and I recognize what went into their creation, and I'm glad to put them on my shelf.  There are some miniatures in this line I will never put on the table, but at the same time, there are some that I will practically giggle with glee about every time I put them down to play.

The miniatures are rather large, as well, compared to the typical industry standards.  They are roughly 35mm scale if not a little larger, and many of what might have been humans at one time but can no longer claim as such are meant to stand taller.

A typical man-sized mini (roughly a bit bigger than your average Space Marine), and one of the Behemoth models in the line

The quality of these miniatures is apparent, and the craftsman's hand is obvious; these are not your everyday mechanical sculpts, nor should they be.


THE RULES:

My actual rulebook, photographed in the midst of my unboxing.

The rulebook itself is of a surprising quality, I will be the first to admit.

I'm a harsh critic of anything written to be published, and sloppy writing is a huge buzzkill for me.  Needless to say, having never seen anything from TCM in regards to a rulebook or published material aside from the website, I was nervous.  Not because the website led me to believe it would be bad (quite the opposite, actually), but because I know that it's a sticking point for me and it could very easily kill the emotional momentum I had built up for myself.

The book itself is well put together, similar to a Warhammer codex/armybook from days past.  It's a softbound book, but large, and full color!

The writing inside is clean and concise, and while not much time is spent on the background of the game's world (but certainly enough to make the wheels start turning in your own brain), even the rule explanations play with a backdrop of in-world terminology and explanation.  This makes reading the rules *feel* better, and without a doubt more entertaining, than a simple list of do's and don'ts.

Model entries themselves are not listed in the book with the sole exception of Behemoths (the largest models in the game, all of which are played on the table in a different manner than the typical denizens of the wasteland).  While I personally would have loved to see more background for the individual characters, we do at least get base-line descriptions for the different "factions" of the game, helping a player put some motivation behind their favorite pieces on the table.


Why do all of my pictures involve the "Kritters"?  Is my subconscious trying to tell me something?

Lastly, I was pleasantly surprised to find a handful of very interesting and stylistically varied scenarios in the back of the book, giving players a good group of options to get started playing and a wonderful jumping off point for ideas on creating our own scenarios.

Also of note, the game itself plays with a deck of cards (called M.A.D. Cards) that add random elements to the game where players can accumulate them as they play and invoke dastardly circumstances to occur throughout the course of a game.  The rules written on the cards are easy to understand, and each card has its very own hand-painted piece of artwork.  Just incredible.

There are honestly quite a lot of different ones, too!


THE FUTURE:

One of the important things about games being published on Kickstarter that I feel is too often ignored in reviews like this one is the simple question, "Well, that's all great... but where is this game GOING?"

According to the creator, WASTEMAN is a game that's not going to stop any time soon.  The final Kickstarter packages were sent only a few days ago, and already the community is seeing previews of brand-new models that will be added to the online store soon.

Cannot get these guys soon enough!
According to the creator, he also has started work on the follow up book in the WASTEMAN world, complete with new models, new story, and new game mechanics.  Here's hoping we see something from it later this year!

On top of all that, TCM is putting together a newsletter of sorts, designed not only to keep us "Wastefans" informed, but to slow-drip original fictional content, artwork, music, etc.

Did I mention earlier that WASTEMAN has a soundtrack?  One that was completely created by TCM, all original music, in fact.  All of the backers should be receiving it as a digital download in the coming months.  Yeah, I know.  Absolutely bananas.

Not really relevant... but fun.  :D


OVERALL ASSESSMENT:

WASTEMAN is not a game for everyone.  It's a game with a unique and stylistic line of miniatures.  It's a game with a relatively simple rule set for tabletop play, but a rule set that inspires varied objectives and scenarios and seems to very much want for the gamers to form a narrative while they play.  It's a game mired deeply and un-apologetically in late 80's/early 90's styles with a hearty helping of metal music culture mixed in, yet manages to avoid the all-too-prevalent aggressively "retro" attitude some era entrenched properties showcase.

I repeat, WASTEMAN is not a game for everyone.  But it sure as hell is a game for me.

I mean, just look at this.  His name is LOWbot.  He's a little robot that punches things.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Step 42: Spread thinly and unevenly for mixed results

It's only been a month!  That's not so bad.  Right?  Time goes by so quickly for me that it doesn't feel long at all, at least.

So accurate.
That said, I've mired myself deep in new projects (because the incomplete projects I was already mired in weren't enough), both in an effort to complete some things I should have wrapped up a long ass time ago and because buying new toys is fun.  I'm also in somewhat of a mad dash to finish a handful of the bigger, terrain-based projects so that I can store them appropriately during the impending construction in our basement at home coming up all-too-swiftly.

So... where to start?

GORKAMORKA


Nope, I haven't forgotten or abandoned my Diggas, I've just been focused on other projects.  GorkaMorka is a game that I play with people who have a passion for it that isn't "flavor of the week", so I know that I can easily play with any member the dedicated handful of players so long as we plan on it a few days ahead.  That said, my only model painted so far is my Digganob, but I've made a couple of acquisitions to accompany my mob.  I'll also be switching out the ork driving Cassandra to a digga; I intend to focus on them completely.

My diggas will have a van-themed fleet (as much as I can maintain, anyway... van models aren't common, surprisingly).  I managed to snag this sweet model made sometime back in the late 70's for my main trukk, and may just have to search for more of this exact one because it's a good size:

Stickers are optional... but I'm leaning towards keeping them.
I also picked up some cool cardstock terrain on the cheap in order to get working on a more custom fort for the diggas.  I'm not sure what the final shape of it will be, as I tend to incorporate ideas as I build rather than make a strict plan and stick to it, but I'm excited to get working on it.






ARENA REX



Arena Rex is a 32mm gladiator combat game.  Literally 1 to 5 models, maximum, per side.  And it has probably the most intriguing hand-to-hand combat system I've ever seen in a game... This game has the potential to be my favorite tabletop game, ever, if it pans out like it appears it will.

Now, that said, go look at this shit:  http://arenarex.com/

Did you go look?  No?  Well, you're crazy.

Arena Rex has the best resin models I've ever seen produced for a game (so discounting strictly display-quality statues).  And by that I mean both the best sculpts AND the best quality of miniatures.

More traditional style gladiators of the Ludus Magnus, with my favorite model in the game Micon the brawler on the right.


The Legio XIII, a military sponsored group of combatants.

Essentially Arena Rex is an alternate history type of setting, where Rome never lost.  Like, ever.  At anything.  Also, mythical creatures are a thing.  This allows for multiple "factions" of models, like those shown above as well as the Morituri (Egyptians, more or less) and the Zephyri (Native/Viking-esque), plus monsters like a wendigo or the gorgons.  There are no points when building forces, simply number of models.  

I've made a bit more progress since these pictures, but you'll see these again along with more when I do a whole post about this, but... without further ado, I present Ludus Bellicosorum Pugnax.

Yup, those are Playmobile toys.  Wait for it...
It has begun!
Look forward to much more about this; it's going to be my best piece of terrain to date, I'm confident.  The board is 4' on the long side, so it's a very usable piece.



INFINITY


Our local club, the 423rd OverMountain Guard. 


Man oh man, prepare for some pictures. 

Infinity has taken a hold on the local group, and it's been interesting to be a part of overall.  Infinity is one of those games I eyeballed  and picked up a few things on the cheap for years, and then when I first met up with Hoss in the local group sometime over a year ago, I actually got to start playing it.  It's one of those games that can be obscenely complicated, yet is built around a simple framework, and works best if played out with each player having objectives and scenarios they need to complete that are different than "kill moar dudes".  We managed to bring in a few others (though I'll give all the credit to Hoss, being the local fanboy for the game, as I often am whoring myself out to a different game system week to week if I'm able), and learned that some folks like Da Masta Cheef had already had forces in the past and might be convinced to dust them off and play.  Fast forward to present and we're currently in the middle of a "grow league", which is a league designed around bringing in new people and having them build up to a typical-sized 300 point army over the course of 5 rounds.  In theory (and mostly in practice) this is a great idea.  It's gotten a lot of people playing, and it will hopefully mean that a game of Infinity will be easy to schedule for the immediate future.

That said, there are elements that wear on me.

I'm not an overtly competitive guy.  My wife would contend otherwise, and she honestly wouldn't be wrong when it comes to real-life applications, but when I'm gaming I'm playing to have a good time and create cool stories.  I'm playing toys.  I mean sure, it's fun to win, but it's only fun to win if both players had a good time.  Building a ridiculous army list and stomping someone who doesn't have a chance to win isn't fun, for instance.

Now, like I said, the Infinity league has 5 rounds.  The first 4 of those rounds, however, are the mission type "Annihilation", where the only goals are to kill as much of the enemy as possible while keeping as much of your force alive as you can.  Sure, starting in round 3 you get to start using Classified Objective cards (basically 2 randomly selected side objectives your specialist troops can complete), but the main point of the game is still the same.  And frankly I'm bored of it.  Infinity is setting up crazy terrain and making interesting objectives involving hackers and engineers and dropships and d-charge explosives and... well it's a lot more than just setting up in a fortified position and rolling dice, hoping your rolls are better than the other player's.  And because of that, I'm not feeling excited to go play as much because it's lacking in unexpected elements. 

I'm also not as excited because the league is somewhat competitive.  What I mean by that is there are points allotted to each player based on the events of a game, and those points are tallied in a spreadsheet, and certain players in the league like to bring it up constantly.  "I scored this many, and now I'm in contention for the lead, and I got these achievements, blah blah blah."  And no, to stop your train of thought, I'm not losing and thus don't like it because I'm whining.  I'm actually very close to the top and could really have a chance to win if I gamed for it... but ugh.  That's exactly my problem with it.  Instead of everyone building cool armies around a theme or aesthetic that they like, some people are trying hard to game the system in order to get points.  I know most people don't care, but to me that shit is annoying.  We're not playing in a tournament, we're playing in a league designed to get interested gamers more invested in the game and to get the interest of completely new players.

ANYWAY!  Minor rant aside, I've been playing a lot of Infinity lately.  Lol.

Typical game table set up at the group.
Fear the Fiday!  Perspective shot from the enemy Nomads' POV, where the Fiday had been laying down some shotgun blasts.  The Nomads got him back, though, giving him probably the most glorious death of any of the league games so far!

The majority of my Haqqislam stuff... I need to get painting.

I think this is all of the rest of it, minus a couple of Nomad Alguaciles that I can use in one of my sectorial forces.

Work-in-progress on my Janissary Fireteam, based on a pretty obvious theme.  ;)  The green one is actually a Nomad Mobile Brigada that can be included in the sectorial, so it made sense that he be the green "outsider" to the main team, but is still basically equivalent in capability.

My first finish Haqqislam model... the sneaky hassassin Fiday.
  


Infinity is a game that requires a veritable shitload of terrain, as well, so I've been trying to get pieces together to make the game boards a little more interesting.  Primarily, though, I've been working on a set of corridors to allow for the interiors of spaceships or bases that will work well for more interesting games.

The corridors I picked up from a company named Fantasy Arc originally through their kickstarter, though they now have everything for sale on their website here: Fantasy Arc - Bug Hunt Corridors

When you put the different pieces together, you can make a pretty good variety of shapes depending on what you're trying to achieve.  This is a stock photo from the website.
Here is one of the regular corridor sections I just painted this past weekend.
A more up-close view of some work in progress.

These should also work nicely in my next topic...

GRUNTZ





So after great effort and much convincing (or, you know, like passively mentioning its existence in conversation) Da Masta Cheef has gotten me into 15mm gaming.  15mm has always been something I've looked at and found interesting because of just how many cool vehicles there are for it (being so small, the little dudes need vehicles to get around the table), and now that I have a friend to play it with it seemed as good a time as any to jump in.

Also, dropships.

Because they're the coolest.

My centerpiece.

My main troopers, decked out with exo-armor very similar to that cool Tom Cruise movie from last year "Live. Die. Repeat."

OKAY!

With all of that, I guess I'll call it closed, even though I actually have a few more pictures of various things I've been working on.  Enjoy!



A cool archway that was really fun to paint.  A typical 28mm model is about as tall as the brick course running around the bottoms of the columns.

My character in an ongoing Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay campaign, Karyle the Pit Fighter (now Veteran).

Some scatter terrain.

This SICK temple from Antimatter Games that I picked up on clearance a few years ago (seriously this thing is normally like $200, I snagged it for around $40).  Those Dark Age models are on 50mm bases, for reference.

A Dark Age Outcasts (Salt Nomads, specifically) army!  I'm a crazy person!

My OCD spreadsheet that I designed in order to track my painted models as well as schedule deadlines for myself to finish them so I can keep all of my projects balanced and get things completed.

Yup.