Monday, 13 August 2012

An explanation for the lack of posts

Yes it’s been a long time since I posted anything here, the reason for this is because the monster that is Games Workshop took it upon themselves to release a whole new batch of Necron models, they did the same at the end of March. Between December and February I had been busy painting Dreadfleet, and then we started the fortnightly gaming evening. Then last week I started painting the Necron models. You can follow the progress of Project Necron here: So far I have painted one Ghost Ark and one Doomsday Ark. Waiting to be painted is two Catacomb Command Barge / Annihilation Barges, two Triarch Stalkers, some plastic Wraiths, A couple of Tomb Spyders, some Tomb Blades, 3 boxes of Lychguard / Triarch Praetorians, 3 boxes of Immortals / Deathmarks, 5 Flayed Ones plus various Overlords and Cryptecs and a replacement Finecast Shard of the Nightbringer. Once all those are complete I will move on to a secret project for my Necron army that has been inspired by a post I saw on one of the 40k forums. So pop over to Project Necron and take a look, and if you do, please leave a comment.

Ta muchly Smile

Friday, 25 May 2012

The best laid plans…

We had the second of the fortnightly gamingsmiffy3 evening last night, another successful evening and we had a spectator along, two if we include Skeletal Sid.

Earlier in the week I was asked if I could take Dreadfleet down for the chaps to have a game. I said that I would and then it occurred to me that it wasn’t fully painted, there were a couple of islands, some shipwreck markers and a few other pieces that needed finishing, to be more accurate they needed to be started. So over the last two weeks I have spent Monday to Thursday evening with brush in hand and surrounded by paint pots, jars of water and reams of kitchen towel whilst franticly painting in order to complete the last of the Dreadfleet models, and what a journey it’s been. I started the first model back in December, in the three weeks leading up to Christmas I had painted eight of the ships. I had a break during the Christmas holiday and in January I carried on with the project, by April I had finished the ships and had made headway into the islands and shipwrecks.

Towards the end of April everything came to a halt as the kitchen table would be needed for other purposes. May arrived, bringing with it the wettest drought I’ve seen in a while so I took the opportunity to paint some assault marines that have been sitting around for the last eighteen months. Ten of the little blighters were painted and they had their first foray into battle last Saturday when they tore there way through a Blood Angel Tac Squad. Then it was into the final stretch of the Dreadfleet set, I had hoped to have it finished in time for the Thursday game session but some very uncooperative plumbing and an hour travelling to and from B&Q meant that I had all but five components of the entire set painted. I plan to spend one evening finishing them and I can sit back and relax.

On Thursday morning I gathered Dreadfleet and my Space Marine army, now the sole inhabitants of the army case, the Necrons have been temporarily consigned to the smaller figure case until they are completed and then an army case will be bought for that set. After work I headed to the shop where I showed sue the fruits of my labour, I’m pleased to say that she was impressed with the work I’d done. The usual suspect trickled in, each taking a look at the Dreadfleet models, I must admit that it does make the effort worth while when other people see your work and make comments like “WOW!” and “Oh that’s nice!” So with Dreadfleet getting the approval of some chaps that are much better painters than me I feel that the last six months of squinting, cursing and very late nights have all been worth the effort.

I will hopefully have the last few components finished very soon and then it’s straight on the next project, The Necrons. After finishing the Assault Marines, (Smiffy beware!) and with the completion of Dreadfleet imminent I am now looking forward to painting the Necrons, there will be a few firsts involved in the new project. It will be my first experience of painting the new* Finecast resin models and for the first time I have painted Character models rather than just standard HQ models. This means that I shall be following the original colour scheme and painting the Finecast models as they appear in the codex.

Once the Necrons are complete I think I will finally get around to painting Space Hulk and then the Skaven from the Isle of Blood set. I will also, Hopefully get on with the Tau whilst working on other projects.

I’m really pleased that the fortnightly gaming evening seems to be working, it means that I get to game a bit more often and this is restoring my enthusiasm for the game and the hobby in general. The last session was a brilliant evening and although I didn’t play, by choice, I enjoyed the company and the pure lunacy that arises when we’re playing with our toy soldiers, long may it continue.

Before I close this entry I have a little snippet of advice for those who have never used an airbrush and are planning on getting one at some point, get a dust mask! not for health and safety reasons, purely to prevent the look of complete horror when you blow your nose and what ends up in the tissue looks like you’ve had a major artery burst in your head, not a pretty sight and I still don’t get why we feel compelled to examine the contents of the tissue after clearing your nostrils.

The airbrush is a brilliant addition to my kit and it will halve the time it takes to paint the larger models.

Right that’s me done for now, I think I’ve waffled on enough and I’m sure you have better things to do than faffing around on the internet, maybe you should fix that leak thats been dripping for the last five months!

Ta ta

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Well that went well!

Thursday saw the start of the new fortnightly gaming evening, it was quite a success with six guys turned up and a total of four games were played, including me v Smiffy. I had a brilliant game, which resulted in a narrow win for me and I suspect that a rematch is on the cards. The guys seem happy with the Thursday night thing and next week we may be play Dreadfleet. Sorry this is a short post, I had planned to do a battle report on my game with smiffy, but because I’m old I can’t remember the details aside from the fact that I won. HUZZAH!

Monday, 7 May 2012

A change is coming

So here’s the state of things. For many years now I have supervised a post 16 gaming group of warhammer 40k gamers. Generally we have a good bunch of lads who get on well together and there’s very little friction within the group. We have had the odd unpleasant player but the lads that attend regularly won’t stand for any unsporting behaviour and any one who comes along with any negativity is soon made aware that they are not going to get away with behaving the way they do and the bad apples soon realise that they need to either shape up or ship out. The owner of the shop has a deep seated trust in me and has allowed me to hold a set of keys for the shop, taking this into consideration I enquired about the possibility of starting up a monthly session for the older players that don’t always get to play on a Saturday, this was met with a positive reaction and so I started up a Sunday session. Initially this started out well with regular attendance and players, but I’ve felt for a long time now that those players deserve more, unfortunately I had to cancel the last Sunday session and I haven’t managed to arrange a session for May. So I spoke to the power that is and suggested the idea of a fortnightly session. This has been given the green light and we have our first session this coming Thursday. I’m looking forward to it as it will mean that I may get to play a bit more regularly. I’m hoping that I will get a game against Smiffy as he is my favourite opponent, I have had some of my most enjoyable games against him and when I battle Smiffy I usually discover a gap in my army. First it was the absence of Snipers and then Assault squad, OK the Assault Squads aren’t painted but they’re on the to do list, ten of the little blighters that I’m sure I can have painted and ready for battle in a weekend. So when Dreadfleet is finished and before I start my next big project I shall paint the Assault Squads and then death will rain from the skies (insert evil laugh here!) On the subject of new projects, it’s been three years since I bought Space Hulk and it’s still unpainted, so the next project is actually going to be two. When the main project is completed it will probably mean a new case as the Space Marine army is getting very large and the second army will no doubt need an army case of its own. Space Hulk will mean the purchase of a Battle Foam set, if they’re still doing it by then.

So that’s it for now, hopefully I’ll have some positive feedback from Thursday, I’ll keep you posted.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Admit it, you think dice are evil too!

It’s been a while since anything appeared here, I think the last time I posted an entry was it was related to a rather dismal days gaming that centred around losing to Tyranids, well since then I’ve lost to the little buggers again, although I have had a win against Dark Eldar so it’s not all bad. Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to work out what I can do to improve my game, I’ve taken into consideration the unit choices I make, the way I deploy those units on the table, the way the units are equipped and I’ve realised where the problem lies. its not my choice of unit or wargear, it’s not my tactics, it’s my dice!

I know the old saying is that a poor workman always blames his tools but in the case of the gamer it’s extremely rare that we get a perfect run of luck and our dice rolls are exactly what we need and our adversaries are exactly what they don’t need. All too often I have been willing my opponent to roll badly, do I feel bad about it? Heck no! Those pesky little plastic cubes can mean all the difference between win or lose, succeed or fail, and although I will not stoop to outright cheating, well not so much anymore, I will do what I can to ensure my dice roll well. If that means bribing someone or sacrificing someone something then I probably would. I admit that I have, on the odd occasion, been somewhat dishonest about the results of a dice roll, usually when the odds are stacked against me and that result could spell total disaster for the game. Oddly most of these times have been when playing an RPG rather that on the table top, but none the less something has stirred within me to bring to this confession. I know it’s a small thing, but I blame the dice entirely. We’ve all been there as gamers, that time when you absolutely need to roll a four or better and you roll a three, the ref doesn’t actually see your roll so the three becomes a five. Why five? the logic behind that choice is this: you need to roll a four or higher to prevent certain death for you PC, a six would be a little too obvious that you fudged the roll and aren’t being entirely honest, the same goes for a four, needed a minimum roll of four and getting a four would appear suspicious if not actually witnessed, as a ref I would doubt the validity of the roll unless I saw the die leave the players hand, so five would be the best result to call as it’s not too high or too low. it’s the same as rolling a 19 or 20 on a D20, during one evening of AD&D we had one chap in our group roll seven consecutive 20s, the odds on that are beyond my ability to calculate, but I know how unlikely that is. I was so wary of the rolls that when the player left the room I checked the die to see if it was loaded, that sort of thing isn’t just limited to Vegas you know, surprisingly the die wasn’t loaded, I was rather shocked to say the least.

Most of the gamers I know, whilst fitting the stereotype in some from or another, aren’t particularly superstitious except where dice are concern, and I’ve seen some genuinely out there methods for trying to coerce dice into behaving themselves. Almost everyone I’ve gamed with has been a little odd about their dice, from the sublime right through to the absolutely ridiculous. We had a player who would wash his dice in the local river after each nights gaming, another chap would place his dice on the table in a particular pattern, he’s get seriously miffed if we messed with them. I know at least two dice killers, the type that you absolutely forbid them touching your dice, you don’t even let them pick up the bag the dice are kept in because you know that if they do they will never roll well again, Then there’s the player who can roll a die and before it finishes rolling he tells you what the result will be and is right 95% of the time, you know who you are!

So what about when it all goes wrong? When that moment arises when you roll six dice and you need a two or better on just one and they all roll ones, is such an event purely down to chance? Or is there some controlling factor that kicks in just to frustrate you and make you look like you’ve been kicked somewhere that you really don’t want to be kicked? Of course there is, ask any serious gamer and they will tell you that dice rolls are not random, they’re not the result of pure chance, there is a power that governs those small plastic cubes and it’s evil! At the risk of being hung drawn and quarter by the girly types I’d go so far as to say that the force that resides inside each and every die on the planet is female. Dice rolls aren’t pure chance, its mood swings, I swear that if I offered to buy my dice shoes, handbags and chocolate they’d roll well every time.

I suspect that the non-gamers that read this, or those folk whose only experience of dice is Monopoly or Cluedo are probably thinking I’m totally bonkers, but spend an evening with a group of gamers and your eyes will be opened. So the next time you are about to put your faith in the result of a random roll of the dice, don’t blow on them or kiss them, just say a little prayer to the goddess Randomonia and hope that she’s listening and not browsing the shoes on E-bay.

We fear Change!

As a gamer, both paper and pencil RPGs and table top war gaming, there comes a point in your involvement with the past time you have chosen when a company that produces/publishes the majority of the stuff you use in your games makes a drastic change to the product you have come to know and love. Take for example, Dungeons & Dragons, a classic game published in 1977, twelve years later TSR published AD&D 2nd edition, it wasn’t a new game, it was a set of enhanced rules that improved the playabilty of the game. The rule set remained the same but there were new character classes and skills. These changes weren’t just accepted they were welcomed. I totally enjoy playing second edition, I know the rules inside out and I can hold my own as a ref who not only enjoys presenting the players with a challenge, I also enjoy those moments when the players threw me a curve ball and scuppered my plans to end their adventuring careers. I had an unwritten agreement with one group of chaps that as a Ref it was my job to screw the players over and make the game as difficult for them as I possibly could, it was down to the players to out smart me, or the bad guys I threw at them, at every opportunity.

The Second Edition of AD&D stayed around in published form for about eleven years, TSR sold the rights to Wizard of the Coast and they announced the release of Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition. This news rocked my little corner of the gaming community, this wasn’t an update with enhanced rules and skills, this was a complete change to the game. The rules became virtually unrecognisable as the game I had more or less grown up playing. More out of curiosity than interest I bought some of the books, young minds, fresh ideas and all that. The art work was nice, the concept, for me, was dire! THAC0 and AC were gone, player character generation was as close to a point based system as you could get with out calling it a points based system. from a players perspective I have a strong dislike of point based PC creation, it generally results in seriously overpowered characters that are usually defeated by something completely mundane, the main problem with a point based system is this: Players start off with a standard character with slightly above average stats, this character is by no means playable and invariably requires considerable tweaking, this is done by spending points (DUH) on improving the stats and skills. Then comes the dodgy bit, once the stats and skills have been sorted players can spend any remaining points on merits, these are usually extra skills or abilities that “enhance” the character. Whilst merits cost points, players can take flaws. Flaws, obviously, are the opposite of merits, they usually take the guise of weaknesses that a referee can exploit during a game. Flaws may include an allergy, a moral code or a phobia. They are also usually scaled such as slight, moderate and severe, depending on where on the scale the player places a flaw the higher amount of points can be added to the points that are available to dispense on the character. As I said earlier, this can result in strong powerful characters that are crippled by a bout of hayfever or they have an irrational fear of something completely mundane, one chap I gamed with had a PC that was mortified by penguins, seriously, he explained that whenever his character saw a penguin he would immediately fall to the ground and assume the foetal position. So for me point based RPGs are rather naff, I happen to be a big fan of rolling dice to generate that stats for my characters, although as mentioned in an earlier entry dice can be a bit cruel at times and it’s no easy task trying to portray a chap that has the strength of a hill giant and the intelligence of a stoat, no comments about me finding that easy please!

Some say change is good it keeps and idea fresh and can improve on the original, I counter that with this, sometimes change is stupid and is nothing more than a way for a company to line its collective pockets with more of my hard earned cash.

This is more or less aimed at a certain publisher of a table top wargame that shall remain nameless. When they announced the imminent release of models in a brand new resin we were all keen to see what the company was about to produce. A new word appeared in the lexicon of wargaming, that word was “Finecast”. Hailed as the biggest thing to happen to TTWGs since Napolean and Wellington, described as the model producers moon landing, now referred to by the people who actually buy the models that are not on the payroll as either “Failcast” or “Finecost”. Granted the quality of the model detail improved, the resin is much lighter than metal, obviously, but as the quality improved the price went up, as the weight fell the models are now much more fragile. A metal model will bend where a finecast model will snap. most people I know have complained that they have bought a model only to return the model because its badly cast, full of bubbles or both. From a modellers take on the new medium I can see the benefits, converting a finecast model is much easier and it lends itself well to display pieces, not so great for models that are constantly being picked up, put down, moved, dropped and otherwise man handled, but ours is not to reason why, ours is but to choose and buy.

With the space of a year, maybe less, the almighty powers that sit upon thrones of cash in the Valhallen halls of Nottingham have once again produced a new product, no longer can we talk in adenoidal nasal tones about simply painting, we now have a painting system comprised of 145 colours spread over five different types of paint. whilst the article printed in this months anaemic short one tells us that the new colours won’t be a perfect match for the older colours they are close, well close in the way that a Citroen 2CV is close to a Bugatti Veyron. Sadly I think I like the new range of paints, so the colours are wrong and most of them match the original colours about as much as I can easily be mistaken for Johnny Depp but I think the new range will actually benefit the more experienced painter rather than a beginner, someone who’s been painting for a while will simply see the range as a wider choice and more productive, someone that is just starting to paint their own models may find the variety of colours a bit daunting, do we really need six shade of red and five greens? For the more able painter simply adding black or white to alter the shade is a challenge and part of the creative process, it’s also a good way for a beginner to learn how the colours work, by adding so many shades of green, blue, red or whatever, the pleasure of finding a unique colour is removed in favour of having another 60+ colours, not including textures and technicals, at £2.30 a pop. I can see where the logic behind it is. Yes as painters we have a greater choice but do we really need such a wide range? I a few years ago I bought the full range of paints and there’s a large number of them that I have never used, even some of the paints that I bought 25 years ago when Citadel first release the first sets of acrylics I have never used. I like the idea of the “dry” paints and I hope that the new base paints will have better coverage, the original Skull White always needed at least three coats until the undercoat didn’t bleed through and some of the metallics were even worse. In truth I’m on the fence about the new paint “system”. Hopefully I’ll be able to give a better opinion once I’ve used some of them, currently its really only the whites and metals that I want to try, if those have improved I may feel that the change is worth the fuss.

So there you have it, a bit of a rant about the way my hobby has, once again, been messed about with, I suspect that when Warhammer 40000 sixth edition is released later in the year I’ll be up in arms over the new rules and how the game has been broken, but unlike some players I won’t scream about how unfair it all is and babble on about quitting the hobby because I like 40k, I like getting together with the lads at the shop, I like painting and I enjoy the banter that happens when I have a game. The core element to any game is to enjoy what you’re doing, when I stop enjoying it, then I may stop playing. However I think, even with my win/loss ratio, that day is a while coming.

So here’s to more changes, good or bad, and huzzah for the forth coming 6th edition, I’m quite looking forward to seeing what they do to improve the game, I know what changes I would make, bring back the 4th ed sniper rules for a start.

Have fun and may Randomonia bless all your dice rolls.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Grrrrrr! Bloomin’ Tyranids, flippin’ Imperial Guard

It’s been a while since the last entry that was actually a proper 40k post. Well this one’s more of a rant than a game post, yes I know the rants usually go on the other blog but today I feel like have a gaming rant.

I haven’t had a game of 40k since November when Smiffy and I played the clash of heroes, which I lost badly. The December adult session was pretty much a Dreadfleet day, Dan, Data, Mikey and me had a blooming good laugh blowing up each others ships and “firing at the she bears” you had to be there. I was so inspired by the game that I started painting my models for it, there’s still a lot to be done but I’m really enjoying painting the set.

Today, Sunday 15 January, was the first adult gaming day of 2012 and I was really looking forward to it. I arrived a bit late to find Mike waiting, but IU needed to do a quick trip to the shop before I could do anything. However we were soon in the shop and setting up for the first game. Necrons against Imperial Guard, I was using the old codex I’m still reluctant to use the new codex until I get the models painted. The game lasted for four turns, Mikeys

plasma fire was doing some serious damage to my ‘crons. My Monolith took out his heavy weapon squad before they could administer any serious harm, but those rotten plasma cannon and guns were a real pain. Destroyers fell to them and the the Warriors started to be whittled down until I was forced to phase out.

The second game was my Space Marine against Datas Tyranids, why did I bother? I put two Whirlwinds on the table, this seemed like a good idea at the start. The Whirlwinds took out a squad of ten Genestealers that were hiding in a ruined building, but that was about it. I lost one whirlwind to one of the nasty things that have a strange name that you need copious amounts of alcohol to be able to pronounce, and then some Genestealers appeared and obliterated a Devastator squad. A Mawloc type thing ate my Terminator squad. For my third turn I planned to have my Librarian hit the Genestealers with Vortex of Doom and then have a tactical squad clean up what was left. The problem was that I used a scout squad to shoot before I made any moves which meant that I wouldn’t be able to move the Librarian or the Tac squad, this put paid to my cunning plan. I was so annoyed at having made such a stupid mistake that I felt there was no point in continuing the game so I cleared the table. I’ve never done that before but I’ve played against datas ‘nids so many times now that I knew he’d exploit my mistake and I wouldn’t have seen turn three with anything of any worth on the table. I suspect he would have taken down the Scouts although considering the threat that a Librarian could pose, that may have been his next target along with the squad he was attached to.

So two rather nasty defeats today and a lesson learned, never play Data when he’s fielding Tyranids, I miss Smiffy, at least I have a fighting chance against him.

Oh well, better luck next time!