Monthly Archives: January 2014

The army that never was

Even though it turns out I can’t play in the 40k campaign I was invited to, I keep thinking about it.  I suppose when you’ve played a game for much of your life and have delved into every aspect of it at some point, it’s easy to get into that headspace again without even really trying.  I’ve been playing with the list I would have taken to the campaign in my mind, trying to get it to perfectly express what I want it to.  I was interested in a list that would suit my playstyle, not be a complete push-over, and require minimal new purchases.  So here it is for interest’s sake: the army I would have liked to take to the campaign if I had participated.

It’s an odd army, but I think it has a lot of unexpected potential and it’s sort of a shame I’ll not get to play with it.  But hey, if you don’t have the time and money to build a 40k army, at least you can do the next best thing: come up with a theme and a list and basically do everything but actually make it happen.  Like playing Fantasy Football I suppose.  It’s probably a better idea in the long run seeing as I was pretty sure I wasn’t very interested in playing the game anyway.

My theme is this: an unscrupulous mercenary colonel and his band of desperadoes hire a de-frocked techpriest and a bunch of ogryns, “acquire” some big guns, and team up with an ork freeboota kaptin.  Mayhem ensues.  Simple, brutal and straight to the point. Continue reading

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To 40k or Not to 40k…

My friend has been trying to convince me to join a narrative Warhammer 40,000 campaign at Good Games.  The guy running it has put in a lot of effort to set up the background, and apparently in the last campaign he went so far as to make secret missions tailored to each army, and award prizes for best theme and background.  The stuff he wrote really sucked me in and made me feel as though this would be a fun way to get out of the house every couple of weeks.

Then, I came up against all of the problems with Warhammer that made me stop playing it in the first place.  Oh, they say they want you to Forge the Narrative, but what was my idea for the campaign?  A radical Ordo Xenos inquisitor who is using an Ork weirdboy to track the artefact that is the campaign’s objective: a frozen piece of the Emperor’s force-lightning, preserved since the Horus Heresy (the weirdboy wants to eat it).  There is a nice narrative confusion about who is using who, and I get to use Orks and inquisitors at the same time.  All good.

Except that there is a new Inquisition Codex Dataslate, and now there are no options for radical inquisitors any more.  Orks and Chaos (among others) are never allowed to ally with Inquisition units.  So much for radical inquisitors of all three major Ordos.   I just don’t understand why they bother putting these arbitrary limitations in place.  It certainly isn’t for game balance.

Right, so then I re-jig my background to be a human mercenary captain using the weirdboy, and the weirdboy using the mercs.  So Imperial Guard with Ork allies, on the Forces of Disorder side of the campaign.  Now I can just jump in right, I mean I have an Ork army and a Guard army still unsold, I can do some fun modeling and modify them so that they are now mercenaries, expecially for the campaign.  Sounds like about the right amount of hobby I can reasonably expect to get done between games.

But this is 6th edition and my armies were built for 5th and 4th edition, respectively.  So now I have to buy – choking on Games Workshop’s prices all the way – some sort of flyer, or a hydra tank, or a freaking fortress with guns on it.  Or maybe even more Orks or Guardsmen.  Oh god, please not that.  And then build it and paint it.  And then I sat down to make a list, and it was boring.  Apparently I’m still burned out on endlessly tweaking points, and still want to play something that doesn’t have such an emphasis on list-building.

This is not sounding like fun.  I mean the campaign will be fun, no doubt.  The people are great and the story sounds compelling.  But the thought of all the other stuff I have to do just to play in it is turning my stomach.

Warhammer.  It has so much potential and it’s just such a . . . disappointment.

My Life in Games: 1983-89

I thought it might be fun to look back over my life so far and remember the games that particularly affected me as I was growing up.  We live in a gaming world these days, and games can be formative experiences for people like us just as films, books and TV shows were to previous generations.  There were a lot of little games that really spoke to me over the years, and I suppose I just don’t want them to be forgotten.  So this retrospective will be a tribute of sorts.  There are a lot to get through, so today will be Part One of I’m-not-sure-how-many… Continue reading

When the City Falls

It’s been a little while since I’ve mentioned my D&D game.  In fact it’s been a bit angsty around here hasn’t it?  Sorry about that.

Anyway, I thought I’d bring it up, because last night’s session went really well.  It was one of those games where I anticipated the player’s actions but they didn’t realize that I’d anticipated them, so it was full of dramatic moments.  The party (who are official operatives of the floating city of Khiroa) had been travelling at breakneck speed along a highway, trying to make it to a coastal city to retrieve an important artefact.  They kept meeting refugees along the way, fleeing in the wake of a great tsunami that had demolished most of the settlements along the coast.

When they arrived at the city, they tried to bluster past the guards who were processing the refugees by flashing their Khiroan triad badges.  The guard captain looked at them and said “that would be a lot more impressive if your city hadn’t fallen into the sea three days ago.  What do you think caused the bloody tsunami?”

You should have seen their faces.  All three players were stunned and it was just a really rewarding moment as a game master.  One of them said “everyone in our town is dead?!” as though they were real people she actually knew, and the rest of the game I never let them find out conclusively if the rumours were true or not.

I’m really looking forward to the next game now…

Models for Sale

Hi everyone.  It’s good to be back after the holiday season – strewn as it was with family, and work parties, and other social engagements that left my borderline-introvert self a little bit cranky and righteously ignoring people’s New Year’s party invitations.  That’s right, I watched a Bush Tucker Man DVD and went to bed at 9 o’clock, and I liked it.

If you’ve been following this blog recently, you’ll know I’ve been a bit concerned about my life-long hobby of miniature painting and gaming.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted out of it any more.  Well, after some attempts at analysis of community attitudes; a confession that I was secretly a lazy glory-hound; and listening to trip hop and dragooning poor old Marcus Aurelius into it all, I think I have it worked it out.

See, I don’t get much time to play.  And that obviously doesn’t bother me, or I’d be taking more action than I am to remedy the situation.  I also know that I enjoy painting models sometimes (but not too often), and trying new things with it, and trying to get better, whatever that means.  And I have virtually no collector’s instinct: once I’ve painted a model I don’t feel any particular attachment towards it, unless I’ve used it in a few games.  Most importantly, I really enjoy making stuff that makes other people happy.  So what I’ve decided to do is set up shop.

I don’t mean that I’ll be painting by commission – unless someone asks me to, perhaps.  I mean that I’m going to sell all of my best models off, one by one, as though they were unique works of art.  Which of course they are.

And then I’m going to paint more: what I want, when I want, and how I want.  Just as there is always someone out there who’ll be better than me (the bastards), there must be people out there who are impressed by my work, and can’t be bothered practicing to get better, and want a model that looks a bit different.  I’m always going on about the value of alternative styles.  So time to put my er . . . models where my mouth is (and hopefully get some money for more models).

And if no-one buys them, so what?  I’ve painted a model for fun, and I still have a game piece I can theoretically use.  I got an airbriush for christmas and I’m keen to try it out…

So here is the first model for sale, “the most famous gui-jia in the world.”  I figure she’s as good a place to start as any, since I painted her about a year and a half ago and have yet to use her in a game.

Soon I’ll put up some more Infinity models and some warhammer 40,000 models.  I’ll let you know here when I do so.

I’m planning on keeping a skeleton crew to game with if I ever get the chance, but other than that, I’m pretty excited about the idea.  Let’s see how this pans out hey?

All the best,

James