Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Current Projects

The revivification of this blog seems like a good opportunity to look at what I'm currently working on, both in terms of painting projects and the games I'm hoping to play this year.

Back in 2011, I swore off World War II for the time being and declared that I was going to put my efforts towards slowly building up a collection of Warhammer 40K Orks. Well, that didn't really work out. Ironically, not only am I back into WWII, but that project has so far much more closely resembled the goals I'd laid out for myself with my Project Ork.

The spark of inspiration came with the decision to move up to 28mm for my WWII skirmish gaming. I realized that skirmish gaming is truly where my heart lives as far as that period is concerned, and as long as I'm dealing with that level of engagement, why not go with a big figure scale? I've been very happy with my decision thus far, particularly in light of it coinciding with Warlord Games making WWII its period of focus for 2012. Jury's still out on the Bolt Action rules, but that's another matter.

(It's looking more and more like 28mm is going to simply become my scale of choice across the board. I guess it comes of all those games of Warhammer I played back in high school. Although I also played tons of Space Marine back in the day - not sure why I'm not as much of a 6mm partisan.)

At any rate, much like my stated aims for Project Ork, I'm taking things very slowly and deliberately with the WWII project. I'm currently weighing options between NUTS! and Operation Squad. I quite like the former's solo-play capabilities, so that's what I'm going to be checking out first. Initial collecting efforts are focusing around Normandy (a well-trodden theater to be sure, but a first for me, strangely enough), Brits versus Germans. Or, more properly, Jocks versus Huns, as my British squad is going to hail from the 51st Highland Division. The Germans, of course, are going to be redoubtable 21st Panzer Division sorts, because who can resist putting some wacky AFVs on the table? I'm going to keep the Germans fairly late-war generic, though, as I want to be able to re-use them as opponents in other theaters I plan on branching into. Italy '44 and Berlin '45 call out to me like sirens from the shore, but I resolutely stuff my ears with wax and sail on for now...

So yes, the WWII project is what's currently occupying my painting attention, although I'm also painting vintage Grenadier and Ral Partha fantasy figures as a break from all the earth tones.

State of the paint desk, February 2013
As for actual gaming, I'm hoping to get something accomplished this spring in terms of doing more of that. A lot more, if it can be managed. My cabinet currently boasts two completed fantasy armies, a couple-dozen painted gladiators (for use with another solo-friendly THWG game), two 10mm DBA samurai armies, a nice pile of zombies (Two Hour Wargames again!) and enough 1/6000 WWII naval miniatures to run some North Atlantic skirmishes. So there's no want of available games to choose from, for sure. It's just a matter of making the time. With the exception of the couple brief DBA games I played last summer (which did, at least, finally bring my long-suffering 10mm samurai some kind of closure), the last major minis game I played was Labor Day weekend of 2011! That's a terrible drought and one I will be quenching this year, solo or otherwise. If anything, playing more games is the top resolution of the year for me. To me, without the game play, all that painting and modeling going on in the above photo is pointless!

Truth be told, what I'd really like to get into this year, assuming I can start gaming regularly again, are campaign games. Most of my collections are geared towards this mode, now that I think about it: the WWII skirmish scale, the DBA samurai, the gladiators, the zombies, the battleships - all come into their own and are at their best when played in a campaign rather than one-off games. I'd even like to set up a campaign for our Armies of Arcana games, if nothing else than to provide some context so it's not just the same two old armies bashing away at each other all the time. I had enough of that back in high school playing Warhammer, where it was always my Empire army against Alex's Orcs & Goblins.

(Although one-off AoA games should be a lot more fun now, too: another of my projects last year was adding a couple more units to each army. This way, we've got more potential points than our 3000-point budget allows, which means we can custom-build our armies before each game and not necessarily know what the other person is going to field. Adds a nice wrinkle to the whole thing, I think.)

Oh, there is one last pipe dream, both in terms of painting and playing: to get into "vintage" Citadel collecting by way of Rogue Trader. That game was before my time initially, but hot damn if it doesn't look like something I'd be interested in now. I love the aesthetics of old school Citadel sculpts and I really like the sort of loose, DIY RPG-miniatures-game-hybrid feel of Rogue Trader. So that's likely to be a project I start looking at more seriously as the year goes on, or so I hope. Posts like this certainly go a long way towards throwing fuel on the fire...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

And...we're back

I've been giving a lot of thought to the state of my miniatures hobby and the state of miniatures gaming as a subset of tabletop gaming in general. This merits a much wordier post of its own. (Please save your groans for after the show.) In the meantime, I thought that I'd reactivate this blog. ::waves at the two followers I've somehow retained:: This was my first gaming-related blog and I have fond memories of it. Plus, I think having a blog devoted exclusively to my miniatures hobby (as opposed to making it a subset of my RPG blog - I've migrated the last three years of miniatures-related posts [all 12 of them!] that I made over there back over here) will be a nice tonic for a sadly atrophied element of my overall gaming endeavors.

I want to make 2013 a year for reconnecting with the gaming part of my miniatures gaming hobby. In other words, I intend to actually play as many games as I can. Thanks to Two Hour Wargames and their solo-friendly rules, I think I can make this happen even if I'm still sniffing around for worthy opponents in my local area. And I'll still be keeping my expectations low. If I can get in a game every couple months, I'll count myself satisfied with a hopeful start.

Last year, I did clock one major milestone in this regard: my long-delayed samurai project finally resulted in some gaming! I'm nothing if not persistant, it seems. In the end, I ditched all the period-specific rules and simply based some of my samurai for DBA, using a rules mod I found online (scroll down to "Battle Phase"). Des and I got in two games of Takeda vs. Uesugi, all in a couple hours, and had lots of fun. If I can rustle up another interested opponent or two, I'd give some serious thought to running a campaign; that old Milton Bradley game Shogun (also called Samurai Swords) was a great favorite of mine in high school, and goodness knows I've got enough spare figures to put together a couple more clans plus some ikko-ikki. At any rate, enough talk. Here are some pics from our games! (I think we each won a game.)

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