Monday, June 24, 2013

Twenty Questions

Who am I to turn down an opportunity for solipsistic introspection? Actually, I've never really done a proper introductory post for this blog, and this seems to fit the bill nicely. Thanks to Thantsants for posting his answers and inspiring me to do the same!

Yours truly, plus dog.
1. Favorite wargaming period and why?

I think based simply on the number of years I've doggedly attempted to game the period, World War II. All sorts of figure scales, engagement scales, rules, etc., have been attempted with varying degrees of success, but in the end I've thoroughly enjoyed the ride thus far. And it wasn't even my idea! A friend suggested we look into the genre shortly after we decided to ditch Games Workshop and go historical. I knew very little about the period outside the cod-Hollywood version everyone grows up with. Over 15 years later and there's still tons to learn from both a historiographical and wargaming perspective!

2. Next period, money no object?

Oh, don't tempt me! Seriously, though - I'd probably want to throw together another couple armies for my fantasy collection. I feel pretty satisfied (for now) in terms of historical miniatures.
ETA: I got bit, dammit! Great Northern War, 6mm. The "money no object" bit would simply have to do with the size of the collection.

3. Favorite 5 films?

Hmmm. These sorts of lists are always "of the moment" as far as I'm concerned. And so, in no pertikler order:

  • Excalibur
  • Return of the Living Dead
  • Porco Rosso
  • Evil Dead 2
  • Tombstone

4. Favorite 5 TV series?

Same rules apply as the movie selections (although The Simpsons will always be on the list, I think):

  • The Simpsons
  • Arrested Development
  • The Twilight Zone
  • Venture Bros.
  • The IT Crowd

5. Favorite book and author?

John Bellairs is an under-appreciated prose stylist, both in juvenile fiction and his one adult book.

And it may sound silly, but I could read The Sword of Samurai Cat by Mark E. Rodgers over and over again. (And indeed I have.)

6. Greatest general? Excluding oneself!

That's a thinker. I don't usually engage in those sorts of Great Man all-star competitions. Based on personality alone, I'm gonna have to go with Julius Caesar, magnificent bastard that he was.

7. Favorite wargames rules?

Whatever's currently caught my fancy!

Seriously, though: in terms of number of awesome games delivered, the 2nd edition Space Marine rules never disappoint, although they can be a bit clunky. In terms of elegant, flexible design, my money's on Armies of Arcana.

8. Favorite sport and team?

I don't follow sports, like, at all. But I have to admit I was quite captivated by the Ladies' Water Polo matches during the last Summer Olympics...

9. If you had a one use only time machine, when and where would you go?

Okay, seriously, this is just cruel. I'd be so paralyzed by all the "big" choices, I'd probably just end up going back to 1870s New York to have lunch at Delmonico's. I get to come back, or is it a one-way trip? If it's the latter, then I'm quite happy where I am now, thanks.

10. Last meal on Death Row?

For old time's sake (long story) I'd go for two Choco-Tacos and a bag of Gummy Worms.

11. Fantasy relationship and why?

I'm going to steal the answer provided by another blogger and say my maternal grandfather. He died of lung cancer while I was still an infant, so I never got to know him, but all indications are that a big part of my personality and temperament, to say nothing of my interests, map very closely to his. Don't smoke, kids.

12. If your life were a movie, who would play you?

My wife has reliably informed me that any role modeled on my life could be ably handed to Colin Firth for an eerily accurate rendition.

13. Favorite comic superhero?

Much to my chagrin, I've never been able to get into mainstream superhero comics. On the other hand, anything by the Hernandez brothers is likely to catch my interest.

14. Favorite military quote?

While I was recuperating after a surgical mishap last year, I re-read John Keegan's The Face of Battle (getting cut open made me want to read about other people getting blown up, I guess) and I jotted down this quote, which pretty much sums up why I game primarily at skirmish level:
'Battle', for the ordinary soldier, is a very small-scale situation which will throw up its own leaders and will be fought by its own rules...
For a long time, though, my favorite "military" quote has been one provided by H. G. Wells, commenting on why he (like me), could claim himself a pacifist and still enjoy playing wargames:
Lead soldiers leave neither lead widows nor lead orphans.
15. Historical destination to visit?

Does the entire continent of Europe count? Because I'd like to spend a few years doing that.

16. Biggest wargaming regret?

Don't think I haven't thought about this! On a practical level, it's the fact that my years of Games Workshop fandom coincided almost perfectly with their greatest nadir of creativity and quality (a.k.a. the mid-90s) and that I ditched the GW hobby right before they started getting good again!

On a more conceptual level, my greatest regret is that for far too long I haven't had more time to devote to this particular hobby.

17. Favorite fantasy job?

Brilliantly successful hermit/novelist.

18. Favorite 5 songs?

I'm going to cheat on this one and just go to my Last.FM profile and see what the numbers have to say, then pick from among the top tracks. These aren't necessarily my favorite-favorite songs, but they're certainly songs I've seen fit to listen to a lot!

19. Favorite wargaming moment?

I'm 14 years old. I'm playing Warhammer with my friend Alex. He's got his High Elves, I've got my Empire army. Both armies are maybe 1,000 points and we've got probably three or four games under our belts. He's recently acquired the Silver Helms boxed set and they're the centerpiece of his growing army. I use my Knights Panther to draw the Silver Helms into a charge...that takes them right across the field of fire of my own recently-acquired Volley Gun. Three rolls of the artillery die later and the Silver Helms were no more than a delicately-floating crimson mist. I was hooked on miniatures wargaming forever.

20. The miserable git question, what upsets you?

Like everyone else, I've got a whole passel of petty hang-ups and irritations. But in the end, what really upsets me is when we, as a species, keep making the same mistakes over and over and over again, often, it seems, at greater and greater cost. Thinking about that too much, though, just makes me want to go off and paint some miniatures.


  1. Great taste in films there - I'm rather taken with The Sword too!

    The Hernandez Brothers look like fun and I'm definitely with you on the Water Polo front ;)

    1. Oh yeah, The Sword are pure, undiluted inspiration music. Any of their four albums are gold; their third album (Warp Riders) even ventures, as the title suggests, into 40K-style science-fantasy.


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