Monday, November 19, 2018

Reflections of an Omni-Hobbyer

I originally put together this post as a contribution to the Paint All the Minis website, as I did for my last post.  Last time, I provided a copy-and-paste direct from my blog, and it worked OK, but the site's format really needed a few more editing steps to present a quality layout and photo resolution.  I really can't afford the extra time to the necessary steps on my side, so I think I'm going to bow out of that initiative.  But, hey, we gave it a go to see if it would work out.  Best to learn early on.

Work In Progress.  A Dust model to proxy for Konflikt '47.

So here are the photos of works-in-progress that I provided for the post.  And I offered a topic of conversation as well -- one person's decision-making process for an "omni-hobbyer"!

Work In Progress.  Stark Sworn Swords for Song of Ice and Fire.
The primer came out gritty, and the figures are very dark.  Not too pleased with them, actually.

I have drifted among a multitude of games and figure ranges as a hobby butterfly.  For each of them, some aspect or another attracts me, but rarely has something checked all my boxes.  So now I just revel in the thrill of the hunt itself, and I accumulate an absurd amount of rulebooks and models -- confident that I, paint, and play all of them!

They probably look better from behind.  Which is nice, because that's the angle that I will see them on the tabletop!
Overexposure to the light helps see the colors a little better.  They look pretty grim, in real life.

With far too many projects and games beckoning for attention, I have settled on a method to tackle it all and avoid feeling overwhelmed.  I keep several assembly/painting projects going simultaneously, and I decide which one to work on for any given session based on some mix of the following three things, in no particular order:

1. What my game-group is playing
My game-group consists of omni-hobbyers, too, as it so happens.  They typically concentrate primarily on one game that has caught the group's fancy, but they maintain a few games in rotation.  For example, right now, the new hotness is Gaslands, but we keep Konflikt '47 and Frostgrave in the mix.  In the background we have Kings of War, Song of Ice and Fire, Bolt Action, and Ghost Archipelago.  Once in a while, I'll toss something into the mix, like Pulp Alley or Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game.

Many projects on-the-go!
The container shows figures for Burrows & Badgers.  I'm especially looking forward to trying out that game!

2. What I expect my next, upcoming event or game to be
I may need to add a unit to an army for an escalation league; paint a bust or diorama for a painting competition; paint a gift for a friend; prepare for a game at a convention; make some terrain for a scenario; etc.  There are a lot of upcoming events, either near-term or far ahead in the schedule, for which I need to plan.  But I try to avoid pressuring myself for these events.  I can lower my painting standard, or I can forego an event entirely and bow out of it (making sure first that it doesn't inconvenience anyone else).

A close-up of my first paint-job for Burrows & Badgers.

3. What I'm in the mood to do
Sometimes, you just have to follow your urges.  What is calling out to you?  Sometimes it's something that is sitting in the current project list, and sometimes it's something that is far in the backlog.  Sometimes, it's a new purchase, and you want to hit it while the fire is hot.  Conversely, I'll put a project aside for a while, if it is no longer calling to me.

Pyg Bushwhackers, painted for a scuttled venture into Company of Iron.
When a figure range falls to the wayside, I have the convenient option that I can always use figures for my own game, Mini Mayhem!

So there you have it.  The rambling thoughts of a rambling omni-hobbyer.  How do you decide what to work on?

Defeated in the last game, but they will be returning with a vengeance!
I need to paint more Mordor forces for pick-up games at Adepticon.  Plus, there is some pick-up of the new release of the game in the Southeast region (Nashville, Atlanta, Ashville, et al).  One of the key organizers visited Huntsville to play a game at our Game Day.  Maybe it will spark more local interest as well!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Two games in one weekend

Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game

I'm starting to make up for lost time, fitting in two games this weekend.  What's more, I finally had the opportunity to play a game of Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game.  I've been itching to play the game for years, to try it in one of its formats, since the odds of playing its mass-battle variant again is pretty slim (I had the chance to play it only twice, back when it came out).  The game mechanics for the skirmish game are an interesting mix -- at the moment I'm still unsure what to make of it.  I guess I'll just have to keep playing it, until I figure it out!

Initial deployment. My Harad/Mordor stack the left flank to counter the enemy Arnor troopers and delay contact with the Great Eagles, flying in from the East.

Nasty Hobbits man the ramparts.
The Eagles include the Lord of Eagles, Gwaihir, a real bad-ass.

Evil emerges from the deep dark forest.

Wargs intercept the Eagles. The Wargs outnumbered one of the Eagles, but to no avail!
Harad archers use poison arrows to pick off the Hobbit archers, at least, and Harad/Mordor dictate the battle with a flank attack.
The Eagles brush off the Warg attack.

Harad/Mordor engage too early. They needed more mass, before initiating the fight.

The Eagle versus Warg fracas continues, but the conclusion was clear.
A classic phalanx fight. A nice cinematic scene. Pretty much what this hobby is about, as far as I'm concerned.
This lone Warg Rider is brave, but thoroughly outclassed.

So, Harad and Mordor were sent packing back into the night.  I think I set myself up for success for the early engagements, but the dice gods were against me.  Without that initial edge, it became an uphill battle against the mightier Arnor heroes and the Arnor troopers' plate armor.

I think I'm going to need to beef up one of my Captains.  But it's tricky to get the right allies to match the models that I have.  Maybe I can enlist a Ringwraith to lead my forces.....  hmm, that would be pretty cool.  And fast to paint, ha, ha.

Konflikt '47

The next day, I was able to play yet another game of Konflikt '47.  My regular opponent, David, and I finished out the escalation league, and now we're playing at 1000 points, having grown our armies up from 500 points over 3 months.

A downed pilot is hiding in the pale house near the center of the board.  He holds Secret Plans.  My Germans are coming in from the bottom to acquire the plans, while the Russians swarm from the top.
Both sides had to use Turn 1 to come in from Reserves.  My new anti-tank team and my walker didn't make it on.

My elite Falcon Squad (rocketeer guys) are positioned to take the house, if they get initiative on Turn 2.

The cheeky downed pilot, who holds the Secret Plans for key Rift-tech technology.  He's hiding out on the second floor.

Russians assemble their Siberian Terror units and their Heavy Infantry, to deal with German threat.

My walker makes it onto battlefield, just in the nick of time.  Um, ignore the star-and-sickle.  That's a German walker...must be captured equipment....
The walker strides up the road and flames the Russian heavy infantry...pretty much my only weapon to deal with them.

As usual, the heavy infantry respond in kind, and the walker is quickly turned into a burning wreck.  Seems to happen every game....
Earlier, the Russians got the jump on occupying the house, sending in their Siberian Terror squad.  My Falcon Squad desperately flew in to take back the house, but it was a suicide mission.  The Siberian Terrors were weakened, however, letting my assault squad do the clean-up.  Then the Russian SMG unit cleared out my assault squad.  Then the German werewolves killed the SMG squad and take the house.  Then the German regulars killed the werewolves and take the house.  Next up.....German zombies.

The zombies are knocking on the door of the house.  Except there's no door on that side of the house.  Don't they see the big gaping hole on the other side of the house?  Stupid zombies!

I think they figured it out.
It's a bad day for that lone Russian soldier.

Time runs out, and the game ends a draw.  Hard to say whether the zombies would have successfully "escorted" the pilot off the board.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Time flies

Wow, it's been a while since I posted!

Life has been busy.  New project at work; lots of cross-country travel for the old project; new lady-friend; etc.  But I've managed to keep plugging away at the hobby.  Just at a slower rate.  And the blog has certainly fallen lower in priority.

But, hey, here's what I've been up to.

Nothing to show for NOVA Open, actually.  I decided not to pressure myself to have an entry for the Capital Palette this year.  Which was a comfortable decision.  I just don't have the desire to compete.  That said, I could have certainly submitted something, even if I don't care about competing.  But I do care enough to submit something that is respectable, at the level of "the field".  Being that I only painted figures for gaming, I don't feel like I had anything to contribute, where I would be showing something interesting or compelling for the audience.

There was a project that I wished I could have brought to NOVA, but it was long overdue to deliver to a friend, as a gift to his wife, so it didn't make it to Labor Day, before I had to send it off.

Killyox, from the Wolfen line for Confrontation

So what about all those gaming figures?  Well, the last posts on the blog showed all the work I did for Company of Iron.  Only to have the effort fizzle after the first game.  Company of Iron has middle-of-the-road attraction for me.  I think I would enjoy playing it, but I wouldn't necessarily seek it out to play.  With so much competition for hobby/gaming time, there are so many other games that push Company of Iron to the side.

One of those games is Konflikt '47.  While I would much prefer to get my Weird World War fix from Dust Warfare or Dust 1947, the local group is playing Konflikt '47 and Bolt Action.  So I move with the flow.

Officers for Konflikt '47.  Figures by Pulp Figures.

Recently finished zombies.  Figures from Warlord Games and Westwind Productions.

So, now I'm spreading my attention across a whole host of various projects.  Here are some previews.

Proboscis-headed Germans from Achtung Cthulu!, to use for Konflikt '47.
Also, a Frog Jester for the lady-friend.  She's not so keen on proboscis-headed Germans...

A 3D-printed house, which I can use for a variety of games.  But Burrows & Badgers is the immediate motivator.

Back to ole army-painting, for Song of Ice & Fire.  The first three rows have the armor painted, but I'm not pleased with the results.  I'll be looking for another approach.  There are two more trays full of primed Lannisters, and I primed 4 or 5 more expansion boxes, as well.  Quite the weekend production, just to get all the models and the movement trays primed.

Primed figures for Burrows & Badgers.  And a frog that is almost finished. 
I love these models!  And I have high expectations for the game, as well.

Finally digging into my old Dust models, to find second life for Konflikt '47.
I'm still amazed at the quality of these models.  How could Fantasy Flight have abandoned such a phenomenal product?

Primed objective markers for Konflikt '47.  Originally for Dystopian Legions by the now-defunct Spartan Games.  Fantastic detail and very keen conceptualization for these models.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

First game of Company of Iron

Well, it turns out that we were able to play a Company of Iron game after all, despite not quite finishing all our goals for the painting challenge.  I was happy that Chris was willing to indulge me in a game, so that we could test out the rules and see what we thought of them.

A little into Turn 2, the armies have formed their initial positions to acquire the 6 tasty treasures.
Pyg Bushwackers have a nice gun line in the center forest. Pyg Burrowers vie for the right flank with support from half the Kriel Warriors. One brave Kriel Warriors makes a dash for the first objective marker!

"Forward!" cries the Trollblood commander.
"Thar's the enemy! Shoot 'em! Shoot 'em dead!"
Unfortunately, the enemy shoots first and plugs my commander with a crossbow bolt.
"Gar!  Just a flesh wound!"
"I spy target practice."
And, no, it's not the fellow trollkin holding the treasure that looks like a bullseye....
It's those dastardly paladins in the background.
The Protectorate send their Commander to set the tone of the battle. He shoulda died right there and then. But the bastard recovered. We stalemated there, and we never picked up that damn treasure for the rest of the game.
The Protectorate shut down the gun lines by Assaulting and engaging the troopers. Trollblood forces are sent into disarray!
An intractable stalemate in the center.
The right flank is a total cluster.
"Oy! Drop the crossbow, or taste lead in your head."
Protectorate make off with the loot, while Trolls are locked up in combat and Pyg shooters are neutralized. Protectorate takes the field.
So Chris and I chatted about the gameplay afterward over a beer.  Chris found the gameplay only moderately satisfying, feeling frustrated by how passing a Casualty Roll spoiled the reward for a bunch of good attack rolls.  I reminded him that the Trollbloods are a little unique as an opponent, since they all have 'Tough', which allows a reroll for a poor result on the Casualty Roll.  So they are harder to take out, by design.

Chris also dislikes pre-measuring charges, especially charges that have charge bonuses, because the game degrades into a game of "chicken".  I certainly can relate to that sentiment with regards to Kings of War.  But I don't feel that same concern here in CoI, for some reason.  It may be that I wasn't subjected to it, since I wasn't trying to get into melee.  And it took quite a few games of Kings of War, before that conundrum finally registered on me.  I may very well discover the same thing for CoI, after a few more plays.

For my part, I've decided that I prefer simultaneous melee.  Company of Iron instead uses unilateral melee, and I've realized that a game with alternating activation and unilateral melee feels more like a chess game and less like a tactical wargame.  The essence of the game comes down to prioritizing activation sequence.  That's OK for a game, but I much prefer the flow of a game like Pulp Alley, which allows reactions to both shooting and melee.  Maybe a game like that still doesn't necessarily convey real-world tactics (hadn't thought about whether it does or doesn't), but the flow and the narrative is much more appealing to me.

Bottom line, Chris and I will play Company of Iron some more and give it a fair shake.  As of now, however, I expect it to merely be an excuse to use my Hordes models, and it won't likely be a "go to" game for me.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Tale of 3 Gamers - Deadline Delinquencies

Adepticon 2018 has come and gone, so it is time to tally our Tale.

As you may recall, the goal was for each player to paint a 25-point warband for Company of Iron, and then play a celebratory, free-for-all match-up at Adepticon.  Early on, I threw a wrinkle into the plan, as I was forced to cancel my attendance.  However, we strove onward towards our goals, with Derek and Chris carrying the torch for the game, while I persevered in the painting challenge, with an eye towards playing Chris locally in Huntsville.

Well....we all choked.

In theory, Derek actually succeeded, but, like the new, old adage says, "pics, or it didn't happen".

This is the latest photo I could find, from early February, I think.

Derek had plenty of distractions during March, including hobby-related ones (painting a warband for the new game, Twisted), family-related (vacation trip), and work-related (travel to cons).

Likewise, Chris had some hobby distractions, having joined a local escalation league to build and play an army for Bolt Action.  He also struggled with the motivation to paint all the filigree on a 10-model unit.

One unit, looking good and ready for the table-top.

And then, finally, I finished my one unit for January, got about 75% through my unit for February, and about 60% through my unit for March.

Pyg Bushwhackers.  Mission accomplished for January.

Trollkin Runeshapers.  Incomplete project for February.

Initial color-sketching.  Changed my mind on this color scheme.

Very time-consuming to build customized bases for just 3 models.
As far as I got for March.  Color-sketching and some skin work for Trollkin Scattergunners.
Initial color-sketching with the airbrush.
A lot of prep work went into just their bases.  And this was after the grueling task of prepping and assembling the models from a bajillion pieces of "restic", an unholy combination of resin and plastic, that is resistant to scraping, filing, and gluing.

Here was an interesting observation I made, while I was working on the Scattergunners.  I wanted to match the skin color to the Trollkin Kriel Warriors that I finished painting a few months back (after languishing half-painted for 8 years).  And I noticed a big difference between the newer Scattergunner models and the older Kriel Warrior models....

Can you say "scale creep"?

So, that is where we stand at the end of our formal due date.  We will continue to finish out the project.  Chris and Derek didn't manage to play at Adepticon, but they did meet up to tear through some Chicago deep-dish pizza, so that's a close second.

The three of us hope to finish up our warbands and then meet up in Atlanta for our throwdown!