Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gaming with Children Redux

First, a little background...
I have two kids, whom I tend to call on the internet "Mac" and "Macy."  Mac is eleven and into comic books, CGI-laden movies, video games, and fantasy novels and tends to be a little, shall we say, "high energy" (in short, he's Mini-WQRobb).  Macy, on the other hand, is eight and possesses the attention span of a zen master and whose favorite hobby is origami.  Since Mrs. WQRobb isn't like that, I can only figure that a magpie put her in our nest when she was a baby.
Evan, the GM of my bi-weekly D&D game surprised me a few weeks ago by announcing that he wanted to run a game for my two kids and his two kids, "Zack" and "Abe."  I was surprised for two reasons.  First, I had run a game once for my kids and it was a fiasco.  I ran a milquetoast version of Labyrinth Lord using one of my modular dungeons, but apparently pit traps make you a bad GM and a bad daddy, even if the pit trap is already open and clearly visible.
But I was also surprised because while Zack is ten and another little sci-fi/fantasy geek (he and Mac are good friends), Abe is five.  Maybe he is an advanced five, I don't know.  When Mac was five he was running around the back yard in nothing but a cape swinging a length of PVC pipe and yelling at the top of his lungs, while five-year-old Macy would do things like come down from her room at 11:30 at night to where my wife and I were watching television, say "I am Sith!" and then skulk back to her room.
But we set aside last Friday for them to play, and I wished him well.

After Evan showed up with Zack and Abe in tow I greeted them warmly, got them set up in the Daddy/Daughter Cave, and then headed into town to meet with a member of my 40K club to discuss a tournament we were planning this summer.  About twenty minutes into it I get a text from my wife saying, "Evan is waiting for you to come back.  I think he thought you were going to play."

What will our intrepid hero do?  Click here to continue

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Brother Naismith, Brazen Claws Dreadnought

Brother Naismith fell during the defense of Cadia in the 13th Black Crusade. His remains were recovered by his battle brothers of his Veteran unit and he was transferred into a dreadnought suit aboard the Brazen Claws flagship Ad Astra.
Click for a larger pic
I'm making good headway on my Brazen Claws army.  Next on the list is my second troops choice, a scout unit.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Brother Kemper, Brazen Claws Chaplain

The local gaming store is having a painting competition this month.  The rules are pretty simple: buy a miniature from the store, inform the owner you will be submitting this miniature in the competition, and turn it in by the end of the month.  Top three get store credit.

The pickings are a little slim at the gaming store, unfortunately, because the owner is reluctant to order much from Games Workshop (in fact, there's been talk that he is going to basically sell off his standing stock and then see what the demand is following the price hike).  A lot of what he had I already owned or didn't need, so I settled on a chaplain wielding a power fist.  Not the best wargear set-up, but a good looking miniature and I may tell people he's just wearing a big mitten and not a power fist.

Click the pic for a larger picture

Bonus points if you can tell me where the name comes from.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The First Brazen Claws Tactical Squad

Click the link for a larger picture

Well, I put my shoulder to the plow and got the first of the squads for my Brazen Claws Space Marine army finished.  I freehanded the insignia on their shoulder pads--hopefully it will get better as it goes along.  I had a chance to field a Space Marine army yesterday at the club night and am getting a feel for what works and what doesn't.

I also reviewed the painting point structure, compared notes with some people who paint primarily 40K and have adjusted the values.  Not much different for infantry, but things like tanks and dreadnoughts have to be accounted for.  By my calculation, if I get my proposed army (see the "Brazen Claws" page on the blog) I will complete my painting goal for the year.  We'll see how that goes.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

9000 Visits

Doom welcomes you all
Nine thousand visitors on what has been a slow blogging week.  I don't have pics up of my first Space Marine tactical squad because this week just kicked my backside six ways from Sunday.  On the upside, I played twice this week: 40K on Tuesday and D&D on Friday, both of which went really well.  On the downside, a member of my staff died fairly unexpectedly Thursday night.  She had been recovering from a previous illness, but everyone had figured she would eventually return (and then admittedly retire later this year).

In addition, the painting has been going slowly because I am not using my "basecoat-and-dip" technique but instead and doing the more traditional "basecoat-ink shade-highlight" technique.  This turns out to be much, much more slow a process.   I also chose a somewhat complicated "quartered" pattern where I have to end up freehanding color borders on every figure.

Finally, I'm just not feeling it.  The ugly truth about the gaming club I just joined is that hardly anyone bothers painting their figures at all.  That's their choice and I respect their freedom to do whatever they want, but it is a little hard to get fired up to spend weeks painting figures as a result.  This is compounded by the fact that I'm basically painting the army to play a game that isn't one of my favorites.  I'm learning to appreciate it, and hopefully that and the fact that I like fielding a painted army will keep me on track.

In the meantime, I am letting myself get sidetracked by some sci-fi terrain projects.  More later.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy St. Dunstan's Day!

It says right here, "the player determines true line of sight..."

I'm not sure that miniature wargamers have a patron saint, but if they were to consider one St. Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury (909-988 AD) would be a good choice.  Dustan was a reformer of the English monastic tradition and re-established and created many monasteries in England, including re-creating the one in Glastonbury, where the Holy Grail is reputed by some to be hidden.  What makes him a good patron saint of miniature wargaming is his reputation for being a metalworker and caster, especially in the creation of bells.  While many miniatures are now being created by plastics companies, the core quality of the hobby is still being done by metalworkers, and their patron saint is St. Dunstan.  You can learn more about Dunstan here, and here's the prayer for his feast day, which is today:
O God of truth and beauty, who richly endowed your bishop Dunstan with skill in music and the working of metals, and with gifts of administration and reforming zeal: Teach us, we pray, to see in you the source of all our talents, and move us to offer them for the adornment of worship and the advancement of true religion; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My first game of 2011

I stopped by the Tuesday 40K club at my FLGS, with every intention of just watching since my army is still largely on sprues, but one of the club members offered to let me borrow his army for a quick game.  We went with a small size and no vehicles so I could get a handle on the new rules, and both sides played Space Marines just so I could see how different units fared.

I want to say, those who run clubs should take a cue from this.  Every came up and re-introduced themselves and really went out of their way to make me feel welcome.  I felt like taking notes for my church.

Anyways, I had some leeway in picking my small army and went with the following:

  • Captain with the upgraded armor, relic weapon and storm bolter
  • 10-marine Tac squad with plasma cannon and meltagun (my "shooty" squad)
  • 10-marine Tac squad with heavy bolter, flamer, and veteran sergeant with power fist (my "assaulty" squad)
  • Seven marine bike squad with (heavy?) flamer, sergeant with power weapon.
My opposition was the following (in broad terms because I didn't know all the details):
  • Captain with terminator armor and power weapon
  • 10-marine Tac squad with lascannon and plasma gun
  • 5-marine Scout squad with bolt pistols and chainswords
  • 5-marine Scout squad with sniper rifles
  • 10-marine Assault squad with plasma pistols and veteran sergeant with power fist
The game was pretty straightforward.  We both paired up our captains with a tac squad (my assault one) and ran them up into each other on the left side of the board.  My shooty marines wiped out most of the sniper scouts, then shot up the melee scouts when they drew close.  In the center, the bikes collided with the assault marines where they locked up for the rest of the game, mostly as a result of poor dice rolling and large numbers allowing for attrition.

I managed to get the upper hand with the two "command" units in melee.  My powerfist sergeant took out his captain while my captain wiped out the regular marines.  By turn five when the game ended, I had destroyed three units and had only really banged up but not destroyed one.  In the post-op my instructor/opponent said that the bikes should not have fared so well in assaulting the assault marines.  I could see that if they had run through the bikes, they would have headed for the shooty marines, and that might have tipped the game to a tie at a minimum.  I am also considering the option of a veteran sergeant for my tac squads after they are put together.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The next army is...Brazen Claws

Now that I am done with the two Hordes of the Things armies, I have taken up another project.  This is inspired by my decision to try out the local 40K gaming club, otherwise known as "the only gaming club that meets regularly in my city."

To their credit, the club is friendly and welcoming and has quite a few members including several women.  That says to me that they manage to curb some of the stereotypically negative qualities that gamers can possess.  And since I haven't played any wargame in almost a year, I thought this was my best bet.

I am not going to go off on a rant about Games Workshop's market strategy, expense, or ruleset (aside from just briefly saying that I am paying $3.75 for a single plastic figure that qualifies as a infantry troop choice).  If you want more than that, there are literally hundreds of blogs and forum posts that will let you eat from that trough.

That having been said, at least initially I am going to just assemble a Space Marine army using the figures from the Warhammer 40K box set (cost: $90) and the handful of Space Marine miniatures I already owned.  With the $30 that the army book set me back, that means that I'm in this game for $120 and what I have is about 1250 points for the army.  For those who don't know 40K, that's a pretty small army these days.  At the club games are played in the 2000-3000 point range.  But it is a start, and here's what my list will look like:

HQ Choices
Captain in terminator armor

Eilte Choices
Terminator Squad

Troop Choices
Tactical Squad
Tactical Squad
Scout Squad

Fast Attack Choices
Bike Squad

Heavy Support
Devastator Squad
Predator Tank

After anguishing over which chapter I wanted to use, I went with Brazen Claws.  I didn't want to go with one of the more popular chapters, or pick one that would be super-simple to paint, like a simple spray-and-dip option.  I wanted one that would look good, but not be too complicated.  The Brazen Claws have a red-and-blue quartered armor.  I'll be posted pics as I get each unit finished.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Random Demons

These are two Furies from the Dark Elf army for Warhammer Fantasy Battles.  I picked them up ages ago as part of a eBay lot, and they have been moldering on the lead pile for years.  Well, the DM of my D&D game (i.e. "the game that never seems to happen") asked me if I had some gargoyle/demon figures and I volunteered them for active service.  I painted them blue according to his specifications, but I'm not thrilled with the job I did.  It was a little too quick-and-dirty, and I think it illustrates the shortcomings of "the dip."  The particular varnish I use is too reddish-brown, I think and I may have to go look at other options.

Goblin Shaman and his Army

I have finally finished the final unit of my Hordes of the Things goblin army, a Wizard.

With this last unit, the entire army is completed.  Here is the entire army in all its green glory.

Hopefully I'll get the two armies (the dwarf and the goblin ones) together on the battlefield soon.  I'll make sure to get some photos and maybe even an After Action Report on the blog.

I've got a lot to talk about here, but I'll save it for its own post and let my getting these two armies completed be personally savored for a while.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Goblin Hero

First, welcome to Figz and Matt D, this blog's latest followers.

Here's the Goblin Hero, who will serve as the General in my Hordes of the Things Goblin army.

One more miniature to go, and then I'll be done with the goblin army!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Troll Behemoth

I finished the troll from the Battle for Skull Pass boxed set, which will serve as a Behemoth for my Hordes of the Things goblin army.  I'm down to just two figures for the goblin army, and then both will be done and I'll be ready to play!


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