Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review

Well, it is time for the end-of-the-year wrap up for this blog.

At the beginning of 2011 I had just moved to a new house in a new state for a new job, having left behind a lot in the way of gaming groups, roleplaying game groups, and most of the gaming terrain I had ever made.  I had managed to get a small RPG group together to play D&D every other week, first at the FLGS by my house, and then later at my own home.  I had little success in finding people interested in doing wargaming, aside from a few historical wargaming guys who weren’t that interested in a new person and rarely got together.

So what happened?  First, I set a painting goal of 150 for the year, less than what I painted last year, and then manage to not only surpass the goal but also what I painted in 2010.  I began by mostly working on painting to Hordes of the Things armies (a dwarf one and a goblin one), neither of which have actually seen a battle yet.  Then around the end of Spring I managed to get hooked into a 40K group at the FLGS and between painting Space Marines I already owned a few splurges on new figures I managed to get about 1750 points of marines painted.  None of these were dipped, by the way.

But my 40K experience has not necessarily been all that great.  I was used to being a pretty fair player of Warhammer Fantasy, and between shortcomings in my army list, my own unfamiliarity with the rules, and a pretty competitive group at the FLGS, I found myself consistently losing and losing badly.  One evening after another bitter defeat Mrs. Q asked me what it would take to start winning and I said, “about two hundred more dollars and a lot of playing.”

While she would probably not have begrudged me that, I had to admit to myself that I just wasn’t enjoying myself as much as I had hoped.  My attendance at the FLGS has dwindled off substantially.

All along the way I have been slowly building up my repertoire of miniatures and terrain for my All Things Zombie campaign, even to the point of starting a blog about it.  I have long admired a lot of different people’s ATZ campaigns on the web, and thought (and still do think) it looks like fun.  Solo wargaming also provides a possible outlet for me in the interim until I can establish a game with person or persons that I do enjoy.  This project has picked up quite a bit of steam since finishing the painting goal, and through the holidays I bought a lot of O-Scale model train buildings to use in the game.

Speaking of trying to establish a game, I find myself struggling a bit to talk about my RPG gaming situation right now.  At the beginning of the year, I was with a new group that seemed to be getting underway nicely.  In the twelve months that followed I saw the group begin to constantly cycle players in and out for largely circumstantial reasons (players moving away, having job schedules change, etc.)  The up-and-down attendance meant that play was often disrupted and much of the wind behind the game was sucked out.

At some point I was approached by one of the players who wanted to take of DMing for a bit to run an adventure he had purchased, and I ended up playing D&D for the first time in ages.  Right now I’m looking forward to running again, but that player has been saying he may want to stay on.  That will have to be a conversation between us, and fairly soon.  At the moment, I’ve got a group back up to speed, but I wonder for how long.  I’m also wondering how long I’ll be stuck with D&D 4E, which is starting to bore me a bit.

Finally, I’ve been slowly restocking my terrain.  Some fieldstone terrain, some gothic terrain, and some sci-fi terrain.  I purchased a metric ton of pre-made plastic terrain pieces--enough to fill a table.  And oh yes, I got a Zuzzy battle mat for Christmas, so now my gaming table is all tricked out nicely.

I suppose, looking back, 2011 was a year of some rough transitions.  I often think of it as being a little bit like a rebuilding year in collegiate athletics; what I had in years past is gone, and now I'm feeling my way through a new place and getting to know new people.  I have a load of New Year's Resolutions, but above all thanks for hanging out here.  I hope it is worth your time.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Swag, 2011 edition

This year, Mrs. Q gave me for Christmas a 4' by 6' Zuzzy Terra-flex gaming mat, the "Moorlands," which is part of their "Verdant Fields" line.  Very cool.  I'm trying to figure out if it would be worth it to paint it and risk some flaking or just leave it as-is.

In the meantime, I'll be looking forward to planning epic battles, desperate skirmishers, and a few humiliating defeats in 2012.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December Wrap-up

I'm writing this now while I have a spare minute.  I don't see myself getting much painting done over the Christmas holidays and vacation, and most of my work has been on the zombie project which has been featured on my other blog (this is the peril of having more than one hobby blog--just as the former owner of Firebase: Spartan).

So, if you're not following over at Hard Boiled Zombies, here's what I've been up to since late November.

I'll save the year-end wrap up for another post, but as you can see I've got the miniature-painting mojo going again, just as some of my RPG-related stuff is having a resurgence.  Is this a last-minute of 2011 comeback?  Can I keep it going?  Wait and see!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

500 Heroclix

My FLGS, Hometown Games, did a cool fundraiser for the Ballard Center, a local homeless shelter.  They did a "silent auction" and got a lot of items donated by various manufacturers, but the store put up some items from their own stock.  Included amongst those, 500 Heroclix.

I played some Heroclix back in the day with my nephew, but I haven't played in years.  I did notice that there are some interesting solo versions of the rules floating around out there, but in the meantime the kids love them.

Here's the DC characters...
Over 200 Clix, and you can still pick out Power Girl's chest

And here's the Marvel characters...

You better believe there's a Doctor Doom in there

What was really cool was that I was allowed to pick out what I wanted from the loose stock, so aside from about five or six or the various agencies (Hydra, SHIELD, etc.) there are very few if any duplicates.  Although oddly enough, I somehow ended up with three Black Lightnings, but he's cool.

So, Superfriends vs. Legion of Doom, anyone?

A Painting Goal for 2012?

I still haven't made my (not so) big announcement yet, mostly because it requires photos and I haven't the chance to sit down at the home computer to do it (homework and balancing the books trumps dad's blogging every time) but in the meantime I thought I'd reflect a little bit on the subject of painting goals.

In 2010 and 2011 I had goals for painting miniatures.  In 2010 I overcame the goal by a wide margin and then set 2011's even higher than I accomplished in 2010 and made that with months to spare.  Once I hit the painting goal for the year, my painting dropped off precipitously, although I'm seeing a little resurgence as I start painting things for my ATZ project.

In looking at where I was mentally in this whole process, I did feel at times like I was under a lot of pressure to make the painting goal to the point where I was sometimes just slapping paint onto miniatures and staining them just to get the numbers up.  That's ironic given that I easily met the annual goal and have been basically painting in a fairly desultory fashion ever since.  It's worth my noting that the drop-off also happened around the time of EOW, my RPG mini-convention, when my interest went back to that end of the hobby, and the rise of my frustration with playing 40K.

So I basically am wrestling with a couple of questions as we get into 2012:

Painting goal or no painting goal?  Is it worth it to obligate my hobby, or does a painting goal make sure I don't get distracted by less worthy pastimes like watching television?

More or less?  Is 150 a good number, or should I go higher or lower?

Annual goal or monthly?  Some months just seem to favor getting painting done over others, so it is good to just keep it as one single goal rather than incrementally doled out?

Count dipped miniatures or not?  This is perhaps the most vexing portion of the whole thing.  A lot of the miniatures I got painted were basecoated-and-dipped with wood stain.  You can go over to the thearmypainter and see dozens of miniatures painted in a manner of days that way.  It seems sometimes like that's "cheating" but other times it seems like a perfectly reasonable way to get a mass army painted without quitting your day job.  The counter argument?  I'm not improving as a painter when I do it, so I lose that benefit of the painting process.

I've considered the overly-complicated possibility of a multi-tier painting goal, like 130 mass-produced miniatures and 20 slow-painted ones for the year.

Anyways, comments?  Your own experiences with painting goals?  All welcome.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hey, 25K Pageviews!

I stopped using third party analytical software and just starting using Blogger's own stat tracking, which showed me that yesterday 25,000 pages have been looked at in my little ol' blog.  That's really cool.

And, I've done some serious decision making about 2012.  First, 2012 will be the Year of the Zombie for me.  Appropos given the highly-speculative belief that it will herald the real end of the world.  I've started painting survivors and zombies over at my zombie blog Hard Boiled Zombies, and terrain is to follow.

I also have a big announcement about a huge addition to the collection, but I'm going to save it until the next post.  I think it's big enough to warrant its own entry.


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