Saturday, 16 May 2015

More Dak Ages Fun + Hate Play Love, My 5 Things

So A few bloggers are doing the "Big Andy 5 things" thing. Now I usually avoid these blog equivalents to Chain Letters (read too lazy) but seeing as I have made a promise (to no one in particular) that I would try and make a blog post once a week and the only painting I have been doing is in 1:1 scale and involves ceilings and walls this seems like as good a time as any to break my duck (Donald is innocent!)

Oh yeah, this is not going to bare any resemblance to Eat Pray Love, in case you were wondering or have read the book.

So lets start with Hate. Why should I find anything to hate about a hobby I choose to be involved in would be my first observation, so I  gave it some thought and this is what I came up with. Long winded as usual but I think if you are going to bore the pants off people you should do it properly.

I should also point out that I'm more Old School than new, I love my figures shiny, I cherish and play Grant and Featherstone rules, I find green painted contour block terrain and home made balsa scenery a joy to look at... particularly with a regiment of Willies or Surens holding the ridge from all comers. Do I limit myself to the old ways, not likely. I enjoy looking at and reading glossy new rules, talking to people that play them. I've embrace the new approaches that gamers and designers have introduced to the hobby, and if I don't find something appealing or useful to me and my hobby I don't have to buy it or adopt it but accept that others do.

So on with the show

While I was mulling my "that shits me" part of the post over It occurred to me that when it comes to dislikes a theme was definitely starting to develop, my dislikes all shared a common root ie people or to be more precise whinging people. This is sort of odd because one of my chief likes in regards to war gaming is the people. Maybe having been a bit of a whinger in my working life (who doesn't though) I now find the type eternally annoying, besides life is too brief to be spoilt by your own or listening to others boring whinges.

and now I don't need to whinge anymore
1.     The rules winger exhibit A,  the chap or gal who prefers set A over set B and is happy to let everyone know each and every game, from the very first roll till last. Most groups I game with will be prepared to let you give your preferred rules a run, but please, don't turn up and not have a good grasp on how to play them. Your mates are relying on you to show them the ropes, so it is up to you to demonstrate that which make your preferred rules at least the equal of the set that are the object of your ire, fail that simple task and all will see you for what you are. Hells bells there are a number of rules I don't particularly think are great but they do the job, sometimes (not very often) I might quietly have my say and then get on with the game.  It is the game and the chaps I game with that count, not my eccentric preferences. If you don't like a set of rules to the point you endlessly complain about them and you have nothing better to offer then bugger off and play somewhere else with the set you favour, geez it ain't rocket science.
2.     The rules winger exhibit B. I'm referring to that champion of all that is wrong with the latest set to hit the shelves, but doesn't own the rules or play them. Either the rules are too expensive or have too many colour plates or they are too dumbed down or the author is too popular or not as knowledgeable as the complainant or all of the above and more (authors seem to be an easy target for the type).  In every case it is the thin edge of the wedge or the very thing that will make the hobby implode or corporate greed feeding off imbeciles much too stupid to think for themselves. The most remarkable aspect is these chaps have, in just about every single example I can think of never owned a copy, never borrowed and read a copy and never played a game using a copy of the rules yet they are fully qualified to pass judgement. Be very afraid if they are called up for jury duty.

War gamer formulation, extra strong.
To my mind these types aren't complaining about rules, war gaming companies acting all coorporaty,  or even wedges having thin edges.  These arbiters of correct war gaming yearn for the good ol' days, what ever they were? I have been gaming for more than 35 years and I sure as hell don't know what was so special about the "good ol' days." In reality are insulting our intelligence, our ability to choose what, why and how we game. You name it, there is bound to be something wrong with just about every new set of rules not printed on manilla stock using a hand cranked gestetner, smelling faintly of methylated spirits and bound together with jute or a bent nail .....and retailing for thruppence.

3.     The rules lawyer whinger, it is an easy term to kick around and to label people with so I shall explain. In my opinion it is the type of chap or gal with a  uncanny recall of every sentence in a set of rules and also every circumstance not covered by the rules. And here is the rub, they display an incomplete understanding of historical tactics and battlefield nuance, or more correctly, deliberately ignores them in the interest of a favourable outcome with a ready argument to justify their position. This is how I describe a rules lawyer, frankly I cant think of anything as likely to destroy my enjoyment of a game more than these pests. Indeed I will often excuse myself from a game if one is in attendance and asked to be informed when the game is over and another due to start, that is how I deal with them. You may think the bat and ball approach only serves to make me look foolish (pfffft, as if i need help with that) but when you find reasoned discussion fruitless as often as I have try it, life is too short to be wasting it on un-enjoyable games.

4.     The observer whinger, never games just hangs around the table edge commenting "that shade of green is all wrong for January 43 - mid May 44 pea dot cammo" "RPG's don't have that range in real life in fact they are blah blah blah " "that figure is completely wrong, Vikings start their beard plats left hand over not right" "your watermill should be undershot for this period the over shot mill was developed some where around the blah blah blah". Usually inhabit the fringes of demo games but may be found at your weekly garage game, these types usually have the biggest piles of shame (lead mountain) and will offer to sell you figures at 10% more than the retailers asking price.

You know you want to
5.    Poor quality control, I'm quite prepared to pay the asking price for most figures but when you receive your figures you should have a right to expect that they have been well cast. Not with pitted surfaces and fissures, or cast from worn molds that produce figures with millimetres thick flash or great lumps of metal that need cleaving and finally castings that haven't received their full quota of metal ie arms without hands, incomplete swords etc etc (probably because it has gone into great lumps of metal that need cleaving) some might slip by and I can live with that but I would prefer to wait a couple of extra days than go through all the faffing about getting them replaced. In fact I could almost say that poor quality figures is something I hate.

Interlude, as the title suggests this is a Hate Play Love post, I have done away with the hate... or the "things that shit me" as I prefer and it is time for the Play.....

Can you guess what I'm going to be playing this year?
My latest haul of pre-loved goodies, never one to jump onto a fad until it has past I will being going all SAGA crazee on yo ass. Nice quick enjoyable game that requires a good chunk of tactical planning via the battle board abilities and also lends itself perfectly to setting up small scale campaigns, this is just the set of rules that you can use to get kids involved in gaming. I would start by limiting some of the special abilities and let them get a firm foot hold first and then open up the rules progressively. The young'uns will love the hairy Vikings feel and it is short enough to keep their attention to the end.

Some WF Saxons thegns and fyrd which will provide ample opportunity and spare parts for some creative conversions and lastly, what you cant see (in the baggies), a good haul of Foundry Vikings for my wife's SAGA war band. Foundry figures offer some lovely stereotypical caricature miniatures just right for SAGA's individually based figure system. Now I just have to get the shield maiden set to go with.

Now in case some of you missed that bit, I said my wife's war band, yep SAGA and a certain telly show, have got my wife into having a go at war gaming. Amazing what an overpriced, dumbed down, glossy, corporaty set of rules coupled with a non historically correct, button counters nightmare, fantasy of a telly (which never tried to be more than a piece of telly entertainment you pedantic so and so's) show can do.  Fortunately buying second hand I didn't fall into the trap of purchasing Gripping Beast figures and displaying my inability to think for myself. I bought my 2nd hand GB figures about a month ago and they are being prepped for Impetus instead

It's time to feel the Love people

1.     This is too easy the "thing" I love the most about war gaming is the interweb. The whole wide world of gaming is at your command, obviously the most (not necessarily important) useful aspect would have to be that it has changed the whole dynamic of buying figures, rules and other accoutrement. For those living outside of the UK (arguably the home of figure manufacture) this is a massive plus, we can browse, compare, decide and pay with a few simple clicks. And then there is blogging, I can see what you and you and you are doing, how you paint or bases and game with your toys, blogging is a wonderful tool, I don't really have to spell it out do I.   Forums? While forums are a great place to have an in depth discussion involving more than 3 or 4 people face book is (and I predicted so, along with many others) where it is at at the moment, war gaming companies were a little slow to take fb up as a whole but now they are on board (most anyway) and we can get our gaming news as it happens, and we can share links and ideas with our mates instantly, even via video chat. One last word on forums.... ahhh.... nope I wont go into this, let me just say I would recommend the Lead Adventure and Steve Dean forums over any other nowadays, if I were to be asked by a noob. Want a quick intro to your new SAGA rules or Impetus or any number of rules  to see how the game plays and study the mechanics, jump on You Tube, there is sure to be a video on how to play. Finally I have met (in the virtually sense) and kept in touch with some wonderful people over the internet, I cant imagine anything that has enhanced my hobby more in the last, almost 40 years that I have been gaming.

Working that lead mountain
2.     Choice, choice, choice. It's all out there, okay not all, but pretty close to all and for the bits that aren't "build it and they will come" seems to work. As I mentioned above it is time for me to ride the SAGA wave, want some Dark Ages figures Dave? Uh huh, well climb aboard the interweb express we have a shyte load for you to choose from Gripping Beast, Foundry, West Wind oh you want it in 15mm well there is  blah blah blah. Going to get dual use from your figures Dave, uh huh, well lets look at Impetus or maybe Dux Britanium blah blah blah, get the picture?  Of course with such a great range of choice, and I'm talking periods and genres here, the ability to create narrative games or campaigns has greatly widened, for instance the first thing that came to mind when looking at SAGA was a campaign based around a raiding party and another on land grabs by the Saxon kingdoms. I can buy the warriors, of course, but I'm not locked into Anglo Saxon and Vikings with Scotts, Irish, Welsh Francs you name it available, then there are the civilians, livestock, clergy everything is out there the wealth of choices makes for even greater greater creativity than ever before.   I really do love the choices.

3.     Painting, sculpting and modelling, some may call one or all a chore but I don't see how you can be a war gamer without having an attraction to painting ye olde hoard of figures (okay painting services do make it possible). Yes painting can be a pain in the arse sometimes, but I loves it anyhows and you get a real sense of achievement when that motley collection of bare white metal men/women/vehicles/mechs are finally finished, same goes for scenery, basing or conversion tasks. We have great quality paints and brushes to work with nowadays (ahh I miss the smell of Humbrol enamel in the evening), beautiful transfers for our shields and flags for those that can't, green stuff and such like to flex our sculpting/conversion muscles and that much under rated material MDF which really has made this gaming life so much easier, whether you buy pre-cut or scratch build MDF is the ducks guts.

I love converting figures, now if I just give this a little tap....

4.     Research, yep, collecting books and studying the history of the period I'm gaming. Once armed with "the knowledge" I can then go on and create a narrative for a campaign, series of scenarios and even rules! ImagiNations, those endearing creations would not be possible without a solid grounding in the history, political and military, of the period, a Very British Civil War or the Weird War themed games require a good knowledge of the history of the times and then set the gamer free to go with their imagination. Some might say I'm talking a load of old tosh, maybe, but let me point you in the direction of a certain chap who must be the premier example of carefully studied history unleashed into fantasy a certain Mr J.R.R.Tolkein. I guess the same could be said of sci-fi creation, I'm not a fan of sci-fi so I shan't try to comment. Yep, studying a given period in history and creating a narrative for a campaign or even a battle whether fictional or otherwise is a truly wonderful thing... well I think it is.
It's easier than it looks
5.   Finally the people are, without doubt, the best part of my hobby, the mates that I have clicked with, there are plenty of great "things" about the hobby but the people (except for some of the wingers) are what makes it. 

Thanks for looking
As usual all errors grammatically and in composition are the sole responsibility of google and the reader


  1. "War gamer formulation, extra strong" Lol... I'll be ordering a truck load please. I know a few guys that desperately need these!

  2. Hahahaha dont we all, I'll see if a tanker can be arranged, we all need and deserve a bit of a moan sometimes but some people just need to STFU and relax.

  3. Whoah - that was quite a read for me, Dave :) But then again, I have quite a short attention span. I do agree with your lists though. I'm actually quite nonchalant about rules - that is, I' a relative newcomer to gaming, that is to say I never gamed the older rules folks seem to have fond affection for. I'm more of an aesthetics guy - games included, and don't like seeing too much clutter like charts and such all over the table.

  4. LOL your right Dean this post is a whole heap of hot air. I found once I had started I should explain myself, you know how people love to misinterpret anything on the internetz. As far as I'm concerned if it works for you then go with it and dont let others tell you how to wargame.

  5. excellent read... the comment about smelling faintly of methylated spirits took me back! :o)

  6. those were the days Steve the wargamer, waiting for nice Mrs Corduroy from the office to interrupt class with a arm load of circulars wafting of impending excursions.

    ....and yes painting eyes on figures is just not on, the results are disturbing to say the least.

  7. As the supoosed "orgionator" I can't argue with any of those good or bad .
    I do heartily agree with the good bits!

  8. As the supoosed "orgionator" I can't argue with any of those good or bad .
    I do heartily agree with the good bits!

  9. Thanks for stopping by Andy, as the originator you can argue with all of it. It is a hobby after all and we each take from it those bits we find suits our particular needs and desires.


Good, bad or otherwise I love to hear what you think..... mostly