29 December 2009

2010 Resolutions

John at Plastic Legions has made a list of resolutions and has mentioned that he hopes to see more lists around the wargaming blogs.

I'm not normally a resolution kind of guy. That implies planning, and I'm horribly at planning. However, I do have some general notions that I'm willing to gamble I will largely stick with.

1. Minimal wargaming budget in 2010. Work has gotten a bit tight, and I'm getting married in October. So limited wargaming spending isn't just a resolution, it's hard reality. I'm only planning on going to one out of town event longer than a day (Cold Wars) with a possible second one (Origins) if I can swing a free ride. My Old Glory Army card expires in a couple months, so I will try to place one last order using the discount before curbing spending on figures.

2. Participate in promoting the hobby. I'm running some WAB demo games at Cold Wars, and may do the same at Origins. I'm going to look into some painting events, too. Maybe like "The Paint Machine Road Show" or something.

3. Get back to pointless gaming. Points based games have become the staple. There's a greater emphasis on competitiveness. I'd like to take a step back to scenario based and "just for fun" type games. I'll also lump "less focus on 'officialdom' in games. We've already started this with our WFB campaign. I wouldn't mind trying something similar with WAB. This leads into...

4. Get into zombies. Seems goofy, but I've already started writing my own "beer & pretzels" style rules for a modern zombie apocalypse type game. I'm hoping they will really have the feel of a movie and not get too bogged down in reality. I also hope to maybe get some non-wargaming people into it. Of course, this means I will need to start getting & painting a bunch of zombies, which means I will be pushing my limits with Resolution No. 1 and interfering with Resolutions Nos. 5-8. I will also be in need of some suitable terrain.

5. Paint lots of Romans (and their friends & foes.) Already on my way with this. But I really do have quite a lot of figures still needing paint. I want to finish at least 90% of them by the end of the year.

6. Repair & update Skaven. I have a lot of broken plastic clanrats in dire need of repair. I also have some newer figures, plus a few conversions I recently built (posted pics a month or two ago.)

7. Sculpt Hellpit Abomination. This one deserves its own resolution heading. I'm excited about it. I just need time to sort out a plan and execute it.

8. Finish Empire steam tank. I bought & assembled the thing, started painting it then got distracted by other things. Definitely need to finish this.

9. Stop reading Warseer. I've quit looking at the WFB sections, which is the biggest frustration. But I think I need to quit looking at the other sections, too.

10. Play more ancients/medievals. Hopefully we can get more regular games going, and I can get some more people interested.

There's ten things off the top of my head. I don't think it's realistic that I will have time for all of it. But those are at least some indications of the possible directions I will head. Options for goals.

Addendum: After thinking about it a bit, I like John's idea for a big game. So I'd like to add an 11th resolution to have a really "Legendary Battles" type game of some sort.

27 December 2009

Holiday WAB

Got in a quick inter-holiday WAB game this afternoon. We played a double game. 2000 points each, my Romans and my Historicon team mate's Barbarians vs. Macedonians and... Hibernians?

I've had enough depressing losses to the Macedonians lately, so I asked to set up on the side that the Irish had started to occupy.

Due to the cramped battlefield, there was little room for manuever. I used more skirmishers than previous battles, and in spite of being fairly evenly matched in that respect I "won" that battle, largely thanks to a unit of barbarian cav that rampaged through light troops along the flank, and distracted one of the infantry blocks for most of the battle. Our battle lines got locked and I survived the initial onslaught without even needing to burn my stubborn ability when receiving the charge. The Irish mega-unit containing the general, army standard and priest gradually ground down one unit, but the rest of the Romans held their own.

My light infantry (Scutarii - run as Roman Auxiliaries) followed behind the barbarian cav, swung in and charged a full warband, ran it over on the charge, and then turned the flank in the last turn of the game. (They are the unfinished unit near the bottom of the pic.)

On the other half of the battlefield it sounded like things went OK for the allies until the general was killed. The Macedonians had 11 oracle points, which apparently went to good use.

Poor quality phone photo below. Identities have been hidden to protect the innocent (or not so innocent.) On the left are the Irish in the foreground, Macedonians in the background. My Romans in the foreground on the right, my allies in the background.

With all of the questions of the future of WAB, it was good to just put some figure on the table and play a game. It was also good to do well with the Romans for a change.

Addendum: Almost forgot to mention my vaguely hobby related holiday loot. I got HBO's complete "Rome" series on DVD.


I heard a joke over the holiday...

A U.S. Army general was negotiating with a cannibal chief in New Guinea during World War II. The general wanted the chief to rally his tribe to help American troops fight the Japanese. The chief refused, calling the Americans immoral. The general was shocked. "We are not immoral!" he protested. "The Japanese are immoral!" The cannibal chief replied, "The Japanese and Americans are equally immoral. You both kill far more people than you can eat."

24 December 2009


Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas or enjoyable and safe holiday of their choice.

Or even if you don't celebrate any holiday, just have a wonderful evening. ;)

22 December 2009

WAB vs. Crusader

At least some sort of light on the horizon for WAB 2.0. A second December newsletter now says they are sending it to the printers in January, with preorders to follow as soon as they have a ship date. It's 208 pages, full color, hardbound.

Someone on the WAB Forum pointed out the normal prices for the same 208 page full color hardbound type of books from Forgeworld, and that has me a bit concerned.

So I'd just like to state that if WAB 2.0 is going to cost me more than $50, especially if there are no army lists included, there is zero chance I will buy it, and I will instead immediately send my money off for a set of the Crusader miniatures rules.

21 December 2009

Roman Command

I finally painted up two mounted command figures from Foundry. One is supposed to be Pompey, the other is a mounted aquilifer.

The Pompey model, quite honestly, is awful. The face is a slightly distorted blob with a small ring representing a mouth that reminds me of Mr. Bill from Saturday Night Live. His arms are thicker than his legs. The casting was really bad, too. The right side of his face (left side from the viewers point of view) had a large chunk between the eye and the nose that I sort of removed, but it was difficult to get the remainder to look like a face. Considering "good" half was just a blob anyway, I wasn't too worried. One half of the laurel leaf was decently defined, but the other half was either poorly cast or poorly sculpted. The legs & sandals were pretty good -- they looked like they were borrowed from a better sculpted figure.

Eventually I will post the other figures from the set, Caesar and a consul or some other official. They're not much better. I painted Pompey first because, first off, I find him (the person) interesting, and second, my first pack had two Pompey figures and no consul, the replacement had another Pompey, so I am somewhat overflowing with this awful figure.

The aquilifer was significantly better. A nice clean figure.

I prefer the Crusader figure I posted a few weeks ago to Pompey.

Here's the Foundry Page for reference.

20 December 2009

Mighty Empires: Year 1 - Winter

I have added two new notations. "S" for Ship and "X" for Razed settlements.

Year One of the Mighty Empires campaign wound down, and we're in the middle of our winter shopping. (spending the income.)

The big excitement was the capture of the Ogre capital by the Lizardmen at the tail end of Turn 4. After that the Ogres had two turns, including extra moves due to "forced marches" to move one hex into the capital and try to take it back. After four attempts, they made it, taking heavy casualties during a river crossing gone wrong and then proceeded to smash themselves to a pulp on the walls of their former city.

This has led to a considerable change in balance on the map, as the Lizards and Chaos forces are now divvying up the former Ogre lands (and the surrounding unexplored territory) in a strangely cooperative manner.

The Skaven made a half hearted attempt at some inroads through Goblin territory and threatened an attack on the capital itself, but in typical cowardly fashion, didn't go for the final attack -- which would likely have suicide anyway.

The Goblins hung near their capital, due to a combination of the Skaven attack, lack of a clear road through the mountains to their northwest, and starvation.

The Orcs (disguised as yellow Bretonnians on the map) stood back and watched the destruction of the Ogres from a distance at the north end of their Empire, while exploration to the south led to the discovery of yet more barren coast land.

Autumn spells led to additional income for the Lizards (on top of their already bountiful coffers,) the forces of chaos creating difficulties for the Orcs winter retreat, and the Skaven army being inundated with heroes looking to make a name for themselves.

Winter events were a little more harsh. Famine, plague and banditry were widespread and affected all.

What the map doesn't show are the numbers.

While the Lizards did deal a death blow to the Ogres, and have the largest chunk of real estate open to them, they blew their winter retreat back home through the mountains, and lost a second banner to a bad event. On the plus side, they've got far more cash to spend than any other Empire. They've also got a lot of distance between their capital and the other Empires.

The Skaven and Chaos Empires are both fairly solid. The Skaven still have numbers, though they're running out of land. Chaos has slightly smaller forces, but a large space for expansion (with minimal competition.)

Both greenskin armies are hurting. The Orcs started with smaller forces than anyone else, and a lot of their territory turned out barren. An early battle with an independent settlement was costly in terms of casualties. The Goblins lost one of their smaller banners, but then also had crappy territory and ended up succumbing to starvation. They're not as bad off as the Orcs, numerically, and they've got a strong front against the Skaven (mountains and Fortresses) but they're cramped for land and half of what they've got is Barren.


Commentary on the Rules

We've been adjusting a few things as we go. For example, in the various phases of Winter we discovered a lot of results for spells, events, etc. that would result in the utter destruction of entire banners of troops. If we had played it this way, there would probably be half as many troops on in the game. So instead, we roll on the winter retreat table, which is still harsh, but at least leaves something remaining.

The Equinox spells and Winter events have a huge impact on the game. Looking forward to the espionage phase, there's even more potential for big changes. The actual battles have been minimal. We've only had a few. There were a lot of agreements and alliances this first year, however. I suspect this next turn will result in more.

As far as the initial set up and army generation, the game was written for a slightly different army structure, so we've used some home brewed rules we found on a web page (I'll look for the link later) that adapted the game for 6th edition. Those mostly seem to have worked.

We've also used a modified version of the 5th edition Siege rules. We're working on tweaking those a bit.

We don't currently have any "advancement" or "experience" system where troops become veterans or characters improve. I think at least a basic system along these lines would add quite a bit of interest next time.

Overall, though, the existing game seems to form a decent framework for a campaign so far. The "luck" factor does seem a bit heavy. So if the dice don't like you, there's a potential for harsh consequences.

18 December 2009


Everyone posts photos of their pets in their blog, no matter what the topic. I believe I have even done so previously. This time, it's a little different.

I've been hunting around for suitable dog minaitures, and now have a small bin of them, in a quest to find a suitable match for our Shepherd/Husky, Sasha. This is one of the closest so far, though it's very large. She's mounted on a 20x40 base so I can actually fit her into infantry units in WFB/WAB (next to my self portrait figure, of course.)

It may look a little strange, but she actually is getting a bit of grey around the edges of her mouth as she gets older. She's around 8 years old +/-, we're not sure exactly as we got her from a shelter.

I believe it's a Ral Partha figure.


I mentioned that the Geier of the Carrion People figure was an old sculpt. It was actually the second along the lines of that design. (There are actually more than those two...) The first was sculpted & painted up as a one-off figure. I did it as part of the old Visions in Putty project on the minisculpt list (which I haven't looked at in years.)

So here's the original...

I actually like a few things about this one a bit better, like the head and positioning of the arms. However I was still figuring out how to do folds on drapery, so that's a bit off on this figure. The change in the head was based on actually looking at vulture heads. This one looks nothing like reality, where the others are more like somewhere on the distant horizon of reality.

16 December 2009

Christmas Giftsmas

In making a comment elsewhere about the plethora of great new stuff that I'd love to get my hands on, but having to watch my spending at the moment, I realized...

Considering that miniatures gaming (and history in general -- I even got my first university degree in the subject!) has been my biggest and longest running hobby (and/or obsession) I don't think anyone's ever given me a gaming or history related gift for my birthday or Christmas. :(

I'm actually considering selling off a few things to fund a purchase some of the things I recently mentioned in a previous entry. I'm like a lead junkie. (Or plastic, in the case of the new Perry WotR kit.)

More Romans & Spanish

I finally managed to finish a small group of Spanish caetrati that have been sitting on a shelf, half finished, in my painting room for months. Probably the beginning of summer, at least. The figures are Crusader.

I also flocked the Romans I recently painted at the Paint Machine. The figures are Wargames Factory.

I've registered several beginners demo games of WAB at Cold Wars, and I'm looking into doing something similar at Origins. So I'm now committed to painting as many Romans as possible. I'll be doing Romans vs. Barbarians games, however if I can paint a pile of Romans by then, I may do a Civil War game. If I get enough painted, I may also have to switch back to painting Germans for a while, to increase the size of the Rome vs. Barbarians option. Part of the final decision will depend on running a few playtest games.

11 December 2009


I'm a bit behind with this, but it's been sitting on the table for a while waiting to be painted. This is the (first) figure I sculpted for Black Orc Games "Mini Sculpt" program. You can buy these for $1 each here:

Geier of the Carrion People

Buy enough and I may even get to see a share of the profits. ;) Mainly I did it to see how my (very) modest sculpting skills would translate through the molding and casting process.

The arms are separate, fit into the shoulders and can be rotated in a variety of poses (ball and joint type socket.

I'm not thrilled with the colors I ended up using, it was just the first idea to pop to mind. I think I'll paint a couple others up in different colors. Click to get the full sized pic.

Any feedback is appreciated. I've got a couple of other slow moving sculpting projects in process and would love to get feedback, criticism, advice, etc. so I can improve. You don't even have to sugar coat it. ;)

09 December 2009

Behind the Scenes

No pics yet, but I've been keeping myself occupied.

I took a different direction regarding the gaming mat mentioned in the previous entry. Rather than buying a commercial mat, I decided to see what I could do on my own. So I got a roughly 4'-6" x 9'-0" piece of "bottomweight" in a khaki color. I added a bit of variation to this with light & random sprays of a darker brown and black spray paints. I tried adding some spray of white and green with diluted acrylics splashed from an old toothbrush, but didn't have much luck. I will most likely buy a green spray paint in the near future. Overall, it's not the best looking mat, but it still looks pretty good. I'm still not certain whether I want to risk trying to use some 3m Super 77 and Woodland Scenics flock on it.

I also built some more ladders for WFB sieges. We had our first siege game of the campaign on Friday, which got me thinking about modeling projects. THe ladders were super easy, and were build using basswood sticks glued together.

No painting for a few days. I'm trying to decicde what I want to do for myself, next. Not much luck in that area, so nothing new for me. In the meantime, I prepped a pile of figures for paintwork I owe a friend, to cover my room & board expenses from all the way back at Historicon!

Pics of new stuff coming soon...

02 December 2009

Paint Machine update, Holiday Wishlist, Cold Wars

I finally picked up where I left off a couple weeks ago with the Paint Machine project, with steps seven and eight.


I also just registered to run two "demo" style events at Cold Wars '10. I'm going to do Cimbrian war flavored "Romans vs. Barbarians" and teach the WAB rules. (The new ones, if emerge by then.) Provided I get the slots, I'll be doing them on Thursday night and Friday morning. It's been a long time since I've run convention events, so I'm starting off small before diving into larger events again.


There's a bunch of great new stuff that's either coming out soon or has recently been released. Plus a few other things I've been eyeballing. Sadly between the holidays, our wedding in less than a year, and the uncertainties of my job, gaming spending is on hold. I may try trading or selling a few things off.

First off, I need a game mat or something to use for a table at the above mentioned Cold Wars events. I'm considering of one of these from The Terrain Guy. I've got some terrain boards at home, but they're too large & heavy to be practical in this case.

Beyond that, here's a few things I've got my eyes on:
  • Perry plastic Wars of the Roses
  • Artizan Landsknechts
  • Rumored Ancient Germans from Crusader
  • Macedonian pike deals (boxes) from Crusader
  • Skaven clanrats from GW

In regard to the Crusader stuff, I've got an Old Glory card that will expire just before Cold Wars, so I'd really like to make one last purchase on it, as I won't renew this year (for the same reasons above.)