Monday, 21 May 2018

A Change in Circumstances

Well this was my workbench. As you can see it's pretty much empty. It's probably well on its way to being fibreboard now as it went into a recycling bin yesterday. Whilst I have never been the biggest fan of this set up it is a steller leapahead from what I have at the moment (which is pretty much nothing at all).

This is one of the casualties of my current situation and it is that situation that explains the six weeks since my last post. My relationship has broken down and this is the reason I have just moved house. The place I am in is much smaller, in a fairly mediocre area and my tenure here is somewhat tenuous.

Alongside the loss of my relationship and the loss of my home, I am going to have to significantly downgrade my car, I am losing my dog and may well lose my job and regardless of what happens my income has dropped significantly. I am currently living in a world of boxes and things on a creative front are not looking outstanding either.

Although I am not altogether enamoured about all of the details of my current situation there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Quite a bright light in fact. So whilst things are not all going my way I am pretty from being down for the count. There are a few plans afoot and I have a good feeling that any day now things are going to really go my way.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Painting The Grenadiers, Now Technically Mirliton Miniatures

As time goes by I have gotten better at painting and whilst, I am no professional, I do okay at painting 28mm figures. Well I think so. The trouble with getting better is that everything takes that bit longer, When I was painting 15mm minis, which I used to do a lot, I could get ten figures done in an afternoon and they would look okay. I dare say if I worked all day I could paint ten 28mm figures fairly well. Sadly I never get all day.
A mixed bag. Reaper. Foundry, Grenadier, Foundry again and Grenadier again.
Last week was a bit of a bump for my painting plans. It was not the best week all round. This week, whilst better, is still looking like hard work. Today is looking like the only day I am going to get to do much. So I guess it's good I managed to finish enough figures to complete last week's target and this week's target as well. Then there is about another dozen or so that are pretty close to completion and another twenty based, primed and ready to go.

So as I can't paint I am watching YouTube. For the last couple of days I have been wanting to watch the original Dawn Of The Dead. It's still a classic and the benchmark for anything to do with zombies ever since. All in all not a bad night.
This should be the archetype for my next zombie

Monday, 2 April 2018

End Or Start Of The Week

This has not been my most productive week of miniature painting. It's still Easter weekend so I am calling this the end and start of the week and my habit is to review the week.
I only managed to get four figures finished from last week's roster. This fell short of my usual target of five figures. Given that I am repainting an titivating some figures I had much higher expectations. That said it has been an exceptionally crap week. Stuff has been going on this week and it's not been good. It's also a bad anniversary for me which has caused me to have an almost total lack of focus. Still there is a chance that I can catch up this week as a lot of the other figures I started are pretty close to being finished. The New Cruelty is not happy.

Still assuming that I am going to get somewhere with these figures, there is another bunch of figures to do. Whilst I was having a sort out the other week I came across a bunch of mutants which I think are Mongoose Miniatures Judge Dread Muties. These were done well over a decade ago and are pretty bad, hence the picture being at a bit of a distance. These should improve quite nicely.

On the health front I have managed a 5k run this week. Not my fastest performance ever but I managed it. The second one I have managed since taking my health a bit more seriously. After all that I can safely say that I am the lightest I have been this decade. So on balance I have managed to get through the week

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Happy Easter

Happy chocolate production industry windfall day to you all.

Seriously, happy Easter to you all. Just got a few more chocolate eggs to eat.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Defining Moments For Me In The Gaming Hobby Part Two

So I thought I would look at the games and what has influence my gaming life in adulthood. See what you think?
When I started my degree I met up with Jim and we played a lot of Traveller. Jim's other love was 6mm WW2. He had Brits and Germans and plenty of other stuff but no Americans. So I embarked on a crusade of trying to be able to play just about every formation which I failed. At the time the money I spent on Heroics and Ros seemed obscene at the time. We played a lot of Command Decision, the only game I think I was ever any good at and I lost, a lot. I dipped my toe in again a few years, on a smaller scale, but using GHQ figures. Still love it.
After I started work and got my own PC I started playing UFO: Enemy Unknown but you probably know it as X-Com. This was my first computer gaming obsession. I spent days playing it. I have gone on to play this game over and over. I have completed it well over a dozen times. Although I haven't played all the games in the franchise I have played nearly all of them. This has been another crossover experience. This has become a game I want to do on tabletop.
After finishing my degree I had a fairly stable gaming group. Most of the GMing was done by Mike and Mike loved Cyberpunk. This is a game I had looked and I had read the William Gibson novels and I liked them. The system was okay and I was more into sci-fi than fantasy games so it was a win win for me. What really made the game tho was Mike. He created a great game with plenty of paranoia. It was the kind of campaign that still lives in my head and my main character in that is still one of my all time faves.
Fallout came out not long after UFO. This was another game I have played and played. I have always considered myself as a child of the apocalypse that never came. The world of Fallout would have been one that I could have carved a life out for myself, if the worst had come to the worst. I had read some post-apocalyptic books and  looked at games like Aftermath and Gamma World. This has started a lifelong love of the genre as a gaming arena.

We moved on from that to Harn. Again this was with Mike as a GM. This was another great campaign. As a team we really gelled, apart from one of the mages who had a habit of killing his mates with a crazy  powerful spell. This is a game I really brought into. My character is this was one of my most beloved. Sadly, due to player pressure it was turned into a D&D game as 3rd edition had just come out at the time. This gutted my character and the game for me. I ran it myself a couple of times and it has become one of those games that I would really like to play again.
Conspiracy X was the first real campaign I ran as an adult. Although I guess inspired by The X-Files it was it's own game. There were aliens but the main focus was on the supernatural. This game has over 50 detailed NPCs and a database of well over 600 hundred entries. I spent years of using all my gaming time devoted to this.  I had player characters from one season battle their characters from the season before. It went on for a few years and has been reborn a couple of times and had a few special one off sessions. Although I love all the stuff I have one this is the one I have the softest spot for.
Savage Worlds came along after an introduction by a friend of mine called Mark. This has become a staple of the games I have been running for over a decade. It is a great, yet simple set of rules. Given that I play in an environment where the games change frequently, it is even more ideal. It has become the backbone of the Viking Game I am running on and off and what I have aimed to convert all my other games into.
When Fallout 3 came out I was hooked. It had been a decade it more since I last played the game and I kind of missed it. It took a game that I loved and turned into an open world shooter with a lot of choices to make. I have played it through to the end multiple times and still not finished it off. The post apocalyptic vibe is still one I love. New Vegas and Fallout 4 have just reinforced that for me. This became a game I spent years trying to reproduce. The figures I have for this are all in 15mm and that hasn't really got much of a look in for a long time. I keep hoping that Bethesda is going to release another game although I guess I might be a bit hopeful.
I remember seeing a promo video for Skyrim in HMV and being hooked immediately. It is perhaps the perfect fantasy setting for a computer game and to me at least the definition of open world game. Whilst I couldn't say for certain I am pretty sure this is the individual game that I have the longest time investment in, although it may be UFO. There is just so much to do. After all this time I am still finding stuff to do in the game. There is DLC I haven't even touch yet.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Defining Moments For Me In The Gaming Hobby Part One

I thought I might give a meme another go. For a while now I have been thinking about what influenced me to be the gamer I am today. There have been a huge amount of influences over the years and I have been working out what they were. So I guess this is where I start. Well I wrote a list and figured that it was a massive piece of work so I decided  to split it into two. This part is really about my childhood. I will do a post about adult life next.

It starts with my first day at school. At nursery school I had played with some Britains toy soldiers but they hadn't really stuck with me. One of the kids in my class had brought his brothers painted Airfix Romans with him. I remember them looking really good to my five year old eyes and losing one of them down a crack in a step as we threw stones at them to knock them down. As I recall he got into a world of trouble. This is really where it all started for me.
As I got a little older I moved into  buying them myself. Mostly in the form of WW2 HO/OO figures. Over time I moved onto the 1/32nd scale stuff. I ended up with huge numbers of these. I suspect the owner of the house I grew up in is still finding them in the garden. If there is one thing that still makes me think back to my early childhood it is the box of British Paratroopers. About the only 28mm modern figures I have painted have been paras.
My later childhood was dominiated and I mean dominated by one thing alone. Star Wars. It was all I had heard about for months and it was all I ever dreamed of. Playing with the toys is a guess where I learned about narrative. There were heroes and villains and sometimes the villains were in black and white. I has been a constant in my life, I see relics of my life with this film every day.

Tunnels and Trolls was the first role-playing game I bought and I have mentioned my love of it before. I got my dad to go to Game in Liverpool which I am always grateful for. It's tongue in cheek approach still impacts what I do as a GM today. As rulebooks go, it is perhaps the one I have read the most. You just have to look at it to see how loved this book once was. It was the solo gamebooks from T&T that created the Fighting Fantasy surge of the mid eighties which was also a lot of fun.

Reading the T&T books got me into playing the games but it was seeing the citadel miniatures fantasy figures that really sold me on the who hobby. The first figures I ordered from GW had a leaflet with them. This leaflet was so well read that the paper just wore away at the folds.

The next load of GW figures I ordered came with a catalogue. This to got read and re-read. As well as all the lists of figures and pictures it had the first painting guide I had read along with types for customising figures. For me this represents a golden age of figures. It is the figures from this book that still have the biggest pul for me.

One holiday I found a shop that sold so roleplaying books so I brought the original D&D basic set. I spent the rest of the holiday creating characters and running them through The Keep On The Borderlands. Back then I kind of loved the game then but I have had a real falling out with it since. D&D, whilst it has improved, has become about selling the next book and the next, each in turn allowing the creation of stronger characters which create an unpleasant kind of arms race. What D&D did do for me was give me Imagine Magazine. This really was one of the best RPG magazines of all time and I still refer to it even now.

As part of what I was doing I kept buying wargaming magazines as that was all that was really available. As a christmas present I got some 15mm figures and I especially fell in love with the Navwar ECW. This started a love affair with not only the period but reading about the periods I love. The first Osprey books I got were about this period and I would borrow books from the library to.

In the months after that I purchased the Traveller Starter set. In the years that followed I hand generated a whole sector and did a few detailed subsectors. A few years ago I threw about a card filing system with two hundred hand generated characters. I miss them now. A decade or so ago I made it a mission, still to be completed, to collect all the classic GDW stuff and anything else I could get hold of from the classic era. It is a game I have played and run a lot. I found a fellow obsessive about the rules in Jim and we still talk about the good old days even now.

As I got more and more into sci-fi the film Alien became a big pull. I read the novel and got a books about the set and costume design for the film. I was way too young to watch the film at the time it came out but remember sneaking around to watch it late at night on the 14" black and white TV. This film caused me to create my own Traveller universe just to fulfil the fantasy. It is a series of films that I have watched a lot (well maybe not the third one...travesty). I have brought figures and played board games, role-playing games, card games and even computer games.  Whilst it isn't Star Wars it is a close second.

In the first issue of Miniature Wargames had a sci-fi ship to ship combat system. I used this ruleset to make my own game. Counters were made from cornflake packets and games were played out on a large piece of paper with a hand drawn grid. I set up the different species as different fantasy races. This is probably because I didn't have much imagination.

Whilst I was doing my A levels videos were all the rage. One of my mates rented Dawn Of The Dead. The film was a revelation. Survival and horror. It made me a life long Romero fan. It was a world I could relate to and problems that I could actually sort out. Zombie horror films became my main source entertainment for two decades. Later on computer games like Resident Evil and Dead Rising have occupied me dir many days.

This one is an odd one. 40k was a great game in its day. Sadly that day was really in 1987. It's figures were a change and I loved them at the time. The races were fantasy one and this appealed to me at the time. What was I saying about not having much imagination? It seems like I was not the only one. I spent a lot of money on the figures at the time. In many ways it was this game and the figures I painted that got me through some of my darkest teenage years. It is also a time I lament. White Dwarf had become a staple of my life and it was around this time that it, like the shops, changed into something I started not to like.

More tommorrow.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Really Not A Tabletop Post

As ever the painting of figures, specifically post-apocalypse and modern ish 28mm figures continues. My blogging mojo and my work ethic is definitely back in its right place. When I have had a moment I have been able to do a bit of writing and game prep for games that don't look like they are about to come off. Even so I enjoyed doing it. Although I have only finished the one figure today, the real world has been getting in the way and this evening has kind of blown me out of the water.

I am pretty sure I have compared what I do here to the nerd version of the book Bridget Jones' Diary, or rather I have indicated a wish for it not to turn into that kind of thing. Today, having looked at what is going on in my life I am pretty sure that I have got it all wrong. It's been a of week of hard work and disappointment and I am really hacked off with it all. The phrase "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" springs to mind.

It is time for me to make a decision about a few things. At the moment people are telling me to do one thing or the other. The next thing I know they are pulling the rug from underneath me. Now I don't know what to do. Whilst there are a number of options open to me they all require a very ballsy decision. My aim was not to gamble about my life but to ramble about it. At the moment it feels like it's about time to spin the wheel.