Friday, October 29, 2010

Killzone: Braaaaaains?

I am pleased to remind you that Pre-Registration for AdeptiCon is wide open, and that you can find the specific Special Operations: Killzone events listed below. The spaces have started to fill quite nicely (just over one-third gone already), so please don’t hesitate.

And on that note, I’d like to conclude A Gentleman’s Ones contribution to the Killzone Blitz and this month-long celebration of “many things Killzone” (you may have noticed that all but one post in October was directly related to the grand and growing Killzone monstrosity. I hope and trust that you enjoyed). Naturally, this doesn’t mean the end of the Killzone posts in any permanent measure, but rather signals a quick breath before the push… a small pause before the next tumult…

More on that as this strange fruit ripens.

Also, never fear. There will be a KZ WIP on Sunday; however, I tend to conceive these regular Sunday WIPs as outside the actual topic of the week, or month in this instance.

So Happy Halloween folks.  I’m off to conceive of how I might fold zombies of some description into a Kill Team dynamic. It’s not an intuitive step, to be sure, but compelling all the same.

See you Sunday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

WIP: AdeptiCon Doors

First, I'd like to extend a hearty "thank you" to the lounging Gentlemen over at Gamers Lounge for their kind words about the blog. I'm new to the merits of podcasting, but I've been warming up to the experience and enjoying the Lounge tremendously (though I suspect that "lounge" here is meant to be a verb rather than a noun).

...and if you hadn’t noticed, AdeptiCon pre-registration is up and running (ahem).

I suspect by now you will know that I am in the process of making four individual tables for the AdeptiCon weekend and, although each table will be genuinely unique, they are designed to play together in one binding narrative that spans both the specific event and the grand arc of the weekend. It’s going to be big.

But, in the spirit of Kilzone itself, I’ve found that the small details make the monster: take the doors, for example.

I mentioned previously that we’d struggled with the doors a bit –both in terms of their manufacture, and in terms of their function in gameplay. Here’s what we came up with.

We pinned a thin, flat piece (equal to the width of the walls) to a door section that was just a bit thinner so that the door would look visually distinct from the wall. The initial assembly process was tricky but manageable with a bit of finesse and the odd measure of harsh language. As such, the door  would actually suspend from the flat piece, but the solution was imperfect and precocious. Unfortunately, we discovered that any given door could easily, nay tenderly, bump from its perch -particularly when in the inverted “open” position. This would not do. Not at all. 

So we placed each door back in it’s proper closed location, and drilled a small hole through the bracket and into the wall section. We then inserted and glued a dowel into that space. We trimmed the dowel, then shaved it down with a Dremmel, and then sanded the entire mechanism flush with the bracket piece so that you barely notice it when closed or open.

The dowel piece helps hold the entire contraption into place and acts as a fine place-holder when the door is set to “open.” In all, I’m quite pleased with this (labor intensive but otherwise) really quite simple solution to our door problem.  A small detail, you might say.

The game is won or lost on hundreds of small details.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Killzone: Adepticon

You may know already, but the Pre-Registration for AdeptiCon is open for your perusal. In particular, I’d like to direct your attention toward three events that are already filling up nicely (cough, cough).

Special Operations: Killzone at AdpetiCon. Here’s the schedule with links to the registration page:

Do it. Do it.

And while you contemplate your schedule, I’ll dim the lights and set the mood with some photos I took at the event just this last year. The first photo above demonstrates the carnage. The second photo to our left (compliments of Wyatt -cheers) demonstrates the quality of the carnage.
Indeed, last year was my first visit to the immense and bustling halls of AdeptiCon, and I’ll confess that I experienced some modest trepidation beforehand.
I’m not a tournament player, you see, and much of what I’d seen on the internet lead me to believe that all tournaments were infested with win-at-all-cost wackjobs. Moreover, the internet reliably informed me that a mere brush with tournament mayhem would leave me in a bad mood for weeks, nay months. I should consider myself lucky if my entire disposition toward the human race remained unscathed.

I needn’t have worried.
Of course, I wasn’t intuitively attracted to the tournament play, although after the fact I was duly impressed by the style, demeanor, and general good manners of all the tournament gaming that I witnessed. I was left with the very firm impression that it was all really quite tremendous banter. Indeed, were I not deeply involved with this Special Operations: Killzone this year, I had every intention of trying my hand at a piece of tournament play or two this time around. So it goes. As it stands, I may take another stab at competitive painting, but we'll just have to see about that.

Well. In the end, the element that called me to AdeptiCon last year was the Seminars –the countless, brilliant seminars. Admittedly, I only participated in a modest two seminars last year (Hirst casting, pictured left, and Joe Orteza’s class on greenstuff), but each course helped my hobby in more ways than I could appropriately quantify here.

I’m trying to work in an airbrushing seminar this year (it’s going to be tricky, but hope’s spring is eternal). And that’s the genius of AdeptiCon; the actual game play is massive, but only one element among many possibilities on the weekend.
I must add another reason that AdeptiCon was genuinely impressive last year, and perhaps the primary for which I am excited to return. I met quite a few really class people -one of whom is just off camera to the left in this photo.

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I sat across from Papa JJ –of DiceRolla fame- at the Hirst seminar and we had a brief chat about some absolutely brilliant scenery he built in its entirety right there during the course. That’s talent. And right there, I could tell he was sound as a pound. Since then, I feel we’ve struck something of a friendship and that, to put it simply, is a particularly unexpected and pleasant part of the AdeptiCon experience. We're already in the process of arranging a polite one or two "friendlies" during the weekend. And there's so much more...

In summation: Pre-Register, and I’ll see you there.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

AdeptiCon: Registration is LIVE

Clear your calendar. April 1-3, 2011. AdeptiCon online pre-registration is live!

On it’s own, that’s heady, shiver-inducing news… but made all the more delicious with the addition of this simple truth: Special Operations: Killzone is going to be making a formidable appearance at AdeptiCon in 2011. 

You heard me. We will be hosting three individual events at AdeptiCon this coming year. That’s a big bite for such a small game.

As you will likely know, Special Operations: Killzone is a narrative-driven dynamic grounded in Warhammer 40K’s Kill Teams (although a Beta-ruleset is currently available on Galaxy in Flames, a finalized version of the Special Operations: Killzone sourcebook to 40K will be on offer for free download well in advance of the event). As mentioned, there will be three events on the weekend with allotments for 24 players in each event, and you, the gentle reader, will play at least four games in any given session (perhaps more if time allows). 

Each participant will bring one Special Operations Team of any standard 40K race. The Team must not exceed 250 points, and up to 25 of those points may be allotted for Specialized Skills and Abilities (note: Special Issue Wargear is not included in the Skills and Abilities points limitation, but operates under different limitations outlined in the basic Special Operations Killzone sourcebook). Your team will engage in a bitter series of linked narrative-driven missions across the entire breadth of four custom-made tables for this event.

Here’s the schedule with links to the registration page.

Naturally, you are invited to register for more than just one event if the spirit so moves you.

Now. Maths are not my strongest suite, but let’s take another look at those numbers. 3 events. 24 players/teams per event. That’s 72 slots and 282+ games across 15 hours of pure Killzone glory, unbridled mayhem, and a myriad of foes.

That’s a lot of Killzone. Prepare yourself.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Killzone: Minor Action Recap

Life. Boot. Neck. See previous post. 

It’s another short one today on account of the aforementioned intervention of the real world. Monday evening, however, Scott graciously hosted Matt and I for a short evening of Killzone merriment (Scott, by the way, is someone that I’d never actually met in person until Monday but whose path I’ve crossed perhaps thousands of times in this unexpectedly small city of several million people in which we live. Go figure).

This was Scott’s first go with KZ and his Slaanesh inspired Special Operations Group (need a new name for that) squared off against Matt’s brutally efficient Necrons. The Mission did not suite Scott’s army well, and he struggled in late turns to keep Matt’s Necrons permanently stretched out on the pavement.

Necrons. Hmmm.

I was honored to face Scott in the second game, to which he brought an utterly ruthless Flamers/Horrors combination. Once again, we rolled randomly for the Mission and, once again, the dice were not particularly in Scott’s favor. They are a fickle bunch, to be sure.

In the early turns, it looked like the Teeftotallers were going to tighten a very secure noose around a gaggle of weakling daemons. Then Scott lifted nearly half the Teeftotallers off the table in a single round of shooting. Oh my. I would confess that I dreadfully underestimated the power of these flickering, diminutive monsters, but that’s actually a disservice to the shrewd manner in which Scott played to his strengths: altruism from daemons, cunning, and sheer brutality.

Well, in the end, Scott’s bloodlust got the better of him, as he reveled in Teeftotall misfortune while Dr. Dakkasteef stubbornly trod through an alarming number of saves, a few Ld tests, and several assaults in order to boldly clutch a minor victory from the daemonic jaws of defeat. Go on Dakkasteef! I believe only one other Ork saw the last turn –but I’m not entirely certain on that count.

One final note, I was able to see Scott’s newly completed Daemon Prince in person. The photos are tremendous, but the figure in real life is unabashedly magnificent. The painting and the object source lighting are both brilliant; for me, however, the potent conversion work (the conjured flame and the third eye in particular) merit a proper gander as well. That's how it's done.

Cheers Scott for the hospitality and I look forward to returning the favor in a week or two.

(all photos are "historical re-enactments," but tasty nonetheless).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Killzone: Landscape

Life has its boot firmly pressed against my neck these weeks, but I wanted to drop a quick word with regard to a comment I noted recently with regard to Killzone (it's just about all I am able to manage these days) and specifically the pace of the game. In it, the author suggested that the game played entirely too quickly and that his group needed to explore other avenues to make the game stretch out a bit. 

First, fair play.  I'm tremendously pleased that people are out there in the real world giving all of this a proper go.

The initial point is one of pure aesthetics. I've enjoyed a number of games in the last month or so (as pictured here in this historical re-enactment of Matt's still undefeated Necrons giving me some serious business. Wraiths are brutal in Killzone for reasons discussed two paragraphs below), and one hour seems to be the upper-limit with the average game clocking in more handily at about 45 minutes. Perhaps this is neither here nor there, but I enjoy this pace. Monday night, for example, I was delighted to meet up with some classy folk, and we managed two games in under three hours -including ample time for list-making, chatter, and general congenialities. With the aforementioned life at my gullet, I didn't have a moment more to spare.

But still, the subsequent point got me thinking a bit. I encourage any/all of you to amend these rules as you see fit. They are houserules, first and foremost, and should be treated with the same casual, respectful, and refined disregard for authoritative documents that inspired KZ in the first place. Having said that, I suspect there may have been another factor at play with the commentator's frustration: Terrain. 

In my first few encounters with the ruleset, we did not set the table properly for the Killzone dynamic.  As such, the first two games revolved around a shooting gallery in the middle of the table -OK Corral style, which was not particularly compelling. The Killzone Missions all suggest a ratio of about 50% terrain. I would offer that one might take this even further. Perhaps just as importantly, I highly recommend that you be sure to obstruct the center of the table in some modest capacity. The picture here is an example of what we came up with in a mere 4x4 space. The center piece helps limit the "high noon" shootouts, while the rest of the terrain lends itself to quite dynamic, chess match, maneuvering in those opening turns before the knives are drawn and the guns begin to bark.   

I wish there was time for more, but this will suffice for now. Happy hunting. See you Friday.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Killzone: Fungal Growth

Last week, I introduced my two, slowly growing, Ork Warbands. I’ve now placed an order for another Meganob (to replace the one missing in Gutgrope’s band), some new Nobz (so I can properly model the relevant “characters” and accurately wysiwyg the Big Choppas etc), and a Kill Kan or two for the beginnings of a promisingly quirky third Warband… with a gaggle of worshiping Grots or Gretchin in tow. 

In the interests of wysiwyg, I've also painted detail or two on the current boyz as a practical measure as well; I found myself repeatedly forgetting the Medipack that I'd purchased for my Burna Boy, for example, and there are few moments quite so bitter as the realization, too late,  that I've forgotten a lifesaving bit of wargear. oh, that stings. It's neither subtle nor pretty, but then neither am I.
Which leads me to my next point. 

Let’s be candid. These Orks are a distraction from my other hobby interests (distractions). Yet, I’ve found myself increasingly compelled to let this unchecked fungal growth continue. At this pace, I’ll have a proper Ork force in reasonably short order. I’ll have playtested it along the way, and I’ll have enjoyed the process of developing each unit organically –without having to wait until the entire army is assembled in order to learn what I enjoy about the army’s mechanic.

For me, this is a real treat. When thinking about a new army, I’m usually buried beneath paint pots until I field enough units for a genuine game. To keep myself motivated, I’ll paint the units that I find interesting and then, invariably/belatedly, discover that I’ve painted a pile of fluff that can’t fight its way to lunch. My much loved, oft defeated Onorevoli are a fine example.

In fact, I’m only indulging my fungal disposition because I’m getting such a tremendous kick out of playing this gaggle of fools. These Nobz, for example, have been chosen in large part because they came with the AoBR box set, but also because they visually mirror Dr. Dakkasteef himself -with jaw and augmented eye. No other reason. Tremendous. This experience precisely represents what I love about the hobby and the game.

Who knew? Orks.

Although unintentional, I think that I may have demonstrated exactly how Killzone works for those that would use it as a cautious “testing” place for an emerging army.

I can only hope that the Dark Eldar, whom I’ve fully intended to develop in a similar vein, appeal to me quite so readily.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

WIP: AdeptiCon Table One

It’s all happening, just in very. slow. motion. While I’m chomping at the bit to move into the painting phase of this project (I think the table will really start to breath at that point), the detailing has consumed all of my attention. It’s fiddly work. And time consuming. For that reason, I’ve accomplished almost none of my usual painting this week. The sum total of my hobby time has been devoured by relatively fundamental details like this one:

The doors.

What seemed like such a simple aspect of this project at first has, instead, redirected almost every second of the hobby week. Time has been extremely limited, admittedly, but when we came to the construction of these doors, we realized that we hadn’t thought the process through perfectly. We were stumped. We were vexed. I drew pictures. Tall Paul thought about engineering various degrees of incredible, and incredibly challenging, door systems. We discussed dowels, metal rods, super magnets, hinges, latching mechanisms, and more. Tall Paul’s capable of that kind of stuff, but I regret to say that I’m not.

Still, I’m rather pleased to report that Tall Paul has really taken this all on board. He’s never played 40K or KZ or any of it. And yet, I received a phonecall sometime near 10:00 Friday night. “I’ve got it,” he said. Really? It’s 10:00 on a Friday evening. Shouldn’t you be enjoying yourself? Let me dote on these details. But no. He'd been consumed by the idea and couldn't let it go until we found a proper solution.

And so, he had it. In the end the solution was one of simplicity rather than extraordinary measures. We  assembled the door pieces with a small section that leaves room for additional detailing, and then slated a horizontal piece from which the door suspends (you can see those pieces above each door in the picture to the left). The door can then be flipped upside downside when “open” so that it appears to suspend in an upright position -thereby alleviating the “where do I put the door” problem that has plagued the Alacrity and was the hallmark of our other solutions.

In gaming terms, the small panel next to each door marks the spot from which it may be opened and closed. In design terms we spread the doors in unequal measures both in order to keep a sense of spatial balance/flow, and in order to disrupt the “inverted mirror” of the table. So far. So good. And of course, there are some other details you may have noticed here and there, all of which I'm really quite excited about.

As the detailing starts to wind down, ever so slowly, I hope to have some photos reasonably soon of this monster with paint on it… Soon.

See you tomorrow for some more Orkses.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Killzone Blitz: The Teeftotallers

Well. I must be candid. The Teeftotallers have not enjoyed the auspicious beginnings that helped launch Gutgrope to his current position of modest prominence. In fact, Dr. Dakkasteef can only claim several notches on his power klaw -representing a Possessed CSM or two and the odd Imperial Grunt. Nothing grand.

Instead, Dr. Dakkasteef caught my eye because of his wondrous ability to bluster his way into each Mission. Alas, he was tabled in his first two encounters with the enemy… but dramatically so, and sometimes that’s enough.  For example, in this unfortunate muss, Dr Dakkasteef met a tragic and messy end after three rounds of combat with a lowly Guard Sergeant and an uber Commissar with pluck and vigor. Three. That’s a veritable lifetime in Killzone. Still, the Commissar was forced to execute somebody, summarily, and another lowly guardsman was subsequently killed on account of his own resulting fearlessness. 

It’s the simple pleasures sometimes.  

So. Without further ado…
The Teeftotallers:
Dr. Dakkasteef: Meganob, Team Leader, Refractor Field
Grimshaw: Nob, Big Choppa, ‘eavy Armor
Nobz (x2): ‘eavy Armor
Burna Boy: Medipack
‘ard Boyz (x6): Big Shoota (x1)

In total, 225 with 25 allotted for special wargear and abilities, etc. That number, for a reason that I do not genuinely understand, has become my sweetspot for Team (or Warband as such) organization.

I’ve tried my hand at the check-pattern for the first time (see above), and I’ll confess it’s bloody hard work. I’ve managed to get this looking ok from a distance, but I know that it’s not really. They always make it look so simplistic in the write-up’s and how-to’s. I should know better by now.

Originally, I intended that each significant member of The Teeftotallers have the check pattern somewhere on his armor or weaponry. We’ll see how that turns out, but I’m attracted to the idea that, should these Warbands ever coalesce into an army proper, each member of Dr D’s band be immediately recognizable amongst their comrades.  

We'll be hearing more from this salty lot next week.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Killzone Blitz: The Shanksies


Last time, I mentioned that my Sunday positively oozed SO: Killzone and AdeptiCon table prep. Here’s the band of unfortunates that I brought to playtesting:

The Shanksies:
Gutgrope Grotshank: Nob, Team Leader, Big Choppa, ‘eavy Armor, Boss Pole, Refractor Field
Nobz (x2): ‘eavy Armor, Big Choppa, (x1) Master Crafted
MegaNob: indeed
Ork ‘arboyz (x5): ‘eavy Armor, (x2) Big Shootas

Some notes: I intend to model the Big Choppas appropriately once the order arrives (bitz for the bitz god), but I’m not entirely sold on their efficacy. This is what happens, I suppose, when theory meets practice. As such, I intend to limit them significantly from what we see above. I do, however, want to model a unique Gutgrope model and perhaps one Nob per Warband that employs the Big Choppa with decent measures of ambition and violence.

For the sake of sport itself, I also assembled a second Warband (I don’t believe that Orks should refer to themselves as Special Operations Groups –too ooomie) from what was left kicking about the bookshelves. By playing through two Teams, we were able to test several of the more expansive aspects of the table, which was really quite entertaining.

Almost inevitably as the playtesting evolved, and as the narrative of each Warband progressed, several personalities began to develop; the Meganob, for example, emerged as a particularly compelling figure –enough to merit a proper name, Dr. Dakkasteef, and to merit an upstart Warband of his own.

Stay tuned for more good news on this nascent personality and his merry Warband in my small corner of the 40K universe... Dr. Dakkasteef and The Teeftotallers.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Killzone Blitz: Continues

The Killzone Blitz hit the ground with tremendous clamor with brilliant contributions from all across the blogosphere, and I’m reliably informed that this monster has wheels.  Excellent work, gentlemen. Excellent work indeed.

But yesterday was glorious: pure, unmitigated, glory -for several more reasons than the obvious above.

It is extremely rare that I get the opportunity to whittle an afternoon with dice and plastic –and a Sunday, no less- even rarer.  Usually, the day of rest is reserved for family pursuits, for the in-laws, and for respectable activities like simultaneous baby adoration. If there’s time in the evening on a typical Sunday, I often feel deeply obligated to do lamentable things like prepare for the workweek. And so on.

But yesterday I was awarded a moment of respite that was both hearty and rich in vitamin Nerd. The wife kindly took the boy for some seasonal fun with his grandparents, while I was left utterly homebound with both a 6x4 table that needed playtesting and ample servings of time to do so. Delicious.

Thankfully, my very good friend (and all-round gaming deity) was able to orchestrate an appearance; his insight, spontaneous ideas, and general gaming acumen have already proved invaluable to the table’s maturation.

At the end of the day I felt like maniacally shouting “It’s Alive!!!”

It. Is. Alive.

I am beyond pleased to offer that the table is going to work superbly. Detailing begins this week. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Killzone Blitz: Begins

Normally, Sunday is synonymous with WIP here on “A Gentleman’s Ones.” Today, however, is special. Scratch that. Today is very special.

You may have noticed Big Jim’s sanctified decree that 10/10/10 should mean more than the paltry armor rating of misbegotten walkers and various Orky misconstructions; it shall be the commencement of the Killzone Blitz; it shall be a full frontal assault on the placid paunchiness of standard 40K and an epic celebration of the lean narrative splendor of Special Operations: Killzone.

For A Gentleman’s Ones, the Killzone Blitz is going to last a good while (in no small measure because that’s about all I’ve been working on for nearly a month now, perhaps more now that I think on it).

On Friday, I offered a quick peek at my “most valuable” Special Operations Group. They’ve earned that title not only because they survived their first encounter with the enemy (victoriously, no less), but also because they represent one of the most compelling aspects of this ruleset.

Please let me introduce Gutgrope Grotshank (Nob at large pictured above with yellow plume) and his merry Warband, The Shanksies.

The Shanksies:
Gutgrope Grotshank: Nob, Big Choppa, ‘eavy Armor, Refractor Field, Yellow Plume
Nobby: ‘eavy Armor, Master-Crafted Big Choppa
(5) Ork ‘ardboyz: (x2) Big Shootas,
(2) Deffkoptas: I know. I know. These don’t belong on the Alacrity. Please trust that I’ll be making substitutions when good taste and fluff demand particular consideration. This just represents the standard warband. 

In total: 225 with 25 of that representing Special Killzone Wargear and/or Abilities.

Now. Let me say, I do not play Orks. I will almost certainly never collect a full Ork army. And yet. I like them. I like the humor, the violence, and the sheer bloody-mindedness of them. I own several models from that old box set, all of which sat forlorn in patient hope of relevance and/or playability. Well, that wait is over.

These Orks have found a home in Killzone. They’ve found purpose. They’ve found time on the tabletop, and have characterfully emerged bloodied but victorious. And that’s the second aspect of the Killzone ruleset mentioned above, and which is so attractive to a hobbyist like myself. I’ve finally found a reason to dig out those old models, an excuse to fold Rogue Trader relics back into viable forces, a plausible rationalization to feed my gaming whimsy as it wanders from one semi-collected army to another.

Speaking of, I’ve already pre-ordered new Reavers and Wyches but, much like these Orks, I have absolutely no intention of owning a full Dark Eldar army. So it goes. Feed the compulsion. Relish those mischievous hobby impulses.  Go on. Do it.

Of course, there must be some element of WIP to this, so now might also be an ideal opportunity to mention that my very good friend Chris is stopping by today to put the prototype AdeptiCon table through a few playtesting paces. Chris is a gaming deity, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the table through his eyes. We’ve blocked off the entire afternoon for nothing else.

More on that soon. More Killzone this week.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Special Operations: Killzone

da orksorksorksorksorksorksorksorksorksorksorksorksorksorksorksorksorksorksorksorksorksorks...
is coming soon. 

(If you have only the most pedestrian notion of what I’m talking about, please, by all means, click here now).

The Beta testing is coming along quite nicely (thank you very much), and we are still keenly interested in constructive feedback from you, the gentle reader. In fact, herein lies the glory of the interwebs. Your experience, insight, and kindly input has already been an essential component in the revision and refinement process.

So. Sit back. Kick your feet up. Prepare yourself for the Killzone Blitz that will commence on Sunday…

Monday, October 4, 2010

Blood Bowl

Here, my Assistant Coach, a veteran of many years, dispenses fundamental and practical advice. Thanks, Coach.

Blood Bowl has been on my mind lately for a number of quirky reasons: 

-just the mention of blood (and the bounty of it last week) got me thinking about that viciously entertaining sport; 

-the figure I posted on the first blood recipe is, in fact, my Apothecary. Regular readers will have seen him a couple of times by now, as well as the cheerleader that accompanies him; 

-on a slightly different note, the League dynamic works wonderfully and has a lot to offer someone constantly thinking about how to link games together both in useful and in quirky ways; 

-it's a simple, brilliant game. 

I had played the game once in the 80s, liked it, and then forgot all about it. Some many years later, I bought the boxed game on a whim, opened it, liked it, and then immediately put it entirely out of mind for some reason lost to time and memory. In fact, I was rather surprised to remember that I actually owned it when I was called upon to do so.

To be fair, I regret ever having put it aside now.

Last summer, an old friend, Chris, invited me to join a League that he had dutifully assembled for a short period. I was a bit surprised. First things first, I needed an "army." Yes. I called it an army at my initial pass. I'm surprised that I didn't get sent to the curbside, rulebook in hand, right then and there. But, of course, it had been over twenty years, and they are a forgiving lot. 

Thanks fellas. 

I suppose that I was keen enough on the general principles that the particulars could sort themselves out. But that... Team. I needed a Team. 

Thankfully, I was able to trade out the plastic Orcs (sp?) from that boxed set for a few of the metal humans and then collected another bunch in a batch order with the league. It's a "starter team." I know. I know. But I had to learn to crawl before walking.

So army (ahem) in hand, I set to the task and machine-painted this crowd in a manner that would make Henry Ford wince in bowel-grumbling envy. Fact. One very short but very busy week later (which is the fastest I'd ever assembled and painted a table-ready and playable force of any description and which is another reason that I've been thinking about the game lately), the boys took the field for the first time... and got absolutely stuffed by Chaotic Dwarfs. Seriously.

Well. Things got better from there, and you'll not be surprised to hear that one of the elements I liked most about the League was the narrative nature of each game, as well as the peculiar narrative phase between games. Each Team member had a name and before long a decent personality to match.

Touch McRudder, my star catcher pictured in the middle of this photo, stands out as a notable contribution. He was so loved amongst both friend a foe alike that an opposing player (in a critical game no less) genuinely apologized to me after knocking young McRudder into the casualty box. Now that's sportsmanship!