Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year: two from Bukowski

Buon anno e tanti auguri a tutti.
Two absolutely sodden poems (cough, cough, three. I get carried away sometimes) from the cantankerous legend, Bukowski: for the new year, for our general edification. Cheers! Bukowski would encourage you to raise your glass again. and again. and.. 
Though the poems might not reflect it in substance entirely, I am as hopeful and happy as any man deserves. 
If there is such a thing as favorite graffiti, this is mine. The regular program returns soon, probably Monday. Until then, behold the brutal beauty of words.


tutti i vicini pensano

che noi siamo


e noi pensiamo

lo stesso di loro.

e facciamo



            -Charles Bukowski

"a poem is a city"
a poem is a city filled with streets and sewers
filled with saints, heroes, beggars, madmen,
filled with banality and booze,
filled with rain and thunder and periods of
drought, a poem is a city at war,
a poem is a city asking a clock why,
a poem is a city burning,
a poem is a city under guns
its barbershops filled with cynical drunks,
a poem is a city where God rides naked
through the streets like Lady Godiva,
where dogs bark at night, and chase away
the flag; a poem is a city of poets,
most of them quite similar
and envious and bitter …
a poem is this city now,
50 miles from nowhere,
9:09 in the morning,
the taste of liquor and cigarettes,
no police, no lovers, walking the streets,
this poem, this city, closing its doors,
barricaded, almost empty,
mournful without tears, aging without pity,
the hardrock mountains,
the ocean like a lavender flame,
a moon destitute of greatness,
a small music from broken windows …

a poem is a city, a poem is a nation,
a poem is the world …

and now I stick this under glass
for the mad editor’s scrutiny,
and night is elsewhere
and faint gray ladies stand in line,
dog follows dog to estuary,
the trumpets bring on gallows
as small men rant at things
they cannot do.

            -Charles Bukowski

“The genius of the crowd”

there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average
human being to supply any given army on any given day

and the best at murder are those who preach against it

and the best at hate are those who preach love

and the best at war finally are those who preach peace

those who preach god, need god

those who preach peace do not have peace

those who preach peace do not have love

beware the preachers

beware the knowers

beware those who are always reading books

beware those who either detest poverty

or are proud of it

beware those quick to praise

for they need praise in return

beware those who are quick to censor

they are afraid of what they do not know

beware those who seek constant crowds for

they are nothing alone

beware the average man the average woman

beware their love, their love is average

seeks average

but there is genius in their hatred

there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you

to kill anybody

not wanting solitude

not understanding solitude

they will attempt to destroy anything

that differs from their own

not being able to create art

they will not understand art

they will consider their failure as creators

only as a failure of the world

not being able to love fully

they will believe your love incomplete

and then they will hate you

and their hatred will be perfect

like a shining diamond

like a knife

like a mountain

like a tiger

like hemlock

their finest art

Thursday, December 29, 2011

NEWSFLASH: 11th Company’s 100th podcast

If you are at all interested in hearing this humble author try desperately (and unsuccessfully) not to sound like a complete prat in his very first podcast interview, well then have a listen to the 11th Company’s 100th podcast of glory.

Nevermind me. There’s actually quite a lot of great material there for your delectation. Have a gander.

Despite my umms and ahhhs, the experience was an interesting and an exciting one. Were it not for the profound unease the sound of my own voice inspires in me, I might try it all again. Alas. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lupine Resolution

This evening’s post is a very small break from the rigorous Killzone revision process, in exchange for an update on a motivating and fun achievements checklist courtesy of everyone’s favorite troll-face, Skarvald.

Last week, I spotted this post and thought, hmmmm... now there’s an idea.

You might like to check it out. Skarvald has created a “100 thingsto do” gauntlet for the aspiring (or, in my case, completely pedestrian) Space Wolves enthusiast. I say this shamelessly.

Now. I must admit that, to date, I have played exactly one game with my Wolves as Wolves… and that was a Killzone game last week vs. FrozenJoe’s DE menace. I know. I know. I promised a break from all this Killzone discussion, and I will honor my word.

That game, as the keen reader will have already noted, was not the first time that my humble and sometimes confused Wolves appeared here on A Gentleman’s Ones. In fact, they were created for two quite specific purposes:

-first, as a unit of “pre-personal-heresy” Terminators from the now functionally retired Onorevoli chapter. They were a kind of hobby smash-and-grab that I used to think about the historical failings of my erstwhile favorites…

-and second, as a stand in unit for the Space Hulk models (note that they were fashioned with a rather unlikely combination of wargear: TH/SS as well as AC with the obligatory Chainfist in the margins). Nothing against those fine Space Hulk sculpts, of course, but variety is the spice of life.

Call it hobby multi-tasking.

Well. Skarvald has inspired me to revisit these bad boys with a bit more zeal and a spoonful of modest ambition. I have already started preparing a few Fenrisian wolves as a pleasant little side project from all the other side projects, and have acquired the basis for a Tundarwulf conversion of sorts. We shall see.

I have no real intention of beginning an entire Wolves army, mind you, nor of casting my lot in rigorous tournament play. 

Either one of those options would be a giant leap in the deepest end for me right now. There’s enough on my plate already; however, I fully intend to tick off as many of these as I am able to the best of my ability. It’s an inspiring challenge, which makes a fine resolution for the new year.

Updates to follow under Lupine Resolution. 

And why not. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Killzone: Giveaway winner (#3)

Here we are at the third and final giveaway for the month of December.

Congratulations Angus S! These two fine, rare miniatures are yours to enjoy.

As ever, I will be sending a quick email to all those that entered so that I can pass along a token of our appreciation in all of this gloriousness. Everyone wins! (quick clerical note: there were several reports that were not attached to an email address. Ty, Troy, and Josh, please pass along an email with your address(es). I appreciate the mission reports (sound like some cracking close games), and want to be sure that you get your goods).

Speaking of, with the playtesting winding down and the holidays looming rather large, now is the perfect opportunity to step back and admire the progress.

We are thrilled with the playtesting experiment. I cannot think of a single other fan-generated supplement that has endured a more rigorous process of revision and refinement. To put the entire affair in context thus far, we have had a revision over one year ago, the AdeptiCon 2011 mill, more revisions over the summer, v2.0, a veritable storm of playtesting, and now more final revisions...

In all, the final product, version 3.0, will be released January 1, 2012. This is the version that will take us through to AdeptiCon 2012 and into the 6th edition of 40K. From this vantage, I cannot see any prospect in which this monster will be slowing down. Quite the contrary.

As for us here in Chicago, we will be shifting gears to some extent and thinking/working very hard on those 10 3x3 tables for the AdeptiCon event this year. Indeed. We learned a lot about the balance between aesthetics and gameplay last year, and fully intend to put those lessons into practice. Those playing on the weekend will be treated to tables both beautiful to behold, and challenging to play upon. This, I promise.

As for the rest of it, the basic rules are now in a really quite solid shape. Considering that we have generated a way to play the game well outside the scope of its creators’ intention, the whole thing hangs together splendidly. More than a few playtesters have commented how well it works for players with limited space and/or time, as well as for those with a keen eye on the narrative elements of our hobby. 

As importantly, we found that the mission system has been working in wonderfully intriguing ways. The three levels of mission can be, ahem, challenging, and we have tweaked a number of them to be sure that all is well. They genuinely test the mettle of a Special Operations commander, as one is rarely able to fulfill all of them in the allotted time. Resource management is the name of this game. We have made a minor modification to the way markers deploy and work in the game, which will ensure that these play more a more effective role in the proceedings.

As for the rules updates, we have made a final revision to the weapons upgrade that helps curb potential abuses. Although the final manifestation is really quite simple and elegant (Thank you, Joe), it was a real struggle to find this solution. So it goes.  In all, we believe we have found a way to contain mismatched opportunities, while also to keep the game possibilities open and intriguing.

Check it all out come January 1, 2012.

In all, I believe the game as strong now as it can be.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Killzone: Games and Giveaway reminder

+++ just a quick reminder that both Forge World limited edition miniatures from Gamesday can be yours if you submit a Mission report on the label to the right ->

The drawing and announcement will be on Friday, December 23. Get yourself some.

These rare figures are going for staggering amounts on ebay, but can be in your hands for free. Just download Killzone Rules and Errata v 2.4, play some games, and let us know how it went by filling out that form.

We are rapidly approaching the end of this giveaway season, as well as the end of our Killzone playtesting experiment. The feedback has been tremendous (really just astonishingly tremendous), and we are very near our final draft of the whole system –which will be officially on the table come January 1. 

We will be calling these rules v3.0 and they will be the official set used at AdeptiCon this year (speaking of, more on those 10 3x3 tables in coming posts).

Again, thank you everyone for helping us iron out all the kinks and making this playtesting experiment so wildly productive. We are really quite proud of why and how this whole affair has come together. The rules are as solid as any I have seen produced for free, and we have been having an absolute blast playing –hope you have too. +++

On that note:

I am extraordinarily pleased to report that I was finally able to make a suburban jaunt and get some proper games in this weekend (pictures abound). I met FrozenJoe and Skarvald at their local-ish store and, in several hours, we played 6 games, I believe. Glorious.

Of course, we found a few bugs (for example, we finally found that DE Combat Drugs and Hypex quirk that had been bugging me since AdeptiCon last year. Fixed. Moving onward) but increasingly, those tics are small in scope and nature. That is a good sign, one that tells me our revision process is winding down.

Perhaps one of the most important items we took away from this weekend was the nature of the table itself. Having shrunk the table size by a solid square foot, to 3x3, we have been particularly attentive to the intimate nature of this revised system.

Moreover, this was a reminder of lesson that we also learned last year particularly well at AdeptiCon, which is that the table makes the game. Though the tables we produced last year were attractive visually, there were a few glitches in the way the tabletop interacted with the missions. We have resolved to sort that out entirely this time around. So far. So good. It’s going to be tremendous. Indeed.

Pictured here, for example, is an example of the table that worked best for us on the weekend. The Killzone rules call for 50% coverage on any given table, but I would encourage more. At the very least, we have found that a variety of LoS blocking, and partially blocking terrain is crucial. In this case, there are no real “alleys” of LoS that allow guns to dominate. As importantly, there is plenty of “waist high” scenery to offer cover for hapless agents in the field.

I lost two games to Joe on this table. ahem.

The first was my IG v Joe’s themed Behemoth Nids list. The game ended with my battered IG force claiming a partial primary mission completion (3 Mission Points) while Joe’s sturdy Nids –each with only one wound remaining- earning points for secondary and tertiary missions (4 Mission Points total). It doesn’t get closer than that.

The second game, I lost again to Joe, but this time with his Dark Eldar Kabal of the Grotesque v my Lone Wolves themed operatives. Again, it was tense, and again only a key eye on the mission parameters kept Joe on target for the win.

More on these games and the others next time. Until then. Get some games in and let us know about it all. Time is running out to win free stuff.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Killzone: Giveaway winner (#2)

Another Friday has arrived with very little warning. Another giveaway.

So it goes.

Though obligations prevented me from promoting this week’s giveaway in the manner I might have preferred (thank you for picking up my slack, Skarvald), the reports have been steadily finding their way to my desktop through all sorts: email, download, and of course the Mission Report tag on the right. ->

All this feedback has been tremendously helpful, and we at the Special Operations: Killzone main office feel that this whole monster is finally quite near to the shape it must take in order to survive out there on its own (and at AdeptiCon). They grow up so fast. snff.

Giveaway? Ah, yes. The randomly generated winner of this fine Zuzzy mat… is…
Craig S.

Well played, sir. Your mat will be in the post directly. Once again, as a token of our appreciation for your kind and thoughtful participation in this grand experiment, we will be sending tokens to all those that submitted a report.

AND for those of you that submitted both weeks, well, we have something even more special in store (unless you contact me to say that you’d prefer another set of tokens). I mustn’t reveal that second special gift, yet, but will quite soon -quite soon- and, once more, all entrants will receive at least this reward for the effort.

And the giveaway for next week.

Wait for it.

Indeed. They can be yours. Brand new. Brand brilliant. Not one, but rather BOTH exclusive Games Day miniatures from Forge World. The marine, in particular, is just tremendous.

You like? The juice is good, no? 

Here’s what you need to do:
Play games.

Again, you earn an entry for every report you submit, so play and play and play as you are able. 

This week’s updates occurred almost entirely in the Errata section. The whole document has been re-formatted for clarity, and nearly every single codex received some specific attention.

Highlights from Errata (we are actively looking for a better name for this book. All suggestions are welcome):

- Upgrades (wargear and skills) have been included in this book as well to facilitate list-building ease.

- Daemon players rejoice. You have a very cool new mechanism for generating gifts/mutations from the chaotic pantheon.

- Tau. There’s a lot of stuff here, I must confess, that I don’t understand. I’m told you will love it.

- Wolves and Orks also got some very interesting attention.

Highlights from Rules:

- The Overwatch modifiers have been clarified as well as the mechanism for ending the game after turn four (I hope this is more clear, anyway).

- The “special weapon” restriction has been unceremoniously dumped, though the 2 Heavy Weapons per team still applies.

More as the week marches onward -much, much more. Again, be sure to download v2.4 as soon as you are able!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Killzone: Giveaway Winner (#1)

Thank you to everyone who submitted a mission report or more. Your insight, enthusiasm, and general experimentation have been incredibly valuable to us. Thank you.

As a token of our gratitude to all those who entered, we would like to offer you… well… tokens. Everyone who entered a report will receive a complete set of Special Operations: Killzone tokens, very similar to the ones you see below (though the updated version has yet to arrive on my desk). We hope these will help you keep your powder dry, and all that.

As for the actual drawing…

Congratulations Son of Dorn! The Stormraven is yours (by the way, check out SoD's site Most Perturbatory).

I will be sending an email soon with an address request so that each of you may receive your loot in a timely manner.

If you missed this opportunity, never fear. The next round of this lovely giveaway raffle begins. right. now. All are welcome and the more you play, the more likely you are to win this:

Yes. That is a full-sized 6x4 Zuzzy textured mat. It is yours if you want it. Here’s what you need to do:

Play games.

It is that simple, and it just got even more so. With the very kind and very helpful abilities of one JustinM, we have a much easier way for you to submit your reports. Simply click here and fill out the form. Or, you can click at the white Killzone logo under “Mission Report Form” link to the right.

Ah, technology.

Here’s a peek at the improvements and revisions that you will find in the latest version:

-the much maligned Priority roll (and all it’s attendant baggage) has been moved to the “alternatively” section and is no longer a part of the standard game. To put it plainly, this created some serious issues when one player essentially fangled two entire turns with little to no response. We have not abandoned it entirely, however, and you can expect to see this idea return in interesting ways in the reasonably near future. For now, for the official game, it has been sidelined.

-Themes have been reworked slightly. The costing we tried to apply tended only to complicate matters and did not, at the end of the day, “fix” fundamental issues with GW costing (I’m looking at you Chaos Terminators with your twin-linked bolters). We have opted instead for a “In for a penny. In for a pound” approach, so that if you would like to build a themed list, it must be entirely beholden to said theme. Again, this is designed to mitigate list abuses, while still leaving the door open for those who would like to play the fluff-tastic experience.

-NIGHT FIGHT. We have had quite a few questions about why this was not in the game, as such. Surely, Special Operations should happen at least sometimes in the dark. Well, now your mission can and will. You asked. We have answered.

-Reserves now work a bit more reasonably. The limited range to enemy models has been reduced significantly, but a model “blocked” in this capacity simply returns to reserves and will try to entre again the next turn –which seems fair enough to us.

Those are the big four, so to speak, but please be sure to download the whole kit and have a gander for yourself –Errata as well.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Killzone: Giveaway (reminder)


Here’s a thought: I will send you a Stormraven –new in the box, wrapped, and delivered to your doorstep.

I agree. That sounds awesome.

All you have to do is play a game of Special Operations: Killzone (or more if you like) and send me a report about the experience. Every submission counts, so the more you play/report the more likely I will send you that beautiful and free Stromraven. For a few more details, click here.

Friday evening (Dec 9), I will announce the winner of our first round for this month-long giveaway glut.

We have had some extraordinarily valuable input thus far and are knee-deep in preparation for v2.3 update that will appear for free download on Friday.

We are rounding out a few rough edges, and I sincerely believe that you will like what you find there …but now is not the time to discuss all that. Stay tuned.

In the mean time, keep playing Killzone and keep sending those mission reports.

On Friday, we will also announce the next glorious giveaway prize (drawn on Friday, December 16th), so if you missed this round… well… all you need to do is download the updated Rules and Errata and get playing.

See you Friday. And good luck.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Killzone: Giveaway

Just a reminder: to all those interested in a very good chance for a free Stormraven (sent directly to your doorstep), you must get stuck into the first round of December Killzone giveaways. I promise you have never had an easier path to a free Stormraven.

The drawing will be this Friday, December 9.

To enter, you need only play a game, fill out a short report (below), and send it to me. You earn one entry for each report and there is no limit! So play. Report. Win.

Nonstandard 40K should always be this rewarding.

Check out the latest Killzone v2:Rulebook and Errata, then get clean on it.

Also on December 9, I will announce the big prize for the next giveaway. Indeed. If you missed this opportunity, there will be another prize given away on Friday, December 16 (just be sure to get the latest and greatest free download first). As before, more entries equals more chances to win.

We intend to keep this up until the cows come home –or the new year, whichever.