Thursday, December 13, 2012

Zombicide (1)

Because it’s there.

I initially wanted to get into my “for the love” western painting project in order to rediscover my painting mojo, which is coming along in fits and starts thanks for asking, but then this happened. Such is the life in this hobby we adore. Why have one project when this one goes up to eleve - - ooooh what’s that?

What feels like several lifetimes ago (and in my peculiarly intense world of hobby compulsion –it may as well have been generations, whole eras, past), I contributed to the Zombicide Kickstarter. And finally, these last two months or so, I have actually managed a respectable sequence of games.

It is fun. The rules are 16 pages long. The game is fast, oddly balanced, fun, and quirky... and fun. The models are terrific, and the great unwashed mass of them paint up with incredible ease (there’s no real bother with fine details, in my opinion, just cheap and cheerful mayhem). Even with a treatment that could only ever be described as  hasty, the zombies look suitably zombified.

I spent a little bit (but only just) longer on these two survivors as a reward for a solid night’s survival and general zombiciding. I figure that paint will be the reward for any characters that earn the attention, cheap and cheerful, but I do so loathe using unpainted models for any game. It’s an affliction.

In sum, there are a few hiccups with the game itself, and they could easily have stretched those rules to 25 pages with some added clarity and without a peep of complaint. But there you go. We have managed some tremendous romps through the apocalypse.

Brilliant stuff.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dystopian Wars: FSA

Finally, brush has reached model. Even the wife remarked recently that it was good to see me painting again. One knows the situation has become extreme when she is willing to offer that kind of consolation.


I am painting again. Glorious.

I confess that I have read very, very little with regard to the fluff of Dystopian Wars – far, far less than I should have really. But I am not one to let these kinds of details derail me from jumping headlong into the deep end on any new project. It is a lesson, quite simply, that I refuse to learn. Moreover, I did not want academic rigors to keep me from getting some momentum back after such a long period of inertia. It is easy enough in these instances to allow that fluff is what one makes it –nothing more, nothing less.

Still, I have some notion that the Federated States of America have a distinctly Southern influence, and so I opted to paint my fledgling fleet in a confederate gray as well as an aged lackluster gold. Not sure yet what the contrast color will be. There is quite a lot of very small, very delicate detail work to be done here, but the broadest strokes are down, and the fleet looks reasonably coherent.

Some of the smaller details have me a little frightened, and I am concerned that I may have picked a rather daunting challenge for my first figures in months. And yet, this initial progress was both quick and rewarding enough that I can feel the hobby mojo building. I needed a moment like this to get myself back into the swing after long, long months away from paint, glue, brush, and glory.

Moreover, Roberto Vo5 is rumored to be returning to the greater Chicagoland area any day now, and the fleet needed to be seaworthy before we met once more across the table. Ahoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Nerd Kingdom


As the long ordeal of “the move” unfolds, I have found it imperative to get my new, dedicated nerd space into relative shape on the proverbial hop. I did this knowing that it would not exactly be in “good shape” for quite a while yet, but there has been something quite therapeutic about getting the basic layout in order.

looking north

Granted. It will take time to find where everything belongs, and I imagine that there will be a major revision or two before I genuinely feel sorted and situated but, in the mean time, I am reveling in the space, space, space. This room in the basement has no other purpose than to allow me an opportunity to exercise my hobby impulses, with another area for storage of all sorts adjoining. This might be quite handy.  

looking south

And it has a sofa.

Low-ceilinged basement or no, I feel I’ve landed in the very lap of luxury. The dog agrees.  

As importantly, this has meant a return to building and to painting –for the first time absolutely in months. I simply cannot wait to have a brush to hand once more. Will I have forgotten how to blend, to wash, to overbrush, and generally to trim all the little tricks that I have gathered in these last ten years or so?

We shall see.

Naturally, I have strategically situated a modest collection of my current favorite models to help me find inspiration and encouragement as I get back into the painting groove.

So what’s first?

Dystopian Wars – Compliments of Roberto Vo5.

And then some random Cowboys that I picked up from Black Scorpion Miniatures a while back… for the love. Black Scorpion has some lovely stuff on offer -very cool indeed. 

These should be two decent endeavors to get me back into the swing.   

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tale of Three Painters: I won something

Dark Templar, who you will know from his eponymous blog, is a legend.

First let me say that I have been absolutely gagging to get these images out onto the blog… but I needed the camera first. so. very. frustrating. As a matter of principle, I refused outrightly to post any image of these beautiful, beautiful models with anything less than my real-deal camera. No phone images here. To do anything less would have been a sin –an egregious sin.

Even as it stands, I do not think that these photos really do the models justice. The appearance in person is really quite breathtaking. These are, without hyperbole or doubt, the best-painted models I have ever held in my hand. Mike (the Dark Templar whom you might also remember as the Imperial enemy from the Hailed vs. Hated series of yore), Andy (the Lair of the Breviks), and Michael (28mm Victorian Warfare) have made an extraordinary set of models in a wonderfully worthwhile effort for charity.

The Tale of Three Painters, as you will see from the links above, was a tremendous project orchestrated by the Dark Templar for Cancer Research UK. What better way.

For my part, I submitted what I believed to be a suitably ambitious bid rather early, and then crossed my fingers. As a rule, I never win anything. Again, I am not even exaggerating in that statement. I just don’t win much if ever. So despite my bid, I had every reason to expect that ebay would boldly snatch defeat from the jaws of victory once again. Bitter experience has taught me.

I was stupefied to receive an email declaring me a winner. I was tempted to extend the exclamation to other facets of my existence. Me. A winner. How about that. 

And so these beauts have a new home in my evolving basement of glory (topic of next post). I have yet to play a game of Malifaux, but look forward to the experience in this golden age of hobby brilliance. The cards system, in particular, looks like something entirely within my wheelhouse. I am intrigued.

But all the more so on account of the fact that Dark Templar has put together such a fine, fine project from top to bottom. In fact, these models only represent the surface of Dark Templar’s brilliant auction. There will be more on this topic for certain: bases, brushes, carrying cases. I feel spoiled. Much more to come. A sample:

In closing, I must thank the 3 Painters in question. Having given away more than a few items near and dear to my heart in the past, I fully sympathize with the unfocused hope that any bit of hard work on model or project (to which I invariably grow quite fond in the process) might find a happy and loving home.

Never worry, fellas. These pieces of gold are in great hands!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Unpacking: back to glory

I am (we are) still unpacking box after box of randomly assorted goods that we would have been more sensible sorting before the move. Having said that, the spirit of true, mature organization would have denied me three distinct but related pleasures:

First, finding my camera (significantly one month after the move) in a box misleading labeled “lamps.” To be fair, there was a single lamp in the box… but imagine my delight at finding that essential piece of machinery at long last. I was giddy, and work should resume to something like its usual character immediately.

Second, rediscovering my fledgling Bretonnians after having stowed them in a clearance sweep months and months past. I was necessarily forced to put these aside in order to make the house seem significantly less cluttered and generally less nerdy (tut tut) in the vain hope that this might help sell the old place. Nothing yet. Still, I had not forgotten my mass of Brets (perish the thought), but I had certainly placed them far, far away from my attention. It is singularly good to have them back in the fresh air of my hobby basement.

Third, That Guy James (until recently of that guy james fame) had sent me a lovely gift after the AdeptiCon and Killzone mayhem of last year. Behold James’s wondrous Bretonnina Knight.

Along with all the other Bretonnian goodness, he had been packed away for safe keeping until a better time arrived. He is the centerpiece of the army and would be the envy of his peers if he had any. I will be working on this imminently.

I have said this before, but James is an ace individual. As mentioned, this model followed on the heels of the work he did for Killzone at AdeptiCon (and specifically for all the brilliant cards he designed –none left… sorry). Those cards were an artistic triumph in their own right, but James is not one to rest passively on his laurels.

To commemorate the gloriousness, James included all kinds of beautifully executed details:

Notice the B, which I would like to believe does not stand for Bretonnia. No points for guessing.

Behold the Chalice image, which works splendidly with the character and mission of a Bretonnia in general, and my conception of the Brets specifically, but also quietly nods to one of the “suits” James developed for the Killzone cards. That’s just classy.

James nailed it again with the sword hilt that once more invokes the glory of the Killzone suits he designed, but that also remains utterly relevant and appropriate for the Brettonian force.

In sum, it is a tremendous model and a blinding gift. Thank you, James!

I might also mention as a kind of teaser trailer that James has been helping me out by lending his extraordinary talents to a number of other very cool endeavors. Some of them I can discuss with you… some of them I can’t.

More on one and the other soon enough. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Something Big - compliments of Adam from SW blog

 Today we have a very compelling and promising guest post from Adam Smith:

Hey Warhammer 40K fans, I'd like to share some info with guys about a new website project I'm working on -and it's pretty big. Really big infact.

Now I'm a big fan of the 40K blogosphere and personally I prefer following the blogs to trawling through the forums.

Only problem is, I've found myself struggling to find the good stuff this year and it's for 2 reasons.

1) From The Warp stopped being the hub of 40K blogging
I used to be able to find loads of great stuff on From The Warp's blogrolls from really obscure little blogs, but very talented bloggers non the less.

I understand that all these blogrolls became too much for From The Warp to manage.

2) Bell of Lost Souls changed how they manage their blogrolls
One upon a time everyone and his dog could get on the BoLS blogroll.

Then after a couple of overhauls, only the small blogs that don't post very often were allowed on the blogroll, while only the big sites were allowed on the Elite Blogroll, provided you wrote content for BoLS of course.

And that kind of screws over all the medium blogs in the middle and kind of holds the bigger blogs to ransom.

It's tough for new bloggers
While there are other 40K blog hubs out there, they don't drive anywhere near as much traffic as these two sites did.

Because of FTW and BoLS not serving the community as they once did, getting 'discovered' in the blogosphere is really hard for new bloggers starting out.

Don't get me wrong, I've found some truly amazing stuff by trawling through the blogosphere, but I've had to do some major blogroll trawling, Google image searching, you name it.

It's tough for readers
I think I'm subscribed via RSS Feed to about 8 blogs, because they're the big ones that update regularly. And that's simply because it's convenient. I don't have time to trawl the blogrolls all the time.

But in an ideal world, we'd want to see all the best bits from the entire blogosphere without having to dig for it, right?

That means we'd be able to find great painting guides, conversions or battle reports from absolutely anyone. Not just the big blogs that update all the time.

Alright, alright. You're probably thinking that I'm going to create another 40K blog hub, well, you'd be have half way right.

What's going to make this blog hub as good as From The Warp back in it's hay day and better than all the other hubs and networks that have sprung up over the past year or so?

Two things actually:

1) Readers will be able to read and filter articles from the blogosphere without blogrolls

That means any blogger's articles can be found, so your blog doesn't need to be as big as Fritz40K for people to read you.

2) The site will rank in the top 3 Google search results for Warhammer 40K, 40K and all of the Warhammer 40K races.

Yes, that is a BOLD statement. But as some of you may know, I work in Search Engine Optimisation as the Link Building & Content Manager for a leading agency in the UK. It's going to take some hard work, but it's achievable.

But what it means is that the site will get lots of exposure from all the rankings, loads of traffic and as a result the blogs will receive far more visitors, subscribers, etc.

Meanwhile, my girlfriend is incredibly technical and will be bringing my creative concepts to life in simple, fast loading functionality for you all.

This is a real top-level explanation of what we're up to. I didn't want to delve too deeply into the details and there's loads more stuff that this website will do for the online community. This is the real tip of the ice berg.

If you have any questions, I'd love to answer them! It's probably best that I explain all my reasons for creating something for the community in the Comments below rather than fill up this article with personal stuff.

But for now if you could head over to my old 40K blog and bookmark or follow it, we'll keep you up to date with all the developments right up to the big launch in January!

And I just wanted to say "thank you" for all your years of kindness and suppport.


Monday, October 15, 2012


And that’s not all!

When Chris stopped in last weekend, we also smashed our way through a reasonably intense game of Warmachine: once again with fully painted factions at the standoff, which must be a record in my casual gaming lifetime -two systems, two games, two different factions, one evening, all glory. Chris brings a certain hobby prowess to the table, to be sure.

Apologies once more for the camera photos. I still have not located my real camera and this is incredibly frustrating as I have some Malifautos that I need to take and to publish from an extraordinary turn of events a few weeks back now (in short, I won something blindingly superlative). Glory. I simply refuse to photos that particular bit of news with my phone. It would be a sin.

Well. You have likely heard me say this before; you will certainly hear me say it again. We are living in a Golden Age of the hobby. I do not exaggerate.

Chris and I also pushed boldly into a game of Warmachine both because we could do so, and because it would be rude not to.

I should say, my warmatactics are sketchy at best. I tend to muddle my way through my own agenda and rarely have a solid sense of what my opponents can accomplish. I just need to play more, I think, and read more, and play more. And so on.

For example, this was my first outing against Epic Deneghra… her feat is staggering –totally caught me flatfooted and I was stunned to watch just about everything and everyone fester and drop so abruptly. I also failed to realize that she could turn my own models against me, which made Kreoss’ fancy Bastion bodyguard seem like a rather bad notion in the end.

And indeed, I consistently tend to get poor Kreoss stuck in some wild, awkward, and problematic situations: vis-à-vis an enemy heavy Jack for example. To his unflinching credit, Kreoss did zealously dish out some significant damage, and my poor caster held it together for far longer than I ever had reason to expect, but that is hardly what one could call strategy.

“Suck it in. Tighten up” is invariably solid advice, but it’s become a more like a mantra with Kreoss. 

On my left flank, I thought that I was well situated, with the Choir singing their boons here and there for the two Jacks in their path. That part went smoothly. But then three weird, undead jack-killing ghouls showed up on the horizon and not only dismantled that Light Jack on my far left, but also reassembled him as a Bone Jack.

Naturally, that Bone Jack ate the Choir for good measure. Insult meet Injury.

To be candid, I do not love my Heavy Jack just yet. I have never been able to make this lumbering monster work for me, and I always end games thinking “that was a fair chunk of points for very little return.” This game was no exception. He did absolutely nothing except waddle up the middle and fail utterly to ruin Deneghra’s day when given a really phenomenal chance to do so.

And so, in the end, the warmadead came out on top. There were moments when I felt the result could have been closer, but the simple truth is my doods were never really in it to win it. Next time! And now that I am in the burbs and have a proper nerd realm to call my own, that time should be really quite soon.

Moreover, I intend to pick up a paintbrush again for the first time in months! Glorious.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

First Game of Sixth!

It finally happened.

First let me thank you for your patience. I have been away from the blog a bit (though very hard at work) while the wife and I transplanted everyone, dog, babies, and all, even the plants, at the end of last month. It’s been an intense but wildly rewarding ordeal.

My new (and glorious?) nerd space remains an absolute ruin… but it is my hobby space reborn at long last! It will be tremendous, I am confident, but presently it is a shambolic assemblage of boxes and mayhem with a dehumidifier in the corner. Perhaps as importantly, the internet is up and working, and I am back on your screen. It’s good to be here again. Thanks for having me.

Unfortunately, in darkest depths of one the aforementioned boxes, my camera has been securely secreted –too securely, in fact. I cannot, for the life of me, find it. And so I must enact that dreadful sin that I once promised I would never commit. I am posting picture taken with my camera phone. I tried to doctor the images somewhat to make them less abrasive, but I am reasonably certain that the results are worse than the originals. Where are you, camera?!

Apologies for the terrible photos.

Well. My very kind friend and (now reasonably near) neighbor Chris popped round to break in the basement and walk me through my very first game of 6th edition. This is a very promising turn of events. I love Chicago, but it can be a hobby wasteland at times.

As for 6th… I loved it.

Of course, there were a few bumps. We spent a small amount of time with our noses in the book and, to be candid, I forgot a bit here and there –my Warlord trait for example was established then immediately ignored. I cannot even remember what it was called, and certainly do not have the foggiest notion of what it was meant to contribute to my force. More’s the pity. I’m sure it would have come in handy somewhere.

Still, despite the noob jitters, the game itself was tremendous. I had a blast. We played at 1000pts, which worked far better, and was far more exciting than I would have anticipated. Credit to the game here, and I just recently read an article by Fritz on this very topic. Check it out if you haven’t already.

I really dig the new mission generation system and found the exchange genuinely engaging and impressive. It’s a great mechanism. I really enjoyed the victory point conditions and found that it made the game much more dynamic than any non-houserules version of 40K that I have seen to date.

In a word. Glorious.

I brought my Necrons against Chris’s Nurgle CSM. I basically cobbled everything that I have both painted and unboxed into a reasonable force as follows:

Destroyer Lord -and some techno goodies
2x 10 Warriors –the meat of the matter
5 Immortals -because that’s all I have right now.
5 Deathmarks -to look threatening and accomplish very, very little.
4 Wraiths -to bodyguard the Lord and eat otherwise hard units like air.
4 Destroyers –with sadly unrealized ambition, as they were summarily dismantled by the DP.

Chris’s force was assembled as such:

Winged Daemon Prince –who looks ferocious and earned the MVP. I’m not sure I even scratched him.
2x 10 CSM Nurgle –very tough customers with flamers.
10 Chosen Nurgle –his unit had a target on its back and got utterly minced by the Lord and Wraiths on my left flank.
Rhino –for one of the CSM units; the Necrons tore through this with the new Hull Points system, which I really like and not just for the obvious reason.
Vindicator –who might have earned the LVP with the exception of the tragically poor performance of my Destroyers. This Vindi couldn’t hit anything and the Wraiths disposed of it with good taste and manners.

In game terms, the DP and main units went up my right flank ...and crushed it. My Lord and Wraiths went up my left flank and crushed it. And so, we basically hooked around one another. At the end of the day, his crushing was more convincing than mine and Chaos won the day.

In sum, the new rules are wonderful. Necrons are still my go-to army. Having said that, I have at least one entirely new force on the cards for a special event next year (more on that soon), as well as an unquenchable need to paint some of those Dark Vengeance lovelies. We'll be seeing some Arrugginiti love for the first time in a long time! And then, of course, there are some cracking games in the mix: Zombicide, Warmachine, Malifaux (more on that very soon as well), X-Wing, Dystopian Wards ... and that Titan I've got to build. Mercy!

And, of course, Wreck Age!

My hobby cup runneth over once more! It’s good to be back.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thank you

It is finished.

The Hyacinth team would like to extend our profound gratitude to our supporters as well as to the gaming community at large. Your dedication has been astonishing. We mentioned previously that we are a young, motivated, and ambitious company, but these attributes would be meaningless without the generous and timely help of a community willing to make Wreck Age a reality. That is you.

I would also like to extend a direct thank you to Old School Terminator, Jawaballs, Son of Dorn, and Brian Carlson each for their kindness and unmitigated enthusiasm for the project. Cheers fellas! 

Wreck Age will now launch with four distinct faction boxed sets. We will be putting the finishing touches on a beautiful 300+ page rulebook. We have two supplements already prepared. We have five more factions in the creative process. And we have much more already in development. You made this possible, and for that we cannot thank you enough –though we will try anyway.
Thank you. We are only getting started, and we have come away from this Kickstarter feeling that you have created a place for this game in the world. We are energized and motivated by that affirmation. We are ecstatic and humbled by your kindness. We are ready to refocus all our energy on our purpose as a game company ready to make a name for itself in this community.
Thank you. You will be hearing more from us soon. 

Of course, if you missed it all, simply head over to the Wreck Age website for a taste of what's already on offer. Cheers!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wreck Age: the Stitchmen

Only two more days for you to hypnotized by the unblinking, unflinching gaze of our Wreck Age Kickstarter

If, by chance, you feel a little aged by all this clamor and noise, a little worn, perhaps threadbare, perhaps weary, aged, tuckered, and thin... then the Stitchmen are the faction for you!!! They will either help you put some spring back in your step, or help you die trying.

so. very. creepy. I love it.

The Stitchmen: During the Exodus, a ship carrying specialized medical personnel crash-landed before exiting atmosphere. The carnage was horrific, but the ill-fated flight had been loaded with skilled experts in the common field of life-longevity and practical medicine. The despairing but resigned survivors began their macabre practice immediately, and soon set out both in small bands and as individuals in order to carve, quite literally, a place for themselves in the harsh environment of North America. Some of these hapless few are rumored to exist even today, plying their wicked trade in furtive secrecy...

The Stitchmen boxed set contains 7 unique models: a Doctor, 3 Hunters, an Orderly, and a Body Snatcher - a spider-like mechanical construct used to prepare bodies for processing.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wreck Age: the Reclaimers

Just a few days left to get in on even more Kickstarter goodness. We crushed our goal and have been absolutely thrilled with the response... but there's always room for more and more. In fact, every penny that the kickstarter promotes will open another creative door for us. We have already generated a tremendous level of funding for such a small operation, but we have ideas... always more ideas. So take a gander and see if you might like to get in on the fierce, futuristic action.

Here's the third in our first series of factions on the books!

The Order of the Reclaimers: –Reclaimers are the world's foremost authority on scavenging. The e-wastes of North America and the rest of the world hold a veritable trove of disjointed information and oddly situated technology. With single-minded zealotry, the Reclaimers aim only to collect and to re-assemble the pieces of this grand technological mystery, to learn about the sins of the past, and to intuit how technology might someday lead the diligent back toward humanity's rightful place.

The Reclaimers boxed set contains 6 unique models: a Scriviner, a Power-Scav, a Zealot, a Server, and 2 Reclaimers.