Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Why I love the Blogoverse (part 5)

V. Pirate Zombie hookers.

These specific Zombies Pirates were spawned during a startup project from Warploque Miniatures (you can find the zombies themselves here).

While coasting one morning through a stream of links, I stumbled over these quite by accident (genuinely, that’s not a figure of speech in this instance), purchased them purely “for the love,” and then felt really good about myself for supporting a smaller, independent talent of broad promise and determined swagger. Such is the power and the glory of post-rationalization.

But I must ask you… which is more alarming:

- that Tesco’s own brand makes “medium coarse” pate’ (or pate’ of any stripe and coarseness, really) ….

- or that these poor zombie pirates crossed the Atlantic in such a… particular… vessel. She’s no Black Pearl, or Bloody Reaver, or insertpiratenamehere. Pate’. I love it. I think the “sell by” date has gone off, surely. Flavorful. Alarming. Perhaps even dangerous. Good with claret. Everything a pirate should be. Or is it the other way round?  Should the pate’ have the skull and crossbones emblem instead?

But nevermind all that. I have included my favorite three here (out of 10+) because these specific models call me back to the frothy and turbulent days when I first ventured into this fine hobby. Back then, it was pure viscera first/always, and then the practical gaming considerations arrived as an afterthought sometime further down the creative process, if at all.

And here I must confess that, while I absolutely intend to paint these scurrvied mongrels (and soon!), I have neither need nor use for them. I don’t intend to press them into Fantasy service (a game that I have regrettably yet to play in its current iteration. Alas). I am not even currently aware of any games at all that require piratical undead. Full stop.  

Quite the opposite in fact. Captain Fellbeard and co. have me looking for a nautical-fantasy-ish-skirmish ruleset for which I might press them into service. That is how strong my connection to these models has become already.

No. I haven’t found that game yet either, [or have I?] which makes me think that I should invent one (though that’s not going to happen this year).  Still, a man can dream, and that is precisely the hook (get it? no? see the title) with these beautiful and dreadful zombie pirates. They are all inspiration and intrigue without proscription or logic or reason or any of the rest of the ways I might justify a purchase like this to myself. All impulse. All simple, unfiltered glory of modeling and painting.

[note: I typed this previous paragraph a day or two ago full of steam and inspiration, with the thought that I (yes, me) might someday pen a game or mechanism or, most likely, derivative sub-mechanism borderline of trespass… you get the picture. And then I found this on Frontline Gamer. HA! I sometimes feel that I need merely ask the internet for any whimsy and it responds with both good taste and manners. I don’t know anything about Freebooters Fate really, but I’m interested. Oh how I am interested. And how could I not fold that information into this post? The Glory of the internet. Behold. This is why I adore thee so.]

Truly we are in a golden age of hobby glory. 

All this is to say that you will be seeing much more of these bad boys soon.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Why I love the Blogoverse (part 4)

IV. That Guy James.

That Guy James. He is a quasi-mythical figure in my zodiac.




He recently posted a “clean slate challenge” that has me seriously (re-)considering those embarrassing masses of half-finished, half-started, un-started, untouched, and otherwise neglected figures that I have lingering in the margins of my hobby space.

I like to think that I have, or at least once had, a reasonable rate of output, but one glance under the sofa and...

And then we have these gems. This is an exemplary monstration on how one writes a rant. Or here. Exemplary. I say exemplary because these commentaries are written without the bile, malice, or smug self-righteousness one usually expects in a "rant," but rather these appear from a place of genuine consideration, sense, and even affection for the material at stake. How refreshing.

Once articulated, I can see nothing else, yet before I’d never been able to place my finger on it. Both of these had me in near hysterics.

And then there’s this. James, yes that one, has designed the newest (and one hopes final) iteration of the Killzone cards. There’s more to show than what you get here, but this should communicate the fundamental idea. What’s important here is the wonderful combination of talent, enthusiasm, talent, and a decent measure of OSR congeniality.
I should also mention now that these will soon be available to you, the enthusiastic public, in at least two basic forms: the standard 36 card deck (includes 18 Mission cards and 12 Fate cards, with blank options for each), and the expanded 54 card deck (includes expanded Mission cards with alternate deployments and night fight options, and more…) in good time, in good time.

The new system involves three different levels of mission, each of which is immediately identifiable in this system, and otherwise designed to pull your modest resources in extraordinarily challenging ways. Good luck, troops.
But this post is about James and his amazing contributions. 

I admit it. 

I am hopelessly biased here, but I believe that Killzone is quite good. With James, it is bloody amazing. Talent. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Why I love the Blogoverse (part 3)

 III. Gratis Icons of Glory

Here’s a brief paraphrase/recapitulation of the kind of email one simply adores [My first ever "snowmobile"(?) comments inserted for editorial and dramatic purposes]. I submit it here as the perfect example of the raw talent and brilliant kindness that pervades our modest hobby community. To me, the following letter represents the very, very best of what we have built and participate in daily:

“Hello. My name is ______ [name withheld to protect the glorious,  but whom I immediately recognize as a tremendously talented, Golden Daemon winning artist]. A mutual friend mentioned that you might need some tokens for AdeptiCon to help you with your games [thank you, mutual friend. thank you], in which I participated last year and in which I will participate again this year [zomg –your special operations group last year was stunning!]. Anyway, I made these a while back and thought you could use them [coffee spit across the keyboard]. Let me know if you are interested.”

[I am interested. We are interested. Killzone is interested.]

Here’s the crux. I have only shown you one-quarter of what is in store -no exaggeration. None.

There are three more variations on this theme and, collectively, these will comprise the various game-relevant and other sundry objective markers for the Special Operations Killzone events during the AdeptiCon weekend. 

I mean, seriously, how effing cool is that?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why I love the Blogoverse (part 2)

II. Sons of Taurus’ unofficial fandex-minidex for SO: Killzone.
I thought of titling this one “unofficiality,” which isn’t much of a word but should be.

There are some lovely layers of quirk at work when our humble, unofficial game can (nay must) produce Codex: Operatives unofficial updates for an unofficial fandex. That’s just the thing on the table when Sons of Taurus approached us with his lovely bit of hobby gold for the Lost and the Damned.

It’s an inspired piece of work.

… and so now there's a Killzone supplement for the same (though not for AdeptiCon. tsk. tsk.). When Sons of Taurus asked us to do this, my first thought was, wow -this game is really resonating in ways I never could have imagined. That's tremendous news, to be candid. As gamers, indeed as a gaming community, I think we are fundamentally entitled if not obligated to take control of our hobby experience. Full stop. If playing an unofficial fandex doesn't fully wet your proverbial whistle, you can take that dex into the grimmest and darkest world of Special Operations. 

I should mention that Sons is part of the The Codex Project, where you will find a heady, caffeinated blend of unofficiality. That is, if you aren’t addicted already. For anyone interested in the less formal, less official end of our fine hobby, this place might well be your spiritual homeland.

For my part, I feel the entire endeavor positively teems with the basic impulse that put the very first spark underneath Special Operations: Killzone some considerable time ago. I say more.  

 Naturally, I have (re-)started a LatD team to round out my already stuffed KZ experience. More on that soon.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why I love the Blogoverse (part 1)

[As A Gentleman’s Ones approaches its second anniversary, I am feeling rather reflective, a bit sentimental, a tad saccharine, with a dollop of gratitude. This humble submission is the first in a series that I would like to title “why I love the Blogoverse,” as it will unsurprisingly highlight a number of ways in which said blogoverse has been stupefyingly good to me these last few weeks, months, years. ]

I. The Onorevoli Reborn

The Onorevoli are dead. LONG LIVE THE ONOREVOLI!

How cool is this.

Just when I thought I was out, Son of Dorn (with his excellent blog Most Peturbatory) has pulled me back in. 

Venerable readers will remember the sometimes-mighty Onorevoli as the perennial kick-it-around for Ref Pitmann’s Iron Warriors. I made a hullaballoo recently about retiring my homemade faction/chapter. There were two fundamentally related reasons for this shelving:

First –I had married this chapter a nudge too tightly to fluff-tastic approach both for the modeling opportunities afforded by a Terminator-or-Scout-heavy force, and therefore for the potential units available on any given day.

Second –I am not a good enough player to pull off a fluff-first approach –or at the very least this one. I am too clumsy a player and this heady cocktail is too unforgiving to allow me anything but the aforementioned semi-regular kicking courtesy of Ref P.  It was getting a bit dull, even (I suspect) for the good Ref.

Well. No longer. 

While I am on newer pastures, specifically with regard to my modeling interests, I have taken Son of Dorn’s insight with some considerable interest and enthusiasm. He has come up with two viable lists both of which maintain and build upon my initial ideas while also offering an approach with a bit more teeth.

Perhaps the kindest part of all this is that Son of Dorn invested his time, attention, consideration to my unfortunates simply from his own enthusiasm for the notion behind them.  That is tremendously kind, and indicative, I believe, of the very best that this fine blogoverse has to offer.

Will you see a battle report once more with the heading “Onorevoli?” Why yes. Yes you will. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

PWORK: by Grande Maestro


I just wanted to drop a hasty shout out for some genuine tremendousness out there on the interwebs. You may have noticed the new icon and link on the right-->. Go. Go now. That's PWORK or paper work for those less inclined to abbreviation.

[The link will take you to the Italian page, but you need simply click on the translate icon at top if you prefer English (or another language for that matter)].

This absolutely brilliant, stunning, and beautiful product line is the aptly titled "work" of an Italian blogger called Grande Maestro -the Grand Master- indeed. His blog is really great fun, but the real meat and potatoes comes from his brain-child PWORK. This stuff really gets my inspiration wavelengths jumping. Dungeon crawl. Deep Space. Space Hulk. I feel the hobby butterfly beckoning. 

There is something here for just about everyone, RPG or tabletop or skirmish or whathaveyou. The range is superlative ...and growing all the time.  I might also add, for any north americans interested, that the dollar has not been stronger against the Euro for a long, long time. That means these already inexpensive masterpieces should be even less so in a very real way compared to only some few months previous.

At the very least, I encourage you to have a gander at a genuine talent out there and, if you feel inclined, support a fellow hobbyist and blogger. 


Monday, January 9, 2012

Top Ten Models... according to me: #2 The Terminator Lord

Today is a break, but only a temporary one, from Killzone gloriousness in order to make a small space for the ongoing series that I began back in …? godknowswhen. My how time flies. I know that some of you have been waiting with modest (im)patience for this next installment, and for that I thank you.  

So, the Chaos Terminator Lord. I loved him so much that I bought three, four actually, but I made three from top to bottom as Terminator Lords. Each plays a specific role in my Arrugginiti CSM –a hapless gaggle of Nurgle devotees. So far, they’ve mostly just been punked by Roberto Vo5’s Deathwing. Still, they are learning. They are evil.

The Chaos Lords. The first point of interest, you will note, is that two of these madmen feature conversions/kit-bashes (I only recently learned that there might be a difference between these two activities –though I am still fuzzy on that distinction); whichever, the winner here, as mentioned in the previous string of posts, is plastic. Plastic made these modest conversions possible. Perhaps one might hazard that plastic turned a simple kit-bash into a genuine conversion.

That will be for others to decide, I suppose.

The real glory here, however, is not just that GW has made this dynamic figure in plastic, but that the figure is both wildly modifiable and still tremendously dynamic in the first place. Consider the complexity of arranging so many individual elements that, when assembled in a stunningly diverse series of possibilities, still work –and work extraordinarily well.

There is a kind of synergy in the pieces that compose this figure –and, again, by this I mean pretty much all of them- so that no matter how one combines the varied and multitudinous elements, one is left with a really cool figure. The legs are sturdy, strong, but active, the torso slightly twisted across the pose, so that the body is visually interesting.

Observe the flowing tabard and the way it draws the eye into the body of the figure. Likewise, the tattered cloak animates the figure, or more specifically the way it breathes so much life and movement into the figure. Chaotic winds swirl around this badass. He is alive and mobile and ready to pounce. Consider, in fact, very cool manner in which those animating elements are picked up by the dramatic slope of the chaotic ground beneath him –as if responding to his malevolence- and then carry the eye back around the model. It’s a great cinematic gesture as well as a solid design element. I love it. Love.

I would ask you to think of poor,old Abaddon as a comparative measure. He is a massive block of stunted, stagnant awkwardness –albeit evil awkwardness. On the contrary, you simply cannot pose the plastic Lord poorly, conversions or otherwise. Even the most basic assembly creates a model more readily dripping with threat and menace than dear old Abby. Poor sod. No wonder we have seen so many tremendou re-interpretations of Abaddon using this kit. The fellow knew Horus! He deserves this at the very least.

Of course, I have tried (in my own humble way) to turn two of these figures up to eleven (“nah, mate. It’s one lawdah”). But again, even pieces outside the specific range (Ogres, et al)  flow almost almost seamlessly into the basic pose. This may be immodest, but I don’t have an overwhelming sense that these piece don’t belong, as one might expect. In either case, the lines of the model continue to work toward an overall dynamic and cohesive effect that leaves me wondering how… how… did that happen?

I don’t/can’t take credit, really. This, put simply, is the glory of good design, and this model (rather these models) ooze it.  


Monday, January 2, 2012

Special Operations: Killzone v3.0

Yes. Well. I promised this yesterday, but only just typed the very last amendments and revisions here and/or there this morning. It has been a tremendous labor of love, and the entire process has inspired in me a genuine and profound respect for people that design games from scratch and for a living. It’s madness –dizzying, wonderful, addictive madness.

Unless something dramatic has been wildly overlooked (fingers crossed, fingers crossed), this will be the version that takes us through AdeptiCon 2012 and into the next edition of 40K (we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it). So, if you are signed up for the events at AdeptiCon, or if you are simply interested in lightning-fast, tense, narrative-rich, and otherwise glorious skirmish games in the grimest and darkest corners of the 40Kverse, this is for you.

I can only hope that you will enjoy the product. For my part, I have been having an absolutely cracking time with the new mechanics. The game dynamic has evolved tremendously from its humble, chaotic version we put straight through the AdeptiCon mill last year. In particular, the way in which Missions have been layered one upon the other creates a really tense atmosphere: rarely can a team complete all its objectives, and this invariably leads to some really compelling and jittery moments. Hope is never lost. Victory is never ensured.


As for the basic mechanics of the game, for that I must thank the Dreamer, Skarvald, and the Pedagogue, FrozenJoe (indeed, I even have to thank Skarvald for that reference, the origins of which I am otherwise oblivious). We would all also like to thank you, the playtesters, who spent the month of December crunching through game after game after game …and telling us about it. Thanks for sticking with the revision process and working/playing through all the rough edges. Thanks.

Again, I hope you enjoy this product as much as we are currently, which is to say, quite a lot.

Of course, we are always interested in feedback and want to hear how this madness works on your tabletop. So please feel free to drop Big Jim, or me, or Skarvald, or FrozenJoe a line as and when you are able.

Until then…


p.s. I'm not too big nor too clever with these kinds of things, but Killzone has a Facebook page for those of you that socialize as such. 

Oh, these modern times.