Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Meridian Miniatures

Yes. Another one. And this is one endeavor that you really should support. 

Andrew May (the heart and soul of Meridian Miniatures) is a top-notch individual. I have had the distinct pleasure of working with him on a new project recently, and can attest singularly that this guy is for real. Ace individual.

… and I am always quite pleased to see Kickstarter used the way that I believe it should be - that is, the way it was intended.

He is a small company (individual really) looking to find a proper foothold and looking for the community’s support to help make his fledgling company happen. Moreover, he is an extremely talented sculptor with quite obvious potential. I would very much like to see more and more from him. He’s got something retro-new to offer with a flexible range that has significant applicability in any number of other venues.

… and I really want to paint those greatcoats. Not to mention I feel quite compelled to try both the Raj and the Bear Hat looks. There’s a lot that can happen here.

I see Imperial Guard here if you are thatway inclined. I see the flexibility of steampunk skirmishes here. I see customizable potential of cool character creation. I see a lot of different possibilities in this heady mix of genres.

Admittedly, you might not be getting the buckets of “free” junk for your money (spend to save!), as you would from companies that rather cynically use kickstarter as a marketing and promotional tool. Still, there is really quite solid value here with a promise of more if we get behind him. I'm in.

Here is a talent that the community should support. Now let’s get out there. Those greatcoats are waiting for me.

Again, check out Andrew’s Kickstarter here.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Lord of the Rings: aka The Hobbit at AdeptiCon 2013

You may remember that some time ago I announced out of the blue that I would be embarking upon my second grand misadventure in competitive gaming at this year’s AdeptiCon in the March Madness to Mount Doom event.

safety first
Admittedly, the event might sound like a quirky venue and/or departure for the tentatively competitive hobbyist-gamer such as myself: 500 points,15 model limit, bring the cheese, single elimination event. On the surface, the coordination appears to add up to whack-job heaven. Do not be fooled. I had been assured that the guys running this event were solid, but that is so much an understatement of the experience.

It. Was. Awesome.

To recapitulate: for the day, I managed to paint the Witch King of Angmar, alongside 5 Morgul Knights, 1 Black Marshall to lead them (and bring some extra Might), followed hopelessly by 7 Warg Riders to make up numbers and scare smaller unfortunates.

Game One: v. John Humphreys – Aragorn and his happy band of undead. If the film was any indication, this was going to be fast and rather Deus ex Machinatta, if you know what I mean. [check out John's blog over at Plastic Legions]

In fact, this game represents everything that I want in a gaming experience.
1. cool opponent
2. beautifully painted armies and scenery
3. strong narrative and/or cinematic game
4. solid competition with a genuine atmosphere of fun

check, check, check, check.

The scenario worked toward attrition, and John was keen to form a kind of exploding bubble with Aragorn and the undead king as the juicy center.

I approach hastily but with some modest caution. I had a number of conflicting goals here. I wanted to offer some bait to try and pull the bubble apart slightly before slamming all my forces into the wall. My hope here was to open the shell a bit in order to expand the possible targets and to get more of my knights working toward their charging potential. Unfortunately, I also wanted to keep some of the otherwise rather brittle Warg Riders back in order to keep my force from reaching that perilous scenario break point. In the end, it was a risky bit of balance.

So the trick was in the timing. I wanted all my force (minus bait, minus reserved Wargs) to collapse upon Aragorn and oathbreakers all at once, with the Witch King swooping menacingly into the backfield in order to take a proper stab at the more resilient elements in John's collective. It worked a bit, but I underused the Witch King’s transfix ability (learning) and generally lacked the real punch in the front row needed to break things open properly.

…and so, even though I was the poorer general on the day, I only officially lost according to the scenario objectives on the very last roll of the game! How about that. Again, John was always ahead and by far the better player but, even so, I never felt that I was being trounced.

Great stuff. I believe John went on to win the painting contest, which was extremely well deserved.

Game Two: v Jimmy and his Wood Elf / White Council assortment.
So technically, we were both out of the official single-elimination aspect of the event; however, as I suspected beforehand, there were plenty of people hanging about still quite willing to play some more. With ample space to already set for the proverbial pickup game, we were straight back at it.

This time, I was set against a Jimmy’s very cool Wood Elf army that included Legolas, Saruman (before onset of ring0envy), and Galadriel. That almost sounds like name-dropping. Considering also the capable statlines for Legolas’ cousins, and I had my work cut out for me.

With nothing official at stake, the game was all about glory.

And again it was a close-run thing. This game taught me a bit about the significance of Priority and the importance of considering the sequence of individual combats in a scrum, as one can often look ahead (so to speak) to the next results as bodies begin to pile up.

And again, it was a tightener, as I was only 1 figure from breaking Jimmy’s forces when the With King’s zealous knights were cut out and killed beneath him. Another loss for my evil minions. And another tremendous game of intrigue and strategy.

Unfortunately, that was it for me. The flooding that hit Chicago that weekend landed squarely on my proverbial plate and put in motion of sequence of events from which I’ve been climbing out from underneath since. Alas.

Still, in summation. I have no idea why I have ever worried about competitive gaming. The tournament scene was tremendous and congenial. All the people I met (including a few extremely kind gentlemen who read the blog –Thanks Fellas!) were extraordinarily cool. All the armies I saw were original, compelling, and clearly collected with the best goals of the hobby in mind.  And so on.

Just tremendous. I’ll be back again next year without doubt and encourage those, like myself, who approach the scene with trepidation to give it a bash. I could not be more handily and happily pleased with the decision.

Thanks to the Windy City LoTR folk.