Friday, February 24, 2006

And Once Again Without Any Money

So, the electronic fora of miniature gaming discussion has been abuzz with the news that Paradox has yanked the Warzone and Chronopia licenses from Excelsior Entertainment. Apparently this decision occurred sometime in January, but it's only now coming out in the wash. It's a shame, but it's far from unexpected.

Though Thom and his various staff at Excelsior had a great love for the game, the company seemed to be in over their head from the beginning. The two games carry a miniatures catalog that dwarfs most of their competitors and EE seemed hellbent on continuing to keep everyone of these figures in production. Not only was this a bad idea due to the aesthetics of many of these figures, it was a bad idea from a sales perspective. Considering how many stores felt they were "burned" by the demise of Target (I'm still confused how the collapse of that company was any worse for retailers than any other), attempting to convince retailers to restock the product was already going to be a challenge. But, when you throw the sheer scale of the product line at them, with no discernable way of determining what would constitute a good introductory stock, you're bound to be less than successful in your pitch.

But perhaps the biggest blunders were the catastrophies known as Chronopia 2nd Ed. and Ultimate Warzone. Now, I understand the desire to leave one's mark on a license as well as the belief that the travesties committed to a game by previous designers needed to be remedied. But, with a company with as few financial resources as EE, investing in the production of these rulebooks was a foolish endeavor. And the final product? Hardly worth the effort due to an absolutely amateurish presentation.

Of course, I'm a bit biased here. As someone who was tied to Target Games in their heyday, and a devoted supporter of 1st Ed. Warzone and Chronopia, I felt EE's efforts constituted the same affronts to my beloved games that they felt the Edinburgh studio had committed. Nevermind the fact that the 2nd Ed. Chronopia rules made blatant use of a rules mechanic I drafted without credit, the games were taken in a direction - both rules and storywise - that I found contrary to my vision. As only a gamer, I suppose there's not much I should expect to be able to do about such situations.

With Paradox's revocation of EE's license, fans of the various incarnations of these games face another period of uncertainty and potential change. Those that cut their teeth on 2nd Ed. Chronopia and Ultimate Warzone will no doubt object when the new licensee takes the games into a direction that they, as gamers, always thought more appropriate. Or even worse, gamers could find their favorite games existing in name only, as these new licensees, completely unfamiliar with the history of either game, simply choose to ride an established - though tarnished - intellectual property in an effort to introduce their own set of rules. Regardless of the outcome, for a long-time WZ and Chronopia gamer such as myself, the outlook is no doubt dreary.

Thus, I once again find myself sighing in disappointment as another cornerstone of my gaming experience comes up for bid and I'm too financially strapped to throw myself into the mix.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Apocalypse Is Coming . . .

. . . and the four horsemen will be riding in sponsor-emblazoned Monte Carlos.

Seriously, Nascar. Am I missing something here? I thought it's bubble came and went with the masses of unsold diecast cars bowing the shelves in Walmart's toy department.

But now I can't turn on my favorite local sports radio station without getting Nascar updates and ESPN has Chris Fowler anchoring live from the Daytona 500 a la GameDay style. I grumbled discontentedly enough when college basketball was being given the Fall saturday morning treatement on ESPN, but to see the same being extended to a "sport" that would bore even the most rabid of car-chasing dogs - ridiculous. It's like turning to the Westminster Dog Show and finding that the competition now includes dog fighting.

Of course, this is the same American audience that has chosen American Idol over the Olympics - even after that venerable athletic event chose to pander to the lowest common denominator by introducing a slew of "totally rad extreme" events.

*sigh* I think I'm getting old.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Well, after over a week of dinking around, I've put the final touches to Jolie, glued her arm into place and given her a solid coat of glosscoat. I think she turned out rather well and I learned a number of new techniques in the process.

Julie, I hope you like her.

Next I'll be moving from the fantasy genre into the sci-fi, putting together an old Grey Knight terminator I found in my bitz box. The figure is sans arms, so I'll be updating him a bit by using arms from one of the new Grey Knights. As I've enjoyed this whole blogging process, I'll probably do the same with this fig.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Getting the hang of this

So, after buying two 100w daylight bulbs and a pair of desk lamps, stealing a pillowcase to use as a backdrop, fiddling with my tripod to get the optimal setup and deleting more pictures than I actually kept, I'm able to offer you these pics of my work in progress Jolie. As you can see, she's most of the way done, with her shoes, belt, lacing and misc. doodads hanging off her bum to finish.

Along the way, I've developed a neat little technique. As I've yet to grasp the whole NMM (non-metallic metal) method, I still do most of my metal work with metallic flake paints. However, as I wanted Jolie's colors to pop, I chose to highlight the gold areas with yellow rather than a lighter gold or silver. I'm very pleased with the results, and will be sure to try it out on a larger area.

Hopefully, finished pics will be posted by this weekend. Until then, check out her bum. :)