Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The News Spreads

The profound impact that Gary and his game have had on our culture has become evident just by recognizing the variety of those commenting on his passing, from the serious - NPR's "All Things Considered - to the much less so - lolcats.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Another empty chair at the table

Gaming boards around the net have been abuzz with the news - Gary Gygax, co-creator of the D&D game, has passed away. Much of the talk has revolved around the personal interactions people had with Gary. The times they shared a drink with him at a gaming convention, the games they played around his Lake Geneva kitchen table during the game's formative stages, etc. I'm unfortunately unable to contribute to these discussions. Though I have undoubtedly walked the same halls as he did during the dozen or so years I've been attending GenCon, I never once met the man. However, as a quick scan of the posts on this blog will indicate, I was just as deeply affected by the man's work. My oldest and strongest friendships extend back in time to a kitchen table, a pile of books, a collection of oddly shaped dice, and a collective curiosity and imagination that was simply not sated by the stories told by others. While most of these friendships have moved away from gaming years ago, there is no denying their origins.

Despite the fact that the role-playing game label has been increasingly usurped by the World of Warcrafts and Final Fantasies - games that are in fact most easily characterized by their singular focus on combat and distinct lack of player-contributed storytelling - there is little question as to the importance of Gary's contributions and I and legions of others would be much poorer without him.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Never Satisfied

So, after reviewing my chapter's color scheme the other day, I realized that I wasn't exactly happy with the vet sergeant's scheme and felt that, across all the variations, the scheme didn't work all that well. So, with some minor tweaks, I present to you the current, and hopefully final, scheme for my budding marine army:

Basic Marine & Sergeant

Veteran Marine & Veteran Sergeant

I have been toying with using these guys as a Blood Angels successor chapter. If I do so, I will obviously need to have a Death Company. For that, I am thinking of using the following scheme. The idea is that, after the marine succumbs to the Black Rage, his armor is painted black and stripped of all markings, as he is no longer brethren to his former squadmates. The only indicator of his prior life is the color of his helmet, which designates his one-time status within the chapter. Overtop of this newly blackened armor is draped a red robe that symbolizes the blood lust that now drives him. Yeah, I know, the fluff is a little bit over the top here, but hey, what is 40K if not cheesy fiction?

Finally, the newest version of the Bolter and Chainsword's Space Marine Painter has a bunch of cool new wargear and unit marking options, many of which you can see on the preceding illustrations. Toying around with those, I present a veteran sergeant assigned to assault squad 7 of the second company and a marine officer, perhaps a Lieutenant (back in the days of Rogue Trader, space marine companies had a hierarchy of commanding officers rather than the single company captain of today):

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's like everything I've always wanted

So, I am currently something of a WoW addict. I still occasionally maintain a Second Life, have dabbled with Eve, and still have characters languishing in unplayed Guild Wars and City of Heroes/Villains hell. And, I am an adult who still gets giddy when he walks down the Lego aisle of a store. Thus, this news has me nearly bursting with nerdy excitement.

Happy Happy, Toys Toys!

So after a thorough spanking last Tuesday, in which the Predator and Razorback that I had spent so much time assembling were rendered useless in turn 1 - the guy I was playing was a veteran munchkin who, after hearing I was a marine player several years out of practice managed to fit a multitude of plasma guns and missile launchers, not to mention a Leman Russ tank, in his 500 point force - I was back up to Old Guard on Saturday. It was a sad day, as, though our old gaming group was finally assembled again to push figures around the tables of out newly renovated favorite hobby shop, we found out that one of the members of that group just got a job that is going to require him to be gone for months at a time - starting this Wednesday. To make things more depressing for me, is the fact that his first assignment won't end until after I have left the state for my new job. Hopefully we'll make regular attempts to cross paths at Origins and GenCon and the like in the future though.

In happier news, another of my friends brought along his AT-43 stuff and I really got a chance to experience the game. After blundering my way through my initial game making use of another friend's Therians, I came back with a vengeance in the second game chasing some Karmans off the table. The game is a quick and bloodthirsty affair, and my win in the second game was still nerve-wrackingly close. It was a lot of fun though, and after eyeing the figures on the wall for some time now, I walked away with the rulebook, the Red Blok army book, and these two little beauties.

This first one is actually the walker for a pair of named heroes, but fortunately it also has stats for use as a standard vehicle, the Hetman. Though Red Blok play dramatically differently than the Therians, with most weapons being terribly inaccurate and the army as a whole relying on massed, short range firepower, the Weird War II, retro sci-fi look of these walkers, which first drew me to them when I had no interest in AT-43, was too much to pass up.

This second pic is of the Hetman along with my second purchase, a Nakovalny. This is a lighter walker, the chassis of which is used for four differently armed variants. This particular one is an anti-infantry specialist, armed with a pair of light gauss machine guns. Because the same chassis is used repeatedly, the weapons plug into holes in the sides, which both make them poseable and prone to breakage, as you can see in the picture. It's not much of a concern however, as I am planning to mostly disassemble both before gluing them solid and repainting them.

These last two pictures are of my newest toys, found waiting for me on my mailbox when I got home today. For the game Heavy Gear, these packages contain a general purpose squad, two stripped-down Jagers, and a pair of Sidewinders for the Allied Southern Territories faction. When mixed together, this assortment of figures will make for two solid, if basic, general purpose units. I had been intending on waiting to expand my Heavy Gear collection, as I have an entire unassembled Peace River force that I acquired at the last GenCon, but a request by the owner of Old Guard to run a Heavy Gear demo or two for the store prompted me to action. Of course, Peace River, with their highly trained soldiers and cutting edge equipment, typically only get a single general purpose squad for every two of the southern equivalents, but the prospect of learning the game knowing that you are going to be outnumbered two to one might just make the game that much more exciting for all the budding Heavy Gear gamers involved.

Monday, February 18, 2008

One Night's Work

Ugh, I am way out of practice assembling models. Glued fingers, frustrated curses, etc. But here's my night's work, a Predator light tank and a Razorback APC. I was really debating leaving them most of the way unassembled so that I could later paint the interior, but realized that such plans were so far down the road that I would eventually get frustrated by the models in a loose state. I did hold off on filling the Predator's hatches however so that I could swap out things depending on what the game called for. I should have done the same thing for the Razorback, but I guess I will just have to make do with it being permanently armed with twin-linked lascannons and a storm bolter. Hopefully they perform well enough tomorrow to warrant the marathon assembly session.

And for the final part

And here's the paint scheme for my marines in Terminator Armor. The B&C painter application isn't as complete for terminator armored marines as of yet, so the red helmet stripe and squad/company numbers that will be going on his knees are not present. Just picture them the same way they appear on the veteran marine in the previous post. I just wish there was a vehicle painter program as well. I just picked up a Razorback to go along with my Predator, and would love to test out how this scheme could work on them.

Speaking of the aforementioned vehicles, assembling them will be my task tonight . . . for I game tomorrow! It's been a long time since I've last moved around figures of my own, and I cannot wait.

Well, actually,

So the hint I posted yesterday was a false start. I rather liked the color scheme, felt it was rather powerful looking, and was all gung ho to start painting some marines up like that. However, after talking to Julie, she gave me a big thumbs up on another scheme that I had been tinkering with, using the rather overused red/black combination. Still, I echo her belief that these make for some intimidating marines and I think this is the scheme I am going to go with. Using the awesome Bolter and Chainsword marine painter, I present you the four main schemes of my chapter:

Trooper & Sergeant

Veteran & Veteran Sergeant

Hint hint