Saturday, January 3, 2015

Looking Ahead to 2015

Time for my obligatory attempt to state what I'm going to work on this year. I think it's pretty safe to say I'm probably going to get involved with some project I've not even thought of yet. Well, that won't stop me from setting out a few thoughts.

This year I'm going easy on myself. The last few years have seen me involved with a lot of different projects, not all of them actually leading anywhere. I wasn't always like that, and this year I need to get back to my happy place of only working on what I intend to play regularly. Having a table filled with unpainted models and a room full of painted but unplayed miniatures and games bums me out. I don't enjoy the feeling of having wasted money, but more importantly having wasted time.

So, I'm scaling back projects this year. I don't want to undertake new things until I've completed what I've got already, or decided that I'm not following through on these other projects. This really applies to miniature games more than anything. I'm at a point where I don't want to paint hundreds of models (and I refuse to play with unpainted models), find a way to store them, then buy and assemble specialized terrain and store that as well. It's a huge time and cost sink. So while I do have plans for miniatures this year, I'm not entertaining any other ideas.

Well, having gotten that bit of grumpiness out of the way. What do I see for 2015?
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: This is the game I've been waiting for all my life! It's a bit of a storage and set-up hassle, but otherwise it's a magnificent game that is inexpensive, endlessly re-playable, and most importantly fun. It's great solo and with a group, and I play it in both formats. I plan to finish Skull & Shackles this year with my regular group as well as the next adventure path. This game will likely be my mainstay game for the year. 

Memoir 44: I got the base set and a few expansions for Christmas this year. I've already played a half dozen or so games and I love it. In a nutshell, I've basically got every expansion for this game on order, and will have the complete experience soon. This game scratches my itch for a simple yet challenging WW2 game with minimal setup hassles. Best of all my son enjoyed the game and might play it with me. I know others will as well, and there are solid solo variants that will at least give me a taste of the game when no one is available.
Warfighter - Combo Pack
 Warfighter:  Here's another recent discovery for me. This is a 1-6 player game of modern tactical combat. While it is all card based it honestly plays like a miniatures game. You select your squad, gear them up, and send them on missions. I've got all the expansions and have done the Kickstarter to add additional nationalities and gear. I'm almost done with the first campaign (drug cartel for those who know the game). This game is hot and with the KS coming mid year I expect it to remain hot for me most of the year.

 The above three games are probably pretty safe bets for the year. By no means is this everything I plan on focusing on. Here's the rest of the list.

X-Wing: Goes without saying this awesome game will stay in my top games of the year. I can't imagine dropping it. I've got some catching up to do with the releases, but I'll get to them.

Kings of War: I did the Kickstarter and signed up for a new army. This is going to be a challenge, as my storage space is already at a premium. But 28mm fantasy at that KS price was too hard to pass up. Not sure how much it will be played, but I want to get my Kickstarter army painted at least.

Tiger Leader & Hornet Leader: These DVG "Leader" games are awesome. I'm hoping the "Warfighter" franchise takes off like these. I did the Kickstarter for Tiger Leader and got a copy of Hornet Leader with it. I expect to play at least one campaign for each, and would love it if I could do more this year.

CAV: I did the Kickstarter along with several friends. I'm already pissed that the models don't fit on the bases provided. So strike one against this game. I did it more for the value of the models than the actual game anyway. Not sure if I will like it, but with many of my friends similarly invested I'm sure this will get some table time this year. At the very least I plan to paint what I have.

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Ed: The first ever appearance of an RPG on this blog! While I can't say how much this is going to be a focus in 2015, I hope it will pan out. D&D is what started it all for me and my first love in gaming. This is no wishful thinking either. Three other guys are going to give this a whirl with me as we work through the premade adventures that released alongside the game.

Here are a few projects I'm considering scrapping or delaying.

15mm Hail Caesar: I know I've not even updated my blog with what I've already done. But even in 15mm this is a shit-ton of models to paint. They're not even interesting to paint, being four color paint jobs and a wash. And once again, I'm not going to play with naked lead. That just looks stupid on a 3D table. So while I'll probably press on, my enthusiasm is waning. Not a good sign.

20mm WW2: Fun sized models and my favorite period for miniature gaming. The terrain needs suck, along with its corresponding storage problems. Not to mention I'm burned out on miniatures in general and WW2 miniatures specifically. I may pick it up again, but not very high on my priority list for 2015.

There you have it. There are dozens of other cool games I'm sure I'll play and enjoy. But the above games represent my projects and focus areas as they stand right now. You can see I don't have as many miniatures planned. Not sure what that means for this blog, but I plan to continue updating and sharing whatever is on the painting table at the moment. I've got enough unpainted models to last quite a while, so I'll be back soon with new things to show you.

Wishing you all a happy 2015!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 Year In Review

Heck yeah, time for looking back on all stuff I said I was going to do this year and discover how far off I was. Of course, maybe I wasn't too far off. All will be revealed momentarily as I look back on the year that was 2014!

What I Said I Planned To Do

Ah, plans and good intentions. I start the year with my head full of these, crap like losing weight and using my exercise bike for something as other than a clothes hanger. Fortunately this is a gaming blog and I don't fave to fess up to those disasters. (Seems I just did.... moving along.) If I look back to this post and compare to actual, here's what it looks like.

Miniatures Games
Bolt Action: I did succeed in this venture. I played about 15 - 18 games this year, but haven't touched it since July.

Other WW2 Rules: I gave Chain of Command about 3-4 walk-through games. I enjoyed it but the problem is I'll forget the rules between games and no one else is playing it. Anyway, the mission was to try it out and I did. Never got to Battlegroup Kursk, and the big fat rule book glares down on me from the bookshelf whenever I'm painting my figures. I'm still calling this a success.

Campaign Games: I played a campaign using Platoon Forward which was based on Operation Cobra and lasted seven games. I also did Operation Bagration this summer. So success here. I'm on a roll! 

Air Combat: We're moving into "mixed bag" territory here. I assembled and completed both US and Japanese squadrons for a Guadalcanal campaign, but beyond a few games I never got anywhere with this. I'm going to have to call it a defeat on the "plan to actual" scoreboard. Wings of Glory is a fantastic game that gathers dust at an alarming rate. Just never worked it into the rotation. And that Bag the Hun / Squadron Forward combo never happened. I did add Angels 20 to the list, and played several games before resigning myself to it being a game to play once every other year. I guess air combat never really got off the ground in 2014. (But I have increased my frequency of lame puns.)

Naval Combat: I'm going to try to slip this past you, so here goes. I played a game of Axis and Allies War at Sea.  I purchased a bunch of ships, threw them in a bag, and now watch them take up space in my hobby room. Does that fulfill my intentions for 2014? I'm going to say no, as I really intended to do more with this. War at Sea is solid, so maybe I'll revisit next year.

15mm Fantasy: This one's a cinch --never crossed my mind again after writing my blog and a few idea exchanges with friends. Fail.

Samurai Action: OK, I can redeem myself here by noting I completed assembly of the base set of Command & Colors Samurai Battles. It wasn't what I was thinking about when I set this goal, but I played a few games of it and it really scratches that Samurai itch. I'd like to actually paint these figures one day, but that's for another post. I'm going to call this a success.

Figure Scales: Yes! But in the opposite direction of what I planned.  At the time I was thinking 10mm WW2 for company sized battles or expanding my 6mm collection. Instead I took on 20mm WW2. The project lost steam for me, as I can only paint the same damn models so many times before burnout. I still have work to do on this in 2015.

Other Games: Fail. Neither Malifaux nor Savage Worlds made an appearance in my gaming this year.

Board Games
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Massive success. I've been playing in a regular group biweekly and we're almost done with the first adventure path. We're going to tackle the next one in the upcoming year. Additionally, I've played on and off solo with my own set throughout the year. This was probably my favorite game of the 2014.

Combat Commander Series: Fail. Never touched them and forgot how they play. Too bad as I was high on these for a while. I'll get them back into some sort of rotation again.

Descent 2: I finished that campaign in the early part of the year and realized it's not such a great game after all.  Success, but in a sad sort of way. Don't have much interest in this any more.

Elder Sign: Never touched it. Great game though. Fail.

DVG "Leader" series games: Success, but not as much as I'd have liked. I played another campaign of Phantom leader, and one test game of Thunderbolt Apache Leader. These games are incredible. I did the Kickstarter for Tiger Leader this year. I should play them more often than I do.

Living Card Games: Mega Fail. In fact, I've divested myself of these games except Warhammer Invasion. So I went the opposite way. I realized financially I can't keep up and that the "cycle" problem means you're playing with half a card pool most times. I just backed out completely and didn't even jump on the 40K version of Conquest when it came out.

Surprises for 2014

I went off in unexpected directions this year. It's not that I'm rigid about these New Year plans that I put in place, so I generally don't care what I'm doing as long as I have fun. Hence the sudden swing into 20mm WW2, etc.  Beyond what I already mentioned, here are a few other things I hadn't foreseen.

28mm Horror: I started collecting zombies and zombie survivors with the intention of playing a modern zombie apocalypse game. Where did this thought come from? Not sure. I started reading the Walking Dead comics, so that probably did it.

Zombicide: I just love this game. Hell, I even painted the board pieces. Again, came from nowhere but I'm glad for it. I got in about a 8-10 games this year and introduced it to some friends.

Judge Dredd: Though I've not actually played Warlord's Judge Dredd game, I decided the campaign system looked so awesome that I bought the starter box and painted the forces. Now I've got to get them on the table!

Warlord: You'd think being a Reaper fanboy that I'd have tried this earlier. I've now got a complete army for the game. Again, just have to find time to play it. I gave the rules a walk-through and found them enjoyable with some weird parts. Overall, I think I'll love it.

Prehistoric Games: I actually started on cavemen and Neanderthal tribes this year. I intended to get prehistoric mammals for them to hunt or fight, but didn't follow through. This may be revived again, as I think it's an interesting idea.

Hail Caesar in 15mm: You may be wondering about this one since there're no blog updates around it. However, right now a crap-ton of 15mm Imperial Romans are on my painting desk. I read the rules late in the year and started gathering forces to be able to field Romans vs either Germanic tribes or Britons. I've been working most of this month on the Roman infantry and will have an update soon.

WH40K: I was talking about selling my 40K armies. Instead I got the new rules, finished painting the Tau I have, and will soon be getting my Codices updated and adding more models. So the about-face was a shock for me, but I realized how much I love this game. There's really little else like it.

Star Wars X-Wing: I forgot about this and had to go back to edit my post to include it. Of course, this turned out to be a big hit for me and just about everyone else I know. I have multiples of most popular ships and even invested in a KR Multicase to keep my ships ready for gaming. I played the game a number of times, including several with my son and one large group game with friends. I had dawdled about buying into this, but once I took the plunge I've never been happier with a game.

Thunderstone Advance: This deck-builder game is great solo and with others. I had been eying it for a while, then went all in to get the base game and expansions. I'm still not caught up yet!  It's a fantastic game, though the most complex deck builder I've seen. I probably played 6-8 games this year, so it's not the biggest hit of the year. However, I definitely made a financial commitment to it that I was not expecting! Anyway, I highly recommend it for fans of deck builder for both the crunch and the fantasy theme.  I'll be enjoying this one for a long time to come.

Well, by now you're probably sick of hearing about my year. I know I am.  Overall, I had a good year for gaming. I wish all my four blog readers a very happy and safe New Year!  See you in 2015!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

1/72 PSC US Heavy Weapons

That alphabet soup title is interpreted as 1/72 scale Plastic Soldier Company's US Heavy Weapons teams for World War II.  I just figured the abbreviations fit better into feed readers. So, onto the update.  You know what it's about.

Here's a picture. Click for a much larger picture with details.

I didn't assemble everything in the box, as I don't need multiple chemical mortars or even multiple .50 cal MGs for the games I will play.  I have the sprues so I'm ready to add them as I need.

What I do have are plenty of machine guns: three M1919 .30 cal MG teams, two M1917 MG teams (got lazy and didn't do the third one), and one .50 cal MG. I love the size of that .50cal M2 Browning! Though I don't really need the other two right away, I plan to make those teams at some point.

The other essentials are the three bazooka teams. Seems like every US list has bazookas in abundance, particularly late war.  So I wish I had a few more but three's enough.  Then come the mortar teams. Again, three of each mortar is overkill though multiples of the 60mm mortar might be sensible. I've got a 60mm, 81mm, and a 4.2in chemical mortar. That's more than enough firepower for a single platoon!

Lastly you will see five BAR gunners hanging around the back corner of the photo. I had mistakenly assembled these a while back thinking them to be rifles. I was rushing and didn't pay attention to what I was doing. So I left them primed and sitting on my table. Since I had the paints out for US infantry I finished them.

That rounds out all my infantry in 20mm, though I have plenty left over for extra squads of both US and German soldiers. The next phase will be to complete some vehicles so these anti tank weapons have some purpose!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Tau Time Again

This represents the final installment in my Tau project for now. I think I have a bit more than 1,000 points of Tau all painted and ready for action. From here on out, I'll add units and models to expand my options and to get me up to 1,500 points total.

Without further ado, here are two Piranha skimmers.

So that's a bit underwhelming, I know. The largest challenge was painting the crew, and that wasn't exactly hard to do.  The drones are detachable and have magnetized flight stands. These skimmers were easy to paint, particularly when doing them in one solid color.

With the Tau done for the time being, next I'm going to touch up gaps in my 20mm US WW2 platoons. After that, we'll see where I go.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Tau Hammerhead Gunship

Work on the Tau continues this week. The largest model I have for this force is the Hammerhead gunship.  I don't have enough Graveyard Earth paint left to cover something of this size, so I used Plastic Soldier Company's US Infantry spray paint. It's not the same but it blends well with the Tau color scheme I selected. 

Here are the results. Click for a larger picture.

Not much to write home about, but it is a nice model. The main weapon is on a rare earth magnet and can be swapped out.  I don't recall what this other gun is, but it's nice to have options.  Here's a shot of the ship with the other gun.

Overall I'm pleased with the way this model turned out.  The drones also detach and have separate stands that I prepared.  I also painted five more gun drones and stands this week. I didn't bother with pictures as the drones aren't all that interesting.

I'll be working on the two Piranha skimmers this week and that will complete the Tau project for now.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Return of the Tau

It's a rather grand title for this week's post, considering I'm only introducing a unit of Fire Warriors. Anyway, I've decided to complete all my unpainted Tau from a few years ago and probably introduce a few more units and vehicles to bring the force up to speed.

Here's the Fire Warrior unit. Click for a larger picture.

I was able to keep their paint scheme consistent with the other two units of Fire Warriors I had painted a few years ago. As I mentioned in my last post, I bought a pot of Graveyard Earth paint once GW decided to take it out of production. The so-called equivalent today is not the same.

These models have already been assembled. I love painting models but hate putting them together, and GW kits grow more complex every year. So back when the project was active I had Saguaro Painting Service put them together. Tim had some leftover parts and threw together a quick conversion for me.  Here it is.

This guy is made from "tank commander" and Fire Warrior bits. Though he doesn't actually fit into any of the units I think he makes a great objective marker or special model. I imagine him as a Battlesuit Commander who has lost his suit. Anyway, I'm sure I'll find a reason to use him at some point.

Next I'll polish off my vehicles and some drones for the Fire Warrior teams. I won't have enough Graveyard Earth to cover the surface areas of the vehicles. I'll be looking for something similar to that color that I can also spray.  I don't want to be brush painting that Hammerhead railgun ship!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Shape of Things to Come

Not a lot of painting got done this week. The fourth-quarter scramble at work has loaded me up with too much to do, and I'm close to finishing the first draft of book five in my viking series. There's just not enough time to paint.

However, I have set my eyes on making an old project new again. I'm going to assume the following pictures will give you an idea of what it is. This is the only model I painted this week.

 Yes, time to resurrect my Tau project from a few years ago. I bought a bunch of Tau around the time most of my game group was getting out of 40K. My interest in 40K also waned at the same time, and so I left a lot of these models unpainted. I came close to selling my Tau collection, but I hardly ever sell my games.  I'm glad I kept them.

So I've got one Crisis Battlesuit done. Of units that I've yet to paint, I have a unit of Fire Warriors, two Piranha skimmers, a Hammerhead rail gunship, and a bunch of drones. I probably need to add in a few more models to get enough points to play a game. I'd like to get around 1,000 points ready.

I chose a difficult paint scheme for these guys. It takes three coats to get solid coverage. To make it even more challenging, GW discontinued my base color (graveyard earth). Fortunately, I sagely saved a fresh pot of it when they announced this. So I can probably get most of my models done in the same color. At some point, things won't match any more. Well, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

This is a lot of words for a single model. Up next will be the Fire Warrior team.