Gaming Resolutions for 2015

I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions; but gaming resolutions I love! Here’s what I plan for 2015: krosmaster-arena-1200

Krosmaster Arena! Love it – love the look, love the balance, love the easy way it can be picked up or taught. All that with a collectible game that you can pursue as much or as little as you want.

Picking up more characters for Krosmaster Arena can be as lazy as once a month or never – and I can’t stress this enough to newer players thinking about getting into the game. Expansions aren’t necessary, but like most good games, they will enhance Krosmaster as your experience grows.

Some people may recognize Krosmaster Arena as a competitive, tournament based game. And it is perfect for that. But don’t get into it thinking you have to only play in tournaments or you’re a putz. There are very few Krosmaster tourneys around the world. Play for the strategic, pre-painted fun of it all. I know I will be playing this more in 2015.

infinity-n3-600Infinity 3rd Edition! Often called N3, Infinity is a game that has really grown on me, even though I’ve played less than a dozen games. I’ve painted more models for other people than I have for myself! But what’s not to like? Anime based miniature skirmish combat, whose basic rules are actually pretty easily learned – with more complexity only coming when you add troopers that have it.

This game is fast, looks fantastic, and is based in a sci-fi universe you can easily wrap your head around – it makes sense. I’m looking forward to playing more Infinity in 2015, and getting into it seriously as my love of miniature gaming becomes resurgent. I was away (never completely, but mostly) in 2014 because I was tired of painting mass battle armies that were too expensive and time consuming – the new models never seemed to end, and I felt like a putz not keeping up.

Infinity doesn’t care. Infinity wants you to play. So here’s to hoping I get more of this great game in during 2015.

battlelore-1200Battlelore Command and Battlelore 2nd Edition! I’m really diggin’ Battlelore Command for iOS. I blasted through the Daqan campaign in no time at all, but not at all easily. The AI is smart – always sticking to the scenario victory conditions – and the interface is intuitive and actually fun to use.

I’ve had my eye on the Battlelore 2nd Edition board game as well. I have no doubt I will pick it up in 2015 at some point. I owned and played 1st edition fairly frequently – even started painting some of the models – but when 2nd edition was announced, I was all in. I love the RuneWars/Rune Age/Runebound universe that is Terrinoth, and I have no doubt that painting the game models will be a breeze.

That will make Battlelore my mass battle game for 2015 – albeit heavily abstracted. Here’s hoping Fantasy Flight Games adds more to the iOS game (which may be coming to PC!) and stays invested in expanding the Battlelore board game universe.

descent-2nd-edDescent 2nd Edition! God I hope I get to play this game in 2015. I bought it in the summer of 2014 while at a trade show in the US, and immediately read the rules and punched the counters.

Since then I have only started painting the character models and monsters involved in the first few scenarios. I didn’t care that they were painted before I played, but it would be nice, and the likely opponents I will be playing with will definitely appreciate it.

FFG’s support for this game is phenomenal – it’s a big seller – here’s hoping i get my money’s worth out of my copy in 2015.

So that’s it.
What are you going to be doing in 2015 with your collection of miniatures and games? Life’s too short to be just thinking and wishing about games you want to play this year. Play them! But what are they going to be? Happy 2015 everybody.


Going on a GW Diet in 2011 – a Rant

There was a very sinister revealing of Games Workshop, in 2010, that I really didn’t like. It compels me to write.

I’ve been a long time GW fan – played almost everything they’ve ever created at one time or another, and some that I still do: WHFB, 40K, Mordheim, Epic, Space Hulk, Warmaster, BFG, LotR, Necromunda – blah blah blah – you get the picture. And in those 20+ years I’ve been getting more and more cynical – prices have been raised far beyond comparable products, (to the point where, no matter how much money I make, GW minis just aren’t value for dollar anymore). I’ve seen many, many rulesets come and go – exciting stuff! I’ve always been a fan of rules in all miniature genres and scales – it’s really neat to see how developers want to organize our simulated warfare. Well, at least until 8th ed WHFB came along.

Warhammer 8th ed. at first glance, is a serious rules improvement – better writing, better tactics, etc. But here’s the sinister part – even though I had 3 complete armies, they all became sub-standard in the new edition. They all needed more models in some way or another – certain troop choices were optimized and should now be collected, or already usable troops were still effective, but in larger numbers! It was then that I realized I had been deliberately manipulated. And now, after a few months of pondering, I’ve decided I’m not going to take it.

Why, when I have display shelves crammed, crammed with models for 2 or 3 specific GW gaming systems, should I have to go out and get more to remain competitive? And we’re not even talking tournies here – which I don’t do. “BUT”, says Games Workshop, “our games are designed for friendly basement matchups between mates on the weekend! If you’re not playing nice, you’re not playing in the spirit of our games.” – Bullshit. At first glance this seems like an honest and caring corporate statement – why can’t we all just get along and play like Christ would if he had a High Elf army? Because every kid or adult I’ve ever played in WHFB wants to win more games than they lose. In fact, I’d be disappointed if they didn’t – they owe me their best game, and so do I in reciprocation. But what I find other people’s best games to be, has been fucked up by Games Workshop in one way or another. Here’s how (and see how many of these apply to your gaming group):
1 – $100 rule book – It’s big, it’s finally all colour, and it’s beyond the reach of many younger players. WHFB play is down in my area because of the new rules alone.
2 – The multi-hundred dollar buy in. It’s ok – just buy the Island of Blood starter set. Noobs soon realize that the unequal miniature forces in the set are the tip of the outlay iceberg – hundreds and hundreds of more dollars will be needed to meet the standard 2000pt lists on tabletops today. And everyone wants to play at the 2K standard.
3 – The extreme time required. Just try and get a friend to temporally buy into Warhammer these days. You’ll have to explain why you paid $50 for the privilege of buying 10 plastic guys you had to flash, assemble, prime, paint and base yourself. Seriously. Then tell him it’s only part of your Phoenix Guard unit, and you need to do it again – maybe twice.
4 – Low standards in a demanding hobby. How many times have you showed up for a pickup game at your FLGS, only to be facing an army of unpainted, semi-assembled, semi-primed, night goblins, dwarves, lego pieces and skinks proxying as the new army on the block. And oh yeah – they haven’t fully read the new army book, which was bit-torrented off the web last night. And no, they don’t have their army list written out, but they have most of the units memorized anyway. Really? Never happened to you? Just wait. It looks like fun kids, but don’t fool yourself how many hundreds of hours you’re going to have to invest. Hundreds.
5 – Out dated army books. The absolute rock-solid foundation of every army, is its ARMY BOOK. But some of these are now so horribly out of date, either points-wise, or functionally, or magically, that they can’t be played without a huge handicap. Why why why why didn’t GW, after a major revamp of their ruleset, not revamp the points cost and magic of every unit in every army book in the game? They paid attention to the rules, but my Tomb Kings are shit-on-a-stick compared to Skaven played by a competent opponent. Years will pass before TK, Ogres and WE are up to date. Years. Unacceptable.     

And there you have it with GW in a nutshell. Excessive cost, combined with excessive time, divided by conflicting army balance = well… umm… disappointment. You can forgive or excuse many tactical things in a “fantasy” game. But in the “real” world of miniature gaming, Games Workshop, for me, has just reached the cost/time/rules tipping point – the combined return just isn’t worth the combined investment anymore. And it pains me to say it, but I’m going on a GW diet in 2011, hell – maybe forever, and will only pay attention to their paints, washes and scenery pieces.

The argument “I’ve invested too much to not keep going” is really, really fucked up. I think it’s ok to say no, finally, after 25 years of gaming.

Ten Gaming Resolutions for 2009

avatar_dovadI hate resolutions. But it wasn’t always this way.

I used to make lifestyle resolutions every New Years – lofty but well-meaning resolutions that would change my life for the better. And whether they were accomplished or not didn’t matter – the serendipitous point was to reflect… and make change. Most of my resolutions go by the wayside because I forget them, not because I give up on them.

So here’s a digital entry for Ten Gaming Resolutions for 2009 – changes to my gaming lifestyle, that should make things better in the year to come. And I won’t forget!

  1. No new miniature systems. None. Nadda. I have serious/worthwhile collections of a handful of games already: WHFB, 40K, FoW, DBA, Warmachine, Hordes and LotR. These genres cover everything from mass combat ancients to science fiction – enough for any man. New miniature systems come out every year. I’ve had my eye on a couple of them – AT-43 in particular – but I’m going to look and not touch. Promise.
  2. Less overlap in miniature genres. Here’s an example – I like WWII gaming, so I ownFlames of War. But I also want to play WWII skirmish games – you know, 1:1 scale in 28mm or some such. No. No no no. Really, when I split a genre, I usually end up with 2 incomplete systems – usable but not full. This is already the case with 40K. I’ve been collecting 40K minis for over 5 years, but my heart was really not in the game – it seemed too simple, and ultimately, was unfulfilling. Warmachine came along, and I couldn’t get enough of it. Then 40K 5th ed. came out, and it made 40K worth playing again. Now I’m torn between collecting the 2 systems, that are both scratching the same science fiction itch. No more overlapping. I’ll keep what I have, but I’m not going to start playing Confrontation when I already have Hordes for fantasy skirmishing.
  3. Paint what you’ve got. Get more minis when you’re done assembling/flashing/painting what you have. I have boxes of unopened minis in storage – finding them amidst the collection of others is almost as satisfying as buying them was in the first place. Which is why I ended up with so many anyway. I’ve been toying with building a Dark Elf army for years, so I have a few choice units – unopened and ready to go. If I paint what I already have, I’ll know I’m actually interested in putting them on the table, and not just the idea of the army. One way or another those boxed collections are going to disappear – either by their use or their trade. Paint what you have – and acquire more when you’re done. I’m following this rule with my Trollblood Hordes army already.
  4. Paint more. I already paint more minis per year than anyone I game with, but that shouldn’t stop me from wanting to paint even more! The trick is to find a painting style that looks good and is still reasonably fast. If it looks good at arms length, then it’s done. I’ve pretty much found this style, now I have to perfect it.
  5. Play more board games. For the last 10 years I’ve been so obsessed with miniature gaming, that I’ve been overlooking the truly fantastic innovations that board games have been making recently. Dust, Carcasonne, Conflict of Heroes, Battlelore and Command & Colors: Ancients to name a few. There are more I’d like to try, but because I thoroughly research all my new board game acquisitions before I buy ’em, I haven’t bought a dud. The next-gen board games can be very satisfying to play – Battlelore is the perfect example of a board game that uses miniatures with incredible effect.  Which leads me to my next point…
  6. Paint my Battlelore miniatures. Great game – play it more, paint ’em all – even the expansion minis. They’re so simple to do – I bet I could do the basic set in a weekend.
  7. Opponents opponents opponents. Ever buy a game that really interests you, only to realize that no one else is as interested as you are in it? I used to do this all the time 10 years ago. But hell, I had money 10 years ago too. If I’m interested in a game of any kind, I resolve to not only research the game, but to research who wants to play it as well. If I can’t guarantee an opponent or two who’ll give it a go, then it’s not worth picking up. No exceptions. And constantly network for new opponents and friends. (Well, unless I really just want to read new rules). Which brings me to my next point…
  8. Write a set of rules and sell them. Seriously. When you’ve been playing games for decades like I have, you know a thing or two about rules and their presentation. There are so many esoteric rulesets out there, and I’ve bought some of them, why shouldn’t I write my own? I’ve had so many ideas for games I’d like to play that I’ve actually started writing 3, but never finished them. I’d really like to play a true skirmish game of 40K, with say… a dozen guys a side. But the rules would be more detailed and goal oriented than 40K currently is – even assymetrical forces! – good lord – a game where the sides aren’t always equal, points wise?!? It can be done.And selling rules over the ‘net has never been easier. There are so many places already setup to sell e-publications, you’re spoiled for choice. Not counting the ability to sell using PayPal. So why not?
  9. Focus. Focus – what do I mean exactly? Stick with getting something meaningful done in one system, before moving on to another. I have several gaming interests on the go, but there’s no worth in painting up one regiment of Saurus warriors. What the hell are you going to do with that? Paint up at least enough LM models to make a 500pt warband force, even if it’s not the perfect, final force you want to play with (see res. #3), but it’s usable in a my WHFB gaming circle. Awesome. Then I can paint up another Trollblood unit. (Which is one of the really good things about skirmish games – sometimes a unit is 1 model.)
  10. Assemble the Samurai armies! I looked so hard for Samurai minis I could do mass combat games with. Then when I found them, I painted up a couple of prototype stands right away – and they sat. Dammit Dave, finish your Samurai… they’re freakin’ cool! (Good lord there’s alot of painting in this list.)

Well, there it is – my list of 10 gaming resolutions for 2009. Maybe I’ll add some more as the weeks go on. Maybe I’ll delete some out of embarassment. But that’s not the point is it? The point is to to reflect… and make change. Be better.