Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Saturday Warmachine Tournament post

So, yeah, it took me from Saturday to now to get this post put into order... And it still isn't very orderly ;)

Regardless, what I'll do here is post my lists, what I faced, a general overview of each battle and maybe some things that I learned. Theoretically, that should make this post interesting to someone somewhere out there.

First, I guess I ought to describe the general tournament style and atmosphere (ambiance, if you will, lol). I made a pilgrimage down to the store the Thursday before the tournament to get a feel for what it might be like/get the actual tournament rules. Usually, I would have been in my krav maga/MMA classes, but I've had a leg injury for the past 2 weeks, so rolling dice and moving figures is about as far as my semi-crippled ass could take physical activity ;)

The tournament was semi-Steamroller. By that, I mean the TO had taken some of the scenarios from Steamroller, but the format was much more relaxed. You could bring 2 35 point lists to choose between for each game, however, they could be the same 'caster if you wanted. Also, the turns weren't timed like they would be in an official event. I never had any problem finishing a game in the allotted time, so I don't feel like it was an issue. Everyone seemed pretty nice/laidback, although I heard some people had tendencies to get a little nasty while they played. I didn't run into that at all, and I had 3 excellent opponents.

Ok, so first up, I oughta toss out my two lists. I massively over thought things and brought 2 lists that, in retrospect, I am not happy with. However, I wouldn't have learned I didn't like them if I hadn't played them, so it was still good. Really an excellent learning experience.

"Rahn Love Arcnodes"

Adeptis Rahn Shyeel (*6pts)
* Chimera (6pts)
* Phoenix (10pts)
* Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2pts)
Dawnguard Sentinels (Leader and 9 Grunts) (9pts)
* Dawnguard Sentinel Officer & Standard (2pts)
Mage Hunter Strikeforce (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Mage Hunter Commander (2pts)
Arcanist (1pts)
Arcanist (1pts)

This list was by far the more solid of the 2, at least from what I faced. The Chimera has done fuck all in every game in which I have ever fielded it, and I am almost completely convinced that Retribution lights aren't worth shit. The Sentinels and the Phoenix are what made this list work.

"Kaelyssa's Double Phoenix"

Kaelyssa, Night's Whisper (*7pts)
* Phoenix (10pts)
* Phoenix (10pts)
* Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2pts)
Mage Hunter Strikeforce (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Mage Hunter Commander (2pts)
Arcanist (1pts)
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (3pts)
Ghost Sniper (2pts)
Ghost Sniper (2pts)
Mage Hunter Assassin (2pts)

I like the idea of this list, but I found that it lacked a lot of hitting power, especially against Hordes lists. Since that was all I played against in the tournament, obviously this list didn't do what I wanted.

Game 1

So, I got matched up with my opponent (a guy named Matt) and we picked a table. He can see my army all laid out on a piece of board for easy carrying, so I ask him what he's brought. Legion of Everblight. In some ways good, as I am relatively familiar with their pieces since I own a bit of the force. Mostly bad, as I take one look at his 2 lists and see that he has a list that I just can't do shit about. A Tier eLylyth list that relies on Stealth, the one thing Retribution is known to have some issues with. Great.

His list is:

epic Lylyth - Ravens of War
Points: 34/35
Tiers: 2
Lylyth, Shadow of Everblight (*5pts)
* Nephilim Bolt Thrower (6pts)
* Nephilim Bolt Thrower (6pts)
* Nephilim Bolt Thrower (6pts)
* Nephilim Bolt Thrower (6pts)
Blighted Nyss Striders (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
* Blighted Nyss Striders Officer & Musician (0pts)
Blighted Nyss Striders (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
* Blighted Nyss Striders Officer & Musician (3pts)

The scenario is one in which there are 3 objectives evenly spaced across the center of the board. Each player turn starting in Player 2's turn 2, a player gets 1 point per objective held. 7 points to win. After both player's Turn 1, one of the objectives disappears.

He sets up Lylyth and beasts in the center with each group of Striders aimed at the outlying objective. I gamble and set up to claim only 2 objectives, hoping that holding the far objective will tie down some of his forces while I engage the rest. I start running up the board while he advances and puts stealth up on his beasts. The side objective I was aiming at disappears, meaning I have to adjust course. My MHSF and the Strider engage, with the Striders able to take the edge due to Reform moves. Lylyth Feats, and Bolt Throwers put a hurting on one of my Phoenixes (the other is tied up killing Striders near where an objective used to be) and Kaelyssa. Kaelyssa survives and uses her True Sight to get a bead on the Stealthy Lylyth, bringing her down to 1 hit box. Lylyth lives long enough to sink a fatal arrow into Kaelyssa.

Here, I really just got rolled by an army that is basically tailor made to fuck me over. Sucks, but that kind of thing happens a bit in Warmachine. It would have also helped if I'd had more competent melee threats outside of my Phoenixes. Then, I would have just rushed him and cut his guys down. Even his beasts would roll over in combat. I probably should have taken the Rahn list and rammed Sentinels down his throat.

Game 2

Next match up is against a really nice guy named Scott and his spectacularly painted Circle army. He ended up winning best painted for the day, so they were really nice.

He had:
Baldur the Stonecleaver (*6pts)
* Megalith (11pts)
* Woldguardian (9pts)
* Woldwarden (9pts)
Sentry Stone (Leader and 3 Manikins) (3pts)
Shifting Stones (2pts)
* Stone keeper (1pts)
Blackclad Wayfarer (2pts)
Lord of the Feast (4pts)

The scenario was as follows. You could get 1 point for each turn that you could control a central area (only your models in it, no enemies) while your caster stood off on a little marker something like 8"-10" away. Seeing that, I chose Rahn's list because he has a 16" control area, allowing my Myrmidons to engage the center more easily.

With basically a Spearhead type deployment, he and I deployed and then started moving our pieces up. He advance almost everything towards the center and warped Baldur over to the point he needed to stand on with the help of magical forest generation. Rahn cast Polarity Shield on the MHSF, which kept them from being charged by models in their front arc, which Sylys allowed me to upkeep for free for the entire game. Then, the MHSF and the Sentinels slid over to the side, with the MHSF intent on going after Baldur and the Sentinels intent on charging into combat after staying just out of my opponent's charge range for a few turns. Since he had next to no shooting, I brought the Chimera and Phoenix into range to start dropping shots on people before the inevitable melee.

Here's where my opponent's biggest problems surfaced. Baldur has a control range of 12", which meant his beasts could just barely get into the center area and stay in range to be forced. This led to a couple of turns of the MHSF using Phantom Seeker rounds from behind obstacles to irritate him while my stuff shot at him and he couldn't close. Finally, he gave up on the mission and moved Baldur forward to engage. He junked my Chimera with one beast, but Rahn used an Arced Telekinesis to spin it before my Phoenix bashed it to death. The Sentinels and their Vengeance took down the Megalith and then Baldur, which let me win the game.

To me, this game highlighted 2 things. Rahn is awesome against casters who have no choice but to deal with his magic because they can't shut it down. With Telekinesis, Force Hammer, Chain Blast and Polarity Shield, he can generate damage and frustrate the opponent by playing with them. Infantry is awesome in Warmachine and Hordes because it allows you to threaten the opponent in places where you can't reach with your beasts or jacks. I never really got infantry before, but now I understand their utility.

Game 3

So, for this game, I am once more matched up against Legion of Everblight. I sigh a sad sigh of resignation. The guy was a great opponent named Joe, and he had a superbly painted army. He was the other real contender besides my previous opponent for best painted.

His list was:
Rhyas - Alpha Strike
Tiers: 2
Rhyas, Sigil of Everblight (*6pts)
* Shredder (2pts)
* Scythean (9pts)
Blighted Nyss Hex Hunters (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Bayal, Hound of Everblight (3pts)
Blighted Nyss Swordsmen (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
Blighted Nyss Swordsmen (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
Blighted Nyss Swordsmen (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
Blighted Nyss Shepherd (1pts)

The scenario was 2 large boxes in the center of the board. Starting on Player 2's Turn 2, you scored 1 point for contesting a box and 2 points for controlling a box. I used the Kaelyssa list again because I wanted to figure out if it was any good at all. Also, so much infantry looked like a treat for my Phoenixes to combust in the middle of ;)

I don't really have much to say except that he damn near crushed me very quickly but held back long enough to max his bonus points. He's practicing for Adepticon, so I don't blame him in any way for that, and it wasn't bad. I was just totally outmatched in every way.

So, that was the end of my tournament play for the day. I definitely did better than expected, as I won a game and almost took the first one (one damage box! one!). I expected to lose all of them, so it was nice to actually get in my first victory with Retribution. I'm starting to get a feel for them, but I haven't wrapped my head around them completely yet.

Game 4

My buddy Jacob (the guy who managed to convince me to get back into Warmachine) had showed up during the tournament but hadn't played in it, so we played a game afterwards for fun.

I brought this:
Adeptis Rahn Shyeel (*6pts)
* Phoenix (10pts)
* Phoenix (10pts)
* Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2pts)
Dawnguard Sentinels (Leader and 9 Grunts) (9pts)
* Dawnguard Sentinel Officer & Standard (2pts)
Arcanist (1pts)
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (3pts)
Ghost Sniper (2pts)
Ghost Sniper (2pts)

He brought:
Iron Lich Asphyxious (*6pts)
* Cankerworm (5pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
* Helldiver (3pts)
* Corruptor (8pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)
Bane Thralls (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Bane Thrall Officer & Standard (3pts)
Bane Lord Tartarus (4pts)
Machine Wraith (1pts)
Machine Wraith (1pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)

Again, lots of Stealth was a bit frustrating for my elfs, but I managed to drop a few guys by drifting AOEs on to them. I managed to knock out the Corruptor's gun early with my Snipers before the Cankerworm just wrecked my shit. Rahn managed to Force Hammer Tartarus into the Skarlock, killing the Skarlock and damaging Tartarus before the Feat turn ruined my Sentinels. The remaining few Sentinels killed Tartarus, and we called the game before the Bane Thralls actually got a chance to chop Rahn into minced elf ;)

Overall, a very fun day. I've still got a lot to learn about the Retribution and how they play. I picked up Ossyan and some Halberdiers, which takes me to damn near everything I want for the force barring some additional solos and maybe a second unit of Stormfall Archers (until the new jacks appear, of course).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Treating your hobby like a hobby 2

Ok. So... I have definitely come to some conclusions about the questions I posed almost rhetorically in the previous article with this same picture. Some of them are things that can definitely be applied to everyone, and some of them are things that are maybe only applicable to me. I guess we'll see.

So, for those of you who didn't read the previous article (or who read it and have bad memory, like me ;)...) the question that I posed was this (basically): How do I enjoy the hobby and cut out that frustration and anger that most all of us feel to some degree.

Well, here's where I let you in on a little known secret of blogging. Something like 90% of my writing stems from stuff that happens to me. I could probably call that just a writer's secret, since I also did the same thing when I wrote for print publications.

This week, I played a bunch of games of Warmachine (a bunch being defined in this case as like 5). I played every single game with my Retribution of Scyrah army, to which I have become pretty spectacularly attached. So attached that I actually sat down and read all the background material I could find on the army. This is something which I have never felt prompted to do with any other Warmachine faction. I can only compare this to my fairly intense love for several factions in other games (40k and Malifaux being the key examples).

I lost all but one of these games. Yet, I didn't walk away feeling upset or frustrated. I didn't feel angry. I had fun playing the game, even when I was getting my ass handed directly to me after having it sliced off and seared. How?

Well, part of it was definitely my attitude. I went into the games with a lowered expectation of how I'd do, so I didn't put my ego down on the table with my models. That's something I think a lot of us do when we play, whether we plan to or not. After we've spent so much time carefully tweaking lists and painting models, we expect that we deserve to eke out a win, especially if we play against an obviously inferior list or a swarm of grey models who've never even heard of primer. We know, somewhere instinctual, that all the effort we've put forth means we've already earned that glorious, glorious victory.

Problem is: This is a dice based game, my friends, and nothing is ever certain.

So, really, I had to make a conscious decision that I was going out to play as opposed to going out to win. And when I say that, I don't say it as an indictment against anyone. I really don't believe that we consciously set out with the attitude that we're gonna win every game, but I think that's where we end up after we've put so much into our armies. And I know that it takes a conscious effort to overcome that innate feeling.

Ruminating on this made me think back to this year's NOVA Open and some of the games I played there. I lost almost all of my games of Malifaux in the 30 point tournament and was very frustrated. I had brought my best master, my best pieces, my best plans and still I lost. I got so frustrated because I knew I was supposed to win those games. The lists across from me just weren't as good, and I knew I could beat them. And yet I lost.

That's where the frustration came from: the divergence of what I knew and what actually happened. Cognitive dissonance, we might call it ;)

And when I really think about it, that's probably where a lot of my personal frustration with 40k comes from. Maybe it's where a lot of other people's frustrations with the game come from as well. However, I think I get such an intense feeling of anger and frustration with 40k as opposed to other games because with 40k, it's not just the individual game that I know the outcome of, it's the very design of the game itself.

I know what I want 40k to be. I want the game to be balanced so that every faction is good and has an equal chance to win in every single match-up. I want the game to be an exercise of tactical acumen where skill and good play can overcome "power" builds or the luck of the dice. I want there to be a decent level of depth to how the game plays. I want... lots of things, and every time that I play, I am forced to try and reconcile these desires that are always present in my mind with the reality that the game is a sloppily put together exercise in selling models put together by apathetic designers who have an entirely different vision of what makes an interesting game than I do.

So. Really the answer to my question of how to treat the hobby like a hobby is this: You have to constantly remind yourself of what you're doing and why you're doing it.

For me, I'm playing these games to exercise my mind and to relax and have a good time with some similar minded people. That's the end goal. I'm not out to win some major sports championship and net myself a lot of money. I'm not really fighting any kind of war. I'm playing a game. My goal is to have fun.

Now, that said, there are some things that can remove that fun no matter what mindset you approach a game with. Poor game design that leads to immense imbalances is one that I really have problems with. "Why did the designers even give you these options? They're not any damn good, no matter how cool the models are!" Another one is unsporting opponents or unpleasant opponents. I'm sure I don't need to give examples there ;) There are plenty of other ways as well. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to that part. Personally, I try to always remember one of my rules: "You can only control yourself." However, even that doesn't always help.

So, really, I'm not entirely sure that I've come up with an acceptable solution at all. I know that I certainly don't feel as if I'm done pontificating on this subject quite yet, so I suppose I ought to tell everyone to expect a trilogy ;)

Side note: For anyone interested, I will be doing a post detailing the games I played in the recent Warmachine tournament. Theoretically, it should be next. The main stumbling block has been trying to remember exactly what each of my opponents had because my dumb ass didn't write it down at the time ;)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Retribution of Scyrah pictures and prospective lists

Ok, so here's a look at most of my painted Retribution of Scyrah force so far. Those of you familiar with Warmachine may recognize the Phoenix Heavy Myrmidon alongside Discordia the character Heavy Myrmidon lead by Warcasters Ravyn the Eternal Light and Master Arcanist Rahn Shyeel and accompanied by a squad of House Shyeel Battle Mages, a Magister, an Arcanist, a Ghost Sniper and Eiryss the Angel of Retribution. For those of you not familiar with Warmachine, just smile at the pretty pictures (and lament that I should have a light box by now but don't...) ;)

Not pictured are two Light Myrmidons (a Griffon and Chimera) as well as a squad of Stormfall Archers and a squad of Dawnguard Invictors with their unit attachment. On the painting table are a squad of Dawnguard Sentinels with their UA, a squad of Mage Hunters with their UA, a Mage Hunter Assassin, a second Ghost Sniper, Sylys Wyshnaylrr (seriously, fuck that name), Eiryss the Mage Hunter of Ios, Kaelyssa Night's Whisper, Dawnlord Vyros and Garryth the Blade of Retribution. I also have 2 additional Heavy Myrmidon kits that I'm working ever so slowly on magnetizing.

Unlike the last time I got into Warmachine, I have a strategy for my purchases. I like to have all the Warcasters/Warlocks available to my faction. Even if I don't like to play with them, most of them are decent enough models that I don't mind owning and painting them. I want to have one of each of the available light 'jacks and at least one of each of the heavy 'jacks (although here, I'm looking at Discordia, 2 Phoenixes, 2 Hydra/Manticore magna-jacks and then the Huse Vyre stuff when it comes out). I'd also like to have a single copy of most of the units (I actually like the look of the units in this faction after hating the look of infantry in WM/H in general) with their UA and 2 of most of the solos. I'd consider multiples of the smaller units like the Mages and Archers, but with bigger units I just don't see myself ever fielding more than one of any of them, really.

Anyways, that's all just so many words into the wind. Who knows what I'll really do, since I'm enjoying the hell out of painting some elves and I've got several months of bar study ahead...

So, right now, I've got a couple of lists as possibilities for this weekend. Both that I will put here are lead by Ravyn, as I think she's relatively easy to understand compared to some of the other casters. I may work on a Kaelyssa list or two if I get everything else I want painted done and have time to knock her out as well.

Ravyn, Eternal Light (*6pts)
* Phoenix (10pts)
* Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2pts)
Dawnguard Invictors (Leader and 9 Grunts) (10pts)
* Dawnguard Invictor Officer & Standard (2pts)
Mage Hunter Strikeforce (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Mage Hunter Commander (2pts)
Arcanist (1pts)
Ghost Sniper (2pts)
Ghost Sniper (2pts)
Mage Hunter Assassin (2pts)

Ravyn, Eternal Light (*6pts)
* Manticore (8pts)
* Phoenix (10pts)
* Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2pts)
Mage Hunter Strikeforce (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Mage Hunter Commander (2pts)
Stormfall Archers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (5pts)
Arcanist (1pts)
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (3pts)
Ghost Sniper (2pts)

So far, I've found the Retribution lights to be less than compelling while the heavies are nice but seemingly not terribly durable. The units seem solid, so I have been featuring them heavily in my lists. Retribution seems to lean less heavily on the synergy factor than other armies. Stuff tends to be fairly self-sufficient, although it can always be buffed by spells to be made better, of course.

Anyways, I don't know if any of my readers (beyond Von, of course) have any Warmachine (specifically Retribution) experience, so I have no idea if anyone will take a look at these lists for a "Yay" or "Nay." Still, I plan to continue to tinker and rummage through the Privateer Press forums (despite the crapshoot that all forums can be).

Yeah. Ok. Now I've got to finish some more elfs and continue to coalesce my thoughts for more thoughtful articles ;)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Treating your hobby like a hobby

Caution: This post may be filled with introspection. Tread carefully ;)

Sometimes, especially after I take a break from gaming for a while, I come back with a different perspective on the whole thing and some new kind of enlightenment about how I want to pursue this hobby. This blog is the result of one such revelation. Sadly, this article is not.

I have recently found myself thinking quite a bit about the hobby and my place in it and the enjoyment I derive from it... or sometimes the lack thereof.

And there's where I find myself with a bit of a sticking point. Hobbies are pretty much supposed to be fun. Sure, sometimes the things you do start to feel a bit like work (like when you're on Guardsman/Ork/Termagant #20 of 200), but overall the purpose of a hobby is enjoyment. At least that's what I've always kind of been told and assumed.

So why is it that I (and many others) can get so very serious and so very upset about aspects of the hobby? Why have I seen so many people throw down dice or models and walk away from a table with a grimace on their face and blood pressure rising? And (most of all) why the hell is this so damn normal that we don't freak out about it more?

Part of the equation I can almost immediately explain. We get invested in our hobbies. And when we get so invested in something, it decidedly has the potential to play with your emotions. I mean, hell, I was super pissed when I read the new Sisters of Battle White Dwarfing. I got frustrated when Grey Knights came out right after my beloved Dark Eldar and made mockery of all I hold dear. I've even gotten irritable a few times in casual games!

Yeah. Hobbies are something that we do for enjoyment, something that we invest a lot of ourselves into. That, then creates the potential for anger and disappointment when things don't work out the way that we'd like.

Now, that's kind of the thing that feels weird to me. Why do we continue to gripe and moan and be miserable dealing with the aspects of the hobby that make us upset? Why in the hell aren't we a bit more proactive in trying to find some enjoyment in the hobby? I mean, tabletop gamers as a group tend to be able to really pull off some amazing shit when you think about it. In order to play a game, we spend possibly hundreds of hours constructing and painting an army. Then, of course, there's the time we spend learning the rules and building terrain and doing all the other stuff necessary to make that game happen. Yet somehow we just can't figure out a way to deal with the aspects of our hobby that we dislike other than compulsively bitching?

Sure, for some, complaining is just something they enjoy. Yeah, you know that dude, the one who swears that everything was better back in the early 90s when everything was metal and awful looking and reading the rules was like deciphering a puzzle with no solution made by a masochistic madman ;) We've all met the kind, I'm sure. For the rest of us, however, I just have to wonder why we feel so compelled to rant and vent and get upset about things which we fundamentally have little to no impact over. Especially those of us who play Games Workshop games. By now, we all should have learned that GW listens to no one, and GW listens to its fans least of all.

Part of this is coming from the point of view where I'm walking back after a break and going "I want to put together and play the army I want rather than just one that wins." For me, that army is Dark Eldar. I want to get the pieces painted and set up and be able to admire the work that I've done. I find, however, that I have little desire to play them. It's one of those things where I just realize that, especially in a competitive setting, the Dark Eldar list that I like, that I think is cool is not very good. And that just frustrates me.

So, really, I'm kind of asking a rhetorical question: How can I treat my hobby like a hobby? By that, I mean, how can I maximize the enjoyment that I get from it and minimize the frustration, anxiety and anger that I tend to feel when I get deeply engrossed? I'm not sure, really.

I've got some ideas about what I can do and how I can do it. I plan on writing them up in the near future as a part of my return to blogging on a semi-regular basis. I intend this as kind of the intro, the warm up. I'm not sure if I have real solutions or not, but I think I have some thoughts that I can really turn into something decent in writing form. Regardless, I've rambled on enough for now, so this is the end of this part ;)

Hobby time notes: This doesn't really fit with the article and it doesn't merit its own post, but I thought I'd stick in a fun note about my actual hobby progress. I have 90% of the Warmachine stuff I've bought recently assembled and based. I'm trying to get quite a bit of it painted up for a local tournament this coming Saturday. I plan to crash and burn in the tournament, but I hope it'll help me get a few games in and get me off the ground running with the system again. Theoretically, I should have some pictures to post of painted stuff soon... Provided my damn cord quits hiding from me! ;)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Playing some games

So, after my nearly no hobby time, I definitely have gotten back into... Well... Something. Yeah, that was definitely enlightening.

So, last Saturday, I made my way down to the local store, whereupon I was informed that 40k was at kind of a low ebb at the moment and that it might be difficult to get in games. "What are people playing?" I asked. Warmachine and Flames of War were the answers I received. "Malifaux?" Nope, some people had played, but they were all no longer coming around or playing or something. "Dystopian Wars?" What's that?

So, I was, as you might imagine, pretty bummed. I had just bought the last few pieces necessary for my Dark Eldar to start sucking on table tops all across the store, and I wasn't going to be getting a real chance to play them. Yeah.

So, I took a look at my options, and I weighed them. Flames of War has always been something that I look at and go "Meh." I'm not a WW2 guy. I'm just not. I don't speak the lingo, I don't know the battles by heart, and I just can't find it in myself to give much of a damn about playing a game reenacting scenarios based on WW2. Warmachine is something that I played for a while and dropped for various reasons. I have some fond memories of the game and some real reservations about whether or not the game is any good. However, it's much more fun to watch played that Flames of War, so I ended up watching a bit of a game.

Before I knew it, the game was over and I was talking to the guys who'd been playing. I mentioned that I hadn't played in quite a while, and one of the guys offered to go through a quick small game with me again so I could refresh my recollection. 2 hours later, I walk out of the store with the basis of a Retribution of Scyrah army. Yeah, apparently I like elfs. Who knew? ;)

So far, I've actually been having fun painting these guys. After a few games this weekend (which I spent in Charlotte), I can safely say that I think I enjoy playing them as well. In fact, I've even been inspired enough that I've dug out my Legion of Everblight models and started working on stripping them so I can think about repainting them and having 2 forces.

It's funny how you'll shelf stuff only to come back to it later because of changed circumstances. I wish that people around here played Malifaux or something I was more interested in, but I think I can manage to have a bit of fun with some Warmachine for now.

However, this is not to say that I did not get a chance to play some 40k. I totally did. Via Vassal. Yes, I actually sat down and figured out how to use the damn thing and got in a game with my buddy Rick. I brought Dark Eldar and he brought Marines. After 3 turns, he had pretty much whipped my ass directly off the board. Needless to say I was a bit less than pleased by that. Basically, my Dark Eldar kind did exactly what I thought they'd do: miss with Dark Lances and die in droves ;)

Still, I refuse to just give up. I plan on continuing my ludicrous journey with Dark Eldar for now. I'd like to get them painted to a decent standard so that I can get wiped off the table with some small measure of dignity ;)

In the finality of my game-playing related news, I got a chance to play the Game of Throne board game after my buddy Justin picked up a copy. I have to say that I enjoyed it. We played with 3 people, and I think it would be better with 6, but there's still a lot of fun to be had with the game. It took us 2 1/2 hours to fumble through a game, and I can't imagine that it will get much quicker, especially as the intrigue starts to get more intense with more players. So, if you have 5 friends of reasonable intelligence, it'd be a fun way to spend an evening not spent playing other games ;)

For now, I'm too exhausted to post anything even semi-coherent, so I'll end it here and hopefully be back with something marginally interesting to read sometime soon. Maybe ;)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hobby amusement

So, having set myself on a course to re-enter the hobby as smoothly and quickly as possible, I made my way to my local hobby store to purchase the few remaining necessaries left for me before I can field what I would call a proper Dark Eldar army.

Then, I sat down to build with my trusty new dog at my side. "What dog?" you might ask. Well, that dog in the picture is now mine. Her name is Soph, and she dutifully watched me construct some Dark Eldar. Only once taking the time to attempt to snack on a Phantasm Grenade launcher before I swiftly disabused her of the notion (I did this by screaming like a girl and becoming frantic before I realized she hadn't swallowed any of it).

Now, because of my local hobby store's stock, I ended up one Venom short of what I wanted. Thus, I fiddled around with the list a bit more until I came up with this:


Archon: Shadowfield, Agonizer, Drugs, Haywires, Grenade Launcher


4 Incubi riding in a double cannon Venom

2x 7 Bloodbrides (including Syren with Power Weapon) with Haywires riding in a Raider


6x 5 Warriors with a Blaster riding in a Raider


2x 2 Beastmasters with 10 Khymerae


3x Ravager

So, still relatively close to what I originally outlined.

What's cool about this list, in my opinion, is that it gets lots of hitty (Bloodbrides, Incubi, Beasts) without losing too many Lances. Lances suck, but they're basically all we get as Dark Eldar, so I need enough to crack vehicles so I don't just end up banging on the outside with my Bloodbrides screaming "Let us in! We want to kill you. Maybe. In like 3-4 full turns. If we don't roll shit for our dodge saves!" I get 8 Lance shots from Raiders, 6 from Blasters and 9 from Ravagers. So, 23 shots total at 17 different targets, possibly. Not bad. Not great, but not bad.

What's really awesome is that I totally did not shell out the retarded amount for Beasts that GW seems to believe that we gamers will. I bought a box of Chaos Warhounds and a box of Vampire Count undead dog things (Yeah, I didn't read the box so much as look at the pictures and go "Ooh! Nightmarish! Win."), so my Beast squads will be composed of those and some repurposed Hellions.

Now, what's gonna suck? All my anti-infantry is really in my Bloodbrides and Beasts. I can get all of my Warriors together and put a hurt on a unit, and my lone Venom MIGHT do something. So, against Orks, I'm kinda in trouble. Meh. A risk I'm willing to take. Also, I have only 30 scoring bodies with T3 and a 5+ save. Yeah, that probably will suck, but I just can't convince myself to care that much ;)

Also, I totally decided that I love the Lhamaean model. Thus, I have bought one and she will be my Archon. Seriously. I know people dissed the model when it came out because the pose is static, but I think she looks quite regal. Therefore, I decided that she will reign supreme over my Kabal of the Broken Heart as a former prostitute who rose to concubine and eventually Archon. This should also give some sort of reason (beyond my simple preferences) for why something like 75% of my Dark Eldar models ended up being female. Yeah.

Anyways, I'll be trying to get in a game or so tomorrow, so hopefully I'll get a game, some pictures and some amusement ;)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I didn't die, I swear!

Ok. So. Yeah. I haven't posted anything in... What? 3-4 months. Well, that sucks, doesn't it? I had a load of unavoidable stuff drop on me now that I moved from Charlotte down to live with my grandparents and give them a helping hand. Who knew that taking care of older people in bad health would suck away ALL of your time?

For now, I plan on trying to slowly get myself back into doing this blog. It's an important thing to me, and I enjoy it a hell of a lot. Unfortunately for anyone who would love me enough to yell "He's back!" it may be a little shaky. That said, lets get down to business.

I know I haven't even touched any 40k stuff in a long while, even before my descent into non-blogging. Still, it's funny how there's always something that will draw you back in. For me, it's the fact that I have a ridiculous amount of Dark Eldar sitting unpainted and unloved in boxes.

I love the models, I love the fluff, I still think the rules are lackluster, especially when compared to other codices. But, I'm not necessarily here to whine on and on about how shit I have it. Hell, Sisters didn't even get new models.

My good buddy Rick has been on me for a while now to get off my ass and do some 40k stuff. So, I finally broke down and actually came up with what I think I might enjoy running. Now, it may not be competitive, but I think it may be a bit of fun to drop on the table. If nothing else, it'll give me something to paint while I start studying for the South Carolina Bar ;)

So, let's look at 2 variations of what I think I might run.


Archon w/ Shadowfield, Combat Drugs, Agonizer and Grenade Launcher


2x 7 Bloodbrides including a Syren with Agonizer in a stock Raider
5 Incubi in a stock Raider


6x 5 Warriors w/ a Blaster in a stock Raider


2x 2 Beastmasters w/ 10 Khymerae


3x Ravagers

The second variation takes away the Archon's drugs and uses those extra point to buy 2 of the Warrior squads Venoms. Part of my motivation is working with models I mainly already have. To do either of these variations, I only have to by some Incubi, Beast stand-ins (Chaos Warhounds) and 2 Venoms. Easy enough to do.

Anyways, kinda wanted to get this post just out there into the open waters of the Internet and then take it from there. Theoretically, I have new life experience which I can change into some nice little articles for anyone who's kind enough to read my babbling ;)

Monday, September 19, 2011


So, instead of doing commentary on my most recent re-post, I decided to do a whole update post to kind of show where I've gotten to. Also, the post I just put up again is one of the more recent pieces I did (only 9 months old, really), so it doesn't need much as far as commentary.

The post I just put up was my New Year's Resolutions post.

Let's see how I've done so far, shall we?

1. 1500 points of Dark Eldar assembled

Yep, I've got this one down. I've really got something like 2,000 points assembled, so I definitely got that done.

Can't really say much more about this. I'm coming back around to the place where I want to work on 40k stuff, but I don't have anything else to do to accomplish this, so... yeah.

2. Get Tyranids painted

Well, I've given up on this for now. Given that I'm so discouraged with my Nids right now and that I have no desire to paint my gants, this will be put on hold.

Partially due to Malifaux, I've found the joy in painting again, so I don't want to break myself by trying to force something that's just not coming. I'm glad I'm so forgiving, or I would never have let myself off for this one ;)

3. 10 blog posts a month

Err... Yeah. Sorry, guys. Just hasn't happened. I just have to keep pushing on this.

4. 20 pounds of weight loss

Here I totally outdid myself. I've lost like 45 pounds and 6 inches off my waist. I went from being an unsightly 200 pounds and a 38 inch waist to 155 pounds and a 32 inch waist. Go me.

If you're wondering how I did it, I just have to say that it took lots of exercise and a high protein/low carb diet with only about 1200-1500 calories a day to make that possible for me. I started mixing in tae kwon do and krav maga in with a little bit of running, and it's done wonders. If anyone wants to hear more about this, I can totally pound out some thoughts on it.

5. Get a job I like

Well, I'm unemployed, does that count? ;)

On a serious note, I am making progress: I graduated law school and I've passed the North Carolina Bar. I'll be getting sworn in soon, and I'm working on my South Carolina Bar application. So, right now, I'm more in the market for a part-time gig that will let me get some studying done so I can pass the SC Bar in February.

I'll mark that down as solid progress.

6. Finish a novel

I have 5-6 chapters left on the one I was working on, and I keep making excuses for why I haven't gotten it done. The Bar and moving were legit, but now I need to get my ass in gear and finish it up (as well as starting the re-posting process). It's still possible, but I have to motivate myself.

So, not bad. I've gotten some things done and given up on others. I've also made some unplanned life changes, so I think that I may be better off than I even imagined: I ditched an unhealthy relationship, started getting myself more to where I'd like as far as my appearance and bought a dog. I also picked up a new game and have done some deep thinking about the hobby.

Anybody else have any success stories or major failures they'd like to talk about? Big changes of plans are also totally on the table. I have something interesting coming up that I've been thinking on, so stay tuned ;)

Classic 40k for the New Professional: New Year's Resolutions

"New Year's Resolutions"

Well... Sorry I've been kinda out of action here lately... Between family time (in Ohio or at Hilton Head), gf time (she leaves for 6 months in 9 days) and me time (got me a Kindle and been reading like a madman, lol), I haven't put in as much blog time as I'd like. So, yeah, Happy New Years. It's a bit late, but I suppose that's better than never, right?

Anyways, the time spent away from the blog will hopefully make for benefits to the blog. As anyone who has met me might know, the little cogs in my brain turn all the time. The more time they get to turn, the better articles I typically pop out for your perusal. Today, I have some ideas about New Year's Resolutions.

When I was young, I thought they were a dumb idea. Why the hell would you make some kind of pledge for the New Year? Especially given the fact that nobody ever actually accomplished their goals. When I got a bit older, I tried to make them work for me. I'd set myself some goals in my Resolutions and try real hard to accomplish them for about... maybe a month. Now that I'm a little less naive than either of those times, I think I have a way to make New Year's Resolutions work for you.

The trick is to use this tradition not as a way to set yourself up for failure but as a way to set yourself up for success. The way we all typically do Resolutions sets us up with lots of grandiose, life-changing thoughts that we can in no way accomplish. Human beings are resistant to change, so if you want to improve, you gotta take it slow and constantly reinforce your will. If all of this seems as clear as mud, well... I can only hope a numbered list will help make it better.

Now, I'm tying quite a few of these to 40k, but I have some other things I'm not gonna share on this blog. Well, not just yet, at least ;)

Step 1: Make some goals that you're already going to actually do.

Blam. Here's my big secret with these things. If you have some very clear goals that you are already set out to accomplish, why not add them to your list of Resolutions? Sure, you're not making up something new to herald in the new year, but you are giving yourself some Resolutions that you already think you can handle. Everyone I know always sets goals that are too high for their Resolutions. Why not set a few too low? If you accomplish them, you can keep that positive outlook going and hit the harder ones.

For me, I've decided that 2 of my New Year's Resolutions are: 1) Paint my Tyranid army and 2) Assemble 1500 points of Dark Eldar. I know I can paint an army, I did 2 whole armies last year, and I definitely didn't even push myself that hard. 1500 points of assembled Dark Eldar won't be a problem either. But, if I manage to actually do these things, I'm setting myself up to tackle the harder stuff. I'm reinforcing myself with positive energy from finishing tasks that I've set for myself.

Step 2: Set some more difficult, yet attainable goals.

Think of it like step ladder training. I start with the easy stuff and then move on up after I've built up my endurance. Each further step takes it farther from where you start. It's only way I've found that can help you get anything done. So, here, you're thinking of goals that you know you can do but you also know are a real challenge.

My attainable yet challenging goals are: 1) Do a minimum of 10 real blog posts a month and 2) lose 20 pounds. I know that I can do these things, but I also know that they're gonna require some real self-discipline and hard work. If I can get the other things done, I'm gonna carry the positivity that comes from those tasks over to these. That positive feeling will help keep me motivated to push myself on these ones.

Step 3: Set the aspirational goals.

In keeping with the theme here, this is a step up further in difficulty. However, I like to frame these goals as aspirational so I know that there is a chance I might not do them. Most of the time, that thought combined with the good feelings from completing the previous steps can keep me pushing forward until I get as far as I go. Because the goals are aspirational, I'm not worried if I can't get them done immediately. I know that getting started and pushing forward is what's important.

My aspirational goals are: 1) get a job that I like and 2) finish a novel. The job goal requires my graduation and bar passage, which makes it harder than it seems. I've been working on several novels for a while now, but I've been trying to focus on one so I can get it done and start trying to shop it around. I've been thinking of starting a separate blog devoted to publishing an unfinished (as in unpolished and full of typos and errors) chapter per week or so. Regardless, those are my goals.

Well, I know this is a bit short, but I hope that I can inspire one person to make useful New Year's Resolutions. I'd love to hear any that you might have made or make because of this.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Who are you?

During your time as a hobbyist, there come many moments that force you to re-evaluate who you really are as a hobbyist.

Now, you might ask yourself "What the hell do you mean by that?" Well, I've had to figure that out before I could write this. And it hasn't been the easiest question to ask, or to answer.

For me, I've always kind of held myself out as a 40k-centric player. GW pretty much defined the scope of my miniature wargaming hobby. And within GW games, the playing was more important for me than many of the other aspects of the hobby. Now, this isn't an anti-GW rant in any way, but my dissatisfaction with GW has driven me to examine other games and remember what it is that really drew me into wargaming in the first place.

So, let me tell you a story that I've told plenty of people. I very first heard of miniature wargaming when I was around 11 or 12. One of my buddies introduced me to the idea of Warhammer 40k by telling me about this game that could be played on any surface (not just on a board!) and featured these things called Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines and Eldar. Now, before I knew anything about the game, these words brought images to mind that sparked my imagination. After fiddling around with things for a bit, I quite due the hobby due to various reasons (high school, rock'n'roll music and girls, mainly).

From that point, it was a long time until I picked up anything that had the words Warhammer 40k on it. Until the original Dawn of War video game come out, actually. Me and my good buddy Rick really got into that game, and we had an absolute blast playing it. After a while, I remember thinking, "Hey. I can remember this being a game with little figures on the table. I wonder if that's still around." Rick and I looked, and what do you know? The game still existed ;) Then, we thought, "Maybe it'd be fun to buy a few guys to put together and have around to represent our favorite ones in Dawn of War." From buying figures, it was a short jump to painting and then back into playing.

Despite dabbling in Fantasy and in some other games (Confrontation, Warmachine, etc), I mainly continued to be a 40k man until I started playing Malifaux and jumped right in. For me, it rekindled some of the love that I felt towards gaming at the very start of playing 40k.

After playing in the NOVA this year, I really felt myself pulling away from 40k as a game. Part of this came from the fact that I just haven't been in love with 40k for a while now, as many of you probably know. After long reflection, I know that part of this comes from the fact that I haven't been engaging in some of the parts of the hobby that I like best: the process of building an army.

Assembling an army, getting the units to function how I want and figuring out how to play the entire force to win is part of the fun. Unfortunately, the general Space Marine dominance of late has pushed me away, as I'm not the most enthusiastic about building and painting more power armor ;)

I know that I've been really pushing lately to find some other games that I enjoy so that I can be building and painting new things and trying out new forces. Malifaux has been an absolute winner in this category, and I've fallen in love with everything about the game. Dystopian Wars is also something I've been having fun with. I've been contemplating Hell Dorado and Infinity as well as some other games with really great looking miniatures. As my buddy Rick and I have discussed, a new army for any of the GW games becomes less enticing when you can buy the entire range of a skirmish game or several forces for several games at the same cost.

Still, however, there is just something in me that wants to fall back in love with GW stuff. The continued support of the Dark Eldar model range, in particular, calls to me. I have an entire Dark Eldar army that just needs a few more models and some fine tuning before I could be having fun with it.

And it's that thought right there that makes me realize what I'm in this hobby to do: I just want to have fun.

And for me, it seems that I have fun building and painting new things, tinkering with forces and going out and playing some. I can't just have fun doing one aspect of the hobby. That's what trapped me in 40k. I wanted to just play the game without building anything new or buying any new pieces. For me, that drains the life out of a game.

So, for me, I've come to the conclusion that I will be picking up my Dark Eldar army again and trying to play with it a little at a time. That means, also, buying some new pieces every now and then. However, I also want to continue my expansion into other games and see where that takes me.

I am, as a hobbyist, someone who likes to engage in the different aspects of the hobby. I am also a hobbyist who can no longer confine himself to one system. It's been an interesting road coming to this conclusion. I hope it was maybe a little interesting to read this. Within the next few days, I should have a little step-by-step of me painting a single miniature so I can humorously comment on my process.

Oh, also, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is awesome. Just a little fyi ;)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Classic 40k for the New Professional: Concentration

Well, I've not been good about getting anything posted, so I'm gonna get another old post back up for everyone's enjoyment and enlightenment. There's some weird stuff going on here, and re-reading it really made me have a WTF moment. All the song quotes and other general oddness associated with it make me feel almost ashamed of this. Maybe it was a bit of a misstep. I don't know.

I do know that this post is fairly appropriate since I've been trying to concentrate and crank out some new material, and I just can't. Life goes in a circle, apparently ;)


I have been unable to concentrate lately. What this has resulted in is a marked increase in the number of unfinished articles languishing in limbo (where they hang out with unbaptized dead people or whatever) when I lose my train of thought and can't quite get them to any kind of orderly resolution.

I know that there are a lot of people who have concentration issues, so I thought that tossing out a nice little article about ways to regain your concentration might be useful.

First of all, there are really two kinds of concentration losses that I'm aware of. One kind, I'd like to categorize as "Short Term" and the other kind I like to think of as "Systemic."

Short term concentration loss is characterized by being unable to concentrate on one specific thing (or a few specific things) or by being unable to concentrate for a rather short period of time. It's more contextual, meaning it may have to do with the exact thing you're trying to do. This kind of concentration loss is a little easier to get around, because it seems focused on one area or task. If manage to get through what you're trying to do, you may defeat it for sure (or just banish it until it's time to do that specific thing again).

Systemic concentration loss is more like a general antsiness or dissatisfaction that just keeps you from doing anything at all. It's a lot harder to get through.

Regardless of which kind you happen to be suffering from, I have several solutions that can help to push back the tide and let you get back to work/play/whatever and get some stuff done.


1- Meditate (Song Quote: "You're in a trance, you're in a trance")

Take a minute and clear your mind. Sit down and center your chi/spirit/whatever. Basically, try to push everything out of your mind so it becomes a blank slate. After you've managed to get rid of all distractions, you should be able to start doing whatever you like without any distractions. Doing some breathing exercises might help you do this.

Pros: This is quick, only takes a few minutes. Relatively simple to do. Cheap, since it doesn't require anything other than you.

Cons: Doesn't work well for a lot of people. Has the tendency to make some people more distracted because they can't clear their minds. EVen if it does work, you may have to repeat the process several times as distracting thoughts seep back in.

2- Nap (Song Quote: "Taser, taser, kindergarten nap, nap time")

Just like it says, folks. Close your eyes and sleep for like 15-30 minutes. A lot of times, the process of sleeping and waking will work like rebooting a computer. All the extraneous crap floating around in your brain will be shut down and you'll be able to start being productive before it all starts up again. Added bonus of an extra little bit of rest.

Pros: Again, relatively quick, easy and cheap.

Cons: You can't do this everywhere. Plus, some people may not be able to sleep so easily or quickly. Other people may become groggy afterwards. Still others may not be able to sleep at all. For me, this doesn't work well. I have insomnia, so if I get to sleep (ha ha, yeah right, insomniac) I want to stay there. However, I know a lot of people who like this.

3- The Chemical Solution (Song Quote: "Am I wrong to feel such bliss that ain't real?")

Caffeine, chocolate, nicotine (smoking is bad... try e-cigarettes, as a former smoker, I like them), whatever (within reason, folks... although I do favor blanket drug legalization, for the record). Sometimes, all you need is a little pick me up. Add a little chemical flavoring into the mix and watch all of your distractions fall to the sidelines and your mind becomes a fine-tuned razor.

Pros: Can be extremely effective. Quick (the absorption of most of this substances takes very little time) and sustainable (as long as you have access to more).

Cons: Can cause side-effects, such as jitters. Also, there is the damn near inevitable crash. Also, this can be costlt or habit forming.

4- Exercise (Song Quote: "Get up, get out, get loose")

I could have grouped this in the Chemical thing (endorphins, ftw), but I think it's a totally different process. Getting yourself all pumped up and letting off the excess energy can really focus your mind. It really can help you hammer out some other issues in your mind while you are doing your physical activity so that you've gotten some of those resolved before you start working again. We have the added benefit of contributing to your general fitness and welfare here.

Pros: Another extreme effectivness here. Provides additional health benefits.

Cons: This is time intensive and not always able to be done in all situations. It can also really tire you out so you get nothing done even after you clear your mind.

5- ...err, how do I put this delicately? (Song Quote: "...from your morning spank")

We're all adults here, so I can say it. Sometimes, you just need to rub one out (masturbate, for the euphemism impaired). This works by releasing chemicals and getting you focused on one thing for a few minutes. After you're done, hopefully you can refocus onto whatever you need to do.

Pros: How do I phrase this so it doesn't become one glorified masturbation joke? Screw it. It's quick and easy. There you go, laugh, you sickos.

Cons: There are definitely some times/places you cannot do this. Also, it could be messy, depending.

Alright, these are just a few techniques that you can use when you can't focus. If there's something you do that I don't have, put it in the comments.

Like I said before, generally odd and slightly different than some of my other material. I make no apologies for that. Again, I find it interesting to go back and re-examine my old work. Gives me a new perspective on some of it.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pictures from the NOVA Open

Here, you can see several Malifaux boards, a couple of pictures of my first game of 40k, a pictures of me (I am Batman, btw) with Ghostin from Mid-Life Gaming crisis and a picture of my set-up for game 4 of 40k.

I had a blast at the NOVA Open, despite the fact that I totally was kinda a dick and didn't wake up for the second day of the 40k GT. Instead, I slept a little extra, checked out and went home early.

All the 40k games I played were losses. I just about got wiped off the board every game I played. It was fun, however, and a good note for me to really go into a hiatus for playing 40k. I will still be fiddling around with things. So, 40k content will continue to be posted here. I just haven't had much interesting in playing. I plan on getting my purchased and unpainted Grey Knights and Dark Eldar into some semblance of painted. I also want to try and strip and re-paint many of my Sisters of Battle, gearing them up to be "counts-as" Blood Angels.

Malifaux is really where it's at for me right now, and I did well enough at the NOVA that I'm happy with myself. I didn't do well in the tournaments, but I won Master of the Neverborn during one of the achievement league. Next year, I have a feeling I may sign up for Malifaux only if I'm allowed to come back ;)

Regardless, I'm hoping to start really whipping this blog back into shape soon-ish. I've finished moving and have dealt with many of the things I needed to deal with. Thus, soon I should have plenty of time.

Oh yeah... I also passed the North Carolina Bar, so, go me!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Ah, the joys of clip art. So, as the article title might suggest, I am indeed moving. Moving is right behind filling out forms and traffic jams in the list of things I hate very much in this world. Thus, I've been trying to avoid it as long as possible. Mainly by playing as many games of Malifaux and Dystopian Wars as I can.

So, yes, as a side note, I have indeed picked up Dystopian Wars and am slowly learning to play it. So far, it is a massive blast to play and I'm loving the aesthetic. I've picked up the Americans because of one simple reason: Paddlewheels. I thought about waiting for the Antarcticans, but the paddlewheeled battleships sold me on the Americans.

Anyways, on to the thrust of what I'm supposed to be writing about: Moving.

Moving, regardless of how far you're moving can be a stressful process. Having just gone through most of said stressful process, I think I can lay out some amusing tips about what not to do so your moving experience can be less stressful than mine has been.

1. Give yourself plenty of time

This is, I believe, key. You want to make sure that you can actually accomplish all the packing and additional activities associated with moving. If you don't, you may find yourself in a bit of a sticky situation. Trying to move from one place to another without enough time can be extremely difficult and frustrating.

One additional consideration is emergencies. I budgeted myself about 2 weeks for moving, but due to things beyond my control, that time was cut down to about 5 days. Let me just tell you that you don't want to find yourself trying to make all the arrangements to move much quicker than you'd like with no notice. You'll be lucky to find anyone who can help you.

2. Make sure you have a deadline

While this may seem contrary to the previous point, it's really not. Just as you want to make sure you have enough time, you also want to make sure you don't give yourself too much time. Allowing for longer than necessary is useful, but giving yourself way too much time can lead to procrastination. You should try and avoid that, or else you'll end up with no time left and lots to move.

3. Stay organized

Right here is why I'm generally bad at moving. I'm about as organized as a dust storm. My entire life is lived in near constant chaos. Not necessarily my actions, but my environment. I'm not a tidy person, and moving requires you to tidy up, pack things into boxes and shift them from one place to another. I never tidy up. Thus, I end up throwing things randomly into boxes before stuffing said boxes into a truck and hauling it off to try and sort the whole lot of it out. Not pleasant.

Thus, you'll want to avoid my example and get yourself well sorted out before you move. It's harder than it seems, especially if you collect anything. You always end up with way more stuff than you bargained for.

4. Have plenty of help

When I was in college, I was able to move most of what I owned by cramming it as hard as I could into a Honda Civic two-door. Those days are over. I now own furniture. Furniture! Thus, I can't move everything I own by myself any longer, nor can I cram it all into a small car.

If you're trying to move big, heavy things, having other people to help is key. I managed to con my buddy Justin into helping me move, and that has thankfully taken some of the frustration out of trying to get my big pieces of furniture moved. I shudder to think what would have happened if I'd tried to move a couch down from the second story all by myself.

I've not got much more than that to add on the subject to be honest. Mainly, I'm typing this up as an excuse to stop packing for a few minutes. Unfortunately, that time draws to a close, and I have to start working again ;)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Classic 40k for the New Professional: Balance

Well, this feeling ought to be familiar by now, it's nostalgia, and I'm feeling a lot of it lately. Having to look back through my old articles really gives me some interesting perspective. It's a kind of time-shift feeling. I'm not sure how else to put it.

For me, it's like those times when you would write yourself a letter that was supposed to be delivered to yourself a year later. I can see my old thoughts in a new way. Very strange indeed.

This is one of the articles from fair early on in the life of my blog that I really enjoyed writing and formed the core of my thoughts about things early on. I really enjoyed re-reading my own writing here, and it kinda got me pumped about the idea of some cool conversion projects that I mentioned in the article that were really just kind of made up off the cuff.


Ah, balance. Hard to achieve and difficult to maintain, both in 40k and life in general.

For the record, I think balance in 40k is only partially about the army list you run and how well it does against a variety of threats. I think that there are other balances that you have to achieve in the game.

"Now wait a minute here, damn it! You just told us that we need to be competitive and push for armies that make us force ourselves to play better."

Yes, yes I did. I am not saying that you should abandon that approach, not even a little. What I am saying is that you need to balance that with the other aspects of the game. What other aspects? The two that come to mind for me are fun and fluff. So, let's take a look at how we make a good (or at least pretty decent) army fun and "fluffy."


There are two good ways to get to "fun."

Now, the first point I'm going to make may not be well received some places. Super optimized lists are not always the most fun for some people. Now, I think that they should be (especially if both players are playing lists with similar optimization), but sometimes people want a list that can, as one of my friends used to put it, "just run up and punch you in the face." In that case, you may be forced to take a hit to effectiveness and tweak just enough to throw in one "fun" unit. Depending on your army this could be a lot of things. In Guard, maybe it's a squad of suicidal conscripts or a Leman Russ of Plasma Death. In Marines, maybe it's a biker command that just runs around and crushes stuff. Depending on what you're doing, these may not be optimal choices, but they can be fun.

The second way to get to fun is to make it yourself. Maybe your list is super optimized and you'd have it no other way. Fine. Great. You and I are on the same page. Now, how do we get to fun, if you don't want to compromise your efficiency? Do something interesting with the models or the paint job. Make up a cool back story for your commander. These kinds of things can serve to bring the game to life. For example, you're running super optimized mechguard. Competitive, powerful but not necessarily fun. So, decide that your commander is a Rogue Trader who was mistakenly given command of an Armored Company. Make his model all ragtag and toss in a few of his ship mates as the sergeants. Suddenly, your army is more "fun." You can blame those bad scatter rolls on the guys getting drunk on alien whiskey before the battle. Your commander made a few tactical errors because, "Damn it, Jim, I'm a Rogue Trader, not a commander!"

This leads me into my next point...


Honestly, the fluff in 40k is flexible. For just about any army you want to build, there is an army in the background that you can base your army on. Or, you can make up your own background.

With a competitive army, you may feel like you're throwing fluff to the wind and just building tanks. Well, you don't have to be. Take a look at your army, then go back and read some background material. Maybe something will jump out. For instance, you want to run Blood Angels, but everyone is running Blood Angels and you don't want to be just another clone. Ok, go to the background and look for some other assault chapter... Hmm... Well, there's the Black Dragons, they're good at assault and they have all these guys who grow bone spurs on their hands and heads. Well, a few shoulder pads and some bone spurs later and you have a good army that also shows off your fluff knowledge.

Or, say you don't want to run an army from the background. You can always base it off of a tv show or a movie. I'm currently making a Space Marine biker army based off the idea of space highway patrol seen through the lens of Super Troopers and Reno 911. Bam! Cool theme for a good army.

So, now that we've seen how balance works in 40k, how do we use it in real life?

Well, you can always set quotas for yourself and use those to get things done. For instance, you can say to yourself, "I won't read any 40k stuff today until I've done the dishes and vacuumed." This will help you balance real life and 40k by forcing you to do real life stuff.

Another tactic is schedules. You schedule specific stuff for specific times and then stop when the time is up. So, you do something like this:
5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.: Painting
5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Cook dinner
6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.: Eat dinner
6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: Work on _____
7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.: More painting

See how that can help you to decide what needs to be done and do it?

If I think of anything else, I'll be back with more.

Here's where I draw the line and say: "This article was one of the ones that helped me establish style and tone." I think that the humor and general approach I took here was the start of something really excellent for my blog. I think that I'd finally managed to ditch the kind of high and mighty pompous attitude that I felt like I had before and replace it with something a bit more personal.

Overall, I think I did a damn good job exploring some of the ways in which I think about 40k. Plus, I think it's entertaining to read. Of course, I could be so wrong.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Classic 40k for the New Professional: 40k is all about self-improvement

Oh, so here we are again. There are going to be a lot of these over the next while as I start to try and get things back in order before this year's NOVA Open.

This article was the second piece I wrote for the old site, and it has some of the things that became my "trademark" style. I started doing the hypothetical audience member conversations, where some skeptical person in the audience would ask questions that I would answer in some faux socratic method. Also, the precursor to the numbered list appears ;)

"40k is all about self-improvement"

To all those who are haters on so-called "competitive" 40k players, I would like to ask a couple of simple questions.

Are you the perfect gamer?

Are you a perfect painter?

Are you a perfect sportsman?

Are you a perfect human being?

I'd bet the answer to all of these are "no" (if you answered "yes," you're lying). Now, another question.

Are you satisfied where you are?

I'll bet a large majority of people will say "yes" to this, but the answer should be a big, fat "no."

If you're satisfied where you are without being perfect, you're no longer challenging yourself. If you're no longer challenging yourself, you're stagnating. Stagnation is bad. When you stagnate, you move backwards, loosing the gains you might have made.

40k, as a game or a "sport" (I have issues with this analogy or definition of 40k, but some people will inevitably gravitate toward it), is similar to running. "What the hells?" you might ask, "How is 40k like running in any way?" Well, read on, dear reader and you will see.

In running, you are primarily competing against yourself. Yes, there are other people in the race, and you are competing against them, but beating them is not your primary concern. Your main concern in running is to do better than you did last time. Your main concern is self-improvement. Even if you are dead last in a race, if you shave a minute off your last time, you can still feel good.

Now, I'm sure there are many of you out there scratching your head, saying, "Kennedy, what are you going on about? Yeah, running is like that, but 40k isn't." That is where you are dead wrong.

On the surface, 40k has a winner and a loser. Yes, that's true. And it is better to win, most of the time. However, if you ignore the wins and losses and focus on whether or not you played better this time you will start to see what I'm talking about. If you make the right decisions and play the game as best you can, what do you have to feel bad about if you lose? Dice rolls? No, those are random.

Now, hopefully, you're picking up what I'm putting down. "Yeah, if I try hard, I'm always a winner! Thanks, Kennedy!" Nope, we're not done yet. Now, in order for this next part to work, we need two things: 1) you need to be constantly in a state of slight dissatisfaction 2) you need to be able to be brutally honest with yourself.

Now, let's start with the dissatisfaction. I don't mean be mad or irritable. What I'm think of is more like a striving, a longing to do better than you've done. Most people feel this, especially after a loss. After a win, most people are simply satisfied with that, which is why winning doesn't help you get better. However, if you start competing with yourself, you'll feel this slight dissatisfaction even after a win. You'll be thinking, "I could have done this and drawn out that unit earlier" or "I could have wiped those guys out instead of just getting half of them" or "I could have held 4 objectives instead of 2." That's a good place to be.

Now, honesty. Really, I can't say much on this. You need to be able to do an honest appraisal. If you think that you are the be all, end all of tactics, you won't be able to look back with honesty. You have to be able to recognize and learn from mistakes to get better.

40k isn't all about the game, despite what you might think. The other areas of 40k (painting, converting and sportsmanship) are also open to this kind of relentless self-improvement.

Personally, I find the method of marginal self-improvement over time to be a whole heck of a lot easier than trying to make big leaps. If you make a big leap and miss, you'll fall down a hole. If you make a lot of small hops over smaller gaps, you're a lot less likely to fall. In 40k, this means that you're less likely to get frustrated and burned out. If you make gradual improvements over time, you are likely to feel good about yourself and get better at the game. Some people also call this setting sustainable goals. When you aim for consistent small gains, you're likely to actually achieve them.

Gradual improvement and sustainable goals are two things I'm going to talk about a lot on this blog.

So, again, I think that I come off a little pompous here. That's kinda how I feel about most of the early posts. I was trying (I think) to sound authoritative, but I just end up at pompous and arrogant. Oh well, clearly an easy second best ;)

One thing I do really like about these articles is that they are very generalist. I can quite easily replace the "40k" in this with any other game you care to mention and chances are it will still read in a semi-coherent fashion. I do find it kind of interesting to look back with the experience I have now and see that the passion I started out with for 40k has gradually waned/migrated to other things. In some ways, this whole situation of having to start the site fresh will force me to look back at what I was at the beginning and re-evaluate myself. Hopefully it will continue to be this fun.

Classic 40k for the New Professional: What the hell is this?

So, I thought I'd go ahead and start this up. I've managed to retrieve quite a number of my original posts. Excluding filler and pure hobby progress posts, I have a number of things that I think merit posting again, whether they be home runs or total misses. I've decided to go ahead and snowmobile myself to provide commentary from my current perspective on some of these older articles. Think of it like a director's cut and you won't be far wrong ;)

Anyways, this first post in this series was my first post on my old blog. Supposedly it explained my mission and my aims. We'll see whether it held up over time.

"What the hell is this?"

That's what you're probably asking.

Well, what this is is a blog.

Ok, too easy. This a blog dedicated to helping Warhammer 40k players up their game while maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a sense of 40k/work/life balance.

So, the other thing you're probably asking is: Who are you to tell me what to do?

Err... Well, first off, I'm not telling you what to do at all. I suggest, you decide whether or not to do anything. Honestly, the advice I post should be more along the lines of "Why didn't I think of that?" than anything else.

Second, I am a 24-year old male and a Warhammer 40k player since I was 11 (that's 1996, tail end of second edition). I also happen to be a law student (huge mistake). I happen to be pretty healthy (finally got back into running). And, I manage to balance my life (family, girlfriend), school (15 credit hours of law school per semester, roughly equivalent to a 40 hour a week job) and 40k.

Now, you might be asking this: Why are you doing this?

Well, I was inspired by a post on Dethtron's Dick Move. The post dealt with another post dealing with gamers and obesity. That post struck a chord with me, as I, while not obese, have struggled with trying to be in shape. Shortly after I read that post, I started running regularly again, something I hadn't done since a bad bout of tendinitis left me practically crippled for a few months when I was 18.

The running led to healthier eating. The eating led to better sleep. The better sleep led to me thinking more clearly during most of the day. The clearer thoughts led to... Oh, whatever, you can see the pattern, damn it! What it all eventually led to was me playing 40k better, which is what we all really care about, right?

That prompted the thought: "Well, damn, never thought that being healthier would make me a better gamer... Hmm... I bet other people haven't thought of this either!" And BAM! a blog was born.

I realize this is a bit long-winded, so I'll sign off for now.

So, an interesting first post and an auspicious start. I still think it has a lot of good points, and I maintain that my aim has always remained the same, albeit with some false stops along the way. In general, I think a lot of my early pieces sound a bit pompous, but maybe that's just me. Regardless, anyone who picks up my blog now should look forward to/dread the re-release of my old pieces ;)

Starting Over

So, it seems that my blog was destroyed somehow. I haven't managed to figure out exactly what happened, and it seems that I can't get anyone to tell me how to regain access (I've sent numerous requests to Google with all of my information, only to be denied). Thus, here we are.

What's the plan from here? Well, I'll be trying to get new content written and find as much of my old content as is possible to repost for posterity.

Thanks for bearing with me, everyone ;)