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 ;)