And months go by

I’m not even going to look and see how long it has been since my last blog post. Suffice it to say it was some time ago. Maybe a year ago. The last year has seen some serious craziness in my life, including a pair of deployments for work that surprisingly were actually hobby-positive. For most of this latest period of blog inactivity I have been fairly active gaming and modeling.

Across the hobby spectrum, the last 12-18 months have been a continuation of this golden era of gaming we live in. Endless amounts of cool Kickstarter offerings, new shiny model releases, and rules have arrived. There have also been fantastic board games, movies, books and shows to inspire our creative juices. If anything, it has been overwhelming.

Depending on your gaming choices, even keeping up in one or two genres has been nearly impossible. So many companies have been releasing models and games at a breakneck pace, far outstripping all but the deepest pockets.

One of my big sinks as far as time, money and thinking goes, is Fantasy Flight Games’ X-Wing. I had slowed down on my purchasing for a bit while I shunted money into other purchases only to see how far behind I had fallen. Judging by my collection, I stopped buying models about the time Clone Wars and Resistance Era models were released. At the time I told myself I only cared about the Original Trilogy era, and focused my collection there. But repeated watching of the other two trilogies has definitely spiked an interest in playing out those space battles on the tabletop. Which means I need more models.

*pictures direct from FFG’s site

A few purchases later and I have a core of models for games. Nothing like the insanity of my primary collection, just enough to get by. I still haven’t made the jump to second edition, as the sheer cost of enough conversion kits to drop all my models on the table at once is daunting. Even one complete set will run me $150 and that’s an expense I haven’t yet taken.

Saga and Muskets and Tomahawks both released 2nd editions over the past year or so. These are two more rule sets I have minis for and play or plan to play. I’ve had the new Saga rules for a while, and just received my Nickstarter set of rules, cards and tokens for M&T 2nd Ed. I haven’t had a chance to play either yet, but first perusal seems good. I have two growing forces for Saga that have appeared here before. The M&T models languish in bare metal, awaiting my bravery at tackling 18th century British and French Uniforms. It might be a while…

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At times I felt like I hadn’t painted much of anything in 2019, but looking back, I didn’t do as bad as I thought, I had to search a painting thread on one of the forums I frequent (warhammer-empire.com) to see, and these were my totals:
8 Saga Hearth guard (4 Viking, 4 Anglo-Saxon)
32 Saga Warriors (16 Viking, 16 A-S)
Viking and Anglo Saxon Warlords and Banner men
8 Dark Age civilians
28 Wood Elf Dryads, 15 Wood Elf Eternal Guard, 10 WE War Dancers
Charlie Foxtrot stable, hat shop, French pub, hotel
8 15mm Dacian Falx men
Dark Angels: 40 tactical marines, 6 veterans, 5 devastators, 5 scouts, 5 knight terminators, 10 terminators, 6 bikes, 3 HQ bikes, and 3 black knights, Chapter Master, Librarian, Chaplain
Death knight (DnD model)

In 2020 I have been moderately productive:
Converted two Iron Golems into moderately passable Empire ogres
11 Witch Hunters
8 Viking warriors
Shipwreck revenant from Reaper
D&D Tiefling warlock
Guinea pig (from Annie at Bad Squiddo Games)
15 Oldhammer Wood Elf Glade Guard
Graveyard golem
10 Empire Swordsmen
Reiksguard knight
Sculpted 14 horse and wolf tails from green stuff
And by the time I publish this, probably 2 Great eagles and a Wood Elf Forest dragon and rider

Some of these models are on an early post I have been using as an image hosting spot for the warhammer-empire.com forum. I forgot I set up an imgur account for that very reason. Duh.

My painting table is cluttered as always, with another 6 Dark Angel models (3 bikes, a Dreadnaught, the heavy flyer with giant plasma cannons and a company banner bearer), a StuG, German truck, miscellaneous WW2 figs, another witch hunter, numerous 15mm Dacians, 5 High Elf swordmasters and who knows what else. A painting challenge of sorts is ongoing over at warhammer-empire.com and that is keeping me motivated.

Even with all that painting, I am still in the negative for the year. To my wife’s horror little parcels arrive nearly weekly. Hunting the used model sites has been very productive over the last few months and I have acquired a number of lots of older models including way OOP wood elf glade guard, old Warhammer vampire counts wolves, a large unit of converted Empire knights as Blood knights (happily the 16 wolves and 16 knights were painted to a high standard). Another 30+ plastic skeletons and zombies, very old Warhammer VC skeleton cavalry, wood elf tree kin (cost more than I wanted but I hadn’t seen ANY for sale in maybe 4 years) and a slew of 40k bitz for basing the dark angels. I finally ordered some of eBob Miniatures Scots. Enough for a block of clansmen/state troops and another of pike men/spearmen for my WFB Empire army. I’ll paint them up as mountain clansmen from Middenheim.

Work travel, sending my son off on a mission for our church, and life in general conspired to eat up far too much of my time. Other than online shopping, obviously.

Once again, my big game experience was Fall In! located this year in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. This year my daughter was able to attend since my son was in Utah getting ready to go to Ecuador. My dad decided he wanted to give it a try as well, and joined us on the annual pilgrimage.

We made the stop at Fort Ligonier on the way. 4th time for me, 2nd for my daughter, 1st for Dad. As always it was a highlight of the trip and a perfect way to break up the drive. This year the con was at a casino hotel so my carefully crafted mental maps of the Lancaster Host were of no use. We checked in the night before and found the rooms our games were scheduled to be in the next two days. Like a kid on Christmas Eve, my eager anticipation for gaming made it hard to sleep. Eventually the night passed and at 9am we were ready to go.

HMGS did registration a little different this year. Instead of the usual pre-register for one game, then grab another ticket each morning, you could pre-register for the entire weekend. We were able to cram seven games in over two days.

Anno Domini 1666 Blood on the streets of Vienna
Togo Did The Mojo – 1905 (can’t remember the ruleset used)
End of the Fokker Scourge (Wings of Glory)
Are you my Mummy? – (Empire of the Dead)
Blucher’s Knoll – 1st day of Gettysburg (Devil to Pay)
Some Distance From The Fortress – The Battle of La Belle-Famille, July 24, 1759 (Muskets & Tomahawks)
Protect the Bombers… Kill the Bombers (Wings of Glory)

Every year I try to fit in games with particular GMs or rules, and I try for one naval game. This year was no different, though the eras were primarily picked by my dad since this was his first con. Two of the GMs I look for in the listing are Jake Strangeway and Jon Lundgren. Both have put on fantastic games over the years and we have never regretted playing on their tables. As of late I have also looked for Wings of Glory games put on by Peter (teaticket of the WoG forum fame). Other games are generally picked based off rule sets I want to try, or eras I have an interest in.

Our first game was chosen mostly as a filler for Friday morning before a big naval game. We had to fit something in a smaller time slot, and this late Renaissance game fit the bill. It was a small scale skirmish game with characters from classic literature. It was fast paced, bloody, and great fun. I don’t remember the victory conditions for the scenario, or who won, but we enjoyed the game. Apparently there was a Kickstarter back in 2018 for this as a board game. Probably best that I missed it.

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This year’s naval game was set in the Russo-Japanese war and used a homebrew (I think) ruleset. The models were quite sizable and this was another fantastic game. There were two battle lines made up of dreadnaughts and heavy cruisers. A straight up slugfest. Like she often does, my daughter had a way with the dice and her battle ship was the king of the battle line. She dropped devastating salvoes every turn and rolled just right for damage, inflicting maximum carnage. Boy was I glad she was on my side! With cunning and dare we were able to shepherd the Russian fleet into their own minefield after sinking more than half of their big ships. Hurrah!

Peter put on a great game of fighter carnage over the Western front. I am starting to recognize many of Peter’s fans since they show up for all the games he hosts. The WoG guys are a great bunch and very helpful with new players. My dad really enjoyed this game and was happy I had another scheduled for Saturday night. This was a fighter free for all and if you got shot down you recycled in. Peter has nifty awards he hands out to hang from your convention name tag, and needless to say, the competition was fierce! String bags came and went, fires and smoke abounded, and best of all, everyone had fun.

We ended the night with one of Jon Lundgren’s Empire of the Dead extravaganzas. This was an adventure in Egypt, and included a huge pyramid. I think there were eight teams around the board all in search of treasure, artifacts and victory points. There wee tokens all over that revealed various items for the game including hostages to rescue, artifacts or treasures. All while seven of the teams were racing about, the eighth was attempting some sort of ritual. Two teams went after the summoning, while the rest kept at chasing VPs. My team was near my daughter’s, and like a good dad, I headed straight after her. She warned me not to, and after 2 or three rounds of shooting and hand to hand, she wiped my team out to a man. Her femme fatales were deadly, and her dice roles (as always it seems) were spot on. My dad wasn’t feeling it so I took his team to finish out the night. To be fair, EotD rules can be a bit complicated for new gamers. When it came time to count up points, Jon started asking for totals. I don’t recall the number they were trying to beat, but my daughter had just added up her points and I knew it was higher. I told jon, “I think Sam has more than that.” He just laughed and replied, “She has way more than that, I was checking for 2nd place!” And we all had a good chuckle. Kid dice strikes again.

Another night in a hotel to rest up for day two. And an accounting of my haul.

We started the morning with a Jake Strangeway game, Usually Jake is putting on a Command Decision: Test of Battle game, but this year he hosted an ACW game, which was great because my dad really wanted to play an ACW game. It was from the 1st Day of Gettysburg, the fighting at Blucher’s Knoll. The rules used were Devil to Pay written by Nathaniel St. John. All three of us took Confederate brigades, and very nearly swung the day. A charge by a fresh Kentucky brigade was shattered by highly accurate Union fire, and our artillery didn’t cause the carnage we needed. It was close fought, and divisions broke and ran on both sides, but in the end the Union held the field.

After several years of trying, I finally was able to fit in a Muskets and Tomahawks game. My dad was pretty wiped out by this time so he just took a stroll and enjoyed the scenery and wonderfully painted miniatures. My daughter and I took the crafty French as they marched to battle at Fort Niagara. A solid block of hasty fortifications filled with evil Redcoats stood in our way, and in the end, held the field. Marching across an open field in the face of rifle fire is a pretty bad idea in any era. This was no different. We moved out native allies up through the forested right edge of the battle field, something no one had ever done in all the games they had hosted. The natives met and shattered the British natives, but were too weak by then to make much of dent in the redcoat line. This battle ended much the same as it its historical namesake.

The last game of the con was a twenty player Wings of Glory mega-game. Allied fighters were sortied to protect four bombers from a swarm of Huns racing to bring the behemoths down. The table must have been 12-16 feet (3.5-4.8m) long. The bombers were flying towards the Allies and the Germans were chasing them down. The scenario designer was a chap named Mike running his very first convention game, and he had planned it so all the planes would reach the middle of the play area at the same time. It worked exactly as he planned, and 20 fighters swarmed around 4 huge bombers. It was a glorious furball! Damage cards flowed easily and several players amassed rather large stacks.

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For those unfamiliar with Wings of Glory, damage is dealt based on the weapon shooting, and cards a drawn from the proper damage deck. Damage points remain secret, only visible damage like fire or smoke are revealed to other layers. Among the damage cards are many zeros, so it is possible to be “damaged” many times without actually taking any actual damage. Which John (another WoG player from Michigan) and my daughter managed. In fact, my daughter had been “shot” something like 15 times and only had about five damage points on all those hits (planes have 10+ damage points to lose). Then she drew the dreaded Boom card, which is an instant kill. Being the only teenage girl at the table, her opponent took endless amounts of ribbing from the other players for being “that guy”. It was pretty funny and added to an already fantastic game.

I was sitting next to the GM and he kept expressing his concerns about the success of the game, and how the players were feeling about the scenario. I kept motioning to the table where 19 guys and a gal were laughing and measuring movement and shots, while dealing damage and constantly posing planes on the magnetic stands for cool action shots. All while chatting with great animation and laughing at each other as planes went down in flames. “Mike”, I told him, “look at that, that’s 20 people having a great time! You nailed this!” It was one of the best games I have enjoyed at a con, and I have yet to play in a bad game.

All too soon it was over. Even though there are some games on Sunday morning, I have a 9 hour drive home, and usually have to work that night once I get home. Which means I don’t get to enjoy one or two more games and have to make the trek home.

One more highlight was actually winning three prizes from the HMGS raffle. We walked off with a Army painter tools and gaming kit (brushes, hobby knife, sprue cutters, cutting mat, glues, tape measure, dice and laser pointers), an ACW 15mm prepainted resin building and my fav, a copy of Imperial Assault (a Star Wars board game from FFG).

All in all, a fantastic weekend and I can’t wait to go again next year.
I had plans to attend 3 different one day cons over the winter, but plans fell through for all three. One got snowed out, I was not driving and hour and half in freezing rain and snow. Another ended up beong the same day as an important band competition for my daughter, and I can’t remember what conspired to block the third event. Sucks. Maybe next year.

That’s about it. A recap of 2019 without an excuse as to why I suck at blogging. Not sure how to get better at it, might have to set a word count goal or something. I don’t know, something.

See ya around and thanks for stopping by.

6 thoughts on “And months go by

  1. rantingsfromunder April 6, 2020 / 1:13 pm

    Great post Harry with enough stuff in it to last you a good six months before you need to post again!! 🙂

    Wow I would be so pleased if I had turned out even a third of your total for last year! to be that productive and to such a high standard is a real achievement.

    Glad you and yours had a good time at “Fall In”, it always amazes me how your US “Cons” are gaming events whereas the UK show are more like shopping trips with some idiots blocking the aisles with gaming tables!! 😉

    My eldest is an X wing gamer, it is a really good game (probably the one I’ve played the most over the last few years). I’ve been tempted myself but the cost of the ships has always kept me away.

    Luckily (or sadly, not sure which) my wife is the only one of us who can remember the Paypal passwords etc… so I can’t buy anything without her approval, which isn’t happening at the moment, as “I thought you’d stopped all that!” is the general response I’m getting at present.

    Oh well probably for the best.

    Cheers Roger.

    Like

    • borderguy190 April 6, 2020 / 6:32 pm

      Thank you Roger! I hope it isn’t six months before i post again.

      See, I don’t “feel” productive if im not cranking out finished minis every month, no matter how many I paint over the year. And if I could sculpt half as good as you do I’d be quite chuffed. My ham-handed attempts look like a palsied monkey slapped play-do on a perfectly good model!

      I’m not sure how long I had been reading magazines and websites before I learned how different our cons are. Your description made me chuckle! over here the vendor hall is usually a completely separate hall, at least at the larger events.

      If I didn’t have the paypal, i’d not have 1/10th the models I have.

      Cheers Roger, and thanks for commenting!
      Harry

      Like

  2. Carrion Crow April 7, 2020 / 9:12 am

    Nice to see you back and posting, Harry. I never look at when the previous posts were, as only you know why you haven’t posted during this period, so we can’t “judge” you.

    As Roger correctly states above, most of our cons here in the UK are heavily weighted towards purchasing, with demo tables to convince you to buy the vendors most recent game or sections where clubs have set up their own games or tournament areas.

    Still, saves on shipping costs if you can buy all your bits in the same place.

    Like

    • borderguy190 April 7, 2020 / 11:15 am

      Thanks Jez. I’m in awe of the bloggers who post regularly. Its not a lack of ideas, well, maybe not. But time and motivation.

      US shows have large vendor areas as well. Some of the dealers have demo games going in there shop area, especially new stuff.

      I like it because often there IS new stuff that I’ve never seen or heard of. At Fall In it was large sheets of textured plastic card. Larger than model railroaded stuff I’m familiar with. It was a cool find at a small table. And you’re right, saving on shipping is great. Though for me, the gas/petrol and nights in a hotel kinda ruin the savings!

      Like

      • Carrion Crow April 7, 2020 / 1:21 pm

        The advantage of living on a small island – the cons are closer and don’t require overnight accommodation. But, to be fair, as they’re smaller, you only need a day to do them.

        Like

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