December 2010

The whole fleet assembled. I will base them I think, though the game doesn’t require it.

And a comparison shot with a 1/2400 Scharnhorst from WW2. They definetly look 1/1200 like the manufacturers claim.


Santa brought me some stuff for xmas. He thought since I’m starting a new game this 2011, I might as well start two.

Templates set and Khador counter set for Warmachine:

And for the new and completely stunning Dystopian Wars. Kingdom of Britannia Naval Battle Group:

And of course, the amazing Fleet Carrier:

These models are just stunning, and cannot wait to get the rules and see how they do.

Happy holidays wargamers.

I am in the countryside right now, with lots of silence and time to read. Of course I brought my recently acquired Warmachine rulebook. It’s a beautiful beast, full color, lots of pics, and in the case of the game, lots of amazing rules.

Now, one of the big differences between Privateer Press and Games Workshop is (no, not their prices) that the first ones wouldn’t translate their books to other languages. GW translates to various other tongues, with different books and websites. Dead and gone Rackham did this in every product. The basic book came with various languages texts in it, and the game system was designed so stats and abilities in the cards were mostly symbols. PP doesn’t care about this. And they know their game is played worldwide.

What does this imply? In my view, it forces PP to do better game design. Or at least better rules writing, clearer editing, and less confusing text. You can see that in every little ability explanation in any card. It’s amazing how concise and airtight the rules look like, even though that needs backup from actual play of the game. Does this make the rules less conversational, and a bit more boring to read? In my opinion, yes it does. But don’t be afraid, it’s not like reading a WRG ruleset (omg DBA, I still have nightmares about you). For us non native speakers this is a blessing though.

Something really weird happens to me reading this rulebook. I am one to read something and immediately a few questions spring to mind about stuff I’ve read before. It happened to me several times that these questions were answered in the paragraph next to the one that created them. Some other questions are simply answered by carefully reading something you read before, perhaps a little less careful on your first read through. Yes, it is a book to read while you’re very awake. Whenever I’m dozing off in bed I put this to the side and grab something else.

One of the most important factors that battle the small dull factor of the rules is that the rules themselves are fucking awesome. I just love reading about how my jack can do a headbutt and knock the opponent down, or grab the other model’s hand, crippling his weapon, while in the same activation ripping it apart with my chainsaw. Trampling over humans with a jack must be a sight for sore eyes. And they all imply a tactical decision. Sometimes you’ll want to slam a jack hard, while others you’ll want to push it to the side slightly. And every one of the abilities you read is simply amazing. You only think on how to destroy your opponent. Thing is, in his/her turn you’re gonna get beat as well.

It suddenly came to me that this game is just fit for solo play. There’s no hidden resources, or interrupting mechanics that have to be considered, not much stuff to carefully time other than on your own turn, and no hidden army lists or powers. It’s simply a matter of doing the best you can with one side, then changing seats and doing the same. Hell, I can even learn to be a better player that way and learn about other Factions’ tactics.

Merry christmas to all. Talk to you in 2011.

Today I played my first game of Warmachine. I gave my brother a Menoth starter for Christmas, and I’ve got a few Khador models myself. We played a typical starter set battle. You can see I’ve got a metal Sorscha and Destroyer, but for the Juggernaut I used the masterfully magnetized Khador Heavy Jack kit. More about that in future posts.

Unpainted plastic, primed metal, unbased, ugly. But shit I had fun. I mean it. That game is FUN. Yeah, the models are amazing, the factions so characteristic, the fluff is just GREAT (if you find a faction you sympathize with), but the game is simply too much fun.

During your opponent’s turn you’re getting your ass kicked but meanwhile you’re silently considering your options for your counterattack. Using focus effectively is the real challenge, and knowing when and where to strike is the key. Watching a Warmachine game can be dull. All that dice rolling, ability using, and the models hardly move after the first couple of turns. But when you’re on the wheel, man it is fun. So many options with each little figure (not that my heavy jacks are little by any means) it can be overwhelming at first. And the best thing is you care for your guys. I love Sorscha, I like her story, and want to find the perfect troops to enhance her powers. Every jack has a personality, and you better go along with them, or they’re nothing more than scrap metal.

I managed to kill one of my brother’s light jacks and almost destroyed the other one. Barely scratched the caster. He killed my Juggernaut and then went after miss Sorscha who fell in single combat with the opposing caster.

Bottom line is: game is fun!

Trebian, over at Wargaming for Grown-ups is an interesting guy. I agree with very little of what he writes regarding wargaming in general (though most posts are about pretty specific stuff, so no worries), but it doesn’t make it any less interesting.

Recently he wrote about battle reports. It is an interesting view, and one that matches what I’ve tried to do in the latest one I’ve published. It’s obviously a battle report, though not a very detailed one. However, designers from Ganesha Games considered it a decent review of the game being played.

I’ve been doing similar things to battle reports for roleplaying games, something we call actual play reports. In a rpg it’s very easy to lose oneself in the narrative of things, even though when things didn’t go exactly like that in the table. And you know what? That’s lying. It doesn’t do any good to a prospective player or the game’s designer to write a wonderful piece of prose which is an idealized picture of the real events on the table. This does not mean you should note the way you throw a die, or how much you drank (unless drinking IS part of the system, like in this game) and ate. It means you should detail how things developed, both in the fictional setting and in the real table. The important things that were said and done in both environments, and how they relate.

In wargaming I like to do the same. It’s true, I’ve got some blow by blow reports with pics that detail every move and die roll. But they’re both boring to make and to read. I much rather take some nice pics that depict the action in general terms. Note the events, detail the most interesting ones, and also speak of the player’s interaction with the rules. Probably that’s why a game’s designer might think that’s an interesting report. And feedback is perhaps the hardest thing for a designer to get, and one of the most useful even for an already playtested and published game.

So there. I am not one for blow by blow White Dwarf like reports, but neither for literary masterpieces which hardly talk about toy soldiers at all. There’s a middle ground, one that has no set rules on how to write them. It’s different for every battle, or even battles if you’re showing a series of games. Now to leave with some pretty pics which are related, I found some pics from games my girlfriend and I played while still interested in the development of Gruntz. I hardly recall those battles and there’s some unpainted stuff in them, something I don’t exactly enjoy showing, but this is as good a place as any to avoid sending them the recycle bin way.

Well, it’s that time of the year. With the Guild’s task finished and the Christmas Buddy build on its way to Australia I can sit down and officially say my 2010 wargaming is over. You know it’s not like I’ll just stop painting and playing till January, but I don’t have anything I need to finish promptly and can just flow for a bit.

I am getting into yet another big Guild build for 2011, but I’ve got at least a few weeks for that. How could I not join when the results have been so great?

Getting clear objectives has helped me a lot during the last couple of years. I’m actually regarded as someone that finishes projects now, and probably have the biggest painted collection of LotR figures in Buenos Aires. Not bad for the ego boost.

The first post of the year had 2 objectives:

1. Paint lots.
2. Play lots more.

Did I achieve them? Well, I did paint lots. Really, a look over this blog shows I’ve painted so much stuff. I bought quite a lot as well though, specially in the LotR department, but also getting in a few new projects and eras like Incursion and WWW2, or making sci-fi warbands out of lovely Imperial Guard models. I’m not one to feel too guilty about my buying habits. I just paint a lot to fight it.

Did I play lots more? Well yes, specially from June onwards. Having a girlfriend who likes to throw some dice and push some lead helps with that, though I can’t say I played a lot at the local gaming club. I’ve found transporting figures is something that stresses me up a lot. Specially for something big, like getting 2 War of the Ring armies someplace else. I’ve put a lot of work into my game tables, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be playing at home for a while. Small skirmish gaming (if I don’t have to take the scenery elements) might be something I’ll be willing to do at clubs/stores.

Ok well, resolutions for next year will have to wait till 2011’s first post. For the moment, and not to post a text only update, here’s a hint on something I’m doing right now.

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