Friday, 17 July 2015

A Different Kind Of Work In Progress

Not exactly a miniature this one! However, I'm hoping that this end of the garden hideaway will provide some much needed extra hobby space. It's for work primarily, of course. I have a feeling though that at least a corner will be dedicated to the leisurely side of life. 

Saturday, 11 July 2015

We Have To Share Our Positive Reflections On Age Of Sigmar

Another quick share today of an article supporting the paradigm shift that is Age of Sigmar. Here it is, from Corehammer, and it's well worth a read:

My feeling is that, as dumb and futile any controversy and/or conflict on social media ultimately may be, there needs to be some kind of gently and patiently sustained counter-narrative to the whole 'GW has killed fantasy' moaning (and worse). 

Thursday, 9 July 2015

The Whole Age Of Sigmar 'No Points' Issue

I don't have any issue with the lack of points in Age of Sigmar. Others do.

Such people comment that this means the game lacks 'balance'. But do points systems necessarily mean balance? Is current 40k - most often the chosen comparator - balanced?

I read and enjoyed the following post, which, for BoLs of all places, gives quite a sensible view:

I like current 40k. I use the codex FOCs to structure my hobby and I enjoy working within the framing they provide. However, I'd never say the 40k points system, FOCs, armies, and formations are happily balanced - they clearly aren't. What these things do allow for is easy and thematic army building and collecting. And if you like you can just go Unbound, which is also points based...

My position is simple. Does it make for an enjoyable game?

Enjoyable: a fun way to spend hobby/leisure time with friends, family, or even by myself.

Game: a structured pastime with some kind of internal coherency, process and/or objective, where enjoyment (see above) is derived from a shared understanding of approach, on a spectrum that includes cooperative, ultra-competative, and downright silly.

In short, points systems are helpful for building certain kinds of gaming experiences. They cannot guarantee balance, as that is always going to be contextual, and to remove that kind of context would lead to rendering most tabletop wargames into something quite different; something that wouldn't be anything like the games they are. Age of Sigmar, 40k, and the like, are neither Chess nor historical re-enactments.

With the kind of cooperation and shared vision I'd expect from the people I game with, the simple Age of Sigmar rules have enough in them to encourage and support endless enjoyable games (no one I know or would care to play with would turn up with ten giants etc. etc., unless we were playing that kind of scenario).

And that, surely, is the only point worth talking about.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Getting Started In The Age Of Sigmar: New Models

Obviously new models and armies aren't necessary at the current time due to the warscrolls, but will that stop me? Of course not.

First off I am inclined to get the starter box. The Stormcast Eternals are unlike anything else in my collection and I've never done any fantasy Khorne. That makes them good projects to get stuck into and I'd like to have something geared up for the new system from the off. 

It's tempting to go for the tradional colours for Khorne, although I would go for deeper flesh tones and limit the red. For the Stormcast Eternals, however, I have no clue where to begin, as they truly are a mystery. Perhaps the background book in the box set will provide guidance. Of course I could be inventive but I'd like to know at least something about them first. 

Like most people I have this guy:

I'm waiting for the full set before putting him together. Looking at the art I wonder if this might be an opportunity to play with non-metallic metals. The brown, through yellows, to white might look good, and it's a new challenge.

On the whole it's impossible to know where the new models are heading in terms of fluff, looks, army builds... anything! Time to take slow steps while the details of the nine realms are revealed. 

Monday, 6 July 2015

Is Age Of Sigmar Off Topic For Oldhammer?

The Oldhammer Facebook groups are fine places for talk about gaming of yesteryear and for trading or selling off old lead. Just don't mention what Games Workshop are up to today, as it makes people utterly displeased.

The Age Of Sigmar has arrived and I for one and very glad to welcome it. I've played older rulesets and 8th edition WFB, as well as other systems, like Songs of Blades and Heroes. I really hoped that Age Of Sigmar would be something different and all the rumours and signs running up to the big reveal indicated that it would be.

Then the rules dropped - all four pages of them - for free, and the gaming world stayed up late trying to figure out what it all means for them, scrolling through... well, Warscrolls. Tourney types were outraged by the lack of points and immediately started working out how to achieve 'balance' through wound counts or some other metric. Casual gamers rejoiced at the potential for swift and satisfying games. Narrative gamers began dreaming of the possibilities for scenarios and campaigns.

Oldhammerers... well.

Although the Oldhammer Facebook community is clearly aimed at sharing people's enjoyment of a certain set of games circa the late '80s and early '90s (and fills this niche very well), I've always been troubled by how all newness is broadly treated as anathema. While this may not be a majority view in 'real life,' it certainly comes through in plenty of anti-plastic, anti-contemporary rhetoric in posts and comments.

Today, all talk of Age Of Sigmar was deemed off limits, with the threat of removal from the group. This astonished me.

Perhaps I missed a batch of particularly nasty and idiotic comments somewhere. Maybe someone was having a bad day. It could even be that this is a backbreaking straw for the camel, the final point in a trend of 'off topic' commentaries that is bending the remit of the group. Whatever the reality of it all, the response seemed pretty extreme.

I simply commented (and I strongly believe this) that the Oldhammer group should be a place to have some sort of discussion about how this new rule set - so radically different from what went before (i.e. 8th, 7th...) - compares to the games of our youth. I would like to share in this discussion with fellow 'veterans'. To me, that is eminently 'on topic.'

I am not alone in noticing that in trying to invigorate their fantasy line, GW have given the world a system that looks to hit all the sweet spots for Oldhammer-types. It genuinely is a play-it-your-way game, built around cooperation between players. You don't have to like the high-fantasy models to appreciate this is a good thing.

I'm going to embrace it and I'm going to do this for several reasons:

1. It's a new game that seems to capture all the ethos of gaming that I enjoy. In sum, it's a game that's storied.

2. Round bases offer better modelling opportunities and as I spend 98% of my time modelling and painting, that suits me.

3. Crucially, this is a system that will scale very well for different solo gaming opportunities - I want something to occupy me at the dining room table while my wife looks over occasionally and sighs...

4. I can easily teach my children how to play as they grow up, and it'll be the same game at each level.

5. It's an excuse to buy new models and I like the current line.

These aspects then made it a done deal for me. Points 1-3 will be a new focus for this blog (along with all the 40k stuff I've been up to... more to follow on that).

It's time to discover and explore the nine realms.
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