Tuesday, 31 December 2013

401 - Day 11/14 - A Double Session and Goodbye to 2012

>>>EDIT: I HAVE NOW BEEN INFORMED THAT I'M A YEAR OUT IN THIS POST. THANKS!<<<

Hullo All,

Time to say 'Cheerio' to 2012. Ho-hum. My 'New Years' are in September anyway...

On the plus side, I got in a double session today: including a mammoth two hours earlier on. This morning I was able to finish off building my Matilda, and this evening I not only finished off (less the basing - TBC) my first ten of Zzzzzz's minions (hooray! - by the way, Zzzzzz: d'you have those decals perchance?) but I also started re-basing my FoW minis for 15mm Bolt Action...
...you can see the Mitilda II bottom right and the first of the infantry are with her. Closest, as it happens, is the Boys Anti-Tank peashooter:
And a close-up of the Matilda:
Happy New Year, everyone - here's to a great 2013 in life, in family, in work and in hobby!

- Drax.

Monday, 30 December 2013

400 - Day 10/14 - FOUR-HUNDREDTH POST!

Wow  - 400 posts eh?!

And yet, I suspect it'll pass without much celebration because:
  1. I'm in the middle of an ill-advised 14-post run;
  2. I've been travelling all evening and only got home an hour ago - I therefore now have fewer than seven minutes to get my daily post in;
  3. The content of today's post is really mundane;
  4. The picture won't even have grabbed anyone's attention, and
  5. It's New Year's Eve tomorrow: who's sitting at home reading blogs?!
Still, it feels kinds good. I'll celebrate properly when this forced fortnight is over.

Today's hobby time: assembling my Matilda!
Mrs. Drax stepped on it as she came in (I love that after 4 days away the accumulated parcels on our doorstep were utterly unstolen!) but the Matilda is fine and already being assembled: it's dry assembly too - no glue required! Go figure.

More pics tomorrow, as it was quite an effort to I had to fish the camera out of the car for this one I took 15 minutes ago...

Ta-ta for now,

- D.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

399 - Day 9/14 - It's True: Nazis Hated Wargamers

I managed to squeeze in another half-hour of clandestine itinerant painting today, but far more importantly (as I'm at home) I've been reading some quality literature:

I love Commando Comics. I bought about 400 of them for £50 in 1998 and I'm still slowly working through them all - a few more each visit. Not that it matters much as they all rely upon the same four-or-five narrative arcs...

ANYWAY,

Today I got to enjoy 'Eyes That See in the Dark' (No. 2096)
[all pics from cruddy phone - sorry!]

and within it, the cruel, fanatical Nazi decides to torture the peace-loving scientist by - yup - destroying his collection of tin soldiers for wargaming. Bafflingly this works. More bafflingly, it kind of becomes a plot point. Kind of. Here's the detail:

[Title: ANGERED BY THE PROFESSOR'S LACK OF CO-OPERATION, LUTCHEN TRIED A DIFFERENT APPROACH. SEIZING UP A SLEDGE-HAMMER HE'D BROUGHT WITH HIM, HE STRODE INTO THE NEXT ROOM.
Lutchen: FOR AN INTELLIGENT MAN YOU KNOW VERY LITTLE. CLEARLY I MUST CONVINCE YOU OF THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE SITUATION.]
[Title: HE KNEW PRECISELY WHERE HIS VICTIM'S WEAK POINT LAY, SO HE SMASHED THE WAR-GAMES MODELS WITH SADISTIC PLEASURE.
Professor: NO! MY LITTLE TIN SOLDIERS!
Lutchen: YOU AND THAT ENGLISHMAN SPEND HOURS ON THESE . . . THESE CHILDREN'S PLAYTHINGS.]
[Title: LEAPING OVER THE GUARD'S UNCONSCIOUS FORM, HE RACED THROUGH THE HOUSE TO FIND KLEIBER AMID THE PITIFUL WRECKAGE OF HIS MODELS.
Kleiber: LOOK WHAT THOSE MONSTERS DID TO MY LITTLE TIN SOLDIERS . . .
Hero: WE'VE GOT TO GET OUT OF HERE BEFORE LUTCHEN COMES BACK.]

What would you do, eh?

Bastards.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

398 - Day 8/14 - Why I Hide My Hobby From My Dad.

I'm 33.

I've not lived at home for 15 years. I've been with my wife for 12 years. I have two kids of my own. I've been a high school teacher for ten years.

Why then do I hide my miniatures painting from my dad?

Here's why.

My dad - born at the end of West Malling airfield during a bombing raid in 1942 as it happens -  was in the Navy for 35 years. He made and painted ships and planes as a lad, and encouraged me to do the same with Airfix kits.

Then, when I was about 13 and into Epic (Space Marine) and 40k the first time round - like so many of you, I know - my brother showed me how I could at last draw money out of my building society account. There wasn't that much to start with, but it really didn't last too long after that.

As it happens, I didn't spend all my money on GW stuff - most of it went on a radio controlled plane I built and then broke before it could ever fly :( - but my brother blew a lot of his and soon enough my parents made the connection between our missing account books and our burgeoning miniature collections and with a decent bollicking and zero sympathy swiftly put the kybosh on our GW spending. My dad was understandably miffed that we'd blown the money he'd put away for us and has never let us forget it.

My financial nous since then has not much improved either: this is why I force myself to be so frugal these days with my hobby spending.

So that's why, yesterday and earlier today, I spent an hour on my dad's landing (the only space available upstairs) sitting on the floor painting Zzzzzz's chaotic minions.

Oh, I've not taken a pic today because my dad's neighbour very kindly lets us piggyback on his wifi, but the connection's pretty weird when it comes to uploading images. Also, Blogger's weird on Mrs. Drax's laptop, which doesn't help.

Another day ticked off. I'm getting there...

Cheers for sticking with me on this Odyssey,

- Drax

Friday, 27 December 2013

397 - Day 7/14 - Painting on the Move

Hullo All.

5 minutes left to post and I'm on Mrs. Drax's unfamiliar laptop.

I'm at my dad's house in Portsmouth.

Mrs. Drax is asleep in my room with No.2 Daughter.

No.1 Daughter is in my brother's room.

I daren't let my dad find out that I'm painting toy soldiers (for reasons I may go into tomorrow), so I'm painting on the landing, whilst he watches ludicrously loud 60s slapstick on Channel 5.

Have I sunk this low?

Still, true to my word, more progress on Zzzzzz'z chaotic minions:
Take care, All!

- D.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

396 - Day 6/14 - Boxing Day Progress...Easy Does It

Hullo All - or at least those of you still with me...

No pics today: Mrs Drax left the camera in the car and the weather is WAY too filthy for me to go out there and get it.

What's more, the internet connection is so very ropey at the moment that I suspect any pictures wouldn't upload anyway: yesterday's Matilda took almost 25 minues to get onto the blog. No BBC iplayer for Drax tonight.

Anyway, the good news is that the window in which I'm currently typing is open over Seires 1 of Battlestar Gallactica...which I'm watching whilst painting more of Zzzzzz's little men and trying to work out whether or not to brave the drive to Portsmouth tomorrow or leave it for a day.

The Drax household is at peace.

Keep well, guys!

- D.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

395 - Day 5/14 - New Directions (for better or worse)

Merry Christmas!

Today's been somewhat disrupted. Wonderful yes, but disrupted.

At around midday a sudden lightning strike hit (we're talking simultaneous donner und blitzen here) and blew the village's power supply. The electricity was down only for about half a minute but the phone's been down since, and the internet (the rural, not-technically-broadband version of broadband) hs been ropey ever since.

This combined with insanely variable weather today (our 'White Christmas' was a half-inch layer of hail which lasted hours) to dissuade us from our traditional afternoon walk, and all our timings went for a Burton as a result. The long and the short of it is that I realised quite early that I'd struggle to get meaningful hobby time in today, so I made another Executive Decision:

I've bought myself a 1/100 Zvezda Matilda II.

Just one. This is the box art:
It cost me about three-and-a-half quid including P&P, and it's the first model I've bought in ages.

But it's not for Flames of War.

Oh no - I couldn't do much with a single tank after all (and the 8th Army are on hold until I've earned them with glacial commission work)...this is for a potential (and SMALL) Bolt Action force.

I can't help it. Ages ago, Brian over at the Inner Geek very kindly donated to me a small Early War FoW British boxed set and I've been wondering how best to use it: Bolt Action in 15mm (popular locally) is absolutely perfect!

I've been rather smitten by the BA rules, you see. I know they're flawed and a bit silly in places, but I just love the refreshing structure of it. 28mm scares me though. Not just painting the models but the scenery required too - and it's an expense I simply cannot meet. Whereas with the cheap addition of a Matilda II and Brian's infantry I've got the beginnings of a rather useful little BEF in France 1940 force.

Doomed to valiant filure just how I like it.

Plus I love the look of the Matilda II and it's so rare that I allow myself to treat me to nice things...

So there.

Hobby work done today - even if it's simply by virtue of purchasing a new toy and starting yet another frivolous new idea.

Enjoy the rest of the day,

- Drax.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

394 - Day 4/14 - Undercoating and... Steve Jackson? Really?!

Hullo All!

Day 4 and all's well. There just happened to be a break in the weather today, so I got some spray undercoating done. Gosh, mine's an exciting life, isn't it?! Here's the proof:
Don't worry - the sides aren't both glued on yet!
And oddly, British readers may be amused to note the appearance on the BBC's Christmas University Challenge of Steve Jackson (appearing as a graduate of Keele): I must say I gave something of a double-take! Here's a link to the iplayer episode whilst it's up. It's a weird world, eh?

In the meantime, The hail's hammering down outside, the fire's burning away, and I've been tasked with tidying up down here before the offspring descend in the morning, so I've got to sign-off.

Take care, all - stay tuned for more mundane progress tomorrow...though I've got a couple of nice ideas up my sleeve...

Merry Christmas, everyone!

- Chris.

Monday, 23 December 2013

393 - Day 3/14 - Sweet Little Runaround

In today's offering, to give me a break from setting-up and packing-away my paltry paint set, some long-overdue modelling: a beautiful Forgeworld Centaur Artillery Tractor, courtesy of Zzzzzz's beneficence. It's an awfully long time since I last scrubbed release oil from resin, I can tell you:
I've a brace of these, to pull the guns one of which is on the left of the picture (also from Zzzzzz)... he intends for them to be used in the Anti-Tank role, which I love (two guns in the D/F pistol role - nice!) but Ill need to 40K them up a bit more first, I think. I don't yet know quite how.

The Centaur, however, is hands-down one of my favourite FW models ever. EVER. I'm very excited to be attacking one now, and though I don't expect to finish it any time soon I'm really looking forward to working out the crew and seeing what it'll look like with its gun limbered!

See you tomorrow, eh?!
 
   "Blow wind! Come wrack!
At least we'll die with harness on our back."

- Drax.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

392 - Day 2/14 - Know Your Enemy

And here's my enemy du jour - our pretty wee Christmas Tree:
Note that this both is my work desk and my hobby desk, and it's in the darkest corner of our cottage. In fact the only places darker where I could try to get some painting done...are in the 'middle' of the room.

Like the dining table.

Where I once more find myself painting since being ousted by my arborial foe:
Still, you'll note I've managed to find where Mrs Drax tidied my hobby stuff and get a little more paint onto some of the figures I'm painting up for Zzzzzz.

So it begins...

- D.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

391 From the Archive: Missing Flames of War Game!

Hullo All!

WAAAAY back in the summer, I managed against the odds to get a couple of Flames of War games in. The first one (which ran out of time) I was able to post about, but the second one was interrupted by Mrs Drax suddenly becoming horribly ill with a stomach bug. A pity really, because it was going rather well for me when I had to shoot off, actually!

My opponent was the same - a very helpful chap called Gary at the Plymouth Association of Wargamers - and we had more-or-less the same LW match up (my 11th Armoured Division Rifle Coy Vs his American Infantry), but this time the scenery was way cooler-looking and the game much more cinematic.

Sadly, I forgot my camera, but I've just rediscovered the photos Gary took and kindly sent me. The first one is my favourite, but I hope you enjoy them. Understandably they're mostly of Gary's minis, but I'll pop some captions on for clarity:
My 3RTR Shermans advance up through the village (buildings by 4ground) on my right flank.
A wider shot shows that two of them have already brewed up. Don't worry though - the revenge was swift and terrible!
The enemy's view of my right flank at deployment
My scratchbuilt Auster AOP takes its maiden flight - skirting my left flank before impregnably and unassailably hovering over the Americans' centre.
My left flank at deployment. Uncharacteristically for me, my infantry were quick to scoot forward and engage with the enemy. Behind them, woefully devoid of targets, lurk my 6pdr anti-tank guns.

My left flank after turn two, with my 6pdrs advancing. In the following turn I would've hitched them up to my other Sherman platoon and whizzed them forward!

The horrible, horrible machine guns facing me on my left flank. They've got those pesky US 60mm mortars lurking in there too. Nasty, sneaky things, those. Luckily my Shermans' machine guns made short work of them, having snuck around the walls to deny them their cover...
This is the American centre/right at deployment. All of Gary's infantry stands took a real pasting from my 25pdrs and 4.2" mortars - thank goodness!
Gary's lovely camouflaged Shermans. I can't remember if they were equipped with their AA machine guns, but either way I kept my AOP out of range!
As mentioned in my last post, there should be much more from me over the next fortnight, but for now, cheerio!

- Drax.

390 - The Magic of Christmas?

After yet another busy month with scarcely any hobby time I have made An Executive Decision:

I will undertake to make some hobby time AND write a post about it every bloody day over the next fortnight's holiday.

Promise.
Self-Build; Christmas Holidays 2008 (pre-parenthood)

First one's imminent.

Promise.

- drax.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

389 Stuff Worth Seeing

Hullo All,

I've seen some smashing stuff recently, and it'd be utterly remiss of me not to flag it up.

Firstly, The Responsible One's post about a FAR better way of allocating casualties in barrage attacks (barrage weapons being very very close to my heart)
[image from his blog]
and

An absolutely blinding compilation post from Menzies Tank detailing a range of lasgun conversions. It's seriously seriously worth checking out. Hee's one of his examples:
Enjoy,

- D.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

388 Happy Thanksgiving from England!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my remaining American readers!

Mrs Drax - being a good ol' Chicagoan - has spent the last two days rustling up some great-tasting victuals: not only for us and our guests but also a batch of pumpkin tartlets (for the kids at our daughter's pre-school to try) and even a spare pumpkin pie for me to take into work in the morning (in...er...five hours' time, actually!). Quite understandably, we Brits have no idea what the holiday involves at all.
She took the picture in our godawfully dimly-lit cottage, but please trust me when I say that they look FAR better in real life...

...and my wife is the best pastry cook on the planet.

Have a lovely holiday, everyone who can!

- Drax.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

387 'Battle Report': 2000pt Guard Vs Chaos Space Marines and Daemons

It's true! Against all the odds, three weeks ago I actually got a game in: 2000pts against a Chaos Space Marine army with allied Nurgle Daemons.
 
Sadly this is not really a battle report per se so much as some after-action thoughts with no real pictures. Annoyingly, I'm such a newb with my smartphone that I forgot it had a camera on it - even whilst bemoaning my lack of camera to my opponent. That said, for the purposes of illustration, I have taken pictures of the notes from my (thankfully rediscovered) Book of Arcane Scribblings, Vol 7), so if - like me - you're a sucker for such meticulous ramblings...well, it's all here.
 
My esteemed opponent, by the way, was the excellent Jay, whom I've now played more than anyone else in my adult life. Jay's a stalwart at our club and probably the most easy-going opponent you could ever possibly find. He never tailors an army in casual play - always just picks up his current favourite and brings the most gentlemanly hurt you could imagine.
 
Except this time, apparently.
 
I'll put the two forces at the end, but essentially, I brought my standard (resolutely 5th Ed) 2000pt pick-up 'fun' list (with some tweaks made either for 6th Ed or because I'd mistakenly assumed everything was still in my army case), and Jay brought a shamblingly tough pile of Nurglish infantry, with a dreadnought substituted in lieu of the evidently redundant Aegis Defence Line.

We rolled up Dawn of War and Crusade and my snipers advanced in skirmish order ahead of my right flank before Jay got first turn. Here's my sketchmap, for what it's worth:
Five turns later, Jay had only five Chaos Space Marines left clinging onto his left flank, no objectives and the ever-gracious wherewithal to concede. I end up winning the game

14 - 0

...with the astonishing loss of only five snipers and two Guardsmen.

Surprised? - I could scarcely believe it!


(below is the battle report details for posterity's sake - open separately for detailed view):
Essentially, the mission and deployment worked in my favour, my reserve rolls and shooting went well, and my artillery and flame weapons were brutal. For his part, Jay's reserve rolls really sucked, his saves were not great when he needed to make them, and he simply had almost no ranged weapons that could damage me. Jay is incredibly experienced with 40k, and I believe we both played well, but the odds were definitely with the forces of the God-Emperor that night.

What follows are my notes - not of the battle itself (that's dull reading with my boorishness and no photos) but of my thoughts afterwards, in addition to those above:
 
  • The VPs I earned were awarded for 4 out of the 5 objectives, 'First Blood' and 'Warlord'.
  • I completely forgot about the 6th Ed VP system - especially the two above and 'Linebreaker', which I could've gone for had I realised.
  • The Manticore was fantastic. I rolled-up TEN templates, and they made a dent - even at only AP4.
  • The Leman Russes also did very well - not least the Demolisher blowing Typhus sky-high. Uncharacteristically, they also managed to hit something with their hull lascannon!
  • Marbo was a class act. Arrived late to the party but plopped his hurt right in the middle of a D/S mass of gribbly nurglings.
  • I must remember that dismounted infantry are needed to claim objectives - I almost left it too late! 
  • The Hellhound contingent all made their presence felt in a big way. Arrived just in time, too. Pleasingly, for once I remembered to leave room for them to come on!
  • My Company Commander's four veteran snipers(!) were still rubbish. They have always been rubbish except in but one game. That's not really enough to justify their continued employment. Any thoughts?
  • I really miss the 5th Ed usefulness of my lovely lovely Penal Legion.
  • I was 25pts over; 20 of which was because I took 10 snipers instead of 8 when I swapped the Penal Legion out. Two snipers fewer would not have made much difference.
  • Although I did manoeuvre to take the fight to Jay an to take objectives, it really was a fairly traditional (and very squishy) IG gunline whichultimately prevailed.
  • When played non-competitively, 6th Ed really has the potential to be a very enjoyable story-telling game.
  • Lukily, Jay forgot to use Typhus's psychic powers. Phew! I didn't even think about psykers - the new rules scare me.
  • Nurgle are hard buggers to kill.
Thanks for reading, if you've got this far. The army lists are in the post-script below.

Take care,

- Drax.

PS:

2/24th Cadian Expeditionary Detachment - 2000 pts (2025):
  • HQ- B Coy Cmdr w. 4 snipers
  • EL- Marbo
  • EL- 10 snipers [should've been 8]
  • TP- 1pl HQ w. 3 gren + flamer
    • 1 sect w. plas
    • 2 sect w. melta
    • 3 sect w. gren
    • Autocannon sect
    • Missile Launcher sect
    • Mortars sect
  • TP- Veterans w. 3  gren + ML/HF Chimera
  • TP- Veterans w. 3 melta + ML/HF Chimera
  • FA- Hellhound w. HB
  • FA- Hellhound w. HB
  • FA- Bane Wolf w. HF
  • HS- Griffon Bty (2 Griffons)
  • HS- Manticore
  • HS- Leman Russ Sqn: 1 MBT w. LC + 1 Demo w. LC.
Typhus's Shambling Force of Grottiness with Daemonic 'Allies' +/- 2000 pts:

[I should point out I have absolutely no idea what most of the wargear Jay's listed for his army means, so I'll give you the simple version, but I can find answers to any qustions that arise... ]
  • Typhus (T), leading...
  • Chaos Terminator Squad (5) w. Champion, Reaper AC, Mark of Nurgle and various Guard-killing combi-weapons (all D/S)
  • Chaos Cultist Squad (20) w. Champion, Mark of Nurgle and assorted small arms + 1 heavy stubber.
  • Plague Zombie Squad (20)
  • Plague Marines Squad (14) w. Champion, Icon, flamer and plasma.
  • Plague Marine Squad (10) w. Icon, metla and plasma
  • Chaos Dreadnought w. multimelta
  • Herald of Nurgle (Level 2) w. weird-sounding stuff, leading...
  • Plaguebearers (20) w. plagueswords (all D/S)
  • Nurglings (6 bases) (D/S).

(my lot)

- D.

Friday, 15 November 2013

386 Imperial Guard Codex Wishlist (Drax Version)

Hullo!

I rather suspect this one won't be the only post about this.
Even when I'm in the loop I don't tend to follow the rumourmill, and I visit BOLS so rarely now I feel like a stranger in a land. Nevertheless, I'm given to understand that there is another Imperial Guard Codex in the pipeline.

With no reference to any rumours at all, here are my first thoughts:

Dear GW,
  1. Please proof-read it. Just for a change. Oh, and why not check it's not intrinsically contradictory too...?
  2. Voxcasters. Please make them good again. Please?
    http://admiraldrax.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/227-vox-un-populi-whatever-happened-to.html
  3. Sentinels. They're just so very iconic: please make them more useable once more. It'd be a shame to make them cheaper than their equally-iconic 35pts, but then again they are way too expensive compared to anything else that's similar. Why not give them their one weapon for free? - it's not like they're going to hit anything anyway!
  4. Hydras. I've not played new flyer rules much, but please just make the things fit the fluff. They must be able to engage both surface and air targets.
  5. Veterans - I don't care how effective they are in-game, but please make sure they've got lots of fun options!
  6. Vendettas - I don't play them myself, but they're quite evidently overpowered. I used to think they were - quite frankly - daftly overloaded and overpowered. Then GW started releasing all the really daft Space Marine flyers. Yup.
  7. Orders? I dunno. I like the mechanic, but they can really slow the turn down. Plus it's rubbish having to do them first.
  8. Make Techpriests FUN again, won't you? Personally, I'd love to see 2nd-Ed-style Techpriests running ino destroyed tanks to personally fire their guns...but we all know that's WAY too fun, right?
  9. Make the Devil Dog worth taking. It's such a fun little idea and it should be the mainstay of IG light anti-tank vehicles (I love to roll with one) but instead it's eclipsed in every single way by the Vendetta.
  10. Bring back support weapons platoons. Why would you ever have got rid of them? -It's such a beautifully Guard thing! Madness.
  11. Regiments! Bring 'em back! Whether or not they're supported rules-wise (and whyever not?) at least acknowledge the existence of more than four of them.
  12. Why don't the IG have any scouts? Like, y'know, proper recce scouts?
  13. Please think about options for troops. Currently, heavy weapons squads CANNOT take a transport to help them lug their gear around but CAN take krak grenades for when they go tankhunting. Naturally, special weapons squads (y'know, the ones that are ideal for BS3 tankhunting) cannot take either!
  14. Leman Russes. Why do they have only 3 structure points?
  15. Given the abundance of monstrous creatures and high-toughness things on the 41st Millennium these days, might the Imperal Guard have started training units to deal with them? Only, my Str3 lasguns aren't much use. Giant-Killers - that's what we need.
  16. A model for hydras, maybe?
  17. Leman Russ Annihilators in main rules?
  18. Make Masters of Ordnance actually useful. I mean off-table artillery barrage useful For a price, of course. And it'd be cool if you could detach a squad for their protection...
  19. Give Penal Legionnaires teeth again: the 6th Ed rules for assaulting from reserve and using frag grenades against tanks pretty much scuppered the Legion's usefulness. A pity, because they're fun.
  20. Stormtroopers - make 'em cheaper or make 'em better. And finally...
  21. COOL, USEFUL, FUN-TO-MODEL MEDICS! PLEASE! (PLEASE?)
That is all.

- D.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

385 "The plan is... ...there is no plan."

I've been looking forward to posting about my game last week - it was brilliant! 2000pts Vs Nurgle Chaos SM plus Daemon allies...

...Directly afterwards I wrote it all up in meticulous detail in my Book of Arcane Scribblings (Vol. VII) as I so often do...

...complete with a sketch map...

...(those of you who've seen the Book of Arcane Scribblings (Vols. I-VI) will know whereof I speak)...

...and then I put the Book of Arcane Scribblings (Vol. VII) in a safe place...

...and now I can't find the blasted thing.

I cannot find the Book of Arcane Scribblings (Vol. VII).

And I''m bloody annoyed.

Mrs Drax has been tidying. This may or may not be a contributory factor.

Grrrr...

Thursday, 31 October 2013

384 Apocalpse Then - Redux

So... I don't want to say I've been off the radar for a bit, but TWO-AND-A-HALF MONTHS AGO now is when I went to vist the marvellous Zzzzzz at his gaff in order to take part in a massive apocalypse game.
 Now, what I cannot do is do offer any justice at all to the scope of the game. Instead - if you've not already done so - I'd implore you to swing by his blog, Devos IV, and check out his four-part post about the game.

All I can offer, really, is something of a minor insight into what can make a good apoc game for three fairly old, slightly hoary and very occasional players.
I was discussing this game with an opponent just the other day, and trying to pin down just what it was that made the day's game so very enjoyable. Hre are my further thoughts - in no particular order - punctuated by photos of the day's climactic smackdown. I hope you enjoy...:
 > Good company. I know this seems both trite and obvious, but actually, when you're travelling to spend an entire day with just two people (one of whom you've never met before) it helps if you can talk to each other.
 > Lots of miniatures. Yeah - lots. I had charge of the defending army: including some 30-odd tanks (mostly Leman Russes), two or three infantry companies (yup: companies - I must've been pushing a small battalion there), an artillery battery and two super-heavies. And they were ALL owned by Zzzzzz - and all painted too.

The opostition side was also mostly owned by Zzzzzz. This man LOVES his collections of models.
 > Great miniatures. Seriously, there were some lovely, lovely minis on the table. Pride of place in terms of visual impact had to go - of course - to the late-arriving titans, but Col Corbane's regimental aid post was astonishing in the flesh - as were all the models he brought along from Corbania: beautiful. 
> Not really knowing the rules. Okay, we have a vague idea, but a year after its release none of us had much of a firm grasp on 6th Edition rules...nor the specific rules for the pieces we were playing with, even though they were pretty simple by GW's standards. No: this was probably the best part of the day for me - the fact that rules were fudged or guessed at to help along the narrative (although the others were undoubtedly better at this than me - I blame the bewilderment of being suddenly alone in charge of 15billion points' worth of traitrous Guard) worked really well. Plus Zzzzzz takes a disturbingly meglomaniacal joy in this approach...
> Narrative gaming. Those of you who aren't familiar with his material, trust me: Zzzzzz has a backstory to Devos IV that would make Tolkien burn with shame. And he feeds this into the game with the breezily encyclopedic knowledge of th best kind of Gamesmaster.
> Bacon. There was a lot of this. I may or may not have consumed most of it. I am not proud...but in my defence, Mrs Drax is a confirmed vegetarian, so it's a treat.

> Tea. Yup.
 > Playing outside. PLAYING OUTSIDE. In the UK. Yes, folks - despite being about 11hrs long, this was easily the most comfortable game of 40K I've ever played. As a kid I played in under the sloping eaves of our loft or - worse - on the floorof my brother's bedroom (I remember having our huge Epic armies battling across the horrid 80s carpet), and as a tall adult I've suffered many bad backs from tables that are 3" too low...but to play on a 12'x6' table in the middle of a quiet, pleasant, SUNNY enclosed garden really was a smashing experience.

> Escalation. The last time we had an Apocalypse weekend at Zzzzzz's we played a lead-in game (which was brilliant) but this left us short of time, so the 'second' game(!) merged into an Apoc game. This time, Zzzzzz had planned for this, so put simply the game started big and just kept on escalating, with literally a new wave of tanks arriving every turn (see the photos), and titans strolling on in the endgame. Wonderful.
> Scenery. Zzzzzz also had hand-made a selection of defensive lines and fortifications. Just brilliant (when you're the defender!).
> Cinematic moments. Like when Marbo turned up for the forces of good, realised my command bunker had been modelled with the blast doors left open(!), and rightly enough lobbed in his demo charge with grave results.Genius! Art wins over life.

> And finally, the look on Corbane's face as case after case after case of painted tanks and minis rolled out of Zzzzzz's garage. Absolutely priceless.

If you ever get the invite, go: you won't regret it, that's for sure!

More soon,

- Drax.