Monday, June 12, 2017

Blog Stands Up with 1HP...

Greetings, fellows!

It has been quite a long while indeed since I last visited this place, but I think the time for my return has come. I have been on a long journey, and I have returned a changed being.

With that in mind, I must express my intention to revive this blog, certainly. But if it is to be returned to the world of the living, then it must proceed along a different path than was previoisly blazed. Times change, and so too have I. No longer will this this blog concern itself primarily with the likes of the Wargaming hobby, as my interests have diversified since this Blog's Inception over 6 years ago.

Going forward, I think this blog will include articles from a great many schools of nerdly interest, including RPGs, video games, thoughts on new movies, comic book review, and yes... perhaps even a wargaming post here and there.

I will end transmission quickly here, as this post is 95% bluster, and 5% substance. Let it be known that I am officially reigniting the furnace of my blogging interests, and you can expect good things going forward.

-Mr Bad Guy-

:::::End Transmission:::::

Monday, May 27, 2013

Tabletop Etiquette: How to Lose Graciously

We've all been there. Your squad of Space Marines (or Boyz... or Necron Warriors... or Gaunts...or Fire Warriors...whatever) have just, against all odds, destroyed a crucial piece of the enemy's army and claimed an objective, whilst taking minimal losses themselves. The situation has repeated itself several other places across the battlefield also. The enemy squads are falling back, their heavy support has been decimated, and that irritating enemy flier was finally shot down by a lucky missile. In a single round of shooting the momentum of the entire battle has swung in your favor and now it's a downhill battle. Time for your command squad to retreat to the back, break out the lawn chairs and kegs, and start planning the after party. But then it happens.

Your opponent turns into a whining little butt hole.

Every crying opponent I've ever had

"That would never happen in the books!" "It's easy when you have loaded dice..." "Figures... my army never wins. I don't even like this game anymore." "Your army is so broken!" "That doesn't even make sense." All are common utterances from any populated gaming establishment. Your opponent's demeanor goes from open and excited to regressed and irritable like the "crybaby" switch has been flipped in their brain. The op ponent will then proceed to suck all manner of fun and excitement out of the remaining turns of the game, crying all the while about how the rules of the game are so unfair and how his army needs an update and blah, blah, blah blah.

This phenomenon is quite common, and can be a real bummer for everyone involved in any given game - ESPECIALLY for those of us who don't have time for more than one or two games of Warhammer 40,000 per week or month. This behavior is childish and unsportsmanlike, but can be mitigated very easily by keeping a few key thoughts in mind.

Certainty of defeat? Awesome!

Firstly, remember that the game you're playing is....a game. It's meant to be enjoyed, not to feel like work. It's totally possible to get completely crushed in any given battle and still have a good time so long as you stay positive. I think that if you agree to play a game with someone else then you have a responsibility to the other player and your community to remain positive and upbeat even in defeat.

Secondly, remember to use your lopsided defeat as a learning experience. Sure, your Necron Immortals may gave just been killed by a mob of Gretchin, but if you pay attention to the exact situation that has befallen your army then you'll be able to learn how to defend against that particular flanking tactic or whatever and you'll end up being stronger for it and may lead to you winning your next game.

Fighting Space Marines. In a swamp. Still not complaining.
Thirdly, and most importantly, sack up. This is a wargame. Emphasis on WAR. In the grim darkness of the far future there is no hope for a crybaby. The game of Warhammer 40,000 IS very much based on skill, tactics, army composition and planning, but it is ALSO a game of chance and happenstance, where a single round of good or poor dice rolling or a single missed step can spell doom for you entire army. The reality of Warhammer 40,000, even in the books and "fluff", is that sometimes the Space Marines get overrun by Tyranids, sometimes the Ork Waaagh! is destroyed by a Necron super weapon, sometimes the Sisters of Battle are outgunned by renegade Imperial Guard, sometimes the Tau are outgunned by Dark Eldar, and sometimes things, plainly and simply do NOT do as planned. The outcome of any given game rests on a knife's edge, any any number of factors can tip the balance. To quote The Big Lebowski, "sometimes you eat the bar, sometimes the bar eats you". 

It's important to make friends in this hobby.

If you can follow these very basic rules and make them a part of your gaming persona, then you will undoubtedly be better for it. Not only will you come to enjoy your games much more than you previously did - even in defeat - , you will also start building a positive reputation for yourself within your hobby community. People will actually ENJOY playing games with you and you'll find that other will always be willing to grab a quick pick-up game with you or invite you to join their tournaments or gaming leagues.

In short, the ability to play and lose graciously and with a bit of class an decorum will undoubtedly increase the quality of your hobby experience. Or you can be that guy that everyone in the hobby centers despises and avoids. The choice is yours.


P.S. - This blog is dedicated to the memory of a guy named Jeff who used to come into my old GW Hobby Center. Jeff, you were the living embodiment of everything that an unpleasant opponent could possibly be. Because of you, I have something to strive to never become. You also provided me with a small light at the end of whatever gaming tunnel I find myself, because no matter how unpleasant an opponent of mine gets I can always tell myself "well... at least he's not as bad as Jeff. Jeff, I hope that all of your armies are brutally sodomized by Slannesh Daemons in the Warp forever. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lost and Found: Playing "Fun" Army Lists

Warhammer 40,000 can be a really competitive, dog-eat-dog, cuthroat game to play. Anyone who's been to a major tournament can attest to the fact that competitors will take damn near anything to win. 2 Bloodthirsters and 3 flying Daemon Princes? Sure. 9 Leman Russ Tanks? Absolutely. Logan Grimnar and 30 Wolfguard in Terminator armor? You bet. You get a room full of sweaty, elitist, beardy old hobbyists who all brought their favorite Death Star unit to crush their opponents. These guys deliberate and obsess about their army list for weeks in advance of their next tournament, only to get totally shatterblasted by 17 Dark Lances and end up in 14th place or some crap. It seems more like work than an enjoyable hobby, and it looks exhausting. And if this sounds familiar then this post is for you.

To be free of this, what I consider to be the "dark side" or table top wargaming, I myself almost exclusively play friendly games in a league at my local game store. In our league it's all about having fun and playing an awesome narrative battle. It's more about playing the game and less about winning. To accomplish this, we all build armies using "Fun List" guidelines.

What this means is that our small brotherhood (and 1 sister... so a Brother/Sisterhood...?) of gamers has two simple unspoken rules - play to have fun, and don't be cheap. What this means in practice is that when we all make army lists, we add units that we think are cool rather than thinking of the min/max metagame. Dark Eldar Mandrakes, Space Marine Scouts with shotguns and Space Marine Dreadnoughts with a twin-linked Heavy Bolter are all common sights in our circle. Are these units the best possible expenditure of points available? No, but that's not the point. The points is to have a memorable, fun battle using units that we actually enjoyed building, enjoyed painting, and enjoy seeing on our minature battlefields. It's all about the "WOW, THAT'S AWESOME!" factor, rather than the "I'M INVINCIBLE!"

Now, that's not to say that things like Land Raiders packed with Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield Terminators are never seen - they definitely are. But you'll never see more than one of those, rather than 2 or 3 in a "competitive" list. Our "Fun Armies" try to be as diverse as possible, so as to explore the depth of tactical choices available to our army. In my Blood Angels army, for example, I have no more than 1 squad of anything. 1 Tactical Squad, 1 Scout Squad, 1 Assault Squad, 1 Devastator Squad, a Dreadnought, a Vindicator, and a Captain - because Space Marines are led by Captains, damn it, and not by frikkin Chaplains. (You never see a goddamned Chaplain leading a squad of United States Marines, do you? Hell no. Because they're Chaplains. They belong in the back, with the gear.)

I guess that I'm saying here is that sometimes it's better to have friendly game with a group of pals instead of everyone trying to one-up eachother and constantly comparing their Army Lists' penis size every 40k day. I'd urge everyone to change up your army lists every once in a while. The next time you meet up with the local 40k club, maybe both try playing a fun game. Use units and tactics that you wouldn't usually try. Stop turtling with your Rhino and charge those Space Marines across the battlefield like they've got a pair! Take ridiculous risks! Make an army list that flies in the face of common sense. I bet you'll have a great time. And you know what? You might actually even learn something about the way your army works, and be able to use that knowledge in the next competitive tournament that you play.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lost and Found: How Hobby Burnout Happens, Part 1

I've been thinking a lot about the Warhammer 40,000 hobby lately, and I think I'd like to share some of those thoughts with whomever is kind enough to have a read here at A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy.

Now, I've had something of a love/hate relationship with Warhammer 40,000 for quite a while. I started the hobby nearly 12 years ago, and when I got into the game it was awesome! It was affordable, the local community was huge and full of good people who were excited just to play the game, collect and paint the models! I got into the game with a Space Marine Tactical Squad, a Rhino and a Space Marine Captain with a Power Sword right after my very first demo game at Ga mes Workshop Great Lakes Crossing. From the moment of my first beginner game I knew I was hooked. Every time I got paid from my McJob I'd get a new box of something and after a few months I was swimming in Space Marines.

Life was awesome (hobby life, that is). I collected Space Marines exclusively for longer than I can remember... it must have been at least 5 years. It was the only time in my hobby career that I remember having multiple painted armies (all of them were Ultramarines... but I had 3 or 4 distinct "themed" armies.) It was also the only time I recally being so passionately into the hobby.

But soon it all came crashing down because I started collecting other armies.

A new Tau rulebook came out and I thought they were frakkin' awesome! I bought up a bunch of Tau, painted them, got them on the table and started playing games. And I got totally spanked on the battlefield. Why? Because they didn't play like Space Marines. So I started to add things to my collection to make them MORE like Space Marines. "Fire Warriors are Toughness 3 and 4+ armor? Pfft. I'll take minimum troops and lots of Crisis Suits! Then they'll be the equivalent of Space Marines! Yeah!"

Soon I had about 2,500 points of Tau and I was totally depressed. I had won probably... 3 out of dozens of games. I started to lose faith in my army and my skills as a player. Because I started to lose so often, I started to avoid playing games. Because I didn't play games very often, I found little point in painting my armies. Because I had no interest in painting, I lost the inclination to buy and collect and soon.... my hobby was dead.

And it died for a stupid reason. It died because I had already found my army and my chosen play style, and was trying to force a different army with a different play style to be just like Space Marines... and when I think about how ridiculous it all was I sort of want to kick myself for causing my own hobby burnout.

My point here is that for some people it is sometimes better to focus on a single army and project rather than multiple different armies and multiple different projects. What starts as a simple exlporation into the varied aspects of the Warhammer 40,000 hobby can quickly end in flames and frustration.

Right now I have been super focused on building and painting my Eldar army and I'm making more progress at a greater rate at a higher quality than I ever have before in my hobby. If any of you reading this are experiencing this type of frustration, maybe do yourself a favor and take step back, get back to your original hobby roots and stop yourself from being so busy inside the hobby. Play a few games or, if you're more interested in the hobby side of the hobby, paint or convert something.

Calm down with your hobby. You might be glad that you did.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Still Alive!

Just a quick note to let you all know that I'm still alive and kicking, and that I plan to make a real post soon.

Work, parenting and painting this awesome Avatar of Khaine have been consuming all of my time lately.

Please stand by for my next full, real post!

Here are a few work in progress pics.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Unit a Week - Eldar Guardians

The completed squad! ...I'm sure they won't live long on the battlefield
Welcome to the first of what will become many posts for the Unit a Week! In these posts I will be going over exactly what steps I've taken to paint different models in my collection as they become battle ready! In this way I hope that I can help others in their efforts to paint and collect their own models.

Now, anybody who knows me knows that I like to keep my paint plans simple. I struggled a bit with this, because all Eldar models are so beautifully detailed, but I was able to finally reconcile the detailed models with a simple painting process.

To begin with I primed the models white. A lot of thought was given to this, because I wanted the Guardians to look like they were a bit dirty and battle worn. My first inclination was to prime black, but in the end I went with white because I wanted the models to really pop on the tabletop, and white primer usually means a brighter end result.

My test model, after applying Scorpion Green to the helmet and gun.
For step 2 I waited until the primer was totally dry (about an hour) and washed the entire model with straight Nuln Oil. This was my first go at the Citadel Shades, and I have to say that they do what they're told  way better than the old washes. They ran where they were supposed to, they didn't pool on flat surfaces as badly as the old washes and they seemed to just...flow better I guess.

Onward to step 3 - Dry brushing. I dry brushed the entire model lightly with Skull White, picking out edges where possible. In this stage I allowed myself to be a bit sloppy because I hadn't don't much with the models yet. Had I done this step later I would have had to use a smaller brush and it would have taken forever. But never mind that, just load up your largest dry brush and have at it.
Step 4 was to base coat the helmets, guns and other wraithbone bits. For the helmets I wanted a nice green color, so I immediately went to Gnarlock Green. For the gun and other wraithbone bits I simply went with good ole Chaos Black.

The entire squad, Scorpion Green'd and ready for gems to be painted.
For step 4 I layered Scorpion Green over the Gnarlock Green and it ended up drying really nicely. I also though it would look cool to layer Gnarlock Green and then Scorpion green down the length of the "barrel" of the Guardians' Shuriken catapults.

Step 5 was to Over brush the Shuriken catapults and other wraithbone bits with Shadow Grey.

After some white highlights.
For Step 6 I highlighted all over the armor of the model with Skull White. This was important, because I wanted the model to look bright and white, but also battle worn. I think it went well.

Step 7 was to work on the gems. Nothing too fancy here. Just a simple base coat of Blood Red with a thin swoosh of Mecharius Solar Orange along the bottom of the gems, and a small dot of white at the top of the gem. If I had any, I would have added a dot of gloss varnish to each gem, but a.) I didn't have any and b.) they're Guardians... I'm not that worried about it. Gems: easy.
Gems are really fun to paint, and can add depth and brilliance to your models

And then... the base. I decided to use a Texture Paint on the base, followed by a blue wash. After the wash dried I over brushed the base with Shadow Grey and again lightly with Skull White. Then I painted the rim of the base with Shadow Grey. Finally, I put some blobs of PVA glue on the bases, dipped them in snow flock, blew off the excess and left them to dry.
The whole squad, completed and ready for the photoshop treatment.

These Guardians really didn't take too long to complete, and I think they look cool. I'm a fan of what I call "cheating at painting", and I try to get the most out of every step I take painting a model.
I hope this was helpful to anyone who might be looking for a bit of painting inspiration. With a variation I could see this as a a decent paint plan for White Scars Space Marines or the like.
That's about all for this post. Thanks a bunch for reading!

Guardians play a game. It's called "shoot you from a distance, and run if you get too close".
Thanks to the Fleet of Foot rule they're really good at it.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Guardian Squad - Ready!

So, I just finished these little bastards tonight, neatly one week after stripping the old, caked on paint job that was on them before this. This is officially my first Unit-a-Week that I've completed...! Hooray! I'll post a tutorial of the exact steps I took from beginning to end tomorrow, and THAT will be the "real" post for these guys... But I wanted to share them before I pass out.

Catch ya tomorrow!