Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Time To Move On…

Be warned this is a monster post!

With the house move due this Friday, it has been a time of contemplation as I packed up my hobby gear this last weekend. The house we're moving out of has been the backdrop to my hobby reawakening after five years without touching a brush or sprue. This of course coincided with the advent of this blog, so I thought I'd take a few minutes to revisit what has occurred during my time living in Folkestone.

Despite having lived here since 2008, the blog didn't start until January 2010. The month began with me taking photos of my various 40k armies (as 40k was pretty much all I was thinking of playing). I had bought the Black Reach box set and decided to start a brand new project – Blood Angels. They had been the chapter that attracted me most back in the days of Rogue Trader and I felt they deserved another look.

This mix of blog posts continued through February – Blood Angels and older model showcases – with my first rant piece (about the static poses offered by GW models) rounding out the month. March saw the first whisperings of the Arrugginiti, who would become the hated foes of my new Blood Angels.

I got my first few Blood Angel games versus Bull during April, as the banter across the Atlantic started to build momentum. Eventually, conflict erupted at the end of May as our email Hailed vs Hated game took place.

Once the post-game discussions had died down, so had my hobby buzz. 40k just wasn't doing it for me anymore and I drifted away to other things. The blog lay dormant for a good four months.

The comeback took the form of my Dark Templar marines – a bespoke project I always wanted to do and felt would keep my enthusiasm going for some time. Alas, it lasted barely two months and my interest waned again leaving the blog silent for the remainder of the year and on until Easter.

April 2011 saw me discover Mailfaux. This game was nothing short of a revelation to me. The models were amazing, the model count manageable. The rules felt innovative – no dice!! – and the whole story captured my imagination. It was the game that finally broke the GW-centric mindset I'd had for 20 years (albeit the resistance was quite low by this time).

Being the all or nothing person that I am, I jumped in head first and bought everything. I built a gaming table and terrain, each project more ambitious than the last. Before I'd finished painting my three Guild crews I moved onto Kirai and her spirits. I took things a step further and started to design, sculpt and cast up my own resin bases. Things were really taking off and with the introduction of Avatars in the August the game was getting bigger.

I started to sell my resin bases on ebay in the new year and 2012 carried on with lots of games of Malifaux against Fugs.

Behind the scenes though, I had been reading the Warmachine rulebook and memories flooded back of the days when we'd dabble with the first edition. Like a two-faced husband going behind his loved one's back, I ordered some Cryx minis… the gaming 'affair' was underway.

Then came Salute. By this time there was no point hiding it, my eye had been turned away from Malifaux and I was loving Warmachine/Hordes. Myself and Bull bought starter boxes and the building and painting began. It wasn't long before we got a quick tutorial game in… but that was as far as it got with this particular ruleset. I was still neck deep in everything WarmaHordes, buying more models and even painting a few of them.

By the summer, there were whisperings of the new 40k 6th Edition box set, which would include some rather nice Chaos Space Marines and a few Dark Angels. It was getting pretty clear that with me being all about Chaos, and Bull having a sizeable DA army already, this box set was made for us. Things were getting a little confused on the blog. Then I decided to do something completely random.

I decided to do a charity painting event. I roped in a couple of like-minded bloggers (who were rather handy with a brush) and we set about painting a Malifaux crew to auction off for charity. The Tale of Three Painters started to gain momentum and started to develop a life of its own. Things peaked at the beginning of September with a visit to Joey Berry in Plymouth, to video the finished models. I have to admit that I was very proud of what the three of us achieved with that Malifaux crew. Nice one Andy and Michael.

The 6th Edition box arrived not long after and I jumped in head first, converting the lovely Chosen models to fit my new project… Nurgle. This was interrupted by a two week holiday to California to coincide with my 40th birthday. I came back refreshed and eager to get stuck in. The rest of the year became all about Nurgle 40k and banter with Bull's Dark Angels.

2013 started with the converted Helldrake – a massive conversion for me. Who cuts up a £40 model??! It proved to be a roaring success (luckily) and was swiftly followed by a converted Forgefiend. With these new toys the momentum was building towards another set of games versus Bull – who now had a shiny new codex of his own.

Just as Salute appeared on the horizon again I got into X-Wing a bit. As a contained boxed game it is great to pick up and put down… and it was. X-Wing is a game that will always be in the background I think. The fact that no painting is required almost guarantees this… plus it's Star Wars!

The summer of 2013 was the era of The Dark Crucible. My very first attempt at writing some rules for a skirmish game that I wanted to play. I spent months writing, re-writing and testing the game. It's amazing how difficult the process can be and for every fix another problem arises. I was getting very excited about this, but once it went public it hit the deck like a lead balloon and this was enough to kill my enthusiasm for it. Shelved for now – cue another break from the blog.

It was going to take something special to pull me out of this particular slump, and so it was. Blood Bowl can be held up as an example of an almost perfect game (in my mind). The rules are very simple, the buy in cost as little or much as you like. Now that GW no longer support it, the rules are free to download and lots of companies make proxy models for it. Once you get into playing, much like chess, a whole other dimension of tactics and strategies open up and the game suddenly becomes quite complex and very exciting.

Blood Bowl is still going strong at the moment, some six months later. I have to say it's lasted longer than I had thought it would. Having Mr Awdry join in the fun has given it a new lease of life – plus having three teams each doesn't hurt.

I also have my new secret project. I have learned my lessons from The Dark Crucible and this one can bob along in the background, a welcome distraction when the time allows. Whether this fulfils the potential I think it could, who knows – I'm happy to let the fates decide.

So, why all this ploughing over the gaming past? 

You will have picked up a developing theme throughout the four years of blogging – I struggle to stick with anything for long and struggle even more to finish anything. The move to a new home is the second element in a string of changes that will transform the look of daily life for me, pretty much forever. It is the perfect opportunity to 'reset' the gaming program and try and break the cycle.

I will be restricted to quality hobby time so I need to make better use of it. For starters I want to play more games. This lack of actual gaming has contributed to the fickle nature of my hobby recently. By making the most of boxed games such as X-Wing and Zombicide there is an opportunity to have more fun and not get bogged down in the mountain of models awaiting paint. I need to finish small groups of models (such as Blood Bowl teams) so that they can be picked up off the shelf when needed with no fear of having to use unpainted models. I can then have the likes of 40k and Warmachine sitting in the background to pick up and put down when the fancy takes me.

I also want to spread my gaming wings further and try new things. Mr Awdry has a host of rulesets that need investigating and  Bull will no doubt be up for something different. I'll also have others newbie gamers on the doorstep so expect to see some new faces.

Exciting times ahead!


  1. Oh my what a trip down memory lane and I thought my hobby progress was varied! In all seriousness the very best of luck for Friday and when the dust settles here's to many more games of Blood Bowl and Zombiecide. Then of course there is X-Wing, 7Tv, Tooth & Claw, Black Powder...

    1. Oh yes, we need to get some gaming days booked in!

  2. There was a massive leap in your painting when you hit Malifaux and you've improved at a rapid pace since then.

    The changes in your life will be exciting and am I right in assuming that your family has grown by two?

    1. Ah, no additions yet Anne, but news on that coming soon.

  3. Excellent read Mike, hope everything goes smoothly on Friday for you

  4. Congratulations your a Miniature Addict! Best of luck with the move and hope it goes well and smoothly.

    1. Miniature addict is right I think, judging from what I just pulled out of the attic!

  5. I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank BT for cutting off our broadband 2 days early!

  6. memory lane indeed. I'm honored to have taken part in more than one item on that list.

    ps. I strongly recommend a cracking new game called Aetherium ;)

  7. Best of luck to that journey! I guess, packing would be really decisive, since you have such delicate and sensitive material to secure. Hope you'll have those figurines intact and that they survive the trip well.

    Pedro Padro @ Orbit



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