Sunday, 28 August 2011

Welcome to Digressive Maneuvres!

The nature of wargaming is such that you spend an inordinate amount of time imagining, conceptualising and painting; at least for me, far more time than I've ever spent maneuvring about a table.  Its fortunate that so many of us enjoy talking about our hobby.  Without rich imaginations projecting finished projects onto the table and the pleasure we take in designing forces and "theory-crafting" the metagame, I think only the most patient of us would see light at the end of the tunnel (and e-bay would see a whole lot more lead less enthusiastically painted than purchased).  I'm hoping that this blog will help to sustain my enthusiasm whilst I try and get through the painting in front of me; I suspect that some of these miniatures will see another winter unpainted.  However!  One of the advantages in digressing all over the place is that I'm unlikely to get bored anytime soon!

A little bit about myself.  I hail from New Zealand and currently live in the Waikato.  I started gaming in early highschool on the usual GW fare.  More games were had with paper than with pewter, though by the end of it all I'd flitted from option to option and managed to accumulate a fair amount of paper-weight.  Come senior high school and university the miniatures were sold in favour of drinking, cafes, girlfriends and an unfortunate dalliance with massively multiplayer online gaming - you can probably guess the one.  I studied law and a Bachelor of Arts in History.  Law was the meal ticket, History the mental health relief.  I'm now graduated, qualified, gainfully employed (though that was a wee journey in and of itself), and have time (limited) and money (some) available to me.

My love of the Napoleonic period as brought alive by O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series of novels and a common interest with my old high school mate Garth rekindled my interest in wargaming.  I can afford it, I don't particularly care what people think, so my reasoning is why not do something that I always enjoyed!  A "postponed" attempt at Napoleonic wargaming has lead onto various other projects, all of which I hope to talk about here.  I will digress from time to time; be patient with me!  I've very much enjoyed reading others' wargaming blogs; I hope that you will get something from mine.

As well as a wargaming I'm a keen (though not particularly competent) amateur footballer, hunter (fowl and bigger game), fisherman (fly-fishing preferably) and food critic (with more enthusiasm and practical experience at the business end of the fork, rather than qualification!).  I hope to also comment on these topics as well as my support for the Liverpool Football Club in the English Premier League, books, film, and even a little bit of travel - some not too far over the horizon!  I probably won't talk about work much though.

As for wargaming projects, I'm working on the following in descending order of tangibility:
  1. Flames of War - I'm working on a British Rifle Company based on the Cassino and Fortress Europe lists for the Italian theatre.  Its a bit of a joint project with Garth - he has gone and impulse-purchased about 2500pts of Fallschirmjager for Italy and 2500pts of Panzer Lehr for Normandy.  I've got (optimistically) 1500pts of British Infantry in front of me; I must have learnt something since my teens as I have little desire to add to this until these are painted!  Being my first painting in 10 years, things are going pretty slow.  I'm using Army Painter's Quick Shade on these miniatures in the hope that the method will help me get them table ready much quicker.  And to be honest, I don't really have the energy or inclination to try to manually shade and highlight figures in 15mm!  I'm about half-way through my first platoon at the moment, and hoping to be done with the painting early next year.
  2. Infinity - this is a very recent interest for me, but it is definitely consuming!  This is a small-scale sci-fi skirmish game with something of an anime (should that be spanime?) aesthetic.  The miniatures are probably the most beautiful I've ever seen, really stunning stuff, and the rules look to be tight, fast paced and hopefully good fun!  The rules are based on an active/reactive concept where the active player orders his units (from a limited pool) and the reactive gets to react to those actions with appropriate miniatures.  Apparently it leads to a fast, realistic game with a very cinematic feel.  I've decided on the Haqqislam faction based purely on the appeal of the miniatures.  Apparently this is a strategy that works okay in Infinity, as the game isn't so much about the metagame of force composition, but rather depends more on how you execute squad level tactics on the table.  I have a miniature already, and I'm waiting on the Haqqislam starter force to arrive.  Very excited about this one; for more information see
  3. Force on Force - published by Ambush Alley Games, this is a modern theatre skirmish wargame based on similar action/reaction mechanics to inifinity and suitable for both symmetric and assymetric warfare.  The rules are lovely in hardcover published by Osprey, and it looks like the game is gaining quite a following.  I've got some grand ideas for building my Infinity table with modern desert terrain with removable sci-fi modifications so that I play both Force on Force and Infinity on the same (almost) table.
  4. General de Brigade - this is where Garth and I got back into wargaming, with 28mm Napoleonics.  We didn't get anywhere with it, by the way, though we do have a fair few miniatures sitting there needing started (in my case) and finished (for Garth).  We've come to the realisation that we really want to have fully painted and decent sized armies before we attempt at playing this genre - especially with the General de Brigade rules.  This is always going to be a project ticking away in the background for us, but it is definitely going to be a long labour of love.  We'll see how I go at getting a 15mm army painted so that I'll have some idea as to how long it'll take me in 28mm!
  5. Warhammer Ancient Battles: Age of Arthur - This is a particular interest of mine that Garth hasn't been anywhere near yet.  Bernard Cornwall's Warlord Chronicles really get this period going for me, and I'd love to game it one day.  Gripping Beast are releasing some lovely plastic miniatures in 28mm so it might well become a reality in the future - though I've got a few projects ahead of WAB in the priority line.
Things I'm watching:
  1. Saga -A Dark Ages skirmish wargame by Gripping Beast, I'll be interested to see how this turns out.
  2. Mantic - mass battle fantasy and sci-fi miniatures, sold at a substantially cheaper rate than GWs.  While I refuse to go anywhere near GW because of the rediculous pricing and service, I do miss their style of mass battle game at times - perhaps this might be an option in the future, though I do have my doubts.
  3. Command & Colours: Napoleonics - This may be the alternative to Napoleonic miniature wargaming for me, at least until I have the time and the painting experience to dedicate to it!  I've been watching the game quite closely on the blog Joy and Forgetfulness and it looks like a fair bit of fun.  Perhaps if Garth moves up this end of the country I'll get into it.
More to come later in the week, cheers!

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