Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My Thought For The Day

And, um, no, it isn't the first time I've had the experience!  Evidence all over this blog to the contrary.

So, I decided earlier today it is wise counsel to never collect a period of figures where it will take more than one or two months to paint all the figures for one side - unless it is native figures versus European type technology and then no more than three to four months.  And, of course, I'm talking about a basic gaming standard paint job, not museum quality work.  That means with six months of focused effort the forces can be on the table and ready to play.  A worthy goal.

Now why the heck didn't someone instill that thought deep inside my head?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

More Links across the pond

Added two new links, old friends.  One is to the spectacular Grimsby site - be sure and check it out if you have not, especially the gallery of games.  The other is to a long favored supplier - Irregular Miniatures; they've always provided the highest possible level of customer service - and always very accurate in what they ship.

Oh, and it looks like I will be moving my gaming space from the garage to the lanai (covered porch area for those unfamiliar) which will be an enclosed three season space soon.  And since I live in California that more or less means a usable space for almost the entire year.

That move does bring up a minor quandary - do I keep my table at 5' width or go with only 4' width to gain more people space on either side of the length of the table?  Haven't made a decision yet.

Other than running a couple of pirate games at an upcoming convention, and maybe getting a game or two in at same - maybe!, I've resigned myself to not really gaming until next year.  Not an ideal situation but lots of other important things being attended to that, once finished, hopefully will allow lots more gaming focus going forward.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Taking a Hobb-bitical and Musing Away

Well, since I'm stuck at home today in a temporary cavern as the exterior of the house gets a new paint job, I thought I'd spend a few minutes, or more, musing about my personal take on this fine little hobby of ours.

The great question that has been roaming around within my imagination is just what kind of gaming is it that I do?  

I take history first because I've never really been into the whole fantasy, science-fiction, board game realm (I've dabbled a little in each and just not moved by any of those activities - though I recognize they are popular elements).  With history I have a solid footing upon which to build my gaming world, even if I choose to deviate from history to a greater or lesser degree.

But I also bring fiction into the mix, and bring it strong and hard.    Now, generally, I'm not a follower of the alternative history movement that exists, either as a reader or a gamer, not entirely.  I do have one period that might, sort of, fall into that category.  But not really.  For me, the leading benefit of fictional gaming is that it completely avoids the problem of players knowing the history of a particular battle and thus already knowing how they can achieve or avoid what happened in the real battle - or so they hope.  And then there is all that chatter that sometimes comes under the rubric of 'learned pedantry' and sometimes not so learned but very pedantic (and occasionally I've been guilty of the latter, I'd bet).

Then I bring an adventure element where players can have at least one figure - or stand of figures -  to represent them personally within the game.  Role playing, you say?  No, not so much, though players are encouraged to play the role of the character if they desire.  It's more giving the players a personal stake in the outcome without the endless hours of debate that role playing seems to be.

So, history, fiction, and adventure.  But what is that?  I call it Historical Adventure Gaming, or HAG for short.  And certainly this is no great new discovery.  Others have been pathfinders in this realm, most notably Howard Whitehouse.  I'm just looking to stake my own claim on my own little corner of gaming with historical miniatures.

Unlike so many military gamers, I work to create a world in which the soldiers do battle, not just an "antiseptic" battlefield where all that happens is the war action of the moment.  I like to populate my games with plenty of civilians and flora and fauna.  And, sure, most wildlife will head rapidly for the hills in the real world once gunfire erupts.  But I just like the ambiance provided by having appropriate creatures roaming about.  That's why I have so many animals for Africa.  You just can't say 'savannah' with a few beasts.  And civilians can give one side or the other, or both, an objective to protect from harm - or make an objective for capture (or worse).

The real trick is having supremely simple rules that allow this environment to function on the table and to find other players who are sympathetic towards my goal.  Enthusiastic adherents would be a great bonus.

Let's bring in that other great element that colors most gamers approach, even though there are some that might not admit how strong the influence is on them.  And that is Hollywood.  While I read lots of history books, I'd guess I have about sixty linear feet of such on my personal bookshelves, I admit to getting greater inspiration from the movies, and not just 'good' movies.  If they are period history movies with some battle aspects - and not complete trash, I do have standards! - then I'm happy to find inspiration from that source.

I guess that's enough musing for this moment.  If anyone who reads this and has some ideas to share, please do so via email - Silverscribe2@aol.com.  But keep in mind that I don't do individually based figure gaming.  All my figures get based in threes.

Okay, I guess one more musing topic.  While I sometimes play in skirmish games, and enjoy them, they are not as enjoyable for me as when the game involves formed troops maneuvering into position to offer battle.  Just more fun for me - and more of a challenge.

Now I do have to run, there is a book at the local hobby shop, an Osprey, to pick up.  This hobby can be a lot of fun - when its not consternating!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Another new link

Many of you must know of Baueda by now.  For those of you who don't, use the link to the left and check them out.  I plan to acquire at least one each of all of their new "kitchen" range.  They make a nice complement to the "supply" range and they add good flavor to historical adventures.  And they just plain pretty up the table.  And every good game master knows a seductive table attracts players.

They also have something coming out I expect I'll be adding at least a couple of: 15 mm kneeling pack elephants.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Dread FEZKARI!

I'm afraid this isn't about these troops raven locks but about their designation in my colonial gaming world.  Rather than having askari serving the various and sundry Euro-appearing troops, they are served by Fezkari.  Why?  For the most basic and important of all historical gaming reasons: to wit, it's more fun.

Now, just where, or what, is my colonial gaming world.  It is whatever it needs to be to suit whatever game is desired.  I do, however, plan to have some element of commonality to it all since I plan to have just one basic terrain type which is a bit of misnomer since I really plan to have two, at least.  The first is just the basic four brown color variation and the second is the four browns plus four green colors added on.

Sacrilege I hear being cried out far and wide!  Um, not really, just practical.  Besides which there are myriad ways of adding 'flavor' to the basic coloration so as to reasonably represent a much wider swath of geography than might at first seem possible.

One thing for sure about my colonial gaming world is that it is a world of Adventure much more than it is a world of History.  I start with a historical setting and then bring in the set dressers to change it up to a more cinematic environment where dramatic events can unfold and entertain.  Trying to recreate history is going in the wrong direction.  I'm heading forward with my backward looks - into the realm of enjoyment and escape from the daily doses of reality we all must endure (or enjoy for those of us lucky enough, which I'm thankful to be, more often than not).

I am beginning to suspect that my gaming world will have two strong focal points: the Victorian age colonial era and the middle to later 18th century North America.  A close run third will be the Wild West, or my variation on it.  Most else will be relegated to also ran status.  This means anything in the latter category should be reduced to a relatively small collection of figures.

Now I have to go and do something very important.  And that is go see where I left my will power.