Tag Archives: fantasy

Getting Excited by a New Project


As has been mentioned on these boards before I am an extremely slow painter. Not only that but I am beset by a fickleness that is well documented in my MMO playing. No matter what game I play I am normally accompanied by a horde of alts. I have already described the pernicious disease that is New Army Syndrome and therefore you can imagine how my normal whimsy can sometimes mutate into “super-whimsy”(TM). Now, my purpose today is not to talk about my many and varied idiosyncrasies nor my inherent psychological instability but more of a time when cosmic forces align to somehow influence us beyond our normal ken.

Over the past few days I am feeling something that I don’t think I have felt in quite a long time. I actually do quite enjoy painting and sometimes hold myself back from doing it more often, hence the consternation of my venerable gaming brethren who are often heard to lament the fact that nothing I have is actually fully painted. However, I believe that sometimes these things are down to motivation and if you do things right, well, in my case it may be that miracles can happen. I haven’t had a fully painted army since I was in my teenage years and that’s quite a time ago now, obviously this needs rectifying. I have finally come up with a project that is enthusing me. I have plans, actual proper plans for getting things done, I have an army list that I am super excited and happy about. I believe that I know what I am doing and for the first time in as long as I can remember I want to throw down this army on the tabletop as 100% painted! A tall order no doubt considering my notoriously slow style. This is going to happen and I reckon it’s also going to look half decent. I refer you back a couple sentences to where I refer to that fact that I have PLANS!!! Yes, plans! As a part of this I need to further motivate myself so that I do not just let things flag, this army list is not going to drop down until I have painted it, hence a second level of motivation here so, I can publically declare that I will not play a proper game of Warhammer Fantasy until I have put the finishing touches to this army. I am a grown man, it’s time that I did actually have something like this to be proud of and I reckon I finally have the excitement and drive to do it.

No doubt the people in my playing circle will also be super excited to see this. Gribblin might feel annoyed that he is robbed of his regular opponent but with nBreaker and another addition to our circle I can try to lend my talents to teaching them the game while I see them enjoying themselves and thus driving my desire to play even more and increasing the chances I have of being forced to complete my pledge. I reckon that this is the only way I have of getting something full painted. I need to do it. I can still partake of Uncharted Seas and I plan too, but the fun we’ve recently been having with Warhammer I don’t want to miss out on and I am going to do this. Motivating myself in this fashion coupled with the fact that I am actually excited about this list I hope that things combine into a successful implementation.

So Interwebz, have you ever been in the same boat as this? Do you often find yourself fighting the drudgery and need something fresh to inspire you? Or are you all top-notch people who paint everything as soon as you have it and get it on the table?

Answers on a postcard (or in the comments section, which might be easier.)

 

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Games Day Miniature 2010 Revealed


Games Workshop have released details of this year’s Games Day miniature. This is a “freebie” they throw in with your tickets, although as the tickets cost £4billion each I hardly class it as free. These things normally end up on eBay with someone asking way over the odds for them. Personally I’ve never been to the GW ultimate geek-day as it clashes with other things, but, here we have a pic of the 2010 Games Day Chaos Sorceror for your viewing pleasure. I think it’s quite good.

 

Phaser of +2 Con


A quick post today that is only ever so slightly off-topic, although it does feed into the normal “soup du jour” of this site.

These thoughts came about while I was out driving at lunch time, maybe it was the fumes from the petrol station where I filled my car up that sent me on to a heady high to come up with such a warped vision, or perhaps it is my natural hyperactive imagination. Whatever it was, here it is;

In your stereotypical fantasy enviroment there are a select group of races that will normally be making an appearance. I am sure that you are more than familiar with these, Humans, Dwarves and Elves, although for certain universes there is some kind of schism among the Elven community which leads to a variety of Dark and High Elves or similar. What made me chuckle today is when I thought about the core races of Star Trek and how they fit so effortlessly into the fantasy stereotype. I’m not sure whether this was a conscious decision by Gene Roddenberry when he came up with things or whether it is just a nerdy coincidence, but nevertheless they do fit snuggly together.

Humans are a prolific race that feature predominantly across the genre. In both Fantasy worlds and Star Trek Humans are main focus and are everywhere, at times peaceful while others are more militaristic, splitting themselves into factions affiliated with ideologies. Dwarves are portrayed as gruff alcoholics with a penchant for bad singing and kicking seven shades of fecal matter out of people, seems a good match for Klingons in my mind (Klingon + fecal matter pun not intended). OK Klingons may be taller but this is my party so they’re doing good, although most Dwarves for some reason are Scottish and I think a Scottish Klingon would be kind of hilarious. Now, you can probably guess where I am going with Elves. Pointy ears all around, your various flavours of fantasy Elves fit quite nicely with Vulcans and Romulans. One Imperialist and prone to lashing out, one all pacifistic but will stand their ground when riled. Vulcans are older and wiser (generally) than Humans and live longer… geez, wonder where they got that idea from? There is even a suitable schism describing the differences between alien pointy ears number 1 and their more emotional alien pointy ears number 2.

To me it is quite amusing how good a fit they all are. Just as there are many other races in Star Trek so there are in Fantasy too, but your basic run of the mill dramatis personae are here in startling clarity. I just bet you’ll never watch an episode of Trek the same again!

Conventions in Gaming – The Female of the Species


This was always going to be something that came up, however, we may not be discussing what you think we are. I could also start by saying that all three authors here at 6 Inch Move are involved with members of the opposite sex, two of us being married for a number of years. My intent here today is not to discuss the abject look of horror that crosses most ladies faces if they have to step foot in their local Games Workshop while every face stares at them in confusion as to what this figure is that has invaded their sacrosanct domain. No, more about the way in which the female form is represented through various mediums in game terms. We’re going to touch on stereotypes for sure, it would be difficult not to considering the genre and the male bias that our hobby most definitely caters for.

As you are more than likely aware if you check out any of the plethora of Fantasy movies that came out during the 80s (to be honest, probably the only good things to come out of the 80s were a lot of sci-fi/fantasy movies) women are portrayed in one of only a couple of ways. These include; being draped over some (no doubt well paying) gent, a girl who has no idea of the outside world and is therefore completely dependant on the hero (normally she’ll end up naked at some point too) and the warrior women that can kick anybody’s butt and normally does it while half naked and without getting so much as a scratch on her. OK, I’ll admit that Conan doesn’t wear much but if you read Howard’s work it fits the background, although in most of the stories the chicks are the second type listed and they pretty much are all naked half the time.

You may notice a theme developing here, this is no doubt down to the fact that products in the Fantasy realm are normally aimed at the male half of the population and are also created in the majority by those men. Now, I’m not dumb enough to postulate that these characters fulfill the whims and lusts of the creators who have a lack of experience in dealing with the female half… I don’t think that’s it at all, even though we can all picture a stereotypical gamer locked in his parents basement fantasising about conquests with amazingly hot women. We’ve all been teenagers after all. Yet, being in my third decade upon God’s Earth I obviously have different sensibilities than when I was younger and still, even though I know a large portion of gamers exists these days that are not in their teens, many have even left the confines of parental subterranean domiciles, we find that a large proportion of models showing females are less protected than might otherwise be reasonably expected. Whether this is a mere continuation of something that has existed since gaming first crept from the fiery chasm whence it came or a deliberate design philosophy is not something I am in a position to declare, but in Fantasy in particular, this theme occurs again and again. I know of a great many companies that make astoundingly detailed models and yet when you get down to representations of women, well, they must spend a lot of the time a little on the chilly side. My wife tends to be cold when we set our central heating to “African Summer” so I can only imagine what these poor model ladies go through if their physiology matches that of my wife and other ladies I know.

In Sci-fi things get a little better. The Sisters of Battle for 40k are equipped in the same kind of armour that protects perennial GW favourites the Space Marines, but even here we have a unit of silk shrouded lunatic chainsaw-wielders in the form of the Sisters Repentia. Filling a stereotypical need? Maybe, the models are good but the rules suck so you don’t often see them. Privateer Presses Iron Kingdoms universe with its Steampunk theme also means that we get women who wear a little more, however, as anyone who plays Cryx knows, that doesn’t hold true for all factions. Most of the Cryxian Warcasters are a little less armoured than other factions and we even have a triumvirate of teenagers with side-boob capacity the envy of women twice their age.

Is it purely down to male flights of fancy that all these female figures are defined by a pretty standard set of guidelines. They are invariably thing with large chests, many of these bosoms on display as part of the model, sometimes even fully exposed rather than just a prodigious cleavage. Is there a need for it? I don’t think so, I am sure that sales of female figures would not dramatically decrease if we suddenly saw a reduction in the output of such things. Do we want to see fat chicks modelled? Well, probably not, we play in a stylised environment that is heavily male dominated. Male figures with wang all over the place would not be nearly as endearing to the female audience as busty beauties are to men. We use these games as an escape from our humdrum every day lives and therefore having scantily clad babes all over the place caters to the most base of male instincts. It’s amusing that a hobby that has matured over the years still sticks with those themes that may have piqued the interests of those of us who still play during those formative teenage years. Things probably haven’t changed to entice a new generation of players. It amuses me though that we can still stick to these things that inevitably draw criticism from other quarters regarding the portrayal of these characters. Now, it may be that women in the universes we play in are happy with their lot but if we want to encourage ladies to engage in our hobby and not feel objectified as soon as they step into a store perhaps we need to change how they are portrayed upon the tabletop?

Conventions In Gaming – Sportsmanship


You can’t really discuss gaming without, at some point, ending up talking about what this post is all aboot. (See what I did thar?) This topic can bring up  a lot of disagreement as well as a lot of sagely nodding of heads and “hear hears” from those of us who have been around long enough to think of our gaming groups in a similar vein to gentleman’s clubs, just without the sitting around in silk smoking jackets with a cigar in one hand and a brandy in the other.

So, if this topic can bring up interesting debate, from what angle am I going to approach writing this post? Exactly the same way I approach all my posts, with reference to my own history and those people that I choose to spend my time gaming with. But we should perhaps try and start with a definition of sportsmanship, to avoid confusion let’s copy/pasta an official definition;

sportsman

(or sportswoman)

noun 1 a person who takes part in a sport, especially as a professional. 2 a person who behaves sportingly.

— DERIVATIVES sportsmanlike adjective sportsmanship noun.

Hmmm, still  leaves a lot open to interpretation doesn’t it? So, let’s try again;

sporting

adjective 1 connected with or interested in sport. 2 fair and generous in one’s behaviour.

— DERIVATIVES sportingly adverb.

That certainly helps to clear things up, when we play games we should be “fair and generous” in our behaviour. My own personal definition relating to Sportsmanship is that players on both sides of the table should both be able to have an enjoyable game whereby both parties profit from the experience and time spent together. Slightly different but nonetheless a valid extension of the official definition. Why is this aspect of gaming important? Well, if both players are not sporting then normally the game ends up with at least one of the players feeling like they’ve wasted their time and could have better spent it doing something else. Games are meant to be fun for both players and no-one wants to spend a couple of hours with their opponent bad mouthing them or telling them just how much fail their army list is composed of because they have taken sub-optimal units. Tournaments even tend towards having a Sportsmanship award these days to encourage people to be more sporting. Yet, if this behaviour is encouraged, what are some examples of sporting behaviour? Let’s have a look and then go on into a further discussion about how I see Sportsmanship, how I apply it in games I play and how I see it being applied.

Obvious examples of sporting behaviour is reminding your opponent that he forgot something, for instance “are you sure you want to move that unit before you declare charges?” or “I know you have no shooting but do you really want to go straight to the combat phase before casting any spells?” Both are mistakes I have made in the past few months, what can I say? I get excited when things get up close and personal. This isn’t the only aspect of it though, I am sure we have all been there when a unit has charged into combat to come up a millimetre short, in these cases it should be easy enough to let them charge on in anyway rather than failing. I have a comical image in my head related to this as I imagine this rampaging group of barbarians throwing themselves at an enemy just to stop within axe swinging distance and then having to walk back a few feet because their charge didn’t quite reach. I know that’s a rather simplistic view of the way the rules for Warhammer Fantasy are (after all each turn is just a segment of time) but I think it highlights the point I am trying to make.

Yet, should this be our behaviour all the time? I am not a tournament player and I can imagine a situation whereby a failed charge (even by that millimetre) could allow you a counter charge in your next turn that could turn a disadvantageous situation into an advantageous one. In real battle capitalizing on your opponent’s mistakes is going to help to achieve victory and simulated battles are no different. I reckon that all players, like myself, can come up with a lot of stories whereby they have achieved victory through a mistake an opponent has made, knowingly or unwittingly, but surely, by the letter of a sporting behaviour law we should offer advice and assistance to let them know what is going on?

This leads me to how I deal with Sportsmanship in my own games and with my friends. For me, it all depends on how familiar we are with the game. I have an abhorrence of cheating, it devalues a game for all that play it and getting one up on someone through playing outside the rules, well, you might as well not even bother playing the game in my opinion. Yet, when I am learning a new game it is inevitable that mistakes creep in as we familiarise ourselves with the rules, I normally kick myself after such games where I’ve done something wrong after going over the game in my head or even when I’ve forgotten something that could have saved my bacon. So, when we are learning something new (like Space Hulk and Uncharted Seas at the moment) I give and expect to be given some leeway in how we do things and a less rigid application of the ruleset as we get used to things. This is of course vastly different to how Gribblin and I play our Fantasy games. We have gotten to the point now where if I forget to declare a charge I have to live with it, if I skip a phase, that’s my error and the same is applied. This means our games probably come over as a little more competitive and they are, but regardless of the outcome we both enjoy ourselves and also end up having to remember and learn from the mistakes we make so that we do not make them again.

There is also normally some good natured trash talking going on during the game and always once we are finished we will review each other’s performances and offer suggestions on what went well and what didn’t, where we went wrong and how we could have done things differently. Normally, one of us blames some dodgy dice (me more than anyone else at the moment). I cannot recall any bitterness coming out of any of our games and therefore I feel that we have a pretty sporting thing going on. We all enjoy ourselves even come the points when we lose, if everyone has fun then it’s a win all around really. So I believe that you can still be sporting without giving your opponent free advice, sure if they are new then you’re going to give them some leeway and be helpful during a game, crushing someone who has their first game against you isn’t going to endear them to the hobby nor the people that play. However, any of us old hands can take things a bit more seriously and still find ourselves having fun, sporting and competitive games.

Old Man’s Fantasy


Throughout my vast and generally unsuccessful career of winning games I have played many things. Surprisingly however for me it’s only been reasonably recently (say a few years) that I have actually taken fantasy gaming seriously. It’s hard for me to admit to this folks, it is truly a dark secret indeed that I was an ‘Old Man’ gamer for a long time. During my most active gaming years I almost exclusively played historical games. Ok, there, it’s out. Am I proud? Well yes, actually. There’s a lot more to it than pipes, slippers, beards and models that have had enamel paint applied to them with a roller.

Firstly, historical gaming is actually relevant. I actually learned a heck of a lot about the past, about technology, about diplomacy and politics. It inspired in me a desire to learn history, which in turn gives insights into the present. Somehow knowing why the american civil war occured and subsequently how that affected the USA is more useful than say, knowing that elves and dwarfs have always been a bit twitchy since the war of the beard.

Secondly and most importantly, historical games have a basis in fact. For example, we have proof of the maximum range of a K98 rifle. We know that the average Grognard (Old Guard) under Napoleon was one of the fiercest warriors of the day. We also know that the Napoleonic British light infantry NEVER missed a shot, or maybe thats just from watching too much Sharpe. Anyway, the point is that rules can be reasonably accurate. If they are not then they can quickly be discarded. This cannot be done with fantasy rulesets. How powerful is an eldar starcannon? How dangerous is this magic spell? How fast can this non-human infantry move? Who knows? It’s all made up.

This, unfortunately makes the gamer a slave to the person who makes the rules. Whoever makes the rules is essentially a despot. They cannot be reasoned with. You cannot dispute any points which you think unbalance the game. You are essentially forever tied into the rulemakers way of doing things. There is no escape! Hmm slave… despot… fantasy games… no escape… Sounds like a great marketing strategy! Make a bunch of great fantasy games and soon we will rule the world! GW anyone? 😀

The Greatest Hero of Them All – Or The Craziest Game I Ever Played


Every gaming club has one. No I don’t mean the rules monger whom everyone thinks takes the hobby a little too seriously and should really get out more. I mean the ‘party’ game. The game that you can happily get twenty-two people playing at once. Obviously being gamers it’s unlikely to be an eleven aside kick-about but I digress.

I was in a club in a city in the south-west when it was decided to play a party game. As an added bonus the game would decide the greatest hero of them all. Rules were sought and models were collected to represent some of the greatest sci-fi personas and teams ever. The game also had some obligatory fluff in the form of a tenuous scenario regarding capturing an ancient relic.

The game began, and the hordes of gamers marshalled their minis. A team of Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster set out to guard the relic. Van Helsing turned up to destroy the vampire, but was soon seen off by Captain Kirk and Spock. Blake’s Seven took cover in a bunker and set about surpressing Buck Rogers and Twiki. An almighty Jedi council stormed the field, but Dirty Harry was in a bad mood and blasted Yoda and company into a galaxy far far away. The game played out like a twistedly insane royal rumble until the Cybermen turned up via parachute in turn three. Then the real carnage began. TV and film stars began fading. Batman and Robin got cyber-pounded, even the Daleks failed to stop the metal menace. Hot favourite to win, Leman Russ, flying into the fight on the back of Y Ddraig Goch (the Welsh dragon) was soon unseated and found a steel bootprint in his primarchs.

So there you have it. Over the course of one afternoon the members of that club established beyond question that Cybermen truly are the most terrifying creation ever. Make of that what you will, but I suppose it means that if you field an army of them in any game you will definitely win. Unless of course your opponent has that meddling Doctor…