Confessions of a Hipster Gamer

imagesThis used to be a post where I lamented the growing popularity of Infinity and complained about it possibly becoming the game of choice for people I’d rather not play with.  I have since deleted the article.  It was written in the weeks just before I wound up the blog, I was in a very bitter place when I wrote it, and I like to think – I hope – that it wasn’t like me at all.  I have always tried to have a positive voice in my blogging about gaming because games are supposed to be positive things.

So you’ve been spared the pessimistic rant.  Instead I’d like to say a couple of things:

First of all, Infinity is a great game and I wish the people at Corvus Belli all the success in the world.  I would be more than happy if the game really took off.  Genuinely.  I apologize for the uncharitable and unnecessary opinion I expressed earlier.  If for some reason you haven’t heard of Infinity and you like the sound of a quality anime-themed skirmish miniatures game then look no further.

Secondly, who am I to judge anyone?  I barely have time to play anyway, am unlikely to ever play anyone unpleasant, and even if I do so what?  We all have to deal with jerks in life at various times and places, and sometimes we even are those jerks.  Why should I expect gaming be any different?

So that’s it.  I’ve also deleted the comments, so sorry to all the people who took the time to respond to my er . . . poisonous whinge.

I kept the picture of the hipster hobbits because I think it’s funny.

Have a good one,

– James

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Games Workshop Claims Rights to the Term ‘Space Marine’

…world slaps forehead.

facepalm_implied

Some of you might have heard this already, but here’s a link to an article sticking up for a science fiction writer who has had her book removed from Amazon in response to a request from Games Workshop.  Because it has the words ‘Space Marine’ in the title.

That’s right, good old GW have decided to expand their muscle tactics beyond the small world of hobby games and miniatures and have started telling sci-fi writers that they can’t use those two famous words.  I’ll be interested to see how this pans out – bullying garage miniature sculptors is one thing, telling authors (many of whom presumably have publishers much bigger than GW) that they can’t say ‘space marine’ is a whole other kettle of fish.

As one of my mates said: “why don’t those asshats just fucking trademark ‘war’ and ‘future’ while they’re at it?”

Another internet commentator pointed out that in the US, the Unites States Marine Corps owns the rights to the term ‘marine’, and that they do in fact have actual, real-life marines trained for space.  So good luck prosecuting that one GW, you monumental basket case of blundering, flailing evilness.

You know, really nothing they do surprises me any more.  I don’t know why I bother even paying attention.   It’s fascinating, I guess…?


The Ratling Project

Svirfneblin snipers

A little while ago I mentioned that I was dissatisfied with GW’s hobbit-inspired ratlings, and the only way I could see getting my hands on ratlings I liked was either to do a massive modelling project or commission a sculptor.

Well, last week you might remember I mentioned my brother Chris’s blog, which mainly chronicles his D&D adventures.  Chris is a trained printmedia artist with a long-term interest in sculpting miniatures, and I had a chat with him about making some tough, leathery little bastards inspired by the aesthetic of the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Svirfneblin (deep gnomes).

He agreed to give it a go and the above sketch is his first rough whack at the job.  I’m pretty excited, and will of course keep track of how this goes on my blog.  He has a cartoonish style that I think suits this idea well, given the exaggerated features I’m after. I particularly like the mandarin collars, the sneaky ninja boots and the felt helmets, which Chris tells me are based on World War One Romanian felt helmets.

For anyone who’s interested, here’s a link to some greens he has made and some of his future projects in miniature design.


Two Painters

One of Ben's "Helm" paintings.

One of Ben’s “Helm” paintings.

Hey everyone, hope you had a fine festive season etc.

I just thought I’d show you all a blog that belongs to a good friend of mine.  He lives in Melbourne now, which is an eight hour train ride from my place, but he visited me for a couple of beers recently and we talked about miniature painting and books and stuff.

Anyway, his name is Ben Guy and he’s a painter.  Not a miniature painter (or indeed, a house or sign painter) but a picture painter.  Specifically, he does a lot of comics, fantasy and sci-fi based art as well as landscapes.  I happen to think he’s really good, and I’m not the only one – he was recently showcased in a French book about Geek Art.  If you’re in the market for some original art then you could do a lot worse.  Just contact him via the blog I presume.

Also, for those of you who haven’t heard, Larry Elmore’s Kickstarter ended as the second highest funded Kickstarter ever in the publishing category.  This makes me really happy, as Elmore was always my favourite D&D artist as a kid.  I’m friends with him on facebook and it’s really warmed my heart to see the total gratitude and shock he’s expressed.

It just goes to show that if you just keep on doing what you do, you’ll most likely get there in the end.  Not that Elmore hadn’t made it already.  But now, as he says, he has money to fall back on when work is slow and it’s all because of the ordinary people who love his work.

I always wanted an Elmore original but I doubt I’ll be able to afford one after this!  Well done Larry.

And even though I couldn’t afford to contribute to the Kickstarter (the postage was huge outside the US), my brother Chris (also an artist, strangely enough, and with quite a funny blog about D&D) gave me this for Christmas:

Larry Elmore's iconic "Red Box" in T-shirt form!

Larry Elmore’s iconic “Red Box” in T-shirt form!

Outstanding.


Army Sharing: the Way of the Future?

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This somewhat sensational title refers to something I’ve been thinking about lately.  Frontline Gamer has been worried for a while about an up-coming crisis in the way our hobby grows, and I think I’ve come up with some food for thought on that score.  This is going to be a long one, I’ll warn you now – I decided against splitting it up into parts because who knows when I’d finish it, if ever?  Here is the gist, in case you aren’t in the mood for reading the whole thing:

The way we collect and play in the miniature wargames hobby is traditionally focused on individual army ownership.  I collect the miniatures I want, I build them, paint them, and meet you to play against your miniatures.  But there are a lot of problems with this way of doing things.  Some people only enjoy some parts of the hobby.  Others may have more time than money, or vice versa, and the ordinary way of doing things is very demanding in a lot of ways.

Imagine a club where no-one in particular owns the armies.  Each member pays a fee, and the grown-ups with more money than time buy the models they want to use or see.  They are then stored at the homes of whoever wants to store them, or at some central location.  The folks who love painting, the teenagers and the students with more time than money paint the models, and people simply arrange which armies they want to use on any particular game night.  No-one has to have a house full of stuff if they don’t want to, and there’s nothing stopping or forcing you from participating (or not) in any way you like (or don’t like).  If like many keen gamers you love to buy, convert, and paint armies, instead of sticking them in your shed or selling each one off to fund your next one you simply donate it to your local club.

Sound strange?  Maybe even crazy?  Allow me to explain a bit more. Continue reading


It’s an Anomaly

Huh.

I logged in to check my stats for the first time in a while and was pretty surprised to see that on the 5th of December (last week, that is), Yahoo Image Search was used to find Warp Signal 776 times, bringing my hits for that day up to 874.  This is by far the most hits I’ve ever got in one day, and now it’s really hard to interpret my traffic graph.  The 5th of December 2012 is now a towering skyscraper of popularity and every other day is roughly the same tiny height in comparison.

Stay tuned for a real post some time in the next couple of days.  I’ve been working on something…


Talking About Ratlings

The current iteration of Ratlings in Warhammer 40,000. Nice models I guess, but way too Sam Gamgee for my liking.

Today I’m going to return to Warhammer 40,00 and talk a little about a subject near-ish to my heart (maybe somewhere in the vicinity of the pancreas) – Ratlings.  That’s right, Games Workshop’s throwback space hobbit snipers.

I’m genuinely surprised whenever they manage to sneak into a new Imperial Guard book, so someone in the studio must like them.  You can tell how the community really feels about something though by looking at Black Library novels.  I can’t remember the last time a Ratling was even a character in one, but Ogryns for example pop up quite regularly.

Online you see almost universal disdain for the little buggers.  I think there are a few reasons for this.  Continue reading


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