Monday, 21 October 2013

Hell freezes over

As I’ve spent much of the last week looking back at the past year of Soulstone Train, it was kind of inevitable that at some point I would end up looking in the other direction.  When it comes to the hobby I like to play the long game and have long term plans of where I want to get to and what I want to achieve.  In the coming year I want to achieve something that I’ve not done before and that is to have a fully painted army for a large scale game.
The first decision to make was what game this army would be for.  As far as I could see the main options were;

·         Warmachine/Hordes
·         Bolt Action
·         Flames of War
·         Warhammer Fantasy
·         Warhammer 40,000

Each of these has pros and cons;

Pros: For the most part the minis re actually very nice, especially on the Hordes side of things.  Some of the Colossals are really nice.
Cons: The game sucks balls.

Bolt Action
Pros: There’s some interest locally so I’d probably be able to get a game.  The rules look pretty decent and the models aren’t too expensive.
Cons: There’s a lot of painting one colour and there’s not much variety between minis.  As a hobby project I’m not sure how enjoyable it would be.

Flames of War
Pros: My SST co-host Shane is really into it which suggests the game is pretty decent and I’d be able to get a game.
Cons: The minis are tiny and multi-part, I suspect that my hobby enjoyment would be near zero.  Also, it’s a lot of painting one colour and the final result would not be that impressive on the table.

Warammer Fantasy
Pros: There’s lots of local players so getting a game would be easy.  The minis are generally pretty nice and there’s variety to make the hobby side reasonably enjoyable.
Cons: It’s made by the devil.  It costs a fortune to have a tournament ready army.  Large units mean painting a fair few of the same mini making the hobby a bit of a chore.

Warhammer 40k
Pros: It’s the dominant game at my local club so games/tourneys are easily accessible.  The minis are generally nice.  I used to play 20 years ago so totally know the rules.
Cons: It’s made by the devil.  It’s expensive (although I think not a bad as fantasy).

If this was a gaming project, Bolt Action would have been the clear winner.  Unfortunately it’s not a gaming project however, I can see myself buying in at some point.  As it is a hobby project, I’m sorry to say the winner was Warhammer 40k.  In my youth I owned three armies for 40k and never got around to painting any of them.  As I want to correct an oversight from my past, it makes sense for me to revisit one of my old armies.  This narrowed down the choices to Eldar, Chaos Marines or Dark Angels.

Of those three, one stood out to me as being a bit more varied in terms of the hobby side of things, that being the Eldar who were also my first 40k army.  Since making that decision I’ve heard rumblings that they’re completely bent but, as I have no plans to put effort into an army list, I’m pretty sure they’ll not be in my hands.

I’ve started by ordering the battle force box with the intention of buying extra stuff only when I’ve fully painted what I have.  From there I’m going to just buy what I like the look of (Striking Scorpions are high on the list!) and then pad it out later if I can’t make a legal army list.  The plan is to buy, build and paint a legal army to a decent standard in time for York Garrison’s annual Summer Solstice tournament which is the biggest event the club currently run.  I have no doubt that I’ll come last and ebay the army straight after the event but it’ll be one more thing scratched off the hobby bucket list.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

A year of train travel

Another episode of Soulstone Train has been recorded (should be online tonight) and in planning the next episode we realised that it’s been almost a year since we first recorded.  As you can imagine this has somewhat changed our plans for the next episode.  If you listen right to the end of the episode being released later, there will be a brief (and probably quite shocking) preview of what we are planning for our next episode.

Looking back over the year since we started recording was a slightly odd experience as a hell of a lot has changed.  I listened back to our first episode and realised straight away why I had taken it down, it was bloody awful!  As much as we have learnt a lot about gaming in the past year, we’ve learnt a lot more about podcast recording and editing.  We’ve also progressed a lot as a gaming group with many more of the local gaming club getting involved in recording sessions and more varied games being played on club nights.

The major changes that we’ve seen as a podcast are;

·         Move away from Malifaux – this is something that I really didn’t see coming, we were all heavily invested in the game (me especially as a henchman) and we were in it for the long haul.  I do sometimes miss the verbal jousting with the Malifools (not that much though as you may find out later) and being part of that community but that change was overall for the better.
·         Changes in hosts – most people have forgotten that the very first episode was just me and Baby Jake, I didn’t even meet Shane until the week after.  Now we have a rotating set of hosts that all play different games making it a rich tapestry of nerdy goodness.  We are still looking at getting a few more locals involved so watch this space for more.
·         Sound quality – we now have actual recording equipment rather than just using the microphone on my laptop that picked up every time Jake scratched his nuts.  The sound quality has improved a huge amount since making that investment.
·         Sponsorship – early on we were sponsored by Little Star Miniatures run by local gamer Carl.  Unfortunately Carl had to take a break from the business for personal reasons however, hopefully he will be returning soon (both as a business and as a host).  Following the end of that arrangement we had a few offers but the prospect of Carl returning was always a sticking point for us.  In my mind Carl will always be a friend above anything else and as such, we would not do anything that could potentially have a negative effect on his business (i.e. being sponsored by a competitor).  We received an offer from OG Games and, as they stock completely different things to LSM, we jumped at the chance to get involved with a company of their quality and reputation.  Having a proper professional relationship with a company that isn’t run by a friend has been a big step and has worked out well for us so far.
·         Less alcohol – that’s actually a bit misleading, the alcohol is still there but the editing just cuts out most of it.  As a general rule I don’t even listen to the last hour or two of recording, some of it might get cut in as out-takes though.  Our legendary tangents also still occur but, in the interest of good taste, any discussions about chat roulette and the like are now removed.
·         Discovering more games – for me, this is the single biggest change that we’ve seen.  We started off concentrating on one game and now we are exploring new games for each episode.  It turns out that variety really is the spice of life as I’ve never been happier with my gaming life.

That is a lot of change in a year, I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for us!