Friday, 10 January 2014

You can never go back

For the last few weeks I’ve really been struggling with something, my impending appearance in the Malifaux tournament at Vapnartak.  Malifaux is a game that I dedicated a number of years to (4 I think) and contrary to popular belief, I do want to like the new edition and that’s a big reason why I agreed to enter the tournament (that and being drunk and pressganged into it).

For me, Vappa was intended to be make or break for my relationship with Malifaux.  My hope for the tournament was that the preparation would reignite the love of the game and I could be welcomed back into the fold with open arms.  As Richi (@doctorloxley) eloquently put in his blog a while back, it’s no fun being the guy that doesn’t like it.

I approached this with gusto, purchasing the new plastic Justice box and the Guild arsenal deck with the intention of taking them to the tournament.  I started by building the Death Marshals which I had previously been very critical of due to the flaming heads.  I assembled them with the optional normal heads and was pleasantly surprised at how nice they looked.  On closer inspection, the facial detail was not as crisp as on the old sculpts (eye sockets appear to be a 1.5 thing) but that’s nothing a head swap wouldn’t fix.

The judge was next, he was easy enough to assemble and isn’t a bad looking model, he’s just a bit bland.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s an improvement over the original sculpt but the dead justice version really shows what they could have done with him.  Then can the scales, a bit fiddly to assemble but not a bad looking model, his skirt does make parts difficult to access with a paint brush though (the crouching DM had the same issue).

Last but not least is the lady herself and there aren’t words in the English language to describe my distain for that model.  For starters, the scale seems really off, she seems like an anorexic midget next to the rest of the crew.  I’m not sure if this is a scale issue similar to the ronin or if they were just making the men in the crew extra large but either way it just looks wrong.  Then you get to the model itself and my main issues centre around the sword.  The contact point for the sword is tiny making it very fragile and if you can get it to stay in place, most of the face is covered and inaccessible with a brush.

As a crew there was also one general issue, I’m not sure base size was considered at all during the sculpting process.  Of the six models in the box, three would not fix on the base that they were supplied with.  This wasn’t a big deal for me as I was intending to build up the bases anyway, it was just interesting to note.  I don’t know if these issues are a product of using digital sculpting rather than more traditional methods but it really detracted from the enjoyment of working with them for me.

On the gaming side of it, I’d had a demo of the final version but had intended the first round of Vappa to be my first game of the final version of the new edition.  Having played first edition for years and extensively playtested the new edition, I was confident that I could muddle my way through the games no problem.  I am normally a very quick player but my noob status did concern me slightly.  So there’d be no risk of slow playing my opponents (one thing I’d never want to be is a negative play experience), I spent some time reading through the cards to familiarise myself with the crew.

Now, I’m sure the astute readers amongst you will have noticed how much past tense there is in this post and that isn’t due to bad grammer.  I was looking for the build up to this tournament to be my decision maker, my shit or get off the pot moment, and that is exactly what it has been.  Going into this I was fairly confident that although I wouldn’t learn to love the game as I did with first edition, I would be able to find a way to enjoy it enough that I could go to the odd tournament to catch up with people.  Unfortunately that’s not really how it has turned out and it’s time to get off the pot.  Due to the past I have with the game, I have given m2e many more chances than I would have any other game and at no point has it grabbed me in the way that I’d hoped.

As of yesterday, I have withdrawn from the Vappa tournament to be replaced by Dave Chandler (bit of a downgrade I know, sorry!).  I did say to organiser Chris that I would only drop out if there was someone to fill the space.  He had a full list of people which really does say a lot about how people are viewing this event and the amazing job he’s done organising it.

There is a silver lining to this slightly depressing storm cloud, I will still be in attendance as Chris’ minion for the day.  The main reason I even considered this event is that I wanted to catch up with some of the great people in the Malifaux community.  This change will allow me to spend more time doing exactly that.

This isn’t the outcome that I was expecting but I have to be true to what I want from my hobby and that will be whatever I get enjoyment from.  Maybe the next edition change will see me returning, who knows but you can be sure whatever I’m doing in the mean time, I’ll still be drunk.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

2 years, 1 Monkee

A new year is traditionally a time to reflect on the year gone by, the changes that have occurred and the goals for the year head.  For convenience I have separated this into categories.



Last year I discovered the job security has apparently gone the way of the dodo.  As this isn’t an employment blog, I’ll leave it at that.

2014’s aims

To keep gainful employment and not have to resort to selling my rear to Mexican sailors to pay the rent.



I beat cancer again, I’m starting to think it’s the Mike Marshall of the illness world.  I also walked away from a car crash relatively unharmed so I’m calling last year a win.

2014’s aims

To continue my 35 year long streak of being STI free.



Not a winning category, let’s just move swiftly on!

2014’s aims

To be attending sex addiction therapy sessions with my nudist, Rachel Bilson lookalike wife.  A more realistic aim may be to not get RSI, Judy Finnigan’s absence from TV will surely help achieve this goal.



I’ve met some really great people, both in person and online.  This last year has really opened my eyes to just how diverse the hobby community is, despite that diversity I can honestly say that there have been very few people that I haven’t liked (I’m actually struggling to think of more than one!).

2014’s aims

I am rubbish at keeping in touch with people, it’s always on my list of things to do but it never seems to make it all the way to the top.  This year I’m going to try and make regular contact with people that I want to keep in touch with.  If you receive an email in the next few days, I do care what’s going on in your life and want to try and make the effort to find out what that is.  I also want to try and get down to London at some point and play a game of something with Richi P (@doctorloxley), we seem very similar in the way we approach things so it’d be interesting to see how far that extends.



Last year was a real rollercoaster for me with the Malifaux 2nd edition play-testing, etc.  That wasn’t a happy time for me but where life takes with one hand, it gives back with the other.  I discovered (with help) a lot of really good games and got to play games with people that I wouldn’t have previously had the chance to.  This also made me realise how insignificant games are in the grand scheme of things, friends will be friends whatever is happening in the background.  That being said, they are great for meeting new people as our first steps into the world of D&D have shown me.

2014’s aims

My main aim is to play all of the games that I have already bought and start making a bit of progress through my OG Games wish list.  There’s currently a couple of grand’s worth of stuff on that list and some of them I really want to get my hands on (e.g. season 2 of Zombicide and Battle Lore 2nd edition).  For the most part it will be more of the same though, no need to fix what isn’t broken.



With the move away from Malifaux I became a bit lost in the latter half of the year and really lost my motivation to paint.  I started painting a 40k army (never thought I’d be saying that!) however that has been held up significantly by Royal Mail losing most of it (bastards!).  I have also found my way a little bit by working on a ‘different’ board for this year’s Vapnartak (I’ve been taking WIP pics throughout that project so a step by step blog will come when it’s finished).

2014’s aims

I really want to get back to enjoying my hobby, I used to chomp at the bit waiting to get home to get started and that enthusiasm hasn’t been there in recent months.  I’ve really enjoyed the 40k stuff that I’ve painted so far so am hoping the replacement army that is being sent to me reignites that passion for painting.

Soulstone Train


Last year we evolved and matured a lot as a podcast, this is incredibly noticeable when we get new people in (it’s a sad day for humanity when I’m the sensible one in the room).  We have added some new faces to our ranks and widened the scope quite a bit.  For me SST was always about the community side of the hobby and it really has become an inclusive project for the local community (and wider thanks to our guest sections).  In the early days we struggled to balance the recording and drinking aspects of SST and we finally seem to have hit that level.

2014’s aims

So many plans are swimming round my head, some are already in the works and some may or may not happen.  One thing that I’m really keen on doing is giving people a little peek behind the curtain of how our recordings happen.  So little of the chaos makes in into the final episodes and it could be funny to let people see how much each turd gets polished before it is released.  This may well utilise our old YouTube channel, I’m not quite sure yet.  Another thing I’d really like to do is collaborate with some other podcast, there are a few out there with a similar mentality that could make for interesting listening.  There are also other plans in motion that we’re not going to give too much away about including a special something for Vapnartak.  I can reveal what our next episode is likely to cover as we have Memoir ’44 and Dust Tactics to review.  I would suggest not even waiting for the episode, just order Memoir ’44 now, you’ll be glad you did.

Well, that’s been my year in a nut shell and despite some fairly significant lows, overall it’s been a pretty good year.

I hope everyone had a good new year and let’s hope that 2014 is good for everyone.