Monday, 10 February 2014

I have a dream

Over the last few years I've listened to a significant number of podcasts. Many of these episodes we introductions to a particular game but I have yet to listen to one that is an intro to gaming in general.

For episode 22 of Soulstone Train (or maybe 23), I have an aim to fill this gap. If all goes to plan it'll contain a number of 5-10 minute game intros for different games provided by people that play them. Thankfully so far I've had a great response from people that I've invited to submit sections about games. These will be edited around our own discussion about the different ways to enter the hobby.

As much as I'm planning this as a learning tool for others, I'm also hoping to learn from it myself. With any luck we'll get sections about games that I've never played, for example I'm hoping to talk club mates into doing Lord of the Rings and Zombicide segments.

Later in the week I'll update this to show the games confirmed as being covered. If you think you'd like to get involved and cover a game, drop me an email at guildmonkee at gmail dot com (deconstructed to try and avoid spam).

Thursday, 6 February 2014

How much?!

Over the last few days I have bought in to three difference skirmish games, Empire of the Dead, Freebooters Fate and Hell Dorado.  At Vapnartak I was also shown some minis for Wild West Exodus (WWX), I really liked them and wanted to buy into the game but was shocked at the prices.  For the three games that I’ve bought, the one player starter sets were between £20 and £25 and rules are available to download online for free, for WWX the one player starters are £48.

This really made me think a lot about the start-up cost for a lot of games and the comparison is enlightening.  Below is a list of some of the games I looked at and the cost of the two player starter box.

Warmachine/Hordes - £67

Warhammer Fantasy/40k - £52

WWX - £88

Flames of War - £45

Dropzone Commander - £54

Bolt Action - £54

Obviously the contents of the box change from game to game but it appears that game companies are aiming for the £50-£60 mark for the starter boxes (even the notoriously expensive DZC), this makes the price of WWX even harder to justify.  For games without  a two player starter box, the combined start-up cost of two starters would be roughly in that region (e.g. two Malifaux crews plus rules manual is about £60, two Infinity starters are around £50 and the rules are a free download).

In terms of box contents the closest to WWX is Warmachine, it contains roughly the same things and number of minis.  The key difference is that the WWX box contains all man sized minis and the Warmachine one contains some much larger ones (therefore using more raw material to make).

I have heard very good things about the gameplay of WWX and the majority of the minis are nice, I just don’t see myself buying into it at that price level when I can have two games for roughly the same cost.  That being said, if I see one going cheap I’ll be tempted to pick it up.

I am currently looking for a new skirmish level game to peak my interest, if you have any recommendations, please let me know (unless you’re going to recommend Warmahordes, it’s not a fucking skirmish game if there’s 200 minis!).

Monday, 3 February 2014

The Incredible Monkee

Yesterday at Vappa, pretty much everyone asked me the same question.

What are you playing now?

This question should have been easy to answer but sadly, it wasn't. Since leaving Malifaux I've only really played two games on a regular basis, X-Wing and D&D. I love playing D&D but, because it involves organising a big group, it's difficult to play as often as I'd like.

That leaves X-Wing as the game I've played most frequently. Garrison has a great bunch of guys that play it and I'll gladly spend an evening a week playing it. Part of the reason I like it may also be the reason it may not become my main game, pre-painted minis. A big part of gaming for me is the hobby side of things and that is lacking. Sure, I could touch up or repaint the minis but as they're painted and tourney legal, that seems like a waste of hobby time.

So, where does this leave me? At the moment I feel like I'm walking slowly down the gaming highway with my thumb out and sad music playing in the background (don't make me angry!). Sooner or later a game will pick me up, it's just not come over the hill yet.

There's a long list of games that I want to try including Wild West Exodus, Hell Dorado, Bushido, Infinity and Freebooters Fate. I already have plans sorted for trying Bushido and today I ordered a starter box for Empire of the Dead.

Until I find a game that sticks, I have enough board and card games to keep me going.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Vappa 2014, emotional and educational

Today was an odd day. It was York's annual gaming show, Vapnartak, and I had offered to help out local henchman Chris who was running the Malifaux tournament. I volunteered to help for two reasons, one was to catch up with the Malifaux tourney crowd and the other was to ease the pressure on Chris as it was the first he was running (I don't think anyone would have guessed though).

When I looked at the entry list, roughly half of the names were familiar to me and there were some that I really wanted to catch up with.

Old people often say that it's the little things that make memories and I finally understand that. It was the little things that made me smile today, as much as an ice hockey player can smile anyway. Here's some of the little things that made me realise why I miss the tournament scene.

Mike Marshall bounding into the room like a beardless Santa on a sugar high.
Matt Spooner opening a can of Dragon Soop at the start of game one (roughly 10am).
Joel Henry coming back from lunch with so much shopping even Barry would be impressed.
Meeting another Twitter regular for the first time in the form of Pete Wright (a thoroughly nice chap he is too).
Dave Chandler remaining the cheeriest man alive despite getting hammered.
Craig Johnson bitching about how badly it's going while battering his opponent.
Lee Batrick shamelessly whoring out (yes, the ironic plug was intentional).

I'm sure you'll notice that none of those have anything to do with the game being played. One of the random people I spoke to made a great point when I said the community is great, he said that the same can be said of any gaming group. Later in the day I saw Baby Jake who had not seen many of the Warmachine crowd in a year or two. Despite that, when he entered that area they welcomed him like a long lost brother.

Vappa is also a somewhat unique event. York has two gaming clubs (York Garrison and York Wargaming Society) and it is the only event where both clubs work together. Although in the past relations have been strained (all is good now), Vappa is the one day of the year that members of both clubs get in the trenches together.

I've been to YWS a few times and it is a very different club to Garrison (they're big in the Warmachine scene) but dealing with their members at Vappa makes you realise that gamers aren't significantly different just because they play a different game. This makes me confident that whatever direction my hobby ultimately takes, I'll find people that I can call friend.

Last time I wrote a post like this I got called a sentimental old git and to be fair, that's not entirely untrue. There are people I see on a daily basis that I genuinely don't give two shits about yet there are people I've met at tournaments that I'm proud to call friend.

As a final note I'd like to urge everyone to take a step back and really look at your gaming group and appreciate what it gives you. If you're one of the "tractor massive", please don't do this, all you'll realise is how fucking inbred you all are.