Friday, June 24, 2011

Getting Over It

I've reached a point in my hobby, one that all of us reach eventually. It's that point that invites things like house rules and things taken "in the spirit of the game." It's a simple realization that everybody comes to eventually, and can be easily summed up by the words of one Captain Planet:

Simply put, it is your hobby and you should be able to enjoy it as you wish to. I recently had chance to apply this paradigm shift when looking at my newest Malifaux crew, the Viktorias. I started putting a list together, and a pattern started to take shape. We have gunslinger Vik, a girl with a trenchcoat that apparently incorporates a corset as well as sword mistress Vik, a girl wearing a collar, some leggings, and not much else. Ronin add some hot cowgirls, which is always a good thing, and to round it out we have Taelor, Lady Hammerstrike, who has possibly the best underboobs ever seen on a miniature (on this scale, at least). Then, to round out the crew, we have this:

Wyrd's Registered Sex Offender

Not a bad looking model by any means, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't quite fit my theme. I want this army to flow more like hot girl > hot girl > hot girl, not hot girl > hot girl > pedophile. But alas, that is the model that Wyrd has graced us with, and I must do my best with what I have. Perhaps with a good paint job, I could.... wait, what am I talking about? Fuck this noise; it's my army and my game and I'm going to enjoy it. I took the liberty of ordering the Conflict Gunslinger's stat card and, instead of using their model, I'm going with this:

Reaper Mini's Ellen Stone, Cowgirl, painted by Jennifer Haley

Not bad at all. Down the line I might get an "offical" model in case I'm playing in a Wyrd sponsored tournament or the like, but I don't think anybody is going to have any problem with my little change for the sake of cleavage during day to day play. Hell, I think either gender can appreciate my choice just for not having to look at that guy. He seriously has some problems, and I think perhaps the therapy isn't working.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Where and How of Gaming

As I sit near my pool, enjoying a fine Dominican cigar and the companionship of my favorite Schnauzer, I can't help but think of the state of our hobby, particularly given the massive customer rebellion of Games Workshop's latest practices. To comment on those practices here would be pointless, as many have already made similar points and I would hate to muddy the waters.

Many of my local compatriots have decided to boycott Games Workshop and its assorted stores, and I commend them for it. To stand for what you believe in is a great boon to a community that has seen GW's stores and policies essentially corner the market. The question, then, becomes simple: Where do you go and what do you do now that GW is no longer an option?

When you ask what to do, the answer is pretty simple, but the simplicity makes it complicated. There are multitudes of game systems and models out there (which I will cover in due time, of course), from Warmachine/Hordes to Malifaux to Battletech to D&D to board games, all options that were closed to you when you only suckled on the teat of the Workshop. Of course, you could still play 40k, fantasy, bloodbowl, or the variety of other GW games. There's no reason not to.

The Sultan from Geek Chic - A deal at $8,850

As to the where, the question becomes far more difficult. Many of us do not have marble inlay gaming tables with mats of the finest vellum, nor the space to house such a thing. While I do not suffer such difficulties, I enjoy problem solving and some of my less economically savvy friends do feel these pains, so I will give you some options.

The first is the simplest; play at your own manor. Popular hardware stores sell very affordable particle board that can easily be laid down upon your kitchen, dining, or breakfast nook table to provide an even and appropriately sized gaming surface. A simple application of paint or fine velvet makes the table a good option for those of you with limited budgets. Such boards can even be cut into smaller sections to facilitate easy storage.

The second option, and perhaps the most fun, is the “Friendly Local Game Store”, commonly called the FLGS. They often have gaming tables as well as providing soda, snacks, and the gaming supplies you need. They will be happy to have you as a customer, and you'll be happy to have them as a source for quality gaming goods. My personal FLGS is staffed by only the finest people and actually happen to offer a better Games Workshop selection than the local GW stores, oddly enough. I still avoid that section to instead focus on other games. The employees are both happy to assist and, being gamers themselves, knowledgeable of the products on their shelves. Some are even fluent in nerdspeak, a bizarre language consisting entirely of damage tables and initiative checks.

I can hear you beginning to dictate letters to your servants now, asking “well, Baron, what do I do if I don't have space in my guest house for a gaming table and I do not have an FLGS near my cottage in the Swiss alps?” Tell your man to stay his hand, and listen to the third option. It is perhaps the most ambitious, but the dividends are worth the work. The task is to find a place where you can play, either free or cheaply, with a modicum of privacy and space. Simply look around you! Many public libraries are willing to give space to local gaming groups in their unused meeting rooms, and places like bowling alleys not only have the space in their unused banquet halls, but actually serve alcohol on the premises. Their selection may not match your private cellars, but a couple drinks more than makes up for the privilege of gaming in their establishment.

Bowling Alleys - Not just for drunks

Gamers of late have become lazy, complacent in the availability of Games Workshop stores and the relative ease of getting their products. You need to look back and realize that what we do is not just game; it's a labor of love. We work hard on our models and spend increasingly large amounts of our parent's money to acquire the latest and greatest. Take the time to apply that same passion to making a gaming group or building some collapsible gaming tables, and the hobby will truly become yours. Nobody can take away your passion or your skill; don't let them take away your hobby.