Saturday, 16 January 2016

Beware The Savage Yaw Of 1984: A Bearded Quail Birthday

Being born in 1984 does rather give your birthday a sinister edge.

Wednesday 13th January marked the anniversary of my birthday.  I have now leveled up and become a 32 year old Quail: I’ve gained a couple of ranks in some skills, though I think I’m doing poorly when it comes to ageing rolls to Endurance.

This being the sort of blog this is, you aren’t going to care too much about what I had for a birthday dinner or if I plan any sort of friend gathering.  You probably don't even care about any deep personal trauma I'm having about turning 32 and OH MY GOD I'M STILL A WASTE OF SPACE WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE.

"I think I can just about see my mid-life crisis from here"

What you are going to care about is whether I’ve received any gifts which fall into the nerdy purview of this blog.  You know, stuff to do with wargaming or roleplaying or what have you.

The answer to that question, unsurprisingly, is Yes”.

It's all very Rampage

Ginger Dave and Joanna, current and former members of my RP group respectively, got me a copy of the board game King of Tokyo.  This is something that’s been on my to-buy list for a bit – a dinner with fellow nerdy couple Weeble and Keirstan introduced us to this game which was a lot of fun  but for a while it proved hard to find in the shops.  Clearly a new print or something was done because it’s finally turned up in circulation again, so I need no longer only pretend to be a giant-sized alien bunny bent on destruction when I go to visit Weeble and Keirstan.

Designed by Dr Richard Garfield – the designer of, amongst other things, the original Magic: The Gathering game – the premise of King of Tokyo is that each player is a kaiju or giant monster ravaging the eponymous Japanese city.  The six brightly-coloured character in the core game all start identical but as play progresses they can draw from a deck of monstrous powers which can see them gain new tricks – wings, two heads, poisonous sting or what have you.  Custom six-sided dice are used to roll to power-up your monsters and then launch their next attack.

Cyber Bunny, one of the six player characters.

Victory is gained by the player who raises score to a certain threshold – but getting to that threshold involves sitting in the middle of Tokyo, a big target for the opposition to lay into you and must be done carefully.  Thus there’s a certain psychological element to it which means the game plays a lot better with more players than with just two or three.  Supplements and a New York-themed edition exist, but I’ve yet to try them so can’t comment on them.

I Got A Silver Machine

Sister Superior got me some new figures: from PuppetWars, a pair of “Doom Jetbiker” figures.  One of many Polish third-party figure manufactuer, their range includes some fun vehicle and walker type elements and the aforementioned Jetbiker is an overtly Chaos-styled jetbike, something I don’t think any other producer makes.

I’m not always too keen on the techno-organic look for the traitors, feeling it can be a bit overdone and preferring my Chaos Space Marines to look more like  Space Marines who serve Chaos rather than mutated monstrosities.  For example, I prefer the Forge World Hell Blade and Hell Talon flyers to the Heldrake that Games Workshop produced.  I once read a blog post which described this sort of look as “Space Marines who had gazed into the abyss… and decided to switch over to the winning side” and I think that’s a great way of putting it.

Still, sometimes a model is too pretty to resist.  The Doombike’s front has a turbine flanked by a perimeter of teeth which gives the whole thing a predatory, shark-like feel.  I don’t actually rate the official Forge World Horus Heresy Jetbike model (it’s a bit clunky looking for my tastes) so I was very much open to an alternative and this is a great one.  The only alteration I might do to the figure is giving one of them an alternate weapon, replacing the twin-linked bolters (mounted underneath the turbine) with a sonic blaster or plasma gun.  Need to give my Horus Heresy army list a peruse and see what the legal options are.


In a non-hobby but still nerdy vibe, my DVD collection has been expanded slightly.  Sister Superior got me Space: Above and Beyond which has been on my wish list for a very long time.   It took a long time to come out on Region 2 DVD which should surprise no-one because it'll mostly be remembered as a failed TV show.  It got one series then vanished into the night. 

Other darker sci-fi from the time did quite well - it shared a production team with X-Files and premièred in the same era s Babylon 5 and Deep Space Nine which all ran for many years.  For whatever reason, S:AaB just didn't click with the viewing public of the mid-90s.

"And If They Lay Us Down To Rest..."
As a child though X-Files did nothing and despite being a die-hard Original Series/Next Gen Trekkie I found the first series or two of Deep Space Nine a bit underwhelming.  (I mean, I still watched it, but I'd still say it's spotty for the first few years.)  It was Babylon 5 and Space: Above and Beyond from this era that I really enjoyed, so getting a chance to watch it again is pretty cool.

Our Traveller game last summer was a bit of a mixed bag as you may recall and part of that was a lack of focus.  Would using S;AaB as a model and doing a hardish sci-fi militaristic style game maybe be a better model for play?  Would a chain of command and a clearer role per person give the game direction, or would it run the risk of making everyone a bit samey and removing some of weird and wonderful character paths players can take?

Ain't no party like a golem party

Back to wargame models and Priestly Paul very kindly offered to make a donation on behalf of my birthday - when I played Kings of War with him at the end of the year he loaned me a few figures, and he has informed he wishes to make the Obsidian Golems a permanent gift to the forces of my Chaos Dwarfs.  That's very kind of him - I imagine it also makes Mrs Paul happy because it gets his unpainted plastic collection down!

An awesome paint job by Alex Marsh

I saw an awesome example online of painting Bloodletters in a lava-y motif on Facebook and I think I might be busting that painting guide out on these golems.  Yet another thing to put on the "watch this space" list.

Speaking of hobby progress....

One more shell of a ruin building
Although the bulk of my birthday was spent eating pasta and watching Beetlejuice - Sister Superior got me it on Blu-Ray and I don't think I've seen it since the mid-nineties - I did find some time to continue my Warhammer work and I made one more ruined building shape out of cardboard.  Next step is to use filler, sand and paint to turn these from brown cardboard shapes into actual proper terrain pieces.

On a vaguely related note: My colleagues at work noticed that I was scurrying cardboard tubes away under my desk rather than bin them and were amused when I showed them my pictures of my terrain.  They understand my nerdy persuasion but I don't think they quite realised the "turn rubbish into models" thing!

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