Thursday, September 22, 2016

On The Bench September 2016

Developed a system that keeps me painting. No multi-tasking. I suck at it.

My usual technique of "not wasting paint" and having 2-3 projects in rotation always frustrated me. I'd miss steps and not realize it until after I was ahead a step or 2. I'd rush and take shortcuts. I'd make mistakes. I'd get frustrated and take a week or two long break; all the things that can happen has.

This summer I paired it down some. Right now it's the purest "new technique" so far though the draw to start something else is still there I have not done so.

On my list right now is my Scots Covenanters... I'm still plugging away at them like I have been all year. I'm down to the end now and looking forward to being done. Done are:
x24 Pike
x48 Musketeers
x12 Lancers
x2 Field Guns and crew
x1 Saker and crew
x2 Mounted Commanders

I'm naming them Earl of Louden's Regiment as I have the colors for that unit. Remaining to be painted:
x12 Lancers
x1 Saker
x12 Firelock Crew

I've started the Lancers last Sunday while listening to a football game on the radio. I like to do them in lots of 6 and I started with horses, or as was noted in the times - Scottish Nags.

Most of the games I will be playing with these is Warlord's Pike and Shotte. There's no figure removal so I based some double-y on 50mm X 50mm bases for ease of table manipulation. Last night (Wednesday night) I got the main coats of paint down and based them and gave the first coat of gloss. Tonight I matte and maybe flock if time allows. Saturday and Sunday I start and finish the riders. the following week I plan to do the same with the other 6 figures and I'll be done.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Saga Tips V – What You Got

Been awhile, since last year I believe. Last I wrote about was a 12 figure Hearthguard aka “Deathstar” aka “Panzer” et al. I don’t like those nicknames much so I will use a very vanilla “x12 HG” when I refer to it from now on. I still promote it and find that it still covers most of your bases most of the time. Rarely, is it not useful. Not a total game winner either but it’s a good start.

I like to stay away from Saga Board Abilities for the most part. Many reasons why. All of them are different and, honestly, I don’t know the best combos or contingencies. I have some favorites for the factions I play (Viking and Norman being my main ones now). One thing I have discovered is Saga Board abilities do not come up all the time.

Actually, this factor is what gave me an epiphany: What can my units do WITHOUT using the Saga Board? Let’s take a look at that and keep it in the most vanilla of terms.

Warlords have an armor of 5 (6 in shooting), generate 5 attack dice, and generate 3 Saga Dice. They also get some special abilities like Determination (free activation), Resilience (take more hits), We Obey and Side By Side. They activate on any Saga Dice and their exhaustion threshold is 4.

Hearthguards have an armor of 5, generate 2 attack dice per figure (1 per figure for shooting), generate a Saga Die per unit, activate on any Saga Dice, and their exhaustion threshold is 4.

Warriors have an armor of 4, generate an attack die per figure (1 for 2 figures shooting), generate a Saga Die per unit, activate on common and rare Saga Dice. Exhaustion threshold is 3 fatigues.

Levy, blessed Levy, have an armor of 3, generate 1 attack die per 3 figures (1 per 2 figures for shooting), do not generate a Saga die, and are exhausted after 2 fatigues. They activate on uncommon and rare Saga Dice.

All move Medium on foot or Long mounted.

With that unpacked above you can see why a x12 HG unit is effective. Activate on any dice and attack, at full strength, with 24 attack dice, and pretty resilient against exhaustion. This is even before you get into any kind of Saga Board abilities:
…24 attack dice, armor 5
Even if you lose a few in a prior melee or add a banner you still have a punch with them.

x8 Warrior units are still nothing to sneeze at too. Even better if you combine a few for x10 or x12 units. 

Levy? Well… many think they are weak and they kind of are. That said they may be your only ranged unit and that means they have a large area of influence. We all hate losing just 1 Hearthguard to a volley of Levy sling stones. Doing that still costs Saga Dice they don’t generate so my favorite thing to do with Levy is position them as a speed bump and resource-suck for my opponents. The main thing they’ve got going is there are x12 figures so they stick around much longer than their attacks and defense portrays. Deploy them as a screen, and when your opponent runs into them generate the 4 attack dice and burn 2 for a defense dice. Seems minuscule but you’ll be amazed.

Now, I’m not anti-Saga Board. I just look at those for what they really are – the flavor of your War Band. All of them have all kinds of cool abilities and many stack and one of the draws to this game is the “build” of some kind of multi-layered ability combo. Almost all strategy guides I see on the net are based off this train of thought. It’s very important to understand and figure out what your board can do and when. I just don’t like to see other players (including myself) shut down by a bad die roll. Sometimes those dice just don’t come up, even the common ones.

Thing is, even bad die rolls get you activations for your Hearthguard and Warlord. Plus you get a free one with your Warlord (and another unit can go with it) on top of that – no special board abilities needed.

What this boils down to is playing with what you have all the time. Cool board abilities and killer combos are just dessert. Too many times I’ve had plans crumble due to bad Saga Dice rolls and the lack of needed board abilities and I have seen others flounder and not enjoy the game when their dice don’t come up with the needed combos either. When you can play the ability as an added bonus to your already existing plan, that’s when your board will shine. For example:

Viking x12 HG engages an opponent. With banner it generates 22 attack dice. That’s good right there; that will wreck most other units on its own. Good chance this will destroy a lesser unit, almost 100% chance it will win and force a disengagement (there is minutiae there to deal with) unless that opponent unit has some board abilities up… taking opponent resources and making them play your game. Adding any Viking board abilities (my favorites being Frigg and Ullr*) just makes the good chance better.

*Frigg burns a fatigue for an attack die
*Ullr allows missed attack dice to be rerolled

All this said, or typed, I want it understood that I am no pro-level tournament player or anything like that. I’m still in my infancy in Historical Wargaming. I know that wins and skill in gaming are not the focus of this hobby. I do this, figure out a game, to be better at it as that is fun for me. Nothing pushes me from a game faster than not understanding it or really sucking at it and getting frustrated that it’s not “working”.

I hope I was helpful.
In Service-
-Gabe “Fat-Rollo” Martin

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Blogging from Stay'Cation Land

3/4 of the way into my Stay'Cation 2016. Not doing a TON of painting as I have in the past but I'm still getting some stuff done.

Went to Leavenworth, WA last week to visit with some in-laws that own a pear orchard in Cashmir. They live in Mississippi but come to the orchard in Washington annually to check on things and, occasionally, we are invited up to hang out with them.

Ronny (Pops-in-Law) and I spent a few hours in the pear orchard post harvest this year. We picked peaches, nectarines, and some left-over pears not suitable for market. That one hour in the fields, 90 degrees in the sun, reiterated the respect I have for the immigrant fruit pickers. I was doing it for fun and it still kicked my ass.

My haul was 7-8 dozen peaches. I spent yesterday peeling and putting up in the freezer about 2/3rd of that. This morning, as I type this, I am baking a peach custard. Should be done in about 10 minutes. I wonder if it will be good or not, never made a peach custard before.

Using some of this free time to get caught up on metal documentaries on Net Flix and Amazon Prime.Nothing too special or outstanding except the doc about Randy Blythe of Lamb of God and his troubles with  the Czech court system after getting charged with manslaughter after an accident at a 2010 concert in Prague. No spoilers but it was a good film as it did not start out as a film about that, just a film about Lamb of God and then the court thing happened in the middle of it It ended up, to me, being another situation of metal music itself being put up on trial.

**checks custard in oven**
I know one thing, sure taking a lot longer than the recipe's suggested 20 minutes.

Also been organizing some of my comic books. Not a huge task as I don't have a huge collection - and I found a buyer of comics in the Bay Area and I have a few things they want. Not going to get rich but the extra $20 bills in my Pay Pal account help fund my miniature buying for now - like this nice little package from Perry I bought a few weeks ago:

6 more Covenanters Advancing

...and a box of Agincourt Foot Knights

Back to comics, my favorite read right now has to be Manifest Destiny. It's Lewis and Clark crossed with Dungeons and Dragons. Instead of bears and supply issues they deal with monsters... well... and some supply issues. Then there are my usuals - Kirkman's The Walking Dead and Invincible. One of my new titles I am interested in is Brian Wood's Brigg's Land. Only one issue in so far and it's an interesting tale.

As far as minis go, I am finishing up, yet another, unit of Covenanter Musketeers. THis seems to never end but a good English Civil War game needs to have blocks of infantry bristling with pikes, at least in my opinion. As soon as I get these done I have a choice of starting another Lancer squad or some more pikemen. I'll figure it out when I get there, no deadlines crushing my soul.

We'll get painted some day, I swear!

**checks custard**
Holy Smokes! I think the custard is done! Now, set it on the counter and let it cool.

Well, heading off to get some other stuff done, visiting some old friends in Vancouver and getting some shopping done later today. Y'all have a good one!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Scale Comparison - Perry Covenanter and Old Glory Covenanter

I feel it's important to share information - I'm always searching the net for this kind of info before I buy.

Perry Miniatures Covenanter scale compared to Old Glory Lowland Musket scale:

Perry on the left - Old Glory on the right

The Perry figure is "leaning" over and stooped a bit. Old Glory figure is wearing a morion, standing up straighter. Also, the base is much thicker. 

A Perry figure stsanding up much straighter than the previous one. Even with the thinner base (Proxie Models) the eye-level of the figures are about the same.

Overall, the difference is so minute it will make little difference. The Old Glory sculpt is a bit deeper but, other than that, very minor difference.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

On the Bench - August

I always have a few little projects going. Here are the current main ones"

Another squad of Covenanter Musketeers. Ten of them and an officer and drummer. Here's a pic of the musketeers I'm painting right now:

I'm using Renedra plastic 20mm bases. The figures are a combination of Old Glory Scottish Lowland Musketeers (ECW-41) and Scottish Lowland Command (ECW-50). Using poster tac I've mounted them on plastic soda bottle caps, my new favorite tool for such things.

and... that's about it. That's the only major project I have right now. Should be done by this weekend, I have a second squad of musketeers to do. I am 6 figures short of a 12 musketeer squad so I ordered a 6-pack from Perry miniatures. Shipping from England so I'm being patient. I hope to get these done before my 2 week vacation come last half of August. I hope to not have any painting lined up for that 2 weeks, the first week will be easy as I will be up in Levenworth, WA with family. The second week will be a staycation so we will see if I can stay away from the painting table.

**I typed this last night. This morning I got a message from one of the other firms in my work building in downtown Portland that a package was delivered to them accidentally, and it was from England. Went and got it and BAM - 6 Covenanter musketeers from Perry.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Friday Night Game

Usual Friday night game with Spencer. This time we went to Guardian and played some Saga.

I had some new terrain pieces - a resin ship (Old Glory Viking Longship), some wattle fences (Renedra), and a resin well (locals Monday Knight Games) - that I wanted to show off. I also brought my Normans and Spencer played his Irish.

We played a scenario out of The Crescent and The Cross, we both feel those scenarios are much clearer and better playing than Saga Dark Age Scenarios. We had a good game and I got a few pictures. I was in the fifth round when Spencer rallied and, in the end, we had a draw.

I played William the Bastard who has some good abilities that boost archers. Also, with him, you get "warrior archers". An Irish weakness is lower armor when shot at. As is usual ranged combat is not that good in Saga, understandably so, but I was able to keep the Irish at bay and at range. Things folded when I lost 7 of my 8 crossbowmen. I sent in the knights who did not hit as hard as I had wanted and just could not score well enough for a "comfortable" lead. It ended up being a very tight game and Spencer's rally was rather spectacular.

Norman ship landing and needing some repairs. Patrols sent out and Irish were found!

Lone survivor crossbowman returns from the front line. "Get back on the ship!" orders William.

Spencer plans his rally, down by 5 points or so.

The beginnings of the rally, at the end of this there were much less Normans riding around on horses.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Heavy Metal

Went to Enchanted Forest (the famous one “7 miles south of Salem, OR” as the 80s TV commercial would always say) a few weekends ago for a special record release party. The person that made all the music for the park put out an album (label Wyrd War) of her music for the park. Vinyl of course. The release party was at the park itself where she played music from the album, a show from her band Almost Irish, and that was proceeded by a metal show with Thrones and Danava.

I’ve gone to four Wyrd War events this year so far and they have all been phenomenal. Like, I feel at home at their events and they have all been fun, affordable, fun, and highly entertaining. Tiffany and Dennis are good people too and I enjoy that they love what they are doing. For a guy that always feels like an outsider like me, I have never felt like one at a Wyrd War show.

I’ve mentioned before I am a metal-head. I like a lot of stuff – punk, hardcore, new wave, hip-hop, rock, metal, funk, R&B (and many of the niches and sub-genres in between) … actually it’s easier to list what I am not into:
1) Pop (in all iterations)…. I’ve liked a couple pop songs but I’m just not into pop.
2) Jazz… I respect, but that’s a lot of work to get into it.
3) EDM or whatever it’s called now …

It started with AC/DC. Before that I liked Adam (and the) Ant(s), DEVO, and whatever but AC/DC is what got into me. Then Black Sabbath, then Van Halen, then I got into British stuff like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, et al. *

*then came punk, then came hard core, then came the Big Four and all that thrash…

Instead of listing the history of my metal-pedigree, I’ll just note some points in my life.

My very first concert was Ozzy and Motley Crue. Shout at the Devil – Bark at the Moon tour. I was in 7th grade so 1984? The whole concert-going process was new to me and this was to be my first experience, at Portland Memorial Coliseum. I bought one ticket at the Ticket Master kiosk in GI Joes sporting goods, I had saved up some money from some allowances and my Mom gave me some to cover the cost. I got some nose-bleeds.

My Dad dropped me off at The Coliseum and there were thousands of metal/stoners there. None of them scared me. I even ran across a guy I was in Tae Kwon Do with and we chatted but had to take off as he was meeting friends and he was a little older and “cooler” than me but I understood.  I found out where to stand in line and kept to myself mostly.

While waiting in line a youth minister (they were there in force protesting the show and reiterating the Ozzy Bites Chicken Heads off myth) approached me and said he saw I looked scared. I told him this was my first concert. I mean, I was a perfect target for them – some lonely fat kid with braces. Some stoner girls (18 years old or there-abouts) stood up for me. Told the minister to leave me alone and not scare me. The minister offered to buy my ticket off me and take me to the nearby church where they were having a party and praying for everyone at the Ozzy concert. No way man! I saw that after school special… I mean:
Get in a stranger’s van, go drink some kool aid, sing hymns, pray, get $20 back.
See Ozzy and Crue, fire and giant bats, and think I’m going to score on hot stoner chicks I have zero chance with.

I chose the latter. I had a good time!

In the same year I saw the exact opposite of the above show – Frankie Goes to Hollywood. I believe the B52s opened? I’m not sure. This show was great. My first look at “gay-music culture”, so many pretty people, and I made out with a girl I went to junior high with though I forgot her name… it was a one-night summer romance.

The following year I went to my third show, again this was totally different than the previous two, and saw Poison Idea and Suicidal tendencies. There were a few other bands playing before them too but I’ve forgotten who they were. Hard core, mosh pit, cheap beer flying in the air, and sweet sweet 3 chord riffs really loud. Plus it was cheap and a small venue and I got to meet ST and Poison Idea (who are from Portland!). This was it for me. These guys were not gods, they were what I was looking to be when I grew up in a few years… well, not literally as I was never in a band. This was it for me – songs actually about how I felt which was pissed off, guarded, and ready to fight back.

I followed the above with Circle Jerks and 7 Seconds, Poison Idea and Cro Mags, ??? and Black Flag. Seeing Rollins sing My War was a chapter in my life.

Mid 80s and MTV was playing The Young Ones. First episode I saw introduced me to Lemmy and Motorhead. Later I figured out that’s what all the kids at hard core shows, and later thrash shows, were wearing Motorhead shirts for. I loved them.

I loved Thrash; Anthrax, Metallica, and Slayer mainly. Not so much Megadeath. I also got into SOD and the Thrash/HC cross-over was heavy on the west coast. Especially in a suburb like Vancouver, WA, only so many punk-metal kids and access to it so you got into it all. I never went full-stoner though as those guys were burn-outs and I got into sports.

90s came grunge (which I already was leaning towards as I was into stoner stuff back then and grunge comes from that and punk hybrid stuff) but I was in the Navy and out to see so most of that scene I missed. It cleaned the world or a lot of the lame shit though – hair and smile metal. By the time I got out of the Navy I was into White Zombie and Ministry.

By 1999 I had been burnt out on metal. Everything was so serious and/or industrial. Someone burnt me a copy of Sleep’s Holy Mountain and that was about all the metal I listened too for a few years.

In 2005 I was introduced to High on Fire. Fuck that was awesome! About a year after that I found out Matt Pike was also in Sleep… Holy Shit!! 2006 rolled around and I would cruise Comcast On Demand “metal station” and I found The Sword and Early Man. I was totally back into metal.

The only consistent in my life from the late 80s to now was GWAR. I love GWAR. I have never been let down by GWAR. Dave Brockie dying a few years ago was a serious shot to me. Lemmy too but every day after Lemmy turned 50 was a blessing to us (so, 20 year’s worth of blessing). Brockie was still pretty young (50) and I miss him today. I cried at the last GWAR show I went to last year as we said goodbye to Oderus, I’ve never cried at a show before and I was not alone. GWAR still moves on though.

In the late 90s I saw TOOL. That was, probably, the best show I ever saw. I got lucky and got ground floor tickets. Before this show I kind of liked TOOL. After that show I loved TOOL for the rest of my life. There have been a few nights in my life that I was feeling alone and worthless and not in a good place and I listened to TOOL all night long and I heard wisdom and picked myself up and made things better. Mainly the thought it was my fault thus my responsibility thus under my control.

I never got into the darker/spookier/Satanic-y-er stuff like Norwegian Black Metal. I don’t think Satan is real (I’m an atheist) and, though I appreciate the neo-satanic-atheist movements currently, it’s all just dumb to me. Also, way too much neo-nazism.

Currently really into the Doom/Stoner/Sludge stuff. At 45 years old that may be where I settle too as my wife also likes a lot of it (she’s a recovering goth) and I think I’m just getting to old to spend so much energy discovering new things. I’m pretty satisfied now.

Have a good day and I’m off to buy a record player!!