Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hobby Resolutions for 2017

Not sure why I keep doing this to myself since clearly my resolve is lacking and I never seem to stick to them. Still, it's a tradition now so let's get on with it starting, as ever, with a look back over last year's resolutions.

  • Double Trouble - this is at least one I can tick off. I was really pleased with how the event went and how well people embraced the spirit of it. I'm really looking forward to the next one.
  • Get the scenery done - I'm looking at last year's resolutions post and Siph's comment "I'll believe it when I see it Alex" is haunting me. I made some progress on my scenery but nothing finished all year. 
  • Clear out the crap - I ended up with more crap if anything - fail! Needs to happen in 2017 though before the move into the garage. Watch this space! 
  • Paint all my knights - well partial credit here surely? Two of my four knights are "finished". Be nice to get my original knight up to the same standard and work on my freeblade too though.
  • Finish some Tau/SW units - nope!
  • Blogging - more hobby posts was the aim. Well, I barely posted about my hobby in the past so this was a somewhat meagre goal but with all of the knight stuff I think I did reasonably well.
  • Torunaments - think I managed my lofty goal of "the odd one here and there". Go me!
What about this year then?
  • Scenery - this is getting to be a bit of a joke/farce but I really really really want to get my scenery done. Doesn't help that I can't remember playing more than a couple of games on my own table all of 2016 though! Perhaps I should forget about the idea of having an alternate set of desert terrain and just worry about getting my winter stuff done. Still, it really doesn't take long to produce so there shouldn't be any excuse. Right Jamie and Siph, hit me with your sarcasm.
  • Clear Out The Crap - I've changed my mind about the Dark Angels. Seems a shame to get rid of another army that I've put work into (like I did with my Eldar a while ago). I think I just need to rationalise my collection though. The same goes for all my armies to a greater or lesser extent. There'll be a decent amount of space in my garage but I really want things to be better organised in there.
  • Painting - As I posted about at some point in 2016, I've given up on the idea of setting myself targets to keep to get my armies done. Instead I'm just going to go with the flow. Since I posted about this I haven't actually finished anything but again, hopefully the garage will change that.
  • Blogging - I've found my motivation lacking of late but hopefully I'll find some inspiration again when I start playing more games again
  • Tournaments - I'll be attending at least one event this year, Double Trouble 2 but who knows if I'll be playing in it. Outside of that I'd like to attend some 40K, X-wing and Blood Bowl events.
  • Double Trouble 2 - obviously I want this to be bigger and better than DT2. At least the venue will be better so I'm already winning!

So, essentially what I'm doing here is avoiding setting specific goals so I can feel better about myself next year! I'm putting a lot of hope into the garage conversion spurring me to new heights of hobby production but we'll have to wait and see I guess. 

As I said in my review post. We've got a big game coming up at the end of Jan so I need to get some Orks ready for that so there'll likely be my first order of business. What I'd really like to do though is get my new Human Blood Bowl team painted. I can't promise I won't be distracted and paint them instead. Clearing out the crap has to come before anything else though as it's a necessary part of the garage move. 

So, hands up who thinks I'll get any scenery finished in the next 12 months....

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Obligatory End of Year Review Post!

It's that time of year again when I look back over the last twelve months and remember how little hobby progress I've made once again! This will shortly be followed by interminably optimistic new year's hobby resolutions post where I list out a load of fictitious scenarios where I actually get something done! Still, shame to break tradition. Here goes...

The Year in Review
I started off the year in fine style with a trip to WHW for GW's anniversary celebrations. We played an awesome game of Orks vs The Imperium to celebrate and my greenskins triumphed. It was an excellent way to kick off. Incidentally, we've booked some tables at the Sanctuary at the end of January for another big game between the Imperium and the Orks but this time I'll be joined by some of Nurgle's cronies.

It was around this time that I put the Double Trouble tickets on sale and started the discussion about how the event would run. I'll talk more about DT later but suffice to say DT2 tickets will be on sale very early in the new year.

Over the first quarter of the year I spent my time building/magnetising my two new Imperial Knights followed by several airbrush sessions. It wasn't until March until I declared them "finished" just in time for them to help Matt and I to victory at an Outpost doubles event. 

I then went into full time Double Trouble build up with plenty of shots of your progress getting your armies ready for the event. I'd like to do this again for DT2 but I'll let you know how you can submit your photos soon. It's a great excuse to start a new army or get a 750pt chunk of one of your existing armies painted up. My attempts to get my DE ready for the event resulted in a massive failure but at least some progress was made. I'd be very surprised if my DE get any love this coming year though. If anything I'll be culling their numbers with some eBay auctions.

Double Trouble was the mid point of the year and, venue issues aside, I thought it was a great success for the first event in a new format. I'm looking forward to DT2 and who knows, maybe I'll run two in 2017.

My blogging dropped off dramatically in the second half of the year. I posted 45 times in the first six months (mostly DT build up I'll grant you) but I've only posted 14 times since the start of July (including this post!). I didn't post in October at all!!! There were a multitude of reasons for this but hopefully my posting will be more consistent next year.

The latter half of the year also saw me playing very little 40K and instead I participated in some X-wing events. This was a nice change of pace and I'm looking forward to more X-wing in the coming year. I will say that X-wing is in danger of becoming over complex though as more and more releases hit. More on that another time.

The last major gaming of the year was Fluffaggedon for which I returned to my faithful Space Wolves. Not a stellar performance on my part but I thought Matt did an excellent job in running his first event. Hopefully he'll run more in 2017, I'll obviously keep you posted.

The year was rounded out with the start of my work on the garage conversion. The re-release of Blood Bowl was awesome and although little has changed I'm hoping the new set will boost it's popularity and hopefully I can get myself into some league play. I managed to get in a couple of games with my brother-in-law and a friend from work which certainly rekindled my love for the game.

My final gaming of the year was an X-wing session with Matt and despite losing both games I enjoyed myself and particularly liked smashing both of Matt's heroes in Gorechosen to end the night.

Blog Stats
Another dip in views this year from 340,000 last year to 250,000 this year. Doesn't sound so bad until you realise that a big chunk of those views have come from Russian bots of some description. Seems to have been an issue affecting a lot of blogs but makes it very difficult to tell how many people are actually viewing the site. I suspect a pretty large proportion of those views are coming from Russia though. I mean, assuming I've never had a view from Russia before (which isn't the case) there's 50,000 views from there in my blog's history. Still, the drop in views is hardly surprising when I've posted just under 60 times compared to 80 last year. Last month's views (16,300) were even lower than September last year which was the lowest since Feb 2013.

Like I say every year. I'd love there to be more hobby content on here next year but that obviously depends on how much I do. Maybe the new surroundings in the garage will inspire me?

Hobby Progress
Extremely little outside of my knights. I'm struggling to think of anything else I actually "finished" this year. The less said about this the better.

Unless I'm forgetting something I only played in three 40K events this year with a further two X-wing events. Didn't help that the WHW events didn't fall on great weekends for me but it's becoming increasingly difficult to commit to events. My hobby is so often motivated by needing to get things ready for an event so it's no surprise that I haven't achieved much.

Probably my worst year to date in terms of hobby progress, tournaments and blogging. I can't really put my finger on why. Total War: Warhammer certainly took a big chunk out of my free time but I just haven't been motivated. A lot of the problem has been the disorganisation in my gaming room. Maybe when the garage is done and everything is in a sensible place I'll feel more relaxed. Being able to watch TV shows on my PC whilst painting will make a big difference I think.

A bit of a forlorn feeling to this post for which I apologise. The solution is naive optimism for the year ahead so look forward to that in the next post!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Double Trouble - Feedback Summary and Decisions for DT2

First things first. Double Trouble 2 will be happening on Saturday 10th June 2017 at the North West Gaming Centre. I was tempted to run it this Winter but I had a discussion with my wife about it and she laughed at me because she knew I'd say that despite saying after BW10 that it was too much work running two. I am, however, considering a Blood Bowl event but I'll get to that later.

Right, onto the feedback. Firstly, thanks again to everyone who took the time to comment or email me. It always sounds corny but I really do think the event is better because of it. I know I can't make everyone happy, I gave up with that after the first couple of Blog Wars. What I can do though is try and make it the best event possible for those who come along and that's why I do this whole process. Sorry it's taken me so long to get around to publish this though. I'll group things into categories as before.

The Venue
This was probably the biggest issue last time. It was probably more of a big deal for me running the event than for the guys who came along mind you. I've given it a lot of thought and decided that we'd just be cutting our nose off to spite our face by not returning to NWGC and as you can see from the opening line of this post I've already booked us in. We wouldn't be double booked again and they've made the venue look great. Take a look at the pictures on their FB page It's vastly improved from before. The lunch situation will be significantly better because we're going back to using Subway again. Be nice to give everyone a hot meal but easy to cater for everyone and hopefully be decent weather by then anyway.

Round Times
From the feedback it seemed that most people were at least getting to turn 5 most of the time so perhaps this isn't as much of an issue as I thought. Still, I think there's some work I can do to make the process smoother. People had said the pregame wasn't too bad but it's an easy bit to "fix" so I'm going to tinker a little bit.

I was considering the same deployment in each round but generally I think people were happy enough with it. Seems that the table quarters in round two were a bit small for some armies. How would people feel about using Vanguard strike instead? I know it's fiddly to set up but most people are used to it and there'd be more space. I wanted to avoid Hammer & Anvil because the venue doesn't normally lend itself to that layout and you can easily end up with a long distance between the two armies.

The deployment in the final mission need some work. If it's going to stay the same then things need clarifying such as where reserves come on. I know it makes it easy to gang up on people but that can be the nature of doubles regardless of deployment. Maybe having a more standard layout but having the teams alternate deployment. Could make for some interesting tactical decisions.

I'm pretty happy with this as it is. The two concurrent missions work pretty well and play to people's strengths. I've tweaked a couple of things on the spreadsheet to make life easier but generally speaking I'm going to leave this alone. Having one team win one mission but not the other helps play to the more relaxed atmosphere I reckon.

Forge World
Doesn't seem to me that people thought Forge World was too bad. Difficult to tell from a single event with only limited use of FW I suppose. Again, I think I'll keep things the same and see how it goes. With only 750pts to play with it isn't likely that people will be too filthy. Some of the standard 40K formations are filth anyway!

Speaking of which, I can't decide what to do about these. There's a part of me that wants to ban them completely but I know that limits what people can bring. Maybe having some form of "unbound" where you can only bring stuff from a single codex and no more than two of anything? Would love to hear your thoughts. 

I know this was a big problem last time. I don't think an outright ban is the way to go but an elegant solution would probably be that you can't break the "no more than two of any unit" rule with summoning. That means you could replace lost units of a particular type but never exceed the starting amount. Obviously you could still summon two of something else that wasn't in your original list but again, no more than two of them alive at any one time. Does that sound reasonable?

Random Pairings
This is definitely staying. It gives the event its identity like the compulsory SC did for Blog Wars. It's significantly less "trouble" if it's just normal doubles. By mixing up each and every single pairing it makes for a social atmosphere and hopefully means no-one takes things too seriously.

Painting Competition
I think this can stay as it is too. The issues last time were more to do with the crappy room we were in with its limited space. In the main hall with tables already set out for the competition it should run much more smoothly and better lighting couldn't hurt!

I think that's it. I'd really love to hear your feedback on the suggestions I've made above. Once I've managed to get the rules pack updated I'll put tickets on sale. Hopefully you'll all be able to make it again and maybe we'll have even more than last time! I can promise the prizing structure will remain the same (if not slightly more generous). 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Gaming Garage(TM) Conversion - Part 2

I may not have posted in a while but I have been busy nonetheless. Work continues on the conversion of my garage into a gaming/hobby space. It's difficult to make great strides when I'm only getting to work on it sporadically but I've managed to get another couple of sessions in with my Dad so there has been progress.

Fortunately my garage already has power and lighting so we were able to create a new ring main from the existing breaker. We put the wiring in before the plasterboard went up so there'll be no unsightly trunking. There'll be four sockets in the room plus a fifth in the residual garage to plug the lawnmower, etc into.

The dividing wall between the room and the residual bit of the garage got some 50 mm insulation before screwing up a couple of 2400 x 1200 mm plasterboards on the room side. On the other side two 2400 x 1200 mm sheets of 25 mm insulation cover the entire wall before some plywood was screwed in place to hold the insulation up and generally make things look tidier. I don't have any shots of it from the other side of the wall but I'll take some once the whole project is finished so you can see what I'm left with.

The walls inside the room part of the garage were all covered in insulated plasterboard which is 50 mm insulation glued to 10 mm plasterboard. This was simply glued to the wall and held in place with a couple of screws whilst it dries. The joints and screw holes were all filled but will need to be sanded down before painting. It was all a bit fiddly around the two buttresses but hopefully it'll look neat enough in the end. I'm not going to bother skimming the walls as neither me or my Dad are skilled plasterers and it's just a garage after all!

On our next session my Dad installed all of the sockets whilst I was clearing out the front of the garage and installing shelving and various brackets to try and store things like the lawn mower and my bike. There's still some crap in there but hopefully Gumtree/eBay will sort that out.

At the moment, the only natural light in the new room comes from the half glazed door. Obviously that needs sorting out. You can see from the pictures below that the lighting in there needs upgrading too.

Well, before I can do any of the lighting we'll need to get the ceiling in but before that can happen I need to get the natural light sorted....

A whopping one metre square velux window should sort that out nicely!  I'm going to remove the central ceiling joist back to the centre of the room to create a skylight. It'll be more obvious what I'm talking about when I've done it though so that can wait until I post when the ceiling is done.

There's still quite a lot of work to be done here. We've got to board and insulate the ceiling as I said. Before we do that we need to sort the wiring out for the lights too. We need to tidy up the plasterboard around the door to make that look neater. Once we've done that the room is essentially finished so it'll be a case of decorating and furnishing it. I'm not going for anything too flashy here. It'll likely be magnolia walls! I'm scouring eBay/Gumtree to try and get hold of some Karndean flooring for cheap, ideally someone who's bought too many packs and is selling the excess off cheap.

I'll then be installing some kitchen units for storage. There'll be a bank of units down the back wall and a couple of units that will be on wheels and act as the support for the gaming table. I was bored last night so did a quick mock up...

Not sure how well these pictures get across how little space there'll be around the table but should be enough! Won't be making any more progress until new year's eve at the earliest but hoping to have it ready very early next year. I had hoped to be ready before Christmas but the main delay was waiting for the Velux to be installed. What do you think so far?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Where Have I Been for A Month?

Woah it's been a long time since I posted. Been struggling to motivate myself to blog recently. I've had trouble finding inspiration before but not normally for this long. Here's a quick round up of what I've been up to.

Blood Bowl
The biggest thing recently was the re-release of Blood Bowl. I've loved this game for years and in fact it was the first GW game I played back when I was in primary school so must've been early 90s. I was excited for the re-release but didn't intend to pick up a copy. Trouble is, at Fluffageddon the Outpost had an open copy and I was suckered in by the pretty new pitch, templates and models. I always intended to paint my human team from the old box but never got round to it. I'm planning on painting the new ones though for my Nuln Oilers team. I've picked up an extra sprue from eBay because we all know I'll need some reserves!

The problem I've always had with Blood Bowl is that it's much better if you can get a league going. I've toyed with joined various club leagues but never have done because I can't commit to a regular night. That's meant trying to organise mini-leagues amongst my friends. We had a fun day in a pub once playing a mini-cup and managed a couple of sessions of a 4-man league but whilst Matt and I were still keen the others lost interest. We're hoping to try again though with two different people. We'll start with a 4-team league and then maybe get a second team each if the new guys are more bothered.

I've already had a few games with just the core set. My sister-in-law's boyfriend was over from Ireland for my son's birthday so we got a game in before he left. He really enjoyed it and picked it up quickly (and beat me 2-1) but obviously I'm not going to get regular games in with him for geographical reasons! I also played my colleague Steve a week a go and he seems interested. I've told him to pick up a copy of the PC game to learn the rules and see what he thinks.

I really hope we can get something going. I think Matt and I will resort to just having three teams each if we can't get others involved but it'd be a shame.

I'm still in love with this game and finally got around to getting some games in with Matt this week. I tried out a new squadron with Corran, Poe and a bandit with some new upgrade from the Heroes of the Resistance set. Trouble was, Matt was playing an Imperial Aces list (Darth, Ryad & Delta) that had high PS and cost lest than my list so he gave me initiative making my arc-dodging tricky. His first roll against Poe was lucky too stripping all his shields before I'd even gotten a shot off. In the second game I tried my first Scum list using mostly stuff from the Most Wanted box and the Starviper (yes, I bought it for Autothrusters like everyone else). He was running a Palp Aces list and I simply didn't have luck on my side. Was a bit stupid with my Y-wing and ended up in too close to use the TLT but was pretty one sided anyway.

That's the trouble I have with X-wing. Since we moved into the realms of competitive play I want to try out lots of different lists but I simply don't get enough games in. I'd like to play more tournaments to get a feel for how good my lists actually are. It's the same as with 40K, Matt runs strong lists and plays them well but they aren't necessarily representative of what I'd play in actual events. It'll probably be in my resolutions to play more X-wing (I think it was last year mind you, I suck at keeping my resolutions).

After our games of X-wing Matt and I had a quick game of Gorechosen to round out the evening. Matt managed to get a painted set from eBay for a reasonable price so we took two heroes each and set to it. After my X-wing losses I was pleased to kill both of his champions before losing either of mine (the second one died to a decapitation). I then fought mine to the death of course!

It's a fun little game and makes a nice break from playing other stuff. It'd be good with four people and the mechanic is well thought out. GW can really make some excellent standalone games when they set their mind to it. I wish they wouldn't churn so many out instead of fixing 40K but still, they're enjoyable nonetheless.

Garage Conversion
I'll post separately about this on Sunday but work continues apace on my gaming garage project. I'm really looking forward to it being finished now which should hopefully happen in the new year. I'd hoped it'd be done by Christmas but since I'm working this weekend and then in Ireland for Christmas week that isn't going to happen. Anyway, as I say, I'll post more about it on Sunday.

When I dismantled my old gaming table I realised just how much stuff I'd been hiding under there and around my spare room. I'm determined to sort through everything before I move into the garage. That means getting rid of some stuff too. There's tons of bits still on their sprues that I'd like to trim off and sort though. Maybe I'll stick some of them on eBay. I'm also having a debate with myself about my DE army. I really struggle to want to play with them with how useless they are right now. Sure, there's lists that work but they really aren't much fun at the moment. It'd be a shame to get rid completely. There are still days when I lament selling my Eldar army and I've put a lot of work into some of the units. Maybe slimming down the army is the way to go.

Right, that'll do for tonight, I've got presents to wrap whilst the missus is out. I'll post again over the weekend about the garage but hopefully I can find the time and inspiration to post more again over Christmas. I've at least got to write the obligatory review of the year and hobby resolutions but that'll be pretty depressing affair I think! Roll on 2017!


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