Monday, April 30, 2012

New May Resolutions

Four months have come and gone and I have barely touched the blog let alone detailed my goals for the year. Normally I post my goals in the first week of January but my band was touring in January and my record label was working on the most involved release we had ever done through the months of February and most of March. So everything has been crazy since January. As a result, to be honest, up until a few weeks before Adepticon I hadn't really touched any of my hobby projects, which is a shame.

A couple of weeks before Adepticon I popped into Galactic Force Games on Belmont here in Chicago. The one guy who I always end up talking to there is real chatty and we talked about the new GW paint range and he was showing me his Dwarf Blood Bowl Team and talking up the new paint range. This leads to one of my goals for this year and that's to:

1) Go to Galactic Force Games more often.

I honestly don't support the local mom and pop type gaming shops enough. I almost always order online from GW or go to Oak Park or the Bunker for my hobby needs. I might even try to go in there and game on occasion.

Of course, that runs completely counter to my next goal. I bumped into one of my old bosses at GW #108 Walden Galleria at this year's Adepticon. Chicago native, Tim Lison was once the regional manager of the NY area and I was under his care for a bit and honestly he was one of the good ones. He informed me that he is now the manager of the Chicago Battle Bunker and that makes me want to pop in there more often as well. I rarely do because I don't drive a car, I'm a bike commuter. So that's a trickier one.

2) Go to the Battle Bunker more often.

This next one might help facilitate the 2nd one...

3) Attend more events.

Over the years I've been a part of multiple tight knit gaming groups that have all been dissolved by distance or responsibilities. I really miss having a reason to paint models and play games so I need to step out of my comfort zone and test the waters elsewhere I guess, because pushing my buds to be irresponsible isn't a very good friend move.

4) 2000 Points of Angels of Absolution

I'm stoked that I've gotten up to 1750 of fully painted Angels of Absolution but its about time I hit that 2000 mark. At the rate I'm going I'm averaging like 100 points painted a year. That's embarrassing. Hell, if I just finish a Terminator squad (which I desperately need) I'd be there.

I've got one done. I'd only need to paint 4 models. How easy is that?
5) Play Warhammer

The most fun I had over Adepticon weekend was playing in the 1000 point Warhammer Fantasy Battle Tournament. Considering the fact that none of my gaming buddies have Warhammer armies means that if I'm going to do this it means going into stores and attending events to make it happen.

6) Paint Something Big!

I don't care if its my Caestus Assault Ram, a Stompa, a Baneblade, or even my Necrosphynx - I want to complete a center piece item for my display cases. It could even be something new and exciting as long as it fits the bill.

7) Purge My Collection

I own too much stuff and my girlfriend and I are trying to start a business this year so its time to raise some capital. It also doesn't help that I became unemployed this past month. So too much stuff + no job + needing capital to start a business = PURGE THAT COLLECTION!

My Ebay Items

8) Get an Earlier Start on Adepticon 2013.

Last year I committed to running an event in October. I read the book I wanted to use for my event, poured over it and the original Storm of Vengeance campaign pack endlessly. I pushed around ideas on paper and brainstormed in the shower, and yet didn't actually get anything concrete onto hard drive or onto the table until the month before Adepticon. And as far as my own gaming went, I didn't prepare any of my army lists/models for play until the hour before each event. That's pathetic and even last minute for me.

So all told I just want to reclaim my hobby and gaming time and do something productive with it. I have thousands of dollars worth of models and gaming books collecting dust. Its time to turn that around and clear out anything that will never get used so that I can turn it into something useful and rewarding.

New May Resolutions. Better late than never I guess.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Wreck-Age Pack Boar

Today we've got something a little different. I'm traditionally pretty focused on GW games and models but some friends of ours from here in Chicago have been in the process of developing their own skirmish level miniatures game with an attached role playing game called Wreck-Age. Those that attended Adepticon may have seen them running demos in the long hall to the Junior Ballroom. A few weeks ago they commissioned me to do some painting for them. I actually don't normally do commission work but since they are friends and they've invested an enormous amount of effort into fluff, design, concept art, and sculptors I want to help them out.

Wreck-Age: Pack Boar from Hyacinth Games
This is a Pack Boar. I honestly don't know much about what it does in the game but its a cool looking model none the less. The gear looks great, though some of the details of the boar itself aren't up to the quality of their character sculpts but it'll still look cool as hell on the table top. In all likelihood you'll see more Wreck-Age models from Hyacinth Games on this site.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Reflections on Adepticon 2012

Work in progress table to represent the gate to the main square in Kadillus Harbor for the Battle of Piscina IV event I ran at Adepticon 2012.

Another Adepticon has come and gone and I must admit that this was the most fun I've had in years. I was doing the math in my head and this was my 7th Adepticon. Its amazing to see how its grown and developed, but to be honest, I've stayed very much the same. I'm not a tournament player so much as that I am an avid hobbyist. All these years I've been participating in the big tournaments when in reality I should have been participating in a lot of smaller events. Let's recap!

The morning of Adepticon I still was nowhere near to completing the tables for the event I would be running on Sunday, so I was feverishly trying to get them to some sense of completion. I worked diligently from early in the morning until late in the afternoon. Knowing that I would have to transport these tables to the suburbs somehow, some way, I needed to procure transportation other than my bike; I'm a bike commuter and don't have my own car. I jumped on and a bunch of other sites to do price comparisons and rented myself a car at about 4:30pm to be picked up at 5:30pm. I managed to score a car for $19.99 a day. Go Hotwire! I cleaned up any potential hazards in the house from the day's table building, walked the dogs, and then shot over to Enterprise to get the car. I always forget that they will "pick you up".

I ran over to my favorite taqueria, Quesadilla, and ate a quick dinner, and then jumped on the highway to get to Adepticon. Little did I realize that showing up at 7:15 for my 7:30 class was a bad idea. Not only did I arrive to find a 20-30 minute wait in line, but I also missed out on the premium swag bags that the first 500 people got. Not only that, but with the wait I would be late for my class. Lesson learned - even if you pre-register arrive early on day 1 or you'll be late to crap and miss out on swag.

I got checked in, got my bag, and ran up to my class. The class was on Mold Making and was to be taught by a gentleman from a company called Reynolds. I walked in after the class already started, spotted my friend Mike, and then went and sat down. Luckily I hadn't missed much other than the basic introduction and the notification that the guy from Reynolds hadn't arrived and they asked our new instructor to fill in. He had designed the custom objective counters a few years before as well as some of the Adepticon terrain. He is their own mold maker and resin caster.

First off I want to say that I was totally new to the world of mold making, so from my perspective this class that was "thrown together" last minute actually turned out to be fantastically informative. There were 2 other people in the class who already had experience with making their own molds and they had quite a bit to add. They may not have learned anything from it, but I sure did and I can't wait to buy some supplies when I have some surplus cash and start experimenting.

Secondly, I want to point out that this was my 1st class in 7 years of attending Adepticon. What was I doing all these years? If you've never attended a class like me, get on it. Next year I intend to attend a lot more.

Special thanks to the guy who took over the class. I think his name is Rich. He did an ace job last minute and he deserves a pat on the back.

After the class I ran through every room that was open to scrutinize the tables and see if anything blew my mind. One of the only things I like about Games Day or the old Grand Tournaments over Adepticon were the tables which were always awesome. Every year Adepticon adds more scenery and there is constant improvement but I'm never blown away by their own offerings. Last year I was blown away by the 2 War Machine tables that I presume Private Press brought but they brought the same ones again and they were look a little worn and chipped. Some of the Malifaux tables were interesting, but the big standout of the weekend were the Killzone tables. He does some excellent work and I wish I took some pics.

Work in progress terrain for The Battle for Piscina IV at Adepticon.
Once again I got up early and worked on tables. I was hustling around all day - applying sand, painting, and dry brushing. Luckily, I didn't have anything scheduled until 4:30 so I got in pretty much an 8 hour day of work on them. At 3:00 I halted production to figure out what I was going to playing in that evening's "It's How You Use It" Warhammer Fantasy Battle 1000 point tournament. I was really nervous about participating in this because when I signed up in Nov/Dec I figured I had plenty of time to learn 8th Edition but never actually did. I was going in mostly blind. I found a DIY game play summary card online and that was my tutorial on 8th Edition, literally an hour before the tournament.

I grabbed the 8th Edition Tomb Kings book (at least I had that!) and I made a list using that and my original Tomb Kings army from the 90's. I had none of the cool units from the updates over the years. It was a pure army of Skeletons, Cavalry, Chariots, a Tomb Prince, and a couple of Liche Priests. I also played with a Screaming Skull Catapult that I don't think I actually paid the points for. I need to go back and look at the list. All I know is that if I did cheat, I am deeply sorry. At least I played a terrible terrible game as I learned the rules. I was 30 minutes late to the tournament because of traffic, I was given a ringer for my first game and he was kind enough to walk me through the rules so I could get a basic understanding of how the game had changed from 6th to 8th Edition (I sort of skipped 7th never properly learning how to play that edition of the game either.) Despite his best efforts to go easy on me I was soundly trounced by his Goblin army. My 2nd game was against Dwarfs and I received another beating. Some of that was my fault. My Chariots would have been much more effective had I known all the rules and my full charge into his Hammerer's wouldn't have been like throwing an egg at a brick wall. Live and learn. My final game was against an Ogre Kingdom's army and it was my best showing largely because my opponent was normally a Tomb Kings player himself and he was able to tell me how to more effectively use my army. He still would have slaughtered me if it was for the scenario itself which had a catastrophic event built into it that managed to mess him up with some unlucky rolling and didn't impact me nearly as much. Thank you "Growing Darkness"!

This was actually the most fun I had out of the events all weekend if though it was my worst performance. Everyone was so laid back and happy to accommodate how new I was to the rules and the vibe was fantastic. I will definitely participate in this event again next year.

Afterward I wandered around for a few minutes and I headed straight back to Chicago to work on tables some more.

Another early morning of furious painting was to be had, and after a couple hours of minimal progress I made the decision to skip the class I had signed up for on Weather Techniques. I was pretty bummed to miss this after being so stoked on the molding class but I had people counting on a great gaming experience the next day and I was too ill prepared to justify losing 5 hours of valuable paint time to attend a class. I know I made the right decision because I ran out of my Glidden copy of Scorched Brown paint halfway through painting a 4'x6' table and needed to run to Home Depot. Had that happened at 2:00am I would have been screwed.

Once again, just over an hour before I needed to be to Adepticon for an event, this time Combat Patrol, I was dragging out my book and models and trying to come up with something functional. I had originally signed up as Orks, but when I saw that the event awarded around 25% of the points for painting I knew I had to bring my Angels of Absolution. They are my pride and joy and I knew I could walk in with 400 points of fully painted models and have something that would do "okay" play wise.

As it went the last 3 days, I tried to avoid traffic on the 290 by heading west on Chicago Ave and ultimately took as long to get there as if I was stuck in traffic. So much so that friends called to check on me to see if I was okay. To my advantage the event started almost an hour late. The disadvantage to this is that there was a tight time crunch and the games were mostly 2-3 turn games despite only playing with 400 points per side. People into tournaments talk a lot of crap on small games but I think they are great fun. I did get frustrated when I was getting hammered by all of the other players early on bringing Terminators and Obliterators; 2+ saves in games that small are a real bastard! Still, after I got pushed down in the rankings I was facing other players who didn't have 2 ups in their forces either and the games were much more balanced. Overall it was a great time. Not as new and exciting as "It's How You Use It" felt but still solid.

The highlight was having people constantly come up and compliment my army throughout the event. There were some other fantastic armies like fell 2nd City Warzone blogger, Scott Kroll (Daemons) and the beautiful free hand work of Kevin Peters? (Parker? Parks? My bad. He played Eldar). At the end of the event people were rushing up and asking my name and I was so incredibly stoked when I the first award announced was "Best Appearance" and my name was uttered. I got some cool prizes and a plaque, but the honor behind the award trumps everything in my book. Thank you to everyone who voted for me!
My Angels of Absolution brought me the Best Appearance title during Combat Patrol #2 on Saturday night.

Afterward I pulled around the car and 2nd City Warzone contributors Eric Brose and Mike Nogle helped me carry in half the tables and scenery for my event on Sunday. Exhausted, I went home to work on tables more.

At 5:00am the alarm went off and I promptly jumped out of bed. I still had a 4'x6' table to drybrush. I worked through until 7:30 when I started loading up the car. I ran to W-Grocer, my local convenience store that features vegan items (yeah, I'm one of those guys) and I stocked up on snacks to get me through the day. Traffic was clear and I drove hurriedly to Lombard, IL.

I got to Adepticon right after 9:00am and Eric was standing right by the tables and scenery. He came out and helped me unload the car and gave me the update on who was there for The Battle of Piscina IV and what they brought.

When I conceived this event I had a lot of big plans but life got in the way. I wanted to have the most dynamic gaming tables at Adepticon and I wanted to run a grand campaign from start to finish. I did a lot of unnecessary work reading and re-reading The Purging of Kadillus by Gav Thorpe in order to make recommended army lists and scenarios only to find out a few days before that Owen Rees had updated the full campaign for 4th Edition and the PDF was available online. Ultimately, my own performance fell dramatically short of what I intended but I was still determined to give the attendees a great day of narrative gaming.

Most everyone who participated had read The Purging of Kadillus so that was really cool. Just about everyone knew what were trying to recreate and had that spirit in mind. The 2 other Ork players who had signed up never showed and the one Imperial Guard participant said he was going to his room to get his stuff and never came back. Regardless, we managed to play through 7 out of 9 of the Storm of Vengeance scenarios as well as 1 scenario I adapted from the Cities of Death book to represent the initial invasion as it was implied to have happened in the early chapters of the book, so everyone got in 4 games of various sizes, and every game was on a different table that I had set up to represent the almost exact configurations shown in the original scenario diagrams. I thought I was going to strictly GM but ended up having to jump in and play Orks to ensure there were Orks on both tables to keep the games moving. Everyone seemed to have a good time but it was a long day of gaming after a long weekend!

I walked away from running my first Adepticon event wanting to do it again. I feel like I had managed to turn around something that seemed like it might totally botch due to a lot of wasted time on my part and improper preparation into a fun and relaxing day of gaming after all. This was an experiment and at the end of the day I felt like it was successful because people had fun and I learned a lot. It wasn't as grandiose as I had originally envisioned but that was my fault. Dark Angels seem like they'll be getting some attention of some sort over the next year and I'd like to take what I've learned from this experience and make another go at it if the Adepticon organizers will let me. Additionally, there were murmurings of possibly going to a 5 day format in 2013 because Adepticon has gotten so huge. If that indeed happens I have another event idea in my head that I've been carrying around for years that I would love to try. I would love to get in 3 days of gaming and classes and 2 days of volunteering. I think that would be great.

Thanks to everyone who participated in The Battle for Piscina IV and being such great sports. Thanks to Eric Brose for helping me get set up and organized and thanks to Matt Weeks and the Adepticon organizers for giving me a chance to try my hand at running a narrative event.

If anyone has any photos from the event they'd like to contribute, send them my way.


PS. I'm flat broke and need to sell off a bunch of my gaming stuff. My girlfriend and I want to open a business and we need start up capital so as much as I'd love to squander the money made on more gaming stuff, I'll be directing that money into ordering goods and building a web store for our dream business. Nope, its not a gaming store. I did that in the 90's and its a hard business. Anyway, please check out my auctions and bid on what you can. New items will be added daily until I run out of gaming stuff to list. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Road to Adepticon 2012 (Buy my stuff)

I know I've been really silent around here lately (I've been busy).

I'm stoked to be going to Adepticon this year, since I missed last year (on that note, happy 1st birthday to my son, Samuel Kasimir).

Anyway, not much to report. I am paint judge for the team tournament and I'll be playing the the Saturday Night Combat Patrol.

Also, I need money, so I'm selling stuff on ebay. Please bid.

See you all in the couple weeks! (Especially Eric!)