Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Cause that light at the end of the tunnel, is the front of an oncoming train

(pauses for a moment of unashamed nostalgia remembering teenage me rocking out to "Skyscraper")

We're getting to the "light at the end of the tunnel" stage of the room clearing - one more day of dumping stuff into plastic crates or black bin liners. Roll up the disgusting old carpets, unscrew the old and dodgy shelving from the walls and that will pretty much be that. Today I got down to the last box of actual, semi-organised wargaming stuff on the shelves - buried for years in a wooden case on the bottom shelf was my 25mm fantasy/medieval army. I gave away most of my metal fantasy figures years ago, when I switched to using paper miniatures for roleplaying games (cheap, infinitely customisable and disposable) but hung on to this quite sizeable block of troops. Opening the box for the first time in what must be fifteen years, it struck me that this was actually a pretty complete batch of painted and based figures, with a good mix of infantry and cavalry, all ready to game with.

And that's when it hit me, what I was going to do for Solo Wargaming Appreciation Month - a grand fantasy/medieval civil war campaign. using Hordes Of The Things There are no fantasy races, monsters or heroic character figures in the collection, so it's going to be a generally realistic sort of background, like the early stages of A Game Of Thrones.

I'm still firming up ideas on how I'm going to run this - my initial thought is to have three theatres of war "The North", "The Midlands" and "The South", fighting a minimum of one battle for each theatre per real-time week representing a month of campaigning. Each battle will be a semi random selection from the three CS Grant wargame scenario books, with the forces scaled roughly up or down to get roughly close to the ideal "twelve element" DBA army.

I know this seems like it's totally from left field, compared to the usual wargaming periods I blog about (VSF and ultra-modern) but it really is a huge throwback to the sort of gaming I used to do a hell of a lot of back last century. Thinking about it has me even more nostalgic than that David Lee Roth song!

In other news, the imminent end of the room clearing project should give me a bit more time and energy to devote to figure painting and steam-tank building. The first unit of glengarry-wearing Scotties have been stuck so very, very close to completion this last week and a half, while the Fenians have been waiting patiently in the wings with only the Colonel and the standard bearer basecoated. As I mentioned in a previous post, so far this year the vast majority of the painting I've done has been with natural light, a vanishing resource now that we're well on our way to winter. Following Scott's advice in the comments, I've rearranged my painting table so that there's now an anglepoise lamp pointing directly down over the working area, but with an important twist. I splashed out on a "daylight bulb" bought online via Amazon. Light from old-fashioned tungsten bulbs always had a noticeably yellowish hue, and light from modern Energy Saving bulbs is... well, crap is the best word for their dim performance. These daylight bulbs are said to match both the spectral frequency and the intensity of sunlight. The difference is very impressive, especially in a confined space like a painting table. At a quick glance it does indeed look like natural light, and while I haven't had time to do any extended painting with the new setup, I did manage the aforementioned Fenian standard bearer with it, and found it acceptable in use when the light outside was no-where near sufficient to paint by. I'm looking forward to giving the setup another try towards the end of the week.

I had a call earlier from mi hermano voluble, Jonesy. I'd been unable to join him on our planned return trip to Other-Other Chris's this past weekend, where he and O-O-Chris gave the Force on Force rules one last college try. The verdict... they won't play Force On Force again. Even though we *think* we've gotten to the core intent of the rules after the problems we originally had, Jonesy reported that in play they found the rules too badly written to be practical - vehicles with different stats in different sections of the book, more contradictions and a scenario terrain map described as for a 6'x4' table but shown as a square map. Instead Jonesy and O-O-Chris will be dusting off the venerable Ground Zero Games rules Stargrunt, in 25mm. They used to play that a lot back in the day, and I know they have a wide selection of figures and vehicles ready for it.

The good news is that frees me up to stick to doing ultra-modern skirmishing in 15mm, without the distraction of a nearby fellow-gamer doing it in 20mm. For rules, for man-to-man skirmishes I still have Chain Reaction (or possibly Flying Lead from Ganesha Games, which I've been wanting to try for a while) but it remains to be seen how large a game those rules will scale up to and I suspect they'll start to creak a little once you get to the scale of game Force on Force seemed to be pitched at.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes it can be fun to "return to our roots" and not take things too seriously. I started out in fantasy, too, as I suspect a lot of gamers did.

    For painting and similar tasks I like my little portable Ott lights (I have acquired 3 of the folding ones over the years), which use daylight bulbs. I even use them for added light when I take pictures of my miniatures.

    I'm thinking of things to do for "Solo Wargaming Appreciation Month", too. And especially for 11/11/11.