Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Now We Are One.

I've just had to use a Westlife song in my lyric/post title scheme.  I feel.... dirty.

It is exactly a year today since I started the Axis of Naughtiness.  Personally speaking, the past year certainly comes under the "Best of times/worst of times" category.  My mother passed away, my father has had several health scares which have led to me giving up my career to take care of him, while my own health has hit rock bottom with a serious scare that I only got the all clear from a couple of months ago.

But I think I'm starting to find a better life balance now.  The health is improving, Dad's stable and we're getting to spend some quality time together.  And, pursuant to the subject matter of this blog, I'm finally getting a lot more wargaming in.

Looking back, it's clear nothing has quite gone to plan.  The original idea of 15mm modern/zombie gaming quickly fell by the wayside, and 28mm VSF leapt to the fore.  It's ironic that I made the decision to abandon 15mm for VSF as since then several manufacturers have starting bringing out some absolutely fantastic Victorian/Steapunk figures in that scale.  But despite the much greater expense I have to admit that the 28mm scale offers a much better selection and is visually much more appealing.

I've also reached a point with my wargames terrain where I'm incredibly happy with the aesthetics, possibly for the first time in my life.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a long, long way from some of the modelling masterworks that you see in the glossy magazines, but what I've got is both functional and looks the part for the sorts of games we've been playing.

It's a further irony that the 28mm terrain I have is partially driving the decision to shift the modern/near future Imagi-Nation gaming concept towards that scale.  But the 28mm city terrain, which currently tends towards the Victorian in appearance, will I hope make a good starting point for a more modern layout.

So for now, all the 15mm figures I have are in limbo, consigned to the "to be continued" shelf of the storeroom at least for the forseeable future.  If/when they do see the light of day again, it's certain they'll be for games designed to be very different in style to what I'm doing at the moment.

Speaking of which, there was the brief foray into Bob Cordery's "Portable Wargame" using all that Heroscape terrain that I purchased.  That little sub-project seems to have run out of steam, perhaps as a result of Bob's move to Portable Wargame II and thence on to his latest rules using those funny Richard Borg dice, along with a switch back from hexes to squares.  I'm no longer sure whether I should proceed with my plan for 3-4 figure elements on the Heroscape hexes, or follow Bob's lead into larger units on a larger square grid.  For now the 1/72 plastic Napoleonics will be joining the 15mm VSF/Colonials on the storeroom shelf... though that Heroscape terrain is still just too handy not to use.

Anyway, more importantly than all this acquisition of stuff, I'm actually getting to play some games (which after all is kind of the point, though many gamers might lose sight of that fact).  While the big club games are few and far between, we've been getting in quite a few small, private home games with 2-4 players.  Surprisingly I find I'm not doing as much solitaire gaming as I'd expect, though that may change when I finally move back in with my father and all the dust has settled.


So what's the plan for the year ahead?  Well I wouldn't like to try to predict that far ahead.  Let's face it, the plan this time last year lasted... what, two weeks before it was dropped in favour of VSF?

But short term, let's say for the next quarter, I'd like to get the modern/near future Imagi-Nation gaming rolling on a solid basis.  That means getting at least the Army and a few guerilla figures painted, plus maybe the police and some assorted criminal types.

On the VSF front, I have a unit of Fenian cavalry and a company of British volunteers all primed and prepped but temporarily packed away (as the room that I work in at my Father's is being cleared to be redecorated and refurnished) that I'd like to get completed.  I'd also like to put on/play another GASLIGHT Big Birthday Bash in the first week of August like last year.

Slightly longer term, I'd like to set a target of having a horde of about 50 zombies painted up and an All Things Zombie game playable by Christmas.  Also the plastic dollhouse/quaint English village buildings inspired by the VBCW Shamlingham setup was annoyingly close to completion before it was put away, so I'd like to make sure they get finished before Xmas too.

That's the plan, anyway.
I give it about a week!


  1. Congrats on a years productive blogging!

    Have you seen/considered Westwinds Empire of the Dead?
    It seems a fun mix of gothic horror and VSF steampunk which may tie together your zombie and vsf interests.
    I have just ordered a copy from maelstrom after reading a few blog posts about it over on cursed treasures blog.
    You already seem to have a load of suitable terrain for it...

  2. Sorry to hear of your loses and struggles this year, here's to a better future.
    You've got some interesting projects on the go, I really await to see what you do with ATZ. I am almost a year into my ATZ preparations, and I can really see the playable game just around the corner.

  3. Thanks chaps.

    Scott - I have seen Empire Of The Dead, but so far I'm resisting the temptation to delve into it. My big problem with it is the big hike in metal prices that West Wind have opted for.. £25 for eight figures (ten figures for the zombies pack) is a bit of a jump, compared to the prices of their (still quite serviceable) Gothic Horror range. As for the rules, well I've already got several suitable skirmish sets I need to try out first. In fact lastly Jonesy brought round a copy of Chaos In Carpathia, which I've heard lots of positive buzz about and we'll be playtesting on Sunday. Basically with the current economic situation I can't justify a £30 hardback ruleset no matter how shiny it is, when I've got other games that will do the job just as well. Maybe if Westwind joined us here in the 21st century and brought out a PDF version for half the price I might be tempted.

    Adam - I think we've been spoiled by the top flight ATZ bloggers like Vampifan & LTLDad, into thinking that we need to have a fully detailed city terrain board with playable interiors and hordes of 100+ Zeds to play ATZ. I'm just as guilty of this as anyone. We should all take a leafe from the example game in the original Chain Reaction ruleset which only had three chopper chix, less than a dozen zeds and a single gas station building.

  4. Hi, Chris

    Glad to hear your health is improving.

    Thanks again for your tip on the wallpaper. I used it on the brickwork and cobbles for a little VBCW game we did at Phalanx. Unfortunately the roofs and pavements were done the night before and the cardboard on the roof started coming away from the foamboard and bending it outwards. They'll be replaced but I'm really happy with the cobbles and brickwork (will be doing a couple more lighter layers of drybrushing). I found a picture of it, my right hand and an empty pack of Uncle Joe's Mint Balls on the 28mmheaven blog:


    Your modern imagination project sounds interesting. Have you any idea what sort of game scale you're going for (skirmish or larger battles etc)?

  5. Oh hi Adam from Lancashire. We probably actually met on Saturday (I'd recognise your mint balls! anywhere), only I didn't realise you were from "our" MAWS (the Phalanx web page listed the Captain Scarlet game as "Manchester Area Wargames Society" and your two tables as "MAWS" so I assumed you were a different club with the same initials. It was only later that I found out who you guys were, by which time you were mid-game and we were leaving. I've left a message on the MAWS-List asking you to get in touch.

    (By the way, I have to say that your cobblestones look a damn sight better than mine!)

    The modern Imagi-Nation project is aiming at the small skirmish level initially - squad to platoon level, using something like Chain Reaction or Flying Lead.

    I'm trying to organize another big GASLIGHT game on Sun 29th July with an invitation specifically aimed at other (non-competition) MAWS gamers who haven't played with us before. I'll supply everything as usual, all players have to bring is a stiff upper lip and a sportsmanlike mindset. I'll be posting more about it on the blog when things are firmed up.

  6. Good job you said, I never check the yahoo group.

    We haven't been playing regular up to now as I was the only person with any minis and only for the one faction but I'm half way through painting a Leftist force at the mo which should be finished in about a month's time. James has just received his Scots in the post and Jamie is thinking about which faction he's going to go for. We're aiming to play pretty regularly once we've all got our forces and I'll have the extra force for you to use until/or if you decide not to do a force of your own. Once I've got my second force done I can bring them both down and the pair of us can give Triumph and Tragedy a go but it'll be a month or so as I want to paint something different over the next couple of weeks (got a bit of VBCW fatigue after building those boards - 3rd Ed Bretonnians now for a nice, colourful change)

    I'd love to come down for your VSF game, cheers for the invite. The two lads who were at Phalanx have expressed an interest in coming along too, if there's room? They're getting fatigued with tournament style 40k and are up for trying as many different things as they can as well as the VBCW. I can vouch for their sportsmanlike qualities and can only hope that they live up to my vouch..ment?

    If you want to get in touch with me it's probably best to email adam_woolhead *at* hotmail *dot* co *dot* uk.

  7. Cool. There's plenty of places in the GASLIGHT game. The game's creators have been known to run games with up to 20 players, but we'll probably draw the line at about 8-10.

    A tryout of VBCW using Triumph and Tragedy would be great. If I do eventually go for a force I'm hoping some of my VSF figures can pull double duty - I've got a whole load of armed civilian/militia types that'll do if you don't look too closely at the rifles and add the odd Lewis gun here and there!