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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Back in the saddle again. Which end is the front, anyway?

Hey there!

Hmmmm.....Two posts in two days. Not too shabby for a guy that ignored his blog for two and a half months.

This is the second half of my experiment of separating the gaming/hobby posts from the personal/general stuff posts.

So here's the thing about 40k Radio: I was on there for about an hour with Romeo and the boys and it was really awesome. I honestly wasn't sure if that would ever happen but I'm sure glad that Romeo gave me a call and asked if I'd like to stop by for a visit. It really was as simple as that, too. My phone rang one day last week and Romeo asked if I'd like to Skype in for their next show and tell everyone what I've been up to since the last time they heard me on the radio show. Those of you who are enlightened and intelligent enough to read this blog have a little insight into my comings and goings since May but no one else does and I have pretty much dropped off the grid since the end of July when it comes to blogging and facebook. Please don't think that I'm vain or egotistical enough to assume that anyone REALLY cares what Chipley has been up to but I hope that most folks found me to be at least mildly entertaining and were happy(or morbidly interested) in hearing me back on a podcast. I really hope I get asked to come back to 40k Radio in the future. I had a great time and realized just how much I missed it. Now if I could only get Romeo to send me plane tickets to fly out and record with him.......

40k Radio is completely in the hands of the new owners now and that's both a good thing and a bad thing. I was sorry to hear that George left because he was really the last guy that had long ties and lots of air time on the old 40k Radio so its sad to see him go. That's the bad thing. The good thing is that George was with the new crew to get them going and help them through the transition. Romeo, Rik and Kyle seem to be clicking and the show is getting better as their cast dynamic grows stronger.

I took the summer off from tabletop gaming. I barely kept up on news and really didn't even think about it for the whole summer. After I parted ways with 40k Radio I realized just how much time and attention that being on the show took. Its hard to see just how much of your resources something is taking up until you are no longer involved and have the advantage of looking at it from the outsider's perspective. I needed this summer...a lot. It wasn't that I didn't want to game or be on podcasts anymore, it was that I had just immersed myself in the games and the show so completely that once I had the chance to break away I took it and just let myself be distanced from it for a few months. Now that the cooler weather is coming and the motorcycling season is all but over in Northwestern Pennsylvania the desire to start building and painting models is beginning to take hold again. With that comes the desire to get some models on the table and start playing again.

So what am I doing about that desire? Meeting it head on, my friends, meeting it head on.

I'm breaking back in slowly. I had a Firestorm Armada fleet that I bought a long time ago with the rulebook and cards. They sat in my attic, neglected for many, many months and they were the first thing I reached for when the gaming itch became too great to ignore. I have a decent sized Terran fleet with the starter box and a few other units. I built them and cleaned them and they are ready for paint as soon as one last model arrives in the mail. Scott told me he painted his whole fleet in a day so I want to see if I can do it too.

The Firestorm Armada models are really nice. The resin is heavy and the details are amazing for such small pieces. I had to clean up a very small amount of flashing but other than one ship, nothing needed sanded or filled to be assembled and ready for paint. The large battleship was the exception. It has a lot of parts(when compared to the other models) and no matter what I did I could not get the rear section to sit flush with the main body. I sanded it a bit and fiddled with it a bit but it was just not going to fit properly without a lot more massaging so I gave up. After the glue dried, I filled the gap with some Testors modeling putty and it looks just fine.

Speaking of Testors modeling putty: I like it a lot. It comes in a grey squeezy tube like the Testors model cement and needs no mixing or preparation for use. You simply squeeze out a little of the watery goo at the tip until the putty starts to flow at a useable thickness and then you can direct it to where you want it and fill narrow gaps or shallow holes with ease. A wet finger to smooth it is generally all it takes to get a gap filled but when filling surface imperfections or larger gaps you may need to sand it a bit before painting. It rarely shrinks or separates from the area filled and is very easy to work with. Because you can recap it and store it for the next use there is very little waste. It will never replace green stuff or the other thicker and more versatile modeling agents but it is superb and simple for the jobs I've described above.

Back to the Terran Fleet. My color choice for them is a white base with Scab Red on the areas that beg to be striped or otherwise brightened up and set apart. For the armaments, engines and other important looking stuff I'll use Gunmetal Grey and Chaos Black. If the mailman treats me well today, I may have pictures posted by the end of the week. I could start working on what I have on hand but that last ship is all I need to be able to paint them all at once. Since I find that I'm much more efficient as an assembly line painter, I want to stick with that method.

Once its ready, my fleet will be going up against Scott and Phil as they teach me how to play.

I think that's a pretty nice chunk of hobby stuff for today.

My next post will be about the new Dark Eldar stuff and how it will most likely be the way I break back into the Warhammer 40,000 scene.

Thanks for reading. Here is your payment for the time spent, that little pearl of wisdom, the nugget of awesomeness that will change your life forever:

He conquers who endures.
~Persius

Time sure does fly......

Hey there!

Its been so long that I'm not even going to bother insulting you with questionably sincere apologies and miserable excuses. Let's just acknowledge that I'm shitty at this blog thing and move forward under the premise that I'm going to try a lot harder in the future.

I think I'm going to try something new with this blog as a little test to see if I should continue as I have been or branch off into two seperate blogs. This new thing that I'm going to try is making shorter posts more frequently alternating between my personal life and general stuff that's on my mind for some and tabletop gaming/hobbies for the others.

Let's start with my personal life and general stuff....

Where in the Hell have I been since July 28th? That's an excellent question. A really excellent question. Hmmm.....let's see.....

So here's the thing about summer and motorcycles: Summer and Motorcycles go together, to quote Forrest Gump, like peas and carrots. I had a ridiculously fun summer riding motorcycles. If you all remember that one blog post so long ago in which I talked about how I had realized a long time dream this year by finally buying a motorcycle. I rode that 1996 Suzuki RF900R for over 2000 miles and had a great time on it. It was a fantastic bike to learn on. It was manageable when I needed it to be and silly fast when I wanted it to be. It was aggressive but forgiving. It was dependable and never left me stranded or limping home despite its age and mileage. I dropped it twice and did nothing more than scrape the decals on the fairing which is pretty damn good for a sport bike. Many sport bikes(especially old ones)are pretty much totaled if they land on their sides even lightly. I put it down the first time when it was only mine for a couple days. I had to make a quick stop at an intersection and didn't notice the gravel and sand under my front wheel. I went from sitting on a running motorcycle to standing next to a tipped over motorcycle in the blink of an eye. Once I surveyed the scene and realized what had happened I chalked it up to a lesson learned and took my wounded pride and scratched motorcycle home very, very glad that I hadn't bought that shiny new motorcycle that I had been lusting after for most of the spring. You see, dropping a 15 year old motorcycle that you paid a very small amount for is so much better than dropping a brand new motorcycle that you paid lots and lots for. The second time I dropped it was because the kickstand didn't lock when I put it down and the bike went onto its side like one of those goats that get paralyzed and fall over when you scare them. Another lesson learned and the left side was now scratched to match the right. For those of you who know me well, I'm a little bit OCD so the symmetry of having both sides of the bike scratched in the same place actually made me feel a little better. Not much, but a little. After 2000 miles on the Suzuki, my friend at work let me take his Harley Davidson Fat Boy for a spin and that was all it took for me to start thinking about getting a motorcycle that was a little more suited to the type of riding that I was doing and the amount of time I spent with a passenger along for the ride. More about that in a later post.....

My next personal blog post will be titled: The Smiling Chihuahua Smiles No More.....

Thanks for reading. Here's you're pearl of wisdom as payment for spending your time with this post:

Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday, November 7th 2010. Be sure to set your clocks back when you go to bed Saturday night. (OK, this was more of a public service announcement than a pearl of wisdom but I think its valid anyway).

Monday, July 26, 2010

What I've been up to lately.

Hey there!

I posted something on my facebook wall asking my friends to suggest blog topics they'd like to see and this is the first reply I received. Since it looked like a good one, I thought I'd use it. Thanks, Nathan for the suggestion and I hope you're not disappointed. By the way, if you're not one of my facebook friends and would like to be, please look me up and send a request. Search for the name Chipley Fortykradio and you'll find me. That's first name: Chipley, last name: Fortykradio.

So here's the thing about summer.....I don't do much inside stuff. This summer has been a particularly outside year. Last summer in the beautiful Eden that is Erie, Pennsylvania we had loads and loads of cool temps and crappy rain that pretty much ruined all of our outside fun. This summer has been the complete opposite and its been stupid hot and ridiculously humid since just about the time the kids got out of school for vacation. Since our house only has air conditioning in the bedroom we spend a lot of time outside. Oh, and I bought a motorcycle....Yeah, a motorcycle. I've had my license for a couple years but was never able to actually pull the trigger and get myself a bike after I finished the Rider Safety Program. So this year I decided it was the summer to try and find myself an affordable used bike to get my feet wet and learn what being a motorcyclist was really about.

You wanna hear about my motorcycle? You know you do....OK, I'll tell you about it if you're gonna beg like that. I found myself a 1996 Suzuki RF900R Sport Touring bike at a local used dealer. It's got some miles on it because it came to Erie from Arizona where you can pretty much ride a motorcycle all year long but its in great condition and looks and runs like a much younger bike. I really wanted a cruiser with a big V-Twin and gobs of chrome dripping off of it but apparently everyone else wants one of those too and they are lots and lots more money than I had to spend. It took me a long time to find a bike that would fit all of my requirements which were not numerous but had little room for compromise. Basically, I needed a motorcycle that was big enough for my girlfriend and me to ride comfortably and powerful enough to do so without the bike straining to keep up with the stresses of frequent 2 up riding. Sport bikes were pretty much out of the question because of the rider's seating position and the tiny, elevated rear passenger seat that they all come equipped with. Let's face it, the back seat on most sport bikes is an afterthought and a way for a guy who really wants one to tell his significant other "Look, honey, I AM thinking of you. There's room for you on there too!" With sport bikes out of the running, the search for a decent motorcycle in my modest price range looked like it might be fruitless and I'd have to seriously consider borrowing a lot more money than I had intended to purchase a motorcycle or just give up on the idea completely. I finally dropped into Northcoast Powersports in Erie and took a look at what they had. Most everything for sale were sport bikes or beautiful Harley Davidsons that were so far out of my price range that I didn't even look at them. I told the owner what I was looking for and he showed me the bike I eventually purchased, the Suzuki RF900R. He worked with me on the price(A LOT) and got me into the bike, helmet, jacket and insurance for the year at as close to my budget as I could have hoped.

The RF900R is a Sport Touring motorcycle. Although it was built in 1996 the bodywork was ahead of its time and most people who look at it think its an early 2000's model. It looks aggressive and sporty but has a long wheelbase and a wide seat that has very little rise from front to rear and is designed for operator and passenger comfort. The bars are decidedly sport bike in position and shape but the foot pegs are much further forward and lower than a sport bike so you sit more upright and it is pretty comfortable on long rides. The 937cc 4 cylinder, water cooled engine has gobs of horsepower and torque and has never left me feeling like I needed more power in any of the nearly 2000 miles I've ridden it this summer.

I spent a couple weeks and a few hundred miles getting to know the bike and recalling all of the nifty things they taught me in my motorcycle safety class and then asked Sylwia if she wanted to go for a ride. She was a bit apprehensive at first but I bought her a helmet(very cool but girly at the same time) and we went to a large parking lot and rode around for 30 minutes or so and she thought it was pretty cool. Since then we've spent our days off going everywhere we can on the motorcycle and planning trips to restaurants and attractions that we never would have thought to go in the past. When travelling by motorcycle you realize that the journey, not the destination, is the experience. The sights, smells and excitement that come along with travelling on two wheels really make even the most mundane trip an adventure. I love riding more than I ever thought I would and spend all of the free time I have riding. The best part is that Sylwia loves it too and always wants to get on the bike and go somewhere when we're off together. We've even been caught in some wicked rainstorms with nowhere to hide and she took it all in stride and actually thought it was pretty funny.

My little nugget of awesomeness for this post is going to be a link to the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program web site. If you live in Pennsylvania and ride or want to ride TAKE THE COURSE! It will save your life some day. If you don't live in Pennsylvania I'm sure that your state or locality offers a similar program. Please take the course.

If you ride, ride safely. If you don't ride, please remember to look twice and save a life because motorcycles are everywhere.

Here's your nugget of awesomeness, that little pearl of wisdom I promised you.

http://www.pamsp.com/

Thanks for reading!
Chris

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Snake Plissken? I thought you were dead.

I get that a lot.....

Hey there! Damn, its been a long time. Here we are a good part of the way through July and my last post was in June. I'm ashamed and sorry. I sincerely appreciate those of you who are followers that have stuck with me or joined since I dropped off the grid. If you're not a follower yet, I'd suggest you click the button to make yourself one because, as I said in post #1, this blog may be neglected for various lengths of time and irregular intervals and I'd hate for you to miss any of this solid gold. Anyway, I'm back and I'm going to take a break from the tabletop gaming stuff for one post and write about what I was going to write about before my house was robbed and I got thoroughly wrapped up in replacing all my stuff, dealing with the police, insurance and alarm companies and generally trying to get my life back in order.

This post was originally going to be titled "The Smiling Chihuahua" but since I was gone for so long, I thought the "Escape from New York" reference was more appropriate. Anyway, here's the thing about the Chihuahua:

My girlfriend has a dog that she loves a whole lot and he loves her a whole lot in return. Its not a weird, old lady who loves her dog in the place of her dead husband kind of love, its just a really cool owner/pet relationship. I have known my girlfriend for over 2 years now and she has owned Paco(that's the Chihuahua's name for my slower readers) for the whole time I've known her. We worked together and became friends long before we were in a romantic relationship so we had the chance to learn a lot about each other during our budding friendship. I talked about my kids and she talked about Paco. She always told me how awesome Paco was, how everyone loved him and how he was always the object of affection and admiration no matter where she took him. Being a proud parent myself, I couldn't help but think that she was seeing Paco through the rose colored glasses that a parent sees their child with even if the child is a worthless Hellspawn to everyone but their parents. It turns out that Paco is very cool, very well liked by everyone who meets him and very smart(smarter than me, I'm pretty sure).

The first time I met Paco I was getting the tour of Sylwia's house(yes, that is a "w" in her name, yes its supposed to be there and the correct pronunciation is Sylvia but that's a story for another day so get over it for now). I was standing behind the couch and Paco came out of another room barking and growling like I was someone that really, really needed to be chased away from his home and his owner. While he only weighs six pounds....I'm sorry, Paco, six and a HALF pounds, he puts on a pretty good show with the growling and the barking and the ears held in a very purposeful "I'm about to kick your ass" kind of way. I was unintimidated because his owner was there to protect me from his fury and I put my hand out for him to smell and maybe let me pet him. He sniffed my hand and immediately began to chew on it. Not biting in a way that would indicate to a bystander that he was trying to hurt me but chewing on me in a way that said "I'm going to hurt you but make it look like I'm just playing so you look like a total asshole and a wimp when you complain about it". Paco is a master at his craft. As the tears stung my eyes and I did my best to disengage his steel trap jaws and needle-like teeth from my flesh without hurting him or indicating that I was indeed an asshole and a wimp Sylwia said "He does that all the time. The vet said he loves the salt in your skin.". I smiled a little smile and did my best not to hold my arm straight out and scream "Get it off! Get it off!" while I thought he seems to love the blood and bones in my skin more than the salt. Finally, she picked him up and he stopped chewing on me. While she held him and talked to me, paco was curled on her chest with his chin resting on her shoulder. It was a really cute picture and I could see they were close. I thought that perhaps I had judged Paco a little harshly and maybe the chewing on my hand thing was just him getting to know me and enjoying the salt in my skin. Then he smiled at me. Sylwia was talking to me, I was doing my best to make eye contact while I listened to her tell me about her house and the work being done on it and Paco lifted his head off her shoulder and smiled at me. Smiled at me to let me know that the chewing on me was done with malice, he had gotten away with it and that is the way things would be as long as he and I were both in Sylwia's life.

That's crazy, you say. I'm exaggerating, you say. Making something out of nothing, right? Allow me to present further evidence for the prosecution.

Fast forward to when Sylwia and I became romantically involved and Paco and I had learned to peacefully coexist in her life....mostly. Sylwia and I were sitting on the couch watcing TV with Paco between us. By the way, there is always one Chihuahua width of distance between us. When we walk, when we sit on the couch, when we sleep, unless he is locked out of the room there is always one Chihuahua width of distance between us. Paco maintains that as religiously as the Catholic school Nuns enforce the "One Bible Width Between Dancers" rule at the Co-Ed mixers. It, apparently, is one of his primary functions and he is genetically programmed to perform that function without fail. Where was I? Oh yes, Sylwia and I were sitting on the couch watching TV with Paco between us and I was petting him. I touched his foot, just barely, and he screamed a horrible, pitiful, yelping scream that should be reserved for things like being hit by cars or shot with arrows. I barely touched him and he screamed like I was ripping his leg off. Of course I yanked my hand back like I had touched something hot and Sylwia jumped and looked at me with the "What did you DO?" look that immediately made me flush and look as guilty as Hell even though I had done nothing to her dog. Nothing! As she scooped Paco up to inspect him for the horrible injuries I must have inflicted, he curled on her chest and put his head on her shoulder as he likes to do. Then he looked at me.....and smiled. That was the end of my snuggle time in front of the TV for the night as Paco had just received top priority and I was in trouble. I told Sylwia my side of the story and she said she believed me but I know in the back of her mind she was thinking that Paco would never have made such a horrible noise unless he had been injured in some unspeakable way.

Still don't believe me? How about the time we were getting ready to take Paco for a walk and she asked me to put his leash on. So I chased the little guy down and got a hold of him. As I approached the ring on his collar with the clasp on the leash he let out that horrible scream and scared me so badly that he was able to get away and run to her in the other room. A few seconds later she came into the room and I was still kneeling on the floor in the "about to put the leash on the Chihuahua" pose once again looking flush and guilty as Hell. "Did you pinch him?" she asked. "I didn't do ANYTHING to him." I whined. "Well why would he scream if you hadn't hurt him?" she asked with a look on her face that spoke volumes about her dillemma of being in love with a habitual Chihuahua torturer and owning a Chihuahua who obviously did not enjoy being tortured. I gave up and simply handed her the leash. As I watched her attach the leash to his collar Paco looked at me with his little Chihuahua face and, you guessed it, smiled.

Paco and I have become friends. I take him for rides in the car with me, play ball and throw his monkey for him. I have, on occassion, been known to provide the ultimate in Chihuahua spoilage and held his rawhide bone so he could chew on it without holding it himself. When its just the two of us Paco and I get along just fine, he listens to me and doesn't try to run away when I have him out in the yard without a leash. I really thought Paco and I had reached the point in our relationship where I understood that he would always be number one but he would occassionally allow me to think, at least for a minute or two, that it was my moment to shine and I would be first in line for Sylwia's affection and attention.

I really thought we were there. A few weeks ago, though, Paco was laying on the couch and had rolled onto his back when he saw me coming and demanded his belly rub. Did I tell you that Paco is a belly rub addict? Well, he is. He has no shame and expects belly rubs on demand regardless of what else is going on at the moment. Its really hard to function with a Chihuahua repeatedly flopping onto his back in front of you until you rub his belly so he'll leave you alone. Anyway, Paco was on his back with his feet in the air, my kids were on the couch with him, Sylwia was in the other room and I was rubbing Paco's belly just like I do every other time. Paco suddenly screams the scream reserved for being hit by cars or shot by arrows and I again yanked my hand back like had I touched something hot and stood there wondering what could have possibly gone so horribly wrong with a belly rub to make a noise like that come out of him. My kids looked at me like I was a monster, Sylwia ran from the other room wanting to know what happened and I just stood there, red faced and looking guilty while Paco smiled at me.

Game, set and match, my canine friend. Game, set and match.

Thanks for reading and for waiting so long for this post. To pay you for your patience and your time, here's that little nugget of awesomeness that I promised you back in post #1:

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog its too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

Friday, June 25, 2010

Long time no see. So how have you been?

Hey all,

Post number 6 represents the interruption of the silence from me over the past week or so. I had planned to write a nice entry about 5 days ago but my life was turned upside down by one of those things you hear about all the time but never think can happen to you.

I'll be brief because I have a lot to do and not much time to do it but I'll tell you why I've been inattentive to the blog this week.

I spent Fathers Day weekend with my kids and had to return to work on Sunday night. As a Paramedic, I work 12 hour shifts so I left for work around dinner time on Fathers Day. My girlfriend is a Registered Nurse and also works 12 hour shifts and was scheduled on Sunday night as well. We both worked our night shift on Sunday and returned home around 7am on Monday to find our doors hanging open and just about everything we owned except furniture and clothing gone. That's right, we were burglarized in the night while we were doing our jobs and helping people. It was a swift kick to the stomach that still has me reeling. The loss of the items is big. Lots of electronics went missing and what was recovered was broken to the point that it is a total loss. The cowards cost us a lot of money but most of all they cost us the feeling of comfort, security and safety of a home and that is a cost that no insurance policy or shift of overtime can ever replace. Knowing that some filthy bastards were in our home, rummaging through our things and doing their absolute best to steal everything that we work hard to have leaves me disgusted and angry and wishing that there was something I could do to fix it. The fact of the matter is, they will probably never be caught. Our stuff now belongs to someone else and we will never feel the same in our home again. The security system installer is on the way as I type this and I'll be spending my weekend installing motion detector lights but none of those things will make us feel like we are as safe and secure in our home as we were before this happened. The thing that is really scary is that we know that these people were our neighbors or someone who knew our neighbors. They know we work long shifts, they know we are both often away for 13 hours or more at night and someone told them, that day, that we had both left in our uniforms and would be gone all night. Our neighbors, someone who lives next door, or across the street. Someone who says "hi" as they walk by while we're out in the yard. Because of our long shifts we are home a lot so if there were suspicious people or vehicles watching our house we would have noticed. Someone knew how we lived our lives and watched us come and go. Someone studied us and got all of the information they needed to successfully violate our home and take things that belonged to us and not them. We never work the same days or nights so there had to be someone giving information to the perpetrators so they would know when to strike. That is another thing that has been stolen from us, the ability to trust the people we live near and meet in our neighborhood on a daily basis. Maybe our neighbors didn't commit the crime but I have to believe they gave information or help to those who did. If not, the burglars would not have known when to make their move. I'm not condemning all of them because one of our neighbors interrupted the burglars on their way back for another load(unfortunately it was the last load and everything else was already gone) and stopped by to tell the police what he had seen and done the night before when he had called 911 and reported something going on in the neighborhood although he didn't know where. I'm sure its not more than 1 or 2 people that live near us but because of all the things the thieves had to know to make this a successful operation, I have to believe that someone we know and see on a daily basis is probably involved in some way. How sad. We never did anything to them.

I am thankful that we were both at work, my kids were with their mother and our little Chihuahua was spending the night at my girlfriend's mother's house so nothing that really matters was taken or hurt but I have to wonder what might have happened if someone was home and had taken the burglars by surprise. Our neighbor met them between houses as they were returning for the last load of our stuff and he knows that one of them had a gun(luckily he had one too and they were, after all, filthy cowards and ran) so what would have happened if I stopped by to grab something(as I often do) or my girlfriend came home early? Would one of us been shot, killed or hurt in some other way? It makes me sick to think of all the possibilities and makes me thank God that our home was invaded and our things stolen but nothing that really matters was touched.

So there you have it, the reason I've dropped off the grid for the last week or so. I will try to get back to the business of tabletop gaming or fun stuff as soon as I'm able but for now, please try to be understanding and forgiving of long lapses between posts or posts that are short on content or quality. I am busy and distracted and dealing with things I never thought I would have to and its pretty exhausting.

Now, for your pearl of wisdom, that little nugget of awesomeness that's your payment for reading this mess:

"Trust no one." Deep Throat

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Its All About the Benjamins

Hey there,

Post #5 is here with a much shorter interval between posts than the last few. Since people seem to be reading this and I'm up to 11 followers I'll do my best(and that's not really that good) to post a little more regularly.

I'd like to thank The Gamer's Lounge for mentioning this blog on Episode 9 and for the link on their Blogroll. It was very, very cool to hear about my blog on a pod cast and hear some excerpts read by the host. As soon as I figure out how to do a little more with the blog mechanics I will be sure and link to their site because their shows are good and they sound invested and passionate about the things they discuss. Since I was always passionate about the things I discussed on the pod cast I can identify with and appreciate that. In the mean time, please follow this link(or copy and paste if the linky thing doesn't work): http://gamerslounge.coda.net/
and check out what they have to offer. I have some catching up to do but I like what I've heard so far.

I'm still working on getting together with the as yet to be revealed person to record that yet to be revealed podcast but hopefully this weekend will be fruitful and a pod cast(or at least the bit that I'm on) will spring forth. Hopefully, the fruit it will bear will be well received and we can do some more in the future.

Today I'd like to talk about the Games Workshop price increases. I know I'm a little behind the times but this is something I had planned on discussing in another medium but events conspired to prevent that from happening. Besides, it has become painfully clear that GW is not going to lower their prices any time soon.

GW increasing its prices is ridiculous, insulting and a square kick in the crotch to anyone who has supported their game systems and products for any amount of time at all. Didn't they learn anything from the White Dwarf escalating price debacle?

Here's the thing: They don't make things any differently now than they did in the recent past when prices were much lower so how can they justify increasing the prices on the very same items we've seen on the shelf for years? In my opinion they can't. If they made the models drastically different or retooled every model(and book) they've increased the prices on in the last 2 years I would probably be able to understand and more easily accept the price increases. If a brand new model came along, the Valkyrie is an excellent example, they could price it however they chose and people would probably give their pound of flesh to have that sweet new model and the capabilities that came along with it. The problem I have is that they haven't done a damn thing to the models except raise the prices. A Land Raider now costs $62 US Dollars which is $12 or so more than the first one I ever bought and that was not that long ago. Why does it cost so much? They didn't retool the model or add sprues to the box. Hell, they haven't even given us new box art to go along with the new prices. I am a firm believer in the idea that when you pay for a GW model, you not only pay for the art and technology that was involved in the creation of the model, but you pay for the effectiveness of that model when its on the table mixing it up with the opposing army. There is no way in Hell that five Terminators cost anywhere near $50 to take from concept art to finished product, mass produce and ship to the wholesalers but yet we are expected to pay that much for them. Why? Because Terminators are worth a lot of points and are usually a worthwhile monetary and points investment for the general fielding them. We all want those awesome Terminators so we all line up with our $50 in hand to buy them because if we don't, someone else will and we will feel like we cheated ourselves out of the chance to do better or have more fun because we were cheapskates. Land Raiders are the same because they cost a lot of money and a lot of points but they rarely disappoint when you put them on the table and utilize them to their full potential.

I have said before that any hobby that involves competition and has any kind of required equipment or accessory will ultimately be influenced by how much a participant is willing and able to pay to be competitive. I have raced radio controlled cars, played tournament level paintball and now pit myself against my fellow man(and occassional woman) in the war torn universe of the 41st century. Not single time in a single one of those hobbies have I thought "If I only would have gone with the cheaper(insert expensive toy here) I would have done so much better and had so much more fun." Let's face it, I could buy 2 Assault on Black Reach sets and have 2 nearly 1000 point armies that, with a few exceptions, could be fielded within their respective Force Organization Charts and technically be playable. But, and this is a big but, would those armies be competitive against another 1000 point army of any type that was not built on a budget but was assembled with the effectiveness and capabilities of each and every unit in mind? This is the difference between building an army to meet a points threshold and building an army to kick other armies asses. I CAN build 1000 points of Space Marines for less than $90 but I can guarantee that it would not be as effective as 1000 points of Space Marines(or any army really) that were hand picked and assembled with the attitude that money is no object and winning is everything. It sucks but the cold hard truth of the matter is that the guy with the most money will have an advantage over almost anyone he plays that does not have as much money to spend. How does this affect the game? It affects it by creating different classes of gamers based on their financial capabilities instead of being based on their gaming capabilities. Could Lance Armstrong win the Tour de France on an $89 Wal Mart bike when all of his competition was using equipment that cost 100 times as much? Not a chance for poor Lance.(Ha!I'm a poet and I don't even know it.). Its the same thing when applied to tabletop gaming although admittedly to a much lesser degree. A brilliant or lucky general whose dice are on his side could concievably win with a budget army but it if he was playing a similarly skilled opponent with a "money is no object" army, that would happen very rarely. The points system we use, in combination with the Force Organization chart is designed to provide a level playing field for all who care to step up to the table with their army but the reality of the game is that meeting a points threshold and having an effective army do not always go hand in hand. Some will say this is a cop out and a good player would overcome the hardship of a cheap army to persevere no matter what the situation but I think you all know in your hearts that what I'm saying is at least a little bit true.

Another side of this argument is that since we all have to pay the same for the same models, its all fair in the long run. That is true to some extent but I think my side of the argument holds up because there are so many choices and so many different ways to fill each army's FOC that you can build a cheap army and get to "X" amount of points but it will be less effective in many aspects than an expensive army at that same points cost.

I'm going to wrap this up with a final thought because its already gone on far too long. Games Workshop needs new players. They need fresh blood to not only take the place of those who have moved on but to invigorate and reenergize the ones who have been around awhile. Tabletop gaming is, for the most part, an expensive hobby and with the new price increases is getting more expensive every few months. They have to realize that by making things more and more expensive all the time, they are pricing the hobby out of the reach of most people. Its very hard to get new people into the game in the first place because of the stigma that is sometimes attached to it and now its becoming even harder because of two things: 1. Its extremely expensive to get started in this hobby in a meaningful way. 2. If someone tries to dip their toes in the hobby by going as cheap as they possibly can they will have very little fun and a lot of frustration because the money they spent will not buy them an effective and competitive army that will allow them to feel the thrill of victory that we all crave and become addicted to.

If Games Workshop wants to get rich(er), raising prices is not the way to go about it.

And now, your payment for reading alll the way to the end of this mess:

"There's one way to find out if a man is honest - ask him. If he says, "Yes," you know he is a crook." - Groucho Marx

Chris

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sick of bugs for the moment. What do I do now?

Hey there,

Post #4. Its been a week since my last entry so I hope you are well and have recovered nicely from my previous attempts to entertain you. If you're still here for post #4 I'm glad you stuck around. If this is your first visit, feel free to have a look at the previous three but don't get your hopes up. I love to see comments because I don't really know if anyone is bothering to read this thing unless they comment on it. If you take the time to read it, please take another moment to write a few words about the blog entry or just to say "Hi". If you find it even mildly interesting, entertaining or just so horrible that you need to share it with someone else, please pass along the address to those you know and love(or hate).

This time I'm going to try and do my best to keep this on topic and in line with the title of the entry. Hopefully I won't stray too far off course or miss the target completely and leave you wondering what the Hell I was thinking when I decided on the title.

Things have been pretty interesting in the last week or so in regards to my future in the infotainment segment of tabletop gaming. I had some interesting phone calls and text messages that were exciting and a little disappointing.

The phone calls started out looking pretty promising and then the tone changed to a decidedly "don't call us, we'll call you." feeling and I was a bit disappointed with the turn of events. I can't say what it was all about because its not my project and I was entrusted with some information that I promised not to share. I would give it away if it was mine but its not, so I can't.

I got an offer to take part in a pod cast recording and that was pretty exciting but the weekend turned out to be crazy busy for me and bad timing for the guy running the show so we took a rain check on that. If we get together to record it, I'm sure it will be fun and I'm excited at the prospect. I can't say if this will be any more than a single engagement but everything begins somewhere so who knows where it may lead if they like me, I like them and the listeners like us together.

So, that leaves me with one thing looking not so good, one thing that is waiting to happen that might be good and so many things I may be interested in doing as far my future in the tabletop gaming media goes. Of course, I have this train wreck of a blog but I don't really think that it counts as much because a lot of it is my incessant blathering on about whatever is on my mind and not a lot of it is about what most people think I should probably be doing with this type of outlet. What do you all think, should I let this blog evolve into a strictly tabletop gaming blog, create a new one to cover gaming, leave it as is with a little bit about me and a little bit about gaming or just call the whole damn thing off because its really not worth the bandwidth it occupies? Comments would be sincerely appreciated.

Now, on to the stuff that has something to do with the title of this post: I am REALLY sick of bugs. Sick of building them and painting them and looking at them. I built so many frickin' bugs that just hearing the word "Tyranid" hurls me into bottomless chasm of despair. I just can't even think about them right now. I still love the bugs as an army, I just can't stand the thought of building more of them and (sadly) I still have more to build. So, what does a hobbyist do when he can't stand the thing he's been doing for so long? He either steps away completely or finds something else to occupy his hands and mind for a bit.

Malifaux is an option. I've built all of my Arcanists and just need to base and paint them. That's not too many models so I should probably do that first. I think that will be my first project. I'll get them based and primed this week and see where it leads me.

Firestorm Armada....I have a Terran starter fleet, a carrier and a box of escorts to build and paint. They are not currently in my possession but I think I'll probably be getting them back in a week or two so that will be a nice project to occupy me. I'm not sure which color scheme I'm going to use for that fleet so I'll spend some time scouring the web for pictures of different amazingly painted fleets that I will never, ever, in a million years be able to reproduce. I have an offer from someone with a couple fleets to try a game or two out so I may do that in the mean time.

I'd like to do a little something with WH40k but the bugs are out and I don't want to start a new army. Here's something I've been thinking of since the Battle Missions book dropped: Building both of the Assault on Black Reach armies and using them strictly for battle missions. I do still have one AOBR box set in the shrink wrap and I never did build any of the AOBR Orks so it would be a nice change after building so many bugs over such a long time. Perhaps I'll even paint the Orks up right and proppa' and do the Space Marines up in Ultramarine colors so Maldus will know I still love him even though I'm no longer on the Freeboota forums. I've been a huge fan of the AOBR set since it arrived on the scene and I think it would be great to use that set and the Battle Missions book as the ultimate beer and pretzels WH40K game. Nobody needs to bring an army because they are both at my place. You can play both sides of the mission with the same army and then switch armies and play both sides again, essentially getting 4 games out of whatever mission you choose. Of course, some of the missions won't be possible with the number of points and unit configurations available in the AOBR box but with a little tweaking here and there and some....umm....adjustments made to the battle missions scenarios I think it could be a huge amount of fun with very little time commitment. I also think it would be pretty damn cool to have the whole AOBR set painted to look just like they do on the box and on display for anyone who comes to the house and dares to ask the question "What the Hell is up with the toy soldiers?".

Speaking of bugs: The reason I got the idea to use the AOBR set for the battle missions is that I played Kill Team against Scott's IG army and got my ass shot to pieces long before I made a dent in his line. Look at the kill team rules and you'll see that the Tyranid army is pretty much impossible to field against and army that has ANY kind of shooting capabilities at all. Synapse kills you because you can't take a model with synapse that has a low enough number of wounds or is not an HQ or independent character. Since all the stuff that shoots needs synapse or has multiple wounds, the only thing you can field(at least from my available models) are Genestealers. While 200 points of 'Stealers looks pretty good on paper, trying to get them across the table to engage a shooty army in close combat is nigh impossible. When we were making lists and setting up all I could think of was how much I was going to crush those IG guys with with my wicked Genestealers but when Scott started shooting I realized that I had severely overestimated my ability to get to him and severely underestimated his ability to shoot the living shit out of me while I was trying to do so. The game went pretty badly for me and I realized that kill team was a game designed for armies that could shoot and deal some punishment in close combat. That led me to think that I needed some Space Marines and that led me to think that I really didn't want to buy more Space Marines and THAT led me to think that I had about 600 points of Space Marines in a box in my attic just waiting to be unwrapped, built and painted. That finally led me to the idea that if I built the AOBR Orks and the Space Marines I could play quite a few of the battle missions and kill team without buying one more model and be able to offer an army to anyone that stopped by and wanted to play a quick game.

So that's where I'm at. If time permits and the summer weather doesn't keep pulling me away from indoor hobbies I will definitely get some stuff done this week. Definitely.

Now, as I promised, your payment for reading this whole awful mess of a blog is that one little bit of awesomeness, that one pearl of wisdom that makes it all worth it:

"Remember; no matter where you go, there you are."- Buckaroo Banzai