Saturday, 30 September 2017

The Resurrection

Well its been nearly two months, but its time for another post on here.  I've actually got a lot to say.  Even more I have a lot to do at the moment.  This post, in part, is going to be partly a snap shot of the last month, so I hope people don't mind indulging me.  There is, a little bit of a love in at the end as well.  Sorry.

I'm a Dad

So the first thing to note is that in the last 5 weeks I became a Dad.  My life has, for obvious reasons, been a little on hold and Gaming has taken a sensible hit in order to fit everything in.  That post 2 months ago where I planned to do more gaming.. well not just yet hey.  However, Hackett Jnr came along on the 28th August, at a pretty big 10lb 15. 

Yes, it is easily the hardest thing I've ever done, and as of yet I would say the hard times have outweighed the good.  I wouldn't change it for the world though.

Thing is it also has made me set plans in motion which weren't there before, or perhaps have been in the back of my mind.  So, lets start seeing what is now in the pipeline.

Grumpy Gamers

So, at the beginning of last month I said I might like to do a podcast.  Well as it happens I have recorded a podcast, but as it happens it probably won't see the light of day.  I recorded it before the little one was born, so there are a few things which are now out of date in there and I want to change.  More importantly there was some news in there which is now totally out of date.  See more about that later.

So Episode 0 of Grumpy Gamers is on hold for now, but the plan is to record a new episode soon and get it out into the airways.  My original aim was to have two different series, one for Guild Ball and one for Wild West Exodus, but instead I'm going to focus on a single series which can concentrate on Guild Ball, but wander off piste from time to time when the mood takes me (or whoever is on with me, if I get guests).  Now this is partly because I'm probably going to get more time to play Guild Ball than anything else, but you will see soon enough in this post that there are going to be other things I want to talk about.

Paragons of War

Way, way back when I talked about writing my own set of wargaming rules, and an idea I had for how to do the combat.  Yeah, well that went in the bin shortly afterwards, but the idea of writing my own rule set didn't ever go away.

Well, I'm actually writing something now.  I'm pretty much certain it'll fall into the homebrew category, and potentially no one other than me and some nebulous opponent will play it (or even see it.  I am satisfied with that state of affairs, its actually been nice to just come up with ideas and get them onto paper.  I'm going to use the blog to drop a couple of spoilers (rather than my facebook page which has already had some ramblings).  Clearly I'm also going to be looking for a couple of things moving forward.  I'm not going to be able to look at creating a miniature range, all of this has to be based on people using other models from other systems and suppliers.  However, I would like to put together a professional looking rulebook, so some artists would be handy.  I've also got the basic idea of background as well, but fleshing out the world (or as it happens worlds) would be really nice.

The basic idea of background.. well... (I make no claims this is 100% original content, I had to start somewhere).

The Paragons have existed since time began, beings without compare to anything else in the stable realms.  While we have named each of them and their sphere of influence, these concepts mean little to them.  What we do know, is that over time, each one has visited the realms and left their mark in some way.  To them, we are little more than ants, easily pushed aside in the hunt for more power and more control over the unformed mists.

Eons ago the Paragons were held in sway by one of their own.  It was only the Paragon of Life who had the strength to claim the unformed, unstable realms, and weave them into new worlds full of beings both intelligent and animal.  As Life created new worlds its power grew, each realm within its domain feeding it the power needed to subjugate its brethren.  Those creatures it created were cared for, in a way.  We were allowed to spread on our worlds, on our own terms, for all Life needed was for us to Live.  The Immortals of the past, aspects of the Paragon of Life, were granted powers by their mother, and lived forever.

The day the Paragon of Death appeared from the mist changed everything.  Life was cut down, unaware of what Death was capable of, and the balance of power was forever broken.


Ok so enough self aggrandizing, now for a little bit of a thank you (to people who have no idea who I am).  When I first started this blog I made a pass away comment about how a small game called Dystopian Wars got be back into wargaming.  It was a lot of fun, reminded me of Man O'War and frankly just wasn't a Games Workshop money making machine.

Sadly Spartan Games went under last month.  This was part of my podcast, and how sad I was about the loss of Dystopian Wars, Firestorm Armada and the various spin offs. 

Now, I personally think a lot of the reason this happened was because they just kept expanding their range without really thinking about the quality of it, if they could support that big a range, and finally if the customer base was there to do it.  In either case, it would appear production capacity wasn't in a position to match requirements, and financial income wasn't being generated by outgoing miniatures and games.

I have to say last month I was disappointed.  I've not played Dystopian Wars for a long time, but it was the game that got me into what non-GW companies had to offer, and my gaming has been better because of it.


Now another game I've not played enough of is Wild West Exodus v2, but the main thing here is that a new company (Warcradle) picked up an older game, gave it a bit of a brush up and frankly came up with a lovely game.  I decided to write a little bit for their blog, which they kindly posted, and then baby (and also moving house) stopped me doing more.

However, I have to now say that Warcradle are one of my favourite companies ever and I wish I could work for them (without having to move, that would be perfect).

See, they very recently announced that they have purchased the rights to Dystopian Wars, Firestorm Armada, I assume all of the Halo titles, plus the various spin off from all of these games.  I didn't spot if they also have the rights to Uncharted Seas (Spartan's old fantasy ship game), but if they have that is also outstanding.

Oh to be able to work on just one of these titles.  Playing games is clearly a passion of mine, but working on a game is frankly a dream.  This is one of the reasons for doing Paragons of War.  However, a game that got me back into wargaming, or at least one of the titles from the first small company I really was interested in...

My two pence worth, not that Warcradle have to listen to me, but cut the range down.  That is on all of the games.  Personally, I wouldn't just cut down each faction I would cut out entire factions.  Well not for Halo, there are only two factions in that.  But DW and FA both had to many models in too many factions.  IF they could be cut back, and then the remaining factions concentrated into very specific and specialised "styles", then I really do think these sorts of games can't do very very well going forwards.

Oh and the rulebooks.. sort out where the rules are in the rulebooks.  They were great games, but you needed a research degree to know how to index the rulebooks.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Just a Game

So what's next?

It's been a while, oh Internet of things.  In fact it has almost been a year since I posted on here (other than the recent dose of salt of course).  It would be very easy to get into a whole post on why the blog was abandoned, and then bring it back around to why I'm here today, resurrecting the dead.. sorry thread.  It would be very easy wouldn't it.

However, lets go with the abridged version.. I got through the divorce, ended up drifting off the gaming scene (because I couldn't be bothered trying to find a gaming group I could get to.. or at least played on weekends), I struggled to keep the blog going on my own, discovered someone was already in my life that meant a lot to me, and in the next week or so I will becoming a father for the first time.  Things sort of just happened and this blog wasn't one of them.

Basically... I forgot.

The last few months have become something of a blur, and yet in the middle of all of it came the unabashed desire to actually get off my weighty frame (re: backside) and start gaming again.  I've still, not really, managed to do that of course, but its bought the blog back to the table.

Concentrated for more flavour

There is, clearly, going to be a small bundle of (*Insert personally appropriate definition*) coming along soon and so I'm not promising regular updates.  However, in order to make sure I do get back on track the new and improved (and present) Big Grumpy Gamer blog is going to be a bit more concentrated and a little more fixed.

I'm going to, personally, be focused on two games in the next few months.  The first of these is going to be Guild Ball, and this site is more or less going to be dedicated to it.  I might show you the odd thing I pick up from Kickstarter, but I'm not going to be doing the weekly trawl to show people what I like.  If nothing else, that took a lot of time and I didn't get anything out of it.

When I do get around to it there will be painting information, rules posts, possible match reports and lots and lots of general chatter about teams and the like.  I was going to focus on the Alchemist's when I first started, and I still have them.  I may even revert back to them, but in the next month or so I'll be moving to the new Farmer's Guild.  This will be what I take to tournaments and probably will end up with a lot of "stuff" as I get going with my new Guild.

IF, and its a pretty big IF at the moment, I can get myself going on the blog then I will also resurrect the idea of a Podcast or a YouTube set of match reports.  However, I don't intend on doing that alone... more on that later.

On that point - Can I please point people at the following:

The Battlehammer - These guys pretty much have kept me going for a while.  Potentially keeping me interested in gaming in general, but have also become very close friends.  Seriously.. these guys are awesome

Don't touch the Beard - One of those people I've been connected to by utter chance several times over in the past (yet never met in person).  His Match report style is awesome and a lot of fun.  If you haven't already go watch (People from CP, I insist you go watch these.. especially if you remember High King Tristan).

Singled Out - My Guild Ball podcast of choice at the moment.  A lot of fun, really good content, really good way of explaining and outlining how they are finding the game.  Well, when Jason isn't talking over people of course...

Oh and I'm sure people spotted that Guild Ball will be the first of the two games I will be playing.  The other is going to be Wild West Exodus.  I'm not sure how much content will go on here though, as I've volunteered to write stuff for the official Wild West Exodus blog.  What I put there won't be on here, but you may see the odd thing appear over here if the mood takes me.  In a similar vein to Guild Ball, there is also always the chance I'd move onto Podcast or YouTube if I can.

And in the vein of linking people I think are pretty important in my gaming world

Sarah Cawkwell - So Sarah will probably be aghast at being linked.. probably.  Sarah writes an excellent array of short stories and full novels.  Part of her work is on Wild West Exodus 2nd Ed, and I really look forward to getting my hands on the first book she is doing for them.. and the 2nd Ed book of course, in which Sarah as been quite busy I believe.

If you happen to be local

So here is the hiccup, I still haven't managed to do anything in terms of "regular" gaming.  The fairer and smarter half has pointed out that this is something I should fix.  I know.. I'm very very lucky.  So I'm hoping to get something sorted out for around every other week (and the odd tournament).

I'm hoping I can start getting myself over to Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster or even Barnsley soon enough.  I will need to get past the self confidence and chronic anxiety mind you.  I'm also hoping people might be able to come and game over here (or I can drive.. this is a thing.. Parker/Straw can attest to this.  In fact I need to get down there again.. once the baby is here though).

The Podcast and YouTube stuff though.. well I'm hoping someone local might well be interested in joining me is something silly like that.  As noted before, doing the blog on my own actually became more daunting than I want to admit, and if nothing else comes of this it's that I'd quite like to open the Big Grumpy Gamer site up to other contributers (perhaps to bring in other games, now I'm not).

So yeah, if you play Guild Ball, or Wild West Exodus, and happen to want some one to have a game against let me know..

Friday, 28 July 2017

Been burnt once before

Nearly a year

Its been nearly a year of not posting on my blog.  Yet something has appeared which has brought me to resurrect the old stomping ground.

The Big Grumpy Gamer is back (I'm very very salty right now).

If this is truly a return I shall post something later about why the long absence, but I'm really here to put down some initial thought and feelings.  I can't help it, its all come about because of the Guild Ball errata.  Actually, its all come about from changes to the Alchemists.  Yes, they are my team (when I play), so it is entirely possibly to say I'm being petty.  As such, let me add clarification:

I don't mind Midas and Vitriol being balanced downwards, they needed it.
I will still play the game and play Alchemists (for now)
I don't know if I will swap out characters, because I've not played with the changes.  Everything I say now is initial reactions, I'm just confused about the choice(s) that have been made.

So based on the above: Yes, I don't like the changes (actually its one above all others) but I won't be burning all my models on a tea tray in the back garden.


So the captain got hit hard.  He has lost a lot from his card and some of it is a bit nasty.

Actually he got what he deserved and I only really care about one part.  In all these changes are pretty reasonable.

1. He lost Supershot... well with it he could have a 4/10" kick and that's just bonkers.  So I'm ok with this.  Its not like he isn't super maneuverable anyway.
2. He lost Lightfooted... ok so he is a little less maneuverable, but lets think about this for a second.  He can perform teamwork actions for 1 less, so dodging on a pass or on receiving is still there.  Now all this loss means is he can't run over rough ground without cost (unless you use a momentum point of course and considering teamwork actions are more or less free this isn't really a big tax now is it).  I'm fine with this.
3. Lure of Gold is once per turn rather than one per team mate per turn.  Its a painful change, picking how to use this is now tougher, but actually I never really considered using this a lot anyway when I first saw it.  Certainly I wasn't going to be burning influence on it, and I have a lot of things to do with his playbook results most of the time.
4. Promise of Fortune no longer gives +1 armour.. well that's annoying.  Its not earth shatteringly annoying, but still.  Midas used to have more in his arsenal to keep the ball and basically this is another nail in that coffin.  Yes 5+ Def is still good, so I'm not protesting too much, but this is about the only really hard change to live with.

I'm ok with Midas being like this though.  It's painful, but not punitive.  Lure of Gold is less effective, but I'm not sure how well used it was anyway.


So first things first, she still needed work to downscale her and after really thinking things through I'm ok with most of what has happened.  I'll go with the ok stuff first

1. She has lost the option of doing +1 dmg, once, on a target in cover.  Sure, I mean it used to be all the time, I coped with it going down to once, so losing it is alright I guess.  Basically it's sort of clear she was doing too much damage and this is a fine way to get her back to being a striker
2. The same applies to the move of her 3 damage result up one with the push dodge going down one.  It's a better fit for a model that shouldn't be getting into a scrap as often anymore.
3. The other reason she shouldn't get into a scrap is she comes on with less health now is she is taken out.  But wait

Been burnt once before

Vitriol has lost her +2"/+2" move when she starts in cover and gained "Been burnt once before".  A 2" move when she starts her activation in melee range of someone who is burning or poisoned.

I just don't get this and I will try to explain why.  I doubt anyone from Steamforged will read this, after all I'm venting, but in the off chance they do I would love to know some of the way this came about/went through testing.. anything to just quash these fears I have.

I need to split this into two parts:

Via opposing players - 80% of the time, with only 10 health, Vitriol will not want to be ending a turn next to an enemy player.  So if positioned correctly Vit shouldn't ever get this dodge.. ever.  We've already said a lot of the changes stop her being a fighter and more of a striker, so by choice I will never get this bonus.

The rest of the time things get messy and complicated, so bare with me.  I'm going to do a lot of situations here.

She has the ball, and in the last turn was attacked but not killed (clone, counter attack, etc).  In the next turn you go first and can get her to the goal.  Well I won't be dodging because I need momentum so the chance goes.

She doesn't have the ball, but ended next to a model that does... see above, I can't dodge because I need the ball and momentum.

If at any point in any situation (I have the ball or not), the model next to me has a condition, and I am going second then I would be amazed if my opponent doesn't generate momentum and clear the condition of the model I'm next to.  Thus... no dodge.  This is a similar issue to the original S1 and S2 version of OG Katalyst.  Without being able to apply conditions himself, the set up involved to get the bonus (Kat was damage, but Vit is the dodge) is so easy to counter for the opponent that they will never get to see the bonus happen.  Well not via opponents anyway.  Oh and because Vit's can only happen at the beginning of her activation it wouldn't matter anyway if she could apply one or the other, it would be too late.

Via her own team - So Vit's ability can come from any model, not just enemies.  This means S3 OG Katalyst (who is always on fire) or Crucible (who can be on fire, poisoned, or both) can be used to trigger Vit's dodge... so long as they are within 2" of her.

Hang on.. if I kick I want Vit doing the kick, to make her speed a threat to get the ball back.. so there is no way Kat or Crucible are close enough.. ok so this can't happen then.

If I receive, or later in the game than this option of using a team mate is pretty strong.  In fact this is how I would play it.. but:

Vit is far faster than either of those players.  So she has to slow down in order to get her 2" dodge from them.. that doesn't seem right.  Also Kat wants to be in the fight.. which Vit really doesn't want anymore.  Crucible doesn't want to be in the fight, but she does want to be close to it.  Better, but Vit is still an easier target.  More importantly she isn't off doing what she is designed to do, which is be a striker.  Either I have to have Vit going slow and getting to places she doesn't want to me.  Or I have to use my Lure of Gold on Kat or Crucible to make sure they keep up with Vit.. meaning Midas has to be nearby and the two fighting orientated models aren't where they really should be.

My opinions matter little

So I'm truly accepting of the fact that I haven't tested these changes.  I assume that these changes are tested in full flow of a competitive game as well as set up situations to see what would happen with the skills if the stars align for it.  My mind may change of BBoB once I have used it a bit.. but I wonder if Vitriol would be any different if they just removed BBoB all together as well.  I don't think it has the impact or use it should have in the harsh light of a first read though.  If I'm proven wrong, that would be a nice surprise right now.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Kickstarter #9

Back from the Dead

Yes, I am aware I said I would start doing this stuff more often and I haven't.  Yes I know that building a community for my site involves regular content updates.  No, I have not got any more words to express my regret at not doing this site.  However, Life.  You know, the real life bit which stops you doing anything else, not because you don't want to deal with life and that it isn't fun, but it generally does mean you don't have time for anything else.

I'm going to make sure this is a bumper edition of the Kickstarter review.  I'm going to try and show you six things that have appeared recently and need a mention.  Plus, as an added bonus, I'll be, for the first time, promoting something I have played and is now on Kickstarter (and needs your support!).  So, getting right into it...

The Edge: Dawnfall - Awaken Realms 

So the guys that made Neuroshima Hex (which I am told is an outstanding game by the way), have developed a new 2-4 player, hex based game of miniature tactics and combat.  Now, normally, my excuse for finding something interesting is pretty much that it looks good, or that its nostalgic, or silly.  Well, The Edge definitely jumps into category 1 without any real issues at all.  It also fits in, for me, with category 2 as well, because Hex based tactical games always remind me of Battletech and Crimson Skies (sorry can't help that).

Now, clearly, when you go through the page you will notice that the models are... well quite frankly lovely.  There are a hell of a lot of models, and rather interestingly it looks like you get absolutely everything for each faction in the faction boxes.  Of course if you want the whole game then you will need a battlebox, which has the playing mat, and two factions worth of stuff, plus the few odds and ends you need for playing the game.  Personally I have no idea which of these I would get, because all the models look amazing.

One of the best things here though is that a bit of a ways down the page you will also find all of the background books free for download.  This isn't just a miniatures board game with nothing but rules.  they have set up a full story and background book to go with the game.  I'm impressed with the level of detail that they have gone into for a tactical boardgame.  At some point I'm waiting to see if they will release this as an open table top game as well... I mean the models are clearly good enough.

It is here if you want a look.

Dark Skies: 1942 - Resin Horse Games

Speaking of Crimsons Skies, finally I get to welcome in the coming of a spiritual protege of one of those games that shaped a lot of my experiences when I was younger.  Dark Skies definitely falls into the category of "alternative history" aircraft combat games, and I have to say I quite like the look of it.  Oh, and for the eagle eyed among you, yes there is somewhat a flavour of Lovecraft about this game.

in 1942, towards the end of WW2, the Eldritch gods finally awaken.  In time honoured human tradition, instead of banding together to solve our problems the war carries on, and now everyone is fighting everyone else.. and Cthulhu.  I mean what could go wrong.  Aircraft design has taken an odd little turn, and each side is building giat flying battleships to try and deal with the new monsters of the air as well.

Firstly, I do like the idea of alternative design aircraft.  Crimson Skies did this, in part, by using experimental aircraft designs from WW2, and I have a feeling that Dark Skies has done the same as well.  The flying fortresses are.. somewhat like the ones in Dystopian Wars, I have to say, but there are very few ways in which you can design giant flying battleships so I'm ok with this.  Lastly though, the flying Cthulhu model that you can bring into the game if you want the Eldritch touch.. that is rather wonderful in its own rights.

It is just here if you want a look.
Deep Madness - Diemension Games

By happen chance all of these games a linking together today.  I move from Aircraft and Cthulhu to Cyberpunk and Cthulhu.  Deep Madness brings in the idea of the standard Lovecraftian game (investigators finding and then deal with the Eldritch Horrors of the world), but puts it into a futuristic style game where players play against the board to complete missions before they all get eaten by the horrible creatures of an infested facility.

So as the game progresses, sections of the board are flipped over to add additional locations for the monsters to spawn from.  A selection of cards outline either the players abilities or the monsters actions, and turn order alternates between the two forces (player 1 -> monster 1 -> player 2 etc).  Players can find items to improve their abilities or give them more firepower, and over time the players try and complete a number of objectives.  The book comes with a number of scenarios (board layout and mission objectives) and there certainly seems to be a lot of depth in the game system.

Some of this reminds me of Zombicide.  I don't think that is a bad thing.  Especially not when part of what reminds me of that game is the quality of the game components which will be available with the game, and the sheer number of expansion components that they are offering.

This is here if you want a look.

Nightlancer - Adversity Games

Managed to get through another link up here, just drop the Cthulhu (say sorry first or he won't be happy) and we go into Cyberpunk overload here.

Now I have reviewed this game already, and I'm still psyched that I got to play this.  I'm going to start with a really simple statement about this game. IT IS GOOD!  I don't think I can make this clearer.  I've been very lucky to get to play this already and I really really want this to succeed, so please go back this right NOW!

Ok, so now you have done that let me explain a little bit.  If you have ever played (and liked, even a little) Cyberpunk RPG or Shadowrun, or SLA, then this is basically the Card game version of those games.  The clearest reflection it makes is with Cyberpunk RPG rather than anything else, but there are aspects that anyone who likes Dark Future type RPGs will be able to make.  It also only took a game or two to really get to grips with the basics of the game, and considering how much you get with it thats quite an impressive feat.  This card game is packed (with cards), and they have really stepped up the quality of those with the final designs.

Now clearly I'm trying to get people to buy this, and yes partly that is because there will be money coming out of my account (actually not my account, but my new partners), and she will also be getting a card made in her image if you do.  So that will be interesting, seeing if people can find the card that matches.  Also, she went for this kickstarter because she helped me playtest the game, and we almost ended up both getting it by accident.  Seriously its a good game!

It is here.  Please go back it!

Moonstone - Goblin King Games

I couldn't keep the chain up forever, so the best way to deal with that is to bring in something really cool, really kind of silly and yet still has some lovely models.

Now I realise a lot of people are put off by wargames because people take them too seriously.  The models become these odd incarnations of quality and importance that a lot of people don't get.  Well Moonstone certainly has some very hefty quality, and certainly I can see people attributing personalities and importance, but when you are (clearly?) basing your game around a visual style reminiscent of the Labyrinth, I'm kind of hoping it can also bring in a selection of people who haven't gone near gaming before.

Moonstone looks cute, in a good way cute.  I love the little models, the slightly puppety look of the figures, like someone hired Jim Henderson to do the design work throughout.  Also you only appear to need 3 models on each side to get started and that is going to be a massive boost towards getting people to play the game.  Stretch goals are wide and varied, and have already brought in the two fairy faction boxes which look really good.  I actually believe if I weren't currently trying to save my money to get my car MOT'd then I would already be buying everything this game had to offer.

It is right here, and I think it is worth a go if you can.

Medici: The Card Game - Grail Games

So this last one is on here, partly as a big thumbs up for bringing back an old game in a new form, but also because I actually do think there is a massive risk in bringing back classic games in the form of a card game.

I bring this up because of The Settlers of Catan Card game.  Designed for 2 players to get through a facsimile of a full game of Catan, the truth of the matter was that there was only a passing nod to the original game and not enough (in my opinion) of the flavour people expected.  The daft thing is, if they had made that card game and not called it Catan, then behind was actually a really well worked game.  There is always a fear when you name something based on an old classic.

From what I have seen they have tried to get things to look and feel like the original game, and it has been designed by the original designer of Medici.  Therefore, I can only hope that it holds up to the original in some way.  It has been designed for 2-6 players, so will have a bit more of the feel of the original as well.  Also for about £17 you get a copy of the game as part of the Kickstarter, and additional levels open up forthcoming expansion packs.  Its certainly intriguing, especially if you have played the original game.

Have a look here.

Back for good?

I'm not promising anything at all, but hopefully I can fit in some more bits and pieces soon.  There is a lot of this Real life stuff going on and I'm definitely enjoying it at the same time as making sure it all gets done, so bare with me, and hopefully I can come up with something else to talk about soon.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Curious Pastimes - Renewal 2016

In these lands of Siberian, these hot and humid lands.....

So as I mentioned before, there has been a short delay in writing on the blog because I was going to be away at Curious Pastimes for the entirity of the weekend.  Well, after recovery on Wednesday (down in Thetford with the guys from the Battlehammer) and going back to work yesterday, I finally think I can get thoughts on to the paper... fine, down onto the screen... and actually give people a bit of a fallout/review of what went on.

Except for one small issue, I pretty much managed to by pass all of the plot for the entire weekend.  I have absolutely no idea how I managed it, but not once did I get involved in the World Plot or any of the my groups (the A'Kesh) faction plot.  I must have been in the middle of some sort of plot void for all 4 days of the event.  Now partially this is down to what I do as part of this fantastic game world, but before I get into the specifics of Renewal itself, I think I should impart some general background in terms of what I know about CP and what this LARP is actually like.  I've been there for 8 years now (CP is 20 years old so I've not even got half of a full understanding of what is going on), and I've sampled the game as both a player, and for the last 3 years as a volunteer faction ref within the Mercenaries.  So, lets basically tackle this in a bit of detail.


So, the real basics for people who don't know.  LARP stands for Live Action Roleplaying, and basically if you take the idea of almost any fantasy book, get real people to play the characters, then get them to wear the correct costume and actually got and have all the fights and conversations in real life out in a field somewhere... well you won't really be close at all to what it is all about but you'll get close to the idea.  Common jokes in the community are things like calling it "Cross Country Am-Dram" or "Full contact Cowboys and Indians".  The simple thing is it is really hard to explain, but there are aspects of standard RPGs, Cosplay, Medieval Reenactment and camp fire story telling mixed together.  Frankly, there isn't really anything better than LARP for allowing you to abandon real life for a bit and go and do/be something else for a while.

And there in lies the key.  LARP isn't about ignoring real life, LARPers in general are from massively dirverse backgrounds and have massively different approaches and outlooks on life.  It's about putting it down somewhere safe, that you know you will be back to later and it'll be exactly how you left it, but in the time you are away from it you can just let loose and not have to worry for a while.

Curious Pastimes

So in terms of LARPs there are quite a few varieties; local club, national system and fest spring to mind, but there are more.  CP falls into the Fest variety, and basically to fulfil that mark, most fest systems meet up may be 3 or 4 times a year, but support a site of at least a few hundred people all involved in the game, and a cast and crew dedicated to rolling out NPC charatcers and delivering the story and the plot to as many people as possible over the weekend.  In addition to this, most fest systems tend to pull out some immense battles (with half the player base getting into more generic kit and being the bad guys for the day, and then swapping over for the second battle later on).  In addition, every now and then a Faction will "go on manuevers" and do a couple of encounters during the day for people to play around with.  At least a few systems discard some or all of this in order to include Player vs Player combat (normally the battles are then faction vs faction), or allow the players to generate their own plot rather than supporting an ongoing story from within the crew.

CP goes with the Crew system, with player vs monster battles, and monster slots.  It also has some of the riches plot going in any system I have had a chance to be involved with.  The Game Team (the "reffed" members of the crew), as well as the faction commands for each faction, work heavily to write, check and the supply plotlines to the players with the vague hope that everyone will engage with the plot and not try to stear it off a cliff, into a river and through a volcano... invariably adjustments need to be made regularly.

I've been fortunate enough to play in 3 factions since I joined in 2008, starting with what was then known simply as the Vipers, moving over to the Lions and then being one of the original hangers on to the A'Kesh when they started in 2012.  I've not changed character since, which also includes keeping the poor sap alive somehow, and its been one hell of a ride.  The "World" plot has moved through from a war against Terror itself (the physical manifestation of it, plus all his mates), and we are now looking at a return to war with the Fae families having fallen out with each other over whether mortals should be allowed to live, and if they really should have a single king or not.  Fae are, for want of a better term, Bel.. sorry.

Renewal 2016

Every year, Renewal runs out as the flagship event for CP.  Help near Gerrards Cross, around 800+ people decend on to the site, beginning Thursday (for those that want a social night before the event).. now some people are there before this time to do the work of making a scout campsite look like some part of a fantasy world, but the vast majority start appearing on the Thursday.  By 7pm Friday night we are all in, and off we go.  Time in called.  I enter the mind of Sul, a disgruntled former warrior, a man who has tried to lead his people in war for 3 years, struggled and failed, and due to injury has been forced to change his skills to those of a Ritualist to try and help people that way.  Of course, all characters are based on what you think you can play and what you think you can do.  Sul started out as a warrior character and then my back started going into spasms last year and it was over to being the ritualist.  His personality has always been that he has been a bit of a "nearly man" back home, but now in the world of the factions, he has had the chance to take what he desires and prove how good he is (having fluffed the warrior bit a little as I'm not a good figther, being a ritualist has kind of given me the chance to achieve both parts of Sul's plan).

So the first thing I did when time in was called.. well it was straight up to the ritual circle to do a ritual 1 hour in.. and thus a lot of running around, getting the necessarily people to help me (leads need contributers), and then telling them what to do in my first ritual for the weekend.

Rituals are, for the most part, a condensed roleplay dramatisation, put on the for the masses (or lack there of in a lot of cases.. something which is a bit of a shame to be honest).  Rituals are performed in a circle (sometimes called the "Circle of Look at Me" - one of the Game Ref's used to do a lot of rituals as a player and is known as look at me!), marked by a ref, and allow you do do a miraid of "mostly permenant" effects on items, other people, or in the world in general.  Used mostly as a method of empowering (read this as recharging) magic items, most Factions have dedicated individuals who use a lot of their time getting the rituals right.  The Mercs have had it harder, as Mercs don't tend to work together.  The idea of a ritual team that works together constantly and doesn't have other things to do all the time.. thats a novelty.  Hence the running around before rituals.

Either way we managed our Friday ritual and then 20 minutes later, with more cat herding we hit our second ritual as well.  Both our Friday rituals done, and a bit of dealing to get some other things done more easily the next day.  I broke for the night feeling pretty good with myself (after all rituals can and do fail, so 2/2 completed it a nice feeling).  It was at this point that I could now roll down my sleves and get into the plot.  Except, now the Mercs were on Monster duty.  Wrangling up food, and then up to the Ref hut to be confronted with 100 Merc players all ready to give a good showing of themselves.  I do love reffing with the Mercs when we gather up these numbers for Monstering.  We got to mess around with the ritual circle (its like I can't leave, and Saturday will prove that).  Monster slots are 2 hours long, and post the ritual I completely forget what I then went an did.  I can not remember a damn thing about the rest of the night (and there was no alcohol involved).

Saturday, up at 9 and off I went into the Merc camp.  In a strange way it was quite a nice morning.  I had little to do til midday, where there was an hour long ritual lesson being set.  This is something I love about CP, the Game Team put a massive amount of effort into helping the players develop and learn how the game works and what they can do.  The Academy of War is a player lead (Game supported) organisation that can let players learn new skills and abilities (something that you are normally capped to one of per year with a maximum of 7 (10 with bonuses)).  The college is more of a magical debating and research group, run by both Game and Players in tandem.  There are Blacksmith guilds, Surgeon Guild etc etc, all there to help progress fields within the game, and Ritual School is a new one started this year, support by the lovely Zara (special mention here, because Zara has kept pushing my Ritual game since I started last year).  We hit the hour long ritual school, and decided to play about with a special ritual to get us all thinking, and immediately afterwards my props and contributers arrived to do our ritual.. which had 2 more items in it than I expected.  I was meant to just be renewing 1.. I had a play for 1.. fine.  a rewrite of a ritual in 10 minutes and bosh 3/3.

Right, lunch, because I've been playing now for 3 hours and not had anything to eat yet.  Mhorish are my current choice for sustenance.  They supply 3 meals every day, and supply a ticket based system where you can buy in to the whole weekend if you so desire.  The price is massively discounted, so unless you are just topping up a self catered menu or want to shop around for food then getting the tickets is so worthwhile.

I've still not encountered a single item of World or Kesh plot.  I'm so busy thinking about the ritual I have coming up that I basically spend the next hour or so with a ref radio on and not listening to anyone else.  This one is the biggy, the one I've been dreading and looking forward to all weekend.  I'm going to make a banner, a really good banner, for a Mercanary group called the Black company.  To be honest I've messed them about a bit.  I was supposed to start this at event 1, but as people know I flaked out of the event.  Event 2 was no better, and at the Event 3 (I actually made it this time) I had no experience of the group of contributers nor they of me, that I cut the ritual down and only did the first part of what was needed (normally parts 1 and 2 can be done together, to then tackle the big part 3 on its own).  So.. for my next trick I'll do part 2, and part 3, at the same time.

I don't really remember the next 10 minutes plus of ritualing.  I remember we had to fight our way back to the ritual circle because it got monstered again right before we started.  Damn monsters.  I remember carrying the banner around while we fought and ran around from fear effect (which amused me a the time seeing as the banner was going to be able to let the Black Company resist that kind of stuff).  I remember getting back and demanding the circle let me enter so that I could clean up the mess the monsters had left behind.  After that.. its a bit of a blur.  I know my directions weren't completely followed from the original plan, but it was close enough that it didn't matter and I could wing it.  I know that it went well.  I know the Black Compnay that weren't pulled into the circle with me were singing.  There was a lot of screaming going on.  It was fun.  There was an honour guard for me (well probably the banner) when I finished and left the circle.  I know we got a complete success.  I was pretty happy and 4/4 was good.

For the life of me, what the hell did we actually do?  I mean, yes I still have the bullet point idea in my head, but I'm in that damn circle and I never get to see what we do, how it looks.  Slender Pictures if you happened to record this ritual (or any of my rituals) please can I watch them, just send me the clips privately because I actually want to watch one for a change!

Anyway, banner made.. its a good banner.  There is a level up from Complete success which I've not hit yet, but the actual ability of the banner might have made it hard enough as it is.  So a complete will do me.

Saturday rattled through, I'm pretty sure I slept, ate, and somehow missed all interaction with plot.  I very very rarely miss interaction with plot.  Hell at event 3 I was actively trying to avoid it as I had helped out a little by writing some of the local flavour plot and I somehow managed to get all the way through to the last day when two ladies managed to bump into me and verbatum my plot sheet back at me (well done by the way). The big thing that caught me on the Saturday was the end of the Moredhel.

Curious Pastimes has had some really long running groups, and the Moredhel were one of the longest.  It is such a shame that this group has now seen its time end, especially as one of my close friends was one of the people that had been with them for such a long time.  The Moredhel existed when I started in 2008, and some characters haven't changed in that time.  Sul has been involved with one of these characters since we joined the factions (she liked my shiny scale armour!) and so seeing her leave was going to be difficult.  The Kesh (thankfully) aren't prone to greiving, so instead I got to play angry and grumpy at how the Gods need to be put into their place (because their leaving plot was that their gods insisted they leave).  This is not, necessarily, the best way to then have to handle more rituals.

We managed to be more work on our spear (and I even used one of those cliche endings for my rituals.. "thats a story for another time").  5/5 and just one more to do for the whole weekend.  What I wasn't expecting was to see 3 ritual markers come down for this one.. thats not normal.  I actually don't fully know why everyone was there, but I didn't mind.  We had a plot ritual to do, something that needed to be sorted out for the Kesh story to keep moving onwards.  Its rituals like this where you get to play a little bit.  They can still go wrong, the plot changing drastically in one direction or another because of what happens, but plot rituals are more roleplay orientated, its about trying to cast your hand over a story, move the pieces slightly and see where they end up.  Its not like renewals where people can have a physical item stop working, there is more of an expectation when people want you to renew things.  Plot rituals, they are a lot more fun.

One of the nicest things about working with the group of people I did over the weekend was how much I trust people to just go to town.  I don't like my rituals being completely free reign, there is always a set of bullet points for each ritual that I will mentally rattle down and let people know about.  What people say in each section is completely up to them, and its amazing how well the Kesh ritualists and those of the Teutonians that I have worked with pick up on que and run with it.  The same happened in the last ritual.  It just worked, flowed correctly and had everything we needed.  I'm going to try and build more effects and props into my rituals, but knowing that the people I game with can just roll with it is also exceptionally helpful.

6/6 done... and after that?  Well as it happens nothing.  I was done for the weekend.

Ritual running is one of those things that dominates the weekend.  May people that do it call it Cat Herding on an epic level, and it really can be.  Do you have your plan? Are all the contributers there? Do you have any props or items you might need? What about the actual item or person you are working on? Right time to head off?  Oh, and by any chance does anyone have the money... damn it.  Once you have done all of the rituals for the weekend you then collapse a little, its all over, and then the nagging happens, the circle of "look at me" starts calling, you want to just jump in and to a few more, some that don't really matter (well not to you anyway).

I spend Sunday going for food, sleeping, watching a few rituals, and completely missing plot.. again.  There was a bit of fall out from the Moredhel leaving, and CP's first big battle of the weekend.  As the Akesh were playing and I'm a flaky ritualist with no combat skills or magic at all, the general rule of the Akesh is I don't go near the battle field.  That actually came about, In Real Life, because of my back pain.  Sadly, even though that is clearer than it has been, its not a limitation on the character due to being paper thin and without enough power to make him worthwhile on the field (I have plans next year).  There is something helpful about being able to grab lunch and sleep in this time, but the rest of the day kind of dispersed in a blur.  One of my characters original family members, one of the people who helped build the original family idea (something that two of us had kind of stumbled upon due to a single LARP weapon we picked up at an open day at DarkBlade) was gone.  To make matters worse he was the last of the original two handed hammer weilders (2 died, 2 left, and me... no longer able to use them).  Officially the original Tyanites are now all gone.. its a very odd feeling and I kind of struggled to register it for the rest of the day.

The long weekend comes to a close with Monday, a mad dash early morning for me so that I can get myself ready to Battle Ref.  This is where, as a volunteer, I really get to see the hard work that goes on.  The level of planning, the attempts that the Game team take to make sure everything is going to be safe, fun and at the same time seem chaotic and terrifying for the playing factions.  In addition, I also have the somewhat entertaining idea of dealing with a faction of players that I normally don't deal with.  Now, I'll admit right now, I am not confident with battle reffing.. yet!  That is a key thing, even after a couple of years those battles are something you can only learn to handle by being there and doing it (you don't buddy up very often with big battles because they need everyone available to do a job), you will only ever see everything that can happen on a battle field once every now and then.  Crushes don't always happen, not near you anyway, so to know what one looks like and how to handle it can be a steep learning curve.  Knowing when to stand back and observe or get in to the line and watch.. each thing adds a layer of complixity.  However, that is what you are there to do, so the only option is get stuck in.  There are plenty more people who know more than me, so if they say something I try to do it, add it to the list in my head as something to watch for and then get going.  Being a volunteer is an interesting job.

There are moments in big battles where you realise how epic these games can become.  A huge number of players (not all 800, but a lot of them), storming across the battlefield.  A prime example of this was the start.  The Monsters had a plan to skirmish and hold the entrace way to the battlefield, once a breach had been made.  Instead, the Black Company as a whole charged through the breach, no slow advance, this was a headways sprint at the enemy, and the Monsters scattered, there was no way they would have been able to hold and they reacted, no like automatons set up to be smashed aside, but as real living, breathing, scared troups.  Watching the Lions weep over their dead at the end of the fight was possibly the best, brief, outline of how a collective of people can form and care for one another regardless of the fact that it is not real life, isn't serious in any way shape or form, and yet the loss and heartbreak of such things can be well played and heartfelt all at the same time.

That personal touch

In trying to stop this being a trumped up display of my own ritualing successes and nothing else, what is important to point out is just how well Curious Pastimes gets the idea of trying to get everyone to stop and believe in the world in which they play in.  I've lost count of how many different people some of the crew play, how many different characters they have to have a handle on.  The organisation of the crew, both overall and their individual control, is amazing and it is what allows people to get so emersed.  On top of that, a plethora of event crew make sure the players have everything they need, are cared for in cases of injury, and are safe on the site.  Everything which has to work in a real life sense is handled seamlessly, and this means that the game world can just keep going without concern.  On top of that, the volunteer refs that I have the  pleasure of working with work their socks (IC and OC) off.  It is a joy to be part of this team, and while there is always a balancing act between the reffing and the still being a player, there is nothing better than seeing refs get caught out by something they weren't expecting a player to do, or that random comment on the radio which they have to keep straight face for.

As noted before, then there is plot.  So much plot.  I don't know for certain, but this is something that seems to be unique in CP.  Certainly the explanation I have had from people who play other systems, is that CP the plot is there to find or to have "forced" on you, while other systems its up to the players to make the plot or hunt down the small number of things which are affecting the whole world.  To write all of this plot, there is only a small dedicated team (or set of teams, a faction will have their own little team of writers and then the world has its own little one as well).  To keep things going with just small groups of people is quite amazing.  The number of people I have seen who are saying the first thing they have done since getting home is starting to write or having meetings over next years plot.  It is seriously impressive that there are people in this system that are determined to make sure the players have fun and have something to do at every gathering.  To each of these people I raise my digital hat.

I can't deny that I was on the brink of stopping LARP recently.  Some of you may have already read my post on social anxiety and what it did to my first event this year.  I also know that personal life got in the way of quite a lot of my friends, and people who are important to me, from enjoying this event as well.  However, I think there has been enough for me to want to come back and experience the world of Curious Pastimes again next year.  Heck I've got a Banquet coming up soon which I really will have a lot of fun with.  The winter can feel like a very long and drawn out period of time before the next major event, but with hope I can make a few of the faction events and monster to my hearts content.

If you are interested, then have a look for Curious Pastimes on Facebook, there are a lot of different groups (the Unofficial page being a good start point) and have a look at all the things that go on there.  Hopefully I will have some photos on here soon too from some of the photographers that prowl the battlefield and the camps over the weekend (I just have to ask them nicely).

Monday, 22 August 2016

Kickstarter #8

A Dystopian Celebrity

So it’s a bit later than I planned, but here is the next post on this somewhat haphazard blog of mine.  I hope you have kept yourself distracted with the rather good podcasts and youTube channels in my absence.  As with my normal posts on Kickstarter, I’m going to go through a few of the interesting projects that are out there at the moment.  Certainly, in at least one instance this week, I’ve got myself all in a fluster over one of the options here.  I’m pretty sure that people who knew me from back in my University days will understand why (considering it was a game we talked about a lot in the past).  Once more, I’ve not play tested or looked at these things before, so this is completely cold in terms of a review of the Kickstarters and what they offer (as well as a little bit of person buzz as well).

SLA Industries – Daruma Productions

So SLA Industries...  Let’s just say that seeing SLA come back in any format is something just a little bit special.  This was, back in 1999 when I got to Sheffield Uni, one of those games that myself and my collections of friends somewhat obsessed over.  Now, it wasn’t something I ever actually got a chance to play until quite a few years later, but at the time we used to chase around eBay in the vague hope of finding a copy of the rules or the various source books in order to make sure we had everything we needed to play this game.

To be honest, my little RPG group were fairly obsessed with Cyberpunk/Dystopian future type games.  SLA certainly fits that bill, but it comes at the genre with its own rather interesting twist.  Unlike games like Cyberpunk and Shadowrun, characters weren’t part of the shady underworld (dealing in jobs that no one else would do).  In SLA you were a celebrity, if you wanted to be.  You got more money having sponsorship deals and selling TV rights to your missions than you might have earned from the job itself.  Well that was one of the options anyway.  It was a bit daft, having whole moments of trying to become popular and get more money from fans etc to keep you going in the field.  At times it could be really daft, but actually it worked out quite well.

Daruma Productions and Nightfall Games are brining SLA back as a Skirmish level wargame, and I have to say I’m pretty excited by this.  I first saw/heard about this from Straw and Parker over on the Battlehammer channel, and I think it is fair to say that they are also pretty excited about this as well.  The miniatures do look really nice, they have certainly looked at getting the style from the original RPG out into miniatures form.

Now initially when I looked at this, it seemed like this was only for the rules and the faction cards (which I assume are useful), and I was wondering why there weren’t any models in the options.  It seems like Daruma have decided to have the models build in over time with the stretch goals, some of which will be purchasable and some which will come in automatically as they are unlocked.  I don’t mind that too much at all, because it gives you the option of having all the stats you want and not having to purchase additional boxes of models in order to have a game (after all, there are quite a lot of models out there which will make fairly good proxies for this sort of thing.  The models then become a bonus, and as noted before, they do look like they are rather good.

If this can capture any of the RPGs original feel and style than I will be quite impressed.  From what I can tell, it seems to be doing quite well at that.  I’ll probably put a bit of money on this myself.

Eschaton – Archon Games

Ok, so after fanboying a bit, it’s now time to have a look at something which has popped out because of the concept of the game.   Eschaton looks really interesting for this very reason.  I mean, it’s difficult not to have a look at a Deckbuilding card game based on the idea of building a cult to take on the world.  Now, before anyone says anything, this is the sort of fantasy cult you read of in books, with the pitchforks and the torches, living somewhere which is equally fantastical and NOT REAL.  Though I’m pretty convinced some of those games exist as well out there.

Anyway, Eschaton has gone for a really dark and moody scheme.  There are quite a few images of the cards on the Kickstarter page, and they look like old fashioned block colour sketches you sometimes get in RPG books (especially those in to old White Wolf Vampire books and the like).  The basic premise appears to be that everyone starts with a default cult deck, and then slowly build up your deck over time (as with any other deckbuilder game).

The difference seems to be that you then use your new, more defined deck to start claiming territories on a map, rather than just gathering points cards or trying to knock your opponents out of the game.  This seems to be a somewhat different approach at tackling the same problem, how to get someone to win based on the concept of a rotating set of cards and options.  I kind of like the more visual concept towards this problem.  I always got a little annoyed with things like Dominion, as ultimately you might feel like you are doing quite well, til that count up moment at the end when someone ends up actually being miles ahead.  Now, seeing someone is miles ahead can be disheartening, but it also means you know who to go after and can start planning their downfall.  That might actually make things more interesting for some people.

Anyway, Eschalon is here... go have a look

Exquisite Beasts – Turtle Dream Games LTD

You might have noticed that a lot of the board games I look at are based on them having a bit of a quirky style or an odd premise in terms of the “story” of the game.  Exquisite Beasts definitely falls into this category.  In addition to that though, this Kickstarter also have a bit of an interesting set of pledge levels.  So first off, I’m going to look at what it actually is.

In Exquisite Beasts, each player plays as a Mad Scientist.  For a while now you have all ruled over the city of Pleasantville, perched in your magnificent castle, doing what Mad Scientists do.  Well, the citizens are a little bored of this situation now, and a mob is forming.  The only option is to build yourself a monster out of the various pieces of ancient creatures lying around, hope that it is a stormy night, and then go out and deal with the mob.  While you are at it, perhaps you can knock down a few of your opponents castles in the process.

This is a multi-phase game.  Firstly you see if it is a stormy night so that you can animate your new creation (unless you already have one out and about in the streets that is).  Then the mob grows in strength, getting a bit more powerful.  Finally you send out your minions to collect pieces, you fight, and deal with any damage being done.  It really does sound like a very silly little game and I really like the look of it too.  The art is definitely suitable for the sort of game they are looking at, with a slightly comic book/cartoon type vibe to it.

Now the Pledge levels definitely seem interesting.  35 Euro gets you the game, but you can also pledge less than that to get a Print and play package instead.  Now, this isn’t the sort of thing I would look at (I like proper prints of games), but it is only 10 Euro to get that, which is a massive saving if you can do decent prints yourself.  100 or 150 Euros allow you to get your own “image” in the game, either as one of the mob or, at the higher level, one of the Mad Scientists that will be included.  Now I don’t have that sort of money, but there is certainly some temptation to be “in” a game in that sort of fashion.

This definitely looks like a lot of fun.  For me, I have to work out if I can afford this on top of SLA industries.  Either way, I recommend having a look at this here.

Real life gaming calls

So, there we have it.  I will likely get another something out next week.  If I’m sensible about it, I’ll remember to write something about Curious Pastimes.  CP is a Fest style LARP which I have been going to since 2008.  This weekend is the flagship event for the year (called Renewal) and as such spans out over the entire Back Holiday weekend, involves two massive fights, and generally includes some of the best rounded plot I have experienced since I started poking my head at LARP systems.

Anyway, enjoy one and all.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Keeping the mind

The People out there to listen to or watch

So generally speaking people in the wargaming community are pretty open folks, and there is a lot of getting on with one another and witty sarcasm and the like.  As part of that, knowing people who are somewhat famed in the community also comes with an interesting sort of twitch, which I get when going to tournaments.  You see, you hear people talking, and you know the voices from hearing them chirping out your phone or via youTube, but you don’t actually know these people in any way shape or form.  One of the advantages of only doing a Blog, no one knows what I sound like.

However, this post is my chance to actually direct you to some of the people I listen to, or watch, as part of my general hobby time (or at work via Podcasts, as it’s generally accepted in an IT office).  I’ve tried to break these down, firstly into Podcasts and then YouTube, and as part of that I’ve also outlined the game, or games, that are discussed on those shows.  These are, for the most part, people I actually know, but still a few of these I’ve not met in real life, and it’s always a little odd when I see/hear them in real life.


Malifools 2nd Edition – Malifaux
Malifools was the first podcast I started listening to last year when I was getting into Malifaux.  They went on a bit of a break recently, byt Malifools 2nd Edition (MF2E) is back and I’m rather glad.  Mike, Joel, Matt and Lee have been going over some of the new things in Malifaux, and their general feelings on the game as it stands.

Breach Boys – Malifaux
Sadly on a bit of a break at the moment, but Leigh and Ross have a somewhat different approach to Podcasting.  Certainly a touch more of the “childish” humour and adult language level, but the duo break down games they have played, what they think of the community, and their approach to gaming and the hobby.

Mc’Fauxish – Malifaux
Breach Boys Ross goes on a more family friendly wander through his gaming life, and the episodes I have had the chance to listen to are based around his tournament experience.  Ross and his opponents break down the game they have just played, and what choices they made.  A good listen, as it brings some insight into the way people approach tournament games.

Before We Begin – Malifaux
Dan sets out to find some of the well-known players in the US (and some of our UK locals) and then basically drops them into an arena to see who gets out.  Setting the opponents the task of picking crews to play against one another over the Malifaux Vassal mod, Dan gets the players to explain their choices for his listeners.

Who Cares Who Wins – Guild Ball (and Bushido?)
Chris and Steve, with a decidedly adult humour approach to talking about Guild Ball.  Mixed with plenty of Guild Ball related thoughts and considerations (Once you get past the first 45 minutes), and remember if Mat Hart is on an episode you are bound to get a spoiler for the upcoming season.  Recently joined by Chris (yes another one), who is quite heavily into his Bushido stuff, and there has been a special edition WCWW on that game as well.

Other mentions (these are podcasts I have, but either aren’t specifically about the games, aren’t ones I listen to a lot, or are relatively new, so I know less about them) –

Breachside Broadcast (the stories from the books read out like an audiobook)
Double Dodge
Guild Ball Tonight


The Battlehammer – Guild Ball, Zombicide, Frostgrave, Wrath of Kings, Gaslands, and more
Straw and Parker off their own take on a wide range of games, alongside their own “eclectic” use of the English language, gaming songs, and innuendos.  Straw and Parker take you through their own games, bring in gaming celebrities, and take you on road trips around the various Guild Ball Tournaments.  Just don’t mention that damn Wizard.

Who Cares Who Wins – Bushido (and Guild Ball?)
Chris (the second one, the new guy) goes through his games of Bushido (normally played against Lee) and also shows progress on painting, terrain/board building and also breaks down the rules of the game.  Also contains a couple of videos where Chris (the original (the best?)) and Steve play a bit of Guild Ball.

Hot Gates Gaming – Guild Ball and The Hobbit
I’m not really into The Hobbit game (partly through my antipathy towards Games Workshop), but James does have quite a few games of Guild Ball for people to watch as well.  He takes a single team and then plays them against all the Guilds in the game, giving people a look at what he hopes he can do and how each game progresses.

More to look at and see

These are my current crop of associated Podcasts and YouTube channels that I frequent and subscribe to, and if you are interested in any of the games I play then I recommend each and every one of the above.  If your world is more Games Workshop centric than I would point you towards and their YouTube channel, as it is one of the most active war gaming channels out there.  For boardgames I think the only place to go really is The Dice Tower.

I’m still trying to work out what I want to do in these fields, certainly I’d like to get more Bushido content out there some day, as it is one of the systems that I don’t think features enough on Podcasts or on youTube.  I quite fancy the idea of doing a general Podcast which covers a range of games.  In the end though, I need a working PC and a few people to talk to and record to get that off the ground.  One day, one day.  Til then, and even afterwards, I think you should all go and listen to/watch the people I have mentioned above.