Monday, January 9, 2012

Who are you and what have you done with Carmin?

Yes my fellow gamers, we are a capricious bunch. Where once we sit and goop over the latest edition of a game or the latest supplement, we now gnash our teeth and cry out against the hubris, and sheer trash, that we now believe it to be. While I may not have been as dramatic as that, I was not (am still not) immune to the effects of an ever-varying gaming appetite.

So where does that leave us?
As of late, my gaming interests have been rather uncharacteristic; I'm falling for things that at one point didn't even draw my eye. Imagine the surprise of the friends in my gaming group when they came over to my house for Monday-night gaming and found me either in possession of, or blabbing on about...

Space Wolves:
This shouldn't have been that big of a shock. I mean, I used to have a Space Wolf army in high school, and I'm a huge nerd for vikings, and things that are dwarf-y (with the removal of "Squats" and the limbo of "Demiurg," Space Wolves are the closest thing 40k has to Dwarfs).

So where does that leave us? Well, now I'm doing a Space Wolf 40k army in anticipation of the new edition that's due out this year. But of course, I can't just do a Space Wolf army in 28mm, I need to do a Space Wolf army in 6mm too, so that they match!

Which brings us to...

Ah, the Epic system; the best four editions (and 6 different game boxes) of a game system ever written in the history of gaming. I can only hope to reach this games foot in the giant game design monument. My love for this game began with Epic 40,000 in 1997, and reached its apex in 2004-2006 with Epic Armageddon before it lost regular support from Games Workshop/Specialist Games. Hell, I even dabbled with NetEpic and Adeptus Titanicus.

For years, Epic Armageddon has been my favorite version; it's a great mixture of the simplistic and clean design of Epic 40,000, and the detail and character of Space Marine/Titan Legions (not to mention EA has full-color books). However, I've always lamented its "incompleteness." It's missing (at least) two armies! Chaos and Tyranids were never really given any official update, and now the Tyranid models aren't even available for purchase.

It's in this desperation that I turned to NetEpic, and found that the system is good for about seven games. For my eighth game I demand something that's better written, and isn't just Warhammer 40,000 2nd edition at 1/5th the size.

This is where we get into the modern day, where I've gone back and looked at Epic 40,000 and come to the conclusion that where I once found a sterile and flavorless rules system, I now see as a very workable, playable, and enjoyable system. The army lists are flexible as they could ever be, the combats aren't mired down by special abilities, or special rules; everything just works.

So where does that leave us? Or, me, rather... Well, EA is still my favorite edition, but I'm going to put Epic 40,000 a hair's width behind it. If 40k is the zoomed-in game, and Epic 40,000 is the zoomed-out game, then EA is the game you play one mouse-wheel click before you get to Epic 40,000 (using a Google® Maps metaphor, for those who don't use computers (or metaphors)). I'd love to give Epic 40,000 another shot (or ten), but gamers are notoriously committed individuals who have no problem dividing their time and money amongst multiple games, but not across multiple editions.

Which brings us to...

The Great D&D/Pathfinder Wars of the 21st Century:
If ever there's been a greater waste of words, time, and vocal chord vibrations I've yet to see it. They're both great games. That's why, starting Sunday the 8th of January in the year of our LORD, two-thousand and twelve, I hereby remove myself from this fighting!

Hypocritically, however. While I was not on the front lines of this fight, I definitely took sides (D&D4). I hated, above all else, the smugness and condescension that Pathfinder players poured upon me at my local games shop. I never once heard a D&D4 player make fun of Pathfinder (except me), but the verbal bombardments thrown upon D&D4 players by Pathfinder players placed many a Blast Marker on their detachment (Epic 40,000 joke).

Bah! See; I'm doing it again. This won't be easy.

So where does that leave us? I'm giving Pathfinder an honest shake. I've heard nothing but good things about the Pathfinder Beginner Box (notably from Penny Arcade, and this guy). I'm going to pick it up (and probably the Core Rulebook, and most likely the Inner Sea World Guide because it has an American-style country in there and I'm nothing if not an Ameriphile), and I'm going to run it as a one-off (or hopefully a campaign) with my group in mid-April (the next available free gaming break in our schedule). This does not mean that it's replacing D&D4 as my favorite of the d20 systems; I am more than capable of enjoying, playing, and thinking highly of more than one gaming system.

And yes, I realize that this announcement was made this morning. More on that later this week (I promise).

Which, not so eloquently (at all), brings us to...

Blood Bowl:
What's this? Two Jervis Johnson-designed games in this list? 'Tis true, folks, I'm gettin' in to Blood Bowl. Now, I've never mentioned this game on this blog because up until recently, I never liked this game. I found it too frustrating, too goofy, and too board game-ish to settle my hungry, miniatures game, stomach. However, I've been slinging boardgames for four years now, and in that time my appreciation for boardgames has increased exponentially, to a point where it rivals my love of miniatures and role-playing games. I now see the merits to mixing miniatures gaming and board gaming, and applaud Mr. Jervis Johnson for his original, and quite brilliant, idea.

As for the goofiness, and the frustration: c'mon, Carmin; You love goofiness! That's not a valid excuse. NEXT!

Ah, the frustration of the game. The start and stop nature, which is aggravated when one with the limp wrist-ed rolling such as myself meets a game where you end your turn the minute a die-roll is failed. This might still be a bugbear when I get back into the game, but I'm determined to meet this fact with grace when it arises.

So where does that leave us? It leaves me with a Chaos Dwarf Blood Bowl team sitting on my paint bench. I must admit, however, that this change of opinion leaves even myself perplexed. All the other examples I once played and enjoyed immensely. Epic 40,000 is where I first started playing huge-battle games, and D&D3.x was the era I played the most role playing games in. Space Wolves I commanded to much success in the early-2000s but Blood Bowl I probably enjoyed only as long as it took to paint the plastic humans in the box. I guess this can be traced back to my love of Chaos Dwarfs and the recent release of Tamurkhan.

I've been really enjoying Warhammer Fantasy since the release of 8th edition, and when Warhammer Forge released a supplement that dealt with Chaos (and Chaos Dwarfs, at that) I needed it. I used to have a Chaos Dwarf army and have never stopped loving those evil little bastards. So with Tamurkhan bringing Chaos Dwarfs back to my attention, and the mumblings of a Blood Bowl league starting, I figure: "What do I have to lose (besides the ~$75 I spent on a Chaos Dwarf Blood Bowl team)?"

So there! You can all see how utterly mad I am, and how these four contradictions to my previous gaming habits might be noteworthy (and a sign of the end times). I hope you enjoyed reading a, rather long, post that has only to do with my moods and not even any concrete gaming content. I have a ton of projects on the go right now (when do I not?) and I'm even gearing-up for Privateer Press' Lock and Load 2012, so you can be sure that 2011 will pale in comparison to the content of 2012. Thanks for reading!


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