Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Possibly Not the Best of Ideas

Even though it's a chilly 30' here in New Hampshire there didn't seem to be any reason not to spray prime some minis. This is my day off and since I'm working this weekend the Krylon called out to me. I've found you can spray paint in the winter as long as you get the models inside and in front of some heat pretty quickly. Today I also discovered that priming and drying quite a few models leaves the house smelling like a house full of paint fumes. Exactly like a house full of paint fumes. Just a remarkable similarity!

The wife went to work this morning and left the slow cooker going with some delicious black beans. She will be back in about thirty five minutes. I'm not yet picking up any black bean aroma through the cloud of whatever comes out of a spray can. But in thirty five minutes anything can happen. That's what I am choosing to believe.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Best Infinity Game Yet

More Amazing Infinity Miniatures
Infinity is a science fiction skirmish game from Spain that continuously threatens to become popular here in the United States. I've collected the miniatures for years now and run several demos and the system has never really hit it off locally. I've read about it being played actively here and there but I've never come across a group.

As an aside, I think Infinity falls into a class of European games that feature great miniatures and interesting rules, and yet never seem to catch on and forever look intriguing and exotic to me. There's also Eden, Carnavale, Freebooter's Fate, and the whole Zenit line. Each collection is so colorful, weird, and basically foreign-looking that they're hypnotically attractive. Luckily the small shred of sense I still possess tells me that I may not find any opponents for my French post-apocalypse clown themed wargames troops anywhere in this hemisphere. 

That being said I finally had a very satisfying Infinity demo this weekend at Triple Play in New Hampshire. I think the thing that made it work so well was mainly that the players were relaxed and good sports rather than being aggressive and competitive. Further, they had experience playing similar games. But I may have set the stage for the game better this time than in the past. I just stressed that this is a twenty minute skirmish game, that the basic rules are ultra simple, and that if they can think of something they would Like to do in the game there is absolutely a rule for it and I'll explain it as needed.

Go on, buy me....
The result was that the play started pretty quickly. The players expected a quick game and thus didn't spend time arranging a complex strategy and staring blankly at the board. Through the game I just chimed in and reminded them of options they had and before you knew it they were playing with little help from me. In the end they were happy with the game and are planning on buying some figures.

For future games I think I'll be selling Infinity on those lines. It's fast. It's really simple. There are rules for things you want to do, but they're ultimately simple rules. The game lasts twenty minutes so "less admiring and more firing," as they say. And it doesn't hurt that the miniatures are just stunning. Now I just need to find a group playing Nemesis that doesn't live in Barcelona...

1st Malomoccan Naval Brigade

The first Malomoccan Naval Brigade is ready for deployment. Their motto, "È Stato Detto Abbastanza," perfectly describes their take-charge philosophy. While others vacillate and waver these hardened fighters plunge into battle. Steel flashes and carbines cry out, and then it's back to the barracks for Chianti and calamari!

The Huzzah project begins to pick up steam. Next up, the cavalry!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

History Remains Awesome

This year's Huzzah game was thrown together in a bit of a hurry. I had known that I wanted to run a battle between two 19th century "imagi-nations" and that one would be more nautical and one more land based. When the time came to submit my game description I had to scramble and come up with the detailed backstory.

The Town of Krk
I've found the history of the city of Fiume interesting for years now and chose to make that the center of the conflict. I found a map of the area and just picked out two names that seemed interesting. The Duchy of Malomocco would be having it out in the Istrian peninsula with the Kingdom of Veglia. "Malomocco" is a region near Venice and Veglia is a town near Fiume. There is a peninsula near Fiume called Istria. Istria sounded exotic. And that was the complex decision making process.

Frankopan Gravestone
Happily history remains far more creative than I am. It turns out that Veglia is also known as Krk. Krk is both a town and the eponymous island the town rests upon. It has a lengthy and well documented  history and is of some importance culturally to the Croatians. Further, Krk was once ruled by the Frankopan dynasty, a period known as the Reign of the Krk Counts. This period came to an end when Venice reconquered the island and the people of Krk then fell under the control of various foreign elements until they regained sovereignty after the Second World War. So, in summary, Veglia actually was a Croatian kingdom which did struggle with Italians and actually was ruled by an interesting dynasty with origins in the Roman Empire. And the machinations of the Frankopans are far, far more interesting than anything I could come up with.

Today Krk is pretty tourist destination. There are plenty of photos online and there is a lengthy and convoluted history of the Krk Counts to dig through. It's a lucky break that my randomly picked imagi-nation turned out to be so interesting.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Who Wants to Paint?

Every hobbyist spends some time wondering how to attract more members to their hobby. I've tried to convince innocent bystanders to swing dance, play Dungeons and Dragons, and make jet packs out of paper and tape over the years. The last rather some time ago! So lately I've paid some attention to who seems the most interested in my hobby painting table.

Steve keeps out of the way
Now in my opinion a table covered with lead soldiers, Dark Eldar Raiders, Viking beserkers and 10mm Napoleonic cavalry is about as interesting as anything in the world. Last week we had several families over for dinner. The dads' gazes didn't linger for one second. The mom's settled down to discuss felting and millet rolls. But the six and seven year old girls were fascinated. And I wasn't completely surprised. My nurse's daughter likes to paint 54mm toy soldiers. My friend Steve's daughter painted his cavalry. At my old club another fellows ten year old daughter painted a whole squad of Malifaux figures. The strange truth is that while playing miniature games seems to be a man's hobby, painting the figures is actually pretty appealing to the girls.

That being said I'm not sure what that does for the hobby. I haven't met more than a handful of women who play the games. But the future is always a mystery and wise hobbyist dads will probably be letting their daughters sit and do some painting with them. For one, it's an insanely cute scene. Insanely cute. Secondly, it is a great introduction to history, art, and crafts. Finally, we may see a generation of girls grow up and go on to play miniatures games. If my daughter ended up fielding a Napoleonic French army on some table someday I think I would be proud as punch. Although with the kids you're pretty much proud as punch all the time...