So, slowly but surely the 6mm Future War Commander campaign is going to kick off again at TSA, and as such, it was about time I painted the ultimate weapon for my `Celestial Being` list, the most impressive, beautiful mobile suit ever designed... (well, apart from his original incarnation, Freedom, but for THAT one, I got something special underway)
The Crystal silver saint is one of those characters known as a `filler`, someone or something invented for the movie adaption (or in this case, anime) of a book to add some extra plot line, or to give the plot a certain twist.
In Saint Seiya, Hyoga is trained directly by the Aquarius saint, Camus, but in the anime adaption, the Crystal saint was the pupil of Camus, and Hyoga in turn the pupil of the Crystal saint, who trained him to become the Cygnus saint by shattering the Eternal Glacier to obtain the cloth.
His role is rather limited in the series, as apart from some training flashes, he is one of the first to be `turned` by the Kyoko with the hypnotic punch, and attacks the village near Hyoga`s training ground. Reknowned to be both gentle and wise, yet a very skilled and strong fighter, this is actually also the only one we see that shakes of the hypnotic powers by himself, freeing the village and slaying the advisor of the Kyoko in the process after an intense, yet non lethal for Cygnus, battle with Hyoga, before falling himself.
Onto the cloth then. The model is a limited edition from 2007, and I always thought the Crystal saint to have one of the most intricate and special designs in the whole series. His armour almost seems like real crystal fromed around his body, and I can imagine the nightmares the designers must have had to put this into a model. I do like their solution. They coloured the parts into on oneside the crystal lightblue of the armour, and on the other side in the exact same blue as the armature, giving the illusion of the webbed armour instead of solid parts. However, this makes it also one bitch to put together, pieces like the headset are incredibly thin and getting them all together with the head and hair pieces isn`t the simplest of things. Same goes for the cloak, which uses another system then the regular cloths. Instead of two pins that insert into the back, the shulder pads are attached both to the top of the cloak and to the side of the chestpiece, another delicate and `aim right then push` piece to put together.
The set also comes with some nice extras, with faces both `posessed` or not, and two plastic icecones in which you can insert Hyoga to represent him being frozen to the ground by the Crystal saint.
A very nice model, and even though he ain`t one of my `greatest heroes` of the anime, he is one of the most pretty models in my collection now, a very worthwhile model for it`s price, and a definite recommendation for all collectors. Pity it is a bit of delicate work to put together, but I`m giving him a fat 4.5 out of 5! After all, who are cooler then Ice Saints ;)
A few issues ago in a well reknowned wargame magazine, Mr Rick Priestley wrote down a two parter about organizing and running campaigns. This got me thinking about some things, and I thought maybe it wasn`t a bad idea to share these with the outside world.
First of in my thoughts, being a campaignmaster requires someone with a certain sado masosistic streak. Your bound to put in hours of work only to see it sizzle away to sheer nothingness. Private issues of players, one side gaining the upperhand, stand by`s, loss of intrest... all those things are bound to happen sooner or later in your campaign, or effort to run one.
I dare to say I have *some* experience in running those things, having put together about a dozen of the things with on average 8 players for an average run of 3 months. I can also say with a certain degree of certainty that they drain you completely, and each time I need a few weeks to get back in a `wargame mood` afterwards.
So, what traps are there in these undertakings?
Social Life, the bitch of all bitches
It happens. Every player enters in these enterprises with the best intentions and solemn oaths of dedication. But then social life inevitably bites you in the nuts. Children get sick, wifes get annoyed, holidays have to be made, collegues get sick... those things are common and this can throw campaign schedules in strong disarray. You need to tinker out a system that can on one side keep the story and the intrest going, and on the other side has to be flexible with these sorts of events. Of course, no system can hold it`s own when over half of your group gets to deal with SL issues. Try avoiding the traditional `holiday` seasons for this, like december / januari and july / august, and it will save you a few gray hairs.
Every club has them. Players that are (over) enthusiastic and jump on each and everything that gets even a little bit `hot` at the moment, loosing all intrest in their previous activities. Not a bad thing, as you know those players will play with all their heart in your enterprise... but only for a short time. Avoid issues with these kind of players by not granting them `main liner` factions, but more of the smaller factions that tend to fight on the sides of the campaign story. Factions like for example Native American raiders or riotting villagers in an ACW campaign, the kind of force that can occasionally roam his nose in the overal story but not influence the complete campaign. The `special events` card so to say...
I know, not a flattering name and a blattant generalisation, but it is a slang term here, and it ain`t a pretty one. This is the player that, like most of us, started playing with Warhammer, but still has the `win at all costs` mentality of the average GW or other tournament. I know, you got them with Flames of War, you have them in Warmachine, you even have them in Chess, but hey, I didn`t invent the term, though I use it. This kind of player, put harshly, kills campaigns. One thing you don`t want, is someone turning army lists in and out just to get the best of the best and then stick with it time after time after time. Armies in history didn`t have all elite forces during all the time. These are also the kind of players that will fight any attempt that a campaign master will introduce to try and restore temporary balance or tension in the campaigns.
The Buddy Syndrome
In every game group you have people who play each other more then other opponents. Sometimes they seem to even play only each other during campaigns, and this is fine with me. I try to maneouvre them in a kind of `nemesis` factions, going all out on each other, and rarely involving or influencing the flow of the campaign. They often are also quite venely matched because they really know each other and their playstyles. If you know this in front, which you usually do because you know the people of your gaming group over the years, you try to get them to parts of maps where, for the flow of the overall campaign, a deadlock would be a very handy tool to work with, without having to deliberatly or obviously relate to your godlike powers to create bottlenecks or stall advances.
To be God... or not to be God?
Whoch brings us to the campaignmaster himself. Your up for a tough time, that is one certain guarantee. Players will not turn up without warning, the story or flow of the campaign might not go as you had envisioned, and you`d probably end up with an odd number of players, resulting in you having to take to the field while running all the paperwork of the evening at the same time. As your campaign is kicking off, I always made certain I had a couple of events that would grant some benefits prepared to be implemented at certain time points in the campaign, to keep the intrest running and to avoid the pitfall of repetition. I also try to have a plan B (and C, and D,...) which are implemented when one side gains to much an advantage in to short a time. Usually something along the lines of reinforcements or bonus gains for the winner. The risk if, it all keeps getting sour for the losers at that time, the campaign is over as the whole plan failed and the gap has gone from `to big` to `gigantically unovercumable`. Then there is the `me first` issue. I always try to avoid to take the lead in the games played and such, as this can lead (and I saw it happen) to boredom with the organiser himself. He has played his games, the rest still has to do truckloads, and all support melts like ice in the Sahara... leaving the whole shabang in Limbo between being unresolved and being played out.
No, life is cheap for a campaignmaster. Your the first to be put on the sacrificial alterblock when it goes wrong, even though in the end you have put hours and hours of paperwork and thought in the thing, even after clubhours. Life for the player is supposed to be simple: make an army list and turn up to play, because if you ask people to manage their resources, guaranteed almost half won`t have done it and the whole thing grinds to a halt. Now, why don`t you play with fewerm but more dedicated people? Simple, because as your part of a club, it is just not done to leave people out just because, well, you can. You can`t make it happen to say `NO` to the Warhammer kiddo because he is a min/max powerplayer. You can`t say `You can`t play along` to the gamehopper because you know he will last perhaps up to half of the campaign. And what about the quiet guy that has to spend evenings thumbing because he doesn`t get an opponent or someone to play against in a game of his choice? Let him sit at the side or ask him to play an occassional game with your group? If your a small group of friends, sure, you can do this. If your part of a club that welcomes all, you can`t. Well, unless it`s people you know while cause trouble, and then not from a campaign point of view but in general, causing frictions in a group and all. Those you just punch on the nose and pray they never set foot in the clubhouse again.
And if all else fails... then there is still the greatest frustration of a campaign master. Be assured, once you did a few it is on the one side veryy addicting... but your group will keep feeding that addiction because they don`t want to run things themselves. Your going to be in that unenvyable spot of where people look to you to organise their social gaming calendar, and rest assured that they will comment on the fact that they THINK you don`t have other intrests or activities. Been there, still hear it...
It is worth it! It really is. For a creative mind of a wargamer, nothing is more satisfying then closing up a campaign because the story has played out. Wether this be small narrative games of pulp to megalomaniac campaigns involving the whole first world war, if it doesn`t implode upon itself, or at least does so after a decisive result and number of games has been achieved, your gonna feel good and satisfied. Tired, drained, but satisfied, so give it a try!
So, the rules are completely done, only thing left is playtesting and `dressing up` with some action pictures. For which I will first have to finish reading the manual for Photoshop, i have *some* ideas for a kind of cover picture involving battle pictures of the giant mobile suits and my pvc statuettes of Nena and Lunamaria.
Talking about dressing up, I also ordered this for when we hit the road the comming year:
So that leaves us only to the minor detail of building those suits
HeavyArms Kai is done, only those 5 above now to go for my part of the project, woop woop...
The third one in my collection, Syd is actually the very first God Warrior we get to see onscreen. He is the one who first strikes down Aldebaran of Taurus swiftly and then challenges the bronze saints, kicking of the story arc (which, mind you, is anime only and never appeared in the manga).
One of the strongest God Warriors, he is of noble decent. The God Warrior where told to be as strong as the Gold Saints, but when we see what the Gold Saints pull of in the Hades arc, this is very much in doubt. Also, later on in the story arc it is revealed that he actually didn`t even manage to connect a single blow against Aldebaran, who states he was struck down from behind. This was due to the interference of his `guardian star`, Bud of Alcor, his Twin and the eight God Warrior that walks in his shadow, tasked with protecting his brother with his life.
Personally, Syd is one of those saints for me that is around, but I don`t really feel towards, being it either positive or negative. I do like the look of his cloth though, as it set the stage of the style of the series enemies, and the God Cloths in my opinion are still the prettiest and coolest looking ones of the whole franchise!
First to note when you get the box is the choice of hands. Most of Syd`s attacks (the Viking Tiger Claw) involve his fingernails extending to clawlike proportions, and there are several sets (fingers together, fingers spread like in the pose I modelled him in) included to simulate this.
The armour, the black Sabretooth Tigre, is like in the series a sort of dark gleamish green, and I really do love it`s colour on the model, I`m kinda glad no bottlecap models exist for the God Warriors, as I would have no clue which paints to use to recreate this effect.
The helmet in the anime has both the shin strap closed and opened, and this is also possible to do with the model, as a small extra part is included to connect at the bottom of the helmet. Other nice little details are the inclusion of the Odin gem for those using the stands, like with all asgard clothes. I used the cloth as well on this model, as he is about the only one in the series (well, he and his brother) to keep wearing it during battle, reflecting his royal nature.
Another nice touch is his hair, as it comes with a detachable `pony tail` at the back, making it possible to positioning the helmet as you like and then insert the hairpiece, instead of having to accomodate the helmet to the models hair sculpt.
All in all, the model does more for me then the character itself did on television, but one point of critiscism though. Rummaging through various webstores, this model is in the average price class of the Myth Cloth series, but his twin Bud, while being exactly the same model (twins with twin cloths you see) but with a silvery white colouring costs double the amount... where is the logic in that?
But, this model gets a fat 4 out of 5 from me, it is just one of those cloths that look nice in any collection even if you, like me, have no sentiment towards the character itself (which, admit it, is often a reason to buy or not buy this or that model, wether it be wargame figures, statuettes, cloths or mobile suits for example).
So I decided two months ago to partly quit and clean in the hobby, dumping periods I don`t play, games I didn`t like and such... and to paint my forces consisting of anime models like more Gundam suits for Future War Commander and the likes.
Then a new `feel like` of World of Warcraft hit me and paint time is suffering big time due to it, as you can see here with shelf one of the To Do list
Yes, I admit it, I`m one of those 10 million+ subscribers to the game. I`ve been playing it shortly after the belgian release, and have been on the Moonglade server since it launched beginning of 2006... still with the same character and in the same guild of total awesomeness, Rhyme and Punishment since june 2006.
Okay, granted, it involved two luls of a years break and a short faction change to a blood elf, as well as a small stint to another server, but I keep comming back to the place and people I know... they are kinda like your family for the online generation after all ;).
Kills painting time though...
Since last week I`ve `gnomified` myself, as I just can`t seem to be able to focus on levelling another character, and `in the early days` I wanted a gnome, but it was my warlock human that reached 60 first and became my `main` back then.
Which leads me to a theory I brought up many times with my friends, and who now admit that `hmmm, it could actually be true...` namely Luck of the Gnomes. Blizzard denies it, but I swear, there is something with those little buckweeds that does something in the game when it comes down to rolls for epics, mounts or pet droprates and the likes. Months I have been grinding for example for either a Schematic: Jeeves in Northrend (an engineering pattern allowing you to build a robotic butler) and fish for the sea turtle mount, in amounts people actually started to laugh about the time spent on those things.
Guess what happened when i did those once I had my character racial changed to a gnome... the fifth mob dropped the pattern, the third cast into a pool pulled out the turtle. Co-incidence? Who knows, this weekend I`m gonna put the theory to the test and fish after another nemesis of mine, the Dalaran giant sewer rat, something a many hours have been spend after as well so far.
But what is it that actually keeps drawing me back to this game and spend hours and hours playing? First of all, it`s the cartoony style, I just like that. And then there is of course the humour and the references to older games, movies, songs, and the likes... like the old Blizzard classic The Lost Vikings is now in the game since Cataclysm:
But there is of course also the guild your part of. Rhyme and Punishment not only is a very old guild on the server, about as old as the server itself and one of the few `relics` still around on Moonglade, it is also very relaxed guild whose focus is not on calendar scheduled raiding, nor on performance and gear grinding quota. And the people are just special in a good kind of way. Love you all guys, really do!
Finally, some generics about my character, the level 85 Warlock came to be known as Lÿntaria `Locksie Hilton` DiMauro (also referred as `the one with that bloody ÿ in her name):
* Owns 121 pets and 102 mounts, including various Blizzcon and CCG ones. * Has been around since the days when flying from Stormwind to Eastern Plaguelands, one stopped at Ironforge and had to take a fresh flightmaster ride to continue... no long afk flights back then. * Has over 6500 achievement points without much from pvp and / or raids, meaning she spent hours on quite `uncommon` achievements like doing all low level areas, secondary professions, world events, etc etc achievement tabs. * has at one time done about every main profession except leatherworking, before settling (for now) on Engineering and Tailoring (and really needs alt carebears to feed her metal bars for the engineering part to make it profitable). * Was part of the Lakeside Bridge Smiley aerial picture. * Her current gnome appearance is based on the gnome warlock I painted up in my `For Gnomeregan` entry in this years Lead Painters League
That`s it for now, ciao ciao all and off to the Firelands we go!
The Far Side... a group of strangely disturbed people over at Tin Soldiers of Antwerp, playing all kinds of games in a slightly off normal manner. Brave gamers in to try lots of stuff, though it doesn`t always actually launch... AND NOW WE EVEN HAVE A LOGO
Designed by Andy, and as we spreak being printed on T-shirts:
But this post is kind of a newsletter of what`s hot and what`s not in our midst. I used to do this on the local TSA forum, but that is slowly going terminal so I thought `heck, I just as well could make it a semi regular feature on my blog`. You can find older letters to my disciples - in dutch - over at the TSA forum for those in any kind intrested in the ramblings of my clinical insane mind.
Djoef 4: Allaaah Ahkbar
`Den Djoef` is a yearly clubcompetition of the Far Side, with the biggest goal of it to appoint the `booze bitch` for the comming year, that person being the one having to run to the bar and collect the drinks for 12 months. The Djoef is appointed usually to the person who fails to reach his goal with the most points, as he states before the start (I usually vary my ambitions between top -3 and winning the whole shabang). This year, i`m participating with a much nerfed ISA fleet (face it, 10 inch main gun is just to short, it would have had to be 12 to be perfectly balanced) and a top-3 statement, and I admit, I have been slacking the last weeks due to work pressure and even considered throwing the towel. I won`t, I will play all my battles, if only out of respect to the organiser, Sgt Looney. Still, top-3 WILL be hardpressed to reach this year though. The previous three years where won respectively by Guy with his Centauri, me with the ISA and me with the Federation: modern era fleets.
The Far Side also keeps a record of all players who have participated in all kinds of campaigns, competitions and such, as a kind of permanent honor roll, from all over the years, which at current, being after the FWC / FT campaign but before D4 looks like this:
1. Tomsche - 1139,79 campagnepunten 2. Guy - 944,33 campagnepunten 3. Tom - 815,17 campagnepunten
4. Bjorn - 803,29 campagnepunten 5. Thomas - 490,62 campagnepunten 6. Erwin - 333,00 campagnepunten 7. Iwan - 323,47 campagnepunten 8. Andy - 304,53 campagnepunten 9. Sven - 191,35 campagnepunten 10. Faby - 188,69 campagnepunten 11. Guy B - 186,00 campagnepunten 12. Jurgen - 182,54 campagnepunten 13. Percy - 155,80 campagnepunten 14. Tristan - 141,20 campagnepunten 15. Wim - 114,00 campagnepunten 16. Svenn - 107,00 campagnepunten 17. Johan - 102,00 campagnepunten 18. Guido - 89,92 campagnepunten 19. David - 65,00 campagnepunten 20. Albert - 56,00 campagnepunten 21. Patrick - 46,00 campagnepunten 22. Nicolai - 36,50 campagnepunten 23. Tim - 28,83 campagnepunten 24. Svenius - 24,30 campagnepunten 25. Jo - 21,33 campagnepunten 26. Alexander - 18,33 campagnepunten
I know this is a whole lot of gibberish to wade through, but I`m trying to use this first blog style issue as a `setting settler` as well...
6mm: Dead or Not?
No! Okay, the campaign ended after 5 months of the projected 12, but I take full responsibility of this on myself in hindsight. There will be a follow up around the Crisis period, but it will be:
* with a smaller map * shorter projected duration * no more Full Thrust * players will have to choose 1 force and stick with them
However, it won`t start out vanilla, and I am going to try a completely new system in which the winners of the first campaign, humanity, WILL have a benefit in the beginning... but also a serious drawback. Humanity WILL control all the girds at the start, and the aliens, laucnhing a fresh invasion, will have to try and take these off before time (aka, the campaign duration) runs out. The aliens as such will always be the attackers, and each and every battle will be played by a randmly determined rolled scenerio before the battle takes place. But those are just ideas hovering in my head at the moment, still got a few months to work something concrete out...
So what about Pulp gaming, dungeon crawls, superhero gaming... they will be there. We`re just waiting for Andy to launch ideas and comming out of hibernation.
American Civil War
A side project with the yearly TSA megabattle weekend as the backdrop, this is a bit of a sideproject of Mr Scratch and me. We`ll be doing some battles in between, loose from everything else and no pressure on people to join in. When the forces are ready, we`ll play it, simple comme bonjour.
Proud Painters of the Galaxy
A small word for the brave Far Siders that fought a hard battle in the LPL over on Lead Adventure Forum this year, and for the sake of memory, one last time the result of the Far Siders brave enough to put deeds to boasts and join in:
Northstar ended 31st and first of TSA, with a 5 / 5 ratio, -49 votes, 130 bonus points and a total of 452 overall
Tomsche ended 41st with a 4 / 6 ratio, -436 votes, 150 bonus points and a total of 435 overall
Sgt Looney ended 53rd with a 4 / 6 ratio, -870 votes, 110 bonus points and a total of 376 overall
Skratch ended 57th with a 1 / 9 ratio, -1474 votes, 150 bonus points and a total of 351 overall
Andy0476 ended 69th with a 0 / 10 ratio, -1321 votes, 60 bonus points and a total of 249 overall
There where 72 patricipants, and to give you an idea, the winner in the end Frank had a 9 / 1 ratio, +1962 votes, 150 bonus points and a total of 575 points, while the `red lantern` Muskie ended with a 1 / 9 ratio, - 1850 votes, 20 bonus points and a total of 188 points.
Which makes us (well, except perhaps Sven, who had real tough opposition in the final rounds) a nice `bus` to speak in cycling terms.
Regiment of the Month
I better refer you to the posts of the monthly entries for this project, as it is only in it`s second month at the moment.
Well, to close off the first ramblings, this is the title of the project the Far Side will make it`s `convention debut` as part of TSA in 2012. A game using japanese mechas, with half page long very quick play rules I`ve finished writing and just need to dress up when the suits are painted, as well as probably tinker a bit with once playtesting (not that it will require immense amounts of that, it is a fast play participation game, I`m not planning on having to explain rules for hours before a dice can be rolled) gets underway. You`ve probably arleady saw some references to it on other TSA blogs, and the rules (in dutch atm for discussions) are on the TSA forum as well in their `early bird` state.
I`ll reveal much more about all that once the time is right, and you really don`t wann know the insane terrain plans I have for 2013s project, involving Saint Seiya models and a Pandora box containing the scenery and which will click open to reveal the play area...
So thats it for this issue, in a few weeks or months I`ll pop along for a fresh one (yes, I write this very irregularly, basically when I feel like sharing thoughts) and let`s close off on this little thought:
Everything returns in the end, even Magic: The Gathering