[Another Year of Frugal Gaming] We Shall Pass Through This Place to the Other Side

I did it. I finally did it.

Staggering, wheezing, every muscle in my body aching and my lungs gasping as the dust and the fumes cleared from the air, but I made it to a better place – a green place – a living place.

No, I’m still not over Mad Max: Fury Road, as it happens, but I’m actually talking about moving house. To this place.

via abergavenny.org.uk

I live here now. It’s obnoxiously beautiful. You can’t look up without seeing a mini-mountain or across the road without seeing some eighteenth-century or older cottage. Walking from the station to my house involves crossing a fifteenth-century priory, for pity’s sake. Abergavenny is old and pretty and Welsh and, even though I live on a relatively busy street that technically leads out of the town to somewhere a bit important, it’s so damn quiet and clean after London. And I don’t have to share my space with six other people and a neurotic housecat, either, which is a plus.

The slight downside, and it is only a slight downside, is that I’ve had piss-all spare money to spend on gaming. I do have a trade or two lined up and reserved, but those may or may not come through and I may or may not want them to. Do I really want a box of Nightmare Legion skeletons, for instance?

via Realms of Chaos

I sort of do. I’m coming around to this old-school thing, this argument about the solidity and the quirkiness of the elderly miniature, not to mention that they don’t come in a kajillion brittle bits. I still have vague itches about doing some sort of new plastic Citadel force, for the pleasure of the build, but when I say “new” I suppose I sort of mean “old”, now that the Age of Sigmar is upon us.

Oh yes. Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. It’s big news. The nerd rage has already started to flow, delicious and sustaining, along the series of tubes that constitute my link to the outside world. For my part, I am cautiously intrigued. The models, well, they look as hectic and hollow and false as everything else Citadel have produced since about 2008, and the brief glimpse I’ve had of the background (admittedly only a few paragraphs) reads like sub-par Diablo fanfiction, but the rules… oh, the rules. The rules seem to have something going for them, in the weirdest of all possible ways. And the thing is, the abandonment of the army book model of development, the stripping back of rules and the elimination of sacred cows, these are things for which I have been a quiet agitator for some years now.

But… if the background has changed entirely, if the square base has been forsaken, and if this isn’t the Warhammer I recognise (and I’m afraid it’s not: round bases, no ranks and files, everything seems inflated), then maybe it’s worth keeping the old peepers open and looking at something else. Something like Rich and Mike Chappell’s The Shattered Crown, currently in its first week of Kickstarter funding. Yes, it’s another wargaming kickstarter, but here’s the kicker (pun intended): Rich and Mike are not affiliated with a comparatively major player that’s using Kickstarter as a crude pre-order mechanism, nor are they complete scrubs who are promising more than they can deliver. The lads have a track record: their previous effort, Across The Dead Earth, actually worked – funded, released on time, everyone got what they paid for, marvellous.

via… The Shattered Crown. Duh.

Join me for Sunday’s GAME OVER MULTIMEDIA EXTRAVAGANZA, in which Rich (and maybe Mike) take the time to have a word about The Shattered Crown and try to convince me it’s worth backing: and if that’s not your cup of tea, wind the clock back a week and hear the Dark Ages Vampire group ramble about characters, rules and where our campaign’s going next.

No Frugal figures this week, as I’ve spent jack, made shit, and played about six hours of Dark Ages Vampire. It was fun, thanks for asking. At some point this month I’m heading down to Firestorm in Cardiff so Annie can kick the shit out of me at SAGA and talk into a microphone about wimmin, boobs and the nerd supply business. With a bit of luck that’ll have happened by next time…

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  • Welcome to country life I’m in the wilds of Suffolk nothing but estuaries forests and John Constable painting landscape views.

    I also like the look of the Age of Sigmar rules seem well for GW very elegant and not burdened with the weight of historical expectation not gonna be a super competitive ultra balanced system but GW doesn’t care about dat and I think it’s high time we all made our peace with that

    • Von

      Agreed. Right now I’m more interested in how this thing is going to work. It looks DIFFERENT, which is the last thing I’d expect from anything with Warhammer on the lid.

    • Von

      I was under the impression that I’d replied to this, but WordPress is a fuckin’ liar, so let’s go again.

      Age of Sigmar looks like it’s going to be very different from Warhammer as we know it and therefore I am more interested in it than in anything else GW has put out since about 2007, 2008 or thereabouts. And yeah, it’s never been a robust game for testing one’s skill at being the official best at strategery, tictacs and rolling lots of sixes: with a bit of luck this’ll be the final nail in the coffin.

      • Yeah WordPress has been twitchy it kept saying 4 replies when there were only 2 now it’s saying 6 when there are 4 so who knows what the fuck is going on maybe you did reply and modbot has snuck back in and whipped them away maybe he’s taken umbrage to his enforced retirement and is mounting an insurgent campaign of revenge all fear the modbot vengeance.

        I still think the most interesting thing about Age of Sigmar (apart from the very funny frothing at the mouth nerdrage it has inspired) is the free rules and warscrolls this change is such a hand brake turn for GW I’m really hoping it pays off for them and they will stop trying to rinse us for a new edition every 2 years and new codex every 5 minutes

        • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

          unfortunately the rules look like they are worth every penny! but yes, I applaud GW’s change in tactics, if not reduction in quality.

          • Out of interest have you actually played the game or just read the rules I haven’t I don’t play fantasy

            However I often find games are better in the playing than the reading and most of the reviews I’ve seen that actually played it seemed to have enjoyed it

            Wheras most of the negatives seem to come from people who just read the rules and immediately started throwing up what if scenarios that would trouble the ruleset.

            I’m in no way trying to undermine your own judgement I’m just curious cause I think in our hobby (caution massive sweeping generalisation incoming) and particularly through the focusing prism of the Internet we have a tendancy to tear things down with out ever giving them a fair shake

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            tried a game with some proxies but gave up when we realised that the models had to stand on each other’s bases and we didn’t want to damage them or remove scenic elements from bases. Also we couldn’t get stuff to stand up, and since half inch measurements were important we gave it up as a bad lot!

          • Fuck a Duck I hadn’t realised about the standing on each others bases hadn’t heard that one yet

            it does present soem humorous images to mind of putting your models on huge bases with a scenic wall all the way round
            “can’t get me I’m hiding”

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            melee weapons have ranges, and measurements are taken from the model not the base, so if a model has a big base then attackers will have to stand on it to be in range. Likewise to get second ranks able to attack they have to be balanced on the bases of the models in front. It just felt mad.

          • Thuloid

            Strictly speaking, nothing in the rules says a model must have a base, or must stand on that base or upright. Which means that the pile is a perfectly legal formation. Given that, if you want to maximize units in combat, why not jumble them in a heap, packing them as tightly as possible? (Dear God I’m a munchkin asshole)

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            why even bother assembling them, just heap the bits up in a pile?

          • Thuloid

            Says it all.

          • Thuloid

            or stretch them across the table, if there’s an advantage to covering space.

          • With judicious in use of blue tac you could build a war totem or even go Voltron style

          • Thuloid

            That’s a good idea, as long as you don’t build too tall–model to model means vertical distances matter. Oooh–something on a flying base may be TOTALLY UNABLE to attack a swarm without actually tipping the whole thing over and lying it on the table. Hilarious.

          • Von

            That’s the first thing about the game that’s actually sounded wrong (as in “the designers made a mistake here”) to me. Most of the time my reaction to these revelations is “You could do that, but are you an arsehole?”

        • Von

          I think I’ve solved the mystery. Whenever I post a comment through my WordPress toolbar, it doesn’t actually show up here. When I drag my arse onto the page and post it here, it does show up.

  • Wow Wales certainly looks nice. I’m a bit jealous but I suppose I’m lucky enough to have nice scenery here too. It’s just different.

    The Regiments of Reknown are tempting aren’t they? They hit me right in the childhood, Oh and if you’re still in the market for some money, I still need someone who enjoys building razorbacks to build me a razorback 🙂

    • Von

      Right now, I’m very much in the market for some money. I believe we negotiated a price and I have some time on my hands next week. Need an excuse to go down to Firestorm too…

    • Von

      Wales is bloody gorgeous. There is a large hill/small mountain looming over the view from my bedroom window and several more in any direction you care to name. The word ‘invigorating’ springs to mind.

      I am still in the market for Some Money as it happens, and I’m popping down to Firestorm in Cardiff later in the month. I’ll be in touch about that.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        Aber is nice. Have you climbed Cader Idris yet?

        • Von

          “Climb” is not a word that settles particularly well on me. It’s the dead leg. Frankly, if I can haul myself out of bed, potter around town for a couple of hours, and manage the rest of the day without killer cramp, I consider myself well off.

          In the event that said leg is fixed, though…

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            well, its a walk rather than a true climb, but it is a bit steep so maybe not a thing to do with a gammy leg. There is atrain up Snowdon at least!

          • Von

            Indeed there is. That’s actually where I bought my current cane. 😀

          • Von

            I know it well: bought my first cane at the station shop, as it happens, after I realised just how bad I’d become at this “varied terrain” business.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            have you tried walking with a pair of trekking poles? I use them for long distance hikes as I have bad knees, but I got my mother-in law into them (she has Parkinsons as it happens) and she found them much better than a single stick.

  • gx1080

    Man, that looks like a really nice place for a house.

    On Age of Sigmar, Ithe whole “no points” thing, well, imagine that I could spam Grey Knights models like Imperial Guard models. What’s the point of Imperial Guard again? Also, I think that Sigmarines are a vaccum of creativity, even for GW. And finally, charges are still random because….uh….yeah.

    The Shattered Crown looks OK, but, a bunch of concept art and some minis don’t sell an army. While they are cool minis, would be useful to see more of the model range, this game should get more donors as they move from Alpha.

    • Von

      Keep watching it. More of the concepts and sculpts will be coming out through the month. I have some news on the other three factions to share, as well.

      On Age of Sigmar: yes, you could spam Grey Knights if you wanted to. You could do a lot of things, if you wanted to. See the comment thread above. What we have here is something a bit different. No points, no charts, no competitive balance, no “you can’t do that because the rules say so”, and a lot of taking responsibility for your own experience.

      No comment on the Sigmarines because I don’t think anything much of the new models or background at all so far. I am chiefly interested in a new set of rules for my existing collection and this one amuses me greatly. Everything I think I know is wrong, and that has me more interested in playing Warhammer than I have been in a decade.

      • gx1080

        “…a lot of taking responsibility for your own experience.”

        Paying GW prices for the priviledge of doing so, honestly, if I’m going to do that, might as well play one of the crappy /tg/ homebrews.

        • Von

          Fair dos. I see it as free rules to use with models I already own, but my circumstances are not yours or everyone’s.

        • Von

          That’s your prerogative. I see AoS as free rules for models I already own, and not an awful lot more than that.

          • gx1080

            Point. Would be pissed if I had to buy models at GW prices for it.

          • Von

            Another thing to bear in mind: no minimum game size. I’m not trying to convert you or anything here, just poking at notions. Everything we think we know is wrong. The buy-in cost is pretty different when you don’t need a 2400 point army’s worth of stuff to start playing. I could go out, buy that box of Chaos Warriors I’ve felt like dicking around with since forever, and hey! I’m playing Warhammer.

          • Another way to look at it is that they finally put their money where their mouth is and stopped selling rules. So now it’s a case of, if you like the models buy them and play whatever game you like.

            If you only ever bought GW models specifically to play GW games, and you don’t like this one, then you’re probably not going to want to by them any more.

    • Jonah

      The stag ridering princess is just up on the Shattered Crown fb beta page. Looks awesome. I’ll post it on my blog this week sometime.

      Also worth remembering that this is one of those real Kickstarters (I’m looking at you, Zombicide..) where the armies get made if the kickstarter gets funded.


      • Von

        Yes. Very much so. Rich gently reminded me of this when I passed gx’s comment on to him this morning. It’s not a pre-order scheme, it’s an actual “we’ve worked out it’ll cost us this much to make the models and the game and pay our bills while we’re doing it” Kickstarter.

      • Von

        Fair point. Rich took me to task for this the other day, when I mentioned gx’s comment to him. The Shattered Earth is raising money to cover the costs of making the pieces and to pay Rich and Mike a living wage while they design the ruddy thing.