Monday, 21 July 2014

Papa's Got a Brand New Bag


I'm afraid some personal woes have kept the blog from getting updated much lately.  A sick girlfriend, a redundancy of a coworker at work, ensuing business at work as we take on new jobs and the generally hot & sticky weather in Greater Glasgow have all kept me away from my usual nerdity.

Admittedly, I have still had my weekly RPG sessions, but little else has happened.  I didn't even take part in the Apocalypse rematch the others arranged: having to cancel at short notice, I missed the return bout of Orks Vs Non-Orks.

However, to show some change of tone and give you all some new Quail rambles, here are some happy packages I received recently that indicate some improvement in my fortunes

Riders On The Storm
First up we have a unit of 8 Hobgoblin Wolf Riders picked up at a pretty good price from the eBay store From Fire and Flame.  As previously mentioned, Hobgoblins are poorly handled these days with no Forge World models to suit them - it's either old figures or some sort of proxy solution, and the old figures can go for pretty silly money.

This unit of 8 comes with a champion, standard bearer & musician and was a substantially better price than expected.  A little bit of repair work required but they mean I've got some Light Cavalry to insert into my natal Chaos Dwarf army.

Hell, I'm normally a big believer in stripping and repainting stuff I buy on eBay but I'm hesitant here because the paint job is perfectly serviceable.  Might run these guys for a bit first before worrying about that.

A fun package to receive
Next up was a parcel I got from my old uni chum and former D&D GM Adam, who was clearing out his house of nerdy stuff to make space for his new family.  Adam told me by Facebook as he was sending it: "Forgive the wrapping, ran out of standard brown. I'm sure you'll appreciate the alternative"

Needless to say I did, though the contents are the real joy here:

A Call to Arms: Star Fleet, the 60s Trek-tastic game of starship combat.  Using the Call To Arms ruleset designed by Mongoose Publishing and the weird licensing neverland that is Star Fleet Battles (of which I could write a whole post on its own) you get a book for fairly mechanically straightforward but fun space battles.

Although I've mentioned before was a big Warhammer fan who rarely played much until quite recently, around 2004 my chum Aaron introduced me to A Call To Arms in it's original Babylon 5 incarnation and I was hooked straight away.  I pretty much got my own copy off the back of one test game, and I ended up teaching a few people - I often used to play in 2004/2005 with Ailsa and my then flat-mate Edward, sometimes in weird 3 player 2-on-1 games.

Edward said it was never fair when Ailsa and I were on the same team because we "mind-melded" - we never gave each other verbal instructions yet somehow knew what to do to team up with him.

Best of all, the boxed game came with a pile of tokens for every single race - like, multiples of every single possible ship.  You could play huge games without ever buying any miniatures, though there was a full range of pretty figures for people so inclined.  Whereas it's hard to dabble in a 40K army without laying down some money, you could experiment in being a Narn, Vorlon or Drazi admiral with no hassle.
I was a big enough dork to by a supplement for a race whose ships never appear in the goddamn show.  In fact, only one member of the race turns up in a single episode.
If Call To Arms had a problem it was system revisions.  Three little supplements were released and, eventually, rolled into a single full-on rules update called A Sky Full Of Stars.  I really liked this supplement because parts of the core engine got cleaned up and it made the game sing a lot better.  However, it was followed closely by another supplement, Armageddon, which had some big changes; then a complete second edition, which had more big changes.

It didn't seem like much time would pass and the rules changes, while not cosmic, were bigger than just FAQs.  The end result was to burn me off picking up more material, and with 40K coming back into my life I drifted away from it.  However, I've wanted to try out the Star Fleet version for a bit - so I think a test game needs to be in my future!  Any interested parties?

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