307 The Army Collector

One of the bits of feedback I’ve been getting about my Numidians is how difficult it would be to do an “alternative Empire” list using them.  All the figures are lightly armored, there’s no black powder, and of course no magic.

But I suppose I need to clarify something.  I really liked the miniatures by Wargames Factory and thought they’d make a fine looking army.  I thought they also had a lot of versatility and would be fairly easy to paint in a way that’d be attractive.  And, dare I say it, they were very affordable.

But there’s always part of me that says, “why?”  Why buy (or take valuable Christmas/birthday gift list space) a new army?  What would I do with it?  Well, I only play one wargame with any regularity–Warhammer Fantasy Battles.  So I could shoehorn a Numidian army into WHFB, with some tweaking.  Javelin throwers could, for example, become spearmen, despite the fact that Empire spearmen are more pikemen and can’t throw their weapons.  And maybe an elephant been ridden by Numidians could become a steam tank, etc.  It made it easier to talk myself into the plunge.

But now, maybe its my new, more laid-back attitude.  Maybe its because I have been enjoying painting more.  But the upshot is I’m not sweating the “how’s it going to become a WHFB army?” question.  I’m just assembling a painting an army composed of Numidians, or something that looks quasi-Numidian, since I’m sure they are not quite up-to-spec.  I’ll throw in a few Numidian cavalry by Warlord Games, and at some point I’ll say it’s done and take a nice big picture.

And yes, I’ll trot ’em out and use them in a battle sometime.  And they’ll probably get whipped because heavy cavalry and cannons help in an Empire list.  But I think I’m become more of an Army Collector.  Or I’m trying out the Army Collector identity.  Or maybe I’m just going fluff and appearance over playability.  I don’t know.  But I’m refusing to stress about it.

306 Numidian Javelin Throwers

Numidian Javelin Throwers

For reasons not worth going into I lost a little time on this project, but hopefully am back up to the speed of four figures (one sprue) per week.  Since of the 28 in the pack I’m doing 14 of them as javelin throwers (or as they will be played in WHFB, Empire spearmen) the most recent sprue is all them.

It’s also the end of January, and my monthly paint total is an impressive 29 figures.  At least for me that’s impressive–I’m well aware that there are many who paint much faster.  As a point of reference, that is half of what I painted for the entire year last year.  I’m really in this odd painting grove where there is something almost zen-like about the progess.

I’m also not really sweating questions like “what’ll you do for Empire Greatswords?”  First, it’ll be months before I get through all the light infantry.  Second, I may just build this army to build an army and not sweat the gamesmanship of it.  We’ll see.

305 Hostile Realms on the way

It’s been a while since I dropped any real money on hobbies.  The Numidians I’m working on were from November , as was the copy of The Pathfinder Bestiary.  So I was about due for something.

I thought long and hard about getting a new wargame.  I’m pretty set on RPG’s, have plenty of molds I’m not using, and about three dozen miniatures on the painting table.  I also decided to perhaps look at a new fantasy game.  You see, I’m mostly a Warhammer Fantasy Battles player to the point where you can take the number of times I’ve played other games, add them together and multipliy by three, and you still wouldn’t have the number I’ve played WHFB.  So I was thinking about something different.

The problem is, there’s not a lot in the way of fantasy wargames out there, which surprises me.  There’s upteen Napoleonic games, but little in fantasy despite the wide range of miniatures available.  Or rather there isn’t a lot that isn’t either a skirmish game (eg. Confrontation, Song of Blades and Heroes, or Malifaux) or a thinly-veiled Warhammer clone (e.g. No Quarter).  I like skirmish games, but I was looking for something to scratch my big-battle itch.  That got me down to two choices: Armies of Arcana or Hostile Realms.

Side note: I know about Hordes of the Things, the fantasy hack of the DBA rules.  I own it.  But my honest opinion is that HOTT isn’t that far removed from a skirmish game, given that you are usually battling with a dozen stands (40-60mm bases) with one to four miniatures on it.  Nothing against the game–it looks like fun and I appreciate the inherent flexibility.

Armies of Arcana, from what I can tell, seems very tooled for 15mm, which isn’t that big a handicap.  Hostile Realms is the fantasy hack of the Piquet system, which is (in)famous for its innovative ruleset.  That innovation (loved or loathed) was what won me over.  I wanted something really different from WHFB so that I’d have to start thinking differently about gameplay.  That was my problem with No Quarter (which is a free download and should definitely be looked at).  Yes, you get different monsters and the ability to tool up your own army list, but it plays very similarly to WHFB  and wouldn’t really push me in terms of new gamesmanship.

I’m not familiar with Piquet, as I said, but I’ll post a review of Hostile Realms after it arrives.  It should be here in about a week.

304 The Monochrome Theme

Strange Vistas hit 60,000 hits a few days ago, a pretty noteworthy benchmark for me.  2009 had almost twice as many visits as 2008, when it began.  I usually do some sort of visual change on the blog theme, and just in time WordPress released “Monochrome,” which looks pretty neat.  I’ll try it out for a while and see how I like it.

302 The Gateway Back

After a pretty long and holiday-induced break, my D&D 4E campaign is back underway.  It was one of those crazy sessions where the players were rolling 20’s all over the place at the beginning and then couldn’t catch a break later at the “boss” encounter.

The game had that great combination of nail-biting intensity, laughing until you weep, and mildly inappropriate humor that I think represents that wonderful zone that brings you back to the table again and again.

One thing that did boggle me, however.  I don’t know how many times you can say, “there is writing on the walls” and have them ignore it.  Oh well, I guess they’ll learn about it sooner or later.

301 The first Numidians

Rather than jump and start doing a bunch of Wargames Factory Numidians all at once, I thought I’d start with just doing one sprue’s worth.

Wargames Factory Numidians

Most of the figures are just basecoated, but I did do some work on the shields.

Numidian shield designs

Initially I had thought of trying to have the javelin-wielding figures just hold the javelins as spears, pointing upward.  Unfortunately the arms just don’t look that good in that position, so most of my “spearmen” are going to be holding them over their heads.

My plan is to use these Numidians as a “proxy” Warhammer Fantasy Battles army, perhaps Empire.  The only downside is that I’d be stuck with just swordsmen, spearmen, bowmen, and slingers, who I guess could be huntsmen.  The Numidian cavalry are pretty lightly armored for Empire knights, but might be outriders.  Is that army competitive?  We’ll just have to see.