Monday, 5 November 2012

Hello Big Papa

Once again its that time, so please say hello to Big Papa

1: How and when did you start wargaming?
Actual gaming would have kicked off for me around 1989/1990 with a few games of rogue trader era 40k against my a couple of my friends from school.  Collecting/painting models started back in 1987 with grandiose ideas of using models in D&D games that never came to fruition.  I remember someone brought a couple of minis into school, and they really captured my imagination.  Twenty-five years on, I still find myself mesmerised by nice new models.


2: What was your 1st wargaming purchase?

My first wargaming purchase was a pack of Citadel chaos thugs and a pack of orcs,  on offer at Beatties.  I couldn't find this mythical place "Games Workshop" that my friends had mentioned was in the vicinity.  Later, I found out it was just around the corner.  Bah.  No sat nav in those days, junior!


3: Do you remember you 1st painted models? How bad/good were they and do you still have any examples?

I remember my first painted models, but they have long since been consigned to the bin, I reckon.  I'd have to say that the painting on my first (an orc) was not bad considering I had only done a base coat.  The guy who had first brought minis to school mocked at my effort, so I went away, and that weekend, using all the resources at my disposal (the free painting pamphlet from GW), painted my second orc.  Blew his crappy efforts out of the water.  That'll learn 'im.  I came across some of my earlier efforts when I was visiting my Mum, so there are still examples around, which is nice to know.  It's good to look back and reflect on how far you've come every now and again.

4: How long have you known the other Lonewolves/how did you meet?

Blimey.  Most of the Lone Wolves I met when I frequented/worked at the GW Cribbs store (Simon, Chris and Neil).  Guess we're talking around 1998/1999-ish. Frazer was introduced to me a little later on, and then I met Tom, at a club night.  Due to moving to Scotland a few years ago, I only visit infrequently, so I still haven't met the others in the flesh, but they seem like good eggs.  The great thing about the Lone Wolves is that I can be away for years at a time, and when I pay a visit down south we all still gel in the same way we always have.  It's a great feeling.

5: Do you have a game that sticks in your memory (for good or bad reasons) that you'd like to recall?

Oh, many games stick in my memory.  The best one being a game of Warrior Kings by Two Hour Wargames that we played a year or two ago.  I was playing Picts, Deke Saxons, and Robbie Vikings.  Deke had just finished painting a dog, which he placed in a garden.  Our objective was to ransack a village in the middle of the table, making off with the golden cross and other loot from the church.  We thought it would be nice to make some rules up for the dog to add a bit of colour, and christen it.  We decided the dog would act and move randomly, attacking anyone within a couple of inches when it finished it's 2d6 move, then moving on, thinking it might just make an annoyance to slow down and distract our warbands.

Anyway, Robbie starts and gets close enough to activate the dog.  It springs loose from it's leash, bounds forward and attacks the nearest Viking, knocking him down, before hurtling off into the hills.  "Well, that's the last we'll see of him." was the consensus, and Deke charged into the village, trampling screaming villagers underfoot, and started what was to become a long, drawn-out fight with Robbie's Vikings.  In the meantime, being nearest the church, I move my warband in to start the looting.  Unfortunately, the priest and his congregation put up a bit of a struggle, so I don't make the swift smash and grab that I hoped for.  While all this is going on, the rogue dog seems to be following a circuitous route through the hills at the periphery of the board, and heading back toward the village.  Still, we don't think he'll play much of a part in the game.

Eventually, despite taking a few wounds, my warband emerges from the church.  Robbie, spying the glint of gold, has one of his guys hurl a throwing axe, and a pict drops to the floor dead.  Deke's Saxons, obviously overcome with bloodlust continue to wear down the Vikings, ignoring the sneaky Picts making off with the loot.  It looked like the game was in the bag for me.  But then it was the dog's turn.  With a serendipitous roll of the scatter dice, the bloody mutt makes a bee-line straight for the guy carrying the booty.  Wounded and unable to fight effectively because of his burden, my warrior dies.  Satisfied with this outcome, Cujo again runs off toward the hills.

Meh.  I shrug, and one of my other wounded guys picks up the booty, while the remaining healthy Pict raises his shield and stands between the swagman and any more throwing axes.  Deke and Robbie continue knocking lumps out of one another, both intent on avenging their fallen.  Only one thing can stop me now.  And, as Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells plays ominously, the bloody scatter dice sends the hound from hell back into the guy carrying the loot.  Once again, my wounded guy is torn to pieces, and the thrice-accursed canine makes for the hills again.  To add insult to injury, I then fail my break test, and flee the battlefield.

Robbie and Deke both decide it's safer to have at each other with swords, and do not to try and pick up the bag of loot for fear of the avenging dog.  It was one of the best games we've played, even though no-one actually achieved the objective and won.  Usually, we only hear that much laughter when I try to play Wings of War.  But that's a tale for another time...

6: What’s your all time favourite games system?

That's a tough one.  I think either Dead Walk Again, which are nice, fast-paced Zombie Apocalypse  rules, or Song of Blades and Heroes: quick,simple,elegant and flexible rules.  I think it has to be Song of Blades and Heroes, with it's adaptability to so many different genres.


7: Any wargaming regrets/ things you would have done differently with hindsight?

There are always regrets.  I regret not starting the hobby in a structured way, like we always teach youngsters today: buy a unit, finish painting it, then buy the next unit.  Instead, I have been dogged throughout my life by the urge to buy models on impulse and to chop and change so often that I rarely end up with a completed army.  Let my experience be a lesson to you, kids!


8: Any wargaming experience/ army/ model/ story that you are most proud of/ like to brag about?

 Oh, let's see... I took first place in the 6mm-20mm category of the Salute '06 painting competition.  Examples of 15mm models painted by me have appeared in wargames rules supplements Field of Glory: The Lost Scrolls, and Extra Impetus 4.  In the FOG book, the models I painted are shown at many times their actual size, and still look good, which is quite an achievment in my opinion.  Also, I'm proud of my old Chaos Dwarf Lamassu conversion, still stickied on  Some of my earliest work with GS, and I'm more proud of that than some of the stuff I've sculpted professionally.


9: What do you see happening to your wargaming wise over the next 5 years?

I think I'll be paying mainly in 6mm-15mm scale, as it is easier to store/transport smaller models, and trying to stay on target, with building armies and going to tournaments, especially trying to support more tournaments and shows north of the border, so I don't have to add the cost of a hotel to my entry fee.

That said, my Open University course will be ramping up next year, so I may not have time for much in the way of wargaming.

10: Any final thoughts?

Is the the bit where I wax philosophical?  Never feel ashamed or frightened to show how proud you are of something if you've worked hard at it.  There will always be plenty of people ready to put you down.  Don't be one of them.  Oh, how about a proverb?  This one I learned from my Mum is great:  "A little axe can chop down a big tree."  It's a reminder that no matter how big an obstacle is, you can overcome it if you keep hacking away at it.

Bonus section, for those that have worked at GW
A: How long did you work for GW?

Two years, I think.  Never kept track.

B: Which Stores?

THE store.  Cribbs Causeway is where it was all at, baby!

C: Fondest memory

I remember a young lad scrutinizing the spray paints, and asking if we had any Imperial Black.  Bless him!  Unwilling to sully his Space Marines with the taint of Chaos Black spray :)

But in general, my fondest memories are of seeing newbies to the hobby improve.  It was a great thing to have someone charge up and show you their latest painted model (this is not just the youngsters here!), and hear how a tip you gave, or a technique you taught has really improved their painting.

D: Least fondest memory

 Hmmm.  Pikey kids messing up the painting table, the Pokemon cards craze, probably the worst memory for me has to be the GW creche.  Trying to teach 40k to a herd of mouth-breathing, disinterested scrotes shoved through the door by parents on their way to Marks and Spencers.

Typical scenario (share my pain):  "This guy hits in close combat on a 4, 5, or 6.  So, every dice that scores 4, 5, or 6 is a hit on this guy."  "Okay. [turns away, gazing blankly at the Disney store while picking nose]"  "Now, what do you need to roll to score a hit?" "3?"

E: If the money was good enough, would you go back? and why?

Go back to GW?  Never.  Partly because I'm fed up of blurring the lines between my hobby and my work life (suffering from that a bit in my current job), but mainly because I don't like the way that the company has shafted their customer base with the constant price hikes, and killing off sections like Warhammer Historical.  Specialist games don't seem to be encouraged anymore, either.  Enjoyed my time there and the friends I made, but no.  Never again.