Thursday, February 10, 2011

Now what?

Hi all,

With the sale of my painted FoW soviets, I find myself in a strange situation. For the first time in about a decade, I am without a painted army, from any game system, to play with. I'll likely be selling the Bretonnians I've painted so far as well, leaving me with a clean slate. What this means for the blog is that the focus is likely to shift from AARs and game coverage to painting and army design / construction. Although I don't have an army to play with, I do have enough lead and plastic kicking around to hold the Keeper at bay in purpetuity. Along with the cossacks I mentioned for FoW and the Dystopian Wars stuff that just came in, I have plenty more Bretonnians, God knows how many 40k orks, a good sized Tau force, and even the beginnings of a Beastman force.

In addition, I have this:


These are the results of an impulse buy with a happy ending. A while back, I picked up a copy of the Malifaux rulebook and a starter box. I really liked the minis, and thought the game would be interesting. Unfortuneately, no one in the area was playing, and I never did much with the figs. By the time the game caught on, I had lost interest. A few weeks back, however, I set up a trade with a fellow on Btown - one I've traded with in the past, and who has always been a pleasure to deal with. Turns out, in addition to the models we agreed to in return for the malifaux lot, he sent a pile more. Add in some Xyston Spartans and OG Mongols I had lying around, and I have the makings of a number of ancient armies, for, say, Impetus. From what I gather, I have enough figs to do 500 point impetus lists for Sparta (or other hoplite-era greeks), Pyhrrus, and at least one successor list, plus possibly the mongols. Which is nice, because the first three, at least, are things I've wanted to do for a while.

I'm also hitting a point in my life where I just do not have the time to paint for the sake of "getting it on the table", or what the army I'm playing with "needs". I think that's part of what burned me out on Warmachine. The game started to feel like MtG with miniatures, rather than the game it was when I became aware of it (around the release of Escalation). Given the demands on my time, which are only going to expand in the future, I think I'm going to work on a new painting ethos: paint what I want, as best as I can. There are also a number of projects I want to do before I die (the Geek Bucket List? Good idea for another blog post). I figure it makes sense to combine the two goals.

One thing that's been on my list for a while is to try Impetus. JET, over at Geektactica has me thoroughly intrigued with this game. In the past, there have been two factors discouraging me from getting into ancient gaming: the rules, and the lack of opponents. While I dabbled in DBA a while back, and I enjoyed it, the game never felt "right" to me. The abstraction that makes the game so simple and cool to play, coupled with the small army size, meant the game never felt grand in scale; I always felt I was playing DBA, rather than fighting the battles of the ages.

Up until Impetus came out, I'd have said that DBA was the best of the ancients lot, despite it's flaws. Everything else out there either felt like a 3-D Avalon Hill game, or Warhammer without all the neat stuff. Impetus, on the other hand, just looks cool, and there's a guy at the local club who's interested in trying it out, at least the basic version. That more or less removes the existing barriers to putting ancients painting on the agenda - now that I have a rule system that seems appealing, and a stack of lead, there's no reason not to indulge. For starters, given the resources available to me, I'm looking at:

a. A hoplite era Greek army. Ever since I read the Peter Connolly books published by MacDonald Educational as a kid, I was hooked on the Greeks. It's the sheilds. I mean, who could resist painting a pile of guys that looked like this:

With the mass of hoplites in my possession, I can do this, and still have figures left over for other projects. The three Impetus lists I'm looking at here are the Spartan, Magna Graecia and Syracuse lists, but I'll likely settle on the Spartans.

b. A Pyrrhic army. I love the idea of fusion forces - armies with a little bit of everything. It's why I was looking at Carthaginians when first I was looking at Impetus. The Pyrrhic armies, however, are the ultimate in mix and match. Greeks, Itallians, hoplites, phalangites, elephants, Oscans, Tarantines, Macedonian style cavalry, the whole shebang. Add in the character of Pyrrhus himself, the guy who won every battle but lost the war, and in the doing knocked about most of Italy and Sicily, and you've got something worth doing.

c) Indo-greeks successors, for starters. I'm fascinated by the post-Alexandrian period in India. The durability of the Greek successor states, their ongoing conflict with local Indian powers, and their eventual subsumption by the Yueh-Chi / Hun / Hephthalite / Kushans makes for a pretty cool story. They also have the same sort of appeal that the Pyrrhic army has - a little bit of everything, and one force easily morphs into another. I have enough phalangites and Hellenistic figures for both Pyrrhus and the indo greeks. The indian units for the latter can be expanded into a full Indian army, or combined with other options for a Hephthalite / Kushan force. Kurasan and Xyston both make lovely Indians, btw.

There are other projects I'd like to do if these three leave me with a historicals bug. Matched Crusader and Saracen armies, Nevsky-era Russians, Samurai, Warring States Chinese. Basically about 15 or 20 years of geek backlog. On top of that, there's the FoW Cossacks, the Bretonnians, and one of these days, my 40k ork army. Once upon a time, I used to have a huge Ork army. Then I sold it (which in many ways can be considered the start date of the issues prompting me to sell my Soviets). I want another one, and this time, I want to really see how far I can push my painting.

I think I will start with building towards two 15mm Impetus lists, one Spartan, and one Pyrrhic. At 300 points, the minimum unit numbers are halved, and you only need one general, plus, as JET has demonstrated, it still makes for a solid game.

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