Archive for June, 2010

June 30, 2010

For the Motherland

by Nate Birkholz

So when I was first looking at Warmachine, I was fascinated with the  Retribution of Scyrah. While I am not an Anime fanatic, I appreciate the Anime aesthetic of the Warmachine Elves and felt it provided an interesting counterpoint to the rest of the units in Warmachine/Hordes while still fitting into the overall look of the game. A coworker also was correct in that I appreciated the fiction: as Gdaybloke of Lost Hemisphere calls them, “pointy eared xenophobic finger-pointing terrorist elves.” I liked that they were a new faction, so there wasn’t an overwhelming number of unit choices for the faction, yet the force seems to be designed well, with lots of reasons to take different units (on the whole).

But my foray into Warmachine was partly inspired by seeing the box for the Devastator model on the shelf at my local gaming store. I started to look at Khador and was slowly won over by the Russo-Nordic-Slavic identity of the faction. My heritage is, on one side of the family, Russian/Czech/Slavic, and I have always had an affinity for the culture of that part of the world, including a fascination with the darker 20th-century side of the coin. So I became more interested in Khador.

I still have a vague inkling that I might want to do a Mercenaries force, and have beeen awaiting the Forces of Warmachine: Mercenaries book due out July 7th. I own the Ahslynn D’Elyse and Gorten Grundback models–in fact I have painted Gorten for the unofficial Privateer Press forum painting competition–but I probably will stick with Khador in the end, since the fiction appeals to me more. I also really like the Skorne models but am not really sure whether anyone plays Hordes locally, I haven’t seen any Hordes armies being played, though of course Mk II of Hordes isn’t out yet.

June 29, 2010

Bona Fides

by Nate Birkholz

So let me establish who I am.

I have been gaming since 1970-something when my Father brought home a blue box Dungeons and Dragons basic set. I was instantly and irrevocably hooked. I got a yellow box of Grenadier Halfling miniatures for Christmas but never painted them since my gaming group didn’t really ever do miniatures — we decided our imaginations were good enough, and our allowances were insufficient to really buy a lot of miniatures anyhow. I wish I still had those models, they disappeared in a move at some point.

From then on I was an avid gamer, right through adolescence. After many years of playing roleplaying games, I started my first miniatures game, Battletech. Battletech consumed most of my weekends for years as a teenager, though we didn’t have many of the miniatures, using the cardboard proxies instead. Still, an old Ral Partha Archer miniature is my first painted figure.

In college, I worked at a couple of now-defunct game and comic stores, especially the original incarnation of The Source in Minneapolis and St. Paul. I played a lot of board- and wargames with people from the store and with my roommates, especially Avalon Hill games (even Advanced Squad Leader, which the store manager called “Advanced Squad Money”). I also got into painting miniatures for roleplaying games and played some Napoleonic sailing miniatures games using the Heart of Oak rules. The store didn’t heavily cater to miniatures wargamers, more the cardboard chit crowd, so we never had early days Warhammer/40k going on, though I did buy an early box of plastic Space Marines to convert into an idea I had for a sci-fi sports boardgame…which never came to fruition.

Then I finished college with a degree in Archaeology and moved on to looking for a job. Long story short (too late), I ended up getting a job in the video game industry. Since that time I have designed games, been a texture artist (not through any real artistic talent), and been, for  most of my career, a Producer, both in Publishing and in Development. Along the way I played a lot of games, especially boardgames, but also Mechwarrior: Dark Age, which is at least marginally related to skirmish miniatures wargames.

Upon arrival at my current employer, I discovered that the studio has a lot of employees who play miniature wargames as well as a lot of roleplaying gamers. In fact, one of the people who was here when I first joined the studio is the local Press Ganger, and many people in the studio have at least dabbled in Warmachine or Hordes. A few months ago we decided to try Firestorm Armada, and that was my gateway drug.

I have always been fascinated with miniature models of many sorts. I would love to have a model railroad someday, and I have great appreciation for things like dioramas in museums. I think it’s a natural progression for me to combine this with my affection for and professional appreciation of games.

June 28, 2010

Death by Inches

by Nate Birkholz

I am starting this blog to track my progress as I get into the world of miniature wargames, and the game Warmachine in particular. I have dabbled with the hobby over the years, and have painted miniature figures off and on since the late 1980s for roleplaying games, but have always resisted the urge to get into a full-on hobby miniatures game until now.

In addition to Warmachine, I also play Firestorm Armada from Spartan Games, and am interested in getting into playing Wild West miniatures skirmish games. In point of fact, I might even be interested in creating a Wild West rules set just for the fun of it. I recently purchased a small supply of nine Wild West figures from Artizan and Foundry, two UK companies with a wholeheartedly catholic (with a small “c”) approach to miniatures production. The sculpts aren’t as high-quality as, say Privateer Press or Games Workshop, but they look to be fun to paint. I also want to try minis from Knuckleduster here in the US, but so far the Banditos are the only sculpts that excite me.