Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hold on...SinSynn Might Just Be Happy...

Hey folks, SinSynn here.

Now that the Flames of War 3rd Edition rules are starting to sink in a bit, I have this strange feeling settling over me, and I must admit that for a hot minute, I was unsure of what it was, exactly.

Years of being being kinda kicked around by another company, who shall remain nameless ('no more riffing' rule I plan to stick to), left me feeling like some poor, battered animal, who flinched at the mere mention of new releases.
For many years, not one of those releases ever benefited me, in any way.
They often did quite the opposite- they made my personal hobby less fun.
I never got new models, new rules, or anything like that. I got the pleasure of watching my chosen army reduced to irrelevancy, instead.

So, this bruised and broken Xeno grabbed his dice and paintbrushes, and he made his escape.
Anything's gotta be better than this, I figured, and I'll take my chances out there.
Time to hit the road...

*Dunno where I'll end up, but I'll stop for hitchikers*

My life has always worked in a strange way.
Despite my many brilliant, devious, gremlin-like schemes to take over the world, so far I have failed to do so.
In fact, most of my plans meet with the sort of success Wile E. Coyote experienced with ACME products.

So off I went into the wild, hobby blue yonder, with big plans of maybe playing Malifaux, Infinity, or maybe even Warmachine or Hordes...
Naturally none of that was to be. My life doesn't work that way.

I fought hard against Flames of War, honestly...
...As much as any hobbyist can fight, anyway. 
We're not really capable fighters when cool stuffs are involved, I don't think. We try, sometimes, though. We really do.

Here were my reasons for fighting:
-I dinna like historical wargames, really.
-Da models are so teeny-tiny!
-I luvs my Xenos...there's no Xenos here...

And, so, my initial lack of interest and outright refusal to play the game prompted a hideous campaign of hobby propaganda by the Ultimate Rival.
I was stubborn. I tried to hold out....

*No! You can't make me play da cool game! I don't wanna!*

Well, we all know how that turned out, don't we?
One lousy demo game was all it took- some fighter I am, huh?

My initial steps into the game were tentative- I pretty much used the Ultimate Rival's very conveniently provided full-blown German Army for the first couple of months.

Seriously- why would he have that? That clever son of a... 
That guy has more points of Germans, even now, than I do.

In hindsight, I can see that my protests were pointless, for I have a long history with 'gaming WWII,' actually.
Namely with PC tactical and strategic wargames.

*This is Steel Panthers.Undoubtedly one of my favorite games, ever*

Panzer General, Gary Grisby's Operational Art of War, my beloved Steel Panthers and many others have seen countless hours of play from me.

I still play Steel Panthers constantly, as I'm not always 'up' for playing a FPS game. I'll probably never upgrade from Windows XP Pro until they make Steel Panthers work on newer OS's, in fact.
I'm also playing  Panzer Corps right now, which is basically Panzer General all updated, and shiny and new.
All of these great games, and many more (Mmmm...Jagged Alliance) can be found at Matrix Games, by the way.
Plug for them, cuz they're da awesome.

Playing those games led me to watching entirely too much history channel, and reading far too many war novels from fellas like Clancy and Coyle...
So I am well versed in WWII, and modern warfare in general, actually.

If Flames of War covered cold war Fulda Gap scenarios in the 80's, I woulda been all over it.
The M1a2 Abrams is a beast, as are the German Leopard, French Leclerc and British Challenger.
Playing with lil' models of those tanks, and facing a sea of T-72's and T-80s...
OhMyGod Warthogs on strafing runs! AH64 Apaches launching Hellfires!
Oof- I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
So cool...

Seriously, I will DEFINITELY be playing some Steel Panthers Modern Warfare after writing this.
I WILL save West Berlin!
Ok, maybe those guys are screwed, but it'll be an epic delaying action...

You know what? Fictional conflicts are somehow more...palatable, in my tiny mind than, well, real-life ones.
Many people shun Flames of War for that very reason, in fact.

*WWII has some really unpleasant realities that are impossible to ignore*

Now despite my misgivings, I am totally playing the game, aren't I?
Not only that...I would recommend it.

Primarily to anyone that ever played with lil' toy soldiers as a child- in many ways, the game is a fulfillment of that singular experience, and will totally fill that long remembered part of you with bliss.

Yes, you will be a grown up, pushing your tiny troopies and tanks around.
But with like, rules an' stuffs now, so you can pretend to be all serious about it and whatnot.
Fuck that- I still make shooty noises and go kaboom when things get 'sploded.

As for my other issues with the game, well...
-I went and bought some 15 MM Xenos figs from Rebel Minis, and made them my HQ's.
I have a whole spiel prepared about how my army seeks out occult stuffs, like the bad guys from the Indiana Jones movies.
The camo scheme I used on my tanks is unique, and there are no German markings or symbols.
I went ahead and made up my own fluff, cuz I couldn't find any I like. Heh.

-I use the term 'Axis' a lot, and shy away from historical things I'm not really cool with.
Hey, you wanna run some SS list and paint lil' swastikas on all yer stuffs, well...ok, I guess.
Not gonna judge you, but that's not how I roll, personally.
So when people ask me what I play, I say Axis, not German.
I run a generic list from Fortress Europe.  

-I play the game as a tactical exercise, not a historical one.
Nothin' wrong with gettin' historical, and I'll chat for hours about any number of famous WWII battles. Once the game gets started, though, that tends to fade away quickly, and I'm playing a mini game.
I compartmentalize the imagery of burning human beings scrambling from the flaming wrecks of their vehicles, and that burning Panzer IV on the tabletop becomes just a model, with a tuft of cotton representing smoke...

-Tanks are friggin' cool.
Especially the Axis ones (wink).
Sigh...I'll just say it- I luvs da Tigers, da Panthers, and especially the Jag.
The infamous Big Cats are just, goddammit they're friggin' cool. I double-dare anyone to deny this.
They punch holes through stuffs. They're tough as all get-out. I luvs dem.
Don't you judge me.

*My goodness yer a sexy thing*

So that's all fine and good- I've managed to get pulled into a new game. Granted, I came in sorta kicking and screaming, but whatevs, right?

Naturally, the Pavlovian-Doggy-Style treatment I'd become acclimated to at the hands of those who shall remain nameless had me very leery at getting too friendly with a new company.

-Oh sure, that model is cool, but I bet it sucks on the tabletop.
Not the case in Flames of War. Not only do my Big Cats crush, but I have more toys than I know what to do with. Good toys.
I'm not used to that...

After a few new releases, I learned that they're not actually supposed to be a punishment for not buying a new army every time, they're supposed to actually make the game as a whole better, sometimes.

-Great, a new Army Book/Expansion is coming. How bad will it be for my army this time, I wonder? Or will it just outright suck all together, and no one will play it?
Turns out companies can update multiple armies simultaneously, or at least in rapid succession, and make worthwhile expansions, as well.
I had heard of these new Voodoo-like Gypsy Ninja tricks a lot of gaming companies were pulling, but had never experienced them before.
When it happened to me, I got like, this warm feeling in the cockles of the multi-valved, fluid exchanging chambers in my upper torso.

Yes, my Xenos physiology reacts strongly to Flames of War now, in a positive way...despite the fact that I have no idea where my cockles are.
Wait a Axis Grenadiers actually got...better with the new Edition?

I don't...That's not...Hold on...

What IS this strange feeling?
Why do I feel the need to hug my Big Cats, and maybe touch myself in an impure manner as I read the new rulebook?
...What's going on here?

Is this...true hobby happiness? Is this what it feels like?
...It's da awesome....

I luvs U, Battlefront. U makes me happy.
Thanx fer dat. I REALLY needed it.

Until next time, folks- Exit with catchphrase!



  1. Fuck yes, Steel Panthers. Totally forgot about that shit. Played with my dad and my brothers... one of the few games we all enjoyed.

    1. Steel Panthers was the first WWII hex-based PC game I ever purchased.

      Version 8 point whatever can be downloaded free, at the locations mentioned here:

      I still play an older version from The Camo Workshop, because it's exactly like the original.
      I have both the WWII version, and the Modern Warfare version.
      Steel Panthers and the first 3 X-Com games are great loves of mine.

  2. Being happy is over rated.

    Seriously, finding a game that is a lot of fun and doesn't make you miserable? good for you.

    1. Well, as someone who's just now realized he actually IS happy, for this one moment in time, and perhaps the foreseeable future as well, I gotta tell you that it kinda rocks, and isn't over rated at all.

      My big cats are rollin,' rollin,' rollin'.....

  3. I'm afeared of change 40k has cost me a fortune I dont think starting another system would be good for my bank balance or my relationship with 'She who must be obeyed'

    Also the only systems i can find being played around here are GW and battletech I got kinda curious about warma hordes recently but cant find any one playing it or retailers stocking it locally (East anglia UK)I'm a player not a modeller or painter so with no opposition it kinda dies of death as an idea

    Dragons Claw

    1. Hey DC, hope all is well!

      Sigh- I know the feeling, my friend. It wasn't just the Ultimate Rival who switched to Flames of War, it was my entire gaming club, the Ordo Malleus.
      Still- we need opponents, don't we?
      No point in having an army, or two and...playing with yourself, is there?

      Battletech is supposed to be pretty cool, I don't know much about it myself, but I can't hate on mechs.

      Do not mess around with 'she who must be obeyed,' though. I'm with you on that one.
      I totally have snuck models and stuffs into the house, though.
      ...I haz shame, but hey man- I wanna live.

      We all hafta take our own hobby paths to happiness.
      As long as you're happy on your path, all is good.
      I'm still getting used to the idea, actually.

  4. Watching A-10s do gun-runs on bad guys that were shooting at you six seconds earlier induces what is commonly known as a "full-body orgasm".

    Ditto for Apaches and their hellfires :)