Breaking the Silence

A slightly different voice for this post, as I hand over to someone who has been missing for a while..

Hi,

It’s been a while since I wrote anything for a website, and even longer since I contributed to a blog.

Since handing the reigns of The Game Cupboard to Dave Stone, owner of Wargames Terrain Workshop, I found myself heavily caught up in a lot of real life non hobby activity…pretty much since November 2017 up until, well…pretty much now.

Hils had a serious knee operation in January, which involved her having a whole new metal knee cap and socket replacement: combine this with her artificial metal and plastic hip, which she had replaced two years ago, and I will soon be able to do an American accent and start saying things like “We have the technology to rebuild her.” with Bionic Woman music playing in the background. But yeah she’s doing well: recovering nicely, but slowly.

On top of all this the past months have been hectic with me playing nurse and looking after her, doing the house up to put on the market, travelling loads to look at potential new houses and bungalows (with an eye to buying when ours was purchased by a new owner), and in general, lots of things which all conspired keep us away from our more normal gaming activities. We gave up the game club, wrapped up our long standing (home run) D&D campaign, filled the moat and pulled up the family drawbridge for a while.

Now, as the first half of 2018 rapidly approaches the half-way point, I find myself once again able to look at my hobby and start to drool with excitement and anticipation over future and forthcoming plans and anticipated gaming delights.

A funny thing happens when you take a long break from your hobby. When you return to it, you find you and even the hobby itself may have changed and moved on a bit from when you left it; and most assuredly, but subtly…you may have aged a bit a well: perhaps you are not quite as spry on your feet, or your eyesight has slightly diminished (noticeable when you go to paint the faces on your tiny little models), or maybe your health has declined slightly. This latter most certainly has affected me, and I feel my condition more poignantly than ever before…after a long cold winter and climbing up and down endless stairs (one of the reasons we first considered moving to a smaller house) and feeling every jolt in my weary old bones.

One of the symptoms about having emphysema is that your lungs don’t get enough oxygen, so effectively your muscles have to work extra hard and never to full efficiency, which feels a bit like having permanent flu…aching bones, headaches, and listless lack of energy (like having a cold, but without the runny nose and other cold like symptoms). This is permanent to some extent for me, with some days better than others…verging on feeling normal and good even, to full out uuug!!…and miserable stress of pain lol. Anyone with a permanent back injury or crippling arthritis will know all about this and understand what it’s like to carry an injury that will never fully go away: as for the fit lot out there, well, you’ll just have to take my word for it and imagine how it is, and be thankful you don’t have it yourself.

Point is, after winter and the shivering cold and damp of an Irish cold patch, I am usually at an all time physical low, and this makes warming up a little bit like waking up from a long carbonite freeze… i.e. slow and groggy for a while.

So where am I going with this, ah yes…

Returning to the hobby this time round has induced a few profound changes. Anyone who knows me well will know by now, I have been slowly culling my lifelong collection of figures and games for a few years now, either giving stuff away or simply chucking it out (or handing to the charity shop). Well, waking from the dark of winter this time round has seen me fine tune and tick off my hobby needs even more… and I find I need even less nowadays than ever.

And I find my true interests are a lot more focussed than they used to be. I find myself not wanting to play this, and that, and everything under the sun, not any more: but instead I find I enjoy devoting the majority of my time to just a couple of projects at a time.

For years I have been an eclectic gamer, adding games to my growing collection like a woman collects shoes or a Punk Rocker collecting badges.

Before you know it, you are surrounded by things you don`t want and can never fully use and enjoy in any case. I had become an addicted hoarder and it didn’t make me a happy gamer at all.

Anyway, nowadays, with my spending and my addiction well under control.. I find myself entrenched in my (let’s just say) ‘horse and musket’ era skirmish scale table top games, which covers a diverse range of related topics, from the French and Indian War (Last of the Mohicans) all the way up to Napoleonics (I love the “Sharpe” TV series and the Bernard Cornwell books).

I also enjoy a bit of space opera…but not all of it. Have fine tuned this and cut out most the comic book and film options and now have focussed in on just a few indulgences: Star Wars (Imperial Assault) and Doctor Who (which allows me to add in bits of anything I want really.. Aliens and Terminators and weird WWI and II, all sorts of stuff, pretty much at will).

A third passion is my lifelong love affair with all things Dungeons and Dragons. But more of that another time. Likewise with my Zombicide.

That’s a major culling of hobby interests and gaming endeavours, when compared to my former pursuits which must have run into at least a couple of dozen different types of games is pretty darn conservative, for me haha.

But I forced myself to give games to people I knew would enjoy them, rather than sit on them like a hoarder, even knowing I would never get to use them. So now I come back to the hobby with clear passion for the things that interest me, and the rest.. I let go.

My Dungeons and Dragons and my Star Wars are my solo indulgences, which I will be writing about in my new blog, when I finally decide to open it publically. I’m already sitting on tons of material, I just haven’t got it all neat and tidy yet, and it mostly sits in files here, there and everywhere, waiting to see the light of day and share with the world – yeeey, lucky you huh lol.

Zombicide (in all its many guises) I mostly just play with the family, or solo when the mood takes me. I may write about this game one day, but honestly, I have enough on my plate right now, without this added weight.

But it is my Horse and Musket “Age of Reason” (or Un-Reason, depends which side of the coin you want to look at) that has really caught my imagination this last while.

Talking back and forth with Jez, I realised we shared a similar passion, similar warped sense of humour, have a similar enjoyment in making stories come to life on the gaming table, and we both have an interest in collecting and painting appropriate, nice miniatures. So we decided to make this happen, and to share a game world in which to play in and write about. But I’ll leave Jez to talk more about all that.

Suffice to say, Lord Henry Arthur Bingly, the good Lady Chase Bingly, and of course, the voracious Lady Scarlett Blightingdale…will all be making regular appearances. As too will our good man Richard Sharpe and his merry gang of cutthroats ooops, I mean “Chosen Men.” as well as cameos from the likes of Muldrew and The Skull, and Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill.

Oh, what fun times ahead.

Steve

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25 thoughts on “Breaking the Silence

  1. It feels strange to be commenting on a post by Steve on a different blog, good to hear you and Hils are recovering after your winter hibernation, and shall be interesting to see this joint venture between you and Jez

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  2. Oo now I want to know more, I need to know everything. You barely hinted at the forthcoming things you two obviously have up your sleeve and planned for us all to enjoy. When will you let us know more Jez, when will ya, huh, huh.. huh?

    I actually find it quite exciting, the things eluded to so subtly, but me being me I happen to know there`s a LOT more that`s been left unsaid, but even my inside knowledge hasnt told me as much as I want to know, as Mr Stevie mostly just smiles and says “You`ll have to wait and find out young T Girl” oooh he makes me mad sometimes hehe.

    Lovely to see you writing again dear friend, and will Hil be adding any words down the road, I do hope so, will she Jez, will she? Interesting to hear you talking about your illness thing, as I know you usually just keep silent {even your own kids barely know you have a problem I notice, as you just get on with it and barely make a squeak}. It does make me appreciate a little bit more how it must be for you, and I marvel at anyone carrying a life long condition and not using it as a crutch to lean on. My respect is massive.

    What a cool little post.

    More please.

    T xx

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    • Hi T hun, its always so lovely to hear from you, and makes the day that much brighter by your presence. Glad the article put a smile on your lips. But as for whats planned down the road, well… you`ll just have to wait for Jez to explain that :-). Its his site after all hehe.

      xx

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      • It may be my site, but if i can allow my friends a chance for their voices to be heard by a wider audience, then why shouldn’t i?

        Both Hils and yourself, Tar, are equally welcome to write an article, which I’d be happy to host. It is a buffet, after all… πŸ˜‰

        As for more detail of what’s to come, before the day is out there will be an answer…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. And so I can see the direction this is taking, if I am as awake to things as I think might be, seeing the pictures in this post, reading the words and seeing the hints I have spotted in previous comments by both of you, I`d say you two are planning to do something 18th or early 19th century. But if I know you Jez, and I certainly know Steve, then you will most assuredly put your own unique slant on things, and that means mystery, Hitchcock like twist, gut wrenching horror, and just a touch of chilling dance macabre, am I far off the mark?

    Excellent read mate, and a nice foreshadowing of amazing things to come I hope. Do let us know more soon Jez.

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  4. Nice to meet you Steve! This is Harry from across the pond. Fell in love with Blackwell and keep.coming back for more of Jez’s genius and all the cool people here who share a passion for gaming, and stories, and world building.
    I’m still in the hoarder stage, buying games I dont play for months or years, barely admitting a problem, and adding minis to the collection of unwashed masses, er unpainted models. But, I’m getting better!
    Very excited about a new blog with Star Wars stuff. X-Wing is among my favorite games and we play narrative campaigns with my youth group at least once a year. Stories make gaming come alive for me. So yes please, release your ramblings!

    BG out

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    • Hiya Harry,, your own site is pretty amazing, and I have not forgotten to respond. Its just your last article was very deep and I wanted time to write a decent reply in comments. I`m glad Jez told me to go check your place out, there`s a lot of thought gone into it and its off to an impressive start Harry.

      Yes hobby addiction is fast becoming a major problem, an one that is still barely recognised, and interestingly there was a very good documentary about this subject on Sky tv last month, which was a real eye opener and made me shudder with horror at some of the stark reality of it all. But I think many of us have been there. What is disturbing true is that.. like smoking or alcahlism, its a very hard addiction to give up.

      Oo you`re into X Wing, I took the other route in, and have a passion for Imperial Assault – as well as FFG`s role playing system “Edge of the Empire” (which I often like to combine).

      Youth group activity can be very rewarding, we used to do stuff with the underprivileged inner city kids around Limerick, and the feeling of satisfaction to be able to give those kids something special in their lives felt amazing.

      Narrative and storytelling is essential to all we do isnt it :-))

      Liked by 1 person

      • I keenly pay attention to Imperial Assault, thinking how much fun it would be to add the skirmish gaming into a bigger fight involving X-Wing and Armada. I have Armada, too. I did mention i have a problem right? Though, my Armada collection is small, focused, and I don’t rush and buy everything new. Unlike X-Wing. I buy everything. Twice. Or four times if i need to repaint.
        Back to IA, it looks cool, but buying all in at this stage would be pricey. I do keep my eyes out for a used copy at a reasonable price, but no luck yet!
        Good on you for sharing your time with the underprivileged. Some of the boys in our youth group will probably never own a model. I can share a bit of what i have and love with them, and the satisfaction, as you said, is amazing.

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        • its what its all about I think Harry.. sharing: it makes life that little bit richer.

          As for Imperial Assault, now of course EVERYONE is going to want it all.. all those lovely expansions, but just as an aside, the base core box game contains enough to keep you going for a long.. long… long time (including proxy tokens for characters you might not have miniatures for yet). The campaign game alone in the core set is intense and will see you playing again and again, with no two games alike (and the free on line Ap means you can play this solo as well). Like everything, always more fun to collect slowly rather than just by it all out in one go, like some manor born rich kid hehe.

          But yeah, go for it all, and it will hurt the wallet alright. I wont lie. Yeah I have pretty much everything for it at this stage, but I knew I would get years of pleasure from it (Im a life long Star Wars fan) and so I collected it slowly over about two years.

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  5. this is interesting. it promises of things to come and i always like things like that, especially when its about wargame subjects i am very interested in covering myself. but i do admit i am in the dark with the others here because you have given little away about what it is you really are doing. that is what makes this so much fun desperately, guessing and probably getting it all wrong in the process he he.

    respect and praise. i have always loved what you do, and knowing you do it while often suffering makes me appreciate it even more. i can`t wait to see what you reveal but will try and be patient with the rest and see what you bring us.

    things here just started getting really hot.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As Dave says, strange to see you up and writing from another platform, I keep looking for The Game Cupboard logo, but instead see Carrion Crows Buffet, then I smile and think, yep, that`s Stevie, those two always did think alike especially when it comes to actual gaming, and suddenly all seems normal again in the world lol.

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  7. Wait a minute, tell me, don’t we know each other? He, he, so glad to see you back, Steve and Hils, a beautiful article, moving…I really like the last sentence, full of promise …And I really like the hunting with hounds figures…
    Best regards, I’ll come back…

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    • Its truly lovely to see you here Phil, and glad you like what you see. Its an honour to see you.. your own busy site is an inspiration to us all. Glad you like the hunting scene, those are some of my `old school` miniatures (I do so love that pioneer look) and they are all self cast from moulds. I used to make all my own figures at one stage πŸ™‚

      Hope to see you regularly now you know where we`re all at Phil.

      Regards my friend.

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  8. Lovely to hear from you and to know that you are both well – if a little pained. Looking forward to all you have to offer us in the coming months, particularly as some of your chosen areas of interest will no doubt inspire me. Hoping to have a month of Star Wars related posts over at my place – just look what you have done! πŸ˜€

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    • LOVELY to hear from you Michael, my dear sir. I have really missed our correspondence. Its nice to know you will be with us on this new journey of discovery. Not sure where it will lead us.. but where ever it is, is bound to be an interesting ride, especially with Jez leading the way hehe.

      And I am DELIGHTED you are still enthused by Star Wars, truly delighted. Write about it anytime (you have my email addy). I`ll sure be checking out your site and enjoying all you have to offer.

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  9. Terrific to read a post from you Steve, especially as it promises to be the first of more to come!
    All the very best to yourself and the good lady Hils, and a massive thank-you Jez for allowing / making / aiding and abetting this to happen πŸ™‚
    Rest assured, after this tasty morsel, I shall be visiting the “Buffet” frequently!!

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  10. Thank you kindly Greg, that`s really nice of you. Yep lots to come over the following.. well… weeks, and months, and beyond. It may be a slow start but its winding up nicely to full spring, then when ready it will go “BOING and “WHIRRR” and associated sounds of Lace Punk and clockwork, and all kinds of game mayhem and shenanigans hehehe,.

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