Never Break the Chain

One of the problems with being a wargamer is that you can be influenced by other gamers, be it in person  – at your FLGS or local club – or online – in a forum or on a blog such as this.

Whilst the majority of the time, this can be a positive experience, where you gain insight into a new painting style or have a manufacturer brought to your attention that you weren’t aware of, who stocks items that fulfill a specific need in your current project, there are times when something catches your eye or imagination and you suddenly find yourself having shelled out for a new game or figures from a new genre or scale, which are sufficiently different from your normal wargaming fare that you either put them to one side and promise you’ll look at them “later” or you stutter to a halt, as the overwhelming nature of the new project causes your brain to spasm

In other words, you broke the chain.

In my experience, in order to be successful and productive in our wonderful hobby, you do need to maintain momentum, as a two-week “break” from the hobby can easily slip in to a month or even a year if you’re not careful. This hobby momentum I refer to as the chain, so I can cheekily use lyrics from the Fleetwood Mac track of the same name for the post’s title, but also because is IS a chain – if you use it correctly.

Now, this is just MY theory on how to maintain momentum in your hobby pursuits, so feel free to disagree, but it works for me, so I’d thought I’d share it with you.

If you concentrate on a single genre or project for an extended period of time, unless it is something you are committed to or are extremely passionate about, you will experience burn-out. This can lead to a loss of momentum or, in the worse-case scenario, a loss of “love” for that particular project or genre.

Which is not good.

I find that having a small handful of different projects, which share a similar scale, means that I can easily transition from one to another when I start to become jaded with one particular project. It does help that the majority of my projects have an element of the macabre, so whilst I game Victorian Fantasy/Horror, Japanese Medieval Fantasy, Doctor Who, Ghostbusters and the current Alternate Star Wars project, some of the figures I use will turn up in multiple genres. And as Superhero gaming covers every possible permutation of genres and this was my first ‘love’ when I returned to gaming from the wilderness, it has kind of influenced the way I look at every other genre – so most of the projects I do are a blend of more than one thing.

Because there is this transition, this ‘sharing’ of resources and figures, I can easily slide from one project to another if I feel myself becoming “bored” with a particular project, so I don’t fall out of love with it, lose hobby momentum and break the chain, which, according to Fleetwood Mac, you should NEVER do.

Now, this transitioning can also be used in writing posts for your blogs. Sometimes, I’ll read a post which covers so many different projects or genres that it as though the author has just opened his head and spilled the contents on to the screen, without any concern or forethought as to how all these disparate parts come together. It can be somewhat jarring and reduces my enjoyment of reading that particular post. But, if there is some underlying theme or link between everything you’ve included in your post, then you can cover multiple genres or projects in one post without anyone even realising.

I’ll show you what I mean and you can judge for yourself how successful I’ve been…

So, way back in April of this year, I trotted off to the Excel Centre for the annual Salute wargaming convention and, being one of the first 5,000 through the doors, got my goodie bag with various freebies.

As a gamer with a limited budget, I am a fan of free wargaming stuff, although I sometimes can’t think of a particular use for the item when I first receive it. This happened with last year’s freebies, which ended up being sent to Stevie, as he’d missed on on Salute that year and was drooling over the free figures – and I had no use for them.

We’re gamers – that’s what we do.

Anyway, one of this year’s freebies was this;

This was a promo figure for Archon Studios new planned game Starcide, a sci-fi skirmish game, namely a Necromancer from the Legion of the Black Sun faction.

At the time, I had no real use for him. However, as I considered the various factions within my Star Wars-inspired project, I speculated on what would happen if a member of the Order of the Sentinels fell completely and started using their powers to siphon off the life-force of others to prolong their own life. I think they’d end up looking like a Legion of the Black Sun Necromancer…

Now, Archon Studios also had some promo examples and leaflets for their next project to be launched on Kickstarter at Salute, a hard plastic modular scenery system called ‘Dungeons & Lasers’, which allowed you to build either dungeons or sci-fi complexes out of set of interlocking components. Looked pretty cool and exactly the kind of thing I’d be interested in, so I grabbed a couple of leaflets to read up on it.

After the show, I visited their website and signed up for their email newsletter, so I could be kept in the loop. Prior to the launch of the Kickstarter for this new project, anyone who’d signed up for the newsletter received an email asking if they’d like a free sample of the new kit…

As I’ve stated before, I LIKE free wargaming stuff… so said yes.

This is what I got;

So, this sprue/frame contains enough components to create a small corridor with two walls… and an animal companion. It’s a fairly substantial bit of kit, as each floor section approximately 3mm thick and each wall section about 5mm thick. Floor sections are single-sided, with tabs that the rectangular connectors on the sprue clip on to, to ensure they don’t shift about. The wall sections are double-sided and in the production version will have different styles of either the fantasy or sci-fi decor on, so you can chooses which side you want showing. The way the bits clip together is really straightforward and the product is pretty robust.

The Kickstarter launched on 13th August 2019 and has now been successfully funded, but late pledges can still be made here. Lowest scenery pledge is $99, for which you get one base set of your preferred genre choice AND three extra rooms of your choice.

I know that I’ve previously stated that I’m not a fan of Kickstarters, but on this occasion, having seen the stuff in the…er…plastic AND if I had the cash, I would definitely buy in to this. Have a look yourself, as it might be exactly what you’ve been looking for.

I also received another unexpected email recently, from Keith aka the Angry Piper from Dead Dick’s Tavern & Temporary Lodging. He’d sent me a photo of an item he thought I might like and asked if I wanted it.

Free wargaming stuff? Oooh, yes please…

Anyway, this is the item, which arrived yesterday morning.

Yeah Baby… you know who to call..

28mm Outrider figure for scale purposes, as my Ghostbusters are currently packed away… somewhere. (There was something else in the box, but the less said about the better, right Keith?) A very generous gift, especially when taking into account the shipping costs, and one that I am extremely grateful for.

Just need to find a way to pay him back somehow…

Right that’s all for this post, which not only had tied into my current project, but also a once and future project and was all linked together with a single theme.

It’s almost like I planned this…

17 thoughts on “Never Break the Chain

  1. Nice looking freebies, and a great gift from Angry Piper, as for blogs covering multiple topics in the same post, it doesn’t bother me even if they don’t bridge from one to another, as I’m happy to see what they’ve been up to

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  2. Tasty post Jez, and a really nice read. Its like an article I might dip into while looking through the pages of The Lone Warrior. The Necromancer is a lovely miniature and a rather impressive free taste and shop window glimpse at their wares. Ideal for your WR project I would think. As for that Kickstarter… wow!

    V–e–r–y nice indeed.

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    • Thanks Steve. The post was initially just going to be about unexpected free stuff, but as I was working out the best way to present this, it occurred to me that the post could also address the potential loss of momentum that sometimes occurs and how I deal with it. Glad it struck a chord.

      And the Archon Studios scenery is really nice. I’ve mentioned their modular ‘Rampart’ system previously (the Mayan-style ruins) and given the material and robust nature of their productts, means that it’s actually pretty good value for money.

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    • Still quietly plugging away, even if I may have slowed fiwn a bit. And I didn’t actually get a chsnce to pivck up the free space vampires, as the queue was rather long, so just ended up with the necromancer.

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  3. One thing no one can accuse me of is not having enough projects. If my chain breaks, it’s usually because a video game batted its eyes at me and I fell hard.
    Regarding Ecto-1: I’m glad it survived the perils of the warp and got there safely, Jeremy. You can repay me by using it in a game and then blogging about it!
    As far as the “other thing” goes, admit you laughed, because I sure did when I sent it.
    Here’s an idea: you should pass it on to someone else (unless you want to keep it-ha!), along with a note similar to mine. As it travels from gamer to gamer, it’s lineage will grow. I feel relatively safe that it won’t make it’s way back to me (thank God), because, as you point out, shipping costs have become absolute bullshit.
    It’s kind of like a chain letter, for wargamers…but funny.

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    • Other things can entice you away from hobby pursuits, such as a new series on Netflix or Prime, so it might not just be a new and different project. And it arrived completely intact and will get used in my next Ghostbusters game, so no worries there. Also now gives me an excuse to get the original Ghostbusters, rather than my own versions.

      As for “Spider-Meh”, that is tempting, but I am now intrigued to seeif I can’t turn it into something cool….

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  4. We seriously looked at that terrain for our group when I first saw it announced, we wondering if it might be worth looking into a little more seriously, but decided pretty much unanimously that June next year (if they even stick to that date) is simply too far ahead in time to be of any use to us. We play too much and our terrain needs of today may be very different in a year from now. Besides which, personally, I`m not always very excited by kickstarers: but that usually applies to the miniatures themselves, not to terrain. What mean by that is that stretch goal miniatures tend to be very over powered and render core box sets unusable by their inclusion: which you start to notice once you start playing and adding in all those wonderful components. Until then you go oO what lovely minis, but its only when you see them in action it stats to dawn on you that they completely throw the game into another dimension, taking away from the game experience rather than enhancing it. This is certainly true of the New Zombicide Invaders for example, as successive add on material render the contents of the core box academic the more stuff you deed into the scenarios.

    Easy to go, but we NEED more miniatures to stop the game becoming same-y. But not so, look at Space Hulk, how many enemies are there in that one, and I never heard anyone complain that game is same-y?

    Anyway, back to the fantasy/science fiction terrain you mention, its all VERY nice. but do I need it, the answer would be no. Every month there’s something new to buy and there comes a stage when you either go I`m out of control and cant stop myself from grabbing it all and…. it ends up on the already staggering pile of thing I (in good faith) meant to use but never do, Or you stop and go NO! I`m happy with what I have, and stop there, adding little bits of my existing hobby as and when I NEED (not want) to. Need and Want, two vitally different words I think.

    As for Netflix, I`m thinking of getting this as I`d very much like to see Stranger Things.

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    • When I saw their stand at Salute, I was more interested in their Rampart system, which had the Aztec-y modular ruins in hard plastic, but they had a few prototype pieces for the other stuff too, so picked up a leaflet. I’ve now gotten around to despruing it and playing around with it and can safely say, that had I the money, I would pledge at the basic level, as it’s very nice kit. And given the material and modularity, seems pretty reasonable price-wise, based on how they’ve priced the Rampart stuff.

      Like you, I don’t tend to get involved in Kickstarters, as I prefer to have stuff NOW, rather than waiting a year or so down the line and they never seem to be as good a ‘deal’ as you would think. The issue of the expansions unbalancing the game is not one that occurred to me, as I tend to look at terrain KS’s, rather than games, but I can see how that could be a problem.

      And Netflix does give you a lot of content. I’ve watched the first season of both Gotham and Star Trek Discovery, most of the Marvel stuff, The Umbrella Academy, plus the movie Bright. As long as you’re disciplined, you shouldn’t get too distracted and as they provide run times, can choose a programme to match the time you have available.

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      • Oo you encourage me about Netflix. I always said I would never get it, but I`m desperate to watch Stranger Things and Netflix is the easiest way to go about that, but the sheer number of other shows that might be good to watch, like the ones you mention, might make me consider it after all, woohoo!!
        Yeah, the problem Jez, with stretch goal special miniatures in Kickstarters is one you would never even begin to realise unless (a) you checked the starts very carefully, or/and (b) you actually intend to play each scenario through to get an in depth feel for the game you have just purchased (not just playing the intro scenario and maybe one or two scenarios out of the book). You really have to play the game properly to notice. But notice you will: Zombicide Black Plague and Invader are two perfect examples of this Jez. Some of the characters are so overpowered they are simply game breakers, and many/most of them have stats that are considerably better than the characters you get in the core game, meaning you end up going “why would anyone ever use those six core set heroes when the stretch goal ones are so much more powerful” .. which is a shame because it renders a big part of the core game academic, which is a pretty big deal, and a big Duh! in my books (balance was never properly thought out, sadly.. even though the minis look amazing, they play all wrong). Take a look at this video sometime, it explains what I`m saying much better than I can, but mirrors my sentiments brilliantly.

        By the way, that Aztec modular ruins does look pretty super I have to say 🙂

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        • The main problem with Netflix is that as there’s so much on there, you can waste timr just browsing rather than watching stuff. However it does make recommendations based on what you have watched, which does help.

          And that was an interesting video, which kind of highlights some of MY issues with KS. I always consider KS’s as a potential ‘risk’ – will you actually get the product? Will it be any good? Does it represent good value or are you being blind-sided by being offered “more”? I prefer to buy products when they’ve been out for a while, as you can read reviews of people who’ve actually got the stuff and can get it immediately. It just makes more sense to me.

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          • KS:
            Absolutely yes Jez. Its lovely to receive all the KS things when that huge parcel arrives at the door, but do you want it all? Do you actually USE it all? Will it make your enjoyment of a game happier? I like to buy a core game, and enjoy every thing in that box, savouring it, cherishing it, and if I like that game so much and want more, I really don’t mind spending shop prices to pick up additions as and when I want them, after enjoying every ounce I can out of the core game first.

            Flix:
            Netflix sounds like its a real monster, with so much to enjoy on there. I`m bound to see a million and one things I want to watch, but will try to be good and stick with things I really want to see (4 seasons of Stranger Things will be enough for me to start with. What`s that, 100 episodes hehe.

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  5. Not to intrude, but..
    Netflix is well worth it for shows such as Stranger Things and Mindhunter, to name but two. However, you guys in the UK are lucky enough to get Star Trek: Discovery on Netflix; over here we have to subscribe to CBS All Access, a separate streaming service, to get to see it. I assume it will be the same for the upcoming Picard series.
    I don’t get CBS All Access, because aside from Star Trek, there’s nothing else I want to see (unlike Netflix). But I think about it every day.
    You know, because…Star Trek.

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  6. The first season of Star Trek Discovery did renew my love of Trek, as it has enough of the feel of the original series, but with more modern sensibilities. However, although supposedly set before TOS, it doesn’t feel like it. Still cool though. Lots of lovely other stuff on there too, to suit any taste. So much content, so little time…😉

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  7. Pingback: “These ARE the Droids I’m Looking For…” | Carrion Crow's Buffet

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