Friday, 31 July 2015

Best burger in Wellington? Possibly so.

We may have found the best burger in Wellington, that is if our friends are to be believed.

Over the last weekend we had some friends come up from Christchurch and stay with us. Doing our best to be good hosts we were taking them to a few of the good eateries and drinking holes around town. On Saturday night we planned to go to the Wellington Night Market on Cuba St with the intention of finding a food truck that makes some great Dutch burgers (yes you read that right Dutch burgers, not to be confused with Dutch Burghers). We were a bit disappointed to find the truck was not there that night, but we were determined not to let our burger hunt be ruined by this inconvenience.

If I can go off track for just a second, some may remember a couple of months ago when a Wellington burger joint owner made national headlines for publically slandering a customer who suggested one of his burgers gave her child food poisoning. If you're not familiar here's a link to one of the media articles. Well when this originally came out it unsurprisingly generated a bit of discussion around town about Ekim Burgers and the word among people in the know was that, while the owner may be a bit of a tool, the burgers were actually quite good.

Deliberately unsympathetic picture of the accused; Mike Duffy - Owner of Ekim Burgers

So when we were left burgerless by the absence of a Dutch burger truck we remembered that Ekim Burgers was just a few blocks up the road. Enticed not only but the opportunity to put these burgers to the test, but also by the opportunity of inciting a public Ramsaying from the owner we set off in search of the fabled Ekim Burgers restaurant (well it's actually just a truck in a parking lot but if McDonalds can call themselves a restaurant then why not these guys?).

Not a refugee camp, this is Ekim Burgers.

We arrived to find that the owner; Mike Duffy, was unfortunately not on shift that evening so it seemed that we would be forced to tolerate a pleasant evening absent of his vitriolic rhetoric while consuming our meals. After consulting the menu I decided to give the 'Olivia' a try; this was a chicken burger with bacon and blue cheese sauce.

It may not look like much when dumped on a brown paper bag at 8pm at night before being photographed with an iPhone but I can guarantee you it tastes absolutely awesome! While I wouldn't rate it as the best burger I have ever had it would definitely make top five and is enough to draw me back to Ekim to try other burgers despite it's rather unsavoury proprietor.

However there is apparently an even better burger than this one. Our friends had ordered the 'Pearce' which is one of Ekim's vege burgers. It's made of refried beans, cheese, cornfritter, guacamole and jalapeno salsa. Phrases such as 'life changing' and 'never any other burger' seemed to be common while they were eating this champion of cuisine so it sounds like it is definitely one to try. Could it possibly be the best burger in Wellington? If you get the chance to stop in at Ekim and can overcome the moral degradation of giving money to their turd-burgler of an owner then give it a try and judge for yourself...

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Deathwatch - Tyranid Invasion! I've played it. It's actually quite good!

It's been a busy weekend with some visitors coming up from Christchurch to stay with us for a few days. Sam and I have spent the last 5 days eating and drinking our way around Wellington while we showed our guests all the important things there are to see in Wellington...such as breweries...and more breweries...and possibly some other stuff which I can't remember. Anyway it has made posting on this blog a little difficult but now I have some spare time I thought it best to get some writing done as I'm overdue for an update.

A couple of weeks ago I saw an ad for 'Deathwatch - Tyranid Invasion'. It cost something just short of $7 NZ and in the promotional blurb it said "15 hours of gameplay" so at the time I thought even if I got 1 hour of entertainment out of it I would get my $7 worth, so why not give it a try? Since then I've run my iPhone flat almost daily playing this game, it's disturbingly addictive.

For those of you who may not know what the Deathwatch is here's a quick background blurb:

Within the Imperium of Man (or Woman) during the 41st millenium there are three branches of the Imperial Inquisition; one of those branches is called the Ordo Xenos and is tasked with purging alien influence throughout the Imperium. As with all orders of the Inquisition the Ordo Xenos have a specialised military wing; their's being the Deathwatch. The Deathwatch are made up of veteran Space Marines with a talent and penchant for killing various species of alien. These Space Marines are then seconded to the Ordo Xenos and formed into specialist units.

Rodeo are the techy dewds who have teamed up with Games Workshop to make this game. They are the same company that produced the Warhammer Quest game for iOS and you'll notice a lot of similarity in Deathwatch. It has the same square tiled dungeons and the same general 'get from point A to point B and kill stuff along the way' approach to each mission. As you wander through the dungeon-of-the-sci-fi-future you are attacked by various Tyranid creatures ranging from Hormagaunts to Pyrovores to Tyranid Warriors to a monstrous Carnifex. As you kill these bad-ass purple gribblies you gain experience which can then be used to upgrade the skills on your Deathwatch members in their own character screen.

You can also swap out their weapons in this screen with the flashier boomsticks and choppy devices you receive for successfully completing missions. The challenging part about this is that the higher level weapons are much more inaccurate so to get the most out of them you have to upgrade your Marines to improve their accuracy first.

The part I like about the game most of all is that there is a kind of 'card collector' aspect to it. By completing an 'Act' (four missions) you receive a new deck of three cards. In each pack you receive one random Marine and two random weapons or equipment which can then be used in game. There are commons and rares in all aspects so you can get common equipment and regular Space Marine legionaries or more rarely you can get mastercrafted equipment and veteran or champion Marines. Alternatively you can buy further packs of cards with 'Inquisition Pesos' you receive for completing missions and selling off your spare equipment and Marines. Once you have reached 100 Inquisition Pesos you can buy a pack of three cards.

I think this is the part of the game that has sucked me in the most. I look forward to opening my virtual card packs with the same sense of anticipation and trepidation I felt when opening a pack of WWF trading cards back in the 80's (ah good times). Each set I receive is eagerly torn open (in a virtual sense) which then culminates in elation if I get some exciting new toys or bitter disappointment if I get crappy double-ups.

I've almost completed the game on the 'normal' difficulty setting and it's been a lot of fun developing my squad of Ultramarines throughout this campaign. I'm normally not a fan of the Smurfmarines but some have a skill called 'Battle Brothers' which gives them extra benefits for each additional Ultramarine in the squad and it seemed the best build with the cards I was dealt if you'll excuse the pun.

Did I mention you could change the names of your Marines?

As you can see I've gone for a heavy shooting team which suits my rather defensive play style. I've found Plasma and Bolter give the best flexibility in long range abilities as Lascannons and Missile Launchers don't put out the volumes of firepower needed to take down the little Tyranids. In the later stages I am now regularly encountering Hive Guard, Tyrant Guard and Tyranid Warriors while troops like Genestealers are becoming more common than Hormagaunts or Termagants which is making things more and more challenging. I've also managed to kill a Carnifex, a Broodlord and as of today a Hive Tyrant!

In short, if you can manage to go without a couple of coffees I'd definitely recommend buying this game. I imagine there's not a lot of long-term playability there but you'll certainly get your money's worth of entertainment out of it. And at the end of the day who doesn't want to live vicariously through a bunch of pathological, homicidal xenophobes hell-bent on mass genocide? that I put it that way it sounds a bit suspect...

Thanks for reading, check back later in the week for updates about our weekend and the best burger in Wellington!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Book Review in 300 Words or Less - Betrayer

Second book review and it's another Horus Heresy novel. There will be a few of these as I am waaaaaaaaay behind but I'll try to throw in a few outside of this series every now and then.

Anyway 300 words or less, here we go:

Horus Heresy: Betrayer by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Betrayer is set around the apotheosis of Angron. Based after the events of Calth Lorgar is allowing Angron to rampage through the Ultramar system unrestrained. Where previously Lorgar was perpetually frustrated with Angron's unpredictable behaviour in this novel he seems to be embracing it.

When I first read the blurb I assumed Lorgar was simply offering Angron up to Khorne as a champion but that's not entirely the case. The reasons behind Lorgar's approach surprised me and I thought it really brought some maturiy to his character that it has long been lacking. I always wondered if Lorgar's fraternal traits would be washed away in one of these novels as he moves deeper into the worship of Chaos but this book took the opposite approach, and I think the overarching Horus Heresy storyline is better for it.

Angron is also portrayed well. There are only so many ways a slavering killer can be framed so any author is working with a limited palette here, but small excerpts within the novel show a character weary of the complexities of politics and trying to escape them by immersing himself in battlefield combat.

My favourite part however would have to be the development of the relationship between Argal Tal and Kharn. Both characters I love because they are honourable at heart but out of loyalty to their Primarch they have ended up on the wrong side of the rebellion. Throughout the book both characters use each other's guidance to maintain sanity and some sense of chivalry as they slip closer to the abyss until a twist at the end turns it all pear shaped.

In conclusion, while the plot may not be all that amazing the character development throughout makes it definitely worth a read.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

The week that was

Another week has passed me by leaving me wondering where the time has gone and what do I actually have to show for it. When I look back though I can see that I have got some stuff done here and there so I've written up a quick re-cap of the week:


Another game of Mordheim and I actually won this one! I got very lucky as I was about to be charged by a close combat monster of an Undead warband in turn three but I had caused just enough casualties with shooting to force his first bottle test and with a very unlucky roll he legged it before he could charge me. The rest of the game was spent trying to shoot the other two gangs as they scooped up all the Wyrdstone before my stubby little Dwarven legs could reach any. Ultimately the other two gangs involved (Kislevite and Protectorate of Sigmar) beat each other up and bottled out with the Wyrdstone they had rather than take on my untouched warband and risk losing some of the precious stone. So it was more a matter of me being too slow to reach any of the action that won me the game rather than any tactical genius but I'll take the win none-the-less.

I got a new phone this week so I snapped some pics of the game. As I've said previously the lighting is not great there so things might be a little difficult to see.

My warband run and hide behind a building away from the evil Undead coming to tear them to pieces. You can see the Undead on the far right of the picture.

After the Undead very fortunately scampered the Kislevites (bottom left) and the Protectorate (bottom right) duked it out while my stocky wee purple people (top of the picture) huffed and puffed their way across the tabletop to get involved.

In the end it was only the Protectorate and myself left. The Protectorate had gathered up a hoard of Wyrdstone but had also taken a few casualties in the process so instead of risking the loss of some Wyrdstone to me they decided to grab their winnings and fnckoffski.

After three games this is how my warband looks:

Another book finished!
Knocked off another Horus Heresy novel. I actually quite liked this one so will write a review over the coming weeks and get it posted.

Visited Games Workshop Store

I dropped into the local GW store to buy some 32mm bases for some Ork Nobs waiting to be painted. I entered the beginnings of an argument with the store manager about the potential death of Warhammer Fantasy 8th edition. He was arguing it's likely going to slowly die off now that Age of Sigmar is here, I was arguing it'll likely convert to another game format or have a community grow around it. Long story short I told him it's best we agree to disagree. I really do wonder sometimes why I go into that shop...


That's right, actual paint on models! Here's what I did:

I began painting my 'free-with-White-Dwarf' Sigmarine a few weeks ago when I got the mag. This week I finished off the dry-brushing on his armour. I don't like the shiny, gleaming, golden look so I'm trying to create a look that's a bit more worn and weathered. At the time I was watching some movie which had Aegean-Greek soldiers smacking the heck out of each other in bronze armour and worn, beaten leather and thought 'that's the kind of look I want'. Given their rather statuesque appearance I thought I would paint this guy as a sort of Bronze statue construct with worn leather trim. So far I quite like him though I'm stuck on the hammer and scale mail tabard as I don't feel bronze is the right colour for them. If you have any suggestions please comment below.

These guys may look a little familiar. I dug them out a few weeks ago in this post and have been chipping away at them when I have a few spare minutes. I've finished the bone which is probably the most time consuming part and can now get started on the detailing. I'm hoping to have them finished in a few more weeks.

What's happening over the coming week?

I'll get another book review up sometime this week but other than that things are going to be pretty busy over the next 7 days. Sam and I are still decluttering our house. We've just bought a new townhouse which is going to be built around March next year and being a townhouse that means smaller and less storage so the decluttering that began with moving has now been taken to a whole new level.

We've got friends visiting next weekend which means less time for painting and gaming but it also means going out for burgers! I will look far and wide to find a good burger to review over the coming weekend.

Not sure if anyone has downloaded 'Deathwatch - Tyranid Invasion'. It's a new game from GW (with help from Rodeo Games) for iOS which is based off the Warhammer Quest top down, dungeon explorer format. I downloaded it over the weekend and have been having a lot of fun with it. So much so that I reeeeeeeeeeally want to convert and paint a Deathwatch squad to go with my 40k armies...the ones that aren't themselves painted...ok maybe I should make a start on my Mechanicus first. Anyway I'll keep playing over the coming days and throw up a review sometime this week.

That's probably enough for now. If you have any advice about the paint scheme for my Sigmarine please leave a comment as I'd love to get your 2 cents. Thanks very much for stopping in and having a read, I'll see you back here next week.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Book review in 300 words or less - Angel Exterminatus

Now that I'm taking the bus to work I have had a lot more time to catch up on the dozens of novels sitting in my bookshelf waiting to be read. This started me thinking about how I might be able to do a review of the books I've been reading without having to write a novel in itself on this blog. Then I had this brilliant idea! A book review in 300 words or less!

In all honesty we have yet to decide whether or not this is a brilliant idea, it may in fact be a terrible idea, but I'm going to run with it none the less.

So for my first review I choose: The Horus Heresy: Angel Exterminatus by Graham McNeill

(yes this is actually how far behind I am in the Horus Heresy series)

The book runs a dual focus; it follows Fulgrim through to his apotheosis while simultaneously it focuses on Perturabo’s internal struggle with his betrayal in joining the rebellion. The scene is set on a journey to an Eldar Chrone world in the Eye of Terror where Fulgrim, Perturabo and other characters are guided by two Dark Eldar secretly following their own agenda.

I struggled a bit with the general plot and storyline mainly because Perturabo was portrayed several times as being rather naive for someone who is supposed to have a super-human mind. Fulgrim was represented as you would expect; deceitful and duplicitous. On the other hand I absolutely loved how the inner struggle of Perturabo’s character was portrayed. Until now he's always been the jealous Primarch prone to fits of childish rage because he believes the Emperor loves the other Primarchs more. In this book his betrayal is based more upon broken trust from discovering the Imperial Truth was a lie. But while he may have betrayed the Imperium he still upholds legion ideals and is having to resolve the internal struggle of maintaining these ideals against their erosion within the other rebel legions as they fall deeper into Chaos. Perturabo's greatest dream is to build beautiful cities of peace and prosperity but knowing this dream is futile he resigns himself to play his part in the upcoming war and rebels more out of loyalty to Horus than any hatred of the Emperor.

The different Horus Heresy authors can be a bit hit and miss but Graham McNeill is usually pretty reliable. Overall I thought the general storyline and plot was a bit lacking but the character development of Perturabo in itself makes this one worth a read so I'd give Graham McNeill a thumbs up for Angel Exterminatus.

Monday, 13 July 2015

The Trial of the Age of Sigmar.

I played my first game of ‘Age of Sigmar’ last weekend and I thought I’d post up my initial thoughts about the game while they are still relatively fresh in my mind. Firstly I need to point out that while I did take my camera to get some pictures the batteries died on me before I had a chance to take any (what is it with me and cameras!?!). So where I had hoped to have some dynamic views of my stalwart Dwarfs mashing up my friend Mark’s Skaven I am unfortunately without. In actuality the game was very even and we called it when we were left with only a unit of Miners and a unit of Plague Monks with a Poison Wind Mortar and Sniktch on the field.

So that being said I will try to convey the general feeling of the game through some broad artistic license including images stolen from the interwebs.

Let’s begin with the armies. From memory they were organised thusly:

Dwarfs (now the ‘Duardin’)

- Dwarf Lord
- Dragon Slayer
- 20 Warriors with Hand Weapon and Shield
- 20 Miners
- 10 Thunderers
- Organ Gun

Skaven (still the ‘Skaven’)

- Warlord
- Deathmaster Snikch
- 20 Clanrats
- 20 Clanrats
- 20 Plague Monks
- 2 Rat Ogres and a Packmaster
- Poisoned Wind Mortar

We just set up on the kitchen table using your stock standard long board edge deployment 24” apart. We started setting up individual models but quickly shifted back to putting units on movement trays as moving individual models seemed like too much hard work. For terrain we had a couple of rocky outcrops on my left hand side of the board and a garden of Morr in the middle with two statues scattered towards the left side of the board. Using my mad Microsoft Word skills I reproduced the layout of the deployment in exacting detail below:

My Purple Dwarfs (sorry, Duardin) are at the bottom of the table with the Thunderers on the left then moving left to right are the Organ Gun, the Warriors, the Lord, the Dragon Slayer and the Miners. Mark's Skaven at the top are from left to right Snikch, Mortar, Clanrats, Warlord, Plague Monks, Rat Ogres and Clanrats.

The game started with us working through each phase taking a very long time to figure out what we were doing. The turns did however get exponentially quicker as we progressed through the game and got used to the rules. The 'Hero Phase' took a little bit of learning. I found you had to pick wisely on what hero abilities you used each phase as they mostly last until your next Hero Phase and with random turns you're never quite sure who will get the first turn so you may be stuck with an ability that doesn't work at all for your current situation.

We found the Organ Gun could still be pretty brutal and that Clanrats were still quite awful. My left flank withered away Mark's right while the Miners cut down the Clanrats on my right and Mark's left. It's when Snikch and the Plague Monks got into combat that poop got real! I have set the scene in the incredibly detailed battle map below:

The Organ Gun got taken out by the Mortar while the Clanrats were defeated by their opposing Duardin units. We had a boss-off in the centre where Mark's Warlord came out on top. We found the combat realtively easy to work out. It should be noted that given each could make a 3" pile in move we didn't really bother moving individual units we just kep them on their bases and assumed all were in combat. The only interesting part about the first combats was how models could get sucked in. When Mark charged my Miners on the right the rules state that "any unit that has models within 3" of an enemy unit can attack" so that meant that my Dragon Slayer, despite not being charged, got sucked into the combat with the Clanrats and Miners.

Shooting into combat didn't do a whole lot. My Organ gun was dead by this stage and I found the Thunderers to be wholly ineffective with such a short range that by the time they were in range they got charged by Snikch and cut to ribbons before they could pull the trigger.

The 'Battleshock Phase' however had a strong influence and I really like how it works. At the end of the turn you have to roll a dice for any unit that has taken casualties and add the number of casualties to the D6 result. If the result is higher than your unit's bravery you lose the difference in models as further casualties. It means no unit can be wiped out from fleeing but they can still be decimated from being pwned in combat. It did hurt the Skaven more than the Duardin but with an average Bravery of 6 the stocky midgets still took a few in casualties from Battleshock. Also this is where we learned how impotant it is to have unit banners as they can half the number of casualties you take from Battleshock.

It was when the Plague Monks hit combat that we truly learned how evil this game can be. Once again, let's refer to our detailed battle map:

(damn I'm good with this software)

So this is the conundrum we faced; Plague Monks have a weapon called a Foetid Blade which has 2 attacks which means if they have 2 Foetid Blades then as far as I can tell they get 4 attacks each! On top of that, any model with 2 Foetid Blades may re-roll missed hits in combat! So long story short this is what happened to my Warriors while my Miners were tied up with the Rat Ogres...

Hmmmm yeah...well unless we've got something wrong with the rules Plague Monks are good. Reaaaaaally good. This is about where we called it a night and began packing up and beginning the post match discussion.

Overall we both really enjoyed the game. It was free-flowing, easy to resolve over a night, I can definitely see how it can scale well to larger or smaller games and being able to use whatever models we felt like instead of having to build an army list was an incredibly easy way to set up a game for the evening.

If we are to believe the nerd rage on the interwebs right now the two biggest problems with the game are; no points cost and that the rules are too simple. To address the former I can only find this to be an issue with tournament based play. Between two civilised and mature adults we managed to put together two armies that delivered a pretty even and enjoyable game. I can definitely see how balance could become a problem if one is trying to employ mathhammer and deliberately build the most winningest army, but if the game is played with the intent of, as GW love to say, "forging the narrative" it is very easy to maintain that balance. In reference to the simplicity of the rules we found only two oddities with it which may yet be resolved after discussing the game with others who have also played. Every single GW game I have played has created more than two rules queries after my first game and I still find that interpretations of those rulesets differ slightly from town to town and gaming club to gaming club throughout the entire life of said ruleset.

In closing I can say that I absolutely enjoyed my first game of Age of Sigmar and will likely be playing it again. I can see why tournament gamers are tearing their hair out about it as it's definitely not their style of gaming, but for a hobbyist like me it is a breath of fresh air that is making me look again at all those half started Fantasy armies I was going to sell and think "That could make a really fun army for Age of Sigmar".


Saturday, 4 July 2015

A trip down memory lane.

Last week I got excited when someone told me the recently released White Dwarf had a look back over the last 30 years of Warhammer Fantasy in prelude to this week's Age of Sigmar Release. Unfortunately it was just a whole lot of pictures about End Times with a small timeline of the major events in Warhammer Fantasy's history. None the less it did get me taking a bit of a trip down memory lane and I began stretching my mind back to my earliest experiences in this unusual hobby of ours. I then got thinking about what I should write in my blog this week and the answer became simple; bore people to death with a timline of my own hobby milestones throughout my 20+ years of wargaming! So prepare to be mesmerised as I wax lyrical about how great things used to be back in my day and how this young generation don't understand how easy they've got it!

1993 - White Dwarf #158

This is where wargaming all started for me. My brother and I had always been interested in Sci Fi and Fantasy; most of the books we read were of this genre, the Lego we collected was mostly Castle and Pirate Lego, and our favourite movies and TV growing up were the likes of Robin Hood, Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica. We'd even gone so far as to dabble in Dungeons & Dragons and Heroquest/Space Crusade but we never knew there were actual tabletop games for Fantasy and Sci Fi. Then during a visit to our local Paper Plus in Motueka my brother picked up this odd looking magazine and or eyes were opened to a whole new world. As we flicked through the pages I recognised some of these models. We had visited a shop called 'Mindgames' in Wellington when looking for Dungeons and Dragons models and I had picked up a blister of Space Marines which were easily recognisable in the pages of this White Dwarf. So after a quick phone call to Mindgames our first wargaming miniatures were in the mail.

1993 - Skaven Beastmaster and Giant Rats

This was my first wargaming model; the Clan Moulder Beastmaster and Giant Rats. I've started and stopped trying to build a Skaven army about 3 times over the past 20 years and never actually managed to get one fully painted. None the less you could technically say Skaven was my 'first' army for wargaming. I seriously regret getting rid of this guy. I forget what I did with him or why I got rid of him but after seeing other gamer's first wargaming models with their awful inch thick paint jobs and their screaming bright colours I truly wish I had kept mine. There's just a cool kind of nostalgia about them.

1996 - Codex Chaos

Until now I had been a bit of a magpie in terms of collecting models. I would see something shiny and new come out in each White Dwarf and I would quickly forget about what I had been collecting and purchase some of the pretty new releases. You could say I was the perfect GW customer. About the time Warhammer 40,000 2nd edition had been released my brother and I had become enthralled with 40k and almost forgotten about Fantasy. I was getting sick of having to borrow my brother's models to play all the time so I decided I was going to collect solely one army until I had enough models to rival my brother's army of Orks. Then when I saw all the shiny new Chaos models to be released I knew I had found the army for me. The Black Legion became my first fully painted and playable army. I still have a few of these models hanging around somewhere and I hope that one day I will be able to paint them up and rebuild a modern version of my Black Legion army from back in the day.

The Andy Chambers Era

It's difficult to put a specific timeframe on this as it spanned a period of about 10ish years for me from when I first started wargaming till I left for University. I use the term 'Andy Chambers Era' because a lot of what I loved about Games Workshop games was influenced during the time Andy Chambers worked as a games designer for GW. Around the early 2000's the focus of the company changed somewhat and coincidentally Andy Chambers left Games Workshop about the same time citing personal reasons. I really loved this period because the focus of the games seemed to be based very much upon narrative and story building. I fondly remember White Dwarf articles about the Piscina IV campaign and rules for building your own special characters or allowing roaming beasts such as the Catachan Barking Toad to be used within your games of 40k. This was also the period in which most of my favourite GW games were released; Blood Bowl 3rd Edition, Mordheim, Necromunda, all the great publications that have now been consigned to Specialist Games. It was a time of vibrant creativity for Games Workshop, but as the saying goes; all good things must come to an end.

1999 to 2002 - Hiatus

In 1999 I moved to Dunedin to begin University. By now I had gone off wargaming for a couple of reasons. Firstly I no longer had anyone to play against. I lived in a small rural town and the number of people interested in wargaming was minimal to begin with. My brother had already left for University and my other gaming friends had either given up gaming or moved out of town so I hadn't played for about a year before moving to Dunedin. The second reason was that I had reached the dreaded late teens where things like fitting-in, drinking beer and talking to girls became extremely important. So when I moved down South I left all my gaming stuff at home and began trying to live the life of a Scarfie. The only exception to this was my first year in Dunedin where I stayed in a hall of residence and met another gamer interested in Blood Bowl. We got a small league going for a few months but after that I did pretty much nothing on the gaming front.

2002 - Dunedin Gaming League

In 2002 I moved into a flat with someone I discovered was a gamer. They were just getting into Warhammer 40,000 and it reminded me of all the models I had stashed away at my Mum's place back in Motueka. I need to point out that I was in an extremely unhappy place at this point in my life. The drinking culture of Otago student life wasn't my thing at all. Although I had yet to admit it to myself I was a geek through and through and I was much more comfortable spending Saturday nights playing computer games with friends over pizza and coke than I was drinking myself into a stupor and trying to fit in with the cool kids. The reason I mention this is because watching my new flat mate gluing and painting models reminded me how happy I was when I was wargaming and in my melancholy I began to flirt with the idea of getting back into gaming. During the next holidays I drove home to see my family and brought back all my gaming stuff. I ended up selling off a lot of it and one sale in particular led me to a local wargaming club. I had come to drop off some models to a guy who had bought them off me through Trade Me and while there he introduced me to the Dunedin Gaming League...

In all my gaming years I have never enjoyed gaming as much as I have with the DGL. The club was small by necessity (the club room could fit about three gaming tables max) and this is what created such a great culture. With such a limited number of opponents everyone within the club got to know each other very well and despite our differences we all seemed to get along through a shared love of wargaming. The club was very much focused on the 'hobby' side of gaming; that is painting, modelling and sportsmanship, so there was a really inviting and supportive gaming culture. We would always organise campaigns for Fantasy, 40k, Mordheim and Necromunda which would help develop the narrative approach to our gaming. We would even make up games for our own amusement such as Warhammer Fantasy Olympics in line with the 2004 Olympic Games. We would attend tournaments as much as our meagre student incomes would allow us and we would do surprisingly well. Seeing as we were such a hobby focused club we would usually walk away with all of the Painting and Sportsmanship prizes and given we weren't terrible players either we would even earn a placing or two from time to time. Long story short the DGL helped pull me back into the fold of wargaming during a tough time in my life and I will always hold fond memories or our Friday night club meetings eating Fish and Chips from the Flying Squid while talking smack and gaming just for the love of gaming.

2005 - Christchurch Cavaliers

After my study I struggled to find a job in Dunedin so I moved up to Christchurch to find work. Once there I caught up with a few gamers I had met on the tournament circuit and got involved in a club called the Christchurch Cavaliers. At the time it was a small club of about a dozen people and was on the brink of dying off due to no focused direction or management. Wargaming was not a priority in my life at this stage so I wasn't much concerned by this until one of the afore mentioned gamers approached me with the idea of he and I trying to breathe some life back into the club. With a bit of haggling and good salesmanship he brought me round to the idea and we set about rebuilding the Cavaliers. I really enjoyed a lot of the activities involved in the Cavaliers; we had working bees to build and paint scenery for the club, we established a number of annual tournaments that are still running today and during my tenure we organised and ran the biggest National Wargaming Convention the country had seen in a good 25+ years. Running the club taught me a whole lot more about being organised, about diplomacy and also about how you work your butt off for very little gratitude from certain club members...but that's another story. Ultimately though working yourself ragged for little or no recognition was the reason I stood down from club duties and turned back to regular, casual gaming.

Christchurch was also where I began exploring non-GW wargames. I picked up Warmachine/Hordes for a short time, some friends got me caught up in Dystopian Wars and Dystopian Legions which I still play when I am able (that being not very often) and the guy that runs the local comic shop has organised a couple of weekend long American Civil War games; one for Gettysburg and one for Antietam which have led me to dabble in historical gaming. Other games like Infinity and Pirates of the Spanish Main came and went and I still have a lot of X-Wing models that seldom see the light of day.

2011 - Blood in the Badlands

After I gave up club responsibilities wargaming had gradually gone off the boil for me over the following 2 or 3 years. I still played wargames but the amount of time I committed to painting reduced dramatically so I wasn't really exploring anything new. I think this was primarily due to the heavy focus GW had put on tournament gaming which I didn't enjoy as much as narrative gaming, but in 2011 GW released a book that reignited my interest in their games...well in Warhammer Fantasy at least anyway. Blood in the Badlands was a book dedicated entirely to narrative gaming with unbalanced scenarios, crazy terrain and random happenings that would inevitably throw a spanner in the works (scuse the pun) during your game. This is where most of my wargaming focus has been from 2012 onwards, I've had very little interest in attending tournaments and seem to be doing so more out of habit than any desire to get into tournament gaming. The only exception to this would be Blood Bowl tournaments which I've quite enjoyed over the past few years.

I'm not sure where things will go to from here as GW are taking Warhammer Fantasy in a drastically new direction which I'm not sure yet if I will get on board with. As an alternative the release of the Skitarii and Mechanicus Codices have got me excited about 40k again and I hope this leads to more painting and modelling and ultimately gaming in this area. Time will tell I suppose.

So that's my life laid bare in gaming form. I hope you found it interesting and that it's rekindled some fond gaming memories of your own. I'm going to grab a copy of the new White Dwarf this week to see what this new Warhammer Fantasy is all about and decide over the next few months if it's something I want to play or not. If it is you're bound to read about it here at some point so keep dropping in. Until then that's the end of my rantings for another post.  :)