Thursday, March 27, 2014
I travel a lot. I travel in some way approximately twice a month for business and that travel takes me all over the US. My customer has offices spread across the US and strongly believes in telecommuting for their employees. This means I am best served by heading to their local areas for meetings, which they find flattering and helps me in business as a whole. Add in that my corporate office used to be in Manahattan NYC, and has now moved out to northern NJ. When you consider all of this, think about the fact that I am located just outside Washington DC, just a short drive away from Dulles Airport in Northern Virginia. That all adds up to a lot of travel.
This is a good place to mention, I am generally a nervous traveler. I try to never check my bags as I prefer to get in and out of the airport as quickly as possible. I am always somewhat anxious going through security and in all my time traveling I have only been stopped for a check one time. I go to some lengths to be prepared when going through the airport, with my ID and ticket out before I get in the security line, liquids bagged up before the security check, and everything as efficient as possible to get through Airport security in the shortest time possible.
This article is about a different situation though, specifically about painting. My travels will, from time to time, not involve an airplane but instead will be on a train or more importantly will be a drive. Typically I try to drive to any meetings that are 4-5 hours from my house. I find the drive is simpler than trying to take a train or a short flight to those locations. In the circumstances when I can drive it's pretty easy to toss my paint kit into the car along with some mini's to paint while I'm on the road. I always find there is some time in the hotel during these "shorter" trips where I have the time that I could use to paint.
So, once I'm settled into my room and getting read to paint I need to set-up my painting area. I find that typically (I'm a Marriott guy) there is a desk with a nice pull-out table in the rooms I stay in. I position myself under the light on that desk and pull out my paint trays from the P3 bag, setting them up on the desk. My models get setup on the small pullout table just in front of the desk so my paints are in easy reach and the light is good for painting my models. Typically I have packed a couple pieces of paper towel in my bag so I have a cloth to clean my brushes. Now comes just a couple more items I can scavenge from the room itself. First is a "water pot" to use in cleaning my brushes. This is pretty easy as every hotel room I've stayed in has some type of coffee cup in the room. I grab this and fill it with water.
Once I have all this set-up I settle into a chair and start painting. It makes a nice break while on the road and help me keep moving forward with the hobby side while I'm on the road and not able to get games in. I do not pack large models for these trips for a couple reasons. First, smaller models fit in my paint bag better, especially infantry size models. Second, I prefer to sit and work on models that I will get mostly or completely painted up, and that typically does not work with large models. On my last trip I was particularly inspired and effective, ending up completing four models while on the road. I was able to put some flock on them when I got home, snap some pictures and then seal them.
This last trip helped me complete enough models for my WWX Union Special forces. I have 1 model remaining to paint up and I'll be set with 2 Union lists to play around with. I hope this little article helps you out a bit, either with inspiration to paint while traveling or in helping you find some creative tools for enabling your hobby while on the road!
Monday, March 24, 2014
Dixon has only played one game of WWX previously, participating in a 3 way game with John and I. As he showed up first, he and I decided to get a head-to-head game in so he could learn the game more. This was officially his first learning game. Dixon really wants to play the Firefly crew in WWX, so I brought out those models along with Jesse James as his boss. Lacking Bill Brocius (as a Badger stand in) and Abe Lincoln (who was Dixon's first choice but cannot lead the Wayward 8), Jesse was Dixon's choice.
I have a couple names I could label this battle report and this game. Dixon's Learning game is the politest choice so is where I am settling. Equally fitting would be "The game where Bill Show's everything NOT to do", but that was a bit long. I almost went with "The one where Dixon almost flips a table", which while accurate is also a bit long. All that said, here we go:
Dixon's Learning Game
- Jesse James
- Mal (Marcus Wayward)
- Zoe (Zarelda Kincade)
- Inara (Sierra Icarus)
- River (Flowing River)
- Dark Council Member
In Dixon's first game he was able to get a nice look at how shooting works in WWX. He really wanted to see how Close Combat stacked up as well. Due to this and the models I had remaining, I chose to go with Warrior Nation with the following list:
- Sitting Bull
- Sky Spirit
- Walks Looking
- Marcus Cunningham
- Simon (Sun Totem)
- Crossbow Brave
- Spirit Totem
At the end of the turn our Dead piles did not look too bad (mine on the left and Dixon's on the right)
Turn 2 opened with my getting initiative and activating Simon. I aimed and took a shot at Jesse who was just at the edge of Simon's range. I hit and only put 1 point of damage on him, but achieved my goal of using Interference to shutdown Jesse's Guns. Upon explaing to Dixon what Interference does in combination with his gaining an understanding of how smoke works, he proceeded to have a bit of a tantrum at this point. This was to the point he decided (at this point) there was no way he could accomplish anything in the game so we should just pick up the models and he would concede to me.
It's important to realize that in between turn 1 and 2 John showed up and Dixon had spent a lot of time talking about how excited he was to use Inara. I usually would have done a joint activation of Simon and Sky Spirit, (with possibly the crossbow brave), targeting Inara and trying to remove her in conjunction with shutting down Jesse. I chose not to do this in an effort to give Dixon a chance to play around with a model he was excited to use. This proceeded to contribute to the trouncing I took in this game. Additionally, had John not shown up and helped me "talk Dixon off the ledge" the game would most likely have ended at this point with Dixon deciding WWX was not a great game to play due to a prevalence of "hard counters" making it "rock/paper/scissors". John worked on talking Dixon through all the good things Mal and Zoe could still accomplish in the game, removing my second typical target (Mal) from the equation as I wanted Dixon to experience a fun game. It just seemed like a dick move to have John talk up Mal's assets and then remove the model with Sky Spirit before he got to use him.
This left Sitting Bull left to activate, and I made another mistake. Instead of waiting for more influence I moved out to engage Jesse with my 2 remaining influence. On activation Sitting Bull took 9 points of fire damage and then I moved on Jesse. Dixon still had a bunch of influence left and Jesse was not affected by interference. I chose to forgo my "attack on engagement" to avoid his quick-draw response. I moved straight into my second AP, launching 6 claw strikes against Jesse in an attempt to draw out Dixon's influence. I landed 5 damage on Jesse, and then decided to use my last AP to launch 3 bites at him. My thought being if I was lucky and got the kill I could clean up with Jesse's activation. I was not lucky, with Dixon negating all but 1 of the bite damage. The turn ended with me in a pretty bad position, essentially guaranteed to lose Sitting Bull at the start of turn 3.
Our dead piles were starting to grow, and by our I mean mine (to the left).
Turn 3 was not much of a surprise to me, although I stuck in and tried to do the best possible. Dixon won initiative and started with Mal, Zoe, and the Dark Council. The DC gave his influence to Inara then Zoe gave her AP to Mal, who proceeded to unload on Sitting Bull. Copious Influence negated 6 shots before Mal finally put the wolf down and drained my of all my remaining influence. Mal finished out his turn by shooting his remaining shots at Marcus and removing him from the game as well, removing his smoke cloud with him. I activated all my models together in a last ditch effort to give myself a chance. Simon shot Jesse, hitting and interfering with him (but doing no damage). Sky Spirit and the Crossbow dumped all their shots into Inara and even though they hurt her, they failed to kill her. Those rolls sealed my doom as Inara moved forward and dumped two templates onto Sky Spirit and the Crossbow Brave, knocking them prone but not killing either of them. Jesse then finished the turn by walking up and trying to punch Simon, but failing. Simon was out of range for his half inch melee weapon, so he took a quick-draw shot back and failed to hit Jesse (that's the only thing that could have saved my game at that point).
My dead pile continued to grow:
while Dixon's did not:
Turn 4Turn 4 Dixon grabbed initiative again and it was cleanup time. Jesse activated with the DC and after Inara grabbed the DC influence, Jesse proceeded to shoot down the remaining 3 models I had.
Final ThoughtsThis was a debacle of a game all around. I guess the best lesson one can draw from this is don't become explosive and throw a fit in a game. Clearly there is plenty that can happen in a game to turn what appears to be a "I can't do anything" situation around fairly drastically. On the one hand, I was frustrated by what I perceived as an overwhelming defeatist attitude from Dixon. On the other hand, I am happy he could be convinced to calm down and play through as I think he will be back to play more games.
At some point I will have to get Dixon on the podcast to talk about what he thinks of WWX. Not sure there is much else to discuss here other than to give the advice to avoid many of the things I chose to do in that game.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
I should be headed back from Vegas today and thought it would be fun to schedule this post ahead of time. I was actually in Vegas for business, so the chances of me actually seeing showgirls was very very slim. That said, I had not posted this picture yet, so there she is. My completed Avatar Colette.
I really like this model and enjoyed painting her. I will have to find some time and an opponent to put her out on the table and actually get a game in with her, although I know her rules are not that great.