Tuesday, December 8

Well, Ain't That a...

For some time now I've been struggling to finish the Magnus army and get rolling on highlighting all the issues with water scarcity and water quality. Problem is it gets into the political zone when one cause of water scarcity is attributed to global warming and in trying to keep this blog above politics, I've tried to avoid news articles related to global warming. But it is there and it is attributed to why India and China might be facing a crisis in the next decade.

With that out the way, that's not the real struggle. Part of it is my interest in winning tournaments from time to time, which the lists did not bring for me, simply because I am no expert at playing them and my comfort zone is reduced. Part of it is with the release of MkII, I'm now re-learning how to play my main faction (Cryx). Part of it is life - I'm busy planning a wedding and it looks now as if we'll be moving in the near future.

But the real reason? I'm not committed at this time to raising awareness to water quality/scarcity. I don't mean to mislead either - it is a great cause and arguably a human right to access clean, safe water. It is the breathe of life.

But at this time something else has hit home. I'm sharing some personal information here so I do not mean to get sappy. My family medical history has battled cancer numerous times, almost always fatally. Stomach cancer appears to be the re-occurring theme, the kind that doctors suspect it's genetic, but there's never enough evidence. It's a bit of history that since there is no proof of actual genetic susceptibility, we just blow it off. I could make the case that I'm a higher risk class for cancer, but somehow I continue to smoke the occasional (and I do mean probably once-month) cigar.

For the last three years however I have a cousin who has been battling Stage 3 Stomach and Stage 4 lung. She's been on and off of chemotherapy. And while chemo has helped the stomach cancer into dormancy, the lung cancer has remained active. The doctors have been unable to remove the stomach cancer due to this.

She's under 40 (I don't go asking older women their ages, but I believe she's 37). Her husband and her were to be married last year in 2007, but fast tracked it June 2006 right when they discovered that she had cancer. They were supposed to move to Australia and he was supposed to receive a corporate position for moving there. Instead he left it all behind for her, which is larger

We thought she was getting better. She was switched to a less destructive form of chemo to maintain dormancy. Instead the stomach cancer is active again and came back with a vengeance - it's spread to her intestines, liver, and pancreas. We simply don't know how much longer she has left. About a month ago, my aunt was hoping at least to the new year.

I'm afraid this post is turning rather morbid, but the point is, water quality and scarcity just isn't my banner. This has turned personal. It's my crusade.

I'll have to figure out what how this translates into gaming for a cause. I had an idea when I first started water quality, but I need to see if it translates well enough. Right now I'm a depressed enough from writing this post that I'm in a near non-functional state for the rest of the day. Not good when I have a business trip to go on.

Monday, October 26

Revised MkII Lists

A quick analysis of the new Mk II Magnus, without Tiers:

pMagnus is a beast and I feel that I have to take him. But he's better at smaller games. Why? His ability for speed is key. Iron Aggression is pop and forget. Bounce Snipe around each turn to other mobile units. Feat is powerful enough. Finally, Arcantrik Bolt slows down enemy warmachine factions.

To go with the feel of the "Hit & Run" tactic:
Croe's for Bushwack. 14" range with Snipe? Plus they fill out the role against Hordes nicely.
Renegade. Obvious choice for Snipe, but think about Temper Metal to get the Renegade up there.
Mangler benefits largely from Iron Aggression. Boosted melee attacks for Thresher?
Idrians + UA. Snipe + Assault & Battery (Shoot then run. Away.) is pretty cool. How about that everyturn? On the plus side, with Prey, I gain +2" movement to actually run away.

Solos? Kell and Gorman. Gorman provides limit screening and debuffing (which Magnus lacks) and Kell is a solid choice for 2 pts.

35pt List
Magnus the Traitor(+6)
10x Idrians + UA
10x Croe's Cutthroats

As we expand into 50 points, there's better reason to take eMagnus, for Control. Steelhead blocks are better at this game, creating a swathe of territory that's deadly for the enemy (Cavalry + flank). Boomhowler makes a great tarpit now and is definitely viable. Trenchers can deny sight issues as well, thanks to cloud effects (sure they're in it...). Magnus' spell choices change too. Mobility helps the entire battlegroup, which makes it better to run Nomads at this level than the focus inefficient Mangler (Thresher needs the boost I feel to work correctly). Calamity can help solve the Mangler issue, but in limited form. Calamity in fact helps Croe's more now. Bullet Dodger makes Kell a lot of fun and can make Magnus a nightmare. Obliteration is powerful and Convection has a one off use. However, given his spell choices, he does need the two arc nodes. Since I'm going minimalistic and using the same models for most of my army...

I see myself taking the following list right now for 50 points:
Magnus the Warlord (+6)
10x Idrians + UA
10x Croe's Cutthroats
6x Trenchers

I have 2 points left over and can upgrade to a Mangler if I wanted to. I may in fact do it, but will have to see the performance of the two jacks.

That's it for now. Right now I need to prep for Mangled Metal (500 pts). I'm thinking Talon + Mangler + 2x Renegades.

A lackluster of updates lately

Well, I've been trying to get things off the ground and running. We'll have to see how things perform, but all in all, I'm facing burnout from the game if I keep the tempo up. I am gunning to get everything painted by the end of the year, so I can roll into Mk II fresh. The main issue though is looking at the Tier game play for the Merc Contracts. The smoke-nerf to Trenchers reduces their role somewhat, but I think I can make a case to use them still. Just like the Idrians.

Anyway, I have to review my list choices for Mk II and come out with a solid list. I'll have two lists - 35 & 50 points built up. eMagnus only though.

In retrospect, it may have been a bad idea to build a list then move it over to MkII due to several rule changes in the way models work. Everyone experienced it, but it's harder for me to push models that were viable vs models that are no longer viable. I may have to just suck it up and sink this one in as a loss and move on to the next option (maybe a pMagnus, but I think I'm done with a Magnus Agenda for now). It also hurts that I'm exploring my parent faction (Cryx) some more and jumping around with other faction ideas.

But instead of being a downer as I just mentioned, I'm going to hold my head up high and carry through. I want to be done so I can help host a tournament during Water Awareness Week (3rd week in March usually).

As for the future, I can't say I can continue right away. I have an idea for an army that I'd like to run and an issue to go with it. But I'm getting married mid next year and possibly moving to an entirely different state to boot. So I may not announce anything for a rather long time unfortunately.

In other news, while I wasn't able to make it to our local Breast Cancer Brawl, I was fortunate enough to manage to drop by and donate. Man, talk about bad timing. I push for our LGS to hold the tournament and then the PG's schedule it the day I'm traveling down to Dallas.

Finally, some little news:
Chocolate that comfort food? Maybe not.
Water & Population. Expanding Supply vs Reducing Per-Capita-Expenditure
El Nino effects on S. America

I haven't been able to read any further articles right now due to scheduling (I've been traveling all over the place).

Tuesday, August 25

A Couple of Updates

Well GenCon is finally over. Blast of a time. Now I can get back to what I need to focus on, the water issues. GenCon was an unfortunate and unexpected distraction. No, not that actual game play itself.

I had intentions of playing in a 750 SR 4.0 tournament on Fri, with Hardcore on Sat. After receiving my tickets in the mail, I came across a Masters ticket and said, "Oh, well, what the heck, I'll mess around." A few weeks prior to GenCon, some gaming buddies and I sat down and joked around about lists, where hence came my Minion Army of Doom for 500 points. It was a joke and I ran with it. And succeeded for Day 1 of Masters, which messed up my intentions. I could drop, but that would create a wrinkle for the judges.

So I passed on the SR 4.0, unfortunate really.

Anyway, focus is now on complete the Water Agenda (as I've come to name this army). I'm finishing up the Trenchers as we speak. Based on my schedule in October, I don't think I'm going to make it out to any Breast Cancer Brawls. Another unfortunate setback. And with Mk II coming out, I have to figure out who I want to pick up next. The lull might mean me picking up a small army to start working on (aka unit) but I'll have to see what Mk II themes are released.

Some other news.

Zimbabwe may be facing another Cholera outbreak. I know I'm not surprised. Dilapidated infrastructure yields many issues, one of which is improper sewage and drinking water. Years of mismanagement has held this country back on the humanitarian front.

More to post soon. I have something up my sleeve for what appears will be my lackluster showing for Breast Cancer Brawl this October.

Wednesday, July 29


Well, my GenCon tix came finally and I guess I was tired or not sober...apparently I bought a ticket for Masters. Instead of letting the first day go to waste, at the 500 Pt SR 4.0 tournament my opponent and I brainstormed the following list.

Swamp Gobbers
Dahlia + Skarath
Rorsh + Brine
Brun + Lug
Wrongeye + Snapjaw

I believe I have 6 points left over.

Just one list and I don't expect to make it to the next day. I mean, look at it. However, it'd be a lot of fun to plop onto the table.

More or less, I'm looking more for pick-up games. I have Hardcore and a 750 scheduled and apparently our PG is rattling the St Louis cages for a 5 on 5 (is that a Warmachine Orgy?...::shudders::).

So what I'm bringing:
750 points of Mercs, which will solely be Magnus as the warcaster. However, lists will vary.
500 points of minions. Oh yeah, and Hoarluk too.
1000 points of Skorne, which may or may not include a certain Minion Warcaster.

Friday, July 24

Why Moving Sucks

So I recently moved closer to my job and in with my fiancee. Unfortunately, the move, unpacking, and reorganizing my life has completely left painting at the wayside. I'll have a painted army to play at Hardcore for GenCon, but may need to re-focus how I want to pursue my paint scheme into something less time consuming.

I should also finally post pictures of the painting up on here.

Anyway, my local meta is throwing a 500 point tournament this weekend and I have several options. I'm honestly not taking this tournament too competitively as there's a lot of new players or beginners. I do know that top notch competition is probably the best way to learn (I learned a lot from playing Justin on round one of Masters in 2008), but I also feel that coupled with advice it'll help them more.

Who knows - maybe I'm just feeling burned out from all the stress right now that taking a step back and just having fun with the tournament would be best.

So...what should I take? For 500 points, not a lot of options. 2 lists, must be two different casters.

I could:
1. Mercs - Magnus only, so one list.
2. Cryx - Any casters.
3. Skorne - Any casters.

I actually do have Fiona, but no privateers to make her work 100%, but she might be fun. Any suggestions?

Monday, July 13

Nyssed me?

So the current plan as I mentioned earlier is to borrow some Merc models from my gaming group. Fortunately the prominent merc player from our group is not attending GenCon, so I'm free to romp around with his stuff.

However, it means I HAVE to paint up my eEiryss and procure the Nyss Hunters. I am going to try to assemble and paint eMags and Renegades according to how the studio painted Vinter. Ambitious schedule, but I think I can do it...starting next week.

Other than that, I've been catching up on some water news. Apparently the tropical rains around the ecuator have been moving north for the last three hundred years. I know there's some other effects at play here - wind currents and ocean currents too. But then again, I'm not a scientist. Just a wargamer.

I guess let's put it in perspective. If the jungle rains of Zul suddenly shifted north and the Broken Wastes became a hospitable grassland, how would that affect our beloved Skorne? The Totem Hunter?

It's also interesting how well we have it here in America. Sri Lanka's dengue outbreak is interesting because as an American, right now I don't have to clean up stagnant pools of water. It's also a form of biological warfare.

Now if only Circle convinced poisonous spores to open up and coax bacterium to infect Legion...


Sorry for the silence. I recently moved and am busy unpacking my life.

Unfortunately painting as gone by the wayside, so it looks like I'll be needing to borrow mini's for Hardcore for GenCon. Which is fine, but annoying.

Just that little update.

Friday, June 26

GenCon & Magnus

Alright, I'm prepping for GenCon, playing a SR 4.0 and Hardcore. The 750 SR is true Magnus Agenda, but for Hardcore, I need something a little more...time friendly. So I tried out this list last night:

-2x Renegades
Dirty Meg
8x Nyss Hunters

My theory is to do the old Obliterate from afar. Dougal helps tremendously and the Mariner adds a follow-up punch should I need to take on a model in front or deviation for the KD. The Mule was added for the hell of it for another follow up, although I suspected it'd be overkill. Dirty Meg is always useful. A&H was there to throw up Harm, Lusynar's Touch, and other utilities (like, a null magic/feat zone). Nyss are always useful and with eMagnus, they're actually a hidden melee gem. Weapon Master, Lethargy to gain decent Mat and decent Strength, and Piper giving them March for that 2nd melee attack....priceless. eEiryss as a debuff and fun way to chock out damage to the caster... even as minor of damage.

My assassination would run into serious issues with Hordes and a Warlocks ability to transfer damage with fury. As a result, I decided to alter my playstyle, go for the kill in hopes that he transfers damage out. Alten is there to help wipe beasts off the table. After that was all said and done, I realized I had a lot of points left over, but didn't particularly care for the choices left...so I dropped one Nyss in favor of Kell, who I've always found useful.

The reality:

Nyss were fine, however I acknowledge my need for Melee. The Mule was definitely overkill and didn't do anything. For the range of the gun, it has to be up-in-front or with add'l boosts in RNG, more than just what Dougal provides. A&H were fine. eEiryss was a winner.

To give an idea, I played a Highborn Durgen list:

2x 8 man units of Steelheads
3 Steelhead Cav
8x Nyss Hunters
It's important to note that I was borrowing Piper from my opponent, otherwise Piper would normally be in this list vs Gorman.

He won first turn, set up Durgen behind a Gunner and Driller. Steelheads took my right flank, Nyss and Alexia took left. Gorman somewhere in the back.

I set up my Nyss counter to his, set up Renegades, Mariner, Mule in center, Dougal, eMags, and Dirty Meg in back. A&H to the right. Piper behind Nyss. Eiryss up center, Alten up right, and Kell mid center. There's a shallow water pool in the center of the table.

His turn, throws Prime on the Nyss, Bump&Grind on Thor's Gunner. Runs EVERYTHING up. Tries to Assault Alten, but misses.

My turn, I concentrate volley against his Nyss, and they blow each other up too. Piper gave them March. Run the Mule up into the water. A&H move up, go invis, pop some Steelheads. Eiryss unravels Prime, does a point and kills Cylenna. Alten takes a pot shot against Stannis in hopes of rolling well...which I did, but that's it. Magnus cast Mobilize. Mariner and Renegades run up.

His turn, tries to hit Eiryss...hits...and does 3 pts. Swarm of Risen moving up field. Durgen pops feat. Steelhead unit A receives Furious Charge and strikes Mule...destroying him. As in, dealing a good 5-6 points of damage each Steelhead. Stannis kills Alten, Cav kill Kell, try to engage A&H. Everything else moves up.

Okay, so Durgen is still hiding behind a Gunner and Driller. Gorman threw a cloud blocking LoS on one side. So I give 1 Focus to Renegades and Mariner. Dougal activates, pops feat, gives Artillerist to Renegade A. Renegade A hits Driller, knocks Gunner, Driller, and Durgen down, but Durgen gets a focus (4 now). eEiryss moves up and shoots Durgen. Strips him of all focus. Mariner activates, moves into BtB with Eiryss (note that Eiryss' intolerance prevents focus), fires, and whops Durgen down to 5 HP, boosting damage. 2nd Renegade shoots and kills Durgen.

So Dirty Meg and Mule weren't important. I need Melee blockers, but want to avoid Steelheads (painting reasons). I'm thinking Bokurs, 2 of them. Client it to Kell or Alten. Alternatively, I could go and use Croe's...but that's just too much I think. Add in more Nyss.

Any suggestions?

Monday, June 22

The Art of Going 2nd

Well, after this weekend's NE Team Championship Tournament and going 2-1 (either 3rd or 4th - there were no kit coins so nothing was awarded), I have to ask:

Is there a special strategy for going 2nd?

In reviewing my performance, 2 games I went 2nd and performed subpar to my usual standard of play. It doesn't help that I usually get lucky and take first turn. It suites my hyper-aggressive play style. But going 2nd definitely throws a wrench in my plans. So I've been reviewing how I will handle the "last man to move".

In reviewing tournament play, we're looking at either Hardcore/Casterkill or SR/Scenario conditions. SR format throws an additional wrench in that I have to contest the scenario conditions, to promote aggressive play. So...

1. Cautious advancement. Not full moves or moving under cover, which happens normally. I typically make full advances with all out running, but there are lists out there that can provide a brutal 2nd turn (case in point, eLylyth, Saeryn, eVlad, etc). Full steam ahead gets me into the conflict faster but sees devestation of the army faster. Piper and AD units also provide rough & tumble. A cautious/partial move would see me in line to contest SOME scenarios on turn two. Others could present a problem.

In the end, I believe it depends on the caster, amount of AD, and support. Kreoss, Gorten, eMagnus, eDenny all need full advancement, b/c I may not get the chance to move up there 2nd turn. Holding back Cav as well to help contest or running in a jack is best case. Just need to be a little more careful. But being super aggressive with certain units can throw opponents' plans.

2. Altering deployment. Certain armies have the capability to wreck havoc on armies still in their deployment zone 1st turn. Pulling back off the line (deploying 8") can wreck those with mathematical minds. However, that's not going to stop a bunch of Deathstalkers/Striders or Piper/Idrians. That in mind, is it better to deploy in a corner/corners or better to split and deploy in both corners. Again, I think it depends on scenario/caster, but not sure how to operate.

3. Feat Turn, when to pop it? Is it 2nd turn, or 3rd turn. Definitely situational based on caster's, but typically 2nd turn is best. But what about 1st turn? If you're up there, it throws a wrench in the opponent's plan, but certain feats respond better.

4. AD. Go aggressive or not? Sometimes it helps to go aggressive; contest and just act as roadblocks.

What are people's thoughts? I'm going to exclusively try to go 2nd for the next few weeks to get something down on my own, but help could be provided.

On a side note, I think I've gone 2nd 12 times in my tournament history.

Wednesday, June 17

How to Attract the Masses

Well, NJ Con is officially over, but our group has been discussing the venue site and whether or not it's worth hosting a tournament with NJ Con again next year.

Problems with NJ Con and PP Tournament:
1. Not generating revenue for the Con. The Con organizers were great in purchasing the really nice trophy set, but we had only 8 people show (9 if you include our Pressganger). The superb trophy kit costs $75 - essentially we paid for the kit ourselves and not for the Con overhead cost. Also, to run a tournament requires a lot of space and tables - which could go to running other games for the Con.

2. Location. This year the Con was hosted at Ft Dix, NJ, instead of Kennilworth, NJ. For those with no knowledge of NJ geography, Ft. Dix is South/Central NJ and Kennilworth is North NJ, towards Manhatten. We lost a fair number of players that might have been able to come out from NYC or NY. We should have gained players from southern NJ, but that didn't happen. And the PA guys we spar with couldn't make it out for one reason or another.

3. Demands of PP events vs what the Con can provide. Honestly, PP Tournaments require more events than just one SR 4.0. However, to generate that, we need a hotel where we can have that kind of feel for. On the flip side, NJ Con is only Fri-Sat, which presents problems for many individuals. Had it been Fri-Sun or Sat-Sun, I think we might have been able to do two tournaments, attracting more people. It's not an easy drive or location, so we need to make it worth people's while.

What could we have done differently?

1. Marketing. The Con organizers marketed very heavily with flyers, etc. However, I'm not sure about our own marketing. We made announcements on various forums, but very few of us traveled to other game stores and made these announcements ourselves. Last year we were blessed with being a stop for a Templecon promotion, but that didn't happen this year. Additionally, I now know of several gamers in S. Jersey who are looking to branch out but missed the tournament. Why didn't we reach them? More over, there's a gaming club in N. Jersey that I know we don't ever interact with (HQ the Club), but they've made it out to open gaming days at several stores.

I believe that just posting on the forums is flawed. Very few of us actually patrol the Events forums. I do, just to find a group to game with etc. But that's just it. It also requires constant readership and consistent contact.

2. Offer to drive people. NYC folks need to take a train or drive. Driving into and out of NYC is a hassle. Offering a pick up might be a good idea.

3. Two tournaments? There's also another crowd out there, one we don't deal with. Monpoc. Maybe we should start involving that a bit more?

How is this not our fault or the Con's fault?
1. Some close proximity LGS decided to run a tournament on the same day. We possibly lost some PA guys because of the double-up on dates. Why come out to NJ Con when the LGS is closer? Also, some of the PA guys just saw the closest store to them close, so supporting the tournament venue was possible a huge motivation. I don't blame them. It's closer and you're supporting a local gaming spot.

2. We actually have more than 8 players in our LGS. We have close to 20. Problem is most players are fresh into the game - less than 1 tournament under their belt and only 6 months of playing. It's intimidating for them to come out to compete against us when consistently 5 of us take home top, 2nd and 3rd. We have JWC Tournaments for that - hosting a 2nd one before NJ Con might have been an idea, but timidity came into play.

How to solve this problem and what is the solution?

I don't think we should abandon NJ Con. From what I hear, the Con organisers want to have it at a hotel next year in central NJ (such a place does exist), although Ft. Dix wasn't a bad venue. However, they're not sure about the logistics next year. Apparently they grew about 10-20% and were able to save money for next year.

For us, we'll have 16 players hopefully coming out to NJ Con next year who aren't afraid to compete. Most of us veterans are actively trying to improve the games of the rookies.

Also, maybe give out free passes by traveling to different tournament spots as a marketing tool. It's an incentive to at least get someone there, who may or may not bring his/her posse. Winners of the tournaments get a free pass, etc. etc. TempleCon does it.

Finally, in discussion with the NYC and Philly folks, we were talking about creating a trophy that would entice people to come out and try to take it back. Promote an already healthy rivalry.

Any other suggestions?

Sunday, June 14

NJCon Report

Well, NJCon came and went today. A whole lot less fanfare this time around. Last year, we had 16 people show, a nice grouping from MA, upstate NY, and NYC, along with the core group from my LGS.

This year, we had 8. The only out-of-state person was Nick, who just moved down to NJ from MA. I blame the location for some (Ft. Dix is south of Kennilworth, making it harder for NYC'ers and NY'ers to make it down.

However, no game felt like a dud to me. Each game was hard fought, despite having played against everyone multiple times (save Nick of course).

Quick recap of my list:

-2x Renegades
10x Croe's
9x Idrians + UA
6x Trenchers

This list is super aggressive, with the bulk of the army AD'ing and the rest moving quickly up to catch up as a 2nd wave. The idea is to contest scenario as well. I had a 2nd list, but it's not worth mentioning.

Game 1: Rematch against eLylyth.
Our pressganger felt some sort of sick sadistic satisfaction in the pairings - I was paired against Jeremy's eLylyth, the very same warlock I lost disastrously to two days ago. Well, I went about to make sure that didn't happen again. I forget the scenario name - it involves with controling two of three area's on your side and one of your opponent's.

I won first turn, deployed eMags, Gorman, & Nomad in the center, Stannis to my right, Saxon to my left and the Renegades slightly out from there. He deployed Seraphs in a similar fashon, Typhon center with eLylyth, Bonegrinders, gobbers, and the Shepard Raptors took the hard left flank. Shredder was somewhere...I didn't notice. AD consisted me being very aggressive, everything forward line. Croe's on the left flank again, Trenchers and Idrians interwoven. Kell was placed in a forest to the right. His AD saw a Deathstalker on the left, Striders and Deathstalker on the right, back towards his normal deployment zone. Gudrun was placed in the forest that Kell was in. Important to note that I claimed a hill in the center of the board by ADing.

Turn one. Well, no quick killing of the Idrians this time. Move up the Trenchers, smoke. Move up the Idrians, intercept. eMag's cast Mobilize, charges up. Nomad and Renegades run. Saxon Runs. Stannis Runs. Kell moves out of a forest by a wall to benefit from Cover (not concealment). More importantly, he's a lone defender of one of my territories. Croe cautiously advances, but has a subtle Renegade support.

Jeremy's turn one. Deathstalkers move around, don't do a whole lot. Raptors run up, bunch up, by a forest, with the Deaststalker1 by them. Strider muscian mini-feats...which gets annoying. Otherwise not a whole lot else happens. He moves up Typhon and 2 Seraphs, which kill one model each. Gudrun runs into combat with Trenchers and Idrians, countercharge and not a whole lot happens.

My turn two - Smoke is laid down again, Idrians form a wall on the outside. Stannis runs to engage the striders from a deadly feat turn. Idrians kill Gudrun. Magnus casts Mobilize, feats and catches the three beasts and a knockeddown Gudrun. Nice. I pick the left and my table edge. Renegade moves up, fires its obliterator at the clumped Raptors...hits and kills one. Croe's finishes off the rest and a lucky shot on the Deathstalker. Which means I control solidly one of my opponents table edge. Gorman throws smoke on Magnus.

And then I realize I failed to cast Misdirection or Bullet Dodger. And then I remember that Lylyth's feat also gives +4 range. The measly trencher isn't going to provide enough screening...unlike the Nomad, which is next, not in front. Plus Gorman's smoke should have been thrown in front of Magnus.

Short story is Lylyth comes up and manages to get a few shots onto Magnus, but fails Pincushion. The Seraph slip streams Typhon forward. Strafes, gets 6 shots, and hits once. Typhon sprays and blasts Magnus. The 2nd Seraph hits, strafes 6 times, and uh...kills Magnus.

But that was it. Had he failed to hit that last one, it would have been game. I made serious mistakes, but so did he. Jer & I were both shaking...but he won, and I concede that this was a game that he did actually win against my better playing. Although not best.

Game 2:
Well that mistake wasn't going to happen again. And there comes a time when a Merc faces another Merc on the battlefield. Game 2 was against a guy in my group (George) who plays Merc contracts. He had played eMags game one, but brought out Gorten for Mosh Pit.

His list looked like:
-Bunnies of sorts
3 Bokurs, one cliented on Gudrun, one on Brun, and one on Gorten
Brun & Lug
2x Highshields, one min unit on by 8x
Hammerforge 8x

I won first turn, deployed eMags center, along with everything else. AD saw Croe on the right this time, Idrians on the left, Trenchers center. Highshields were deployed behind walls, Gudrun and a Bokur on the right.

Turn one. Smokes, moved the Idrians into the smoke, took some pot shots againt the 2 units of Highshields. I kill one. Croe's don't do a whole lot against the Bokur but knockdown Gudrun. Run everything else up.

George's turn one saw Shieldwall formations, the Bear and Lug move up on my right. Gudrun kills one Croe on a charge, but exposes his back to several others. The Bokur kills another 2. Hammers run up on the left, along with Gorten, bunnies, Driller & Bokur. Highshields take some shots...not a lot happens from what I remember.

Turn 2, I notice that I could attempt to snipe Gorten by removing to hammers. Trenchers CRA, kill both. First Obliterator hits Gorten, but does only 2 damage. 2nd one missed by one. I'm very annoyed. However, I reap my retribution on Gudrun and the Bokur single handedly with Croe's. Idrians charge the Hammers, bunnies and do some mild damage. Not a lot. Kell plinks off two Highshields. Saxon kills another. Stannis kills a third. Gorman blinds a unit directly behind the wall, Nomad walks up. Magnus feats, catches everyone except for the Bokur and Brun. I chose Left & My table edge.

George's turn 2 saw the dwarf toss. Hammers run out of the way, Driller tosses the dwarf and Gorten lands smack in front of the unit of trenchers. Landslides everything towards his deployment zone. Which means there's a charge lane for Brun and Brun's Bokur to get to Magnus. Brun charges and does 9 points of damage with three attacks. Even Stannis' forefend doesn't stop Brun with that crazy spell that reduces the damage dice by one. Fortunately I had Misdirection, so the Nomad bore the brunt of the attack. His assassination run over...

Turn 3 Go for broke. Except I have nothing to retaliate against Gorten with. Magnus is engaged and I don't have the models to launch a successful attack against Brun. Brun has no fury and is out of transfer range. Trenchers are scattered all over the place, but there's a Renegade and Trencher engaged with Gorten. Idrians suffer the same fate. Only Croe isn't tied up, but he's too far away to help. Gorman is engaged...the only way for me to get to Gorten is to move the Nomad under Mobilize to Gortens back arc. I do try to kill Brun without eMagnus' help...but eventually eMagnus has to do the job himself. Nomad moves 4", and swings. And Swings again. And swings a third time. The first two times it dealt 5 damage...10 total + 2 from the failed Obliterator assassination run. Finally, the third blow connects for serious damage and kills Gorten.

Good game and I really thought I was screwed on that one.

Game 3-
Awesome, No Man's Land against Cryx (Nick). He's brought:
-2 Nightwretches
-2 Deathrippers
2x Min Unit Biles
Min unit BK's.
2x Pistol Wraiths

I'm not going to mention how the battle went, except it was wholesale slaughter of my army. I play super aggressive...which may not have been the best for going 2nd (Read all AD units 12" into AD zone). By turn 3, we were looking at a Renegade, Nomad, Kell, & eMagnus left. I spent my feat turn and had boosted against a Deathripper that was 1" away from Gaspy, hitting both. However, the 2nd Obliterator did minimal impact damage, but enough to make Nick sweat.

So after positioning himself for the death of Mags next turn, he had ran up BLT into combat with one renegade, positioned Gaspy behind a small wood (4" diameter I believe), and pistol wraiths on the left. Canker was in the forest. eMags was in charge range of BLT...but I needed to spell.

I made the decision to take a freestrike from BLT, run the Renegade out. BLT connects, 8 points to column 3...but the Renegade runs 10" to Gaspy's back Arc. eMagnus casts the Bigger-They-Are, boosts damage since I hit...and knock Gaspy down to 3 life (he had 10). 2nd time, dies.

I didn't bother writing up the third game because I wanted to highlight more how importantly it is to play like you got a pair and go for the win...even in hopeless situations. There was a good chance (highly probable) that I would have lost. But my gamble payed off this time. I've seen far too many games where people hide their caster or run away. It's a viable strategy...but how does it make the game any more fun for either of you?

It's come down to the last few moments. All games I felt pressue, none more than the first game. But it's possible to come back. It's also highly possible to lose it all. But you have to go for it, because it may be your last.

Last NJCon I went 1-2 due to forgetting to Feat on my game with Hacksaw and then misinterpreting a rule. It was my 2nd tournament and I will never forget it. This NJCon, I played with a sort-of sub-optimal list (Agenda vs 4-Star). Idrians and Trenchers are never sub-optimal, but Magnus doesn't bring to the table the same kind of competition eVlad does. I'm 2-1 for the day and happy how the list played. We'll be seeing it in the future.

As for the winners:
theOreo (Henry) took third, losing to Jeremy in the 2nd round
Jeremy took 2nd
Norbert beat out Jeremy accidentally by scenario on the final game. I wasn't paying attention, just that I heard, "Oh sh*t! I have scenario don't I?" Very anti-climatic. Very eVlad.

Friday, June 12

Bringing back the True King

So I played a practice game against eLylyth with my eMagnus list. We decided to practice with the scenario Process of Elimination. My opponent, Jeremy, is a great guy and I always learn a lot. He's the better player of the two of us, but I tend to get luckier.

But not this time. More on that later.

Anyway, he took the following:
2x Seraphs
2x Deathstalkers
Blighted Archers x6 + UA
Raptors x3
Bonegrinders x6

I won first turn. Knowing that Lylyth brings a whole load of ranged fire and pain, I needed to be very aggressive. I deployed my Nomad, 2 Renegade, eMagnus center. Stannis was slightly to my right flank, Saxon slightly to the left. His deployment, saw Seraphs center-right and center-left, Typhon, eLylyth, Shredder, and Shepard center, Raptors to the left. AD: Croe's on the left, Trenchers & Idrians Center, and Kell on the right. His AD: Deathstalkers behind obstruction to the right, Gudrun to the left, and Archers right in front of eLylyth.

Turn 1 "The Mistake":
So, I ran Croe's up, took some pot shots at Gudrun. Gudrun was behind cover, so I need boxcars to hit...and I hit once, dealing 6 damage. Not enough, but just enough to make it annoying. Trenchers walked up, smoke-screen. Idrians went up and because I could, I went to ground. Except I forgot to give them the Intercept order. I had some charge lanes sprinkled between the Trenchers, as I meant for it to happen, but it didn't. Given that the majority of units were center/left, Stannis redeployed and ran to the left. Saxon ran up in front of him. Gorman ran, as did everything else. Kell moved out and...killed a Deathstalker! I then threw Lethargy onto the Idrians.

His turn, the surviving Deathstalker kills Kell. Gudrun charges and kills a Croe, as do the Raptors. Bonegrinders extend eLylyths spell range, eLylyth pin cushions the Idrians (read moves into the clouds). eLylyth feats, and proceeds to start killing Trenchers and Idrians. All in all, all Idrians died from combined Lylyth + Archer doom as well as all but one lonely Trencher. No one flees, thanks to Stannis. Gobbers block LOS with a cloud.

Turn 2 "Gamble on the Dice":
Well, bugger. I forgot to Intercept and paid dearly for it. However, I could still pull a victory. Magnus casts Mobilize, moves up and...d'oh. Forgets to feat. Renegades have 1 and 2 focus. Gorman moves onto the hill and throws Black Oil, attempting to hit the Archer 1" in front of eLylyth. He misses, but I clip the Archer and a fellow member...good enough. Renegade moves up, boosts to hit with Obliterator...and it's a hit!. eLylyth is knocked down, suffers 3 points of damage (rolled slightly above avg). Well, that helps. The lone trencher marches forward, spurred to a call of duty, heroic deeds, and Magnus' selfish sacrifices, and shoot Lylyth...deals 5 damage!
Stannis moves up (no charge lane due to my misplacement of Saxon) and kills an archer that was blocking LOS to Lylyth from my left flank. Saxon moves up, finds out he's in range, takes a pot shot...and brings Lylyth down to 5 hp. Renegade moves up, just to have LOS and Arcing fire, shoots, hits, and...does a whopping 5 pts of damage. Lylyth, with one fury, transfers. Croe does not have LOS unfortunately.

Well, I decided against throwing in the towel. His turn 2 saw the death of Croe's Cutthroats, the lone Trencher, and the rest of the Solos. Turn three, with Magnus' battlegroup only left, I moved Magnus up, cast Blur on himself and scattergunned...missing. Nomad moved up and attempted to throw Typhon. On a boosted roll, I needed 8's, above avg chance of hitting. Nope. I missed. It would've been great as I could have knocked down Lylyth. Also, I missed on a boosted roll against an archer, needing avg. Good times.

Lessons learned:
Remember to feat (I do forget, as I usually play eGore nowadays or eDenny whom I never forget). Remember to declare Intercept. Lastly, and I think this was crucial - remember to cast Mobilize first turn. I've always debated if I wanted to or not...but this game, when Lylyth was knocked down, having those Renegades up 12 instead of 10 would have made a huge difference.

Besides that...not a whole lot else. Just better unit placement. Jeremy's list is solid, but a little beast heavy. However, I've seen him play it before and I know it works.

Tuesday, June 9

Breast Cancer Brawl

Well, as I start finishing my Agenda, I'm turning my sights to Breast Cancer Brawl weekend.

And I have no idea what I want to play/paint. Absolutely none. I want to avoid Cryx & Skorne - both I play and the latter is hellish to paint all at once. I also want relatively few models to paint up, as the time crunch is an issue. Ease of painting is too. $$ isn't a factor.

Based on the above information and my obsession with a certain list dubbed "Amon Surprise", I think I'll end up running Amon. Any hints besides what I read (aka not to take him)?

Sidenote: "Amon Surpise" was a running gag that I mentioned one day at a local tournament that my meta states over and over. Conversation went like this:
"What list are you running?"
"Amon Surprise"
"Wait...that's not Amon! That's [insert any other warcaster name here] !"

It originally came from a cover of Archie & Jughead, but that's another story.

Monday, June 8

One Week Away: NJ Con

NJCon, held in Ft. Dix this year, is this upcoming Saturday. Our PG Stubbs (aka LavonYor) is hosting SR 4.0 750 tournament. With our gaming group bulging at 20 people (20 people for Leagues), I suspect at least a 14-24 group turn out. We benefit from healthy rilvaries with the NYC gamers and Conshohocken, PA guys. Sometimes we get folks from far aways showing up to - last year both Hugh and Hacksaw made it down from Boston, and Jestor from CT came down for our Foodmachine tournament.

I'm really excited about this tournament because 1) it's the first time I'm playing Mercenaries & 2) it's a good practice and rehersal for what I'll be saying at other tournaments, touting facts about water and how your average Joe can help. The latter means much more to me - the fact that I'm not playing Cryx in order to win those awesome trophies that we've acquired for the tournament may be testament to that. I don't expect to win, but I'm going to try anyway. Magnus Agenda may be just too challenging.

The two lists I plan to run are:

-2x Renegades
10x Croe's Cutthroats
9x Idrians + UA
6x Trenchers

This list performs very well. I love it against Hordes, as my Croe's get an additional die of damage. Everyone expects Lethargy on the Idrians; what is not expected is Lethargy on Croe's units. I typically run with: Lethargy on Idrians. Cast it the following turn on Croe's as appearing to cause my Idrians gain that +2 MAT & STR. Then, let it expire on Croe's. Usually this is done in a pincer move, to cause models backs to Croe. Because of the AD and speed, I can easily dictate where my opponent engages me. Additionally, Saxon & Kell move around on the flank, helping to take out would be roadblocks. eMagnus' feat is also just amazing for the SR 4.0 format and the Nomad can hold its own.

The 2nd list is a little different.

-2x Renegades
8x Croe's
8x Steelhead Halberdiers
4x Steelhead Heavy Cav
6x Trenchers

I wanted a mobile list. Since pMagnus operates independently of the rest of the army, the Steelhead bloc is the best bet. Each supports another, and Stannis is super helpful. Using Trenchers and Croe's to screen the advance is best too. Kell always has a spot and Gorman is simply too amazing to leave behind. Saxon would be very helpful, but I wanted to try something a little different. I find that this list is best for Warmachine. Croe can silence those pesky casters and the Steelheads hit hard.

Anyway, I do feel I do a disservice to the reader. Quite often I just link sites and mention my thoughts. Today I felt like blessing everyone with methods to conserve water:

1. Don't buy bottled water for your home. Use a water filter instead. You'll save $$ AND landfill space. Also bottled water takes water from one area and redistributes elsewhere. If your area isn't water hungry, then tap water is fine.

2. Never pour water down the drain when it can be used elsewhere. I reuse my aquarium water as water for the garden and plants.

3. Check the toilets to see how long they run for. Incessent runing could be wasting water and running up that water bill.

4. Try not keep the tap running when shaving or even doing the dishes. Fill up the basin, wash, finish, and drain. You waste less water and put more of it to use.

5. You don't need to water your lawn every day. Every 5-7 days in the summer or 10-14 in the winter.

6. When watering outside, try watering the lawn in the early morning. Winds usually have not picked up by then and loss to evaporation is less in the morning.

7. Believe it or not, a closely clipped lawn is thirstier. Taller grass allows roots to dig deeper, getting more water (thus requiring less for you to water). Also taller grass, even by 3/4 of an inch taller, adds more shade and thus keeps in the moisture better.

Just food for thought on ways to conserve locally. Helping international agencies is best when it comes to international means. My advice is if you want to help build a well, sanitation project, etc, do a little research on the agency. Look where donations go to - is it overhead or the actual project? How many projects are being state-funded versus donation funded? What is the salary income of the board and CEO? What you want to avoid is wasting your donation to some agency that isn't going to be using your money as you intended. More importantly, you the donor should be comfortable to whatever agency you give to - and believe me, this applies to all kinds of aid and research agencies and charities.

Wednesday, June 3

Looking ahead to Breast Cancer Brawl and Peace Problems and Solutions

Right now I'm also looking ahead in the future for miniatures. I'm wrapping up the Magnus Agenda, but now have set my sights on Breast Cancer Brawl in October. I'm thinking Ashlynn and doing a "Ladies First" Army, to which I donate/auction in October. Which means I need to have Magnus done by end of June and wrap up Ashlynn at the end of September. And get some games in.

Thank god Merc's are my choice army for this year's summer rampage. Otherwise I'd have too many stats, strategies, & tactics to learn.

On a final note, I have to make the ultimate decision in the upcoming week - do I a) bring Cryx to NE Team Championship or b) bring Magnus Agenda, promote water awareness, and knowingly sacrifice my chance of helping the NJ SOB's retain the trophy this year...

There are two articles that I read, days apart from each other:

Westbank in Acute Humanitarian Crisis should be read first, followed by To Ease Israel's Grip, Farmers Try Old-New Methods.

Asides the finger pointing done by both the Israelis and the Palestinians and the blatant bias indicated in the news article, this is the solutions we need. With modern sanitation, agriculture, and comforts comes a price - heavy demand on water. The West Bank is dry and has to fight with Israel over use of what little water remains in the area. Agriculture, irrigation, and sanitation are all wonderful, but do people really need working toilets?

Perhaps these Britons have the correct answer. Use and re-use. Why waste dishwater when it can become water for the fields, which in turn act as a natural pollution remover. I'm not espousing that everyone should go out and go green, but eco-sustainable policies are necessary. I mean, a well is nice and all, but wells dry out over time. What then?

Tuesday, June 2

Why I enjoy the Merc Forum

Over at the Privateer Press forum, the Mercenary sub-boards consists of a fun loving group of gents and ladies. As a Cryx player, I enjoy the Merc boards just because it lacks the negative atmosphere that the main faction boards generate. I feel as if certain members troll the forums...not to incite or flame but to espouse their own dogma and theorymachine; a philosophy that often is biting and incendiary criticism that makes the poster feel like an idiot and puts forth self-doubt. Unfortunately self-doubt is the least of what I want. I post to improve, not question my own capabilities. I look at my wall and at work and see the achievements I've won - I have no need to question my own worth. But for a new player, it's the wrong move. We shouldn't question the person's worth, but rather help coach them HOW to use the pieces they want to get. Learning the game comes first. Competition second.

Case-in-point. I posted a list about eMagnus back in April at the end of the Mk II test run. No response for ages. If it was any of the larger boards, it might have been buried beneath the lists to be reviewed, never to have a reply again. Instead, this past week I noted recent responses that were insightful and helpful. Concerns over a Jack (Khador) rush, concerns on how Croe's cutthroats may perform, and tips and hints on how to overcome said concerns.

I guess there's that mentality among Merc players - we got to stick together because we don't count as a faction, because we're always the underdogs and have whacky rules, and we choose to play with models that are competitive enough but nothing broken like the main factions carry.

That I enjoy the most. A spirit of nurturing community. Maybe that's why I chose Merc's as the first army to run with while trying to raise awareness for water quality/scarcity.

Monday, June 1

A Bit Older News

Bio-fuel - Drink-Or-Drive Scenario?

An interesting article dated May 11th that raised the question of how sustainable and feasible Bio-fuels (Corn & Soy) really is, when you take into account the water demands to grow those crops as well as pollution from soil erosion/degradation. With corn, it's 50 gal of water for every mile driven. Soy jumps up to 150 gal of water.

While just numbers...but for crops grown in thirsty states (CA & CO) is this really a better alternative. The avg person should drink at least one gallon of water/day. We probably use more for showers/sanitation/cooking. Throw on top the increased demand required by these thirsty crops and you're crunching on the amount of water people will be able to access.

I've also been always a little skeptical about Bio-fuels. Running on peat or moss is one thing. Running on agricultural crops that have a demand as a food source is another. Mexico demonstrated not too long ago that increased demand in corn, like any good economy, will increase the prices. And for Mexico, corn is a staple food, used to make all sorts of commodities (tortillas for starters).

I'm on board about being green. I'm not on board making impoverished lives harsher and stripping food supply away.

Friday, May 29

NJ Con and all those Idrians

Well, it's close to that time (2 weeks) and I have a lot to finish painting. At the heart of it, I should have both Warcasters wrapped up and painted. I'm going to have to use my eBay version of Croe's to help out, as well as Gorman. Kell is finished, but I need to fix his eyes.

Anyway, it looks like I have a pretty solid list. Croe's took on a Warpwolf all by themselves and a Pureblood. Idrian's wiped Typhon off the board, but what can't Idrians wipe off? I'll have to figure out a Traitor list, as I'd like to use both casters.

Nomads are almost finished too...just need to wrap up the gloss.

Anyway, both games highlighted why I feel Idrians are extremely overpowered. With the UA, they achieve feats that as a Cryx player, I'm not used to. It's fun being on the other side of the sword for once (read: Giving End), but it's just no fun when I wipe my opponents face into the board with just this unit. Thankfully, their armor is light, so template weapons can deviate and still kill them. If you know how to lure them out, more power to you.

I can't say from a Menoth perspective why the unit should be overpowered. From an Agenda perspective, the unit is probably the second main reason people pick up the contract - you get to play with Magnus and Idrians...and Trenchers?! Sign me up.

Arsenic & India

Solving India's Arsenic Problem

I'm a little puzzled how they intend to solve the water issue. At heart is are they re-routing part of the river or just simply shipping water over to these villages. It makes more sense to ship the water, but that comes at a cost and is vulnerable to disruption. In the long-run, I see this costing more...

However, it is a welcomed solution for lack of drinkable water in the region.

Wednesday, May 13

So this is wrong...

I read this article and immediately I thought that price scheming to conserve water destroys the fundamental human right for free and equitable access to water sources. By making it cost more, it implies it's a luxury so that only the wealthy can afford it. Now, in China, it's a lot of Rural vs Urban, but there are poorer Urban families as well.

I just don't like it.

Friday, May 1

Some Updates

Well, the army should be making it's debut at NJCon's 750 Pt SR4.0 Tournament. I actually can't think of a better way to reveal the army. Based on the lists, troops, and involvement, I'm going to be running the Agenda for all 500 and 750 pt tournaments, some exceptions aside.

Which means I'm focusing on him for Hardcore. I'm looking at a viable option of running Croe's, Trenchers, Idrians, Kell, Saxxon, & Orin. Croe is looking to be a better choice against Hordes, as I gain an additional die to poison against living models.

Thankfully, MK II is now over, so I can go back focusing on MK I stuff. And June marks when my fiancee is moving up and in with me, so my weekends should be freed up to travel the North East and start raising aware.

Wednesday, April 22

New Well Drilled in Ethiopia

Found another interesting website/charity today, Water Partners International. It's generally the same facts, but it's in a concise and specific area to locate them. I cannot verify any of the information, but that's always the problem. I'm not sure where these citations are coming from. So take some information with a grain of salt (like every 15 sec a child dies from water related causes). But we're still facing a serious problem of water scarcity and my hesitance to accept information as fact without reliable sources in no way degrades the issue at hand; water scarcity, sanitation, & quality is a huge problem, especially for 2009 for many countries.

Charity: Water drilled the first new well in Ethiopia from fund raising from Twestival (Twitter + festival), raising $250,000. You can watch a few videos and find more information on Charity: Water's website, over here.

Circle of Blue had a couple of interesting articles, from indigenous traditions to water wars in Asia to megadroughts.

Speaking about Charity: Water, their awareness bracelets came today. Pretty cool lookin', I have to say. I have a bunch of them, so I'll be handing them out to those that want one.

Monday, April 13


Well, painting has commenced. Despite having a week off, my schedule was suddenly filled with errands and other important activities. However, I have completed a Kell Bailoch & 2 Nomads. I'm going with a more cameo appearance. Jeremy from my gaming group gave me a couple of hints that I'm going to work forward.

One of the worries - Magnus in dark blue (his traitor colors), appears to have been subsided, with fellow gamers considering how awesome it is that I'm using a morph of dark blue in the color schemes.

Anyway, I should have pics up tonight. I'm hoping to get done with the Traitor and some infantry this week, barring my end of the week business trip to Chicago.

To keep you abreast of water issues,

Drought in India means less tea!

Friday, April 3

The Agenda

Okay, so I ordered the Magnus Battlebox (Magnus the Traitor, Renegade, Mauler, & Talon) & Magnus the Warlord (Epic), along with two Nomads, a 2nd Renegade (I think), & Kel Bailoch.

I did get to play two games yesterday with both pMags & eMags trying out Long Gunners & Trenchers. Trenchers I found fit more my playstyle, although I swung and did something completely different with the Long Gunners which took my opponent by surprise. I still lost that game, but hey...

I'm looking also at picking up Boomhowler & Co, some more Steelheads, Steelhead Cav, & Stannis. Kel definitely made his points by nearly taking out a Woldwyrd in the second game. Orin has no place I found, although Orrick does.

500 Pt
-2x Renegades
Boomhowler & Co (9)
Loyalist Trenchers (6)

750 Pt
-2x Renegades
Boomhowler & Co (9)
Loyalist Trenchers (6)
Steelhead Halberdiers (8)
Steelhead Cav (3)

Obviously I'm taking a hit here by using Boomhowler. But they did absolutely amazing. I'm definitely going to need to find a substitute unit though when I face against Trollbloods or Cryx...

750 Pt
-2x Renegades
Idrian Skirmishers (8)
Loyalist Trenchers (6)
Steelhead Halberdiers (8)
Steelhead Cav (3)

There we go. Saxon isn't necessary anymore, but he's almost better with the Idrians.... I'll play around with ideas...

Wednesday, April 1

Water and America

Read an interesting news article summary. Congress & the President have enacted a bill that restores water shed and wilderness. While the focus of the bill is more about green and conservation, it's interesting to note how it's going to affect CA and the drought/water problems CA often faces...

You can read the article here or the full version here.

Tuesday, March 31

Painting a Watery Theme

Well, I'm now faced with the conundrum of how to paint an army with watery effects. I'm thinking a mottled blue fading from dark to light in patches...mimicking how water looks from above. The other way is to base dark blue and slowly fade to lighter blue (but not by much) on raised areas. Use a silver for trim.

I tried the mottle with little success but I was also being impatient. I might need to pick up PP paints for this.

I'll have pictures up on my progress soon.

Monday, March 30

Water & Climate Change

Interesting article that I found while browsing for information: Water & Climate Change.

A few facts that I've picked up from the different websites so far-
  • 2.5% of water on Earth is fresh water. Most is still frozen in the ice caps. About 0.7% of water on the planet is fresh water available for consumption.
  • Approximately 800,000,000 to 1.1 bn people live without access to good water.
  • Another 2.5 bn people live without proper sanitation.
  • 67% of water consumption is used in agriculture, the basic industry of developing nations. Yet a majority of these nations in Africa, the mid-East & Asia lack access to freshwater.
  • Climate change plays a big impact on the hydrological cycle on earth. Interruptions in the cycle won't replenish water fast enough to match consumption. Additionally, many of the sub-Saharan & mid-East nations live in an arid environment where water is already scarce.
  • While dams & reservoirs alleviate water scarcity, they are dangerous to rely for two-fold - (1) the environmental impact & (2) unequal distribution of the benefits. Many people may be displaced due to damming, but they and many impoverished will not see the benefits of the dam - clean water and sanitation. Water from the dam typically services the needs of nearby cities instead. City populations are slated to grow due to urbanization - Asian cities alone are predicated to grow by 1 bn.

Water, Water Everywhere and Not a Drop to Spare

Well, when I first starting asking for suggestions for an issue to help raise awareness, I was flooded with responses from my group of friends ranging from silly nonsensical issues to Breast Cancer.

However, there was one issue I was floored with - Water Quality and Scarcity.

Think about how much water we waste, yet knowing that approximately 1.1 bn people in the world lack access to drinkable water. Even more suffer from poor sanitation. Violence has flared over the rights to drinkable water and riverways for more than a millennium.

I wish I could say more. It's such a basic issue, so prevalent in third world countries and even here in America. The best that I can do at the moment is learn more like everyone else.

I have provided some links to different sites for now and I'll post news as I can. Many of these are very informational to providing a better idea on water quality and water scarcity issues.

Circle of Blue - a very informational news site that brings together articles dealing with water issues, ranging from the droughts in California and Australia to water wars in southern Ethiopia.

Overcoming Water Scarcity & Quality Constraints - an economics paper dealing with the variety of water issues and how it affects the world, according to the viewpoint of economists.

Charity Water - this was the link that my friend sent that originally floored me and one of the two charities I will be donating to. They work through various different charity organizations, including Water for People, Healing Hands, Gram Vikas, Concern Worldwide & many others. While not explicitly a Christian charity, they do work with LWI & HH.

Wateraid - Another charity that I will be donating to. Wateraid beat out Water for People for two reasons: (1) Charity Water works with Water for People on projects, so I felt like I was duplicating work & (2) Best Business Bureau rated Wateraid higher than Water for People due to WfP's failure to meet BBB's compensation standard. This bothered me slightly. You can read more about it on BBB's entry.

Water for People - notable charity for water scarcity & quality improvement.

I have already decided that I'm going to run the Magnus agenda and will be building 500 & 750 pt armies. I would love to go to GenCon with this army, but I'm afraid that I'm going to have use 4-Star for that, so unless something changes real soon (aka Magnus gets another warcaster to work with), I don't see how that's going to be possible. Although I think I can participate in Hardcore, although the meaning of the army is slightly lost.

Sunday, March 29

Count-down 3...2...1... and GO!

Well, some things have changed drastically.

It started with Thrall Harvest & Foodmachine. The idea of donating cans to food pantries and integrating the donations into receiving benefits for the tournament. This year Foodmachine raised over 10,000 cans. With 4,000 from my meta, the NJ SOB's.

And I donated approx 1300 canned goods. And other foodstuff that did not count, but I wanted to give to the food pantries anyway. Some may see it as trying to buy the tournament, but we limited the cans to 150 per game and pooled them all together. I felt that a person who even raises 20 cans from friends deserves an equal chance as I do, since they worked just as hard.

From there, our meta held on-and-off discussions of how we could work in charity events with tournaments - donations, raising money, etc. We frequently pointed to Breast Cancer Brawl, held in October, as a perfect example. We wanted to try it, but we lack support from the store.

Then I stumbled onto Yann's (aka Devilsquid by the PP forums) pink armies, supporting Breast Cancer that he plays with and possibly auctions off after Breast Cancer Brawl will be finished this year. Last year they raised a little over $200 from an army that everyone donated one miniature to.

Stubbs (our pressganger) and I plan to attend Breast Cancer Brawl.

But that's not the news. Not at all.

I've been inspired by Yann, my meta, and the Harvest Thralls. And by whatever greater powers be guiding me.

I'm going to paint and play armies for different factions supporting different causes.

The basic idea is at the beginning of the new year/end of the previous year, I start designing an army. That army is going to be painted in the colors of the cause I choose to support publically that year and colors of charities affiliated with that cause. Any winnings I receive from tournaments will go to the charity. At the end of the year (I'm forecasting Nov/Dec, but there will be exceptions), I auction off the army. Entire proceeds go to the charity or charities I have chosen. Furthermore, I will match whatever I make in tournaments and through the auction.

I feel this is my calling. I love the game and the hobby, but feel we're not active enough in our community. I also believe many of us play and paint and zero solely in on the game itself. In many ways, I want raise awareness by going to different tournaments and playing different people. I want to bring the cause to my opponents, rather have my opponents stumble over it and just ignore it. If my army is a threat to their's in a competitive environment, they'll remember it. It's just a matter of piggy-backing the cause to the game.

I see several problems, one being which cause do I select to support publically for that year? There's a whole slew of them and all are equally important. Cancer runs in my family in the form of colon, breast, lung, and stomach cancer. I have lost family members and have those dear to me beat it. I'm marrying a very lovely girl who has diabetes and a prominent member of the NJ SOB's does too. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is too large to ignore, but I know many people who either support or work with children who are autistic. Hunger, poverty, inequalities, you name it and there's a cause to support.

What I can say is that I'm not going to support the cause in a political atmosphere. I don't want those strings attached and to turn away people because they think I'm conservative or liberal. It doesn't matter - all of these causes should be supported no matter what political stratosphere, what race, or income demographic you come from.

In addition to the causes, when I finally pick the cause, the question then develops into which charity or charities am I going to support? Thankfully many have websites and many can be found on charity or business rating websites like Charity Navigator or Best Business Bureau. There are many flaws in the different ratings, but understanding the financial strength, compensations, and, in the case of BBB, 20 standards that apply to all businesses and charities, I can configure how my donations are going to work.

Lastly, what faction/army to play to help represent the cause? This problem is actually the least pressing, as I can probably figure something suitable out. Mostly it's avoiding factions that already utilize colors represented by the cause. I feel this is a cop-out and the cause is dilluted in what people see as normal colors. Devilsquid's pink armies for Breast Cancer are amazing, but it's also because pink (representing Breast Cancer), is a non-typical color in PP's game.

Some points I'd like to make:
1. I will not donate to a charity that has an explicitly expressed political or religious goal. I intend this to be without either as the message can be muddled through politics or religion.
2. I will not be recouping expenses for the painted armies. There is no administrative cost - all of this is out of pocket. I make no profit.
3. Yes it's easier to just donate money. But only the charity benefits - once, with my donation. It's my hope that by bringing the cause to my fellow gamers and gaming communities they'll start participating. At least the issue will be on their mind.
4. Each year will be a different cause. But that doesn't mean I'm going to stop privately supporting the cause. I'm still going to personally donate to those charities and I'll bring each issue that I've supported in the past up in conversation.
5. I will not accept other people's money. If I do, it means I have a computer handy right by me so I can move personal funds immediately instead of waiting. I would rather have people personally donate themselves though.

It's about awareness. It's about caring. It's about starting now.

Because there is a point when it's too late. When your loved one has passed on or when the world is reeling backwards in shock about how big an issue has gotten.

It's time to support and show you gotta pair.

Friday, March 27

Reboot 2.0

Blog is undergoing some major changes...you can already see some of them...

Updates should be finalized 4/1.