Neuron Overload

There has been a deluge of gaming related activity elbowing its way into my Brain Space over the last 4 weeks. Between a trip down to Historicon in Lancaster PA, a deep-dive into the next design evolution of my Sword of Severnia fantasy battle game, a few recent hobby purchases, and plenty of gaming news flashing across my radar, my neurons are filled with more traffic than the Autobahn.

I really need to calm down, organize my thoughts, and write some proper blog-posts. Right? Well….. tonight you get a rambling stew of loosely connected thoughts, observations, and diarrhea of the cerebrum.

Let the stream of consciousness commence!

2022 has been a good year for board gaming. A bunch of new stuff has hit my table and we’re starting to gain momentum and play on an almost regular basis. Woohoo!

On the flip side, 2022 has been a slow year for miniature wargaming. Aside from a few games of Warlords of Hexenstein, a game of What a Tanker!, and an epic Battle Masters blowout game at Historicon, my wargaming buddies and I haven’t set aside enough time to roll dice and command our tiny painted soldiers to perform glorious deeds on the battlefield. I’m going to make a more concentrated effort to correct that deficit in the final five months of 2022.

Over the past year, I’ve been scouring eBay and elsewhere to purchase some nicely painted, yet affordable figures to help fill out two armies that I’m building/collecting for SAGA. I already have an acceptable Viking warband, although I still want to expand it by painting some cool figures that I already own. But my primary focus has been on constructing warbands of Normans and Late Romans.

The Late Romans are chock full of infantry (Hearthguard and Warriors), but light on archers and cavalry. I picked up 12 painted Late Roman archers in the flea market at Historicon, but they’re based as 3-ups (3 on a slender base). They can work for SAGA in a pinch, but ideally I want to grab more individually based archers. I also just purchased a box of Gripping Beast Late Roman Heavy Cavalry, so I need to get painting to solve my cavalry problem. While I’ve got enough painted figures to field a 4-6 point Late Roman SAGA warband and play a game with them, I just need to work on balancing out the army.

The Normans are also shaping up. I’ve actually got 3 Cavalry units (Hearthguard) here, a unit of archers, and 3-5 units of infantry (Warriors and Hearthguard). At Historicon, I purchased two bags of Victrix figures (Norman Cavalry and Dark Age Archers) that I would also like to add to my painting queue. It would be smart to build & paint some Dark Age Archers ASAP, because they work for Normans and Vikings, as well as Saxons, Bretons, and others. So, I could fill a few gaps in my painted soldier collection if I focused on that.

By the way, Late Romans serve perfectly as Buscans in Sword of Severnia, and Normans are a great match for Geels (Holy Crusaders). So, these SAGA forces double as human factions in my fantasy battle game — WIN WIN!

Speaking of painting, I finally put brush to metal last night! I did some detail painting work on a Late Roman General who I was sprucing up. Perhaps this will kickstart more painting. Fingers and paintbrushes crossed! I’m also curious to try out the small starter set of Army Painter Speed Paints that I bought at Historicon, along with a set of Metallic acrylics. Speed painting is much different in approach compared to the slow, methodical way that I paint. I desperately need to try some new techniques for speeding up my painting and improving my output. I’m too fussy and when I don’t see results fast enough, I become mentally defeated and put things aside “for a later day”. Models languish on my painting table forever. So… c’mon speed paint!

I mentioned a board game called Bretwalda a while ago. Well, I backed it on Kickstarter in the first-half of July. It looked gorgeous, I liked the theme, and the game play seemed interesting. Many multi-player dudes-on-a-map wargames take too long to play. Bretwalda seemed more innovative and plays in around 2 hours. Promising.

I think several new board & card games that I Kickstarted a year or two ago will finally be making their way to me in the back half of 2022. I’m looking at you Ragnarocks, Mindbug, and Gunfight Royale. They’re all quite different from each other: abstract strategy with Norse myth theming -vs- cartoony alien card battler -vs- cowboy gunfights. I have a good feeling that I will enjoy all of them. I’m doubtful that Thunder Road: Vendetta will deliver before 2022 ends, but that’s perfectly fine, I’ve got more than enough new toys to play with!

Also on the Kickstarter front, I backed a new mass-battle fantasy game designed by Buck Surdu called Wars of Orcs & Dwarves. Will I actually play it? I don’t know. I backed it because (1) I’m a rules-junkie and love to collect & read through wargame rules, (2) I wanted to support Buck, and (3) I was enamored with what I read about Wars of Ozz and this is basically the same game system, but with the huge advantage that I already own tons of painted fantasy figures. The folks at Sally 4th are following up regularly on the Kickstarter, and I need to check out what freebies they are sharing. More to report on later.

Are there too many good games coming out nowadays? To me, there certainly seems to be an overabundance of tabletop games (board, cards, RPG’s, minis) being crowdfunded on Kickstarter and Gamefound. It’s a full-time job to try and keep up with them. I don’t have the energy or time to do that. And unless you want to go broke fast, you need to be extra choosy about what you look at and back on crowdfunding platforms. There’s a lot of QUANTITY being released, but I’m not so sure all of it is QUALITY.

Without a doubt, games are being made with better components and more fanciful artwork than I saw 20-30 years ago. Heck, even in just the last 12 years, things have evolved to where most games look good. But for every excellent game design that comes along, there are 20 games that are overwrought & over-complex, stuffed with too much crap (rather than being streamlined), and are aimed at a crowd that will play the game 50 times.

I don’t know about you, but there are very few games that I’ve ever played 50 times, especially as a working adult. Who can find the time for that? There are a handful of games that are so deep, varied, and interesting that I could devote LOTS of time & plays to them (mostly miniature wargames). But those are truly the exception, not the rule.

Anyway, finding the good stuff amongst the chaff is a tricky task nowadays. What do you think?

Speaking of good games, Return to Dark Tower has a campaign running on BackerKit to fund the second printing of the game and its expansions. There’s also a new expansion called Covenant which looks really cool. I’m oh so tempted to back it. My problem: I haven’t played the base game enough times to justify getting an expansion already. My wife, who likes RTDT actually told me that. She’s 100% RIGHT. But… MUST…. RESIST…. THE…. LURE….

Well… that’s enough for now… Time for bed. Sevy, out!

3 thoughts on “Neuron Overload

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