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Sunday, April 16, 2006 

'Eavy Metal

Like I mentioned in my last post, my few sessions with Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War has kindled up an interest in tabletop wargamming. I've been playing collectable miniature games on and off for the last six months, mostly in the form of Mechwarrior and D&D Minatures, both of which are great little games. Both games are very skirmish-oriented, and offer fast action with a small number of units. Of course, they also both share the same, insidious quality that all collectable games possess: You end up buying a ton of boosters to build your collection, and after a while, you find yourself playing each and every game with the same handful of prized units, leaving the bulk of your collection gathering dust.

So, this week I decided to kill a rainy Saturday morning by going down to the local game shop and checking out some of the latest in miniture games. I was ready to take the next step from the pre-painted, collectable games to the good old-fashioned "build 'em and paint 'em" wargames. The collectable games have been my gateway drug, so to speak. Now I'm feeling like I'm ready for the good shit.

I wanted something generally sci-fi, with lots of cool-looking figures. It quickly became a tie between the granddaddy of the genre, Warhammer 40,000 and relative newcomer Warmachine. In the end, I dedcided to give Warmachine a try (which is ironic, considering it was an experience with 40K that piqued my interest in the first place.) After talking with some guys from the store who had played both, Warmachine seems a little more approachable, and it sounds like it scales well from small to large games, so it should be possible to ease my way into it.

If you haven't seen Warmachine, it's a pretty sweet looking game concept: gigantic steam-powered constructs controlled by battle-mages called Warcasters clash "with the destructive force of locomotives." The game has four main factions, each with their own disticitve hook. I decided to start with the Cryx, a race of necromancers and their undead thralls that fuel their warmachines with the tortured souls of their victims. Now that's my kind of race.

Unfortunately, the store was out of the core rulebook, but I decided to pick up a model and start painting anyway. By the time I bought paint, a pin vise, and a few other supplies, the tab was about four times more than I had expected to spend going in... Tabletop wargaming is apperantly not for the faint of heart (or budget.) I spent the better part of my free time over the weekend painting up my first unit, a monsterous "helljack" called a Harrower. I was pretty happy how my first effort turned out:
I was actually amazed how fast the whole model came together. I probably have six or seven hours into the project all together, not counting doing my homework before I got started. I was also surprised how complex the model was - assembling it was no small job, and I spent a good deal of time pinning and puttying to make it look good before primer. Painting it was a blast, but it only fed the urge to actually get some of these bad boys out on the table and play. I'm going to order the Cryx Battlegroup starter set and the core rulebook this week, and get painting.

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