Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Tale of One Gamer: Introduction

Hail readers!

I come bearing news of another one of my grand blog series. About twice a year or so I aim to bite off more than I can chew with some silly series of articles on a tournament, or an army building project, or a wind-up to some tournament or something, and rarely do these things ever come to fruition (and if they do they're often late and erratic to begin with). This time, however, I aim to be different.

That's right! I'm starting another series of articles on this blog. This time it'll be building a Warhammer army from start to finish. A massive undertaking to be sure. Now I've built many armies over the seventeen (or so) years I've been playing Warhammer, but never have I chronicled them. I want this to be special, and as such it has to be an army that I don't own ANY figures for. Again, not an easy task. Throughout all these years there are very few armies that I don't own at least one figure for:
+ Lizardmen
+ Tomb Kings
+ Dark Elves

Well as luck would have it, the dark elves are being released at the end of this week. Now I've always loved elves in fantasy settings (hell, even in sci-fi settings), and I've always been especially drawn to dark elves ever since I began playing Dungeons & Dragons and was introduced to the drow in the Forgotten Realms setting. It's surprising, really, given the facts, that I don't already have a dark elf army. So as I sat at my work looking at the new dark elf releases and wishing that my basic high elf infantry looked as good as these druchii did, the thought popped into my brain: "why not just do a dark elf army?"

There are many reasons, not the least of which is the promise I made to myself as I cleaned up my house and looked at my bank account this past week and declared that I shall never again build an army that required more than fifty figures. But today I sat and thought that maybe there was a strategic way to go about doing this. This way I can not only build a good-looking army that I've been wanting to do for years, and actually contribute something meaningful to this blog, but I can use this experience as an example of how to go about building an effective army efficiently and enthusiastically.

Oh, and I get to paint a drow army. That's right, my dark elves will have black skin and white hair, and worship spiders. "It's been done!" you cry. But really, I've only seen one in person, ever. Sure, there are probably a ton showcased online, but the beautiful thing about the Internet is that it collates data from all around the world. We're going to see everything everyone's done if we really look for it. If I wanted to do something that no one's ever done then I've got a lot more work ahead of me than just figuring out how to build a Warhammer army. Besides, I love drow.

Anyway, let's get to the meat of this project. As you could probably surmise from the title of this series, it's supposed to emulate the original Warhammer army-building article series that ran in White Dwarf Magazine for a brief period during the '90s. Except this time there's just me. As such, I will be following a similar format, except I'm going to be looser on the restrictions and run this more like a project than a contest. Here are the rules:

1. No set monthly budget: Trying to stick to a monthly budget like in the original White Dwarf article is impractical for most gamers, and doesn't take into account my goals. I want to show that building a miniatures wargaming army can be organic, and this way may prove to be the least-stressful method of building a miniatures gaming army. That said, I'm not going to drop a stack of money all at once. Sometimes I'll spend a lot, sometimes I'll spend a little. Sometimes I'll buy an entire unit in one month, sometimes it'll be spread over a couple. I also want to avoid having a mound of unpainted plastic staring me down and psyching me out.

2. The army will be at least 2500 points by the end: Many Warhammer tournaments I see have this points total as standard and I'd like to be able to play in one with this army when it's finished.

3. All-new models only: This just means that I'm not allowed to use any models I already have. This is supposed to be brand new, and while it may use older figures, they can't be any I already own. This shouldn't be a problem, as I don't have any dark elves at the moment.

4. No time limit: Again, this is more of a chronicle or a journal, than a contest. I'm horrendously terrible at contests, and am currently losing one at the moment. I'm aiming for a relaxed and low-stress army. I don't want to have to break plans with friends and family because I have to finish painting a hydra by my deadline or the Internet will be disappointed in me. Likewise, I don't want to have to eat ramen, or shop for X-Mass presents for my family at the dollar store because I needed to spend $200 on a unit of witch elves all at once.

5. Fully-Painted: I'm not bush league here... If it ain't painted, it ain't gettin' played with.

6. Army may be subject to change: How many times have I used the word "organic" in this post? A Warhammer army is supposed to be malleable. It's supposed to change over time as tastes do, or as the meta-game does. I'll be taking a look at the book and making a preliminary list, but because I work at a games shop that sees a lot of Warhammer players, and because I game regularly at a club that has many tournament gamers, I will be open to suggestion and revision (I guarantee you, I will not need to solicit any advice with these two venues being in my life). I'm hoping (like all gamers) that I won't make a "wrong" decision that costs me $150 and 150hrs worth of models I no longer need, but if so then them's the breaks.

7. I'll keep a log of time and money spent: We'll see how well the "time spent" tally goes, but I imagine the "money spent" tally will be pretty precise. "Time spent" will only include time spent modeling or painting the figures, and not planning or thinking about the army (I can do that anytime I want). "Money spent" will include a different section for money spent on supplies such as paint, brushes, and glue. I'm going to keep the "hobby money spent" separate (and in brackets) from the money spent on the models because some people might have all that stuff (I know I do) and only be interested in the army itself. I'm including the "hobby money spent" more for those who are thinking of getting into Warhammer, and because I've never really thought about it before, and it might be cool to figure out how much it would cost if I owned nothing. That way I can show how much it would cost for an experienced gamer to build a new army (ie, ignore the number in the brackets), and how much it would cost for a complete newbie to build an army (ie, add the number in the brackets to the number before the brackets).

So it all begins at the end of this week when I get a copy of Warhammer Armies: Dark Elves in my grubby mitts. I also ordered a box of Dreadspears/Darkshards/Bleakswords because I figure that if I don't get something to put together and paint right away, I'm going to go insane, or flake out (either one). Now, for the sake of ceremony, let's begin the time and dollars tallies (all currencies are in Canadian dollars):

Time spent since last update: 0hrs 0min
Total time spent: 0hrs 0min
Money spent since last update: $0 ($0)
Total money spent: $0 ($0)


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1 comment:

Darren Bolton said...

This is a great idea. I look forward to watching it unfold.

This is the pace I've been going on my Skaven army. I'm about two years deep....

Have you thought about how to include drigers yet?