338 Days until Dragon*Con 2012…
Two weeks ago today, I started this blog with absolutely no plan as to how to achieve my goal, other than “eat less, move more.” And that seems to be working. At least, I feel better about myself and just generally feel better all around, which was a huge part of the Plan to begin with. I just plain did not feel good, either physically or mentally. Now, I feel my old self starting to creep back in on little cat feet. My mind is clearer and I can concentrate a lot easier on important shit like LOTRO and reading game manuals for games I never even intend to play. If my mind is clearer now, I imagine that in 338 days I’ll be effin’ Magneto or something (I know I should’ve said Professor X for that example, but I never really cared for him and identified with Magneto more. That probably says something about me that isn’t good.).
Still, it doesn’t get any easier to wake up at 5am and go to the gym.
I always useta make fun of couples who would celebrate stupid anniversaries like “2 weeks” or “first kiss” or “1st successful buttsex”, but now I see where they’re coming from. When you’re doing something you hate, but you think it will be good for you in the long run, 2 weeks is a long ass time, and if you follow the Dr. Leo Marvin school of thought, we must take baby steps to reach our goals… which sometimes may include celebrating dumb anniversaries.
So today we lift our glasses of V8 high as we toast the 2-week anniversary of fitfordragoncon.com and a full two weeks of eating right and exercising!!! Tonight I may even have a beer!!!
If you have no clue what this is, allow me to introduce to you what is, possibly, the absolute nerdiest hobby in the world, besides algebra. A lot of people call it “miniature wargaming”, but it doesn’t really matter what you call it, it’s all the same thing.
Tabletop wargaming’s nerd cred comes from the many different aspects of the game, all of which appeal only to some little nerdy need in the back of all of our minds. Furthermore, there is a small group of people out there where every single nerdy little aspect of mini-wargaming appeals to them in a very potent way.
I will now try my best to describe the people who are really into this stuff….
1. Take one parts “Model Railroad Enthusiast”. There is some part in every single guy’s mind that loves miniature versions of real-life things. I have no idea where it comes from, but it is there. And the more realistic and detailed these mini things are, the better. And if they move around via some tiny little mechanical means, then you may as well go find something to do because a guy will sit and stare at that stupid little thing for hours on end. (side note: Mini-wargaming rarely, if ever, includes any moving mechanical parts)
But not only does this person enjoy looking at these miniature things, they must get involved.
Manufacturing tiny buildings, terrain (cliffs, mountains, grass, shrubberies, etc.), vehicles, and, of course, people (in the case of mini-wargaming, this usually means troops in uniform). Painting these things is also a huge part of the hobby. An eye for detail is crucial, which is something I don’t normally have. In fact, if you have this eye for detail, and you enjoy painting little troops and buildings, you can usually sell painted wargame miniatures in ebay for a fairly high price to people who want to play, but have no interest in the “hobby” side of the game (the paints and everything are also ridiculously overpriced, especially if you want to buy the “official” colors).
2. Take 2 parts Role Playing Game player. Why two parts? Most people who get into mini-wargaming get into it from the Dungeons & Dragons side of things, at least in my experience. Which is kind of funny, seeing as how Gygax himself came from mini-wargaming to write D&D. Apparently, his goal was to, instead of commanding huge platoons of troops, simulate being just one soldier on the field, except the field was set in a S&S world.
So two parts, because I think the majority of people who are into it are coming at it from a “gamer” kind of perspective.
3. Take 1 part Math Nerd. Like the original version of AD&D, mini-wargaming involves a ton of figgerin’. Meaning, a lot of math. The rulebook for Warhammer and Warhammer 40k, the only mini-wargames I’ve actually played, are thicker than J. Wellington Wimpy’s hamburger tab and they read like instructions for installing… erm… some complicated computer bit.
Take these three different kinds of nerds and shake vigorously…….
Voila! You have the mini-wargaming nerd. As you will undoubtedly notice, the “gaming” nerd (ingredient number two) dominates this complicated subspecies of basement dweller. For many people, ingredients one and three are merely means to an end. That “end” being actually playing the game. But! Parts 1 and 3 are there also, and cannot be ignored. In fact, there are tons of mini-wargamers out there who are mostly one of these ingredients, or at least have all three parts mixed equally. This type of person sees the preparation (building, painting, etc.) as just as much fun as the game itself. I am not one of these people. But that does not mean that I don’t appreciate the time and effort that goes into crafting all these miniature warriors and the fields of battle that they wage brutal war on.
In order to actually play a wargame, I would direct you to the Games Workshop homepage. GW makes almost all of the “big” mini-wargames. Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, and the Lord of the Rings games are all huge in certain circles of society (the ones who wargame, obviously). I can’t speak for all the guys out there who are into the “realistic” stuff (there are lots of people who play wargames, but re-enact real battles. This seems like zero fun to me, but I’m sure it’s great for people who are into that kind of thing).
Games Workshop also has real-life stores all over the place (mostly in Europe, but almost all big cities will have one). These are places where wargamers can buy new stuff (of course), but also where they can gather and compare notes, and even engage in battle, as most of the GW stores I have been into have a permanent battlefield set up so that people can play… or so they can demo how to play to possible interested parties.
I started playing Dungeons & Dragons in middle school (that would be around the ages of 12 or so, right?). The year was approximately 1988 or so, which means that Dungeons & Dragons was huge (so huge it had its own cartoon television show). It was also demonized by a lot of religious nuts for some reason, which I have never figured out, but that also gave it a feeling of rebellion and danger. I was always interested in the wargames. Like almost everyone I knew, I was fascinated with the wargames that I saw in the mall (remember that every guy has something in him that is infatuated with miniatures). We all wondered and discussed how these games were played. Was it like D&D? Or like Monopoly? I purchased fantasy boardgames like HeroQuest…
… which I’ve heard goes for a lot of money on ebay. I also bought Dungeon!, which was made by TSR, the same people who made D&D. But they all paled in comparison to the colorful, painted warriors I saw in the mall.
It wasn’t until years later that I actually, FINALLY, purchased some mini’s, painted them, and played the game. Here are some pictures of a few of my Warhammer 40k dudes:
There are multiple “armies” to choose from in 40k, let me introduce my pack of Space Wolves…
This pic shows a decent amount of the stuff I have. A few terrain pieces, a few well-painted guys, a few not-so-well-painted guys, the official dice (note: no 20d), and a measuring disc (used to measure things).
In the background, you can see their leader, Logan Grimnar. No matter which army you pick, they all have their own “lore” so it’s best to pick one that you like their story. The Space Wolves are kind of rogue good guys. They are part of the Space Marines, which are the good guys, but a lot of people don’t like them because of their savage ways. Once again, I know I am a nerd. You’d never catch Logan Grimnar up in the JFZ.
Here’s a few guys with a gigantic bottle of Sangria behind them. I like to think the Space Wolves would approve of that.
Here’s our man, Logan Grimnar, facing down the enemy. The camera was so intimidated by him that it couldn’t focus properly.
So that, without going into too much boring detail for those of you who aren’t interested, is my wargaming experience in a nutshell.
Tomorrow I want to discuss a little bit about the Lord of the Rings tabletop wargame, and show you some pictures of exactly how badass some of these miniatures can look when done right.