Warhammer Fantasy Ogres: Ready for Game On!

Off The Top of My Head

In a previous post I noted at the guys at Dreamlike (Now Slayer Gaming) piqued my interest in Warhammer Fantasy battles.  I watched two battle reports, one was their very first one, where Tom’s Ogre army took on Dwarves in one and High Elves in another.  Since then I have started both Skaven and Beatmen armies.  I admit I really like Skaven, but both were begun because I was able to get near complete armies on and off the sprue at very cheap prices.

Several weeks ago, while cruising a used bookstore I found a pile of army books.  Empire, Ogres, Tomb Kings, Orcs and Goblins, all “current” hardback.  All ten dollars a piece.  (They also had a stack of Forge World Imperial Armour books for 15 a piece…it was a good day at the used bookstore…)

Looking through the books I became very interested in one army in particular: Ogres.  The very first army I ever saw played.  They’re very different from any force I’ve seen, Monstrous Infantry, big brutes, no alignment, and a “SMASH and EAT” philosophy.  Also relatively cheap to start.

My local Games Workshop store has started a Fantasy escalation league and, though I had Skaven and Beastmen armies, I decided to give Ogres a shot.  I got the regiment starter box and away I went.

The league starts at a miniscule 250 points, which if I included even my cheapest general option left me only 150 points for troops.

Because of this point restriction, the standard troop structure is waived and only core units have to be fielded with extra points given for fully-painted armies.  With that in mind (and being completely trapped in the house for days due to ice and snow) I started my Ogres.  This was the result:

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I went all ironfists, due to the extra save.  They’ve already got 3 attacks plus impact hits and stomps, so I went for a parry/increased armor save instead of an additional weapon.

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At the time I thought I had to have an HQ.  I got the maneater on the right to proxy a bruiser or butcher since my actual models were on order.

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These guys are a blast to build an paint, and the regiment box gives you so many bits, with some crafty purchases I was able to nearly double the number of ogre bulls I can field by spending about 25 dollars.

 I’ll be playing my first escalation game this week and as I’ve never played a REAL game (only here’s how this works games) and never done anything with ogres I’m gonna lose.  It’ll be a BLAST.  I’m looking forward to it!

King’s On Writing: Writing Is Work

Stephen King knows how hard it is to be a professional writer. I’m sure some of you also relate because you are published or at least have stayed up until 3 a.m. to write a good paper that was due next morning. And it wasn’t easy either.

In sections 19-24, King discusses his earliest work – think editor of The Village Vomit, not Carrie. As he talks about his first jobs, stories, and articles, there’s an important message here: Writing is hard work. It takes dedication, persistence, and passion. In order to succeed, you need these things and support from those around you.

Here are some other highlights:

  • After The Village Vomit debacle, King’s school guidance counselor hooked him up with a paying writing job as a sports writer. While reading, I remembered guidance counselors. What happened to them? I had one in high school who I spoke to once when I was in trouble, and she didn’t guide me to do anything. Do they actually do anything now? King’s counselor did exactly what he was supposed to do; he kept him from causing more trouble and fueled his creativity. He got him a job, encouraged King’s passion, and provided guidance. Other than family, this may have been King’s earliest support system.
  • Do you have an editor? If so, you’ve had your writing ripped to shreds. It’s what we do when we have to. Every professional writer has an editor who makes them a better writer. Journalism and English majors can tell who the exact professor was. And as a writer, you take it. I’ve been in both places, and they’re both hard. The best thing to do is learn from it and not take it personally. It’s not personal, it’s the process. If you don’t want an editor, then start a blog, but if you write professionally, remember to handle criticism well and hone your skills.
  • You may have to work a day job or crap job. King’s first real-paying job was dyeing cloth at a mill. His schedule was long and tedious, and anyone who has had to work while going to school gets it. It’s hard work, but it makes you strong and you appreciate the good jobs that come your way. I could relate most to this because I worked full time, went to college full time, and had a family to support. Looking back, I have no idea how I did it, and I hope I never have to be that exhausted again. However, it was worth every minute. I’ve learned so much, and a good work ethic isn’t something you can buy – it’s a natural ability.
  • And it’s that natural work ethic the drew King to his long-time wife Tabitha (aside from her gorgeous legs and “raucous laugh”). This is where the support system comes in. Every artist, whether a writer, painter, musician, designer, needs support. They need to be loved and have someone to love. Sometimes you need a push, and only that person can provide it. For example, many King fans know Tabitha rescued pages from Carrie from the trash and pushed him to finish it. Every artist needs someone to believe in their work.

We’d love to hear about your writing experiences, including those naggy editors and good guidance counselors, in the comments below!

Sources of Inspiration: The Majesty of Marvel

Marvel Movies – How to do a Comic Universe Right

I’d like to drag the world kicking and screaming from Batman worship for a bit and snap everyone into reality. He’s kind of a bore and to quote Ben Yahtzee Kroshaw, he’s always the dullest character in everything he’s in. That expands to most of his movies (not his 90s animated series though which was GREAT) and DC in general seems to make movies that are so severe and so serious with themselves they are difficult to really enjoy.

Marvel on the other hand somehow gets it exactly right…and I find their expanded universe on film to be an extreme source of inspiration.

I haven’t really been in to reading comics since I was about 20. I think it’s a valid creative art form but many of the stories at the time were so hashed and re-hashed I felt I’d seen a lot of the best there was to offer. I’ve seen a few here and there since and even read some newer Judge Dredd material but nothing captured me like the Fatal Attractions and Age of Apocalypse stories in the 90s.

But Marvel MOVIES have been doing just about everything right recently. From the great X-Men franchise which, despite a single rocky entry, has had its ship righted and full sail since the excellent First Class to the absolutely stunning achievement of the Infinity Wars story they’ve been building up to for years now.

I can’t remember any other franchise in history that has crossed so many stories, so many characters, and so many genres to tell what will end up being one, super, super-hero story. Furthermore, Marvel has the wherewithal to know NOT to make every movie a super hero story. DC hasn’t gotten the hang of that… Even at their best with films like The Watchmen DC’s tone is such a drag it’s hard to say the movies are “fun” to experience.

They can be space stories, science fiction stories, fantasy stories, social justice stories. Marvel turned the entire “comic book” genre on its head with these movies. Even critics who often excoriated films based on this so-called ”childish” material, now have found how broad and operatic these narratives can be.

For me, I see how even minor stories, LIKE Guardians can be utterly re-invented and turned into something we’ve never seen before, and even better than expected. How a universe can be moulded to fit a medium, and how vast a universe can be…even when only experienced in 120 to 180 minute blocks. I’ll list a few of my current personal favorites below:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: It’s better than the Avengers. That’s right Joss Whedon lovers… It’s better. More fun. More action. Clever without being snarky, funny without being brash. It’s heart but doesn’t wear it on its sleeve. It’ll even bring a tear to your eye. It’s everything we LOVED about Star Wars minus everything we hated about it. No melodrama. No choppy writing. Everything fits, and everything works. I watch it more than any of the others.
  • X-Men: First Class/Days of Future Past: I can’t decide which of these two films I like better. First Class was a stunning study in the dichotomy of opinion. Militants versus peaceful protests. Marvelous acting. Amazing story telling and perfect casting. Days of Future Past brings everything we loved about the first Bryan Singer ­X-Men movies and combines it with everything that made First Class such a revitalizing shot to the franchise. Patrick Stewart/Ian McKellan and James McAvoy/Michael Fassbender Xavier/Magneto relationships and actor choices are phenomenal. Oh and Quicksilver. Terrific…
  • Captain America: First Avenger/Winter Soldier: I thought I’d HATE the first Captain movie. A hero known as a goody-goody just couldn’t be appealing could he? Yes he can. You cheer for him because though he becomes a hero he does it for the right reasons and uses his abilities in the right way. WWII sci-fi story WITH Hugo Weaving as Red Skull?! Oh and Hayley Atwell. Yeah. Worth it. Winter Soldier is the Bourne story. Good guys may be bad…old villains may be able to help… Action packed and one of the tightest stories I’ve seen on screen in a while.

Yes that’s not all of them but those are the ones that find their way onto my Bravia the most. I’m not telling the entertainment world anything it doesn’t already know…but those seeking inspiration don’t have to look far with this material out there.