May 2022 retrospective

Hey everybody,
What a month May has been! I’ve been on quite the writing spree this month, and have been able to write a blog every day for the whole month, which is just unheard of normally in my little corner of the internet! How is this possible, I hear you ask? Well, I have no idea. I suppose quite a bit has been going on, though, resulting in more to talk about, and there have been some planned bits and pieces that I was intending to cover in here regardless, but it’s been good to see the posts come out!

To start with, I’ve continued to be interested in a wider variety of games than usual, something that began in April really when I seemed to go into a bit of a hobby slump around Easter. Rediscovering such games as the Star Wars LCG, as well as playing more Arkham Horror LCG and Lord of the Rings LCG has definitely helped, I think, to give me fodder to talk about. While I have recently been getting back into the plastic crack, predominantly thanks to the upsurge of interest in Age of Sigmar, I think so far this spring, I have seen a much more varied games focus than usual.

Lord of the Rings in particular has been really great to get back into playing, as it feels like a really long time since I have properly been involved in that game. Indeed, it feels like years since I last built a deck from scratch, but that’s what I’ve been doing, and I’ve really enjoyed it! In the past, I’ve been in the sort of position where I play a couple of games, enjoy them, but then don’t follow up for ages (if ever), but I am hopeful that this will change now.

Age of Sigmar always seems to get me somewhat excited, as it is a really nice-looking game in many respects. I’ve talked about it many times now, but I think it is significant that Fantasy is what got me into Games Workshop stores back in the day, so it’s perhaps to be expected that AoS will fire up my imagination like that.

I’ve been working on the Khorne Bloodbound models that I had started around the time I moved here, so summer 2019, and have finished the first five Bloodreavers. I’m sure I’ll need to add some Blood for the Blood God at some point, but for now they’re done! I’ve started on the next five, as well, but this is where I’ve become distracted by Slaanesh once more, and have moved on to painting the Exalted Seeker Chariot that I’d built up in the winter of 2018, I think it was.

Slaanesh is a big thing for me, and always has been. I think it’s one of these armies that I’ve just always wanted to have, but have so often been distracted away from. This time, however, I’m hoping to actually make it happen! Slow and steady, like. We shall see, anyway.

I think I’m going to end up with three armies for Age of Sigmar – Slaanesh, Khorne, and the Ossiarch Bonereapers. I don’t think it’s going to be too excessive, but I need to make sure I don’t go mad! I was hoping to get a game in with James at the end of last week, but we had to cancel as his little boy wasn’t very well. Hopefully soon, though, I’ll get to see what third edition has to offer! We’re starting very small, with just a couple of units to see how everything works, so stay tuned for more of that!!

I’ve finally started to build up the Defiled Ruins terrain box for Warcry, as well. This thing has been in and out of the project queue for ages now, so it’s nice to finally have it built, if not fully “ready” in terms of painted as well! I think the original Warcry stuff has got a great look to it, but these more generic Azyrite ruins look great as well, and the set mixes nicely with the other ruins that I’d already painted up around 12 months ago. Indeed, I’ve also built up some more of those ruined bits that I had picked up from the Mortal Realms magazine, so that I have some nice bits to add further variety to my boards. I now have four Warcry environments, and I’m at the point where I’m thinking that I probably have enough to be going on with now. The new box that seems to be suggesting we’re moving into the swamp hasn’t grabbed my attention yet, but I remember being underwhelmed by Red Harvest until I’d seen exactly what we were getting!

For the scatter terrain that I painted up last year, I followed the scheme in the magazine. However, I’ve now come across this beautiful stuff that has got me considering a lighter grey colour scheme. I suppose it’s testament to how good the terrain looks that it would work well with so many different colour schemes!

It’s been a very productive month on the reading front, too, as I’ve made my way through quite a few Star Wars books in my Great Prequel Re-read! This month, I’ve enjoyed revisiting one of my all-time favourite Star Wars novels, Cloak of Deception!! I’ve reached the first movie milestone, The Phantom Menace, and have begun to read the long line of Republic graphic novels that follow, starting with Outlander. It’s exciting to come back to these books, as I think it must be easily ten years since I last read them, possibly longer.

Something that I didn’t mention in my episode one blog is the short story Darth Maul: Endgame. It’s by James Luceno and I think was written for a re-issue of Shadow Hunter, and is set during the timeline of the movie, as we follow Maul after his duel with Qui-Gon as he returns to Naboo to wait for the Queen to return. His principal task, it seems, is to root out the Gungans, but along the way we get to meet Captain Magneta, former chief of security to King Veruna, which I thought was fascinating. Indeed, the whole story, while perhaps a little needless, was nevertheless an interesting look at both the Naboo invasion on the ground, and also a look at Maul as a character. He learns of Hego Damask, and begins to question his role at Sidious’ side. I think it’s interesting because this really seems to crystallise Darth Maul as a character, where he is portrayed as such an obedient servant to Darth Sidious, with such a one-dimensional hatred of the Jedi, that you have to wonder where the character could have gone if Obi-Wan hadn’t bisected him. I don’t think he would have been an effective Sith Lord, otherwise, but clearly being killed has done him the world of good in terms of his criminal empire!

I’ve also watched the first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi, which was really quite sensational, I have to say. In a nutshell, Obi-Wan has given up, and works on the production line very much in a rut. When Bail Organa contacts him for help when Leia is kidnapped, he is very reluctant to intervene, thinking he needs to stay on Tatooine to look after Luke. However, he is eventually persuaded, and travels to the planet Daiyu to track her down. Turns out the kidnap was a ruse by the Imperial Inquisitor Reva, known as the Third Sister, to draw out Kenobi. She has heard that Darth Vader has been looking for Kenobi, so reasons that bringing him in will elevate her position.

It is from the Third Sister that Kenobi learns about Anakin’s survival following their duel on Mustafar.

It’s a really good-looking series so far, I’m very impressed. I think it’s feeling very much like this is an event in terms of Star Wars tv, like it’s much more important than what we’ve seen before. I mean, up to now we’ve been getting Luke in a very marginal role only, but here we have Obi-Wan going to rescue a child Princess Leia, while being pursued by the Inquisition and, by the looks of things, Vader himself. It’s like a movie sequel, told in 6 parts.

I’m very impressed, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where it goes next, though I’m still a bit annoyed with how it’s going to potentially mess with the dialogue in A New Hope, where it feels very much like Vader and Obi-Wan shouldn’t meet until the Death Star corridor…

It’s been a very busy month, but I don’t think I’ll be able to keep this up through June as well… We shall, of course, see!!