Just like that, January is over and we’re already one-twelfth of the way through the year. While I know for many people January is a long, long month, it somehow doesn’t seem to have been all that bad for me. I think I’m putting this down to the fact that I’ve tried my best to be organised about what I’m doing with my time, so that I have clear things to look forward to, and so on.
On a personal level, while I have lost the Christmas weight that I’d put on, I’ve not continued the downward trend yet. However, I’ve downloaded the Fantasy Hike app which tracks how far you walk and overlays this on Frodo’s journey to Mordor. So you get updates like Black Riders on the road, camping with the elves, and staying overnight with a farmer. It’s all pretty hilarious, and while I’m not yet projected to arrive at Mount Doom until Q3 2024, I have actually walked 70 miles in January, so I think that’s pretty impressive, actually! I want to take some time soon to try and plan more meals and stuff that would help me to lose weight while eating well, and then as the weather begins to improve (or at least, get more consistent), I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get out and about more, and with a bit of luck, I’ll keep going down from there!
Around the middle of the month, I had a day off to basically have a games day, something very indulgent I know. But that was one of the best things that I had going on, because it meant not only that I had that goal in my sights, but also I got to play with the Marvel Champions stuff that I got for my birthday and Christmas. It also prompted last week’s theme week, where I posted about the game every day of the week. It was really great to play some of the newer stuff, and it was a lot of fun to then have a blog go out at the same time each day with my rambling musings on it all. It’s definitely fired my interest in the game once more, which had somewhat waned during the Autumn last year, so that’s definitely a good thing now that I have almost the entire product line…
It’s also helped to really bump up my numbers for played games this year, as I’ve already played almost 20 games this year. That’s a fifth of my goal checked off already. I’ve also started on my third play-through with The Dunwich Legacy campaign for Arkham Horror LCG, which will of course go a long way to helping further with those numbers as a campaign is eight games. I’d spent part of my New Year’s Eve building up new decks, for Mandy Thompson and Tony Morgan, but couldn’t really decide in which campaign to play them. After vacillating over Dunwich and Innsmouth, Dunwich has now won out. However, I’ve also been finding myself thinking up which investigators I want to deckbuild for next, and so I don’t think it’ll be too long before I make it back to Innsmouth, after all!
January has seen 19 games being played, with Marvel Champions being the runaway leader here by far. I think there have been a few great games being played, though the real stand-out happened just yesterday, as I went back to Mutant Genesis and tackled the Project Wideawake scenario with Cyclops and Shadowcat. I love the X-Men, primarily from the Bryan Singer movies of the early 2000s, but I think in terms of overall superhero appeal, X-Men are very close to my heart. Which is probably why I was so disappointed after my first game with the new box. However, Cyclops and Shadowcat was a pretty good pairing, with only maybe a couple of cards swapped into both decks.
There is a lot going on in that scenario, and I think I had to play really slowly at times to make sure I was doing everything correctly. But it was incredibly enjoyable, as I was able to really experience the game, and it felt very much like the Sentinels were coming for my guys, especially with the Mk V Sentinel attaching that “marked for extermination” card to Cyclops. There was a lot of stuff going on with both heroes as well, and I think after the initial play with Cyclops, and then looking through his deck to try to make sense of what it is doing, I was a lot more prepared for this game. Shadowcat has some interesting things too, though without knowing a lot about both her deck and the scenario, it was difficult at times to know if I should be bothered by Patrol minions, for instance. Of course, all hell broke loose when her nemesis came into play, which I think is only the second time ever I’ve had that happen in a game, and towards the end I was almost drowning in side schemes! But I was able to get Cyclops’ Optical Blast off with the card that deals +8 damage to bring the Sentinels right down to 3 health, at which point it was almost trivial for Shadowcat to deal the final 3 damage for the win. It was by no means easy, but it was a lot of fun as the game went on!
Even though I’ve almost completed my Marvel Champions goal of 10 games this year, I think this is well on track for becoming my most-played game of all time, the way I’m going with it!
In terms of the hobby, I have been really pretty productive here, too. I’ve painted up my Goliath gang for Necromunda, which involves seven gangers and two vehicles, so it works in both the regular game but also Ash Wastes. That was a really great result, especially as I’m still quite surprised that I’ve gone all-in for these guys. Since the game came out in 2017, Goliaths have definitely been at the bottom of the list for me, and with each subsequent gang to come out, they only went further down. But after building up the big lads and especially their ridiculously over-the-top bikes, I’ve really become quite the fan! My first time painting yellow hasn’t been all that bad, either, so all in all, I am very pleased!
Even more pleasing is the fact that we’ve been able to have a game of Necromunda, as well! My Goliaths vs James’ Orlocks, using the Prison Break scenario from Gang War 3. We were intending to use this as the start of a campaign, but James has decided to switch from Orlocks to Enforcers, but we’re still hoping to use that opening game as a bit of a scene-setter for the upcoming Law & Misrule campaign. So stay tuned for more on that one!
I am definitely fired up for more Necromunda though, and have not only also started to paint the Escher gang that I have had built since 2017, but also more Zone Mortalis scenery! The Eschers have got a bright red armour thing going on, although with all their hair and feathers etc, the colours are tending towards quite bright right now. I suppose that makes sense, but I do worry a little bit that they’re not Underhive-y enough… I’m also finding it quite difficult in general because of both the way they were built, in terms of actual gluing of parts and also the weapon choices, and additionally the grey primer which is quite thick and chalky in places. I had a similar issue with my Orlocks when I first tried to paint them, but stripped the paint and it all seemed to be okay, however with the Escher I don’t think they’re robust enough to withstand stripping! However, I do have another Escher gang sprue from the Hive War box I picked up ages ago for the Delaque and terrain, so I can always build the Escher gang I want that way.
In terms of Zone Mortalis painting, I have managed to get more walls and columns painted up in about a weekend, which has been amazing really! My total ZM painting now stands at eight wall sections and seven columns, with one platform so far. This is great, of course, though I would say I’ve still got easily half the Dark Uprising box still to paint! My colour scheme requires an undercoat of Mechanicus Standard Grey, of which I have currently run out, so I suppose for the time being I am stalled on this one, but hopefully I’ll be able to get some more of that soon and make more headway.
Something that I’ve been thinking about for some time is how literally all of my ZM terrain is modular, which causes some problems because it can all move during play, etc. So I’ve recently glued together two pieces to create a bit of an anchor in games. I’ve got a corner tower, which has been glued to that height with ladders to provide access up the top, and then I’ve glued a small wall section to a small door section, both of which are then attached to a column. I find that the doors in particular can be problematic because you are actually moving the door piece in-game, which sometimes knocks the wall a bit. So it’s good to have that kind of anchor to keep stuff in-line. As it stands, both of these pieces should be easy enough to fit into a larger landscape on the table, and they shouldn’t be too difficult to work into the other pieces that I have which involve the staircases. But I suppose we shall see!
Speaking of stairs, though, I find myself wanting to get another set of those, as I want to try and make a few more accessways to upper levels. Something that I have found with our games so far in the Underhive has been that they’re mostly one-level. It was nice in the Prison Break scenario to have the Orlocks starting up in a second-storey area, because it meant that we could interact with height a bit more, although as the objective was to flee the board, they were coming down the stairs very early. I’ve been thinking more about finally buying some of the plastic tiles as well, but with only a 2×2 area rather than 2×3 that we’ve been used to, it had always been my thought that it wouldn’t be as interesting. But without two full tiles, the only way is up, really! So maybe doing this could mean that we would naturally play on more levels as a result? We shall see. Obviously, the plastic terrain fits better on those tiles than on the cardboard ones, but I always find myself wanting to spend my limited hobby funds on miniatures, and not tiles!
Anyway, that’s a lot of rambling about Zone Mortalis, but it has definitely been at the forefront of my mind this month, with the game and all, so I suppose it was inevitable, really!
I also had a game of 40k this month, with my Dark Eldar against JP’s Imperial Fists, and once again, Toughness 3 proved to be the lesser match to marines. The amount of stuff that space marines can do is just ridiculous, and I am quite envious of the way the army almost runs itself, as opposed to having to actually fight to make things work for the xenos armies that I otherwise love! Of course, mistakes were definitely made on my part, but I think I can definitely play smarter in games, so I really want to try to develop my game plan in games going forward. So that will be a work in progress for however longer we have 9th edition 40k.
It has definitely been a productive time in the hobby so far this month, and already I have been able to check off one of my hobby goals for the year, by getting more ZM scenery painted! I don’t know if I will actually be able to get the whole box painted, of course, but it would be just lovely if I did end up getting the whole lot finished. I imagine that games would look so much nicer, if nothing else! I am very aware that 2022 started out really productive too, of course, with lots of Tau units being painted, only for me to falter around Easter time and stuff, so I’m hoping that by taking a much more measured approach to all this, I will actually be able to get somewhere this time. Well, time will tell I suppose!
As far as the hobby stuff goes, then, it’s a little difficult to quantify at the minute because I’ve not really painted up a proper squad per se, but I suppose you could call it one unit (Goliaths) and some terrain (the ZM stuff). That’s against the box of Escher bikes that I bought, so I’m definitely up on the whole bought vs painted thing so far!
This is getting extremely long now though, so I’ll call it a day here. Let’s hope that February is just as productive!!