Vir's Archive

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fantasy Hockey; The Finals! Finally.

So Begins My Mighty Tale of Woe and Victory!



I shall be the Pope of Hockeytown! All kneel before your master!



Okay, so I finally made it to the finals in my fantasy hockey league. The league, called "Diplomatic Immunity Hockey League (DIHL)" has been a part of my fantasy sports life for the better part of four years now. The players/managers are all associated with the State Dept. in one way or the other and have served overseas as Foreign Service Officers (again, at some point or another). Its a good league, with a couple very knowledgeable and active managers. There are a couple homers in the league too - of which I am one (go Stars!).



In DIHL I routinely make it to the postseason in our league, and (frustratingly) routinely get bounced in the first round. Looking at my record, since joining the league, I have placed 7th three years in a row as a result of getting eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Its like clockwork. Last year was especially disappointing. I led my squad to a near-victory in the regular season standing (which wins a trophy). I missed winning the regular season by one point. Yup, one point. I was cruising for the better part of the 2nd half of the season then went on holiday/medical leave to S. Africa for a week. There, I didnt have access to the Internet and, stupidly, felt confident my team could do their thing on autopilot for one measly week. Yeah, right. I get back, to see me lose in a heartbreaker. Then I get to the post-season ranked 2nd, and get creamed by 7th place. That, naturally, left me in my traditional 7th overall hole. Great. My choke is going down in DIHL lore as the greatest (worst) stumble of all time. Great. Worse, we draft the following year based on regular season standings, so while I finished 7th overall due to my crap-ass performance in the postseason, I finished 2nd in the regular season and drafted 2nd to last. Great.



Great.



My post-season perfomance in DIHL is the fantasy equivilent of this.


This year has been different. I dominated, again, in the regular season, with 30+ points between me and 2nd place (who, by the by, is the guy that beat me our for #1 last year). Fearing the worst, I prepared to get pwned in the first round of the playoffs. Miraculously, I did not. In the 2nd round, it was amazingly tight, but I won by a razor-thin score of 7-6.


Let me talk a bit about the 2nd round of the playoffs. I faced a team that plays a lot like I do. Together we probably accounted for 75% of the waiver wire moves for the entire league. We both have no compunctions about dropping slackers and picking up the most obscure hot-hands. So, we go into this past Sunday (the final day for the matchup) basically neck-and-neck (him 6 points, me 5 [which means he leads in 6 categories, I lead in 5 categories, and the others were tied]).


Sunday had him starting a goalie and probably taking the lead on a number of the goalie stats since I didnt have a goalie on my roster with a start that day. It sucked, but I figured I could make up those points because I had a couple extra offensive players starting on that day. I wake up on Sunday, check the score, and see my opponent craftily dropped a bunch of scrubs and picked up some hot-hands that specifically played that Sunday. I suddenly went to having a slight advantage in starting players, to a major disadvantage.


As luck would have it, my daughter woke up early on Sunday so I had a little time to see what was going on. With literally 15 minutes left before any additions would not be applied for the games on Sunday, I did some mad-crazy research, grabbed my own offensive ringers to play... and then divine providence encouraged me to also pick up Chris Mason, the backup goalie in Atlanta. Every place I checked said Mason was unlikely to start, but I desperately needed a goalie to start on Sunday and he was the only option on the waiver wire with even a prayer to start.


I got lucky. Mason started. Not only did he start, he won his game. Up 4-2 he gave up two painfully late goals and the teams went into overtime. Then they went to a shootout. It came down to a single goal... and my DIHL opponent had the guy facing Mason on the other end of the ice. I get the win, get an extra point in the hockey league - and that made all the difference.


Picking up Mason was the fantasy hockey equivalent of pulling my goalie with 5 minutes left. It was a desperation play - born of necessity and trading my possible future performance in the finals for a short-term gain to actually make it to the finals.


So, here I am. My team is gutted due to the need to pick up a bunch of ringers and I am facing the guy who took 2nd in the regular season (in other words, he didnt get lucky and got to the finals on the back of a very good team). However, I did what I had to in order to make it to the finals. No crappy 7th place for me this year!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pithy Analysis: In Defense of the Destroyer

The Destroyer is Your Bestest Friend (after me, that is)




Glorious!


With this blog I am going to try something new - analysis of some Warmachine units/minis. I like to think I have a bit of a different perspective than other Warmachine players (dont we all?). I enjoy taking minis and units that are normally poo-poo'd by the greater Warmachine community and see if I can find the context to make those models useful. I enjoy this doubly so when I have a theme I am working on and slavishly keep a model in the list despite its supposed ineffectiveness. Naturally, the Destroyer, which kicked so much butt in 1e and is now considered obsolete in 2e by many Warmachine players, is the 'Jack I field most often and have the best results with. I think I am going to call this series of Blogs "Pithy Analysis."


Pithy Analysis: The Destroyer


Even now, they cannot escape the shadow of "the Big guy."


The Destroyer gets unfairly maligned by pretty much every Khador player because it isnt the Behemoth. The Destroyer is nine points, gets you good ARM, a great ranged weapon (the bombard), and a solid (if unexciting) melee weapon. The Behemoth is 13 points, gets you two bombards, has great melee, has an extra point of armor, and looks sweet. So, for a measly four points more you get a lot more return on your investment, right? Right? Wrong. The reality is that the Destroyer continues to fill a useful role in Khador's arsenal - and is not supplanted in all instances by the Behemoth. Its All About the Gun.


Business end of the bombard.


Lets get the basics of the bombard out of the way-- long range; great POW (for a gun); 3'' AOE (to force good placement by your opponent and to still hit even when you miss); arcing fire (to ignore annoying screens); and because of that AOE, the ability to hit stealthed solos (I'm looking at you Eiyrss). Thats quite a set of abilities.



Fool'd ya! Its actually all About the Mission.


Two of my three beloved Destroyers 073 and 063 (named after Aircraft Carriers I worked on while in Tokyo)

What the Destroyer does is give a Khador player a mobile and amazingly survivable gun platform that can also defend itself in melee -- for 9 points. That's the key right there, when you have a role to fill, you should fill it as efficiently as possible. Yeah, yeah, the Behemoth is better in many ways, but its also four more points. If you dont have to spend four more points to get the job done - then dont. Simply upgrading to the Behemoth in all cases is wasting a large percentage of your available army list.

To put it another way, if you are trying to save money, and you can buy a nice Mazda for $20,000 to get to work or you can buy a nice BMW for $70,000 - which should you buy? Yes, the Mazda isnt as sexy as the BMW, but for utility, it does the same thing. Drawing the analogy out, you can do the same for making lists. You can choose fluff over substance (which is totally okay by me, heck, I encourage it), or you can choose to streamline your list. Since we are talking about relative utility of the Destroyer and I am (vainly) trying to convince you, dear reader, that the Behemoth isnt always the better choice, lets just put aside fluff and aesthetics for the time being. Phew.


The Behemoth, Focus, and You!



One! Two! Two bombards! Ah, ha, ha!




Amazingly enough, there is something that the Destroyer does better than the Behemoth - focus management with the gun. The Destroyer only has one gun and it can take a full allocation of focus. Thus, there is no issue boosting both to-hit and damage, maximizing the utility of the bombard. Because the Behemoth has two bombards (yay!) but can only have three focus allocated to both those bombards (boo!) you cant put two focus on each shot (boost hit/boost damage). The result is that you are paying for two bombards, but only one of which cant be used optimally (this is, of course, excepting 'jack bond characters - we will just ignore them). Because both the Destroyer and Behemoth have crappy RATs, getting two focus on each shot is a big deal. ...and lets be honest, you are buying the Behemoth and Destroyer for their guns. The other stuff they bring to the table is gravy, but its the guns that make these guys useful.

Ask yourself, whens the last time you took the Behemoth for its melee ability? Right. Never. Khador has better, more points-efficient options for beat-down. So, if the role of the Behemoth in your list is to be the ranged threat not only are you not getting maximum focus use, you are also wasting four precious points on AP fists you dont intend to use. Blech. (Note, if the role you have for the Behemoth is to be your utility jack and do both ranged and melee shenanigans, then yeah, its probably a better choice than the Destroyer - its all about knowing what role you want your jack to play).

In the Destroyer you got a very versatile weapon, and for a modest amount of focus, you can devastate just about any target -- at what amounts to extreme range (in Warmachine, at least). Thats really good. Better yet, if the Destroyer's target survives the hit, its going to have a hard time eliminating the Destroyer in response - since the 'jack is (naturally) heavily armored and mobile (not "fast" - "mobile"). Thats a nasty combo. There is nothing else in our lists that has the hitting power, focus efficiency, mobility and sheer survivability that the Destroyer brings to the table. Even heavily armored targets and warcasters have to steer clear of a Destroyer because of its hitting power and arcing fire. Lots of other models do one or maybe two of those things... but not all of them (mortar moves like crap, Widowmakers can have problems with multi-wound models, most other Khadorian jack guns are much shorter range). The exception to this rule, and one other jack that can do everything the Destroyer does, is the Behemoth -- but it has its own pitfalls as I note above. Indeed, if played correctly, the Destroyer should strike fear in your opponent so much so that they leave a nice big halo of empty space around your jack out of the fear or well-placed bombard shots.

I Love me Some Axe.

One unexciting melee weapon, coming right up!


Lets talk about the axe a little bit. No one loves the axe. Its solid, but unimpressive in a faction known for having so very impressive melee options. However, I love the axe. Lurv. It. Why? because its crappy, and you dont pay a premium for crappy melee weapons. Every stat, ability or advantage in Warmachine comes with a cost in points. Its the reason great options cost more points. When I build an army a lot of my selection process is based around paying the least amount of points for the stats/abilities I want to use. Everybody does this even if they dont think about it - why pay for Croe's Cutthroats (and all their special abilities) if all you want is a cheap tarpit unit? So, being happy with a crappy axe is due to using the Destroyer for the right role - a mobile gun platform. I dont want to have to pay for great melee in the Destroyer simply because I dont ever plan for it to be my primary melee jack. If the Destroyer were designed with a kick butt axe, its points cost would go up. I dont want that. I dont want to pay a premium on an ability or item I dont plan on using.

I have the same problem paying for solos that modify other units like the Marksman or Fenris... if I take one of those solos without the unit it modifies, I better have a very good reason. I hate choosing units with abilities I dont plan on using. What I do want out of that axe is reasonable hitting power, nothing more. The crit is nice, but nothing spectacular and is of such middling utility didnt drive up the cost of the Destroyer appreciably. So, I get what I want. A melee weapon that i can use and buff with focus if I really need to, but that doesnt waste points forcing up the price on the jack to add abilities or crit effects that aren't going to be used.

Take it! Its Yours!

Waitasec! I used this pic already. Boo.


Dont overlook the fact that the Destroyer is arguably our best model for taking and holding objectives. If you play games as something other than run-run-melee (which many Khador players seem to think is the only option - more power to them I guess), then the Destroyer is extremely valuable. It can advance to a spot, and with its armor absorbing hit after hit, hold that point for a couple rounds (at least). Better yet, since its bombard has great range and amazing hitting power, the Destroyer can camp that spot and still participate in the battle -- hitting challengers and severely weakening them before they ever get close to the objective point. When/if your opponent gets something to the point to try to push the Destroyer off, it has that handy axe for defending itself. There are other ways to take and hold an objective, but none so menacing and hard for your opponent to deal with than the (wrongfully-maligned) Destroyer. ...oh, and the Destroyer can hit stealthed targets at range. I've seen my opponent bring Eiryss to the table, just to see her wiped off the map by a nicely deviated bombard shot -- and then the Destroyer (in subsequent turns) deals ranged death to my opponent's most valuable models. Great armor + strong gun + great range = ideal unit to take and hold objectives.



Destroyers! Magetize and attack!


Pithy Analysis Conclusion: Use the Destroyer when you need:


1) A powerful shooty unit in your army (one of the best Khador has to offer).


2) To hold an objective (the best Khador has to offer).


3) When the Behemoth is too expensive.



Monday, March 21, 2011

Drago and Karchev

Nothing Fancy...

Just two of my favorite minis from my army:

Axe(s) to face(s)!

Red Khador is for wussies.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Recommendation: Comics (March '11)

Funny Pages that Arent Funny...

I read a reasonable amount of comics in TPB or Graphic Novel format. Usually, these are easy and quick reads, perfect for long days when I am sitting in bed getting sleepy. I like to think I am pretty discerning when it comes to comics -- I'm an adult and want good plots supported by interesting characters. So, with that said, I wholeheartedly suggest...

Locke and Key:







Its really, really good. The art is amazing and the plot is genuinely creepy and suspenseful. Its the story of a family, ripped apart by tragedy, and beset by all sorts of (inter-related) supernatural events. This is very much an adult comic with blood, violence and adult themes laced throughout the panels.


Whats really nice about Locke and Key is the art nicely supports the complex story-telling. If havent seen attention to detail in the art like this since the old Image series The Maxx. Many panels have little hints and foreshadowing buried in the crisp art, encouraging you to linger on each panel for a couple seconds to make sure you catch everything. Good stuff...

My other hotness lately is Powers:





Powers is not new (there are, like, 13 collections out already -- with more to come), and a lot of great reviews already exist (so i am not the only one crowing about its quality). Its a little like the Wire meets Heroes. Powers is the, hands-down, best super heroes comic I have ever read. Its also the best crime drama/noir comic I have ever read. Funny how it can be both... but thats what good writing will get 'ya. Again, adult situations and themes carry these books, so they are not for the wee ones.

There you go. Go buy 'em!

Monday, March 14, 2011

What Every Gamer Needs

Connecting People...

This is one of those posts that isnt revolutionary or anything, but deals with a topic I have to discuss if I am going to talk about gaming and overseas life. Bear with me.


This is a map of online connectivity in Africa. See that dark spot in the middle - the void of crappy internet? Yeah, I live there.



In this digital world the necessities for gamers has changed. Previously, we all needed a copy of some sort rules-set (usually D&D), a full set of polyhedral dice, a pencil, some paper, and a comfortable place to play. For much of my gaming career (the better part of 15 years now), those were the necessities.

Now? Now things are very different. Computers and the internet have changed a good deal - most of it for the better. From the above list the only absolute necessity that remains are friends and a copy of whatever rules you are using. You can get rid of everything else -- even the dice.

The reality of living overseas, mostly in the developing world, is that I am often the only gamer in thousands of miles. Take, for instance, my situation right now. I live in Central Africa (most of you likely cant find Gabon on a map). The closest large community of gamers is a 5 hour flight south into Pretoria/Jo'berg. Thus, if I want to game - either roleplaying or wargaming - I either have to find a way to stay in contact with other gamers from different parts or the world, or build my own gaming group.

For this blog, we are going to focus on staying in contact with other gamers. To that end, I come back to the title of this entry: What Every Gamer Needs is Skype.

This little "S" means "gg."


I'm going to try to avoid becoming a shill for Skype, but understand that it is invaluable for the transforming nature of gaming in the digital age. I am a big fan. Alongside Skype are Ventrillo and other comm protocols that are also easily available (and often free!). I firmly believe that Skype (and communications programs like Skype) are quickly becoming the norm for us as gamers. In ten years? I expect Skype gaming and the use of Virtual Table Tops (VTTs) will overtake traditional face-to-face games in terms of popularity.

More pressing for me, without Skype, I probably wouldn't be gaming. I currently play in a weekly game with my college buddies. We bounce between systems and campaigns every couple months, but it is so wonderfully regular. We figure out a time that works for us despite the time changes (I am seven hours ahead of CST, which are where my buddies mostly live) so there is a need to schedule ahead of time. But assuming we have a little foresight, we can game with little problem.

Alongside Skype we use Google Wave. Now, Wave probably isnt the best choice for everyone since it will cease to be directly supported by Google in the coming months, but some sort of program that allows for common editing and an online dice roller are all you need. Wave, for us, allows the group to share character sheets and game summary information as well as see the results of (virtual) dice rolls in real-time. Besides Wave, there are a whole host of virtual table tops coming on the market - some free, some not -- but most are useful. many VTTs have VOIP capabilities making Skype redundant (for my money though, Skype is still the way to go - cheap and very reliable).


Hey! Wrong VASSAL!

My buddies and I also use VASSAL. Its a program that is specifically designed to facilitate online play of board - and wargames. Readers of my older posts will know that this is pretty much the old may I can play Warmachine with any regularity outside of my yearly pilgrimage to GenCon. Skype with VASSAL allows me to spend an evening with my buddies practicing new army compositions and tactics. VASSAL is great not just for isolated gamers like me, its a good place to try the really wonky stuff you want to do on a wargaming table (8 bombards FTW!), but in an environment that is a tad less competitive. By its very nature, VASSAL creates an environment a little less intense than a standard table top.

Nope, not that Vassal, either.

Now, admittedly, pushing pixels of minis is not as fun as pushing lead around a table, but its something. Actually, VASSAL is a little like methadone for a heroine addict. Not as good as the real need, but it can tide you over.




Yeah, that Vassal.


Its amazing, really. In the span of 10 years or so, the gaming community has moved from being dependant on basements and brick-and-mortars, to playing virtually. Its been a boon for me, allowing me to keep my old gaming group going through the last 10+ years.





This, people, is the way of the future. Cosmonaut ho!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Moving Armies Pt. 2: From Old to New


"We're Going to Send Old Grey to the Farm... He'll Play With a Bunch of Other Bags in a Giant Field and Have All The Toy Soldiers He can Hold -- He'll Be Very Happy On The Farm..."

Yeah, right.





Isnt Old Grey Dignified?


As last we saw, Old Grey (pictured above, he's the bag) was close to forced retirement. He served me well for 10+ years, but the rips in his strap were telling and I didnt have confidence in the old man. Just like a 30 year old RunningBack, the performance is expected to drop off precipitously. (note, thats a pro tip right there for you Fantasy Football types - dont ever reach for a 31 yr old RB in the draft)




Rippin' at the seams!

As you can see, I did tape up Old Grey. This isnt the original duct tape I used, but shows just how concerned I was with the integrity of the bag. You can also see a 3-ring binder I used to hold my cards sticking out the top of the front pouch - that would be an issue I wanted to address (remember that for later).


.... In With the New.



The New Hotness next to the Old Standby

After weeks of research I eventually went with the Battlefoam Warmachine bag for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, I am a sucker for the "endorsement" -- having a good looking Warmachine logoright there in front. One of the other big selling points is that the Battlefoam bag is a bit bigger but, supposedly, is carry-on size for the airlines. ("supposedly" since I am havent personally tested it yet) I bought this bag to be portable and reliable for getting my army to GenCon no matter what continent I start on. This year its C. Africa, in a few months its going to be S. Asia -- in a few years, who knows? I need something strong and reliable and the Battlefoam people and their adverts sold me on its toughness.



The "standard load out" as Battlefoam calls it.

To put things in perspective, when I travel with my army to a con the basics of that travel involve at least 24 hours on a plane and transiting (not including going to the airport or security). It usually involves at least one transfer in an airport like Heathrow or Frankfurt, I have to go through customs and explain that, yes, I still play with toy soldiers -- and in some cases the whole shebang can take more than 48 hours. With all that movement, I absolutely need a bag that is durable and portable.

I wont go into all the nice features the Battlefoam Warmachine bag has since those bells and whistles are covered elsewhere (such as http://www.battlefoam.com/products/%28Warmachine%29-Privateer-Press-Warmachine-Bag-Standard-Load-Out.html) - but I will hit the highlights that justified the purchase of the bag to me.


/Begin Highlightage:

Thorough stitching and a tough (canvas-esque) exterior:


Easy access and lots good (deep) pockets (that has its own built-in binder):


Great foam:




Let me go into the foam a bit. Old Grey's Sabol foam trays are really starting to age. They are becoming discolored and the bottoms are starting to sag. Granted, they have been to hell and back and expecting themnot to show some signs of age is unfair - but still, no one wants to nestle their little soldiers in crappy foam (that last bit sounds dirty). Even when I first bought it, I was never quite happy with the foam's bottom/base. I always felt the pluck foam was thin and flimsy. Now, the bottom never ripped on any of the foam, but I was always extra careful because I worried the foam would bend and let a fig or three slip out. Agian, us gamer types are an anal lot, and thin foam bases annoy the crap out of us (us = me).







Older Sabol foam on the left, Battlefoam on the right -- fight!


The foam that game with the Battlefoam bag was great. It was both softer and studier (dont ask me how -I think its magic). In stark contrast to the pluck foam from Old Grey, the bases on these foam inserts are made of a soft rubber (or somesuch) and create a much more stable tray, even when filled with minis. This make me very happy and is worth the extra money Battlefoam charges for their foam.






Teh sexay rubber bottom.




SD holding my space elves -- Battlefoam tray up front... see the difference?


There are some issues with the Battlefoam bag. Not the least of which is that for a bag made to carry Warmachine minis, certain minis are conspicuously too big for the standard loadout.






Square peg, round hole.

Models like Behemoth and mounted Fenris simply dont fit -- even in the big tray that is supposed to hold big models like warjacks. My othe 'jacks do fit -- Kodiak, three Juggy/Dest/Marauder, Drago... they all fit nicely. But if you think the Battlefoam standard trays are enough for the really big models in the Warmachine line you will need to look for other options.

Still, remember that the Behemoth is BIG! and WIDE! - so again, its not unreasonable that he doesnt fit. My other 'jacks fit just fine and thats a good thing.


So, great new bag - solves all my travel and storage problems, right?


Well, in a word. No.


In another word?


Remember how I have a new baby? Yeah, well thats pretty important and sacrificing a carry-on (or a check-in) on a flight for my toy soldiers isnt an option. Worse, the Battlefoam Warmachine bag is bigger and a bit heavier than Old Grey and that means a lot more hassle when I have the family in-tow. Since the plan is for us all to leave Gabon this spring and vacation in the U.S. and Canada before relocating to Sri Lanka -- and during that time I will go to GenCon 2011 -- I have to make some hard choices about luggage, carry-ons, and what makes it back on this particular trip.





Beatings shall continue until morale improves!


I expect we'll have three seats, six bags, a lot of carry-ons, fly through three continents... and, consequently, little room for a full-sized bag to carry all my Khador minis. Bottom line - when it comes down to having carry-on luggage with diapers or one with Iron Fang Pikemen... diapers win. Always. Diapers win always (keep that in mind dads-to-be).


So, while I am a very happy customer with my new Battlefoam Warmchine bag, its a wee bit too big. To be fair, Old Grey would be too big for our return back to the States as well so its not a specific fault of the Battlefoam bag. In other situations , my new Battlefoam bag is going to be perfect (such as when I go to cons on my own, without the family in tow) -- but for this summer, I need something else. Its just the nature of the beast.


I think I have the solution on order.


TBC.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Moving Armies Across the World Pt. 1


Troop Movement!




Suitably lofty title, yes?

Its been said, and I am paraphrasing here, that amateurs study tactics, experts study strategy, and veterans study logistics. So, too, is it for wargamers.

Just like we obsess over minute gradations in shading and the technical specifications of little symbols we paint on our minis, we (usually) freak out about moving our little armies. The key, for many of us, like real generals, is simply getting the army to the fight. Get the army to where its supposed to be, and you have won more than 50% of the battle. For wargamers, getting our armies to whereever we are playing, with a minimum amount of damage and chipping, is a big deal. (why "minimum amount of damage?" -- because something always breaks in transit. Always).

I've seen army transport handled a lot of different ways - but all of them are loving. I've seen people use blankets, foam-filled shoe boxes, Styrofoam, tackle boxes (guilty!), gun cases, and, of course, specially-made carriers. I think you can tell a lot about the type of gamer you are playing with by how they carry their army.


We who are about to die, Salute You!


Simple shoebox? Probably just got into the game or are in the hobby exclusively for the competition and see the modeling aspect as superfluous.

Tackle box? Somebody who has been in the hobby for a little while, loves their army, but doesnt have the cash on hand to get a really snazzy bag.

Gun case? Someone wants to protect their army but is uninterested in a custom bag.

Professional Bag/Carry case? Been in the hobby for a while and has a sizable collection. Probably someone who has been in a tourney or two.

As you can imagine, army transport for someone like me is a very big deal. I travel a lot and as I build my Warmachine army, I need a way to be confident my travels arent going to overly stress the army. Being gainfully employed, money is certainly a concern, but not an impediment.



The Story of a Stalwart

For the last 15 years I used an old Sabol designs bag. At the time, this was cutting edge for moving armies. It has all this nice foam to carefully place your individual figures, a nice sturdy bag holds the foam, and it is carried by a solid nylon strap. After 15+ years of gaming with this bag, I call it "old grey." Old Grey has been a stalwart -- I count three moves to DC, one move to South Asia, one move to East Asia, one move to Africa. At various points doing those last 15 years, Old Grey ably protected my Dark Angels army and my Eldar Ulthwe army. Breakage did occur, but nothing serious. Old Grey is a good bag.


Old Grey is so old, I cant find a stock photo for his model. But his great-grandson is this guy.

Old Grey has been part of this blog. He/it was the bag I used to carry my Khador army to GenCon in 2010. I ended up buying some foam trays from Battlefoam to replace the (now seriously aged) SD foam of my bag. 15 years later, the Battlefoam foam was a bit of an upgrade - sturdier and softer. I was happy.

Old Grey was getting old and 2010 GenCon finally broke him. On the travel back home (to Dallas, not Africa) I noticed a bunch of rips in the bag around where the straps are secured. Apparently, the plastic covering of Old Grey, able to endure Asian monsoons, DC crappy weather, and trips around the world, finally started to become structurally unsound. Shoot.


My solution to a ripped bag? What any god-fearin' Texan would do.

Duct Tape!



If you cant Duct it F- it!

Old Grey was on his last leg. I decided, upon return from GenCon, that Old Grey was not going to serve as a carry-on any longer. The rips were too deep and I had these horrible images in my mind of the strap breaking and the army tumbling out. So, Old Grey went to Mailboxes Etc., got wrapped in bubble tape, put into a box, and mailed back to Africa.

Old Grey and my Army was waiting for me in Libreville when I returned home (re: the title of this blog). I made it back in early November after Elliot was born... but before Tracie or my daughter joined me. So, I had some quiet time with my army to see what made it through the mail. Props to Mailboxes Etc in Grapevine, Tx for doing an amazing job. The guy there took his time, listened to my story about why I was being totally anal, and simply smiled and added more bubble wrap.


Dear MBE - thanks for not sucking.

Only Fenris was broke when I unpacked the army in Libreville, and for those of you familiar with the Fenris model, its just this side of impossible not to break that guy.



Dont look now, but I think this .img of Fenris just broke.


To be Continued...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Time to start things back up!


Its about 3 months until Tracie, Elliot (my daughter, new to this blog since it took me so long to publish again), and myself rotate out of Gabon. The next stage is to return to the States/Canada through June and July and then off to Sri Lanka.

So, a quick summary of the last six months:

- Daughter (Elliot Patrice)

- Accepted a position in Colombo Sri Lanka in the POL office

- Will make a triumphant return to GenCon.

Lots to talk about in the coming weeks - stay tuned.