Who the frack am I?

 So if you’re here I guess I owe you the chance to get to know the author a little bit before deciding if you want to continue.

<— that is me after a night of drinking, should be filed under “WORST PHOTO EVER” but keeps managing to pop up every once in a while.  I guess it shows me at my worst, so serves as a good reminder to me and to others that I am as human and fallible as anyone.

I am a proud Canadian man with a wife and young daughter, a teenage daughter from when I was in high school who I am trying to be the best person I can be for her now that we are starting to forge a relationship, and the frustrated owner of two cats. 

I suffer from OCD, and have far too much space taken up in our house with my toys and comic collection.  Not sure how my daughter is going to get her toys in around all of Dad’s miniatures and action figures.  Guess I’ll have to tidy my stuff up. 

My intent with this blog is to start documenting my foray into the world of tabletop miniatures, as this is a new hobby to me that I have enjoyed because it lets me cover a few bases; I get to spend money to collect some cool miniatures, I get to learn to assemble, clean and paint said mini’s, and when playing I get to socialize with some pretty decent people.  Some of them are asshats I won’t lie, but most are pretty decent nerds.

So, my tabletop gaming experience to date:  I bought into Games Workshop’s Lord of the Rings game when it first came out around the time the LotR trilogy movies were popular.  This is a 25mm scale game where you collect and assemble the armies of Middle-Earth and play against others with their own themed armies.  You can be Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Men, Hobbits and others in this game.  Due to a long-time love of Tolkien’s masterpiece I got into these models, and assembled and started to paint a bunch of them.  Being new to the hobby I never actually played any games, just wanted to work on the assembling and painting of said models.  I got some of my Gondorians painted, and was happy with what I had learned in the process.  Some basic painting skills like dry-brushing, mixing two colours to get transitions between a base and highlight colour, and some simple tricks to paint models.  Unfortunately the store I was going to in Fairview Mall closed down, and I didn’t do a very good job at staying with the painting after that.

Enter 2006, and a new little hobby store opened RIGHT around the corner from our house.  I started swinging by to see if they were going to caryy my beloved comics or action figures, and get to know the people there.  It seemed to be more about the wargaming and tabletop miniatures, so I was looking at these things every time I went by.  More and more people, from the young to the middle-aged were going by the store to purchase, paint and play these games right in the store.  I thought that was a great idea, and just kept observing, not knowing how the games were played or what was involved.  Eventually some boxed sets of mini’s caught my eye: a bunch of knights wielding swords in this cool blue armour and covered faces.  They were from a game called Warmachine and belonged to a group called “Cygnar”.  The 6 man unit were called “Stormblades”.   Apparently these guys had lightning swords and were all about the smashing of face with their great looking armour and lighting swords.  This appealed.  I checked out what else belonged to this Cygnar group, and they had some very cool looking large-sized metal machines called “Warjacks”.  Picture tall, bulky robots with large swords, hammers and guns in cool poses.

This also appealed.  Upon closer scrutiny I found that the game revolves around a “Warcaster” character and their group of autonomous Warjacks that they give magical energy to called Focus.  The Warcaster gets a certain amount of Focus assigned to them each turn in the game, and they in turn use that Focus to have the Warjacks do cool moves or attacks or use it to power their spells.  Not only were there some cool fantasy themes here in this game, but there were also GUNS and giant freaking ROBOTS called Warjacks that wander around and smash the face of the guy you’re playing against.

SOLD.

I bought the Cygnar nation’s starter box because it had the “Good guy” hero Coleman Stryker in it, and three Warjacks with which I could play and have fun with.  I like the good guy, and always relate to and associate myself with the protagonist in any story, so this faction and box appeaed most to me.  Then I could get the Stormblades and other units and Warjacks, as well as special models called “solo’s” that would help me build a decent skirmish army for playing this game against others.

Sadly Gryphon Games is gone, but I still managed to buy most of the models for Cygnar as well as some mercenary models to complement my army from that store before it went out of business.  I hope to be a part in getting it back at some point, but for now I am without the store that gently took my gaming cherry.

One of the great things about Gryphon is that there were tables in the store where you could bring your stuff, sit down and paint it while chatting with the owner and other gamers.  To me this was a HUGE benefit because without some people there to discuss the game with, the models with, and to offer me tips and tricks on how to paint, I likely would have abandoned the game altogether.  I had a lot of fun learning how to clean and assemble the miniatures while at that store.  Picked up more skills on how to paint as well, but found I disliked painting units or groups of similar models and much preferred working on and getting one model finished and ready to play on a table.  I like the feeling of accomplishment of getting something done that I can show off, be proud of, and then enjoy.  And hey I won’t be winning any competitions with my painting, but a painted force looks great on a table rather than just plain monochrome colour or metal.

Since that time I have almost every model for the Cygnar faction, and some of them are painted.  I also picked up a second faction for the Warmachine sister game, “Hordes”, called the Circle of Orboros.  Basically some nature-loving hippies, Druids, Werewolves and creatures of the forest.  Hordes have giant Beasts and monsters rather than Warjacks, and I went with the faction I thought looked coolest.  I’ve also moved to playing bi-weekly at a new store in Toronto, Dueling Grounds.  It’s a good store that has lots of room for a bunch of games to be played at once, and since it’s move to the new location has much higher ceilings so that I don’t get creeped out and claustrophobic.  I’m supporting them as much as I can, and trying to get in tight with that community of players, as well as bring some of the ones from Gryphon, together.  In a city this vast, there should be lots of people to play against.

This is running long, and you’ve likely learned that I type too much and tend to ramble.  What I hope to do is start posting more about the games I play, the work I’m doing, my painting progress, and my thoughts and emotions on the hobby and gaming in general.  Many thanks to the guys that have motivated me to start this up and do more with my models; Andy, Ginger-Chu, Chris, Chris (no it’s not a mistake, there are two of them) and the Axe.  Hope some of you read my blog, and hope I can eventually beat all of you occasionally.

Cheers for now,

Northblade.

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