31 July 2007

I assembled a couple ranks of Orcs today, but I will need another box of them to finish off the unit. I was going to work on the Rat Ogre I've been painting, but I ended up only fixing a few spots I'd missed with the initial ink wash.

30 July 2007

My brother came over for the weekend and I think he had a pretty good time. We played a quick session of D & D and visitied a couple of the local hobby shops to have a look around. My brother-in-law had to work on Monday, so the big three-way Pirate brawl didn't happen. I did get a game in with my brother, as well as a request from my sister to let her play sometime. Hopefully sometime this week I'll be able to get a game in with her.
My dad has gone all-digital with his music, so when we went over to pick up my brother he gave us a stereo with a 100-disc cd changer and some speakers. I set it up when we got home and managed to avoid having anything blow up. We can't turn up the volume too much, as the neighbors will complain.
There was some drama on the Boise Warhammer message board this week, as a new member joined up and started advertising a campaign that conflicts with the one already in the planning stages. The conversation got pretty rough, and I'm waiting to see what happens. Both campaigns sound interesting to me, but I don't know if I'll even have time to play in one of them.

Table the Label, and Wear Your Own Name

27 July 2007

I'm going to go on a bit of a reality/elimination show rant here. Mike has been keeping up with a particular contestant on the show America's Got Talent who calls himself Boy Shakira. Basically, he skips around the stage in a wig and a skimpy outfit. There is no talent involved whatsoever. But the only judge who seems to realize this is David Hasselhoff, so Boy Shakira keeps getting bumped to the next round. With apologies to the Hoff, any show that makes him look like the voice of reason is a show that should not be on television. He can play the rescuing hero (The Spongebob Squarepants Movie, Baywatch) and the fool (Hooked on a Feeling, the drunky drunkerton video in which his 9-year old daughter tells him off for his alcoholism), but playing the only person in the room who gets it right is not a role that fits him.
The other day the show America's Next Top Model was on the TV in the break room at work. My issue with that show is really an issue with fashion in general. The girls on the show are downright scrawny, with ribs and shoulder blades and hipbones jutting out all over the place. They are obviously trying very hard to maintain extremely unhealthy weights, and are still complaining that they are too fat. It's disgusting, sad, and unattractive. It's a problem on a cultural level that has been discussed in much more depth than I can handle, but it'd be nice if people (women especially) could be happy with whatever size is healthy for them instead of constantly striving to be skeletal. I think with men the ideal image is more of a muscular build that causes some people to take steroids and whatnot in order to get huge, often with tragic results like the recent murder-suicide involving pro wrestler Chris Benoit and the debacle that is Barry Bonds' pursuit of the career home-run record. In either case, folks need to wake up and realize that some of us will never look like Arnold or whatever emaciated model is famous right now and instead concentrate on being healthy.
In happier news, my miniature pirate force is about to get a lot bigger as I snagged 40 Old Glory pirates for $0.75 apiece from a poster on The Miniatures Page.
My little brother is pretty excited to come over for the weekend, so that's good. Hopefully we'll be able to get a lot of different games in while he's here.
We got a new rat today to keep Herbert company. We haven't named her yet, but they're having a great time chasing each other around the cage. It's going to make my Basset Hound crazy as he seems to think they're squirrels that need him to bite them.
I played through the computer game Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far again. I think it was originally released in 1997, but I still enjoy it. It's sort of a WWII RTS that takes you through Operation Market Garden. I'd really like to get a couple of games from Matrix Games, but they are rather expensive and very time-intensive. I'd say they come close to being a computerized Avalon Hill game on a huge scale. Probably not the sort of thing to get into just before school starts. They do have a Close Combat title based on the Eastern Front that I'd like to try out.
I think that's everything. I'll close up with a video featuring some advice from Mr. T.

26 July 2007

My brother-in-law and I tried out the Blood and Swash rules last night, with six pirates on each side. I think we played the rules for reloading weapons wrong, as shooting seemed a little overpowered in the game. I think the rules were meant to have shooting be an occasional thing, with the focus being on swordplay and swashbuckling. I also think we played some of the other attacks in the wrong way, using a Save roll for every defender rather than rolling against the stat listed on the chart. We'll get it all sorted out this weekend, though, when my little brother comes over to visit. In the game last night, my brother-in-law's leader was able to fend off several of my lesser pirates and win the game.

24 July 2007

I tried to do some painting on the Rat Ogre tonight, but I didn't get very far before I lost my motivation for painting. I put some clearcoat on the bartender and the barmaid. After that I fiddled around with planning for my WWII Eastern Front skirmish project. I'm still trying to decide whether I should go with Micro Armour scale or 15mm scale. So far I've been able to find all of the miniatures I need for my scenarios in Micro Armour scale, but I don't know the 15mm manufacturers well enough to find all the figures in 15mm.
Then I made up some stat cards for all of my pirate miniatures. I personalized them a little bit by cropping a headshot for each pirate and gluing it onto an index card. Then I used the tables in the Blood & Swash rule booklet to roll up the various stats for the figures. I may have my little brother over for a day or two this weekend, and hopefully we'll be able to play a game. I don't have a tavern built yet, but we can probably rig up some sort of scenario on the table using felt for terrain. If we end up playing I'll try to take pictures so I can post them here.

Herbert has been enjoying her new cage immensely. Every so often she'll come flying out of her cardboard house and jump up all of the ramps to the top of the cage, and then she'll jump back down to the bottom.

Well, I finished painting up the one barmaid, but the other one looks so bad that I may dunk her in some Simple Green and start over. This one looks pretty bad too, but not so bad that it'd be worth stripping the paint off and starting over. Besides, I'd like to run my tavern brawl game sometime this year. In the meantime, I'm working on another Rat Ogre for my Skaven and slowly assembling a unit of Warhammer Orcs.

In other news, we went to the pet store to get a rat to feed to our snake, and we ended up getting an addition for Herbert's cage. It's basically a big wire box with three levels and some ramps that clamps down over the top of a ten-gallon aquarium. We were going to get another rat to keep Herbert company, but all three pet stores we went to either had male rats only or no rats at all. Herbert will have to wait on getting a friend until Wednesday or Thursday when more rats come in.

I suppose it's a little strange for us to have some rats for feeding and some rats as pets, but Herbert is practically a family member now, as well as being a bit large for our snake to eat without trouble. I'm working on getting her to trust me enough that she can run around on my desk every day. I can't let her run too free because our Basset Hound wants to eat her. When we put her new cage addition on the aquarium, he stood by my desk whining for me to let her out so he could eat her.

22 July 2007

I'm about 70% finished with painting one barmaid, and I hope to have the pair of them all painted up by the time I go to work on Tuesday. Their faces don't look that great, I just can't seem to paint female faces.

20 July 2007

I Love Technology

I'm sure my new computer is quite awesome and will be a great asset in my life, but so far it's been a pain in my butt. I spent all of tonight getting my computer and my mp3 player to talk to each other. Finally I was able to download the correct software in the correct order and am in the process of transferring my music. Unfortunately, since I spent the entire evening doing that I wasn't able to spend it listening to music and painting miniatures. Well, my computer just informed me that there isn't enough space in my music library for a couple thousand mp3s, which is odd, since I've got some 300 GB of hard drive left. Off I go to another hour or two of frustration...

19 July 2007

I've Been Tagged

Jamie tagged me, so I get to answer questions about myself. Theoretically, I could tag someone else, but I don't know many people with blogs well enough to ask them these questions. On to the answering...
Jobs You've Had
  1. Moving Sprinkler Pipes
  2. Milking Cows
  3. Idaho Army National Guard (Tank Driver, Humvee Gunner, Bradley Gunner)
  4. FedEx Freight Dockworker

Movies I Watch Over and Over

  1. Stuff I find on YouTube, mostly.

Places I've Lived

  1. Wichita Falls, Texas
  2. Aviano AFB, Italy
  3. Springville, Utah
  4. Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
  5. Eagle River, Alaska
  6. Boise, Mt. Home, Emmett, Moscow, and Meridian, Idaho
  7. San Diego, California
  8. Kirkuk, Iraq

Places I Want to Visit

  1. Maybe Europe again, so the wife will have a chance to go.
  2. Some National Parks and whatnot here in the States.
  3. Australia

Places I Have Visited

  1. Most of the U.S.
  2. Canada
  3. Amsterdam
  4. Germany
  5. Switzerland
  6. Italy
  7. Austria

TV Shows I Watch

  1. None

Websites I Visit

  1. These can mostly be found in my sidebar, although I do spend a lot of time on the Yahoo! Fantasy Sports pages. The majority of my online time is spent on The Miniatures Page, Fantasy Sports, various blogs, and the sites of miniatures and miniatures rules vendors.

My new computer got to my house today, although it almost didn't make it. Even though the box had my address printed correctly on it, UPS put it on the doorstep of a house down the street. Luckily, the lady who lives there was honest enough to come tell my wife about the mistake. The box wouldn't fit in my wife's car, so she had to take it all apart on the lady's porch and load it up piece by piece.

Once I got home from work I set it all up and got ready to transfer my files from the old computer to the new one. That was incredibly frustrating. First the new computer wouldn't connect to the wireless network. Then the old computer wouldn't read the Shared Files folder anymore. Then the old computer wouldn't burn a cd. Finally I had to go over to my brother-in-law's house to get out of the house before I tossed both computers out this window. He had a cable that I was able to use to get the files from one machine to the other, and now all that's left to do is get World of Warcraft up and running. I think I'm going to have to get a wirless keyboard, as my desk is missing it's keyboard tray and the cable from the keyboard to the computer is very much in the way.

18 July 2007

My Harry Potter Spoiler of Doom is:
Ginny Weasley kills Ron in the study, with the lead piping.
Get your Harry Potter Spoiler of Doom
I spent my evening painting this stern-looking barkeep from Reaper.

17 July 2007

I didn't do much work on any miniatures this weekend, instead focusing on working out my army lists for various Warhammer armies and then figuring out what I need to purchase to fill out the lists. I still need a few Skaven, a large number of Orcs and Goblins, and quite a few Space Marines. My Witch Hunters Sisters of Battle army is going on the shelf for now as the models are fiddly and I don't enjoy painting them all that much.
I also visited a bunch of non-Games Workshop sites and made a list of figures I would like either for specific projects or just because I like the models. Some of the vendors include Impact!, Foundry, Artizan Designs, Superfigs, Pulp Figures, Newbold World, and Hasslefree Miniatures. I also have a rather lengthy Reaper wish list, and I need to figure out some lists of Micro Armour that I'll need for my WWII project. It's a lot of miniatures, and it should take me several years (perhaps over a decade) to acquire and paint them all. Of course, as time goes on I'll be adding to the list, so hopefully I'll never actually paint my last miniature and risk certain death.
I also discovered a new ruleset to help me use all of the figures on my wish list that don't fit a current project. I found the rules via a link on The Miniatures Page. They are called Song of Blades and Heroes, and for $4 are a pretty good value. The game is a small skirmish-level game with fairly simple rules. I'll probably end up using these rules in place of the Reaper Warlord rules. That way I'll still be able to build up my Warlord armies, but without feeling obligated to follow my army lists so closely. And I can use a whole assortment of barbarian miniatures for another warband option. There are some simple campaign rules for fighting other warbands and building your forces up over the course of several battles. It is designed for 15mm minis, but includes conversions for 28mm measurements.

13 July 2007

My wife bought me some Hogan Energy drinks today, and while the concept and packaging are awesome, the product itself leaves a lot to be desired. All energy drinks are extremely bad for you, but some of them taste good. Hogan Energy is not one of the good-tasting ones. I think they may have actually included some actual Hulk Hogan fluids in every can.
I've started work on the tavern crew, and it's reminded me how much I hate painting humans. The skin tones and faces are just terrible to paint. With rats I just have to slap on two base colors and a brown ink wash. With humans I have to work through endless layers of Tanned Flesh, Dwarf Flesh, Elf Flesh, and various mixes of all the above just to get them looking somewhat decent, and half the time the paint ends up all chunky and chalky anyway. It's enough to drive me into a life of crime so I can sell the stolen goods and hire Fernando to do the painting for me.
I am having mixed feelings about the approaching weekend. One the one hand, it's the weekend and I won't have to go to work for two days. On the other, I will have to pick up where I left off as far as organizing the house so we can get the final couple of rooms all cleaned up and organized. I think that once we get the house all cleared out I'll feel much better about the work I had to do to get it done. On the topic of housecleaning, my wife's new vacuum arrived today, and she was pretty excited about that. I have no idea how someone could get excited about a vacuum, but there are many things I do not understand.
I have to go back to school this Fall, and I think that is causing some stress in my subconscious mind. I don't usually remember my dreams at all, but the last couple days I've had some ridiculous nightmares. I'm only taking two classes, as my attempts to go to school full-time since I got home from Iraq haven't turned out so well. My attention span and information retention is not what it used to be, and that makes it difficult to study. From conversations with my fellow soldiers it would seem that this is not really an uncommon problem. I don't know if it's a result of training or stress or anthrax shots or some combination of the whole wartime experience, but sometimes I can barely remember my name. Reading used to be a favorite activity for me, but I can hardly make it through a magazine article anymore. I actually have to take breaks while reading battle reports in White Dwarf, and it's not just because of the glaring grammatical errors. I've got a couple of books that I'm going to start reading in an effort to get my mind back together for school. Hopefully I survive this semester and can take a couple more classes in the Spring.
I really want to get started on my Orcs and Goblins army, but I have too many projects going on right now to fit them in. Besides that, I need another box of Orcs before I can build my first unit. I don't want to paint some of them now and some later, as I'll run into the same problem I'm having with my expanded Plague Monk unit. I painted them so long ago that I can't remember how to replicate the paint job on the extra figures.
This has been a long and winding post. It would've been even worse but I cut out several parts that didn't even make sense to me.
Immediately after I finished my last post, I found the motivation to finish painting that last Night Runner. That means my 2250-point Skaven army is done. Tonight I'm going to start working on the Bartender and Serving Wenches for my Pirate tavern brawl scenario. I also need to find a miniature to represent the Governor's daughter, as kidnapping her during the ruckus will be worth some victory points and more than likely lead into the next scenario I run. Once the tavern crew are finished I will have to build the tavern itself.

12 July 2007

I couldn't get motivated about painting tonight, so I played World of Warcraft instead. Not much else is going on at the moment, although I've been thinking about making a master list of miniatures I want to purchase over the next few years. It seems like a cool idea, but it also seems like a lot of work. I could probably apply my time to better endeavors.

11 July 2007

I have been slowly working on the last figure I need for my 2250-point Skaven army. The reason for my slow progress is that I've spent most of my time daydreaming about all the miniatures projects I want to do in the future. I wrote them all out on a piece of paper, but I lose papers all the time, so maybe a blog post is in order, as it's somewhat difficult to lose one of those. They are somewhat in order of priority near the top of the list, but in the middle and end parts of the list it is whatever I happen to have the motivation and budget for.
  1. 3000-point Skaven army (with some extras)
  2. 3000-point Orcs and Goblins army (probably with extras by the time I'm done with it)
  3. 28mm Pirates, along with Tavern employees, the Governor's troops, the Governor and his daughter (for kidnapping), and various civilians
  4. Skirmish Campaigns WWII Eastern Front scenarios in 15mm or Micro Armour scale
  5. 28mm Old West
  6. 28mm Gladiators
  7. Super System superheroes, villains, bystanders, and whatever odds and ends I can add to them
  8. Space Marines, not sure on the point size yet
  9. Various figures that catch my eye but have no discernible use for me at the moment. This includes figures from Hasslefree, Impact!, Reaper, GW, and a multitude of other companies. I imagine I can work them into Mordheim warbands or HOTT armies.
  10. Mech combat, probably using Reaper's CAV figures and perhaps their rules as well

It seems like a lot of stuff, but compared to the lists of some Miniatures Page regulars, I am a relative lightweight. I guess I should go to work now, so I may remain among the gainfully employed.

We had some tentative plans to attend the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle with my sister and brother-in-law, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. It's a shame, as it looks like an extremely nerdy good time. Maybe next year.

I've decided to let my EVE Online trial account lapse, as I don't feel there is enough gameplay for the money in the game. It seems that you spend most of your time mining asteroids while waiting for your skills to level up, rather than actively working on something exciting.

Pirates Based

I finally got around to finishing off the bases for my pirate miniatures. I started out just using the white sand, but that was extremely boring. So I added some stuff on top of the sand and I think the bases look pretty good now. I don't know how accurate they are for the beaches of the Caribbean, but I'm not really going for historical accuracy here anyway. I thought about doing some sort of wooden planking for the bases, but that seemed difficult to pull off. I plan on running scenarios both indoors and outside, so either way I'm going to end up with minis whose bases look out of place half the time. For my first scenario I just have to paint my tavern employees and build the tavern itself. It shouldn't be too difficult, it's just a matter of assembling the materials and making time to work on it. For now I'm going to set the pirates aside and work on finishing up my Skaven army.

10 July 2007

A Productive Weekend

The wife and I got a lot accomplished this weekend, which has been good for morale. We were able to go through most of the stuff in the house and throw out a ton of junk, find places for "keeper" items, take unneeded but servicable items to the thrift store, and move all of the furniture around to match our plan. I am still in awe of the sheer volume of what we were able to push through. The public areas of the house (living room, kitchen) are practically free of clutter, and it will probably take another day or so of work to get the computer/hobby room and the bedroom up to snuff. It's nice to finally have all of our space be usable. Once the house is all done up the way we need it, we'll able to go through the last three or four boxes in the storage shed and set that up as some sort of useful area as well.
Our dogs were pretty stressed out by all the changes, especially since we moved their kennels from the back room to the living room. Annie (the Labrador) has been even more on edge than usual, running around frenetically and being extra clingy around my wife. Buddy (the Basset Hound) peed on the floor, which is how he deals with stress. At least he did it on the floor this time, as last time he got stressed out he did his business on our bed, with most of the damage being done to my wife's pillow.
I think Herbert the rat is ill with some sort of wheezy, sneezing disease. That doesn't really bode well for her life expetancy, as sick animals don't make very good pets. Other than the wheezing, she seems to be quite full of energy and doesn't really make a nuisance of herself, so maybe she'll start feeling better after she settles into her new environment a bit more. A big plus is that she hasn't tried to bite me yet.
I want to get started on my WWII miniatures project, but it seems like the initial jump into a game or period is the most expensive part. I figure that to play the first three scenarios in my Skirmish Campaigns book I'll need an investment of about $200 for miniatures, terrain, and paints. I'll end up with a bit more infantry than I need for the scenarios, but the infantry isn't really all that expensive. That price tag will go up if I use actual plastic/resin/metal buildings instead of ordering one of the cardstock kits or paper kit downloads that are available. I think WWII may have to wait until I finish buying my Skaven army and perhaps a fair portion of my Orcs and Goblins.
I've made a few changes to my Skaven army lists, as I discovered during my games that some of the equipment on my Hero models was redundant or inneffective. There really isn't much change in the number of models I need, but the list should play a little better now. I also worked out a unit of Plague Monks as a potential substitute for the Giant in my 2250- and 3000-point lists. That way if I run into an opponent who objects to Dogs of War, I can pull out a huge unit of Frenzied Monks which are probably worse to fight than the Giant anyway.

06 July 2007

It's not a great picture, but the Clanrat Slaves are all finished now. Along with the Giant, my 2250-point army list is nearly filled out. All I really need now to finsih it up is one or two Night Runners. I thought I would just need one more Night Runner, but I've made a few changes to my list this week and opened up a few more points that I can use.
I made a list of several things to do tonight, but the only thing I really made any progress on was painting the unit of Clanrat Slaves that has been sitting on my desk for a couple of months. Actually getting out and playing with my miniatures has led to a new motivation for getting the paints out again. I got a lot of compliments on my fully-painted army during my two games this week, so that was a nice little thumbs-up for my ego.

I've determined that Clanrat Slaves are awesome. Each unit of 20 only costs forty points, so they make very effective meat shields and can tie up many times their point cost for a turn or two. In the game I played on Wednesday, I think the Slaves really helped me keep the points close. If the Slaves had been switched out for regular Clanrats, my opponent would have ended up with an extra two hundred points or more. As it was, he spent a couple of turns killing two units of Slaves that were only worth 80 points to him. Then there wasn't enough time to finish the job on my more expensive units.
I've also decided that Plague Monks are insanely studly, especially when equipped with extra hand weapons. I'm pretty excited for my 3000-point list, because my Monks are going to get a big boost in numbers and power. That unit will be a hard-hitting beast.

I ordered my new computer today, so that's pretty exciting. Due to my military status, I got around a 25% discount. My wife also got a nice vacuum cleaner that she's had her eye on. The deal was that I could get a new computer once the house was set up they way we've been planning. We jumped the gun a little on ordering it and I won't be able to set it up for a while due to space restrictions, but it's good motivation for finishing up the reorganization of the house.

The Old West miniatures in the case at the game store have got me thinking about new projects. The store also has some very nicely-painted Old West buildings and terrain. I'm assuming that that stuff is well out of my budget, but I know there are some decent cardstock building sets out there that I could print off and build. The minis at the store are from Artizan Designs, and there are also a lot of figures from Foundry that are very nice. Someday it would be nice to buy a couple of the Foundry Horde deals, but it's hard to justify the expenditure as Foundry models aren't the cheapest around.
I should probably head to bed now, as I have to wake up and clear my remaining junk out of the living room. Then it's off to the bedroom to find spots for all of my clothes and White Dwarf magazines that are piled up all around the floor. Once that's done we should be able to start shuffling things to make way for my big desk and computer. We'll be moving the computers and hobby stuff to the current bedroom, the bedroom will be moved to the bigger room, and the dogs and junk in that room will be moved to the living room and shed, in that order. I made the suggestion that the dogs would be fine in the storage shed, but my wife used her veto power and sent it back to Congress.
Last week when my wife fed our python, Lucy didn't eat her second rat. That's never occured before, so we now have a rat living in one of our spare aquariums. I made the unfortunate mistake of naming him today, so I'm wondering if we'll be able to feed Herbert to Lucy when her next feeding time comes around. I've just gone over and had a look at Herbert. Herbert appears to be a female. What an unfortunate name.
Which reminds me, I need to work another condition into the cleaning of the house. Perhaps if we can clear out enough space, I will be allowed to have a tortoise.

05 July 2007

4th of July

Today was the 4th of July, so my wife and I did some pretty patriotic things. I played a game of Warhammer, she took the dogs to the dog park, and we cleaned up the living room a little. With the two of us basically living the nerdy bachelor lifestyle, stuff piles up very quickly on any flat surface in our home. We're trying to get it to the point where people can come over and visit, but it's slow going.
I played my second-ever game of Warhammer today. I had posted on the forum that I was going to be at the store with my army today, to either watch the game that was going on or play any challenger that came along. A guy from the group showed up with a Hordes of Chaos Tzeentch army and some free time, so we cleared off a table and got our armies out. I do not have any familiarity with Chaos armies, so everything was new to me. He had a lot of magic, so it was quite a change from playing against Dwarves.
I don't remember things very well in chronological order, so I'll just hit main points of the battle as I think of them. Two of his level 2 spellcasters miscast their spells and each ended up losing a caster level and a spell from their list. For an army that relies so much on magic, that was a big blow.
He had one spell that would make one of my units fight amongst themselves. Luckily, I rolled well during those combats and my rats didn't kill very many of themselves.
His army general had a flying mount with a long movement range, so a couple of my units spent key turns of the game chasing him. Then he would fly off in another direction, leaving my unit in the middle of nowhere facing away from the battle.
My Warp-Lightning Cannon was strong again, accounting for several of his soldiers and only one of my rats. If I'd been a little more courageous about shooting my own guys, I probably could have killed some more of his army.
My Rat Ogres were worthless again, getting killed as soon as they got into combat. Once again, I think my units of Slaves outlasted the big brutes. I guess it's true that the units you spend the most time painting are the ones that spend the least time on the table.
At the end of Turn 6, my opponent was in line for a pretty solid victory, but two of my units passed their rally tests and he was denied those points, so we ended in a draw. I also had several units on the table that were one or two models over half of their starting strength, so that was another couple hundred points he could have had.
Apart from the two miscasts, he outplayed me the whole way, but I had some lucky dice today and I was able to pull a draw out of my hat. I had a pretty good time because I was able to get most of my units into combat and maneuver a bit more than in the game against the Dwarves on Monday. Hopefully with some practice I'll be able to start winning some games.

03 July 2007

EVE Online

I've been trying out a new MMO the last week or so. It's called EVE Online, and it's a spaceship MMORPG. The game's homepage is located here. So far I'm not sure how I feel about the game.
One unique thing about the game is that there is only one server. Everyone plays in the same world, rather than the multiple server system that most MMOs seem to have, where each server holds only a certain number of people before it's full. So everyone who plays EVE Online is playing together in one universe.
Another interesting feature of the game is that your ship never logs off. Even when you close the game, your ship remains in space and can be killed unless you log off while in a space station.
Every area of the game is a potential PvP zone, but in areas with a certain security rating attacking another player will cause you to be wanted by the police. I'm not sure exactly how the PvP system works, because you apparently need an extremely nice ship and some high skill levels to venture into the real PvP areas. It is entirely possible to play the entire game without fighting other players, as you can fight computer-controlled criminals and mine asteroids. There is a whole set of skills and ships that deal with the business side of the game. I'm assuming that to get the really rare minerals you have to venture out into less secure areas of space, but that is far away.
There doesn't seem to be a real "level" system like you see in standard RPGs. Instead, there is a skill point system. Basically, each piece of equipment requires that you have certain skills to use it. You can train the skills that you already have for free, but to learn an entirely new skill you have to buy the book for it and train it from the book. All skill training is free once you've got the book, but it takes a certain amount of time to train each rank of a skill. Most skills have five levels, and the time it takes to level each one increases by quite a bit. To get level one may take an hour, level two may take 5 hours, level three could take 15 hours, level four might be a day, and level five might take seven days or more. It's pretty confusing, but once you get the hang of it you can plan out the skills you need based on the equipment you want to have.
The PvE missions are not that great. They seem to be a way to make some good money and get involved in the world, but in general they seem hard to follow and not very rewarding.
The game is quite engaging, but the learning curve is extremely high and the interface is counter-intuituve enough to make you throw your mouse across the room. It's very difficult to find out how to do anything in the game, and most information that could prove helpful is buried on the website, on a fansite, or has to be trial-and-errored until you get it right. I'm not sure if it's because the game was developed in Iceland and there is a cultural thought-process barrier there or if that difficulty was built in on purpose, but it's definitely not for the faint of heart. It's almost like tackling one of the old Avalon Hill boardgames.
I may have to put the computer away for a bit, as my poor Warhammer showing today needs to be avenged. I also have been itching a little to get back into the swing of painting minis, so we'll see if I actually pick up the brush and get some stuff finished. I saw some painted Artizan Old West figures at the game store today. They looked pretty good, and I may have to pick some of the packs up next time I'm in the shop.

Venturing Out Into the World...

I played my first game of Warhammer today. It was quite the learning experience. I was able to set up a game through the Boise Warhammer Yahoo! group and I took my Skaven army to one of the local stores to meet my opponent.
We got through five turns before his Dwarves had all but dismantled my army and I conceded the game. There were a lot of flaws in my game plan, and I still don't completely have a grasp on the turn sequence and the specific rules of my army. Hopefully with time and a few more games under my belt I'll be able to get better and move faster when it's my turn.