25 February 2008

W.I.P. Photo and Army Builder Addiction

I really didn't work on the Easterlings much this weekend as I spent most of my time with the wife. We took the dogs to the dog park, which is generally a good time. My sister went with us and brought our niece and their dog. Buddy goes around to get petted by everyone and sniff the other dogs' rear ends and Annie lives only to chase the ball. My wife picked up a Chuck-It, so we can throw the ball the length of the dog park fairly easily. Well, I can. Bekah can throw it directly into the ground fifteen feet out. Either way, Annie loves it. She completely ignores the other dogs and people, and we actually have to cut her off after a certain number of throws or I think she would chase the ball until the point of exhaustion.
Once we got done there we hit up the shopping center with Hobbytown and the fabric store (a pretty good arrangement), so the girls went their way and I went mine. I picked up my Lord of the Rings Dwarf box set and some paint. The store had one copy of the Field of Glory rules on a shelf as well as one of the Roman army books. I thumbed through them and decided to order a copy once I got home. Perhaps if it had been at the FLGS (Friendly Local Games Shop) I would have purchased it there, but Hobbytown isn't all that supportive of gamers and I could get the main rulebook and the Late Medieval army book on Amazon for the same price as just one book at Hobbytown. Rumor has it that the army book covering the Dark Ages and Vikings will be released in early 2009, so I've got that to look forward to.
After making my purchases from Hobbytown and Amazin I still had a little fun money left over to blow, so I agonized over that for a while. I was leaning heavily toward the Carlos shirt from the Supergrass website as I've wanted that shirt and the McVicar shirt since ca. 1999. The exchange rate from here to the UK has always put it just out of reach for me, though. Also, the McVicar shirt doesn't come in a size small enough for me.
The other option was to order a couple of Games Workshop figures and parts that are only available on their website. Most important is the Goblin Warboss on Gigantic Spider figure, which is extremely awesome.
While I was debating the merits of those options I came across a thread on The Miniatures Page discussing the Army Builder software, which is basically an army list builder that calculates point totals and the legality of various army builds. I browsed on over to the site and saw that the list of supported games covers most of the armies I have planned, so I purchased a license and downloaded the software. I then proceeded to become obsessed with making army lists. I made digital versions of my Skaven and Orcs & Goblins at the 1000, 2000, 2250, and 3000-point levels. I built two Mordheim warbands. I put together a lot of Lord of the Rings army lists at 500 points and then expanded those lists out to 1000 points. I even put together a couple of Warhammer Ancient Battles lists for Vikings. I've barely even started and already I've probably got my money's worth out of the program. So I'm pretty excited about that.
One thing I've tried to do with my Lord of the Rings lists is avoid the use of named characters. I don't want my armies to be bogged down in the minutiae of the Lord of the Rings universe, and I don't want my games to be hero-fests, where the regular troopers are just there as cannon fodder for the big nasty heroes. This is a lot easier at the 500-point level due to the limits that are set for how many figures you can have in an army at each point level. For the first 500 points the figure limit is 50. When you bump it up to 1000 points the figure limit is only 75, so you can only have half as many figures for the same number of points. Continuing to build with basic troopers won't get you even close to that many points. So my 1000-point lists have a few characters in them. I can get around it in some armies with big point-sinks like trolls or a Mumak, but in armies that are mostly made up of cheap troops I've had to resort to using named characters. It doesn't bother me too much, but it's interesting that you're pretty much forced to use the characters in larger games.

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