Tuesday 31 January 2023

Procrastination via Painting

 Well my Battletech box arrived. I'm going to probably whack a sacred cow by stating

(a) the new sculpts are much better than the 'iconic' and 'characterful' (aka crap) older metals

(b) the rules haven't changed from what I can see, which means they are a very clunky 1980s RPG masquerading as a miniatures game.

I could probably devote a whole post on ways to 'modernize' and 'declunkify' Battletech including heresies such as getting rid of the complex hit locations/multi-stage crits, hundreds of hitpoints, and 'bell curve' 2d6 - focussing on the effects and streamlining procedures. Alpha Strike for me missed the mark the other way; it's too simple and lost too much of the nuance of Battletech.

So I have these nice mechs but no rules to play them with, so instead I stalled by hunting for some other minis which I like which also have hideous rules: Warmachine. Actually, I don't hate the rules per se - they are/were quite clear, consistent and tightly written and also, in an age where GW rules run you $90AUD, free. It's the 101 special rules, and how it's more how you memorize rules and combos than actual tactics - resource management, knowing combos and 'deck building' and synergies IS the game. Warmachine is a card game masquerading as a wargame.  I hear Warmachine is heading to 3D printing-on-demand to stave off their final fall (it really died fast a few years back - I think they shot themselves in the foot by removing Press Gangers) - but I have an even more radical suggestion for Privateer Press; scrap the minis altogether and pivot into a CCG. 

I like the minis, the factons and the lore - steampunk mechs, undead pirates, dragons and techno elves all sharing the stage.  Painting something I didn't intend to paint instead of what I planned to paint is, I suspect, a form of procrastination.

My 9-year-old did some of the photography as she likes to pose the minis.  They are set against the toy castle we painted a few weeks back. As usual I've gone for speed over style; undercoat, base, 2nd layer, wash, highlight/fix.

After the nice bright Warmahordes, I found a few more LoTR lying around. That brings my 2023 LoTR painted counter to 31. The orcs are hunters or trackers - some sort of special unit. The Haradrim riders will also add a bit more flavour to an Easterling force. While exploring the box I found a LOT more mounted Rohirrim; I'll speedpaint 6 or so to tabletop standard as Rohan seems light on specialists and needs its mounted from what I can see. I keep eying my Balrog but I bet the sucker would be a pain to paint; flame effects are seldom quick and less so when painted 'into' cracks on a black model....

Lying on my painting bench are aforesaid Battletech, some Heavy Gear I also found while rummaging, 1:2400 sailing ships... and a new entry, French and Indian Wars minis from Warlord which have emerged from the dust of ages...   ..and I'll probably end up finding something else!


  1. Some people really, really love Battletech..... but secretly I think they like talking about and theory-crafting Battletech more than actually playing battletech. I feel the same way about Dungeons and Dragons players online.

    Personally, I am not a fan of either game system.

  2. Have you thought of using xenos rampant for your mech rules?

  3. I didn't think ?Dragon Rampant (think it was fantasy?) was all that great, despite all the great reviews etc. I assume they are just recycling it in a sci fi setting with new special rules?

    A bit like Frostgrave. I liked the IDEA of it, I see why others may like it, but it didn't appeal.

  4. IME, Warmahordes was a great fun, little game if you just stuck to playing cores and starters. It completely stops being a "fun, little game" when you get serious and add all the bells and whistles to grow the games into actual armies.

    1. I feel kinda the same about 40K. The original editions were kinda a few squads of guys and a speeder bike, kinda a quasi-RPG. The push for more minis on the table has not worked well for it. In contrast, LoTR:SBG always impressed me for its ability to work equally well for 10v10 as 50v50...