The January Update

I’ve decided to switch from regular but often low-content posts to less often but more meaty “newsletter” like posts instead. There are several reasons why I have chosen to make the switch, which I’ll get to later. But for now, on with the show.

What I’ve been wargaming in January

I’m about one-third of the way through the Reaver Princes Warhammer campaign that my local gaming club is doing. At present, I’m tied for first place with an undefeated 4-0 record. My success can be summed up with one factor: always fighting orcs. I’m sorry, but when it comes to orcs, my dwarfs have their number: hang back and shoot a lot. I can always count on Animosity screwing up their “huge green wave.”

My army composition is pretty set: two units of warriors, one unit of hammerers (that serve as the bodyguard unit for the Lord), one unit of longbeards (to shore up the warriors), two units of thunderers, two small units of trollslayers to tighten up my army flanks, and an organ gun. For characters, I have the Lord, the Battle Standard bearer, and an Engineer to work the organ gun. With the rest of my points I usually consider a runesmith or a daemonslayer or a gyrocopter or something just to liven it up. What I don’t bother with are cannons, which tend to have too many variables, especially with an army with few high Toughness/Wound monsters. Some day my opponent will bring his giant or his wyvern and I’ll have a terrible time of it, but until then I’d rather spend the points on thunderers or quarrelers and punch holes in orcs.

What I’m roleplaying

Unlike most other dimensions of my hobby life, Castles & Crusades has a full head of steam and is going great. After Christmas we had a nice flurry of gaming sessions that moved the current story arc along nicely. I’ve got a good-sized, even possibly overly-large group made up of some great players. With the PC’s getting to be into the 4th to 5th level range, I’ve realized that I have grossly underpowered my encounters, however, and with some insight from the members of the Troll Lord Games board, I will be dialing up the power of their opponents very soon. It had gotten to be so bad that they had been coasting through the last few adventures without nary any significant damage whatsoever. That also meant the XP was coming in slowly, which was my first big clue that something was amiss.

What I’ve been painting

In contrast to roleplaying, which was been going great guns, my painting has all but dried up, no pun intended. It often seems like I tend to multi-task poorly when it comes to hobby stuff: focusing on one element exclusively to the others. I did, however, manage to set aside a day or to and get my brother’s miniature for the C&C game finished.

I have to say, I liked how this guy came out, even though getting inside all those angles wasn’t easy. He’s “Ilkhan” from the Reaper Dark Heaven range.

I also have almost finished a unit of eight dwarf quarrelers, and I’ll edit this post and add the photo once they are done.

What I’ve been building

The Gothic Descent set is actually done, but not painted.  I even built several modular doorways, which are helpful for setting the scene.   I haven’t bothered posting pics of it, since the new rooms just look like the old ones that have already been posted.

Why I’ve changed the format

Not too long ago, I reflected on why I, and other people, bother with blogs.  I came down to three reasons.  First, interpersonal connections.  Second, educating of others.  Third, narcissism.  When I started Strange Vistas, I was primarily interested in number two.  Later, when I wanted to be better connected with my friends, I started Strange Living, but then moved it to another platform that featured more social networking options.

But over the Fall and early Winter Strange Vistas was becoming a chore.   First, I was constantly checking to see how many people were coming, which was beginning to border on narcissism.  It was becoming almost pathological: I’d post, promote the post, and then watch anxiously to see the response.   I also realized that, for a host of reasons I was doing less hobby stuff, but still feeling pressure to post regularly.  So I’d post about projects that I was considering but not moving forward on (like the Seven Years War), projects that I had started but set aside for one reason or another (like the Milecastle), and Strange Vistas was slowly become a testament to my capacity for big, unfulfilled ideas, rather than actual stuff I was doing.  And it wasn’t fun.

So, for my own sanity, and a desire to keep this place an interesting one to visit, I’ve decided to limit the number of posts I create to one or two a month.   I’d also only feature content that was completed (or close enough) rather than Work-In-Project stuff.  I’d save those photos for the final presentation.   I’m also going to keep to my New Year’s Resolution to not take on any really big projects, but rather stick to small things that are more readily achievable.  This isn’t slacking, it is just keeping me from becoming frustrated with what is supposed to be something that brings me joy.

For those who have been interested in a few of these projects that are being sidelined, I offer an apology.  My desire to get into SYW wargaming was fueled at least partially by a belief that I’d be able to find other players easily through historical wargaming groups.  Instead, the local HMGS chapter players Flames of War, DBM, and Warhammer Ancient Battles.  I like WAB, but they use the Armies of Alexander time period, of which I am completely unfamiliar.

And the microtable?  I still think it is a good concept, but as I have said elsewhere, with little in the way of incentives, and storage issues abounding, it was an easy one to set aside in favor of the Descent set, which stored easily and would be used often.

I hope this change is welcomed by the thirty-odd viewers who come here daily.  I’d like to think that I’m raising the quality of the site, at the expense of frequency.  Feel free to let me know what you think.


  1. Hello,
    re. your SYW project: would a “Stange Vistas” wargamer feel restricted to ‘historical’ Lace Wars would be too bad.
    The mid-18th C. is the wragaming era ‘par excellence’ for imaginaries countries, armies, flags and uniforms -since P. Young “Charge! Or, how to play wargames” and C. Grant “The Wargame” seminal books of the early “70, both using fictional countries to present mid-18th C. wargaming.
    I have on my vlog 60+ links to blogs or sites devoted at least in part to (at least one) such imaginary Lace Wars army. 50+ of them are members of the ‘Emperor vs Elector’ diplomatic blog specially devoted to ‘alternate’ Lace Wars Europe:

    Hope you’ll be interested, or at least intrigued enough to ‘cast an eye’, as we say here.

    Best regards,

  2. I actually really like EvE, and it was that blog (amongst others) that inspired me. My difficult is that I have a tough time starting projects that aren’t ever going to see time on a gaming table (a difficult compounded with trying to justify expenses in those cases).
    I have considered not worrying about wargaming and just building the army for fun. I’ve close enough to some Midwestern venues that I could take the army to the odd convention game if I could get the time off work. Hrmm, stuff to consider…

  3. Building an Imagi-Nation, its Geography, Economics, History, political system, ruling line and cast of characters; then putting them in motion… can be done in spare time and can be extremely enjoyable. Once you gave it the initial impetus, the process becomes almost self-maintained – sometimes you almost feel like Dr. Frankeinstein facing his creature growing and evolving on its own!
    The same for ‘logically’ devising imaginary, yet likely, uniforms and flags.
    To create your own Lace Wars Imagi-Nation adds a whole dimension to the hobby, but can be also a project on its own, without a single mini. That’s what I’ve been trying to do on my blog, but other contributors to ‘Emperor vs Elector’ are far better at that than me. Among them a veteran Napoleonic player who just discovered this facet of the hobby and was so enthuiasmed that he opened 3 different blogs for the ‘open’ and ‘backstage’ Histories of his pair of embattled imaginary countries, the Electorate of Hannunter and the Margravate of Ober Nord Westfalen! They really deserve a look.
    Best regards,

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