Thursday, 6 February 2014

The Four Part Hobbyist

I thought I would start my foray into Malifaux blogging by giving a quick introduction to myself. For those of you who don’t know me (which is most of you I guess) I’m Dan and I live in Gloucester (UK) with my wife and (at time of writing) 4 month old daughter. I studied Mathematics at Cardiff University for six years and, having made it through that, I now work as a Structural Integrity Engineer, studying the in service degradation of metallic components in nuclear reactors. 

Like many people, my first experience of miniature gaming was through Games Workshop at the age of ten, playing Chaos Space Marines. I soon progressed, going on over a thirteen-year period to own six 40K armies, four Fantasy armies, two Blood Bowl teams, three Mordheim gangs, one Necromunda gang, one Warmaster army and Dreadfleet…. That’s a lot of Games Workshop merchandise.  Towards the end of that period I began to grow tired of the way Games Workshop hobby centres were run, the deterioration in the quality of White Dwarf magazine (my opinion) and the more “hard sales” approach the company was taking; 40K 6th edition was the final nail in the coffin for me leading to me abandoning all Games Workshop projects and selling everything I owned.

So two years ago, stranded without a miniature game to play, someone in my gaming group introduced me to Malifaux 1.5 (my first demo game being claim jump using Rasputina against Lilith). Since that fated day a little over two years ago I have been hooked. I quickly purchased my first crew (Raspy) and within six months I owned seventeen crews. I attended two 1.5 tournaments, both in Cardiff, and was very pleased with 3rd (losing only one game, although spectacularly, to former master Martin) and 6th – Top Resser (losing two games, one to Martin and one to Luke – I claim it was home advantage, but really they are just great players). This lack of tournament experience is the reason I have not had the pleasure of meeting many of you, and is something I plan to try to rectify this year.

With the advent of Malifaux 2.0 I decided for a fresh start, leaving all of my old models behind (thank you eBay) and making a start on new projects.

Alongside Malifaux I also own models/factions/armies for Warmachine, Infinity, Bushido and Batman the Miniatures Game all of which I try to play regularly. 

Right, so I have given a brief introduction to myself and discussed the games I play, but what am I like as a hobbyist? I see the miniature hobby as four parts of a larger whole: Gaming, Story, Modeling and Painting. As hobbyists I believe that we strive to be great at all four, but inevitably for most (well for me in any case) one or maybe two of the areas fall behind either because we love the others so much or it is not what drew us to the hobby and we lack some passion for it (or perhaps other reasons). I am sad to say that in my case it is painting. Several of the podcasts I listen to have been discussing this lately and, with the release of the current Gaining Grounds rules from Wyrd, this is particularly topical. I gain little pleasure out of painting figures and my skills with a paintbrush are very suspect (which coupled with being a bit of a perfectionist is not great); I always feel that I can’t do such beautiful models justice. However, this does not mean that I turn up to events with unpainted figures; Malifaux requires very few figures and if I can’t put any effort into one of the four parts of my hobby can I call myself a true hobbyist? This does not mean that I will always play with painted figures; sometimes I just cannot wait to get a model on the table. I will, however, always show progress from week to week and is why I try to take part in painting competitions (such as MFXTOP and ToMB, see Twitter for information on these competitions). If you ever feel that you are not seeing progress in my crews, please feel free to call me up on it. 

As a gamer, I am a jack-of-all-trades kind of player. What do I mean by this? I don’t have a preferred play style; I am able to pick up a crew, even if I have not used it before, spot its main strengths and weaknesses and perform well with it. Great I hear you say? Well no. First it means that I am a bit like a kid at Christmas when it comes to Malifaux; I flit between crews, rarely playing more than two consecutive games with the same master simply because I enjoy playing them all. Not only does this put a huge burden on my modeling and painting schedule, but also means that I never truly “master” any one “master/faction” to the point where I could never consider myself remotely competitive.  Again, you will see in future posts what I intend to do about this.

Anyway, I think I have rambled enough for one session; hopefully I have given a good enough account of myself and I hope you take the time to read some of my future blog posts. I am also looking forward to meeting more of you at tournaments this year, and getting to know some of you via the forums and twitter.

Ciao for now!

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