The Jawaballs Video of the Month!

Mechanicon!

The big news this weekend was Feast of Blades.  I really wish I could have gone, but frankly, I would probably be stuck in Denver had I flown out there until this storm blows over, so I have to say I am glad I did not go.

Plus I got to play at Mechanicon!  Mechanicon was one of my first GT Cons and has always been my favorite. I really enjoy the atmosphere and the guys who run it.  Tony Spino and crew are friendly, open and generous. But more importantly, they simply love gaming.  I didn't get much time to join them, but at any given time there were games of Fantasy Flight's new X-Wing, or Talisman going on, among many others.  Plus, they like their booz!

Bill McFadden and Simon Lean (Simon missed his girlfriend)


Mechanicon has joined forces with The Warstore to become one of the headline events at The Warstore Weekend.  Which in my opinion was a huge boon for the con.  Mechanicon has always prided itself as the gamers con, where it is not just about 40k, but for every one. They were one of the first GTs to also offer tournaments for other events such as Flames of War, Blood Bowl, Warmachine, and many others.  Also many budding game companies ran demonstrations, and clubs ran small events like Kill Team tournaments.  There were even separate painting competitions!

While this was a great idea, I believe that it thinned out Mechanicon a bit too much. The 40k GT was getting 50 to 60 entries, but some of the other events were running with just a few players as most of the guys playing 40k were unable to play Blood Bowl for example as they sometimes ran at the same time.

Being part of The Warstore Weekend enabled Tony and crew to focus on running the best 40k GT they could while Neal from The Warstore focused on providing all of the rest of the gaming fun that Tony always wanted.

Before I get to my personal report, I will go over some pros and cons that I saw at The Warstore Weekend in their second year of existence.

Cons:

Well, the most comparable con that I have been to is Templecon. And there is absolutely no comparison. Templecon has had a few more years to build in popularity, and also caters to a bigger crowd including the cos play Steampunk crew, but TWW (The Warstore Weekend) is essentially doing the same thing.  If Templecon is so awesome, you would think that TWW could pull it off too!  For a huge weekend of gaming, all I saw was two larger tournaments going on with a smattering of demos and bits and pieces.

BEFORE YOU FLAME ME: I know there was more going on than just Warmachine and 40k. But my point is that it was not visible. There were no signs aside from a few hard to read ones, no displays advertising what was going on and no direction. You really had to search for things that you didn't even know were there, and if you are trying to catch the eye of some one there focusing on 40k for example, who has a few minutes in between games to check something out, it should not be hard to find.

The solution? Who knows. I am not a con planner. Maybe pay a couple models to dress up as Steam Punk Hotties and walk around guiding guys towards certain events.  What I am saying that in my observation, TWW looked like a Warmachine tournament going on at the same time as an unrelated 40k tournament at the same hotel with a few game demos going on.

If Neal is going to continue running TWW he would be smart to take a good look at what Templecon does, and adjust accordingly.

Venue. Not good.  I spoke to Tony for a while about the venue, and he expressed many disappointments. First of all was security!  He had to physically wire the doors to the 40k hall shut to secure them over night.  The hotel dropped an extra last minute cost on them for tables forcing them to get them from an outside source, and the bar in the 40k gaming room, a Mechanicon staple, was charging something like 7 bucks a bottle for Coors light.

When are these hotels going to figure out that the secret to making money at a con is NOT charging 7 dollars a beer.  I went to Mechanicon with a VERY limited budget after taking my losses from pulling out of Feast of Blades, and when I went up to the bar to get myself a Coors Light and Ted Nagel a tonic, 12 dollars was a little too much to stomach.  Yes, I paid 12 bucks for a bottle of Coors and an 8 ounce Tonic with nothing in it.

All Ted and I did was pop out to the package store next door. I got myself a case of Coors Light and I was good to go. I set my army transport up as a little cooler and dismissed the bar entirely.  By the way, yes I know Coors Light is water in a can. But when I am spending 12 to 14 hours hanging out in a con room, playing games and socialilzing, I don't need to be drinking Scotch or even 5.6% micro brews.  I can drink Coors all night long and barely catch a buzz. :) The hotel could have charged 3.50 a beer and sold five times what they did as most of the guys there would have simply bought the beers from the bar rather than going through the charade of hiding their own booze.

The location itself was a turn off to a lot of people I suspect. The Meadowlands, just outside of New York, is a geographically ideal spot. Guys coming up from the south don't have to cross NY bridges, and guys coming from the north can skirt the city by using the Tappan Zee bridge and Garden State Parkway.

 However, there is not a person, myself included, who has gone to the Meadowlands for a game and not been jaded by the experience.  I remember the first year that TWW was in existence, I was supposed to go out there to play in the GT but as the event approached, was dismayed at the thought of driving out there.  And the pure suck of navigating that part of the country is no exaggeration. A couple friends and I went to find a restaurant just a couple of miles away, but to get there we literally had to merge onto and off three different highways, going around in circles, missing our turn twice because it was so hard to decipher that Sherlock Holmes would have missed it, and finally arriving to find about 90 million other cars jamming the parking lot.

To say the least, they will be finding a new location for next year.

The Cons:

The con!  Despite the difficulty in deciphering what was going on and where, TWW was packed with cool stuff and can only grow!  I did actually get to check out some sweet models called Heavy Metal I think, and got to pop in and see some Warmachine being played.  I think numbers were down because of the impending "Perfect Storm" but there were still a lot of guys playing a lot of games.

The Mechanicon was great as always.  The number of players was much smaller than in past years because of the change in location probably, but there was also a change in price so they missed out! Previously it cost 125 bucks to attend Mechanicon. Now it was 85.  That was a bargain!  Plus the hotel itself, while nickel and diming us on drink prices, was a much nicer venue physically. The old place was quite ratty to say the least.. My last room smelled like Curry and old socks.

The tables, already some of the best GT tables I have ever seen, got even better as the guys improved the terrain. Each gaming table existed on it's own separate table, allowing us to easily play hammer and anvil by being able to walk 360 around the board, and most of the tables had operational anti aircraft guns included as part of the terrain!  Each table is hand crafted with a wooden frame that keeps dice from rolling off the edge.  They have a balanced combination of hills, ruins and obstacles and even have an extra space for you to put your armies. How many of you have been to a tournament where there was NO place for you to put your stuff while you were playing except on the floor, and little place to display them while not playing without being yelled at by judges for moving terrain...

My hated broadsides. And look at that extra space for my display!


The Mechanicon is famous for being the tournament for the hobby rather than the competition and this was no different.  Ever army was beautiful and every player was cool. All five of my games were fun and entertaining. My opponents were fair and the atmosphere was jovial. At some tournaments a cloud of suck follows some of the players or lingers over some of the tables as guys who take things way too seriously suck all the fun out of the room.  Not so at Mechanicon!  At every table there was laughing and jokes. I played, and lost to, a Tau player, and we both agreed it was one of the more interesting and fun games we have ever played. I got tabled by a British dude named Dave playing some nasty demons, and ended up chilling with him for most of the weekend cause he was such a good guy, and pulled the classic "Turn Five I WIN" move against a player named Evan to wrap up my weekend and we laughed about it for an hour. (To be accurate, I did most of the laughing,but he was a great sport about it.)

The best part about it was that Ted Nagel, another Mechanicon birther, (One of the guys who has been to all of the Mechaniocons) finally won the event from out of no where!  It couldn't have gone to a more deserving player.

I got second best painted, with the honor going to a Space Wolf player who had an army with about 76 infantry, each painted to the same VERY high standard with multiple highlights and every detail picked out.  He truly deserved the win! I can only imagine the hours he put into that army.

The best thing about Mechanicon is that I lost all three of my first games, but still had a chance to place in the top three with two big wins on day two.  It truly is any bodies tournament where any one of a dozen contenders can grab it at the last minute, as opposed to 256 guys know they are out of it by game three of eight and end up watching just two play for the win. Mechanicon uses an even split between Sportsmanship, Painting and Battle Points to determine the winner plus a few bonus points like a fluff quiz and points for entering some other event over the weekend.

I think this works to weed out the flavor of the monthers who throw together terrible looking dry brushed armies just to field the strongest army of the week and destroy their opponents.  Sure they might win best general, but best overall is certainly out of their reach. The guys who play at Mechanicon have pride.

And the players aren't bashful about letting you know if you are douching it up! I caught crap all weekend for playing Tau allies with my Blood Angels!  Even thought I was getting my ass kicked. Good hearted ribbing of course.  It didn't matter that my Tau looked great along with my marines.  I was "That guy".  :)

Oh and did I mention that only having to play five games is a blessing!  It seems that events nowadays are just going for bigger more epic weekends where guys are playing six to eight game tournaments after playing in three to five game tournaments on Friday.  More is NOT better.  Especially for dudes who had a hard time standing for that much time.  

I love Mike Brandt and The Nova Open, but 8 games is just too many, and while most of the guys at The Nova are decent dudes, the Feel Good atmosphere of Mechanicon simply outshines The Nova. And for guys who want to play in a GT and leave with a good taste in their mouth there is no better choice that I have experienced.

The Mechanicon is that good.

Ok that is enough for now. I will upload some video and do some batreps next time.

Jawaballs

Here are some of the armies:




Some one actually played the Fortress!







Ted Nagels GT winning army. Chaos!

Who said tanks are dead? Oh I did... Woops!

For the record, I played Ted on Friday night
in a pickup game and blasted him off the table. Then I 
took his son's head on Sunday. Jawa 2, Nagels 0





I lost to this Tau army in a tightly contested capture the flag. 9-8
He got first blood.




Mechanicon List and The Walking Dead

Hey Folks!

Mechanicon first.

I will be heading over to The Meadowlands tonight and entering The Mechanicon at The Warstore Weekend.  What am I playing you ask?

Being a 1500 point tournament, my Lamenters were not going to work.  That army is designed for 2k.  Luckily I had a fairly effective list set up for around that point total using my Blood Angels and Tau!

Here we go:

Blood Angels:
Librarian with JP
Assault squad x10 Melta x2 PW
Assault squad x10 Melta, Flamer PW
Scout with Snipers x5 with Missile and cloaks
Priests with JP and PW x2
Aegis Defense line
900 points

Tau:
Suit Commander with TL Burst Cannons and Missile Pod, drone controller and 1 shield drone
Fire Warriors x6
Pathfinders x8 with markers, Devil Fish, Drone Controller, gun drone, bonding knife
Broadsides x3 with  2 Target Lock (multi targets per squad) and 1 drone controller with 2 shield drones
600 points

1500 total

Strategy?

Well, I sorta sit back and annoy people by stripping them of cover saves with the pathfinders and blasting them off the table with my suits.  That's about it!  In a lot of games, broadsides push opponents out of their comfort zone and force them to make decisions they would not otherwise make.  This may mean rushing forward when they would not normally. Hopefully there is armor to blast!  Any way, I thin the rushing herd, and focus on what gets close first with my assault marines.  The fire warriors hide for their lives, and jump into the Devilfish when it comes out of reserve. Or both stay in reserve and hopefully come onto the table at the same time. Then they do their best to be useful. Usually this means the fish goes out and provides cover for me when it dies, and the warriors cower behind a rock and go to ground, hopefully within 2" of an objective.

I don't expect to win a lot of games, hopefuly three out of five.  But I'm not going there to really win games this weekend. I just want to go hang out with my buds and shake off the disappointment of losing out on going to Feast of Blades.

The Walking Dead, Episode Two, Season Three:

I don't have time to do the usual write up this week, but I have one thing to say: Rick Grimes is No Joke.

My only question is, why did he not machette that con the minute he mouthed off?  Fear of the rest of the group? Rick would understand that those guys would understand one thing only, strength.  Hacking that guy in the head would have been all he needed to earn their respect.  Instead he waited to be in a situation where he was relying on this douche to perform, and of course the guy screwed him and threw a walker at him.

I did love the scene though.  No hesitation. Whack. Dead con. Even more heartless though was how he dealt with the other guy!  I loved it!  "Here is the door, you better run."

I didn't understand the decision to give a group of armed cons their own cell block.  What the hell did they think was going to happen?  It was going to be a matter of minutes before the cons were doing what cons do best.  Any way, the end result was as it should have been. 5 cons, who survived for 10 months, are reduced to two by Rick and company in a matter of minutes.

Now, I do believe that the remaining two can be of use if Rick would just smarten up.  Especially the black dude. He no doubt has a certain code, and I believe he would honor it if given the chance.

The rest of the episode?  Hershel got bit by a telegraphed zombie. I wish they had just had one rush in as usual and get a lucky bite off. Instead it was playing possum.  But then Carol all the sudden being able to do surgery because Hershel "taught her a few things"?

Carl almost had a moment of greatness. He did the Shane thing and ran off and got the meds. But then when faced with his over bearing mother, ruined it all and reverted to temper tantrum kid again and ran off.  I think this was a great time to have him show signs of Shane even more deliberately. Maybe him storming off sort of was a parallel.  At any rate, I think we can expect good things in this regard and need to pay attention to Carl who is no doubt haunted by Shane's ghost.

We can expect a heavy dose of Michone and Andrea next week.  It will be interesting to hopefully get some answers about the military, and finally see what the story is with The Governor.

Cant wait! I love this show.

See you guys at Mechanicon! I will have some footage soon.

Jawaballs

What army do you choose?

I get this question a lot: (Or some version there of)

"jawa what army should i start iam new to painting so what would be the easiet army to start out of choas blood angels or necrons and what army is good to learn very easy"

The answer?  I have answered this several times here, but this particular one always bears repeating.  

There is no easy answer!  

One thing that I can say for sure is that the models you start with will probably not be the models you are playing with two years from now.  First of all, you are going to go through a lot of trial and error with your painting. You are going to assemble them without cleaning the mold lines. You are going to give them weapon combinations that no unit should have. You are going to have fun with your plastic.  

That is the point.

When I bought my first tactical squad, I had guys sporting a plasma and a bolt pistol, plus one guy holding each special weapon. I had a guy with a bolter with extra missiles attached to his legs, a scope and bayonet on a melta gun, and purity seals draped every where I could.  

I had fun assembling them, and then destroyed them with way too much priming, and layers upon layers of paint as I learned how to paint. 

I still have a few of them and look upon them with a smile.

It was over a year and a half before I finally painted a Blood Angel.

SO I say go with your gutt. Look through the GW catalogue, and buy the models you like, and paint them. Once you have a few under your belt, work up to a 500 point list, and learn how to play. During the course of that process, you will no doubt paint and repaint your models several times.  Once you get to 500, if you don't like what you have, then reassess. Pick the aspects you like most about your army, and focus.  Do you like shooting? Perhaps Space Marines are not quite for you and maybe Tau or IG are more your taste.  Or if you prefer assault, Chaos or Blood Angels.  

Whatever the direction you take, the last thing you should do is follow the advice of most of the internet blow hards, myself included.  :)  Love it or hate it, 40k has a LOT going for it. It is a diverse game with years and years of background and lore.  I have been involved for over five years now, and I have barely scratched the surface of what is out there.  

So pick the models you like, and go from there.

Jawaballs

Mechanicon next weekend!

Mechanicon is coming up next weekend!  Ted Nagel reminded me about it and if you are free next weekend, and live in the NorthEast, it is a great way to spend your weekend.

It is being held at the meadowlands, near Giants Stadium.  Or some where around there.  But it is not just Mechanicon any more!

The boys of Mechanicon have joined forces with Neal at The Warstore as part of Warstore Weekend at The Meadowlands Crowne Plaza.



Mechanicon first:

This is their fourth year as a GT, and still remains one of my favorites.  It is the true hobbiest GT.  I won Mechanicon a couple years ago, coming back from 10th place for the win.  At most places, a guy in 10th place pretty much has no chance. But Mechanicon evens the field by taking away some of the focus on battle points, and strengthening the focus on Painting, and Sportsmanship.  This reduces the net list impact, and allows most guys a chance!  I took 3rd my first year and 1st my second, and hardly played lists that were traditionally killy. But being a good dude, and having a pretty army carried me through.  That is what makes Mechanicon special.

But also, Tony Spino and crew are just good dudes.  Mechanicon has a happy, family friendly feel to it.  More than one player will be there with his young son for example.  More so than at any other GT I have been to, the players seem to gel and socialize. There will be competitive lists, but the overall feel of the event is one of just having fun.  Not so with so competitive a tournament as the Nova Invitational.  There is nothing wrong with that competitive drive, but it is refreshing to go to a GT where even the guys at the top tables are enjoying a beer and sharing a conversation while playing rather than lording over their armies for 3 hours, oblivious to the fact that there is some one standing on the other side of the table.

Having to bail on Feast of Blades has opened a window that I may be able to take advantage of for Mechanicon this year. If I can work it out, I will try to scoot over as it is only an hour away from me. But if YOU are fee next week, this is one event you should definitely check out and see for yourself!

TheWarstore Weekend:

Two years ago Neal at The Warstore started a Warstore Con for the gamer. I didn't make it, and the following year I believe it was cancelled due to a personal issue, but this year it is back in force!  It fits with every thing that Mechanicon was about. Mechanicon was about more than just a 40k GT. They offered multiple rooms of gaming fun and events covering all sorts of games and interests. Well, now The Warstore has that covered! Makes sense to me. The point is that there are many different tournaments going on, and you even get bonus points at Mechanicon if you play in another event during the weekend!  You can definitely see for yourself all of the awesome that is The Warstore Weekend. So take a look and see where your interests take you.

You still have time to register for Mechanicon. If you get your list in by this weekend, you get bonus points. It is close to every one, so take a look! I am going to see if I can swing it.  Maybe see you there!

Jawaballs

No Jawa at Feast of Blades... :(

Life lesson learned.

And Larry, no comments from the peanut gallery!

I take full responsibility for this one.  

I will not be attending Feast of Blades. 

WHY? Well I'm an idiot.

I booked the flight in April, and bought my ticket to play, bought the limited edition "one of thirty" swag bag, and arranged for hotel, made plans to broadcast events on WarTV, and even set up a Mountain Pizza Challenge. Mere days from my flight though, I realized I had to actually request the days off, I was planning on missing Friday and Monday. 

Same with Jim, we work in the same school.

Any way, I submitted the paper work to my principal, who asked why I was requesting the time, then he made a scrunchy face and sighed. 

Uhoh.

Without getting into the hows and whys, the end decision was that I could take the days unpaid if I wanted and lose a substantial amount of money. 

I don't. Shit.

Oh, and Travel Insurance offered by Orbitz is a scam. Don't buy it. They make you think you can cancel a flight for any reason. You can't. Pretty much they have the same list of reasons that would get you out of paying extra change fees to any airline straight up, like death in the family and other emergencies. Only you pay more to have the insurance company say you are shit out of luck. Whatever you do, don't tell them the truth. "My boss rejected my days off" was not on the list of reasons I could use the insurance. 

After an hour of wrangling with Orbitz and the travel insurance company, I called back and told them that I was actually cancelling my flight because my wife's father was just diagnosed with end stage COPD and I did not want to be in Denver if something bad happened.

They accepted that one.  

It is actually true by the way, I am not that good a liar. (In fact I'm terrible) This is especially important because they sent me 10 pages of documentation I had to have signed, including physicians reports. I guess they don't take people at face value. All for a couple hundred bucks.  

Maybe it is for the best in that regard. This sorta bubbled to the surface after I spoke to Chandler last night and broke the bad news. I hadn't really considered it. He thankfully is out of the weeds this time, but I really would have hated to be in Denver and have him slip again.  The doctor called my wife last week and told her she should get down there when he was admitted. It did not look good. If that happened while I was in Denver for four days... Maybe the Emperor is trying to tell me something. I hope not.

So any way. No Mountain Pizza. No Goatboy and Brent. No bloggers round table. No armies on Parade. No GT.  No Chandler and Larry and Rob Baer. Well I guess no Baer is not such a bad thing.  :)  He makes me do bad things. 

The biggest loss here is I don't get to see my friends that I have been looking forward to for a year now and I don't get to be part of a community that I enjoy so much.  I don't get to see Denver and I don't get to blow off steam.  :( I love being at these events and enjoying the company of good people. 

My hugest apologies go out to Chandler who was counting on me to broadcast some events, and to the readers and viewers who were looking forward to seeing the coverage.  I guess the cleaning ladies wont mind though. Four nights of Jawa funk in a hotel can be pretty taxing. 

Whats next for me? 

Well the wife is happy as I get to go to the Scarecrow Festival with her, her friend, and two screaming 2 year olds.  

But also, DaBoyz GT is in November and I am still planning on going to Rochester NY.  Goatboy and Brent have gone to that one, hopefully I will see them there. 

Sad week for me.

JB


The Walking Dead: Season 3 premiere

New Bottle of 12 year old Scotch: Check
Old recliner taken off a neighbors garbage pile: Check
LCD TV newly optimized for HD display: Check

Season three premiere of The Walking Dead: Oh Yeah.

SPOILER ALERT! If you have not watched the season three premiere of The Walking Dead, DO NOT read this article.




I have been waiting for this night for over six months. I love AMC.

After weeks of watching one of the biggest networks in the world fumble it's way through Revolution, finally a show that knows how to get it right is back, on a network that used to be known for playing old black and white movies.

I was giddy all weekend!

I watched with baited breath as the counter ticked down while watching last seasons finale. I waited and waited to crack my new bottle. I have an order, a sequence, a way of doing things. It's a mini tradition. 

Get the ice at 8:40, let it frost in the room temp
Crack the bottle at 8:50, let it breath
Pour it at 8:55, let it settle
Look at it drooling
Pick it up when the AMC Production screen comes on, enjoy the sweat trickling down the side and temporary stick of my fingers to the side of the glass from the frosty condensation. 
Smell it a while, take in the aroma, count the scent points...

Upon the first glimpse of new footage... take the first sip into my mouth, allow it to surround my tongue, and experience the flavor. Then the carnage!

Who says TV cannot be spiritual?

Season three began with a closeup and fade out from a zombies eye. I sipped with greed from my scotch. The Walking Dead had found me again.

So the first five minutes pretty much explained the last several months of real time without a word being spoke. The crew had grown together and had a method. They stormed a house like a swat team, but found nothing but Dog Food. Carl went to work opening it, but Rick showed his growing frustrations by taking the goo and throwing it.  OH, and Carl jacks his first zombie. They didn't bother making a scene out of it. Just made the point. This was a new character.

It was poetry!

I have always praised TWD for it's smart writing and way of doing things. This beginning was the epitome of my praise. They didn't go over board, didn't bother to fill the beginning with too much expository, just got to business. After the intro, they ran the opening credits then filled in some back story.

The survivors had been on the run for a winter. Lori was about to pop and they had exhausted their options. A herd was surrounding them, and there was little for them to do. They established that Rick was in uncontested control, that Carl had aged (12 year olds age and change much faster than adults). Only a couple months passed in the show time between seasons one and two, but Chandler Riggs had aged a couple of years... He was starting to show.  Most importantly, without much ado, it was demonstrated that they were desperate.

Carl from season one. Young, innocent, useless.

Carl from season two. A plot device. He didn't do much, but
half of the show was about him.  Strange.

Carl in Season Three. They made him into a character
who takes point!  

Look how mature he looks! 





But lets start with the opening!  The credit sequence was pretty cool. In seasons one and two they sorta followed some of the cast members names with images of the characters.  Well, in season three they drop in cool images to correspond with each actor/character.  For Rick they show his badge, discarded and blown into the open by the wind followed by some discarded shells an centipedes, perhaps representing Shane.  For Carl they show the farmhouse that Sophia presumably hid in. Or was that Daryl... It flashed past so fast that I had a hard time keeping track, plus I was sipping m scotch with fervent vigor.  More on the opening once I have had a chance to digest it all.  It was pretty sweet.

On with the show!

After a brief planning interlude where they show that Rick is the boss, giving orders like "Take Point" to Carl, then showing that the crowd knows better than to question him, Rick and Daryl stumble across the prison.  

It doesn't take long to put it together...

Here is one thing that has always bugged me about zombie movies.  At this point, one of your most valuable weapons is a sharpened ski pole, or some other sort of lance.  Especially since zombies seem to group up at chain link fences and snarl.  Glen went down the line lancing them all with some sort of broad skewer. Why did they not all have one at this point? They had crow bars... but why not good quality spears?  In a world where the rules for killing zombies are firmly established, you would think that the survivors would have taken on a sort of Romanesque way of doing things. Short swords and shields in the front ranks, and spears in the back ranks, going over their heads.  Zombie lawn mower!

Small issue.

So they storm the prison!  The first task is to take the grounds outside. Rich runs through to the inner gate with the intention of closing it. They had a jury rigged set of clips for that purpose.  And the others took up position on the ramparts, shooting their new found military weapons.  But again more issues. Why risk Rick's life running in there? Why not just stay at the fence all day, luring over the zombies and stabbing them in the face.  Even the ones up inside the inner gate! The ones in the yard come first and get lanced, then the ones trickle down from up the hill.  But instead Rick runs in to shut the inner gate, and the gang shoots off dozens of rounds.

Oh well.

Shoot and skoot and it's all done!  

Without getting too too much into the episode, the rest plays out as we have seen in the previews. At this point, most of you, and I have read some of the comics or at least a synopsis. I have checked out a wiki that talks about how the comics are different yet follow the same plots. You will see parallels. That does not mean you are invited to discuss the comic here though!  However I can! :) In the comic, Sophia and Carl hook up in the prison. With Sophia dead, who is the next girl in line?  Poor Hershel has to watch all of his hot daughters getting boinked. They set that stage.

And of course they cannot have a new season of a TV show without putting a main character in peril.  My only question though, why did Rick hack through the lower leg when he could have more easily hacked through the soft knee tissue? That lower leg bit is probably going to end up coming off any way...   

Kudos to the budding love scene between Carol and Daryl!  I loved the jokes, especially the one about Daryl going down first.  You have to wonder if they have not already screwed!  Over 8 months, I bet they have.  It is just about certain. She is sorta hot in an old redneck lady sort of way, especially since she has quit crying about Sophia, which is all she did last season.

And just like that, months of waiting came and went and the show was over. I gobbled up every scene and it was done. Maggie looked less hot some how. The little blonde though, looked much hotter! I wonder if Maggie appreciates being upstaged by her little sister.

One of the most compelling plot twists was the relationship between Carl, Rick and Lori.  They are torn apart. Rick and Lori obviously are done as far as their marriage, but worse, Carl seems to have created some distance between himself and Lori as well.  When they are sitting at the fire, there is at least five feet between them, when in the first two seasons they were joined at the hip.  Obviously Rick has turned his back on her. It is only his sense of honor that keeps him civil. He offered her his food and she sheepishly rejected it, but he didn't bother with the "Honey you have to eat" shit, he just held it there, refusing to budge until she took it.  Not saying a word. It appears that Lori, after two seasons of manipulating and twisting, has been reduced to a sniveling sap.  

Then Lori tries to question rick privately, and he puts her in line. Then walks away from her like the manipulating bitch deserves. I love it. "I'm doing stuff... things... isn't that enough?"  Then he just turns his back on her and goes out on patrol. 

This episode reinforces where last season ends. There is no question. Rick is in charge. 

That is about it!  

How do you feel about the sorta love scene between Michone and Andrea? I don't even think there were necessary at all this episode. There was plenty to do at the prison. The cut scenes sort of slowed things down.

I liked how in The Talking Dead, the shows producer discussed the "emergency pack" for taking off body parts and how Hershel and Rick planned for that eventuality. However, he was bitten, but then they dragged him around.. At that point wasn't it already too late? Blood was pumped from the bite and up past his knee. They should have taken his leg off at the knee immediately!

I think the prison clearing scene that devolved to a cluster fluck chase were sort of silly and forced. They were clearing the prison, and marking off which way they came, but then some how areas behind them were full of zombies. Sure it is possible the hallways were circular and zombies could have gone around, I just think they would have been much more cautious and though about that after 8 months of surviving together. Hell, for as long as I can remember from playing Dungeons and Dragons, as we clear out dungeons, we don't move forward until we are sure that our backs are safe.  

I particularly liked the scene where the prison guards in riot gear came around the corner. It annoyed me that they tried a few futile attempts at breaching the riot helmets before figuring out that they just lift the visor and stab em in the face... but the humor was there.  It felt very video game, in a good way. Those were the "badass" zombies. 

Any way, it was pretty much a nerds wet dream. Zombie survivor room securing tactics, building a fortress in the middle of Zombieland, and at least half the guys potentially getting some.  What lucky survivors where all the chicks are hot, even the old lady!  

I love this show.  The next several episodes promise to be good. I hope that the plot with The Governor does not slow things down though. I am anxious to see how the military fares, and also to see how The Gov sets up his little town.  I hope they do some flashbacks. Hell, I wouldn't mind if they devoted a third of the series to flashbacks. I would love to see the fall of Benning! I can care less about Michone and Andrea though.  Andrea annoyed me in the first two seasons, and is no less annoying now.  She was hotter in The Mist. By the way, if you didn't notice, Frank Darabont is a total nepetist! Sure he was fired because he fought for his vision, but that aside, he was responsible for the cast!

Did you ever see The Shawshank Redemption? How about The Green Mile? And as I just mentioned, The Mist?  Take a look at some of the actors in TWD and see how many of them appeared in those other movies, also done by Darabont. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I just think it is interesting that the actor who played Dale was in three of them!  I guess he and Frank are buds!  Maybe some one can do a break down of who appeared in what...

Jeffrey Demunn in The Green Mile

Dale and Andrea in The Mist! 

That is all for now!  Can't wait for more.

Jawaballs











Revolution: Episode 4, Jump the Shark?

Can it be that the show has already jumped the shark?



Lets break it down.

At the end of episode three they previewed the death of a character. Obviously they were not planning on a very long series run, so planned as much bang for the buck as they could get for the first order of 6-9 episodes.  What better way to keep viewers interested after three episodes than kill off a character!

Killing off characters is another trick used by TV series to maintain interest. They will dangle a cliff hanger, usually right before a seasonal break, and milk the shit out of the hype until they air the results.  Does any one remember Dallas in the 80s?  Who shot JR?  I was just a young kid then, but even then I remember every single adult I encountered was discussing it.  It turns out it was Maggie Simpson.

This episode had a mini Who Shoot JR style played out in a Death Triangle Mystery.

So in the previous episodes preview they warned that one character may die


Well in this episode, they played it up so that one of three main characters was about to bite it.

Charlie:  Pleas god please let it be her!

Polo Fritos: The Breaking Bad chicken guy. I still havnt learned his name, I guess I will call him captain.

And british mommy.

The show used a bunch of fantastical plot twists to put each of these three characters in peril, only to resolve who was going to die right at the very end in a very melodramatic scene.

Captain:  A freaking giant tornado? How often are there massive "Twister" like tornados in Chicago? So the kid took advantage of the chaos of a army platoon trying to take shelter from a super tornado and escaped. Then Captain chased him down and tackled him and started beating the shit out of him. Then the two see that the tornado is just about upon them, and run into a shack.  The wind builds up, and the tornado forms and begins creeping towards the shack, which is collapsing, while Captain tries to show some heart with some predictable dialogue, and the shack begins to break down. Finally it mostly collapses just as the tornado dissipates, leaving Captain pinned under a beam with a giant appliance about to fall on him. The kid is then forced to make the choice, save the captain or let him die.

British: Some how the crew is reunited and makes their way into an amusement park. I missed the first 20 minutes.  They are immediately beset upon by dogs and an angry carnie who claimed that they killed one of his dogs. In the hectic race for safety, British is grabbed and stabbed in the leg by the carnie and released, later to be found by Miles. (Who easily slipped in and out of the diner they were holed up in, despite the fact that no one else could.)  So British is dragged into the diner, while Miles and Explosives chick go looking for dog owner to get him to take away the dogs. Meanwhile carnie slips in and captures Charlie. Upon Miles return, he then releases Nate and takes him along for some reason, leaving explosives to help Google tend to British. Google is about to perform surgery on the severed artery in British's leg. She is losing blood fast and in great peril.

Charlie: So carnie kidnapped her and tied her up, then set an elaborate trap using her crossbow and a string attaching it to a door.  While in the midst of setting up the trap, explains that his daughter died because looters took his meds and she got tetnis and kicked.  Then he stops and asks Charlie to stay with him, weirdly explaining that she could enjoy being there with him.  When she refuses, he gets crazy again and completes the trap. Meanwhile Miles is busting into doors to set the precedent that this special forces guy only busts through doors rather than opening them silently to see what is on the other side in an attempt to surprise it.  (He is going to set off the trap.)  So after he busts open a couple doors him and Nate are beset upon by carnie who is then killed by Nate with an arrow jab to the chest, and Charlie has rocked the chair back and forth, loostening it maybe just enough to dodge the bolt at the last second when Miles opens it?  Please let her get a bolt in the face!

Any way, the plots play out. Kid saves Captain because captain convinces him that it would be evil to let him die and his father would have saved him, and Charlie dodges the bolt.  Leaving poor british to bleed out and die on the floor of a pristine 15 year old diner after some terribly sappy lamenting by Charlie.

And with that, Revolution has already jumped the shark. I will continue to watch this train wreck just out of morbid curiosity, like a rubber necker on a high way. But that will be the last time I skip a session of online gaming with my friends to do it.

Jawaballs


Sad Face and Feast of Blades final list


So I just got an email from an asshole friend, showing me what I will be missing at BFS this year.  Damn you Brandt...

It seems Mike  Brandt is going to Battle for Salvation this year with a little more than winning in mind!

Wish I could go.

The reason I am writing today is to talk about my final list for Feast of Blades.



I submitted it and there is no turning back!  I was bouncing back and forth right up to last night on what to include. I was going to actually pull the trigger on some Dread Assault Pods from Forgeworld, but it seems Blood Angels cannot use them.  Phooey.

Any way, my list now is almost entirely different from what it was last time I posted.

Librarian with JP

10 man Tact with Flamer and Plasma Cannon and pod
10 man Assault with Melta x2 and Fist
10 man Scout with all snipers and cloaks
5 man scout with snipers and cloaks
10 man Death Company with Fist and JUMP PACKS! 375 points... ouch
9 man Sternguard in pod, with a priest attached
10 man Vanguard Vets with PW and melta bomb and Jump Packs
1 assault priest with JP and PS
1 other priest to go with the tacticals in the back and keep them alive

Gone are the bikers completely along with my awesome Biker Priest. He was just too many points, 110, for a single wound model with no invul save.

In play testing the bikers, while tough to kill, simply didnt provide enough bang for their buck.  They could lay down some nice shots, but once they were in assault they were near useless with their one attack each.

The list is pretty straight forward and every unit has an obvious role.

The tacticals with priest hang back, deploying while their pod remains empty, allowing me control over when my Vets come down.  They lob plasma cannon shots at whatever is in range and hold an objective. The priest performs double duty, because hopefully I have two objectives close enough to string the 10 man scouts and tacts together to get his FNP bubble.  Both units are designed to absorb shots. The five man scout will be used to take out of the way objectives, infiltrating if need be, and going to ground most of the game.

The DC with Jump Packs were a must. I wanted to play them as they are awesome now, and the only way to get them into assault is jump packs.  So I bit the bullet. I will attach the librarian and give him new rulebook powers. At the very least they will get to reroll attacks on the charge, and hopefully a 4+ invul to the unit.

I will time the assault so that the DC are hitting a target hopefully at the same time the Vanguard Vets are dropping and using Heroic Intervention and the sternguard are laying down the Special Ammo pain.  That should mean I am wiping out an entire flank of the enemy army at once.  Then the assault marines follow up and clean up the mess.

That is about it!  Nothing ground breaking, but I hope it is a little meta breaking.  I don't care what you are packing, 67 marines with FNP in cover are tough to kill.  Bring on Cron Air, and some of the other ridiculous lists. I will play for a draw and make him beat me.

Now to paint it.  Feast of Blades starts in three weeks. I have three of the 67 models in this list painted. Gulp...  Plus I am going away this weekend for a wedding, and next weekend for my sisters moving party... :(

So between now and when my flight takes off I have to get about 20 models done a week. You all know how fast I paint.... I might have to send the wife and kid away for a weekend so I can focus!  I will definitely have the army table ready, but I doubt I will be able to get it Best Painted competitive as was my hope.  And sadly, FoB will be the only chance for this Lamenters army to compete, as I will be starting my new BA/Steel Legion armageddon army right away after Feast.

In WarTV news, Fritz is back from dead. Issues at work and home have kept him pinned down but we touched base last night and have some plans for a broadcast coming up. Right before Feast we will be broadcasting a podcast type show where he, Jim and I simply chat 40k and our views.  We don't get to do much of that while broadcasting a game.  We plan on making it available for download as a podcast too.

That is it for now! There is still time to register for Feast. Between the ultra competitive invitational, and the old school open designed for the hobbiest, in which I am playing, there will be something for every one!  It will be a whos who of 40k as east coast and west meet up in the middle.  Cant wait!

Jawaballs


Revolution: Episode 3. An ad by any other name, is still an ad.

I was actually excited to watch last night's episode, and even cut short an online session of Borderlands 2 with my buddies to go watch it!  The show remains interesting to watch, though I must say I multi tasked and assembled a tactical squad while I was watching it. (I would never do that during Walking Dead.)

I think with this show, these reviews are going to end up being more nit picky than praising. Such is the nature of the beast!

This episode had several red flags that I noticed while looking up and holding arms to torsos and letting plastic glue set. First one? In show ads.


In show product placement is nothing new. Jerry Seinfeld with his cereal for example. Some shows and movies even spoof it. But NBC clubs you over the head with it while they think they are being sneaky.



I will give you two guesses at who the primary sponsors of NBC's Revolution are...



I don't have an Iphone, but you would think that after fifteen years of inactivity, the thing would have spent some time rebooting, and searching for updates? She turned on her phone, and within a second had a crisp and new Apple logo, then her long lost pictures of her kids. You know, the now 20 something babies that she hasn't seen for over a decade and a half and live 3000 miles away yet seems to lament as if they were just taken from her. (I'm not saying she would not mourn the loss of her kids, I'm saying that over fifteen years most people would find new motivation to live, or give up.)

This Iphone thought it was being looked upon
crossly by a baby being held by it's mother on the other side
of the room and shattered itself. Turns out the baby just had gas.


I am assuming this is the Iphone 5. Can any one confirm? But more importantly, Apple is suggesting that their Iphone could survive fifteen years bouncing around in this chick's purse. I have heard horror stories about people breathing wrong on their Iphone, or opening a soda near it, or dropping it to the surface of a table a tad too roughly, and having it never work again. Hers has spent more time in her backpack than the life span of most NFL stadiums nowadays, and it snapped on in seconds with brilliant and crisp images. I had my Droid in my pocket and lightly bumped a table and shattered the face. And they were supposed to be tougher!  Her phone looks brand new.  Sure, it is conceivable that she locked hers away some place safe. But for 15 years??? I don't know why I have such a hard time with this issue. It just seems so forced and contrived.

On the other hand, I loved how Mr. Google responded to the music. This is something he has not heard a note of for 15 years. I'm sure the experience would have been profound and none of us can really fathom how we would react.  I was a little annoyed though about how the tech geek was showing his prowess by rifling through Grace's now broken computer and naming the bits. I think just about every member of this show's preferred demographic can identify a CPU.  Mr. Google was naming the parts as if trying to piece together a mystery... "Yup, she WAS using a computer, here is a CPU!"  He whined a bit much about once having so much power and now being subject to all the bullies again but he is becoming my favorite character.

Ladies, you walk too fast and my butt is chafing!
(Notice Charlies perfectly placed bag strap.)


We do need to start a game keeping track of how many times he makes references to how rich he used to be. He has done it at least once an episode. Again, this is 15 years later folks, you would have thought that every one in his little town would have been fed up with him reminiscing about his millions and told him to STFU and he would be over it by now.

Lets see if I can name them all from memory:

Trading his millions for toilet paper.
I used to own a plane, I should know where the med kit is.
I used to have 300 employees, now I suck.

What did I miss? Fun Game!

I enjoy these two much more than the main plot of the show.

Frankly, I didn't pay much attention to it.  Most of the time Charly is on screen I tend to block out.  Lucky for me I had that time to assemble some plastic! There was a bit of humanitarian nature with her helping the wounded boy and he was flirting with the hot model with perfect hair who inexplicably found her way into this Applebees to help him.  But they forced in an emotional connection by having him get jacked.

Then of course she had to do her critical action bit by shooting her crossbow, and blowing up the bridge. Hmmm...

First, I don't quite know how Katniss would hold a crossbow, but I doubt any true marksman would hold it like a rattle snake. She couldn't have gotten that thing further from her support base, and was pretty much shooting from the hip, and lobbing that bolt up and over terrain and shit. One hell of a shot!.  Two weeks in a row Charly delivered the Coup de Gras. Lets keep tabs how many times she is the hero.

Look at this... she has the butt of the crossbow
resting on her right collar bone. 


Then there is the issue of blowing up the bridge with a satchel placed on the surface of the tarmac.  I imagine there would been a crater... but most of the force of the explosion would have harmlessly blown up into the air. In order for the bridge to blow from that satchel, I would imagine it would have needed to be sorta embedded within the structure or a whole lot bigger?  Perhaps they placed more explosives elsewhere on the bridge that were ignited by the satchel.

Speaking of the resistance... They were sure lucky they got their hands on that sniper rifle!  But why didn't the sniper shoot the guy who obviously looked like the officer? (dressed in cool black with the 100 dollar hair cut while the others wore uniforms... giving orders.. yah that guy)  Isn't that rule of engagement among the top three of guerrilla warfare? It is not like they were trying to hide him, or he was trying to be inconspicuous. He was standing there, giving the order to FIRE!  Shoot the guy giving orders dummy!  There was pretty much a big neon sign pointing at him! Nah.  The sniper started with the front and began working his way willy nilly through the ranks at random until the officer finally realized there was a sniper who was NOT shooting a musket, and ordered a retreat.  At least 4 guys dropped before he made sense of it, and those would have been four rounds through his forehead had I been the sniper.

I loved the guy getting whacked through the car door though. Pretty cool.

I also liked the flashbacks, which like the story line with Mr. Google, are more interesting to me.  Though I do get a kick out of how none of them age.  I definitely look older than I looked when I was 23.  Most of these guys look like they are in their 40s. So would have been in their spry 20s in the flash backs or at least early 30s. They look like the current person just doing something else.

So it is interesting how they explain the militia. Founded on a good premise... to save what civilization there is by taking a hard line on criminals. I agree with that.  But obviously it got distorted and now the militia is the thugs.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely!  But Miles seems to have a sense of honor, and I want to believe that he would not let such corruption happen. We will have to see how that power struggle between him and Monroe works itself out.  What happened??

I fear for the future of humanity if the resistance is so inept. I didn't catch the logic, but why were they trying to tunnel out of the back of a mall restaurant any way? Why didn't they just run into the mall? It is not as if 50 men could have surrounded the entire mall!  Plus they were shooting muskets in formation, which meant they were all lined up next to the restaurant.  Wait for volley, then run from Restaurant door to mall door, and disappear into the darkness of the mall. Oh wait... it was dark. The militia have antique muskets known for their short range and inaccurate shooting.  How about... wait for it... they just run in any direction!  It is not like there were spotlights, plus the sniper had them pinned. Every one who was in the restaurant could have simply run out the side door into the mall, or shit, the front door into the darkness of night. Nah, lets get assaulted, take the officer prisoner, then give him the very rifle they were fighting to keep, and release him because there was no way possible for them to get away from a handful of incompetent soldiers, in a dark mall, at night, in a world where there are no lights...

Oh wait the writers had to create a situation where Miles' past was exposed to the resistance, and he was also taken prisoner giving them a chance to save him... or not, and finally tie in the officer with the origins of the resistance.  Blah blah blah.

There isn't much else to say about the episode.  Little brother gets bullied by a junior officer, then puts him in his place under the approving eye of Commander Chicken. (breaking bad reference)  Google and British realize the depth of their involvement in the future of the world, Charly continues to be more useful than trained professionals, and Miles walks the line between bad and good.  The only thing we were missing was an appearance of Abercrombie. He seems to be the most capable member of the militia thus far, why would he not be with that officer? We got a bit of background and some nonsense plot decisions and pretty much a bunch of lazy writing, and I might be mistaken but did they preview a major character death in the fourth episode? Are they already resorting to desperate plot devices to boost viewers?

I smell a very soon massive drop in viewers, and a possible mid season replacement when they pull a Caprica on this show. (Remember when Syfy yanked that stinker off the air and never even aired the last few episodes they taped?) At the very least,  I project a 99% non-renewal for season two.  Firefly, a fantastic show, didn't even get to air the entire first season! Jericho got a second half season due to fan support, only to have season two be among the worst seasons of any show in the history of the world. I see trouble ahead!

It seems that in the two days it took me to write this, NBC has picked up Revolution for an entire season. I suppose they film 9 episodes to see how it does, then decide to continue based on the reaction to the first few. That doesn't mean that they won't pull it though.  I have a feeling that this particular show will go the way of The Bionic Woman 2007, which also did very well the first couple weeks then slumped to the bottom of the rankings when the nostalgic interest went away .

The problem with Revolution is that NBC may have been a little hasty.

Of course it had good ratings the first few episodes.  It is a cool idea that speaks to the nerd in all of us.  However, Revolution lacks that nostalgic element, and really is just a one trick pony lazy TV show. It's formula is stolen from shows from the mid 2000s mini TV revolution like Jericho, Heroes and Lost. (Main characters follow the plot while sub characters reveal the secrets and twists, keeping us interested which was a departure from the BSG and Stargate SG1 episodic programming that was king at the time.) And it uses tricks to get us invested in the characters, rather than good writing and character driven plots. (See Battlestar Galactica which started strong on nostalgic interest but increased it's viewer base with gritty, smart writing. The Chief for example had a huge and compelling character arch.) In a couple weeks The Walking Dead will explode back onto TV giving something way better for us all to talk about. That, along with Revolution already starting to show it's age, will leave it quagmired at the bottom of the ratings and JJ Abrams and NBC shaking their heads.

Oh, does any one have a Forgeworld Dreadnought Pod? :)

Jawaballs

Battle for Salvation GT!

It is Columbas Day Weekend this week, and that means The Battle For Salvation!



The BFS has become one of the prime time GTs in the north east. Sadly, I cannot attend this year because my little sister is getting married, but that doesn't mean you should not!  There is still openings as of today.

Why should you go? Well first of all it is easy to get to from any where from Virginia to Maine.  That means that lots of the big names make it!  You could get a chance to match your army vs Mike Brandt and Neil Gilstrap, the two finalists last year.

But more than that, it is just fun. It is a well run, low key, competitive GT. There is also a big game going on if that is your taste.

So take a look at the site and if you have the time, get out to the BFS this week!

It will be worth the last minute trip.

Jawaballs

This week look for me to do some updates on my Lamenters army which is turning out to be a VERY last minute project, and also another review on Revolution.  Just 13 days til The Walking Dead season 3!