The Walking Dead

About a week ago I was chatting with a buddy and complaining about the status of zombie apocalypse movies.  I had just watched two stinkers, one was  remake called Survival of the Dead and another was well, who cares. They both sucked. I had high hopes for Survival because it was a Romero remake and like Dawn of the Dead there was a lot of promise.  Blah.

Fast forward to 10/31/10.  The Walking Dead.  My concerns were heard.

How hard could it be?  28 Days Later figured it out.  Put an every day person in the zombie apocalypse scenario and let him deal with it. We have all daydreamed about it. Some of us even have bags of gear stowed away just in case.  I do.  But I ask the question again.  How hard could it be to create a GOOD zombie movie?  Well if we had that answer we would have monthly releases of 28 days and Dawn of the Dead. But every once in a while, we get a blessing. We get The Walking Dead.

I found out about it a couple of days ago when I was searching for the original Halloween.  Call it ritual, but I have to watch it every year.  As I was searching I saw a trailer on AMC for a new series...  And shit, I had to believe!  \The Walking Dead was nothing short of a massive pleasure.  Sure, it draws from 28 Day Later, and all that came before it, but how could that be wrong.  They take every day people... a sheriff and a dad, and throw them into the middle of the zombie apocalypse. Drama ensues.  I won't say it's an amazing show yet. I won't even go as far as to say it is great. But I will say it is a whole damn lot better than what I watched the other day. And to go a step further, I would say it is following close behind 28 days and Dawn of the Dead. After just an hour, it is already above just about all zombie flicks/tv I have seen before.  I could have seen the twist with the protagonist's partner and wife coming... but screw it... it's not perfect.  I have three letters for you. DVR. Set it. Watch it. I have a feeling you will be reading a lot about it in the next few months.  


Oh and for the record, Bear McCreary is doing the music. Some of you may remember him from the most awesome tv series of all time, Battlestar Galactica... (The New One for all you old school die hards.)

Bear wrote and created some of the most memorable tv/movie music in history. 

Battle For Salvation tournament report: Get him a body bag!

Hey Folks.  So the BFS tournament went down this last weekend.  I brought my 2k point Nova army prepared to throw down and compete for the top!  But it seems fate can be cruel.  And no, there is no video. I don't shoot video at tournaments any more for a number of reasons.

To cut to the chase, I went 1 and 3 on Saturday.  Thats right, the opposite record I scored at the Nova open.  What happened?  I dunno.  Things just went the other way!  All four games were tough fights. A lot of times wins or losses are determined by the smallest of details.  I could have very easily gone 0-4, and frankly, 4-0!

Game One:
I found myself up against James Dean and a salamander army.  The game was for Victory points and Dawn of War.  I came onto the table and had a fantastic round of shooting!  Almost all of my guns actually drew range through the darkness and I did some damage.  But quickly the game bogged down into a predictable slug match.  The crucial failure of the game for me was when he deepstriked a squad of hammer termies with libby close to my line. I assaulted the squad, with my termy death squad, and he wiped me out!  Well, not really, my priest survived the fight.  But it was not a good trade for me.  The combat lasted the whole game. He jumped in with a dread and I piled on 3 assault squads trying to save the priest. The priest actually failed leadership when I lost combat, fell back and rallied the next turn.  It was a messy affair with 14 assault marines trying to glance a dread to death with krak grenades.  Guh.

The highlight of the game for me was a tankshock against Vulkan. He and his squad faild their test and fell back. I chased them to the edge of the board with the Razor, but James managed to kill it with his last krak grenade on my assault turn after two and a half turns of trying.  Vulkan survived.

The game ended with me having a 60 point advantage in Victory Points. That was not enough for the win, so we went to tie breakers. Kill points and table quarters were the next margin.  I won by controlling more quarters.

Game Two:
Stelek.  I found myself 1-0 and matched up against Stelek's wolves.  It was an objective game.  I went first and deployed in the center, and he deployed his three squads of missile launchers as far from my guns as he could. He began to try to mix them all up so that they would give each other cover saves in the open, but stopped when I pointed out that all 15 of the models looked exactlly the same.  There was literally no way to tell one squad from the next, and once they started taking casualties, it would be impossible to keep the units straight. He mercifully kept them in an organized line. He reserved the rest. Then he seized the initiative, and my luck for the rest of the day was gone.

This was one of those games where every thing just goes poorly.  I made two major mistakes.  One was to divide my forces. I should have kept my guys massed and assaulted in force. Instead I tried to take on his wolf guard with single assault squads.  I charged a group with my termies, but lost them all to plasma fire and his counter assault.  Another mistake was when I beat a squad in combat and they fell back. As they were falling back I assaulted them.  They beat that assalter squad then went on to take out another. I should have just chased them off the table with a razor.

The tale of the game though was simply the dice. Stelek's tactics were sound. I could have been better. but it did not help that on his first round of shooting he exploded two of my predators with single missiles each. He fired a dev squad at a tank, penned it's front armor with one missile, I failed cover save, and he exploded it. This happened twice this turn.  The next turn he would fire a single las at my Land Raider from a razorback. Hit, failed cover save, penetration and destroyed result.  C'est la vie!

So he went on to nearly table me.  Thats ok though!  I took it on the chin and kept pluggin away.  The game ended with one of my speeders trying to stay away from him and one or two shell shocked assault marines drinking beers with the wolves.  It was  fun game none the less and I can say that things could have definitely gone better.  Not quite the showing I was hoping to have against Stelek.  Oh well, maybe Fritz and I will make a trip out there and encounter him again.  Thanks for coming out man!

Game Three:

I found myself up against one of the dudes from Brother's Grim.  He had a very different Ork list then what I am used to. No battle wagons!  three large groups of lootas, three grot squads with heavy guns, 3 squads of buggies with missiles and 5 or 6 truks with two force field mechs.  I opened up with the guns and had a great first round.  His right flank took a beating as I blew up all of the truks and did some wounds from the explosions on his grots and lootas.  I am embarrassed to say that at this point I had the game bagged!  Then I went for the kill on his right flank.  I moved up the LRC and disembarked my death squad.  I had three squads of boys lined up for the kill.  I was going to perform a classic multiple assault furious charge.  My guns did their jobs by cracking open the transports, all I had to do was roll higher than 2 on two dice for difficult terrain on the charge.  They were just over two inches away... about 2 and a quarter.  Sadly, I failed.  My guys did not get into assault  because I rolled two 2s.  I did not get my charge bonus to attack. I did not get to reroll misses.  Instead of dealing 22+ wounds to his orks, killing over a dozen and watching them all run off the table...  my termies sat dead in their tracks.  Ouch. On his turn he made me pay.  He ate me up with his guns, then assaulted me with three squads including 5 or  6 claws.  I survived the initial charge, and even managed to get another assault squad in to try to save them, but it was over.  His flank held and my line crumbled.

This marked the trend of the day for me. Three games in a row and three assaults where my usually uber effective death squad got quagmired and killed after I tried to bail it out, losing not only the termies, but a troop squad not meant to go toe to toe with the enemies best.

The game was a kill point mission. He picked 5 of my units and had to kill them, vice versa.  I picked three of his truks and 2 boys squads. He picked three of my razors, my speeders and a troops squad.  On the last turn I had all five of his KP dead and he had 4 of mine. One las razor survived.  On my top of 7 I moved the razor behind two predator tanks so it was blocked completely from LoS. He had to shoot and explode my predators to get to the razor. Game Set Match? Not so fast!  Some truly inspired ork buggies moved up and opened up on the predators, penetrating, and exploding one of them.  Ugh.  It all came down to a single big shoota, now able to fire on the razor.  It hit, glanced and immobilized it to death.  Draw.  My win turned into a tie instead.

The tie breakers would be busted out and this one was tight.  It came down to overall victory points, which he won.  Great game!  You cant ask for a closer affair and he was a fun opponent to play.  Always a pleasure to play against our brothers from Grim!

Game Four:
At this point I have been beat down and the day has been long.  I am 1-2 and smarting from two tough losses.  What do I see before me? Mech Guard.  Oh boy.  Without getting too into it you can imagine how this one went for me.  I moved up and lined up my termies for a fantastic assault. All I had to do was pop a couple of transports with 4 or 5 melta shots, 9 Las cannon shots, 6 auto cannon shots and a couple of plasmas.  On my assault how many men did my termies get to grips with? Zero.  Instead they found themselves assaulting and destroying three heavily damaged chimeras.  In a risky tactical move I detached my libby and sent him after a squad of vets alone. He shined and wiped them out, but the rest of my squad failed. They died the next turn to a heavy volley of shots and concentrated assault from Strakken and vets.

At this point it was late in the day, about 8:30 pm. My opponent held or was about to hold 3 of the five objectives, and there was no way what I had left on the table was going to survive.  Plus, my buddy who was in town for the weekend just sent me a text picture of his frosty and enticing beer from the pub he was at.  So I threw in the towel on the last two turns and gave him the result he would have probably gotten any way.

Jawaballs goes down in a burning heap, 1-3.  Tactically I did nothing different from The Nova.  If any thing, the changes I made in my tactics were even stronger with some gambles that worked out.  The difference was in the things that usually are instant wins for me, like my terminator squad wiping out whatever it hits, failing in all four games.  My army is designed to make up for poor dice luck with consistent redundancy.  Failing redundancy coupled with poor luck, makes it hard to come back from major set backs.

So there you have it!  Like Danial Laruso, I limped off the floor.  I could almost hear the echoes of the snide combatants from the Kai Dojo laughing in my ears.  Only there would be no hot 80s blonde and cool 50s pickup waiting for me.  Just the sweet, sweet embrace of frosty IPA and a 12 year old scotch.

Time to put BFS behind me and get regrouped for The Warstore Weekend!

More to come.


Roger Waters show... OH MY GOD!

I don't get to go to many concerts, so maybe that will have a little to do with the fact that I thought last nights Roger Water's performance of the wall was absolutely the best show I have ever seen.  Thats right, I went there. The best ever.  I have had two moments in my life where music gave me a mind altering experience, and Roger Waters was a part of both. Last night was the second, and the first time I listened to Dark Side of the Moon was the first.  Maybe it is that his messages strike home. Who knows, but last night I was both smiling and tearing at the same time.

The show was Roger and supporting band performing the entire The Wall album.  Pretty straight forward.  But it was so much more then that.  The set was a huge wall dividing Roger from the band behind him, that slowly was built up as he played up to the apex of the album, Pink's (Roger's fictional alter ego in the album and movie), descent into insanity and redemption.  The wall spanned the entire stage, and when it was finished being built stood an easy 30 feet tall.

During the entire show, images and phrases were projected onto the wall, including names of soldiers who fought and died... not only in WWII but just very recently soldiers dieing to IEDs in Iraq.  Not only were there soldiers, but also civilians who were also killed as a result of war right next to the soldiers names.  Nice touch.  But it was not just sad... mixed in with the images were movie shorts of kids being reunited with their soldier parents.  The one that reduced me to silent sobs was one little girl who was looking around with an expectant smile, who finally spots her father entering the room, and bursts out in tears as he runs and scoops her up.  I guess since I am a new parent, this was a particularly touching moment for me and really strikes home what it means to go to war... and to return.  And more importantly, what it means to those who don't.  This sobering experience is something that would have never occurred to me a year ago and that is part of the magic of Roger Waters.

Roger by the way sounded fantastic. You would barely tell that the man has been a rock star since the 60s.  His voice is as powerful and piercing now as it was when he first performed Another Brick in the Wall.  As the show built up to it's peak, I have to say that my breath momentarily rushed out when the wall predictably came crashing down.  I knew it was going to happen yet it still hit me like a punch in the gutt. That is theatre at it's best.  When the predictable still shocks. When we are left staring at the end like we just ran ten miles to find 400 naked blondes dancing at the finish line. Simply amazing.

I have heard the songs a thousand times, no more than that... but it did not matter. The music rang in my ears every second of the train ride home.  It is ringing now.  I am finding myself wishing I could go back tonight and do it all again. I missed Pink Floyd in the 80s, and I missed Gilmour taking them out in the 90s.  But I am happy to say that I managed to catch Waters doing it now.  It is rumored that he and Gilmour are on at least speaking terms again, and they teamed up for a show last year in England... so maybe we will get the chance to see them together one last time in the states. If so, I absolutely will be there.  If you were on the fence about seeing this show, and you have the chance to go, GO. This is one of those moments that we live life for and must be experienced.


Up and coming blogger fun? Brent!

Hey folks!  As part of my ongoing efforts in community support, I wanted to give a shout out to a fellow blogger, friend, and professional stalker,  Brent!  Brent's blog Simply Average has really taken some strides in the last year for the better!  The question is... how?  I mean, really, Brent has made a cyber career out of rehashing blogospheredrama and stalking me. So why do I give him props?  By the way, I'm just busting his balls. I give him props because he has done it with style.  I met him at Bolscon last year and we played a fun game and had a great conversation. That is because he is likable! We ended up hanging out the whole weekend and I know I have a friend to chill with the next time we travel to the same destination. But also, he has a unique and funny sense of humor that does not deviate from it's purpose.  (not sure what that purpose is just yet...)  He has some how managed to weasel his way into writing on two of the heavy hitter blogs in the realm, and has become one of the more recognizable internet personalities. Not bad for a year's time! All of his articles are refreshing and fun to read, if not entirely full of sense.  Any way, it is to Brent that I offer the first Rising Star of Internet Fanboi Love award. Brent, I am your 151st follower. And readers, if you do not already follow him, I urge you to visit his blog and do the same. Go get some more strange in your life. There are much worse ways to waste your time than reading his stuff!