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Mental Diarrhea

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Starting new Jul. 26th, 2018 @ 06:40 am
So the new job didn't actually start when it was supposed to - just a few days before I was supposed to start I got a phone call, a "yeah, some things still aren't worked out yet, so would you be able to start next Monday instead?" Part of me was freaked - was this in response to my questions to HR about being gender fluid? But the non-paranoid side of me figured this was just a matter of large corporations figuring out details, and that that sort of thing just doesn't happen quickly. So I tried to look on the bright side of a bonus week off (unpaid, mind you), and get some stuff done around the house, figuring everything was going to be okay. And it turned out the non-paranoid side of me was right, it was just a matter of sorting out the details of how I was going to be employed, since this was through a recruiter. So once the recruiter people and the new job people had their ducks in a row, I started on Monday.

I will come back and talk about the new job - because holy smokes it's turning into everything I wanted - but the big thing I wanted to hit on was about how Phoenix was going to fit into things.

Talking to HRCollapse )

Phoenix at WorkCollapse )

Getting ReadyCollapse )

First day of PhoenixCollapse )

So, one day down of Phoenix at work, and likely many more to come.

The new gig Jul. 3rd, 2018 @ 09:22 am
So after what seems like forever, I'm finally found a new position, and am moving on from my current firm. This Friday represents my last day at the old place, and I start on Tuesday. I'm obviously nervous moving on - the devil you know vs the devil you don't and all that - but I'm extremely excited too.

Out with the oldCollapse )

In with the newCollapse )

And so it goes - one chapter closes, another opens. Here's hoping this one is all it's cracked up to be.

WarMachine, revisited Jun. 15th, 2018 @ 11:16 am
In what can only be described as a strange turn of events, Blindfury and I finally managed some gaming time the other day. He had a Saturday work day and got out mid afternoon, and we all had plans for dinner, so it left us with a convenient couple hours in between.

Knowing that we had a short window, we decided to break out the WarMachine again. My Magnus battle box hadn't seen much play time, and BF has been looking to freshen up on the rules, originally out of interest in some hopeful game time at our friendly local game shop. We also opted for a quick setup on a card table with a spattering of buildings, as my 4'x4' table downstairs was currently occupied with my trains. The card table was really smaller than either of us would have liked, something like 32" square, but in the grand scheme of things it would work. The point here was to get back into the swing of playing and my relearning the rules, so any loss in tactics from starting closer together was irrelevant.

I'm not going to get into the gritty details of the game, but it was definitely a close one. BF's Khador battlegroup lacks in numbers but not in beef - his two heavy 'jacks bring a lot of armor to bear - and my Magnus battlegroup brings some interesting quirks. I tried an "overwhelming force" tactic of knocking down jacks and taking advantage but it didn't really work - that Khador armor was hard to pierce and I couldn't seal the deal. My jacks took a lot of punishment before backing off, and it was by drawing out BF's caster and getting a couple lucky die rolls I was able to squeak a win.

A couple takeaways from the game:

I really like the 'jack system. It's kind of a minimal Battletech, in that you can lose parts and systems without losing the whole jack. It makes for an interesting and drawn out game - I always like a game where vehicles can take hits but keep on chugging along, rather than an all-or-nothing kill system.

I'm still mixed on the focus system. It definitely adds a tactical level to play, and I clearly haven't worked into the rhythm of Magnus. BF and I were talking afterwards, and there were a couple things I probably should have done differently. I'm not sure if it would have had much impact on overall game play, but it's still a lesson in optimizing abilities. I'm also torn on the boost system for attacks. In one sense, I like it - I really needed the boost to be able to effectively combat the Khador armor - but in other ways I'm not 100% sold. I think it's partially due to the fact that I really needed to boost my attacks, I didn't get a good feel for exactly what options I have.

I also still really like Magnus. The one shot rocket of my Renegade is kind of annoying, but I really like the Talon and his stun spear. Magnus' battle group has a lot of stun and knock down potential, and frankly that's just kind of fun.

I'm not sure how well WarMachine will grow for me though. I really like the small battlegroup size fights, and I really like the jacks. But looking into what's involved with playing with bigger armies, and it seems that the bigger the battle, the smaller part your warcaster and 'jacks have. There's lots of neat infantry options, but in the same sense the infantry don't have the mechanic of the 'jacks that is what I really like about WarMachine.

So we'll see. BF and I are determined to get more WarMachine in, and I'd like to get practiced enough to feel comfortable with the mechanics. Maybe then we'll play around with the idea of larger battles, and seeing what else WarMachine has to offer.

It's been awhile Jun. 13th, 2018 @ 01:51 pm
Looking back, it's been awhile since I've posted anything. So that leaves me with a lot I want to get down, but in an attempt to avoid a brain dump post, I'm going to focus on what's probably been the biggest thing lately.

Where my brain has beenCollapse )

So we'll see. I definitely feel like things are moving in a positive direction. Time will tell if it keeps up.

In a funk Apr. 3rd, 2018 @ 10:01 am
So I seem to be in a bit of a funk lately. It seems to be happening with some frequency, and I don't like it. The gist of it is that I feel kind of stuck, and stuck in a place that I'm just not really thrilled with. A big part of it is career and gender identity related, but some of it is family too.

Job stuffCollapse )

Phoenix stuffCollapse )

Family stuffCollapse )

And don't even get me started on politics.

So, fuck. All I know is that I really just want to check out for a bit. Unfortunately, being an adult means that's not really feasible.
Other entries
» Random thoughts and stuff
When I called this blog "Mental Diarrhea", the idea was that I tend to just expel my thoughts onto the page. And I don't know what it is, but that's just the way things go for me - no matter how many times I think I'm going to sit and write something focused, it always comes down to a post full of random crap.

I think part of it is that there's maybe a half dozen things kind of running simultaneously in my brain, so when I decide to sit down and type, it's always those same half dozen things that float forward into the "this is stuff I want to write about". But anyhow, at the risk of being repetitive, here goes:

Phoenix and the job huntCollapse )

The hobby stuffsCollapse )

Hm. And just as it begins, it ends. My brain has reached a point where it's typed out, and honestly I should probably get back to work.
» Things go on
More of the same, plus some different.

The job huntCollapse )

More trainsCollapse )

PidgeCollapse )

Warmachine and gamingCollapse )

So yeah, another bunch of stuff brain dump. It seems to be the way things go lately, I guess that's just a function of how much stuff there is that seems to be going on.
» Stuff and stuff
So it's been just over a week since last posting - some things change, others stay the same.

Job huntingCollapse )

Choo choo!Collapse )

Little dudeCollapse )

But, as it goes, life carries on.
» Ramblings
As tends to happen, it seems that I end up logging in and thinking "I have things I want to say, but the thoughts are only loosely organized, so while I feel like I should address each topic as a post, I'm just going to brain dump". There's a reason I titled this blog "Mental Diarrhea". :-)

GunsCollapse )

TrainsCollapse )

PhoenixCollapse )

So yeah. Brain dump!
» Some thoughts

So, I had to come and brain dump a little.  I've been feeling kind of off, and I'm stuck at work where I can't really discuss it with anyone, but I can't just sit here and stew.

So as mentioned earlier, I've decided to start job hunting as Phoenix.  The idea started almost as a side comment with Ceri, but especially after talking with her, and with my therapist, and just thinking about it more, it's become apparent that I'd be happier with the ability to be Phoenix at work.  So before I could talk myself out of it, I updated my resume, made it public on a couple job sites, and started looking.

It's only been a couple days, but I've already been contacted by a handful of recruiters.  No surprise there — they are set up for that — but I've already talked to a couple, being very open about my desire to pursue the next stage of my career with Phoenix.  The recruiters have all been supportive and positive, although I suppose that is their job.

But with all of this, it's definitely put me in a weird head space.  Really, it's kind of a one-two punch of major life changes, something I've never been really good at dealing with.  I've hated every job hunt before this, and while I'm extremely excited about the idea of being more Phoenix, I'm also scared to death of some of the implications.

Read more...Collapse )

» Birthdays
I just passed my birthday, although in a way it was two birthdays. Aside from turning 42, it was also two years ago at my 40th birthday party that Phoenix "came out" to the friends group. If you had asked me two years ago what life would have looked like now, I honestly don't think I would have foreseen this. Phoenix has become a much larger, a more normal part of my life - in ways that both excite and scare me.

I know that Phoenix has always been there, but I grew up so used to hiding her that I never thought she'd be much more than a little bedroom secret. So to be where I'm at, looking back at a weekend where I spent two out of three days in full Phoenix mode, it's a lot. Ceri and I have been working hard to make her a normal part of life for us and Pidge, and I feel like we've been very good with that, but that doesn't change the fact that sometimes I look back in awe.

Birthday time!Collapse )

The stuff we noticeCollapse )

A next step?Collapse )

And on a side note - the nails came off okay. It took a lot of time and prying - maybe a solid hour all said and done, but you'd never know I had them done. It certainly gives me food for thought about getting them done again. It's a little pricy to have them for only a weekend, but it's good to know that if there's something special occasion that I don't have to worry about not being able to get them off.

So yeah, I don't know. A lot of really good Phoenix stuff going on, but it's also pushing my life in directions I wouldn't have thought possible just a few years ago. It's a lot to grok.
» Grumpy old man
So I was trying to come up with a title for this post, and as I was typing out different thoughts, I couldn't help but think I sounded like some grumpy old man.

Anyhow, the source of today's grumpy-ism is new rules releases for games, specifically miniatures games, but games as a whole. It started this morning, as I was browsing the web while I was waking up. I popped over to the Flames of War website, and saw they were releasing a new campaign book — Italy in Mid-War Africa. Seeing as I have a fair amount of Italians, I thought — "great! a book tailored to my army!" Except that was quickly dashed by a "except that this is for the latest rules version, which I'm not familiar with". And it actually tied back in to a conversation I had with Blindfury last night — about how I hate the version changes with games, and that I'm more likely to play an old version of a game than the most current set.

In all honesty, this is nothing new. For me it mostly dates back to my 40K games - starting with Rogue Trader, and moving on through the various iterations of Warhammer 40K. The transition from Rogue Trader to 2nd Edition was actually a good one - they simplified a lot of the game, and introduced a lot of army organization that made the game easier to get into and play. The original Rogue Trader was a very generic set - there was a lot of flexibility but very little structure. There wasn't much predefined - no army org charts, or anything like that, and the vehicle rules were extremely cumbersome. So when Games Workshop trimmed and revised into 2nd and 3rd edition, they were mostly welcome changes. But as the 40K rules progressed, they started to do things that I felt were "too far". They'd make changes that had drastic effects on existing armies, completely nullifying certain tactics or army builds, and sometimes even making certain miniatures not usable. The rule changes moved from welcome changes to a frustrating destruction of prior practice. I got out of 40K when I first started college, and when I got back into it - 40K was no longer a game I recognized. So I pushed it aside.

Years later, Blindfury and I got into Flames of War. At the time it was a good fit - a nice World War 2 setting, but a light and fluffy enough game to be playable. It was often referred to as a "historical 40K", because the game play was similarly simple. But that comparison to 40K ended up going further, in that it shifted into rules versioning hell. When we first started it was the tail end of version 2, and moved over to version 3. But now they are pushing into version 4, and we find ourselves asking the question - for as rarely as we play, is it worth relearning the new ruleset? Or do we cut and run, and let Flames of War fall into the list of "games we used to play"?

I hate to do that, as I love the minis, and we have the time and money invested in armies and terrain. I already have boxes of 40K miniatures that will likely never see the light of day, and I'm not inclined to do the same with my Flames of War stuff. But lately we've been into Frostgrave, and potentially Company of Iron, so I don't know that I see much room for it either. Frostgrave has been our go to as the rules are quick and the scope of armies is small, tow things that Flames of War just doesn't have. Part of me thinks that maybe we need to refocus our idea of Flames of War - smaller armies, and maybe some extra legwork into quick access reference sheets that could streamline the game into something we play more often, but then I wonder if I'm putting effort into a lost cause.

I dunno. I love the army building, and I love the company level management - there's something about having infantry and vehicles and artillery that you just can't recreate in a skirmish level game with 10 guys. But with that comes a certain level of complexity that makes it hard to have a quick and flowing game, and more complex rules are just going to have more grey areas. In all honesty, I really just wish we played more often. I think that alone would make a huge difference - when you are playing a game once every couple months, you tend to go with what works and what's quick, as you don't want to spend time on a game experience that isn't satisfying. You also don't get the speed of game that comes with familiarity with the rules - I think if we were playing Flames every other week, we'd have the rules down well enough to make the games faster.

But as I said - I dunno. I think at this point I'm going to try and refocus my hobby efforts - try and get stuff painted and assembled and organized - and just try and keep my options open.
» Pidge and race
So obviously this is something that's been a long time coming. There was absolutely no way we were going to get away from race, and the fact that Pidge is black and Ceri and I are white. But even with that, and knowing it was coming, it's hit me in ways that I'm just not ready for.

Once Pidge hit school age, we knew that race was going to start to become something he'd notice. Once outside of the very small circle of contact that was family and day care, things were going to come up. He'd occasionally make comments, and we'd be very open and honest with him, and for the most part his kid brain just accepted things. We were different colors and that was no big deal. But this year, now that he's in first grade, he's much smarter and more savvy, and his brain is reaching deeper. He's noticing things, and asking more pointed questions. And moreso, he's hearing things from kids at school, and bringing them home as questions to us. For the most part it's been stuff that has been easy to handle - questioning things like Santa and God - but last night he brought up Martin Luther King.

I know a big part of it was naivety on my side. I'm not fool enough to think that the election of a black president was "the end of racism", or that there aren't any scars that remain of our racist past. But most of that has been national, or higher level news stuff that was beyond Pidge's awareness, so they were questions he didn't ask. But since schools are closed for MLK day, and school is very much in Pidge's level of thought, it was only natural that he would ask us who MLK was, and why he got the day off of school. And there's obviously no way to discuss MLK without discussing America's problem with racism.

It's actually been a weird thought point for us. Ceri and I are very aware of the fact that the history of black America isn't specifically Pidge's history - while he is black, his history is in Ethiopia. But to the person that sees him from the outside, he is a black American, and so that history is his. He's going to be perceived and judged as a young black American, with all of the extras that are associated with that. And frankly, it's a part of American history - a nasty part - but a part nonetheless, and we'd be doing him a disservice by pretending otherwise. Fortunately Ceri was on top of this - she's had an eye out for kid level stories about prominent black Americans since before Pidge came home - so when he asked about MLK, we had a book on the shelf ready to read. So we read it last night, and listening to Ceri read the book to Pidge, and all of his questions - it's really hard. Part of it is just hard to believe that it was ever acceptable to enslave people, or segregate and discriminate based on color. There just isn't a good answer when he looks at you and says "why?" And it's made even harder by knowing that these people still exist, and not in the "old dinosaur" type of people. Racism isn't just an old Archie Bunker episode, or some angry old white man - it's their kids, and their kids' kids, and it's going to be their kids' kids' kids.

I've also started reading "We Were Eight Years In Power" by Ta-nehisi Coates, which is a reflection on the Obama presidency, as told by a black American. I'm not going to try and pretend to be some sort of enlightened person on the issue of race, but reading his perspective on things - all of this is coming together in a way that has my head reeling. I find myself becoming more aware of the white washing of so much that I grew up with, and then I look and see how many people *aren't* aware of it - people that just aren't aware of the bigotry that lies at the heart of so much of what they know. I think the perfect example is the retelling of the Civil War - a war that was literally fought over slavery (the Articles of Secession some of the states wrote explicitly say as much), but that fact is literally not taught to large parts of the country - they are taught that the war was fought over state rights, and an overreaching federal government - and the whole issue of slavery is glossed over, not a big deal, not pertinent to the story. Some politicians have even gone on to say that the whole war could have been avoided if "the North knew how to compromise". And then I think about so many of the racist and bigoted things I hear people say (because as a white guy people assume I agree with them or something), and the things they spew as 'facts' that mean they aren't actually racist, again completely ignoring the systemic racism that set up black America to fail. Because they were never taught about that. They were never taught about redlining, or the policies that pushed black Americans into the slums of the city, and the policies that crippled their access to jobs and education and health. And I know they were never taught this, because I was never taught this. Growing up, I was never taught that racism was a thing. Slavery and segregation and Jim Crowe - those were just blips of bad decisions in an otherwise Great American History. We were certainly never taught that they still existed.

So I don't know. As someone that grew up in white bread Kentucky and Connecticut, I'm feeling kind of overwhelmed. I'm realizing that there is a large part of our history that I need to make sure Eli knows, but that before I can help him understand it, I need to understand it first.
» Holidays are done - back to normal
Now that we're into January, I've been meaning to get back to the ol' LJ and put some thoughts down.

PhoenixCollapse )

So I feel like there's a bunch of other stuff I should go on about, but I'm kinda brain dead too. Ceri is in Saudi for her final trip over there, so as single Dad for a week I'm a little drained. I can't even blame it on being single Dad - Pidge is fairly good to take care of, even if he gets a bit intense with his jibber jabber - but I also do dumb stuff like staying up until 2 playing video games with my brother. I justify it in my brain by doing a bunch of around the house stuff - cleaning and laundry and such - but all it means is that I get stuff done and stay up too late, so I'm accomplished and tired. Then again, a little accomplishment is needed sometimes. The house was still a bit overrun with holidays - lots of boxes for recycling, laundry that piles up because no one wants to do it on vacation, that kind of stuff - so clearing some of that away helps. I find that I start to get into a funk when I feel like the house is too cluttered, so clearing that out lifts me up a bit, and tends to put me in a better mood.

There's also some real practical reason behind wanting to do some major cleaning around the house - and that is that the Man Shed is on it's last legs. The exterior sheathing is starting to rot on one side, and it's become clear that I'm going to need to do something about it within a year or so. Ceri and I started talking about it, and the conclusion we came to is that it's probably best to just tear it down, and put up something smaller. When we bought the house I had this idea of using that as my man cave - it's where stuff like my tools and model railroad could go - but after 10 years in the house that never really materialized. And with getting the addition a few years ago, it's meant that we don't need to use the basement as living space - so it's possible that some of what was meant for the shed can happen inside. Some stuff still won't work - I'm not going to run major power tools (or clean up after them) in the house, but frankly that's the sort of thing that I can store the tools indoors, and just temporarily set them up outside to use them. If I'm honest about it I rarely use them anyway, so I don't exactly need a giant shed for them. So while repair is still an option, the truth is that the shed is too big for the yard, and never filled it's promise as a place for my stuff, and honestly never will. Even though I started fixing it up inside, it doesn't have A/C or real heat, so it's never going to be a permanent home for anything. It may have made great gaming space in the fall, but I'm not going to want to leave anything out there all year if I'm only willing to go out for a couple months during the year.

So I've been thinking of brining my railroad in first - Pidge has wanted to play with it anyway, and I've been kinda hankering to see it moving myself. If I clean all the clutter off the gaming table I can bring it in and set it up there, which will give me a place to clean it up and get it running again. That will mean that I'll need to find a home for my railroad to actually game on the table, but the layout is still just a 3'x4'and relatively portable. I'm also a little excited to get back to it, because I think there are things that were holding me up that I can now fix with the printer. I'll be able to print background buildings, and stuff like retaining walls and bridges. The resolution isn't quite there for a up-front n scale building, but it'll let me fill out my rail yard with odds and ends. I'll also be able to print out a control console, so I'll be able to create a nice panel with all my switches and controls in one place, and I'll be able to do it far more precisely than I would have been able to if I was trying to use wood. Even just writing about it is getting me psyched. My one big concern though, is the electronics. Everything has been sitting idle for 10 years, so there's no telling what shape it'll be in. The switch motors may not work, my wiring may need to be repaired, my locomotives may not run - and that'd be a huge amount of work and disappointment. And unfortunately, I won't know the answer to that until I actually bring it in and power everything up. But then again - bringing everything in and trying means that I may actually do something with it, rather than leaving it to eventually rot in the shed.

So, as seems to always be the case though - so much to do and not enough time to do it. I guess life carries on as usual.
» Getting to the range
So Blindfury and I managed to get to the range as planned — the first time in just over a year for me.  I made a point of pulling out my 1911 and putting a little grease on the rails — it has been sitting for way too long — and packed everything up ready to go.  My Christmas work party was that morning/afternoon, so we didn't end up getting to the range until around 4:00.  I brought my 1911, and Blindfury brought his Ruger Blackhawk and his 10/22 takedown.

The 10/22Collapse )

The big stuffCollapse )

All said and done, we were there for about two hours. The range wasn't that crowded, which meant we could relax and take our time, and shoot the way we game - no particular hurry, and a fair amount of chatting and discussion related to what we're doing. All said and done we went through 50 rounds of .22 and 200 rounds of .45 - so a fair amount of shooting. But considering how rarely we've been able to make it out, I think it's worth making the trip worthwhile.
» It's been a bit
So, it's been a little while since I posted — I feel like a lot has happened, but it's all in little bits and pieces.  So here's a general "how's life".

Phoenix stuffCollapse )

Something not Phoenix!Collapse )

3D printer stuffCollapse )

So a bit if a "everything but the kitchen sink" post, but I've been slacking. :-)
» Phoenix moving forward

I swear, there's more to my life than Phoenix.

Actually, maybe not.  It's something that's been on my mind a lot, as I continue therapy and work towards figuring me out.  I find that it is becoming a bigger and bigger part of my life, and frankly, that both excites and scares me as it pushes me into things I never thought possible and towards things I never expected.

Last week, my therpaist had a conflict, so we ended up moving my appointment to Wednesday, and at a time that butted right against lunch.  I'd been thinking about going as Phoenix, and the timing change convinced me that I'd be able to slyly get mostly dressed, and then do stuff like makeup and finishing touches once I got there.  So I opted for my grey LLR dress, with black boots, silver earrings and necklace and minimal makeup (I didn't want to have to worry about trying to wash off eyeliner before I went back to work).  I was extremely nervous, but had committed to doing it, so I went and had my appointment as usual.

Read more...Collapse )

» Step Up: I hate portion control, but it's effective
Just wanted to swing by with an update. Step Up had basically reached maintenance mode, and I've been generally happy with that as other things in life took priority. But a couple weeks ago I decided I needed to renew my efforts, to try and make that 175 goal.

And as of this morning, I'd hit another milestone - I made it below 190. I had to put another notch in my belt, I've felt my pants getting loose again, even my new 36s, and I'm reaching a point where some of my "comfy size" clothes are just too big.

And as the title hints at, this is almost all through portion control. I still walk at lunch when possible, but this latest drop in weight has been nothing but eating habits. Part of me really hates it - there's something satisfying about eating stupid amounts of food - but damned if it doesn't work.

On a side note - Ceri and I have started a few of those meal prep services - where the ingredients get shipped to your door. We both poo poo'd the idea before, but we found that what stopped us from cooking at home was that we were bad about regularly hitting the grocery store. We'd generally have the basics around, but we wouldn't have much in terms of fresh ingredients. So we'd end up ordering in or eating out all the time. Now we're cooking home more often, and the food is good and generally healthier. Sure, it's more expensive than going to the grocery store, but it's definitely cheaper (and better) than eating out all the time. I also like that the recipes are straight forward enough that I feel like I can do more of the cooking. It takes the responsibility off of Ceri, and also means that if she has to work late, the default isn't eating out.

But all in all, in extremely satisfied with my ability to lose and keep off the weight. It's basically been a year since I started this, and I'm down a solid 40 pounds, and I think I've made the habit changes necessary to keep it that way.
» More Phoenix
So aside from the last post, with getting the new therapist, I feel like there's been some major movement on the Phoenix front. It's all kind of a swirl in my head though, so I wanted to try and get it down while it was swirling.

HalloweenCollapse )

A regular dayCollapse )

Another therapy appointmentCollapse )

So yeah, A lot going on in my brain about Phoenix. I don't quite know where this is leading, if it is actually leading anywhere, but I can't help but think of all of the "I'd love to be able to do" things that I've now done. And with that, all of the things that I never though were possible seem to be within reach.
» Frostgrave Battle Report
Preface: So for some reason it’s basically taken me two weeks to write this. I know blindfury has already covered this, but I still wanted to get my two cents in.

So Blindfury and I managed to put some time aside for a good game of Frostgrave. This represents round three of my Chronomancer vs his Sigilist. We continue to tweak the table – adding more terrain, and this time reducing to a 3’x3’ play area – which continues to improve the overall experience. I’ve read a lot that talks about how a small, crowded table makes for the best game, and I’m inclined to believe it.

We randomly rolled another scenario – slowly working through the 10 scenarios that came in the base book. Blindfury rolled and called up the one scenario he had been fearing – The Haunted Houses. This scenario places the treasure in small huts that have a chance of spawning a wraith when you enter – and wraiths are nasty in that they can only be affected by magic attacks. But that’s what fate gave us, so we set up the table.

The first couple games we’ve played, we used the full size of my 4’x4’ table. The book for Frostgrave specifically says that you should go with a 3’x3’ table for a two player game, so this time we unrolled Blindfury’s 3’x3’ winter themed game mat, and used that as a play area.

The difference was immediately noticeable. A 3’x3’ table is only 9 square feet, compared to the 16 square feet of a 4’x4’ table, and the impact of compressing a table’s worth of scenery into half the space was immediately apparent. Our first games looked like they were taking place in a small town, with wide roads, and a relatively open space. In 3’x3’, it felt like we were in a jammed tight city – the wide roads replaced with narrow and winding alleys. It had a huge impact on line of sight and setup, and for the better.

Setup of the scenery was driven by the scenario – initially place six small roofless huts, and then fill out the table. I had recently printed six 4”x4” huts specifically for this scenario, so Blindfury and I took turns placing them. They ended up fairly evenly spaced, and we then filled in with all of my other buildings. The table ended up jammed with low ruined buildings, creating tons of alleys. There were a couple towers that created variations – one at my left edge, one at my center, one at Blindfury’s right, a short tower at his left, and a short tower at his center. We placed treasure per the scenario – one and each hut, and we both succeeded our “Reveal Secret” rolls – and let the match begin

I set up my wizard and his crew on my left and my apprentice and his crew on my right, and Blindfury mirrored my setup – placing his wizard and crew on his right and apprentice and crew on his left. Since we both passed our Reveal Secrets rolls, we each had an immediate treasure, and with the way the buildings spaced themselves, we each had a couple obvious wraith houses to plunder, with a couple in the middle up for grabs. The real question would be those wraiths – they could turn an easy grab and go into a dead henchman.

My warband is built for speed, so I tried to leverage that into as quick a push as possible, using Crumble to make for some easier access into the wraith houses, or jumping walls to try and get in and get out. Blindfury took a more elegant approach, setting up at a range and using his Marksmen to provide field denial, with his Wizard and apprentice using Telekinesis to pull treasures out and avoid the risk of wraiths.

I was able to secure two treasures quickly – I grabbed a Reveal Secret treasure, and my wizard’s Thief looted a wraith house, but Blindfury outpaced me and was able to get a quick three between Reveal Secret and Telekinesis. My Apprentice’s squad had the misfortune of finding a wraith in their first house, which meant that an easy loot for me was suddenly up for grabs, as I struggled to deal with the wraith.

Once the easy treasure was gone, Blindfury gained the initiative and made a strong push towards the other treasures. My Wizard’s Treasure Hunter was moving up to grab one treasure, only to have it Telekinesised away, and Blindfury’s Apprentice was able to use a Telekinesis and grab the treasure that I couldn’t due to the wraith. Blindfury had a Treasure Hunter move after the last treasure, only to be stopped by a wraith. Some bad luck brought another wraith into the mix, which had Blindfury making the decision to draw back and be happy with the treasure he already had. Fortunately for me, once he decided to abandon that treasure the wraiths did too, allowing my Wizard to run over and make off with an unexpected bonus.

So all said and done this was a fairly harsh match – we both lost a few soldiers, and my Apprentice went down to a wraith. Blindfury managed 5 of the 8 treasures, leaving me with the other 3 – a small consolation prize for what was a generally bad match for me.

This game has several takeaways:

The first is that Blindfury and I are often left commenting on how solid the rules are. We are both so used to wargaming with grey areas, that it’s refreshing to find a game that seems to have really covered everything. The example from this game came to the wraiths – the game scenario specifically says “as soon as a member of a warband enters the hut”, so it’s very clear as to what triggers the roll for a wraith. So telekinesing a treasure out clearly does not trigger a roll, because a warband member never enters. The other rule was about melee combat – where the rules specifically say that if the winner pushes back their opponent, they are no longer in combat. This was a very crucial detail, especially when dealing with the wraiths – as it meant that even though the wraiths were hard to kill, it was still possible to win combat and disengage, allowing you to move out of combat without risk.

Despite having an absolutely terrible game, all is not lost. I’m too used to league games like Blood Bowl, where a bad game or two can mean that you are out of contention. But this game, my wizard was a higher level, but that didn’t mean I outpowered. Dice luck being what it is, the game just didn’t go well for me. But with that being said, once the match was done and loot was resolved, I’m still in a position to be competitive next match. I still gained a couple levels, and got enough in equipment and money to grow my warband.

And I can’t say enough how much better the game was on a 3’x3’ table. Having a small area chock full of terrain really changes the pace and the feel of the game. The first game in particular – our warbands didn’t intermingle much. Treasure was close enough to our respective deployment zones so that we could each safely secure the majority of it, and the fighting that happened was really on the fringes. But by shrinking the board, a lot more was at stake, and you needed to consider your opponent from the very beginning. I liked the game before, but after this last match I really have a hard time justifying playing something different.
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