Firmly in the AoS corner is General Ballroom, who is merrily rebasing his Empire army onto round bases and refusing to countenance any 8th Edition tomfoolery.
The polar opposite of this is me, with all my soldiers remaining resolutely square based and no truck with the flimsy construct that is AoS.
In the middle is Stephen, who just wants to play soldiers.
Except that’s not completely true, he wants to play big battles. With seven or more ranked up units on each side - proper wargaming, none of your skirmish malarkey.
So Steve and I can play WFB and Steve and General B can play AoS, but all three of us can’t get our Games Workshop soldiers out at the same time.
You may well ask why I don’t just give up and play AoS? I’ve asked myself that and I think the reasons are twofold. Firstly if I’m using my Warhammer models I want to play Warhammer set in the Warhammer world with ranked up units fighting for the love of Warhammer. And AoS isn’t those things. Part (indeed possibly most) of my love for WFB was tied up with the background and the stories, and those stories don’t include Dwarfs on Lizards, Sigmarines or even Empire Men on round bases.
Secondly if I want to play a fantasy skirmish games I have plenty of those available that either I already know how to play (Mordheim, LotR, Frostgrave) enjoy the background for (same) or that are just easier and quicker to learn and play (Dragon Rampant). Stephen and I often joke that if we were starting now we’d never be able to learn WFB from scratch (and in fact our games use a kind of mish-mash of the most recent rules mixed with generous misremembering’s of previous editions) and AoS for me is the same – don’t be fooled by the “only four pages of rules” lies - to learn the additional rules, synergies and nuances of AoS is a pretty steep learning curve and I’m too old and curmudgeonly to try.
So we’ve been dabbling with various skirmish alternatives. T&T went well, Congo is planned Sharp Practice we were unable to master before General B’s attention wandered to pastures new.
However, fun and diverting though these are, I’m sort of with Steve on this. I like playing big battles with proper units all ranked up and marching steadily toward one another to the beat of fife and drum. Skirmish games are a bit like McDonalds – briefly satisfying, but you want something more substantial soon after - and they generally fail Steve’s ‘Desert Island Test’ - if you could only play one game for the rest of your life would this be that game? I have a suspicion that with some narrative or campaign behind them they’d feel richer and I’m going to try and introduce that when we get round to TMWWBK but in isolation they’re not hitting the spot at the moment.
So why not just play big battles then I hear you cry gentle readers (thank you both)? Herein lies the other challenge. Steve paints nice miniatures and he paints them fast. General Ballroom paints beautiful models but he paints them slow. Even slower since he had a stroke. And I paint less nice models than either of them quite slowly. But faster than General B.
So to get an army for WAB or Hail Caesar we have a problem. Steve has the speed and determination to crank one of those out over a few months. I *can* do it but realistically we’re looking at a year or more with at least one distraction/diversion in between and the chances of Gen B painting more than about 40 figures of a single type are, I think even he’d admit, pretty small.
And so we’re a bit stuck. Stephen is toying with painting both sides for WotR but that feels a big ask and by his own admission he’ll get bored once one force is out of the way. We’ve talked about WAB Romans versus something or other, but even combining our efforts I doubt Gen B and I have the stamina and focus to work on one side quickly enough to match Stephen’s speed.
I’m considering re-starting my stalled 28mm Late Roman force – I have all the Saxons painted and if I can provide both sides we could start with some Dux Bellorum and then work on up to WAB or To the Strongest (which the cool kids like James and Scrivs seem to enjoy).
Whatever happens, I’m sure we’ll muddle through to something over the coming months – even if it’s just some more drinking and being rude to one another.