Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Weekly Update for Sunday, January 5th, 2014 - In the frigid wastes of the Northwoods

Just in from Mike Burns in Leeds, for his new Indiegogo campaign

New figures from The Tekumel Project, if you haven't seen them before

If you haven't heard, it's extremely cold hereabouts; we've been in the below zero (F) deep-freeze for about a month, and it's getting old. Warmer this coming weekend, they say, and I'll believe it when I see it.


Be that as it may, the big news this week from my perspective is that Mike Burns has sent along some photos of the sculpts of the Ancient Egyptian 'civilian' figures that he'll be offering in his new Indiegogo campaign. I backed the previous two campaigns, and I was not disappointed; these are superb figures, nicely detailed, crisply cast, and sculpted with a lot of personality and what I call 'charm'.

I was originally tipped off to these figures by Howard Fielding, he of The Tekumel Project (link in the left-hand column for you), and it was one of the very best tips I think I've gotten in the forty years I have been doing miniatures. Howard also has some new figures out, and you should click over there to take a look; I have my order in for them, and I'm looking forward to seeing them.

These 'civilian' figures are a nice change from all the usual 'wargame-style' miniatures of 'Pharoah-in-his-chariot-smiting-somebody' accompanied by hordes of 'guys-in-kilts-with-stone-maces'; I like to run games with a hefty 'local color' component, and one of my dreams over the years has been to run the classic 'you go to a bid swanky party at the Sea Blue clanhouse' game were most of the terrain is the furniture and the servants.

I like swashbuckling games, as they are normally much more fun to both build and run. I tend to build stuff for specific games, and painting up the new arena judges from Howard's The Tekumel Project has gotten me to thinking about getting out my old Foundry gladiators and finally getting their Kheschal plumes glued onto them and running a day out at the arena for the amusement of the family.

Do have a look at The Tekumel Project; thanks!


If I may, I'd like to take a moment to comment on something that has really put me off about many of the on-line RPG / gaming forums, and has contributed to my reluctance to participate in them / contribute to them...

What's up with the oft-expressed disdain / hatred for miniatures in RPG gaming? It's ben my experience that when I talk about this, people get pretty wound up about the subject, and I get some pretty nasty e-mails as a result. I have found this all pretty odd, especially when it comes from some of the pillars of the 'Old School Gaming" movement; back in my day, that is, before we all became ancient relicts, we used a lot of miniatures in RPG gaming.

We used them because it was fun; most of us enjoyed painting the little lead people, and running games that we used to show off a bit. For us, miniatures were - and for me, still are - a 'game aid'; they are a way to show the players where things are, who can see who, who is fighting who, and stuff like that. I should note that we used chess pieces, tiddly-winks, dice, Scrabble chits, coins, glass beads, and a host of other things 'on the table' to indicate information to the players.

For us, the miniatures were - and still are! - an aid to help me tell my stories and to entertain my players. Over the some thirty-five years I have been doing Tekumel, these little lead people have been the 'extras' and 'bit part' players in our continuing series of 'shared-performance plays'; it was that way as well for Professor barker, who used to keep index cards on all of his 'personality figures' so that he could keep track of their 'back stories'; when we met these people in our adventures, we'd know instantly who we were talking to and dealing with.

For us, back in the day, that was an important part of 'role-playing'. Why has something we all loved become anathema?

1 comment:

  1. when I was a kid in the 60s, miniatures (airfix plastics initially) were the raison d'etre. Miniatures weren't an aid to gaming, gaming was something you could do with your figures. So they are an essential part of the experience. Like having attractive maps or kickass art or atmospheric music. But if your starting point is rpgs rather than figures, I guess they don't seem so essential.