04 February 2010

Coming Soon to a Planetoid Near You!

The world of 15mm Science Fiction gaming is exploding with new stuff:  new miniatures out the wazoo, new rule sets, and more new miniatures.  It's a Golden Age of (15mm SF) Gaming right now, with players spoilt for choice.  Check the side panels for links to some of the great goodness that is available.  I resisted for as long as I could, but I finally had to jump in before it all passed me by.  I still love my Colonials, and hope I won't be away from them too long at the same time as I look forward to spending time with my new old love:   Sci-Fi.

You read that right:  new old love.  My very first miniatures purchases were not for the D&D games I was playing at the time, aeons ago.  No, they were SF miniatures that just looked cool.  I think, deep down, SF has always been my one true love.  Star Trek, Star Wars, and the modern day blends of Postapocalyptic Gaming such as Mad Max and Car Wars; all of them are what I look to when I want Real Escapism.

One of the nice things about 15mm gaming is that it's very affordable, not only in a general sense, but also in comparison to 28mm gaming.  Games Workshop, the world leader in 28mm SF gaming, has an acknowledged, well-deserved reputation for being expensive.  Let me emphasize that:  EXPENSIVE.  It's been years -- quite literally -- since I bought any miniatures from GW.  I love the 40K universe they've created, and still enjoy the fluff, but even that has gotten to where I can't keep up.  How in the world can they publish 30 or 40 novels and expect anyone to keep up?  I can't really even afford to buy all their stuff:  new rulebooks every few years as they re-write the main rules again and again, new Codices (or Codexes, as they say), and tons of background books.  It's all fun, but I'm running out of room to store it all.  They're just too prolific.  It's too much.

While it's true there is a lot of stuff available for 15mm, it's much more affordable.  You can get a decent army -- 100 points or scaled for some other rule system -- for $50 or less and be finished!  Plus, they're much quicker to paint.  15mm by default has less detail than 28mm (although some of the new 15mm is amazingly detailed) so you don't have to spend as long per figure getting not only a good tabletop standard but a superior standard (which is what I strive for).  That's my experience from when I painted my 15mm British and Zulu figures from my Rorke's Drift set.

So I've taken the plunge.  I've just placed an order from the nice folks at 15mm.co.uk over in Scotland.  I've ordered Alien Squad Leader 2.0 (known to the Collective Internet Intelligence as ASQL2), and two 100-point armies designed for same.  They are a Human Imperial Army from the old Laserburn range and The Greys.  (link and link)  The  nice thing about it is that I have no idea what specific figures I'm getting, other than two 100-point armies.  Now normally I don't like not knowing what I'm getting.  But since I know nothing of the rules, I figured buying a pre-built pack would be a bonus.

I say I know nothing, but in fact I read a review, so I know a little.  I know that ASQL2 uses 50mm x 50mm bases with roughly 5 figures per base, and I know that I don't want to permanently base them like that.  I am tentatively planning on using U.S. pennies as individual bases, thereby allowing me to use the armies with all the other fantastic SF rule sets available out there (most of which require individual basing).  Then I would like to make movement trays of the needed size for ASQL2 that I can use with the inidivually-based figs.  I got this idea, which I am stealing in broad daylight, from the Basement gaming bunker blog.

I've thought about buying washers for bases, or the thin plywood bases Litko makes, but U.S. pennies cost...1 cent.  How much cheaper do you want?  Plus, they're the right size to my eye:  19mm in diameter, with room to add a magnetic sheet to the bottom if you want without making it too tall; yet it looks fine without it, too.  Naturally, for certain figures (Commanders, Support-type weapons, perhaps some vehicles) I'll need to use larger bases.  A U.S. nickel, maybe?  We shall see.

Now don't get me wrong:  I primarily ordered ASQL2 because I not only wanted the rules but also because they provided pre-built armies for it.  That's a tremendous incentive to me.  I have hopes to add to my growing Space Invasion Collection soon, but time will tell.  There are many other miniatures manufacturers out there, and other rule sets too.  A future blog posting will detail what I know about them.
At any rate, 15mm.co.uk advises that my goodies will arrive around Feb 17th, so that gives me nearly two weeks to finish up my current projects and make room on my painting table.  Actually, a little longer as I probably won't start painting until I read the rulebook first.  I am, however, agonizing over the long wait.  ...rotten Atlantic Ocean, getting in the way....

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