Sunday, 18 August 2013

The gods decree it

This is a true story.

A few weeks ago I went round to Matt's for a game of Napoleonics, the first time I have ever played the period. We were using some of his old 1/72 (20mm) figures, the sort you used to see in Airfix boxes when you were a nipper. They were some of the first toy soldiers he collected, in fact he recently found the old boxes stashed away somewhere and has now framed them and hung them in his gaming room - one of them he bought from Woolworths for the grand sum of 22p. There's a little bit of geek history attached to them.

The game was really enjoyable and I spent some time afterwards pondering why I don't have any 1/72 in my collection. After a most interesting few hours trawling the web, I discovered that things have certainly moved on since the days of Airfix 22p boxes. There are so many more manufacturers now, selling figures from pretty much any age you can think of. I started to dream of building armies at low cost to game in the periods I have never dared to consider before, ancients in particular. If you want to learn more about 1/72, then Plastic Soldier Review is your starting point. The sculpts vary in quality of course, though you can say that of all of the standard (i.e. 25mm/28mm) historical ranges - I have been tearing my hair out trying to find semi-decent viking figures, but that's another story.

After looking at so many screen shots of so many different eras, my head was in a whirl. Being an old fashioned kind of guy, I decided this was a problem best solved by that ancient art of the venerable ones. Yes, I shunned the web and bought a book. This book is a thing of beauty to behold, it's hardback and 280 pages with some fantastic illustrations and plenty of military history, from the early struggle with Carthage and the famous elephants of Hannibal to the decline and collapse of the empire over 1200 years later. I am hoping that reading through will help me to pick an era to game. It's currently on sale on the Osprey site, an absolute steal at just £11 plus postage. I have only had a preliminary flick through, I have it lined up as one of the things to do in the long, cold winter evenings - no point in rushing these things, Rome wasn't built in a day (sorry, could not resist that one).

Fast forward a few weeks to the current day. I am looking to buy a new laptop because the existing one is nearly dead, battery will not charge and it overheats all the time - it's buzzing away now as I type in this on blogger, hardly a hard task to complete I would have thought. So I start looking at deals online. Then I start to wonder if there are any games around that I might want to play, and Total War Rome II pops up. I played the original back in the day, when computers were big beige boxes the size of a small car stuffed under your table, and laptops were the preserve of rock stars, footballers and other filthy rich folk. When laptops finally came down in price and my old pc died I made the transition and happily settled in to a new life with my screen on my lap, though with reduced power and thus no gaming. It's been a good few years since I played a computer game, only Skyrim on my son's Xbox has distracted me from the joys that can be had with little lumps of metal and plastic.

Finally then, we get to the bit which is amazing. A random game of Napoleonics leads to me searching through screenshots of 1/72 Romans and Carthaginians, buying a book on the Roman army, and the upcoming Total War Rome II. That's a coincidence right? Then the release date appears on screen. It's September 3rd. And that date is significant because it's my wedding anniversary, I won't say silver because that makes me sound ancient. Then I discover that Creative Assembly, the producers of the total war series, are celebrating their 25th anniversary too!

Truly, the planets have aligned, the portents have been read, the gods have decreed it. My fate is clear to see. I must buy a new laptop, a copy of Total War Rome II and spend hundreds of hours playing it. It is my destiny. Although, apparently, others can buy it too, if so inclined.


Nick Chapman said...

Yep, sounds like Fate has played it's hand once again. There's no other option for you to go out and buy yourself more new toys (although this time, of a digital variety rather than toy soldiers!)

redmanphill said...

If only my PC could handle it I would be playing the day it came out...

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