jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

So, we read an excerpt from the intro to a history book on the First Succession War, which was a mad scramble for land and resources after a political upheaval.

It reminded us of how much we love BattleTech sometimes, and why:

It was a week before my nineteenth birthday when we learned that Amaris had been captured and the [coup] was over. Naïvely, we thought things would get back to how they were before, in our parents’ day. How quickly we were disabused of that notion. The dukes knew things would only get worse and all the patriotic noise Kenyon had made was soon supplanted by something more authoritarian. We were just the wrong age, the perfect age to serve.

My boyfriend, Joe, was one of those called up that autumn, thrown into a boot-camp and then shipped off-world to fill out a line unit. I never saw him again—he died on Anegasaki when the Capellans killed the Fourth Militia. I was luckier I suppose, drafted into the planetary militia, so at least I was near home where it was safe and quiet. At least at first.

Then Kenyon got a mind to take over all the Star League facilities, following up on the rumors that Kerensky had left vast stockpiles on-world. That may have been true, but after four years spent on that wild goose, with little more than field rations, toilet paper, and SLDF recruitment pamphlets to show for it, the FWLM shifted their attention elsewhere. That didn’t save me from a grilling by SAFE—several in fact—because of who Gramps was, and his involvement with the Engineering Sub-Command. He died when I was nine, but even so, SAFE struggled to accept that a pre-teen knew nothing about SLDF activity. Dad got it much worse, and was held at the facility in Freeport for three weeks before they decided that the English teacher from Durandel High wasn’t going to give them much help either.

In those days, the years before the start of the Succession War, I did wonder: if this is how badly we treat our own people, how are things going to go when we start shooting at people we don’t like?

Compare and contrast, with how 40k portrays warfare. And authority, and nationalism. Even if you read 40k as a dystopian satire, where the Imperium is meant to be seen as brutal, you rarely get such a personal look, at the price that ordinary people pay for you to dress up in armour and play as a "hero." To satisfy your vain ambition, for power or wealth or heroics.

40k isn't alone in erasing civilians and glamourizing warfare, of course. Don't get me started on dudebro shooters. >_>; With the extremely subversive exception of Spec Ops: The Line.

Click here if you can't see the video.

For another good take (IMO) on how BattleTech portrays conflict, check out the short story at the start of the Alpha Strike Quick-Start rules (PDF link). A private military contractor called Wolf's Dragoons catches a desperate foe completely off-guard, and an enemy MechWarrior has an obvious mental breakdown, but there's no guarantee that she won't recover once they've gone past. So Natasha just shoots her mech's legs out and moves on. Even though she has TEH RAEG because of something the other side's employer did to Dragoon dependents.

Finally, if you want to support a PC / tabletop game that tells the story of people who live in the ruins that "heroes" and generals fight over, check out This War of Mine:

Click here if you can't see the video.

Armed conflict is a terrific backdrop for drama. But it isn't a playground or theme park, and it shouldn't be treated as one.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

We got to try out a game of Endless Fantasy Tactics with Alias, a day or two ago. It was pretty fun!

Alias' hand picking up a miniature, on top of a hand-drawn isometric 3d map that looks like it came from Final Fantasy Tactics. Various Warhammer 40,000 and Pathfinder miniatures are being used as proxies, and a lot of dice are being used as counters. To one side, there are print-out lists of each model's stats. To the other, there is a magnetic Pathfinder initiative tracking board, with magnets for each mini arranged in initiative order. It also has little red hearts and blue circles for each model's HP and MP.

Those unpainted models are totally beastmen, not XV8 Crisis battlesuits.

It's basically Final Fantasy Tactics: the minis game. Which means we had to draw an isometric map, and HP/MP counters for everyone. Oh, and it uses stat cards normally, so we printed out lists with our models' stats on them instead.

Technically you don't have to go to these lengths. They sell decks of cards for all of the models and items, plus a beginner set with a reconfigurable 3d board. But we wanted to start with the core rulebook, and we figured it wouldn't take that long to make our own play aids.

Turns out, it did ^^; partly because we had to learn how to do layout in Pages first. And then when we actually started playing, our large-sized models took a hit for each square they stand on, every time Alias' Lunarian bunnies AOE'd.

But the Lunarians are just so cute! As are gels, beastmen, and the dreaded Black Kiwi.

(The gels all want to be heroes, or something. It's awesome.)

Anyway, we'll probably be playing this more in the future. And here are some more pics of the play aids we created / used, behind the cut:

Read more... )

Did we mention that [personal profile] aliaspseudonym / [tumblr.com profile] spinecrawlerrush has been visiting? ^^;;;

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

Okay, so last night we kind of had a meltdown over stuff on Twitter. >_>; We've deleted our account, since it didn't seem to be doing anyone any good.

On the plus side, we lined up all our Warhammer 40,000 Tau models and took a picture of them. Here it is, in case anyone wanted to see:

A photo of dozens of tiny space infantry models, vehicles, and mecha, somewhat carefully arranged on a table. About half of them are painted green.

View options: DeviantArt

Was it worth it? )

Anyway ... we're looking into broadening our gaming horizons, with more accessible minis games like Endless Fantasy Tactics and Frostgrave. [tumblr.com profile] spinecrawlerrush is coming over in just a couple of days (!!!), so hopefully we'll get a chance to try them out.

And cheer up a bit.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

So, first we had spehss mureen fans tell us that Tau players shouldn't exist, on the 40k forum we frequent.

Then this happened (don't read the comments).

I need better ways of destressing.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

Despite our disenchantment with Microsoft, we still use and rely on OneNote. It's a free cross-platform app, with free online syncing and no ads, and it takes pictures and formatted text and automatically cites stuff that we copy and paste from online.

Anyway, we've collected a lot of quotes about how it's not surprising to find ourself as a hikikomori / part of the underclass, all things considered. And how we still contribute to society despite being devalued economically. And how society's requirements are unreasonable to begin with, especially when it plays favourites so blatantly.

It's actually kind of a source of hope and encouragement to read them. Sort of like 15 years ago, when we were first starting to come to terms with the idea that we're fundamentally "a writer" and couldn't be happy doing the jobs that the people around us were pressuring us to do. Which led to our taking it seriously and getting a lot of practice, and eventually led to us supporting ourself and another person through writing things that were important to us.

They also note that Apple stuff's been getting cheaper, while housing, education, and health care are all priced for the upper class. Which kind of puts things in perspective, and makes us feel better about owning an iPod and wanting a Mac.

I mean. There are billboards here in the States that advertise schools and hospitals. Srsly. Like, a lot of them.

In the past few weeks, a lot of the hurdles to obtaining health care and such here have been worked out. More than that, [personal profile] burning_ground has proven to be a very good friend and supportive Internet Family Member, and [personal profile] aliaspseudonym / [tumblr.com profile] spinecrawlerrush is now talking about planning a future with us and visiting late next month.

We've gotten out of the habit of checking on Dreamwidth, and have set our fanfiction aside temporarily. But in other spheres of our life -- Final Fantasy XI, miniatures, and earning spending money on Mechanical Turk -- we've actually been Getting Stuff Done. Like, a lot more than usual, and a lot more regularly than usual. A day where we could do anything but read depressing stuff used to be rare, but now we can count on at least a couple hours of work every day. And save up for things, and have dreams and ambitions, even if they don't resemble most people's.

I feel like accepting our place in the underclass, as someone who's not valued enough by society to even be exploited as a labourer, is actually part of that. Because we've gone from seeing ourself as a failed member of the working class, whose struggles are all her fault, to seeing ourself as someone who's lost a lot of life's lotteries but has people who love and support her.

Knowing that, and having that support, has given us a lot of strength lately. It's not something that we're used to.

We can share some of the quotes that we've found if anyone's interested. Today we just wanted to talk about how we're feeling, lately.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

Warmachine, and its companion game, Hordes, were made in the United States. Warhammer 40,000 was made in Great Britain.

The more I think about it, the more I feel like this explains a lot of the differences between the two games.

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

"Grimdark" means different things to different people. To some (but definitely not all) 40k players it's a realization of their fantasies ... of being the Defender Of All That Is Normal and getting to shoot up those icky, scary outsiders.

For us, it's like an allegory of the world that we live in. Where we have a small bubble of safety and interestingness surrounded by people who want to make us disappear.

See, the great thing about the Tau isn't just their anime mecha.

A model of a large Tau battlesuit, on our desk surrounded by pieces of work-in-progress miniatures.

Its name is "Cat." Short for "Cataclysm."

It's that despite being small and "insignificant," they keep winning. Against the fascist, blood-and-skulls-loving Imperium. Not because they are better at dealing death, or because their technology is more advanced, but because they value diversity. They make friends out of their enemies, and work together to make things better for everyone.

Also, we like acting out fantasy lazor battles with our miniatures. Battles which are about as far removed from actual warfare and gun fetishism as magical girl anime is.

Now if only there were a magical girl minis game.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

Check out this mech:

A collage of photos, which depict a miniature model of a streamlined white mecha in action. One caption uses a female pronoun for its pilot, and another confirms that a female head is included for the pilot figurine.

This is the XV95 Ghostkeel battlesuit, the latest in Tau stealth technology. And the one that Games Workshop's weekly magazine is doing action shots of, decloaking inside the Cadian lines, has a female pilot. Plus, the model has a feature where you can pop open the cockpit and put a pilot figure inside, and it includes a female head for her (with a Y-shaped nasal opening instead of an I-shaped one).

Even better? This week's issue confirms that a female head is included in the new box of Fire Warriors. The one that also comes with the new pulse shotgun weapons, the MV36 Guardian Drone, and the DS8 Tactical Support Turret, plus pieces for markerlight drones. <3

A photograph of the Fire Warrior boxed set, taken from Games Workshop's website. The box shows ten alien soldiers in white armour, along with a gun turret and two hovering drones.

These are our most basic troops, the ones pretty much every Tau player will buy when they're just starting out. And you can model one helmetless soldier as a woman, one who wears the same beat-up armour as everyone else and is doing the same dangerous jobs.

Our faction's fluff already said we had gender equality. But in practice we rarely saw female representation in models, Shadowsun notwithstanding. I once had an opponent put up a fuss about being corrected on my models' pronouns, despite the fact that he also played Tau and he knew that we fielded Fire Caste troops of all genders.

Obviously, there's still a long way to go before women can be considered "equal" in 40k, both at the gaming table and on its imagined battlefield. But this is an amazing first step. I'm so proud of them :')

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

A box of Fire Warriors would come with the following:

  • Six, instead of twelve, Fire Warriors. (Gun drones are sold separately.)
  • Twelve cards with artwork and rules text.
  • One "SERGEANT" token for the Shas'ui.
  • Six "WOUND" tokens.
  • One "PINNED" token.
  • One "FEAR" token.
  • One "CHALLENGE" token.
  • One "GO TO GROUND" token.
  • One "PHOTON GRENADE" token, double-sided to show if you've thrown it this turn.
  • One "EMP GRENADE" token, also double-sided.
  • Four "BLIND" tokens to put on the targets you hit with the photon grenade.
  • One token to show that they're inside a transport.
  • And one last token, to show that they're in reserve.

You would not be able to use it unless you had bought the WARHAMMER 40,000 STARTER SET for $99, which includes one Space Marine Dreadnought and three Chaos bikers. Along with blast templates, cardboard range rulers, two decks of cards in different sizes, twelve six-sided dice with weird symbols on them, an insert that says where to download the dice-roller app, and enough different kinds of tokens that only fishers and jewelry hobbyists already have an appropriate box for them on hand.

A large plastic box divided into three rows of compartments, each one filled with a different colour of 5 millimetre beads.
"WTF are these beads doing in my token box?!" Source

On the plus side, at least their points cost would be balanced.

(Fantasy Flight Games produces Twilight Imperium, the XCOM board game, the X-Wing miniatures game, and a whole bunch of other board games. They are notorious for their token fetish.)




Image credit: JT Custom Tackle, used without permission.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

We're still feeling kind of icky and stuff, partly because our hormones have decided to change up our temperature tolerances >_o

Aaand we flip-flopped between Linux and Windows 8.1 a few times before settling on the latter, and finding ways to block a lot of the annoying commercialism, like Skype ads and "Upgrade to Windows 10!" banners.

But we're feeling better and less stressed now, and while we still have things to sort out we should be able to have a DW site up for the RP (along with the players' finalized character sheets) within a week or so.

We wanted to let everyone know, and also to know that we haven't forgotten to work on our fanfic or anything. Also, we somehow got three Malifaux models assembled, and are eagerly (and somewhat anxiously) awaiting next month's long-rumoured Tau releases.

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

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