Tuesday, 25 October 2011

HoP Idol week 4

Well last week I chose to drop out of the competition after quite frankly having a rough time of it personally. Which was a shame, because I'd stormed away to a lead again in the voting and had virtually twice as many votes as the second placed contestant, like I had in weeks 1 and 2. Sometimes I guess things just aren't meant to be are they? Still there are 4 people still in the running to become the first HoP Idol, and with me out of the way things seem to a hell of a lot closer between them. 

This week the contestants had the choice of either writing a tactical article for whatever game they liked or writing a book report for a 'game' related novel. I'm going to say this is a weird match up of articles if I'm honest. Personally I very rarely find 'tactical' articles of any real use; after all I've been playing with toy soldiers for some 27 years now and there's very little in way of tactics others can 'teach me'. That might sound arrogant, but it is how I feel about them, they don't interest me. However, I'm aware that there are others just starting out in their wargame careers who find such articles useful. This problem I have with tactical articles was bound to be compounded, for me because the tactics articles were going to be for Games Workshops 'games, which I just don't play anymore.

On the other hand I love reading book reviews and reports, and hearing what others make of stories. Especially as many gaming based novels fall into two camps; 1) good solid stories that enhance the fluff and background and your playing experience and 2) utter dross that shows no respect to the back story of the games we all play and actually anger me and detract from the hobby. So as you can imagine I like to miss the later category. This means I'm likely to be biased in my summing up again towards those who have done book reports. I'm sure there will be others who will be thinking along the same lines as me, and indeed will be thinking the exact opposite. Reality is I'm not too sure the two options this week are fairly comparable.

I have to say though having had a look at the voting again today that after 5 days of voting for only 65 votes to have been cast in total is a little bit of a 'dip' in voting numbers from previous weeks. I'm not going to be big headed and say it's because the star attraction isn't there anymore (that's me by the way). However, I used to get 50+ votes myself normally within 24 hours and clearly something has caused the drop off. It could just be what some of you have said to me, which is that the competition has gone on too long and it's been dragged out now, which I can understand. I wasn't going to do a weekly summing up of the articles this week, as I think my summing up last week, which was my honest opinion, didn't go down too well with some contestants. However, in an attempt to try and get more people voting in the competition I'm doing a summing up, it'd be a shame if as the contest draws to a close the voting tailed off this drastically.

The first post of the week was from the Other Guy, who was one of the people I upset last week...

Reading this article confused me a little bit, having seen the way 8th Edition has gone, with big indestructible units with steadfast, then reading the Other Guy talking about not expecting fast units to survive the game seemed a bit naive to me. Why would you happily chuck away victory points to your opponent when he is almost certainly in points denial mode? You're handing an advantage to a knowledgeable opponent from the get go? I don't think anyone I know is going to be leaving juicy points targets wandering around the Battlefield on their own either, so against a good opponent you'll have no targets and be presenting them with more than enough targets yourself to whittle down your units and score some points. Steadfast will be the enemy of this build, personally I'd be spamming those units of 10 Lead Belchers, especially as there's no misfire anymore, and have large units of whatever Ogres are flavour of the month. Deny the points to your opponent and be as negative as everyone else is in 8th Edition. Having chatted to a few serious Fantasy players I know, they came to the same conclusion. Sorry Mr Other Guy, but again this week this article wasn't for me.

Second up this week we had Lantz, who I might also have irritated last week, but if so he never said...

As I've said before, on the whole I've liked Lantz's articles in the competition, and I always felt that maybe week 3 was a bit of an aberration for him. Perhaps interviews aren't his forte, because this week he did a bang up job with his book review / report thingy of Nick Kyme's 'Fall of Damnos' Black Library Novel. It was really in-depth and I think broke the themes and issues down really well, it was also a damn fine critique of the book, and gives a really good sense of what to expect from the book should you pick it up yourself. From Lantz's article you'll know certainly whether or not this is the sort of book you yourself would like to read, or indeed not. It's just a shame Lantz stops short of saying whether or not he'd recommend the book himself. Still I enjoyed it.

Third up was the controversy creator from last week HOTPanda...

Oh dear, a tactics article AND 40k, this one was not designed to win my vote now was it? I'm going to hold my hands up and say that in my history of gaming I've played way fewer games of 40k than I have Fantasy. As such I'm not quite as well versed in the tactical nuances of the game as I could be, however, it's not as complex as rocket science now is it? I'm going to say this isn't a bad write up at all of a tactic that is well known to me, and I've seen well used. Even if I have to say I'd agree more with Von's thoughts on the article in the comments section. Both are valid options though, and I guess it comes down to personal choice. HOTPanda presented the tactic well, didn't try pretending it was Sun Tzu-esque and didn't over complicate things. I guess though ultimately these sorts of article aren't for me, much like the Other Guys tactical article as well.

Last up, and by certainly no means least we had Von...

I'm going to lay my cards right on the table here, this was my favourite article of the week. Just pipping Lantz to number 1 spot. Only just mind you. Maybe it was just for the nostalgia trip I got from the article, you see us old timers get like this sometimes. But it just made me smile reading it, and remembering fond memories. It was also really well written, like all of Von's stuff really. Can't really pick a fault with it from my perspective, although I guess for those of you out there who are considerably less crusty than I, it might not be right up your street.

So in summing up, I have to be brutally honest and say, now I'm no longer involved with the competition I'm obviously not all that bothered who goes on to win it really! However, all the authors have at least put in a pretty good effort again and are clearly working hard for your votes. I've cast my 3 votes already, and I'd urge you all, if you have the time to go and give the articles a read and vote for the 3 you like the best. If however, you've lost interest in the competition jot down below in the comments section why, because I've had some people already email me with the reasons they got bored of it and I have to say I personally found many of the points people made interesting and I've certainly taken on board some of your comments and will try to avoid some of the pitfalls myself. Peace out!


  1. The thing is with the book report is that you have had to have read a book recently to perform well with this choice. Not having read a book in over six months left me no choice but to go for the tactica article. I did throw around the idea of stirring the pot a bit though...I was essentially going to submit an illustrated book report. Yep a picture summing up my thoughts on a book. In the end I figured after the disturbance I created last week I best not push the envelope.

    Not only do I hope to make it to the next week but I hope the final submission is left to our demise. The only instruction should be to pretend you won HoP Idol and write your first post for your weekly feature. If this came true I would be in pure ecstasy.

    PS - excellent summation on what went down the week that was in the HoP Idol contest.

  2. @HOTPanda, I hadn't thought of that at all. I guess you're right though. If you haven't read a book recently then it would have been difficult to do a good job on. I'd guess as well from The Other Guys writing style of his previous articles that he'd probably would have done a better job of a book report, but if like you he hasn't read a game related book recently then how the hell would you write a good one?

    I too would hope for the final week of the contest they'll leave the decision on article direction up to the remaining contestants. Any way, I wish you the best of luck. Although having just seen the vote it looks like you'll be safe and that after my article Von has had a vote spurt!!! and gone from 3rd to 1st!!! lol.

  3. Congrats on not only finding yourself wearing your "Sunday Best" but for following the first law of robotics. Cheers for writing up a killer synapses of round four and for ensuring my slot in the finals. Hope you don't mind the shout out in my weekly top x.

  4. Cheers Panda. Good luck in the final.