Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Crossroads of courage Round III

              Sunday I returned to my LGS to run our third entry in the season 1 of crossroads of courage campaign.  Since last month I ran straight up caster kill, this time we went for the second scenario in the pack.  The players wanted to play 1 2x2 game rather than 2 1x1 games.  I figured it would be a good learning session for the newer members so I gave the people what they wanted.


              I knew going into this mess that I had a problem.  I needed to remain relevant and I did not have many options at 15 points.  Zerkova is not a strong all jack caster—plenty of focus but 0 straight up support.  Short of throwing down a bunch of solos, my options were widowmakers, demolition corps, or Rorsh & Brine.  Widowmakers were right out owing to the preponderance of dwarven casters.  R&B give a nice assassination threat but are pants against heavy armor—which is most of what you’ll see at 15 points.  Demolition corps are super slow but ruin anything they manage to engage.  (cue jeopardy music.)  Once I figured out that the other players were 2 dwarves and C.O.C it was a no brainer.  The demolition corps hit the field again.


My list:

·       Decimator

·       Juggernaut

·       Man-o-War Demolition Corps (Full)

·       Holden Courage


My friend Mike wanted to pair up with me…and the other 2 guys were bringing stunties so I was all for it.  Mike is a newer player who I hope we are teaching well.


Mike’s list Convergence, once more with feeling!

·       Forge Master Syntherion

·       Corollary

·       Galvanizer

·       Cipher

·       Modulator

·       Attunement Servitors

·       Holden Courage


I have to hand it to Mike.  He has gotten kicked around a lot in this league.  He keeps coming back a little wiser each time.  He seems to really enjoy the experience.  I’ll be working with him later to get him up to 25 points (suggestions are appreciated.)


Our opponents brought some serious firepower.  I have grown to hate facing dwarves.  Ranged knockdown is just flat out annoying.  Ranged knockdown that sets you on fire is terrifying.


Pete’s list, bringing the noise with style:

·       Rockram

·       Tactical Arcanist Corps

·       Holden Courage


Jayson’s list, or I’m coming for you “Puff Puff”:

·       Holden Courage


Since Mike was a sewer and the rest of us are reapers, we diced off.  Mike and I ended up as the defenders for scenario purposes.  This was sub-optimal from my perspective.  One of the reaper special goals is to kill off the old mining guy we had to escort to the opposing deployment zone.  The dwarves had friendly faction synergies all over the place and could brick up around that objective knowing that we had to come to them.  Couple that with a ton of boostable AOE shooting and I had concerns.  Playing Zerkova into this kind of opposition poses some interesting challenges.  On the one hand, none of the enemy can see through your cloud wall.  Dropping 7 focus lets lady Z place 12 inches of LOS blocking cloud.  On the other hand, that’s her entire stack.  If you want to do anything else, you are going to have to come out of your misty bunker to play.  Mike and I ran through our options (limited.)  We decided the best plan would be for Zerkova to cover our advance as long as possible.  I would escort the old guy into the zone.  Mike would delay and confound as much as possible.  I have no idea what the other side’s plan was but we had a strategy and by Menoth we were going to give it our best shot—frigging double avalanchers.


       We won the roll and decided to go first.  We put the scoring objective dead center at the front of the opposing zone.  For purposes of this fight the only important terrain was one of those long green felt hills with rocks on either end (you know the one that goes on the green felt 4x4 with the road running diagonally across, the same one every gaming store has.)  The hill was the only obstacle in our way which was handy what with our lack of pathfinder.  The rocks were going to give us trouble but I was more worried about the fact that the straight line approach put us in several fields of overlapping fire.  My plan was to hide behind the clouds as long as possible and then ram my giant steam-powered brick down their throat, hopefully giving me enough room for the old guy to score.  It was a pretty good plan if Mike could keep some of the pressure off me and if I could protect him long enough to get stuck in.


1.       I deployed with the demolition corps in line abreast on my shiny new movement tray.  The juggernaut was to their left and the decimator was to their right anchoring the steel wall.  Zerkova and old objective guy held back a couple of inches so as to not get clipped by blasts.  Holden deployed up and right, attached to the MOW within their command range.  Mike worked around my deployment getting ready to duck behind Zerkova’s mobile cover when we started moving.  The other guys deployed their forces as far forward as possible with Pete’s group covering left and Jayson’s covering right.  Pete’s Holden and the TAC swung left while Jayson’s Holden and Eiryss moved right to flank.

2.       The wall activated and ran forward.  I did not bother with watcher since by the time it got activated either I would be doing the charging or I would need that upkeep focus for other things.  Zerkova placed 4 cloud templates using the metal ring idea I cribbed from Pete last time (so simple.)  Zerkova and her little buddy ran up staying behind the center of my line.  Using the 8 inch adjustable measuring stick and the movement tray my turn took no time at all.  Mike crammed in behind me and put hotshot on the modulator.  The other team advanced their flankers and jockeyed for best placement for when we came into range.

3.       Our block ran forward and kept up the cloud wall (it’s amazing how fast your turn goes when all you have to do is drop 4 templates.  No dice rolling is pretty sweet.  Eiryss and Holden managed to swing wide enough to get a shot at my battle group.  They disrupted and pinged the decimator for one point.  Pete’s Avalancher hit a bank shot onto one of Mike’s vectors but since most of them were immune to knockdown nothing spectacular happened.

4.       Top of turn three, I knew the elf had to go down.  If I did not get rid of her I would spend the rest of the game disrupted or without focus which was pretty much an auto-loss.  I told Mike I was coming out of the bunker.  The demolition corps took a hard right turn and ran with the farthest right trooper engaging Jayson’s holden on the diagonal.  They had a reasonable line of sight around the hill for next turn shenanigans.  The decimator walked right to bookend the left most MOW.  The juggernaut did not have any valid charge targets so he moved up in line with the decimator.  Zerkova walked up, drew a bead on Eiryss, popped feat, and used her true sight artifact to lob a boosted hex blast right into the elf’s face (first blood, Khador!)  As a bonus, Jayson’s Holden was caught in the blast.  Boosted damage put him down for the first time—though because of his special rule he would get back up again next turn.  My Holden ran up to within 5 inches of the engaged Holden and set up shop.  Mining guy took up station beside Zerkova.  Mike took down Pete’s Holden for the first time and Moved to take best advantage of Zerkova’s no shooty bubble.  The dwarves were not prepared for the lateral move and so had to scramble.  Both of my jacks were hit multiple times, knocked down, and set on fire but remained fully operational.  My left most demolition corps took some damage, was set on fire, and knocked down.  Because of Zerkova’s feat, the gun bunnies could not shoot so moved up for some next round fun with the demolition corps.  Jayson’s Holden swung at his MOW and missed.

5.       This is where I would have been in trouble with most casters.  Fire did some damage to the left most demolition corps.  My jacks were allocated a focus in addition to their power up.  The jacks spent one to stand up and another to run up and over the hill standing on the down slope with the rocks to either side.  Zerkova activated, cast ghost walk on the MOW, dropped two clouds to block off where the demolition corps would be moving, and ran past the line to hug the right side of the hill.  The two farthest left MOW charged out of combat with Holden and into combat with the gun bunnies.  The others ran except for the left most one who walked after standing up.  The two demolition corps crushed the gun off one jack and broke the movement on the other.  My Holden looked down the barrel of his service weapon and mortally double tapped his alter ego.  Mike repaired a lot of stuff, did a little bit of damage, and set up for charges next turn.  Had I been playing the dwarves, I would have retreated to fortify the objective marker—obliterating anything that came into range next turn.  They chose to counter assault—throwing their kitchen sink at my advance.  Mike’s vectors took some more damage to little affect—it’s amazing how little damage bothers you when you know your entire army is going to self-repair next turn.  Pete blew the movement and gun off my decimator.  The juggernaut ate a safe cracker shot and got hit with powder keg losing his initial attacks next turn.  The gun bunnies bashed their opponents for minimal damage.  The basher moved up and further scratched the decimator’s paint job.  I placed my force in such a way that there was really no good option for Gorten to feat.  If he moved me back, the jacks would go back behind the hill but the MOW would get stopped by the rocks.  If he moved me forward, I would end up closer to the objective.  Moving me left would just jam my demolition corps farther down his throat.  Moving me right would push the MOW farther away but leave my jacks standing on the hill against the rocks on the far side.  Jayson is a standup guy.  He forgot that obstacles and intervening models stopped the move.  He chose to go right which hit my entire army except for Zerkova and objective guy.  Critically, the rocks stopped my jacks in melee range of Gorten with 0 camp—oops.  I gave him the chance to take it back but he chose too take the lesson on the nose.

6.       I allocated max focus to the jacks.  Fire happened with much sound and fury signifying nothing.  The demolition corps and Holden Ran back left to their previous line.  The decimator powered up its saw and cut into Gorten missing its initial, boosting and hitting with its first bought attack, and auto hitting with the third attack thanks to sustained attack.  The juggernaut bought three attacks and finished off the dwarf rendering the rest of Jayson’s army inoperable.  Zerkova and her elderly friend moved up and left behind the MOW.  She dropped two smoke clouds fully screening her from Pete’s jacks.  Mike repaired again, killed Pete’s Holden, and took the shield off the avalancher.  Pete did not have a lot of options.  Mike was about to engage his entire front, I still had a fully operational juggernaut coming down the center line, and those beautiful demolition corps were about to roll up his flank.  He decided that the best plan was to set everything on fire and hope for the best—a typically Madhammer choice.  Madhammer’s jacks lobbed templates all over Mike’s forces.  The corollary survived on one box.  Madhammer dropped a ground pounder shot into my right-most MOW leaving him on fire and at one box.  There was a bunch more scattering which left another trooper down to 3 boxes.

7.       Mike furiously began repairing.  I looked at the board and double checked Corbeau’s rules.  Fine.  Fire continued without affect.  The juggernaut was allocated 1 focus.  The Juggy used one focus to stand up and ran into melee range with Pete’s warcaster attachment—she was just out of range of the charge.  Zerkova activated, cast ghost walk on the demolition corps, and climbed two thirds of the way up the hill.  Using the five inch range extender, she hex blasted the juggernaut in the back and killed Corbeau with boosted blast damage.  Three of the demolition corps charged into combat with Madhammer on four camp—the rest of the unit piled in behind.  The first MOW swung for 31 netting 9 points after powerfield.  The second swung for 27 netting 6 points and freezing Madhammer.  The third swung for 24 netting the final 2 points required to assassinate the dwarf.  Victory via team assassination.


This was the first fight in a long time where I felt like I honestly had a handle on the game.  Part of that came from shortening my turns and part came from having done my homework.  Having an actual scenario made for a dynamic and interesting game—even if it did come down to assassination in the end.



1.       Zerkova has a lot of tools.  It took me a while to see past her spell list to see how it combines with her artifacts to give her a variety of options.  Granted, she does not have a lot of strategic depth but she has more at her fingertips than it first appears.

2.       I never thought I would say this but I am beginning to like demolition corps.  With some protection going in they are quite nice once you get them rolling.  I have to try shock troopers to see how they compare but as of now they have done a lot of work for me.  This leads me to wonder if the issue in the previous journeyman league might have been Kozlov and not the hammer boys.

3.       I took first place in this session so Jayson (my painter) got my earnings, 2 marauders, Butcher I, and a rager kit to paint up.  After that it’s conquest time.  I so want range 15 critical devastation.

4.       March’s session goes up to 25 points and will focus on 1x1 games.  I am really hoping to convince Deathquaker to finish my shock trooper unit attachment before that happens.  The full shock boat plus kovnik is exactly 25 points.  Barring that I may have to get creative.

5.       The more I watch Mike learning convergence the more impressed I am with the faction’s versatility—and the more I am convinced I would be a terrible convergence player.

6.       I am really beginning to dislike blast deviation.  It clogs up turns so much.  Scatter here, check the distance, agree on the direction…it just makes it hard to keep the mental momentum going during my opponent’s turn.


That’s it for now.  Our next game is 3/25.  Mike has already put in his order for his additional models and I am furiously thinking about the mission requirements.  Zerkova is growing on me with every game.  I wonder what other subpar models I can have fun with.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Crossroads of courage Round 2

            A couple weeks ago, I stopped by the LGS for what I thought would be the second round of our crossroads of courage campaign.  It turned out that the employee/friend who had been running the league had left the store’s employ so I, being the most experienced MK III player *cringe*, took over in his absence.


I am not going to go into my normal level of obsessive detail for these battles.  I am pretty sure we got the point values wrong and there were several oversights during play.  There is value in the experience but not at the micro level.  Also, senility is beginning to take its due.

            The battlefield was a standard military wasteland of craters and ruins.  The only really important detail was a circular piece of terrain that looked kind of like a roofless one-room building towards the back of my opponent’s deployment zone.  Everything else funneled us into a central area—especially since caster kill was the win condition for all three games.  Yeh, I know I should have brought out the second league scenario but I did not think I would be running things when I got up that morning.


My List:

·       Decimator

·       Juggernaut

·       Man-o-War Demolition Corps (Full)


Pete’s First list or the big bang theory:


Gun bunnies?  Sweet!  I have loved these little guys ever since MK I.  This was not a “fair fight.”  Zerkova’s cloud wall blocked almost all lines of sight on turn 1.  I think 1 demolition corps took a hit.  Turn 2 was more of the same plus a little sniping with the decimator.  Turn 3, I slammed a gunner over Madhammer with the decimator and dogpiled him with a fully loaded juggernaut and a couple demolition corps.  Round I—Khador!

Pete contended that gun bunny spam is a bad list.  I contend that my caster is a hard counter to anything that cannot ignore clouds.  Pete also pointed out that his only route to damaging Zerkova on feat turn was to go melee since she is untargetable by spells or any ranged elements within her control range.  In nonobjective scenarios it gives her near invulnerability if you play your cards right.


Mike’s list or Convergence, now with more processing power!

·       Forge Master Syntherion

·       Corollary

·       Galvanizer

·       Cipher

·       Modulator

·       Attunement Servitors


I do not know what I expected Mike to do but it was not to run away for five turns.  He said that since he felt like he could not take me on directly (the C.O.C. starter box has some definite challenges against Khador) he was going to make a game out of drawing it out as long as possible.  Zerkova is not good at chasing—strategically advancing toward objectives under cover of cloud and feat is more her style.  After a couple turns of cautious advance, I split my forces and ran him to ground in his deployment zone.  Zerkova stood in the middle of the previously mentioned ruined building with jacks on either side and the MOW charging the flank.  Watcher meant that every time a vector moved within her zone one of her jacks got a free attack.  Mike conceded after losing all but one of his heavies and his caster.


Pete’s second list or What do we do with all these explosives?

(This might have been a Rockram but I do not remember.)


The first three turns went really well for me.  Demolition corps just need to live long enough to get stuck in and man did they get stuck in.  I killed off his basher, H&J, and all but one of his assault corps.  I am fairly sure I should have killed Madhammer.  He cast a bunch of spells the previous turn and I distinctly remember him spending focus to reduce damage as I carpet-bombed him with sprays and a full-on charge from the decimator.  Since that didn’t kill him, I was left with one focus standing in the middle of nowhere in front of the avalanche.  Pro tip, knocked down, on fire, is a bad place to be.  Zerkova burned to death on her next maintenance faze—how embarrassing.



1.       Zerkova has two modes.  She covers everything with clouds or she goes all in on the attack.  She will get a small force to battle relatively intact but after that your army is on its own.

2.       Demolition corps are decent with a reliable delivery system.  They are not great by any means (MAT 7 and no CMA is still crap-tastic) but They do good damage on the charge against low defense models.  After all the grief they gave me with Kozlov, I was pleasantly satisfied with their performance.  You have to keep the leader in the back or risk losing an action if he dies but he usually is not doing anything in the back anyway.  Just be aware of the risk you are taking if he starts losing boxes.

3.       I screwed up watcher.  You only get to make an attack against the moving model, not an alternate model—so sad, no free attack jank for lady Z.)

4.       I have got to get my conquest up and running.  Range 15 on the main gun(s) and creeping barrage templates would be useful tools…also, less focus to worry about.

5.       I like Zerkova in this less competitive environment.  She is not super strong but she forces me to play my A game.  I think she is better suited to 25 points and up where infantry of any kind would be more prevalent making her spell list more relevant.

6.       I am beginning to wonder if I would be better off taking a couple lesser warlocks and warcasters just to provide targeted long range punch.  Specifically, I am concerned about how much volume I can put behind that cloud wall.  Three or four 3in templates looks pretty big until you have to block line of sight to two heavies and five medium bases.  Rorsh and Brine as well as Malakov I are starting to look good at higher points levels.

7.       Pete suggested I use craft metal rings of the appropriate diameter for my cloud templates.  I picked up several 3, 4, and 5 inch examples for use at the next game.  If this works it will make my turns go a lot faster.


This Sunday is the next scenario.  With 15 points, I need to choose between the demolition corps and R&B.  R&B is easier to keep track of.  Demolition corps have decent staying power.  I probably will not make my decision till the morning of.  Until then, think red thoughts my brethren.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Basic concept

              Reading level up your life, I noticed two alter egos.  There were the people with characters that aligned with their interests.  These were people who practiced martial arts in real life so they created a character who did so as well.  The second group had more fanciful characters such as wizards and druids.  These people turned a trip to the grocery store into a hunt for an ancient artifact—more fantasy than fantastic filter.


              So who is my character?  Class wise I am some kind of warrior.  I do not want to have to stretch too much in order to align my goals and quests with real life—so probably part of group 1.  The whole action hero/secret agent bit did not hold my interest long since I do not see myself as an action hero in the classic pulpy sense.  Rather I see myself as a man of principal—someone for whom promises matter almost as much as doing what is right.  Additionally, I want to think of myself as something fantastic—of fantasy—more than just a guy losing weight or some guy who happens to know his way around a fight.

              One of the exercises in Super You involves envisioning the “super” version of yourself.  You consider how that image differs from your real-life persona.  The intent is to show you what your mind wants to change about your life.  I keep coming back to an aging gunfighter or a Jedi.

              I like the idea of the gunfighter thanks to shows like have gun, will travel and authors like Louis L’Amour.  Those guys did what was right, fought the odds, and won with heart and steel.  The problem is, that’s maybe a little too close to home.  I do not actually want to get into a gun fight for what I hope are obvious reasons.  Firearms are by definition an integral part of a gunfighter’s character.  Sure, I’m looking for a concealed carry permit but that is not in any way because I want to walk around looking for trouble—quite the opposite.  While I enjoy reading about the fictional West, whenever I try to imagine myself in that time I end up asking how many of those shots over-penetrated?  I wonder if that state has constitutional carry now?  It makes it hard to suspend belief—so I am afraid the gun fighter is out.

              If you asked me 20 years ago if I saw myself as a Jedi, the answer would have been a definitive no.  I love the story of star wars but have to say that Luke always came across as a whiney little kid.  For me and for a lot of my friends, Star Wars was more about Anican’s redemption than Luke’s triumph.  Of course, there’s been a lot of writing since I first saw a new hope.  The expanded universe may no longer be cannon but it was the foundation of my Star Wars addiction.

              Jedi are interesting imagination fodder.  They are guided by a power that has intrinsic morality.  Many are philosophers and scholars before warriors.  Each is an individual—subject to their own strengths and weaknesses.  I do not think I would be looking at force users as a personal template though if I had not agreed to a massive light saber fight with a bunch of our FND kids.  It brought home that as much as I see Jedi as thinkers first and dooers second, they are universally people of action.  I started looking around and found a knightly order based on some dark horse comics.  The imperial knights are soldiers more than warrior poets.  They use generic sabers (all silver) and swear their loyalty to their emperor.  Their order comes up about 130 years after a new hope, so the setting is not as bound in historical stricture.  Then I came across this quote from one of their most famous members:


            “Come, you hounds of the dark! Come to your deaths! Hurl your power at me! I deny you! I defy you! I am a Knight of the Empire, and I am your doom!”
~ Antares Draco


Yaa, that is the shit right there.  Imperial knight, that’s me—or what I am training to be anyway.  It’s going to take a lot of work but come September I’m going to be in fighting condition.  Then I can start training in earnest.  Until then, time to work my way into a smaller robe size.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

A new beginning

              Back in 2013 (has it been that long?) I started a blog series called “The making of an action hero” in which I wrote about my fitness travails from the perspective of an out of shape action hero trying to get back in the game.  I started out exercising at home, eating better, and going on Saturday walks with a friend.  That worked until I ran out of easy time and ran into holiday dining issues.  I replaced that with the fit bit which lasted into 2016.  I added thrice weekly gym trips in 2014.  Like most plans, they worked until my environment changed or I ran out of motivation.


              My challenge is twofold.  First, once a particular process stops providing a significant hurdle to be overcome, I lose interest.  Last year I dropped more than 20 pounds in 3 months through a weight loss contest.  A year later and I have gained most of that weight back.  I have more muscle mass so it was not a total loss.  The fact remains that I lost the momentum after the contest ended.  I am still down 50 pounds from 2013 but without a major change I can see myself slowly falling back into bad habits.

              Second, I work best when someone is there holding me accountable, kicking my ass, doing the drill sergeant routine.  In 2015 that was a personal trainer.  He moved, so I started working with someone else.  That got too expensive so I tried working things out on my own.

              I am in the upper percentile of my boxing class.  I punch hard—really hard.  I do all the pushups.  I am one of the people the class measures itself against.  Sure I’m over weight but hey I kick ass right?  Nobody is sitting on top of me, checking my progress, measuring my stats, and shaming me into exceeding expectations.  As long as I’m kicking ass at the gym what is left? And who am I competing against?  I have had to pace myself a bit in the interest of not injuring myself—again.  The upshot is that while I am eating better, exercising regularly, working on my health, and generally doing the right things, I stopped progressing seven months ago.  I can excuse some of the holiday slump but the months between July and November were all on me.  I do better when the odds are stacked against me, when the mountain towers over me, when the task seems insurmountable.  So what’s my problem? I accomplished most of my goals.  I wanted to lose enough weight that I could wear normal sized clothes—check.  I wanted to build functional strength—check.  I wanted to eat better—check.  I wanted to start exercising regularly—check.  Without something to strive against there is nothing pushing me to improve.

              My answer came unexpectedly while I was reading “level up your life.”  This book, much like super you, uses nerd culture references to teach people how to change their behavior and achieve their goals.  The book covers a lot of things I have already been doing but it puts them in a context that is practical and actionable while maintaining a light hearted tone.  It got me thinking.  What would it take to really get me motivated?  What would it take to get me pushing myself again?  Right after I asked that question the book gave me an answer.  The author gave his friend $100 to hold for him.  If he does not hit his goals, the friend donates part of that money to a cause he really hates.  That, that might actually work,.  Do I really want to order Chinese tonight? Yes I…oh wait…if I do that then group x gets some of my cash.  It is just enough of a consequence to give me pause.

              So yesterday I paypaled Squish $100.  He has strict instructions to donate $20 to a cause of his choosing that he knows I will hate should I fail to hit my goals—and since he is a dick, it’s going to be something I really hate I just know it.  The plan is to get less than 200 pounds and stay there.  My goals are as follows:

·       March first, under 260 pounds

·       April first, under 250 pounds

·       May first, less than 240 pounds (about where I was the same time last year.)

·       June First, under 230 pounds

·       July first, under 220 pounds

·       August first, under 210 pounds

·       September first, under 200 pounds


This is doable.  I just put in an order for a talking scale (the aria gave up the ghost a while ago which is another reason my numbers have been slipping.)  The simple act of committing myself to this action has given me new energy.  Now, to remake my image into something different.


Note: While I am probably not going to join nerd fitness, I am going to blog about the steps found in the book as a useful template for change.  If you have suggestions or questions feel free to ask.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Guns and SSh*t

              In my circle of friends I am the dedicated gun guy.  As a result, I think some people think I spend most of my time reading about clockwork bullet throwers, all my money acquiring them, and all my intellectual capitol strategizing their future.  The reality—especially lately—is that while I would like to be on the range every week, I am lucky to spend a day each quarter at Continental.  I am not happy about it but I believe honesty is the best policy—especially when reviewing my to-do-list.


               Cherylkat kindly accompanied me to the range to kick off my recent celebratory weekend.  I got some quality time in with the 10/22 project.  The action functioned without a hitch for 90 rounds.  The scope worked fine.  After that I spent some time working with my Blackhawk in .45acp.  That was humbling.  That plow handle grip dissipates recoil but man is it difficult to get a consistent hold orientation.  The curve of the grip frame causes the muzzle to flip up with each shot transmitting the recoil into vertical rotation while dislodging my hand alignment.  I am going to have to get some finger groove grips for that beauty or develop herculean hand strength.  I finished with a couple cylinders through the single 10.  It was a nice light range trip.  I like function testing projects and finding new things to work on—new grips and hand strength being at the top of that list.

              On the way out I signed the consignment papers for my marlin 4570 and the Remington 1100.  I do not like selling off guns.  Most of my collection have functional and sentimental places in my heart.  However, I came to a couple conclusions that forced some difficult decisions.

·        I am going to be a recreational shooter for the foreseeable future.  The only local guy Continental recommends declined to even consider giving me the CCW training course.  I was not particularly surprised.  Blind people and guns just put some people off.  I was polite and left the door open so maybe he’ll come around.  The upshot is that unless I can find a qualified instructor willing to take on my ambitions, I am stuck Shooting for fun.

·       I am not going to be ranging that often.  Last year a friend and a relative offered their land for occasional freeform shooting.  Those opportunities have not panned out.  Elk Neck—as much as I wish it were different—is just not practical for any kind of routine range time.  Free state—where I would theoretically have been able to shoot some full power rifle calibers—is likewise impractical.  This definitively cuts me down to whatever calibers Continental allows—shotgun and pistol calibers for the most part.  Friends have been unable to get out much to put lead down range.  So, fewer locations and less frequent ranging have driven a quantity and quality reduction in firearm indulgences.

·       We are not moving out of Maryland any time soon.  The brunette has a couple years in her current job and just successfully applied to grad school.  I am actively searching for in-state professional development.  We are tied here by friends, finances, and the benefits of a blind friendly community.

·       Maryland—even with a republican governor—is going to keep on cutting away at second amendment rights.  Our AG is a died in the wool gun control true believer.  Just watching some of the recently proposed legislation is painful.  Most of it is objectively bad law—vaguely worded prohibitions that, while well intentioned, show a profound lack of understanding regarding the law of unintended consequences.

·       Even in the absolutely best case scenario we are 10 years away from true national shall-issue, Supreme court validated discrediting of assault weapon bans, and lifting of related strictures.  Trump nominated a supposedly 2a friendly justice but what with Republican efforts to repeal and rebuild the ACA, multiple confirmation hearings, Democrat intransigence, and a laundry list of political footballs on the table, it is going to be a while before we see a possibly second amendment friendly court.  That does not take into account how long it takes cases to get to be heard in the first place.  All of that presupposes the court will rule in our favor, which is far from guarantied.

·       It looks like we may have to tighten the belt a bit.  I am considering several professional opportunities that would change my compensation structure.  Grad school for the brunette is going to require some careful planning—no worries, just need to be careful.  We are starting to look at solidly preparing for retirement which means setting aside more money on a regular basis.  All told the future looks great but likely with less liquidity for my hobbiesL

·       I am limited in what I can reasonably maintain.  My sonic cleaner does not work with aluminum well.  Platforms that require lots of pin pulling and spring removal are a bad idea due to my fumble fingers and need to assemble/disassemble by touch.

·       We are probably sticking with this apartment for a while.  This means that I am not going to be able to expand my storage options any time soon.  I am saving toward a consolidated safe, but that is really only going to help with part of the problem.


It is not as if any of this is new.  I have been thinking about most of these points for a while.  It is just that as of 2016 the “what if” factor evaporated.  Consequently, I have come to some decisions.


·       It will be easier if I build my collection around likely upcoming AWB strictures.  I hate it—I really do—but there is no point buying into a bunch of platforms that I will not be able to support in f—magazines, accessories, component parts…etc.

·       The AR10 is going on the block.  I bought it when it looked like HR might win and I might not have the opportunity to acquire such a platform in future.  Now that I do not apparently have a place to shoot it and a cleaning system that doesn’t like aluminum much, I am just going to recover my investment for future projects.

·       I am cutting down to .22lr, .45acp, .45lc, .44 magnum, .410 gage, and 12 gage.  I have a 30-30 on hand that I need to clean up but will probably be selling after it is in marketable condition.  Life is just going to be easier the fewer calibers I have to keep on hand.

·       Guns are going to take a back seat for 2017.  I have some major health goals that I have to hit.  If I am not shooting much and I am not likely to do so very often in future, then investing more time and treasure is a bad idea.  Once some of my projects sell, I will probably reinvest them into more guns but new lines of endeavor are off the table for now.

·       I am not going to be buying a range membership until I can hit the range 6 times in as many months.


I wish I was the range-rat of old.  I could push friends and family into shooting more often.  I could shove more money at the process.  The truth is that I need to deal with some bigger issues first.  I need to get my health on a better trajectory (more on that later.)  So, guns are still on my list of hobbies.  I will still happily hit the range if possible but it is time to take them off front line hobby status.