Style over Substance

For my first ‘proper’ post for The Shell Case I wanted to write about something that’s been on my mind a lot lately.
New armies. Well, specifically new fleets. For those that don’t know me I’ve just started getting in to Spartan Games’ systems. I have a small but effective FSA fleet for Dystopian Wars which I have led to victory 5 out of 5 games. My recent purchase is Firestorm Armada.

Now, I’ve always been of the opinion that you should always go for the toys that you like the look of. Having played Games Workshop games for 22 years, the look of the model also gave you some idea of that particular race/army’s intentions. For example; gribby alien xenomorph types covered in spikey things – probably not that friendly.

So, I applied this reasonably sound logic to Firestorm Armada while I waited impatiently for the rulebook to arrive. I looked at all the models and got immediately hot and hard over the Directorate. I loved everything about the models especially the fact that the battleship & cruiser looked like the Starship Voyager on steroids.

So that should have been the end of it. Decision made. Then the rulebook arrived and I read the background and I was thrown into a bit of a tiz. Yes, it’s a word. See, the problem is that the Directorate are just a little but c**tish. The models are awesome but I’m just not sure if I would enjoy using them. Which brings me onto the point of the post – should the decision to collect a fleet/army rest entirely on the quality/awesomeness (also a word) of the models or should the background be equally important.

If so I can see myself really struggling to find a force in Firestorm Armada I want to collect. If I just make the decision based on the models I would have no problem. The Directorate, Aquans & Sorylians are great models, although my brother is collecting the Aquans and it’d only cause fights. I know I know, but there’s a difference between growing up and growing old. Perhaps the problem is the paper thin background in the book. Or, most likely, I’ve been spoilt by the Games Workshop and the staggering amount of detail they’ve always put into things. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having standards. The most successful IPs, like Warhammer 40,000 have the richest backgrounds. Look at Halo, Star Trek, Babylon 5 and Star Wars. All massively popular because of quality and depth of ideas behind them.

The answer, perhaps, is to not worry about it and just enjoy the game but I just can’t do it. Every time I’d put the Directorate on the board I’d feel guilty. I don’t like being the bad guy.
Which really just leaves the Sorylians. This is fine, I like the background well enough and the models are cool. But there was something about the paint job that Spartan did that wasn’t doing it for me. But then I saw photo below and I felt inspired.

The answer, perhaps, is a combination of background, models, how they play in the game and that all important dash of inspiration – showing me a cool new way of doing something that gets the creative part of my mind free wheeling.

Of course, I could just be thinking too much…

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