Plastic Pirates is my own little corner of the web, where I hope to share with you my thoughts, ideas, philosophies, projects, etc., related to gaming. Despite the title, the blog will not focus exclusively on pirates, although that will be a recurring theme. In a nutshell, I am a gamer/modeler/tinkerer from way back when Battletech was still called Battledroids, and Dungeons and Dragons came in a little white box! Needless to say, I have seen a LOT of changes in gaming during my years, not least in my own attitude and approach to the hobby.

What drew me in initially, and what is still my passion, is the rich background of the created universes where these games take place. I love to immerse myself in the fantastic histories and worlds created for these games, whether it is Dwarven armies battling Orcs in the Mines of Moria, pirate aces facing aerial militia in the air over Crimson Skies' America, or huge Battlemechs striding across the battlefields of the 29th century. Historical games also have a place in my heart - though mostly those recreating the epic and heroic struggles that seem to read out of the pages of our favorite adventure novels: the stand of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae; Lt. Maynard's chase and defeat of Blackbeard off the North Carolina coast; the defense of Rorke's Drift by a handful of British soldiers faced with overwhelming numbers of fierce Zulu warriors; Gary Gordon and Randy Shughart making the ultimate sacrifice to protect the crew of Super 64 at Mogadishu; and dozens of other instances of bravery and gallantry beyond what one would expect. I am inspired by the idea that, when faced with mind-numbingly small chances of success, there have been and are heroes in the world who will face it head on and not flinch. I cannot read of the charge of Theoden and his Riders of Rohan at Pelennor Fields without being moved, yet it is much more meaningful to me when I think that there have been similar charges in reality, led by Pickett at Gettysburg, or Cardigan at Balaclava, for example. It is the fact that the fiction mirrors the reality of human passion and courage that stirs me. Even now, as I write this, I can hear rousing music and the clash of arms! And I believe that being able to play, even if just for an afternoon or an evening, the role of a hero, makes the participants more aware of the opportunities for heroism in our own world.

As far as the games themselves, to me the rules and the actual playing of the game are secondary to the creation of the illusion of a reality - whether it be all in the mind, as in a role-playing game, or the building of a tabletop battlefield. There was a time when I yearned to field huge armies of troops, meticulously painted and customized, on a detailed battlefield. However, the reality is that limitations of both time and money have kept me from advancing beyond the planning stage of such monumental forces. Therefore, I find myself concentrating more and more on the "skirmish" games, where an entire side's troops may consist of no more than 12 to 20 models. This will conceivably let me actually complete a battle-ready group of merciless swashbucklers, resolute Royal Navy marines, hardy Dwarven rangers, and so forth. As an added bonus, the smaller scale of these games makes them more accessible to my two most eager and convenient opponents - my children! Teaching them to enjoy the mental exercise of playing a strategy game, while at the same time imparting to them an appreciation for the human values necessary to face these situations in reality, is, to me, an integral part of raising and educating this next generation of gamers and citizens.

That is why most of my game-related blogging will deal with games of this type, primarily the wonderful Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game by Games Workshop, and its derivatives: Legends of the Old West, and Legends of the High Seas. In coming installments, I intend to detail some of my modeling projects, both in terms of figures as well as scenery (which in the case of the Pirate games includes the ships). In addition, I will share with you what games I have been playing, what books I have been reading, what project is currently underway on my work table, and whatever other musings, ramblings and delusions I think may be of interest. In a perfect world, I'd have the time to update the blog weekly, but in all honesty I think that every other week is a more realistic and achievable target. Occasionally the updates may be more frequent, and sometimes less, depending on what is going on in "real" life at the time.

Enjoy your visit, and please feel free to drop me a line with feedback. I will not promise to act on all suggestions, but I do give my word to take all comments seriously and give them thoughtful consideration. Thanks for stopping by!
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