Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Greg Patterson - Interview with an Apocalypse Apostle

Greg Patterson is a big time Apocalypse gamer and one of the guys behind Siegeworld.  I took some time to interview Greg because he is an active part of the Apoc community.


How and when did you get into 40K?  

My older brother bought the Rouge Trader book way back when it first came out i don't remember how long ago. My two older brothers started playing with some friends and they got out of it pretty quickly. My first miniature was a Chaplin on a jet bike when I was 11 I think, I still have parts of that jet bike laying around somewhere in my bits box.  Oh and Space Hulk, My older brothers played that and I begged them to let me play all the time. Space Hulk is a great game, I have had every edition and all the expansions at one time or another.

What was your first army?  

Chaos marines were my first army. They didn't have cult armies back then but mine were all Khorne. I was buying most of my stuff second hand from one of my brothers friends at a dollar a model. I quickly bought up all his Chaos and moved on to space marines. I started up a Dark Angles army back when they were still black not green, I was pretty pissed when they changed the colors.\

When did you start playing really big games?  How did Siegeworld start?

My armies really got big when I started building an Imperial Armoured Company from the old White Dwarf article. I already had a playable Imperial Guard Army with a few Leman Russ and I always liked mechanized infantry. Building he Armoured Company got me into thinking in terms of squadrons of Leman Russ instead of single tanks. I had picked up an old Armourcast Baneblade from a store going out of business for super cheap so I already had a superheavy all those years ago. At the time I was playing with a regional group called Adeptus Basementus they had groups here in St. Louis, Kansas City and Chicago. I did some traveling to Kansas City and played in some of the Chicago Grand Tournaments. Kirk was one of the other members of the group and he is the one who really started the idea of Siegeworld. I played in the very first Siegeworld event back in 2003. I then promptly left town for several years. I kept playing in Buffalo NY and Omaha NE but I didn't make it back to Siegeworld until 2008. By then Kirk, Josh, Pat, Ray and several had kept the game going. I always kept up with the game and tried to come several times but it was always at a bad time of the year or I was in another state. While in Buffalo I did run into Psypath (Gerald Wincek, who ran The Big Game out of Treefort Games in Fayetteville, GA) and we did play a game or two of floorhammer at my apartment. Funny enough this was before either of us were on forums online and when I saw his stuff on forums he was doing Imperial Guard instead of the Space Marines he was playing back then. I was later reunited with Psypath last year when he showed up at Siegeworld. By 2008 the Siegeworld group was running regular events mostly in basements sometimes in stores.

How has the release of Apocalypse changed those games?

Kirk had already developed his own set of rules for Mega games as we called them back then we had all the forge world rules back then so we were pretty well set. The games ran smoothly thanks to Kirk's rules we didn't really need Apocalypse. When Apocalypse was released we were glad that someone reckoning what we were doing as a legitimate part of the game and that we were weren't just a bunch of loons with ridiculously huge armies. We adopted the full rule-set immediately we kept some of the old Siegeworld concepts like movement trays and I think we still use the original movement for roads and things like that but more and more we use the Apocalypse rules as is.  Really the biggest change we have seen is a rise in popularity of big games. Kirk moved the games out of the large meeting room at a local collage to an empty ice hockey rink for several reasons but mainly for more room. Apocalypse40k has done a good job of improving the visibility of the games and broadened the discussion of the game and how it works. There is really a lot of momentum here for this years Siegeworld.  The Big Game reset the bar pretty high and we don't really have the player base locally to beat that record but with the popularity of Apocalypse on the rise I hope we can come close, if nothing else it is a great time.

Siege world is known for mastering "floorhammer" as people like to call it, huge games on the floor of a really big place.  Tell us the pluses and minuses of this and is Siegeworld moving towards table-based games?

Floorhammer allows for a more complete battlefield. It allows every player to fight for a common objective and intermingle across the battlefield. When you look at what the SoCal Battle bunker did for the Big Game you will see that what you really have there is really one huge long 4' wide table and the guys on the opposite ends of the table wont end up interacting very much if at all. I am not trying to put down that event at all that is just the limitations of tables. On the other hand floorhammer involves a lot of bending over and you have to walk around all those very expensive models. I have only ever stepped on my own miniatures and only once. I would love to see us get away from the floor but we don't have a facility that has enough tables to accomplish this and I am afraid it would drastically change the flavor of the game we play. That being said We have been playing on tables 6' deep a lot lately and we are all getting older. That being said I really love the table set up the guys in Canberra, Australia used for their location. I drew up a plan like this (only much bigger) , but my problem was I was basing it on 4' x 8' tables and that ends up with tables too deep. I think we will eventually move away from the floor but we will have to find a way to make and store a lot of tables to make the game happen the way we want it to.

You make a lot of models for other people, scratchbuilds and conversions.  Tell us about what you like building and why.

I really love scratch building I have been doing it since I started playing, and the only tanks for 40k were the old Land Raider and the old Rhino. I made a ton of models that are long gone to use in games. I used to do a lot of kit bashing, melding 1/48 scale model kits with GW models. I really like many of those conversions but I have in the last few years decided that it was not getting the best results in terms of getting a 40k look out of my models and have moved to almost strictly scratchbuilding using strictly GW parts and Plasticard. I do still pull things like wheels and vents and other 1/48 scale bits out of my box but I have gotten away from slapping a Sherman turret on a Leman Russ hull. Not that you cannot make some great models out of things like this but I really wanted to challenge myself more to make unique models.

Then one day the company I worked for bought a CAD router. I looked at this thing for over a year thinking about the possibilities. I then got my hands on a copy of the folded paper Warhound templates out there and spent several hours converting it into something I could cut out on the router. Warhounds are great but the real models that make Apocalypse more than regular 40k are bigger. The Warlord is really the the best application for the process I use. There are just not enough Warlords out there. 


Now before you go and think I am proposing that Apocalypse is just a game where giant superheavies destroy a bunch of smaller armies I'm not. What I am saying is if there are more Warlords out there more people will understand that they are just big cool looking targets. As for things I like building, well my next big project is the Emperor Titan. What I love about this one is I got my hands on a Epic model and a set of calipers and scaled the whole thing up in AutoCAD. It should be cut out here in a bit and I cannot wait to see how it comes out, it is a direct copy in many areas. I am quite fond of simply and faithfully scaling up Epic models to use in Apocalypse. My Leviathan turned out really well, it was simple to build and I think fits very well on the table top. But I have recently rediscovered my real true love in scratchbuilding, Orks. I really love the freedom of not having to cut straight lines and the cobbled together feel of Ork vehicles. This is not to say that I don't love the massed produced STCs of the Imperium but sometimes I like to put down the straightedge and have some fun building an Ork Vehicle with nothing but a crazy dream and a pile of plasticard and bits.

What is the thing that most attracts you to Apocalypse and really big games?

Tanks, I love tanks and big tank battles. I have over 100 guard infantry that rarely get out of their transports. I am working to better use my infantry but the tanks are just more fun.

What is the biggest challenge in Apocalypse games?

Playing with your whole army. This is what I meant in saying I want to use my infantry more. I have a big Imperial Guard army that I use in most Apocalypse games, but like I said my troops rarely get out of their Chimeras. They end up wasted as they rarely get to shoot with their Meltas which would really help in a lot of cases as Battlecannons really have a hard time with armour 14. I need to work on getting my Chimeras moving towards objectives earlier and utilizing them more. I find it hard to get my 12 Chimeras to fit between my 18 Leman Russ variants plus the 6 Baneblades and variants I usually field, this is not even mentioning the Titans or artillery that I bring. My deployment areas are usually looks like a giant Imperial Guard parking lot.

What is the future of Apocalypse?

I hope to see GW put out more models like the Stormraven. There are rumors of a huge spider for Fantasy goblins so I don't think these large plastic kits are going away any time soon. 

Also I think more and more players should be, and are, building more units geared directly for Apocalypse. For instance I recently converted all 20+ of my Crimson Fists Terminators to carry Chain Fists. Titanhammer formations are cute and all but Vortex grenades are not reliable enough to take down Warlords. The Hades Breaching Drill with Melta Vets is another good example of this. 


I also have hopes for this Summer of Flyers thing that GW has going. I really don't think that Flyer rules really work well. I feel that it is an area that was never expected to be as important as it is and I feel that the rules are kind of tacked on the the rest of the Apocalypse rules. A dedicated set of rules would help the game a lot. I still want Flyers to be a valuable and powerful part of Apocalypse armies I just want them to interact better with the rest of the rules.

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