Friday, June 9, 2017

Guest Article: Billy Nichols "Nirvanawn" on Fatherhood and Warmachine

Well it has been about two years since I have written an article about Warmachine/Hordes. I miss the mental exercise, and it's good to be back.

They main reason I haven’t had a chance to write is due to one of the best things to ever happen, fatherhood.
Picture of my son Hunter May 2017.

Now one may assume that you have to give up Warmachine once you become a parent and this does not have to be the case!
Let me explain.
Of course gaming and hobbying time has been harder to come by, but what I have found is that you might just have to change your habits if you want to fit it in to “Life”.
Personally, I needed Warmachine to be a release away from the seriousness of life. So I have done a few things to make sure I can still play, and play at a higher level.
  1. Pared down my factions. I now only own Minions and Circle, though recently I did purchase a small lot of Cryx (I got it for cheap, who knows what I was thinking or if I will play it). I used to own Mercs, Trolls, and Khador as well at one time. I may have had a problem.
  2. Played a single faction for a long period of time (minimum of 6 months) with no switching.
  3. Concentrate on a handful of casters at a time instead of the whole faction for practice and tournament play.
  4. Paint or have painted the models I am actually going to put on the table.
So let’s highlight my points:
Pared Down Factions
I am lucky enough that after the birth of my son I was not wanting for money, but I realistically knew that my time would be crunched - especially when the school semester was in session (I teach college biology).
My goal was to continue being competitive at tournaments, as I had normally been, but in doing so I needed to be a little more focused. I figured the best way to do this was by limiting my chances of faction ADD, so by having fewer models/factions in house it helped keep my focus on a specific faction and set of casters to play. Speaking of which....
Play a Faction for a Long Period
This one is obvious. The longer you play a faction the better you get with it. You start to find all the small nuances in the models, and basic things such as instant recall of your models' stats becomes second nature.
Once you are to this point it is easier to figure out what your opponents will do against you and you become faster on clock, and for this reason I chose to make sure that I played a single faction for a long stretch.
Up until recently, outside of a game or two, I played minions in all of the competitive tourneys I had gone to in mark 3. Before that, even before my son was born, I played Circle for over a year. I got so comfortable with them that even coming back in a new edition for the last month has felt great. Yes, the tactics are different, but re-learning all of the stats was easy.
Concentrate on a Few Casters
Along with my last point when you find yourself playing similar pieces over and over you figure out their weaknesses, strengths, and minor nuances that will make you a stronger player.
Nothing is more important to do this with then a caster. I used to find myself, even though I was not switching factions, changing up the casters I played very often. In mark 2, I made Krueger 2 my main and my second caster kept alternating. This led to me being relatively confident in both lists.
Now, I play the same three casters and learn them in and out, until I am comfortable into their matches. With mark 3 so far this was Rask, Barnabus, and Doctor Arkadius. Now that I have changed back to Circle it has been Baldur 2, Una 2, and Mohsar (Gasp no Wurmwood!). Baldur 2 with at least 1 Woldwrath being at the core of my pairing.
Paint What I am Playing
More and more events seem to be fully painted or have painting awards, so I like to try to keep up on my painted models. This can be extremely hard as often times it feels like you spend game time painting. The way I get around this, since it is hard to come up with large chunks of time to paint, is to paint for an hour or more after the little dude goes to bed.
I find it helps relax me before bed, especially when the alternative is to grade papers. It took me awhile to realize that this was my only real choice if I wanted painted material and not get everything commissioned.
Commission painted models are always an alternative choice though if you can find someone affordable. I used to paint 3-4 hours at a time and complete models in that time. Now, I just do what I can and if I am consistent at 2-3 nights a week then projects will be completed. A little bit at a time really adds up fast.
I love the game and I am still glad it is part of my life. With all these points about playing and hobbying there is a couple things to the equation when it comes to playing Warmachine and fatherhood for me.
I could not keep this up if my wife and my gaming friends did not support me. My wife understands my Thursday night gaming habits, plus the occasional tournament, and never has a problem with it. My friends are always supportive if I have to run upstairs to help my wife with the little dude or need to pick him up from daycare before we play. Without them I could not do it.

Feel free to reach out to me if you want to discuss anything about the article or have your own stories of being a Warmachine playing parent.

-Nirvanawn (Billy Nichols)


  1. Great article... I need to focus on a faction... or 2, rather than the 7.

  2. Love the article. One other thing I've found to go along with your points: I may not have as much time to play, but I have time to listen to podcasts, watch games, and read articles/forums. I feel that this helps maximize each game I play. Of course, that's mostly because I get in about one game every other month or so. Working odd hours has its downsides 🤣

  3. Great write up Billy, as it truly hits home! I have a 6 year old and a 2 year old, so my Warmachine career has been rocky at best.

    I really love the 6 month plan, and keeping to a handful of casters, as I majorly suffer from caster A.D.D. (I guess it's better than faction A.D.D.). I'm very much looking forward to implementing these guidelines into my games!

    Cute kid by the way...

  4. My kids are great and always give me time to paint!

  5. same here i have a 5 year old and a 4 month old. I maybe get 1 day a week to play against my brother at home but thats about it. I no longer have time to go to the LGS and play. Most of my warmachine time is now spent watching battle reports listening to podcast and reading on forums. ( which is why i hate how PP changed it forums so much )

    I wish i had a little bit more time to get games in but there never seems to be enough time to do everything

  6. Really enjoyed this article! I am a stay at home dad of 3 boys 6, 3, and 1. I try and use the nap time as my time to build/paint or watch battle reports etc. I am still new to Warmachine but I really do enjoy playing it when I can make the drive down to the closest Warmahordes community (1.5 hours away)

  7. Hey guys, thanks for this. Being a father too this is very interesting for me and I actually arrived at many similar conclusions myself.

    Jayden, when you have been writing about playing with your roommate I sort of explained in my head, that's how you get so much games done, but then I read above you also have a little one. Are you no longer living with a roommate then? Did this change your gaming habits?

    Cheers from Germany,

    1. My son does not live with me, he lives with his mom about ten minutes away. I see him just about every day though, and actively spend time watching him.