Why, exactly, did I allow myself to forget that COREHAMMER was a thing?
COREHAMMER is indeed a thing, a Thing in the Main as Lexington would probably dribble were he inclined to write buggery ding-dong all these days. It’s a rare breed; the multi-author blog that remains consistently interesting, the crossover blog that doesn’t degenerate into a helpless mishmash, the entity that’s smoothly transitioned from mailing list to blogosphere (shoot me now) without imploding and recoalescing along the way. It’s also the kind of thing I sort of think I should be doing with this festering quagmire of a blog.
COREHAMMER is run by a bunch of blokes a bit older than myself, who have a shared love for a) the wargames played with little mannies on a table covered with toy trees and stuff and b) WELL LOUD MUSIC MATE. I could never be mistaken for someone who’s into hardcore punkography (we’ve established that I prefer my musical noises a little slower, a little more cerebral, a little doomier – or a torrent of bleeps and wailing – or disappointingly big-names-only when I do intersect with all that heavy metal nonsense), but I have to admire the overlap that they’ve managed to achieve, and I do quite like what they’re doing with their shared loves.
COREHAMMER has the usual blend of decent multi-valent hobby articles (three people talking about paintbrushes has a kind of self-cross-referencing feel to it which makes the whole thing feel more trustworthy), detailed tutorials for the larger project (managing to be helpful and keep some sort of individual style is always a challenge with these things), a unique take on the sort of post that every hobby blog does at least once, event reviews, and personal hobby musings from the contributors. What’s so different about this is the voice – COREHAMMER is refreshingly down-to-earth, unafraid to call a spade a spade and a gobshite a gobshite, and as British as a pint of Bombardier, with that sort of ‘working man’s hobby blog’ vibe that a pompous academic could never pull off – and the… well, the reflexivity of it.
COREHAMMER is big on influences and intersections, talking about how music and art and life and stuff overlap with nerd games. COREHAMMER does the hobby-with-talking-about-music-and-art-and-stuff post and the music-and-art-with-talking-about-hobby-and-stuff post equally well. They do the odd film review, they do album reviews, they do long involved posts about art styles, they do this neat Band Of The Week thing, and it all sort of feeds back into itself.
Shame they all seem to like the Workshawp games so much, but I guess you can’t have everything. And I don’t hate the games, to be honest; I don’t like what they’ve become, this huge ballache of a thing that doesn’t travel on the back of a push-bike and essentially boils down to list stacking, army migration, absurdly expensive new shinies that don’t pack well, and probability management… rather than something that’s mostly actual agency leavened with enough randomness to level the playing field and keep things interesting. I don’t like chess because there’s not enough wiggle room to chance things or pull something unexpected; I don’t care much for contemporary WFB or 40K because they wiggle a bit too much (and they seem to have inflated into these huge things where I have to carry a special extra box for each big centrepiece kit and paint thirty dudes just to make one unit. Thirty dudes is an army for the scale of game I prefer. Hell, thirty dudes is nearly two full Blood Bowl teams; an entire game.
I’m even willing to accept that it’s partly that I’ve changed; I don’t care as much for dealing-with-random-crap-about-the-game-system as I used to, and it’s been many years since I had the capacity to maintain three or four painted-up armies for a game and rotate them in or out of active service as the release cycle turned and my interest waxed and waned. That does seem to be a manageable way of playing; if I still had my Dark Elves/Orcs and Goblins/Chaos Warriors as well as my Vampire Counts I might feel slightly less hard-done-by at my Vampires being a bit poo now and all the stuff in my old Dark Elf army having suddenly gotten good.
The point is, though, none of this bitterness means that I can’t or don’t enjoy reading about other people’s fun with the games. And COREHAMMER is about having masses of fun and not being a berk about it. GO AND READ, YON VARLET.