Monday, February 6, 2012

Podcaster Spotlight: The Independent Characters - Carl Tuttle (Part One)

One thing I've been extremely keen on doing with this blog is making sure that hobbyists know all about the different ways they can consume media related to hobby games. This includes YouTube videos, other blogs, forums, and podcasts. 

As a commuter (one hour one way) who had to give up my Sirius radio for baby funds, I've latched on to podcasts as a way to keep me entertained and awake while driving. A good podcast will keep you awake; a great podcast will make it seem like you just left work when you get home. The Independent Characters is a great podcast; they are organized, efficient, technically-minded, and on-topic.

This week and next we will be interviewing the three main contributors to The Independent Characters. Today we will start with Carl Tuttle, one of the main co-hosts who started the show. Carl answered my questions with such fervor that he will be our main focus this week. Geoff and Zach will be next week's interviewees!

Check out their website here. Get the latest episode that talks about Narrative Gaming here. I would definitely check out their Imperial Armour Reviews and their Noob Army introductions. They also have a Facebook page!
The man, the myth, the legend
Without further ado, Part 1 of the interview with Carl!

Who are the people who staff your podcast? How did you meet?
There are actually five of us involved in the Podcast - though two of the guys doing some of the work really don't get much attention. Let's start with them.

Adan (Black Sword on our forums) is our forum admin and he does a heck of a job keeping the forums moving, clean and fun. I cannot say enough about how much he helps out there. I met Adan through Zach and he plays up at Endgame in Oakland a lot.

Aaron, or as we call him on the show "Magneto" is helping us keep track of some of our larger undertakings like the Hobby Progress Challenge currently going on. He is always willing to help us out and just make sure things are on the correct path. Aaron and I have known each other for close to ten years or so. We have worked together at several different jobs now.
Geoff, as you know was my first co-host. He and I started the Podcast about two years ago. Interestingly enough we met through the 40k Radio forums. At one point we were both Freebootas there (though we aren't any longer). Geoff was moving out to California from Virginia and I told him I would be happy to play some games with him and show him some of the local stores. We hit it off immediately and shortly afterwards decided to start the show.
Zach, who has joined as our third chair, I met at Pacificon during a tournament. I'm a pretty friendly and outgoing guy and so is Zach, so we hit it off pretty well right away as we discussed each of our armies we had brought there. I think he and a bunch of guys from Endgame were looking for new blood to game with so he invited me to come up to Endgame and play some time. I took him up on it and I have yet to beat him in 40k.

What is your FLGS, and how did you find it? It seems like you guys play a lot at the 'boiler room'. Do you literally have a boiler in your house and that is why it is called that?
I'm really fortunate in this area as there are several game stores to play at all within 30-45 minutes of each other. There is a Games Workshop in Oakridge Mall in San Jose, this is probably the closest store to me though I don't play there often. Game Kastle in Santa Clara is an AMAZING game store with a huge selection and recently they have opened up some more room to play in. Legends in Cupertino is also a pretty friendly game store. But my favorite has to be Endgame in Oakland. This is an amazing store designed by gamers, for gamers. Take a look at their web site and you can see some of the pictures of the place. The layout is amazing, but the game tables, space, and terrain is all top notch!
The Boiler Room!
We play a lot in "The Boiler Room" because I am fortunate enough to have a large room in which I have all of my gaming supplies and two gaming tables. I really prefer this type of atmosphere. Geoff and I often refer to it as "Garage Gaming". Several of our friends have gaming areas set up in their garages as well. We call it The Boiler Room simply because it can become pretty hot out there in the summer here. It's a converted half of a two car garage, which used to be a painting studio. So it isn't insulated the greatest. Interestingly enough, in the winter it can get pretty cold out there. So sometimes we call it The Meat Locker.

As a side note - I am looking for a better name for the room. Something more... 40kish. So if anyone has any great ideas let me know!

What do you look for in a FLGS when you attend?
For me personally, its a comfort level. Places to sit, comfortable temperature, and friendly people. I am a really outgoing guy and so it has to just have the right "vibe" to it for me. I really like a friendly, non-pushy environment. You give me that and I will shop and play there, no problem. That's probably why I avoid playing open games at the GW Store. It just doesn't fit well for me. 

Carl in SoCal with the Imperial Vox Cast guys and Josh from Life After The Cover Save. From left to right (Dawson, Tor, Bill, Josh, Carl)

I also really like a store that has a wide variety of terrain. I actually own quite a bit of terrain, so for me to play in a store, it has to have something I really don't have. Obviously location can be a central factor as well. Sometimes a store is more centrally located between friends and thus easier to get to for everyone concerned.

The previously mentioned Endgame in Oakland is a really great example of a game store I love. I just wish it was a bit closer to me! It's about a fifty minute drive from my house to there.

What armies do you play, have you played? What armies are you looking at in the future? 

Well I like to think of myself, now, as primarily a Chaos Space Marines player. I played several different armies on the way to this conclusion. I originally picked up Space Marines after everyone in my original group snatched up the armies I was thinking of playing first. Though one guy picked up Tau before I could - so I guess I dodged THAT bullet! (Ed's note: OUCH! Tau4Eva is incensed.) I found the Space Marines interesting but I wasn't as in love with the game at that time as I am now. I remember seeing in an old White Dwarf issue, a picture of Typhus and a bunch of Plague Marines in a city fight. I immediately told my buddy "I want to do THAT army! But all Forge World pieces!". 

However, after I priced it all out, I realized how much cheaper I could buy a huge Tyranid Army (Ed's note: Hi5! Hivemind). So I went that route first and I had an idea of how I wanted to paint them. This was 4th Edition, and I really did enjoy the Tyranid army for awhile. I still want to go back to it at some point. Maybe when the fabled "second wave" of models come out I'll jump back onto it and build out my army there some.

Eventually the timing (ie: Money) was right and I plopped down the cash for a Forge World Death Guard Army. It really was, and remains to this day, my pride and joy. I just love the idea of these fallen angels turned so hideously to Chaos. After I had completed painting that army I was looking around for another project and I decided to go with a World Eaters army. Of course it had to be heavily influenced by Forge World pieces! I love the Forge World stuff!

Now of course, if you listen to the show, you know I have gone back to Marines. Though this time I am painting them to an established Codex Chapter. The Ultramarines. 

I'm not sure what the future holds right now. I have a pretty large Space Wolf force that is unpainted. I was thinking of doing a drop pod Space Wolf force at one point, but I am kind of wavering on that right now. I may just sell off that stuff and build up the Ultramarines more. I'm really waiting to see what happens when the new Chaos Space Marine Codex comes out. I think that will determine what way I go with my Chaos army.

Why did you decide to start playing Ultramarines?
So here’s the deal; I don't know about how it is where you guys live. But out here, I hardly see anyone ever play actual Ultramarines. People on the Internet and in game stores like to complain about the XIII Legion a lot. 40k fans call The Ultramarines, Games Workshops Poster boys and then of course there is the movie, which met with a pretty lukewarm reception. (And that's probably being generous.) But the reality is, you don't actually SEE them that often on the table! It also happens to be, in my opinion, one of the great color schemes for Space Marines out there. Blue happens to be my favorite color... so it all kind of fell into place.

While I was trying to decide, I knew I was of course going to use a lot of Forge World components again. So I played around with a couple of ideas. Red Scorpions, Imperial Fists, Howling Griffons... but in the end I decided to go with the Ultramarines and I think they are coming out amazingly well. I am really looking forward to showing my progress with them at Adepticon this year!

How will you be playing using the Codex: Space Marines? Any specific plans for special characters, units you'll use, etc?
Thunder Hammer / Storm Shield Terminators of course! I complain about them all the time when they are used against me - so why WOULDN'T I use them!? They are an amazing unit for their cost. And lets face it - Terminators are cool! People also know that I love Land Raiders - so initially I have a couple of them as well. I tend to build armies that are not geared towards fine tuned winning machines. So my initial foray into these guys is probably not going to win me a lot of games. That's ok. I really just enjoy every aspect of the game, from painting, modelling, and playing - but primarily socializing.

With that said, I really do see this as my "starter force" for the Ultramarines. I plan to expand on them in the years to come! Oh and of course I have to field my Terminator Chaplain - mainly because he is my favorite model in 40k and I'm really pleased with the paint job I pulled off on him.

Look for part two of the interview with Carl Tuttle - co-host of The Independent Characters - later this week!


  1. Very cool interview Michael. The Independent Characters is the only 40K Podcast that I listen too, so I'm looking forward to the rest of the interviews.

  2. Nice work. The ICs is by far my favorite podcast, and I listen to quite a few of them.

  3. Good interview. ICs are one of the best!

    I don't think I've actually seen Carl's minis before, though he's talked about them enough. Guess I need to find more time to spend on the forums.

  4. Big fan, big fan...Now...I see pictures of, I really thought that was some sort of inside joke, :)

  5. Nope - no inside joke. I just haven't played them in awhile. However, with my new Trygon I acquired at a local gaming flea market - I may go ahead and build them up to a cohesive 5th ed (6th ed?) force.