Friday, July 30, 2010

A Departing Ship

First, welcome Gyro to the site.  Hope you enjoy visiting here.

Second, I'm not posting a new item, but rather one I made almost five years ago.  It was a ship made for my Vampire Counts army back when The General's Compendium had come out.  It was a favorite supplement, and we were doing naval battles.

It was a real joy to build, something different from my typical terrain.  But like many of the things I've made over the past few years, I'm giving it away.  The ship is going to a good friend who really loves pirates.  It is one of the cool things about the move--being able to give stuff that has just been gathering dust on my shelves to people who will really enjoy them.

The other cool thing is thinking about what to do next, and what to do over.  I've thought about building another ship when I get to my new home.  Or doing more sci-fi terrain.  Or new Mordheim stuff.  I still wish I knew what it would be.  There was a post on the TMP Solo Wargaming boards about a guy who had stopped having fun with his hobby as he neared retirement age.  He realized that he had not participated in the years-long epic RPG campaign he had dreamed of, that he had not built the huge, impressive armies that he had seen in wargaming magazines.

Neither have I, although I have gamed with a great gaming group playing a variety of games over the past few years.  And I've played unpainted or poorly painted armies down at the fire stations for six years.  In short, I've had fun without creating the magnum opus that seems to define success in the hobby.  And I may not.  I may go and build odd bits of terrain and paint whatever strikes my fancy.  I just realized reading that guy's message that I didn't want to be looking back twenty years from now and thinking I'd wasted my time.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Give this castle a new home!

I am selling a resin modular castle manufactured by Hudson & Allen Studios.  While they list it at "25mm" it is probably better for 1:72 or 15mm figures, although true 25mm would probably be fine.

It has eight pieces total which can be rearranged into different configurations.  I am asking for $100, a fraction of its retail value, plus the cost of shipping.  Contact me if interested.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why it is a Desert Island, and not the Bahamas

First, welcome Artemi to the site.  Artemi is one of those rare people I know in real life.  In fact the only game of 40K I've played in the last four years I played against him.  And lost.  Badly.

Packing continues at Casa del WQRobb.  It is funny that, when I am honest with myself, how little I really need to take with me to my temporary digs.  For those who aren't regular followers, I got a new job and am moving to a temporary location until my old house sells (anyone interested in a lovely home with a very spacious game room in western Ohio, let me know!) and I can buy a new home.  I don't want to pack-and-unpack twice, plus the temporary apartment or whatever will be pretty small in all likelihood, so I'm keeping myself to the fundamentals.  To wit: take with me whatever stuff I'll need for the next six months to a year.

I'm leaving about 97% of my RPG stuff in boxes at the old house.  I just do not see myself finding a new RPG group right off the bat, much less running one.  And if I do, it probably won't be Rifts or Twilight 2000.  And while I own several supplements for D&D 4.0 (one of the two most likely RPG's been played out there, the other being Pathfinder), I don't think I'll need the DMG2, for example, as a player.

So, maybe the Player's Guide for D&D 4.0 and the main rulebook for Pathfinder, and that will be about it.  I'm actually an "old school" guy at heart, and most of those retro-clones are in pdf format.

I haven't purchased the latest editions of Warhammer 40K or Warhammer Fantasy Battles, so I'm leaving previous editions of those games in boxes as well.  I might grab the dwarf army book, which is about the only up-to-date army book or codex I own, just in case I find a game in my new town.  If I do, I'll buy the latest edition (hopefully WHFB will have a box set out by then).  But in all likelihood, I'm just going to stick with solo games.

With that in mind, I'm taking with me several books, most of which are thankfully small:  GASLIGHT; Neil Thomas' Introduction to Wargaming and Ancient and Medieval Wargaming; Hordes of the Things; and Solo Wargaming by Donald Featherstone.  I may take along Hostile Realms.  There's a few games I'll be taking in pdf format, but everything else gets packed, possibly for a year.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Foam Tray Dilemma

First, welcome to my latest follower, Naloomi, who I actually know in real life and is the proprietor of Naloomi's Workshop, a place to buy casts from Hirst Arts molds.

Last weekend I decided to spend my two days off out of town, leaving my current home to go visit the city where I used to live.  It is about an hour and a half away, but once I head to my new job it will be unlikely I will return any time soon.

I went to the gaming store that I used to attend practically every week on my way home from work or school.  I never gamed there, but I frequently bought miniatures or rulebooks or just hung out.  That day I just sat for a while talking to the owner, whom I've known for the better part of a decade.  We talked about cats (there's always one in the store), the success of Pathfinder (which is apparently outselling D&D right now) and about how I was moving away.

I bought a Sabol Army Transport.  I have wanted a good, flexible transport for miniatures.  It sort of fits into my "Desert Island" plan.
I have been wrestling with a conundrum.  One of my major armies is dwarfs, which are pretty small.  Do I pluck out small cubbies and house a greater number of minis per tray, or more "normal" sized ones so I can use the trays with other miniatures?  Thoughts welcome.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Journey Towards the Desert Island

Well, it's official: I have a new job.  And with the new job, a move to a new home.  And with the move, the suspension of most of my gaming activities for a while.

I've already begun to prepare.  I gave most of my homemade terrain to my arch-rival, Vince, to use with his gaming group.  Homemade terrain is often heavy, fragile, and really isn't very valuable in terms of raw materials.  I figured the hassle of moving it wasn't worth it.  Besides, once I get into my new place, I can build new terrain, better than before.

I also began giving away books, mostly RPG's that never saw the light of day.  I use to be pretty compulsive about buying RPG rulesets.  If I had a bad day at work, I'd buy myself a book, especially from a used book store.  Some of them were pretty terrible (Hong Kong Action Theatre), which others were better in theory than practice (Feng Shui), while others just never got to a table.  And never will.

So, with my local public library starting up a RPG club, I thought I'd give them some of my collection, stuff that has been up in the attic for years.  It's curiously refreshing, really, although sad as well.  "I feel like I've lost something, like Montgomery losing his Rommel," said Vince.

"Wait, are you saying I'm a Nazi?" I asked.

"If you want, you can think I was saying that you are Montgomery," he said with a shrug.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Chronopia Dwarfs and the Pathfinder GameMastery Guide

First, welcome to this blog's latest follower, imp522.  I hope I can justify your interest and continue to make this place an edifying and enjoyable blog venue.

On that note, some more miniatures off the worktable, in this case three dwarfs from the old Chronopia line that were rescued out of the "one quarter each" bin at my local gaming store.  So yes, we're talking about $.75 worth of miniatures.

I'll be incorporating these fellows into my Warhammer Dwarf army as ironbreakers or hammerers or maybe even a thane.  I painted them one on a quiet evening while my wife was out with friends and I had the house to myself.  It wasn't a fancy paint-job, but passable.

In other news, I picked up Paizo's Pathfinder GameMastery Guide, which is their "we told you that you didn't need a DMG if you bought the main rulebook, but buy this anyways."  The back cover reads "Tips and tricks for preparing and running a better game, suitable for beginning GM's and battle-hardened veterans."  I don't know if I'd describe my GMing experience over the past twenty years as a "battle" or not, but I usually decode statements like that as "this book will contain suggestions found in almost all rulebooks, including information that is usually very self-evident to all but the most alarmingly socially inept."

Sure enough, page 13, under the heading "Where to Play" is the suggestion "Easy access to snacks, beverages, and a bathroom" which seems to contradict my plan to host games on scenic overlooks in the badlands of South Dakota.  Unfortunately there's a lot of that, more than I had perhaps hoped there would be.  I had plumped down the $40 for the book at my local gaming store not just because I am an impulse buyer with a heightened sense of obligation to spend money when I use the easily accessible bathrooms at gaming stores, but because glancing through the books I did see information like how much scrolls costs for various spells and a pretty nice list of NPC's.  In short, the information WotC stuck into the Dungeon Master's Guide 2 of the 3.5 Edition of Dungeons and Dragons.

That's pretty much what the PGG is--the DMG2.  Stuff you could probably do without or cobble together on your own but if you're lazy or don't have a lot of prep-time and you've got money burning a hole in your pocket you might consider it.  But you'll have to ignore items like the Random Adventuring Party Name Generator (home of the "Contagious Snow Scorpion Puddings") and advice like how giving away too many magic items can cause problems for your campaign.  Short version: like most attacks in Pathfinder, it's hit or miss.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Setting the stage for Ambush Alley

As I've mentioned before on this blog, I'm in the market for some games that I can use in solo wargaming (the so called "Desert Island Project").  I had been looking at three games, Zouave, AK47 Republic, and Ambush Alley.  Zouave has the Piquet genetic code in it, which is solo-friendly and seemed interesting.  AK47 has a lot of fans online, and could be done using 1:72 plastics which are dirt cheap.  Ambush Alley also has a lot of fans and has been hacked into different time periods by a lot of people.

I decided against AK47 because there was always something about it that sort of set my teeth on edge.  Perhaps it was the toeing-the-line-of-racist themes that some of these "imagiNations" have that crop up on blogs.  Perhaps it is just the whole sordid history of Africa in the twentieth century, a bloody mess that continues to this day in Dharfur and elsewhere.  Maybe it was because I went to school with African clergy who told us stories of having their families killed and their homes destroyed.  I think there is a certain place in time where I have to go past in order to feel comfortable with historical wargaming, somewhere probably around WW2 for me.  It is probably why I like the Seven Years War or the Prussian-Austrian war of 1866: I have no personal connection, the cultures and peoples involved are far removed (although my late Bavarian grandmother might disagree).  In any case, I decided to shelve AK47 for other things.

Ambush Alley also has the "too close to home" problem, with so many servicemen and women in our community.  One of the members of my gaming club went to Iraq, came home and didn't leave his basement for months.  The last time I talked to him he was selling off his entire miniatures collection and appeared to be developing World of Warcraft addiction.  But as I said, I've seen some hacks of AA for things like District 9 and nineteenth century colonial Britain, and that got me thinking.

One of my "why am I still holding onto this" games is Cobalt-1, which was put together my miniatures sculptor Bob Naismith.  The game is, in a word, awful.  Naismith wanted to do a "diceless" wargame, so he created a mechanic where when a minaiture attacked another the defending player had to pick a number between 1 and 10.  The better the defending miniature, the fewer numbers he had to pick.  The attacking player had to then guess numbers between 1 and 10.  The better the attacker, the more guesses.  Success was determined by how many numbers the attacker guessed correctly.  Now ignoring the whole "how do I know the defender isn't lying" question, it is clunky as hell.  It'd be easier to have both players roll d10's and then match up numbers accordingly.

Anyways, while the game system was a dog with fleas and while I could never figure out how star-spanning cultures couldn't tell their galaxy wasn't about to collide with another, there was in the back of the book several settings for Cobalt-1 campaigns that were, in fact, pretty good.  One featured a planet thrown into civil war when the ruler died leaving a child heir to the throne.  The kingdom's military leader launched a coup against the infant king and his regent with the backing of the army, while the regent in turn hired off-planet mercenaries to secure the right of succession.  This seems pefect for Ambush Alley, with the hired elite mercenaries taking the role of the US military while the ill-equipped and poorly trained plantary defense force becoming the insurgents.  I could build a whole unique alien culture, campaign-specific terrain, etc.  The fact that (in theory) I have over fifty sci-fi troopers en route from Wargames Factory helps too.

So, we'll see where it goes.  In the meantime, I'll think about the Prussian-Austrian war of 1866 and Zouave.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Mantic Ghouls

First, welcome to fuchs.39, my latest follower to this blog.  Good to have you here.

Second, my apologies for those who came here yesterday.  I was goofing a little bit with the layout and had some things go sideways, but it is all back up to speed.

And third and finally, some painted miniatures!  These are a pair of ghouls I received for free from Mantic Games.  They have great detail and painted up easily.  While they are listed as ghouls (and will fight as such in my Vampire Counts army) they could just as easily work as cultists or Chaos Brethren or wasteland mutants.  While they only come with two bodies and two heads, there are lots of optional bits including a variety of gruesome weapons.

More figures on the worktable!  The painting mojo has returned!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

AAR Empire vs. Dwarfs vs. Tomb Kings (WHFB)

After last Sunday's embarrassing defeat at the tiny hands of Vince's dwarfs, I wanted revenge.  I knew I would be facing Vince and possibly a new guy, Eric, who played Tomb Kings, so I tooled up as best I could to face two somewhat different armies.

The way to win three-way battles is to huddle back and let the other two tie each other up.  I also knew that neither the Tomb Kings or the Dwarfs had much in the long-range department, so I went with this army list:
Captain (General)
Captain (BSB)
lvl 2 Battle Wizard (Metal)
3 Units of 20 Halberdiers, with Archer Detachments
2 Units of Knights
1 Unit of Outriders
1 Units of Huntsmen
2 Units of Crossbowmen
Empire Rocket

As it turns out, both Eric and Vince brought lobbers, a Screaming Skull Catapult and a Grudge Thrower.  But  Eric sent Carrion flyers after the Grudge Thrower (which was put too far back anyways) and managed to run off the crew.  In turn, he could not hit anything with his Screaming Skull Catapult, being unused to estimating distances.

I, however, can use a mortar like a sniper rifle, and proceeding to (with the occasional aid of the Engineer) launch salvos into big blocks of dwarf and undead units.  As I had hoped, Vince and Eric locked into each other pretty soundly, while I just held back and poured missile fire into any unit out of combat.  By turn six, most of my army was intact, while they had barely 1500 pts. between the two of them.

At the end, in a spirit of good sportsmanship, Vince and I agreed to let his Thane general and his bodyguard unit roll up on my general's unit while the two heroes squared off for a challenge.  The thane ended up only hitting once and whiffing the to-wound roll, while my general hit and wounded all three of his.  It was icing on a very, very sweet cake.


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