Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Sad that I missed the Guns of August Convention

I am very upset that I had to miss the Guns of August convention last weekend.  My wife had cunningly scheduled her party for her  student members of the"American Women Dentists Association at out place in St Michaels.

Rather than be surrounded by gamers in a hotel convention hall, I was forced to be outside with a bunch of 20 somethings cavorting in the pool.  I think all of you can understand my disappointment at missing the con.  I actually spent most of the day either behind the BBQ (young people eat a lot! - not as much as gamers but still a lot) or on the boat taking them tubing.

It was really rough duty.  We did have a casualty in the house - one of the young ladies decided it would be a grand idea to heat up some buffalo sauce/dip in the microwave.  The only problem was the it was in a ceramic bowl that has a metal lining.  Well that microwave was 10 years old so probably needed to be replaced anyway.

I really do want to make one of the Williamsburg, VA events so hopefully can go to the Williamsburg Muster in Feb'17

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Big Lee's 2MM hit give away

Mr Lee's blog has just crossed 2 million page loads a staggering achievement that will surely displace Guttenberg and his pokey old printing press in the historical annals of communication achievements.

Check it out


Thursday, August 25, 2016

He's off....

 Yet another sentimental post - Yee-Gads I'm becoming a softie.

Sean left for college yesterday.  He'll be living off campus in an apartment for his senior year so he's taking our old SUV (with 205k miles on it and still running nicely)

A few shots of the car all packed up.
 Yes those are old 33 records in the bin - they've come back into style for the listening quality.  It really is true that everything old is new again sometime.
 The departing picture with a purposefully goofy smile (he doesn't like posing for pictures)

And there he goes.  For whatever reason this year's departure really hit me hard.  Perhaps it's because it's his last year of college or the fact the he didn't need (not likely want) my help in getting to school.

He left about 10:00am wed morning and I was a wreck for the rest of the day.  Oh well back to becoming a curmudgeon.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mothers and Children

 Yesterday was a rare day of contemplation here in the Lair as I pondered the special relationship that exists between mothers and children.  It came to my attention as I was watching a mother deer nursing her fawn in our front yard.

To be honest, my initial reaction was to rue the silly local laws that forbid the discharge of firearms in a residential area as they were munching on our shrubbery.  The a state park in the backyard that full of stuff to eat - why pick on my yard?

Once I had stop railing about the infringement of my 2nd amendment rights, I was able to think back on the special relationship that a mother shares with her child.

Queue fading harp music......

A few hours later I was confronted with another scene of a mother and child as my son has just returned from his summer internship in San Francisco and has decided to grace us with his presence for 2 whole days before returning to Carnegie-Mellon for his senior year.

Of course he's a bit larger than the fawn coming in at 6'4" and has the lithe and delicate frame of an offensive lineman.  But he does share one likely characteristic with the fawn - he's terrified of his mothers wrath (as am I).

Sigh, he heads back to school today for his last (hopefully) year of college.

Any of you want to hire a soon-to-be CMU grad with degree in stats and robotics?  He's really good at lifting heavy stuff.

I really can't afford to feed him any more.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Test Dungeon Terrain Section

 Dungeon Terrain?  On a Historical Miniatures blog?  Blasphemy I say!

Well, no, it's not really blasphemy.  I just need a change of pace and am thinking about doing something a bit daft for next year's Historicon game that may mix historical and fantasy - shall we say "Muskets and Dragons" or even "Bolt-Grave"?  But more on that another time....

If one is going to do a fantasy game, one needs some dungeon terrain.   There a lot of commercially available terrain sets out there which are all patterned of the 2x2x2inch cube format used by Dwarven Forge.  DF makes great stuff but it's expensive and also "small".  I wanted to have a bit bigger feel, so I decided to mock up a sectional piece.

 After some deliberation, I'm going to try out building 6x6 inch sectional pieces and want to test the concept with a simple corridor section.  It's made out of 1 inch think extruded polystyrene insulation foam (EPS).  I cut 3 4x6" pieces to form the floor and walls.  I went with one inch for several reasons: (i) its strong so will resit wear and tear, (ii) it comes in easy to work with 2x2ft sections from home depot and (iii) having one inch to work with on the floor sections will allow some ability to add "depth" for canyons/crevices and maybe even some LED lighting.  For the test I mounted the EPS on matt board but will likely move to 1/8 inch hard board for the "real" sections.

 A shot with a 28mm figure for scale.  I like the look of the four inch wide corridor.  You can also see some experiments for detailing .  Before glueing I marked the stone "blocks" using a sharpie marker and ruler.  One inch squares for the floor and 1x2 inch blocks for the walls.  I tried several methods to make the indentations between the blocks and found using a 1/8 inch wide kabob skewer worked best when going with the grain of the EPS.  When going against the grain I used an exact knife and cut a very sallow "v" groove - a bit tedious but it worked.

The section was primed with black acrylic paint.

 Another fascinating shot of the black primed test section.  When working with EPS only use acrylic (water based) paints.  Non-acrylics just end up melting the EPS.

After waiting a few hours for the primer to dry the next step was to paint on a basic very and then highlight with white.
The completed test piece with some figures to show how it looks "in action" with some of my Saga Vikings vs a random GW Troll.  It did strike me that if you have a few saga armies, you've got more than enough dungeon explores for classic D&D.

I think the test section came out rather well but the walls are two high.  It would be difficult to get a measuring tape or fingers in there.  I think if I reduced the effective wall height from 3 inches to 2 the playability will increase sharply with out loosing to much of the dungeon feel.

My preliminary plan for the HCON game needs 6x4 feet of dungeon, which means a minimum of 96 tiles to build.  I think that may be a fun project for the winter.

What do you think?

In planning this little project, I did stumble over a lot of helpful you tube videos

Storm the Castle 3D Dungeon Terrain

The DMGInfo

While the game concept is a bit silly from a historical viewpoint, the terrain making will be a lot of fun and its' still you soldiers.  I just need a break from big, set-piece battles for a bit.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


 Not really gaming related, but  perhaps gaming sustanence related - our tomatoes are coming in. We've got tons of them....

 Literally boxes and boxes of them.  This is the first week of the bumper crop which should last another 3-4 weeks.

What does one do with a plethora or tomatoes?

Make tomato sauces - gallons and gallons of the liquid red gold, which will then be frozen and brought out over the course of the year to make sauces, soups and warm the soul.

Back to more standard gaming related items in the next post (maybe)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

My Uninvited Pool Guest: A Wayward Timber Rattlesnake

I went out for an early swim on Saturday and discovered this fine fellow enjoying the pool.  I would later find out this youngster was a juvenile Timber Rattlesnake.  How did I come by this knowledge? Read on.

 After grabbing him out of the water (he was close to drowning and had been in the pool a long time) I put him out on top of a retaining wall to warm up and got a look at his markings.  The brown diamond shaped marking along the back are very unusual for snakes in our area.  This was no common water or queen snake.

Oh look how how cute - he's rearing up to attack me.  He even started wiggling his tail like he had a rattle.  I was to learn later that juvenile rattlesnakes haven't developed rattles at the end of their tails.

Right after this picture was taken he started striking at me.  It was really cute until....
He nicked me on the finger!!!  Within an hour my right hand had swollen up to the size of an orange and I couldn't move my index finger or thumb.

It's rather useful, when one is a stupid as I am, to be married to a surgeon and my lovely Dr wife took charge of my care along with simultaneously admonishing me for said stupidity.

It's now Tuesday and the swelling has gone down which is allowing me to type this post.  It actually was a nice few days being unable to use a keyboard.

What happened to Young Master Rattlesnake?  Well I let him go in the woods - rattlesnakes aren't that dangerous if you don't try to catch them (there's the whole stupid thing again) and are amazingly effective at keeping the rodent population down.  They are also on the endangered species list here in Maryland so its against the law to harm them.  Sadly, the rascals have no legal proscriptions against biting us.

As you might suspect, I spent a good bit of time single-handedly googling Timber Rattlesnakes on the web.  Fascinating creatures but nowhere did I see any indications of their love of swimming pools.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Guild Ball: Engineers - Just about done!

 I like to think of myself as a self assured adult - independent, thoughtful and frugal.  That self image is sadly untrue at a gaming convention where I can be lead astray and into a new game by the simple hint "all the other kids are doing it"

Such was the case at Historicon where I was "tricked" by great game play, wonderful mini's and a cool theme into trying Guild Ball a sports/combat themed fantasy game from SteamForged Games Ltd.

After a few demo games with the WWPD crew, I was hooked and on Saturday Steve walked me through the vendor hall saying you need this, that and one other thing.  At the end of our sojourn my wallet was a good bit lighter and I had the makings of a team from the "Engineers Guild".  The minis in the pictures are a bit shiny as I haven't varnished them yet - there's still a little bit of detail work I want to do on both the figures and the bases.  I went with a scrapyard theme for the basing.

The figures are wonderfully sculpted and perhaps the funnest I ever painted (sorry Michael and Alan Perry - I still love Perry historical the best)

 First up is "Colossus" he's big and got mechanical spider legs - what's not to love?

 Next up is the Mechanica, Velocity and the bomb thrower (literally) Ratchet.  The Engineers can field mechanics (robots) which have some unique game play aspects.  I went with the engineers as they reminded me of the robotics teams I coached when my son was in High School.
Finally there is Salvo, Ballista (the Team captain), and finally the mascot, Mainspring.

One of the more appealing aspects of the game is there are no points - each team consists of six players, one of which must be a mascot.  Simples.

After putting on a giant battle game at Historicon, I really like the concept of just a handful of figures to field a team - easy to get into and transport.  Each Guild has several other players - you can see one in the back of the pictures awaiting painting.

The pricing on minis is a little eye-watering but they are superb sculpts.  Offsetting the cost is the fact that all the rules and players cards are available for free via download.  You can buy nice printed versions (which I did, again due to travails of "peer-pressure" - that's my story and I'm sticking with it) but everything you need to play the game is available for free - including paper players.  It's a great  distribution model and since the company owns the IP for the game they can charge whatever they want for the minis.

I'm looking forward to my first game with these guys in a few weeks!