Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Paper Tanks, if Not Paper Tigers....

Another announcement that caught my eye on TMP:

Fiddlers Green Paper Models has announced the release of its Renault-FT-17 tank. Unlike the other vehicles I drool over, this is a pdf file paper model, which means instead of filing bits and dabbing glue, I'm cutting paper and... er... dabbing glue.

Paper models do have advantages over their lead/resin counterparts. As a pdf, you can print as many of these bad boys as you want, you just need to have the time and patience to assemble them. Even better, you can resize the pdf image, meaning you can have a 25mm , a 54mm tank, or even a 15mm vehicle, although I pity the man who would try and assemble that...

Best of all, the Renault kit is $7.50! And if you join their "Magic Keys" program, you get all their new releases for the year at about 2/3 the price.

A word of warning, I was so transfixed on how nice this paper model was that I failed to realize that the picture above and on the website is the vehicle printed at 54mm size. Fiddlers Green focuses on items for that scale, which, after you've dropped hundreds on your Britains or other toy soldier sized figs, "real" vehicles become cost prohibited. The FT-17 was a tiny two-man tank that will be dwarfed by many other vehicles. In Gnome Wars terms, consider it about as high as a bicycle tank and twice as long as the Sikh Motorized Machine Gun.
For more info (a LOT more info!) on the Renault FT17: http://www.fiddlersgreen.net/models/Miscellanous/Renault-FT-17.html

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kenzerco Holiday Blowout!

The Kenzer & Co website (http://www.kenzerco.com/) is all aflutter with their holiday blowout sale. Almost all print items are 50% off now through New Year's Eve!!!

There are a couple exceptions in their online store, like their most recent releases, and of course, pdfs. The $60 Aces and Eights book isn't covered either, but that's worth the retail price.

While the bonanza of savings is making me step back and think about it, I really can't take advantage of it. The Aces and Eights supplements and adventures are downright cheap and I could take advantage of picking up Dead Gawd's Hand and Isle of Death for Hackmaster, but in these tight times, can I justify spending money on stuff I might use in 2011?

For those of you wondering, I'm finally ordering Masks of Nyarlathotep and the Reaper Mouselings this week. Christmas was good and this will probably be my last purchase for awhile. Hell, it's been awhile since I last purchased anything!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Cold Wars PEL is up!

The Cold Wars 2010 PEL (Preliminary Event Listing) is up!

First off, the Gnome Wars games we know and love are back after an absence at Fall-in!:

Gnome Wars: Verdun
F-368 - Fri. 1:00 PM and S-370 - Sat. 1:00 PM
The initial German artillery barrage pounded the French units in The Village of Champ. The remaining French troops, expecting another barrage before the German attack, left the town and took up defensive positions in the shell holes and a broken trench in front of the town and waited for the imminent assault.

Gnome Wars: The Village of Champ
S-371 - Sat. 8:00 PM
GM: Jim Stanton with Steven Stanton
The Germans attack Champ and try to smash the remaining Allied forces remaining there.

Mmmmmm.... Verdun....with the possibility of multiple French units. There were "rumors" of more Tanga games, but Verdun is an excellent second option.

Gnome Wars: The Joust
F-369 - Fri. 8:00 PM
Come and compete in the Gnome Wars Jousting Tournament! Rules will be taught and prizes given away. Double elimination - Quick, Easy, and Fun.

Somebody call Rosalie of the Rosary, Sir Bud, Sam I am, and the other jousters. SOMEBODY has to knock Jim down a notch or two...

Not a bad assemblage of games... still doesn't mean I get more than a 20% chance of showing up, given the new baby seems to be taking her merry old time.

The theme of this year's Cold Wars is South America - the Struggle for Independence. Revolutions, Civil Wars, European Shennanigans... an interesting subject with lots of variety and chances for land, sea, and even a little air combat. However, the theme is not one that is real popular, the History of Latin American isn't a point of focus in the American education system, and there aren't too many well-known manufacturers actively hawking their wares (I did mention Khurasan Miniatures releasing 15mm Chaco War figs here: http://gamingwiththegnomies.blogspot.com/2010/10/beavers-and-skunks-and-south-americans.html )

As of this initial PEL, there are only 12 theme games for the entire convention, the first ones waiting till 3pm on Friday (a Spanish-American Cuba Naval game and a Chilean Revolution one).
Of course, one battle or even a month during the Napoleonic Wars would result in many more entries, but a lack of variety that these 12 have. Let's hope, for the sake of the person who decided on the theme, that a few more entries come in...

On the non-gnome front there are a couple gems that pique my interest:
  • The Lehmans are answering the call and running some War of 1812 games, using ATKMs figs and rules. Size does matter and 54mm is beautiful to behold...
  • The Spanish-American War Naval theme game looks interesting.
  • S-243 - Otjihinamaparero: The Threatened Flank (German South-West Africa, 1904) . This is the across the continent from Tanga, but these guys are putting together a nice book on the Hereros War (not Heroes, Hereros)... This certainly piques my interest.
  • There is a nice 15mm Great Northern War game - Russians vs. Swedes!
  • And of course, everything else that's always at a HMGS (east) con. (Aerodrome, BTech, the H.A.W.K.S. room...)

The War College is a bit sparse (2!), but both are worty topics worth a sit:

  • The Venezuelan Crisis of 1902 10am Sat. - TR vs. the Kaiser!
  • Historical Introduction To South American Independence
    Saturday 11:00:00 AM, 1 hr - No excuse to claims ignorance again!
Again, Cold Wars is March 11-13th at the Lancaster Host Resort in Lancaster, PA
The full PEL can be found here: http://www.coldwars.org/documents/CW2011%20Events%20%20rev1-%20PEL.pdf

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Apathy of New Releases (Jan '11)

With the holidays upon us, the latest issue of Game Trade Monthly (#131) was released early...

Let's just say I'm back to my apathetic view of the brick-and-mortar game store.

The only thing that I should add to my want list is Tales of the Sleepless City: a series of CoC scenarios set in New York City. While there have been many Cthulhu supplements in recent months, this is produced by Misktantonic River Press, and they produce some top-notch stuff. Plus, there's a group of investigators who just happened to relocate to the Five Boroughs. $29.95 is probably a small price to pay for a little more manufactured depth, before I use the city as a stepping stone for further madness.



My wishlist would include GURPS: Mass Combat, a plastic boxed set of 30 Years War Swedish Regiment, and a little game called "Oh Gnome You Don't". Here's a little box art:
The magic store list? Well, there's a lot of new Pathfinder scheduled for release, although to call the 3rd party material amateurish would be an insult to amatuers everywhere. Warlord game continues to pump out new historical figures (their Marines look tempting). A new set of Marvel Heroclix will be coming out, Cthulhutech gets a new book, Burning Horizon, and Savage World Action & Adventure Decks are scheduled.

Now I haven't been following the D&D 4e release schedule, but am I the only one that shivers when the title of the new release is Players Options: Heroes of Shadow. While I have no problems with someone wanting to play some fanboy anti-hero, WoTC just had to use "Player's Options?" I still twitch thinking about 2e debacles with players munchinizing their characters with those books. Anybody ready for 5th?

More details at http://www.gametrademagazine.com/downloads/GTM131Games.pdf

Thursday, December 16, 2010

(LoS) Dear Memories of Behemoths and Pioneers

I've expressed my love of Legions of Steel. Wooly and I happened to get in with the company at the right time, and our devotion got rewarded.

I'm remembering off the top of my head, but these prints were added in the LoS Planetstorm book:
My image is that of the infamous "Traitor Jacobson". He was a U.N.E Pioneer, a combat engineer for the 22nd Century (To quote Full Metal Jacket: " Engineers. You go out and find mines!" Jacobson led the units into the heart of a Machine stronghold, only to betray them. You see, well before the mission, Jacobson had been killed and replaced by a machine inside his power armor. If you're going to be a traitor, at least do it in style...

This is Wooly's. "Wooly Bully" was just a wild man in Behemoth RXS power armor. I know Wooly this framed somewhere in his house... I have my print as well, although it's buried in a "Do not throw out EVER!" box in the garage...
It is sad that the only pictures of these online were on Wooly's website, which he hasn't updated since 1997. He covers our connection with Global Games, Inferno, and even mentions the ill-fated Abyss role-playing game.
p.s. Wooly's story confirms my off-the-top-of-my-head version, with a few more details. He does fail to mention wandering the streets of Toronto, fondling large piles of lead-free metal, and my only trip to a strip club. (which was covered as business expense, go Canadian tax law!)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dice Baseball

Some of you may have noticed the new page labelled "Dice Baseball". It looks as if, most click on it, go "hmmm", and go on their merry way.

Here's a confession that very few people know: My fervor for gaming pales in comparison to my love for Dice Baseball.

Many moons ago, when the closest thing to fantasy was the D&D cartoon on Saturday monrnings, and the closest "wargaming" was a mish-mash of Star Wars and G.I. Joe figures fighting it out in the flower beds, there was baseball.

From an early age I've loved baseball in all forms. From the first warm day in the early Spring, to the kickoff of the first NFL game, we would be playing wiffleball in someone's backyard. My buddies would pretend to be Mike Schmidt and Don Mattingly, trying to smack it over the maple trees in my backyard. Ultimately we moved to baseball cards, crunching and comparing stats between part-time starters and utility infielders. My friend Scott Riley then showed up one day with HIS OWN LEAGUE, a couple of ratty sheets with team names that would make the XFL look conservative, make-believe stats and imaginary players. Occaisionally, our wiffleball games would decide these 'fake' games.

Pretty soon, envy of a friend's ingenious idea, and a love for The Natural created my own League of Imaginary Players, focusing primarily on the 1980's version of the New York Knights. I tried mixing up box scores for game results, I even tried mixing up cards from the AAPA Baseball game, with limited results.

Then my thirteenth birthday hit.

The only thing I remember from my thirteenth birthday is my Grandfather giving me his copy of The Second Fireside Book of Baseball. It was a collection of tales, comics, photos, and odd references to baseball. This where I gained my appreciation for "old school" baseball, from Cap Anson to a certain leggy blond doing "The Stance"

Hidden within the middle of the book was a three page article, aptly titled "Dice Baseball." It was very similar to what I've typed on my page, plus rules for tagging up, sacrifices, etc. If my Grandfather gave me a Bible of baseball, these three pages were the Sermon on the Mount.

All throughout Junior High and into High School, I played solo games of Dice Baseball whenever I had a chance. Snow days, rainy days, it didn't matter, I was chucking dice and filling in boxscores. Since my mom was stingy with notebook paper and I swear prices were twice what the seem today, I had little opportunity to keep track of stats, just a few players, positions, and I'd fill in the blanks... usually with the NY Knights winning, A LOT.

When I joined the gaming club at NCC, Dice Baseball came out. I actually got another Scott (Birkner) into it and he set up a west coast league, a new team for my Federal League (The Baltimore Bees), and we even had a "World Series" which Scott won in 5 games.

With a renewed fervor and a word processor, I finally put down the stats,schedules, and on something I could save, update, and PRINT. I officially set up a 6-team, 50-game schedule, threw out all the imaginary records and started the 1995, one year ahead. Since then the seasons ebb and flow, but somewhere on my old computer is the 2016 season, about 2/3 of the way through.

The author in the article praised the 2d6 system for it's realism. I'll warn you, it's perfect for a Koufax/Gibson era. Twenty-one and a half seasons of the Federal League sets the Mendoza line at .180, home run leaders would normally average 30 in a regular 154-game season, and an ERA of 3.00? Number five starter, if not middle relief.

This mostly random game has even created the special events Baseball purists love so much. I've had a few guys hit for the cycle, one four-homer game, a bunch of no-hitters, and even a couple of perfect games (the first one was Thanksgiving 1987 up in Vermont.. All hail Wayne Edwards of the Boston Clippers!)

What frightens me at times, is that I tell stories about imaginary players and teams that are far more interesting (to me) than anything on Sportscenter. I've grown to love some of these players and believe it or not, wonder how some of them are still playing (a random free agency and injury system keeps some of the poorer players employed much longer than they deserve, just like the Major Leagues.)

With the old computer in the garage, the game has been on hiatus since we moved two years ago, but it has risen again as the Facebook games become bleh and I will need something to keep my brain active during my three months of leave with two small kids. Can the Boston Clippers keep their title as best team of the decade? Can Ray Kennedy of the Hartford Blue Sox recover to win his third MVP title and remain the greatest home run hitter of all time? Can the upstart Baltimore Spiders, with C-level stars at best, make a run for the title? Will the Providence Commodores break the record for most losses in a season (three years after smashing the record for most wins)?

Play Ball!

Friday, December 10, 2010

(Poll) What should I actually paint first?

It's that most wonderful time of the year, where none of us have time for the eight million things that MUST be done before December 25th. Add into the mix a new baby coming between now and the 8th of January, plus the 18-month old we already have, PLUS a bunch of projects that need to get done, and I'm surprised I can get out of bed in the morning.

I do, because if I don't, my daughter will find the syrup and re-grout the tile in the house with it...

That being said, I have a strong desire for the zen-like state of painting. It beats staring at a small or large screen for hours vegitating, and I need to get figures out of the primer stage with at least some base coats one if we're to start playing in the spring.

So the new question arises: What should I start my painting desire with:


  1. The Sikhs: The Sikhs should be incredibly easy to paint. 15 of the same figure with one Highlander officer. If they're painted first, they will represent the Askaris in the Longido Mountain portion of the Tanga Campaign.

  2. Teddy Bear Tri-corner hat: These Eureka bears are actually my little girls, but I may use them as the Askaris for Tanga. These will be painted Bright Yellow, to represent the Rubber Duck Brigade.

  3. Teddy Bear Mitre hats: These are for my new daughter Amelia. They will be painted Bubblegum Pink (the uniforms, not the bears themselves).

  4. Swiss Rangers: I'll finally have a chance to base and paint my much anticipated third Swiss unit. This unit is actually Swiss Park Rangers, and will be painted as such. As an added bonus, the Swiss Bicycle Tank will be attached to this unit, thus painted in a similar style.

  5. Swiss Infantry: This unit is my much vaunted 14th Training Company, heroes of such games as Catch that Train, and Stop That Tank at previous HMGS cons. Traditional red and blue gnomes, I just have three or four additional figures to paint to complete the unit.

  6. Swiss Engineers - My much-appreciated Third Engineers are a painted in construction colors (yellow-green jackets, orange hats with a white line). As my previous pictures have shown, about half the unit is complete, the rest need a new base coat the details.

  7. Flying Monkeys: My main body of the German Army, Das Fliederaffes will need a freshening up and finishing.

  8. Leinenkugels: My all-rifle unit has performed pretty badly, perhaps it's the green-and-white paint scheme. They need everything beyond base coats.

  9. Badenboens: A unit primed for painting - Sticking with a standard gnome paint scheme of brown helmets and dark blue uniforms.

  10. German Heavy Machine Gun- closest thing to a model kit, in addition to painting them as part of the Flying Monkeys.

  11. French Pastry Mortar - next closet thing to a model kit, painted in the traditional early war light blue.


There you go, vote early, and if the system lets you, vote often!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Settlers of Catan 15th Anniversary Edition

It took me a long time to actually play Settlers of Catan. Heck, I even owned one of the early English printings of the game, never played, and sold it still in the shrinkwrap for a tidy profit on ebay. Settlers was part of that "cool" set of games around the beginning of the millenium: Formula De, Apples to Apples, Push Car. Completely cool games that need players and time to truly be great. Plus Settlers always had expansion and variants like Spacefarers and Settlers of Canaan.

After finding the time to bite the bullet and play a couple of times, Settlers is now one of our reserve games in case everything falls apart. I've got an old boxed set and a new version of the 5-6 player expansion. Yeah, it clashes horribly, but it gets the job done.

But the new release from Mayfair next week makes me drool. Settlers of Catan - 15th Anniversary Edition™ looks to be a player's delight. All-wood pieces, board, accesories, and a kickass wooden box with clasp:


Now the $150 price tag is making me gasp a little bit, until you realize that the basic game has been 35-40 bucks, the 5-6 player expansion is 15-20, and that's only cardstock with wooden playing pieces. Like the bookcase editions of the classic popular board games, some things belong in a dignified container on nice shelf.


...so the kids and the dogs can't destroy them.


http://mayfairgames.com/game.php?id=346&stock=MFG3102&name=Settlers+of+Catan+-+15th+Anniversary+Edition%99 for more information.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Eureka Minis release Mice Warriors, expands Teddy Bear line...

Per a post on TMP, Eureka Minis has release a new range of Mice Warriors. Hooray new anthromorphic animal minis!!! These do look a bit feral compared to the Reaper mouselings, but that can be easily explained. The Reaper Mouselings are the elite members of society, sort of like the Mouse Guard in, well, Mouse Guard. The Eureka mice of the townsfolk, militiamen, even rogue elements. And the rat cavalry are just nasty looking! The spearmen, swordsmen, and archers are $13.50 for a pack of six, so warbands are easily assembled. I'm not adding them on my purchase list quite yet, as they aren't available on the Eureka US website.

Eureka also announced special figures for the Teddy Bear cavalry as well as the Toy Town cav (think March of the Wooden Soliders).

Oh yeah, I might as well mention.... the new Kung-Fu schoolgirls:

They aren't my thing, but if a couple people buy some to keep Eureka making Teddy Bears, Frogs, and Turles, I'll be happy to support their other wacky product lines.

http://www.eurekaminusa.com/

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gnome Wars it is!

After hectic voting... it looks like Gnome Wars will be my convention game of choice. I thank all eight people who voted for at least one event.

With a good coupon and two gift cards in hand, I'll head off to Lowe's to get the insulation (and some stuff for the bathroom that must be finished) and start the terrain. The remainder of my list for the first game of the Tanga campaign is simple:

*Flocking
*Teddy Bear Fur
* Palm Tree Cake Decorations

Tack on a couple of rockwalls, three custom trenches, and the MBA guard tower, and the entire Longido portion of the campaign is terrained out.

and of course, a space that can fit a 6' x 8' table with room to walk around.

Then I just have to paint minis...

Friday, November 26, 2010

(RPG) Space 1889 - Red Sands Released

This week, Pinnacle is shipping Space 1889: Red Sands, the eccentric classic of Victorian Sci-Fi where the sun never ever sets on the British Empire, since they have colonies on four planets!


The original Space 1889 was something I had great interest in, but like all non-traditional settings, I couldn't get enough interested players versus D&D, Hackmaster, Star Wars, etc. Victorian values, hordes of noble (and ignoble) savages, and just the occaisional headstrong woman mucking up the adventures. What else would you want? (I do question the use of spandex in women's clothing during the sci-fi Victorian Era. The woman on the cover's clothing seems a bit tight for the modest standards. The ripped clothing is just a result of her "not knowing her place, " and would be anticipated, if frowned upon.)

The new game is set up for use Pinnacle's Savage Worlds system and does require the SW main rulebook. Considering I was just invited into a yet-to-be deteremined Savage Worlds PbP game, we may have another setting/genre choice.

For order information:
http://www.studio2publishing.com/shop/product_info.php?products_id=3329

For more information:
http://www.peginc.com/Art/Articles/Space1889/Space1889.html

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The (Much Less) Apathy of New Releases (Dec '10)

It's that time of month...

The latest Game Trade Monthly (#130) is out, and as a former retail manager, I'm a wee bit confused. The last two GTM should have covered November through early January releases (with the obvious delays that gamers are used to). For holiday season releases, outside of a few board games, there was very little to pad the coffers of your FLGS, or even Dirty Pompous-Ass Store That Sells Games. This issue covers January and February, the true dead season for gaming retail, and if they could survive a rather weak holiday sales season and still have enough put aside, I foresee a rather profitable Winter into Spring...

But first, let's break this issue down:

My wishlist:
  • Wargames Illustrated: I'm just Jonesin' for something to read. Anything post-18th Century will do.
  • Cthulhu and D&D Rainy Day Activity Books: Hackmaster did this a number of years ago. It was fun, although I pity the fool who did the wordsearch in the middle of combat.
  • Age of Cthulhu 5: The Long Reach of Evil -- Cthulhu Mythos in South America.
  • Monsters! Monsters! -- The "Reverse Dungeon" concept RPG, but by the dudes at Flying Buffalo. And only $14.95 to boot!
  • And speaking indirectly of Flying Buffalo: The New Khazan, is a space supplement for Tunnels and Trolls, produced by a 3rd party.
  • Pirate Fluxx
  • They re-offered Strat-o-Matic Football 2010, and I'm both games geek and sports geek.

My practical list: Nothing will usurp a spot on my current want list, but if I came into money (in order of preference):

  • Pirate Fluxx
  • Monsters! Monsters!
  • and a fairly new issue of Wargames Illustrated.

and of course, My imaginary store wishlist

  • Rogue Trader: The Frozen Reaches-- an adventure for the 40K RPG.
  • Dust Tactics Expansions-- I've ignored this, but a WW2 game, set in 1947 and infused with alien technology piques my interest. Not enough to buy any right now, but it might be worth a store to infuse a little investment capital.
  • Reaper: the usual assortment, complete with *sigh* zombie strippers and Orangutango: Super Ape!
  • Colonial Gothic: New France. Everyone should celebrate a supplement for one of the few 18th Century RPGs.
  • WoTC pays some stores' bills this month: Three new D&D books, the latest Magic expansion, and D&D fortune cards, which provide temporary in-game benefits. I noticed this in the Gamma World boxed set. Seems gimmicky, like something Gary Jackson would do for Hackmaster in a KODT comic. In fact, I think he did something like this years ago... Ah, when art imitates life.
  • Pathfinder has 5 new products slated for release, and since I noted a sizable and money-affluent group of Pathfinder players at Mepacon, this appears to be a good thing. Plus their Game Mastery line is releasing new dungeon maps, and you crazy 3.0+ GMs/players eat that shit up. Don't lie, I've seen it anecdotely!
  • Dystopian Wars- I'm used to seeing Victorian Sci-Fi minis in 25-30mm, whether on Earth, Mars, or Venus. Dystopian Wars looks like 1/900th scale or even 1/1200th scale with naval, air, and ground forces (for comparison, Battletech is 6mm or 1/285th scale). Mass combined forces operations can be conducted en masse, and you could still afford the nice digital camera to take some awesome pictures. The deluge of fantasy naval games do not catch my eye, and I loved Man o' War, but this does fill a separate niche and I hope it does well.
  • Finally, *sigh* the "evil" GW is re-releasing Dark Eldar. Now I know it's been a long frickin' time since the Dark Eldar were unleashed en masse onto the crazed 40k masses, but I've survived Saturdays during the Necron and Tau releases, each new space marine codex, each new mini and vehicle release. All of those combined could not match of the gamer lead-gasm that was unleashed with Dark Eldar (white metal gasm just sounds way too dirty... oops I said it). Not since the initial release of Ral Partha's Slave Auction had I seen nerds openly clamor for naked chicks cast in metal to further decorate their vehicles. Perhaps I should direct you Reaper's zombie strippers? Anyhow, the models look eerily similar to the originals, just with brighter accents against their Matrix-like black and green. I'm not impressed, but I know stores still sell a ton of this stuff, even without a direct (i.e. higher discount) account with GW.

Since I don't post pics on these types of posts, check out: http://www.gametrademagazine.com/downloads/GTM130Games.pdf for more basic info, more items I didn't deem worthy, and don't forget Google works well for more specific questions (trust me, I checked it out for Dystopian Wars and Dust Tactics.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Painted Mouselings... they exist


Doorway fight
Originally uploaded by Hexxenhammer

Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you, non-metallic mouselings, just not mine.

The photographer's story is just too cute. This mouseling set was bought by a gentleman on TMP for his 7-year old little girl so she could have a warband to play with dad.

This is the first time I've seen a size comparison. I own a set of the Gnolls they are fighting and to say they are 40-45mm wouldn't be an exageration.

Check out the post for full details on the Wargaming in General Message Board on TMP.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Look! An innocent poll! Hide it from the Germans!

Next April 8-10 will be Mepacon XX, again up at the Ramada in Clarks Summit. For a bi-annual conventions, that means ten long years of consistency, which nearly impossible for gamers to do. Hell, editions of D&D come out in more frequent intervals!

For the last con (XIX), I ran two events for entirely different reason. The Hackmaster game was by request, and although Steve 'The Drow Guy' Heitzer did not play in what he asked for, it filled a vital niche for the 9am Saturday time slot.

The second game I based on history. Ed Lehman, the convention director, had previously alluded to ten years of Mepacon, and I felt it proper to run a 'Best of' event. Not best of my Mepacon games, rather one of the best convention games I've ever run. The Toon, Cthulhu
Comes to Springfield was epic in scope and in play, and nostalgia did not obscure that a week ago at the con.

For Mepacon XX, I want to continue this tradition of running a new game, followed by one or two 'Best of' games which should guarantee filled seats (if they know what's good for them!)

To the left should be the official 'What Should I Run at Mepacon XX' poll, which is running until the end of November. You may vote for multiple events, but definitely vote for the ones you would be interested in playing in, if you could make it to the con:

Descriptions:
Talislanta: The Crystle Dungeon -- This was my first convention game I ever ran. Friday Evening, Lehicon IV. Three players younger than me, what little story my teenage mind had constructed turned to bashing Darklings and smashing around Gnomekins. I would probably used 3rd Edition (WoTC), although with the free downloads, I might check out the lastest edition.

Toon: Cthulhu Comes to Springfield 2 - Electric Disco Stu-- The original game had at least eight 'episodes', so there is room for more stories, and more characters: I already have requests for Dr. Nick, Comic Book Guy, Otto. The core characters are down, now we can have some fun (with the Mexican Bee Guy). It's not on the poll, the Family Guy Cthulhu was batted around as well.

Gnome Wars: The Tanga Campaign-- Yes, yes, this will become a reality for the Society of Neffs gamers, but it the boards as to be constructed, might as well share the joy. Historical fighting in German Southeast Africa during the first year of World War I.... with gnomes. If I'm bringing one board and figs, I might as well do three rounds.

GURPS-IOU: Scavenger Hunt! and other Disasters-- Perhaps the most epic role-playing experiences I have ever conducted as a solo GM, Illuminati University is comedy gold and role-playing platinum. Ran like it was back in the day, with GURPS, 3rd Edition. Two or three rounds of this might make them kick us out of the con!

Hackmaster - "Sideways" Dungeons-- A "New" idea for an event. Most people are familiar with "Reverse" dungeons: players taking the roles of the monsters, defending themselves against adventurers, even going on the offensive if they can. "Sideways" dungeons are using the classic modules, but having the players run PCs who are inhabitants (but not monsters). I've run B10, and B4: The Lost City from the perspective of the inhabitants of the lost civilizations, with mixed results. I'm tempted to use X1: The Isle of Dread, or B3: The Palace of the Silver Princess a whirl with it.

Buring Plastic: Polymers in Flames-- Burning Plastic is either one of the biggest draws of the con, or the biggest bust. One of the most memorable games is a Bogglecon at the Easton Inn with 16 players, and yet no one ended up in the adjacent pool! I'll try harder this time. I might possibly be able to run my "King of the Hill" scenario to its wonderful completion.

TWERPS: To Impossibility and Beyond-- TWERPS, "The World's Easiest Role-Playing System" began my downward spiral towards minimalist systems all the way back in 1993. It is elegantly simple almost to a fault, and we've just about any type of genre with it (There are a 13 suuplements to it). One of my favorite games was a Space Cadets-styled game with a Flash Gordon feel of adventure and a Barney Fife school of execution. This version of TWERPS would include one group, we always alluded to, but never implemented in-game: The Gnomish Space Marines. (We're all part of the Gnomish Space Marines, the Gnomish Space Marines, the Gnomish Space Marines...)

Call of Cthulhu: The Wrath of Novez-- "New Game" The Wrath of Novez has been the CoC Modern game I've been tinkering with for years. It's a campaign that one part X-Files, one part Mythbusters, and one part modern pulp goodness, all set in a world where both Ghostbusters movies actually took place. Everyone and their brother are smacking down ectoplasmic entities that no one notices the actual horrors walking just inside the shadows from the light of humanity. Wrath would be set up in an on-going campaign style a la The Drow Game, Larry Ander's Dragonlance game, or even some of the Star Wars games of the past.

Basic D&D: Return to Gygar's Castle: "New Game" This one might take some assistance from other players. Full blown D&D game, minis, terrain, the whole shebang. I put down Basic D&D, but I might mean White Box, Holmes, Mentzer, or even worse, 3.0. I've had this one in my head for five years and used different systems for execution (of the game, not the characters...) I just need some temporary "donations" for the length of the con.

There they are folks, and if you think of something cool that I missed, mention it in the comments.

And no, I'm not doing another LARP!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stand-Alone Rules for The Song of Fur and Buttons Now Available

Good God, it's a good week for random stuff I like. Welcome to National "I'm in the Demographic" Week. Enjoy the complimentary punch!

Per a post on TMP, Ganesa Direct has announced a stand-alone version of The Song of Fur and Buttons, a setting dedicated to Eureka Minis Colonial Teddy Bears. Apparently there was a previous version, but that requires the The Song of Blades and Heroes, Colonial Rules with *gasp* Humans!
From the description, if it doesn't cover all the bases of the Eureka, it will probably give you enough to make up your own rules - Colonial Bears! Pirate Bears! Dinosaurs! Kermitians (frogs)! Terrashells (turtles)! Plus, there are 14 different scenarios included, designed for the young, and the young at heart.

Here are some pics, I believe I absconded them from Genesha blog, actually:

Teddy Bears and their Kermitian ally are surrounded!

Some Colonial Teddy Bears

Ruuuuuuuunnnnnn!

"But there so small and tiny! Surely, they aren't a threat!"

Price given for the book will be $21.00. I need to buy something so there's space on my list to buy this!

When you need a healer with BIG watchfull eyes..

Reaper Minis announced the release of the Thanksgiving mouselings today. The Mrs. and I need to discuss Christmas arrangements so I can see if I can stop procrastinating and just buy all of them, dammit!

I scoured their website for a picture of the upcoming Christmas Mouseling, but alas, no dice... I did find this, however:


01428: Frumitty, Lemur Cleric ($9.99)

It's a limited edition production. I can't tell you what scale, or anything, but my little girl is in love with a stuffed animal lemur, so this gets added the the mighty list....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brigade Games *updates* the Gnome Wars page


Lon at Brigade Games has been posting new vehicle releases for other lines on the Brigade Facebook page, so I figured to take a gander over to the Gnome Wars side of things.
Sorry, no new releases as of yet, although Lon has promised new figs before Christmas. However the GW page is now chock full of pictures!

Japanese Riceball Pitcher

Gnomo Sapiens!

The added pics flesh out the core armies (German and Swiss), with Highlanders and Japanese getting a whole lotta love, as well.

Some of the pics are cropped versions of early full army pics, while I think I see my shots of the Orangeman (very blurry) and Aussie Cav being used.

I see whomever painted these has a certain penchant for the white beards on all of the gnomes, even the caveman. It is nice to see a yet another perspective to painting the figures.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mepacon Fall 2010 Review

I survived Mepacon Fall 2010, but I didn't even get a lousy t-shirt!

Despite late hours to finish up one game and a complete collapse trying to finish a second, Mepacon was a rousing success. Parenthood/fatherhood any hobbies, I got to go up all day Saturday, run two games, catch up with friends, and clean out some gaming stuff in the auction.

I arrived at the Ramada in Clarks Summit around 8:30am to find an empty ballroom. Apparently Friday night was lightly attended, but those who were there had a GREAT time. Once I picked up my bag I ran into Gerry (know to the Lehicon con as the beret guy). We caught up and I found out the was a possibility of an appearance my Mike Griffith. Mike has been MIA since 2000 and it would be have been nice to see him, but family issues always trump gaming.

At ten after 9, Larry stumbled into the hall. He apparently had a awesome time the previous night and treaded carefully with each step. By 9:30, a half hour after the time slot started, my Hackmaster game was actually just starting up. I actually had five players: Larry, Gerry, some guy named John, and two guys who claimed they played Hackmaster with a drunk Jolly Blackburn. Of course this is the game that had unfinished pre-gens. I had the group roll of characters on 4d6, roll twice for quirks and flaws, armed them and we were ready to go.

My event, Citizen Chaos, was staged in the lost city of Cyndicea from B4: The Lost City. The PCs were drug addled citizens of a decadent society, banded together to solve an epidemic of undead that were terrorizing the inhabitants.

I don't think a formal after-game report would do the game justice. Everyone determined their own motivations, their own goals, and just how often they partook in hallucinatory mushrooms. Going through the catacombs, one member dragged around a boat (or DID he? Have another mushroom.), another was a goblin shaman whose magic only seemed to work around said boat, and yet another was left in a storeroom full of wine. They group encountered undead, deities, and somehow with only one tweak by me in the last thirty minutes, the final encounter. We picked up a sixth player at that time (a third player with drunk Jolly ties). It was a deadly battle, very Conan-esque, but the evil was vanquished. But in a city were short term memory is a way of life, would the surviving PCs actually be heroes?

After a quick lunch at Damon's I finally got to tour around the con. The dealers were pretty standard con fare: The Portal from Bethlehem with a decent new selection, some store that just sold those expensive board games everyone drools over, perrinial Guest of Honor, horror author CJ Henderson, and a new author, although every time I got near, I saw a "Sorry I missed you, check out my site," sign on his table.

There were also two tables for different LARPS games: one for Werewolf and another for a Fantasy game. I do not disparrage LARPers. They bring more people to the con and more people means more money for the con. However, about half of their representatives were of the "Scuzzy and Smelly LARPer" variety.

They also introduced video gaming in a corner of the hall. Three large TVs, multiple systems available, yet I only saw a never ending game of Sou Caliber (4?). I would rather see the tables used for a display of family and board games, rather than hidden under a table somewhere .


Finally, the true revenue source was at full capacity: Organized Play. RPGA and Pathfinder games were again located in the restaurant's hotel. About 50 people, over 80% paying admissions filled the room and rarely seemed to leave.


The second slot I didn't have to fulfill my duties as back-up player for the Drow game. Steve had 10 players, and in proper Drow fashion, the party barely got out of the bar. I spent the slot, tweaking the Toon characters, shooting the breeze, and filling out auction slips for my boxes of stuff.

The extended break between the afternoon and evening session is chock full of raffles and the game auction. As auctions go, it was definitely good, and some of the bids were definitely impressive, but I picked up absolutely nothing. There was barely anything I would pick up for a buck or two, much less the 4 or 5 they were going for. Remember, I'm not the demographic.

The evening session was another slow starter. I scrounged up three players for Cthulhu Comes to Springfield, snagged Patrick, one of the drunken Jolly players, and after the first episode, corralled Mepacon staff member Jim Minor to play Apu.

The Toon game went off well, actually subdued in the "TV-MA" areas I was worried about. Of course Jim won the award for most sadistic PC, having Apu lure a Homer-Shoggoth into the elementary school, and I do have updated notes on the new episode the Neffs helped create last weekend, "Duffman Fails His Sanity Check."

Finally, the most interesting development came while chatting with Nichols. He mentioned that Wilson Borough opening up a community center that was available for rentals. Right next to Meuser Park, it's three minutes off of Rt 22, with plenty of parking. We threw around some numbers, how we could to get the word out IF we were to run a con in the Lehigh Valley, and I convinced him to check up on prices for a Saturday. By the end of the night I had about ten different people coming up to offer events and support for a con that we'd hadn't even done the premilinary research on. The Lehigh Valley is definitely desperate for a convention. I wonder if anyone still "owns" the rights to Lehigh Valley Games Fair? Game Day? Whatcon II? Covecon II? We-didn't-name-it-Lehicon?

Edit: Of course, it doesn't help that I mentioned this to my wife, Michelle, and her first response?
"If you could make a couple of dollars from it, you should do it!"

When my non-gaming wife likes the idea, I guess we start the preliminary planning.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mepacon Eve....

Well, technically Mepacon started its games at 3pm this afternoon, but if I tried to get time off, drive up there, and avoid all fatherly duties in a house with an 18-month old, my gaming books would be in a pile in the front yard.... on fire.

But it wouldn't be the night before a con if I wasn't slaving away finishing up events. My second game, the much ballyhooed Cthulhu Comes to Springfield is just about done. I need to rewrite the schtick cards and sort them out, and *ding* it's perfect. My Hackmaster game is another story. I need to be out the door by 7am tomorrow, and I still need 6 character backgrounds, oh yeah, plus the characters aren't finished. It's one of the few times I hope I don't have any players in the morning.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Favorite Games of the Past...?

Today's recommended post from National Blog Posting Month (http://www.nablopomo.com/) is, "What was your favorite song this year? Five years ago? Ten years ago? Twenty?" So, let's obviously twist that into the dice-chucking realm.

What was my favorite game this year?: Doing calendar year (per my 2010 year end review) obviously it's Gnome Wars. I mean, c'mon, I have this blog that I started due to my love for it. It's something that I can do with the family, with friends, and an excuse to make more friends when I travel to Lancaster and Valley Forge. Now, the financial outlay is greater than RPGs, plus, unlike RPG books, a load of gnome lead might be difficult to unload. I'm not going to make any unwise purchases just for the hell of it. Anyway, another pile of unpainted lead might depress me.

Five years ago? 2005 was a barren year for gaming. I had purged my collection before moving to Wellsboro. The closest game store was an hour away in Williamsport. I did play in some Magic booster drafts using the Kamigawa block. I also had plenty of visits by Michelle and breaking out the party games, like Fluxx. Limited playing time and a limited budget forced me to focus on one RPG: Risus. It's so ridiculously simple, with a cooperative group you could do just about anything with it. I had run a portion of A Kringle in Time for the group's Christmas game in December '04 and just kept going. I got a Risus Membership, the Compendium, signed up for all the Risus boards I could find, heck I even ran the Baby Jesus portion of Kringle at one of the Scranton Mepacons.

Ten years ago? This was the end of my Bronze Age of Gaming. 2000 was the final year of Griffon Games, my final year of college, and the last time I would do an exhorbitant about of gaming. I had Mordheim and Necormunda leagues during the week, RPGA games on Sunday afternoons, and a full catalog to peruse at my disposal. Despite being deemed the "Lehigh Valley Games Guru," by Andy Dawson and Mike Griffith, my love was still Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. Screw the edition wars, we played fast, furious, and just about every weekend on the college calendar. Five players one weekend, ten the next, the World of Georic was never more vibrant, more exciting than the beloved "College Game." At the end of the Spring semester of '00 I wrapped it up with a dozen player blowout after-hours in the store. Dice and beer flew, Baraxus the Destroyer was vanquished, and the group was left confused as long dead hero Talis Makolin had been telling the epic story of the campaign... in a freakin' alternative universe. But then again, aren't they all?

Fifteen years ago? Wow, I must be getting rusty, I wrote a great little bit about my (1st) heyday of playing Magic, until I realized that that was 1994! 1995 was a few months of working at New Frontiers, playing Magic, setting up my "Army" AD&D game with my Reserve buddies from Bethlehem, but most importantly I do believe this was the front end of my Legions of Steel addiction. Around Christmas of '94 I was cleaning up around the store and an LoS Fast-Play set, with a paper map and couple of UNE Commandos and Nightmares. It seemed fun, by buddy Wooly and I split the LoS boxed set during the Dreamscape Comics christmas sale, and we were off to the races. To be honest, I never understood the appeal of Space Hulk. Most games I saw run were mostly "Slaughter genestealers until you group falls," affairs. Having the enemy actively fire back, adds that extra layer of tactics. Pretty soon we were demoing at UBCon, Lehicon, and the following year, Origins.

Twenty years ago? Christ, I've been doing this a long time, but twenty years ago is my Golden Age. Nostalgia helps fill in the cracks to the problems with gaming in high school, but '90 was a cornucopia of vintage gaming. GURPS, Palladium, TMNT, Talisman, Best of Dragon Games, Talislanta, whether is was the game of the day, or no one would ever hear of it agained, we gamed. AD&D was the game of the day, again edition be damned. We tried everything we could find in book or Dragon Magazine. I started my first Georic campaign using T1-4 Temple of Elemental Evil, moved to Forgotten Realms, and somewhere in there, mixed in a little Lankhmar. It was a bloody mess, but it was the beginning of a beautiful thing.

Monday, November 8, 2010

(RPG) Playtesting is fun... and should be banned in 39 states

Sunday was the much anticipated playtest of Cthulhu Comes to Springfield, my Simpons Toon game. We all met at Balls' place in Allentown, which has its perks (well stocked bar, walking distance for food, and his wife met us at the door in her robe, but that's another story for another blog.

Nichols, Scott, Balls, and Steve were test subjects. I figured the four of them could do equal damage versus a group of six strangers at con, so we were go for playing.


We ran three of the hour long episodes I planed on running next Saturday: Work at Homer, Mister Smooth's Baskets, and Krusty the Kultist. I won't go into details so as not to spoil the surprise at the con (and possibly subsequent con events), but let me just say that Scott makes a great Groundskeeper Willie, Steve and Balls do spot on Chief Wiggums, everyone's portrayal of Ralph nearly broke me, and the the age limit will imediately go up from 12 to 18. If the con group plays half as twisted as my playtesters, I could not, in good conscience, run this game with children or teenagers present.

The group also helped me brainstorm the 4th episode (tim permitting) The Atomic Call of Cthulhu. I have such faded memories of that and the fabled 5th episode that it was better to rebuild it from only the most basic of outlines. Three words: Car, Seats, Duffman!!!!!!!

After a jaunt to the local Chinese buffet, we threw together a quick Risus: IOU session. Tannenbaum, the Professor, and Keith Stone got served court papers implicating them in the damage of a multi-billion credit starship, as well as unleashing Elvis onto the Human Occupied Landfill (HoL). The bad new was that they would be forced to do community service for the Intergalatic Parcel Service. The good news: Keith Stone got the keys to a delivery shuttlecraft.
This helps me expand upon 2011's two words: Radioactive Spittoon.

Friday, November 5, 2010

(Battletech) Free Download!


via TMP and my email - http://www.drivethrurpg.com/ has announced that their free download of the week is BattleTech: A Time of War Quick-Start Rules by Catalyst Game Labs. These are the quick start rules for the RPG (aka the new version of Mechwarrior.)

Of course, you could always download the full version of the rules on the site, or perhaps a hardcopy on Catalyst's website.

Otherwise, yay biker shorts in 3060!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What Out-of-the-Blue Item Do I Want?

Random question #2 for the month of November: At this second what is the one out-of-the-blue item would I be interested in?

Answer: Skirmish-level 20mm to 28mm Vietnam game with great campaign rules.

Explanation: My thought was RECON, that lovely Palladium wargame turned into an RPG that played like a wargame without the figs. I loved the slim 2nd edition/Advanced Recon combo. No frills, no character "depth," just get through enough missions and go home. Back in my early college days at Nic-Nac I even started a West African game using the rules, but after two sessions it fell to the wayside, just like every other game that entered the club.

Despite the heavy body count, I would love to see some campaign development rules a la Mordheim. Incremental stat increases, backup weapons, and lucky "trophies" to add some flavor to the game. And don't forget about those NVA and Viet Cong. They didn't become sneaky overnight, although they might benefit from an accelerated xp system to offset their "nameless" roles they usually portray.

You get me that, then we'll talk about regional/historical updates to cover most modern African Wars, Middle East conflicts, heck I'd even play zombie apocalypse with that.

Anybody know something like this? Anyone? Bueller? *crickets*

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My favorite con I travelled for

So, perusing other people's blogs, I notice National Blog Posting Month. It seems to be a 365 "month" , but they do offer different topics each day: "What is your favorite thing?", " What toy do you still have from your childhood", and "What would you do if you didn't have to pay rent/mortgage," are three recent suggestions.

Now, I'm not one to discuss politics, personal history, or my favorite Spice Girl on a gaming blog, but I took the NBPM suggestions, some TMP and RPG.net message board reading and came up with.

What was my favorite con that I had to travel an hour or more for?

I've had the pleasure to be within short driving distance to a number of one and three-day cons within Mid-Eastern Pennsylvania., but there's something more memorable about travelling hours with poor directions, random stops along the way, crashing at some random dive or somebody's floor.

Our honorable mentions--
UBCON '93-'95- Three years of travelling Rt 17 to get up to the University of Buffalo campus for a weekend of gaming. Each could be the ultimate definition of "ROAD TRIP!", involving drunken brawls, men wearing dog collars, getting chased off-road by the New York State Police, transporting minors into Canada, and hanging out with Larry Sims of Battlelords of the 23rd Century fame. The stories themselves are only told in full with a proper accompianment of alchohol and the three years and their players merge and meld into one another, so I can not pick any of these.

Garden State Games Faire '96 - A one shot con outside of Trenton with lots of gaming and a simply massive games auction. I have fond memories of running my only LARP, an Illuminati University game the involved a bomb, a swimming pool, and room full of pissed off RPGA members seated around the above-mentioned pool.

Origins '96-'97 -- My trip to Origins in Philly involved running piles of Legions of Steel, meeting Uncle Duke for the first time, and a six foot tall cross-dressing prostitute in a leopard print mini skirt. Due to a court order, the trip to Origins in Columbus, can only be described online as OHIO!!!!!

Dexcon '96 -- Edison, NJ con. My buddy Wooly and I ran Legions of Steel all weekend long, we set up next the giant maco-battles 28mm OGRE, 40K with Titans, and a giant Star wars space battle in a 20' x 50' space. The highest point was eating lunch with Steve Jackson.

HMGS Cons-- Cold Wars, Historicon, and Fall-in! I've had a blast at each one, and after marriage and parenthood, these are the only cons I'll travel to now. I've had a blast at each, but no one con stood out amongst the others.

It could be considered underwhelming, but my favorite con was not a GenCon (never been, don't care to ever go), but actually Organized Khan-fusion 19 or 20. It was a small con outside of Harrisburg and I had promised Mike Griffith (Lehicon/Bogglecon organizer) to pass out fliers for the next Lehigh Valley con. I had found myself without a reliable vehicle for the trip and commandeered the services of my Dad.

The site for the con was small, there was perhaps two dealers (one being M.Foyers Games Only Emporium, the convention organizer), but there was a good variety of games. We were only there for the afternoon slot at best, didn't play in a game, but the fliers got dropped off and I spent my time there trying to explain each game to him. Even if he feigned interest, he did it well (the WW2 microarmor game picqued his interests, as he was a history buff).

We grabbed a late lunch/early dinner and headed back to Easton in a dreary drizzle, but with warm conversation about gaming, and anything else that came up.

Truth be told, my Dad had an attitude to my gaming (mostly D&D at the time) that I wish most grown-ups had: "I don't understand most of it," " It doesn't look appealing," and "I wished he used that time to do something more productive, but he's staying out of trouble and his friends that do it seem like good guys." To say other circumstances in the late 90's were "complicated" would be an understatement, but for that afternoon it was camping trips as a kid and just random conversations I had with him, when times were less "complicated."

In the big picture it didn't matter whether it was 19 or 20 con-wise, within a year my Dad passed away. We'd spend some afternoons and a few holidays together during that time, but no memory is as unblemished as that dreary car ride down I-78 and 81, in a late model Monte Carlo.

I notice that the shop that hosted the con changed hands and names, and that they're running a two day con the same weekend as Mepacon. If it goes well, perhaps I can scout it out one afternoon in the distant future, and then take my girls down for some good old-fashioned fun.

With dragons, 6mm shermans, and plush dice...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Czech Legion!

As announced from Company B on www.theminiaturespage.com, they are releasing a line of 28mm Czech Legion, perfect for giving Bolsheviks headaches, and stealing the Tsarist gold...

No, I'm not getting into the Russian Civil War wargaming (yet), but it has been one of my guilty pleasures since my Senior year of high school. If you've never heard of the Czech Legion, I'd recommend starting with the wikipedia page that barely does them justice, then hit the library for some diverse reading.

I can imagine an overblown Hollywood production, turning the 65,000+ troops into one lone passenger car of largely American soldiers, fighting its way across the Trans-Siberian Railway, allying themselves with the White Russians, only to stab them in the back to get safe passage home ( with all the Imperial gold, in proper Hollywood fashion). It could be gloriously bad, like a good version of Pearl Harbor.

*ahem*

I apologize for that moment of insanity, but the figs still look awesome!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

(Gnome Wars) AAR: Battle of St. Abe

This weekend was Fall-in! in Lancaster and my buddy's rockin' Halloween party. Due to family and financial reasons it was deemed improper to spend the day travelling. I had planned a Saturday of raking leaves, cleaning up around the house, and possibly run a few errands.

That was before my buddy Brian called on Friday, seeing if I was going to either. To make a long story short, he still wanted to game, I wanted to game, and since there was no Gnome Wars in the PEL this year, he decided to come up today and slap some gnomes on the table.

Since the garage still has heating/electrical issues to resolved, we set up the board on the dining room table.
**WARNING WARNING - Unpainted/Primer only lead, out of scale buildings, and "wrong" items used as terrain. Kindly deal with it or suck an egg. Thank you**

The quaint little village of St. Abe, know for its roads of "Cheese"

The village of St. Abe is patterned after some pictures from Wargames Illustrated #264 last year. Warbands of Scottish Highlanders allied to the Germans have been a scourge to the Swiss countryside. The village of St. Abe was where the Swiss wanted to put an end to it. The Swiss 14th Infantry set up a barbed wire fence and barricades on the bridge to the village and deployed only a few troops near it to lure the Highlanders in. We both agreed that it would work, and play ensued.

Turn 1: The bagpipes sounded and the Scout unit charged forward, the light machine gun setting up early to pepper some Swiss defenses down the road. The Swiss took some shots and fell back, as the troops in town wound up the Bicycle tank. The tank stormed out of the town .

Turn 2: The Swiss took the initiative and the Bicycle tank's machine gun opened up the Highlander scouts trying to take cover behind the bridge. It was a bloody affair. The Cheese Grenadier chucked a hunk of Limburger at the Highlander leader, and it forced him to move forward and through the barbed wire. The Highlanders focused their fire on the bicycle tank. We agreed due to the lack of firepower, that the bicycle could be hit by small arms fire if the figure needed better than a 6 to and rolled a 6. We would consult the light mortar chart, so there was a 50/50 shot the tank would tank a hit. First hit knocked out the gunner, dropping the machine gun to 4d. Second hit destroyed the tank outright.

The Scout leader charged the Cheese Grenadier, but in a sight that shocked all, the Grenadier shoved some cheese in his face and took him out of the game. As things looked bleak for the Highlanders, the rest of their unit came storming down the road.

Turn 3: Another blow of the bagpipes and the mainbody of the Highlanders met up with their decimated scout brothers, and procedure to unleash hell on the Bicycle Tank, outright destroying it. The Berserker Champion and two lochbars used their weapons to knock down the barbed wire. The Swiss continued making pot shots with little success. A unit of pickaxes was moved from the church closer the treeline the others were hiding in.

Turn 4: The Swiss Cheese Grenadier threw another hunk of dairy at one of the lochbars at the barbed wire, causing him to charge forward into base to base contact. Again the brave grenadier won a melee against a superior. So lucky was this gnome that he survived a barrage of fire from four Highlander Arquebus coming over the bridge. At the end of turn, reinforcements arrived in the form of "Silver's Raiders" and unprimed Highlander unit, and the 27th Swiss Colonial Infantry, a unit of Eureka teddy bears my 18-month old daughter picked out before she and my wife left to go shopping.

Turn 4: The Cheese Stand Alone

Turn 5: Our fearless Cheese Grenadier chucked another hunk of fromage, this time at the line of arquebus, scattering them before he disapeared into the woods. The Highlanders machine gun was moved to the top of the bridge and Silver's Raiders begain the pour onto the bridge. Survivors of the first unit began a hunt for the Cheese Grenadier.

Turn 6: The Swiss Colonial Teddy Bears were rushed to the treeline, prepared to charge the bridge to take out the machine gun. The Highlanders had other thoughts as the bagpipes blew and Silver's Raiders came charging over the bridge, just short of the other side of the treeline. The original scout unit took positions on their flanks, one side hunting for the notorious Cheese Grenadier, the other taking out the few Swiss 14th left behind some sandbags defenses. Despite the best effort of the St. Bernard, the 14th were dwindling fast.

Turn 6: So Close, Yet So Far...
Turn 7: The Swiss 14th made a few last-ditch efforts. The 14's Bier Maid had snuck around the woods during the healing phase (healing a certain Cheese Grenadier that may have been mentioned earlier,) and charged the Scout units Bier Maid. The Swiss Maid fell quickly to overwhelming odds.
Maid on Maid Action

Silver's Raiders charged through the treeline into the Teddy Bear Colonials. It was a massive 16-on-14 melee, and after the two turns were done, both sides decimated the other, but only the Teddy Bear Captain Fuzzy and his trusty flagbearer Lance against the horde of Scots. The Last Moments of the Teddy Bear Colonials

On the Teddy Bear Colonials turn, the valiantly took out two more Highlanders until they were ultimately cut down. The remaining Highlander Scouts wiped out the 14th Swiss Grenadiers and Arquebus, leaving only the melee unit.

Turn 8: The Swiss melee group pounced on Silver's Raiders, but the dice gods were not fair and they were slaughtered to the man. Looking at the board, only Highlanders remained, however they had no officers or champions among them. Technically, when all a unit's leaders are removed from play, the unit automatically routs, but we didn't call it two turns earlier. Despite making the victory feel a bit less exciting, are initial reaction was actually correct. Although none of the reference sheets had it listed, Highlanders never check morale! Let's just say I REALLY hope Jim has GW 2.0 ready soon, I need a little continuity and an easier reference book.

What we thought at the end of the game as a minor Highlander victory, actually was a major victory for those crazy Scots. Their raiding forces have been significantly weakened, but I do have some time to figure out the exact effects (there are no Highlanders in East Africa).

And for a little explanation on the name of the battle. At the very end, when we lined up the Teddy Bears and Scots for the massive melee, my lovely wife and daughter arrived home with a bag of Abe's Hot Dogs, a Wilkes-Barre institution. I figured it was only appropriate.

And an FYI, as I review the pics. I actually used the cheese thrower templates for the roads.

Represent, World!

I've always been a sucker for stats. Sports, economics, the random stuff the census bureau used to produce, you name it, I wanted to crunch it. So it should come as no surprise that once I discovered the "Stats" tab on blogger options I always spend a few minutes every day seeing who came to visit, what country they're from, and what they searched to get here.

I know I tend to link my posts to facebook, but I'm amazed that the link I posted to www.theminiaturespage.com about Beer-n-Pretzel day at Steve's Man Cave brings in a couple people even this week. The two most common searches? "Reaper Mouselings" and "Gnome Wars Joust." If Jim doesn't get his act together with GW 2.0 I may have to post the rules. It also means I need to snag up the mouselings and get them painted for the world to see.

Finally, it's kinda neat seeing where everyone is searching from (barring some odd 'bot or phantom IP address):

The Last 30 days of pageviews, excluding me:

United States 221
France 51
Italy 32
United Kingdom 18
Australia 12
Canada 11
Kuwait 8
Malta 8
Malaysia 8
Spain 5
..and that doesn't include the numerous views from Sweden, Finland, and Latvia in regards to the Masks hardcover. Apparently, the Baltic States love their hardcover Cthulhu books.

That leads to the new counter-thingy on the left hand side. Flag Counter is one of those goofy third party gimics to show everybody where everybody else comes from. Enjoy that little bit of useless data, and while you're at it, log in and post a comment or two, or even click on the Reaction button that's visible when you log in. Awesome!, Lame, and More Please are the options. Feedback is greatly appreciated, no matter your latitude or longitude are.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Apathy of New Releases (Nov '10)

Hey guys, Mr. Out-of-the-Demographic again. No, I'm not going to whine endlessly about new releases, and how I (!) would order for my imaginary store, but the GTM #129 for November is out and I perused...

A couple of things caught my eye, but not my interest:

A Christmas Story party game.. A trivia game you can probably snag cheaper at a chain store, it does come with a fully painted Ralphie in the bunny suits. Sorry guys, no mini for the lamp.

Steve Jackson Games is doing a lot of reprint/restocks with their Illuminati game. If you're going to be controlled by the Secret Masters, this is the game to *fnord*

Warlord Games continues to expand their ECW (English Civil War) and WW2 lines through traditional distribution channels. And they look pretty good, and pretty affordable price-wise.
oh yeah, FRICKIN' ARKHAM HORROR: MANSIONS OF MADNESS! $80 of more sanity-wrenching boardgame fun!

I see three things of interest in this months book:

  1. The Mouseling bard, thief, and knight will be available as a three pack. I'll still snag my boxed set *eventually* but this helps fill in numbers of figs (multiple thief-like figs will fit Mouse Guard). But why did they attach minstrels to Brave Mouseling Sir Robin? I don't have use for more than two bards!

  2. Santa Mouseling and Helper (RPR 03543) $6.99. No pic available.

  3. It's not on my list (just Santa Mouseling this month), but Reaper is also releasing a Nativity set by Sandra Garrity:

I dunno, I like it. I can't wait for someone to run a 28-30mm Ancients game involving the Baby Jesus!

Masks of Nyarlathotep in Hardcover!

Somehow, I missed this one: Chaosium has released a new printing of Masks of Nyarlathotep in softcover, hardcover, pdf, and a free intro/form pack available on the Chaosium website:
Masks is one of the classic CoC campaigns, even though I've never gotten past New York in any game. I am an absolute sucker for special editions so an extra ten bucks for a hardcover is money well spent. Maybe after the Mepacon auction I can snag this puppy up.

Waitaminute? New York? Hmm... the Coal Crackers are in New York now, and they have been asking for something "different." Be careful what you wish for boys....

http://catalog.chaosium.com/product_info.php?products_id=5151

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Beavers and Skunks and South Americans, oh my!

A couple upcoming minis being released:

Splintered Light Miniatures (http://www.splinteredlightminis.com/) is releasing Animal Warriors suitable for 15-28mm games.

Skunk Warriors

Beaver Warriors

Frog Warriors (a little Deep One-ish I think)

The line also includes Armadillos and Possums. Packs of six estimated to go for $6.00

Khurasan Miniatures (http://khurasanminiatures.tripod.com/) announced a new line of 15mm models for the Chaco War. No, it's not some food war between Del Taco and Taco Bell, it's actually the largest of deadliest war fought in the Americas during the 20th century.

Khurasan Miniatures writes: We're happy to announce our latest scheduled line - 15mm models for the Chaco War, the largest and deadliest war fought in the Americas in the 20th century.

From the company's announcement on http://www.theminiaturespage.com/
"This war was waged between two poor nations, Paraguay and Bolivia, over an extremely hostile landscape, the Chaco. Often said to have been a war fought "over nothing," it was in fact of critical importance to both nations. Bolivia, which had become a landlocked nation due to territorial losses in the Pacific War, desperately needed access to the sea, and a port on the river Paraguay would provide the nation with eventual access to the South Atlantic. But this would spell disaster for little Paraguay - with a larger nation now so close to Asunción, what was to stop the fate the nation had almost suffered in the late 19th century, when larger nations obliterated the Paraguayan male population in the War of the Triple Alliance and carved up much of its territory?
The fact that oil fields were believed to exist in the Chaco certainly caused multinational oil companies to egg the combatants on, but it seems clear that the countries would have fought, oil or no oil. "


Now, the animals I can always use for a game (I'm thinking "Cheesehawk Down" in particular. The 20th century Chaco War intrigues me. It's a new line, which means reasonable start-up, everyone nows I love the obscure stuff, plus the them of next year's Cold Wars is South American conflicts, and I don't see many entries going in for the theme games.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

So Eric, what will you actually play?

This afternoon I sent out one of my standard, "Who's available for gaming?" emails to my gamer buds. I'd like to get one quick playtest of my "Cthulhu Comes to Springfield" game before the con, and my new work schedule realy crimps MY availibility for once.

I also included the "Monster Master List" of what I could run this upcoming year, if I get enough interest. It was about double the lists for my goals I had posted here earlier, but I've learned to give the people options, and you tend to game more often than not.

I finally added something new at the end, besides a shameless plug for the blog. After the list of everything I was willing to run, I listed everything I was willing to participate in as a player.

I’ve gotten my fair share of invites for games over the past few years. 2nd Edition AD&D, 3.0, 3.5, Pathfinder, 4th Edition, heck even a World of Darkness game or two. The main problem hasn’t been the quantity of invites, the scheduling of them, or even the quality of the games played; it’s been the type of game played. I’ll possibly take a shot with a 2nd Edition game, but an invite to any post-2nd game and their derivatives (save Hackmaster) will be greeted with a polite, “I’ll think about it!”, but inside I’m just saying “No, no, no, no, NO!”

So, to not be compared to certain Life Cereal spokesman, what DOES Eric like to play?

Role-Playing Games
Old School D&D: – AD&D (1st or 2nd), Basic D&D (Rules Cyclopedia or BECMI), the fewer supplements, if any, the better. I’d rather deal with a small booklet of house rules than an Unearthed Arcana, Complete Series, or Player Option series.

Call of Cthulhu: I don't feel I played enough before I became a "full-time" Keeper. I never had a character "mature" with their Mythos knowledge, so I'm living vicariously through the Coal Crackers. I'd be down with a good 20's game, or an awesome Delta Green game. I'm more intersested in someone running a Coal Cracker game and introducing my own character.

Classic Star Wars (d6 WEG): I never had a legendary game like some of my buddies, but it's freakin STAR WARS, and outside of wildly powerful games, d6 is an awesome system.

Rifts/Palladium System: It's panned by some, hated by others, but Palladium has some old school goodness in it, and it flagship of the system, Rifts is chock full of post-apocalyptic goodness. I would be happy with a core book campaign vs. the coalition, with dual characters, one with Rogue Scholars and Spies, and one with the M.D.C. badasses.

Board/Card Games:
Apples to Apples
Fluxx
Talisman
Diplomacy
Supremacy
Settlers of Catan
Ticket to Ride
Zombies!
Robo-Rally
Samurai Swords

Miniatures Games:
Gnome Wars: Yeah, duh. Now mind you I only have the 14th Swiss Training Company in complete playable, so any outside game might help me with my painting routine.

Trench Wars: It is the system that Gnome Wars is based off of. I've been trying to get into a game for the last few years to see its "realism" vs gnomish cheese, etc, but I either have had a different game same session, it's booked solid, or we're late getting to the site. I'd like a system to work with if I ever want to start working with WWI figs.

The Sword and the Flame: After Uncle Duke’s game last summer, I realized that I like the system. It’s dice intensive, moderately complex, and requires special rules for each scenario (but not too many). As THE traditional system for the Colonial period, I’d like to get a little more familiarity with the system before fooling around with running that period.

Mordheim: I'd throw in Necromunda with this, but Mordheim's playability, scenario balance, and campaign rules far outweigh the nostalgia of my only 'Munda campaign.

Axis and Allies Land and Naval Minis: Not as a collector of the game, but I want to use the units in a campaign setting, and we have two guys in the group with decent to awesome collections.

All the Kings Men: My obsession, like a fry cook dreams of Porches. I'm frightened to say I have enough 54mm figs to play a game, but I want to play with someone else's figs.

BattleTech: The grand-daddy of all minis games for me. I’d like to find a friendly group not obsessed with Clan/3060 Tech, play a few big games for fun, then move onto campaign play.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Run, Jeff Goldblum, the Dinos have NAZIS!

While I'm known in my group as the guy who plays odd rpgs and collect unusual minis, there are certain certain things I have little interest in. My WW2 gaming is virtually non-existent, save some A&A minis. "Weird War", werewolves, zombies, etc, does little for me.


However, add some dinosaurs, and even Patton takes pause.

Eureka Miniatures introduces Jurrasic Reich in 28mm...


To make a long story short, forget the Spear of Destiny, Nazi scientists activate an ancient time portal/stargate, and capture dinosaurs to give themselves a new advantage in the war. Mounted Cavalry, pterodactyl air support, and do I spot a Stegasaurus in the first picture?

Now, truth be told, I would play this at a con, but I don't think I'm adding any to my wishlist. Prices look a bit high (as they should be, they look to be all metal), and I'm happy with my current list, but I'm a fan of Eureka and a little plug never hurt to ensure they have funds to make the stuff I want to buy.


From Eureka's main (Australia) site: http://eurekamin.com.au/news.php?newsid=EklZEuEuFATWHHLjGs


Look for American availability, check out their affiliates in the States: http://www.eurekaminusa.com/

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hamster Berserkers!!!???!!!

In a hobby where I can play with gnomes in pickelhaub, teddy bears in zulu garb, and amazonian frogs, I'm not surprised by this. Slightly disturbed? Maybe, but not surprised.

On the Lamb minis has released Hamster Berserkers!


They are $9.99 for a pack of 2 or a squad of five for $24.99

Lon at Brigade better get crackin' on those mythical Gnorse Gnomes, or my vikings will be these dudes!

Check out http://www.on-the-lamb.com/ for more info.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Terrain for Tanga

Tonight was the "final" research to prep for the game boards and terrain for the Tanga, specifically the Longido Mountain portion of the game. I've been stumped with two two terrain pieces for the first five scenarios: small trenchworks and palm trees.

Now, Longido Moutain isn't a tropical paradise, but between the rain forest bands around the mountain and their use around the port of Tanga, I'd rather invest in one type of tree at a time.

I made an ironic face-palm when I discovered the secret for those people who have palm trees but not the skills to make them by hand: Bakery suppliers.

Two words: cake decorations.

I can get bulk numbers of trees in two sizes for the prices I saw for four or five at conventions.


2 1/2" double palms



4 1/2" single trees



My second discovery confirms the belief that if you trudge through enough message boards and blogs, a true gem can be discovered. From the blog "Armored Ink" a fellow used a square 1/2 " yard stick as a base and used wooden coffee stirrers for the fortification, followed by a healthy dose of Kel Seal to resemble a dirt embankment. The blogger used it in one foot sections for a Victorian Sci-Fi game and it looked solid, so turning the stick into two 9" and three 6" trenches should be easy, and a heckuva lot cheaper than the resin jobs I've seen online.


Beyond supplies for the hills, the only major model/fig purchase looks to be the Guard Tower from Miniature Building Authority.
Yeah, it's $44.95, but me making this out of wood has disaster written all over it. Let's make some trenches, and cut some insulation first.