Sunday, October 31, 2010

Czech Legion!

As announced from Company B on, 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.


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 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....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Beavers and Skunks and South Americans, oh my!

A couple upcoming minis being released:

Splintered Light Miniatures ( 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 ( 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
"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
Settlers of Catan
Ticket to Ride
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:

Look for American availability, check out their affiliates in the States:

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 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.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Apathy of New Releases

Now, just a few days ago, I plotted out my gaming and purchasing goals for 2011. I'm truly focusing on one big game with a few simple side projects to keep the non-minis players satisfied.

But that wasn't always the case. With years of retail experience under my belt, deep discounts, and a cushy arrangement at the ancestral manse for a long time, I expanded my gaming interest and expertise to the four corners. Heck, I remember my first Wargames West catalog back in high school, highlighter in hand, making a wish list that focused on variety rather than focusing on one line. D&D, T&T, GURPS, Battletech, Teenagers from Outer Space, Floating Vagabond, Rus, I wanted everything.

In a store, most employees and good (re: wealthy) customers wanted the monthly copy of Previews, Diamond's monthly order book of new releases for comics, magazines, collectibles, etc. I always psyched myself for the manila envelopes from the game distributors with the new releases for rpgs, minis, and ccgs. A good afternoon would be to get a half hour for lunch and construct my wish list, my practical order, and what I would order if I had my own store and carte blanche for ordering. In the last year of Griffon Games I finally had the freedom to make the varied orders (and not all for me), and it proved successful. Seriously store owners, you have to spend money to make money, and you can only rely of 40k, WotC, or other big sellers to cover monthly expenses. You have to do something or else even your slick storefront turns in The Cove... or The Encounter.

Anyway, I downloaded a pdf copy of Alliance's Game Trade Monthy (GTM) for October, covering new releasea for November and December. I did my three-tiered ordering, and not only was I depressed about the lack of items that interested me, it cemented the continuous belief that unless one has a store in their mother's basement, a store selling solely gaming products from only Alliance would be diasterous.

My wishlist:

  • Shadows Over Scotland: a third-party Cthulhu book that's $40, and I don't know the page count or if it's hardcover.
  • Halloween and Thanksgiving Mouselings from the Reaper range.
  • Pathfinder: Kingdoms of Legend worldbook. Alternate history 15-century Earth with the fantasy races. A nice read probably, but I run more of a 10th Century Earth with the same set-up.
  • A Warlord Games plastic army box set or two from different eras (Pike and Shot Scots and WW2 Germans specifically)
My practical order:
The mouselings

The "Store order" didn't seem impressive. Another set of L5r CCG, 3rd party Pathfinder (and questionably priced at that), a new All Flesh Must Be Eaten book, a pile of Warhammer Fantasy and 40k rpg books, a Smallville supplement, a neat space minis game called Firestorm Armada, A&A naval minis, and a D&D book (which was a rehash of old Gamma World stuff). Throw in a slew of zombie gimmick books and board games, and you definitely need two or three other revenue sources to keep the lights on.

So twenty pages of new product, and I'm interested in two packs of cute mice minis? I am definitely not the game industry's target demographic, nor could I go into Comic/Game retail without a sharp learning curve and more investment money allocated to failed sales and covering first year expenses.

The GTM for October:

Prove me wrong...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My Master Plan for 2011

After reviewing 2010, I tried to consider some goals for 2011. I have a radical change in hours coming at work this Fall, and my second child should be arriving in January, so opportunities to game are drying up.

Mepacon Fall ’10 and Spring ’11 should be one-day definites. Less than an hour away and I get in for free by running a game or two. Cold Wars & Historicon may be Friday or Saturday day-trips.

Reaper Mouseling Boxed Set (it's too neat to say no to). The rest will be directly related to Longido Mountain campaign. Foamboard insulation, Teddy Bear fur makes great tall grass, a few barren trees/palm trees, and a few miscellaneous German figures to fill out the scenario requirements. Once our FMLA leave for the baby is up, I may look into picking up a few more Miniature Building Authority buildings to prepare for Tanga. The big splurge/birthday present would be “real” WWI Africa figures through Brigade so we could run the Longido/Tanga campaigns twice.

Justify Full PRIMARY GAMESAlign Left
  1. Gnome Wars: Longido Mountain is my primary gaming for the year. The campaign is my only reason for painting (I’m quite happy with the 14th Swiss TC in the HMGS Gnome Wars games).
  2. Call of Cthulhu: The coal crackers have arrived in New York, but for how long? Perhaps they can investigate the disturbances in Red Hook? Will Professor O’Hara be tempted by the knowledge he possesses of inter-dimensional physics? Will Dr. Bowsfield be involved in nefarious activities? Will Nichols be allowed to read the damn books? Beyond the campaign, I think some of the Blood Brother-esque one shots for larger groups.
  3. Hackmaster/D&D: Always dependent on players, I can offer the “Home” Polynesian game, Cynicea (role-playing as members of a lost city), and Hukutaan Traldar (role-playing in the lost valley of B10).
  4. Risus-IOU: The two word theme of Day of Sloth game is “Radioactive Spittoon”

  5. Intro CoC: I do have three short scenarios to teach CoC to newbies. I’d love the chance to just run one of them this year.
  6. Mouse Guard
  7. Con games: Talislanta 3e, and perhaps more of Toon “Cthulhu Comes to Springfield”. Of course, I’ll also take requests Bold
  8. Battletech: I don’t own any stuff anymore, but I’m always ready for game, or a trip to Wooly’s.

Of course, everything is subject to change (The ATKM offer for Cold Wars mentioned previously is seriously tempting).

Monday, October 4, 2010

ATKM Offers Swag For Running Games at Cold Wars

Per their Facebook page, All the King's Men will offer $50 in product for anyone running an ATKM game at Cold Wars next March in Lancaster. Either the majority of the figs must be ATKM, or the rules must be used.

I do have to do some work in the garage tonight, so I'm tempted to see the great box of unpainted 54mm figs and see if I could throw together a game centered around the Battle of Wyoming, or some minor skirmish during Sullivan's March.

2010 Year in Review

A year in review... in October??? To the average reader that might seem as absurd as stocking Christmas items for St. Patty's Day, but for me I've always treated my gaming years as October-through-September. It made my desire for recordkeeping straight somehow.
So it's the completion of Year 22 of my gaming lifetime. Twenty-two years of chucking dice, eating Doritos, and drinking Mountain Dew. The birth of my daughter Maja and her subsequent mobility, has reduced my gaming time even more.

Call of Cthulhu: Ran a Texas Fried Rock-themed one shot, finished No Man's Land with survivors, Dr. Millheim failed at solo investigation, and Coal Crackers went to New York, possibly to stay. Wiithout Adam, the group dynamic feels too small. Perhaps with the addition of Mr Dalcin, we could get things interesting again.

Gnome Wars: As a gaming group, we technically did not finish the Wishing Well campaign, although all scenarios were completed. The Swiss did their best to stall the German invasion, Field Marshal von O’Hara escaped with his life, the Scots look to be a potential German ally, and the Irish are just pissed off at everybody. I got zero painting done this year, and with a crate- load of new stuff I'm definitely behind. Outside of the campaign, I did get an impromptu game off during Mepacon Spring, and I did demonstrate superior generalship at Cold Wars, even if only the center of the Swiss line listened to my commands.

The annual Risus-IOU game at the Day of Sloth was a hoot. It reaffirmed my faith in role-players and started an interest in reading the other books of the Oz series for a campaign (as in Wizard of, not the HBO prison series.)

Steve’s Bar was a test area for true beer-and-pretzels Burning Plastic, as well as figuring out the mechanics for Mouse Guard. The beer was pretty good too…

Fall Mepacon wasn’t much of a gaming success, but I did finally get to play Robo Rally. If I can find it on sale, I’m certain to pick it up.

I also discovered that a wife AND child will make Drunken Diplomacy a difficult game to finish. As much as Drunken Supremacy seems appealing, we may rely on more mundane games to play (like Zombies!)

Con-wise, Cold Wars and Historicon were blasts. A short weekend with the boys drinking and moving lead for Cold Wars consisted of two Gnome Wars games, as well as a Fort Zinderneuf French Foreign Legion game using a revised version of Heroscape rules (Sandscape!). Most of my Arab cav in that game were gunned downed in a charge that would make the Light Brigade look like cowards, but my skirmishers held off the relief column to allow the fort to be taken.

Historicon for me could be summed up in two words: Uncle Duke. I finally got to play in not one, but two of his games: his Northwest Frontier and Zulu game. My generalship Her Majesty’s forces were enthusiastic but sub-par. As a native leader, however, I rock the house, or the kraal in the Roark’s Drift scenario.

The Mepacons were enjoyable, even with the extra drive up to Clarks Summit now. I think I ran Gnome Wars at the Fall ’09 con, but Brian Nichols and I decided to go up for Saturday at Spring '10, pay to get in and snag some cool swag at the auction.

My purchase list was much larger than anticipated. Roleplaying stuff was minimal, but dirt cheap, mostly picked up at auction. I managed to accumulate three more gnome units (Sikh, German, and Swiss), most of the Gnome War support pieces, and a Gnomenizer tank. Two Teddy Bear units were acquired for the girls, plus a gnome bicycle tank from Eureka. I snagged a copy of Supremacy through the auction setting and can't wait to play.

My favorite purchases for the year : The Tanga and Zulu Campaign books by Skirmish Elite. It will keep us busy for some time.

My favorite mini purchase: USMC Recon Team from Eureka. I don't even do Modern (yet!), but these figs are just awesome.