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:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kenzerco Holiday Blowout!

The Kenzer & Co website ( 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: )

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:

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

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

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:

*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...