Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sharing the Love... and FRIED CHICKEN

I'm not one for sharing links to random writing blogs, but when one mentions my Cthulhu campaign, a recipe for fried chicken, and its a good friend (and the infamous Widow Carson in-game) I'm happily obligated. 

For  those who don't follow my CoC campaign, drop everything and click on the page link above for each entry,  I may not convey the moment by moment absurdity properly, but the current New York crew loves to drink Manhattan Juleps and run up to Harlem at all hours for fried chicken... and that's the most genteel version to describe the shenanigans that ensue.  

I'm betting even the Japanese Hobo and Dr Kozba would approve of the potatoes (as of this writing, I'm a bit behind on sessions and the new investigators introduced.

edit: cleaned up hyperlink

Monday, July 29, 2013

JP Comics and Games, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

Trading my day trip to Historicon for a four day trip with the wife and kids to Boston is not an equal return, nor should it be.  Hopefully my little sister isn't getting married more than once and we get to do a number of things off our normal routine, like shop at Whole Foods, eat at a fantastic little bistro, use a whirlpool to soothe my aching joints, and visit a 100+ year old church in Cambridge that my Great-Great Grandfather helped build.   I'll trade that for bad I-95 traffic and a con site that's still in its growing pains. Only the most intolerable gits complained about everything in Fredericksburg, people had fun, there's still issues that need to be addressed, lets move on. 

The only geek-out moment I was allowed, outside of a discussion about the New Gods and my new brother-in-law, Sean owning a beautiful copy of the Star Frontiers Alpha Dawn rules was  the wedding celebration at Ten Tables.  Beyond the phenomenal food and spirits served (and a fourth geek out moment comparing US and Canada comic book profit margins in the late 80's) was the fact that my two little ones, Maja (4) and Amelia (2) were out of their element at a hipster soirée and they needed an escape...  to the comic book store next door.

JP Comics and Games in Jamaica Plain, MA, stands out a bit on the street.  On a block with a grass-fed burger joint and and an organic ice cream shop, a small comic/game store is not the next obvious business in the progression.  It's a small store with one side dedicated to comics and graphic novels, and the other to boardgames, some role-playing, and a good deal of CCGs.  There were a few tables in the middle and a group, led by the owner, were just starting a board game when my clan strolled in for the first time.  In fact, everytime one of us came through the door, we were met with a pleasant hello and a wave by him, just to remind us who to call on if we decided to adjust from browsing to questions/buying.  He never was so immersed in his game that he ignored us, and he was never pushy or worried about kids destroying the store.  My wife nearly felt at ease with bringing the kids in, and she hates going into these stores.  She at least felt at ease enough to drop a ton of money on My Little Pony Comics for the girls ($3.99? Glossy Paper and overly vibrant inks that make my eyes hurt? Oh god, I'm just getting old.)
Reaping the Benefits of Twisting Mommy's Arm
The comics were arranged cleanly along the wall and a large a varied supply of board games filled up the other. The back wall had the register, Magic display, most of the graphic novels, and their role-playing in the middle.

Mmmmm.... boardgames
RPGs were a little limited, mostly 4e, but the new Fate Core book was on the shelf, as well as the Fate Accelerated rules which were just solicited in this month's Game Trade Monthly.

Fate did not bring me to the store that day, but it was nice to see it on the shelf
All in all, it was a pleasant experience, and a welcome relief to have a comic book shop next to the restaurant.  Besides the My Little Pony comics, I pick up the Ozma of Oz HC Marvel produced, so we can give the Mouse Guard books a much-needed breather.

On the ever evolving Gaming with the Gnomies rating system, I give JP Comics and Games three and a half gnomes:

Let's not find a picture of a half gnome, for sake of decency (Although one of the gnome zombies minis would well.)   It's the first time I've wanted to use a half gnome in the ratings.  It's a basic shop, friendly staff, and outside of the Oz book, nothing I haven't seen before.  Although I did not ask, I'm certain they can do special orders AND get a quick turnaround time.  The extra half-gnome is for putting up with my family multiple times in a kind and professional manner.  We were the only noticeable business at the time, and I'm quite sure the poor guy did want to reap a little benefit from playing a game with his friends at the store.  As a former store manager, I get that, and I appreciate his ability to separate business from pleasure, even if both are enjoyable.

JP Comics and Games is located on 603 Centre St, Jamaica Plain, MA.  It's the outskirts of Boston, so parking is a pain, although there was plenty of legal side-street parking about a block away.

Hours are 12-8pm Monday-Saturday and Sunday 12-7 (This definitely secures the half-gnome).

They run a Magic Legacy Proxy League Mondays, Friday Night Magic (call ahead to reserve a spot, seating is limited), and a Sunday Stanard tournament. 

www.jpcomicsandgames.com looks to be just a placeholder, check out their Facebook page for more up to date info.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

(Kickstarter) RAFM Call of Cthulhu Miniatures Redux

Disclaimer:  I know this fundraiser isn't on Kickstarter, it's on indiegogo.com, which is a similar platform, but between the page format and the eye candy, it's murder on my mobile device. With a aged laptop and a dated copy of IE, it looks much better.

Silver Fox Productions, the company that currently owns the royal and ancient RAFM line, is retooling their Call of Cthulhu line. CoC is still #3 in sales for RAFM, but in order to release more than a handful a minis a year, online fundraising could produce all of the minis in just one year!

The concept they've come up with is a little light up, but spirals to a properly crazy level if there's enough support.  The main pledge levels are $50 for 5 investigators, $50 for 3 monsters, or $100 for both (each pledge level also requires $20 for S&H.)   As the stretch goals are achieved, more figures are added to the totals, so if they reach the ultimate target of $200,000, you would get 85 minis for $100 (+$20).

With two weeks left, they've reached their initial goal and even unlocked the 6th investigator...  But then I read further and there's a $60 Investigator level that includes the six figures, any additional stretch goals, PLUS a $40 credit towards existing RAFM CoC stock... and only $15 S&H!  Then there are perks mentioned that I can't find but the company updates say they're on the base pledges. C'mon Silver Fox, I can even read Canadian English and this doesn't make sense, eh?

I'm not big on Mythos creatures in metal, save a nice Innsmouth Raid set of Deep Ones, so a crack at some pulp style minis cheap means I need to keep an eye on this.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Apathy of New Releases (Aug '13)

Ah, August!  Sweltering heat!  Swampass galore!  Companies hoping their latest release arrives from China in time to arrive at GenCon and help pay for the hotel, double booth, crazy decorations they couldn't afford, and a few booth babes.  Or, if you're the cool, trendy company, put you put in your August  release for solictation same month and either (a) hope you printed enough, or (b) hope you have enough warehouse space to store the product you couldn't move.  Let's see who's supposedly releasing what when.

My Want List
Nothing... *sniff sniff*

My Money Is No Object List


Project Ninja Panda Taco RPG................................$25.00
A collaborative RPG where everyone plays evil masterminds trying to take over the world. I'm in! For $25 though?

My Imaginary Store List (aka The Pegleg Gnome)

4 Winds Fantasy Gaming
Pathfinder: Heroes of the Fenian Triarchy..............$14.99   - June. 
           June? Yep, it's going to be one of those months.

Action Games Miniatures
Drake: The Dragon Wargame.
            I have to give these guys credit.  Dragons in 28mm wargaming is concept that's not employed as much as it should, but perhaps this is the reason:
Rulebook............................................................. $34.99
Garrick Army Box...............................................$124.99
Garrick Incursion Set.............................................$54.95
Garrick Starter Set.................................................$76.95
There are two other factions set up in a similar manner.  Besides the $90 minimal buy in, what exactly is the difference between the Army, the Incursion Set, and the Starter?  Do the Incursion plus Starter equal the Army set with a few bucks of savings?   What do the minions and humans look like?  Given their September release date, they have a little bit of time to flesh that out.

Alderac Entertainment Group
Legend of the Five Rings CCG Poker Deck....................$7.99 each
Legend of the Five Rings CCG: Gates of Chaos Booster...$3.79 each   (September)
Legend of the Five Rings RPG: The Book of Fire............$39.99           (July, tsk tsk)
Love Letter: Kanai Factory............................................. $9.99    
Smash Up: The Obligatory Cthulhu Expansion.................$19.99

The Army Painter
Colour Primer: Gun Metal.......................................$14.99                    (June)
One, who has that much medieval armor that needs priming.  Two, fifteen freakin' bucks?  Highway Robbery!

Atlas Games
Doom: Unquiet Dead...............................................$14.95

Atomic Overmind Press
Zombies 101............................................................$12.95
A zombie primer by Ken Hite?  That should find a spot on the store's shelf.

Chronicle City
Shadows Over Vathak.............................................$39.99                    (July)

Diamond Comic Distributors
Pathfinder: Dark Waters Rising Vol 1 HC.................  ?      
The collected version of the comic.  Here's hoping at least Previews has the real price.

Evil Hat Productions
Fate: Accelerated.................................................... $ 5.00                      (July)
Not only July, but I've seen numerous copies of it already.  But it's a very nice book for five bucks.

Fantasy Flight
Rogue Trader: Faith and Coin................................. $39.95
Star Wars Edge of the Empire: Beyond the Rim.......$29.95

Four-in-Hand Games
Savage Worlds Steamscapes: North America...........$19.99

Looney Labs
Choose One ............................................................$30.00

Louis Porter Jr Design
Pathfinder: Undeafeatable - The Collected Feats........$19.99

Lots of Orcs and Undead, comparable prices to GW.  I am seeing a lot more extra spikes and other GW stylistic points, and that's on top of the ones I would find acceptable on an orc!   And they should already be out (June, for shame)

Mayfair Games
Catan Scenarios: Helpers of Catan..............................$5.00
Settlers of Catan: Star Trek Federation Space Map....$30.00

Monte Cook Games
Numenera : The Devil's Spine ....................................$24.99

Osprey Publishing
Book of the Ninja.......................................................$35.00
This one should disappear off the shelves....

Ninja AD 1460-1650 ................................................$18.95
The Knights Templar: A Secret History.......................$14.95
Of Gods and Mortals: Mythological Wargaming..........$17.95

Otherworld Creations
The Littlest Shoggoth: A Holiday Tale..........................$20.00

Paizo Publishing
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords Deck 2: The Skinsaw Murders............$19.99
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Towns of the Inner Sea.................................................................$19.99
Pathfinder Adventure Path: Wrath of the Righteous Part 3- Demon's Heresy...............................$22.99
Pathfinder Face Cards: Reight of Winter Adventure Pack ..........................................................$10.99
Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Moon .....................................................................$12.99
Pathfinder RPG: Bestiary 4 .......................................................................................................$39.99
Pathfinder Map Pack: Dungeon Corridors................................................................................. $13.99
Pathfinder Tales: Stalking the Beast ..........................................................................................  $9.99
Thank you, Paizo, for scheduling your new product for OCTOBER.  Crazy freakin' concept.

Pokemon Company International
Pokemon TCG: Black & White Plasma Boosters and Theme Decks

Plaid Hat Games
Mice & Mystics: The Heart of Glorm Expansion...............................$29.95   (October)
I did get to see the main game at the last local con.  Thirty bucks for tokens, a chapter book, and two figures? 

Signal Fire Studios
The Very Hungry Cthulhupillar ..........................................................$19.99  (October)

Studio 2 Publishing
Savage Worlds: Nemezis.................................................................. $24.99  (June)

Troll Lord Games
Castles & Crusades: A11 The Wasting Way ..................................... $6.99
Castles & Crusades: A12 The Blasted Hearth ................................... $6.99

Castles & Crusades: Bluffside: City of the Edge ................................. $9.99
Castles & Crusades: Rogue's Gallery ................................................. $9.99

Castles & Crusades: To Kill A King .................................................. $6.99
All August

DC Heroclix: Batman Classic TV Series
DC Heroclix: Batman Classic TV Series Batmobile
Okay, they may have just won me over to Heroclix after a decade.  *Ka-POW!*


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Lead Adventure Miniatures Releases Dwarf Females

Lead Adventure has released a second wave for their dwarf line, this time a series of just females (sorry crazy purists, they are beardless.)

Being a German company, the one thing that gave me pause was the 30 Euro+  price for the set with taxes included BEFORE international shipping is added.  Good news for folks in the States.  Once you create an account with them for ordering, the price adjusts to just over 25 Euros, about 30 with shipping.

Don't know what the scale comparison they are versus Gnome Wars, but if the game ever needed a Sisters of Sigmar angry female gnome contingent, these ladies would fill in nicely.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Campaign Journal

In the last 25 years, I've run my fair share of campaigns.  While I openly admit that the "stereotypical" campaign of going to dungeon to dungeon each week, without knowing as much as the barkeep's first name in town is something I don't mind, in the last decade or so, I've come to rely on the group campaign journal for my fantasy RPGs. 

While a single journal, each week written in-character by a different player is not the exact blow-by-blow account of the session, it creates an overall theme of what the player's are feeling.  Boredom, even with the activity of writing in the journal means the something was flawed that session, be it my GMing style, the motivations of the players, or even the module itself.  And while I have always had an open-GM Screen policy when it comes to campaign development and player input, seeing the player write of the excitement of the game in-character, is an even bigger vote of confidence than anything else.

After I finish this post, I'll have 24 pending posts that are all works in progress.  A couple of them are for my Hackmaster campaign that ran weekly from 2001 through 2004.  I'm currently working on the *spoilers* last episode of the first story arc "The Journey of Mutumbo."  From the first moment we sat down on September 3, 2011, a brown faux-leather journal was always at the table.  This has made writing these entries much, much easier, despite the ten year time gap.   As I type up their play for N2 The Forest Oracle, I can tell there was much confusion to the information and descriptions I was giving the players, and I'm not speaking of the poor flavor text the module is notorious for.

Leaning so heavily on a campaign journal creates some drawbacks, most notably, feeling completely helpless when it's not at the table.  Part of the reason for the new storyline were a few players dropping out to attend grad school classes, so I ran a few solo games to explain why they had disappeared.  Sure it was a little heavy handed (Ragnarok has begun!  Sif needs your help, little 3rd level cleric!) but the player insisted they write their entry into the journal... and that require him to take the journal home.  Six weeks later and the journal returned back to the table, but by then five weeks of play had passed and no one was willing to recreate it.  It's a pity, because it was a hectic time that produced frenetic results, as well as a mighty dungeon crawl that earned the group their name, The Burning Trogs.  Within a session or two, we were back up to speed, but we have no account of killing goblins in root cellars, finding ancient Traldar ruins, or dipping weapons into pools of water and gaining a permanent enchantment.  Good times.

Funny thing is, I don't use the journal for Call of Cthulhu, Sci-Fi, or just about anything else.  Perhaps its that I try to cram three sessions of play into a single seven hour session.  Perhaps it's that other genres don't have the bookkeeping angle that fantasy RPGs have.  Outside of the free for all CoC session that happened last month at Hoyce's Bachelor Party, I'm usually able to recreate the session for a blog post without any issue, even months after it occurred.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Historicon 2013: More Pics I Didn't Take: Part 2

It's already Tuesday after Historicon and I'm not seeing the normal prolific blogging I'm accustomed to.  Perhaps everyone is still recovering.  Perhaps everyone is still trying to load their nine million photos online.  Just a few more great pics, plus another one from our embedded reporter, Mike Lung

The Siege of Jerusalem
All Quiet of the Martian Front

28 Days Later - That's a LOT of zombies!

and from Mike: 

Jurassic Reich minis, Flying Monkeys, and Rocketeers. Good Times

Monday, July 22, 2013

Historicon 2013: More Pics I Didn't Take, Part One

Despite having an official blog correspondent at Historicon for the second year in a row, there are numerous games that just fly under the radar.  While still from my self-imposed exile in Boston, here's a few of the "best of the best" pics, and the appropriate blogs I stole them from:

The Much Ooohed and Aaahed Pirate Game.  Then I heard they put this behind ropes.  What is this, Salute?

Pokemon Wargaming!

Little Wars in Proper Style

Wacky Car Racing

The Friday Gnome Game, with Our Intrepid Reporter, Mike Lung, hiding in the Background

The MBA Middle East Table *sigh*
The rest are on the other e-device, so I'll load them on a post for tomorrow when I get home....

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Historicon 2013: The Mike Lung Gallery #20

Our intrepid on scene correspondent Mike Lung has finally begun some shameless self-promotion, and with work like this, I can't blame him!

Yes, Mike's custom Gingerbread Men (homemade, you could say) have their own compound!

Similar picture, but in the bottom left are some of his newest demented creation, the Gumdrop Grenadiers.

A varied collection of personal sculpts, Eureka Teddy Bear Cowboys, and I think one Darkelands Boer Wars dwarf protesting for civil rights of Gingerbread Men.  Or "saving" them for the next milk delivery.

A close up version.  Bruce Carmezind, the most interesting gnome in the world, leads the cause.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Historicon 2013: Thursday Gnight Gnomes

I may be in a Sheraton outside of Boston this weekend, but Gaming With the Gnomies has spent no expense to send our on-site correspondent Mike Lung to Fredericksburg.  

Thursday night was Brian Robinette's (herzogbrian) Frogs vs Gnomes.

Here's the evidence:

(Kickstarter) Space 1889!

I kept hearing bits and pieces of rumors of this occuring, but I finally found it this morning: The Space: 1889 Kickstarter!

This isn't another reprint or print on demand of the original material created by GDW back in the day.  It appears that Uhrwerk Verlag (www.clockwork-publishing.com) purchased the rights to do a German translation of the game.  Rather than stick with the somewhat stodgy mechanics and Anglo-centric background, they rewrote the rules using the Ubiquity system from Hollow Earth Expedition, and expanded the setting to be more Euro-friendly.    It has been a critical and financial success in Germany, so they decided to offer it to the English-speaking masses.

The pledges don't seem too outrageous: $23 for the pdf as soon as it's ready / $53.00 for the hardcover.  For an extra $20 you qualify for all the additional pdfs that are unlocked for the stretch goals.  For those with discriminating tastes, there's a Faux-leather printing at $114 and a real leatherbound edition for $151.  Both of those include pdf downloads and shipping.
The Inventor
Stretch goals are more attuned to additional pdf adventures, so the more successful the project is, the more valuable the $20 boost on the core rules pledges are.   The only stretch goal that deviates is one at only 140% off the initial goal and that is a printed collection of all the pdf adventures as an add-on purchase to the pledge.  Price of the print edition has yet to be determined.

The Explorer

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Going Down to Dunwhi.... errr, Boston

While thousands convene at Historicon at Fredericksburg this weekend, I'm loading up the minivan with the wife and kids and driving up to Boston for my sister's wedding extravaganza.

The thought of driving anywhere with a guarantee of traffic during this heat wave gives me an involuntary twitch, so neither is preferred.  I'd like to barricade myself with the new air conditioner and do activities that require a minimum amount of movement: painting minis, playing a game, or napping.

The kids have absconded and destroyed all four copies of Fluxx that we owned, so I'm afraid I may have to actually talk to my wife while we're stuck in the hotel room *gasp*. Or if the kids cooperate, we may catch up on sleep.

Stop laughing.  It could happen.  Really!

I do know that Friday will be fun time at the zoo, and I get one reprieve:  the place the reception is at is bookended by and ice cream shop on one side (for the wife) and a game store on the other, so I may get a new review out of the trip.  

I did load up a few episodes of the Miskatonic University podcast to bide the hours of insomnia, or when the rest of the familia is fast asleep in the car.  I've got the first seven out of he 35 down and the quality in material, discussion, and production continue to grow.  In fact I did listen to episode 34 to see the difference in a year and it was a nice interview with one of the writers of the 7th Edition of CoC.  Still didn't  win me over to the need for all the new rules and publishing format, but a great interview nonetheless.  

Speaking of the MU podcast, their current contest is for a copy of Miskatonic River Press' new Tales of the Sleepless City.  It does involving posting/sharing/tagging stuff on Facebook, so like both group's pages on Facebook and find the details.  With the deadline approaching on the 20th, that means I've, done my personal duty to support both Miskatonics, yet prevented enough lazy people from signing up to improve my chances to win.  Mwahahaha!

For those going to Historicon, drive safe and have fun.  
For Mike Lung, pitching in to run my game at HCon in my absence, thanks and make sure the Fallafal House burns!

And of course, congrats to Hoyce and Katie, who exchanged nuptials last weekend.  May your marriage work out better than the doomed 1924 version that happened as a result of his bachelor party CoC game. Progress has been made in the campaign log, but for a hint, Hoyce's avatar version of his 1924 self lost nearly 20 points of sanity in that session and might not be the best person to handle injuries if they have any children. 

And for the rest of you, pray for me.  It might be a loooooong weekend. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Blogs I Follow: Frozen Gamer AK

As I mention with some regularity, I follow a decent list of blogs.  While there are some that will make me stop rescuing  people from a burning building at the mere opportunity to read a new post, I have a large number of blogs that I will merely give a glance as I scroll through the list, unless, of course, they cover the one topic that interests me. 

Frozen Gamer AK is one of those. 

I don't do WW2, I don't do 15mm, and I'm certain I won't be going to any Flames of War tournaments in Alaska, but this fella earned a permanent spot on my list with the posts about his trip to Historicon 2011.

Historicon draws an international crowd, but the red-eye, multiple transfer flights from Alaska to Philadelphia might but be the least pleasant way to fly for any attendee.  Yet, not only did he keep his enthusiasm at a high level, he maintained it through all four days, plus numerous side trips to cover some historical battlefields and the like.  It was a perfect way to conduct a vacation around gaming, he did get some free swag from the WWPD podcast, plus he got to do it all with his dad.  Pretty sweet.

After skipping last year, it looks like he's attempting the journey again, and I hope he chronicles it just as well. 


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Steve Jackson Re-releasing Long OOP OGREs!

The results of the OGRE Kickstarter are trickling down to the rest of gamerdom.

One of the numerous stretch goals was the re-release of some long out-of-print OGRE minis.  Today on www.sjgames.com and Warehouse 23, the OGRE Mk III and Mk V were both available again. 

Those trees don't stand a chance!
Alas, while nostalgia wafts in the air, 2002 prices do not.  The Mk V now retails "loose" for $26.95, while the Mk III runs $21.95

Also hiding on the website are OGRE T-shirts, covering the essential gamer sizes of Small, Medium, 3x and 5x, or in gamer speak: infant, toddler, gamer medium, and gamer XL.

The only thing bigger than an OGRE is an OGRE player.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Gamer's Edge, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Running between the chaos gaming of my buddy Hoyce's bachelor party and my "regular" CoC campaign game in East Stroudsburg, I did make a quick stop at Gamer's Edge in Stroudsburg.

First postive:  They normally open at noon on Sundays and I was about 10 minutes early.  Amazingly, not only was someone there, but they were pleasant!

After a pleasant conversation with the owner, I went about wandering around the store.  It's compact, but large enough to have at least seven tables out at all times for gaming.

RPGs:  They get a good grade from me, at least.  D&D 4.0, Pathfinder, D&D clones, White Wolf, and
Eclectic variety of other RPGs.

Board Games:  Nice uncluttered displays for the games, including plenty of Steve Jackson Munchkin and Chez Geek spinoffs.

Comic section:  Hidden in the corner, it appeared to be an afterthought, but it was well-organized

Minis:  Heroclix, a small display or Reaper near the counter, as well as the bare necessities of a 40K display near the front window.  Near the 40K is also found a set of Pegasus Palm Trees, and I immediately snagged them up.

Behind the counter, was were the action was.  The store hosted numerous Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh tourneys, so as expected there were a lot a cards in the case.  Three things that sort of stuck out were a Mox Ruby ($250), an Underground Sea ($200+), and an Unlimited Black Lotus for only the measely price of $1400.  Nice to see they stock the high and the low ends of the spectrum.

The only thing that topped my surprise of those was LOOSE DICE!!!  It's something that I never see anymore in stores and I quickly scarfed up a few percentile sets for that afternoon's game.  They also had a good variety of dice sets at different price points.

After talking with the owner, it seemed like he was attempting to do inter-store tournaments with Muchkin with a store up in New York State, as well as visiting other regional stores for CCGs tourneys.  Nice guy, he even handled a stereotypical "annoying kid who just doesn't get it" with grace and flair.

The only things I would like to see improved upon were the lighting and the floor.  The lighting was no way near as bad as Adventure Games (in fact I complimented him on it), but with a $1400 item in the case, presentation is everything.  The floor is good old fashion tile or linoleum and just in need of a real good buffing.  For the Yu-Gi-Oh parents, presentation is everything.

On the ever-evolving Gaming with the Gnomies rating scale, I would give Gamer's Edge 4 out of 5 Gnomes.

Compared to the old monstrousity known as The Encounter?  Sure their stock isn't as large, but I think if your friend want's to buy a copy of a game you picked up at Gamer's Edge, they would probably find it in stock, rather that The Encounter's penchant for total stock turnover and remodelling every 6-12 months.  And even if they didn't have it, I have more faith that they would put forth every effort possible to get it in for you.

Gamer's Edge is at 424 Main St, between the KFC and McDonald's in Stroudsburg, PA.  Their phone number is (570) 421-3343.  No website listed, but like everything else, they have a page on Facebook.

Oodles of Steve Jackson, curses you blurry camera phone.

The Store

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Scattergun Gamer: Ashe of the Coldstream Guards

Yes, yes, I know, I know.  I have a huge backlog of material to write up, but between home, work, and blogger acting a bit wonky, I'll need a full weekend without any bothers and a few adult beverages.

For now, just a little OGRE pron.  Nothing crazy, just a tasteful attempt at a Mark V:


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

New Artillery Scrunts from Olley's Armies

While the other companies are ramping up their announcements for Historicon, one definite non-HC vendor steals the show for me.

From TMP, Olley's armies has released even more Scrunts!  This time a crew for artillery:

The nice thing is that he paired them with different artillery pieces from Max Mini, such as their siege gun:

Also getting released is a Scrunt Driver and Passenger set, perfect for open air vehicles...
Or as a two-man weapons team....

More Ammo!
See http://www.olleysarmies.co.uk/scrunts.html for more information

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hive Zero: Adepticon 2013 Part 1: My favorite army, Despicable Me

Hive Zero: Adepticon 2013 Part 1: My favorite army, Despicable Me

Thank God there are still people in the GW universe with a sense of humor.  Making them Chaos Dwarves makes it so much sweeter.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Let the Bodies Hit the Floor

I consider myself a relatively easy GM. Character death is something I reserve during truly epic encounters, or when suffering a rather ignomious failure. I knew early on that this goes against the general theme of Call of Cthulhu, but the investigators thus far have either been incredibly lucky, or they clearly outmatched their opposition.

At least until this past month.

With an expanded roster and varied schedules, my goal for year 1924 of the campaign was to simply find some unity between the personalities and build up their occult, Cthulhu Mythos, and other skills so they have a fighting chance once we start a real (published) campaign.

Methinks the regular season opened a bit early this year.

We've had 18 sessions thus far, with Actual Play of The Pennywell Hangmen taking up two additonal entries due to space, so we'll have 20 entries covering this time when I get around to it.  My reign of terror started with good intentions, just to keep the Investigators honest:

#1 The Haunting - Political Aide Adam Mosher - killed by the big baddie in the house.
#11 Murder in the Footlights -  PI JP Carson blows up a room full of dynamite.

Yes, a little light for CoC, but outside of fighting the Klan (Preacher and the Cross) and the army (Pennywell) most have been small, insular affairs with mythos related creatures.

Now let's look at the past four sessions, the last three in the past two weeks. (Since everyone says it, SPOILERS to you waiting for the write-ups.)

#17 The Dreamer - Everyone's favorite Turkish librarian barely survives encounter, but it deported in a set-up.
#18 - Lonely House in the Woods - Smitty! - stabbed in the back with a machete by an investigator possessed by a demonic Indian spirit.
#19 - The Half-Moon - The Japanese Hobo - captured when trying to sneak around the estate of a 300-year old Warlock of New Yorks estate in Queens. Fate unknown, but we can assume death is a better option.
#19 - The Half-Moon - Mike Dalcin - an unfortunate incident with a Molotov cocktail and a fumbled Throw roll. Culinary intellectuals in NYC weep for his loss.
#20 - Secrets of Knossos - Mr Piccollo, the Canadian Syrup Salesmen, died by attempting to replicate Assassin's Creed while in a small village on the Isle of Crete. There's a reason why the next version isn't going to be Assassin's Creed: Hoser.
#20 - Frank Dresden - stil recovering from this one, but although I detest the saying, I will describe his actions that he died like a boss. It was heroic, it was selfless, it was badass, and with the stars coming together, it may be completely in vain. If the group has any chance against the oncoming storm of doom, we're going to need a few more Frank Dresdens and a little less Hobo Justice (tm).

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Miskatonic University Podcast

Outside of an evening where The Humpty Dance was actually repeated on Pandora, my late night dog walking pleasure has been the Miskatonic University podcast, starting with episode #1 and working forward. 

Sure, I need to catch up about 30 episodes, but the first four episodes have been very enjoyable, covering the basics of character creation.  

The best part has simply been the three hosts comparing notes, finding new uses for Mythos creatures, and each one discovering that they've been running some portion of the rules wrong for years (like skill advancement).

Episode 4 also had their first contest:  a character creation contest for a copy of Cthulhu by Gaslight.  In our current group, I've had no issue with the players making stock investigators, but I've been amazed in the past when someone just rolls up a stock archeologist, and their defining feature is...  a fedora.  

Within seconds of finishing the podcast I had two characters written up: a midget archeologist (no fedora, plus he can get into those tight spaces), and a dilettante/arms dealer, for those games where you absolutely, positively need a case of grenades in the trunk of your car.  They're not Japanese Communist Hobos, but in you'll soon see why they aren't all that useful either. 

Today is also a great pilgrimage to Trenton to run run the third CoC game in two weeks.  Even though they aren't required yet, passports are ready as the group goes overseas.   

Coming Soon: Obviously, there are three CoC write-ups to do.  If the third is anything like the first two, as the comic book covers often say, "Nothing will ever be the same again!"   500 year old medicine men, fumbled Throw rolls, addictions to ether, bunnies, idiot army officers, 300 year old warlocks of New York, dancing bunnies, and Ron Burgandy style flute playing will dominate. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Weekend of Gaming, Booze, and Meat

I may have mentioned my buddy Hoyce is getting married the week before Historicon.  His bachelor party was this weekend and I was one of the lucky nine who got to celebrate with him.  

One of Hoyce's groomsmen went ahead and rented a house around Lake Ariel in the Poconos.  It had two full baths, slept nine in relative comfort, and a huge ass bar/game room in the basement.   The intent was to kidnap Hoyce, game heavily, imbibe even more, and eat copious amounts of grilled meat to sustain us and soak up the alcohol. 

On Friday I bid the family adieu and drove off to the house.  

Needless to say, there were minor issues with the house, and some guest interactions with each other, but it was a fantastic weekend.

Part of the deal was that we needed to provide a bottle of liquor for his wife to be, so she could tolerate him all day.   Because his wife was going to be a lush, we gave Hoyce a pile of boardgames to keep himself occupied.

Hoyce managed to get in around 9:30 and was completely surprised and taken aback.   I do believe that this normally surly man was touched by our gesture of friendship.  He was even more touched when we brought him down to the bar/gameroom.

The only booty during the party
It took him a few moments to realize that all the games were still in the shrinkwrap and that they were all for him.   While I can not say he got close to choking up, he was quiet for a few moments before getting super excited.
  • Diplomacy
  • Airlines Europe
  • Spartacus
  • Arkham Horror
  • Advanced Squad Leader (from me)
  • Axis and Allies 1941
  • Risk Legacy
I also got him a 1904 copy of a young men's book involving the brave souls defending Louisbourg, the subject of Hoyce's Masters thesis.

On top of that, I handed him a folded up set up papers which he read aloud.

1st Page:                             Your name is Eric Bowsfield (his real name)

2nd Page:                            In a few weeks you are getting married
                                           Tonight starts your bachelor party

3rd Page:                             The year is 1924.

I then called dibs on the first day of the weekend (Call of Cthulhu).  Subsequent pages gave out a character backstory and sheet for the 1924 CoC version of Hoyce:  Dr. Eric Bowsfield, Professor of History, Miskatonic University.  All these years, we've used Dr Bowsfield as an NPC for or normal campaign, now he could be played as a PC, with special guest appearances by Doc Millheim, Steven O'Hara, and Smitty!

Most of the group was completely surprised to find out that after almost 15 years of gaming with him, I had never played CoC with Hoyce.  Another item is crossed off the bucket list.

The game ended around 2am, festivities continued till 4:30, and I woke up the house at 7:30 by trying to make coffee.

Only one of us did not provide a game for Hoyce.  Our friend Nate took up all food duties, providing sandwiches Friday night, eggs and bacon Saturday morning, burgers and dogs in the afternoon, and bacon wrapped steak and potatoes that night.  Everything was delicious, only becoming legendary Sunday morning, when the bacon-wrapped bacon made an appearance.   We probably should have eaten more to absorb the alcohol, but everything we did eat was awesome.

After a longer than anticipated recovery phase into the afternoon, we finally got to breaking shrinkwrap and learning rules.  Half of us took half the ping-pong table and tried to decipher the English translated to Chinese translated to Russian translated to Sanskrit translated back to English rules which were Airlines Europe.   It read like a bad part of the tax code; Even if you understood completely, it made your head spin.  In the end it was fun, I managed to eek out a victory, and I will be anticipating a call from Hoyce when they decide to play in Boston.

The other four took to Spartacus.  For a licensed game, using the basic fast play rules, the four player version took SIX HOURS, ultimately resulting in the very rare four player tie.  Regardless, Hoyce loved it and that was all that mattered.

While the Spartacus debacle was ending, we broke out someone's personal copy of Formula De and had a go, until it was time for potato peeling, bacon wrapped steak, and watching The Big Lebowski.  After that (1:30 am) we convened downstairs for some more Formula De on one side of the table, and Risk Legacy on the other. 
Risk: Legacy - Blippy, Hoyce, and Henry Pictured
Again, passed out around 4am, up at 7:30 for a shower and coffee, and unfortunately a morning of cleaning and packing up.

While the guys stayed a bit longer, I had to bid farewell and bolt to make it to East Stroudsburg to play in the "real" Call of Cthulhu game.
How we all felt by noon Saturday, much less 4:30am when this picture was taken.
Congrats Hoyce! May your wedding day go smoothly and the only deep ones that show up are family (They are getting married mere miles away from the fictional placement of Innsmouth).