Tuesday, March 31, 2015

(Kickstarter) Car Wars Classic Arenas is LIVE!

Steve Jackson Games has officially launched their Kickstarter campaign for Car Wars Classic Arenas!
 

Twenty bucks (plus S&H) nets you five 22"x34" one-side maps covering areas from the old Arena Book and L'Outrance that have never been printed to proper scale before!
 
Forty bucks (plus S&H) nets you the Arenas PLUS a copy of Car Wars Classic.  Most of the higher pledge levels are for retailers.
 
 
As I post this, they've already accumulated $15,000 out of the $50,000 initial goal in just a few short hours, so the stretch goals should be easy to obtain.  They've learned from the glorious monstrosity that was OGRE and set simple stretch goals that are still exciting, if DOUBLE SIDED MAPS excites you.  There's also a goal for an Arenas 2 Kickstarter only release that includes two more maps (four if a further goal is met for Double Sided.  If they reach $180,000 backers could received the 10 arenas from the boxed set,  8 more maps from Arenas 2, extra counters for debris and such, and some custom dice.   
 
I already have Classic Car Wars, so I'm sitting at the $20 pledge level.   May go up as things progress to it's completion on April 29th.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Recovery Begins

After two weeks of stomach bugs wrecking havoc through the house, and annoyingly lingering with me waay too long, the weekend finally got things straightened out, at home and my GI tract.

After a Saturday of massive house cleaning, and a run to the beer store for the first time in months, we invited some friends over for pizza, beer, and a giant playdate with four screaming girls.   With only snowflake flurries in the air, this nightmare of winter is almost over.

Sunday, I got a reprieve from yet another kid's Easter egg hunt, and actually gamed!  We only had Bob (Dr Bob), Aaron (Anthony Parks), and Nichols (a belly dancer?), but the Masks of Nylarathotep campaign advanced to Egypt, where two investigators were lost.  No, perhaps VANISHED FROM THE FACE OF EXISTENCE is a better description.  Time to catch up with the actual plays. 

Dr Bob's got power, and he has no idea how to actually use it....
 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sphinx Head by Maja

When I went to Cold Wars, I had but one mission: bring back something Egyptian  for my five-year old daughter Maja.  She's been fascinated with ancient Egypt since we saw Mr Peabody and Sherman last year, so much so that's she's managed to wrangle out multiple books on the subject out of the school library that are easily at a fifth or sixth grade reading level.  

I was a bit disheartened by the dealer's hall.  The one dealer selling  Ospreys and magazines used to some interesting Egyptian baubles and bric-a-brac interspersed among the stock,  but that seemed replaced with military paraphernalia.  Nothing truly caught my eye until my last pass of the hall, in search of Zap-a-Gap or general superglue, I spotted a Sphinx head from Windsword Accessories. Between a $6 Sphinx head and a $4 Tomb Accessory Pack, I had a deliriously happy little girl on Sunday morning.

To up the ante, I gave her a challenge:  instead of painting another Michael's birdhouse or a small canvas on our painting night, she would paint the sphinx head all by herself, just like Daddy.  I would give her instruction, but she would do all the painting.  

One small obstruction in this plan was Maja's four year old sister, Millie.  Unless they are in separate counties, when one gets to paint, the other wants in.  Luckily, I had a Michael's jewelry box on the workbench for just such a special occasion.  

I had planned on making this a three night affair:  one for priming, one for base coat, and one for her first-ever attempt at dry brushing.   Throw in two separate stomach bugs, PTA meetings, and a Millie that wanted to paint each side of her box a different color on a different day, and it took over a week real-time. 

Night One:  Maja's first priming.  After having her prime it black, I found other blogs online that used a dark brown as the primer.  Night Two:  I had Maja paint the statue portion dark brown.  She did not question her father (yet).
After Night One:
After two nights of queasiness, Night Three was Drybrushing.  After three years of  Maja getting taught not to waste paint and to wash her brushes thoroughly, she looked at me like I had three heads as I asked her to wipe most of the paint off a piece of newspaper before she learned what a "flecking" motion was.    After only two or three passes, her expression changed from exasperation to exhilaration, "Daddy, I can see the face.  It's soooo cool!"
Night Three:  Drybrush with Americana Sand
After the first coat, she hit the Sphinx with a drybrush of Bleached Sand, and Daddy had to step in for one minor detail.   I have to admit I did drybrush the underside of the back of the headdress.  For some reason she kept completely missing it.  Perhaps I should cut her some slack until she's six.

Night Three:  Drybrush with Americana Bleached Sand
After another dose of stomach bugs and some overtime at work, we finally had some time to flock the base (tan fine railroad ballast).  Since we already had some glue-related fiascos earlier that week helping Maja with a school project, I decided to control the glue and let Maja do the flocking.

Brigade Gnomes surrounding one 25mm Foundry fig
Not bad for a five year old... heck, better than some of the terrain being toted around by middle aged men!  But I am a bit biased.

One word of warning about Windsword.  Their castings are made out of dental plaster and can be very fragile.    The girls were playing with the Tomb Accessories a bit rough and two pieces dropped on the floor. One disintegrated upon impact, but lucky for the mummy, only its legs broke off.  While handling the Sphinx, Maja put in down firmly on the table at one point and sheared off a sliver of the base.   Definitely not for most kids and I can't imagine they should be handled roughly over the course of game. In fact, the packaging does say, "Not for children under 8,"  and for display only.

Regardless of our little problems, Maja approves of the products, and can't wait till Daddy orders more.

Friday, March 27, 2015

(Kickstarter) Car Wars Arenas

As we carefully balance between the dread of winter and the dampness of early Spring, an infernal stomach bug hit the house again.  I finally got hit with a huge dose of it, but as I was laying on the bed, hoping the stale giner ale stayed where it was meant to, I discovered this on Twitter.

http://www.sjgames.com/car-wars/games/arenas/

A Kickstarter campaign for five maps that have never been printed in full scale?  Only twenty bucks?  No stretch goals to work on the OGRE/GURPS Goblins Designer Pogs game?  More than a two week campaign?  I'm  assuming as such, but that's awesome!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

(Kickstarter) Armies of the Scrunt Empire is Live!

Bob Olley's Armies of the Scrunt Empire Kickstarter is offically live and has almost made it's initial goal.

It seems to be a theme with the Scrunt Kickstarters that everything I want always has a catch to it.   The only figures I'm interested in are the Prussian Colonial Marines, and not only do they not get unlocked until the fourth stretch goal, they're an add-on only with variable pricing based on intial Pledges (Price to pledge levels of £52 or less: £42 UK, £45 EU, £48 Rest of World- ADD-ON price for Pledge levels of £104 or more is £42 worldwide).     Thirteen figures for $73 sounds a bit much, especially since I found another kickstarter launching next Tuesday that will run a month, rather  than 18 days of this one. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

GM Registration for Mepacon Ends April 6th

With all the brouhaha boiling over about GenCon, just a happy reminder that gamemaster registration for Mepacon ends on Monday, April 6th. 

I did get approval by the Mrs to go for Saturday, so now I'm torn as to whether I run a second Gnomish Space Marine playtest or something entirely different, perhaps Gnome Wars or Burning Plastic.  Another thing to consider is whether Maja is coming along. .

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Free RPG Day - June 20, 2015

Every year I take the girls out for a trip to Rubber Mallet Comics to take part in Free Comic Book Day.   This year it's Saturday, May 2nd, the same week Avengers 2 is released.  The kids will snag their fill of free books, I usually grab one or two, and we'll scour the heavily discounted bins for some treasures, especially since we can use it for fodder for the drive down to Disney next weekend.    Last year, I grabbed some Trade Paperback collection of Showcase with Supergirl in them that were so blatantly sexist that I nearly gagged.  Funny thing, they were still better role models than the crap on TV/Netflix (Monster High?  Ever After High?  The Winx?)    Methinks I know where some annoying mannerisms are coming from...

While just about every comic shop across the country participates in Free Comic Book Day, Free RPG Day is a completely different story.

From their website, www.freerpgday.com : "Established in 2007, Free RPG Day works with participating hobby game retailers and RPG publishers to bring new and exclusive RPG quickstart rules and adventure modules into the hands of gamers."

A store does need to order one or more "kits" with the materials (and they do cost the store's money), but inside are 19 different free items, in varying quantities.   Paizo, Goodman Games, and Catalyst are each offering two different items for the promotion,  and Chessex, Troll Lord, Pelgrane Press, 9th Level Games are some of the other companies involved.    Personally, outside of the Pelgrane flip-book for 13th Age and Night's Black Agents, and the Kobold Ate My Baby Adventure, I might be interested in trying to snag a physical copy of Khepera Publising's Hellas/Atlantis flipbook.  There's actually a Kickstarter campaign set up to fund the this for Free RPG Day (no physical copies are available as rewards, just pdfs.)

Bug your FLGS to participate.  I guarantee you they wasted more money (and probably spent less time) trying to jump into the latest minis game or CCG than a kit or two of free stuff for their customers would be.  Heck, they might make MORE money out of the investment.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Apathy of the New Releases (Apr '15)

The signs of Spring's arrival are upon us.  And if Spring is coming, that means two things.

1) Allergy season is going to suck
2) The Summer con circuit is nearly here, and with it, all the new releases. 

Lots of June New Releases in this month's Game Trade.  Let's hope there all in stock for Origins and GenCon.

Must-Have Want List
Osprey Publishing
The Cthulhu Wars:  The United States' Battles Against the Mythos ............................... $18.95
By Kenneth Hite.   I'm hoping for some great pre and post Delta Green kernels of goodness.
OSP DAK731 

My Money-is-No-Object Want List
Nothing else.


My Imaginary Store List
Alderac Entertainment Group
Rumpelstiltskin .............................................................................................................  $9.99
Game of Crowns ........................................................................................................... $29.99
Trains:  Map Pack #2 .................................................................................................... $12.99

The Army Painter
While the old fart in me is still reeling from the idea that a block of d6's can cost ten bucks, I applaud Army Painter for a gimmick that may work.  Of the 36 dice that normally come in a block, 6 of them will be a different color, to represent special characters or effects.  Not a bad scheme.

Zombicide: Survivor Paint Set ........................................................................................ $17.99
The six bottles of paint run close to eighteen bucks, so I'd love to see what extras are thrown in for a legitimate boxed set

Atlas Games
Fairy Tale Gloom .......................................................................................................... $24.95

Blue Orange
King's Gold .................................................................................................................... $13.00
Rally Up! ....................................................................................................................... $13.00
Ring It! .......................................................................................................................... $15.00
Spot It! Sports ............................................................................................................... $13.00
Wink .............................................................................................................................. $15.00
I'll be honest, I wouldn't normally list these types of generic family games from an unknown company on my list, but I had assistance compiling this month's column.  Out of all the games in the GTM pdf, my five year old daughter Maja picked King's Gold and Wink as her "Daddy can we get these?" games.  Without knowing gameplay, if your store caters to the younger members of family game night, these might be some nice, affordable impulse buys.

Catalyst Game Labs
Battletech Alpha Strike Cards Series 2 ......................................................................... $19.99
Battletech Combat Manual Comstar ............................................................................. $29.99
Battletech Lance Packs (Fire, Striker) ........................................................................... $19.99 ea
Shadowrun: Battle of Manhattan ................................................................................... $14.99
Shadowrun: Bloody Business ........................................................................................ $44.99
Shadowrun: Denver Plot Book ...................................................................................... $49.99
Shadowrun: Hard Targets .............................................................................................. $49.99
Shadowrun: Data Trails ................................................................................................. $49.99

CoolMiniOrNot
CoolMiniOrNot and Corvus Belli are two of the third-tier minis makers that I don't list on here, simply due to the fact that despite their niche products, their releases make GW look affordable.  Again, my trusty sidekick Maja pointed out an item, "I think that bunny's cute, he's not scary at all!"
Arcadia Quest:  Nibbles ................................................................................................. $12.99

Cute, ain't he?
Cryptozoic Entertainment
DC Comics Deck Building Game:  Crisis Expansion Pack 2 ........................................ $20.00

Cubicle 7
Doctor Who: Dalek Dice ................................................................................................ $14.99

Evil Hat Productions
Fate Dice: Frost Dice ...................................................................................................... $15.00

Fantasy Flight Games
While I mentioned why I don't normally list CoolMini or Corvus Belli, I might as well address the omission of certain Fantasy Flight Games  (Battlelore and the  Netrunner, Call of Cthulhu, and Lord other Rings Limited Card Games).  FFG has a hot and heavy release schedule, yet I don't think I know anyone who actively plays it, I've never seen any of these products come off the shelves at any store, and I quiver in horror at the prospect at keeping all the expansions for the product in stock UNLESS a market could be determined.  There's plenty of other products they carry, that I can make an educated decision on. 

STAR WARS ARMADA: MANEUVER TOOL ............................................................ $ 7.95
STAR WARS RPG:  AGE OF REBELLION: DESPERATE ALLIES HC .................... $29.95
STAR WARS RPG: AGE OF REBELLION: SPECIALIZATION DECKS ................... PI
With 14 different specialization decks and a lack of a price, this seems like a questionable item, in league with the above-mentioned games
STAR WARS RPG:  FORCE AND DESTINY RPG ....................................................... $59.95
So...  a separate RPG to handle your force characters, versus the run o' the mill Rebel RPG?  I guess this will work better than the 40K universe.
STAR WARS RPG:  FORCE AND DESTINY GM KIT ................................................. $19.95
WARHAMMER 40K RELIC: HALLS OF TERRA EXPANSION ................................. $39.95

Games Workshop
40K:  Necron Codex ..........................................................................................................  $49.50
40K:  Necron Data Cards ...................................................................................................  $12.50
40K:  Necron Overlord ....................................................................................................... $28.00
40K:  The Tomb Awakened ............................................................................................... $185.00
The Necrons look to have gone the way of the Tyrannids.  Horribly overdone models.

40K: Harlequins Codex ...................................................................................................... $49.50
40K: Harlequins Data Cards ............................................................................................... $12.50
40K: Harlequin Skyweavers ............................................................................................... $40.00
40K: Harlequin Solitaire ..................................................................................................... $26.00
40K: Harlequin Starweavers ................................................................................................ $41.00
40K: Harlequin Troupe ........................................................................................................ $40.00
40K: Harlequin Warriors of the Laughing God Painting Guide .......................................... $33.00
The Harlequins, on the other hand, greatly benefit from being overdone (and out of production for a long time, if my limited memory serves me.) Sure the plastics are overpriced, but outside of special characters (always a ripoff) they're significantly less than Corvus Belli.  That is frightening.

WFB: Skaven Greyseer ........................................................................................................ $22.00
WFB: Skaven Stormfiends ................................................................................................... $62.00
WFB: Skaven Warlord ......................................................................................................... $22.00
Yet the Skaven (even the Stormfiends could be considered "special" characters individually are ridiculously overpriced.

Goodman Games
Fifth Edition Fantasy #3:  The Pillars of Pelagia .................................................................. $ 9.99
Fifth Edition Fantasy #4:   War-Lock ................................................................................... $ 9.99
Metamorphisis Alpha RPG:  Book of Handouts ................................................................... $ 9.99

Konami Digital Entertainment
Yu-Gi Oh! TCG:  Crossed Souls Boosters
Yu-Gi Oh! TCG:  World Superstars Boosters

Laboratory Games
Shadow of the Elder Gods ...................................................................................................... $25.00
"Help defend Arkham from Lovecraftian nightmares in Shadow of the Elder Gods, a cooperative maxi-micro Ameritrash board game."
I think I know what that means, but I don't think most store buyers will interpret that correctly.  If it is ordered, it's under the assumption that "it's a cheap version of Arkham Horror."  or any other Cthulhu-esque game released in the last decade.

Looney Labs
Just Deserts ............................................................................................................................. $18.00

Mantic Entertianment
Dreadball Xtreme .................................................................................................................... $79.99
Yet another $50+ Dreadball expansion?  I'm beginning to understand how such a simple concept can end up with multiple dealers/flea market guys selling team sets off for a steal. 

Margaret Weis Productions
Firefly RPG:  Ghosts in the Black ........................................................................................... $39.99

Mayfair Games
CATAN .................................................................................................................................... $49.00
CATAN 5-6 Player Expansion ................................................................................................  $25.00
CATAN CITIES AND KNIGHT EXPANSION ....................................................................  $49.00
CATAN CITIES AND KNIGHT EXPANSION  5-6 Player Expansion ...............................   $25.00
CATAN EXPLORERS AND PIRATES EXPANSION .........................................................  $49.00
CATAN EXPLORERS AND PIRATES EXPANSION  5-6 Player Expansion  .................... $25.00
CATAN SEAFARERS EXPANSION ..................................................................................... $49.00
CATAN SEAFARERS EXPANSION 5-6 Player Expansion .................................................. $25.00
CATAN TRADERS AND BARBARIANS EXPANSION ...................................................... $49.00
CATAN TRADERS AND BARBARIANS EXPANSION 5-6 Player Expansion .................. $25.00
Mayfair's cash cow is now going by a one word game, like Madonna or Prince?  Did "Settlers" insult the Native American population.  Is the new "one word" edition compatible with the last printing (which worked with, but did not fit perfectly with prior editions)?  Do you blow out the old stock to simply acquire the new?

Modifius
Acthung! Cthulhu RPG:  Interface 19.40  .................................................................................. $32.99

Ninja Division Games
One thing I'm pleasantly surprised about, and one thing I'm grateful for. I'm surprised Maja did not pick any of Super Dungeon Explore minis and their overpriced cuteness.  I'm grateful she did not select any of the Takaoski University minis.  Buxom school girls in various states of undress is not a conversation I want to start this month.

Osprey Publishing
Bolt Action: The Pacific and the Far East .................................................................................. $29.95
The British Dentist ..................................................................................................................... $12.95
Published in association with the British Musuem of Dentistry.  I guess Osprey will publish anything, and it will probably be informative to boot!

British Sheep Breeds ................................................................................................................... $12.95
I stand corrected.  Now I KNOW Osprey will publish anything.

Orc Warfare ................................................................................................................................. $14.95
And it continues to expand.... and yes, there are military books solicited this month as well, just nothing that hasn't been seen in their catalog before.

Paizo Publishing
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Sword of Valor Adventure Deck ........................................ $19.99
Pathfinder Adventure Path: Giantslayer Part 5 - Anvil of Fire .................................................. $22.99
Pathfinder Campaign Setting:  Hell Unleashed .......................................................................... $19.99
Pathfinder Map Pack: Camps and Shelters ................................................................................. $13.99
Pathfinder Player Companion:  Monster Summoners Handbook ............................................... $12.99

Reaper Miniatures
Reaper has a gigantic solicitation this month, the majority of which is their releases from their Bones II Kickstarter.   As expected, the Bones figures are very affordable.  Specifically to my interest are the Mouslings, which are packaged in sets of two for $2.99.  I ended up saving five bucks for each ten piece set.   With my growing vitriol erased thanks to the arrival of product, I probably will order some of the Bones singles for the girls to paint.

Two positives I gleaned from the solicitation were two Retail Starter sets being offered, at least, for between $450-500, I hope they're starter sets for a store.

Steve Jackson Games
Star Munckin 3:  Diplomatic Impunity ...................................................................................... $19.95

Troll Lord Games
Castles and Crusades RPG:  Fantastic Adventure ..................................................................... $ 6.95
Castles and Crusades RPG: Towers of Adventure .................................................................... $ 9.99

Twilight Creations
Humans!!!! 4:   Camp Zombie Lake ......................................................................................... $14.99
Zombies!!! PG Version ............................................................................................................. $29.99
Let this be recorded in the annals of time as the moment the Zombie craze jumped the shark.  Sure, I've seen plenty of zombie references in the kid's shows Maja and Millie watch (they do watch *yak* Monster High), but to have the grand-daddy of all Beer-and-Pretzel zombie games release a clean version?  I believe the kids use SMMFH. 

Ultra-Pro
Magic the Gathering:  Acrylic Land Caddy ............................................................................  PI
There's probably something cheaper available, but this appears to be a great tool for in-store booster drafts, rather than for an individual player building decks.

Vampire Squid Cards
Crabs Adjust Humidity (Volumes 1-5) ..................................................................................  $18.95 ea
Another Jump the Shark moment.  The third party, unofficial, unauthorized expansion for Cards Against Humanity.  Yes, I know, it's been on Amazon for months, that doesn't make it a good thing. 

Wizards of the Coast
Dungeons & Dragons:  Elemental Evil: Princes of the Apocalypse ...................................... $49.95
Magic the Gathering:  Dragons of Tarkir
Now that I have an interest in current Magic again, I made the realization that the pdf of  GTM #182 became available on or around March 10th.  I think the street date for Dragons is April 1st-ish?   I know it's the fault of the store for missing the emails, fliers, and general buzz of the set if they didn't know it was occurring, but why even mention it in the book for the first time within a month of release?  This should be boilerplate text waiting to be filled in the moment they have the name of the set and confirm pricing.

WIZKIDS
D&D Attack Wing Brass Dragon .....................$24.99
D&D Attack Wing Mind Flayer .......................$14.99
D&D Attack Wing Warrior ..............................$14.99
D&D Attack Wing Premium silver Dragon .....$49.99

Star Trek Attack Wing Wave 17 ..................... $14.99 each.
Star Trek Attack Wing Wave 18 ..................... $14.99 each

DC Dice Masters War of Light

Marvel Heroclix:  Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Boosters and Fast Forces Packs
Marvel Heroclix:  Nick Fury , Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Dice and Token Pack.

Marvel Dice Masters:  Avengers Age of Ultron Collectors Box ........................................ $24.99
Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers Age of Ultron Team Box ................................................. $19.99

Pathfinder Battles Gargantuan Red Dragon ......................................................................... $39.99
Pathfinder Battles Dungeons Deep Boosters
Pathfinder Battles Iconic Heroes Set 3 ................................................................................. $29.99 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Gnomish Space Marines Development Notes #2

Day 4 and 5 - set up Ability Score charts.
Secondary Ability Scores (Military Leadership)  will be derived from stats but treated as a skill.
Initiative?
Starting fleshing out playtest PCs.
Set up some basic weapons to use in playtest.  Nothing bigger than a "small" heavy weapons.  Lots of lasers
Still tweaking the armor rules.  Armor should allow for shots to bounce off and not compromise it.  If it gets through, it should damage the armor and the player.

Day 6
Chapter 2 Occupations.   Initial skill points may be too small, may double occupation and personal skill points.   Don't want one-trick ponies.  They die in space very easily.

Chapter 3 Skills:  CoC BRP skill advancement rules.  d6 per failure, standard 5% added to any skill advanced from base.  Skills without prerequisites will default to Ability Score as %.   Definitely exceptions.  Set up base modifiers for difficulty (subject to change).  Weapons will have Situational (cover, speed) and Range modifiers.  Should be spelled out on a reference sheet for the playtest.

Hit location?

Humorous but quirky background/disadvantage system.  Think toned-down Hackmaster plus Fickle Finger of Fate tables.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

(IOU) Harold Kumar - Child Genius

Harold Kumar - Child Genius
Prepubescent Brain Surgeon (4)
Ex-roadie to a Ratt Tribute Band (3)
Sadistic Megalomaniac (2)
Pledging Frat Boy (1)
Bill Cosby Fantatic (1)

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Reaper Mouslings Have Finally Arrived!!

Miracle of miracles occurred yesterday.  A small box from Texas arrived at my house yesterday, it's contents being twenty small mice creatures.

The Bones II Mouslings are finally in my possession. 

A couple of things.  First off, I'm going to need to "Bone" up on the best techniques for handling and painting them.  Don't want to melt them or be left with pock-marked mice.
 
Second, the details on the figures is just enough, even if my pictures aren't great.   
 
Third, when my next Apathy of the New Releases column comes out next week, you can understand why Reaper is selling the blistered Mouslings in pairs.
 


Princess and the King of Blurry Picture-dom


Fourth, the figures are pretty clean.  One of them does have a noticeable casting line all around the figure, and longer the tail, the larger the flash will be.   With the metal minis, I worried about bending or breaking pieces off.  With the Bones material, I'm more worried about cutting off the tails with a carving, I mean, X-Acto knife.  

Fifth, and finally, outside of the King/Princess and Sorcerer/Samurai packs, every other Mousling is dressed down enough to be well-suited for a Mouse Guard game.

Despite the added delays and regardless of whether or not they shipped to my old (April 2014) address, even though I changed the information in June 2014 and confirmed it twice, thanks to update emails, I'm quite happy with my pledge and the rewards.  I will grab a few more individual figures at the FLGS (via special order, they only stock GW) for advanced painting lessons with the girls later this year. 

Happy Spring...

... I say as we anticipate 3-6 mother bleeping inches of mother bleeping snow.
 
 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Changes at Pulp Figures

Last week I barely caught an announcement on TMP that North Star Military Figures would be not only distributing Pulp Figures, but casting them in the UK as well, in order to keep shipping and import costs down.

I didn't think much of a foreign arrangement until the Pulp Figures page blew up Wednesday with a flurry of announcements.  It was announced that RAFM would begin casting the figures in North America this Summer, while Crucible Crush with handle the distribution.

This makes sense.  Pulp Figures is really just one guy, Bob Murch, and Bob has had a full plate of sculpting over this past year from a variety of sources.  He's worked with RAFM with the latest wave of Call of Cthulhu figures, and he's been intimately involved with Crucible Crush for their Flint and Feather line, as well as, I believe, Star Crush and Diesel Crush.   Less time casting and shipping means more figures sculpted!

It was also announced that the PYG Yangzee Gangs line would be unavailable after April 15, so the line can be completely reworked, specifically PYG 1-5.

The American Sailors in the PYS line will also be discontinued in the same manner.

There's also a flurry of new figures coming out....





Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Irish Fairies and Eggshells

Earlier this year Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff covered an interesting gnome-ish tangent.  Why your mother crushed the eggshells.

I know, dear readers, that most of you are...


To butcher the story properly it comes down to this.  When the Irish made it over to America, they took their household fairies with them.  These fairies granted good luck to the home, only there was one problem:  The fairies wanted to return to Ireland.  Since the journey was far to long for their tiny fairy wings, they would steal eggshells to sail back to Ireland.


And here what you thought was good composting technique is actually an act of enslavement of the Faekind.  You should be ashamed of yourselves!

Always looking for a the next great idea (for someone else to do), and getting told at Cold Wars, that Leprechauns and Gnomes are not the same (although the Highlanders might make nice half-breeds), the question arises, why have the Irish not been conquered?

Simple, they have a freakin' fairy navy!*  A few oversized plastic Easter eggs and a couple of Fairy Meat minis and voila!  All those Irish naval encounters you ever wanted to play in the palm of your hand!


*Sure, I bet if I peruse the Gnome Wars book, there's something about magic protections, Goddesses, or what have you, but I want Irish Amphibian Landing craft made out of eggs, dagnabit!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St Patty's Day!

Don't make too many bad decisions and "sit" in the chips...


Monday, March 16, 2015

Even More Bob Olley Scrunt Kickstarter Goodness

Bob Olley posted a few more pics of the figures for his upcoming Scrunt Kickstarter:


What type of army using diving suits in combat?  Are they fighting Deep Ones???

Concept art for the German Colonial SeaBattalion as done by James Olley

I'm extremely excited for SeaBattalion figs and I may have to swear off Kickstarters until the end of the year.

EDIT:  I did get to see some of the data on his Kickstarter page.  If the prices stand true, most of the Scrunt units will run about $76 with, I'm guessing here, roughly $14 to ship outside the UK.  Lucky for me the SeaBattalion unit will run only $62 or so...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Gnomish Space Marines Development Note #1

These posts are designed to track my weekly progress designing the Gnomish Space Marines RPG towards a potential playtest at the end of the month and another playtest at Mepacon.  Grammar and sentence structure are not doted over while creating the notes.

Some early objectives
GSM should be  crunch plus role playing potential, some with tongue firmly planted inside the cheek.  
1-10 stats
percentile for skills, combat
A variety of weaponry. 
A steel hammer able to dent a warbot.

Day One
Ablity Scores 0-15 range % to start, shift a tens place. 9.2?
Strength
Agility
Manual Dexterity
Intelligence
Willpower
Charisma
Comeliness
Each stat will have it bonuses listed as %

Occupations: all military for pcs, expand as npc professions are fleshed out.
Infantry
Support
Artillery
Shock Infantry
Medic
Comm
Skill system: % with two or three lists of situational modifiers *wing it*
Combat system: % with minimal modifiers for logical progression Dodge?
Armor has threshold and Armor Rating Threshold is how many points the armor absorbs of the hit. (10 points of damage against the Threshold of 3 means 7 points gets through). AR is the total number of hits the armor has taken before it falls apart.
Melee should be a two hit with a standard parry save,
Weapons: All h-t-h to start,3or 4 varities
Armor standard sci-fi flak jackets, a notion of power armor.
history: Space Gnomes is actually a bigoted reference to any of the shorter human (and similar) sub species that have developed during the milenia. Discouraged to join "normal" armies and militias, the Gnomish Space Marines were born. Most male gnomes who reach adulthood join the GSM as part of their service obligation.
They're not the toughest, nor the fastest, and definitely not the best, but they're all thousands of planets have for protection from human/alien/unnatural mauraders.

DAY TWO
What to use for Spot Hidden (skill?) Ability roll-off
Ability score checks would be score plus d20.  With 1-10 normal ability range, difficulty rolls can range from 2-30.  Difficulty level from 1 to 50 (even the strongest humanoid STR 15 creatures would require help for ridiculously difficult tasks.

DAY THREE
Not much accomplished, as my half-hour of work was done well into my sleep for the night.
Need to expand on the use of a primary ability score and a secondary one while doing an ability check.  

Saturday, March 14, 2015

(IOU) William Cosplay

This was floating around Facebook awhile back.  It gave me a good chuckle, but I must refute the meme.  Point buy might be great for this, but Risus blows it out of the water.
 
I introduce...

Mr William Cosplay
Swashbuckler (4)
Gelatinous Cube (3)
Casual Keno Player (2)
Frozen dessert chef (1)

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Banishment of Type III - IV - V and VI Kickstarters

It was two and a half years ago when I dropped a friendly plug for the Center Stage Miniatures Demon and Devil Kickstarter.   The entry points for pledges seemed low and the opportunity to get Julie Guthrie figs was a plus.  Not having the funds nor the interest for such a line, I forgot about it and it faded into obscurity.  

That is, until today, when an onimous thread in TMP came up.  Instead of summerizing, I'll just drop the timeline.

October 2012 - Demon and Devils blows the goal out of the water.  March 2013 expected fulfillment

March 2013 - D&D is initially scheduled to be delivered (but without reading the comments, delays are announced and largely unavoidable on the minis project, another Kickstarter is launched with a June 2013 delivery date.  Still reach 4x it's original goal.

May 2013 - Still no KS 1 or KS 2 in sight, instead another giant project with a December release date.  Makes 8x it's initial goal.

October 2013 - It appears that some of the Demon and Devils is trickling out the door, and most of the smaller ($4k) second Kickstarter is processing.

March 2014 - A year and a half after the first Kickstarter was successfully funded, a fourth campaign is successfully conducted, WITH PRODUCT STILL OWED ON THE FIRST ONE!.  It reaches 4x it's original goal.  December 2014 Release.

March 2015 - News swirls that the owner of Center Stage Miniatures is in the process of filing for bankruptcy.  After 30 months and over $210,000 raised, there is nothing to show for it.

I've read through the some comments on Kickstarter and other sites, and beyond the normal troubles and tribulations of a company robbing Paul's second kickstarter to pay for Peter's first, I have one thought.

The pledges on KS III and IV are freakin' morons.   Pledging $100 to a brand-new company with no track record and thousands of promises for KS I is sheer lunacy.  Even a company like Reaper has issues during their Bones drive, but had the finances and infrastructure to weather.   Some random dude with some nice sculpts?  Guaranteed to be unreliable.

By the time you get to the 3rd and 4th campaigns, unless you're one of the lucky ones who physically received some of your rewards, why would you pledge one red cent for more, much less hundreds of dollars.  I feel zero sympathy for people claiming they lost three, four, or even eight hundred dollars. 

When the Scavengers Kickstarter finishes this weekend, I have supported eight campaigns with pledges over $1, and I have only spent $270.   My Reaper and RAFM debacles aside, the only one that I question if it may show up is the Lost Pyramid RPG book, and that campaign just ended last week and have had solid progress updates.

When it comes to campaigns, one run by a well-established company with significant delays(Palladium, Steve Jackson, RAFM, and Reaper) you know you are going to receive something, and when you do, it was well worth the wait.   There is often a disconnect between the old-school business model and new school techniques needing to get the product out.

I am disturbed by how many of these fly-by-knight third tier organizations can't even spell out their expenses on the project, and how the few that do are so pie-in-the-sky that I can only giggle.

Anyone Want a Live Action Jungle Safari Game?

Few social media videos truly make me smile, although this one should tide me over for awhile...

 

(Kickstarter) Phroggs!

Another Kickstarter that snuck in under the radar while I was at Cold Wars was Ral Partha Europe's announcement of their old-school sci-fi Phroggs


Each five man squad ordered will have either a rocket launcher or flamethrower among them.  A ten man squad, with oversees shipping, will run you about $56, but note that these figures are 35mm tall.
 
Probably not adding these to the Gnomish Space Marines bestiary quite yet.



Thursday, March 12, 2015

(Kickstarter) Dwarven Forge City Builder System

With my Pyramid of the Lost King's goal miraculously met, still figuring out my pledge for the Scavengers RPG, and still waiting on my 2013 Kickstarters for Reaper (wave 10 - wrong address) and RAFM (almost ready to ship).  I haven't been doing my daily scrying of the website.

Then the Dwarven Forge City Builder System Kickstarter magically appeared.


I loved their original dungeon stuff, although I got much more use of their dungeon accessories than the tiles.   This time it's modular houses and cityscapes that look simply outstanding.   The lowest entry point for a hand painted single cottage is $45 and the minimum level to include stretch goals is $165, but they've already met nine of them, and higher pledge levels will get multiples of the stretech goal rewards.
 
As a man who can barely assemble my Miniature Building Authority together to form a village, I certainly can't imagine trying to put together multiple pieces for a con event.  Plus, my kids looooove puzzles and I could see pieces easily disappearing.  







Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Cold Wars 2015 - Gnomes!

With the rash of Gnome Wars cancellations due to Jim Stanton's life threatening Achilles surgery, and simply fabulous bedazzled walking stick, most of the gnome community was bummed out and those who survived the snow wandered around the The Host, looking to play a "normal" game. 

While wandering around looking for a game to play, we came upon a small table with a handful of Brigade Games Gnome Wars figure, and odd collection of "tanks" and a ton of flags.  It was the "Gnomen mit Panzern" game that could have easily been overshadowed by the Stanton Znombie game originally scheduled.   The good news that night was that it got three more players (Brian, Steve, and myself). 

This was not a Gnome Wars game by rules, but we certainly made it in spirit.  The GM, Joe Richards, had concocted some simple home rules for a basic treasure hunt.... in tanks.  Each nationality got a pair of gnomes and despite obvious differences in the tanks (ranging from steampunk behemoths to my converted miniature Barbie Dream Winnebago.  Face down tabs of paper were scattered around the board.  Our job was to visit those spots, notate the location of the treasure on a marked spot elsewhere on the board, and get the treasure before the other gnomes did..

And in between that we shot at each other with wild abandon.
My "tank" was converted from some random Barbie product...
The firing rules appealed to the masses.  You could try and hit anything within sight on the board, but to actually destroy a tank, or kill a gnome, would require tremendous luck.  Tank hits required a second roll, and I only glanced at the chart, but I believe only a 2 on 2d6 would destroy it.  The rest of range varied from a bounced shell to a busted tread to an inoperative turret.  Each player could spend one of their actions each turn and repair the damage inflicted, and each nationality had a limited but varying number of times they could do that total. 
The French find a clue!  And the Swiss and Russians are in hot pursuit.
Once we realized that death was not around the corner SO LONG AS WE STAYED IN OUR TANK, it was a simple matter of running around scrambling for clues, making driving rolls to stay upright, and getting enough hits on our opponents to run them down. 
 
Since I had a wheeled tank, I needed more driving  rolls while going through obstacles, and I ultimately made my rolls only while driving backwards.    I had managed to keep one step ahead from Brian's highlanders, until poor driving put me in the river and good shots destroyed my axle and set the tank on fire!
I'm about to abandon my submerged, burning tank with a busted axle
Lucky for me, Steve's French had disembarked from their tank, and parked it right next to my wreck, so I happily jumped over and stole his (and the treasures inside!)   The rest of the game was the Steve's French trying to get their tank back (I may have run one of them over, RIP Pierre) and the Swiss and their halberds hacking the wooden roof the tank to get it.  I ultimately reached the Irish Pub, which was the safe house.
 
In a rather close finish, Brian ended up with the most money from treasure.  It was a great, fun game, and I recommend Joe's games to anyone looking to avoid the waves of chaos the big Gnome Wars games could create.
 
While the Friday night discussion of the League of Gnomes focused on getting a team together to a big con (GenCon is a bad weekend for us and Origins is way too early in June next year), we had a much more productive session Saturday afternoon.  While certain portions of the discussion are hush-hush, I think I provide three tidbits for the rabid gnomies.
 
1) A revised, universal point system for unit creation.  As Jim loves to say, repeatedly, over both our weekend discussions, was that two Sikhs could take on three Germans and win half the time.  Besides reorganizing some of the newer nationalities, "breaking the code" could allow others to design their own units, nationalities, and, although it won't be specifically mentioned, non-gnomes could make an appearance on your gaming table at home.  For many they already are.
 
2) The Gnomish History/Fluff is officially up and running.  A number of sources will be used to explain the nationalities, magic, evil gnomes, and so on.  Some of the posts I've made on Gnomish History may be interwoven with the current limited fluff in the book, and two articles written by  other Gnomies called The Four Winds and Gnomish Mythology.  I AM NOT IN CHARGE OF THIS, merely a contributor.  If the editing body is looking for additional material, I would post such info as soon as it is confirmed. 
 
3) Still trying to coordinate a Gnome Wars Team for the national conventions.  Real life is a bugger for all of us.
 
Saturday night was the annual Gnome Joust, and the weather did prevent a few regulars from attending, plus with the announcement of Jim's cancellations, people assumed the it was cancelled as well.   We recruited from the crowd and still had at least 20 players for the double elimination tournament.
 
It's not for the faint of heart...
Despite falling in the second round, I worked my way through the loser's bracket  all the way back to the finals, where I unhorsed Sam I Am on the third pass.
 
You have been measured, and have been found lacking....
With time left in the slot, we ran another single-elimination tournament, and I got unhorsed by a kid.  Back to reality.

Oh yeah,  Bald Kevin was robbed!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cold Wars 2015 - Saturday

After a fun Friday night, we got a starchy breakfast at the Continental Inn, we journeyed across 30 back to The Host. 
I can't wait to see his 3-D version of Chutes and Ladders
 
Make sure all beach landings are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act
After meandering a bit, we entered the H.A.W.K.S room and was just about wrangled into one of the Schlegel's Ferry game, when we were veered over the Western game using Blood & Swash.  

Lovesick Larry and his boys,  looking for love and gold wagons in all the wrong places
Remember my opinion of the Doctor Who Minis rules from yesterday?  Well Blood and Swash is another great skirmish/role-playing minis game, especially better if there are no Timelords around.   Each player had their gang of four fellas, each with at least three different objectives to accomplish.  My leader, Lovesick Larry, needed to get to the saloon to reach my "beloved" Suzie (even though she did not agree to this).  If that didn't work out, there were a few more eligible bachelorettes I could "rescue".   If that didn't work, I could just rob the stage coach full of gold that was coming into town. 


Lovesick Larry, with love in his sights
While the rest of the table were participating in running gun battles, I carefully snuck around the buildings and waited for my chance to dash across the street and into the saloon.  Once inside, I paid for a round of drinks to the drunk cowboys inside, who were randomly shooting at anyone who looked funny.   I grabbed Suzie, dashed outside, and Suzie started screaming and fighting back.  Apparently coming from the Ike Turner school of romance, I slapped her so hard that I knocked her unconscious. 
 
On the steps of the saloon.
 
In the middle of town.
 
I was shot dead by at least a dozen different figures, cause that ain't no way to treat a lady...

The town, complete with new water tower in the lower left.
With their leader gone, my other three guys ran amok.  Morgan, the second in command, couldn't find any other young ladies in town, so he decided to try and grab Granny Parker.  I wasn't quite sure what the Parker family's objectives were, but my action distracted that entire group for the rest of the game, and although I didn't get far down the street, I believe two of their family members were dead, and I escape sans Granny.
 
Larry's sidekick, tried to jump on the wagon containing the gold, but with all the gunfire between the bandits, horse thieves, deputies, and amorous Granny lovers, chose to hide underneath the wagon and even fired at the fourth member of the gang, Austin, as he ran off with a bag of gold.
 
Ultimately, my one guy and a ex-Confederate from Steve's gang successfully ran off the board with the gold.    The game was a riot, and it was fitting the kids playing were calling the Frisco Kid the Fiasco Kid.



 



 


After the game, we met up with old man Brian, who obviously felt the effects of last night and bid us adieu at one o'clock in the afternoon.  Wimp.
 
I snagged lunch and did a final run of the dealer's hall and flea market, only grabbing a few the last couple Eureka CowBears left, a few Windstorm Egyptian accessories for my budding Egyptologist Maja, and finally finding superglue (and finding out this morning that the nozzle is dried shut while trying to put Maja's broken Mummy back together.)
 
This was all in flames when I passed by later.
 

 
The rest of the afternoon was spent at the the bar with Stanton and the Canadians, discussing how to fluff the... er... how to add logical fluff to the nationalities in Gnome Wars.  More on that on a special gnome-related post after this.   
 
Steve showed he had become a lightweight as well, leaving around six for his quick drive back to Allentown.  I grabbed some of the Hall Pig, ran into a few fans of the blog, and went back downstairs.
Really tiny fantasy
Back in the Distelfink, I hung out with the Canadians and got to play their Turbo Joust, which is similar to the Gnome Joust, but with kitbashed rocket sleds.. and explosions.
The first-ever sneak peak of TurboJoust
The weather and real life kept a good number of families away from the con, as the Gnome Joust had a low, but still healthy twenty players or so...  No spoilers or anything, as this belongs in the gnome post, but a certain blogger may have won the joust for the first * cough cough*

At ten o'clock I finally bid everyone a farewell to head back to the Wilkes-Barre metro area.  To avoid the road conditions south of Lebanon, I decided to take 222 back up to Reading and 61 back to 81 to go home.It wasn't a bad drive, except for the five plus miles of construction below Pottsville.   They're replacing the concrete deck on the on the northbound lanes, so traffic each way is funnelled into cattle chutes on the southbound side.  Narrow, ice covered, pothole ridden cattle chutes.  I did make it home before midnight to walk the dogs, pass out, and spend a full Sunday with the kids, including a birthday party for one of Maja's classmates.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Cold Wars 2015 - Friday

It's the most wonderful time of the year...
 
March means Cold Wars and Cold Wars means the "Guys Weekend" where we escape our brow beating lives for a couple of days and live it up a little. 
 
Of course, the big story of the weekend wasn't any special game or new release, rather the Ice Station Zebra occurring outside.  The regular flurry of cancellations due to "real life" had already come in hot and heavy (again, it's not unusual), but the snow-ice-rain-snow-DEEP FREEZE combination made things treacherous for the GMs and normal attendees, much less the dealers towing a big-ass trailer with all their wares inside.
 
But before I could depart,  I had to see a woman about a dog.
 
I had previously mentioned that my wife had "volunteered" us for a short-term fostering of a rescue dog.  The week commitment had stretched to over a month, and with two young kids, two cats, now THREE dogs, and full time jobs, our extra guest was the straw breaking the family's back.  She was scheduled for her "forever home" Tuesday, but there was no way my wife could handle everything solo. 
 
So, after getting my eldest, Maja, on the bus, and little Millie off to daycare, I needed to drive Lala the dog to McAdoo to meet with a rescue volunteer who could keep her over the weekend before she was spayed and went to her new home.

 
See the parking lot in the picture above?  Outside of I-81 and US30, that was the best pavement I saw as I navigated the back roads from Lebanon down to Lancaster.  Driving through giant lakes of standing water at points was much preferred to the alternative, "Reverse Potholes" three or four inch high shelves of ice between the clear tire ruts in the road.
 
I somehow made it down only a half-hour longer than usual and found a near-empty registration line.  Of course, the lone person in front of me had no idea what they were doing, and as the line started to swell behind me, a second person opened to speed up the process.  They had the very popular pink con shirts again, and to guarantee I brought something home for the girls, I snagged up two smalls, which created the only snafu in the process.  Someone had entered the wrong prices in the system, and it took a minute or to generated the ten dollar refund. 
 
After running into my friend Brian, we hit the bar for a few moments of libations, plotted our course and wandered about.
 
Pulp Game

Jurassic Luftwaffe vs RAF vs USAF, just like in the history books!

I absolutely love the mountains!

Friday afternoon was simply dead for games.  Let's be honest, everything picks up after dinner on Friday, but Distelfink was desolate.  It appeared the flea market stole a few feet from tournament section, so I didn't experience the usual jostling.
 
Although the picture doesn't show it well, the dealer's hall had large swaths of emptiness Friday afternoon.
At 1:00pm vendor were still arriving and trying to set up their stands, and a few wouldn't be filled until Saturday.  Certain sections that would be dedicated to a sales booth were now display tables for Architects of War and Warlord, and in all my trips to the hall, I never saw anyone playing with them. 
 
Perhaps it was the hellish drive in, icy loading ramp, and sense of dread that no one would show up, but I sense a lot of negative responses from the dealers, when, cash in hand, I wanted to buy something.  It seemed like I was being a hassle to them, and although I didn't do the smart thing and pre-order everything for "pick-up at Cold Wars,"  there wasn't a line of customers behind me.  Some of my shopping lists went unfilled and other parts went untouched. 

Cowboys and Mexicans
Mars in 25mm
Baltimore Election Riot of 1856
 
Space Battle

Karbala Gap, Iraq 2003
In the afternoon, Brian and I jumped in the "what if" battle of St. Pierre et Miquelon using the Doctor Who Miniatures rules.  The DW rules are very story based.  Nazis, Americans, and French (Vichy, Free, and Gendarmes) were scurrying around the estate looking for the administrator of the colony and a woman with very "interesting" talents. 
 
While the skirmish between the French forces was merely missed shots, a few ill-fated hit and run attempts with the cars, and a miss thrown Free French grenade into its own forces, the Americans and Nazi had a whiz-bang throwdown through the multiple building and floors of the escape.  While the action cards did not necessarily fit this type of encounter, by the end of the game we were fully embracing the thematic elements with willful abandon.   The Vichy and Nazis escaped off the island with the woman, but mechanical problems on their u-boat doomed them to a watery grave.

My Stormtroopers, errrr, French, could not hit anything.


More Mars
The Other Side of Mars

 

French Foreign Legion

By the time Dr Who was over, I managed to get ahold of my friend Steve.  He had been the victim of an unfortunately scheduled business meeting in Center City Philly Friday afternoon, but was braving traffic to get to Lancaster ASAP.  We decided to give up our parking spots in the Siberian wastes of the overflow lot and drive over to the Continental Inn to check in. 
 
This was the first time I experienced new traffic light in front of the host, and it brought me to giggles.  The Golden Corral seems nice too, but within the twenty minutes we drove to the Continental, check-in, and agreed to meet Steve there, it swelled from ten cars in the parking lot  to a scene more fitting a third world relief effort after an earthquake.  We eventually found the only empty restaurant in all of Lancaster, the Bob Evans near the end of the outlet strip.  It was quick and friendly service, and most importantly, great food.  A run to the Wawa at the other end of 30 for "after hour supplies" and we were back at the Host with my car right next to the front door.
Stalingrad
Post Apocalyptic Shanty Town (
Upon our return, we jumped into the only Gnome-related game left on the schedule (outside the joust).  It was a fun Treasure hunting scenario... with tanks.  I'll post pics and details about that on a separate "gnome only" post later.
 
After the game, we ran into the actual "Gnome Guy" Jim Stanton, rocking an air boot and a bedazzled cane.  Soon we migrated to the bar upstairs, and my trio partook in what I hope will be a Cold Wars tradition, the downing of the Mad Elfs. 
After a few hours of socializing with the Stout Gnomes (and lovingly drinking our Mad Elfs), we almost closed the bar, stumbled back to the hotel, ate our "after hour supplies." and fell asleep by 4am.

And were up by 7am to start Saturday (pics and story coming soon!)

Site:  The Host is what The Host is, although the parking lot would make a great set for a live-action version of Frozen.  No new horror stories from anyone staying there, although there are a LOT of empty rooms not available for rent, due to a need to rehabilitate/remodel them.  On-site food was passable, as always, although I do have to say that the staff seemed much friendlier and accommodating than cons past.

Lodging:  Thanks to the people who blazed a trail in the snow so we could traverse back and forth from the Continental and the Host.  Room was clean, staff friendly, parking lot decently plowed, and the complimentary omelet may have saved Steve's life.

Events:  Lacking, thanks to the weather.   There were alot of AWI/Napoleonic/Civil War games that had full tables and nice presentation, but they weren't eye-catching.  To be honest, they were far more than felt and lichen, but they all looked the same.  The con theme (1865: The Beginning of the End of the End of the Civil War for the First Time) had few noticeable events outside of smaller rooms.  Everything I did was in the beer-and-pretzel skirmish side of things and was perfect to kickstart some wargaming this Spring. 

Dealers:  Missing dealers and grumpy dealers produced the exact opposite of normal spending, where I spend 80% there and 20% at the flea market. Outside of some the last remaining Teddy Bear Cowboys, and Brigade Games Chupacabras for every member of the family.    I might have also been discouraged by a lack of Zap-a-Gap or even Superglue (the GF9 stuff doesn't meet my needs) and some sticker shock for some of the rule books ($42.00 cover price for DBA 3.0?  My daughter's five and wrote a book for school with more pages in it.)

Flea Market:  The few seemed to be the same people recycling the same stuff.  A few buildings, a few minis, and some more Pegasus palm trees (for $5).  I did have a few friends who grabbed tables this time and they did make a killing in the first ten minutes.