Wednesday, September 30, 2015

2015 Gaming Year in Review

Like a contorted hockey season, my gaming year is officially over.

The Blog
2013-2014 was a banner year and 2014-2015 blew that out of the water.   I averaged more than a post a day and my hits went up about 20%.  Somebody's reading this!  Of course, a spam hit from Italy overinflated my growth post-Historicon.  I hate Italy.

The Top Ten Blog Posts of the Last Twelve Months
1. Battle of Isandlwana, Family Style
2. Cold Wars 2015 - Friday
3. History of the Gnome World, Part One
4. The Board
5. Mandatory Holiday Swag
6. Plunder from the Tomb
7. The Lost Shrine of Tu'Lip
8. Sphinx Head by Maja
9. RPGaDay (2014) Favorite Con Game
10. Reaper Bones Kickstarter Launches in June

The readers have spoken, so family-fun AARs it shall remain!

The Best Laid Plans
So, looking back at my plans back in October 2014, the year appears to be a dismal failure.
  • Car Wars?  Nothing, save jumping on the Arenas Kickstarter
  • Samoa?  Outside of restoring some beat up figs, the island was quiet.
  • Home?  Filed deep into my records.  I'll try not to mention it again.
  • The Gnomish Space Marines?  Despite hyping some playtesting at Mepacon, I was forced to cancel and haven't looked at things since.
So what has happened?

The FLGS
Emerald Vale moved down the street and expanded it's square footage and inventory, while reducing its owners from two to one.   I did some Sunday night booster drafts last Fall, and lived la vida loca at a midnight pre-release tournament.    I actually haven't played Magic since, although I did acquire one of my beloved Ihf-Biff Efreets, put it in the Treefolk Deck, and shoved that in a drawer.

They seem to be doing well with Magic, Infinity, Games Workshop, Heroclix, and an unusally active Blood Bowl group (when did Blood Bowl get expensive... along with everything else?). 

It is the one place in my life that I've encountered vaping, and as much as the smell of cigarettes on someone coming in from a smoke break disgusts me, the idea of someone vaping while playing a game makes me want to smash their faces in with a lead pipe.  If it's permitted in the game area, I'll avoid game nights. 

Now, I've discovered that the one owner has gotten out and the other is moving the store again to another location within a quarter mile. Joy of joys.

They're also not particularly responsive to my idiot proof special orders I've submitted from my Apathy of the New Releases columns.  Nothing comes out till October, but I've yet to know if anything was even ordered.

My only 5-gnome-out-of-5 gnome review, Pop's Culture Shoppe, is finalizing their webstore, and I'm tempted to avoid close proximity, eschew Amazon discounts, and pay for shipping and handling if Pop's can just communicate and get my stuff to me.

For now, the FLGS is getting drink and chip purchases for the kids when we make a futile run there.

Cold Wars 2015
We got back to the core group (Steve, Brian, and myself) for the "Guy's Weekend" and we had a good time. I played in a Western using Blood and Swash,  a WW2 game using Doctor Who Miniatures Game, Two types of Jousts, including blowing through the competition to win the Gnome Joust!  As I plan for Fall-In! in November, I'll try to plan a weekend like that, just with a six year old in tow.  I'll go light on the Mad Elf.

Kickstarter
My Kickstarter addiction resolves most issues that I have with my FLGS. 
Car Wars Arenas  - ON TIME/EARLY
De Horrore Cosmico  - DELIVERED - ON TIME
Pyramid of the Lost King  - LATE, VERY VERY LATE
Reaper Bones III (Add-ons Only) - JUST COMPLETED.  CAN ADD ON MORE THROUGH MAY
Scavengers RPG - PLAYTEST PDF ARRIVED, A WEE BIT LATE
Tales of the Caribbean   - CAMPAIGN JUST STARTED
Star Patrol: Carrier Commander - CAMPAIGN JUST STARTED

Of the old stuff from last year that's still pending, only the RAFM CoC minis are still outstanding, and it's just a matter of shipping them from Canada.

The Mini-Birthday Throwdown
Unlike last year's epic throwdown, this was a small affair with Brian and Steve involving Harbor, Battletech, Tiny Epic Defender, and a cutthroat game of Connect Four.  

Operation Tom Sawyer
My plan to clear off the painting table was a moderate success.  Only 53 new items painted, but I fixed up most of my Samoan armies and Gnome armies (207 total).   I also whitewashed the table and have some tiny projects in the queue for once.

Games
#30GamesAMonth:   Thirty different games over thirty days in September was a grandiose task that real life crushed like a steel-toe boot. 

Gnome Wars: Not Much this year.  The kids have been happy with smaller scale 25mm skirmish/role-playing.

Magic:  I have quenched my thirst for the game for another decade.  It was enjoyable while it lasted.

Zombie Dice:  Zombie Dice has become the go-to game in the family.  It's quick, it's simple enough for Millie, and Maja tries to teach every person that walks in the door. 

CoC - People were maimed in England, but in Egypt, the gloves have come off.  Character death may be a way of life in Cairo.  The players have been warned.

Savage Showdown: I've tried using this stripped down version of Savage Worlds to replace T.I.A.R.A. and Gnome Wars, and so far, the kids like it.  Fast and simple, until the special rules kick in.

Of course, the biggest news of the year occurred last month, when the beloved Hoyce returned to the area.  We're desperately trying to arrange CoC, Hackmaster, and 2nd Edition AD&D games with him, as well as convincing him to become another fella on the guys weekend to Cold Wars 2016.!

The 2015 Gaming with the Gnomies Awards!
Best Kickstarter:  De Horrore Cosmico.  Great book, great communication, and I don't even own a copy of Cthulhu Invictus!  It's that good.

Worst Kickstarter:  Reaper Bones II  - Somehow RAFM, now with a ten-month delay, gets a pass because the minis are awesome.  They share the same fate as Chaosium, not having enough money to ship crap out.  Perhaps I just expect a company as professional as Reaper being able to schedule in enough delays into production so late when an item is late, it's still early according to Kickstarter guidelines.  It could be far, far worse, as some of the $1 pledges I've made are for projects that will never see light of day.

Best Game:  ZOMBIE DICE.  Although the Risus IOU game was the best role-playing session,  this game keeps our family together.  Can't beat that.

Best RPG Buy: Cold Harvest - Stalinist Era scenario.  Who's worse, the Mythos or the humans?

Best Minis Buy:  The Battletech Introductory Boxed Set I got from my wife for Christmas.  Sure, it's more expensive than the old Games Workshop boxed sets that I use to gauge "expensive." but it comes with soooo many minis, and  a better painting guide than GW produces (and charges additional for).

Best "Other Purchase"  The spice rack my wife got me for my paints ranks up there, but the Windsword Miniatures Sphinx Head that Maja painted wins out. 
 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

(Hackmaster) Burning Trogs Rule! #12: Curse of the Caretaker!

Our Returning Cast:
  • Zorin Redrock, Gnome Titan Fighter. Veteran of the Barbarian Wars against the Gnomish City-States, Zorin had retired and has honing his skills for future glory in Marakeikos. Unfortunately, his near bloodthirsty disdain for humans was putting a crimp in his plans.
  • Mutumbo: Nubian warrior wandering around strange world where, if the gods weren't crazy, their believers were. While not the most talented in the party, he obviously demonstrated the most experience, thus his continuing ability to take a pummeling and not complain about it made Zorin give his begrudging respect.
  • Cecelia Darkspruce, Half-Elf Fighter Cleric of Sif, Valkyrie of Pre-Ragnarock Battles, Hero of the Barony of Celsior.
  • Gwendylyn Lorax, Half-Elf Druid. Even a Druid of the native Rifflani Elves needed a moment or two in the dirty city for supplies and information.
  • Janus Redrock, Gnome Titan Priest of Pangrus. Zorin's cousin. Looking for brawling and booty (both financial and otherwise)
  • Tobias. Dwarf Thief picked up at Frandor’s Keep
  • Brother Thomas, Human Monk. It was never ascertained exactly which monastic order Thomas originated from, only that he could indeed kick ass
  • "Whitey": War buddy of Zorin's. Pitiful albino halfling cook.
  • •Nina, a quiet, unassuming human thief, pregnant with Mutumbo’s love child.
After the party eluded an army of orcs and goblins AND rescued an entire village of humans in the desolate wastes of Milosic, they were entreated with the task of delivering the dire news to the capital city of Mirros.
Hepdec, 1133, Mirros, Marakeikos
With the message delivered and the kingdom preparing for war, the Trogs did what anyone would do in that situation. They partied hard at Debbie’s Singing Mighty Keg and trained in the city (More than one of them had levelled during the chaos and needed proper training to formally advance).
Mutumbo had returned from Celsior. He had stayed there with Nina as the group travelled to Mirros. Nina’s injury and infection subsided and she managed to give birth to a healthy baby boy, which they named Takem.
The rumors that swept the city were only doom and gloom. Frandor’s Keep apparently fell swiftly to Ahk Tang the Central Orc League. News from the elven kingdom of Agenmoor had it completely overrun by drow elves. Many elves had fled and others slaughtered by the orc army as they tried to make it so the elven enclaves in Marakeikos. Cecelia, a citizen Agenmoor, was only concerned of the whereabouts of her family.
6th of Hexdec, 1133, On the Road, Maraekeikos
Tobias, Zorin, and Cecelia decided to ride back to Celsior and deposit the party funds and pay taxes before Walter, the caretaker of their headquarters, ran out of fund. Along the way, they discovered many dead bodies and campstuff left in hasty retreat, as well as two of the largest sheep they had ever seen.
10th of Hexdec, 1133, Celsior, Marakeikos
They reached Celsior to find Walter has spent all they money that had been earmarked for taxes on booze and gifts for a post-partum Nina. Cecelia was absolutely furious, casting a curse of Sif onto him turning him into the local magistrate to be punished. They paid the anticipated taxes for the next two years, hired a wet nurse to help Nina and left Mutumbo in charge of the headquarters.
14th of Hexdec, 1133, Mirros, Marakeikos
Upon returning to Mirros, they met up with the other Trogs and found a job cleaning out the sewers???
After a year hiatus, it’s proper to restart the campaign journal for the Burning Trogs, although things are even fuzzier than before.   The betrayal of Walter hit the party hard, Cecelia in particular, since she hired him and entrusted them with their home/hq.   A cursed, horribly disfigured Walter may make an appearance one day... mwhahahahaha!

Update:  As a matter of fact, I did find notes on Walter in the short lived post Trogs campaign.  It's simple beautiful was corrupt things can flourish.

Poor Walter...
I believe this is where Nina and Mutumbo's players needed to drop out.  Mutumbo would return...
Next.... #13 Sundered Faith

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Weekend of Normal Chaos

I'm still staggering around at 2 in the morning, trying to unwind from a relaxing weekend.  

I honestly can't tell you what happened on Friday.  Friday has always been my yard work day, and with a pile of debris still in the yard from the evergreen we cut down last week, it was my first priority.

Nope, didn't even weed whack.

Clean out the garage?  Wash the cars?  Pick out paint with the wife for the millionth time?

Nope.  Distant PTSD memories say it was a sanity shredding amount of laundry, but I'm still quite sure.

Saturday was pegged to be a productive day of mini-projects, followed by some daddy time at the bench and a night of Doctor Who with the girls.  In stead, we mustered over to the Bloomsburg Fair for farm animals, trampolines, and food on a stick.  As money quickly vanished for skyrides and  kid
s dinner we could have cooked at home at a fifth the cost, my grumpypants came on pretty quick.    After the fair skyride (at five bucks a pop) changed its policy from three people to two in car (and no refunds, of course), we took 25 minutes to journey to the other end of the fair to find my wife, purchase a fourth ticket, and all of us got to go on the ride, to exactly back from where I started.  The mass of humanity, the ever increasing prices, and some uncharacteristically unruly girls made it one of the low points of my decade of going to the fair.  On a brighter note, I did find a great, cheap Buffalo Chicken Pretzel Wrap from a food truck out of West Chester.

With the family passed out, I began the process of transcribing the Hackmaster journal from 2001-2004 into blog drafts.  I'd like to have the next one, episode twelve, to be posted on Tuesday, and each Tuesday thereafter.

I also did a few things regarding the resurrection/revenge of the Burning Trogs.  I set up a Facebook group (private) for the campaign, and sent out the first communique: Everyone must make a 2nd level Halfling something.  My plan is still formulating, but it shall be glorious!

Looks like we nailed down the next Call of Cthulhu campaign session for November 1st, making the first week of November the biggest social gaming experience of the calendar year.  With Dr Bob making an appearance, we'll see if we can jump start Masks, or if we should simply let it fade away.  Something exciting will happen, regardless, as it's the first formal appearance of Hoyce in the CoC campaign (He did play his avatar version in The Lonely House in the Woods, but that was a connected one-shot at his bachelor party that included Doc Millheim, Steven O'Hara, and Smitty playing alongside a host of other characters that will never return.

Sunday failed on a planning scale, but I did get the next installment of the kid's Savage Showdown game in with great fanfare.   As the heroes neared town with a mule train full of priceless artifacts, trouble befell them.  Only one character escaped, but I did witness a phenomenal damage roll involving a non-wild card porter delivering it to the Chupacabre.  Fun stuff, but soon enough it was outside to play, dinner, baths, and bedtime so Dad could sneak back downstairs to watch Fear the Walking Dead.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

My FLGS is the Wandering Tribe of Israel

It's been awhile since I've purchased anything of any significance at my FLGS.  The last time I purchased something from the store that wasn't a snack or dice for the girls was a highly underpriced pack of drunken dwarfs back during 4th of July weekend.

With the kids already at their activities, I made a quick stop to burn off some time after work before I picked them up.  They confirmed the first piece of rumor I already knew was true:  one of the owners of the business was leaving/already left.   When I had first heard that he was getting out due to health concerns of working 90+ a week between his regular job and the store, I was only slightly surprised.  But when I did my calculations,  the store is only open during "business" (bulk of sales) hours about 60 hours a week, and I've rarely seen him before six on weeknights.  That's a LOT of late night hours, hours that don't always generate revenue.  Here's hoping the clientele proves me wrong and buys a ton of impulse purchases after 9am.

Even with the loss of a co-owner, the next decision shocked me.  The store was getting it's third location in the last 18 months, again, down the road from he current spot, but adjacent to the deli the remaining owner operates.  It's off the main line, there's no confirmed parking, save on-street, and it's all happening before Christmas? 

Not looking great. 

My wife, who made a sizable special order for me last Christmas, did so at the original location.  She would only know of the knew location because (a) I told her and (b) her doctor is next door.  After hearing this story, she's probably going to go through Amazon, so I can't imagine the people who haven't visited in awhile and don't even know where the store went. 

The Amazon wishlist is updated,  but perhaps, my wife could go through Pop's Culture Shoppe through mail order. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pondenmonium... in 3-D!!!

I keep mentioning my desire to make Pondemonium one of the last games I play during my faulted #30GamesAMonth.  Stand-ups are cut out and we just need time to play.  If it goes well, we could transition over to the actual purpose of the rules: to play with the Eureka Frog and Turtle lines. 

A fully modelled version of the game board?  Yes, please!

http://miciosegonegames.blogspot.com/2015/07/a-new-free-printnplay-boardgameskirmish.html
https://boardgamegeek.com/images/boardgame/181365/pondemonium
 





Friday, September 25, 2015

Pre-Registered for Fall-In!

It's been a long time since I needed to pre-reg for a convnetion.  It's been an even longer time to pre-reg AND sign-up for games.

The HMGS website for Fall-In! was a little slower than earlier this week when I was perusing, but my daughter and I are all set for the con. 

Since the weekend is dedicated to Maja and each game will be a Daddy/Daughter joint command, I had to get a little creative with the "one event a day" registration.  Here we go:

Friday 8pm - The Gnome Joust (under Maja)
Saturday  9am - Assault on Santa's Village (under Me)
Saturday 2pm - Painting for Complete Beginners (under Me)
Saturday 3pm - Plastic Pirate Party!(under Maja)

Here's hoping Santa's Village runs 20-30 minutes short, so we have enough time for lunch and a trip to the dealer hall before running up to Hobby U for Maja's first painting lessons not from Dad, then leave there a few minutes early to jump into the Lego game.  As much as I'm dedicated to getting roads this year from the Dealers Hall, it might just be enough time to restock my supplies and snag some Egyptian stuff for Maja.

Apathy of the New Releases (Oct '15)

My Want List
9th Level Games
KOBOLDS ATE MY BABY RPG: EVEN MORE THINGS TO KILL AND EAT .......   $21.00
More KAMB?   Squeeeeeee!!!!!


My Money-is-No-Object List
9th Level Games
SCHRODINGER’S CATS ....................................................................................... $20.00 Uncertainty didn’t kill the cat, but that doesn’t mean it’s not dead! Cats are a curious lot...Cat Physicists doubly so! Their desire to discover the secrets of the universe overwhelms their already shaky, catnipinfluenced ethics. In Schrodinger’s Cats, a pseudo-scientific card game of bluffing, deduction, and strategic uncertainty, players take on the role of a Cat Physicist such as Albert Felinestein or Sir Isaac Mewton, running experiments, forming hypotheses, and trying to one-up each other’s research. 

My Imaginary Store List (The Pegleg Gnome Games and Chalupas)
Alderac Entertainment Group
Greedy, Greedy, Goblins .......................................................................................... $39.99
By some guy named Richard Garfield.  Never heard of 'em

The Army Painter 
The Army Painter Starter Set ................................................................................... $75.00

Catalyst Game Labs
BATTLETECH: TECHNICAL READOUT 3150  ................................................ $39.99
BATTLETECH: EMBERS OF WAR PB             ................................................ $12.95
SHADOWRUN RPG: A WORLD OF SHADOWS ANTHOLOGY PB .................. $12.95
SHADOWRUN RPG: CHROME FLESH HC        ......................................... ..... $49.95
SHADOWRUN RPG: IDENTITY CRISIS PAPERBACK   .................................. $21.95

Cubicle 7
WORLD WAR CTHULHU - OPERATION HOMUNCULUS .............................. $24.99

Diamond Comics Distributors
Some movie named Star Wars loads down Diamond with tons of product.  Toys, t-shirts, bobbleheads, and cardboard stand-ups reign supreme.  Tread carefully, dear shop owner, but do not dismiss everything.  

Fantasy Flight Games
ELDRITCH HORROR: UNDER THE PYRAMIDS EXPANSION ........................... $49.95
FURY OF DRACULA (THIRD EDITION) ............................................................     $59.95
RUNEBOUND (THIRD EDITION) .......................................................................     $59.95
Star Wars X-Wing: GHOST ..................................................................................       $49.95
Star Wars X-Wing: IMPERIAL ASSAULT CARRIER ...........................................  $69.95
Star Wars X-Wing: INQUISITOR’S TIE ................................................................     $14.95
Star Wars X-Wing: MIST HUNTER ......................................................................    $19.95
Star Wars X-Wing: PUNISHING ONE ...................................................................    $29.95
WH 40K DARK HERESY 2ND EDITION RPG: ENEMIES WITHOUT HC ...........$39.95
WARHAMMER QUEST: THE ADVENTURE CARD GAME ................................ $39.95

Flying Buffalo
DELUXE TUNNELS & TROLLS HC ................................................................... $59.95
DELUXE TUNNELS & TROLLS SC ................................................................... $39.95
TUNNELS & TROLLS: ADVENTURERS COMPENDIUM  ...............................$11.95
TUNNELS & TROLLS: BUFFALO CASTLE ....................................................... $ 8.95
TUNNELS & TROLLS: DEATHTRAP EQUALIZER DUNGEON .......................$ 8.95
TUNNELS & TROLLS: DUNGEON OF THE BEAR ............................................ $ 8.95

Games Workshop
Another delayed solicitation of product, much of which I saw on the shelf already at my FLGS.  The Age of Sigmar products look ridiculously large and are outrageously placed.  The Wood Elf Forest Spirit War Host at $225.00 seems the worst of the bunch.

Goodman Games
DCC: #77 THE CROAKING FANE - SKETCH COVER ...................................... $14.95
DCC: #88 THE 998TH CONCLAVE OF WIZARDS - SKETCH COVER .............  $24.99
DUNGEON CRAWL CLASSICS: LANKHMAR - MASKS OF LANKHMAR ......  $ 9.99
METAMORPHOSIS ALPHA RPG: ROBOTS AMONG US .................................. $ 9.99
PATHFINDER RPG: MAXIMUM XCRAWL - BOSTONCRAWL ....................... $ 9.99

Konami Digital Entertainment
YU-GI-OH! TCG: DIMENSION OF CHAOS BOOSTER DISPLAY (24)

Koplow Games
LIFE STONES: GLASS STONES (20) ............................................................... $2.00
Amber, Black, Blue, Clear, Emerald, Red, White, Yellow

Looney Labs
Retro Loonacy .................................................................................................. $15.00

Mayfair Games
Saboteur ........................................................................................................... $13.00

Osprey Publishing
FROSTGRAVE: TALES OF THE FROZEN CITY ............................................ $ 8.95

Paizo Publishing
PATHFINDER ADVENTURE CARD GAME: ORACLE CLASS DECK ........... $19.99
PATHFINDER AP: HELL’S REBELS PT 5 - THE KINTARGO CONTRACT ... $24.99
PATHFINDER PLAYER COMPANION: AGENTS OF EVIL ............................ $14.99
PATHFINDER MAP PACK: MARSH TRAILS ................................................. $14.99
PATHFINDER CAMPAIGN SETTING: CHELIAX - THE INFERNAL EMPIRE. $22.99

Palladium Books
RIFTS CHAOS EARTH: RESURRECTION ..................................................... $16.95

Pinnacle Entertainment Group
SAVAGE WORLDS RPG: THE LAST PARSEC
DOUBLE ACTION DECK .................................................. $19.95
ERIS BETA-V LIMITED EDITION ........................ ..........  $24.95
GM SCREEN AND ENIGMA EQUATION ADVENTURE ...  $19.99
LEVIATHAN LIMITED EDITION ...................................... $24.99
 MAP SET - DROPSHIP AND FREIGHTER ........................ $14.99
MAP SET - PIRATE SHIP AND RESEARCH SHIP ............. $14.99
SCIENTORIUM LIMITED EDITION .................................. $24.99

Pokemon USA
POKÉMON TCG: POWERS BEYOND TINS

Steve Jackson Games
CAR WARS CLASSIC: ARENAS EXPANSION .......................................... $19.95
Munchkin Hipsters Blister Pack .................................................................... $ 9.99
Munchkin Steampunk Science! Dice ...............................................................$ 6.95

Wizards of the Coast
D&D RPG: SWORD COAST ADVENTURERS GUIDE ............................... $39.95
MAGIC THE GATHERING CCG: GIFT BOX (2015) .................................. $24.95

Wiz-Kids
DC HEROCLIX: BATMAN/SUPERMAN BOOSTER BRICK  .................... $12.99
DC HEROCLIX: BATMAN/SUPERMAN WORLD’S FINEST FAST FORCES $16.99
DC HEROCLIX: BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN  FAST FORCES ................... $16.99
PATHFINDER BATTLES: ICONIC HEROES BOX SET 6 .......................... $34.99
                                                             

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pack Mules With Loads

With the new paint shelves assembled, and the kids asleep, I managed to sit down, try out the ergonomics of the shelves, and painted up the next essential minis for our Savage Showdown game:  Pack Mules


These should be through Brigade Games, and unfortunately, they might be the only minis I've ever gotten from Lon that had a ton of flash on them.   I'm a little confused, as Brigade is selling them in group of four and I actually own six of them (one was painted by Millie and is currently soaking in Simple Green to get the rainbows off. )

 
In the picture above, you can see Swedish Adventurer Nils Lingonberry and archaeologist Millie Maja arguing in the background.   What's that, faithful readers?  Weren't Nils and Millie en route to the big city in a big truck full of ancient artifacts?    Why are there mules now?

Hopefully after this weekend, we'll be able to find out!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Shelving a Project... and Shelves for Another

As I mentioned previously, I sanded down my gargantuan painting bench and repainted it.  It's not perfect, but it got me back to organizing my paints and projects (the ones I've barely touched in weeks).

Then my wife found a Spicy Shelf on clearance at the local grocery store for ten bucks.

My wife drives me crazy, as all wives are wont to do, but this time she hit the jackpot.

The re-organized paint station
The three levels fit all my active paints (I have multiple bottles of the same color three foot to the left) and I'm able to fit the overflowing bottles in a much smaller space than before.  Best yet, the flocking materials that don't fit on the window sill above now fit besides the rack, with room to line up the painting queue to boot.

Well done, Sweetie!

I did get some time to sit down and paint last night and the one project for the next Savage Showdown game is finished.

I've tried to restart the #30GamesAMonth project that stalled out on day 13, but too many late night projects and horrendous 1st grade homework has prevented most inroads to gaming.  I even tried to throw in a game of T.I.A.R.A. in the morning before school, but my phone ringing off the hook between work and our confused daycare nullified it.   I've got a good weekend with the kids, and I anticipate that anything not related to yardwork and the kid's play practice will attempt to be gaming, and test painting some spiders from Michaels.

Fall-In Pre-registration opened up on early this week and I need to get ours done.  Barring some quick sell-outs, we're looking at some Gnomes, some Pirates, and perhaps Santa Claus, mixed in with a beginner's painting class and just enough time for Maja to pick out some Egytian stuff in the Dealer's Hall.  Perfect Daddy-Daughter weekend, even if Millie's Mommy-Daughter Day will be a princess makeover.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Golden Goblin's Tales of the Caribbean Stretch Goals

It's not surprising that the Tales of the Caribbean Kickstarter by  Golden Goblin Press easily reached it's initial goal of $20,000 with almost three weeks to go.    I assumed the awesome stretch goals of added chapters, more scenarios, an extra pdf, and a fiction collection would progress like the previous campaigns.

What really struck my eye, was the $29,500 stretch goal: Gunboat Diplomacy.

Directly off the 9/22 Update (edited)

This additional chapter to the Guide to the Caribbean, by Jeffrey Moeller, will allow keepers to run the entire collection of core scenarios as a campaign. Investigators become involved with the U.S. Navy’s Office of  Naval Intelligence ("ONI"), which is still in its infancy. The investigators find themselves on-board the U.S.S. Lamprey, on special patrols to protect both American interests and the whole of mankind against the mysterious forces of the Cthulhu Mythos. This section will:
  • discuss the actual history and operations of ONI in the Caribbean in the 1920s;
  • discuss the secret history that led to the establishment of the U.S.S. Lamprey as a "black ops" patrol, with additional duties beyond the usual
  • outline the career of Lt. Cmdr. Hughes Deschamps, a naval intelligence officer who knows what the world faces
  • include a detailed description of the U.S.S. Lamprey (a plan of which will be included in the prior ship plan stretch goal)
  • detail resources available to the crew (including what elements of ONI know and do not know about the horrors of the Mythos)
  • provide character templates for a naval command officer; naval attache/political officer; signal analyst; pilot; and appropriate sailors for a small patrol ship like the Lamprey.
A little naval/primordial Delta Green-esque action?  Sign me up!

 

Monday, September 21, 2015

(Kickstarter) Oathsworn Burrows & Badgers Freelances

Oathsworn Miniatures has launched their latest Kickstarter, Burrows & Badgers FreeLances.







The rules and warband construction guides can be found here.    Figures are a bit pricey, especially with the added shipping from England, but they are highly detailed sculpts. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Talk Like a (Gnome) Pirate Day!

We had an eyepatch-wearing, chocolate-gold doubloon eating, parrot stealing Talk Like a Pirate Day at work on Thursday, when we were fully staffed.  

But that doesn't mean I can't link a wayback picture I just found on the web from Historicon 2011.  

http://littlbitz.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 18, 2015

Most People Dressed as Garden Gnomes

Between the woman with 2,042 garden gnomes, and the event listed below, I guess there is a "gnome" section in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Why????

From the Courier-Mail article:
HUNDREDS of people in garden gnomes costumes will flood Wynnum in attempt to break a world record on November 7.

The Rolling With Your Gnomies festival is the brainchild of Little Gnome bookstore owner Bel Ellis, who hopes the wacky spectacle will put the bayside on the map.
"It will bring something to the bayside that’s just a bit quirky and a lot of fun,” she said.

Members of the community are invited to put on their finest felt hats and join an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the “largest gathering of people dressed as garden gnomes”.

The day’s festivities will include a street parade through Wynnum Central and live entertainment and market stalls at Bandstand Park from 2pm-5pm.

The official count will take place at 3.30pm.

The record was set in 2011 when the British Broadcasting Corporation mustered a crowd of 478 gnomes to raise funds for the BBC Children in Need charity.
The bayside event will raise funds to buy books for local schools, charities and community groups including The Pyjama Foundation and the QUOCKA Wynnum Manly reading program, which recently suffered a cut to funding.
Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 pensioners, students and “little humans” between five and 18.
help out
You can learn more and buy tickets by visiting rollingwithyourgnomies.com
■ Organisers are seeking a sponsor to help cover the cost of bringing a Guinness representative to Australia
■ They are also calling out to anyone who would like to volunteer on the day

Thursday, September 17, 2015

CoC #30: Masks of Nyarlathotep #10 Never Look a Man in the Eye in Cairo

April 1, 1925
After Professor Steven O'Hara and French mercenary Francois Guerin searched the back alleys of Cairo for Walter Besart, a deranged, battered, and badly sunburned Dr Bob Wintermute appeared at the bar that night, slugging the AWOL Frenchman before succumbing to his injuries.

April 2, 1925
Bob's vague recounting of the events out in the desert confused the investigators, but the details of the story would have to wait as he required much needed medical attention and a sponge bath by Dr  Nathaniel Millheim.

With Wintermute stable but incoherent, O'Hara and Guerin tried to retrace the steps of the group.  They first visited the ramshackle tenement which housed the rooms of the other mercenaries, Claude and Heinrich.  Despite some nosey neighbors, not much came of it.

They then tried to stop by a few drinking holes frequented by the mercenaries, but Steven stood out like a sore thumb.  If not for Francois and his pugilistic girth, who knew what evils would befall the resident physicist.  He dragged O'Hara back to the hotel

April 3, 1925
Steven woke up, having been seriously knocked out during a warm welcome to one of the dive bars the night before.  Street smarts was in short supply, so they turned to visit the Egyptian Museum. 

Steven immediately found the Carlysle Expedition documentation, while Francois was wholly lost in the complex.  A small Egyptian fellow found the confused Frenchman, and discovering his broken English trying to explain he was looking for the Carlysle Expedition info, the man switched to French and walked him right over to... Steve.   The duo had met Dr Ali Karfour, curator of the museum, under friendlier arrangements than their fellow investigators.

In Karfour's office, O'Hara tried to play up the "simple acquaintance" angle of his missing friends.  Karfour quickly caught on to the attempted deception and once Steven spilled a good portion of the beans, the curator was much more helpful. 

They slaved over the Carlysle paperwork, which was half-filled out and covered... another three sites?  (One of which Dr Bob and Company had visited).   They were certainly trying to hide something.

Karfour was also very forthcoming about the Black Pharaoh, dumping a lot of information into the laps of the befuddled investigators. 

Trips to the Bent Pyramid may be in order... if Dr Bob and Doc Millheim were ready for it.

 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

#30GamesAMonth Day 13... and the Streak Ends

When I started #30GamesAMonth for September, I knew I had a stacked deck against me.  An increased work schedule, crazy kids activities, and the evils of 1st grade homework pulled against us.  I definitely think Tim from Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog, who is also participating in this endeavour, had a few advantages to me, namely older kids (which opens up a plethora of games), I believe they home school (better scheduling), and, of course Saskatoon is already under 27 feet of snow.

On Sunday the 13th we played a do or die game of Candyland as a family.

On Monday the 14th, the very simple, but very structured homework program came out, and my wife took a bullet and handled the first night.  I pre-occupied the little Millie upstairs with... multiple games of Candyland.  Last night, we had dance class, a late dinner and by the time I oversaw homework and 25 minutes of reading, it was bedtime.

The 30 different games, a different game a day, in 30 days is over. 

Now, that doesn't mean I won't try to fill the second half of the month with games.  I've got a few things planned:
  1.  If I can help Millie with her Scissor work while Maja does homework, we may try a fast game of Pondemonium.
  2. A Savage Showdown follow-up to our last "Egypt" game.  If our heroes drove off in a truck, why am I still trying to finish painting up mules for the next game? 
  3. D&D Monster Slayers: Champion of the Elements, although it's too easy for both my girls.
  4. TWERPS using Gnome Wars figures
  5. Gnome Wars - the long anticipated follow-up to Veliki Leptir.
  6. TIARA and a playroom full of toys... and adventure!
  7. A skirmish sized game of Burning Plastic?
  8. Attack of the 50-foot Princess Revisited?  Using OGRE as the engine.
"Grown-Up" gaming with my friends seems unlikely over the next two weekends, although I could pull off some Battletech, Car Wars, or Contemptible Little Armies.  Our next Cthulhu session is all the way in November, and that might be our last session of the year.  It doesn't bode well for either the 2nd Edition AD&D game or to restart Hackmaster until the New Year. 

Outside of the rest of the month I'm going to dedicate it to family/kid games.  There's a Candyland-inspired Frozen game that just different enough mechanically to count as something else, plus a hoard of ages 3 and up games that just ensure we're doing something as a family.

Onward and upward!
 

(Kickstarter) Macrocosm: The Next Races

Why of why are all the fun little toys that I want out of England.

Thanks to Preacher by Day I didn't miss the Macrocosm: New Races Kickstarter.    It appears that they're adding two additional sci-fi races to their line:  an army of Battlesuits and another army of humanoids that might look good with a green skin tone. 

To be honest, they don't interest me.  It's the Diggers and The Malignancy that interest me.



Yeah, they're totally not like any Squats, Ogryns, or Genestealer Cult members AT ALL!


These two races have been added to the KS with an October 2015 delivery date.  The £50 pledge is pretty reasonable, as even with the shipping charge to the States, you're still saving a few dollars/pounds on the MSRP.

I'm passing on this one as a Kickstarter.  Too much going on, the bathroom needs to be fixed, and I've got 3/4 of my oil tank to fill for winter.  I am interested in both lines of figures, particularly the quads, which aren't listed on the Kickstarter.

Definitely not Squats.  These guys safely ride on four wheels!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

(Risus) Scavenger Hunt: The Next Generation

After a long hiatus, we finally got in another session of Illuminati University, powered by Risus.

In our last episode....  Actually the last episode's actual play was lost to the degradations of time.   We formerly introduced Milktruck Mastadon, hard-rocking caveman from the future, and Mary Kate Hanaher, well before she introduced her stubborn sass to John Wayne.   There were ninjas dropping from the ceiling, coffee addicted Nazi zombies (again!), and the group foiled a plot by the German nihilists running Ambercrombie and Fitch to take over the world.

After years of playing, someone finally made it to their Sophmore year (and in one calendar year, to boot!)

It's September, so to rally school spirit and bonding, the student government was sponsoring a scavenger hunt.  Our team of four consisted of:

Professor Clarence Pittleman  - Sophomore
Keith Stone   - Freshthing, although the ladies like that.
Tannenbaum - Sophomore
Mister Bipp - Freshthing, even though he was accepted for enrollment way back in 2004.

The group walked up to the table, expecting some heinous list of items to find,varying from 0 to a billion points, when they were handed a simple blue index card with three items on it:
  • Blue Chalk
  • Drinking Vessel of a God
  • 13 strands of tiger hair.
Piece of cake????

First off blue chalk

The quickest way to obtain blue chalk was to go to Tannenbaum's Uni-Mart (re: convenience store) and snag some up in the paltry stationary section, but much to Mister Bipp's confusion, they didn't hit the "free" campus shuttle out to the location, but rather, they leisurely strolled up into the dorms. There, they went into Tannenbaum's room, unlocked his built in closet to reveal a magic portal: the side door of a convenience store.

Having the most powerful position in the company Poorly-paid assistant manager at Uni-Mart (4) has its privileges

Of course, no one realized that there was a robbery in progress as they waltzed through the portal. Immediately, Tannenbaum was nose to snub nose of a .38 revolver.  One robber had been waving that pistol around as a pair were cleaning out the register and scratch off lottery tickets.

Keith Stone smoothly navigated around the Quikie-Mart Mexican stand-off to check out the beer cooler.  Mister Bipp was aghast with the violent American tendencies.  Professor Pittleman tried an ill-timed creepy Fat Albert motivational speech using Bill Cosby Fanatic (1)... which was a completely different cliche today than when he earned it.

The robber shot Tannenbaum in the face... but he was alright.

Pittleman assessed the situation, calculated the trajectories of the.... ooooohhhh COFFEE!!!!!   For awhile, the Professor was under his own cannibalistic impulses, sucking down every sweet drop of java from the station.  Thank god it wasn't pumpkin spice season for the creamers... THAT would be embarrassing.

Tannenbaum wanted to try his Novice Martial Artist (2) in revenge of his new facial piercing, but Mister Bipp had pulled his miniature golf putter out, rolled terribly, and the golf implement ended up lodged in the figure skater's groin.

The gunman slowly backed away, loudly suggesting to his partners that it might be a good time to leave.

Keith Stone grabbed a 30-pack of Keystone Light, and struck up a lovely conversation with a co-ed trying desperately to hide from the robbers.

Mister Bipp had had quite enough of trying to fit in with Proper British Gentleman (3), and decided to go full blown violent chimp to stop the robbery and prevent any more gratuitous embarrassment to Tannenbaum.  He climbed to the top of a shelf and began chucking canned goods at the robber. Creamed corn beaned the gunman and he fell to the tile.

The moneyman behind the counter grabbed his bag and dashed out the door.  Bipp followed and hit him in the parking lot with a can of pre-cooked hamburger patties.

The scratch-off dude hit a spot of rough luck, as he got tangled by the rolls of tickets and found himself immobilized, leaning up against a rack of Little Debbies.

Tannenbaum wanted this finish, so he chucked one of his dollar store batarangs, as he is a Clumsy Batman Wannabe (3), rolls an 18, and promptly kills the man with excessive force.

The video cameras would be incriminating, if it weren't for good old Keith Stone, who had commandeered the cameras for some innovative Ladies Man (3) documentary filming in the office with the co-ed.

The police came, statements taken, floors mopped, and Tannenbaum finally strolled over to the stationary aisle and picked up a three pack of blue chalk.

Blue Chalk Obtained!  And still faster than a trip to Wal-Mart!

For the drinking vessel of a god, they had a few options to play with:

  • The Swim Team had one the league title last year and the trophy was known as "The Poseidon Cup"
  • There was bound to be some former IOU alumni that were gods who had left a sacred flagon on site one of the supper clubs, frats, or mah-jong society buildings.
  • They could break into C.T.H.U.L.H.U.  (time traveling for the sake of studying history), steal a time machine and go back to ancient Rome   There were gods aplenty back then and the Colosseum had tigers, right?  

Of course, the solution was much easier:  They could avoid the wrath of  C.T.H.U.L.H.U by letting Prof Pittleman weird science the hell out of the Galactic Parcel Service truck they had up on blocks in the student parking lot.

Yeah, that's a thing, too.

They had ignored this for a few episode for the spacecraft was still there, with hundreds of tickets covering the windshield.  

Pittleman went to town, rerouting the failed direct current couplers around the fried nuclear alternator, replacing the ion coils with flamethrowers and rewiring the interface through the microwave.  The toaster on board exploded, but the engines couldn't get power.

Then the campus police showed up.

They threatened towing the vehicle, especially for violating the "No Car Maintenance in the lot" rule, but by another rule, a boot needed to be placed on a wheel first, and this vehicle had no wheels!

Keith Stone, quickly asked, "Hey, can we have a jump?"

The campus police pulled out a portable set of portable jumper cables, plus another set attached to the police golf cart.

With a flash of lightning, and a tiny *pop*  the GPS spaceship disappeared, along with the golf cart.

Welcome to Ancient Rome:
The quartet of students, and two police officers arrived outside ancient Rome unscratched. Bipp commandeered the golf cart and they went into the city.  In his best British Gentleman Latin, the Chimp asked some members of the Legion were he could find Tigers, and with something lost in translation, was directed to an all male-brothel.  Bipp did some research there and came out with a small satchel of "tiger hair" just in case it could count.  The rest of the group did not judge.

With a few better directions (now in English, as the GPS truck offered the same universal translating software as a TARDIS would, they reached the Temple of Janus -  full of archways, corridors, and key.... stones.  Keith was adored as a god and he took his drinking vessel home with him, right into the Beer Cozy of Satan.

While in Rome, the group stopped at the Colosseum.  While Bipp tried to see the Tigers, Keith Stone and Tannenbaum began defacing with bricks of the building with Keystone Light and Bat-symbols.

A guardian let the chimp in to see the tigers, but tried to push him into the cages.  The tiger tried to attack both, so Bipp did the only thing he could think of:  a Monty Python skit to confuse the keeper and tiger with British humor, long enough to grab a handful of hair (at least 13 strands) and run the hell away.  Lucky for them, the tiger killed and partially ate the keeper, so by the time it caught up to the golf cart, it had already research the spaceship/time machine..

A few calculations and the craft arrived, to 15 minutes before the they had picked up packet.  Two minutes after their past versions  had picked up the packets, the future, er, current version walked back up to claim their prize.

They spent their winnings at an off-campus bar, which was fortuitous, as numerous screams and explosions spread across the campus till the wee hours of the morning... more so than normal.

It was going to be an interesting semester.

Although I have a giant list compiled for things I want in an IOU game, like Joss Whedon, radioactive spittoons, and ninjas flying up from the basement, I eschewed all that to try a one page adventure for East Texas University. ETU isn't as high powered as IOU, but it works nicely.   Numerous binding spells and elder signs were failing at the same time, so the administration decided to have each scavenger hunt team search for different components for the different rituals.    The groups finds were more than adequate to keep a Transgendered Demon Lich Squirrel Lord at bay for another thousand years, or was that another thousand likes on his/her Facebook page. 

Of course, Professor Pittleman has still earned the ire of  C.T.H.U.L.H.U.  (on a 9+ on 2d6 each session) and Dr WHAT(7) has handled his species in the very special audio series....

*CUE CLOSING CREDITS*

Monday, September 14, 2015

#30GamesADay: Days: 8-12

When I decided try 30 different games in 30 days in September, I had padded the criteria and game selections to allow for some easy "cheat" days.  I knew things were going to be crazy, but I never thought they would be used up by the middle of the month. 

It was a long, but fun week.

Day 8:  To Cry a Joust - Shopkins Edition.
If Maja wants to participate in the joust at Fall-In!, we're going to need some practice.  Plus, it's great "fun" math work.

Day 9:   War

Day 10:   Go Fish

Day 11:   Uno

Day 12:  The Race Game: The Shopkins 100
The Race Game was my attempt at a *duh* auto racing game.  It's work pretty well thus far, and added another level of madness to it:  Shopkins.   

If you don't know what Shopkins are, consider yourself lucky.  Take the randomness of a toy out a aispenser like we had at the exit of the grocery store back in the day, add in sports card or Magic: the Gathering levels of collectibility, and make the items adorable household items with eyes, and you basically have the Shopkins phenomena.    The good news is, despite my wife continuing to buy more of these little things, the kids are actually playing with them. 

I figured I'd up the ante early last week by using the Shopkins for the joust, and that went over spectacularly.  After that, it was a no brainer to use some of them for a foot-race on the graph paper race track. 
The start of the Shopkins 100 is always dangerous.
We rolled 2d6 for movement, the drifting rules were kept it in (you try to be a giant piece of pecan pie and you see how well you run turns...), and I maintain the handling rolls if pieces ended the turn adjacent to each other, but hey only lost a turn if they rolled a 6 on 1d6.

Cute Boot hugs the corner and pulls away from Suzie Sushi
 Cute Boot took the pole and after a slow start, powered his/her way to victory.  

The winner and their prize.
 

Friday, September 11, 2015

The History of the Gnome World Part 6: The Swedes

Pre-Gnoman Times
While there have always been legends of trolls and giants in gnomish mythology, one creature has been used more often than any other by parents to get their wee ones to bed:  The Gnorse Gnome.  

Some of the gnomes suffering the Wanderlust have always had a more adventurous streak than their timid brethren.  Some blazed a trail through the dark forests of Germania and ended up in the jagged fjords of the Northlands.   With only a beautiful landscape to offset the limited resources of the land, these gnomes turned to the sea.   Some fished, others attempted to trade with far-off villages but many were rebuffed by the isolationist instincts of their fellow gnomes.  In return the Gnorse became violent.  

The Gnoman Empire
The Gnomans had enough issue with the Dark Forest and Fae of Germania, that only the bravest explorers ventured further north.  Some information was traded between the two, including vast technological improvements towards the famed Gnorse Short-Boats.  With the buffer of the Dark Forest, Gnorse adventurers travelled south and visited the lands of the Sikhs, the Russ, and other exotic cultures.

The Peaceful Age
With the fall of the Gnoman Empire, many of the Gnorse tribes merged together to consolidate power.  While many cultures became introverted, the Gnorse lumbered over the sea in their short-boats, continually harassing the Irish, Scots, Welsh, and other Gnorse Tribes.   There are even rumors of them reaching the shores of the Teddy Bear tribes in America, although historians have found little proof. 
 
They developed four distinct trades:
Woodworking - from shipbuilding to children's toys. 
Mining 
Tinkering
Glögg   - The Swedish drink of choice for their cold winter nights... and even the short summer days.
 
Swedish society was broken down into three distinct classes.  The Jarl and his nobles, the seafarers (both fisherman and raiding party), and the Tomte, or rural class.  The Tomte were largely ignored in favor of the nobles and warriors.
 
A midwinter muster during the scant afternoon light
As the Peaceful Times were ending, the Swedish Jarls consolidated their power further, and a very martial Kingdom of Sweden was born.
 
The Age of Exploration
With the increases in technology across the Gnome World, Gnorse short-ships became irrelevant and the Swedes stopped raiding neighbors in favor of proper trade.
 
While the Thirty Beers War was largely a German affair, Swedish Warlord Edibus Withtwofists saw an opportunity to join the rogue bier producers and gain new territory as a result.  His death in 1636 dampened the fighting mood, but troops still fought in the war for over a decade.   The Swedes were able to consolidate all the Gnorse lands under the Swedish flag, as well as considerable territory in Russia and its neighboring states.
 
In response to Swedish war-mongering, increased Russian influence, and a cry for freedom from the other Gnorse tribes, the Great Gnorthern Gnome (3G) War was fought.    While the players in this war rotated in and out, the result was the loss of Swedish holdings outside its modern borders, and access to the sea for the Russian people.
 
Nomepoleon
At first, the Swedes fought solely a defensive war, repelling the armies of Nomepoleon and the Danish at great cost to both sides.  As they held their ground and could negotiate alliances with Britain and Russia, they began a campaign against Norway, which had been largely left unmolested by the Le Petite Generale.  With the completion of the war, a dual monarchy of Norway and Sweden under one king was to be established, but the largely ignored lower classes would have their own say in the matter.

Age of Commerce
After years of war, the rural Tomte class of Sweden, and their similar Nissen in Norway,  rose up against the Noble and Seafaring classes and overthrew their respective monarchies.   Both revolutions established democratic, yet conservative government (the Fjøsnisse)  that looked to eschew international affairs in order to improve all facets of society.  Schools and hospitals were constructed, roads were built, and for many years only restricted trade with neighboring countries was allowed.  While this lowered Sweden status as a world power, it has vastly improved the livelihoods of everyday citizens. 
 
There is still conflict for the Swedes to worry about.  Royalists and Trade Unions still attempt the power of the people for their own nefarious purposes.  A small, but well-disciplined navy has successfully defended the trade routes, and fought in trade disputes against their Gnorse neighbors.   The Russians Tsar has also set their sights on the Gnorselands for their expansionist goals.
 
Government
Sweden is a democratic republic, their Fjøsnisse making the vast majority of decisions, while the prime minister fulfills some diplomatic, but largely ceremonial roles.  It is still dominated by the large population of rural Tomtes, who would rather fix internal problems than look at the international big picture.  While royal titles were abolished, minor hereditary titles remain.
 
Economics
 
Mining
Shipbuilding
Glögg
Industrial Tinkering:  Despite a pacifistic government, arms production to other countries has largely been encouraged.  Most weapons rival that of their German neighbors, but their manufacture of experimental u-boats far exceeds anything in the modern times.

 
Military
While the Fjøsnisse would prefer to use spies and submarines to keep their country's security, the military is still a trusted and honor profession.
 
Swedish Officer:  All prospective officers, regardless of class, are required to spend a minimum of two years at the Royal Military Academy.  Using German techniques and monastic-style living, they live a spartan lifestyle to mould them into the role of protectors of the country and its people.   Officers will normally wear orange hats to make them stand out on the battlefield, for good and ill.

Swedish NCO/Alphorn:  Two allowed per unit.  Both armed with with a halberd and horn.  Swedes still suffer from some Nomepoleonic tactics.    To allow any unit to change their current orders, at least on NCO needs to successfully make an alphorn test (per the Swiss rules).

Swedish Berserkers:   Some Swedes still embrace their Gnorse heritage.  The second NCO could be replaced by a Berserker.  (per Highlander rules).  If the Berserker is attacking, the unit can ignore failed alphorn roles.

Swedish Rifles:   as per Swiss rules.
Swedish Pickaxes and Miners:  These troop types are not often used by the Swedish military.  However, both the royalists and trade unionists employ large numbers of gnomes armed with only melee weapons.  As per Swiss rules.

Swedish Surströmming Grenadjär:  The Swedes only make fine cheeses.  Their love of herring has resulted in Surströmming,  a peasant pickled herring that is foul to just about every non-Swedish gnome in existence.    Treat as Swiss Stinky Cheese rules, except that the area of effect is 3" and is permanent on the game table unless someone successfully attacks it (-1 to hit with ranged weapons/5+ to hit on d6 for melee)

Swedish Military Physician:  The favorite support staff within the military.  Nicknamed "Doctor FeelGlögg"  (Use rules and figure for German BierMedic).

Swedish Flamethrower:    Used more often than not to clear snow pack, rather than directly attack troops.

Bicycle Tank:  as per Swiss rules.
 
Steam Tanks:  Largely very primitive models. It is  more likely to be an armored (but unarmed) troop carrier. 

Cavalry:  Small units of cavalry still exist, mostly riding either geese, or magically enchanted julboks.

The Four Winds Myth in Switzerland
The Wizard  -  holds influence along the coastal cities
Santa Claus - the proximity to the North Pole allows Santa to have developed an arms business in a peaceful kingdom. 
Witch - has been known to control ogres and trolls in the hinterlands.
Vampire - the long winter nights are perfect for the vampire to pervert the culture.

Relations with Other Nations
Swiss -   A valid and neutral member of the international community.
Germans -  neighbor on good terms.  "Friendly" competition in arms production
French -  Still bitter about Nomepoleon
British -  Trading partners and "friendly" naval competitors.
Irish -    just as ignorant as back in the days of the Gnorsemen
Highlanders -  so many bad attributes from the Gnorsemen of yore.
Russians -   Enemies readying for war
Americans -   Pro-Union, and some Swedes have emigrated to California.
Japanese -  limited relations
Sikhs -  even with Russian expansion, the trade routes between Sikhs and Swedes never completely closed.    Sikh units regularly accompany Swedish units on maneuvers.

Julbok Cavalry rounding up wild geese
This is my first attempt to fully flesh out other nationalities using existing models.   While we may see Viking Gnomes one day, converting Swiss figures to Norse historical needs with minimal change and keeping within point costs.  This is not meant to be an official Gnome Wars army, although I'm hoping that elements of this conversion might become part of a "customize your army" section if there's a future new edition of the rules.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

(Kickstarter) Star Patrol: Carrier Commander

After getting a high-five to the face with the Miniature Building Authority Kickstarter pledge levels (and for good reason), it's a pleasure to pledge a whopping three bucks for the Star Patrol: Carrier Commander campaign.

After so many campaigns with unforeseen delays, or just poor planning, it's a pleasure to see someone plot their expenses to the tenth of a penny per unit, which in the case of a three dollar nano-game, is an absolute necessity.


This campaign has easily surpassed it's goals, but will conclude on September 28th.  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

(Kickstarter) Tales of the Caribbean by Golden Goblin

The Tales of the Caribbean Kickstarter by Golden Goblin Press went live last night at midnight.


This collection of 1920's era adventures for the 7th edition Call of Cthulhu role playing game set in the Caribbean is available in pdf and hard copy starting at the $35 plege level.

Higher pledge levels allow for physical copies of an extra Caribbean scenario (Chicken Merry Hawk Deh Near by Oscar Rios), a copy of Tales of the Crescent City, and even a copy of Tales of the Sleepless City from Miskatonic River Press.

(Kickstarter) MBA European Town Has Launched!

The second Kickstarter from Miniature Building Authority, the European Town campaign launched on Monday.

The campaign offers the buildings for an acceptable discount (with US shipping built in).  What I mean by "acceptable" is this:


for a somewhat reasonable price of $350.00  It is a savings of $100.00

Too rich for my budget right now, but they should start hitting con events by next Historicon.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Too Lazy for the Day of Sloth

Ever since I moved to Wilkes-Barre to live with my wife many moons ago, the Sunday before Labor Day has been the Day of Sloth, a pot-luck picnic for all our friends and family.  While the mundanes eat and go, the gamers tended to congregate in certain areas and game till the wee hours (aka, my wife kicked them out).

Between all the troubles I vaguely allude to on this blog, declining attendance, and a chaotic work schedule, I decided (with no argument from my wife) to not host the party for this year, and see where it goes in 2016.

Outside of three or four people inquiring about the lack of the regular Facebook event, most people didn't even bother, so I think I made the right call.  Those who did inquire were disappointed, but understood.  The threat of the first-week-of-school stomach bug hitting the kids and spreading made a few of those more relieved.

But my wife had a plan.    After hearing me go on and on about the arrival of our friend Hoyce and his wife from Boston to the Poconos and the restarting the old Hackmaster campaign, she contacted a few of the people I mentioned in the stories and lo' and behold, most of the group arrived on Sunday afternoon!

We talked shop regarding Call of Cthulhu, relaunching Hackmaster, and Hoyce re-starting his 2nd Edition campaign world, which directly evolved from the group's Friday night game that The Other White Nate (TOWN) ran.  Hoyce took over the reigns when Town went back to western PA and a lot has happened in his version of "Emeron" and the White Wizard Dillman.  He plans on restarting it and letting me be an actual player.

There's gotta be a catch with that.  If not, I'll create one.

We did play the Day of Sloth traditional Risus - Illuminati University (IOU) game.  It was fitting, as Hoyce was the first player to ever create a character for the game, and nine years later, he finally managed to run Mister Bipp.

Actual play to follow, but it was cathartic to let loose and role-play with no inhibitions.  We have grown old and become a group of bastards, and after missing the game for two (?) years, it's interesting on how the cliche Bill Cosby Fanatic (1) creates a different result than originally designed.

After talking it over with the Mrs, the Day of Sloth is scheduled to go off as normal next year on Sunday, September 4th.  Considering last year we had one gamer attend and 30+ mundanes, I'd hope the ratio is a bit more even next year.   

#30GamesAMonth Days 4-7.

The load at work, Maja's first week at school, and Millie changing day cares has made this endeavor just as challenging as I suspected.

Day 4 - Zombie Dice
Dad built up a careful supply of brains, only for Maja to go gangbusters in the last round for the win.

Day 5 - Eggs and Empires
A fun little card game about outwitting your opponents and dragon eggs.  The game is available here.

Day 6 - Risus  Illuminati University (IOU)
The traditional Day of Sloth game with two Sophomores and two Freshthings butchering "Scavenger Hunt" from East Texas University 

Day 7 - The Village on the Hill
A Peaceful Storytelling Game where the players all play helpful spirits named Kami.  Millie only disappeared for a few moments of this game, where the premise was an early blizzard caught the village off guard and it was up to the spirits help a villager find her pet... monkey.    The Question/Action mechanic might be a bit much for a 4 and 6 year old, but a little nudging Dad got them thinking, and by the end of the game, all three monkeys in the village were safe and sound.  

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Fall-In! 2015 PEL is Up!

The Preliminary Event List for Fall-In 2015, November 6-8, is officially up!

As I normally do, here's a list of "ViscountEric Approved" events that at least interest me.  I am looking a little harder at "Kid's Games" as my daughter Maja is coming with me this time.

Friday

F: 204 : Sailors on the Starless Sea Fri, 9:00:00 AM - 1:00:00 PM, 6 players  GM: Eric Betts - Period: Fantasy - Scale: 25mm - Rules: Dungeon Crawl Classics (0-level rules; one page)
Local villagers have been disappearing - could it have something to do with the old ruined keep overlooking the town? A heroic peasant mob intends to find out! Game uses the combat mechanics from a role playing game for miniature combat.

F: 333 : Attack on Fort Edmonton Fri, 9:00:00 AM - 1:00:00 PM, 4 players F: 333 : Attack on Fort Edmonton - GM: Phil Gardocki - Period: Victorian Science Fiction - Scale: 15mm - Rules: All Quiet on the Martian Front
It is 1914, and the Martian expansion has been held in check by the Canadian forces stationed at Fort Edmonton in the far west. But with the arrival of the new human war machine, the Collective Hive Mind has deemed that it is necessary to attack on the main human base in the area and eliminate the threat before it can be effectively used against them.
Always a little disappointed when an awesome sounding game only has 4 player slots.

F: 399: Lightning out of Israel Fri, 9:00:00 AM - 1:00:00 PM, 6 players GM: Stephen Wagner and Del-Val - Sponsor: - Prize: - Period: Modern - Scale: 15mm - Rules: FoW-AIW
In the Sinai: A task force under Gen. Sharon moved out of Negev and attacked the Arab stronghold at Abu Arish. The battle, complex on paper and even more so in the field, went more or less according to plan. Can you stop the initial Israeli onslaught? Soviet/Egyptian doctrine called for absorbing the initial assault then counter attacking in force. With the main battles fought during the night an

F: 104 : VSF Racing in the Woods Fri, 10:00:00 AM - 12:00:00 PM, 10 players GM: Jon Lundberg - Period: Victorian Science Fiction - Scale: 25mm - Rules: VSF Racing
The quiet forest is disturbed by the sound of steam and pistons as VSF contraptions weave their way through the forest. Are they headed to Grandma's House? Lots of space - drop by for a quick game before the dealer's hall opens Children should be at least 10 to play independently

F: 272: Zombie Apocalypse Fri, 10:00:00 AM - 2:00:00 PM, 6 players GM: Kenny Noe and ODGW Period: SciFi - Scale: 28mm - Rules: Mein Zombie
Come play and learn Mein Zombie!! Great game for all gamers 8 years old and up!! The Zombie Apocalypse is upon us! Join a band of survivors are they try and reach a safe extraction point. However to get there they must travel through zombie territory and survive roaming hoards of zombies. The ever present fear of being eaten alive or bitten and becoming a zombie yourself!
Saturday
With Maja's dice rolls in Zombie games recently, she may rule the battlefield!

F: 221 : Fantz: Fantasy Ants Fri, 1:00:00 PM - 3:00:00 PM, 12 players GM: Marc Rubin - Period Fantasy - Scale: 10,000:1 - Rules: Fantz
Lunch is coming... Command an army of ants in a war-torn picnic table as you fight other ant races for the sacred candy. Choose between Elves, Dwarves, Zombies or the Candy Guardians in this fast-paced miniature game. Easy to learn but fun for everyone. Individual games run about 30-45 minutes. Walk ups and children welcome.

F: 378 : Gnome Wars: The Station at The End of The Line Fri, 2:00:00 PM - 6:00:00 PM, 7 players GM: James Stanton - Period: Other: Gnomes - Scale: 28mm - Rules: Gnome Wars
The US Cavalry needs to protect a station just inside Yellowstone National Park. The Yellowstone Special, carrying visiting dignitaries, gold for the payroll, and various "beverages," is inbound and several interested parties are headed for the station. Who will be in control when the train pulls in?

F: 125 : The siege of of Louisbourg 1758 Fri, 3:00:00 PM - 6:00:00 PM, 6 players
GM: Billy Molyneaux - Period: French & Indian War - Scale: 25mm - Rules: Matt Fritz
The French are defending the fortress city of louisbourg out numbered by the Britsh but they have the protection of the walls. This is a light beer and pretzel game based on junior generals scenario.
Sunday

F: 255 : July 1918 - Make the Kaiser Dance Fri, 6:00:00 PM - 10:00:00 PM, 8 players  GM: Alan Crane - Period: World War I - Scale: 28mm - Rules: Trench Wars
The German offensive has been stopped on the banks of the Marne River! Now a combined force of Americans, French and Senegalese with the help of some French tanks are launching a counterattack to drive the Huns back. Will they drive the Germans from the trenches or will they die a glorious death in no mans land? Beginners welcome. Children under 14 with a playing adult.

F: 298 : Ambush at Groß-Barmen (German South-West Africa, 1904) Fri, 6:00:00 PM - 10:00:00 PM, 6 players  GM: Roy Jones - Period: Colonial - Scale: 25mm - Rules: The Sword and the Flame German sailors from a Naval Landing Party march through a narrow defile. The Hereros wait in ambush, hidden in the boulder-strewn hills above. They realize that the Sanitation Carriage contains more than just medical supplies (maybe even cartridges!) The Herero plan: shoot the oxen, shoot the sailors, take the Carriage!

F: 210 : 1780 , AWI 54mm slugfest Fri, 7:00:00 PM - 11:00:00 PM, 6 playersGM: Robert Lehman - Period: American War for Independence - Scale: 54mm - Rules: ATKM
Large scale meeting engagement. Time to breakout the BIG Boys again. Come and command Hessians, Loyalists, Red Coats ,Continental's, French and maybe even a few Indians! Easy to learn and fun to play .Using ATKM modified big game rules. 12 and up unless with parent please.

F: 341 : The Temple of the Snake Goddess Fri, 7:00:00 PM - 11:00:00 PM, 12 players F: 341 : The Temple of the Snake Goddess - GM: Howard Whitehouse - Period: Fantasy - Scale: 25mm - Rules: Chainmail Bikini
When the astrologer kings foretold that the double eclipse of the moons demanded sacrifices, seers declared that gory ceremonies must occur in the ruined pyramid city of Chepe-Tequila. So they went, with gilded retinues, to the jungles south. They failed to consult the snake priestesses of that city, thinking their power waned to nothing - a mistake, as survivors would later admit

F: 354 : Star Crush Starfighter Miniatures Game Fri, 7:00:00 PM - 11:00:00 PM, 8 playersGM: Lee Vanschaik - Period: SciFi - Scale: 1:250 - Rules: Star Crush Starfighter Miniatures Game
Join us to playtest our new rules for the Star Crush Starfighter Game. This game simulates starfighter combat in space between the Commorium and the Xothic. The Commorium thought they were alone in the Commorium Quadrant of the Federated Republic Empire of Planets, but that didn't account for the Xothic.

F: 375 : Gnome Wars: The Joust Fri, 8:00:00 PM - 10:00:00 PM, 30 players  GM: Steven Stanton - Period: Other: Gnomes - Scale: 28mm - Rules: Gnome Wars
Hear Ye, Hear Ye - you are invited to the Annual Fall-In! Gnome Wars Jousting Tournament. Rules Taught - quick, easy, FUN! PRIZES!! No one under 10 without a playing adult.

Saturday
S: 185: Assault on Santa's Village Sat, 9:00:00 AM - 1:00:00 PM, 7 players GM: Kurt Schlegel and HAWKS - Sponsor: - Prize: - Period: Fantasy - Scale: 25mm - Rules: GASLIGHT
A horde of goblins and orcs and other baddies are descending on Santa's Village and trying to steal all the presents. Will Rudolph, Yukon Cornelius and Hermie the Dentist save the day or will Christmas be ruined.

S: 396: ARRR! Thar be Gnomes! Sat, 10:00:00 AM - 1:00:00 PM, 6 players GM: James F. Reynolds and WNPG - Sponsor: Brigade Games - Prize: Miniatures- Period: Age of Piracy - Scale: 28mm - Rules: Gnome Wars
Rumors have spread about the location of the treasure of the famous pirate Flowerpot Jack. Many a hearty Gnome Pirate crew has joined the race to find it. Come join a crew or bring you own crew of gnomes to the party. Bringing you own crew of Gnomes and ship will get you in even if the game is full.

S: 290 : A Very British Civil War Sat, 1:00:00 PM - 4:00:00 PM, 10 players Period: Inter-War - Scale: 25mm - Rules: Trench Wars modified
Edward VIII does not relinquish the throne in 1938 and the country breaks down into squabbling faction. Join the fascists, Commies, Anglicans or one of the other groups in a light hearted romp through the British countryside.

S: 177: Tarnopol 19 July 1917 Sat, 1:00:00 PM - 5:00:00 PM, 8 players GM: Steve Gelhard and HAWKS - Sponsor: - Prize: - Period: World War I - Scale: 10mm - Rules: Take Action! - After the failure of the Kerensky Offensive, the Germans decided to take Tarnopol to cripple the SW Front and advance into the Ukraine to capture food supplies and possibly topple the Provisional Govt. An entrenched Provisional Govt Division with Kornilov Shock Bns are attacked by a German Division with planes and balloons, Assault Bns, gas, flamethrowers and more.

S: 234 : Gold Rush Sat, 2:00:00 PM - 5:00:00 PM, 16 players S: 234 : Gold Rush - GM: Joe Moore - Period: Western - Scale: 25mm - Rules: The Rules With No Name
Bring a team of four players (or we'll arrange one out of who shows up) and take a shot (Ha!) at grabbing the goodies. Four teams rush for the stash and must grab it and then get it off the tabletop. Ideally, we'd like to get three 1-hour heats in on differing terrain - waterhole, town and hill. Play one round or more. No age requirements. Kids under 14 bring a parent to play along with you.

S: 179: Plastic Pirates Party! Sat, 3:00:00 PM - 5:00:00 PM, 8 players S: 179: Plastic Pirates Party! - GM: Geoff Graff and HAWKS - Sponsor: - Prize: - Period: Age of Piracy - Scale: 40mm - Rules: Little Lego Looters -
Captain Ogle and his crew are celebrating their latest victory at the tavern. All the other pirates are not happy. What will they do? A kids game. Playing adults are welcome (if space allows) only with a child.

S: 222 : Fantz: Fantasy Ants Sat, 6:00:00 PM - 8:00:00 PM, 12 players  GM: Marc Rubin - Period: Fantasy - Scale: 10,000:1 - Rules: Fantz -
Lunch is coming... Command an army of ants in a war-torn picnic table as you fight other ant races for the sacred candy. Choose between Elves, Dwarves, Zombies or the Candy Guardians in this fast-paced miniature game. Easy to learn but fun for everyone Individual games last about 30-45 minutes. Children and walk ups welcome.

S: 296 : Haitian Slave Revolt Sat, 7:00:00 PM - 10:00:00 PM, 8 players - GM: Brian Dewitt - Period: Colonial - Scale: 15mm - Rules: The Sword and the Flame Modified
The Haitian Slave Revolt started in 1791 with its central organizer Voodoo Priest Boukman. French forces loyal to the crown and Colonists battled back and forth with the slaves. In 1793 many French units were called back to Europe and the Slave Army took to the offense. Toussaint L'Ouverture became leader some time after Boukman was killed in battle.