Monthly Archives: August 2014

Revised Vehicle Record Sheet for G.A.M.E.R.

Buck

Revised Vehicle Record Sheet for G.A.M.E.R.

Revised Vehicle Record Sheet for G.A.M.E.R.

In the past two weeks I’ve had a chance to run two GAMER events with vehicles.  As mentioned in an earlier post, the infantry rules are pretty solid.  We find some interesting nuance from time to time that must be addressed, but the infantry rules are largely complete.   As a result of recent play test, I have been able to streamline the vehicle hit resolution procedure, think about terrain effects on vehicle hits, and redesign the vehicle record card, getting it from two 3×5 cards down to two.

In the low-resolution version (in which each figure in a squad has all the same attributes, a double-sided 3×5 card is need for an infantry squad (shown below).  A vehicle requires one of these double-sided cards for the crew and a double-sided card (shown above) for the vehicle.

Current version of a low-resolution infantry record sheet

Current version of a low-resolution infantry record sheet

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Correcting the Deficiencies in Card-Based Activation

Buck

A common issue with card-based systems is that everyone sits around watching one person perform actions.  For years I eschewed card-based activation in my designs.  I employed card-based activation for Blood and Swash, because a figure can’t do much with a single activation, so the amount of idle time for other players is short.
The LSNC family of rules (and Battles of GASLIGHT) addresses this through the double activation TM mechanic.  Typically, but now always, many people are acting at the same time.  This has been demonstrated to limit idle time, even in really large games — particularly if the players are thinking about their next move before their card comes up.
With the use of the joker (or reshuffle card that ends the turn before everyone has gotten to move), however, it occasionally occurs that a unit cannot activate for several terms.  While this is probably realistic, it can be frustrated from a gaming perspective.  You could pull out the joker, ensuring that everyone activates during a turn, but to some extent this defeats some of the fog and friction that intended in card-based systems.
Two Saturdays ago, during a small gaming session at Buck’s War Room, we were discussing this.  Below is what I’d like to try.  It’s too late to test this in time for the upcoming release of Bear Yourselves Valiantly, but I’d like to try it during my next G.A.M.E.R. session.  If it works, I can publish it to the yahoo groups gang as an “official” optional rule.
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Proposed optional rule:
The overall commander from each side is issued some number of “activation tokens.”  When the reshuffle card is drawn, all the remaining cards (below the joker) are turned over.  If a number (e.g., three) did not get any cards (e.g., neither the black, red, nor “handicapping” three was drawn before the joker), an overall commander can spend ONE activation token to pull ONE of the undrawn cards ahead of the joker.   The player may choose whether to pull either the red, black, or “handicapping” card ahead of the joker.
Players declare that they want to use an activation token and give the token to the game master BEFORE either commander declares what number card will be moved ahead of the joker.  Only one activation token may be spent in any given turn per side.  If both sides wish to spend an activation token during a turn, they each declare which card they wish to bring forward AFTER having already paid the game master.  If both commanders want the same card, it will be activated only once.  In the case that both commanders want the same card, neither commander gets his activation token back.  One player may choose to activate the red card while the other player chooses to activate the black card with the same number.  If both sides pull a different card forward of the joker, the cards are activated in the order that they would have appeared if the reshuffle card had not been pulled.
Units from BOTH sides whose die matches the card, may activate according to all the existing rules for activation, including die swapping and “rolling off” when units from both sides have the same activation number.
The recommended number of activation tokens to give to each side is two or three.  Most four-hour games only last eight to ten turns.  You want enough tokens to be meaningful, but not so many that you may as well pull out the joker.  The GM may allocate additional activation tokens to the attacking side to ensure that they actually get to attack instead of sitting at the edge of the table waiting to activate.
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Let me know your thoughts.

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Bridge

Buck

I found this bridge yesterday at Michael’s craft store.  It is reminiscent of the one that came with the old Marx Blue and Gray Playset, but I think it’s a good size for 28mm figures.

I placed the first figure I put my hands on in front of the bridge for scale.  I think the bridge was about $7.  If you are interested, it was where they have all the plastic dragons and other animals.

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Dollar Tree “Tombstone Corner” Gargoyles Painted

Chris Palmer    I had time this week to paint the Gargoyles I recently purchased from the Dollar Tree’s new line of Halloween scenery. See my post here for more details.   I bought two sets, one to use for 28mm gaming, and one to use with my 10mm armies.

For the 28mm ones, I mounted them individually on washers, and painted them in a stone-like paint scheme.

They are shown below with a Reaper Paladin for a sense of scale.

The ones for 10mm, I painted as demons in a red color scheme.

Below they are shown with some 10mm skeletons for a sense of scale.

  Overalll, they are not too bad.  The sculpting is a little rough, but hey, they were only a $1 so I can’t complain.  The other problem is that their facial expressions tend towards the “cute”, which I found hard to disguise with paint.

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Harpy: Figure 109 of 265

Chris Palmer

     I was able to squeeze in painting the Harpy figure from the 30 New Bones Set this week.  So, I am happy to announce that I have completed painting the  30 New Bones Set!  It will now be listed over on the right in the “Completed Sets” section.
        I had prepped this figure a while back in the usual way; soaking it in a dish of water with a couple drops of dish soap added, then giving it a light scrub with a soft toothbrush, and then rinsing and drying.  This is another of those figures that  I had sprayed with the Krylon with Fusion Flat Black, back when I was still using spray primer.   I glued him to a 1” black-primed fender washer base with Aleene’s Tacky glue. I let this dry and then glued the washer to a tongue depressor with a couple drops of Elmer’s white glue

I began by drybrushing the whole figure with Folk Art “Medium Grey”. I then mixed some Folk Art “Milkshake” into some of the “Medium Grey”, and began blending this pinkish-grayish color with the drybrushed areas at her waist and hands. I then switched over to a more primarily “Milkshake” colored blend, with less of the “Medium Grey”, and worked towards her upper chest and head.  By the time I painted her chest and head, I was using pure “Milkshake”.  I then mixed up some more blended “Milkshake and “Medium Grey” and heavily drybrushed her feet and hands with this mixture

  I now painted all her claws and the horns on her wings with Folk Art “Gray Green”.  Then I painted her wrist guard with Ceramcoat “Raw Sienna”, and the ribbon tied around her other arm with Folk Art “Barnyard Red”.  The bracelet on her wrist I painted with Ceramcoat “Bronze”.  When all this had dried, I gave the figure a wash with thinned GW “Agrax Earthshade” Wash.

  When the wash had dried, I went back and added drybrushed highlights with Duncan “Slate Grey” to her wings, hair, legs and tail. I highlighted her horns and claws with the base “Gray Green”, and her skin with the base “Milkshake”.  I also added highlights to her wrist guard, ribbon, and bracelet with those base colors as well.  I painted on nipples with the “Medium Grey” with “Slate Grey” highlights. Lastly, I pained in her eyes with Americana “Buttermilk” with black pupils.
     When everything had dried overnight, I painted the figure with a coat of Ceramcoat “Matte Varnish”.  I let this dry a few hours and then flocked the base.  The next morning I sprayed the figure with Testor’s Dullcote” spray paint.

  I’m pleased with how she came out. I think she looks suitably “monsterish”.  I’m also happy to have finally completed the large thirty figure “30 New Bones” set.  Whew!

Figure 109 of 265: Complete

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Dollar Tree Bubble-Wand Microphone 6mm/10mm/15mm Sci-Fi Building

Chris Palmer While on my trip to get the new Dollar Tree “Tombstone Corner” Halloween Scenery (See my previous post), I also noticed these microphone shaped bubble-wands in the toy aisle.  I thought the tops had good possibility to be converted into some sort of sci-fi building for my upcoming 10mm sci-fi project.  Perhaps storage tanks, or a communications center of some kind

Shown with a U.S. Quarter for scale.

The tops unscrew easily, and the attached wand was easily pulled from its mounting inside the cap. I then gave the tops a scrub with soapy water (using the bubble fluid inside the handles! 🙂  )  I started to try to remove the sticker label on the tops; but as is so often the case with these labels, it tore apart into little bits rather than come off easily.  So, I decided that the labels were centered enough on the side panels to probably not be too noticeable after painting.  I cleaned up the one panel where I had tried to remove the label, and left the rest in place.

I then cleaned up the molding seams as best I could and glued the microphone tops to cut-down old hotel key-cards.  I then cut out some simple doors from thin cardboard and glued those on.   Finally I added  little plastic toy bit to each piece for visual interest.  After the glue dried, I painted the buildings with flat black spray paint.

 When the spray paint was dry, I painted the buildings with a simple tan color scheme, then gave them a brown ink wash, and finished with a light drybrushing to bring out the surface texture on the “domes”.  Next, I glued sand to the bases and painted it with a series of drybrushings.

I’m really pleased with how these turned out.  They are shown in the photo above with some 10mm Mechwarrior figures for scale.

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Gencon After Action Report (edited, now with pictures)

Rob Dean

One of my oldest friends, Joe,  suggested this year that we try to mount an expedition to GenCon. He was a member of my original D&D group in 1976. My brother, also a 1976 D&Der and a resident of Indiana, somewhat to my surprise, agreed that this sounded like a good idea, so we started to make it happen. That made this spring and summer quite a season for gaming conventions, between Huzzah, Historicon, and Gencon. Both of my sons were able to arrange their schedules to be part of this, so we descended on Indianapolis with a crew of five.

I last made it to GenCon (with my brother) in 1980. That was in a different world. The product releases that year included d10s and the 1st printing of the AD&D Deities and Demigods book, and the AD&D tournament modules were the Slavelords series. There were, perhaps, 5000 attendees. This year there were 50,000, so it was a dozen or more times bigger than Historicon, my recent benchmark for what I consider to be a “large” convention.

I really didn’t know what to expect, so my pre-convention planning attempted to cover a range of reasonable contingencies. I had worked on the Portable Fantasy Game which I carried along, and I brought some roleplaying stuff for pickup gaming, travel edition Carcassonne, and travel edition Settlers of Catan. I did some research on people’s experiences from previous years, so I was fairly confident that this was going to be more than was necessary.

We arrived in Indianapolis on Wednesday night, to find that the airport had put out the welcome mat for us, literally:

My brother hosted us on Wednesday night, and we headed to the convention center on Thursday morning intending to arrive around 10:00. This turned out to be a little optimistic, as the convention on top of daily commuter traffic made parking difficult. We turned out to be a long walk from the convention center, so anything wanted needed to be carried; there was no going back to the car for additional supplies. I paid the extra fee to have my badge delivered in advance, which turned out to be an excellent decision, as my brother was in line at Will Call for a long time to collect his.

I had a game scheduled for 2:00, so that gave me some time to duck into the exhibition hall. I had prepared for that in advance, and had the map with the locations of some exhibitors I particularly wished to see. This was mostly companies whose Kickstarters I had supported, so that kept me busy until it was time for my first game.

My first game was a Fate game. For those who don’t follow rpgs, Fate is published by Evil Hat Productions, who had a wildly successful Kickstarter for the publication of the 4th edition (aka Fate Core) back in late 2012. I have been playing in an online game for much of the year, and I wanted to see what a game looked at live at the table. The game was very interesting; Fate is an adaptable tool kit, and the GM was using it to run a game involving both characters and units in an urban uprising game. I am going to steal some of the ideas soon, so that was a success.

We got the whole crew together for dinner, which was nice, and my younger son had us all playing Fluxx until the food was delivered.

My first event on Friday was in the afternoon, when I had the opportunity to sit in on a live recording session for “Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff”, one of my favorite weekly gaming podcasts. After that I scurried across the convention space to meet one of the other players in my online game for some pickup roleplaying offered by Games on Demand. We were in the last group assigned, so we ended up in an unusual little narrative game about being a labor clone in some dystopic(?) future. That was different, and definitely outside my usual comfort zone. I have been reading about indie rpgs for quite a while, so it was interesting to see something as far removed from original Dungeons & Dragons as can be.

My sons were signed up for some Diplomacy.  Here’s Norman:

Four of the five of us were signed up for a modern-era National Security Decision Making game on Friday night. Norman and William have both done this before. The NSDM used to be a regular offering at Cold Wars. The topics vary, but the whole thing is based on freeform rpgs used by the US government for insight into high-level political/military matters. We had about 80 players for this one, which was divided into cells representing India, Pakistan, China, and Indonesia. I was representing the Indian steel industry, for example, with a goal of influencing my Indian politics to support my objective to open factories outside India and increase government spending on the steel industry. I used to do political LARPs for fun, so this was something I was comfortable with, except for the part where it was running until almost midnight and I was fading…

My one scheduled event on Saturday was a tank battle game, for which the whole crew had enlisted.

Once we were through with that, we had one more group dinner, and then grabbed an empty table for a pickup fantasy miniatures game, using the Portable Fantasy Game set (and the Song of Blades and Heroes rules) I’d brought along. One of my brother’s clearest recollections of the 1980 Gencon was of passing a group of guys doing a pickup fantasy miniatures game on a table in a random hallway, who looked like they were having more fun than anyone else we’d seen that weekend. Therefore, I wanted to provide him with a similar opportunity this time.

Youth and skill vs. old age and treachery… Joe and my brother go up against my sons.

The human cavalry made their first PFG appearance in this game, here riding down some of William’s hapless goblins.

On Sunday, the kids and I made a final sweep of the exhibition hall and then headed back over to Games on Demand for another roleplaying experience. I ended up taking the fifth (and final) seat in a session of Lady Blackbird, a game often mentioned on rpg.net as an example of a tight minimalist design. This was a lot of fun, and I was left with an urge to spend some additional time with roleplaying games in the near future.

In addition to the scheduled events, we spent a fair amount of time in the exhibition hall over the weekend. In addition to visiting with my open Kickstarters, I spent some time digging through various used (old) game dealers, and came home with a few miscellaneous things that I used to own…We also used the auction/consignment area as a convenient rest point. I had a bidder number, but didn’t actually use it. I did buy a couple of classic Traveller items for later use.  In general, I was keeping the buying down because I didn’t leave a lot of surplus space in my baggage for new purchases.

My main lessons learned from the convention were:

Don’t schedule events closer than two hours apart. You could need almost that much time to buy food and walk from one end of the space to the other, especially if the first game should run a little over.

Comfortable shoes are an absolute must. I wore my hiking boots with appropriate socks, so I made it through the weekend without crippling ankle pain. I’ve been wearing a pedometer as part of a work fitness challenge. The first three days at Gencon all topped my previous record, and were about double whet I’d usually consider a good exercise day.

There’s plenty to do, so not having scheduled events won’t be a problem in having fun. However, additional preplanning would have enhanced the experience.

I’ll leave it at that for now, in the interest of actually getting this report posted.

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Anval Thricedamned, Evil Warrior: Figure 108 of 265

Chris Palmer

     Over the weekend I completed Anval Thricedamned, Evil Warrior from the 30 New Bones Set.  I am nearly finished this original set, with just the Harpy left to do. Hopefully I can paint her this week.
     I  had prepped this figure a while back in the usual way; soaking it in a dish of water with a couple drops of dish soap added, then giving it a light scrub with a soft toothbrush, and then rinsing and drying.  This is another of those figures that  I had sprayed with the Krylon with Fusion Flat Black, back when I was still using spray primer.   I glued him to a 1” black-primed fender washer base with Aleene’s Tacky glue. I let this dry and then glued the washer to half a tongue depressor with a couple drops of Elmer’s white glue.

     I began by drybrusing the whole figure with Cermacoat “Metallic Pewter”.

     Next, I painted all his exposed skin with Americana “Shading Flesh. I then painted his leggings, what there were of them, with Folk Art “Poppy Seed”.  The material under his chain-mail skirt I painted with Anita’s “Burnt Sienna”.  I now took about three or four of my bottles of assorted dark brown paints and alternated them as I painted the rest of his belts, boot parts, bits of fabric, wrist guards, etc….everything that I guessed wasn’t metal.  This is one of those figures I find so challenging to paint; where it is wearing so many layer of assorted bits and pieces, that it’s hard to tell what’s what and what belongs with what, and even what’s metal and what’s cloth or leather.

     I now painted his ax handle with Americana “Sable Brown”. I let the figure at this point have plenty of time to dry, then I gave  the whole thing a wash with thinned GW “Agrax Earthshade” wash.

     When the wash had dried, I went back and added highlights to his flesh with, first, the “Shading Flesh”, and then with some of the “Shading Flesh”, with the lighter Apple Barrel “Apple Flesh” mixed in. I then highlighted all the metal with, first, the “Metallic Pewter”, and then with some lighter Folk Art “Silver Sterling”.
     My next step was to paint the stones sculpted onto the figure’s base, with Folk Art “Medium Gray”. Then I edged the stones with some Duncan “Slate Grey”.   
     I now let the figure sit for several hours, and then I gave it a coat of Ceramcoat “Matte Varnish”.  When this was dry, I flocked the edges of the base, letting some of the stonework remain visible in the center.   The next morning I sprayed it with Testor’s “Dullcote” spray paint.

     I pleased with how this big fellow turned out. It’s not a particularly dynamic figure, or colorful one for that mater, but it makes a good solid barbarian-type fighter to have in my collection.

Figure 108 of 265: Complete

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Colonial Marines!

Buck

One group of marines

One group of marines

At Cold Wars I purchased these new figures that are meant to look like the colonial marines from the Alien movies, specifically the second movie, Aliens.  The paint job is okay, but didn’t photograph very well on my phone with the flash. In particular the faces look awful in these photos.

Another group of marines

Another group of marines

I am planning on using the GAMER rules that I’ve been developing with these figures for some sort of science fiction skirmish.  I also painted the crew of Serenity, so they’ll get mashed up into the game as well.

Lt. Gorman and some marines

Lt. Gorman and some marines

The civilians

The civilians

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Finished up some stuff early this morning

Buck

Last weekend I began working on some 28mm WWII figures.  When I started working on GAMER, I found that I didn’t have the right figures to make correct squads.  I had lots of men with submachine guns, because I got them to fight giant ants in a pulp game.  So a couple of conventions ago, I purchased a bunch of figures with rifles and BARs.

The whole mob

The whole mob

This morning I put on the finishing touches and flocked them.  I wanted to have these done it time for Fall In.

Some fantasy buildings

Some months ago, Chris and I made a bunch of fantasy buildings for our 10mm Bear Yourselves Valiantly projects (white and blue building in the foreground).  Chris noticed that tops of Tropicana orange juice looked like they might be arenas or larger buildings.  I’ve been tinkering with them, but finally finished them this morning.

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