Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Japanese Troops are on the Table

Well I didn't have time to get them primed but I did get them prepped, cleaned and mounted to their painting sticks:

Princess Pumpkin, guest of the Emperor, surveys the troops  as they prepare for priming and painting.

So I pretty much got everything done for December I wanted to do. These guys will be first up for completion in 2012.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

My 2012 Hobby Goals aka Wishful Thinking

Over the past few days, I've I made a list of all of my gaming related "want-to-dos" and frankly, I'm shocked. Both the variety of periods/genres as well as scale is greater than I realized. Which is odd, given that all but my HeroClix figures fit side-by-side on a single book shelf maybe 2' long x 8" wide.

In any case, how to decide which would make it to the top of my list for 2012?

Since I accept the idea that a stated goal is simply a guideline to help me focus my time, energy and financial resources, and as I have limited amounts of all three,  I believe goal setting is a worthwhile activity. By publicly stating them, I hope to gain the same positive effect it had for me in November and again in December (more on that in another post to follow).

Given the reality that my interests ebb and flow from period to period, genre to genre, I've opted not to lock myself to specifics, for the most part, while still creating quantifiable goals:
  • Weekly painting/terrain making/scenery construction/etc.
  • Monthly solo gaming
  • 100 posts to this blog

While I'm pretty sure just about anything I might do is covered by this list, there are three bigger projects that I especially intend to make progress on or even complete (nothing ever seems really completed so I mean at least enough that I can play the games I envision):

  • 1/72 WWII Pacific Island Assault
  • 54mm Morschauser Horse and Musket
  • 2mm Napoleonics
Of course, all statements contained herein are subject to revision once my plans meet reality.

So, what are your gaming related goals for the upcoming year?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Home for the Holidays

Ever since I was a toddler, we've celebrated Christmas gift giving on Christmas Eve morning and this year was no different. We made the trek up north to my parents' house on Friday, so we could keep that tradition. The best part: a few years ago, the gift opening and celebrating seemed to be over lightening fast, like something was missing, but with my niece and now my son, it really feels like the celebration it should be.

To keep this post about table top diversions, and not about holiday warm-fuzzies, here's some highlights of the gifts I received:
Upon seeing the War at Sea starter, my girlfriend asked "Two players? I guess I'm the other player?" I explained actually, no, my plan is to play solo and she then asked if she could be the other player. She wants to play.

Maybe not on the order of magnitude required for a Christmas miracle, but I'll take it! 

Hoping everyone has a Merry Christmas, if you celebrate it, and if you don't, I hope you have a nice relaxing Sunday.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Los Pistoleros

My girlfriend returned from her business trip and since then I've been painting in my free time at a furious pace (well, furious for me), The result of which is that I finally managed to complete (sans basing) the remaining pistoleros:

I tried to stain paint him entirely with Citadel washes, save the hat and flesh. I probably should have gone for something more colorful than 2 shades of brown.

Two variations of face painting.

The hombre on the left was stain painted with Citadel washes - save the flesh and hat- much better than the first  figure, in my opinion.

This sets me up for the possibility of an Old West skirmish game/campaign in 2012. For that, I'll need to finally put my Whitewash City CD to good use.
I'm still hoping to get some game playing in before 2011's end.  I recently converted an Elves Under Hoof scenario to make it suitable for WWII in a pulp-ish fashion with the miniatures and terrain/scenery I have at my disposal.

Finally, speaking of miniatures, after I went crazy late last week from the stress of being the sole care giver for my son, I placed an order with Khurasan Miniatures for a small pile of 15mm science fiction goodies. While some of them will be useful in my VSF games (e.g. others will function in a more pure science fiction game (e.g. which is something new for me.

Oh, and I'm still thinking about my goals for 2012 (hobby and other wise) and hope to have that nailed down and posted sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What a week!

My girlfriend is traveling all week for work and our mother's-helper has scarlet feve (I didn't even know people still got that).

Fortunately, I'm working from home this week. But I'm trying to do that and take care of the blueberry at the same time. Plus take care of our two cats.

And keep the house looking reasonably live-able.

I hope to one day take a shower and eat something other than cereal.

Needless to say, not much happening on the hobby front.

Still, i did get the latest issue of Lone Warrior (although I've only skimmed it) and managed to get in a test game of Song of Blades and Heroes with 2 goblins and 2 kobolds - both free paper flat downloads. But that's the extent of it.

See you when I come up for air again!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hobby Lobby Coupon Alert!

While on the Hobby Lobby on-line store this morning to order some pencils and a sketchbook (I have decided I want to learn to draw - just for fun), I discovered they're having a 40% off any one item sale AND $3 flat rate shipping.

So, in addition to the pencils and sketchbook (both inexpensive), I ordered some model trees which I got for 40% off! 

I know I said previously that I'd use paper trees, but that was in comparison to cake decorating trees. At a $1.50 a tree, I'm willing to get the pre-made model trees that look nice. 

There's also a 40% off coupon good for in-store purchases available for printing as well. I may go and do an in-store purchase of a new decent paint brush, if I have time tomorrow.

The sale expires on December 10, 2011.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Some thoughts on 2012

Over at Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog, he's begun thinking about his 2012 wargaming goals

Go take a look if you haven't. It's quite inspiring (and a little mad) and has me thinking about what I might like to set down for my own hobby-related agenda in the upcoming year.

On the one hand, I'm hesitant to say I definitely want to do such-and-such, since it's a hobby, should be fun, and frankly, I tend to like to go where the wind takes me. That said, I think some longer range thinking could give me some focus so when I do find myself with some time to spend at the painting/gaming table, I have an idea of what I'd like to do already.

My guiding principle is that, in order for me to call something a hobby, I have to devote at least one hour a week to it. That's it. If I can't do that, it's time to reevaluate why I say I participate in the activity.

On the short list (and likely final list but I'll wait on that):
  • Post 2x a week to this blog
  • Complete 60% of my Little Wars anniversary project
  • Complete two 2mm knitting canvas armies (Napoleonic France and Russia) for gaming Table Top Teasers
  • Play at least one wargame a month.- this could be hex-and-counter, board game, miniatures or some combination thereof.
There's a lot more items on the long list - hence the name "Long List" (seemed kind of obvious, but just in case). A lot of those items can be tied to the last bullet point, which makes that a handy goal to have.

Among those that I consider likely to happen whether or not I write them down:
  • A Wild West campaign using the original Six-Gun Sound rules from THW, my 25mm cowboys and pistoleros and Whitewash City buildings.
  • 15mm VSF games/campaign involving the French Foreign Legion, lizard folk, Prussian infantry, G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. character minis in a Lost World setting using my own rules or the old free edition of Adventures in Jimland
  • WWII games in Europe, Eastern front, and Pacific Theater in various scales and rules
  • 25mm Fantasy games/campaign using Chronicles of Blood and/or Song of Blades and Heroes with paper flats and possibly, later in the year, minis.
  • Heroclix games galore
Then again, publicly committing to them may increase their likelihood of happening. I'll think more on this over the course of the month.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December Goals

One of my big take-aways from Solo Tabletop Gaming Appreciation Month is the value of publicly declaring my goal.

I've seen this on a number of productivity sites (I read a lot of them, which, ironically and not surprisingly, reduces my productivity) but hadn't really given it much of a try. The idea is that, by declaring a goal publicly, we motivate ourselves to achieve it for fear of falling short in the eyes of others. 

If I can consistently get results like last month, I'll consider it a surprisingly worthwhile technique.

So, for December, my figure preparation goals are:
  • Paint five 25mm pistoleros - this will complete the Monday Knight Productions Wild West figures I got for Christmas some 5 years or so ago.
  • Prep and prime box of Waterloo WWII Japanese
  • Print and assemble two paper-flat fantasy war bands to try out Song of Blades and Heroes
Because I spent nearly all of my hobby time painting last month, this month, I want to also include learning some new rules:
  • Read and play a few test games of SBH
  • Learn the core rules and play a test game or two for Heroclix (thanks JF at SoloNexus for getting me started on what looks to become a new addiction!)

This might be rather ambitious for me ordinarily, but it turns out I'll have nearly two weeks off from work thanks to the upcoming holidays. Which means, all told, I should get in at least16 hours of hobby time between now and January.

Hopefully, I'll also get in a VSF game, WWII, and dungeon crawling too.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

D&D B/X: Take 2

I rolled up two by-the-book 1st level d & d b/x characters. And by "by the book", I mean 3d6 per trait, rolled in order. I then used the as written rule that allows gaining one point on the prime requisite for every two dropped from certain other traits (CON and CHR are excluded)..

The results?

A cleric of moderate ability (save his Wisdom) and with an unfortunate unwillingness to say anything other than the truth (that was rolled randomly on a table I found on the web) and a paranoid thief with a disfiguring scar and a glass left eye. The latter two were gained as a result of a Charisma of 7 and some die rolls on the aforementioned tables.

The cleric rolled 100gp, which means, after i buy all of the other kit, plate mail will likely be out despite it's ridiculously low price tag of 60gp.

The thief rolled a legitimate 18, which is 180gp to start - kind of overkill for a guy who wears leather armor and can't use a shield. That said, he'll probably be rather entrepreneurial and farm out some of the adventuring to hirelings, i.e. bank roll the adventure - maybe hire a couple of fighters or arm some 0 level muscle, hang towards the back, and claim/steal most of the reward when combat is done. I may even have him try to hire another thief to check for traps and such, who, for my own amusement, will try to pilfer from the party himself.

The only deviation from b/x that I'm making worth noting at this point is that I'm treating the cleric as an  Undead Hunter (I'd say Vampire Hunter, but they hunt zombies, skeletons, wraiths, ghosts, etc. so "vampire" seems a bit too restrictive) and not simply a fighting healer. As I have defined this particular order of clerics, their (his) spells are available as a result of deep meditation and not, to their knowledge, granted by a deity. It doesn't change the class characteristics, but it does provide a motivation for the characters actions and a possible plot hook.

Speaking of, I need to equip the party and generate an objective for the first* delve.

*please note my unbridled optimism that the characters will survive.

D&D B/X Session 3

After an hour spent cleaning off the table (I swear, everything manages to find its way to my gaming/painting table regardless of where it actually should go), I sat down to play the third installment of my D&D dungeon crawl.

23 turns and I think the picture below sums it up:

And people tell me spiders aren't scary.

So, Orecchiette, in typical old-school fashion, didn't even make it past the ruins, let alone enter the 1st level of the dungeon. Bewie, the hireling/porter, turned and ran from the room - his fate and whereabouts are unknown.

For my next attempt at a dungeon crawl, I'm going to change the way I handle the dungeon generation/encounters (which I'll detail later) and I'm going to play two characters and see if that changes my luck. It'll be a different dungeon/objective too. 

Off to roll up some characters.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Is this what they meant by "reindeer games"?

Elves Under Hoof had been on my wish list forever (I mean years. like 3 or more.) until last month when I finally ordered it from WargameVault (along with Song of Blades and Heroes which I hope to play this month sometime).

I've only played the first scenario (the game includes 4), An Igloo Too Far - and finally won on my fourth attempt. It was a close one and a Pyrrhic victory at that. Both Comet and Cupid went to that Christmas Town in the sky.

Here's a picture of the game after turn 5, right before I successfully rolled for reinforcements to end the game in my favor:

With the elves closing in, Vixen is prepared to go down with a fight. Suddenly, off in the distance he hears the reassuring snorts of an oncoming rush of reindeer commandos.
A fun game with good replay value and only $3.99. 

I'm a sucker for cartoony artwork and anything Christmas, so that might explain my enthusiasm in part. The fact that it's designed to be played solo is a big plus.

Added bonus? The scenarios and "ai" look to be easily adaptable to other periods (is "the great Elf War" a period?)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Solo Tabletop Gaming Appreciation Month Final Tally

At the start of this month, I had painted only two minis in the last two years (and those two in the last year). 

Now, as a result of my participation in Solo Tabletop Gaming Appreciation Month, I have 35 painted minis to show for it. 

That's a 1750% increase in productivity!! Remember kids, under perform so when you do make an effort, you hit a grand slam.

Admittedly, basing is not done, but as my standard of basing is pretty low, it'll be a quick job to finish them. 

And now, I present, the class of November 2011:

15mm Minifigs USA Prussians

25mm pistoleros and cowboys from Monday Knight Productions and 1 DIY custom Master Shake

15mm Brigade Games G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.

Hats off to JF at Solo Nexus for promoting the idea of Solo Tabletop Gaming Appreciation Month!