Saturday, December 09, 2017

10mm Franco-Prussian War terrain


While I haven't do doing much wargaming this past year, I have been making purchases and making terrain for wargaming. What you see in the photo above is the result.

The playing surface is a 6' x 4' mat from Deep Cut Studios, with 15cm grids. I chose this primarily to use with the To The Last Gaiter Button rules, but also with the hope of finding a set of grid-based Napoleonic rules to use - if you have any suggestion, do let me know in the comments!

The woods are made using Woodland Scenics tree trunks and clump foliage, hot glued to black mounting board. I will post a tutorial on how I made these another day.

The village/town pieces are made using the buildings from Perry Miniatures' Travel Battle game, which are sold separately in sprues - they are closer to 6mm in scale, but look effective with 10mm figurines too. They are based on pre-textured paper, again from Woodland Scenics, which was glued to plasti-cards for sturdiness.

The swamps are just green transparencies cut into irregular shapes, with tufts applied.

Elevation is created by placing books under the mat.

Last but not least, the figurines were previously unceremoniously dumped into tins after our campaign several years back - I magnetised their bases and organised them into tins according to nationality and type.

We are ready for some FPW games.

A closer view, showing the comparative scales of the figurines and the buildings.

A low-angle view, showing the ridge created by books.

A closer view of a swamp terrain piece. I like how the 'grass' is darker nearer its bottom.

I need a lot of woods terrain pieces, I think; but while I was making more just now I cut my finger badly, which means no more handicraft for the weekend.

The fact that books have to be placed under the mat to create elevation means that the table cannot be set up in advance - in TTLGB the players spend points to place terrain as part of the game, which means less playing time. To overcome this I think I will instead play through the scenarios provided in the 1870 Grand Tactical Rules book.

The FPW was one of the 'bucket list' periods I just had to play, and I spent quite a bit to have them painted, so I am pretty happy that the new products on the market (the gridded mats from Deep Cut Studios, presumably created for To the Strongest!, and the Perry Travel Battle buildings created just for their game) made it easier for me to revisit the period with better-looking terrain.

Now I can only hope that Plastic Soldier Company release some Arabs and Turks under their Great War system so I can do my other bucket list period: The Arab Revolt...

Monday, December 04, 2017

Ogre and nostalgia weekend


Fg, wahj, Martin and I managed to get together on Sunday for a game. It's been quite a while since we all managed to meet up, so we wanted to play something light - the aim of the session was more to catch up than to play, after all.

Fg dug up the Ogre box set he backed several years back. Wahj and I played the game countless times back in the 80s, so we thought it would be easy to pick the rules up again. We took the conventional forces and tried to stop the two Mk III Ogres commanded by fg and Martin (the 'God of War' and the 'Dog of Raw', respectively). Our brilliantly set-up howitzer defence managed to score all of one hit on the Ogres during the course of the game, before they we crushed by the threads of the behemoths.

The game was archetypally 80s, down to the type of units represented in the game - they all had a very 'Cold War' feel to them (well, except for the Ogres...).

The game was short, and much of the session was spent watching YouTube videos of Singapore from the 80s (there are surprisingly quite a number of videos of street scenes of Singapore taken by both tourists and public transport geeks), listening to 80s music, talking about fitness (if you remember the 80s, then you are at the age when health and fitness should concern you), eating chips and drinking mead and unsweetened decaffeinated iced tea (it's a cheat day for all of us), giving of gifts (of books and mooncake tins), and sharing what's been going on in our lives in the past few months.

Gaming-wise it wasn't a very "productive" afternoon, but it was a lot of fun. I guess the older you get, the more you appreciate friends, games, and music from your youth.

Martin has promised us a naval game at his place in two weeks, which gave me the impetus to continue work on the Brigade Models harbour terrain which I bought many years back but never completed work on. My original plan of recreating the island fortress of Kusadasi proved too ambitious for my modeling skills, and I have settled for a more modest harbour guarded by a fort, modeled loosely on Sigacik, which I had the chance to visit a few years ago.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Lone Wolf


I apologise to my readers for the long absence, but these days most of my gaming is RPGing, which isn't really a gaming form which I think translates well to a blog format.

Specifically, I have been running a Lone Wolf Adventure Game campaign since October. The campaign has been in the works since I learned the news of Joe Dever's death last year, and it was my plan to commemorate the first anniversary of his death by keeping the Lone Wolf legacy alive.

Even though I did not play through all (or indeed many) of the original gamebook series, the richness and depth of the whole setting - Kai lords, the Darklords, Magnamund with its many nations and varied geography - were an inspiration to me as a young game master. Over the years I have returned to and set my campaign in Magnamund - it is a testament to the popularity of the works of Joe Dever that the setting has incarnated in several forms after the original gamebook series.



The latest official version of the Lone Wolf RPG is Cubicle 7's Lone Wolf Adventure Game, which I am using for my current campaign. The rules follow those of the original gamebooks system closely, and are therefore a little simplistic compared to the other popular fantasy RPG systems. The combat system is also likewise simplistic, and in some ways flawed (with the correct traits, a character in plate armour and holding a great shield is virtually invulnerable), but can be epic, with a few mooks falling to the heroes every combat round.

But what makes Lone Wolf special is not the rules, but the narrative. Everything was unashamedly epic. Our hero traveled vast distances to exotic realms on his quests, meeting allies and enemies with very different powers from those of the Kai, and of course, the fate of the whole world rested on the outcomes of his every action.

As a game master, I can only hope that my campaign gives my players an experience that approaches that I had playing the gamebooks as a teenager.

Thank you, Mr Dever.

Friday, October 13, 2017

(Not) Dice of Rolling


One of the problems when playing a game that requires polyhedral dice (i.e. most RPGs) with newbies is that they often have difficulty telling the dice apart - the d8 and d10 especially.

This isn't helped by the fact that almost all polyhedral dice are sold in sets of identical colour, so you can't just say: roll the green die or whatever.

Also, these sets are usually sold in sets of one die of each type, which can be a bother if you need more of one type but not the others.

The solution to this is obvious in retrospect, but as with most great inventions someone had to be the first to do it. That someone is Dice of Rolling.

The original Dice of Rolling set comes with 29 dice in a custom dice bag. I had considered getting a set but unfortunately they do not ship outside the US.

Well, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... I decided to make my own set with The Dice Shop Online's range of polyhedrals. My configuration is different from the original (which is designed for D&D 5E), and is tailored with the game systems that I run in mind.

I designed the set to be split into two equal sets (minus the d00, which is usually only used by the GM or on special occasions like rolling on tables), which when shared one set per two players be sufficient for a group of four.

Each set will have at least one of each type of die. The extra d6 are for Savage Worlds, where all player characters roll a d6 "Wild Die" with their trait tests and attack rolls, and also for Dragon Age, where rolls are made with 3d6, one of which (the Dragon Die) has to be a different colour from the other two, hence the orange and red dice.

The extra d10s are for Dragon Warriors, where magical attacks and evasion are rolled with 2d10 instead of d20; they are green because in the Lone Wolf Adventure Game only d10s are used, and green is the colour of the Kai!

The d12 is of course the step-child of the polyhedrals, and as I do not GM D&D 5E, I have no need for two d20 per set.

Now granted these are not Gamescience dice - doing the above in Gamescience will cost at least double of what I have spent here - but I am planning to use them for convention games, where precision isn't as important. My mistake here is that I should have made another set of dice for my own use, so I could have a set just for conventions and not have to pack my dice each time I want to run a game. Well, maybe as GM I should have the ethical duty of using Gamescience dice all the time...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Cardboard medieval town


A few weeks ago I was looking to buy something for my RPG use and I found it on the eBay store of a Russian seller. He also carried an extensive range of cardboard buildings; I have previously bought a few of the Eastern European buildings from the 1/87 range for my WW2 project and was quite impressed by the design and look of the buildings, so I decided to buy a pack of their 1/72 medieval walls in case I ever needed some for a siege scenario for my RPG or wargaming.

After I assembled the wall pack, I was blown away. The sections are designed to articulate with each other like plate armour to allow the user to form curved wall sections. I wanted more. I bought nine more packs, all of which I assembled over the weekend. The result is the scene above.

The buildings have a generic Western European look, and are closer to 25mm than 28mm. This means that if you plan to use them for wargaming, they will look good and serve well as markers for built-up areas, but their interiors are too small to fight in. I think they will be useful in a skirmish game, where the distinct character of each building can be used as part of the victory conditions - for example, one player may be required to steal a horse from the stables, while another has to take the relic kept in the chapel.

The card is thick, fully coloured on both sides, and in some cases also embossed to give texture. Windows and archways punch out, and doors are hinged. Some additional bits like carts are also provided, as are 2D cardboard figures.

Stables shown with HO scale horses.

The smithy comes with a cardboard anvil and bucket of water!

Some of the buildings feature walls or roofs that can be opened to display the interior - as you can see, the details on the inside can be quite stunning.



Here are a couple of shots of the inside of the walls. As you can see, there is a parapet when you can place figurines.



I also would like to draw attention to the Deep Cut Studio mat which I bought through Big Red Bat. This is the Plans design with 20cm grid, which I bought to use with the To the Last Gaiter Button FPW rules. The grids are inconspicuous enough for the mat to be used for other games, and I think this will become my default gaming mat over the flocked grass mat I have been using for years.

The only down side to all this is that once assembled they take up a lot of storage space. I may have to seriously consider taking them down and packing them flat if I don't plan to use them for a while...

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Recreating the Dragon Warriors cover in miniatures

Dragon Warriors was the first full-fledged RPG I GM'd, and when it was re-released in a hardcover in 2009, I bought a copy and started GMing more or less regularly for a while.

The cover art was by Jon Hodgson, and featured four adventurers from the four original character classes in the game: Knight, Barbarian, Mystic, and Sorcerer.

Art by Jon Hodgson
The cover is also an Easter egg/tribute to the cover of the original paperback version of the book - as you can see the knight from the original book didn't get further into the dungeon...



The new cover art is a better fit for the mood of the game.

When I bought a fighter figure for my Lone Wolf game, I noticed that he bore a resemblance to the knight on the cover art. This gave me an idea and after some googling I decided I would try to recreate the party on the cover in miniatures.

This was what I started with.



The knight figure is less heavily-armoured than the cover version, but the flipped-up visor and his face were a good match and I wasn't prepared to do any heavy conversion like a body-swap. I had to replace his round shield with a plastic heater shield.

The barbarian figure is from Northstar's Frostgrave range and came in a pack with a thief figure (not-Fafhrd and not-Gray Mouser). The dress isn't a 100% match, but at least he wears a top - most 28mm barbarian figures are topless and wield a two-handed axe. I had to give his some facial hair with putty - it's amazing how much manlier it made him. I also had to give him bigger shoes - the original figure had tiny feet. The arm band matches that of the art and is a bonus.

The mystic figure is also from Reaper - I had to restyle his hair to a more bowl-cut look of the original guy. The sorcerer is also from Reaper, and did not require any conversion.

This was what I ended up with.


I think they will make a nice pregenerated party for a convention game.



Monday, October 02, 2017

Running a Con Game


Photo of another table in action - mine wasn't set up yet.
Well, not exactly a convention, but yesterday I ran my first public game at the special RPG Edition of a boardgames meetup.

I've been GMing for over 30 years, and have recruited complete strangers as players on Meetup, but this would be my first time gaming for strangers in a public location (well, as public as the function room of a community centre is).

I was well-prepared for the session - I had in fact planned to run this game back in July at another convention, but that was cancelled due to a lack of players.

I had gone on an RPG forum and asked for advice on running a convention game, and was pointed to a number of articles with good advice, many which I adopted.

I planned to run the same scenario that I used for our Space Opera campaign, I created pre-generated characters (choice of six for a group of four players), each with non-gender-specific names. Each character sheet contained just the essential information needed for play, and had a short background of the character, with a "choose this character if you..." advice at the end. I also picked a male and female version of prepainted miniatures for each the characters, except for the droid and the wookiee.

Despite all that I was still nervous.

With my "private" campaigns I was upfront about my view on compatibility: if you didn't like my GMing style or me as a person, or if I didn't think you are a fit for my group, neither one of us needed to continue playing together. With a "public" game one was in some ways the face of the hobby, and no GM wanted to be one who turned people off the hobby. With campaigns it was also possible to learn the likes and dislikes of the players and adjust the direction and tone of the game - with a one-shot I had one chance to make sure everyone enjoyed himself or herself.

As it turned out I needn't have worried. Despite the fact that three of the four players were complete newbies to RPGs, they got into their roles soon and were engaged with the storyline and encouraging to each other. Things went smoothly and they actually completed their mission with 30 minutes to spare (after a bar brawl, a shoot-out, and a car chase), so I used the scheduled mid-game break to come up with extra complications for the party. As it turned out that was a good thing, as the game ended on a high note with a daring escape instead of simply a delivery made as it would have.

I enjoyed the experience enough to want to do it again. In fact, I had just ordered some 19 dice, colour-coded by the dice type (as inspired by Dice of Rolling - too bad they didn't ship outside the US) to make things easier for newbies in the future. I hope to run the same set-up again at least a couple more times to get mileage on my prep so far - plus the space opera genre seems to encourage creativity, team-work, and role-playing even for newbies.

Well, that's enough about RPGs for now. In my next post I hope to report on a wargaming project I am revisiting. Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

D&D Epic Adventure

Picture from organisers' FB page
[Spoilers Alert for The Mystery of Kryptgarden]

That's a picture of my table at the D&D Epic Adventure I attended yesterday. The premise of the event is that five different factions have decided to launch a multi-pronged attack on the stronghold of an evil cult. Members of the various factions gather at the great hall, are organised into teams, and then sent out on their separate missions - how each team fared would have an impact on the other teams in the final battle of the game.

After some initial awkwardness (to be expected when playing with total strangers - although three of the other players actually game together regularly), our team found its footing: the fighter and my paladin tanked, the rogue sneaked and stabbed, and the druid and warlock provided the firepower.

With each successful encounter our confidence and teamwork improved, so much so that we finished our first two acts early and had time for an extended lunch break while the other tables tried to complete theirs.

Over lunch (and bonding over 80s cartoons and RPGs) I found that that the three players actually game with Dave from my regular Monday group, and that one of them was the brother of a friend from my secondary school!

After lunch we played the second two acts of the game. The final battle was suitably epic: while our group set off to take out a ballista situated on a tower connected to other towers by rope bridges, a battle raged in the courtyard of the castle - the ballista rained projectiles onto the good guys: every round matters! When our initial plan of utilising stealth failed, we winged it and attacked both along the rope bridges and on the ground, the fighter and my paladin drawing missile fire while the other dashed from cover to cover to close within spell range to destroy the ballista.

The game was great fun, but what also made the day rewarding was chatting with gamers both close to my age, and also younger.

The older gamers marveled at how mainstream the hobby had become: back in the 80s when we started playing such a big public event was unimaginable. They told horror stories of having to play with GMs who enjoyed tormenting players at the few gaming stores there were back then, because that was the only way they could find a GM.

The youngest player at the table was a new GM, and is running a homebrewed campaign instead of one of the many adventure paths he could easily buy off the shelf; we old grognards were suitable impressed.

I enjoyed the experience enough to want to attend the next time something like this is organised. Of course, it will also give me a chance to try out the new powers my paladin gained from leveling up after the game...

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Blood Bowl Games 5 and 6


After a planned game of Federation Commander fail to materialise on Sunday, fg and I had to think of a game to play in the afternoon. We were both too lazy to set up a full miniatures game, and too lazy to learn a new boardgame, so we defaulted to Blood Bowl.

We managed to find our team rosters from some 20 months ago, and continued the series where we left off. The great thing about Blood Bowl is that the game can picked up at any point if the records are kept; this applies to both a campaign, as well as each individual game. It's a like a chess game, in a way.

It took us only a couple of turns to remember how the game goes, and we managed to play two games (well, sort of...) in one afternoon.

The first half of Game 5 was a scoreless one as my Chaos Dwarves failed to reach the end zone in time. In the second half fg's Orcs managed an easy touchdown in six turns, but a long pass followed by a Sure-footed, Sprinty bull centaur allowed me to draw the game.


Game 6 went really bad for me. A series of casualties left my team unable to put up a reasonable defence, or defend themselves for that matter. At the end of the first half I was down by two points (one score after an interception!) and had only seven players standing. I decided to concede the game.

The Orcs win the series.

With this series concluded, we are thinking of our next teams. Fg is thinking of a Skaven team, while I am looking for something better at passing... like a Wood Elf team, but less... elfy. I will probably end up using the Wood Elf stats, but again I will proxy with some other figures.

Monday, August 28, 2017

A Trio of Heroes for a Lone Wolf Campaign



Despite a lack of posting this month, I have in fact been doing a quite a bit of gaming. We concluded our Space Opera campaign (I plan to write a series of articles on the lessons I learned from GMing the campaign, when I can find the time), and I have been reading, making purchases, and painting in preparation for our next RPG campaign.

The setting of the next campaign will be Magnamund, the Lone Wolf world, using Cubicle 7's Lone Wolf Adventure Game rules. The combat rules in this system are a little different from other fantasy RPG rules, as the authors wanted to stick to system in the original gamebooks. This meant that only the players roll during combat, and damage to combatants are decided by referring to a combat result table. As the original gamebooks were solo adventures, this meant some tweaking was required in a multi-player RPG. I think the solution they came up with is reasonable, and I plan to run a combat during our Session 0 to try it out. There are also combat options players can take, which spices things up a little.

I bought several figures especially for the campaign, three of which are seen in the first photo. They represent three of the player characters: a dwarven gunner of Bor, a Brotherhood of the Crystal Star mage, and a Sommlending Knight.


The knight is a Reaper mercenary warrior figure. I had a rather clear idea of what kind of armour I wanted the figure for the knight to be wearing, but as it turned out finding the exact figure to match is not an easy task. This figure was the closest I could find, but I would have preferred a heater shield to the round shield. I used a decal from a Bretonnian set.


The figure has an "adventurer" look, with a backpack, various bags, and even a scroll/map case. I imagine this is a how an adventuring knight looks like.


The figure can be rather plain besides the shield, but fortunately he wears an amulet, which serves as a way to introduce a highlight to the figure.



The second figure is a Red Box Games figure, which I am using as the mage. Again, he has the "adventurer" look. I painted him in the traditional blue of the Brotherhood, but decided not to paint all the stars that are supposed to be decorating the robe. I guess I am trying to go for a more realistic look here.


The figure carries a bedroll, which again highlight the "on the road" look.


The third figure is a Citadel dwarf thunderer figure. There are many different poses and looks in the range, but this one comes closest to what I imagined the gunners of Bor to look like. The details on the gun mechanism are amazing considering the age of these figures.


There is even a powder horn on the figure's hip, which is a nice touch.

There are two more figures to be painted before we have the whole party" a Kai Lord, and a Border Ranger of the North. These are also Red Box figures, and FG has agreed to paint them for me. They will be clothed in green - a break from the monotony of blue on these first three figures.

I have also painted a couple of NPCs, but I won't post them here yet so as not to spoil the surprise for my players.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Warhammer 40K 8th Ed game

Fg and I tried our hand at the 8th Edition of Warhammer 40K on Sunday. He drew up two lists of just below 50 Power points, which he told me was equivalent to around 1000 points in conversion. This still gave more than 70 figures on the side of the Imperial Guards, and around half that on the side of the Space Marines.

The Guard position from the Marines' point of view.

We played a Blitz scenario, which had the guards defending two defensive lines across the width of the table. This was a chance for me to lay out my sci-fi shanty town terrain, plus all the barricades, crates and oil drums we had between us. The result, as you can see, is a rather formidable position.

Ratling snipers take up position at a vantage point.

The Commissar standing at the front, inspiring the guardsmen.

The rules weren't difficult. Weapon Skill and Ballistic Skill are now expressed as number needed to hit, which takes away one byte of brain function. Calculation of the "to wound" number is also made easier, and in a game where most figures on each side have the same Strength and Toughness, it became easier after a while. Calculating Saving Roll was also easy. Morale too was simple to adjudicate.

However, with more than a hundred figures on the table, and with most of the Guards figures able to shoot due to their well-prepared position, this meant more than a hundred die-rolls per turn. The game took less than three hours, but felt longer.

Assault Marines reach the defence position.
Over all the rules do seem easier that those of 7th edition, but 50 Power points does seem a bit much for beginners like us. I imagine a 750-points game to be what we should be aiming for.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Spartan Scenics Warehouse Accessories


I use battlemaps and miniatures for my RPG games, and a couple of sessions back I realised that I needed more cover for my battles. A bit of googling found the Warehouse Accessories set from Spartan Scenics. It was expensive (28 GBP) but it looked good, so I decided to get a box. After all, it can also be used for whatever sci-fi skirmish game we play, and we all know that sci-fi worlds all have random crates lying around when a firefight starts.

Thank goodness the umpire placed some crates right where I needed them.

The pieces are resin, and very well-cast. The lines and straight, the details sharp, and there is flash only at the bases of the pieces (where the "bottom" of the mould is, or the top, but you get the idea). The crates are just tall enough to give 28mm figures half-cover, There are also six biohazard containers in the set, but the yellow spray paint I used gave a very uneven coverage of the pieces, so I decided to leave them aside to be fixed another day.

I sprayed the pieces with a grey primer, and then sprayed the base colour for the pieces. The olive drab military-looking ones got some white decals I have left over from some WW2 German kit and some light weathering with black paint, while the beige, civilian-looking ones got black decals and moderate to heavy weathering with brown paint, as did the yellow pallets.

I am very pleased with the quality of these pieces, and if you are looking to give your guys some cover in your games, I recommend you pick a box up too.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

August Giveaway


I was going through my box of starships stuff looking for a model to use in my Space Opera RPG when I came across these.

They are supplements for converting Starfleet Battles ships into Starmada Admiralty Edition which I bought a long time ago but never ended up using - Starmada Compendium was the last iteration of the rules that had the Shockwave weapon which I used for my Lyrans, and in this conversion they had it as a purely defensive thing. Pathetic.

Anyway, seeing them again led me into thinking about starship battles again, and I bought the Federation Commander Reference Rulebook and a couple of Ship Card Packs for the Klingons and Lyrans... at least they are all electronic and won't take up space (heheh).

Anyway, if you want these items, do leave a comment and I will draw a recipient on 01 Aug. This is not a first-come, first-serve offer.

The offer is free: once I let you know that you have won, do let me have your email address and I will send them off to you. You don't even have to pay for postage.

Good luck!

Also, there were no entries for the July Giveaway, so I am repeating that offer again this month and making the draw on 01 Aug too.

And, will Michael Mills contact me so I can send you your prize from the June Giveaway please?

Thank you.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Federation Commander



I was digging through my box of starship stuff the other day looking for a model to use in the next session of my Space Opera RPG campaign when I found my SFB-Starmada conversion rulebooks. I bought those hoping to use them with my collection of models, but as they didn't give the Lyran ESGs the respect they deserve (relegating them to a purely defensive role), I never ended up using them. So the three books will go up in my August giveaway, which will be announced later this week.

The encounter prompted me to finally buy Federation Commander and try the rules out. I played Starfleet Battles almost 30 years ago, late to the party in a group with a few dedicated players, each of whom specialised in a race. The Lyrans were the only unclaimed race at that point in time, and as it turned out it suited my temperament, and I have been playing Lyrans (exclusively but not expertly) since, even when I started playing Starmada (Compendium edition, where their Shockwave rule sufficiently replicated the effect of the ESGs).

As anyone who has played the game will know, SFB isn't an easy game to learn or play, but back then we had the time and mental capacity to assimilate large amounts of information. I actually learned the rules by watching and playing, and never actually read the rules myself.

When Federation Commander came out several years ago I looked at the reviews, but ultimately decided to stick with Starmada Compendium (never moving on to the other editions of the Starmada franchise because they dropped the Shockwave and did not replace it with anything replicating the effect). But despite the ease of play and the ability to handle a larger number of ships, we stopped playing after a while, and once in a while I still felt the itch to allocate energy and do movement by impulse...

So I bought the Federation Commander compilation rules, a few ship card packs, and wahj and I played a game of it yesterday.

We got some of the rules wrong (as usual when playing a new set of rules), but while some aspects of the rules are vastly different from SFB, there was enough of the elements that made SFB what it is to make it familiar yet new. A game between a Heavy Cruiser and a Battlecruiser took 90 minutes. A lot of time was saved by not having to allocate all the energy in advance, but things like deciding where to move, rolling to hit and rolling for damage still took the same amount of time as it did in SFB.

I liked the rules enough to want to play again; it is also very easy to set up, which is always a plus. wahj plans to buy a few more ship packs to cover some of the other races, in particular the Romulans (who under the FC Cloaking rules look rather nerfed). As for me and my household, we will continue to play the Lyrans.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

RPG Day 2017


Yesterday I attended my first RPG Day event. I was originally scheduled to GM a Savage Worlds game in the morning, but with only two players a week away from the con date, I decided to cancel it so the players could sign up for another game.

So I spent the morning sitting at the various tables to watch the other GMs at their craft. The first 40 minutes or so were slow as many of the players were new to D&D and RPG indeed, but after that everyone got into stride and there was a nice buzz in the hall.

It was interesting to see how different GMs used different tools and styles. Some stood, others sat throughout the game. Some used markers on blank mats, some printed battlemaps, while others used "theatre of the mind".





Curiously, almost all the players looked like they were in their twenties or older. There was a teenager at my game in the afternoon, but he was perhaps the only one there. I spoke with another player over lunch and he thought maybe it was because teenagers tended to play with their schoolmates and so were not represented at what was primarily an Adventurers League event.

The game I played in was quite fun, even if my character went to 0 hit points at least twice. We had a good mix of classes and co-operated well, allowing each character his or her moment to shine (except my paladin, who simply could not hit anything!).


Still, I feel that the format of AL means that each game is essentially a one-shot with strangers. While you kept your character and his XPs and gear, there was no shared memory between members of a party, which I feel is an important part of the whole RPG experience. It is a concession to the reality that for many people, getting a regular group of players together week after week is simply not possible; I am glad I have a regular gaming group.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

July Giveaway

For the month of July, I am giving away several sprues of WW2 German infantry which I don't think I will ever get around to painting.

They are as follows:

Pegasus Hobbies German Fallschirmjaegers.

Leftover figures from Plastic Soldier Late War German Infantry

Plastic Soldier Company Self-propelled Gun Crew, and some soft plastic figures and equipment from the Pegasus Hobbies IG18 set

Once again, if you want these items, do leave a comment, and I will draw a recipient on 01 July. This is not a first-come, first-serve offer.

The offer is free: once I let you know you have been drawn, do let me have your email and mailing address and I will send them off to you. You don't even have to pay for postage; I am hoping to give these figures a good hope.

Good luck!

Added: Also, would Michael Mills contact me on this blog so I can send you last month's giveaway please? Thank you.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Have Dice, Will Travel (for RPG)


A couple of my new players in the Space Opera RPG I am currently running are also GMs on the Meetup group, and I have attended a couple of games in the past few weeks, and will be attending another one on RPG Day (17 June).

I like to use my own (Gamescience) dice, and I wanted a way to bring them around that wouldn't rattle or damage them, so I googled around and decided I wanted to make myself one of those fancy wooden RPG carrying cases that doubled as a dice tray and pencil case.

Unfortunately, the only good-looking wooden boxes at the local art store were those that came as part of water-colour or pastel sets that cost around S$70, which was more than I was prepared to spend.

Then I saw a plastic "bits" box at a general store that was about the right size (21cm x 15cm) and came with customisable partitions. I bought the box, a sheet of black rubber foam, and after trying a few configurations came up with this:


It can hold a 7-dice polyhedral set plus 2d6, or plus 1 extra d20 and d6 (for D&D 5E games), a few pencils and an eraser, and a post-it note pad. If you don't mind folding a character sheet, that can fit inside the box too. The bottom and inside lid of the box are lined with rubber foam so the the large compartment can serve as a dice tray and the dice won'y rattle when the box is closed. The box clips shut securely, which is important.

It's not as fancy as one of those custom-built wooden RPG boxes, but it's light-weight, compact, and cheap.