Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ninja goodness

Over the holidays we finally got to see Ninja Assassin. It was as much fun as we had hoped. It was good to see Sho Kusugi again. He was part of the beginning of the Ninja mania back in the day – starring in Enter the Ninja, Revenge of the Ninja, Ninja III: The Domination, as well as The Master TV series.

The fight scenes would have seemed a bit too limb-choppy if I hadn’t recently come across this site which shows what a sharp sword can actually do.

There was a bit much of CG stars being thrown. In order to remain hidden, these ninja crews must have great cleaner squads to recover all evidence.
All-in-all, if you've been missing ninjas on the screen, this one more than fills that void.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Manitoba Homecoming 2010

Tourism Manitoba is pushing their Manitoba Homecoming for 2010. With it being Manitoba’s 140th birthday they are hoping to invite a bunch of people to come back to Manitoba again for a visit.
They have a province-wide social planned for May 15. For those of you who have been to a Manitoba social, you know what they mean.
Check it out, you can send an e-vite to your friends.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Season's Greetings

To you and yours from me and mine.





A merry Christmas - as applicable.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Neil and Ninjas – denied!

Neil Gaiman was in town. It seems they had a Graveyard Party with a contest and it came down to two places. He ended up doing book signings at both McNalley Robinsons here in Winnipeg as well as a bookstore in Decatur, GA.
We were planning on finally going to see Ninja Assassin on Tuesday (NINJAS!) and maybe swing by and see Neil but the kids are having a touch of the stomach flu (not Hini) so we had to skip it.

Too bad – it would have been nice to get a picture with Neil with us wearing our Caroline eyes.

Monday, December 14, 2009

GC-Minis delivers

I got my shipment from GC-Minis late last week. They were super-fast for shipping time.
I now have the new Warhammer boxed set and the new 40K boxed set. I'm pretty impressed with the quality of the figures included within. I'm a bit disappointed that there isn't an intro set of scenarios to follow like there was with the Battle for Macragge set. I guess I'll have to dig out my old Ork figures and see what I can put together for an army.
For the Warhammer set, I had a bunch of dwarves from before but I only really ever got around to painting the Slayers. The night goblins will help bulk out the old ones I have from the other boxed set. I also got some more spider riders online to give me 20 figures.

I'm going to be so far behind in my figure painting list.

Friday, December 11, 2009

G'nerts!

Here are the rules for another card game that we used to play in our youth. I'm also teaching the kids. It's good for 2, 3, or 4 as needed.

G’nerts
Remove the jokers from two decks with different backs. Each player takes a deck and shuffles it. They switch decks and each quickly deals out a Pile of 13 cards face down and a row of 4 face up cards to form your Stock. Flip the top card of your Pile face up. If you are playing with a partner, they usually handle the Pile. The remaining cards form your Stack. Between both Stocks is a Scoring Area.

Cards are played into the Scoring Area in sequence by suit starting with the aces and ending with the kings. For example, a 2 of hearts may only be played onto an ace of hearts. There is enough room for all eight aces to be in the Scoring Area at once. Both players are able to play on top of the cards played by either player. If both players try to play the same card at the same time, the card played first remains and the other player has to put their card back.

Cards in your Stock may be played in descending order alternating color between red and black (a red 5 may be placed on a black 6). Entire columns in your Stock can be moved as long as they can follow this rule – columns cannot be split. The top card on any column may be played to the Scoring Area as allowed. When a column is empty, either by being moved on to another column or by having the last card played into the Scoring Area, the space is filled with the top card of the Pile.

The remaining cards in your Stack are flipped over in threes by sliding three cards off the top of the Stack and flipping them over without changing the order of those three cards. The top card of these three may be played to the Stock or Scoring Area as allowed. Others cards from this flip are also able to be played as they are revealed. If you are able to play all three cards, you may then play the top of the previous flips as it is revealed. When you flip the last of the Stack, when you are unable to play further from the flips, pick up the flipped cards and start flipping again. As long as one player is able to play, keep flipping through the Stack as new cards played into the Scoring Area affect which cards are able to be played.
When both players are at a standstill, without being able to play any cards from their Pile, Stock, or Stack, they may both agree to take the top card of their Stack and put it on the bottom of their Stack. Then they start flipping by threes again. When they have done this three times, the next time they come to a standstill, the round ends.

The top card of your Pile may be played to the Stock or may be played directly into the Scoring Area as allowed. The new card at the top of the Pile is then flipped face up. When the last card in the Pile is played, either to the Stock or Scoring area, the player calls out “G’NERTS” and all play freezes and the round ends.

When the round ends, all cards in the Scoring area are mixed together and sorted according to the backs. Both players score the number of their cards played into the Scoring Area less double the number of cards left in their Pile. A player can have cards left in their Pile and still score more than their opponent for the round. The totals (plus or minus) are added to their total for the game. The game is usually played to 100 although you can play to higher amounts – 500, 1000, or so on.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Big box of Horrorclix Love

I had bought a case of Horrorclix Freakshow and it came this week. I was very happy with the mix – I managed to get an entire set from the 4 bricks contained within the case. This also included two of the pricy Templars as well as two of the Wacko Jackos. I got a full set of the Plot Twists and am only two cards from a second complete set. The only downside is that the three experienced Killer Clowns I got all came with rookie cards instead. This brings my Horrorclix total down to 4 figures and only 2 LEs needed to finish the entire set. I am quite pleased.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

GCMinis - Zaboo’d

With the word of a new Warhammer edition coming out next year, I wanted to make sure I got the 7th edition boxed set – Battle for Skull Pass. I also thought it was time to get the 5th edition 40K boxed set as well – Assault on Black Reach. Our good friends at Great Canadian Miniatures were so quick with the Space Hulk order (plus the 30% off) that I ordered from them again. I placed the order on Nov 12 but I didn’t get a payment request like I did the last time so I sent them an email on Nov 13. With still no response, I sent them another email on Nov 16 to their contact email. I even tried their contact number from the web but kept getting the message that their mailbox was full.

After more waiting, I sent another email on November 24 – to no response. Finally, on Nov 30, with help from the web, I tried to track them down. Their site mentions that they have a retail location – in the back of a bookstore. I was going to call them there to see if they had a different contact number when I noticed their mailing address for payments. A quick google search later, followed by a check of Canada411 and I gave them a call. Needless to say, the owner was surprised at my call and said that he would get the manager Kevin to give me a call back within the next 24 hours.

Within 2 hours, I got a call from Kevin who apologized saying that this was their busy time of year. He said he would send the payment request right away. I was glad to hear that they were still in business. I am looking forward to getting some more from them in the new year – notably some Blood Bowl teams and the Battle of Five Armies.


I understand that one can get behind, but it shouldn’t take almost 3 weeks from the time an order is placed to pay for it – it certainly didn’t the last time. Plus having a voicemail box that doesn’t seem to be emptied makes us shoppers a bit concerned. I’m glad to hear everything is still fine.

(If you don’t understand the Zaboo’d referece – watch The Guild.)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Naughty or Nice?

Last year, Santa was having trouble finding coal for the kids stockings. We came across a place this weekend that has coal for sale pretty cheap that we didn't even think of - the Prairie Dog Central. They have souvenir bags of coal in their gift shop.

We had taken the kids on a train ride last night. It was pretty cool. They thought it was going to go much faster. They had put plastic over the train windows to keep in the heat but it obscured the view a bit. There was a Christmas party out in Grosse Isle. We even sang carols on the way back.

All-in-all, it was a fun time on the train.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hammer of Thor - thoughts

I got my brick of the new Neca/Wizkids Hammer of Thor on Friday. It was nice in that the buy-the-brick figure, Surtur, was given to me right at that point and I didn’t have to mail away for it. We opened the lot on Saturday. The set looks nice – the figures are nicely sculpted. I do have a bit of an issue with the new click base – there’s not much to turn the base with without stressing on the figures legs. I found a lot of the stickers weren’t nicely lined up with the base window – but as the adhesive is still fresh, it’s a simple matter of opening up the base and repositioning it.

There were none of the Battlefield Conditions, Bystanders, Objects, or Feat cards in my set. Personally, I was never a big fan of the feats – I didn’t mind the Bystanders or Objects. The distribution seems fine – I got a brick of 10 boosters, each with 5 figures. Out of a 60 figure set I ended up with 41 figures and 8 duplicates. I also got one of the chase figures – in a booster with the 4 super-rares from the brick. I don’t know if this is how they are normally distributed or if they are normally apportioned through the boosters instead.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with this set. The Thorbuster Iron Man chase figure is certainly a pleasant surprise. The figures are nice and the mix of figures in the set seems to cover a bunch of new faces – the Runaways, the Warriors Three, Starlord, and even Bug (from the Micronauts). I’m not impressed with the new bases but I can work with that. Since this one was already in the planning from last year, before Wizkids being sold, Neca probably didn't have too much influence on it's design. We’ll have to see how the next two sets pan out.

Also – they’ve finally got around to updating the WizKids site with the new gallery from the new set.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's Hammer Time!

The new Heroclix set is finally being released - after about a year. Check out the flyer. It's called Hammer of Thor so it's mostly Thor and Runaways. The Surtur Brick figure is supposed to be at the stores instead of being a mail-away. I'm hoping to get a brick this weekend so I'll let you know my thoughts.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chores done

We had nice enough weather for this time of the year so we finally got some yard work done. The pool has been folded up - not nicely but enough for this winter.

We also managed to rake the leaves from the front yard - 22 bags full. I can only use so many in my compost piles. I even have a leaf compost going from last year.

Yesterday Shan started the Christmas baking. She got a good bunch done and we helped with icing until late in the night. Tomorrow we put up the tree.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween wrapup

We did manage to get the skeletons in the tree after all. Even with our lack of extra cool decorations, we still managed to lure in 37 trick-or-treaters. I was impressed that we were able to achieve even this as while taking D3 on his meager rounds we were quite often the only people on the street.

The pumpkins have now been hacked up and added to the compost for the winter. Hopefully we'll rake up the leaves and finally fold up the pool this weekend.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pre-halloween blahs?

I'm not sure what's up with us this year. We just can't get into the Halloween spirit. Maybe it was the early snow, or the fact that we still haven't put away the pool yet, or maybe because I'm not working on costumes until the last moment. Either way, we're just a bit behind. Maybe it's just the coughing going through the rest of the household.

We've got the inside of the house decorated - G was up on doing that at the beginning of October, but then we stalled on decorating up the yard. We still haven't even gotten the skeletons in the tree or the fencing. We might do a bit of an light year - no tombstones.

I should be able to get Scarecrow Jack out there - he's pretty easy to complete. Jack Skelington is still in pieces - I have to see if I can go out tomorrow and get the stuff to fix his armature.

We did jack-o-lanterns tonight. Even there, Shan and I weren't struck with inspiration at first.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Valleycon recap

We managed to get down to Valleycon last weekend. None of our friends went so it wasn’t a great time but still pretty good. At least I didn’t lose a camera this year.
The kids weren’t in the costume contest this year and were missed – by the nice person at the registration desk.

The guest, Peter Jurasik, played Londo Mollari on Babylon 5 and also Crom from Tron. He was very personable and friendly. He was very much more like the Crom character – quiet and approachable. I suppose it is a testament of just how good an actor he is that I never associated the two characters as being played by the same person. As Mollari, I always assumed the actor himself was louder and had an accent.

I had hoped to get some more KODTs, Monsterpocalypse singles, or even some Starship Troopers modules. I did get a Baneblade (for Christmas) and Ork Stormboys for 40% off. I also got West End’s Escape from the Death Star and GW Space Fleet as well as TSR Battle System 2nd edition and Skirmishes.

I was also able to get 2 Jango Fett guns - so I can work at a Jango Fett costume after all. For another year anyways.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wizkids at NECA

It's definately official - NECA has acquired Wizkids. They have updated their website with the new info. They have the Clix lines as well as the pocketmodel lines. We'll see what they do with the rest.

The Hammer of Thor set is officially supposed to come out November 18 with a new Buy-The-Brick figure - Ragnarok Surtur. With the Chariot of Thor being sold already, we figured that they might offer a different incentive. My Chariot came in the mail from ebay this week.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Giant Apes!

Monsterpocalypse has finally updated their main website. The old one used to take forever to load - the new one is fast and useful. Even though they still don't have convenient checklists for their sets, they do finally have a figure gallery to make your own.

The new set, Monsterpocalypse Now, looks like it has six all new factions so it might be an easy way to make a break from the old set - if it wasn't for the Empire of the Apes, which has (as you may have guessed by the title of this post) Giant Apes. Plus, they work with my Terrasaurs faction.

So pretty.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Monster List update!

The Monster List of Halloween Projects is a great reference page. For anyone who makes (or would like to make) halloween props or decorations, it is a worthwhile place to check out.

They have finally updated their site for the year.
I'm on it for the meathead instructions and ingredients.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Countdown to candy day!

Here we are in October already, and I don’t have any big costume projects on the go yet. We have a few minor ones that I’m working at for G/L‘s party but nothing really big. Of course, that could change at any time – I do have three and a half weeks to play with. I expect my kids will change their minds between now and then and I’ll have to spend late nights working away. I suppose we’ll see.

I usually book off the week leading up to Halloween just in case. Also to do any more yard decorations. The tree seems to be holding up one more year. His one hand is starting to fall apart – it should hold up for this year but will probably need to be fixed next year. I also need to fix the framework for Jack. If all else holds up, I can always make a few more tombstones.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Addicted much?

For those who followed Scott Girvin's X-wing build, or for those who didn't - be sure to check out the Scale Model Addict site. He's back after taking the summer off. He is easing back into modelling with a Gee Bee Racer plane before he starts in on the King Tiger tank.


Watch SCALE MODEL ADDICT Now!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

gather a posse

So I had popped into United Importers and pick up more Harry Potter boosters. I also brought the kids in so we looked around. In the back I had found some army men tubes for 24 figures for $1 each. I bought two - trying to get ones that were mostly cowboys. I had picked up a bunch of 1/72 western figures for The Rules With No Name but still haven't decided if I want that scale or 1/35. This shold give me a bunch I can try to paint and see how much space I'll need.

Cowboys/Indians – 48
Sept figures bought – 48, figures painted – 0

Running total 2009 - figures bought 134, figures painted 0

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I got a building to sell you - cheap

D3 and I have played a few games now of Monsterpocalypse. We got a bunch of buildings and units as well as more monsters. It seems like a fun enough game. I’m getting some good deals on the first two sets from Galaxy (he overbought ICNY a bit). I’m not really chasing the Mega figures or even all the factions so I’ve done not too bad with the collections. I am going to have to go to the secondary market to fill in some gaps from these first two sets though.
It’s not quite Godzilla, but the factions cover most of the genres and it does play pretty well once you can wrap your head around the unit pool and the monster pool. Plus the maps and figures are very pretty.

I recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of the giant monster / giant robot genre. It even has Cthulhu! If you’re looking for Rise starters, or boosters from I Chomp New York – swing by Galaxy and mention to Jeremy that David sent you – he said that he’d give you a pretty good deal. (At least while he’s swimming in overstock – I can’t guarantee how long that will last).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Hammer of Thor!

So it sounds like NECA has indeed bought up WizKids. The main site hasn’t been updated but there is news here and here. The long delayed Hammer of Thor set that was originally scheduled for November last year and then there was talk of them releasing it in March of this year. When that went by there was word of a possibility of being released at Gencon.

Now it seems to be rescheduled for November. So I’ve got to start saving up for a brick now.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Space Hulk - you're going on the list!

So, my son and I went to the local Games Workshop store on Saturday to check out the new Space Hulk. Some of the pictures of the figures I had seen looked a bit goofy so I wanted to check it out in person.

It’s pretty.

The tiles and counters are very thick – perhaps a bit too thick for the counters. They had some of the genestealers painted up and they looked a lot better in person than the photos I had seen. The marines also looked pretty good.

The price is a bit much though. It lists at $90 US and it was $118 at the store. Even with a bad exchange, that’s crazy high. With taxes that’s over $130. The wife says we might see it in the states which would make it worthwhile to pick up.

I have added it to my list. Ahead of it is the new 40K set, and the Battle of Five Armies. It does come before Apocalypse and the new Warhammer set though. Our friends at Great Canadian Miniatures have it on sale so I’ll probably end up getting it from them. With it being a limited release, I’ll have to see if I can get it before they run out. If I can’t, I’m okay with it though.

It is bugging me that a lot of people are buying the set just for the figures and flipping the rest on ebay. I wouldn’t be so annoyed if it wasn’t for the limited release part.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Was Superman a Spy?

I've been spending a bit of time going through this site lately.
It's got a bunch of comic-book based urban legends - which have recently been collected into book format as 'Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed!' by Brian Cronin. It's been a fun read - I've been on the fringes of what's been going on in comics in the last decade or so, so I've missed a bit, but it's still a good read. I highly recommend taking a look to see if any catch your eye.

The other good site that my kids are enjoying is Marvel's Create your own hero site - which has a bunch of templates you can use and color to create a super hero. It's also a good way to kill an afternoon.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wincon 2009 - notably tiny

With Sherri moving we had lost our nice big space.
With the addition to the house up in the air, we don't really have any space. Plus the wife wasn't terribly keen on being involved.

I had toyed with the idea of just inviting over some friends and playing a few games. Instead, we took good advantage of the nice weather and the kids spent some last time in the pool and I worked away at making ships for Sky Galleons of Mars. We also made a good dent on our TV pile.

We did play some Elixer and some Guillotine - so probably our smallest Wincon yet. With luck, next year should be back to a (new) regular size. We will see.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Prêt? Allez!

Prêt? Allez!

This game simulates a fencing bout with foils.

Players
2

Components
1 board – representing the piste (or mat on which the bout takes place) and scoring towers.
2 fencer counters – 1 for each player
2 score counters – 1 for each player
1 priority counter [for foil and sabre bouts]
2 decks for each weapon – 1 for each player

Each Foil deck has the following cards:
14 Atack
12 Parry
4 Advance
4 Retreat
4 Lunge
2 Balestra
2 Stop Hit
4 Riposte
2 Beat Attack
2 Feint

Setup
Place the board within reach of both players. Each player takes a fencer counter and places it on the pieste in the third square from their end (the fencers start at opposite ends of the pieste). Each player takes a score counter. Each player takes one of the decks and shuffles it. Each player takes five cards from their deck to form their staring hand. The older player starts with priority and takes the first turn - place the priority counter on the on the board on their side. Decide to how many hits you are playing – 1 to 5. (3 is standard, 5 makes for a long game, 1 is a quick game but gives the advantage to the player starting with priority)

To Win
When a player scores a hit and has reached the number of hits agreed upon at the start of the game, they win.

Rules
At the start of your turn, draw a card from your deck and place it in your hand. Then play a card from your hand. Some cards will allow you to play additional cards as well. There is no limit on the number of cards that you can hold in your hand.
As long as a player has at least 1 card in their hand they may use the ADVANCE or RETREAT card printed on the board instead of playing a card from their hand. Note that the board versions of these cards differ from the actual card versions.
If there are no more cards in your deck to draw you can still play cards from your hand. If you have no more cards in your deck and hand, the only thing you may do is pass – if you have priority you lose it to your opponent. If both players have no cards in both their decks and hands then see Corps-a-corps.

Certain cards (ADVANCE, LUNGE, BALESTRA) allow you to move forward. You may not move on to the same space as your opponent. If you are already adjacent to your opponent, you may not move forward so you may not play an ADVANCE card – including the board ADVANCE card.
If you are at the last space you are unable to retreat off the end of the board without your opponent scoring a hit. You may play a RETREAT card from your hand but you are unable to play the board RETREAT card while on the last space.

If your opponent had played an attack card last turn and you are unable to play a PARRY or RETREAT (including the board RETREAT) then your opponent scores a hit. They may place their hit counter on the board in the bottom spot if it is not on the board yet. If their hit counter is already on the board then they may move it up one spot. Most bouts are usually played until the first player scores three hits although the game may be played to any agreed upon limit between one and five.
If a hit is scored but the agreed upon limit hasn’t been reached, then both players replace their fencer counters to their starting positions. The priority counter goes to the player that was just hit. Both players shuffle their hand, discard pile, and deck together to form their new deck and draw five cards. The player with priority gets to start the new round. Play proceeds as before until someone scores a hit or corps-a-corps is reached.

Corps-a-corps is reached when the bout is at a standstill. Both fencers need to reset. Each player shuffles their discard pile to form their new deck and draw five cards. Priority remains with the player who already has it. The fencing counters need to be moved to be two spaces apart as follows:
a) If the counters are two spaces apart, they remain where they are.
b) If the counters are more than two spaces apart, the counter that is farther from the center is moved forward until it is two spaces away from the other counter.
c) If the counters are one space apart, the counter that is closer to the center is moved back one space.
d) If the counters are adjacent, and neither counter is on the last space, then both counters are moved back one space.
e) If the counters are adjacent, and one counter is on the last space, then the other counter is moved back two spaces.

Cards
The cards all have a quick reference printed on them. A more detailed set of rules is listed below.

The board ADVANCE card – “Move 1 space forward. Discard two cards from your hand and draw two cards.”
You must have at least 1 card in your hand in order to use the board ADVANCE card. If you only have 1 card in your hand you must discard it and draw two cards. If you only have 1 card in your deck you only draw it instead. If you have no cards left in your deck, you do not draw any cards. If you are already adjacent to your opponent, you are unable to play the board ADVANCE card.

The board RETREAT card – “Move 1 space back. Discard your hand and draw 5 cards. Lose priority.”
You must have at least 1 card in your hand in order to use the board RETREAT card. If you are unable to draw the entire 5 cards from your deck, draw as many as you are able. If you have priority you lose it. If your opponent played an attack on their turn, this card avoids that attack. If you are at the last space you may not play the board RETREAT card.

ADVANCE – “Move 1 space forward. Discard 1 to 3 cards and draw the same number to replace them.”
If you already adjacent to your opponent, you may not play ADVANCE. If you are not able to discard at least 1 card from your hand, you are not able to play ADVANCE.

ATTACK – “You must be adjacent to your opponent and have priority to play.”
If you are not adjacent to your opponent, you may not play this card unless another card allows you to play it. If your opponent is unable to avoid this attack then you score a hit. Unless allowed by another card, you must have priority to play an ATTACK card.

BALESTRA – “You may move forward 1 space and play an ATTACK card. Your opponent may not RETREAT from this ATTACK and you may not RETREAT from their ATTACK. You need priority to play.”
You may only play this card if you are 1 space away from or adjacent to your opponent. If you are 1 space away from your opponent, move your fencer counter forward 1 space. You need to play an ATTACK card with BALESTRA in order to play this card. You must have priority in order to play a BALESTRA card. Your opponent may not play a RETREAT or board RETREAT to avoid your attack. If they are able to ATTACK back in response to your attack (by using a RIPOSTE) you are not able to play a RETREAT or board RETREAT to avoid their ATTACK.

BEAT ATTACK – “If your opponent is adjacent and has priority but did not ATTACK, you gain priority and play an ATTACK.”
You may only play this card if you are adjacent to your opponent and they have priority but did not play an ATTACK or FEINT on their last turn. You need to play an ATTACK card with BEAT ATTACK in order to play this card. You gain priority.

FEINT – “Play in place of an ATTACK. This is not a scoring ATTACK.”
If you are adjacent to your opponent and have priority, you play this card. If your opponent is unable to avoid this attack then you do not score a hit. If another card requires you to play an ATTACK card, you may play a FEINT instead.

LUNGE – “You may move forward 1 space. Play an ATTACK card. You need priority to play.”
You may only play this card if you are 1 space away from or adjacent to your opponent. If you are 1 space away from your opponent, move your fencer counter forward 1 space. You need to be able to play an ATTACK card in order to play this card. You must have priority in order to play a LUNGE card.

PARRY – “This card avoids the ATTACK.”
If your opponent played an ATTACK card you may play a PARRY card. You may not play a PARRY card if your opponent did not play an ATTACK (or FEINT) card. This prevents the ATTACK from scoring a hit.

RETREAT – “Move 1 space back. Discard 3 cards and draw to replace them. Lose priority”
If you are unable to discard 3 cards from your hand you may not play this card. If you are unable to draw the entire 3 cards from your deck, draw as many as you are able. If you have priority you lose it. If your opponent played an attack on their turn, this card avoids that attack. If you are at the last space you may still play the RETREAT card but your opponent will score a hit.

RIPOSTE – “Play with a PARRY to gain priority. Play an ATTACK.”
You may only play this card if your opponent played an ATTACK last turn. You need to be adjacent to your opponent in order to play this card. In order to play this card you must also have played a PARRY card this turn and you need to play an ATTACK card with RIPOSTE in order to play this card. You gain priority.

STOP HIT – “If your opponent has priority and moved adjacent but did not ATTACK, play an ATTACK.”
You may not play this card if you have priority. On their last turn, your opponent must have moved adjacent to you and did not play an ATTACK card in order for you to be able to play STOP HIT. You need to play an ATTACK card with STOP HIT in order to play this card. You do not gain priority.


- - - -

1 board – representing the piste (or mat on which the bout takes place). The board is in landscape format – 18” wide and 9” high. On each side is the player’s scoring track. The name is on the top of the board, below is the track for the fencing counters. Below this is the indicator for priority. At the bottom is the information on the two movements always available to players without playing a card – Advance and Retreat. The scoring tracks have 5 spaces. The piste is 9 spaces long – with a mark in the third space from each end to denote the starting space (e.g. 1 – 2 – A start – 4 – 5- 6- B start – 8 – 9).

2 fencer counters – 1 for each player. These will be 1.5" square cardboard counters with a picture of a fencer on them. (The deluxe version would have wooden counters that have a fencer printed on both sides)

2 score counters – 1 for each player. These will be 3/4" by 1" cardboard counters. (The deluxe version would have wooden counters)

1 priority counter. This would be a 3/4" by 2" cardboard counter with the word "PRIORITY" superimpsed over a faded foil. (The deluxe version would have a wooden counter with the same printing)

2 decks for each weapon – 1 for each player. These would be standard bridge sized cards in portrait format. The name of the card (ATTACK, PARRY, RIPOSTE, etc) would be in large print across the top one-fifths of the card. The rules for the card would be in the bottom two-fifths of the card. A picture of a fencer performing the action would be in the two-fifths between these. At the bottom of each deck in small print would be a line giving deck to which the card belongs. (eg A - FOIL)

Prêt? Allez! - notes

My game is Prêt? Allez! – which is the standard phrase to restart a bout (basically it means ‘Ready? Go!’)

My game simulates a fencing bout with foils. I had planned to create the rules for all three fencing weapons (foil, sabre, epee) but only managed to get the rules for foils down enough in the time frame. I will continue to work away at the differences for the other two. Since foil is the main weapon most people start with, I decided to pursue the rules for that one first and use that as a basis for the other two. The small target and priority rules do help to translate well to the game format.
I did know about the game En Garde but haven’t played it. I am very familiar with the Highlander CCG though – having been the Canadian National Director for several years. With later expansions to that game though it moved away from actual swordplay and most games became more about the Events and Situations as well as deckbuilding. I wasn’t sure if I could come up with a game that is distinct enough from those two but I feel I was able to achieve this.
I am a big fan of swashbuckling films from when I was a child. Having actually taken fencing, I wanted to make sure the game simulated both the footwork as well as the flurry of attacks and counter-attacks. I also wanted to help expose people to some of the fencing terms from the sport. Of the three weapons, foil is actually my least favorite – with epee being my favorite and sabre as a close second.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Books Read 2009 - May through August

Since our local library is closed on the weekends between the May long weekend and the Labour Day long weekend, the summer is traditionally a slower book-reading period. This year however, we were able to keep up with this restricted schedule and still get through a fair number of books.

May
All New Kitchen Idea Book by Joanne Kellar Bouknight
Design Ideas for Fireplaces by Karen Stickels
Decorate a Doll’s House by Michal Morse
Compost: The Natural Way to Make Food for Your Garden by Ken Thompson
Dollhouse Décor – Creating Soft Furnishings in 1/12 Scale by Nick and Esther Forder
McCall’s Big Book of Dollhouses & Miniatures
Matthew Mead Halloween Tricks and Treats by Matthew Mead
Dollhouse Style by Kath Dalmeny
Dolls’ House Details by Kath Dalmeny
Naturally Powered Old Time Toys by Marjorie Henderson & Elizabeth Wilkinson
Needlework in Miniature by Virginia Merrill & Jean Jessop
Up Till Now by William Shatner with David Fisher
Just In Case by Kathy Harrison

June
Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman by Hank Wagner, Christopher Golden, and Stephen R. Bissette
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Stolen by Jonathan Webb
Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street by Michael Davis

July
George’s Secret Key to the Univers by Lucy & Stephen Hawking
Writing with Pictures by Uri Shulevitz
Modelling Sailing Men-of-War by Philip Reed
Strange and Stranger – The world of Steve Ditko by Blake Bell
The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing: 1200 full-color how-to photos by Singer

August
Taming the Flame: Secrets for Hot-and-Quick Grilling and Low-and-Slow BBQ by Elizabeth Karmel
Not Everyone Gets a Trophy: How to Manage Generation Y by Bruce Tulgan
Block Parties & Poker Nights by Peggy Allen
Ship Modelling Hints & Tips by Lieut. Commander J.H. Craire (‘Jason’)
The Howling by Gary Brandner
Teach Yourself Fencing by C-L. De Beaumont, O.B.E.
Scenery for Model Railroads, Dioramas & Miniatures by Robert Schleicher
The Howling II by Gary Brandner
Manga Mania Fantasy Worlds by Christopher Hart
DIY Quick Fix by Julian Cassell, Peter Parham and Jon Eakes
The Art of ship Modeling by A. Richard Mansir

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Have at thee!

So our final project is to fully design a game. The challenge part was to not have a roll-and-move mechanic.

My three main ideas to pursue were:
- a spaceship race game - giving energy each turn to speed/shields/weapons. This would involve a board or set of tiles to make various boards. Each player (2-6/8) would control a craft. They would have a control panel that they would have to adjust each turn that would affect how much they could move. They could also assign points to either front or back shields or weapons to try and damage the other crafts.

- a giant robot battle board game (having read a bit of MechWarrior and Battletech - plus being a RoboJox fan). The giant robot game (2 – 4 players) would be a very simple version with the robots having various weapon types and being able to damage each other. Enough damage would render the various weapons inoperable and finally destroy the robot.

- a gladiator-type board game. The Gladiator game (2 – 6 players) would allow you to equip with various weapons that could do different damage. Armor would be minimal. There would also be the capacity to be pitted against animals – lions, tigers, boars, bulls, wolves.

The giant robot and the gladiator are based around similar concepts. With a board for the arena and the players controlling 1 or 2 figures. I was thinking I could use the battle mechanics as a test bed for my Jugger game rules.

I had also toyed with a western gunfight card game (which seemed to play too fast) or a fencing/swordfighting game (but would have to make different from En Garde or Highlander).

After further thought, I decided to pursue the fencing game. It would involve a board for the piste, markers for the fencers, and cards for the target moves. Being forced off the end of the piste would score as would an attack to an area that the opponent couldn’t defend. The various weapons – epee, foil, saber would all have different target areas.
I have solidified the rules, and had a few test games to ensure it works. The game has the flow I was hoping to achieve as well as capturing some of the unique terms (balestra, riposte, etc).
I have focused solely on Foil fencing to start. After the course I will come back to it and finish sabre and epee.

I have arranged some blind testing - I just have to get the rules from my head to fully realized on paper before that can happen though.

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Space Hulk!

Games Workshop is releasing a new version of Space Hulk. Space Hulk is how they sucked me into Warhammer 40K (or as it was known back then - Rogue Trader) in the first place. A bunch of us each picked one of the boxed sets – Blood Bowl, Dark Future, and Space Hulk. I was the one who got Space Hulk. I eventually ended up picking up the others as well.
Space Hulk was reminiscent of the movie Aliens – Marines in power armor fighting Aliens in a shadowy Space Hulk. It was fast based and I still find it fun to play. The figures were fairly nice for the time – the terminators are a bit blocky now, but the genestealers still are great figures.

I got all the extra sets – Deathwing, Genestealer, and the Campaign book. I used to use all the extra tiles to make a huge map and run a game with up to eight players at conventions. When the second edition came out I didn’t get it. I didn’t like some of the rule changes but did love the new terminator models.

The new set is a limited edition. I wouldn’t mind getting it but I probably won’t be able to get it before it sells through. It’s on my list but so are my White Dwarf renewal, the new 40K boxed set, LOTR Battle of Five Armies set, the new Warhammer boxed set, and the Apocalypse rules.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Life move pretty fast - if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it

John Hughes died on Aug 6. He had been the writer for a bunch of formative movies from my youth. While I wasn’t a big fan of Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, or the Home Alone movies, the Vacation movies, Mr Mom, Uncle Buck, the Great Outdoors and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles all were great fun.

The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, and Career Opportunities were favorites and Some Kind of Wonderful and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off both are in my top films. I saw most of these in the theatre when they came out and have SKOW and FBDO as DVDs.

He had a way of writing realistic dialog that resonated with us at the time and still holds up well. He helped create the Brat Pack of actors that still hold a dear place in our hearts. We hadn’t really seen much from him lately (it seems that he had been working lately under an alias – Edmond Dantes) so we’ve been missing him for a while already. His passing just guarantees that we won’t see anything more from him – just from those that he helped inspire.

Friday, August 7, 2009

MechWarriors at Winners

I don’t often go to Winners and I probably should pop by more often. I think I’ve been 6 times in the last 5 years – and three of those were this week. The local ones have some of the Wizkids MechWarrior Action packs. I was finally able to get my first Solaris VII set – Light mechs. I’ve been wanting to get the sets from when they appeared 2 years ago but didn’t want to pay $30 a set. Winners had it for $10 – that’s much more in my range.

I also picked up the House Davion for $8, the Wolf’s Dragoons Gamma Regiment for $11. These were all at the Garden City store. The Regent store had the MechWarrior Champions Vol 2 for $10. The Empress and Ellice store only had the House Davion.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Goats of Thor


So after a few hopeful months we still haven’t heard of a buyer for Wizkids. There was some talk about a group but it fell through when they looked closer at the financing.
Then there was some talk about Tops releasing the next set – Hammer of Thor – at GenCon. With ComicCon last weekend, Neca was selling the Thor’s Mighty Chariot – which was supposed to be the Buy-the-Brick figure for the set. They are also taking pre-sales at Amazon for Aug 15. This had led to some speculation if Neca has picked up the license or if they just bought out the stock of boxed figures. Since I won’t be at GenCon again this year, I will have to wait and see.

I did win some more figs on ebay and now have the rest of the Arkham Asylum basic figures on their way to me. I even have a few of the Super-Rares coming as well. Still no luck yet on acquiring any of the other big figures I still need.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Big Plans - Big Cash

So, the nice man from Renovation Masters didn't laugh at our plans. But, since he gets paid anyways, I didn't really expect him to. We have a few options - from finishing off the second floor - about $60K, to adding our wing $60K+$70K (2nd floor), with a basement +$35K, and a garage $50K. It should be about 3 months work - with at least 3 months lead time.

Now we just have to talk to the nice people at the bank and see what they will aprove and then talk to the designer to make some pretty plans to get a better idea. Definately fun times ahead.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Masters

The nice people from Renovation Masters are popping by tonight to look at our house and our plans and let us know what they can do for us and how much that would cost us.

Once we have that info from them, we can talk to the bank and see what we can actually do. This could mean a major upheaval in the house this year or maybe for next year. I'm leaning towards doing the second floor and the wife is pushing for a garage.

I’ll let you know.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Battletech

I never got into Battletech back in the day. I had played it at Gencon once - with the heat sinks but it never really grabbed me. I did get into the Mechwarrior Dark Age when it came out from Wizkids and even was a Warlord (judge) for a few of the sets.

I just got the classic rules from ebay yesterday. I'm going to check them over to see if they are viable for Wincon. I'm still very interested in the system from an upsizing view. From the book, I found out that the nice people at Armorcast used to make 28mm scale Battletech mechs. They look keen and inspring.

Monday, July 20, 2009

My Pet card game

So, for challenge 6 we had a few options of which to do. I went back on forth on which one to do. One was to take the game Risk and modify the rules to advocate world peace. I toyed with this one for a while but couldn’t come up with a set of rules that would still maintain the fun of the game.
I ended up doing the option to create a game that introduces the concept of grief to children. I came up with the following:

For dealing with grief I have designed a card game to deal with the life, and ultimately the death, of a pet. While the deck presented below is set up as a ‘dog’ deck, it would be easy to modify for other pets – cats, fish, hamsters, etc (for shorter lived pets the age cards would be months instead of years).

This can be played as a solo game or as with other children. Each child would have their own deck and take turns playing as below. The decks don’t mix.

The 50 card deck consists of the following cards:
1 Young Pet card – depicting a puppy. Text: ”Young Pet. Start with this card in play.”
1 Adult Pet card – depicting the adult dog. Text: “Adult Pet”
1 Passing/death/better place card – depicting a pleasant afterwards (example – tree on a hill, empty field, sunny day, rainbow, etc). Text: “Passing”

20 age cards – depicting a birthday cake. Text: “Age”
10 play cards – depicting a ball or a stick/Frisbee being thrown. Text: “Play. 1 point”
10 training cards – depicting a leash or a whistle. Text “Training”
1 simple trick card – depicting a begging dog. Text: “Simple Trick: Beg. Needs 1 Training. 2 points”
1 simple trick card – depicting a dog barking. Text: “Simple Trick: Speak. Needs 1 Training. 2 points”
1 trick card – depicting a dog running with a stick in its mouth. Text: “Trick: Fetch. Needs 2 Training. 3 Points”
1 trick card – depicting a dog walking behind legs. Text: “Trick: Heel. Needs 2 Training. 3 Points”
1 trick card – depicting a dog lying down. Text: “Trick: Play Dead. Needs 2 Training. 3 Points”
1 trick card – depicting a dog sitting. Text: “Trick: Stay. Needs 2 Training. 3 Points”
1 trick card – depicting a dog rolling over. Text: “Trick: Roll Over. Needs 2 Training. 3 Points”

Rules (for younger children):
Remove the Young Pet, Adult Pet, and Passing cards from the deck and place aside. Shuffle the remaining cards and place the deck face down. Place the Young Pet in front of you and draw 3 cards to start.

The turn sequence:
- Draw a card to start your turn.
- You may play one Age card.
- You may also play one of the following cards. Note that you may not have more scoring cards in play than Age cards.
- Play a Play card.
- Play a Training card.
- If you have enough Training cards in play you may play a Trick card. Discard the needed amount of Training cards from play as are on the Trick card.
- If you have more than 5 cards in your hand, discard a card. You may not discard an Age card.
- Once you have 10 Age cards in play, change your Pet card to the Adult Pet.
- Once you have 20 Age cards in play, change your Pet card to the Passing card. Add up your Play and Trick cards to see what kind of life your pet had.
- The next player may now take a turn or go back to start of the turn if you are playing by yourself.




Rules (for older children):
Remove the Young Pet and Adult Pet from the deck and place aside. Shuffle the remaining cards (including the Passing card) and place the deck face down. Place the Young Pet in front of you and draw 5 cards to start.

While the Young Pet is in play:
- Draw a card to start your turn.
- You may play one Age card.
- You may also play one of the following cards. Note that you may not have more scoring cards in play than Age cards.
- Play a Play card.
- Play a Training card.
- If you have enough Training cards in play you may play a Trick card. Discard the needed amount of Training cards from play as are on the Trick card.
- If you have more than 5 cards in your hand, discard a card. You may not discard an Age card.
- If you draw the Passing card, change your Pet card to the Adult Pet. Place the Passing card in the discard pile, and reshuffle the discards and the remaining cards in the deck together and place the deck face down.
- The next player may now take a turn or go back to start of the turn if you are playing by yourself.


While the Adult Pet is in play:
- Draw a card to start your turn.
- Play any Age cards in your hand.
- You may also play one of the following cards. Note that you may not have more scoring cards in play than Age cards.
- Play a Play card.
- Play a Training card.
- If you have enough Training cards in play you may play a Trick card. Discard the needed amount of Training cards from play as are on the Trick card.
- If you have more than 5 cards in your hand, discard a card. You may not discard an Age card.
- If you draw the Passing card, the game ends. Add up your Play and Trick cards to see what kind of life your pet had.
- The next player may now take a turn or go back to start of the turn if you are playing by yourself.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Old 40K marines – beakies

I remember when we first got into 40K. Back then, Rhinos came in 3-packs and marine had a 10-man lead tactical squad and a 30-pack of plastic marines in Mark VI Corvus armor – more affectionately know as “beakies”. These were reasonably priced – about $30 US. This was the same time when they were selling a Warhammer Fantasy army pack of 60 plastics for about the same price – 10 each of wood elf, dark elf, dwarf, goblin, orc, and humans.

The problem with the figures was finding them. No-one seemed to carry them. When we went to Gencon that year, we lined up for the dealer’s room to open and rushed directly to the Games Workshop booth. They had a stack of 8 of them and I grabbed them all – 2 for Connor, 2 for Don, and the rest for me. It turns out that that had been all they had brought. I think I still have one of the sets unopened – I had also picked up lots of extra heavy weapon sprues to be able to make extra Devastator squads in the later years when they returned to GenCon so still have about 3 sets worth of figures unmade.

Back then, in the Rogue Trader days, I needed a lot of marines as I had thoughts of painting up marines armor in all the flags of the world. Plus I had been working on a mouseketeer squad of marines with ears that only got as far a making a few heads and a female torso.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

casting films

Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight. I think he did a great job. Some people think that the role should be retired as no one could replace him. I don’t think that he did that great of a job. In fact, with the makeup, I think that he could be easily replaced by Ed Westwick. You may know him better as Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl. He was also in Son of Rambow. He has a similar build and face and could pull of the presence of the character for as much as he will be needed in any subsequent movies.

While we’re on the subject of casting, I think Bryan Dattilo who plays Lucas on Days of our Lives would be a great Dick Greyson / Nightwing. At 5’8”, he’s about the perfect height - compared to a 6' or 6'2" Batman. I just feel it needs to be put out there.

She's a bit old now, but Winona Ryder would have been a perfect match for Mai, the Psychic Girl.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Amazon - Chapters

So, the book I needed for the Game Design course wasn't in any of the local stores or even the library. I was tempted to order it from Amazon but ended up ordering it from Chapters. I had some concern - as they had a 2-3 week lead time but it came very fast. I had ordered it on June 30 and it had shipped on July 3 and I picked it up on July 10.
I was very impressed with the turn-around time. It had been listed as a hardcover but came in a softcover. The price wasn't too much more that what it would have cost from Amazon after shipping.
Plus Erin was at the counter when I picked it up and she's a real sweetie.

I'm probably going to give them another try for the Sky Galleons of Mars book. I can't find any good deals on ebay with shipping that would be much cheaper than what I could get it for from Chapters.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Freeze your brains

Today is Free Slurpee Day! July eleventh, or 7-11, is the day when the 7-eleven stores give out free small slurpees.

It's an especially good year to go and get one as this year Winnipeg was crowned the Slurpee capital of the World! Actually, it's the 10th year in a row we've been crowned - every year, in fact, since they started doing it in 1998.

Is there a reason that we keep making it? It could be our hot summers - which often peak over 40C (313K for those using Kelvin). It could be nostalgia - for all those of us who remember the taste from when we were kids and it was a cheap way to cool off. The main reason though is that even when it cools off outside, and the summer days fade, we still keep on buying them - right through the winter. It may be our way of taunting the weather - "Is that all you got?" when the temperature dips to -40C (233K).

It's interesting though that, for a city with a reputation of being such bargain-hunters, we are so enamored of what is basically just overpriced flavored ice.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Air Superiority

I'm enjoying the game design course I signed up for.

The first real assignment was to design a World War I game where the primary objective of the players could not be territorial control, or capture/destroy.

Since that would leave out most of the trench warfare, and with my exposure and research I had done for Canvas Eagles, I made an airplane technology game.
Even with the standard caveats, it hasn't been tested enough; it needs more detail; I was rushed - I'm still pretty happy with the mechanics. It expresses the concepts I was trying to get across. Give it a try if you get a chance.

AIR SUPERIORITY
by DKWD

In World War I the ground battle had quickly settled into a locked battle of the trenches. In the air however, the war quickly drove research into the new technology of air warfare.

Goal:
In this two-player game, you have to try and move your technology along in aircraft development while preventing your opponent from doing the same.

Contents:
these rules,
the Technology Chart,
17 counters (9 for each player, and 1 timeline marker),
and some 6-sided dice (up to 10).

Set up:
Decide which side the players Place a counter on the Timeline on Fall 1914. Each player places a counter on their Resource track on the 10 and a counter on the Technology track on the first box.

Game play:
Each turn represents the development in 6 months of the war. Both players’ turns take place simultaneously for each step.

Assign Resources:
Each player’s Resource track will have a marker showing the current value of your country’s resources that they can allot to air superiority.
You can use the resources to buy planes at any of the current levels available to you (at applicable costs) – just move the Plane markers up one for each purchase. Some planes will allow you to make Resource attacks or Dogfights. The starting planes will only allow you to make Resource attacks.
You can also use the remaining resources to purchase rolls on the Research Track. Rolls are purchased at 1 roll per resource – move the Research marker up one per purchase.
Once all your purchases are made, reset your Resource track counter to 10 for the next turn. You can’t save resources from one turn to the next.

Research Roll:
The counter on your Research track indicates the amount of dice to roll to see if you can develop the next level of technology.
If you roll a 6 on any of the dice, you may advance your marker on the Technology track to the next level. You may only advance once per turn regardless of how many 6s you roll.
Once you have rolled all the dice allowed, reset your Research track marker back to 0.

Resource Attacks:
Decide which planes which have the capability to make Resource attacks will be doing so this turn. These planes will not be available for Dogfights this turn.
Starting at Technology level 1, roll for those planes making Resource attacks – the value needed to roll is on the Technology Chart. If you roll the value needed, your opponent has to move his marker on his Resource track down one. If you roll a one your plane is lost – move your plane marker on that Technology level down one.
If you lose a plane of a Technology level higher than your opponent has achieved then they may increase their Research marker by one.

Dogfights:
The remaining planes that are capable of Dogfights and did not make a Resource attack now participate in Dogfights.
Starting at Technology level 1, roll for those planes making Dogfight – the value needed to roll is on the Technology Chart. If you roll the value needed, your opponent has to move one of his plane markers on one of his Technology tracks down one (he must decrease one plane if possible – even if that plane type didn’t participate in Dogfights).
If you roll a one your plane is lost – move your plane marker on that Technology level down one.
If you lose a plane of a Technology level higher than your opponent has achieved then they may increase their Research marker by one.

Advance Timeline:
Advance the marker on the Timeline one level.
When the marker gets moved to Armistice, the game is over. The player who has the highest technological level is the winner. If both players are tied at the same technological level, then the player with the most planes built in the highest technological level would win. (1 level 3 plane would beat 4 level 2 planes).
If it is still tied then the player with the higher Resource level would win a minor victory.

If Armistice is not reached, return to the Assign Resources step.

[The format on these are a bit wonky in this medium - leave enough space between the numbers to use counters]

GERMANY
Resources: 0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10

Research: 0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10

Technology: Planes
Type 1: 0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10
Basic planes – no guns Resource attacks only (6) Cost - 1

Type 2: 0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10
Stable planes – no guns Resource attacks only (5-6) Cost - 2

Type 3: 0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10
Mounted guns Resource attacks (6) Dogfights (6) Cost - 2

Type 4: 0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10
May shoot through props Resource attacks (6) Dogfights (5-6) Cost - 3

Type 5: 0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10
Fighter planes Dogfights only (4-6) Cost - 3


Fall - Spring - Fall - Spring - Fall - Spring - Fall - Spring - Fall - Armistice
1914 - 1915 - - 1915 - 1916 - - 1916 - 1917 - - 1917 - 1918 - - 1918 -


BRITAIN
Resources: 0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10

Research: 0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10

Technology: Planes
Type 1: 0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10
Basic planes – no guns Resource attacks only (6) Cost - 1

Type 2: 0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10
Stable planes – no guns Resource attacks only (5-6) Cost - 2

Type 3: 0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10

Mounted guns Resource attacks (6) Dogfights (6) Cost - 2

Type 4: 0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10

May shoot through props Resource attacks (6) Dogfights (5-6) Cost - 3

Type 5: 0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10
Fighter planes Dogfights only (4-6) Cost - 3

Friday, July 3, 2009

BSG - big fraking deal

Battlestar Galactica.
So we finally got around to watching the finale of Battlestar Galactica. We haven’t been impressed with the series and kept watching in the hopes that it would pay off. It didn’t.

The show had very little in the way of humor. I know war is supposed to be grim – but at least Space Above and Beyond had humor. The main things I wanted from this show – dog fights and cylons were few and far between. Now, when I say cylons I’m referring to the walking toasters or even their new upgraded version. The flesh-covered cylons, whining on about their goals, didn’t really impress me. I didn't like the dogfights and their garbled space communications. Shan pointed out that your two hotshot pilots, Starbuck and Apollo, did very little actual flying.
Part of what really hurt it was the glacially slow pace of the series. After the first two seasons they had just got to Cobol and they were heading towards Earth. This was the story from the original two hour pilot from the old series. They set up a colony which was destroyed – the resistance all being led by cylons.
That also might have been the issue – most of any characters that we actually cared about all ended up as Cylons. They made a big deal about the number of survivors – but we never really see any stories about any of the survivors. We didn’t care anything about Baltar – so any storyline with him was a waste for us.
The ending was pretty poor as well. After 6 episodes of nothing happening, they mention a singularity which automatically forshadows them being displaced to the past. A bit of a battle and then a poor version of Earth2.

This is definitely not a series we will pick up. As much as I like the CG toasters, I can’t justify the rest of the mess. I might get the movie Razor to get a simple taste of it and possibly the mini series, but the rest of the series is a wash. If the seasons were in the $10 bin I would still have to really think hard about if it was worth it.

Lots of people were raving about it being the best written sci-fi series though. I can’t help but wonder if, like Saving Private Ryan and Titanic, these people haven’t seen a lot of the genre. Your mileage may vary.

Monday, June 29, 2009

a busy week for the Grim Reaper

Ed McMahon died on June 23. Some remember him as the host of Star Search or from waiting for him to delivery the Publisher's Clearing House prize, but I remember him as the announcer from the Tonight Show when Johnny Carson was the host and from the Al Yankovich song "Here's Johnny."

Farah Fawcett died June 25. She was one of the original Charlie's Angels, replaced by Cheryl Ladd. She was also famous for her posters - most remember her from her red bathing suit one by I remember my cousin Kevin had the one of her on the bike. She was a babe who also played some pretty serious roles - like the Burning Bed and Saturn-3.

Both will probably be overshadowed by the death of Michael Jackson on June 25.
Say what you want about his plastic surgeries or his penchant for hanging out with monkeys and kids, he also played a major part in the music and entertainment of our youth. People tried to dress like him - with the red leather outfit and the one glove; tried to act like him - from the moonwalk to the crotch grab; and people tried to sing like him.
His impact on the then-fresh vidoes was immense - Bill Jean, Bad, Ebony and Ivory, not to mention Thiller. I've been trying to get a copy on DVD of Thriller - especially with the Making of Special with John Landis. As a Werewolf in London and Vincent Price fan, the Thriller video and song had a big impact on my youth.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer School for gamers?

Sorry for the late notice - but I just heard about this from Steve Jackson Games.

Game Design Concepts
This is going to be an online course covering the process of making a game from idea generation to prototyping to playtesting. The instructor is Ian Schreiber, who wrote Challenges for Game Designers , and has been teaching game design at Ohio University for a couple years.

The course has no registration fees except for the required text, but classes start on Monday, June 29. Go to the site above and send them an email that you are joining in. If you are intruiged, but don't have the time to commit or don't have the required text, then you can follow along with the lectures on the blog.

Having designed a few small games already, it sounds like it should be pretty interesting. Plus, the book looks like a good buy. I'll let you know when it arrives.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jugger quotes

In getting together my notes, I watched the Blood of Heroes again - more with an eye to the game and an ear for quotes. The following are some of the good ones.

The opening scrawl: People no longer remembered the Golden Age of the 20th Century. They didn’t remember the miraculous technology or the cruel wars that followed. They didn’t remember when juggers first played The Game or how it came to be played with a dog skull . . .

When he found out how long they had lasted when Sallow's team had challenged the League team:
Young Gar – 26 stones! That’s all, 26 stones and you received the attention of the League?
Sallow - We were the only ones who ever lasted that long – and two of us were still standing. Was a good game. Played very well.

In the elevator down to the Red City:
Kidda – How deep do we go?
Sallow – Very deep.

Sallow's old league teammate Gonzo warning him not to challenge:
Gonzo – Sallow, you’ve got one eye and two good legs. It’s bad enough up top. But don’t f*ck with the 9 Cities.

and my favorite one; the one that sums up the game:
Gonzo – Lord Vile, I’ve broken juggers in half, smashed their bones, and left the ground behind me wet with their brains. I’ll do anything to win. But I never hurt a soul for any reason but to put a dog skull on a stake, and I never will.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bone - Daddy

In cleaning out older emails, I found this one I had sent to Doombuggyproductions.com (when they were still active). It explains how we made the Jack Skelington (and how to make similar figures). It never made it on their before they were lost so I'll post it up here.



For the body of Jack - we used pvc pipes - the grey ones are electrical conduit ones - they were cheaper than the water ones. The joints are all pvc fittings. The chest was bulked out with layers of 1' foam and bubble wrapped to soften the edges.





The costume was cut from scrap material and hand sewn. The limbs were covered in black foam pipe wrap and the legs and arms were glued together after the costume was attached.
The head was sculpted in plasticine and a copy was made in paper mache. Blank newspaper was torn into thumb-sized pieces. Instead of fiddling with dipping them into glue and applying them, slightly thinned (with water) white glue was painted on, a few pieces were applied, and more glue was brushed over them. The teeth were more fiddly, so facial tissue was used there. After about three good layers were applied, the head was flipped and paper mache was applied the same way to the back of the head - not quite overlapping. The two halves were gently removed and the plasticine was removed - using a plastic spoon and fingers mostly. Two small squares of foam with holes for the neck were paper mached to the front piece and then the back was paper mached on. Once the two halves were joined by more paper mache the face was painted - primed black then off white.




The hands were wire around a foam palm. The fingers were wrapped in masking tape and the entire was painted - primed black and painted white.

The suit still needs the pinstripes painted on and the spider bow-tie needs to be made. All told he is about 8' tall.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Short for a trooper?



So, even those I had lost my camera, I was able to find some pictures of the kids in their Clone Trooper armor from the Valleycon website.

Friday, June 12, 2009

compost portability

So with the eventual renovations, we will lose our current side yard. I will miss the nice shaded area for the barbeque and the patch of green right out the door. In preparation for this, I moved the composter we had by our side door.
Inside the bottom third of the unit was a nice, dark earth – perfect compost. I used this to put around the base of most of our trees and tossed some in the garden when we turned it. The top third was still in progress so I used it to start the new location.

I’m quite impressed with the amount of composting that occurred. I’m not really on top of keeping it moist or turning it often. I do try to keep a decent mix of ‘green’ (nitrogen based items – fruits, vegetables, etc) and ‘browns’ (leaves, cardboard, ash). That’s one of the things that attracted us to composting – we could be as low-key about it as we wanted and it would still break down eventually.

The new location at the back of the yard will a bit more difficult to add to during the winter so we’ll probably switch to the other one at that time. With the kitchen bucket we got last time we only have to empty it once a week.

(pics to follow)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

one less David

Last week we also lost David Eddings. I did read and enjoy his novels High Hunt (the line “I always pack my .38s” still cracks me up) and the Losers, but I first encountered him through the Belgariad – a fantasy series of 5 novels. I quite enjoyed the series and thought the sequel, the Malloreon – another series of 5 novels, was a familiar visit with old friends. I think the maps were what first drew me to it. I always have a soft spot for a good map. The world was very in-depth and the different races/countries were well thought out. I’m going to have to check to ensure I have the three extra books - Belgarath the Sorcerer, Polgara the Sorceress, and The Riven Codex and read the whole lot again.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Goodbye Grasshopper

It sounds like David Carradine died last week on June 3 at the age of 72. I remember watching him in Kung Fu when I was younger. I recently picked up Season 1. It seems that there were only three seasons made. I will have to track down the other two seasons and watch them through.

I used to bear him a bit of enmity for getting the role of Kwai Chang Caine over Bruce Lee but have since relented. I also remember him in several roles from Circle of Iron – which I recommend. He also starred in Death Race 2000 (a cheesy-but-fun 70s race film), and had a small cameo in the new Death Race film (which is basically Car Wars - the movie - and also fun).

We also have one of his Tai Chi tapes that I still use from time to time.
Too bad. With Kill Bill, his career was on a solid comeback.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The monkeys are calling!

LucasArts is rereleasing Monkey Island in a Special Edition version. This will have both updated graphics and the capability to use the original pixilated version we grew up with. As adventure games go, this was right at the top of my list. I loved the insult swordfighting – a great concept that still holds up.

My son and I are working through the series even now – we’re up to MI3.


Perhaps the best news about this is that it sounds like they have made up with the original designer Ron Gilbert. This sounds like we will get more new Monkey Island content – and maybe even learn the true Secret of Monkey Island.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Jugger - The Blood of Heroes

I had seen The Blood of Heroes about two decades ago. I am fairly sure I saw it in the theatre and I know I saw it many times on cable and recently picked it up on DVD for very cheap. It stars Rutger Hauer and Joan Chen. It’s basically Mad Max meets Blood Bowl.

Like most gamers, I thought it would make a neat game. I know Chris MacLaughlin had talked about designing a Blood Bowl team based around a Jugger team – naming his catcher a Kwik, etc. I thought about it again recently and did some searching online.

It seems that there are people playing this as a sport. There is a league in Germany and in Australia.
While it looks like fun, and I’m fairly certain that I could get enough people together to field two teams for a game, I’m not so sure that we could play without too much trouble from the Park Police. We’ll have to keep it on the back burner for now and let it mull.

Further searching seems to come up with a lack of a Jugger board game. So I finally put together rules for one. I had an epiphany moment about the movement and it all came together from there. I had a bit of an issue with the board but sorted that out yesterday.
When I get my notes together, I'll post the rules up here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Get your PHD in Horribleness

I’m not sure – I thought I had mentioned it here before. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog is wicked funny.
It was only on the internet for free for a while, and then was available at many places that aren’t in Canada. It has been out for a bit on Amazon but it has finally come to “actual” stores. We picked it up last night at HMV but it is also at Best Buy and Future Shop and, though I haven’t confirmed it, probably at Walmart.

It’s well worth the money. If you haven’t seen it yet, give it a try. If you have, you don’t need me to convince you. My family was singing the songs all the last half of last year. I'm looking forward to the commentary.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A bit behind

So, with most of the season finished, we're still a bit behind.


We currently have well over 100 hours to catch up with. We're currently about mid-February in viewing. I'm certainly willing to believe that we watch far too many TV programs. Luckily, natural selection has pared back a fair number of these for next year.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Diablo 2

With the computer being flaky, I’m behind in computer games. I haven’t finished Diablo 2 yet. I’ve been trying to find some time to play a bit lately. I bumped up to level 31 and added another level to Natural Resistance. I then bowed to pressure from my kids and made a run for Diablo.

Apparently I’m not quite ready. Luckily, I have a spare axe/armor kit in my stash so I was able to loot my body, and had to get another set to loot my second body. The closest I got was getting him down to about about half.

I ‘m working towards level 32, maybe I’ll give it another go then or wait until 33.

I’ll let you know how it works out.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

colors of the world

When I drew the world map for my mom, I did it as a favor. Also because it gave me an excuse to use my opaque projector. I certainly didn't expect anything for it.

It seems that it made enough of an impression that I got a nice thank you note from her boss as well as a gift card to Michael's. I was finally able to pick up a color wheel. I've been wanting one for a while but never got around to getting one. I almost bought a wooden manikan for drawing - to make an Eldar Titan out of but instead picked up a nice frame for the wife for her birthday. This way her signed Phantompalooza poster can be protected from our kids.

Monday, May 25, 2009

an empire of galactic portability

It’s always good to see a few locals make good. Our friend JP has been working on variations of his Galactic Empire game for a few years. It has come down to a tile version that he is going to be publishing as The Portable Galactic Empire.
Take a peek -

Friday, May 15, 2009

making a list, checking it twice

With the hopes of a game room looming in my future, I’m looking at getting back into Warhammer and 40K. I’ll probably also try to fill in some of my gaps from my role-playing games. Thanks to the internet and ebay, I can find out what I’m missing.
I just have to wait until after the renovations so I can unpack some of my boxes to confirm what I have. A lot of my RPG collection has been packed away from when I got married – over twelve years ago. I’m already getting lists ready for the West End Games Star Wars RPG as well as Twilight 2000 and Chill. I’ll have to see if I’m missing any of the D&D Gazeteers or Car Wars Road Atlases too when I can get into those boxes.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Magog Unleashed no more

I finally got a Magog to complete my Heroclix Unleashed set. This one was a long time coming. Unleashed was one of the last sets that I got when I was still buying cases. I didn’t get any of the Universe set and only a few of Ultimates and Mutant Mayhem. By the time Legacy came out, I was no longer buying Heroclix.

I stopped judging around that time. The addition of the cards – Feats and Battlefield Conditions didn’t really appeal to me. I felt it made the game much more complex than it needed to be. I didn’t mind the Bystanders though – they were similar to the figures from Crimson Skies. The objects were also okay.

I didn’t get back into Heroclix until I ran across Icons on sale while in the States. Since it was a smaller set, I picked up some. I then got into it again starting with Supernova and carrying through the Heralds of Galactus and Slaves of Starro events. I tend to skip buying DC in bricks though – I didn’t get many Arkham or Crisis.

Since the future of Heroclix itself is still in flux, I’m whittling away at my need list. I’ve also got a case of Horrorclix Nightmares supposedly making it’s happy way to me.
With catching up on my Heroclix figures, I’ll still have a few Horrorclix (notably the Freakshow set) and Starship Troopers figures to get, but both of those are finite lists.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Monsterpocalypse

Prior to May, I had two starters, a monster booster, and a unit booster from the Rise set. We had finally played three weekends ago. It’s a bit to wrap your head around but seems to flow pretty well once you get used to it. We didn’t get to play with all the extra abilities and such – just the basic rules for now. We really should get a few more buildings.

I got 2 Monster boosters and 3 Unit boosters of the new I Chomp NY two weekends ago at FCBD. It seems like it should be pretty good to get into.

Yesterday my Mega Sky Sentinel promo showed up at my local comic store. Now I just need to get a regular Sky Sentinel to play it with.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Books read 2009 Jan through April

Jan 09
The Maker of Dune by Frank Herbert
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling
Railway Modelling The Realistic Way by Iain Rice
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Photography Essentials by Mark Jenkinson
Walt Disney's Bambi: the Story and the Film by Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas
How to Build Realistic Model Railroad Scenery by Dave Frary
Warhammer General’s Compendium by Eric Sarlin and Jeremy Vetock
The Mad Scientist’s Handbook by Joey Green
The Mad Scientist’s Handbook 2 by Joey Green
Good Design Can Change Your Life: Beautiful Rooms, Inspiring Stories by Ty Pennington
Art Deco by Bevis Hillier

Feb
Compendium Modelling Manual: Basic Aviation Modelling edited by Jerry Scutts
Osprey Masterclass Armour Modelling by John Prigent
The Art of Being a Wolf by Anne Menatory
Gone With The Wind: The definitive illustrated history of the book, the movie, and the legend by Herb Bridges and Terryl C. Boodman
Bike, Scooter, and Chopper Projects for the Evil Genius by Brad Graham and Kathy McGowan.
40K 3rd edition
Chapter Approved 2

Mar
Military Vehicle Modelling by Phil Greenwood
The Complete Compost Gardening Guide by Barbara Pleasant & Deborah Martin
The Encyclopedia of Military Modelling edited by Vic Smeed & Alec Gee
Modelling Miniature Figures edited by Bruce Quarrie
The Art of the Model Soldier by Graham Dixey
The Best of Instructables Volume 1 by the editors of MAKE magazine and Instructables
Make: The Best of Make by the editors of Make
The Complete Guide to a Green Home by Philip Schmidt
The Numerati by Steven Baker

Apr
Teen Zone: Stylish Living for Teens by Judith Wilson
The Science of Star Wars by Jeanne Cavelos
Mythbusters – the explosive truth behind 30 of the most perplexing urban legends of all time by Keith and Kent Zimmerman with Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage, and Peter Rees
Everything I know about business I learned at McDonald’s by Paul Facella with Adina Genn
Cthulhu Live Delta Green by Robert H McLaughlin
Mascot to the Rescue by Peter David
Archery for All by Daniel Roberts
Rick Mercer Report: the Book by Rick Mercer
Habitat for Humanity: How to Build a House by Larry Haun

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Falling deeper behind in painting

In March I had bought some Treehouse Aliens Swarm figures - 2 Aliens, 3 Marines so my March total is - figures bought 5, figures painted 0.

In April I picked up a Folker EIII for Canvas Eagles and some 1/72 cowboys (30 figures in pack) for The Rules With No Name so my April total is – figures bought 31, figures painted 0.

If I don't start getting some painting done soon, I may be digging a big hole too large for me to fill. Luckily, my Heroclix/Horrorclix and Monsterpocalypse figures are prepainted.

Running total 2009 - figures bought 86, figures painted 0 - Apr

Monday, May 4, 2009

FCBD - post game

We did partake in the Free Comic Book Day on Saturday. We only went to 2 stores this year – Galaxy comics and Comics Factory IV.

We didn’t make it over to Comics America this year. Last year they were pretty sticky about only 1 comic per person so we didn’t bother.

We went to Galaxy first. They usually do 1 comic per adult and 2 comics per child so that’s much better. Plus I picked some Monsterpocalypse boosters from the new I Chomp NY set to get the Shadow Shinobi Unit.

Then we went to Comic Factory IV. Jarett’s always pretty good about FCBD comics – as long as you don’t go crazy, he’s pretty soft about limits. Plus, he usually has a bunch of stuff on sale. We picked up a bunch of mini-graphic novels and I got the Marvel Universe RPG and the Hulk/Avengers book for $2 each.

All-in-all, another sucessful year.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Hini - it's going to be a thing

There is a new flu strain out from Mexico that may prove to be the one we have been warned of lately. It's not an avian flu from Asia as was touted but rather a porcine variant from here in North America. We've been back and forth over the severity and whether is is just a normal flu variant or whether it might be a full blown movie-level pandemic.

Due to lobbying from the Pork industry, the Swine Flu potential pandemic is now being referred to by the CDC name - H1N1. It seems that by referring to it by Swine Flu it was affecting their prices of the meat.

Since it would apparently be wrong to refer to it as the Mexican Flu (even though it is being compared to the Spanish Flu following World War 1) we have to come up with a new name.

H1N1 doesn't really roll off the tongue though. I propose we refer to it as 'HINI' or HI'-nee. It also helps to cutesify it up should it prove to be as much of a deadly event as is being reported.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

FCBD - you had me at Free

Saturday, May 2 is Free Comic Book Day.

Once a year, the industry gets together to try to get more comics in the fans of potential fans. Current, uber-fans take advantage of this day to try to score as many copies as they can. Even still, it's a good excuse to try and make it in to your local comic book store and check it out.
With the economy as it is, I am sure they could use the new faces. Since most of the stores have diversified over the years, and now carry toys, games, videos, as well as other lines, they should have something that you are interested in that they would be very happy to sell to you.

The link above has a part where you can find which stores are participating in FCBD in your area. Hopefully a few of our local ones missed the listings as we don't seem to have too many this year.

We'll try and hit a few. I can look for Monsterpocalypse figs at the same time.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Barbarian needs food badly

So, now that our computer is stable again, I have been able to go in and play Diablo 2 again. I had put it on hold years ago when the kids starting taking up more of our time. Plus, since it’s really Shan’s game, I was waiting for her to take out Diablo first.

Years later, I’m still waiting.


Recently, I have been playing around to complete my maps and trying to level up. I’m playing a Barbarian (Big Axe Man!) as that better suits my playing style. I finally managed to get to level 30 and was able to put some of the skill points I had been hoarding to use. I finally got Natural Resistance and War Cry.

I cleared the entire area, opened 4 of the 5 seals – killed off the specials. I didn’t go after Diablo – much to my kids’ dismay. I do realize that I will have to reclear the area to release Diablo. I was worried about dying and not being able to recover my corpse and get back my stuff. I may try to level up to 31 before I give it a go.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Blackmoor no more

I’m a bit delayed with this – so most of you might already be aware that Dave Arneson passed away on April 7, 2009. While not getting the same reaction in the gaming community as the passing of Gary Gygax, Dave’s passing was still noted.

He didn’t get the same name recognition as Gygax, but his Blackmoor campaign was the basis for Dungeons & Dragons with Gary’s Chainmail rules.

When we met him at Gencon he was very personable and friendly. We had tried to bring him up to Wincon for a few years. He cancelled twice due to his health and once because he was going to Prague to help with the Dungeons & Dragons movie. We joked that we had to stop inviting him in an effort to help keep him healthy. When we met him at Gencon after this, he was at the D&D movie booth and showing off the props.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Red Light Cameras = money grab?

Up here we have these cameras at certain intersections. They take pictures of your vehicle and send you a ticket if you speed through the intersection or if you enter the intersection after the light has already turned red. The police then use the picture as proof and send a ticket to the owner of the vehicle.

I always hear people complaining that the red-light cameras are just a money grab. If that’s how people really feel, there is a very simple solution to beat them – don’t speed through those intersections or run through the amber lights. That will teach the people who put up the cameras.

When they first introduced the lights, my daily route took me through four a day. Now my route goes through five a day. I have not received a ticket from them yet.
Are people actually upset that they are getting caught breaking the law? Would they feel better getting a ticket from an officer instead of through the mail?
The intersections are clearly marked – if you can’t obey traffic laws through the entire city, can you not be extra careful in those few places where the cameras are?

Maybe when the monthly camera revenues are zero, then we can work at teaching drivers how a 4-way stop works.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

It lives! again

Everyone seems to have a computer guy. That is, a friend or relative who is more knowledgeable than them about computers and whom they ask for help whenever some computing issue comes up. For my mom, that's my brother and I. Shan's the one for her mom.

With us, that's my good friend JP. The 'Franken Puter' we currently use was originally created from parts close to 10 years ago by him. I have swapped out the power supply a few times and added a dvd rewriter and a video card, but any real issues I get him to check.

Shan had gotten an old computer tower from work. It had been free but she figured we could use at least some of the parts - and we have. I hap popped the case and tried to fire it up but had been stopped by being unable to create or find a boot disk.

JP had taken both towers and had been able to upgrade what we're been limping along with. He kept our tower, power supply, dvd drive and video card and replaced the cpu, hard drive, and motherboard. So now instead of a tired and flaky 128mb/20G computer, we seem to have a clean and stable 512mb/40G platform. The memory is not yet an issue - we hadn't even filled half of the old one in the 10 years we were online with it.
It's nice. It's working very fine. I can update this at home now and Diablo 2 plays stable without the video locking up every twenty minutes. We're very pleased. Now if I can just keep the rest of the family from loading tons of games on it.
A very special thank you to JP and thanks to the computer guys everywhere. You guys do good work and we really appreciate it.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

a restful week

To no surprise I didn't get a lot done last week while I was off. It snowed more than it thawed so I had a bunch of shovelling to keep up with. While I didn't paint any figures, I did get ready for pre-paint.

I started making a replica gas mask bag for D3 to use as an Indy satchel. G also wants one too. I've ripped most of the seams out of an old pair of jeans to use for the material but need to cut and sew (and dye).

We did get our computer guy to look at our systems. We should be able to take parts from the surplus computer Shan got from work and cobble together with some upgrades we've put into our old computer to keep us afloat in the world wide web for a bit longer.

I still have to draw up some floorplans for our potential upgrades to the house. It could be a very interesting summer.

Friday, March 20, 2009

at odds

I’m off next week so I probably won’t be able to update as often – my home connection is not so solid. Unless I get presented with a to-do list, I’m basically free-range for the week. Depending on the weather, I may have to move around some snow to help it thaw. I’m thinking I’ll try and paint some figures and try to take some more pictures for boardgamegeek.

I also started making an Indiana Jones satchel for my son so I might try to finish sewing and dye it. My daughter also wants one too.

If I have time, I might do a quick sift of my room. I may even work at the Man O War ships I started years ago. I might do some terrain.
We’ll see what I can actually get done.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

We are the world

My mom needed a large world map showing country divisions but without country names and had asked me if I could draw one for her. I found a political map on wiki and took it home. She had told me back at the end of January that she needed this for the beginning of March. Naturally, I did it on March 1. Truth be told, she didn’t get me the paper size until mid-February so I didn’t procrastinate all that much.
I had picked up a small opaque projector from Michaels years ago. The only other thing I’ve really used it for was upsizing a Ghostbusters logo to use as a pattern for hand-stitching the logos and that was over 6 years ago. I first came across these in elementary school – using the camera obscura principle to enlarge pictures in books on the wall to trace.

The map I was using was quite small for the size I needed it – it almost would have easier to draw it freehand but I figured I’d give it a try. In looking at the projector, I noticed that it was rated up to a 75 watt bulb. It had a 60 watt in there now. I’m wondering if, now that we have the compact fluorescents, I can put a brighter (and cooler) bulb in there for a sharper picture.



I was only able to upsize a quarter of the map at a time. I had to keep moving the image and then re-aligning the map to get the entire thing done. My main problem was that the focal range was about 4 inches off the page for the size I needed. I kept holding up the back of my hand or even an extra piece of paper for a clear image when the lines all merged together in a mess. I think it came out pretty well – I had to freehand in Alaska and I think I added in an extra country behind Albania but it looked not too bad.