Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wide screen - in 3D

We don’t really have the same kind of Black Friday sales up here (since we like to spread out our turkey dinners and have Thanksgiving in October) but they are starting to pick it up to keep people from shopping across the border. We managed to pop out and picked up a 50” LG 3D smart TV at Best Buy. Or so we thought.

We didn’t set it up right away as we didn’t have room for it on the old wall unit. Due to the size of the TV compared to the space plus the size of the base, I had to cobble together a piece to sit on top of the old space but jutting out a few inches farther to allow the base something on which to rest.

When I finally did have time to set it up, we noticed that it was the wrong model – without the 3D. A quick call to Best Buy, followed by a quick trip to exchange boxes, and we got the new one set up. Aside from the mix-up originally, Best Buy was pretty good about the exchange and fixing their mistake.

So it all worked out in the end. The wife really likes the new TV. Now we can finally get a blu-ray player to make the dvds look better. Plus we'll need to get a new unit or mount it on the wall later once we get rid of the old wall unit - but that's future David's problem.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Desk top achieved

I’ve been needing to work at my desk for a while. When we moved my stuff out of the spare room and the boy in, time was more of a crucial factor so I didn’t have the time to properly sift through things. With the extra space in the storage unit, I needed to go through the boxes already on it as well as the extra 6 months of stuff that has been piled up on top of that.

With the holidays coming up, I’ve had a bit more impetus to get it done. I have taken everything off my desk and have been working at sifting it and putting some of it back. Some of it will go back on and in the desk, some will go in storage in the back room, and some will go in deep storage in the storage unit.

For a first pass, I've gotten it back to a reasonable mess. The wife may disagree.

Monday, November 25, 2013

My Ogre has landed

My Ogre has arrived. It came on Friday, November 15. I got the email notice that it had been shipped and the notice that it had hit the local sorting facility. I was going to call them about picking it up but when I checked it was already out for delivery. I had a bit of concern as no one was home to receive but it sounds like he tried again later and was able to deliver to the kids – who were able to cover the $28 duty charge. I was glad to pay that to ensure that it did not get stuck out in the weather.

We took it to Jimcon – a local gaming convention – that weekend on the Sunday. They cleared some space for us on the newer tables so we were able to spread it out. We had a few people come by to check it out – some had heard of the Kickstarter and some had never heard of Ogre at all.

My first thoughts? It’s very nice. And big. So very big.

The pieces are nicely die cut – they popped out without any trouble and stayed in until worked on. I still haven’t had time to remove and sort them all. I wish they had been better packaged with the basic sheets together. The over-abundance of the Kickstarter extras made it tricky to find the pieces needed for the classic game. The insert trays are a thing of beauty – nice and solid and look to have enough room to hold everything once done.

I really like the classic Ogre game included – although this one has dice cut counters unlike the original cut-your-own ones. I will need to buy a bunch of them when they become available to give to friends to indoctrinate them. I expect I will also end up playing that version more often as it will be easier to find the space needed.

I played the classic game with my son. I was a bit out of practice, and busy popping out more counters while we played, but still lost. He player the mark III Ogre and was able to pull off a complete Ogre victory. It was his first game with a classic CRT (combat results table) and he was able to figure it out pretty well. The basic map isn’t too huge and will fit on most tables. This will allow it to get more use than the size of the box would imply.

My only negative about this is the sheer size of it. It should really have been made into two boxes. This would allow one to carry and store it much easier and allow you to take only part of it out as needed for most games. It would also have been easier to sell later – with a more “stripped-down” version and a massive extras set. It seems to have done well enough for more support – maybe the supplement box will be able to double as a travel box as needed. If not, I will have to make a box to hold the basic components. At least until I get some of the rereleased miniatures.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

bubble suits - Zoltan!

For Halloween parties we made costumes again. This year went as followers of Zoltan from Dude, Where’s My Car?  A version of this was available at Spirit of Hallowen but there are a few differences from the movie – the biggest being a top and pants instead of a jumpsuit as well as Velcro closures compared to snaps.
Ours are a bit incorrect as well – we grabbed the small bubbles instead of the more accurate larger bubbles. The other concern was the sizing – making our bubble suits allowed us to make sure the fit our various sizes. There still is a bit of tailoring to make them fit a bit closer, but easy to fix.

We laid out the bubble wrap over a pair of pants to measure them for size.  The seams were joined with medium weight packing tape.  A double layer of packing tape along the middle seam gave enough of a solid material to allow the pop snaps to grab without pulling through the plastic.  We measured the top part against a long sleeve shirt

We wore a black tshirt instead of the muscle shirt as well as the black shorts.  The plastic doesn't really breath so it keeps warm enough for inside wear.  I brought along some extra packing tape for seam repair but didn't need it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Been Busy - part 5

October has been a very busy month - mostly with chores and renovations though.

We finished painting the outside of the house, including the trim.  The kids were very helpful with painting.  I also managed to paint the exposed platform of the new shed - which  should help it last a bit longer through the weather.

We replaced the fascia on the back of the house - which included painting the boards before putting them up.  Changing the lower fascia involved removing the eavestrough and putting it back.  I was concerned that this would very difficult but it went quite easily.

My brother came over and replaced the outside lights with motion sensor versions.  He also replaced some of the loose switches inside.  Being a electrician, he swaps them out without pulling the breakers which always makes me a bit nervous.

I was able to get to the storage locker and spend about two hours sifting the contents.  I pulled out a bunch of the boxes and restacked the plastic tubs together and put a bunch of the cardboard boxes on a skid.  I was also able to move some of the more needed boxes to more handy locations to make them easier to get as needed.  This should allow even more boxes to be stored.

It stayed warm enough for my dad to come over and help replace some of the trim which had rotted with flashing and new boards.  If the weather holds later this week, I hope to get a layer of paint on it before the snow comes.  While he had his table saw here we also cut the wood to put together a bench for the shed. This should let me stack things better and move more stuff out of the old shed before the squirrel settles in for the winter.
Sifted storage locker.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Neca sets - Pacific Rim and KA2

It seems to be another year when Neca is pumping out a lot of Heroclix sets.  I picked up the Pacific Rim and KA2 starter sets and need to get the rest of the singles.  Neither of these had really been mentioned on the www.Heroclix.com site.

The Pacific Rim set comes with a Gipsy Danger and a Slattern - not the Knifehead that it shows on the back.  Both figures are visible in the package so this is not too much of a concern.  Also included is a tiny 3 x 8 map on a four-folded board as well as 32 pogs for tanks, jets, and battleships.  These figure seem to be part of the basic 10 figures available in the single figure counter packs.  What it is missing is a basic heroclix rulebook explaining any of the special abilities on the dials - instead coming with a very simple rule set to be able to play with the figures given ignoring the special abilities.

I also picked up 6 single figure packs - getting only one duplicate.  I now have all the Kaiju and two of the Jaegers - Gipsy Danger and Striker Eureka.  I'll probably pick up the remaining 3 figures on the secondary market.

The KA2 starter is a great fit for the Heroclix system – I snapped it up as soon as I saw it.  The 6 figures in the starter are in addition to the 11 available in single figure counter packs.  There are a few interesting things about this set – mostly having to do with the names. 

The set is notably missing Colonel Stars and Stripes (and Eisenhower).  I suppose with Jim Carrey’s disillusionment of the violence, he has not allowed his image out.  Also missing is Dave’s friend’s Todd in his inverted A**-Kicker costume.   

The characters that have names that might be questionable instead are marked with their secret identities.  Kick-A** is listed as Dave Lizewski, Mother-F***** is listed as Chris D'Amico, and Night B***** is listed as Miranda Swedlow.  Since a big part of the movie involves finding out their secret identities, this makes it a bit odd.

I haven't picked up any single figure packs for KA2 yet but probably will.  Any dupes of KA, MF, or NB I can always fix the names or repaint a KA to an AK - using a Battle Guy dial.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Kickstarters - updates

My Kickstarters have been paying off.  I’m still waiting for my first one – OGRE Designer’s Edition from May of 2012 – but should finally be shipping soon.  This one is going to be huge.  I’ve even ordered a few of extra sponsored counter sheets.

The Dungeon Roll from back in March came in earlier this month.  It’s so tiny.  The box is the Kickstarter mimic version instead of the regular treasure chest version.

I just got Walk the Plank in this week with my extras.  It too is a bit smaller than I would have thought.  I got the pirate stickers and ghost pirate figure as Kickstarter bonuses and had ordered the Sharkspansion and Pink Robot for Get Bit as well.  This had been paid back in April – so that makes it the shortest turnaround time I have.

My only other Kickstarter was a non-game one – the Veronica Mars movie.  That was paid back in April too.  We already got the DVDs back in August but still are waiting for the t-shirts.

So far, my experience has been very good with these.  I haven’t been checking as often as I could but, so far, nothing else has caught my eye – or my pocketbook.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Books read - May to August 2013

The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher
Iron Maiden: The Ultimate Unauthorized History of the Beast by Neil Daniels
The Monster Show: a cultural History of Horror by David J. Skal
Because I Said So! The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids by Ken Jennings

The Lego Book by Daniel Lipkowitz
The Big-Ass Book of Home Décor by Mark Montano
Stan Lee’s How to Write Comics by Stan Lee
The Art and Making of the Dark Knight Trilogy by Jody Duncan Jesser and Janine Pourrot

The Big-Ass Book of Crafts 2 by Mark Montano
DK Star Trek the Visual Dictionary by Paul Ruditis
The Making of the Empire Strikes Back by J.W.Rinzler

Robot Building for Dummies by Robert Arrick
The Complete Photo Guide to Making Metal Jewelry by John Sartin
Warhammer Armies: Orcs & Goblins (6th edition) by Rick Priestly & Jake Thornton
Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff by Scott Bedford
10-Minute Puppets by Noel MacNeal
Time-Life Books: The Old West – The Gunfighhters by Paul Trachtman
The Star Trek Craft Book by Angie Pedersen
Star Trek Cross-Stitch by John Lohman
Stan Lee’s How to Draw Superheroes by Stan Lee
Dad’s Book of Awesome Projects by Mike Adamick
The Monopoly Companion by Mr Monopoly as told to Philip Orbanes

Monday, August 19, 2013

Passing on X-Wing

After teasing us several months ago, Tabletop finally showed their X-wing game session.  I had been hoping that it would be enough to push me over the edge to get this but I’m still not impressed enough.  

Of the WWI airplane games, I have played Dawn Patrol back in the day, and Canvas Eagles more recently - which I loved.  I have played and enjoyed the Wiz Kids Crimson Skies and have the rules for the FASA Crimson Skies.  I never got into Wings of War.  I know I flipped through the Ace of Aces books but can’t remember if we ever did play it.

Of the Star Wars ship games, we played and enjoyed a lot of the West End Games Starship Battles, and the Star Wars Starfighter Battlebooks back in the day.  We played the Full Thrust Star Wars from the Star Wars Gamer magazines, and I have a full set plus enough extras of the WOTC Star Wars miniatures Starship Battles to field all the combinations I could want (minus an extra ARC-170).   I looked forward to the WOTC version, played it a bunch with my son, and enjoy it enough to keep thinking about upsizing it to play at conventions. 
I’m certainly open to another Star Wars ship battle game but am not sure that the re-themed Wings of War version of X-Wing is the one for me.  Some friends have it so I will give it one final chance and actually play it before completely writing it off though.  What really does intrigue me about it though is the idea of comparing the stats from X-Wing to Wings of War to find the equivalent planes and then using that baseline to translate the ships into the Canvas Eagles format.  Now that I would be excited about.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Miniature painting total - finally, an update for 2013

After a long drought, I am finally updating my figure buying/painting total.  To no surprise, I’m not updating the painting total, but I did get some new figures.  Our friends at GC-Minis had a sale on last month and I picked up the new Warhammer 40,000 rulebook (6th edition) as well as the Dark Vengeance boxed set and Chaos Space Marine Codex.  

I was also able to get the Walking Dead Horde army men-sized figures.  All the local comic book stores were out but the wife found some at a pop culture store called Pylon.  While I have no immediate use for them, I know I can add them to the RWNN without too much trouble – when I get around to painting them, and making some buildings.

 So my new total for the year is as follows:

40K – Dark Vengeance boxed set - 48
Walking Dead horde – 14

July figures bought – 62, figures painted – 0
Running total 2013 – figures bought 62, figures painted 0

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Finally - Fluxx

I finally played Fluxx.  I had been hearing about it for well over a decade (the basic game has been around since 1996) and had seen the Star Fluzz variant on Tabletop which finally made me get a copy of the Cthulhu Fluxx.  This has been sitting around waiting for a few months but we took it on holidays with a bag of games to play.
If you haven’t heard of Fluxx, I’ll explain it briefly.  It’s a card game where the rules change during the course of play.  You start with a hand of five cards and get to draw one card and play one card each turn.  The cards you play can affect how many cards you can draw, play, and hold, as well as adding goals which give you a way to win the game.  In addition to the basic game, they have many variants with different themes their own modifiers.

We played a number of games over the weekend with my kids and nieces including Cthulhu Fluxx.   My kids know only the basics of the Cthulhu mythos and they have played Cthulhu Gloom but the nieces hadn’t much exposure before.  We lost more games than we won due to the Ungoals – which were conditions that would cause all players to lose.
We had enough fun that when we came across a Monty Python Fluxx game while shopping that week we snapped it up.  The Monty Python Fluxx was a bit easier to play but the theme was lost on my nieces – who hadn’t really been exposed to much Monty Python.  This will have to be rectified at the next time we visit them.  My favorite moment in this set of games was the first time one of the nieces played the Nudge, Nudge, Wink, Wink, card and my son and I both drew a card but my daughter and nieces had no idea why.