Friday, December 19, 2014

Tannhauser - complete

Having had time to go through the Tannhauser deal, it was very complete. It looks like it is missing a few basic tokens from the basic set, like smoke, and fire tokens from the Daedalus but nothing major. I ordered another Daedalus, a Frankenstahl, and an extra Itami (to paint red) to complete my set. I also ordered the last novel – Enigma, and picked up a Sky Full of Stars for Babylon 5 Call to Arms, and a Za! 30 Minutes or Free.

This means that I now have all of the Tannhauser set unless I want to continue into Dust Tactics, and I have crossed another minor item off my Grail List.

We did get a chance to set up Tannhauser at Jimcon and started to play it but, since I always forget that Jimcon only goes to 4pm on Sundays not 6pm, we had to stop before we got into combat. We only had time to pick our load outs and had a few turns of moving before we realized our error. Still it was interesting enough to warrant picking up the remainder. I look forward to playing a full game of this while on holidays after Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Streamlining games

I’ve been packing away some of the extra games to go to the storage locker. I had a bunch of games on the shelves that we don’t really play often anymore – like Wabbit Wampage and People. Also those that we have a few extra copies of games – like Heroquest and Star Wars Duels as well as multiple versions of the same game – like Monopoly and Clue. By putting these into storage, it streamlines the shelves down to make the games we do play more accessible. Plus it eliminates the stacks of games that are piled around the room.

It doesn’t look nearly as impressive but it also looks less overwhelming. Hopefully, this should make it easier to actually play some of the new games we keep buying as well as try some of the old games I keep getting at the thrift stores. This will help us to see which ones we should keep handy and which ones can also get packed away.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

More Tannhauser - nearly complete

I got an offer on a set of Tannhauser that I found hard to pass up. It had been bought at Pendragon’s by a member of the armed forces who was hoping to play with his buddies but then they all got shipped out so he sold it to someone else. It seems to be complete (I’m still going through all the counters to verify) and includes Tannhauser, Novgorod, Daedelus, Hinansho, the equipment pack, the revised rules, the first two novels, and all the figure packs (except Frankenstahl). Originally it was $250 which was a good price but more than I was willing to pay for the remainder I needed.

Then he offered it to me for $150.

I still had to mull it over for a week – I was going to the States and was going to see if they had any available down there. They didn’t, so I picked it up.

It seems in pretty good shape. The previous owner had punched out all the tokens and sleeved the equipment cards and sorted all the tokens into bags. This is actually slowing down verifying the sets as some figure sets had extra tokens for factions or even other characters.

I now have a lot of doubles that I will probably end up packing away. I could sell them but that always seems like a hassle. This way if anything gets damaged or goes missing, I'll already have a spare.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Cosplayers tend to dress up in costume and act as that character. Costumers tend to dress up in costume but still act normally. While I might throw out some quotes from movies, I remain mostly a costumer.
That said, I need to speak out about costume contests at conventions. I’ve been in a few, my children have been in a few, we’ve both won some contests, and been in contests without winning. Granted, we’ve only been at the small-to-middle-sized conventions so they may have vast differences at the big conventions.

The prizes for the contests have been mostly improving over the years. The top prize can usually be a membership to next year’s convention but most of the time it is merchandise. Sometimes, if the convention truly values the costume contest, the prizes make sense – like gift certificates to a local fabric place or the convention dealer’s room, or even theme-related prizes but they are usually random items donated by the dealers in the dealer’s room.
Sometimes they will also give certificates, ribbons, or medals. I know the kids like the ribbons and medals. For me, we’re really not in the contests for the prizes. (Especially with most prizes being what they are). The recognition is more what we are after.

Often they will have some categories in mind – workmanship, junior, group, but a lot of times we have found that they decide on winners and then pick a category to assign them. This helps to cover if there are no costumes in a category and allows them to recognize extra costumes that might miss out by being the second or third in a category. This allowed our friend Sean to win as Best Female Hormonal Response.

While some costumes can be pulled together in short time, a lot of costumers will spend a lot of time working on their costumes. This is not to say that we haven’t been working on the final touches of a costume the night before or even final modifications just before the contest. Any extra time allows for extra touches or tweaking up until the last minute. The bad part about some judging is the amount of time it eats up of the convention. A lot of contests will want you to show up for a walkthrough to show you the contest space and where they will often do some prejudging. Even with this, you have to be there before the contest itself, the entire length of the contest, and then wait around while the judges take their time to decide on the winners. At one convention we were at, that ate up over four hours in a row on a Saturday for the kids’ part of the costume contest. Judges
Often the judges will include the guest, who may or may not know anything about costumes. Sometimes you will also have at least one judge who does know about costuming and will look for details like stitching, materials, and techniques. Hopefully this knowledgeable judge will be at the prejudging and can check for all this at that time. The other judges will often be committee members who have been rounded up to judge without haven been given much instruction.
At the smaller conventions the judging may even be done by crowd response – which can allow a store-bought costume of a popular character to beat a fabulous costume of an obscure character. Sometime the MC will be the judge although it often works quicker if they aren’t.

During the walkthrough the judges will sometimes take the time to inspect the costumes up close and ask questions. This allows them to take their time and helps to speed up the actual contest. This should allow them to have those portions already scored and only require them to note presentation and crowd response during the actual contest and then add them to the totals, but it still seems to take an hour for the judging to finish.

A good MC can help explain a costume or help to bridge those who don’t have a good write-up or music. A bad MC can distract from a good presentation. We’ve seen an MC treat the costume contest as her own personal stand up routine. They can definitely lead an audience if the judging is by audience response.

So, of the three conventions we go to, while some of us will costume (to varying degrees) at all of them, my daughter only really enters the costume contest at Keycon now. Although, if we get a great costume idea done, we might try again at Valleycon.

Monday, September 29, 2014

More Tannhauser

I really should play Tannhauser before getting more of it. I have read the rulebooks and it definitely seems like it should be fun. It does have a lot of paperwork – with stat cards for every figure with tokens their equipment load outs. So I’ll need to actually try it to see if that gets in the way of the enjoyment of it.

That said, I have already picked up the Operation Novgorod expansion set and more of the figure and troop expansions. I already had the expansions for Yula Korlitz, Ramirez, and Gorgei. When I got the Novgorod at Pendragons, I also picked up the figures that they had – Oksana, Hoax, and Edison.

Last Friday we popped into Game Knight on the way home. They were expanding and moving around their games. As we were standing there, looking at the racks of games, one of the clerks came by with a handful of boxes, looking for a place to put them in the racks.
“You wouldn’t happen to want some Tannhauser, would you?” he asked jokingly.
I had to smile, “Actually, I just might.”
He was glad to give us a deal of the lot so I picked up another five sets – Asteros, and Natalya, as well as the Union, Reich, and Matriarchy troop packs.

As it stands now, I am still missing the two expansion map sets Daedalus and Hinansho, plus the figures Wolf, Hoss, and Frankenstahl, as well as the Shogunate figures Mizakage, Itami, Iroh Minamoto, and the Shogunate troop pack. All of which are available from Miniatures Market but the shipping on the map packs is pricy so if I can find them locally, I’ll get them here. Once we play it, I’ll probably pick up the remainder as needed.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Books read May to August 2014

Time-Life Books: The Old West – Expressmen by David Nevin
Time-Life Books: The Old West – The Texans by David Nevin
Time-Life Books: The Old West – The Loggers by Richard L. Williams

Deep Focus: The Sting by Matthew Specktor
The Thief Who Couldn’t Sleep by Lawrence Block
Edge of Tomorrow (All you need is Kill) by Hiroshi Sakurazaka
Pinball 1 – Illustrated Historical Guide to Pinball Machines Volume 1 by Richard M. Bueschel
Time-Life Books: The Old West – The Chroniclers by Keith Wheeler

no books completed

Time-Life Books: The Old West – The Spanish West
Warhammer Armies: Tomb Kings (6th Edition) by Alessio Cavatore
Knightsbridge: The Art of Keith Parkinson
Crimson Skies by Eric Nylund, Michael B. Lee, Nancy Berman, and Eric S. Trautmann

Friday, August 29, 2014


I’m a little late to the Tannhauser party. I got interested recently from the guys talking about it on The Dice Tower lists. I’ve checked it out online and it seems pretty Hellboy-ish, with a neat targeting mechanic. I’m not sure why I never noticed it before. The only thing that I can think is that I must have thought it was a Dust Tactics spinoff and I never got into that either.

It sounds like it would be worth giving it a try. Except now that it’s been out of print for a few years, it’s not as easy to find as it was. Most of the sets can all be found online with the exception of the equipment cards. This wouldn’t be so bad except they apparently make the game much easier to play.

I was lucky enough to win a used copy with both the equipment cards and a printed PDF of the updated rulebook. This seems to be the perfect pack with which to start. It all looks so pretty. Plus the background is interesting - World War I never ended, both sides have gotten into the mystical - more so the Germans. Tesla is helping out the Russians, and it includes a Japanese faction as well.

There are a couple of websites with extra scenarios and rules for other figures – like the Hellboy figures from Heroclix. Front Towards Enemy was a great one but is no longer being updated. Savage Tales has some good custom sets, as does Black Sheep Archive, and the Tannbunker - when it is working again.

Heroclix even offers a lot of extra figures that can be used for mods – Batman, Hydra, SHIELD, Hellboy, even army figures. I've read through the original rules and am almost finished the revised rules. I want to play a few games to verify that it is as awesome as it seems before I spend much more money getting more of the figures, maps, and sets.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I still hate drywall

Since we had the supplies out already, we also fixed the holes in the hallway and patched some water damage on the kitchen ceiling. A few days of puttying and sanding later and the ceiling is mostly ready for painting.

While we had the ladder handy I also updated the light fixtures in the kitchen and hall. I had a bit of trouble with the first one but, after rechecking the instructions, fixed the step I had skipped and they went up so much easier. We still haven't settled on the perfect fixtures, but these replace the old globes from the 70s.

I also put the new transition between the hall and bedroom to finish off that part as well. I started to replace more of the edging at the bottom of the siding. With a bit of work, I was able to pull out the nails without too much damage but when I put the new nails in most of the siding broke. Luckily I still had the construction cement to put them back but we will need to repaint them again to help hide the breaks.

So, a few more chores finished, and getting ever closer to the next steps of repainting the kitchen and hall.

Friday, August 1, 2014

I hate working with drywall - bathroom

We had been putting off redoing the ceiling in the bathroom until the leak in the roof had been resolved. That was finally fixed last summer and we had been waiting to see if we still had leaks in the spring. We still had occasional small leaks, and now finally had time to resolve it.

We opened up the plastic sheathing again and quickly saw that when the roofers fixed the shingles, the venting hose was no longer connected to the outside vent. This would cause moist, warm air to collect in the dead air space, freezing in the cold, and melting in the spring. The pooled and caused the new leaks.

I picked up some vent tubes and connected them to the hose. I wrapped the joints in the metal ducting tape and even fixed a small tear in the hose. We then replaced the insulation and taped up the sheathing again with tuck-tape.

I had picked up some moisture-resistant drywall, tape, and supplies, and we pieces together the ceiling and wall. I added putty and tape as needed, and spent the next few days puttying and sanding. I could have spent a few more days repeating this but the wife was keen to get it finished.

We also replaced the sink and taps. My dad happened to pop over so we put the new taps on the sink before we installed it. The boy and I pried off the old sink and put the new one on. The connections went on fine – a bit of a leak from another part of the water connections that had to be tightened – but the boy now knows how to turn off the water main.

I also took this time to replace the light fixture. We will have to replace the medicine cabinet at a later date. The wife had bought a few towel racks to replace the ones we have but they won’t fit on the wall space we have.

Two days of painting and a few touch-ups and we declared the bathroom done. The wife finished loading in all the extra stuff but we had a day or two with it looking all clean and bright.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sink this Battleship

Battleship Galaxies - it's Battleship, in Space!

I had vaguely heard of this a couple of years ago when the movie came out (Battleship, In Space!) but was not able to find it in Toys R US or Walmart. Little did I know that, like Risk Legacy, it was only available in the specialty game stores. I then forgot about it until Tom Vassal mentioned it in succession in two lists on The Dice Tower recently.

A quick check on BGG does indeed confirm the cool ships. It looks like they intended to have more expansions but it must not have sold well enough to expand like Heroscape did. Now it was just a matter of finding one.

None of the local game stores had one but I was able to get one online from Snakes & Lattes along with a Lords of Waterdeep. Both games are big and heavy so their summer sale with free shipping helped.

It looks very impressive. The boy seems keen on trying it out so, once we finish some of the renovation chores, we’ll give it a spin.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Carpet out, flooring in

Two weekends ago we moved most of the furniture out of our room, removed the baseboards and pulled up the carpeting. We then put in laminate flooring over the next two days. On the Saturday we did most of the work and finished up the fiddly parts by the door on the Sunday. We even pulled off the closet doors and put two panels into the closet.

There were a few spots where we kept breaking the joints and needed to step away from it for a while, but otherwise, it went together without too much drama. I’m quite impressed with how simple it is to install the new flooring. Be sure to allow a few extra boxes for joint breakage – but these can sometime be used at the end of rows.

It took a couple of days to finish loading in and sorting the books. The clothes need to be fully sorted. Besides the rest of the closet, which can wait, the transition between the flooring and the vinyl in the hallway needs to be added.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

One step at a time

It amazes me that they will rent the odd, dangerous tools to those who have no idea how to use them – like chainsaws and jackhammers. Both of these have the chance to do a lot of damage to person and property in a short amount of time.

That being said, we rented a jackhammer last Saturday to break up the stone steps in the back yard. Truly, the internet was right, it was quite simple to use. It made surprisingly short work of the stairs in the 6 hours that we used it. It could have probably done more but it was quite hot and humid that day (felt like 37 degrees Celsius) and the jackhammer got quite heavy at the end. If the kids had been better about moving away the broken pieces we could have seen what was left a bit better.

The kids both tried it, but spent the afternoon tearing down the old shed. Even our neighbor came over to have a try - he used to use one years ago. We didn't get the concrete down to tiny rocks but did I break up as much as I could. There will still be a bit more needed to be done to clear it all away. We joke that the boy can spend the rest of the summer breaking big rocks into little rocks.

The wife has decided to use the medium pieces to edge her garden, and is currently thinking of putting the rest of the rocks under the front deck. Both ideas sound good as it means that we don't have to make a trip to cart away the pieces.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Link - foam shields

I made the shields out of a pack of four foam floor tiles, silver duct tape, E6000 craft adhesive from Walmart, and velcro packing straps, and craft paint from Dollarama. Like the Link costume itself, the shield has many variations. Once we had a picture of the variation she wanted, I drew a grid on it. Using the grid I transposed the pattern to a large sheet of paper.

Actually, I only transferred half the pattern, and then folded the paper and cut out the other side to match. I then used the larger paper to trace the pattern on to a floor tile and cut out the shape with an exacto knife. I cut out four notches for the arm straps and put the bands through.

Then we glued the cut shape to another floor tile using the E6000, sandwiching the back of the strap between the two tiles. We made sure to leave the ends with velcro on the outside. These were then stacked away overnight under some heavy books to dry.

The next day, I cut through the other tile using the first tile as a guide. I traced the rest of the pattern on the fronts of the shields. We edged the shields with chrome duct tape that we also got at Walmart, and the girls painted the fronts with Dollarama craft paint.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Link / Dark Link

My daughter finally came up with a costume idea about a month in advance of Keycon. She and her friend wanted to be Link and Dark Link. I had played the original Zelda on the Nintendo but I’m not a super huge Zelda fan. I much preferred the gameplay of Dragon Warriors – which is what Dragon Quest was called over here.
Due to my unfamiliarity with the character, and wanting her to be sure about what she wanted, I asked her to provide me with pictures of what she wanted.

With two weeks to go, we asked her again at the beginning of May and finally got her to sit down and print out some pictures to use. Shan found some a good site about making the costume. We picked up some fabric and tights at Walmart, and some boots and turtlenecks at Value Village.

We found large t-shirts to use as a guide and got the girls to lie down on the fabric and traced out the measurements for the tunics, and they cut out the rough pattern pieces for the tunics and hats. We tried using Gee’s sewing machine but ended up hand sewing the outfits. Gee sewed her hat while Shan did most of the sewing on the tunics. The girls also made some Navis and pouches.

We took some brown gardening gloves at Dollarama and cut off the fingers to get close-enough gloves. Gee wanted to get a blonde wig but we told her she didn’t need one. She pushed for it, so we made a trip to The Party Store to get wigs, and I have to admit it really does help to complete the look. We also picked up pointed ear tips that we ended up not using due to the fit.

She had foam swords from Keycon last year that she was going to use so we picked up some poster tubes at Dollarama to use as scabbards. These worked out very well as a quick substitute. I also made up some shields out of foam floor tiles and the kids painted them the day before the convention. I’ll post up a more detailed tutorial on the shields.

They were very well received at the convention. Most people overlooked the rough seams and the navis were a big hit for those who knew the character. For the two weeks of shopping and work I believe they did pretty well. We can revisit the costumes to hem the edges and add a proper collar. The girls ended up winning first place in the junior category.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Time-Life The Old West

One of my uncles used to have the Time-Life book series The Old West. I remember the brown leather (probably faux leather) covers, and the sheer bulk of the various topics – Cowboys, Gamblers, Scouts. Those of us who grew up in the pre-internet days remember how impressive the books collections were whether they were Time-Life, Popular Mechanics, Funk & Wagnalls, or even the sets of encyclopedias that used to line the shelves.

At the thrift stores (Value Village, and Salvation Army) I noticed that they usually had a few of the books so I started buying them when I got into Rules With No Name. Of the 27 books they printed and reprinted between 1973 and 1980, I have now bought 24 of them. Well, actually a few more than 24 as I have bought beat-up copies just to have them and better copies as I find them.
At the Children’s Hospital Book Sale on April 30, I got to the history table just in time to see someone else buy a stack of 10 books, containing at least three that I needed. Then last weekend at the Value Village I was quite excited to see a large group of the brown books. I was able to pick up 4 more books that I needed – 3 with some mild water damage on the bottom on the pages but I stored them near the dehumidifier and this cleared up .

This means that I now have all of the first 21 – The Cowboys through The Ranchers, am missing The Mexican War, have the next 3, and need the last 2 books – The End and The Myth, and Master Index. I do still need a better copy of The Spanish West which is split down the seam, and could get an even better version of The Canadians if I really wanted to be picky.
I had been getting a bit dismayed at not finding any books at all lately but these last few finds really made it close.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Books read January to April 2014

Warhammer Armies: The Empire (6th edition) by Alessio Cavatore
Time-Life Books: The Old West – The Trailblazers by Bill Gilbert
Redshirts by John Scalzi
Extreme Pumpkin Carving by Vic Hood & Jack A Williams
Of Dice and Men by David M Ewalt
Thrice Told Tales by Catherine Lewis
Odd Men Out by Matt Betts
Dynamic Posing Guide: Modern Techniques for Digital Photographers by Craig Stidham with Jeanne Harris
Greg and Tim Hildebrandt the Tolkien Years by Gregory Hildebrandt Jr
Get Animated! Creating Professional Cartoon Animation on your Home Computer by Tim Maloney
Hellboy II – The Art of the Movie by Guillermo del Toro and Mike Mignola

Warhammer Armies: Vampire Counts (6th edition) by Alessio Cavatore
The Art of the Brothers Hildebrandt by Ian Summers
Nothin’ to Lose: The Making of Kiss 1972 – 1975 by Ken Sharp with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz From the story by L. Frank Baum Illustrated by Greg Hildebrandt

Tubes – A Journey to the Center of the Internet by Andrew Blum
An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
Inventory by the Writers of the A.V. Club
Time-Life Books: The Old West – The Great Chiefs by Benjamin Capps

Animating with Blender: How to Create Short Animations from Start to Finish by D. Roland Hess
Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide by DK Publishing
Time-Life Books: The Old West – The Rivermen by Paul O’Neil

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Grail Games - curent

Those games that are still on my grail list are currently pretty small.

I’m looking for a copy of Dune and the expansions. I would ideally like to get a copy with the sandworm on the cover as that was the one I kept seeing at Cellar Dweller about three decades ago. It always tempted me – but I hadn’t read the books back then and never picked it up. Now that I have read the books, I would love to get this but it seems so would many other people. The info was on Colin’s site to make your own but the data seems to have been compromised. I’m not interested in the Fantasy Flight reprint – Rex: Final Days of an Empire because the theme, rather than the gameplay, is what’s drawing me to this. There are usually some Dunes on ebay but I am not yet willing to pay over $100 for a game I haven’t actually played. I may have to play one of the Rex: FDoaE just to see if the gameplay holds up enough to afford a set.

I saw an ad in the back of Dragon magazine and sent away for the Attack of the Mutants mini game. I remember it being fun enough to play. That copy is tucked away in one of my boxes through three moves. I would like to play it again and have been occasionally looking for the full Yaquinto version. I never got into the Yaquinto album games in the day but have picked up a few since then – Demon’s Run, Adventurer, and United Nations. I always had a fond spot for them from the catalogs but just never picked them up while they were easily available.

I’ve played Blood Royale. My friend David has it. The one time we played, we noticed that there was a finite amount of armies and stockpiled them. This led to an arms race and the game quickly evolved into the wargames sub part of the rules instead of the marriage/bloodline main part of the rules. Still, even that held up well enough. I would like to get a copy to try this again but it seems pretty rare.

Those are my three big ones at the moment. I’ve got a few more that are lesser needs but would still be very nice to fill the holes in my collection.

Another game that David had that we played was a small press game called ‘Za! 30 Minutes or Free. It was by a company called Howling Falcon. The play was okay and I always wanted to upsize the game to store in a pizza box, using Hot Wheel cars as counters. I hadn’t seen a copy of it in many, many years but I finally saw one on ebay.

I never got into Battletech back in the day but did get some of the Mechwarrior when it came out. I was even one of the judges. By the time they got around to releasing the 4 sets for Solaris VII I was already less interested. I finally picked up the Light Mech set. I had plans of upsizing the mechs to play a larger version but will need to pick up the Medium, Heavy, and Assault packs.

While I don’t follow NASCAR at all, I did like WizKids RaceDay racing game. I have all but one promo from the 2005 set but I am missing about half of the 2006 set. I will need to get a box of the 2006 set but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

I got into Arcane Legions a couple of years ago when they were blowing it out at Valleycon, after it stopped being published. I was able to get all the booster figures (thanks to the booster sets), and even got the Roman War Machines and Han Dragons but was unable to get the Egyptian Servants of Thebes. I could still get the 6 League packs and another set of the booster sets, but am in no rush until I can get the Sphinxes.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Grail Games - achieved

Grail games are those that you have not yet added to your collection – either for too high a price or lack of availability. The internet has made it easier to find those games but it has also made the value of those games more known. It also has exposed us to a lot more games that we wouldn’t have known that we needed to have. I’ve been lucky enough to have gotten most of my grail games over the years but more are always being added to the list. Most have been ones that I had a chance to buy at one time but didn’t, some are ones that I didn’t become interested in until long after they were out of print.

Circus Imperium was one of my early games. I played it at Gencon and tracked down a copy. I ran it for many years at various conventions and my wife eventually tracked down another copy to have. I even tracked down the miniatures but haven’t bought them yet as I keep using my scratch built ones.

Conquest of the Empire was one of the Milton Bradley Gamemaster series. My friends and I had each bought one of them to have the set. I bought the Fortress America, others bought the Axis & Allies. My friend later gave me the Conquest for one of my birthdays. By then I already had the Broadships and Boarding Parties.

Space Crusade was another game I first played at Gencon. Gloria, a friend of a friend, brought one back for me from the UK. There are two supplements but I don’t expect to even be able to get them.

I’m not sure where I first played the Aliens board game - I believe it was at a Wingames. The rules used to be online but I was finally able to track down a copy. I even managed to get a copy of the Aliens RPG last year. I’m still missing the Aliens board game expansion though.

Star Wars The Queen’s Gambit disappeared shortly after it came out. I was able to get a copy at retail ($80) in a Thunder Bay game store while we were visiting my wife’s sister.

I wasn’t into LARPs as much as many of the locals. I did get the Star Wars Live Action supplement but never got into the White Wolf set. I was intrigued enough to eventually get Cthulhu Live – both the first and all the books for the second edition. I haven’t picked up the third edition yet but it remains one of my games that I hope to play one day.

I used to play Car Wars back in the day. We had the pocket box sets, the Deluxe sets, and most of the supplements. When I found out about 5th edition it had already been out of print. It took a bit of time, but I was able to get all the books through ebay.

I never played the old FASA Crimson Skies but I do remember the big board at Gencon with the buildings under plexiglass as being impressive. I did play, judge, and enjoy the remake when it came out from WizKids. I finally decided to get the old version as well. It took a bit of searching, but I was finally able to track down the boxed set and all the books and supplements.

I remember the Space:1899 game when it first came out. While interesting, I never managed to get it. Much, much later, I was able to get a copy of Ironclads and Ether Flyers. The rules seem fun enough that I picked up the reprinted rules of Sky Galleons of Mars/Cloudships and Gunboats. While great, I was missing the maps and ships. I started making some ships out of balsa but got side-tracked. Luckily, I was just able to win a boxed copy of Sky Galleons of Mars on ebay for a good price.

I’ve picked up most of the new Hasbro/Avalon Hill games except all the Axis and Allies variants. I’m still missing the pretty copy of Acquire, the Diplomacy with the metal figures, Betrayal at House on the Hill. I was missing Nexus Ops (now rereleased by Fantasy Flight - but I just won one as well). I’m not really chasing those down yet but I had a copy of Monsters Menace America in my hands at Valleycon for $25 and put it down to complete a quick sweep of the rest of the dealer’s room. As soon as I did, it was scooped up by another. It took four or five years before I was finally able to find another for a decent price.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Top 10 new Games for 2013

Making a top 10 list for 2013 was pretty easy as I had only played 14 new games last year. The ones that did not make the cut for the top 10 were the following:

11 – Fleet Admiral – It may have done better but there was some confusion in the rules about the goal. More playing may have improved this ranking.
12 – Input – This was an old one. I like how it plays but I don’t think that there is enough legs there to warrant lots of play. The often ties if you can’t wipe out the opponent fully cause this to be off the list.
13 – Agricola – This game takes too long to set up and is much too confusing to pick up from the rules. Granted, we played without the cards but I don’t like that it forces you to diversify. There should be risks to specialization but still allow you to corner the market if you want.
14 – Aquarius - I’m not a huge fan of this one. It does play well with multi-age groups and is simple to pick up. If my daughter didn’t beat me down in it I might like it more but I’ll end up playing it more than many of the other games in my top 10 anyways because it’s quick and the rest of the family likes it.

The top 10 for 2013 are as follows:

10 – Cthulhu Fluxx – The first of the Fluxx games we ever played. I’d know about it for decades but had put off getting it until the Tabletop episode made it look worth giving it a try. It’s fun but the Ungoals are a bit harsh.
9 – Twixt – I had always seen this on the old Games magazine top 100 but had never played it until now. I like it but it is a bit too simple.
8 – Nowhere to Go – I don’t actually own this one but we did try it in the store. I like it but again I don’t know what kind of sustainability it would have.
7 – Othello – I can’t believe that I had never played this before. I have played lots of Reversi – but that’s a Ping Pong/Table Tennis kind of difference.
6 – Unexploded Cow – We played this a lot. It’s cute and would be higher but the rules could explain the first round better – when you roll higher than cows does the last cow explode or do no cows explode?
5 – Risk: Battlefield – I’ll always have a soft spot for Risk games and this one has enough variation to make it in my top 5.
4 – Fluxx – It’s a good version of Fluxx to play with people who don’t know any of the more specific variants.
3 – Walk the Plank – This one is seeing a lot of love from us. It easily replaces Get Bit! in our rotation.
2 – Monty Python Fluxx – More Fluxx goodness but with a Monty Python flavor. Know what I mean?

1 – OGRE Designer’s Edition – I was a big fan of the original pocket box set of Ogre and never did get the old Deluxe Set. This one is huge, and loaded with Kiskstarter goodness. Except for the sheer size of this, I can’t think of a fault with this game.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Board Game channels

My two favorite board game related channels on youtube are Tabletop, and The Dice Tower. Tabletop is hosted by Wil Wheaton and in each episode they play a board game. He usually has celebrities (of varying degrees) playing with him and it is good to see them outside of their field. Even though they often get the rules wrong, it gives a good example of how the game plays to see if it would be worth looking into trying it. Tsuro and Fluxx were good examples of this – I had known about both for years, but wasn’t interested until I had seen them being played.

The Dice Tower is mainly hosted by Tom Vassel and usually does board game reviews but also has news, and a lot of top 10 lists. What’s nice about it is once you’ve watched a few of them, you get a feel for the games he likes, and can use that to gauge if you would also like it. Case in point – Tom really likes Cosmic Encounter and Nothing Personal. Based on the reviews for Nothing Personal, I can tell that I will not like it.

Another feature of The Dice Tower is their top 100 games lists. I have sat down a few times and looked at it, but it seems daunting to rank 100 of the games I have and have played. I will look at making a few top ten lists though.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

involuntary new laptop

We were broken into early in January. As these things go, it could have been a lot worse. There wasn’t a lot of damage and the only things taken were some American money and our laptops. All of my wife’s jewelry was spread across the bed but they don’t seem to have taken any of it. I guess I don’t buy my wife nice enough things.

With the laptops gone, it made connecting to the internet harder. We still had the old desktop but that is a pretty rough connection for facebook games. It also helps point out how much we are connected – when watching tv we usually have at least one laptop on – which allows us to pop into as needed to find out why we know the guest stars as well as to check Wikipedia for information as needed.

We’ve added an alarm system and have worked through with the insurance people to replace the laptops. We didn’t have the boxes anymore but we were able to get copies of the receipts from Best Buy. As long as you have the card on which you bought them and know the date range, they can find it in their system and reprint it for you.

After much going back and forth about my requirements we agreed on an HP NO20CA laptop. The requirements for the laptop had been – DVD superdrive, keypad, at least 500 GB hard drive, 2 USB connections, SD slot, HDMI connection, and a Radeon HD6310 or higher (the old one was HD 7520). The keyboard, superdrive, and video card seemed to be a tricky combination to fulfill.

Which basically means that I am now working through getting used to Windows 8.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

a little wish list

Christmas was good. We didn’t go too crazy with gifts. We looked at finally getting me a Waacom tablet but I figure that I would need one at least 5x8 and that pushes the price from about $100 to about $200. I know I would find it useful for drawing and graphics but am not sure if I would use it enough to justify the higher cost.

Other reoccurring items that remain unfulfilled on my gift list are the next set of Cerebus tradebacks. I have the first four and keep meaning to get the rest of them. With Dave Sim fading into the woodwork, I should probably put more effort into getting these while I still can.

I also keep putting on the Young Indy dvd sets as well as season 3 of Kung Fu. The Indys are too expensive and the Kung Fu was in the bins for $10 but I haven’t seen it since. I finally was able to snag a season 2 of Kung Fu at Walmart as well as a used copy of most of the first set of Young Indy at the library sale.

The key problem with giving someone a gift list is that you cannot buy anything on it while that list is in effect. So the items have to be things that you want enough to get but not enough that you must go and and get them - at least not until the list expires.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Figure painting total - 2013

It looks like I had also picked up a Mantis Assassin/Hunter Bug for StarShip Troopers in October that didn't make an update.

So that brings my total to a reasonable number of bought vs painted for the year.

40K – Dark Vengeance boxed set - 48
Walking Dead horde – 14
SST Mantis Assassin - 1

Running total 2013 – figures bought 63, figures painted 0

I remain ever hopeful of putting a figure in the painted column - perhaps this year will be the one to do so.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Books Read September to December 2013

Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” by Neil Gaiman and Chip Kidd
1000 Incredible Costume & Cosplay Ideas by Yaya Han, Allison DeBlasio, & Joey Marsocci aka Dr. Grym
Shadows in Flight by Orson Scott Card Marvel Comics – the Untold Story by Sean Howe
The Winston Effect: The Art and History of the Stan Winston Studio by Jody Duncan

Home Upgrades Under $600 by Better Homes and Gardens
Watchmen – The Film Companion by Peter Aperlo
101 Top Tips from Professional manga Artists by Sonia Leong
Matther Mead’s Halloween Spooktacular by Matthew Mead
The Art of Colored Pencil Drawing by Pat Averill, Cynthia Knox, Eileen Sorg, and Debra Kauffman Yaun
Warhammer Armies Dwarfs (6th edition) by Gav Thorpe & Alessio Cavatore

Apollo: The Epic Journey to the Moon, 1963 – 1972 by David West Reynolds
Bead Bugs by Amy Kopperude

Understanding Architecture by Robert McCarter, Juhani Pallasmaa
Built from Scratch by Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank with Bob Andelman Get Big Fast by Robert Spector
Time-Life Books: The Old West – The Townsmen by Keith Wheeler
Period Costume for Stage & Screen: Patterns for Outer Garments, Book I: Cloaks, Capes, Stoles and Wadded Mantles by Jean Hannisett