Wednesday, December 23, 2015

desk achieved

With getting things ready downstairs for the holidays, I have been cleaning my desk. Mostly by a process I call sifting. This is where I take the piles of things that get dumped on my desk and sort them into like groups and package them down. My wife also ‘helped’ me with this – but she did it by taking a lot off my desk and strewing it across the room and leaving me to sift and put it back and then she put even more on my desk.

Even with this, I was able to box things down, organize a bit, and clear out a little bit to make the desk look reasonable. It still has a bunch of stuff on it, but at least it looks more cohesive and less hoardish. I will need to move a few things to be able to work on it, but it shouldn’t be too much trouble to do so.

I remain optimistic about being able to start getting things done for next year.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Batman - parking lot

Between Walmart, and Value Village, I have picked up about a dozen vehicles that are a good scale for Batman. Most are 1/43. I also found some school buses at Dollartree for $1.25 each. These are a shade small but should still work. Walmart also had a nice set of vehicles for the Fast and the Furious in the 1/43 scale but at $21 each they were out of my price range. Keep in mind that there are currently no rules to use vehicles in the game. They are mainly there to provide cover, and to help fill out the scenery.

I had been thinking of doing a warehouse table for the Batman Miniature Game – possibly on the docks but similar to what the old Heroclix map used to be. I was recently inspired by this video though and am now thinking about maybe a more urban setting.

While at Chapters, I picked up this Batsignal for $10.99. Knight models has a lasercut one for $8.55 Euros but this one already has the light built in to it. At Dollartree I picked up some police badges to use for a police station like in the video above.

I’m still looking for some letters out of thin wood or foam – so far I haven’t found anything useful at Dollarama or Walmart. I may have to try Michaels.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Figure Painting Total - November

I was finally able to get some Light Armored Troopers for Starship Troopers. The game normally uses power suit CAP troopers as featured in the book but the Light Troopers are the ones from the movie (and also used in Firefly). They are usually very hard to find. I have been watching for ones at a decent price for the last three years.
I had ordered some of the scenery/accessories from the Batman Miniature Game as well but the only one that came in so far was the lasercut wooden van. I did also pick up a few more 1/43 scale vehicles to use with the Batman Miniature Game but they don’t really need painting.
I also got another wagon and horses for use with the RWNN. It looks okay but a simple touch would make it better.

Starship Troopers Mobile Infantry Light Armored Troopers – 20
Batman Miniatures GCPD van – 1
Wagon and horses - 3

November figures bought – 24
November figures painted – 0

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Chicks dig the car, right?

Batman miniatures – cars. Scale . 1/43 1/50 I still have a bit of work to clean up my desk in order to make it usable for new projects – one of which is the Batman Miniature Game. Having read the rules, they seem interesting enough to try out. I will need scenery and figures. I can use Heroclix figures for proxies to see if the rules hold up enough to buy some of the stunning figures from Knight Models. I plan on getting a few of the scenery packs to get the scale and work from there.
I did pick up some of the Eaglemoss Batmobiles recently to use for the game. They make over 60 vehicles in this line – from batcycles, to the various standard models, to copters, boats, and villain vehicles. One of the dealers at C4 comicon had some on sale for $12 each or 3 for $30. I checked online to confirm the scale and picked out which ones would work for me.

The listed scale for the Knight Models figures is 35mm or 1:50. The Eaglemoss vehicles are listed as 1:43. 1:43 is a smaller scale than 1:50 so the cars will be a bit bigger than the figures. That should be fine - the slightly larger size should be absorbed by the bases on the figures. They also make a series of vehicles in the same scale for James Bond to fill up some of the streets.

For me, there are only about a dozen vehicles that would match what I think of as the Batmobile and would work for the miniature game.

1 - Batman movie - the first Keaton one. It's not my favorite Batmobile but it does resonate with a lot of people.
2 - Batman Classic TV Movie - the Barris one. It's ingrained in my psyche but I find the red markings a bit too showy.
3 - Batman Begins movie - the tumbler. I'm still not the biggest supporter but a lot of people are familiar with this one.
34 - Arkham Asylum video game - a street rod version. This also has familiarity for many.
40 - The Dark Knight Rises - the Bane tumbler. Same as 3 above but could be repainted black if can get cheaper that that model.
41 - Batman the Return - a beefy model - kind of a similar to the Arkham Asylum model. It has engine pipes, and 6 wheels.
61 - Batman: Noel - a bit more blocky and angular like a step towards the tumbler

There were also some that would also work but are not quite as good a match as the ones above.
8 - The animated series - I like the long sleek line on this one but it is a bit blank.
10 ~ Batman 311 - similar to a sportier Barris one but in blue.
19 ~ Detective Comics 371 - similar to the Barris one but a pale blue.
27 ~ Legends of the Dark Knight 156 - has 2 fins, the face, and red window.
29 ~ Detective comics 362 - It's similar to the TV series one but is all black and has a face on the front.

I ended up picking up three models – 29, 41, and 20 (which hadn't been on my list). 20 is from Batman 652 - it has 3 fins, the face in front, and is all black. I wasn't a fan of it online but it seems a good old version in person. I really would have like to pick up 34 - from the Arkham game or even a Tumbler but they did not have one.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

White Dwarf renewal

My six month subscription with White Dwarf is drawing to a close at the end of November. Since they used to need two full months for renewals, I called them at the beginning of Oct to renew but they were unable to add to my subscription at that point.

They could start a completely new subscription, and I could overlap for a month, but the rep was unable to extend my subscription early. He said to call back mid November and that would be enough time to catch it. He was pretty new though so I am hoping that this is a training issue rather than a new policy.

I called today and renewed the White Dwarf - not the Visions. There seemed to be no problems with extending my subscription. Hopefully it is all back to normal again.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Figure painting total - missed Jan and April

T thought that I had posted these already but it looks like I had left them as a draft.
Back in January, I had picked up 3 of the new sets of the Disney Fairies to add more figures to Fairy Meat. There are 7 figures in the set but I will leave one set unpainted.
In April, I had finally picked up the Warhammer: Island of Blood set. I figured that they were coming due for a new Warhammer set, so I figured that I would buy this as a placeholder. Plus it contains a large amount of cool figures as they usually do. As it turned out, this was the perfect time to buy it as the Age of Sigmar came out right afterwards.

Disney Fairies for Fairy Meat – 14
Warhammer – Island of Blood boxed set – 74

Running total 2015 Jan to Apr – figures bought 88, figures painted 0

Monday, November 9, 2015

Figure Paining Total - Oct

In October I picked up a bunch of figures on sale during holidays – some 40K figures - Necrons, plus the ones in the the Assassinorum: Execution Force board game (which has the same Chaos Cultists as in the 40K boxed set), and another Egyptian Cavalry box for Arcane Legions – which mostly contains the Nuetral Mongol riders.
Back in June I had also picked up the PVP edition of figures for the Frag game. I didn’t have it at the time, but since they were on 40% off I snapped them up. This helped to decide to pick up Frag in September.

To no surprise, painting still has not happened. But, since the wife is pushing to have that room cleaned, priority on that has moved up the list and may actually happen sooner. Once the desk is cleaned down, project work can happen again, including painting. Once that starts, I’ll probably start getting the Batman Miniatures figures.

Frag PVP figures – 5
Arcane Legions – Egyptian Cavalry – 15
Assassinorum: Execution Force - 23
40K Necron Command Barge/Annihilation Barge – 2
40K Necron Battleforce – 31

October figures bought – 76
October figures painted – 0

Saturday, October 31, 2015

HC buying - finally back to working away at it.

Now that I am pretty caught up on 40K codices, I looked at picking up some Heroclix to complete some of the older sets. I usually keep an eye on Strikezone – as they have HC figures. I use them as a base price when I find figures on ebay or in person - if they are too much out of line, then I don't bother.

I was looking to fill in some of older sets and so I popped over to Strikezone. They were having a big sale on some of the older sets. This was great but it seemed that they were finally blowing out their stock of these older, pre-card sets. So I missed a good chance to get some of the ones I needed.

I was able to finish the KA2 set (except the chase figure), as well as Collateral Damage. I also picked up some more figures from a few of the other sets, bringing me even closer than I was.

I missed it from Strikezone but was able to get the remaining figures I needed to also complete the Pacific Rim set from an dealer on ebay from which I used to buy. This and the KA2 figures were the key ones that I wanted to complete right now. I'll have to start looking on ebay to work away at some of the other older sets.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Buying 40K for 40% off in Fargo

While in Fargo, we popped in to Paradox Comics. There wasn’t any new games that caught my eye but they did have some in their 40% off rack that did. I was able to pick up Bring Out Yer Dead, Assassinorum: Execution Force, and a Firefly RPG module. I also got a Necron Battleforce, and Imperial Knights datacards for the same 40% off. I was able to get into the back room again and get some more 40K books for 20% off. I picked up Cities of Death, Planetstrike, and Battle Missions, and a Necron Catacomb Command Barge. It seems like they are thinking about stop carrying Games Workshop so were willing to discount them. I could have picked up some more armies and codices but it the dollar being what it was, I could only bring back so much.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Game shopping on holidays

For the September long weekend, we were in Thunder Bay. In addition to everything else, we managed to pick up some games as well.

Thunder Games is a deceptive store. It looks tiny from the outside but the door leads to a staircase - with the store downstairs. I picked up some 40K books on sale as well as the two White Dwarf copies I had so much trouble finding (issue 47 + 48) for $5 each. Now I can pull the cards out and still have a nice copy. I also picked up the Haemonculus Covens codex at regular price as well as a few used 40K books that ended up being on sale - Escalation for $36, Stronghold Assault for $25, as well as the new Apocalypse for $44.
I also picked up the rulebook for the Batman Miniature Game. I figured I'd give it a try before I bought the miniatures for it. I can always try it with Heroclix figures before getting the real Knight Model ones.

The other game store was the Gameshelf - attached to a used book store - the Bookshelf. In the Bookshelf I picked up the Iyaden Codex for only $9 as well as some hard to find Serenity RPG books.
At the Gameshelf I was able to get Colt Express, Monsterpocalypse Volton, and even White Dwarf 66 to fill in the last gap. I even picked up the revised Dust Tactics rulebook to see if it's worth picking up the figures.

We even popped in to the Value Village to check it out. Much to my chagrin they had what seems to be the entire set of Time Life: The Old West books. So I picked up nicer copies of 3 books to replace the placeholder versions I have. I now only need the index to complete the collection.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Books read - May to August 2015

Don’t Eat This Book - Fast Food and the Supersizing of America by Morgan Spurlock
Craft Fail by Heather Mann
The Hunger Games: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion by Kate Egan
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – The Official Illustrated Movie Companion by Kate Egan
The Lord of the Rings Weapons and Warfare by Chris Smith
The Practical Guide to Decorative Antique Effects by Annie Sloan
Television Shows That Changed our Lives by People Books

Time Life Books: The Old West – The Ranchers by Ogden Tanner
Child Stars – Then and Now by People Books
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Tannhauser: Rising Sun, Falling Shadows by Robert T. Jeshonek
Warhammer 40,000 (6th Edition) by Adam Troke, Jeremy Vetock, and Matt Ward
Time Life Books: The Old West – The Mexican War by David Nevin

Time Life Books: The Old West – The Women by Joan Swallow Reiten
DK Star Wars: Beware the Sith by Shari Last
DK Star Wars: Mysteries of the Jedi by Elizabeth Dowsett and Shari Last
On Game Design by Chris Crawford
Time Life Books: The Old West – The Canadians by Ogden Tanner
DK Star Wars: The Clone Wars: What is a Sith Warrior? By Glenn Dakin
Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness by Bryan Ansell, Mike Brunton, and Simon Forrest
Osprey Wargames 1: Dux Bellorum: Arthurian Wargaming Rules AD 367 - 793 by Daniel Mersey
Battlestar Galactica Vault: The Complete History of the Series 1978 - 2012 by Paul Ruditis
Osprey Wargames 2: A World Aflame by Paul Eaglestone

Osprey Wargames 4: Ronin – Skirmish Wargames in the Age of the Samurai by Craig Woodfield
Osprey Wargames 5: Of Gods and Mortals by Andrea Sfiligol
Making Magic by Edwin A Dawes & Arthur Setterington
DK The Lego Fan’s Guide
Time Life: The Old West: The Scouts by Keith Wheeler
Paper Towns by John Green
Codex Necrons (5th edition) by Matthew Ward
Remembering Woolworth’s: A Nostalgic History of the World’s Most Famous Five-and-Dime by Karen Plunkett-Powell

Friday, August 21, 2015

Rainbows - more than just pretty science?

Recently, at the same time as the passing of the same-sex marriage laws in The States, Facebook had a feature that let you change your avatar to add a rainbow effect. One of my friends was upset as she felt that people were changing their avatar even though they didn’t fully support the LGBTQ lifestyle. She was not impressed when I pointed out that some people just like rainbows. She felt that the rainbow was clearly a symbol of the LGBTQ lifestyle and didn’t like people co-opting it.

I didn’t press it with her as it seemed a sore point but it did get me thinking about how many groups has used the rainbow as their symbol over the years.

The bible has the rainbow as a covenant between God and Noah and the Jewish people after destroying the world with a flood.
For the Norse, Bifrost was a rainbow bridge leading from Midgard (Earth) to Asgard.
The rainbow has been linked to the Irish people – with leprechauns having their pots of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Pink Floyd fans could be seen sporting the rainbow from a prism patch or even the poster based on the 1973 Dark Side of the Moon album.
The LGB, then LGBT, and now LGBTQ movements have been using the rainbow flag, in a few variations since 1978.
If you grew up since the eighties, you probably caught Levar Burton on Reading Rainbow which ran on PBS from 1983 to 2006.
Tom Clancy wrote Rainbow 6 in 1998 about a fictional multinational counter-terrorist unit and a series of video games were based off of it.
In Guiding, the first level – below Brownies, is called Rainbows in the UK. (It is Daisy in the US, and Sparks in Canada)
Skittles has been running their “Taste the rainbow” campaign since 2009.
In 2010 My Little Pony came out with a new series - Friendship is Magic. Included is Rainbow Dash - a pony who has a ‘cutie mark’ on her flank of a rainbow colored lightning bolt.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Iron First - no longer Essential - now Epic

I was always a bit of a fan of Marvel’s Iron Fist since I first came across him in the Marvel Team-Up books. Apparently I’m not enough of a fan to collect his series or the Power Man Iron Fist series but still a fan of the character. I finally decided to get the issues and put the Essential Iron Fist on my wish list but never got it. It was also a good example of early John Byrne art. When I decided to buy it myself, The Essentials line had been discontinued.

Marvel had started collecting back issues in books with the Masterworks line back in 1987. They are beautiful hardcover books in full color and used to be about $30 each when they first started. They only cover about 10 issues at a time. I do have the first two Uncanny X-men books as those back issues were pricey. They did print two Iron Fist books – in 2011 and 2012 but they are very expensive now.

They also came out with an Essentials line in 1996. These are similar to the Cerebus phone books in that they contain 20 to 30 issues in black and white for about $30. They released one Iron Fist edition back in 2004 but that is no longer in print.

While I was looking around on the secondary market (Amazon and ebay), I came across the info that Marvel is replacing the Essential line with an Epic line. The Iron Fist book is one of the first set and came out in July so I was able to pick it up. It has the Marvel Premiere issues, the entire Iron Fist series, and the Marvel Team-Up issues. It’s softcover but in full color.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tolkien rant

Checking through back posts, I thought that I had posted this one but it looks like I had left it as pending. The rant I have left the way I wrote it back in 2009 – based on the rant I used to use about the book - before all the LOTR movies had been made.

I was a big fan of The Hobbit book and had seen the animated versions of both Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (and The Return of The King) and liked them enough but always felt the LOTR wasn’t as well written as the Hobbit. I think the achievement of making the movies in a live-action format was a wonderful achievement, and that the movies keep very true to the spirit of the books. I just believe that the book weren't very well written.

To explain - behold my rant.

First they're chased by 1 wraith and it's terrible - but they barely escape. Then they're chased by a few wraiths (in Bree) and it's terrible - but they barely escape. Then they're chased by the wraiths on horseback and it's terrible - and they barely escape.

Then they form a Fellowship that lasts the first encounter until they meet a Balrog - which is terrible - and they barely escape - but lose Gandalf. The fellowship then breaks up - never to join again. Boromir dies, Pippin/Merry are captured, Aragorn/Boromir/Legolas chase after them, and Frodo/Sam go off on their own.

A/B/L chase after the orks who have M/P and almost catch them, but then they need horses so they run into the Rohan who give them horses. They find Gandalf who needs a horse but luckily, he's befriended this great horse who helps them out. There's some minor intrigue with Rohan (Grimer Wormtoungue untrustworthy - what a fortuotous name). And then the big battle at Helm's Deep, followed by the bigger battle at Gondor, followed by the really Big Battle at the gates - where they are defeated and going to lose when - luckily, the ring is dropped and they win.

The hobbits (F/S) get to almost where they need to be, get captured and get taken back, and have to go over again. When it comes time to drop their load, Frodo can't even do it, Gollum has to. Oh, and about that ring, even though Gandalf knew about it, and knew what it did, he only now learns that it's The Ring - they one they've all been looking for all this time. But then he wanders off for months and months, gets trapped in a tower, and finally luckily escapes.

Friday, July 17, 2015

codex update

With ebay and the local Games Workshop, I now have all the regular 6th edition codices except Chaos Daemons, which is the next one on my list to get. I am still missing all of the supplements from that edition – Farsight Enclaves (Tau), Black Legion and Crimson Slaughter (Chaos Space Marines), Sentinels of Terra and Clan Raukaan (Space Marines), and Militarium Tempestus (Astra Militarium). The only one of the supplements I am really looking at getting is the Tempestus book if I can find it for a decent price.

Of the current 7th edition, I am still missing the Dark Eldar, Blood Angels, Khorne Daemonkin, (Eldar) Craftworlds, the updated Imperial Knights, as well as the Space Marine and Dark Angels. Higher on my list are the Space Marine and Craftworld books and lower are Khorne and the new Knights. I’ll eventually get Dark Eldar, and the Angels just to fill the gaps.

The Space Marine and Dark Angels have a new cover design. Usually this means that a new edition is coming out shortly although they didn’t change the design with the change from 6th to 7th. But with only a 2 year gap between those editions they really didn’t have a lot of time. It does mean that, out of the 17 full codices, 13 have been for the 7th edition. It also means that, out of the 17 current codices I have 9 of the them. I also have the Harlequin book – but I’m counting that as a supplement rather than a full codex.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

White Dwarf - back to being subscribable

The White Dwarf experiment seems to be mostly over. I’ve been subscribed to Games Workshop’s magazine White Dwarf for several years and buying it monthly before that. I remember when they changed it to be a North American edition, and then the Canadian edition (where they restarted the numbering) which got merged back into the North American edition.

There has been a few hiccups along the way with having to pick up an issue here and there while they processed the renewals. This was brought about as, unlike most magazine companies, they don’t send out renewal reminder notices and it takes two months for a lapsed subscription to renew.

A little over a year ago, just after I renewed my subscription, they cancelled the regular White Dwarf magazine and split it into two new magazines – Visions and White Dwarf weekly. Visions was a smaller format monthly magazine containing all the pictures of the models. White Dwarf weekly was the same size but with a lot fewer pages and had all the rules and writing.

My subscription was changed to a Visions subscription as the weekly White Dwarf wasn’t subscribable. Since I can’t make it to the local Games Workshop every week, I would call in every month and order the issues to be delivered to them for pick up. This worked well until December, when they added cards to two issues and they sold out before I could order them. I was eventually able to track those down without having to pay too much. Then I started calling them every week to place an order and went in every month or so to pick them up.

They recently announced that they would allow subscriptions on the weekly magazine so I jumped at that. I’m still missing an issue that sold out over the weekend before I could order it but I remain hopeful that I will eventually be able to track it down.

I figured that they would go back to a subscription format but had thought that they would go to bi-weekly or even monthly again - the only real difference being the increased cost. The old White Dwarf was about $12 a month and the weekly is $5 each – meaning that it is now $20 to $25 a month. Luckily, they also offered a 6 month subscription as that is a lot to come up with all at once. I did not renew my Visions subscription as I can always get pictures of the models online if I need more inspiration.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Old West / Realms of Chaos

While at Value Village on the last Friday in May, I circled through the books. I was happy to see a stack of Time Life: The Old West books. They had an End and the Myth but it wasn't in as good a condition as the one I had finally just gotten from ebay. I was able to get the last book I needed to complete my set of the regular books - a nice copy of The Mexican War. I still need the index but I've never found a copy of that so I will have to get that online.

On the shelf below them, an orange book caught my eye. It was the Warhammer/Warhammer 40,000 Realms of Chaos – Slaves to Darkness. It had a small bit of wear on the front top corner but otherwise was in really nice shape, with none of the cover-falling-off issues that used to be standard GW HD fare. I spent a few more moments searching the shelves for its companion - The Lost and the Damned. But it was nowhere to be found. In fact, there was no other Warhammer or 40,000 books – which I found odd.

The price, either $2.99 less 30% - so $2.09, or possibly even free as it was one of the three books at that price I got for free for buying 5 books, the Old West book being one of the others. This was much less than the over $100 it usually goes for online. The Lost and the Damned usually goes for twice that. This is why I hadn’t really expected to check either of them off my list.

I am glad to find it since the two original Chaos books are the only ones I am missing from the first edition Rogue Trader set. This one has rules for Khorne and Slaanesh as well as what looks like the first Grey Knights. The other book has Nurgle and Tzeentch.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Diplomacy – plastic – wood – metal

Back in the day, I remember watching some friends at a drop-in center playing with a risk board but not using any dice. They were playing using a variation of the Diplomacy rules. This was my first exposure to the elegance of Diplomacy.

In the back of Computer Science class, they played Diplomacy in spare time with the teacher. It often got to the point where David Fyfe would have so many units that he didn’t have to write down his moves like the rest of the players so would have an advantage in that he wouldn’t forget to schedule orders for units. This was the first place that I got to play Diplomacy with wooden pieces.

I played it at GenCon a few times and had some great experiences there. I picked up a set that contained plastic pieces and was later able to find an older version that had the wooden pieces. Having two sets actually made it easier to discuss strategy on some of the games.

At Keycon this year, the Dandy Lion con suite was holding a raffle. Some of the items were dvds, cds, and games. When I saw that they had a copy of the Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast/Avalon Hill version of Diplomacy with the metal pieces, I was quite excited. I didn’t get it when it came out due to the cost plus the fact that, even though I love the game, I really don’t get to play it all that much. I bought 20 tickets for $10 and put 1 in for a cd set, 5 in for a set of 3 CheapAss games, and 15 in for this. I would have bought another 20 tickets for it but there didn’t seem to be more than a handful in already.

I wasn't at the draw - having confirmed that I didn't need to be - but popped in on Sunday to find out that my tickets had won two prizes - both of the game packs. The Diplomacy game had been opened but when I checked it out, it was unpunched. I could not see any metal figures at first but, checking under the insert, found all of them still individually sealed in the plastic.

I'm very excited to cross this grail version off of my list. I'm just torn about opening it to play, or keeping it sealed. Unfortunately, it's a choice I will probably have to wait quite a while to have to decide.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Books Read - January to April 2015

Codex Grey Knights (5th edition) by Matthew Ward
World War II Collectibles by Harry Rinker Jr. and Robert Heistand
TIME: 100 ideas that Changed the World: History’s Greatest Breakthroughs, Inventions, and Theories by Time Books
The Chris Farley Show: a biography in three Acts by Tom Farley Jr and Tanner Colby

Mafiaboy: how i cracked the internet and why it’s still broken by Michael Calce with Craig Silverman
The Martian by Andy Weir
You Are Here: around the world in 92 minutes by Chris Hadfield
Time Life Books: The Old West – The Alaskans by Keith Wheeler
Junk Foodie: 51 Delicious Recipes for the Lowbrow Gourmand by Emilie Baltz
The Barbarians: Warriors & Wars of the Dark Ages by Tim Newark
Batman Returns – The Official Movie Book by Michael Singer

The Art of Walt Disney (From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdoms) by Christopher Finch (1973 edition)
Heroes Revealed featuring Seasons 1, 2, and 3 by Michael Goldman
The Art of Walt Disney (From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdoms) by Christopher Finch (1995 edition)
Bringing Down the House: The inside story of six M.I.T. Students who took Vegas for Millions by Ben Mezrich
Star Wars the Clone Wars The Visual Guide by Jason Fry
Kennel Club Books: German Shepherd Dog by Susan Samms
Celebrate Our Faith by Papal Rose Publishing

The Science of Interstellar by Kip Thorne
The Town by Chuck Hogan
Babylon 5: A Call to Arms: Sky Full of Stars by Matthew Sprange
Brick Flicks – A comprehensive guide to making your own Stop-Motion Lego Movies by Sarah Herman

Friday, May 8, 2015

Cerebus committed

While out on Free Comic Book Day, in addition to our free comics, we always buy stuff at each of the stores. I managed to pick up three more of the Cerebus phone books for about $15 each. Even though I didn’t find any of the 4 books in the next arc, I did get Guys, Rick’s Story, and Going Home, which are the next three books in the series after that arc.
That means I need the 4 books before that set (Flight, Women, Reads, Minds), and the last 3 books (Form and Void, Latter Days, and The Last Day) to have the entire series. So I suppose that pushes me over the edge into getting the back half.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cerebus - finally halfway

I met Dave Sim back in the early 90s at a comic book trade show in St Louis. Arlene Sorkin was there as the voice of Harley Quinn (debuted 1992) and The Crow movie wasn’t out yet (1994).

Two people at a time could go in his booth and ask questions and get a sketch by him. At the time I was always carrying my sketchbook so he did a nice sketch of Cerebus in it for me. At the time I had only read the first phone book and part of High Society. Luckily the other person I was with was a solid reader of the series and was able to talk about the newest issues.

I have the first four ‘phone books’ – Cerebus, High Society, Church & State volumes 1 and 2. These are called phone books because they collect about 25 issues each. I’ve had Jaka’s Story on my wish list for several years but finally just bought it and Melmoth and read both of those.

This brings me up to issue 150, or about halfway through the 300 issue series. That’s quite the accomplishment for a single writer or artist to have that kind of a run on a book, but to have one person write, draw, and publish a 300 issue series is a feat we will not soon see duplicated. A small note on this run was that the fantastic backgrounds were being drawn by Gerhard since 1984.

Now I have a bit of a decision to make. Do I stop here or do I press on to the end?

Some people have listed Jaka’s Story as the high point of the series and others list the Church & State arc as the best, but I really prefer the original sword and sorcery of the original Cerebus going into High Society. The next arc – Flight-Women-Reed-Minds has a reputation as being more misogynistic than the rest. The series up to Melmoth has also been described as the first half of the series being written in a female voice, with the back half repeating the themes but being written a male voice, and then the final two books being the coda.

If I push on, I almost have to commit to reading the next arc. I’m pretty certain I will, as I would like to see how it ends up, and do want to support Dave Sim, both as a Canadian comic book artist, and as an independent publisher. Unfortunately, he is not in the best of health, and as an independent publisher, if he goes, I’m not if sure if anyone else would print them. You can keep up with his progress on this blog about him.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New games - show and save coupons

The Show & Save books usually have a coupon for 20% purchases for a local game store - GameKnight. The last book expires today so it’s a good excuse to pop in and pick up some games. I was looking for Scoville, the Squid expansion for Survive! and the wife wanted me to pick up the 10th Anniversary edition of Ticket to Ride. I wasn’t able to get any of these. They didn’t have the first two and the box on the only copy of Ticket to Ride 10Ed was dished on the bottom – am if I’m going to be paying over $100 for a game it had either be super rare or in great condition.

I looked at getting the regular edition of Ticket to Ride with the 1910 expansion but didn’t as there would be no point in buying it and then upgrading to the anniversary edition. I almost got the Ticket to Ride Europe and the 1912 expansion but decide against it for now. It took some time to make this decision while I walked around looking at the other games as I knew she wanted the trains in the special edition but also wanted the game.

Instead I picked up the second edition of Cash ‘n’ Guns, and Axis & Allies:D-Day. The Cash ‘n’ Guns had always looked neat and the second edition can play up to 8 players. It also has black foam guns with orange tips instead of orange guns. It may not be for everyone but it seems like it would be a good fit for our group.
I was never a huge fan of Axis & Allies but I like the looks of the smaller sets – D-Day, Battle of the Bulge, and Guadal Canal. They can also play well with less people.

Friday, March 20, 2015

New 40K set and codices

I hadn’t even managed to get up to speed on the 6th edition of Warhammer 40K when they release an even newer edition last May. I received a 7th edition set for Christmas and, with the current lower gas prices leaving me a bit of extra money, I picked up a few of the new codices.

With the change to 6th edition, they changed the format of the codex to be a hardcover book. Those of us who were with the game since Rogue Trooper recall the problems that Games Workshop used to have with the binding on their hardcovers, but they have long since solved their issues.

I already had a 6th edition Chaos Space Marine codex that I picked up when I got the (now old) boxed set - Dark Vengeance, but have been watching the old codices get replaced by the 6th and now the 7th editions without picking up any as they churned through the updates. The main reason I got the Chaos Space Marine was because it was the first 6th edition codex and the boxed set included both Chaos and Dark Angels figures.

The four codices I picked up were Tyranid and Imperial Knights from the 6th edition and Orks and Space Wolves from 7th edition. That’s two of the last three sixth editions and the first two seventh editions. I’m working (or at least planning to work) on my Tyranid army, and the boy and I both like the Space Wolves so we’ll work on that as well. I also picked up even more Orks a few years ago with the fifth edition – including gargants.

The Imperial Knights seem so cool but the codex only has 6 pages of actual rules – describing the 2 variants of Imperial knights. The models are also crazy expensive but there are a few sites that have papercraft models that you can use, plus you can make an army with three models. It’s only a matter of finding the time to make them and the space to store them.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Top Ten New Games for 2014

Inspired by The Dice Tower and their top 10 lists, I put together my top 10 games for 2014 as well. Note that these are games that I have played for the first time in 2014 not necessarily games that were released in 2014. With all the games that I already have, I got another 69 games plus expansions last year. Some were gifts, some were purchased at the thrift stores and conventions, some were from Kickstarter, and some were new.

The new games were Bang – the Dice Game, Batman Gotham City Strategy Game, Battleship Galaxies, Bejeweled, Bejeweled Frenzy, Blue Max World War I Air Combat, Cardline – Animals, Coin Age, Firefly, In Her Majesty’s Name, Let’s Kill, Lords of Vegas, Lords of Waterdeep, Love Letter – Tempest, Marvel Dice Masters, Nuts!, Pairs, Qwirkle, Risk Legacy, Roll For It!, Spot It!, Takenoko, Telestrations, Templar Intrigue, Timeline – Diversity, Timeline – Music & Cinema, Tsuro of the Seas, Unusual Suspects, Warhammer 40,000 – seventh edition, Wits and Wagers Family, and Yetisburg. Coin Age, Pairs, and Templar Intrigue were from Kickstarter.

The ones I picked up not new were 13 Dead End Drive, Battleship Express, Bionicle: Mask of Light, Boggle, Boggle Jr, Captain Parks Imaginary Polar Expedition, Charlie Brown All Stars, Clue: Discover the Secrets, Clue: Secrets & Spies, Dear World, Edison & Co, Finance and Fortune, Harry Potter: Diagon Alley, Inside Moves, Isolation, King’s Court, Lego Ninjago, Life – Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest, Monopoly Clone Wars, Neopets: Adventures in Neopia, Nexus Ops, Pirates of the Caribbean DVD Treasure Hunt, Pit, Power Lunch, Quiddler, Rail Baron, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Shakin’ Sorry, Sharp Shooters, Sky Galleons of Mars, Sorry Sliders – Cars 2, Star Trek Starship Tactical Combat Simulator, Stop Thief, Storage Wars:The Game, Supremacy, Tannhauser, Ten Commandments Bible Game, Yahtzee:Texas Hold ‘Em, and Zaxxon.

A lot of these did not hit the table this year. Some games from previous years were finally played.

Games that I played for the first time that did not make my list were Bejeweled, Bejeweled Frenzy, Boggle, Cards Against Humanity, Isolation, Love Letter – Tempest, Nuts!, Pairs, Shakin’ Sorry, Unusual Suspects, XLR8, and Yahtzee Jr.

Roll For It! and Spot it! just missed my top ‘10’. They are both fun enough to play and easy enough to teach new people, but seem to be lacking in replayability with the same group. My daughter destroys all others in Spot It! through all the variations. Depending on your group, it may have more of a range. I played Roll For it! with both 2 and 5 players. I believe 3-4 may be more of a sweet spot. With 2 players you can get bogged down going for the big sets, and with 5 it takes just a bit too long to come around again and the small sets go too fast.

14 – Battle Cry – 150 Anniversary – It’s card driven – similar to Battle Masters or Assault on Hoth except by section of the battlefield instead of by troop. We’re not super into the Civil War but thought we would try the system as it is the basis for the Memoir ’44 system. It seems fun enough and we look forward to playing through more of the scenarios. Plus the figures are pretty detailed.

13 – Revolution – It has a very euro-type feel to it. You have to try to control territory by bidding with blackmail, force, or gold. It plays well enough. We now have the first expansion and are looking forward to trying it again.

12 – Monsters Menace America – A grail find of mine. I was only able to play it once this year but that was fun. It had a light Fortress America vibe to it with each player controlling both a monster and a branch of the military during the main play, and then a bit of a monster battle at the end.

11 – Yetisburg – When I saw this on sale for $2 at Paizo I had to get it for the name alone. Again, we’re not super fans of the American Civil War but the card play makes this interesting. You have to manage your attrition to avoid losing and to be able to mount a proper offensive.

10 – Castellan – We have both sets so we can play a four player game. You each have a set of towers and walls to add to a castle depending on your cards. Your goal is to complete courtyards containing the most towers. Each player has the same set of cards and pieces so the management is what makes the difference. It plays well and is easy to teach.

9 – Timeline – Music & Cinema – Each player is given a set of tiny cards that they have to take turns playing into the correct place in a timeline. It is a bit harder on the younger kids who are guessing more often but played well with the rest of us.

8 – Hive – I was finally able to get the kids to play this. We picked up a set of the Carbon version (in black and white) last year. I love the solid feel of the bakelite pieces. The play takes a little bit to get used to but does seem like it will have a lot of replay in it.

7 – Cardline – Animals – This is similar to the Timeline series but with standard sized cards. You have the option of sorting the animals by size, weight, or life expectancy. It plays slightly better than Timeline due to the three game choices but mostly gets the big ranking nod due to the larger cards.

6 – Battleship Galaxies – Contains a lot of cool plastic starships with a fairly solid game behind it. It comes with several scenarios and cards and points to make your own battles. This has a lot of life in it and I am pretty sad that it did not do well enough to warrant an expansion with more ships. Even so, it seems like it will have enough to keep us involved for a while.

5 – Qwirkle – You places tiles to match rows by color or by shape. It has a good Scrabble feel to it without having to deal with all the words – in case you have that one player who is leagues ahead of the rest of you.

4 – Rocketville – A robot-political game where you are trying to win enough planetary elections in an area to score more points. There seems to be enough strategy in knowing when to draw more cards and which planets you can let slip for an area and for which ones to fight heavily.

3 – Takenoko – A lovely looking game with a lot of good gameplay. You have to get the most points in one of three ways – by playing tile combinations, by growing certain types of bamboo, or by having the panda eat certain types of bamboo. The wooden pegs for the bamboo are a good weight and the pastel colors make the game look pretty during play.

2 – Bang: The Dice Game – We didn’t play the regular card version of Bang – even though the large bullet case looked tempting. Due to the guys at the Dice Tower going on about this game, we tried it out. It is a pretty easy hidden-goal game to introduce new players. It is quite streamlined in play and plays pretty quick and fun.

1 – Walk the Plank – This has a Family Business-kind of feel to it. You have to program moves for pirates to try and get the other players’ pirates into the water while trying to save yours. It is very quick, and one game leads to a few more as you try to get revenge for the last game. It replaced Get Bit! with us and is a good filler for new players or when we don’t have time for Family Business.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Books read September to December 2014

Time-Life Books: The Old West – The Miners by Robert Wallace
The Book of Caddyshack by Scott Martin

Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen (6th edition) by Anthony Reynolds
The Art & Craft of Wooden Toys by Ron Fuller and Cathy Meens
Warships in Miniature by Michael Ainsworth
Lightstrike: The Art of John Zeleznik by Cartouche Press
Modelling Sailing Men-of-War by Philip Reed
The Future of Fantasy Art edited by Aly Fell and Duddlebug

HALO – The Essential Visual Guide by Jeremy Patenaude
The World’s Worst Weapons by Martin J. Dougherty
50 years of James Bond by Life Books
Houdini: A magician among the spirits by Harry Houdini
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial from Concept to Classic: The Illustrated Story of the Film and the Filmmakers by Steven Spielberg and Melissa Mathison
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Portfolio: The Explorers Edition by Sports Illustrated

Make It Right: Inside Home Renovations with Canada’s most trusted Contractor by Mike Holmes
Heaven by Walter Iooss
24 – The Ultimate Guide by Michael Goldman
Time-Life Books: The Old West – The Frontiersmen by Paul O’Neil
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Portfolio: Paradise Found by Sports Illustrated
Queen – The Illustrated Biography by Tim Hill
Michael Jackson – A Life in the Spotlight by Philip Todd
The Rolling Stones – 50 Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll by Life Books
With the Beatles by Life Books
Crazy Stuff by Nicolas Marcais & Philippe Marchand