Friday, December 30, 2016

Disney Trip 2016 - day 3 - part 2 - Epcot - World Showcase

We started on the Canada side, took a few polite pictures of the totems, and then looked around the United Kingdom. We popped into The Toy Soldier, listened to the band a bit, and I popped into the market looking unsuccessfully for some Jelly Babies.

We walked by France and Morocco, talking a few brief photos and then we moved on to Japan.

We spent a bit of time in the Japan gift shop, with Gee being moved to tears at the selection. Cheryl was so moved that she bought Gee a lovely kimono. Shan also bought one along with some sandals ad toe socks. Gee and I also bought toe socks as well and had everything shipped back to the room.

At this point it was already 8:30 and starting to get dark. We moved along a bit and found a spot near the American Garden Theatre to wait for the fireworks.
I picked up some udon noodles and some teriyaki chicken from Katsura Grill and brought it back while we waited.
The fireworks over the water were very nice. We were under some trees but still had a good view. We were by where they parked a floating ball platform but Cheryl knew that it moved to become part of the show so opened up the view.

Afterwards we moved past the American pavilion and looked a bit at the Italian pavilion while Cheryl picked out some beautiful Italian masks.

We took some shots of the train set up by Germany in the dark and then moved on to China. Shan had really wanted to see the Terra Cotta Warriors but the displays were closed. We also found out that they had moved on and no longer had them.

Things were closing down so we went past Norway and Mexico, again only stopping briefly for a few photos and then made our way back to the entrance for our bus ride home and to our room.

Gee and I went to the shop around 10:30 pm to pick up our bag from the day before, and I bought a refillable mug - purple. Gee already has a blue one, Shan has the red, and Dee's bought the green one earlier today,

He was asleep when we got back to the room. Everyone else went to bed early to up early the next day, but I stayed up a bit to write up day two and three while they were still fresh.

We had worn our Canada shirts to Epcot - Representing! A few people said hi because of them - fellow Canadians as well as a nice couple from Minnesota we met while in line for Spaceship Earth. As well, I got a few people asking about the Figment hat - fellow fans.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Disney Trip 2016 - day 3 - part 1 - Epcot - Future World

Tuesday was Epcot day. The kids were slow to wake so Shan did some laundry. D3 was still sluggish but we catch a bit of breakfast at 11 am at the hotel on our way out and caught the bus to Epcot.

We started off at the Art of Disney but managed to barely resist buying anything.

Our next stop was our first Fast Pass - a Character Meet with Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie. Then we went and got pictures with Beymax. The line for Joy and Sadness went from short to very long while we waited the 15 minutes for Beymax, so we skipped them.

We went over to Future World west and, after a 10 minute line, did The Seas with Nemo & friends, and then spent some time looking at the tanks. D3 got some pictures of a "sad" seahorse. As we were leaving, Shan discovered that she had left her hat on the ride but was able to claim it.

We moved over to The Land and, after a quick 10 minute wait, did the Living the Land tour. Shan loves gardening so quite enjoyed seeing what they are doing. Soaring only had a 30 minute wait so I said that this was our big chance. It did not disappoint. D3 (who dislikes falling), and Shan (who dislikes heights) both enjoyed it. We made sure that they were not sitting on the end.

We had a bit of time, so we were able to finish up the west side with Journey Into Imagination with Figment. This one had a wait of about 15 - 20 minutes. Another classic ride. No-one else in our party knew who Figment was but I did.
In the gift shop, I bought a Figment hat, and had 2 mini monorail cars, a set of buses, and the Star Wars rideship sent to the room.

After that, we made our way around to the Future World East, cutting briefly through the Mouse Gear gift shop. Another quick look around still proved fruitless for some Tron cycles.

We got to the Test Track for our second Fast Pass, making the 11o minute wait only a 10 wait. D3's designed car beat the girls' car 203 to 199.

After a bit of discussion, and some pretzels, as D3 was winding down, we did the Mission: Space. The Green mission was a 5 minute wait and the Orange mission was a 10 minute wait. D3 sat out, and the girls did the Green mission, and I did the Orange mission. D3's feet were hurting.

After 15 to 20 minutes in line, we all did the Spaceship Earth. It's another old ride that holds up well.

After this, D3 went back to the hotel to eat, shower, and get to sleep early for our Universal trip early Wednesday, and we carried on to the World Showcase. He was supposed to text us when he got back to the room, but didn't. He missed his stop but the bus driver got him back to the Riverside entrance.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Batman Miniatures - Suicide Squad

It’s been a while since I talked about BMG. I’m still excited by the game but still haven’t been able to play. I have a bunch of Heroclix figures to use as proxies but haven’t been able to build any buildings or scenery yet to give it a go. Plus, there is so much choice over which gangs to buy, it is hard to decide without trying it.

I did hear about the new Flash and Arrow expansion with rules to cover the Flash characters as well as rules for vehicles. Or, at least, rules for a vehicle – the Batmobile. I should be able to extrapolate rules for regular vehicles from that – including the police van that they offer. I haven’t picked it up yet but I was aware of it and was going to pick it up after the holidays.

I didn’t even hear about the Suicide Squad box set until last week. It has the Task Force X as well as a Joker crew, plus a slim rulebook, scenarios, and two double-sided buildings. The value seems high on this one. I’m not a huge fan of either team, but it’s such a good deal that I will probably pick this one up as well early in 2017.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Mice are like cancer

After living in our house for 15 years, we can no longer say that we haven’t had mice. The boy had heard noise in his ceiling so we bought some poison pellets for them and put them out in little trays that I made out of tinfoil. I also bought 4 tubes of caulking and sealed up whatever gaps I could find in the foundation, including putting almost two tubes into D3’s window sill.

I also made extra poison trays out of the old Cheer detergent scoops that we had stacked up when we were still able to get powdered Cheer. I cut the bottom centimeter off the scoops and cleaned them. The down side about poison is you can tell it is being eaten but don’t often see the results.

I picked up six of the spring traps. Not the cheapie wooden ones but some upgraded plastic ones. I also picked up a bottle of scent bait to use in the traps.
These proved pretty good. Mice tend to leave a trail of feces on their paths so we placed the traps along these.
We caught two greys one night, and then another grey as well as a larger brown one a couple of nights later.

They had been into a small bag of nachos. We packed the chips in the laundry room into a storage tub. In the pantry, they got into some pop tarts and a bag of vegi sticks so all the non canned food there went into more bins.

The next week we picked up two more spring traps as well as some of the electronic noise night lights to use in the bedrooms and the kitchen. Then we found some rice around by the bin. Somehow they had gotten in the bin so we tossed the rice, and stacked boxes on the bin.

We caught another small brown one night, and another small brown on another night. Then one of the spring traps was triggered but did not catch anything. After a few more days, still none caught, but finding sign, and D3 was still hearing noises. We have not caught another mouse in the spring traps.

We picked up another four pack of the electronic noise makers to cover most of the other rooms. We also bought some of the glue traps to try those. Over the next two weeks we caught three more brown mice in the sticky traps. They are a bit more freaky to find still twitching compared to the dead ones in the spring traps.

It's been a week since the last one was caught. We haven't seen any more signs, and D3 hasn't heard them anymore. I don't know if we are again mouse free, or only in remission.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Disney Trip 2016 - day 2 - part 2 - Tomorrowland/plus

We started with Space Mountain. D3 waited in line with us but did not want to ride it so he sat out. There was a bit of a scramble in the line at the last moment so Shan ended up being in the front seat. So now she hates us all.
The roller coaster in the dark was interesting. Not being able to see where you are going really intensifies the experience. For Shan, all roller coasters are dark rides as she always keeps her eyes closed.

After Space Mountain, we did the People Movers. The wait was only about 10 minutes. Some people don't like this one but we did. It gives a nice overview of Tomorrowland. It even gave D3 a glimpse of Space Mountain - which we all agreed that he would not have liked.

Next we moved on to the Carousel of Progress. This was another classic that lived up to the history. We were able to walk directly on to the ride.

Cheryl wanted us to do the Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, and had been talking about it for the last two days. It was only a 10 minute wait and the ride was okay. I got the high score - even beating my FPS son.

We popped in to the Merchant of Venus and I picked up a foam Tusken Raider Gaffi Stick for $20. The clerk was new so we were unable to ship it back to the room and we had to carry it, D3's book, and the rest for the remainder of the night.

We got in line for Stitch's Great Escape but they told us that the ride was 20 minutes long and that we would miss the fireworks so we left and made our way to the center courtyard for the night-time fireworks show.

Afterwards, we went back to Tomorrowland and walked back on to Stitch's Great Escape. It seemed a bit dark for Stitch - which makes sense when you learn that it had been rethemed from the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. With the seats, where you are locked in, it does seam as though Stich it right behind you in the dark

To finish up our day, we had a 10 minute wait and did the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, which had some great thing to keep kids busy while waiting.
Then we made our way back to Liberty Square and walked on to the Haunted Mansion. Another classic ride satisfying the history. I would have gone again, but D3 was done for the day again so we left, again going by the carousel with no line but not stopping.

We took the right bus home, but got back too late for a snack - about midnight.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Disney Trip 2016 - day 2 - part 1 - Magic Kingdom - Frontierland / Liberty Square / Fantasyland

We got up and had breakfast at the resort. I had an omelette at the omelette station.

Back at the Magic Kingdom, we started at the station and took the train around to Frontierland. We took the raft to Tom Sayer's Island and looked around there. There is not much to it, but it is one of the classic parts that we wanted to see.

Then Shan and D3 waited while Cheryl, Gee, and I went on Splash Mountain. It's more of a ride than I had thought, with The Song of the South storyline well depicted. The line had been about an hour for that one. When we finally go to the front, we found out why - they let about 100 Fastpass riders through to every 10 standby riders.
We didn't get the final splash though, as it had a problem 3 boats ahead and we had to wait, and wait. About 20 minutes later cast members came by and started unloading the boats from behind us. A poor little girl was in front of us. We pushed them to rush her out as she had to go to the bathroom.
We did get to see part of the ride that most people don't get to see - the backstage. Due to the problems, they gave us a mini water, and Magic Kingdom fastpasses to use later.
Outside, they wondered what was taking us so long but had figured something was up when they had turned off the water. Because our photopasses, we did get a photo of our boat going down the ride without us.

We moved over to the Pirate of the Caribbean, and waited about 40 minutes for that. It was pretty dark and they have updated it to add in a few Jack Sparrows. As fans of the movies as well as Monkey Island, it was great to finally see the prisoners tempting the dog in person.

Another 30 minute wait and we were on the Jungle Cruise. It's been one that we have see clips and photos from for decades and it was great to be on it. Our guide kept up a running commentary of bad puns that kept us chuckling the entire time. I wasn't able to get the iconic shot of the hippo spraying water however.

Both the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse were closed so I was unable to cross those ones off our list.

We hit the main courtyard in time to find a spot for the parade, We saw the new steampunk Malificent dragon. D3 was already a bit tired and sat off to the side for the parade in what shade he could find. Shan had bought one of the water-spray bottle fans. She proceeded to mist us with it - as I had predicted to Gee (and did not appreciate).

We moved on to Liberty Square. We stopped for an early dinner at The Diamond Horseshoe/Liberty Tree Tavern and had a family-style feast of turkey, roast beef, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy. Cheryl had an issue with her salad and they gave her a fastpass for 5. With dessert and drinks included, dinner was about $33 a person. It was a fine meal and a great way to cool off at the middle of the day.

We caught the Hall of Presidents just in time to catch the show. Another classic, and a very impressive show. I was too caught up in it to take many photos.

The Riverboat wasn't running and Small World was now boarded up for repairs.

We next got in line for Peter Pan's Flight. It ended up being about a 45 minute wait in line. I found it too long a wait for the ride, although the view of the city was nice. I found that the mast of the ship blocked sight and photos, and it was too dark to get anything more than a blur.
Taking a fastpass though would have missed the tour of the house which was nice to see at least once. The long lines through the kids' bedroom was also the only place where we saw major litter in the parks. Seeing Tinkerbell interact with the furniture was neat but it wasn't enough to make up for the wait.

Again we skipped past the Carousel.

On our way to Dumbo's we passed a Pooh and Tigger going to their ride. The four of us rode Dumbo's Wild Ride. It's not super exciting, but still one of the iconic rides that my wife and I wanted to see. After the ride, we got some pictures in the test Dumbo they had off to the side.

Gaby and I went off to ride the Tea Cups at the Mad Tea Party as the rest went into the Big Top Boutique. We were able to walk on to the ride and spun as fast as we could before heading back to join them. We got our purchases sent back to the resort and popped over to see Merida, but we had missed her so we moved on to Tomorrowland.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Grail Games Achieved!

I had a good chance to get a faded copy of the French version of Dune, which includes both of the expansions for about $100 but by the time I got back from holidays, it was gone.

I was able to get a copy of Dust online. It came from Spain. The picture in the listing was for the Fantasy Flight (English) version but they sent the Edge/Ubik (French/Spanish) version. Luckily, the components are language independent and the English rules are available online.

I also found a good copy of Blood Royale. It’s complete and in very nice shape. The event cards aren’t even punched and there are lots of sheets on the pads and the markers aren’t broken as so many are.

I had another chance and was also able to get a different copy of the French Dune for about $100. It seems like it might be missing one of the expanded Treachery cards – but I may reprint those in English anyways. While the Sandworm cover of the Avalon Hill game will stay on my grail list, the Dune game itself is now considered achieved.

This clears the main items on my Grail List.

I’m adding the Games Workshop Battle of Five Armies and Crime Lords by Steve Jackson Games to my Grail List. Doom of the Eldar, Bommerz over da Sulphur River, and Willow are being upgraded to my watching list.

The Battle of Five armies rules are similar to their Warmaster system – which was the fantasy version of their Epic rules. It came with a lot of tiny miniatures which should be easy to paint.

The Crime Lords is based on the Illuminati game system, which is one on my top ten games, but in a stand alone version with a mobster theme. I’ve been watching this one lately and it might be achievable sooner rather than later.

I still have the Mechwarrior Solaris VII sets for Medium, Heavy, and Assault packs on my watching list. As well, I still need cars to complete the WizKids RaceDay 2006, and a Servants of Thebes to complete my Arcane Legions set.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Figure painting total - October 2016

While on holidays I picked up some 40K Ork Burnas/Lootas. Besides being at the American rate, they were also half price. I was very tempted to add some Skitari figures as well, but was able to resist.

40K – Ork Burnas/Lootas – 5

Oct figures bought - 5 figures painted – 0
Running total 2016 – figures bought 62, figures painted 0

Friday, October 28, 2016

Can you puzzle it together?

This year I played in the Mezzacotta Online puzzle challenge.  While I was only able to solve 2 of the 26 puzzles, I was able to make solid headway in almost half of them.  I was the only person on my team and was able to place 203 out of the 231 teams that scored points.  There were also 88 teams that had signed up but did not solve any puzzles, and 3 teams that were disqualified.  This would make me a more respectable 203 out of 322.

I was still only able to score 7 out of a possible 130 points.  They released 5 puzzles a day for 5 days.  If you solved them on the first day they were worth 5 points.  When they released the next day’s puzzles, they would also release a clue for each of the previous puzzles and reduce the score for solving that puzzle. After 3 clues, the solution would only score 2 points. After all the puzzles were released, the answers could be used to solve a final Meta puzzle.

I had good fun. While I only solved 2 puzzles, 33 teams were able to solve all 26 puzzles. On one of the days the five puzzles were linked together, meaning that you had to solve one to be able to solve the others. I was unable to solve this set.

I'm going to have to see if I can get any of my friends interested in next year's challenge but, if not, I'm definitely in for another try.      

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Disney trip 2016 - day 1 - travel

We left for Disney World early on Sunday Aug 21. We had to be up and out by 5 am. My folks drove us to the airport and dropped us off. There was a bit of concern if we would all fit with all of our luggage but it was fine.

We had dropped Boo off at the kennel the day before. We don’t normally get as choked up when we drop Gee off at the airport for her trips but Shan and Gee were both a bit weepy as we drove away.

Dee’s first flight was okay. He sat by the window but closed it on the takeoff. Toronto airport is big. We got food at the Tim Horton’s – I got chili and a sub.

Gee and I played the video machines while we waited between flights. They had ipads connected at several of the tables. Thanks to our friends at CIBC, we got Sun chips, a Mountain Dew, and a Water for free.

Shan's sister Cheryl met us in Toronto. The flight was fine - D3 getting used to it and slept most of it. He missed supper. I had the chicken wrap and some tepid soup.

We landed in Orlando around 8 pm. I thought Toronto's airport was big but Orlando was huge. Because we were staying in one of the resorts, we had the resort tags on our luggage which meant that we didn't have to collect them at the airport. Cheryl did not have the tags so we left her at the baggage claim and went on to the buses.

The bus from the airport was nice. The video on the bus was fine and helped to pass the time. I answered most of the trivia questions correctly. I am very glad that I did not have to make the drive to the park.

We checked in to our hotel - the New Orleans Riverside. We are in building 28 and our room was 2828. It is a nice size. It even has a fold-down third bed for D3 but it is too small for him. We dropped our carry-on luggage and made our way to the bus stop near us.

We took the bus to the park at about 9:30 pm. We were a bit concerned as the Magic Kingdom was not listed on the bus times. Originally, we were going to take the travel days as off days, but the Small World ride was being closed for repairs starting the next day so we extended our park days to include the Sunday.

At the park, we rushed in. We had to go around the castle as the fireworks were almost about to start and the crowds were filling in. We made it to Small World at 10 pm - just before our much-moved Fast Pass.

The ride was very nice. Each section represents a continent: Europe, Asia and Australia, Africa, and South America. Then there was the winter celebration.

As the ride ended, they mentioned that we could stay on if we wanted to ride it again. We totally took that opportunity. The attendants were very surprised and excited and sent us through on a boat by ourselves. We would have ridden a third time but D3 had missed supper and was hungry.

We went back through the castle. We got our first park photo with the castle in backqround. We had a late supper at Casey's. It was now 11 pm so it as the end of the park day but we kept hearing them mention that the electric parade was happening. So we stayed for it. It was also very nice.
It was a really good start to our first day.

We got back on our bus at 18 where we were dropped off but it ended up being for New Orleans - Dock Side not Riverside. But our driver was great and took pity on us and dropped us off at our hotel. Crisis averted.

We made our way back to our hotel, glad that our room was on the main floor. Our bags were still not here yet. Shan called the desk and they said that they were out being delivered. They showed up as she went to get ice.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Figure Painting total - September 2016

I finally picked up The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth boxed set. It comes with 38 figures that need to be assembled and painted. They really do need to be painted as both teams are in the same color plastic. I should be able to play it with my old figures while they join the seemingly endless queue for painting. Sept figures bought - 38 figures painted – 0 Running total 2016 – figures bought 57, figures painted 0

Monday, September 12, 2016

Figure Painting Total - August 2016

I’ve been keeping an eye on some 1/35 scale Mexican Bandits to use with the Rules With No Name for a few years now. I finally ordered them and they came in August. There are 2 each of 8 different sculpts.
I have plans to make a Mariachi band team (like El Mariachi, Desperado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico), as well as having a larger group of regular ones in white.

So far another low purchasing year giving a solid chance to get some painting done. But the newer Games Workshop board games are calling to me. I'll probably pick some up and they will bump up my buying totals.

Aug figures bought - 16 figures painted – 0
Running total 2016 – figures bought 19, figures painted 0

Friday, September 9, 2016

Disney holiday 2016 - overview

We went to Disney. We’ve never been, but we grew up watching it on TV and seeing the rides and attractions in books and movies. We’ve always been big Disney fans. We decorate our house with Nightmare Before Christmas decorations for Halloween, we have a lot of the movies, and I even gave my wife the Disneyland viewmaster reels for her last birthday.

We weren’t sure if we should even go, with the exchange on the dollar being what it was back in February when we had to plan it, but we decided it would be our best chance. I was able to get two weeks at the end of August as holidays so we booked it. Disney World was a go!

The kids are a good ages to go; Gee is 14 and Dee is 17. They should be old enough to have good memories of the trip, and yet not too old that it isn’t still fun. Even though he is older, it was the first time flying for my son so he was a bit nervous about it.

We got some of the park travel books to make lists of rides and attractions and told the kids to go through them to list any of them they might be interested in as well but neither of them did. Gee and I are much more into the rides and Shan and Dee are not. She said that she would still ride some of the classic rides – like Space Mountain, but Dee said that he did not want to ride any roller coasters.

We booked ten days – six days at Disney, two days at Universal, and two travel days. We flew down on August 21 and flew back on August 30. We ended up adding the Sunday as an extra day at Disney for an extra $85 for the four of us – in order to get to see the It’s a Small World ride, as it was being closed down for repairs on the next day.

We’re back. We had a great time. I’ll break it down in later posts, but I wanted to mention it as the trip will have long-reaching effects on what I’m doing for quite some time.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Books read - May to August 2016

Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur
Writing and Illustrating the Graphic Novel by Mike Chinn
The Art School: An Introduction to Oil Painting by Ray Smith

Game Art by Matt Sainsbury
Realms – The Roleplaying game art of Tony DiTerlizzi by Tony DiTerlizzi
The World of Model Trains by Patrick Whitehouse & Allen Levy
Codex Angels of Death (2nd edition) by Rick Priestley & Jervis Johnson
A World of Pizza by Betshy Paola Sanchez

How Architecture Works – A Humanist’s Toolkit by Witold Rybczynski
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Mysteries of the Mall and other Essays by Witold Rybczynski
Cartoon Capers: the history of Canadian Animators by Karen Maurkewich
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

On the Seven Seas – Wargaming Rules for the Age of Piracy and Adventure c1500 – 1730 by Chris Peers
Back to the Future – The Ultimate Visual History by Michael Klastorin with Randal Atamaniuk
Why We Suck by Dr Denis Leary
Heart of Gold: 30 years of Canadian Pop Music by Martin Melhuish
Black Ops – Tactical Espionage Wargaming by Guy Bowers
Lion Rampant – Medieval Wargaming Rules by Daniel Mersey
Dragon Rampant – Fantasy Wargaming Rules by Daniel Mersey
Lythande by Marion Zimmer Bradley
As You Wish: Inconceivable tales from the making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Video Buddy

Being born in the late 60s, we were teens in the 80s. Like most kids of this era, we grew up with video games. When we had kids, we were not adverse to exposing them to games as well.

A good bridge at the time was the Video Buddy system. Using a similar technology as the light guns, it had a console with colored buttons and a sensor that connected to the TV with a suction cup. It had a series of videos on VHS tapes. They would stop the show occasionally and ask a question and you would use the console to answer. The sensor would get the information from the sensor and would tell you if your answer was correct.

It was interesting enough but our kids weren’t super into it. We still have a bunch of the videos that haven’t even been watched. I checked with them to see how attached to it they were. My daughter wants to give them another try before we give them away.

In trying to streamline, my niece said that she would be glad to try them with her young child. I had to check with her to ensure that she had the requirements – a VCR and an old TV.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Intellivision Flashback

As a child in the eighties, I had arguably the best video game system available – the Intellivision. Arguably is the key word here. A lot of people said that the Atari 2600 was better – but they are wrong.

The graphics on the Intellivision were miles ahead of the even-more-blocky Atari ones. The Atari did have more ‘arcade’ games – but the versions available at home were nothing like the arcade ones. Most of the best Atari games were watered down ports of the Intellivision games. The complaints about the difference in controllers really falls down to a matter of preference. The Atari had an 8 position joystick and a single button while the Intellivision had 2 pairs of buttons, a 12 digit keypad, and a 16 position disc.

While most of the x-box or PS kids today would probably have no problems with the extra buttons, to a group that hadn’t played anything before the Intellivision controller must have been overwhelming. I had no problems with it.

A later addition to the console wars was the Colecovision. While it had arcade-level graphics, and actual arcade games, it’s base controller was a bit more awkward then the Intellivision one. It did have a stubby joystick knob instead of the disc, but placed it at the top of the controller rather than under the keypad. It also had a super complex controller for the time – the Super Action Controller – with 4 trigger buttons, a 12 digit keypad, a standard ball joystick, and even a speed roller.

When nostalgia calls, it is awkward to hook up the old Intellivision system through an RF switch to be able to play. The Intellivision Lives game (70 games) for the Nintendo Game Cube and the Intellivison Play emulator (25 games) were both disappointing as they both required modifications to the games to use on the modern Game Cube style controllers. I know as I had picked up both of them hoping for that old Plimpton experience but did not get it from either.

Intellivision Lives! currently has listed an Intellivision Flashback – with a mini deck similar to the old woodgrain unit and two classic controllers. It’s loaded with 60 games but is missing a few of the licensed ones. They even have a Coleco Flashback unit as well. I know that they are both going on my list.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dune on the horizon?

The Dune board game remains one of my grail games. I have recently watched a few videos on the game and rules – drive run thru review, harsh rules, etc. It does seem like a game that I will like. The potential length may be a bit much for my gaming group though. With the Dune license tied up, Fantasy Flight released the basic rules as Rex – Final Days of an Empire by retheming it to their Twilight Imperium universe. I’ve never played Twilight Imperium and have no ties to that mythos, so I’ve no interest in getting that verson.

I printed out the rules and read through them. It doesn't seem much more complex than Diplomacy. Now I just have to find a group to try it.

While there are a few files on BoardGameGeek for printing your own version, I decided to use the one ‘Dirt Cheep Dune’ with simple graphics and low print requirements. With this, we can play a game or two and, if it plays as well as it seems, then I should be able justify picking up a game online or spending the time and effort to make a really nice print-and-play version of one.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Step down

There’s a meme that says “If a man says that he will do something, he will. There’s no need to keep reminding him every 6 months.”

Looking back, it was back in July of 2014 when we first rented a jackhammer to break up the concrete step in the backyard. Two years later, we rented a smaller jackhammer as well as an eight pound sledge hammer to finally finish the task.

My son was very helpful with the sledge. We broke up the rest of the step parts, and broke up the landing part enough to move it to the side and remove the metal bits. He also clipped apart the wire mesh of the landing to make the pieces more manageable.

After clearing up, we now are at this point.

We still have a bit from the steps, but that is easily finished up with a crow bar as well as a hammer and chisel. We also have that pole – which will be a bit more trouble

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Wii Fit - 100 days

Today was my 100 days on the Wii Fit. I've been pretty good about getting on almost every day to do a body test at the least. I've gone up and down a bit, back up to close to 300 a few times but mostly trending downwards.

I was at my lowest of 283 lbs yesterday and at 285 lbs today. That's a solid 15 pounds since I started and I'm continuing to trend downwards. I tend to spike a bit on the nights we go out to the movies, and up a bit on Sundays, but usually recover during the rest of the week.

My daughter and a bunch of her friends also set up profiles and had set up a bunch of the records on a most of the games and then stopped playing. I've worked away at clearing them off but cannot make headway on some of them.

I find that weighing in every day is helpful - knowing that the weight can fluctuate day-to-day. It has made me a bit more conscious of what I am eating - especially the portions. (Do I need that extra piece of pizza? Yes. Yes I do) I am also aware that I could be losing a lot more, and quicker, if I did more of the aerobic exercises instead of spending my time playing the balance games. Most days I only find enough time to do my daily Body Test.

All-in-all I believe that it was a good purchase. As long as I keep up with it, I should be able to keep from packing back on too many of the pounds, and work away at bringing it down closer to the 250-260 range by the end of the year.

Friday, July 15, 2016

One more Grail game achieved

I’ve got another game off my Grail List. Noble Knight had a bit of a sale, and had an Attack of the Mutants available unpunched so I snapped it up. When I got it, I was pleased to find that inside it also had an unpunched copy of the mini game version included. I’m going to copy the counters onto cardboard so that I will be able to play this with the kids.

When Miniature Market had their sale earlier in the year, I also picked up the six prize packs for Arcane Legions for about $2 each. I am still looking for the Servants of Thebes to complete this set though.

Into the empty slot, I don’t have a game that has been waiting long enough to build up Grail status.
I have been looking at Dust recently as a good candidate. It is a Risk-like game with a lot of bits. It’s based in the same universe as the Tannhauser/Dust Tactics games – with an extended WW1.
I have also been looking at ThunderRoad. It is a Mad Max type of road race game. The rules are simple enough to do without the game itself. I was just too late to pick one up last year, and someone recently found one locally in the thrift store, so it is definitely around and on my radar.
The Willow game also looks pretty good. I remember not getting it back in the day even though I was a big fan of the movie. I might just be able to snap it up without too much trouble though.
Games Workshop has also come out with some new board games. While they look great, and are easy to find, they are very pricey. I am saving up to see about getting The Horus Heresy: The Betrayal at Calth, Deathwatch Overkill, and maybe The Lost Patrol. There is the Battle of the Five Armies – based around their Warmaster system which I wanted but didn’t manage to get before they pulled it.

I haven’t played any of these though. A game has to be very special, like the Dune game to achieve Grail status without even being played.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

White Dwarf - full circle

My weekly subscription to White Dwarf is churning along fine, apart from a few issues that went astray and which they quickly replaced. They are usually are later than they should be, sometimes not showing up until well into the second week following.

I got a letter from Games Workshop letting me know that White Dwarf will be returning to a monthly magazine.

The last weekly issue will be the July 30, and the first monthly issue will be September 2. Per the letter, since 4 of the weekly issues cost almost twice what the monthly issues will cost, they will convert my subscription and double my remaining period, plus three extra issues, plus an extra issue for the missing August. The said that this will now extend my subscription through to August of 2017.

The math seems a bit off but it seems to work out in my favor. I look forward to the new, old format. As long as they don't reset the numbering again.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

My take on the next step of "better" games.

Tom, Sam, and Zee over at the Dice Tower posted an interesting top 10 list - Top 10 "Better" Games. In it they list alternatives for 10 of the more common ‘regular’ games. If you like the regular game, you would probably also like the alternative game. It’s an interesting idea – but a lot of their choices seem a bit too ‘gamey’ to me.

A lot of newer gamers tend to look down on these more mainstream games. But those of us who grew up before the wave of Magic the Gathering and Settlers of Catan tend to be a bit more open-armed about the ‘classic’ games. We played Monopoly, Scrabble, Yahtzee, and even Risk. We were there when Trivial Pursuit first came out and when Uno proved that you could get people to spend money on a Crazy Eights variant.

My take on the alternative list would be a bit different. It includes a lot more games that would bridge the gap between the mainstream ones and the more obscure specialty games.

Sorry! – a basic ‘take that’ style of game where you interfere with the other players’ pieces and send them home. Trouble is another basic example of this type of game. A good next step game would be Walk the Plank, or even Family Business. Both have you directly affecting the other players’ pieces and play quick enough to play again. Walk the Plank is pirate themed and the simpler game while Family Business is mobster themed and a bit more complex and a bit longer.

Uno! – is basically Crazy 8s. I’m not sure why they singled this game out from the deck of cards but I suppose enough people play just this. You could try Uno Hearts to advance the depth of the rules a bit or even one of the other simple deck games – Spooks, Canasta Caliente, Rook, or even Pit.

Deck of cards – they had this on their lists for Poker or Hearts. Any game that you can play with a deck of cards can be played with a Wizard deck. Besides the Wizard game itself which is a really good trump game, it is basically a deck of cards with 8 extra cards – 4 wizards, and 4 jesters. These can always be removed from the deck if you need less cards for the game.

Cranium – I haven’t actually played one of the many Cranium variations but it is a party game with many parts to it. Depending on which aspect you like of Cranium, there are games which match that. Some good examples would be Tsuro – a simple path making game that can play up to 8 people, and Telestrations – which is more of a party game where you each have a phrase that you have to draw in a booklet, and then pass those around for the next player to guess the phrase, and then draw it.

Scrabble – some people like the word making aspect of this game and some like the grid of it. If you like working with the grid, Quirkle is for you. Iota is similar but with much less expensive pieces. If you prefer the word making, try Quiddler – in which you make words from hand that increases each round but doesn’t allow people to take too long with their turns. Another good game is Word Thief which is older but has been reprinted recently.

Trivial Pursuit – a trivia game. Good replacements are Wits & Wagers – Family – where everyone answers and then you bet who answered closest, or even Timeline: Challenge – which has a variety of games to play with the Timeline cards included – where you have to guess the dates of when things happened.

Clue – a nice deduction game marred by an awkward way of having to move around the board. They do have a card game version that does away with the board and have made some variations in the newer Clue games to address this issue. They can also try Resistance – which is a great deduction game if you have at least 5 people or even Scotland Yard – in which one player has to hide their position and movements from the other players while using train, taxi, and the subway.

Chess – an old classic stylized wargame. Bosworth – is a nice variation that allows up to 4 players and the pieces all move similar to chess pieces. Go is and even older game with even simpler rules than chess but a higher amount of strategy available. Hive is a nice two player game with a lot of strategy and lovely pieces if you aren’t bothered by the bug tiles.

Risk – an area conquest game. Like Clue, it has come out with many variations that change the rules a bit. These players can try Diplomacy – which is a WW1 game that is often described as Risk without the dice. If they like the dice but want more complexity, they can try Fortress America or one of the Axis & Allies boxed games.

Monopoly – a much maligned trading/property game. Most people who have bad experiences with playing this game are simply not using the actual rules. A quick read through the rules may surprise you and might be worth giving it another try. If they like the property trading they can try Catan or even Catan Jr – which allows you to make trades with the board and is a little more forgiving. If they really like bankrupting the other players, they can try Acquire – which is a classic hotel stock game that is still in print.

Yahtzee – you try to get combinations on dice, keeping some and rerolling others. I am not sure how many people still play this one. There are a few variations of this as well, with Yahtzee Free For All being very the best – it plays quick and allows you to steal other player’s scores. But a good game to try is King of Tokyo – which is easier and quicker than King of New York. Both are giant monster battles using a similar dice rolling technique. This one wasn't on their list but deserves to mentioned as well.

If you find that the people you play with are stuck in a rut with the older games, or have family that you only play with occasionally, they can try these games. This should allow them to take the first step into a larger world of gaming and, if they like these, may allow you to expose them to even more esoteric games.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Books read - January to April 2016

Craft Corps by Vickie Howell
40K Planetstrike by Phil Kelly
The World of Kong – A Natural History of Skull Island by Daniel Falconer
Constructing Green Lantern: From Page to Screen by Ozzy Inguanzo
The Samurai Warrior: The Golden Age of Japan’s Elite Warriors 1560 – 1615 by Ben Hubbard
40K Cities of Death by Andy Hoare
Superheroes! by Laurence Maslon and Michael Kantor
Fantasy Underground: How to Draw Vampires by Mike Butkus and Merrie Destedfano
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor by Newmarket Press

Byrne’s Complete Book of Pool Shots by Robert Byrne
A Fistful of Kung Fu by Andrea Sfiligoi
En Garde! – Swashbuckling Skirmish Wargames Rules by Craig Woodfield
Game Graphics – The Best New Video & Board Game Design by Charles Brunner
Wild Wild West: The Illustrated Story behind the Film by Barry Sonnenfeld and Jon Peters
Standard Book of Pool and Billiards by Robert Byrne
The Con Artist Handbook by Joel Levy
Model Soldiers by Henry Harris
Model Soldiers in Color by Roy Dilley
Fakes & Forgeries by Brian Innes

Lunatics by Dave Berry and Alan Zweibel
Creative Dollhouses from Kits by Robert Schleicher
Stage Costume – Step by Step by Mary T. Kidd
The Legend of Zorro by Bill Yenne
I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This: And Other Things that Strike Me as Funny by Bob Newhart

The Encyclopedia of Dollhouse Decorating Techniques by William Dansi, Caroline List, and Nick Forder
40K Battle Missions by Jervis Johnson
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzane Collins
Mockingjay by Suzane Collins
Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet by Stephen Segaller

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Icebergs ahead

Back when I started getting into gaming, Dragon magazine used to include either a complete game or a module in every issue. One of the first issues I bought had Search for the Emperor’s Treasure in it by Tom Wham (Dragon 51). I remember redrawing all the counters so that I could keep my copy of the magazine in good shape.
This is where my deep love of Tom Wham games started.
File 13, Snits’ Revenge, Awful Green Things from Outer Space, The Great Khan War, Mertwig’s Maze, and others all had that quirky art and deceptively simple but elegant rules. My favorite of the TSR Mini-Games also happened to be made by Tom Wham – Icebergs.
While elegant, the small size does mean that a lot of people overlook this game. I’ve brought it to conventions, and we played it a lot in the day. It remains firmly in my top 10 games, but I always wanted to make a larger version of it.
With the extra games I have picked up, I can use one of the boards and recover it with the Icebergs map. I can either enlarge it or redraw it.

The game plays up to 6 players and doesn’t have too many components. I would like to do wooden ships, fuel and cargo markers, and then larger tiles for the ice floes and icebergs. Plus create a nice insert to hold everything together.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Top 100 Games - as of 2015

This is my list as of the end of 2015.

1 - Space Hulk
2 - Circus Imperium
3 - Family Business
4 - Diplomacy
5 - Warhammer 40,000
6 - Assault on Hoth
7 - Illuminati
8 - Icebergs
9 - Bosworth
10 - OGRE Designer’s Edition

11 - Walk The Plank
12 - Risk
13 - Survive: Escape from Atlantis
14 - Cash ‘n’ Guns – second edition
15 - Sushi Go
16 - Bang: The Dice Game
17 - Monty Python Fluxx
18 - Groo: The Game
19 - Race Day
20 - Highlander:The Card Game

21 - Crimson Skies
22 - Car Wars
23 - Scoville
24 - Heroclix
25 - Blood Bowl 3rd
26 - Fortress America
27 - Go
28 - Star Wars: The Queen’s Gambit
29 - Conquest of the Empire
30 - Battle Masters

31 - Tsuro
32 - King of Tokyo
33 - Battleship Galaxies
34 - Daytona 500
35 - Rocketville
36 - Car Wars Card Game
37 - Camel Cup
38 - Guillotine
39 - Star Wars Miniatures: Starship Battles
40 - Horrorclix

41 - Hey, That's My Fish!
42 - Pitch Six
43 - Pandemic
44 - Blokus Trigon
45 - Cardline – Animals
46 - Blokus
47 - Timeline: Music & Cinema
48 - Spooks
49 - Bohnanza
50 - Zombies!!!

51 - Zombie Dice
52 - Cthulhu Dice
53 - Dilbert card game
54 - Rules With No Name
55 - Fluxx
56 - Shogun (Ikusa)
57 - Aliens
58 - Search for the Emperor’s Treasure
59 - Canvas Eagles
60 - Dragon Dice

61 - Pente
62 - Chess
63 - Girl Genius: The Works
64 - Elixir
65 - INWO
66 - Star Wars Starfighter Battle Books
67 - Quiddler
68 - Monsters Menace America
69 - Unexploded Cow
70 - Junta

71 - Toss Up!
72 - Risk: Balance of Power
73 - Star Warriors
74 - Martian Dice
75 - Yetisburg
76 - Risk: Battlefield
77 - Hive
78 - Chill: Black Manor Morn
79 - Filthy Rich
80 - Roll For It!

81 - Monopoly
82 - Resistance
83 - Canasta
84 - Wits and Wagers Family
85 - Scrabble Slam
86 - Iota
87 - Empire Builder
88 - Monsterpocalypse
89 - Colt Express
90 - Word Thief

91 - Qwirkle
92 - Yahtzee Free For All
93 - Blood Royale
94 - Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie
95 - Poo: The card game
96 - Bejeweled Frenzy
97 - Stack
98 - The x-files Card Game
99 - Nuclear War
100 - Scrabble

I am not sure how often I will go back and revise this but it was a good experience to have done it. I recommend it as a thought experiment to anyone who has played a bunch of games. A warning though - I know that it is making me look at my new purchases a little bit closer.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Top 100 games to 2015 - overview

I finally have my list together to the end of 2015. I went through the games played in the last 10 years that I had noted on BoardGameGeek and slotted them in to my list. There were 29 games that I could even not remember that were still important enough to find their way on to my top 100 list. Although none of these games ended up in the top 30.

A few interesting notes. 52 of the games on my top 100 list were published before 2000 and 31 of the games on my top 100 list haven’t even been played since 2000. I don’t have any games from 2015 on my list yet.

This tells me that I’m not really a member of the ‘cult of the new’, where I automatically rank the newer games higher. In fact, some of the newer games on my list may slide down over the next few years. I’ve already seen this with Get Bit, which would have still been on this list had Walk The Plank not come out and not only easily replaced it but hastened it’s slide off the list.

A lot more of the order games are pretty stable in their rankings. There is always the chance that a newer game may replace it but the older games are pretty entrenched.

Of the 856 game plays that I have recorded since 2006, 279 plays are by games in my top 100 list. This means that two thirds of the games that I have played in the last 10 years are not even in my top 100 list. This shows that I am willing to give new games a chance or even play games that I don’t love if someone else does.
About 20% of my plays were for games made before 2000, 37% of the plays were for games published between 2000 and 2005, 22% of the plays were for games published between 2006 and 2010, and 21% of the plays were for new games published after 2010.

The other thing about this is that it does make me look a bit closer when buying new games. If it's part of a set, or filling in a collection, I'll still get it but, if I don't think it will replace a game on my top 200, I have to seriously think about it. I still have a lot of games that could probably find a nice home on my top 100 that I haven't even gotten around to playing yet.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Wii Fit

While at Value Village, looking for games, I have occasionally seen Wii Fit Balance Boards but I could never convince myself to risk it for the $20 that they were asking. The last time I was there however they had a pair of them for $9.99 each so I figured that I would give it a try. I bought them both.

At home, with replacing the batteries, they both seemed to light up so I popped into PnP Games and bought a Wii Fit game for another $6. When I loaded it this morning, they both worked fine. I updated my profile, and it told me I weighed 301 pounds and that my BMI was obese for height. It also promptly updated my Mii to a more bloated version of myself.

I did a few of the balance exercises to start, but now I can work away at it.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Figure painting total March 2016 - It's smaller on the outside

I did pick up a Reaper Bones 'Police Call Box' that I can paint as a Tardis. It looks a bit small compared to regular figures but should be fine with the Doctor Who Micro Universe figures.
Police Call Box – 1

Mar figures bought -1, figures painted – 0
Running total 2016 – figures bought 3, figures painted 0

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Hateful Eight Casserole

Lately, we’ve been going over to a friend’s house for supper and games. We take turns doing the meal and dessert, and I’ve been bringing over some games that we hadn’t played yet to try out. The selection is a bit tricky as there is usually 6 of us, as well as the kids.

The last time we were over it was our turn so we brought our Hateful Eight casserole. Truly, it’s a seven layer casserole with an extra layer added because I wanted to be able to turn it into the Hateful Eight version below.

The recipe is simple, and easy to modify. It doesn’t have exact measurements so much as it has directions. The original recipe is:

In a 9” casserole dish
1. Place 1” layer of raw potatoes sliced thin
2. Layer of onion sliced thin (1 large onion)
3. 1” layer of sliced carrots
4. ¼ cup of raw rice
5. 1 tin peas (drained) or 12 oz. frozen peas
6. Layer of pork sausages (1 ½ lbs) or hamburger
7. 1 can tomato soup diluted with 1 tin of water
Bake at 350 degrees F for 2 hours, covered for the first hour.

Tip from Mom – I usually make this in a casserole dish and cover with foil wrap for the first hour – hour and a half and then uncover for the last ½ hour. I have made this is a small roaster as well with a lid and uncovered for the last half hour.

I have also used frozen peas and carrots or mixed vegetables instead of the layer of carrots and the layer of peas.

Our modifications - My wife doesn’t like the onions so she was skimpy on the onion layer.

For a dish this size, we added more rice – about a cup.

She also doesn’t drain the peas, but we did add a canned corn that we mostly drained.

We used a bit over two cans of soup for the topping.

We covered it in foil wrap. It did require a bit longer cooking (I don’t believe they preheated the oven) to cook the rice properly.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Top 100 games - so far

Off the top of my head, after a bit of time, I have the following as my Top 100 Games. Next I have to work through BGG a bit closer to see what else I have missed. Looking at my plays alone, I already see some that will be slotting into here.

1 - Space Hulk
2 - Circus Imperium
3 - Family Business
4 - Diplomacy
5 - Warhammer 40,000
6 - Assault on Hoth
7 - Illuminati
8 - Icebergs
9 - Bosworth
10 - OGRE Designer’s Edition

11 - Walk The Plank
12 - Risk
13 - Survive: Escape from Atlantis
14 - Cash ‘n’ Guns – second edition
15 - Sushi Go
16 - Bang: The Dice Game
17 - Monty Python Fluxx
18 - Groo: The Game
19 - Race Day
20 - Highlander:The Card Game
21 - Crimson Skies
22 - Car Wars
23 - Scoville
24 - Heroclix
25 - Blood Bowl 3rd
26 - Fortress America
27 - Go
28 - Star Wars: The Queen’s Gambit
29 - Conquest of the Empire
30 - Battle Masters
31- Tsuro
32 - Battleship Galaxies
33 - Daytona 500
34 - Rocketville
35 - Car Wars Card Game
36 - Camel Cup
37 - Horrorclix
38 - Pandemic
39 - Cardline – Animals
40 - Fluxx

41 - Shogun (Ikusa)
42 - Aliens
43 - Search for the Emperor’s Treasure
44 - Canvas Eagles
45 - Dragon Dice
46 - Pente
47 - Chess
48 - Girl Genius: The Works
49 - INWO
50 - Monsters Menace America
51 - Unexploded Cow
52 - Junta
53 - Toss Up!
54 - Star Warriors
55 - Yetisburg
56 - Risk: Battlefield
57 - Hive
58 - Chill: Black Manor Morn
59 - Timeline – Music & Cinema
60 - Filthy Rich
61 - Roll For It!
62 - Monopoly
63 - Resistance
64 - Canasta
65 - Wits and Wagers Family
66 - Iota
67 - Empire Builder
68 - Colt Express
69 - Word Thief
70 - Qwirkle
71 - Blood Royale
72 - Bejeweled Frenzy
73 - Stack
74 - The x-files Card Game
75 - Nuclear War
76 - Scrabble
77 - Michigan Rummy
78 - Takenoko
79 - Eurorails
80 - Express
81 - Attack of the Mutants!
82 - Battle for Moscow
83 - Fairy Meat
84 - Young Jedi CCG
85 - Payday
86 - Awful Green Things from Outer Space
87 - Space Crusade
88 - Double Solitaire
89 - G’nerts
90 - No Thanks
91 - Get Lucky
92 - Heroquest
93 - Exago
94 - Devil Bunny Needs a Ham
95 - Dixit!
96 - Castellan
97 - Battle Cry – 150 Anniversary
98 - Straw
99 - Cribbage
100 - Revolution

Friday, February 26, 2016

January figure painting total

I had ordered a package of laser cut containers for the Batman Miniatures game last year when I ordered the van and they finally came in last month. They looks pretty simple to assemble so I should be able to get them done - eventually.

Batman Miniatures Terrain - Containers – 2

Jan figures bought – 2, figures painted – 0
Running total 2016 – figures bought 2, figures painted 0

Friday, February 12, 2016

Top 100 games - overview

As a thought experiment, creating a top 100 list is interesting. I first took my top 10 games and put them on the list. I then created three groups – upper, mid, and below. Then, starting with classic games and working forward, I put the games into the three groups. As more games filled in, it became pretty easy to decide if I liked one better or worse than another.

Once I had more than 100 games in the list, I kept adding games until I had enough that none of the games in my below group were in my top 100. Depending on how many games you have played, this may be harder for to do. I then waited a bit to see if there were any more games that came to mind.

I don’t have anything published in the last 15 years in my top 10 – with the exception of the newest edition of Ogre and 40K, but the older editions of those would still be in the same spots. A lot of my list consists of older games that have managed to hold their own against the newer games. Some of this is due to nostalgia, even though we may not have played that game in the last 10 years. Actually, almost half of my list, about 45 games, have not been played in over a decade. I have been tracking my plays on since 2006. In that time I have played 164 distinct games for a total of 856 plays.

Some of the newer games on my list may fade as we play them less or they get replaced by even newer games. In checking dates and plays I came across a bunch of games that I had forgotten about so that already has updates to this list.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Heroclix overview 2015

After a few years of trying only to keep up with the Fast Forces/Starters and some of the smaller sets, I actually was able to complete some more old sets - Fantastic Forces, Collateral Damage, and Avengers. I also completed the Pacific Rim and KA2 gravity feed sets.

I’ve picked up a few figures and am now close on Ultimates (3+4), Mutant Mayhem (3+5), Legacy (3+5), Armor Wars (10+0), Sinister (7+1), Supernova (6+0), Origin (9+0), Mutations & Monsters (1/5), Crisis (0/9), Secret Invasion (0/2), Arkham Asylum (0/5), Hammer of Thor (3/8), Brave and Bold (8/7) and Batman Classic TV (5).

I have all of the current Fast Forces set but I am still missing the AVX – X-Men starter. I still need the older larger figures - Spectre, two Fooms, and both of the Phoenixes as well as the original Manhattan and Galactus but have been picking up a lot of the new individual bigger figures and sets.

I have picked up a few boosters from various sets, and a bit of the gravity feed sets but Neca has churned out another 7 sets in 2013, 5 sets in 2014, and 4 sets in 2015. They do seem to be calming down with the regular sets but they had 17 Fast Forces sets in that time as well as a bunch of special sets and gravity feeds. I am looking forward to the TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) set – I may have to get a brick of that when it comes out later this year.

Right now I need 1570 Heroclix figures. That is an astounding amount. But over half of that was in the last three years. 329 were added in 2013, 268 in 2014, and 257 in 2015. The sets were pretty evenly distributed between Marvel and DC with 9 new Marvel sets and 7 new DC sets. I now need 877 Marvel figures and 693 DC figures. My REV total is now 1190 and my Unique/SuperRare total is 331 plus 36 Giant figures and 13 Team bases. The more interesting number is that I only need 78 WizKids figures (42 REV and 36 Uniques) and 1492 Neca figures (1148 REV and 295 Super Rares).

With Strikezone no longer carrying figures before the additions of cards (Avengers and Justice League) from 2007 and the dollar doing poorly, I’m not sure how much I will be able to work away at these. I’d like to finish another 4 WizKids sets and maybe 2 Neca sets as well as keep up with the Fast Forces sets. I also just got an email from Miniature Market saying that they are blowing out all of their Heroclix so there goes another source.

I was also able to get the Monsterpocalypse Voltron set, and a lot of the 40K codices. I might try to complete some of the Monsterpocalypse figures I am missing. I will have to see if some of the local places have any of the pre-Neca figures to help complete those sets otherwise I might have to go back to checking ebay.

Monday, January 18, 2016

My top 10 games of 2015

Inspired by The Dice Tower and their top 10 lists, I put together my top 10 games for 2015 as well. Note that these are games that I have played for the first time in 2015 not necessarily games that were released in 2015. With all the games that I already have, I got another 110 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 A World Aflame, Assassinourm: Execution Force, Axis & Allies: 1914, Axis & Allies:D-Day, Bring Out Yer Dead, Batman The Miniature Game, Camel Cup, Cash ‘n’ Guns 2nd ed., Colt Express, CN Fluxx, Dead Money, Deadwood Studios, Don’t Take My Word, Dust Tactics, Dux Bellorum, Escape From Elba, Fight City, Fighting Sail, Fish Cook, Fleet Admiral, Frag: Gold Edition, Frag: PVP, Iota, Just Desserts, Kill Doctor Lucky, King of Tokyo, Love Letter: Batman, Magic the Gathering: Arena of the Planeswalker, Monsterpocalypse: Voltron Defender of the Universe, Nanuk, Of Gods and Mortals, Ronin, Save Doctor Lucky, Scoville, Sheriff of Nottingham, Spree, Star Trek 5 Year Mission, Star Wars Risk, Straw, Survive: Escape from Atlantis, Sushi Go, Ticket to Ride Europe, Uncle Happy’s Train Game, Veritas, and Winner’s Circle.

The ones I picked up not new were 1313 Dead End Drive, 4000 AD, Ablaze!, Admirals, Air Charter, All My Children, Avalanche, Battleship Live, Beat the Parents, Blink, Blue Line Hockey, Boom-O, Blurt Card Game, Cannakeena Caper, Chief Herman’s Next Big Thing, Cineplexity, Clue 24, Clue DVD, Conspiracy, Davinci’s Challenge, Daytona 500, Disney’s Treasure Planet, Dixit!, Double Crossing, Electronic Mall Madness, Exago, Gambler, Hangman, High Hand, Hordes: Primal, Jungle Speed, Kuuduk, Last Chance, Lord of the Rings Strategy Game, Malarky Card Game, Manga Manga, Master Labyrinth, Mine a Million, Overboard, Probe, Risk Transformers, Rubik’s Magic Strategy Game, Scrabble Express, Scrabble Up, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Smess: the Ninny’s Chess, Starship Troopers, Stay Alive, The Honeymooners Game, The Hunger Games: Training Days, The Incredibles, The Inventors, The Perilous Parlor Game, There’s a Moose in the House, Treasure of the Lost Pyramid, Tuf, Upwords, Ur: The Royal Game of Sumer, Vampire Hunter, Warmachine Prime: Remix, Warzone, Wide World, and Win, Lose, or Draw, Yahtzee: Free For All.

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:
Back to the Future, Bring Out Yer Dead, Dixit!, Exago, Frag Gold Edition, Iota, Jungle Speed, Just Desserts, Overboard, Pit, Quiddler, Star Trek 5 Year Mission, Straw, Ticket to Ride , Tsuro of the Seas

The ones that just missed my top ten were:
13 – Pandemic – We were finally able to play this. You play as scientists trying to stop outbreaks. We lost, of course, but found it interesting enough that we will need to try this again. It seems like it could suffer from an alpha gamer leading everyone but that might be what is needed to be able to beat it.
12 – Get Lucky – A very simplified version of Kill Doctor Lucky. Once we realized that most of the text on the cards could be ignored this went better.
11 – No Thanks – A very simple game with very simple rules. It is very easy to teach, and one game usually leads to a few more. It has a nice level of thought for how quick it is.

10 – Love Letter: Batman – It only has one rule variation from the regular Love Letter but that change greatly improves gameplay. It doesn’t hurt that the retheming makes this game more palatable to our group.
9 – Wits and Wagers Family – a trivia game where you do not need to know the right answers yourself. As long as you are able to pick out the best answer from those supplied by the other players you can still win.
8 – Colt Express – It has simplified programmed movement – most of the time you can see what the other players are planning. You play as western bandits robbing a train. Plus the 3D train model is really cute.
7 – Resistance – I was finally able to give this a try. It is a good intro to hidden role games and it plays well for larger groups. It wasn’t as complex as it seemed – we were able to pick it up very quick.
6 – Camel Cup – A race game where you are wagering on which camels are in the lead in each leg and the overall outcome of the race. It plays fast with up to 8 players and hits a lot of the same buttons as Circus Imperium. It seems quite simple but does have a bit of strategy in it.
5 – Daytona 500 – This is an older race game. You bid on cars each race based on your cards and play those cards to move them. However, most of the cards will also move the other cars as well. This would have been higher if it allowed more than 4 players.
4 – Scoville – You are pepper farmers planting, harvesting, and selling peppers as well as making chili recipes. The set up and play appear very complex but it actually makes a lot of sense as you play through it. It seems to have a lot in it with many different options of play to lead to victory.
3 – Sushi Go – a simple, quick little game. It easily deserves the reputation it has as a fun, quick, little card game. It’s also a good way to introduce people to card drafting.
2 – Cash ‘n’ Guns – second edition – You are mobsters dividing up the loot after a heist. This allows up to 6 players and plays very quick. The foam guns are fun and went over very well with our group.
1 – Survive:Escape from Atlantis – This game can be brutal. You try to get your islanders to shore while sinking other player’s islanders. It fits in to the mood of our group and allows up to 6 players with the expansion. We played this one early in 2015 and nothing else we played was able to top it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Figure Painting Total 2015 - plus overall Total

In December my order from Miniature Market came in for more scenery/accessories from the Batman Miniature Game.

Joker’s Gas Canisters Objective Marker - 2
City Bill Board Set 1 - 2

December figures bought – 4
December figures painted – 0

This increases my total for 2015 to the following:
Disney Fairies for Fairy Meat – 14
Warhammer – Island of Blood boxed set – 74
Frag PVP figures – 5
Arcane Legions – Egyptian Cavalry – 15
Assassinorum: Execution Force - 23
40K Necron Command Barge/Annihilation Barge – 2
40K Necron Battleforce – 31
ST Light Armored Troopers – 20
BM GCPD van – 1
BM Joker’s Gas Canisters Objective Marker - 2
BM City Bill Board Set 1 - 2
Wagon and horses - 3

Running total 2015 – figures bought 192, figures painted 0

I didn't pick up any figures in 2014. So with my totals for the time that I have been keeping track leaves the following sad truths:
Running Total – overview

Final total 2009 - figures bought 331, figures painted 0
Final total 2010 – figures bought 99, figures painted 0
Running total 2011 – figures bought 536, figures painted 0
Running total 2012 – figures bought 46, figures painted 0
Running total 2013 – figures bought 63, figures painted 0
Running total 2015 – figures bought 192, figures painted 0

Overall – figures bought 1267, figures painted 0

Monday, January 4, 2016

Books read - September - December 2015

Tannhauser: Operation: Night Eagle by Blaine Lee Pardoe
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
Tannhauser: Enigma by James Swallow
The art of intrusion: the real stories behind the exploits of Hackers, Intruders & Deceivers by Kevin Mitnick & William L. Simon
Time Life Books: The Old West – The Gamblers by Time Life Books
Indianna Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Annual 2009 by Pedigree
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire by Steve Perry
Dust Tactics by Paolo Parente

Warhammer 40K: Apocalypse (2012) by Jervis Johnson
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Heroes: An Insiders Guide to the Award-Winning Show by Titan Books
Warhammer 40K: Stronghold Assult by Games Workshop
Warhammer 40K: Escalation by Games Workshop
Batman Miniatures Game by Knight Models
Final Jeopardy: man vs machine and the quest to know everything by Stephen Baker
Looking For Alaska by John Green
Cosplay – The Fantasy World of Role Play by Lauren Orsiri
Codex Dark Eldar (5th edition) by Phil Kelly
Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain!: Cartoonist Ignores Helpful Advice by Scott Adams

Warhammer 40K: Apocalypse Reload by Games Workshop
Batman: A Visual History by Matthew K. Manning
Films of Science Fiction and Fantasy by Baird Searles

The Greatest Movie Car Chases of All Time by Jesse Crosse
The Disney Book: A Celebration of the World of Disney by Jim Fanning
Warmachine Prime Remix by J Michael Kilmartin, Douglas Seacat, Jason Soles, Bryan Steele, and Matt Wilson
Hordes Primal by Matt Wilson and Jason Soles