The worktable in May

Right now, I’ve got a few things going at once:

Andadas’ Ranch House I agreed to build a “ranch house” for Andadas’ Andaville project.  He needed a huge gaming table and basically out-sourced the whole thing by having different people build each building.  It’d due by June 1, and I only have two out of seven walls built.  Part of the delay is because I need fourteen of a block that you get only one of per cast of a mold, but I’m hoping to get all the ones I need today.  WIP pics probably tomorrow.

The new 4E campaign Having decided on an edition, now I need to slap down some stats for encounters.  This is actually where 4E gets pretty easy, because you can do a pretty good job gauging things.  It’s also where I’m reminded that “encounters” means “team vs. team” battles and little else, but I’m moving on…

The EOW project I’ve got a second sci-fi piece cast, and just need to get it glued together.  I hope to do it tomorrow.  The small kicker to this is that I’m re-thinking the whole thing.  Right now, I’m basically “part two” of a two-part adventure.  “Part One” is an RPG session led by a friend that culminates in the PC’s going to the moon to battle an alien invader.  “Part Two” is a skirmish wargaming session of their battling their way through the base.

Cool idea, but I’m being seduced by K&O Modeller’s Moulds line to do a  contemporary or post-apoc zombie town.  I could, naturally, do both.  There’s nothing to suggest that “Part Two” will take up a whole day like it is supposed to.  But two major terrain tables in six months may in all likelihood be too much for me.  I’ll need to take stock and figure it out.


My own take on Frugality

I’m not knocking A Year of Frugal Gaming, I’ll say that right out of the blocks.  I think he’s got a good, albeit not exactly original, idea about trying to spend less on the hobby.  When I aksed him about “the rubber hitting the road” when he is obviously drooling over Games Workshop products, he responded,  “The idea of my Year of Frugal Gaming is to make sure that I only spend money on games I’m going to play and minis that I’m going to paint.”  I’m assuming he means also miniatures he’s going to use in games, but I dont’ know.

That’s cool, although I’d say that what he’s describing is more “practical” hobby spending, not necessarily frugal, because in my mind frugal means “spending less on normative needs” not “spending only on what I need” (realizing I’m talking about hobbies in terms of “need.”) 

Let me give an example.  Let’s say you want to play Mordheim (and boy, do I ever).  To play Mordheim, you need a Mordheim warband.  By the above definition, you can buy a GW miniature for your Mordheim warband because you’re going to use it.  In my mind, frugal means a) using a mini you already own, or b) using a miniature from a less-expensive manufacturer, even if it means taking a hit in quality, because the difference in quality is an almost negligible factor when it comes to gameplay.  Frugal people eat lower-quality, store-brand ravioli and not Chef Boyardee because in the end of the day it’s just ravioli from a can.

Now I’ll admit that part of this essay is because I’m naturally a miser.  I was born into relative poverty, lived in trailers, and didn’t have a lot of flashy toys or stuff.  I had a good life, and loving parents, and went onto a career that is become more and more in the “upper” range of middle class each year, it seems.  But I’m still a cheap guy, the kind who goes into gaming stores only to buy things from the second-hand bin, keeps odd scraps of foamcore around because I’ll never know when I need them, and yes once built a pirate army not from wargaming miniatures from pieces from a tabletop game because I could get twenty of them for a handful of dollars.

So “frugal” stuff appeals to me.  Tim over at Tim’s Wargaming Blog making HOTT armies out of LotR plastics appeals to me because I already own LotR plastics (Christmas gift) but will never play the game.  If I want an HOTT army, I’ll probably do just want he did.  Or the guy at Wasted Roads who made spiffy post-apoc vehicles for cars that look like they could be bought at Goodwill for fifty cents.  Side note: Torben, I’m starved for an update here.  I’ve even thought, in one my many “hey, this’d be a fun project” trying to raise a Battletech unit from nothing from minis found in junkbins, a sort of “scrapyard force” kind of thing.

I’ll close again by saying I got nothing against Dave, who is clearly interested in doing all he can to help keep the hobby viable for people who, for whatever reason, do not have a lot of spend on it.  Keep up the good work, and you’ve still got the top spot on the blogroll.

My Sandbox Campaign is a reality

Well, it’s done, or at least will be after this Sunday.  I finally anted up and started another RPG campaign.  And yes, despite my ongoing interest and enthuiasm in retro-clones, I’m going with Fourth Edition.

It may seem like a poor reason, but the primary factor in this choice was my gaming group.  Given the options, and they are not unfamiliar with the earlier editions, they preferred 4E over C&C.  Most actually preferred Star Wars over 4E, but I put my foot down and said we were doing fantasy, not sci-fi.

I have my own reasons for that as well.  For one thing, my pool of potential players grew in the Lent/Easter hiatus to a whalloping seventeen.  I repeat: seventeen players.  Not that includes the people who say they might play and never do and the ones who don’t ever play but someone end up hanging out a gaming session now and then.  A more realistic number is nine or ten, which is still far, far too many to run any RPG of any genre.

Having so many players means that I will split the group, but run them in the same “universe.”  That means controlling how far afield the PC’s can travel, and that means ditching Star Wars with their “pull the lever and travel across the galaxy” technology.  4E also has the added benefit of being able to have some degree of control over keeping the groups at roughly the same level.  My plan is to allow players to move back and forth between groups at intervals, so that people don’t miss out on the chance to hang out with friends.

I’m going ahead with the Sandbox campaign: a city surrounded by many different “dungeons” that the PC’s can explore.  I’ll allow some overlap: one group can start the dungeon, another can finish it if they want.  I have an image in my head of a group of adventurers coming across four dead orcs with their pockets turned out.

Sunday is the kickoff, with all players meeting together for the basic plot hook.  Naturally I’ve already got two who say they can’t make it, but they’ll be there hopefully for the next session.

I still want to do essentially wandering monster encounter tables, especially out in the wilderness.  There’s enough “wild” creatures out there in the low levels to put together a few “wolf pack” sort of encounters, plus perhaps the odd solo monster (like the owlbear).  I’m less concerned about “balance” than 4E probably wants me to be–I still like the OSG idea of running away sometimes instead of figuring that all encounters are “doable.”

After Sunday, I’ll post the recap and let you know how it went.

Three friends

For the first time in a few weeks, I don’t have a new pic.  This is primarily because I’ve spent the week casting fieldstone bricks in my fieldstone wall Hirst Arts mold.  I need plenty to build a 6″ by 8″ one story building I’m constructing for my friend Andadas.

Speaking of friends, I did spend the day hanging out with another CRM friend, Naloomi.  I gave him a bunch of gothic bricks cast and given to me by yet another CRM friend, Farkongnome.  I am only going to be working on sci-fi stuff for the next few months, so I don’t really have need of the bricks.  

Besides, as I often say, I can always cast more.

The End of the World Project begins

Doesn’t that sound ominous?  The reality is, well, that “End of the World” or EOW is a five day gaming bonanza that a few friends and I indulge in annually like a drunken fratboy binge session, only with dice instead of kegs of Milwaukee’s Best.  It’s in October, and this year my goal is to create a alien base on the moon (in 28mm scale).  

Since this representsboth a large goal, and a project that will be actually be used by people, things like Gothica which are only large and won’t be used by peoplehave been been bumped to the bottom of the worktable.  

Here’s the first of many, many pieces.


The first EOW piece

The first EOW piece

My current plan is to create several roughly rectangular pieces of various sizes that can be stacked in different ways to make the base.  I’m combining several concepts: sort of a wastelands-hiveworld-alien layout.  We’ll see how it comes out in reality.

Until then, keep checking for updates each week.