Wednesday, 9 January 2019

AHPC IX: First Submission

Before I start, last Sunday was the first bonus round ('Reconnaissance') for the Challenge.  I didn't submit anything, but plenty of people did - and it's splendid work.  Go over there, have a look and vote for your favorites.

My submission took the form of some dungeon delvers and critters, earning me 40 points.  

I've been asked some questions about this, so a little context. As regular readers will know, I started attending a game when a new FLGS opened last summer. It is decidedly Old School (we use Necrotic Gnomes' B/X Essentials and are delving into a mega-dungeon called the Barrowmaze). It's a bit of a meat-grinder - six months in and I'm on my fourth character!

Odds and sods from various sprues

There are no fancy classes or multi-classes; a trap is more likely to be a pit with spikes in the bottom than a portal to another plane; and you're much more likely to meet rats that flying eyeball monsters.  That being so, the guy with the ten-foot pole is probably the most usefully kitted-out! 

We normally meet once a fortnight as an open table. As a consequence, we don't know who or how many will turn up, but it's been a roaring success. This week, for the first time we had too many (16) people and had to split off into two tables. Fortunately, we're lucky enough to have a second DM who always brings his kit and a module just in case.

All the figures are 28mm,  The humans are plastics (a mix of manufactures and bits from odd sprues, including Mantic, Northstar's Oathmark and a Frostgrave Cultist); the dwarf is a metal Oathmark champion; and the giant rats some second-hand lead I picked up last year.

As I didn't post the finished results of the minis I was painting just before the Challenge began, here they all are together.

Oathmark Humans

Oathmark Dwarf Champions

Oathsworn Miniatures' Haflings

Saturday, 29 December 2018

What Stops You from Gaming?

I've been listening to a new podcast today: Role Play Rescue.  It's a chap who's been roleplaying since the 80s and is evangelistic about the benefits of making some time for play in one's life.  What he says is of interest, not only to those who enjoy RPGs.

So, I point you to his episode "What Stops You From Gaming?"

I was pointed to it because of an interview with Gavin Norman, the writer of B/X Essentials, which my gaming group is playing (and play-testing).  For me, the big change in 2018 has been to find a group and actually playing games rather than just thinking and writing about them.  It's had a very positive impact on my life.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Return to the Lost World!

I've been lying in bed wondering about Solo Wargaming - pondering whether Naval, Zombie or Big Game action would be better.

Miriam the Lady Librarian faces down trouble

Working on the basis that I have the figures and terrain I need to do some Big Game hunting in the Lost World, I've delved in the blog archives to re-read my Egg Hunt! experiences.

I'd forgotten what a blast I had with them!

I need to tweak the mechanisms (but that's some of the fun), but am going to play some more.

Perhaps I'll let the Chaps have a go next time

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

The News We've Been Waiting For!

Curt the Snowlord has posted notification of this year's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge (the ninth, so he must be doing something right!

Details here.

If you've never heard of it, or if you've always been a little afraid, go and have a look.  It's a fun, non-judgmental challenge (most emphatically not a competition!).

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Paint Table Saturday

I'm glad to say that I can present another Paint Table Saturday.  I'm actually picking up brushes again!  I'm even reconsidering my decision not to take up a slot in the AHPC this year.

The immediate purpose for these minis is our fortnightly RPG.  As it's an open table, we never know who's going to turn up or what characters are going to form the party.  Although the GM likes the aesthetic of using his 1980s cardboard figures (which I think are older than he is!), I feel it's nice for players to have a choice of something a little more three dimensional.  Last time we found that we had no haflings in either form.

The humans and dwarves here are from my recent purchase from the Oathmark stable.  The haflings on the overhand are from a Kickstarter by Oathsworn Miniatures which I received back in 2014

As you can see, I've tried some different methods for basing.  The lentils have come out better that I thought (though I'll be tidier with them next time).  

This fine feller will be Ranwald the Strong.  Love the scar!

It'll be a couple of weeks before they see any action.  They won't be ready for tomorrow's session.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Barrowmaze #1: B'loxi Writes to Ranwald the Strong

I'm attempting to improve my role-playing and think more about back-stories.

I've deliberately not written up our Barrowmaze delves in order to prevent spoilers for other players, but I might change that (without giving too much away!).

With a 1st Level Elf's hit-points being determined by 1d6 roll, death is far from an unlikely possibility for poor B'loxi.  Frankly, I surprised that he's lasted so long.  It's always advisable to have a secondary character rolled up in Labyrinth Lord, and Ranwald (a human fighter) is mine.  LL also allows for PCs to write up a will, and our GM for transfer of knowledge if an in-game method can be shown.

The Brazen Strumpet
My Old Comrade in Arms
As I told you I would, I have returned to Helix now that the annual flooding of the Barrowmaze has subsided.  I hope that this, my second season here, will be as profitable as the last.  
We were lucky enough to be the first party to delve into the Maze this year and returned with a good haul of loot.  Yet, as ever, the cost was in blood.  Ren, my companion from last year fell in combat with the undead creatures that always seek to thwart us.  I am sure that there is a Directing Influence behind some of their actions (as you know, I believe the Barrowmaze to be much more than it seems).  We left his body as that Cleric of Hexadron would have wanted us to have - stripped of his equipment and arranged in as cubic a form as possible.  
Ren's death has affected me.  If he, who introduced me to the Maze, could fall so easily I must make arrangements in case of my own death.  I wish you to join us.  In my half-dozen delves into the Barrowmaze we have only scratched the surface: there is so more more yet to find, and many more riches to recover (I still hope to find the motherlode of magical items).  I do not want my explorations to be in vain or my notes to be peddled-off by some surviving hireling.    
So I send you a copy of my Map and the Notes thereon.  I will keep you up-to-date until you join us.  In two days I return to the Barrows.  If I should be killed there, delvers' custom is that the possessions with me shall be divided between the Party.  But, I also have a substantial deposit with what passes as a bank here (The Rosy Quartz Jeweler and Moneylender).  I have instructed the owner - a pompous Halfling named H.R.R. Huffenpuff - that in the case of my death it should be transferred to you (after his exorbitant fee).  Dealing with Huffenpuff will give you a good idea of the sort of people who populate Helix!
Hopefully these arrangements are unnecessary and we will share a bottle and one of your mushroom risottos soon!  May King Shroom bless you.
Your Friend

Friday, 19 October 2018

Board Game Friday #1

Thursday is board game night at our LFGS, so I'm introducing Board Game Friday as a new blog feature.

Kieran, the Proprietor
When I arrived last night, there was no-one who I already knew, so Kieran introduced me to a couple and we spent the evening playing three-handed games.  The beauty of The Games Table is that many games are Open Table and people are willing to allow others to join in.

First up was Photosynthesis (links are to, and photos are from, BoardGameGeek) a game about trees trying to get their place in the sun and put their neighbours in the shade
The sun shines brightly on the canopy of the forest, and the trees use this wonderful energy to grow and develop their beautiful foliage. Sow your crops wisely and the shadows of your growing trees could slow your opponents down, but don't forget that the sun revolves around the forest. Welcome to the world of Photosynthesis, the green strategy board game!
It was an interesting game, and one that I would play again, but to be honest I found it a bit dull - perhaps "Meh!" sums it up.

Too much choice
After finishing this we had an attack of indecision on what to play next (perhaps because we were politely deferring to each other).  Kieran jumped in and recommended Castle Panic, which none of use had played before.

Castle Panic is a cooperative, light strategy game for 1 to 6 players ages 10 and up. Players must work together to defend their castle, in the center of the board, from monsters that attack out of the forest at the edges of the board. Players trade cards, hit and slay monsters, and plan strategies together to keep their castle towers intact. The players either win or lose together, but only the player with the most victory points is declared the Master Slayer. Players must balance the survival of the group with their own desire to win.
No this I did enjoy!  And interestingly, because it was a co-operative game, I found myself getting to know the other players better and interacting more with them.  The mechanism was quite straightforward.  It was enjoyable enough that, after playing the first game, we immediately played again in order to try and best the monsters (who beat us both times - possibly because I misinterpreted one of the rules).

I see that it was successful enough that there are spin-offs, including a Zombie version and a 'Star Trek' one.  I will certainly play again, and might very well buy a copy.

And talking of buying...

The way The Games Table works is that monies payed for table hire are put on one side as store credit.  Between Board Game Thursdays and the fortnightly RPG, I had accrued a fair bit of credit (and there are only so many Hula Hoops a boy can eat!).  Accordingly, I picked up a copy of Battle Sheep - a quick, fun game which I think will go down well at home.  Sarah's favorite game is Pillars of the Earth, but given her mental decline, we're having to find things that are a little less complex.

Board Game Tally (October)

Games played: 4 (all of which were new to me)
Games bought: 1 (Battle Sheep)
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