Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Chronicles of Yore: Teachin' Song of Blades

The nice thing about Song of Blades and other games sharing the 'small game, simple rules' philosophy is that new players can pick them up rapidly, even over the course of their first game. So when I invited a friend over to game (sometime in August, I think) and he wound up bringing two of his friends, I knew there was only really one choice.

I grabbed my deck of character cards and had each player choose a couple hundred points-worth of regular characters as well as a personality, just based on which figures appealed to them. Meanwhile I rolled out my gaming mat and some walls, cairns, trees, and stone heads. Then followed a bloody four-player brawl in two parts:

Once every year and a day rises over the 'wold the vermilion moon like the eye of  a dissipated god. It is said to awaken a hunger in man and dwimmer-beast alike, so that they spend the night in bloody carousal. Few, it is said, wake to see the sanguine dawn, but those that do awake renewed, with the knowledge that they have survived to see another foul year.

Among hollow cairns in the northeast, a party of dwimmer-beasts emerge in search of sacrifice. They close on a band of baleful men, sure in the advantage of darkness and surprise. But the men have the insight of the blood moon's rising. They seek struggle. They welcome strife.

Meanwhile in the Southwest, Dire men ride besotted, seeking the glory and bliss of death under the red moon's spell. Fortunately, Bilebroke's hunchymen are about and willing to oblige.

The struggle is joyous and desperate. The stones watch and chuckle their approbation.

At last, and one by one, the dwimmer-beasts are hunted down, and sent squealing back to the pit, while the hunchymen withdraw in terror and ecstasy into the night.

Barely sated, the maddened riders continue their charge across the fells, and the hunting party is glad of the change in sport. The red moon begins to set in the west, and each breath before the carnage stretches interminably like the streaks of red moonlight through the shivering trees. Soon the morning will come, and a new year will bestow it's ghastly, mocking smile upon the 'wold. But for the rest of this glorious witching hour, we all are lost.

Happy new year.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Orbital Shipyards: Scratchbuilt Spaceship Minis

...or a start at them, anyway.

At some point early this year, I played my first game of Full Thrust with CSW (I don't think there was ever an AAR for that particular game, but you can read a report from a 2011 game here), which inspired me to figure out how to cobble together some DIY starships and sundry. Below are my first attempts. My goal is to scratchbuild a couple of 'master' designs from which I can cast a fleet in resin.

The above would the upper and lower halves of a space station, made out of the caps taken from Dean's half and half bottles.

Pen ends look a lot like exhaust ports to me for some reason. And I have to find something to do with these cigarette lighters now that I no longer smoke.

That guy on the left above is a toothbrush cover, but looks to me like it could one day be some kind of civilian freighter. Getting the basic shapes down is fun and easy... the part I'm struggling with is the small level detail that will really sell the illusion that these things are spacecraft rather than just junk drawer objects.

More on these as construction develops. The fleet will be completed on schedule...everything is proceeding as I have forseen...

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Chronicles of Yore: a Bloodbowl Match

My sister came to visit me back in August (!?) and surprised me completely when, after she saw my lovely wall-art, told me that she might like to learn how to play Blood Bowl. Actually, she was downright enthusiastic. See the bloodthristy delight below:

She also turned out to be a gifted team creator. Just check out the names on this roster!

I always find teaching Blood bowl to be kind of a slow process, because playing with the time limit is intimidating to new players. This game was therefore played over the course of two evenings, the first half without a time limit, and the second half, once my sister had the rules down, with the standard 4 minute turn.

So the Fightin' Fay squared off against the (highly unorthodox) defensive line of Who-Rah! and quickly found their way down the left sideline.

Ensnarion the catcher boldly attempts to outpace the opposition.

Before the close of the first half, however, the blitzer Meatface managed to pull the same trick to equalize.

I believe he also beat down a catcher in the process.

The second half, however, saw the swift fay defense snatch up the ball from Who-Rah!'s backfield and twinkle-toe into the end-zone.

It was a fun game, and I realized how the gonzo, off-the-wall tone of Blood Bowl can make it a perfect introduction for people who do not usually play tabletop games--as long as they don't mind committing to learning the rules, which can be a bit of a bear for novices. But once you get into the second half, the time-limit really transforms the game from super deep and crunchy to tense and action-packed.

You now have four minutes to leave a comment below. Don't turn over!

Friday, December 26, 2014

DIY Display Board Pt. I

Sometime this past summer, I finally got around to making a magnetic display board.

The base is a pineboard plaque from Michael's. These things are cheap, ubiquitous, and perfect if, like me, you don't want to bother cutting recesses in the display board for your model's bases.

I used washers to mark out where I wanted the bases of my figures to land, then, using masking tape to mark the proper depth on a drill bit, I drilled holes for magnets. The magnets I have are pretty small, so I need to have two per base to hold metal figures. Amateur tip: bigger magnets would only require one per base, and would be easier to get flush with the surface of the board.

I added sand for texture, then primed the sucker...

...then threw it in a box and forgot about it until now.

Maybe you'll get to see the finished version sometime soon. In the meantime, why not start a comment, then throw it into the box below only to forget about it? Eh?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Chronicles of Yore: Song of Blades at Next Dimension Games

I seem to be developing a biannual tradition of shoving my poor blog under a rock and doing something else for a while. I think it might be part of a greater cosmic rythm in which I am helplessly enfolded. But now I'm back, I think. Merry Christmas.

Part of this return to blogging always involves going through the backlog of posts, several of which are batreps and AARs, that I couldn't bring myself to write (part of the reason the blog went dark in the first place), and that in the interrim have been swallowed in the mists of my less-than-perfect memory.

I'm calling these the Chronicles of Yore, and below is one such battle report from, I think, July. We had just discovered a wonderful little game store called Next Dimension Games, which was conveniently situated right along my commute from work. They had lots of gaming space, plenty of terrain, and friendly staff, and were, of course, defunct like two weeks later.

So enjoy some forgotten deeds from a land that is lost:

The puckish magician Glendywr had once more taken to trickery, stealing some arcane bauble from the Warder of Wyrd's purse o' gimcracks. Away he danced o'er the fields and into the lonesome fief.

So sent forth the sorcerer his nefarious clan to ride the hunchy-imp down. 

But to Glendywr's aid came a cadre of dark-livery'd knights.

Their liege had made pact with the stunted conjuror, offering amnesty in exchange for majicks most black.

Swift as night and dark as wind, these foul paladins swept the Fell Glendywr away.