Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Weekly Update For Sunday, March 1st, 2015 - Pushing Lead With The Guys! WHEE!

Yes. Kashi and Gayel do light up.
Yesterday was one of those days that remind me of why I have been doing this for the past forty years. I had the some of the members of the younger guys' high school D & D group in for a skirmish game; they had never played 'big miniatures' before, and wanted to see what it was like. I put on a 'Braunstien', with everyone out for themselves, and it was hysterical. Like all 'Braunstiens', utter chaos erupted in no time flat; I had to provide colored chits to the players so they could figure out who was allied to who at any given moment - it changed from turn to turn, with predictable results.

(I will put all of the photos from the game up on my Photobucket page; link at the bottom of the left-hand column. EDIT: Photos are now up!)

I had a wonderful time! The idea was to get the new players used to the tactical game mechanics in order for them to play in the up-coming campaign, as the 'home team' for all of you to command as your eyes and ears on the table. They had a great time, I had a great time, and it was in the classic style of Twin Cities gaming from the 1970s.

I am also, if I may modestly cackle a bit, very pleased with the way that the new game table and modular scenery all worked out to make this game happened. I had an appointment with a guest at eleven, which ran long - not an issue! - and so I didn't start setting the table until twelve-thirty. The normal schedule for game days is for the doors to be open at noon, and the game to start at one, so I was a bit behind.

I simply pulled boxes D, W4, and W5 from the shelves,  and I was literally set up and ready to play at twelve thirty-five. I am very, very pleased; it took some work to organize everything up, and some investment in plastic tubs, but it all works - and in actual use, too!!!

I can now be set and ready on fifteen minute's warning, which is my 'convention standard' for doing games at shows. I am not likely to be doing many of those, due to health and logistics issues, but at least I now have the proven capability to do them as needed.

Hurrah!


Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Weekly Update For Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 - News Of The World, and Being Really Sick!

My Valentine, 1987

Last week's cold turned into full-fledged bronchitis, and I would up flat on my back for the better part of three days. I'm back at work, after several days off, just in time for the record cold temperatures. I'm not entirely pleased, but there we are.

And now, the news:

We're just over a month out from the start of my campaign game, which I want to get going at the beginning of April. I'll be using most of march to get information out to folks; watch your in-boxes...

Howard Fielding, he of The Tekumel Project, has announced that he's got his Shen back in stock. I am delighted, and looking forward to seeing them. Please have a look at his site - there's a link over in the left column.

Mike Burns, he of Dark Fable Miniatures, is on the verge of shipping the results of his latest Indiegogo campaign to produce more of the 'Ancient Egyptian Civilians'. Again, link over to the left; there are some very useful figures coming, including two sets of tomb robbers and more 'palace people' for those big games. I am really excited - I have over eighty figures coming from this campaign. Including some children - you never have enough 'innocent children' to grab the player's money pouches in the marketplace... :)

The Tekumel Foundation has announced that Prof. Barker's novel, "Man of Gold", is now available as an e-book. I'm not personally big on e-books, but The Missus is; it's where the market is going, I think.

Brett Slocum did a really good 'Tekumel Track' at the local game convention, 'Con of the North', and had a very solid schedule of events. He got some very good support from Steve Vossler and Don Kaiser, and there's a report by John Till on the weekend on his blog - again, link to the left. Howard Hendricksen even ran a fun miniatures game, a mini-Braunstein with palanquin racing in the streets. Oh, those kids!!!

With that, I'm back to bed; I work tonight, and I need to be as ready for it as possible - still sniffling and a little bit of coughing, but at least both The Missus and are are breathing.

Oh, and the photo? That's Herself, about six months after I met her; she came to work for what was left of Tekumel Games at that time as our clerk-typist, and had just finished transcribing all 1,500 of Prof. Barker's PC / NPC index cards into our first database for the very first 'digital' "Who's Who For Tekumel"; we still have the fleet of three Commodore 64s that were our first computers - they're still in working order, too!

She was fascinated by Tekumel; she came for the summer, and stayed - she even made her own Tekumel costume, for her player! It's been some 28 years, now, and she's been My Missus for the past 25 years.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Weekly Update For Sunday, February 15th, 2015 - Interlude: The Joys Of Exploring The Basement

My original Tsolyani citizenship document from 1976 


Plague still walks upon the land hereabouts; The Missus and I are still dealing with our cases of bronchitis - we thought it was just a nasty cold, but we were wrong. She's been flat on her back for the past two weeks, and I'm sort of wandering around the old homestead like the proverbial zombie. Be that as it may, I have managed to keep myself both ambulatory and productive; I am moving around very slowly, and getting lots of fluids, but I am managing.

One of the really grand things about the upcoming play-by-email campaign is that it has been just the excuse to go through all the crap I've been either a) hoarding, or b) gotten stuck with by other people and deal with it. I think I mentioned that I have been disposing of piles of raw materials for model-building; I have a lot of stuff that I got with the notion that notion that I could make something like smoke or spell templates with, for example. This has been largely superseded by some of the lovely Gale Force Nine or Litko Aero stuff - the 'walls of fire' have gone over particularly well, in our games.

My criteria, these days, is the amount of time and energy that I will need to build something; I am short of both, and so I need to direct my energies to those projects that have a direct bearing on the games that I run. If I need to invest more then I can handle, I figure, then maybe this is a project that I do not need to focus on.

And, of course, it's the joy of simply finding stuff. (See above, for an example of this) There are some area of the basement that I haven't been into for years, ever since we made room for the first two adopted daughters, and it's been a treat to move back into those areas and unpack all the boxes of my 9and our) stuff that have been sitting waiting for us to come back now that the girls are gone off on their lives.

Miniatuers. I've been finding miniatures. My model railway stuff - and Ive added the link to what once was and might yet be, for you to be amused by. All sorts of strange and eclectic things from my forty years in wargaming, from books to rulers to models. It's a long process of getting the shop clear, but I can now see daylight at the end of the tunnel - and my Sakbe road sets, too!

I am having fun, for the first time in three years, and I'm really enjoying it. I hope to be able to share that fun with you, as we move along in our journey, and you'll have some fun along with us...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Weekly Update For Sunday, February 8th, 2015 - Interlude: Clearing The Decks

Nothing like a little lead in my diet, I always say...

This will be a very quick update; both The Missus and I have nasty colds. We've been pretty stressed out for the past several weeks by all of the hullabaloo and drama surrounding the passing of the girls' grandfather, and as a result we picked up nasty colds. Younger and Middle Daughter are now back home in Zurich, and Oldest Daughter is sweeping up the remaining debris. Life around here is getting back to what passes for normal, and my productivity is showing a bit of a rise. I'll be getting more done later this month, as we gear up for the campaign.

One happy note; the Tekumel Foundation put out an announcement on their blog that Prof. Barker's first published Tekumel novel, "Man of Gold", should be back out as an e-book edition "shortly". The new cover, despite what some Tekumel fans on the Tekumel Yahoo group have said, is very nice - it's much better in relation to the book's subject matter then the cover art from both the British and German editions, and - while the Whelan artwork was nice! - more appropriate then the artwork on the original edition.

The tempest-in-a-teapot over this on the Tekumel groups is the usual pointless fan bitching, which I've gotten pretty sick of over the decades. I used to have to deal with this, myself, and I find it both pointless and annoying. It's why I don't frequent the groups - I get my digests every morning, and promptly delete them - and why I have dropped away from other internet lists, groups, and forums as well. I've found, over the past five years, that most of the discussions have little or no interest for me; I don't game that way, and I don't play any of the games being mentioned.

I much prefer keeping up with the blogs that I have listed, over in the left-hand corner of this page. The people who blog about their gaming, I've found, are generally more literate, more engaged, and more civil; I enjoy reading all of your posts and comments, and your opinions. Keep up the good work, folks;  I find all of you worth my time!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Weekly Update For Sunday, February 1st, 2015 - Lord Vimuhla Is On The Side Of The Big Battalions (4): The Campaign Newsletter

Tony Bath's
Hyborian Campaign newsletter
My newsletter from the
original Thursday Night group
















Back in the day, any decent self-respecting game campaign had a newsletter - normally published by the 'neutral third-party' referee(s) or gamemaster(s) - which served to let everyone in the campaign know about the doings of all the players and all the hot rumors, gossip, and battle reports. Possible the oldest and most famous - or infamous, according to the Hyborian Campaign players - was Tony Bath's hand-typed "Shadizar Herald"; it not only was all of the things I mentioned above, but also a tool for misinformation and propaganda for the players.

Similarly, in my time at Adventure Games, we enjoyed reading John Grossman's "Swedish Coffee Intelligencer" - John's lively 'period' broadsheet about the doings and goings-on in his Great Northern War campaign; this was also the play-test campaign for his marvelous set of rules, "The Complete Brigadier", and we enjoyed catching up on all the rumors and reports from the shores of the baltic as the Russians and Swedes had at it. Marvelous 'engravings' by Peter Quinlin illustrated the thing, and it was a joy to read.

And also, from those days on Selby Avenue, I added my own little offering to the genre: "The Imperial Military Journal". This was, in the main, an account of what was happening in Prof. Barker's original Thursday Night group; we reported what we were doing, and what we knew of what the Monday Night group was up to. We also printed reports and dispatches from other folk's Tekumel-based games, as well as all the rumors we could shamelessly eavesdrop in while at parties in Bey Su, and the gifted Sarah Prince set the thing up on the typesetting machine over her lunch hour.

We had a lot of fun with it, and we ran it for the better part of five years. Now, it has to be said that Prof. Barker himself didn't whole-heartedly embrace the little newsletter; he wanted a "serious, scholarly journal, devoted to important things" and not some rumor-laden scandal sheet aimed at the troops. This led to our also doing "The Journal Of Tekumel Affairs", which we did in tandem with the IMJ. Phil got what he wanted, we got what we wanted, and eventually the new management at Tekumel Games folded the two into a single 'zine, "The Imperial Journal".

Since I am deliberately making the upcoming Chakan campaign very much in the 'old style', I have been giving some thought to a campaign newsletter. I don't want to try doing a 'fanzine', like we had to do in Ye Olden Dayes; instead, I'm going to take advantage of all this new-fangled Internet technology and use this blog as the basis for a newsletter about the campaign. I thought about doing an entirely new blog about just the campaign, but after some reflection I had to face up to the fact that I am not as young as I used to be and I have very limited stamina and energy post-brain-bleed.

So, all the news and rumors will be seen here - updates weekly, same as always, and I'll be keeping a lot of the same features as I've had in the past; I do not plan on any major changes to this little electronic offering, but I think you'll see some new features. There will be links to the photos and videos that the campaign will generate, as well as deathless prose about all the goings-on.

I will be looking for your comments on all this, Gentle Readers; I'm personally enchanted by the fact that I can share photos with all of you - we would have never been able to do that, back in the day...