Tuesday, July 21, 2015

25 Years of Patience

The Missus loved this;
I think Mr. Frazetta would have, too.

This is a post that actually does have something to do with gaming, but you'll have to be patient.

Today marks the twenty-fifth year The Missus and I have been married.

The Missus has survived a lot, over the years. Surgery, cancer, my brain bleed, a fire, some tornadoes, and all of the slings and arrows that life delivers. Through it all, she's been my anchor, helping me navigate life's adventures.

She's also been the one who's supported me and my love of Tekumel, and also been the one who's brought you so many of the products and publications that we did over the decades. She first came to me and to Tekumel when she came to work for us at the old office, where she transcribed all of my copies of Phil's index cards onto our first-generation computers. She's been the one to do all the nasty little jobs that nobody else wanted, like transcribing all of the Professor's articles to create the anthology of them that we published. her most recent publication was for the Tekumel Foundation, the side-by-side edition of the 'mimeo' play-test version of EPT.

Throughout all these years we've been together, her patience and her support have been crucial to keeping Tekumel alive. if it hadn't been for her unstinting support and help, we would never have been able to keep things going, and have a wonderful time adventuring in Phil's wonderful creation.

She's taken a lot of crap and abuse from some 'big name Tekumel people' for doing that, sad to say. She's risen above it all, and kept on supporting Phil and his work - she was instrumental in making his last months comfortable, helping his wife navigate the mazes of the health care system and getting Ambereen and Phil all the help that she could. She took a lot more crap and abuse for doing so, but she did it anyway along with two of her five adopted daughters because it was the right thing to do.

We're hoping to have twenty-five more years, and maybe something after that. We'll see how it goes, and we'll keep you posted.

Here's to my Missus; all my love, and all my best!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Back From Vacation, and More Changes Hereabouts

From the archives...

I am now back at work after a very nice vacation; it's a little hard to go back to a night shift, but it's only for a month - I am being moved to a day shift in August, which means some very big changes to my and The Missus' life. I will be working afternoons and evenings, which means I will have mornings free for writing, painting, and gaming.

In the meantime, things are going to be a little chaotic; I will most likely not be doing the Sunday updates, and instead doing an update a week when I have something interesting to say. there will also be lots of other posts as well, as this blog becomes more of a campaign newsletter. Expect to see more 'how to' articles on how I make and do things, with references back to how we played back in Ye Olden Dayes. More photos, as well, as I get all of the backlog of photos in the archives up on the Photobucket page, and more figures in the collection photographed. It's a bit of an effort, but I hope you'll think it's worth it.

So, lost of changes, lots of new stuff, and lots of new activity on the way!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Six Month Summary - The End Of An Era, Here At The Workbench

It has been a wonderful vacation!

I had mentioned, back at the beginning of my week's vacation, that I had organized my scenery and terrain into 'home' and 'away' games. I've had a few questions about this come in over the transom, so here's a little essay on where I am and what I'm doing.

The 'away' games are the ones that I had originally built to play at outside venues - the classic FLGS, conventions, etc. - and were all some with a set of either painted canvas drop cloths or a set of large (22" x 42") 'tiles'. The idea was to use these venues and the room that they offered to run games that really could benefit from the larger tables that were available in them. 60" x 90" and 60" x 120" were the standard sizes for most of these, and you can see the photos I took of these games on my Photobucket page.

However, these games are - let's face it! - pretty labor-intensive to stage and run, and the logistic support that I need to run these after my brain bleed in 2012 has been on the decline. Not that people are not willing to help; they simply don't have the spare time in their lives that they used to. This kind of came to a head in June of 2013, when I last ran a miniatures game at a public venue, and I would up quite exhausted afterwards. I also started running into problems getting the games themselves booked into spaces, and it all just got to be too much of an issue to be fun.

To try and address this, some time back, I sorted everything out into plastic tubs and then built shelves for these tubs in the garden shed. I cut out the now-obsolete large tiles into smaller ones, and then built the new and more permanent game table in the game room to use these tiles. It is, admittedly, a smaller table, but then small tables make for faster games - again, this took into account their very limited time that people have for games. I want to make the most of what time people have, hence the faster play time for my games.

So, the 'away' games are, in effect, deep storage; if people express an interest in them, we'll play them. If not, then they'll sleep in their storage until they hear a future call to arms.

The 'away' games also share their scenery items - like trees, buildings, temple complexes, etc. - with the 'home' games, so I will be getting the most efficient use out of my collection of stuff. The 'home' games are really more of a system of game tables, rather then a series of game scenarios; my thought has been to create as flexible a system as possible, so as to allow us to play anything we want with a minimal set-up. This seems to be working; the last game I ran took a whole fifteen minutes to set up an be ready for play, and less then thirty minutes to tear down and put away. And the effort involved is really quite minimal, which is a huge help to me as I am limited in my energy and stamina.

And a very positive side effect of this is that I have much more time to paint and to write. A lot of what I'm doing with the miniatures collection these days is centered on my writing; to a large degree, the miniatures and scenery will be serving as 'photo models' for the second edition of my rules - I can do something that I once only dreamed of, and that's illustrating the rules with color pictures of the miniatures on the table. It's also getting me more time to keep writing "To Serve The Petal Throne", too, I got a quick 8,000 words done last night, for example.

So, in some sense it's the end of an era - the 'big table' games will be few and far between. Will this mean the end of gaming here at the Workbench? No. I will still be open the second and fourth Saturdays of the month - doors at noon, game at one - for what might be called skirmish gaming, as well as the games generated by the play-by-(e)mail campaign. It's just a different emphasis, that's all; I'll still be here, rolling dice and pushing lead...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

One Of Those Days, Down At The Temple Of Vimuhla...

Note the very nice flame-shaped dagger.

I mean, really. Some odd fellow and a young woman named 'Sarah' found wandering around in the back corridors of the Temple; why couldn't they take the guided tour, like everybody else?

And yes, once Phil saw this episode of "Doctor Who", it was chants of "Sacred Flame! Sacred Fire!" for weeks afterwards...

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Weekly Update - June 29th, 2015 - Wallowing in vacation time...

The campaign map

I am, as the title of this essay implies, wallowing in vacation. I have taken ten nights off, and I am enjoying myself quite a bit; this is the first time in a decade that my vacation time has not had to be programmed or otherwise expended in dealing with other peoples' emergencies - my time is now my own, and I am really enjoying it.

Most importantly, being off my sore feet has really been a blessing; I am feeling pretty good. I have also been getting a lot of sleep - on this past Sunday, I got  a whole ten hours of uninterrupted sleep! This may not sound like much, but this is the first time since the summer of 2013 that I have been able to get this much sleep at one go. It's pretty wonderful, I tell you!

I have also been able to get going again on the play-by-e-mail campaign. The map has been put together, and the hex tiles left for the players to fill in with their expectations. The tiles are loose, so I can sawp them out for more finished ones, as these are simply marked up with colored pencil for the more important features like the borders.

Which, I have to say, came as a real shock to me when I plotted them out; we're right on top of the borders with Mu'ugalavya and Pijena, so I expect to see some very interesting action ahead.

Speaking of maps, something hugely interesting came across my desk last week; I now have a copy of Craig Smith's 1974 map of his fief of Tu'umnra - something I had never seen before, and had thought long-lost. Amazing stuff, and it's been scanned and added to the mapping database.

I have also reorganized my collection of game scenery and terrain ahead of the campaign. I have divided the collection into the 'home' games, which get played in the game room on the 48" by 48" table  I built, and the 'away' games which are set up to be played in public venues. The away games are all standardized on the 30" x 60" folding tables I have, in multiples; the games 'catalog' goes like this:

60" x 90" table games:
The Battle of Ry; The Battle of the Temple of Chanis

60" x 120" table games:
The Battle of Anch'ke; The Third Battle of Mar; The Storming of Castle Tilketl; Saving Serqu's Sisters (Braunstein); Captain Harchar vs. The Hlyss Nest Ship

All of the away games use the canvas drop cloths I drew Phil's battle maps onto, with the exeception of the island game, and airbrushed to suit. The idea is to have games that are easy to set up and take down, so as to provide the maximum of play time for game events. I still have several blank drop cloths in stock, so there's room for growth.

The hme games all use the sets of terrain tiles I've salvaged from the larger tiles I made some time ago, and I've added a set of ocean tiles to the collection to cover all possible games that I can run. (Islands? Do I need to have some islands?) They also use the same scenery like trees and such that the away games use, so we have a lot of commonality between the two systems.

It's been a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. Lost more to come, as the week goes on... :)