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...