Sunday, June 30, 2013

Weekly Update for Sunday, June 30th, 2013 - Busy, Busy, Busy!

We are assured by Leading Internet Experts that there are no 'pulp' influences on Tekumel (TM);
So why is that Silver Suit (Space Marine) giving that Hlyss the business?

(I'm just sooo confused - what with being just a simple-minded miniatures guy and all...)

First off, in health news, The Missus and I are alive. Anything else is laginappe, and we shan't complain.

It was a wonderful day out yesterday, aboard Nina and Pinta, and I'll keep loading photos onto my Photobucket page; I'm having issues with the connection, so it may take a while to get all 140 photos up. In the meantime, there are something like 30 up on there at the moment.

The major demolition and excavation work in the various rooms of the house that we undertook to expand the game area and clean out the spare room is now done; I'm into the detail work, and I have another long weekend ahead in which to get it all done. The goal, as I think I reported earlier, is to be able to provide game space to a 'two-table standard', where we can have one game going in the game room proper and another - most likely an RPG - in the game lounge. The net effect will allow me to set up a miniatures game at my leisure, and still have the table space for RPG gaming to continue while I do my thing. The spare room, is fitted out with a couch and amenities for people to lounge around, so we have 'retiring space' for people during game weekends and suchlike.

My thought is that back in 2010 / 2011, we hosted a 'Tekumel weekend' here at The Workbench that was like a tiny 'micro-convention'. Nothing too hot or heavy, just a bunch of friends enjoying Phil's creation, and it was a very nice and relaxing weekend of fun and games. I'd like to do this kind of thing again, and the work I've been doing in the basement and on the first level is intended to facilitate that goal. I'm just past the midway point, and while it's been a lot of work I think it's been worth it.

Part of all this work has been the sorting and separation of many of the miniatures in my collection into discrete sections. Obviously, the purely Tekumel figures comprise the vast bulk of what's in the game room; what I've been doing is sorting out figures that are suitable for use in the 'indie' RPGs being produced here in the Twin Cities (like "Blade and Crown", and "Heirs Of The Lost World") and setting up sections to make it easy to facilitate game sessions using these games. My thought is that since we have the resources to do neat games in the same style for these RPGs as I do for my Tekumel RPG sessions, why not?

There are a lot of 'orphan' miniatures in the basement as well, and these are going to new homes. Over the past forty years of building and painting, I've accumulated quite a lot of stuff, and some of the figures and models just never 'took' for me. So, off they go to people who will appreciate them, and we'll have more room for the wonderful new figures being produced by Howard Fielding and The Tekumel Project! Yea!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Travelling Back In Time - A Dave Arneson Moment

The Missus at the rail of Pinta, taking a risk.
The Missus and I have returned to this present time and place, after a short and entertaining excursion back in time to the middle 1400's and to Hudson, Wisconsin. The replica ships Nina and Pinta, built by the Columbus Foundation, have come up the river to visit us despite high water. We've been getting ready for the excursion for most of the week, as we have to plan ahead well in advance due to The Missus' health issues, but it was well worth it. All of the planning and preparation - we have to carry a pack with her emergency supplies on board, and stay within twenty minutes of a well-stocked hospital - paid off, and we have a lovely excursion to see these ships. I got to talk to the crew about such mind-numbing things like 'parrels', and we took heaps of pictures which I have loaded onto my Photobucket page - link off to the left, for your use.

It was all quite wonderful - it reminded me of the time Dave took all of us to see USS Olympia (Commodore Dewey's flagship, from the 1890s) and USS Niagara (Commodore Perry's flagship, from 1813). I think Phil would have loved to see these two ships as well; he loved ships and boats, and both of them used a lot of historical examples of sailing ships in their games. If you want the details of these two ships, may I suggest:

There are a lot more photos on the website; there is also a schedule of port visits. The crews are very nice and helpful, and we really enjoyed our excursion to see them and their vessels.

If I may make a modest personal note, I have now walked the decks of:

Viking, Nina, Pinta, Mayflower, USS Constitution, USS Niagara, Charles W. Morgan, USS Olympia, Amis Reunis, U-505, USS Lionfish, and the mighty USS Massachusetts;

The Missus has also added to the family total with Golden Hind and HMS Bounty. Still to come, we both hope (God willing!), are HMS Mary Rose, HSMS Vasa, and  HMS Victory.

"Don't Give Up The Ship!" - Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Very Late Update for Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

Yes, it's been one of those weekends.

Right, then. This is the update that I had wanted to post this past weekend, but the severe storms that hit the Twin Cities starting Friday (while I was at work, pottering about in my electric cart as usual) pretty much put paid to any real activities. Things started off with a bang - not literally - when I got home Friday and spent several hours clearing the downspouts and gutters of debris in advance of the oncoming storms.

Important Safety Tip:

Do Not use a 16' aluminum extension ladder during a thunderstorm.

So, thanks to the long extensions I put on the downspouts for just such a situation, we didn't get any water in the basement; the Game Room and the Game Lounge stayed nice and dry, as did everything in the two rooms.

The rest of the weekend can be neatly summed up as a series of long, dreary thunderstorms accompanied by high winds, and we got lucky; we didn't lose any trees here at the house. The rest of the Twin Cities took a real hammering, sorry to say.

Power went out late Saturday, and we had to shut everything down. And then find eighty pounds of ice to go in all the coolers I've been hoarding to make Tekumelyani buildings with, in order to save the household food supplies. Power came back on Sunday, and we are now sort of back to what passes for normal around here.

Bottom line; we got through it. Thanks for your comments, too!

In sadder news, I have to report that Dave Maggi, our wonderfully talented artist friend, lost his father to cancer this past Thursday night. I'll have more to say, but not right now. His dad was a good friend of ours.

In happier news, Brett Slocum is working on a Tekumel-themed game room for the local game convention, Con of the North, for this coming year's convention in February 2014. Check out his new Yahoo group - noted on the Tekumel Yahoo group - and the announcement on his blog, which should have a link off to the left.

I'll have more news, after I get some more sleep. Thanks for your patience!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Power's Back On! - A Placeholder For Now

Six of these, and eighty pounds of ice. It's been a long weekend.
This is a placeholder for the late weekly update. I've missed Contessa, not gotten much sleep, and worked myself into a stupor. We've had three days of severe storms, here in the Twin Cities, and while we've been very lucky and not lost any trees uprooted, had water in the basement, or yet another brain bleed from all the stress, we did lose power to the house early in the proceedings and had to scramble to save the food supplies from going bad in the heat and humidity. Likewise the Missus' medications; we had to deal with the loss of the air filters that mitigate her asthma and allergies, but losing the meds would have been A Very Bad Thing. We survived, though, and I'll have the usual update for all of you later today after I get some sleep...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Weekly Update for Sunday, June 16th, 2013

My dad, in his natural habitat.

Barker of Arabia, and the Mughal Empress.

It's Father's Day; I'd like to take a moment to remember me dad, me step-dad, and Our Phil - who was like a father to me.



I am finally getting back on my feet after last weekend's frolics; all the miniatures are unpacked and back on the shelves, and the game room is starting to look normal once again. It's been a very busy few days, and a tiring one; I have so little staying power these days, sorry to say.

Be that as it may I did get all the boxes unpacked, folded up and stored. The two couch-beds formerly in the game lounge are now in their new home in the spare room, and we're in the process of getting that ready for the July arrival of Our Older Daughter From Zurich and The Son-in-law What I have Never Met. I also have hopes that at some point, Our Younger Daughter From Zurich will get the chance to get over here to visit.

For the record, I have four Daughters on the establishment at the moment; I am a Dad, and dang proud of my little clan of eccentrics. We've chosen to be a family, which to me is a Pretty Big Deal; I love them all, and they are what keeps me going. And a special thanks to The Missus, who's there for her adopted daughters despite her own severe health issues. Thanks, Sweets!


I would also like to thank Our Man In Duluth, kokigami, for a wonderful after action report from last weekend's game; it's on his blog, The Superior Force, and there's a link off to the left for you. Great photos, too!!!


I really must do custom T-shirts for Team Hlutrgu!!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Weekly Update for Monday, June 10th, 2013 - Whew! A Truly Wonderful Weekend!

Man Overboard!!!
Before I get to the game news, I'd like to note that one of my favorite authors, Iain M. Banks, has passed away after a battle with cancer. My I suggest having a look at the BBC story?

Witty, entertaining, thought-provoking, and just plain wonderful reading. I'll miss him.


It has been a very busy week, and a simply wonderful weekend! I was busy all week getting the big game ready for launch, but all of the work paid off; we had a good crowd of enthusiastic players, and my classic Braunstein seems to have pleased them. I am uploading the photos I took to my Photobucket page, and The Missus has gotten three video clips of fifteen minutes to a half an hour loaded onto the new video website - links to both in the left-hand column. We also did a much longer video recording of the whole game, and we'll be editing this into something useful for people to marvel at.

[Edit: Photos are now up on the Photobucket page:

Have a look and enjoy!]

May I suggest looking at other folks' thoughts on this event?

(One of the players from Team Hlutrgu has a great report on page six of the thread)

(More good discussion about the game and the underpinnings of it)

(Our own Mr. Till reports from the headquarters of Team Hlutrgu)

I will have a lot more posts and messages about this game as the week goes on - right now, I need to catch up on my sleep!!!

And a very, very special thanks to everyone who made this game happen:

Howard Fielding of The Tekumel Project;
The Missus, for the video work;
My Family for all their help and support;
My friends in the Aethervox Gamers Group, for all their help and support;
The management and staff of Fantasy Flight Games and the Fantasy Flight Games Event Center,
for all their help and support;
All of the players who came and made this game a success - and so much fun!


Dave Arneson. M. A. R. Barker, Dave Wesley, Ross Maker, Fred Funk, Chuck Monson, and all of the other folks in the University of Minnesota Conflict Simulation Society back in those far-off days of yesteryear...

It's been a truly wonderful weekend!!!

Thank you!!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Braunstein - The Video! - Live Streaming, We Hope!

With a little bit of luck, and the new Sony camera (above) that The Missus found, we should be able to have the first half-hour of the game session on June 8th put up on the Internet as live streaming video. The idea is to have the 'introductory talk' go live at noon, Central Daylight Time, and run for about a half hour. Depending on battery life, we'll try to stream some of the funnier moments of the game itself on line; the URL where all this will be is:

And we'll be making announcements on this blog as we go along. The camera also records the video while streaming, so we'll post the recording as well after the event.

And, just because we have the capability, we're going to be recording the entire event on video; we're not going to be using the two- to four- camera 'production shoot' set of equipment that we used to record Prof. Barker's Memorial Event that we did just over a year ago, but rather a smaller and lighter 'flight recorder' set up that will capture video and audio from a fixed camera and recording straight to DVD. The DVD recorder that we have allows us to record up to eight hours at one time, so it'll get everything we run at the game session with no problems.

The big issue here, as it always is with doing video production, is time and people; even using the production set we have, it takes several people to run the video switcher, audio mixer, and lighting that you really need to do really high-quality video. We're simply not going to have that option at this game session, nor will we have enough room on-site for a full-court-press production effort. Normally, I'd make up for that by using a lot of set-up time, but we don't have that on the day either. So, we'll got for a realatively light 'field production' set-up that does the basic recording without taking up a lot of people and time; I think it'll work decently, and give all of you an idea of what these games are like.

Mind you, we'll still be using the 'big video' set, but we'll be doing that here at The Workbench to make videos that we can upload as needed; the game plan is to set the rig up once, and then use it as the 'in-hoiuse' production system. More on this, as we figure it out...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Weekly Update for Sunday, June 2nd, 2013 - One Week Out!!!

What you can expect on Saturday.
We are now a week out from the June 8th game, and I'm really looking forward to it; it'll be my first big game after the brain bleed, and I'm happy to be here to be able to run the thing. Special thanks to Fantasy Flight Games' Event Center for hosing us, too!!! Their web site is:

and you can see the mezzanine space where we'll be playing. It's a great space, with great people, and I really like being there. The Event Center features cold sodas, light snacks, and take-away food on call - I think we'll do dinner at the local Asian buffet; all you can eat for a very reasonable price, and nice food.

I'm also happy to say that the folks at FFG and I are talking about making the Event Center the regular home of the Dave Arneson and M. A. R. Barker memorial games each year; more on this as I get it.


The Missus went shopping in the marketplace on Friday, and came back with a nifty Tinaliya incense burner for Chirine's traveling kit and an even niftier lock for a chest. One of these days, if there is any interest, I'l spread his luggage out for your inspection and amusement.


These busy weeks continue as I get ready for the game on Saturday. Lots of writing and printing, as I get the players information sheets done, and a little paint is getting splashed around. I have a four-day weekend coming up, and I'm really looking forward to it!


There's not much else to say, today. I am well, it's been a very good week, and we're doing all right.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The David L. Arneson Memorial Maritime Miniatures Mayhem Event and The M. A. R. Barker Memorial Invitational Pro-Am Miniatures Game - June 8th, 2013

Aliens, swamps, boats, spaceships; the usual.

I am happy to announce that the annual DLA MMMM Event (you try typing it with dyslexia!) and the MARB MIP-AG Event will be held on Saturday, June 8th, at the Fantasy Flight Games Event Center in the Twin Cities. Their URL is:

Game at noon; dinner at seven or eight, depending on when we get hungry and how long I last. The game is a Braunstein, and the scenario is "Saving Serqu's Sisters".

What's a 'Braunstein'? have a look at this: