Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Weekly Update for Sunday, January 26th, 2014 - Heap Big Scandals & Lead On The Table

One's sword doesn't seem all that effective when confronting a Ghar.

We had a fun little game yesterday, with the much-put-upon Tsolyani River Police on the Lushomon Canal being called out to investigate Odd Doings in a small village. They arrived in the small galley only to find that the villagers - the living ones, anyway - had fled, leaving the dead behind, and that the local 'riverine wealth enhancement consultants' had arrived first to have a look at the situation.

The stalwart Hereksa commanding the river police had the Bright Idea of arresting everyone in sight, but his equally stalwart deputy commander pointed out that the cops were outnumbered some three to one, and that maybe some subtle diplomacy might be indicated. Shortly after that conversation, a Ghar lumbered up out of the canal - drawn by the stench of the late lamented villagers - and everyone suddenly had other things to worry about. The Ghar was finally dealt with, after much shrieking and shouting, but it did a lot of damage in the process.

Much fun was had, which was the whole idea.

It was a great outing for my Bronze Age Miniatures 'Dead Earth' figures, I have to say! (There's a link off to the left, by the way!)


I am very pleased to be able to report that I have used the confinement occasioned by the extremely cold weather hereabouts to get the last of the storage shelving installed in the game room. All of the miniatures, boats, ships, and scenic items now have permanent homes, and everything is now right to hand for games.


Jon Peterson, of "Playing At The World" fame, has a wonderful video up that I highly commend:

You can get to this video through his blog, as well; there's a link to this in the left-hand column for you.


Other news from the world of gaming and F/SF fandom is, I am sorry to say, not so nice as Jon's video.

The week began with the news that a Chicago-area F/SF convention, 'Chi-Fi', had 'issues' with it's convention hotel, and was backing out of the contract with the hotel. What made this news-worthy, at least for me with all my decades of convention-running experience, was that the convention organizers were claiming that the hotel was against the convention's anti-harassement policies, and that they'd been called "freaks" by the hotel management. The Internet is up in arms, of course, but as usual there is a little more to the story.

The convention organizers are young, inexperienced, and full of piss and vinegar about how they can run the very bestest convention evah! According to local F/SF fans, amongst whom is the 2012 World Con committee, Chi-Fi turned down many offers of help and assistance from local fandom, preferring to go it alone.

Local Twin Cities fans will be familiar with this scenario - you will remember the recent "Kakkoi-Con" anime convention, which went out of their way to antagonize local convention runners, and which was quite possibly the worst-run convention I have ever had the misfortune to have to be present for. Things  got so bad that I - a non-attendee dropping stuff off for friends - was asked to drive several of the convention's Guests of Honor to the airport to catch their planes because - wait for it! -

The convention committee had either gone home or otherwise vanished - they had left the hotel.

Yes, that's right; the convention committee had left their attendees and guests in the lurch. They also left the hotel in the lurch, too; they defaulted on their hotel bills, and are now on The List that local hotels keep of dead-beat customers.

Chi-Fi's accusations against the hotel seem pretty far-fetched; what it smaller like to me is that they could not pay their bills and had to get out of the hotel contract as soon as possible. The Big Dead Fish that alerted me to trouble was the information that the convention had promised the hotel 500 room nights - that's an absurd number for a first-year convention, and wildly over-confident. An old, well-established convention with about 3,000 to 4,000 members can generate these kind of numbers, but not a first-year startup that's aimed at primarily media-fans. It just doesn't happen, folks.

The net result / fall-out from all this is that it will become much harder for 'young' conventions to book venues. The hotels, etc. , will want a lot more 'up-front', and impose much bigger penalties and charge higher fees for F/SF and gaming conventions. I've seen it happen, and it's not pretty.


The week ended on an even more sad note, with the Torn Armor Kickstarter reporting that it had lost a huge chunk of their funds to a company called Defiance Games; Torn Armor had contracted Defiance to do some production work. Defiance took the money, didn't do the work, and is now claiming that they can' refund the money as they spent it on their own projects.

Defiance, I should mention, has a quite a track record for taking money from people, or taking products from suppliers, and then not delivering much of anything. I wouldn't have hired the guy who runs it to take out the trash, let alone make anything for me, but then I've been around the block a few times.

As might be expected, there is a storm upon the Internet about this; here's a small sample of the sort of thing that's being posted:

A Google search will also turn up more information on this. This is possibly the most 'high-profile' failure of a Kickstarter of late, and I suspect it will have a chilling effect on the industry.

Sigh. Onward...


  1. sweet.. who produced the Gar? is it a three D print, or a cast?

  2. It's a three-d print (in the 3-D resin) from david Allan, and I think he has a picture of a painted one up on the Tekumel miniatures group over on Yahoo.