Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Weekly Update - Sunday, February 26th, 2017 - Unpacking and Goodies

I'll use the helmets and the round shields...
The two I have had very broken wings - fixed, now...

One very - to me, anyway - odd thing about Con of the North was that for a 1,300+ convention, there wasn;t anyone in the vendors' area selling miniatures and miniatures stuff. I do have to qualify that, though; one of the local pro painters was there, doing wonderful commissions - you dropped your figure off, and it was ready two hours later! - and a booth selling painted figures from a local collection. Otherwise, nada, which meant that my budgeted funds stayed in my wallet.

Enter The Source Comics and Games, run by the irrepressible Fighting Bob (General Karim Missum, to us old Tekumel hands), who saw the wads of unspent cash moldering in my sweaty hands and allowed that if I dropped by the store his staff would have a few deals for me.

So, I did, and they did. Some of the folks at the convention had asked about my getting my play-by-post (e-mail, actually, but let's not quibble) miniatures campaign going, and I felt the need for some Salarvyani light infantry skirmishers. I got a pack of the plastic Numidians from Victrix:

My thought was to use the helmeted figures, to match the old Craig Smith drawings, and the round shields as being more appropriate for skirmishers. The downside to this plan is that the shields supplied are very - very! - plain, and I'll have to see what I might have in stock that I can use to add a little visual interest to the shields. I used decals on the Old Guard ones that I had, and I may root around the see it anything will work. Otherwise, it's new shields. We shall see.

I also got a pair of nice little models that badly needed a home. As regular readers will recall, I have a fleet of small-scale ships, and it struck me as I looked at these models that there are are at least a couple of Undying Wizards that we met in our ocean travels who habitually flutter around the skies of Tekumel in skyships. The "Bajoran Lightship" seemed to me to be a pretty good stand-in for these; this pair of models had some very broken 'wings', and the staff at The Source allowed as how I had been known to be able to mend broken stuff pretty well. They made me an offer I could not refuse, and I've managed to fix the two ships. New bases are in order, I think, as the ones provided are not all that good; an easy thing, involving plastic rod and sheet goods.

Still unpacking everything; I do the upkeep on the displays before I put them back into storage, so it's been a little busy this past week. Everything is done, though, and so we're on to new and old projects again...

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Con of the North, Interlude - a Question For Chirine

Not from the convention, but you get the idea...

So, the question was asked at the convention why my bright, smiling face wasn't there running games. The answer is in two parts:

1) Bill Hoyt got to me first. Events bookings are on a first-come, first-serve basis, mostly because I need to get my vacation time-off requests in by March 15th every year. Vacations are granted by seniority, so I have to take what I can get - and book early or not at all. Some weeks are Right Out, due to things like student move-in and move-out in the University dorms, so getting my time off is very tight.

2) This is Brett Slocum's event, not mine. Brett does a really good job of getting people to come to this event, and he had a very full schedule of games. I am both space- and time-intensive with the kind of games that I run, and Brett is very aware of that. If he wants me, he'll let me know.

As I've mentioned, I can either organize events or run games. I can't do both. See also my Events Guide, if you will... :)

Con of the North, part 3(b) - Bill's Miniatures Game

I think Bill said that he was using "Dragon Rampant" for the game, but I'll check and make sure...

Con of the North, Part Three(a) - Bill's Miniatures Game

Con of the North, Part Two - The Tekumel Track

Bill Acheson's gladiator game

Yes, that's a 90mm Ahoggya!

Brett Slocum GM's

Steve Vossler's wonderful game of urban sprawl

The art display in the background of Brett's game

I think you can still view the schedule on the Con of the North's website; Brett Slocum runs this springtime event in a similar vein as U-Con does in the fall of the year, with much the same results. A lot of very good GMs run a lot of very good games, and people seem to have a very good time.

I got to play Steve Vossler's wonderful game of urban expansion, which has tiles that one plays to further one's interests and possible block those of the other players. I normally don't like board games, but this one is simply a delight - the strategy is so compelling that I forgot to keep track of my points as the game went along, but who cares? The game is simply wonderful, and full of Tekumel flavor.

Bill Acheson ran a game of gladiators in the grand scale of 90mm, which was astonishing, and also a game in the more usual 28mm; more on that in the next post. Again, people had a lot of fun!

Lots of RPGs all weekend, as you'd expect, and there were a lot of new faces at the tables. I was very pleased to see this, myself, and delighted that so many people were having fun in Phil's world.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Weekly Update - Tuesday, Feb. 22nd, 2017 - Con of the North, Part One

Bill's display, first location, co-located with Registration

The second and final location that we had for the weekend

I am back in from the local game convention, 'Con of the North'. Bill Hoyt, he of Blackmoor and EPT fame, had asked for my help in putting up a display about the history of RPGs here in the Twin Cities. So, I played stagehand, and brought out the middle-sized of my Skyline displays and got it set up for him to use.

Things got a little exciting, Friday morning; the convention drew over 1,300 people, and our initial location in the same area that the convention's Registration desk was in was just not going to work out - too many people in too small a space. So, we got asked if we'd help them out and move around the corner. So, after I got my breakfast into me, we picked up the encampment and moved out of their way. Everything worked out just fine - I'd planned for such a move, to be honest - and we were reset in about fifteen minutes,  enabling Registration to open on time.

Bill had a great time, talking to a lot of people, and getting a lot of very positive responses from everyone. I was very pleased, myself; this is what I like to do, making things happen for people. I also helped out the convention with a little logistical support, with my fleet of carts, and I had a very good time.

So, Friday was spent in set-up and organization; I did make it to the meet-and-greet at noon for Tekumel folks, and had a good time at that. The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent at the booth, making sure that the computers ran the neat slide show one of Bill's friends had done.

Saturday was a much easier day for me; Bill and his family had the booth well in hand, so I got to walk around the convention a bit and talk to many of my old friends who were running games or trade stands in the Vendors' room. Oddly enough, I didn't find anything to buy at the convention - but I did get waylaid by the folks at The Source Comics and Games, who know my tastes in merchandise, and they made me some offers I can't refuse. The results will appear in due course, as soon as the glue dries. I did get to play in a wonderful game, which I'll tell all about in another post following this one.

Sunday was a little hectic; I had the booth to look after, and get torn down on time. My brother, nephew, and a friend were visiting the convention, and they wanted to tale me, The Missus, and Fifth Daughter out to dinner. So, after more talking to people in the lobby, we got everything disassembled and packed - we were out the door in good time, and dinner was great. Turns out the friend is a police officer, and wants to play in one of my games; I'm really looking forward to this, as having him play one of the Provost's officers would be a real treat for me.

Monday, it rained, so I had to delay unloading until late. I did get a lot of sleep, and I think I've shaken my cold.

I'll talk more about the Tekumel programming track that Brett Slocum runs, in the next post, and then I'll talk about the games that were part of that track. We'll peel this like an onion... :)

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Weekly Update - Monday, February 13th, 2017 - A Cold and A Convention

He looks like I feel, today.

I've been suffering from a very bad head cold all through this past week, and am just now starting to feel like a human being once again. Lots and lots of orange juice and bed rest, and getting chicken soup into me by the bucket load. Which is helping, and I need all the help that I can get; I will be at the local game convention, Con of the North, working for Bill Hoyt as the stagehand for his "RPGs in the Twin Cities" display. Bill will be providing all of the content, as he was there back in the day, and I am setting up the smaller of my two Skyline displays for him to use. This is the same one that we used for the "Dave Arneson Day" at The Source Comics and Games, and is easy to set up and take down. Looks good, too, if I do say so myself.

I will not be running games at the convention; I am, to be honest, too space- and time-intensive for most conventions to get the most out of me. Now, that said, I can highly suggest Brett Slocum's Tekumel programming track, which he's been running for a number of years, and this always has a very good selection of events and GMs. I think you can see his program of games here at the convention's website:

If you're going to be at the convention, I'll be in the Fireside Lounge all weekend, typing away on "To Serve The Petal Throne on my laptop, answering questions, and trying to look intelligent... :)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Weekly Update - Sunday, February 6th, 2017 - Something Very Cool!

One of the regular denizens of this particular corner of the Internet was kind enough to send along these two photos of the Highborn Lady Vrisa Vishetru, as drawn by Kathy Marshall-Grantham and sculpted by John Winter for Howard Fielding's The Tekumel Project. The original drawing appeared as part of the 'Selected Biographies' series in the old 'zines that we in the original Thursday Night used to do as part of our trying to tell people about Tekumel.

I think that the painter, a very skilled lady from Russia, did a great job on this figure; she's got some other really wonderful figures up on her blog, too:

In the local news, we're still digging out from under the piles of boxes from Zurich, although we can now actually see the floor in a few parts of our little house. I am currently engaged in clearing out the wreckage in the game room and lounge, as this space got used as the 'overflow' from the rest of the house as we cope with all the IKEA stuff coming in from overseas. All sorts of forgotten treasures have reappeared, much to my delight, and I'll start shooting photos of them in the near future.

The big thing right now is the Resident Daughter's classwork!

I did manage to get all of the new clear Plexiglass bases for all of my small-scale ships done; but the very vintage Valiant 'Spanish Main' and 'Ramming Speed' will soon be getting their coats of new paint and be off on more adventures. I should note that the former line is 1/1200, and the latter 1/900, but they seem to mix on the table with no real problems - to my eye, anyway.

The ships from TRE Games do look a little large next to these metal castings, but then I tend to use the TRE ships for smaller fleet actions, and the Valiant ships for larger ones. My usual habit is to have the ships' captains write down their orders, and then I plot the moves out on big sheets of graph paper on a side table. This is per the practice of one Mr. David L. Arneson, who was of the opinion that the best way to simulate the 'fog of war' was to use written orders. He was right; all sorts of things happen, even what the players wanted to have happen, and much fun occurs. (Sailing a ship around is a lot harder than it looks, and there are no brakes on the boat.) I then fight the usual boarding actions on the main game table, with the big ships. It looks great, and lots of swashbuckling happens.

So, lots happening, and lots more to come!