Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Weekly Update The Second - Sunday, August 27th, 2017 - Interlude Two: The Game of Daughters

The box art, which doesn't do the figures justice

You get three of these sprues - 12 figures

You get two of these sprues - 12 figures

Every two weeks, I take my Fifth Daughter up to The Source Comics and Games so she can buy her bi-weekly ration of comics. As mentioned a while back, she also picked out some Dark Sword Miniatures figures for herself and her next-oldest sister; their older sister, as well as their two more senior sisters, already have personality figures in the collection for use in my campaigns. (1)

So, we were in the FLGS yesterday to get her comics on the way to getting the weekly groceries when we spotted two boxes of these plastic figures from Shield Wolf Miniatures on the shelf back in the plastic models section. Readers will recall that I had, on a previous excursion, cleaned out all of the Ancients figures from these shelves at the urging of the Missus, who felt that if I was going to do the 'Legend of Cleopatra' I'd better get it right - or she'd tell Phil on me, and he'd summon the Curse of The Mummy, or Cursed Hippos, or Something; Phil was, let us never forget, an unabashed Ancient Egyptian who took the Roman conquest very personally. Hence the Workbench being aswarm with the various Macedonians and Romans that I have been working on and mentioning in these pages.

Fifth Daughter saw these really quite nice figures - the box art does not do the very crisp and clean casting any justice - and dropped a heavy-handed hint that she and her sister would be very pleased if they had armies of their own; their older sister is more of a classical mind, and has laid claim to the wonderful Ral Partha Amazons that I got back this past spring at Cinncy Con. You can see the three packs I got at:

Her younger sisters seem to resent this martial minature supremacy to some degree, and - being an indulgent parent (and, to be frank, on the theory that Phil first elaborated as a rule of campaigning: "If they're carving each other up, then they'll be too busy to carve you up.") - I got the two boxes on offer and then went to get the groceries.

Much delight with these figures, even with them still on the sprue! We've always needed some ferocious women warriors to go with our fierce Nluss menfolk, and these ladies will certainly fill the part. They'll also serve equally well as other warriors in other settings, like Blackmoor - we do see visitors from there in Tekumel, remember - and they may make an appearance in the 'Legend of Cleopatra' game as mercenaries from the Land of the Amazons, which any educated Greek or Roman knew was just the other side of the Black Sea.

These figures have some novel features in their construction, as they have separate backs to their torsos; these can be exchanged for the hooded cloaks as well. There are also lots of different parts and options, which means that no two of any of these figures will look the same after I get done with them. I'll also do a little 'kit-bashing' as well, so as to get some left-handed figures, but by and large these figures are so well-done that I expect to have very little to do besides glue them together and paint them.

EDIT; Added link:

I have no idea what they're all plotting, but I do expect some miniatures gaming in the best M. A. R. Barker tradition is about to occur. If First Son-In-Law asks for some classical Chinese troops and Second asks for Native Americans from the Great Plains, then I'll have a family campaign on my hands...

Not that I'll mind, of course! :)

Footnote 1: Yes, it's complicated. First Daughter is also the most senior, followed by Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth in order of arrival. Third is the oldest, followed by Fourth, Fifth, First, and Second. First was the high school best friend of Second, who introduced Third to her husband (Second Son-in-law); Third is the sister of Fourth (who is married to First Son-in-law) and Fifth (who introduced First Son-in-law to Fourth Daughter) - they all arrived as a 'package deal'.

And yes, I do have a big white board to keep track of all this.

The Weekly Update The First - Sunday, August 27th, 2017 - Interlude One: Family News

First up today, I have good news and bad news. My beloved father-in-law had his surgery Monday, and is doing just fine; he'd had a series of nasty falls and broken bones over the past year, as well as other health issues, so things were a little dicey heading into Monday's proceedure. All is well, though; he's out of the hospital and into a managed care facility; we're very pleased with his progress!

Sadly, at the same time we were all in the surgery family waiting room, an old friend of my Missus' family was in the ER with a very severe cardiac event. She did not survive, I am very sorry to have to say. We were at her visitation last night, and saw all of my wife's childhood friends.

In other news, I am delighted to be able to report that my Fifth Daughter, currently the Daughter-In-Residence, is a straight 'A' student at her college and maintaining a 4.0 GPA. We are all very, very proud of her, as you might imagine!

More in a moment!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Weekly Update - Sunday, August 20th, 2017 - Fifty Years Of Gen Con, And Other News

Brett Slocum at Con of the North

Well, here we are at fifty years of Gen Con; it's also that time of the year when Con of the North (Minnesota) and U-Con (Michigan) start to look at their events for the upcoming conventions. You can fnd out more about these two excellent conventions on the Tekumel Yahoo group, which is run by Brett Slocum.

The emphasis here at the Workbench, right now, is that my father-in-law is going in tomorrow to have a cancerous kidney removed. So, if you'll forgive me, I'll be back later on this week with more in the way of gaming news; we're a little distracted, right now...


Monday, August 14, 2017

The Weekly Update - Monday, August 14th, 2017 - The Ultimate Braunstein?

Urban adventures - always one of Phil's specialties!
A couple of inquiries have come in over the transom, and I'll try to address them and let all of you know what I'm getting up to, these days.

Why all the recent talk about Romans and Macedonians? I thought that this blog was about Tekumel?

It is, more or less, and you can blame Phil and his love of Ancient Egypt and the Successor period; I was introduced to these by him, and I'm finding them fascinating.

Are you painting these figures for a specific game?

Yes, four specific games actually. What I'm building is what may be my greatest game ever, in the forty-some years I've been at this kind of thing. One of the neatest features of gaming with Phil was his talent for running urban adventures. Simply going to the marketplace for a little shopping always turned into an adventure, and we had some really rollicking good times playing in them. I enjoyed doing up the figures and details for these games with what limited resources we had back in those days - and doing them now with all the wonderful figures and models that we have available to us now is really a joy for somebody like me.

Will this be a Braunstein, like the one you ran at Fantasy Flight Games' Event Center?

Yes, it will. It'll be a big game on the ground - maybe on the floor or on a set of risers, I'm not sure - about nine feet by nine feet square on one of my big canvas ground sheets that has been suitably painted.

You said four games - can you tell us which ones?

Yes. I'll be running them in my favorite world settings: Tekumel, Barsoom, Lord Meren's Ancient Egypt, and The Epic Aegyptus of Hollywood-on-the-Nile. What makes this possible is the same operating method of any large theater or film studio - generic 'standing sets', suitably 'dressed' with the appropriate set elements and props. In addition, I've got the miniature figures to run all four settings with the appropriate cast, and I may even break down and re-create the film crew that I did aeons ago for a "Call of Cthullu" campaign. ("Ready when you are, C. B.!" for you old film buffs.)

Each game will be different, with different 'sides' with different objectives. You pick your card, and you get some extras to help you with your mission / goals. Typical Braunstein, really.

When are you going to run these?

Next year, most likely. I have to build the studio sets from the MDF up, and this process got started this past weekend when I fell to work sorting all the neat stuff that my Daughter-In-Residence has managed to find for me. She works for the Swiss version of Michael's Crafts, and has access to the most amazing catalog of stuff that we simply do not see over on this side of the pond.

How can I play in one of these games?

Find and reserve a big enough room, set a date, and get in touch with me. You provide the venue and the players, and I'll provide the game. We'll work something out... :)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Weekly Update - Sunday, August 6th, 2017 - Arrivals, Assemblies, and Primers

Two cohorts, assembled and with primer
The scorpion and crew

Infantry, personalities, guards, and the gaming scene

Pillars with flames, gongs, and rugs

Personalities and the extra gong set (for a gift)

It's been a busy week; the 'Legend of Cleopatra' figures arrived, just as I was finishing gluing up my two cohorts of Romans, so I got cracking and got everyone assembled and based. Did the primer coat yesterday, while dodging the rain, and I think they've come out very well.

The Romans are nice, as I mentioned, and about the only gripe I have with them is that they are so light. I've put them on TRE Games bases, for a little weight, and I think they'll be fine. The 'new' cohort has the wolfskins on their standard-bearer and musician, and the 'veterans' have bearskins. I will also do their centurions' crests in different colors.

The scorpion is a very finely molded and delicate bit of kit. I like it, and I'll have to give it a steel base or something. The one figure has his helmet in one hand, and a headband, as I'm doing him as Decius from the battle scene in "Gladiator" - everybody has to start somewhere, eh?

Over on the metal side of the workbench, we have nine Ancient Egyptian figures, all of whom will be useful  in my games. The Queen herself, and assorted officials, court ladies and attendants. I particularly like the gong set; we got a second set to do as a gift for an old friend and her shop in South Minneapolis. We have four pillars with fires going on top of them; I used white glue to assemble these, in the hope that I eventually come up with a way to make the fires actually glow. (1) The 'lionskin rug' was one item that the Missus insisted we get, just for the fun of it.

There's also a nice little unit of infantry, some armored and some not. They'll all make for good palace guards, I think, and I like the assortment of active and dynamic poses mixed in with the static guard post types.

We also have three Temple of Set guards, a Prophet of Set in armor with helmet, a Heroine, and a sample from the next Dark Fable Indiedgogo, for Anubis warriors. And, of course, the little gaming scene - we got the seated lady as well, as we can always use seated figures and furniture!

I've been asked what all these figures are for, and they are intended to be used in a series of Braunsteins on the order of my legendary (and infamous!) Great Mos Eisley Spaceport Raid. I have figures to do four variations on this game: Tekumel, the Ancient Egypt of Lord Meren, Barsoom, and the Ancient Egypt of Cleopatra. It'll be a big game, with lots of players and figures, and even more opportunity for mayhem and skullduggery.

In other news, I have also been working on getting the game room and game lounge rebuilt and reset. Today's task was moving the suits of armor on their mannequins, which took most of the afternoon - those suits are heavy, when you're not wearing them! The goal is to set up the lounge to allow us to enjoy my collection of vintage and modern movies in some style and comfort; we have the facilities, so we might as well get some use out of them. I also have to move Castle Tilketl in it's packing crate out to the storage shed, as well as some more boxes, bales, and bins that need to move out there.

So, the sorting and packing continues. A long process, but I think we'll all be a lot happier when we're done. More accessibility, more utility, and more fun in the offing! :)

(1) LEDs, for starters, and /or a black light with the flames in glowing paint. I'll think of something.