Sunday, November 26, 2017

Weekly Update - Sunday, November 26th, 2017 - The Missus, The Macedonians, And The Money

The Missus's new mercenaries

I'm hoping that people are having a good holiday weekend; we visited family Thursday, I went to The Source on Friday, and yesterday and today I'm in the game room getting the old place cleaned up. I'm expecting visitors next Sunday, after the game session, and I thought it would be nice if we could actually get into the game room. The new video rack has, after lots of sweat and straining, been moved into the video alcove to replace the old systems and all I have to do now is clean up after myself.

The 'short trip' to The Source turned into a seven hour jaunt, which was just heaps of fun; I got to talk to gamers about gaming, without any of the 'Serious Gamer' attitude that I've run into recently. Just a lot of folks talking to me about my time in gaming and how I game; I also got to talk to Tim Erickson of TRE Games for quite a while, which is always fun and informative.

Besides picking up stuff (comics and some board games) for The Daughter-In-Residence, I was picking up some more Romans for the 'Cleopatra Braunstein' that I'm building - I really must come up with a better name for that game! - and in the budget discussions with She Who Must Be Obeyed I was informed that I could have my Romans if she could have some Macedonians.

Huh? Run that one past me again?

Yep; the Missus hasn't played games in years - due to her health issues, really - but she does maintain a lovely interest in the goings-on in the game room. So, in a move that caught me by surprise, she's funding some 80 more Macedonians (A box of 40 as seen above, and a box of 40 Warlord Spartans so we can say we've got some Greek mercenaries in the game) for the various Egyptian players to plot against, bribe, suborn, coerce, and generally carry on in the usual Braunstein manner. Gold coins courtesy of a party shop; look in their 'pirate party' section for bags o' loot.

So, I'll paint these up fo her, and I think I'll have fun doing so. The Macedonians are all rank-and-file figures, so I'll have to dig around in the parts boxes for arms to make the command figures; same for the Spartans - what I think is interesting about this box is that it is the 'generic Greek hoplite' sprues with additional 'Spartan Upgrade Sprues' with the different heads and some cast metal accessories. The three boxes of Romans are the 'Legionaries' and 'Veterans' we've reported on before, and a box of the 'Caesarian' Romans.

I got the latter not because they are the 'historically correct' figures - they are, of course - but because Dark Fable's 'Legend of Cleopatra' included some actual historical figures; at this period, with the expansion of Rome in progress, everybody and their treasuries had copied the Roman 'guy-in-a-mail-shirt-and-bronze-helmet-with-an-oval-shield' look, which to my jaundiced cinematic eyes makes for pretty boring-looking battles on the table top. Hence the mob in lorica, but I know full well that with two units of 'guy-in-a-mail-shirt-and-bronze-helmet-with-an-oval-shield' figures on the table, mayhem will ensue; the players will not be able to keep them straight, and once again we'll see what makes the Braunstein game what it is. Personality figures I got; I raided the trays of Tekumel figures, and pulled out all the odds and sods of Romans who have been masquerading as Tsolyani marines and officers. I also have three 'testudo' stands someplace, so we'll add those so you can do this scene:

I first saw this movie decades ago, and I've always wanted to put the attack on the Moon Gate on the table. I'm still dithering over what to do with the Roman archers I got a long time ago to use as Salarvyani; I have plenty of archers for them, thanks to the Celtos line and various historicals, so I think I'll transfer those Foundry 'Eastern Archers' back to the legions - and finally finish painting them, too!

And I will say that as Howard Fielding, he of The Tekumel Project, goes from strength to strength, I'm getting less and less inclined to be satisfied using all sorts of odds and ends of historical figures in my Tekumelyani forces. I'll keep the ones that I bought specifically for them and have painted up where they've serves so well for some forty years, but all the unpainted and half-painted figures that I've bought 'on spec' are going to get a new posting and get into action.

I am having heaps of fun, like I had back in the day, and really enjoying my new lease on gaming.

Much more to come! :)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Weekly Update - Sunday, November 19th, 2017 - The News And Letters From The Complaints Department

'Blue' Section, Display Two

It has been a very busy couple of weeks here at the Workbench! I have not one, but two daughters in the honors society at their college; they were inducted into Phi Theta Kappa - the two-year college branch of the organization - this past week and I am very proud of both of them. Their sister continues her medical degree program back home in Zurich; no informaion of late from her, but I'll pass along anything I can get as soon as I get it.

Pickings in the surplus market have been superb over the past two weeks; I was able to find a complete Skyline 'Mosaic' display unit for a very good price that really fills out our range of displays and gives us pretty much unlimited options for the kinds of events that I want to run. 'Blue' Section is a pair of Skyline 'Mirage' table-mounted space frames with matching-but-different fabric sets that I've used for Free RPG Day at the local FLGS; these will be the core displays for both the "Chirine's Workbench" and "To Serve The Petal Throne" displays when I do events. 'Green' Section is the really 'heavy artillery', with both the new 'Mosaic' display and the massive 'Mirage' 8' high and 10' wide wall. There are also workstations for interactive displays as well as the usual acrylic literature and graphics displays. I am, I think, now set up for any kind of event regardless of size or venue. I'm pretty please with it all, I have to say, and the ultimate 'trade show booth' - the Tsolyani tent and furniture - waits in the wings for those really special events.

All of this is part of my 'marketing plan' for how I want to move forward into the future. I am, more and more, finding that going back to my roots in the hobby is both finding a larger audience and give me a lot more fun then what's been going on in my gaming life of late; which is a segue to why I'm going back to my roots - some of the complaints that I've been getting from various people...

Letters from Over The Transom - Samples From The Complaints Department

"Why are you buying Pathfinder and D & D figures? You don't play either game, so why spend the money on them?" - sales clerk at the FLGS

Because I like them, and I can use them in my games. Since you were very worked up about this, I asked your dad, the store's owner, if it was all right to buy miniatures from him and he told me that I could spend as much money in your store as I wanted to. I hope that's all right with you; I can get a note from him, if you'd be happier.

"Why are you painting miniatures? You're not a serious gamer, because you don't play serious games with serious people in a serious gaming group." - local miniatures gamer

Once again, because I like them. As for the 'serious gamer' complaint, guilty as charged. I've played with the people in your 'serious gaming group' in the past, and I wouldn't do it again. No laughter at the table, and the way some of you folks picked up my pikemen by the dozen by their pikes kinda turned me off. I'll keep my Macedonians at home, thank you. As for my using 'serious historical miniatures' in my 'non-historical and non-serious games' like the Cleopatra Braunstein, all I can say is that both the manufacturers and retailers of these figures seem very happy at the idea of taking my money. Can't imagine why, really; maybe it's 'cause you nearly lost the FLGS a $120 sale this past week.

"Your figures are obscene! If you bring them to the FLGS, I'll have you run out of the store!!!" - both the same local miniatures gamer and a miniatures manufacturer

Any figures that I buy are approved in advance by The Missus and my daughters. There are some lines of figures that we will not purchase, due to their subject content and lack of taste, but we do buy figures that are historically dressed (Ancient Egyptian, or Barsoomian, for example) and are useful to us in our games. You don't have to play with them , or with us; we do not want to offend your sensibilities. As for bad-mouthing one's own products, I'd like to suggest that may be not the best way to encourage sales of your products. Luckily for you and your company, The Missus was able to look beyond your comments at your figures.

"You shouldn't be playing in this (D&D 5th Edition) campaign because you don't know all the ins and out of the rules like I do!"

Sounds good to me; I don't like 'rules layers', and I don't play with them. I handed in my PC sheet to the GM, so I don't play in that campaign any more. Instead, the GM and players invited me back as an associate GM, and I'm now running their visit to the world of the Petal Throne for them. You're welcome to come and play, if you like; I don't insist that you memorize all of the rules ahead of time.

And with that, it's off to the grocery store for the holiday shopping. More later!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Arresting The Loading Cycle: The Weekly Update - Sunday, November 5th, 2017

The Indiegogo is funded!!! Woo Hoo!!!

More of Lord Chirine's baggage, courtesy of The Missus

First off, the big news around here is that Mike Burns and Dark Fable miniatures has had the newest Indiegogo campaign fully fund, and we still have three weeks left to run! Five sets of Anubis warriors, one set of the Scorpion Lord's minions, and a two-stage genie that has all of the ladies in the family chortling - she's got a look on her face that tells her summoners to be very, very careful about what they might wish for...

We'll be getting in on this campaign at the 7th level, as we can use all of the figures in our games. (should I do an 'Ancient Egyptian' label to help find things here?) If you haven't looked in on the Dark Fable campaign, may I suggest:

My alter-ego's baggage train also has gotten an addition, courtesy of The Missus and an end-of-season sale; there's a bit in "To Serve The Petal Throne" where the newly-ennobled Lord Chirine's bearers are loading his baggage into the cart for the trip from Meku to Fasiltum, when they find out that their new employer has a chest with a set of cast iron cookware. It's always been a part of our Tekumel gaming to have props around - Phil started it, it's not my fault! :) - and I'd been on the lookout for a sort of camping set for a while; we found this set, 'Fancy Flames' FF240, with all of the cookware needed for comfortable adventuring and a nice chest to load it all into. Coupled with the hand-forged iron fire tripod we got from a blacksmith up on the Iron Range (at the Tower-Soudan Iron Mine, to be precise) we now have all of the campaign / outdoor / camping cooking set for we've always wanted both for ourselves and our player-characters to use.

The Missus is threatening to do a Tsolyani cook-out, next summer. Watch this space.

I still have to replace the little cast-iron grill I used to own, which saw a lot of use on the balconies of the fannish apartment building where I lived and gamed in the late 1970s. It got lost in a move, decades ago, and I do miss the thing. The Missus, Queen of the Internet, says I can get a replacement so that will be something for the future. I have charcoal; she has food; I think we're in business.

One of our dreams, back in the day, was to have a 'trade show booth' where it looked like a Tsolyani merchant or noble had arrived for a visit, and not like the usual 'two-chairs-behind-a-folding-table' routine that we normally had at conventions and shows. We have been collectiong all of the stuff for this over the pat ten years or so, and we can now do this - just for the fun of it, really. When I get some warmer weather, next year, I'll set it all up and post photos of it for everyone. For a 'real' trade show or exhibition, we have the three Skyline displays as seen in these pages; I use these for gaming events and such, as they are quick, easy, and eye-catching.

In other news, the new chests are swallowing up stuff at a truly amazing rate; I have lots of now-spare milk-carton crates and plastic tubs to go back into the household fleet, and I am starting to be able to actually find everything I own. (There's a cordless drill that's been missing for over a year, but I'll find it. Eventually.) The spaces in the game room are getting a lot more empty, which I like as you can see all the good stuff that's down there. Also going into storage will be Castle Tilketl, in it's crate, and some of the large ships in the collection - ever tried storing a 25mm Hlyss nest ship?

So, lots of fun stuff going on; I'm very pleased with the developments, and looking forward to be able to do my own 'call in show' from my game room / studio! :)

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Making My Dreams Come True (III) - The Logistics

The Old Reliable: M-1956 US Army cooler
What's in my future...

Ah, the joys of surplus shopping! Once again, my favorite form of consumerism has paid off; I took delivery of ten heavy-duty storage chests this past week. The significance of that, in regards to my gaming activities, is that all of the game stuff I have in plastic tubs out in the shed will come indoors to the basement game room, and all the show production stuff that I've been accumulating for years will go into these shipping chests out in the shed. All of the mains leads, tabletop displays, lighting, graphics, and everything else we could only dream of back in the days of the 'Akbar and Jeff Traveling Tekumel Road Show' (as Mike Mornard used to describe our trips to conventions to sell Tekumel) when we had no money but unlimited enthusiasm will now live in the chests and stay loaded. I.e., I won't have to be moving stuff around in the basement just to have a game, any more.

It also means that for events like Free RPG Day, all I have to do is a quick 'throw and go' to get ready for the events. I have learned the hard way, over the decades, that if I don't have the asset under my direct control, I won't have the asset. So, what's happening is that all my patient building up of resources over the past few years is finally coming together. There are some amazing things on the way, and I think you'll be amused and delighted. :)