Sunday, 27 November 2016

200,000 Hits

Somehow I have got to two hundred thousand hits. I am still not sure who is reading this but whoever you are, thank you very much. I am still enjoying writing this blog even if I don't have as much  time to do the painting at the moment. I am hopeful that I will start to find more time next month. Christmas is coming so I should have a few days to do something. Anyway, here is a cheesey graffic.
Image result for 200000
What does surprise me is that I have stuck with it. This is the longest I have stuck with any one project since childhood. I'm still not OCD enough to stick with it all the time but I am constantly thinking about it which is good.

Thanks again.

Sunday, 9 October 2016


I am beginning to think that I am in some sort of limbo. I remember an episode of St Elsewhere when one of the characters ended up in Limbo. He was surrounded by the people who didn't do but had an opinion about everything.  I remember there being a lot of people dressed up in referee outfits. Armchair referees who never got up to go and watch a match let alone play a game. This is starting to feel a bit like me. I should be painting stuff for Zomtober but I can't get to my workbench at the moment. There are reasons for this so I guess I haven't got that much to complain about.

I heard about the passing of Michael Leader, the Clumsy Stormtrooper. I am sure I have seen this guy at a convention a good while ago. But the internet seems to have convinced me that Mace Windu is in fact Supreme Leader Snoke and it follows (apparently) that Rey is Palpatine's daughter and Finn is Mace Windu's son. It labels itself as an insane fan theory but is seems to have a lot on consistency with the "facts".

So I am looking for other stuff to do. YouTube is getting a bit of a pounding. Unlike my normal YouTube binges, things are a little more diverse. I might do a bit more about this on another day. I have just started playing X-Com 2. This has made me think that I need to but myself a better laptop. I have money to spend so this might be happening soon. My dad got me the one I have now so that might be a bit of a wrench.

Things are a bit of a problem even for some solo gaming. I would love to do some but at the moment at least, this isn't on the cards either. I am looking for something new, but I guess that I am just going to keep doing what I am doing. Skyrim remastered is on it's way in just under three weeks so I guess that I have that to look forward to.

I will have to console myself with the big ass UHD TV.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Star Wars: Imperial Assault

I have played a number games of this now and I am starting to like it. My original feeling was that I liked it because of the figures. I am a huge Star Wars fan and I think I was a fan before anyone else I knew. this was mainly due to seeing the Palitoy action figures in a shop window. So it really was the figures that really attracted me to the game. I didn't really want to buy it because it was too expensive but I guess I will get round to it, if only for the figures.

There are plenty of minis. All the main characters are there and enough NPC (rebels and imperials) to be the basis of an RPG. There are plenty of rebel PCs  as well. If you throw in a few more mainstream sci-fi RPG figures and you have the basis for a nice game. With all the expansion packs already available and several more potentially on their way, I  can see most of the characters from the films making their way in to a pack.

The tiles for the game are pretty good too. I like the idea of using these for role playing as well. I am not sure that I would buy the game purely for the tiles but if I did, I think I would scan them to make up the tiles as mats and keep the tiles for the board game. I could really see this being useful in a Titansgrave game and maybe even use the tiles from Imperial Assault's sister game, Descent  which should give a sci/fantasy/post-apocalypse vibe and I think the Doom game might be using the same format.

This was despite my first impression that this was just another "funky dice game". This is probably one of my core gaming prejudices with collectible card games being the other. What I don't like about it is the mechanics for moving between scenarios is a little complicated and time consuming. That said, now that is has been played a few times and the rules are becoming understood, the turn around time is becoming a little more fluid. There is a lot of admin as well. So much that it needs an app to handle it all. Sadly the apps need a little work doing to them and they don't cover all the expansions.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

I Love Windows 10 :-(

When I downloaded Windows 10 it was alright. I am not a huge fan of Microsoft and would probably still be using Windows Me if it could keep up with the software. People have said it's a little like Star Trek films, the odd numbers are really bad. Other people have said that it's unlike Star Trek because it the even ones are bad. I am on the fence with that, as just recently, they all seem to be pretty awful. But at least they have gotten better after release as the patches have come out. Until Now!!!

I think the thing that gets me the most is the start the logging on process. The first page on boot up used to have a pretty picture. Now we have a a black screen. Windows still asks you "do you like what you see." It's a blank screen, I might not have liked all the pictures before but this is a blank screen, what is there to like. You have the option to enquire about the picture that should be there but as you don't know what it is, why would I bother?

It then started to get worse. They started putting adverts on it. I hate adverts. They are the bane of the internet. Nothing tells me that the net has changed like the presence of adverts. I go to great lengths to get away from them. Now, sadly, they have got to a stage where I can't get rid of the damn things. If it wasn't for the software I use, I would probably do that. That said, I think Mac is even worse.

And yes, my screen could really use a clean.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Suicide By Cop---per Dragon & We All Need A Challenge

I was reading a blog which has an article by the RPG Pundit about using mechanics to substitute roleplay. It got me thinking about some of the advice about GMing that I have had and I was thinking specifically about Robin's Laws of Good Games Mastering. This is a great book and probably my go-to book for GMing skills. It's central piece of advice, "the great immutable ironclad law" is "role playing is entertainment, your goal as GM is to make the game as entertaining as possible". Pretty solid advice. I have had two players quote this too me over the years, usually when they want something that does not exist in the game.

I was struck by two things. Firstly that players do stupid things and that it usually the players that get themselves killed. Players, like movie watchers, want a challenge and giving them to much to easily is a lame way to game.

For me the problem comes around with a lot of players is that entertainment for them means getting what they want all the time. I know that role playing is sometimes about suspension of reality. We are not magic users, superheroes and psychics after all but our characters can be. Even of the powers can warp reality, the cannot change reality. I remember a psychic, who was a great martial artist, was locked up and medicated in a secure psychiatric unit who wanted to escape. Such places are designed to be difficult to get out of and if you are pumped full of tranquillizers, this should be even harder. The desire to escape was probably made worse by the fact that the other players were not rushing to get him out.

I remember a decision the group I was playing with made to attack a copper dragon as a way to get out of a dungeon. The call was not mine but the argument was repeated so often it became compulsive. The party was significantly outclassed. Four low level characters against a copper dragon was never going to end well. After the fight, the GM admitted that the dragon was there to scare off the players and in fairness, he dropped a number of hints to that effect. The plan was to get the "battle turtle" to sneak up on the dragon and stab it through the eye and into the brain whilst it slept. The warrior of course had a minimum of sneak skill that was totally offset by the plate mali and other gear that was making him encumbered.
I think the referee let a couple of rolls slide but when the warrior decided to shout at another player to get them to shut up. The dragon then woke up and started talking to the fighter asking him what he thought he was doing sneaking around a dragon's lair. The fighter said that he was here to kill the dragon...It was a bit like shouting allah al ackbar just whilst wielding a scimitar and wearing a bomb vest before charging police officer armed with a sub-machine gun. As I have come to call it, Suicide by Cop---per Dragon. Needless to say, ten minutes later we were talking about what classes would work out well for our new characters.

People mistake entertainment for getting what they want. My character lasted long enough to say I told you so three times, which was pretty entertaining for me.

I think “entertaining” it is more about making the players work for something rather than serving it to them on a plate. I encourage players to suggest what they might like to get hold of in the future. This helps me and them. It gives me ideas for “presents” and something that players can work to. It gives the players an interest in the game. Keeping them happy does not mean the next chest they find has a bunch of +4 weapons in it.

I tend to prefer a cinematic approach. Things are always going wrong in the movies and in most stories. These are challenges to be overcome. Problems are the driver to the next scene of the plot, from there to the next act and the eventual conclusion. For instance, one shot villains are never as much fun as a larger than life recurring villain. Where would the fun be if you had all the money in the world but were so jaded with life there was nothing interesting out there for you to do.

If you were interested in what the two things were that the players wanted, one wanted a robotic battle tank in a Fallout game. I declined this because robotic tanks were not part of the background. The other was a robotic sex slave. The person asking for that was an American who I think had been in the airforce. I declined the robotic sex slaves because it was the right thing to do.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Goblins - More Of Them

I finished these (well give or take) last month. I started the project over a year ago and have worked on them intermittently. After doing a few test figures I had a plan albiet a fairly long term one. Enough with the chat, here are the pics.
These were done as role playing figures, mainly for the viking game. Although they are not really Norse looking, they don't really look like they belong to any other period and hooded robes and weapons will do nicely for what I want. They may even make it into a Frostgrave game and maybe even Titansgrave.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Red Dwarf XI

There isn't much TV that I can quote almost word for word. The first six seasons of Red Dwarf are part of that limited range of shows for me. Thinking about it, Hitchhikers and Hyperdrive are two of the others so sci-fi comedy features quite highly. Red Dwarf took up a huge part of my life in my late teens and early twenties. It's odd that four characters that have a number of personal issues have managed to attract such a huge following over the years. I guess it is because there is a little of the characters in all of us. Or is it just me?
So it is back for another season. Next year it will be thirty years old and it's still going. You never know what to expect when shows have been going on for so long. Having watched the first episode of season XI I have to say it's still on form. If anything it has gotten slightly better than recent seasons. The production values seems to have gotten better, particularly the sets and the special effects. Where things are really noticeable is the scripts. After thirty years, it is expected that scripts should start to falter and plot lines seem to be consistently absent. No such problems are here. The script still seems fresh and there are a few lines, among the usual tropes, that make you laugh out loud.
The early seasons did of give me an education in many things that were really important, but gave me a bigger insight into the human condition. After all, it was Red Dwarf that taught me that hell really is being stuck in a room for eternity with your mates, not Sartre. I am proud to be one of the "boys from the dwarf" even after all this time.