Thursday, 20 July 2017

Several Little Rays Of Negativity

Today has been one of those days. Full of stuff not quite going right rather than things going wrong. Enough to cause me to frown but not enough to get me really naffed off. Whilst I have got stuff done it's all been day to day stuff.  Today is not the best but tomorrow is looking like hard work with the high point being mixing concrete.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Maths And Gaming

I have a friend called Clive. Like me, he is a gamer but I hate playing games with him. He is not a sore loser nor difficult to play with, he just takes a long time. This is because he works out the numbers. Years ago we were in a PBM game about American Football. Although I did quite well in it, Clive won the competition. How you may ask? He used a spreadsheet. We played a number of games that allowed the players to keep their money hidden. You knew how much people were being handed out but the actual total was allowed to be a secret. Clive put a stop to this and for good reason. If you wanted to keep track of the numbers all you had to do was write it down. This would take time so why waste the effort and just keep the money public.

Sat in the car today I was re-reading about the Sigmoid Curve by the guy who runs Two Fat Lardies. His gripe (and I understand it having tried to play A World Aflame) is that game designers like weapons to be used so the models should be on the board (especially if you make the models too). I don't remember the specifics for A World Aflame but safe to say that a pistol had about an eights of the range of a sniper rifle. The big beast that is Flames Of War has on table artillery that seem to have a problem hitting the other side of the board. I think I have talked in the past about playing the Conspiracy X RPG with a sniper sat at one end of a ten foot table who would have not only been able to hit a target at the other end of the table but stood a good chance of being able to hit targets across the car park, the large A road, both pavements and on the far side of the living room wall of the house opposite.

At the beginning, I mentioned maths I believe. Scale is an odd thing when it comes to gaming and miniatures. It's fine for model kits. If you want to have the pretty 28mm figures then you have to accept that some things just are not going to work. People are fixed into the ideas of ranges and worse still range bands. Further away is obviously harder to hit? Try using a sniper rifle in hand to hand combat and then see if you wouldn't prefer a shotgun, SMG or pistol.

Pistols are given to officers because the are expected to command the men not shoot their weapons. The only time they should be thinking about shooting is when the opposition is in bayonet range. Keeping with the scale of 28mm, you are going to have a hard time hitting something more than 2"-3" away (assuming that 30mm is the typical height of a 28mm miniature, 60mm is 12" in the real world and hitting a moving target who is doing their best to put you off is a bit of an ask with a semi-automatic pistol). 15mm ranges are better illustrated with the rifle. Depending on the rifle and the man shooting it, effective fire is around the 3'-4' foot range and good or lucky shot might double that on a day with a slow moving target with little or no wind. Two miles plus is an ask for a sniper but modern rifles in the right conditions have managed that.

If you have a rifle and you can see a target on tabletop you stand a good chance of being able to hit it. SMGs in a line of sight (assuming that the battle is not in the desert should be able to  hit what they can see) and in the modern world would be better off with a rifle. Pistols have a place in close quarter combat but are pretty much irrelevant as a weapon in a wargame.

I was going to say something about dice now as well but it is getting late so I will leave it to another day.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017


I had an idea for a card game today. This is nothing that special, I have plenty of ideas and this one seemed a little dull. When I played it over in my head it sounded a little like Chez Geek but a bit more like Real Life. This has become the name I was thinking of calling it. Although Salmon Day didn't seem like a bad idea for a title either.

After a day of things going annoyingly, but not critically, wrong it seemed that it would be "fun" to make a card game out of it. if a game about wine-making can be fun then why not this. So I gave it a bit more thought and then a bit more.

The basic premise is that the players are a group of friends. Friends being friends they want to get one up on each other, When you get a bit older and beating them at a game seems less important what do you compete at? Well it's life.

The idea is to get more of the good stuff and get less of the bad than everyone else, the good job, the hot partner, the nice house and so on. This is all well and good but that is not what marks out most of our lives. It's not the job or the girl that has the biggest effect on our lives but losing them, at least in the short term. It's not always about the loss but sometimes it's the money and the prestige.

Then I thought about age. Not that I am getting in a bit, but different things seem to have different levels of importance at different time. Owning a sports car when you are in your sixties or you have kids is not as much fun as owning one in your twenties or when you are having a mid-life crisis.

All this this is just an idea, something that I am putting down so I can come back to it later. If you have any ideas, let me know.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Conan Exiles / What Does A Tabletop RPG World Look Like

I know that I have talked about this game in the past. It's an online, semi RPG that is currently in beta. As it is a beta, I guess that I cannot complain but that didn't stop me last time.

Whilst it is still a beta and it still needs a lot of work doing on it the game is much improved. The map has improved, the range of weapons and gear has increased and it all feels just a little better put together.

What I like about it the most is that is a nice background that I could take something from to make into a tabletop game. As a game it only touches on the world of Conan. It feels more like a cross between Conan and The Scorpion King

At the heart of a lot of my games is a computer game. Whilst not always the case, I like to use games because it does a lot of the work creating the world for you. Players can go away and look at a picture. As a referee there needs to be a lot of description done just to describe the world around them. Even in a modern game you are probably not playing a game on your doorstep. Often it is another country.

Most games can get away with nothing more than a map and the GM's fine words. This is a fine way of doing something. sometimes however, I like to be able to give the players something more. Think of it in terms of what an orc looks like. When gamers think of orcs they either think of Lord Of The Rings or Games Workshop. This is a trap that is difficult to get out of. No one really knows what they look like and there is no historic reference to look for (being a creation of Tolkein). So people crave an idea of what they look like.

Being a deeply visual person, I like to see a picture of things. Finding an RPG world with just a verbal description is a lot less satisfying. So using a computer game as well as TV and film to give you the visuals is great.

Maybe somebody out there would like to share a few ideas about what computer games, films or TV shows inspire them?

Sunday, 16 July 2017

The Joy Of Six

I have been tired today but it's the good type of tired. Better than the bad type I have had all week. Since Tuesday I have been feeling unwell but I seem to be on the mend now.

Today I went to a small show, The Joy Of Six in Sheffield. Oddly it is dedicated to 6mm wargaming. It's only been going a few years but is now probably the biggest show in Sheffield with the demise of Triples.

Being honest with myself, 6mm is not my thing, I do a bit of it every now and again. I have some stuff for WW 2 and a French Napoleonic army that is never likely to get finished but it keeps me occupied sometimes. Most of my friends are into it which is why I do any of it at all.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Viticulture - The Boardgame

Today I played I was pretty sure that I wasn't going to like it when it was suggested. It sounded like  pretty dull subject matter for a game to me. Games like this are ten a penny and have been done a number of times. So I thought. When it comes down to it I was pleasantly surprised.

The designers have put some thought into the wine-growing/making process. Not only do they understand the mechanics but a lot of the game colour seems to come from understanding the world in which wine-making sits.

In the game the two biggest aspects are worker placement and turn order. If you want to go first you get nothing and if you go last you get an extra seasonal worker. Between these two are the growing season and the winter season.

What I found playing the game was that players will go and grab everything they can as early as they can. There is merit to being first as often you get more for your turn. The number of meeple placement spots is limited to three. In a five player game this is a problem especially as if it is something you want you can place multiple meeples. You have a super meeple which allows you to place anywhere you like to get around this but even this does not always help you.

Going last can mean you get an extra meeple. Like most games where you can increase the number of workers, this is a good thing. In the first turn, most player used all of their meeples in the summer land grab. This gave me some range to spend money to get an extra meeple which became my main strategy. I think I was the last one to start growing grapes and making wine yet by the time I had done so I was able to outproduce everyone else. This doesn't make it broken, just as long as everyone knows it.

Friday, 14 July 2017


Scythe is a boardgame roughly based on the battles for European domination in the Victorian era with giant stompy robots. I think it is currently Rank 8 on Boardgame Geek which is pretty good going for a new game. So I figured it must have something about it. I looked for it for ages but couldn't find it, then it popped up at my local bookshop so it seemed a bit of a no brainer.
It has decent quality components with some pretty nice, is stylised artwork. Some wooden counters and about thirty plastic minis.There is enough there that you know it's going to be an involved game to play. All in all it was probably worth the sixty five pounds I paid for it.

As a game it is all about resource management. It starts of slowly but as soon as you start to build up your empire the game speeds up. There is enough going on to make the game difficult to see who is in the lead which seems to work to keep all the players keen as you seem to have the feeling you are still in with a chance of winning.

It is complex but not complicated. There are many mechanisms vying for your interest and all need some level of attention. If you favour one you may well not do so good but you do get bonuses for  doing this at the end of the game. To win you have to craft a suitable strategy but this is doable but is is all about the clash of strategies.

The mechanics are intriguing enough to make it novel. Having played it I am sure that there are a dozen ways to play and still stand a chance of winning. Each nationality has it's own flavour and special rules. None of these are game breakers and the sense is that you have to play to that nation's strengths in order to come out on top. All in all I think this game has good replayability. From what I have seen I could happily play this game a couple of dozen times and still find it interesting enough to play it a few more times.

Having played it twice it plays well as a five and a three player game although as a five player game it takes a long time and is a lot more dog eat dog. The board gets very busy in the five player game so there is a bit more planning to do. Turns are rapid enough that you stay interested, especially in the three player game. All in all I am glad I got it.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Brush Holder + It's All Been A Bit Of A Blur

I remember waking up this morning and I don't remember it being a good thing. Somehow I managed to take a wrong turn on the school run. This has kind of set the tone for the day.

Somewhere between getting up at seven this morning and eating my dinner at nine the day happened.

I have learned a few lessons from the day, mainly aout wood work but also that martial arts tutors work people really hard. The plan I had for a paintbrush holder didn't quite come of, partly down to my inexperience with tools and partly down to the tools. The paintbrush holder is my resposne to still not being able to get clsoe to the laser cutter.

Still a busy day tomorrow where nothing is going to be achieved but steps will be made towards things happening/

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

The Absurdity Of Computer Games vs. Real Life

Anyone who knows me can probably tell you that I have a thing for zombies. What better way for the world to end? I mean just look around you the next time you are in the town centre. The shambling apocalypse is already here. They just don't want to eat you. So far at least.

So a game like 7 Days to Die is just perfect for me. As it has been on my laptop it is probably the game I have played most over the last few years. The continuing development of the game has allowed it to stay fresh. So I have played it a lot It is a zombie survival horror crafting game.

When I think back to it, most of the games I have really loved involve digging things up, stealing things or killing things and taking their stuff. The later is a standard of just about all pen and paper RPGs. Online RPGs are much more focussed on crafting. Over time the crafting systems of most of these games has evolve into not just making gear but into changing the terrain by shaping the world.

Tonight I have spent building a bunker. This means digging a big hole. In the game the best mining tool is the rocket launcher (IMHO). As I am getting ready for bed I can't help but thing that there is no way you would get me digging a big hole in the ground to live in in the real world. Yet I am happy to do this for hours in a game. It was much the same in Fallout 4 and pretty much exactly that in the earlier X-Com games.

In the first X-Com I probably made ten times as many med kits as anything else. This made some sort of sense as this was quick to make and you got a good return on investment. Game mechanics made me do it. In 7 Days to Die I just keep building things mainly just because. I have even given it a name, Tactical Property Development.

This made me think back to Skyrim and The Witcher III. Here I spent a vast amount of time collecting flowers to make potions. There is even an element of that in Fallout 4. Some time ago I came up with the concept of Combat Floristry which in a lot of games, in the early stages at least becomes Combat Avoidance Floristry. In the Witcher III most of he money I make comes from selling flowers.

In Fallout 4 I now make more in game money from trading and the production of water that I do from any part of the scenario. I can leave the game running, nudging the controller every now and again to stop it shutting down and I end up making a huge amount of money. The amount of cash I have on hand I could buy out every merchant in the game several times over. I guess some tabletop RPGs do this too. Traveller is perhaps the best example of this. Over the course of six months game time I made enough money to buy to 600 ton Liners which are pretty big ships in the game. This what I call Business Studies Extreme.

What does this day about me? I don't really know but whatever it does say, it says about most gamers...


I've not had the will to do much gaming stuff to day. In fact if I actually put down a post about what was going on it would probably read like a page from Bridget Jones' Diary.

Monday, 10 July 2017

No Real Clear Plan

At the moment I am struggling a bit. There was a plan but at the moment I am struggling with it all round. It doesn't help that I have jobs that I don't want to do so I end up putting everything off. Today I managed to get one of those jobs done. Most of my mum's possessions are now bagged up and ready to go. This means that tomorrow that I can get on and do some more with that.

When I had the laser cutter I got my band saw out ready to start chopping some wood up. This roved to be a waste of time, anyway I thought I would have a go with it today. I ended up making a very basic band saw box. I am guessing the blade is not tight enough as it came out a bit wonky and it needs to be readjusted.. Something for a day when I have a bit more free time.

Sunday, 9 July 2017


Just an idea I have been working on today.

Magpies were everywhere before the ruin. The familiar little black and white member of the crow family was very adaptable. It’s level of intelligence was extremely high and was considered one of the most intelligent non-humanoid animals.

It’s ability to feed on just about anything, including young birds and eggs, small mammals, insects, scraps and carrion, acorns, grain, and other vegetable substances allowed in to adapt well to the new environment. Maybe it was their high level of intelligence that allowed them to survive but it is possible that it had other effects as well.

Magpies went mad. They constantly watch for trouble, carry out repetitive pointless tasks, they twitch uncontrollably, have facial ticks, attack other animals for no readily definable reason, are known to bang their heads against solid objects and even their call sounds like it’s crazy.

They represent no real threat to people although they are known to drop small stones on them and dive at people whilst defecating. Apart from this people that see them are fascinated by them. Many have a real sense that madpies. Some religious groups use the madpie as a symbol of man’s sins and that they are actually taken away man’s sins from them.

Madpies have thrived and have got a few inches bigger over time. Usually they are found in small groups of around half a dozen. They are just as common now as they were before the apocalypse and can be found almost anywhere on the surface of the city.

Attributes: Agility d4; Smarts d4 (a); Spirit d4; Strength d4-3; Vigour d4-1

Pace: 8; Parry: 2; Toughness: 2; Feathers: 1, Flesh: 1; Fat: 1; Leather: 0

Special Abilities:
Flight: Madpies have a Flying Pace of 10”, with an Acceleration of 2”.
• Food Animal: Although they can be hunted for food, killing and especially eating madpies is considered unlucky by most and a cardinal sin by a few.

Size –2: Madpies are tiny.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Not A Successful Day, But Not Bad Really

My day started with a plan. Go to the FabLab and try out some more prototypes. A good plan. When I got there it was pretty clear that it wasn't going to happen. So Instead I ended up working on other people's projects. A CNC cut Canadian canoe and having a drive of a prototype electric bike with a racing body shell. Then back to a house full of a bit of turbulence. Joy....

Friday, 7 July 2017


My auntie got me some sort of Japanese mecha toy when I had just started High School. Apparently it was all the rage somewhere but it looked a bt poop to me. I remember reading a review of  a new game called Battletech in what was probably 1984 in Imagine Magazine. It seemed like a really nice idea. Of course I was never going to buy it and still haven't. I did make my own game out of cereal packets back then as I did with a lot of games.

Part of me still likes the idea. It's something I have been playing around with for Savage Worlds for ages. Now I am about ready to play test it and use it as a possible RPG campaign. So I have been working on it a bot between all the other stuff that has gone on today. The background is still a bit light so maybe I should start doing some work on that.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Salmon Day

For those of you are unfamiliar with the phrase Salmon Day I can be pretty sure that you have not worked for local government. Today was a lot like the salmon days of old. Essentially having a salmon day involves you swimming against the current all day only to get screwed and die.

I have spent the last few days working of laser cutting stuff in preparation for going to the Fab Lab today. When I got their the machine was being used by a member of school staff. Then the girlfriend of one of the staff was using it. These guys have access to it all week and I get two half days. Indications were that the jobs were not going to take too long so I waited around. Now I wa told that the machine was being looked at and things had improved. This was actually a lie. No one had gone near it because the staff were conning themselves that they had it under control. Laser cutting is not a major skill set of mine but even I had figured out what was wrong thanks to YouTube. I have been telling people that this is the problem for days. Today, for the first time, I got the sense that people were listening to me. Not that there is anything they can do. So, after two hours of sitting around and about eight hours of prep I came home.


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Tempus Transit

Sorry for sticking with the Latin theme (as I did yesterday) for the title but it seemed appropriate. Crap day and a crap course where the tutor couldn't keep on topic as she didn't really know what the topic was. So having wasted most of the day I was trying to make the most of it but I am so damn tired.

I was working on a few ideas for figure bases. Something a bit more than a rectangle, square, hexagon or circle at least. There are a few laser textured bases out there but they seem a bit flat. There are a lot of fine bases out there already but I like things that are just a bit more 3D. I was struck a good long while ago by cold war miniatures bases for their zombies. Something that looks like a street base. So hopefully I will have  few ready by tomorrow afternoon for the FabLab.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Tempus Fugit

It’s been an odd day really. By that I mean that I have got very little done in any practical sense but maybe not so bad for all that. The day has caused me to look back at my recent blogging history and to why I started this in the first place. I think I have missed a day since I started daily blogging at the end of last year. Which took me back to why I started the blog in the first place. Although I have missed a day recently, I have averaged more than a post a day since December. Feedback is not something I need (I would become a YouTuber if I really wanted feedback) but I seem to have less and less and I seem to care less and less.

Looking back has made me realise how long I have been doing this and how short a time it seems. My dad used to say if you want a job doing, give it to a busy man. To be honest I am not sure why I feel so busy but my life never seems to stop at the moment. Maybe that should be a lesson to us all.

I’ve had a meeting, it’s been an anniversary for one of the kids so we have had something nice to eat (well he fancied a kebab and who am I to argue with that?) and I have some of my mum’s family over for the first time.

The meeting was fine and if anything made me feel better. Imagine that, walking out of a meeting and feeling better. Not a first in my life but not so bad.

Families are interesting and I guess mine are as interesting to me as most of yours are to you. The thing is most of my family are at a distance so I don't get to see much of them. For the most part this has been no bad thing but just of late I am thinking it's good to see them more, especially as they are getting older. anyway I was able to give one of them a trip down memory lane for them and that became much the same for me. 

Tomorrow is Wednesday and I am on a course which is really leaving me very little time to prepare for Thursday at the FabLab. I have some ideas already and some way to go on making them a reality. It would be nice if I could find some time for the work but we will see what the next few days brings.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Inbetween The Work

I have spent most of the day playing about with CorelDRAW again. I have designed a few bits and pieces for the laser cutter. I''m working in 2mm this time as I have some suitable mdf. Will be able to see what they are like at the end of the week.
Then I did get a little distracted. It always seems to be some sort of artwork that takes my imagination.  I have been watching a series of TV shows about Japan on the BBC. As well as playing about with CorelDRAW for "business" purposes I thought I would try something else. I used to love all the Samurai era prints. I thought that I might be able to turn them into a wood cut using the CNC I played about with at the weekend.

It isn't all my own work but a conversion of a picture off the internet. There is a bit of work to do on it if I want to take it any further. The black and white samurai is quite traditional, I am not sure about the rest.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

End Of The Week, Again

This should have been a very discouraging week. But I am not downhearted, well not too downhearted. Today has been a busy day and I have possibly used my free time foolishly. It has reminded me that I need to take some more exercise. Maybe I don't need to be running a half marathon but I shouldn't be tired out by walking around Liverpool for half an hour.

The Fablab thing has been great. Not only is it nice to get out of the house, but it's learning something and talking to people to. All good. I am hoping that this will grow my skills a little bit too and I will see where that leads me over time. Figure painting has taking a sideline and that needs to stop.

So maybe the plan needs to be taking some affirmative action this week. So I am going to order a new laser cutting machine this week. Part of me wants to have an eye on the future which usually means taking an eye of the present. I have some new toys to play with so it would be nice to get a chance to do something about that too.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Wasting My Time

Most f my free time has been spent down at the lab lab. I have been trying to sort out the frames for some fencing that I wanted to do. I ran some through on Thursday but  they didn't come out right. I went home and had a look at them and the design seems fine. Having run it through twice, the design hasn't cut properly. Again. Today it has gone through four times the cutting power expected. a few pieces came out right but most did not. A few almost cut through but didn't cut through the adhesive backing. Some I wil be able to break or cut with a stanley knife. I think I have come to the conclusion that the machine just isn't working. The power is way off. 

This of course means that I have wasted about twelve hours of lab time and nearly as much time working in the designs not to mention the time I have spent working on the designs. I really need to get my own cutter. Perhaps I am just a little too scared of doing this after last time.