Monday, 31 July 2017

Plans Never Work

In the Blood Bowl game there is a god they players and fans worship called Nuffle (not NFL). If Nuffle exists, he is not smiling on me today. I was up early with a plan to varnish the prc team. When I picked the varnish up it was apparent that I didn't have enough varnish to do it. So I moved on to the humans that I was going to undercoat. The wind was blowing them everywhere. The spray was more or less non-existent beyond about three inches. Then the cat managed to scatter them all over the place. Anyway, they are done now and I need to leave them to dry for a bit before starting painting them.
Way too many figures for me to contemplate and this isn't all them
So now it's about finishing stuff off. There is a lot of odd Frostgrave figures on the table.The gnolls are the most advanced so they are looking like the first choice. I have some rats, a beast master and some monsters floating around to. The North Star gnolls should not take long tolong to finish although I should be careful what I say. As I have become used to painting orc linemen, the gnolls are tiny. I went for a neutral colour scheme which means washing and highlighting should be quick. As they have been sat around for a while, it would be nice to put them in a draw and hide them away after they have been painted.

Anyway, this is another month over. I have just about managed to maintain an average of a post a day if not an actual daily post. So I am still on track to keep it going till the end of the year and beyond. The blog is nudging 400,000 hits and I would hope to get there in about a week. I won't be happy until I hit the million mark but I am guessing that this is a while off.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Human Team Ogre

Now that I am considering doing the Human Blood Bowl Team next I thought it was time I should put this together. What I am really doing is avoiding finishing the Orc Troll. I hate doing bigger figures and they never really seem to get finished.

Anyway back to the Ogre. He is a nice brutish figure. Even though he is a large figure I am not sure that it makes sense that he costs about half as much as the human team which is six 28mm figures. He is a nice figure and has a lot of animation. As he is plastic he can carry off the animation without being too fragile.

For the most part the kit went together okay. To be honest I think GW could use a few ideas about how to write a manual to help put something together from Ikea. Over time I have found that if you get the order of construction wrong, often with the arms, everything is going to go wrong.

The end model is nice. The plan is to paint up the body before adding the head. He should make a nice addition to the human team which is now looking like it's going to end up with about 25 players. I have seen someone do a Nurgle team and I now think I might save some of the linemen as part of a Nurgle project although I have a number of ideas about that.

Orc Linemen

Having spent a good part of the last two days painting I am feeling back like I am back in the saddle. I may even make the target for The New Cruelty. Well more or less. I can't varnish them and therefore cannot stick the transfers on because right here right now the rain is falling pretty hard despite being a pretty good day so far. To be honest there are a number of details that need attending to, ear tips and a few pieces of jewellry still need doing but the day isn't over.
The figures are really nice. The body shape fits my idea of what an orc should look like. Much bigger than people and have the crazed barbarian look.

I haven't finished the Troll. There is a lot of work in this figure if you want to get it right. As well as being more than twice the size of a regular figure it also carries a goblin which needs painting. The Goblins are not that much smaller than a regular 28mm fantasy figure. This makes it at least as much work as three other figures.

The mini has come out darker than I wanted (it's the same colour as the Black Orc Blockers). This will need a bit of work to bring it back. Hopefully this will be finished next week.

Some of the human figures are already put together. Now I am putting a few more together. I already have the ogre but lack Griff Oberwald and The Mighty Zug. I will probably order them through the local GW store and wait for them to arrive before starting the force.

Today I have won a few bits of eBay. In fact I have won pretty much everything I have bid on and it has all come in at the right price. I have a sprue of Skaven. This will go with one of my birthday choices which will have everything else I need.

All the other stuff is Malifaux. I have an urge to play this at the moment. It is also making me want to make a gaming table. One big enough for smaller games. I already have some wood cut to make a 4' by 4' coffee/gaming table. Then plan is to do something pretty close to a regular gaming table with a lip to store stuff like mugs, dice and figures out of the way and a hinged lid  to give me some storage space. SO perhaps another project.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Back To Blood Bowl

All the thinking about Blood Bowl I have been doing over the last few days has got me back to the work bench. This came as a bit of a surprise to me but I figured it was time to not be sat in front of the laptop all day.

Mostly it was Blood Bowl that got me going again. My mind still isn't fixed on the game yet but it seems a good place to start. For while now I have been putting off finishing of my orc team. Whilst I have some extra linemen to paint and the troll I don't have Varag, the goblins were due out and I was expecting to get Ripper Bolgrot when they inevitably release the figure. My plans usually involving getting all the figures together before painting begins so they all end up looking something close to similar colours.

Having already disregarded this, I had blocked out some more orc linemen. They had become one of my background projects. Whilst I should probably have gone back to the gnolls, this seemed the right thing to do.

So far I have spent about four (fairly interrupted) hours working on them. As I have a bit more time tonight, I am hoping that I can do a bit more. I've also got a bit more time in the morning so hopefully they should be all but done by the end of the weekend.

The picture is a bit rubbish. They are however very much work in progress so I am reluctant to do too much of a close up.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Birthday List

It's been an odd day. I have been sat around musing about what to do in terms of buying some figures. What was going through my head on Wednesday was on my mind a lot. I was drawn to Games Workshop and found that they had the latest Blood Bowl Pitch in stock. Having a thing for Blood Bowl I had to have it. This has set me down the what do I want to buy next route.

When I look at what's out there now, there isn't that much more than there was a few months ago. Goblins are the only new team for a while and Goblins are not the greatest team in the league. That said, a few would go with the Orc Team and a few more with some extra Skaven would make another team.

Then I looked at Forge World and there are three teams available that have all the toys in the box. Trouble is they are all around the £100. Being realistic I am not going to buy something that costs that much money that is going to sit on a shelf. I feel much the same way about Malifaux. The only difference being I never know what faction to buy, I have been burned buying the stuff before (players letting me down and the damn company releasing a new edition just after buying three box sets) and they are also going to sit on a shelf because I have no opponent.

So  got to thinking. My birthday is only four months away and if they were a gift that wouldn't be a problem.

I guess this has a lot to do with the way mini gamers acquire a lead mountain. For years now I have been trying to reduce my Lead Mountain (and the plastic and resin ones too). I am not sure I am actively decreasing it at the moment but in the round for the year so far I have painted a lot more than I have bought. So maybe I better hold off till my birthday. At least.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Game Of Thrones And Bigger Picture Fantasy RPG

I was catching up with GOT today. It is only really this show and The Walking Dead that I really look forward to at the moment. So finding a moment when I can watch it without interruptions is a good thing.

Watching shows like this (and Vikings, The Last Kingdom and similar shows like Rome have similar vibes) always make me think what they would be like as an RPG. I have seen plenty of figure conversions on sites like Lead Adventure Forums for GOT minis. Possibly there is also a viable kickstarter out there with some more specific figures for a tabletop wargame. There has been a tabletop  RPG out there for a while as well. Basically there is no shortage of inspiration.

To be honest I doubt I would run it as a tabletop game. There is far too much to remember and players being people are bound to trip me up. However it did start me down the road of RPGs and the statecraft element. These, and other systems, had a big effect on the idea of spectacle that plays a central role in my games.

The biggests game I have set in motion, in recent years at least, such as Fallout and Vikings, both featured mass battle system. For the Viking game I have even done a Savage Worlds mass combat system. Yes I know they have a skirmish game called showdown but it doesn't give the almost wargame feel that I wanted which still allows the players and heroic NPCs to have an effect on the outcome.

Whilst I know these are combat systems, the real pleasure in such a system is how it creates a story and builds a background. If you look back in dark age history the most notable events are the battles. This is despite the being fairly limited records of what went on. Now I am not talking in terms of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles but having a history of the game alongside a mythology always helps the players to buy into a game.

Most players like a scrap. There are not many RPG games out there that are combat light. Skirmish battles are fine but if the players want to make it into a games legends, they have to claim their glory in the biggest battles.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

More Thoughts

The great gamer's malaise is on me again. As I am looking around for something to do. I now have so many half baked plans that I am having a problem making a decision about which one to pick. For the last few days I have been tinkering with (that's like working on something without any real emphasis) a Conan RPG for savage Worlds. The more I read about the background and I play the game, the more hard work I see ahead of me.

Over the last few days I have had a lot of Meh moments. My plans to work on stuff for laser cutting are all on hold so I am a bit of a loss. At times like this, when things are not going my way I look at The Plan for the year and then have a look at work is in progress and see if there are any quick wins to be had.

At the beginning of the year I was all about Blood Bowl. Well the rcs team at least. I now have a decent looking Orc team and need a few more line orcs, Varag Ghoul Chewer, the troll and some Goblins and all would be complete.

This caused me to go back and look at the GW shop for the first time in a long time. It has to be said this was a bit of a disappointment. I know there are a few star players on the Forge World site but each single figure costs about as much as a whole team. Then I had a look closer, there is actually only one new team with the other team being a composite of two other teams.

Skaven, as a Blood Bowl Team at least, have a place in my heart. They were the first team I brought and along with the Undead and the ones I have played the most. With some of the special characters that are now out there, they actually start to look the part. The trouble is the team, as sold by Forge World is a few pounds short of £100. Then I would like the pitch as well. Suddenly I start to go ouch when I think in order to be able to fill all the slots in the roster I would need another basic team box.

Going back to the Orc team, I wanted some goblins and they are the one new team. They come with a couple of ogres which would round out my game nicely. The few extras that I would have left over from buying a basic Goblin box as well as extra Skaven would probably do the the Undead Creepers.

This gets up up to around the £250 mark. This is to finish one team and get three more teams with most of the options. For a game I play about once a year. So, if I am going to get any Goblins I will go for the bigger set then I can at least have two fairly complete teams. I don't already own a Goblin team and this seems to  make some sense to me.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Conan, Conan, Conan

I listened to a Conan audio booklast night, I am currently watch Conan the Barbarian on the TV, I have been playing a Conan computer game for some of the day and I have started looking seriously at doing Conan as a tabletop RPG. Somehow I just can't seem to stay on mission.

So like the other games I have run in the last few years it is starting with a document. Having taken on the ideas of Savage Worlds, I cobble the best bits from other games, get rid of the bits that don't do it for me and turn it into a game.

So far I have about six pages of background that I am happy with. When I look at the Viking game, which I am still far from happy with, it has got to well over a hundred pages of A4. This tells me that the process is at a very early stage.

Monday, 24 July 2017

The Random GM

Whilst I am currently favouring the phrase Maitre d'ungeon after inadvisably watching Robin Hood, men in tights (for the second time this year) I am at heart a Games Master. I have already mentioned that I am playing Conan: Exiles on the PC at the moment. Not that long ago I was talking about turning this into a tabletop RPG. The computer game is currently locked in a desert environment which has a decidedly Scorpion King vibe.

Aside from needing to buy (and paint up) a load of figures, the biggest problem has been coming up with a scenario. Over the years I have been more about substance than style. Players then tend to complain that they are getting railroaded as you try to keep them on the track of my well crafted piece of theatre.

You cannot get more random that just rolling a dice (well technically you can but...). Have an idea and see what happens. This was the heart of Patron Encounters in Traveller. There was a website a good long time ago called Tales of Terror which was the same sort of the for Call Of Cthulhu. This has a simple, usually one paragraph, scenario with a number of options. This was usually accomplish with a dice roll but it was always possible to use several of the options to give a layered scenario with a few false ends.

Ages ago I had a copy of an old DMG. This had a fair section at the back dedicated to random dungeon generation. This had a lot of appeal to me at the time. To be fair it is great to take the mental strain out of generating dungeons. Wandering monster tables were a staple of Tunnels + Trolls as well as D+D. The downside is that they take a bit away from the flow of the game as you sit there with a chart and some dice.

Once I had been told about this (a few times at least) I decided to do something about it. At the time I was playing Conspiracy X. Here I used tarot cards to allow the players to divine the future. I had a pen outline for each card using traditional interpretations of the cards. To keep it to the theme of the game I attached characters and events to certain cards.

To be honest I had a number of possible scenarios outlined and I took a look at the cards and tried to work in the ideas on the table  in with the overall campaign. I was surprised how well it worked. To back me up I made sure that the readings were all photographed so I had evidence that it was all in the hand of cards. Having different characters attached to different cards and a dash of "genuine" tarot babble it gave some credence to a game that was pretty heavily locked into the supernatural.

More recently I have been using Rory's Story Cubes. There are three main sets and a number of smaller tag on sets. Generally I pick one of the larger sets, typical this is the original set, and then one or more of the smaller sets. The smaller sets are more specific so I pick the sets that are most relevant to the setting and my plans for the scenario.

Normally I stick with about eight or nine dice out of the one available. If things don't seem to make too much sense I will swap the facings of a few of the dice over. Someone accused me of cheating by doing this but I think they had a borderline psychiatric condition.  This isn't cheating, you are creating a story. It can be helpful to put them in order. Then I would get out a pen and a piece of paper and make some very rough notes. If I need a trap or a monster I will wait until the players are talking amongst themselves and quietly pick something out.

Savage Worlds has a tag on system called the Adventure Deck. Most GMs don't seem to use this. Many of the cards give bonuses in combat. Generally I think that combat is easy enough so I ditch these before doing anything else. I favour the ones that add to the roleplaying side of things. Although there is a standard deck, there are plenty of fan created cards out there and there is also a way to create you own cards. This hands some of the random over to the players. It helps them to buy into the game and giving the cards that help further the plot is always good. They can be crated for specific games for even more flavour and I have done this for the Viking Game and Fallout.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Slight Changes Afoot

With my laser cutting plans curtailed until a new cutter arrives, I am free to pursue other stuff on my agenda. Whilst I am still playing Conan Exiles quite happily I am really feeling the urge to do something more practical. I seem to remember that there are some gnolls on my workbench but looking at the bench, I am not sure that I actually can get anywhere near them. For a few months now, the bench has just become a dumping ground.

Every time I go to sit at my bench I find that at least three things have been dumped on my chair by other members of the family. By way of deterrent I have started picking them up and dumping it on their seat and for repeat offenders just placing it somewhere where they are going to have difficulty finding it. I didn’t want to actually hide anything, yet, maybe that will come.

With the summer holidays here my joy is now complete (sic). On the bright side I will get a bit of a lie in in the morning. It does leave me with a bit more freedom day to day inasmuch as I can get a good run at things without having to do the school run,  being called into meetings and going on training. So I'll see what the next week brings.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Paint Brush Rack

Before I start, it has not been a good day. I am in need of some sleep thanks to the third and fourth power cuts this year.

Today was the last FabLab until September. Although I was hoping to get to the laser cutter there were three staff projects stackd up up front of me before I got there so it was going to be a non-starter. So I defaulted to my standard back up project, the perfect paint brush /tool holder for my workbench. Whilst it is far from perfect, it was the best I could do with the tools I had available at the time. There are perhaps a few more variations that I would like to try but I will see what this looks like when it's finished.

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.
I played orange, so last to go
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.