Friday, December 31, 2021

2021/2022 Zen: Failure at nothing or success of nothing?

An obligatory new year post. I made no hobby resolutions this year so..... I win? It seems a bit weak though. Much like 2020, the year 2021 has been disrupted by small children, covid, and the sundries of life.

I was able to get in a couple of wargames with friends (in person!). A couple of blog posts were created. And towards the end of the year I had a burst of painting productivity (which shall most likely be revealed in the near future). I have managed to stay *somewhat* productive in other parts of the year with cleaning of minis, and assembly.....but honestly they don't make for much interest in a post.

Matakishi's teahouse has a hobbystreak thing he has done. I guess he posts a pic on twitter everyday. I do take a lot of photos that just never really make it off my phone into the blog for one reason or another. I am toying with the idea of having a feed that the blog links to that at least shows I'm alive and productive. Noteworthy results would merit full posts. Something to ponder as a project for the new year. 

Dawn of the lead has a great 2021 recap. I was a bit inspired when I first read it. Now it's a bit of a leap to 'commit' to a resolution. I think that I will try to:

1/. revisit the "Tray of Shame" and get some of the crud out of there.  

2/. jump start a stalled project

I leave you with the best hope and wishes for the coming year...may things improve next year. Please enjoy the pictures of art brought home by my daughter which makes me think she has had close encounters with the Cthulhu 'Mythos'. 



Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Romanian Tacam R2 Tank Destroyer - 28mm 3d print

 I'm recently been chipping away at a variety of figs and this one is close enough for photos! 


I have been possessed to paint up a 28mm Romanian WW2 force. It seems like a perennial scale/period that comes back again and again (with different rules. Many years ago I read a book: '3 axis, 4th ally' which was an interesting look at the Romanians. Conveniently, for wargaming, they swapped sides late in the war and started attacking the Hungarians (who they really didn't like) and helped push on Germany. This means I have a bigger scope of opponents I can fight 'historically'. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

AAR: What a tanker (1st game)

4 corners type setup...eventually 2 more gamers showed
 Largely my gaming has had the crimp put on it by my young children (1.5, and 4.5). Besides the fatigue and time sink (big big time sink) involved with raising kids I don't feel great about abandoning my wife to manage two children for most of a day. It's hard when it happens to me so golden rule.....



Fortunately this weekend, one of the newer local gamers hosted "what a tanker" which is super easy to drop in/out of and it turns out he lived mere blocks away! I carved out 2 hours of daddy time (entirely thanks to the wife) to try out the (new to me) ruleset.



Soviets rushing forward. Already one Sherman brewed first turn
Each player took a single tank from Nick's 15mm collection. People trickled in so the rules were explained about 3 times before we started and in a most auspicious sign, everyone took pretty reasonable vehicles despite the numerous Tigers, Kingtigers, Jadzpanthers, IS-2's and SU-whatever is huge with a big gun in the box.  We saw a soviet Sherman, T34 (without the upgraded gun), Stug4, Su-76 (tank destroyer), panzer 4, and a marder. All largely 'mid war' stuff. 

Panzer 4 hiding in the trees still ends up taking heavy fire

What a Tanker has the active player roll 6 dice, and each dice result allows you to conduct different actions. Move, acquire, aim, fire, reload, and a wild die. Various tank abilities let you convert one of your dice into a set result (like fast lets you convert to a move, tank destroyer to an aim). The hilarity of the game is you often don't get the full spectrum of dice you need, so you are able to move to position, acquire and aim at the target but for some damned reason, your crew just can't seem to get that shell down range. This largely matches the friction of war and makes planning pretty challenging. Given the wild die and abilities you are often able to do *something* useful, even if it isn't turning your opponents into piles of flaming wreckage. 



A Sherman ices by Stug who was otherwise distracted


Target rolls are civilized (base 6+ to hit within a couple of feet) with a moderate number of bonuses/penalties, all of which are a single point change (aiming per dice used, obscured, each obstacle in the way, long range, target is small, etc). Once you hit there is another first full of dice rolled for the attacker it's 'strike' and the defender 'armour'. You are looking for 5+ (in most cases) and compare the difference in number of successes for the result of the hit. A great roll will see your opponent brew up immediately, but more often there is a steady loss of function (loss of command dice, and reduced effectiveness of actions). 



I was around for 2 hours which included set up, 3 rounds of rules explanations, and about 5 turns with 6 people. We had 3 tanks brewed up already, and I'm reliably informed that it got bloodier as it went on. The table was certainly sparse terrain wise, but it makes sense for an intro game. Russian steppe or something. I appreciate the ease with which a knocked out player can re-enter the game, and how simple the basic mechanics are to grok. Definitely a good ruleset to break out for beer and pretzels or a fun fun convention game. I'm not sure how it's make out for people who care about the actual results and a campaign system but what do I know, I've only played once for 2 hours. 

I'll tank this one as a play again.

A nice clean side shot on that T34 distracted me from the git in the woods

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Resin *USED* to be a pain to clean

 While trolling through my pictures on my phone I realized I have something useful to share! I generally try and avoid resin as I find the cleaning process both annoying, toothbrush scrubs in hot water in every nook and cranny, but also a bit fraught; I have some resin terrain that obviously wasn't cleaned properly and the paint flaked off in a heart breaking way. I DEFINITIVELY don't want to waste my time painting and have it drift off the fig when gently rubbed.

 I have, however, slowly built up a collection of cool minis that just don't come in plastic or metal. Winter usually spells the time when I pull out my stash and realize I need to do the soapy hot water bath, lay out tons of dishtowels for drying, and suffer some serious sore back and feet from the poor ergonomics involved. UNTIL NOW!

Somehow I stumbled on a youtube video talking about the magic of ultrasonic cleaners for resin. Now ultrasonic cleaners are getting cheaper and more accessible and are marketed usually for cleaning jewellery, glasses and other things with small hard to access nooks and crannies. The video was largely about the revelation, communicated to the host by others, about using one to clean forge world minis. Now I don't own forge world stuff because I don't poop golden eggs, but I do have a bunch of resin I don't want to use elbow grease on. 

A short bit of research and crossing my finger that my amazon purchase doesn't suck and I now own an ultrasonic cleaner. Work flow generally involves an electric kettle to bring up the temp on the water faster (the cleaner has a built in heater which is a bit weak sauce), lots of detergent, about 3-4 minutes of buzzing, and trying not to lose any bits down the sink as I rinse the final product. HUGE time and effort savings. My hands and fingers usually end up a bit scorched as I try to fish out bits that slip out of the gaps in the basket but I'm most happy with the results. 

I've also earned points with the wifey by being able to clean her jewellry. Win.

Monday, November 8, 2021

The Quiet Year: Communal Map Drawing Game pt 1

Most of my gaming these days is restricted to roleplaying games. In the age of infants and covid it's just so much less overhead to meet up on the internet by voice and crack out a couple hours of gaming while still able to respond to child 'events'.  We failed to get quorum the other night so a trio of us tried out "The Quiet Year". It's a communal game where the players (2-4) are driven to create a map and story with the use of a deck of cards and the emergent properties of their decisions. 


You each take a turn, representing a week, to draw a card/event/question, resolve it and then choose an action (Start a project, discover something new, hold a discussion). Interestingly player discussion is very need to use an action to "hold a discussion" (call a council/moot/poll/whatever) to hear what the other players (representing voices of the community) think. But each only gets to have about 2 sentence statements. This means each player really gets a lot of autonomy about where the game/community is trending. I don't want to suggest this is a silent game, there is still chatting, laughter, gasps of surprise. It's just the other players need to hold themselves back from offering suggestions from the active player. 


The game was fun enough that I thought I'd do a writeup. We only made it about half way through, but I'm very much looking forward to the conclusion.....things have just really gone sideways. We started off with each making a statement about the map: It was an island, in an archipelago, riddled with tunnels. We each decided on one important resources: food, sunlight, and archeotech (ancient technology/materiel/metal resource/knowledge). In a group we decided which one would be in abundance (archeotech) while the others are in scarcity. Then off we went flipping cards and spinning the weeks by....

Thursday, July 22, 2021

A quick naval bloodbath; Intro War at Sea AAR

 After six months of silence I managed to get a post done....and a game AAR at that. Local gamer Garret has been quietly collecting the (mostly?) defunct game War at Sea. I imagine you can pick up a good set of minis for reasonable prices. While not my favorite style of game (each ship has it's own card with different values/rules) it does keep the bespoke rule craziness to a modest level. 





One of the big drivers was the ability to hammer out a game VERY quickly (important when we both have 2 children under 4!). I think this one took about 90 minutes with learning for me. Garret has a useful little computer program that has a database of his available gear and will wizard up lists. He made two reasonably balanced ones....An american fleet with a cruiser, aircraft carrier, and 2 destroyers (plus planes), and a japanese one with 2 destroyers, a heavy cruiser, a sub, and a heap of air. 

Objective is to seize the 3 white objectives on the midline, and/or destroy your enemy. Victory is sorta sudden death as when you hit a certain VP total you win (I suspect at the end of the turn). I was VERY concerned about the japanese sub to the Northwest so swarmed it with planes dropping depth charges. Unfortunately the amount of fighters I had to bombers was....unbalanced, so the japanese were able to sink my carrier in the first turn. Yikes!

Land bases were the only thing keeping the aircraft up, which now means they come ever second turn in the absence of special rules (some bombers with larger fuel and bomb loads can 'loiter' and stay on station without needing to reload each turn). 

The second turn we both kept as much aircraft in play as possible and continued to hammer the ships. I decided to focus reducing the number of targets so ignored his cruiser in favor of killing destroyers (which carry torpedoes which are pretty swingy in this game but do heaps of damage). 

We were rapidly reaching a point where all we had were one or two crippled ships and far too many bombers for any sailors health.

The one turn of naval gunner and torpedos saw my cruiser and one (of two) destroyers go down, but cleared the table. The final turn the japanese continued to struggle for the draw to kill my final destroyer before it could claim a VP point. It narrowly avoided the angry wrath of the japanese bomber force to pull out a win.

A fun beer and pretzel type game that you can hammer out a couple of games in a session. I feel that it's obvious you need more fighters but Garret makes it sound as though there is a tricky element of balancing various needs without leaving yourself catastrophically open to certain attacks.

Friday, January 1, 2021

2020 in Review: Clean sweep....of failure!

It's no revelation that 2020 was a dumpster fire for most of us. Locally we started heading off the tracks in February/March. Working in the hospital we battened down for a tsunami of infection and death that didn't arrive. It was still quite stressful, no one knew anything, it was a mix of being scared to be working in the operating rooms, and being bored outside them looking for more to do. 







Back at home, the wife was expecting in the summer. So much was done to switch the home around including evicting me into the furnace room a.k.a the Dave Cave. Some outdoor work included installing an arbour and some fencing around the bee hives. 


Once it became clear that  enfilade was cancelled my painting dropped to zero. There really wasn't much motivation left at the end of the day to get my hobby on, when other projects with a much more definite 'due date' where approaching. 

Its mine. Not a random internet pic.

End of summer arrived, with a new baby, and (no surprise to those with children) two kids is a lot more work than one. Like....more than twice. Quarantine/Purgatory fatigue set in as numbers ballooned and restrictions came back. I've felt a mental fog for a lot of this year.

Having said all that, it's still a bit startling that I got NONE of my resolutions done. Maybe I went in a bit cocky but I'm fairly certain if enfilade had happened I would have hit a few of them. As it The collection grew, outlays didn't decrease, I think that I played no table top games, and painting was a joke.


1/. Host cowboy game - play unpainted//partially painted//fully painted
2/. Paint Austrians for enfilade// paint hussar rampant for enfilade //paint 2 sides for hussar rampant
3/. Frostgrave OR hardwired OR Pulp Alley OR some osprey skirmish ruleset - play unpainted//paint one side//paint both sides
4/. Decreased Kickstarter & nerdery expenditures by 20%//Only 3 kickstarters in the year//no kickstarters
5/. # of blog posts/regular hobby updates: 26 in a year// at least 2 per month// 1 every 2 weeks
6/. Minimum figs: 1 per week (easy...)//stretch 1 per week not enfilade related
7/. paint and/or give away more than I buy (negative growth)//paint more

The only slightly silver lining on this dog of a year is that the little work I did do was partial painting on lots of different things. It may mean some actual production in 2021. As the most excellent darkest dungeon game shares with us:

Do not ruminate on this fleeting failure - the campaign is long, and victory will come