Archive for the ‘Gaming’ Category


Friday, August 2nd, 2013

They’re pretty sweet. I’ll try and get some pictures up this weekend, but I’ve been putting magnets in my Eldar army for 40k. Both in the arms and on guns. This way I can easily swap what goes where. I can field my Autarch on a Jetbike with a witchblade one week, and then drop a Singing Spear on him the next. Need to pop tanks? I can stick bright lances on my War Walkers. Up against a swarm army? A pair of scatter lasers. It’s gonna be hot. Of course, now I just need to paint all of this stuff… it’s not like I already have a queue of a million miniatures to paint. Oh wait.

I guess I better get to it.

Gen Con is in two weeks!

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

What is GenCon you may ask? Well it started long ago, and it’s about games. Long before you could look at cats on this wonderful thing called the internet, before every house had a computer with 256k of memory, there was wargaming. Historical re-enactment on your tabletop. Fantasy battles. You name it.

Without internet some of these games got played by mail, with each player having a copy of the board, and pieces in their basement, and mailing the details of turns. Or having the occasional get together. There were newsletters, and zines.


And near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin an idea was born, let’s get a bunch of people together, and have a gaming convention. And of course it was called the Geneva Convention because of the place, and the fact that the main focus was wargames it had a nice little ring to it.

Forty+ years later it is possibly the biggest gaming convention around. Board games, card games, miniatures, role-playing, video-games you name it everything is represented. It’s moved to Indianapolis to be more central as people travel from all over the US. I’ve been about 5 times now (missed last year) and it is an absolute blast. This year I’m planning on focusing more on the RPG aspect, I’m going to be spending a bit of time at Games on Demand, but I also intend to help out with the Men In Black (Steve Jackson Games super secret demo team).

I plan on attending the True Dungeon a time or two (especially if I can rope a few friends in) which is basically live action D&D. I am NOT going to fail to play the Mech Warrior pods this year. I might play in a UFS tourney. There is just so much awesome stuff, I can’t wait. I probably won’t take quite as many pictures of the cosplayers this year… but then again, I might not be able to resist. I might even try my hand at it, though I doubt my purple mohawk is still good.

Stripping for fun and profit

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Okay, so it was for fun and experience, but that doesn’t sound as good.

Today* I stripped… a bunch of deamonettes… All of the pictures in this are clickable for larger versions. Some are cropped pretty close already though.

IMG_20130513_202915_746IMG_20130513_202855_434My friend Will gave me a bunch of abused and neglected minis he had no intent of ever using. Poorly (and incompletely) painted, sloppily assembled, bases long gone. So if I’m going to repaint these (hey, it could happen some day. I’ll certainly catch up on Dr. Who and Buffy before I run out of mini’s to paint, but that’s another conversation) I’m going to need to strip them. I have a crap ton of other bequeathed minis in terrible shape which could be useful if stripped and reassembled (we’ll come back to this) so I figured starting with the ones I’m most likely to paint next would be good.



If you’re going to use this guide, here’s what you will need:
Patience – Lots of it!
Pine-Sol – Might as well go economy size, the extra you can use to clean your house.
Glass Jar or Plastic tub – Make sure it has a tight fitting lid unless you really like the smell of pinesol.
Stiff toothbrush – You want hard bristles here.
Dish Soap – You’ve probably already got this.
Gloves – Not a requirement with Pine-Sol, I didn’t use them but my finger skin is now all dry and crackly … it doesn’t hurt, but it’s a little unpleasent.


So there are lots of guides out there, touting all kinds of different chemicals, most of which are more hazardous than Pine-Sol. I like low hazard and biodegradable for pretty much anything I’m going to be dipping my hands in, plus I happened to have a bottle of Pine-Sol under the sink already. So I tossed the minis in a plastic tub, poured Pine-Sol in until they were submerged just, and the let it sit for two days. Depending on how caked on the minis are, you might want to give it longer. Certainly you’re going to want to wait at least 24 hours**. I didn’t think to take a real before picture, but the mini in the pictures above is straight from the tub. A little of the paint has flaked right off, but most is still loosely attached and you can see not much care was put into painting her.

So I set up a bowl of warm water in the sink, and about 1 minute of scrubbing w/ the toothbrush, occasionally dipping it in the soapy water and/or rinsing under running hot water, yielded this version of the mini. You’ll notice there is still a little bit of paint here and there. Mostly in the nooks and crannies. I may toss these minis into a fresh batch of Pine-Sol for another couple of days to see if I can get them spotlessly clean.

Now, on the mini to the left, youIMG_20130513_210104_867 may notice has a huge green and white splotch on her leg, back and butt. I’m fairly certain that is superglue. I wasn’t really able to remove that even w/ a hobby knife. This is where some of the other more toxic chemicals might do a better job. That said, the Pine-Sol did detach all of the arms, and I was mostly able to pick off the superglue with my fingernails, only occasionally having to resort to my hobby knife.

And at the bottom of this post you can see the complete minis drying on a thoroughly soaked paper towel.









*Actually, I did this earlier this week, but my webhost was suffering a DDOS attack and took WordPress down for a few hours. Conveniently the hours when I was going to post this.

**One of my other friends Duncan, who is possibly the best painter I know, has apparently also used Pine-Sol to great effect. He claims that only 3-4 hours are really needed to get most of the paint off.

Great Heartland Hauling Game

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

The Great Heartland Hauling heartlandCompany is my latest Kickstarter to come in. It is basically a trading game. You drive your truck around picking up and dropping off various goods. It is actually a surprisingly quick play only taking a half hour or so and probably less once everyone knows how to play. It even came with an ‘inspansion’ thanks to being a Kickstarter which adds in upgrades, of which each truck can get at most one. The “board” is made of a  dozen cards, randomly deployed, with a variety of different possible setups depending on the number of players. While the basics aren’t too complex, the fact that you MOVE every  turn means goods move around, and eventually become scarcer. Making a profit becomes more difficult. I’ve only played two games so far, so I’m not sure if there is much in the way of complex strategy, but for a quick, portable game with fairly simple rules it works pretty well.

There are a few things that aren’t exactly covered in the rules … like just how optional some of the options are. Can you choose to “deliver” even when you can’t? These are things that maybe I could find out by looking up in a FAQ but I just haven’t been bothered to do so yet. Too many other games to play!

Puzzle Strike

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

puzzle strikePuzzle Strike: Bag of chips is a deck building game. Except instead of cards, you use “poker” chips. The nice thing about this is that you don’t really have to shuffle, instead you just toss them all into the bag and shake. This game simulates a puzzle game (that doesn’t actually exist) that simulates a fighting game (that also doesn’t exist.) If you’ve played Super Puzzle Fighter you know what’s what. If not, imagine a mix of bejeweled and tetris as a multiplayer game. You can combine gems, and then crash them to send them over to other players.

At it’s heart though, this is still a deck building game. You buy chips, they can give you various actions, or let you trash chips from your “deck”, or you can buy better money. There’s a few dozen different possible piles of chips, so every game is different.
One key thing that is unique about this game is that each player’s starting deck is dependent on what “character” they pick to play. So each starting deck is 3 unique chips, a crash gem (used to send crap to other players) and 6 $1 gems.

Once you know what you’re doing, the game is pretty quick. The only complaints I have are that it can only support 4 players at a time. Of course with an extra dice bag, we could probably do a bigger game. The other complaint is that it can be confusing to keep your hand/in play/discard separate from your gem piles. Apparently the 3rd edition of this game does resolve that issue, but I picked up the first edition at a con for half off, so can’t really complain. In fact, what I may do, given time is make a bunch of them, one for each character, maybe even put a little “Agrajag’s playstyle is:” blurb on each of them to help new players pick.

Sea Dracula

Monday, March 11th, 2013



No Let’s play today, instead a quick note, a Sea Dracula kickstarter only needs a few hundred dollars more to hit a stretch goal where Vincent Baker will create a custom playbook for Apocalypse World. I strongly urge you, if you can spare a few bucks, to support this project! Please, think of the dolphins in mecha suits!

If you don’t know, Sea Dracula is a Role-Playing game where you play lawyers in Animal Town trying to prove your case. The conflict resolution mechanic is a Dance Off.

X-Wing Miniatures

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013



So I’m basically in love with the X-Wing Minis game. I really wish I’d gotten it earlier, on the other hand, there is now more variety in ships than I can actually afford. Even if you’re not big on Miniatures gaming, this might still have some appeal. A turn basically consists of 3 parts. First you decide how each of your ships is going to move. You do this via a special wheel that you secretly set for each of your ships. This has things on it like Hard Turn 1 left, or Soft Right 3, or 4 Straight, etc. Different ships have different movement options, and some moves are harder or easier than others. Once everyone has set their moves, every ship moves, and then can take an action (like Lock On, or Barrel Roll, and more, again they vary by ship). Once that’s done every ship fires. Then you do it again, until all ships on a side are blown up, or the mission (there are several missions) is accomplished.

I’m already thinking about making a B5 Mod for this game, and possibly BSG. Space Dog-fighting is one of my favorites, so to see something super quick and easy is really nice. That said, this does also kind of make me want to pull out all of my old Silent Death stuff and try and get that going again.

King of Tokyo

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013


King of Tokyo

King of Tokyo is a great, simple, quick dice game. It’s got a bit of a strategic element, a bit of luck, and bit of needing to know when to quit while you’re ahead. I’ve only played one game so far, and I was killed (second) but I’m still pretty keen on the game.

Basically each player is a giant monster of some kind, intent on become King of Tokyo. To do this you’ll have to fight other monsters. Each turn you roll 6 dice. Triples on 1s, 2s and 3s will give you Victory points (you need 20 to win), Lightning symbols give you energy which you can buy upgrades and events, and monster prints lets you attack. Finally there are Hearts which will heal you (though not above the 10 HP you start with. The first monster to deal damage goes to Tokyo. After that if you are in Tokyo you deal damage to all of the monsters outside it, and vice versa. Also, while you’re in Tokyo you gain VP each turn, and can’t heal. When someone hits you though, you can let them take over Tokyo (though you still take the damage). Blake and I both died in the game, and it was due to staying King of the Hill for too long.

The powerups you can buy give a nice twist to the game, and in fact Will won our game with a “turtle” strategy where he got VPs for NOT attacking thanks to becoming an herbivore.

Who likes Skinner Boxes?

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013



So I “participate” in a bunch of skinner boxes. I keep going to work, and they keep giving me money which I can then use for food. That’s the main box. I also work a second job for which I’m rewarded with games. Fortunately most of those are board games or miniatures games, few (if any) of which can be described with this slightly pejorative moniker. On the other hand, I pretty much constantly have one skinner box on my phone. For a while it was Tiny Tower, or Pocket Planes, or Coin Dozer. Tiny Tower I beat … as in, there was almost literally nothing left for me to do in the game. I got every possible building, I had everyone working their dream job (with a 7 or higher rating out of 10 possible). Thing is, most skinner box style games don’t have a “win condition”. DragonVale, my current addiction, falls squarely into this. They add new dragons frequently, and some dragons can only be hatched at certain times.

I rather like DragonVale, which I’ll acknowledge is dangerous in and of itself. Here’s what I like, you get to raise and breed dragons. And they fly around on the screen in the game and slowly earn me money with which I can buy more areas in which I can raise more dragons. Of course, I need to feed my dragons so they’ll grow up… though once they’re fully grown you no longer need to feed them. In a way I’m kind of disappointed, because was such an onerous and repetitive a task required to play the game I probably would already have deleted it. Mostly though it’s hop on some time in the morning before work, harvest my money and food, see if I’ve got a new egg to hatch, or my breeding pair have produced a new egg … done. I’ll probably check again around lunch time, and then sometime in the evening as well… In general the game eats up about 15-30 minutes of my time each day. Not too bad for a skinner box.

Would I recommend this? Well, yes, especially if we’re friends on facebook, because then we can swap gems (the pay for it currency which you can slowly acquire through in game means as well). If you don’t deal well game addiction … well maybe this isn’t the right one for you. Especially if you’re already playing Pocket Planes, Farmeville and 7 other skinner box games.

Monster Hearts – Session 1

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

monsterheartsA ghoul, a werewolf, and the chosen one walk into the bar… and then get kicked out because their fake IDs are crap.

So I just started running a game of Monsterhearts. This is a storygame, loosely based off of the Apocalypse World engine, but it’s a Teen Monster Sex Drama thing. I’ll admit, this isn’t exactly “my genre”, but at least it’s not fantasy. And here’s the wonderful, beautiful thing about AW hacks, I barely have to do anything. Unlike D&D or other traditional RPGs there are no rails for me to keep things on. In fact some of the best story happens when things don’t go as expected. My job is more to know when to switch scenes, to make sure everyone gets time in the lime-light. Keep things fun and interesting and complicated and messy.

Just thinking back, I can think of so many things I could have done better, but because the focus is on the players, not “my pet story” it doesn’t matter. I’d bet most of my “mistakes” went unnoticed. The other thing I love about this style game is the amount of prep required, which is to say barely any. There are a few things I plan to do before the next session, mainly come up with some lists. I want a nice list of a couple dozen names I can quickly nab for NPCs. Maybe a bunch of “descriptors” as well so instead of spending 45 seconds coming up w/ the name Theresa for a waitress, and spending so much time thinking of that that I didn’t even describe her, I can spend the same amount of time, cross out Theresa, Curly hair, Curvy and people will have a much better idea of who she is, even if she ends up only being a bit character.

My only disappointment is how excited I am. It’s been slightly over a day since our first session, and I’m already super excited about the next one. On a related note, our gaming group now has an official name I Podcast Magic Missile and we’re going to start blogging there as well as posting our Actual Plays. I may switch to 3 times a week here, and once or twice a week there, or find a way to crosspost. More info, and links coming once we get some content organized on there.