Thursday, May 10, 2018

New "Command Chair" for the Studio

I know it's been nearly a month since I posted anything. 

Work has been busy, not mission-wise, but because we're short-handed, and will be for at least another month.

I had a few days off and got all my chores, errands and appointments completed a couple days ago.  This left me with nearly a full day (Tuesday) I was planning to work on some gaming projects and even a blog post.

Alas it was not meant to be.

At the beginning of the week I ran into Staples and purchased a couple magazine binders to house and organize some of my wargame rules.  Before leaving, I stumbled across a Tempur-Pedic-Leather Desk-Office-Chair on clearance--nearly 2/3rds off the retail price.

I had to wait until my wife got home from work because I couldn't fit the chair in my Jeep.  Fortunately, the last-remaining, still-in-the-box chair was still available.

The bad news was:  "Some Assembly Required."  It took me nearly all of my remaining free time to put together my "Command Chair."

The good news is:  I now have a very comfortable, back & hip friendly chair to sit at my Studio desk.

The old chair, fits well at my garage desk where I'd do some terrain & figure painting.  (The chair I had here was too short). 

Now that my work stations are more comfortable, all I need is some time to be able to spend at them...

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Greeting Card for Alabama Game Group

(Image by Dane Tkacs)

One of the things that make Facebook so popular, despite the recent privacy invasion/data mining scandal is the ease and versatility at maintaining contact with family and friends.  When my gaming buddy, Dan, moved to Alabama, he “drafted” me into the “Huntsville Irregulars” (the Huntsville Historical Game Club).  It’s been fun reading and commenting on gaming activities 3,000 miles away.

This past weekend, one of the members posted pictures of his Battle of Sidi Bou Zid, Flames of War game session.  The above picture of one scene in the tabletop re-fight reminded me of Saturday Night Live’s Hans and Franz skit.  So I posted:  “I am Hanz and he is Franz, and we plan to “F” you up!”

A couple members thought it was funny, and I decided to go one better by concocting a greeting card/Facebook cover photo.

First, I cropped the photo, then “cloned out” the pile of status counters using Paint.Net.  After that I used the program’s ink-sketch function to give it a hand-drawn look.  The final step was creating the comic strip using Comic Life.

Here’s the end result:

Friday, March 30, 2018

Caption Contest Prize from the International Thriller Writers Organization

Early last week, I stumbled across the above photo posted on Facebook by the International Thriller Writers Organization (ITW).  It was a Caption This Tuesday Contest for their upcoming Thrillerfest XIII.

I concocted a caption, and a few days later, the ITW's Social Media & Authors Relations Manager notified me that I won!

Not satisfied with "resting on my laurels," I created this gag-a-day webcomic featuring my caption:

I also created this e-poster for ITW to use  in promoting their flagship conference:

I attached copies of both of these back to the ITWs Social Media Manager, asking her if I could use these, along with offering them to ITW for their use.  She happily agreed.

My prize, a copy of The Drifter, by Nicholas Petrie, along with an ITW pen and some promotional flyers, arrived in the mail yesterday.

So, spending my youth and adolescence watching Looney Tunes wasn't a waste of time after all.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Stern Rake Studio Website

Well, I finally launched an actual Stern Rake Studio website yesterday. 

I've been tinkering with it for over a year now. I'm not 100% satisfied with it, but I'm not sure what else to do with it. 

So instead of letting it continue to lay dormant, I thought I'd launch it. 

I'll continue to work on it when I figure out how to improve it.

In the meantime, I hope you like it: 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Product Review: Warhammer 40K 8th Edition

Shortly before 2017 came to a close, I took the plunge and bought Warhammer 40,000’s Eighth Edition (WH 40K 8E).

Prior to this, I scavenged through used book stores for earlier editions.

Not one early edition either.

As a latecomer to the “grim darkness of the far future...” I ended up with Edition 5, 6, and 7 of the core rulebooks.  (Edition 7’s three-volume set was purchased after Edition 8 hit the shelves).

I didn’t limit my dabbling in WH40K to old rulebooks.  While Edition 7 was in its heyday, I started buying just about every used Edition 6 splatbook (codexes—supplements containing the specific details of a select faction) I could find.

Since I have yet to play a single game of any edition of WH40K, I’m not in a position to make any comparisons, good, bad, or indifferent.

I have though, noticed significant changes have been made with each new edition.  And Edition 8 is no exception.  The rules seem to be the most streamlined of the lot.  The blast templates used for determining casualties caused by flame weapons or explosives have been eliminated.  Also there’s nothing in the new core rulebook to set up a “starter game.”  That is, there’s no crunch (game statistics) about any of the factions’ troops or weapon systems within the core rulebook.

So players are forced to buy at least one splatbook.

Since the bulk of my WH40K force consists of “ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances," I went ahead and bought the latest codex for the Astra Militarum, (formerly known as the Imperial Guard)

In this regard I’m one of the lucky players to have a new codex for my main force.  Other players are still waiting for theirs.

I’m still waiting for a codex for my small force of Adepta Sororitas (a.k.a. The Sisters of Battle, or “nuns with guns”).

Fortunately, in the Index: Imperium 2, consists of the basic data,without the fluff, for me to utilize for my Battle Sisters, along with the team of Inquisitors I purchased at a wargame swap meet a few months ago.

So that's three 8E books I've purchased right off the bat--and I want to buy the upcoming codex for the Adepta Sororitas, and the Inquisition.

And at the risk of implying "I can quit whenever I want to" I don't plan on buying any more 8E splatbooks.  While it's a good strategy to study the capabilities of your opponents' forces, I figure I can get the gist of things with the earlier edition splatbooks.

I'm also plannig on keeping earlier edition core rulebooks, because there's still gamers out there who continue to play by the old rules.

So from what little I know about actually playing WH40K, I like the rules.

Maybe I'll even like the game--if I ever get a chance to play.

If you want an in-depth review of the good, bad and ugly of 8E, here's one review by Miniwargaming on what they love and don't love about WH40K8E.

(Image: Adepta Sororitas by Anna Steinbauer)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

After Action Review of: Liberia--Descent into Hell

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I can't remember when I bought Fiery Dragon's Mini-Game#19, Liberia: Descent Into Hell.  Sometime later, I discovered my friend Joe also had a copy, and has been interested in the wars of post-World War II, sub-Saharan Africa.

We talked about playing the game for years.  Finally, a few months ago, we had a few hours of free time on a Saturday and played nearly three turns.  (We did a trial run a month before this, but made too many mistakes interpreting the rules, that it wasn't worth writing about).

I used Plasq's Comic Life 3' "Harrowing Tales" template to concoct this web-comic version of our after action report (AAR).

So our tabletop descent into Hell.

An additional copy of this post can also be found on the Studio Storyboards:

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