Sunday, May 19, 2019

Five Second Flick Theater Presents: The Punisher and Deadpool--All Wet


Welcome back for Episode 2 of Five Second Flick Theater!

A few years ago I attended the Jet City Comic Show.  e stood in front of the backdrop provided by Costume Characters for Causes.  I dressed as the Punisher and met up with a Deadpool cosplayer.  We stood in front of the backdrop provided by Costume Characters for Causes.

The few pics the charity took of me and Deadpool (I never caught his name) has provided me with fodder for my Facebook profile pic, a short webcomic and now a series of Five Second Flicks.

The first theme I thought of for this episode plays on the assumption that it rains all the time in Seattle.

And now a word from out sponsor...



If you find yourself trekking through New York State's Hudson Valley area, and have a hankering for a unique tasting snack-spread, check out Doc Schwarz Wine Jelly.

My sister, Roberta, and her husband Eric started making this for over a year now.  They've now opened a gift shop and have just planted starter-vines for their own vineyard.

But don't just take my word on how great Doc Schwarz Wine Jelly is.

I am Roberta's brother, after all.

Here's a glowing article from The Gardiner Gazette.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

New Audio-Visual Production: Five Second Flicks



Welcome to "Episode 1 of Five Second Flick Theater!"  

Just in time for Mother's Day.

I discovered a special effects program while uploading some new pictures.  The effects create a 5-second long video.So I went through various pictures I took through the years and compiled them into what I call “Five Second Flick Theater.”  This “first episode” is based on my Facebook profile pic, which was taken at the Jet City Comic Show a few years ago.  The backdrop is from Comic Heroes for Causes and quote is my favorite line in the BBC show “Sherlock,” with Benedict Cumberbatch. 

"And now a word from our sponsor..."



Okay, I don't have any sponsors per se.

But lately I've been encountering talented people running businesses, or informational websites that I think are neat and I thought it would be fun to add a "commercial" to some of my theatrical productions.


(Image from Kristina RDH YouTube Channel)


So my first shout-out goes to my dental hygienist, Kristina, who runs her own YouTube channel, Kristina RDH/Ask A Hygienist


(Image:  Kristina's "Ask A Hygienist" logo)

Kristina also runs a supporting page on Facebook.

And in the interests of full disclosure, I did win her monthly raffle last month and received her gift box full of dental product goodies. 

This was also the first time my name's been mentioned on YouTube and I'm still feeling thrilled about it.

Even if I didn't win, I tune in to Kristina's posts, because I always learn something new about oral health and I encourage everyone to check out her channel.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

My Road to the Grim Darkness...

(An image from Rick and Morty posted on Tumblr by Warhammer 40K Fantasy)
I've known about Warhammer 40,000 (WH40K) shortly after its initial release in 1987.  However, I've avoided getting into it--until several years ago when my daughter met her now-husband.

While he did some other gaming, he was primarily a WH40K player and collector.  So in order develop more common interests between us, I thought I'd just buy the core rules and a "few models" so I could at least talk to him about the "...grim darkness of the far future...."

Yeah. Right.

Five years and 20 blogposts later, my "small" collection exploded into this--


(Image:  My WH40K vehicle collection in a display case)

--21 armored personnel carriers of various types and from 3 different factions, mostly Astra Militarum, with a few from the Adepta Sororitas (a.k.a. "Sisters of Battle" nuns with guns of the Ecclesiarchy) and even the Inquisition.

--8 Lehman Russ Battle Tanks and variants.

--3 self-propelled artillery vehicles and one anti-aircraft vehicle.

--3 static gun positions.

--25 heavy weapon teams and,

--230 troops, mostly foot soldiers of the Astra Miltarum, along with a few squads of Battle Sisters and a couple Inquisitor retinues, along with some alien warriors.

And I'm having another 35 figures painted as I'm writing this.

Initially, I bought kits of un-assembled vehicles and figures.  But then I stumbled across buy/sell/trade pages on Facebook and began buying assembled and painted miniatures for about the same price as the un-assembled kits.

I apologize for the sparse details, but I intend for this to be a "teaser" for future posts on my collection.  I'm currently suffering from a foot injury and I made it worse by attempting to do a prolonged photo shoot.

Besides the pictures didn't turn out well.

Of course, one can't simply buy miniatures without any guidance on what to do with them.

So over the course of about 5 years, I acquired 63 rule books and splatbooks of the main game, along with role playing game by Fantasy Flight Games and the new Wrath & Glory role-playing game which WAS produced by Ulisses-US, but now seems to have been dropped from the company's website, possibly due to a considerable number of negative reviews.

The main game, is now on it's 8th Edition, which I started buying two years ago.

Notice, I said "started buying?"

That's because Games Workshop, like every other game company, would produce new supplements, accessories, etc. after the core rules are published.

The bulk of my book collection are earlier editions of the rules, or Forgeworld reference books.

(Image:  Shelf space devoted to older issues and Forgeworld books)

When 8th Edition hit the shelves in 2017, I limited to my purchases to the main faction I was collecting--the Astra Militarum (a.k.a. the Imperial Guard).

(Image:  My main collection of WH40K books and RPG material)

Back when the short-lived 7th Edition was being played, I picked up almost all of 6th Edition rules and Codexes at used book stores for $5-$20.  I figure while the gaming Crunch has most likely changed since previous editions, the background Fluff should remain the same.

Of course, my feeble attempt at pinching pennies went out the window when Kill Team came out last year:

(Image:  My infantry storage cases and new Kill Team sets)

So there you have it.  My "small" investment into the wacky world of Warhammer 40K expanded to fill the empty spaces on my shelves and in my closets.

And speaking of shelf space, I can safely say I'm approaching my limit.  I'm at the point now where if I buy anything new--of any game--I have to get rid of something old.

I'd love to purchase a few more vehicles, specifically some Salamander scout vehicles, Destroyer tank destroyers, if I could find them in the first place since Forgeworld no longer produces them; along with a Lehman Russ Vanquisher.  But I have no room to put any of them.

The irony of all this is:  I have yet to play a single game of any edition of WH40K, Kill Team or either editions of the role playing games.

Nor is WH40K the only game system I've invested in, but have spent little to no time at the game table with.  I've whined about explained my game-time shortage in previous posts, so I won't bore readers (again) with the details.

Anyway, when a friend of mine shared this meme on Facebook...

(Image found on Solitaire Wargames Facebook Page)
..I felt it certainly applies to me regarding my entire collection of games.

I'm sure this is true for some (many?/all?) of you gamers out there.

Despite my lack of table-top time with WH40K I'm happy with my "small" collection, which is about the size of a reinforced mechanized infantry company.

I have a concept of how I'm going to organize it, what the unit will be called and webcomic stories I'll concoct about.

As soon as my foot heals and I can withstand standing for long photo shoots, I'll start posting what my contributions to the Imperial war efforts are.

Stay tuned!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Product Review: Traveller Customizable Card Game



I started playing and game mastering (GMing)  Traveller within a few years of its initial release.  Although unlike 1d4 Chan’s claim, I’m actually older than the game itself.

Anyway, like some (many?) of you, I sadly don’t have time to play the full role-playing game (RPG).

A month or so ago, my friend Joe and I stopped in The Game Matrix to do some “shopping therapy.”  While browsing, I stumbled across the Beowulf Free Trader Ship Deck.  Despite being unable to read the content description on the back of the small box due to the price sticker, I bought the deck anyway.

It’s a Traveller product—which means it’s good, right?

Well, when I got home that day, I did some in-depth research internet trolling.  

I discovered my new purchase was merely a supplement to the Traveller Customizable Card Game produced by Horizon.  

I thought this game was brand new and was surprised to find Horizon’s products, such as the ship decksexpansion packs and accessories were out of stock.

Come to find out the initial Kickstarter campaign kicked-off just over three years ago.  (Not sure how I missed this one).

So I ventured to Game ON! since they seem to specialize in card games, along with family-friendly games. I ordered just about everything Horizon had to offer—which included another Beowulf Free Trader Ship Deck in the  Starter Set.





After my order arrived, I did a cursory read-through of the rules.

In the past, I’ve steered away from card games because I find them too abstract.  My feelings on this haven’t changed all that much—even after reading the rules.  However, because both playing space and gaming time are in short supply, and because this is a Traveller product, I’m willing to give this a try.

The quality of my new-found purchases are top notch, with lavish illustrations on the cards and in the rulebook.

Reading the rules is one thing—playing the game is something else.

I haven’t played the game yet and I’m still trying to understand the mechanics, so I’m not in a position right now to provide any information on how to play the game.

Fortunately, Michael & Brittany from Horizon are here to help with this Example of Play Video

And speaking of actually playing the game, I find that not only are time & space are in short supply—but so are fellow gamers.  We all lead busy lives, and it’s often difficult to get together with one gaming buddy, not to mention assembling a whole crew.

Which is another reason for purchasing this card game—opportunities to play solo.  Here’s a Geek Gamers video of a solo play example.  (I’m glad to see I’m not the only one having difficulty wrapping my head around the rules).

Overall, the game is like Firefly: The Game, without miniatures and a game board.  This may be ironic since there’s been a debate on how much the show’s creator, Joss Whedon, was influenced by his time playing Traveller.

Anyway, despite any vague or hard-to-understand game mechanics, I look forward to “trying my hand” at finding a crew, finding a job and keep flying...


Friday, March 1, 2019

Airfix--The Introductory Wargame, Product Review and Game Report



If you’re a gamer as old as I am like me, you probably got started by playing with Airfix toy soldiers.

These 1/72-scale, soft plastic figures were a staple part of my childhood.  We use to line them up in the back yard and toss pebbles at our opponent’s troops.  The kid with the last man standing won.

This turned out to be a “gateway drug” for my life-long addiction to wargaming.  (But I’m not really addicted—I can quit any time I want to).

Fast forward to 2018.  I was cruising around an on-line gamestore’s site, The Miniature Market I think, and I was delighted to stumble across Airfix Battles The Introductory Wargame by Modiphius Entertainment



The game comes with the following—

—A 16-page rules booklet
—A 16-page mission booklet with 10 scenarios
—10 dice
—2 double-sided, grid-square maps
—2 sheets of double-sided die-cut counters representing German and Allied soldiers, vehicles, terrain and various status markers
—A 54-card Command Deck, and
—2 27-card Force Decks (German and Allied)

The counters representing the vehicles and soldiers are top-down views made to the same scale as the 1/72nd scale figures.  In fact, players are encouraged to replace the counters with figures.

All the components are high quality in a sturdy box.  My only complaint is the ruined house counters are identical on both sides.  Modiphius Entertainment missed out on an opportunity to provide players with a variety of buildings for their game.  I imagine this was done to cut down on printing costs.

Anyway, players assemble troops using the Force Deck, based on the scenario being played.  The cards list the weapons and capabilities of the leaders and squads.

My friend Joe and I played Scenario 1:  Link up with HQ!/Halt the Allied Breakthrough!
This covers the German counter attacks immediately after the D-Day Invasion.

The Americans (Ted):



The Germans (Joe):



The game is played on a cardstock map with faint white “+” marks to indicate the grid squares.  (Note:  No diagonal movement is allowed).

Here’s the terrain set-up for Scenario 1:


The forces assemble:


Each square can be occupied by only one unit (a single vehicle, or a 5-10 man squad).

The fire-fight unfolded as follows:

The German veteran squad occupies the southeastern ruined building.




The American veteran squad occupies the northwestern ruined building, while First Squad advances along the road.

Meanwhile, the German Zuerst Squad advances along the southern flank, and the Zweite Squad advances toward the northeastern ruined building.



The American Second Squad charges the German flanking squad...



...with the Americans getting the worst of it.



Despite the lopsided outcome, the Americans manage to inflict a few casualties among the Germans.


The Germans though, finish-off the handful of survivors from the Second Squad.




The American First Squad advances to the southwestern ruined building in an attempt to shore-up the south flank.





The German Zuerst Squad fires a devastating volley into the American squad (by playing a "Fire" Interrupt Card)...



...then beats the Americans in the race for the southwestern ruined building.


Undaunted, the Americans attempt to evict the Germans...



...first with a “commando assault...”


...then with an infantry assault.



Neither attempts succeed in ousting the Germans.



The German company commander joins the Zwiete Squad...



...and orders the men to charge the American veterans.


Over half the American veterans fall, but the pair of survivors, "stayed frosty" (by playing a "Stay Frosty" Card) and were able to hold off the Germans...


...long enough for the First Squad to come to their rescue.


Caught in a crossfire, the German Zweite Squad is annihilated when the American First Squad opened up on them.



However, the American First Squad is caught in the open by the German Zuerst Squad and nearly wiped out.



The final stage of the firefight:




While both side have been mauled by the short and intense firefight, Joe felt he was not in a position—to hold his positions.

Joe and I enjoyed playing Airfix--The Introductory Game.  We both made a couple mistakes during our session, which could have changed the outcome.  While we like card-driven games like this, it’s often hard to remember every bit of capability each of your units have during the heat of battle.  I think hand grenades were the most forgotten about asset squads possessed.

Still, I recommend this game for anyone just getting into the hobby, introducing others to wargaming—or for those of us desiring a bit of nostalgia.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Product Review: Fury of the Norsemen

(Note:  All images are from the Board Game Geek entry)

I stumbled across a copy of Metagaming’s  Micro History #4The Fury of the Norsemen, at Noble Knight Games.

I remember seeing it when it first came out in the early ‘80s but I never picked it up.

I often use board games as a campaign system, or a scenario generator for miniature battles.  So I decided to buy it, figuring I could use this in conjunction with Saga, Song of Blades and Heroes, or other hack & slash skirmish games I own.

The box art is more appropriate for a sword & sorcery fantasy setting than a historical one.

While the exterior artwork is well-done, if a bit over-the-top, the map and counters show their 80s vintage printing quality.


But hey, one can’t expect much for a pocket-sized game that originally retailed for $3.95.


Despite the quality-control issue, opinions of the game are generally favorable.  In his extensive review, Corey Butler considered the game flawed but fun.

In addition to Corey’s comments, I’d add that when I received my own copy from Noble Knight Games, it game in a large plastic envelope because the box itself was crushed. But once again, you can’t expect a 28 year-old mini-game to withstand the rigors of time.

One of these days, I hope to play this as either a stand-alone game as it was intended, or as a mini-campaign.  

When I do I’ll be sure to do a battle report on it.


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Meme for the New Year (2019)


I thought I'd start 2019 off on a humorous note.

I've been reading Ciaphas Cain--Saviour of the Imperium by Sandy Mitchell, which is part of the Warhammer 40K setting.

I stumbled across a quote of our accidental hero that I loved and concocted a 300-themed meme using Make A Meme.

Best wishes to all of you this New-ish Year!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Fix Bayonets 2018, What A Tanker Game Report


The second game I played during Fix Bayonets 2018 was What A Tanker, run by Damond and assisted by David.

What A Tanker, produced by Too Fat Lardies, is a tank vs. tank skirmish game.

Each player controls one tank, although running more is possible, through the use of a "dashboard."

(Image from:  Skirmish Wargaming's game review)
This is used to determine the status and possible actions your tank.  After determining the initiative order, each player will roll up to six 6-sided dice (d6) and put them in the Command Dice box when it's his turn.  (When your tank takes damage, you will roll less than  6d6, depending on the severity).  The results are:  1-Move, 2-Acquire, 3-Aim, 4-Fire, 5-Reload, and 6-Wild Dice.  The Wild Dice can be used for any other action, or saved for next turn.

Damond put together a Breakout from Normandy scenario.  The American players needed to advance across the river, while the German players needed to defend.

The American force consisted of a few M4 Sherman tanks, and a M36 tank destroyer.

The Set Up

Setting up the scenario and going over the rules.

The four German players.
Two of the American players and the Gamemaster (GM).




The Battle


Tiger tank advances up to the bocage on the north flank.

Two Panzer IVs maneuver around a farmhouse. 

Sturmgeschutz III ("Stug III") advances up to the bocage on the south flank.

An M4E8 ("Easy 8") advances up the road and comes under fire from the Tiger.

The Panzer IVs guard the river crossing.

My M36 advances up to the bocage on the southern flank.

My M36 and the Stug III exchange shots.

The StugIII is hard to hit, but is destroyed by my M36.

Another Sherman tank advances over the bocage but is caught in the open.

Another Stug III arrives to reinforce the Germans.

My M36 takes a long range shot at the newcomer, but to no avail.
Another Sherman tank arrives in the American center.


One Panzer IV takes up a position on the south side of the farmhouse...

...while it's companion continues to guard the bridge.

While on the west side of the river, the Tiger tank moves to another position behind bocage.
The newly arrived Stug III takes out my M36!



One of the Panzer IVs backs up behind the barn.

The Tiger and the Easy 8 begin their cat & mouse game around the woods. 

The Tiger advances.
The Easy 8 advances, just far enough to take several shots at the Tiger.



Both tanks are struck several times.  The Tiger suffered minimal damage, but the Easy 8 became hard-pressed.

One of the Panzer IVs advances around the farmhouse and attempts to take some potshots at some Sherman tanks.

Another M36 arrives to reinforce the American's stalled advance.
One Sherman takes a shot at the newly arrived Stug III

The Stug III returns fire.
My newly arrived M36 provides supporting fire against the Stug III.
The Panzer IV moves to the front of the farmhouse looking for targets.
The Tiger doubles-back towards the woods on the north flank.


The Easy 8 and Tiger at a final stand-off.

Conclusion

This was an enjoyable, yet challenging scenario.

This was my first time playing the game.  The only problem I, and us newbies had was understanding the results of the command dice die rolls.   A quick reference chart could alleviate this problem.

Otherwise, What A Tanker is fun, easy and quick to play, that requires less resources than "more serious" games.