Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Enfilade 2013 Saturday Afternoon Fly-By

(Image: Poster art for The Blue Max)
Every Memorial Day Weekend, NHMGS holds its annual flagship convention:  Enfilade!  This year's theme was:  Warfare on the Silver Screen.
Unfortunately, due to my work schedule, I didn't get a chance to partake in any of the movie-themed games.  I did, though, conduct a "fly-by" with my friend Joe and spent Saturday afternoon  meeting other gaming friends, browsing the Bring & Buy...
...the vendor stands...
...and snapping nearly 120 pictures of all the gaming events during the Time Block D Period
Despite not delving into any of the gaming action--other than being an annoying shutterbug--I did walk away with a few bags of gaming loot.
After my initial walkabout, I bought nearly 2 dozen 6mm buildings from Sven's Sculpts , along with some latex minefields
The rest of my money was spent on a couple of out-of-print games I found at Gem Games & Hobbies.
First was Renegade Legion Leviathan.  While I did see a copy at the Bring & Buy, along with Renegade Legion Interceptor, neither game contained the rules. 
While there are Renegade Legion fans out there in the cosmos, only a couple of sites appear to be active:  Mad Coyote's Renegade Legion Site and the Renegade Legion Forum
I've had Cry Havoc for years, so I'm always on the lookout for any of the expansion games that were made.  After buying Leviathan, I spotted Siege on another shelf.
What I especially liked about this game was the counters were already punched-out, so all they'll need is some minor trimming.  Even though the Cry Havoc series is out of print, there's still an on-line fan site and material can be found on-line at Cry Havoc Games.
While I certainly enjoyed my roadtrip/shopping spree with Joe, I hope my work schedule is more "gamer friendly" next year!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Remembering Memorial Day

While trolling the internet for Memorial Day images, I stumbled across these photos of a mother and son, that I found especially moving...
Thank you to all who served and sacrificed...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Struck Out with Striker

A couple of days ago, my wife and I went to the  Half Price Books store in Tukwila, WA, after having lunch with family and friends.  I've been rather lucky at finding great deals on out-of-print games and rules supplements during such forays.  On this day, I stumbled across a wrapped box of Striker for $35.
But as it turned out, my luck had run out.  It wasn't until we got home that I opened the box, only to discover it didn't contain any of the Striker booklets, but Books 1 and 3 of the Traveller role playing game (RPG)...

...along with the rulebook for the game Snapshot.

Someone pulled a fast one. 
Here's what should have been in the box...
While I was mentally kicking myself for not opening the game before I left the premises (or asked the cashier before I even bought it), I double-checked the price tag to see if I misread it.  Nope.  The label stated that the box contained "Rules for 15mm miniatures," instead of something like, "assorted Traveller booklets."
I called right away.  Fortunately, I talked to someone who was familiar with Striker and was assured I could return the box for a full refund.
I had the desperate urge to zip back to Tukwila right away.  However, it was late afternoon and the highways and byways of the I-5 Corridor were already choked with traffic.  So any "zipping" would have to wait until the next day. 
There was only one problem--two actually:  I had appointments with both my chiropractor and my primary care physician, at two different locales, of course.
After my morning workout, I rushed home, grabbed some breakfast to go, along with a mega-sized mocha my wife brewed for me and drove Hell for leather the posted speed limit up to Tukwila.  I arrived several minutes after the store opened.  In addition to the game I was returning, I brought along a bunch of DVDs my wife and I were getting rid of as part of our home consolidation process.
Enter the plot twist...
As I was dropping off my DVDs for appraisal, the cashier asked to see my drivers license.
Upon presenting it to him, he declared, "I can't accept that.  Your license expired last week."
(Okay, I should have known that my license was about to expire.  But in my defense, I rarely use it and rely instead on my military ID.  Also, the last time I renewed it the Department of Licensing sent me an e-mail notification and I was able to complete the renewal process on-line).
Despite getting my refund, I was now in a bigger predicament than being gipped out of $35.  I raced drove the posted speed limit to my chiropractor's office with 10 minutes to spare--only to languish for another 25 minutes in his waiting room. 
By now I had less than an hour between appointments, so I sped drove the posted speed limit to a licensing place near where we live--to discover they only do plates and tags.  Once I got directions to the Department of Licensing (DOL), I was off on another wild leisurely ride. 
Of course, when I arrived at the DOL, I was confronted by the usual mob scene.  When I got my number, I asked the teller how long was the wait.  When he said "an hour," I looked at my watch.  I only had 30 minutes to get to my medical appointment. 
Mission abort!
I came back after my doctor's appointment and waited over an hour to be seen.  The folks working at the DOL were actually pleasant and I was told that Mondays were the worst days, by far, to conduct any business there. 
In the end, I managed to get my license renewed--and not get a speeding ticket in the process.  But jeez, it was a long, long day.
(What a complete game of Snapshot should look like)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Book Review: The Savage Sword of Conan, Volume 1

Wow!  It's been over two weeks since my last post.  Sorry folks.  I've been--and still am--in the process of moving, so my posting rate has slowed as a result.
Despite my relocation activities, I did manage to finish at least one book in order to provide some blog fodder for this month, which happens to be:  The Savage Sword of Conan, Volume 1
This tome, weighing-in at 544 pages, is actually a compilation tales from numerous issues of the Savage Sword of Conan comics, that were popular in the '70s and published by a  Marvel Comics imprint. 
Stories include such classics as The Frost-Giant's Daughter and A Witch Shall be Born, both derived from Robert E. Howard's original works.
(Image:  A Frank Frazetta classic!)
As a compendium, it has been well received; earning 35 x 5-star and 13 x 4-star reviews, out of 54 on Amazon.com.  Six low-scoring reviews are evenly divided between 3, 2 and 1-stars. Their main complaints are:  Stories being mere black & white retreads of the '70s-vintage comics, instead of being given the full-color treatment; while the pages are compressed from magazine-size, down to book-size.
While I can see their point, I didn't have a problem with these issues and will give this book a 4-star rating.  It seems that most (all?) the other reviewers were fans of the original Savage Sword comics, back in it's heyday.  I certainly remember them, but only picked up an occasional issue, so I don't feel cheated by reading a re-hashed story.
Plus--I admit it--I've been a Conan fan since I first gazed upon a Frazetta book cover.
Fandom aside, if you're thinking of obtaining this tome, I think Amazon Reviewer, A. Larson has the best advice:
Basically, Savage Sword of Conan is a great read, as long as you only read one or two stories, put the book down, go do something else for two weeks, come back, and read a couple more...the problem is all the stories are out of order chronologically, and they basically repeat the same patterns: Conan meets hot chick (usually a different one every time) who doesn't like Conan at first, fights some monsters or warriors or wizard bent on destruction, hot chick is captured, Conan defeats evil and saves hot chick, hot chick falls head over heels for our beefy warlord, and like James Bond, the story closes with them about to do the nasty. Oh, and there's an occassional magical relic.

Therefore, the stories can get very formulatic and its difficult to get excited from one story to the next if you read a lot of them at once. There is barely any character development with Conan, and with no continuing storylines, there are no other characters to care about.

In closing, this book is very good in small spurts.
So remember, if you need a shot of escapist fantasy, The Savage Sword of Conan is best administered in low dosages.