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Seeing Double


Quite excited about this one...

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Well-thumbed posts

Historicon 2017: My First Gaming Con

Despite spending hours poring over the GenCon insert included in the first Dragon Magazine I ever bought (#49, with the Hildebrandt dragon cover), it has taken me over 35 years to make it to a gaming convention. I dropped out of the hobby for most of my adult life except for the occasional board game and a handful of role playing game sessions hosted by friends who never gave up the hobby.

After rediscovering in my basement a little over a year ago my box of old D&D miniatures from the early 1980s, I've been experiencing something of a gaming rebirth, developing a special enthusiasm for the miniatures war gaming I never had the opportunity to explore as a kid. In those days, a lack of funds to invest in the massive armies required combined with simply not knowing any grognards as a teenager kept tabletop miniatures gaming dangling in the distance as a tantalizing pastime that I never got to explore.
Now I feel like I'm making up for lost time, acquiring rule sets and amas…

Fall In! 2017 Convention Report

I think I have caught the bug.

Thankfully not the notorious Con Crud (though last September I did fall prey to a virulent strain immediately after exhibiting with my Lost Art Books at the Small Press Expo). And, no, not the Rockin' Pneumonia, either...I seemed to have been cured of that back in 2007 when my last band, The Spontanes, gave up the ghost.

Nope...all of the the symptoms—a growing pile of lead pieces in the shape of fantasy archetypes, subscriptions to YouTube channels dedicated to "terrain crafting," saved eBay search terms such as "oldhammer" and "28mm"—point to a chronic case of the dreaded Miniatures Mania. Perusing the online message boards suggests a grim prognosis for the afflicted: An obsessive preoccupation with "scale creep" and an over-sensitivity to miniatures basing techniques.

Given this diagnosis, it should come as no surprise then that after never having attended a gaming convention in my 47 years, I have now experien…

Hamlet's Heroes

Introduced my friend Francesco to the pleasures of miniatures wargaming yesterday evening, using the great skirmish rules, Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes. He and a mutual buddy, Nate, played the ragged group of heroes defending a small village about to be raided by my band of aggrieved orcs (see scenario intro below).

Hamlet's Heroes (scenario) A band of roving orc reavers recently set up camp in the forest near a small hamlet. One night in a drunken stupor the orc captain wandered into the hamlet’s livestock fields and began fornicating with various animals, a traditional way among the orc of insulting a neighbor. The settlement’s residents heard the noise and ran him off with thrown torches and rocks. The orc stumbled back to his camp, singed and with a long gash along his scalp from one of the sharper of the hurled stones. He was met by his compatriots with a howl of guffaws that continued to echo in his ears long after his men returned to their slumber. To assuage his sha…

Ballads of Dungeon Delving

After discovering and playing a few games of the tabletop skirmish rules Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes in 2016, I developed an itch to play in a "dungeon" setting, like I did so many times in my youth with Dungeons & Dragons. I had tried to scratch this itch with some dungeon-themed board games, but none of them were as fun or satisfying as the tabletop miniatures games I had recently discovered. So I spent months reading through other miniatures rule sets that attempted to bring the basics of wargaming to such a setting, but most were either too simplistic and reminded me of board games, or they required one person to act as a game master while the other players had the fun of clearing out a dungeon. Most of them also failed to meaningfully capture the experience of dungeon exploration, and tended to have rote mechanics for generic encounters. Even Songs' own dungeon delving supplement only got the system part way to where I wanted to end up. 
What I realized I …

The Battle of Four Armies

On the Saturday evening over Thanksgiving weekend, we managed to get in a couple of skirmishes across my dining room table. John brought a number of his painted miniatures (mostly cavalry and foot soldiers), and we combined them with a variety of figures from my collection so that he could teach me, Jared, andZachhow to play Dragon Rampant. It's only the second time I've played something akin to a "mass battle" game in which you're moving around trays of units rather than individual figures (the first being the castle siege game I played a couple of weeks back at Fall In). While you can't afford to get attached to "characters" as one might in a game such as Song of Blades and Heroes, it's great fun moving large clumps of troops across the terrain and throwing them against an enemy formation.

As for how the battles unfolded, John was quick to the keyboard and already got his after-action report of our first skirmish posted on his blog with lots …

Modern Paved Roads (15mm)

I am working up simple terrain pieces for a Halloween zombie game, a setting in which I will likely only play in occasionally and so don't want to invest money, space, and time at the same level as my 28mm fantasy-themed skirmish gaming. I've opted to quickly paint some plastic railroad modeling buildings (will share those in a later post) and needed some basic terrain like streets, etc. With some free texture art I found online, I put together these road sections that I can use as surface streets in the play area.

I quickly cobbled these together because I couldn't find something similar for free online, and so I thought I would share the PDF in case anybody else in interested. I've simply pasted these using a glue stick to thin crafting foam sheets/paper to the sticky side of cheap linoleum tiles that I then cut to shape. The below images (low-res) are what you'll find in the PDF.
Modern Paved Roads, 15mm (PDF)
If you want to build your own scaled up to 28mm, I…