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'Scrum Club TV' Launches, plus Scrum Con Profiled on 'Tankard Talk'

We don't typically shoot video for our Second Saturday Scrum Club gatherings, but I got tired of seeing those Little Wars TV fellas getting all of the glory, so we're launching our own Scrum Club TV.

I've been impressed by the industrious guys at Little Wars TV, their really cool renovated club house, and the fact that they seduced away Miles Reidy to their ranks just before I had a chance to recruit him as a member of the Second Saturday Scrum Club. Although they seem much more interested in historicals than most of the members of the Scrum Club, I get a real sense that we're kindred spirits, at least in regards to having some really talented members who like to augment the club's gaming with related extra curricular activities.

Their Little Wars TV YouTube channel was an inspiration for us to launch something similar that we're calling Scrum Club TV. The plan is to shoot and cut a video after our monthly gatherings that will likely be a post mortem of the game we played that night. We typically have these discussions anyway as a natural part of the conviviality that characterizes our gatherings, and a couple of us Scrummers decided recently we ought to just turn the iPhone's camera on and see what we get. The discussion in the first video was decent enough that we're going to keep giving these a try, promising to "deep six" any that don't yield something we think might be of interest.

We're also going to shoot interviews and provide convention reports, starting with the upcoming Historicon (and we might be able to muster up reports on Origins and GenCon this summer, too, since some of the Scrummers are attending those). Look for me and some of my club mates to perhaps corner some of you for short interviews at those cons.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy our first episode, shot in March after finishing up a three-scenario session using the new solo/co-op rules, Rangers of Shadow Deep. The discussion compares Rangers with another favorite system of the SSSC, Sellswords & Spellslingers, which Steve B. and I have both run at HMGS conventions in the past year, crafting scenarios based on the Robert E. Howard story, "Beyond the Black River." It, too, is a new solo/co-op ruleset by a long-standing fan-favorite game designer in the field, so a discussion comparing the two felt natural, even inevitable. Let us know what you think in the comments to this post or on YouTube.

We were also excited to find a field report filed by Josh O'Connor devoted to last February's Scrum Con for his new YouTube channel, Tankard Talk. There's lots of neat footage of our fledgling little con, as well as a short interview with me and, far more importantly, the convention's guest of honor, David "Zeb" Cook. Josh joined our club right around the time of the convention, and we're looking forward to him contributing his talents to the next Scrum Con, behind the camera and as a GM at the game table.

Let us know your thoughts on Josh's video, too, either on his YouTube channel or in this post's comments.

Our next Scrum Club TV video will appear in a couple of weeks, and it is devoted to the post-game discussion from last night's gathering at which we playtested fellow Scrummer John Sears' work-in-progress rules for a game he's writing called Star Schlock. I'll try to get a blog post together for that game with lots of great photos of John's beautiful terrain and miniatures before the end of the week.



Well-thumbed posts

NOVA Open: My Curious Excursion

As I've mentioned plenty of times since starting this blog, I'm new to the whole tabletop miniatures gaming hobby. I am having a blast, and it has become something of a consuming pastime, sometimes scarily crowding out my interest in other things that might have once captured my imagination and arrested my attention.

So it stands to follow then that I decided I should go today to check out the biggest miniatures gaming convention in the Washington, D.C. area, NOVA Open. I liked the backstory of how the convention started as a big BBQ in a local fella's backyard, drawing about 32 players for an afternoon of fun back in 2009. It smacked of just the kind of community-building inspirational success story that's hard not to like.

Unfortunately, that homegrown spirit and sense of fun wasn't in much evidence today as I roamed around the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City, Virginia (just across the Potomac River from D.C.).

The last time I was in that hotel for a conference wa…

The Great Games Purge: A Tale of Loss, Folly, and Redemption

Around the time I entered college in the late 1980s, my up-to-then lifelong gaming pals dispersed geographically, and if we did cross paths again (some of us didn't), our time was usually spent in Olympian bouts of drinking, smoking, and trying to impress young women (sometimes successfully if transiently, more often in vain). Playing euchre, a card game that meshed better with drinking and smoking all night, became the default gaming pastime in college instead of role playing games.

I did, however, spend my senior year of high school and first semesters of college (circa 1987-90) as the weekend manager in a comics and games store in the suburbs of Dayton, Ohio, and so I was still very much surrounded by gaming geekery. And being located a few minutes from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base meant that a fair number of airmen would frequent our shop, often divesting themselves of their amassed collections for a bit of cash when they got tired of hauling their games to whichever new po…

All Together Now: 'Sellswords & Spellslingers' and the Pleasures of Cooperative Gaming

I've always enjoyed a good competitive match as much as the next guy, whether it was sports in high school or video games (HALO, etc.) in my thirties. But regardless of the game, I've always been partial to team play, and the best cooperative games put all of the focus on succeeding as a team. That's one of the reasons I was enthusiastic about getting Andrea Sfiligoi's latest release, Sellswords & Spellslingers (Ganesha Games), on the table for this month's Second Saturday Scrum Club gathering.

Last year I had organized a Halloween game (recap) to beta-test Sfiligoi's Run From the Dead, which is built atop the same cooperative mechanics as Sellswords. I was surprised when I discovered these rules were re-skinned for the fantasy genre and released last December ahead of Run From the Dead. Hopefully, the zombie apocalypse version of the rules is not too far behind because I definitely think Run From the Dead is the best tabletop miniatures rule set I've …

Photo Fun with the Wife (part I)

My wife's hobby is photography. She has a great eye, and she is passionate about good photography and photographers the way I am about the great illustration and illustrators of yesteryear (see my press Lost Art Books for more). I long ago gave up taking photos of anything on vacation when she and I are together. One only has to take a photo of the exact same point of interest enough times and see how superior your wife's turn out in terms of composition, dynamism, color, and "feel" before you realize it's best to leave such business in her far more capable hands.

She's not, however, a gamer, and I think she was a bit taken aback by my rekindled interest in a hobby that hadn't been part of my life for about three decades. I'm sure she didn't quite understand all of the time and energy I recently began devoting to the collecting of little lead men and beasts. But because she is a beautiful, supportive partner in all areas of life, she accepted thi…

Historicon 2018: Running My First Convention Game

Some readers may recall that I attended my first game convention, a late bloomer at 47 years old, by making the trek to Historicon 2017. It was a wonderful experience for me, and I left the weekend with a heady enthusiasm for this hobby I'd only recently discovered.

This year's Historicon marked another first for me: Crafting and running my own convention game.

Back in December I recruited some friends and new acquaintances I had connected with in the D.C. metro area to establish a monthly game group, the Second Saturday Scrum Club. Every month we meet in my dining room and somebody sets up a miniatures game for us to play. In late spring we gathered to try a new set of intriguing rules by Ganesha Games' Andrea Sfiligoi, Sellswords & Spellslingers. They were a hit with the group, and the next day Steve Braun offhandedly mentioned how perfect they would be for running a scenario based around Robert E. Howard's classic Conan yarn, "Beyond the Black River."

Scrumtacular! A Scrum Con Success Story

I seem to fall into an emerging demographic: the middle-ager who has been in a gaming deep freeze for the past several decades (usually since high school or college) but has emerged from hibernation with renewed passion for a pastime that brought a lot of joy before being abandoned for so-called adult endeavors and responsibilities.

And like many a good fantasy tale, it involved me stumbling upon a forgotten treasure suffused with magic and mystery that set me down an unforeseen path. I was unwittingly drawn into this new adventure when I recognized, after unearthing a box in the basement filled with a couple hundred Grendier, Ral Partha, and Citadel miniatures from the 1980s, just how much I missed the inspiring pleasures and camaraderie of the gaming that took up so much of my teenage head space. 
I dabbled in board gaming when I could over the decades, and I even tried to get into a regular role playing game for a few weeks in 2002, but I was in the early days of a publishing care…