24 January 2016

CanCon: Bloggers Meet-Up

This weekend is CanCon, the largest gaming convention in Australia.  By far the most fun part was all the socials with friends old and new.  On Saturday a few of the Aussie War-game Bloggers got together for a photo:
Note Dux kindly pointing to he who is believed to be a GIMP
From Left:
Chris of Moruya Marauders (Moruya Marauders)
Barks of Wargaming with Barks (Wargaming with Barks)
Yours Truly
Kaptain Kobold from The Stronghold Rebuilt (http://hordesofthethings.blogspot.com)
Dux of Dux Hormunculorum (Dux Homunculorum)
Millsy of Canister and Grape (Canister & Grape - A Website for Wargamers)
Steve of At the Double! (from http://144paces.blogspot.com.au)

After a full day of gaming (and spending at the traders of course) some of us were able to get together for a some beers and a feed.  It was a real hoot with many stories and tales told including the genesis of the GIMP label that Millsy now bears, banter about Analogue Hobby Challenges past and present, and laughing at jokes that only gamer geeks would understand.  Names like Miles, Tamsin, Curt, Dave D may have come up in conversation and yes we had a beer for each of you in absentia.

We were also joined by Craig Woodfield, author of Ronin and En Garde!  A really nice bloke, it was very interesting to hear his behind the scenes perspective on being an author and getting his work published.

At some point (late in the evening it must be admitted) we decided that what was missing most in our lives was a campaign system for SAGA.  Clearly the only appropriate course of action was to write to Alex at Studio Tomahawk...on beer coasters.  These will be hand delivered by Ian from War and Peace Games who he goes to Salute in April.  I'm sure Alex will treasure them!
Dux pours his heart out
Wise words soaked in antipodean beer
What a great day and night out- thanks guys!  We must do it again next year.

16 January 2016

Aussie Bloggers meet-up: 1 week to go!

The rally point is the gameboard playing area in the upper hall at 1pm - see you there!

14 January 2016

Jugula: First Impressions

The Dux's lovely figs - look at that hand painted shield!
This even I had the opportunity to attend the local gaming group "Odin's Night Games Club" where Dux and a few of the boys introduced me to Jugula.  A fun, card driven game that was highlighted by using Dux's beautifully painted gladiator figures, and by our efforts to try and outdo each other in Latin cursing (and that's some next level geekiness!)

My familia gladiatoria prepare for the evening's entertainment
The game is definitely about entertaining the crowd and putting on a show, as opposed to just carnage and slaughter.  The card driven mechanic is quite good, making deck management a key resource aspect off the game.  In my experience you either like card games or hate them - there isn't much middle ground.  This is a well executed card system.

We played a 3 player game for extra crowd pleasing action
The game also allows, in fact requires, you to fight 4 gladiators from your Ludus.  Not many gladiator games can do that so its quite a fun spectacle, though at the cost of a bit of granularity.  It also can play up to 4 players (each with 4 fighters) simultaneously on an 8x8 grid so chaos and mayhem abound.
The mad lanista cheers on his stable of fighters!

My Dimachaerius wounded Dux's Retarius in this combat
and a few turns later my Thraex manoeuvred to strike him down dead from behind - take that Dux!
The card mechanism means that you never know who can do what at any one time, including you!
The Dux strikes back - my Scissor falls to his Murmillo but is vulneratus non victus
The state of play when the crowd got restless and went home - 1 fallen fighter apiece and a few carrying wounds
All in all a most enjoyable game - cant wait to get my WestWind gladiator figures out of storage and start a campaign with the lads (after painting them of course!).

11 January 2016

18,000 Kms of Adventure!

What a whirlwind of a month!

We departed the US in mid December, enjoyed a fantastic week sightseeing in London and spent an amazing week in Norway enjoying Christmas with friends.  We then journeyed home via Singapore, enjoyed New Years in Sydney (and Catching up with the Dux! of course) and then visited family and friends in Melbourne and Canberra. The Lad enjoyed his 15th Birthday amongst that lot too. Phew!

Along the way we managed to see some fantastic stuff and in addition to the typical tourist sights:
Catching The Force Awakens in a London Cinema
A few pints with David - my old mate from A Wargaming Odyssey
A bona fide Dalek at the BBC
The truly inspiring Agincourt diorama at the Tower of London: 2,000 28mm figs! 
Norway - it had to be done
One of the many delights of the frozen North!
1:1 Scale X-Wing gaming: up close with a T-70 at Singapore Airport - very cool!
NYW Fireworks at Sydney's Darling Harbour with the museum ship HMAS Vampire in the foreground
So back to reality now (finding a house, cars, etc) which is far more humdrum.  On a brighter note I did just retrieve my box of paints from my Dad's shed.  So at least now I can start to consider applying some pigment to something - I am a little behind even in my meagre Analogue Painting Challenge this year...

02 January 2016

Catching up with the Dux!

Day 3 in country and the Dux has already taken me out for a beer and a game - what a guy!
A mate, a beer and a game: a feast for a King!
We met up today after he was kindly babysitting my car for the last few weeks.  After a quick trip to the local Good Games shop for a hobby fix we attended the Bavarian Bier Cafe for a schnitzel, a litre of beer and a snappy introductory game of The Battle for Hill 218 (The Battle for Hill 218) - a fun little game with clearly a bit of depth which I am yet to consider sufficiently closely to prevail!

Great chatting up and planning our assault on this year's projects including Jugula, 6mm ECW and Muskets and Tomahawks.  To start with anyway!
When the schnitzels came out, the gloves came off!
I also received a kind gift of a Palm Tree to celebrate my recent elevation in status:
In case of confusion I refer you to the classic movie "Mister Roberts"

It was fantastic to catchup after two years and we will shortly be starting our Wed night gaming sessions - cant wait!

01 January 2016

The Cunning Plan for 2016

Happy New Year to you all!

After our adventures through London and Norway in recent week (posts to follow), we saw the fireworks last night home in Sydney.  So now its time to contemplate what I might attempt in 2016, particularly as I will be reunited with all my gaming and modelling stuff in a month or two. First up is:

- Analogue Painting Challenge: I've yet to complete an entry.  I have a special 10,000 mile entry to complete and I'm hoping to get some 6mm ECW stuff completed too.  Fingers crossed.

- Attending CanCon 2016 later this month, including the Aussie Bloggers' Meet-Up (Aussie Bloggers Meet-Up: CanCon 2016)

- Get into some regular gaming with Dux and his merry men.

Gaming releases I am really looking forward to this year:
- Battlegroup Tobruk - WW2 Desert expansion for my favourite period rules set
- Blood Eagle - Viking skirmishing by the author of In Her Majesty's Name (I already have the figures and terrain right?)
- Dragon Rampart
- Poseidon’s Warriors – Fleet actions in the Classical period 480BC-31BC
- The Hunters - WW2 solo submarine boardgame against the Imperial Japanese

Hmmm...this looks to be a suspiciously small list, what have I forgotten?

Projects in no particular order:
- 6mm ECW.  I'm doing the Royalists while Dux does the Parliamentarians
- X-Wing campaign
- 15mm North Africa
- Finish off my Irish and Norman armies for SAGA
- Muskets and Tomahawks/Flint and Feather
- whatever the Lad gets himself into with his school gaming group - Jugula might be the first starting point
- rediscovering my trove of Epic miniatures and 15mm Vietnam goodies
- Napoleonic Sail gaming

Plus the inevitable shiny, redirection, and more shiny.  Overall though, a refocus on painting and playing after 18 months without 'stuff'.  But first I have to get into the new house and setup the new Man Cave.  A much smaller abode in Sydney so no permanent gaming setup this time. C'est la vie

28 December 2015

2015 Reflections

Another year comes to a close and its time to reflect on what hobby stuff I have achieved over the last 12 months.  Living and studying in the US without all my 'stuff' has made hobby time a relatively barren affair, with a few bright hotspots to reminisce upon.

I had a rather banal set of New Years resolutions so for the first time I achieved 100% of them!
Thats because I set myself a relatively low set of bars of:
1. Attend a major US Wargaming convention - tick
2. Try and meet some other bloggers - tick
3. Buy stuff - big tick!
4. Paint nothing (not laugh too loud, do you know how hard it is not to do ANY painting and modelling for a year an a half when you have bought yourself lots of new shiny?!)
My wife's lack of buyer's remorse is clearly contagious!
So 3 and 4 were achieved in spades, but in reviewing what I bought I made an interesting observation.  When all you have to do hobby wise is surf the web for eye candy and buy stuff, one gets even more distractible than ever.  I have ended up with such an eclectic mix of gaming genres and scales that at this end it seems rather ludicrous.  As bad a gamer compulsion toward 'shiny' appears, its far less when you have a project on the go to focus on.
A boy and his first OGRE
So my biggest gaming achievement of the year was the double header of getting the Lad off his computer (voluntarily) and attending Fall-In together.  That really was a blast playing all those different games together (Fall-In: The Games and Fall-In and X-Wing: The Next Generation) and it has reinvigorated him in gaming (not just X-Wing either).  That was very timely as his new school has a Historical Wargaming Club which he is very interested in participating in.
Red-5 standing by!
Fall-In was great on many levels, as I posted at the time (Fall-In: Random Eye Candy).  In particular it was fantastic to put faces to several names (Fall-In: Convention Overview) and the highlight of gaming with Mr Miles over a few adult beverages.  Awesome stuff and yet another reminder of the awesome blog community we have going.
Good times with new friends - smiles all around!
...and beers with old ones too - catching up with David in London just before Christmas
We followed that up with a very fun day with the New England Epic gamers "Adeptus Ineptus" which was great experience too (An EPIC day out).  That was the day that the Lad played his first game of epic and uttered the 2015 quote of the year: "I have lost so badly that I have shamed our family"
The "shamed one" takes a good ribbing for the gaming group with a smile - well one indeed lad!
Blog wise its been fun to keep my hand in the hobby despite not much actual productivity and I've managed to keep up with an average of 3 or so blog posts per week.  The Tanktober competition was quite a bit of fun too: http://tasmancave.blogspot.com.au/search/label/Tanktober
This year's Tanktober challenge was a bit of fun along the way
On a separate note, I did another Goodreads reading challenge this year for the third year running (my daughter and I challenge eachother).    Between the War College and my Master's Degree I really pushed the envelope but there was a few novels in there to keep me sane too.  I'll do it again next year but at a much more sedate rate and with more hobby and relaxing reading.

Next year, I will be back in Sydney and moving upward and onward with work which will keep me busy.  After I have found somewhere for the clan to dwell I can set up the new Man Cave and get back into everything.  Of course, domestic priorities will mean that the Cave will be the last thing established but its nice to stay married...  Best of all, I will again be in the same city at Alan aka Dux Homunculorum and his Odin's War-game club which I am looking forward to and we have lots of projects planned.

I trust your 2015 was great Hobby wise and I'm looking forward to sharing my 2016 gaming experiences back in Australia with you.

24 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

I hope Santa is good to you all and that 
your day is filled with good cheer!

18 December 2015

Farewell America - it was a blast!

Today after 18 months, my family and I are departing the US.  In fact we are in the taxi enroute to Boston airport as I write this.  We are breaking up 16,000 km journey with stops en route to enjoy London, have Christmas with friends in Norway and then be home in Sydney for New Year's Eve.

Its been a fantastic time both professionally and personally.  I've made some amazing new friends and have visited 18 different states which has been a blast.  I also have a new Masters Degree and my son is going home a newly minted and proud Eagle Scout!

So thanks indeed America and the many here who made our visit here so special. To (badly) paraphrase General Patton:

It is foolish and wrong to mourn that the time here is ended. Rather, we should thank God that such times were had.

PS The 400 odd craft beers I sampled here were excellent too!

08 December 2015

Aussie Bloggers Meet-Up: CanCon 2016

OK Aussie bloggers, time to get together to put some faces to names and blogs - those Poms do it all the time so CanCon seems a good opportunity for us to do likewise!

1pm at the Board Games section in the Northern Hall (not the main traders one, that will give us a bit more space)

Come for an hour or come for 5mins, its all good.  Tentatively planning for there to be a second session later that evening with some adult beverages - stay tuned for more details!

Spread the word!

Cheers to Millsy for making up the graphic