31 December 2011

2011 Reflections

Another year comes abruptly to an end (again without permission I might add) so what have we done with it? Actually, a great deal I can honestly say and even more than 2010, which can be summed up with “Dark Ages” and “Blood Bowl”.

For the former, it actually started off as a Bleaseworld inspired focus month in March, but them I amazed myself with my persistence to a single gaming genre for many months (this was, in fact, unprecedented), helped in no small way by my buddies who managed to get together every month and get a great Viking campaign going.  I would also say that the encouragement from you all here at the blog also helped a great deal too!

In our sagas we invaded Saxony, defeated the Saxons, smashed the Saxons, slaughtered some trolls, rescued a Princess and had all sorts of merriment: lots of good fun grows from the shaft of an Danish Axe! (and ale horns too...). The Lad loved it too and the concept of character development was something he really got his teeth into. 
The 'Deathstars'

Which is what he then did in spades from about mid year when he discovered Blood Bowl. Actually I was rather amazed at how quickly he has picked up this game, and its specific nuances. He got his first team, the Orc 'Deathstars' and has since tried coaching a number of other races.  I have loved rediscovering this gem which I have played on and off (more off though sadly) since the late 1980s.  I had fun with my old skaven team but also have been developing the Vampires, which has been an enjoyable challenge.

Orc star blitzer scores a TD at "Blocktober'

We have also expanded this genre to include listening to BB related podcasts when we travel, so thanks to Three Die Block for all the great ideas, advice and good laughs along the way. We also attended the 'Blocktober' tournament in Melbourne and met some great guys there who were very welcoming.
The Lad scores his first ever TD!
Event wise this year we had our Festival of the Boot, went to the Nunawading Wargames Association Open Day, played at Conquest 11, and had a nerdgasm at Supernova.  Most importantly though, we got together with friends to play no less frequently than monthly and played twice with Owen at Western Wargames Association.  Great times.

To cap off the year, in the week before Christmas the Man Cave was relocated almost a thousand kms Northwards – thanks for all the well wishes and yes it all went well with only a few gaming related casualties. I also just had an article being published in WargamesIllustratedIssue 291, with my thoughts on how to train an opponent, and featuring the Lad extensively as you might imagine.

So a good gaming year, well focused without too much divergence.  Accordingly projects like Weird WW2 and VSF didn't get much (if any) attention, but it cant all be done.

2012 will have a different focus, though we will start off with the Man Cave Gamers' Viking Demo Game at Cancon on 28 January, which will be a first for us. For the next two years my job will see me travel away from home extensively and have minimal time for modelling.  BB will be there on the weekends when I get home to the family, but I'll have a different gaming focus next year. Some seeds are currently germinating and I'm looking forward to seeing where they lead!

In any event, 2011 was a great year of gaming in the Man Cave. In fact, one of the best for a long, long time.  Thank you indeed for all the support at the blog and wonderful comments and encouragement.  The Lad and I   wish you all the best for 2012 (unless the long predicted apocalypse occurs that is...)  Now we are off to finish the last day of the year with a Blood Bowl grudge match of my Undead against the Lad's new Chaos Team (good one Santa!)

29 December 2011

Moved in and Online!

Moving into the new house (well back into our old house but you get the idea) four days before Christmas was always going to be a challenge, but its done and dusted now.  And to top it off, today those magical 'connected" lights flicked to green on my wireless modem.  Huzzah!

The move went well with relatively few breakages, though when it comes to modelling one is always particularly sensitive to any scratch.  All repairable in any case - thanks for all the well wishes!

Santa brought some great gaming goodies this year - Christmas round-up to follow shortly!

24 December 2011

Merry Viking Christmas

I thought this one was appropriate after all the Dark Ages gaming we did in 2011!
From our Man Cave to yours, we wish you a safe and Merry Christmas.

14 December 2011

Man Cave on the move...again!

Yep, time for the biennial Man Cave relocation - this time back to Canberra.
I'll be offline for a bit, and praying that all my minis arrive safely!

11 December 2011

Inspiring Urban terrain

In preparing to relocate the Man Cave later this week I was committing an unwelcome neatness and chucking some bits and bobs.  Like many of you, I have a bits box bigger than Pandora, and I have long planned some WW2 style urban ruins with lots of the bits.

I recently came across this in a bit of unsanctioned net surfing, and think it has some great inspiration for this style of modelling project.  Note that Brian's work  won an award for best themed table at a GW Games Day - and well deserved too in my humble opinion!

Back to the packing...

10 December 2011

Both Down

Just when you were getting over the demise of "Tackle Zone Radio", a new BB podcast appears in time for Christmas - thanks Santa!!!

09 December 2011

Christmas Health and Safety.

Before we get down to the happy business of singing Christmas Carols later in the month, the following are some things to consider from an Elfin Safety point of view:- 
Jingle Bells. 

Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh
O'er the fields we go laughing all the way

A risk assessment must be submitted before an open sleigh is considered safe for members of the public to travel on. The risk assessment must also consider whether it is appropriate to use only one horse for such a venture, particularly if passengers are of larger proportions. Please note, permission must be gained from landowners before entering their fields. To avoid offending those not participating in celebrations, we would request that laughter is moderate only and not loud enough to be considered a noise nuisance.

 While Shepherds Watched. 

While shepherds watched their flocks by night all seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down and glory shone around

The union of Shepherd's has complained that it breaches health and safety regulations to insist that shepherds watch their flocks without appropriate seating arrangements being provided, therefore benches, stools and orthopaedic chairs are now available. Shepherds have also requested that due to the inclement weather conditions at this time of year that they should watch their flocks via cctv cameras from centrally heated shepherd observation huts.
Please note, the angel of the lord is reminded that before shining his / her glory all around she / he must ascertain that all shepherds have been issued with glasses capable of filtering out the harmful effects of UVA, UVB and Glory.

 Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer 

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him, you would even say it glows.

You are advised that under the Equal Opportunities for All policy, it is inappropriate for persons to make comment with regard to the ruddiness of any part of Mr. R. Reindeer. Further to this, exclusion of Mr R Reindeer from the Reindeer Games will be considered discriminatory and disciplinary action will be taken against those found guilty of this offence. A full investigation will be implemented and sanctions - including suspension on full pay - will be considered whilst this investigation takes place.

We Three Kings. 

We three kings of Orient are, bearing gifts we traverse afar.
Field and fountain, moor and mountain following yonder star

Whilst the gift of gold is still considered acceptable - as it may be redeemed at a later date through such organisations as 'cash for gold' etc, gifts of frankincense and myrrh are not appropriate due to the potential risk of oils and fragrances causing allergic reactions. A suggested gift alternative would be to make a donation to a worthy cause in the recipient’s name or perhaps give a gift voucher.
We would not advise that the traversing kings rely on navigation by stars in order to reach their destinations and suggest the use of RAC route finder or satellite navigation, which will provide the quickest route and advice regarding fuel consumption. Please note the camels carrying the three kings of Orient will require regular food and rest breaks. Facemasks for the three kings are also advisable due to the likelihood of dust from the camels hooves.

 Away in a Manger. 

Away in a Manger No Crib for a bed
That's enough ..... Quick .... call the Social Services.

08 December 2011

NASA Telescope Confirms Alien Planet in Habitable Zone

"The potentially habitable alien world, orbits a star very much like our own sun. The discovery brings scientists one step closer to finding a planet like our own — one which could conceivably harbor life, scientists said."
At least we know where the invading Bug horde will come from now!
Planet Kepler 22b - Lovely this time of year
EDIT: Maybe those dirty bugs are already here!!!

07 December 2011

Another Christmas Joke

Three  country boys died on Christmas Eve and were met by Saint Peter at the pearly gates.

'In honour of this holy season' Saint Peter said, 'You must each possess something that symbolizes Christmas to get into heaven.'

The cowboy from Mudgee fumbled through his pockets and pulled out a lighter. He flicked it on. 'It represents a candle', he said.

'You may pass through the pearly gates' Saint Peter said.

The logger from Gunnedah reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. He shook them and said, 'They're bells.'

Saint Peter said 'You may pass through the pearly gates'.

The old Narrabri farmer started searching desperately through his pockets and finally pulled out a pair of women's panties.

St. Peter looked at the man with a raised eyebrow and asked, 'And just what do those symbolize?'

The Cocky replied, 'These are Carols.'    

05 December 2011

Military Wreckage

Apart from just being cool pics in their own right, there are some great terrain/modelling ideas here!

03 December 2011

Bear Remover

A man wakes up one morning to find a bear on his roof. 
So he looks in the Yellow Pages and sure enough, there’s an ad for ”Bear Removers.”

He calls the number, and the bear remover says he’ll be over in 30 minutes. The bear remover arrives, and gets out of his van with a ladder, a baseball bat, a shotgun, a large cage and a mean old pit bull.

“What are you going to do?” the homeowner asks.

“I’m going to put this ladder up against the roof, and then I’m going to go up there and knock the bear off the roof with this baseball bat. When the bear falls off, the pit bull is trained to grab his testicles and not let go. The bear will then be subdued enough for me to put him in the cage.”

He hands the shotgun to the homeowner.

“What’s the shotgun for?” asks the homeowner.

“If the bear knocks me off the roof, shoot the dog.”

02 December 2011

01 December 2011

Battle of Sunchon

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Sunchon, an air battle fought in 1951 near the city of Sunchon, North Korea.  The Royal Australian Air Force's 77 Squadron (recently converted from P-51 Mustangs) was conducting a bomber escort mission with 12 Gloster Meteors when they were attacked by an estimated 40–50 Chinese MiG-15 jet fighters.

This was to be the RAAF's largest aerial engagement during the Korean War and Australian pilots performed admirably, despite their Meteors having inferior manoeuvrability to the Soviet-built MiGs. They managed to score the RAAF's first victories of the Korean War, losing three Meteors in the action with two pilots captured and one missing presumed killed. Accounts naturally vary, with the Australians claiming at least 10 MiGs splashed, but Chinese and North Korean sources stated it was only one.  Two MiG kills were later confirmed.  As a result of this action, 77 Squadron's Meteors were considered inadequate for aerial defence and re-roled to a ground attack role for the remainder of the war.


30 November 2011

Kätzchen APC - Part 2

I've been agitating for awhile for somebody to step up and make this vehicle in 28mm.  After yesterday's entry here I made a glib post at the Lead Adventure Forum about anybody taking it up - to my delight Company B has just posted that:

Masters already done.  Casting to begin in Dec.

Here it is next to a JTFM Halftrack.  Joint JTFM and CompanyB model.


29 November 2011

Kätzchen APC

Gepanzerter Mannschaftstransportwagen Kätzchen (early designation) or Vollkettenaufklarer 38(t) Kätzchen
...a WW2 fully tracked APC for the Germans.

In late 1943 Heereswaffenamt WA Pruf 6 asked Auto Union to develop a light fully tracked reconnaissance vehicle capable of carrying 6-8 men in an open-topped superstructure. The vehicle was to be capable of speeds in excess of 50 km/hour, and was to be moderately armored. The prototypes were tested in the summer of 1944 and were well liked for both their layout and mobility. Problems were encountered with the gearbox and for this reason, and also because of the decision in Sept./ 1944 to limit all new constructions to 2 chassis types only. Namely the Auto-Union with Parts from the Panther or the CKD (Hetzer 38T).

It was eventually decided to just order a prototype from CKD in Prague, maker of the Hetzer 38(T) Panzerjager. The CKD prototype was actually built in 1944. It was wider than the Auto Union model and heavier, being much better armored. Its front plate was 50mm, sides 30mm and rear 20mm. It retained the general layout with the open top and the engine in the rear, but disposed with the kugelblende for the front MG, wich was instead mounted behind an armored shield as carried by the SdKfz.250 and 251 halftracks. A rear mount for another MG was also provided.
1/76 scale model, by Fine Cast Models

There are few models available in 15mm and 20mm, but none in 28mm yet (darn it...)

28 November 2011

Kugelblitz: Experimental AA Panzer

Another of the 'proposed panzers' this was planned to rectify the deficiencies in other armoured AA defences, such as the Wirbelwind.

Instead of a quad 20mm configuration (which was found to be inadequate) this was the same PzIV chassis with an enclosed twin 30mm turret, each firing 450 rounds per minute.  Some prototypes were completed and may have seen combat in the latter days of the war, but records are incomplete.

I think the rounded turret gives it a kind of early Warsaw Pact styled appearance

I'd like to find a turret in 28mm to slot onto an existing PzIV when needed, but that might be a big ask.
Found it in micro armour (1/300) scale though: http://www.navigatorminiatures.com/product.asp?P_ID=4992&strPageHistory=search&strKeywords=pz&numPageStartPosition=1&strSearchCriteria=any&PT_ID=752

and also in 15mm: http://www.peterpig.co.uk/german.htm

More on this vehicle here:

27 November 2011

An adventure into Strange Aeons

We had a game day and BBQ in the Man Cave yesterday - the last before the Lad and I move interstate next month, which is a little sad after all the fun we have had here with old friends.  Anyway, Pete has been wanting to try out his new Strange Aeons rules for ages so he brought over his stuff for a game.

The old Robinson house burned down 10 years ago.  A few months ago, on the 10th anniversary of the fire, in which the Master of the house died, strange things started happening in the nearby cemetery and some locals had disappeared.  We were dispatched to investigate...
This wonderful bit of terrain is the "Crypt of Cthulhu" from the Strange Aeons line
The Lad, Ken and I each ran a team of investigators-  I took a Leader and 2 agents: Captain Archibald Haddock (twin .45 pistols), TinTin (Double Barreled shotgun) and Mrs Castafiori (with a Tommy gun!).  The ever faithful dog Snowy accompanied them.  The others had similar teams.

The teams creep forward toward the unknown...

when a creepy character rose up and summoned a horde of Zombies to attack us!  We fought our way clear with vigor and gusto, chased by the Baron and some shambling hordes.  Snowy leapt forward and with a ferocious le growl ripped out the horror's throat!

With the coast clear, we moved up to support the Lad's investigators who were under pressure from another zombie horde near the crypt.  We ended up in close combat against these shamblers, but emerged without loss in the end.

As we reached the crypt Willy the Wight lept forth - unfortunately for him we were stout non-girly types who all passed our resilience tests and gunned him down without mercy...
...and then looted his crypt of the strange idols and scrolls, which we will take back to the Library for the researchers (including Professor Calculus) to decypher.
The well detailed interior of the crypt - complete with chained coffin!
Overall a fun set of rules with easy to pick up mechanics.  The real strength seems to lie in the versatility of the rules and their use in running an ongoing campaign of investigators.  That would be great fun!

25 November 2011

Most liveable alien worlds ranked

I think this is pretty cool:

Scientists have outlined which moons and planets are most likely to harbour extra-terrestrial life.
Among the most habitable alien worlds were Saturn's moon Titan and the exoplanet Gliese 581g - thought to reside some 20.5 light-years away in the constellation Libra.
The international team devised two rating systems to assess the probability of hosting alien life.  They have published their results in the journal Astrobiology.
In their paper, the authors propose two different indices: an Earth Similarity Index (ESI) and a Planetary Habitability Index (PHI).
"The first question is whether Earth-like conditions can be found on other worlds, since we know empirically that those conditions could harbour life," said co-author Dr Dirk Schulze-Makuch from Washington State University, US.
"The second question is whether conditions exist on exoplanets that suggest the possibility of other forms of life, whether known to us or not."
As the name suggests, the ESI rates planets and moons on how Earth-like they are, taking into account such factors as size, density and distance from the parent star.
The PHI looks at a different set of factors, such as whether the world has a rocky or frozen surface, whether it has an atmosphere or a magnetic field.

24 November 2011

A Journey 20,000 leagues under the Sea

During our recent visit to Disneyland Paris I took a stack of pictures of the Nautilus attraction.  If you would like to see what it would be like (in Disney's eyes) to live in a VSF submarine, then come to my other blog where I have posted the pics and descriptions.  I thought it was pretty cool!

23 November 2011

Charge of the Ice Brigade

These WW2 Aerosans are just fantastic!   A specialised unit to be sure, but I can see some sort of Indiana Jones style action chase game on these across a Weird WW2 tabletop!

21 November 2011

20 November 2011

Northbowl '11- Game 3

Time for another quick round of highlights of the Group North Northbowl Bloodbowl Resurretion Tournament. This week a special shout-out to Kaz's Mum, who is a regular follower of The Mancave ,especially as this week I played Kaz and her Vampire team :) As the two teams prepared to go onto the pitch (we were lucky enough to be playing in the Suut-Kase Stadium owned by the League Commissioner himself) the Dark ELves were drawn to a delicious smell from the Vampires dugout..and there, between the two teams was a Halfling chef, cooking up a storm! Unable to resist the temptation, my team gorged themselves foolishly on the delights the Halfling served up, and promptly lost a team reroll to the snickering Vampires (who had hired the Halfling for 300,000 gold for this express purpose...) After that little feast, we join the action shortly after kick off, as a round of Dark Elf blocking managed to punch a hole in the Vampire lines and free up my Blitzers and Star Player Hubris Rakarth to gang up on the luckless (and Thrall-less) Vampire in my half... Despite some rather judicious use of Hypnotic Gaze, my Blitzer was able to knock down the Vampire Ball carrier and run it in for the first TD...1-0 Dark Elves... But then the seductive power of the Vampires kicked in, as Kaz used her Vampires Hypnotic Gaze to paralysing effect, effectively neutralising all my defenders between the half way line and the Endzone...Touch Down Vampires.....1-1...... At Half-time, some of my more greedy players snuck over to the Halfling Chef's stall again and had themselves second helpings of his fare...once again sacrificing a Team Reroll to the Vampires. This time Kaz kicked off to me and I was set to put this one 2-1 ahead...after a clean pick up my Runner headed for the small gap the two blitzers had created in the Vampires line... The Runner made it all the way to 2 squares from the endzone when she was blitzed by a particularly aggressive and non-Twilight like Vampire, knocking the ball to within a square of the endzone..but fear not, Hubris Rakarth had followed the Runner down the pitch and was poised to blitz and recover the ball for an inevitable Touchdown.... ...except I hadn't counted on Hubris 'Little Thing' for girl Vampires...a Hypnotic Gaze was all it took to reduce the Dark Elf star blitzer to a drooling idiot and he totally ignored the ball for crucial seconds to allow the Vampires to scoop it up...luck was against Kaz however as the less agile Vampire tripped over as he tried to dodge out of another Dark Elves tackle Zone, spilling the ball behind a wall of thralls and Dark Elves.. Hubris regained his senses temporarily, only to be hynotised again by the same Vampire, as her Vampire lord boyfriend cam barreling across the field to blitz Hubris into the crowd..a jealous Vampire is a dangerous thing..... What folowed then was 6 turns of Hypno gazing ball carriers and potential tacklers,and Vampires who couldn't dodge to save themselves...the clock ran out and the final score was....1 all... Great game which kept going back and forth in the second half, amazing defence by Kaz and her Vampires, who held the ball within 1-2 squares of the Endzone for 6 turns straight despite many desperate attempts by the dark Elves to pick it up and score...and even poor heartless Hubris left the game a little heartbroken...... Slann next week....tune in then for a hopping good time! :)

17 November 2011

Voyage à Paris

10,000 kms was a bit of a hike for just five days.  I really wanted to go for a bit longer and slip over to the UK for a bit, but it was a case of take it or leave it - so we took it and no regrets.  Essentially, my wife had 2 of those days working, so me and the Lad went exploring this lovely city.  Highlights included:

The Paris catacombs and its "Empire de la Morte" (http://www.ghostvillage.com/legends/2003/legends28_10042003.shtml)

The Pantheon, housing many famous Frenchies, including Voltaire, Jean of Arc and Madam Curee

The Rodin Museum with its famous works "The Thinker", "The Kiss" and the "Gates of Hell"
The boys deep in thought...
At the Gates of Hell: SWMBO told us to knock louder...
The d'Orsay Museum with its fantastic impressionist artwork, and next door the Musee Legion d'honneur (http://www.musee-legiondhonneur.fr/00_koama/visu_lh/index.asp?sid=320&lid=2)

No trip to Paris is complete without visiting the Louvre:

and of course there was the other usual touristy stuff to do in Paris:
Meeting L'Emperor!
The Obelisk at Concorde
Observing Paris from the Eiffel Tower
He tried the frog's legs, but left the snails for me
Midnight snacks to beat the jet-lag!

Atop Arc de Triomphe
We also frequented the Army and Maritime Museums, but they were so good (and I took so many photos) that those will get their own posts in due course.

On a hobby front we did manage to find a GW store in Paris, but sadly they didn't carry any Blood Bowl stuff (the Lad was most disappointed).  We had a good wander around though and bought some paint just to not leave empty handed!

Hard to read, but it sounds so much cooler in French!
And for our last day out we had fun at Paris Disneyland!

Overall, a great week away filled with great sights, good fun with the Lad and a ton (a metric tonne of course, being in France) of fatty, artery hardening cuisine! Yum!