The Forest Was Looking Rather Grimm

Tonight was game night. Again one of those cosmically aligned nights that allowed us all to socialize with each other as a family instead of basking in the glow of various electronic devices. Sadly days like these are too few and far between so I grab them at every opportunity. Nobody complains too much anyways, it’s just another chance for them to pick on daddy.

Tonight we delved into the faerie tale realm of The Grimm Forest. A wonderfully fun game that I found on Kickstarter last year and have had the pleasure of playing about 5 or 6 times now, both with my usual gaming crowd as well as a couple of times around the family table.

The game premise is pretty simple. You’re the nieces and nephews of the 3 Little Pigs. The aforementioned Trio are retiring and it’s your job to impress the king with your building skills. First piglet to build 3 houses gets the job.

As in the classic tale you can build from either straw, wood or brick. And as this is a faerie tale, there are some non-standard building obstacles that you might come across, such as giants and dragons, bridge trolls and of course, the big bad wolf. Thankfully their are also some friends such as Rapunzel, Tom Thumb, Rumpelstiltskin etc to help you (or hinder the other players) along the way.

It’s a pretty simple game to learn and while not hard to master, there is definitely some strategy in it that allows for replayability. My 8 year old asks for the occasional clarification on what the friends cards effects are, but once she knows, It’s really all downhill from there as she’ll invariably use the card to great advantage (usually against me).

It doesn’t take up a lot of real estate at the table  and set up and take down are a breeze with the built in trays inside the game.

Overall it’s a great game. 4/5 small medieval dictators agree that it should be played at every table.

 

And no… I didn’t win.

 

 

Paint Night!

My kids have been bugging me to have a paint night again. I haven’t painted anything since the last time I painted with the kids which was about a month ago, if not longer. The creative juices just haven’t been flowing in that direction lately. It’s  been more writing and adventure building in Star Wars than anything else but sometimes a change is needed because I could feel myself starting to burn out.

Recognising that need (plus the need to spend quality time with my children) is something I’m becoming much more acutely aware of and I try to act on it when I see it. It is often hard to arrange painting  around my work schedule but last night was one of those nights where the universe aligned in our favour. I gave them the option of painting or playing some board games and they chose painting. Who am I to get in the way of the creative urge.

The girls have long since decided that dad’s miniatures are cool but they would rather I paint them. They have been having more fun altering their littlest pet shop toys in  various colour schemes and then getting me to seal them. While i twitch a little at the “misuse” of my brushes and paints I would much rather they be doing this than playing on their phones all night watching puerile youtube videos.

So once dinner was cleared, we grabbed our gear and started to paint. It took me some time to focus, like I said the creative muse was not with me paint-wise, but I did eventually get in to a groove and put paint on minis.

I have so many ideas of what I want to paint I tend to be all over the place and put x colour on y miniature then rather than continue with the next colour on the same miniature I move onto a completely different miniature and different colour. The result is I often have a pile of 80-90%  completed figures that I should finish but don’t. Last night however I grabbed an old mini that has been sitting at the 40% mark for the past 10 years or so and started painting with the goal to finish it.

I broke out my new wet palette that I’d backed via Kickstarter and started painting. It was my first time using a wet palette and it was a dream. I’ve used palette paper lots but having the moisture that kept my paint from drying out was a godsend. It allowed for some very smooth blending of colours that I’d always have trouble with before. Unfortunately I did not get completely finished with the miniature but I’m a breath away from it and it makes me happy. I’ll post some pictures once I have access to the ones I took last night.

Yay for nerd nights!

 

                          

Edit: Obviously I’ve posted pictures. The Yhetee on the right is the miniature I was speaking about. He’s for my Norse Bloodbowl team that I’m slowly scratch building. He’s been a drab grey for the past 10 years. I’ve finally added some blue wash and increasingly blue-white highlights to him to bring him up. I still need to detail the face, talons and the couple of bones tied into his hair and then tidy up the accoutrements

The ghost on the left is a reaper miniature. He’s a better example of the wet blending I was talking about. He’s still not done either, but he only really needs his chains, eyes and a bit of tidy up here and there to be done.

In The Beginning…

Growing up I was shy, quiet and very reserved. These days, I’d be labeled an introvert but back when I was growing up I was a considered a nerd and had very few friends. I’d tried Hockey but it wasn’t for me. I’d tried Cubs and it wasn’t for me. I’d tried soccer and I liked it but I wasn’t amazing at it. While I was never picked on or harassed like the extreme end of the nerd spectrum, I wasn’t ever part of the cool kids cliques either. I was a blip on the school radar and that was it. Which made me very happy. I enjoyed the invisibility (though the slew of 80s teen movies had me secretly dreaming to be the hero of my own story). I  survived by telling stories inside my head and hanging with the few friends I did have.

My mind was a far better place than this drab reality that we currently subscribe to. My cousin had turned me on to Tolkien and Lewis and they fueled my early imagination. Narnia and Middle Earth were my homes away from home, along with Treasure Island and a thousand other fantasies. My imagination roamed these worlds created by others and dreamt of something more. Then, in the summer of ’84, I met a kid named Brian Henderson and everything changed. Continue reading “In The Beginning…”

Where Do We Go From Here?

So, you may have noticed that this post constitutes the fifth day in a row where I’ve added content to the site. *boggle*. I don’t think I’ve had a run this long since late 2010 or so. I’m not guaranteeing that I’ll post daily, but I am trying to update more regularly, even if it is only just a meme or something silly that catches my fancy.

As I said a few posts ago. I’m trying to keep the blog focused on writing, rpgs and painting. with the predominance being on roleplaying and painting which will hopefully lead to more creativity in the writing.

In my last post I showed off a recent WIP miniature that I’ve been working on and I expect to show more in time. My focus with miniatures is for fun and show. I always hated painting “bulk” armies. In fact I have a whole chapter of old Ultramarines kicking around my bitz bin that will probably never see a lick of paint by themselves because I just can’t stomach repetition.

Most of my painting lately has been on cool minis that I can use in my Star Wars campaign or just cool show pieces.I also have teams of Blood Bowl and Necromunda that I plan to paint for the new editions of those rules.

I don’t play D&D anymore, but I still love the cool and unique minis. The ones I like best are ones with some sort of dynamism to them. Whether it be a flowing cape or a non-standard pose, as long as it has character I’m usually attracted to it. Usually what gets me into trouble is I see an amazing painter’s work on a particular figure and I have to have it because I want to do the same thing. This can be frustrating as my skills aren’t there yet but I’m always trying to be better. One of these days I will master my airbrush, the wet-blending technique and paint OSL and NMM in my sleep.

My gaming recently has been intentionally limited. If I’m lucky and the stars align, my group gets together once a month for a couple of hours. Usually we’re playing in a Star wars campaign that I’m running using Fantasy Flight Games’ Edge of the Empire narrative rules. Occasionally we’ll play something else. If you’re at all interested, we (I) keep a campaign log over at Obsidian Portal.  It’s usually somewhat up to date.

When I’m not playing Star Wars, I’m more than likely involved in a new board game. While I’m not the most prolific board gamer, I still enjoy most of the ones I’ve played. One of these days, my friends and I will manage to play through every game we have at least once….. one of these days.

Right I think that’s enough babbling for one night. Off to bed.

W.I.P.

I’ve been trying to get back into painting miniatures for a bit now. I was always interested in it, but with life, the kids, and everything it kept being put aside in lieu of other things.

Some time last year I decided that I wasn’t getting any younger and dug out my old paints. Sadly most of them were solid pieces of sludge and were no use whatsoever. After some debate and inner dialogue, I bit the bullet and invested in some new paints and brushes. I even got lucky and picked up an airbrush for cheap.

Armed with these new tools, I started to explore my skills to see what remained of them. While I was never a masterclass painter, I did competent work to what I considered “high table top standard”. Sadly, like any skill you don’t keep current, my ability had atrophied over time. I’m definitely not as good as I used to be but the more I practice, the easier it becomes and the more things I remember.

Seeing some of the amazing master class paint jobs on various websites is daunting at times as I still have a long way to go to get back to where I was 20 years ago but their skills were learned. I can learn them too. Challenge accepted.

In the meantime. Here’s a couple of WIP pictures of something I’ve been working on. It’s a Water Weird miniature from Reaper. Still have a lot more shading to do to bring out the depth of the water, but I’m happy with my progress so far.

      

Tidying up

Alright. I think I’ve finally settled on a simple theme I can work with. If you’ve stumbled here in the past few days you may have seen a couple of different iterations. I wasn’t wholly satisfied with them and they weren’t clean and minimalistic enough for me while still being somewhat aesthetically pleasing.

I think this one will work for the time being. I’m sure if/when I start posting more frequently I will look at other options, but for now I’m satisfied.

Now I shall go back to fiddling with the upcoming script of my group’s latest adventure. It should be fun. Thankfully I found a couple of new tools to make my GMing life so much easier. I’ve been using Scapple to storyboard the adventure. It suits my free-form, semi-sandbox style of GMing with it’s flowcharts, interchangeability and simple ease of use.

Pile O’ Shame

Everyone has them. That pile of games or movies or music that you bought and have every intention of playing (or watching or listening) but never get around to it. Your reasons, whatever they may be, are valid (I know mine are) but the pile still exists in spite of them, and in most cases grows.

For me, my pile is populated with games that I’ve started but never finished. Thankfully my movie pile is negligent with only two titles that are purchased but unwatched and I can’t remember the last time I bought a cd so let’s not even go there.

My game pile of shame consists of the following (in no particular order):

Infamous
Darksiders
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Uncharted 2
Assassin’s Creed 2
The Saboteur
Bayonetta
Dragon Age: Origins
Fallout 3
Ghostbusters
Little Big Planet

The sad thing is I can easily think of 5 or so more games that aren’t out yet that will join this list soon enough.

Bioshock 2
Dante’s Inferno
God of War III
Final Fantasy XIII
Star Ocean – The Last Hope
Heavy Rain

On the bright side, I’m close to 65% done Infamous so that can be crossed off soon. And I’m on the last story level for LBP so that also will be crossed off soon

Now, to incorporate another 8 hours into the day to accomplish that. Heh

So, I’ve shown you mine. How about you show me yours. What does your pile o’ shame consist of?

House Of Cards

Hello once again my dear friends (pretending that there is more than one of you still reading this makes it easier on my fragile ego). I seem to have become quite the delinquent blogger over the past little while. I guess having a family and a job that takes up all your time does sort of prevent certain time wasting elements of life.

So, let me ‘splain… no there is too much. I’ll sum up. Prince Humperdinck marry… errr nevermind. You all know the joke. I’ve used it enough times already that you can all just finish it in your heads at your convenience. Think of it as my gift to you.

So let’s see how things are in Gregtown.

Baby is somewhere in the 5th Month and making mommy rather grumptastic with it’s kickfests. Apparently the Five Nations Cup is being played in Tamara’s Uterus. We still don’t know the sex but that’s intentional. We decided not to find out… or rather, I did. Tamara would’ve prefered knowing that way if it is a boy then she can get rid of all of Kayden’s old clothes but I opted for the “Surprise! it’s a 2-headed alien” option and Tam grudgingly aquiesced.

We have decided on names for both sexes though. I know I said in a previous post that I wasn’t going to say what they were but I figure what the hell. Barring any last minute changes of heart after we’re introduced to the squidlet, the name(s) will be as such: If it’s a girl, Zoe Elizabeth and if it’s a boy, Liam James. If it’s a two headed alien… obviously the name will be Zaphod Trillian. Duuuuh!

And just because we figured that the squidlet should have more than a box over it’s head, Tam and I have been looking at houses for the past little while. Apparently some drunken dolt forgot to carry the one and I’m eligible for a mortgage. Who knew!??!? The bad news is it’s not the greatest amount known to man, but the good news is we’ve found a house and have an offer on it pending approval of our conditions (financing and home inspection). For those of you interested in where… if everything goes as planned, we’ll be moving back to the Fort come September. Yeah, you heard me. I’m moving back to Fort Saskatchewan. Trust me… it wasn’t something that I had intended to do but my money went farther there and so I shall once again be residing in the town that I spent 20 years trying to move out of. I know I keep hearing that old sawhorse “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. Somehow I keep thinking that they’re trying to tell me something.

I’d show you the MLS listing but there are limits to the amout of info I will share. If you need to know though, I’m sure you can figure out how to contact me if you need to.

On the plus side I guess I’ll be closer to Dale’s place for D&D night… yeah you heard that right as well. I got suckered into playing 4th Edition D&D and despite my earlier misgivings, I actually kind of like it. Now if only we played more than once a month for 4 hrs. Oh to be young and burden free once again.

I haven’t done much of my own game world design in ages. The demands on my time are just too much these days for me to do much of anything beyond idle tweaking of things in my head. Never fear though. I am sure to get back to it once I get the house set up. I have been given a whole room in the basement for geekery and gamedom. I shall rule supreme! I wonder if I can sneak in one of those really high end custom made gaming tables without Tam noticing. Yeah, me either.

Alright. There’s a new theme up and running. I am going to see how I like it over the next couple of days. I might switch back to the yellowy parchment-ish theme but this one might stay… it’ll all depend on my mood (and time).

On that note. I’m off to have a quick game of Bloodbowl and then bed. If anyone wants to play me. Give me a shout and I’ll try and hook up with you online and we can play a game.

The Spore-t of Kings

Man… my post titles are getting lamer and lamer. I really had to dig for that one. I’m going to blame having to be up at 4am to take my girlfriend’s mom to the airport. Guh. It’s far too early and I have had far too few Monsters to be walking and talking, let alone blogging but hey, we all can’t be morning people now can we.

I will say that getting up at 4 did make me somewhat nostalgic for the late nights that I haven’t had in quite some time. Perhaps it was also the time of year. There was that crisp sharpness to the air that autumn always brings and that I love so much and the peace and quiet was exquisitely enjoyable. To make the morning perfect, there was a full (or nearly full) moon with a haze around it that made the whole sky glow and that alone was reason enough to be up that early.  Joy!

Now I’m home alone, the girlfiend girlfriend has gone to work and the kidlet is at the day home, the house is clean and all my chores are done save making lunch. I have a couple of hours to waste and I shall be spending them here online. No, I’m not going to be playing WoW for once. This morning we’re going to be delving into the tide pools of a planet I have named Raxacoricofallapatorius (Are you a Doctor Who nerd too? Good. I won’t have to kill you then.) and a little amoeba I have named Slitheen. Hooray for the glory that is Spore… okay perhaps a game where 80% of the creatures made to date are ambulatory phalloi made by twelve year olds isn’t all that glorious but the fact that you can make anything you want is quite brilliant.

I’ve not played past the Tide Pool phase yet. I’m still having fun fiddling with the creature widgets and deciding if my amoeba is going to be carnivorous or herbivorous (or possibly omnivorous if I can find the upgrade) and I am really looking forward to all the other stages too. If I have anything decent, I’ll post some screenshots, and perhaps I’ll even get around to posting those photos of our place.

However, this is more than enough babble to keep you all enthralled with the wonder that is my life and the more I type here, the less time I have to play. I say good day sir. Good Day.