Saturday, 30 June 2012

2012 Print and play boardgame contest....

I've just been checking things out over at the Boardgame Geek thread for the 2012 Solitaire Print and Play contest, and there are some very interesting things afoot!! - At the time of writting this, there are already 2 games completed and ready to download and play, and 32 others that have all their components downloadable (these are playable - but work in you can check them out and leave feedback for the designers!). The deadline for entries is Sept 3rd 2012. (So plenty of time to get involved - either designing or playtesting)...

"Shadow Agent" - one of the two completed games

The thread is quite long, but all the downloadable games stuff is easy to find on the first page.

There was a great interview with Chris Hansen (the evil mastermind behind the contest) recently on the 1player podcast - you can check it out here:

"The Siege at Dalnish" - the other completed game

Saturday, 16 June 2012

15mm Desert Army.... work in progress...

I've finally started work on my next 15mm army. I'm going for a human desert force this time. The little guys are "Sahadeen" warriors from Rebelminis. I've got a couple of light armoured walkers from Khurasan miniatures. Some spider bots, small wheeled bots and a V.T.O.L. gunship and troop carrier from Ground Zero Games, a bunch of vehicles from Old Crow Models... and a couple of chunky dune buggy vehicles which were £1 each from Matchbox! (Not sure how these will be used on the GRUNTZ battlefield - but they look cool!!)


As always - I undercoat everything with thinned down Humbrol matt black enamel.
This is my first attempt at painting camouflage - so I tried it out first on the cheapo Matchbox vehicles in case it was a disaster.... but seems to be turning out ok...??


The "Sahadeen" guys - skin and hair done. I've swapped a few of the heads with some extra heads I got from GZG for a bit of variation.


Old crow vehicles and GZG bots ready for undercoat... The objective marker is also from Old Crow (a Commcen turret on a turret base).


VTOL from GZG ready for undercoat.

Sorry Mrs.G I've taken over half the kitchen!!


Starting on the camo on the GZG spider bots..

A bit of a rough photo of the dune buggy thing. I spotted these for £1 in the toy aisle in ASDA - I really like the shape and the giant external suspension spring things - thought they would lend themselves nicely to a desert sci-fi army...

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Mini Dungeon - Work in progress!

So I made a start on my Mini dungeon. I drew out a few different floorplan ideas...

I decided to go for a simple 4 piece modular idea. Four 6"x6" bases mounted on foamboard. I decided to link them together using some tabs I had left over from some WorldWorksGames scenery I made last year...



I like the original doors, but decided to make a slightly bigger portcullis style door for the dungeon entrance.

Ready to put together...

Yep - looks pretty good I recon!

After reading the rules, I realise that the big end room for the big boss is actually too big - so some adjustment is in order...

Whilst I was making this first dungeon, I got thinking about the next one, and I'm thinking of making one that stacks vertically and has trapdoors that open to reveal stairs down to the next level...

And now onto the little guys... I've just made 3 so far - I like a papercrafting challenge - but BLOOMIN 'ECK these little folks are fiddly!!

The guy below is the Lich King. If you look at the PDF there are two extra purple bits that go with him....anyone got any idea what they are? or how they attach to him??

You can make your own Mini Dungeon by downloading the PDF from:

Monday, 11 June 2012

I have mostly been listening to....

Just a few nods in the right direction for anyone who's living in an audio void....

The H.P.Lovecraft Literary Podcast is still going strong - although they will soon be reaching the end of Lovecraft's writings - Chad and Chris have said that they will continue on with the podcast, covering other stories of supernatural horror that may have inspired Lovecraft...

We're Alive - The serialised podcast of zombie horror survival is well into the third series.... edge of the seat stuff!!

There have been quite a few new additions to my regular podcast listening list lately....

A Podcast to the Curious - Is one of two new podcasts that have been inspired by the H.P.Lovecraft Literary Podcast's format. This one is done by two English chaps - Will and Mike. They are focusing on the works of M.R.James (Author of many a ghostly tale that will give you the creeps!!). They certainly know their stuff, and the depth of research that they go into for each story is fantastic! - I've really been enjoying this one.

The Double Shadow - is the second podcast following the same H.P.Podcraft format. This one has three presenters: Phil, Ruth and Tim. They are covering the fantastical works of Clark Ashton Smith, a contemporary of Lovecraft's and a superb author (amongst other things!) in his own right. They're doing his Averoigne stories first in chronological order, then moving on to Zothique and Hyperborea. There have only been four episodes of this so far - and I'm totally sucked in...

The 1 player podcast - Is a podcast all about solo-gaming. This something that interests me a lot, so this has been fascinating listening. Albert, the presenter, has been looking into all aspects of gaming solo, from choose your own adventure style books, to board and card games, even to solo roleplaying - (which I've got to say I don't really get.... I guess it's just a way of writing a story really..??). Very informative, and lots of great ideas.

The Gaming Gang - Is another podcast about gaming... mainly about board and card games - but they also cover a bit about wargaming and roleplaying too. The presenters Jeff and Elliott are an absolutely fantastic double team - I could listen to them for hours talking about anything really, very funny, opinionated, honest and informative. If you even have a passing interest in games, then do yourself a favour and give this show a listen. It was listening to this that inspired me to join my local boardgames club.

Jake Sampson - The Roof of the World - I was very pleased to discover that a new Jake Sampson story was available from the BrokenSea Audio folks... This is the 6th story in the series - and a ripping yarn it is indeed!! - The Jake Sampson stories are an homage to the weird pulp adventure stories of the likes of Edgar Rice Burroughs / Robert E Howard etc, lovingly done with tongue slightly in cheek....this time Jake Sampson is caught up in a race against the Nazis to find the secret Tibetan city of Shambala before they can find the secrets of immortality...

And now for some audio-books that I've listened to lately. All of these books are available for free from Podiobooks. So far I've just dipped my toe into the horror / sci-fi sections - but there's a ton of stuff to check out on there....

Toothless by J.P.Moore. - This is a story set in an alternative historic setting of medieval France with demons and zombies. Written from the point of view of a Templar knight who is now a zombie... well, it had good reviews and sounded quite interesting to me, so I gave it a go. Took me a few chapters to get into it, but soon things were going pretty good, then the whole thing lost momentum and ended in a big anti-climax. Nice idea - but in the end disappointing.

Dead Mech by Jake Bible - "After the zombie apocalypse decimates the world, human civilisation tries to put itself back together again. Their secret weapon: the Mechs. But what happens when a mech pilot dies in his mech and becomes a zombie? Hell on earth is unleashed..." Zombies - check. Post apocalyptic setting - check. Cannibals - check. Gruesome violence - check. I enjoyed this a lot. I followed this up by listening to the next book by Mr. Bible in this series The Americans - (which doesn't follow on from Dead Mech, but co-incides with it?) which was ok, but no way near as good as this one.

Hellwatch by Larime Taylor - A wheelchair bound supernatural detective protects an unaware world from demons and monsters. This was good creepy fun - but quite short... left me wanting more...nice.

And now onto the unstoppable sci-fi horror machine that is Scott Sigler... I'd heard good stuff about this guy, and I wasn't disappointed. His stories are fast paced and very, VERY GORY. Definitely not for the squeamish. But we're not talking splatter over content here, the plots are very engaging, the characters are very well written. This guy is good. There is a lot of hard science incorporated into the stories, and you can tell that Sigler has done his research - you'll be hard pressed to find any holes in his plots. "Tight as a gnats chuff" as we say in these parts. All these stories that I'm about to mention are read by Mr.Sigler himself in the podcasts, they contain tons of characters, and he does different accents for all of them - and he totally pulls it off. Of these four stories that I've listened to so far, I think Earthcore was my favourite, closely followed by Ancestor, but they are all ace. Check out Sigler's website also, there's all kinds of fun stuff on there (I've been laughing out loud at his movie reviews for example!)...

Infected by Scott Sigler - "Across America a mysterious disease is turning ordinary people into raving, paranoid murderers who inflict brutal horrors on strangers, themselves, and even their own families.

Working under the government's shroud of secrecy, CIA operative Dew Phillips crisscrosses the country trying in vain to capture a live victim. With only decomposing corpses for clues, CDC epidemiologist Margaret Montoya races to analyze the science behind this deadly contagion. She discovers that these killers all have one thing in common - they've been contaminated by a bioengineered parasite, shaped by a complexity far beyond the limits of known science.

Meanwhile Perry Dawsey - a hulking former football star now resigned to life as a cubicle-bound desk jockey - awakens one morning to find several mysterious welts growing on his body. Soon Perry finds himself acting and thinking strangely, hearing voices . . . he is infected.

The fate of the human race may well depend on the bloody war Perry must wage with his own body, because the parasites want something from him, something that goes beyond mere murder......"

Contagious by Scott Sigler - "Across America, a mysterious pathogen transforms ordinary people into raging killers, psychopaths driven by a terrifying, alien agenda. The human race fights back, yet after every battle the disease responds, adapts, using sophisticated strategies and brilliant ruses to fool its pursuers. The only possible explanation: the epidemic is driven not by evolution but by some malevolent intelligence.
Standing against this unimaginable threat is a small group, assembled under the strictest secrecy. Their best weapon is hulking former football star Perry Dawsey, left psychologically shattered by his own struggles with this terrible enemy, who possesses an unexplainable ability to locate the disease’s hosts. Violent and unpredictable, Perry is both the nation’s best hope and a terrifying liability. Hardened CIA veteran Dew Phillips must somehow forge a connection with him if they’re going to stand a chance against this maddeningly adaptable opponent. Alongside them is Margaret Montoya, a brilliant epidemiologist who fights for a cure even as she reels under the weight of endless horrors.

These three and their team have kept humanity in the game, but that’s not good enough anymore, not when the disease turns contagious, triggering a fast countdown to Armageddon. Meanwhile, other enemies join the battle, and a new threat — one that comes from a most unexpected source — may ultimately prove the most dangerous of all....."

Earthcore by Scott Sigler - "Deep below a desolate Utah mountain lays the largest platinum deposit ever discovered. A billion-dollar find, it waits for any company that can drill a world's record, three-mile-deep mine shaft.

EarthCore is the company with the technology, the resources and the guts to go after the mother lode. Young executive Connell Kirkland is the company's driving force, pushing himself and those around him to uncover the massive treasure.

But Kirkland and EarthCore are not the first to find this treasure. The mountain's history reveals two centuries of disappearances, murder, and insanity.

The discovery of ancient platinum knives, razor-sharp despite lying untouched for 1,000 years, reveals evidence of an ancient culture. If the artifacts are genuine, they show a pre-historic empire that once spanned from the Southern tip of South America all the way up through the American Southwest.

Wealth and fame lie under that Utah mountain, but at three miles below the surface, where the rocks are so hot they burn bare skin, something has been waiting for centuries. Waiting ... and guarding. Kirkland and EarthCore are about to find out first-hand why this treasure has never been unearthed

Ancestor by Scott Sigler - "Every five minutes, a transplant candidate dies while waiting for a heart, a liver, or a kidney. Imagine a technology that could provide those life saving organs for a nominal fee.....and imagine what a company would do to monopolize that technology.

On a remote island in the Canadian Arctic, P.J. Colding leads a team of scientists who have discovered this holy grail of medicine. By reverse engineering the genomes of thousands of mammals, Colding's team has dialed back the evolutionary clock to re-create their common ancestor. The method? Illegal. The result? A computer engineered living creature --- an animal whose organs can be permanently transplanted into anyone with zero chance of rejection.

There's just one problem: these ancestors turn out not to be the docile herd animals Colding's team envisioned. Instead, Colding's work has given birth to something big, something evil......AND IT'S VERY, VERY HUNGRY!"

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Spending the Jubilee Holiday... underground!

We went out to Derbyshire on Monday to check out the recently opened Headstone tunnel at Monsal Head. - It is one of 4 tunnels that have been re-opened along the old railway line between Bakewell and Blackwell Mill in Derbyshire for walkers/cyclists. The tunnels are lit during the day time. It took us about 20 minutes to walk through. We talked to alfie about old trains - and then checked out the view from the Viaduct on the otherside. Then climbed back up the hill for icecreams at Monsal Head.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Boardgame stuff....

I've been playing quite a bit of "Carcassonne" lately... an award winning game that's been around since 2000 - original design by Klaus-J├╝rgen Wrede. It's a tile placing game for two to five players, named after the medieval fortified town of Carcassonne in the south of France. The rules are pretty simple - and the mechanics of the game are a nice mix of luck and strategy. The base game is great (this is all I currently have) but there are a bunch of expansions to add to the game. When I was at my local boardgaming club last week, we played it with "The river" expansion (thanks to John for bringing it along!) - which added a nice extra dimension to the board layout. Of course I wanted to get hold of a copy of that for my self, but have since discovered that it is out of print, and Rio Grande Games (The printers of the English language version) have no intention of re-printing it... curses!! But I'm going to try and get my hands on a few of the new expansions that are just about to come out in Germany (via my Swiss contact - ie my sister!) - they look pretty cool!!

Just spotted Jim Bowen's latest print and play game is ready to download - "Mini Dungeon Adventures".... Just had a quick look at the PDF - the minis look very cute...and super fiddly!! - I'm definitely going to make myself a copy of this... very nice idea!!! - I'll put a review up when I've had a go at playing. Apparently it is solo-playable too. You can download a copy from this link:

Yes, so quite recently I joined a local boardgaming group. And I've got say it's been really good fun - everyone's been very welcoming, and it's a great opportunity to get to play new games. We meet fortnightly in a function room above a pub. Everyone pays £1 to attend, and new games are bought with the kitty. The best new games I've experienced lately are "Dungeon Run", "Lords of Waterdeep" and "Small World Underground".... the latest club purchase is the new version of the "Game of Thrones" boardgame from FFG - I've been enjoying the telly program - so I'm looking forward to that one!