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  • If you play it, they will come.

    I was hoping to be able to do an unboxing for the Warcaster: Neo-Mechanika goodies from the Kickstarter, but while I’m seeing any number of pics from giddy souls elsewhere on the continent, sadly there’s no tracking number yet for a box of Iron Star Alliance heading toward the Gdaycave. The anticipation of the arrival of the new shinies has had me thinking, though. While we’re all socially distancing and gaming together isn’t an option for those adhering to social distancing, it won’t be this way forever, and there’ll come a time when I’m in a position to host an opponent or two in the Gdaycave…

    … but to host an opponent, one needs… an opponent.

    The question is, then, how to encourage your fellow gamers to take up the game you want to play, or how to encourage your non-gamer friends to share your interest. Some people just aren’t into tabletop gaming, and that’s cool, but I know I’m looking forward to sharing tabletops again when we can, and if I can help some new people discover a new hobby, then I’m all for it.

    When the Press Ganger program was running I made a point of dumping my PG Points into starter boxes and models that I could use to either run demos for new players, or to actively gift to enthusiastic newbies to help them start their collections. This sadly isn’t an option any more, and a new product like Warcaster doesn’t yet have the depth of lore or range of models that Warmachine & Hordes have, or any number of other games. Joys of being the new kid on the block.

    While we have a very dynamic ruleset, we don’t yet have easy, ready access to all models, but we do have a setting we can share, and some super cool art pieces. It’ll be awhile before there are enough models out there to show prospective newbies, but if you can get your hands on two starters, paint ’em up, and you’ll have demo kits. From there you can showcase the game to your friends, how it plays, and mayhap point them at an FLGS or preferred online retailer so they can get some models if their interest is sufficiently piqued.

    This train of thought may have been inspired by a recent article on Warhammer Community, but the same principles apply to any game system. The key to finding new opponents, regardless of your preferred flavor of toy soldiers, is you.

    You’re in the position to be an ambassador not just for your chosen game, but for the way you like to play your chosen game. You can not only welcome new players into the lore and setting and ruleset of  your favourite game, you can also show them the different ways the game can be enjoyed. Want opponents for tense, edge-of-your-seat, mentally challenging nailbiters? Want opponents for relaxed, beer-and-pretzels nights of seeing who can roll the most dice? Wherever you fall on the spectrum, I encourage you to play the game the way you love to play, and in doing so share what you love about your games. Be mindful that a different aspect may appeal to your newbies, but with a bit of luck you’ll find a kindred spirit, and make a new friend… who will also turn out to be your fondest enemy. Yeah, Spud, I’m looking at you 😉

     

     


  • MonPoc: Unboxing Blastikutter

    Whether you enjoy relaxing and reading the Sunday paper, or congregating with fellow worshippers, there’s nothing that’ll ruin the tranquility or fellowship of your Sunday morning quite like an enormous monster clawing its way up from below, wreaking carnage on the landscape by means of an enormous torso-mounted drill that it keeps inexplicably thrusting vaguely in your direction. Oh, and it has a giant chainsaw for one hand and a cannon for the other. We have no idea how it scratches its butt. Let’s unbox Blastikutter!

    Continue reading  Post ID 20141


  • An appeal to common sense

    No pretty pictures in today’s post. I’m taking a moment to reach out with an appeal to common sense and mindfulness. This past weekend pictures and a video were posted of a group of over a dozen wargamers from my local area, engaging in an outdoor Warmachine tournament. Even ignoring the fact that when playing a cross a 4′ table everyone’s going to at some point be within 6′ of their opponent, players were certainly with 6′ of players at other tables. Masks were not being worn.

    By the guidelines in Ontario, updated only a week or so back, masks should be worn, social distancing should be utilized, and that gatherings should be of no more than ten people, and if you’re not going to use masks and social distancing at your gathering, those ten people should be with an agreed-upon social bubble – ie, that those ten people agree to socialize exclusively with other members of the bubble, including their households. This means that if Bob and Joe want to be in a bubble, that bubble would consist of Bob, Bob’s partner, Bob’s kids, and the same for Joe. If both have three kids, then the bubble would be Bob and Joe’s immediate households and no-one else, such as grandparents and other extended family.

    What I saw on the weekend was a gathering larger than the prescribed limit (and thus every person present could have been fined if the authorities were called, starting at $750 per person), none with masks, and I know several of the players present have partners and children. All it would take is for one person present to be asymptomatic, and the entire gathering and their households could have been infected. Despite the risk, I don’t expect anyone at that gathering to put their households on a two week full quarantine as a precaution.

    Now, I get it. I really do. I haven’t played a board game or minis game in several months. I miss my gaming pals something fierce. I miss being able to get together, to hang out, to relax and nerd out among like minded geeks. I also get that Canada hasn’t doesn’t have anywhere near the extremity of COVID-19 outbreaks that our southern neighbors are enduring. A large part of the reason Canada hasn’t experienced as prolific a spread of cases is because people, at least initially, observed self-isolation recommendations, cancelled public gatherings, limited any contact with anyone outside of their house, and hand washing and mask wearing were prevalent.

    Now things are slowly reopening, we’re moving forward in stages as we try to return to some semblance of normal, but there are still guidelines in place for a reason. The more people ignore the guidelines, the more we’re at risk of an increased outbreak, and the longer this whole thing is going to continue.

    Yes,I want to see my friends. Yes, I want to be able to go down to the FLGS and play games. I’ve almost completely painted a Flesh-Eater Courts army for Age of Sigmar that I’m super keen to actually put on the table. I’ve knocked out a bunch of Riot Quest, Marvel Crisis Protocol, Monsterpocalypse and more – so many great hobby projects, and I have no clue when I’ll finally be able to actually play with them, but I refuse to be a transmission vector. I refuse to be the reason COVID-19 gets introduced to someone else. I refuse to put other people’s lives at risk due to my own selfish desire to geek.

    More significantly, I want to be able to hug my kids. I want to be able to take my girlfriend to visit her son, and I want her to be able to hug him. It’s something of a blessing in disguise that the rest of my family is on the other side of the planet, but have you had to visit with a loved one, standing apart, and have you had to walk away without hugging them? It sucks dirt.

    So I’m asking you.

    Please be mindful. Please consider those around you, and the grander consequences of your choosing to disregard the recommendations and guidelines. Your flippancy potentially endangers you and your household and those you love. Your casual disregard potentially pushes the clock that much further back on when we can -all- move forward.

    Yes, it all sucks, masks can be uncomfortable, social distancing and lack of human contact takes a toll mentally. Yes, not being able to gather during beach and bbq season is both incredibly disappointing and depressing, especially for those of us who are more socially inclined. Sure, your health is your own business, and you may choose a more lackadaisical attitude toward precautions, but when you do so you potentially put other people at risk. Take precautions and follow the guidelines. They may not be 100% guaranteed to thwart transmission, they’re our best bet of beating this, or at least holding out until we can get a vaccine.

    Fire up a tabletop simulator and play online. Get yourself into an online D&D game with Zoom and Roll20 or somesuch. Fire up Diablo III and play with your friends as you work to finally level up a Necromancer. While it’s certainly not the same, it’s better than being the reason why someone else has to say goodbye to a loved one.

    We’ll get back to nerdier things later in the week, for now… please be mindful.

    And wash your damn hands.


  • No nerdity today.

    We have bigger things to think about.

    Lost Hemisphere has been built with the help of people from a variety of backgrounds. A lot of people who enjoy this blog, who I’m friends with thanks to the hobby we share – we’re connected by our love of geekery, regardless of ethnicity or creed. Right now? A lot of those same people are dealing with something I can barely fathom. I’m at a loss seeing the violence, and I’m frightened for those who are being impacted – physically, emotionally, psychologically.

    As a middle-aged white CIS male, I’ve never felt the kind of systemic racism endured by so many others. I won’t pretend that I truly understand or that I can wrap my head around the enormity of what’s happening in the States right now, and around the world.

    I encourage you to take some time to think about the events that have led to where we are now, and maybe what we could do differently in the future. Be kind to each other, and everyone… please be safe.


  • Miggy’s Table: Pt4 – Laughing At Myself

    Hello, Losties! I’m back with some more progress on how my modular table is coming together. While I’m making tons of progress, I did run into a few snags that taught me some important lessons. For instance, I was wrapping up putting the boards together when I discovered something about the foam board that I was using. There’s a thin paper covering on either side that can be removed. In my case it should have been removed. Turns out that the raw foam can take on a more interesting texture and allows for better line separation for the concrete blocks. Ah well, that’s one lesson down.

    In the last post, I brought up the fact that these boards needed some tarmac. I mentioned that Mel over at The Terrain Tutor suggested using sandpaper which sounded brilliant! The only downside was that I actually needed a ton of sandpaper to get the desired effect. I dug around for what I had and, as it turns out, the little scrap of sanding material that I used to rough up the edges of the foam was all I had.

    Please join me in laughing at myself for a minute.

    Alright, so that wasn’t going to work. I needed to figure something out. After some digging around on the ole YouTube I found just the thing I needed. Jay over at  Terrain Made Easy suggested using joint compound or spackle to make realistic asphalt. Now that was an interesting plan. Good thing I had some of the stuff on hand!

    The stuff I had was very dry from lack of use. A couple of teaspoons of water and it was ready to spread. After spreading it on a tile, I used an old brush to stipple some great texture. This was starting to turn out great!

    What I didn’t account for was the warping.

    Continue reading  Post ID 20141


  • Pals are makin’ stuff

    While I’m happily chugging along with my Flesh-Eater Courts as my #PandemicProject, friends of mine are embracing technology that’s way beyond my ken, and extruding plastic filament and resin stuff through printers that don’t get paper jams. I’ll freely admit I have no idea what goes into 3-D printing, and thankfully I have an FLGS that will print files for me, but as the pandemic’s rolled forward friends of mine have shared with me their endeavors, which I now share with you.

    Pal Rob  is all about mechs and tanks and stuff, so it’s no huge surprise that he’s been designing  building on hexes for Battletech. Each is on a 1.25″ hex base, and the range he’s designed stretches from apartment buildings and offices to fortifications and artillery. Rob has his designs over on ArtStation, and welcomes you to take a peek. Of personal interest, his vehicle designs will scale nicely for Marvel Crisis Protocol, and some of the sci-fi trucks may well make for perfect scatter terrain for Warcaster: Neo Mechanika…

    I haven’t painted anything close to this scale since the late 90’s when I worked on Space Marine/Epic armies. Painting tiny windows is a pain in the proverbial, but then, I painted every single damn button on Aiyana’s bodyguard Master Holt, so I knew I could muscle through these. I was perhaps unreasonably proud of the helipad on the roof of the BMW building. Freehand really is not my strong suit (I mean, look at the BMW logo) but I was very happy with how round I managed to get it. Big thanks to Rob for letting me play with some of his toys!

    Pal Steve is also printing, and in order to work the kinks out of his printers he agreed to print some samples from Modphius’s range of scatter terrain for Fallout: Wasteland Warfare. Steve will be working on providing a printing service once he’s got a few more things sorted out, so we’ll offer up a plug for him when the time comes. Modiphius’ range of STL’s, in the meantime, includes some really cool stuff, from the Red Rocket to toilets with or without a seat, as per your personal preferences.

      Crates are always good for scatter terrain, even if they look like a matched luggage set. No losing your stuff on the conveyor belt at the airport. More importantly, I’d like to point out that 1980’s Gdaybloke would be in seventh heaven to have a multi-rack stereo system like that. I’m thinking these will make good Necromunda scatter terrain too…

    As we all make our way through this, I think it’s important to have some sort of creative outlet, something to focus on. I consider hobbies to be a key part of our mental well-being, and I’m delighted that Rob and Steve are both exploring new avenues with their printers, and thankful for the opportunity to paint some of the stuff they’ve made. Me, I have no idea about this sort of stuff, but time at the painting desk both helps me destress and gives me a sense of productivity and accomplishment as I mark off milestones on the #PandemicProject. What works for me may not work for you, but I encourage you to find your geeky peace as we weather the ongoing storm. Nerdmaste. Wash your damn hands.


  • Kicking around: Raptor Claw Island and Dungeons Box Pocket

    I’ll freely admit that my gaming schedule is pretty damn full, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in knowing what else is out there in the world of board games, tabletop wargaming and roleplaying games. I’m reading through Modiphius’ Conan The Adventurer at the moment, but a couple of other projects have cropped up on Kickstarter that I thought warranted a second glance. The first is one of those rare entities, the co-op miniature wargame, and the second is an RPG accessory for the gamer on the go.

    Ulaya Chronicles: Raptor Claw Island

    Set in the thunder-lizard infested setting of the Drowned Earth, Raptor Claw Island introduces solo/co-op wargaming with jungles and pirates and things that go rawr in the night. You and your fellow players are shipwrecked and must contend with a variety of dinosaurs and cutthroats in a fight to survive the over-arching story, with your characters advancing and developing new abilities as you work your way through the scenarios. This makes it appear more of a campaign based overland dungeon crawler than a wargame, but there are element so both both game styles.

    At a base pledge level of £39, you get the core game with a bunch of cards, standees for all the heroes and reptiles, enough tokens to choke a stegosaurus. Everything you need to play is here. Up it by £20 and you get miniatures for the four heroes including multiple options for arms and weapons (head swamps locked at the time of writing), and levels beyond that give you miniatures for the dinosaurs, up to the 50mm base Baryonyx. Optional add-ons include Corsairs, alternate dino’s, and other models that re all compatible with the Drowned Earth setting

    Raptor Claw Island caught my eye because hey dinosaurs, and games – good games – that can be played solo or as co-op aren’t that easy to find. Most dungeon crawl style games really shine when there’s a human mind running the bad guys, rather than a simulated AI, but the gameplay videos for this one seem solid. Add in a setting style that’s not over-represented in the market, and some pretty sweet miniature renders and I think we have a game that’s work a look conceptually, mechanically and aesthetically.

     

    Dungeons Box Pocket

    Remember all those years ago when you first heard of Wyrmwood or Elderwood Academy? Let’s face it: We roleplaying nerds love fancy wood stuff. From exotic dice all the way to bespoke gaming tables, wooden gaming accessories have been the darling of the rpg accessory market for some time now. There’s a lot of fancy stuff out there, with prices to match the fanciness. Part of the appeal of Dungeons Box Pocket is that it’s a neat looking accessory that won’t break the bank but can still add a degree of spiffiness if you’re one of those players who’s always traveling to a friend’s place to play, and  your mobile phone is your preferred interface for your character sheet et al.

    Dungeons Box Pocket takes the common concept of a dice vault and expands it to allow for space for a miniature and a phone stand, while at the same time still being small enough to fit into a pocket. Well, one of my pockets, at least. I’m not particularly svelte, my jeans pockets are sizable. Now, there are plenty of magnetically sealed dice vault style products on the market, but this project caught my eye by not only offering some nice exotic woods like purpleheart and ebony, but by starting out with the base level box being made from bamboo,  a material that is durable as heck while also being environmentally sustainable. As one of the jerks who lives on this planet, I have something of a vested interest in the continuance of its habitability, so seeing something that would simultaneously allow me to get my nerd on while at the same time not placing undue burden on the ecosystem for the sake of my geek pride, well, it’s a thing.

    For the gamer on the go, I think you could do far worse for a nice dice vault than the Dungeons Box Pocket. Heck, if your DM was comfortable just using his tablet, the space-saving benefits of this little fellow in terms of corralling your dice and keeping your character sheet in one spot could make for a fun little afternoon playing in the corner of your favorite watering hole.

     

    The gaming industry – along with pretty much every other industry, to be fair – has taken it on the chin throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s nice to see some creative types out there are still pouring themselves into their products despite the challenges everyone’s facing. I’m looking forward to getting my Megaton Mashup on for Privateer Press’ Monsterpocalypse, Warcaster is on the way, Atomic Mass has promised me Dr Strange soon for Marvel Crisis Protocol, Ninja Division’s Masterclass sculpts are looking amazing, and there’s a whole bunch of online rpg’s happening right now. The people that make the games, the diversions that have helped us get through social distancing and self-isolation, are still doing what they do best, albeit under assorted restrictions. Take a look at what’s out there, and plan your next adventure.


  • Miggy’s Table: Pt2 – “I have a pencil…”

    Hey hey, fellow Losties! It’s Miggy Sawdust back with another installment of my modular tile adventure. So I want to show you what I’ve been up to since the last update.

    I’d say that’s taking shape. A couple of things that I want to touch on before we dig in further. Let’s talk about what it means to make a 3’ x 3’ table while in quarantine.

    First: I can’t really go out and buy stuff. While I’d love to go do some shopping (I’m really jonesing to go out to my FLGS…), I have to do the responsible thing and stay in. Plus side, this gives me the opportunity to do something really crafty, thrifty, and recycle-y. Trust me, that’s a word.

    Continue reading  Post ID 20141


  • Doing what we can

    You’re all self-isolating, right? Only leaving your homes when you actively need to, keeping your distance from others when in public, washing your damn hands, all that jazz? You’re being kind and considerate to others as we all mumble our way through this, you’re being polite and grateful to front-line workers be they EMS and Medical or those otherwise deemed essential, such as grocery providers? As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to cause all sorts of havoc throughout the world, the measures we need to put in place to flatten the curve, as they say, are at times uncomfortable and for sure inconvenient, but they aren’t to be taken lightly.

    As a tabletop gamer who relies heavily on gaming for social interaction, the self-isolation requirements pack a notable sting. I can’t get together with a friend to play Warmachine, I can’t have a buddy over for a painting  night, and the idea of having a handful of pals over for some Dungeons and Dragons, well, that’s just right out of the question – I’d hate for the Gdaycave to become the vector through with the virus was passed only to have it end up infecting someone vulnerable.

    One thing that does brighten my day, though, is seeing how the companies we support are doing their part. Offices are reducing staff where possible, or shifting to work-from-home. Products that would otherwise only have been available at special events are being made available online. Funds are being raised and donations are being made. The facility that produces Games Workshop’s paints has been repurposed to hand sanitizer. The workers at Archon Studios (the guys behind the Dungeons and Lasers kickstarter) are working overtime shifts to use their facilities to make face shields for hospitals.

    One that Lostie Gramut brought my attention is Artisan Dice’s Operation Corona. They’re selling some gorgeous exotic wood d20’s – made from an assortment of 150 woods from their stable, which includes everything from red river gum and  macassar ebony to bloodwood and bronze age bog oak – with sales of the dice financing the production of face shields for hospitals.

    It’s super easy right now to become overwhelmed with everything that’s going on and the changes we’re going through as we try to adjust to this whole schemozzle in order to protect the more vulnerable members of our society, but as Mr Rogers taught us, look for the helpers.

    We’re all in this together. We’ll get through it.

    Wash your damn hands.

     


  • Keeping busy

    The world around is us undergoing a pandemic-driven upheaval, as society tries to adjust to not only caring for those who have contracted COVID-19, but for taking extreme measures to protect those who are the most vulnerable, such as the infirm and elderly, those with compromised immune systems, so on and so forth. Self-Isolation and Quarantine are the byword of the day, to reduce the risk of contracting the coronavirus ourselves, or if we’re asymptomatic, to avoid becoming a viral vector that could lead to someone else becoming infected. If you’re not doing everything you can to reduce non-essential contact, what the heck is wrong with you?

    Of course, as more and more people do abide by the recommendations of health officials and are staying in our homes, avoiding large social gatherings, concerts, sporting events and the like, those of us who are used to spending our times hunched over our hobby desks may find that we have more hobby time available than usual. If you find you do have to self-quarantine, you could use the time to binge Netflix shows you’ve been meaning to look into, or you could use the time to look into some of those nerd projects that have been gathering dust since you go distracted by something shinier.

    I’ll freely admit, I’m horrible at planning a project and not completing it. There’s any number of Warmachine/Hordes army projects that I’ve planned, gathered models for, and then squirreled over to a different project or faction. Right now in the basement at the Gdaycave I have Menites (of course), Cryxians, Trollbloods, Circle, Skorne, even some [expletive deleted] Cygnarans to expand the Drop Bears. There’s Monsterpocalypse and Riot Quest models. Heck, there’s Undercity and Widower’s Wood models down there too.

    Branching away from Privateer,  I have models for Age of Sigmar, 40K, Necromunda, Blood Bowl, Guild Ball, Relic Knights, Malifaux and Wild West Exodus. I have a metric craptonne of chibis from Super Dungeon Explore, Ninja All-Stars and Rail Raiders. I have a few standalone pieces, like Loribela from Judgement (because who doesn’t love a dwarf alchemist with a grenade launcher), the Games & Gears Gencon models, and even Nanny Ogg.  That is, of course, before even considering terrain projects.

    The point is, I have no shortage of potential projects to keep me busy, without even considering things video games, rpg’s, SCA stuff like kumihimo and illumination, or even just tackling some of the books I’ve collected over the years and never found time to read.

    I have lots of things that can help me focus on something else than horrible statistics for awhile, to help occupy my time and my mind while we – as a society – get through this. Chances are, so do you.

    There’s no denying that self-isolation can be very difficult, even for the most introverted individual. I exhort you though, do what you can to flatten the curve. Imagine you’re playing Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon, but replace Kevin (not that he can ever be replaced) with someone who won’t survive the virus. Step out from the the chain, so that COVID-19 can’t find its way to our Kevin substitute.

    Listen to the health experts.