Games Workshop retail store

I found my way into a Games Workshop retail store last night.  I was excited to learn about the store.  I was hoping that a GW retail outlet would be something special.  The manager was friendly and knowledgeable.  He knew the games and army compositions and the lore.  He offered constructive tips on how to get air support for my Beastmen army and even gave me cost saving modelling tips.  From a customer service perspective the GW retail store met my expectations.

From a stock standpoint not so much.  There wasn’t anything in the store that I couldn’t get at a FLGS.  I was hopeful that the GW store would carry finecast models and have more rare units on the shelves.  The store merchandise focused on all the new stuff and lacked a used section or a sale price/clearance area.



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Trying out Hirst Arts molds

My first time casting parts with the Hirst Arts castlemolds. I used plaster from a craft chain store.  I wanted to try the cheap stuff first and see how the molds work.  I wanted to have some experience with the process before ordering special casting material (like dental stone or the merlin’s magic stone.)

I followed the process as described on Hirst’s web page.  I would have liked to see a mixture formula (e.g. 1 cup of water for 3 cups of powder) but after doing a few castings I realized that there is a good reason for mixing the material by eye.

Thicker plaster mixes make denser blocks but are more prone to bubbles.  Lighter mixes are less prone to bubbles in the mold but make a weaker block.


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Hirst Arts molds

I picked up a selection of Hirst Arts castlemolds at Gen Con this year.  I have wanted to find a solution for scenery for RPGs and Warhammer fantasy battles.  I looked at the pre-build walls and hallways from a few different vendors.  I wanted to have more options and be more creative with my scenes.  I went with the silicone molds and started casting plaster parts.  It’s definitely a little trial and error as you go.  I have experimented with different plaster thicknesses for casting and thicker is better.  I’ll start moving some photos of the process to the site and show off what I’ve accomplished so far.

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The beastmen ready for war.

The doombull Stomrugah has bellowed his horrid war cry and the herd assembles in the forests of Arden in the north of Bretonnia.

Roaming one night from his lair Stomrugah happened upon a caravan of dwarf traders. Enraged by their intrusion the doombull slaughtered the dwarfs and laid waste to their camp. The wagons were sacked and much of the ale drank. The drunken beastman took the wagon train’s mules and ponies back to his lair as consorts and future meals and slept for days satisfied with the carnage.

Fond memories of the taste of beer and dwarf flesh haunt Stomrugah. The dwarfs rarely venture north east of the Athel Loren and have so far avoided direct clashes with the knights of Bretonnia. This has made the want of ale grow in the doombull stomach and he again thirsts for the blood of Karak Norn.

Horrible noises have been heard in the Bretonnian villages at night. A long foreboding call. Not wolf howl nor ram bleet nor bear growl but something more guttural, more beastly, and most assuredly more lethal. For several nights the call is in the wind. A sour stink filled wind. As summer draws to a close the men of Bretonnia fear this harvest season will be fraught with peril and fear to tend their fields without the protection of their lords knights. The foul wind rustles the leaves of Athel Loren and gives the elves an unsettled feeling and dis quiets the forest animals. Word of the attack as made its way back to Karak Norn and he book of grudges contains the name of Stomrugah. The doombull’s growing army will be met with axe and cannon. The only thing unknown is when the battle will take place…

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Last Night on Earth first impressions

We finally got around to playing the Last Night on Earth game. I’m not a big zombie fan, but I found that I liked the game. I’m a huge fan of Mansions of Madness; the one thing that causes trouble with Mansions is the long setup time. If you setup a card stack wrong or in the wrong place you can really mess up the whole game. LNoE has the same horror feel of Mansions without the 45 minute setup time.

We played the suggested first game of kill 15 zombies in 15 turns with four players (two zombies and four heroes.) The heroes were: Jenny, Sally, Billy, and Jake.

The zombies changed strategies at the start of the game and started running away from the heroes, congregating in the barn and hospital far away from the high school where the heroes decided to meet up and form a solid group (Don’t split the party, right?)

By the time the heroes armed up through searching and started to chase down zombies the time had run out. The heroes only managed to take down six zombies. Mostly accomplished by Billy and his meat cleaver and Sally and her baseball bat, which she broken. Jake’s shotgun skills were terrible.

The gameplay was fairly quick and fun. There is a little down time for people between turns but with a lot more fighting (i.e. less chicken zombies) the would be even less time waiting for something to do.

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Red Dragon Inn play test


For longer than I can recall I’ve wanted to play the Red Dragon Inn. For one reason or another it was on my short list, but something else always came out or was the new hotness and I never got around to buying a copy.  Also, I was skeptical about the theme.  My gaming group includes my teenage kids and a drinking themed game might encourage or desensitize them to bad choices.

Red Dragon Inn #4 is pirate themed so that was the hook that got me.  I grabbed a copy and Louis and I spent an evening testing it out.

The basic idea is that each player is a member of an adventuring party and they are in the inn after their day of adventure.  They are “relaxing” by enjoying libation and gamble their loot for “fun”.

Each player gets a board and a fortitude counter and an alcohol counter.  When your alcohol level exceeds your fortitude you pass out and lose the game.  You start the game with a sum of money.  If you run out of cash you’re out.

There are two decks.  A drinks deck that everyone shares and a player deck.

When a player takes her turn, she plays a card from her player deck.  These cards help the player take money from other people, hurt other people (reduce their fortitude),  force others to drink more, or start a round of gambling.  After you play your card you then buy a drink for someone else.  Finally you have to take the top card off your drink pile.

Some of the player cards are defensive in nature and can be played out of turn to help you thwart another player’s attempt to take your money or make you drink.

This game will be a great deal of fun with the right group.  It has a Munchkin feel of silly mixed with screw your neighbor.  Over-competitive players are going to get ganged up on by the group and tossed out early.  There is enough randomness between the strength of the drinks that come out of the drink deck and the cards you draw from your deck so I don’t see a specific strategy that will win every time.  Of course I’ve only played twice and against Louis, who cheats, a lot.




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The fourth irregulars are ready to take the field


The 4th is finally ready for battle.  The fourth irregulars is a 15 solider company of dwarf infantry led by the veteran Id Kamdöl.  The company gets its name from its long and glory-filled history.  The 4th was first stood up as a fortress defense force made up of civilian volunteers.  When green skin raiders descended on Karak Norn carpenters, masons, brewers, engineers, and others took up arms to defend their homes and loved ones.  Iden Kamdöl, grandmother of Id formed the first irregulars and started monthly training drills in an oddly shaped cavern off a seldom used tunnel beneath the karak.  The group borrowed arms and armour and adopted a red coloured uniform so they could be seen in the corridors when they raced to confront invaders.

The red coloured uniform and the name stayed with the company when they were elevated to a full time company in the karak’s throng.  They no longer borrow arms or armour, but uniformity in metals or weapons is discouraged.  They still accept volunteers and it is not uncommon to see a miner, thunderer, or engineer in their ranks when the company enters battle.

The 4th Irregulars joins the Karak Norn throng’s 1st Infantry company, 2nd Thunderers company, 3rd Infantry company, and 5th Artillery squadron.



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Free trade coffees in an anti-competitive pod: hippie hypocrits!

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is hard at work making pods for the Keurig brewer that contain some kind of exclusivity device.  Just like iTunes music that gets tied to your computer the Keurig 2.0 system will only brew drinks from licensed pod makers.  That means kiss those lower cost pods at Wal-Mart good bye.  If you don’t sign into an exclusive deal with GMCR and Keurig then your pods won’t work.  The wildly more eco-friendly refillable pod will also either die out or become wildly expensive,

It’s a great demonstration of hippy hypocrisy.  It’s A Okay to use your market-share leader status to force competitors into unfavorable business deals or shove them out of the market space; while at the same time championing Fair Trade.  I guess Fair Trade is a good thing if you are looking out for foreign nationals in far away lands and trying to influence developing nations to adopt costly ecologically friendly measures.  When eco-friendliness bites into your bottom line (i.e. the refillable k-cup) you bite back.  Good job GMCR!  You make it so we all have to buy your new K-cups with even more plastic and probably a form of RFID with extra copper/metal parts.  Now the NSA can track how much coffee we drink while you protect your bottom line from those refillable third party jerks.

I’m so glad I got the percolator out the other day, looks like she’s gonna get a lot more use than just camping…



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Relic: finally played a full game.

We finally sat down for a full on game of Relic.  We adopted a house rule to allow leveling up with 4 points worth of trophies, rather than the 6 points as mentioned in the rules.  This was an attempt to make the game move along a little quicker.

Even with the lower threshold for leveling the game took three hours.

Although a little long for play time the game went well.  I managed to get a relic and make it into the inner tier as a level 8.  I wound up vanquished and back in the outer tier at the hospital just one turn before Hillary won.

We played the get to the middle and win end game.  I felt that would be the best way to try the game for its first official playing.


After playing the game all the way through I have a better appreciation for Power Cards.  At first I often forgot that I had one or didn’t remember to use it.  There were many times in the game were I wanted to move a specific number of space and a power card would have helped.  I kept saving my power cards for something important or a combat and then forgetting I had them.

Player powers are another thing I need to keep track of better.  We have been playing co-op games so much lately that I’m not looking to hinder other players anymore.  That’s not really the point in Relic.  You want to win and if you can set other people back with your abilities, so much the better.

We didn’t spend a lot of time in the rule book.  Just the first few turns to make sure we resolved the threat cards in the correct order.  I should print out a little reminder card to help that process.

Corruption activation also had us in the rule book a few times trying to work out if the card was active or not.  That’s another mechanic I don’t have a good feel for yet.  I started out worried about corruption and avoiding it like the plague, but I wonder if the risk of gaining too much is worth some of the benefits.   Once you hit six corruption cards you’re done.  You can start a new character to keep playing but the loss of a higher level character with gear would be a game-ender after the second hour.

The game does have a Monopoly roll and move mechanic.  That’s something you can probably control more through wise use of power cards or some of the other movement-focused ally assets.  With the first play we did not read our cards as carefully as we should have.

I liked it.  I want to play it again.  I am not put off by a three hour play time nor did I find the move or combat rolling too random.  It gives the game an element of chance that makes for excitement.

I recommend it for anyone looking for a competitive Sci-Fi adventure game.

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A long day of playing Eldritch Horror

Eldritch Horror

Eldritch Horror is the new Lovecraftian board game from Fantasy Flight.  Many people have called it Arkham Horror 2.0.  After playing several games I don’t think EH is a revised Arkham.  It plays quite differently and when my AH group approached this game as yet another AH big box expansion we lost.  We lost a lot.

The game looks like any other Arkham based Fantasy Flight game.  It’s a downward spiral of failure that will end with your devouring, unless you plan carefully and have a good deal of luck with card draws and dice rolls.

In Eldritch Horror it’s not so much about planning moves to directly deal with the game.  Players are much better off if they plan to prepare for what might happen.  Where in an AH game it’s a good strategy to divide and conquer the board.  You gather clue tokens and equipment then place characters in spaces where gates are most likely to open.  Using that strategy EH destroyed us.  Too many things happened in too many places for people to effectively “gear up” before they had to confront a randomly spawned monster, or a wandering Hound of Tindalos, or deal with something from their local encounter.  That level of randomness can put people off.  I think it really speaks to the Call of Cthulhu RPG where players are normal people forced into supernaturally abnormal conditions.  In EH you don’t have time to amass all sorts of supernatural gear before hiking the Plateau of Leng.  You get what you can grab and hope that it’s enough to deal with the sailor who’s turning into a deep one and threatening to toss you into the India Ocean.

Divide and conquer failed as well.  In the very last game we paired up and moved as a team using each investigator’s strengths and items together.  This teamwork allowed us to finally put a messy and violent end to the Nug in the Amazon.  Solving that final mystery, four games and nine hours later, was extremely gratifying.  It’s definitely a game that requires patients and a certain desire for punishment.  At this point I’m not playing this game to win.  I’m sure as we become more familiar with the game mechanics and get a better feel for the game flow we will start winning.  Right now I’m playing the game to see how the world ends and what fun things happen along the way.


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