Model Growth

Building a model has plenty of things to teach the builder, especially when the builders are children. As part of Warhammer 40k armies have vehicles. Vehicles are two things, expensive and in many pieces. Thus, being a good parent I had each child earn the money to purchase their vehicles. Unexpectedly, they worked harder than I expected and earned the money in record time.

Expensive not out of the way, but covered by their diligent work.

Next up, many pieces.

Games Workshop models, all varities, have directions. The quality of the directions have changed over the years with the most recent directions being the best; high resolution images, multiple views, and easy to follow steps. Older instructions are bad. Just plain bad; low resolution images, single view, and often five of more steps giving with one illustration with no indication of what order the pieces are assembled.

Our children got kits with older instructions. I told them that I would be there to assist with the models expecting that I would be the one building the entire kit. A big reason I am pushing 40k on the kids are the numerous skills that they can learn, especially building models.

Patience, building a model takes patience. Rushing a build, as our son found out, can lead to some interesting problems, such as their not being enough space for the driver without breaking off some other parts.

Problem solving, reading and interpreting instructions is one thing, figuring out how pieces fit together another and when something goes wrong, see above, how you handle or solve the issue is another.

Creativity, they could build the kits as is or they could get creative. Our boy added parts from one kit to another and our girl worked out the look that appealed to her most.

Three skills I am more than happy for them to learn. Still I expected to end up building the models. Imagine my surprise when they built all of their kits with minimal assistance from me. Our boy learned the hard way that rush building leads to complications, such as the driver not fitting without some modification. He learned to interpret the instructions, such as when one image shows at least ten different parts going on the same piece at the same time. He learned how to problem solve when interpretation failed and he had to cut off a piece to get other pieces in place. Our girl watched her brother and decided not to rush the build. Good for her. She still had to learn to read the instructions. Interestingly enough she did not run into the same issues as he did.

When they finished I had offered suggestions and confirmed parts a few times, showed them how to use rubber bands to hold parts together, put decals on, and reinforce that they could indeed build their own vehicles. Now I have to deal with them on the tabletop. 🙂

Recycling Games

We have a lot of games and things collected over many years. Over time games and things get left behind. Forgotten on a shelf or in a box until one day you stumble upon them. Sometimes the forgotten get a new life, but more often than not the game is put back on the shelf or back in the box to be forgotten until you have to move at which point…the whole process starts over.

I do not like to keep things I am not using. A lifetime of moving drilled into me do not carry around more than you need or want to move, mostly the second one. Recently I have been looking at reducing our extra games and stuff. If we aren’t playing it or using it we should find something to do with them.

Our form of recycling. Thankfully there are a few places to unload games and stuff. My favorite part of the process is seeing what happens to stuff that nobody wants. Hold on a sec. Way back in the day, when I lived in apartments overrun with kids who had less than nothing to do to keep them from hanging outside my door and lighten my load I gave them games and such that I no longer had a need for. Best time was two kids playing Magic the Gathering with about 10 cards between them. The look when I gave them a box of commons, uncommons, and lands. They didn’t hang outside my door again.

So with that in mind, I enjoy seeing how much stuff is worth. I don’t care. If I cared I would take care of the price/sale myself. I’m just looking to lighten my load. Whatever I get is more than enough. At the end of our last trip we had a box of cards that they didn’t want and we didn’t want to cart home. We asked if they just take them. They, being the store people, said we have a box of stuff we give to new players. Perfect. That’s what I used to do.

Meanwhile at home, the Robotech RPG Tactics game has found a second and third life. The books went into starting a series of fires and as packing material. The food was good, so turning bad into good. The miniatures have languished in a box for a while now. The kids pulled out a few to practice painting on, a good use for them. They did not want to learn how to build using them, a good decision on their part.  Back in the box they went until someone else wanted to learn how to paint.

Instead of them purchasing expensive miniatures and practice on them why not use these? No reason why not. With one stroke I lighten my load by giving the miniatures away and they have something to practice on.

Slowly, but surely, we are lightening our load of games and stuff not used by us and turning them into something of value to us or giving them away to people who can put them to us.

I Captured Bob The Ork

Our first game of Shadow War Armageddon felt…odd. With the new rules around the corner, using a combination of new and old rules felt at times clunky. But there was more than that.

Ten orks vs 5-man Inquisition team. Our boy’s orks, armed to the teeth with melee weapons. My inquisition team armed to the teeth with ranged weapons. He likes to close and chop and I like to set up lanes of fire.

He set up a massive jungle covered factory complex for us to fight in. I would share pics, but for some unexplainable reason (I asked he had no reason), he set up his team directly across from mine, taking a 6 x 6 board and reducing it to 3 x 6. I suggested otherwise. I asked. And he smiled like he knew something I didn’t.

He did not.

Summing up the action, he walked for three turns. I ran for one and shot for two turns.  He had 3 orks down before he decided to run and then bottled out or ran away to preserve his team.

Not very actiony. In fact, most of our play time was spent consulting charts. Lots of charts. Charts to hit because with all of the modifiers to hit introduced both of us had to roll over 7 on a single six-sided die. Yes, roll a 7 or more on a die that stops at 6. How do you do this? First roll a six, then roll again looking for 4 or more. Problem: When you roll a 6 that figure has to make an ammunition check, fail the check and the weapon is useless for the rest of the game. So even if you hit, you had a chance of running out of ammunition. See what I mean by clunky?

So now that you hit someone, consult a chart to see if you can wound them. Eventually the chart will get memorized. Next roll to see if they save the wound. If they don’t roll to see what kind of wound. In 40k a wound is a wound. In Shadow War a wound can be hide, lay there and bleed, or out.

I know with more games under our belt this will become easier, but I couldn’t help feel and still feel that this could be streamlined to keep the action and reduce the amount of time rolling dice.

Post game is interesting. In the vein of a campaign, each player goes through some end game steps. Get your reward of cash, a skill, or some other stuff. Those wounded figures find out what happened to them by rolling on another chart that can lead to rolling on one last chart.

With all of the above everyone had fun. That is most important. Our boy lost to me, but only because he didn’t charge the whole way across the board and he knew it. He also had Bob the Ork (his name) captured by my team so he has a reason to get back at me. Meanwhile onlookers were interested enough that an Imperial Guard team was created afterwards.

Finally Shadow War Armageddon

There is the game and the hobby. With most Games Workshop games you have to make a choice, do you play the game or do you work the hobby and then play your game. I am positive there is an in between where you do both, but I have never been that guy. I am either going to play the game with unpainted miniatures or I am going to spend the time to paint my miniatures and then play the game. I like to delay my pleasure.

Yes, I know I could play the game AND paint the miniatures. But I don’t and let me tell you why…okay I don’t have a why. I do have a story which is a combination of stories.

While working at the hobby shop I was routinely challenged to play games. In theory the guy selling you games should be the best or something like that. I and Big Man turned down no challenges. We really had little to do other than read games, learn games, paint miniatures, and sell games. Challenges were our way to have sanctioned fun.

Here is how most games of 40k went, if you showed up with unpainted miniatures we shot all of your painted stuff first. If you showed up with an army of unpainted miniatures or talked too much shit, we used our encyclopedic knowledge of the rules to end games quick. Our record 1-turn: we warned them repeatedly that putting all of your miniatures in a building was not good or smart. They stopped laughing at their fortress when it was leveled with all inside on turn one. If you showed up with all painted miniatures no matter how good or bad you thought they were we played you and had a good game.

Messed up I know. In my mind taking the time to paint your miniatures demonstrates that you have a vested interest in the game. In my experience people who take the time to engage in the hobby also take the time to invest in the game, learning the rules, being good players, and the like. Thus, my dislike of unpainted miniatures…I guess I do have a reason.

So here we are, over a month or two ago we purchased Shadow War Armageddon. Since that time everyone with one notable exception (cough cough Barb) has worked on their army/kill team (pic of our boy’s orks waiting to rumble). I encouraged everyone to continue painting their 40k army and to use part of that for their kill team, double dip.

My shoulder injury slowed me down, but feeling better I finally finished my kill team up in time to play our first games this weekend. Our boy and his orks are eagerly looking forward to kicking my inquisition to the curb. Our girl and her all pink imperial guard are chomping at the bit to get at the winner. She is bummed her tank will not see any play. We are thankful for that reprieve.

Keep an eye out for the images and game play post. 🙂

 

Games We Play: Con Games

Hope everyone is having a good Memorial Day and remembering why there is a Memorial Day and no it is not a national day to get drunk, eat hot dogs, and party. We are doing our part here at home.

When we went to Motor City Comic Con we took a few games with us, but due to the hectic pace we kept we were unable to play more than a game or two. This time because C4 has shorter hours we packed several games including a new one, We Didn’t Play Test. Before that some suggestions from us about games and travel.

When packing games here are some things we learned:

  1. Smaller games are better, think pack of cards big
  2. Make sure the games do not have a lot of small parts
  3. While you hope this won’t happen, if something should get lost or damage make sure you are okay with that
  4. Quick games are better than long games, people are tired and distracted
  5. Packing more games is not better than packing a few good games
  6. Have games that interest as many people as possible
  7. When playing in public get used to all sorts of interest from passerby’s

For C4 I packed, Get Bit, Star Realms with Colony Wars, Roll For It, and We Didn’t Playtest This. All of them are self-contained, small games, that fit in one bag. Further, if something happened to them I could get another copy at worse.

Here is what happened:

Roll For It is too much for very tired people. I know, a game where you roll dice and match pictures can become frustrating when the dice won’t roll the pictures. Tired people get frustrated quicker, see where this is going?

Get Bit is a great little game, except when people play in a easy to recognize pattern. Then Get Bit becomes repetitive and boring.

Star Realms was the favorite of the trip. We taught two people how to play and they loved the game. I expected to play a game or two, at most. We played every day, a couple of games each day. We even played a quick game before C4 opened on Sunday. Star Realms is an extremely well designed game making games close and keeping everyone engaged. Adding Colony Wars to allow 4 players made games more interesting.

We Didn’t Playtest This was…the adults expected a lot more. The kids had no clue what to expect. The gamer in me hoped for more and got what he expected. We Didn’t Playtest This is played as such, deal two cards to each player. On your turn draw a card from the draw pile. Pick a card and place the card in front of you. Follow the instructions on the card in front of you. That’s it.

Here’s the rub, the goal is to win. Many of the cards are instant win, everyone hold up 1 to 5 fingers, those with an odd number lose. Now, if we were drinking, this probably would’ve been fun. As it was there were no drinks and there were children. Children and adults don’t like instant lose over and over and over again. So here is my recommendation, IF you are looking for an extremely quick game (longest game was 4 minutes) to carry around, you are not looking for things to make sense, fun cards to read (the cards are very fun to read), then pick up We Didn’t Playtest This. Otherwise stick with Cards Against Humanity.

Games We Play: Moral of the Story, Research

I do not enjoy buying games that require other purchases to use. I try my best to research games before buying them. I suggest everyone takes the time to research a game before purchasing, as games are expensive…often times more expensive than necessary or in relation to the value of the game’s pieces. There are many places posting reviews, unboxing (essentially someone unpacks a game and tells you about it, good for seeing what is in a box), and game play. That being said, from time to time, I fail to do my research or I miss an important fact while researching.

I had researched Warhammer Quest Silver Tower plenty. There is a lot to like about this game especially when you have fond memories of the original game. The biggest hurdle for us, price. Warhammer Quest Silver Tower is a Games Workshop which means, excellent quality, good rules, great art and miniatures, and good paper components. This also means high price. The value for the price is almost always good.

While we were at Motor City Comic Con there was a game vendor who had excellent prices. Seriously, excellent prices. He beat Amazon on everything, which is how we ended up with Silver Tower and Shadows Over Hammerhal, an expansion or separated game depending upon who is talking. I personally feel that Shadows Over Hammerhal is both, you can purchase Shadows Over Hammerhal and have a complete game and/or you can purchase Shadows Over Hammerhal and have new pieces to use.

So here is where the research fell apart, there are two miniature expansions, Arcane and Mighty Heroes. Each consists of 4 or 5 new heroes to use in your game. Now you would think that new miniatures would mean includes all necessary information to play. In other words, you purchase the miniatures and you get whatever cards are necessary to use them. NOPE!!!!

There isn’t even a hint that cards are not included nor is there a hint where to find the cards. The cards contain the information to use the miniatures, no cards, no miniatures. Checking the Games Workshop site…yep no cards. However, there used to be a product…you guessed it, a package of cards for the miniatures in both boxes and a whole bunch others using miniatures from other sets. Unfortunately, the product is no longer available, in the US. In the UK, shipped to the UK, it is.

I, being a reasonably knowledgeable gamer, looked all over for the cards and/or information about the cards. Turns out the cards for Mighty Heroes is in one of the books in Silver Tower. Good. Where are the cards for Arcane Heroes?

Nowhere!

Yes, Nowhere.

Not in any of the books from either game.

Not online anywhere I could find.

I am hopeful, that someone reading this will send a link to the information. Until then I have a box of miniatures for a game, that are useless for the game.

Moral of the story, research, research, research!

Games We Play: Food Can Wait, We Are Gaming

We are a gamer family, you know this, but I like to establish some credentials first. 🙂 While home we play big games. Games that take time and space to play. Such as Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Warhammer, and Forbidden Stars. Between big games we play smaller gamers. Games that take little time and space to play. Such as Get Bit, Roll For It, and Tiny Epic Galaxies or Kingdoms.

Our boy, after watching Tabletop Star Realms episode, wanted a deck of his own to take to school. Awesome, he wants to teach his friends how to play and start his own gamer group. Fully behind this and secretly hoping traveling games would travel with us, I got him his own deck.

And that deck went to school the next day. My only guidelines, no playing class, no variant rules (he likes to make his own rules that ensure his victory and everyone elses dislike of his variant rule), and if you get the deck taken away from you at school you are on your own for getting a new deck.

Each day a new game report, mostly interrupted games-lunch ended, recess ended, the wind started, and so on. He is getting his friends involved. At home we already play Star Realms, so all this did was increase the frequency of games. Surprsing to me, he began to bring Star Realms with him everywhere we go. Now, I have tried prior to this to bring games and have had no luck engaging people, which is why I expected the same result.

I was wrong and I am glad to be wrong. Provided someone is sitting across from him he pulls out Star Realms and a game ensues. And because of these experiences we have started to amass knowledge on the do’s and don’ts of gaming at a restaurant.

For games like Star Realms, two sides with a central row of cards, figure out a way to layout the game to take up less space, in this case the explorer cards which are always available are stacked underneath the draw deck, still visible and easy to draw. In addition, loss the authority life counter cards, they take up too much space, a napkin and a pen more efficient and space saving.

Learn how dining works. This is more for the kids playing than the adults. Waitstaff have a rhythm, some are good, some are bad, most fall between that. They want to greet, take your drinks, bring you drinks, take order, bring food, and check out how things are going. Adults know this. Kids may know this, but when deep in a game could care less.

Thus, games have to wait until they know what they want to order. Thankfully ours have learned how to order. Games need to proceed quicker than at home. Nothing irritates waitstaff like having to wait for a game to finish or clear out before food can be served. Of course, if the waitstaff has already demonstrated they are screw ups, an extra minute of holding plates wont hurt them.

Be prepared to explain to the waitstaff they game. Some waitstaff has genuinely been interested in the game. Just don’t let you overeager children explain, take the time as an adult to learn the game (you should be a gamer) and explain to the waitstaff. Service goes up when the waitstaff are also gamers.

I’m sure we will learn more as gaming continues. 🙂