Armageddon Sick Warhammer Pre-Work

Today is Saturday, I did not have to check my phone. Thus I am getting better. In fact I would like to say I refuse to acknowledge that I am indeed sick, but the body racking coughs and sinus pressure remind me by the minute that I am indeed sick. However, I refuse to lie in bed any more. Two days was more than enough for me.

The upside to this attitude, I am doing things. The downside, plenty of naps. Sick sucks.

Normally, I would be writing about the games we played, as you may have guessed sick means no games. Sorry. We are bummed too. That being said I have read the rules to Shadow War Armageddon, the successor to Necromunda.

Warhammer 40k has a problem, to much pre-work to do to play. Yes, I am aware that you can play right out of the box; just spend a few hours assembling figures, reading the rules, and play on a flat tabletop. If you have ever played Warhammer 40k then you know how boring this is and how disinterested people get; not everyone wants to play space marines or orks or chaos or whatever other race is facing off against space marines.

To get people interested and keep their interest they need to see what a game can be, that means pre-work. In our case and I will guess most gaming groups case, one person learns the rules to teach the others, assembles and paints miniatures for two sides to fight, and assembles and paints some terrain to fight over. Hopefully, and in our case it worked, everyone gets interested.

Great now everyone in interested…except…that’s right they don’t have their own pieces. If you are lucky, and we got lucky twice, people want to use the starter armies, I happen to like space marines and our boy likes orks. While everyone else is looking for their armies there is teaching them how to assemble with a minimal amount of injury and paint their armies. This is work. The job is to make it not feel like work, too many people abandon Warhammeresque games due to the work. Thankfully, I seem to hit the right mark as everyone is still working on their armies.

However, while they are assembling and painting they are not playing. What to do? Find games that allow them to use smaller groups of figures to play while they work on their armies. Kill Team was supposed to be the first attempt, but most people were still figuring out what they wanted to play.

Thankfully, at the right moment, Shadow War Armageddon came along. Using three to ten figures (on average) everyone can play a game that uses figures from their army, thus maintaining interest in 40k. Now this is where getting sick comes in, the plan was to start playing this weekend…I’m sick no games (I do not infect friends and family if I can avoid it).

So while I recuperate, they build their Shadow War Kill Teams, which they can use in their Warhammer 40k armies. Lots of pre-work, but when the work is done the fun looks and plays great.

Games We Play: Tokaido & Teaching Warhammer 40k

Day two of weekend of gaming was fun! Only two games, but they were as I said previously, fun. Both games are new to the majority of people playing, making yesterday a teaching gaming day. Those are always fun and fraught with the tension of teaching a game to catch interest and not overwhelming new players so they give up. This is more important with games like Warhammer 40k that has volumes and years of rules. I think I did well, today people are painting their armies. 🙂

Tokaido

Should be a relaxing game. Should be. Unfortunately, Tokaido can and for us did, become rather cutthroat. I mention this upfront because a lot of people, including us, like Tokaido, but they fail to mention that games can turn cutthroat competitive in a heartbeat.

The premise is simple, you are a traveler walking from one end of Japan to the other. Along the way you have to stop at inns for rest and food. Other than that the only other things you have to do is stop at various points between inns, no die rolling, the choice is yours. Stop at a village to shop, a farm for money, visit with some people on the road, hit the hot springs, pay your respects at the temple, or stop to paint. Task completion is easy, draw a card and collect the reward or pay money to purchase one or more cards drawn.

The kicker, movement is always forward, there are only so many spots at each stop, and the player last on the road is the first to move. Here is the cutthroat aspect, if you and another player are attempting the same thing, such as finish a multi-panel painting first, blocking them requires a bit of planning. With less than four players this should not be much of an issue, with five, at one point or another, especially at the end of the game blocking became as much of a strategy as picking spots beneficial to the player.

Even with the potential for cutthroat play, Tokaido is a game I highly recommend for families. Our kids liked playing a lot, the adults enjoyed playing with the kids, and after the first inn stop everyone should know the rules. Really that simple.

Warhammer 40k

Warhammer 40k is a complex game, not a game I recommend for anyone without them playing a game or two with someone else’s pieces, and the understanding that Warhammer 40k is a very upfront heavy investment of money and time. Catch that?

For our family, 40k is a great game the children are learning:

  • patience
  • painting, a whole set of skills
  • math
  • planning, short and long term
  • risk versus reward
  • and so much more…

The problem for us, other than the lack of gaming for two weeks, only one of us (me) really knows the rules. Unlike many games where one person can know the rules, 40k is best when everyone understands the basic rules, some of the advanced rules, and ALL of the rules of their army. Yes, three sets of rules (see why I don’t recommend this for everyone?).

The goal, to teach everyone including me the basic rules. When stripped down, 40k rules are easy to learn, the big problem for me is the stats, every miniature and every weapon a miniature holds has a stat line, think 4 to 8 numbers and associated use, such as WS for weapon skill how well the miniature is at hitting other miniatures with their fist or weapon in fist or I for initiative used during melee combat or AP for armor piercing, how well a weapon penetrates (negates) armor.

Suffice to say, for me the entire stat thing should be boiled down into something more intuitive and easier, however until I come up with that system or they do we use what we have. The solution to teaching everyone how to play, everyone gets the same people with the same stats. That way they can focus on learning how to move and how to attack.

Here is what I learned, painted miniatures are much cooler to everyone, same with terrain. We had a lot of gray on the field of play. Choosing the same miniatures for everyone while “boring” allowed them to focus on learning and asking questions. Also allowed me to insert knowledge for later use, such as different types of troops and weapon choices. Everyone needs to wear comfy shoes, there is a lot standing around the table, and/or more breaks. I know games will speed up as everyone learns the game, but for a while comfy shoes. Based one everyone working on their army this morning, I think the first learning game went well.

 

 

 

 

500 And 1 Words At A Time: How Painting & Writing Are NOT Similar

Not so long ago, in historical not blogging terms, I wrote about how, for me, painting miniatures and writing are similar. Then I spent a lot of time demonstrating that using Puddles and Whiskers, recently finishing the Wash and Dry Brush phase of writing.

This weekend, as my paint covered fingers can attest to was spent painting miniatures and playing games. And as this weekend moved along, even though I was avoiding actively writing (not that it stopped me from writing), I kept seeing where writing and painting are similar and dissimilar.

Similar was obvious to me, the unpainted miniature the idea, the base coat the initial draft, the first layers the rough drafts, washes and dry brushes the edits and revisions, and finally the detail work or finishing the story. Sure there are missing details from that list, such as the trimming and assembly which come at various stages of working a miniature, which is at time analogous to editing and assembling the story.

So how are they dissimilar? Injury comes to mind first and foremost.

However, as exciting as injury sounds, teaching was the biggest area. Our boy and girl both like playing miniature games. I however, am tired of assembling and painting their miniatures. To me part of playing a game like Warhammer 40k is investing in the game. There are not too many games where you invest more than money; they invest time, reading, math, creativity, organization, and more. I want them to get invested. Thus, I am trying to teach them how to assemble, paint, and take care of their miniatures.

I have found teaching writing is easier than teaching painting. Why? Mainly because I do not have to teach how to write from scratch. Schools teach basic writing, language, spelling, and the rest. When people come to me to learn, what they want is guidance and assurance. Later comes wanting editing. 🙂 Same thing with our kids, the school is doing the majority of the work, I encourage, read their works, encourage some more, and guide them until they move on to another story.

School is not teaching the basics of painting. I have to teach them how to hold a miniature to minimize skin oil contact or to avoid rubbing paint off or reach a difficult angle with a brush. I have to teach them how to use a brush, dip the tip, not dunk the whole brush. Brush strokes to create thin layers of paint to keep not obscure details. Recognizing details on a miniature. Choosing colors. Applying washes. Dry brushing. And the concept that like writing, a miniature is only finished when you say so, but at anytime you can go back.

As part of teaching, comes injury and mess. Mess is easy to deal with, spilled paint cleans up, even when the accident is half a pot of brown wash on a yellow shirt or painting a miniature on the table and over brushing leaving a clean spot on the table when the miniature is moved. Injury is less easy to deal with.

Thankfully, super glue only bonds skin for a short bit, speaking of which teaching them how to safely use super glue and xacto knives is a must. The first time it happens is disconcerting for them, but they realize that super glued skin does not hurt and fixing the issue does not hurt, just takes time. Cutting one-self with an xacto is a whole other lesson.

I told them both that cutting themselves with an xacto would happen and it would not hurt as long as the blade was sharp and I keep sharp blades. They did not believe me or Barb, they listened to my injury stories and ignore them. Yesterday, our boy sliced a finger open good. Instead of freaking out, he calmly announced he cut his finger, took it to the bathroom where we bandaged the cut up, and he commented that like I said, it happened and did not hurt.

 

 

Games We Play: Life Interrupts

I was planning on writing about Rise of the Runelords GOBLINS, Tanks, and our first foray into Warhammer 40k in two years, unfortunately life interrupts.

We did play another Rise of the Goblins scenario, Black Fang…and it went as well as most goblin oriented things tend to do which is funny and not as expected. We lost the scenario, we ran out of time. Why did we run out of time, because we kept playing Blessing of the Gobs and taking a blessing off the blessing deck, shortening our game by 4 turns.

Combine our short (ha) sighted planning with a run of bad luck and universal deck stalling, except for the goblins getting the tar beat out of them and you have how we lost. We came close to winning when Black Fang was revealed, defeated, revealed the next player’s turn, and then he ate a goblin…so close to winning in goblin terms.

This morning was supposed to be Tanks-our girl’s Tiger Force vs in her words “whateveryouthrowonthetable ” (said as one word) and a clash between a squad of space marines and genestealers in a return to Warhammer 40k.

Alas, our girl is sick. No Tanks and instead of playing Warhammer 40k our boy worked on building more of his Tyranid army while I finished painting a few more space marines.

Two or three years ago, being overindulgent parents and having a surplus of cash, we purchased a starter set of Warhammer 40k for our boy who expressed a HUGE interest in the game. Unfortunately, he was not interested in learning the following:

  • The rules
  • How to assemble his miniatures
  • How to paint his miniatures
  • How to play with his miniatures

Cue sad parents and 40k going on the shelf. At the time we lived on campus and I had no real way to set up for painting, which may have interested him.

Fast Forward two to three years, once again he expressed interest, once again I said yes, EXCEPT he had to read the rulebook AND his tyranid book cover to cover. He did or is in the process. Suffice to say he has done enough on his own that game on. 🙂

In addition to reading the rules he has been learning how to paint his miniatures. Anyone who has painted an army knows that initially looking at all of the unpainted miniatures is intimidating. When painting for the first time, overwhelming. To ease his concerns, one squad at a time with plenty of assistance from me. He currently has three figures painted and is working on three more.

paintingWhile he read and learned to paint I started painting again (see photo). I have not painted (in this quantity or detail) in over five years. And like him I was not looking forward to painting all of the miniatures, however as I wrote before painting and writing are similar skill sets to me. Within a week I was painting and writing; write until I stop, then paint for a few, then back to writing. The combination is very good for the creative process and has gotten me closer to center than I have been in a long time.

Hopefully illness passes by without much more note and gaming resumes. 🙂

If A Rat Can Cook, Can I?

2964_render_RatatoulleOur boy routinely indicates he wants to learn how to cook. I, happy to teach him how to cook, get him in the kitchen where he mopes, plays, and complains. What does he complain about? To hot, to heavy, to much work, not enough work, and so on. I don’t mind the complaining as much as I mind the screwing around (playing) in the kitchen. Kitchens are no place to play. Way too many ways to hurt himself or other people, read me.

Lately, he has been demonstrating he is more responsible or maybe not so much responsible, but less likely to play in the kitchen. For the record, his sister is responsible in the kitchen, routinely walking by and correcting some point of her brother’s behavior, technique, or to offer up a pointer. Her last pointer, to practice using chopsticks “the way dad is showing you” in an empty pot because “practice makes perfect.”

With his new found less play in the kitchen has come renewed pleas to teach him how to cook. I do not know why ramen, spaghetti, taco meat, and making sandwiches is not enough for him. Curious, I asked what he wanted to cook. Expecting hamburgers or something easy, and not expecting anything Asian, I was floored when he said ratatouille.

“Like the movie?”

“Yep.”

“You sure?”

“If a rat can make it, I can.”

Good logic. Except…there was a time when he saw another cartoon animal eating something and wanted that with the same logic; if an animal can make it I could make it. Don’t believe me, see here and here.

So yes, if a cartoon rat can cook it, I should be able to, but my ability to cook is not the point. My ability to teach the kids how to cook is and if he wants to cook rat-food (ha), I should encourage that. Shouldn’t I?

Off the shelves came the cookbooks. His only goal, to find a recipe for ratatoullie. Book one, Bourdain’s Le Halle, nope. Book two, Better Homes and Garden (I knew a no, but I wanted him to do the work), nope. Book three, Jacques Pepin, Fast Food or something along that lines (it was cheap and I wanted a non-Asian cookbook), yes. Hooray…not the same?

Jacques did have a recipe for ratatouille, but it did not look like the movie. Not good. Next step, teach the boy how to search the interwebs for a recipe. Nothing better than watching him with a copy of the movie in one hand and typing with the other. Thank you interwebs, less than a few seconds later he found this…

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/18411/ratatouille/

Next up, after having him read the recipe was to make a shopping list. A few moments later he wrapped up his list, which was everything, including water. I forgot to teach him to check for what we have first. Oops. While he waited for me to go through the list of what is needed verse what we have on hand, I asked him to come up with some side dishes. I am still waiting.

Kitchen Skills Essential

Stop me if you have heard this before, EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW HOW TO COOK AT LEAST FIVE DIFFERENT MEALS!

I believe that and I am teaching my children that. I am not some new age hippie all anti-microwave and prepackaged crap and down with fast food…oh wait I am…just not the new age hippie thing. The art and skill of cooking at home seems to have disappeared. During my five years in college I taught as many people how to cook as I taught how to use WordPress. That is a lot of people who were not taught now to cook for themselves or their families BEFORE they left home. That is sad and shocking.

I learned how to cook tacos, spaghetti, and shrimp before I left the house. None of these dishes are difficult; brown meat, add seasoning; boil water, add noodles; peel, devine, and cook in butter for a few minutes. I learned additional skills and dishes as I moved around. I admit there was a time when fast food and prepacked shit was my go to. I have no defense for those food choices I do have a large waistline and some bad health to show for it. Then I got back into cooking.

To prevent my children from the crap that is prepackaged food I have been teaching them how to cook and how to behave in the kitchen. This is some of my favorite time with them. Watching them turn something into something else is magical. Raw meat into…well just about anything is awesome. Today our boy watched ground pork go from raw pink to that light grey color of cooked pork and then a darker brown as some of the pork sat too long in the pan. He learned how cornstarch and water will thicken sauces. Even watched the thin sauce turn thick.

Beyond teaching them how to feed themselves and others (a valued skill when attempting to impress others), they have been learning without knowing, the skills of organization, time management, how to deal with emergencies, and following instructions. These are essential skills for life. I do not know why other than “budget” issue that cooking is not taught in schools as a mandatory series of classes. Imagine how much better off kids would be coming out of high school knowing how to cook a few meals, how to shop smart, how to organize more than just the ingredients, how to see the world in a different way because they worked with food.

Maybe fast food would not be the go to for so many people. Maybe people would be healthier. Maybe because of all of the home cooked meals families would be closer and happier.

Kitchen skills are essential. 🙂

 

Krosmaster Quest, Second Adventure

Quest 1Even with the hiccups everyone wanted to play Quest today. While they slept I set up the board and table. The rules have everyone setting up the game, but honestly, it was easier and faster for me to setup the entire game. The only thing they had to do was pick their characters, color token, and play.

Learning a game is one of my favorite pastimes, after the fact. During the process I can’t stand learning and teaching a game to others. Rules get missed. A rule that is a confusing read will clear up during play or make even less sense. Players expect that I know all of the rules and I don’t. I often have to go back after a game and re-read the rules to clear up any in game issues or worse look up rules during the game.

Quest is designed for 2 to 5 players to play at the same time. Each player gets a turn to play the bad guys. No need for a single player to control all of the bad guys, unless you play with that specific mode. Control of the bad guy or Demon is passed at the end the player who was the demon turn. This makes for a very cooperative and interactive game.

Quest 3We did not do that. I wanted to make sure that the players and I knew the rules, thus I was the Demon player for the game. This gave them a sense of them versus me, which was not the intent and not the goal. The goal, other than learning the rules, was for them to complete the various quests, collect GeeGee and win. Things did not go that way…

Krosmaster characters begin the game with no spells other than punch. They collect resources, sell them, or kill off monsters to get kama (gold) to be able to purchase equipment, buy resources they don’t have or and this is important unlock spells. Until a spell is unlocked the only attack a Krosmaster has is punch, which is not a good attack. Players spent a lot of time punching.

This resulted in a few KO’s, a lot of running and hiding, and some chin scratching as they pondered how to eliminate my ever growing army of tofus. They tried equipment, which helped prolong their time on the field by increasing their lives. Eventually they started unlocking spells which had an immediate effect on the game, it got easier. Unlocking spells or at least one spell should be a priority because spells cost less and do more than any punch will ever do.

Quest 5A missed rule or a misplaced rule lead to a period where the players stayed in the City free from harm, but able to inflict damage on my tofus. To be clear, the City is a safe zone where the characters cannot be harmed and can do no harm. Combat has to happen outside of the city. Unfortunately, that rule was missed and a lot of tofus died needlessly and players advanced without merit. These things happen the first few times playing any game.

Few games from now everything will flow smoothly. Until then some bumps in the road, but Krosmaster Quest is a lot of fun to play, even with the bumps.