Monday, January 21, 2013

Weekend Roundup

Thought I'd just take a minute to do a roundup of what's going on around here. I seem to be doing my usual project floundering.


I blocked in come more color for the Tereken Levies. Right now I'm trying to fix all of the chipped paint and come up with a color scheme. I fear I am relying on gray to much to get that peasant look. I cut out all the figures for their Capalan opponents from sprues, using some from the Treyine project where applicable. And I got about 4 of them trimmed of mould lines.

I also decided on the area for play testing the Land Battle rules. These are some mods from Mike S on the yahoo group to dice for battle results when you don't have the time or inclination to play them out on the table top. I'm going to do what has been referred to as the Loa peninsula and environs, the area South of Valkae. You may need to look at Talomir Tales to get an idea of where these places are. If I make a map it will be a very rough one. The countries are (alphabetically) Barylistan - Persian, Demeskeen - Saracen, Eskelin - Medieval Portugese, Kurinthia - West African, Malohades - Berbers, Riata - Celts, Sortium - Byzantine, Zamba - Blemy.

Now although I am simulating these battles I am also thinking of figures for them, for the future. Persians, no problem. Saracen and Berber seem pretty similar so the HaT El Cid stuff and Italeri Saracen or Arab by others should fit. For Med. Portugese I already tapped the HaT El Cid Christians. Celts are easy. Byzantine can be done with various Late Roman offerings I think. That just leaves West African and Blemy.

There seems to be a dearth of West African figures in 1/72 especially of the tribal/ ancient variety. I have repeatedly thought of just buying Zulus and only painting up the spear armed ones, but it seems a little lame to do that, although the Zulus could double as natives for Pulp as well. (I'll have to look at some Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies for inspiration.) So I'm leaning towards Mayans, it is fantasy after all. As for the Blemy, I had no idea. So off to Wikipedia for Blemmyes. So the headless people of myth, but an actual kingdom in the Sudan-ish region. Sounds like Nubians to me.

The 9Q's:

Over at Solo Nexus JF invited readers to try out some modifications to his 9Q's to make a story arc for solo rpg play. I had already downloaded the original 9Q's but had not played them yet. I took the plunge and have been re-reading Top Secret as my rpg setting. I don't appear to have the stamina for reading rules that I had as a teen and am slogging through them right now. I did, however, find some interesting links Mad Irishman's Top Secret Stuff and Modus Operandi which has tons of spy gaming stuff. I have a few more days to wrap this up so I will be focusing on that.


Still reading Lovecraft. I just finished "Shaow over Innsmouth today. Still trying to figure out how to combine these elements with Larger Than Life (LTL) from THW. Perhaps adding a Sanity Attribute. I have found many resources some of them weird to me (ie sites for practicing Cthulhu worship) so, in order of how I bookmarked them:

HP - Lovecraftian Web Pages

Netherreal - I particularly like the Library especially "The Cthulhu Lexicon" and "When the Stars are Right" timeline.

And of course the Wikipedia entry Cthulhu Mythos, I like the biographies and elements sections too.

Well, gotta go I have to take this call.

Perhaps I should let this go to voice mail.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Gaming with Cards - Part 2

In case you like robots more than human beings.

(The only problem I have with this video is that once the drums start playing that's all you can hear.)

So my idea was to make my own  card tiles since there didn't seem to be any copies of Play 5 readily available in my area and I like to make stuff. One problem seems to be that there isn't really a standard Scrabble tile size. It depends on the edition of Scrabble. I don't know what the Play 5 tile dimensions are, but I'll assume that they are similar to the "standard" which are roughly a 3/4" square, actually slightly rectangular. I just measured a tile from my wife's set and it was 17mm x 19mm or 11/16" x 25/32". I'll probably stick with metric since those measurements in inches are a royal pain.


While I was puttering around today someone went and made some card chits. Sometimes when you are lazy someone else does the work for you. Bob's post, with a link to the chits can be found here.

So I guess I'll just continue to read and sleep as this cold that I have has really wiped me out.

Gaming with Cards - Part 1

Just to get it out of the way:

Okay, Bob Cordery has been having some nice battles with his Portable Wargame rules fighting an Imagi-nation civil war in Rusland which can be read here and here. Aside from the game itself being interesting he made use of some game tiles that had card faces on them to help with solo play.

The post where he came up with these tiles can be read here and his addendum to the rules for using said tiles here. Now this immediately reminded me of some rules that I had come across on the internet, but could not quite remember where from. Since my computer is about as organized as my workbench it took me some time to slog through all the random downloads, but I finally came across it. The rules were Paper Tigers, available for free from Paper Tiger Armaments, here.

While I don't see how they would work at present with the Portable Wargame, I thought they were interesting in that they made a distinction between prioritizing movement or firing based on card color. Then you had to beat the card score using either 2 or 3 d6 based on the priority of the action. Seemed very interesting.

I'd like to try this mechanic but I don't have any card tiles, yet. In part 2 I hope to present my home made card tiles for your perusal.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

d108 or almost percentile with d6

So, stubborn as ever, I figured out how to replicate a percentile die with d6. The trick is to not sum any dice but to do a nested table like the good 'ol d36 from the enquiry table.

18 x 6 =108
So this should now be an equal 0.93% chance of rolling any of these values. As close as you can get to a percentile die using only d6.

See anything else I missed? Let me know. As with most endeavors, I have the interest but not the aptitude. But I'm nothing if not persistent.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Mythic with d6

Sometime last week CS was talking about simplifying the Mythic dice rolling process for GM Emulation here.

He was talking about funny dice and dice fiddliness (is that even a word?) and it got me thinking that there must be someway to do this with d6.

At the time I begged off because I was waking up at 2 or 3AM every morning but things haven't improved much since I returned home. That coupled with going out for a few pints last night may make the following seem a little more incoherent than usual.

The basic gist is this. At certain times in the Mythic process of answering questions you come up with a random event. You then have to roll for the Focus, Action, and Subject. Anyhow since it is all d10, d100 based you usually have a table of 100 words or phrases. Sounds simple right? Well lets say that I don't have any of those fancy gaming dice and I raided all of my copies of Yahtzee, Risk, Monopoly etc for dice. I can get fairly close to 100 with just four d6.

Hopefully I can find one of  a different color and three that are the same. I roll all four together and cross reference the colored die with the sum of the other three on a table like this:

















16 * 6 = 96 so pretty close to 100. I know this isn't rocket science but it was just one of those things that got stuck in my craw.

I was also reminded that I hadn't done this yet by Ricardo's post here where he also reminded me of the Enquiry Table here. This gives a d36, basically 2d6, which is another nice distillation of mythic.

There is also a file floating around somewhere that converts Mythic into THW terms using the ubiquitous d6, but I can't seem to locate it right now.

I know I need to get back to an actual tutorial for heraldry and I want to focus on banners next in that series as well.

*** Addendum 1/12/13 ***

As Colgar pointed out the only problem with this is that by using the 3d6 you get a bell shaped distribution.

So more likely to get the values around 10 or 11. This could be useful and you could load your table accordingly, but was not really my intention. For some reason I had convinced myself that rolling 2d10 or 2d20 as percentile dice would some how also give me a bell shaped distribution. But it does not. My guess is that, because we are not adding the face values, we don't. In trying to figure it out I did learn how to write the expression a few different ways. d100, d10*10+d10 or (d10-1)*10+(d10-1).

I also re-found the links to Troll Roller and Any Dice which looks a little nicer. So I don't know if it's back to the drawing board per se but you have an equal 1% chance of rolling anything with percentile dice that you don't have with my solution. Sort of par for the course for me.

But then I had another idea (stupid ideas always coming up when I'm about to finish posting). I looked at the enquiry table d36 arrangement and found that it has a equal 2.78% chance for nay value. Hmm. Looks like a second post.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A fine line between clever and stupid

Well, I had it all planned out. I was going to prepare a travelling kit to take my figures and paints with me on my vacation. I reasoned that, since I usually wake up ungodly early, that I'd have no responsibilities and plenty of time to paint.

I bought two small Sterlite plastic boxes with the dimensions 11" x 6 5/8" x 2 3/4". Filled one with paints, brushes, small xacto knife and a light with a magnifying glass. In the second I placed an adhesive magnetic sheet and the figures, which were all mounted on washers.

So far, so good.

First problem was that the magnet didn't hold all of the figures as strongly as I would like. So, genius that I am, I thought I'd stuff the box with tissue paper to pad the figures and keep them from moving around too much. Then I packed both boxes in our check in luggage.

Now, I have a bunch of hard plastic cases with the foam compartments for my 28mm stuff, but for some reason I did not think that what I was doing was horribly insufficient. So imagine my surprise when I open said figure box and found all the figures jumbled up in a corner with two broken weapons and a bit of chipped paint.

I then reasoned that I needed to go to a craft store and buy some foam. I went to Michael's and could not find the exact foam I wanted, so I ended up with the foam sheets that have become popular for kids arts and crafts. After carefully measuring and cutting the sheets the exact dimensions of the box I then embarked upon a plan that seemed reasonable at the time. I began to cut out keyhole squares and was going to stack theses thin layers to fill the box. Fortunately my wife, being the intelligent person she is, asked me why I wasn't cutting them like the cardboard dividers in an ornament storage box.

Still not safe enough.

So I changed my design and repacked everything. When I arrived back home and unpacked I was greeted by each small section being a jumble of figures and one more broken weapon and some more chipped paint.

Close up of the carnage.

What were the lessons learned? Pack the figures well to minimize or eliminate movement. Take fewer figures. Consider putting the figures in carry on luggage. And don't be so stubborn and locked into an idea. (I'll need years of therapy for that one.) I also learned a little more about how I want to paint. I think that further thinning the GW paint with flow aid during the color blocking is not really working for me. The coat is blotchy and the color settles more in the creases and is lighter on the ridges, the opposite of what I want for the base color. I also found that mixing glue with paint and flow aid makes for a good primer and one less step. I had been coating in thinned PVA and then priming and a lot of my paint would not stick or chipped off. The ratio is 1 drop paint: 1 drop Aleene's Tacky Glue: 2 drops flow aid.

I didn't paint the Vikings at all.  2 broken weapons and chipped paint.

Saxons got 8 huscarls mostly blocked out. Levies got skin, metal and leather. One broken weapon, some chipped paint.

If I can solve the packing issues I may try this again when I travel during Spring Break.

Friday, January 4, 2013

More blog tweaks - (In your face blogger!)

I've entered the matrix.

You'll never see the world the same again.
So I've jumped in and looked at the code for my blog using "view source code", chrome's developer tools and the Edit HTML feature in blogger template view. ***Please remember that most of the changes were done using Internet Explorer 8 to work around the "Apply to Blog" button issue.***

I see what the missing gadget code should read like, but it is not visible in the code that is displayed for editing by blogger.

So let's review the issue at hand.

In black text are the things that should automatically be showing based on the template, but aren't. In red are the CSS elements I can customize, some of which I screwed up when I added the banner.

So first off let's consider the things that should be showing and aren't.

I'm still perplexed as to why my pages won't show in the header bar and only the first four gadgets. (I can't remember if I tried moving the gadgets around in layout and if that makes a difference, I'll try now.)

WOOHOO!!! In your face blogger!

Like magic, the pages appeared.
Stupid, but all I did was move my gadgets around in layout. As I moved each one up above "My Blog List" it seemed to appear. When I was done the pages magically appeared in the header bar. Who knew?

The translate gadget doesn't show, but I'm not too concerned about that.

Now for the bits in Red.

These are all things that had to be done by customizing the template in the advanced settings. If I recall correctly the header bar font was changed by customizing Links. For the header image and gadget box I used the code from Southern Speakers here and here. For the header I ended up adding 200 to all of the pixel size values except for this one:

.viewitem-panel .viewitem-inner {
top: 300px;
padding-bottom: 120px !important;
height: auto !important;
As you can see I left the padding-bottom value at 120 and it seemed to still work.

I also re-sized the image using the trick in the post. In the blog address there is a section that reads s1600. This is your image size at 100%. I ended up with s800 as IE was acting wonky at the time I tried s1200. I think it looks okay, at some point I'll make a new banner to fit the space better.

For the Gadget dock I just put in a value of 400. I may increase it to 425 or 450 if it gets in the way of the dashboard button too much.

For the final piece, the title and description, I have no good work around as yet. The tutorial on Southern Speakers here doesn't work as is. The main reason is that the classes .titlewrapper and .descriptionwrapper don't exist in the flipcard dynamic view. I will go out on a limb and guess that they are not in any dynamic view.

After looking at the code I saw that the blog title is in the HTML title tag. the description is in its own div with the class .title. So I went with the above code snippets and just changed the names to title and .title respectively. It moved both, but also the header background image. So I'll need to play with that some more.

Barring that one incomplete task I'm reasonably happy with the look of the blog. I hope you are too and that this little diversion into the black arts of the web has not driven you to the edge of your sanity.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Progress on tweaking Flipcard

Works in IE8
Well I've made some progress after banging my head against a wall for a few hours today.

Turns out that there may be an issue with the "Apply to Blog" button not working in Chrome. I found a thread from 12/17/12 on Google Groups here. The fix for me was to do it in Internet Explorer (IE). I happen to have IE8 on my laptop, I think the up to date version is 10.

As you can see I was able to add a background, header image and change the title, description and post title fonts. I also changed the color scheme.

I still haven't fixed the page or gadget issue, but I'm slightly more hopeful. It seems as if I'm going to have to make a new banner because I tried to reposition the title and description but that didn't seem to work.

Let me know if there are any viewing or ledgibility issues because, ultimately I want it to be easy to read and find what you want to read. My bizarre artistic urges and questionable design choices take a back seat to the core mission of the blog, which is to share information.

ANd any questions just let me know.

New look, but it is irritating me

So, as threatened I've switched to the Flipcard page style. Two things are immediately bugging the crap out of me. Contrary to the template designer giving you the option of having a background and adding your own CSS, blogger doesn't seem to accept my changes and leaves me with this drab gray bullshit. Also my side bar does not show all my gadgets which now includes my pages, which I would like to have in the header bar. Sort of like The Wargaming Site.

I've stared at code, comparing my site to Phil's and I can't see the difference at the moment. I may just have to drop him an email to ask how he did it. I suppose that waking up at 1:45 AM may be imparing my ability to understand what I need to do right now. I've also looked at Bloggers help and it is not really helpful, especially with Dynamic views. The one thing I did learn though is that they claim you page views are more "accurate" with flip card as each post now gets tracked as a page view if it is opened. Before people could scroll down and read all they want as one page view. So I'm not sure if it's more accurate or dirty pool, but I'm committed to trying it out for at least three months.

Any how, I'll post the link to the article for adding a header image to dynamic views here. It seems like it should work but, much like the background image, blogger doesn't seem to remember my changes when it is live.


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