Thursday, February 28, 2013

March 2nd is Old Stuff Day

I saw this over at Creative Twilight and thought it would be fun to dredge up an old post that maybe didn't get much love the first time around.

It's a little short notice, but if you have one in mind you want to re-read perhaps with even a follow up or expansion. Please let me know.

 Closing in on 30K views. I've also done some more priming and will be putting together some pictures of new basing I'm going to try with the modelling clay.

Commenting more has taken some effort, but I am enjoying the increased dialog. One thing I will be doing in the near future is making sure that I follow back all the followers of the blog. For reasons that I don't even understand I did not follow all of you back. That was rude of me and I will make sure to remedy that going forward.

Thanks for following and commenting. Hopefully I will get my latest physical issue resolved at the chiropractor tomorrow. I'm not sure what happened, but yesterday I woke up with a sore groin/ pelvis. It's hard to say really because it seems like it moves around. Mainly today it felt like someone repeatedly kicking me in the pubic bone.

Take care.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

No Comment

One of the things I think about from time to time is the amount of comments I get on my posts. Generally speaking it is fairly low and up to half of them are my replies to commentators.

So I thought that perhaps some of my readers may also be languishing in a lower than desired comment count and I'd investigate strategies and open up a dialog for how to encourage comments.

I'll pause here for an irony break. I had to leave for the flag football tournament so I just jotted down the opening paragraphs of this post. At some point I received this comment on my Flag Ripple Video Tutorial:

"worst result ever.... Don't waste your time: if you are trying to use gimp for giving a flag a waving effect, look up another video..." - tonio892

So, while I will agree that there is a better way to do it, worst ever? That seems a little harsh. Although my feelings were hurt initially I will take it as an opportunity to open up a dialog and try to improve upon my posts, video or otherwise. Alright, back to the main topic.

It would appear that part of getting more comments is just the numbers game, more followers, more views leads to more comments. My go to reference for blogs that get a lot of comments are (in alphabetical order):
Don't Throw a One, Frontline Gamer and The Angry Lurker. I'm sure there are more of you who get a lot of comments, but those are the first three that come to mind. If I didn't mention you and you think you get a lot of comments please let me know. (shameless attempt to elicit a comment #1).

So the big question is, dear readers, what if anything do you do to get people to comment? I am truly curious. Now I could just leave it there, but if you know me and my obsessive nature you'll know I can't.

So a little google fu with the term (how to get more blog comments) returned this.

The first article here was okay. The concept that 90% of your readers are lurkers is not new but it substantiates the idea that doing whatever it takes to get more followers is one of the secrets. I also question whether 9% of my readers are editors, in the wargaming world I think it is less likely. The point is well taken that you need to offer good content and have the posts be open ended. One possibly unintended tip was that if you misspell werds (possibly intentionally) or use incorrect homophones, you will engender comments of outrage at your stupidity. Not exactly what I'm looking for but who knows? I may become desperate.

The Lifehacker article was more along the lines of what I was looking for. I think it gives you a good list of alternatives and points out that some may not give you the type of response you want. I try to do many of them already, i.e. posts that support the work of others. Perhaps I should try #22 and curse more often. I grew up in New York City, and as such am a fairly profane individual. However, since leaving New York I have actively tried to suppress my use of swear words as every day adjectives. I mostly curse like a sailor in the privacy of my own home and with my San Soo buddy.

And finally from Wordpress here. Again they seem obvious when you read them, but still good to see it in print so to speak. I especially like #12, "Make a post out of the best comments from your readers". I might try that as well. I have been the source of posts that way and I think I have written a few based on peoples comments to this blog, I'll go check.

I'll end here so as not to go over the "short and sweet" rule for garnering comments. Thanks for reading and please do share your thoughts, I'm very interested to read what you have to say.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Chronicle of Loa

While I am playing in the Talomir Tales campaign I had an opportunity to play test some rules for simulating table top battles in RRtK. Why would someone want to you ask? Well because there are 39 countries in Talomir and it would be difficult to manage the whole continent and game out every battle.

At Talomir Tales, Ruarigh has been slowly expanding the nations involved and having some of us from the Yahoo group play out the battles. Other nations just remain in stasis. So I thought, why not take eight nations from around the Loa peninsula and have them fight out their part in the time line from the Spring of 986 to the present (Spring 993). I also had an idea to restart a campaign from 20 years ago, but that is for another post altogether.

So for this exercise I will be looking at the nations of Barylistan, Demeskeen, Eskelin, Kurinthia, Malohades, Riata, Sortium and Zamba. The majority of the mechanics for determining who is at war and preparing for battle are straight from the Rally Round the King (RRtK) rule book. It is the simulation of the battle itself that is part of the new mechanism, but it is very much in line with THW principles and procedures.

In the Spring of 986 both Demeskeen and Zamba felt that Barylistan's Shah was too weak to defend his realm and attacked savagely. Barylistan chose to ignore the invasion from Demeskeen and concentrate their forces on the invasion from Zamba. With their superiority in light, fast troops the Zamban army out scouted the Barylistanis but had to engage them in the hills. The Barylistan general ws up to the task and gained a minor victory. The battle had raged and swirled with many captains and heroes captured on both sides. Zamba conceded defeat and peace was imposed until the Winter of 986. Barylistan was now the hated enemy of Zamba. Demeskeen, meanwhile, occupied the province it had invaded.

Red for external borders, green for internal borders.

In the Summer of 986 Barylistan turned its attention on the invaders from Demeskeen. Demeskeen had a slight edge in scouting but Barylistan turned the tables and put the Demeskeni on the defensive. They met in the hills and the Barylistani army was victorious, although a few mages were captured. This season also saw Malohad invade Sortium and Zamba attack Kurinthia. The Malohad army had a huge scouting advantage with some Wind Maidens they had forced to do their bidding. Luck however was not with them as General Alexios drew them into hilly terrain and scored a major victory for Sortium. The General was captured but exchanged back to sue for peace as the Malohades had lost their stomach for fighting. Zamba, some think misled by their Brethren Mercenaries, attacked Kurinthia. They out scouted the Kurinthians but met in hilly terrain again. The Kurinthians gained a major victory and Zamba sued for peace, which will last until Summer 988. Kurinthia is added to Zamba's list of hated enemies.

The Fall of 986 saw Demeskeen, Malohad and Zamba recruit more troops to replace their losses. Eskelin saw it as their duty to civilize Kurinthia and invaded. The tribesmen of Kurinthia were no match for the Knights of Eskelin who won a major victory. Kurinthia sued for peace which will last until Fall 988. Demeskeen's light cavalry out scouted Barylistan but they had set up a defense in rough terrain. Barylistan scored a minor victory and kept Demeskeen from further inroads into their country.

During the Winter of 986 there is some kind of Magic Flu that causes the death of mages in Barylistan, Demeskeen and Kurinthia. Over the Winter Demeskeen thinks better of it and sues for peace with Barylistan. There will be an enforced peace until Winter of 987. Barylistan is the hated enemy of Demeskeen.

So the status quo remains except for Eskelin's gain in Kurinthia. I'm sorry that the narrative is not quite where I want it to be but I have been sitting on this for far too long and wanted to get it out there. The Land Battles mechanism itself is quite simple and gives believable results. What I am getting bogged down in are the regular rules for campaigning. I think once I make index cards or some such thing to track the kingdoms, life will be easier. Shuffling through the notebook is confusing at best.

This has also re-invigorated me to work on a Talomir map project I let languish for over a year. (Sorry Ed and Paul).

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Child Labor

Got some more figures primed with help from my 7 year old son.

He did the horse in the middle, Bugbear to the right and Orc with the big axe. He also did the wolf rider until he some how knocked him off his blue tacked bottle cap. My semi permanent basing may be showing its weakness with the metal figures especially.

 He did a fairly good job, I just followed him and touched up the puddles and areas with lack of coverage and then finished off the bases while I painted the two archers in the background.

Looks like I have a secret weapon for winning the Analogue painting challenge next year. ;)

I was hoping to find a clip from the movie Zoolander with the part where they show him a cartoon about allowing children the age old right to work. But alas there is nothing except juxtaposed with some political commentary.

Also got in some more "Land Battle " play testing for an RRtK supplement. It went well but the record keeping needs to be streamlined on my part. These are all the regular campaign rules, I'm just losing track of my scribbles in the notebook.

Gotta rush off for another football game, the last of the regular season. I'll post again soon.

Friday, February 15, 2013

This week in Talomir #6?

I forgot to number at least one of these, so we'll just say this is number six. Lord Uhtred is injured but Godwin carries the day.

You can read about it here.

Of course there are no painted figures, I'm still struggling to actually sit at the painting desk. I did make some progress last weekend in cleaning my desk though.

Trying to utilize an unused keyboard tray.
So a mixture of figures in varying states. The gray ones are at least primed, although I realised later the horses should have been primed in black.

I also went to the craft store and got some supplies for doing some basing and terrain and some paints for ACW and more peasant type attire.

The paint was on sale (25% off) so 2oz (59ml) for $1.04, not bad. The air dry clay was $9.99 for 10lbs. the best deal I could find, and was inspired by this post from Terrain for Hippos. I don't know why I hadn't caught on to his use of it before this. The mesh and the sculpting tools were just an impulse buy.

I hope to have another report up soon about some play testing I'm doing, set in another portion of Talomir. Now I have to get ready as we are taking the kids to a parents night out activity at their karate school while my wife and I go out to dinner.

I'll also tell you later how two and half hours in the dentist chair on Wednesday made me feel like a feeble old man.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Keeping up appearances

I don't mean the tv show but here you go.

Some how I have just been super busy. We had four flag football games in a week to make up all the frosted out and rained out games. We actually won one, otherwise we've been taking our lumps at the hands of older, bigger and faster kids.

I've been doing some hobby related stuff but it hasn't amounted to much.

I did try to press on with figures for the next Talomir Tales battle, but I've been lazy. I did try some new stuff for texturing bases though. It is Liquitex Natural Sand Texture gel. I decided to try it instead of my Light Spackle. It worked fairly well, but like flex paste it contracts and settles as it dries. I'm wondering if a little spackle mixed in or some sculpy or green stuff type of thing might do the trick. I'm trying to consolidate steps.

Previously basing had been spackle, let dry. Then add sand for texture, let dry. Then coat the whole thing in diluted PVA, let dry. Then prime. A lot of steps for an already slow painter. So this texture gel was part of some new ideas I had.

So I glued the figures to fender washers with good old Aleene's Tacky Glue. (And let it dry.) Next was to glop on the texture gel. It goes on white but dries clear. While I was doing it I noticed that the grain of the sand in the gel was very fine and I wanted some more contrast. I thought "why not throw on some sand/ ballast while the gel is wet and see what happens?" Sure enough the sand sticks fairly well to the wet gel. After that dried I mixed up my not so secret formula of 1:1:2 Paint:glue:Flow aid. So I cut the number of steps roughly in half, not bad.

And here are some pictures taken with my new camera, a Nikon D5100. I had to reduce them to 20% of the original size. Hopefully now I can do justice to them with painting now that I can take very clear photos.

Caeser adventurer, Strelets Military Order with gel. Caeser Orc with Spackle.

Close up of Orc. I over did the sand on the Strelets figure.

Here you can see the gel shrinkage, maybe I under did the sand on these.
I have these guys primed now but of course ran the battery on the camera down, so I'll take pictures later.

I will be gaming more RRtK for both Talomi Tales and the Land Battle playtest as well as my Top Secret solo Contra campaign.

There has also been some progress on the Cthulhu front. A question came up on the THW yahoo group and Ed released some old notes about gaming Cthulhu using Chain Reaction which are now the free rules. I'm still working on Larger than Life (LTL) the pulp setting as I think that already has a lot of the elements I want.

Lastly, I'll be participating in the Play by Blog campaign over on Shelldrake's Zombie Wargame Blog. We'll be an Australian Infantry section fighting Japanese Zombies in a Wierd War 2 type setting using Bolt Action. Let's hope that yours truly not really knowing the rules or being tactically savvy will hurt too much. Pvt Harry Morant has a girl back home.

Hope to be blogging more soon.

Oh and Lunar (Chinese) New Year is Feb 10th so 恭喜发财.

I've also surpassed 25,000 views but my comments are lacking. Probably because I don't provoke a lot of thought with my posts.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

News from the Leper colony.

It was occurring to me that sometime last October I had been musing about how healthy I had been. I should have known that I would be stuck down for such hubris.

As a recap I caught Pneumonia in early November, which was actually caused by contracting Valley Fever. I then had a wracking cough which lasted from before Thanksgiving to around New Years. Got back home and started feeling better. Two weeks ago my wife came down with the flu, and I felt a little peaked. This week she developed a nasty cough and my sinuses feel like they are going to explode out of my face.

Suffice it to say this has left me even more lethargic than usual.

Never the less I have done a few things.

The most significant achievement is finally having a go at play testing some mechanisms for simulating land battles in RRtK. Since the landscape of Talomir is so large the idea of fighting out all the battles that could occur is a daunting one. At Talomir tales we have gotten around this by basically ignoring the countries not involved in the campaign. So I took it upon myself to test out these rules on another subset (8) of the sixteen countries remaining that are not already involved.

So far I like the rules. They seem to capture the flavor of RRtK and give a believable end result. Defenders and Attackers seemed to split wins pretty well. I've given Mike some feed back and will try some more changes that make the battles slightly less deadly to the characters (CinC, heroes, Mages) as I seemed to roll very high for character effects.

I am also supposed to be play testing a variant of the 9Q's from Solo Nexus but have been horribly procrastinating and then feeling too awful to play when push came to shove. My solo rpg of choice for this is the old Top Secret. In re-reading the rules it struck me that the time frame was contemporary, for some reason we always felt like it was 50's or 60's in time frame. So I figured that I would set it at the peak of my rpg playing time, 1984. That seems to be a good year for espionage lots of spy cases being cracked in the US, Iran-Contra in full swing, the death of Soviet Premier Yuri Andropov. So I'm setting my campaign in Central America for starters. Maybe some gun running or mining of Nicaraguan Harbors.

For Talomir Tales I need to bang out the battle and am perilously close to using some miniatures. They may be partially painted etc, but at this point I've already thrown caution to the wind and used paper counters. So  I've pretty much already demonstrated that I am not a "proper" wargamer.

We'll see how things pan out. A double header of Flag Football today and the Superbowl tomorrow do not bode well for gaming progress. Wish me luck.


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