Monthly Archives: July 2011

Beer, Chicks and Wargames


Generally speaking, reading another fellow’s drinking stories can be as dull as watching paint dry unless the reader, in turn, is a bit inebriated. It depends on the skill of the writer. I was simply taken with the title of this thinly disguised memoir of the author’s sojourn at USC.. It has a certain charm. Maybe not enough charm to induce me to pony up the asking price, but I like the fact that Mr. Spikeman published it. Bravo, sir, you have encapsulated my academic career nicely.

Beer Chicks and Wargames by Spikeman

Beer Chicks and Wargames by Spikeman

Description:

It is the fall of 1991 at the University of South Carolina. The world is changing. Enter Bart, a stubborn, opinionated and fiercely independent kid who goes to college to get away from his home town and push back adulthood for as long as possible. Beer, Chicks and Wargames: The 6-Year College Plan is his memoir. While getting a degree would certainly be a plus, that goal quickly becomes secondary as Bart discovers Beer, Chicks and Wargames, as well as a myriad of other temptation along the way. He also has a knack for getting into all sorts of trouble. Bart fails in almost everything, yet stubbornly refuses to adapt or mature to meet the academic, fiscal and social challenges facing him. Only desperation and sheer luck keep him afloat from one misadventure to the next until he finds his true calling. In this bitingly honest and humorous look at college life in America, Gregory Spikeman takes the reader on a nostalgic ride through the 90s – the music, culture, technology, and the dysfunctional youth of Generation X. Publisher’s website: http://sbpra.com/gregoryspikeman

You can find it on Amazon. Hurry, there are only 7 left. By the way, the map in the background is Avalon Hill’s EMPIRE IN ARMS, the very same game mentioned in the post “Has the Sun Set On the Friendly Little Game Store?” as being left set up for a year in a hobby shop I frequented in my recently post-collegiate days. See? I can be topical!

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Aside

You might recall the recent GRAND RAPIDS lipdub (posted here a while back). Now Traverse City, Michigan has their own. If this is a trend, I’m loving it. That’s former Screensavers host Kate Botello in the middle, there.

History, Mystery Boo! for 30 July 2011: The Subject Was Vetoed


Vetoes

Who was the FIRST American president to use the Line Item Veto?

It’s another History, Mystery, BOO! for 30 July 2011– in which the question of “Who were the youngest five generals to serve on either side in the American Civil War?” is cleared up with surprising results. AND.. the question for next week: “Who was the FIRST American President to utilize the Line Item Veto?”

Have fun, and we’ll answer in the next History Mystery BOO!

http://boos.audioboo.fm/attachments/1413524/history-mystery-boo-week-ending-30-july-11-the-subject-was-vetoed.mp3″

DIRECT LINK NOTE: I ran out of time on this Boo, so the additional minute and 18 seconds is contained in an audio comment I recorded to this Boo, located at this link, which is also handy for FACEBOOK users.

The Annual pre-GENCON Magical Chariot Combat Race..er.. event!


The annual tradition of Steve Gibson running his excellent CIRCUS MAGICUS race game a week before heading up to run it at GENCON Indy is well known and has been represented in this journal before. I almost always attend these games, as the CM system is hugely fun. Steve has been working on it for about 15 years as far as I can tell, and it gets better every year with the constant feedback of his gaming group (e.g., us). The game plays sort of like a stripped down version of SILENT DEATH (mostly the chariot sheet element of tracking damage) and CIRCUS MAXIMUS (AH’s old chariot game) combined. Even with the mechanics fine-tuned for speed, we rarely finish games of CM if we start later than 7 o’clock. Hey, with some games, it’s the journey, not the destination. As usual, I had a great time.. and I brought Garrett to play in his first race. He LOVED it and got into the spirit of things immediately!!

Beholder Chariot

Gar's Chariot, the FEARSOME BEHOLDER CHARIOT (3 x beast attack)

Burmese War Elephant

My much less impressive BURMESE WAR ELEPHANT, but it does have five missile fighters.

The Starting Lineup

The Starting Lineup

The Da Vincis give the Orcs "Shrapnel Therapy"

The Da Vincis give the Orcs "Shrapnel Therapy"

Mid-Race Action!

The Beholders board the Hobbits and slay FOUR of them!!

And on to a little slide show:

(Facebook Users use THIS LINK)

FINAL STANDING

Final Standing!

Video Footage:

Steve Gibson demonstrating his method of Throwing Melee Dice

Steve giving a comprehensive overview of the combat and fighting mechanics.

Garrett gets in the spirit of things and makes a case to get more coins..

Garrett giving a summary of his race experience.

Katie’s ferocious hobbits say they’ll gut Garret’s Beholder crew “Like a Trout!”

Our GM exalting in victory

Our GM exalting in victory

Mystery Solved! My Obsession with Acquiring a Polaris Submarine


Growing up, I read a lot of comics. Comics in my era had classified ads in the back, and they were visually stunning, and full of lies. It took a few tries to steel myself from inevitable disillusionment. For example.. the “Box of 100 Soldiers” ad, which promised something really cool:

100 Soldiers

100 Soldiers ad, the theoretical…

… only to discover, after scraping together the fee and postage and sending (cash! through the mail!) to this company that the foot locker was cardboard, and the figures rather pathetic poorly made flats, not in scale with anything, including the planes and ships that came with:

… and the actual.  When you are expecting 3D and get 2D, you get a little cynical.

Gradually, even the dimmest, dewey eyed enthusiast looking for creative ways to blow his paper route money gets a little jaded. One figures out that Sea Monkeys are actually brine shrimp, and that X-Ray specs (women will never trust you with these) aren’t even a particularly clever gimmick.

So when I started to see the greatest promise made by comic book ads — the King Ghidorah of coolness in comic book ad form.. yes, THE POLARIS NUCLEAR SUBMARINE FOR 6.98, I had grown worldly wise far beyond my years, sufficient to know this ad was a scam. Uncle Sam wasn’t going to part with advanced weaponry for a mere 7 dollars.. er.. or was he? That was a whole week of scavenging construction sites to find bottles to turn in for deposit! I wasn’t about to risk it!  And yet.. I wanted to believe…

Polaris comic book ad

The Polaris ad, in all its four color glory!

I can’t tell you how much the 9 or 10 year old me wanted it to be true, yet at the same time, I KNEW it was going to be a toy, and made cheaply at that.  Hope perversely endures.  In the back my mind I thought that, hey, maybe, just maybe it was a big plastic thing, with spring loaded torpedoes, large enough to house me and all my buddies.. maybe it will float, at least.. and hey, maybe we could take it to the pool an submerge it!  This actually might be almost worth it!!! YEAH!!! (suddenly, my still-forming adult BS detector would ring alarmingly, and I would real in my fantasies).

I am amused to look back on my childhood and remember what I was picturing in my mind’s eye:

Even in my my most optimistic moments, the smart part of me knew that these adults were taking advantage of me, of course.

Gradually, I got older, put comics away as childish things and didn’t really think of it, until I discovered a nostalgia webpage that was dedicated to the toy soldier sets of my comic book-reading past. Sure enough, there was the 100 Toy Soldier set I was stupid enough to save up for. And other sets I jonesed for in pre-adolescent envy.. the American revolutionary set. The Romans (who turned out to be flats again, those sneaky thieves!). Nowhere did I see a representation of my childhood obsession, the Polaris Submarine. I have looked high and low on the internet since, and it seemed as if there as no visual record of what the actual sub looked like and what it was made of. Did all the submarines that got sold self destruct? There were (are) no artifacts of the Polaris sub’s existence, anywhere! Just mentions of the ad here and there on the web where the writer was feeling nostalgic for a more innocent time. Why, why was there NO evidence that this thing ever existed in reality? Was no one ever taken in? I just found that hard to believe.

I was resigned to living a Polaris-free existence for the rest of my days. That is, until a Boing Boing reader recently sent in the following picture in response to an article that ran on the subject of comic book ads:

The Polaris Sub

The Polaris Submarine from the comics, at long last.

Yes, that’s it. At long last, we see what it looked like. My guess (even at age 9) was that it would be made of pasteboard or cardboard, and the rockets and torpedoes were just cardboard as well. Upon actually seeing what they sent you for your seven dollars, now I feel two things.. A) that I pretty much got it dead on. and B) I’m glad I didn’t get taken in when I was a kid.  As an adult, I kind of like the lines of the thing, it looks sort of like a wingless space shuttle.  As a kid, I would have felt horrifically ripped off to get this for my seven hard-earned dollars.  I could just hear the hoots of derision if I had uncrated THIS thing in my front yard.

And in conclusion, It’s nice to finally solve this mystery!

Related:

Aside

An unintended Frank Key double header tonight.. as Frank commented on Facebook that he would like to hear me recite THE CRUEL SEA, which is a long string of tortured adjectives from the Hooting Yard website. Without further, ado, we … Continue reading

Ambrose and Signor Ploppo


We’ve been missing the work of Mr. Frank Key here at Airy Persiflage, and the arrival of a recent Hooting Yard podcast suggested the perfect piece to perform with Young Gar. With Mr. Key’s kind permission, we present a dialogue between Signor Ploppo, a man of parts, and Ambrose, a cunning and curd-hungry member of the avian family.

AmbroseandPloppo.jpg

http://misternizz.podbean.com/mf/web/6swxdy/Ambrose_and_Signor_Ploppo.mp3″

For Facebook Users, here is the direct link to Airy Persiflage

The Imps of Satan


The Imps of Satan

LINK for Facebook users.

Bowing to the Inevitable: Farewell, Borders Books. Where will we go now?


Borders is closing

Borders is closing...

The dominant trend of this journal, if any trends can be detected, are the geekly pursuits of the author’s adult life. A great deal of that life has been spent in bookstores. I worked in three when I was just out of college, all of which were part of national chain bookstores, mostly located in malls, all of which have collapsed long ago (Waldens, Brentanos, B. Dalton). Bookstores used the “anchor store model” back in the 80s, locating in a retail location where they could exploit the symmetry of a large draw retail store. On the East coast, Crown Books came along to challenge that (mostly in the Mid-Atlantic area). Crown’s model was to create an organic distribution chain using their own trucks and warehouses, and flog an enormous amount of bargain books, remainders and one-offs in the front of the store, concentrating primarily on selling best-sellers for about 10% less than anyone else around. They had the wiggle room to do that by locating in cheaper real estate (usually a strip mall in the suburbs) and the cost savings they could realize by distributing directly from the publisher to their own warehouse. Crown (and some other regional discount chains using the same model, notably Books-a-Million) had its day, challenging the higher priced mall-based chains (Brentanos, Scribners, B. Dalton, Waldens) for the casual book purchase market.

Around the early to mid-90s, Borders Bookstores hit the regional markets after dominating the Midwest (the chain started in Michigan). They offered something that book geeks hadn’t seen before in a national chain.. Space. Chairs. Comfort. A huge inventory. A staff that (at the time) seemed to know what they were talking about. It was a treat to visit a Borders back in the 90s, and I didn’t think twice about spending 2 or more hours in one, just browsing or finding a corner somewhere to read something, you know, with coffee from the coffee bar (another “natural” these days, but it was new back then). As you have maybe figured out by now, your humble narrator is a history and science fiction genre fan, and I would easily spend lots of time and lots of money in both sections of the store. The DVD section was usually inspired, as well. Right on the heels of Border’s success was Barnes and Noble, adopting almost an identical approach, inhabiting lots of real estate and bringing in coffee bars, music, DVDs, etc. So, for a while there, it was almost like we had a golden age of books happening. That is… until the inevitable happened.

I know, you’re expecting a rant about Amazon now.  Nah.

Maybe it wasn’t SO inevitable. As we mentioned in a previous post about the impact of the internet on game stores, internet commerce started hitting both Borders and Barnes and Noble pretty hard with the increase of Amazon– but Amazon didn’t have to spell their doom.   It seems impossible to accept now, but people seem to forget that Amazon didn’t make a profit for years after their debut in 1994.  It wasn’t until Amazon branched out of books and started to vend everything under the sun that they achieved the kind of dominance they enjoy today.

Personally, I think it was being a latecomer to the Epub world that really spelled doom for Borders and other stores.  Once again, they seem to be ubiquitous now, but the notion of electronic books is not remotely new.  Project Gutenberg started in 1971.   Books on CD were attempted in the 1980s.  Various formats of electronic publishing cropped up in the 90s, but the notion really didn’t catch on while the display was in Liquid Crystal Diode mode– it was just too hard to read and so unlike a book experience it proved to be popular.  Of course, the advent of E-Ink screens (dating from 1997) changed all that, first with the Sony Reader line… and you know about the Kindle, I’m guessing.   Barnes and Noble was slow to jump on the train that Amazon had taken, but proved to be a market innovator by pinning their fortunes to the Nook, then color Nook (and along the way creating their own web retailing presence… not ever as universal as Amazon’s but a nice chunk of revenue in any event).  Borders, in comparison, was a laggard both in web retail and e-books vending, and their alliance with the Kobo Reader came as a little too little, a little too late to reverse downward trends.  With so much capital tied up in real estate and inventory, Borders was late to invest in two things they needed badly to survive: A Web marketplace with a recognizable brand, and a specific device like the Nook or Kindle that was associated specifically with Borders.

The implosion was bound to happen sooner or later.  Last year, Borders quietly shut down a large chunk of their standalone stores and Border’s Express locations (formerly those Waldenbooks mall stores, some of them..), and filed for relieve under Chapter 11 as they restructured their debt load.  The hope being that a buyer might come riding in during the past year to salvage the situation.  Alas, it was not to be.  You’ve probably heard the news by now.

What will the impact of the closure of the other retail book giant mean?  Quite a bit for a lot of people.  For many neighborhoods, the sole accessible bookstore for miles in any direction will close down.   For Barnes and Noble, it will mean the death of an arch rival, and perhaps an assumption of dominance in the retail book vending market.. but I really wonder what the future will hold for even B&N.  Sure, they have made some smart moves with the Nook, but is the mega store the way of the future?  Signs indicate that it is not.. There is still a huge market for paper books, periodicals and other tangible items sold in bookstores, that isn’t going to vanish any time soon.  But I have to wonder.. will the demise of Borders provide an opening for smaller, more agile, more niche-oriented, tech-savvy bookstores to emerge on the scene?  Say, perhaps, bookstores that specialize in genres of any sort, such as romance, Young Adult (which is booming), Science Fiction, Mystery, etc?  Only time will tell.

In the meantime, I’m going to mourn the loss of an old friend, Borders Books.

Farewell letter from CEO of Borders

Farewell letter from CEO of Borders

Knights of Badassery! Just previewed at Comic Con SD


This looks to be pretty amusing.. what if your play world encroaches on reality in a really, really terrible way?

The cast looks great.  Peter Dinklage from The Station Agent (and, oh, yeah, that George Martin thing.. what was that again?), Ryan Kwanten from True Blood, and Steve Zahn from a bunch of things, most notably That Thing You Do.  Apparently some LARPers at a Pennsic Style retreat summon something they didn’t bargain on.

Farewell, Little Grumbler


I lost my little friend today. Gabby, our little rescue pug, gave up this mortal coil this afternoon. She might have been 12, she might have been 16. The folks at the shelter really weren’t sure of how old she was when she came to the shelter.

Gabby the Grumbler

Gabby the Grumbler

I called her “The Grumbler” because her snorty, raspy breathing always sounded like she was pissed off and complaining about something. She wasn’t conventionally affectionate, just demanded to know I was there– she would come into a room I was in, walk over, stare at me, then grumble a bit and tuck in next to my feet and snore. I’ll miss that.

She used to sit by my feet when I painted miniatures, or on the couch next to me when I was watching TV. There wont’ be another like her. I wish she had lasted longer, but I realize that pugs don’t last forever. Farewell, little Grumbler. May you always have a comfortable couch in Heaven.

Has the Sun set on the Friendly Little Game Store?


I’ve grown up with modern gaming, you might say.  I was a youngster when D&D was new.  I played SPI Games with my dad when we could get them shipped to us at whatever APO address we were living at.  I bought the original Squad Leader in a Hallmark store.  I was not alone– there were tons of us kids looking for the latest and greatest back when I was growing up, and it was usually not to be found, until an actual Friendly Little Gaming Store (FLGS), the first in the area, hit town when I was in high school.  By “hit town” I mean, started up about 20 miles away, an easy drive for anyone who had a license.  It was an astonishing experience, to see and feel and touch the latest and greatest thing.. the latest module or expansion or whatever.  Maybe you read about it in the Dragon, or the White Dwarf, or something.  There was no internet in those days.  Information passed around as best it could, from mouth to mouth and person to person.  Having all that stuff in one place.. one store.. was amazing.  I spent hours and hours there.  Gradually, I went away to college to discover another FLGS, also nearby, which became almost like  a clubhouse of sorts.  For at least a decade, during the formative years of the gaming industry we know and love today, the way we found out about the Cool New Thing was to visit a FLGS store.  If the owner was on the ball, he was talking to the distributor representatives each and every week, and had a good idea of what was coming down the pike and he would do the job of building up the audience for the Cool New Thing so that we were there, eager to buy it when the UPS man showed up with the first shipment.

Myriad Games, in Manchester, NH

Myriad Games, in Manchester, NH

Remember, we are still in those halcyon pre-Internet days.  Gamers had no notions of a larger world outside their hobby shops, or even outside of their town.  Sure, we knew there were other people who liked D&D and wargames and miniatures… but they might have been on the other side of the moon.  The local FLGS was the bomb, the center of the gaming universe, the place where the larger games that couldn’t fit in people’s basements happened. At one FLGS that was near and dear to my heart, the Little Soldier in Alexandria, the owner, Dennis Largess, kept a game of Empires in Arms set up and laid out for a small group of players for what seemed like a year or more. And it was totally cool and almost expected that he would do so. That was what a FLGS was like in that era– not as productized, much more friendly and the customers had a personal attachment to the place that you only see a glimmer of these days. The more modern phrase “man-cave” applies, for the younger set.

And then, two things happened.  The Internet happened, and the number of hobby distributors dropped off the face of the earth, from 20 or so, to 3, to 2, and now maybe one.  What had been an easy and responsive ad-hoc system to allow rapid movement of product into stores has become increasingly more difficult to work with– distributors, which used to do business on competitive terms, became more restrictive and harder to get either credit or stock from.  Thus stores went from a “buying one of everything and seeing if it works out” approach to a much more cautious buying strategy.   Stores didn’t have the luxury of keeping failed product lines on the shelves forever and ever… shelf space is an expensive commodity.

Concurrently, the conventions (at least the miniature conventions– I can’t really speak for board game trade shows) were a conduit for those small shop owners to talk to manufacturers and see what the latest and greatest figure lines were coming down the pike. At the recent Historicon 2011 convention, there were only five companies present who actually cast new figure lines in the 2010-11 timeframe. Everyone else was selling someone else’s product. If there were small shop owners here and there in the crowd, they certainly kept a low profile. I can’t imagine the situation in boardgaming and RPG conventions is much different. I didn’t attend Origins 2011, but I heard on the recent Dice Tower Origins wrap up podcast that the show appeared “sparse” and that major boardgame publishers were not there in force. If an acknowledged boardgaming enthusiast like Tom Vasel is noticing a downward trend for one of the anchors of the gaming world (Origins), then likely this downward trend is noticeable. What role would a show like Origins play for a FLGS owner today? I don’t think many of them could afford to attend for starters. There’s the GAMA Trade Show, of course, but is a tiny FLGS owner actually going to go to Vegas to attend it? I rather doubt that. A Distributor would, for certain. A gaming store chain (and yes, there a few of those left) might. Again, I don’t know, I’ve never been to that show– but how relevant is it in the age of the Internet?

Aye, the Internet is the 300 lb. gorilla in this discussion, isn’t it? Internet, and in a broader sense, technological change, is a fast track that few store owners have the capital to keep up with.  Our local gaming store was once heralded nationally as being revolutionary– boasting tons of table space, a clean, uncluttered look, friendly staffers who knew what they were talking about, and a constantly rotating stock of new items as well as “classics” that the owner had picked up here and there from collections.  Sound familiar?  That’s the kind of fustian that we were spouting about the emergence of the large mega-bookstores Borders, Brentanos and Barnes and Noble in the early 90s.  And as we sadly bid farewell to Borders this week (more on this later), Brentanos being long gone, and as Barnes and Noble also lost 38 million last month, it seems like the outlook is bleak for companies catering to a leisure product that aren’t nimble enough to respond to change.  The example of the bookstore industry is almost identical to the game retail industry, only larger by a few orders of magnitude.  Bookshops that weren’t farsighted enough to adjust to new technologies (internet distribution of electronic books, reading machines, digital music, Amazon, etc.) were left high and dry, holding lots and lots of real estate, expensive inventories of CDs, DVDs, bulky items and books, coffee bars and a greatly diminished revenue stream to keep it all afloat.  Game stores had similar problems with large inventories, only they didn’t have the same relationship with publishers and manufacturers that book corporations did.  They couldn’t return for credit (for the most part) to a distributor who would give them something off for the next big buy.  So anything that didn’t’ sell in a gaming shop either ended up in the discount bin at a huge loss so that SOME income could be generated for an order for next month, or the store would just sit on old inventory, year in and year out.  Both of these approaches lead to inevitably diminishing cash receipts.  In the meantime, potential customers are presented with the triple threat of Ebay, and hobby liquidator/vendors like Troll and Toad or Miniatures Market, and especially hobby online stores that provide pictures, links to blogs and YouTubes and other social media to show you how great a product is– and of course they’ll ship it to you in three days, no sweat, paid for electronically by credit card or handy paypal.  In the face of all that, brick and mortar FLGSs have had a very difficult time competing.  Some of them have adopted some pretty innovative programs, like Myriad Games‘ try before you buy program (for a fee) and creating “memberships” which are essentially free extra income (not unlike major bookstore retailers do).  Certainly that will help, but the FLGS store owner, now more than ever, has to rotate his stock constantly, keep abreast of the trending items, and cater to his clientele.  After all, what a FLGS has to sell is instant gratification and a sense of community.   If the store can’t deliver on that promise, then people will shop online, which is in most cases, just as quick if not a whole lot quicker than getting a store to order it for you.  What will keep the customers ordering from the store?  Loyalty?  Ha!  Remember that showcase game store that opened up near me in the 90s?   Back in the day, Special orders, a “gamer’s atmosphere” and personal service were what they had to sell. You know, the same edge Borders had over Mall bookstores like B.Dalton and Waldens, right?  Nowadays, it’s as if we have to beg them to special order anything, and they wait until they have a critical threshold of units before they place an order with a distributor– so it takes weeks, if ever.  When I recently wanted to order some more ironclad stuff in 1:600, I didn’t bother going to the store. I knew they wouldn’t carry it, of course, but special ordering was also right out.  I placed my order with Bay Area Yards at a very reasonable price, and it showed up in three days.  There’s no way my local store could compete with that level of service.  To be fair to them in turn, I may be one guy out of 200 that might be interested in buying and collecting 1:600 ironclad miniatures, so I wasn’t expecting them to carry it.   One other relevant item– I would not have jumped into the ironclads thing if I hadn’t found a bunch of “Hammerin Iron” resin boats by Peter Pig, at the Brookhurst hobby booth, at HISTORICON 2011.. you know, a booth, manned by human beings, showing product.

The fact is, I love FLGS and have spent hundreds of dollars in them over the years, not to mention countless hours.  Nowadays, the primary feature of a FLGS is that there are people like me in them.  Any given night my FLGS is full of people playing games, as it features several gaming tables.  They have taken to charging for the privilege of using their tables… and I have no objection if that’s keeping them in business.  Maybe they could focus on selling primarily the experience of playing games instead of the retail business of selling them.. not that I imagine it’s raking in huge dollars for two dollar table fees per person.

In conclusion, I’m not trying to be a doomsayer; I love FLGSs and grew up with them, but the old model has suffered from the economic contraction of the past four years as well as the complete and total dominance of Internet vendors.  We may have reached a place where they are no longer AS relevant to the hobby as they once were.  There are fewer and fewer gaming and hobby shops that specialize in tabletop gaming in the United States.  The ones that are left are struggling, and the outlook is somewhat bleak if they don’t change with the times.  I suspect gaming in the future will focus on a lot of grass-roots efforts, such as clubs, meetup.com, gaming in FLGS, buying stuff primarily online but maybe sometimes in a store, and gaming everywhere– coffee houses, pizza shops, libraries and yes, FLGSs.   Not as centralized as gaming was when I was a kid, but it will still be here.  I hope.

Recent Additons to Uncharted Seas fleets


A few select purchases from THE WAR STORE convention booth at HISTORICON. These are supplemental to fleets that I already have. The only one incomplete is the RalGard, which I just started. Otherwise, I have one fleet for every faction I know of.

The Shroud Mages Infiltrator cruiser, in my distinctive paint scheme, almost done.

Infiltrator Destroyers for the Shroud Mage fleet.  They are designed to rocket into their foes and ram them.

The Steampunky Shroud Mages, down in my own Brown Grime paint scheme.

The entire Shroud Mage Fleet

The Orc Raider Heavy Cruiser, with the rock lobbing trolls on deck, needing another going over with some grime.

The New Orc Raider Heavy Cruiser, with giant troll rock lobbers!

The colorful RalGard Heavy Cruiser, still in work

The colorful RalGard Heavy Cruiser, with distinctive particoloured sails and giant ram beak. It’s the only Orc Ship with side firing broadsides.

The very Spikey And Grimey Orc raider fleet

The Entire Orc Fleet. Pretty savage firing in a forward direction, not much good firing sideways.

The painting is coming along nicely, and I hope to be done this weekend.

Aside

A book review of Paul Silverstone’s WARSHIPS OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR NAVIES.f Continue reading

Aside

Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik My rating: 2 of 5 stars Full disclosure, I read Books 1-4 in the series and enjoyed them immensely, though I wish the series had stayed geographically in Europe and fighting Napoleon’s First Empire, … Continue reading