Winter COVID Projects update

When you’re stuck inside and not meeting other people to game with in person, you either game online (like I have) or you just keep working on projects and hope for better times.

I bumped into a friend at the Hobby Shop today and he mentioned I haven’t posted in a while. He’s right. No excuses, either. Actual gaming has been almost completely online, and almost 100% in the roleplaying genre: Tekumel Monday nights, and MERP on the occasional Sundays. No complaints but RPGs are mostly theater of the mind, and the plots of both the MERP and Tekumel games are a tad Byzantine to be constantly narrating on here. However, I have been relatively active making stuff and developing new games.

  1. Mystic Skies, from Blaster Magazine
Mystic Skies is the issue game from BLASTER MAGAZINE, an Indie Game developer zine. Great fun.

The Mystic Skies project came from BLASTER volume 2, which is an Indie game developer’s zine, containing a workable miniature game in every issue so far, plus material from a gaggle of game designers I like. The games in Vol 1 and 2 have been more or less Gaslands variants. That’s fine with me, I like Gaslands and don’t play it nearly as much as I’d like. As I said, Mystic Skies was the issue game from Volume 2– instead of post-apocalyptic vehicles, the game features Wizards flying around on Flying Carpets, summoning goons to help them and casting spells. I was quite taken with the idea because I thought– hey, I have all those wizards laying around from Frostgrave, and a lot of 28mm fantasy figures I painted up for Oathmark not doing much right now, why not? All I needed was to make some flying carpets.. that should be easy enough, right? Fortunately, I have a 3D printer handy now. Since I first acquired it, I’ve made Rocket Bikes, Pre-Dreadnought Ships, and now, Flying Carpets!

The design was fairly simple to come up with and proved easy to replicate. I can make four at a time with the STL file.
This is a prototype. I ran out of white filament in the process and the base didn’t print 100%, but it does work. There’s a flat space to mount a figure on a magnet in the center of the print.
Version 2 worked better and was simple enough that I had the Library print a few instead of using my machine.
Here are two more. I’m not much of a carpet painter so I might experiment with printing a design on paper and pasting it on the 3D print model. Or maybe cloth fabric from a dollhouse
Irish Hedge Wizard flies away from Sorcerous Death Wraith close behind.

I’ve experimented with printing the specialized templates the designers recommend for Mystic Skies. These are basically Gaslands turning templates. I have had nothing but abject failure printing these so I’ll be trying that some other time. In the meantime I’ve sent a company on Etsy who are making templates and tokens some of my business.
It’s early days yet but I’ve got enough fantasy creatures to be the summoned helpers for about 8 wizards. The game really seems to be built for only four players but I’ll be pushing that envelope. Mystic Skies appears to be made for tinkerers like me.

Project 2: Return to the Yalu

If you’ve been following along you know I’ve played at least one game of Pre-Dreadnoughts solo during the pandemic, the Naval Battle of the Yalu (1894). There’s something I love about this battle– it was early ironclad ship combat, probably the most revolutionary naval clash in history until that time, and it went largely unnoticed, as it was fought between Asian nations, on the far side of the world, and nobody much reported about it. That previous game featured 1:2400 ship, a mix of WTJ and Panzerschiffe pre-dreadnoughts miniatures. My recent acquisition of a 3D printer, plus discovery of Twylite Games on Wargame Vault provided me with the STL files to print my own ships, in roughly 1:1000 scale. I was charmed by this idea.. basically creating an entire fleet for the very reasonable prices charged at Wargame Vault for the files and whatever else it cost me in consumables and labor. It took a couple of attempts to make them print looking right.

Really detailed 3D model of the Ding Yuen, Chinese Battleship, available on Deviant Art.
More detailed models of the Chinese Beiyang Fleet, who went into this battle with a technological edge, but poorly drilled and supplied ships.
Another view of the Beiyang ships as 3D Models
My Beiyang Fleet as a model on the Slicer program I use.
Second attempt at the Beiyang printed out. Much better.
This shot convinced me I needed to reprint the Beiyangs, after I compared them to the Japanese fleet. They were too flat looking.
The Japanese by contrast came out looking pretty spiffy
Here are the Beiyangs, cleaned up and printed again, painted.
More Beiyangs, with the two torpedo boats in the fore.

Status as of today is I’m just starting to paint up the Japanese fleet. I’m excited about this project as I’ve essentially made an entire game out of nothing. I can use rules I already have (like Fire When Ready, or Fire When Ready, Gridley by Long Face games, to simulate these battles. I’m pretty happy with progress.

That’s about all I’ve got to post about right now but I’ll try to be more forthcoming, promise.