Monday, September 19, 2016

In Memory of a Friend

It's a strange world of coincidences that we live in.  Just recently I posted a top 10 list of games I played  of which the top 2: Air Force and Battletech I played with my dearest friend Shane S who has sadly been dead for a number of years now.  Just a couple of days ago his son Aidan contacted me, and surprised me firstly by the contact after so long and secondly for the fact he plays games, in particular Battletech.  Both my children have shown no interest in my hobby, though they do play video games, but then most children of this current generation do. So as part of my rambling posts and as a post to remember my friend I'll post my Battletech collection and some of the papers I've found I still have from our past.

'Mech Collection

Many of these I've had since the game first started producing lead miniatures.  I did have the first plastic miniature sets, but I believe these should be with Aidan, if he has kept his fathers collection, as I gave them to Shane at the time.

Battletech Games and Source Books

OK a few non Battletech games on the shelf, but you can see the titles.
Memories with Shane
The original typed (as in on a manual typewriter) Optional SS Rules for Air Force/Dauntless.  I did another set of these on WordPerfect back in the mid/late 80's which was the master set used by others.  I guess I was Shane's Master Typist/Typesetter for the times.

AirWar was another complex (to some) air combat simulation board game.  Our first games of AirWar campaign was set during the Arab-Israeli Wars, then the Falklands.  This was a follow on campaign.

During my search for photo's I found that Shane must have given me my folder of Battletech campaign material.
Memories that cannot be replaced.

Shane of course used any surface (except the game board) to place his cup, hence the coffee stain!
In summing up:
It is a problem when you develop a relationship with a person who is a friend and a mentor, but is also a person by which you set your standard for gaming entertainment.  I've been spoilt by the years I had with Shane in playing games with him, and to this day I have not found one person who has been able to match him in genius for campaign development, creation and detail.  He was a person I was eager to go and play games with whenever I had to chance to, probably much to the chagrin of his wife Cheri, but certainly to the delight of his son Aidan who was still a baby at that stage.  Aidan would sit happily on my lap while I entertained him as his father and I played games.  So back on topic, my problem is I have not found a person to replace Shane, and I doubt I ever will.  

Thursday, September 15, 2016

My Top 10 Role Play Games

After compiling my list of most played games I looked at the shelves (literally many) of role play books and materials I have accumulated since the 1970's.  Sadly I got flooded in 2001 and lost many books and magazines I cannot replace, but I'm still left with just a few, thankfully all of my favourites which I will will now share with you.

My favourites of all time (excluding the big one D&D)
I have excluded from my favourites the major player from my timeline the one that everyone would have and probably still plays, Dungeons and Dragons.


This is by far the RPG that if anyone I knew said "I'm going to run EPT are you interested in playing?" I'd be the first to sign on.  Or if I found a group of enthusiasts who were prepared to play in this setting I'd be jumping for joy.  Sadly all I have are my memories of enjoyable adventures and the occasional republication and fan works of this exceptional and unique world.


The most popular opponent to D&D during the early days of role play.  Streamline, very little chart searching, more emphasis on skills and the all important role play.  My wife could play this game, so if she could master the mechanics then this game was a winner and a keeper.  The universe of Glorantha had enough mystery in it to encourage game masters to develop their own story lines.  The later products helped flesh out some background materials for those that needed it.  Personally if you had enough imagination of your own, who needs extensive (or additional expense) expansions.


Another personal favourite of mine.  The pulp era has been a favourite for some time (of which I've been drawn into Pulp Alley, a miniature game - see other blog for details and stories).  The real life settings and ability to relate to horror thanks to the many mediums which now inundate us.  My particular period for CoC is the Gaslight period of the 1800's, the period suits me as my understanding of London is familiar and that the players don't and can't access the weapons of destruction that the 1920's onward have available.  I see that a 7th edition has just been released, but my 1st edition is more than adequate to the task of role play.


Serious about role play, to up yourself and your 20th level super snotty sorcerer, then T&T is probably not for you.  Simple, fun and there were solo adventures!  Yes this is what I liked about this game, people were creating the if this happened, go to this point.  For me in the 70's and the early days of computer programming, it was so simple, even simpler to write up an adventure for your Apple II and run with. Ah, feeling nostalgic, I must wipe away a tear from my glass eye...

Stormbringer LINK

Using the same game mechanics as Call of Cthulhu and RuneQuest this made this RPG a no brainer in the day.  It was a box set, sadly I've lost the box along the way, this is the first edition as far as I can tell, ie everything in one book.  Michael Moorcock's universe has appealed to since the 70's I remember buying his novels at a second hand book shop at Burleigh Heads (Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia for overseas readers) for the princely sum of $1 (quite a sum back then).


Metamorphosis Alpha was the precursor to this game (which I sadly lost in the floods), this game I think was spent much of time developing characters and laughing at the silly mutations created.  Then there was the flow charts when we found some of the technology!  The first edition (I did get some of the later ones) is the one which for nostalgia I'd play if I was asked to today.


Well the 1980's for us young people had us still living in the Cold War Era, spys and the threat of Nuclear Armageddon was all too real (and my home loan interest rate was 18%).  Now while I suppose that is just as real, we are more likely to have some extremist hack us to death, don't think that would make an exciting role playing game.  However, spys were exciting, James Bond was the king of them all, and why not try a role playing game, and TSR did.  My friend Michael M was the best GM for this game and many a night was whiled away battling foreign agents and goblins...


You know what I can't remember anything except the fun I had playing this game.  That's all I can tell you about this RPG.


An underrated game by all accounts by my faulty memory.  Remembering nodes for some reason...


Another underrated role playing game forgotten by many.  I've included this in my Top 10 as a nodding remembrance to my friend Gary W who was keen on the game and his group of friends of whom I played an occasional game.  This is to me a classic and collectable (to me) game which is why I've included it even though it's not been played as much as say Vampire:The Masquerade or Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay.

So there you go, my TOP 10, sort of in order, maybe my favourites, time does funny things to memory, but some things like the fun I did have with the people who were my friends at the time did count.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Building a Pyramid

Finally obtained my Pyramid from BPLaser (BPLaser Business LINK) and begun assembling it.  Here are some shots of it as I put it together.  I'll post more as I paint the beggar in due course - can't believe how expensive cans of spray paint have become.  Bunnings did have a cheap range (they still do), but it now has an extremely limited palate.  Not a happy camper.


For starters I didn't read the instructions that were provided for constructing the pyramid!  That's why the two hammers and a file may be in the background of the photo.  As with all building projects you learn from your "mistakes" and know what not to do "next time". However considering the piece will spend it's time in sections as all the action will be taking place inside the pyramid, all will be good.  Now to find some affordable cans of spray paint.



Friday, September 9, 2016

My Top 10 Most Played Games (subjective) I own.

Still suffering and a prisoner of my own home, so I've been watching a lot of YouTube.  One of the channels I watch is The Dice Tower and one of their episodes was on the top 10 most played games.  As I had nothing else to do with my time I thought that I would do the same and share the games I've played the hell out of over the last 30+ years.

I've excluded games such as Heroquest and the plethora of Games Workshop miniature adventure board games that I know I did play a lot at the time.  Yes Battletech, Star Fleet and even Talisman do use miniatures (though initially they all had card pieces or stand ups) I count these as board games in their own way.  Nuclear War and Family Business are really card games and not board games. So disagree with me if you must, but this is my list based on my collection and my gaming experience.

I've included a link to Board Game Geek under the game picture for those who want a more detailed description of the game, rather than me just plagiarising someone else's works.


This would have to be the game I played the most number of games of ever, even exceeding Battletech, and I know I clocked a lot of games in that system.  A dear friend of mine Shane S, now sadly dead these many years refined this game (improved it in many respects), added campaigns, medals, the whole war essentially.  Was he still alive today I'm sure we would still be playing this venerable game, though with lots of model aircraft instead of cardboard counters.


I introduced my friend Shane S to this world of Battletech and he took to it with the same mad genius as he applied to the Air Force campaign system.  In those days I worked at a TAFE near his home and when I finished up after work he and I would meet up and play games until late usually a few nights a week.  Needless to say we clocked up many games until his work called him to move to Western Australia, and then with time his sadly passing.  I miss him greatly, he was the greatest companion you could have ever have asked for in life.


Fresh out of school and into the environment of university culture, working life and game clubs.  There was a small Task Force Game #4 I think that we may have started on, but the box (box art shown above) is what many of my friends started on.  In the early 80's many of the lads would met at my parents home and play this game (my mother would feed them), we'd play at Griffith University or at the clubs in Brisbane.  I remember Gary W writing a computer programme on his Apple to calculate damage to speed up game play and other little innovations.  I remember Michael M working out a point system to calculate a cost of ships to allow some sort of balance in games.  Yes it was a fun if frustrating game for some, outrunning plasma torpedoes or hearing "firing overloaded torpedoes" (it's an in joke).


This and Nuclear War were filler games when no one could decide on what to play.  Vindictive to say the least, pick on anyone, or the same person each and every time.  Still, it passed the time.


Like Family Business this was a filler game.  Very much a game of pick on anyone.  Still it got a lot of play.  [I should say that one game that did get a lot of play which I don't own was Cosmic Encounter, I never played it much, but the others in my group did.]


One three games that my wife will play, so that is a plus.  Many purists don't like this game, but for it's time it was fun and whiled away many an evening.  There were a number of expansions that came along, but I think for the most we only played with the base game.  Fond memories.


The other of the three games my wife will play.  This is the first edition game, not as refined as the current edition and it could be quite brutal and required Dracula to be very honest.


The last of the three games in my list which my wife enjoyed playing.  The art work was what I think enchanted her, as well as the quirky nature of creatures.  Still one of my favourites though finding anyone who wants to play old games these days is difficult as the mentality today is "if it's old, not been reprinted, or on the collectors list then it's obsolete." Not a reason by my book to revisit and play an old game.


Right I'm now into the modern era and the reason why this game is in my list is that it has a damn decent solo mode.  I play the heck out of the game in solo mode, do I mention how much solo gaming I do, well I do a lot of solo gaming.  I do attend a local club and get a few games in there but apart from that, that's about it.  Sigh...


The last of my current modern games I've played the most with real people would have to be Twilight Struggle.  I've only recently been able to afford a copy, so I've been playing until then with a friends copy.  Needless to say this is a game I will play anytime I'm offered a chance, I highly recommend.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

GJMWT 2016 Kings of War Tournament - The Final Wash

Some homeless man they got in to read a prepared speech at the end of the day!
Though Hannah said he had a long beard and that he was Father Christmas...

The GJMWT has been run and honoured for another year.

This years event was Kings of War which initially attracted a number of interested parties yet in the end delivered the faithful who reaped the rewards of a fun day of gaming and entertainment.

First up I will thank Allen from Good Games Ipswich for his very generous sponsorship for this years event.  I hope that all entrants take the opportunity to also thank him in person should they have the opportunity to meet him in person.  Events such as this are thankful for the support they receive from the business community, and in this case Allen has certainly supported the Blind Pig over the years as a visiting members and supporter.  So, thanks very much Allen.

The tournament had an early start, with the hall being set up on Friday night by two intrepid night owls so that the start of play could kick off with little delay.  The bacon and egg roll breakfast was greatly appreciated and wolfed down quickly by those who attended.  Soon enough it was time to start the drawn and in perverse decision making I decided to match the armies against each other for the first round.  For instance, Dwarf versus Dwarf, Varangur versus Varangur etc.  After that seeding went according to player ranking as per normal.

Prizes this time also went in a reverse order for something totally different.  The major winner at the GJMWT has always been the Thanks for Coming Award (Last Place), which is usually where Geoff placed.  In this case the primary prize was alelocated to last place, then 3rd place, 2nd place, and finally 1st place, so the importance of prize pool was given accordingly.  Best Painted only had a trophy this year.  I'm not sure how well received this was, but considering I have previously run trophy only events I'm not overly concerned.  I run events for the community and their enjoyment, the majority of them do not get a shiny from the days event, so it's important that they take away an experience of entertainment first and foremost.  After all that's what playing games should be all about.

First Place
Chris W

Second Place
Clint R

Third Place
Fraser K

Best Painted
Ed H

Thanks for Coming
Michael S

Here are the final results from the day.

Chris W 5730 61
Clint R 4785 53
Fraser K 3445 50
Ken 4180 49
Trevor 1065 38
Ed H 5775 36
Terry C 6155 34
Philip A 5670 28
Jaime S 2775 17
Michael S 2730 4



Thanks also to the lads who travel from the North, which to me is anything on the other side of the Brisbane River, actually the Sunshine Coast Area, the QNK's.  I appreciate the distance you and the others travel, thank you for attending.

On behalf of Paul and the Blind Pig we thank you for attending and helping pack up at the end.

See you all at the next event.