Latest DungeonBash/Dungeon Crawl

July 27th, 2014 No comments

I’ve taken to using the words ‘Dungeon Crawl’ when listing my game in convention schedules to make it very clear that it’s a dungeon crawl.  The name DungeonBash is great but it doesn’t say much about what the game is.  I’m trying all kinds of things to get people interested in playing the game.

I ran the game yesterday at Conclave of Gamers.  This is a new con that expanded from a board game focus into more types of games.  I thought I would pull a double here – help the con by having another game and see what the response was with a different crowd.

I ran it twice and neither time had what I would call a full table.  The first game had 3 out of 4 players (someone played 2 of the characters) and the other game was full during registration but only 1 (maybe 2) of them showed up.  The last seat was filled by someone who seemed to be guilted into playing and I’m not sure how much he enjoyed it.

This is the exact reason why I was testing the waters again.  I have yet to run the game at a convention and fill the table with enthusiastic players.  Even the last game at GengisCon had 3 players and 1 who seemed more interested in me than the game.  The 3 players were a family so 2 were kids.  Not what I wanted but I ran the game for them.

I’ve come to the decision that not enough people want to play.  The game is optimized for 4 people so not getting that many puts a burden on the other players.  Getting less than 3 is no fun at all.  I haven’t canceled those games since 2 people showed up to play but its been tempting.

I changed up the rules for this convention and I’m considering more changes for the future.  Not that I have any plans at all to run it but it’s nice to take the experience and use it to improve the game.

  • Pre-built dungeon – I did this already.  Building the dungeon on the fly takes too long during a convention.  If I’m ever asked to run it for a group and we have time I can go the ‘build as we go’ route.
  • Fewer rooms – When they’re searching for 3 items having 9 or 10 rooms is too many.  Combat is random and takes too long for them to get into all the rooms.  Next time there will be 6, at most 7, rooms.  Items x 2.
  • Different monster charts – I didn’t like how the current monsters fit into the new format.  I’ll change up the encounters to be more suited to the play style.  That means not using some of the minis and duplicate encounters on the chart.  I’m good with that.  I think I can mix it up enough to make it work.
  • Faster multiple encounter progression – The progression feels slow and doesn’t add to the tension of the game.  This is an easy one since I can pick from the existing cards to do the progression.  I already did some of that in the last game.

In a way it means making the game smaller.  Having a big dungeon layout is great and attracts attention.  It doesn’t attract players.  So a big part of the modular dungeon pieces I made won’t get used.  Sad but more effective.

I didn’t sign up to run the game at the next upcoming convention.  I knew I could get in if I had success at this one.  I didn’t have success.  I won’t be signing up for the next convention.

It’s a waste to pack it up (after fixing bits that need fixing) after all the work that went into it.  I’m very sad that the minis painted by my friends will get packed up with the game.  At this point I don’t see a way to not pack it up.  It won’t go out of style so putting it away for a couple of years isn’t going to move it off the charts.

What’s most disappointing to me is that I get a lot of “That’s so cool!  I want to play!” and then when they get the chance they don’t.  Or people sign up and don’t show up.  I like running the game and I’m proud of what I built and that my friends helped out making it awesome.  Then I sit at a table with empty chairs all around and it’s hard not to take it personally after a few conventions.

Anyway.  Here’s a picture of the layout I built on the fly at the last convention.  I decided to use the space available to me to make a nice big dungeon.

Conclave 2014 - Big Layout

Categories: Dungeon Crawl, Minis, Terrain Tags:

Savaged Firefly

April 23rd, 2014 No comments

First off – I hope to be posting here more often.  I probably lost most of my followers by being a slacker but hey, my own fault.  Then again my gaming has taken a steep dive since I don’t have a gaming group.

I decided to run a Savage Worlds game in the Firefly setting after getting the Serenity role playing game books.  I didn’t like the game system in the books and thought that it would be better served as a Savage World game.  And so it began.

There is a distinct lack of canon in the book.  The book is licensed and Joss didn’t have the chance to build out the ‘Verse in only one season.  Insert short session of sobbing here over the cancellation of Firefly.  Without enough setting material the game would be difficult to play at best.

There’s been a few people who have done work on filling out the setting and adapting the existing material to work with Savage Worlds.  There’s a few highly detailed pieces that are interesting in their own way but don’t add enough to game play.  I’m using bits and pieces of those for my work.  Luckily Pinnacle just released their Sci Fi Companion book so what I need for the ships and other sci fi stuff is in place.  And the setting is mostly low tech for game play.  I’m using less than a dozen pages from the companion book.


One thing that’s completely necessary is the planets.  Even in the canon only the planets used in the series are listed (with a couple of extras) and the information is sparse.  There’s no city names!  Even in the published adventure book there’s no city names!  First order of business – generate list of city names.

Hrm.  So what are the cities like?  Time to check out Traveler and have a hard look at their world building rules.  Those will help with some of it.

Next sticking point was while I was building out cities.  I needed to put in Alliance presence.  There’s no official Alliance military structure.  ~sigh~  So set the planets and cities aside to build out a realistic but not overly detailed military structure.  My friend Brian had a look (he was in the military and plays a lot of historical wargames so he can see it from both sides) and made corrections.  I’m questioning why one rank got dropped so that’s a bit on hold.

Once I get the military structure I can work on the types of presence and how big they are.  That will be a standalone document that I’ll be putting on this site as fan created material.

Then it’s back to the cities.  I’ve got some that I used in my games with a few place names and those are the first ones I’m expanding.  I’m also working on the cities for planets where I expect my players to go.  It’s so much easier than making it up on the fly.

Finally – genealogies.  Somehow I’m on a kick of having a lot of Chinese families in this game.  Maybe because half the universe is populated by Chinese so they’re going to be around.  I made the ‘mistake’ of putting in a family relationship during a gaming session and so it began.  I’ve got the idea for three of them and I can continue to split them off with marrying into Anglo (had to look up the wording from the series) families.  I like a cohesive  gaming world and it’s always fun when past events come back to bite players in the butt.

Finally – crime “bosses”.  The series had less than legitimate business contacts on several planets.  I’m doing the same thing.  I decided to base my NPCs on my friends.  They’re all on board with this and have come up with suggestions for their characters.  At least one is even painting their own mini.  I think of it as an homage to them.  I’m also using names of people I know for businesses.  Might as well work those in and some of them have cool names.

All the documentation will probably be on the front page of the website so it’s easy to find.  I’m also going to work on separating out my specific things (like the family connections) from the basic documents.  I’ll provide the families if people want to use them.  It’s so much easier when someone else has already done the work, right?

I have a couple of other things going on as well but I’ll try to keep this blog more current as I go.  I feel bad for leaving it alone for so long.

Dungeon Crawl

April 20th, 2014 No comments

I’ve been lax about posting pictures from the dungeon crawl in action.  Back in February.  But hey!  Here they are now.

I asked players to take pictures during the game since I’ve found that I tend to be too busy to take enough pictures.  They did so I have pictures!  Here’s some of the better ones.Small battle

Small battle, different angle

More of the dungeon and more monsters

Larger battle and dungeon

And so it begins

My first sculpts – dragons

November 27th, 2013 No comments

There’s an artist that makes ‘dice dragons’ and they’re darn cute.  They’re very much chibi in style and while that’s not my kind of thing the dragons have potential.  They’re also a simple style and the artist was kind enough to post a YouTube video on making them.  So I had a step-by-step tutorial on making the basic figure.

I had to get past my “I can’t sculpt” mental block.  It took a while and once I started I found that I could do this.  I could sculpt!

Blue Dragon 2d6 - 01

This was my first dragon.  I learned a lot from him, mostly in terms of body size.  He’s longer than I wanted but hey, it was my first one.

The wings need to be pre-baked before adding the membrane and I didn’t want to haul out the toaster oven so I made a second one using the experience from the first one.

Blue Dragon d20 - 01

As you can see I got the scale better.  I still have work to do on refining things like the spine spikes and all the horns.  I think I need to leech the clay for those so they’re not as droopy.  The front legs are also thinner than I want them to be.  I don’t know if I want to paint irises on the eyes or not either.

After saying everything that’s wrong I still think they’re cute.

Categories: Sculpting Tags:

Insult to Injury

November 3rd, 2013 No comments

I’m not going to name the company here.  It wouldn’t do any good.  But here’s my tale.

I was accumulating a 15mm army as a gift.  A large army.  As such it’s generally not something you can do at one time.

By the time it was about 2/3 complete there was no longer a reason to have it, since I wasn’t going to be giving it as a gift.  I won’t get into that either.

The company says I need receipts to return them.  Um, who keeps receipts for extended purchases?  A pack here and a pack there add up over time but I can’t see who would keep all the receipts.

I was willing to pay the 20% restocking fee even though I tend to disagree with restocking fees when I know they just put them back in the bins.  It was worth it to me to get back the 80% of the cost I would recover.

I received an insulting reply insinuating that I may not be the rightful owner of the minis, that without receipts they can’t prove that I deserve a refund, and that I should try eBay.

I did reply with affront but I think I’ll be out the shipping cost and end up with a box full of minis I never wanted to see again much less go through all the headache of trying to sell online.  I’ll be lucky if they don’t try to charge me return shipping.

I won’t be buying from them again.  Ever.  Their customer service has shown me that they don’t really care about the customers that aren’t known, repeat customers.  This is appalling.

If I were vindictive I would make this far more public and be a lot harsher.  Since I don’t plan on patronizing them again I would be burning a bridge I never planned to cross again.  But I know it’s useless since their loyal customers won’t change and there’s no benefit in making a public fuss.  Well, any more of a public fuss than this.

Categories: 15mm, Minis Tags: , ,

Serenity RPG – First Reading

October 12th, 2013 No comments

For whatever reason I got a bug that I needed the Serenity RPG.  More on the bug in a moment.

Unfortunately Paizo seems to have half the books in stock and seems to be in no rush to get the other half back in stock.  I happened to be on Amazon buying a different book when I decided to look around.  Yeah.  My seven dollar purchase turned into more.

I did my first read through of the rules tonight.  Mind you, it wasn’t scouring the rules so I knew everything there was to know about the game.  What struck me immediately was how closely they resembled the rules for Savage Worlds.   I would almost say Serenity is Savage Worlds in Space with Licensed Characters.  This isn’t a bad thing because the Savage Worlds rules are fun and flexible and it’s nice that they’re similar in nature so that knowing one gives you a leg up on the other.

A few things got old quick.  Quotes from the movie litter the book.  References to Firefly episodes are scattered throughout the text.  The writing style tries for the vernacular of the series/movie.  It’s like they were trying to make SURE that you knew this was a Licensed book by using as much as they could.  Given that they probably paid quite a bit for that licensing I can’t say as I blame them.  Yes, I just did the same here.

I’m on the fence about this now that I own everything.  They do provide pre-gens for the Characters as well as pre-gens for characters, if you get my drift.  If anything I could see running this as an RPG at a convention using the Characters but I don’t know how it would hold up for a campaign.  Trying to stay as close as possible to the canon means it’s very possible to come up with characters even more useless than a bard in a core group.  Someone is going to want to be Inara and it just may be the 50 year old guy.  Creepy but true.

The bug.  The reason this all came about was someone asking about the game and minis in a forum.  It doesn’t seem like there’s a good set of Character minis out there.  There’s some attempts but I haven’t seen The Crew and the singles I saw weren’t of the greatest quality.  This is where the bug comes in.

I’ve been meaning to try sculpting.  I took some classes at ReaperCon when I still went and I’ve got extensive notes and pictures.  It’s something that I’ve almost done many times.  Now I’ve got a project with detailed artwork I didn’t have to provide.  I’m not sure when I’ll start and now that I’ve read the rules I’m not feeling the push to do it immediately.  We’ll see how things go with creative leanings.  If a miracle occurs and I turn out good figs then I can decide if I want to start a “Space Cowboy” line in my store to go along with the rules.  That’s really a pipe dream but I’m not ruling it out.  I won’t pay to have others sculpt them but if I can do it myself it’s a possibility.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Plastic Minis – Reaper Kickstarter Bones II

October 2nd, 2013 2 comments

Yeah yeah.  Here’s the link.

I went in on their first one and got something like 240 minis for $100.  I added on a set of new paints, the KS Sophie, and 3 of the mini transport cases.

Since then I’ve sold the minis and 2 of the 3 cases.  I’ll be selling the last case when I get around to it.

So what happened?  Why did I get all that stuff and then turn around and sell almost all of it?

  • I looked at that box of random plastic minis and realized I had no use for them.
  • The case cutouts aren’t large enough to hold 98% of the minis I own.  That and there’s a problem with the glue used to hold the foam together.

After telling you this why would I post about the next generation of plastic minis?  Because it’s something that a lot of people will like.  Lots of inexpensive minis including large dragons for small prices.  They’re not going to be as detailed as the metal ones (proven, not supposition) but they don’t need to be primed and if you’re looking to build out your gaming minis it’s a fast way to get a lot of variety.

This one is going to be different from the first.  Reaper learned a lot of lessons.  But anyone outside the US (also abbreviated as ROW for “rest of the world”) should be concerned about shipping charges.  A lot of minis, even plastic ones, weigh quite a bit and postage has gone through the roof.  Some of the lessons they seem to have learned are: stagger the expected ship dates since there was a LOT of complaining about that; fewer minis in the pledge itself but available as an add-on expansion; fewer pledge levels – one for people who only want the add-ons and one for people who want the base box of minis; use a different vendor for their case foam (they’re not saying who provides it now).

The big question now is will I pledge on this one?  I already did and got a Wave 1 shipping pledge.  I have a couple of weeks to decide what I want to do.  I don’t want plastic minis – my armies will be metal for as long as it’s possible.  The paints in the add-ons are not ones I want.  I’m done with unknown cases.  I’m not adding to my pledge but I’m going to keep it in place for now.

I did the math earlier.  The base set is around $0.79 per mini.  The expansion is currently at around $3.75 per mini but with the ones that will be added very soon that drops to around $2.00 per mini.  The combined base (137) and expansion (24) (with the ones that aren’t quite unlocked yet) comes out at around $0.95 per mini.  Which is a good deal if you can use them.  There’s not a lot of new work here and even in the add-ons there’s almost nothing that isn’t in metal.

I’m holding out until the end.  I don’t think that I’ll be able to do the eBay sale like last time since so many people who wanted the first one have been able to join this one.  If they do end up with paints that I want the price would be half of retail with free shipping so I could drop to the $1 pledge and get that single item.  It doesn’t sound like there will be a KS special mini and they’ve already said no metal at all (she was metal last year, which makes sense).

Go.  Look.  Decide for yourself.  The pledges are slowing down dramatically since the first day but don’t let that discourage you.  Things pick up as new stretch goals are announced and as people start increasing their pledges to include more add-ons.  Of course there’s that race to the end as well.

Categories: Minis Tags: ,

DungeonBash is active again

July 28th, 2013 No comments

Well, it will be soon.  I’m working on it!

Unfinished Minis

These are most of the unfinished minis.  OK.  Some of them.  I’ve got friends helping paint the monster and they have or are painting about 3/4 of them.  Props to Michelle B and Lyn S to doing this.

Painted Minis 01

Michelle painted most of these.  I did paint the player characters!

I’ve got a few 1 inch dungeon sections left to finish painting and one piece to repair from the last time I ran the game.  Nothing some epoxy won’t fix.

The most difficult part for me is getting all the new lists together.  There’s very few spells that are appropriate for a non role playing game.  Everything has to deal with combat.  I’m scouring the books looking for those spells.

I’ve got a nice deadline for play testing now.  One of the gamers here has been after me to run this for his group and we’ve settled on next Sunday.  I won’t have the final versions of anything since this is playtesting and we’ll be using empty bases for some of the monsters but that’s all part of the process.

I’ll try to get some pictures of the new game in progress.  Depending on how much time we have I hope to run a full game (2 hours) and then spend some time running encounters to see how they balance.

Yes!  Once I get it all worked out and after I’ve run it at the convention I’ll post all the rules.  I’ll even post the list of miniatures I used for the monsters for those who don’t want to hunt for them.  This is a fan derived work for DungeonBash (a copyrighted game) but I have permission to post it as such.  I’ve mangled the original game enough that I don’t think I have any problem meeting the guideline for a derivative work.

Categories: Dungeon Crawl, Minis Tags:

Why I sold my Reaper Vampire Kickstarter Box

June 9th, 2013 No comments

Yes.  I was one of the people who joined the Reaper Kickstarter and ended up with a box of about 240 minis for $100.  Since I had very few add-ons my order shipped pretty early in the process.  There’s a lot of discussion on how the decided the order to ship them and I won’t get into that except that it makes very good logistical sense – easy orders to more complicated ones.

I looked at that box of minis for quite a while and finally realized that I don’t need a box of random minis.  There were groups of similar types of figures (elves, Pathfinder, etc.) but in the long run I stopped playing games where they would have been used and I don’t paint for the sake of painting any more.  I also don’t paint minis to sell.  I made the decision to sell the box.  This is an unpopular decision on the Reaper forums because: 1) the prices they sell for; 2) people haven’t received theirs yet; and 3) making a profit seems to offend people.

My vampire box sold for more than twice what I paid.  This covered all the extras I bought (mini cases and paint) and a bit extra.  So I did make a profit selling the box.  I don’t feel bad about it because I never pledged with the intention to sell like some of the others did.  I did an honest pledge and only after I received them did I think “Do I need this?”.  I didn’t.

Obviously I haven’t been open about selling.  I don’t want to be on the stink-eye list.  I did post the auction notice on another site and since there’s shared membership a few people know that I did it.  They haven’t outed me and I haven’t heard from them privately either.  I don’t want to say I dodged a bullet because that box of minis was mine to do with what I wanted and it turns out I didn’t want to keep them.

I have a couple of other bunches of minis I got from Kickstarter that will go into storage and probably never get paint love.  I may end up selling them at some point in the future if the return is good enough.  There’s KS limited edition minis in there which does help the price.  Right now they’ll stay in storage until I figure out what to do with them.

I miss painting for gaming.  I really do.  I miss being able to pull out figures for the guys trying to kill us and make it look better.  I’ve accepted that I probably will never be in that kind of game again.  The closest I will come is my dungeon crawl and even then they’re very specific figures and unless I change up the monster list it will be a static set of minis.

Anyway.  I sold it, I made a profit, I don’t feel bad.  I’m kind of relieved and happy that someone it went to someone who will appreciate it.  Eventually they should be for sale directly from Reaper but at a higher price than the auctions.  So I got a deal and the buyer got a deal.  Everyone wins.  Except the whiners who haven’t gotten their boxes yet and have some kind of moral objection to people selling them.  That’s their problem.

Categories: Minis Tags:

Teaser – Mini Conversion Soon

May 17th, 2013 No comments

I’m starting in a Deadlands game and of course need a mini.  I’ve decided that going forward, when game appropriate, I will make both a standing and riding version of my mini.  It’s just cooler.  I know Litko makes horse stand bases and they’re very nice but they’re just not as cool as the mini on a horse.

I plan on doing a WIP on how I do this since it will be an interesting process.  I know it already.  The minis have been ordered.  It isn’t the same mini for both either.  Painting will make them look the same but I liked the different looks for each situation.

For anyone who’s interested the character I created is a Deserter.  She deserted from both armies and I took the Wanted major hindrance. Added on top of that she’s got a very distinctive revolver.  I think this is going to be a very fun character to play and the GM is happy with all the horrible things she’ll be able to set up for my character.  I’m not afraid to make characters that are going to have trouble in the game.

Categories: Minis, Sculpting, Teaching Tags: