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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:

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

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: , ,

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:

15mm Ready to Rebase

March 17th, 2013 1 comment

I made ~ahem~ a few mistakes when I started basing my 15mm for Lasalle.  The first mistake was basing for Lasalle.  I’m going to be basing for Napoleon’s Battles – a classic set of rules with basing that will work with most other rule sets.  The second mistake was not sealing the wooden bases before gluing on the minis.  With wood glue.  These were the causes for the problems that made rebasing a necessity.

I live in a semi-arid climate.  I’m still not used to this on many levels.  Because the bases weren’t sealed they absorbed a lot of the water from the glue causing some interesting but unwanted effects with the flock.  I ended up with a stripe all around the edge with no flock.  The other problem was the the whole reason for doing a glue base on top of the main base is so that if the base gets dropped there’s a good chance the entire set of minis will pop off with the glue and cause less damage.  This does not work when the wood glue adheres wonderfully to the base.

Removing them was a chore, to say the least.  These are AB minis and have tiny little ankles.  One of the ones waiting to be based is already broken off at the ankles and will be reattached soon enough.  I’m quite proud to say that I removed all 64 minis without breaking any or breaking off the bayonets.  There’s some bent bayonets but I won’t straighten them out until they’re on their final base.

Yes it looks like the terrible aftermath of a battle and in some ways that’s what it was.  The pile of wooden pieces to the right are what’s left of the original bases.  I couldn’t soak them well enough to pry them off the bases without the real potential for damage so I started breaking and peeling the bases from the bottom to pull the support away from them.  I did soak them a few times and the glue did soften up the in the process.  I will give lots of good press for Litko plywood bases.  They didn’t want to be destroyed and it took some effort to do so.  I also couldn’t use the attached figures as a grip so it was an interesting project for the evening.

I need to get a can of black spray paint to seal the new wooden bases and hope to do that today.  I think I’ve got enough finished minis for at least 30 infantry bases.  I also need to pick up some storage for them.  Since I need containers that are around 2 inches tall it will be easy enough – that’s a standard depth on a lot of them.  I can pick them up in stages since I’m going to get larger containers for these.  I also need to make movement trays and that will help keep them from sliding around in the containers.

As you can tell I’m getting ready to start painting these again.  The goal is to get all the infantry done before changing over to another project.  Mixing it up keeps things interesting.

I’m still doing stuff!

February 26th, 2013 No comments

I’ve been doing a lot of painting and not a lot of taking pictures.  I need to correct that.

I’ve also got an interesting assembly to do since I want to make the ship modular with rare earth magnets and it’s not quite designed for that like a simple turret attachment.  The ship is nifty but it looks fragile for transport and kind of tall for my case.  Wish me luck on that one and I’ll try to take pictures as I go.

So far I’ve got most of my Dystopian Wars naval models painted along with a couple of air ships.  I’m leaving the land forces for later.

Pictures soon!  I promise!

Categories: Dystopian War, Minis Tags:

A brief update

February 3rd, 2013 No comments

I’ve got almost all the navy Dystopian Wars ships painted.  I’m waiting on a replacement part for the carrier and in the meantime I’ve failed my roll against temptation for painting the airships that I have.  It’s not many and the sky fortress seems to have some good tactical value against Russians.  The gaming group has a lot of Russian fleets.  I’ll be posting pictures in batches in the near future.

This is the current state of my table.  I finally found the missing dungeon crawl minis that my friend Michelle is going to be painting for me.  We’ve done a barter and this means there’s a chance that they’ll get painted.  I’m only sending her the nasties and not even all of those.  Barter does have its limits.  We haven’t done the final negotiations.  I didn’t post a picture of the ones that are ready to be painted.

On a final note I’m getting the Hirst Arts kits to make the old WizWar boards.  I bought the wizard minis and I’m looking forward to doing a straightforward build again.  The painting seems to be tedious but I’m thinking it will be a good chance to try my airbrush.  There’s also some fun accessories to make.

A quick status shows that I still have 6 1/2 armies to paint (the CoA one I’ve been painting counts as 1/2 done to me), the dungeon crawl and now WizWar.  Yeah.  Plenty to keep me busy.