Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Origins 2011, Part II


On Saturday, I headed in early for my first event, Freehand Painting for Miniatures with Chris Borer.  Unfortunately Chris had fallen ill the previous night, so I got a refund for my workshop fee and headed to the dealer room for some shopping.

First I went to the Miniature Building Authority booth, and picked up the Sci-Fi Porta Potty and their Car on Blocks

I actually bought their complete set of Sci-Fi Bunkers a couple of years ago, and got the porta potty simply 'cause it's themed to fit with those and amuses me.  The car on blocks was on sale, and I thought it would make a good "general use" piece of terrain.

Next, I went to Tomas the Lapidary's Jewelry and got these cool dice:

One pair is made from bone, and the other from horn.  Tomas had some amazing dice - they make them from gemstones, solid metals, etc, but obviously that can get real expensive.

Next, I stopped by the Battlefoam booth and picked up a P.A.C.K. 216:

While I've been kind of annoyed by Romeo's business practices in the past,  I've been severely tempted by their bags with the tool tray & paint pot load-outs for a while - I do a lot of my modelling & painting when I'm not at home, and have been using a ghetto-tastic method of plastic cases & cardboard boxes thrown in a shopping bag to transport my stuff.  The folks at the Battlefoam booth allowed me to customize the 216 with a tool tray, one GW paint pot tray & one Vallejo paint pot tray, without charging me the extra "customization fee" that is usually charged through their web site, and in fact even gave me a bit of discount off the regular, non-customized price.  As soon as I got home, I loaded up all my stuff:

Overall, I'm really pleased with the bag - my only complaint is that I need it to hold one more tray, and I need that tray to be custom-cut to hold 1/2 Vallejo paint pots, and 1/2 P3 paint pots to hold all the "leftover" pots that I didn't have room for.  I think I'll seriously have to consider buying a P.A.C.K. Plus (which can attach to the 216 with a zipper) with a couple more paint pot trays + a few pluck foam trays at some point in the future.

At this point, my wife told me to make myself scarce for a while: she wanted to do some Christmas Shopping for me!  I got out there double-time and headed out to the concourse to pick up the obligatory t-shirt:

After my wife finished, we dropped our stuff off at the car and headed to the Japanese steak house across the street for a nice dinner:

After a great dinner, we headed back to the Board Room to play some games.  First, we tried Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age:

I had heard good things about this game, but never had a chance to try it.  It took us a couple of turns to get the hang of it, but it was a lot of fun once we got it.  It's a smaller dice version of Through the Ages, and both are civilization-building games that are similar to games like Settlers of Catan, but I think I actually liked this one more.  As with most "eurogames", it had nice-quality wooden pieces.

Nest, we tried Pandemic:

I bought this game a couple of years ago, but had never gotten a chance to play it - it uses a neat premise: you are a team of doctors, scientists, & military personnel, racing to contain & cure the outbreak of diseases around the globe.  It seemed pretty complicated at first, but once we grasped the mechanics it went much more smoothly, and was actually a bit too easy to win with two people.  (I did use the "beginner" set-up, which I won't do next time).  A fun game, but I think it would be better with three or more players.

Another nice perk of buying the Board Room ribbon was that a couple of times a day, the CABS folks would wheel in a big table full of free snacks - chips, candy bars, & fresh fruit.  On Saturday night they also put out another free game with the snacks, a card game called Sturgeon:

We finished the night by playing yet another game from Gut Bustin' Games, Redneck Life:

There is absolutely no strategy to this game - it pretty much follows the format of the board games that all of us played as kids: 1.) roll dice, 2.) move that number of spaces, 3.) follow the actions listed on the square you landed on.  The entire point of the game is the "flavor", but luckily it's pretty hilarious.  You wind up with a spouse invariably named something like "Dottie Mae" or "Billy Jim Bob", your job choices range from "taxidermist" to "ciggy shack attendant", you survive on payday advance vouchers from the check-cashing place, and the winner is the player with the most teeth at the end of the game.  Not exactly a game for strategy buffs, but a funny novelty game that you could bring out when your non-gamer friends come over for an evening.

We wrapped it up a bit early on Saturday and headed home.


On Sunday we got in and headed back to the dealer room - one booth had a lot of clearance games and was also running a "buy one, get one half-off" special.  I picked up Final Days and Genesis:

Final Days looked slightly interesting (I'm a sucker for anything with zombies), but mainly I grabbed it 'cause it came with two bagfuls of metal zombie miniatures for $17.  I grabbed Genesis because it looked like the best thing on the clearance table, was a two-player game, and I wasn't about to waste my "half-off" discount by not buying a second game.

My wife enjoyed playing Redneck Life so much the previous night, she decided to pick up a copy:

She also let me pick out a t-shirt from T-shirt Bordello, with the condition that it gets saved until Christmas - I picked the stormtrooper shirt:

...and she wanted to get me the "Meh" t-shirt:

We also stopped by the Geek Chic booth and chatted with them - we've admired their stuff at conventions in the past, and my wife totally wants us to get an Emissary when we buy a new house:

(Have I mentioned lately that my wife is awesome, and I love her very very much?)  ;-)

After we finished shopping, we decided to head back to the Board Room.  I had been posting to & following the "#Origins2011" tag on Twitter all week, and I noticed posts from GenCon saying that they were at Origins and giving out passes - I noticed this tweet from a little bit earlier:

We were walking back to the Board Room, and I just happened to see a tall gentleman with a Mohawk wearing a green polo shirt walking toward us - I asked him if he was Derek, and he confirmed that he was.  I said, "Any chance that there's any passes left?" and he said, "Yeah, I guess I can do one more today..." I had won a free pass to GenCon!

Sweet!  That will save us $75 in August!

My wife played Munchkin for the first time a couple of years ago and really liked it, so we decided to play in a scheduled game - it was the Munchkin: Impossible variant:

If you've never played any of the Munchkin games before, they're a lot of fun - the mechanics can be bit complicated to grasp at first, but the company tag line of "Kill the Monsters, Steal the Treasure, Stab Your Buddy" sums it up nicely.  I got destroyed (as usual), and my wife pulled out a win!

It was around 3PM at this point, and most of the vendors and gaming groups had started to pack up.  We decided to head towards the food court and ran into lars4life, who had brought the boys for the day and was headed to the kids' room - we talked for a bit until they dragged him off to his fate.  We grabbed a bite and headed out, another Origins in the bag!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Origins 2011, Part I

     Last week the wife & I were on vacation for one of our favorite annual events, Origins Game Fair!

For those of you unfamiliar with Origins, it is one of the largest gaming conventions in the country (~14,000 attendees), and is second in the Midwest only to GenCon.  I have been attending Origins for about ten years now - my wife first attended Origins with me several years ago (for only one day, and with great trepidation) and was instantly hooked.  Ever since then, we both take off work and make it one of our "mini vacations" for the year.

Although I would usually go in on the first night of the con to pick up our badges and play a few games, I actually skipped Wednesday this year, since I was recovering from a long week at work and none of my friends appeared to be going in that day.


Thursday my Origins trip began in earnest!  I didn't have an event scheduled until the afternoon, but I headed in around noon just to check stuff out and see what was going on.  The registration desk was incredibly smooth this year, and I had my badge & swag bag in no time.  Unfortunately, the swag bag was disappointing this year - the usual cool d6 from Crystal Caste,  but besides that just some flyers and a couple of keychains.  This was especially disappointing because the swag bag last year was amazing, with an Axis & Allies miniatures starter box, map pack, a dice bag from Mayfair, and lots of other stuff.  Oh well.  I headed to the food court to grab some lunch while I waited for my wife to arrive.

 "Yaaar matey!  I be needin' your finest Chicken 'n Eggs for my crew!"

After a bit, my wife sent me text that she arrived and I headed to Board Room:

The Board Room was a cool option that we tried for the first time this year: For $20, you received a "ribbon" you attached to your badge:

This allowed you unlimited access to the Board Room.  The Board Room was run by the Columbus Area Boardgaming Society, who hauls their entire library of 1000+ games to the con - you can go up to desk, check out a game, and play it for as long as your like!  When I got to the Board Room, I found my wife & lars4life's girlfriend playing Oh Gnome You Don't! from Gut Bustin' Games:

I didn't really stick around long enough to get the details, but they both seemed to really enjoy it.  At 4PM I left to go to my first event, Making Faces! taught by Don Goddard.

This was a sculpting class, specifically focusing on faces.  There was only me and one other attendee, so we got lots of individual attention, which was really helpful.  Don also introduced me to ProCreate Putty, which was a lot easier to sculpt with from scratch than Green Stuff, which I've heard (pretty accurately) referred to as "like trying to sculpt with earwax".   Overall, I was tremendously impressed that I was able to get something vaguely face-shaped:

After the class, my wife texted me that they were giving away free games in the Board Room, so I hurried back - everyone who had a ribbon for the Board Room was given a free game!  My wife got a copy of Loch Ness, and I got the Narrow Gauge expansion for Chicago Express.  Unfortunately I don't own Chicago Express, but I've never been one to turn down a free game!  The wife & friends were playing another game from Gut Bustin' Games, Trailer Park Wars:

We had actually played this at Origins last year - you operate a trailer park, with various wacky tenants that affect the game play in different ways.  The score is kept with pink plastic lawn flamingos - whoever finishes with the most wins.  After hanging out with them for a bit, I headed to my next event, Painting The 28mm Miniature Face with Heather Blush.  I got some good info in this class, mostly about what I haven't been doing (darklining my minis before painting) and what I've been doing wrong (painting eyes with pure white, etc).  I definitely learned some tricks that I'll be incorporating into my future painting.

After that class the wife & I were starving & pretty wiped out, so we headed home and stopped for some dinner on the way:

Note to self: sliders are always a bad idea.  'Nuff said.


Friday I headed in early and met some friends for lunch at the North Market:

Image shamelessly stolen from Trehops's Blog

The North Market is an awesome resource for Origin's attendees - less than a block from the Convention Center, it's part farmer's market, part gigantic food court, and has any kind of food you could possibly want.  I tried a place that was new since the last time I had been there, Hubert's Polish Kitchen:

Kielbasa w/ sauerkraut & pierogi

Lunch was awesome, and then I headed back and made my first lap in the dealer's room.  I headed to the booth for The Game Room,  since apparently he didn't get enough of my money at Adepticon.  I noticed that the Bitz Cannibal Tribe was out in full force:

After negotiating my way past these dangerous types, I made my first purchase of the con, the Khador Gun Carriage:

I asked the guys at The Game Room booth if they had brought any Warmachine blisters, as I still wanted to pick up another Mortar Crew, but he said he didn't have enough room to bring them.

Continuing through the dealer room, I ran across the booth for Free RPG Day, and they were handing out the leftovers from this year:

This was very cool, since I wasn't able to make it to my FLGS on the actual day this year.  Thanks guys!

Next, I stopped by the Looney Labs booth - Looney Labs is one of my favorites, but I actually own most of their stuff already (last year I decided to bite the bullet and spent most of my con money at their booth).  I picked up a copy of Seven Dragons:

This is basically a re-theming of one of their previous games, Aquarius, with all-new artwork by Larry Elmore.  I was more than a little convinced to pick it up because of this ridiculous video, featuring a Flash-animated Andrew Looney.

I wandered the dealer room for a bit more, then headed out to my next event.  I ran into lars4life on my way there and showed him the Gun Carriage, he was excited because he already bought the battle engine for his Warmachine army, and we're both eager to see how they face off against each other.

My next event was Building Terrain: Abyssal Gate with Ken McCutchen.  This was a cool project made mostly out of styrofoam - at the end we had a cool terrain piece:

I've taken a lot of terrain-building workshops at conventions, and they've really run the gamut in terms of cost and "coolness" of the terrain - I'm happy to say that this was by far one of the best.  Ken had "kits" made up for each attendee that had just enough stuff pre-cut that we were able to be mostly finished by the end of the class, but not so much that I felt like I was just gluing together someone else's project.  I pretty much just gave the piece a quick drybush & sealed it with Liquitex matte varnish when I got home, and it was done!

After grabbing a bite, the wife and I headed to our next event, the 20th Annual Smithee Awards:

The Smithee Awards are an annual awards show that celebrates the worst movies of all time.  With categories like "Most Ridiculous Premise", "Stupidest-Looking Monster", and "Cutting Butter With A Chainsaw", the Smithees are a favorite of everyone who loves movies that are so bad, they're hilarious. We had a great time, but The Smithees are a four-hour extravaganza and we were feeling pretty beat, so we headed home during the intermission.

Next time: Origins 2011, part two!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Origins! the time you read this, the wife & I will be at one of our favorite events every year, Origins Game Fair!  I intend to spend most of my waking hours gaming, but will be updating my Twitter feed regularly - this is probably also the best way to track me down if you're at the con and want to meet up!  Check back next week for pics & a full recap!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Khador Widowmakers I FINALLY got some Widowmakers for my Khador force:

These things have proven to be rarer than the proverbial hen's teeth - I checked every store in the area multiple times with no luck, as well as most of the bigger online retailers.  There were a few listings on eBay, but none of them consisted of a complete unit, and they were outrageously expensive.  I finally found a seller on Amazon that was selling them for roughly MSRP.

I know Privateer Press is going to be re-releasing a lot of their models in plastic in the near future, but I must say I'm getting a bit spoiled by their metals - they look great, and they're usually cast as one piece.  I just had to "de-tab" them since I'm mounting them on custom bases:

tabs removed

Feet cleaned up w/ files & de-flashed

Cork was cut for the bases...

Pins mounted

Sand applied to bases

...and these guys are mounted & ready to be primed!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Battle Report: Khador vs. Retribution lars4life & I had an afternoon to kill, so we got together for a quick game of Warmachine - my Khador vs. his Retribution of Scyrah:

(Yes, this was a pretty ghetto-tastic game as far as models & terrain was concerned - we're both pretty new to Warmachine, so nothing is really painted to completion yet, and this was a a quick learning game, so we didn't drag out any battlemats or terrain).

We both threw together a 25-point list (which took almost all of our models).  Lars4life was excited to play with a couple new choices, and this was only the second time I'd ever played, the first being when we were at Adepticon.  Oddly enough, this game had the same "feel" to it - I was confused and struggled to keep everything straight at first, but by the end I was having quite a bit of fun.  I played Karchev as my 'caster (even though I screwed up and used the Butcher model - I didn't realize I'd grabbed the wrong card until halfway through the game).  I pretty much ran everything into melee as quickly as I could, since that's what Khador is about (plus I don't really have any ranged units yet, except for the bomard cannon on my Destroyer warjack - I've got Widowmakers coming in the mail, and I'm still looking for a Mortar Crew).  Lars4life pointed out that even though Karchev's stats read like a 'jack, it's probably not the best idea to fully invest him in hand-to-hand like I did:

It eventually turned into a huge rugby scrum, and lars4life took out my Warcaster in turn four.  I learned that the Mage Hunter Assassin is nasty, and I really have to make better use of my Man-O-War Shock Troopers - I pretty much threw them in there to fill out the list and took my sweet time getting them across the board, but it turns out they're tough as nails and really effective...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ork Boyz w/ Big Shootas

I finished up a pair of Ork Boyz with Big Shootas for my Freebootas the other day:

I gave them Imperial Arquebuses from Freeboota Miniatures (appropriate, no?) for their Big Shootas.  Since these models were originally 'Eavy Weapons Boyz, they had a big "socket" molded on the front of the torso for the originally included machine gun to snap into.  I had to disguise this somehow, so I used some barrels from a Fantasy Ogre Kingdoms sprue.  I figure it can represent a powder keg, and I think it works pretty well with the backpack...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Winter Guard Infantry

I finished some Winter Guard Infantry the other day:

If the Doom Reavers were simple, these are downright idiot-proof - the entire model is cast as one piece!

I cut off the mounting tabs, since I'm using custom bases:

Feet cleaned up with files & gun barrels drilled:

Models scrubbed down & pins inserted:

Mounted to bases:

Ready for paint!