Thursday, December 13, 2012

Col. Inri Podder, Head Surgeon, Royal Quar M*A*S*H on Luna

So many Quar characters!

Here is another one: Head Surgeon of the Mobile Field Hospital, Colonel Inri Podder.

Podder was 63rd in his class at the Royal Phobosian Academy of Medical Sciences. Though his critics are quick to point out that this means only 17 graduated lower than he did, he counters that of those who are still alive from his graduating year he is within the top 17 now! The life of an army doctor is not without it's dangers.

Podder has made a name for himself not just as a surgeon but as a peerless administrator, a skill requiring one to inflict as much pain administratively as he seeks to lessen medically.

Military forces on Earth's moon must travel for months at a time, far from civilized outposts in pursuit of mineral resources and so must bring their medical treatment centers with them.  Luna is far from a barren world as many suppose, and offers a host of dangers as well as enemy armies and all the standard dangers of combat.

A very minor conversion: this is the Crusader Quar, Caerten Baeden Croix. 
I've removed his rifle, and given him a head from a partisan: a floppy fishing hat. Complete with his cigar he's inspired by two different rather famous fictional Army head surgeons. 

The MASH unit will be this Quar, with some tents and cots. 

I'll be looking forward to painting him but it will be a bit of a wait. 

I haven't had time to paint him yet, been working a lot and getting ready for a trip to see family- having an early Christmas: flying out to Portland tomorrow, so I'll try to get to viewing blogs a bit but probably no updates here until next week. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Royal Phobosian Quar Mechanic on Lunar Expedition

The campaign for Earth's Moon is underway, with the Earth nations of Britain, Prussia, Belgium, Northern United States, Kingdom of Danemark and the Quar nation of the Grand Dutchy of Phobos sending major expeditions to the planetoid.  Other Earth nations are also making themselves known in various ways.

For background of the campaign and the news reports check out Armored Ink where Alfrik reveals what he's willing to about the behind the scenes.

This campaign has some new additions from the Venus campaign, including a more expanded yet muddled diplomacy... which is both realistic and gets one thinking about the campaign more often than when just sending orders.  I have to say, Earth is showing how primitive and xenophobic their race is, as it seems there is more aggression being leveled at the Quar than the human nations.  It is almost as if these humans think they have more rights to Luna simply because it orbits their planet of birth!  As the Quar of Phobos can tell you, the Barsoomians thought that about their moons and found out how wrong they could be!

This campaign also sees a lot of new character types to add to military forces.
I've built, -some converted- 10 new Quar minis for such characters.
One of them is this one, an inventive mechanic, called a 'Spark' in the setting.

I have to assume a Quar Spark is known as a Quark.

The mini is one of the Quar tankers which, in obligatory VSF fashion, I converted by sculpting some goggles for him.  For painting I went with simple & messy, since he's likely going to be dirty from his work. 

The base still needs some grass on it- I'm going the bases to match the rest of the army -not going to redo all the bases for the moon just because of the campaign!  But I may wait to add the grass until the campaign is over. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What Do You Hear? The Hooves of 8 Tiny Reindeer?

Then again, maybe it isn't reindeer.  No, I think that's the sound of 8 tiny beastmen!

Willy Miniatures launched a crowd funding project on Indiegogo just before Thanksgiving. 
He's now got the renders for all of the beastmen completed.  

If you're familiar with this blog you've probably realized I'm a big fan of Blood Bowl. I've been playing for at least 20 years, and between teams for myself and clients around the world I produce a lot of finished teams every year.  Check out the Hall of Fame to see some of them if you haven't before. So from this familiarity I can say Willy makes some of the best Blood Bowl minis out there- really great sculpts.  You can trust the minis will be every bit as cool as these renders.  

I've been thinking of making a Chaos team for awhile now, most likely converted, because I love the goaty faces of the GW gors from Warhammer Fantasy Battle.  The Willybeastmen are similar but the faces are a bit more humanoid. I gave it a good think-over for a couple days before deciding that yes, these are goaty enough and the variety of poses and how saturated the sculpts are with character won me over. 

The price for a full team -Level 9- which contains 8 Beastmen, 4 Chaos Warriors and a Minotaur, plus a ball, badge & free shipping, is $105: about on par with a team purchased from the major fantasy football providers.  Granted it's 13 players not 16, but with a team like Chaos you're unlikely to want more than 13 players anyway: maybe add a star player for possible inducements.  

As of this date there are no renders of the Minotaur or Chaos warriors yet, but the warriors are aimed to be 'bulky yet agile' -so that's sounding good. 

For those on a budget, some of the lower rewards are pretty tempting:

* Just $18 for a Minotaur, shipping included! -excellent price for a big guy.

* A team of 8 Beastmen & 4 Chaos Warriors -without Minotaur- is $80 : but limited to 30 spots before needing to pay $90.  

 --for those not inclined to math, if you combine the two above you get that same thing as the Level 9 full team, except you get an extra ball & badge, all for $98! Saving $7 from the Level 9 pledge.  But only 23 of the special $80 price set remains at the time I'm writing this, so act fast if you'd like to save even more money.

All the warriors will also be unique minis, so it should make for a very nice team. 

The campaign is a 'fixed funding' project, so you won't be charged until it funds (or ends?) so no worries about draining the holiday war chest.  

I am thinking I'll have to pick up some extra Beastmen.  On the cyanide game I had fun with a really dumb team idea (the kind I always seem to think is fun: heavy theme & underpowered) with a Minotaur and the rest Beastmen -no Chaos Warriors- so a whole team of horns & hooves. Team name was 'The Psychedelic Furs' a Slannesh devoted team no doubt, all named for 80's New wave bands.  I just might have to make them in minis! 

Go check out the Indiegogo campaign and see more!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Reason for the Season: Holidays Begin!

I keep hearing the mildly condescending phrase "The Reason for the Season" and yet, I couldn't agree more! The Winter-holiday season begins this evening so keep that all-important man who risked so much for the well being of others in mind this holiday.

Keep the Han in Hanukkah. 

Remember the miracle of completing the Kessel Run in just 12 Parsecs: 6 less than the standard route, by lighting a candle for each day it took: averaging 1.33 Parsecs per day: truly miraculous. Without this early achievement in the career of the savior of the rebellion, the Rebel base would never have been rededicated after the destruction of Echo Base on Hoth.  The holidays are more than presents of credits and paying off bounties on your head, so remember the reason for the season.  

Happy Hanukkah! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Space Battles in a Flash! A Few Test Games of War Rocket

On Friday we had some open gaming, as the Empire of the Dead season has wound down and the new Victorian Science Fiction campaign, this time on the Moon, is still in it's preparing forces & locations phase.

So I brought some War Rocket fleets and tried it out with a friend. He'd never played it, and it'd been a long time since I'd tried out the rules, so we played a few games with small fleets.

I gave him his choice of fleets, and he chose the Zenithians, with their stunningly agile saucers.
I countered with the Imperials: far less maneuverable, but much more sturdy.
Mostly I chose them because they're my favorite I've painted just based on the looks.

Click for larger:

To play a game of War Rocket you'll need a few counters or tokens.  What I found works well is to have a "been hit" token, for this I used little acrylic fire pieces from Litko. I have a few sizes, so a medium could stand for 3 hits, large 5, etc. This is because you delegate all your hits before testing to see the effect.

One effect from being hit is a stun.  So I also brought many red & yellow glass beads to record stun.
The first turn a rocket is stunned it has a red token, then at the start of the next turn it shifts to yellow, it is still stunned, but it will clear the next turn.  A rocket that is stunned twice is destroyed, in which case you just remove the rocket. The red & yellow system makes sure you remember when to clear off a stun.

In Game 1 we tested out the rules with four Class I rockets each. The Z's smashed the Imperials soundly.
I then realized we'd used the first line of the hit results chart for both fleets.  I'd mistakenly looked at the four tiers as Classes of ships..but not so! Even a Class I Imperial ship has a sturdiness of 2, so is harder to damage.  But we'd hammered out the activation system and hit allocation and were ready to have at again.

Game 2

We upped the fleets to four rockets each: two Class I rockets and two Class II rockets.

The crafty Z's set up to engulf the steadfast Imperials.
Movement is done from slowest to fastest: it gives the faster rockets the edge in placing their rockets.
My Class II's knew they'd never be allowed to fire so they rocketed past the Z's, leaving the Class I's to cover them and shoot in retribution, hoping the sturdiness of the Imperial design would see them safe.
Both of the Imperial Class II took heavy fire: 4 hits to one, 2 to the other.  The Imperial Class I's fired twice at the nearest Class II Saucer.
Both sides lost a Class II in this fight. The Imperial did it's best to swing around, drawing them back to his escorts, which held their action- a ship may declare a 'delayed action' doing nothing that turn so that it can make a complete preemptive turn before the enemy ships in the following turn. This worked well as they weathered the Saucer fire and destroyed the other Class II saucer. A victory for the Imperials.

Game 3

We tried the next higher class of Rocket: the Class III

We kept the fleets small for speed of play. A Class III & two Class II.  This time I played Galacteer, though I continued to use the Imperial ships just because I like how they look and enjoyed having the chance to play them.

The Galacteer rockets are not as sturdy as the Imperials, but they are twice as agile: they can make a turn every 2" of straight movement, compared to 4" for Imperial.

Things went well for the Z's at first: first time in range they destroyed a Class II, and then the other!
But using delayed actions and some lucky (for me) damage result rolls saw the Galacteer Class III destroy the Z III and a II and the remaining saucer fled the zone.


What a fun game!  This is a very fast & light space combat game.
If Spaceship games where you need datafax cards and penciling in boxed damage, then erasing them as systems repair, keeping track of ammunition and number of crew wear you down then this is likely a good game for you.  With stun carry-over it has enough 'lasting effects' to feel realistic without requiring a lot of record keeping. It would also be very easy to run large fleets with this system.

For play style I have to think I'd enjoy the Zenithian the most.  They are very fast and can change direction at any point without needing to spend movement to turn, so the only time you need to turn is to bring weapons to bare. This means they can zoom past a foe, then spend movement to turn 2 or 3 times to get in firing arc and hit the enemy without fear of retaliation.  This advantage is going to be lessened in larger fleet games, with their enemy keeping ships in reserve to cover such possibilities, but it still means they will receive less shots than they dish out, but then- they are much more fragile, a Class III saucer has a durability of 2, same as a Class I Imperial (!), so it balances back again.   The delayed action option is a fun one, and can be quite the tactical fencing to make it work.

One thought occurred to me, this rule set would make a great option for playing Battlestar Galactica fighter combat. With Cylons using the Zenithian Class I profile and Colonial Vypers using the Galacteer Class I. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nasty Hobbitsess

The companions to the dwarves in the last update, a host of hobbits!

These are all old oop classic citadel halflings.

A real joy to paint. One of the things I like about painting commissions is that I get to paint things I otherwise wouldn't, like a bunch of hard to find miniatures! It really had me thinking, and not for the first time, what is wrong with GW? I swear that their decisions can only adequately be explained by a desire to socially condition gamers:

GW exec "They want what? Squats? Zoats? Fimir? New Blood Bowl sculpts? Man O'War? Hell, I haven't seen a fimir around here in ages, we stopped making them and all the rest of that stuff. Why? To make more shelf room for Space Marines that's why! Yeah yeah, I understand shelf room doesn't matter much in the age of internet orders, but it's Space Marines, they'll love em! What? Well maybe they'll stop loving that other stuff once they forget about them- just keep showing the new, limited range we're plugging: that'll do the trick.  Yeah yeah, I know the other stuff would sell, but not as well as the big dogs we push, if we continue to remove that other stuff they'll have no choice but to buy what we want them to buy!"

Really, it's all I can think of: Space Marines & certain items, like 40k in general have a greater profit margin, so there must be a belief that eliminating the *less* profitable choices will increase sales in the *more* profitable.  Nonsense.  Just because something sold is less profitable, doesn't mean it isn't worth selling- if it does sell, then they made money, and expanded the customer base & customer happiness, which will create more & more loyal customers as time goes on.  It seems completely illogical to think that if people can't buy a new GW Blood Bowl team, or new (or old classic they chose to stop making) Epic armies that instead these folks will just play 40k instead.  Some might, but I'm guessing most won't: they'll head to Impact minis, Greebo, Willy, Gaspez-Arts, Neomics, convert their own, or more for Blood Bowl, or maybe pick up Dropzone Commander for their small-scale fix.

What if all businesses did this?  Should Coca-Cola stop producing Dr.Pepper simply because it doesn't sell as much as Coke? An absurd idea. Without the choice of Dr.Pepper some may choose Coke, but many might chose a replacement that isn't something they produce.

I'm just a small unimportant little business, much like a hobbit, so far from me to know everything that goes on in the concerns of the 'Big People' but my common hobbit sense says people will be happier with your stew if it has potatoes, onion, celery, and tomatoes in it, rather than just load it with nothing but potatoes just because it's the favorite and it's easier to plant nothing but potatoes.

A lot of the new stuff GW has come out with recently is great, but people still want these classic sculpts, as well as other things, and I can't help thinking GW is crazy for not continuing to make them available and maintain and expand the older games many still love.

And this is sometimes where my mind wanders as I paint some great classic sculpts that are out of production and can't for the life of me think why they should be.

Mental meanderings /off.

... Hobbits!
Click for larger:

The fancy guard was missing his weapon, so I supplied him with a spear.  
So much character in these sculpts, hard for me to pick a favorite, but I'm leaning toward the one at the upper right corner.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dwarves! Dwarves everywhere!

There does seem to be a lot of dwarves around lately...

GW's released the new set for The Hobbit, which isn't tempting me much. The dwarves are really accurately sculpted it seems, compared to the characters in the movies, but the goblins I just don't care for.  They're more like post apocalyptic mutants to my eye than goblins- not that I won't enjoy the movie (!) but for minis..
I am just not drawn to the radioactive defective mutant look.  There's also the Stonehaven Dwarves, from the kickstarter, which are making their way to mailboxes now- mine came today! But I've had such a busy day I didn't take the time to even open it yet- crazy- but I will tomorrow.

But the dwarves I'm writing about are a set of 6 I just finished on commission.  They're from Fenryll and I really enjoyed painting them.  Done in 'Squad Class', my starting standard I offer, but I might have spent a bit more time than called for in some aspects just because I really did enjoy painting them.

Unlike the Warhammer style dwarves, these have more human-realistic proportions, with anatomy such as necks, and upper legs.  Very odd, I know.

Click for larger: 

I imagine the one with the torch being the leader, so I gave him 'old guy' hair.
The big red haired fellow looks like the berserker of the lot, but they all look pretty dangerous.
The one with the lantern: not common for a dwarf to shave his beard and sport the big biker mustache.
I am convinced that that one must be the dwarf version of the bass player from Spinal Tap, so I gave him dark brown hair.

I've always liked dwarves.  It seems they inspire either great affection or rejection by people: love or hate.
When I was a kid, and read the Lord of the Rings the first time, I liked the elves the best.  I still like elves, but dwarves really grew on me over the years and they're now my favorite.  The muted colors, stoic nature, great pathos of the underdog... they're just cool. This commission got me excited to paint some of the Stonehaven Dwarves, just don't know when I'll squeeze in the time.. beyond work painting I have the next VSF campaign, this time on Earth's Moon, gearing up, and I need to add some more Quar to my forces.
So stay tuned for a lot of that in the months to come, and wish me luck, because my map placement is about the worst you could find yourself in!

In honor of the lantern dwarf: enjoy!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Movies to Game By: The Mist

Time for another movie review from the gamer perspective.

Thanksgiving behind us, Christmas fast approaching, weather getting chilly, holiday spirit... what better time for a suspenseful, creepy horror movie?

This weekend I set aside some time to watch The Mist. It came out in 2007, and I'm not sure how I missed (get it? ba-dump) this one.
Maybe I thought it was a remake of The Fog, and purposefully avoided it, I can't say for sure.

I wasn't expecting much to be honest, just some cheap chills and startles on a dark and stormy night.
But I was quite happy to be dished up a lot more than that.

As always, I'll try to keep spoilers to a minimum: no more than what you might see in a trailer.

To start, this is a horror movie.  If you don't like to jump, if monsters scare you for weeks, if you don't like creepy, then this won't be for you.  A shame though, since there is a good chunk of philosophy, musing on human nature, religion, and theoretical science, which again, I wasn't expecting but was very happy to find.

As the title suggests, the main event is the encroaching of Mist on a small town, in the Pacific North-West.
As many people head to the grocery store to stock up on supplies after a storm, they find themselves trapped by a mist... and the thing or things that the mist might be hiding.

The tension is very well crafted by the film, and the pace of revealing more about their situation is well timed.
In addition to the slow unveiling of the danger they are in, the sub-plot of the ever-growing threat they pose to themselves from their fear and superstitions is just as interesting and entertaining.

Probably my favorite character was Ollie, a bagger, played by Toby Jones.  He has some memorable lines that I could relate to, which I'll put at the end, under spoilers.

I'd place this movie in the horror sub-genre of 'Apocalyptic Survival'.
Zombies are a popular and constant theme these days, but the world-changing nature this movie presents would make a Zombie Apocalypse look like a stroll in the park.  Speaking of Zombie Apocalypse, three characters in this movie are played by actors/actresses who are in Walking Dead.  Not surprising since Frank Darabont directed and wrote the screenplay.  He is also the creator of the TV series, The Walking Dead.  That should give you an idea, if you follow Walking Dead, for the kind of outer/inner threat balance of the drama and action.

The ending is one of the most bleak yet beautiful I have seen in any movie.
It will stick with you for a long time.
This is helped by the ideal music selected for the final scene: The Host of the Seraphim, by Dead Can Dance.

For the Gamers:

This movie has a wealth of ideas for gaming.

RPG is obvious: ideal for setting tension, as it's an easy thing to keep players in the dark (or mist) about what they see and can know.

For tabletop miniatures, this would make for great scenarios for skirmish gaming.  Any genre from fantasy, historical, on to post-apoc and sci-fi could make use of this idea.  Consider the entire table as covered in mist. Drop terrain out only when miniatures get close enough to see it in the mist. This could be done by a GM or use a randomizer table, or have one player play the monsters and use a predetermined map that the human player doesn't know.  For several players of the humans, they could be in different factions, with a core of minis in their control and the bulk as neutrals which the factions try to win over.  I could imagine each neutral having a "mental state" stat between 1-10, starting at 6 where 1 is calm and reasoned and 10 is given up to hysteria.  Every time a scary event occurs, the mini is attacked, wounded, sees another attacked, wounded or killed it must make a test: roll a d10: if it rolls over it's current stat it goes up one, if rolls under is goes down 1. The worse the scary event, the more the die roll is modified.  The religious zealot player gains more sway over minis that give in to hysteria, while the sane & reasoned player can sway those drifting the other direction.  A leader can spend a turn trying to sway neutral minis: rolling for a test to try to swing their mental state one direction or the other.


-Not a lot, but if you don't like any hints, drop down to the RATING section below.

OK, should be safe to continue.

There are a lot of great creatures in this movie!  I had guessed the source of them before the movie revealed it, but, my mind already jumps to such ideas anyway.  A quick glimpse at an entire ecosystem is given, leaving me wanting to see & know more.

The religious zealot character, expertly played by Marcia Gay Harden, gave a theory that it was the 'end of days'.  While I love horror movies rooted in Christian Apocalypse Myth, I could tell that this wasn't one of them, and that she instead represented a more realistic interpretation of such concepts: she and her ideas are dangerous!

The character Ollie has some great lines, such as "Our species is fundamentally insane."  and when asked, "Don't you have faith in humanity?" his reply is "None whatsoever."


Spoilers off.

To keep in theme with gaming, my rating system is based on the old AD&D armor class system.
Armor Class 0-10. AC0 is some amazing full plate and shield : great armor, difficult time finding a hit with that: you're not going to like the movie. AC10 is no resistance: that common cloth won't prevent a hit.

I give this movie an Armor Class of 9.
It's holding a feeble wooden shield: easy to get past it's resistance and find a good hit.

If you can not be in the same room as a horror movie, I'd drop this to Armor Class 6
If you believe in an imminent Biblical 'end of days' handed out by a wrathful god, and that those who preach it are the best humanity has to offer, I'd drop this to Armor Class 5.
If both apply to you, I'd drop this to Armor Class 1: You will hate this movie.

Reasons: While not the biggest budget, the effects are more than enough to sell the visuals and create the atmosphere that's needed.  The writing and layered plot is deftly done.
This is not the pre-packaged cafeteria serving of horror movie that is the majority of what is offered out there.
The ending alone is worth a couple notches up.

Clips to enjoy! Both have the amazing music of Dead Can Dance: The Host of the Seraphim. 

Warning: This has scenes from the ending, so do not watch if you want to avoid visual spoilers! 

No Spoilers in the one below, just the song in its entirety. Enjoy 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Land of the Lost: Prehistoric Pulp Hunting Parties So Far

Slow, steady progress for the Prehistoric Pulp project continues, much like the glaciers that will eventually cover most of their world. Luckily the '200 club' at The Warhammer Forum is a year-long project, because I don't have a lot of time for my creative projects, but it is nice to know I have it and the goal to finish.

This month I only finished the raptors but with the year one fourth finished since the 200 club started, it was thought a good idea to get a group shot. Since my project isn't a single army, but an entire setting for the skirmish game, I took some action shots in the prehistoric lands.

It's been dark & rainy, so photos are not the best but there could have been a lot of volcanic smoke in the air

Click for larger:
A Caveman tribe's defense against the encroachment of the Planta is interrupted by a hunting Raptor pack!
This has woken the formidable Gigantogorillini. The confusion distracts all from awareness of an even greater threat in the distance.

Lots more of this project in the year to come... more cavemen, neanderthals, great apes, great hominids, saurinids, and more.  

Voodoo Dice

Human beings are a superstitious lot. Some people get weirded out by the number 13 -it's one of my favorite numbers actually, or think black cats are bad luck-I have two (well, 'sable': black but they shine red in sunlight) and count myself lucky to be their human.  In Belarus it's considered bad luck to whistle when inside your home: that you're whistling your money away.  Inka always chastises me when I do that. I laugh, it sounds like a silly notion...but then again, I am pretty poor, so who knows.  There's a host of others I don't pay much attention to. I count myself a pretty 'rational minded' person while still being fairly open minded since I can't know everything, nor have experienced everything in the universe, and stands to reason that if one age's magic is another age's science, some things might turn out to be 'rational' that was once 'irrational'.
Probably not most, but some? You never know.

Gamers, being human, must therefore also have some superstitions.  Like painted miniatures fight better. True.  Named miniatures also fight better.. of course,why wouldn't they? But dice, being the gateway of chance, have the most rituals and beliefs associated with them.

Some people blow on their dice. Some people threaten their dice. Some people switch out poorly performing dice with fresh dice. Some have lucky dice they always use. Some won't use other people's dice or let others use their dice.  For me, I will switch dice if the ones I'm using seem to be failing. If I get to 're-roll' a die, I'll use a different die than the one I just rolled. There is nothing rational about such behaviors, at least by the reason for the laws of physics and probability as we know it.  But many do them anyway, listening to some instinct that interprets reality differently than pure rational thought does.

I bring this up, after a comment from battybattybats on my last update.  It made me think of, what many would clearly declare a superstition, of 'spelling' dice: using thought, visualization, willpower, jedi mind trick, whatever you'd want to call it, to get the die result you want.  Voodoo dice if you will. The idea is, if you need to roll a 6, you concentrate on 6, roll the dice and have a better than 1 in 6 of getting that result.  Maybe harder to swallow than the Xener cards since dice don't have a mind thinking of the number for your brain to 'pick up' on.  At any rate, it involves a bit more than declaring 'baby needs a new pair of shoes' but the idea is similar.  Obviously a superstition but could there be something to it?

A couple decades ago my friend and I, who played in the Turkey Bowl with me, would do this all the time when playing wargames and there really did seem to be more to it than random chance would think is reasonable.  But then again, as Rosencrantz said, since a coin tossed is just as likely to be heads as tails one shouldn't be surprised if it always comes up heads. Hmm.
Maybe not the best authority.  
We got so good at this we'd be trying to out-think-at the dice of each other to get what we wanted.  A fun competition within the competition.

So if that is real, why would I have runs of bad luck where the dice go against me, and if someone can do this, why don't they spend a month in Vegas and retire to an island?

Maybe there is nothing to it and it's all perception.  Then again, when I was in the last years of high school I got very good at controlling my dreams. I'd think of what I wanted to dream about and I would. I continued this until I did complete lucid dreaming. I could control my actions and what happened in the dream-world.  Like writing a story that you see, hear and feel. I did this for many years.  These days, no. In fact, my dreams tend to be bad and go against me now. Too much stress, depression and anxiety.  It's rare I enjoy dreams now- though they're as odd and surreal as they ever were.  So this leads back to dice. What if I am influencing the dice with my thoughts, but now, after experiencing so many horrible things in my life, having learned to expect problems and attacks, I anticipate the worst, so even in a relaxing game a thought like "this will work as long as I don't roll a 1 on the go for it and a 1 on the re-roll" and then I do just that.  Like the scared-shitless family trying desperately not to think bad thoughts or Billy Mumy will send them to the cornfield.

It could be superstitious nonsense unless the mind can influence the physical world outside the body, independent of physical contact. But that stretches "rational" pretty thin.

But then I thought of another possible interpretation. You're probably aware of the theory for parallel worlds from multiple dimensions.  It's the theory I favor for Time Travel, to avoid paradoxes: if you go back in time, it creates a new parallel world since it alters the course of time: your world continues on as it was, and you're now in a new one.  You probably also have heard how sub-atomic particles can move faster than light, 'teleport' and be in more than one place at a time.  If thoughts, memory and consciousness are electrical, and effectively made up of these particles, what if it is not the brain altering physical objects and events, but 'selecting' the parallel world where the outcome is the one it 'sees' from imagining the concept, and the consciousness then jumps to that existence. The you that you know as you has now moved across to the nearly identical world and things carry on as normal, for that world.  Such a small change isn't noticeable, only a die result of a 6 instead of 1.

If that could be, imagine what a person could experience and travel to as this ability flexes and becomes capable of greater jumps.

Unfortunately, it's probably just random chance.  But... hmm.

Have any of your own Dice Superstitions?

Enjoy the Movie!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Turkey Bowl 2012: Godzilla v. King Kong: The Beasts' Feast

2012, The Turkey Bowl inaugural Blood Bowl event: the Beasts' Feast. 

At one end of the pitch: the low-cunning, the primordial punishers, Godzilla's Gators!

At the other end of the pitch, nature's new-comers, the beasts with brains, King Kong's Killers!

One night only in an exposition match for the ages!  Who will emerge triumphant? 
Will the Gators prove why they've been the apex predators since the days of the dinosaurs, or will the fresh young Apes earn their title of King showing that the new epoch belongs to primates?  We'll soon find out as the match is about to begin!

This Thanksgiving, be thankful the beasts are on the pitch and hope they don't come into the stands for you!

- My friend Bill wanted a chance to play some Blood Bowl over Thanksgiving, and wanted to test out a theory, to see if I just have bad dice luck when playing Blood Bowl, or if it's something more serious. 

The experiment would involve both of us using reverse die rolls when rolling skill tests.  So when rolling a d6, for something like a dodge, or to catch the ball, a result of 6 would count as 1, a 5 is a 2, a 1 is a 6, etc.  But we'd treat 2d6 armor & injury rolls, ball bouncing, kick off results, etc as normal.  He wanted to find out if I'd continue to roll low numbers, indicating the dice just wanted to roll low numbers, or if I'd roll high numbers and fail the tests, possibly indicating some bad karma I need to burn off- maybe I was a horrible person in a past life, like Andrew Jackson. 

He wanted to play the Gators, and I thought Apes vrs Reptiles would make for a fun theme, so the Apes once again played under the Human roster.  

For team construction we used the upcoming North America Team Championship guidelines, for Day 1, where you get 1 double roll skill and 2 regular roll skills with 1.1 million team builds.

The Gators -Lizardmen- took a Kroxigor with Break Tackle, 6 Saurus -one with block, and 4 skinks -one with Sure hands and 4 Re-rolls. 

The Apes -Human team- took an Ogre with Block, 4 Blitzers -one with guard, 3 catchers -one with block, a thrower & 3 linemen and 3 Re-rolls, a Cheerleader & an Assistant Coach. 

I won the fans roll so had +1 Fame. I won the kick off and elected to receive. 

I set up to try to take the Kroxigor down with my blocking Silverback, Kong.  My plan for the half was to keep control of the ball and score late, trying to eliminate the vital ball-carrying skinks. 
Shouldn't be a surprise with such rivals and all the publicity, as soon as the ball was kicked a riot broke out! 
This ate up a turn of my precious time.  Kong knocked down Godzilla and broke through his armor! Could I be so lucky?  No.. just a stun.  That could have been a game-winner right there on my first turn.  A chimp catcher broke through the reptile line to distract, threatening an early score if the ball was thrown to him.

Seeing this, 3 skinks went to surround him!

To relieve the pressure, another agile chimp, and the monkey, Inka Martishka ran down to provide additional receiving targets. With so many skinks far from my blitzer gorillas, I gave up on my plan to stall and tried to pass to Inka Martishka on Turn 4, but I failed the throw and it scattered.  Too early to say on the dice-tests but one tally mark in the 'reversed dice bit me' column! 

The ball on the ground drew more players from both sides. With so many tackle zones on the ball it was looking like it might be impossible to pick up. 

While Gators and Apes pair up to duke it out, Godzilla dodges away to blitz, and does it on his own meager agility, break tackle not required! Unfortunately for him he got a both down: re-roll: both down, knocking himself down to the pitch!  But he did put a line chimp in the knock-out box.

After a turn of pushing, a chimp and monkey push two skinks out to the crowd!  The crowd knocks out one and injures the other! Turn 6 though.. time is running out to try to score! 

The heavier hitters ignore the ball completely and focus on settling old scores of their own!

Access to the ball had not improved by much by Turn 7. It looked like the Gators were going to succeed in denying the Apes a Touch Down. 
On Turn 7 the Gorilla hit the skink, which was pushed back onto the ball- knocking the ball into the endzone while the Gorilla stepped into the area the skink had been. Then Inka hit the skink for a 2 die block with the chimp's assist, knocking him away from the ball.  Dr. Z then dodged away from Godzilla, ran up, picked up the ball he'd thrown earlier and scored!  

1-0 for the Apes on Turn 7. 

Skinks do not find 2 turns a burden to score, with their move of 8, so I set up with a deep net: out of range of the Gator Saurus.  The knocked out skink came back and one of the 2 line chimps came back from the knock out box too. 
The apes attacked the skink with the ball, which bounced out, hot-potatoed out of an apes hand and was grabbed by a Gator! I set up a tackle-zone mine field, which the Gator tried to blitz out of, but knocked himself down, and the half ended. 

The Gators are down just 1 skink, with 10 players on the pitch. The Apes are down one line-chimp, but still have 11 on the pitch. We set up, I kick.. and another Riot! These fans just will not remain calm! 

Knowing I do not have the strength to go toe to toe, I set up with two line-chimps and a catcher on the line, with a strong net to catch & counter-attack. The Gators set up to drive strong on one side with Godzilla.

The Sure-hands Skink went to pick up the ball: Fail: Re-roll: Fail! just a 1/9 chance of that: the reversed dice not helping out the Gators this time! I seized the chance and drove for the ball with a Gorilla and Inka Martishka, With King Kong trying to tie up 2 Gators.

Turn 3 the Gators knocked out another Line-Chimp: those chimps were really taking the brunt of the reptile attack. Casualties were very low this game though.  The Gators got the ball and brought it to the center, but I then knocked the ball free.  A skink called a blitz to get to the ball hoping to go further but failed a dodge to get in.  
Trying to take advantage of the situation, an Ape made a 1die block on a Gator and got a skull! Re-roll? Skull! So we both had our share of this type of luck. 

The Gators recover the ball and move it to safety.  Looks promising for a tie!
But King Kong back-swiped the small reptile!  The ball went free!  Inka ran for the sidelines, while a chimp recovered the ball.  A Gorilla stunned a mid-field skink, and there was none who could reach Inka.  The following turn the chimp threw the ball: dodge, dodge, throw: accurate long pass: Inka Martishka catches it and runs in for a touch down!

The game ends 2-0 for the Apes! 

Post-game there was a riot that lasted into the night, fur and scales flying.  

Coach of the Apes, Grey Mattur said "This just goes to show that no matter how long some scaly reptile has been dominant, times change!  They may be stronger, but you can't underestimate the value of an opposable thumb!" 
Coach of the Gators said "This means nothing! We've been around since these chumps were tree shrews, and we'll be here long after they're gone, ruling it all." 

I had a great extended weekend vacation for Thanksgiving: I really needed a vacation!  This was just one highlight of a great weekend.  

Results of our reverse die rolling experiment?  I kept track of every failure by reverse and success by reverse. I had 6 rolls where the reverse caused a success and 7 rolls where the reverse induced a failure.

Conclusion: More date needed.  But early results suggest it's just blind luck, perhaps some games just going south because they want to, but maybe this shows I was not a terrible person now karmic cursed with bad Blood Bowl dice.  Phew. 


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