Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cheap HeroScape

My wife checked out some local garage sales this morning. I was pleased when she returned with a HeroScape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie for me that she'd picked up for only $3. The set was missing the 30 figurines but everything else was there. I'm mainly interested in collecting terrain for this game system so this was a real bargain.

A quick wash with hot soapy water and it was a good as new!

Call forth the Host of Gondor!

Today I finally finished a painting project of 88 Warriors of Minas Tirith from Games Workshop's Lord of the Rings line of miniatures. These figures are 25mm in scale and were painted with acrylic Games Workshop paints. All figures were purchased second-hand, mainly from eBay. I stripped all existing paint from these figures and started again from scratch. I painted them using a production-line method.

There are 28 Warriors of Minas Tirith with sword and shield, 28 with spear and shield, and 32 with bow.

To motivate myself while painting I listened to the 13-CD dramatised BBC production of LOTR, as well as the three soundtrack CD's from the recent films, and also at times had the three special extended DVD edition films playing on the computer next to me.

It was a massive undertaking but I am very satisfied with the result. I'll post further photos in the coming days.

Gaming with Grandma - 109

Grandma, Maddie and I played The Downfall of Pompeii this morning. This game depicts the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Players place their people (meeple) into the city in the first phase of the game and then try to exit them in the second phase before lava and falling ash engulf the city. Grandma was yellow, Maddie was red and I was black.

By the time the first AD79 card was drawn Grandma had 13 meeples on the board (with 2 in the volcano), Maddie had 13 meeples on the board (with none in the volcano) and I had 12 meeples on the board (with one in the volcano).

Maddie picked up the strategy fairly quickly. She delighted in placing lava tiles on to my people and blocking off my exits. I gave as good as I got and did my best to hamper both her and Grandma. Final scores were Grandma 1st with 8, Maddie 2nd with 6, and me 3rd with 5.

Although this game is light-hearted fun it is based on a terrible real-life natural disaster in AD79 that is estimated to have caused between 10,000 to 25,000 deaths. Maddie was surprised that the game was based on an actual event. I showed her a couple of books I have on Pompeii and she marvelled at the well-preserved buildings and the plaster casts of the bodies of some of the victims.

Due to almost 2000 years having passed since this huge loss of life the horror of it is lessened somewhat. These people are removed from us by a gulf of time and culture although this does not make their deaths any less tragic than those we witness on the evening news. The theme of the game we played today could easily be changed to another type of natural disaster, for example an earthquake. Can you imagine the worldwide furore if someone produced a game depicting the recent Haiti earthquake?

Friday, January 22, 2010


We watched a beautiful sunset from our back deck on Friday evening.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Can I paint your models, Dad?

"Can I paint your models, Dad?" Maddie asked.
"How about you start off painting some bases for me." I suggested.

She painted nine bases before she'd had enough...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Gaming with Grandma - 108

We played two different games in our regular weekly gaming session this Saturday morning. First up Mum and I played Battle Line. We decided to play two games, with each of us taking turns to lead with the initial card. Although the ancient battle theme is tacked on I find it does work well and with little imagination I can visualise two ancient armies clashing along a line of battle.

Trying to win an advantage at nine points along the line is the aim of the game. A win is scored for the first player to win three adjacent flags, or a five majority.

Mum beat me 5 flags to 3 in our first game. She achieved both victory conditions (i.e. 3 adjacent and 5 overall) on the same turn. I tried hard to even the score in our second game but she went on to thrash me 5 to 1, once again achieving both victory conditions on her turn. I always enjoy the tension of this game.

Maddie then joined us for a game of PitchCar Mini. We all really enjoy this fun dexterity game. We made a rule that if a player was in last place they could have two flicks of their car disc and this worked well. The lead constantly changed and it was very competitive for the entire three laps. Maddie went on to take the win with a final incredible shot.

Staged photo of the final placings - Maddie 1st, Wayne 2nd, Grandma 3rd

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Gaming with Grandma - 107

Another Saturday morning gaming session with my mum (AKA Grandma) and elder daughter (AKA Maddie) aged 8.

Our first game of the new year was a good one - PitchCar Mini. This is a fun dexterity game of flicking wooden discs (race cars) around a modular wooden race track. Competition was tight but after the required three laps I eventually pulled off the win, with Grandma 2nd and Maddie 3rd.

Our second game of the morning was For Sale. We always find this light bidding game very enjoyable and today was no different. Final scores were me with $95K, Grandma with $86K and Maddie with $49K.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Two movies in one day

I went to see Avatar 3D at the Megaplex at Chermside by myself this morning. Absolutely loved the 3D experience and the visually stunning effects. Coming out of the movie I am now convinced that movie-making technology has developed to such a point that any story, no matter how visually demanding, can be realised. My excitement for the first of the Hobbit movies due for release in 2011 grows even more.

As the kids were staying overnight with their grandparents this evening, my wife suggested we go out for dinner and a movie. She recommended the Blue Room Cinebar at Paddington that she'd previously been to with a girlfriend. This small licensed cinema and bar complex only has a few small auditoriums where they show films. Each cinema has nice comfortable seating with a small table between the chairs. At the bar you can pre-book drinks, entrees and main meals and they will deliver them to you at nominated times during the movie. This is similar to the Gold Class experience some of the larger movie chains offer but in a more intimate surrounding. The delicious meals at the Cinebar come from the attached Thai restaurant. We both enjoyed the food and also the film we saw this evening, Sherlock Holmes.

Although they are much loved, what a pleasure it was to have some time alone without the kids.