Gen Con 2014 in review
Half of the gaming hall. Our tables were at the other end by the AEG sign.

My annual trip to Gen Con was a great one this year. The geek fest for RPGs, board games, miniatures, and fans of fantasy and SciFi stuff attracted about 50K people from around the world and certainly the most of the United States. The club I belong to puts on games during the event and I put on about 11 games in 4 days so while fun it is exhausting. My games went very well and I only had a couple folks who tested everyone’s nerves during play. The 3D Game of Thrones board went over great. Lots of folks gawking and taking pictures. I also put on a couple of 10mm American Civil war games as well as a couple of made up game of 2nd American Civil War with the scenario concerning a communist attack on docks in Chicago. Lots of fun and lots of hours at the game table (about 45 hours playing games in a 96 hour period) The gaming hall was huge this year and I strained my voice while running games with 10K people around me playing games as well. The dealer hall was packed every day at all hours and they had some stuff there that is hard to find at any other time. I am always amused at the coverage that Gen Con gets in the news. They always seem to focus on the Cosplay folks (people wearing costumes) but this year felt like to me there were fewer of these but […]

Hue
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This spring I’ve done a lot of habitat improvement at the woods. With the help of a friend I cleared some scrub area to plant some small food plots in clover and did some hinge cutting to create thicker areas for deer bedding. By doing so I’ve already seen an increase in the number of deer and turkey on my trail camera. While checking my camera pictures last week one caught my eye and when I went back to it I laughed because in the shot it looks like a cross in the middle of a deer’s newly growing antlers. Of course I immediately thought of St. Hubert who as the story goes was chasing a deer when suddenly he saw the deer appear with a cross in its antlers. It was a life changing moment for Hubert. While this is not a life changing moment for me it is a nice reminder as to why I go to the woods and why I hunt and ultimately a reminder as to what I’m really chasing in life. Psalm 42:1 As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.

Spring Hunting
Mushroom

Before I put the boat in the water and really start fishing I go turkey hunting. It’s been a bust since I left seminary and the happy and plentiful hunting grounds of southern Indiana. To be fair I really didn’t have a place to hunt my first three years but the last three I have had a place and while I don’t have the free time I had I still am able to get out a few days a season. I’ve always tried to take the week of the opener off because it always falls after Easter and I’m usually  ready for a few days off to recuperate from the slam that comes during Holy week and the last weeks of Lent. This year opening day happened to fall the Wednesday after Easter so I went to my woods and friends woods to look for turkey and some quite time away. It turns out that normally there is another season that coincides with turkey season and that is mushroom season and this year it turned out to be my best season. Our woods holds what are locally called the “Black” mushrooms. This subspecies (I guess they are subspecies but I really don’t know) are the earliest to come up and I have heard that if you have these you don’t normally have the other types which are “Yellow” and “Grey”.  Well I found a lot this year. My first day out found about 50 and then the rest of the […]

Paschal Candle
side view good

During the Easter Vigil one of the first things we do is bless and candle that represents the light of Christ. Normally parishes buy them already made but a few years ago I learned how to paint them. It’s very easy. Get blank candle, sand it with very fine sandpaper so that it has a matte finish. Then paint it to your liking. There are a few elements required for its use. A Cross in the center, an Alpha and Omega at the top and bottom of the cross, the year placed in the quadrants of the cross, and the night of the vigil 5 nails are placed in the candle to represent the 5 wounds of Christ. Everything else is fluff but it does go a long way to make it more beautiful. During the Easter season the candle remains at the ambo where the reading are proclaimed and during the rest of the year it is placed by the baptismal font and it used during the baptism and funerals. This year’s candle is pretty simple but more colorful than my past candles. 

Lenten Naval
close up

This past Sunday was the 5th Sunday of lent. It has become the weekend that my parish has a 40 hour devotion which has us doing adoration before the Blessed Sacrament for 40 (or so) hours straight. To cover the overnight hours we invite your youth group, confirmation class, and this year our young adults to have a lock-in with these folks taking turns adoring our Lord. Along with being a great thing for our parish it gives me an opportunity to spend some extended time with this group. Over the last three years I have always put on a miniature game. This year was no different. The past two weeks have been very busy and so I really didn’t have an opportunity to set up a big game. This year I amazingly pulled of a Napoleonic naval game. To my great surprise the kids loved it. So much so that we played two games. The rules were very, very bare bones. I had built and painted the ships so that the sails could be removed as damage was taken. The number of sails was used for shooting and movement. And the movement was modified based on the wind direction. It was I-go-you-go initiative system. The game was fast pace and bloody with lots of dice. In fact the second game I up the damage and they rolled lots of dice. And the other receiving player rolled a save to try and alleviate the damage. We played a game of […]

3D “Game of Thrones” Board Game pt. 2
kings landing

A simple follow up post with more pictures of the tracts and and details of the board and pieces.

Another Winter Project
shrine

I have had a number of projects this winter. One of course is the 3-D board game that is complete and I should be posting some new pictures of it in about a month or so. Another project this winter was a shrine to St. Hubert at the woods. I’ve been wanting to make this for a number of years but just never go around to it. A couple of years ago we cut a poplar tree down but left the stump nice and high so that we could do something with it. I had thought of carving it but I really didn’t think I had the time or the skill to do the job that would like to do on a statue. Instead I settled on a shrine to St. Hubert. For those who do not know St. Hubert is the patron of hunters, which is ironic since his conversion had him give up the hunt. Over the years I have begun to incorporate him in and his intercessions into my prayers particularly when I hunt or am at the woods. This past year was a great year of hunting. I saw lots of deer nothing big but it was always a nice time in the woods whenever I would sit. For me seeing nature and spending some safe and quiet time in the woods is more important than getting “monster” buck. Don’t get me wrong I’d love to see a big buck but realistically with my schedule it’s more likely […]

3D “Game of Thrones” Boardgame
close up pyke

Last GenCon I had a brain storm to turn the Fantasy Flight Game “Game of Thrones” into a 3D map board and use 15mm miniatures to represent the troops. The idea came from seeing a big map board of an old game called “Kingmaker” at some gaming conventions about 10 years ago. The guys who made it used miniatures to play the game and that sight always remained in my mind. So after playing “Game of Thrones” for a couple years I realized that I could make a pretty cool thing by turning this 2D map into a 3D map board. I emailed Fantasy Flight Games and got permission to do the project and I think they also plan to sponsor some games at this coming GenCon that our Club will be putting on. The Board has come along nicely. It is roughly 2 ½ times the size of the board game map. I began by buying the base board. I then cut out the map and the provinces and kept gluing them to other poster boards and building up the layers. This gave it a topographical map look and after this part was finished I added mountains and various terrain making materials to make the map to make it look life like from a ravens view, all be it a space ravens view. To represent the game components such as castles and strongholds I sculpted the pieces and then cast them. The figures I purchased and painted up to match […]

Halloween Game
table

Our youth group has a Halloween party every year and since coming to my parish I always put on a zombie game for the kids. Zombies are all the rage right now and there are plenty of kids who are interested in playing. It also allows me set up some the things I’ve made lately and somewhat play a game since it’s very hard for me to get together with friends to play because of distance and schedule. It was a very basic game with simple rules to play fast to try and keep their attention. 12 players split in two teams. One team was trapped on the roof of the post office. The other team was in the other corner defending a safe zone and the goal was to link up in the safe zone. The best part of the zombie game is that all the players work together to try and win. As with most games the kids played two different styles. There were the players who tried and sneak around and make their way to the safe zone and then there were the players who charged head long into danger and tried to fight their way through. The team in the safe zone tried to clear the way for the others as they moved. Sometimes they were successful. By the end of the game about five of the players had meet their end while the others made their way to the safe zone. Fun was had. And […]

Sailing
sailing2

I’ve always been fascinated by sailing and after going up to Lake Michigan for a couple of years I interested in learning how to sail. Lucky for me a couple at the parish had an old Sunfish sailboat sitting in their garage. The one problem was that the fiberglass body had a big hole in it so they have lent it to me to use as long as I patch the hole. Well the hole has been patched and I have gone sailing the last two Mondays. There has not been much wind these days but today was little better than last Monday. It’s fun to go out for a couple of hours and learn the ropes and learn how little wind can push me and a small boat around the lake.