GenCon 2015

I attended GenCon again this year. Its 4 days of gaming which I figured out this year I’ve been doing for over 20 years and if you count Axis and Allies it might be beyond 25 years. I doubt when my father introduced me and a friend to Axis and Allies all those years ago, as a way to keep us occupied and out of the adults hair, he imagined it would be a lifelong hobby. One of the good things about being closer to Indy is that I am again able to connect with the 19&one gaming club in Indianapolis. A few of these guys I have known since college and I think we put on a pretty good set of games for GenCon attendees. This year we offered 10 games of the 3D Game of Thrones game which is pretty impressive if you consider that those games ran 4 hours each and had 6 players. That’s a lot of hours gaming. We had a great placement in the gaming hall this year so we had a ton of traffic and it seemed like a picture was being taken of the game every 5 minutes or so. A fellow priest from Iowa came in and he ran the bulk of them. One bonus for him was that the guys who run Boardgame Geek stopped by and he got to talk with them about the game. I also ran a couple of American Civil War games using my simple rules. […]

Purple Zombies

This last weekend ushered in Passiontide. The last two weeks of Lent. The most visible sign of the season is that the statues are veiled with purple cloth. It’s a striking sight, somber but beautiful. We had our adoration period which lasted from Friday morning into Saturday evening. Over the last couple of years we have a youth lock-in. It’s become something that I and our youth minister look forward to each year. The lock-in begins with Evening Prayer and Stations of the Cross with other parishioners. We then typically play some games, one of which is a miniature game that I put on. This year it was a zombie game in which the kids or their characters had to make their way through an infested industrial dock to hop on a ship to take them out to safety. There were about 8 kids who played and I always find it interesting how they play; will they work as a team or will they split up? This year it turned out to be both. They started to split at the beginning but then came back together to work to defeat the zombie horde. I think this is the first game in which every character survived which helped all of them to have fun. Some of the kids who had played before were surprised that everyone survived. It did help that none of the players tried to do something silly. After the zombie game was finished we headed back to church […]

Short List for Coolest Uncle

I’m terrible at Christmas. It’s the busiest season of the year for most of the priests I know with everything we do during Lent crammed into 4 weeks instead of 6. So normally gifts consists of gifts cards or leaving it to my sister to pick stuff up for me. This year I had the idea to actually make my nieces and nephew their gifts. It started with the toy soldiers for my nephew. I have seen some sets out there were the soldiers were made from a cloths pin and then customized with look the part. I decided to make the American Revolution; British Grenadiers and American Continentals, not that a three year old would know the difference. The cannons were made from PVC pipe and wood and they fire a 1 ½” cannon ball. They turned out pretty good and of course it took him all of three seconds to find the weak spot and break the firing mechanism on the cannon but that was an easy fix. He needs a little more coordination before he will be killing his foe. I also made him a tent because I’m a bad uncle and did not have it ready for his birthday the month before. His sisters got a tent as well so he will need someplace to call his own. It’s a simple A frame tent made with small trees cut down and lashed together to form a frame. It came out well but its pretty dark in […]

Gen Con 2014 in review

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 […]

Lenten Naval

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

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

3D “Game of Thrones” Boardgame

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

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 […]

Civil War Trip Day 4 and 5

Yesterday we traveled north from Richmond to visit the Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania battlefields. All very nice and well taken care of, Fredericksburg has suffered the most over the years. Only a small amount of it remains, but what does remain is very interesting. The old stone wall that Lee’s troops used is still there and after seeing it you can understand why the confederates won. It is a battle that stayed with the union troops because they chanted “Fredericksburg” as the confederates came at them in Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg. At Gettysburg the union troops had the stone wall and they won. Chancellorsville was a nice battlefield and well preserved this is the battle in which Jackson was shot by his own troops and would later die. We saw both the wounding site and the place of his death miles away. The wilderness is my favorite battlefield and battle. While it is unknown by most is was the start of Grant taking control of the eastern theater of war and so the beginning of his march to Richmond and Petersburg. Spotsylvania was his next battle and it stretched about a two week period however both The Wilderness and Spotsylvania had 15,000 casualties but unlike Spotsylvania The Wilderness only lasted two days. To end out the day 3 we raced home beating the storms that were rolling through. We got home just in time to see it roll into Richmond and as we watched out our window we lost […]

Civil War Trip Day 3

Today we traveled down the Peninsula. We first visited Fort Monroe on an island off the tip of the peninsula. We were unsure about this stop. It has just become a National Park and the army and the park service are swapping out duties. The old fort is pretty amazing to see. It’s in great shape and the fort’s history spans Jamestown to the present. So every war has some history at the fort. There is also a museum in the old casemates (the areas that contained the old fort guns). The museum was nice and well taken care of they did have the actual cell that Jefferson Davis was kept in after the war. On our way out we got to see an aircraft carrier coming into Norfolk. It was the George Bush and it was huge. As we ate lunch we watched it make its way to the naval base. After the fort we traveled to Newport News and visited the Virginia Maritime Museum. It had a lot of nice things that again spanned the whole history of Jamestown it the present age. The main attraction was the USS Monitor. It was the first Union Ironclad. The Monitor battled just off shore with its confederate counterpart and so made all other wooden navies obsolete. There was a large section dedicated to the artifacts from the wrecked Monitor and it even had the turret and some of the cannons. They had many examples of what ship life was like. […]