Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Best wishes for a Wonderful Christmas, 2013!

Well, it came around fast - another Christmas Eve after another busy year. 

Here's wishing you and your families a wonderful Christmas and holiday over the next few days.  For me, its a chance to unwind with the family and stretch the paintbrushes over the next week in Curt's Painting Challenge.  I'm looking forward to it - in fact, I can hardly wait.

Very best wishes everyone!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Dragonmeet 2013

Just a quick update on Dragonmeet 2013, which was held in Kensington Town Hall last Saturday, 7th December. I’d intended to post the following photos last week, but a combination of other distractions (preparing ranks of figures for Curt’s Painting Challenge), Christmas tree purchasing, Christmas tree decorating and (again) work, kept me occupied for a lot of last week and this weekend.

However, I can report now that Roundwood Towers is amply festooned with Christmas decorations, allowing me to turn to blogging again.

As my daughter was attending her first convention, I didn’t arrive as early as normal at Dragonmeet. By the time we arrived, about 2pm, things were already well under way, with a host of games being played in the main hall (as participations) and in the various break out rooms. 

Dragonmeet is a fun convention, and we found no problem in finding a couple of games to play – the first of which was “Lords of War”. My daughter, as I mentioned before, is very much into worlds of fantastic literary adventure. So she really enjoyed the easy, card driven mechanics of Lords of War. It’s a perfect game for any young person who likes beautifully produced cards and finds game mechanics fun. The premise of the game is that your hand of cards represents your army, and that each card has differing attributes. Slightly scissors/paper/stone (with quite a few complications), but definitely none the worse for that. Easy to pick up, fun to play – what more can you ask? We bought a copy of both decks, so you can tell we enjoyed it. Later playing at home has confirmed that it’s a fun game for all the family – so, a keeper in other words.

We also played a fun game called Camelot, which is set in the world of King Arthur and features tile-laying as the players decorate the King’s hall. The tiles and artwork are stunning and there’s more than enough to keep a younger player happy for an hour. We played a couple of games and enjoyed it a lot. And yes, we bought a copy to play at home. Further “research” this weekend has proven it makes a good after-dinner game with non-gaming friends, something which is always a bonus in the Roundwoods’ social calendar.

Also in the purchase pile was a lovely Cthulhu Britannica supplement entitled “Folklore”. This is a wonderfully produced supplement from Cubicle 7, following up a fine book in 2011 called “Shadows over Scotland”, and earlier works in the Cthulhu Britannica stable. For a number of reasons I’ve been eagerly waiting for “Folklore” for a while. I’ve long enjoyed non-Mythos focused Cthulhu adventures, and I’ve been interested in British folklore and legends for many years. I love reading Victorian and Edwardian ghost stories from the stables of James, Blackwood and Le Fanu. So the “Folklore” volume has been high on my list of titles to acquire for a long while. Without giving a review of the book, it’s enough to mention that Black Dogs, folk magic (including transformation into an owl) and Welsh hill giants all feature (among others) in the book, which is a splendid addition to any Call of Cthulhu library, or indeed any gamer’s library where recreating elements of British Folklore is the goal.

We wrapped up the convention with a visit upstairs to where blogger-supreme Ashley was again running games of Ogre. Ashley’s Blog, Paint it Pink, is a store of Ogre related and science-fiction miniatures information and chatting to her about the gaming hobby is always a pleasure. And yes, the new Ogre edition has a huge box!! A great game, re-issued to hopefully entice a whole new generation of gamers into this excellent game.

Finally, me and Eleanor made it to the Kensington Council Chamber to catch the last 20 minutes of “Ken and Robin Talk about Stuff – Live!”. As podcast fans might already know, “Ken and Robin Talk about Stuff” is a really excellent podcast about roleplaying and gaming in general. The hosts, Ken Hite and Robin D Laws are wonderfully informed and genial hosts whose conversation meanders through discussions on gaming, literature, cinema and food. It was a privilege to see them in London and to say hello to them later, with Ken very generously signing a copy of “Double Tap”, his new book.

And with that, we left. Three hours well spent. Long enough to see everyone and everything we wanted to and play some games. Short enough to prevent an 11-year old daughter from getting bored. So, in other words, a great convention and an excellent day out.

Next post, hopefully before very long, will feature my preparation for the Analogue Hobbies Fourth Annual Painting Challenge, currently hitting the blogosphere with av vengeance. So, stay tuned for that!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Back in Action and “Let’s Go”!

Apologies for the interruption in the (already spasmodic) service of this Blog, but I’d been busy. Nothing terrible, no bad news, but a huge project at work has kept me away from enjoying my hobby. One of my colleagues mentioned that almost every day over the past four weeks has been like going the full 15 rounds with Marvin Hagler. 

 Which can’t have been very marvellous for anyone on the receiving end in the ring (Sugar Ray excepted!), and hasn't been much fun for me living the metaphor !

However, the end of this particular project is in sight, and Christmas is approaching. Which, for many people means trees, tinsel, carols and shopping. But for me, in additional to the usual seasonal fun means two wonderful things.

First, it’s Curt Campbell’s 4th Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. I took part in last year and very kindly was given the chance to run again this year. As you all know, I like painting, am not very fast, frequently get the colours muddled, but redeem myself usually by being very enthusiastic. Hopefully, a perfect participant in other words!  I have no illusions of winning (and indeed there are far better painted in the Challenge than me).  For this participant, however, it’s the chance to take part which means the world.

I’ve set myself a (for me) super-challenging target of 700 points. If I get there, I will over the moon. If I manage to complete any of the bonus rounds, I’ll be even happier.

Good luck to everyone taking part, and may the best brush win!

Second, it’s Dragonmeet 2013 in London on Saturday. As long time readers might (or might not) remember, I really enjoyed my visit to the show last year. It’s really a roleplaying event, but I’ve loved roleplaying as well as wargaming for as long as I can remember and, for me, the two parts of the hobby complement each other in numerous ways. I’ve been looking forward to attending the show this Saturday for many weeks now, and have stored up a short-list of things I’d like to buy.

The big news is that this year I shall be accompanied by my daughter, Eleanor. Yes, hard to believe isn’t it. Eleven years ago I’d not have believed my newly-born daughter would be asking one day to come along to a roleplaying convention. I guess stranger things have happened. But she loves books about fantastic lands and adventures, she very much enjoys the board games we play at home as a family (Talisman, Cluedo, Heroica and others) and she’s been asking me about my hobby for years now.  I thought she might enjoy a brief trip to Dragonmeet, which has a super-friendly atmosphere, if only to give her a glimpse of the fantastic world of a great hobby that one day she might want to take part in herself.

If you’re going along to Dragonmeet, I’ll look forward to saying hello.  And I'll hopefully post a review of the show over the weekend.

Until next time, mes braves – good luck, and get those paintbrushes ready!
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