May 2017 – My Geek Hobby Year-to-Date

Traditionally, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer for the RockyMountainNavy family. That is until we moved to the East Coast. Now school for the RMN Boys goes until mid-June. However, I still want to use this occasion to look back on my geek hobby year-to-date.

Wargaming

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Courtesy BGG.com

According to my BGG profile, I played 10 games in January, four in February, four more in March, none in April, and only two in May. For a year that I wanted to play more I certainly have dropped off! Summer may change as I have several new games inbound. Arriving tomorrow is Conflict of Heroes: Guadalcanal – The Pacific 1942 (Academy Games, 2016). I also may be getting closer to my Kickstarter delivery of Squadron Strike: Traveller (Ad Astra Games, ??) which after many delays (unwarranted and unacceptable in my opinion) finally opened the BackerKit this week. I also pledged for Worthington Publishing’s Mars Wars – but it cancelled. This month I pledged to support Compass Games’ new Richard Borg title Command & Colors: Tricorne – The American Revolution. To be honest, I am buying this title as much for myself as for the RMN Boys – which is both a blessing and a curse. I am certainly blessed in that I have boys who love gaming, but cursed in that they are not a hard grognard like their old man. The titles also reflect a change in my gaming interests as I struggle with the closure of many FLGS and the movement of my purchasing online or (shudder) to Kickstarter. I also have several games on P500 at GMT Games and hope to see that production schedule move forward this year.

Role Playing Games

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Courtesy RPGGeek

Whereas my grognard-fu has been weakening, my RPG play has been one of steady growth. Mostly this has revolved around the Cepheus Engine RPG system and products from Gypsy Knights Games and their The Clement Sector setting or products from Samardan Press, Zozer Games (especially their SOLO supplement), and Moon Toad Publishing. I have to tip my hat to these third party publishers which are doing so much to breathe life into my RPG adventures. For this summer, I also have a Star Wars: Edge of the Empire (Fantasy Flight Games) campaign at-the-ready. Here too I have dipped deeper into Kickstarter and pledged support to Cam Banks’, Magic Vacuum Studio’s Cortex Prime: A Multi-Genre Modular Roleplaying Game.

Books

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Courtesy Amazon.com

I started off at Christmas with a good collection of books that I am whittling down at a much slower pace than I wish. This is not because I have ignored them; on the contrary, I am probably reading more than I did last year – just not reading off my list! Science fiction books have taken up much of my reading time. I have found myself lost in rereading the Charles E. Gannon’s Caine Riordan series from Baen Books. I also turned to Kickstarter again for content, this time in the form of Cirsova 2017 (Issues 5&6) and its short stories.

Plastic Models

I didn’t get time to build much but the RMN boys got many kits completed. We even found a YouTube channel that we love, Andy’s Hobby Headquarters. He not only shows great models, but the boys are studying his techniques for better building.

Education Support

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Courtesy goodreads.com

I also have to do the Dad-thing and boast a bit about my youngest RMN Boy. This past quarter he was studying World War II and had a project to complete. The project supposed the student had found items in the attic from grandparents accumulated during World War II. The student had to put together a scrapbook of a newspaper article relating a battle (writing assignment), a letter from a soldier/sailor to home describing another battle (writing assignment), a letter from home describing the home front (writing assignment), a letter from the mayor to a local boys club thanking them for supporting the war effort (another writing assignment), notes from Grandmother about key personalities (short biographies), and a propaganda poster (art assignment). We had fun doing this project as together the youngest RMN boy and I prowled my shelves for sources, watched movies and documentaries online, and even pulled out a few games to better visualize the battles. A very proud moment for this father as the New Media and my book and game collection came together to teach a young man history.


Feature image courtesy 365barrington.com

Christmas Gaming 2016

Here is my gaming haul for the 2016 Christmas season:

pic3236903_mdWing Leader: Supremacy 1943-1945 (GMT Games)Lee Brimmicombe-Wood’s innovative “side-scroll” air combat game for the later half of World War II. Like its predecessor Wing Leader: Victories 1940-1942 this again made air combat games fun and interesting for me. The box is HUGE and very heavy – a welcome change from so many “light” games with a “heavy” price.

pic2999397_mdPacific Fury: Guadalcanal, 1942 by Revolution Games. Originally published in Japanese and now translated into English. Emphasizes planning by using a very different system of assigning units to Task Forces and then resolving combat in sequence. Suffers from some production issues (very DTP-publishing feel) but nonetheless an interesting exploration of naval combat in and around Iron Bottom Sound.

pic3238660_mdThe Space Patrol (by Richard Hazelwood, published by Stellagama Publishing). A 2D6 OGL Sci-Fi/Cepheus Engine RPG book for playing Space Patrol characters. Includes a very detailed discussion of legal terms and interstellar law. An interesting look at yet another career option. I try to support the Cepheus Engine system as much as possible since I disapprove of the direction Mongoose Publishing has taken the Traveller RPG rules.

pic3293444_mdShips of the Clement Sector 16: Rucker Class Merchant from Gypsy Knights Games. Another in a great line of outstanding ship sourcebooks. Includes multiple variants highlighting the “odd job” characteristics of the ship. Topped off by evocative fiction this book will be very useful in the Clement Sector setting or any 2D6 Sci-Fi/Cepheus Engine setting.

We wouldn’t be the RockyMountainNavy family without the kids getting games for Christmas too:

pic132447_mdRMN A got Command & Colors: Ancients (GMT Games). This is technically A’s first wargame that he “owns.” He is studying history and very interested in the period. Looking forward to facing off across the battlefield from him (but first he needs to put all those stickers on)!

pic3239100_mdRMN T got Endless Vigil: A Sourcebook for Sentinels for the Force & Destiny segment of Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars RPG line. Looking forward to exploring the Star Wars RPG universe of urban settings and encounters for the Force.

pic2933710_mdRMN Little I got Tanks: Panther vs Sherman (Gale Force 9). This starter-set game plays to two of his interests; WW2 armor and models. The price entry point is very low ($19.99) but he will surely be spending a good deal of his earnings over the next year on the expansions (i.e. models). He already has several 1/100th scale Zvezda armor – look for him to make his own stat cards soon!

pic3105185_mdAlmost forgot – RMN T also got King of New York: Power Up! (iello). This is an expansion for King of New York OR King of Tokyo (which we own). Beware Mega Shark!

pic691901_mdRMN Little I also got Memoir ’44: Breakthrough (Days of Wonder). Just remember, the battle always takes place at the junction of two maps! Between Memoir ’44 and C&C looks like the younger gamers are fully-involved in Richard Borg war games.

(All images courtesy BoardGameGeek/RPGGeek)

Merry Christmas and Happy Gaming to all!

Model Monday – Pegasus Hobbies ME-262

Little Rockymountainnavy is into building model kits these days and really has a love for World War II aviation. We have been collecting the Pegasus Hobbies 1/48th scale series and the latest one he has built is the Messerschmitt Me-262. This is a wonderful E-Z Snap series kit molded in dark green. Assembly was super easy and the parts fit the well with few gaps. This model even has a metal counterweight to place in the nose that will balance the aircraft on the tricycle landing gear. We will be painting and applying decals in the coming week.

The model did inspire Little RMN to dig into my library and pull out several books on the Me-262 and World War II jet aircraft. This has led to another spate of Lego creations and further exploration into German jet plans (ala Luft ’46). Once again, a model has inspired greater learning by Little RMN. After all, isn’t that what a good hobby does for you? (Image Courtesy modellingmadness.com)

Snow Day 2015

Washington Dulles Airport just set a new snowfall record for February 21. The old record of 2.7″ was bested by a whopping 8.8″. Spent part of the day updating my latest tablet with game files. Although I still really love holding physical game books in my hands the economic realities are driving me to the digital domain.

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Family Game Night – Jan 28, 2011

Invited friends over and hosted a family game night.  It was a real success.  We had four adults and six kids ranging in age from 1st grade through high school.

Qwirkle

First game up was Qwirkle.  This was played amongst the adults.  Interestingly, this was Mrs. RMN’s first game (though she has watched/helped in many) as well as the intro game for our guest couple.  Game took about 45 minutes to play. Verdict: SUCCESS.

 

 

 

Fundomino

For a quick filler before dessert we played Fundomino.  Three kids versus guest father.  Game went fast with good action right up to the last plays.  Playing time: 15 minutes.  Verdict: Success.

 

 

 

Dragonheart

Another game played was Dragonheart.  This was played by the Dads first as a teaching game.  Afterward, I stepped out and let some of the kids play against the guest Dad.  Verdict:  SUCCESS!

 

 

 

Magic Labyrinth

While the adults were playing Qwirkle the kids played Magic Labyrinth.  This proved very popular; so much so that when the adults were finished the kids challenged guest father to a match.  Playing time for a four player game was about 30 minutes.  Verdict:  SUCCESS!

 

 

 

Abandon Ship

The night finished up with a large seven-player game of Abandon Ship.  All six kids played (the high schooler helped the new younger player) against the two Dads.  The game was a good race all the way to the end; I think five of the original seven rats were within reach of the top.  As it turned out, one of the youngest players won a close race.  All wanted to play again but the hour was getting late.  Playing time: 30 minutes.  Verdict:  RESOUNDING SUCCESS.

This was the first Family Game Night we ever hosted with another family.  It was a great time and no TVs or computers were turned on all night.  All the kids, big and small, and all the adults had a great time.  Even Mrs. RMN joined in a game instead of just being an observer.  From the kids perspective it was a blast with interesting games.  From the adult perspective it was good friends, conversation, (a wee bit of drinking) and tons of enjoyment playing with the kids.  It also helps that our guest family is game friendly (we have introduced them to several games before) and were anxious to play.  They left with a list of new games that they will eventually get.

Christmas Games 2010 – Math Dice Jr.

Courtesy ThinkFun

MathDice Jr. is from ThinkFun, a game company already known for great educational games.  The original MathDice uses “higher” mathmatics whereas this “Junior” version uses addition or subtraction only.

The Look: The oversize die are big and colorful; easy for younger players to handle or recognize.  The gameboard requires tokens that are not included in the game.  There are downloaded versions available but would it have been so hard to include a small cardboard token or two?

The Play: Roll the d12 to get the target number.  Roll the five d6 and players then have to call out equations that equal the target number.  As players call out equations the used die are subtracted from the pool until no more equations are possible. Repeat. The number of die you use is the number of spaces you advance.

The Win: First one to complete the track wins.  There is a shorter start point that can be used so that younger players start halfway down the track forcing older players/parents to catch up and try to pass the younger player.

The Verdict: The youngest RockyMountainNavy sailor is in first grade and this is a wonderful tool to use to help him recognize math facts.  The competitive format adds pressure but in a manner that helps learning.  This game will be useful for a year or so but it will not be long before he advances to the full MathDice that has a longer useful life.

Christmas Games 2010 – Dragonheart

Courtesy BGG

Dragonheart is a two-player card game that uses a basic trick-taking mechanic.  The real appeal here is not the game mechanic but the appearance and theme.

The Theme: Players are wizards trying to either free or keep the dragon imprisoned.  The theme is what drew us to the game and what sparks the initial interest from our kids (fantasy and dragons is a winning combination).

The Look:  Dragonheart has beautiful components with a very visually striking board and evocative art on the cards.  Some might call the game pricey at nearly $20 retail but the quality is worth it.

The Play: Both players have identical decks (except for the backs) and play from a five-card hand (six if you have the petrified dragon).  As cards are played on the board they activate actions that allow one to take other cards.  Players must play their cards to get the maximum number of points while preventing their opponent from doing the same.  Play is fast and simple; there is no text to read and the rules are straightforward.  The four-page rulebook is mostly examples of play.

The Win: The game ends when either player exhausts their draw deck or the third set of treasure ships is played.  Players total their scoring cards and the highest sum wins.

The Verdict:  Dragonheart is a fun filler game for any family member.  The two-player format is a bit limiting in the RockyMountainNavy family; with four kids we tend towards larger games.