Thursday, August 17, 2017

State of the Blog: Not at Gen Con Edition

This blog has been silent for a while.  The last post talked about how I was packing up my sizable game collecting in preparation for a move.  Well, we have moved to our new destination.  However, we still do not have our stuff.  In fact, we have been without our stuff for 48 days.  I will not bore you with the effects sleeping on an air mattress is doing to my spine or how many cooking uses I have come up with for aluminum foil.  We have been existing in a state of limbo, hitting the point where we have begun to think, "Perhaps we will never see our stuff again."

While all the lucky gamers are running around Gen Con looking at the new edition of Twilight Imperium or Paizo's new sci-fi rpg Starfinder, I sit in a bare room typing this post.  I did bring my Magic the Gathering cards with me, as well as a copy of the new Conan rpg and my copy of Star Fleet Battles.  I didn't pack the Magic cards because I wanted to have something to play while our stuff was in boxes, and the Conan rpg and Star Fleet Battles arrived in the mail after our belongings were carted off.  However, without a table or a group, these games are sitting in the closet.  Also, my energy has been drained by the move and it has been hard to think about gaming.

I am still playing two PBM games, Hyborian War and Starweb.  I hope to head down to the local game stores and play some Magic, but right now we are at the mercy of other people's agendas and schedules.  In fact, this move reminds me of an online Diplomacy game that I am playing.  I have one Austrian army that is being pushed around between Italy and Turkey.  Maybe one day I will get one of my home centers back, just like one day we may get our stuff delivered.

I hope this post leads to more.  Good luck and good gaming to everyone! 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Moving Your Game Collection!

There hasn't been a post for a while as we are in the process of packing up our house.  So today's post is a warning to all the collectors out there.  Moving a huge game collection is no joke.  Here are some tips.

1.  Stop buying games right now!

Seriously, do you need more games?  How many rpg splat books do you own already?  Look at your collection.  Have you played all of those games?  Start enjoying what you have.  At the very least think about buying PDFs instead of game books.  I will admit that while I have been packing I have received my copy of the new Conan rpg and a copy of Starfleet Battles.

 2.  Give games away!

I did follow this rule.  Are there games you will not play again?  Games you won't play?  Spread the love and give them to someone who will enjoy them.  Sell them, trade them, give them to a teacher. Every game out of the collection is one less game you have to pack up.

3.  Use all available space!

There is a popular board game podcast called The Dice Tower.  The host, Tom Vasel, moved a large game collection from South Korea to Florida.  I listened to his podcast during the move and he talked about fitting games inside other games.  Think about all the empty space in those game boxes.  Shove a few card games in there.

In the above picture I have placed the My Little Pony ccg inside a wargame box.  Strange bedfellows for sure, but the more I can condense the better.

Here is another example where I fit my Heroclix maps inside another wargame.

For all of you who have moved a game collection, I salute you.  It is a tough task.  I leave you with a few more photos of the job.

 A table full of games!

So many they spill onto the floor!

A tightly packed box!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Rolling Wednesday: Quickest Kickstarter Ever!

I got my Diminishing Knight dice in the mail last week!  I would have posted them last Wednesday but I already had a post ready to go.  They are nice and big and I even got a cool fridge magnet.  Hats off to Black Oak Workshop.  This is one of the fastest Kickstarter fulfillments I have ever had.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Rolling Wednesday:

There are various dice rollers on the internet.  Today I wanted to share one of my favorites,  This site is actually a site for generating random numbers.  They explain how most computer programs use pseudo-random methods to create random numbers. uses "atmospheric noise" to produce truly random results.  There are some great articles explaining how the site works and how it achieves randomness.  My favorite is the article that shows two bitmaps side by side; one generated by and one by the Microsoft Windows random number generator.

There are two ways that you can use as a dice roller.  They have a dedicated die-roller page, where you can roll up to 60 six-sided dice at a time.

I rolled boxcars on

If you want to roll other types of dice then you have to use the integer generator.  You can have it generator a number between 1 and 20 for a good old d20 roll.

I've set it up to generate a d20 roll.  Note that you can have it generate more than one number at a time.
I rolled a 4 has other great uses.  You can use it to randomize lists, shuffle a deck of cards, pick lotto numbers, and even white noise.  I use it in education to randomize lists of students and answer choices.  They have an app that you can download.  The app has a coin flipper that allows you to pick different coin images.  You know nerds made it because one of the coins that you can use is Two-Face's double-headed coin.  The app gives you the coin flipper for free and for a small fee you can unlock the other features.

Two-Face's coin on the app

Rolling character stats on the app is a cool website and it is worth a visit to see what it can do.  I recommend it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Rolling Wednesday: Stone Dice

Today's dice is a set of stone six-siders that I picked up at the Natural History Museum in Houston.  They are nice and hefty.  I don't dare roll them because I am afraid that I will either break the dice or the table.  They look cool and make great props, though.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Rolling Wednesday: Round Dice

This is a round die.  It belonged to a pair but I lost the other one long ago.  The die has a weight inside of it.  You roll the die and the weight eventually brings it to a stop.  I loved my round dice when I was a kid.  I thought they were really neat.  The problem with them is that the results are not always clear.  Sometimes they will stop "in between" numbers,  Anyway, it is a cool die to have in the collection.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

State of Gaming: Play-by-Mail

I have been very busy.  Real life events are drastically cutting into gaming time.  I would love to have 3-4 hour chunks of time to dedication to a board game or an rpg session.  Instead, I am getting 15 minute chunks of time sandwiched between frantic activity and exhaustion.  I began some play-by-mail games in order to get my gaming fix while real life devours my time and energy.  They work well because in my 15 minute chunks of free time I can prepare my turns, send them off, and then all I have to do is wait for my turn results to arrive.  I am currently playing two games and I signed up for a third.

"Your play-by-mail turn has arrived!"

Duel2 is a game of gladiator combat run by Reality Simulations.  In the game you have a stable of five gladiators in a fantasy world.  There are elves, orcs, and other fantasy races but magic and spells do not factor into the gameplay.  Each turn you pick one to five of your gladiators that you wish to fight.  You arm them and pick their fighting strategy.  You can also challenge warriors and avoid challenges, which adds some strategy to the game.  Each turn you receive a print-out describing the fights.

I like the game.  It is simple and fun.  I have graduated from the newbie arena and am currently fighting in Aruak City.  I plan to write up a review of this game soon.  If you are new to play-by-mail Duel2 is a a great game to start with.

Hyborian War

Hyborian War is a war game that is also run by Reality Simulations.  As the name suggests it takes place during the Hyborian Age created by Robert E. Howard.  Each player controls a kingdom, and you have the choice of playing a large, medium, or small kingdom.  I am currently ruling Punt, a small kingdom.  This game is a grand simulation.  You engage in diplomacy, spying, and warfare.  When battles occur you decide how to line up your troops, what strategy to use, and what spells to cast.

The big draw for this game is that it takes place in the world of Conan.  According to the rules Conan wanders around the map and can show up in your kingdom.  The game is a good low-fantasy wargame.  I have the found the rules to be a tad confusing but I am having fun with the game.  If you sign up to play I recommend the site  It has forums for people playing Hyborian War and is full of advice and strategy tips.  You will need to register for an account to view anything.


Starweb is a science fiction exploration/wargame run by Flying Buffalo.  I have read the rules and signed up for a game.  That brings me to one of the downsides of play-by-mail, waiting for games to start.  It can take months for companies to have enough players sign up before they can start a game.  I encourage anyone reading this to try a play-by-mail game if only for the reason that we can get some games started faster!

Starweb is a game in which space travel takes place through a series of warp gates.  You spend your time exploring gates, taking over planets, and battling and trading with other players.  There are different roles, for example you can play a race of killer robots or a group of religious fanatics a la Dune.  There is an interesting game mechanic where each player bids a certain number of points at the beginning of the game.  Those numbers are averaged and then the game's stopping point is set from that average.  When the game starts I will post more about my experience with it.

I have been happy with my play-by-mail experiences.  If you want to learn more about the state of play-by-mail gaming check out the following resources:

Suspense and Decision