Friday, March 23, 2018

Admit it.. we old gamers are just "Chasing the Dragon..."

I recently attended Breakout Con in Toronto and noticed a large number of middle aged people attending, and even grey beards.  Lots had kids, and likely there to get kids into gaming. Lots of singles though, like me, walking around with that jaded look in their eye.

It got me wondering of their motivations as well as my New Year's Eve post about my own motivations for still tabletop gaming. I'm doing stuff now I didn't do 30 years ago, namely lots of miniature battles and board games, with 0% on my 1980s passion, which was space opera role playing, or any role playing at all now, for that matter. I stated on New Year's Eve, and it's still valid, that mini gaming and board gaming that I am doing are ghostly echoes of long lost pleasures I got RPGing.

I was reminded today of the term "Chasing the Dragon" and it is an apt description of what I'm doing.. what perhaps, many old gamers are doing..

Chasing the Dragon, in case you are not familiar with the term, is, from

Chasing the dragon
This term is a bit more complicated than merely "smoking opium". It starts when you have your first high, the world is peaceful, everything is perfect, you're numb, but in the best way possible. But, soon, it starts wearing off. Fast. Your mind races, you're pulled out of your dream world. You crave the drug more and more, wanting to feel the same way as you did on your first high. You go to the dealer and buy the same amount you had the first time, and smoke. Still feels good, but not as good as first time. You go and buy more. Closer, but not quite there. You're stuck, you don't know what to do. You want to go back to that little dream world and stay forever, but your body is already developing a tolerance. You panic. You use all your money to buy more and more and more, but still, not the same as that first time. You realize that you have no more money, so you start selling your things, pawning whatever could get you that next bag. Still, nothing compared to what you had on that first, magical time. So, you're broke and own nothing. But you don't care, all you care about is getting back to the first high. You start stealing, doing "favors", whatever gets you the money for the attempt. Your life becomes a living hell, all in search of a repeat of the first high. That's chasing the dragon.

I hardly spent money in the 80s on RPG books, as you didn't need much to play.. Now, I am throwing more and more money on boardgames, miniatures, terrain, storage, gaming mats, plastic tables, etc.. you name it.. chasing a long lost "high" I got in the golden years of RPGing in the 1980s.. 

Not just money, but gobs of time painting, as well as storage issues. 

All these resources, and I don't think it adds up to 10% of the gaming pleasure I got all those years ago.. Mind you, what I'm doing now, like modelling, is enjoyable, but not nearly to the level of RPGing that I once had.. The returns are paltry compared to what I got for virtually nothing once. 

Will I stop? No.. like I said, I will continue painting as long as my eyes hold out, but that won't last forever. 

I will slow down though, on my spending on this, and always remind myself of the Chasing the Dragon futility of trying to go back in time. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

I attended Breakout Con Toronto 2018 today

For the last couple of years, I've been attending Breakout Con here in Toronto, a gaming con, and this year was no exception.

This year it was downtown Toronto, so it was a lot more convenient and more roomy than before.

I went with my friend Jim and his son, as usual. While they don't mind playing games there, I mostly go for the used games to buy and sell.

The con had the usual.. vendors selling games and game prototypes, such as the game "Container" from Mercury Games (I have never seen such huge meeples before)...

but there was also a demonstration of a 3D printer, making miniature terrain. The guy told me they bought the machine for $700 a couple of years ago, but now an upgraded version is just $300. I find that affordable and can't wait for it to drop further (and hopefully, faster, as this thing they were building will take 8 hours to build).

I was impressed with the con only with the Armada and X-Wing tournaments happening. It was in a large room with wall to wall tables of Armada and X-Wing players.

I managed to play some card games with Jim, namely Tiny Epic Galaxies and Master of Orion..

However, like I said, I was there for the deals. I brought 14 games in and sold 8 of them, and managed to buy the following:

The new Firefly cooperative game in brand new shrink wrap, without any sales tax.  What I like about it, apart from being space opera rogue setting that I like, was the minis and 10 cardboard storage containers that come with it. I can use that with my other storage that I've painted.

I got Shadespire as well. I am not a big fan of 2D skirmish games, but I wanted the Stormcast and Khorne minis that come with it. The game, though used, looked almost unplayed.

I regretted selling my copy of Starship: Catan years ago but was pleased to snap up another copy today. It's getting hard to find.

I also managed to get the Great Fire of London, 1666. I originally owned this game, but I lost it without even playing it. I've asked my friends if it's at their house but they don't have it. So, for $15 in shrink wrap, I got it again.

I also got Heroscape for a decent price.. I likely won't play it, but it's hard to find and people love the terrain that comes with it. I am not too big on the hexagonal terrain, but I suppose I can spray paint and make it look like ice... but we'll see..

 About 20 painted figs at factory level came with it, but I liked the weird alien terrain especially.

The whole auction thing once again was in this teeny tiny room.. if you ask me it's the most popular thing at the convention and they always put it in a small room.

It's not really an auction.. you list prices for 12 pm, 2 pm and 4 pm, where most people lower their asking price as time goes on. I bought these wargame roads and sandbags for instance, at the 4 o'clock price of $10 each.

As I was talking to the guy behind me when we went to collect our money from our sales (as selling was officially over), I offered him $30 off his 4 o'clock price and he accepted, for his Forbidden Stars.

So I got that as well, paid for by my proceeds from the sale of my 8 games, which was a nice touch.

So, lots of deals and time well spent.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Assembling the occulus in the Numinous Occulum

Over a year ago, I bought GW's Numinous Occulum terrain..

I finally got around to assembling it yesterday as I need some terrain for some upcoming Frostgrave.

 However, I was horrified at the shoddy instructions that come with it. There is a circular centerpiece to the terrain, let's call it the occulus, that is a bit tricky to assemble, even for experienced modelers. To make matters worse, the instructions that came with this show us only the edge of the 6 pieces that go with this terrain to form the occulus. The pieces are not identified in either the instructions nor in the sprue.

I searched on google to see if anyone demonstrated how to put this thing together but didn't find anything, other than some unboxing videos and a warning about the instructions and some gaps even after assembling it.

I figured it out eventually, but to help all those hobbyists out there, especially the teenagers just starting out in the hobby, I will demonstrate how to put the occulus together.

For the occulus part, you might need something stronger than GW's glue. I had to use crazy glue. 

After you join the walls together....

Start with the bottom left wall with the figure of the dog-like carving  on both sides like this..


Align the piece that has the wings with the figure on the left wall like this..

Do the same on the right side and align the wings, still staying on the bottom right

Next, move to the bottom centre and glue this piece to the gaps found on either side of the winged pieces..


The bottom half should now look like this:

Then move to the top right once everything is solidly glued in place...

 Glue this piece with the gaps found on the top part of the winged piece..

Now move to the top left..

Tilt this piece sideways and glue to the gaps..

Lastly, move to the top middle part ..

Also tilt this middle piece sideways and glue to the gaps..

The circular occulus should now look like this..

The flooring etc seem straightforward, but I would suggest putting the floor with the star symbol facing up

though even here, I found there were some gaps that I had to plug with greenstuff..

Hope this helped..

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Cheap miniature storage solution using 3 for $3 car wash sponges

It's an expensive hobby, what can I say. Minis, terrain, and even storage.

I am getting tired of buying expensive cases to store my minis, especially as I don't really travel with them to go to tournaments and such. It's just me or my friends' house.

I recently bought a ton of old orcs from someone off of ebay for a song. They were 45 of them, for about a $1 each painted. I didn't want to put 45 mediocre paint jobs in my fancy case though, so I looked  around for cheap alternatives.

I came across these cheap car wash sponges at the dollar store, costing about $1 each.

Drawing the base, I fit about eight of them per sponge.

Using my wire styrofoam cutter, I cut out the tracing lines..

I eventually made a lot of holes in eight sponges (though only needing about six for now)..

and it worked like a charm..

I put the minis in the sponges and then in a storage box. Took about an hour..

I was left with just a lot of -I don't even know what to call them - pogs (?) to throw out but that sure beats spending a lot of money on fancy cases.

A good solution and I'm pleased.