Things got off to a bit of a slow start for the second part of May, but we've been on a bit of a gaming streak this past week!
Monday, 11 May 2020
Well Monday was a very special day!
It was Keira's birthday! She started the day with crepes and presents. Amid those was a copy of Tuscany Essential Edition.... I felt a little bad about giving that to her. We'd bought it, like, six months ago when Dragons Den actually had it in stock during their anniversary sale and Amanda suggested we hold onto it until her birthday and give it to her then. (our copy of Viticulture is actually HERS - she'd asked for it after playing it at ToonCon one year). Anyway, feeling a little bad about it because she's just completely lost interest in games over the last few months... I know it's lame getting gifts that you're totally not interested in.
Actually she was pretty chill about it. We'd had a talk some time ago about her lack of interest in games and she actually feels pretty badly about it - as in, she feels like she SHOULD play games - to do stuff with the family - but just has no interest. I told her not to worry - and NOT to play games with us until she's actually interested in doing so. I've had long periods of my life where I walked away from gaming - for a variety of reasons. The only other thing I suggested was that she NOT get rid of ALL her game stuff when she has moments like that - just to leave it with us and we'll store it for her, because in a year (or TEN years) when she gets back into it, she will probably seriously regret having got rid of some of that stuff. (Speaking from personal experience here!).
Later in the day my Mom and Sister came by to have a little chat - at a distance.
Because she couldn't really have a party, we had a little dance party with her later in the afternoon.
Then I made her one of her favourite meals - fresh, homemade burritos, mexi-rice, and BBQ Black Beans (basically what she'd have had at Amigos).
And finally, of course, CAKE!
She actually made this one herself ! That was supposed to be a Black Widow symbol on it. She ran out of red food colouring and it ended up kind of pink... but it was delicious!
This year's birthday was SUPER disappointing. the MCU movie Black Widow was originally supposed to be released in May and she'd been hoping to go see that for her birthday... but the release date for that has been bumped to later in the fall.
Tuesday, 12 May 2020
Amanda asked if I'd play a game of 7 Wonders Duel with her while she and the kids ate supper (I'd already eaten...). I'm not a fan of playing games while eating meals... but... I played anyway...
We'd played a LOT of this for a bit and I'd kind of gotten sick of it. But it was fun to play.
SO close to a science victory... SO CLOSE!
I won anyway... but it would have been way more fun to WIN WITH SCIENCE!!!
Wednesday, 13 May 2020
Well... today I neither played games OR went for a bike ride... I was Work-In-Progres Wednesday, so I took a picture of the workbench and posted it on the Hunters of the Warp (local 40K club)...
Focus is for sissies that... like... want to get stuff DONE... or something...
Actually after taking and posting this picture I (mostly) cleared off the workbench and pulled out a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT project... well, okay... it's still miniatures... in fact, it's still 40K miniatures... but not something I've mentioned or worked on for some time.
While painting I finished of Galaxy in Flames - the third book in the Horus Heresy series. I'd picked up a bunch of Black Library audiobooks on two occasions through Humble Bundle. The first was just a Black Library Sampler - so there was a wild assortment of both 40K and AoS - but I got Dark Imperium out of the deal and a Ciaphus Cain story and a Ravenor/Eisenhorn story - so it was worth it just for those. I've listened to a few of the other 40K stories as well - mostly short stories. I may or may not get around to listening to any of the Fantasy ones.
The second batch was from a Horus Heresy bundle! It included the first FIVE NOVELS from the Horus Heresy series - plus a few more full novels from later in the series - AND a pile of shorter stories. I listened to Fulgrim first - because EMPEROR's CHILDREN!! Then went back and started at the beginning with Horus Rising and False Gods, and then Galaxy in Flames... Next up is the Flight of the Eisenstien.
Considering those Audiobooks are about $50CAD (EACH!!! for the novels - and $20 for shorter audio dramas) and I got, like 8 or 9 novels and a dozen short stories for $25 - most of which was a donation to the JDRF - it was a pretty sweet deal!
I have been enjoying the Horus Heresy series well enough. The first one was written by Dan Abnett who ALWAYS spins a good yarn - well enough to make me actually care about space marines!?
Later in the evening Amanda, Finnegan and I finished off Season 4 of The Expanse.
Thursday, 14 May 2020
Finally got out on my bike again...
Went for a little ramble around the gravel roads west of town.
I meant to, more or less, follow a route a friend had ridden a few days ago (and posted on strata)... but I missed a few turns and ended up turned about and heading down the wrong track or road.... I was never LOST, per se.... I just didn't end up going down the roads I meant to be on an ended up riding along a rail track rather than an adjacent trail I'd missed the trailhead to... whoopsie...
I'll try it again next time there's a west wind and I'll know better where I need to turn and avoid some of the less fun parts of this ride.
I did, at the end, make it back onto the route I'd wanted to be on.
Friday, 15 May 2020
I spent a good chunk of the day finishing up Kreuger's Unvalids and listening to the Flight of the Eisenstein audiobook. Later in the afternoon I went for a ride. I'd originally planned on a gravel ride out of town on my Salsa Fargo... but when I went to get it out, noticed it had a flat... and I was feeling lazy... so I just went for a mountain bike ride along the trails up and down the river.
Saw the first goslings of the year!
Mostly stuck to singletrack in the bush along the river. But, like, the easy stuff... not the technical stuff...
The wind was super calm and it wasn't too warm.
Saturday, 16 May 2020
Yeah... I totally didn't get out for a ride on Saturday... and felt pretty lazy about it...
I did finish up the post about Kreuger's Unvalids!
and I did spot this bat on the side of our house while I was out in the yard hanging up laundry or fixing the flat on my Salsa... Which was pretty cool.
In the evening Amanda and I tried out Viticulture: Tuscany Essential Edition - Tuscany is a set of three modular expansions for Viticulture. We tried just one - the new board - just to ease into things. With the new board there is a whole new kind of sequence to things - It splits the year (and tasks) into four seasons rather than just two. I kind of liked it. Had to think about things a little differently - but there were a few new elements - different things you COULD do - if your intitial plan got destroyed by someone else grabbing the spot you needed. New ways to gain points. And the new method for determining play order was kind of clever and added in a bit of a balancing effect (if you have less workers - or nothing to do in the Winter, you're generally going to get first choice as to where you want to go in the turn order the following turn)
Despite the fact that we were playing something new, it didn't take too long, so, afterwards, we tried a game of the original Viticulture Essential Edition with just two players. With only two, only ONE SPOT is ever available for any give action! It was HARD... I liked it less. Less than playing with three or more. Less than playing with the Tuscany board with just two.
Sunday, 17 May 2020
Finnegan helped me make a D&D5E character in the afternoon.
A friend had offered to run some only D&D games to a number of his friend and I'd expressed interest and originally it was just going to be four of us, playing Keep on the Borderlands
a facebook messenger thread was created and discussion began and we decided the Keep would be on a wall - similar to Hadrian's wall - at the ass-end of a massive, cosmopolitan empire created by humans. The immediate region around the keep was originally populated by dwarves, who were largely pushed out and/or subjugated by the humans. So now, South of the wall are largely human settlers (and subjugated dwarves). Immediately North of the wall are the "wild" dwarves and further north... well... there be dragons.. and orcs.. and other stuff.
My character was to be Shendakartabarakadal (but people just call him Shendi) is a Kushling - a halfling barbarian with very, very dark skin from the most southerly reaches (exact opposite end!) of the Human Empire. He's been stationed at the keep for the last couple of decades. He was probably recruited as a teen with promises of seeing the empire and vast riches and a genuine full citizenship in the empire. So far he was issued equipment he has no interest in (a spear and a shield and a short sword and a mail shirt that was much too large... all of which he eschews and prefers to fight unarmored with a giant-ass, two-handed Kopesh! Which, I know, means he fights at disadvantage... always... but this seemed more fun!), marched clear across to the opposite end of the empire (many thousands of miles) and has for the last few decades been essentially a police officer/border guard at the same mile fort along the wall. Approaching middle age he's starting to question the promises given so long ago. He certainly hasn't seen any other part of the empire (and, indeed isn't really sure he's interested to anymore). There have been no riches. He's not sure if the enlistment will ever end for him to actually be able to retire as a citizen. And he is feeling it is unlikely he will ever see his homeland again.
I had loads more ideas to flesh this dude out... but then the game grew to SIX players, and that's just too many... three players is my sweet spot for role-playing games. Four is acceptable. Five is getting to be a bit much. Six... too many... So I dropped out of the game before it even began...
BUT! I DID get ME thinking about getting off my ass and finally trying out running an online role-playing game myself! I just can't settle on which one!? I have so many ideas! The two most prominent ones are a Cthulhu Invictus campaign (Cthulhu - set in the Roman times... but I wouldn't use Call of Cthulhu...) or Wrath & Glory...?
All was not lost with my friend who was planning the other game. He had such an overwhelming response that he's also organized a few one-shots with different groups of people, and I'm going to play in one (or some) of those.
Afterwards I dragged him out for a ride with me.
It was really warm, but very windy, so there wasn't nearly as many people out on the trails - as I'd have expected for a Victory Day Long Weekend Saturday when the temperature is 25°C!
Because of the wind, we mostly stuck to the trails in the bush along the river (rather than heading out of town to hit the gravel roads to avoid people!)
I'd almost forgotten how much longer a ride with Finnegan can take - not that he's slow or out of shape (okay, he's a BIT out of shape, because he rarely goes out if he can help it!). It's the constant stopping to check blood-sugar levels and eat snacks and sometimes just have to sit and wait for said blood-sugar levels to rise up from DANGEROUSLY LOW to safe-to-proceed again.
Diabetes can go such dead donkey dick.
In the evening Amanda and I tried out Tuscany again with the second expansion - special workers. This added an interesting element to the game - worker that have special abilities (depending on where you place them, or giving themselves innate placement bonuses). There are eleven of them, and only two are ever used in any game - so should be lots of options with those!
I also finished the first Ciaphus Cain omnibus - I'm really enjoying these stories. Sandy Mitchell/Alex Stewart can spina good yarn. These are probably my favourite 40K stories I've read so far... Not sure what to read next... I have the next Cain Omnibus... I've been really wanting to read Honourbound by Rachel Harrison (another story, about ANOTHER Commissar!?). I want to finish Blackstone Fortress by Darius Hicks (which I started AGES ago... but then got distracted). I have a Kal Jericho Omnibus to finish up (read the first novel within). And the other two Eisenhorn series... and the other two books in the Path of the Eldar... (I seem to be one book into a number of series!?) GAH!? Too many choices.
Monday, 18 May 2020
Monday morning I dragged EVERYONE out for a ride with me!!!
Teenagers complained... but, I swear, if I didn't MAKE them, the would NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE!?
SO MANY goslings out now - and their protective parents hissing at everyone along the paths that got too close. I gave them all a wide berth anytime we came near. Keira didn't give one of them a wide enough berth and one hissed and lunged at her - which put her in a pretty dour mood for the rest of the ride.
Finnegan admitted he was having fun at one point... but also was very clear to state that there were OTHER THINGS the MUCH RATHER be doing AT HOME!
Amanda LOVES going for rides... but she probably wouldn't ever go on her own... or suggest we go... But was very thankful that I'd suggested we all go out. One of the things she misses the most of not going to work is her daily commute. Year round she rides her bike to work (whether it's +40°C or -40°C - we have both extremes here!) - mostly along paved trails along the river - 5K each way. For the last two months it's been a struggle for her to get out and get exercise when there isn't the impetus of having to do it to get to the office.
I think she's trying NOT to smile.
The kids walked this section. This was probably the most technical bit (which really isn't all that technical at all).
Originally the plan had been that we'd get up and go for a ride in the morning... do this lop in a couple hours.... be back by noon and the Amanda and I could play Blackstone Fortress in the afternoon.
That way we would avoid the rain that was forecast for later in the afternoon....
Instead we only got out at noon... and did an abbreviated (28Km) version of the (36Km) loop I'd originally intended to ride...
And it took us 3.5 hours to do the shorter distance than the 2 hours I would normally do the longer ride in.
And we got rained on a bit...
Mostly it was light sprinkles, but we were pretty far from home when it started and I was a little concerned we might get drenched (and I was the only one that bothered to bring a jacket!)
Is that a smile...? It must be because we were in the last 2Km...
Last leg of the journey.
When we got home it was late afternoon and there wasn't time (and I was too tired) to set up Blackstone Fortress...
In the evening we did actually manage to convince Keira to try out another game of Viticulture with the Tuscany expansion that SHE got for her birthday!? She admitted it was "pretty cool".
Tuesday, 19 May 2020
I did go out for a couple of rides, but they were m mostly to run errands and stuff. One errand was to stop at Dragon's Den Games and pick up some Agrax Earthshade - as they'd FINALLY got a restock from Games Workshop. For years I never used washes... not I slather EVERYTHING with it... well... not EVERYTHING... I do use it a lot on bases.
In the evening Finnegan had a D&D game - seems they've moved to Zoom... for some stuff... other stuff they use Roll20.
While he was doing that I set up a game of Blackstone fortress to play with Amanda - we only got through the first three Exploration Rounds - two Combats and a Challenge, which was actually another combat!? You can read all about it and see loads more pictures here:
The Ratlings' Return
Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Work-In-Progress Wednesday again - so I took an obligatory Status-of-the-Workbench pic...
I have to admit, I fell into a bit of a malaise after finishing up the Kreuger's Unvalids and didn't do any painting at all for a few days (which is really out of character, as I usually paint EVERY DAY!). But I got my mojo back on Tuesday (after picking up the Agrax Earthshade!) and got focused on trying to finish up this small force of Grey Knights and then I want to try and focus on finished up some Blackstone Fortress stuff...
Well it just POURED rain almost all day... almost... the sun came out briefly in the afternoon - just long enough for me to think - "Hey! it's stopped raining, let's hang out some laundry..." and then it clouded over and started pouring again and just poured and poured the rest of the day and then turned into a thunderstorm over night...
I didn't get out for a ride.
I spent the morning waiting for our family doctor to call for a telephone appointment - she called 3.5 hours later than the scheduled time... and then I played D&D all afternoon and Blackstone Fortress all evening... so there wasn't much chance to get out anyway.
That's what I'm telling myself:
"I'm NOT lazy"
"There were REASONS!"
For most of the afternoon I played an online D&D game that a friend ran. Originally there were supposed to be five but one had to bail just after joining and another just never showed up. That was okay because 3-4 players and a GM is kind of my "sweet spot" - especially, I have discovered, for online gaming. It was just a one-shot. It was okay. I mean, it was a fun afternoon hanging out online with some fun people. Wasn't really what I was EXPECTING... Long story.... which I don't feel the urge to type out in this post that has already gotten way too damned long...
In the evening Amanda and I finished off the Blackstone Fortress exploration we'd started the previous evening! Loads more pics and a full description of the ensuing escapades in a separate post:
The Ratlings Return (Part Two)
I hope this is the prompt we needed to finish off the campaign! Could be as few as three more games! We have enough clues gathered to do the last two Stronghold Assaults - assuming we were successful at those, and then managed to beat the Hidden Vaults.... that could be it for the Quest! (not that there is any shortage of expansion quests to play through! We have The Dreaded Ambul, Escalation, No Respite, and Traitor Command... then there are more in the Blackstone Fortress Annual... and two more expansions to be released before they wrap up this story arc - and hopefully release a NEW Warhammer (40K) Quest just in time for Xmas!
Coming soon to Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog:
Well, as I mentioned, Grey Knights and Blackstone Fortress figures have been shuffled to the front of the Workbench, so maybe there will be some pics of those...
I also never got around to posting pics of the Necromundan Guard that I finished up a few weeks back...well... MOSTLY finished up - there is ONE GUY that wasn't finished, and I've been waiting for him before I take pics of the whole gang..
Hopefully before the final instalment of May Games (and Other Stuff) there will be more Blackstone Fortress game reports - as we make a push to finish up this first campaign!