Saturday, December 24, 2016

Have yourself a nerdy little Christmas...

I'm not sure when the holidays became the time to let your nerd flag fly high, but I'm all for it!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Dancing with Dragons

That feeling you get when the dragon who just kicked your ass goes airborne.

Friday night D&D. We took the dragon down in an epic combat that left the party with about a dozen hit points to share among us.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Star Wars: Armada

It's been a while since I posted anything from the Ambler Gamers.  Sporadic meetings and my own laziness have all but killed this blog.  But last night we met up for a game of Star Wars Armada. It was my first dip-of-the-toe in this game. I was familiar with SW: X-Wing. Despite some superficial similarities, Armada turned out to be nothing like X-Wing. While in many ways it was more complex, we all agreed that it felt just like a SW space battle, with lumbering capital ships and swarms of light ships and fighters trying to score an advantage.  Scott provided the miniatures, and Joe provided the expansive playing space. 

I'll say this right off the bat: Armada is the most visually impressive sci-fi space combat game I have yet played in.

Big ships hovering above the table...I wonder if anyone has made a stop-motion film of one of their games?

Here's my command: the bad boy Star Destroyers in the center of the Imperial fleet. They pack quite a punch to the front and can take a crap-ton of abuse, but I quickly learned that they have vulnerabilities, too. 

We imperials had a hella lotta TIE fighters. Fun in swarms, but they are just as fragile as in the movies.

Both sides seemed to have the same idea: peel off ships in the center to get a local advantage. We randomized initiative instead of using the standard rule. It produced some nail-biting moments as commanders pushed their ships into the sights of the enemy.

My biggest Star Destroyer caught Joe's frog-like non-canonical vessel.  The command system was fun in that we had to think hard about our priorities in combat. Launching a fighter strike at the right time can be devastating.
Mark and Jeremy sparred with smaller vessels to my right.Mark quickly gained an edge with a devastating strike against Jeremy's cruiser. I tried to get Jeremy support, but my lumbering ship was too slow.

Yes. Yes we are seriously going into an asteroid field. Never tell us the odds.

A shot towards the end of the game. We called it around 9:00.  The rebels had lost some significant tonnage, but they had taken a heavy toll on the Imperials.  Both of my Star Destroyers were in bad shape, and a serious salvo could have taken out either.  Had we played to the conclusion, I'm not sure there would be many survivors...

Friday, September 23, 2016

Nerd Club!

At the school where I teach, I am one of the faculty advisors of what has come to be known as the "Nerd Club!" (our official name is the Leland Society, named for Charles Godfrey Leland, a 19th century cartoonist/occultist/fantasy author who was an alumnus of the school).  Yesterday, we held out first meeting of the year.  What did we serve for refreshments?  Well, September 22 is a pretty big day for fantasy nerds...

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

J1Con in the can...

A video I made of our time at J1Con this past weekend, with my brother's former band providing the soundtrack.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Time and Relative Dimensions on my Workbench

It has been a while since I've posted anything, but that's because it's been a while since I painted anything.  For the first time in years, I didn't give myself any big project to work on this summer. Eventually, the bug returned. I started off with these Dr. Who figures  that have been in my unpainted pile for over a year now.  I gave them a little more attention than I give my usual wargaming miniatures, with a few layers of shading.  However, I'm still rubbish at photography. I had hoped that morning light would remedy the problems that come from my tomblike house. Short answer: no. It's me.

Miniatures are from Heresy and Crooked Dice.

Martha, the tenth Doctor, Rose, and Donna

Jenny, Strax, and Vastra

Amy, Rory, Amy from another manufacturer, and the eleventh Doctor

Capt. Jack Harkness and River Song

Sunday, April 3, 2016

De Nerdibus: The Next Generation

Well, as a reward for doing better in math, I agreed to indulge my daughter's nerdly enthusiasms. Thus we found ourselves attending her (and my ) first anime con: Zenkaikon in Lancaster, PA.  I included her photos below, which emphasize her particular fandoms: Miraculous Ladybug, Undertale, Gravity Falls, and Steven Universe.  I liked the theme of tolerance and self-expression which pervaded every event, and I crossed paths with two former students, both of whom were rather surprised to find me there.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Cold Wars

Cold Wars usually falls at a very bad time of year for me. I'm either travelling on spring break, or else I'm swamped with a very busy week at work. However, with rumors that this might be the last HMGS convention at the notorious Lancaster Host "Resort," I felt I just had to go this once. I went out for the day on Saturday, and  clearly a lot of people brought their "A" games.

The glowing icicles alone were enough to make me consider taking up Frostgrave.

Double blind: The only way to play Midway

My son would probably love any game with evil snowmen

Dealer hall!

The game I played in: the siege of Carcasonne during the Albigensian Crusade. I was on the side of the  peasants who were due to be butchered (and broiled) should the Crusaders get inside the wall.

The castle was entirely scratch-built!

Victor Hiris was our GM and host. He provided a simple but elegant set of rules and kept things fast-paced and fun.

The peeing boy wound up rendering one of the besiegers' ladders unusable.  

A key move turned out to be keeping a reserve peasant  mob to plug up any holes. They plugged with extreme prejudice.

Our opponents elected to throw their entire force against the gate, which freed up a lot of our peasants to do the horde/swarm thing.

The first shot of the trebuchet brought down a corner tower. Stupid cheap construction!  A swarm of knights prepare to go through the breach, one by one, right into the waiting and angry arms of the peasant horde.  It won't end well...

On the other side, the attackers had some success with non-pee-soaked ladders.

The horde killed more knights with insanely accurate rocks than cholera and Plague combined.

The ram proved ineffective, but the scaling parties were able to render the point moot when they opened the gate.  But there were few attackers left to exploit the opening.

The gate was about to become a dangerous place.  But time was running out, and there was still an inner keep that remained to be cracked. 

Young Frankenstein!