Monday, 9 October 2017

Bad Dog



I've made the decision that I'm too old to waste any more of my life waiting for replies from traditional publishing houses about my novel.  It has been two years, with one reply back, which was promising but, as they say, close but no cigar.  The thought of waiting another two years to not hear back from editors who requested to see my work, or getting a nice rejection, because no one understands how to sell my work, is not on.

So, I have a choice.  Give up or self-publish.

The answer is, never give up, never surrender.

This picture is by the talented artist Elartwyne Estole whose work can be seen here.  I asked him to do a cover, and he came up with this sketch, which I think is awesome.  The current plan is to have Bad Dog out by January the first 2018.

We shall see how the plan survives contact with reality in due course.

PS: You can follow my writing site here.
  

Friday, 29 September 2017

Making Life Multiplanetary



Call me a starry eyed dreamer, but this was what Heinlein wrote about when I was a kid.  I've waited all my life to see mankind go back to visiting other planets.

Made me emotional to watch this, so good I've posted this on both blogs.
   

Friday, 22 September 2017

SJG Ogre Miniatures Wargame

 

This piece is going to be a criticism of the Ogre Miniatures wargaming rules by Steve Jackson Games.  If you've followed my blog for any length of time it should be obvious that I have played a fair few game of Ogre/GEV, and have a sizeable collection of the miniatures.

The picture above is proof of that.

Let me start by stating the obvious, the board-game is a classic.  Now that has been said let me explain what makes the rules for playing using the miniatures less than a fully satisfying miniatures playing experience.

It's quite simple really, the photo above is almost the perfect illustration of the problem–range to move ratio.  It doesn't matter what ground-scale conversion one uses: one inch to the hex, two inches, three or even four the problem remains, and the larger you go just makes other things more difficult too, like the size of the table need to play on.

In Ogre, units move one to four or more hexes per turn.  The range of the weapons is one to three hexes, with specials like howitzers being an exception, and cruise missiles of course, which in my experience are scenario specific.  Also, in Ogre terrain blocks, as in costs movement points to cross, but line-of-sight is is irrelevant to targeting an opponent, as it is abstracted as a defence bonus.

So what's the problem?

When the distance you can move a unit is as great or greater than the range you can shoot, what you have is a high level (more abstract) game, and miniature wargaming tends towards a lower level (less abstract) game.  The move to range ratio is a big issue here, because it just doesn't give the feel of a miniatures game.

As a player of miniature wargames I want tactical problems arising from terrain blocking line-of-sight and manoeuvre, which is why I use my miniatures as tokens on a hex map board.
  

Friday, 8 September 2017

Reflections & Musings


 

The last couple of months I've been out and about, mostly doing archery, and having fun in the sun.  I know, I know, not the typical wargamer pursuit.  I've also been taking the time to read a bunch of books from my to be read pile.  I've been putting up reviews over on my writing blog.

I picked-up a golden oldie, Larry Bond's Cauldron, which I've just finished reading, a story that runs to nearly 700 pages, which has given me lots of ideas.  But, more importantly as a writer, it gave me pause for thought about story presentation.  Things like staring in media res, in the middle of the action, or in this case not so much.  Cauldron is definitely a slow burn novel with occasional flashes of action to spice up the plot.

Of course the book is a bit dated, being written in 1993, set in 1997.  It's a yesterday's future of tomorrow, which despite being wildly out on its predictions, still manages to be relevant to today's political turmoil.  And by that I mean Brexit, and what that means for the future of Europe.

If you haven't read Cauldron I can recommend it, there are some nice ideas for post Cold War gone hot scenarios with Franco-German attackers facing Polish and Hungarian defenders, with the aid of American and British forces.  Maybe not totally plausible, as I find it hard to imagine the Germans going on the offensive with the French, but if you roll with it there's a lot of fun to be had.

Besides reading, I've been thinking.

Mostly around what needs to be done to lick my novels into shape.  This has been a bit of a slog, and at one point I was pretty sick and tired of my trilogy.  However, as I get closer to finishing the third book to go out to Beta readers, revise the second after been through the Beta readers, I have found myself looking forward to starting the next book in the series.

Shock, horror, probe I was lying in my bath listening to the soundtrack to the first Conan movie and ideas for two scenes just came to me.  Just like that.  Ideas for a mission to set the characters against formed, but whilst I have a theme, or more correctly I have some themes I can choose from, the plot as such remains elusive.

Got to have a plot, so I'm thinking about that.

This is long way of saying that post here will be a bit thin until I find some time between tapping on the keyboard to paint stuff.  Don't worry I'm not abandoning the blog, if for the simple reason my own setting generates ideas for making forces, which I then have to make and paint.  And I have so much stuff to make and paint.
  

Friday, 25 August 2017

Spartan Games: Game Over Man

  
 

Shocking news, Spartan Games are going out of business.  As an outsider they always seemed to be doing so well, what with the Halo game and all.  But reading the announcement here, it's obvious they over extended themselves.  I quote what I  think is the relevant section:
However, despite this it continued to encounter challenging trading conditions and it became clear this month that the company could not continue to service its liabilities, particularly given the burden imposed by the amounts owing to finance companies.
So that's three of their lines going down plus the 15mm Halo game.  And I was only looking at the Halo stuff the other week thinking about what might be useful to buy for my own gaming needs.

I wish all the staff the  very best in this difficult time for them.
  

Friday, 18 August 2017

Gencon BattleTech

  

Over on the BattleTech Facebook page there is announcement about new products from Catalyst Games.  I pulled these four pictures from their post to spread the word.  The one above shows the new box set that will have eight mechs; new plastic designs.  What is of interest to me is the return of William H. Keith to the BattleTech fold with fiction by him called the Golden Rule.

Colour me impressed, as he's my favourite BattleTech author because he had a vision of the universe that resonated with me.  In fact at one point I seriously thought about writing a fan fiction novel based on his Gray Death trilogy, but based from the other side, seeing the story through the eyes of Duke Ricol and his subordinates.

You can read a scene I wrote here.

The back of the box lists the contents.


Next up is a beginners box set with only two mechs at slightly less that half the price of the big box.


I think this is a pretty astute marketing move as $60 is a pretty big chunk of change to slap down for a game.

And the last shot is of the contents.


I'm not quite sure where I stand on buying these for myself, because truly I have more mechs stacked away for a rainy day than you can shake a big stick at.  But I hope I can get a copy of the fiction book, because I'm a big fan of Keith's writing.
  

Friday, 11 August 2017

On My Work Bench



When I'm not out shooting pointy sticks at round things (you've seen the post on archery I did earlier) I've been using Milliput to make a new part for my RAFM Cheetah.  While waiting for the Milliput to harden I thought to distract myself with something else, as I just wanted to sit at my bench and fiddle with stuff. 

I could've done some painting, but conditions are not ideal as the summer heat makes the paint dry faster, which I find rather annoying.  My excuse, and I'm sticking to it!

Anyway, I delved into my stash of Heavy Gear miniatures, and sorted out all the pieces to convert them into combat armour for use in my own Bad Dog universe setting.  So, the above picture shows two combat armour suits nearly finished being assembles, and five more with all the parts sorted out for me to proceed to the next stage.

It was fun, even if it was a distraction from finishing other projects.  A wargamers curse of unfinished projects that build up from being distracted by shiny things.
  

Monday, 31 July 2017

Archery Update


Me with members of my club shooting at a competition together, and clearly we are the rabble because none of us are wearing club shirts (left-to-right, Reg, Tom, me, and Lazlo).

It has been a year since I did the last post here on archery, and it has been an interesting year of shooting that would probably bore you all to tears if I went into the finer details of how to shoot an arrow.

I have not only achieved my first class archery award, but also bowman, which is as high as I can go unless I start attending record status shoots.  Quite frankly I'm not sure I have the energy and commitment to do this.  For a start it would mean travelling around the country to get to enough events to be able to shoot three or more rounds, while getting enough points to qualify, and then having to do it all again the next year.

Also, I have had to change my arrows again because my draw length increased.  The nice arrows I had borrowed from my beloved had become too short for me, and as a consequence hazardous to use–accidents can happen if you pull the arrow off the rest and let it loose. The longer arrows we had to hand are too stiff for me, and as a result my scores have dropped precipitously because I've lost confidence in them.

After much deliberation and worry an order was placed with Merlin Archery, and in due course the package arrived with the parts to make up a  set of ten arrows.  My first ever set of brand new arrows that I've bought, which are not hand-me-downs or secondhand acquisitions.

Thirty inches long, they're like rails that go on forever.
  
Having now used them, and with help from Sailesh, my club coach, I've been able to tune my bow to match them and I'm hopeful I will be able to improve my scores.
   

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