Monday, July 6, 2009

The Great Mage Knight Conversion

Half way through working through my idea for the Murky Caves (my Origin’s game for SBH), I knew that I was going to need a bunch more miniatures if I was going to have enough to run the dungeon as I wanted. I had bought a bunch of D&D singles (pre painted plastic miniatures), but it was just not going to be enough. After determining exactly how much I had spent on stuff, I remembered that I had a lot of old Mage Knight figures that hadn’t seen the light of day for a while.

Preparing the Figures

I needed to get the miniatures off click base. There were two main reasons for this. First the base is 1.5” around which was too big for my purposes (most of my stuff is on a 1” base) and second, I had to hide the click nature of the miniature.

1. I found the best tool for the job is a razor blade scraper (used to remove paint and such from glass). Carefully slide the blade under the miniature until it pops off. Some were relatively easy and some took a little work.

2. I found a great deal on wooden disks online somewhere so I wanted to use them. The only major problem is that superglue won’t attach a miniature to the disk. In the end, I used a two-part epoxy and it worked great. Remember that the fumes that are produced are dangerous – have decent ventilation! As you can see I have two wooden disk sizes available a normal 1” disk and a larger 1.5” disk.

3. After the epoxy dries (mine only took about 10 minutes), paint the base black. This is mainly due to the fact that all my D&D miniatures are a simple black base and they fit right in.

(From Left to right: a starting MK figure, the scraper used, the same model off the base, the epoxy I used, the wooden disks, a model on a disk and the figure on the black painted base)

I hope to go back and repaint some of the MK figures. Most of my come of the earlier sets and the paint job is really bad. Hokey in some respects! I’d also like to finish the bases on some of them to make then stand out less, but it’s definitely not a priority.

(You can see the number of empty bases from the now converted figures)

Most of my MK collection is from the dungeons series that came out. I have the whole line of heroes that I should go ahead and convert as well. More so now since I really don’t have enough of playable mage knight figures!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Origins 2009 Report

Finally Origins has come and gone and I can finally stop working on the games I’m running and start working on actually playing games. At least I can say that a good understanding of what to do and what not to do for conventions. For those who don’t know, Origins is a gaming convention that takes place around the end of June in Columbus OH (its official title is Origins Game Fair). It’s a five day event that has a little bit of everything a gamer would want! Board games, miniature games and RPGs go on throughout the day.


We got to the convention center around 10am and after a brief visit to get my badge and a small tour around the miniatures room, it was time to check out the Dealer’s Hall. I used a lot of restraint and didn’t buy anything, but I used the time to mark where I would be making the trip back at a later date.

At 1pm, I headed to play in a Fear and Faith (F&F) demo by Ganesha Games ( ). When I got there, Andrea (the designer) was explaining the rules for the game. I jumped in as the zombie player and got trounced handily. It turns out that my opponent had played the fantasy version of the game and wanted to see the differences. Of course before I sat down, each of the human survivors were given a single grenade. It was a slaughter! Still fun though.

2pm was a Battlestations game by Gorilla Games ( ). Again I got to play with the designer (Jason) and they were trying out their new expansion that will be released at Gencon. For those that have never played, Battlestations is a light RPG/board game that the players are all characters on a space ship completing missions for the UREF. Each character has a race (which gives a special ability), 5 stats (Engineering, Piloting, Combat, Science & Athletics) and a profession. Mechanics are simple (2d6 + stat vs. Difficulty number) and the action is quite entertaining. There are rules to advance your character and the like (and with clones, you can never truly die if you don’t want to). The game was a blast and I had so much fun, I went back for more.

Every year, my friends and I head to Schmidt’s for “Sausage fest” ( ). They have an all-you –can-eat sausage buffet with all the trimmings. Add a 32 oz beer and a cream puff for desert and you got a German experience to knock your socks off! It’s been a tradition since we starting going to Origins and I’m sure it will continue!

I did get to play a demo of Squadron Strike ( ). Once you get your brain wrapped about the 3D nature of the game, it’s pretty fun. I wanted to play in a full fledge ship to ship battle before I made any commitment. Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for my pocket book), I never got into a full battle over the weekend…


9am: I actually ran a Starmada: Battlestar Galactica game ( ). I had 2 players show up so I gave them two ships apiece and let them tear into each other. Due to the amount of work that I was doing for the SBH game, I didn’t have much in the way of scenario or terrain, but the players didn’t seem to care! In the end, the colonial forces wiped out the Cylon attack force with minor damage to the Pegasus.

1pm: I had a single player for my Song of Blades and Heroes game from Ganesha Games so after a quick rule discussion, we started playing the game. The player caught on really quick and it was good fun. It’s too bad more people didn’t want to jump in, but that’s due in my opinion two major reasons. One, the Warlord/Reaper guys already do a huge dungeon game complete with an awesome Hirst Arts( ) setup (something I didn’t have with my converted Mage Knight figures and simple vinyl dungeon tiles). Secondly, there was a ton of SBH games running throughout the convention (too much of a good thing can still lead to too much).

After a quick peek into the Dealer’s Hall (I played the reprinted Tales of the Arabian Nights board game by Zman games – which I would have bought had they not sold out of it) and a little dinner, it was back to the miniature hall. I went to play a playtest of the Tales of Blade and Heroes, the new RPG from Ganesha Games. Personally, I’m a little leery of playing RPGs at conventions having too many bad experiences to count, but I really like the miniature system and the designer is awesome so I figured what the heck… Also, I wanted to see if I could adapt the rules for use as an expanded SBH miniatures game. The system was quite entertaining (the exploding 6 mechanic and the boosts were a great) and although I don’t think I’d ever play it as a pure RPG game, it has a ton of potential for use in the SBH miniature game.


9am: Again a Starmada: Battlestar Galactica game and this time I had six players (I even had someone with generics, but I just didn’t have the space). Each player had a single miniature (granted it was about 1000 pts worth) and it was a slugfest. In the end, the Cylon players managed to destroy the Atlantia and cripple the Pegasus having only minimal damage to a single baseship. I was pretty glad that the scenario yielded a 1-1 overall!

~2pm: Due to the previous game running a bit long and the reasons above, I didn’t have any players for my second SBH game on Saturday. It’s unfortunate that I spend all the time, energy and money getting the game ready and not having any players, but there wasn’t much I can do. Thankfully most of the stuff that I prepared for the SBH game, I can reuse for my own personal games so I’m not too worried! Actually, I learned some valuable lessons in game presentation and scenario design that should help me in the conventions to come. I was a little disheartened, but I used my new found freedom to get into a second Battlestations game (Note: the second game was great has well. I tip my hat to the brothers).

~7pm: Due to dinner running over, I was unable to make it back in time for either of the games I wanted to play in. The first was a Hordes of the Things (HOTT) tournament. I did stop by and watch some of the action, but never got into a game. The second was a game using the “With Hostile Intent” rules (a great name for a spaceship combat game in my opinion). In the end, I spent the time moving from table to table watching all the different games being played.


8am: I played in a Ghostbuster game that was a blast. The presentation was wondrous and the game play was perfect for early morning of the last day. We defeated the bad guy (you know the one) and walked away with a cool sticker showing off my ghostbuster skills (not mine, I couldn’t hit anything really).

The rest of the day was making my way back into the dealer’s hall to buy all of my needed purchases. I learned how to play Steam – the ‘remake’ of Age of Steam. It’s more forgiving than AoS so I might buy that as soon as Tales of Arabian Nights arrives. Due to a calculation error, I spend a little more than I wanted to, but nothing that I can’t handle pending I don’t buy any miniature stuff for a while (like until Gencon).

Notable purchases:

All Things Zombie (ATZ): Haven – I even got a quick demo by the Ed (the designer). I really need to finish my zombies and pick up some modern figures for use in ATZ and F&F. As an added bonus, I got 5150 book 1 for 10 bucks ( )!

Song of Splintered Lands: I knew that this was going to be an auto-buy since I have all the rules in the SBH series. What I didn’t know that I would be leaving the booth with ~50 dollars worth of their beautiful 15mm figures. I’m in the process of removing 15mm from the scales I play in, but these miniatures are beautiful and work awesome side by side with the larger 28mm cousins.

Savage Worlds – Fantasy Companion: This was a complete impulse buy for me, but due to a blog that I follow I picked it up. I have used the Savage World system for Dark City Games solo adventures and I’ve also seen people using the Savage World rules for purely miniature game so I figured that this would help me expand the rules ( ).

Spaceship models: I bought a second Prometheus from the Iron Wind Metals booth ( ) . The one I have will need some serious work since the engine piece doesn’t match up with the ship hull. I figured that I could use the second one for some serious BSG actions! I also bought a couple of ships from Ninja Magic ( ). Mainly the main colony ship from Homeworld and a couple of BSG inspired ships that actually are in the BS Prometheus fan story.

Dominion: Intrigue – The expansion for Dominion was out and I saw people walking about with it all weekend. The game itself is a good one so I really wanted to pick up the expansion. I have not been disappointed yet, although the new actions cards are a bit strange. I’m not sure why they needed to make it a fully playable game on its own (it has the needed VP and money cards), but I’m not going to let that harm my view of the game.

Final Thoughts

Origins Game Fair is always a great time! I enjoy the weekend of gaming and although I didn’t get to play all the games I wanted to, it was still a lot of fun. Now I have to relax and read all the books I bought from the convention and get ready for Gencon.