Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Historicon 2017

Ok, I think I've finally gotten my head on somewhat straight enough to finally make a decision about Historicon 2017. I'm going to take Agent Peggy Carter and members of the SSR down to Fredericksburg in July to stop the evil forces of HYDRA from using stolen Stark technology to try to rule the world. No pressure, right?!

This keeps me right in the wheelhouse of my favorite time period in history - I absolutely love the 30's and 40's! All my favorite movies are from this era, as are all my favorite actors. I think I'm going to make the narrative occur stateside as this will also allow me to use all my pulp era figures. This will give both the figures and board that retro look I'm after too. We'll see I guess - there are a lot of ways to go with this.

I was a bit late to the Agent Carter TV show, as I usually am with these things, though I did have both seasons recorded on my DVR - which of course I lost when my DVR broke last summer without watching a single episode! Anyway, Blu-rays of season 1 and 2 have since been purchased and I've been pretty much obsessed since watching that first episode.

What this now will do unfortunately is put my Jonny Quest campaign on hiatus for about 6 months; because as of now, until the end of July, I will be focused on pretty much nothing but Agent Carter and HYDRA.

As well as learning the rules to Crooked Dice's 7TV. I think this is going to be the perfect rules set for this type of game, and I'm almost ready just to give a quick playtest of the rules once I find a friend - just kidding :) I'll make my son be the guinea pig. Besides, he's got to help me with this at Historicon anyway; I'm paying for his admission, hotel, and food - he owes me!

I've already been brainstorming and working on a general 'must have' list for the board. I was going to do a James Bond spy-fi game initially so I bought the 'World of James Bond' book that has some fantastic cut-away drawings of the different villains lairs a few weeks ago to get some inspiration for the board - and in usual Ivor fashion changed my mind to Agent Carter :) But I think a Bond game will definitely be in the future at some point; this board is going to easily be able to be used that type of game.

I'm a huge sucker for these kinds of cut-away books because I love to see how things work together. I have several Star Wars, as well as an Indiana Jones book like this one that are just fantastic.

This book only cost me $4.00 total off of Amazon, $3.99 is what the shipping was! It was easy to get some initial ideas for the board with just one quick flip through the book. Once I got the magnifying glass out though, that's when the ideas really started flowing!

I've already started to muck about with some possible layout ideas for the board. I'm definitely going to use my 4Ground hotel complex as the "front" for the underground research facility. This part of the table with all the buildings will be raised about 5 inches above the underground facility to show that it is above the complex, hiding the evil that is below.

I found a bunch of boxes of Jakob's old Lego's (which I now know how we're going to pay for college in the fall - there has to be about a million dollars worth of Lego's in all the boxes) and figured I'd use those to play around with to get some different ideas for room placement - this will allow me to move, gauge different heights of areas, and switch stuff around much easier than on the sketch pad.

Some must haves for the research facility - there will be the main control/computer area (gray), an area with some cloning tanks (green), an office area (blue), the computer bank room, a minions room, a catwalk around the perimeter, an elevator from the main house down to the facility, an elevator for equipment in the carriage house, a secret tunnel from the well into the facility, and then generators placed in the middle of the entire complex. I'm even kicking around the idea of a dock for a boat or maybe a submarine. Hopefully I can come up with more ideas as I actually move and place things around on the board.

Story wise I'm not sure yet if I'm going to do an alternate timeline or what, but I think Red Skull has to be in the game. This is a Heroclix I grabbed off of Ebay. A bit taller than the rest of my 28mm figures, but I think it will work out with no real problems.

I also bought an obscene amount of these data and computer banks from Cooked Dice. I'm not even going to tell you how many I have to build lol!

The bulk of the research facility is going to be built with Hirst Arts sci-fi molds. I got an absolutely incredible deal on 12 molds off of Ebay, paying just over half of retail on them and not even having to pay for shipping. Honestly, I feel pretty dirty about it - I could easily resell them all right now and make a big profit.

Merlin's Magic plaster is on it's way and I'm super excited to give this casting thing a go again - I'd done some rock casting for a train I built Jakob when he was small, as well as using those same molds to make islands for the old Wiz Kids Pirates of the Spanish Main tabletop game we used to play when he was little too, but it has been years since I've done it.

I also used a 50% off coupon to buy this paper cutter from Michael's. Another super sweet money saving deal - I've already started to use it on cutting styrene for that elevator in the main house that will descend down to the underground level. This is going to give me perfectly straight cuts as well as making it much faster to build something.

Lots still to do in the next week - I've got until the end of the month to register for the PEL for Historicon and I was even debating on doing another game - sort of a prequel to this game. Basically it would be the beginning of Captain America where Schmidt stole the Tesseract from that church, but instead stealing the Stark technology. I have everything already built to play that kind of scenario; the 4Ground church, German bad guys, resistance fighters, plus all sorts of other damaged buildings that could work. It would be neat to run a continuing story game over the course of the convention, but I have a pretty small car so I better just focus on my initial idea!

As always, thanks for looking!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Struggle

I don't really consider myself an artist though I do think I'm a pretty creative person (you will see below I did add some old drawings I did back in the college days in a sketch pad I found in a box recently - when I used to draw all the time) They have to be pretty close to the same though, no?

What most of you will probably find extremely funny is that I don't feel like I really accomplished a lot or what I wanted to on this break.

I felt like I was all over the place - the photos below (stuff I've been working on the last few days) kind of show that - and felt like I didn't hit that homerun like I did the last couple of years during the break with the wife and horses down south. I have two weeks left before everyone, both two legged and four legged, returns and then I go back to normal work schedule.

Last nights workbench

I read an article yesterday on how creative people are nonlinear, imaginative, and introspective. And the shadow side of those characteristics is that most creative people struggle with productivity, authority, and insecurity. It's like I alone was the case study for this article.

Thought it would be neat to get some retro Stark/Iron figures

Productivity - because creatives are often nonlinear, they tend to not be “process” people. Therefore, they don’t usually think in terms of cause-and-effect as much as they think in terms of raw potential. Possibilities. Dreams. Aspirations. These are the lifeblood of a creative.

The unfortunate result of this is that it is quite feasible for a creative to come up with a bunch of ideas that don’t connect to each other at all, causing you to spin your wheels without gaining any traction. This is me 100 times over - possibilities, endless possibilities all the time.  This really sums up my Jonny Quest campaign to a T, with absolutely no real direction.
It’s hard to be creative and productive.

Authority - most creatives struggle somewhat with submission to authority or with adhering to bureaucracy. Because they are imaginative and visionary, they can often see a better way of doing something, or simply a different way. This was me all day long at every job I've ever had, especially those corporate ones over the last 15+ years. If all the other managers in the district were turning right, me and my store, we were turning left. This one really hit home for me from a workplace standpoint - it was never really me being blatantly defiant, but more 'Umm, I don't care what the policy is, there's a much easier and smarter way to do that people, how do you not see that?'.

If the “powers that be” are not open to change or being questioned (and not all are), then a creative will most likely struggle in such an environment. Most creatives don’t make good soldiers.

Insecurity - most creatives struggle with insecurity at some point in their lives. Because they’re introspective and often sensitive, they are prone to identifying closely with their work. They tend to be their harshest critics. For me it's a constant, not an 'at some point'.

The Jonny Quest lost tomb pieces and parts

While this can be overcome through experience and maturity, the natural tendency of a creative is to be hard on themselves. At the same time, they may be somewhat defensive and not receptive to feedback. It’s hard for creatives to separate their identity from their activity.

Why share this? Well, it immediately made me feel like someone actually understood the struggle I have every time I walk up those steps to the studio or even back down them - and even way back in the day when I would stair at a blank sheet of paper.

I had my game and table I ran at Historicon published in Wargames Illustrated last year and all I could focus on looking at the pictures were 10 things right off the top of my head that I knew could have been done much better. Madness, right?

I can only imagine a lot of you are the same way - I see the creativity on every single blog I subscribe to. Especially being your own harshest critic - I never really feel it's good enough. Something could always have been done better.

As I mentioned, I'm about two weeks away from everyone returning home from South Carolina, as well as two weeks away from submitting a game to the PEL for Historicon in July. And as you can see by the photos I shared, I am all over the place again and not sure what I'm doing for Historicon. But one thing I can tell you is that I've got a ton of really great ideas!!!!!

Not really a turtles fan but thought they looked cool

Hey, look what else I bought.

Apologies for the off topic post, and we'll get back to our regularly scheduled programming as quickly as possible, but as it is right now... the struggle is real :)
As always, thanks for looking!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Jonny Quest Pulp Alley - Clues In Cairo Chapter 2

When we last left the Quest gang it literally was mayhem at Musgrave Manor. Professor Musgrave and his wife have gone missing, presumed kidnapped. And the priceless ancient Egyptian artifact that the professor brought back from Cairo has gone missing as well.

Intelligence One has placed Dr. Benton Quest and Roger 'Race' Bannon on immediate duty to find the missing couple and stolen artifacts.

Chapter 2 - Clues In Cairo
The McLagan gang has just arrived in Cairo by rail and are on their way to meet with Dr. Kazim who will be able to translate further the hieroglyphics on the sarcophagus they have stolen from Musgrave Manor - this will give the location of a long lost tomb.

I rolled for initiative with the McLagan gang winning - and everyone made their way towards the truck waiting outside the train platform except the two followers. They attempted to move the sarcophagus towards the truck using the dolly.

Apparently neither realized exactly how much the sarcophagus weighed! They each had to pass a might challenge and in true Ivor form, I rolled two 1's!

And the health check? Let's roll each one separately, maybe that'll improve my luck. Yeah, not so much, another 1 - so for those of you scoring at home I started the game off by rolling three 1's in a row!?.

Unbelievable. Well, not really. I did pass on the second one :) but straight off one bad guy out with a broken foot.

The Quest gang started in a jeep and drove their way straight ahead with no problems. I did roll a challenge for Race to recognize McLagen as they passed the train station, which was a success. This had Race immediately hatch a daring plan.

McLagan won initiative again, and he immediately sent Amon Sighn back to get the sarcophagus on the dolly and on its way towards the truck. Now with way more muscle the sarcophagus was easily loaded on the dolly and pushed towards the truck. Zedlock jumps into the cab of the truck, as does the other baddie, and backs it up to the dock at the station. McLagan jumps into the back of the truck, and the sarcophagus gets loaded into the back after the challenge is successful - minor plot point completed.

Race's plan - I rolled a series of challenges as Race attempted to jump out of the jeep and Dr. Quest took over the driving duties as the jeep passed the fountain. Everyone succeeded, but the switch did make driving for Dr. Quest more difficult until he regained total control of the jeep as you'll see - I took one dice away on a challenge rolls.

Dr. Quest drew an immediate peril card and succeeds that challenge but one of my perilous areas also came into play with the camel caravan. Dr. Quest made an attempt to swerve out of the way and miss the animals, but this attempted failed and he blasted his way right through a market tent!

With fruit and cart debris flying everywhere the unfortunate victim was Bandit! He failed his health check and his recovery check. Knocked out by an orange right to the noggin!

Race jumped into the fountain to gain a bit of cover and takes a shot at the front tire of the truck and succeeds. This makes the truck harder to turn and it doesn't travel it's normal full distance anymore.

Jonny jumps out of the jeep and makes his way towards their contact, and succeeds in finding out that the next clue is 'Dak' Osbourne back at the Blue Parrot Market. Minor plot point to the Quest league.

The truck drives forward but the damaged tire doesn't take them ahead far enough; it takes them just out of line of sight for any attempts to shoot at Race out of the back. An attempt can be made if a baddie leans out holding the top of the truck, so a challenge card was drawn.

It's a failed attempt and the goon falls out of the truck - the truck must have hit a rock or hole and bounced him right off! A health and recovery check was failed too.

Sighn jumps out of the moving truck successfully though with a "Free Pass" challenge.

The Quests won the initiative to start this turn and saw Race play the 'Foul Play' card hoping that Sighn would fail another challenge, which he did not. Race then ran straight ahead into hand to hand combat with Sighn.

Dr. Quest backs the jeep up and starts to head back across to the Blue Parrot.

Sighn and Race battle in hand to hand combat, with Race taking two hits but passing his health checks. Meanwhile the truck drives ahead to Dr. Kazim's office but passes through the perilous area with the patrolling police. An 'All Clear' challenge gets the bad guys out of any possible trouble and McLagan get the sarcophagus out of the back of the truck.

Next saw McLagan win the initiative and he immediately made his way up to Kazim's office, passing his challenge to get it upstairs. Sighn and Race continue their slugfest in the street - not choosing to match dice this time each take two hits, with each failing one of the two health checks.

Meanwhile, Dr. Quest slams on the gas pedal heading directly towards Race and Sighn, much to the dismay of Jonny and Hadji!

A finesse challenge was made by Sighn to jump out of the way, while Race pulled a Hollywood move by succeeding in jumping onto the back of the jeep with the 'Move Along' card!

Dr. Quest pulled the jeep up to the Blue Parrot and Race headed in to find 'Dak' Osbourne. He just barely passes the challenge with a 10, 4, and a 1, but the Quests now have the location of the lost tomb! Minor plot point achieved. Hadji finally gets in the game and also runs in to get information from Osbourne - a bit of "Sim Sim Salabim" and Hadji now has the location of the missing Stark technology. Three plot points to one in favor of the Quests.

Meanwhile in Kazim's office, McLagan passes his challenge and now he too knows the location of the lost tomb! Minor plot point achieved. Our bad guys exit the truck and begin shooting at the Quest jeep - the first shot misses, but a second shot hits Benton in the arm after failing to dodge and a failed health check knocks him out of the game.

Sighn runs forward and throws his sword at Jonny but Jonny is too quick and jumps out of the way.

Race runs to the edge of the balcony and passing the perilous challenge jumps down onto Sighn! He fails his dodge attempts and takes two hits and fails both health checks and is knocked out.

Hadji yells down to Jonny and tells him that the Stark technology is hidden in the small building next door. While running towards the building the wandering police officer attempts to stop Jonny, but a mysterious person inside the red car shoots a laser stun gun out the window freezing the police officer in his place. Who could this have been?

Jonny continues running using the 'Jonny Slide' and a sprint card to get him well inside the building.

With the last plot point so close I decided to roll on a D20 to see if we would go one more turn and give Jonny a shot at the final plot point. I gave a 25% chance so a roll of 16+ would do it, and remarkably a 19 came up!

The youngest Quest grabs the final plot point by passing his cunning challenge with three successes.

And what does Jonny find inside those boxes?

It can't be... but it looks like it's Howard Stark's notebooks and formulas for a particle accelerator!?  The same technology that was used in The Manhattan Project?! What in the world could this possibly mean?

Stay tuned for Chapter 3 Into The Desert.

As always, thanks for looking!