morsla: (Default)
So, after eight years of running Arcanacon Warmachine tournaments, I have finally passed the event on to Melbourne's newest Pressgang member. That means I can actually play in next year's tournament (which will be a bit weird), but more importantly it means that I can write something new.

I miss writing and running tabletop games. [livejournal.com profile] aeliel and I have started planning something for Arcanacon XXX. [livejournal.com profile] mousebane, [livejournal.com profile] miss_rynn - would either of you be interested in helping to write some material? I'd like to borrow your science-and-mythos brains...

The year is 1932. Four years ago, federal raids on the town of Innsmouth were conducted by the BOI. What they saw and did there has been locked away in classified files, and all media coverage was rigorously suppressed. For three years the town lay almost deserted. Then, as part of President Hoover's Economic Modernisation scheme, an attempt was made to reinvigorate the ship-building trade and capitalise on the town's docks and deep harbour. The town was extensively re-settled, with generous federal grants and concessions offered to industry. For a time, life returned to the town.

Six days ago, a series of grisly murders were discovered in a warehouse by the riverside. The newspapers have begun to stir people into a panic, suggesting that a mass murderer is at work in Innsmouth. Local police have grudgingly handed jurisdiction over to the United States Bureau of Investigation. Now, four members of the newly established Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory have been sent back to that sleepy town on the river mouth, for their first public test.


Yes, it's essentially CSI: Innsmouth, set at the end of the prohibition era :)

I'm looking at running it as a 4-5 character game. The fifth (optional) character will be the local police liaison; able to add some interesting local contacts to the group, but not essential to the Fed story. The Bureau had a major shuffle and re-naming earlier in 1932, with associated bureaucratic power games limiting access to information from older cases, so the group won't know very much about the town's history. That's probably a good thing - there's no saying that the same forces are involved, and it will be healthier for their sanity if they don't know too much.

I really like making props for games: maps, handouts, photos. I'd like to prepare enough photos of suspects to be able to give the players a whiteboard to build their case on...
morsla: (mantis04)
It's been a few weeks of Interesting Times, though I seem to be surviving okay at the moment.

Firstly - thankyou to all the people who came to the funeral on Friday. I honestly hadn't expected to see anyone apart from family there (it being in the middle of nowhere, and on a workday) so it was a nice surprise to see so many friends. I'll write a bit more about the funeral later on, when I've had a bit more time to think about things.

[livejournal.com profile] aeliel got back from Europe on Thursday morning, and is still recovering from the jetlag. Neither of us have any kind of sleeping pattern at the moment. Instead, we've both been waking up at 4am and 2pm each day after sleeping for a few hours at a stretch. This worked okay during the weekend, but it might cause problems now that we're both back at work...

I got back to Melbourne late on Friday night, and ran the UniCon WM/Hordes tournament on Saturday. Most of the players knew a bit about what's been going on, and so they were very forgiving of the super-disorganised start to the day. I ended up with 22 players, after having about six drop out due to various problems. Good numbers, and the event ran very smoothly after the first round got underway. Lots of new players, too.

Today I returned to Tai Chi after a long break. I won't be able to make it to training next year, so I have about four weeks to learn whatever I'll be taking with me. The club seems to be slowly fading away, with almost no new blood to keep it going. Motivating undergrad students to do, well, anything except study seems like an impossible task these days. I can't remember the last time newcomers kept training until the end of a semester.

Anyway, time I got back to organising things that have been on hold for the past few months. You know, like that whole getting-married-in-about-a-month thing...
morsla: (Default)
I always seem to lose a week after travelling anywhere. GenCon Oz finished a week ago, and the last week has been full of catching up on work. I've mostly managed to dodge the post-convention cold, but [livejournal.com profile] aeliel wasn't so lucky.

I really enjoyed the trip to Brisbane. We booked a two-bedroom apartment between four people, so we had our own kitchen and a living room for after-con games. I've now become addicted to Arkham Horror after several late-night games... however I managed to resist the urge to buy my own copy at the convention, as my luggage was bulky enough without adding boardgames for the return trip.

Most of my time in the convention centre was spent running demo games at the Privateer Press booth. The con had attracted media coverage on TV, radio and in local papers, and we had a huge number of non-gamers come through to take a look. I ran roughly half my demo games for people who had played other miniatures games (Warhammer etc), and the other half for people with no miniature gaming experience at all. The stall sold ~60 copies of the Warmachine rules, all of them to new players who bought a pile of models. Not bad for a first-run convention, where the retailers were hoping to just break even.

For the last three weeks I've been frantically painting up models for the Warmachine 'Hardcore' tournament - the first official one to run outside the USA. The tournament games were very challenging - strict 7min turns, with five 56min games run back to back. I placed in the top half of the field (three wins, two losses), but I was mainly competing for the Master Craftsman (best painted) medal. After five games my brain was leaking from my ears, but I was very happy when Kel announced that I'd won the prize :)

Overall, a good trip. The convention still has plenty of areas to improve for next year, particularly relating to registration and event tickets, but the organisers seem to be doing a good job of addressing comments and feedback from the people who went. I'll certainly be going back.
morsla: (lookin)
Time for a post-convention wrapup of Conquest. I ran a stall for most of the convention, which was something new. I think I've now been a ConOrg, Writer, GM, Trader, Player and general helper-monkey, thus completing the set.

Friday:
[livejournal.com profile] aeliel and I set up the stall around 10am, and realised that neither of us had brought anything to do while sitting behind the table. I think we sold the most stock on Friday, although virtually all sales were to people who were around for the whole convention - it was more a case of buying things when they first encountered the stall. I kept myself amused by building some terrain to show how to use the modelling products, and [livejournal.com profile] aeliel playtested [livejournal.com profile] jod999's Kabuki game.

Saturday:
I ran the stall all day, and made a few more display pieces. The Warhammer Fantasy tournament wrapped up in the evening, so several players dropped by to pick up some sculpting tools and other gear. [livejournal.com profile] aeliel played Picnic at the Races in the afternoon, and we both played Tales from the City in the evening session. I enjoyed the freeform, although it was tough to get into at the start - I played an eight year old orphan in a room full of grown-up lostfinders, gang members and paid killers, and the adult who was supposed to look after my character didn't actually turn up to the session... Still, good fun, and it's especially nice to finally play in an A|State game.

Sunday:
[livejournal.com profile] aeliel ran the stall while I played in (and won!) the Warmachine tournament. I ended up playing the people who placed 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th, so I had a very solid set of opponents. My brain hurt by the end of the day. I ran a fragile-looking assassination list (infernalist witches and outlaw pistoleers...) that was deceptively hard to kill, and took down five of the eight warcasters and warlocks that I faced over four games. The final round ended in a draw (9-9), with my opponent taking the Best Hordes prize.

Monday:
We both slept in, and headed to the convention in time for the awards and packing up the venue. I really enjoyed catching up with lots of people at the pub, and finally learned a few more names for the many interstate folks. Things got a bit tense for a while when a rowdy bunch of drunkards (fresh from a footy game) took over most of the beer garden, but no fights had broken out by the time I left... still, I wouldn't be surprised if next year's post-con venue is somewhere different, as it's not exactly polite for management to let 30-odd football fans take over a private booking.

Things to do differently next time:
  • Only book a single table. I didn't really need the second one, and could have halved the stall cost by taking up less space...

  • Only run the stall over the weekend. Saturday and Sunday get two different groups of miniature gamers, as most events run Fri/Sat or Sat/Sun. Friday could be better used for playing in some more games...

  • Run some workshops (costing $5 or so to cover the cost of materials) for sculpting and making terrain. That would give me something to do during the long quiet spots mid-session, and provide a handy means to demonstrate how to use all the various bits and pieces that I sell.

  • Consider adding some general-appeal products, like painted figures and vignettes. That would give me something for the people wanting to buy shiny things or presents, and it also provides some more examples of what I can do.
morsla: (Default)
Yikes. Suddenly it's the week before Conquest again, and I seem to be missing a few more weeks out of my year.

I haven't been able to finish much work lately, as painting in 40ºC heat tends to be an exercise in futility... the paint dries before I can get it on the brush. Still, we're due for a change tomorrow. I'll see what I can do before the weekend, and then pick up the next batch of models at the convention.

I'm running a trade stall at Conquest this weekend - drop by and say hello, as company is always good. I'll be down near the canteen, with a table full of stock and another table covered in model-building projects. Traders will be put into two areas this year, and I think my area only has two other stalls - everyone else is upstairs in the main rego hall. I'll be close to the miniatures gamers, though, and they're more likely to be interested in painting and sculpting...

The weekend rushed by even faster than usual. I rode up to Brunswick West, exploring more of Royal Park on the way. [livejournal.com profile] aeliel's bike still needs some emergency surgery before it will work again (misaligned pedals are tearing the chain off the gears), so I headed out on my own. [livejournal.com profile] thekit's housepark-warming in Brunswick seemed successful - the park was indeed warm. Apologies again for abruptly vanishing when everyone else went in search of dinner - [livejournal.com profile] hespa, we should catch up sometime soon.

Also - congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] lycaonia and Pete :) I hope that everything went well on Saturday!

Here's a pic of the happy couple - er, a pic of a happy couple that I've been sculpting over the last few weeks. They are designed to easily detach from the base, so they could be attached the top of a wedding cake :) Lots of fun to paint, too. I added a few details like knotwork on the back of the gnome's cloak (pic), and tried out a few tricks painting gold, silver and gemstones without using any metallics or gloss paints.

http://www.purple-mantis.com.au/gallery/misc/kya-and-fruit01.jpg
morsla: (troll)
A very blurry work-in-progress picture of the State of Origin trophy piece from Arcanacon... (shown here at about 200% of the actual size)

http://www.morsla.net/images/LJ/stateoforigin_WIP.jpg

I really need to set up a proper photo rig, instead of taking handheld shots at the kitchen table...

I still need to finish sculpting it, and then cut the top off the metal disc (it's not centred at the moment). This will be painted and attached to the State of Origin trophy, which tracks the winning state from any Warmachine or Hordes tournaments with significant numbers of interstate players... South Australia convincingly won it at Arc this year. The next title will probably be at GenCon Oz.

Speaking of which, who else is going? If hotel rates are putting you off, try the Quest apartments - you can fit a few people in (we have four in a two-bedroom place), and they have a full kitchen (handy for saving money instead of eating out for every meal). For half the cost of a hotel, we're staying 5min from the convention, two blocks from the Botannic Gardens.
morsla: (vnv)
Arcanacon is over for another year, which means that I can start thinking about all the things I've put on hold for the last couple of months... first, though, it's worth taking a look back at what's happened so far.

Wednesday: Recieved an email from my co-organiser, telling me he couldn't make it down from Sydney for the weekend. With no second judge, that meant I'd be covering the Warmachine/Hordes Nationals event solo, and would also have to run the Monday event - which ruled out going to Golgotha on Sunday night. I'll get you next time, nightclub...

Thursday: [livejournal.com profile] aeliel made a display board for the Purple Mantis stock that would be on sale at the convention, while I frantically finished off a painting commission job. I printed off scorecards and player packs, and tried to make sure I was up to date on the latest rules changes. With an active community of players (over twenty thousand on the forums) and a full time rules team, the game rules are as watertight and unambiguous as any system I've ever played... as a rules judge, though, it's a hell of a lot of reading material to brush up on.

Friday: Finally finished painting the last few models. Went to Collingwood College to start setting up the Nationals venue. I was a bit worried when we were told that we'd only have a single room, but fortunately that room was easily big enough for the players and game tables - we even had a dozen couches for people to relax in after their games.

Saturday: Woke up far too early, and headed to the convention to start the tournament. We had 38 players in the end, almost half of them from interstate. [livejournal.com profile] aeliel handled the scorecards and round draws, while I ran around adjudicating the three 500-point rounds for the Nationals. The games went surprisingly smoothly, with no major disputes or arguments despite the size of the prize pool on offer. Once the official rounds wrapped up, we paused for a beer or two and prepared for the inaugural State of Origin game - contested by Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and a motley team of Tasmanians, West Australians, NSW and more Melbourne players.

South Australia convincingly won the title, winning five of their six games. I finally got a chance to play, losing to Brett's horde of trolls (one of the best painted armies at the event), and then we headed off to [livejournal.com profile] geserit's farewell party. Bon voyage Sarah!

Sunday: Things started to look bad after the first of the planned three 750-point games, when a draw on one of the top tables left us with an unchallenged winner - Damien, the only player on a perfect score of 20 points. After having several pairs of eyes going over the tournament rules, I decided that we couldn't call the event early - despite having an undefeated champion by default, there were still two rounds to go and a room full of players who wanted to keep playing them. (EDIT: the decision to keep going despite having an undefeated player was later supported by the Privateer staff. Hopefully the next generation of tournament rules will be clearer about this sort of thing!)

Damien ended up losing in the fifth round, setting up Heath as the top player. Despite that, there were six possible champions going into the final round. When the final game concluded, Heath emerged as the clear winner, with Damien and Joel taking second and third place. I got to hand out lots of prizes (from six sponsors in four different states), and then that was it for the first Australian national championship.

Monday: Metal Mayhem was a very different event from the weekend's games - the games were far more laid back, and I was far less organised. We fitted five rounds into the tournament, with Dave's Cryx/Mercenary army taking the top spot. After one of the longest award ceremonies I've ever sat through, we staggered off to the afterparty and I finally got a chance to catch up with all the roleplayers I'd missed during the weekend.

Most of the weekend is a bit of a blur, but it's a generally positive blur. I'll probably be helping for a couple of days at GenCon Oz as a painting or rules judge, but I have no plans to run an actual tournament myself until at least next January. There are now a couple of new Pressgangers in Australia, and they all seem eager to get stuck into organising things. I've been involved since 2003, and I think it's time to take a bit of a break.

The War All The Time guys sold Purple Mantis putty, sculpting tools and brushes over in the Warhammer 40k area. Sculpting tools sold very well; putty sold reasonably well. The sable brushes didn't sell well at all, which is a bit worrying - they account for about a third of the cost of my inventory, and may take all year to shift. Still, for the first "live fire" test, things went pretty well.

September 2014

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