Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Second Try at a Home Made Hex Mat?

As I mentioned last week, I got my hex mat from Hotz Matt. I still have not had a chance to use it. I don't regret getting is, but I feel the need to triumph in making my own hex mat. My costly failed attempt using a pre-made hex template still nags me. As an update to the story, my daughter "borrowed" the 4' x 4' interlocking foam mats and built herself a stuffed animal storage box with them. In addition to my Hotz Matt, I wouldn't mind having a mat in black for starship combat.

Pahoota, over at his Solipsist Gaming blog site describes a clever technique for making a homemade hex mat. The boundaries of Pahoota's hexes are a little different. They consist of equilateral triangles with concave sides. These represent the points were three circles of equal diameter come together:

If you keep adding on more circles, what you will get are hex boundaries:

You get the idea.... For circles, I thought I would try using soda bottle caps. They are consistent in diameter and easy to get. The trick will be to make sure the three bottle caps line up properly so that you get an equilateral triangle. Playing around with some soda bottle caps, it is not easy to get them to line up just so.

Once again, another project to work on.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Fun Idea

Last night my daughter and I read the Dr. Seuss book, McElligot's Pool. I vaguely remember reading it. Not one his best, but not bad. Anyway, what do I spot? Some of the Good Doctor's crazy architecture! I've thinking of building some structures for 15mm sci-fi games. I'm not sure about the style, and I don't want a village made solely out of yogurt containers. Why not have buildings that are as wildly imaginative as Dr. Seuss's? I need someone who doesn't have any preconceived notions of what a building on another planet should look like. The person just builds them however he wants. Who best to this task? My daughter, that's who! This weekend is supposed to be rainy. She has a swim meet in the morning, but after that, she will be itching for something to do. She likes doing what she calls "projects" while I work on my minis. Usually, she makes jewelry out of polymer clay, but she has constructed a model of the solar system and recently she made me an one-eyed space alien also using polymer clay. I think I can coax her into constructing a couple of buildings. I'll leave it up to her s to what she wants to build and what she want to use to build them. The only criterion is that they be 1/100 in scale, or at least don't look out of place when a 15mm figure is standing next to them. I'm sure she can come up with something. My only concern is that she will get bored and quite the project before it is completed. I'll give it a try and post the results.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Confessions of a Rules Junkie

I’ve wanted to write this blog entry for some time now. I have not had the time, or I thought there were more interesting things to add to my blog, like my various projects and such. Well, after getting my latest set of rules in the mail the other day, I felt it needed to be done. "Hello, my name is Chris and I’m a Rules Junkie." I buy rules, I download free rules, I do whatever I can to obtain wargaming rules. For many of these rules, I will read once or twice and never look at them again.

Why do I do it?Why waste the time and money? I’ve thought about this long and hard.The main answer I can come up with is that I am on a spiritual journey to rules enlightenment.Or maybe its a quest for the Holy Grail, or the golden fleece of rules. My quest for the perfect rules has changed over time. Early in my gaming career, I was hung up on the technical side of things. Realism was everything. I wanted rules that would take into account the effect of an armor-piercing shell at a 38 degree angle on a side rivet of the turret of a German Pz 38(t) at 300 meters, or the accuracy of a 250 pound bomb dropped from a Douglas SBD dive bomber after it had been hit in the rudder by one shell of a 25mm AA gun fired by a jittery gunner from a Japanese destroyer that is turning to avoid the oncoming spread of six torpedoes, or the effect of a falchion when used as a thrusting weapon on chainmail covered by a gambeson…you get the idea.

Today, my journey is three fold. I am searching for rules that will give the most realism in command and control, that has the highest degree of playability without sacrificing a lot of realism, and/or can be easily used for solo gaming. If I hear any hints of rules whose mechanics are rumored to be tops along those lines, like a zombie to brains, I am drawn to them and compelled to order them. I try very hard to stick to my areas of interest, but if I hear of rules that are really outstanding, I will get them. For example, I read a post on TMP that polled readers as to which set of rules they thought were the most playable and fun. The consensus seemed to be the colonial rules The Sword & the Flame. So, what did I do? I ordered them! I don’t even play colonial games! But I had to see what these rules were all about. Maybe they would be the key to everything! This is it folks…it will all be revealed to me once I turn to page one and start reading! The quest is over! such luck. They look pretty good, there is raw material I can use, and if I were to get into colonial gaming, these are the ones I'd use, but did I really have to buy them? No, not really.

So far, I have managed to draw the line at board games and really expensive rules.I have read where people have adopted the rules or rule mechanics from various board games for the tabletop. I used to play a lot of board games long ago. Nowadays, the cost of board games is way too high for me to justify getting them, as tempting is it might be. Also, I will not pay for rules that are at or above the $50 range. Up to this point, I think the highest I’ve paid has been $40, and that was for only one set.

More and more, I will buy the pdf format to cut down on costs. I am still old school when it comes to rules. I don’t need hard covers or glossy photographs. I try to avoid rules where you have to buy a bunch of supplements to play the game. I only buy the latest edition of a rule set if I absolutely love the previous edition and there have some major changes that merit the new edition. I can think of only two or three sets of rules in my collection where I have more than one edition. I am sure I am not the only one out there that is a rules junkie. I do enjoy reading them, and with one or two exceptions, I have not been terribly disappointed by what I got. Nonetheless, I need to really put the brakes on the rules purchases. I really enjoy my hobby, but I don’t have unlimited funds. Plus, my carefree days of bachelorhood are long behind me. Many things like the need for bigger and better stereo equipment (that must date me!), or the purchases of music and movies are long gone. I’ve noticed that I don’t really miss those things. For example, my wife and I still happily use the same TV we got as a wedding present 13 years ago. Each Christmas time, we talk about getting a new TV, but we never do. With the mounds of minis that need to be painted and the collection of rulebooks, I think I can taper off the spending side of things a little and still have a happy hobby life. Maybe its about time I come up with my own, free rules. Maybe that will break the habit.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hotz Mat

I got my order today from Hotz ArtWorks. I ordered a double-sided mat over a month ago. It finally arrived. I ordered their larger standard size, 6' x 4,' with the 1" hexes. My daughter and I unfolded it. Wow! Its a lot larger than I thought! One side is a European field pattern the other is an ocean pattern. At first, the ocean pattern didn't seem much different than the field pattern. But my daughter said that there was some blue green it. I guess I was expecting a deep blue, which probably isn't very realistic. I didn't have time to inspect it much beyond that, except to say that the lines that make up the hexes of the ocean side could be a little more distinct, but I will have to look at it in better light. I am really looking forward to gaming on it.