Tagged: miniature war games

Geekery – My First Game of Dungeons and Dragons

Before last Wednesday (February 17th) I had never played a Tabletop RPG.

I had played plenty of video game RPGs. The Final Fantasy series. Skyrim. Balder’s Gate. World of Warcraft. Warhammer Online. Just to name a few.

And of course I’m a tabletop game player. Battletech, Warmachine, and Infinity are just some of my favorites. I’ve played Star Trek: Attack Wing, and the Star Wars fighter game. And I love board games like Takenoko.

But tabletop RPGs never attracted my attention. Maybe some of this was the stigma of the people who played tabletop RPGs Рthen again that same stigma is attached (or at least used to be) those who play miniature war-games.  For whatever reason I was just never interested in getting into tabletop RPGs.

That changed recently – and by recently I mean GenCon 2014. I decided I’d try to get RPG’ing a shot and went to a Shadowrun character creation seminar at GenCon ’14. It was interesting but I really should have gone to a RPG session seminar. While waiting to start the seminar I was talking to three guys that had just wrapped up playing some D&D 5th edition. At that time 5th edition was relatively new and they were ecstatic about it. On top of that, they broke the tabletop-RPG’er-mold. They looked like normal bros doing bro stuff. And if they were down for D&D, then I could be down, too.

Fast forward a little over 18 months later and my gaming group has been disbanded for a while. I was being a bad member myself and, though I paid my dues, I was not attending with any regularity. Other members were going regularly – but not paying dues. And overall the group had shrunk and money in the war chest wasn’t matching rent for the store front. The gaming group closed, and I was left flapping in the wind, tabletop game-wise.

Within the last two weeks I had begun to adamantly look for a new gaming venue. I need tabletop gaming like some people need to watch their favorite shows weekly. It’s both an escape, and a mental exercise that keeps my mentally sharp. Previewing the events at the local game shop (called The Game Shoppe) here in Bellevue, NE I saw there were D&D demo games every Wednesday. After about a year and a half, I was ready to try a tabletop RPG.

My wife lovingly gave me a lot of crap for it. ūüôā

And so, February the 17th I ventured into the cold Nebraskan night to try Dungeons and Dragons.

Overall it was fun. I created a human barbarian named Lothar (of the Hill People) and played with two other people who had low-level characters. Our DM was asked by his group at the last minute to be the DM for the newer, lower level players, and so he was unprepared and had trouble reading the quest notes on the tablet he was using. But we killed some wild dogs and saved a tiefling adolescent, and killed some red-furred goats. I got 100XP out of the whole ordeal. The other players seemed like good guys and we quested decently together.

The group was very inviting and helpful. They offered assistance and resources (like miniatures and pencils) freely and made sure I generally felt welcomed.

I plan to go back this coming Wednesday in order to get more experience. Hopefully things are a little more organized and our DM a little more prepared, or at least ready to DM on the fly. If not, I can watch the group play and see how they play.

Next I may get into Battletech: A Time of War RPG. Who knows?

And if you’re in the Bellevue, NE area and want to game let me know!

Until next time!…

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3D Printing Extravaganza!

As many of you may know I love miniature war-games. Not that I play many of them these days – work, my Master’s program, and running around and creating havoc in¬†Omaha and the Continental United States take up most of my time. I wanted to go to a local shop, Orcs 4 Hire, and play a rousing game of Warhammer 40k…may not happen.

But I digress.

In my love for tabletop wargames I have the desire to create my own. This is no easy feat. Rules must be created, play tested, rewritten, play tested again, re-rewritten. Miniatures must be sculpted and then mass produced, they have to be packaged, and then a distribution system, paired with a marketing strategy, must be created.

But most of that is down the line. Right now working on the game is that “miniatures sculpted” section. Hiring a sculptor is expensive. Currently the quote is $400 PER MINI. $8000 is where we’re sitting if we pay a guy. And for a small start-up that can be debilitating.

There’s another option that has become more and more viable over the past few years: 3D printing.

3D printing has really taken off in the last decade. Instead of companies using giant machinery one can now purchase a desktop 3D printer for $3000 or less, and the plastic material is $50 or so a spool.

I give you MakerBot. MakerBot manufactures some excellent, affordable 3D printers for companies, or for the average user. The MakerBot Replicator is a rather affordable $1,749. http://store.makerbot.com/replicator-404.html

It’s upgraded sibling, the MakerBot Replicator 2, is a bit pricier at $2,199. http://store.makerbot.com/replicator2.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whichever model, they are a much cheaper alternative to paying a sculptor.

But there ARE drawbacks. Instead of having a sculptor do all the work, one (namely me) would have to learn to use CAD or the MakerBot program, MakerWare. This is time consuming, and not prefferable if working to meet a certain deadline, whether that be a shopping holiday season or pre-convention.

Still a bit expensive though? There are some great Kickstarter Campaigns pushing small, very affordable desktop 3D Printers. Like this one here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/25111729/hyrel-3d-printer?ref=live

For a backing of $1,395 you can get a very nice, all metal 3D printer.

Creating your own miniatures, toys, or parts is more affordable than ever, and the entrepreneur-on-the-cheap that needs one for their operations can find a list of affordable 3D printers on the internet. It’s something I’m looking into, for sure.

Until next time . . .