Total Pageviews

Monday, January 30, 2012

New Maps - long promised, now delivered (I hope)

The first map is the one that will be given to all of the players at the game to help them make decisions about what they want to do during the course of the game.
The second map shows images of all of the water craft planned to be in the game.  Very careful observers will notice that there are more native boats than there were before - this is one result of the play test this past Saturday.  More on that another time, just the maps today.

Those rows of boats across the bottom of the second map are reserved for game master use at this time, but many changes are in store based on the play test.

I made the maps extra large to ease viewing but did not convert to original size out of concern that might impede your being able to study the maps.

I will share one thing for now from the play test - and a huge thanks to Charlie for suggesting this: the map will be divided into sections to facilitate movement; that's what those blue lines cutting each map into three are for.

Things be gettin' interestin'!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Play Test Dead Ahead - drop anchor!

It is late Friday evening and I have to get to bed soon so I can be up early for some last minute preparation before our play test on Saturday.  Yes, yes, of course I will bring along the camera so I can share what goes on.

We've now labeled all of the bases so we can sort them out a lot easier after each outing.  Hal and Mike O. helped out.  Still have to texture the bases - probably the biggest task left to be done, but hardly the only one.  Mike is also working on 60 pieces of artillery!  And Rob K. is at work on the flags for the ships, towns, and "ground" forces.  Joe R. will be tapped to paint even more figures - not sure where we'd be without his fantastic efforts.  Nils should have the field works for the play test, though perhaps not yet finished.

Panic time?  Uh, um, well, uh, um, not yet.  -gulp-

Closing in on 3800 hits?  Well, that is a big number.  Hope you are being entertained.

Later on I'll have to share the minor disaster (and damage) that did - almost - send me into panic mode.

Don't look for next post before Monday, maybe not until Tuesday.  Sunday I'm taking a day off from the whole project and spend it with my wife.  She's certainly earned that.

Until then...

The Captain rose from a silk divan
With a pistol in his fist
And shot the lock from an iron box
And a blood red ruby kissed

Monday, January 23, 2012

A-basing we will label, a basing we will label...

No time, really, but just a quick note.  Not counting casualty figures or boat crews, there will be 607 bases of figures for our 32 (potential) players and 6 game masters to move about our game.  That's a lot of bases! And, amazingly, very close to 16 bases per gamer/master.  Back to work, time presses.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Seven Colored Sea - and The Essential Accessory

So, much progress courtesy of winter sunshine and the assistance of Joe B., Nils, Rob, Charlie, and Chris this past weekend - and a delivery by Joe R.  Have to go pick up the last buildings from Mike O. tonight.  That brings everything except a few casualty figures back to "home base."

Yesterday I finished painting the "great canvas" and you will be able to see it in the photos below.  I've also included some shots of the process of building the islands for those of a mind to try something similar. So, without further ado:
Above is the mangrove swamp island laid out and awaiting assembly.
 Here is the bottom piece with 1x1 framing in place.
 And then the top is added.  Glue and a few strategically placed screws hold it all together, the clamps until the glue dries, of course.
 This shot shows the insulating foam being cut up and glued in place - not nearly as messy as beaded foam (giving any of that I have left away and sticking with insulating foam when not using real wood.)
 A closer shot of the carved foam - cuts easy with a serrated steak knife.
 Here it is with a placement of mangroves and some figures in the distance.
 Closer shot of the figures seen above, Spanish.   This is before the spackling compound is applied.
 Four main islands assemble into one large island - not for this game but showing how advanced planning gives greater versatility to our efforts.
 An excellent reason for bracing!  That bottom board is warped something fierce.
Which is why compression is of such value during assembly and storage - those four cans are full.
 We will have some field works here and there in our game and this was laying out the template for them.  Which reminds me, Nils still has these in process so I guess not everything at home base today - but I'm sure he will do a great job to match his paint job on these gabions.
 Actual evidence of people helping!  That's Joe and Nils furiously cutting and glueing insulating foam.
 Spread out are all the island pieces except the ones currently being worked on.  All those paint cans are because the day was pretty breezy.
 All those containers on the floor have the figures and buildings in them, actually makes a fairly compact pile when all stacked up.  Still some figures in process.
 A first shot of the two canvasses spread out together and ready to get painted.  That shadow - no, not the photographer's image - reveal that there is a palm tree across the street to study when painting the ones that will be in the game.
 Just another shot - with a couple of colors added, and more weights as the day passes and the breezes arrive.
 All but the last color added - the "white caps" - and all of the terrain laid out to finally see it as a whole.  A satisfying and edifying moment.  Satisfaction in seeing - and realizing how much more work still needs to be done!
 The "west" side of it all.  You can see the colors on the sea a little better here.
 And the "east" side.
 With a quartet of ships sailing around to help put it all in perspective.
 From a different angle.
 One ship sails by one of the lagoons.  Strong late day winter sun.
 And the seven colors of the sea!
 And the absolutely essential accessory - KNEE PADS!
 The pirate town in its first layout on its appropriate island.
 A closer in shot showing a pile of barrels - and some rats in front of it.  Those come from an Essex pack - I think in their fantasy range.
 Here's that seagull flying around with a camera again.
 One of the native islands with some of its planned content in place.
 Those cool little huts were a great find at a long closed local store - they are wicker baskets and come in the perfect size and color and with a door.  Bought everything they had and so glad I did.
 What would we do without the aquarium decor department at the pet stores?   Cool.
 If you look close you can see that the edges have been bevelled and the 1x1 given a bit of a "bull nose."  Only took three hours with a belt sander last Friday but well worth the effort.
 And what happens to the those bull noses once the foam and spackling is in place.  Not only does it help prevent warping but makes for  a nice bit of terrain.
 Mango Island from a masthead view.  And a nice shot of the ocean coloration.
And lastly, for now at least, a different angle of the same.  Now, in your imagination, add about two dozen palm trees and some long grass on the "plateau" of the island and you'll begin to see where we are going with all this.

Next stage is a lot of glue and sand on the glue.  When that dries, apainting we will go.

Less than two weeks to go to the play test and vast amounts of stuff still to do.  Today, except for this post, I am taking a well deserved rest from the project but will be back hard at it in another day (tomorrow I have a date with a backyard full of leaves and such).

If you are going to be in Sacramento area on January 28th then plan on swinging by the Carmichael Library's meeting room between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM to join in the fun.  The game will not be in its full glory but we'll get a sense of what is working and what is not and have a better idea of what still needs to be done by mid-March for the Big Day.

"Cut free the lines 
And square the yards 
Get the black flag stowed away"

Friday, January 13, 2012

For Mid-West of America Pirate Gamers

Just a quick note that I've added a link to the left for the large mid-west pirate game that happens on March 30th.  If you are not able to make our game but live within range of this one, give it a whirl.  It is one of the points of inspiration - besides my own insanity - for the game this blog is all about.  Looks like a real blast of a good time.  Enjoy.  Now I've got to get back to working on our project!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tallys Yo-ho

So, I did some arithmetic - ay, me pirate brain does hurt after that - and came up with the following numbers:

There will be 2,326 figures of people in the game as it stands now.  Of those, 144 are casualty figures, 88 dead folk and 56 men swimming about in the water or clinging desperately to flotsam and jetsam.  There are also 234 boat crews who won't be leaving their boats - they be seated at their oars and what not.  That leaves 1,948 men, women, and children roaming about the table whether by ship or afoot or horseback - ain't but five horses, though.  About 225 of those are the women and children; so, you can figure from there how many fighting folk there will be - though don't discount that some of the women might be armed and some of the men not.  No player will have fewer than 48 figures to command - unless they are the special player characters and what they will command isn't being revealed just yet.

Now, a photo or two.

What you see here is the small boat squadrons.  The group on the left shows the four national groupings - one boat for each ship and one boat for the governor and another for the military commander.  To the right rear is a group of six boats that belong to the pirates.  In front of those are two boats for the special player characters, one a piece.  And on the right are the game master force boats - one each for the assistant game masters and two each for the Game Master and the First Assistant Game Master.
The above shows one of the governor vignettes, the Spanish one I believe, with a few bits of furniture, these are from a doll house supply store in 1/144 th scale but functional for the purposes of our game.

You'll have to look close at this one to see that the second major sea mat is underway.  On the table behind it in the garage is the first one rolled up and next to it the two smaller matching pieces needed to account for the shrinkage.
And here is a festive shot of one of the pirate crews arranged into its composite forces of 12 figures each in four groups.  More of these folks in a moment.
This is just an overhead view of more of the governor vignettes.  If you look very carefully you'll see some maps on the tables.  Aye!

And now, a test for later edification and entertainment of the piratically inclined!  ...cue dramatic drumroll and trumpet fanfare...

And if it worked you should be able to watch a little movie of that pirate crew you saw earlier.  Don't expect Hollywood production values but do enjoy anticipating action shots from the play test - if I remember to bring the camera and have time to actually use it!

So, there you have a post.  There might not be any more posts for a week or more, maybe until after the play test because I really need to get a lot of stuff done before that.  A lot!  If I get far enough along, though, I'll provide an update.  I will try and take photos along the way for work-in-progress evidence.

Time to panic yet?  Not yet, but maybe soon.
"Closer to the wind, my boys," the mad eyed captain roared!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pirate Project unfurls every sail - including the Cap'n's hankie!

It is Monday evening, January 2nd, 2012.  So, Happy New Year!

26 mornings from now is the play test, 48 days after that is the first convention where the game will make its official debut.  Splice the Main Brace, Cat-Man! (he o' the nine tails)  Time to get busy and boil the caulk, scrape the teredo's from the hull, stow the casks of water - and rum! - afore the tide rises and we're off on another adventure in search of a treasure laden prize.  "The Turk, the Arab, and the Spaniard will soon have pennies on their eyes."

Many hundreds upon hundreds of figures are complete, with a couple hundred more nearing completion - and only seven or eight hundred more to go!  The majority of the buildings are done, others nearly so.  The terrain moves along nicely (many an hour devoted this very day) and rapid progress expected (hoped for?)

Photos soon of something not yet seen - the small craft.  Minimum count of watercraft in the game now stands at 62.  And crews for all of them!

Now, about those 32 player positions, lets go over them again.  Each of the national players - British, French, Spanish, and Dutch - have 5 positions: 3 ship captains with crews and the governor and military commander of the colony.  The Pirates have 6 positions: 4 ship captains with crews and the "governor" and the military commander of the "colony."  The natives have 4 positions, the local sub-chiefs, and they, too, have water craft at two per player - just canoes so they need more.  Hold on, that only adds up to 30.  What gives?  Ah, well, there are two "special" player positions that, for now, will go by the code words of "Mana" and "Mayhem."  Mysterious, like the widow on her walk that appears every full moon looking to sea to see if her captain returns.

The Chief Game Master, moi, will be in charge of the natives, the first assistnant, Joe B., will run the pirates.  And each of the assistant game masters will each run a national group.  So, no game master has to run more than six players, most only 5.  That should help keep the action fast and furious.  And all of the game masters have surprises ready to hand - a bit of something running about in their tricorns, if you will.

Wha...what...what was that?  Blimey, is there something amiss with this rum?  Was that a rather oversized tentacle that just waved past the stern window of me cabin?  Aye, time to sober up and stomp about on deck - bloody leg still bothers me.  And I can't scratch the the b**tard!  Ain't been there to scratch these many long years.

Yo ho!