Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Terrain for the Pirates of the Spanish Main

Like I mentioned in a recent Pirates of the Spanish Main post, home islands are not included in the mix. I have been looking for ideas and plan’s for these islands and have come-up with several links that might very useful in that endeavor.

P.O.T.S.M. Tables & Islands

Offers many fine images of island and game tables that the author has created; truly inspirational.

Another rocky hill...

An August 2012 post on this blog that offers instructions on how to create “another rocky hill”. The instructions are geared toward the war-gamer, but the techniques presented here could be put into use for islands on my Pirates of the Spanish Main

Instructables: Mini Island Gaming Terrain

Actually offers instructions on how to create islands for the Pirates of the Spanish Main game. It includes the materials and instructions on how to create islands that are very realistic in appearance.

Now that you have an island, how about some trees?

About.Com”: Make Realistic Miniature Model Palm Trees from Paper or Fabric and Wire

Features instructions on how to create miniature palm trees. Whether the palms trees can be created in smaller sizes I do not know, but I thought the article was well worth a peak.


What is on your Workbench?

I am so glad that you asked. I still have two old men miniatures from Brigade that are nearly completed. One miniature, the Jolly Old Man, is closer than the other, in that it has received its highlights and shadow coats. I still need to attempt painting its eyes. The other, an old man with a lantern in hand is in progress.

The other major project, that I have been working on are a few scenery pieces for my Pirates of the Spanish Main miniatures game. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, although the Pirates of the Spanish Main game provides “wild” islands they do not provide home islands. Home Islands are those where you base your operations from, they are where repairs are typically performed, and are where you store your gold pieces.

I used cardboard for the base for one of the islands, plaster coated pieces of Styrofoam bead board for a couple of scenery pieces, and globs of leftover plaster for several other “home” islands and scenery pieces. With left over plaster I scooped it out in globs on a piece of cardboard. Once these were thoroughly dry I used a chisel bladed hobby knife and chiseled the globs to shape. I made some horizontal and vertical cuts to mimic rock faces. I then used dark grey paints to paint the pieces. Alternately, I painted some areas of the casting to represent corral.

I gave each piece a good black wash, and then dry brushed using lighter shades of grey to bring out the highlights and add variations of color here and there. Once the paint was dry, I painted selected areas dark brown and added green ground foam to represent vegetation.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Pirates of the Spanish Main-Battle Report #01

I played my first game of Pirates of the Spanish Main over the weekend. Just to get the feel for the game Fran and I decided to play a short game. We only used nine gold pieces instead of the total of twenty-seven. The basic plan for Pirates of the Spanish Main is to keep your opponent from getting to the “wild” Islands and collecting gold pieces, while trying, at the same time, to amass as many of these gold pieces yourself.
The rules for the game are rather on the simple side, but we still had some fun moving our two vessels around on the board (table-top), exploring islands and picking up gold pieces, and firing out cannons at one another’s ships. In the end, once the last gold piece had been taken from the island, the outcome was that we both had the exact number of points; a tie.

There are other rules for a full game and other house rule sets that are available online. These additional strategies should make the game a bit more interesting. I also have ideas that could make the game even more interesting and challenging. I just have to get these ideas down on paper, create the props, and implement them into our next game.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

32 vintage “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” Episodes are Available on Hulu

Back in April I posted “14 Super Submarines That Took Science Fiction under the Sea”. One of the submarines mentioned in that post was the Seaview. Recently I came upon a collection of classic Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea videos. Hulu has a collection 32 black and white episodes. These episodes were produced from 1964- 1965. I used to enjoy watching this TV series when I was a boy. A number of color episodes were produced, but I don’t recollect viewing any of these episodes.

The futuristic nuclear submarine S.S.R.N. Seaview went on many fabulous voyages, made many fascinating discoveries and saved the world from many menaces. At the time of my viewing this series it all seemed so fabulously futuristic and amazing. Viewing the shows today, the technologies presented look so antiquated and trite.

Pirates of the Spanish Main Crew Types

Pirates of the Spanish Main, offers seven basic crew member types. Crew members add special abilities to the ship in which they serve. Players can add crews to their ships, however; typically each crew member takes up one cargo space.

Special Ablilities
Once per turn, one of this ships cannons may shoot again, if it misses.
This ship may move and then shoot using the same move action.
This ship may dock and explore one wild island using the same move action.
This ship gets +S to her base move.
This ships gains one cannon that may not have its range or cannon roll increased. It can shoot from any mast (even an eliminated mast).
If derdlict, this ship gains a base move of S.This crew member takes up no cargo space.
This ship may repair at sea or any island.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A List of Mostly Free RPGs

Role Playing Games (RPGs) are games where participants act out the roles of characters in a narrative game. The following list identifies several directories that list multiple mostly free RPG’s:

The Compendium of Free Role Playing Games (DIR)

The Compendium of Free Role Playing Games features a pretty comprehensive list of free RPG's. This list is updated periodically. New entries are posted toward the top and are indicated with (New).

SCIFI: The Free Roleplaying Games List (DIR)

SCIFI: The Free Roleplaying Games List is another directory of free RPG's. As indicated in the title of this site, the site focusses on SCIFI RPG's. This substantial list of SCIFI RPG's is also updated from time to time.


The Open Directory Project has published a directory of RPG's. Most of the listed RPG's are free, but you might find a few RPG’s that require some type or payment.

RPG Free List (DIR)

The RPG Free List features news, reviews, and an A-Z list of free RPG’s.

The Free RPG Blog

The Free RPG blog features news on the latest free RPG's. Not quite as an extensive listing as the above sources, but does offer a few of the latest free RPG’s. Also provides reviews of RPGs.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park Role-Playing Game Book

The Lost World: Jurassic Park Role-Playing Game Book looks like it may be an interesting and fun RPG to play with your children. The book comes with 24 punch-out characters, DNA cards, and rules to play three short interactive adventures. In my last search, it was still available through Amazon.

(DIR) denotes a directory

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mutants and Machine-Guns RGG, part 1

Experimental Playground offers many print and play board games. Their most recent game, “Mutants and Machine-guns“, a role playing game, caught my attention because of its format. Most of their games can be printed on a single A4 sized sheet of paper and are usually printed in black and white. This RPG, “a gonzo post-apocalyptic” adventure, is formatted to fit on a pocket-mod. Interesting concept and it looks like it will be rather entertaining!

Coupling the right Miniatures with Mutants and Machine-Guns RPG, part 2

When I looked over the rules for Mutants and Machine-Guns’ RPG I started to think about the miniatures that could be used in this RPG. There are three types of characters listed in this “gonzo post-apocalyptic” RPG: Pure Humans, Human Mutants, and Evolved Animals.

For the Pure Human and Human Mutants I am thinking about using 1/72 miniatures from Elhiem Figures. Elhiem has a large selection of metal figures, including a full line of modern military miniatures. I am considering the following miniatures:

Pure Humans

  • Product Name : American Adventurer; #P18
  • Product Name : Mz Whip; #P34

Human Mutants

  • Product Name : Retro Rocket Man; #P40
  • Product Name : Hero and Heroine; #SIFI02
  • Product Name : Acturian Pirate Nobels; #SIFI04

Evolved Animals

For the Evolved animals I went over to Splintered Light Minis and chose several of their 20mm Woodland Warriors. 20mm might be a bit smaller than 1/72, but wouldn't animals be a smaller than a typical human?

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Source of Ether Ship Miniatures

When looking for Ether ship miniatures to play the “Ironclads and Ether Flyers” RPG I came upon a designer on Shapeway’s that is offering Ether ship miniatures that could be used for this game. Objects May Appear is offering a large collection of Ether flyers and other vessels that are reasonable priced. Most are in 1/1200 scale, but OMA does offer a few vessels in 1/600, and in other scales. They are molded in, what looks like a white hard plastic. These miniatures are created using a 3-D printer, and from what I can gather, they will need some cleaning up and paint.

See you all next week, I am taking off for the weekend...

Ironclads and Ether Flyers-Exotic Weaponry

A variety of exotic weapons can be installed on a “Flyer” however these weapons are limited to the space that is available either on the deck or below decks. The list below indicates the current technology trends and the exotic weapons that are available:

Weapon Types

  1. Hale Rockets
  2. Tether Mine
  3. Drogue Torp.
  4. Smutts Dschgr
  5. Smutts Dschgr+
  6. Smutts Torpedo
  7. Power Grapnel
  8. Bomb Rack
  9. Bomb
  10. Spike Dropper
  11. Liquid Fire
  12. Deck Tube
  13. Fixed Tube
  14. Torpedo Reload
  15. Depth Bomb

Adaptations from materials found on paged 63 and 68 in the Ironclads and Ether Flyers, Frank Chadwick.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ironclads and Ether Flyers-Glossary

Aerial Flyers
Aerial flyers, sometimes referred to as flyers, are aerial gunboats that are held aloft by liftwood panels.

Liftwood has unique anti-gravity qualities and is native to the Martian highlands.

A cable is a unit of measurement equal to 200 yards or 100 fathoms. A cables length is the basic unit of measurement used in this game. 

Ether Flyers
Ether Flyers are large interplanetary vessels that use propellers for propulsion and liftwood for atmospheric lift. 

Ironclads are armored sea going vessels and are the back-bone of any nations’ terrestrial naval forces. 

Naval Vessels
These are steam powered sea going vessels. 

Zeppelins are used by nations that do not have the benefit of liftwood.  Zeppelins are held aloft by using large rigid lifting bags filled with hydrogen gas.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

An Update on that DIY Miniature Metal Millennium Falcon Model

The model is available directly from Strapya World. They are a Japanese company. They do give some instructions on how to build the model on site, but they are in Japanese. Let us hope the model ships with English assembly instructions. There is a short video clip that explains the process on the home page that could be of some help. The current price for the model is $15 USD and not the $12 as I had last posted and you can add another $10 for postage and handling.

Steampunk Bible-Resource

The Steampunk Bible has many outstanding features, but the one feature that I appreciated the most was its mention of other authors and texts, both modern and from the past.

The Steampunk Bible includes a section that mentions the authors and their texts that predate the Steampunk movement. Many of these texts have been an inspiration to authors. I am just scratching the surface here with the mention of the following: Frank Reade, and Edward Ellis. I mentioned these authors in my summer reading list.

Frank Reade

I just made a post about receiving my Frank Reade: Adventures in the Age of Invention book in the mail the other day. As far as I can tell Frank Reade is a fictional character and protagonist in a series of Dime Store novels. I will be writing more about this character and his fabulous inventions later on.

Edward Ellis

Edward Ellis is another author of Dime Store novels. These novels were full of adventure, were primarily written for boys, and were written toward the end of the 19th and into the start of the 20th century. The Guntenberg Press has a large collection of Ellis’s novels available for download. Ellis also wrote about fabulous inventions; see his The Huge Hunter; Or, The Steam Man of the Prairies.

Both authors, the real and imaginary were prolific writers and I look forward to reading as much as I can from these authors. I also forward to recording my findings and thoughts.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My Pirates of the Spanish Main Fleet

Pescados De Plata
The "Silver Fish" is fast and agile. Her crews are all ex-merchantmen sailors and so they are expert cargo handlers.
Nation: Spain
Points: 8
Masts: 2
Cargo Capacity: 3
Base Move:   S + S
Canon Ranges: 2 S - 2 S
Special Abilities: Once per turn this ship may move S after unloading cargo.
Card Number: SS-013

La Furia
Although "The Fury" was outfitted with the same cannons as the Asesino De La Nave, she does not perform as well at short range, a fact that can be attributed only to the quality of her gun crew.
Nation: Spain
Points: 12
Masts: 2
Cargo Capacity: 3
Base Move: L
Canon Ranges: 3 S -3 S
Special Abilities: This ship eliminates two masts with one hit.
Card Number: SS-0II

Muerta De La Corona
"Death to the Crown" was so named by Gaspar Zuan to appease his brothers blood lust for the throne of Spain.
Nation Pirate
Points: 9
Masts: 3
Cargo Capacity: 3
Base Move: + L
Canon Ranges:   3 S - 3 L - 3 S
Special Abilities: This ship gets + 1 to her cannon rolls against Spanish ships.
Card Number: PS-024

HMS GallowGlass
HMS GallowGlass is manned by many ex-cons, including several of Bones Wylies crew. These men can strip valuables from sinking ships and barely get their feet wet.
Nation: Great Britain
Points: 6
Masts: 2
Cargo Capacity: 2
Base Move: S + S
Canon Ranges:   3 S - 3 L
Special Abilities: When this ship sinks another ship, you may repair one of this ships masts.
Card Number: ES-0II

HMS Birkenhead
HMS Brikenhead was part of several of Sir Myings insertions into Spanish ports. It was outfitted with spikes and guillotine lines to aid in the repelling of boarding parties.
Nation: Great Britain
Points: 11
Masts: 3
Cargo Capacity: 4
Base Move: L
Canon Ranges: 3 S - 3 L - 3 S
Special Abilities: This ship gets +1 to her boarding rolls.
Card Number: ES-012

It is a Great Day for Spammers

I wonder if spammers even bother to read the posts?

Axis and Allies Unit Purchasing Strategies

I am still waiting to play Axis and Allies 1941. It is very hard to get four or five people together when we all live very busy lives. In the mean time I have read through the rule book once and I am strategizing. I have looked at many different aspects of this game and will be sharing my thoughts on these points in upcoming posts. One point I wanted to mention today is the mobilization process.

As you can see from the accompanied chart, there are three types of units that can be purchased: Land, Air, and Sea. Each county is given a starting amount of Industrial Production Certificated (IPCs) and must plan ahead and purchase units best suited for their upcoming movements and strategies.

Land units consist of infantry (3 IPCs) and tanks (6 IPC’s). Infantry units defend at 2, but only attack at 1, however they are very economical units to purchase and a player should make sure that they have at least three infantry units for every one tank in the defensive mode.

Tanks are not too expensive, at 6 IPCs per unit. They attack and defend at 3. Their advantage is that they move 2 compared to infantries movement of 1. Like I mentioned before, purchase 1 tank for every 3 infantry in the defensive mode.

Next are the air units. There are only two of these units, the fighter and the bomber. Fighters are more economical (10) compared to the bomber (12). That is only a difference of 2 IPC you say; yes, but look at the other aspects like attack and defense ratios and you will notice that the fighter is more economical to purchase than the bomber. That being said, a bomber is better for offensive movements. It has a movement of 6 and they attack at 4. Just don’t send your bomber without support from a fighter or two.

That brings us to the sea units and we have quite a few types of units to think about. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. None of these units have all that great of an attack or defense rates, with the exception of the battleship, which has an attack and defense rate of 4. However, at 16 IPCs per unit, you don’t want to send them out without some type of support, perhaps with a submarine and at least one destroyer. The destroyer nullifies a surprise attack by a submarine. The same with aircraft carriers, at 12 IPCs per unit and with a defense rate of 2, you want to provide as much cover as possible.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monsters of the Shattered World

Start here and scroll down to the bottom of the page to listen to the first episode of Monsters of the Shattered World. Monsters of the Shattered World is twelve part fantasy podcast. The podcasts run anywhere from four to about seven minutes and can be listened to on site or downloaded as a MP3 file. The story is narrated and is quite entertaining.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Frank Reade: Adventures in the Age of Invention

My copy of Frank Reade: Adventures in the Age of Invention arrived the other day in the mail. It looks like a great book with a lot of colorful illustrations and history. I look forward to plunging into it. I will be bringing you more about this text in the very near future.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Millennium Falcon Resources

Millennium Falcon (image)

Blueprint to the Millennium Falcon

Wired offers a nice high resolution blueprint of the Millennium Falcon; for whatever it is worth.

More Data about the Millennium Falcon

The Starwar’s Encyclopedia offers information about Star War characters and its technologies including the Millennium Falcon. Read a description, and statistics about this “worn-out junker”.

$12 DIY Miniature Metal Millennium Falcon Model

The article calls this model a laser cut metal model kit, but wouldn’t that be considered a photo-etched kit? Whatever the case the model looks like it would fun to assemble and wonder to display

Millenium Falcon Revell-Monogram Model (under $10)

Another model available from the well know Revel-Monogram model maker. Don’t know of its scale, but current price seems like a steal and is an easy to build kit (snap together).

Friday, July 5, 2013

Ironclads and Ether Flyers -What is an Ether Flyer?

Image adaptation from Introduction to Space 1889.

Ether Flyer’s are large spacecraft that are used for interplanetary space travel. They use propellers for propulsion, but rely on “liftwood” for atmospheric flight.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

US Army Photo of the Day: Little Green Army Men

I was just reading my Little Green Army Men post and decided to search for Little Green Army Men and came upon this site, which I thought was rather neat.

Ironclads and Ether Flyers

My copy of Ironclads and Ether Flyers arrived in the mail the other day. Ironclads and Ether Flyers, Aeronaval Warfare in the 19th Century, is a turn based Role Playing Game (RPG) written by Frank Chadwick. Ironclads and Ether Flyers is part of the Space 1889 series and can make use of miniatures found at Game Tech (If they are still in existence?). Ironclads and Ether Flyers defines the technologies used, provides scenarios, and campaign rules (a campaign lasts ten turns).

I look forward to reading this book and learning more about “Space 1889”.

Blog News

I am excited about this month’s upcoming posts. I have many ideas and posts lined-up for this month. Last month seemed so laborious and exacting. Although I found things to write about, I wasn’t excited as I am now, about writing or pursuing the threads presented in June. I suppose you will have this.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Miniature Star Wars Millennium Falcon

The Millennium Falcon, first publicized in Star Wars IV, is a spacecraft that is commanded by the smuggler Han Solo and is Wookiee first mate. This replica measures 1.27 cm (1/2 inch long) and is made entirely of paper. It is reported that the model took eight hours to complete. Although it probably wouldn't be a project that I would undertake, I am sorry that there are no plans for this model.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Miniature Mash-ups

What do you get when you couple small forms of nautical life with miniatures? You get images that are fantastic and “hilariously creative”. The site offers eleven image mash-ups where miniatures were paired up with various forms of small nautical life.

Monday, July 1, 2013

My Summer Reading List(revised)

I have revised my summer reading list. I have removed one epub and have added two new titles that I have just sent for. The two new titles have been added to the bottom of the list. I hope to be able to get through this new abbreviated reading list over the summer. I will be making a post about Edward S. Ellis and Frank Read once I start reading these novels.

The Most Dangerous Game (short story), 1924, Richard Cornell

The Most Dangerous Game is a story about a big game hunter that is being hunted by a Cossack aristocrat on an isolated Island in the Caribbean. Score: Big Game Hunter=3; Cossack aristocrat=0. Nice ending!

Anthem (short story), 1937, Ayn Rand

Anthem is a dystopian short story. Anthem is set in an unspecified time in the future. "Mankind has entered into another dark age characterized by irrationality, collectivism, and socialistic thinking and economics." In this dystopian society the concept of individuality has been eliminated. It is a place where uttering the word "I" is punishable by death. Interesting story!

My other texts

  • The Steam Man of the Prairies, 1868, Edward S. Ellis
  • The Land of Mysteries, 1840, Edward S. Ellis
  • Frank Reade: Adventures in the Age of Invention, 2012, Paul Guinan, & Anina Bennett
  • Ironclads & Ether Flyers: Aeronaval Combat for Space 1889 (Space 1889 Sci-Fi Roleplaying), 2000, Frank Chadwick