Card Rack of Catan

Something that always irks me, when playing Settlers of Catan (or any other game of that ilk, really) is that the card piles inevitably end up all over the place, in a complete shambles. So, to ameliorate that issue, I made this card rack.

It's carved out of an old piece of rimu. The card bays are based with some self-adhesive foam sheet.

I'm fairly pleased with the way it turned out.

Boxes of Catan

Having nothing better to do this afternoon, I made myself a little storage box for my Settlers of Catan land and sea tiles.

I'd made one for the 5-6 player expansion pieces a little while ago (you can see it in the top-left of the photo), and I thought then, as I thought this time (too late), that I probably didn't really need to go to all the trouble of making a hexagonal internal cache.

Still, it's done now, and a fancy-schmancy hexagonal hole is definitely both fancier and schmancier than a boring old rectangular one.

I'd really like a cheapish printer with a fairly flat paper path, so that I could print on to heavy card stock. Maybe one day.

I'm done.

It's finally been brought home to me, after many years of faffing about and tinkering with system after system, that nobody else is really very enthused about playing the kind of games I want to run, nor, for that matter, running the kind of games I want to play. So, I'm out.

I'm not interested in GMing any more.

Schneider CA1 (1:100 scale)

This is the Schneider CA1 in 1:100 scale, which comes in a pack of two from Battlefront. It's mostly a very simple model to build; just six pieces — the hull, two interchangeable running gear units, two machine guns, and an extension for the girder on the nose.

This last is the problematic bit. For some reason, Battlefront thought it would be a good idea to provide this as an extension to the hull moulding, to be held on by glue with the tiniest, most fragile contact point possible at its base. It would last about five minutes under normal wargame conditions. I replaced that with a piece of plastic angle strip, set into a channel carved out where the original moulded bottom part of the girder was. It's sturdier, and it looks better too, and took about five minutes.

The Hotchkiss machine-guns on this one were a bit misaligned in the mould, but they'll do. They're much better on the other model in the box. They're quite vulnerable to handling damage, but I don't know that there's a great deal that I can do about that.

A7V - finished

These are the models from my last post, now in their final form. They are, as expected, very much darker, which is good.

Battlefront's decals are a mixed bag, though tending towards the good. They're not especially well registered, which is problematic for markings like these which should have even white borders. On the other hand, they're very thin and conform well to uneven surfaces (like rivets), and the film is nice and clear and detaches easily from its carrier sheet.

A7V (WiP)

I picked up a box of Battlefront's 1:100 scale German WW1 A7V tanks when they were marked down at my friendly local comic shop, Comics Compulsion. If not for the fact that they were at a sale price, I almost certainly wouldn't have bought them, because Battlefront's stuff is just getting more and more expensive.

There are a few different colour schemes possible for the A7V. It seems like each vehicle was painted quite idiosyncratically. The exact colours used are largely a matter of speculation, but there are enough surviving WW1 German artefacts painted in multi-colour disruptive schemes to be able to make some semi-educated guesses.

Fortunately, I'm not anal enough about it to be too traumatized if it turns out I'm horribly wrong.

I decided to paint them both in the same colours, but with different application methods. The first is painted with freehand airbrush, while the second is airbrushed using blu-tak masks for a harder-edged scheme — each block of colour will be further delineated with a black line around its periphery.

They'll both end up being substantially darkened by washes and weathering, which is really why I took some photos at this stage — so that I can have a before-and-after record.

Hit Points For Spell Use

OK, here's my initial plan for hit-point costs for spell-use.

To cast any spell, it costs you (1d6 + spell level) points, which comes off your maximum hit-point total.

Note that point: off your MAXIMUM hit point total. That means that magic use may actually cost you hit-points, but more importantly, it will affect the amount to which you can be cured.
Example: you have 50 hit-points, and you cast three level 3 spells which ends up costing you a total of 20 points. That means that you now effectively have only 30 hit-points. Just like physical damage and fatigue. The difference is that if you then take another 10 points in a fight, and get some magical healing or use one or more of your healing dice, you can't heal up past 30 points — your new Hit-Point Maximum. If you use more magic, your Hit-Point Maximum will drop still further.
Note that if you've taken 10 points of normal damage (to 40hp) and then cast a spell that drops your Hit-Point Maximum to 45hp, you won't immediately lose any more hit-points. It just means that you can't be healed up to your usual 50hp.
If you then cast another spell that drops your Hit-Point Maximum to 39, you'd actually lose that hit-point, because your new Hit-Point Maximum is lower than your current hit-point total.
A spell that requires Concentration to maintain will have to be paid for again if circumstances require a Concentration check (though it doesn't require new verbal, somatic or material components to be expended). If the check fails, you won't lose any hit-points, but of course the spell effect stops.

A Long Rest will return your Hit-Point Maximum back to normal, but nothing else will (unless I make up a spell or magic item or something that will do it).

It's not all bad news though. I'm doing away with spell slots — I think the hit-point cost is limitation enough.

I'll also be designing some magic items that can be used as hit-point sinks (i.e. that can be used to power spells before you have to use up your own precious life force) — probably along the lines of ioun stones and the like — some of which can be recharged, others of which will be disposable items.


I was thinking about what Andrew said about there being no point in ever using a lower-level casting power, apart from the miniscule difference in hp cost, and I think this might answer that:

We return to daily spell-slots as written in the rules, but they are no longer an absolute limitation; they're rather pricing bands or multiples. The casting cost increases if you exceed the number of "safe" slots available, as follows.

Let's say, for example, you have one 4th level slot, two 3rd, three 2nd and 4 1st-level slots.
  • You use up your 4th-level slot, at its standard cost of 1d6+4. If you want to cast a second 4th-level spell, the casting cost rises to 2d6+8. If you want to cast yet another, it rises to 3d6+12, and so on.
  • You have four 1st-level slots available, so the first four level one spells would each cost 1d6+1 to cast. The next four would cost 2d6+2, and the next four would cost 3d6+3.

Is that clear? It does mean that you'd have to go back to keeping track of how many spells you've cast at a given level, but life is a vale of woe, and man is born to suffering as the sparks fly upward.

7-TP (1:100, Battlefront)

This is the Polish 7-TP in 1:100 scale, from Battlefront. I bought it as a stand-in for the Vickers 6-ton, though in retrospect I would have been better to have got a T-26, as the Polish version has quite a different construction to the rear of the hull. Then again, the T-26 has different turrets — maybe I could mix-and-match them. Ah well, not to worry.

The highlighting looks a bit stark on this one, which is a bit of a puzzle since it's exactly the same paint I've used on other models.

Minerva (1:100, Peter Pig)

This is the Belgian Minerva armoured car. It was not the first, but it was one of the earliest armoured cars, and it was pretty primitive — pretty much just an open-topped steel box on a strengthened touring car chassis. The crew is quite exposed, especially when operating the machine gun.

The model is 1:100 (15mm) scale, from Peter Pig. The number painted on the side is there just to break up the blankness a bit; I don't really know much about the markings used on the actual vehicles. Since it's destined for Imaginaristan "Back of Beyond" skirmish gaming and not a museum diorama, that really doesn't matter a great deal.

Hills — the search for perfection continues

I've started another couple of hills, with the lessons of the first lot in mind. In the foreground is a long (about 800–900mm) rocky...