Riot Quest is a new grid-based skirmish game being released next fall. It is being put out by Privateer Press. In it players will have a squad of around 10 "trigger-happy, fortune-hunting mercenary characters with an aresenal of insane gear" that they can pull from to field a 4 character team. The goal will be to run around the grid map battling and collecting "piles and piles of shiny loot" while also completing changing bounty objectives. The characters will be mercenaries in the Iron Kingdom realm and will thus be compatible with the Warmachine and Hordes games. It will allow 2 to 4 players to compete in a game that lasts a little over half an hour.

This sounds like it may be the perfect game to introduce to an afterschool gaming club that wants to bring in a game with real paintable miniatures. Hopefully they keep the game at the same school and family friendly level of thematic content as their other grid-based game, Monsterpocalypse. Monsterpocalypse is my current favorite grid-based, family and school friendly, skirmish game, so I have high hopes for this one. It looks like Privateer Press is keeping the game firmly in the humorous, yet still cool, camp of Mosterpocalypse, where the theme and gameplay push players of all ages to end up genuinely laughing, giggling, and joking while playing. They are describing Riot Quest as a "hilarious and chaotic brawl." This is exactly what I and my children love about Monsterpocalypse. My children think the concept art looks very cool and the gameplay description sounds fun. Mosterpocalypse nailed that approach to a miniatures game.

Riot Quest Tinkerer concept art Riot Quest Pygmie Tank
Riot Quest Necrotech

War Chest box

War Chest is a new chess-influenced abstract game by Trevor Benjamin and David Thompson, distributed by AEG. I happened to find it on a ding and dent table in my local store and picked it up. I'm very glad I did. It has added in a modern deck-building mechanic to classic gameplay, among other things. It sports high component production values and easy to understand rules with strategic depth. I'm always interested in modern variants of classic abstract games for my after school gaming club. It has some similarities with two earlier chess-like abstract games which are favorites of my children and I, The Duke and Onitama. So how does it compare with its closest modern cousins? Which one do I and my children like the best? Read on to find out!

A new version of Krosmaster is on kickstarter now called Krosmaster Blast. My children love Krosmaster Arena, the earlier version. It looks like the new version is somewhat streamlined over the Arena version. We'll have to see. If you want to get your younger children into playing miniatures games, this is a good option. The figures come pre-painted. There is a cartoon named Wakfu, on Netflix, that is related to this game. This is a step up from Heroclix in terms of miniature quality. But the rules are simpler to grasp than Heroclix. If your children like the chibi type characters, but want to paint their figures, then go with Super Dungeon Explore PVP Arena instead.

Army Logo

It looks like the army and RAND Corporation are bringing back tabletop war gaming again. After the invention of the atomic bomb, tabletop miniature war games were seen as largely pointless for real military strategy training. They had been in use since the late 1700s in Prussia (and subsequently spread worldwide) for that purpose. They were created through slowly evolving chess to be more and more realistic. But after the atomic bomb, miniatures wargaming was consigned to the tabletop hobby world alone. Hobbyists continued playing tabletop war games simply because they were very fun and extremely challenging. Meanwhile RAND came up with the idea of "role playing" games as the best way to simulate modern warfare for the purpose of military training. Participants would now play the roles of leaders of countries with nuclear weapons at their disposal. Then the participants would basically negotiate their way to victory. No table or miniatures were required. The most popular hobbyist tabletop game to come out of this idea was Diplomacy.

First Edition of Dungeons and Dragons

In 1974, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson applied the role play idea to miniatures medieval wargaming rules Gygax had developed earlier (which included Tolkien (Lord of the Rings) fantasy creatures as options for combatants). They also added in the idea of characters improving through experience (which had already been in miniatures wargaming in somewhat embryonic forms). And boom! Dungeons and Dragons was born, changing hobby tabletop gaming (and the electronic gaming that arrived soon after) forever.

And now the circle is completing itself as tabletop wargaming, with role playing involved, is going to be used once again in the military. Contrary to the predictions after World War II, the world still does conventional war these days, and thus tabletop wargaming is still applicable in a nuclear world for strategic modeling and training. Of course this new generation of tabletop wargames the military is doing will be highly advanced compared with the games they were playing pre-WWII, and will have computers sitting nearby crunching numbers... History is fascinating in how it so often follows spiraling paths.

Here is an article about it: link

Here is a cool graphic made by fun.com which shows an overview of the history of board games in North America,

history of board games graphic

Here's another graphic showing sales of the entire hobby board gaming market versus the sales of mass market game maker Hasbro.

north american game sales graph

Here's a nicely presented video on being a good gamer. "Uncle Atom" has some excellent words of wisdom here.

I ran across this comic online. Pretty funny stuff. Gandalf meeting some RPGers.

Life of the Part Comic

Crucible Con 2018 was the first miniatures gaming con I have attended. I spent the weekend taking painting classes. Here are some pictures of the gaming tables at the con, though. There was row after row of tables with battle fields to play on.

Crucible Con 2018 gaming tables

The painting classes were done by Rick Casler. He is a local firefighter who does miniatures painting commission work and teaching on the side under the business name of Firestorm Miniatures and Painting. He has won international painting competitions in the past, but no longer competes. The classes were outstanding. We had classes, Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday. On Friday night we learned about air brushing, pin washing, and edge high lighting while painting an Infinity miniature. Saturday, we didn't even touch a miniature. We spent the day painting boxes of white and black on little poster board pieces as a way to learn the different techniques of blending colors into gradients. We progressed to painting 3D images of first a cube and then a soda can on our poster board pieces. With those we learned how to make use of light and dark colors to shade images to produce a 3D look. I thought of this day as kind of a Mr. Miyagi wax on wax off day. Then on Sunday we got to apply the techniques we had learned on Friday night and Saturday to a miniature bust of Iron Man. Finally, all the techniques came together, and we saw what we were able to do. Although my miniature ended up looking nowhere near as good as the teacher's example piece, it did show marked improvements over anything I've done before. But most importantly I now have a lot of new techniques to practice on over the coming year that I would have never learned by just watching YouTube videos like I have been doing for the past year. The class was inspiring, and Chris did a great job. He was patient and always positive and complimentary to his students. I have taken two other miniature painting classes from people in the past and they were fun, but there was a tremendous difference between those experiences and the experience of taking a class from a truly world class painter. I'd highly recommend anyone in the Central Florida area, interested in painting, that has the opportunity, to take a painting class from him.

Here are the two example pieces the instructor did, which we learned the techniques from.

Infinity Miniature painted in painting class Iron Man bust example used in painting class

Here are some other miniatures painted by the instructor that were on display in the room. They come from the game Blood and Plunder, which is a historical miniatures game set during the 1600s during the age of piracy.

Here are some other miniatures painted by people at the con that I thought looked cool.

The games that had tournaments running during the con were Warhammer 40K, Age of Sigmar, Warmachine/ Hordes, Bolt Action, Kings of War, Infinity, Blood Bowl, and Aristeia. People were also playing Monsterpocalypse and Shadespire casually.

I didn't see any children or women competing at the con, but I may have missed them if they were there since I spent the majority of my time in the painting classes. The demographic seemed to be men from college age up through the 60s, however. My children are determined that they want to attend next year and compete. So perhaps they will be the only children competitors there.

In my opinion the hobby is an untapped arena for a positive family hobby. Children naturally love painting and building things. And the mental exercise involved in the game part of the hobby is wonderful as well. My children and I have a great time playing the games and painting our miniatures. I would highly recommend it to any parents.

Here’s hoping this hobby continues to come out of relative obscurity and gains the patronage it deserves.

Steam Park box

Steam Park has been a favorite of my children and mine for a few years. The theme of the game is that robots have decided to run an amusement park. You are trying to make your robot amusement park the most popular one around and in so doing earn the most money. Unfortunately, you make a lot of mess while you build and your visitors aren't the cleanest either. So you're constantly having to clean up messes while you're desperately trying to expand. What a wonderfully original theme! It reminds me of the old sim games I played on the computer when growing up. The game has a frantic speed element and a regular paced thoughtful period within each round. Its art work and physical components are awesome. This is just an all around modern classic. But read on to get a detailed look at the game!