Monday, July 27, 2015

STAW, Gen Con and X-Wing...

Less than a week until we wander over to Indianapolis for Gen Con…  Staying at the Embassy Suites , but NOT the one downtown unfortunately…  Guessing I’ll be at the Con Friday and Saturday trying to get in some gaming Friday and wandering about with the girls on Saturday.  But in the meantime, one last event at the Gopher this evening and looking at running:

Peak Performance Federation 120

U.S.S Excelsior (26)
Jean-Luc Picard (6)
William T. Riker (3)
Montgomery Scott (5)
System Upgrade (2)
Quantum Torpedoes (6)
Ship SP: 48

U.S.S. Reliant (20)
Mr. Spock (4)
Kyle (2)
Photonic Torpedoes (2)
Ship SP: 28

Enterprise NX-01 (16)
Rudolph Ransom (2)
Type 8 Phaser Array (2)
Enhanced Hull Plating (0)
Ship SP: 20

Fighter Squadron 6 (24)
Ship SP: 24

Total Build SP: 120

Generated by STAW Builder

Is a simulation of a simulation as it were…  The scenario ( is one where you are running wargames to try to deal with the overwhelming Borg attack, so simulated and your ships “die” but come back online with 1 fewer shield or one less token in the case of Fighters…  One reason I put on 2 things that can regenerate Shields for me, and one ship is already conviently shield free…  Fighters will be an issue if they get killed too often, but hey, they’re 24 points.

Still trying to come up with a 120 point build for Gen Con, likely be bringing Klingons just for the “We’re here to shoot things” that they are known for…  Simple enough stuff…  Probably 4-5 decent ships, might go for 4 with interlocking bonuses to just move in a block and shoot things out of the sky before dying ourselves…

Looking at the X-Wing stuff, REALLY looking forward to the Wave 7 stuff and hoping they will have a bit at Gen Con, and will order a few of the ships locally…  Looking at the things I can do with the Rebel heavy bomber and the twin laser turrets…  Oh, and the new bomb types J…  Should shake up the meta quite a bit.  One of our locals took a really nice TIE swarm to Chicago over the weekend for Regionals and made top 8…  I suspect that this will be the last hurrah for the TIE swarm though…  Too many things look like hard counters with components from this upcoming wave…

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Relics from the 80's

Digging around in the basement...  Found one of my relics from the 80's.  An old Armorcast (I think) Tempest class Eldar Grav Tank...  In the old days it was a "super heavy" tank, but these days it would make an interesting Wave Serpent probably, the scale has grown a bit since then...

Thursday, July 16, 2015

X-Wing this weekend and Gen Com coming up...

Bigger X-Wing tournament coming up Sunday at Titan, so I’ll fly something at least familiar to me and that I think has a chance against the current “top lists”…  Right now, the scariest things are the 2 big turreted ships (Usually the Millennium Falcon x2) or the like loaded out to be annoyingly survivable or the Imperial equivalent with the one big ship and either a mini swarm or a few top notch fighters to escort.  Swarms of many small ships are still a danger, but becoming less so with more people looking ahead to Wave 7 and the probability of good Ordinance based squadrons being able to handle them easily…  That is one thing I REALLY like about this game, it is slowly evolving, not EVERY month a batch of ships, cards and the good chance that something in there is “poorly tested” and has some unforeseen combo that breaks the game a little bit more (or a lot).  Frankly pretty excited for Wave 7, looking like ¾ ships are going to be good for my fleets, and the Rebels get an excellent support bomber in the K-Wing. says it FAR better than I.  Both the K-Wing and the Firespray with Emon in bomber configuration are looking VERY nice with new bombs and tricks to deploy them. 

So, looking at fielding the following:
Boba Fett (Scum) — Firespray-31
K4 Security Droid
Engine Upgrade
Ship Total: 49

IG-88B — Aggressor
Lone Wolf
Sensor Jammer
Heavy Laser Cannon
Ship Total: 51

Pretty simple really, the Aggressor is hard to take down and has the potential to land up to 4 hits each turn…  Yes, not great odds of course, but it will likely hit for a few each turn even against crazy high Defense with its reroll ability.  MAKING people Focus to fire on it negates the turret’s ability to just throw out a shot hoping to ping for a hit here and there.  The 2 defensive additions can almost guarantee 2 dodges for someone firing at long range or outside of their 90˚ firing arc.  And I still have a base 3-4 Defense dice to roll.  So, it will likely survive.  Fett’s Firespray is set to essentially move slowly, take pot shots with Predator allowing re-rolls (and Fett’s ability if they get close)…  Not 100% sold on this configuration honestly, it has the potential to simply be swarmed and die without doing much of anything.

Other option is a fairly standard Dash/Corran list for the Rebels:

Dash Rendar — YT-2400                36
Heavy Laser Cannon       7
Navigator            3
Engine Upgrade               4
Outrider              5
Ship Total: 55
Corran Horn — E-Wing 35
Veteran Instincts             1
Fire-Control System       2
R2-D2    4
Hull Upgrade     3
Ship Total: 45
Nothing subtle, nothing really exciting, but potential to survive and do a fair bit of damage on the way… 

Probably stick with the S&V (first build) as a “fun” one…  I found 3 of my “Debris” markers so can use them instead of the verdammten Asteroid markers…  Last few times I parked on an Asteroid and lost several REALLY important rounds of shooting, but with this at least I get a shot…  Yes, a Stress and potentially a Critical Hit, but…  Better the 1/8 chance of a Crit than the 1/2 chance of a hit and loss of action/shooting… 

So, one last big event this month at Titan, Gen Con at the end of the Month…  Looking like a Star Trek Attack Wing tournament or two for me as they are what is scheduled when I’ll be around J…  Will need to get to “Will Call” probably Thursday when we get into town and get my badge/tickets…  Else, head in early Friday…  Guessing Saturday will be the day the girls and I wander about the Con…  Hoping we all have a better year than last, but staying at the Embassy Suites on the edge of Indianapolis, so at least a few meals, etc. will be included and we have a nice suite…

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Overflowing basement, vehicles breaking and it is mid July already?

So…  What to do with “too much stuff”…  As it is appearing a pretty darn good bet that several of my GW armies can be downsized with the new WFB being…  Well, not Warhammer Fantasy.  Read over the rules and it is a “no” for me at this point.  40K is also going in a somewhat silly direction, and it is another good bet I will not be playing the game any time soon again, if ever.  That one is a real shame, as I’ve played off and on since the late 80’s and I have amassed WAY too many armies over the years:  Wolves, Dark Angels, Fleshtearers (Blood Angels), Crimson Fists, Generic Marines, Grey Knights, Imperial Guard (Praetorians, so think “Zulu”), and finally Eldar…   Oh, and a Warhound class Titan and a Knight...  Just SO many models everywhere.  Nothing particularly valuable individually, and of course not really looking at just dumping the lots on e-bay to get next to nothing back for them…  Just seeing too many of the people I knew for a long time walking away from the game, and frankly haven’t played either of their games now in quite a while (measured in years for WFB).  So, I don’t know if someone were looking to pick up a bunch of stuff, get in touch I guess… 

The basement is feeling more and more like a tomb of ancient/dead games.  I have WAY too many dead games down there, but just can’t seem to get rid of them.  1st Edition Space Marine/Adeptus Titanicus (sp?)/Epic stuff mixed in with WizKids MechWarrior and BattleTech stuff in one corner.  Shelves full of Confrontation and related minis…  Then the 40K sprawl begins J…  So, I guess it is time to start packing some of it away.  Loads of ancient firearms there as well, should probably clean those and finish the armory closet…  Maybe get the painting station moved and set up a real “Hobby Area” for my wife and I complete with work bench, etc…

Waiting on payday, then ordering a few things for the bike I think…  REALLY missing the windshield, and yet another speedometer cable as I think I have installed them incorrectly with them dying so soon…  The Escape lost its exhaust flange, so the catalytic converter and the muffler are no longer attached.  Bolts rusted out, so that will be something I look at I guess.  The repair looks simple enough (thank you YouTube), so I guess I’ll give it a shot.  Need to pick up some more industrial strength break free (WD-40 is NOT enough) to get the rusted bolt head out of the flange and re-attach to the muffler….  Assuming I CAN and it does not break, this should be easy enough, but just saying that reminds me of the Clausewitz quote about “the easy things are the most difficult (in war)” …  So, we’ll see.  Might be a winter project, but may wind up getting a titled wreck/frame for the Magna and transferring everything that way…  Or just sell it as a “parts bike” and let the next buyer worry about the title.  In any case want it gone.  The Silverwing is running fine, but is just a tad too small for me to be comfortable taking it anywhere but in town, and I would very much like to go on longer rides…  So, I’ll probably get a Goldwing in the next iteration, can remove the trunk as I really just want saddlebags and a luggage rack to strap my ruck to if I am carrying more cargo.  Saddlebags need to fit my laptop and game stuff though as the Silverwing lacks in that area…  Probably get the "big bike" eventually, something in a Harley, Indian or Victory in a heavy cruiser with the nice hard side saddlebags...  But the Bluetooth headset my wife got me is working great as a comm unit for the helmet :-), so I am set there in the short to mid term...  And for the record, "Bat out of Hell" is an excellent soundtrack to cruise the back roads here in central Illinois....

Job search is a bust so far.  Other things are changing, so I guess we’ll see what shakes out when that gets settled.  Plus side I have some substantial things on the current resume that were not there in previous rounds, so my chances I would think are a bit better…  REALLY looking forward to next week ending as I can wash my hands of the one Department that I intend to have nothing to do with ever again….  Silly me volunteering to chair their search, but I think they have cured me of that.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Memphis trip, etc... A great way to start July...

So…  Took a long weekend trip to Memphis with my wife…  Was the first trip without the kids in a LONG time.  Had a great time, had great food, etc…  A few observations:

  •    Was VERY clean and well maintained where we were.  Now, this was pretty limited to Main Street and Beale Street between the big Government complex (Federal Bldg, City Hall, Courts, etc.) and Beale itself…  Part of the clean and well maintained was due to the HIGH number of private Security personal on the ground there.  Almost every business it seemed had some or “Staff” that reminded me of our “Goon Squad” we had back working at Joe’s Brewery in the old days…  Very orderly, and the high visibility of what appeared to be competent Security staff helped that impression.
  •  Beale St was pretty much like my impression of the French Quarter in New Orleans…  A lot of themed bars, most of which had window service so that you could get a drink and walk outside.  We decided not to go in to places with cover charges, and the drink prices were quite high…  Or at least they seemed that way to me, I don’t really drink anymore, so it’s been a LONG time since I last ordered myself anything in a bar other than the rare Guinness…  The crowd on Beale seemed a mix of “Frat Boys” and “Tourists” for the most part with a few more obvious local predator types mixed in…  As I mentioned above a LOT of Security, and I tend to be able to avoid issues with all of those crowds…  Am told I can project that “Just leave me alone if you want to live” feeling quite well..  Memphis PD had the street blocked off each night, so the place was very pedestrian friendly…
  •  Food was AWESOME overall…  We hit “South of Beale” the first night for our first “As seen on ‘Diners, Drive-ins and Dives’” meal.  Was probably the best meal we had there.  Certainly was the best we’d had out in a VERY long time.  Their Pimento Grits (I’d have called it “Polenta” coming from a more Italian background cooking wise) were the highlight for me… 
  • BBQ was REALLY good overall…  Rendezvous I thought had the best ribs I’ve had in a LONG time…  Their Brisket was also quite good.  The sauces that they had mixed well for my wife and I, so that was another winner…  Blues City Café was another place we tried…  My wife liked the ribs there better, I found them to be a bit too “fall off the bone” tender as they tended to disintegrate on me…  The lack of sauce was disturbing to me as a Yankee as well J…  She loved the fried catfish (not one of the things I like particularly, so I’ll take her word that it was among the best she’d had), and I REALLY liked their “Delta” style tamales and BBQ sausage…  Those had an excellent flavor and certainly made that meal for me…  So for me Rendezvous for the Ribs/Brisket and Blues City Café for the sides…  But certainly both were far better than anything I’d had locally in Champaign as I’ve been thinking the general BBQ quality here has been bottoming out for a long time…  Another one of those “If I can cook it better, I am unlikely to enjoy it out” things…
  • The “Bass Pro Shop Pyramid” was amusing…  We visited more as tourists than shoppers…  Neat building, but the fact that the roof was leaking in several places on the 25+ floor building was a tad disturbing to me…

All in all, though we stayed in the well-marked “safe” zones for the most part it was quite nice…  Stayed at the “Sleep Inn”, quite reasonable rates, nice place and RIGHT there on Main so we could park the vehicle and walk almost everywhere… 

Took the ancient bike out for a ride last night, missing the windshield…  Got hit by my first bird…  Was riding among the cornfields and going maybe 20mph coming out of a turn, so not a big deal, but the shield would have been nice.  Also had to clean out the helmet’s screen with the bugs hitting it pretty hard…  Got to ride into work today, but looking like my last ride for a while as we reenter monsoon season here in Illinois… 

Off to play STAW at the Gopher this evening, and I have my wee fleet packed away in the bike’s saddlebags…  Should be pretty decent as I just brought the 3 biggest ships I could fit in for the Klingons and Romulans and plan to take and hold the center while avoiding the terrain effects…

Waiting on a few things at work, did not get the last few things I’d applied for, but looking out longer term…  Well, it looks like a fair number of changes are headed our way, hoping that some moves happen the way I want them to which will open the way for me to move…  Eh, no hurry, I have a good job (at least it pays fairly well), family is doing well, etc…  So, there isn’t the sense of urgency I might otherwise have, but…  I do think it is definitely time to look very seriously at changes, be they within my current organization or another at the University…  We’ll see I guess…

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Klingon/Romulans for STAW, random games and motorcycle stuff to start July out

So, getting ready to play another STAW event at the Gopher next Monday… 

Klingon/Romulan Alliance

I.R.W. Avatar of Tomed (34)
Martok (6)
Cloaked Mines (3)
Ship SP: 44

Scimitar (38)
Mirok (2)
Romulan Helmsman (2)
Cloaked Mines (3)
Ship SP: 45

Negh'Var Class (28)
Donatra (4)
Ship SP: 33

Total Build SP: 120

Generated by STAW Builder
The scenario is based on one of my favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes with Cmdr Riker being assigned to a Klingon ship as part of an “Office Exchange Program”.  Their ship and the Enterprise both pick up some bacteria that eats away their hulls until the crew of the Enterprise figures out the “cure”.  The board for the event will a grid of 12 tokens placed leaving a narrow band in the center of the board without bacteria waiting to latch onto a ship.  Oh, and your ships all start with the stuff on them, so everyone rolls at least once to take damage (50% shot) before being able to clear the token by sacrificing an action more or less…  So, Fighters and small ships are pretty much right out for this event.  I’m going with straight joisting with big ships and big damage with the plan of run up the middle where it’s clear, and use the Cloaked Mines to punish the opponent for doing the same…  Not playing subtle, and with 2 ships that can heal along with the potential 9 Dice Attack from the Scimitar, it should leave a mark.

Hockey season is over…  Really the only sport I even follow a little.  The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, and with the hard salary cap, the dismantling of the team has begun…  A real shame, but if it prevents a NY Yankee situation where one team is completely dominant in the league being able to simply buy the best players, etc…  I guess I understand, and why it is impressive for a team to win the cup consistently.  And with the Cup being the most difficult trophy to win in any sport…  Kind of sad seeing the Hawks get broken up like this, but that’s the way it works I guess…

40K is gaining speed, but not I think in a good way.  The Space Marines and Dark Angels just released new Codices.  After a quick read through, I can’t really say that there is all that much new information in them frankly.  The Marines get a bunch of new formations, which is “neat”, but this is something that could have been an inexpensive web/e-book/whatever update, not another $60 hardback book to replace one less than 2 years old.  I think that is what is bothering me so much about it, this situation is the same as my experience with the University when I got here and took Chemistry…  Professor Zumdahl (I think, been a few years) was the instructor of record, and even usually did the weekly lectures…  He also wrote the book we used, and every 3 semesters there would be a “new” version so that you’d have to buy the new version and the used ones were completely worthless.  Nothing really new in basic Chemistry in the last 50 years certainly, just book royalties for the author who was also of course the instructor…  Getting that feeling here with 40K, nothing major changing, just updates in the Marines cases, but new and expensive book to play.  So, on one hand, it beats the LONG time between books for some armies (Orks, Wolves), but trading that for the things like the new AD Mech where you need something like 3 full books to play the army?  And knowing that the books are cycling out so quickly?  Meh, I guess I’ll paint up my Wolves Legion force and get ready for 30K games…  Eventually.  Maybe.

Started painting again, my Warmachine Dwarves (Rhullic) are getting base coated…  Still have some of their light Jacks in the package, and never really DID finish any of the army, so…  It looks OK, not professionally painted, but will look decent on the table I think.  And consistent with the same colors, etc…  Might get back to playing that game eventually…  Liking how it plays, but the Attack Wing stuff is just easier to pack up and get in some pickup games, so…  Looking like STAW at Gen Con unless somehow I can get into the X-Wing event on Thursday…  That sold out quick, so not really all that much a chance, so a nice slow trip over and Friday playing STAW/wandering the center…  Guessing the girls will want to come Saturday, so keeping the day clear…  Hopefully my kilt will be back by then J

Motorcycle is still running, but apparently we now have a monsoon season in Illinois…  But have a nice new Bluetooth device that allows some background music to be played, and it is AWESOME to have that…  An amazing gift from my patient and understanding wife J…  Workouts are starting to come along, still looking for a new job I guess...  We'll see how things work out...