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April 2018

PAX East 2018: Acquisitions Incorporated

Inspiration from PAX East 2018: Acquisitions Inc.?

I’ve never been big a huge fan of podcasts. I occasionally listen to Song Exploder, Bill Simmons, Locked On Celtics, and Lore, but I’d don’t think a podcast has ever been in my top ten items of consideration for entertainment.  And I’ve definitely never listened to a podcast and thought, HAY-SOOS!!! I need more of THAT! Two and a half hours wasn’t nearly enough!

Until now.

Perception check, successful.

In a passing conversation at Alpha Omega Hobby, a fellow gamer perceived that I — a PAX East attendee and Adventurers League, umm… adventurer — would enjoy the Acquisitions Incorporated podcast.  Why?

  • It’s a Dungeons & Dragons campaign.
  • Played by the creators of Penny Arcade and PAX.
  • With a great revolving cast of characters including Wil Wheaton and Morgan Webb.
  • And it’s REALLY funny.

Arcane knowledge check, failed!

It is MIND-BOGGLING that I’d never heard of this before. I consider myself a well-informed, well-rounded geek who is perpetually bathed in the soothing hot springs of pop culture. Make no mistake, I consider this a personal failure.

Investigation check, NAT 20!

Today, I made things right. I spent nearly three hours commuting through stupid rain-tainted Boston traffic and listened to the entire PAX East 2018 podcast. I laughed and laughed and laughed. Three thumbs up, six star rating, and an eleven on a ten-point scale.

In addition to being hysterically funny, the podcast was also unexpectedly inspiring. In a pinch, if asked to DM a game of Dungeons & Dragons, could I improv a game based on the PUBG/Fortnite concept with exploration and events cards the way they did at PAX East? Sure I’ve seen creature decks, dungeon decks, and encounter decks before, but the entire tongue-in-cheek Battle Royale structure was both fun AND funny. And oddly practical!

So, I leave this post here for me to find in the future. Maybe I’ll re-inspire myself someday and put this concept in my project queue. I leave you with the Twitch stream of the 2018 event below:

Watch PAX EAST 2018 – Main Theatre – Acquisitions Inc. from PAX on

Post Scriptum

It still pains me that all things Battle Royale aren’t credited back to Battle Royale.


Reaper Bones Miniatures

Reaper Bones Miniatures from a CRAZY generous co-worker!

I’m not kidding when I say I NEVER imagined that I’d ever pick up miniature-painting as a hobby. I didn’t think I had the patience or the fine motor skills to make it work. And while I always admired others’ craftsmanship, I pretty much knew that was never going to be me.

But then…

I met James at work. I’m pretty much a human divining rod when it comes to discovering people who love Star Wars. From there it wasn’t long before James — a hardcore miniature wargaming guy — turned me onto Star Wars: X-wing.

My ten-year-old and I now LOVE that game. It was also super-appealing to me that the miniatures were already assembled and painted. So, I still had ZERO intention of ever investing in miniatures that I’d have to paint.

But then…

I took my son to Alpha Omega Hobby where we met our future Dungeon Master, Adam. We joined the Adventurers League and my son fell instantly head-over-heels in love with Dungeons & Dragons.

Oh yeah, by the way, Adam isn’t just a great Dungeon Master. He also happens to be an incredibly talented and renowned professional toy painter. That said, I was pretty satisfied with the unpainted Reaper Bones Miniatures I’d purchased for our characters so I still wasn’t really driven to paint anything.

But then…

In a passing conversation at work, James extolled the benefits of washes and dry brushing techniques. On a weekend not far removed from that discussion, my son and I semi-inadvertently took a two-hour painting lesson with Adam. Not long after that, Fantasy Flight Games released Star Wars: Legion.

Well, crap.

I guess I have no more excuses. With the knowledge, experience, and support of James and Adam I feel like I can learn. With the interest of both my kids, I have a wonderful screen-less hobby that we can share.

Speaking of sharing…

In an act of CRAAAAAZY generosity today, James shared a box of Reaper Bones Miniatures for which he had no plans. I’m stoked. The kids are pumped. And now, I suspect, we’re in this hobby for a good long haul. I don’t think any of us is getting “MINI LIFE” tattooed across our knuckles any time soon, but I foresee us painting more weekends than not. And THAT is what inspired this post.

Thank you and a crisp high five, James!

Aaaaaaaaaand theeeeeeen?


Star Wars Legion stormtrooper

Star Wars Legion: Amateur hour painting

I am a COMPLETE n00b when it comes to painting miniatures. I have literally one lesson under my belt from Small Angry Monster at Alpha Omega Hobby. So bear with me as I share my descent into madness.

Don’t be mad.

If you’re a Star Wars purist, you might get mad that I’m choosing to paint my Star Wars: Legion miniatures with non-traditional color schemes. But make no mistake, there’s a 99.99999% chance that I’m a bigger Star Wars fan than you.

Corran Horn remains one of my all-time favorite characters. I was devastated when they retconned all of Karen Traviss‘ rich Mandalorian history. I’ve voluntarily watched the Star Wars Holiday Special as an adult… twice. I still maintain that Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi was a fun game. Lastly, I’ll pour a hot chocolate out for Quinlan Vos, Cade Skywalker, and Lieutenant Kettch.

Yub yub, commander.

Or be mad, that’s cool, too.

This blog is absolutely for sharing, but it’s as much for me to remember what the heck I did in case I ever want to do it again. So, here’s a quick blow-by-blow account of what I’ve done so far:

  1. Got busy with the Loctite Super Glue to get everything assembled.
  2. Painted the Stormtroopers with Citadel Corax White spray paint.
  3. Mounted the base to the cork of my PK-Pro miniature holder with poster putty.
  4. Used every curse word I knew as I applied black with Sakura Micron Pigma Pens.
  5. Applied Citadel Abbadon Black to the larger black areas.
  6. Blinged up the left shoulder with Citadel Screaming Bell and Citadel Retribution Armour.

I still need to do a dry brush with Citadel Ceramic White; but I’m also REALLY tempted to try with Citadel Longbeard Grey for a little extra contrast. And I’m tempted to go with an even redder metallic paint for the shoulder panel of the armor.

Come back later!

I already have plans for my Rebels and wargaming space, but it’ll take me time (and a bunch of blog posts) to get there. I even have a vague story to support the color-schemes and the terrain which I think I’ll share when I have EVERYTHING put together.. It’ll all eventually make sense… at least to me.

Magic the Gathering: Vraska and Vampires

Magic the Gathering: Vampires and Joy Division

I’m pretty sure my 10-year-old beat me a GAJILLION times in a row with his modified Jace-led, mostly-merfolk Magic the Gathering deck. My vampire-centric deck seemed destined for impotence with creatures constantly enchanted and beaten to a bloodless pulp despite Vraska’s potential for bad-assery.

I’m GENUINELY happy for my son, who continues to develop both a love for the game and a mind for strategy. But I’m also pretty aggravated that I constantly find myself in situations with a field full of permanently tapped creatures and/or scenarios where I am repeatedly paying to re-field creatures that have been returned to my hand.

That’s when I hit eBay.

Bursting with Joy (Division)!

With an idea in mind, I went in search of dollar- and mana-cheap, swamp-based vampires that had the ability to play nicely with other vampires and/or the potential to severely aggravate and annoy with a variety of life-taking and life-restoring powers.

In retrospect, I probably should have read up on deck-building and viable strategies. Instead, I window-shopped and frequently fell victim to “Ooooo, pretty picture!” in my research process. That said, I ended up impulse purchasing some Bloodbone Vampires, Guul Draz Vampires, Screeching Bats/Stalking Vampires, Vampire’s Bites, Vampire Envoys, and a Vampire Cuttthroat.

A bundle of Joy (Division).

A few packages — bundles you might say — arrived and it was time to start customizing my deck. I subjected the kids to Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures (see below) for the process. I now realize a completely missed opportunity to pump Bauhaus’s “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” instead.

Womp, womp.

Anyway, here’s how I modified my standard Vraska, Scheming Gorgon Planeswalker deck:

Creature (30)

  • 4 Vampire Envoy
  • 3 Guul Draz Vampire
  • 3 Vraska’s Conquistador
  • 2 Bloodbond Vampire
  • 2 Queen’s Bay Soldier
  • 2 Screeching Bat/Stalking Vampire
  • 2 Skymarch Bloodletter
  • 1 Bishop of the Bloodstained
  • 1 Champion of Dusk
  • 1 Deathless Ancient
  • 1 Dusk Legion Zealot
  • 1 Sanctum Seeker
  • 1 Vampire Champion
  • 1 Vampire Cutthroat
  • 1 Vicious Conquistador
  • 2 Inspiring Cleric
  • 1 Paladin of Atonement
  • 1 Legion Lieutenant

Sorcery (2)

  • 2 Vraska’s Scorn

Instant (5)

  • 2 Moment of Craving
  • 2 Vampire’s Bite
  • 1 Moment of Triumph

Land (22)

  • 18 Swamp
  • 4 Forsaken Sanctuary

Legendary Planeswalker (1)

  • 1 Vraska, Scheming Gorgon

Taking a Joy (Division) ride?

Short story, now made extremely long, the revised deck was a Joy Division-fueled success in its first run! I was able to field enough vampires to overcome my son’s deluge of enchantments. And I was satisfied… for about 15 minutes.

The next round we played, I was over-powered by three Sphinxes and it was time to go back to the drawing board.

Womp, womp again.

A Joy (Division) to behold!

So, the process sort of worked. And by “sort of” I mean that it didn’t really work.

But I do think I’m on the right track. I subsequently picked up a pair of Defiant Bloodlords at Alpha Omega Hobby. And I also eBayed some Vampiric Links, some Blood-cursed Knights, a Guul Draz Assassin, a Gatekeeper of Malakir, and a Captivating Vampire on the cheap.

When I mix-and-match my deck to a soundtrack of “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” I’ll let you know how it goes.


Dungeons & Dragons 5e

Hello, friends!

Nearly every weekend, I take my eldest son to Alpha Omega Hobby for our regular Dungeons & Dragons fix. Invariably, every encounter begins EXACTLY the same.

Our party’s wild magic blessed-and/or-afflicted sorceror greets every NPC with a completely open mind, devoid of any prejudice or preconception. Be it ancient hag or dwarven barkeep, be it mountain giant or undead skeleton, it’s ALWAYS the same. It seems only fitting that I open this blog with that same genuine joy of gaming. And so, I extend our sorceror’s most warmest greeting to you, my future devoted reader:

“Hello, friends!”

Here, I’ll post my exploration into game customization. Whether it’s hand-made specialty boards for 7 Wonders or Star Wars Legion miniatures painted with a Snake-Eyes-of-G.I.-Joe-like color scheme or off-color personalized Cards Against Humanity cards, I’ll share my triumphs and inevitable mistakes. Let’s have a laugh, O.D. on geeky pop-culture, and learn something cool along the way.

PLEASE come back when I have real content.