Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Railcon is Moving

While it doesn't appear often in my blog train board games are among my favorite. Mayfair's Empire Builder series (sometimes called crayon games since you draw your track directly on the board), the 18xx series (Started by Frances Tresham with 1829) and the Ticket to Ride Series by Days of Wonder are among my favorites. I'm also a founding member of the Train Gamers Association (TGA) which I helped start back in 1989 or '90 (I forget the exact dates, I'll have to dig up an old newsletter) with my ex-wife, Heather Barnhorst and Darwin and Peter Bromley from Mayfair Games.

I'm sadden to hear that Railcon will not be held in Denver this year. It has been a staple of Tacticon for 10 years, when the decision was made to give it a more permanent home rather than a traveling convention (being held in a different city each year). While I realize that it wasn't the ideal place to hold the TGA's National Puffing Billy tournament it was great to have it here in Denver where the Puffing Billy rules were born. Dean Washburn and his group of fellow train gaming enthusiasts spent many an hour working on set of scoring rules that would allow an organizer to get comparable scoring for any type of train game.

Tacticon will still be on Labor Day weekend, but for some reason the organizers have decided to move to Colorado Springs. My personal opinion is that this will kill the show. Colorado Springs has never been able to support a convention on a regular basis and it has been tried many times over the years. I'm very doubtful that many Denver/Boulder folks will be willing to travel to the Springs for a show when there are so many opportunities to game up here. Time will tell though. Its also somewhat inconvenient to fly into as its a dead end airport with very few direct flights. Almost everything routes through DIA up here in Denver.

I have included the relevant sections from the email I received:

First, big news about the Puffing Billy National Championship at Railcon. After ten years of partnering with Tacticon in Denver, we've decided to go a different direction. First we want to thank Tacticon and Colorado train gamers for making us welcome and helping us run many great tournaments out there. Tacticon is undergoing a number of changes, including moving to Colorado Springs and raising costs, and they are simple not able to support Railcon as they have in the past. We fully understand their situation, and wish them only the best.

The TGA is excited to announce that the 22nd Annual National Championship at Railcon will be held October 16, 2016 in Schaumburg IL. This is a very convenient travel location, near Chicago, about 20 minutes from O'hare airport. This will be a standalone event, so everything will be focused around our tournament. Our room is larger than we've typically had in Denver, with naturla light. There are numerous restaurants in easy walking distance and it's a very short drive from a major shopping mall (Woodfield). We will have a block of rooms that includes free breakfast, and we are working on a few other things.

All the details about registering for Railcon and booking sleeping rooms should be announced within a few weeks. For now, save the date and enough vacation days to make it happen!

So there you have it. I'm unlikely to be able to attned a show in IL as I'm committed to attending ReaperCon at the end of October. I know its a much better location for other players across the country. I'm looking forward to hearing about how great the show was near the end of October.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Kickstarter Loot 1 - Fistful of Lead Reloaded!

The box from Wiley Games for his Fistful of Lead Reloaded actually arrived last week but there has been so much to do that I didn't manage to open it till today. This is not a review of the rules just what came as part of my kickstarter rewards. I have forgotten what I actually went for but a lot of stuff came in my box!

Fistful of Lead Reloaded rulebook
Scenario Book
Three bags of laser cut tokens
5 miniatures (requires some assembly)
1 Deck of Custom playing cards
2 10-sided dice
2 Quick Reference Sheets
1 Marshal's Badge (for nicely put together)

I'm really happy with this one. Everything I received is very high quality. A big thumbs up for this Kickstarter. You should be able to pick this stuff up soon since rewards are in the mail. Here is a post on his blog with some information: The Baron's Blog

A few pictures for those of you that are more visually oriented.

Great covers, nicely done. Looking forward to trying these out for Ca

Peanuts, I hate foam peanuts
Cards, dice and minis, doesn't get much better than this.
The card deck, comes in its own plastic box.
I'm very happy with the minis. They are a bit small when compared to Reaper, closer to Foundry in size I think.
Laser cut stuff, very nice!

Sorry, fuzzy picture of the rules. This is the style I'm happy with, minimum bling, illustrations when needed and clear text. Not fancy but it gets the job done and keeps it short!

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Eagles have Landed 3 - Round 2 Models 22" Eagle Transporter

And here we go with the big kit and this is a very full box. There have been a number of 22" resin versions of the Eagle Transporter released over the years (Warp Models comes to mind) but this one promises to be the most accurate kit commercially available. With the dimensions taken from the first "Hero" 44" model used for filming the TV show this one should pretty much have it all. I really can't wait to get started on it. I'm already contemplating getting a second one.

There are two upgrade kits out there for this one right now. The first one replaces the engine bells and the oleo supports with aluminum versions. This costs almost as much as the kit itself. There is a second kit that replaces all the small metal thrusters with turned aluminum as well, this one is much more reasonable. However, I have decided to forgo the upgrade kits. Maybe the second time around.

I'm hoping that there might be some resin add on kits to convert this to a couple of the other versions.

As you can see from the pictures this is a real box full of parts!

The decal sheet is sealed and I'm going to leave it that way till I'm ready to start on this one.

Some important Eagle Stats.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Eagles have Landed 2 - The Deluxe Edition MPC Kit

This is the MPC Eagle Transporter with a twist. Round 2 Models has added resin parts to recreate one of the Eagle variants. This one is equipped with the laboratory pod and the booster pack which was featured in "The Metamorph" episode.

The resin components all appear to be very high quality. Without opening up the packages at this point I couldn't see any major air bubbles or blemishes and everything looks like it is fully cast. I'm looking forward to building this one as well, but not till I hone my skills a bit on the original kit.

I'm considering getting a second Paragraphix photo-etch detail kit for this one, but a fair chunk of the photo-etch pieces would end up being extra so I need to weigh the benefits versus the cost on adding this.

There are a few extra decals for this one. I suppose these will go on the lab module and the booster pack.

The resin parts for the lab module

The resin parts for the booster pack

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Eagles have Landed 1 - The original MPC Kit

The Eagles arrived quite quickly from CultTVMan'shop Hobby Shop. Well boxed, quick shipping and excellent prices, my hat is off to this online store, I highly recommend them!

I ordered all three kits and I'm going to go through the classic box opening for each one as a separate thread. We will start off with the original MPC kit that has been re-released by Round 2 Models.

Round 2 hasn't done anything to update this kit, so these are all produced from the original molds although I believe the decal sheet is at least new and possibly updated as well. Since this is basically an original kit it has all the inaccuracies of the original so I decided to go for a slightly more accurate version and bought the Paragrafix photoetch kit to fix some of the inaccuracies.

I plan to build this kit first since its been a while since I built a serious model kit.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Real Puzzler!

My mother and sister-in-law introduced me to a new line of lasercut wooden puzzles that are produced in Boulder, CO. My family has been into puzzles for as long as I can remember and working on a puzzle was always a big family activity. These puzzles have really caught my eye and they have an option to do custom puzzles!

Liberty Puzzles

While I'm not sure if I will pull the trigger I'm giving it some real hard thought right now. With that in mind I have pulled some of my railroad photographs together for consideration as a potential puzzle. They feature my favorite steam engine #30 of the Colorado and Northwestern, several of the Galloping Goose incarnations from the Rio Grande Southern and engine #318 from the D&RGW. All of the photos will need some editing before I pick one but if you have a favorite let me know!

Colorado & Northwestern #30 (also worked for the C&S and RGS)

Galloping Goose #2

Galloping Goose #5

Galloping Goose #6

Galloping Goose #7 on the turntable

Galloping Goose #7 at the bend

D&RGW #318