28 December 2014

2014 Reflections

Another year comes crashing to an end at a paid pace and its time since again to look back upon the year and see what I've achieved hobby wise (if you are interested, find the previous four years detailed here).
Warbands struggle to control the Hilltop in one of our SAGA games
2014 proved to be a year of two very different halves.  From January to June I really made the most of being back from the Middle East and being in the same town as long time Man Caver Comrade James.  We got more gaming in both together and with other friends than I have achieved in a long time.  Bolt Action, Chain of Command and SAGA featured predominantly, which was a lot of fun.
Getting thematic as a WW2 Brit commander in Bolt Action!
Right Stuff and I enjoyed CanCon also, where he again participated in the National Blood Bowl Championships (coming a very respectable 23rd out of 46) and I was joined by old mates Ken and Peter from Melbourne who road tripped up the the event.  Many participation games and beers for us over the four days.
Right Stuff at the Nationals - clearly something just went awry during kickoff!
Peter and I (left) playing in a Tomahawks & Muskets game
We also participated in the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge and I started and finished an entire  28mm WW2 British Para force in under two months - an unheard of achievement - and then used it in several very enjoyable games.  The painting challenge was a lot of fun, especially our side bet comp with Alan (aka Dux Hormunclulorum) - well done on your win mate!  Cant wait to do it again another time.
My "Red devils" - I added a few more elements after this pic but you get the idea.

Separately, Right Stuff and I both had coached teams in the Rookie division of the Blood Bowl League (Where my Chaos Dwarf team, the Darkland Decimators, went undefeated - though with more than a few ties in their record).
The Darkland Decimators, my Chaos Dwarf Blood Bowl team
Then in July the Man Cave was packed up, put into storage and I moved the family some 16,400 kms to the New England region of the USA (that is around 10,000 miles for the non metric locals).  I brought a few gaming books with me but there will be no painting or modelling for me for awhile.  Thats OK because my studies and travels here keep me sufficiently busy.
The Man Cave in early July; it had seen more productive times!
I also had to sell this baby - you could almost get a 40k Army for that money!
So my limited gaming time for the last six months was spent online gaming, buying stuff online, and looking at/reading the stuff I have bought online.  Amazon is awesome but not my wallet's friend...  I have a few plans to make the more of 2015 but thats for another post.

Blogwise The Man Cave clocked over 300,000 unique visits this year which is rather amazing, didn't quite crack 500 followers (maybe next year), and averaged over 2 posts per week between me, Comrade James and the odd one by Right Stuff as well. Not too shabby if I don't say so myself!

On a completely different hobby note, Reilly and I enjoyed Scouting (and sailing) in three different countries this year, having started 2014 at the New Zealand Scout Jamboree (see here).  We are now active members of our local Boy Scouts of America troop where I am a leader and he is on track to get his Eagle Scout at the end of our time here.

May 2015 bring you all health, happiness and hobby time!

27 December 2014

A stocking filled with gaming goodies

A delicious grab bag of goodies for yours truly & son under the tree this year - far better than a lump of coal! The Dr Grordbort titles are particularly amusing.  Some great goodies noting my inability to paint or model at the moment.  I really like the themed OGRE dice, given I used to play that game quite a bit and have more than my fair share of versions of it back home.

25 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

From our Man Caves to yours - best wishes for a wonderful Christmas and maybe even some hobby related presents under the tree!

23 December 2014

Cthulumas in New York

Over the weekend I took the clan on the train to New York for festivus fun and a show on Broadway.

Amongst all the obligatory family stuff, Reilly and I managed to squeeze in a trip to downtown Manhattan's only war-games store: The Compleat Strategist (http://www.thecompleatstrategist.com).

It was my first trip into a proper game store in over 6 months and it was so wonderfully geeky.  This great little shop has lots of little treasures stashed away - like all the supplements for Renegade Legion, one of my favourite SF games settings.

And amongst the treasure trove of goodies, we began the Cultist celebrations of Cthulhumas!

And here are Cthulumas carols to get you into the spirit if things:

16 December 2014

Iron Sky 2

You may remember the Moontruppen from Iron Sky: a wonderfully flippant movie about the resurgence of the Reich...from the Dark Side of the Moon.  Well they are coming back...on Dinosaurs...(Awesome)...from the centre of the Hollow Earth (Even more Awesome).

15 December 2014

SciFi Week extended

Congratulations to NASA and everyone involved with the very successful test flight of the Orion orbiter last week.  Just look at her go!
Launch pic courtesy of the NY Post
Sadly, I was a bare 24 late to observe the launch first hand.  However, arriving at the Kennedy Spoace Centre the next day, I found the place to abuzz with excitement.  I took the family and we had an amazing day touring the museums, the launch facilities and the Atlantis Shuttle (which is new since I last visited in 2008) - all as wonderful as I remembered them.

Still all enthused, the next day was spent at Disney World's EPCOT where we rode the Mars explorer ride more than a few times...

Next up, this week's SciFi mini Series Ascension on the SyFy channel...

04 December 2014

Orion Test Flight Countdown is on!


NASA will be launching the Orion spacecrft from a Delta IV Rocket for its initial test flight shortly- what a way to finish off my SciFi week festivus!  It may be going somewhere we have already been, but it is the presursor to explorations farther afield - Mars.  I remember my Dad getting me up in the middle of the night to watch the first Shuttle flight in 1981; I hope this heralds in a similar new era of Space activity.


03 December 2014

More SciFi Goodness

"Sunshine"- a different but enjoyable Sci-Fi flick 
I've really got the SciFi bug at the moment, having watched "Edge of Tomorrow", "Sunshine" and "Moon" this week. Very different movies but I enjoyed them all.  "Moon" in particular was excellent and highly recommended.

In the meantime enjoy this little online (free) gem:

02 December 2014

A Sci Fi weekend

With no modelling gear or a lead pile to prepare for the annual painting challenge, plus being devoid of ladies in the house, this Thanksgiving weekend the boys turned to Sci Fi for a bit of fun.  In addition to several long binge sessions playing Beyond Earth, we also went to see Interstellar.  Its an edgy 'hard' SF movie with more than a touch of Kubrick's 2001 as an influence.  We both really enjoyed it, and while there isn't a lot of action in the almost three hours and two bags of popcorn required, its engaging throughout.  Recommended.
And if you are looking for some more inspiration along these lines, check these links out:



27 November 2014

There goes the weekend...

This Thanksgiving Holiday weekend I planned to try and get ahead a bit on my various study readings and the papers I need to write. That just went out the window with this release today.  Hurry up and download will you!!!

22 November 2014


Early last year I started using Goodreads, which is an online book catalogue allowing me to keep track of what I've read and what I want to read.  It also allows you to make up your own shelves to file them on, and recommend books to your friends.  Pretty neat.  So far I have rated about 570 books and have another 280 on my 'to read' shelf.  Here is the cloud tag the site has generated to show where my interests lie- rather unsurprising results actually!
One of the best features of the site is that it then delves into what you have read and recommends new books for you to consider.  Not everyone is a winner of course, but I have discovered a few authors I might not have otherwise encountered.

If you haven't seen Goodreads before, I highly recommend you check it out at https://www.goodreads.com
If you are super interested you can check out my book shelves and lists here:

17 November 2014


Today I participated in the Volkstrauertag ceremony, which is a German form of Rememberance Day. As you can probably appreciate, this has a different focus to typical Commonwealth and US ceremonies.  It was held at the local cemetery which holds two German U-Boat sailors from WW2.
The first was from U-550, sunk off the US coast in May 1944.

The second grave is for an unknown sailor from U-853, sunk close by on 6 May 45 - ironically one day after the cessation of hostilities, which the U-boat likely did not receive.
It was clearly a very emotional day for our German friends, in the spirit of remembering the victims of war and the appreciation of freedoms enjoyed by many since 1945.  I was very pleased to be a part of it.


07 November 2014

From the mouths of Lads

I asked Right Stuff about his History homework recently and he went into a spiel about The Absolute Right of Kings, Parliamentary measures to try and control absolute Monarchs,  the English Civil War and its subsequent restoration.  He completed his informative monologue by saying (unprompted) – "actually that would be a pretty cool period to play wargames in”   I shall shall move swifty but not overzealously…

But my favourite quote of the conversation was him saying “Monarchial disputes are just so stupid.  Why are the people so surprised when the new one is a d*ck like the last one?"

03 November 2014

Rhode Island Comic Con

The 'other' Captain isn't bad either!
Saturday saw the Man Cave denizens venture forth to Providence, Rhode Island, to attend the annual Comic Con.  Very modest in comparison to other similar events in the US, we were impressed by the quality of guests who attended - then again, I guess it is much easier to show up that going all the way to Australia!  The highlight was indeed meeting the man behind James Tiberius Kirk who was very pleasant indeed.  The usual menagerie of costumes were seen, and the 20k people or so who attended all seemed to enjoy the day - we certainly did!
George Takei - aka Mr Sulu
Remember these guys? Visitors from the original "V"series

Warehouse 13
Colin Baker, the 6th Doctor Who
Nerdgasm complete for another year!

01 November 2014

All Hallow's Eve

Being the day of cultists, witches, and dark magics I thought it appropriate to remind everyone that the Strange Aeons Kickstarter finishes this weekend.  Its a really fun game that I highly recommend.

In the meantime, if you are into the Halloween thing have a fun day - I am!

28 October 2014

5 days to go

The Strange Aeons Kickstarter is going great guns and today saw the last Monday Monster revealed- the Shoggoth, which is a great companion to the Dark Pupeteer from last week!

5 days to run and very much worth getting onboard if you are into the genre.  Uncle Mike's Worldwide is a small operation in Canada which has a proven history with the 1st edition.  The next edition is very exciting indeed!