Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A long time coming

Sorting out unfinished business
Still crazy after
all these years!
A few years ago I made a couple of passing references—one, writing about my Penumbra’s Talons; the other, writing about GW’s mighty Space Hulk 3rd edition—to a project which involved a nameless friend and a Space Hulk set. I am pleased, at long last, to be able to tell you that this friend- Matt Forbeck, who I met at Bill King’s wedding back in 2005, will soon be getting his hands on that set of Space Hulk 3 he’d almost, but not quite, forgotten about (who could forget Space Hulk 3?).

My first Truly Epic
RPG campaign
I can’t take much of the credit here- it’ll be a long time before I revive and renew my miniatures’ craft skills to the point where I can paint my own Space Hulk set let alone one for someone else. No; credit—for the fact that Matt and his kids will soon be enjoying playing Space Hulk with their own fully-painted set—starts with Andy, who gave me the recommendation which finally broke this years-old logjam. And who did Andy recommend when I spoke to him about contracting-out this paint-job? None other than Brian, who regular readers will remember as Siegfried- murderous lowlife with a heart, from my Ashes of Middenheim campaign back in the glory days of Green Ronin’s stewardship over WFRP2.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hail, and farewell

Spencer James Warner
Master Craftsman
3rd Feb 1968 - 14th July 2012
Proper and fitting
We laid Spencer Warner to rest yesterday. The loss of this genial man will weigh down for a long time to come upon all who knew him. As ever with all that is best in life, you can’t really appreciate ‘it’ until it’s gone. Spence’s obvious great human qualities aside, Glasgow gamers are grappling with that ‘it’ being his quiet indispensability, the simple secret of which Spence explained to me not long after G3 brought us together:
  1. Always be early.
  2. Always have something to do.
Spencer was, and he did, and our community of gamers is better off for that.

Shining moments
I sadly can’t remember if I ever talked with Spence about this, but G3 is the proudest achievement of my life. Among all the friends who helped me during the trials and tribulations of the early days of our mad endeavour, Spence is the one whose very character left the magnitude of his true contribution quietly obscure, as befits the modesty of his peculiarly patient brand of indispensability. Spence was our rock, our foundation, as we learn with each new day since his passing. Approaching our club’s 15th anniversary without our Founding President at our side to share in our everdays—not to mention our pride—is a wrong we can’t bear but which we just can’t right.

And so, to all who knew Spence: his legacy is our endurance now he’s gone. Let us gamers who were such a part of Spence’s life honour our friend so as to continue to bring comfort to his family, who meant so much to him.

The last words will be Spence’s. Rest easy big man.

A fond memory
One night many years ago, when G3 was still in the small hall at Woodside, I got Spence and his son Steven to join me in a game of Gunslinger, an old favourite of mine from back in the day, which I was delighted to get to play again- a rare treat. Spence won, quietly ripping me a new one in the process. As the 3 of us walked away from the table afterwards I was enthusing about what a great game it had been and I overheard this exchange:
Steven: “I don’t get it, John got beat and he’s saying it was a great game?”
Spencer: “You’ve got to understand son, for some people it’s all just about playing the game.”
Spence's last laugh!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Facebook strikes again, again #1: “kick ass!” meets KICK-ASS

Time for Plan B
“A wretched hive of
scum and villainy.”
Remember the Scottish Cartoonists’ Society from the time back in April 2010 when I met them at a Glasgow Comic Mart? I’ve been on the SCS fB group ever since and have been receiving regular invitations to their monthly nights out all that time. I finally went to one not long ago, but that’s another story. Sufficeth to say that it was great to meet up with faces old and new, and that I enjoyed a cracker of a night out.

Parnie Street: two games shops, two comics shops, and more.
A 'No-Prize' for
the wittiest caption.
One thing I learned that night was that John McShane- the founder of the SCS, runs a comic shop in Glasgow that I didn’t even know existed, which goes by the name of Plan B Books. I had occasion to get in contact with John last week, by which time it turned out that I had actually visited Plan B Books at their new address in Parnie Street- Glasgow’s Geek Central (AKA. ‘Glasgow’s Left Bank’), a street just chock-full of shops catering to diverse geeky interests, chief among which are games and comics. All too brief, that visit was on the occasion of Bill and me taking a trip down to Static Games during his recent trip to Scotland. My main memory of perusing the shelves at Plan B that afternoon is that they are dominated by the sort of independent comics that you just won’t find in significant numbers in Forbidden Planet (not the Glasgow one at least). A place worthy of serious consideration for this comics geek then.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

In the lair of the White Bear

A chance encounter
A studious White Bear
I first met the White Bear last summer, in the guise of her secret identity (who shall remain nameless, naturally enough). For the purposes of this article though, I can tell you that the White Bear hails from Copenhagen, which is why, on my asking what had brought her to Glasgow, she told me that she was working on an art project funded by Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA). Intrigued but wary- because of my philistine tendencies when it comes to modern art, I soon warmed to the White Bear’s theme when she explained to me that it had been inspired by a quotation from Fyodor Dostoyevsky (who regular readers will remember is my favourite writer from the pantheon of 19th century Great Russians):
“Try and set yourself the task not to think of a white bear, and the cursed thing comes to mind every minute"
Winter Notes on Summer Impressions 1863
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Listening to the White Bear explain how she had escaped from inside the head in which she had been trapped by Dostoyevsky’s thought-experiment; and how she was now travelling around the world to “examine the ideas and consequences of the dichotomy [between] inner beast and shallow surface, and [to] investigate the profound impact [that] the idea of a true inside and a merely representative exterior has on all kinds of fields”, I found any lingering prejudices melting away.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Just when you thought it was safe to venture back onto the internet…

It lives!
Innovation in
mental health care?
Site-visitors who’ve tracked the ‘Recently played games’ widget over on the sidebar (or on my BGG profile page) during the months of this longest of bloglags will have been aware of continuing activity there throughout all that time. Regular readers will be quite unsurprised to hear that the recent reappearance of Up Front is particularly gratifying to yours truly. But it is the unexpected return of the Cylon menace which I must bring to your attention today.

Another random assembly of nuts, cranks and scrounged body-parts
A genuine masterwork?
I hosted a boardgaming stag-night for Badger last August. Seven of us played Cosmic Encounter and Dominion, both of which went down very well in a company of mixed gaming interests and enthusiasms; a success sufficient to generate demand for repeats, which themselves have happened often enough to establish a definite new games group. And so last Saturday 6 gamers assembled for a much-anticipated session of games and grub, with the prospect of playing Battlestar Galactica: the boardgame adding unknown and challenging expectations to the already familiar atmosphere of pleasant anticipation.