Where we write stuff

A couple months ago I noticed a new Instagram name liking different photos of ours. Stalking them back I found a plethora of awesome terrain pieces on their profile. Then I found the link to their eBay store. I fell in love.

I have been playing some RelicBlade with my son. In the Seeker’s Handbook for RelicBlade it talks about the Fey Forest. With this in mind and finding these mushrooms and the stones that are part of the alter set I was sold.

I placed my order and proceeded to anxiously checked the mail every day. Because everyone should have me stuff as fast as Amazon Prime right?

Shipping was pretty fast. I forget how fast but probably a week or two. I eagerly opened the package and I was supposed to be going to bed early that night and was resolved to get other thing done before bed.

Instead I glued mushroom caps on and then put the mushrooms on bases. As you can see I staged them for a photo shoot unpainted and I also kicked off a FB Live video. You can see that on the SSP Facebook Page.

These are great. With a few different sizes for the mushrooms you have a lot of various heights and shapes. They take up enough space to fill out the board but they also don’t consume the entirety of the board making it feel cluttered.

The are well balanced and have very little that needs to be cleaned. Some can be a little top heavy but nothing terrible with a base or even a washer. Even the big ones almost perfectly fit on a 25mm (roughly) base. I will be using some magnets to make the remove able from large terrain footprints for gaming with.

Painting them was fun and I used a lot of different colors for the caps of the mushrooms. The rest I was almost boring with painting.

Tree stumps and even a tree that you positioned the branches on. They are extremely detailed and very clean. That is one thing I noticed through all of these. For being resin terrain there wasn’t much with them to clean.

The only downsides… you might need to pin the mushroom caps but I found after 24 hours that the glue set and was a lot sturdier. Also that they are small and aren’t as fast to put new stuff out. Not actually a terrible thing as it gives me time to get the last bits painted up.

My opinions of this terrain is that it is really great quality. I like how well it went together, the details of it and the ease of painting it. I am looking forward to seeing what else they come out with in the future.

Grabblecast Facebook Page

While browsing the dark aisles of a local box store, I happen to come upon a clearance item that screamed “dice box”. For $3.50 USD, I had to do it. I could have left it as is and been about my business, but that isn’t very fun. So here’s what I did to customize it and make it my own:

Das Box


Step 01: Come up with your design.

In this situation, I went over to my local makerspace to take advantage of their Cricut die-cutter and some vinyl. I did this because I can’t draw worth squat and I wanted as clean of a logo as I could get for my dice bin. I used the Cricut software (free) to create my design and used the equipment there to cut it in vinyl. The vinyl allows me to apply the design to the bin without it sliding around or having to draw or tape it off. I can remove the vinyl later.


Step 02: Apply your design

I’ve cut out a reverse image for my design to create a template. Here, I’m applying the template the same way I would put the decal on the back of a laptop or car window. Nothing special.


Step 03: Make it shine!

I applied some wood-stain to try to give my dice box a more sophisticated look. Plus if this fails miserably, I can just paint over it. You can see the right side got some stain spilled on the wall. I’ll probably paint the walls to give contrast and hide my shame.


Step 04: Remove the vinyl and see what needs fixing

Well, I forgot to get a photo of this step. I removed the vinyl and I was pleased overall. My application of the stain was poor. I did not do multiple coats. I did not sand anything down. I played it on pretty thick. So my inner craftsman isn’t speaking to me anymore. But it looks ok and I’m willing to accept it as a first attempt at this kind of project.


Step 05: Finishing touches and sealing

finished dice box

I painted the edges to cover where the stain touched things by accident. Just a couple coats of some black paint. I think it also helps highlight or frame things. Close up, it probably needs another coat or two, has some hiccups and blemishes that could be sanded away. From 3 feet away or further, I think it works. Again, first attempt at this kind of thing. I’ve definitely learned some ways I would improve when I do it again.

I applied a spray varnish on it. The same matte finish stuff I use for miniatures. I’m hoping that helps protect the absurdly applied stain from getting damaged from any dice rattling around in there.


Final thoughts

As I said, I made some mistakes. My stain application was poorly done. I had some stain hit areas I didn’t want it to. I should have taped things off. The thinner areas of vinyl didn’t stick to the wood very well and allowed stain to get under them. I should have sanded this. Maybe a few other things as well. Overall though, I’m pleased. I think this will be a fine dice box. On the next version, or even on this one after the fact, I might add a thin layer of foam or rubber on the back to help reduce the hollow noise when rolling dice in there. Right now it kind of sounds like someone rolling on a Realm of Battle board. Not sure how I feel about that yet. Having spent about $3 for the box, $2 for vinyl at my local makerspace, and using some leftover stain and paint I had laying around at home, I’m fairly pleased.

Tales of the Lost Isles

There are a few words in the English language that always throw me for a loop. I just look at them, and it takes me a few seconds to fully process what the word means, how it is pronounced, and how to leverage it. I suspect this is because I tend to read words to myself with an inner voice; that is, I say the word in my mind as I read it. “Apotheosis” and “conscious” are examples of this. Even when the concepts are simple, or the words are common, it’s just a relationship I have with language that I find myself paying special attention to certain words.

I suppose being harassed about your accent as a child will do that to you. When you’re the only one from the hills of Tennessee in your family, people tend to point out your pronunciation. Something else about Tennessee is that you don’t have many island chains, so you don’t really get the opportunity to say the word “archipelago” in common discussions.

To hear of an upcoming release of a new setting and ruleset for Frostgrave was thrilling. To find out I had a copy waiting on me made me ecstatic. To discover an additional book — I nearly swooned. To realize I was going to be bombarded by one of “Those Words” because of the inherent setting, well… guess I needed the practice.

The release of the ruleset for Frostgrave Ghost Archipelago is to be supplemented by a collection of short stories, “Tales of the Lost Isles,” a set of nine short stories and one in-game scenario totaling around 300 pages of swashbuckling wonder. The line-up for the authors is impressive. If you’ve read anything from a variety of sci-fi and fantasy settings, you are probably going to recognize at least a few of the authors. This familiarity is going to give you a variety of styles and tones to delve through, while leaving open the potential to expose you to someone you may not have previously read.

The stories are self-contained, and most are easy to parse. One author has a way with words that makes my head spin a little, and I forgot the beginning of the sentence by the time I got to the end. Others flow more smoothly from beginning to end.

The only thing that connected each story was the setting, the fabled Ghost Archipelago. A swath of the map that draws anyone looking for fame, fortune, or power. This draws a variety of swashbucklers, magic slingers, souped-up super-types, and the poor shmucks that get hired to do whatever the previous three don’t want to do. The folks that get drawn out to explore the Ghost Archipelago are drawn from the world of Frostgrave. Even if you aren’t already familiar with that universe, you’ll find analogues to knights, crusaders, general fighters, thieves, and wizards. Whether or not you have spent time in Frostgrave and its inhabitants, it is incredibly accessible. Almost any fantasy fan will find ways to connect to the environment and its motley inhabitants.

Unfortunately, that familiarity can be one of its downfalls as well. It is so easy to find connections that it can begin to feel lackluster. When looking at the world, a fighter is a fighter and a wizard is a wizard, and the special wrinkles that make the setting matter get a little lost. The collection is an attempt to shed some light into this world, where many tabletop gamers throw warbands against each other in a constant struggle for power. The authors all have the power and ability to invoke certain images to mind with their writing, and they’re mostly very effective. There are specific examples I still visualize and wouldn’t mind seeing a scenario written for them. One of my favorite moments in the collection is a character receiving a letter from someone in a location from the original Frostgrave collection. More of those tie-ins would have made for a stronger collection, and there wasn’t much else that pulled this series into line with the greater world. Absent that connection, everything felt isolated. This will be fine for folks not looking for incredible depth in that world, but for those who are seeking more, you might find yourselves disappointed. That said, because there isn’t much world content for this mysterious place, fans will probably be willing to take whatever they can get.

One of the series’ strengths is its variety of perspectives. You are not always following the most obviously powerful person in the pack. You also get to see a variety of magic users you might recognize from the rulebook. Although I was disappointed they didn’t get to shine a bit more. Out of the 5 “branches” of magic possible, some felt over-represented and some didn’t get much of a spotlight. It seemed that the writers were trying to represent every possible type of participant as best as possible, and they were effective.

Overall though, it’s a series of quick, pulpy, pirate-filled adventures focusing on a variety of characters from this universe. For fans of Errol Flynn movies, Indiana Jones types, scrappy seat-of-their-pants survivors, or any similar specimen, this is a worthwhile and entertaining read.



A fresh new look

After nearly two years of just ignoring the bastard I have finally started the process of updating the website.  We are going to be having a lot more content showing up in the near future and some of it will be best dealt with right here on the site.

Well that and I want Robin to start doing his reviews and blogging thing and it just isn’t possible if he doesn’t have access to a functional website.  So look for those things coming up.  Additionally I will be blogging somethings as well as reviving Weekend Gameover and possibly starting a vlog, Nicky B Hobbying which also ties into my commission painting page Nicky B Hobbying.

If you listen to Episode 84 Hobby Banter you will hear some about everything we are doing.  Right now it seems life is sort of settling down for the SSP crew and we are looking to ride that into producing more stuff for you, our fans.  Battle Reports, more shows, reviews, video content, etc.

Feel free to leave us feedback and let us know what you want to see and/or hear from us.



On iTunes

Just a quick update to let you know we have gotten the word and we are now available for subscribing to via iTunes!  YAY!

Next episode is Friday and we are going to have a couple of people on the show as guests!



– Nick

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