You've stumbled across Dr. P's Dorky Blog, a rather pointless collection of entries that celebrate all things related to the dorky pursuit of gaming and the all-consuming hobby it supports! The blog mainly helps to serve as a scrapbook of gaming goodness and painting projects. From time to time, you may also catch a few oddball posts related to my teaching, research, and other hobbies.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Back from the dead...!

Ok, it's been said before, but I mean it this time.  I am going to start posting again and I've got a lot of material saved up from this summer!  Oh boy, the summer was a great one for gaming and hobby fun.  Look for new content this weekend!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Gaming earns a place in Wabash Magazine!

Yep, I know the blog has been neglected...  However, the newest copy of Wabash Magazine got me back in the game.  Sure enough, on page 19, you will find a nice shot of our end of semester gaming festival. 

The event last fall was a blast and nearly 55 folks turned out to support the Dork Club and celebrate the end of another semester of gaming goodness.  Yes, 2012 was a fun year and the club looks fwd to a great 2013!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Stay on target...Dork Club, you're my only hope!

The joy of a new game that meets your expectations is amazing!  Couple that with a childhood love for an intellectual property like Star Wars and money departs the wallet faster than a certain YT-1300 stock light freighter on a Kessle Run!  That's right, Fantasy Flight's new game, X-Wing, is one of my new favorites!  It couples the solid tactical mechanics of Wings of War/Glory with enhanced template movement and firing to deliver a great gaming experience!

I was very impressed by the game during a demo of the prototype way back at GenCon 2011.  Slightly more than a full year later, it finally hit store shelves (cough...discount online retailers...cough).  For only ~$25 you get the starter box that includes two TIEs, one X-Wing, cards, maneuver templates, dice, etc.  Everything you need to get playing is included and the production quality is excellent.  The prepainted fighters are gorgeous!  The mechanics of play are very easy to learn, there's lots of tactical fun, and the game has an addictive squad building setup that is engaging.  It also goes well beyond the "kill all the other jerks" by including a number of objective based scenarios in the rulebook.

Again, the game is really simple to learn and the Dork Club gang got going in no time.  Our first game was a bit ambitious in that we set up a challenging Death Star Trench run scenario at about 150 pts per side.  Ships were all over the place and the Rebels were hard pressed to avoid the horde of TIE fighters.  Vader is a beast in his TIE advanced x1 and Y-Wing ion turrets are also great fun!  After losing several Y-Wings and X-Wings, Wedge and Dutch made a move for the trench.  Valiant Dutch slowed down to buy some time for Wedge to take the shot.  Wedge moved in, locked in with the targeting computer, fired his proton torpedoes...and whiffed...epic fail.  Still, it was a great time and a nice trial for a large game.

This weekend, I played 1v1 with a friend and tried some simpler dogfights at about 60 pts per side.  The squadron building is aspect is great fun and there are some really nice combos to be had.  I can't wait to get more games in soon; may the force be with you!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cardboard Crizzack? Yes, please...we're playing Magic the Gathering @ the call-out meeting!!

Tonight was the big Dork Club call-out meeting!  Wow, the turnout was great!  Our meeting room was pretty busy and folks were excited about the great events planned for the fall.  It was also such great fun getting to meet new members and learning all about their gaming interests.

The energy was very positive and folks broke out into groups clustered around games like Catan and Magic the Gathering.  A few folks brought out their laptops and played League of Legends and Starcraft.  The game library impressed a number of our new members and it looks like the club games will get a lot of use this semester. 

I started playing Magic the Gathering way back in high school in 1994...which blows my mind since this is the year that many of this year's freshmen were born!  I had one of the deck boxes from the revised set that was literally as old as some of the freshmen playing with me.  It is a superb game that grants you the ability to design a deck tailored to strategies and card combos you enjoy.  It is a simple rule set, exhibits tactical depth, and appeals to the hoarder in all of us!  In addition, the artwork displayed on many of the cards is stunning!  Wizards of the Coast also deserve some serious credit for the extremely powerful business model they have developed for the game....which is evidenced by the fact that it's still thriving after all these years. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Shadow in the Warp!!!

The Dork Club and I have been working on building and painting up a Warhammer 40k army that is Wabash themed.  It has been great fun and we even played a few games with them last spring.  The "Sons of Wabash" Space Marine Chapter is largely successful in beating back the Ork scourge of DePauWaaaaagh.  However, as our champions regroup and celebrate their victories, a garbled distress signal is received.  Contact is suddenly lost with a string of remote mining colonies on the edge of the sector.  It may just be a series of solar flares interfering with the vox signals...or it could be something much, much worse...game over man, game over!


Here are a couple of teaser images of something I've been working on during the summer...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Back from the void!

Summer is over and classes have started up once again.  It's great being in the classroom and teaching labs again!  We've got some really sharp students and it promises to be a very eventful year for Wabash College.

The summer was a great mix of fun and scholarship!  I headed over to the UK for a few weeks, visited my family in Texas, and had two amazing summer research interns cranking out lots of good data in the lab.  I even gave a talk at GenCon this year!  However, the blog didn't get any love this summer, so there's lots to write about as I attempt to catch up.

First, I have to highlight the trip across the pond.  This must have been my fifth visit over and we were able to sneak in and out before the crowds converged for the Jubilee and the Olympics.  London, York, and Bath were just a few of the highlights for this visit.  It was an amazing trip...and I'm already missing the amazing lunches at Nando's, my favorite place on the planet to nab a peri-peri chicken sandwich and chips!

In addition to all of the sightseeing, shopping, and great eating (yes, it can be found in the UK!), I was able to sneak away to a gaming conference!  The train ride to Birmingham was an easy enough stop along the return from York to London.  This was the home of the 2012 UK Games Expo and it was a pretty good time. 

The venue was a little on the small side, and the place was packed!  However, the UK gamers were great people.  The stormtroopers and Daleks were running rampant!  The gaming groups I spoke with were passionate about their hobby and they went all out preparing gorgeous scenery and worked really hard to make sure everyone had a great time.  The dealer hall had a variety of booths that showed off new products and allowed you to demo new games.  I checked out the new items from the folks at Mantic and played a demo of Project Pandora.  It was great fun and I picked up two copies for the minis and tiles alone.  There was a used game booth that had so many good deals that my luggage was bursting at the seems to get it all home.  I spent two and a half days immersed in the best of British gaming culture and I was so happy that I took the time to explore it.  Maybe someday I can time a future trip right so I can spend  few days at Salute.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Gentlemen, start your engines...it's DORKSTOCK time!!!

It's that time of the semester again...

The Dork Club hosted its big end of semester community gaming celebration last Saturday! This was the 8th annual spring gaming celebration!  The campus community was invited to join us for an entire day of gaming goodness. Folks were encouraged to stop by and play an old favorite like Risk or learn something totally different like Warhammer 40k, Formula D, Dust Warfare, Uncharted Seas, Heroscape, or Munchkin. We broke our ever-expanding game library for folks to try out a new game or two. We played from noon until around midnight...good games, good food, and great fun for all!

Our favorite gamer historian broke out his copy of Formula D, along with the club's new expansion tracks!  The game is quickly becoming one of our favorites.  Given the large turnout for Dorkstock, we ran a number of games that maxed out at eight players.  The game really shines with eight players!  The initial stages of the race are truly hectic, with near collisions and racers jockeying for an early advantage.  At eight players, race teams become a factor and it's fun to "shake n' bake" around the track and competitors.  It's a really, really easy game to learn and provides infinite replayability.  We ran multiple laps, which is where the decision to pit or not becomes a major factor.  Our historian friend is a natural at the game and typically dominates, but I actually managed to win one race this time.  Everyone had a great time and the level of track talk and "advice" we give each other makes for a wonderful experience!

The day was filled with a variety of interesting and exciting games.  I squeezed in another game of Dust Warfare, a new favorite of mine.  Walking panzers and Nazi zombies...how can you go wrong?  The rules are authored by industry vet, Andy Chambers.  We took the Sons of Wabash space marines out for their initial Warhammer 40k sortie against those no-good orks of DePauwaaagh!  I also got to play a game of Small World, a clever and entertaining take on the traditional Risk vein of games.  It was a great day, filled with fun and camaraderie. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war...and lots of prizes!

This was one of the few weekends where I miraculously escaped a backlog of grading and got out of the house for a day to catch a film and enjoy some hobby fun. I headed out to the Grand Opening event at the new Games Workshop - Willow Lake East store in Indy. Kevin and his crew have a nice space with lots of room to build and paint. Plus, he's a good guy and is planning a trip out to Wabash in the fall. He's generously volunteered to share some minis with the Dork Club at our call-out meeting. It should be a fun time.

The grand opening event had all of the promised "exclusive" swag that is associated with such events. I picked up a nice Imperial flag for my office, some 40k patches, etc. I was very excited about checking out the new range of Citadel paints. The store hosted a little speed painting contest so folks could take the new formulas out for a spin. I have to admit, I like the new base colors...especially the yellow and reds! They cover well and even hold their own against a black base coat. Very impressive! We had ten minutes to paint up some simple models using only four colors (red, blue, white, & green) and a texture paint for the base. It was a blast and while you could buy additional colors, I enjoyed the color mixing challenge presented by the provided colors. My CHE211 students will be pleased to know that color theory has applications well beyond transition metal complexes. My mini won and I got a nice bag full of prizes: a nice terrain piece, cool portfolios, more patches, and a signed copy of Nick Kyme's Nocturne! Pretty generous loot!

After picking out a few pots of paint and shades, the store put on a conversion contest. I had never participated in one of these before. The store gave us piles of plastic bits from across a number of their miniatures ranges. The challenge was to construct a miniature from these spare parts. My Frankenstein creation took shape pretty quickly. After cutting and gluing away for about 30 minutes, I was really pleased at the result! The new Citadel "thick" plastic glue is great! The "thin" stuff is really nice too, but they need to refine the applicator tips since it clogged way too quickly in my opinion. I think I have a new inspiration for another army on my hands...and he really doesn't like Space Wolves. He's got a Thousand Sons vibe to him and he is standing over the guy he just took apart and is still clutching the head as a prize. He was worthy of a three-way tie for first, but no need to be greedy with the prizes. Check him out below.

After realizing that I forgot to grab lunch, I scarfed down some grub and headed over to Keystone for a movie. I'm a huge Asian film fan: Hard Boiled and Ong-bak are my favorites! I decided to check out The Raid: Redemption. It was INTENSE! Not great enough to dethrone HB or O-b, but very entertaining! Just one more week of classes, finals, and then summer arrives!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Welcome to the "Hobby Lab!"

Dorkstock, the club's end of semester gaming celebration, is quickly approaching! So, that means I need to kick it into gear and get those Warhammer 40k miniatures painted up in time for the big event...

There's never enough free time to fit in as much painting is as I'd like. That's why this semester I've recruited the guys to pitch in and help. I've hosted a couple of hobby nights this semester as an experiment to gauge student interest. The events have been more successful than I first expected. The turnout has been pretty good and the guys have really helped to slap some paint on those darn DePauw orks. Also, it's been pretty fun sharing my painting knowledge with the guys that are getting excited about the hobby aspect of miniature wargaming.

I really had a blast at our most recent hobby night. About twelve or so guys showed up. Some played games and chatted, while others pitched in for a bit and we got some minis painted! One of the guys brought along the Space marine dreadnought model he'd been working on for awhile and made some pretty awesome progress on it. I really enjoyed the atmosphere. We had music streaming on the laptop, the conversations were lively, and it was a really fun evening spent painting and hanging out with the students. Time well spent!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Another night of gaming goodness!

Given the current stress level on campus, it was great to take a break and game with the guys! One of our favorite mathematicians hosted a game of Lego Heroica! It is a simple enough rule set and a large part of the fun is constructing the game board. Playing with Lego never gets stale, no matter how old you are! We had a big group in attendance, so we constructed two dungeon crawls and got to killing spiders, goblins, druids, orcs, etc. Our armless heroes completed their killing sprees, sold their loot, and enjoyed bouncing about the board. Great fun was had by all and I think everyone realized the limitless fun that could result from crafting our own set of house rules for the game.

In addition to the Lego fun, I brought back a club favorite, Wings of War! We enjoyed the WWI version and tried something new...no teams, no historical accuracy, just a big ol' furball deathmatch! Eight planes going at each other was super hectic and simply a blast! Backstabbers were rewarded with laughter and everyone enjoyed shooting each other down! It was a really fun evening of gaming and bonding. Games really do bring folks together!