E Chuta!

This has been a really busy month. I haven’t had time to write about any of the things I was supposed to. So, instead of writing a proper post now, I’ll just settle for quick updates on various topics. Oh, and I do believe a skin change is in order. What do you think of this one?

Personal and professional

As some of you know, I’ve recently been promoted to Senior Store Manager in the mygamestore.fi gaming store chain. I’ve also moved from Tapiola to Katajanokka, and my place of work is now the Stadin Pelikauppa store in Kaisaniemi, instead of Tapiolan Pelikauppa in Tapiola. I’ve also taken on some new responsibilities in the chain, as in addition to managing the Stadi store, I’m also in charge of buying all of the miniatures, and boardgames related stock for the chain.


Wargaming is still going strong. My Red Corsairs Chaos Space Marines army totals at about 3000 points at the moment, and I think I’ve reached somewhat of a water mark with that army, as I pretty much have all of the units I’m ever going to use with this army using the current codex. The converted Chaos Space Marine Chosen squad still isn’t quite finished, as I still need to do some details on the Rhino, and the squad members. The fiery red tiger stripe camo pattern on the marines looks dead on, though, so I should really get them finished, and have some pictures taken.

My Warriors of Chaos army is at about 2000 points, and progress with these guys has been really slow. I made the mistake of taking part in a Warhammer Fantasy Battle tournament, and some bad experiences there made me pretty much lose interest in that particular game. It is quite unlikely I’ll ever dabble with the tournament side of WHFB ever again, as that game really REALLY doesn’t work very well in tournament play. As a beer and pretzels game it works just fine, however.

Role-Playing Games

I’m currently refereeing a Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Role-Playing campaign, in which one of the players is Jim Raggi, the author of LotFP. The campaign is run in English, and after minor initial language difficulties, the campaign is now running quite smoothly. We’ve played three times so far, and I have the impression the players aren’t hating it, since they keep coming back for more.

I also ran a short Vampire: The Masquerade campaign a few months back, but that one didn’t last, since pretty much all of the players were very busy, and thus organizing regular game sessions was a real pain. I also found out, that if I’m going to run a regular game, it needs to be a weekly game, or I will lose my interest in it very quickly.

Star Wars

I’ve been a fan of Star Wars for as long as I can remember. My first contact with Star Wars was the original movie trilogy when it came out on VHS in the eighties, and the ensuing toy craze. I never had any of the original toys myself, as my parents thought they were too expensive. A childhood friend of mine had lots of them, though, including the Millennium Falcon, an X-Wing Fighter, and an AT-ST Walker.

Later on I kinda lost touch with Star Wars, only occasionally re-watching the movies when they were shown on TV. Then the new trilogy came, and man was I disappointed. What it did manage to do, however, was bring me back the old movies. It also opened my eyes to the Expanded Universe, which in my case meant the Dark Horse Comics, and the Star Wars role-playing game. Comics have always been one of my loves, and the Dark Horse comics were exactly what I’d loved about that original trilogy, and had missed about the new trilogy, e.g. swashbuckling space opera, with engaging storylines, and interesting characters. I’ve since invested quite a bit in Star Wars -related comics, and have quite a collection of them.

My other connection to Star Wars is through work. Stadin Pelikauppa is really big on Star Wars, having the largest selection of Star Wars related merchandise, collectibles, and vintage toys in the whole of Northern Europe. The 501th Nordic Garrison trooping in our stores is what brought me into contact with the NG in the first place.

And so, finally, after years of being a Star Wars enthusiast, I’ve decided to take that extra step into fandom, and have decided to make a Star Wars costume of my own, hoping for eventual 501st approval with it. My project is Count Dooku. I’ve already purchased the first part of my costume; the cloak clasps and chain. The next step is getting the lightsaber, the boots (from an army surplus store), and the actual uniform, for which I have enlisted the aid of a friend, who designs, and makes clothes professionally. She did the costumes for Iron Sky, so Dooku’s costume is going to be a cinch for her.

There you have it, recent hobby-related activities handily summarized. More on various topics later on, when I have more time to spare.


Tapiola RPG Night – An Obituary

Right, as some you already know, we’ve been running bi-weekly tabletop RPG’s at Tapiolan Pelikauppa since last August. This experiment has now drawn to a close. We managed a total of around 8-10 game sessions, two of them Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play, game mastered by myself, and the rest of them Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Role-Playing, refereed by James Raggi (who is also the author of said game). A brief summary follows:

* Attendance was regularly around four players. Usually the same four players. One of the set goals of the whole experiment was drawing new blood into the tabletop RPG hobby. Suffice to say, this goal was not met, as all of the players were already role-players to begin with.

* No volunteer game masters (besides Jim and myself) were forthcoming. Yes, I did get tentative interest out of three GM’s, but none of them actually delivered, due to time table constraints or lack of general interest.

* Role-playing as an in-store activity draws a certain kind of crowd. That is, the kind of crowd you’d never invite to your home game. There were some exceptions, but on a general principle the gaming group was of the kind that sucks the life out of the GM, and makes him want to never run a game again.

That’s about it in a nutshell. Tried it, didn’t work, time for something completely different. Probably not anytime soon, though.

Assembling the Storm Raven

We finally got our black box from GW on Friday, and as weekend was coming, me and a co-worker divided up the work and took the kits home with us. I got the Storm Raven, while the co-worker took home the Furioso Dreadnought.

Looking through the sprues, the kit brings to mind the Land Raider kit, so anyone with assembling experience with the LR should have no problems here. First thing I did was cut all the parts off the sprues and clean them up. I then glued the interiors (benches and control panels), and the headlights to the side panels. These can be done later, but it would probably be somewhat more fiddly.

Next, I glued the angled back panel sans the back hatch and the main floor panel to the two side panels, and put in the front ramp, which is supposed to open, so make sure you don’t get any glue on it. There is some slight plastic warping, so you might want to apply some pressure while the glue sets. Rubber bands are good for this. The back access ramp has these small hook things holding it in place, but in practice the thing is better just glued in place, as the fit isn’t snug enough for sensible articulation. That’s what I did anyway.

Before putting the roof on, plop in the front side thrusters. They are snap fitted, and are supposed to articulate slightly. The roof slides in quite smoothly, but once you glue it in place, you won’t get at the interiors very easily, so if you intend to paint those, get that done before fitting the roof.

Next up, the cockpit. This should be easy enough to assemble as long as you make sure you put the parts in in the right order e.g. legs, control panel, torso, arms, shoulder pads, head. There is also a back panel, which I actually forgot to put in at this stage, but luckily I managed to push it in between the pilot’s back and the back wall of the cockpit. Next, I glued the clear plastic window to the roof frame, doing my best not to get glue smudges on the window panes. I didn’t glue the roof on yet, as I intend to paint the pilot first.

Next up, the tail section. This one is only four pieces, so it shouldn’t cause anyone any problems. After this, the wings and thrusters. These may look daunting, but are actually quite simple, as long as you dry fit everything and use common sense. As with the front side thrusters, the thrusters at the wing tips are supposed to snap fit and articulate. The wing-mounted missiles go in at this point.

Returning to the front end, I opted for twin-linked multi-melta instead of heavy bolters (D’oh!). They are supposed to swivel slightly, but as the movement is only about a quarter of an inch, I just glued the thing in place. The landing gear went in next. At this point you can choose between extended or retracted landing gear. I went for the latter myself. The side doors are also glued in place at this time. You have the choice of fitting either the doors or the hurricane bolter side sponsons. If you like using magnets, you could construct some sort of frame inside the door for the magnet, so that you could alternate between just plain doors or sponsons.

Almost done now! I assembled the top turret, and glued the gunner servitor into place, but didn’t glue the window in place yet. A horizontal rod goes into place under the gunner’s seat, the ends of which come out on the sides. These are for mounting the guns. The top air intake was also assembled, but I didn’t glue it into place yet, as that would make it virtually impossible to put the turret in place.

There you have it: The Storm Raven pretty much assembled. The only parts not glued on at this point are the turret’s roof and guns, the cockpit roof, and the roof air intake. These won’t go on until after painting the cockpit and turret interiors. To finish things off, here’s some (rather poor quality) photos of the Storm Raven. Next up, painting this rather awesome tool of war.

Various kinds of gaming

It has been almost a months since my last blog-post, so an update on my gaming-related activities is in order.


Working full time (from 12 pm to 6 pm most weekdays, and one or two Saturdays per month as well) has really taken its toll on the amount of free time and energy I have available for traditional Pen & Paper role-playing. I still don’t have an ongoing role-playing campaign of my own, as the logistics of getting a group together regularly is just too much work, not to mention the time it would take to do the planning of the actual game sessions. I’ve tried getting together a regular group for some kind of low-maintenance gaming, but finding three-four other people with schedules matching my own, who’d also be interested in the same kind of gaming I am has proven a hurdle I haven’t been able to pass. I haven’t given up hope yet, though, so I guess I’ll continue planning for possible campaigns. The latest idea I have is running a mini-campaign of “Good Old Days” Vampire: The Masquearade, but as the people I used to game with are (if possible) even more timetable-challenged than I am, I don’t expect this project to take off from the ground any time soon.

Role-Playing at Tapiolan Pelikauppa is still going strong, with Jim running Lamentations of the Flame Princess bi-weekly. Our second in-store game at the moment is Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition, which I’m game mastering myself. We’ve only played one session of it so far, but we had a record attendance of seven players. The rules system used is way heavier than LotFP, and as the group was rather large, we didn’t get that much actual role-playing done. I think I’ll have to limit the gaming group’s size somewhat, as eight people at one table is just too much.

There’s also the small(ish) matter of key time hours (paying hours) dedicated to something which doesn’t directly correlate to numbers (e.g. sales), so at the moment I’m doing this pretty much on my own, non-paying time. It doesn’t, however, come as that big a surprise to me that role-players are crappy customers, who think the hobby should be free, and any book that’s over 20€ is too expensive, but as I haven’t really sold anything role-playing related in two-three months, the sad fact of RPG non-viability as a product category in Finnish retail is really starting to sink in. (Yes, they told me. At least I gave it a shot.)

Console gaming

Console gaming is something I indulge in on a semi-regular basis, mostly for the sake of keeping up with new releases. I have a Playstation 3 console I got as a birthday present from my lovely wife, but I haven’t had that much time to actually play some of the newer games I’m really interested in (Fallout: New Vegas for instance). My hand-held Nintendo DS console gets a lot more attention, however, as the relative ease of popping the lid open and just playing for a few minutes makes it the ideal console for the timetable-challenged. The Nintendo also has a strong nostalgia factor for me, as the 8-bit was one of my first consoles, and I’m of the generation who was of appropriate age when Donkey Kong and other hand-held consoles became all the rage in the 80’s. I’m currently playing a Legend of Zelda NDS game, and Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies, which is another one of those Japanese, vaguely role-playish games where you fight monsters, do quests, gather experience points, and horde loot. Not great, but still good fun gaming. There are also a few puzzle-type games I’m looking into at the moment, the Ace Attorney and the Professor Layton series of games chief among them.


My other love is tabletop wargaming, which I’ve ben involved with on and off for the past two decades or so. I was on a hiatus from it for a few years, but working in a gaming store specializing in wargaming has really re-ignited my interest in the hobby. I’m currently working on and gaming with a Chaos Space Marine army, which is at about 1750 points at the moment. The current CSM Codex is kind of crap (Curse you Gav Thorpe!), and not really competitive with the real big boys of WH40K (in my opinion the three Space Marine Codices, and Orks). Chaos Space Marines (more specifically Emperor’s Children) was the army I started with way back when, however, so I’m sticking to my guns, and slowly expanding my army while I wait for a new edition Codex, which hopefully won’t suck as much as the current one.

My army is themed around the Red Corsairs, a force of piratical Chaos Space Marines operating out of the Warp Storm known as the Maelstrom. I’ve played only five proper-size WH40K 5th Edition games so far, and I’ve mainly taken a beating from more experienced players, but I’m slowly improving, learning how to utilize my army’s strengths, and how to counter some of the stock tactics of other types of armies. The tally so far is three games against Orks (one narrow victory, and two defeats), a game against Space Marines (a narrow defeat), and a game against another CSM army (a tie). Next up, I need to paint two more Rhino troop transports, the special character Huron Blackheart, and a Squad of Noise Marines, all of these for a Planetstrike tournament in four week’s time.

That’s it for now. Tally ho, Yarr, Blood for the Blood God, Stay frosty, and above all, Keep gaming!

Tapiolan Pelikauppa RPG Night

“That man is no spoon salesman, but a lowly thief! I’d advice you fine gentlemen to keep a watchful eye on your purses.”

We’ve now played RPG’s at Tapiolan Pelikauppa bi-weekly for the past two months or so. Our game of choice has so far been Jim Raggi’s Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Attendance has been slowly on the rise, with first two people, then four, and a week ago on Monday, a total of six people showing up to play. I’m quite satisfied with the event, as it has managed to generate interest in traditional table-top role-playing amongst our customers.

It has also been useful in promoting the idea that role-playing isn’t something obscure, only suitable for social recluses. Sure, table-top role-playing is a marginal hobby if you compare it to miniatures wargaming, console gaming, or even board gaming, but it is by no means dead. People still play RPG’s, and getting involved with role-playing isn’t really that hard. All you need to do is show up, roll up a character, and start playing!

We’re playing again the day after tomorrow, and as no other game masters have volunteered their services, we’re continuing with Jim at the helm. Not that I’m complaining, as I think Jim is one of the most creative and imaginative game masters around, not to mention him being not just your average run of the mill game master, but also the Insane Mastermind behind LotFP: Weird Fantasy Role-Playing, which I consider the best old school game out there, bar none. Don’t get me wrong, I also love Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, and OSRIC, but Jim’s game really stands out as the only simulacrum game with a definite (and very powerful) voice of its own. LotFP isn’t just a re-imagining of the Mentzer Basic version of D&D; Its heavy metal weird fantasy cranked to eleven!

As much as I love LotFP, I think its time to add something a bit different to the mix, so starting next week, I’m starting an in-store campaign of my own. It is going to be Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play 2nd Edition, run in Finnish. I’m planning on running games bi-weekly, so from now on every other week will be LotFP, and every other will be WFRP. We’ll continue with this rotation (of course barring other store events, which might take precedence), until we come up with something different. So… if you’re into fantasy role-playing, live in, or in the the vicinity of Espoo in Finland, and have Monday evenings off, there will be a game for you to join, whether you’re fluent in English, or would rather game in Finnish.

“Feeling the assailment of a black panic, he tottered in darkness and sought to secure his footing on the dangerous incline. But, ere he could relume the blown-out torch, he saw that the night around him was not complete, but was tempered by a wan, golden glimmering from the depths below. Forgetting his alarm in a new wonder, he descended toward the mysterious light.” (from Xeethra by Clark Ashton Smith)

Weird Fantasy at Tapiolan Pelikauppa, part 3

Today was our third session of Lamentations of the Flame Princess at Tapiolan Pelikauppa, refereed by Jim Raggi. We had six people show up to play, the most so far. The adventure started out quite inconspicuously with a rainy night at a backwoods inn full of spoon salesmen and Morris dancers. Things went from almost normal to weird quite fast after that, as the innkeeper turned out to be two identical innkeepers, the second innkeeper got his brain bashed out by the first innkeeper, and the Morris dancers’ and spoon salesmens’ horses doubled overnight. Deviltry was definitely afoot!

When the player characters returned with the village priest in tow, all that was left were dead men and butchered horses. The surviving innkeeper, and the extra horses were all missing. Following the trail north, we soon came upon murdered farmers, then a wrecked carriage, and finally, a duel. A troupe of questing knights had been set upon by unknown assailants, and now all that was left was the last of the knights, and his duplicate, both of who claimed to be the original. The elf cast Sleep, putting the knight down for the count, at which point the doppleganger hissed, and attacked the player characters. In the midst of the melee it assumed the form of PC specialist, after which one of the specialists was run through with a scimitar, and the other bound and gagged, just to be on the safe side.

Retreating to a nearby orphanage, a closer study of two of the corpses was conducted. My character performed autopsies, and after a night of cutting and measuring body parts, I had discovered a ruby-like gem inside the heart of one of the corpses. Meanwhile the party cleric had managed to find a method of routing out the rest of the doppelgangers, which didn’t require the cutting out of hearts. The last of the doppelgangers was masquerading as one of the orphans. With the assistance of the nuns of the orphanage, we captured the doppelganger in a casket, and proceeded to boil it to death. Problem solved. Well, almost, anyway, as there was still the matter of at least one more doppelganger loose in the village, probably in the guise of the inn’s serving wench. At about this time we had to call it a night.

In all, a rather entertaining little horror story reminiscent of John Carpenter’s The Thing. We plan on continuing play next Monday. Lets see how many of the players return for another go.

More Weird Fantasy at Tapiolan Pelikauppa

Today was our second in-store role-playing game session, this one also refereed by Jim Raggi, and word of mouth had evidently gotten around, as we had three new people show up in addition to the two guys who were there last time. The module Jim ran was one of the three in No Dignity in Death: The Three Brides. Jim’s musings on the topic can be read here.

This time around we had enough players from the get-go, so the game got underway sans store employees. The characters rolled up were a fighter, a dwarf, a cleric, and two elves. After closing up shop, I joined them with my slightly villainous, and completely unscrupulous Magic-User from last session, Professor Tesla Moriarty of the University of Grallides.

What I found was an adventuring party who’d managed to go adventuring without any proper equipment at all. You know; lanterns, torches, rope, that sort of things. Not surprisingly, the game session left the party in shambles, with three dead, and the rest running for dear life. Nevertheless, a good time was had by all, and I’m sure these guys will learn the ropes once they get some more experience with this type of gaming. I’m actually not that surprised at their lack of preparedness, as most modern role-playing games tend to treat equipment which isn’t in the category weapon, armor, or magic item as character decoration, with a game effect of slim to none.

Next session in two weeks!

Weird Fantasy at Tapiolan Pelikauppa

Today was our first RPG Night at Tapiolan Pelikauppa, the game store I manage. Jim Raggi showed up to run Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Role-Playing. Here’s how it went down.

The posters had been up for about a month’s time, and a lot of effort had been put into promoting the event to regulars, and anyone else showing up at the store and showing an interest in role-playing games. I got a lot of “Hm, I’ll think about it.” and “I’ll put it down in my calender.”, but no definite “Hell, yeah, I’m coming!” type replies. The hour was drawing near, and I started to get worried that no one would show… Eventually we had two store regulars showing up and wanting to play. The rest of the seats were filled by store personnel (myself and a co-worker), so we did manage to get a game going after all.

The game session itself was set in a very Raggiesque village (that is, an utterly and completely mundane-seeming backwater village full of crackpots, blow-hards, and wise-cracking, superstitious, bigots). In other words, pure gold. Nothing out of the ordinary, except the weird intruding on the lives of these fine folks’ (yeah, right… bastards), this time in the form of a werewolf. Great fun was had by all, the werewolf was eventually found out and burned to death, and everything was back to normal. Well, except for the church and the inn having been burned to the ground. And over a dozen villagers having been killed by the werewolf.

From what I gathered, both of the players were pretty new to role-playing. One of them had played LotFP once before, at Ropecon I think. The game was well received by both, and left them wanting more. I think we’ll see both of these guys at the table again.

All in all a good start to our bi-weekly RPG thing. A bit less of a turn-up than anticipated, but I think things will pick up once we get the ball rolling, word of mouth starts doing it’s thing, and we get the logistical side of things (dates, times, gaming area, etc.) in order. Jim has already agreed to come back in two weeks time (That’s the 13th of September, so mark it down in your calendars, folks!), and he has promised to bring his work-in-progress mega-dungeon!

Good times.

The Game is Afoot!

It is now happening! Game night starts on the 30th of August, and the first game session will be James Raggi refereeing LotFP: Weird Fantasy Role-Playing!

Now all I need to do is promote the Hell out of this thing to make sure Jim gets some players to dazzle with his wit and win over with his char.. Who am I kidding here: Players wanted for some Old School goodness, so pack some dice, pencil and paper, and haul ass over to the Tapiola game store! Prepare for metal!

Finnish language pdf here!

Running role-playing games in-store

This is a follow up on a blog post I wrote a little over a week ago. The topic: Running a bi-weekly tabletop role-playing night in the game store I manage. Here’s how I’m going about it:

Game Night is going to be every other Monday from 4 pm to about 9 pm at Espoon Puolenkuun Pelit on the second floor of the Heikintori shopping centre in Tapiola, Espoo. The store’s normal opening hours are 12 pm to 6 pm, meaning the role-playing crew would start congregating two hours before closing. The rationale here is attracting interest from non- role-players visiting the store.

A particular Game Night’s poster goes up on the notice board at least 2-4 weeks before Game Night. The notice includes a description of the game being run, who’s running it, which game system is used, is the game a one-shot or part of a campaign, is it suitable for novices, minimum and maximum number of participants, space for registration, etc. Designing this poster would preferably be up to the individual game masters.

When the allocated time comes, the actual contents and running of the game session is up to the individual game master. Since the store IS a place of business, even after closing hours, a member of the staff is required to be present during the whole game session (and yes, I realize I’m stating the obvious here).

I’m quite anxious to get this thing rolling, so I’m aiming for a late August – early September start up. This is also a roll-call of sorts, so if you’re a game master who feels up to running games for (most likely) total strangers, or if your gaming group feels like playing in a (semi-)public place, and are accepting of new people joining the game, get in touch with me.

Lets get those polyhedrons rolling.