- Re-working the BtH rules into a format I am more comfortable with
- Generating game aids - cards and quick reference sheets
- Purchasing and painting miniature aircraft
- Purcashing and assemblying game accessories - markers, flight stands, transport cases
- Blogging :)
- Actually getting to play the damn game!
The first point takes time. The second point takes a LOT of time - making cards, sheets and tables is a real time-eater! So far, my work has been done in Windows Paint, Word and Excel, though I recently downloaded a free layout program that is supposed to be quite good and will attempt to learn and use this when I start to re-work the cards. The goal is to introduce colour graphics and icons to make the cards an even better game aid. The tables and QR sheets will also need to be re-done here, to improve readability and layout.
The third point, painting, is one of my favourites, and it is really hard to prioritize time away from this and over to the other points - though I have realised that it helps little to have all the miniatures if I do not have anything to use them for. Fortuneately I have gotten wise, er, I mean old enough to have only one unpainted project (around a aquadron) in the pipeline at any one time, so with my current painting frequence at the least this part does not require a lot of money!
The fourth part, game accessories, is dreary. It reminds me of work :) Assemblying and painting flight stands is hardly creative work, once the initial concept is worked out. Spending money on this part is also quite hard - scenario books and miniatures are far more tempting. Still, this is the old gamer syndrome of having miniatures for hundreds of euros yet crap terrain. Having decided to focus on BtH exclusively for the time being has made this part of the hobby more important however - good game accessories, like the Hotz mat, good markers and flight stands enhance the game experience immeasurably and this is an area that I am investing heavily into at the moment - both in time and money. Yesterday I posted about the new transport boxes for my aircraft, and last night I made - this!
No, it is not a Stinger missile. Why, did you think the U.S. would supply a mountainous country bordering on Russia with advanced surface-to-air missiles? Don't be ridiculous!
This is my transport tube for my gaming mat. The main component is a 1,3 meter piece of 75mm diameter PVC plumbing tube! This was really cheap to get, though it required some cleaning - using soapy water, I stuffed paper towels trough the tube until they came out white. Next, I sealed off the bottom using a circular plug that I cut from leftovers of the kitchen refurbishing, topped with some foam to give the game mat a soft place to rest against. This was attached using a hot glue gun (naturally!), three small screws and a liberal application of duct tape (the other geek adhesive).
The pipe had an unsightly text line with its specifications in red ink running down its length, so I decided to pimp the tube with a continuous label and some chevrons. The legend reads "BAG the HUN" (oh fanboy me), I then decided to just go for it and added the address of this blog in small type underneath. Yes, modesty does not become me...
Once the "decorations" were in place, a 3m cargo strap was attached by using a pair of those metal bands made to squeeze together tubes and pipes. Forgive me, my English fails me here and I cannot even begin to guess what this is called in other languages!
The pipe also has a cap, which is a blind plug for plumbing in matching dimensions. This was sanded to remove sharp edges, and fits quite well without using any sort of latch - though I had to remove the pipe's rubber gasket in order to make it possible to get the cap on and off.
The full-size Hotz game mat measures roughly 180 by 120 cm and is rolled around a wooden stick for support before being stuffed into the tube. This fits almost too snugly - fortuneately, I purchased the largest dimension round stick available (28 mm) and can shave off 7 mm by purchasing a smaller stick, which will make the current mad tight rolling of the game mat less vital.
In hindsight, I might have gone for the next larger pipe dimension to get room to fit two maps at once. That being said, I am very happy with this solution - the mat is now stored in a made-to-fit sturdy and splash-proof tube that will certainly last a lot longer than a similar cardboard one.
The project cost me less than 25 euros, one hour of shopping around in hardware stores and one hour of assembly. That I can live with, even though it means I will likely have to wait 'till the next paycheck to get my next gaming accessory - don't worry, you will see it posted here as soon as I get my hands on it!