Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Demo Progess

Just a short note on how things are moving along with the demo.

- Practice...been going over the rules nonstop to make sure I know the movement and shooting steps cold as well as branching out into the assault step just in case someone asks.

- Additional help.  My game store posted a message on the local wargaming clubs forums and it spurred some interest right off the bat.  We have a couple other folks who will be running  a second table with 2 1500 point armies and some modest terrain.  Idea is to show what a full set up looks like and then have the customer try a few turns.

- Game store advertising,  My local game store is pushing the demo pretty hard.  Flyers all over the store and they talk it up with customers as well.

- Counters.  Found during my practice games that the Open Fire kits don't come with counters.  You really need them for Bogged Down and Bailed Out vehicles.  You could proxy with coins or other unit markers, but that goes against the atmosphere we are trying to prevent.  A quick talk to the game store owner and we have US Generic and German Panzer counter sets on the be part of the store set along with the tanks after the demo.

- 2 in diameter Smoke Markers.  Finished making 8 of these monsters.  Have several different looks.  Will post pictures over the weekend

*** UPDATE *****

Promised pictures:

and in comparsion to the smoke marker on a penny:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Making Smoke & Flame Markers

To support the demo, I thought it would be really neat to have smoke and flames markers like Shawn Morris, The TerrainGuy, makes at this link:

My attempts and some comments from my experience. 

- Be careful if you use copper penny's and superglue.  There is a chemical reaction that releases heat and the pennys do get hot.  This dissipates after a few minutes though.  (EDIT:: Actually I think it is just the super glue itself.  I found doing another set of markers that if I smothered an area with other clumps or pinched it too hard I prevented the fumes from escaping.  I think this caused everything to get really hot)

- Be generous with the PVA glue/water mix for the hardcoat.n  Soak the markers thouroughly.  This really helps keep pieces from falling off later when you paint the marker.

- ALWAYS be on the lookout for little places where the wire shows through and have some foliage on hand to cover it up.  You will see some bare spots appear as the hardcoat appears.

- According to the Flames of War rulebook, smoke markers are supposed to be 2 inches in diameter and 2 inches in height.  Mine are like a 1/4 inch in diameter, but do meet the 2 inch height requirement.  I found some wood circles that are 2 inches in diameter and will try modifying a handful of the smoke markers I did make to the correct size.  The flames markers, though, turn out perfect, IMHO.

Now for some pictures:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

No Players? Create them!

No, not like Dr. Frankenstein (that would fit better with Warhammer, War Machine/Hordes or Malifauex).  Be that voice in the wilderness preaching to the heathen masses of teh glory and wonders of your chosen game.  In this case I am talking about Flames of War.  The guys at "What Would Patton Do" really gave me the idea where in one of their podcasts Dirty John was talking about a demo he ran and a couple of tips to those who wanted to run demos.  Well, I sent the WWPD dirty one and their Noob-in-chief, Joe Mezz, an email and asked for some tips.

1. Have support of the Gamestore where you will run it.  The gametsore has to be actively involved for the demo to be a success.  Advertising is key.  More than just putting a flyer up her and there.  They need to give you a space for the that is visible to customers and not in an out of the way corner.  They need to talk it up to customers as well.  You know...when someone enters "Hi, welcome Billy Joe Bob's Gamestore.  Make sure you check out the most excellent Flames of War demo in the back."  Having a promotion in conjunction with the demo is another method.  Something like 10% off all FOW merchandise for those who partake in the demo.  Lastly, use the store set of terrain and miniatures.  If they dont have the models, Battlefront can give them some courtesy copies of the "Open Fire" Introductory Boxed Set.

2. Use PAINTED models and nice terrain.  You want to show off the beauty that is miniature wargaming and the beauty that Battlefront miniatures possess.  NO silver surfer or primed models for this.  They dont have to be award winning paint jobs, but at least a good 3-4 foot army standard.  Terrain is the same.  No books for hills...avoid green felt for trees...etc...  The idea is to catch a customers eye and make them say "Whoa! That looks cool. What is that?"  It is just another form of advertising when you get down to it."

3.  Start with something simple.  You are bound to have COMPLETE newcomers to the game if not to the overall hobby as well.  Battlefront's "Open Fire" Introductory Boxed Set is perfect for this.  3 Sherman tanks vs 2 StuGs.  You only have to deal with the Movement and Shooting Rules.  Pretty easy for someone to get a feel for in 15 or so minutes of playing.  No messy Assault or Artillery rules for them to learn, or you to have to know by heart.  Which brings me to the next point.

4.  Know the rules you will need for the demo inside and out.  Nothing will spoil the atmosphere you are trying to create as you having to refer back to the rulebook...."ah, Hmmmmm...lets see where is that rule."  You get the idea. If you have to do it, you have to do it....but it should be at a minimum. 

5.  Have everything the players will need ready for them.  Stat sheets for the Shermans and StuGs for instance.  You might want to make a several copies as they could walk or get to crumpled.  If you are really high speed get them lamenated.  Maybe even the Cheatsheet from the FoW rulebook that shows all the phases and steps.

And this is exactly what I plan on doing with my local gamestore.  More to follow...