Panda-emic 3!

The Continuing Adventures of Panda

This week is part three of the adventures of poor lil’ panda. If you missed out, you can catch up with parts one and two.

That Carcassonne ‘lying down in the field’ joke is about as well worn as wood-for-sheep. We avoided it for years, but honestly, napping just felt like a very ‘panda’ thing to do. Next to eating bamboo, it’s his favourite activity. There are still a couple more weeks left in his adventures, so if you want to see how he takes to life as a farmer, tune in next week.

As I write this, I am flicking between tabs (of the several hundred I have open) and working on my first campaign for D&D. I ran a game for friends last night that went reasonably well (no-one fell asleep, the table went unflipped, and people are willing to play again) and so I am now working up something that can run over a few nights. I could, of course, pull from a great number of pre-written adventures, but there is a great appeal for me in world-building, and the construction of a living, breathing, story that can be interacted with.

For playing on an ongoing basis, we will need to use roll20.net, which I hear works quite well. If anyone has any experience using the system, I’d love to hear about it. Or any good alternatives for playing D&D online, if such apps exist?

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Panda-emic!

Panda Tales Part 1

This week’s comic marks the start of something new and very different for us. It’s something we have spent a couple of weeks working very hard on, and we are very excited about it. We hope you enjoyed what is just week one of the adventures of Panda. Those familiar with ‘Lost Patrol’ should have an idea of what he is in for next week – suffice to say things won’t get any better for him right away.

More than ever, we would love your feedback. We have 4-6 weeks of comics planned in this style with our panda friend, so if you absolutely hate it, you’re probably just out of luck. Other than that, we hope you give it a chance, and would love to hear your thoughts. We had a lot of fun working on the series – developing the idea, setting up a little makeshift home studio, taking all the pictures, and then stitching them together in Photoshop. It’s a completely different approach to making comics for us, and we both felt it exercised our imaginations and talents in new ways. After three years (!) it’s good to take a break and try something different, and I think this story arc is the best the comic has been in a while.

Also, if you do like the comic, it would be great to get some reposts/likes and all that other good social media stuff, to highlight the story. Much thanks if you can spare the time for that.

Finally, of course, a mention must go to publishers Bombyx and Matagot for publishing Takenoko, which of course is where this week’s comic is set. Full credit to Antoine Bauza for designing such a great, adorable game. In fact, as Panda continues his adventures in the coming weeks, the games of Antoine Bauza will be cropping up again.

And of course, the game owes its beautiful design and aesthetics to illustrators Nicolas Fructus, Joel Van Aerde & Yuio. It was a pleasure to spend so much time photographing their gorgeous game (I probably took about 80-100 pictures for the comic, and enjoyed it the whole time).

If you have never played Takenoko, we strongly recommend it. It’s light, with a fair sprinkling of luck, but it is fun, beautiful, and just the right level of thinking for a gentle evening’s game with friends.

And it has a panda. I mean, how could you not love that guy? It is completely fair to say that the panda miniature in Takenoko is entirely responsible for the arc of our comic for at least the next month.

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Back Seat Pilot

Back Seat Pilot

New format! I discussed the reasons for our change of format last week, but for those of you who missed it: We are changing format so that Aileen can unshackle herself from the bonds of a gruelling update schedule on top of a full time job. So that she may discover rooms in our new apartment other than the office. Perhaps she might even once again feel the unfamiliar warmth of the sun on her skin, and feel the burden of overwork lift from her tired shoulders. Maybe she will then stop referring to the comic as ‘my precious’ and speaking in riddles all the time, pausing only briefly to snap about hobbitses.

I have talked about this before, but while comics are a collaborative enterprise, the workload is not equal. A nap on the couch and thirty minutes at the computer is all it takes for me to write a strip, and maybe an hour and a half again to letter it. Meanwhile, this brief flight of my imagination will hold Aileen to the desktop – researching, sketching, drawing, flatting, and then colouring for hours on end. A reduction from six to four panels is an interesting creative challenge for me, but for Aileen it means a significantly smaller amount of time in front of a screen each week.

Maybe come next week she won’t draw me quite as evil looking as in panels 1 & 2. What’s that all about? I definitely don’t remember writing ‘looks like he kicks puppies for sport’ in the character description for this week’s comic.

In further ‘Aileen is overworked’ news, she created this fantastic poster for our friends at Tabletop Cork, for their International Tabletop Day celebration. If you are in or around Cork on the day, come check it out. I will be there all day, either helping out or playing board games, and if the new four panel format is working out, so will Aileen!

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Gone with the war games

Writer_smallerAnd happy New Year

Tiny Wooden Pieces returns! Or rather, we return to our scheduled programming. I had a lot of fun organising the guest comics over Christmas, and loved having so many great people on the site. The reaction seems to have been positive, so it’s already in motion for next Christmas, and for a break myself and Aileen will need to take during the year.

Meanwhile, it’s good to be back in the driving seat, re-discovering how much fun it is to make comics with Aileen, and having so much fun poking fun at the hobby we both love so much.

Which brings me nicely back to the comic. I’m not there yet, but fool that I am, the call of Bolt Action is strong. It’s seems to be a nicely realised war game with a genuinely affordable buy-in. It covers World War II (hence the B&W style of today’s comic), which for me is a particularly arresting period of history. The miniatures seem to cover every army, faction, period, and armament of the conflict, offering a nicely broad range of styles and strategies to choose from. I still have a range of paints and brushes from the last time I gave Necromunda a go. But of course, I also have a half-painted gang from that time as well.

Interestingly, today’s comic is sort of a reverse version of Dave’s comic from a few weeks ago.

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