Panda-emic 5!

Fond Farewells

Today is a sad day for Tiny Wooden Pieces. Not only do we say goodbye to our friend Panda, but we are also announcing the end of Tiny Wooden Pieces. We are both truly very sorry to announce that next week will be our final comic. For over three years now we have enjoyed sharing this comic with you, but unfortunately, we have to now call it a day.

There are several reasons for this, but most of all, it is simply a matter of time. Or rather, time pressure. We both love making comics, and that is something we are both going to continue to do. But we no longer feel we are producing our best work on a weekly schedule. This is something we have been considering for a long time, and have talked at length about. As much as we love the comic, we do not want to continue with something that we feel we are not giving our best work to. Our next comic project will be something that we can spend a lot of time on before even announcing, let alone releasing.

More than even making our beloved comic (beloved to us, at least), we are going to miss the wonderful community that has been part of this site. What we will miss the most are the friendly, fun, funny, and inspiring comments from many people we now consider friends, even if we have never met you.

We will keep the website up, and maybe one day we will once again do something related to board games. I have been thinking about doing reviews, or something similar, and maybe this site is the place to host that. In the meantime, if anyone wants to send me board games for review as part of another site/project I would be fine with that 🙂

We will definitely keep our twitter and instagrams up. While there might not be much activity on them, at least we can still feel connected to the wonderful community of board gamers out there, that we are proud to call our friends.

We will return next week for one final comic, and I hope you will all join us then, one last time.

46 Comments on Panda-emic 5!

Panda-emic 4!

New Adventures of the Panda

Panda has been on his quest to find home for some weeks now, so if you need to catch up, you can start with chapter one.

As I write this, I have just finished taking the pictures for Panda’s final adventure. I was honestly a little sad as I took apart the set and dismantled my little home-made studio (bedside lamps, green felt backdrop, double-sided tape, thumbtacks, etc) and said goodbye to Panda. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’ve enjoyed the challenge of making comics in a new way. Panda wraps up his adventures next week, so I hope you join us then in seeing him off.

In the meantime, we are hoping to finally get back to our Arkham Horror LCG campaign. We got our hands on the first two standalone expansions weeks ago, but still haven’t even finished the campaign from the base box. We’ve heard such good things about the expansions that at this stage I just want to get the base game done and move on.

I will also be spending the next week preparing for Dublin Comic Con, which I will be attending as part of Turncoat Press. If you’re there, come say hi! I will also be looking for new clients to work with in my capacity as a freelance comic book editor. This is something I have been doing for a while now, and I have some free slots available in the coming months. So, if you are working on, developing, or looking to publish a comic, contact me through my website. I specialise in story editing, so if you are just looking for some script notes, edits, or guidance, let me know.

See you all next week!

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Dice, dice, baby

Writer_smallerYou gotta roll with it

As previously illustrated, Aileen is a cardboard sniffer. There is no element of unboxing a new game that she loves more than the smell of it. If my own board game fetish were to be thus labelled, I’d be a dice fondler. As soon a new box is opened I’m rummaging around the cardboard and the plastic looking for dice, like some kind of hipster hobo, for whom dumpster diving for food is too ‘last year’. I can’t wait to get them into my hands and feel the weight, the quality; hoping for a good heft, and a satisfying roll. There is of course, an extra thrill of pleasure in custom dice. Unique faces, fascinating symbols, strange new purposes and uses.

I often spend time here proselytising about the wonderful social nature of board games. But their other great appeal is their tactile nature. Picking up a piece and moving it around. Holding a hand of cards. Amassing counters and tokens. Placing a lovingly crafted wooden meeple to claim a territory or declare an action. That wonderful ‘thunk’ as a good hand of dice hits the table rolling. The artwork, the atmosphere it creates. It’s all so tangible, helping you to connect with the game. To turn a box of cardboard and plastic and a dull book of rules into an experience that really engages you.

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Hold the line

Writer_smallerMore miniatures

My slide back into the pit of miniatures gaming has been slow, but not completely surprising. The signs were there. Technically, in fact, I am already there, and have been for some time. X-Wing probably accounts for a good 50% of our gaming time so far in 2016. And as much as I was fond of telling myself otherwise, it is a miniatures game. The squad sizes are tiny, and you don’t have to paint a thing. There isn’t even any terrain or giant gaming boards to worry about. All this helped in the lie, as I bought ship after ship after ship. ‘It’s just because I like Star Wars!’ I would tell myself. But I can no longer lie to myself. Well, not about this, anyway.

But a man has to have principles, even if they are principles that are picked up on the retreat from previously held ones. So, for now, I hold firm to one last line: no more blind booster packs. Even if I helplessly expand existing games with more units, expansions, rules, figures, paints, cards, I can still hold on to one thing: I will know up front what I am buying, and I know that it is useful to me. My purchases won’t be blind, and my collection will be finite.

That’s a principle, right?

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Premonition of peril

Writer_smallerWARHAMMER!

They’re called Warhammer stores now, which is new. No longer Games Workshop, as it was in my day. Or indeed, until very recently. Orks were my poison, back in the day. Legions of bloodthirsty boyz, red-striped bikes, gretchin swarming over everything, and oodles of colourful, inventive, backfiring artillery. These days, X-Wing is the furthest into miniatures territory I’m willing to tread. Small, pre-painted forces make for a game that doesn’t take an excess of time or money to get to the gaming table. And as much as I like the idea of large scale battles and turn-based strategy, I’m very happy to stick with X-Wing.

Speaking of which, the big news this week was Fantasy Flight Games announcing yet another incredible looking Star Wars board game. And, as ever, it was completely out of the blue, without even a ripple in the force to foreshadow its arrival. The game bills itself as an ‘epic conflict’, and epic it does seem to be, with 150 miniatures and a board taking in thirty-two systems from the Star Wars galaxy. Without a designer credit or much in the way of gameplay details, it’s obviously hard to tell exactly how good (or not) it’s going to be. On the other hand, you can control a Death Star, and if you wish, actually destroy planets with it. So I’m sold, one way or another. Perhaps mercifully though, the game is not out before Christmas, which means Aileen will be getting a Christmas present and not just an apology for the fact that I’ve blown all my money on a giant Star Wars game. It also means that Pandemic Legacy is still holding the top spot for our Christmas-present-game. Thanks for the feedback on that, everyone who commented a few weeks back.

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The favourite game

Writer_smallerThe favourite game

If anyone is wondering whether or not this week’s comic was named after the 1963 Leonard Cohen novel of the same name: don’t be crazy. Of course it is. Like any right-thinking individual, I love ol’ laughing Lenny. Like-minded literary readers will know that the novel has nothing to do with the noble pursuit of tossing dice, hefting counters and shuffling cards, but I’m still going to use it to segue into that very topic.

It’s been a while since I read The Favourite Game, and it’s also been awhile since I have played Space Hulk (smooth, right?). Aileen has never played Space Hulk, but she loves it just the same, for exactly the reasons detailed in the comic. Any situation that puts myself and Ger in any kind of conflict or even mild opposition is guaranteed, for her, to yield entertaining results.

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Star Wars: Armada

Writer_smallerStar Wars: Armada

A Star Wars ship combat game on the scale of Armada probably appeals more to me than X-Wing. The more salient concern, however, is all the X-Wings on our gaming shelf, unmarked by combat. Rarely ever flown at all, in fact. Turns out the downside of a collectible or a miniatures game is less the expense, and more the time required to play it over and again with all the additions and expansions. With so many incredible games being released all the time, it’s harder and harder to get replay value out of the games we already own. Of course, this is a problem entirely of our own making. And it’s a lack of restraint that is the main ingredient of that problem. There are just so many good games out there. We haven’t even gotten around to buying Imperial Assault yet, and our Risk: Legacy campaign is currently experiencing a ceasefire. Not a truce, or even negotiations. It’s just looking like we might be embedded for a while longer than first anticipated. Bloody great game, though.

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Descent into a galaxy far, far away

Writer_smallerStar Wars Descent

We had a lot of fun doing our last ‘Star Wars Descent’ comic, and figured a new year was a good enough excuse to return to our anachronically-challenged characters, and see how they were getting on in their dungeon.

We haven’t yet made the plunge and purchased Imperial Assault (the Star Wars themed dungeon crawler at the heart of this week’s comic), but there is no doubt that we will. I have talked about this game before, and if you’re not inclined to follow that link, I can sum up how I feel about it in one simple sentence:

I am very excited.

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Pimp my Power Armour

Writer_smallerSpace Hulk

The characterisation of Terminators as the meathead jocks of the 40K Universe is one that just … works for me. I had a lot of fun writing this, imagining them as though they were teenage boys talking about car mods. Once the idea settled in, it was quite easy to imagine Imperial troops at their barracks, all keeping their heads down, hoping that the lumbering, ‘roided out Marine walking across the parade ground wouldn’t catch their eye and bend their ear about how much he can bench, and what his Ork kill count was in his last battle. The idea of Terminators as dude ‘bros is, I think, that we will re-visit when the opportunity arises.

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A long time ago in a dungeon far, far away

Writer_smallerDungeon crawling

If you too don’t know what you are doing in the dungeon, read the help text here.

Dungeon crawling games aren’t my cup of tea (Early Grey, +1 to pomposity). In the same manner that MMORPGs like WoW give me a kind of existential dread, so the endless slog of fight the monster, loot the room, on to the next level holds no appeal for me.  Zombicide is the closest I’ve come to enjoying a game like this, as it essentially bolts a zombie theme onto a simple dungeon crawler. But it lacks ‘proper’ campaign and for reasons we have gone into before, I have been turned off it.

Imperial Assault, announced at Gen Con, is a Star Wars theme bolted onto Descent.

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