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.

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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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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 2!

Panda Tales Part 2

This week’s comic is part two of the adventures of our friend Panda. Part one can be found here.

The winner of the 2017 Spiel Des Jahres is Kingdomino, and I couldn’t be happier with the choice. I love Kingdomino. It’s so perfectly simple I can’t believe no-one thought it up decades ago. Of course, it’s exactly that kind of simplicity that masks brilliant design. In the same way that a short story can be harder to write than a novel, I would guess designing a game with so few mechanics and rules can be much harder than a 4X space opera. With so few moving parts, every single one has to be in perfect harmony. Chris from Tabletop Cork introduced me to Kingdomino a couple of weeks back, and now I refuse to even meet him for coffee unless he brings it along.

My personal feeling aside, it is the perfect candidate for a Spiel Des Jahres winner. It’s simple tile-laying game in which players draft tiles to build a 5×5 grid in front of themselves. The aim is to build sections of similar type in your grid – forests, seas, plains, etc. The larger the section, the more it will potentially score at the end of the game (which takes maybe 15-20 minutes).

But there is one more factor in end-game scoring. Certain tiles have crowns printed on them, and the scoring for each section in your grid is multiplied by the number of crowns on it. So 4 forest tiles with a total of 2 crowns on them will score you 8 points. The more crowns the better, and in fact, if you fail to acquire any crowns, the section is worth nothing.

The tiles you draft each round will determine the order in which you get to draft next round. But a clever wrinkle in the mechanics means that generally it’s a choice between getting more crowns or going first.

It’s a wonderful small box game, and probably the closest I have ever seen to matching Star Realms regards value for money. If you can find a copy before the Spiel Des Jahres stampede sweeps them up and out of print, I highly recommend it.

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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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