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!

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!

8 Comments on Back Seat Pilot

Groundhog Gary

Writer_smallerBetter Dead than a Gnome?

Oh, Gary. With your winning ways. We miss you already. And not just because Zombie Gary is useless at X-Wing. Always knocking over ships and chewing on the cards. The fact of the matter is, you were important to us as a player in our Imperial Assault campaign, and now we will have to replace you, much like we have had to replace the gaming table that got covered in, um, zombie stains, shall we say.

We are both feeling better this week, but we are catching up on a lot of work, both comic-related, and real life related. So no gaming, and very little news. I did back the Near and Far Kickstarter. I’m a sucker for a campaign game, and this looks to be excellent. And wow, that artwork. It’s just gorgeous, and that makes such a difference.

Every now and then another miniatures game comes along and I think -oh, that looks really great. Or it will have a really interesting, new mechanic; something that shakes things up, or sounds fascinating. But I’m deep into the Galaxy Far, Far Away with X-Wing (also deep out of pocket) and I still have a small Bolt Action army waiting to be painted. So I always manage to resist the urge and let that small amount of common sense I still have left in my head prevail. Or, even better, I show it to a friend I know it will appeal to so they will buy it and I can play for free.

The point I’m getting at is, miniatures games are a no-go and I’ve been really good at avoiding temptation. I haven’t even thought twice about the Warhammer 40K Escalation campaign my friends are playing. I prudently avoided watching Shut Up & Sit Down’s video playthrough of Infinity. Day after day I resist the urge to look at the skirmish rules for Imperial Assault and buy a whole carpet of Wookies (it’s their collective noun).

But then Warlord Games went and announced pre-order of the first packs for their upcoming Dr Who miniatures game. I didn’t even know they had the license. I didn’t know there was a license to be had for a Dr Who miniatures game. I am sunk! Done in! Trapped! I have no choice. I don’t even know what type, kind, or scale of miniatures game this is. Will I control but a few Daleks, or a whole Parliament of the mindless fiends? On what form of battlefield will I exterminate Cybermen, Sontarans, Silurians, Zygons, Time Lords and pathetic humans? All I know is Warlord Games have checkmated me once again.

It’s Dr Who. What choice do I have?

1 Comment on Groundhog Gary

Rebel heart

Writer_smallerNEWS ITEMS!

We will be in Boston from Tuesday for a family wedding, buying board games and indulging in as much local food as we can manage in an unfortunately short time. We will also be hanging out at Knight Moves board game cafe in Brookline. So if you are around, come meet us! We would love to hang out and play games. Come along on Tuesday the 3rd of May. We should be there around 7 or 8PM (we will confirm the time here and on Twitter) and we intend on staying until close (11PM) Directions and details can be found here, if you are going to come along, do let us know in the comments or Twitter.


23 Comments on Rebel heart

Gary and the great 3D printer

I’m puttin’ on my top hat . . .

My No. 1 hope for the future is that top hats make a comeback.

So Gary actually found a template online and printed an X-Wing token holder. And, in fairness, it’s really great. It holds everything you need, and the quality is impressive. It’s well crafted, sturdy, and honestly the kind of accessory a sucker like me would pay good money for. But while I love the open source nature of 3D printing – the template for the token holder is freely available online – on a consumer level, the technology is not quite there yet. The token holder took five hours to print. That’s not to take away from 3D printing. The technology is literally revolutionary, and the possibilities are game changing in any number of fields. But a 3D printer in every house is still a few years away. Hopefully not too long, though. I could totally print an ace top hat.


23 Comments on Gary and the great 3D printer

All we ever talk about

Writer_smallerX-Wing, X-Wing, X-Wing

I always worry a lot about comics that depict Aileen as any kind of bad guy, or nag. Writing is easiest when it’s from my own perspective, and I don’t mind making myself the joke of a strip. This does mean that quite often Aileen gets written in as the ‘straight man’ in the sketch. I consciously try and mix it up whenever I can, but it’s a (semi) biographical strip that draws a lot of humour from our own lives and hobby, so writing it from my own point of view is more natural, and feels more honest. Also I don’t have to feel bad about making anyone else the butt of the joke.

As I said, I try and mix it up, but I also try very hard not to second-guess myself, or to write what I think an audience will want, or avoid what an audience might take issue with. There’s no honesty in that, and it will only serve to dilute what I want to do. I guess what I’m saying is that as well as being my favourite comic collaborator, Aileen is my favourite person as well, and if she comes off as anything less than that in my writing it’s because I’m making myself the punchline of the comic.

I am currently obsessed with X-Wing, and the line ‘All we ever do is talk about X-Wing’ line came from a friend that stayed with us for the weekend. He was imagining Aileen snapping and letting her true feelings come out. Hilarious as this was, the reality is that we are both down pretty deep down the X-Wing rabbit hole right now. Any time that was previously spent on Facebook or Twitter on our phones is now used for tinkering with squad lists on the brilliant X-Wing Squad Builder App (really an essential tool if you play, even casually).

Tiny Epic Western, like the previous games in the ‘Tiny Epic’ series immediately hijacked my attention. Ultimately though, the international shipping makes it a definite no go. The 12 dollar rate turns a great value, pocket-sized 18 dollar game into a 40 dollar game. Which sucks for us.

The magazine I am reading- Starfighter Pilot -does not exist, and I think if I were to list everything that is wrong with the world right now, that would make the top ten.

Also, long time readers might have recognised the reference to a previous comic. Well done if you did, your no-prize is in the post.

29 Comments on All we ever talk about

One born every minute

Writer_smallerThe Farce Awakens

I believe satire to be an important function of comedy. In this way, and in many others, comedy, and comics, can be a vehicle for commentary, criticism and opinion on its subject matter, be that politics, society, religion, or – in our case – games.

While we will always shy away from being harsh or cutting for the sake of it, some healthy cynicism is, well, healthy, and the incoming avalanche of Star Wars merchandise, games and nonsense would seem a fairly appropriate target. But as fitting a target as it may be, Tiny Wooden Pieces will not be aiming at it. Because here at Tiny Wooden Towers, we freakin’ love Star Wars, and are genuinely super-excited at what looks to be a return to form for the franchise. Like Jawas at a scrapyard, we are eagerly picking up anything and everything in its wake, and basking in pure, unabashed, child-like joy. Star Wars is back. And it’s really back this time.

So in terms of commentary on the crass commercialisation it will bring with it, we are the very suckers that we should be skewering, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

RRRRAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHRRRRRR (that’s my excited Wookie roar)

I mentioned last week that we had a plan to keep the comic updated over Christmas while myself and Aileen took some time off to recharge and play games, and talked about it a little more in the comments. I’ve been feeling for a while that my writing has been hovering close to repetitive, and I haven’t been happy with it for a while, so I want the time off to re-focus and for us to come back better.

So our plan is for about three weeks worth of ‘guest’ comics, where we get some super-talented friends of ours to fill in for us. The comics will remain game-related, and having already seen the scripts we will be using, I promise you, the quality will not suffer in the least. In fact, I think the variety will improve things. This will begin a week or two into December, and I’m genuinely excited to share these comics with everyone. Further into the new year we plan to give the site itself a much-needed overhaul, but more on that closer to the time. Although, while I’m on the subject, if there is anything you would like to see on the site, or improvements you think we could make, let us know in the comments. We would love some feedback on it before we get into the serious planning stage.


7 Comments on One born every minute

At twice the price

Writer_smallerAt twice the price

The first three panels in the comic, taken on their own, is a story you hear a lot. In fairness, it’s more joked about than seriously recounted, but it’s a joke I hear too often to not be supported by a strong scaffold of truth.

I don’t have this problem with Aileen, and Aileen doesn’t have this problem with me. Perhaps this is a problem in and of itself, of course. A not-insignificant pile of as yet unplayed games with several Kickstarters on the way would attest to this. That’s beside the point (at least it is in today’s blogpost; the point has, however, been filed away for future source material).


6 Comments on At twice the price

X-Wing – Swarm tactics

Writer_smallerSwarm tactics

This week’s comic is about the X-Wing Miniatures game. In particular it refers to the Swarm army list for the game. More on that below, as I’d love to talk a little about the game itself first…

I do my best to avoid miniatures games. Games Workshop was my introduction to gaming, and growing up I loved the science fiction universe, the character of the armies, and the real challenge the game brought to the table. What I didn’t love was the expense (or the painting, if I’m honest). Spending more than €50 on a base game and then needing to spend 3-4 times that to then field a reasonable army was then, and still is, too much for me.


4 Comments on X-Wing – Swarm tactics