Archive for 2012

Tardis computer

This afternoon we will have a new Christmas special for the Doctor Who. I hope I will watch it on BBC through an iPad app here in Italy. In the meantime I show you this computer forged inside an aluminium reproduction of the Tardis. It is an officially licensed product by BBC and it is a real computer. The price is not so low, it is sold for 1000 euros at least. It cannot travel through time, sorry.


Arti & Mestieri 2012

It is Christmas time and in Rome there was the annual fair about handicraft and regional foods. More than ten years ago I participated with one game stand a couple of times. It was called “Natale Oggi” (Christmas Today) when we were in the old fair structures inside the city, while now it is called “Arti & Mestieri” (Arts and Crafts) in the new fair along the Tiber valley.

My first beer after some time. It was my first exit after my allergic reaction that lasted two weeks due to stress: I run three different jobs. In the morning I visited the Happymodel fair about railway modelling and 54mm soldiers for collectors. Sorry, I took some stuff but I didn’t take photos because I was late. Then I was in this other fair. I bought some gifts for my family. There was a lot of good traditional food: cheese, jam, beer, oil, sausages,…

This was the place where a Guinness record was established: the biggest pizza. And it was edible to coeliac people too. This pizza was cooked a couple of days before so nothing remains. They ate it all! Pity!

Another event was inside the fair, an international beer exposition. A good idea ruined by the policy of high prices, among other idiocies as sloppiness and the distant place where they put it. These the rules to drink: 20cl of beer for 12 euro; 3 euro more for each additional 20cl. But they gave to you a glass and a book. Well, this is not the snob wine market, this is beer, another way to drink! Moreover the nearest snack or other kind of food was 10 minutes walk far. How you can drink without nothing to eat? And the fair is reachable by car at most, so after all that alcohol you cannot drive.

The result: 420 kinds of beers, 40 cash registers and 40 paying people.


Ludica Roma 2012: 3D printing

Have you ever heard of 3D printing? We have saw it in the making! Unterwelt is a small company in Rome that love open source technology and had a stand in Ludica convention. They use a kind of DIY plotter with vertical movement in addiction to horizontal one. It is technologically based on Arduino platform. Over a heated plate this plotter start to draw a plastic flux from the base of the object, going up, building the object layer after layer. The head of the plotter is like a syringe. A plastic wire, unwound from a roll, feed the syringe. A computer control the flux and the plotter. It is like built something by a microscopic tube of toothpaste. The plastic is melted by heat and after is firm up by ambient temperature. They use various plastic materials. One of them is that used for Lego bricks. The only fault is the slowness of the process, we are still in a pioneering phase, these are not industrial machineries that can built at enormous speeds.

On the photo you can see some objects that the machine created. In the making is a green foot. The parts of this plotter are partially created by another similar plotter. The machine replicate itself! The only necessity is to have a CAD project. The structures of the drone in the other photo are build with this 3D plotter! Drones build by a CAD project downloaded by internet! Moreover, if you have a 3D scanner you can replicate every kind of object without CAD programming. The kit to built this plotter is only 750 euro. Materials are cheap too. Ideal for professional modelling.

There is another company based on 3D printing services. It is called
Shapeways. They have a small miniatures catalogue, CAD draws that can become 3D objects. People design their pieces, upload them, and people can buy the final product. I have ordered a not so cheap 28mm Dalek miniature, just to taste the water. The future of miniatures production? Imagine: you need a specific piece and you want to give it an unique pose or aspect. 3D printing is the solution.


Ludica Roma 2012: lego

I like Lego, I grew with these toys. So I like to watch the realisation made by the Lego community. In the Ludica fair a large space was dedicated to Lego games. And to a Lego city. Summing Lego brick after Lego brick, Lego set after Lego set, you can obtain this, a continuous table with lots of little scenes and details. With a railway and a monorail added.

Some realisation have a less gaming aspect, like these pieces inspired by Star Wars vehicles. Fictional reality deconstructed in Lego bricks.

In the Ludica Model pavilion there was an area where you could freely play with Lego and buy it in weight. A very popular place for children. While in the Ludica Bimbi pavilion there was a really huge mosaic with the image of the Colosseum. People could built it by sector using Lego bricks having a sector map for guide. Up with Lego community!


Ludica Roma 2012: miniatures

In Ludica Roma there were wargamers and modellers, so you could view a lot of beautiful miniatures.

A multicoloured scenario from an A La Guerre game.

Your miniature collection can become really huge after a lot of years playing wargame. Piles of 15mm for an 1:1 fight between Gauls and Romans along a small river.

Bigger miniatures and greater painters than wargame world. That Zues is awesome. I’m thinking about a game with this Zeus in the upcoming Of Gods And Mortals…

More models museum worthy.

A scene set in the Lybian desert, with Folgore paratroopers. My mobile camera is not so great but the weird yellow lights in the display case destroyed the fine paintwork. White lamps for another time, guys?

A customised Warhammer 40k squad. I don’t think that these miniatures are manufactured by GW. They are really huge and majestic.

A Dust diorama with a Jagpanzer. I have to buy something made by this Paolo Parente guy…

There were a lot of railway modelling dioramas. I remember them in their specialised fairs. Now I want to show you only this beautiful view of Porta San Paolo station. Every day I pass close to there to go to work. It serves the line for Ostia, the waterfront of Rome. It would be perfect is the lights in the platform were made by leds. Maybe this scene was built a lot of time ago. More on this station here

A display were made about the development of the Wings of War (now Wings of Glory) boardgame. It was very interesting to see as an idea was developed from the first rough pieces of paper to the final release with aeroplanes miniatures, through small sets for playtesting and prototypes of the game elements.


Ludica Roma 2012: ganesha

Thanks to Luciano and Valentina we had got a huge space for our Ganesha Games stand. Andrea was running a demonstration table for beginners with the new edition of Song of Blade and Heroes. So some people and children discovered the world of wargame. At the same place were possible to taste the water of the upcoming Of Gods And Mortals. We sold half of the book rules that we brought. And my Zen Garden game gone sold out quickly. Now I want to realise a little more luxury new version of it. Ready for Play Modena next year, I think. Only 15 copies and nevermore.

As you remember my arena was stolen in Lucca convention. Now I have built a better and larger arena by a Playmobil set. It is still needy of a paintwork to give a less toyish feel and some structure improvements. In the works, but good even now. A lot of children was attracted by it. Hey, it is not a toy for children, it is a toy for adults! ; )

Andrea stayed in Rome for 5 days. We playtested Song of Spear and Shields the day before, the first (desert) day of the fair and the day after. Andrea was not so happy about some aspects of the game so he wanted to stop it and to throw it away. But I insisted to save the core rules, leaving the group rules to a future game with more miniatures. I want this game a lot, I am almost a co-author of it. Now I’m waiting the feedback from the drafting of the version for external playtesters to have something more delineated to work.


Ludica Roma 2012: the fair

Ludica Roma 2012 reboot. This time we had no snow to stop us. Do you remember the original Ludica 2012 in February? We were lost in the fair with scarce public to view us. This time the weather was good.

The convention was located in three pavilions: Model (boardgame, wargame, radio controlled modelling, railway modelling, live role play, videogames), Softair (softair, western & country zone (!), refreshment area), Bimbi (Lego, the reign of children). This one in the photo is the Model pavilion. If you think that there were not so many people around is because the structure is huge: almost 15000 people were in the fair during three days. Well, the first day there were only 2000 people, it was Friday and it is not a good day to do something like this.

This was part of the area for wargame clubs. Some displays and demonstration games were set up by local wargame clubs. A large area was dedicated to Tana dei Goblin and Reindeers clubs for their boardgame demonstration tables. New boardgames from Essen fair were available to try them. A great work from the people who created the GiocaRoma convention. That glorious event is now merged with Ludica.

A large skirmish game about Abissinia war. In the background some elements of the 501° Legion “the fist of Vader”.

The small detachment of wargame vendors. Edizioni Chillemi is specialised in military matters, Aster Wargame is a supplier of bases, hexagons, 10mm TB Line miniatures and painting service. The high cost of stands kept away other specialised vendors. Our world runs on small amounts of money and this structure is absolutely no cheap. It is not a fault of the organisers, it is a fault of the fair structure administrators. However there were other vendors in the modelling area, with 57mm miniatures and this kind of stuff.

The large spaces were good for radio controlled modelling and this kind of mobile models. Outside the pavilion there was a track for cars. Inside a swimming pool was available for ships.

One of the strangest forms of radio controlled modelling were that about earth-moving models. Pretty dirty indeed. Don’t try this at home. Especially if you live in an apartment.

Amy Pond was in the fair? Maybe… She was trying historic fencing movements. Some combats were done using a buckler too.

Another real fight area. But with gum swords. Girls are very competitive, more than boys.

A paintball rifle range. It reminds me something from USA but made with not so real guns. In Italy firearms are almost prohibited. There were three arenas, one for paintball, one for softair, one for lasergame. The lasergame stand assistant were gorgeous.

The Ludica Bimbi pavilion was where children can live in the wild. Lots of games and activities for 0-10 years children. The fair public was composed for the most by families with children. So we had generic visitors even for other areas. An opportunity to spread the game and modelling culture to people. Keep attention to wild children indeed.


The first one was Gundam, a military giant robot utilised as a tank with legs and arms. Then Patlabor showed a world where giant robots were manned vehicles for a lot of purposes. They could be used in industry as special vehicles for constructions or as earthmover, for example. Moreover they had a police and military utilisation. Patlabor is composed by the words “patrol” (in the stories we have a police unit as main characters) and “labour”. They aren’t heroic metal divinities but simple everyday vehicles. All this only in manga and anime of course.

Then someone, Suidobashi Heavy Industries – in Patlabor we had Shinohara Heavy Industries -, build in 2012 a real size marching robot in the Patlabor style. It is called Kuratas and it is sold only for almost one million euros. Available in different customisations. It is a toy for rich geeks, but it is even a demonstration that a manned giant robot can be produced for specific purposes. Military ones too.