Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Garage Sale Bug

Summertime is also garage sale time for me and I make sure to get around to a lot of them.  Early in the season, the town in which I live has a town-wide garage sale day when somewhere around 500 families participate.  I think the best I have done over the years is manage to visit about 300 of them over the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday when they are happening.  I rotate where I start and finish and on which day I visit which section first from year to year.  The town puts out a map the week of the event and that makes it easy to keep track of where you have been and to plan some efficient routes so as to maximize your efforts.  Sound like a nerdy-gamer approach to garage sale weekend?  It is indeed!

This year was a bit less fruitful than others, though I did manage to pick up a Cedar Key PVC Rain Suit for next to nothing, as well as some topnotch winter boots from a guy who had to close his store but hung on to the stock to unload at a few garage sales over the summer months.  Bad break for him but he still got some ready cash and the Chicago winters and early spring weather will have nothing on me.  I did manage to score a couple of gamer items for rock bottom prices, too.  As per my usual, I picked up a few ceramic houses and buildings to use as scenery, and nothing for more than a buck.

Also, I grabbed a few used and possibly incomplete games of Othello, Scrabble, and Yahtzee, each for a quarter of fifty cents each.  The pieces make great ready bases for individual miniature figures, rank and file guys who aren't going to get anything fancy done with them.  These sorts of things are best grabbed on Sunday when people have realized that they aren't going to sell anyway and you can offer a bit of change to take it off their hands.  Honestly, an incomplete game like that isn't going to do anything but collect dust on a shelf and remind someone year after year that they could have sold it for a quarter.  It doesn't hurt to remind someone that anything they take back inside is something that could have been sold and that they didn't want anymore anyway.  You can get complete versions of any one of those common games at a Salvation Army or thrift store for a buck.

One of the best deals was two rolls of Maysville Carpet Warp, 800 yards each, for a dime a piece.  One is dull yellow and the other dull orange.  If I could have gotten it in brown or linen or white I would have grabbed it but just the two colors were available.  With a bit of coloring, both will be useful as rope for 28mm  figs, rigging if I get one of the boat projects lanuched before I use it up (which is unlikely cause it's 800 friggin' riggin' yeards!).

A couple of the gamer gems I did happen to grab, each one for a mere three bucks, are an unboxed, almost complete, game of Battleground Crossbows and Catapults.  Even incomplete, this lot has useful items for miniature gaming and/or RPGing.  The figures alone could represent a couple of factions of thugs, one human and one orc, plus their leaders, and at 28mm scale.  The catapults will be immediately useful for my Medieval Fantasy Combat Miniatures Games and the gates can certainly be worked into some set pieces for the same.  Three bucks was a bargain for me.

So, too, was the Disney Cinderella Castle Playset I snagged a bargain.  It wasn't in great shape and though I see it goes online for one hundred bucks or more, mintish, I figure giving up the figs and just grabbing the castle and accoutrements for three dollars was worth the effort.  It would have also been an incomplete set anyway, with some parts missing, so negotiating away some of the characters that the original owner could make a few extra quarters selling, helped bring the price down a bit more.  I have never battled an opponent who would have been impressed by an army lead by a pumpkin carriage.  I also figure it's going to take some serious kit bashing to make this into something I can put on a game table without getting too much guff.  Can anyone say, "Start by priming it black?"

Anyway, there we are for the early portion of this season's garage sale purchasing.  There will be more as the summer and early autumn roll onward.  It's already been a good year so it can only get better.  Larger versions of the images and others related and not related to this article are always available in the Picasa section of my site.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Blue Panther, LLC - Knockdown Dice Tower

At the most recent Free RPG Day held at Games Plus in Mount Prospect, IL, I was able to get an exclusive product from Blue Panther, LLC.  It was their Free RPG Day edition, walnut finish, Knockdown Dice Tower (here's one on ebay, not mine!, for just a little while longer).  I have to say that this is one useful little accessory, assembled easily and stores flat.  I have a dice tray that often seems cumbersome when gaming away from home and this dice tower just might be the new toy to supplant it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

CMG Blog Inaugural Post

I've been running Creative Mountain Games at various paces, sometimes grueling and sometimes glacial, for nearly ten years and tabletop gaming since the early seventies.  There have been a handful of different web sites devoted to the effort of CMG over this last decade, some more customized than others, some requiring more work, some just causing me headaches due to web bots and spammers.  Many people will know of me or heard of CMG because of my presence on various message boards or from conventions or maybe from running across CMG products on the numerous ePublishing eTailer oUtlets. ;-)  What I hope to do by migrating my activities mostly to this blog, and the two connected to it, is centralize my presence, perhaps making it a bit easier to get the word out as I gear up for the next phase of CMG operations.  In conjunction with the three blogs will be some twitter activity (follow @MarkCMG ) and perhaps with some additional social networking as opportunities and time permit.

I'll also add information here from my own gaming experiences new and old.  I attend a handful of conventions every year, as well as numerous gamedays.  I do this as a gamer, not as part of the business, since my business activities are online.  My schedule at these events is often jam-packed, with gaming slots being filled and bumping up against one another.  I like to run games, as well as play in them, and as often as not I will run my own game rules.  That is not primarily to sell the game or work the players but rather to observe how they enjoy themselves and adjust the rules for future games.

Much of what you find on this blog over time will be new but I will also be scouring the depths of the archives of my old websites for plums and peaches worth revisiting.  I'll try to remember to mark them as older when it makes sense to do so, but I hope to update material and add newer insights to them, too.  I'll search around on the myriad of other websites where I have posted and try to bring over some of the better or more interesting gems as I find them.  Hopefully, given time, this site will wind up being a useful resource to the gaming community as well as an outlet for my creativity and mouthpiece for my efforts.

I'll also begin going through my own collection of gaming materials, and perhaps borrow an item or two from a friend, to walk back in time with eyes wide open, looking at the gaming material that has influenced me over the years.  I'll make some notes and observations where necessary, mentioning things that I found of use in my gaming and sharing other ideas as they hit me.  Don't look for full fledged reviews from me, though.  I am not a reviewer and find myself loath to wear that hat.  One of the main insights I hope to repeatedly illustrate is how one can bring an idea forward or over from another type of game entirely and, in that way, increase the fun and replayability of whatever game you find fascinating.  I love boardgames, wargames, tabletop miniatures games, and RPGs, too.  I am partial to pre-gunpowder games but do tend to make an exception for games with tall ships, zombies, pirates, and a few other popular gaming elements.

With all that in mind, please do click yourself onboard to follow this blog and follow me on twitter, too.  I'll try not to become overly self-indulgent but please also realize that this whole pursuit has been a hobby for me for over thirty-five years and there will be times when I wax nostalgic as much as look toward the future.  Don't be fooled, however, into believing that I am just some old schooler.  I keep up with the latest materials and trends, I am just less likely to sink a ton of cash into something until I am convinced it is worth it.  I like to get a lot of value, bang for my buck, and I hope that I am able to help those who read my blogs to do the same.