Why Jozi's Tin Man? This has caused a little confusion. It is in reference to a Savage Worlds game I played with my wife, Jozi, where she played a flying monkey and I was a Tin Man. Hence Jozi's (possessive) Tin Man.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thanksgiving Game with Nephew

Behind on updates, but here are some quick shots of a game of 5 Core Skirmish with my wife's nephew over Thanksgiving weekend.  We played Space Marines versus Orks, and he pulled off a win with the Space Marines.  The rules were darned easy to teach and we were up an playing in no time!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Night of the Ripper! After Action Review with Astounding Tales!

Had a marvelous time at Southern Front in Raleigh this past weekend.  There was a great selection of wonderful games, and I was privileged enough to be able to run my Night of the Ripper game twice on Saturday.

You can meet the cast here.

I ran the game using Astounding Tales! 2nd Edition by the amazing Howard Whitehouse, which is available in PDF from Wargames Vault.

The game was a nice blend of chaos and good British Manners.  The main special rule in action during the game was that due to the notorious London Fog, visibility was limited to 6" on the table.

Each faction had different objectives and special rules, click here to download the player briefings.

The first game Saturday afternoon had three players, The Ripper, Fu Manchu, Sherlock Holmes, and I ran Scotland Yard.

Click photos to enlarge.
Here was the table layout

The highlight if the game was Fu Manchu commandeering a convenient omnibus...

... and then it flipped when Inspector Lestrade shot one of the horses while the Devil Doctor was trying to escape.

At the conclusion of the game, Holmes, had closed in on the Ripper...

... and shot him down like the cur he was!  Victory clearly went to the consulting detective.

Game two saw a full table, with 6 players. Mayhem and chaos ensued at a frantic pace!
An unsavory looking bunch ready to play

The action was intense!

Sherlock Holmes watches The Vigilance Committee and Fu Manchu slug it out while hiding behind some bystanders.

The Suffragettes attach their posters.
And then went on to wipe out Fu Manchu's gang!

The game ended in a win for the Suffragettes, while Jack the Ripper barely made it off the table carrying a bullet each from Holmes and Watson!  Tom did meet one of his minor victory conditions too, by robbing a bystander. By stealing a bottle of gin and a opium pipe from a drunk vagrant.  A moral victory of sorts, I guess.

It was a great game, and I must say I am a huge fan of Astounding Tales. Next time, I will post the rest of my pictures from Southern Front. Until then, happy gaming!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Night of the Ripper! A Victorian Adventure with Astounding Tales

First, I want to thank my friend Tom for hosting his annual Birthday bash the weekend before last.  Great fun was had, and I have to say I really enjoyed All Quiet on the Martian Front.  Probably since I was on the winning side!   Feel the wraith of my tripods, puny humans!

On another note,  I super excited this month, as Mrs. Tin Man and I shall be attending the Southern Front wargaming convention in Raleigh, NC November 21-23.  I have not been to this in several years.

Tom convinced me to run a game, so I will be bringing Night of the Ripper, which I will run Saturday afternoon and evening using Astounding Tales 2nd edition.  It should be fast and fun, and give me plenty of scope to make things up as I go without looking like it!  I have even bought some 1920's - 30's cars from eBay and have a few pulp era figures on the table in progress.

But, this game will be set in the fog shrouded streets of Victorian London, let's meet our cast...

Click to enlarge

If you are attending, I hope to see you there!  If not, happy gaming!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

5 Parsecs from Home Campaign

Like many of us, I spend far too much time making terrain, painting figures I may never use, and reading rule-sets rather than actually playing.  So, I decided I want to play a 5 Parsecs from Home campaign and see how the rules work.

So let’s start with our cast…  (click to enlarge)

First Job
For my first game, I wanted to dive right in, so I assumed the platoon secured a patron for a job.   Using the Five Parsecs from Home book, I generated the following mission:
  • Patron: Wandering Preacher
  • Mission: Find Someone (Who?: Technician)
  • Enemies: Zealots
  • Mission Type: Strike
  • Opposition will have player figures 1 less figure than the player.
  • No stealth, daytime

This was quick ad easy using the tables in the book.  Now to turn this data into a narrative and play the game!

A wandering preacher from the Reformed Church of COBOL has hired a technician to translate some of the early church documents from an old mainframe.  Zealots from the Fundamentalist Church of COBOL have kidnapped the technician to prevent this from happening.  The platoon's mission is to locate and free the technician in the abandoned industrial district at the edge of town.

Here are the results are some random shots of the game, used a different camera than I usually do, so they turned out not a good. Buildings mostly by Finger and Toe models.

 "So, padre, what can I do for you?"
Initial setup for the zealots 

 Riley's Renegades moving into the area of operations
 After several turns of exchanging fire and maneuvering
One of the platoon members down

Fortunately, Riley managed to kill the only zealot guarding the technician inside the warehouse, and they ran the rest off. 

Post mission wrapup:

  • Results: 2 Enemy OOA, 2 Bailed off the table, technician retrieved, mission success.
    • 1 private rendered OOA, needs 2 campaign turns to recover.
  • Acquired new enemy: Zealots from the Church of COBOL
  • Loot: Gadgets, roll twice on Found Gear table and get…
  • Scanbot: This will be useful for defense scenarios, although it is unarmed.  It will help during stealth missions.
  • Assault Attachment: Allows figures to receive a +1 chaging bonus even when not charging.  Going to keep this for my officer…
  • Trade Items roll:  Local Map: This is a onetime use item that allows a free scurry move at the beginning of a scenario.

Overall Impressions:
This is not a full review, but just some of my random thoughts.  

The rules played very, very smoothly.  I have been playing Two Hour Wargames rules for many, many years, all the way back to Chain Reaction version 1, and I am a firm believer in skirmish rules that make it risky to prance about in front of unsuppressed enemies with automatic weapons.  5 Core does this well and in a very fluid manner.  Chain Reaction sometimes gets in to multiple cycles of “shoot/received fire test/shoot back/received fire test…” while 5 Core handles this with one set of die rolls. (note: I have not tried Chain Reaction Final Version 3.1 yet)

An example of firing in 5 Core is an active figure with an assault rifle shoots with 1 kill die and 1 shock die.  I pull a red d6 for the kill die and a yellow d6 for the shock die and roll them at the same time, so if I miss, there is no extra step to see if the target ducks back or scuttles off.

Reactive fire is (almost) always suppressive and usually just uses shock dice.  Cover helps by making you less likely to run away when shot at thus more likely to be in place to return fire on your turn.
The flow of the battle felt right, with guys trying to suppress enemies while others rushed forward and fields of fire were critical.  Stationary defenders were able to drive off the attacker until the attacker could achieve fire superiority.  All very good stuff with elegant mechanics.

I was a little skeptical of the lack of quality stats for each figure, but the use of skills does seem to offset this.  My officer was “inspiring” which allowed him to convert “bail” results to “flinch,” making it easier to keep guys up and shooting, which the NCO was “tough,” which allowed him to shake off his first hit.

My final thoughts:
I like the single die roll for both damaging and suppressive fire.  Much less die rolling than other rules.
The Scurry and Firefight actions that can occur during a turn add a nice element of uncertainty that should be present in a short range firefight.
The rules are simple enough that I can use them with non-wargamers.
The campaign rules are great and really add flavor to the game.

I will continue my campaign and will be playing these rules more!  

The price is also right and 5 Core and the Sci-Fi supplement 5 Parsecs from Home are both available from Wargames Vault here.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Scarlet Patrol, RCMP : An alternate Mountie Company for IHMN

First of all, thanks to Tom for hosting a great game at Borderlands yesterday, March or Die!  My Arab horsemen did not quit have the oomph to slaughter the Legionaries fast enough.  Thanks, Tom!

Here is another of my IHMN companies, painted specifically for my wife and just finished last week.  She is tired of me giving her companies that are not armed with rifles!

Click to enlarge

Scarlet Patrol, RCMP
Canada is a vast, rugged country, requiring brave and resourceful men to defend her. While the men of U Troop, NWMP are generally Canada’s spearhead in the twilight war against emerging threats, they cannot be everywhere.

So when, trouble calls… The men of Scarlet Patrol answer!

With years of experience protecting the people of Canada against dastardly villains in the cold vast wilderness, they are now frequently sent overseas to strike fear into the hearts of evil doers who would harm Canada and the British Empire.

The patrol is led by the highly capable Sergeant Prestown, whose fearless exploits have made him the idol of boys across North America.  His constant companion is his loyal and intelligent husky, Yukon Prince.  The Sergeant is also frequently accompanied by a great grizzly bear who was rescued from a forest fire by Sergeant Prestown and nicknamed “Smokey.”

The constables of the NWMP need no introduction and are steadfast and loyal to a man.  Fur trappers frequently accompany the Scarlet Patrol as well, scouting ahead, ferreting out ambushes, and providing colorful tales of life on the Canadian frontier.

Notes on figures:
This IHMN Company was inspired by Bob Murch’s Pulp Figures and can be built entirely with packs from his company.  Here are the codes, you can find them at www.pulpfigures.com.  (I am not affiliated with Pulp Figures in any way, just a fan)  There are many suitable figures in the “Northland Adventures” range.  I know they are a little anachronistic for 1895, but I like my VSF a bit pulpy.  I built my version with just 4 packs…

  • Sergeant Prestown and Yukon Prince: PYP 01
  • Constables: PYP 05 (The Scarlet Patrol)
  • Trappers: PYP 06 (The Mad Trappers of Rat River) although other packs would do as well.
  • Grizzly Bear: PLT 05 (Ice Age Predators 1) Lost Worlds range
    • I actually use a bear I found at my local game store, but this pack has a standing cave bear and 2 sabre tooth cats.  Who doesn't need some extra sabre tooth cats?  

The Company List

Basic Equipment
Sergeant Prestown
Leadership +1
Iron Will
Lined Coat
Military Rifle
Fighting Knife
Yukon Prince
Fur (as Lined Coat)
Smokey the Bear
Claws (as fighting knife)
Thick Fur (as Brigandine)
Lined Coat
Military Rifle
Fighting Knife

Lined Coat
Military Rifle
Fighting Knife
  • Sergeant Prestown or any Constable may take the Cavalryman talent (+3 points each) and a horse (+5 points each)
  • May equip Sergeant Prestown or any Constable with Brigandine armor (+1 point each)
  • May upgrade any Trapper with the Hunter talent (+5 points each) and a hunting rifle (+7 points)
  • May equip any Trapper with an Axe instead of fighting knife (+1 point each)
  • May upgrade one Trapper to Grizzled Old Timer (identical to Erudite Wit, +5 points), as he tells tall tales in a unique frontier way.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Cult of the Old Ones - A company for In Her Majesty's Name

Here is the first in a sporadic series on the adventuring companies I use for In Her Majesty's Name.  I have been doing Victorian Science Fiction for years, and really appreciate the rules ability for me to craft companies of my own.  So without further ado...
Click on photo to enlarge

The Cult of the Old Ones
“Do what thou wilt,” sneered Alexander Crowley, “what a weak, vapid philosophy used by my brother to impress women and swindle money.  He does not know the meaning of true power…”

Alexander Crowley craves power, and his esoteric studies across the globe at Oxford, Miskatonic University, the South Pacific, and the dusty reaches of Central Asia have given him what believes to be the key.  With the knowledge he has and the powers he has gained, he just needs to retrieve a few more esoteric artifacts scattered around the world before he can fully open the door and let the Old Ones return from dimensions beyond time and space, to cleanse the world with madness. Ia, Ia!  Cthulhu Fhtagn! 

Alexander has gathered a cadre of degenerate and deranged acolytes over the course of his travels to assist him in his goal.  It is rumored that they undergo some sort of… change.  Most wear a respirator mask, the reason for this is unknown, but the few who have seen the uncovered faces after a battle are extremely unsettled.  The Cult of the Old Ones is well funded and well-armed with some of the latest weapons. It is unknown how Alexander acquired his wealth, but it is rumored that he purchases equipment using old doubloons and ancient gold coins of unknown origin…

Notes on figures:
This IHMN Company was inspired by Bob Murch’s Pulp Figures and can be built (almost) entirely with packs from his company.  Here are the codes, you can find them at www.pulpfigures.com.  (I am not affiliated with Pulp Figures in any way, just a fan)  There are many suitable figures across his various ranges, but these are from “Weird Menace.”  I know some are a little anachronistic for 1895, but I like my VSF a bit pulpy.  I strongly suggest you take a look, as many of the weird science stuff would work for IHMN as well as do double duty for pulp gaming.

• Crowley: PWM 01 (Weird Villains 1) – I personally use a cult leader I found in a box of Hellboy miniatures, but the Crimson Scorpion from this pack would be perfect, plus you get a few more interesting, menacing figures.  You could also use a figure from PWM 07 Cowled Cultists.
• Acolytes: PWM 08-09 (Gas Mask Cultists) – These two packs will give you guys with military rifles, a flame thrower, a machine gun, and a couple of WW1 Bergman sub-machine guns.  There are several other useful cultist packs, but most are armed with 1930’s style weapons like Thompsons.
• Lesser Old One: This guy I treat pretty much as a greater demon from HVF.  Unfortunately Mr. Murch does not have an appropriate figure, but there are many Cthulhu mythos inspired figures out there.  I use a repurposed Monsterpocolypse monster.

The Company List
Basic Equipment
Alexander Crowley
Cloud Men’s Minds
Mask of Terror (as Mask of Imhotep)
Staff (as quarterstaff)
Steel Chain shirt under robes
Lesser Old One
Icy Blast
Extra dimensional form (treat as SRC Breastplate for armor)
Acts as Greater Demon in rules

Military Rifle
Lined Coat
Acolyte Flame Thrower
Lined Coat
Acolyte Machine Gun Crew
2 man crew
Lined Coat
Machine gun
Pistol (assistant)
  • Replace Acolyte Military Rifle with SMG (no cost)
    • SMG: +3 bonus, 12” Range, -0 pluck modifier, multiple targets, 9 points
  • Upgrade all Acolytes to Numb (+10 per figure)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Battle of Bratwurst: 6mm Napoleonic Black Powder

I apologize for the lack of updates, it has been a busy summer, with gardening, camping, a cruise in July, and general family skulduggery.  As Mrs. Tin Man is a teacher, our summer's get pretty busy.

I did get the awesome print for Father's Day of General Gordon himself!  It hangs proudly in the game room. 

Last weekend, Tom was kind enough to drive up for my first game of Black Powder with my 6mm Napoleonic troops.  In short, I really enjoyed the rules and think it gave a fast, but good game.  Nothing illogical happened, and the command rolls added a nice level of tension.

We played on my new 3' x 4' table, at 1/3 scale, which worked pretty well.  Infantry battalions in line had a n 80mm frontage (with 32 figures), a single infantry move was 4" and musket range was 6".  We played down the long axis of the table, which was the equivalent of a 9' by 12' table at normal scale!
During game prep, Bear the wargaming kitty registers his disdain, I think he is a 28mm chauvinist...
 I kept the scenario fairly simple, Austrians versus French somewhere in Bavaria in 1809 during the initial Austrian invasion.  Tom took the Austrians and I took the French.  The Austrians were tasked with seizing the village of Bratwurst to open a path for follow on divisions.  The Austrian OOB was:

  • Avant Garde Brigade:
    • Two battalions of Grenzers (in skirmish order)
    • Two battalions of Light Cavalry (Hussars)
  • Two Infantry Brigades, each consisting of:
    • 4 x Line Battalions
    • 1 x Position Battery
All entered in column on Tom's end of the table.

Tom sets up as I prepare to feel the full fury of the Hapsburg's!
 The French had one Infantry Brigade in a blocking position in Bratwurst and surrounds, with another infantry brigade and a brigade of hussars reinforcing from my end of the table staring on turn 2.  The French OOB was:

  • 2 x Infantry Brigades
    • 3 x Battalions of Line Infantry
    • 1 x Battalion of Light Infantry (in skirmish order)
    • 1 x Foot Battery
  • 1 x Light Cavalry Brigade
    • 3 x Regiments of Hussars
Things started heating up on my left flank, as the Grenzers moved to assault the light battalion in the wood.  They would drive me out eventually, but at the loss of one of the Grenze battalions breaking.

 On my right / Austrian Left, I had left my artillery battery exposed, which Tom, nicely took advantage of and sent his Hussars charging in!  He needed 3+ to hit, and when he rolled his attack dice, he rolled all 3's...  Needless to say, my battery was wiped out.  Lesson learned, don;t leave artillery hanging out by itself, unsupported.
What are the chances? 1 in 46,656...
 Here you can see my reinforcements slowly streaming on to the table.  I flubbed several command rolls.  Another lesson learned, put your senior commander where you need him most.  I should have had him helping the reinforcements come up faster.  Also, you can see Tom's light cavalry coming around my right flank, where they will delay my reinforcement column. (You can also see the musket and artillery range sticks I made.)

 Here are his hussars hitting my reinforcements, causing my lead cavalry regiment to flee.  I did swing around and hit him in the flank, breaking one regiment, but...
 ... that delayed me long enough that he was able to overrun my forward brigade in heavy fighting.

 Here is what the end of the battle looked like.  Tom had taken his objective with minimal losses, while I had seen my forward brigade mauled and my reinforcements barely getting engaged.  We called it at this point as an Austrian win, I really hope the Emperor gets here soon...
I greatly enjoyed the rules and I think Tom did as well.  We came to a decision in 3 hours of play, and that includes stopping to look up rules, snack breaks, etc.

Thanks Tom for a great game, and I cannot wait for a rematch!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Maneuvers on the Marchfeld : 6mm Austrians on Parade

Here is a quick review of my Austrian army for the 1809 campaign.  All figures are from Baccus, and all figures, except for the Grenzers, were painted by Reinforcements by Post about 5 years ago.  The Grenzer and bases were painted by me.

I currently have order a few more troops to fill out the order of battle, including Lanweher and Jaegers.

The troops are mounted on 20mm x 20 mm squares from Litko, with flex steel on the bottom of the bases for storage with magnets.

Details of the various branches of service: (click on photos to enlarge)

Light Cavalry

The light cavalry contingent consists of 4 regiments of Hussars, organized in to 4 base units, for a total of 12 figures each.  These will be handy brigaded together or as part of an avant garde brigade.

Heavy Cavalry

The heavy cavalry consists of 3 regiments of Cuirassiers, ready to charge for glory! 

Line Infantry

The core of the infantry consists of 43 bases of 8 figures each, 344 figures total!  I usually organize them in to 4 base battalions, but I can build large 5 base units.  I somehow only wound up with 8 command bases, so any more than 8 battalions leaves a unit or two orphaned without flags.

(Note: I just noticed I need to resort the troops so that the regimental facings are sorted correctly!  Tut, tut... I would expect this from Friekorps, but not from the heart of the Hapsburg army!)


Big, strapping chaps ready to give what for to the frog! Four battalions of converged grenadiers.

Light Infantry

Three battalions of Grenzer from the Turkish border, deployed into skirmish formation.  For now, I will play with Grenzer exclusively as skirmishers.  So far, these are the only troops I painted myself.

I did not get any close up shots of the artillery, but I have 10 bases organized into five 2 gun batteries.

I am going to fill out the force with several battalions of Landwher and a couple of battalions of Jaegers.  Oddly enough, I have also ordered extra figures in order to play Sharp Practice at half scale in 6mm.  Madness?  Perhaps...  I did enjoy my solo excursion with Black Powder, but am not sure I got all of the rules right, so will give it another spin soon.

Still finishing basing the French, so until next time, happy gaming!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

6mm Gaming Table


For years, I have been attracted to the allure of 6mm figures.  Early on, I was convinced by the prophet of 6, Peter Berry of Baccus Miniatures.  So much so, I sold all of my 15mm ancients armies 10 years ago after losing interest in playing DBM tournaments (I kept bringing Gauls, which while impressive looking on the table, are not terribly competitive against armored knights from 1500 years in the future.)

His excellent article outlining his philosophy can be found here, if you are unfamiliar.

About 5 years ago, I developed an itch to get into some sort of horse and musket period, and commissioned French and Austrians for the 1809 campaign from a figure painting outfit.  Why those?  I had never been a Napoleonics buff, but knew that 1809 was the first time Napoleon suffered a defeat on the battlefield personally, and the armies seemed semi-balanced.  Plus, everyone in the world seems to do the Peninsula.  So many dollars later, I found myself the proud owner of two decently sized forces.  And they proceeded to sit in boxes for the next 5 years...

Anyway, with various life upheavals, I have never come close to bringing a 6mm project to completion... until now.

I finally pulled them out, based them up, and began to work on terrain for them.  I will show off the troops and talk rules in future posts, but for now I would like to walk you through my terrain build.

The Plan

I am very fortunate that Mrs. Tin Man is very supportive of the hobby and we have a dedicated game room at the front of the house.  Also, when we moved, I inherited our old kitchen table, which is 4 feet by 4 feet and counter height with nice bar stools.  I have played skirmish games on it in 28mm, and I probably could set a 6 x 4 foot top on the table, but frankly, I don't want to.   It would significantly intrude in to the room, and I'd like to be able to sit down at my nice table, with room for quick reference sheets, a drink, plaec for my elbows, and dice towers so dice don't go tumbling all over the place.

Then inspiration struck via the excellent Battlefields and Warriors blog.  I have been following Norm's pin board gaming project, and it inspired me to try something similar myself.

A quick read through my copy of Black Powder finally locked my plan in place. "Standard" infantry frontage is 240mm.  My 6mm armies are based with four x 20mm square stands per unit, for a total frontage of 80mm.  Scaling Black Powder down to 1/3 scale is my perfect solution!!!!  Unit movement rates will still be easy enough, with infantry moving 4 inches per move.  And best of all, a 2' x 4' gaming board would equate to a 6' x 12', just like the Perry's play on!  I could put it on my table and still have room for elbows, sheets, etc. and game sitting down in comfort, with enough room to maneuver 32 figure battalions!

I began to gather materials, and here is how it worked out...

(Click photos below to enlarge)


First, there was a visit to my local lumber store for a 2' x 4', 1/2" thick oak project panel.  I also bought the same thing in 2' x 2' to use for hills, more later.

I also went down to my local train shop and bought a Woodland Scenics grass mat.  I purchased the "Grass Green" version, next time, I will go with "Summer Grass," as it does not quit look so much like a golf course.  this is a neat product, basically a flocked, vinyl mat.
I cut it roughly to fit, glued it down with white glue, rolled out the air bubbles with a rolling pin, stack books on it, and left it to dry overnight.
After drying overnight, I went back and trimmed the excess on the edges with an exacto knife.  My original plan was to frame the edges with molding, but my attempts to miter the corners with a hand saw failed miserably.
So, back to the home improvement store.  I purchased some oak strips that were 1 1/2" x 1/2" and decided to frame the bard with that, no mitering required.  The downside is that I lose 3" off of the 2' depth of the board, but it was easy to cut and gue, then nail in to place using small, brass nails.
The next step was to head to the garage and using my trusty jig saw, I cut out hill shapes with a 45 degree slant. Fully contoured hills look amazing, but I am looking for practical and would like to be able to indicate substantial elevation changes on my table if I want to.  The raw results look like this, with a lone 6mm battalion wandering the field.

I next went back outside, and spray painted the hills with the cheapest brown spray paint I could find. Green may have been a better pick, but brown blends OK too.  I then cut pieces of the grass mat and glued them down to the tops of the hill sections.
Hills were done, now I needed some woods.  Years ago, when I had the troops painted, I also picked up a box of trees on the cheap from a model railroad supplier from China on eBay called "We Honest."  I have to say they are, because I got a couple hundred trees in the mail in less than a week, and if I need mroe, I will certainly buy from them again.

I started out making tree based from some black foamcore I had laying around, beveling the edges with an exacto knife, gluing small pieces of the grass mat to the top, and painting the edges green.
I finished them off by gluing down trees to the perimeter, ad I read about as a kid in a CS Grant book, Wargame Tactics.  It does not look to bad, here are some 6mm individually base sci-fi infantry wandering passed a copse.
And here is what the finished table looks like with a Miniature World Maker road, farmhouse from Baccus Miniatures, and field from the carpet sample pile at Lowe's!  I am playing a solo game to learn the Black Powder rules, and have made quick reference sheets that scale the game down to 1/3.

I am running identical Austrian and French brigades against each other, will provide some commentary in a future post.

Here is a closeup of some of the French.

And here are the Austrians!

So there it is, my gaming table.  I intend to do a desert version for the Sudan, and both will work for the 6mm Sci-Fi skirmish stuff I want to do.  Just goes to show you, you don't need a huge area to have an enjoyable, pretty game!