Category Archives: Interviews

Michael Stockin

Hello! Today we are joined by Michael Stockin of Angel Barracks and The Wargames Website. Get your paints out, have a seat and enjoy!


How did you first get into gaming?

Hmmm my dad had a large model railway in the loft and I would push 1/72nd WWII tanks around on it. One day I went with him to Beatties (model shop) and just a few doors down I noticed some place called Games Workshop. Back then it was a small chain of true independent games shops.
I bought some Imperial Dwarves and Barbarians and took them home and started work painting them with my Humbrol enamels.

Not long after that I bought Citadel acrylics and Warhammer Fantasy Battle, 2nd edition I think it was.
And that was that!

How much of your time is spent playing board games vs. miniatures or RPGS?

These days it is 80% video games, 15% CCGs and the rest wargames/board games.
I have not done any roleplaying in about 25 years or more.

When did you decide to start making miniatures and why?

It was after 6 years of Angel Barracks being just historical and I started to get a bit bored and eventually settled on trying 6mm sci-fi skirmish as a new thing.
Skirmish games are quite different in that things like small details are important.
I was looking for alien wildlife for my games but could not find any…
So I reached out and got some alien creatures sculpted and cast up.
They were well received, possibly as I was the first to do them?
Then I realized I needed sci-fi civilians, again I could not find any so again got some made and cast, again well received.
So I decided to stop selling other people’s 6mm sci-fi and concentrate on making my own.
It started off, and continues today as me making things that are mostly not out there already, and things I think are cool.

What do you mean Angel Barracks was more historical?

It started off as noted, with £300.00 of investment, this was £150.00 of dice and paints and £150.00 of 6mm Napoleonic’s stock.
From here it expanded to over 2500 products, the miniatures side  of which was probably about 90% Napoleonic figures and buildings, with the rest being WWII.

How did you start Angel Barracks?

In my 20’s I drifted out of gaming and into girls and booze and work and stuff.
When I got together with Samantha, and after we had been together long enough for me to talk about my nerdy gaming roots she totally got it, as she was a nerd too.
She grew up around her older brother who was a big gamer.

I said I may get back into gaming.
So, I looked around for a single point of contact where I could buy everything I needed to get started and I found nowhere.
I wanted, 6mm figures, 6mm buildings, 6mm terrain, paints, dice, rules, brushes, etc.
So with her encouragement and £300.00 I set up Angel Barracks.

What about the Wargames Website?

As you know, I used to be an advertiser on TMP.
I eventually tired of the site for numerous reasons and thought there must be a better way to do it.
So I set up TWW, its aim to offer a pleasant gaming site with fair and consistent moderation and respect for all.
I also wanted to make sure that those that advertised on TWW, were treated with respect and some degree of professionalism.
That is not to say it is all about business lunches and sir and madam, but having been on the receiving end of poor customer service I wanted to make sure I offered a caring efficient service on a modern platform.

You’ve primarily been doing Sci-Fi miniatures, but recently not only are breaking into fantasy, but also are going from 6mm to 15mm. What prompted that?

Crom!
Not sure, I had a hankering for some fantasy games, it was where I started wargaming, and roleplaying for that matter.
I did consider doing it in 6mm, but I think there is an element of because I do 6mm for my ‘job’ that doing it for fun seems less likely.
So 6mm fantasy was out, and I just thought, why not play some 15mm.
Then I thought, well I am going to need some terrain and buuldings and what not, so rather than just make some for myself, why not cast them up and sell them too?

When will your fantasy miniatures be available to purchase?
Hopefully the first few buildings will be ready in February at http://cromsanvil.co.uk/

What have been the biggest challenges in running your own business?

Making enough money to pay the rent.
Having to stop working during the school holidays or when Charlotte is off school.
Trying to keep everything compliant with the law.
Trying to convince people to try The Wargames Website, the number one reason people give me for not using it is that it is not as busy as say TMP.
For various reasons this bothers me.
Should I expand?

What have been the biggest rewards?

Money, that is why I do it.
Then it is seeing people take my stuff and run with it, I have seen some very cool settings with my 6mm sci-fi.
It is nice to see your creations be as exciting to others as they are to you.

What do your miniatures offer that other don’t?

I think they have a lot of detail for their size, the buildings especially.
I also offer a lot of stuff that other people don’t, a different conceptual style so to speak.
I would guess the majority of 6mm sci-fi buildings are desert or Gothic terrain, mine are not.
Plus as my games are skirmished based, each building has its own story about who lives there and what it does.

What rules set do you use for your miniatures?

For my 6mm sci-fi I use my own rules, KR 16.
For the 15mm fantasy I will be using Crom.

Where can people find your rules? 

Here sir, did I mention they are free? http://angelbarracks.co.uk/rules.html

What is the gaming scene like where you are?

Very vibrant, but I don’t get out much so have no first-hand experience of it, I am just aware of numerous clubs and so forth.

Does your family play?

My daughter plays the odd boardgame and the Pokemon CCG.
My wife works a lot and is often away from home so she gets to play less than I do.
However, the fantasy thing is an attempt to rectify that.

If you were a candy bar, what kind of candy bar would you be?

errrrr Double Decker?


Find Michael, his miniatures, and his opinions at these fine locations:

http://www.thewargameswebsite.com/

http://angelbarracks.co.uk/

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Levi Schneidewent-Trollworks

Brandon: Today we are joined by Levi Schneidewent of Trollworks. If you missed my review of two of his dice towers that I purchased you can read that here and then read the following interview, or read this interview first and then read the dice tower review. Either way. Enjoy!


First, tell me about where the name Trollworks comes from?

Levi: When I was a kid my brother used to call me the little “Troll”. My workspace is in basement of a 1923 firehouse which happens to be a Fallout shelter; sort of a cave. It’s the home of Rockhead’s Comics and Games, it occupies the ground floor and the second story (9000 sq ft) (owned by my brother). When I was just starting the business my brother was kidding around and said, “Go to your cave little troll and get to work.”—Trollworks

How did you get started making game accessories?

Levi: I would like to tell you a happy story of how it all began, but I lost my job of 23 years due to the economy and I didn’t want to go back into daily grind; so, I took the opportunity to create a job just for myself.

What is your design process like? How do you come up with the pieces you make?

Levi: Many of my designs come from customer requests. If I feel the finished product is marketable I do a cost/time study, then a product offer.

DiceMasters

What is your best seller?

Levi: The marketplace is flickered, at times I get lots of requests for Dice Towers or Movement Trays or Storage Systems. I don’t have enough market history yet to do any trend mapping. I sell a lot of dice towers during the Holidays, a lot of trays during Regional’s, and then storage system sales increase after the Holidays.

What is your favorite accessory that you make?

Levi: Design is what I like to do best; so my favorite accessory is coming up with new projects. In fact, that’s a weakness of mine. I have designed and built many more projects where only one gets built.

Do you do custom work or take requests for something to stock?

Levi: Yes, I do custom skins on many of my products (dice-towers, movement trays, storage units, movement markers, dice) and I also do custom scratch work. My rates are driven by the usual factors such as design time, material cost, amd product time, but I give discounts on the marketability of the project.

I make an FMTG storage case that was a customer request. The project should have been close to $100, but it had marketability, so I did the project for $50.00. I currently set said item for $50 on my Etsy shop.

How often do you design and add new items?

Levi: As needed/requested or when orders are slow. I build everything on demand, my turn around time is 3-5 order to ship

PaintStorage

What tools and equipment do you use?

Levi: I am currently running 2 Universal Lasers, but I have a large compliment of support equipment (woodworking, paint booth, sandblaster, 3d printer). I have invested a lot into my equipment.

What games have you been playing lately?

Levi: Since I work in a game shop and live over a game shop I have plenty of opportunity for gaming:

RPG– Deadlands, D&D 5th ed, Shadowrun, Hackmaster online w20d

Miniature– 40K, Flames of War, Airdrome 1.0, D&D, Imperial Assault

BoardGames– we have 1200 library games.

Electronic– Civilization, Galactic Civilization, X-Com, Windward

What do you do when you aren’t making amazing dice towers?

Levi: I’m a lone wolf, coupled with the fact that I’m the boss/owner; I can come and go as I please. So, I travel in my Kia Soul conversion camper (kayak, bicycle, 5’8’” bed, attached canopy, off grid solar power, 12v refrigerator, lights, fans, low voltage charging station). So, travel, camping, cycling, and kayaking.


Levi is currently on a well deserved break after hitting GenCon, but can be foundCthulhu at this fine location:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/Trollmanufacturing

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Runica Games: Historical Battles Verdun 1916

portada verkamiWhy did you make Verdun 1916?

From The beginning the intention was to create a tribute to the 100 year commemoration of this battle. Also, it is a great theme to start a our Historical series of games. Verdun truly is a very important battle, so we decided it was the first of this series.

What is your design process?

Honestly, it was a very big problem because we were trying to design the game using photographs, but that didn’t work out. Then we illustrated them one by one, and  that presented it’s own challenge because of the amount of illustrations needed, and some of the small lettering on the cards presented a printing issue, but researching the design of the newspapers of the time, we were able to reach the final design of the cards and successfully distribute it to many people here in Colombia. The result was incredible.  We had to learn how to do sculpting to get the design of the ammunition tokens. We got the molds and produced all the tokens for the first edition, and we have the new mold for the second edition since the first sample is a little more complicated to produce and is the best that is the same material.

Metralleta

What are the challenges in marketing your own game?

The First is arranging payment for the games, internally in Colombia it is easy, but at the level of foreign countries it’s a very big problem because currently we can only use PayPal and to withdraw money is a big problem with banks.
The Second big problem is sending the games. Although it’s relatively inexpensive, it presents many problems with the arrival time. One game has taken longer than 70 days to get to one customer. That one still hasn’t been delivered.
(editor’s note: this was the copy Brandon purchased for Spaghetti & Meeples. Currently our copy is languishing in customs in Florida with neither the USPS nor US Customs able to locate the package. Runica Games has offered to replace our copy at no additional charge.)

What experience do you want players to have when they play Verdun 1916?

Like me, I want people to enjoy the game, just as they would any other game, but like everything in the world is always going to get good reviews and bad, constructive or destructive.

Where can one buy their own copy of Verdun 1916?

Only through mail order: runicaartgames@gmail.com. Some people message us on Facebook as well.

imagen de los componentes

What was your best experience in developing Verdun 1916?

The best was the first test of Verdun 1916, because I tried it with my 9 year old nephew. He crushed me and all my troops in seconds, lol, and the best part is there is video on our page of that game.

What do you like about gaming?

What strikes me is the way people care about different games.

What is the gaming community like in Bogota?

In general the Bogotana community is growing and it is thanks to people like Daniel Zarama and Juan Carlos Goyes who have generated spaces and who help grow the hobby. They meet weekly in various areas and have gatherings of about 100 people per week in all these places.

Will you have other games coming out?

Of course, at this moment we are working on Dead Road, a survival game set in a zombie apocalypse and we are also working on Empyrean, a space battles game.

What are your hopes for  Verdun 1916?

Right now we are creating the crowdfunding project for Verdun 1916 on Verkami, and we hope that it will succeed so that we can keep living our dreams!

Do you have a website, Facebook, or other places on the internet that people can keep up with Runica Arts?

Of course, you can follow us on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RunicaArtGames
Page: http://runicaartgames.wix.com/rags
BoardGameGeek: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/183019/historic-battles-verdun-1916
instagram: https://www.instagram.com/runicaartgames/

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Spaghetti & Meeples emails with Battle of the Bands

Hello! Brandon here. In addition to working on Spaghetti & Meeples I also have a music blog that I’ve been ignoring lately. BTW you should check out Brady Harris and Brandon Schott.  Anyhoo, when I ran into Battle of the Bands while surfing the world wide web it seemed a natural fit for me. A tabletop game AND it’s about bands? Sign me up! So I reached out to Dan Smith, creator, designer, music aficionado, and slick rhythm air guitarist. What you read below is the result of that contact.



header botbWhy Battle of the Bands?

It’s music. It’s a fight. It’s both!! It’s non gender specific. It’s all ages. It’s accessible to non-gamers who love music. (Every card has a musical precedent in rock history.) It’s… FUN!

What was it about the subject that attracted you?

“I dig, rock and roll music and I really get off in that scene.” -Peter, Paul and Mary.

What was the design experience like?

I was driving home from my computer game job and was grousing about the state of CCGs at the time, 1998, and came upon the idea that everyone wants to be in a band or a rock star. After about 15 minutes of scribbling notes while I drove, I got home and in 2 hours, on the computer, the game was 60% finished. I played the game every lunch with my peeps, J.D. Straw, Seth Mayne and Danny Nicholson. With their input and tenacity, it was play-tested in a year. I printed the Kinko’s edition and sold it in Ziploc bags on eBay for $5! (About 30 copies exist.) Then Third World Games produced the first two editions, of which I am eternally grateful. (Thanks, Mike Nickloff and Frank Bustamante!!!!) And now, after being out of print for 14 years, it’s time to make the definitive edition!

Is this the first game you’ve designed?

It was my first. Then came King of Crime, Portable Adventures, Party till the cops show up, and about 20 other card games. I have made about 50 boardgames within the last 24 months.

What does your card game offer that others don’t?

A smile, when you are getting beat down by some guy who plays a candy box for an instrument and has the fan base of a senior citizen home, or the embodiment of Death himself, playing the flaming bagpipes like he’s Miles Davis. A simple game system that really gives the feeling of being in a band and not just a theme tacked onto a number acquisition game.. Astoundingly close to what it’s like being in a band.

What do you want people to experience as they play?

I want them to live the life of the leader of their band. When someone steals a band member of theirs, it’s a personal attack! Roleplay it! You made my Mom ANDROGYNOUS?! You stole my AIR GUITAR?!

Dude!!!!

Someone is going to win, but playing the game is more fun than winning. Getting that band you always wanted is huge! (Giant robot, angry puppet, goth chick and Me… gonna rule the stage, baby!)

Why did you decide to have it available as a print and play?

Because it’s going to be your go-to game when you are just hanging out, waiting for the other players or when you want to play a fun game. If you just can’t afford the printed version, I still want you to play the game… without the art. OH SNAP!! Or the expansions. Or the special cards. Or the dice and Ez Tracker cards.

There, I’ve made you cry.

And the printing out of the game will set you back about $30 USD for the printing, poker cards for backing and the 4 sets of sleeves… $5 more will get you the printed game and the stretch goals. See what I did there?

sample cards botb

Are you looking at crowd funding options?

Mostly, the funders can get the 3 50 card expansions for free if we reach the stretch goals, a $45 value, as well as some unique cards if special FB like goals are met. Seriously, I have so many cards, I have to decide which ones I can’t do because of limitations on the card sheets!

What else will you offer backers?

There is the funding goal of being a band member in the basic set! 2 levels, the 1+ character where you are better with a specific instrument and the rock god, where you have either a special game option or effect, or you are worth a star with the right instrument type. I draw you in the BotB style, and you get to keep the original art!

And there is the ultimate gig, where I come in and grandmaster flash the ultimate BotB tournament at your convention or store! What an ego, huh?

What are your plans for the future?

At the moment I have my PORTABLE ADVENTURE series slated for later on next year, that will have at least 5 different themed games that can be played seperately or together. I also have a couple of games, ZOMBIERUN, PARTY TILL THE COPS SHOW UP, SUPERHERO SMACKDOWN, HAND OF WAR (ccg), and a few others that will probably make the scene fairly soon, if this campaign goes well. And then there is my game company, TIME2PLAY GAMES INC., of which will be in production very soon, where I make affordable boardgames for kids. And then there is the movie I wrote and produced, CLOWNS, D.C., that should be out in the next few months. I am busy at the moment writing a script for BATTLE OF THE BANDS. And I bathe frequently. 😉

Will there be expansions?

7 mini (6 card) expansions as well as 3 full 50 card expansions are stretch goals in this campaign. There is 1 50 card “dirty” expansion, SEX, DRUGS, ROCK & ROLL, that is an add on, if you like that sort of thing… which I do. It’s rock and roll, not bubblegum! (That’s actually dirtier than rock and roll!!!) There is a possiblilty for funders going home with 400 cards

Who is your favorite band or music performer?

I don’t have any one band, I’m too old for that nonsense… I have a wall of about 6000 LPs. As many 45s, 400 cassettes, 30 8 tracks, 10 4 tracks, and about 4000 cds. So I’ll have to say this, my favorite gig was The Revillos/Wigs/Bongos at the Roxy in Hollywood in 1981. It was the one that stuck to the back of my head.

Do you play any instruments?

I have good rhythm… the rhythm air guitar and record player are what I play best.

What bands or musicians would you want to play Battle Of The Bands with?

Dave Grohl, Weird Al, O.K. Go, Leonard Graves Phillips/Stan Lee (The Dickies)

Where can people stay updated on the game and anything else you may have coming up?

Our FB page is the only place I have at the moment. I used to have a BGG page but I am a lazy sod.

https://www.facebook.com/BattleOfTheBandsCardGame/?ref=bookmarks



Spaghetti & Meeples can neither confirm nor deny the bathing habits of Dan Smith.

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Spaghetti & Meeples visits The Portland Game Store

http://www.theportlandgamestore.com/

503-289-NERD
info@portlandgamestore.com
Location – US
922 N Killingsworth St. , Portland, OR 97217

Store Hours – Pacific Time (US & Canada)
Monday: Closed
Tuesday-Thursday: 2:00pm-10:00pm
Friday: 2:00pm-12:00am
Saturday: 11:00am-12:00am
Sunday: 12:00pm-8:00pm

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March of the Ants: Minions of the Meadow expansion


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/910041337/march-of-the-ants-minions-of-the-meadow

https://www.facebook.com/WeirdCityGames/

https://twitter.com/weirdcitygames

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Spaghetti & Meeples Looks at Yes & No

http://www.yesandnogame.com
http://specialsnowflakegames.com

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Gnork Games and Field Tactics

This was meant to be a quick 20 minute intro to field tactics, but we had a good time with tangents!
http://www.gnorkgames.com/

 

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More Podcasting! Ep 8: Jim Pinto $1 RPG and Carcass

We catch up with Jim Pinto.

Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/218255739/the-carcass-exodus

 

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Into the Woods Discussion with Robert LaCosse

We here at Spaghetti & Meeples had an amazing opportunity to participate in a game of Werewolf at GameStorm 18. But not just any game of Werewolf. Robert LaCosse, who will reappear in our GameStorm wrap up, had bolted on his own storytelling twist titled Into The Woods.

 

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