While surfing the interwebs this past winter break, I found a post from a fellow ‘Mech-head about a great find from Gamer Badges. Embroidered on merit badge style patches, Gamer Badges has a number of patches to meet your tabletop, role playing, and card gaming needs. Badges can be ordered with sew on or glue on backing or a velcro back perfect for your velcro-styled game bags. Whether you are a completionist needing to unlock all of the achievements or a dedicated specialist looking to show you uniqueness, Gamer Badges has a patch for you.
Earning Your Badges, Cadet!
Each badge has a set of criteria to wear; most are easily attainable with simple “if you did X, you get the badge criteria” for fun. The Mecha badge is available to a player that has “played in a giant robot game.” With wording like that, players from Battletech and Alpha Strike to CAV or even 40K Titans all sound like good candidates for the Mecha badge. Unlike scouts programs, however, there is no lengthy application process to earn your badge. Your on your gamer’s honor.
As an extra little bit of fun, each badge comes with an optional rule for the bearer to use. From the set of badges I have, and previewing the others on the site, these bonuses are often minor alterations to the game. The Mecha bagde allows the owner to ignore “one critical limb failure.” With a little tweaking, this could manifest in Battletech or Alphastrike as, “ignore one critical hit,” “one arm blown off,” or similar event.
Each badge special rule has a cool down time of one month. This addition is a great way to prevent badge spamming in your club. (*cough* Billy Caldwell *cough*)
Of course, it’s always best to follow Rule #1, “Have fun,” above anything else. Make sure your group agrees to use badge rules for games before starting. If everyone is collecting and using Gamer Badges, its much easier to convince them to let you ignore that last critical hit.
Looking for a Little Something Extra?
Whether you thrown down with Duncan Fisher blaring, stack tiles in hexes, or shuffle cards across tables, Gamer Badges are a great way to add a little extra to your game night out bag.
You can find more here.
A question plagues green and veteran players alike, "What do I transport my miniatures in?" Over the years I've seen armies and art transported in:
This last category can in itself be a challenge. "What style do I get? How big? What kind of foam? Hard case or soft shell?" And for Battletech and Alpha Strike, "Where do I keep my rule books and record sheets?" The search seems endless.
I'm happy to report, however, that Battle Foam has stepped up to the challenge of providing quality, useful carrying equipment for miniatures, gaming supplies, and rules supplements with their diverse lines of products for nearly any system and scale you may collect and play, including cases and foam made for Battletech!
With high recommendation from the admins of Battletech Megaton Painting Challenge I opted for the Iron Kingdoms Messenger Bag for a first foray into Battle Foam. Retailing for $49.99 from their website, this bag is comparable to other storage and transport solutions. Coming in at 17" x 14" x 5" this bag can haul quite a bit of gear ranging from rule books, supplements, record sheets, notebooks, or a laptop or tablet device with all of your PDFs!
Fancy outside velcro to show your faction pride or favorite ride!
Easily carried with a comfortable grip handle or shoulder strap, this unassuming bag blends in on the outside with any innocuous messenger bags. But that's where the similarities end. By day, its a mild mannered laptop bag. Once the clock clicks five and you hit the door, this covert "work laptop" secretly carries everything you need for a hard-fighting night at the game shop. The Battle Foam Iron Kingdoms Messenger Bag has so much storage you can carry your laptop and work assignments in one section and your gaming aids in another. Never be far from your hobbies with this bag.
Unclip and open the flap to find pouches and storage galore! So much storage that I couldn't figure out what all to put into it for example photos. So many pouches. In this bag you can carry everything you need for a game of Battletech or Alpha Strike. From miniatures and dice, to rules and supplements, even to a bit of Battletech faction gear, this bag can do it all!
The Battle Foam Iron Kingdoms Messenger Bag does away with the days of carrying your minis and rules into the game shop in two trips! The spacious main storage compartment is zipper closed to hold your copy of BattleMech Manual, Total Warfare, Alpha Strike, and easily still have room to fit at least one more supplement. If you're a PDF user instead, throw your laptop and charger or tablet in there and suit up to go. Need a place to stash your record sheets or keep your Total Warfare and Alpha Strike tables? The convenient pullout pocket has enough room to comfortably store a folder or two of these necessary game aids! Have that last minute campaign book, TRO, or other book to bring along? The second large zipper pouch has more room to carry around those dead trees! Though it won't carry every book you own, this bag will easily carry all the books you need for a night's gaming.
This bag far and away beat my expectations. The outside velcro for faction gear makes this bag a fun accessory to bring to the game and show your Kurita pride! For its slightly limited Battletech and Alpha Strike miniature storage, this messenger bag more than makes up for this with the ability to carry so much gear! Being able to comfortably carry all your movement dice, measuring tape, rules and supplements, map sheets, TROs, record sheets and unit cards makes this the perfect bag for most games of Battletech and Alpha Strike.
HAVE YOU USED THE IRON KINGDOMS MESSENGER BAG OR ANOTHER BATTLE FOAM PRODUCT? DO YOU HAVE YOUR OWN PREFERRED BAG? TELL US ABOUT IT IN THE COMMENTS!
One of the most frustrating things I've come across in miniature painting is photographing work. In Camospecs one of the most common faults that killed new artist submissions was photo quality. Blurry, unfocused, poorly lit, or sundry other complicating factors got in the way.
Phone cameras aren't any better. Despite the increasing quality of images and easy access to these cameras, phones remain a challenging tool to catch quality miniature photos--until now.
My SUPER AWESOME WIFE got me an early Christmas present from Evileyelens: the Apexel Mobile Phone Camera Lens set! (Isn't she awesome?!) In the kit you get (1) a small, expandable tripod suitable for table-top photography, (2) a mounting bracket to hold your device (and can be removed and used with other tripods), (3) two clips to hold the lenses on your phone, (4-6) a zoomable lens, a fisheye lens, and A MACRO LENSE, and finally (7) a soft carrying bag.
Out of the box, this is an easy to use kit. Intuitive in design, the clips and lenses fit together easily. It took longer to walk to the mailbox than to setup.
Though there are a lot of cool accessories, the most important for miniature painting are the phone mount and macro lens. Just look at the difference adding the lense makes!
With the IPhone's own point and focus technology, you can get great pictures but they often don't capture the entire miniature. Usually, you can get a lot of detail of one small section, but the rest of the piece is out of focus. Adding the lens, you get a much better macro photograph. More of the miniature with more detail come out while still blurring the background.
Mounting your phone on a tripod increases the clarity of the image. No matter how much you brace yourself, the tiny movements of your body blur photos at this tiny scale. With the tripod, your device is stable and free from shakycam! To take photos, add your headphones and click! Just like a selfie stick!
If all you need is the macro lens and clip, you can find these (with the fisheye lens) on Amazon.com for $11.99.
If you're serious about miniature photography and don't want to invest in a new camera, this kit is a must!
There are lots of great photography tutorials on Camospecs.com--be sure to check them out!
Tutorials and Projects