Flames of War Master Terrain

This guy makes some great FoW terrain. I think he does it on commission, too.


BTP army on the tabletop- fan Vid

Hey Shawn, BTP fan just checking in saying how much I appreciate the great work you and your studio do and how much I love the projects that you guys have done for me. Several months ago, I was able to use most of the models that I've gotten from you guys (Thunderhawk Gunship, 5 Chapter Masters, Techmarine with Servo-Harness, and 10 Assault Marines) in a humble Apocalypse game with some friends. I regret that my other models and the tables we used don't do your guys' work justice but it was a casual game (with original Apoc objective claiming rules) and I'm a sloth when it comes to painting. Here is the intro/deployment video (voiced first by my friend Daniel and secondly by myself and my friend Emmanuel) with a link to a public facebook gallery with pictures from the game:

The game was a blast and the BTP models won the day with the Assault Marines and Chapter Masters wiping the Imperial Guard off of one objective (and destroying two basilisks I might add) and then claiming another in the heart of the Imperial Guard deployment zone. The Thunderhawk blew great holes in the Imperial Guard and Dark Angels lines with its Turbo-Laser (Renn is so right about that one, especially at only +20 points!) and raking exposed infantry with its Heavy Bolter sponsons, all before ending the game hovering over two objectives and claiming them!. Lastly, the Techmarine with his Thunderfire Cannon (which I added later, hence the sub-par painting on the cannon) shelled all who attempted to cross the bridge.

Just wanted to show my appreciation for your studio's fantastic work by showing the models getting some use on the table. Thanks so much for all the work you guys have done on my projects and I can't wait until I can get some more BTP quality minis!

PS: Valhalla looks AMAZING! Are you guys planning on doing it past January and February? Myself and some of the guys in this video are positively itching to book The Bunker but have neither the time nor the funds to do it likely until summer or later.


Shawn says: Yes, we have a rough plan for a Valhalla event in early May. Warhammer Fantasy most like.

Regeneration Coccoon

It's been a strange last three days. A while back, not sure how long, a downtown craft shop went out of business. The older gentleman who ran it stowed everything in the rather spacious basement level. It's a nice basement, perhaps even a misnomer there. He is at the point in his life where he would rather be fishing. We picked up the rather enormous amount of stuff for a flat amount. During the last week Sarah and I have been working ourselves ragged to garage sale it all. This is why you haven't seen or heard from me.

Saturday I put on a pair of work gloves, manned the palette jack and got "stuck in".

By the end of the day I felt like I had been beaten with a sack full of ice cubes. Once home it was no time to relax. It was time to take my daughter out. She is turning twelve soon and in Mormon-land that means she's going into Young Womens (ages 12-17). We went to a school dance/ball thing all dressed up, then out to sushi. It's a ritual now for two years.

I shambled home and collapsed on the bed. My two-year old daughter snuggled into the crook of my arm and fell asleep with me. My wife must have taken her off to bed after we nodded off. Rest for the body but not for the mind. I dreamed I was an F-15 pilot and then exploring the arctic tundra (I must have kicked the blankets off again).

I'm doing well. I would like to give a word of encouragement to all the young people who maybe read the blog. Life does get better. Great and unimaginable things, wonderful things, are in store for you. It's a great adventure.

I think that my next few decades are going to be a golden era of my life. Could it possibly get better?

I also came up with a truism. A Gatelyism if you will:
The great thing about junky old crap is that no matter how junky and crappy it gets it never loses its value.

Tightening the Bolts

Last night my oldest daughter, who is turning twelve soon, was graduated into the Young Women's program. There was a small ceremony where she was introduced by an older girl to the group and we had a snacky little dinner thing. Everyone was dressed up. For me, it was like a watershed moment of quiet reflection. I'll have a teenager soon. I'm getting older. To me it feels like I'm just getting stronger. And more peaceful.

My wife was wearing a set of those loose Indian clothes, aqua and cream. She looked radiant. I wish I had taken a picture.

Once home I almost immediately passed out. I think I went to sleep around 9pm. I'm now up at 1am for my early, early morning shift. I'm watching Dr. Who (again) my favorite pair of episodes: Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead.

At the studio we are on top of things. Every single person is working harder and more precisely. I am to the point where I am immediately answering emails as they come in. Well, naturally, I have to sleep. It used to be 3-5 weeks for turnaround. I'm trying to get that down to 1-3 weeks. The goal is to have a project get constant attention from the moment it arrives at the studio. No waiting.

Effective immediately, I'm bringing back the Pandora special. I will give a $100 credit towards a Pandora army to the first two who set one up. Any takers?

We still have spots open for Valhalla (Feb 24 and Mar 24).

In other big news, we are apparently the "official" painting service of 40K Radio. I spent about an hour talking to the new-ish owner today. More to come on that.

Orks on the Block

Got this in just today.

1 Truck Assembled (primed black)

1 Forgeworld Halftrack (Parts NIB to make a truck into a very cool halftrack)

2 Trucks (OS)-OS= on sprue

3 Kans OS

1 Lobba assembled

30 Boys on sprue

26 Boys off sprue but unassembled (sorted in very cool box)

11 Bikes on Sprues

1 Bag of left overs from Kommando Forgeworld set…will make two Nobs

8 Nobs on sprue

1 Battle Wagon in Box

1 Box of loota/burnas

1 Buggy NIB

1 Gazghkull (NIB)

Cadians on the Block

Got in an Imperial Guard army on trade. If you would like to commission the army for trade, the materials are 75% off (ie you pay 25%). You can pick and choose if you like.

26x Las Gun Infantry-Cadian

3x Grenade Launcher Infantry-cadian

6x-Voxcaster Infantry

2x Leman Russ Battle tanks


3x Lascannon Hvy Wep teams

3x Ogryn

1x Nork Dedogg

4x metal Melta Gunners-

2x Metal Plasma Gunners

10 ratling snipers

2x Plastic Sergeants w/ Chainsword/laspistol

2x metal Sergeants w/ Power fist/Laspistol

1x metal sergeant Chainsword, Bolt Pistol

1x Metal Standard Bearer-Cadian

1x Metal Medic

1x Metal wounded soldier model

1x Metal Techpriest-

1x Commissar Yarrick

1x vindicare assassin

1x Officer (monocle and power sword)

2x Power fist Commissars, one is holding a book and preaching

2x Power sword Commissars With Plasma Pistols

1x Chainsword Bolt pistol Commissar

Venom Conversions

$25 for the model/materials
$30 for conversions assembly
$45 for painting ($40 each for two, $35 each for three, $30 for 4+) at L3

You can get assemby only if you want.

Dwarf Army

Is this Dwarf army list any good? How could it be improved?

Dwarf Lord
Rune of Steel, Resistance, Stone

BSB, Gromil, Spite

Shield, Balance, Spellbreaking

40 Warriors

40 Warriors

40 Hammerers

Burning, Reloading

Organ Gun

Grudge Thrower

Grudge Thrower
Accuracy, Burning

2386/2400 points

Deal with the Empire Army



10x Halberdiers (painted, on magnetized tray): $95
10x Handgunners (painted, on magnetized tray): $95
12x Swordsmen (painted, on magnetized tray): $120
25x Spearmen (painted, on magnetized tray): $45 as-is, $190 finished
20x Greatswords (painted, on magnetized tray): $190 sold
10x Handgunners (unpainted): $20 as-is, $90 finished
6x Pistoliers (unpainted): $20 as-is, $90 finished
9x Knights of the Realm (on magnetized tray): $80
1x Cannon and crew (mount cannon on 50mm square): $30
1x Battle Standard Bearer: $30 finished
1x Hero with great hammer: $20
1x Warriors Priest on foot: $20
20x Free Company (unpainted): $25 as-is, $190 finished
15x Swordsmen (unpainted): $20 as-is, $120 finished sold
10x Handgunners (painted white and red except 2x): $45 as-is, $90 finished
1x Wizard (foot, painted) $30

Tonight we eat Lizard!

In any tournament without composition rules or penalties there will be a list also know as the Lizard Castle. This list focuses around a Slann, a big unit of temple guard to protect the slann and a unit (or 2) of saurus (30+). The rest is filled up with smaller units such as chameleon skinks, salamanders, terradon riders and sometimes a stegadon. The slann will have the lore of life and the disciple that gives him the Loremaster rule. This is a very hard list to beat, at least the concept of it. The main problem is that the main points are in the saurus, temple guard and slann, but since the lore of life will buff them and keep raising them back there is a huge point denial there. But that can be used to you advantage.

In any scenario fighting for victory points you can win from this list if you make the right decisions. Since the bulk of his points will be in the 2 or 3 units you need to keep them at bay. This can be done very easily by baiting them with a cheap unit, that can sustain some damage for at least 2 turns (a cheap unit with a lot of ranks for steadfast). Just deny him any big points with his units. This will mean that the bulk of his points will be rendered almost ineffective, while your larger units take on his softer and smaller units, such as the salamanders and terradons.

But combat is not the only measure you have to take, since he will be dominating the magic phase. The lore of life knows 2 damage spells, and the rest are buffs and restoring spells. In order to defeat this list you need to know very well when to do what. If your opponent attempts to cast throne of vines, let him, just let it go off. Dispel spells such as Dwellers Below that can do you damage. In your magic phase your priorities will lie on dispelling his Throne of Vines, since it is remain in play. And if you’re left with any dice try to get some direct damage spell through at his smaller units.

The basis of this strategy is denying your opponent points, while you scoop them up where you can. And since you only need 100 victory points more to win, of to have double the amount to massacre this can be done very fast. This tactic does not only work against the Lizard Castle list, but any hard list with lots of points in hard units that appear to be unbeatable. And it is best suited for armies that are “jacks of all trades”. General armies such as Empire, Orcs and Goblins, Dwarfs, High Elves, Dark Elves etc. This tactic works because to win a tournament, you don’t need to win the game, if you’re already on the top tables a draw or a minor win will suit you enough to keep you there, if you lose however you will drop in the rankings. (For generalship, painting and sportsmanship not accounted)

When you play this type of army (the castle build) always consider where your opponents points lie. Don’t go after his ‘baits’ to deny you points but aim for the general and the bigger blocks with your bunker units. The smaller units such as salamanders can round up the bait units.

As a final note I’d like to point out that although these type of build are nice to get you to the top tables of a tournament they are no fun to play or play against, and will certainly not give you any sportsmanship credits. And that’s what this hobby is all about, making friends, having a fun time and meanwhile playing the game. Winning a tournament is nice, but not winning but everyone remembering you for the great guy you were is nicer.

Martijn V.

BTP Correspondent from the Netherlands


Got this Iron Warriors dreadnought on eBay. Pick it up for a song.

As usual, big behind the scenes things happening at BTP which will be revealed in due time. Right now, Blue Table is being run much better. I have tightened up the ship from stem to stern. Quality Control is ship shape. Turnaround time is the best it has ever been.

Warhammer Fantasy event being planned for May at Valhalla. Still hammering out the details.

Let's travel back in time to Saturday morning. I was up at 5am, keeping up on things. I spent the morning with the family, cooking and joking around. For breakfast I had: pita, veganaise, home-made hummus, avocado, cucumber, orange peppers and water. My new delicious things that I like to eat. And a swiss cheese omelet.

I took the boys to the office with me, I suppose the closest thing to dad-time they get sometimes. I explain business to them; leases, cash-flow, stuff like that. It made me remember being on the job-site with my dad. I must have been ten years old. He demolished houses by hand, old lathe and plaster things with all sorts of trinkets in the floorboards.

We went by a storage unit with the contents of a pizza restaurant in them. Sarah and I picked up equipment for the Valhalla project, just one little cog in the massive amount of preparations. Retail value was probably around $400. Got it for $75. This is the equation of the free market. Abandoned or failed businesses become fodder for healthy ones. It's all good.

Sometimes it's like ten cents on the dollar. How does that impact the flow of money and resources? The myth that we are expected to believe, coming from the Capitol, is that government spending on a massive scale is needed to "keep things flowing". But isn't buying the resources of a failed business for 90% off the same thing? Banks would have us believe that they provide capital for new businesses, but they don't. They only provide counterfeit money which is exchanged for capital (actual physical resources), but on the net they are actually a destructive influence, because in the end they take more than they give. Banks remove actual capital from the countryside and consolidate it into major city centers and into the hands of a few. A yacht is built while ten granaries go unbuilt. And it all happens invisibly.

For things that we are doing, amazing things, we need capital. I wish I could show it widely. What we are doing, I mean.

I went on a date with Tamie. We went to a vegetarian restaurant, our new fave (Ginger's Cafe in Springville). For the record, I'm not a vegetarian now. I'm just finding new and wonderful things to eat. The rule is to eat whatever I want. After that we went to the natural food store, then for a walk in the mall. Once home, but while the kids were away at the sitters we watched an episode of Monk, our new favorite show. Alone in the house for an hour, what shall we do? Watch TV. Pretty sedentary.

Well, if you're not in a coma by now from boredom I may as well say a little about wargaming.

First off, I can't get enough. The Ork army is obscenely huge, with over a hundred more "boyz" all ready to be painted now. And two stompaz put together. That plus some mixcellaneous stuff should see it suitably completed. Some of the units of specialists need to be larger.

I also can't take my eyes away from the Dark Eldar. I'm thinking ultra-fast with Hellions as troops (Baron Sarthonyx), maybe fifty or so of them, and a few void raven bombers. Those are too cool. Need to be based on FW Eldar Nightwing I think.

I also got a really slick idea for a haemonculous army with wracks etc. transports will be floating daises of horrid torture; square and stone with dangling apparatus and huge bone-like formations.

Which reminds me, does anyone want to make a FW order on our behalf? About $300. Rate is +50%. It you make a $300 order you get a $450 credit with BTP. That can even be used for models. Email me if interested: bluetablepainting@gmail.com

See you all Monday. I'll be up at the crack of dawn.

Caught Up

I'm caught up. All projects are underway, and the Inbox is cleared. I'm ready to set up projects right now and for immediate attention. I worked real hard this week.

At this moment, I'm watching Dr. Who: End of Time. Great way to end the week.

In the Shadow of the Everlasting Mountains



Where’s my Gunpowder?

Having covered monstrous creatures and hordes which are both combat orientated articles it’s time for a bit ranged orientation. A major tactic that is very good with ranged armies is MSU. Multiple Small Units, meaning exactly what it sounds like, you make an army of lots of small units. Between 10 and 16 is the best. And you run them in 2 ranks because that makes the frontage smaller and you can still shoot with all the models. Most of the time no command or only a musician.

There are a few armies which are suited very well for this tactic and those are:

Any kind of Elves



Dwarfs are arguably the since they got a high toughness and armour save too so they could sustain some combat damage too. And this brings us to the major flaw of these armies… They are poor in combat, Empire hand gunners, Wood Elves glade guard, High Elf archers all either lach toughness or armour saves. But every downside comes with something positive. That is the range they have and the hitting power. Being able to shoot 36” means you can hit your opponent in turn 1, and you can deal (serious) damage from turn 1. And 80+ S3 arrows or S4 armour piercing bullets can put out a lot of hurt, giving that it takes at least 2 turns before you’re in combat, 3 if you move back/started on the backline and don’t forget to always take the charge and have another turn of shooting due to stand and shoot.

Some Mathhammer on 14 Empire hand gunners, you can shoot 3 turns, which means 42 shots, of which 18 hit. Against T3 you’ll score 12 wounds, with a -2 on the armour save. 9 wounds against T4. That’s only 1 unit of at least 10, meaning you wound on average (120+90)/2=105 models, with a -2save, perhaps 1/3 survives it, so you killed 70 models, from shooting alone, no magic and war machines included.

And next to all the small units you have all kind of other goodies. War machines, treeman, miners etc. Pairing your hand gunners with 2 hellstorm rocket batteries and 2 mortars means you can throw around some very nice big templates. For dwarfs the same, you can take some nice grudge throwers, cannons and perhaps some miners to show up behind your enemy lines. Wood Elves can take some nice treeman as Shawn demonstrated with his Rainforest Elves army.

There are numerous possibilities to support you army, you can throw in some extra artillery to deal out more ranged damage. Or you can throw in a nice sturdy combat unit to support in case you get locked into combat. But there is still one thing missing in our army, and that’s the general. There is no thing obliged to take with this army, whether you like a standalone combat hero (treeman ancient, Dragon Slayer), a supporting ranged hero (master engineer, noble with hail of doom arrow) or take some magic (which I can strongly advice, even if it’s for pure defensive purposes).

Keep in mind this is a very specific tactic for very specific armies. If you’d like to give it a try watch Shawn’s battle reports with the Wood Elves for some ideas. And one of the most important things in this army is that you should have at least 75% of shooting units, preferable the same models.

Martijn V.

BTP correspondent from the Netherlands

How is that?

How is it that my GPA in my senior year of high school was 0.6 (you read that right, Ds and Fs) but only missed four questions on the SAT?

Myth of War Prosperity Explained by Zorg


If war made a country prosperous, or got them moving economically again, then we should agree with another country to build an enormous fleet each year, sail it to the middle of the ocean, and sink the entire thing.
A soldier is a drain on resources. He needs shoes, clothing, food, and ammunition but does not make any of those things. They have to be appropriated by force from the shoe-maker, the tailor, the farmer, and the munitions factory laborer. Or indirectly through other taxation.
If there are no soldiers at all, or an insufficient amount, then liberty is compromised as other nations can roll in and crush the working citizen. So, that's out of the question.
The question is: what is the correct number of soldiers needed? Is there such a thing as too many? Is there any number where you would say "wait a minute"? Five million? Ten million? A hundred million?
How many does it take to secure liberty? Should a country even have a standing army?
If you live in the US then I want you right now to say how many people are laboring in the armed forces. Do you know? If not, you should know.

Side note: it is my opinion that the entire US Federal Government should be funded by tariffs and "miscellaneous". Corporate and personal income taxes should be completely eliminated. Most functions currently performed by the federal government should be moved to the states (where citizens have more control). The entire federal budget should be right around 100 Billion, mostly for the needed level of military spending. Everything else should be State, county, city or (even better) individual.
Just imagine it for a moment: no IRS, no exposing your personal finances to the government, getting paid in cash, prices falling by 20% or more all across the board, huge influx of investments into the US. And more importantly, you would be free.
Huge downside of this idea: you, yes you, will have to take care of the old people next door. You, yes you, will have to personally get involved.

Response from Mike Dunn

according to the department of defense website, there are 2.6 million americans in the armed forces. I'm sure that number is smaller that it actually is if we counted everyone who is indirectly involved with the military and the national guard. That number might be one percent of the population. In my opinion, that is way too high for 'peace time.'

Many of the founders expressed a sincere fear of a standing army. We never had a standing army until world war 1. Until that time, almost everyone was sent home after the wars ended.

That's why we have the 2nd amendment.
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
It's my understanding that the founders intended for the entire body of the nation to be 'the militia.' Americans used to be encouraged to keep weapons, not for self defense, but to kill the bad guys who would come and steal our country. I believe that average americans should be allowed to have military grade weapons. Who would attack us if every person in every house had their own firearms and knew how to use them? If someone attacked, they would be fighting 300 million americans defending their homes. If we needed to go someplace around the world, we wouldn't need any training, and the government wouldn't have to buy anyone any weapons, we'd all just bring our own, like the Revolution. We would have a well trained public and wouldn't have to waste money on training our soldiers. Everyone would just know what to do.

If the terrorists can keep the United States from winning in Afghanistan for 10 years with no formal organized military, certainly 300 million americans can keep any foreign country off our land, provided each citizen has the means to do so.

How would Hitler's Russian campaign have ended if russians had been allowed to keep and practice with weapons; if each russian had the military skills and equipment of the germans? How much money could russia have saved and spent on ships and aircraft instead of boots and bullets?

Hey Shawn,

I just wanted to point out something I took away from that blog entry which is that the Zorg clip, rather than explaining the "myth" that a country prospers from war, is actually playing exactly into the point you are making against it.

Bear with me,

When you put the clip into context of a country at war, it was Zorg who initiated the conflict by pushing the glass off. That means Zorg represent the participant country and the robots would be the "standing Army" belonging to the country (him). The argument he makes it to think about all the people who make the robots, and how much they prospered and will be able to go home and feed their children...so on and so forth. Now, a country at war commissions the tools of war, and thus companies in the business of war win the contracts and profit greatly during war times. This would represent Bell Helicopter, Lockheed-Martin, Barretta Firearms, Colt, etc. There is no doubt that these entities benefit from war. But to be implying that the country at war is prospering, would be if Zorg himself said that he was the one who was made money and took food home to feed his children. But in the end that is never stated, and ultimately Zorg has lost the glass, and still had to paid for the robots.

In summery, the clip shows that when a country goes to war, it is drained financially, and the companies that create the instruments of war prosper.

I agree that there is too much defense spending and that we have built up our forces more than is necessary (heck, i'm IN the service and think that). It seems wrong to me when an 18 year old can sign a paper, go off to be trained for 4-12 months and be bringing in 35,000 a year from the start (gross starting salary for an E-1). However, i felt that the clip was used somewhat out of context and actually illuminates this point ^ (although it takes a bit of closer inspection as the point is not directly stated).


P.S. I've been keeping up with the Valhalla vids. and I like what i'm seeing. The Orks look sweet, the board looks sweet, and I am totally on the same page as you about tourney games vs friendly/RPG games of 40K, so i'm SUPER looking forward to next month!

Doin' Grate

Sunday I was a lazy whiny wench. Fussing and grousing, and with all the human appeal of a cheese grater.

Now it's Monday. Oh sweet Monday and back to work. Yay-tastic! It's 7am and I'm at the studio. I am standing by to set up new orders, answer questions and generally be your favorite person.

I'm starting a new program, running until further notice: if you've made an order in the last 30 days you get 30% off on your cost of models, just like a new client.

Just put up something on eBay after six years. Just for kicks and giggles.

Revenge of Spikey Boots

I played a 2200 pt game against Renn's Blood Angels today. He added a unit of Scout Bikers, nasty buggers those. And two Baal Predators.

I didn't record the game as we just wanted to play something low-key and just for fun. I tried a completely different list:

2x Warboss
30x Nobz
3x Battlewagons
13x Boyz

Well, it was a lot of fun (Dawn of War, Objectives) but by turn five neither of us had any scoring units, so it was a draw no matter what. It's a tough list, the Nobs tore through the toughest the Blood Angels had, even Death Company. Seventeen Power Klaw attacks takes care of Feel No Pain.

That particular list is lacking in flexibility. The Nobz can only be in so many places at any given time. But they are hulking gorillas, extremely hard to take down with wound shenanigans. I think that a strength of the Orks is their randomness. Lots of small stuff with weird rules. If you can't have fun playing Orks then I don't know what to say.

A major breakthrough of mine recently is to realize that I don't know the rules very well, and I don't play very well. I don't think it's doing justice to the thousands of people that watch our Batreps. That said, I believe there is a segment of the gaming community that might be left behind with all the super-competitive stuff out there. I'm not criticizing that, but I am more of a champion of the casual player, hearkening back to the golden age of miniatures battles, when it was all new and magical.

I want my content to appeal and be useful to the new player. Tutorial in nature. Friendly. But even friendly games should be played correctly.

I don't like tournaments personally. Oh, I think they're fine, but there's a whole world associated with friendly play, with "Miniatures Battles as RPG" that I am afraid may be left behind. I want to champion that world.

Reality will Laugh at your Good Intentions

"The Dictator Fallacy" by Jim Babka

fal·la·cy -
* a misleading or unsound argument.
* Logic. any of various types of erroneous reasoning that render arguments logically unsound.

Do you . . .

* believe in our Constitution with its different branches and its separation of powers?
* support the idea that The State should be managed by elected representatives?
* oppose monarchies, dictatorships, and other authoritarian forms of The State?

I bet you'd answer "Yes" to all of these questions.

Despite answering yes, nearly everyone pretends, at some point, that they can design laws and programs that manage human behavior, leading to an ideal social result.

* Maybe even you believe you know the best way to solve a particular societal problem with a better organizational solution.
* Perhaps you admire and support a particular candidate who claims he has just the right incentive, program, or regulation that will do the trick.

Well, if you ever catch yourself (or another person), making such a pronouncement, then you can KNOW that either you (or they) are wrong. You see . . .

When you have "a government of the people, by the people, and for the people," YOUR "grand design" won't work. Why?

Unfortunately, other people will also be involved. This is, after all, a representative government with separation of powers. Your scheme will be touched and affected by lobbyists, legislators, bureaucrats, and judges. Then it will be imposed on a group of people, many of whom will NOT cheerfully cooperate because they do NOT appreciate your brilliance.

By failing to appreciate these events, you have fallen victim to the Dictator Fallacy.

The Dictator Fallacy is the belief that any law or program will be implemented in just the way you intended -- as if you were the king.

Your more perfect vision could only be actualized if you were the czar. Yet to want that power would be to denounce the Constitutional principles and representative democracy that you claim to adore.

There are at least six major ways your plan will go awry.

First, the legislative branch will have its say. They'll wheel and deal. They'll modify your perfect design. Senator Foghorn will secure a new federal building in return for his vote, while hordes of lobbyists will secure exemptions, loopholes, or extra benefits for their clients.

Second, the executive branch will then interpret the law. They will mangle your plan to fit their political goals. In accordance with The Slippery Slope Law of The State, bureaucrats and prosecutors will work diligently to stretch the limited power you intended to convey so that your focused plan will become swollen, unfocused, and perhaps, even abusive.

Third, the Courts will get in on the act too, forbidding some aspects of your design, while permitting other things you never intended. By this point, you might not even recognize your plan.

Fourth, the People will then react to the law. Some will comply; others will resist. Nearly everyone will look for loopholes. Attorneys, accountants, and consultants of all stripes will have a new industry, vested in navigating around your law to the greatest degree possible.

Fifth, the real "unintended consequences" of your plan will begin to manifest themselves. You may even discover what most policymakers experience; your proposal will boomerang, worsening the very problem you presumed to fix. Consider these examples . . .

* laws to curb narcotic use will entangle children in the violent, black-market drug trade
* fancy plans to restrict gun ownership will coincide with an increase in burglaries in your own neighborhood

Reality will laugh at your good intentions.

And here, we must go down an important rabbit trail. When our program fails, it is easy to be blind to the obvious. The very normal human reaction is to assume that things would've worked better if only our intelligent design had been followed -- that our uniquely brilliant scheme could've made The State more efficient and effective. We . . .

* bemoan the fact that legislators, bureaucrats, and judges mutilated our plans.
* complain that the people weren't made to see how this was for their own good.

Now, hopefully, it's evident. We'll NEVER witness your wonderful, pet plans, materialize. The only way that your more perfect vision could possibly have been implemented, was if YOU were the king.

Sixth, comes the most brutal blow of all.

The power you give a politician you love to do something you favor, is . . .
. . . the same power that people you abhor will use to do things you oppose.

Since you aren't a dictator you simply have to accept that officeholders change. Partisan majorities switch hands. The power you wanted to give to good people will always end up in the hands of bad people.

But for too many would-be dictators, "unintended consequences" simply means that they never intended for their opposition to acquire power again.

This is the trap that snares naive, do-gooders who . . .

* fantasize about what they would do if they were the boss, while forgetting that they supposedly despise dictators.
* fail to take into account that the people who really run things aren't as brilliant or purely motivated as they are.

Do you ever support expanding The State because you imagine that a larger State would do things the way you would do them if you were in charge? If so, then you have made yourself (and others) a victim of the Dictator Fallacy.

The Dictator Fallacy means that no matter how well-intentioned you are, no matter how good you think your idea is, your new regulation or initiative to solve a problem won't . . .

* be passed by you,
* administered by you, or
* adjudicated by you.

Nor will . . .

* everyone cooperate with your scheme.
* the new powers you create always be controlled by people you like.

You must choose . . .

* A limited constitutional republic, or . . .
* The horrifying Frankenstein creations that result from The Dictator Fallacy.

HT: The concept of the "Dictator Syndrome" was created by Downsize DC co-founder, Harry Browne, in chapter five of his 1995 book, "Why Government Doesn't Work." That chapter was titled, "If You Were King (The Dictator Syndrome)." http://harrybrowne.org

Orange Peppers

My wife and I have started eating better. The problem with changing habits is that the changes don't usually last. It takes a few runs up the hill to get it to be a permanent thing. Tamie is really into it-- kale chips, green smoothies and what-not but I am being careful to make sure that I only eat things I like while at the same time trying new and healthier things.

I was looking at a box of Trix. Ingredients: Corn Flour, Corn Syrup and Corn Meal. Tons of genetically modified government-subsidized corn.

While at the natural foods store with Tamie the other night I was impressed by the broad array of different options. Tons of different natural sugar alternatives, many dozens of various grains, organic local produce. Most of it 1.5x to 2.0x the price of government-subsidized products. It then occurred to me that maybe the natural foods store would be what the regular store would look like without the federal government subsidizing certain foods (eg corn, sugar). It then hit me further that a relatively small number of Congressmen were making my choices for me. They decided that corn would be the food of the masses.

Without even thinking about it, just enjoying different new foods and vegetables, I have lost six pounds since January 1. I'm down to 208. I'd like to be a smooth $1.97 again.

This morning I had a whole wheat pita covered in Tamie's home-made hummus; avocados, orange peppers, and tomoatoes. My body is readjusting to this new type of food. I still crave filling carbs. I still want a McD's Angus burger. But I am starting to crave pears and sweet peppers, too.

I had a lot of things to put on a studio update today but the clock ran out. The Orks have many new and wonderful additions. For Valhalla things are evolving apace in terms of event planning (ie how to run the games). The idea is maturing into something wonderful. I can't wait. Tickets are now available. We are ready to shoe-horn you in. You can get an event pass for $350 (three days food/events) if you want to find your own lodging in the area. If it were me, I'd get three of my friends on board for $400 each and take up in the Barracks. Remember you can pay half in the month following the event so if you have $175-200 you can get started at least!

My current visual opiate is Doctor Who, 2005. I remember watching the first few episodes and losing interest, but the series certainly gets better. Some are richly written, well-thought-out, campy, and some are a bit freaky. I wouldn't let my kids watch just any one.

On General Welfare

James Madison (one of the most Federally Oriented founding fathers) had this to say about the General Welfare clause.

If congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands, they may appoint teachers in every state, county, and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post roads; in short, everything, from the highest object of state regulation down to the most minute objects of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress….Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of limited Government established by the people of America.[Letter to Edmund Pendleton, January 21, 1792]

Amazing what he lists as obvious stretches of federal control.

Stone Corridors comments on our scenario

We are actively working on scenarios for Valhalla, an event with narrative/themed games. Miniatures battles as challenging as ever, but with a storytelling bent.

Here's what he had to say.

And more comments from another viewer:

Hello Shawn,

This is in response to the epic show-down that was the recent Blood Angels
v. Orks batrep that you and the guys posted. First, that board is
out-freaking-standing. And the armies, as always, looked fantastic. Second,
it's always great to see a great game, with great sportsmanship. You all
always seem to have a ton of fun. Now, on to the scenario:

I'm a fan of objective scenarios in wargames, and the one you presented is a
pretty standard objective style game. I have a few observations based on
some of the criticism that it's gotten.

1. Objectives in the starting areas (or close to the starting areas): As
people have pointed out, and I think someone during the game noted this too
(perhaps you Shawn?), objectives in the starting area don't mean too much.
However, I'd like to pose a counter-argument for keeping them, or at least
one of them. Without at least one objective in the starting area, there is
no incentive to start a Troops choice in that area. Why not deep strike all
of your troops (if possible), to get to the objectives faster? An objective
in the starting area also keeps even the worst match from being a shut-out,
which is just a nice perk for some of us.

2. I've heard at least one call to make starting areas the short edge so the
game board becomes longer. It seems to me the idea is to have two armies
rush towards each other and meet to fight it out in the middle areas. The
faster that happens the better, in my opinion. This also keeps deepstriking
from being a complete game winner. In a long board, a deepstriking army
could potentially drop on the fifth marker (or the "game winning" marker),
then backtrack towards their starting area picking up the rest of "their
side" markers while the other army is busy trying to catch up to them. This
is still a viable strategy in a shorter board (at least theoretically), but
takes a lot more work to pull off.

3. And last, I've read some complaints about how the game ended as a draw
but with the Blood Angels wiped off the board. Frankly, I think that's
outstanding. Objective-based games aren't about killing all of the enemy.
It's about accomplishing objectives. And I feel like 40k is the perfect game
to have an army get wiped out to the model while also being successful at
its goal. Is there anything better than three units of Blood Angels giving
their lives in a last stand against a Waaagh! of Orks in order to keep the
greenskins from winning? You don't need to wipe out an enemy to break them.
Which is something signified by the use of Troops choices to take
objectives. Support and elite troops are great for taking the battle to the
enemy, but troops are how you sustain a war. There's an extra level of
tactics involved in a game when your goals are to kill your enemies Troops,
keep your Troops alive, while also taking objectives. Killing everything
else of theirs will make your job easier, but it won't win you the battle.
And that's what makes objective-based games more interesting than all out
battles. So, bottom line is, above anything else, please don't make wiping
out the enemy a win. Sacrifice is what 40k is all about.

Thanks for reading,

Teach Me a Lesson

I am now issuing a challenge for a "good" player to come to the studio and beat me down. Any takers?

Clunking Along

I went to sleep around 9:30pm. I got up around 1:30am. I'm answering emails, getting an aggressive start to the week.

I am actively on standby for any inquiry you may have. I am eager to set up projects for late January and February. We are ready when you are!

Remember, you can pay for a project in any increments you like, breaking it up practically how you see fit. I just need to know the target date for completion.

Tickets for Valhalla are on sale now. Several have asked if there will be events later in the year. That's the plan! Right now we are concentrating on the first two events. However, a rough draft is that we will have one in April (probably for Warhammer Fantasy), and then two events a month through summer and fall.

We do plan on going to Adepticon, yes.

I'm almost through season 6 of Star Trek TNG. It's soothing background material and suitable for public consumption.

Over the weekend I read this rather lengthy article about Playing to Win. I am not a competitive player by any definition. However, recording the batrep this weekend made me realize I really don't know 40K that well. I am not playing very much these days and that is going to change. I need to know my genre about 5x better.

Valhalla: Ork sneak pics

At the February Valhalla event, the plan is to have both formal and informal games. For the formal, scored games it will be four games over two days. Normal games (one player against another) as well as scenario games (one player playing a pre-set scenario). It is for this type of game that we are building two or more studio armies. One of those is the Junkyard Orks. By this coming Tuesday they will be completely done, except for two Stompas.

So that means you might bring your own army, but play one or two games using the Orks. Or a few games where you play someone playing Orks. Maybe even a BTP staffer. Or you can just play your own army the whole time.

Scenarios and rules and what-not will be published in advance.

I have avoided using the word "tournament" because we are not out to find the best players of the group, but rather to tell an epic tale. If your score is the highest that gives bragging rights, but not much else.

Here's what's in it:
2x Warboss on foot
2x Warboss on bike (one FW)
2x Mekboyz
1x Zagstrukk
9x Trukk chassis
3x Supa Zzappa upgrades for Trukk
4x Battlewagon
1x Lifta-Droppa
60x Slugga/Choppa Boyz
40x Shoot Boyz
6x Big Shootaz
3x Rokkit Boyz
10x Stormboyz
11x Lootaz
13x Kommandos
7x Nobz on Bike
36x Nobz on foot
4x Painboyz
13x Burnaboyz
3x Meganobz

Coming up!
2x Stompaz

A batrep was recorded today; Renn's Blood Angels vs James with Orks. I hope to get the first two parts up soon.

Lastly, some math on Valhalla. The Barracks sleeps four. The ticket is $1600. However, split four ways that's only $400 each (lodging, food, most transportation, and event for four days three nights). And you only have to pay half up front. Time to get some buddies together and make the trip!

Valhalla Now Open!



[Read the whole thing! If you have any questions or wish to purchase a ticket contact Shawn at bluetablepainting@gmail.com or phone 801 372 8545]

In February and March of 2011, Blue Table Painting is hosting two events. The setting is a 196 acre estate twenty minutes up the canyon from Spanish Fork Utah.

You can arrive as early as Thursday 11am on February 24, and ends on Saturday February 26 at 9pm. Optional Saturday night stay (contact us for details).

The second event has the same schedule, March 24 to 26.

A ticket includes lodging, food and admission into all gaming events. Tickets are first-come-first-served. Payment options:

  • Paid in full up front (check, MO, cash, or major Credit Card)
  • Paid half down and half on arrival.
  • Paid half down and remainder in February (spread out as you please).
You will be like our honored houseguest.

Tickets do not include airfare. Some transportation is provided gratis; we're making a few pickups at the airport and will be running shuttles from the studio in Spanish Fork to the ranch. Possibly also some trips into town if you want that.

There are five rooms. A ticket gets you the room for the three days (two nights). There are only five tickets for rooms, and ten "event pass" tickets for a total of 16-24 guests. As you can see this is a very limited number. All rooms have a plasma TV with sattelite channels.

Room A: Chief Librarian's Chamber
This is the master bedroom of the house. It is on the main level, adjacent to the library. It has a second door that opens onto a balcony that overlooks the stone patio. It has a private bath with a jetted tub and walk-in closet. This room is double-occupancy and includes a pass for up to two people (ie food and gaming events). This ticket is $1200.
[this room already booked for February event]
[this room already booked for March event]

Room B: Inquisitor's Sanctum
This is a ground level room with a private bath. It has a outer door that leads to the Great Stone Patio. This room is double-occupancy and includes a pass for up to two people (ie food and gaming events). This ticket is $1200.

Room C: Captain's Quarters
This is a ground level room with a private bath. It has a outer door that leads to the stone patio. This room is single-occupancy only. The bathroom is adjacent but not interiorly connected. This ticket is $800.
[this room already booked for February event]

Room D: The Barracks
This is a second-story room with views overlooking the valley three directions. It is quadruple occupancy, with four single beds. So, if you want this one you get to bring up to three friends. And even more! You can have up to six people, with each additional person being +$300. This room has a private bath, plenty of closet space, and the biggest TV in the house. This ticket is $1600.

Side note: I think this is the least expensive option for a group. If you do the math it ends up being $400 per person. Plus this room is a lot of fun.

Room E: The Chapter Master's Suite
This is easily the best room in the house, basically a miniature house to itself. A miniature kitchen, washer-dryer, personal balcony, walk-in closet huge bed, plasma TV (like other rooms), and the most spectacular view in the entire house. You will be set like a king. This room is double-occupancy and includes a pass for up to two people (ie food and gaming events). You can upgrade occupancy to three people for +$300. This ticket is $1600.
[this room already booked for February event]

Common Areas
There will be plenty of wargaming tables all set with lavish terrain. There is also a game room with a billiards table. There will be one or two fridges stocked with goodies to be had at any time you like. Want to come out at 3am and make a plate stacked with delectables? Go on ahead! (just be sure to have your robe on!). A library stocked with army books.

Event Passes
You can purchase an event pass which covers you for the three days to completely participate in gaming events and eat what you want. You just have to find a place to stay down in the valley and drive up each day. Later, we will have suggestions for places to stay posted. Cost for a three-day Event Pass is $350.

Kevin, a veteran of the restaurant and catering industry, is coordinating the (enormous amount of) delicious meals and snacks that will be provided throughout the event- all inclusive.

PDF Menu

Meals will be served, buffet style: Breakfast 7am - 9am, Lunch 11:30am - 1pm, Dinner 5:30pm - 7pm Snacks and Beverages will be provided throughout the event- and all hours, self-service.
It is our objective to provide the very best food we can. Sample menus will be available, and are subject to change without notice. If you have any special food requirements or allergies, please let us know. We'd like to be accommodating.

Gaming Events
All events will be announced solid by January 10, 2010.

There will be a tournament for 40K as well as themed events. We are emphasizing friendly play. The boards will be world-class and with plenty of space to move around. The tournament is not mandatory! You may want to just play pickup games.

Painted armies only. Games at 2000 pts.

We will have other games available like Space Hulk or Necromunda. All painted up of course. While initial events are geared to 40K, there is no reason not to play some Fantasy as well. We will have studio armies available for use (no charge of course) for casual play. The plan is to have all sorts of games up there. A lot.

We are interested in doing something different than a typical tournament where a small handful of people come out on top. We would prefer to do a spectacle with an element of storytelling. The various table represent key battlefields on a particular planet.

Prize Support
For every participant there will be a minimum of $100 retail of prize support. Plan = spread it around more than a normal tournament.

Your Hosts
The event will be hosted by Sarah and Shawn with other BTP staff coming in and out for games or to help out. Would you like to be a guest on the Morning Show?

Prepared Armies
You can bring your own army to the event. Also, if you want you can have your army done by BTP in advance and ready for you to use at the tournament. As a third option you can rent an army. We will make any army list you want for $300, just to use. If you decide to buy the army you get $350 towards it.

You can bring your own army if you want. That will be the normal thing.
If these first two events are successful we plan on having others throughout the year.
We will have events for a variety of different game systems, notably Warhammer Fantasy.

We are working on internet service. But there might not be any by January. There is also no cell phone service! You will be incommunicado possibly. Well, there is a land line you can use to let people know you have arrived safely. At first, I didn't like this, but there is something to be said for peace and quiet.

Terms of Service
  • We reserve the right to refuse service.
  • Utah taxes may apply.
  • The ticket is purchased from HollingsGate LC., the corporation under which we are running the events.
  • You will agree to a code of conduct, which is basically "be extra courteous to others". With so few people everyone needs to be on best behavior. You are an honored houseguest and so guest-like behavior is the order of the day.
  • For the first two events we are 18 yrs+.
  • We do not serve alcohol. This is a non-smoking facility. Areas are available for smoking outside.
  • You will not be sold to or solicited while at the event. The terrain will be for sale, inconspicuously, and you are welcome to "talk shop" with Shawn, but you won't be approached by vendors.
  • Food will be provided buffet style for all meals. Snacks and beverages are included in the ticket cost and available self-service throughout the event.
  • If on account of some act of nature or unforeseen cataclysm we can't use the main facility we should have a backup location of comparable nature OR you may be refunded the cost of the ticket.


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