Friday, October 12, 2018

Spotter Up


"Find a Way or Make One"

In Latin this is;

Aut Ivenium aut viem facium


My brother runs a wonderful small business that caters to the military mindset named Spotter-up at

The basic idea is that there are individuals which want to excel in one or more facets of life, and are always seeking to expand their understanding of how to do this. The very motto, "Find a Way, or Make One" is the basis of this way of thinking. Towards that end; Spotter Up seeks to aide and encourage.


Here's the Web site mission outline via

What is Spotter Up?

Spotter Up Tactical Solutions (Spotter Up for short) provides credible and applicable information in support of individuals becoming the best Chessmen they can be. A Chessman is an expert strategist, who trains rigorously, and takes action(s) to bypass threats. Not all of our contributors are Special Operations members. Nor do they have to constantly remind people of what they accomplished but the journey never ends. Telling stories for the sake of helping others is important.

The road is ahead. Walk it, learn and share with others who know less. Becoming tactically sound in anything worthwhile requires sacrifice, discipline and a long-term plan. Spotter Up believes in finding solutions to problems.  ‘Find a Way or Make One’. Excuses are never made.

Spotter Up looks at the five components of health that many in the health field generally recognize as areas people can work on to become well-balanced.  Health professionals call it Emotional Health, Physical Health, Social Health, Intellectual Health and Spiritual Health. 

We call it Heart, Body, Circle, Mind, and Spirit.

As long as we have breath we want to keep improving in these areas. The Greeks immersed their students in the studies of art and science. They learned history, wrestling, gymnastics, poetry, geography and so on. Today this could be substituted for men who learn about world history and affairs, Crossfit, and Land Navigation. The Greek technique called Paideia (pahee-di’-ah), somewhat equivalent to the Romans humanitas, was the method for making a man. It required strenuous discipline to become good at something. Paideia, was the schooling students were given to acquire knowledge.

To be really well-rounded, we have to have a balance in all the things that we DO and ARE. Our body, emotions, social circles, spirit and mind have immersed in worthy things or we don’t function well. I liken it to the architectural pillars clustered around and supporting a very strong tower or building. Strong pillars let a watchman see clearly out along the horizon, all 360 degrees that is under his responsibility. If just one pillar is offset, then his view is canted, and the information he receives is askew.

A pillar used for decorative purposes is just that, it is decoration. Working solely on building the body has a payoff, but the rest of what needs attention suffers. In order to get our sight lines pointed right, Spotter Up seeks to provide useful information to those seeking to better themselves tactically.

My Take

Especially tied to the mission of Spotter Up is the idea of being a Chessman; a person which thinks tactically, is trained for threat circumvention, is aware of the needs of contributory societal membership, and is willing to become an exemplar.

My thinking as a former Marine is that not all of us start off as military-minded and not all of us finish as military-minded. We have other desires and interests, but we have a common set of experiences. For those which are not or have never been in the military, there are some which know somebody which is. And there are many which are fascinated by the accouterments of that life, the history, lore, and the strategic and tactical thinking involved. And seek to embody it through their readings, habits, and wanderings in life.

The tactics are the same; to improve oneself mentally and physically. The strategy is the same; through demonstration and guidance, to shape others. And therefore the end goal is also aligned; to improve society.

The Lingo

One of the features of Spotter Up is the presentation of viral art with mottos placed upon coffee mugs, t-shirts, stickers, and patches.  Sure its kitschy, but I think it taps into our modern zeitgeist (spirit of the times) very well.
  • The ChessmanThis is the Spotter Up Tactical mission motto; "Find a Way or Make one". It is attributed to Hannibal, but has been used through history by the likes of Seneca and Francis Bacon.
  • Tiger at the WheelThis is one of the the transformative mottos; "Men, like swords, can be forged in fire. Those who change with every burning become the most formidable of weapons." The art itself is an allusion to The Tyger by William Blake. The symbol of the Wheel in this case is the Noble Eight-fold Path from Buddhism. The moth is drawn into the flame at the mouth of the tiger.
  • Wolves from SheepThis one is succinct; "Swords from plowshares. Wolves from sheep." A variation of Chris Kyle's utilitarian classification system from American Sniper (wolves, sheep, sheepdogs) in terms of the biblical classification phrasing ("wolves in sheep's clothing."). The idea is to recognize foes (the wolves), and be prepared to aide the innocent (the sheep). You are implicitly a guardian (the sheepdog). For a point-counterpoint see here at
  • Submachine Gun Buddha
    This one is interesting in that it is found with multiple variations on the Internet; "I brought peace until they brought war. So I brought war until they brought peace." I think Spotter Up's phrasing kind of shows the Yin-Yang duality nicely, with the opposites being Peace ("yin") and War ("yang"). And so the Buddha ("enlightened one") which is an embodiment of the middle-path, is all the more prepared with his spray-and-pray weapon of choice; a submachine gun.

Goody Bag

I asked for some tchotchkes so that I can sticker my new work laptop and help promote the Spotter Up brand. The direct link to the on-line shop is here;

A sticker; a Chessman. "Find a Way or Make one".

Some patches.
Another sticker; Tiger at the Wheel.

"Men, like swords, can be forged in fire. Those who change with every burning become the most formidable of weapons."

Another sticker; Wolves from Sheep.

"Swords from plowshares. Wolves from sheep."
Another patch; Submachine Gun Buddha.

"I brought peace until they brought war. So I brought war until they brought peace."

An awesome coffee mug with the Submachine Gun Buddha.
All the Things.

My t-shirt gifts. The red is the Spotter Up Tactical logo. The black version is the Wolves from Sheep art.


I hope you enjoyed this side-track from table-top wargaming, modeling, and miniatures painting.


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Friday, October 5, 2018

Preparing for Dunjon of Death V :: Everything Together For Now!

Link to Part IV


Here's everything I've got in terms of Dunjon of Death terrain and tiles.

The Dunjon Tile Deck

The original Plan was laid out in an earlier post here.

The idea was to have modular tiles and matching "Dunjon Tile" cards. These cards could be drawn at random and rotated to craft a dungeon crawl layout. The tiles and cards are given an ID and a standard facing such that they can be identified on paper for later retrieval.

Here's the result of that Plan;

This is the set of cards I originally used. The dice and pawn are the result of my Dunjon of Death Generator micro-game to build the dungeon. It is a 6-Tile dungeon (8; 6 + Start and End).

This is a recording of the generated layout. 

This is the new set of demo cards laid out according to my recorded drawing from above. There's two changes; E4 and S4 became L2 and R1 respectively. When I get further along, I'll upload the tile cards on my Downloads page. I'm considering starting a new Google Sites just for Dunjon of Death as well ...

OK. The cards themselves. With this, I can pull through my Dunjon Tile assets and build out my modular game.

I tried my best without a selfie-stick. Here's my tiles laid out to match the cards. I've also added my various terrain elements. Each tile is 12.5-inches across (about 10 MU for MEST). At a total area of 5 x 3 tiles; 60 by 36 inches.

I'll give a tour starting with the START tile. Here's the intrepid murder hobos approaching tile S1.

Here's tile S1. Awaiting them are some Skeleton guards. In my draft rules, there needs to be a necromancer on the layout to control them. This would be a middle-manager type; the Big Bad Evil Guy (BBEG) is probably a lich lord for a later adventure.

Connecting from SI is L2. Spyiders! I'm working on the Web rules; capture not kill. People are food.

Beneath L2 is T2. More undead guards.

To the right of T2 is L2. In my earlier draft this was E4 but I sort of got rid of E4. In terms of Jaquaying the game, most of the dungeons generated are a gauntlet, so something like this E4 is a side-quest. Once I have some treasure or objective markers painted up, E4 would be an ideal place for them.

Here's X1 which is beneath T2. Notice that X1 is rotated facing downwards. To the right is S4 which is the last generated tile.

This is S4 from X1. I used my "pitcher's mound" for a Cornice Pillar. The right is the EXIT tile.

The EXIT tile with a stair case and the Necromancer boss. This is where the daring adventurers from the START tile need to get toward.

More Pictures

So the tour overview is done. Here's some pictures from a lower angle.

View from the START tile into S1.

View from within S1.

The longest hall-way. Excellent for archers. This is L2 going down towards X1.

L2 (nee E4).



Dargh ... X1 upwards into T2 I thnk.

EXIT tile. Necromancer. Black foamboard doing a simple job and failing. This reminds me that I need to create some backdrop sheets, not just for Dunjon of Death but for outdoor games as well.

What's Next

I'll need to get back to game design and painting up my other Dunjon Denizens (Orcs, Goblins, Kobolds, Gremlins, and maybe a few dozen Adventurers).

In the Future

I think the set in total is good enough for bringing to a gaming convention. It's been, I think, 4 years since I've done a MEST Tactics demonstration. I'll try for KublaCon or PacifiCon coming in 2019.

Friday, September 28, 2018

MEST :: Variable Character cards

Making things Easy

This is just a thought.

It will require that a number of assets are printed out, such as 3 by 5-inch cards. The idea is to have the cards contain information which is independent of a model, but includes two cut-out slots and several hard-boiled stats upon it. Next would be 1 by 3-inch slats which contain a picture of the model and a list of its weapons to match its sculpt. The card and the slat will have their own BP values and would be combined together for purchase price.


  • Card - Contains Skills, Attributes, BP cost.
  • Slat - Contains photo of model, matching weapons used, BP cost.

Rough concept.


I want to make it easy to create Assemblies in MEST Tactics without the need to resort to book-keeping tools like a ledger and pencils. This concept should be able to increase variety of Assemblies for pick-up games.


I think I can come up with some variations. I want to try and keep the implementation simple so that it is easy to produce a large volume of assets. One idea I could pursue is to make the slats be clip-ons so that there's no need to cut slots into the cards.

For Champion Progression, I guess I could create "badges" which could clip on to the cards. The set (card, slat, badges) could be stored across multiple gaming sessions during a Campaign.

Preparing for Dunjon of Death IV :: The Terrain

Link to Part III-F


Here's where I go into my cache of half-finished terrain elements and paint them! Dunjon of Death has been in planning for at least 2 years, if not earlier ... and I've got lots of stuff to lay out.

The General Plan

Essentially I'll paint them the same as the others:

  1. Base coat of black paint plus clear Elmer's glue. Good news; inexpensive. Bad news; if you get it wet, the glue (and paint!) comes off. Good news; you shouldn't be getting any of your terrain or figurines wet any time soon ... right? No coffee or beer on or near the gaming stuff.
  2. Afterwards, I'll dry-brush with dark grey using a 2-inch brush. Mostly top to bottom strokes.
  3. Next, I'll dry-brush with medium-gray using a 0.75-inch brush. Mostly pulling from the bottom near the tile floor upwards to about mid-height.
  4. Using the same brush and paint, I'll dry-brush from the top down to make details pop.
  5. Lastly, using light gray or white, I'll dry-brush the edges of edge terrain element to make them pop out.

The Terrain

Here's what I've started with;

All the things.

Coat of black + PVC glue.

Dry-brush with dark gray.

Awaiting the medium gray.

Everything is Done

Here's everything painted.

Left side of my table are the recent terrain items.

On the right side of the table are my doors from earlier posts. Remember that these are Zombicide and Dungeon Saga doors.

A Reaper Bones Skeleton Swordsman next to the Central Blocks. These blocks are about 3 by 2 by 2-inches.

Dude next to one of the Cornice Pillars. I have a bunch of cake-shop Greek pillars that I'll need to eventually set up as well.

I've got three stair cases and two stair bases. I just noticed that the fights are all right-winding. And so I'll create some later; maybe a straight stair case, and two L-shaped left-winding.

The Dungeon Saga and Zombicide doors. These behind the Celt are my "Damaged" doors.

OK. And finally the skeleton warrior next to the single-doors; these are both Zombicide doors.


Here's my inventory for the curious.
  • 14 Passage Ways (wall with a hole, no door)
  • 19 Single Doors (that's Zombicide)
  • 3 Double Doors
  • 1 Double Door, broken
  • 3 Great Doors, unmoving (that's Dungeon Saga)
  • 1 Single Gate, jammed.
  • 3 Stair cases, right-winding.
  • 2 Stair bases (single short flight).
  • 8 Wall sections.
  • 2 Fallen stella.
  • 6 Wall Blocks (4 plain, 2 crowned)
  • 6 Central Blocks
  • 7 Cornice Pillars
  • Plus ... 25 modular Dunjon of Death tiles (22 square, 3 start/exit which are rectangluar).

What's Next

I'll show you everything I've got put together. 

Friday, September 21, 2018

Preparing for Dunjon of Death III-F :: The Tiles - Done for Now!



So, this is the final post with the tiles for now because Dunjon of Death needs much more other stuff created and painted.

I printed these out using the Grebb font-face. I'll make the assets available eventually; I just need to confirm that all of the assets work together properly. For example, this sheet has more than is necessary for the tiles since it has tile IDs such as S5 or C5 which I haven't created. And probably won't need to.

Cutting stuff up. There's two sets; one with a red bar for the face of the tiles which I place at the top-left corner. And one matching with a white bar and matching tile ID which I place beneath each removable wall for those tiles with removable walls.

Here's what I mean; top-left red bar. Bottom of removable wall is white bar. BTW, I learned that the glue shown in this picture eats away at styrene ... so it melted my walls where I poured too much glue. Don't be a dummy like me.

These are all of the tiles randomly placed near each other with the tile ID markers always in the top-right.

I tried standing on my dining room chair to get an "aerial" picture. First, the 21 tiles flowed over the table and there was no room for the START and END tiles (per Dunjon of Death). Secondly, I think I need to get a selfie stick.

Here's one end of the 21 tiles laid out.

And here's the other end view. That tiny person is my Little One; she helped me paint some of the tiles black early in the project. 

In the Future ...

Here's an example of what can be done with electronic tikki-light torches.

Here's something I'll blog about once I find the ideal solution. Essentially this is a tea-light LED which flickers when given a 3V coin-battery power source. If you look close those wires going beneath the bulb are the leads and they'll cut into the walls. The other side will be the wiring and power source. The square panel could conceivably be switched out for decorations (tapestry cloth, wall column, fountain, etc).

Basically all of the walls with LED torches will be constructed similar to this proof-of-concept wall. At present the 3V coin battery sits atop the wall (5CM) with the wires fed through the center of the polystyrene. The fixture in red is attached magnetically to allow me to remove it and the wires. The yellow strands at the top is actually yellow cellophane from a butterscotch candy treat, and is secured in place with a hot-glue gun.