The backlog grows… (Dungeons and Lasers 2 review)

Our Archon Studios Dungeons and Lasers 2 Kickstarter pledge has arrived! Wow! So much backlog!

As if we did not already have enough to do with tweaking the factory paint on our Hagglethorn Hollow, now we have D&L 2 to catch up on. I am not sure how I feel about being me and my wife being called “quite picky” on the Hagglethorn Hollow KS comments but it was nice to see the GG blog being brought to the attention of JK, JFA and Ike. And I suppose we should appreciate being called “veteran hobbyists with lots of painting experience” by the KS backer that brought our blog to the attention of JK and Tablletop Troubadour. I am glad JK thought we were being fair in our review, and I do wonder what JFA and Ike thought of the review. I strive to be fair in all things.

So I will try to be fair in reviewing D&L 2… but if you want to see more Hagglethorn Hollow, there is another couple who made a decent unboxing video. It is nice to see their enthusiasm and pleasure in HH.

Now, for D&L 2….

As you can see we did two core pledges and some add ons. That is a lot of stuff for under 300 Euros.

If our photos do not do much for you, here is a decent unboxing with some nice previews of D&L 3.

The stretchgoal “freebie” accessories are in particular awesome.

The value for money on all of this is incredible but it is the accessories that really wow us.

Check out this figure that was one of the stretchgoal “freebies”…

Not amazing, but not bad either, it gives me high hopes for the figures in D&L 3.

Speaking of which…

The preview sprue of D&L 3 that was included looks good.

It is a shame they will not be doing the simple Tudor as shown on that one piece. Instead they are doing a fancy Tudor design, which I like but Mrs. Grumpy Gnome does not.

She has also been disappointed by the Cursed Cathedral pieces we got.

She dislikes the shutters that are on half the windows, both on the full walls and the extra Cathedral half walls we got. She had a plan to use these pieces to make some Elven structures but now she is not sure.

I do not mind them but I do mind how the doors have been packaged. Having to get doors for styles we did not buy in order to get doors for styles we did is annoying. And, there are three doorways in each set but only two matching doors in the door set.

I am finding myself trying to think of these sets as bits box sets rather than stand-alone room sets.

Speaking of bits boxes… we also got the D&L 1 stretch goals.

They are also excellent value for money.

We quite like our dragons. One for our Middle Earth gaming, one for Tarnished Splendor and one maybe for…. Core Space? Maybe get some Gale Force 9 Xenomorphs and use the Xenodragon for Core Space and Tarnished Splendor? I have thinking of a Core Space Tarnished Splendor crossover with the Core Space: First Born fitting some of the 7th Sea lore….

And the dragon Origon might work nicely in Tarnished Splendor with some Wargames Atlantic Boxers and the 7th Sea Khitai books when they finally get released…

…… and….

In other news…. my wife and I have been enjoying Shadow and Bone on Netflix. My wife likes it but I love it! I really find it a fascinating story, beautifully filmed with good acting. The costumes and set design are amazing. The topic of militarized magic versus technology really interests me.

Apparently another of my Doppelgängers was spotted in Bree…

Not painted by me!

By now you may have picked up on the muttonchops…. years ago a Sergeant of mine in the Police told me that he agreed with me that muttonchops looked cool but only Sean Connery could pull that look off (back then I had a full beard). Lately I have been aiming to prove him wrong.

As for my opinion of Gary Gygax changing… it is based on comments he made in this Q&A…

His view that an eye for an eye and nits become lice being Lawful Good does not match my own view on Lawful Good. The more I think about how some people see mercy as “stupid” the more it bothers me.

The idea of good, absolute good to the point of fanaticism, is interestingly explored with the Operative in Firefly/Serenity. He is willing to do terrible acts in the name of good… making him lawful neutral in my opinion.

By Gary Gygax’s definition of Lawful Good it sounds like the Operative might fit. I am struggling with that.

However, despite my disagreement with Gary Gygax on this, his views would not stop me from buying or playing AD&D… then… or now. I try to separate the artist from the art where I can. AD&D is bigger than one person. And I do not think Gygax was trying to preach or convert anyone to his way of thinking. AD&D was just built on a foundation of his views. It is flexible enough to be adapted to your own world views, just as I adapted it to my own.

Steve Rogers as Captain America and Superman strike me as lawful good but does Steve’s actions in Civil War and the current Snyder version of Superman take them out of that alignment? Tell me what you think in the comments below.

Further to what I said about The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, er I mean Captain America and the Winter Soldier….


Possible Spoilers Alert!


I get the flag smasher agenda because I am something of a globalist, having lived in the US, UK and now Germany I find nationalism to be petty and ultimately unhelpful for the future of humanity. I would like to have one world, one people. But I think the show did not explain the Blip and the refugee crisis well. My wife did not understand it from the show and I had to explain the backstory. However, once I did she did not find the idea that the world worked together during the Blip to be very believable. 

What I really like about the preachy aspect of the final episode is that it echoes Steve Rogers as Cap. It offers hope, a way forward and it touches on a problem that is on one hand very topical right now but echoes others such as my own, being an American veteran who is not proud of everything the US government and USA in general has done. The show really touches a raw nerve with international expressions of anti-American sentiments and how America may have drawn some of that down upon ourselves due to our own actions.

For the last two decades, living in Europe, I have fought against anti-Americanism and it has been exhausting. Not just anti-US government sentiment but actual bigoted sentiment against perceived American stereotypes. The last few years destroyed much of my work in this fight. 

I see things like superheroes as contemporary mythology with incredible power to speak to people and their problems. Chris Evans and how he portrayed Cap to this day has me striving to be more like the character, to be a better person. Now Sam can do the same for me and I really appreciate it. 

As for Sam’s costume, it could have been better. Especially his helmet/mask/goggles. That was terrible. He is also unbelievably skilled/durable for a non-supersoldier. 

The show is not perfect. 

Some of the dialogue is awkward. Some character decisions make little sense.

I wish Walker had been more likable. Hoskins (Battle Star) did not come across as a combat experienced, special operations senior NCO at all, certainly not like any I have met and worked with. He just was not salty enough. Walker however did remind me of some officers I have met. But the show only really told us he was hyper-competent, it never showed us. It made it difficult to see him as someone to respect. My wife hates the character and puts it large part down to the actor. I think he lacks the charm his father Kurt has although he certainly looks like him and has some of the same facial mannerisms. 

It was surprising to me how much I grew to like Zemo. I have known a few charming criminals in my days as a cop. One particular fellow who was funny, kind and even helped me out when another criminal attacked me but who was a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde type in part due to his heroin addiction because he could be incredibly selfish, cruel and particularly abusive to his wife (who was also a charming, but drug addicted criminal). 

I am not familiar with comics and I have not watched all the extended MCU tv shows. Mrs. GG like Agents of Shield more than me and we have not yet gotten far beyond season 1. We need to finish Wandavision…. but we just got sidetracked by Shadow and Bone on Netflix, which Mrs. GG says has potential whereas I am loving it.

So I do wonder sometimes if not reading the comics makes it difficult to get the most out of the tv shows and movies.

But what do you think? Comment below, I really want to read what you think.



  1. Wow, that really is sprue heaven! Bits boxes ahoy!

    Which reminds me, if ever you feel like doing a “how I store my stuff” or “how I arrange my crafting table” post, I’m here for it. 😀 (Possible also it’s somewhere between my current read-through point—”Take the Gate!” and here.)

    I’ve got the pleasure of some HobbyZone cubbies arriving—eee! “Out for delivery”!—and coming soon more of the lovely Ikea Kuggis trays I use for storing my terrain and minis as I showed here:

    I’ve really enjoyed everyone’s thoughtful comments lately, but haven’t been able to like as many as I wanted to because of changes in how the Safari browser handles third-party cookies. Yay, security and privacy (which Apple is doing so much better than many) but boo for community. Hoping for some greater customization in future updates. In the meantime, thanks for writing, everyone!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think I have done posts like that in the past but I suppose we are due for a new one soon. Storage and crafting space is so important but also often overlooked.

      We are very fortunate to have so much space to dedicate to our hobbies.

      The thoughtful comments added to this blog mean a lot to me and I am thankful for each one.

      I hope you get your cubbies soon and have great fun filling them!

      Liked by 1 person

    • For the first time in my 45+ year gaming history I finally have a gaming set up and storage that I am happy with thanks to IKEA “magic” and a specially designed games table and room. I will organise a post with some pics of this soon.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. That is quite a haul and quite a backlog! I’m still working off the backlog from original gw lotr figures! Looks like you will be doing some kitbashing and like you say, some might just become bits for future endeavors.
    I can separate the artist from the art, for instance, the problem I have with Tom Cruise is not his religion but that he seems to play Tom Cruise in his recent movies vs being an actor playing a role. I enjoyed his earlier movies much more. Regarding Gary Gygax, I would have think harder about DnD and how he might have influenced the game with his political view that my poor brain cells are willing to take. I would probably end up arguing with myself and I always end up losing those arguements.
    Will give Shadow and Bone a chance, my first thought at seeing the preview that is was too young adultish for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My goodness mate! That is a serious haul. You’re not going to have many nights out in the near future because you need to spend it hobbying 😉 The quality of the latest stuff looks pretty high to me and with that much stuff, I’m sure you can find a use for most of it or even skip painting the pieces you don’t like altogether because there is plenty else to work on!

    One thought I had about the reviews thing that I wanted to share as well. A review is a personal opinion (hopefully an educated one at that) and it can be positive or negative as is appropriate. Fairness is pretty subjective and I would question whether someone who says a review is unfair (especially if they don’t back that up with their reasoning for making that accusation) isn’t actually saying that they don’t like a review because it doesn’t line up with their personal opinion. That isn’t to say that a review can’t be unfair, because it can be like if someone doesn’t understand something very well and tries to review it or they omit key parts of a product accidentally. With that said, I don’t see how your review of the terrain could be considered unfair since you have the product, you’ve made plenty of terrain so you’re knowledgeable on the topic, and you shared your opinion on it. Maybe I’m off base here but that is my take.

    I skipped a good portion of the end due to spoilers but I will say that reading comics can certainly positively impact your enjoyment of something. For example, many Marvel movies are made by combining a couple of good plot threads that came from the comics and then they are put together to make a movie. The movies often improve upon the original plots or tweak them a bit to make an entertaining movie which I find impressive in a way.

    There are other times where comics can expand upon what you’ve seen in a movie. One of my favorite movies is Star Trek by J.J. Abrams. There were a couple of comics that tied into that movie that explained Nero (the villain) and his motives written by one of the movie’s writers. You can certainly criticize this and say why weren’t these good ideas in the movie but personally, I loved what I read and it made me connect and appreciate the villain even more. This kind of thing isn’t common with Marvel movies or comics but it is one example where I’m so glad I read the comics. I’d say if you have time and want to read comics, Marvel Unlimited is an excellent deal. It is basically Netflix for reading comics. I get it for a few months and binge read and then when I get burnt out, I cancel it. Its cheap but a great source of entertainment. Additionally, with how much you enjoy SnowPiercer, I’d say you should get the graphic novel and see how it compares to the show. I’m sure it is different and seeing the differences can be really interesting in and of itself too. A lot like seeing a movie and then reading the book that it is based off of or vice versa.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As usual you speak the voice of reason, Sensei.

      Night out? I am struggling to remember my last night out. It was almost certainly more than a few years ago, before the birth of my son. And that is with Covid aside, whatever the future brings with that change to society.

      But that backlog of painting does impact some of my free reading time. I have far too many books to read already without adding new graphic novels to the list. My attempt to reread the Horseclans series for example has slowed to a crawl.

      You do make a valid point however about how additional backstory can add breadth and depth to a world shown on the screen.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think I’m old enough to be a sensei and I’m okay with that! 😉

        Time is an issue for me too with all of my hobbies. I don’t read as much as I did a few years ago as well. Some of that is because I’m not commuting on the train to work and part of that is from having too many interests and not enough time. I think that is a pretty common adulthood problem unfortunately!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Your wisdom outweighs your years, oh venerable one! Or perhaps it is the mileage rather than the years?

        I am probably spending too much time online but with the lockdown online conversation is one of my only alternatives to debating with a toddler and a wife who has already heard all of my war stories and pithy anecdotes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, well I have done some living in 35 years of life and have been through some difficult things that many others are lucky enough to avoid so I’m sure that is where I’ve picked up a bit of wisdom anyway. If it makes you feel any better, my fiancée is over my hilarious jokes because she’s heard too many of them thanks to COVID as well!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Have you heard the saying, “If you want to know what marriage is like, go on an extended holiday away with your partner. If your relationship survives, you are likely to have an enduring marriage.” Some consider the Covid lockdown as an extended holiday…

        Liked by 1 person

      • I haven’t heard that saying but it makes a lot of sense to me. My fiancée and I have expressed a similar sentiment that being stuck at home with your partner and children will make or break some families. I consider myself lucky to be in the make category!

        Liked by 2 people

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