Category: Uncategorized

Photo Frame Dice Tray

I decided to bling out my wargaming some and spare the surface of my gaming table by getting a dice tray. I avoided the pre-made options out there and thought about making my own. Granted my woodworking skills are horrible, so I considered photo frames. Sadly many out there are beveled but don’t quite have the depth I was looking for, that is until I went to my local Ikea.

It seems that Ikea now offers some recessed photo frames that would work perfect for dice trays. There are two in particular that seemed to be ideal, the SANNAHED and VÄSTANHED. I picked up the SANNAHED as I liked the square shape. Both are pretty cheap, about $6.

I carefully pulled off the hanging frame tab and folding stand, both of which came off the MDF base quite easily. There is a matt board along with a thin acrylic sheet. I tried using it without changing out the acrylic sheet but found the surface almost too slick. Using D6s with rounded edges, some would spin a while before rolling to a side. I ended up pulling that out and went a step further putting some felt on the backboard.

Attaching the felt was an easy affair. I used a copious amount of PVA glue on the backboard and placed it flat on a piece of oversized felt. With several heavy books stacked on the backboard, after leaving it overnight I got the felt adhered securely with a nice even surface. A simple trim of the excess felt, putting the backboard into the frame, I got my new dice tray. All it took was a swing by Ikea, a trip to the craft shop, and about $7 for a great little dice tray.

11 years is a long time.

Blogging was all the rage and jumping into 4E DnD certainly got me excited enough to share my experience. I had stopped playing RPGs for a long while. I drifted to board games and miniature wargames over the years in college (something I still play pretty regularly today). So a new edition of the RPG that got me into the hobby in the early 80s was certainly something to spark that interest again.

It seems that the gaming social media environment has moved on though. I’ve particularly noticed that podcasts and videos are what really captures folks. Gaming blogs of the written word are sort of old fashioned. I’m certainly one following the trend, as I just don’t seem to scroll through my blog feeds as much.

Where does that leave me? Likely not blogging much at all. For the past year it’s been pretty much on autopilot. I’ve enjoyed throwing together Saturday Gaming Spark, an inspirational image with some accompanying text to offer ideas of an adventure or fluff to fill out a GM’s world. That’s pretty much what’s been the content I’ve been regularly putting out.

The blog will still be around. I will once in a blue moon post something. But I expect that this blog will go silent for long spurts. It’s been fun. Time to think about other stuff to throw my creative efforts into.

Boardgaming in Korea: First Alleyway

Over the years I’ve covered a lot of board game shops and board game cafes in Seoul but I’d be remiss to not mention my hometown, Gwangju. For several years now there has been a local haunt for tabletop folks at an eatery, The First Alleyway. This isn’t a place that sells any games or gaming supplies. It’s a full up restaurant. However you’ll find it’s a place open to folks playing games at the establishment.


The place is well lit with several tables that can handle 4 people spaciously, or smaller tables for couples that can be shifted around to accommodate larger groups. While it doesn’t sell board games, there is a decent selection of games on hand. The choices lean towards lighter fare like King of Tokyo, Smallworld, Settlers of Catan, and Ticket to Ride, but a few meaty games like Dominion can be found too.

Just one of the various game shelves throughout the place.

Just one of the various game shelves throughout the place.

The policy of the place for playing games is relaxed. As long as people are buying food and drinks, the owner is open to people playing games at the tables. However on some packed nights during the early evening rush, they might gently ask some folks to move over to tables by the bar if people are more inclined to be just drinking coffee and water.

The interesting news for the place is that the second floor of the building will be open soon exclusively for gaming. A handful of tables will be set up, along with a more extensive game library including RPGs and classic hex and counter wargames (the owner has a soft spot for ASL). There is also a larger table set up for miniature wargaming along with another room that will be host for workbenches if people need some dedicated space for painting.

Now I’ve focused on the gaming potential of First Alleyway which is possible here, but understand you are playing at a public restaurant, so expect all the limitations and issues that come with that. But there are also some major plusses in the manner of craft beers and great western food. A staple selection of hamburgers, (real) pizza, sandwiches, and salads can be found on the menu. Not to mention a variety of offerings for the classic Canadian comfort food, poutine. The place also has a full bar with staff more learned in the art of pouring cocktails than some other places in the city. And their selection of beer is top notch.


Its location and more info can be found on their facebook page. Gwangju is known for its Korean food. If you ever visit Korea, you are doing a disservice to yourself not to eat local. Yet if spending some time in Korea you might eventually have a hankering for something a little closer to home, and this restaurant certainly fits the bill. However if you are keen on checking out the local gaming scene, the First Alleyway is a must stop. A great place to play board games and at the very least have a drink or two.