Monday, September 21, 2015

Numenera Status Tracker

I've recently started running Numenera for my Friday night gaming group. We're all having a good time exploring the Ninth World.

One thing I noticed, however, is that the players are constantly erasing and redoing their current stat pools, particularly when in combat or burning points to apply Effort. After just one session, their stat blocks on their character sheets are a mess.

So, I decided to whip up a Status Tracker to take the brunt of the erasing and rewriting. If you run out of space or burn through the paper, just print out another one (two per page) and fill in your stats – you don't have to rewrite your whole character. You can get the PDF of it here.

Warning: I'm apparently on a hexagon kick...

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Amazing Sinbad (Glue)!

Go ahead! Try to break that bond!
"Ladies and Gentlemen! Step right up and witness the one glue for bonding everything to everything else! Canvas! Cork! Glass! Leather! Metal! Rubber! Stone! Vinyl! Wood! You name it and this product will stick to it! And it will do it in 30 seconds flat! How strong is the bond you ask? Not only will it hold aloft a construction worker glued to a girder by his helmet, but he can be riding a motorcycle at the same time! That's right! It will hold up to 2000 pounds! And can you believe this miracle glue is non toxic?!? You there! Watch as I cut this vacuum cleaner belt and repair it with our wonder glue. Try to pull it apart....."

That's not exactly the pitch the salesperson used to get me to stop and look at Sinbad Glue, but it might as well have been. And it still would have been free of marketing lies and half-truths.

This sales pitch happened at the Sinbad Glue Corp. booth at Gen Con – the Google tells me it was 2006 – the only year that Sinbad Glue Corp. was at Gen Con. Fortunately, I happened to be there and happened to walk past their booth. It didn't take much for the woman to convince me this was a superior cyanoacrylate "super glue".

I have just purchased my fourth bottle.

For those of you familiar with "super glues" and good at math realize that I've had three bottles of CA glue in nine years, when it should have been a bottle of glue each year minimum, probably quadruple that. Honestly, I have tried several brands from the generic "super glues", to better quality glues, such as Gorilla Glue's version, to hobby CA glues, like Zap. Although some are decent glues, they all cured in the bottle once opened. I didn't even take the Gorilla Glue out of the package before it cured! If you check the wikipedia entry on cyanoacrylates (go ahead, interesting stuff), it says the shelf life of CA glue is about one year from manufacture, or 30 days once opened.

Sinbad Glue Corp. boasts that their cyanoacrylate has an incredibly long shelf life of 3 years, opened or not! I can attest to that statement – after all, I'm only on my fourth bottle! Further, they say if you store it in the refrigerator, it will last indefinitely.

As a side note, even the bottle design is clever! There is a steel pin in the cap that keeps the nozzle from clogging. If you keep the tip of the bottle clean, you shouldn't have a problem with the cap sticking, but they suggest applying their Sinbad Gloves product to the tip to prevent it altogether. More on that later.

But how's it work as a CA glue? Simply fantastic! Just as they claim, it will bond in about half a minute (less with their accelerator) and will bond pretty much anything. I use it for assembling tabletop miniatures of all materials. I'm sure there are some things it won't work on (maybe acrylic?), but I haven't found out which yet.

Here are some more facts from their website:
  • Shear strength of 1,000 lbs. after cured. 
  • Holds up to 2,000 lbs. 
  • Non-toxic. 
  • Dries clear. 
  • Waterproof.

By the way, it won't fog plastic. This is huge! If you've ever tried to glue clear plastic windows into a toy or model, you know that fogging is a legitimate concern.

Okay, so what's the downside? A 20 gram bottle of Sinbad Glue will cost $20 plus shipping & handling and is only available by calling them or direct from their website:
In their defense, they say, "It takes an average person 3 years to use up the glue." That may be true for someone doing regular household repairs, but after 3 years of gluing miniature arms and heads on, I only use about half a bottle. And sure enough, after that time it starts to get thick and stringy and loses some of its strength. So, I have to buy another bottle.

That's not to say it's not worth $1 a gram – it's worth every penny – I just wish I could buy it in 10 gram bottles so I wouldn't be tossing so much of it out.

The "Value Pak"!
To get the best bang for your buck, they offer a "Value Pak" which includes their whole line of anything to do with cyanoacrylate glues:
  • 20 gram bottle of Sinbad Glue - The best CA glue you can buy!
  • 1/2 ounce bottle of Accelerator - The pump sprayer cap allows you to prep a surface for immediate bonding or to accelerate the glue bond while holding two items together.
  • 10 gram bottle of Sinbad Filler Glue - A very thin version of Sinbad Glue. The company intends you use it with the Sinbad Filler to seal leaks in pipes. I use it for flowing into hard to reach gaps and for stiffening cardstock and wood.
  • 1 ounce bottle of Sinbad Filler - Essentially glass micro-beads. You can use it as snow on miniature bases!
  • 2 gram tube of Sinbad Glue Gel - A thicker no-drip CA glue with a slightly longer working time. Has some gap-filling properties.
  • 1 ounce jar of Sinbad Gloves - A water-soluble cream that you are supposed to apply to your hands. Once dry, it prevents CA glue from sticking to the applied area. When done, simply wash it off. They also recommend coating the tips of your glue bottles with it to prevent the caps from sticking. In use, it feels kind of weird on your hands and I always forget to apply it anyway.
  • 1/2 ounce bottle of Debond - In case you do stick things together unintentionally, you can use the brush in the cap to apply it to the problem spot. It does say it takes two hours to work, tho...

So, there you have it – Sinbad Glue – my favorite cyanoacrylate glue of all time!

Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments.