Saturday's the busiest day at Spiel, so we decided the day would be better spent in Gelsenkerchen. We'd walked over 9km round the halls on Friday, so a bit of R&R was in order.


A late rise, a standard breakfast, for which Steve also added one of these delicious sausage rolls, and then back to the hotel lobby for our first play of Scythe.


It was an enjoyable experience BECAUSE I WON, but we were playing to learn the rules, so it didn't count (BUT I WON, BTW).


Steve's written a review about it here ( and I'm very much looking forward to duelling him on a couple more times - and also playing with a group. Yes, you.


It was a three-hour endeavour, during which a couple of people stopped - one "Ooh, Scythe" and another wanting a run-down of the setting and concepts from us. A reminder that public boardgaming is the norm here, in comparison to back home where it's barely seen at all.


Back in the hotel room, and accompanied by Syrinscape (see yesterday's blog), I was scouring the Internet for .dat file-ripping software that recognised the format I needed to export to an .obj. This, to pull full area maps from FFXI based on the actual 3D assets, rather than the supplied cartography. It was a huge pain, not because the three or four pieces of software used historically were no longer supported, but because every historical download link I could find was now dead. Also frustrating was the fact that I had a copy of the best piece of software on my laptop, but because I had copied it over from an old HDD without Windows' Japanese language pack installed, it had renamed the hundreds of component files to gibberish, meaning the software crashed on load.


It was 1am when I finally got my second choice of software via Googling in Japanese. Even then, its controls enabled movement through three axes and a left/right turn to the field of view, but not up/down, which is what I needed to pull out an accurate overhead map. I'm hoping to get it working next week or, failing that, hope I find my first choice of software on my dusty '06-'09 machine.


While all this was going on, I was also spending time on my second hobby - genealogy. As we were in Germany, I thought it might be nice to trace a couple of my compadre Steve's great-grandfathers. It certainly helped to balance the endless forum-browsing and dead-ends resulting from my other project, but I didn't end up with any solid WWI records, though I did confirm names.


My own Great Grandfather died in German captivity, sadly only days before the end of the war. I'm intending to make the trip to his grave near Frankfurt when I head there for the European FFXIV FanFest in Feb of next year.


So all in all, not much to report. Dinner was pizza and ice cream at our usual place. The waiter did a double-take when he worked our he was delivering two lavish chocolate desserts to a pair of men (he went straight to the table of four with two ladies on it), but whatevs - it was yummy.


Ended the night at 2am with a read-through of the back-story for the Shadowdale book I'd bought the day before. It seems like a lot had gone on in the Forgotten Realms in those couple of years that I'd stopped following it. And I'm vaguely aware that even these events are nothing compared to the changes the 4e and beyond books have wrought on that world. Will I run it for D&D3.5? (No, I'm not touching Pathfinder) Depends how many of the original FR cast demand it! The campaign that ended in '05 closed with a dozen or so players who are now strewn across both the country and the world, with a number of them likely to have lost interest in tabletop RPGs altogether. Perhaps it's something we can do with the incredible software over at Let me know if you fancy it, people!


Fourth and last night on the floor. Somewhat of a relief in itself.