Gamers and Nutrition

There is no doubt that many gamers (not to mention most of civilized culture) have a problem with nutrition and overall health. There is no more obvious example than next week at GenCon. There will be 20,000 or so gamers converging on the Indianapolis convention center during the August heat. Needless to say, nutrition (and lets face it - daily hygiene) could use a small discussion. In fact last year there was a full evacuation of the main hall due to a 'medical emergency' that was likely food/nutrition related.

So todays focus is eating healthy while at a con, a tournament, or a special gaming event. Good, healthy food will be hard to find. And while we aren't burning muscle energy, most of us will be using our brains pretty hard for a long stretch of the day. If you eat like crap, don't expect to survive that tough encounter against the foul necromancer! This couldn't have come more apparent to me than at a local con this spring. I only played in one game of Cathulu RPG on Saturday and while waiting for it to start we hit the local Mexican restaurant buffet pretty hard. Man versus beast had nothing on us- it was a massacre of the most saturated fat kind! The resulting game was pretty miserable. The GM and other players were great, but I was suffering from food coma and that heavy sinking feeling of too much fat and carbs during the mid-day meal.
This year, my GenCon Saturday consists of a 15 hour mega-gaming session! And thinking back to AdeptiCon this year where we had about a 13 hour gaming session, its obvious I need a better plan. Its too late to suggest that you start getting some exercise, but you should have been (note- while I am a doctor its highly likely I'm not your doctor- get a physical and get cleared for exercise!). By this time you should have been getting 3-5 sessions of 30+ minutes of exercise a week. However, since most of the time a gaming con is spent standing or sitting, nutrition is our +10 Sword of Slaying.

The biggest part of our meals needs to be protein, especially while we are on the run. Proteins are designed to give us much needed energy for about 6 hours- your brain will love you during that long burst of energy. Those carbs we all love will only give you about 4 hours of energy before burning out and leaving you with a carb/sugar crash. To make matters worse, most of the refined carbs contain saturated trans-fats. This will leave you in a food coma in no time (and deposit life taking plaque on your arteries). So we need foods high in protein with some polyunsaturated fats and lean on carbs designed to keep our brain operating at a high function while tasting good and being easy to obtain in the middle of a large American city. One of the things to remember when choosing what to eat is that you want to keep your fat, carb, and protein content in what I call a magic ratio. Ideally, you should be eating about 30% fat, 40% carbs, 30% protein daily (this varies between people and activity levels- the idea is to keep a balance). We want to stay away from the high fat, high carb foods and focus on what will give use a better ratio of nutrients, and more protein.

Breakfast 7AM

Two packages of instant oatmeal
(220 cal, 1.5g fat, 4g protein, 30g carbs), cup of coffee, fruit cup (roughly 45 cal, 0 fat, 11 g carbs, 1g protein).
The oatmeal is a great source of instant protein and will get your brain firing early in the morning. The fruit while containing some carbs will add a little life into an otherwise bland start to the day. If you have more time than I'll have, get 2 slices low fat bacon (60 cal, 4.5g fat, 0g carb,6g protein), or an egg white breakfast sandwich (with cheese: 340 cal,18gm fat, 26 gm carbs, 16mg protein) both of which are huge sources of protein. Skip the blueberry muffins from Starbucks (360 cal, 10g fat, 64 g carbs, 6g protein) and  pastries because by 9AM you're gonna be ready to crash and burn and we still have 14 hours left!
The thing about instant oatmeal is that its cheap and you can make it in your hotel room with the coffee maker- just run the water through the percolator without the coffee bag in. Add the hot water and you are done! I'll be brining a bit of fruit in my cooler to round out the quick breakfast.

(General Con advise- bring a cooler stocked with your favorite beverage. It will save you a ton on drinks during the weekend, and you can keep food like this cold. Screw you room service!)

Lunch 1PM

Here is the biggest hurdle to cross all day. Game one starts at 8am and runs until 1pm, which is the time game two starts! So my food options are only going to be what is served in the convention hall. Yahhhh! Lets hear it for overpriced pathetic tasting convention food! So options are pretty limited, but lets make the best out of the situation. There are usually salads available, and while not the best it can be a good substitute, especially if you can get some chicken on it (341 cal, 10g fat, 44g carb, 17g protein plus the dressing!). Be careful of over fattening dressings though- I prefer a good oil vinaigrette on mine. While I love a good hamburger- the fat will get my Pathfinder Society character killed in record time. And that, my friends, is unacceptable! You can always get a chicken sandwich with some lettuce and cheese to accompany it (~660 cal, 11g fat, 87g carbs, 47 g protein). Sometimes, this is just the best you can do. If you are a real trooper, toss the bread while saving yourself some useless carbs. Of course if you were a super trooper you'd have a PBJ sandwich (400 cal, 17g fat, 36g carb, 13 g protein) and an apple (65 cal, 0g fat, 17g carb, 0g protein).

Dinner 6PM

Game two ends at 6PM and game three starts at 7PM. So we have some time to get some grub. Unfortunately once you add travel and waiting time into the equation, we only have time for food court at the mall. The sultry treats of glorious high trans-fats will be calling my name, strong will is needed for this. Again, I'll call on the mighty power of chicken to get me through this epic struggle. Good thing the food court is full of good chicken options. If salmon is available at one of the high-end eateries I'll gladly spend my coins there- tons of protein and life saving omega-fatty acids could be the fuel that gets me through the evening.

Done with chicken and don't like fish? Easy, a turkey ranch and swiss sub (ditch the fatty ranch - unless you feel brave!) loaded with veggies (~ 590 cal, 18g fat, 75g carb, 35 g protein) will see you to the finish line.


This is probably the winning move to my day. During those times when the party is debating which path to take and debating some esoteric rule- I'll be grabbing a quick snack in the form of a protein bar. My bar of choice is a Clif Bar (260cal, 6g fat, 42g carb, 11g protein). At a buck a piece here in St Louis, its a cheap snack and far healthier than that crappy bag of Doritios (~small bag- 150cal, 8g fat, 18g carb, 2g protein) you were thinking about packing. I'll also be packing a couple of apples or other fruit. If keeping things fresh and cold is going to be too hard, don't fret, just pack some nuts. Nuts of all kinds, but particularly treenuts (like almonds), will give you tons of energy while ecreasing your cholesterol (added bonus!). Since I know the breakfast will leave me feeling empty by 10AM, the snacks are going to be the secret to my success in the early hours of my marathon gaming.


Dinner- by this time, game three will be over and I'll be a beat puppy.The crew will probably head over to Scotty's Brewhouse, The Ram,Alcatraz, or some other such pub and get a few beers to go along with a huge burger or steak! By this time, the fate of the universe will likely not be resting on my shoulders and I can refill my carbs in the form of hops and grain and lovely trans-fats! By midnight I'll gladly embrace a food coma...


Rogue Trader Crew

The Rogue Trader Crew is finished!  With GenCon less than a week away, the final touches of my Rogue Trader 40K RPG Crew are complete.  Next Thursday night I'll be running a game of Rogue Trader in the Crowne Plaza at 8pm.  Readers of the blog are encouraged to stop by and say hello! :)

The only thing left is to complete some of the NPC's- some xenos Kroot!  Which, by the way, are a blast to paint.

More pictures of the Rogue Trader Crew can be seen on my flickr page, here.

Games Are For Everyone!

The past week while on vacation along the shores of Lake Michigan, I had the opportunity to share some games with my younger nephews. While they have seen some of my miniatures in the past, they are anything but gamers. One plays World of Warcraft, but that hardly seems like a gamer's game these days!

One night, when everyone was recovering from a long day at the beach I introduced them to Munchkin... and I don't think they ever stopped playing.  For most of the rest of the trip their parents looked at me the dicontempt you might save for a short-order cook who keeps burning the eggs. But it din't bother me in the least!

Take some time to introduce your family and friends to games.  Simple card games like Munchkin are a great start into the gaming world with a simple, yet fun concept. I later played a few games of Ticket to Ride with my in-laws, who really enjoyed the train empire building concept. Now when I break out my little miniature men and some dice, it seem much less odd and superstitious and just a variation of that other board game we played last week.

 GenCon Indy is less than two weeks away!!  Are any of you planning to go?  If so, let me know.

On the painting table: Imperial Guard Vet Squad; Kroot (!?!); Individual Models for Rogue Trader (Warhammer 40K Roleplay).

Things I am Keeping My Eyes On

The last couple of days have seen some great releases in the gaming sector.  I wanted to pass a few of them along on the blog.

First off, the new Warhammer Fantasy Battles rule book is out and the reviews around here are all good. But what has me the most excited is the new miniatures in the box set.- "The Island of Blood"  Stahly at his Paint Station has some pictures of the skaven, here.
Warseer and BoLs have plenty of pictures of the High Elves.
My only dilemma is what army do collect first- High Elves, Skaven, or Bretonnians (I have models for each!).

The latest Forge World Newsletter suggest that pre-Heresy marines are on the way!  BoLS posted a small article on them, here. This would be grand indeed, since I'll need plenty of pre-Heresy models for Adepticon 2011!

Moving away from GW just a touch is some news in the 40K RPG sector from Fantasy Flight Games.
There are lots of RT supplements coming out in the next year, Battlefleet Koronus and the Ork Trilogy look very awesome: link here

For you Malifaux fans, the GenCon 2010 models have been released as well as something called TerraClips Terrain. These awesome pieces look to be made from thick cardboard, but its hard to tell from the press release. Needless to say, I'll be checking them out during GenCon this year. Link.

Lastly, board games. If you like Horror or Lovecraft, or anything of the like you must get a chance to play Arkham Horror. Its a great co-op game that we have been playing for a few years now. FFG is releasing a new expansion with a lot of new rules for everyone to enjoy. The new Gate markers and Relationship cards look to add a ton of new depth to an already deep game. Link.

And one more thing ... Cadwallon returns, this time as a board game with FFG. For those not familar with the setting, it was the RPG setting for Confrontation miniature game (back when Confrontation was awesome).  The PRG looked to have real promise, but died a quick death under the watch of the French (insert easy joke here).  I hope to get a demo of the game at GenCon... and probably pick up a copy. Link.

So there you go... a couple of things to look forward to this summer.

Ultramarines- Done!

Hello all- tonight is a glorious night... my Ultramarines are finally done!!!  Seven years later, and I can finally say the army is fully painted and all of the pieces are dry. So now more than 4,000 points of Ultramarines sit on the table. Its pretty cool!

Hell Hound Varient

I am out on vacation this week, but I wanted to drop some pictures into the blog. I added some weathering on my Hell Hound Variant before leaving for Lake Michigan (sometimes its good to be the Doc!).

This is my standard Cadian scheme. Nothing fancy, just clean colors and some decals.

Now, the weathering: I used my weathering pigments and thinned them with paint thinner. As I mentioned before this gives you the ability to add the pigments without fear of them rubbing off (or flying off with the propellant from the sealers hits it). It also turns the process into more of a glazing medium than a 'dusting' medium when you use the pigments plain. Its all about preference I guess. 



Leman Russ: Executioner

I bet you all thought that I died!  Nope, those rumors are greatly exaggerated. However, I have been dealing with a bit of 'real' life, what ever that is. In the meantime I have finished off my Leman Russ Executioner. Its been a real PIA to finish, let me tell you.

I changed the paint scheme in the middle of the project because I didn't like the tone of the colors in the original tank (see my last post for more details). Once that was done, the initial sealant stage hit a snag with "frosting" with the sealer. While I'd like to blame my sealer- the real blame should probably go to me- I didn't shake enough (in hind sight) and the humidity was near 100% that day here in the mid-west.

Its a good thing that further work with the oil paints was already planned!

In the end, I used many of the same techniques from the other tanks, plus a few from the Forge World Book. One of the things that didn't work so well was the weathering powders.  One can use them straight out of the box with no fixative. Or one can mix it with paint thinner. This allows it to work closer to a standard paint, and you don't have to be nearly as careful with it as you would with the pigment.  However, I found that the translucency that came so easily with the dry pigment was lost with the thinned pigment. You could regain that with multiple layers of very thin pigment, but that defeated the point of using dry pigments in my opinion. This is not a tank for a painting competition.

I have a couple of more tanks for the Imperial Guard to paint. Those will be coming soon!