In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review

Well it's New Year's Eve and time to be all retrospective.
Here's what I posted at the start of the year:

So here's what I'd like to do this year:
1. get enough 15mm SYW Austrians done to have a viable inhouse opponent for my Prussian army.
2. play with said SYW armies!
3. get another platoon of Fallschirmjaeger done
4. finally play a game with said FJ!!
5. finish the last few units of German armour.
6. push other periods forward too by moving some more Colonial, VSF and Medieval troops from the unpainted to the painted box.
7. play some ancients. Too much to hope that I'll get any more legions done, but if I start playing the period again maybe the enthusiasm will strike.

A modest check mark beside 1 & 2, since I did get enough Austrians done to be able to play a game with them. But the Austrians need more troops to be able to take the field without the earthworks.

Item 3 is a late starter; inspired by reading v.3 of I Ain't Been Shot Mum! I got a second platoon of FJ scraped, primed and last night gave them their black undercoat. I had hoped to piggy back them with Brian's FJ, but his commission turned out to be big enough without adding another rifle platoon to it. But thanks to that game in August with my nephew, I do get to put a big check mark beside point 4!

If we don't count the last packs of Opelblitzes and halftracks, and the two Sdkfz234 ACs a friend gifted me, then #5 is a big check mark. (And I don't see myself getting any more.... maybe...)

No action on point 6. Kept getting distracted by other things like commission jobs and Romans.

Big surprise on point 7 with Hail Caesar. My ancient armies saw a lot of the table this year.

Not too much progress on terrain either. I did get my big trestle bridge built and have found 2nd hand pieces to make a blown up version. The SYW earthworks were a big addition too. But I still need some fake fur fields, more bridges, and individual trees for orchards.

Warlord Games threw temptation in my way and unhorsed my pious determination to maintain No new Scales! No new Periods! this year by getting me started on 28mm Romans and Napoleonics.

Some pretty good progress on commission work this year, and I managed to stay pretty close to my carefully thought out plan:

Obviously interspersing commission work with my own projects and breaking up big commissions into smaller lots has been successful.

Job wise things have stalled at the Buy Food. The Boss is nice enough, and the pay is OK, but it's not enough to get ahead, and I've gone as far as I think I'm able to there. I have begun networking and applying to other jobs. My other job as a COATS (Cadet Organization Administration and Training Service) Officer with the Army has finally taken off and the extra income from going on courses has been a big help this fall, even if it has cut into painting and gaming and writing time.

My blog posts are up by about 30% this year over last. Having my own camera at long last has helped with that.

Game-wise I don't think I'm any further ahead this year. I'm going to change my routine and try scheduling games for Friday evenings instead of Saturday evenings now and the occasional weekend afternoon. If I can change jobs and free up my weekends from retail slavery then that will help a lot.

Speaking of which, I'm off this afternoon to test drive I Ain't Been Shot Mum v.3 with Lorenzo and his Russian army. Talk to you later!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I also ordered a hard copy of Sharp Practice. This brings my cunning plan for some Napoleonic gaming closer to realization:

I've started organizing the figures I've got. At the top are my Hotlead Bring and Buy purchase from two (?) years ago, which have sorted themselves into (top row) three groups of line infantry, each with an officer and 9 troops, plus a colour party to control the formation. They're a mixed bag of shakos, field caps, bare heads and some are in great coats. Second row is the grenadiers; one 12 figure and one 10 figure group, each with an officer plus a colour party to control that formation. A gun and two gun crews (Mike says he has extra guns). To the left of the grenadiers is a small group (8 figures plus Big Man) of fellows at the high port who are a mix of great coats and not, shako plumes and not. I may have to do some converting or just leave them looking raggedy (which fits my imagining of Russian skirmishers). Plastic Prussians lower right who have some paint on some of them and plastic Russians lower left.

A pretty good start. Mike has (I think) enough French figures painted already to fight this lot. Of course I'm already thinking I need some cavalry, some Prussian line and a Prussian gun or two. Plus the Perry's Prussian wagons are just too juicy! And then there's the Victrix Austrians...


Christmas Comes Early

My single biggest gaming buy of the year has finally, at long last and after much anticipation, arrived.

I got the owner of those German paras I finished last month to buy me the full Lard deal for the new edition of I Ain't Been Shot Mum from Too Fat Lardies. My GBP40.00 (Cdn$64.00) got me:

The rules are gorgeous and the eye candy is actually used to illustrate examples in the text as often as possible. The set of tokens are nicely done in plastic and will hopefully cover all eventualities for AFV damage and shock on troops (which will be more aesthetically pleasing than scraps of paper with 'engine damage' or 'gun KO'd' scribbled on them!). The card deck is pretty extensive and should be able to accommodate any scenario for IABSM; you get a set of 2 Company HQ cards, 8 infantry platoon cards, 5 armoured platoon cards, 8 Big Men, 3 support platoon cards, 5 AT gun cards plus the usual ammo shortage, hesitant troop, dynamic and heroic leaders, recce bonus for the Axis and the Allies, plus 2 Tea Breaks and 4 blank cards for devising your own special cards.

At the top right corner of the book is the limited edition 28mm Hugh Jarce figure that came with the bundle deal. Since I play in 15mm I'm not sure what I will do with him, but I'll figure something out!

I'm looking forward to giving these a try over the holidays. I'm sure Mike can be talked into bringing his Western Desert tanks out some night for a small bash to learn the new rule changes.

Warlord Plastic Napoleonic Russian Infantry: a Review

To reinforce the plastic Landwehr I reviewed last year, some Russian infantry have arrived at the Basement of Rabbits:

This is one of three plastic Russian infantry sets Warlord has released; Russian Infantry 1812-1815 (pictured above), Russian Infantry 1807-1815 and Pavlosk's Grenadiers. The set includes 8 sprues, each with parts for 4 infantry, 4 metal command figures and a sheet of full colour flags. This will give you a nice wargames unit of 36 figures (or since the command group has two ensigns, you could field two smaller battalions for the frugal gamer).

Above: contents of the command pack. Nice wire flag poles and cast finials. The drummer has two options; one with his shako under arm and bareheaded and the other with shako on.

Sprue shots, front and back:

The separate packs allow for better detail with the equipment and resolves my only issue with the Prussian Landwehr. The faces and shako cords are nicely done. Notice that you get two shako options for either grenadiers or musketeers.

I'm thinking that if time allows it next year, my new project will be an allied force for some Napoleonic gaming using Sharp Practice. Mike already has the French, so I'm all set really. Now I just need to decide how to assemble these fine fellows.

These are now in my store for $29.00.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Black Steam

Some of my friends like Victorian Science Fiction. I'm not quite as keen (I've only made one steam tank, compared to Peter's 6 or 7, Dan's 3, and David's 4), but it's a bit of silly fun and gives my Indian Army another excuse to get out of the box. Since our armies have become rather biggish, I've been advocating using a large battle set of rules for our games like Black Powder instead of the usual Colonial-based, VSF rules which use the standard 20 man units from The Sword and the Flame, fist fulls of dice for shooting and man-to-man, opposed die rolls for hand-to-hand (which is very heroic, but really slows things down).

So on Friday night we had a rare get together, made more festive with Mincemeat tarts, my enormous tea pot and Christmas music on the basement CD player. Peter wanted to play VSF, and was intrigued by my ideas of using Black Powder, so after the hour long 'catching-up phase' (as Brian called it), we started getting some figures and terrain out and made up rules for the steam technology as we went along.

Deployment was determined by where people were sitting.

Dave begins deploying his Dutch army. "How many units can I get out? I have more!"

Peter and Barry discuss the Russian strategy, or is it "That man there has been very naughty!"
Facing the Russo-Dutch alliance were units of my Indian Army, Peter's VSF Canadians and a contingent of Boers (I handed Mike my box with my British mounted infantry and Boer commandos in it, saying "Here Mike, have some British infantry" expecting him to deploy the British... silly me). Presumably the Boers are upset by the Dutch Crown recruitng Venusian Parrotmen and have thrown in their lot with the British.


Canadians (the jesters cap is for when one makes a spectacularly bad move) 

Highlanders and Indians

Gurkhas and Guides with my steam tank
I just used the stats from the 'Crimea River' scenario for the Russians and 'El-Teb' for the British. For the steam technology we started with:

Command: all steam tech uses a Staff Rating one lower than the army (or a -1 modifier) and cannot use Group Moves. Each steam tank/steam unit must be given individual orders.

Tanks moved at infantry speed. Walkers moved at 8". I'm thinking wheeled should go a bit faster, say 18" but be limited to good terrain. Walkers (like Peter's notorious mechanical scorpion riding Cossacks or Dave's mechanical panther riding Dutch dragoons) don't suffer penalties in rough going or crossing obstacles.

Automatons (Peter has some wind up mechanical men) we thought shouldn't have to take break tests, but once they hit their stamina (which we set at 6) they're assumed to be too damaged to be effective and are destroyed.

Things like Venusian Parrotmen get Ferocious Charge and Impervious Suits get to reroll failed Saves.
Highlanders about to be attacked by parrotmen

Anything armoured we gave a +1 or +2 to their Morale Save, but accumulated hits from rifle fire or hand-to-hand were deemed to be shock/wounds to the crew and could cause the tank to withdraw/break down.

And then there's things like this:
How do I make up a rule for this?
On the left is a RAFM steam tank which Peter has fitted with a spar torpedo. It has successfuly charged a da Vinci tank (can't remember who makes them). I recall we gave the torpedo three dice. He rolled three hits and the tank failed all three saves, so it blew up.

But other exchanges of cannon and MG fire between armoured vehicles pointed out that we need some simple armour vs. shell rules and the results of penetrating hits.

Dutch High Command watch from atop a bunker, accompanied by mechanical butler, staff poodle and a rather pretty ADC.
The Russians managed to destroy the Canadians and the Indian Army managed to destroy the Dutch, so both sides claimed a stunning victory and ate some more tarts.

I wonder how my group would react if anyone ever managed to stage a planned scenario?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Painting Warlord's Plastic Roman Legionaries

My friend Scott got very excited by my 28mm Roman project. So excited he's been amassing an army of his own. I have to paint them though. He got himself a couple of the 30 figure box sets of plastic legionaries, so I thought I'd chronicle the painting of one of them. This photo essay is rather picture heavy, so I've made them all small to ease page loading. Click to enlarge.

First assembly:

I use a cutting mat and a plastic block to cut on. The block helps brace objects that won't lie flat. I also use a pair of clippers at times if the piece is fragile and the tension of using a knife will break it.
I remove all the pieces for one figure (and only one figure) at a time.
Then glue him together. Making sure I get the hand lined up with the grip on the shield. Some leave the shield off for painting, but I can't see the point of painting a bunch of stuff that is going to be behind the shield. I also worry that any paint will negatively affect the glue bond. A decent glue is really important. I like the ProWeld with the brush on applicator.

I noticed while I was painting that some of the bodies have empty scabbards. But in an effort to create some dynamic poses I was just looking at the position of legs and arms, so I have some chaps with pila and an empty scabbard and others thrusting with their gladius with another hilt in the scabbard. Oops.
The command group. The trumpeter and signifer were the hardest to assemble, trying to get both arms and the standard joined at the same time and the trumpet wanted to push the head off the shoulders of the figure.

I then glue everyone on to some scrap card for ease of handling (and to keep the light plastic figures from blowing away with the force of the spray) and white prime. I use a matte spray in the summer and in the winter I switch to brush on gesso.

Everyone is then given a heavy wash of burnt umber for a base coat. Notice I have now cut the strips of card apart for ease of painting.

Armour, weapons and edges of shields are then given a heavy dry brushing of pewter or gun metal.

Flesh is then blocked in, leaving recesses dark brown. I also block in the tunics. For this group I used raw linen for the legionaries and then red for the Centurion and his NCOs. You'll notice that this group includes two of Warlord's metal optios. My friend bought two blisters of these figures, so I added two in to round the group up to 32 figures.

I also painted the crests on the Centurion and Optios in the raw linen colour. I then started the bronze details. The discs on the cingulum (the dangly belt that protects the groin), decorations on some of the helmets, scabbard chapes, standards and the trumpet. I did a couple of helmets entirely in bronze just for variety.

I do find it a bit of a shame that all of the heads are wearing the same pattern of helmet. A variety of helmet patterns would have been a nice detail and perhaps more accurate of how the Roman army looked.

Next I did the highlights on the red tunics. Here's the back of one of the optios showing the contrast and for a better idea here's a shot of my palette to show the contrasting shades I use.

Next I ink any wooden bits (mostly the pila shafts) in brown and use black ink on the scabbards and the one optio's crest. I use some artists acrylic inks. I used to use Games Workshop inks but those have gone off the market and the artists inks are actually cheaper. I use the dropper to decant some ink into an old GW bottle for working with though.
 I also use brown ink on the fur of the wolf pelts.
Leather brown is then applied to the wooden gladius hilts, sword belts and the straps of the Centurion's decorations.

The leather peturges on the Centurion,the cornicen and the signifer are then blocked in with raw linen. the Centurion's greaves and chest decorations are highlighted with silver.

After a tidy up of any paint slips the figures are ready for the dip. This time I brushed it on and kept a bottle of paint thinner handy to keep the brush clean. Much less mess and fuss than actually dipping. Although care still had to be taken to watch for where the dip wanted to collected and form droplets. In this instance it was in the lower inside corner of the shields.

I do like how the dip softens the edges of dry brushing and helps blend some tones together. It also creates a nice shading and highlighting effect on things like cloth folds. I also notice that it makes the bronze decorations on the helmets pop.
The Dip is also good for picking out those low relief details that just end up getting painted over (no matter how carefully you try and dry brush), like on the above optio's sword scabbard, helmet crests and the links on the belts.

Dipping is particularly well suited to low relief sculpts like the Warlord plastics and Peter Pig and Essex figures.

The observant among you will have noticed these lovelies lurking in the background in some of the shots. They're for me. A set of Warlord's Roman Slave Girls. I painted them up while I worked on Scott's legionaries. I don't have a Legate yet, but when I get one, he'll find the preatorium to be quite comfortable!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Getting to the Point: Hail Caesar Army List Review

Hail Caesar Army Lists Volume 1: Biblical & Classical
by Rick Priestly
Warlord Games 2011
Paperback 84 pages
GBP 18.00 CDN$ 29.00)

This is the first of many planned supplements for the popular Hail Caesar ancient rules from Warlord Games. Initially, army lists weren't even planned because Hail Caesar was being promoted as a scenario driven, fun set of rules, rather than the list heavy, points driven tournament oriented sets of rules that have dominated ancient gaming for so many decades. I argued against lists and points myself on this very blog and the HC Yahoo group. But there is a market for them and anyone trying to make their living out of selling wargames would be stupid not to listen when a groundswell of 'we want army lists!' appears on the Internet. I have to admit that army lists do make life easier for the novice. Ancient gaming can be awfully confusing with all those unpronounceable Latin and Greek words.

This book is a good start. It's cheaper than the core rules, paperback and thinner with fewer colour pictures. But there is lots of meat; there are 63 army lists ranging from the Biblical era (Old Kingdom Egypt 30th cent. BC) to the Early Roman Empire (2nd cent. AD). The lists all follow the same format; a one paragraph introduction describing the army and any special rules or thoughts behind it, a list of key words to guide Internet searches for more information, composition guidelines prescribing how much of each troop type one can field and then the table of troop values. This is like the tables given in the Hail Caesar rules but with the addition of a points value.

The lists are not intended to be definitive or binding, but only to give a common starting point for quick pick up games. The troop values also provide excellent examples of how the game designers interpret the various types of warriors who march across the pages of ancient history. The composition guidelines are the core of the list by using percentage proportions to keep a reasonable balance between the different arms. Upper limits on special troops are indicated in the table of troop values, most are limited to one unit only.

So let's try and set up an army. I'll go with Marian Romans, since I know that army reasonably well.

The list states:
Infantry 50% at least half of the units in the army must be infantry other than skirmishers.
Cavalry up to 25%
Legions 50%+ of infantry, at least half of the non-skirmisher infantry units in the army must be legionaries of one type or another.
Elephants up to 1
Artillery there must be at least three legionary units for every artillery unit fielded
Division 4+ units divisions must contain at least 4 units excluding skirmishers
Skirmishers per division 50% of infantry

I'll start with what I think of as my basic 'legion', 5 units of legionaries at 32 points each. I'm going to add two small units of skirmishers, one with slings (12 pts) and one with javelins (11 pts). The commander is free. That makes my first Division 183 points.

I'm going add a second veteran legion (up to half my legions can be veteran), 5 units again at 35 points. They will be supported by some Balearic slingers and Cretan archers. Both of these are limited to one unit each and get the 'marksman' special rule. They are 13 points each. This legion and supports is 201 points. In either division I could have fielded only 2 legionary units, or increased the skirmishers to 5 units.

I have 14 units already, so I could add 3 units of cavalry; German, Gallic or Spanish mediums or Numidian lights. 10 of those units are legionaries so I can add up to 10 units of allied Spanish or German or Gallic warbands if I wanted (although I'd go with more legionaries) or reinforce the cavalry with some light infantry. I can also field 3 artillery pieces. Of course by increasing the infantry I can now increase the cavalry too.

In the list there are provisions for 'Spanish' legions who may have fought in a looser formation. So one could easily use these and the options for Spanish warband, cavalry and skirmisher auxiliaries to build an army for Sertorious' Spanish rebellion or the Pompeian forces encountered by Caesar in Spain during the Civil War.

To flip back a few pages to the Spanish list (my other classical army):
Infantry 75%+ at least three quarters of the units in the army must be infantry other than skirmishers
Scutari at least 25% of infantry
Cavalry up to 25%
Division 4+ units
Skirmishers per division 50% of infantry

So I need some Scutari obviously. Let's start with them. 4 units with the heavy throwing spear option (26 pts each) and then 2 units of skirmishing javelinmen (11 each). 126 points total.

Another division of these fellows but with some slingers (all with the 'marksmen' upgrade) comes to 130 points. I could make one of these my commander-in-chief's division and upgrade his bodyguard to 'fantic and tough fighters' for an extra 4 points.

I can add in a division of Celtiberian allies. Their high clash and the 'wild fighter' rule would make them useful for punching a hole in the Roman lines. 4 warbands at 27 points each. Supported by 2 units of slingers at 13 points each (I have a lot of slingers in my Spanish army), 134 points.

I think some cavalry is now required. 75% of my units have to be non-skirmish infantry. I have 12 units of non-skirmish infantry and 4 skirmishers. I can drop some of the skirmishers and replace them with cavalry, or add in a few units of very useful caetrati light infantry to pick up a unit of medium noble cavalry.

That's a tidy little army for around 500 points. The Romans are already at 380 points and they haven't even chosen the cavalry yet. The legate will have some tough decisions to make.

Not that a real legate got to make those choices, he had to fight with what he had available. However, by paying attention to the army composition guidelines some reasonably balanced and historical armies can be put together for quick games. This book will also be a useful guide for a novice who wants to assemble an army and doesn't have a very clear idea of how much of each troop type to get. For quick games in the basement of rabbits we've just been using the basic stats and troop values given in the scenarios, which is a bit limiting. However, despite my best intentions my time is limited too, so using the pre-done army lists in the book will help my group play our games with less fuss, even if we don't use the points values. So all in all, and despite my initial misgivings, I think this book will be a very handy tome in the future and I'm already looking forward to the late antiquity and medieval army list book.

This is now available through J&M Miniatures.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Kitchen Manifesto

My daughter (the authour of the mostly food-centric blog Marzipan Bees) is experiencing the joys of sharing a house with other university students. She and another room-mate recently posted this informative and entertaining kitchen manifesto for the education of their less than tidy housemates:

by the Dish Jockey and Dance Master Sass

 The Kitchen is an important part of the house. There are various gods for kitchens in many cultures, including Fornax (Roman), Annapurna (Hindu), Daikokuten (Japanese), and Chantico (Aztec). Do not incite their divine wraths.


 Dishes go in a magical device called the dishwasher. Once the dishwasher is full, put a tablet in it and turn it on. If there is food on the dishes, they need to be rinsed. This keeps food from drying on, and is important because the dishwasher elves cannot clean off dried on food. If the dishwasher is full of clean dishes, it requires emptying. This involves removing clean dishes from the racks and putting them in their proper places. Check dishes as they are removed from the dishwasher to ensure that the elves were able to fully clean off the food. If they were not, please finish their job and clean the dish by hand. Elf magic only works the first time.

 Remember that only dishes that are put in the dishwasher get cleaned by the elves.

 When you use baking dishes, please clean them promptly. This often involves removing baked goods that were not eaten immediately. These can be placed in a plastic container to keep fresh and un-mouldy.

 Please return dishes to the kitchen after they have been used. While the elves recognize that dishes can be used in bedrooms (we don’t need to know for what) they get worried if dishes are missing for too long.

 What goes in the Dishwasher

 Some things cannot be cleaned in the dishwasher. These include:
  •  Sharp knives
  •  Pots
  •  Pans
  •  Baking tools such as cupcake trays, glass square pans, and cookie sheets
  •  Dishes that have been left for weeks with food cemented on, or that have gone mouldy
  •  Anything that says “not dishwasher safe”
  •  Some things can be cleaned in the dishwasher, but it is asked that you don’t. These include sex toys. That’s just nasty, bro.
 Things that do not go into the dishwasher need to be washed by hand. This is done by running a sink full of hot water, adding soap as it fills. The dishes are then scrubbed, using a sponge, dishcloth, or, in extreme cases, steel wool. Do not use steel wool on things with a nonstick coating. This releases Teflon into food, which just tastes nasty. Also, it may cause cancer, and you will die.


 Sharp knives are useful only when they are sharp, and like robots, knives like to be useful. When they go dull, they tend to look for ways to sharpen themselves on your bones. They are rarely successful, but the attempts can have dire consequences.

 Knives are dulled through everyday use, but by avoiding some things it is possible to extend their useful lifetime. Knives that are left in the dish rack will go dull. Knives that are left in the sink will go rusty. This makes them very sad, and they may take revenge. Knives that are left dirty will grow legs and hunt you in your sleep.
 Knives can be sharpened using the knife sharpener.


 When you use the kitchen, you make crumbs. This is natural, and nothing to be ashamed of. You can, however clean this up very easily: simply take a dishcloth or paper towel and drag it along the surface to collect crumbs. These can then be swept into your hand to be deposited in the green bin. Some things dry on to the counter, or stick to the counter. These can be removed by the simple expedient of scrubbing using the aforementioned tools.

 When this is not done, the food left on the counter tends to attract gremlins. The most common in North America is the Purple Winged Gremlin, with a wingspan that ranges from 2 to 14 cm. Gremlins are social creatures, and when a good food source is found they will often celebrate by inviting other vermin friends to party. Like frat boys, they will quickly leave an area if the food source disappears.

 There’s a trick to it: don’t do it. It is that simple.

 Microwaves are sensitive beings, and resent being neglected. They like to be cared for, and will love the owner that grooms them. Grooming a microwave is a simple task, and should be done frequently. One must wipe the inside of the microwave using a dishcloth or paper towel, removing any food that has splattered on the inside walls and door.

 To keep from dirtying your microwave, simply place a paper towel over food that is likely to splatter. This includes soups, stews, jellos, and other liquids/semi-liquids. It is also possible to turn the power settings on the microwave down by hitting “powerlevel” after the microwave has started, and selecting a number from one to nine. This turns down the heat, preventing splattering.

 While biological experiments can be very interesting, there is a time and a place for them. They do not belong in the fridge with food that will be ingested. Investigate the food in the fridge regularly, looking for signs of life such as fuzz, blue or green fur, red fur (if this is seen, remove immediately. Do not expose to air or open the bag; take it straight outside to the garbage can), or sentience. If your food shows any of these signs, remove from the fridge and dispose of it in the outside green bin. Do not open containment fields around such life in the kitchen, as this allows it to spread.
 If something spills or goes horribly bad in the fridge, wipe the shelf it was sitting on. Every three months or so, it’s a good idea to wipe down the entire fridge. Dry the shelves before returning them to the fridge.

 This category covers dishcloths, dishtowels, and sponges. These should not be allowed to go sour. Do not leave them in a heap. Do not leave them at the bottom of the sink. Rinse them after use, removing such substances as dough and sauce. Do not leave them wet – ring them out. They should be washed regularly, especially if there are visible stains or detectable odours. This is easily maintained if you simply throw them in whenever you do a load of laundry.

 Tablecloths also require care. When they grow stained, they need to be washed. If you spill something on a tablecloth, a good first step is to blot it out using a dishcloth. If this does not remove the stain, the cloth must be washed in the washing machine, possibly with spot remover.

 Tablecloths do not protect the table from everything. If a glass is left on the table, it will create a ring on the table, which is difficult or impossible to remove. Hot things can scorch the tablecloth and damage the table underneath. The easiest way to avoid damaging the table is to clear dishes promptly.
[my daughter's city has a curb-side composting program using green bis to go along with the blue recycle bins]

 Green bins are weapons left by aliens to take over Ontario. In order to prevent the invasion, certain precautions must be taken. The green will only be able to fulfill its assignment under certain conditions. By emptying it regularly and cleaning it after emptying, humans may maintain control for a bit longer. Signs that the green bin is nearing activation are
  •  It is full of food
  •  It is growing biological weapons, often in the form of colourful moulds
  •  It is spawning small spies. These often take the form of fruitflies
  •  It is sending olfactory signals to the aliens. Empty it before it can be smelled from space
 Certain things make the green bin’s job easier. It should not be given access to meat scraps for longer than a week. It should be emptied regularly, preferably before experiments in bio-warfare yield results. It must be rinsed after being emptied, to wipe gathered data from its memory banks. Rinsing should be done outside, but without a hose this is impossible and it must therefore be done in the sink. Do not rinse the green bin on top of dishes. Clean the sink thoroughly afterwards, removing buildup of organics in the drain. Scrub the sink using very hot water, either from the tap or boiled in the kettle.
 Bananas are very interesting creatures. When neglected on the counter, they will sulk, turn brown and ooze. This will attract vermin such as gremlins, fruitflies and giant flying spiders.

 This must be removed from the receptacle under the sink regularly, particularly on the nights before pick up. When the bag has grown large enough to keep the door from closing, it is a sign that it should be moved to the outdoor bin. The recycling should not get piled on the end of the counter, as the bins are directly outside the door. Simply open the door and toss the item into the appropriate bin (a list of acceptable materials can be found on the fridge).
 The outdoor bins will not be emptied if they remain in the backyard. They must be brought to the curb before the garbage truck picks them up (usually, this happens Wednesday mornings). A schedule of garbage pickup can be found on the fridge.

 Raccoons love barbecues. Raccoons are agents of chaos, and are ruled by the Trickster. In short, they are not creatures that you want around. Their love fades when the barbecue is cleaned. This can be done by scrubbing with a wire brush and burning off the residual fat after each use. The implements used in barbecuing must also be cleaned after each use to prevent attracting rodents and growing bacteria.

 Thanks and Further Suggestions

 Thank you for reading this short guide, and following the behaviours outlined therein. Please add any further things requiring attention below.

 brought to you by:
 The Biohazards Commission
 The Ministry for Domestic Harmony
 The Pantheon of Kitchen Gods