Candlelit Cove


3D Miniatures and Terrain are not just for Gamers!!  
Jeff Miotke - Aquascaper

I have been an avid aquarist for over 40 years keeping many varieties of fresh and saltwater fish. In 2011 I discovered Nature Aquarium by Takashi Amano and it changed my world. I studied, practiced and started creating nature aquariums which led me to the competitive scene. I have the honor of being ranked among the top aquascapers year after year.

To share my insights and experience I have been publishing articles in the Aquatic Gardners Association (AGA)magazine, speaking at aquarium clubs, competing both online and at live contests, judging contests and making friends around the world. I am enjoying traveling and look forward to even more sharing of the wonderful world of aquascaping.

Most of us look at all these amazing graphics and models for our 3D Printers and immediately immagine how we could use them in our next D&D Campaign. In reality though, model railroaders have for decades made elaborate landscapes using models made from every material known, kids have made amazing dioramas' and erupting volcanoes for school and fun, photographers and film enthusiasts have made everything from basic props to highly detailed scenes to aid in their craft and the list goes on and on. While many who own 3D printers (myself included) get tunnel vision and only see these amazing terrains as pieces to our next game, for those who think outside the box the possibilities are endless with a 3D printer and some creativity!

On this note, we want to share the amazing vision of a recent customer of ours, Jeff Miotke.

A few months back we, The Riverside Woodshop, had received an order for 6 of our popular "City of Firwood" (designed by STLMiniatures) pieces via our ETSY shop. While this order was not uncommon it did catch my attention as typically many customer like to buy these one building at a time and slowly work on painting and growing their collection as they develop the game they are planning to use it in. It was also interesting that the buyer had chosen to have them all printed @ 15mm scale rather than the more often requested 28mm, but we were excited to get these printing and out to the customer.

Without any more thought, we printed The Mansion, The Observatory, The Wizards Tower, The Weapons Shop, The Alchemists House and The Small Village House and shipped them out to Jeff. About two weeks later we received a nice message with several pictures of the painting he had done at that point. We were blown away at his painting skills (his first time painting terrain to boot) and quickly shared his pictures on our Facebook Business Page, but again we really didn't stop to imagine what he might be doing with the set. Thinking for sure it was just another gaming quest that would look super cool we went back to business as usual...

Fast forward to this morning and my phone dings like 6 times in a matter of 15 minutes waking me up - way to early I might add. I grab the phone to see what is going on and it is a string of five star reviews on our ETSY shop. Well, now that I am awake anyway, I log on to read the reviews and see they are all from Jeff. For each of the buildings he had ordered a couple months back and then get a message from him sharing the final pictures of his creation!! To use his words from IG: "Check out my new aquarium! Just finished this unique setup that combines the beauty of a freshwater aquarium with the lush greenery of a terrarium. But what really sets this aquascape apart are the 3D printed buildings that are incorporated into the design. These miniature structures add a touch of whimsy and bring the whole setup to life. And the blue roofs? They add a pop of color and really make the buildings stand out."

Not in a million years would I have dreamt of combining the City of Firwood into a terrarium environment - Pure Genius! Just goes to show how something you see everyday and have one use in mind can become something extraordinary with just the right creativity...

Check Out The Riverside Woodshops Full Line of "City of Firwood" Buildings... Click Here


Tabletop Gaming - Types and Categories Explained....

Tabletop Gaming - Types and Categories Explained....

Many people when getting into tabletop gaming as a beginner find it can be very challenging. What can be so difficult in simply playing a game with friends? Some of the challenges range from:

  • Knowing the best board games out there.
  • Determining what to buy first and what you don't even need to buy.
  • Finding others interested in playing the game you choose with you.
  • Understanding the conversation when you meet these peers for the first time.
  • and the list goes on.....

Games are one of societies oldest pasttimes and can be one of the most welcoming activities around. You can play anywhere and with anyone - you can learn typical RPG style games like D&D in game shops or cafés, crack out a trivia game at your local watering hole, learn deck building games like MTG with an established club, or simply enjoy playing anything around the kitchen table with your friends, or even all by yourself thanks to the growing number of games that can be played Solo.

But like everything that is new, gaming can have a language all to itself. What’s a deck builder compared to a deck construction game? What makes a living card game different to a trading card game, and is that the same as an expandable deck game? What do you actually do in a worker-placement board game?  There quite simply are more question with every answer you learn...

Do not worry - to help those of you who haven’t got it all down to a science yet, this article has put together the following beginner’s guide to the different types of board game types and what they mean.

Bear in mind that many of these board game types aren’t exhaustive or exclusive, and many board games will fall into more than one of these categories - or might be something else entirely. However, the following board game terms represent the most common types of games, so they’re a good place to start next time you’re wondering if something really is a Eurogame, or just happens to have a farmer on the cover.

Board Game Types:


Board games with no theme at all, or what theme is offered is so disconnected from the actual experience of playing that it might as well not be there. Draughts and Go are the purest examples of abstracts, while chess - with its set of named pieces and suggestion of historical warfare - is relatively thematic by the standards of the category.

Examples: Draughts, chess, Go, Tak, Shobu, Hive, Santorini, Azul.

Area control

Board games with some form of map or defining a space that players compete to dominate, usually through adding their own pieces to regions or areas or removing opponents’ pieces. Sometimes the control can come through denying access to areas rather than taking them yourself - it could be argued that Scrabble is an example of the genre!

Examples: Small World, Risk, Blood Rage.

Campaign / Legacy

Campaign board games are defined by individual plays following a series of connected scenarios, where the actions and outcome of one scenario will usually affect the next.  Legacy Board Games are a specific type of campaign game where your choices and actions cause you to make permanent (often physical) changes to the game and its components, such as applying stickers to the board or tearing up cards, often providing a one-time experience.

Examples: Gloomhaven, Pandemic Legacy, Betrayal Legacy.

Deck Builder

Each player starts with their own identical deck of cards, but alters it during play, with more powerful cards being added to the deck and less powerful ones removed. Deck Builders are sometimes confused with deck construction games such as trading card games, with the difference being that in deck builders the act of creating and customizing your deck is part of the core gameplay experience, instead of something that usually happens away from the table between plays.

Examples: Dominion, Star Realms, Undaunted: Normandy, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle.

Deck construction

A type of board game where the players use different decks of cards to play, constructed prior to the game from a large pool of options, according to specific rules. Living card games and expandable deck games provide a fixed set of cards in each expansion. (Living card game applies specifically to such games produced by Fantasy Flight Games, which has trademarked the term.)

Examples: Magic: The Gathering, Android: Netrunner, Marvel Champions, Arkham Horror: The Card Game.


Board games involving physical skill, whether using the whole body as in Twister or just the fingers for moving things about, as with removing blocks in Jenga. This can include flicking discs or other objects with your fingers like Flick ‘em Up, balancing things in games such as Beasts of Balance or even throwing objects around, like Dungeon Fighter.

Examples: Cube Quest, Catacombs, Flip Ships, Flick ‘em Up, Crokinole, Beasts of Balance.


Drafting is a mechanic where players are presented with a set of options (usually cards, though sometimes dice) from which they must pick one, leaving the remainder for the next player to choose from. The selection may be made from a shared central pool of choices, or from a hand of cards passed between players. This can be a small part of a game, such as selecting an ability for use during a round, or the entire decision space for a game.

Examples: 7 Wonders, Sushi Go!, Villagers.


Players take the roles of characters making their way through a location, often depicted by a map with a square grid or a page in a book, defeating enemies controlled by another player, a companion app or the game system itself.

Examples: Gloomhaven, Mansions of Madness, Star Wars: Imperial Assault, Mice and Mystics.


Over the course of an engine-building board game, you’ll build an “engine”: something that takes your starting resources and/or actions and turns them into more resources, which turn into even more resources, which - somewhere along the line - will usually turn into a form of victory points.

Examples: Res Arcana, Century: Spice Road, Race for the Galaxy.


Often shortened to just ‘Euro’, these are strategy-focused board games that prioritize limited-randomness over theme. Usually competitive with interaction between players through passive competition rather than aggressive conflict. Named for the fact many of the early games of this style were developed in Europe - particularly Germany - in contrast to the more thematic but chance-driven “American-style” games of the time. (Sometimes referred to as 'Ameritrash' by those who dislike the high luck element.)

Examples: Agricola, Paladins of the West Kingdom.


Board games that invite you to take ever bigger risks to achieve increasingly valuable rewards - or to decide to keep what you’ve got before you lose everything. Think the card game blackjack or deciding whether to give an uncertain answer on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Sometimes also called press-your-luck.

Examples: The Quacks of Quedlinburg, Port Royal, Deep Sea Adventure.


Board games where you roll one or more dice and move that many spaces - commonly on a looping track of spaces, or a path with a start and finish. Often landing on certain spaces will trigger specific actions or offer the player certain gameplay options. Simple as that.

Examples: Monopoly, The Game of Life, Snakes and Ladders, Formula D.


Roll some dice and decide how to use the outcome, writing it into a personal scoring sheet. Each decision impacts your options for the rest of the game, so even in games where everyone uses the same dice, slightly different choices at the start can lead to very different end results. Some games twist the name by replacing the dice with something like cards for a ‘flip-and-write’ (Welcome To…) or the writing with something like placing miniatures for a ‘roll-and-build’ (Era: Medieval Age).

Examples: Yahtzee, Railroad Ink, Ganz Schon Clever, Corinth.

Social deduction

One or more players around the table have a secret, and the rest of you need to figure out who! Expect lying, bluffing and wild accusations all round. Players are often secretly assigned hidden roles that only they know, and must achieve their own objectives - commonly either finding the odd one out, or hiding the fact that you are the odd one out yourself.

Examples: Blood on the Clocktower, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, The Resistance.


Board games with a focus on narrative and description that is directed or fully created by the players. This could be an overarching story lasting the whole game - or across a campaign of multiple sessions - read from pre-written passages, or a sequence of vignettes as players are tasked with inventing and describing something prompted by a single card.

Examples: The King’s Dilemma, Tales of the Arabian Nights.


Board games where you choose actions from spaces on the board by assigning your pool of “workers” - often thematically actual workers in your employ - to them. Usually Eurogames, with player interaction created because actions one player has taken often can’t be taken by or come with a cost for anyone else.

Examples: Charterstone, Agricola, Caverna, Everdell, Viticulture, Lords of Waterdeep.


Players pit armies against each other, represented by collections of miniatures or tokens on a map, with a grid or actual measured distances for movement. Eliminate the opponent’s figures or achieve objectives to win, with combat usually dictated by dice rolls or card play.

Examples: Warhammer 40,000, Memoir ‘44, Risk, Axis & Allies.

The History of Chess

The History of Chess

The earliest known inspiration for chess originated in India. It was dated to have emerged before the 6th century. It quickly spread to Persia then through Europe. There were many eras, including the Romantic, Hypermodern, Scientific, and New Dynamism eras. The first recorded game was in a 10th-century manuscript. Chess quickly became popular, and the first World Chess Championship ran in 1886. In the 20th century, we saw many accomplishments. The World Chess Federation was created in this century, and in 1997 the first computer beat a chess champion.

From day one, the rules of chess changed. The game board at one time was 100 squares big. Hundreds of years later, it involved the board we know today. In the early 1300s, some of the rules we recognize today are finally emerging. This era is when pawns were allowed to move two spaces on their first move. However, it took 300 more years to become the standard. The rules changed rapidly until roughly the late 19th century. Before then, pieces were added and removed, pieces were given new directional rules, and there was a lack of some of the most recognizable moves of today, for example, castling.

The style of the game was always an important component. Pieces originally started as carved animals and evolved to what we know today. It was not uncommon to have pieces carved of rare minerals and studded with semi-precious and precious gems. The standards for pieces were patented in 1849 by Nathanial Cook. Today only sets based on the endorsed versions of this design can be used in international competitions. With that being said, games today can be customized to the player's preferences. Simple, ornate, basic, themed, original, new, even custom made like on our site, and many other styles exist today.

This game has lasted for hundreds of years, and I'm sure it will last for hundreds more. A recent resurgence has been found due to the release of Netflix’s show The Queens Gambit. Strategy books, boards, and related items have been flying off the shelves. This is a game that ebbs and flows but never falls from grace.


Game Nights: Age vs Game Selection...

Game Nights: Age vs Game Selection...

Children these days are addicted to technology. Cute cartoons, bright and colorful phone games and even developmental toys could have technological components. At a time in which we are stuck at home, they can be a lifesaver. However, occasionally it’s nice to unwind with a board game. Sadly, a lot of children are not adept with games or may get bored. That’s why I came up with this shortlist of games. These will help you play from toddler to teen and engage your child.


These are going to be games that are easy to explain verbally and eye-catching. This category includes classic games like Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Uno, and checkers. This age is where you can also play interactive games like the Elefun elephant, where you chase butterflies through the air, or a fishing game where you use a magnetic rod to hook fish from aboard. These help kids learn colors, listen to instructions, develop hand-eye coordination, and learn the fun of physical games.

Young School-Aged:

Young children will enjoy games like dominoes, Mouse Trap, Life, and even Monopoly or Chess. These games will be focusing on basic strategy, more complex instruction following, language development, and early math skills. For example, at the start of playing dominoes, a kid may only play based on matching the colors. As they get older, they will begin actively counting and matching based on the number of dots. Games like Guess Who help with deduction skills. Monopoly and Life can help with early addition and subtraction. And games like chess can help kids learn to plan and thinking ahead with their actions.

Middle School:

At this point, you can start getting into more complicated board games. Things like cribbage, Phase 10, and Scrabble. Kids now have math and reading abilities. They can play most games and can understand a lot of instructions. You can also play more abstract games that younger kids may not be able to understand.


This age is one of the most exciting times for board games. Teenagers are ready for almost any game you can throw at them. Games like Catan, Stone Age, Chess, cribbage, and even story-based games like D&D are now available to play. Teenagers can strategize, plan, read, write, do arithmetic, and compete with adults. This time is when the real competition arrives, and every game is a desperate battle to win. Whether a game of chance like cards or a strategy game like Catan; it will be fun for the whole family.

Catan: Family Game Nights

Catan: Family Game Nights

Looking for a new game to play??? Catan (formerly known as Settlers of Catan) is a board game that allows you to expand and grow your reign. First published in Germany in 1995 the game has sold more than eighteen million copies worldwide. 

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How Did I Get Into Wood Working?

How Did I Get Into Wood Working?
I am often asked, “How do you know how to do what you do? Did you have training?”.  Well the simple answer is… I am basically self-taught.  As such, I am a major proponent of shop class in public schools or at least activities that allow children to work with their hands while learning critical problem solving.  While some children have parents who work in the trades and can pick up these valuable skills at home most do not.

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Cribbage - A Great Game for Two!

Cribbage - A Great Game for Two!
Cribbage is traditionally played with two people; however, three or four (two on two) can play. Like poker the game provides players with the anticipation of the luck of the deal all the while allowing them to use their skill with regards to discarding and play. Although the game can be played with only a deck of cards and pen/paper it is most often played using a cribbage board. The board allows one to easily track their points.

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It’s all in the Finish

It’s all in the Finish
Once you have decided on the perfect kind of wood for your project another equally important question needs to be answered. What kind of finish do you want? Once again, you’re blindsided.  You have no idea what the finishes are, let alone how they affect the final product. Hopefully this short breakdown will make it easier for you to select the aesthetic choice you want for your project.

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Wood is just Wood - NOT........

Wood is just Wood - NOT........
When asked “What kind of wood would you like,” many people have no idea what the differences are. The main thing to consider is will a hard wood or soft wood work best?  There are two other wood categories, exotic woods and manufactured woods, that can also be considered.

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Custom Wood Creations for Your Home…

Custom Wood Creations for Your Home…
Buуіng wooden furnіturе and decor іѕ a great way tо add a bеаutіful ассеnt to your hоmе. Yоu can fіnd many dіffеrеnt ріесеѕ and ѕtуlеѕ tо сhооѕе frоm, аllоwіng уоu to оutfіt уоur hоmе hоwеvеr you dеѕіrе. Furnіturе quite often shows thе реrѕоnаlіtу of thе hоmеоwnеr and wood can make for a beautiful and warm environment.

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