Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Another Call Center Story

As a supervisor in a Customer Care call center for a major cellular carrier, I learned many lessons.  One time I did get to carry a lesson over from the Army into the call center.  I had been watching a new employee on the call center floor for past few days.  I noticed that he rarely took any calls and spent most of his time flirting with the women working around him.  He was a good looking guy and by his actions, he took full advantage of his looks.

Other supervisors would approach him and ask him to get back to work.  This happened about every 30-40 minutes during the day.  I also noticed that each supervisor that approached him would walk up and start addressing him about not doing his job.  He would then stand up and walk up in front of each supervisor and stand very close, usually 8-10 inches give or take from the supervisor.  He never raised his voice but he would encroach on their personal space and within a few minutes the supervisor, subconsciously, would start backing up away from the agent.  The conversion would continue for few more minutes before the supervisor would flee from this man.  Then he would go back to flirting and not doing any work until the next supervisor came along.

Like I said, after a few days watching this behavior, I decided to go talk to him myself.  I walked up and addressed him by name.

He turned way from his current target and stood up in front of me.  "What you want man?"  he said with enough attitude to show his disdain for my prescience.

So I calmly replied "Mr. [name redacted for his protections], don't you think you should get back to work?"

He slowly moved up in front my me and was easily only 6 inches away from me.  We were face to face and he replied "Ya know I was only messin around.  I already done a bunch of work today and was just takin a break."

I stood my ground and looked him in the eye and simply said "Look, you either have to kiss me or punch me.  You and me this close...the suspense is killing me, what ever it is you want to do to me, just get it over with."

He quickly took a step back from me with a shocked look on his face.  "Nah man, its not like that!"  He looked around and saw the other call center agents laughing at his awkward plight.

So I finished up and said "Well then don't you think you should get back to work?"  He look around for any sympathetic faces and saw only people smirking and laughing.  I turn away and went back to my desk.  He only worked at the call center a few more weeks before he stopped showing up.  During those couple of weeks there was a marked decrease in his flirting and he kept busy answering calls.  Somthing I learned in the Army, sometimes it just takes a direct confrontation.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Charterstone Review

This review is long over due.  My wife and I purchased our first copy of Charterstone by Stonemaier  Games well over a year ago.  I had read several positive reviews of the game and thought it would be fun to pick up a copy and share it with my wife.  In this game you play a character (we selected our starting character randomly) and you have been tasked with building and founding a new village for the Forever King.  Charterstone has been out for more than a year now but I am going to keep this review spoiler free for those you have not had a chance to play.

This is a legacy game and your actions in each game will unlock more content for future games.  The campaign is set for 12 games but do not worry, once you finish the campaign you are provided with rules to play the game with your finished board.  The Charterstone board is also two sided!  That way you can buy a "Recharge" pack and play the game again on the second side of your board.  We fell in love with the game very quickly.  This is a resource management and worker placement game.  You will unlock crates and construct new buildings in your charters to flesh out your village.

As the campaign progresses you will be faced with Guide posts.  They are special conditions that can affect how the winner is determined at the end of each game and they will occasionally introduce new temporary rules for a specific game.

Each game will play out in about 40 - 60 minutes.  We frequently found ourselves scrambling to get done all they things in the game we wanted to accomplish as the game would come to an end.  Since this is a Legacy game, the rules are intentionally vague at times and you have to make sure you read each new card you unlock fully...or you may miss an important step to progress the game story or mechanic.

Something that was amazing with this game is the online assistance available for rule clarifications.  The Facebook group is fantastic, they answered our questions within 10-15 min.  We even had the creator and owner of Stonemaier games, Mr. Stegmaier himself respond and answer a questions we had about what actions occur in what order!

This game has light and pleasant atmosphere that is kid friendly.  We loved the artwork, especially all the individual buildings you can unlock and build.  The game is currently available via amazon via this link:  Charterstone for $48.00. or direct from the Stonemaier Webstore.

I higly recommend the game and my family and friends have enjoyed the experience of playing.  So much that are currently on our 4th time playing the campaign with a set of new players.

Pros (Things I like)

  • The legacy aspect is original and you want to find out what is going on with the Forever King and your village
  • Online support is great and people in the Facebook group will respond quickly to questions
  • A worker placement, resource management, Legacy game!
  • Upon completion of the campaign you continue to play your finished game board with special rules provided.
  • Metal coins are included with the game and they are impressive

Cons (Things I don't like)

  • The games often felt as if they went too fast and you didn't have enough time to compete all your planned/desired actions
  • Some of the rules are vague and difficult to follow

Monday, January 7, 2019

Traveller RPG Story - In Walks a Stranger

You are drinking in a small run down bar in the Regina “down” port, which is a not so fancy way to talk about planet side port facilities as opposed to the orbital station.  The date is 001 – 1105, and as Imperial reckoning goes, stands for the first day of the year 1105.  It has been one thousand, one hundred and 5 years plus a single day since the founding of the Third Imperium and only a year since you were drummed out of the Regina Port Security Service. 
Gerald, the aging barkeep and owner of “Skittered” your favorite watering hole approaches “Lt. Blair, you want another drink?”
Nodding your agreement, he quickly pours a tumbler of dark amber liquid.  You may have always heard that belters (asteroid miners) like this drink.  It tastes like whiskey and ferments well in zero-G.  Just try not to think too hard about what substance the fermentation originates.
As you tip your glass up and start to drink, a short portly man in a business suite sits down next to you.  He smells like he comes out of one of the corporate buildings that encircle the Down Port.  People who work in the filter air of the big buildings have a smell to them, or maybe is a lack of the smell all the rest of us out here have.  Rumor has it that corporate types don’t like the natural Regina atmosphere, so they heavily condition and treat the filtered air inside their buildings.  Making sure to keep a positive atmosphere pressure inside, thus keeping out that pesky agricultural taint that follows you everywhere on Regina.
Regina is the capital of the Regina sub-sector in the Spinward Marches Sector.  Regina is only 25 sub-sectors away from Capitol, the center of civilization and the ruling seat of the Third Empire of Man, and at Jump 3 that means you are only a few months from Capitol.  Regina is classified according to the UWP (universal world profile) as a A788899-C.  What that means is that it has a mighty fine space port, modern shipyards, is an agricultural planet, with a good bit of law to protect everyone. At least that’s what the Governor and his minions always say on the news vids.
The portly corporate type turns towards you, looks you up and down and states quietly “I hear you are the man to talk to about finding hard to get pieces of data?”

Friday, January 4, 2019

2018 Top 10 Board Game plays

Here is a top 10 list of the board games I played and the number of plays in 2018:

1.) Charterstone - 28
2.) Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 - 19
3.) The Shipwreck Arcana - 18
4.) Stuffed Fables - 9
5.) Scythe: The Rise of Fenris - 8
6.) Terraforming Mars - 8
7.) Scythe - 6
8.) Star Trek: Ascendancy - 6
9.) Mansions of Madness -5

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018 a Year in Review

2018 was an interesting year, below is a list of events that occurred this past year:
  • Watched Avengers:  Infinity War, it was really fun to see how the theater reacted to the end of the movie...since I had read the comic version back in 1991
  • Lost my Grandma Evans early in the year.
  • Traveled with work to Arkansas 5 times, which is 4 less that last year.  I am going to count that one as a win! 
  • My son is now 4 years old, and refuses to use the potty for # 2...
  • Started playing Overwatch on Xbox and I now play Hearthstone on my mobile devices.
  • I did not Start playing World of Warcraft, again...
  • Read a lot of good books;  The Kill Society by Richard Kincaid, Action Figures Issue Seven:  The Black End War by Michael Bailey, Wearing the Cape:  Recursions by Marion G. Harmon, and Please Don't Tell My Parents You believe Her by Richard Roberts.
  • I believe that I have an Audible addiction.  My list of audio novel that i have listen to this pas year is too shameful to repeat here in the blog.  All I have to say is that R.C. Bray is a phenomenal narrator and actor.  His interpretations are fantastic and most of the reason why I continue to use Audible.
  • Went to GENCON 2018  and had a fantastic time.  You  can look up my earlier blog entry for more information.  My wife and I even got rooms downtown!
  • Interviewed for a new position in my company again.  I did get the job!  I am now the Operations manager for Premier Power Maintenance in Louisville, KY.  The company owners have given me wonderful opportunity to assist in growing the company and help me achieve my goal of moving my family back to KY and closer to rest of our family.  The move was onerous but well worth the final out come.
  • Played several new board games: Western Legends, Stuffed Fables, Shipwreck Arcana, Merchant of Venus, Key Forge:  Call of the Archons, Dwarven Smithy, Charterstone,  Unearth, Seafall, Scythe:  the Rise of Fenris, Bob Ross:  Art of Chill, Alien Frontiers, Firefly Adventures:  Brigands and Browncoats, and Doctor Who:  Time of the Daleks, 
  • Our ongoing Marvel (FASERIP) campaign on Roll20 has fallen to the wayside since my move and job change.  This is one I am going to change with the new year and get going again!

Thing that I didn't get to do this past year but want to change in 2018:

  • Work in the wood shop.  I don't have one anymore...I sold most of my tools to prevent having to move them across three states.
  • Slacked off on my blog for the past couple of months.  I got very busy with work, and I know, excuses…excuses. 
  •  Take my son to the Zoo, he still wants to see an Aardvark!
  • Take a family vacation in an RV to the Grand Canyon, its on the schedule for this year.
  • Convince my mother to come and stay with us and when that doesn't work, talk her in to staying for a couple of weeks.
  • Just so I can be like everyone else at New Years, loose about 20 lbs.
  • Write more, practice practice practice!
  • Continue my Marvel RGP campaign on Roll20 and perhaps add a second RPG campaign.  

I know its quick and just a list of experiences but I feel better getting them down on paper.  I do have a few game reviews that will be coming up in a couple of weeks.  I promise!  I also am going to strive to be more regular with updates, and share more of my thoughts and stories.  Happy New Year!

- Jeremiah

Friday, December 21, 2018

Wearing the Cape: Operation Pole Star Review

I am a fan of Mr. Harmon's Wearing the Cape universe and quickly snatched up a copy of this product upon its release.  The supplement/adventure is 12 pages in length.  If you are familiar with the other Wearing the Cape RPG books and high production quality then you will enjoy the same level of attention and design with this book as well.  I enjoy Kasia Slupecka artwork from the cover and the continuity in with this book and the other RPG products.  Please keep in mind this is a FATE powered product and all game stats are recorded in the WtC:  RPG format, but can still be used with FATE Core as well.

The book includes an opening chapter addressing how Ole Saint Nick fits into the Post-Event world of WtC and sites examples of how to incorporate Santa into other type of campaigns.  Mr. Harmon then follows up plot ideas and area descriptions of the North Pole and story specific areas addressed by the adventure.  I was surprised to find several top down and 3D rendered maps of one of key areas within the adventure.  I like maps and find them very useful with my players in describing the areas they will be playing during an adventure.

The only item that kept me from giving this book 5 stars, is that despite Mr. Harmon presenting several ideas on how to approach the villainous plot. It is ultimately in true FATE fashion a loose suggestion of how to approach the story and leaves the specifics up to the individual game master.  It would have nice to have a few more fleshed out ideas and suggestions and more concrete path of play.  With that said, the Side bar texts do an excellent job of presenting options and ideas for the game master to explore during the play.

Our gaming group is playing this adventure on Christmas Eve and we are all looking forward to meeting Santa!  Thank you Mr. Harmon for this seasonally themed WtC adventure.

The game resource is currently available via Drivethrurpg for $2.99 

Pros (Things I like)

  • More Wearing the Cape products!
  • The art work is fantastic
  • The adventure includes Santa Cause
  • Excellent finish and game design quality

Cons (Things I don't like)

  • I would have liked to see more specifics on the actual adventure story and less of the freeform that naturally comes with FATE products.
  • That is about it...

Friday, September 21, 2018

Golden Sky Stories: Twilight Tales Kickstarter Review

As my collection of Roleplaying game material continues and my addiction to Kickstarter project continue to grow.  I come across some neat RPG concepts and some games that slipped by me.  Golden Sky Stories  is one of the games.  The game is originally a Japanese RPG which became a translation project for a Kickstarter  here in the United States a few year ago.

As I said before, I missed the original Japanese version and the translated U.S. Kickstarter.  I did not miss the translated expansion;  Twilight Tales.    I back the Kickstarter and was pleasantly surprised when it took less than 6 months for delivery of the final printed books.  I also took advantage of the add-on for the project to pick up the original Golden Sky Stories in softcover.

I don't know what I expected from a translated RPG but wow, the book is well laid out and easy to follow.  The basic premise is that the player will choose a Henge (pronounce Hen-Gay), which is a spirit creature that resides in and around the town.  The players as Henge are animal spirits that can assume human forms and human-animal forms.  The players then will spend their time helping the mortal, and sometimes making things worse, but it all works out in the end and everyone gets a happy ending to the story.

The Kickstarter campaign was quick and to the point, with the printed material arriving amazing quickly for a Kickstarter.

If you like cute and heartwarming stories then this game is for you...if you like action and violence in your RPGs...I would look elsewhere.

The game is avialable from Drive Thru RPG in PDF or print-on-demand Golden-Sky-Stories

Pros (Things I like)

  • Good looking book, high print quality
  • well organized
  • I can't say enough about how quickly the Kickstarter wrapped up and delivered the printed books 

Cons (Things I don't like)

  • Not much, its a fun game and easy to pick up and play