Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Flaming Hay Bales

One of the wildest and most requested stories of my youth concerns the “Flaming hay bale” incident.

 Now that tittle may bring about some interesting mental images of what you think occurred, let me tell you what really happened.  Houston, Sam, Adam, and myself were out past dark wandering around the fields surrounding our neighborhood.  One of the fields was set on a fairly steep hill and the farmer would bale his hay in large round bales.  I think it was Adam who first thought it would be a good idea to turn the bales so that with a little effort they would roll down the hill side.  Sam thought it would be a good idea to try to “ride” the hay bale and attempt to stay on top it, in a similar fashion as a log rolling. This worked much better than any of us would have expected and we were able to roll several of the bales down the hill and stay on top with out much difficulty.

This is what led to the next step, since this was much easier than we expected, Adam suggested that we cut the twine holding the bales together then roll them down the hill and see how much more difficult it was when the bales was falling apart as it rolled down the hill.  Again we found there wasn’t much challenge and we were able to stay on top of the bales as it fell apart.  Finally Adam said how about we set them on fire?  I remember Houston didn’t think this was a such a good idea but finally gave in after the rest of us kept at him and finally convinced him that it would be fun.

I remember we found the perfect bale, and turned to  make it easier to roll and then cut the strings.  Of course it was Houston’s turn to ride the bale as we set it off down hill.  Adam quickly set the dry hay on fire and much to our surprise, it caught a lot quicker than we thought it would.  During our discussions we anticipated that it would just smolder and make allot of smoke but no.  The bale was quickly engulfed in flames and as an added extra, the field grass started to catch as the bales rolled over.

Houston was screaming something unintelligible as he was looking for  way to abandon the rolling hay bale while the rest of us took of running for the wood line.  After the hay bale finally stopped rolling due to having fallen apart, Houston quickly followed us into the woods.  A short 45 minutes later the field was fully burning and we could hear the fire engines in the distance.  We all agreed on the run home that we would never speak of this and it was very bad idea.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

On the Way to Allie's House, Part # 2

Once again it was a Friday night and Sam, Houston, and myself were playing video games waiting for it be late enough to sneak out Allie's house.  2:00am finally arrived and we were out the door of Houston house and on our way.

We had done this a few times by this point, so it was old hat to us.  We slipped by the neighbors security lights and made it out of the neighborhood with no issues.    We were also being very diligent in watching for car lights as we walked up the highway towards Allies's neighborhood.  As I mentioned last time it was only a few miles from Houston's to Allie's house, so we were taking our time.  We were shooting the breeze about and making fun of Sam's younger brothers when Houston spotted headlights and we all jumped over the guard rail and slid down the embankment to hide as the car passed.

We all were laying in the tall grass on the embankment below the guard rail when Houston calmly said "Guys, I think I hurt my leg."

Immediately Sam replied "Get up!  Your not hurt."

We all picked ourselves up and climbed back over the guard rail.  I looked back and Houston was dragging his leg like some kind of zombie you might see on the Walking Dead.  We couldn't see what he had done since it was pitch black with no street lights on this stretch of highway.  So when the next car came by we waited behind the guard rail and made sure it wasn't a cop before exposing his leg to the light to see what he had done to himself.

Lo and behold his leg was covered in blood from just below his knee all the way to where his ankle socks started.  we couldn't make out where the cut was but it looked awful.   When we asked him if he wanted to turn back, he said "Hell no, I am fine lets keep going!"  So we trudged on, especially Houston, who literally trudged and drug his foot behind him.

Upon arriving at Allie's house and completing my parent sleeping checks (which they were asleep this time!) we went into basement and Allie's room.  I noticed that when Houston stepped into the room from the mud and dirt under the deck his shoe squished and he was leaving bloody foot prints, and of course Allie freaked out "What is wrong with your leg!" she yelled at Houston before clamping her hand over her mouth, in fear of giving us away to someone in the house.

Sam calmly said "He jumped over the guard rail and must have landed on knife, spear, or maybe a broken bottle.  He'll be fine."

Allie didn't agree with Sam's opinion and went to get the household first aid kit.  Then as a great hostess she set about cleaning the 5" long cut in side of his calf with what Houston to this day claims was a Brillo pad.  I remember him sitting on her day bed and clenching his teeth while his knuckles turned white as she scrubbed all the dirt and debris out of the wound.  Finally she wrapped his leg in gauze and said we should take him to the hospital.

All three of us guys looked at each other and told her we would do that as soon as we got back to Houston's house.  Of course this was lie...we were not planning on telling anyone about this night time excursion.  Let alone involve a hospital!  So our fun and games came to an early end and we helped Houston hobble back to his house.

The next morning we all woke up when Houston did since his scream of pain as he pealed his dried blood soaked bandage away from being stuck to his bed sheets was loud enough to wake the dead.  He threw on his bathrobe and hobbled out to the kitchen.  He mother screamed and yelled "oh my god, what did you do to your leg?  Did you and Sam get in a knife fight!"

So about 10 minutes later Houston's family was in the car and headed to the hospital, while Sam and I left his house to head home.  As for how it turned out, our secret trips to Allies house were safe.  Houston told his family that he cut his leg wrestling with Sam the night before and he when they fell over an old folding chair.  An easy 6 hour ER visit and 28 stitches later Houston was good as new and ready for our next adventure!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

On the Way to Allie's House, Part # 1

One of my earlier blog posts talks about my love of RPG's and how much time my friends and I dedicated to playing those games.  About the only thing that could steal us away from our games at that time in our lives, was girls.  As I have said before, all the names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Sam, Houston, and myself lived in a semi-rural area.  What that means is that we lived in a neighborhood that was in the country.  We had four streets worth of homes, a small convenience store, and a lot of farm land around were we lived.  The next closest neighborhood was about 3 miles away and accessible via a highly trafficked state highway.  Sam was dating a girl we will call Allie, who was 2nd oldest in a family of 7 daughters who lived in that next closest neighborhood.  

On Friday or sometimes Saturday nights; Sam, Houston, and I would all sleep over at Houston's house, since his house was the easiest to sneak out.  Then we would play video games until about 1-2:00am and sneak out to go visit Sam's girlfriend.

Our journey would begin with walking our Huston's front door while his parents, little brother, and little sister were all asleep.  Then we would have to hug the neighbors house to avoid setting of the security lights.  With those two hurdles out of the way we would be home free for the next bit until we had to walk to the highway.  Since we were underage and out way past the curfew we had hide by jumping over the guard rail each time a car would come by, just in case it was a cop.

This trip was uneventful and we arrived at Allie's house around 3:00am.  The house was a typical ranch style home with a walk out basement and a deck that covered the entire length of the the back of the house.  Allie's room was in the basement and had direct access to the french doors that opened up under the deck.  This made getting into and out of the house a easy.  The hard part was in the fact that her parents room was located directly over her room.

Her parents would fall asleep with the TV on.  This made it difficult to tell if they were actually still awake or the light we saw on the deck was just the TV.  I was the quietest member of our party and I frequently played the Thief in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons when gaming, so it was my duty to sneak up on the deck and crawl up to her parents french doors and peak in and see if anyone was awake.

When we arrived at Allie's house, we set up the tree line behind the house and saw that Allie's and her parents light were on.  So stealthily moved around the house and onto the deck.   The best way I had found to quietly move along the deck was to crawl along the inside edge next to the house and then peak in the bottom corner of the double doors of her parent room.  from that vantage I could usually see if they were asleep in bed or up watching TV.

So I followed my usual routine and crawled up next to the door, but when I went to peak in the door I was distracted by a flash of light from the wood line.  I recognized it as someone lighting a lighter and couldn't figure out why my partners in crime would be trying get my attention, so I turned back to the door and slid forward to look in..and found my self looking at a pair of hairy legs just on the other side of the closed door!

My heart jumped into my throat as I realized that I was looking at Allie's dads legs!  I knew I had to get off the deck in a hurry and somehow not be seen or heard.  I slid/crawled backwards away from the door and at an angle away from the house towards the edge of the deck just outside of the light shinning through the glass door.  I slid off the deck and was holding on with both of my hands and preparing to drop down to the muddy ground under the deck when I heard the glass doors above me open and her dad walked out onto the deck!

I was stuck.  I couldn't drop down into the mud with out being heard and I obviously couldn't go back up!  So I just hung there...in the air as he paced back and forth trying to see what had made that light out in the trees!  Finally he broke the silence "Hello!  Is anyone out there?"  I think I  was holding my breath while he was yelling out into the night.  Finally after what seemed like an eternity he turned and went back inside.  As the glass doors closed my shaking hands finally gave out and I dropped down into the mud.

I quickly moved back around the yard and into the trees to find that my compatriots had vacated and I was alone in the woods.  I jogged back out to the highway and continued my way back to Houston's house.  When I arrived they were sitting in his room playing Ken Griffey Jr. Home Run Derby on the Nintendo 64.  Below I have listed a couple of quotes as to what was said when I walked in the room.

"Man, we thought you was dead!"

"When he came out on the deck, I just about s**t myself!"

"I was trying to light a cigarette and he must have seen the light.  So I figured he had already seen us, so we should warn you, that was why I was sparking the lighter!"

"Don't track mud in here, my mom will kill me!"

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ticket to Ride: 10th Anniversary Edition Review

I have been told by many of my friends that I need to play Ticket to Ride, published by Days of Wonder back in 2004.  When stopping by the local game store I would pick up the box and consider buying the game but usually my attention and money would be drawn away by the newest and lasted game release on the shelf and Ticket to Ride would remain at the game store.

Well a couple of weeks ago, that all changed.  I finally decided to bite the bullet and pick up a copy and since I was going all-in, I decided to pick up the 10th Anniversary Limited Edition of the game.  My local game store didn't have a copy of the 10th Anniversary Limited Edition so I turned to the other great game resource.  The mighty Amazon!  With the order placed, the game was at my home a couple of days later.  

My first impression was that it was a very large box and when I unpacked the game materials I found that the game board was also very large and impressive.  the The instruction manual was also intimidating at first and looked to be about 30 pages long or so...then I opened it up and discovered that only the first 4 pages were in English.  All the other pages of the book were in various other languages.

Next came the individual tins that held the player pieces.  This was striking as well since each one was printed in a primary color to distinguish between player and once you open the tins you say the rail cars were unique for that player.  One had a wooden tanker car, another was a coal car.  Each of the six not only had a specific color but it was cast/made to look unique in comparison to the other cars.

After reading the directions, we started play and it was straight forward.  You attempt to complete as many routes from city to city as you can, as well as complete "secret" routes for extra points at the end of the game.  The simple  form of play was a bit deceiving, we found that you could infer a lot of your opponents plans by how they set up and placed their pieces.  We found ourselves working to disrupt each other plans and derail any hopes to score the "secret" routes.

I was only able to play a two player game for my first foray into Ticket to Ride and can't wait to play a larger game and see how it affect game play strategies and length of play.

Pros (Things I like):

* Large board size is visually appealing and easy to place rail cars onto the board.

* Quick set up and ease of play, First game was only 24 minutes long for a two player game.

* Unique player pieces, rail cars, per player and very detailed.

* Deeper meta-game than is apparent at first.

Cons (Things I don't like):

* Large board size only fit on my dining room table, it was a bit big for other tables in my house.

* Some of the player cards are similar in shade and it make it hard to tell the difference at a glance, for example the Red Line cards vs the Pink Line cards are very hard to recognize at first, unless one of each is face up next to the play area.

* Price is approximately $70-$80 for the 10th Anniversary Edition.  I have paid that amount for some of the strategy games in the past but it seemed like a lot to me and my wife.

Ultimately it was a fun game and I look forward to some more rounds of play.  I really want to try some of the optional rules provided with the game and see how a larger game plays with more players.  I recommend the game to other groups and I think it would be a fun game for family game nights!

(Just a "to be fair" disclaimer, I shamelessly stole the pictures I have used in this review from Google Image search)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Send Me Your Call Center Stories

After I posted my last blog about the woman bludgeoning another woman with a key board at the call center, a friend of mine said I should collect similar call center stories.  I thought it was a good idea.  So if you have any entertaining stories or you remember any of the great events that transpired at the call center where I used to work send me an email with your story:


Just to let everyone know, I already have a list of stories ready to post; some about the management, day to day events, and even one about that crazy guy who drove 10+ hours to the call center to threaten the customer service rep who denied his billing dispute for $80!  So I may not use all the idea I receive or they may already be queued up.  The ones I do use, I will give acknowledgement from where the story/idea came from, if the person submitting wants to be identified!

Thanks in advance for all the great stories!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Dueling Keyboards!

At one point in my career history, there was a dark time, I worked for an outsourcing company that was contracted as call center for a cellular phone company customer service center.  I grew up doing farm work, I have been in the US Army Infantry, and worked fast food and with that said, I saw more morally/ethically questionable activity and terrible treatment of employees  at the call center than in any other line of work.

I typically arrived about 45 minutes early to work in the morning, so as to get caught up any emails and send out my reports before my team members arrived for work.  So what started as any other normal day on the production floor of the call center turned into a bloody scene.  My desk was in one corner of the call center production floor and I was happily working away on my reports when I heard a woman raise her voice from across the production floor, but I could't make out what she was upset about.

From my desk, my view of the woman was blocked by what we called "The Tower"  it was a raised platform where the workforce/reporting employees worked.  I saw one of the reporting guy stand up to get a better look at what was going on as well.

As I rounded the tower, I saw the woman in question.  She was standing over another woman while holding up her computers keyboard like some executioner with a headsman ax.  She then screamed "You F***ING B**CH!" and then brought the keyboard down onto the other woman's head, knocking her from her seat.

I took of at run, along with another supervisor, and the workforce/reporting guy.  We managed to break up the fight.  If you want to call one woman bludgeoning another woman with a keyboard much of a fight.  Once security arrived we discovered that the entire situation had resulted from the keyboard wielding woman discovering that her "friend" sitting next to her had been sleeping with her "baby daddy" and was pregnant by said "baby daddy".  The two of them continued to scream obscenities at each other as they were escorted out of the building.

Now we had a broken keyboard, damaged workstation, and blood from the bludgeoned woman to clean up AND to top it all off...it wasn't even time to start the work day!  I have plenty of interesting stories to pass along from my days working at a call center.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Woodworking - Pepper Mill Project

On top of being a sci-fi/fantasy geek who loves games of all type, I have a couple of more "hands on" hobbies.  My father built hand made wooden furniture when I was a kid growing up in eastern Kentucky.  Though I did not inherit his wood working skill, I do love building small project when ever I have the time to get out into the shop.  This post is not intended to be a how to make XXX.  There are many more talented wood worker out there who have created very informative how to videos or posts.  I just want to share some of my experiences and hobbies and show you a little glimpse into my world.

I have slowly built my wood shop by searching Craigslist for good buys on used tools and equipment and when finances allowed buying some items from Woodcraft in Nashville, TN.  One of my first large purchases was a 1968 Rockwell Delta wood lathe from a High School wood shop in North Alabama that was discontinuing its shop program and selling all of its equipment at auction.

I have spent a little bit of time getting the lathe back up to optimal shape.  It is a sturdy piece of equipment and continues to impress me in how well it runs despite its age.

I am a frequent viewer of Marc Spagnuolo over at the Woood Whisperer:


His free videos re-ignited a passion in me for woodworking that I didn't know still existed.  I started with his beginner videos and relearned the basic skills I had not used since I was a little kid in my dads shop.  So I just want to thank Marc for his contribution to the woodworking corner of the internet and showing me I wasn't too old to get back into something that my father loved.

One of the first small project I decided to tackle was to make a Pepper Mill for my wife.  I used to love turning project on the wood lather and thought this won't be too bad of a project and she will love the end result.

I did not have very much in the way of wood stock for my project since I had just started to put my shop together.  Though in a stroke of fortune we had just had a recent storm come through and one of my friends had cut up a hickory tree and gave me a few pieces from his demo'd tree.

After watching a few how to videos, and ordering a Woodcraft pepper mill kit.  I started my "little" project.  My first lesson is that Hickory is a very hard wood and it took a lot of effort for me to keep my tools sharp and not have a large amount of tear out.

As you can see, I was met with a moderate amount of success.

I will say that some of the wood grain from the hickory turned out to give the wood a beautiful appearance and one that my wife fell in love with.

The final installation of the pepper mill kit took some fine tuning but all in all I was very proud of the end result and the two hickory pepper mills were a big success.  The one on the left was a gift to my wife while the the taller one of the right was a welcome home gift to a friend of mine who had been deployed over seas with the U.S. Army.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


For today’s post I thought I would share a story from when I was a teenager.  Once again I have changed the names of the people involved to protect the guilty.  I will apologize up front for the length of this post but I think it will need some background info.  By the way I believe I was only 14 when these events occurred.

Once upon a time when I was to young to know better, I ran around with two other guys close to my age that lived nearby, we will call them Sam and Houston.  We lived in a relatively small neighborhood consisting of three streets tied together by a single cross street and another street that was an outlier and only accessible via the main highway or by crossing a small field.  This neighbor hood was about 20 miles outside of a decent sized town and isolated for the most part with no real stores, fast food places, or other neighborhoods nearby.

The summer before my friend Houston, who was a year older than me, got his driver license we found many many ways to get into trouble.  The neighborhood had a collection of young kids and teenagers closer to my age as well.  The best part was the fact that the teenagers had a few girls close to our age.  As you may know teenage boys and attractive girls of comparable age are not always a good combination. 

My friends and I were sitting out in road at end of the third street talking with some of these girls when my buddy Sam had an idea of how we should spend the evening once the sun had gone down.  “You we should play hide and go seek tonight.”  Of course the group started to give him grief about his childish idea of fun, when he started to explain expand upon his statement. “No, no, not just hide and go seek but a more adult version.” 

Of course this got the groups attention.  He went on to explain that we would play Hide and go seek with our clothes.  The rules went like this; one person was “it” and would remain clothed and would have 20 minutes to go around the neighborhood and hide everyone else’s cloths.  The first person to find all of their own clothing and return to the start point would get to be the next person to be “it”.   The only articles of clothes you were allowed to keep were your underwear, glasses (if needed), and shoes.  Of course to the guys this was a great idea and we all quickly agreed, but as you can already guess the girls were a little more reluctant.   So after an hour or so of convincing and promising that one of the girls could be the first person “it” they agreed to the game.  

We decided to meet up in an hour when the sun had gone down.  My buddies and I each went home to change into more game friendly underwear.  To this day I still don’t know what that meant for my buddies but for me it meant changing out of my tidy whities and into some more group friendly flannel boxers.

So the sun went down and Sasha was up as the first person “it”.  We all met up in her back yard well away from the porch lights and slowly started to strip down to shoes and underwear.    For a young man this was a great time, even with the poor lighting.  We all nervously shuffled around and pretended we were trying to look at the girls, while Sasha went to hide the clothes.  Soon we were all running around the neighborhood as fast as we could try to recover our clothing.  This may not sound very hard but when you realize that Sasha had put shirts up in trees and shorts into various mailboxes, this became a much bigger ordeal that we had planned on.  As a matter of fact except for a few stolen peaks at the girls before we stared I don’t think I saw much of them during the game, 

I stated to think this may have not been the best game idea, especially when it was approaching the hour mark and all I had was my t-shirt and my shorts were still missing.  Though I had come across some of the girls clothes and thought about hiding them better but decided I would let the game be more fair…oh how I had underestimated the girls and their plans.  Finally I gave up and headed back to Sasha’s yard with only a t-shirt to show for my effort. 

When I arrived the girls plan all made sense; all three girls who had gone to look for clothes were fully dressed while Sam and myself were each only wearing our t-shirts, underwear, and shoes while Houston was back in only his underwear and one shoe.  When I asked him about his missing shoe he only mumbled something about cheating girls…but he was all grins for the rest of the night.  After a few laughs the girls told us where to find our remaining clothes, which were all inside Sasha’s garage and not in the legal play area! 

I regret to inform you that we did not learn our lesson from this game and did play many more times of the course of the summer.  The guys did have a few chances to be the “it” person.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ninja Armadillos

To start with, and let me get this out in the open, I live in the southern portion of the US.  More specifically in great state of Alabama.  I can not claim this state as my state of origin, but my wife and family have grown to enjoy our home since we moved here for my job.  I also posted this story on Facebook awhile back and thought it would be a good idea to re-share it here on my blog.

With that said, one of the items that I found as an oddity after living here for the past 9 years is the  amount of dead armadillos that  I see on the side of the road.  As I said I have lived here for many years and have yet to see one of these critters alive and kicking.

My work frequently involves me traveling to and from customer job sites and I spend a lot of time on the road.  During one of my work trips I commented to my co-worker that it was odd to only see the dead armadillos and never seeing any alive.

He looked at me and simply said "That's because you are only seeing the ones that failed their ninja test."  and then he went back to looking out the window.

Of course I was mystified with his answer so I asked him to clarify and explain?

His reply "There comes a time in each armadillos life where they have to step up and attempt to pass their ninja test.  The ones you see on the side off the road...well they failed the test."

And according to my co-worker...that was that.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Ghostbusters Board Game Review

I have an old friend from high school who is a long time Ghostbusters fan.  When we met our second conversation was about Ghostbusters.

Once he discovered that Cryptozoic Entertainment was releasing a Kickstarter board game, my friend was, as all my current co-workers would say, "All In!".  The Kickstarter for the game was fully funded on March 12, 2015 by raising $1,546,270 USD with 8,396 backers.  I am not very familiar with Kickstarter projects but that appears to me as very successful!

I followed the entire process via my friends fevered updates.  I know about the shipping woes that Cryptozoic encountered and how they may have over done the different options that were available to purchase/support.  Then the day came last fall when my friend called to tell me his copy of the game had arrived and was on his porch...3 hours away, since he was out of town for work.  We are good friends but I still chuckled at his plight.

Recently my friend came to visit and brought his copy of the Ghostbusters Board Game, along with all of his Kickstarter options that he purchased.  We sat down to play and he opened up the black box with its yellow caution striping.  My first visual impression was that it was a clean, neat, and very evocative of Ghostbusters.  I poured through his collection of painted mini's and translucent ghosts.  I also noticed that the game was very well organized by a pre-made divider system.

I was informed that the divider system was something he purchased after receiving the game it was a huge help is organizing all the game pieces.  He also stated that he bought the extra set of the four basic Ghostbusters and the Ecto-1 so that he could paint them to look a bit more realistic.  I felt that the painted minis added alot to the feel of the pieces.

A lot of comparisons have been made to Zombicide by Guillotine Games, I have played a lot of Zombicide and I do some some similarities in style, game set up, and a couple of the game mechanics but over all I would say that Ghostbusters is a spiritual counterpart and not a sequel or simply a copy of  Zombicide.  For example it is a tile based game with several scenarios available to play for replay ability but the actual game play is different.

You start play by choosing a scenario and your team of four Ghostbusters, Since I was playing the deluxe edition for the Kickstarter we had the tradtional four Ghostbusters from the movie; Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler, and Winston Zeddmore available plus some of the characters from the recent video game, cartoons, and comic books.  I learned that you only receive the original four Ghostbusters with the basic retail version of the game.

We selected the first scenario, which was all about chasing down Slimer.  You know the green ghost the Ghostbusters first encountered in hotel, the little guy that slimed Peter Venkman (Bill Murry).  the over all scenario consisted of 4 separate session of game play.  We had toddler agro a few times during play so my report of about 1.5 hours for each sessions may not truly reflect how long a session may/should take to play out.  The mechanics are straight forward, you can move around the map and even drive the Ecto-1 around if you like.  Then you shoot a Ghost and if you hit you mark them with a proton stream and depending on the level of the ghost it may take several streams to "trap" a Ghost.

The driving mechanics are how many actions you have available to complete the goals of the session and since when you get slimed it takes away actions, they are very precious and to be used concisely to get done what the team needs.  We frequently found our selves out of actions for ourselves and having to use the few actions we had remaining to de-slime our team mates so that we could actually do something

The spirit realm is where all the ghosts hang out when not on the map causing you problems.  If you run out of ghosts in the spirit realm and can't place anymore in to play then you loose.  This creates a delicate balance between chasing objectives for the session and "Busting Ghosts" to keep the game alive.  We had a session where we had all the time in the world to complete the goals  and then we had another session where is seemed all we did was bust Ghosts to keep the game going and we didn't have any time to chase the session goals.  Over all I thought it was a good mechanic to drive game play.

During play you earn Xp for your character and will advance in level as the session progress.  This Xp gain translates into ability increases, special abilities you can use, and most importantly - additional actions each turn!  We did find that several of the character had strong synergistic abilities with other characters.  Such as Peter Venkman ability to gain Xp by being slimed and Ray Stantz  abilities to gain Xp by de-sliming teammates.  One difficulty we did encounter was that it was still just as difficult "to hit" the low to mid level Ghosts at higher character levels as it was during the low levels.  I would like to see some mechanic to assist with this lack of a "to hit" difficultly.

So to summarize for you

Pros (Things I like)

  • Different Characters from non-movie sources available to play

  • Character levels and gained abilities as the game progresses

  • Very detailed minis

  • Lots of options available for play (scenarios and characters)

  • Approximately $60 USD for retail version

Cons (Things I don't like)

  • Length of session play was a bit long

  • Difficulty taking out simple spirits with experienced characters

  • Difficulty completing final confrontation with Slimer

  • A lot of the options were only available via Kickstarter or via Ebay for crazy amounts of money

  • Random movement of spirits when missed or even when you hit them  

Overall I enjoyed the game and nostalgia it created from my childhood was amazing.  It brought back memories of running round the neighborhood busting ghosts with my friends.  I also wish that I had gotten in on the Kickstarter as well.  Perhaps I will bite the bullet and jump in on the New Kickstarter for the Ghostbusters II Board Game, if you are interested head over to Kickstarter and check it out.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Magic the Gathering, The end of our RPG Renaissance

Magic the Gathering was a turning point in gaming for our group.  We each were now old to have a part time job and enough money to buy our own gaming material.  Everyone in our small group of friends bought a starter deck of MtG, this was the tail end of the Dark expansion.  We had missed out on the Alpha, Beta, and Legends expansions of the game. 

 The game was amazing, you had all the creatures of fantasy RPGs there to do battle before you!  For the readers who are familiar with the game, each of us gravitated towards a mana type that we preferred and started building our playing decks to reflect those interests.  I have always liked a Green/White combo, just an fyi.

I have may stories from those days, of which I bet a lot of other have similar versions of their own to retell.  Such as the night we played a 5 player rainbow magic and I got stuck with blue, but wait did someone just cast Spirit Link on my Leviathan!  That was a fun game, I won the game with well over 100 health!  An unheard of feat at that time in our magic playing days.  How about the day that another friend of mine split my card collection and decided to start with a 100 health each...six hours of play later he won the game because I ran out of cards, stupid Mill Stone!  To this day I still can't stand that card!

Quickly we found ourselves drawn into buying more booster packs to get “better” cards than our buddies as each expansion was released.  Which in turn lead to us buying even more packs in hopes to get even “more better” cards!  

I found myself broke at the end of each week with only a stack of growing common cards to show.  It was a vicious cycle that from which we didn’t know how to escape.

Finally the insanity ended when when it was time to move out of the house and try out this college thing.  while at school I found out that I was more concerned with a few new items more so than my magic collection.  A couple of items for example include:  food, beer, and most importantly...girls.  The last item on that short list really didn't care for any "kiddy" games such as Magic The Gathering!

Monday, May 2, 2016

My Introduction to Role-playing Games

When I was a young, around 9 years old or so, I saw a copy of TSR’s Marvel Superhero Role-playing Game Advanced set in our local book store at the mall.  At the time I had no idea what a role-playing game actually was.  I was huge into Marvel comics and had been pouring through my dad’s collection of Fantastic Four, Avengers, and X-Men from the 60s and into the 70s.  I had never thought that the comics could be a board game, since that was the only thing I could relate to concerning that Marvel box!  I told my dad about it when I got home and spent quit a few evening thinking about how you could play a game with all my favorite heroes.

Several weeks went by before my birthday in October when I found that that Marvel Advanced set wrapped up in my birthday presents as a gift from Dad.  As soon as all the birthday company had gone, I  set up and started reading and kept reading well past bed time that night.  The whole concept of  role-playing game was amazing, it was playing make believe but it was better since you had a city map, folded card-stock heroes, and stats for the heroes and villains.  With my mother’s help and good amount of glue and more than a few paperclips to hold the card-stock heroes together while they dried, I finally had the game ready to play.

My friends all thought the game was a fun but a weird set up for a board game.  We played every Saturday that we could all get together.  I even remember going to a friends house that lived on a farm, where we normally road 4 wheelers and hung out in the woods.  This time we played Marvel instead while his folks kept wanting us to go outside and play!   

My gateway game to role-playing games was most definitely Marvel Superheroes Role-playing Game Advance Set.  A year later I was given a copy of Dungeon’s and Dragon’s 1st edition players hand book by a friend of the family.  He heard how much I loved my Marvel RPG.  Even though I had that hand book it wasn’t until a few years later that I managed to pick up a copy of the 2nd edition Players, Dungeon Masters, and Monstrous compendium and actually played a full game off AD&D.

My next introduction was when a good friend of mine picked up a copy of Starfleet battles, so next we learned how to do battle with Klingon battleships while we piloted our Constellation class Star-ships around the black hex map.  I loved how you had to follow the flow chart on your ship records to determine where damage needed to be applied during the battle.  That game captured the feeling of star Trek and its ship battles.

Just like the RPG industry in the late 80s and into the 90s the games came faster and faster; Top Secret SI, Paranoia, Shadowrun, AD&D 2nd Ed., Aerotech, Stormbringer, Battletech, Middle Earth Roleplaying Game, Rifts,  Cars Wars, GURPS, Ars Magica, Starwars RPG (WEG), Vampire the Masquerade, and finally Magic the Gathering!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

About time!

It's about time I have gotten off my lazy bum and finally decided to put a a few thoughts down on paper...or in a blog.  If you are here reading this, I hope you find it interesting or at least distracting from your day to day activities for a few minutes.

I intend to use this blog to get a few thought out of my head and let them roll around in the great big old internet.  Some of them will be about my life, my family, my hobbies, and just some of the crazy things that I enjoy!

Welcome to A Few Thoughts and I hope to see you around.