Sunday, June 25, 2017

Scythe Review


This game has been on my list for some time now, so this past weekend I picked up a copy of Scythe.  I have read a lot of Google+ posts about the game and most of those are very positive.  So I was eager to play, but family commitments worked against me and the game sat on the dinner table unopened for a few days.  My first impression; the box is heavy and the artwork is Amazing.  

The game is produced by Stonemaier Games and created by Jamie Stegmaier and that "Amazing" art work by Jakub Rozalski.  The game was a successful Kickstarter back in 2015 and is now commercially available via many outlets.  We pick up up our copy from Amazon for $62.00.

Upon finally opening the box, we found detailed minis, wooden tokens, cardboard coins/tokens, double sided game board, rules books (yes two books, we will get to that in a minute), an achievement sheet, and about 30+ ziplock baggies of various sizes to hold all your minis and tokens.

With my toddler son "helping" pop out all the card board tokens, my wife and I were ready to set up and try to play our first game.  One of the pointers in the rules books says not to stress over the rules and do not attempt to explain all the ins and out to new players but to just "jump in and push the buttons and see what works", and after playing the game for the first time...I would agree with this statement.  

The actual game play flows very well.  The turn order is dictated by what player mat you are randomly assigned and then goes around the table.  You will have a faction mat and player mat assigned.  the order, costs, and rewards may vary between each faction mat and player mat.  Each turn you will choose one of four actions found on your player mat and you can't choose the same action two turns in row (unless you are the one faction that breaks that rule).

These actions will either move your character, mech, or workers around the mat.  While other actions will produce resources, trade for resources, or recruit people to help your faction grow.  Each action has it pros and cons during play and you will need to consider your needs in the immediate and long term of the game, to get yourself in position to play stars and win the game.  Each player is attempting to play 6 stars and thus end the game.  Once the game has ended you score; hexes, monuments, and several other criteria to determine the overall winner of the game.
 
Each faction has unique abilities that break some of the established rules.  For example I mention earlier there is  faction that can select the same action turn after turn instead of being forced to not select the currently action for the turn.  For example if you select movement this turn, then you have to select one of the other three actions on the following turn.  After you have then done the new actions, you can move again your following turn. 

The box and rule book state that the game should take around 115 minutes to pay but our first play lasted closer to 4 hours for a two player game.  In the games defense we did stop and watch part of a 30 minute Youtube video how to play, to clarify a question we had about resources.  Once thing we did notice was that the game was slow in the begging during our build up but accelerated as the game progressed.  So our last few turns flew by.  

The last item I would like to touch on is that the game come with a second rule book just for playing the game solo.  Yes, the game is for 1 - 5 players.  I haven't had a chance to try out the solo play yet but I should get a chance soon and will update my readers with my impressions.  I recommend the game for anyone who likes resource management games with a healthy dose of combat.

.


Pros (Things I like)

  • Impressive artwork
  • Large amount of detailed minis 
  • Stonemaier Games and Jamie Stegmaier have a large on-line presence
  • Lots of storage baggies provided with the game for minis and tokens
  • Top action and Bottom actions are a fun mechnic to manage your turn 

Cons (Things I don't like)

  • The rules are straight forward but we found ourselves referencing online FAQs for clarification on a few rules.
  • The 30+ page rule book was a bit intimidating at first and the first read thru was difficult to keep it all straight.
  • Cost, the game had been above $100 on Amazon for awhile and finally dropped down to the $60 range and is a bit more affordable

Sunday, June 18, 2017

King of Toyko Review



I recently got the opportunity to play King of Tokyo by Richard Garfield, and yes the same Richard Garfield that created Magic the Gathering!  The game is published by iLLEO and available for around $30-$40 depending on if you can catch a sale or not.

The game that I played was a first edition copy of the game and includes two different monsters and different art work for the monsters who make a return in the newer second edition of the game.  We were unaware that we had purchased the second edition and the different monsters and artwork came as a bit of a shock.

Game play is simple, each player controls a monster and attempts survive and gain 20 victory points.  VP are represented by lighting bolts on your character tile.  Your character tile also contains a portrait of your monster, your health wheel along with the previously mentioned VP wheel.

There is also a stand up portrait of your monster and a city tile for Tokyo.  Each player takes turns rolling 6 dice (good old fashioned 6-siders) in an attempt to roll claws (attack), Lighting (energy), or just the numerals 1, 2, and 3 for victory points.  You score extra victory by having your monster inside Tokyo but you are unable to heal while in the city.  Meanwhile outside the city you can damage the monster occupying the city and heal as you wish but in theory you won't score victory points as quickly.

You can win by either being the first monster to score 20 victory points or be the last monster standing.  I have seen the game won both ways and with the victory point win, I have seen the monster in the city win and a monster who had never "gone into" the city win.  The plays quickly and is fun, even in a 5 player game the dice come back around and you don't have to wait very long between rolls.

We have also played the game with the younger crowd and even my mother-in-law, who also likes the game.  I would recommend this game for those who enjoy dice-rolling games and want something that plays in 30-45 min.















Pros (Things I like)

  • Fun monster and with nice artwork
  • Simple rules that flow well
  • Plays very quickly.  The 5 player games wrapped up in about 40 min.

Cons (Things I don't like)

  • $40 is a bit steep in price for such a simple game
  • Better markings between editions, some expansion material is edition specific.





Saturday, June 10, 2017

Wonder Woman Movie Review


















Today I went to see the DC Comics movie Wonder Woman, Staring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine.  This movie was directed by Patty Jenkins.  Going into this movie I was only vaguely aware of who Patty Jenkins was and I have not seen her other directed movie Monster (2003).  I was very aware of who Gal Gadot and Chris Pine are and hopeful that this movie would better than some of the past DC Comic movies.

Right up front, I am a long time Marvel Comics fan and have been for well over 35 years.  I have enjoyed some of the DC Comic flagship tittles;  Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern, but I would not consider myself anywhere near as big of DC fan as I claim to be a Marvel fan.  With that said, this movie was fantastic!  My wife, who was not a comic fan but since our marriage she has picked up a lot of comic knowledge and appreciation for the written material and movie adaptions, upon the last credit rolling.  She turn to me today and summed up the movie fairly concisely.

"Wow, now I am excited to watch the Justice league movie...I hope Batman doesn't screw it up."

let me continue by addressing the previous DC Comic movies, since this film in a continuation of the DC Cinematic Universe.  I am not big fan of Zack Snyder's darker and angst filled DC movies.  There were parts of Man of Steel that I did enjoy but over all the movie didn't feel right and I found myself soured to this presentation Superman.  Then came along Batman vs. Superman, once again not a big fan.  In my opinion the best parts of the film were in two scenes;  when Batman fights the thugs in the warehouse while saving Martha Kent and then the second scene was actually Wonder Woman fighting Doomsday near the end of the film.  You know the scene where Doomsday knocks her back and she get up and smiles before jumping back in to the battle.  So Batman vs Superman fell flat and did not deliver and failed to set up the "Dawn of Justice".

Now Wonder Woman.


Did they deliver on a beautiful actress to portray Diana, Princess of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta?  Yes and not only that but director Patty Jenkins brought her to life with grace, skill, and respect to her being a powerful confident woman.  Many a comic fan has cried for a positive female roll model to lead her own film in our renaissance of Comic era movies.  Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins have delivered.

I won't get into spoiler territory with this review out of respect to those who may not have had the opportunity to go see the film.  What I will speak to is the fact that Gal Gadot portrays Diana as educated, mature, and confident woman.  She doesn't pander to the damsel in distress tropes that plague female characters and she does not need her co-star Chris Pine to save her.   At times his presence in the film served as more of a plot device than that of a co-star.  Yet, with this powerful woman leading the charge, literally at times, she does find a centering force in Chris Pine's character Steve Trevor.  The movie managed to address the issue of a confident woman and sex.  Granted the scenes are off camera and very tastefully done but the message was clearly sent that this character is a mature woman who can have a physical relationship and in a healthy fashion.  I was worried the Patty Jenkins would skirt the issue and just avoid any hint of sex, but she did not and it was handled with grace.

Since this is a period piece set during World War I and gives us the origin story of Wonder Woman, I have read many comparisons of this movie to Marvel's Captain America: The First Avenger (2011).  In that regard, yes there are some similarities, but they don't go much farther than the general approach to the film.

I have hopefully delivered sufficient praise for for what the movie does well.  So lets move on to the few items that I felt were detractors.  First off the special effects were fantastic but there were a  few effects that suffered from poor cut-aways from the action or seemed to have been rushed in post production.  For example there is an explosion that has the structure intact and then seems to "skip a frame" and the building is rubble while the explosion is still occurring.  The next item I have is that this is a period piece but due to camera angle and placement in several scenes some of the sets feel small.  In those scenes you only get a few angles and see the same background repeatedly.  The final nit pick I have is the creation of the small group that appears in the picture from Batman vs Superman,  it felt forced.  I wish it had a more organic feel and gave each of the characters a stronger sense of history between them.

With all that said, I enjoyed the movie.  My wife and I are planning on going to see it in the theater again and we haven't done that since Star Wars Episode.  If you have the opportunity make sure you catch this one on the big screen.  This movie worked hard to redeem the DC Comic Movies and raises my hopes for a good Justice League Movie.





Monday, May 29, 2017

Organizing Our Board Games

My wife and I have wanted to organize our board-games (at least in one place) for years.  well this past holiday weekend we finally cleared a space in our basement and set up a storage shelf.  For your viewing pleasure, I am hereby posting our Board-game Shelfie! 


A Great Way to Wake Up!

The summer after my mother remarried we moved out to Wakefield, KS to live with my Stepdad for the summer and then return to Kentucky for the next school year.  He was station at Fort Riley, KS.

That summer was an amazing time.  I was only 14 at the time and didn't realize how little of the world I had actually seen.  During that summer a bunch of amazing firsts occurred (these are not in any particular order):  Played D&D for the first time, read a novel with sex in the story ( Robert Silverberg Majipoor series), flashed by the wife of one of my stepdads co-workers, made out with a pair of 14 year old twins (at the same time), and baby-sat 3 children.

The kids in question belong to a couple who are friends with my Mom and Stepdad.  Both my stepdad and the father of the 3 kids were in the Army.  Wakefield, KS is a very small town on the shore of Milford Lake and very quiet town.  My stepdad and his friends were probably the wildest bunch in the area since they all road motorcycles and were part of the "Wakefield Bunch".  The mom of the 3 kids would have to go to work early and the Dad would have too leave soon after to get to morning PT/Formation at Fort Riley.  So the dad would ride his Harley up to our house to pick me up and then we would both ride back to his house so that I could watch the kids for a few hours until their mom got home from work.

To this day riding a Harley several blocks thru town at 4:30am is still one of the best way I have found to wake up in the morning.  The memory of those morning rides has stayed with me since.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Tabletop: Will Wheaton Plays FATE Core with Felecia Day, John Rogers, and Ryan Macklin

 


TABLETOP: WIL WHEATON PLAYS FATE CORE WITH FELICIA DAY, JOHN ROGERS, AND RYAN MACKLIN

I have been an on again and off again follower of Wil Wheaton's Tabletop videos.  Usually I just check out the games I have been interested in playing and want to see a group try it out...the groups being made up of celebrities doesn't hurt either.

As a long time fan of Roleplaying games, I have only recently started branching into the FATE system.  I enjoyed watching this video of the game play and it give a very good example of how to run a FATE adventure.

If you have some free time, check it out.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Velveteen vs the Junior Super Patriots - Review

 

Seanan McGuire and her Velveteen series were flying under my radar when it came to superhero fiction.   Until I read Team-Ups and Crossovers (Wearing the Cape Book 6) by Marion G. Harmon.  In his book the main character is traveling across dimensions and founds herself in Seanan McGuire’s Velveteen universe.
I enjoyed the Velveteen chapters of Mr. Harmon’s novel and went to pick up the first of the Velveteen series.  I have had a difficult time putting the Velveteen books down.  Seanan has created a world where superheroes not only exist but they are strictly controlled by a corporation, The Super Patriots.  In this world our heroine has quit the team and struck out on her own and is just trying to live her life, but the Super Patriots have other plans. 

The books are fun and entertaining to read.  The characters have an appeal that reaches out into our own lives.  Seanan has brought a wonderfully deep character to life and without the in-depth battle description that are the core of some of the other super hero fiction.  She delivers an entertaining series of books that are character focused and not all about the flare and excitement of super powers.

Velveteen vs the Junior Super Patriots

The

Friday, April 21, 2017

Wearing the Cape RPG Available!

Wearing the Cape RPG PDF is not available for purchase at Drivethrurpg

After the successful completion of his Kick-starter campaign, Marion G. Harmon has made the PDF of his main book for Wearing the Cape available for purchase.



Wearing-the-Cape-The-Roleplaying-Game

Drop by and pick up a copy!  I will be doing a more in depth review in the upcoming weeks.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Marvel Superheroes - Issue # 3 "Maybe we waited too long"

Issue # 3 picks up immediately following the FBI and local SWAT swarming the hotel floor and rescuing our heroes and fellow hotel residents who were trapped after the game convention.  So as our new heroes are quickly discovering that any interaction with law enforcement involves a lot of time spent being questioned and interrogated as to what transpired.  Over the next 6 hours the people who where trapped on the hotel floor discover that for the past several days they were missing completely as far as the FBI is concerned.  The hotel floor was empty with no trace of any who should have been present.

Agent Miller of the FBI did not really believe the story about being stuck on an inescapable hotel floor for three days, but at the same time between the convention and now what had transpired on the hotel floor, he didn't have a reasonable explanation.  Since they all told the same story and all the details matched, he eventually released everyone except George Dillie (the guy that was going to attack Simon and the little girl).  He was going to keep him on assault and attempted kidnapping charges since the girl in questions was now missing.

Our heroes quietly left the cursed hotel and found a small cheap out of the way motel to stay at and gather their thoughts.  During the course of the evening they discovered that they were able to do some amazing things.  Al discovered that he could alter the state of a substance, such as milk.  He made a glass of milk instantly sour and then as he concentrated he made the glass of milk un-sour.  While this Catalyst power was amazing, Simon found that he could actually fly!  After a quick flight around downtown he came back to the hotel.

Al and Simon decided that they needed more time to figure out what they were capable of and that they would both head back to Simon's place in Boulder City, NV until they worked out the specifics.

Listed below are Simon and Al's character sheets:

Superhero Name: Slipstream
Character Name: Simon Vladimir Odinkirk
Origin:   Normal Human

F  TY (5) Health:  23
A   TY (7)
S  GD (8) Karma:  438
E  TY (5)
R  TY (5) Resources:  GD (10)
I   TY (5)
P  PR (3) Popularity:  5  /

KNOWN POWERS:  
True Flight -  RM (26), 225mph
Resist:   Atmospheric Friction - RM (26)
Lung Adaptation:  High Speed Winds - RM (26)
Energy Emission:  Kinetic Blast RM (26), Range 1 area.  Power has to “recharge” from air friction during flight


LIMITATIONS:
None

TALENTS:

None

CONTACTS:
None


BACKGROUND:

Grocery Store Manager.  One estranged sister.  Quite life and self sufficient but has confidence issue and works at Dollar General for the past 6 years and it is his first day as Store Manager. Netflix binge watcher.  Terrible at video games.  Lives in Bolder City, Nevada



Superhero Name: Battlestar
Character Name: Aliester Crowley
Origin:   Normal Human

F   TY (5) Health:  45
A   EX (16)
S  EX (16) Karma: 13
E  GD (8)
R PR (3) Resources: IN (16)
I   TY (5)
P  TY (5) Popularity: 5  /

KNOWN POWERS:
Catalytic Control - EX (16)
Crystallization - IN (36)
Energy Absorption - PR (3)


LIMITATIONS:
None


TALENTS:

History
Military


CONTACTS:
None


BACKGROUND:

2 years in the army didn’t work for him, became a teacher due to incompetent officers.  Inner city school teacher around Baltimore.  His mother is his only living family.  while his coworkers try to be friends at work.  Kind of a loner.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Marvel Superheroes - Issue # 2 "Here we go again and again..."


When we left off last time.  Our soon to be heroes had retreated to Al's hotel room on the 10th floor.  Taking a few minutes to calm down and accept the weirdness that occurred on the convention floor, they began to study the "magic glowing" stick they had taken for the Satyr guys calling himself "The Locus".

When ever Simon or Al would hold the staff, it would emit a faint blue glow.  Despite several attempts to make it do something special (besides glow) it remained an inert glowing stick well into the wee hours of the night.  The flashing lights of the police and emergency service vehicles were still visible from the hotel room window all night.  Al and Simon stayed up late discussing what happened and trying to figure out what to do with the stick.  At one point, Al looked at the hotel room clock and realized that it should be dawn.  Yet the sky outside was still pitch black and the flashing lights at street level were still shinning brightly.

Our heroes then checked their cell phones and room phones, which had no signal and the line was dead respectively.   Their next course of action was to go the elevator, which was no where to be found.  Then they went looking for the stairwell, which was also missing.  They discovered that the entire hotel floor was self sealed and they couldn't find any way off the floor.

It was then that they started to worry.  they went door to door and woke up all the other people who were staying on the 10th floor.  Once everyone was awake and gathered in the hallway, there were 31 people including our two heroes.  One of the other guests, suggested they try to break through a wall or break out a window and yell for help.  They discovered that the walls and windows were impenetrable.

Over the course of the next three days it became clear that they were in serious trouble.  The taps in the bathrooms were working.  So they had plenty of drinking water but they were almost completely out of any food that may have been in the rooms when they became trapped.  Al and Simon suspected that the glowing stick was responsible but were unable to get it to react to any stimuli.  They started passing the stick around to other people to see if that might help.

The youngest person trapped with our heroes was a 13 year old girl named Allie, who along with her mother Janice were the next to last people to be given a chance to wield the glowing stick.  On the morning off the third day of being trapped on the hotel floor, Simon handed the stick over to Allie.

The ground began to shake and the glowing light blossomed around Allie in a similar fashion to what happened with the The Locus (or middle aged Satyr Man as the players now called him).  The glow enveloped Allie and an impossibly strong force pressed Al, Simon, and Janice across the room.

One of the other trapped hotel occupants named George took that moment to reveal that he could turn his fingers into razor sharp claws.  George turned to attack Simon, who was in his way, so that he could get to Allie and kill her.  George had deduced that she was the cause of the whole "trapped on the hotel floor" problem due to how the "magic stick" reacted.

Three days of trapped boredom turned in a chaotic 40 seconds at 9:24AM.   Allie shrieked an almost inhuman sound and screamed "Finally, I am free!" and disappeared in a loud pop.  George slashed out at Simon at the same time that Al smacked him over the head with his Darth Maul lightsaber cosplay prop he had kept from the convention hall 4 days prior.  Just as George slumped down to the floor, Swat team members swarmed into the hotel hallway, followed by men wearing FBI vests.

The adventure ended with Allie and glowing stick missing.  George in police custody for assault.  Simon and Al trying to comfort Allies mom Janice.  While the police say the hotel floor had been empty for 3 days and all the people suddenly appeared around them just as George was rendered unconscious.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Wearing the Cape - Kickstarter Announcement



As you may have picked up from my previous posts.  I am a huge fan of Marion G. Harmon's Wearing the Cape Series of books.  He has announced that the Kickstarter for the upcoming Role-playing game based upon his book series, of the same name,  is going live on February 1st!  The game will be using the Fate System.

Wearing the Cape -Kickstarter Announcement

I urge anyone taking time to read this post to take a few minutes and check out Mr. Harmon's post.  If you have a little more time, pick up one of his novels.  I think you will enjoy the world he has crafted.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Marvel Superheroes - Issue # 1 "Convention Gone Wild"

Our first MSHRPG Issue #1 “Convention Gone Wild” starts off with our not-a-hero yet characters arriving at a large Comic Book Convention, in an unnamed town, that oddly enough never gets referred to by name during any actual scenes.  Yet, most comic fans inherently know where the soon to be heroes are, and what kind of Nerd/Geek lunacy too expect during a large gathering of comic book aficionados.  
Al and Simon arrived separately and met up in the main foyer while waiting for the doors to open for the convention floor.  Our ex-military and current teacher Al, hit it off with Simon, our meek and timid grocery store general manager, over small talk concerning comics and heroes.   A quickly growing crowd was gather around our heroes, all eagerly awaiting to charge the convention!  It was during this time when a middle aged man, dressed up in costume as a Satyr, walked up next to Al and Simon, and engaged them in conversation.  As they casually check out the “weirdo” dressed up in “goat costume” they noticed he was very excited about getting into the hall and talking to someone in the vendor area.
As the doors opened to the main hall the heroes were caught up in the excitement as much as the other convention goers.  They quickly moved across the floor and were amazed with all the displays and booths filled with a cornucopia a nerdom!   They moved from booth to booth and aisle to aisle and eventually found themselves near the back corner of the convention hall when they were approached by Darkness, You know the big demon looking guy played by Tim Curry in Legend (1985).  He approached our heroes and demanded they tell him where the horns of the unicorns are hidden!
They walked away from the large and very convincing Legend cosplay, talking about how committed that guy was to the role.  Then a fight broke out between Darkness and what appeared to a Darth Maul cosplayer with an amazingly real looking double-bladed light saber.  The fight quickly escalated until Darth Maul executed a sweeping light saber strike and separated Darkness from the bottoms of his legs.  
Darth Maul then approached the duo and demanded to know where to find the Jedi!  The two looked around dumbfounded as the hall erupted in chaos, as all the cosplayers were turning into real versions of the characters of which they were dressed.
[At this time, I would like to take quick break in the description of the events of the game and acknowledge that I have stolen this idea from the Author Marion Harmon who wrote about similar events in his most recent novel:  Team-Ups and Crossovers (Wearing the Cape Book 6).  Shhhh, don’t tell my players!  Also, big thanks to Mr. Harmon for such an awesome idea!  Back to the action…]
Simon, who had come to the convention dressed as Iron Man in his self-crafted suit of armor then also changed into the “real” Iron Man.  Catching Darth Maul by surprise with a quick Uni-beam to the face, put Maul out of commission.  Iron Man then launched himself into the air and went to save the other convention attendees from harm, leaving Al standing next to the bathroom with very realistic looking light saber at his feet.
It was at this point that Art3mis from Ready Player One by Ernest Cline ran up to Al and said that she needed his help stopping the individual responsible for this fiasco before anyone else got hurt.  So Al, who had been looking for a moment like this his whole life, snatch up the light saber and told Art3mis to lead on!  Art3mis then promptly lead Al into the men’s restroom just a short 30” away.  With only a small amount incredulity Al followed her into the restroom and ignited his red double bladed light saber.  
Meanwhile, Iron Man (aka Simon) was flying around the convention center doing away with as many villains as possible, while trying to rescue the civilians, when he is ambushed and knocked from the sky by Thanos.  He rolled to a stop near the very same bathroom that Al had just entered.  Simon returned to his senses, as his armor (now normal plastic again) began to fall off of him, damaged from his ambush and fall.  At least he managed to stop Cthulhu from devouring the eastern side of the convention hall.  Simon heard several shouts and yells from the bathroom and moved to investigate, especially since one of them sounded a lot like Al.  
What had confronted Al and Art3mis was our friendly neighborhood Satyr clutching a gnarled looking branch.  He was talking to himself in hushed tones as purple light pulsed from himself and the staff.
“No, I am in charge!  I am the Locus!” he bellowed as the purple pulse grew in magnitude before he continued to mumble and argue with himself.  Art3mis and Al then moved to the end of the bathroom and attempted to talk him down, but he didn’t even react to their questions.  Finally Al told Art3mis they need to get the staff away from him, only to be interrupted by the Reverse Flash zooming into the bathroom in a blur of Yellow and red lighting.  He was quickly stopped by Al’s light saber igniting and leaving a damaged and poorly made Reverse Flash costume on a very confused looking teenager.  
When Al turned back to Mr. Locus/Satyr, he saw Art3mis thrown across the bathroom and into the glass mirrors above the sink.  Turning to face The Locus he swung his light saber but as it struck the glowing branch it returned to an aluminum prop that only looked like Darth Maul’s light saber.  Simon then slowly entered the bathroom and saw the commotion and a nearly naked teenage Reverse Flash quickly backing away from the glowing staff and The Locus.
Simon looked at Al and they both charged The Locus.  Simon went for his legs while Al’s flying tackle took him down and back into the bathroom stall.  As the three fell to the floor in a tangled heap, the purple glow cut out.  The unconscious Art3mis transformed into a normal looking young woman with a decently constructed but damaged Art3mis costume.
Al scooped up the now inert staff and turned to Simon and quickly exited the bathroom, after making sure that normal Art3mis wasn’t hurt badly and The Locus was still unconscious.   They quickly exited the convention center avoiding the confused and beaten up convention goers, police, and who looked to be the FBI arriving.  They returned to Al’s hotel room on the 10th floor of his hotel to compare notes and take a closer look at this "magic" branch.
This is where the first issue ended.  We will pick up with Issue # 2, next time!










Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Munchkin Pathfinder Guest Artist Edition - Review


  We had family in to visit for New Years weekend.  So of course it was a good opportunity to pull out a few games and give them a try.  Personally I have only played the basic set of Munchkin in the past.  The game is fun, quick, and comical.

This version is all about Pathfinder, one of D&D 3rd Edition spin-offs.  Just like the other munchkin games you play a hero who is out to reach level 10 and win the game.  You then take turns exploring and fighting monsters and gathering equipment.  You can gain a character class and equipment that will make you strong enough to defeat the various monsters you draw or have played against you via the other players.

Our four players managed to get in two quick games.  One of which I won and the other being by stepson's girlfriend.




The game was fun and and fairly cheap, we picked up a copy at our local game shop for $20.00.  If you are a fan of Munchkin and Pathfinder, its a good buy but if you don't care for the pathfinder then you may be better off with the original Munchkin or one of it many and varied spin-off versions.



Pros (Things I like)

  • Its Munchkin, I love the humor!
  • The board is a nice addition from the basic game.  It helps keep track of the player levels.


Cons (Things I don't like)

  • I wanted more of the basic classes in Pathfinder, not just the Assassin, Eagle Knight, Summoner, and Witch.
  • A little pricier than the base game.  Over all not a bad product for ~$20

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu - Review


One of my Christmas gifts this year from my mother was Pandemic:  Reign of Cthulhu.  Now my mother loves me very much and wants to support my interests and hobbies, even when I am 39 years old and just want to play board games.  My wife and I are both fans of Pandemic and the legacy version of the game.  We are also well practiced in the two player game and the difficulties you face with a bad shuffle.  That being said we were excited to try out Reign of Cthulhu.

It was my responsibility to read the destructions...er I mean instructions.  Our mistake lies completely in my hands.   I set up the board and decks of cards as instructed.  The game takes place across 4 cities, that any one who has read H.P. Lovecraft's stories will recognize immediately, Arkham, Dunwitch, Kingsport and Innsmouth.  You play investigator who are moving from city to city and locations within the cities trying to stop cultists from gathering and summoning Shoggoths that will seek out portals and allow the ancient ones to affect the world.  You have to gather clues and relics and use those to slow the tides of evil and madness and then finally close all four portals.



We played 1.5 games on New Years Eve, the 0.5 game was our first one that we goofed up the rules.  We didn't see how the portals are opened up, but eventually figured out they start already open.  So we reset and played our first correct full game.  Alas we lost.  It was a close game, we had all the cards needed to close the last two portals but we ran out of cultists to play before we could close the last portal.  The players lose if you run out of cultists, all players go insane, run out of Shoggoths, player deck runs out, or if Cthulhu awakens!  Meanwhile the players have to close the 4 open portals before Cthulhu does wake up.

If you are a fan of the original Pandemic game from Z-Man Games then I would recommend you pick this up and add it to your collection.  If you are a Cthulhu fan, it is a cool game that reflects the dark world of H.P. Lovecraft and would be a neat addition to your collection.  The game is currently available on Amazon for $35.00 and you can find it other places such as Barnes and Noble ranging from $35-$55.  So if you are interested in picking up a copy, make sure you shop around a bit and save yourself a few dollars.


Pros (Things I like)

  • The board is beautiful in its own dark Gothic Horror fashion. 
  • I really like the way it recommends that players choose the investigator for each game.
  • As the Old Ones are able to affect the world (get turned over) the game rules can be changed to negatively affect the players and make the game harder.
  • It was a quick game and you may be able to pay a couple times in a row with out it being an all night experience.


Cons (Things I don't like)

  • We were confused in our first attempt to play because we didn't know how the portal opened up.  We didn't realize they start the game open, it made it much more difficult playing the right way!
  • The rules are a little difficult to read, but I am not fond of the dark background that is often used in horror settings for printed games or RPGs.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Marvel Superheroes (MSHRPG), aka "the FASERIP system," - Issue # 0

I have recently started a ongoing Marvel Superheroes campaign via Roll20.  I don't have much experience with using online platforms for my RPGs but this one has been a great experience.  It is a small group of only two players.  Our play time is short (about 1-2 hrs.) and sporadic as to when we can actually play.

I am a huge fan of Modern Superhero fiction that has grown in popularity over the past several years.  I decided to approach this game with a similar mentality.  The most common method of how the authors approach these worlds, is to present these super powered individual in a fashion that is very close to our modern world.  How would the governments react to people who develop powers?  How would the world be shaped by those same people?  It is an exciting prospect to consider, and to see how my players are going to react to those changes and how those actions will affect them and others around them.

The world in which my player live is just like the real world we all live and play in today.  The playera also chose a very non-traditional way to generate their characters.  They wanted me as the GM to roll up the characters and only reveal powers and abilities as they came into play during the story.  I would like to stress that they wanted me to roll them up and not just create what I thought would be cool for the story.

I went a bit farther and set up a couple of pre-game session with Roll20 so that each of the two players could do the actual virtual rolling in the interface and I would then compare rolls to the Ultimate Powers Book and Player's Book as appropriate.  The players then created a very brief origin and background.  I plan on sharing the team's ongoing exploits on this blog and i hope you all enjoy our antics as much as we do during the course of the game.

Now that we are a few session into our campaign, and the players have been exposed to their characters powers.  I am sharing the characters stats below:

Superhero Name:  Undecided
Character Name:  Simon Vladimir Odinkirk
Origin: Normal Human

F TY (5)  Health: 23
A TY (7)
S GD (8) Karma: 13
E TY (5)
R TY (5)  Resources: GD (10)
I TY (5)
P PR (3)  Popularity: 5 / 0

KNOWN POWERS: 
True Flight - RM (26), Max Speed:  225mph
Resist: Atmospheric Friction - RM (26)
Lung Adaptation: High Speed Winds - RM (26)
Energy Emission: Kinetic Blast RM (26), Range 1 area. Power has to “recharge” from air friction during flight

LIMITATIONS: 
None

TALENTS: 
None

CONTACTS:
None

BACKGROUND:
Grocery Store Manager. One estranged sister. Quite life and self sufficient but has confidence issue and worked at Money General for the past 6 years and it is his first day as Store Manager. Netflix binge watcher. Terrible at video games. Lives in Bolder City, Nevada


...and up next we have my other players character:


Superhero Name:  Undecided
Character Name: Al Crowley
Origin: Normal Human

F TY (5)   Health: 45
A EX (16)
S EX (16) Karma: 13
E GD (8)
R PR (3)   Resources: EX (16)
I TY (5)
P TY (5)   Popularity: 5 / 0

KNOWN POWERS: 
Catalytic Control - EX (16), Touch Only
Crystallization - IN (36), Touch Only
Energy Absorption - PR (3)

LIMITATIONS: 
None

TALENTS: 
History
Military

CONTACTS:
None

BACKGROUND:
2 years in the army didn’t work for him so he got out and became a teacher.  He is an inner city school teacher around Baltimore. Only family is mother and coworkers that try to be friends at work. Kind of a loner.

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 - A year in review

2016 was an interesting year, I am going to list a series of events below that occurred this past year:

  • Watched a new Star Wars movie, I love it and it didn't even have a light saber in the movie
  • Lost our cat Phyllis to cancer
  • Went into year two of my new job with a new employer
  • Traveled with work to Arkansas 11 times, ~10 more than I really would have liked
  • My son passed many, and I do man many, mile markers during his 2nd year on this planet.  I try not to gush too much on this one. 
  • Learned that my sister is dying of cancer and she has survived longer than the Dr's told us she would.
  • Started this blog!
  • Finally joined the world of owning an iPad and it's not so bad
  • Sold our car and truck and bought a new truck (which is just like the old one, only newer)
  • Read a lot of good books, Old Man's War series by John Scalzi, Don't tell my parents I am a Supervillian,  by Richard Roberts, and the last two books in the Wearing the Cape  series by Marion Harmon.  All of which I highly recommend!
  • Played in a beta test of the new Wearing the Cape RPG by Marion Harmon.  I am really excited for the Kickstarter for this one!
  • Interviewed for a new position in my company.  I didn't get the job but I felt the process was really good for me and owners, to get to know me a little bit better.
  • Supported my wife with her new interest and hobby - Bullet Journal
Thing that I didn't get to do this past year but want to change in 2017:

  • Work in the wood shop, I have a bunch of project ideas.
  • Visit old friends, especially the ones that are fairly close.  Such as some old Army buddies in Atlanta.
  • Go to GenCon in Indianapolis.
  • Take my son to the Zoo, he wants to see an Aardvark!
  • Take a family vacation in an RV to the Grand Canyon. 
  • 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!
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 also am going to strive to be more regular with updates, and share more of my thoughts and stories.  Happy New Year!

- Jeremiah