Saturday, December 5, 2020

Seeds of Wars: The smart web application for RPG realm management


Seeds of Wars: The smart web application for RPG realm management

I am an old fan of the 2nd edition Dungeons & Dragons Birthright setting.  For those of you are not familiar with the Birthright setting, it was created by Rich Baker and Colin McComb under the banner of TSR in 1995.  The setting is made for the AD&D but with the twist that the characters have a divine bloodline that grants them the ability to govern and rule a Domain (country).  This setting has a rich history and detailed set of campaign sourcebooks for specific Domains that PC can control or interact with during the course of play.  Even though the game is long out of print it has a loyal fan base that have worked hard to keep it alive and relevant with each updated edition of D&D over at the fan site.  One of the challenges for this type of play is the amount of book keeping required for Domain upkeep of the PC realm and the upkeep of the neighboring realms.

 Birthright Box Set from TSR

Back in 2018 the team over at Seeds of Wars created and a Kickstarter for an updated set of Realm Management tools for this type of campaign play.  They were unable to secure the rights to apply their new system to the original AD&D Birthright setting they released the updated system for a new original world of Ceres.  The 2018 Kickstarter was successfully funded and an updated version of the realm management system was delivered to backers.  One of the stretch goals that was not met was a proposed web base App to help with book keeping.  The creators pledged to return with a new Kickstarter to focus on the web based support. The new Kickstarter campaign can be found over on Kickstarter at Seeds of Wars: The smart web application for RPG realm management.  The Kickstarter campaign has just over a week left as of the writing of this article and they are close to meeting the goal for the campaign. 

In full disclosure, I am a backer of the campaign and huge fan of the original Birthright Setting and The Seeds of Wars team updated version of the rules management system.  I would encourage readers to take a look and spread the word to others that may not be aware of Kickstarter.  The out of print setting of Birthright is a small group of loyal fans and an even smaller group of people who would interested in a Web App for helping with Realm maintenance and upkeep.  Any assistance to spread the word of this Kickstarter would be appreciated. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

New Edition of Heroquest!

 For the past two weeks I have been watching clock count down to today.  It was a mysterious announcement centered around the 1980s boardgame Heroquest!

Today Hasbro announced a new version of the game and they are crowd funding the game on Hasbropulse.  If you have a few minutes, head on over and check it out!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

In Memory: Hemo (aka John Williams)

A friend of mine passed away yesterday.  His name was Hemo, otherwise known as John Williams.  You see I know his name but he was introduced to me as Hemo via online gaming.  So that became the name that I know him as.  I was introduced to Hemo by our mutual friend Eric Whiteaker, it was inside the MMORP (massive multiplayer online roleplaying game) World of Warcraft.  Another interesting aspect of my relationship with Hemo was the fact that I have never met the man in person.  This may come as a surprise to some people but over the years I have formed very close friendships with others via online games.  Those people are very dear to me and hold a special place in my heart.  Hemo was one of those.

I want to take a few minutes of your time to tell you about Hemo and who he was to me, and how he affected my life.   To do that I need to give you a small amount of context and background.  I lost my father when I was 28 years old.  He was absent during a large part of my teenage years as well due to divorce.  I also lost my step dad several years later.  Both my father and step dad were great men who didn’t have enough time.  It’s been difficult to keep a father figure in my life.  Remember this point comes into play later.

Eric belonged to a raiding guild Calamitous Intent and wanted to bring some of his real life friends into his WoW world and share the fun and friendship he had found online.  Several of us were lured into this game by Eric’s siren song of fun!  We formed our own guild and fumbled around and generally got in our own way while we played.  During that time several of us expressed an interest in trying to raid, but with the exception of Eric, none of us had the skill or experience to actually pull it off.  Enter Hemo; he was taking a break from Calamitous Intent’s raiding schedule and thought it would be a fun project to teach us newbies how to do some old school raids.

We started to progress as a guild during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion of WoW.  It was painful.  We were very motivated, but lacked any raiding background.  Most of us only had a functional knowledge of how to use our characters in a raid environment.  He patiently worked with us to explain the boss mechanics and even give pointers on how to use our characters more effectively.  I remember how flabbergasted he was to learn that I was Druid healing with no add-on’s.  Which by the way.  I have never used an add-on, and I think I did fairly well as a healer.

This process continued over the course of the year.  Over time we moved away from the older raids and improved our skill enough to eventually become a competent raiding group.  We even managed to take down the Lich King.  We would spend hours filled with laughs, jokes, arguments, and stories.  Some of the stories are more true than others but that's how stories go…

As real life started to interfere with our games, some of us would drift out of the social circle for a bit.  We would always manage to find our way back a few months later.  It was always as if we had never left when we would come back.  Our game of choice has changed over the years; WoW, 7 days to die, Marvel superheroes (old school RPG via Roll20), etc but the games didn’t really matter.  It was more about hanging out with friends and sharing our lives and stories with each other.

At some point Hemo figured out my daily routine and knew that I got up in the mornings around 4:30AM to do my business in the bathroom.  He started sending his famous memes and videos.  This happened several days each week and it put a smile on my face to see those wacky postings.  When I asked him about it he just laughed and then promptly doubled down on the amount and volume he was sending.   They were always hilarious, and he knew that he had a captive audience for a few minutes each morning.

Then came the day that I became a father.  After 8 years of trying, my wife and I had given up that it was ever going to happen.  One day that all changed and I was suddenly a dad.  As any father can attest; I was excited, scared, and didn’t really have a clue what the heck I was doing.  It was during this time that I found myself alone with Hemo on Mumble one day.  We started talking about some of my concerns/fears about being a dad.

Hemo spent the better part of 4 hours listening to my concerns and sharing parts of his life.  He told me of his success stories with his own family and about the times where, I quote, “he screwed up colossally”.  It helped set my mind and heart at ease to hear from someone that I respected that he had not done it all perfectly.  This conversation we had over voice chat is one of the most important ones I have had as an adult.  It helped me find my center and feel more prepared to tackle this whole dad thing.

Over the next several years, Hemo and I would have more conversations along those lines.  I would be seeking advice about the next parenting hurdle I had encountered.  His advice wasn’t always a direct answer, more often than not, it was a cautionary tale of the mistakes he had made, and perhaps I should try another approach.  I took these talks to heart.  I  push forward and do my best with Joseph and my family everyday. 

I know he was special to everyone who knew him, and that we all have our stories about who he was and how he affected our lives.  This is how he affected my life.  He didn’t replace my Father or Stepdad, but his guidance, advice, and open ears definitely helped me find my path to being a better dad.

I did give him cursory thanks each time we spoke, but I never got to tell him sincerely,

Thank you Hemo.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Our new Game Room

This past weekend we moved our game room from the upstairs to the main floor of the house.  Here is our new "Shelfie"

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Organizing Our Board Games II

It has been a long time since I posted a picture of our board game collection back on May 29, 2017.  That picture is shown off to the left.

Below is a new "Shelfie" of our board game collection.

We may have a board-game collecting problem...

Our collection has grown from its single shelf, to three shelves of board-games.

Monday, April 6, 2020

2019 Top Board Game Plays

2019 Top 10 Board Game plays

Here is a top 10 list of the board games, by number of plays, that I played  in 2019:

1.) Men At Work - 10
2.) Gloomhaven - 8 
3.) ICECOOL2 - 8
4.) Betrayal Legacy - 6
5.) Nanty Narking - 6
6.) Charterstone - 5
7.) Don't Break the Ice - 5
8.) Glorantha:  The Gods War - 5
9.) Scythe - 5

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Kickstarter: Tang Garden Boardgame

I recently received My Kickstarter copy of Tang Garden from Thundergryph Games.  The company website states that "Tang Garden is a Zen-like game that will take you to the first golden age of China."  That is an accurate description of the game.  A one to four player game where each player takes on a character (Soldier, Hermit, Emperor, etc) each with different abilities that can affect the in-progress game and possibly the final game score.

I will start with the contents of the game box.  The amount of parts and component for this is game is astounding.  you get the game board, tiles, and more tiles, trees, pagodas, bridges, and then to top it all of...minis of each character!  You might think that the with this many components that they might have gone cheap on quality...I say Nay!  The punch out components are thick and sturdy.  As are the impressive pagodas and bridge (some assembly required).  The mins are small but well made.  I am not one to paint all my game minis, but I imagine that these would look very nice when painted.

We read the manual and sat down to figure out how to play this amazing looking game.  This is where the Zen claim was put to the test.  We had a zero session, that lasted for over an hour and had to be called due to frustration with understanding the rules.  The rule book looks nice, but despite several examples in the book, it was vague on several aspects of the game mechanics.  So we decided to call it a night and try again the next day.

With a good nights sleep and a couple of hours of digging into the game online, big thanks to the folks over Boardgamergeek and their assistance, we started our second game of Tang Garden.  I even broke out the music sound track provided during the Kickstarter.  The second go-around went very well, the game took around 2 hours but we did several rules checks and took our time deciding actions on our turns.  The game has several choices available each turn, you can choose and place a tile, decorate the garden, and depending on how your player mat progresses you may influence other characters to join you and/or place some of those nifty landscape backgrounds.

Over all we enjoyed the game and look forward to our next session.  The game is a tile placement, decoration placement, and a little bit of a worker placement (not really) game.  It offers several varied paths towards victory and a lot depth of strategy.  I would recommend game for any fans of slower pace and less stressful game of creating a beautiful garden.  I recieved my copy via kickstarter and the Thunder Gryph website show the pre-order is sold out right now, so I am not sure where you can currently find a copy outside of Ebay.

Pros (Things I like)

  • Amazing game pieces
  • Not only are they amazing, but wow you get a bunch of game pieces
  • Online support is very strong
  • The creators provide a original music score and sound track for the game with the Kickstarter campaign 

Cons (Things I don't like)

  • In game instruction manual is vague and hard to follow
  • The manual has an updated version online as well as a player guide.  I wish these had shipped with the game.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Glorantha: The Gods War Kickstarter (Reprint)

I know its been awhile since I last posted, but this is something that I want to share with everyone.  One of my first Kickstarter project that I backed was Glorantha:  The Gods War, A Sandy Peterson game.  The original Kickstarter was new version of the rules used for Cthulhu Wars but with a Gloratha/RuneQuest setting.  The project took a long time to be delivered...but when it finally was complete we had a fantastic game.  Now they are running a reprint of the game with new expansions.  If you are interested this is a great opportunity to back a great game and receive an amazing set of miniatures for that game!

If you are interested, follow the link below:

Glorantha: The Gods War Kickstarter (Reprint)