Posts Tagged ‘D&D’

Three DM Lifehacks You Should Consider

Posted on September 14th, 2017 under , , , , . Posted by

After sitting behind the DM screen for many years you learn a few things. As a Dungeon Master, I’m always on the lookout for cheap, but effective ways to improve the tabletop experience. Listed below are three DM Lifehacks I think will benefit you, but obviously every group is different. If you have any hacks of your own please feel free to share them in the comments section.

Clothespin
Since the early 1980s I have seen countless attempts at initiative trackers. I personally have used everything from a dry erase board, legal pad, 3x5cards, and even designated a player to do it. There have even been apps developed for it and recent crowd funding projects. But nothing has done a better job than the simple old clothespin. You can buy them in bulk from the dollar store and then all you need is a few sharpies. They can be clipped right to your DM screen and are in plain few of everyone in the room. If you don’t use a DM screen they can be attached to just about anything else on the table. I have seen people use everything from a metal paper towel stand, to a upside down box lid. So, you also want to speed up combat? Think about clothespins for visible initiative tracking.

 

Pizza Box Stand
They come with your pizza order to keep the cheese and topping from sticking to the box. Showing elevation from flying or levitation has always been a challenge with miniatures. Most gaming groups order pizza anyway, and you get these free elevation stands! In my current Sword & Planet campaign we are using them to represent hover skiffs. I have seen another DM mentioning the use of narrow straws on the tripod legs to raise them even higher. If you’re using a battle map it’s easy just to write elevations next to the stands as well. They also have various uses for spells such as Spider Climb, or even Floating Disc. The limit really is your imagination when it comes to little hacks such as this. Certainly, as a quick reference they make for an easy table visual that comes with a delicious treat!

Dark Inspiration Dice
I first mentioned these in my Death House post last year when originally dreamed up. I have always been in favor of bennies (slang for benefits) in my D&D games. With the introduction of Inspiration as a mechanic in 5E I wanted to take it a step further. With Dark Inspiration, there is a pool of six-sided dice prominently displayed in the middle of the game table. At any time, a player may use this resource to increase an attack roll, skill check, or saving throw. The catch? The player also hands the DM one of the dice, who can use it anyway they see fit as the adventure progresses. For those of you starting Tomb of Annihilation, this is a perfect mechanic to add more danger and suspense to the lands of Chult! In terms of creation, I used some old board game D6s and splattered them with reddish-brown acrylic paint. The blood represents the overall danger of using this power…as it will backfire on you eventually!

 

Three DM Lifehacks You Should Consider

Posted on September 14th, 2017 under , , , , . Posted by

After sitting behind the DM screen for many years you learn a few things. As a Dungeon Master, I’m always on the lookout for cheap, but effective ways to improve the tabletop experience. Listed below are three DM Lifehacks I think will benefit you, but obviously every group is different. If you have any hacks of your own please feel free to share them in the comments section.

Clothespin
Since the early 1980s I have seen countless attempts at initiative trackers. I personally have used everything from a dry erase board, legal pad, 3x5cards, and even designated a player to do it. There have even been apps developed for it and recent crowd funding projects. But nothing has done a better job than the simple old clothespin. You can buy them in bulk from the dollar store and then all you need is a few sharpies. They can be clipped right to your DM screen and are in plain few of everyone in the room. If you don’t use a DM screen they can be attached to just about anything else on the table. I have seen people use everything from a metal paper towel stand, to a upside down box lid. So, you also want to speed up combat? Think about clothespins for visible initiative tracking.

 

Pizza Box Stand
They come with your pizza order to keep the cheese and topping from sticking to the box. Showing elevation from flying or levitation has always been a challenge with miniatures. Most gaming groups order pizza anyway, and you get these free elevation stands! In my current Sword & Planet campaign we are using them to represent hover skiffs. I have seen another DM mentioning the use of narrow straws on the tripod legs to raise them even higher. If you’re using a battle map it’s easy just to write elevations next to the stands as well. They also have various uses for spells such as Spider Climb, or even Floating Disc. The limit really is your imagination when it comes to little hacks such as this. Certainly, as a quick reference they make for an easy table visual that comes with a delicious treat!

Dark Inspiration Dice
I first mentioned these in my Death House post last year when originally dreamed up. I have always been in favor of bennies (slang for benefits) in my D&D games. With the introduction of Inspiration as a mechanic in 5E I wanted to take it a step further. With Dark Inspiration, there is a pool of six-sided dice prominently displayed in the middle of the game table. At any time, a player may use this resource to increase an attack roll, skill check, or saving throw. The catch? The player also hands the DM one of the dice, who can use it anyway they see fit as the adventure progresses. For those of you starting Tomb of Annihilation, this is a perfect mechanic to add more danger and suspense to the lands of Chult! In terms of creation, I used some old board game D6s and splattered them with reddish-brown acrylic paint. The blood represents the overall danger of using this power…as it will backfire on you eventually!

 

Tomb of Annihilation: Cinema Treasure Inspiration

Posted on September 13th, 2017 under , , , , , , . Posted by

Ta Prohm Temples of Angkor

With Tomb of Annihilation being released, many adventurers will be braving the dangers of Chult. For the uninitiated, Chult is part of the Forgotten Realms setting. It’s a land of savage monsters, poisonous flora and fauna, and trackless jungles. As a setting, jungles have long been a favorite to explore by authors. Just to name a few inspirational ones:

Arthur Conan Doyle: The Lost World (1912)
Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Land That Time Forgot (1918)
Michael Crichton: Congo (1980)

The jungle is a perfect backdrop for a Dungeons & Dragons adventure. Under the great canopy there is little light, everything is mysterious, the heat and humidity oppressive, danger lurks in the shadows, and the unknown is ubiquitous. In terms of taking the players (and their characters) out of their comfort zone, a jungle setting certainly delivers.

Over the years there have been plenty of cinema experiences also that used the jungle. Below I have picked three with fun treasure inspiration for your Tomb of Annihilation campaign. After all, what would a jungle based adventure be without ancient ruins, deadly traps, and legendary treasures!

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Can you hear the theme song yet? When you think of jungle adventurers, Indiana Jones is right at the top. The Golden Idol and the resulting consequences of looting it remain one of favorite cinema moments. The idol is a believed to be based on the Aztec goddess, Tlazolteotl. Her domains were interesting and  covered purification, fertility, and filth. That said, this sounds like something perfect for a place such as Chult. Perhaps the idol can cure or minimize disease, but at great cost. Maybe there is a nasty curse associated with the idol? Replicas are available online from many different vendors and makes for a great table prop.

Romancing the Stone (1984)

In this story, the adventurers are seeking a massive emerald named El Corazón (“The Heart”). The map and gemstone are perfect examples of easy table props. Players love handouts and a crystal gem such as this can be purchased at your local craft store. Gemstones are usually associated with fantastical treasure hunts, which are perfect for a Dungeons & Dragons game. Something like El Corazón would almost definitely come with curse, but also may be the key to something. In the very least the temptation of unearthing a massive gemstone makes for a wonderful side quest in the jungles of Chult.

Jumanji (1995)

How fitting, a movie about a boy who is trapped in a board game! One of the things I always thought was cool were the actual Jumanji game pieces. The four animal shaped tokens include an elephant, crocodile, rhinoceros, and monkey. I think these would make perfect Figurines of Wondrous Power! The characters could find an old copy of Jumanji, or alternatively some other Chultan game during their travels. For added coolness replicas of the figurines are available online to use as game props.

In closing remember there is inspiration all around you. With a published adventure such as the Tomb of Annihilation, one of the best things you can do is make it your own. Borrow, steal, and use material from other sources liberally. The insertion of favorite moments from cinema and story makes for memorable Easter eggs at the game table. If your group is the type that appreciates inside jokes and nostalgic moments, got for it! Besides what DM does not want to unleash a giant boulder trap on the PCs? Pro Tip: Use a D100 and knock over the miniatures for added effect!

Tomb of Annihilation: Cinema Treasure Inspiration

Posted on September 13th, 2017 under , , , , , , . Posted by

Ta Prohm Temples of Angkor

With Tomb of Annihilation being released, many adventurers will be braving the dangers of Chult. For the uninitiated, Chult is part of the Forgotten Realms setting. It’s a land of savage monsters, poisonous flora and fauna, and trackless jungles. As a setting, jungles have long been a favorite to explore by authors. Just to name a few inspirational ones:

Arthur Conan Doyle: The Lost World (1912)
Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Land That Time Forgot (1918)
Michael Crichton: Congo (1980)

The jungle is a perfect backdrop for a Dungeons & Dragons adventure. Under the great canopy there is little light, everything is mysterious, the heat and humidity oppressive, danger lurks in the shadows, and the unknown is ubiquitous. In terms of taking the players (and their characters) out of their comfort zone, a jungle setting certainly delivers.

Over the years there have been plenty of cinema experiences also that used the jungle. Below I have picked three with fun treasure inspiration for your Tomb of Annihilation campaign. After all, what would a jungle based adventure be without ancient ruins, deadly traps, and legendary treasures!

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Can you hear the theme song yet? When you think of jungle adventurers, Indiana Jones is right at the top. The Golden Idol and the resulting consequences of looting it remain one of favorite cinema moments. The idol is a believed to be based on the Aztec goddess, Tlazolteotl. Her domains were interesting and  covered purification, fertility, and filth. That said, this sounds like something perfect for a place such as Chult. Perhaps the idol can cure or minimize disease, but at great cost. Maybe there is a nasty curse associated with the idol? Replicas are available online from many different vendors and makes for a great table prop.

Romancing the Stone (1984)

In this story, the adventurers are seeking a massive emerald named El Corazón (“The Heart”). The map and gemstone are perfect examples of easy table props. Players love handouts and a crystal gem such as this can be purchased at your local craft store. Gemstones are usually associated with fantastical treasure hunts, which are perfect for a Dungeons & Dragons game. Something like El Corazón would almost definitely come with curse, but also may be the key to something. In the very least the temptation of unearthing a massive gemstone makes for a wonderful side quest in the jungles of Chult.

Jumanji (1995)

How fitting, a movie about a boy who is trapped in a board game! One of the things I always thought was cool were the actual Jumanji game pieces. The four animal shaped tokens include an elephant, crocodile, rhinoceros, and monkey. I think these would make perfect Figurines of Wondrous Power! The characters could find an old copy of Jumanji, or alternatively some other Chultan game during their travels. For added coolness replicas of the figurines are available online to use as game props.

In closing remember there is inspiration all around you. With a published adventure such as the Tomb of Annihilation, one of the best things you can do is make it your own. Borrow, steal, and use material from other sources liberally. The insertion of favorite moments from cinema and story makes for memorable Easter eggs at the game table. If your group is the type that appreciates inside jokes and nostalgic moments, got for it! Besides what DM does not want to unleash a giant boulder trap on the PCs? Pro Tip: Use a D100 and knock over the miniatures for added effect!

Review: DM’s Screen Reincarnated/Tomb of Annihilation Dice

Posted on September 11th, 2017 under , , , . Posted by

I have been using a Dungeon Master’s screen since 1983 and have more iterations then I can count. One of the big disappointments with 5E has been the lack of a useful screen offering. Because of this most DMs have just created their own DIY solution, which still really is the best option. That being said, the Dungeon Master’s Screen Reincarnated is a step in the right direction.
 
The outside of the four-panel screen depicts an ancient red dragon by artist Tyler Jacobson. I would not have purchased the product if it were covered in Forgotten Realms locations or NPC heroes. The dragon is iconic and screams Dungeons & Dragons. This was a perfect selection by whoever was responsible for picking the artwork for this product.

Moving along, the most important part is the information behind the screen. Wizard’s FINALLY has given us a modern screen with useful reference material for the 5E Dungeon Master. Below are pictures of all four interior panels:

As you can see from above, the designers did a good job of populating these screens. I think the reference material they picked is commonly looked up by most groups. Also of note about this screen is the sturdy construction and landscape design. The latter is particularly nice since the screen does not tower over the table and obscure your view. So, would I recommend this product? Yes. I think this is a useful for tool for Dungeon Masters of all seasons.

I also purchased the Tomb of Annihilation dice accessory. Just to be clear, I only purchased this for the tin box. The Green Devil face from the Tomb of Horrors is one of my favorite pieces of D&D imagery. The box is cool, but I was a bit disappointed in the product overall. The images of the tin and dice in the marketing material is a bit different. The tin is very green and the dice appear to have sharper edges, like Gamescience dice. Instead the dice are rounded, seem a tad smaller then a normal set, and are a flat green color. Would I recommend this product? Only if you really want the box because the dice are certainly underwhelming.

Review: DM’s Screen Reincarnated/Tomb of Annihilation Dice

Posted on September 11th, 2017 under , , , . Posted by

I have been using a Dungeon Master’s screen since 1983 and have more iterations then I can count. One of the big disappointments with 5E has been the lack of a useful screen offering. Because of this most DMs have just created their own DIY solution, which still really is the best option. That being said, the Dungeon Master’s Screen Reincarnated is a step in the right direction.
 
The outside of the four-panel screen depicts an ancient red dragon by artist Tyler Jacobson. I would not have purchased the product if it were covered in Forgotten Realms locations or NPC heroes. The dragon is iconic and screams Dungeons & Dragons. This was a perfect selection by whoever was responsible for picking the artwork for this product.

Moving along, the most important part is the information behind the screen. Wizard’s FINALLY has given us a modern screen with useful reference material for the 5E Dungeon Master. Below are pictures of all four interior panels:

As you can see from above, the designers did a good job of populating these screens. I think the reference material they picked is commonly looked up by most groups. Also of note about this screen is the sturdy construction and landscape design. The latter is particularly nice since the screen does not tower over the table and obscure your view. So, would I recommend this product? Yes. I think this is a useful for tool for Dungeon Masters of all seasons.

I also purchased the Tomb of Annihilation dice accessory. Just to be clear, I only purchased this for the tin box. The Green Devil face from the Tomb of Horrors is one of my favorite pieces of D&D imagery. The box is cool, but I was a bit disappointed in the product overall. The images of the tin and dice in the marketing material is a bit different. The tin is very green and the dice appear to have sharper edges, like Gamescience dice. Instead the dice are rounded, seem a tad smaller then a normal set, and are a flat green color. Would I recommend this product? Only if you really want the box because the dice are certainly underwhelming.

N1. Lizard Cult. Session 7 – Orlane changes its name and ceases to exist

Posted on September 8th, 2017 under , , , , , , , , . Posted by

After clearing out the dungeon of the defeated Naga queen the party limped back to the village and overwintered. Conscious …

Continue reading

Grinning Skull’s $10 Advertising Offer!!

Posted on September 4th, 2017 under , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Posted by

Hello everyone, I hope you are all feeling great today and life is treating you well. I’m here to let you know about our new hobby advertising initiative here at Grinning Skull Studios, that is for any advertiser in the RPG/Wargaming/gaming field. We are happy to offer a full page colour advertisment in our PDF […]

August 2017 Boardgames Round-up

Posted on September 1st, 2017 under , , , , , , , , , . Posted by

Throughout this month I got to thinking a lot about role-playing  – largely because I was answering all the RPGaDay questions everyday…. And I DID actually get to run a few role-playing games! It’s been too long since I ran a regular role-playing game, I do hope I’ll get a campaign or two going in the fall. 
4 August 2017 – D&D5E/Primeval Thule


Didn’t really get going on the gaming until Friday the fourth. Bruce came by to run his bi-weekly (in theory) D&D5e/Primeval Thule game. We fought the Big Bad that was trying to summon an Elder God. This finished off the current adventure.

Bruce is planning to wrap up the campaign next month and then I’m going to be taking over as GM for a bit to run… something else… possibly Tales from the Loop or one of the 40K RPGs (Only War or Rogue Trader) or possibly a near future “Hard SF” campaign using some home-brew rules.

7 August 2017 – Painting/KingDomino/Loonacy

In the afternoon we had a bit of a painting party with some friends and got some miniatures painted!

Later in the evening we went over to my folks place for supper and played a few games afterwards

Finnegan and I introduced Amanda and my dad to Kingdomino. It was a oretty close game… I think I may have eked out a victory because I had five crowns on a forest of seven or eight squares?!

My mom and The Girl played a game of Loonacy while we played Kingdomino. After the game of Kingdomino they joined us at the table and we all played a few rounds of Loonacy together.

9 August 2017 – Set

The Girl got out Set to play and I joined her. I think we might be missing a card!? Dagnabbit!

10 August 2017 – ONLY WAR

Two friends of the kids came over for the day on Thurday and I tried running them through a game of Only War– using The Eleventh Hour a Free RPG Day quckstart rules and adventure I’ve had for years. The adventure focuses on a small group of survivors whose unit has been overrun by Orks and have to fight their way out from behind enemy lines before the Imperial Navy destroys everything in an orbital bombardment.

They came over just after 9am. By the time I’d explained the rules and the setting and started them off on their mission with the background of the assault on the planet and how they came to find themselves in the middle of an Ork fortress surrounded by heaps of slain Orks and comrades alike. We got through the second “scene” – their first encounter with the Orks – and I had to call it. This was around noon. The youngest was bored out of his mind. Well, he was totally into it and excited WHEN IT WAS HIS TURN, but as the slightest idle moment (i.e. when I was explaingin stuff or other people were having their turns) he started dancing around the room (literally) or climbing on the back of the couch, sitting upside down on the couch, sliding off the couch, playing with dice, playing with markers, losing dice and markers he was playing with under the couch… Finnegan and his older brother were severely disappointed as they were TOTALLY INTO IT!

I have high hopes that we’ll be able to play a campaign of this in the fall – well, at least with two older boys. The Girl seemed less interested, but suggested she’d have more fun if she got to make her OWN character (I was using pre-gens so we could just leap into the action) also she was sitting next to the younger brother and found his antics highly distracting…

11 August 2017 – UNO!?

The night before our summer vacation – Finnegan was heading off to D-Camp and one of the possible activities listed was boardgames and card games and I thought if it ended up raining and they spent a lot of time indoors surely one of the games they’d have would be UNO – so I thought I’d teach the kids to play, so Finnegan would know how to play if anyone busted out a deck (oh, he also took along a few of his own games – just in case! He even brought enough D&D books that he could set up and run and adventure, if the occasion arose!)

They thought it was okay. Finnegan thought it was “slightly boring” and there “wasn’t much to it”…

13 August 2017 – Just Desserts, Hero Realms, Black-Handed Henry’s Potion Party

Now well and truly on our vacation…

We a brought along a few games to play in the evenings or if any days got rained out. Moslty games The Girl picked out. The vacation was (mostly) ALL ABOUT HER. She had expressed earlier in the year that she felt like we only ever pay attention to Finnegan, which is often a complaint of siblings of kids with Diabetes (and its’ true – we do spend a LOT of time focusing on him – checking his blood-sugar levels, counting carbs in meals, making meals for him, figuring out insulin doses, etc, etc…). So we played a LOT of games SHE’s been wanting to play for some time – and didn’t really get to play some of the OTHER games we brought along…

The second night we were at the Ranch we busted out the gamee and played a couple games of Just Desserts. I have a feeling that I won one of them… I won a few games of Just Desserts over the week.

…and Black-Handed Henry’s Potion Party. I can’t remember who played which character… or who won…?

…and Hero Realms. I think I had the Fighter for this one, Amanda had the Cleric, and The Girl had the Wizard..? I’m not sure if we even finished this game…

14 August 2017 – Just Desserts and Hero Realms

We moved locations on the 14th, for Part Two of our Summer Vacation, taking up residence in a cabin at Waskesiu.

The first evening there we played some MORE Just Desserts.

…and another game of Hero Realms where the girls ganged up on me (beause I was doing “too well” the previous evening) – the picture was taken AFTER I was out of the game. I don’t remember who played which character or who ended up winning (other than NOT ME!).


While I really dig Star Realms as a quick competitive, card-drafting/deck-building game. I don’t love Hero Realms – at least as a competitive game. I think it will be great fun when they release the co-op campaign… 

15 August 2017 – Just Desserts and Monarch

STILL More Just Desserts. Playing this really just makes me want to eat dessert… 

This evening we finally broke out Monarch. I got off to a pretty slow start, but ended up flying the banner of MIGHT – which was the first time I’ve done that. Being able to sweep the market for free every turn is pretty sweet and can really WRECK other people’s plans if there’s cool stuff there that they desperately need for their courts… I think I did pretty well… I might have even won – though I recall it being a fairly close game near the end. The Girl went with CULTURE and managed to drop a couple of unwanted guests in both mine and Amanda’s courts. Amanda went with Wisdom.

16 August 2017 – Just Desserts

We were all pretty tired from all the riding around we’d done the past few days and needed to pack up to leave early in the morning, so we only got in one quick game of Just Desserts.

17 August 2017 – Codenames: Pictures

We left Waskesiu pretty early in the moring and picked up Finnegan around 10 and we back in Saskatoon around lunchtime.

After unloading and decompressing a bit we got in a couple rounds of Codenames: Pictures. I don’t love this game. I should have got the original Codenames…

18 August 2017 – D&D

Our alternating Fridays D&D 5E Primeval Thule game was on the 18th – the night before Amanda had to get up early and head off to Seattle for a week.

I can never seem to get everyone in a single shot… This week we were tracking down a slavetrader that owed the Thieves Guild some money and had skipped town and made off into the jungle. By the end of the game we’d caught up with them at an ancient city full of degenerate little cannibal creatures…

19 August 2017 – Loonacy

We had supper at my folks on the Saturday and played about 5 rounds of Loonacy.

One round I just could not get any cards down and at one point had almost a dozen cards in my hand!?

20 August 2017 – Only War

The kids made some characters for Only War  They are probably only “practice” charcters – made just for the fun of making character and may or may not actually ever get used in a game… Finnegan made a Tech-priest Enginseer, The Girl made a Sanctioned Psyker… both support types… We used the Catachan Regiment for their background/regiment bonuses (just in case we decide to use these for The Eleventh Hour – when we have another go at it…). It seems a bit odd using the regiment that a support character serves with as their “background” as most support elements would have come from elsewhere and are simply attached to units as required….? Ah well…

24 August 2017 – Carcassonne

Another evening while Amanda was away we decided to play Carcassonne – which we haven’t played in a LONG time. Despite all the expansions, we just played with the base set. I totally got skooled by the kids. The Girl utterly crushed us, and Finnegan shot way ahead of me in the final scoring.

31 August 2017 – Only War

on the last day of the month we had another try at Only War.

The kids made some characters of their own and I tried running them through The Eleventh Hour again.

We pretty much played all day. Everyone had a great deal of fun. We didn’t get through the entire adventure, but I brought it to a close. The boys characters ended up dying in the orbital bombardment, but The Girl’s Sanctioned Psyker made it out of the zone – she was able to secure transport on boat across the Hellfen.

Everyone’s pretty excited about making new characters and starting a proper campaign for the fall… Now to figure out a time when we can all get together on a regular basis!?

Tomorrow starts off out annual Game-a-Day Challenge for September. I think I’ll post weekly updates through the month. ToonCon is also four short weeks away!! I need to get working on a few more Jet Bikes and do a bit more play-testing with some larger groups!!

Also Coming Soon:

Tomorrow I’m also going to be running a game of Tales from the Loop for some adult friends! I am curious to see how it goes. 
I have a squad of Astra Militarum Tallarn infantry I’m just finishing up and should be able to post pictures soon.

Just… don’t ask…

August 2017 Boardgames Round-up

Posted on September 1st, 2017 under , , , , , , , , , . Posted by

Throughout this month I got to thinking a lot about role-playing  – largely because I was answering all the RPGaDay questions everyday…. And I DID actually get to run a few role-playing games! It’s been too long since I ran a regular role-playing game, I do hope I’ll get a campaign or two going in the fall. 
4 August 2017 – D&D5E/Primeval Thule


Didn’t really get going on the gaming until Friday the fourth. Bruce came by to run his bi-weekly (in theory) D&D5e/Primeval Thule game. We fought the Big Bad that was trying to summon an Elder God. This finished off the current adventure.

Bruce is planning to wrap up the campaign next month and then I’m going to be taking over as GM for a bit to run… something else… possibly Tales from the Loop or one of the 40K RPGs (Only War or Rogue Trader) or possibly a near future “Hard SF” campaign using some home-brew rules.

7 August 2017 – Painting/KingDomino/Loonacy

In the afternoon we had a bit of a painting party with some friends and got some miniatures painted!

Later in the evening we went over to my folks place for supper and played a few games afterwards

Finnegan and I introduced Amanda and my dad to Kingdomino. It was a oretty close game… I think I may have eked out a victory because I had five crowns on a forest of seven or eight squares?!

My mom and The Girl played a game of Loonacy while we played Kingdomino. After the game of Kingdomino they joined us at the table and we all played a few rounds of Loonacy together.

9 August 2017 – Set

The Girl got out Set to play and I joined her. I think we might be missing a card!? Dagnabbit!

10 August 2017 – ONLY WAR

Two friends of the kids came over for the day on Thurday and I tried running them through a game of Only War– using The Eleventh Hour a Free RPG Day quckstart rules and adventure I’ve had for years. The adventure focuses on a small group of survivors whose unit has been overrun by Orks and have to fight their way out from behind enemy lines before the Imperial Navy destroys everything in an orbital bombardment.

They came over just after 9am. By the time I’d explained the rules and the setting and started them off on their mission with the background of the assault on the planet and how they came to find themselves in the middle of an Ork fortress surrounded by heaps of slain Orks and comrades alike. We got through the second “scene” – their first encounter with the Orks – and I had to call it. This was around noon. The youngest was bored out of his mind. Well, he was totally into it and excited WHEN IT WAS HIS TURN, but as the slightest idle moment (i.e. when I was explaingin stuff or other people were having their turns) he started dancing around the room (literally) or climbing on the back of the couch, sitting upside down on the couch, sliding off the couch, playing with dice, playing with markers, losing dice and markers he was playing with under the couch… Finnegan and his older brother were severely disappointed as they were TOTALLY INTO IT!

I have high hopes that we’ll be able to play a campaign of this in the fall – well, at least with two older boys. The Girl seemed less interested, but suggested she’d have more fun if she got to make her OWN character (I was using pre-gens so we could just leap into the action) also she was sitting next to the younger brother and found his antics highly distracting…

11 August 2017 – UNO!?

The night before our summer vacation – Finnegan was heading off to D-Camp and one of the possible activities listed was boardgames and card games and I thought if it ended up raining and they spent a lot of time indoors surely one of the games they’d have would be UNO – so I thought I’d teach the kids to play, so Finnegan would know how to play if anyone busted out a deck (oh, he also took along a few of his own games – just in case! He even brought enough D&D books that he could set up and run and adventure, if the occasion arose!)

They thought it was okay. Finnegan thought it was “slightly boring” and there “wasn’t much to it”…

13 August 2017 – Just Desserts, Hero Realms, Black-Handed Henry’s Potion Party

Now well and truly on our vacation…

We a brought along a few games to play in the evenings or if any days got rained out. Moslty games The Girl picked out. The vacation was (mostly) ALL ABOUT HER. She had expressed earlier in the year that she felt like we only ever pay attention to Finnegan, which is often a complaint of siblings of kids with Diabetes (and its’ true – we do spend a LOT of time focusing on him – checking his blood-sugar levels, counting carbs in meals, making meals for him, figuring out insulin doses, etc, etc…). So we played a LOT of games SHE’s been wanting to play for some time – and didn’t really get to play some of the OTHER games we brought along…

The second night we were at the Ranch we busted out the gamee and played a couple games of Just Desserts. I have a feeling that I won one of them… I won a few games of Just Desserts over the week.

…and Black-Handed Henry’s Potion Party. I can’t remember who played which character… or who won…?

…and Hero Realms. I think I had the Fighter for this one, Amanda had the Cleric, and The Girl had the Wizard..? I’m not sure if we even finished this game…

14 August 2017 – Just Desserts and Hero Realms

We moved locations on the 14th, for Part Two of our Summer Vacation, taking up residence in a cabin at Waskesiu.

The first evening there we played some MORE Just Desserts.

…and another game of Hero Realms where the girls ganged up on me (beause I was doing “too well” the previous evening) – the picture was taken AFTER I was out of the game. I don’t remember who played which character or who ended up winning (other than NOT ME!).


While I really dig Star Realms as a quick competitive, card-drafting/deck-building game. I don’t love Hero Realms – at least as a competitive game. I think it will be great fun when they release the co-op campaign… 

15 August 2017 – Just Desserts and Monarch

STILL More Just Desserts. Playing this really just makes me want to eat dessert… 

This evening we finally broke out Monarch. I got off to a pretty slow start, but ended up flying the banner of MIGHT – which was the first time I’ve done that. Being able to sweep the market for free every turn is pretty sweet and can really WRECK other people’s plans if there’s cool stuff there that they desperately need for their courts… I think I did pretty well… I might have even won – though I recall it being a fairly close game near the end. The Girl went with CULTURE and managed to drop a couple of unwanted guests in both mine and Amanda’s courts. Amanda went with Wisdom.

16 August 2017 – Just Desserts

We were all pretty tired from all the riding around we’d done the past few days and needed to pack up to leave early in the morning, so we only got in one quick game of Just Desserts.

17 August 2017 – Codenames: Pictures

We left Waskesiu pretty early in the moring and picked up Finnegan around 10 and we back in Saskatoon around lunchtime.

After unloading and decompressing a bit we got in a couple rounds of Codenames: Pictures. I don’t love this game. I should have got the original Codenames…

18 August 2017 – D&D

Our alternating Fridays D&D 5E Primeval Thule game was on the 18th – the night before Amanda had to get up early and head off to Seattle for a week.

I can never seem to get everyone in a single shot… This week we were tracking down a slavetrader that owed the Thieves Guild some money and had skipped town and made off into the jungle. By the end of the game we’d caught up with them at an ancient city full of degenerate little cannibal creatures…

19 August 2017 – Loonacy

We had supper at my folks on the Saturday and played about 5 rounds of Loonacy.

One round I just could not get any cards down and at one point had almost a dozen cards in my hand!?

20 August 2017 – Only War

The kids made some characters for Only War  They are probably only “practice” charcters – made just for the fun of making character and may or may not actually ever get used in a game… Finnegan made a Tech-priest Enginseer, The Girl made a Sanctioned Psyker… both support types… We used the Catachan Regiment for their background/regiment bonuses (just in case we decide to use these for The Eleventh Hour – when we have another go at it…). It seems a bit odd using the regiment that a support character serves with as their “background” as most support elements would have come from elsewhere and are simply attached to units as required….? Ah well…

24 August 2017 – Carcassonne

Another evening while Amanda was away we decided to play Carcassonne – which we haven’t played in a LONG time. Despite all the expansions, we just played with the base set. I totally got skooled by the kids. The Girl utterly crushed us, and Finnegan shot way ahead of me in the final scoring.

31 August 2017 – Only War

on the last day of the month we had another try at Only War.

The kids made some characters of their own and I tried running them through The Eleventh Hour again.

We pretty much played all day. Everyone had a great deal of fun. We didn’t get through the entire adventure, but I brought it to a close. The boys characters ended up dying in the orbital bombardment, but The Girl’s Sanctioned Psyker made it out of the zone – she was able to secure transport on boat across the Hellfen.

Everyone’s pretty excited about making new characters and starting a proper campaign for the fall… Now to figure out a time when we can all get together on a regular basis!?

Tomorrow starts off out annual Game-a-Day Challenge for September. I think I’ll post weekly updates through the month. ToonCon is also four short weeks away!! I need to get working on a few more Jet Bikes and do a bit more play-testing with some larger groups!!

Also Coming Soon:

Tomorrow I’m also going to be running a game of Tales from the Loop for some adult friends! I am curious to see how it goes. 
I have a squad of Astra Militarum Tallarn infantry I’m just finishing up and should be able to post pictures soon.

Just… don’t ask…

Grinning Skull’s Oddball Outlet: Custom Gamer Chests for sale!

Posted on August 28th, 2017 under , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Posted by

Hello there everyone, In a departure from the usual stuff we have on sale from Grinning Skull Studios, I’d like to show you some physical product for once. Oddball Outlet is a term coined by yours truly, to describe any stuff I’ll be putting out to sell. I have quite a few gaming items coming […]

Not Dead – Just on Vacation

Posted on August 18th, 2017 under , , , , , , , , . Posted by

In case you were wondering why I haven’t kept up with the RPGaDay questions – but were afraid to ask – I’ve been on vacation. Since it mostly involved trees and bicycles, you can read about the over on my bike blog:

What I Did for my Summer Vacation – the 2017 Edition – Part One

There was some gaming involved… but I’ll post about that at the end of the month with my monthly boardgame round-up.

I was hoping to find the Astropolis II Kickstarter rewards had arrived when I got home, but alas, they have not…

In the meantime… RPGaDay Questions…

Question #13
Describe a game experience that changed how you play.

Yeah… I kind of drew a blank on this one. 

Changes in the way I play have been small, subtle, and gradual over the years. 
I think things that have changed how I game probably occurred OUTSIDE of actual play. Encountering a game system that gave experience for stuff OTHER THAN killing things and taking treasure was a bit thing… 
I guess one thing could be when I tried to kill Runkha… The first person I ever played with was my Dad. Because for the first bit it was just the two of us, he had two characters he played; Zadoc (a priest) and Runka (a thief). Once I encountered actual kids my age that played and had more than one player I kind of got it in my head that ONE MUST ONLY PLAY WITH ONE CHARACTER – but my dad insisted on playing with the two – even when playing with my other friend(s). I got annoyed by this and decided to kill off Rukha by having him attacked by a Ninja – hired by the baddies whose dungeon they were planning to attack… He looked so forlorn, I ended up saying he didn’t DIE, but was so gravely wounded he’d have to stay at the inn while the rest of the party went and bashed the Dungeon. I realized right away it was a bit of a dick move and decided not to ever be a dick again… But I don’t think he ever played a game again with me after that. 

Question #14 
Which RPG do you prefer for open-ended campaign play.

I think Traveller has worked really well for that… it is such a vast sandbox of a galaxy all laid out – but with lots of room for customization and tinkering. 

Mind you, I’ve used GURPS Traveller and I could just as easily use Savage Worlds or something else. I think the SETTING has as much (or MORE) to do with the ability for open-ended play than any particular role-playing game. 
Question #15
Which RPG do you enjoy adapting the most?

I had a lot of fun adapting SavageWorlds to all sorts of different settings – and I definitely have the most experience adapting it. Most recently I’ve been tinkering with the idea of minimizing rules to focus on actual ROLE-PLAYING and have been thinking a LOT about ways I could use something like Song of Blades and Heroes (or any of the games using the same basic game engine) as the basis for an extremely simple role-playing game. We shall see… 

Question #16. 
Which RPG do you enjoy using as is?

I think most RPGs I start out using as is – believing “Surely this will work out…” and then I always end up unsatisfied withe something and tinkering some how. I do like to at least TRY to play any new rule set – whether RPG, Miniatures, or boardgames – with the rules as is, to try and understand what the author(s) intended.

I’m reading through Tales from the Loop and the 40K RPGs right now (Rogue Trader and Only War) – and I can’t see any issues with Tales fem the Loop and so I could possibly run it “as is”, but after a few sessions who knows. The 40K RPGs…? Well, I can already imagine them bogging down in combat – so I’m already planning to use a streamlined combat system that uses elements of the 40K skirmish game to speed things up.
Question #17
Which RPG have you owned the longest by not played?

Actual role-playing games not individual adventures or supplements…

ALIENS? Bunnies and Burrows? High Colonies? All three I picked up in the late 80s when I worked at the Wizard’s Corner and never actually played… ALIENS and High Colonies I picked up when they first came out, Burrows and Bunnies I bought used off a guy…

I was a HUGE fan of Aliens back in the late 80s. I’ve probably seen that movie more than any other movie. So needless to say I was SUPER STOKED when I heard there was going to be an ALIENS role-playing game and I bought it the moment I set eyes upon it…. I remember reading the rules and being utterly underwhelmed by the whole thing… I don’t recall exactly what it was, but just overall disappointed. I may have made characters, but I’m pretty sure I never got so far as to PLAY the game. 

It looks like 

High Colonies came out in 1988 and ALIENS in 1991, so I’ve obviously had High Colonies longer. I have a feeling I may have bought Bunnies and Burrows before 1987… 

Question #18
Which RPG have you played the most in your life?

Hard to say…. In terms of number of gaming session or actual hours spent playing? Or the number of years spent using it as your go-to game?  Probably Savage Worlds… or maybe GURPS…?

I played a LOT of Role Master in high school and a lot of Palladium games (TMNT, Robotech, Heroes Unlimited, Beyond the Supernatural, etc – though I never really played Rifts…), Twilight:2000, Top Secret, Star Frontiers, Battletech/Mechwarrior…. who could possibly tally all those hours at lunch time or after school?!

After high school I played a LOT of GURPS and ran various GURPS games for years.

Eventually I abandoned GURPS in favour of Savage Worlds and ran games every Saturday evening for years… I played it enough that I set up an entire separate BLOG for it!

I have played a lot of D&D(Basic, AD&D, and more recently 5E) – This was the first RPG I ever played, and played it exclusively for some time before moving on to other games (though for a while I still played it as my go-to fantasy game) – and more recently I’ve been playing 5E…

Stay tuned for RPGaDay2017 Question #19 – coming tomorrow! 

Not Dead – Just on Vacation

Posted on August 18th, 2017 under , , , , , , , , . Posted by

In case you were wondering why I haven’t kept up with the RPGaDay questions – but were afraid to ask – I’ve been on vacation. Since it mostly involved trees and bicycles, you can read about the over on my bike blog:

What I Did for my Summer Vacation – the 2017 Edition – Part One

There was some gaming involved… but I’ll post about that at the end of the month with my monthly boardgame round-up.

I was hoping to find the Astropolis II Kickstarter rewards had arrived when I got home, but alas, they have not…

In the meantime… RPGaDay Questions…

Question #13
Describe a game experience that changed how you play.

Yeah… I kind of drew a blank on this one. 

Changes in the way I play have been small, subtle, and gradual over the years. 
I think things that have changed how I game probably occurred OUTSIDE of actual play. Encountering a game system that gave experience for stuff OTHER THAN killing things and taking treasure was a bit thing… 
I guess one thing could be when I tried to kill Runkha… The first person I ever played with was my Dad. Because for the first bit it was just the two of us, he had two characters he played; Zadoc (a priest) and Runka (a thief). Once I encountered actual kids my age that played and had more than one player I kind of got it in my head that ONE MUST ONLY PLAY WITH ONE CHARACTER – but my dad insisted on playing with the two – even when playing with my other friend(s). I got annoyed by this and decided to kill off Rukha by having him attacked by a Ninja – hired by the baddies whose dungeon they were planning to attack… He looked so forlorn, I ended up saying he didn’t DIE, but was so gravely wounded he’d have to stay at the inn while the rest of the party went and bashed the Dungeon. I realized right away it was a bit of a dick move and decided not to ever be a dick again… But I don’t think he ever played a game again with me after that. 

Question #14 
Which RPG do you prefer for open-ended campaign play.

I think Traveller has worked really well for that… it is such a vast sandbox of a galaxy all laid out – but with lots of room for customization and tinkering. 

Mind you, I’ve used GURPS Traveller and I could just as easily use Savage Worlds or something else. I think the SETTING has as much (or MORE) to do with the ability for open-ended play than any particular role-playing game. 
Question #15
Which RPG do you enjoy adapting the most?

I had a lot of fun adapting SavageWorlds to all sorts of different settings – and I definitely have the most experience adapting it. Most recently I’ve been tinkering with the idea of minimizing rules to focus on actual ROLE-PLAYING and have been thinking a LOT about ways I could use something like Song of Blades and Heroes (or any of the games using the same basic game engine) as the basis for an extremely simple role-playing game. We shall see… 

Question #16. 
Which RPG do you enjoy using as is?

I think most RPGs I start out using as is – believing “Surely this will work out…” and then I always end up unsatisfied withe something and tinkering some how. I do like to at least TRY to play any new rule set – whether RPG, Miniatures, or boardgames – with the rules as is, to try and understand what the author(s) intended.

I’m reading through Tales from the Loop and the 40K RPGs right now (Rogue Trader and Only War) – and I can’t see any issues with Tales fem the Loop and so I could possibly run it “as is”, but after a few sessions who knows. The 40K RPGs…? Well, I can already imagine them bogging down in combat – so I’m already planning to use a streamlined combat system that uses elements of the 40K skirmish game to speed things up.
Question #17
Which RPG have you owned the longest by not played?

Actual role-playing games not individual adventures or supplements…

ALIENS? Bunnies and Burrows? High Colonies? All three I picked up in the late 80s when I worked at the Wizard’s Corner and never actually played… ALIENS and High Colonies I picked up when they first came out, Burrows and Bunnies I bought used off a guy…

I was a HUGE fan of Aliens back in the late 80s. I’ve probably seen that movie more than any other movie. So needless to say I was SUPER STOKED when I heard there was going to be an ALIENS role-playing game and I bought it the moment I set eyes upon it…. I remember reading the rules and being utterly underwhelmed by the whole thing… I don’t recall exactly what it was, but just overall disappointed. I may have made characters, but I’m pretty sure I never got so far as to PLAY the game. 

It looks like 

High Colonies came out in 1988 and ALIENS in 1991, so I’ve obviously had High Colonies longer. I have a feeling I may have bought Bunnies and Burrows before 1987… 

Question #18
Which RPG have you played the most in your life?

Hard to say…. In terms of number of gaming session or actual hours spent playing? Or the number of years spent using it as your go-to game?  Probably Savage Worlds… or maybe GURPS…?

I played a LOT of Role Master in high school and a lot of Palladium games (TMNT, Robotech, Heroes Unlimited, Beyond the Supernatural, etc – though I never really played Rifts…), Twilight:2000, Top Secret, Star Frontiers, Battletech/Mechwarrior…. who could possibly tally all those hours at lunch time or after school?!

After high school I played a LOT of GURPS and ran various GURPS games for years.

Eventually I abandoned GURPS in favour of Savage Worlds and ran games every Saturday evening for years… I played it enough that I set up an entire separate BLOG for it!

I have played a lot of D&D(Basic, AD&D, and more recently 5E) – This was the first RPG I ever played, and played it exclusively for some time before moving on to other games (though for a while I still played it as my go-to fantasy game) – and more recently I’ve been playing 5E…

Stay tuned for RPGaDay2017 Question #19 – coming tomorrow! 

Twelve Magic Torches

Posted on August 15th, 2017 under , , , , . Posted by

A while ago I posted some information on how to add torch creation to your campaign world. With 5th edition, one of the things that seems to have been cast aside is the common torch. In the early days of Dungeons and Dragons they were a staple. Now with the Light spell and Darkvision being so prevalent, hand held light sources are not overly valuable. That being said, I decided to spice torches up a bit!

Since ancient times, humans have associated magical properties with various types of wood. That theme fits wonderfully into a Dungeons & Dragons campaign world. For this idea let us assume that two versions of trees exist: one mundane, and one enchanted. The latter being rare and guarded jealously by druidic circles, malicious fey, and even xenophobic elves.  Occasionally a sapling from one of these magic variations may appear in the lands of the common folk. Or alternatively, a group of adventurers may be retained to hunt and fell these trees. Imagine their surprise if a treant template was added to one!

Once prepared, the wood from these arcane trees make valuable torches. Although expensive in coin or trade, magic torches are something interesting to add to a merchant’s shelf. If you would like to add some flavor to your games, and see torches in the dungeon again, these may be a fun addition. Below please find twelve torch variations and their respective magical properties.

Base Torch:

A torch burns for 1 hour, providing bright light in a 20-foot radius and dim light for an additional 20 feet. If you make a melee Attack with a burning torch and hit, it deals 1 fire damage.

Magic Torch Subtype:

01. Apple Wood: Beware, fey are attracted to the dancing flames it creates. While holding the torch you may cast Faerie Fire one time before it burns out.

02. Ash Wood: The smoke generated by this torch assists with concentration. Anyone within 10’ of the burning torch gains advantage on one Intelligence based roll before it burns out.

03. Beech Wood: The greenish flames of this torch have divination properties. While holding the torch you may cast Augury one time before it burns out.

04. Birch Wood: This magic wood is favored in cleansing rituals. Druids of the deepest wild covet it. While holding the torch you may cast Lesser Restoration one time before it burns out.

05. Cedar Wood: The smoke from this wood creates a hazy sphere of energy. While holding the torch you may cast Protection from Good and Evil one time before it burns out.

06. Cherry Wood: Sylvan beings favor this wood as a magical focus. Anyone within 10’ of the burning torch gains advantage on one Wisdom based roll before it burns out.

07. Elm Wood: According to legend, the fey use this wood in rebirth rituals. While holding the torch over a fallen companion, you may cast Spare the Dying one time before it burns out.

08. Hickory Wood: Druids have long used the blueish flames of this wood in their influence rituals. Anyone within 10’ of the burning torch gains advantage on one Charisma based roll before it burns out.

09. Holly Wood: A torch designed from this wood can double as a magic weapon. While holding the torch you may cast Shillelagh on it one time before it burns out. It still gets its +1 flame damage bonuses.

10. Maple Wood: The soothing warmth generated by this torch has legendary healing properties. Anyone within 10’ of the burning torch gains one extra hit die to spend during a short rest.

11. Oak Wood: Legend holds visions of great heroes can be seen if you stare into the flames of this wood. Anyone within 10’ of the burning torch is inspired with bravery, gaining +1 to hit one time before it burns out.

12. Willow Wood: Perhaps the rarest of magical trees, the flames generated from this wood are said to burn away the cold clutches of death. While holding the torch over a fallen companion, you may cast Revivify one time before it burns out.

As the effects above vary, I encourage each Dungeon Master to develop their own value system. Obviously purchasing these torches should not be prohibitively expensive, but we also don’t need characters with golf bags full of them. I would consider adding them as treasure items, and barter material from merchants. Additionally, the characters could find one of these trees and attempt to make torches themselves. Don’t be afraid to use these torches against the characters also! Finally, do you have ideas for other types of magical torches? Please feel free to share any with a follow-up post.

Twelve Magic Torches

Posted on August 15th, 2017 under , , , , . Posted by

A while ago I posted some information on how to add torch creation to your campaign world. With 5th edition, one of the things that seems to have been cast aside is the common torch. In the early days of Dungeons and Dragons they were a staple. Now with the Light spell and Darkvision being so prevalent, hand held light sources are not overly valuable. That being said, I decided to spice torches up a bit!

Since ancient times, humans have associated magical properties with various types of wood. That theme fits wonderfully into a Dungeons & Dragons campaign world. For this idea let us assume that two versions of trees exist: one mundane, and one enchanted. The latter being rare and guarded jealously by druidic circles, malicious fey, and even xenophobic elves.  Occasionally a sapling from one of these magic variations may appear in the lands of the common folk. Or alternatively, a group of adventurers may be retained to hunt and fell these trees. Imagine their surprise if a treant template was added to one!

Once prepared, the wood from these arcane trees make valuable torches. Although expensive in coin or trade, magic torches are something interesting to add to a merchant’s shelf. If you would like to add some flavor to your games, and see torches in the dungeon again, these may be a fun addition. Below please find twelve torch variations and their respective magical properties.

Base Torch:

A torch burns for 1 hour, providing bright light in a 20-foot radius and dim light for an additional 20 feet. If you make a melee Attack with a burning torch and hit, it deals 1 fire damage.

Magic Torch Subtype:

01. Apple Wood: Beware, fey are attracted to the dancing flames it creates. While holding the torch you may cast Faerie Fire one time before it burns out.

02. Ash Wood: The smoke generated by this torch assists with concentration. Anyone within 10’ of the burning torch gains advantage on one Intelligence based roll before it burns out.

03. Beech Wood: The greenish flames of this torch have divination properties. While holding the torch you may cast Augury one time before it burns out.

04. Birch Wood: This magic wood is favored in cleansing rituals. Druids of the deepest wild covet it. While holding the torch you may cast Lesser Restoration one time before it burns out.

05. Cedar Wood: The smoke from this wood creates a hazy sphere of energy. While holding the torch you may cast Protection from Good and Evil one time before it burns out.

06. Cherry Wood: Sylvan beings favor this wood as a magical focus. Anyone within 10’ of the burning torch gains advantage on one Wisdom based roll before it burns out.

07. Elm Wood: According to legend, the fey use this wood in rebirth rituals. While holding the torch over a fallen companion, you may cast Spare the Dying one time before it burns out.

08. Hickory Wood: Druids have long used the blueish flames of this wood in their influence rituals. Anyone within 10’ of the burning torch gains advantage on one Charisma based roll before it burns out.

09. Holly Wood: A torch designed from this wood can double as a magic weapon. While holding the torch you may cast Shillelagh on it one time before it burns out. It still gets its +1 flame damage bonuses.

10. Maple Wood: The soothing warmth generated by this torch has legendary healing properties. Anyone within 10’ of the burning torch gains one extra hit die to spend during a short rest.

11. Oak Wood: Legend holds visions of great heroes can be seen if you stare into the flames of this wood. Anyone within 10’ of the burning torch is inspired with bravery, gaining +1 to hit one time before it burns out.

12. Willow Wood: Perhaps the rarest of magical trees, the flames generated from this wood are said to burn away the cold clutches of death. While holding the torch over a fallen companion, you may cast Revivify one time before it burns out.

As the effects above vary, I encourage each Dungeon Master to develop their own value system. Obviously purchasing these torches should not be prohibitively expensive, but we also don’t need characters with golf bags full of them. I would consider adding them as treasure items, and barter material from merchants. Additionally, the characters could find one of these trees and attempt to make torches themselves. Don’t be afraid to use these torches against the characters also! Finally, do you have ideas for other types of magical torches? Please feel free to share any with a follow-up post.

The Great Ziggurat of Draconis

Posted on August 8th, 2017 under , , , , , . Posted by

I have awakened from my long blogging slumber! This past weekend was Ultracon 6, our friends and family convention. The theme for this year was a sunken city named Draconis, which had risen for various campaign reasons. We had fifteen players, in three groups of five playing the adventure. The player characters were submerged the entire day Saturday, which made for some interesting three-dimensional combat. To make the latter work better we created water stands that would slide up and down a dowel. After some quick measurements from a ruler, you were swimming up and down in no time!

Our water stands in use for 3D combat!

Their enemies included Deep Ones, Mind Flayers, Aboleth, and an Elder Brain. But the big battle would be at the Great Ziggurat at the center of the city. There Nethyrmaul the Undying, the ancient dracolich, would be waiting for them. We designed the encounter so Nethyrmaul took turns attacking a different group each round. All the while the PCs had to deal with an army of ghouls, stone guards, paralyzing traps, and caustic water spouts.

To facilitate this, we decided a piece of custom terrain was needed. My friend Ike Horton, and fellow DM Team member, volunteered for the task. For background Ike is the person who introduced me to the Dungeons and Dragons game all the way back in 1983. He is also a very talented paper craft artist so it was no surprise the Great Ziggurat would be a visual feast when completed. Ike shared various progress pictures along the way to the DM Team, but nothing compared to when it was finally revealed.

As you can see from the pictures below, Ike made a monstrous piece of terrain. The entire ziggurat is scratch built and measures an eye popping 7’ long, 5’ high, and 3’ wide! We had to use four tables in the hotel just to set the ziggurat up before the big reveal to the players. One fantastic part of the design is all three sides separate from the main ziggurat. This way each of our three tables had a piece as the different groups battled their way to the top.

Front view of the Great Ziggurat

Here you can see how the sides connected.

Another view of the sides.

A close-up of a Tiamat sigil & caustic water spouts.

Nethyrmaul waiting for a PC to snack on.

Example of a detached side at the game table.

I just want to commend Ike again on his amazing work designing such an unforgettable game prop. You can find Ike on Facebook here. If you have a piece of papercraft art in mind, or maybe even some custom gaming terrain contact him. Ike has a busy schedule, and often multiple commissions, but I’m sure he would love to hear from you!

We have already started working on Ultracon for next summer. If you have never tried, I highly recommend putting together a family and friends convention. It’s very rewarding gathering together old friends and new for a weekend of gaming, camaraderie, and steel on steel! You would be surprised how many crafty people are in your circle, and all the amazing things you can create together.

Custom terrain and props by another member of the DM Team.

The Great Ziggurat of Draconis

Posted on August 8th, 2017 under , , , , , . Posted by

I have awakened from my long blogging slumber! This past weekend was Ultracon 6, our friends and family convention. The theme for this year was a sunken city named Draconis, which had risen for various campaign reasons. We had fifteen players, in three groups of five playing the adventure. The player characters were submerged the entire day Saturday, which made for some interesting three-dimensional combat. To make the latter work better we created water stands that would slide up and down a dowel. After some quick measurements from a ruler, you were swimming up and down in no time!

Our water stands in use for 3D combat!

Their enemies included Deep Ones, Mind Flayers, Aboleth, and an Elder Brain. But the big battle would be at the Great Ziggurat at the center of the city. There Nethyrmaul the Undying, the ancient dracolich, would be waiting for them. We designed the encounter so Nethyrmaul took turns attacking a different group each round. All the while the PCs had to deal with an army of ghouls, stone guards, paralyzing traps, and caustic water spouts.

To facilitate this, we decided a piece of custom terrain was needed. My friend Ike Horton, and fellow DM Team member, volunteered for the task. For background Ike is the person who introduced me to the Dungeons and Dragons game all the way back in 1983. He is also a very talented paper craft artist so it was no surprise the Great Ziggurat would be a visual feast when completed. Ike shared various progress pictures along the way to the DM Team, but nothing compared to when it was finally revealed.

As you can see from the pictures below, Ike made a monstrous piece of terrain. The entire ziggurat is scratch built and measures an eye popping 7’ long, 5’ high, and 3’ wide! We had to use four tables in the hotel just to set the ziggurat up before the big reveal to the players. One fantastic part of the design is all three sides separate from the main ziggurat. This way each of our three tables had a piece as the different groups battled their way to the top.

Front view of the Great Ziggurat

Here you can see how the sides connected.

Another view of the sides.

A close-up of a Tiamat sigil & caustic water spouts.

Nethyrmaul waiting for a PC to snack on.

Example of a detached side at the game table.

I just want to commend Ike again on his amazing work designing such an unforgettable game prop. You can find Ike on Facebook here. If you have a piece of papercraft art in mind, or maybe even some custom gaming terrain contact him. Ike has a busy schedule, and often multiple commissions, but I’m sure he would love to hear from you!

We have already started working on Ultracon for next summer. If you have never tried, I highly recommend putting together a family and friends convention. It’s very rewarding gathering together old friends and new for a weekend of gaming, camaraderie, and steel on steel! You would be surprised how many crafty people are in your circle, and all the amazing things you can create together.

Custom terrain and props by another member of the DM Team.

Dungeon Master Lament

Posted on August 5th, 2017 under . Posted by

This video explain all.   This is for my friend who is are DM…More here at Saving throw You tube channel Saving Throw Show

Dungeon Master Lament

Posted on August 5th, 2017 under . Posted by

This video explain all.   This is for my friend who is are DM…More here at Saving throw You tube channel Saving Throw Show

RPGaDay 2017 #4

Posted on August 4th, 2017 under , , , , , , . Posted by

RPGaDay Question #4

Which RPG have you played the most since August 2016? 

According to RPGgeek, that’d be D&D 5E – Mostly Bruce’s Primeval Thule campaign, but I also played a one-shot adventure at the Saskatoon Comic and Entertainment Expo.

The only other RPGs I recorded were when The Girl ran the adventure from the Shadowrun Beginner Box and when Finnegan tried running the adventure from the Force Awakens Beginner Box.

That means I haven’t run a single RPG session in over a year. Probably two (or more), now that I think about it. I really enjoy playing in Bruce’s games, but I’m also starting to really miss running my own! I guess I better DO something about that!!

I guess I was running a lot of Songof Blades and Heroes and Frostgrave the winter of 2015/16… which are small scale skirmish games which are ALMOST like role-playing games…? With Frostgrave everyone has their own wizard character and a bunch of hirelings… tends to be a little more competitive that your usual RPG… but still…

What have YOU all been playing, Dear Readers?

Speaking of games I’m running – I am running two games at ToonCon this year. The first is FF3K – my Jet Bikeracing game based on Faustus Furius – on Saturday night, and the second is Pax Rennaisance, part of the Convention’s new “Learn to Play” series, which I will be running on Sunday afternoon. Registration is now open and spaces are filling up!

RPGaDay 2017 #4

Posted on August 4th, 2017 under , , , , , , . Posted by

RPGaDay Question #4

Which RPG have you played the most since August 2016? 

According to RPGgeek, that’d be D&D 5E – Mostly Bruce’s Primeval Thule campaign, but I also played a one-shot adventure at the Saskatoon Comic and Entertainment Expo.

The only other RPGs I recorded were when The Girl ran the adventure from the Shadowrun Beginner Box and when Finnegan tried running the adventure from the Force Awakens Beginner Box.

That means I haven’t run a single RPG session in over a year. Probably two (or more), now that I think about it. I really enjoy playing in Bruce’s games, but I’m also starting to really miss running my own! I guess I better DO something about that!!

I guess I was running a lot of Songof Blades and Heroes and Frostgrave the winter of 2015/16… which are small scale skirmish games which are ALMOST like role-playing games…? With Frostgrave everyone has their own wizard character and a bunch of hirelings… tends to be a little more competitive that your usual RPG… but still…

What have YOU all been playing, Dear Readers?

Speaking of games I’m running – I am running two games at ToonCon this year. The first is FF3K – my Jet Bikeracing game based on Faustus Furius – on Saturday night, and the second is Pax Rennaisance, part of the Convention’s new “Learn to Play” series, which I will be running on Sunday afternoon. Registration is now open and spaces are filling up!

July 2017 Boardgames Round-up

Posted on August 1st, 2017 under , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Posted by

This past month started out really good – we played games almost every day for the first week of the month… then things… well… tapered off a bit.

It’s summer, we’ve been getting out for a lot of bike rides!

1 July 2017 – Kingdomino/Race for the Galaxy

Over the long weekend in July my folks moved into a new condo. It was just down the hallway from the one they’ve been renting for the last year, so it wasn’t very far to move… but moving is moving.

We took a bit of a break on the afternoon of the first to play a quick game of Kingdomino. I thought I had it in the bag – because I ended up completely filling up my 5×5 grid – but The Girl beat both me and Finnegan – largely due to a vast region of grassland with 3 crowns in it! Each of those squares were worth 3 points each – that adds up quick!!

After getting home from my folks, in the evening, we played a game of Racefor the Galaxy.

I had a bit of an Imperium theme going on and had a BUNCH of military – which I pretty much NEVER do. It never seems as good as going for genes or alien stuff or setting up a little production/consumption engine and raking in the VPs through commerce. But it somehow worked for me – I got a 6-point development (I forget what it was called – that gave me a bunch of points and two high point rebel worlds and the Not-Death-Star.

2 July 2017 – Dominion: Intrigue

The kids and I played Dominion: Intrigue. We have lots of other Dominion sets, but I just wanted a quick game and so I just grabbed Intrigue and used one of the suggested sets (Victory Dance?). It was a bit longer that I’d hoped – I’d wanted a quick 30-40 minute game so we’d have time to watch a movie and get to bed at a reasonable hour, but I think the game was over an hour. Not sure if it was the mix of cards or because we haven’t played in a while…?

Counting up the points. I think I won…? The Girl was a close second and Finnegan wasn’t far behind.

3 July 2017 – Angola

John, Kurtis and Brent came over for the afternoon to play Angola. It was almost a year to the day (well, a year and one day) since we first played (we also played it 6 months ago over the xmas holidaze). Though we’ve always determined the sides randomly. Brent and I have always ended up with MPLA/FAPLA and Kurtis and John have always played together with UNITA and FNLA. This was the first time I’ve played the MPLA – the two previous games I’ve played the FAPLA.

One of my starting towns was Sa Da Bandeira, which was kind of cut off from the rest of my forces but directly blocked the road from South Africa (or Namibia?) – the UNITA staging area so I put as many troops as I could in there at the beginning and tried to hold on as long as I could. Eventually it fell and pretty much all the other towns I held… but I held onto Luanda and built a pretty MASSIVE column of troops there and in the last few turns broke out of there and, with the aid of Brent’s FAPLA, pretty much wiped out the FNLA forces in Angola. John held on in the centre and south of Angola and after 10 turns and SIX HOURS of playing… it was a draw. Some might find this outcome disappointing – but I just had a great time playing an interesting game with a great bunch of guys. There is a lot of back-and-forth in the game – just enough chaos and friction to keep you guessing as to how it’d going to turn out.

Amanda got home from a week in the U.S.A. and I’d hoped we’d get in a game as a family, but instead we watched Yoga Hosers…

4 July 2017 – Monarch

Had I been thinking a little further ahead I might have dug out 1775: Rebellion in honour of our neighbors Independence Day, alas…

Instead we played a quick game of Monarch. I started off with a couple of critters and got the Beastmaster. Finnegan looked like he was going for Wisdom and The Girl was going for Culture. I thought I might be able to pick up the dragon and the asp to add to my menagerie, but Finnegan swept the board (not just to deny them to me, he isn’t that much of a dick, there just wasn’t anything for him there…). but that brought out a trio of fantastic bounty cards – the one that allows you to buy them for less (cornucopia?), the one that gives you 2 points per bounty card (it’s a dress… the Harvest Dress? I can’t remember and I’m too lazy to look it up) and the one that gives you one point per bounty card (Ermine – also another animal) – all these bounty cards allowed me to claim the bounty banner – which gave another point per bounty card, so I was now getting FOUR points per bounty card in my court AND per bounty improvement – of which there were three or four!

Picking up those three cards ended the game and I scored 42 points.

Of course when Finnegan counted up HIS points he ALSO had 42!? The Girl had a very disappointing 16 points (she’s clobbered us at this before, so I don’t feel TOO bad about that…).

5 July 2017 – Pax Renaissance

I had hoped to play this with the kids in the afternoon – for some practice explaining the game to people that had never played, but we went for a bike ride

instead.

We actually had TWO four-player games of Pax Renaissance on at John’s. I was super excited about this as, so far, I’d only played three-player games – and they often seemed to turn out the same. Two players end up battling over one half of the map and the other wins in the other with an Imperial Victory.

I played with John, Kurtis, and Darrin. Kurtis had played before. John has played Pax Porfiriana and other Phil Eklund games. Darrin had no idea what he’d got himself into. Despite that, John nearly had an early Renaissance Victory – with England turned into a republic. Darrin then turned Aragon into a republic and stole England from John and nearly took the win, but never had quite enough Law Prestige. Four player games seem MUCH harder to win – as there are three other players messing with your stuff before you get another action. Anytime someone’s close – everybody dogpiles on. Darrin also came close to an Imperial Victory – he had FIVE kingdoms at one point (and at the time Kurtis and I two or three each – stealing stuff back and forth from each other) – though that ended up being the only victory card was never revealed by a comet.  Kurtis also came very close to a Religious Victory with Islam! So exciting seeing these other possibilities open up.

In the end it was me that won – on my turn ran Eastern Ops and campaigned from Hungary taking over Mamluk – giving me a second Patron Prestige point and then bought a card from the Eastern Market place – which revealed the last card in the market decks ending the game. It was a win for me, but if felt like a cheap one.

After six games I still feel like I’m just figuring stuff out. With this longer four-player games I actually got to try out a lot of new different things I’d never really tried before thus I feel like I learned a lot. Not that I think I’m some sort of Master of the Game – or necessarily all that good at it – but I had a lot of fun and I started to feel like maybe I’m starting to figure things out.

6 July 2017 – Retro Loonacy

Played a couple quick rounds of Retro Loonacy after supper before watching a few more episodes of The 100.

8 July 2017 – Die Macher

Saturday I made my way over to Brent’s to hide in his nice cool basement and play DieMacher

with Kurtis and Jason.

Die Macher a totally fascinating game of German electoral politics. Each player is a German political party trying to get their representatives elected in different regions of Germany. I know… it sounds like a yawner, but the play is really interesting and I’d love to play it more. Unfortunately as it takes about four hours to play, I doubt I’ll get to play it often enough to remember how to play, let alone ever figure out the strategy behind it…

16July 2017 – Compounded, Coup, Incan Gold

The following week our friends Kurtis and Shannon found themselves kidless and decided to have a game day. Amanda and I headed over there for the afternoon while out own kids were out at friends or my folks. Joel and Brent also joined us. 

The first game we played was Compounded. I’ve been wanting to try this game for some time. I actually own the game myself – I picked it up thinking it would be fun to play with them when we get to learning more about chemistry. As it turns out absolutely zero knowledge of chemistry is needed to actually PLAY the game… you can play it by just matching the colours of the necessary elements needed to form the various compounds… but some learning could be worked into it – even if it’s just recognizing the elements being used and the compounds they form.

The second game we played – that went so fast I didn’t even take a picture of it – was Coup. I don’t love Coup. It involves bluffing which I am terrible at. Playing with a larger number (6 – we have played it before with 3 or 4) and adults (only played it with the family before) was a bit better. I think it helped that I went last and could see what everyone else was trying to do. Still not a game I’m going to suggest to play… but I’ll probably play it from time to time.

The third game we played was Incan Gold. I can’t remember who won, but I did pretty good – mostly because I bailed before everyone else and actually GOT treasure while so many of the others pushed their luck and ended up losing out.

26 July 2017 – Nuclear War, Nuclear Escalation, Nuclear Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, etc.

I have not played Nuclear Warin… I don’t know how many years. Could be 20…? And I have never played with any of the expansions (Nuclear Escalation, Nuclear Proliferation, Weapons of MassDestruction, or any of the promo cards or bonus packs or whatever…). John has them all and decided it was time to dig them all out and have a go.

I started the game with NO Propaganda cards at all – so things escalated to war pretty quickly – there were an awful lot of secrets though, I’m guessing a lot of them came in the expansions. There were also a lot of new delivery systems and warheads I hadn’t seen before. Despite the quick entry to war, it was one of the longer games of Nuke War I’ve ever played! People just could not get the combinations of delivery systems and warheads they needed! I think I was the third to get blown up… John actually made it past the propaganda round – which is unusual for him – and almost made it to the very end.

I’ll have to dig my copy out and play it with the kids sometime…

27 July 2017 Shadowrun: Crossfire

The girl bought Shadowrun: Crossfire early in the year with money she’d received from relatives for Xmas. She’s been wanting to play it since. Finnegan was in Drama “camp” all week, so this week became “Do Stuff With The Girl” week and I promised I’d sit down and help her figure it out. I know we’d watched a how to video some months ago, and I wasn’t really paying attention to it so I had no idea what was really going on and she’s not quite at the stage where she can read rules entirely on her own and explain them to others… So we watched a different how to video and it mostly made sense – sense enough that we dug out it out and popped out all the counters and… buy that time Finnegan was home from camp so we recruited him to play.

GAME ONE



I played an elf. I think I was the “Faceman”. We lost. We played the basic starter scenario (I think it was just called “Crossfire”?) and I think we got to the second scene, but it very quickly went sideways. By the end of the first scene we were all down to one health and had no way to get it back (other than the one recovered at the end of the scene). At the beginning of Scene Two we suddenly had MORE and MEANER opponents and it was all over very quickly… Still, it seemed straightforward enough and with a little more familiarity with the cards and a bit more experience playing we might (and maybe a bit of LUCK) be able to beat it.

GAME TWO



When Amanda got home in the evening we recruited her to try and play a game. We told her it would take less than an hour. The first game went fairly quickly and it seemed like once we knew what we were doing it could go faster. But now that we knew we needed to be a bit more coordinated, we spent more time contemplating how to go about overcoming each obstacle… and it ended up taking a lot more than one hour. And we still lost. The kids found that a bit discouraging. I think we made it to the Third Scene, though, so… better than we’d done the first time.



I think I played the female troll in the second game – again, the “Face” Role… 

I’ll definitely play it again and would like to try out the campaign! In the campaign you gain “karma” with successful missions and can improve your character with some sort of bonuses (haven’t really looked into it that much). Of course… it would require WINNING some games…



28 July 2017 – D&D 5E

Only game of D&D we got in all month…

I accidentally shot Amanda’s barbarian in the back with an arrow. I rolled a one for damage and she had to go and make a comment about it at least being a “wimpy” shot… I wasn’t going to remind anyone that I to +7 DAMAGE with my bow… but she HAD to go and open her big mouth… (We all survived). 

That’s about it… Hopefully our game playing will pick up a bit in the fall… We’ll have to do the 30 Games in 30 Days Challenge again in September.

July 2017 Boardgames Round-up

Posted on August 1st, 2017 under , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Posted by

This past month started out really good – we played games almost every day for the first week of the month… then things… well… tapered off a bit.

It’s summer, we’ve been getting out for a lot of bike rides!

1 July 2017 – Kingdomino/Race for the Galaxy

Over the long weekend in July my folks moved into a new condo. It was just down the hallway from the one they’ve been renting for the last year, so it wasn’t very far to move… but moving is moving.

We took a bit of a break on the afternoon of the first to play a quick game of Kingdomino. I thought I had it in the bag – because I ended up completely filling up my 5×5 grid – but The Girl beat both me and Finnegan – largely due to a vast region of grassland with 3 crowns in it! Each of those squares were worth 3 points each – that adds up quick!!

After getting home from my folks, in the evening, we played a game of Racefor the Galaxy.

I had a bit of an Imperium theme going on and had a BUNCH of military – which I pretty much NEVER do. It never seems as good as going for genes or alien stuff or setting up a little production/consumption engine and raking in the VPs through commerce. But it somehow worked for me – I got a 6-point development (I forget what it was called – that gave me a bunch of points and two high point rebel worlds and the Not-Death-Star.

2 July 2017 – Dominion: Intrigue

The kids and I played Dominion: Intrigue. We have lots of other Dominion sets, but I just wanted a quick game and so I just grabbed Intrigue and used one of the suggested sets (Victory Dance?). It was a bit longer that I’d hoped – I’d wanted a quick 30-40 minute game so we’d have time to watch a movie and get to bed at a reasonable hour, but I think the game was over an hour. Not sure if it was the mix of cards or because we haven’t played in a while…?

Counting up the points. I think I won…? The Girl was a close second and Finnegan wasn’t far behind.

3 July 2017 – Angola

John, Kurtis and Brent came over for the afternoon to play Angola. It was almost a year to the day (well, a year and one day) since we first played (we also played it 6 months ago over the xmas holidaze). Though we’ve always determined the sides randomly. Brent and I have always ended up with MPLA/FAPLA and Kurtis and John have always played together with UNITA and FNLA. This was the first time I’ve played the MPLA – the two previous games I’ve played the FAPLA.

One of my starting towns was Sa Da Bandeira, which was kind of cut off from the rest of my forces but directly blocked the road from South Africa (or Namibia?) – the UNITA staging area so I put as many troops as I could in there at the beginning and tried to hold on as long as I could. Eventually it fell and pretty much all the other towns I held… but I held onto Luanda and built a pretty MASSIVE column of troops there and in the last few turns broke out of there and, with the aid of Brent’s FAPLA, pretty much wiped out the FNLA forces in Angola. John held on in the centre and south of Angola and after 10 turns and SIX HOURS of playing… it was a draw. Some might find this outcome disappointing – but I just had a great time playing an interesting game with a great bunch of guys. There is a lot of back-and-forth in the game – just enough chaos and friction to keep you guessing as to how it’d going to turn out.

Amanda got home from a week in the U.S.A. and I’d hoped we’d get in a game as a family, but instead we watched Yoga Hosers…

4 July 2017 – Monarch

Had I been thinking a little further ahead I might have dug out 1775: Rebellion in honour of our neighbors Independence Day, alas…

Instead we played a quick game of Monarch. I started off with a couple of critters and got the Beastmaster. Finnegan looked like he was going for Wisdom and The Girl was going for Culture. I thought I might be able to pick up the dragon and the asp to add to my menagerie, but Finnegan swept the board (not just to deny them to me, he isn’t that much of a dick, there just wasn’t anything for him there…). but that brought out a trio of fantastic bounty cards – the one that allows you to buy them for less (cornucopia?), the one that gives you 2 points per bounty card (it’s a dress… the Harvest Dress? I can’t remember and I’m too lazy to look it up) and the one that gives you one point per bounty card (Ermine – also another animal) – all these bounty cards allowed me to claim the bounty banner – which gave another point per bounty card, so I was now getting FOUR points per bounty card in my court AND per bounty improvement – of which there were three or four!

Picking up those three cards ended the game and I scored 42 points.

Of course when Finnegan counted up HIS points he ALSO had 42!? The Girl had a very disappointing 16 points (she’s clobbered us at this before, so I don’t feel TOO bad about that…).

5 July 2017 – Pax Renaissance

I had hoped to play this with the kids in the afternoon – for some practice explaining the game to people that had never played, but we went for a bike ride

instead.

We actually had TWO four-player games of Pax Renaissance on at John’s. I was super excited about this as, so far, I’d only played three-player games – and they often seemed to turn out the same. Two players end up battling over one half of the map and the other wins in the other with an Imperial Victory.

I played with John, Kurtis, and Darrin. Kurtis had played before. John has played Pax Porfiriana and other Phil Eklund games. Darrin had no idea what he’d got himself into. Despite that, John nearly had an early Renaissance Victory – with England turned into a republic. Darrin then turned Aragon into a republic and stole England from John and nearly took the win, but never had quite enough Law Prestige. Four player games seem MUCH harder to win – as there are three other players messing with your stuff before you get another action. Anytime someone’s close – everybody dogpiles on. Darrin also came close to an Imperial Victory – he had FIVE kingdoms at one point (and at the time Kurtis and I two or three each – stealing stuff back and forth from each other) – though that ended up being the only victory card was never revealed by a comet.  Kurtis also came very close to a Religious Victory with Islam! So exciting seeing these other possibilities open up.

In the end it was me that won – on my turn ran Eastern Ops and campaigned from Hungary taking over Mamluk – giving me a second Patron Prestige point and then bought a card from the Eastern Market place – which revealed the last card in the market decks ending the game. It was a win for me, but if felt like a cheap one.

After six games I still feel like I’m just figuring stuff out. With this longer four-player games I actually got to try out a lot of new different things I’d never really tried before thus I feel like I learned a lot. Not that I think I’m some sort of Master of the Game – or necessarily all that good at it – but I had a lot of fun and I started to feel like maybe I’m starting to figure things out.

6 July 2017 – Retro Loonacy

Played a couple quick rounds of Retro Loonacy after supper before watching a few more episodes of The 100.

8 July 2017 – Die Macher

Saturday I made my way over to Brent’s to hide in his nice cool basement and play DieMacher

with Kurtis and Jason.

Die Macher a totally fascinating game of German electoral politics. Each player is a German political party trying to get their representatives elected in different regions of Germany. I know… it sounds like a yawner, but the play is really interesting and I’d love to play it more. Unfortunately as it takes about four hours to play, I doubt I’ll get to play it often enough to remember how to play, let alone ever figure out the strategy behind it…

16July 2017 – Compounded, Coup, Incan Gold

The following week our friends Kurtis and Shannon found themselves kidless and decided to have a game day. Amanda and I headed over there for the afternoon while out own kids were out at friends or my folks. Joel and Brent also joined us. 

The first game we played was Compounded. I’ve been wanting to try this game for some time. I actually own the game myself – I picked it up thinking it would be fun to play with them when we get to learning more about chemistry. As it turns out absolutely zero knowledge of chemistry is needed to actually PLAY the game… you can play it by just matching the colours of the necessary elements needed to form the various compounds… but some learning could be worked into it – even if it’s just recognizing the elements being used and the compounds they form.

The second game we played – that went so fast I didn’t even take a picture of it – was Coup. I don’t love Coup. It involves bluffing which I am terrible at. Playing with a larger number (6 – we have played it before with 3 or 4) and adults (only played it with the family before) was a bit better. I think it helped that I went last and could see what everyone else was trying to do. Still not a game I’m going to suggest to play… but I’ll probably play it from time to time.

The third game we played was Incan Gold. I can’t remember who won, but I did pretty good – mostly because I bailed before everyone else and actually GOT treasure while so many of the others pushed their luck and ended up losing out.

26 July 2017 – Nuclear War, Nuclear Escalation, Nuclear Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, etc.

I have not played Nuclear Warin… I don’t know how many years. Could be 20…? And I have never played with any of the expansions (Nuclear Escalation, Nuclear Proliferation, Weapons of MassDestruction, or any of the promo cards or bonus packs or whatever…). John has them all and decided it was time to dig them all out and have a go.

I started the game with NO Propaganda cards at all – so things escalated to war pretty quickly – there were an awful lot of secrets though, I’m guessing a lot of them came in the expansions. There were also a lot of new delivery systems and warheads I hadn’t seen before. Despite the quick entry to war, it was one of the longer games of Nuke War I’ve ever played! People just could not get the combinations of delivery systems and warheads they needed! I think I was the third to get blown up… John actually made it past the propaganda round – which is unusual for him – and almost made it to the very end.

I’ll have to dig my copy out and play it with the kids sometime…

27 July 2017 Shadowrun: Crossfire

The girl bought Shadowrun: Crossfire early in the year with money she’d received from relatives for Xmas. She’s been wanting to play it since. Finnegan was in Drama “camp” all week, so this week became “Do Stuff With The Girl” week and I promised I’d sit down and help her figure it out. I know we’d watched a how to video some months ago, and I wasn’t really paying attention to it so I had no idea what was really going on and she’s not quite at the stage where she can read rules entirely on her own and explain them to others… So we watched a different how to video and it mostly made sense – sense enough that we dug out it out and popped out all the counters and… buy that time Finnegan was home from camp so we recruited him to play.

GAME ONE



I played an elf. I think I was the “Faceman”. We lost. We played the basic starter scenario (I think it was just called “Crossfire”?) and I think we got to the second scene, but it very quickly went sideways. By the end of the first scene we were all down to one health and had no way to get it back (other than the one recovered at the end of the scene). At the beginning of Scene Two we suddenly had MORE and MEANER opponents and it was all over very quickly… Still, it seemed straightforward enough and with a little more familiarity with the cards and a bit more experience playing we might (and maybe a bit of LUCK) be able to beat it.

GAME TWO



When Amanda got home in the evening we recruited her to try and play a game. We told her it would take less than an hour. The first game went fairly quickly and it seemed like once we knew what we were doing it could go faster. But now that we knew we needed to be a bit more coordinated, we spent more time contemplating how to go about overcoming each obstacle… and it ended up taking a lot more than one hour. And we still lost. The kids found that a bit discouraging. I think we made it to the Third Scene, though, so… better than we’d done the first time.



I think I played the female troll in the second game – again, the “Face” Role… 

I’ll definitely play it again and would like to try out the campaign! In the campaign you gain “karma” with successful missions and can improve your character with some sort of bonuses (haven’t really looked into it that much). Of course… it would require WINNING some games…



28 July 2017 – D&D 5E

Only game of D&D we got in all month…

I accidentally shot Amanda’s barbarian in the back with an arrow. I rolled a one for damage and she had to go and make a comment about it at least being a “wimpy” shot… I wasn’t going to remind anyone that I to +7 DAMAGE with my bow… but she HAD to go and open her big mouth… (We all survived). 

That’s about it… Hopefully our game playing will pick up a bit in the fall… We’ll have to do the 30 Games in 30 Days Challenge again in September.

N1. Reptile god. Session 6

Posted on July 8th, 2017 under , , , , , , , , . Posted by

The elvish boys spent a fair amount of time recovering from the battle in the mud with the ghouls and …

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The Dice of Generations

Posted on July 1st, 2017 under , , , , , , , , , . Posted by

In which the author muses that everything old is new again, and a younger generation will march on with or without him. Continue reading