Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How's My GMing? Call 1-800-your-pc-is-dead!

In two weeks, I get a chance to run a game session for what you could call a "secondary" group. My core group is caught up with life, but the other people who are always invited to play, but never can make it are actually available. I haven't seen some of these people since the last year's Day of Sloth, if not longer, so I'm excited at the possibility of reconnecting with old friends, playing with different styles, and comparing notes on how the Hangover II stole most of our Buffalo road trip memories (and a few of Ohio, but we agreed that never happened and no one has found the body... yet.)

The goal is to run a table (or two) of Gnome Wars to give me a reason to get the painting going for the units for Historicon. I had initially decided to run Call of Cthulhu, but I've changed it up with a "very special" rpg session instead. I'll explain it here after the session, but it should be enjoyable, and amusing to both parties. To accomplish this, I've sent out "roommate questionaires" to a couple of the players I'm not quite familiar with. As the name suggests, the questions would be completely acceptable territory for college roommates to ask each other on week one. "So, you're Polish?" "What's your major?" "What do your parents do?" "Wanna wrestle?"

Okay, the last one isn't on there (the game isn't THAT kind of very special). I'll be able to extrapolate the information received and provide them with a gaming experience tailored to their needs.

Trust me, it sounds completely pretentious, but I'm just short of betting my life that everyone will have an awesome time.

This got me to thinking of all the other surveys, questionaires, and scantron sheets I've dispersed to my players, all in the quest of finding the optimum game.

Back in high school, we didn't have that problem. We had a finite group, we played AD&D 2nd Edition as our primary game, and whenever somebody wanted to run someone new and/or cool, we found time to run that. Sometimes we got decent campaign runs, like our GURPS-Humanx, GURPS-Napalm Death, or Gamma World 4th Edition games, while other times we played games like Recon, Robotech, Rifts, Basic D&D, just to try them out and see if they were actually cool.

In community college, the group was new and variable, but we basically threw all our options in the ring and democracy won out. Sometimes a strong-armed loudmouth dictator would force something like a lukewarm Vampire game onto us, but we got a nice diverse selection of Tunnels & Trolls, D&D, Recon, Talislanta, and a bunch of small press games out of the Gamescience catalog.

Somewhere post-community college and during the true "college years" a few years later, I began having player, prospective and current, fill out the occasional survey. Sometimes, it was to find out what game they really preferred to play, sometimes it was a series of direct questions to see what as a player the wanted to direct their character question. The old "on a scale of 1 to 10 what to you prefer most in your games? A- Combat B- NPC Interaction C-Personal gain D- Big-Ass Sword." This way, while I could not guarantee 100% satisfaction for each player, I could tailor storylines, and even certain parts of each session to accomodate each player/character's needs for a successful game.

I laugh now, because with time, a good GM does that with just casual feedback, not post-demographic feedback. For our Hackmaster game, we had a motley assortment of fools, er.. characters, so I constantly had to adjust my GMing between roleplaying, character advancement/developing, and the fact that the game is called HACKMASTER, so some sessions are combat heavy, possibly disenfranchising the weaker characters of their Gawd-given right to be important. I've been at the other end of that equation, and there's never enough love interests, plot twists, and political intrigue to counter a meat grinder session when your character definitely does not have the cajones to make through without being a burden to the party. Luckily, eveyone knew what they were getting into, and I tried to integrate something else into those sessions when the books started getting perused or knitting came out mid-session.

With the current group, I've resorted to sending out emails with just multiple game options. I've got more ideas than time to play them out, so a little input would always be appreciated. Unfortunately, the regular guys are just as desperate to chuck dice as I am, so often I've received "All sound good," or at best "Regular Fantasy," or "I want to kill things." This has not been a positive to me as a GM. Why try something new when the group will take any McGame they can get. This has been the reason my "Home" Polynesian game and "City-State of Kathad" have never gotten off the ground.

I've also resorted to making the players list all of the proposals from most-favorite to least. This seems to have the best effect out of all the questionaires, as although the players primarilly choose the "regular fantasy" options, they have shown that my pet settings have some interest, and if I can tailor the game to each player's needs, it could work.

But for now, I'll fill my sessions with Gnome Wars, CoC with the main group, and a super-secret game for my secondaries. Let's see what happens.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Eureka Creates Martian Fighting Machines

Eureka always knows how to throw off my delicate budget before I go to a con.
Per a blurb in TMP, they are releasing Martian Fighting Machines for 28mm, as well as the Martians to pilot them:

Yes, you are not hallucinating, those are 28mm figures underneath the machine! It is a resin and metal kit towering sixteen inches high over the battlefield. It's immnense. It's beautiful. It's complicated enough to require instructions! Eureka has provided a pdf file with instructions to aid with assembly. This is definitely not one of those Lock-tight Camaro models you put together in grade school. They guys at Eureka do note that drilling and pinning will be required.

The only thing that made me more awe-struck than the model was the price tag. The machines go for just $105 US. The Martians (see below) are a hair over $15.

I have no plans for a pulp/Victorian Sci-Fi game, but one of those just has to be on one of my tables... one day. They will simply go onto the huge list of Eureka product I would like to purchase. Winning lottery numbers would be greatly appreciated right now.

http://eurekamin.com.au/index.php for more pictures and information.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Only 217 Gaming Days Before Christmas!

This morning, one topic on TMP really threw me for a loop:

"What's your Christmas Game Going to Be?"

Really? We're just about to hit 80 degrees today for I think the first time all year. I just turned off the heat in the last room of the house this past weekend. I don't want to think about Christmas. Talk to me in August when I'm sick of 100 degree-plus weather.

But it did get me thinking. Our extended group has always had a holiday game of some form over the years. They ranged from a few years of Beatles-inspired AD&D games, another AD&D game that involved an Elf Concentration Camp (might have been the previous games, they were kinda weird), Paranoia games, and even once or twice, somebody rented the local legion, the invite list was expanded and we chipped in ten bucks to cover rent and drinks and played a bunch of card and board games.

One of the constants in holiday games was Battletech. BIG Battletech games, urban games with combined forces (armor, infantry, mechs, and maybe an Aerospace fighter run as well). Lots of optional/house rules for the scenario, and if I learned anything, standing underneath a "water" tower was not a good idea.

Probably the best holiday game was a Toon game run by our friend the Mighty River himself, Phil. We were the Double-FF reject elves at the North Pole who were forced to be the heroes and rescue Santa Claus. I've forgotten more about the game than I remember, but I do remember us using a magic school bus (?) to fly to England to kick Harry Potter's ass, lots of explosions, and one of the elves occupations was "Santa's Fluffer." Kids, if you don't know want that means, DON'T ask your parents!

Now, I have enough trouble trying to get the crew together for a monthly game, much less all my planning for Historicon, but a holiday game is truly the epicness of all thing epic. Lots of friends, food, and fun! So I present a poll for the first time in a long while: "What should Viscount run for the Christmas Game"

*Star Wars d6 The Land of Misfit Droids II - The first game was a disaster story-wise, but character-wise we had a blast.

*Toon (Simpons) Cthulhu: He sees You When He's Dreaming - I have two rough outlines for Simpons' episodes, and I need a game with McBain and Disco Stu together again, for the first time.

*Gnome Wars Something Something Santa Claus Something Gnome Wars is one of the few minis games with rules and a fig for Santa Claus. VerYou rought ideas right now, but maybe he's kidnapped, gone rogue, or perhaps I should wait to see what Michael's will have at 80-90% off the week after Christmas. I do have that "very special" Easter game planned for next year. Mwhahaha!!!!!

*Gnomes War The War with Candyland This one I just thought of right before I finished the post. Two words: Edible Battlefield. The spoils of war melt in your mouth, not on the battlefield. Kids and Ladies very welcome.

*D&D Yule Love Feliz Navidad A very special game, using my Basic Hack rules (combined Basic D&D, Hackmaster, and BRP), using characters only seen for a passing second in a Yule-themed session I ran in college. Two words: Mariachi Fucking Kobolds!

*Illuminati University Scavenger Hunt II - Scavenger Hunt I was legen-waitforit-dary, and given the climax each time I ran it, Scavenger Hunt II would definitely fit as a holiday game. Played using Risus.

*Supremacy Christmas at Ground Zero - If Diplomacy is the game of SATLOF, then a game of nuclear weapons should be the game of Christmas!

I'll post the poll here and on Facebook. Vote early, vote often! Suggestions taken!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

(RPG) The End?

It's been 53 minutes since midnight, May 21st rolled around, 7 hour 53 minutes in Jerusalem, and unless I walk into an empty bedroom in a few minutes, the Rapture has NOT occured. Don't look too sad.

But all this talk about people just up and disappearing, reminds me of one of the never-played games laying in a box in the garage.

The End.

The premise is ridiculously simple. A modern interpretation of the Book of Revelations occurs. Nanotechnology, geneticly modified food, and a few well placed nukes turn the world into a chaotic mess with billons already dead. Then the Rapture comes at some point. Some ascend into heaven, others fall into the eternal lake of fire. God then essentially abandons Earth to interact with his faithful.

There's only one problem. There are still people left on the Earth. A small percentage, maybe 5-10% of the remaining people worldwide are indeed "left behind," but in this scenario there's no Kirk Cameron to save you. Those who couldn't make up there mind in the battle between good and evil, the meek, have inherited the Earth.

The first mission of the remaining characters is to find a steady source of supplies, perhaps some transportation, and finally, like-minded individuals. Lonesomeness is amplified on this God-less Earth. "The Blues" can affect you faster than any lone hermit goes crazy.

There's another problem. The Earth is apparently reverting itself back to it's Eden-like state. Quickly. A secret stash of supplies could spoil or even disentigrate in the matter of months. Activity in a library might stave off the books falling apart, but an abandoned library might already have most of its books turned to dust and the structure in imminent danger of collapse in just a few short months.

Not only is the Earth revolting against humans, but man has much less sway over plants and animals. Wild animals have grown bigger and much more dangerous than before. Think dire wolves on steroids bigger.

Despite all these problems, we still have each other, right? Oh, you naive 21st century thinkers. When the shit hits the fan the safest form of government is tyranny. Most compounds/camps/enclaves have individuals ruling with iron fists. Despite some ridiculous absolutist camps, there's some taboo running in each group. Cannibalism, slavery, sex slavery, relgious fanatcism (even with no God), and some eco-nuts for good measure. The true bastion of American left is in Boston (of course!) A small group of men and women train with a level of execution that would have made the orginal Minutemen take out the British, jump on ships, and conquer the British Isles. But this zeal is necessary. Troops continually pour out of the Washington D.C. area to conquer Boston. It ain't natural, and unless Boston gets help fast, it will be a war of attrition.

The game started with its own rules system (historically "Banned at GenCon" for art and theme issues), but the edition I picked up was for d20. As source material for any system, it was great. I always wanted a GURPS-Modern game under false pretenses and have Revelations kick in. Survivors would be more powerful than the characters seem to normally start in the game, but then they can be the ones organizing the camp(s).

I do believe this is only available in pdf forms through most reputable online dealers. So charge that credit card and enjoy some nice weekend reading. Worst case, we're either saved or screwed, so the credit card won't need to be paid. Best case, we're preparing ourselves for what-if the crackpot minister was actually part right, but still horribly wrong.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Apathy of New Releases (June 2011)

I've been stuck at home with the little one way too long, because I didn't expect GTM #136 to be released until next week. Only one more month as a stay-at-home dad. Only six more weeks till Historicon.

Of course, if the end of the world happens tomorrow, I don't have to worry about any of it, and these items will never be produced.

First off my want list doesn't change. The CoC 30th Anniversary Rulebook and Cthulhu by Gaslight were officially solicited this month, although I talked about them last month.

My "If money was no object" list isn't much better. The Savage World Deluxe Edition is available for $29.99, and I might as well break down and buy a copy of the rules. Also being released is Red November, Revised Edition, a Gnomish submarine board game.

The store list:
Unless I received a backlash involving tar and feathers, I would push and promote Pathfinder as much as possible. Why? For yet another month, the order book is chock full of product, and product CAN equal profit. This month has TEN 3rd party books, and Paizo is releasing 5 products! And they said OGL was dead.

More of an amusing note, than store suggestion, Cactus Game Design magically showed up in the book after a long, long abscence. They are best known for Redemption: the biblical CCG. It may not been as successful as say, Magic, but it hung around a long time, in game stores and Christian bookshops. Their listing focuses more on plush playsets for the Nativity and Noah's Ark. Does playing with a plush baby Jesus and a plush Cthulhu constitute heresy?

GURPS alert! GURPS alert! GURPS Horror 4th edition is solicited for summer release! GURPS and OGRE in the same year? Incredible!

It also looks like a relaunch of Heavy Gear. Heavy Gear was always the cooler, pricier cousin of B'Tech, and with the the steep increases in metal costs, I can't see much hope for them, unless they're still big in Kansas or Hong Kong.

Other "little" things:
* A new set for the L5R CCG, and a new book for the RPG.
* Burning Wheel Gold Edition ($25.00)
* A new LotR RPG from Cubicle 7. Really? Another one?
* Dark Heresy: Church of the Damned
* Rogue Trader: Citadel of Skulls
* Warhammer Fantasty: Omens of War
* Osprey has a buttload of books coming out this summer. Nothing of note, but each current line, including Fields of Glory and Force on Force are included.
*WOTC? How about the D&D Neverwinter Campaign and Set VI for A&A Naval minis?
*Wizkids keeps throwing crap against the wall and occasionally finding diamonds. Gears of War 3 clix are coming out, but Street Fighter(!) clix are coming out!

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Very Gnomish Civil War Update

I finally got some technological issues resolved and got ahold of Jim Stanton "The Gnome Guy." I gave him the breakdown on the game and he seems excited. Truth be told, I think he's happy somebody else is finally running a Gnome game.

Going over the details, I realized the one thing to make the free-for-fall competitive and fun is secondary goals. Sure, the kids who don't have armies should pre-reg for a spot stick to a basic "defend/attack objective A" battleplan. The experienced players who bring their own armies, should be allowed a bit more independence.

While the experienced players will be able to ally themselves with the major factions, their true motives will be a bit more subversive. Capturing the village might be a good plan of attack, but seizing the secret stash of gold in the one building will make things turn to a fever pitch. I'm pondering a unit that wants to "rescue" the St. Bernards, or maybe one that wants to sabotage a facility.

My current plan, besides building the buildings: Trying to see is the rules for Santa need to be tweaked. I mean, the Swiss can't ALL be good, can they?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Historicon PEL is up!

With the great news of the status quo being returned to the VFCC, the only thing that could make the day better is the release of the Prelimar Event List (PEL)

Throw in some problems with Blogger and my laptop, and my review of the PEL took much longer than anticipated.

View the whole shebang here:

After reviewing the document, which so far is only in collected form and individual days, I noticed a few things.

There is a LOT of High Noon occuring that weekend. Usually those games are relegated to the giant, beautiful Old West board that covers any terrain/scenario you would wish to play. Everything from Posses to a Battle of the Bands, to Patton chasing down Pancho Villa... again!

Mission to Monkey Island - someone's using Eureka's flying monkeys!

Field Mice versus Zombie Pumpkins - someone's using Eureka's mouse warriors!

Pirates of the Carib-Bearan - someone's using Eureka's Teddy Bear Pirates!

and so forth... lots of Eureka promotion. Should be fun!

Despite the plethora of WW2, Victorian Sci-Fi, and ACW games, I only found a couple games that piqued my interest. To make matters worse, I think I've played similar games at previous Historicons:

S-640 - 55 Days at Peking: The Defence and the Rescue
Sat. 7 PM, 4 hrs, 14 players
GM: Bob & Cleo Liebl and First Friday Gamers
Sponsor: Bob & Cleo, Prize: Cookies to all participants
Colonial 25mm, Rules: The Flame and the Sword
The Boxers have risen in bloody revolt in China. A tiny band is holding out in Peking, peeking over their walls. An expedition is launched to
save them. Then the entire Imperial Chiese Army joins the Boxers. Come and join the few, the proud, the brave in rescuing Western
Civilization, or help the rebels drench the ground

T-644 - Trench Wars: Russia 1920 - The Return of Baron Waxtel
Thurs. 7 PM, 3 hrs, 8 players
GM: Frank Luberti Jr. and New York Wargamers Association
Sponsor: MBA
Inter-War 28mm, Rules: Trench Wars (modified)
The "Mad Baron" returns to command his White Russian forces (supported by "foreign interventionists") against local Red units. Friends of
Baron Waxtel are welcome to stop by

S-422 - Midnight Massacre - Theme Game
Sat. Midnight, 4 hrs, 25 players
GM: Scott Landis with Gwyn Reeves, Jeff Kimmel, Michael Panzer, Dave Reiners, Eric Turner and the Rogues
American Civil War 15mm, Rules: Fire and Fury Brigade
The late night classic is back for “The Social Event at the Con”. Game will feature all of the "Madness" you have come to expect from the
Rogues including the Georgia Courage Rule, 2 AM sing off, and usual taunting and abuse from GM's as players try to do something with their
armies (we like to think of it as the Fog of War). Come enjoy the fun and camaraderie of one of the longest running events at HISTORICON.
Pre-reg gets you an Elite Command. As always, 2 drink Minimum!

I am very happy to report FIVE Gnome Wars games this year!

T-643 - Gnome Wars: Castle Elmore
Thurs. 2 PM, 3 hrs, 10 players
GM: Jim Stanton
Sponsor: MBA
Fantasy 28mm, Rules: Gnome Wars
A coalition force of Swiss and French are assisting the Irish defend Castle Elmore, which they currently occupy. The Germans want to control
this strategic castle and its surrounding village and have sent a small force to launch a surprise attack.

F-259 - Gnome Wars: The Joust!
Fri. 8 PM, 3 hrs, 30 players
GM: Jim Stanton; Sponsor: Brigade Games, Prize: Gnomes!!
Gnomes 28mm, Rules: Gnome Wars

S-134 - A Very Gnomish Civil War
Sat. 10 AM, 4 hrs, 6 players
GM: Eric Jacobson
Fantasy 28mm, Rules: Gnome Wars

S-648 - Gnome Wars: One if by Land
Sat. 2 PM, 3 hrs, 12 players
GM: Jim Stanton
Sponsor: MBA
Fantasy 28mm, Rules: Gnome Wars
The Irish have managed to capture Lon the Lunkhead and are holding him captive at Castle Elmore. The Germans, who have been enjoying
themselves in the village below, quickly launch an all out assault in an attempt to get him back.

S-649 - Gnome Wars: Two if by Sea
Sat. 8 PM, 3 hrs, 12 players
GM: Jim Stanton; Sponsor: MBA
Fantasy 28mm, Rules: Gnome Wars
As the Irish King looked down at his exhausted Leprechauns he saw bruised bodies and bloodied hands. There seemed to be ebb in the attack and the High King was glad to have a chance to rest. As he turned to catch the sea breeze on his face he sees, much to his chagrin, ships on the horizon that are headed his way. “To the walls lads, to the walls!”

Historicon 2011 "It was all a bad dream"

So, all the previously mentioned problems for Historicon with the VFCC? (Casino construction, limited space, putting games in random rooms...)

Gone! Vamoose! Outtahere...

Like a comic book relaunch or the series finale for St. Elsewhere, negotiations have resulted in the HMGS getting everything back to the way it was last year. The two main floors will be available to the Dealer Hall, General and Tournament Gaming, Wally's Basement, the Painter's Univerity, and Registration. Club games and seminars will still be situated in dedicated rooms .

Of course, this was done just after the staff of one (i.e. Duncan Adams) finalized the locations of the games with the "Plan B" arrangements. Here's hoping he takes a few moments, screams at the top of his lungs, grabs a beverage of choice, and goes about finalizing "Plan C", which looks an awful lot like "Plan A."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

(RPG) "Ripped from the Headlines" Campaign Development

It was a rought night for Amelia and me sleepwise, so as the little one finally passed out, I grabbed a newspaper and did something I haven't done in years: "Ripped From the Headlines" campaign development.

If there's one thing I've been consistently complemented on, it is my ability to keep continuity. Whether it's advancing hidden storylines that characters only catch a glimpse of, or making sure the innkeeper's son, who was 2 years old at session #4 is an older kid when the party returns in session #72, the characters should not be part of a static universe.

When my Georic campaign, turned towards Hackmaster, my best resources weren't Dragon Magazines or trips to the local game store. It was a copy of The Express-Times, the local paper. When I worked for that paper, I would grab a copy out of the trunk (I always had a few stashed there), grab an early breakfast, and add events to my campaign's future calendar.

How do I take a pile of school board meetings, special interest pieces, and hokey local news and turn it into fantasy fodder? It takes a little practice, but those local tax increases are now baronial tax increases, and the question becomes why? Drunk and disorderlies become drunk and disorderly berserkers in one town for one night.

I always used the newspaper's circulation area for the current country we're focusing. For example, when I reviewed The Express-Times, Easton would be the capital city, and the further the story occurred from Easton, the closer it should happen to the country's borders. National news stories would be equally spread out along the continent. A Connecticut hazardous waste spill turns into a magical anomally in a nearby kingdom. Politicians being arrested in Washington state would be a potential revolt on the other side of the continent.

International events are usually the simplest of all. Georic uses the maps from the Epic of Aerth setting from Dangerous Journeys, so I can place world issues on the appropriate corner of the globe.

So, what evolved from this morning's paper? First off, with the recent death of Osama bin Laden, this week's worth of events would need to happen after a significant event in the campaign, say, the successful completion of the Burning Trog's revenge on the Slavers of Roark. It would send the region into a tailspin, and all those Pakistan stories could find adequate use.

  1. An article about a pro lacrosse team coming to the area turns into a tournament in the Kingdom of Marakeikos. Celebration? Holiday?

  2. "Pakistan suspected of leaks" article. Hyrkania and other nations who paid lip service to the slavers are irate that adventurers from "the west" have destroyed their evil, yet stable, balance of power. Perhaps those nations will look across the sea to the already evil Parthian Empire for support?

  3. "Drilling, gas in water linked" Miners in the western frontier are dying off faster than usual. What is killing them?

  4. "Illegal immigrant's release ripped" A cleric from Khemmet wrecks havoc in Northern Barthey. Citizens from Khemmet are already banned from Barthey, what will the backlash create?

  5. "River rising in Memphis" Incredible flooding strikes the Ispatlian peninsula again. The Ispatlian people have suffered greatly since the Mage War and looks the troubles are coming back around for a second wave.

  6. "Nuke plant closing for seawall" I'll have to go back and see what type of disaster Nippon was ripe for. Is it natural? Magic? Agents from Cathay, Lemuria, or Mu? Giant Lizards?

  7. "Ship with refugees sinks off of Tripoli" Looks like a Tripolia Trade Union and Nodrun might begin a naval skirmish/war.

  8. "Tower wants city official's pay cut" Every few years, some group, be it ethnic Traldar, the "new" Barthey, or some revolutionary group demands a change to the structure of nobility in Marakeikos. This time it looks like a group of merchants and teamsters are pushing for change, possibly for some future titles once everyone forgets what previously transpired.

  9. "Steinbrenner aided the FBI in terrorism investigation" The former ruler of Vlachia actually aided the Burning Trogs in stopping the Slaver Menace. No official response has come from the current ruler of Vlachia.

There's absolutely no way the PCs would get involved with each of those events, but the next time there's an storyline in the paper, I can adjust it to previous events. I'm not just running a video game with a level in stasis until the players want to unlock it. Thirty years of game time shouldn't result in the same info block that I originally typed up years ago.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Osama bin Laden's Compound.... NOW ON SALE!

I have to admit that it took about 24 hours after the news of Osama bin Laden's capture/killing for me to look inside myself and answer the tough questions:

How would the operation play out on the tabletop? What rules system would I use? What scale figures would I need to purchase?

The last question has been given a nudge towards 6mm (1/285), as GameCraft Miniatures has released the Pakistan compound for a tidy sum of $35.00:

According to the website, the compound measures 18" x 8" and comes in four main pieces. Sorry, but it looks like the main building is solid resin. No room-to-room fighting for you. The kit does include a piece of styrene plastic so you make the decision whether or not to add the infamous eight foot privacy wall on the third floor.

Truth be told, when I tried to answer those questions I mentioned above, it could be easily down in 28-30mm. Two dozen of your special operations troops of choice, a pack of Afghan fighters, a helicopter or two, and a LOT of plasticard/cardboard. The conversion from 6mm means you need 7 1/2' by 3 1/2' just for the compound!

Not having seen many skirmish level 6mm games, I immediately thought of using BattleTech. Whether you want a combined arms experience, or just want to send a lance or two of 'mechs into town, it looks like fun. Of course, the military academy in Abbotabad might have a few training 'mechs... or a slightly larger arsenal.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Playing Card Football

"Last night's half-hour experiment while my wife was watching SVU was going through Goren's Hoyle Encyclopedia of Games looking for sports games.

There actually were three different baseball games: two using dice and one using cards. The dice games were underwhelming: Five dice thrown and the combined score is referenced. A lot of the numbers come up "ball" or "strike" which immediately threw me off. I hated that when I played APBA and I still hate it now. It drags out the game when some could just labeled "base on balls", while others were "strikeout." One game liked yacht/yahtzee a bit too much, giving bonuses for straights and five of a kinds, while the other gave completely arbitrary results

30 - home run, four runs score, even with no man on base
6 - triple play, three outs even with no man on base
5 - triple play, and any runs previously made in that inning are called off becuase the umpire reverses a decision.

What? Is the umpire drug testing players mid-innings and voiding AN ENTIRE INNING of play? Seriously. None of them have the simplicity of "Fireside" Dice Baseball, and although the "wtf?" results are rare, I believe it detracts from what should be a nice simple game for a rainy afternoon.

For the sake of completeness, I'll try the card version later on. It looks promising, despite the strike/ball fault included in its rules as well.

I actually enjoyed the Playing Card Football listed in the book. It uses one 52-card deck to play, and despite a number of situational "what ifs," it flowed like a traditional football game. Cards
have yardage values, from Ace =1 to King =13. Red is positive yardage, and black is a loss.

The offense is given four types of plays, with expanding "What if" scenarios using more cards:
Example: Draw play: draw one card. If run, ball is moved that number of yards. If black, draw another card. If that card is red, no gain. If black, team loses that number of yards, but no more than five.

The other three plays (Sweep, Short and Long Passes) allow for "exploding" plays: If the criteria is met, the player continues to draw cards from the deck, and so long as they are red, those numbers are added to the yardage gained. There are special rules for interceptions, fumbles, and sacks, and I won't get into special teams, but they involve more "what ifs" and a LOT more cards.

While Benson and Stabler were trying to figure out why women were having sex with John Stamos, I went through the deck of cards about five times and played a little solitaire version of the game. It was a 0-0 defensive slugfest with only one field goal attempt. Special teams ate up the decks (one punt normaly used about nine cards), and I only completed one long pass (25+ yards). Given the copyrights for the book are 1950 and 1961, it perfectly fits the era that it came from: Three yards and a cloud of dust, with a spectacular pass or special teams play for flavor. I might just try it again, and if I can find out the perameters of the copyright, I might post it up on the main page, next to Dice Baseball.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Easter Mouseling?

I seemed to have missed this. The Easter Mouseling was released the week of April 18th:

I don't know how practical a mouse holding a giant egg is for a game (suicide egger?), and again at $4.99, I hestiate to buy any of the holiday mouselings.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

All Hail Weiner Dog Logistics...

Just saw this this morning, and it has "German Gnome Supply Cart" written all over it:

This is a 28mm Scrunt Dog Cart from www.olleysarmies.co.uk . A Scrunt looks to be their version of the much maligned Squats from 40k. Best yet, the dogs are available individually, so dreams of a German medic dog could be realized.

Unfortunately, the web address does not lie. This is from the UK, and without any distributors that I could find, the shipping costs, tacked onto the pounds to dollars conversion make these a tad bit on the "sell vital organs to buy lead" side of the hobby.