Tuesday, December 24, 2013

So, I set this site to kind of organize my gaming thoughts. The fact I haven't posted much in a while shows how scattered those have been the last few months. I'll probably do some catch up the next few days. Over the last few months I've played
Fantasy Flight's Xwing
Mansions of Madness
Eldritch Horror
Paizo's Pathfinder
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
Soda Pop's Super Dungeon Explore
Unspeakable Words
Warhammer Fantasy
Diablo III
Boderlands II
Dragons Dogma
Rogue Legacy
Expeditions: Conquistador

Most of the videogames have been in small bursts.

Unspeakable Words
This plays as a more random version of scrabble. Players are dealt seven cards. On their turn they try to form a  word, gaining points depending on the letters used. The catch is the player then rolls a 20 sided die and needs to equal or exceed the points he just earned. If not they lose one of the 5 Cthulhu sanity markers. When you lose all five your are eliminated from the game. One of the funnier rules is when you have only 1 marker left, you can make up words. The first person who earns 100 points and has at least one sanity left wins.

This is a great game that is rather short (a good thing). I think it is an easy game to play with non gamers. It also adds a good deal of fun and silliness to a word/scrabble type game keeping it from becoming too serious.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Call of Cthulhu

So been a bit. I had a case of pneumonia then work/school started up again. Mostly been playing Diablo III with my wife. Plays on a console very much like the old Champions of Norrath series. Obviously with many modern improvements. It never feels like a ported game.

This weekend I got a chance to run another Call of Cthulhu module from the Terror from Beyond book.

Earlier this year, I ran a group of 5 through the "Burning Stars" scenario. The players wake up in a US military hospital in Haiti during the 1930's, with no memory of the last week. It is a very tough scenario to run without cheating the players. However, it went perfectly and the reveal paid off. The group had a great time and I was quick thinking enough to avoid revealing the surprise to early or cheating the players. I won't mention the twist since it is really worth playing. Of course in true Cthulhu fashion, no one survived yet they did save the day.

So this time I ran a group of 6  players through another scenario "the Dig". The premise is thirty students and three professors at Miskatonic U go on a dig in a nearby farm. The pregen characters were quite good and greatly added to the adventure. I would recommend using them. It also was interesting having so many "meat shields" as some of the players said. The characters did save most of their own class and the Botany majors. They did lose the whole anthro class, and three pcs by the end. A great one shot. 

Players want to do pathfinder as the weeknight game and Savage Worlds pulp (Indian Jones) with some CoC one shots on the side for the weekends. Should be fun. Might do the Cameron idea too.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Pathfinder - Slumbering Tsar

So while I play a lot of miniature war games, I tend to prefer roleplaying games (board games probably tie minis if not cooperative). Currently the main ones for me are Pathfinder, Savage Worlds, and Call of Cthulhu. For all of them I have more materials than I could ever use with the time constraints of myself and my group (not including all my GURPS and other systems). Starting to look at Roll20, might be nice not to gm for a change. Then again...

Anyway this summer has been quite busy, but I have been getting in some regular games. Currently I am running Greg Vaughn's Slumbering Tsar. The link on the side has one of the players journals but it is a few sessions behind (obviously don't click if you might play it).

The last few years when we play Pathfinder I've mostly been running modified Paizo Adventure Paths. We also usually wrap it up in book 4. So we decided to play a more lethal game with less overall plot development. It in some ways is also going to be a straight run, meaning I'm not going to add side things or change much. So it was a choice between Tsar and Rappan Athuk. Since we have been ending most games by 10th level or so, they interest was to try the higher level Tsar.

I think this was the right choice. I've been reading through both, but Tsar seems to have tough/deadly but reasonable encounters. While Rappan Athuk seems to be all over the place in difficulty. Not to say we won't do that one day.... then again it is long. It also seems even more sand boxy.

So back to Tsar, As I said I wanted this to be a straight run whats written and be deadly. The only major change I've made is allowing max hit points. We often will have only three players, so the choice was allowing a level of mythic (too unbalancing), higher level, or max hit points. Granted I think about 5 deaths didn't occur because of this, but it was the right choice. The party has been playing smart, so I don't really feel bad about it.

Random thoughts from sessions
-The critical deck can really change a combat, more than damage. The Ranger of the party got hit with a broken leg early in a battle. The loss of dex massively changed how the battle went.
-Running three casters with different spells and multiple summons against a party takes some getting used too.
-Ability damage and drain are brutal and heavily change high level play. I think there is a 3.5->Pathfinder mistake in Tsar that some monsters do damage not drain. Players are happy about that.
-I can only imagine how brutal this is with a party that doesn't fully work together.
-The driders and some stone pieces from Reaper Bones were really helpful.
-They are doing great without a cleric. (dwarf fighter/thief, fetchling ranger bow, elf wizard)
-Dire tigers/bears are tough

The next few sessions may put my mini collection to the test. I have a warhammer vampire count army and I might be short of models. I'm curious if we will break after the first module part (Tsar has three).

Of course being the summer I'm looking for what campaigns to do next. (Best planning). I'm also playing with roll20 to see what I could run/play on it. But ideas...
-Restart Council of Thieves (paused after book 3 due to family events)
-King Maker AP
-Homebrew -Chase style for redemption
-Razor Coast
-Children of  our Rise of Runelords/Age of Worms - finally get the Black Dragon
-Worldwound AP
-Dragon's Demand (module)
-Homebrew map made by players
Savage Worlds
-Return to Space Campaign (Star Trek/Battlestar style)
-Time travel WWII -or Gurps
-action Cthulhu style
Call of Cthulhu
-Next part of Masks of Nyralhotep
-Delta Green (start with learning of a samurai cos-player shot in a small town)
-Random module

Dragon's Crown and Tales of Xillia

So finished Tales of Grace just in time for two new games.

So which to play? Dragon's Crown or Tales of Xillia?

Dragon's Crown is basically an rpg that plays like Final Fight. A ton of fun. The art is quite nice but a few things go a bit far, not a deal breaker but overdone. The game is well worth playing. A husband wife team talks about the sorceresses issue pretty well. I'd also note the old DD arcade game is also available now on psn/xbox live. For a quick session with friends  the DD arcade game is better, but long term this wins out.

Tales of Xillia is a nicely done Tales game. It has a few twists but still has the active battle system. I've been enjoying it now that it is taken itself a bit less serious.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


So, its been a busy week of travel, weddings, glueing, mouldings, and some gaming. Bigger updates to follow. But for a small update...

On the ferry my wife and I tried Days of Wonder's Small World on the iPad. The gist of the game is to use randomized fantasy races to conquer territories and earn points. The twist is that at some point your race will go into decline, and you pick a new race. Combat is mostly decided by your number of people. Its a fun light game.

The iPad version is great. It has a board mode (one player on each side) or pass and play. It does the math and point tracking for you and of course no setup. The main limit is two players.

For $7 it is a great two player game for travel.

(I don't know how you can get as low a score as the sample picture)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Eclipse - Not Twilight Light

Eclipse is not Twilight Light

I'm a big fan of Twilight Imperium.
It has a rather epic scope in tech, weaponry, exploration, political, battle etc. Even if you choose to hide in the corner you still need to interact with other players, even if just in strategy cards and the political phase. The secret objectives also tend to push for a bit more interaction. The races also have interesting differences. The political phase does seem toned down in TI3, but is still one of my favorite parts of the game. The game feels like an epic battle between races, with many different directions to go in.

The downside is it is a long game. Particularly in cases like mine where it might come out once a year. It takes a little time to refresh the rules. Also the length it takes is often two other board games or a one shot Call of Cthulhu or Pathfinder. I also have found many in my gaming group are sliding more and more to cooperative games. I'd say right now Arkham Horror and Defenders of the Realm are the go to games.

So when I started hearing about Eclipse being Twilight light I was excited. I think I heard it first on the d6 generation podcast. They tend to really dislike Twilight Imperium so it didn't convince me too much except that Eclipse was a good game. However, this Twilight light comment appeared in many places. So I figure I'd add it to my wish list. Happily I received it as a present.
Just looking at the general setup the game has a similar feel. I think I even used the phrase Twilight light. However, the game is far more a management resource game. Resources are very limited and you have a set number of rounds. Unless you plan to attack someone (really don't need to) there is little player interaction. The other main interaction is getting the first tech buy of the turn and making a trade treaty for supplies and victory points (with a heavy penalty if you break it). The game is mostly using your limited amount of resources to build your empire to generate victory points. In some ways similar to a worker placement game. (boardgamery does an excellent explanation of the various resources). You do get to upgrade your ships. However, this is limited since you want enough to take out ancient ships, but not use up your precious resources.

As a whole this didn't give the feel of a Twilight Imperium game. The epic scope, variety and style of play is so different. Player interactions I found very flat. No buying votes, jumping senators on the way to votes, forcing alliances, super weapons, painful treaties etc. Another telling thing to me was the players who hate Twilight Imperium all loved this game. The players who liked Twilight asked me when we would play a Twilight or Runewars game. 

Now at first that seems like I don't like the game. However, I think Eclipse is an excellent game. The resource management and control is so elegantly done. After a turn people can easily follow what is going on. It like a lot of these style games plays almost like a puzzle. Upgrading your ships is a lot of fun. It also allows players to play peacefully. In fact due to the resource management war can use up precious moves. You can even choose to explore farther away from the center instead of closer to your neighbor. One or two of my friends who have sworn off big explore/conflict games and are more than willing to play this. Setup is rather annoying but no more than most games like this. A friendly warning watch the cubes on your player board near table edges. An Akita's tail can end an empire. 

 The only time I find a real fault with the game is when I view it as Twilight light. The games are very different. Runewars seems far more of the feel of Twilight light. 

Of course if anyone is in the Western Suffolk area (Long Island) and wants to get a TI game in.....

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Kick starter can be quite the addiction. So far I've signed up for 8 of them. Today I'll probably sign up for a ninth. Warmachine Tactics. I've been a fan of Warmachine since its initial black and white Prime rulebook. Between my wife and I we have most of the armies. I certainly don't play it as much as a I like, usually being busy the Thursday its played at my local store (Brothers Grimm). However, I still paint the models (for Savage Worlds) and keep up with the story.

So now that a computer game is coming out I'm intrigued. Yet, I'm not a huge real time strategy fan. However, the three games to inspire them have won me over. Their listed inspiration are Valkyria
Chronicles, Final Fantasy Tactics, and X-COM. All three I greatly enjoyed. In fact Valkyria Chronicles is by far my favorite game of this console generation. Its way of handling actions would merge perfectly with Warmachine's Focus idea. For twenty dollars its worth the risk.

In case you are curious my other kickstarters:
Reaper Bones (Painting will be in other posts, only 200 so minis)
Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition (RPG focusing on investigating horror stories)
+5 Food of Eating Cookbook (bit of a delay)
Tremulus (A very rules basic horror rpg, great for quick play and non gaming groups)
Complete Elmore Artbook (Elmore did a lot of the classic Dungeons&Dragons art)
Numenera (rpg by Monte Cook in a ruined future)
Razor Coast (A pathfinder setting in a dark pirate world, originally just by Nick Logue but picked up and finished by Frog God Games)
Rusty the Rust Monster Plush (Cutest for last, a plush rust monster with magnetic antennae.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I figured I'd give this a try. This will mainly be used as a running log of my gaming. It will be focused on rpgs, miniature games, board games, card games, and some video games. It will also deal with the painting and preparation for many of those games.