Friday, August 27, 2010

Red Box

As the well paid Civil Servant, as opposed to the Gamestop clerks and laid off factory workers I play with, it falls to me to buy the stuff that convinces the Game store owner it's worth having the extra space for games in the shop. As such and because the collector in me must possess one of everything fantasy role playing I am now the proud owner of a fancy red box 4 edition starter box. After all as I explained to she-who-must-be-obeyed it wouldn't be fair to review it on my blog without actually owning it. It's got some nice black plastic dice and a well drawn large double sided battle mat with a road, some caves, and a dungeon. It got some cards in text too small for me even with my reading glasses which might be power cards, even a few which might be new. The fighter at will seem intriguing the rest is nothing to see here. I am sure the min-maxers down at the store will scrutinize them closely for brokenness and transform the most broken in to exploits to post on the WoTC forum like they aways do. I am going to take she-who-must-be-obeyed advice and slap them on the scanner before doing anything else with them. And then there are the two stapled pamphlets in between. I could go with my mothers suggestion "if you can't say anything nice don't say anything" but where's the fun in that? Now pick-a-path adventures can be fun but they usually start with a page labeled how to play. I have been very much against pick-a-path adventures as a way to start characters since Garyisaal (Empire of the Petal Throne) tried it in the '90s. Sure its fun the first time but after awhile it gets old. I searched the second book cover-to-cover for what are character classes, levels, or what are those funny power cards for but never did find them. I find rule sets that bury the rules in purple prose annoying, again may be fun for the first time (although if its bad prose not even then) but just try going back to look up some point the DM and player disagree on. These books didn't need to written, and if they are capable of confusing an experienced gamer like me I doubt they'll be much help to a starting gamer. Even 4e D&D is a simple enough game that most people want to play the full blown version after a single evening of introductory play (This is what doesn't work about the D&D encounters program either). They should just give away a quick start guide for free (like those free computer game demos with the first few levels of the larger game) rather than charging people twenty bucks (Oh wait! They already did that). Well at least I got that cool box and more dice.

P.S. Lamentations of the Flame Princess which I picked up last month has an even cooler box, micro dice, and a little stubby pencil like they hand out in libraries. Perhaps I'll talk about that some time

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Old Dungeon level 5

Lake Level. Last level I drew in college. I am afraid it is somewhat unfinished, doors have not been placed in all rooms and what lies beyond the Lake in the upper right is still a mystery. Includes: (unlabeled but in the bottom right corner) the stairway that appears to go up but actually goes down (2) elevator room to even lower levels (3) the waterfall (4) the room on the sloping passage which is actually flat. In the bottom center a complex sloping passage from level 4 with three exits. In the bottom right a large sloping passage down (I believe this one was supposed to bypass level 6 and head straight for seventh. In the In the top left corner is a large spinning section with a smaller spinning section inside.

Afraid barring my acquiring a specially customized Deloren or a really weird hot tub, this is the last of my mega-dungeon levels from back in the day. Did not much more than mark the entrances for level 6. After leaving college the gaming style had shifted to them newfangled modules and the desire for mega-dungeons wained. Having to get up and go to work really cramped the all night dungeons crawls as well. However, I do have some graph paper with a nice patina....

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Back from Gencon

Well no post last week as I traveled to Gencon instead. A bit bummed this week as the blog-a-sphere is full of people I could have met if I had been paying attention. Was there didn't see a lot of old school stuff but was too busy shepherding my steam punk magic card head nephew to spend much time looking. She-who-must-be-obeyed only bought off on this road trip as an Uncle-Nephew bonding trip. Still cant' work that darn cellphone to surf the blogs and wander the real world at the same time. Actually brought the cellphone, but forgot the charger so it very quickly converted to its normal brick mode. Gave both the Wizards of the Coast and Pathfinder stuff a pass since my local game store gets these items regularly and lets my crew game for free as long as we buy stuff from him. Tried to buy a copy of Deathwatch but it was sold out. Walked away from the booth with "Fantasy Hero" after the guy explained that their 200+ page book didn't contain any actual rules for magic, just suggestions for how to write your own from the 500 page Hero system core book sold separately. Here's the stuff I did buy:

Fantasy Terrain pack from Fat Dragon Games (A good swath of their E-Z dungeon and Dragonshire sets on CD for a discount price [Note: to other .pdf vendors if you are going to spring for a booth at Gencon having something tangible to sell is a good idea])

City of Thieves (A board game set in Cadwallon). I'll probably use the board as dungeon tiles, paint up the plastic miniatures and ignore the game

Arcana (a card game set in Cadwallon). Hey it was next to City of Thieves and not too expensive.

Ink bloom (a how-to-draw art book). By the same artist who helped with "Wreaking Havoc" and "Hell beasts". Unfortunately the previous two titles were more to my liking but at least it's signed

Shattered Empires: Quick launch from the Living Arcanis guys. The guy at the booth had one of the best reasons for writing his own game. He explained he was tired of having to keep up with all the rules updates certain other game companies keep cranking out (those of you who read the comic "Knights of the Dinner table" this month will encounter some biting satire on this very topic) . I also liked the fact that they were scrapping the character class system (I feel innumerable character classes were the downfall of third edition, and are hard at work pushing fourth edition over into the abyss as well).

The Worlds Greatest Screen by Hammerdog Games. Quad fold black with clear plastic pockets like them expensive three ring binders. An idea I wish I had though of. She-who-must-be-obeyed wants one too. Had to retire the Old Master I bought in 1980 last year when the tear along the center line reached the halfway point (I do miss the the intimidation factor of being able to pull out a dungeon masters screen which is older than most of the players at the table).

Burning Wheel Monster Burner and Magic Burner. OK I actually don't like the burning wheel core mechanics or the folksy way rules information is scattered throughout the purple prose, but so many intriguing ideas are scattered through out these books I couldn't pass them up. Probably would have bought the Adventure Burner as well if it hadn't been sold out.

A few Aimee missing from my collection

A few art buttons. I am not up for spending 200+ dollars for a original to hang on my wall (besides the few walls not behind bookcases in my house are already full). I can however afford two dollars for a button, free business cards are also cool.

That;s it for now. Next time another dungeon level
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