Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dungeon World is what I wanted D&D to be

Wow, do I love Dungeon World. The game is just so damn fun, and it reminds me of what i wish Dungeons and Dragons could have been.

Now, a lot of people know how I feel about dungeons and dragons. It was the first game that I ever played and it was may gateway into a hobby that I have loved for almost 25 years. Yet, like most things, time passed and my love the game started to wain. I cannot really blame the game itself as I just got burned out of it and was introduced to new and different games...like Spirit of the Century.

So, D&D is kind of like your first relationship, you are glad it happened but you moved on to better things as you got older. I also did not like the newer versions of the game, and that is fine. The rules and the fact that is just a game where you go around and kill things, just got boring to me. I know it can be more than that, but the rules themselves are more about combat than anything else. If that is what you like, then that is fine.  There are plenty of people out there that love D&D to this day and that is what it is about. Find the games YOU love and play the hell out of them. Lord knows so many people are playing 5th Ed now, and I hope they are having fun.

Not long ago, a few people made Dungeon World. I was excited immediately as they were taking the engine from Apocalypse world (which I love) and using it to make it into a fantasy setting. I signed up for the KS and even got a cool t-shirt. But back to the game. It was never the setting that I did not like about D&D. I love the fantasy setting. Good versus evil. I live for that shit. I always have since I read the Lord of the Rings when I was 8.

I was loving this game from the beginning. It took everything i loved about D&D and just made it easier to play. Not to mention, it does such a great job of letting you be as awesome as you want to be, but also punishing you severely when you fail. That in itself is something that I love. Yes, being amazing is great, but sometimes it is just as fun when things go really bad.

I mean REALLY bad. Like your mage failing his magic missle roll and killing party members bad. That just happened recently in a game.

But mostly it is just the feel of the game. It is easy to set up. Easy to play. I have yet to run it yet, but it looks easy to run. I love how you make a map with the people and the map is always growing and a part of the game. I love how the ownership of what happens is on the players. Yes, you can plan and all of that, but you never really know what a player is going to do and this kind of game just rewards that.

There are supplements for the game as well and to be honest, the guys that made the game are amazing. They have even answered questions about the game via G+. I cannot even say in enough words how awesome that is.

So, in the end it is a great game. One I really want to play much more of. The simplicity of the system and focus on roleplaying is something that I love quite a bit. Yes, D&D was my first game, and I will always have love for it, but the indie games out there are just something I WANT to play.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review of Gotham

A few thoughts on the Gotham pilot.

I am not a DC person. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the movies per say, but I have never read the comics. Now, like everyone else, I have seen the DC movies, even the really bad ones (I am looking at your Superman Returns). So, I don’t know all of the backstories involved with some of the characters in the show.

First of all. It took them like 1.8 milliseconds to kill Bruce’s parents. I mean yeah, you knew it was coming. But damn, I had just sat down and bam they are dead. This isn’t a complaint, since I mostly found that amusing. Oh and before the show came on they did the parental discretion is advise in what sounded like a fake christain bale batman voice. Really odd.

I really liked the feel of the city. It was dark and gritty. Gotham is a very dangerous place and you could feel it from the get go. I also just liked the way it looked and the way it was filmed.

The acting was ok, even though there were some pretty bad lines from time to time. Especially when Gordon was telling young master Wayne there will be light! Yikes. But overall, the acting wasn’t too bad and that is all you can ask for in a pilot. It is also pretty well cast.

They did cram quite a bit of villains in the first episode. It never felt like TOO much, but still there were quite a few. I can see how that could be a problem sometimes if they aren’t careful.

The plot was ok. You didn’t really expect a lot of twists and turn since you know so many of these characters. The framing of Pepper was kind of obvious as you couldn’t have them figure out the murder in the first episode. I do like how corrupt the cops are and how that is going to be a real problem for Gordon. It just adds a bit more to it.

Overall, it was fun. Not perfect, but most pilots aren’t. It did enough to make me want to watch more, and that is what matters I suppose.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Gaming at Nunchcon 4.0 a review

So, I gamed yesterday at Nunchcon 4.0 for the first time in 10 months. Here is how the games went.A quick preview? It was awesome.

Game 1. Dungeon World
Wow do I love this game. It is everything I wish Dugeons and Dragons was at this point. Easy to learn. Easy to play, and just fun. The best part is what happens when either you fail an roll, or succeed, but with a cost. This is golden. 

Our party consisted of a fighter (me), a druid, a mage, a ranger, and a cleric. We were asked by a lord in the area to find out why homesteads were being murdered by someone (or something!). The plot isn’t really important.

What is important is that it reinforced my annoyances with mages that I talked about earlier this week. Mages suck So, this is what the wizard did in his first three attacks rolls in combat.

1.       Tried to cast invisibility on himself. Failed. Cast it on the person attacking him.
2.       Cast magic missile on enemy. Failed. Cast it on himself for damage.
3.       Cast magic missile on enemy. Failed. Spell hit everyone else, which killed two party members (including the mage) and two enemies.

As someone that loves this game and how badly things can go, that is awesome. As someone that has issue mages, it was another example of why they always suck.

In the end, we won. Defeated a troll and a member of the Fae.

Game 2. Mythender
The idea of being sort of godly and taking on and killing gods isn’t a bad idea at all.

The god in this instance was Thor. We all had our reasons for killing him. Mine was cuz he murdered my wife and child, so revenge was possibly a factor. The game had a lot of narrative, so you have to describe how you were going to attack, as it was very important.

Now if I had one complaint about the game, it was that it was a bit confusing. Part of that is that isn’t the games fault as we were trying to learn a very rules intensive game in a con setting. So trying to process character creation, while learning how to play the game was not any easy thing to do.

Saying that, the game was fun. Beating the crap out of Thor’s minions (and then Thor) in a very narrative way became a lot of fun. Becoming god-like throughout the game was a lot of fun. Although, one of the characters  made their form a baby, which was very odd.

But in the end, we killed Thor and that is all that mattered.

Game 3. Dread.
I love games of horror and I have wanted to play this game for years.  The mechanics are genius as it is uses Jenga to determine the outcome of what you are trying to do. There is only one problem.

I suck at Jenga.

Mostly due to the fact that I get impatient and just eventually pull out a block and it comes a tumbling down.

So the story was a bunch of people are at a haunted house, trying to determine if it is in fact haunted. There was a scientist, his wife, an assistant, a psychic, an inheritance, and a skeptic (me).

Sadly, and not to my surprise, I was the first to die as my Jenga skills are not great. Now we did not start playing this game until midnight and  what made it awesome was how it ended.

By the end there was death, hauntings, evil spirits, etc. But the two last people left were the scientist and the psychic. What made it great as they were trying to kill each other and just kept pulling block after block after block, trying to force the other to make the mistake that would end the game. This went on for a good 25 minutes or so and the stress of it was awesome. Epic even.

Eventually, the psychic finally made that mistake and the game ended. I can see why people love the game, but I would rather watch than play, as I just don’t  do Jenga well.

But it was an amazing thing  to see how it ended.

I had a great time. It was the first time I gamed since last December. Three great games and got to hang out with some cool people. Including a friend I have not seen in quite some times. A great, but exhausting day,. 

It has got my blood pumping to do much more gaming in the future. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Why mages are the worst a dungeons and dragons story

So, as I sat here today, I started to play Dragon Age for like the billionth time. I decided this time that I wanted to play as a mage. This is relative, cuz anyone that knows me knows that I NEVER play a mage in anything. Not video games. Not tabletop rpg’s. Nothing.

There is a reason why.

It all goes back to the very first time I played a tabletop role playing game. Way back in 1990. Ya see I worked at a grocery store and some people introduced me to this rpg called Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition.

You may have heard of it.

Now, I knew almost nothing about the game. I had read a bit of fantasy as a kid, but never played any kind of games where I grew up. So, when I started reading the book, I was mesmerized and excited to play.

So, we got together and I decided I would make a mage. Cuz you know, Gandalf. But if you have never played older version of D&D, you may not know it takes FOREVER to make a character. Especially when you have someone that has not played any role playing game at all. I don’t remember how long it took to make my elvish mage Kalvin (yes, I still remember his name), but it was at least 3 hours.

So, here I was with my mage, ready to kick some ass. Galvin had 2 hp to start and what happens? The GM kills me in the very first fight by sending four kobolds after me. He was even smiling why he did it.

Now come to find out, he thought I was sleeping with his girlfriend, which I wasn’t.  He then decided he would kill my character, just to be spiteful. He even admitted all of this when it happened. So, three hours to make a character, less than five minutes to kill him. I walked out of there and the others had to talk me into even coming back and playing (they even switched gm’s). I wonder how different my life would be if I had just walked out? Never playing another rpg again. Instead I came back and we made my thief Gareth, and I have played thieves ever since. 

First of all. The don’t be a dick rule really comes into play here. I have run enough games to know that you tend to want people to play more than once, so killing them off is something I have always avoided. Beat them just to the point of death? Maybe, but not kill.

But even more important to this story, I have hated mages ever since. 2 freaking hp? And no armor? Whatever. Death by kobold should never happen. Since then, I don’t play them, and I usually just don’t care for them in general. No matter what rpg system/video game I have ever played, I usually play a thief and NEVER play a mage. It never is even an option.

Well, until the Dresden Files Rpg came out, but that is all due to Harry Dresden.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I am finally getting excited about gaming again

It has been a while. I have gamed only one time in the last 16 months and I left that day due to a mile panic attack. But once in almost a year and a half???

I know, right?

There was a time when I gamed all the time. I was a consistent member of the G+ community, and even co-hosted a hangout discussing Fate with some of its amazing authors. Man, that was such a great time and I miss it.

Then the depression hit.

I am not going to go into that, since that is what this is about. This is about me being excited about gaming for the first time in…a long time. It has been a slow process

But lately I have been feeling it come back. Not really sure what it was that started it, but I am not going to complain. There are so many games that I own, that I still want to play. Nothing is worse than looking over and seeing gaming books that although you have read, are just collecting dust…along with all your dice.

But now? I am almost ready to get back into it. What games do I want to play? Well, sadly, they are the same games I have said I wanted to play for some time. They are:

Dragon Age
I love the video game so much. I am even reading some of the books (which are not bad). It is a world that I like and lord knows I love a good versus evil scenario more than just about anything. I have always appreciated the simplicity of the system, but have yet to play it. This is one that I really want to sink my teeth into and get a campaign going.

The Dresden Files
This is one of my favorite games of all time. I remember the joy of getting to play test it back in the day and have always wanted to get a campaign going. It doesn’t hurt that it is based on my favorite books of all time, but even more than that it uses Fate, which have always loved.

Dungeon World
I love a game that took everything I liked about D&D back in the day and turned it into a game I actually wanted to play. Again, the rules are simple and easy for people to pick up on. But the beauty in the game is the simplicity and the stories you can tell. That is where this game shines…you get to tell your story, and who doesn’t want that?

Fate Core
Oddly as much of a fan as I am of Fate, I have not played it since it was actually released. That in itself is pretty much sacrilege as I have always been a HUGE supporter of the system. It also is a game where you can tell YOUR story and it is not bogged down by the rules. Not to mention, you can play any kind of game you want. From a fantasy setting, to fighting nazi werewolves in ww2, to an old west setting where you hunt down rogue robots bent on controlling the west. Seriously, it can be whatever you want it to be. Awesome.

This is the one I don’t own, but may be most excited about. I am still mad at how bad Serenity was and have always thought this could be a better game. So, when they talked about making this I was really excited. I was more excited by the people involved in the game, as they are stellar. But mostly I am just excited at the thought of having my own ship and sticking it to the Alliance!

Mouse Guard
I had so much fun playing this game a few years ago. It is based on very good graphic novels of the same name. Yet, there was something joyful about playing guard mice and dealing with the dangers that entailed. Snakes, treachery, hard decisions. It is all great. The system is pretty simple as well and it is something I would really love to get back into.

The One Ring
Am still waiting to play my first game of this. Also my first game that takes place in Middle Earth that is really good. There have been a few that were ok, but overall pretty damn bad. I have heard great things about it and reading through it has been a joy. Now, I just want to pick up my sword and go fight some god damn orcs.

Star Wars: Edge of the Empire
I have fond memories of playing the old D6 version of SW. Sadly, the one that Wizards did that was d20 did nothing for me, so I was excited to see someone decided to take a chance on this amazing setting. Hell, who doesn’t want to be a jedi? Or an x-wing pilot? This is a setting that means a lot to me and I want to play this pretty badly.

There are others, but these are the ones I want to play before the year is up. Yep, that gives me just over 3 months to try to get some quality gaming in.

I am finally ready.