Tuesday, April 8, 2014

This is the Doom you've been looking for

Thanks to Cryptozoic, the story of The Doom that Came to Atlantic City has turned from a Kickstarter cautionary tale to a full-blown beautiful boardgame success. Cryptozoic has sent a copy of the new boardgame to everyone who backed the original Kickstarter, despite the fact that none of that money went to Cryptozoic.

I'm happy for my friends designer/writer Keith Baker and conceiver/artist Lee Moyer. I'm happy for all the Call of & Trail of Cthulhu and D&D games that can use Paul Komoda's wonderful elder god sculpts as minis for creatures the PCs should hope to never encounter. I'm happy for casual game tables everywhere that land the game through original Kickstarter support or pick it up now.

So far at our gaming table I'm happiest with two and three player games. The four-player game is *whacky*, so much stuff going on, so many gates. So for your first game, I'd suggest two or three players.

You can decide for yourself how the game awards luck or skill. It may be one of those games that has so much luck that the luck evens out, shifting the balance towards skill.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Rock Paper Reamde

Rock Paper Tiger is a novel about China, people with connections in the intelligence world, electronic gaming, and an American woman trying to survive despite the power struggles of larger forces moving around her. Also art.

Reamde is a novel partly set in China, people with connections in the intelligence world, people with even stronger connections with digital gaming, and at least in part about a woman fighting to survive while being used as a pawn in a terrorist plot.  Also guns. 

I love both these books. Lisa Brackmann's Rock Paper Tiger may be psychologically more true. Its heroine and the people who surround her generally can't fight their way out of screwed situations, they live and die in the fog of sudden events and if they survive they do so in part because of bonds and confidences they only partly understand. I found it funny, moving, and memorable. 

Neal Stephenson's Reamde is a romp. Or several romps run together, playing out in a world in which the protagonists created the next big game phenomenon after World of Warcraft but that isn't necessarily going to keep them alive when terrorists are the ones doing the questing. Despite rounding itself out as a near-perfect comedy, it left me with a lingering mistrust of large RVs with Canadian plates. 

Rock Paper Tiger is the yin to Reamde's yang. Read both. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

let the cackling soliloquies begin

ASH LAW and I are both going to be running quick 13th Age games at the new AFK Tavern in Renton tomorrow, April 5th, as part of International Tabletop Day.

ASH is showing up around 11 am, I'll be there around 12:30 to run a couple two hour games before I return to my regularly scheduled work weekend.

I'll be running demo style games, the usual pregen character sheets that the players get to add the interesting stuff to, backgrounds and icon relationships and the One Unique Thing.

But not all the pregen sheets will be the usual sheets. Tomorrow I'm going to bring pregen sheets for characters like the woman pictured above in art by Aaron McConnell and Lee Moyer: the necromancer. I know that class hasn't gone out to wider playtesting yet but it went a round within Fire Opal and it will be fun to bring it into the game tomorrow. What type of fun? Well, here's one of the popular talents from the necromancer in its pre-edited form. Not everyone wants to play this way, but for those who do . . . .

Cackling Soliloquist

If you spend your move action, your quick action and your standard action casting a daily spell that ordinarily only requires a standard action—while screaming grandeloquently, cackling maniacally, or megalomaniacally describing the grandeur of your plans and the futility of your enemies’ resistance—the daily spell you are casting becomes a recharge 18+ spell (roll after the battle) and you can invent a slight improvement to the spell, especially if it’s at least partly story-oriented.

Adventurer Feat: The sound of your own voice invigorates you and you gain 1d6 + your level + Charisma temporary hit points when you use Cackling Soliloquist.  

We may or may not play with the chaos mage's special brand of crazy tomorrow. I'm working on the first revision for that class today and if works out we'll probably use it, if I'm not happy yet it will have to wait outside the tavern.

Looking forward to tomorrow and seeing friends I haven't seen for awhile as well as new souls and necromancers.