Blog Archives

Caught up in the Crossfire: An interview with Gregory Marques

Shadowrun-5-Crossfire-Logo

The Year of Shadowrun is in full swing, chummers! With even the most scant of information being given about production, Shadowrunners noobie and veteran alike are excited to see their favorite setting experience a new Awakening (or get a full-body Alphaware augmentation, if you prefer a cyber-metaphor). Shadowrun Online and Shadowrun Returns are in full production mode, and we’ve got some sweet tabletop action going with a brand new Edition to the role-playing game proper, as well as several other nova-hot tabletop games.

 
Starting off this very auspicious year is the Adventure deck-building game Shadowrun: Crossfire from Fire Opal Media. Crossfire is  in great hands, featuring some very strong talent in card game design: Gregory Marques, Mike Elliott, Rob Watkins, Rob Heinsoo, Jay Schneider and James “Jim” Lin.

 

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Conjuring Cash with Kickstarters

The love of money may be the root of evil, but the possession of money is the necessity of progress. No grand idea or project ever saw fruition from empty coffers (unless you’re a member of the government). It is unfortunate that most folks who have great ideas are not people of means.

 
There are many great games out there that are nothing more than a small prototype lovingly hand-crafted, or a mere thought in the mind of an aspiring game designer. Unless you’re a game-publishing mega giant like Fantasy Flight Games, attempting to publish a game without a great deal of money is practically doomed to failure.

 
Thus, the aquisition of funds is the greatest hurdle to the aspiring game-maker. Read the rest of this entry

Shadowrun to follow in Paizo’s GameMastery footsteps? I hope so!

Have you ever had that moment as a Game Master when you are running some epic combat, and you realize that you have NO idea whatsoever what the spell “Arglefargle’s Malignant Zazzlefrazz of Malcontent” does? Well, I don’t either, but that’s because it’s an absolutely ridiculous example…but you get my point. We’ve all had those moments where a game comes to a halt because someone has to look up what a certain spell or ability does, or you need to know those vital stats of a weapon, or perhaps you don’t have EVERYTHING written down for those monsters the heroes are fighting.

 
Yes, perhaps you can take the time to write everything down, or keep a thousand and one tabs in your game books to their appropriate pages, but that puts a bunch of (in my opinion) unneeded wear and tear on your books. This problem is much worse if you’re one of those “living in the twenty-first century” kids whose entire book collections are a bunch of PDFs on an iPad. What’s a gamer to do to make things easier?
Well, the solution starts with a little company that could, did, and trashed the competition… Paizo Publishing. Read the rest of this entry

Forbidden Alchemy is sure to concoct a draught of devilish delight!

You put de lime in de coconut and drank 'em bot' up...

“The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”
–H.P. Lovecraft

Folks, there’s no hiding my love for all things Lovecraft in gaming. I’m a true sucker for a game of Arkham Horror, and now many of us have had the opportunity to go mad for Mansions of Madness. This great storytelling board game has become an instant favorite with me, and for a short time, some of us out there wondered if this fabulous game was ever going to see an expansion. Until I truly dug into the meat of the game, it looked pretty self-contained. The parts and puzzles that came with the game didn’t allow for much leeway in mixing things up. There would always be rune puzzles and wiring puzzles to solve, and the weapons and gear were pretty straight-forward, allowing little variation, or seeing anything new. There are but FOUR spells in the game (much to my chagrin), and they seem to cover every aspect of gameplay. Worse still, there were FIVE stories in the core set, and even though there are several choices to make in these stories that could be radically different, each premise was still the same. Mansions looked doomed to be a one-hit wonder.

Shame on me for having so little faith in the creative team over at Fantasy Flight Games… Read the rest of this entry

Keeping the spirit of Halloween alive

A rare +5 Nerd Pumpkin of Awesome

Greetings, fellow gamers!

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday of the year. It’s one of those things that is the perfect amalgamation of good vibes. Aside from the obvious religious reasons for liking the holiday (and before you email me, YES, I know Christ wasn’t born on Dec. 25th), Christmas has always been that one time of the year where goodwill is a universal currency. People go out of their way to be nice to each other, and forget for even that short time that they would treat each other like crap at the drop of a hat on a different day. I like Christmas because people treat each other like humans (for once). Sure, some people get hung up and offended if you tell them “Merry Christmas” rather than be thankful for the well-wishes, but hey…some people thrive on misery.

Anyhoo, my SECOND favorite holiday is Halloween! Sure, I have a religious reason for that too, being what we Lutherans call “Reformation Day,” but it’s also been a load of fun growing up. Unless you’re Richard Dawkins or some other soul-less fun-hating douche-nozzle, humans have a natural fascination with all things paranormal. While Halloween, like Christmas, started as a pagan seasonal festival, it slowly over the years became a “secularized” holiday that remained an American tradition for decades. Read the rest of this entry

Eldritch Lament

Oh, Arkham Nights, how I long to attend thee…

Arkham Nights is one of the many themed “mini-conventions” that Fantasy Flight Games hosts at their expo center in Roseville, MN. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll be attending THIS year, either. Of all of the themes, such as “Days of Ice & Fire” (Game of Thrones), “Realms of Terrinoth” (Runebound, Descent, etc), and one for Lord of the Rings which I can’t remember, I’ve wanted to attend Arkham Nights.

Arkham Nights, contrary to the above picture, is being held this year on October 14th – 16th. It’s packed with plenty of Mythos goodness, and best of all, swag for the various Lovecraft themed games that have done so well for Fantasy Flight Games.

Here’s a bit of info from the site itself: Read the rest of this entry

Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun

Growing old sucks. This isn’t just the blatantly obvious ramblings of an aging nerd realizing he’s just a few short years away from graduating from being “young” to being “middle-aged.” You notice many things about yourself and the world around you. You step on the scale and realize that you no longer suffer from that being underweight problem. Nothing works the way it used to; your joints start to creak every now and again, you start taking multivitamins to keep up your energy, and you start getting up in the middle of the night to take a piss. Sure, I complain, but I’m still a “young” man. I’m not giving up on youth completely until Ensure becomes a regular part of my diet.

It’s not just the physical things, either; You start to dread your own birthday, most of your favorite music is considered “the classics,” and when you’re in public, people stare at you because you jumped off the fashion train when the Miami Vice look was still en vogue. You start to feel out of place, like you’re part of a bygone era; or perhaps part of a Dr. Who prank in which you were drugged and dragged into a TARDIS and the “random” button was hit, and now you’re marooned in a different time. Even your hobbies have “evolved” (and I use the term loosely) with the times, leaving you to be that cantankerous old geezer with a shotgun sitting in his rocking chair on the porch yelling at the young’uns to “get the hell off his lawn.”

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The Gamers

My first review, and it’s a text review. Let’s start this site on a positive note, shall we?

I’ve never been a guy who’s big on indie movies; I always have those visions of snobbish self-important wastrels wearing little black berets and sunglasses, sipping on their highly-caffeinated drinks with obscenely silly Italian names (Yeah, great “positive start,” Belmont…), but I digress.

Enter The Gamers. I discovered this little indie gem through a friend of mine from a local community college; he’s a professor there, who at the time was running the “Do or Dice” gaming club. The reason that this indie film was able to capture my attention is because the subject was right up my alley—gaming! I decided to give this indie flick a try, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The Gamers uses a new spin on the rather tired “stranger in a strange land” genre, and turns it on its ear. We’re all sick of seeing “A [insert American stereotype] in King Arthur’s Court,” or its nigh-endless supply of spin-offs and remakes vomited up by the vacuous void of uncreativity and corporate red-light district that is Hollywood. Instead of a story about gamers themselves being thrust into a fantasy world where their adventures are real, we get treated to dual-natured movie in which we’re really watching two separate films. In one hand, you have a group of gamers playing an intense and rousing game of the little-known “Generic: The Fantasy” with their books wrapped with “+2 Brown-bag book covers of lawsuit protection.” On the other hand, you have the CHARACTERS of these dice-slinging dorks on the very adventure that the players are running.

The movie’s opening treats us to the main characters posed on sepia-toned character sheets, complete with twinked character stats (a 19 Intelligence or Strength? Shenanigans!). We have Newmoon the elven ranger, Nimble the thief, Rogar the Barbarian (who is unusually well-spoken for someone who’s just shy of riding the short bus to Barbarian school), Mark the Red, and Ambrose the Ruefully Temporary…magician by hobby. (more…)