PAX Unplugged – Nov 30 – Dec 2

This year I will be running some RPGs for Magpie Games, the company that brought you MASKS and Bluebeard’s Bride, among others. I love this company and what it’s up to, and I can’t wait to visit Pax Unplugged. I didn’t make it to the premier last year.

PAX Unplugged will be an exciting analog-focused extension of our already existing portfolio of PAX events. We’ve found that the Tabletop parts of PAX have grown and grown to the point where we said, “You know what? Let’s make a show that’s just that.”

Frostgrave First Impressions

So I got to play my first game of Frostgrave yesterday, and I was very impressed. I have tried a few other skirmish miniature games (mostly Malifaux 2e, and a few d10 based home brewed games) and this was by far the easiest to understand and play. Even with six players the whole game lasted about 4 hours, which was a good length. We were all eager to make sure we made off with our treasure.

I think that this brings up my favorite point about this game. The main goal is not to defeat your opponent, but to get the most treasures and get out. This drives everything from the way you build your crew, the spells that you choose, and how you play.

Your crew consists of a Wizard, an Apprentice, and soldiers. The soldiers are basically there to protect your magic users, as their cannot really fight off the monsters you will encounter by themselves. Basically they are monster bait. While they fight off creatures your wizard and apprentice snag treasure and run.

The mechanics are all based on a d20 roll against a target number for spell casting, or against an opposed roll if fighting, so you can focus more on how you are moving around the table rather than making sure you understand the mechanics.

Another fun benefit is that this is meant to be played as a campaign. Your wizard gains experience and loot after each game, which advances them to learn more spells and have better abilities as you move forward.

The setting is creative as well, with 10 different types of magic that all feel and work differently, giving each crew a separate flavor. I played the Illusionists in my game, which can do things like invisibility, transposing with other models, or luring or repelling opponents by taking a different appearance. Other types include Chronomancers, Necromancers, Sigilists, and Enchanters.

North Star is offering a full line of miniatures for the game, and some are really pretty cool looking. I like the Summoner the best, I think. Though if I decide to get involved in this one I may pick out some Bones miniatures that fit instead, since the other groups don’t appeal to me as much.

All that said I think it would be fun to play as an RPG as well, though I think my days of running RPGs are done. It’s a good deal of work and never comes out as well as I would like.

MEPAcon – Shadowrun and Artemis

MEPAcon (Mid-Eastern Pennsylvania Convention) was a much needed relaxing getaway this past weekend. If you live anywhere near Scranton, and would like to have a weekend of laid back gaming, this is the place to go. They do it twice a year, and run a few benefits for charity while they’re at it.

On my part, I play the Shadowrun RPG almost the entire time. Though I did run a game of Star Trek Attack Wing, and got in a game of Artemis. Which was awesome. It’s always awesome. The Shadowrun mission for the weekend was really tough, but our group had a great time planning our heists and blowing things up. I really enjoy the whole flavor and setting of Shadowrun, but I don’t think I could ever run the game myself. It’s rather complex.

For Artemis we had a captain that actually tried to get the enemy to surrender, rather than just blowing them up. It’s a shame I was at the tactical station. It’s hard to get the controls to stop shooting in the split second between the shields going down and the enemy surrendering. And the enemy ships can usually only take a shot or two once their shields are down. I did try to not kill everyone. Really. I promise. What?

I had been hoping I would get a few more players for Attack Wing, but the one player who did show up enjoyed the game quite a bit. That beautiful DS9 model drew a lot of good attention as well. I will have to remember to bring it again next time. I may suck in a few more players.

Also, as a side note, my home gaming group got to try out a new RPG, Beyonder. The setting is amazing. I don’t know much about the mechanics other than the little we got to do during the game, but you can set up a character on their website. The initiative system was different, and great for planning tactically what you character should do.

Friday Night Vampires

My friends and I have begun playing Vampire: the Masquerade at my place on Friday nights. It’s a very creepy, very well thought out setting, and there is even a supplement that outlines the game’s version of Philadelphia. I was very much enjoying creating characters and reading into the setting for this game, and I was very excited to foray into my second try and GMing.

Unfortunately, I hate the system. Those full page sheets full of dots make me dizzy. And there is something disturbing to me about interrupting the story to look up what combinations of these dots a player needs to roll that irks me greatly.

SW_LOGO_24bit Diaspora cover

Granted, I have been incredibly spoiled. My first foray into RPGs was the FATE based Diaspora, and then Savage Worlds, both of which are designed to be more story and character centered than other games which focus on numbers and dice rolling. Some of the qualities of V:tM also seem to require this level of complexity. Or so many would have you think.

Add to this, the collection of books we are using as a resource are all from slightly different versions of the game, and it is hard to tell which online resources apply to which versions.

Fate Core Cover

So, scrap it all. I am going to convert it to FATE Core. Our first try is tonight, so we shall see if the players like it better. Or if they don’t care either way. I do know at least it will make me feel like a more accomplished storyteller.

Star Trek: Attack Wing – bad for my budget

So, my newest game obsession is Star Trek: Attack Wing. Besides being a great nod to a good many things that I and most other Trek fans love about the whole franchise, its a fun strategy game that doesn’t take days to play. Its very customizable, depending on which ship expansions you decide to buy, and how you want to equip them. Each expansion also comes with missions, which are great fun to play, adding an extra layer of strategy beyond just blowing your opponent up.

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I finally got a chance to play a full game this past Saturday. I was late to the Organized Play tournament that is going on over the next six months, but the guys were still very kind and stayed longer to play a game with me. (anyone anywhere close to Jenkintown, PA needs to check out 7th Dimension Games, great store!) They also let me get the participation prizes, which includes a playable token for Deep Space Nine.

Because I like the idea of cloaking, but was never a huge Klingon fan, I started with the Romulan expansions. My plan was then to pick up the Defiant and all the Dominion expansions once the new Dominion ship was released. I was going to see what all was included and see if I thought a Dominion or Romulan fleet would do best in the next part of the tournament. Until I saw the next “preview” of the new Romulan ship.

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Its the IRW Praetus. It’s cheap, it can maneuver well, and it comes with great equipment. Now I want two. Having two of these with one or two of the larger Romulan ships would be a smashing fleet. And that’s basically the goal of the next month’s tournament, to destroy your opponent while avoiding the obstacles (that can fire at you) that are on the board.

But I also think the Dominion fleet with the new Jem H’dar ship would work fantastically. And I really do want the Defiant, if only to be able to play a scenario where the Defiant defends DS9 against a fleet run by the opponent. While the expansions are not very expensive (around $12 each) getting all the ones I want in time for the next tournament would be. Sigh.

This is going to be bad for my budget.