Saturday, June 25, 2016

Frostgrave Objective Markers

These are some Bonez figures that I have painted and based ready for use as objective or treasure markers in Frostgrave.

The evil statue of doom.
You never know what riches are within these crates!
pillar of doom with scale ruler. Each line is one inch.
And there has to be a good pillar.
Again, for scale.
Could be some really good bourbon in there.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

My Annual Origins Rant 2016 edition

I am going to start with a huge positive. The content of the show may have been the best I have ever seen. The vendor area was completely full plus the main game area had another six of so vendors with items for sale and large demo areas. Wizards of the Coast had a huge Dungeons and Dragons area, Wizkids had a huge area with multiple tournaments and there was a massive Yuh Gi Oh tournament as well. There was a kids area with Pokemon, board games and video game areas, Artemis bridge simulators, and a screening room for geeky movies (The Gamers et al). Also kudos to GAMA for making the Origins Awards a public event. Clearly GAMA has put all their effort into making the post registration experience as full as possible.

Now the bad. Registration! Everything I have ever said about it before and more. Much more.

Please fix it. We, the gamers, have asked you before to fix it and you tell us it'll be better next year. But it never is. The long lines for on site registration were unbelievable this year. Does GAMA understand that it takes less time to renew your license plates or renew your driver's license in Ohio? This is something that is equivalent of buying a ticket to a movie or the zoo both of which would go out of business if they operated like this. 

Windows updates happen every Tuesday night. Always. If your PCs are off then they WILL happen Wednesday morning. If you want to avoid these you can turn them off. You could also make sure to apply them before opening so that your line does not halt while you reboot every PC. Really, that is the most bush league move you have ever pulled.

Perhaps running out of coupon books on Wednesday qualifies are more pathetic than Windows updates. Really, how many years has Origins had a coupon book? I don't remember them ever running out of them before but running out on Wednesday. I was lucky enough to get one of the reprints on Saturday, late morning when the registration line was crazy long (two hours I am told).

Along with these were the long, crazy lines.  People arrived early Wednesday thinking they'd avoid the lines to be greeted with lines in excess of two hours in some cases. Then it was so much much on Thursday. Friday seemed more manageable but Saturday at 10 AM was a zoo. Lots of unhappy people from the start.

So, how do we fix it you ask? I think there are many simple fixes that could be implemented that would actually help people get into the show faster.

1> Print and mail DM and Early Bird Registration badges. Ok, GAMA don't tell me how this won't work. GenCon has done it for years. It will work and it will help to ensure DMs are able to get their games on time, which, in turn allows people to enjoy the show. Use volunteers who can earn free badges and Origins swag.

2> An on-site registration line for badges only. Walk up, pay, print then enjoy the show.

3>  Don't ask for as much information and don't make the registrant write it in line so you can copy into the computer. Just ask them and type it in. That was everyone gets to ...wait for it...enjoy the show sooner. Name and email address is more than enough in most cases (especially 2 above). 

4> Self service kiosks where you can use a credit or debit card to buy a badge or register for a game. Walk up scan your card, enter what you want, search for an event, print and enjoy the show.

5> An on-site registration check in system. Take a number and go sit down. GAMA announces groups of numbers so that the perceived wait is not as bad.

6> Monitors or something that show the next three hours or so of events and if there are slots open. This has been something Origins has needed for years. Many times the DMs are not even told how many people signed up for their event. You could have two monitors side by side one for events that are full and one for events that have slots open. This will certainly help many people enjoy the show.

Now, on to rants about individual vendors.

The Biggest Loser of the show goes to Packrat comics of right here in Hilliard, Ohio. You spent money on a booth and only placed info cards in it. No merchandise. None. Zip. Nada. Booooo!

Second biggest loser of the show goes to Fireside games. Everyone seemed to LOVE Star Trek: Panic! The fact that you had no copies of that game to sell earns my scorn.

The Lost Opportunity award goes to Osprey Games. I was hoping for a booth filled with Frostgrave goodness including sneak peaks at new stuff and miniatures. Instead there were three themed board games that really were not what I had envisioned being there. No miniatures at all. Sad.

Hey but what did you buy?

This year was, for me, a down year for the large board game and big RPG release. My friends enjoyed the demo of Star Trek:Panic but sadly the was not available at the  show (but is in stores). Subsequently, I bought fewer items than in years past. I finally broke down and bought a Wyrmwood Dice Tower, tray and dice vault and that was my big purchase this year. I also bought Cthulhu Realms(card game)Epic Spell WarsFlapjacks and Sasquatches and a second copy of Roll For It. Additionally, I was given a copy of Lake Billy and played the spin and win game at R and R games and won a copy of Spectaculum. As far as RPGs go I bought the Ultimate Grimtooth's Traps Collection and the two supplements the the Remnants RPG Broken Lands I and II. Lastly, I bought a stack of Planets and Moons Map System tiles from  a Place to Play toys.

Favorite Demo?

Wrath of Dragons by Catalyst Game Labs. Not the kind of game I would usually play but the theme of dragons ravaging a continent helped.

Coolest thing you saw that was not for sale?

Dresden Files card game. I did not even get to demo it and was still impressed. Looked like lots of fun. I cannot wait until the Kickstarter come through on this.

Dresden Files card game demo
My spin and win prize!
Wrath of Dragons

Saturday, June 11, 2016

2nd Generation Dice

Circa 1979. This a partial selection of the dice I bought to replace the original polyhedral dice that I owned. They are made of a better grade of plastic but there are still no D10s and the D20s are numbered 0-9 twice. I purchased no D6s for these sets because by this point I had raided all the other games I had for normal D6s. 
Notice how the D4s have had their points removed.. You can still see how the plastic chipped over time.
The infamous Demon/Orc dice. These are from about the same time period.
I always tried to paint the numbers using a toothpick and some enamel. Sometimes my results were less than great. I also tried to paint the twenty a different color than the rest of the numbers over 10 (hence the red zero). The first D20s that designated the difference in sides had a simple plus sign on half the sides. 
Below we have one of the first ten sided dice produced. Notice how it is really a twenty sided die with have the sides elongated and the other half reduced. I bought this one at a local convention more as a novelty than anything else.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Nice Dice

I like to listen to the podcast Fear the Boot (FTB). I have never met any of them but I feel like I know them all. Last week they dropped a show about an older version of Dungeons and Dragons Basic set purchased a garage sale (episode 402 The show was very funny as a group of thirty something year old gamers performed an anthropological study of this rare find. The discussion about the "caller" was worth the time all by itself. 

One item they focused on were the primitive dice (1983?). These were an off yellow and required using a crayon to mark them. FTB posted pictures of them and the rest of the find in their show notes. In the spirit of this discovery of the history of role-playing I am posting pictures of my first set of dice. 
My first set of dice circa 1977. Notice the lack of a fully numbered 20 sided and no 10 sided die at all.
Every set had the same colors. Notice how hard to read the D4 is.

The D20s. Also percentile dice. Also functioning as D10s. The numbers 11 to 20 are inked in red. Alternately, a D6 could be thrown with the D20. On a 1 to 3, don't add 10 and on a 4 to 6 add 10. In those groups a natural twenty became a SIX-OH!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Gaming and Nerd Related Stuff on Youtube

This time I am going to reveal some fun web series on youtube. These are mostly gaming related but some of these channels are just for fun.

The DM's Craft, DM Scotty
He specializes in DnD terrain using the 2.5D method of construction. His finished pieces look cool and add a lot to the table when playing games with miniatures. The early videos are in the 20 minute range but his later videos are much shorter because he does not explain the same techniques he used in earlier installments.

Tabletop Minions, Atom Smasher
Generally a short ten minute show about miniatures, painting, games and introducing new people to the hobby. He does rant occasionally but they are very sedate compared to other gaming related sites. He rants in one video about how Games Workshop must not like money because they refuse to sell certain gateway games like Space Hulk even though there seems to be huge demand.

Miniature Mash Up, Dave O'Garra
Dave takes all kinds of toys and miniatures and mashes them together to make monsters, terrain and other gaming set pieces....all on the cheap.  Your will probably have mixed reactions to his videos as a whole. In one he will construct a really cool altar and in the next a cheesy looking chimera. Always entertaining and chock full of good ideas.

kumelyun, Andrew Babb
Flash animations converted to video of Knights of the Dinner Table stories. Once upon a time this guy had a website where he displayed his latest Flash creation every week or so. Then, one day, he received a cease and desist letter from the folks that own Knights of the Dinner Table asking him not to make any more videos. He kept his promise as these are the videos he created before that letter.

Watch It Played, Rodney Smith
Great series of videos of Rodney and his kids playing all manner of board games. Are you wondering how to play the newest game craze? Do you want to get a look at how something plays and what components are included and look like? This is the channel for you. Rodney also produced a quick start video for Mice and Mystic that gives you the essentials to play without reading the rules.

Geek and Sundry, Felicia Day et al
Felica and Will Wheaton started this channel a few years ago. In Tabletop Will plays boardgames with nerdy celebrities. In Cooptitude  Felicia plays old console games with her brother. All of the videos are well produced and all are entertaining. There are also some how to pimp your board game videos and painting tutorials.

Zombie Orpheus Entertainment
The Gamers, Humans and Households and Journeyquest. Based off Dead Gentlemen Productions this channel has the full movies for the Gamers series plus tons of other sketch videos. This is also the home of the JourneyQuest web show. Any time I am having a rough day I switch to this channel.

Awkward Spaceship, ensemble
This is a channel filled with nerdy sketch videos. The best one is called "The Bake Sale" (yum sprinkles!). This group may not be as well know as ZOE but they have some really creative ideas.

WatchMojo, ensemble

Top 10 videos on usually nerdy topics. These videos are 7 to 10 minutes long and cover movies, TV and comics. Top 10 Spiderman villains anyone?