Sunday, April 25, 2010

In A Word—AMAZING!!!

Yeah, that's right. French Toasted Pancakes!!

I think the only thing that could have made this dinner any better is Bacon Syrup.

Not a First That I Wanted to Experience

Friday I woke up with a sore throat. Not an unusual thing for me, especially during that time of the year that the seasons can't make up their minds about whose turn it is. I have some issues with my sinuses that stem (I believe) from a car accident and a broken nose. This leads to mouth breathing, and occasionally waking up with a dry and sore throat. That's probably more than anyone wanted to know.

The point is, though it hurt a little more than usual—I got up and went to work as is the norm. By noon, I could tell that this was not a normal sore throat. It was the worst sore throat I had ever experienced in my life. Around eleven o'clock I had gone down to my car and dug through the pockets on the back of the front seats, I vaguely recalled having some throat lozenges. YES!!! I found them. After sucking down three to no effect, I started to suspect this was not a typical sore throat. Shortly thereafter I started to feel cold and a little sick—so I went home.

On the way home I stopped at the Drug store and picked up the real deal throat lozenges. Did you know they sell two kinds? For about the same price you can buy a bag of one hundred or a box of eighteen. Those available in bulk have an active ingredient of Menthol. Those that come in a box of eighteen have an actual oral anesthetic; it's like sucking on Orajel—it literally numbs your mouth/throat. After sucking down two of those, and noticing that my mouth was numb, but my throat still hurt—I suspected, but didn't want to admit what illness I had.

Saturday, when I woke up with the same sore throat (and had been dealing with Chills and Fever), I decided it was time to go to the doctor and get diagnosed for what I suspected was Streptococcal Pharyngitis. All my life, and all around me I've heard of people getting Strep Throat, but I've never had it. Until now. If I don't get it again for another 33 years I'll be okay with that.

Going to the Doctor was weird. I didn't know where to go or how to fill out the insurance information and what not. It's literally been over twenty years since I've gone to the Doctor for an illness.(Unless you count that one time when I was on my mission that I just remembered; that's a little different though, since it was the emergency room at one in the morning, and suspected Appendicitis, and I didn't take myself in, I just sat there in pain—the Dr. told me he was 95% sure it was appendicitis, but that he wouldn't operate until he was 98% sure. I had a priesthood blessing. I spent the night in the hospital alone [very strange for a missionary of my faith]. In the morning all symptoms were gone.)

For what it's worth, the throat culture confirmed what I suspected...At least I get a couple days off of work.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Junk In My Trunk

We've been trying to sell our house. The house we wanted has gone under contract, we cannot find anything comparable. Ours is no longer on the market as a result.

Now when your house is for sale, people come to see it. In an effort to make the house more presentable, I moved some things to the trunk of my car.

I know I have a tendency to hoard things, and I find it necessary to occasionally take a moment to laugh at myself.

Visible in this picture: (Click for Full Size)

RPG Books

Replica of the Original Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) White Box
D&D Basic Rules (Red Box Rulebook)
D&D Expert Rules (Blue Box Rulebooks)
D&D Rules Cyclopedia
D&D Immortal Rules (Gold Box Rulebooks)
D&D Wrath of the Immortals
Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (AD&D) Player's Handbook
AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide
AD&D Monster Manual
AD&D Monster Manual II
AD&D Fiend Folio
AD&D Unearthed Arcana
AD&D Oriental Adventures
AD&D Dieties and Demigods
AD&D Dungeoneers Survival Guide
AD&D Wilderness Survival Guide
AD&D Manual of the Planes
AD&D 2nd Edition (2E) Player's Handbook
AD&D 2E Dungeon Master's Guide
AD&D 2E Monstrous Compendium Vol 1
AD&D 2E Monstrous Compendium Vol 2
AD&D 2E Monstrous Manual
D&D 3E Player's Handbook
D&D 3E Dungeon Master's Guide
D&D 3E Monster Manual
D&D 3E Revised (3.5E) Player's Handbook
D&D 3.5E Dungeon Master's Guide
D&D 3.5E Monster Manual
D&D 4E Player's Handbook
D&D 4E Dungeon Master's Guide
D&D 4E Monster Manual
D&D 4E Player's handbook II
GURPS 3E Basic Set (1st Print)
GURPS Deadlands: Weird West
GURPS Cliffhangers
Toon Deluxe RPG
Toon Tales
Tooniversal Tour Guide
Toon ACE Catalog
The Edge of Midnight RPG
Theatrix The Core Rules
Savage Worlds (SW)
Savage Worlds Revised (SW)
Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition 2nd Printing (SWEX)
Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition 3rd Printing
Realms of Cthulhu (SWEX)
Low Life (SW)
Mars (SWEX)
Runepunk (SW)
Fantasy Companion (SWEX)
Super Powers Companion (SWEX)
Paranoia 25th Anniversary Edition
Ring Wielder

Board Games

Red November
Advance To Boardwalk
Deadlands: The Battle For Slaughter Gulch
Don't Go To Jail
Ticket to Ride
Cranium Cadoo
MidEVIL Deluxe (Includes MidEVIL, MidEVIL 2: Castle Chaos, & MidEVIL 3: Subteranian Homesick Blues)

Lots and Lots of Dice

In the Filing Box to the Right are the Following:

Zombies!!! 2: Zombie Corps(e)
Zombies!!! 3: Mall Walkers
Zombies!!! 4: The End?
Zombies!!! 5: School's Out Forever
Zombies!!! 6: Six Feet Under
Zombies!!! 7: Send In The Clowns
Zombies!!! 8: Jailbreak
Zombie Town
Zombie Town 2: Road Rage
Humans!!! 2: Seafood

In the Back Pack:

Carcassonne The River
Carcassonne The River II
Carcassonne The Count of Carcassonne
Carcassonne King & Scout
Carcassonne Abbey & Mayor
Carcassonne Cult Siege & Creativity
Carcassonne Games Quarterly Mini Expansion
Carcassonne Inns & Cathedrals
Carcassonne Princess and the Dragon
Carcassonne The Tower
Carcassonne  Traders & Builders
Bang! A Fistfull of Cards
Bang! Dodge City
Cranium Zigity
Zombie Fluxx
Martian Fluxx
Lord of the Fries
Battle Cattle
Are You a Werewolf
Lupus in Tabula
Ticket To Ride USA 1910 Expansion
Settlers of Catan: The Card Game
Settlers of Catan: The Card Game Expansions

In the Backpack under the Back Pack:

Pirates of the Spanish Main (SWEX)
Day After Ragnarok (SWEX)
Slipstream (SWEX)

Not Visible, But Definitely In There:

Deadlands: Reloaded (SWEX)
Necessary Evil Explorer's Edition (SWEX)
Zombie Run (SWEX)
Deadlands: Murder on the Helstromme Express (SWEX)
Deadlands: Don't Drink the Water
Deadlands: Saddle Sore
Deadlands: Marshalls Screen
Green's Guide to Ghosts (SWEX)
Fear Effects (SWEX)
Gaslight (SWEX)
Advanced Dungeons & Savages  (SW)
The Making of Savage Worlds
Wizards & Warriors (SWEX)
Savage Beasts (SWEX)
Boot Hill Replica
Chainmail Replica
Villains and Vigilantes (V&V) DNAgents Sourcebook
V&V Most Wanted Volume 1
V&V Most Wanted Volume 3
Marvel Super Heroes Deluxe City Campaign Set (Adventure Book Only)
Hollow Earth Expedition
Kidnapped in the Hollow Eart
(Free RPG Day Adventure 2009)

D&D 4E—Khyber's Harvest (Free RPG Day Adventure 2009)

Give Me the Brains
The World According to Ubi
Bump in the Night
Shut the Box

Lots and Lots More Dice

A Set of Juggling Balls
A Set of Juggling Clubs

Not in the Trunk Currently—Because It's In My Back Pack that I Take Everywhere:
(I.e. What I'm Currently Running/Using Actively)

Deadlands: The Flood
Deadlands: Coffin Rock
Savage Worlds: Explorer's Edition 1st Printing
Lots and Lots More Dice
Lots and Lots of Mini Poker Chips (For Bennys/Fate Chips)
Two Decks of Face Cards With Jokers (For Savage Worlds)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This Quiz Amused Me

I am a d100

Take the quiz at

You are a d100: You're a bit odd, to put it mildly. We're not sure whether you're socially inept, brain damaged, or just trying to be funny. We've given up on trying to figure it out, and have to accept that it might be all three. For you, non-sequitur are the most common form of non-communication. You are given to great flashes brilliance, but don't have the attention span to carry out any of your most ingenious plans. We don't know what color the sky is in your world, and frankly, we're afraid to ask.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Your Marshall Presents—A sandbox Game

Last time the posse defeated a wolf in priests clothing and the demon he summoned and dispelled much of the fear that was leading to some strange happenings in town. Leaving me in a difficult situation. What are they going to do next session. I'm trying to let this game be a little more open ended than the last game I ran—but I don't want it to be so open ended that the players feel lost.

I read through two alternate adventure modules and boned up on some portions of the adventure module they've been going through and I planned to try and direct the players toward one of them. They decided to hook onto something else however and went somewhere I wasn't planning to take them.

I apologize for the stalling. Sometimes I'm just not good at improvising. I had to work two new players into the game. One opportunity worked a little better than the other, if Justin starts coming regularly again, I'll either need to get him hired by Mr. White, or just retcon his induction into the group.

The shoot first ask questions later attitude is going to cause problems in the future if it doesn't get curbed. In this game it worked out, but only because I happened to remember that there was a gang hanging out south of town—so they did happen to be shooting at people that are wanted by the law, but it very easily could have been a Sheriff and a posse, or a Marshall, or Just a bunch of Ranch Hands.

I'm still a little confused by the way the character Mathias has been acting. I guess in my mind he's a gentleman of refinement, who happens to have some skill in the arcane arts. He just seems too eager to do things that are   extreme (Chopping heads off, Burning Down a Church). I guess what's bugging me about it (because frankly, I've been having a hard time putting it into words) is that this isn't the character I was sold on. I thought that this guy would be more concerned about keeping his shirt clean and pressed, and less eager to remove the heads of dead gang members trying to turn them in for some supposed bounty.

Overall, I think the night went well. I think everyone had fun (and that's my goal). I think if I could get the group to be more group minded then things could progress a little better.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mystery Express—

Let me start off by stating that Days of Wonder is one of my Favorite Game Publishers. Everything they do is top notch.

The first Days of Wonder game I played was Ticket to Ride—at the time, it was the new hotness that all the game stores were pushing. I'd seen it a few times and it evoked a big "meh" from me. Then it was given to us as a gift for Christmas. It's still one of my favorite games—I like most of the expansions/sequels as well.

After we discovered Ticket to Ride, we get into quite a number of games published by Days of Wonder: Shadows Over Camelot, Mystery of the Abbey, Pirate's Cove, Colosseum, Cleopatra and the Society of Architects, Battlelore (Now owned by Fantasy Flight), and Small World.

Fun fact: We liked Shadows over Camelot and Mystery of the Abbey better when We were playing them wrong.

So their newest game is Mystery Express. It's like Clue, but on a train.

Good things about the game: Think about the last time that you played Clue. Remember when you kept rolling ones and you couldn't get to a room to make an accusation? That mechanic is gone. You can move to any car on the train at any time. When you're in the different cars, you don't make accusations like you do in Clue—each car has its own game mechanic. To explain the mechanic of the cars, I guess I need to explain the trip that the train is making. The train is making its way from Paris to Istanbul. The trip has five stops, and each leg of the trip takes a determined number of hours. Each car has a certain action that you can do in that car, and each action takes a certain amount of time.

The first leg of the trip is from Paris to Strasbourgh, and it takes 4 hours. In the dining car you can ask players to show you a card that is in their hand. You also get to determine the type of card (Motive, Weapon, Location, or Person). If you ask two people it uses two hours. In the lounge car you can have all the players reveal to everyone a card of a chosen color simultaneously, which takes two hours.

During certain legs of the trip there are extra passengers that board the train that you can get information from (i.e. trade a card for a new card), and if you do an action in the car that the conductor is in, you can get information from him.

Unlike Clue, there are two of every card—so you cannot eliminate anything until you know you have seen both cards. Also there are five things you are tasked with discovering. The Guilty Party, The Weapon, The Location, The Motive and the Time.

Determining the time of the murder is a pain in the brain. There is a deck of cards that has the eight possible times on cards, three of each card, on analog clocks, with no numbers on the faces. After each leg of the trip is over, there is some method of viewing the time deck: For instance, after the fist leg of the trip, the player that went first flips all the cards over one at a time in rapid succession while everyone tries to remember what they see. No note taking is allowed until the last card has been flipped. After the second leg of the trip all the cards are dealt and you get to look at one hand at a time and then everyone rotates hands until you have seen all the hands—again, no note taking is allowed during the viewing of the time cards.

So, what did I think of this game?

I knew I was either going to hate it or love it. I'm not a big fan of clue, I thought that this might overcome some of the things that I hate about Clue. It did, while simultaneously introducing a greater number of things that I hated.

First of all, the game took way too long—admittedly, part of that was due to our learning as we were going—but it took three hours to play a game advertised at 90 minutes. During that three hours, There were things that I had easily taken care of early on in the game. I knew who and where. However, by the end  I had to guess on motive and weapon (and I had neither one of those narrowed by much—there are a LOT of cards flying around in this game and it becomes fairly easy to conceal one if you have a lot of a particular category).
The time was a cruel joke—only those gifted with a photographic memory will enjoy that mechanic.

Did I mention that I won, well co-won. In then end I guessed properly the weapon and the motive, making me correct in every category but the time. Another player had done the same. As a tie breaker, the game has you you write down all your premature guesses at the penultimate stop. I had three of five correct, so did the the other player—so we both won.

That's right, I hate a game that I won. It happens. The win was pointless, because I guessed so much vs players that had used skill and deduction and gotten more things wrong than I had.

I don't want to play this game again.

I still think Days of Wonder is a fine game publisher.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Blood Men and Demons and Fires—Oh My!

Have I used that meme in my title before? Yes, I believe I have, oh well.

So we played a rousing game of Deadlands: Reloaded. People will always surprise you, especially when they actually role play what they wrote into their character.

A friend of mine I have known since Jr. High was in town, so he came and brought his daughter, and another player was able to finally come. Adding those three to the regular players brought the posse to seven—a decent sized group.

The first matter of business (which could have been handled better by myself) was to shoehorn the new players into the posse. Which was easy when I thought that I only had one extra player coming. She's planning on being a regular now that certain events on her calendar have cleared, so I already had a story written up for her. I ended up tacking on the other two, but I didn't handle the "meetup" description as well as I thought. On top of that Josh played his character's distrust of new acquaintances and the game started with players shooting at each other—however, later in the game this also meant that he was prepared to defend himself in a situation that most other people would have not handled so irrationally albeit appropriately.

Personally, I'm still torn on how I feel about that (the players gunning for one another). On the one hand, I like that people were playing their characters the way they were written. On the other hand I see that as a violation of the unwritten social contract between players and GM that players will not deliberately try to break the game.

I find that I still don't know how to read the difficulty of Villains vs Players. I read the stat blocks and I think to myself that they're going to get killed; then they take out my monsters one by one. While my monsters barely get any hits in. I also feel like the combat isn't coming across as terribly exciting or tactical. I think I need to concentrate on being more descriptive and trying to make the locations a little more fleshed out, so as to force more tactical combat. (i.e. more stuff in combat areas, so people can duck behind things or use the environment more)

I was prepared for the game, but not the combat—I hadn't prepared a map. I was contemplating trying a map free combat—but I could tell my description of the room they were in was already getting lost in translation. Brandon had his battle mat, so we tossed that down on the table—I sketched what I had in mind for the room. I grabbed my Deadlands: The Battle for Slaughter Gulch board game and tried to give appropriate figures to everyone. Half of them worked really well, the other half just had to pretend, and my wife got a mini figurine we got at Disneyland of Cinderella, because she's playing a southern belle. . . we used Gummy Bears for the Monsters.

Coffin Rock Spoilers Ahead...

After that fight they entered a portal which scattered them all over town. I randomly distributed the figures on the map and then described where people had landed. Unintentionally, I dropped one of the more impulsive players near the location everyone else wanted to be, and he did something impulsive.

There was another fight, and this one actually went fairly well without the battle mat.

Things I feel I need to work on:

1) Keeping track of Details (More than once we had to backtrack a little because I forgot something).
2) Being more descriptive as far as action.
3) Fleshing out locations more fully to encourage creative tactics.
4) Remembering to Give out XP before people have left. (The Answer is 3—You accomplished a lot!)
5) The Fate Chips weren't going out as much this time, consequently they weren't being used as much.

Questions for my players.

1) Was this session fun? Why or why not?
2) What can I do as Game Master to improve the Game?
3) Any other Questions or Comments? . . . Ugly Rumors?