Welcome to the New Age

ImageI just watched the video for Imagine Dragons, “Radioactive”.  If you haven’t seen it, watch it here because I’m going to throw spoilers your way.

The video is, essentially, an illicit underground (literally) arena for Muppet fights.  You heard right, Muppets fighting. It’s a fantastically fun, albeit somewhat creepy, concept that could easily lend itself to a neat application in your RPG of choice.  Watch the video and then head back to finish reading.

Well, how’d you like it?  Neat, huh?  Told you you’d dig it.

So how does this apply to my game, you ask?  Great question.  I’ve got several ideas:

1) Capture! If you wanted to be literal about it, your characters could stumble upon an abandoned barn, taking refuge there for the night.  They find the entrance to the secret arena and venture down only to be captured and imprisoned.  To achieve their freedom, they need to produce a competitor to fight (and win) in the arena.  This will require a little bit of setup, as you’ll need to ensure that your characters have something they can use for their surrogate in the arena. If your druid has a pet, your wizard a familiar, or your barbarian a pet wolf, all of these could work.

Alternately, you could provide the party with a method to transform themselves into arena participants.

2) Constructs. Another alternative is that during the course of an adventure, they stumble onto a laboratory and arena complex. Their, they’re forced to create miniature likenesses of themselves and imbue these constructs with some of their life essence in order to better survive the arena.  The arena battles take the form of a sub-game within the main game; they occur while the party is still adventuring so it’s a simultaneous experience.  Each character has to give a part of himself/herself to the construct in order to aid it but whatever is given to the construct is taken from the character for the duration of the adventure.  It could be hit points, attack bonuses, AC bonuses, magic resistance, etc. The character then has to spend the rest of the adventure with those penalties on them. The construct gets to benefit from whatever is given and, therefore, has a better chance of surviving the arena.  The reward for winning (or penalty for losing)in the arena needs to represent something compelling enough for all characters to want to sacrifice something for it.

3) A Quest. A final idea is to have the arena be the subject of the quest. The party is tasked by the local constabulary/magistrate to shut down the arena and arrest its head.   During the course of their investigations they can either be shocked by what/who fights in the arena or can be lured into its depravity by the fortunes that can be made.  In going undercover to infiltrate (or even participate) the arena, they may get embroiled deeper than they imagined and find it hard to get out.  Or, perhaps they won’t want to get out. The lure of gold can be a powerful force.

Just some quick thoughts from a cool video.  Love to hear what you think or if you’ve ideas of your own.

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Back to Westeros

A_Dance_With_Dragons_USFinally, finally, FINALLY…I’m back to Westeros.

I got A Dance With Dragons in the fall of 2011, just when I was moving to Pittsburgh.  Between moving a few times, buying and selling 3 houses, starting a new job, having a baby, and general life, I haven’t had a chance to get to it. Not for lack of wanting, because it’s been on my desk or bookshelf staring me down for the past year and a half and every day I looked at it more and more longingly.

I made the decision last August to purchase a little-known author’s books at GenCon because: a) he was there and I was supporting small-time authors; b) he was a really nice guy; and c) he signed them.  The books, should anyone wonder, are called The Genesis of Oblivion saga.  They are, dear readers, one of the worst fantasy saga books I’ve ever read.  I’ll not get into the reasons in this post, that will be for another time. Suffice to say, It’s taken me eight months to slog through two books and, aside from the last 100 pages of the second book, every moment has been painful.  I’ve actually put off reading because I didn’t want to pick them up…

But I’m back to George now.  Back to Westeros. The characters, the stories, the lands that I know so well.  It might sound silly, but it just feels better. I was more engaged and felt more joy in reading the Prologue of Dance than I did in reading over 800 pages of Genesis. 

It’s just a good feeling, when you read Martin. His words are a tapestry.  A blanket that keeps you warm and safe and secure.  It’s familiar and strange and scary and comforting all at the same time. It genuinely feels different.

Not just the story, but the way he writes.  The meticulous precision with which he extracts story from words.  It’s so clean, so refreshing, so…good (note my lack of eloquence there). Such a far cry from my last reading disaster.

Thank you George.  It’s good to be home again.

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Video Gaming – a history via infographic

Cool little infographic put out by National Geographic that hits on some of the highlights of the video gaming industry’s history. Who knew the first video game was invented in 1947?  I certainly didn’t.

Here’s a link to to the original, it’s pretty cool.

history of video games

History of video games

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Inside Combat Rescue – The Game

Pave HawkI’ve been watching a lot of Inside Combat Rescue on the NatGeo channel. It chronicles the role of  Kandahar-based Air Force Pararescue Jumpers (PJs) in the war in Afghanistan. It’s a pretty intense show and (aside from episode 4), I absolutely love it.

So, I got to thinking that the theme of the show could make for a decent little rescue the wounded-type boardgame.  Let’s be clear: I’m not making light of the role these fine airmen play by any stretch. What they do is not a game.

Each team is assigned a helicopter and a starting crew and their scramble orders are drawn anew once a previous mission has been passed or failed.  The farther away their rescue, the more difficult it will be but the more victory points they’ll accrue.  Each turn the players will draw from a deck to see what obstacles and challenges they’ll need to overcome. Based on the crew they’ve selected for each mission and the skills of the crewmembers, some challenges will be easy to accomplish and allow them to continue, some may slow them down, and some can sideline them entirely.

Once the requisite number of challenges are overcome, the choppers make their pickup and return to base, possibly facing an additional challenge if the patient is in dire straits.

It’s all very rough around the edges, I just came up with the concept this morning but it’s one I think I’d like to flesh out a bit more. At first blush it seems very similar to my Modern Warfare game I’ve been working on so I may need to differentiate a bit more.

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A recap of Zvezda’s Barbarossa 1941

I just finished up my review of Zvezda’s Operation Barbarossa 1941 last week. It’s posted here if you’re interested in seeing it: http://boardgamegeek.com/article/10923617 but I’ll give you a quick recap here:

I like the game, I just wish I had a group to play with. What has turned into my mostly regular gaming group (a friend and his wife) has almost no interest in war games and even less interest in a tactical-level game. So that’s not great…

But back to the game. The few plays I have managed to get under my belt have been fun. It’s a neat twist on the standard turn-based game in that each player acts simultaneously. Each general issues orders to each troop and then those orders are acted upon in a prescribed order each turn. It’s similar to A Game of Thrones board game in that regard.

It takes some getting used to but it’s fun to see how quickly things progress. The first scenario talks about things happening on turn 8 and turn 15 and we thought, “Oh man, this is going to take forever” but it really didn’t. The biggest bottleneck we found was trying to decipher all the icons for what orders can be given to a unit but once you get those down, it flows pretty smoothly.

The models of this game are top-notch (obviously, because Zvezda is a model company). The infantry and the vehicles aren’t of the same scale but only a true purist is going to complain on that score. They work perfectly for the game. I’ve seen that a lot of people have painted their models but boy, oh boy, I can’t even imagine that. Hell, I have hundreds of Warhammer models that still need painted.

All in all, a fun game. I want to play it more but unless I find a new group, I fear this may see limited playing time on my table. I wonder if there are any solo rules out there…

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Filed under Board Games, WW II

First Post

Every blog needs a first post and this is mine.

Welcome to *insert witty blog name here*, a blog in which I’ll chronicle the trials and tribulations of my foray into the world of game design as well as keep you updated on all things game-related. At least as they pertain to me.

As you can see, I don’t have a title yet but one will be forthcoming soon enough.

Stay tuned for who knows what.

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Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

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