Information on RPG Games, Board Games, Computer Games, and all other Game-ish things

Larceny (the card game)

One of the members of our gaming group recently picked up a copy of the card game Larceny. He got lucky and found it in a bargain bin at a local gaming store and now it is part of our groups ever growing collection of board games. We have played it several times since then and thoroughly enjoyed it. This one definitely gets a gold star from me.

So what is it about? Well it is a card game of the roving judge variety (think Apples to Apples). The Chief (judge) supplies the crew (players) with The Score as well as two obstacles to get it (The Catches). The players then use cards from their hands (The fixes) to alleviate the challenges of The Catches. The Chief then determines the best fixes and awards points to the players that provided them. First to a predetermined value wins. Sounds more confusing then it really is, I suspect an example might help.

The Score: Hope Diamond
The Catch #1: Arena Lighting
The Catch #2: World Weary Private Investigator

Player 1:
Plays their Fix card of Fire Extinguisher on the Arena Lighting (face down so the judge doesn’t see who played what) hoping that maybe The Chief will understand how the cloud from the extinguisher would block them from the Arena Lighting
Plays their Fix card of Friendly Smile on the World Weary Private Investigator (again face down), while not as good as a Tazer Gun would be it is the best they have for this in their hand.

Once all the players have placed cards, The Chief determines (while the players defend the cards) which one overcame each Catch. If the same person takes both Catch cards they also get the Score card as well boosting their points that round. The the judge passes to the left. Rinse and repeat until someone gets enough points to win.

We found this was a good game for both gamers and non-gamers alike, putting it in the category we like to call transition games.

Here are the official like game stats:
Larceny
Players: 3+
Length of Play: 15 Minutes
Ages: 13+

Board Game Anniversary

A Better Anniversary Gift List

A couple of years ago I stumbled upon a Geek Version of the Traditional Wedding Anniversary list. The list is from Geek Dad on Wired and here is the link to the Geek Anniversary List so you can enjoy it too. Since then my husband and I have been using this list to determine our gifts for the year. We shake it up some since they don’t always fit. Like last year (5th Anniversary) was smart phones, but we both had good working phones, so we swapped for an earlier year we had missed out on, geeky t-shirts. I will share the shirts we got in another post later.

Board Game Gifts

Zombie Cinema - Story GameSo with this year being our 6th anniversary and us both really enjoying playing board games we went with the scheduled theme for this year. Last month we went to GameStorm (our local Gaming Convection) it made the shopping that much easier. While my husband is generally good at choosing gifts, he also tells me that he prefers me to be direct and not hint about. So when I found that Guardian Games was selling a game I had really enjoyed playing a few years ago at GameStorm I told him that is what I wanted. I also got his game from the dealer’s room as well.

I asked him to get me Zombie Cinema. It is a true Indie game in both feel and content. The game play is virtually all storytelling with a roaming narrator along with some basic dice-offs and a board to make sure the story progresses in true zombie horror style. When I played it at GameStorm we set the patient zero on an airplane at PDX and the trigger as airline food. It was a crazy story that I still have fond memories of several years later, which is the point in any story-telling game after all. And amazingly I made it out of the scenario alive, though barely. Sadly my current gaming group isn’t big into Indie-style storytelling board games so it may be a while before I get to use it. I do have a couple in Wisconsin that it would be fun to play the game with, perhaps life will let me travel to them soon.


For my husband I got him an expansion for one of our new family favorites, Sentinels of The Multiverse (2nd Edition). This game is a great family game as you are all playing together to defeat the bad guy. There is a lot of replay value as their are multiple villains and settings to choose from as well as super hero characters to play. Really it includes something for everyone. Since we have the base set and a friend picked up some expansions for it, I went with a different expansion and am really looking forward to playing it soon. I got him Sentinels of The Multiverse: Shattered Timelines. Which has several new villains, heroes, and settings. I am really looking forward to trying to beat The Dreamer, but I am not sure we will be able to manage that one. Guess I will update you if we ever manage it.

We love embracing our geek when it comes to gift giving. What is the geekiest gift you have ever exchanged with someone else?

Sometime you just need Meeples

Robot Meeple
Meeple Source – Robot Mega Meeples

There comes a time in every gamers life when you simply don’t have enough tokens, figures, widgets, poker chips, what have you to represent all of the bad guys, or all of your good guys. It may be during an epic RPG battle where you really need to show that you have amassed an army of evil robots to do your bidding. You could either buy a large number of mini-figs or resort to baubles to show them all, but wouldn’t it be cooler if you actually had a small army of Robot Meeples to put on the map? I discovered today, via Board Game Geek, an online store specializing in Meeples, Tokens, and other various side bits to the gaming frenzy. The store is called Meeple Source and they carry a wealth of tokens, Meeples and other products to assist the gamer. They also make products for the Board Game designer as well, so if you or your kids need supplies for their personally crafted, work-of-art board game this is the place to shop!! Plus, if you are in need, they even do custom designs. I will say that I haven’t shopped with them, and they don’t even know I am endorsing them, but their products look so great I couldn’t help but share this resource with you.

Feed the Kitty

Image of Feed the Kitty

Image of Feed the Kitty

Overview

This adorable little game is perfect for family or friends to play together. This game takes no reading skills to play and doesn’t even take much in the way of counting either so any child that can keep the dice out of their mouths is old enough to play. The whole idea is of the game is that there is an invisible cat whose food bowl sees a small group of mice in and out of it through the actions of the dice. The game is pure chance, which means that like the classic game Candy Land you can’t through the game in your child’s favor if they aren’t able to lose well yet.

Game Play

The game play of Feed the Kitty is pretty basic. The components of the game are small wooden mice tokens, 1 plastic food bowl, and two 6-sided dice. Youngest player goes first and play proceeds clockwise around the table. The mice are divided evenly between the players with any left over mice placed into the food bowl. The player rolls the two dice and follows the actions shown. The various actions for the dice are:

  • Sleeping Cat: The cat is sleeping – nothing happens
  • Food Bowl: The cat captures a mouse – place one of your mice in the food bowl
  • Mouse: A mouse escapes the food bowl – take a mouse from the food bowl (if there is one) and place it in your mouse pile
  • Arrow: A mouse moves to a new pile – pass a mouse to the player on your left

Play continues in this manner until only one person has mice left in their pile. The nice thing is that if a player runs out of mice they are not totally out of the game. They could get passed a mouse from the player on their right.

Pros

  • Requires no reading so perfect for those that can’t read
  • Game play is fast so games don’t take very long
  • The rules are simple so it is easy to learn
  • My kids still enjoy it even at 12 and 10

Cons

  • Game is pure chance no skill involved
  • Because it is pure chance you can’t throw the game to make it easier for your kids to win

How to get the game

The game is still in print and should be available at your local game store. Or you can order Feed the Kitty online via Amazon.

 

Even More Floor Plans

One of my most popular posts on my blog has been my short list of floor plans.  Having a map of an area is one of the easiest ways to not only plan your rpg adventure, but also to make sure that all of your players are visualizing the same thing.  Anything that keeps everyone on the same page helps to reduce confusion and arguments, both of which take away from the joy of the rpg.

So without further delay here is another list of floor plan links you may find useful in your games.  Most of these are aimed at the near past, modern, or near future time periods.  Hope you enjoy them.

Multnomah Country, OR Downtown Library Floor plan A map of a historic and large library.

Academic Building Floor plan – University of Wisconsin La Crosse Nice detail including the number of seats per room.

Floor Plans for the Smithsonian Museums and National Zoo (a page with links to a number of floor plans)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art A wonderfully details floor plan

Johnson County Community College A page with links to the campus map and building maps.

Commercial Building Floor plans This page has a number of different plans and shows both the front facade and floor layout.

A vast collection of Theme Park Maps Covers multiple parks and for many of them has several years worth of maps.

Cerro Gordo County, Iowa Jail Nice detail in a modern jail floor plan and it is a pdf!

 

Is there a certain type of map you are wanting and just can’t find?  If so, let me know and I will see if I can locate it and add it to my next floor plan blogpost.

 

 

Falling: Goblin Edition

A month ago or so we tried out a new card game, Falling: Goblin Edition and while crazy it was a lot of fun. The premise of the card game is that you are a group of Goblins who, for whatever reason, are falling and are sure to die when you hit the ground. So you take on the goal of trying to be the last one to hit the ground.

The game is very fast paced and lacks a true turn based system as you just fling cards as fast as they are dealt out. While it took us a couple of games before both the dealer and the players had figured out what we were doing, once we did it worked nicely. With such a fast paced game it did an excellent job of simulating the story line. While you were busy pushing other goblins (players) or grabbing onto thing to try to slow your decent the ground appeared with an unexpected “Thud!” often without you seeing it coming.

I wouldn’t recommend the game for kids younger than perhaps late Middle School, the pace would be a real challenge and the lack of true turns was a challenge for even the table of seasoned gamers I was playing with. It did make for an entertaining passing of time though while we waited for the last member of our gaming group to arrive for the evening’s table top session.

Anti-Matter Matters Boardgame – A Kickstarter Project

Anti-Matter Matters

Support your local Game Designer

Just like shopping locally helps the economy where you live, the same can be said for supporting your local Game Designer. By finding out the game designers in your community you are helping to drive innovation and creativity in your region. Many, if not most, major metropolitan centers have at least a few game designers. Just last night I found out that we have a new set of game designers in Portland; at least they are new to me. They are called Elbowfish Gaming and are located right here in Portland. Thanks to GameStorm for letting me know about them and their Kickstarter Project for a new game called Anti-Matter Matters. Right now they have a Kickstarter Project that is nearing the end of it’s funding time. It is so close to being funded and I really want to see their game in person and for sale. I went and helped with their kickstarter campaign and urge you to as well, but hurry as it closes this Saturday July 13th!!

So what is the game?

Good question. It is a board game about particle physics. Honestly I don’t know a lot about particle physics myself, but this group does and they have created a board game that promises to be fun while demystifying the rather complex subject of quantum physics. They have been test playing at Guardian Games, a local gaming shop, and they say while being fun it also stays true to the science. The game is rated as age 13+ and plays with 2-6 players. They are hoping to eventually do the extra testing and stuff that will allow them to mark the game 11+. But that means I can play this with my son now and my daughter too in the not too distant future.

I urge you to give what you can and help make science fun, and bring this game to life

Here is a quote from Elbowfish Gaming’s website that I just love:
“Play is a universal, social activity. Games can be more than diversions. They are a medium of expression that, like film, books, television and theater, can provide thought-provoking, emotional, transformative and entertaining experiences.”

Daikaijuu Sentai Uchuujin Shinkou (Alien Invasion Attack of the Giant Monsters)

Here is the second installment of our on going It Came From the Late, Late, Late Show our GM provided us with a longer game, I believe it took us 3 sessions to finish the storyline and that included staying up a bit later on the last night.

This adventure was a two part story line, in the beginning section we were humans discovering the monsters and bringing them back to our research lab to study them.  The trip back was one of the two most memorable sections as we got attacked by modern day “pirates”.  It was an attack by hippies on a Greenpeace ship who simply would not believe that we were not whalers.  Of course the fact that we had to use an old whaling ship to bring the creatures back to the lab and that we tried to keep them from going below deck certainly wasn’t helping our cause any.  Eventually we drove them off but not without a struggle.

Then we switch to the awakening of the monsters and us taking them over as our new roles for our actors.  This is where our GM really got the chance to break out his homemade hex map, terrain and miniatures.  He is really into Lego’s and so that is what we use for mini-figs when he runs.  Of course we collect them too which makes them super easy to locate and use.

So as the ubur monsters (think Godzilla style) we were bent on destroying the town, as well as our arch enemy.  Turns out that, at least for us and our dice, the hard part would be the electric lines they had laid down in our path.  We came far too close to dying out over them before we even got into the real battle.

These images are from the end of game and give you an idea of the carnage as well as our GM’s homemade battle map.

Battlemap carnage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the write up of the movie poster, the characters and rule summary, as well as the entire adventure.  Hope you enjoy.  If you end up playing or running it I would love to hear how your adventure went.

Sentai_Daikaijuuu

Why I Love Guild Wars 2

Buy Guild Wars 2


So, as many of you likely know, Guild Wars 2 will be releasing on Aug 28, 2012.  At our house this is exciting news, as I trust it is at many of yours as well. My husband and I pre-bought the game for both of us as our anniversary present this year back in April when the option became available.  We intend to each dedicate a character slot to our joint play time, kind of a gamer date time when the kids are at their dad’s house.  Any way that works is a good way to keep the spark alive.

I never played the first Guild Wars, and haven’t been very big into the whole multi-mass player online game thing.  Mostly I don’t like to team up with others, partly because as a mom my attention can rarely be devoted fully to the game and partly because I am not super good at them and feel self-conscience around others.

Thankfully Guild Wars 2 has proven to be the game I was waiting for, I just didn’t know it.  A big thank you to my husband for knowing it for me.

When I play rpg style games it is all about the character and the development of the character.  I will choose things based off what the character would choose not always what is the best from a number-crunch perspective.  This often makes my characters ineffective but very real; so far I have had enough choices to implement style without sacrificing ability which is great.  I love how the items have really out there names sometimes which feeds my character personality need quite well.

I also have enjoyed the immersion of the character background into their personal story line.  This allows me to focus on doing things and generally staying away from the tedium of grinding.  Any game that makes me grind will quickly be left behind, I don’t find it engaging to endlessly run areas to kill monsters just to get experience to level to do the next real thing.  With Guild Wars I can collect hearts or way point or views and just go to a whole new area if I need to level for my story line.  It keeps me engaged which means I keep playing.

My family budget loves the idea that I buy the game and then get to play it, no deciding what we are going to give up each month to afford the dues for four of us to play.  Or splitting accounts so that we can all take turns playing just to afford to play at all.  Thank you AreaNet for going “old school” on this and dumping the monthly fees!

All in all I am excited for go-live to get here so I can play, play, play!

 

 

The Ghost Returns for High Adventure on the Coast of Crusade

A few months ago our Call of Cthulhu DM ran a one night game of It Came from the Late, Late, Late Show.  I had never played the game before, though I had read through the rules a while ago.  For a long time now I have had a love for what I call the one-book-wonder role playing games.  My preference is for games that are low in rules as I find they are more fun to play.  When you have multiple rule books, like in Shadowrun for example, it is easy to get caught up in the myriad of rules and forget that the joy of the adventure and the interaction of the characters is what makes a really good story and therefore a really good game.

In this case the game was epic in nature and well worth writing about.  Our DM got his inspiration from the Grave Robbers from Outerspace card game, which is another great card game I will need to write more about someday.  He used the cards to help generate the plot locations and encounters, which I thought was a terribly novel approach to getting ideas; a really great way to get the creative juices flowing.  Even the name of the adventure came from the cards, which is a part of the rules of the card game but I will cover that in another post.  As per the name of the post, the adventure name was The Ghost Returns for High Adventure on the Coast of Crusade.

If you have never played It Came from the Late, Late, Late Show I would recommend it.  In it you are playing an actor that gets cast into various roles to be in a late night movie.  Needless to say, these shows are low budget so a bit of cheesiness is in order.  For example the major bad-guy in our adventure was this horrible tentacled creature, with several arms that waved about seemingly at random.  We found this large creature was only affected by sharp objects and the more that we punctured it the more that it let out a hissing sound until it eventually deflated and laid flat across the ground.

In case you are looking for more details on our adventure, or need a one night run for your group.  My DM has blessed me with his notes from our High Crusade, and allowed me to post them on my blog.

High_Crusade

I hope you enjoy it, I know we did!