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

Bendable Computing – the future of computers

So cruising my favorite Science News site tonight I stumbled on what is being dubbed the future of computers.  Especially in regards to smart phone technology I can see this coming fast, but then doesn’t all the tech come fast these days?

A group has developed a flexible phone that duplicates the myriad of features that a smart phone has, though it adds another way to interact with the device in that you can bend it in a variety of ways and you can program the response the phone will have to these various bends.  Here is the link to the article on Science Daily which first caught my eye.

Here are a couple of videos from You Tube that show off the tech.  I can’t help but think the arm mounted one is the start of Shadowrun type arm computers.  Another step closer to Shadowrun being our reality, what Corp will you work for?

Snaplet: A Flexible E Ink Wristband Computer That Senses Its Shape by Human Media Lab

Paper computer shows flexible future for smartphones and tablets by Human Media Lab

Gamer Web Comics

So I am sure that many of you are familiar with the variety of web comics that are out there these days.  Really any print comic can be found online as well as a large number of comics that can only be found online.  Sure there are old classics that are still out there, I know Charlie Brown is quite popular with my kids.  But here is a list of the web comics that are followed in my gaming group.  I would love to say I am all caught up on these, but with college still a part of my busy life these haven’t made it to the top of my to-do list.  Hopefully you have more free time then I do.

Order of the Stick

Erfworld

Schlock Mercenary

 

How to lure out a Dragon

So when an adventuring party is faced with the challenge of stealing a dragon’s horde out from under a dragon what is the best approach.  I suppose this particular problem has been covered before and will likely be covered again, though I doubt too many other groups will find the ultra creative approach that my gaming group decided to take.

First off I should clarify for you that 1) this party is evil, made up of demonologist, necromancers and the like and 2) there was never any intent on slaying the dragon, just removing as much treasure as they could with minimal effort and sacrifice of life or limb.  Now that we have those basic facts covered we can proceed with the story of how they achieved this goal.  Oh, I guess I should mention that I was running Legendary Lives 2nd Ed. in our typical Friday night game.

Bacon courtesy Spara

So the plan, that almost went off, was to lure the dragon from its home in the side of the mountain and while it was out and distracted to rush the lair and steal as much treasure as they could and escape.  The escape route was clear for they have a magic circle made of 26 leather sections that can be laid down in a pattern to teleport what ever enters the circle to another place based on the pattern the pieces are arranged in (think Stargate).  But now they had to determine how to lure out the dragon.

Well the groups assassin found in the small town a contact that would sell him a dragon sized dose of double-vision poison.  This, they hoped, would provide them a fighting chance.  But the poison had to be ingested, so they devised a cunning plan.  They bought a cow, and a towns worth of bacon and two cheese wheels [can you see where this is going].  Then headed up the mountain, once they felt they were close enough they used their fire magic to cook all the bacon at once.  With all the freshly cooked bacon they wrapped it around the cow, attached the wineskin of poison around it’s neck and tied the two cheese wheels to its back.  Double, bacon cheese burger on the hoof; sure to attract even the mildest of dragon’s away from their treasure.  Who could resist that much bacon???

And while there is much more to the story, which I will cover in another post someday, I will say that they did successfully part a fair amount of the treasure from the dragon with only minimal party damage.  All through a judicious use of bacon!

Magic Items from Children’s Books

Fan by classina

When reading bedtime stories to my kids I am often struck by the quantity of ideas for either game plot or magic items that I discover. Right now I am reading Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to my 9 year old, and Alice in Wonderland to my 6 year old. If we simply allow ourselves to see the items and situations in these works outside of the structure of the story we can reap a small army of ideas out of this simple bedtime ritual. Here are a few ideas I have been struck with for Magic Items.

 

Shrinking Fan (Alice in Wonderland) – A magical fan that when used to fan oneself causes the person to shrink at the rate of 1″ per minute.

Boots of Conclusions (The Phantom Tollbooth) – Magic boots that can be used once per day to “jump” to a small island, when on this small island the character may find the conclusion that would happen from a certain action. While on the island the character is not visible where they had been and time passes as usual while they are gone.

Almost Tea Cup (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) – A tea cup that can be filled three times per day. The liquid that fills the cup is “almost, but not quite unlike tea” and will sustain the physical needs of the character in terms of nutrition but still leave the character feeling not quite satisfied.

Thunderstone – The Boardgame

So last weekend I played a new game with the kids called Thunderstone. The game is a card based game that recreates an adventuring group. While the game is plenty of fun it is also easy enough for younger kids to play. I suspect that we may not have been playing with the full on set of rules, but we were close enough to them to get a good feel for the game.

In the game each person starts out with basic supplies for an adventuring party represented in cards. Using the cards you have collected you can either head to the village to purchase supplies or recruit and level up; or you can delve into the dungeon and battle creatures for experience points. The game play is pretty simple once you get it figured out, though I will admit that the setup is a bit on the complicated side to determine from the book. Just be sure to read through the instruction book and it will all come together pretty easily.

Old school dungeon mapping

Old School RPG Shirt
So to kill some time today I was on Cafepress again cruising for new shirts to wear to this year’s Gamestorm Convention. I have already found my shirt for this year (see earlier post), but now I need a new on for my husband and our friend that comes too. It is one of my little traditions around the gaming con each year is to pick up a new shirt. Being that the ratio of men to women is so high, especially when you don’t count LARP land, I get plenty of attention. But having a new cool shirt each year just helps it along. Generally I don’t like that sort of attention, but when it comes to a gaming convention I enjoy it, after all these are my sort of people.

So while there are always plenty of good finds on Cafepress, today’s shirt goes to the old school dungeon mapping shirt. I haven’t seen this one on there before and found it with a very generic “rpg” search. And I think the wording on this shirt describes it well, for if you are not hard core, old school gamer enough to recognize this for what it is, you will be lost, confused and probably bored with the translation. Especially as any of us that do know the answers to this shirt are quite likely to trail off into no less then three different gaming stories as we attempt to explain the various symbols and what they mean.

On another note my tabletop rpg session has been officially approved for this year’s Gamestorm. I will be running my Horror Rules session at 10am on Saturday. Hopefully I get enough players that early, on the upside the players I do get will be more hard core about their roleplaying and desire to play the game or they won’t be functioning that early. Good thing the game doesn’t require being fully awake either, as the rules are simple and character creation is quick. Now I just need to figure out some neat counters to use for tracking points in the game. Guess you know what I will be cruising the web for tomorrow.

Cheeky Monkey

A Fun Family Game>Another game we added to our ever growing collection this Christmas was the Cheeky Monkey Game
. This is a kids game that my in-laws picked up for my 6 year old daughter. The game is one I discovered at this last Gamestorm and was excited for us to add to our kid game selection, as it is one that adults can enjoy as well.

The game is a tile based game and requires no reading making it ideal to play with younger kids whose reading skills are not ready for heavy game play. Game play goes quick and is based on collecting the various animal tiles that are included with the game. The tiles are placed in a bag (also provided) and each player takes turns drawing animal tiles one at a time as many times as they want to round out collections that they have, but if they draw the cheeky monkey then they have to put their tiles back. A great lesson for the kids and a hard strategy for them to master right away. Very similar to Pass the Pigs in general concept.

For families with younger children I recommend this game. The copy we have was purchased from Rainy Day Games for $30, which is a bit steep but the quality is better then the standard big box store games that you buy, this one will be in our collection for years to come. And Rainy Day Games also has online ordering capabilities in case you live somewhere without a local gaming store.

Potty Humor Card Game for kids

Great card game for younger kids
Do you have kids to shop for that are in elementary school?? Well, then do I have a card game for you!! I highly recommend the card game, Poo Second Edition.

The basic idea is that you are a monkey throwing monkey poo at the other players. There are a number of different poo value cards, dodge cards, clean-up cards and other specialty cards. The game play is simple and the overall length is fairly short at about 15 minutes. I first played this at Gamestorm in 2010 with a mother, her son, and another girl. We all had a good time and the basic plot is rather entertaining to the potty humor age group found in elementary school. This year I made sure it was under the tree for my kids.
Gamestorm is coming up again this coming March. It will be another great chance to gather some more game ideas for my brood as they grow up.
Come back tomorrow for a review of Cheeky Monkey, another Gamestorm find that made its way under our Christmas tree this year.

Man vs Dice – Part 3

Clipboard

ClipboardSo what happens when your dice mutiny all together???? When that happens you sit down at the game table, clipboard of characters, maps and miscellaneous information in hand and find that you have everything but your character sheet. You dig through the gaming bag that the gaming clipboard lives in, all of which only ever visits your bedroom, car or gaming table only to discover that you will be accepting the blank character sheet the DM is handing you with a grin. Now the fun part of trying to remember what darn stats your character had anyways. Not so bad on some games, but really bad on others where there are tons of skills.

Fast forward to game the next Friday night, mostly same group of gamers and same darn table, though this time Man sits at the other end of the table hoping for better luck. There is no better luck for Man. Now he finds that the whole gaming clipboard had been abandoned at the last gaming table. Lucky for him the owner of that gaming table is coming over for game tonight, perhaps he will have brought it along. Again no luck for Man, the owner of the gaming table lovingly placed the clipboard in his spot for “abandoned gaming gear” and moved on with his life. Yet another blank sheet for yet another game.

Good thing this particular saga only lasted for two games or Man would have felt truly defeated. Until next time, may your dice roll well for you.

The aMAZEing Labyrinth Board Game

For my my daughter’s 6th birthday she received the board game The aMAZEing Labyrinth from her step-dad.  Though I am ashamed to admit it took us months to finally get around to playing it we finally did.  The game is rated ages 7+ but we usually find our kids catch onto board games a bit ahead of the label put on them, not really sure how or who determines that age anyways.

The game is fairly basic once you get over the initial learning curve.  There is an ever changing grid of tiles that your piece must navigate through to obtain a number of treasures as determined by picture cards.  The aMAZEing Labyrinth requires no ability to read to play, aside from the rule book itself, making for a good family friendly game.  There are also no spinners or dice, which I find makes a game more enjoyable with elementary school aged children who tend to fiddle with those sort of devices too much.

After playing twice I highly recommend when laying out tiles and swapping tile locations during play that you take care to make as many pathways as possible.  All of the tile pieces work together to make the tunnels of the labyrinth that gives the game its name.  By making a point of creating long tunnels you will greatly shorten the game time and greatly increase the success of the younger kids who can’t think too many steps ahead.

Since this game is more widely available then some other “gamer” board games, we found it at Toys ‘r Us this can be a great gift for Christmas for a younger child in your life.  If you are looking for another review of The aMAZEing Labyrinth check it out at BoardGameGeek.com