Sunday, July 22, 2018

Knight Hack Review with Reflections


 Title: Knight Hack
Author: Philip J. Viverito,
(1st edition by The Jogglers, which also included Ed Backer, Richard Kohlbacher)
Rule Set: Hack Series
Year: 2005
Pages: 52
Setting: Western Europe, North Africa, The Near East and Eastern Europe 1000 AD to 1400 AD
Number of players: 2+
Rating: ★★★★★

The original Hack series was born in 1991 and it was a reflection of the times. Knight Hack, Third Edition was born in the 21st century and is also a reflection of now. The game has a evolved so much, it is hard to see how 1st edition relates to third, except on first principles. This is a game for gamers, written and tested by gamers.

As the person responsible for supplying the art for original book, I have to say third edition is by far superior. Most of the clipart is gone, replaced by full color images of the game in actual play. The rules have been simplified with a new D-10 system, which reduces the rule length from 52 to just 19. This is accomplished by the removal of the concept of troop type and the premade Q.R.S. or Quck Reference Sheets for each era and type of army. The rules now have a proper table of contents and an index in addition to the required charts and 38 pages for the Q.R.S.

I hate to say it, but everything I knew about and all that I did for the first edition is gone. And the rules are better for it.

I've posted about my first Con in 1977. I still have the brochure. It was a formative time for me. I would have been all of 5 years old, and there I was watching WRG, Tractics and most importantly to me, D&D being played for the first time.  It left quiet the impression.

Fast forward a few years and I was in to all of these Games Designer's Workshop and Task Force products. I had Robots, Striker, Traveler and Federation Space. I still have them.

At the end of the day, knew that something like Knight Hack would be made. My parents made sure that I knew enough about games, the importance of play and of inspiration to know that things change and usually for the better.

Tonight, I stumbled across one of my first coloring books: Camelot.


The copyright is 1967, by the Whitman Publishing Company. You know, parents who make something like this one of the first coloring books is instilling a love a play, games and history.   

Drive Thru RPG carries the first edition rules here and Third Edition here.




Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Game Review - Knight Hack

Title: Knight Hack
Author: The Jogglers, Philip J. Viverito, Ed Backer, Richard Kohlbacher
Spearpoint Article: Lynne Viverito
Cover Art: Me
Rule Set: Hack Series
Year: 1991
Pages: 52
Setting: Europe, 1000 AD to 1250 AD
Number of players: 2+
Rating: ★★★

And now for something completely biased.

Way back in the 1980s I was very privileged to belong to a gaming group called the Jogglers. I wasn't even an official member, I was more like a mascot and computer nerd. I can't tell you how many games I played between 1988 and 1992. I recall a couple of occasions where a local mall was rented out for play testing, but then turned into mini-conventions to play dozens of rule sets. The Joggler's love their games. When I wasn't play testing this or that, I was editing clip art for the book. My brush with fame came from being able to use this:


The layout of the book was exceptional for the time. We used a Thunderscan and Imagewriter II to process photos. Clipart from 3.5 floppies were the source of much of the line art. The text was written in MacWord, MacDraw and MacPaint were the tools for maps and diagrams.

Knight Hack was born a fast playing historical miniature game. Initially, each turn takes about 15 minutes. After a little play, adept players can get this down to just a few minutes or less. Whole games can be played out in as little as 2 hours. The rule set allows for 15 and 25 mm figures. It was game made by players for players.

So why do I give a game that I play-tested and contributed to only 3 stars? The game evolved and improved with age. Second edition obviously merits 4 stars and Third Edition receives 5.

Drive Thru RPG carries the first edition rules here and Third Edition here.


Book Review - A Brief Study of TSR Book Design

Title: A Brief Study of TSR Book Design
Code: N/A
Author: Kevin Crawford
Rule Set: D&D
Year: 2015
Pages: 26
Number of characters: N/A
Levels: N/A
Rating: ★★★★★

A Brief Study of TSR Book Design is one of those excellent finds for any game master or would be B/X author. In just 26 pages, Mr. Crawford covers the design element of decades of publications for Dungeons and Dragons books. He covers the ins and outs of fonts, margins and styles used in games from the 70s, 80s and 90s. Get your game on!

Mr. Crawford also gives sage advice on direct copying of styles for a variety of reasons such as technological updates, copyright issues and creativity. This is a surprising and useful find for the would be module author and at its price of free is unbeatable. Easily a five star rating.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Destiny 1... again



Well, I have finished Destiny 2 and have some time on my hands. I figure back to the beginning is a good place to go. I am going to play thru Destiny 1 in the order of production. I created  new PS4 account so I could keep my old characters with all of their equipment.

The first time I played, I kept getting caught up in the semester cycle where I couldn't play for weeks. I stumbled through House of Wolves and Dark Below only knowing that they were new because my boys had completed them.

Vanilla
Earth
A Guardian Rises
Restoration
The Dark Within
The Warmind
The Last Array

Moon
The Dark Beyond
The World's Grave <I am here.
The Sword of Crota
Chamber of Night
Shrine of Oryx

Venus
A Stranger’s Call
Ishtar Collective
The Archive
Scourge of Winter
Eye of a Gate Lord

Reef
The Awoken
A Key Awaits

Mars
Exclusion Zone
The Buried City
The Garden’s Spire
A Rising Tide
The Black Garden

The Dark Below
Fist of Crota—Earth
Siege of the Warmind—Earth
The Wakening—Moon

House of Wolves
A Kell Rising—Venus
The Silent Fang—Earth
The Ruling House—Earth
Wolves' Gambit—Venus
Queen's Ransom—Venus

The Taken King
The Coming War—Phobos
Cayde's Stash—Earth
The Dreadnaught—Dreadnaught
Enemy of My Enemy—Dreadnaught
Lost to Light—Moon
The Promethean Code—Earth
Last Rites—Moon
Regicide—Dreadnaught

Rise of Iron
King of the Mountain—Earth
The Walls Come Down—Earth
The Plaguelands—Earth
Download Complete—Mars
The Iron Tomb—Earth

This run thru is different. I have a second PS4 I am using, so I don't have PS+ or any of the later addons. I think if I hop on my main PS4, those features will unlock. So as long as I only play on this second machine, I will get the entire "vanilla" experience. I wonder how that will hold up to all of the newer stuff?

I'm trying to complete two or three adventures a night. I haven't touched Destiny 2 in a couple of weeks. I am sort of bummed about the whole Cayde-6 thing.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Destiny 2... again.

Well, I have completed Destiny 2 with a Titan, I am now working on my Hunter and Warlock. I can't say this game had the pop of the original. I feel like I am doing it to get my 60 bucks worth. What I find particularly galling is exotic weapons don't feel powerful. I am currently running with two legendary weapons. It's just ok. 



I'll post more later.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Temple of Light - Maps

This temple complex is the work of an ancient people. The first map is of a traditional family abode. In the past, the tribe dug horizontal homes, as a means of collecting flint. 


As the people transitioned to a bronze age culture, they began construction of the Temple of Light. The structure is a gleaming white, the effect was achieved with a decorative coating quartz and flint. 


The Temple was a beacon of solidarity for the people, but it also proved to be a beacon for raiders. The pirates devastated the village proper, taking valuables and prisoners. The raiders returned seasonally to plunder the people. For a time, the villagers disbursed to escape the onslaught.
One day, several young children entered the Temple and discovered a pair of holes in the central hall leading to a deep natural cavern. When the chief was informed, he ordered a return to the old ways of digging pit homes under the Temple.


In a few months, the tribe had relocated under the Temple. By concealing the upper openings with floor tiles, the villagers were able to extract revenge when they breached the Temple. The surviving pirates completed the turnabout with tales of a diamond encrusted temple protected by spirits of the earth.

Epilogue:

The children discovered the leader of instability in the rock. Future generations will tell the story of a fortress of diamond beneath the crystal blue waters of a cenote. The stone age villagers speak in hushed tones about the mighty Sea Mage sunk the fortress in anger for the king's refusal tribute payments. Adventurers may find tablets of stone that tell of the powerful shaman who levitated the entirety of the Temple to allow her people time to escape the collapse into the waters below.

This series of maps are based on a mix of real world places and cultures, Grime's Graves, Ancestral Puebloans and people of Teotihuacan in particular.

5 Minute Map - Southern Temple

This is a rough map of a temple dedicated to a creature of the deep.