Showing posts with label Games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Games. Show all posts

Thursday, September 2, 2021

"New" Game

I ran out and bought a new game. It isn't a great game or new game, but a simple one. 

I've never had a rug checker set, but I've always wanted one. The reason is simple, memories. 

I have an incredible love of amusement parks and The Magic Kingdom is at the top of the list. Every time we go there, we eat at The Liberty Tree Tavern. It isn't the food or the ambiance, it's the lobby. They have a waiting area loaded with simple games. 

Everytime I go there, we play a game. It's been going since before my wife and I had kids. This simple game of checkers is one of my favorite memories. A memory that gets refreshed every time we go. 

Memories are sometimes the best place to be and with this set, I'll be revisiting and updating the quality time I spend with the family, every day. 

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Minigame Tryout Compartments

This game is designed to be as simple as possible. There are limited number of systems and compartments on each ship. 

In the last post, I mentioned 6 different hit "locations" for criticals. Each type of ship has a list of six hit locations, all of which are different.  

You will notice that some ships are compromised by different types of criticals while others are not. A commercial ship doesn't have the same abilities as warships or auxiliaries, so they cannot lose these systems. Warships are hardened against many attacks, so they cannot lose particular abilities. 

A commercial vessel has the following critical hit locations: 

  1. Life Support,
  2. Communications, 
  3. Hyperdrive, 
  4. Sublight Drive, 
  5. Compartment breech,
  6. and Cargo Hold.  
The Auxiliary ship has a different list: 

  1. Life Support,
  2. Communications, 
  3. Hyperdrive, 
  4. Sublight Drive, 
  5. Compartment breech,
  6. and ECM. 
The Military Ship has the following: 
  1. Communications, 
  2. Hyperdrive, 
  3. Sublight Drive, 
  4. Auxiliary Drive,
  5. Compartment breech,
  6. ECCM. 
What effect do each of these things have on a ship? 

Life Support keeps the crew alive. If it is damaged, it must be repaired at the end of combat. If it isn't the ship must be abandoned at the end of combat. 

Communications are the ship's radio and other systems. If the ship loses it, it may not surrender, coordinate attacks with other ships, combine fire (and die rolls) of two or more weapons. It's not really critical, but more of a nuisance if it is damaged or destroyed. 

Hyperdrive, Sublight Drives and Auxiliary Drives are pretty explanatory. Without Sublight drives, you can't manuouver. Without a Hyperdrive, you can't flee combat. An Auxillary Drive is a backup system for both sublight or hyperdrives. It can either maneuver a ship or allow you to escape battle via a jump. Once the choice is made, the other is ceases to be an option. 

ECM is Electronic Counter Measures. It screws with an enemy's targeting of your ship. Losing it reduces the effectiveness of you defensive systems. If an Auxiliary loses this equipment, they are hit has often as a commercial ship would be, except criticals remain the same. Commercial ships don't have ECM, so can't lose it and it is deeply buried in a warship, it can't be lost. 

ECCM is Electronic Counter-Counter Measures or the ability to fine target another ship. Warships have them as an extra part in their design. Losing it reduces your effectiveness in combat. ECCM covers an array of combat situations. For example, ECCM allows a ship to target multiple ships with one weapon. Neither Auxiliaries or Commercial ships can have ECCM as a standard part. There are a few exceptions. 

Compartment breech and Hold hits damage specific areas on the ship. For the commercial ship, it represents a large area that is easy to hit on a Commercial ship. It appears twice on the critical tables, once at the top level and second time on the compartment table. Other types of ships have holds, they are relatively small and don't appear on the critical table until specific compartments are hit. 

If Compartment breech is rolled, you have lost the use of one item on your ship and any crewmen in that area are killed either by the impact or being spaced. They can be replaced from other sections of the ship. Some items can take more than one hit. 

Here are a list of all possible compartments, not every ship will have every type of compartment: 
  1. Bridge, 
  2. Shield Generator.
  3. Emergency Station. 
  4. Turrets
  5. Weapons Bay, 
  6. Engineering, 
  7. Cargo Hold, 
  8. Shuttle or Fighter Bay/Hanger, 
  9. Magazine, 
  10. Armory,
  11. Medical, 
  12. Vehicle Bay, 
  13. Vault, 
  14. Barracks
  15. Medical
  16. Quarters.  
Once a compartment is destroyed, the next item on this list is hit in subsequent rolls. The bridge is always item 1, shield generator and emergency station is always 2 and 3. Barracks, medical and crew quarters are always last. 

Players arrange their critical list as they see fit, using the rules above. Commercial ships and Auxiliaries are at a disadvantage as they typically don't have all 16 items available to them. 

An example layout of a ship could be: 
  1. Bridge,
  2. Weapons Bay, 
  3. Engineering, 
  4. Cargo Hold, 
  5. Shuttle Bay,
  6. Vehicle Bay,
    Vault,
    Medical
    Quarters.  
The first six items are subject to hits all the time, while the items with no numbers cannot be hit until something is crossed off the list. If the ship lost engineering, the vault would replace it on the list. After vault is destroyed, medical is next. If the fighting was intense, the ship could be destroyed before anything else moves up the list. In any case, quarters would be the last compartment destroyed.  

Some items that can take more than one hit are as follows: 
  1. Turrets,
  2. Weapons Bay, 
  3. Cargo Hold, 
  4. Shuttle or Fighter Bay/Hanger, 
  5. Magazine, 
  6. Armory,
  7. Vehicle Bay, 
  8. Vault. 
The weapons bay and turrets can take up to three hits each and hits may be distributed at the captain sees fit. The first hit degrades the weapon or turret dropping it a tech level. The second hit knocks it out and third blows it off the ship. A vault can take three hits. The first two damage it and the third destroys it and its contents. 

The magazine and armory can take two hits each, but are non-functional after the first and blown away on the second. The armory stores weapons for ground combat, it has no meaning in a fight unless boarding occurs. The magazine feeds some weapons. When it is damaged, those weapons can only shoot with the ammo they have at the ready. For commercial ships, this one one more shot, for auxiliaries it's two and for military ships it is three. 

The hanger or vehicle bays can take one hit for the space and one additional hit for each vehicle stored there. Once hit, they may not launch shuttles or deploy vehicles until repaired. 

In each of these cases, the ability to be hit multiple times does not increase the number of hits a ship can take. If a commercial ship takes 5 and 5 criticals, it is destroyed. Usually. 

Cargo holds are an exception to the rule. A unit of cargo destroyed DOES absorb a hit above and beyond what a ship can take. The last hit guts the cargo bay. A commercial ship with 10 units cargo could absorb 10 additional hits to the cargo bay on top of the 10 needed to destroy the ship. Hangers and shuttles do not have this property as the items stored there tend to explode, burn or become heavy projectiles when hit. 

I haven't explained what every item is for, which will be the next post and subsequent posts will cover fighters, shuttles, boats and combat modifiers. 

Minigame Tryout


There is something liberating about a blank piece of paper. I have better tools, but paper and pencil is the best for ideation. After looking long and hard at Star Smuggler, I decided to create a mini-game based off of it. This is probably very derivative of many sci-fi games. 

Combat rules are simple. Roll one six sided die for each tech level of your guns. If multiple guns are available, they are either fired singly or grouped together. This will impact the number of critical hits you can do. If the opposing ship is a commercial vessel, you hit on a 1-3. If the opposing ship is an auxiliary ship you need a 1 or 2. If the opposing ship is a military vessel, only a one hits.

A Commercial ship is anything that is not designed by the military. A critical will be scored on two 1's or two 2's sequentially. Two criticals will be score on sequential rolls a 1 and a 2. These must be sequential rolls. For example a roll of 1, 1, 2, 3, is just one critical and four hits, while a roll of 1, 2, 1, 2 is four hits and four criticals. 

An Auxillary is a commercial ship designed with military tech and refits in mind. It is not a war vessel, but has some defenses. It is hit on a score of 1 or 2. A critical will be scored on two 1's, sequentially. Two criticals will be score on sequential rolls 1 and a 2. For example a roll of 1, 1, 2, 3, is just one critical and three hits, while a roll of 1, 2, 1, 2 is four hits and four criticals. 

A warship or military ship is designed specifically for combat. A critical will be scored on a sequential rolls of 1 and 1. Military ships do not take double criticals. For example a roll of 1, 1, 2, 3, is just one critical and two hits while a roll of 1, 2, 1, 2 is only two hits and no criticals.

A ship can take a number of hits depending on type not size. A commercial ship can take 10 hits, a Auxiliary can take 15 and a warship can take 20. Warships are designed to shed fire. 

Critical hits score a point of damage and damage a specific part of the ship. Critical hits are scored against certain parts of the ship: Life Support, Communications, Engines, Warp Drives, Shields and specific compartments. While each of the first 5 can be damaged only once, specific compartments can be hit multiple times. Think of it as trying to destroy a garbage can with a sledgehammer. It just keeps taking ugly hit after hit. Enough hits and it stops being a garbage can or in this case, a ship.  

Next post, compartments, shuttles and fighters plus roll modifiers. 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Chessex Dice on Amazon.com Under $10.00

I love Chessex Dice. Well, I love all dice and these 9 sets are on my Amazon wishlist. The great thing about the Amazon wishlist is the ability to price check things. This way, I don't go too nuts and buy high when I consistently sell low. 

Anyway, I have to have those Blue Weather Dice and the Tiny Pink Dice Set. Those are the best. The prices aren't bad at all and I can't wait until tomorrow when I can place an order.

Ads provided by Amazon help fund this website by remuneration. 

One of the interesting things about my site is, I run The Tek web stats every month. It is a listing of web stats and sales I do on products. Realistically, it takes very little money to keep my site going, but it's real easy to spend more than hosting and url costs if I don't watch myself. The wishlist combined with my Tek Stats keeps me honest with myself so I don't go crazy with the purchasing. 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Modeling Multiple Shots for Skilled and Unskilled Combatants in a Science Fiction Setting

Skill using the logo, even though I will
likely change it.
Wow. That is a wordy title for a simple idea: "How are combat skills applied?" 

In this game, we have established that a target has a defense of 2-12 and an attacker must match this number on 1, 2, or 3 six sided dice. 

Technology in a science fiction game permits a character a ridiculous amount of attacks with a weapon. In a 10 second combat round, someone with a six shooter can shoot six times, no matter their ability or skill. Without any applicable skill, that person gets one shot with 2 six-side dice and 5 shots with only one die. They are shooting fairly indicrimatly, they aimed with the first shot then switched to random blasts. Without any skill, the aimed shot MUST come first subsequently followed by random shots. This is the penalty of not having a skill. 

When a person has a skill, they are entitled to more aimed shots at a rate of one attack per level of skill. When attacking one target once, they get to roll all 3d6. However, if they attack more than once or at more than one target, they may only use 2d6 per attack. Skilled persons may mix aimed and indiscriminate fire in the same round at will.  

For example, a marine with 3 ranks of skill is guarding 2 hatches with a 6 shooter. He sees 3 robot drones approaching from his front and engages them. He rolls 2d6 for the first attack. Then rolls 2d6 for the second. Before he can shoot at the third drone, the hatch on his right opens and he indiscriminately fires a shot at the person opening the door. He rolls a single 1d6. The hatch slams closed. 

He still has 3 bullets and one aimed shot, so he returns to shooting at the drones. He aims with the first shot using 2d6. Since he has 2 more bullets, he fires them indiscriminately at the robot drones for two more attacks made with a single die each. 

In the image, shots are numbered in order.
Red is for aimed shots and green is for indiscriminate.  
This combat does not describe damage resolution as it would occur in the game. It is merely an example of a single person shooting. In later examples, we will see that this marine would have plenty of time to reload and/or move.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Modeling Combat for a New Science Fiction Game

I had a science fiction game on the back burner of my brain for a while. The working title was Accretion Disk. I liked the style of the logo, but fell out of love with the mechanics and perhaps the title.

Based on my last post about Star Smuggler, I have been thinking about game mechanics with 2 and three six siders. Probably the most common or useful scenario is to consider a single combat roll. In order to do that, I need to think of a way to compare defensive skills vs. offensive skills. How big do I want my numbers and what does each number mean.

It's funny, but most games have a mechanic to strike a stationary object with a die roll. My game will have that too, but I think that hitting a bullseye painted on something is far different that hitting an active opponent.

How do I roll to hit? 


In order to hit a target, you have to overcome its defenses. In order to explain an attack, let’s look at a target’s defense. 


Every target has a situational defense. Is it close or far? Is it moving faster than the weapon you are using? Is it cloaked or obscured? And so on. Those situational defenses change from moment to moment and are worth 1-6 points of defense. A target may have a different situational defense for different attackers, even in the same combat round.


Next, every active opponent has a set of physical and mental attributes, also rated from 1-6. This is a person instinct for danger or a device's preprogrammed defensive measures. The player determines which attribute is used for defense, which will likely be their highest. Since each attribute can only be used once per round, there are consequences for picking the highest attribute. Devices don't get to pick.


These two numbers are added together to generate the target roll number. For stationary targets, that will automatically be a number from 1-6 for a situational defense. For people or creatures, it will more likely be 2-12. 


This number, 2-12 is compared to a roll made by the attacker.

The attacker receives one six sided die for simply making the attempt. They receive a second die for having an attribute which is applicable to the roll. Attackers who not have an applicable attribute of zero do not get this second six sided die. An attacker can also receive a third six sided die for possessing an applicable skill, such as marksmanship. This will generate a number between 3 and 18, depending on how many dice are rolled. No more than 3 dice can be rolled for each attack. 


In order to hit the target, one must match or roll higher than the target’s defense. 


Higher rolls are not necessarily better as the goal is to match the target’s defense exactly to be most effective. An exact match does damage, prevents the target from taking an action during that round, places them flat on ground and might cause them to lose consciousness. 

While every number over the target’s defense value is a hit, all pairs or triples which are higher the target’s defense are nearly as good as a matching roll. A pair (6 and 6) will do damage and stop an action. A triple (such as 3, 3 and 3) will do damage, stop an action and put the person on the ground. Neither will automatically knock the person out. 


Let me know what you think either in the comments below or by taking a survey. You can also go back and answer the first survey or poll here.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Game Review - G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.: Glorious Adventures in Science Loosely involving Generally Historical Times

Title:  G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.: Glorious Adventures in Science Loosely involving Generally Historical Times
Author: Christopher Palmer and John R. "Buck" Surdu
Rule Set: G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.
Year: 1984
Pages: 36
Number of Players: 2+
Rating: ★★★★★

I stumbled across this 2000 printing of  G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T., a game of Victoria hi-jinx. On the first reading, it strikes me as a Victorian era Striker game. You create your hero, his extras, etc. and then go off to encounter something. It could be just like Chainmail with a few differences.

It's decidedly different. You'd think that the rules revolve around the hero but you'd be wrong. All that nonsense stops at page 7 when you get to design vehicles. The meat of the system revolves around modular system to create vehicles, monsters, and other contraptions right of the serials of the 1860s. It's nuts! Steampowered villains against dragoons and kung-fu powered fighters? Go for it!

I love it.

Now for this game, you'll want oodles and oodles of minis. It'd be expensive, except the rules seem to assume that you obtained your kit from the 99 cent store. Bags of dinosaurs, robots, spaceships, cars, tanks and those weird erector set want-a-be things from Dollar Tree would do nicely. You can match your designs to your minis which is awesome.

Once you have designed and assembled your minions, you need to build a deck of cards. This feature reminds me of The Sword and The Flame. The deck controls who goes when. Nerve racking. The system proceeds down the order of battle: card draw, morale, shooting/throwing, move, reload, lather, rinse, repeat.

The rules are simple, because things get hectic fast. The links below are paid ads and will take you to Amazon.com and DriveThruRPG, respectively.

While I have reviewed the original set here on These Old Games, you can obtain a completely updated set over at DriveThruRPG. The Compendium runs 190 pages, which is quiet an update from 36. If you want the 36 page set, check out Amazon. (It lists 40 pages, which includes the covers, and the inside covers which are also packed with information. I went by the actual numbered pages.)

The links below are paid ads and will take you to Amazon.com and DriveThruRPG, respectively.

You should also check out Buck's webpage. It's old school awesome.

Oh, G-d damn. It's always the scale and basing with you people. Movement for infantry 6" and for cavalry is 12". Looks like HO, 28 mm, 1/72, 1/76 or something like that. Formations are wavy lines and blobs, so basing doesn't matter except perhaps for one figure per base.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Truth or Tall Tale Tuesday (TOT3) - Who the Hell is Mr. Archer?

Several years ago, I started a new career in education. I made mistakes along the way, but somehow I turned some of them into wonderful memories.

On my first day at work in a special education school, there was a dance. The gym was jam packed with kids dancing their hearts out. As a trainee, the only expectation placed on me was to mingle, to get to know the kids. So I gave it a shot and totally failed. 

The first student I met asked me something over the pounding music. All I herd was "What... all?" I realized that he had some sort of speech issue, and STUPIDLY assumed he asked me what the song was called. 

Well, the song was Cupid Shuffle, which will be important later. 

The next day, I was permanently assigned to classroom with teenagers. Everything was going well until we got to lunch. In the middle of the cafeteria, the student from the day before came up and greeted me. 

"What up? Oopid!" he shouted. 

With dawning horror, I realized exactly what was happening. He had asked me my name, not the name of the song and thought that I was named "Cupid Shuffle", a pair of words he couldn't render correctly. 

"Oh, f---. That kid just called Mr. Phil 'stupid'." chuckled one of my teenage students. Yes, let's not put to fine a point on it. That was exactly what was happening. 

Teachers, aides, speech therapists and OT worked their hearts out to help this kid say "Cupid" correctly. He couldn't. Nor could anyone convince him to called by my real name, "Phil". Add in the fact that every new person who encountered this kid thought he hated me and needed to be corrected. Actually, he liked me so much, he wanted to greet me by name at every encounter. I really liked him. He became my favorite despite the communication glitch. 

As I mentioned, every effort to get him to render "oopid" as "Cupid" failed. The best anyone could do was teach him the sign for "Cupid" in American Sign Langue and then teach all new staff that sign, too. It eliminated much of the shock because at least everyone knew what he meant. The sign looks like firing an arrow followed by a flapping of arms like wings. It is literally "Archer+Wings". 

Fast forward 2 years. A class of new trainee staff toured the building. Near the gym, they met my favorite little guy and he had them bottled up with all his cuteness. He was that kid. He was so charming they took their time talking to him, one by one. 

As I walked past he shouted out, "Hey!" and gave a quick version of my name in sign language, just the arrow part. Months before, he stopped trying to say my "name". 

The kids play football in the gym heard him and they copied him: "Hey!" and the sign.  

"Whoa! You have your own sign?" asked one of the trainees. 

"Well, yeah," I answered. 

"That is so cool," they muttered appreciatively. 

A few days later, there was a bit of an uproar in HR. Apparently, the new training class loved "Mr. Archer" but there was no staff or student by that name. 

Truth or Tall Tale? This one is true! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Practical Tactical - Which Edition of D&D is Best?

I find myself attracted to some of the older versions of D&D based on the speed of play. If you are tactical combat person, I would suggest either D&D (Red Box) or the Blue rules by Holmes. I lean towards the Red Box because that was the game of my time.

I prefer a role playing style game and as a consequence gravitate to AD&D, Rules Cyclopedia or 3.5. 3.5 does what I want, but I like the quickness and expansiveness of Cyclopedia more. What I often do is mash Cyclopedia with AD&D. It's quick, sloppy and as expansive as I need, without the clunks that come with 3.5. I allow for all of skills and spells in Cyclopedia, but with all the classes and races from AD&D. In some very rare cases, I have allowed the races and classes from Cyclopedia in AD&D with zero modification. That gets weird and really isn't any better than what AD&D offers from its class choices.

Which is best? Well, the one that you play. No other opinion is possible on that. Outside of capturing the flavor of your campaign, the rule sets are flexible with enough abuse.

One of the things that changed between the editions was the numbers of players at the table. When I was playing AD&D I had as many as 12 players in the action. I never split the party unless someone said: "I need a break." If that happened, it was assumed that those players on break would be left behind and not a part of the action, no matter what. This was problematical in the respect that sometimes the second half of the party failed to progress after the first part of the party. Things would get weird.

I never developed a solution for this. What would actually happen is that half of the party would go eat or turn into DJs for a couple of hours, which meant they were observers, not players for the duration. For the most part, they were pretty good at self-moderating, meaning they knew what happened to the rest of the party, but would behave in character, as if they didn't know. They were a great bunch of people.

In any event, as you look at the newer rule sets, the number of players has dropped off from 6-9 or 6-12, down to a mere 4. I hate that because it removes some rather practical tactics from the players hands. When you are operating 12 characters, who are supported by perhaps some torchbearers, porters and a few followers and hangeroners, things slow way down.

I don't mean the game play, but the natural measure of time was slower. Things were done in Turns of 10 minutes each. Being so long, it made sense to have the characters in a marching order which changed and evolved during that 10 minutes.

The lead character would be a thief or ranger. The first wave of characters were usually fighters. The second wave were the squishy magic using types mixed with missile type characters. The last rank was often the weaker fighters. In my campaigns, the players usually did 3 blocks of 4 characters, so they could fit down a 10 foot wide hall. Many times, characters would swap out of positions to meet certain goals. It was very effective.

If you suppose just 4 characters, those parameters vanish.

Being a role playing yet tactical minded person, I would encourage my players to take the time to succeed.

One thing I could never account for but very much wanted to was "evolution" of fighting formations. Say for example, the thief ducking back between the two fighters behind him, so they could deal with a threat. My solution was to simply make sure they had the time to do such things or create scenarios where surprise prevented such things but was not immediately fatal.

When playing encounters for any edition of the game, the DM has to make sure that nearly any scenario cannot be thrown into a "party kill" condition on a single turn, or worse, a single die roll. It takes a bit of creativity to create these story points while maintaining the believe-ability of the scenario.

I recall a particular vicious combat between some hobgoblins and the party. The thief got caught trying to disable an already disabled pit trap. The hobgoblins had triggered the trap and decided to spike the lid in the closed position. They snapped off the tops of the spikes and covered the area with garbage. The thief botched all of his rolls, except a save vs Dexterity to avoid plunging to his death. He was dangling by his fingertips as the battle raged over him.

Wicked fun.

In the very next session, the magic user had exhausted most of his offensive spells early on, but the thief came up with a deliciously fiendish use for his remaining spell, Passwall.  The wizard unleashed the spell at the floor in the middle of a group of hobgoblins. Two fell in and one was left dangling by his fingertips. Turn about is fun, eh?

Beautiful.

That created some interesting DM rulings and decisions by the party. I decided that the wizard could simply end the spell immediately killing those inside the hole or he could ease it closed which would allow the hobgoblins to crawl out as the hole. The party ended up with 3 hobgoblins acting as retainers because their chieftain had a policy of not negotiating for prisoners. I had to call in reinforcements to make the last battle a reasonable challenge, but the players loved every nail biting moment.

Ah... the twists, turns and complexity from what should be a simple set of rules (but probably isn't).

If you are interested in packing the party with NPC types or give your players secondary skills, try out my home brew rules called Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners. If you desire some interesting locations for your campaign, I have two rule set agnostic map sets called Kobold's Folly and the Compass Rose Inn. As final offering, I have an old, old characters sheet for use with AD&D and Unearthed Arcana.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Taking Stock Part 2

Having established myself on MeWe.com and Pluspora.com, I started to clean my desk to get ready for more work. The first thing that stood out were all the books I download and printed from DriveThruRPG. I had purchased a number of ring binders and neatly hole punched them and added them to my shelf.

You can see the problem, I am sure.

What is in each binder? Might as roll 1d100 to see what I get when I grab one. I decided to print labels for them using Google Docs. Well, there is a horizontal but no vertical ruler.

Annoying.

In an effort to fix this, I made a template with an image of a ruler on each axis of the page. I trimmed the image down to read from 1/4 of an inch to 10 1/2 inches. On the other one, I ended at 8 1/4. It roughly takes into account a quarter inch margin all around and a 48 pt font.

It worked nicely and now I know what books I have.

You can download the template on Drive.

Speaking of books on DriveThruRPG, you could download my book: Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners. It's pay-what-you-want and compatible with many OSR D&D type games. It contains over 50 commoner character classes, rules for using the commoner class as a professional skill for PCs and many other game ideas.

While you are there, why don't you leave a review. Feedback is always appreciated.



Monday, September 3, 2018

Be Careful What You Wish For...

My first offering on DriveThruRPG is Zero to Hero. In the past 5 days of sales, there have been 80+ downloads. Thank you so much for your support, but do you know what I really need? Reviews.


I am in the process of coming up with a second title by October. The reviews would certainly help me craft a quality product for you.

Again, thank you for downloading. But please let me know what you think.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Some things children should not hear.

This could be a post over on TheseOldGames.com, but I really thought it could be better addressed here on unpwnd.

Last year, Santa brought use a PlayStation 4. And kicked off my children's adventures in social media and online living. We started slow, a PSN screen name and email address. This year they have moved up to Kindle Fires and Amazon accounts.

I have done my best to teach them what is and is not acceptable online and all three of my kids have done pretty well.

I have not faired so well because I broke the rules. My PSN account name is my real name, which seems innocuous. Until you plug in headphones. Then I hear also sorts of things about my mom, about my game skills, and a slams against everything and anything you could think of. It seems rather personal because it's my name being called out.

I am pretty resilient, but sometimes my head lifts from the pillow and think: "My god, do I suck that bad?" And being resilient, I can laugh it off.

Children can't laugh abuse off and they really shouldn't have to do so. Good parents set their children up in ways that are safe, exciting and bold. Make sure you know what could happen and make sure you are involved enough to help them through difficult times. Don't let them get owned.

In closing, I'll leave it to one of the better gamers there is: Wil Wheaton.



*There are ways to change a PSN account name, but you need to call Sony. Chat does not cut it. To get a new name is non-trivial and annoying which is why I haven't done so. That and it serves as a reminder not to be stupid.

Back into Scale Models

It has been a very long time since I have worked on a model. My dad gave me a couple of his older buildings and I intend to fix them as they haven't held up with children and age. I started with some photos to get an idea of how to start.

Edit - This building is a stave church, which is different from my expectations. I picture stave churches as having graceful sloped components. Now I am off to research more on the topic. Please see my next post.

Front view
(click image to enlarge)
Rear view(click image to enlarge)
Side view(click image to enlarge)

Looking at the damage, I wanted to make a copy first. I took some measurements and sketched out a plan.

Front view
(click image to enlarge)
Side view(click image to enlarge)




I am using I intended to work with balsa wood, but bass wood was the only type available. It is much harder. So using the drawings above, I cut my lengths of wood for the frame and matched them up to the sketch.

Front view
(click image to enlarge)
Side view(click image to enlarge)

And the first problem presented itself. I had measure, sketched, and measured again. The beams are 1/4 inch. I purchased 5/16 inch dowels. That is close, but no cigar.

Since I have a scanner, I quickly ran copies and corrected the sketches.

Front view
(click image to enlarge)
Side view(click image to enlarge)

What I decided was to extend the beams inwards and upwards. Now I have an idea of where to go. 

Tomorrow, I will make a base and start gluing. Look for more updates shortly. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

For future reference – US Census Microdata

The other day, took the kids to the Niagara Aquarium.
On our way home, desperate for bathroom, we stopped at the Tuscarora Reservation. Inside, there is a tiny museum with awesome maps. 

Snapping pictures of them does no justice. They are gorgeous prints. I found out that they are from the 1892 Census.

Looking around online, I found this website with the actual images. The Integrated Public Use Microdata Series website is not just information on the US Census, it is data on individuals. What an excellent historical document.
I am pretty sure they didn’t think of someone pulling maps from the public documents, but what a wonderful resource for history and art.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Prioritizing Fun

I have so many great games to play, I keep putting off my D&D campaign. I need to prioritize my choices. Here are the games that have me hooked right now:
NHL 2015 by EA Sports
EA Sports has been doing the NHL series for years and it is still very addictive. I love the season system, building teams and players against the league. 





Destiny by Bungie
This one reminds me of Marathon and I love the game play. I haven’t really gotten into it too deeply, but it is a great way to blow off steam. It is expansive yet simple. 

Starfleet Battles and the family of great games by Amarillo Design Bureau
Star Fleet Battles. Or more correctly some mini’s a purchased a while back. I want to get these done so I can play with models.
Additionally, I picked up Federation Space from Warehouse 23. This is the game that really sparked my imagination as a child and directly lead to me playing Star Fleet Battles. I want to try this one with the kiddos.
I also want to sit down and design a custom ship with a great scenario hook and submit both to ADB. SFB is so expansive, that Amarillo Design Bureau needs to strike a balance between fun and reasonability. I really can’t decide if the hooks are good enough for submission or not. No way to tell if I don’t give it a shot.
D&D
Dungeons and Dragons. I have a campaign setting I’ve been working and want to see it in action.
For the past 7 months, I have been teaching a class on religion and this has noticeably affected my D&D campaign plans. I have created a Stave Church Map, a temple dedicated to the planets and a homely inn for the characters to relax at between adventures.
Gemstone IV
Gemstone IV just went F2P and I am hooked once again.

I really want to hammer out a more up to date review of Gemstone IV, but the game has so much depth, it is hard to wrap my mind round.

Rifts
On the way back burner is Rifts. I just picked up Triax and the NGR.
I’d really like to create a campaign for this game with a lighter, more humorous background. Nothing says lack of humor like a post-apocalyptic world. As always with Palladium, the main hook is the artwork.




Around Christmas time, we implemented Family Game Night. I can’t really complain about a lack of playing options. Nothing is more fun and rewarding that setting up Risk, Monopoly or Uno with the family and having a great time.