Saturday, January 31, 2015

Systems Saturday - WotC 5E Survey, Dungeon Crawl Checklist, Plus 'A Muse & a Maze'

The Escapist informs us this week that Wizards of the Coast has a new survey to get some new feedback on their Fifth Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, and they give some idea of what is being asked in the survey questions.  Read more here.


Also, over on Gnome Stew, Matthew J. Neagley writes "The Dungeon Crawl Checklist."  It's his own way of approaching dungeon design and has some good ideas to adopt.  Read more here.


Finally, over on brainpickings.org, Maria Popova writes about Peter Turchi's book A Muse & a Maze in her article "The Psychology of Flow: What Game Design Reveals about the Deliberate Tensions of Great Writing" which can give some insight into how things work the other way around as well.  Find out more here.


A look under the hood of various Games, Rules and Systems.
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Tabletopper Friday - Taiwan Board Game Parlors, Smart Games, & a Board Game Flowchart

Over on latimes.com, they tell us "In Taiwan, board-game parlors are the new nondigital thing" here.


Also, lifehack.org shares their thoughts on "15 Fun Board Games that Exercise Your Brain And Make You Smarter" here.


Finally, on lifehacker.com, they help us "Pick the Best Board Game to Play in Any Situation with This Flow Chart" here.


Mostly about card games and board games,
unless they have a decidedly wargamey feel.
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Nostalgia Thursday - Hazard (1375)

I've had a copy of Hazard (1375) on my shelf for quite some time but have not made an opportunity to play it.


It's description on Board Game Geek is simple and might give some clue as to why I haven't chosen to try and gather the right players for it just yet.
Themed on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and an old dice game called Hasard, players gamble stakes on dice rolls, allowing to progress along the track. In doing so, they lay cards depicting the various pilgrims progressing to Canterbury.

My interest in this game became renewed when I picked up an audio lecture series Life and Writings of Geoffrey Chaucer with Professor Seth Lerer Ph.D. of University of California, San Diego, during the holiday sale on The Great Courses website here.  Though I haven't opened the decks in the box (I often thought I'd keep it pristine in case I wanted to sell it), the game board has a certain charm to it.


But it doesn't go for much on the BGG marketplace and it appears on many BGG thrift store lists, so I am guessing it is not in short supply.  Couple that with its abysmally low rating (3.71 as of the writing of this blog post), as well as its rather narrow theme, and you can imagine why I haven't pressed it onto any players thus far.  Nevertheless, I am determined to play it some time this year, even if only as a two player game.  If you would like to play some day and know you will be in the Lake Geneva, WI, area, please do drop me a line.  Otherwise, wish me luck on my pilgrimage!

Focusing on the roots of current tabletop gaming
with an eye toward the last century and before.
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wargaming Wednesday - Gaming the Battle of the Five Armies

Over on Playing at the World, Jon Peterson delves into "Gaming the Battle of the Five Armies" where in he discusses an early version of a wargame that simulated the great battle at the of Tolkien's The Hobbit.  Find out more here.


A closer examination of board and miniatures Wargaming.
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Terrain Tuesday - Chicago Maps for RPGs

Over on the Cape Horn Illustration website, they have a lakefront map of Chicago but with tall ships and sea monsters here.


Also, on the Chicagoist website, they have a map "Of Immigration Trends From 1903" in Chicago here.


Finally, "Check Out This Map Of Settlement Patterns In Chicago In 1950" on the Chicagoist here.


For purposes here, the term Terrain is used broadly
to cover 3D and 2D maps, foam, felt, and such.
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Minis & Modeling Monday - Jewels of the Week, Turnkey Miniatures, & St.Andrew’s Cathedral

Over on quidamcorvus.blogspot.com, check out the "Jewels of the Week" here.


Also, over on Turnkey Miniatures, they've got some great minis for good prices including the old Mega Minis Townsfolk here.


Finally, on the Medievalists.net website, for your modeling inspiration, "Take a (Virtual) Tour of St.Andrew’s Cathedral in the year 1318" here.


A look at prepping and painting Miniatures,
crafting buildings and paper Models,
and other non-terrain stuff for the tabletop..
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Sunday Miscellanea - Modular Workshop System

As I've mentioned in previous blog posts, I am revamping my kitchen and setting up a hobby workstation there for minis painting and terrain making.  I'll personally be doing something much less elaborate and far less expensive but this Modular Workshop System at hobbyzone.pl is damned cool.  See more here.


Essentially, a clearinghouse for topics on MFWARS.com
not covered elsewhere or wanting a particular focus.
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Systems Saturday - Fief: France 1429 (2015)

Fief: France 1429 (2015) has recently been rewarded to funders of the Kickstarter project begun by Uwe Eickert and successfully completed a year ago next month.  I played two games of this new one last weekend with one of the expansions that included archers and bombards.  Both were five player games and each took five hours.  In the second game, I was the only one who had previously played, so both were teaching games and that time is included in the five hours.  I could see this taking a mere three hours with five players who know the rules going in, even with the expansion.


The components of the game (even without Kickstarter extras) are stunning.  The board, player mats, tokens, and playing cards all have great artwork and are sturdy.


The description from Board Game Geek is as follows:
Fief: France 1429 is a game of dynastic ambition in which players assume the roles of nobles in the 15th century kingdom of France. Each player strives to become the most powerful ruling force in the kingdom by gaining control of Fief and Bishopric territories. In turn, they acquire Royal and Ecclesiastical (church) titles which give their families influence to elect the next Pope and King. Players strengthen their positions by negotiating marriage alliances between their families, setting the stage for love, treachery and deception!
Fief is a classic French-language game and is being re-introduced by Academy Games in English with updated rules, new units, a new and larger consolidated map, and more. This edition also includes additional components, which enhances game play.
The game board represents a portion of the Kingdom of France in the Middle Ages. Villages have square outlines that are connected by roads that allow Lord and Troop movement. The villages are grouped into eight colored background areas that represent individual Fiefs, which are domains given to Lords to preside over. Fiefs have different colored backgrounds and Bishoprics have heavy bordered outlines that include several different Fiefs. Each village also belongs to one of five church Bishoprics; each Bishopric is outlined with a heavy border line and is numbered between 1-5 along the edge of the board inside a Bishop's Mitre.
Each player controls up to four family members, comprised of male and female nobles. These family members will rise in power by gaining Royal and Ecclesiastic Titles.
In Fief: France 1429, a player may attempt to gain control of all the villages in a Fief to gain the Royal Title of Baron, Earl or Duke. For each Fief a player controls, he gains 1 VP. These Titled Lords may now take part in the election for the next King. They may even be a candidate to become King, thus bringing 1 VP and more power to the family! Other members of your family may follow the calling of the Church to gain the Ecclesiastical Titles of Bishop and then Cardinal. These titles allow you to Tithe Bishoprics, taking the Church's (i.e. "your") fair share of income from other Fief Lords! The highest goal your clerical family member can attain is to be elected Pope, bringing 1 VP and special privileges to your family!
You win the game as soon as you have 3 VPs. This is easier said than done and you may need to form alliances with other players through diplomacy and marriage to obtain your goal. When one of your family members marries a noble of another family, the two of you become allied. You now win the game together with 4 VPs and cannot win alone, unless your marriage is annulled by the Pope or your spouse is "mysteriously" murdered or dies of some other foul means!
In addition to being wary of your fellow players, you may draw event cards that can quickly change your destiny. Bounty Event cards are beneficial to the Player and include "Good Harvest", "Good Weather" and "Added Taxes" cards. But some cards are Disaster Cards that can randomly effect all players in specific Bishoprics. These include "The Plague", "Heavy Rain", "Famine", and "Peasant Uprisings"!
Income can be increased by players imposing church tithes on their opponent's villages or taxing their own Fiefs. Players may purchase new Fief titles, improve their village incomes with mills, and fortify their cities.
Players will also need to protect their land and castles. Men at Arms and Knights can be purchased, as well as Siege Engines. If you feel that other players are not running their Fiefs as well as you can, you may try to invade their territories! But you must risk one of your family members to lead the troops into possible battle, where they might be killed or taken prisoner. If two opposing armies are in the same village square, a Battle may be initiated. The players assess the size and strength of their armies, which determine the number of Battle Dice each may roll. Each "f" rolled is a hit. Men at Arms are defeated with one hit, while Knights require three hits to be removed from the battle.
Those who backed the Kickstarter campaign also had a chance to pick up a number of miniature add-ons (Strongholds, Fortified Cities, Windmills, etc.) and metal coins to replace the counters.


From the two games I played, I found the game to be quite challenging and enjoyable.  There are many paths to victory and the game requires strategy, tactics, and shrewd play to win.  Both games came down to a two-player victory though the second might as easily been single-handed win with little more time involved.  I'm hopefully going to get into another game of Fief later today and will revisit this system down the road with a further update.


A look under the hood of various Games, Rules and Systems.
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Tabletopper Friday - Pick-a-Dog/Pig on GameNight! & Geek Out! on TableTop

Over on the Board Game Geek TV YouTube channel there is a new episode of GameNight! where the gang plays Pick-a-Dog / Pig and teaches the game as they go.  Enjoy.



Also, on the Geek and Sundry YouTube channel, Clare Kramer, Anne Wheaton, and Bonnie Burton join Wil Wheaton on TableTop to play Geek Out!.  Enjoy.



Mostly about card games and board games,
unless they have a decidedly wargamey feel.
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Nostalgia Thursday - Greek Drinking Game, Alternate History Campaigns, & Acquire

Over on archaeology.org, they tell of "How to Play an Ancient Greek Drinking Game" here.


Also, on tribality.com they discuss "5 Alternate History Campaigns For D&D" here.


Finally, check out Brooklyn Wargaming as they examine the classic game Acquire here.


Focusing on the roots of current tabletop gaming
with an eye toward the last century and before.
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wargaming Wednesday - Field Commander: Alexander (2009)

I've been looking for a wargame that I could set up on an extra table and attend to from time to time as a solo game, as many of us old school wargamers did back in the day.  A friend of mine suggested that the Field Commander games by DVG were designed specifically for solo play, rather than merely having some options for playing on your own, so I took a look.  Of the four, I wanted to check out Field Commander: Alexander (2009) because I am mainly a pre-gunpowder wargamer.  I'm looking for folks I know to pipe up with any information they might have regarding this game or the whole line if they play one of the others (Field Commander: Napoleon, Field Commander: Rommel, or Fleet Commander: Nimitz).  Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this!

Description: You take on the role of Alexander the Great in his world-conquering quest to extend the Macedonian empire and achieve personal glory.
When playing the game, you are placed in Alexander’s footsteps when he comes of age in 338bc, just before the battle of Chaeronea. From that point on, you get to decide where to travel, when to battle, when to negotiate, and when to seek out divine prophesies to guide your actions.
You are supplied with soldiers and advisers to help you navigate the dangers of the battlefield and the negotiating table. These include Infantry, Archers, Phalanxes, Cavalry, Advisers, Scholars, Courtesans, and Spies. You will craftily combine these resources with your own plans to achieve victory, and glorification. And if you do well, you will be remembered as one of the greatest leaders ever to walk the earth.
The life of Alexander is divided into several campaigns, each spanning several years. During each campaign, you are given goals, but how you achieve those goals is up to you. Do you enter into battle? Or negotiate? How strong are you? How strong are they? What can you gain? These are all decisions you get to make, and must make well, if you are to live up to the immortal standards set before you.
The campaigns can either be played stand alone, or linked to play through his entire life. When played as one on-going life, the outcome of one campaign affects your starting situation in the next campaign.
A closer examination of board and miniatures Wargaming.
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Terrain Tuesday - Labirinti Fantasy's Holy Mountain

Labirinti Fantasy recently shared photos of their Holy Mountain terrain build on their Facebook page here.




For purposes here, the term Terrain is used broadly
to cover 3D and 2D maps, foam, felt, and such.
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Minis & Modeling Monday - Adhesives 101, Checkered Painting, & Crafting Tents

Over on belloflostsouls.net they give some advice called "Adhesives 101" here.


Also, Mini Wargamer Jay has a new video titled "Miniature Painting 101: Part 42 - Checkers" on his YouTube channel.  Enjoy.



Finally, Mini Terrain Domain has a new video on their YouTube channel titled "How to Make Miniature Tents for Your Dungeon Terrain -- MTD #005." Enjoy.



A look at prepping and painting Miniatures,
crafting buildings and paper Models,
and other non-terrain stuff for the tabletop..
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Sunday Miscellanea - Player Pacing, Heart-Shaped Gems, & a Wooden GM Screen

Over on the blog of Creighton Broadhurst, he shares "Player Advice: 5 Easy Ways You Can Speed Up Game Play" here.


Also, for you Love Letter fans and others, the Dollar Tree online has "Valentine’s Heart-Shaped Plastic Gems , 50-ct. Bags" at the obvious price here.


Finally, Imgur user earliodookie shared some pics of a "Wooden DM Screen and Dice Tower" which you can craft for yourself here.


Essentially, a clearinghouse for topics on MFWARS.com
not covered elsewhere or wanting a particular focus.
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Systems Saturday - Ten Rules on Writing Rules

Over on his YouTube channel, Mike Selinker has uploaded an hour long video recorded at a seminar PAX 2014 detailing his "Ten Rules on Writing Rules."  Enjoy.



A look under the hood of various Games, Rules and Systems.
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Tabletopper Friday - Hnefatafl Corner Escape

I've posted previously on Hnefatafl (400), the ancient Viking game but this post is specifically highlighting some videos on the Hnefatafl Modern YouTube channel showing the standard Corner Escape version on an 11 x 11 square board.  This is my personal favorite version to play and one I have been modifying into a Dwarven skirmish game within my own Grymvald RPG setting.  Enjoy.









We managed to squeeze in a couple of games with a makeshift board yesterday for Game Like a Viking Day!




Mostly about card games and board games,
unless they have a decidedly wargamey feel.
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Nostalgia Thursday - Insane D&D Rules, Sticker Book Maps, & Cushing's Army

Over on Topless Robot, they expound on "The 10 Most Insane Old School Dungeons & Dragons Rules" here.


Also, my buddy Benoist pointed me to the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon encyclopaedia where they have maps from the 1985 and 1987 sticker books here.



Finally, over on YouTube, have a look at a video featuring "Peter Cushing and his toy soldiers."  Enjoy.



Focusing on the roots of current tabletop gaming
with an eye toward the last century and before.
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wargaming Wednesday - John Hill has Passed

From consimworld.com, they are "saddened to report the passing of John Hill (1944-2015), a true industry giant and Wargaming Hall of Fame member who has touched so many people with his enduring contributions."  Read more here.


A closer examination of board and miniatures Wargaming.
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Terrain Tuesday - Caves: Comfy, Carved & Crafted

Some terrain work but also some inspiration for caves this week.  Starting over on Brain Jet they show us "15 Amazing Caves You'd Totally Live In" here.


Also, on Earth.Porm.com they tell us how an "Artist Spends 10 Years Carving A Giant Cave Alone With His Dog" here.


Finally, from last Fall, on the Infinite RolePlay YouTube channel, we're shown "How to make Scotty Style Caves Walls."  Enjoy.



For purposes here, the term Terrain is used broadly
to cover 3D and 2D maps, foam, felt, and such.
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Minis & Modeling Monday - Frozen Acrylics, Figmentia, & Medieval LEGO Sets

Over on painting.about.com, they delve into the question "Will Acrylic Paints be Harmed by Freezing Temperatures?"  Learn more here.


Also, miniature-painting.net takes a look at the growing problem of "Figmentia" here.


Finally, The Nerdist gave us a heads up on Medieval LEGO sets here.


A look at prepping and painting Miniatures,
crafting buildings and paper Models,
and other non-terrain stuff for the tabletop..
Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!