Final Thoughts

No the blog is not coming to an end. This is about our thoughts about our back-to-back comic book convention experiences. Over all a great time.

All of us found unique items that appealed to them and most of us. The shopping while entertaining and took up most of our time was not where the great time came from though.

For Barb, meeting Wil Wheaton and spending quality time with all of us was here great time.

For the kids, again Wil Wheaton, missing a day of school, being away from home, and last but not least the stuff they bought with their own money. 

For me, family time, family time, and more family time. I got to watch the kids grow. Each of them was faced with one or more delimas, all money related, where they had to make a choice. Our boy spent 45 minutes weighing the pros and cons, eventually settling on the realization that “want” is not a good reason. As a result of his decision he got a great deal the next day.

Our girl, she went with “want,” but she’s younger. Watching her deal with spending money was insightful, as there is a process. Like I said, growth.

I met several new artists who I hope to talk to again. Met a famous artist whoover omelets. Saw Wil Wheaton’s head. And had a lot of fun.

As always there are the things we learned, such as hotel choice really matters, All Seaons in Kalkaska,great. While Comfort Inn in Wixom with the stains on the ceiling, bed, bathroom, and no forks, bad.

Sleep is mandatory.

Children need their own room, a thought for later.

Pace events better.

Know where local food nearby is located

Pack more snacks and food from home to reduce cost

Rest more

Talk to more people

VIP passes are a thing and may be worth the cost

Go with things in mind, cuts down on impulse purchases

Did I mention sleep?

Puddles and Whiskers will return tomorrow.

Games We Play: Forbidden Stars

Forbidden Stars by Fantasy Flight Games, no longer sold by Fantasy Flight Games due to some licensing thing, is a really fun game to play.  Set in the Warhammer 40k universe, Forbidden Stars is a strategy game . There are four factions, Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, Orks, and Eldar to choose from. The board is modular and scales in size based on the number of players.

Getting this out of the way, if you have played or looked at any Fantasy Flight Games game you know that the components are top notch, no deviation from that here. Everything from the board tiles, cards, and game pieces look great, durable, and make games more fun to play.

Getting this also out of the way, if you have played just about any Fantasy Flight Games board game they have given you two rulebooks. I find this BEYOND annoying. Put all of the information in ONE book! I cannot stand having a rule book and a reference book, especially when the reference book has DETAILED information that should be in the rulebook. Why should the detailed information be in the rule book, because when looking up the rules I expect to find them in the rules and when I don’t it does not naturally occur to me to flip through a reference book. In other words, I would rather have one big rulebook with all of the rules in one place than have to check two books, which slows down or stops game play. Please game companies, stop worrying about if a huge rulebook will “scare” players off; having to search through multiple rule books is more of a detriment.

With those things out of the way, Forbidden Stars is reasonably easy to learn and most definitely fun to play. What is reasonably easy to learn? The rulebook contains enough information for play; turn order, explanation of pieces, and overview of combat. There are areas where reading the reference book immediately come in handy, anything involving combat.

Goal of the game, in 8 or less turns capture a number of objective tokens equal to the number of players. Objective tokens represent things of importance to your faction and have no value other than a victory condition. A turn is played in three phases:

The first phase, players alternate placing order tokens facedown in systems. Orders allow players to move, build, collect resources, and upgrade their combat decks and what their orders can do. Placement of order tokens is important, as they are resolved top down, meaning planning is important to avoid attempting to build something without the proper resources, infrastructure, or ability to move them around.

After placing orders, resolving orders; starting with the first player (a token that changes at the end of each turn) each player chooses one of their order tokens on top of stack revealing and resolving the effects. Play alternates until all of the order tokens are resolved. During this phase, combat can occur up to two times per player. Combat is where the majority of the reference book look ups happen.

Here is a break down of combat: each player gathers dice equal to the combat value of their units. Both sides roll their dice leaving the symbols displayed. Then each player draws five combat cards for three rounds of card playing and damage dealing. During the three rounds of card playing and damage dealing each player reveals a combat card resolves the effects, then deals damage. At the end of three rounds if any units are left the side with the highest moral total wins.

The final phase is resource collection, resolving any events, and moving the warp storms which are barriers to movement that move at the end of each turn creating an ever shifting series of barriers.

I have glossed over a lot and there is a lot to Forbidden Stars. Despite everything above, the game plays very smoothly and quickly, most games were over in under an hour. I recommend Forbidden Stars for people who like strategy games and have a passing interest in the Warhammer 40k universe (a deep knowledge is NOT required).

500 And 1 Words At A Time: Storyteller Takes A Day Off

My apologies if you came here looking for your noon (ish) fix of Puddles and Whiskers, Nail Clippers, or the soon (ish) to be restarted Worldship Horizon. Typically I have a week’s worth of posts ready. I schedule all of them on Sunday or Monday for the week, weekends excluded, and keep on working. This week was different.

I do not know how many days you can stay indoors without much contact with the outside world before you start going a little crazy, bonkers, cabin fever, or whatever term you like. My record is now five days. Due to Barb’s schedule, I have essentially been home with the kids for five days and nights. Yes, I have seen her off and on and I have been out in public, but nothing of long enough duration to break the spell of being stuck at home. Sorry, picking up the kids with a borrowed car or checking the mail again with a borrowed car, is not the same as having a day (read several hours) away from the house interacting with the world.

I will spare you the gory details of my descent into paranoia and anger as cabin fever set in. Instead, I will focus on the cure for cabin fever. Yesterday, after ensuring there was a fun post, I left the house for a long time. Staying in writing and reading is good. At least I think it is good for me, allows me to focus on the task at hand which is producing good content with an eye on the prize of a book or two. The downside is that I am not interacting with anyone or anything other than the kids and the characters in my head. From a writer’s standpoint, interaction and observing interactions is where I get character exchanges.

In public I see all sorts of behavior that I can then turn into bits for a story or a quirk of a character. The exchange between a table of people and a waiter becomes a scene of Puddles and Whiskers at NiHo’s enjoying a bowl of noodles. Watching two gamer uber-enthusiast nerd out until everyone around them is turned off becomes Devin and Chaz. Nothing is easier than writing about life and I needed to see some of that life, because in my head, where the characters live, things were starting to get stale.

What did I do? I went out to as many places as I could and I watched what happened around me. I interacted with as many people as I wanted, not always with the best results, but that’s life. Most of all I got the cabin fever out. I recharged my batteries. I found some new material…lots actually. And once the weekend is over, hey I still have some relaxing to do, writing resumes.

Make sure that you get out and about; interact with the world, observe the world, enjoy the time away from the computer, and write about it. Easy and fun. 🙂

Games We Play: Rise of the Goblins

Pathfinder goblins are fun, in their own self-destructive way. After the horrorshow of Wrath we needed a break before delving into Mummy’s Mask. Plus the kids wanted to start playing again. Awesome. What better way to take a break and get the kids involved than goblins?

That’s right there is no better way.

The hilarity began right off the bat, with our boy playing Ranzak, the pirate goblin (complete with peg leg and parrot). Because he is a goblin pirate scavenger he had to wait until we built our decks to get build his…on the leftovers which may explain why his number one weapon was a torch…at least he had fire.

Without much preamble or preramble…we started the introductory Perils of the Lost Coast scenarios. I expected all of us to die in very horrible ways and we all almost did…and then we won in a fiery explosion.

Here is what we learned playing goblins…

the goblin fortune teller, can only tell the future when someone else has been punched in the face AND they are at the same location…hmmm…not as useful as we thought

the goblin pirate can only run away from a fight if there are other people at his location

Blessing of the Gobs is the most awesome card ever and yes we used the power to take blessings from the blessing pile all of the time, we are goblins we cannot tell time nor do we care about how much time was left and…

goblins cannot do “normal” math…goblin math example: make a ranged check…I roll a d12…your ranged is d10…yeah d10 + 2 means I roll this die…no, wait…

the pyromancer’s evil goat or ram Deliverance is useless; I didn’t find a use for it…oh well

the pyromancer’s ability to “help” other people at his location is awesome for injecting some unnecessary tension, witness…

All five goblins limped to the finish line, which was the villain as the last card. Along the way in addition to the above, we learned our goblin math wiz of a girl is a killing machine taking out most of the henchmen. However, for the final fight she was AWOL, she did offer to assist with every card in her hand, including her much beloved Potion of Fortitude.

The fight came down to the pirate who thought about running away, then decided to fight with his dogchopper and a lot of luck and assistance. Because there were four of us there, he got a ton of d4’s to roll. Not satisfied with his fist full of tiny dice and wanting to inject some unnecessary tension, I the pyromancer assisted, giving him 4 extra points while dealing 3 points of damage to everyone other than me.

He had to win otherwise everyone other than me and our girl died. Now that is tension, one roll to win or die, a fist full of d4’s (arguably the worst die ever), and a fiery +4 bonus. I maintain to this moment that my +4 and the possibility of instant death for three characters is what motivated him to roll awesome.

So while the goat was useless and we cant’ do math, we can stagger on fire past the finish line. More to come as we stagger our way through Rise of the Runelords GOBLINS.

Games We Play: Tem-Purr-A & TPK (Total Party Kill)

Perhaps. Just perhaps I should have waited to post yesterday, say roughly an hour. If I had waited an hour I might have saved myself sometime writing about the difficulty, rewards, army cards, and character issues we were (read WERE) having with the last Adventure Deck for Wrath of the Righteous.

What happened you may wonder? Did we quit? Did we put the game up for the night? Or…did something worse happen?

Something worse. Now this is where party composition really reared its ugly head. I knew with two ranged characters and a paladin our group was lacking. The two ranged characters had split good ranged weapons between them all along. I, as the paladin, had the best of everything because neither ranged player wanted melee weapons. If we had a dedicated cleric or wizard we might have been able to recover with access to high level spell, we did not, thus when we encountered the demon lord whose checks were 50 and then 50 and fail at either and DIE! Odds were no looking good.

Yet, we managed through dumb luck to corner the demon lord without too much hassle. The best chance for success, my character was facing him down while the other characters closed out the only remaining location. First roll, 42. DEAD. Without access to revive spells or items, I stayed dead. Then the hunter died. And last, but not least the reformed demon died.  Yep, Total Party Kill (TPK).

We broke Wrath down, vowed to return with new characters and better party composition. Then, instead of immediately turning our attention to Mummy’s Mask we decided to start a Rise of the Runelords Goblin game. As that unfolds you can read about it here, right now we are still arguing over which goblin is cooler. 🙂


0004337_tem-purr-aTem-Purr-A by IELLO games is about cats at an eating contest. The goal, to make the other cats get indigestion, three times. Tem-Purr-A is a small box, quick to play, easy to learn, and fun game. Artwork of cats alone is worth the price of admission.

Game play is as follows: Play a card with a number, next player matches that number OR plays an action card OR plays two of the same different number card (top of the stack is a 5, you play one 6 to close out the stack and a second 6 to start a new stack). If a player cannot do any of those things, the player draws a number of cards equal to the total of the stack. They reveal the cards drawn, if an indigestion card has been drawn, the player gets an indigestion token and the round is over. Players keep their cards (I had a hand of 34 at one point), shuffles the stacks and indigestion cards with the deck, direction of play flips, and the player who got the indigestion card starts a new stack.

Took me longer to type that than learn it.

Our game from opening the box, punching out the counters, reading the rules, unwrapping the cards, shuffling, and starting play took around 20 minutes. If you are looking for a quick, easy to learn, and cute card game Tem-purr-a is a good choice.

Open Driveway Events

Taking a break for a long weekend of gaming, hopefully finishing Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Wrath of the Righteous and starting Mummy’s Mask, I put the writing down and am working on cleaning up and setting up. To tide you over until the next Puddles and Whiskers or Games We Play, something I have been posting daily on my Facebook page/wall/whatever.


Good news, there is still a small fee for towels, and access to a phone, and Open Driveway Events now has a licensed pharmacist to address any RASHES you may have. We at Open Driveway Events are not liable for rashes acquired while at any of our open events.

Speaking of events, Al Roker our favorite go to weatherman has indicated that snow may fall soon. With snow comes our 1st Annual Open Driveway Ski U.

While the fog remains, stop by, if you can find us, for our 1st Annual Jack The Ripper in London Fog Hide and Seek Scavenger Hunt. Try to survive on almost two acres dodging our associate Ripper (you pay employee Rippers) while searching for items on a list hidden on almost two acres. Shovel recommended.

For a small fee access to towels, phone, and a shovel. Still not responsible for interactions with vehicles or rashes acquired while attending any Annual or other event.


Open Driveway Events is proud to announce our 1st annual (I hope someone is keeping count for next year) Slip n’ Slide in the Slush Event. How many of you have fond memories of throwing your body with abandon onto a wet garbage bag and the hard ground to slide a few feet, that feeling of flight without the airborne component?

If you do or you want to experience something akin to that (no garbage bags here) swing on by while the temperatures are high enough to allow for snow to fall and slush to accumulate.

Pick a spot anywhere on our spacious event space, run, throw yourself on the ground, and slide like a penguin. LIKE A PENGUIN. What could be better? Don’t answer that.

Open Driveway Events is not responsible for injuries sustained from impact with the ground, tree, large or small rocks, frozen gophers, gopher holes, or anything else.

Today and today only, free towels after 10 Slip n’ Slide Slush Runs. For a small fee bento lunches, hot chocolate (limited amount as the container is about half full), and access to a phone. Really not responsible for interactions between sliders and vehicles: remember slide away from the road.


Enjoy throwing things at other people for fun? Want to build large fortifications out of snow? Do you relish the feeling of snow down the back of your coat, shirt, pants, or in your boots?

Of course you do. That is why you will swing on by to Open Driveway Events 2nd Annual (associates took care of the 1st Annual earlier this year) Snow Fort Snow Ball Fight.

Alone or with a team, build a fort, build some balls, and start throwing them. With almost two acres to wage war on, there is plenty of room and snow for you. (start with the snow in our ample driveway).

For those build oriented, but not throw oriented, Open Driveway Events is hosting the 1st Annual Build Something Other Than A Fort Contest. Show off your snow building skills for anyone to see, especially all of the people driving by. First prize, free use of a warm towel.

Free snow. For a small fee access to towels, bento lunches, phone. For a slightly larger small fee access to warm towels, hot chocolate (still some left over). Open Driveway Events is not responsible for interactions with vehicles and snow related injuries.

Games We Play: Tanks by Gale Force 9

Tanks by Gale Force 9 is an excellent skirmish World War 2 miniatures game.

The starter set Panther vs Sherman priced from 21 to 25 dollars is an excellent deal. Everything necessary is included in the box: 1 panther and 2 sherman tank models (assembly required); rulebook, cards, dice, and cardboard terrain.

The models are the same models used in Flames of War, meaning you can use the illustrated instructions at the back of the rulebook or you can go online for some very detailed and interesting variation assembly instructions. The Panther can be constructed as a Panther tank (recommended) or a JadgPanther. The Shermans have one body style and two turret variations (75 and 76 mm). This means in one box you get 1 German tank and 2 types of American Tank-place desired turret on body). Details are nice and assembly is a breeze especially for experienced builders.

If you have played any of the Attack Wing games then you have played Tanks. Using a modified Attack Wing system of movement games are extremely quick and to the point. Instead of movement dies and movement templates, each player has a movement arrow. Place the arrow against the tank in the desired direction you want the tank to move and move the tank. Tanks can move twice in a turn.

Shooting is rolling attack dice; 4, 5, and 6 are hits with 6’s becoming critical hits. The defending player rolls defense dice; 4, 5, and 6 cancel hits with 6’s canceling critical hits. A hit does one point of damage. A critical flips a damage card that has an effect, such as crew bailing and a damage amount from 0 to 3.

A turn is based on the initiative of the tanks and their commanders. Starting with movement, lowest initiative to highest. Then shooting, highest initiative to lowest. Ending with command phase where repairs are attempted and counters are cleaned up for the next turn.

When a take runs out of damage points, the tank is destroyed.

See, really quick and to the point.

We played best out of three games in under an hour. My girl (8-years old) loves tanks. She wanted a Tiger tank because…you know Tiger, but that was not in the box. So she choose the Shermans 76 mm. I got the Panther. I expected victory.

Game 1: Lucky hit causes my crew to bail out of the tank causing me a turn. Using that turn she blew up my tank with her tanks.

Game 2: Clever maneuvering on my part sends her tanks to the scrap yard. This game we use crew cards-add-ons to tanks increasing stats or making other actions easier, such as my commander who gave me a re-roll to crew bailing out. All crew and equipment cards require careful reading, as my commander bumped my attack stat to the point where other equipment I chose was unnecessary.

Game 3: Pissed, my girl demonstrates she is listening to my tactical lessons when she moves her tanks to cover each other. A slip up in movement allows me to get between her tanks and blow up one of them. A lucky shot to the ammunition on my tank gave her the win.

Today…her Tiger arrived in the mail…I sense a lot of losing in my immediate future. 🙂