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. 🙂

Tem-Purr-A

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. 🙂

Destiny Threesome

What can I say, I like threesomes. Some are more fun than others and I have yet to have a threesome I regretted…although there are a few who could come up for a mention for best Oscar faking an orgasm and hoping that all involve cared. 🙂 This threesome was a happy accident and if you say all threesomes are happy accidents then you either have not had a threesome, really did have a happy accident, or are headed for trouble.

In this case the convergence of three Xboxes, one really annoying interweb system, and a weekend without any real work to do. A good friend of ours got an Xbox, unfortunately for her Ferris wifi will not allow her access until she registers the device (long time reader will remember this problem of ours) and double unfortunately, Xbox requires a day one update which as you may have guessed required access to the internet. Frustrated by the Catch-22 of having internet, but not being able to put the device on the internet to take care of the day one update that in necessary to register the device for use on the internet she has our friend asked if she could bring her Xbox over here to use our internet.

And that is how we found ourselves playing Destiny together. Until today I had one friend who I could play Destiny with and then our boy. Our boy loves to run off and do his own thing while heavy breathing into the microphone. The friend is in college and cannot play all of the time. Destiny, in my opinion, is much more fun with people to play with, not randoms, but people you can chat with while solving all of the universes problems.

destiny-threesomeBy the end of the weekend (today), the good friend who brought the Xbox over and I played several hours together which got Barb interested. Next thing we know we have a fireteam of two titans and a warlock. Yes, a good chunk of our time was teaching skills and exploring locations and another good chunk of our time was spent chit chatting and dancing instead of saving the universe. But once we got onto missions we had a lot of fun. More fun than I have had playing Destiny in a long time.

No longer adventuring alone, I could share my experiences with them and they showed me a thing or two I had never noticed. New eyes see new things. There was also a sense of nostalgia for me in that I used…waaaaaayyyyy back when, spend all night up with some pop and a role-playing game and then video games doing the exact same thing.

So there we were, three adults gathered around some TV’s playing a video game having a shared experience and a shit ton of fun. Exactly what a threesome should be…TV optional for those of you with your mind in the gutter. 🙂 The photo is a selfie of our three characters.

Rivet Wars On The Floor

Sitting in my writing space. There are a lot less boxes around me than before and things are starting to take shape. Although, I can see where I  am going to need a few more shelving units. Seems I had more books in storage than I thought. Oh well, they look good out of boxes and give the room a nice feel. Plus, I can find all of my reference books once again and in one place…sorta, need a bit more organization.

Rivet Wars 1Rivet Wars on the floor is nice. We have the space to set up a game, not on the kitchen table, and play; even better leave a game in place with little worry of the game getting kicked or trampled. For the first time in a long time we had a game set up with out anyone being crushed into a corner or game components stacked in precarious ways next to the game.

It took less than fifteen minutes to teach both kids how to play Rivet Wars. The rules are that simple. In a way, similar to chess the rules are easy, learning how to use the pieces is the difficult part. Rivet Wars is a stylized World War I-Steampunk mashup. Players play the Allies or the Blight sides.

Rivet Wars 2Taking turns players wage war over board sections that represent the frontlines. Turns are simple: Mobilize, Combat, and Movement. Mobilize, players spent points to purchase various units from foot soldiers to giant tanks. Combat, players choose large squares or grids on the map which target other grids. Comparing the target’s armor to the combat chart of the attacker, roll that many dice. A 5 or 6 on a die is a hit. Movement, players choose a grid of units and move them one grid at a time up to a unit’s movement rate.

See simple.

And it was.

The difficulty comes from the mirror image nature of the armies. The Blight infantry are good at killing vehicles and their vehicles are good at killing infantry. The Allied infantry are good at killing infantry and their vehicles are are good at killing vehicles. Sure there are some variations in the themes, but that is the gist. Infantry from both sides are necessary to capture objectives and objectives are where the action is centered.

Rivet Wars 3The kids tried to kill all of my troops the first game, but failing to realize that their infantry were not my infantry spent a lot of time doing nothing other than dying in droves; very World War I. Obviously, their vehicles were more effective, but without infantry to hold objectives they lost.

The second game, understanding the nature of things, they were more focused…until they realized they could save up for a giant tank. I tried to convince them a giant tank was not going to help them, but cackling away they dropped their tank on the board and lost the game. They lost the game because in the time it took them to get the tank I had swarmed the objective for the win.

More games will be played tonight, but first impressions are Rivet Wars is quick, easy, and fun to play.