Gaming Stories 1

Every gaming group has gaming stories to tell, I have a lot. I usually keep them to myself or people who I gamed with because outside of the event gaming stories tend to sound…well, odd. Just the nature of any story that relies on a specific event. Still there are some that are just fun. Inspired by Big Man who shared one of the better gaming stories with others I am sharing some with you.

Jubei

For three years I ran a continuous game of Legend of the Five Rings, imagine a Japan with magic and monsters. In our first game, Big Man who was playing Jubei a ronin (masterless samurai) found himself in a duel with a Unicorn Clan samurai. Jubei won and took the dead samurai’s swords intending to take them back to his clan.

The gaming group passed through Unicorn Clan lands several times over that three years. Jubei’s “legend” grew with each passing year. Fought in several wars, including a few he started, survived a trip into the Shadowlands, and won numerous duels. Near the end of the three year run a woman non-player character joined the group. She claimed to want to chronical the exploits of the famous Jubei.

And she did. She also spent a lot of her time slowly poisoning Jubei. When his death finally came he discovered much to his dismay that the woman was the sister of the first samurai Jubei had killed and she was there to restore family honor. Picking up the family swords she left Jubei to die.

A Potato Gun?

I don’t remember the exact game, one of those D20 side projects that Wizards shit out for a while. The gist for our gaming group was the players were FBI agents investigating paranormal activity, in the vein of X-Files. Assigned to investigate a town in the middle of Montana they immediately got into trouble.

For any game I run, which is all but a few, I have multiple story lines, villains who act on their own, and lots of things of interest. The players are on their own as to what they do. In this case they bumped into a family of ghouls. A point of interest for my setting, not a major or minor plot point, the ghouls had lived in the town since the town’s founding. They were the “weird” people. Their biggest crime, stealing cattle instead of raiding graveyards.

However, since they were the “weird” people in town the players took that as “they must be the bad guys.” To handle the ghouls instead of investigating or even attempting to contact the family they raided the house. Yes, players in role playing games often do completely illogical things that make “sense” to them.

Which is how the first player through the front door found their character on the receiving end of a potato gun which knocked the character out. The other players taking this as a sign of “must be the bad guys” went all commando. Except, because they did zero in game research did not know how large the family was nor how much damage a potato gun can do to an unarmored human. Three characters knocked out, two fled the scene, and the ghoul family left town until the characters left.

 

Wiped Out At The End of C4

And we are back from C4 or Cherry Capital Comic Con in Traverse City. If you are in Michigan, are looking for a smaller comic book convention, great for people new to cons, C4 is perfect.

In fact, the only complaint by everyone is a really lousy start to Saturday, of no fault of C4, but affected our day. If you can sleep in late, say on vacation, sleep in late, don’t wake everyone else up. 😦

Friday, was a preview day. Visit the convention for three hours, meet and greet, purchase and set up for your Saturday. Friday was the best day for all of us, we walked around Traverse City for a while before the con, enjoying several individuals playing musical instruments and singing. Checked into the All Seasons Hotel, a great hotel by the way, they even had forks for the whole breakfast service, something the Comfort Inn in Novi did not have. Speaking of breakfast, normally I avoid breakfast in hotels. Sure the food is free and there is a reason why. Not at the All Seasons all I have to say is biscuits and gravy…and forks.

The great thing about the preview day is a really small crowd. We as a group were able to make several purchases and met a few artists without having to jostle and maneuver around throngs of people.

Highlights of Friday…

  • Tex and the Omelet Guy
  • A lady really into Munchkin who gave me a Infinity Gauntlet promo just for talking to her (I have been after one of these cards since Munchkin Marvel was released)
  • Barb and the kids played a game, great to see our kids open to playing a game in the middle of a game room with unknowns
  • Getting a custom Thanos piece of art for Big Man
  • Meeting the Manley Cartoonist, I have been following him on Instagram and finally met him, very cool
  • Bumping into people from Motor City who remembered us

Saturday is the main convention day, everyone vendor and guest wise is there, as are the crowds. We went because we had tickets and we had scouted out booths we wanted to visit and a few games we wanted to take part in. Unfortunately, due to one person waking the rest of us up 3 hours early, there was a lack of energy and patience. This meant that after a few hours everyone was ready to leave. We did not attend the panels or join in the games we wanted to.

Sunday the other best day to go. Kids costume contest in the morning, then smaller crowds and good sales. Except we were still wiped from Saturday. However, that did not stop us for going, picking up the last few things we wanted (see it Friday and mull it over until Sunday) and because of this our boy who made an adult decision to NOT spent 115 dollars got an 80 model for 40.

While this was not perfect, this was a great weekend get away that has become family tradition. Hopefully, next year goes better, until then we need to unpack and play with our toys. Speaking of which, I did get comic books, lots of comic books, seems that if you express interest in an artist’s work they will sell you multiple issues at a discount. 🙂

 

Games We Play: Food Can Wait, We Are Gaming

We are a gamer family, you know this, but I like to establish some credentials first. 🙂 While home we play big games. Games that take time and space to play. Such as Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Warhammer, and Forbidden Stars. Between big games we play smaller gamers. Games that take little time and space to play. Such as Get Bit, Roll For It, and Tiny Epic Galaxies or Kingdoms.

Our boy, after watching Tabletop Star Realms episode, wanted a deck of his own to take to school. Awesome, he wants to teach his friends how to play and start his own gamer group. Fully behind this and secretly hoping traveling games would travel with us, I got him his own deck.

And that deck went to school the next day. My only guidelines, no playing class, no variant rules (he likes to make his own rules that ensure his victory and everyone elses dislike of his variant rule), and if you get the deck taken away from you at school you are on your own for getting a new deck.

Each day a new game report, mostly interrupted games-lunch ended, recess ended, the wind started, and so on. He is getting his friends involved. At home we already play Star Realms, so all this did was increase the frequency of games. Surprsing to me, he began to bring Star Realms with him everywhere we go. Now, I have tried prior to this to bring games and have had no luck engaging people, which is why I expected the same result.

I was wrong and I am glad to be wrong. Provided someone is sitting across from him he pulls out Star Realms and a game ensues. And because of these experiences we have started to amass knowledge on the do’s and don’ts of gaming at a restaurant.

For games like Star Realms, two sides with a central row of cards, figure out a way to layout the game to take up less space, in this case the explorer cards which are always available are stacked underneath the draw deck, still visible and easy to draw. In addition, loss the authority life counter cards, they take up too much space, a napkin and a pen more efficient and space saving.

Learn how dining works. This is more for the kids playing than the adults. Waitstaff have a rhythm, some are good, some are bad, most fall between that. They want to greet, take your drinks, bring you drinks, take order, bring food, and check out how things are going. Adults know this. Kids may know this, but when deep in a game could care less.

Thus, games have to wait until they know what they want to order. Thankfully ours have learned how to order. Games need to proceed quicker than at home. Nothing irritates waitstaff like having to wait for a game to finish or clear out before food can be served. Of course, if the waitstaff has already demonstrated they are screw ups, an extra minute of holding plates wont hurt them.

Be prepared to explain to the waitstaff they game. Some waitstaff has genuinely been interested in the game. Just don’t let you overeager children explain, take the time as an adult to learn the game (you should be a gamer) and explain to the waitstaff. Service goes up when the waitstaff are also gamers.

I’m sure we will learn more as gaming continues. 🙂

Gaming, Painting, Grilling Oh My!

I’m waiting for a wash to dry, otherwise I would be relaxing and recharging the batteries some more. This weekend is all about relaxing, enjoying company of friends and family, and taking the time to enjoy life. Toss in learning how to use a grill and paint. 🙂

Without a doubt the biggest thing this weekend has been not writing anything at all. I’m a big fan of taking time off from writing, not weeks, just a couple of days in a row. Cease thinking about the characters and their issues and focus on me…and my issues. Biggest issue I run into is rushing a story to the “end” instead of taking the time to allow the story to grow. This is funny to me because as a GM (Gamemaster) for over 20 years rushing a story only leads to a bad game. Yet, it has only been in the last few years that I put the connection between running a game and writing a story together.

The need to slow down is one of the reasons our weekends are usually game filled, the other reason is games are fun. This weekend was less games and more prep for future games. We did play Rise of the Goblins and while we won the scenario the die rolls pointed to a disaster if we kept playing. Which is why we put Rise of the Goblins up and played a lot of Roll For It. I know, irony, the dice in one game say bad things ahead (lots of 1’s rolled) and pick up a game that is ONLY die rolling.

Yesterday, nice transition, was all about figuring out how to get a fire to do more than flare up and die out before the food was on the grill. I love our old grill, but without the ability to move the fire away from the food burning happened more often than not. The new grill gives me control, but new is also a learning experience. So far, grill 1.5 to me .5. The food was great, the process a pain in the butt.

In and around grilling, painting. There are four people assembling, painting, or pointing (scoring) Warhammer 40K armies out at anyone time. Crazy at times when all four are painting and assembling at one time. There is a certain rhythm like a well oiled machine when people can pass around paint, glue, offer advice, assist with assembling, and pass tools. When that rhythm hits, everyone can do what they want at the table without interruption. When the rhythm is off, a lot of sighing, groaning, and cursing; not at each other but miniatures that refuse to cooperate. Yes, miniatures can refuse to cooperate; glue won’t adhere, paint rubs off, or the dreaded miniature makes a break for it by breaking when it slams into the floor. Miniatures should not try to escape.

Overall, a good weekend of relaxing and doing “stuff.” Tomorrow back to writing, Puddles and Whiskers have hammered my brain all weekend, so they get to come out and play. 🙂

Pink Tank, Big Table

Two weeks!

Two weeks without gaming.

This is a long dry spell for us.

The cracks are starting to show.

I know as I write this I am potentially cursing this weekend in the same way someone washing their car causes rain, BULLSHIT I say. The ick has left the house, Barb’s work schedule has cleared, and other obstacles to three days of gaming have been cleared.

The funny thing is long periods, in this case two weeks after months of gaming, really do affect all us in different ways. Moodiness, listlessness, and the constant talk about the games we could be playing “if this and that” weren’t in the way. To distract most of us, we have painted and planned. Lots of miniatures sit on shelves in rows waiting their chance to hit the tabletop and wage war for us.

We cannot wait to see them and show them to you. Sure there will be plenty of gray figures (those not painted yet), but the focus for us will be playing. To that end we have a laundry list of games to play and while I am positive not all of them will get played, we will do our damndest to game.

At this moment, our new game table has Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Rise of the Goblins set up, waiting for us to gather round tomorrow evening. The new table is almost as exciting as the thought of playing. For years we have tried to cram one game after another on a long diner table. Games require space and a diner table has space for food and feasts and no matter what size feast we have had just about every game takes up more space.

Frustration they name is when there is not enough space to roll dice without scattering pieces or needing a second table to hold other pieces. Frustration begone! Devil us no more, at least at the gaming table. That picture is our new gaming table, notice the space! I said NOTICE THE SPACE! Everyone has enough space for their character and the pieces necessary for play. Hot damn!

This table allows us to play miniature games, such as Warhammer 40k as they were meant to be played, with space to set up terrain, armies, and move them about without knocking just about everything around.

So here is the deal, I hope, starting sometime in the evening Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Rise of the Goblins. I think we are shooting for finishing the first Adventure Deck. Then a mini-game of Get Bit, Roll For It, or Oregon Trail. Something small and light to break up the long games of Pathfinder.

The next day, Warhammer 40k. I have to teach the rules to three people that I know of and they have been working on their miniatures to one extent or another and want to play badly. Which brings me around to a request from our daughter, a pink tank to match (match is used rather liberally) her pink Imperial Guard squad.

I have no problem at all painting miniatures anyway someone wants. I use the various and numerous army lists and images as reference only. I have painted armies solid black with anarchy symbols, another like KISS, another with pinstripes, another with bubblegum balls as camouflage, and so on. My paint jobs have driven many a purist into a frothy rage. Fine with me, I play better than I paint. So, over the last two weeks I have painted a lot of figures for play, tonight I finally got to her tank; right now base coat of pink, bright blue tiger stripes to come. 🙂

And after all of the above is done there is talk of Sushi Go Party! and Tokaido. If all goes well (knocking on wood) there will be several Games We Play. 🙂

Games We Play: Except We Didn’t Play

We, meaning myself and others (notably our  boy) have busted their butts for the past few weeks for this weekend. Busted their butts how?

  • Picking a Warhammer 40k army (space marines, tyranid, tau, imperial guard, and possible showing of chaos)
  • Painting much of their army
  • Pointing out their army (200 and 500 point chunks)

All to be ready to Play their army in a series of games this weekend.

We even got really lucky and found a 4×4 folding sides on wheels table for a great price. For the first time in ages, we have a gaming table. Terrain, not Lego, was assembled, some painted, and lovingly looked at by all players in anticipation of blowing the shit out of each other.

Plans, not that we plan much, instead an order was determined, smaller games 200 points to a side at most, no vehicles-think Kill Team without the specialist rules-where everyone not familiar with the rules could learn the rules, ask questions, roll fist fulls of dice, and make tweaks to their armies. Following a break with mini-games, such as the newly acquired Oregon Trail (a whole other post), bigger games, up to 500 points no limitations, on a side, slowly escalating the learning curve.

A whole weekend was set to go…

the first sign of something wrong, a sniffle. Oh sure, sniffle here sniffle there and soon sniffles everywhere. Sniffles lead to a runny nose, a cough, then…

worse this was not limited to the children. I am not implying that had only the children been sick the adults would have played, because I am not that kind of gamer…what I am implying is that had the disease been limited to them the adults could make up their own minds if they wanted to be around our sick kids, further what I hoped for was the miraculous recovery power that children seem to have. If you are a parent you are familiar with child sick one day and the next like nothing happened…

then the first adult succumbed to the disease…

then another.

Here I am, the only non-sick person, eating tons of uber spicy food to burn out any hint of disease, make my body not hospitable to any illness, and because I love spicy food, writing a post. Not a post celebrating our hard work and fun times. No a dirge to the illness that laid our group low.

There will be other times when we can get together for a three day weekend, I know this, but I hate to see so much effort and desire go unused, not wasted, just unused for now.

In a silver lining way, we have a gaming table and it is awesome. We have terrain built and now have time to make the terrain look awesome. Everyone has an army and knows what they need to paint to be ready. This means people have more time to paint, always a plus.

Soon enough everyone will be back on their feet, at the table, rolling fist fulls of dice, as war is waged in plastic.

Throwing My Brain At The Wall

Every now and again, I have to vomit forth the things on my mind to clear out the clamoring and often competing voices. Oh, nothing major or earthshaking that I am aware of, just a lot of stuff going on in one moment of time and I need to clear the space lest the various things cause me to stop working. Some people might call this venting, ranting, a primal scream, or whathaveyou…me, just part and parcel of my head.

To start, other than some family stuff (not Barb and kids) which depending upon who (m) I listen to may or may not be a major event now or down the road, when I find out which I will let you know, all is within the expected range. Barb is working. The kids are schooling. I am writing and taking care of everything not covered by the previous two sentences. There does seem to be some changing of the weather sinus funk going around, but honestly if you knew my history with my sinuses, sinus funk is pretty normal.

The weather, a minor thing to be sure, is very odd even for Michigan, take this coming week: start cold, warm up, rain A LOT, then back to cold. Around this time of year, in the past, cold no rain was normal. Now I have no idea what to plan for because…weather. 🙂

A commenter on this post has gotten me thinking a lot about the cost of digital tabletop gaming products. It hasn’t been something I have thought much about until recently, which made the comment timing nice. Why haven’t I thought about it, because we settled into a few games and purchasing games is always something I do carefully…most of the time. However, recently with writing progressing well I have begun to think about publishing which leads to cost and then I made the mistake of looking into digital copies of books for Warhammer 40k, this did not make me happy. A PDF, interactive being a buzzword, is not worth 40.00 to me. This is not an unusual amount to charge for a PDF. A physical book is another thing, but a digital book, and maybe I am an outlier here, but I am a cheapass.

In other words, if I can’t hold it and put it on a shelf, I am not paying full price for a digital version. Sure I get to “own” it forever (or at least until my device takes a shit or a new version of the software comes along rendering my digital copy moot) and yes, it may indeed be “interactive,” but it is not a real physical object it is a copy of an existing object. Maybe DVD’s and Blu-Ray have spoiled me, but one of the reasons I still purchase a physical copy is because I get a digital copy for FREE. Perhaps game companies should ponder that model of sales.

Related to the above, and always on my mind is writing. I would like to write more, unfortunately my writing space is under destruction once again. This is not conducive to sitting and writing. This is conducive to writing a sentence and wanting to clean. I am hopeful that the Spring/Summer plans for destruction/construction will fix and improve my writing space, but for now…I am surrounded by a mess and it is bugging the piss out of me.

Ah…I feel better. Sure there is more, but I don’t want to bother you with painting, the various plans of destruction around here, summer plans, con season, publishing, writing, bills, and so on…not yet.