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. 🙂

Pulling Together As Only Goblins Can

We did it.

Black Fang, defeated. Oh sure, it took all of our resources, frogs, and right up against the time limit. What does that matter, nothing! We five goblins defeated a dragon.

For goblins they have some really kick ass abilities and some unusual ones to boot. However with five games under our belt, three taking on Black Fang, we are starting to get the gist of being a goblin. Such as, do not send or let Chuffy Lickwound do anything with Charisma. Why, because he adds a d8 to the difficulty of any Charisma check. Yes, so ugly he makes things worse.

Zabini can see the future, as long as someone at her location has gotten punched in the nose. Surely that cannot be right, but it is and her ability to the see the future is less impressive than it sounds as she is not looking at the future of the location, but the future of your character deck. Something akin to looking into someone’s pocket while they are looking for their wallet and telling them that the next thing they will pull out is a wallet.

Tup has a goat he can’t seem to get rid of and the ability to turn anything into a fire spell. Goat is a pain and fire spell out of anything is awesome until you realize only at the end of a game that unchecked you can literally burn through your life. And it makes deck building a pain in the ass to boot.

Reta can shoot anything except when Reta has an icy longspear. Why does Reta have an icy longspear? Her player, our girl, saw the icy longspear, missed getting one, and then got one via lucky end game loot draw and has loved it ever since. What else does Reta do? Unless killing is involved nothing much, but she is good at killing so that works for now.

Poog is a mixed goblin, part fighter, part divine spell caster, and when played by our friend part awesome at killing things and part “I’m casting Cure on me again.” One game sooner or later Poog will standout in a way that makes Poog make sense…we hope, but until now Poog can do it all including healing you as long as you play a blessing on a check that Poog is making; think of it as making a donation to the church (of goblins) to get healing…one card of healing.

On our own we are a very mixed bag of success, failure, and hilarity. Together there is strength. The pairing of Chuffy and Tup is powerful as they cover each other well and while one of Chuffy’s abilities is lost with Tup around, Tup’s ability to give a bonus to checks at the expense of a wound or two or three kinda balances out.

Next up, visiting Sandpoint where goblins who look suspiciously like us are attacking.

Games We Play: Rise of the Goblins, Me-Lee & Veterinarians

Welcome back to Rise of the Runelords GOBLINS! Our happy band of goblins are still stuck on the third scenario of the introductory adventure. I seem to recall a time LOOOOoooooong ago when our non-goblin characters went through something similar as we figured out how best to work out group. This feels similar, in that we are still learning what goblins can and cannot do. Interestingly enough, our group of goblins has one of everything other than someone who wears heavy armor and who needs that?

Our biggest issue is deck stall and the occasional crappy roll at a critical moment. Deck stall for those not familiar with the term is when you have a hand of cards that are not useful. Typically, in Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, this means that you have a hand of weapons or cards you want to save for later. Weapon cards tend to stay in your hand until you discard one in an emergency or as damage. Cards you want to save for later are your “cool” cards. You want to keep them because they do “cool” things, but for the moment they are not useful.

The effect of deck stall in a PACG is you make one explore a turn unless the explored card gives you a second exploration. One exploration a turn really slows a game down; a player would need 11 turns to get through a location deck, players do not get 11 turns in a game, thus multiple explorations and some luck are required.

Pair multiple deck stall with inopportune crappy die rolls, such as when Zibini faced off against a very early Ancient Skeleton and rolled 3 one’s. Five damage later and deck stall was a good thing for her. Or when Reta did kill her Ancient Skeleton, but botched (more than our share of botches appeared at the table) her To Close roll.

On the plus side we have learned to stop using Blessing of the Gobs to take blessings from the blessing deck, costing us turns. This is a huge step in the right direction. There have not been any moments of goblin math, goblin language continues to evolve…

Me Lee said in a cute girl’s voice, as our daughter has not pronounced melee correctly yet and will correct people who do, “Not melee, Me Lee!”

And don’t ask how or why, but there was a rash of veterinarians in our game. I wish I had an answer for why there were Mercenary veterinarians and undead veterinarians. Honestly, I did not think that animal doctors had so many varied backgrounds and yet there they were fighting us and saving animals along the way. Very odd indeed.

I wish I could say that Black Fang the Dragon was kicking our collective green butts and that is why we keep losing. He is not and we are losing, but we are still GOBLINS!

Games We Play: Life Interrupts

I was planning on writing about Rise of the Runelords GOBLINS, Tanks, and our first foray into Warhammer 40k in two years, unfortunately life interrupts.

We did play another Rise of the Goblins scenario, Black Fang…and it went as well as most goblin oriented things tend to do which is funny and not as expected. We lost the scenario, we ran out of time. Why did we run out of time, because we kept playing Blessing of the Gobs and taking a blessing off the blessing deck, shortening our game by 4 turns.

Combine our short (ha) sighted planning with a run of bad luck and universal deck stalling, except for the goblins getting the tar beat out of them and you have how we lost. We came close to winning when Black Fang was revealed, defeated, revealed the next player’s turn, and then he ate a goblin…so close to winning in goblin terms.

This morning was supposed to be Tanks-our girl’s Tiger Force vs in her words “whateveryouthrowonthetable ” (said as one word) and a clash between a squad of space marines and genestealers in a return to Warhammer 40k.

Alas, our girl is sick. No Tanks and instead of playing Warhammer 40k our boy worked on building more of his Tyranid army while I finished painting a few more space marines.

Two or three years ago, being overindulgent parents and having a surplus of cash, we purchased a starter set of Warhammer 40k for our boy who expressed a HUGE interest in the game. Unfortunately, he was not interested in learning the following:

  • The rules
  • How to assemble his miniatures
  • How to paint his miniatures
  • How to play with his miniatures

Cue sad parents and 40k going on the shelf. At the time we lived on campus and I had no real way to set up for painting, which may have interested him.

Fast Forward two to three years, once again he expressed interest, once again I said yes, EXCEPT he had to read the rulebook AND his tyranid book cover to cover. He did or is in the process. Suffice to say he has done enough on his own that game on. 🙂

In addition to reading the rules he has been learning how to paint his miniatures. Anyone who has painted an army knows that initially looking at all of the unpainted miniatures is intimidating. When painting for the first time, overwhelming. To ease his concerns, one squad at a time with plenty of assistance from me. He currently has three figures painted and is working on three more.

paintingWhile he read and learned to paint I started painting again (see photo). I have not painted (in this quantity or detail) in over five years. And like him I was not looking forward to painting all of the miniatures, however as I wrote before painting and writing are similar skill sets to me. Within a week I was painting and writing; write until I stop, then paint for a few, then back to writing. The combination is very good for the creative process and has gotten me closer to center than I have been in a long time.

Hopefully illness passes by without much more note and gaming resumes. 🙂

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.

Games We Play: Wrath of the Righteous

For me there is a tipping point between wanting to play, even desiring to play, and not wanting to play. Wrath of the Righteous is closing in on the not wanting to play. Between Rise of the Runelords, Skulls and Shackles, and Wrath of the Righteous, Rise of the Runelords has been the most fun. Skulls and Shackles was last (lack of interesting rules and usage of boats and a storyline that did not catch our collective interest), but now, near the very end, Wrath of the Righteous is getting on my nerves. A game that gets on my nerves, does not see a lot of play.

Part of the reason Wrath is getting on my nerves is because of our group, a paladin, a hunter, and a reformed demon. Sounds like a fun group and maybe in another set they are, but in Wrath there is a distinct lack of a certain weapon type in comparison to others, ranged weapons. Yes, there are ranged weapons, but GOOD ranged weapons are hard to find and when two characters are ranged weapon users splitting up the small pool of available weapons is problematic.

There are other problems with our group that are exacerbated by Wrath. We lack the ability to tackle challenges in several areas that Wrath seems to encourages, such as Intelligence and Knowledge checks. Overall, our group is not a good group for Wrath and that is a problem.

Our group issues noted, the primary increase in challenge for Wrath seems to come from higher numbers. Makes sense, but there are other creative ways to challenge characters. The last few adventures have felt like practice for a math test and not like a game.

This might not be such an issue except that after all of the math, the rewards, especially in the last Adventure Deck have been less than stellar. If I defeat a demon lord, I want awesome loot. Something that says, “I defeated Bob Demon Lord of Cheesy Chicken Strips.”

Most of the rewards either go back in the box because a reward from an earlier Adventure Deck is better or are character improvement boxes. Unfortunately, by Adventure Deck 6, the character improvement boxes are not that interesting because I used earlier character improvement rewards to check off all of the useful boxes. Meaning, for defeating the demon lord, I get to add +1 to a check or look at a second card.

I understand the design philosophy of making sure any character can play in any set. I wonder though, since Wrath is supposed to represent truly higher level of play is alternate versions of the character sheets could be made where there are still interesting character choices to make near the end of the game and rewards that stand out.

Will Wrath see more play. Definitely, the storyline is catchy and we have lots of character combos to try.