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August 30, 2005

So, How Did They Know?

Another weird 40th birthday thing...

Both my parents and my friends Julia and Lou ended up selecting the same birthday card, a particularly funny card of a squirrel having a very squirrel-like mid-life crisis.

Which seems a bit odd to me, since while I do find squirrels very funny, and even have a half-formed squirrel-based RPG idea (kinda Bunnies and Burrows but with nuts and lots of tree-climbing), it really isn't something I often talk about. And while I did have a stuffed toy squirrel in my youth that was my favorite of favorite toys (named, naturally enough, Rocky, after the coolest squirrel ever), that was decades ago, and again not a regular topic of conversation. It's not like I'm much like the wanna-be super-hero from the last episode of the Tick animated ("The Tick vs. Education"), though it is true that I do like squirrels.

So just how is it I get squirrel-related birthday cards from two directions (who have never even met)?

Life's weird sometimes.

Posted by ghoul at 09:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 29, 2005

Corrections Completed

And, with no more effort than I expected (and some very helpful and friendly store staff), I've managed to exchange of the unusable 250GB UltraATA drive for a 300GB SATA drive, which is now happily soaking up my TV episodes, which will half-fill it all in one go.

But now I'll have around 280 usable GB of free space, so perhaps another year before I have to start worrying about cleaning up and deleting unnecessary things and such.

You know, if I didn't need more reminders of my age (yesterday being my 40th birthday and all), it's really odd to remember back to when getting an expansion pack to take my computer from 4k to 16k was a big deal. And I just spent less money to add over 20 million times as much storage with no more real effort.

Hmmm... gonna have to find a way to add an "uphill both ways" and maybe an "and we liked it" to that story.

Posted by ghoul at 07:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 28, 2005

The Universe Celebrates No Birthdays

I knew things were off to a shaky start when my D&D group ended up having to get a 2nd cake for me, because the first one was marbled with chocolate (to which I am allergic). But they'd handled that, and gotten me a perfectly yummy cake all to myself.

So, then, I get home today and find that FedEx has delivered my non-game present to myself early (yesterday rather than the expected Tuesday), so I'd actually have it on the day! And I didn't tell FedEx it was my birthday or anything.

I shut down my G5, pop open the side, examine the bay...

And find that the nifty, low-cost 250GB drive I'd bought was Ultra ATA while PowerMacs need Serial ATA. That is, not remotely compatible (without an interface card that would cost nearly as much as the drive or an adaptor plug of questionable merits).


Fortunately, it seems the local CompUSA (40 miles away, but that's local enough, since it's still within the state) will be able to do an exchange to a 300GB SATA drive for only about a 50% price increase. Plus drive times, of course. Probably be doing that tomorrow or Tuesday (because said drive is on sale this week and may go out of stock if I don't head down there soon).

Ahh, well, if it had all gone without at least a little hitch, it wouldn't've been MY birthday.

Posted by ghoul at 07:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 26, 2005

Reviews and Comments (Part 2)

I'm working my way through the next couple of RPGs (With Great Power... and Burning Wheel are my current top priorities, with Capes close behind), but I've taken a break for some of the smaller, quicker board game reads...

In the extended entry lie comments on Saboteur, Wench, the Hollywood Card Game, and MidEVIL.

Saboteur - First off, this game reminded me of something I should have known... just because I haven't seen a game mechanic before doesn't mean it's new. The mechanic for determining which players are gold-diggers (I would have translated this "miners") or saboteurs is very much like that used in Shadows Over Camelot, excepting that here, if there are more than 4 players, there will certainly be at least one saboteur. The game is fairly simple, with players laying out tunnel segments each turn to either try to connect to the goal cards (one of which pays off with gold if connected to the entry spot) or prevent the same, depending if they are a gold-digger or a saboteur. A few special action cards can modify the cards already in play or prevent a player from making progress until they find a "repair" card (reminiscent of the classic Mille Borne, which is never a bad thing). Gold-Diggers and saboteurs score points as teams, though the gold-digger who actually strikes gold and those counter-clockwise of that player are likely to get the most. All in all, an interesting game, probably just about as long as it needs to be (you play three full hands, starting the map fresh and re-assigning roles before each). It certainly makes the "want to play a couple of times" list.

Wench - I expected something fairly silly with silly-sexy art, and that's all this is. It's pretty much a standard "dump all your cards" game, much like the Cheepass classic Give Me The Brain only with scantily costumed babes on most cards and some rather unique card effects. Most cards require or are triggered by certain behaviors (resting your elbow on the table, cheering other players on, etc.). It's rather silly, and obviously intended as a drinking game (despite the long, lawyerly paragraph toward the end of the rules explaining that it really isn't a drinking game, but if you want to play it as one, you should obey all local laws, designate a driver, etc., etc.). Oh, and the cards are also marked with traditional 52 card suits and ranks, so you can ignore the game and just play poker (or, I suppose, a card-using RPG like Castle Falkenstein or With Great Power...). Bought on a whim, probably will do little more than sit around.

The Hollywood Card Game - Another quick and light card game. Here, a certain number of film and star cards are laid out each turn, and players go around the table claiming them, then assembling them into movies. The trick is that you claim them by column, putting a marker on the bottom card and shifting other markers on that column up. Thus, you won't necessarily get the card you claim! Completed films score points equal to the number of film cards of the same suit (they come in "horror", "action", and "romantic comedy") multiplied by the Star Power of the attached lead actor. Incomplete projects at game's end are worth nothing (except your largest, which is scored as if it had a rank 1 start). It's fairly abstract and a little arbitrary, but there are enough cards put out each round (and a couple of special actions each player can do once per game to modify the usual card-claiming order) to make it strategically interesting. This one will make the "play it to see if it works" stack.

MidEVIL - A successor game to the popular (and played out, probably one expansion set before they stopped producing them) Zombies!!! series, being a quite transparent but unofficial Army of Darkness game (unofficial because there is an official Army of Darkness game, and this isn't it). Instead of Zombies, we get Skeletons. And we're in the past. Oh, and the object is "find the graveyard, pick up the Necronomicon, carry it back to the starting space and end the curse" rather than "find the helicopter and escape". The general mechanics are familiar from Zombies!!!, but with the improvements of having done it before. Here, skeletons come in three colors, each equally easy to kill but worth different amounts (1-3 points) as rewards if killed. Thus, you have the added strategic choices around placing or moving skeletons to try to block opponents with low-point white skeletons while placing higher-value red or blue skeletons around for you to snatch up. Also, grey human figures are placed on the board which can be picked up for healing. There are lots of plastic bits in this game... 100 skeletons (40 white, 40 red, and 20 blue) and 56 humans (50 grey to use as markers, 6 in unique colors to use as player pieces), plus a deck of cards and 30 map tiles from which you build the board. This looks to be better than Zombies!!! because there's more to do and some real competition for the end-game rather than just (relatively) dumb luck of finding the helicopter. Points off for a 50 card deck with only one non-duplicate and for not clearly indicating passible from impassible squares on the map tiles. Probably best played after re-watching Army of Darkness as a mood-setter. Not that I ever have a problem with watching Army of Darkness.

Posted by ghoul at 03:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 25, 2005

Reviews and Comments (Part 1)

Here, I'll take a look at the games I read or experienced at the Con and those I couldn't pass up reading right away, either because they were too darn tempting or because they were nice and short.

Of coure, board games take a lot less time to read than RPGs, so this list is mostly them... Most of these comments are for games I'd already read or had taught to me at the con itself.

Under the fold, you'll find comments on InSpecters, Beowulf, Paranoia Manditory Bonus Fun, Poison, and Dungeon Twister.

InSpecters: I'd read the free start-up version, but that leaves out some of the really cool parts of this very clever RPG. InSpecters attempts to fix one of the more nagging RPG problems, the inherent frustration of playing mysteries (either as GM or as player). The fix used is simple and elegant... Rather than creating all the clues in advance and waiting for the players to find them, an InSpecters GM creates an initial mystery and sets its difficulty (the number of clues needed to solve it). The players then send their characters off investigating, using whatever skills or contacts they wish. The clues are created on-the-fly among the players (including the GM) and the solution to the mystery comes once there are sufficient clues to meet the difficulty requirement and a satisfactory linking story is developed, again on-the-fly among the players. Pure gold! Added to this is a clever setting (a parody of the dot-com venture capital world, here with startup paranormal investigators rather than internet companies) with a nearly perfect blend of seriousness and humor (think Ghostbusters, and done well rather than overdosed on the silly as the actual Ghostbusters RPG tended to be). Also present is a reality-TV-inspired "confessionals" mechanic, whereby a player can step out of the plot and do a direct-to-the-audience monolog, commenting on the goings-on either to set up a scene or the comment on other characters. But it isn't just fluff... the rules make comments made in confessionals a source of bonuses, so long as you play your character the way the confessional framed them. I love game mechanics that do multiple things at once, and InSpecters is a great example of this kind of elegance. Highest ratings (and I'm almost certainly going to be using it for a future AmberCon game)!

Beowulf: The Legend - I did not know this game would be at the con (it wasn't supposed to be released until this fall), but when I saw it, I made an immediate purchase. It obeyed my Reinier Knizia rule, which is (stated simply) "If it's by Knizia, buy it, then look at the theme". On Sunday, I carried the box back to the booth to have it signed by the creator, and since the line was short, I even got a brief summary of the rules from the man himself. I later got to play most of a game at the booth. Beowulf is set up as the maneuvering of the followers of the great hero to get the best leavings as the epic adventures occur. Cards come in suits representing Courage, Travel, Fighting, Fellowship, Wit, and Beowulf (a wild suit), and each challenge must be met with a specified combination of suits. The player who best meets the challenge gets first pick of the rewards, then continuing down the ranks. Rewards include Fame, Treasure, Alliance Scrolls (which are either Fame or Treasure, but in random and secret amounts), Healing, Cards, special single-use cards (representing unique treasures or the favor of the minor characters of the story), Penalty Markers, or Wounds. Yes, rewards can be bad; you don't want to come too low in the picking order or that's all you'll have to take. Each challenge has its own unique reward set, representing what can happen in the story at that point. It's a bit abstract (it is, after all, a Knizia game!), but it plays nicely and reasonably quickly (45 minutes to an hour, including teaching the rules). There is a Knizia scoring twist (he tends to always provide one)... At the end of the game, having no wounds is worth +5 Fame, having 1 or 2 wounds means nothing, but having 3 or more means -5 Fame per wound. Ouch! And it's quite pretty, with an L-shaped board, John Howe illustrations of Beowulf, Grendal, the Sea Hag, the Great Dragon, etc. It's not quite as deep a game as its larger-sized box implies (it's the same size box as the component-rich and long-playing Arkham Horror, for example), but it's certainly a worthy game.

Paranoia Manditory Bonus Fun Card Game - I love Paranoia. I have since it first came out, years ago. And now, there's a way to play Paranoia without the bother of a GM and thinking up original missions. Manditory Bonus Fun sets the players up as Troubleshooters in the insane dystopia that is Alpha Complex, nominally working as a team (though it's really every clone for himself). The game ends when one player dies for the 6th time (using up all their clones), at which point you check and see who has the highest security clearance and they're the winner. Until then, you deal out missions, resolve them by playing action cards (which can also have effects other than on the mission; in fact, each card has more than one possible use, though only the one chosen by the player takes effect when played). Players accumulate wounds and treason points, with the former possibly killing you directly and the later indirectly. Interaction is complex and often unpredictable, but great fun. The componant quality is a slight let-down (what art there is is mostly reprinted from earlier Paranoia products, often too small to really be enjoyed, and the markers are particularly dull, just colored circles with "Treason" or "Wound" printed on them), but the game is quite nice.

Poison - Another Knizia game, which meant I bought it as soon as I found the right booth. This one is a light card game, having four suits (three colors and "poison") of numbered cards. Each hand, players try to deal away all their cards onto cauldrons (you have to match the color already played on that Cauldron, except you can always tip in some Poison). If the card you play takes the total on that Cauldron over 13, you are forced to claim the cards. Every card claimed in a round is a point (Poison cards are 2 points), and you want the least points after one hand per player is played. Oh, but here's the Knizia scoring twist... Whoever captures the most of each color (not including Poison) doesn't have to score that color of cards (they "build up an immunity")! So what you get is a sort of Hearts-style trick-taking-avoidance (unless you can get the most) game, though with a rather unique way of defining "tricks". A nice little passtime game.

Dungeon Twister - This game was a big hit at Origins this year, which was interesting because it wasn't actually available there (or at GenCon, at least until Saturday). I've been told it's actually the first game to make it into the top 100 at BoardGameGeek without being printed in English first. And I can see why. This is a very pretty game, a cleverly themed game, and a very fun game. At first blush, it looks kind of like the classic Wiz-War, but in practice that resemblance is barely skin-deep; both games involve dungeons randomly built out of square map pieces that can sometimes be rotated to modify the map. That's it. Whereas Wiz-War is a highly random, very chaotic game, Dungeon Twister has no random elements except the map; whereas Wiz-War is single wizards (and possibly their summoned creatures), Dungeon Twister is teams of eight adventurers, each with their own specific abilities and talents. Players must allocate their action cards (which allow a different number of activations per turn, 2 thru 5) and combat cards (which add to the total on their side), with non-zero combat cards usable only once in the game and action cards only available for use after you've used them all. The object is to score 5 points, with points coming by getting a character off the opposing side of the dungeon board (that is, out through the opponent's starting row), killing an opponent's adventurer (that is, wounding them twice). Bonus points come for leaving the board with a Treasure or as the Goblin character (a weak adventurer whose only power is that he's worth 2 points if he can escape). Character art is excellent, the eight adventurers offered are nicely distinctive and all useful in different ways, and play is tightly balanced and tense. Magic items are distributed around the board (placed by the players pre-game, then located exactly on the map when it is revelaed by exploration in play) to offer even more special effects. Promised expansions (some already out in France) expand the game to 3 or 4 players and add additional adventurer classes to choose from. This is a game to watch, because it deserves to be a big hit. My only caveat is that my copy came with only 14 bases for the 16 stand-up adventurer pieces, so I have to raid another game to finish the set.

More reviews to follow.

Posted by ghoul at 05:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 24, 2005

Laugh Honorably!

Klingon Fairy Tales

(Seen at ***Dave's)

Posted by ghoul at 05:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 23, 2005


In the hopes that more up-to-date software will assist in preventing future blog self-destructions as we managed to repair a month ago, this blog has now been updated to MT3.2beta5. There have been some other, behind the scenes, updates as well.

Please report any oddities you may experience.

Posted by ghoul at 04:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Reviews and Comments (Prelude)

Okay, I bought a lot of stuff at GenCon (and in Cincinnati on the way to GenCon). Below the fold is the whole list.

I'd like anyone who is interested to post asking about any game they'd like to hear more about. That will help me with the astonishing task of actually sorting through and prioritizing!

This list will take quite a while to get through...

Against the Reich
Breaking the Ice
Bruning Wheel (Revised)
Cartoon Action Hour
City of Brass
Conspiracy of Shadow
Dogs in the Vineyard 2005
Dungeons & Zombies
Eldrich Ass Kicking
Enemy Gods
Game of Thrones Limited Edition
Iron Heroes
Paranoia WMD
Riddle of Steel Expansions
Robots and Rapiers
Rpma Imperator
Solid - The Blaxploitation Experience
Squirrel Attack
Tunnels & Trolls 5.5 edition
Tunnels & Trolls 30th Anniversary (7th)
Terra Primate
The Imp Game
The Mountain Witch
The Shadow of Yesterday
With Great Power

Older RPGs
GURPS Age of Napoleon
GURPS Castle Falkenstein
GURPS Castle Falkenstein - The Ottoman Empire
GURPS Conspiracy X

Board/Card Games
7 Ages
Alexander the Great
All but 3 Anachronism Decks
Atlas & Zeus
Camelot Legends
Captain Treasure Boots
Clash of Kings
Conquest of the Empire
Dante's Inferno
Diceland Penny Arcade
Dork Tower
Dungeon Twister
En Guarde
Fishing for Terrorists
Gloom: Unhappy Homes
Gothica - Dracula's Revenge
HeroScape: Utgar's Rage (all 4 sets)
Hidden Conflict
India Rails/Nuclear War
Kung Fu Fighting
Paranoia Manditory Bonus Fun
Reiner Knizia's Poison
Run For Your Life Candyman!
Super Munchkin
The Award Show
The Haunting House
The Haunting House 2
The Hollywood Card Game
The Prince

Posted by ghoul at 11:00 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Further Aftermath

The drive home was actually quite nice. Very little traffic, good weather, and except that it takes 16 hours, very little by way of problems or difficulties.

And no, I didn't run out of gas this time. In fact, I passed 45.0 at 41332 miles, showing how nice that long-distance, fairly constant speed driving is to milage.

I'm recovering today, then I'm back to work tomorrow. That will probably be harder than the drive was.

Posted by ghoul at 09:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack





Sleep Now

Posted by ghoul at 12:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 21, 2005

GenCon Day 4

Early morning breakfast buffet with Julia and Lou, then off to a With Great Power demo. Just 2 players, so we did character design and managed (quite by accident, though helped a lot by the system's structure) to build almost mirror-image characters. It was just a demo (2 hours), so we barely got a taste of the (rather complex) workings of the game, but it was quite interesting nonetheless.

Then it was back into the dealer's room for "the big push". Yes, the earlier days are the "lighter" shopping...

Big purchase: Game of Thrones limited edition copy 737 of 2000 (Guardians of Order); MidEVIL, The Haunting House and The Haunting House 2, Hidden Conflict, The Award Show, and Dante's Inferno (Twilight Creations); Seasons (Dust Bunny games); Reiner Knizia's Poison (Playroom Entertainment); The Imp Game (Nate Peterson, via The Forge); GURPS Castle Falkenstein, Castle Falkenstein: The Ottoman Empire, and Age of Napoleon plus Dork Tower (Steve Jackson Games, mostly from discount table); Eldrich Ass Kicking, Orbit, Robots and Rapiers, The Kevin and Kel RPG (Key20); Cartoon Action Hour, Solid - The Blaxploitation Experience, Terra Primate, and GURPS Conspiracy X (Titan Games $5 per book table). Oh, and a "Bag of Holding" (oversized tote bag) and my one con t-shirt purchase, a tie-died gamer shirt that will likely become my choice for future Starchild play.

Whew! Dunno quite how I'm gonna fit all this in the car (or in the house once I'm home)!

Also, I was able to get my copies of both Knizia games purchased at the con (Poison and Beowulf) signed, while incoherently expressing my respect directly to the man I consider board/card gaming's greatest talent. Then he helped point me through how Beowulf worked (it seems mighty impressive to me!), which really makes me want to give this a real try rather than a demo room quickie!

Near closing time, I had a D&D mini and several spare Heroscape pieces from demonstration tables all but thrust upon me; I certainly won't complain.

Then, it was off to induce a meat coma with dinner at Ruth's Chris Steak House.

Tomorrow, it's all about the long drive.

Posted by ghoul at 03:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

GenCon Day 3 (PM)

Back into the ShadowWorld breach (after dinner with Julia and Lou)...

This one was quieter. A quick (2 week or so) cloning and Starchild was back on her (new) feet. The new mission was to do some clean-up on the prior night's case, including (though it wasn't a specific order) bringing back Starchild's original body. That was done reasonably cleanly, albeit we did have to deal with the problems of rescuing an aggressive mind controller from a cave-in. We had 3 Precogs and 3 people who could reduce or neutralize powers, so we were able to do that clean.

Then we went to Egypt and talked to Isis.

Oh, just what Starchild needed... another hyper-powerful being to tell her she was wrong about all too many things. And then, in a fit of pique, Starchild decides to show her up and do the sort of magic Isis said humans couldn't do. Upon proving she could, Isis stared her down, grew rather angry, and took the ability out of Starchild, encapsulating it in a gem and saying she has to give it back. This will need to be dealt with. And, I fear, much of the rest of Isis's lessons will be forgotten in the sudden worry about how John (the source of that ability, and Isis seems to believe its proper owner) will react...

And it was over early (before 2:30 AM)!

Posted by ghoul at 03:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 20, 2005

GenCon Day 3 (Midday)

Second dealer room pass completed...

Played a quick demo of Capes with the designer, which was great fun and made far more sense than I'd managed by reading the free demo rules.

Picked up Dungeon Twister (Asmodee); Gloom: Unhappy Homes (Atlas); a Dragon issue I'd missed between subscriptions; and Conquest of the Empire and Wench! (Eagle). Yeah, Wench! looks pretty silly and cheesecakey, but what's wrong with that, I ask you?

Now, I take a nap.

More gaming after dinner.

Posted by ghoul at 02:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

GenCon Day 3 (AM)

No NASCRAG advance for us (though Lou is an alternate). I suspect we missed a side-quest that is important for the next stage of the plot.

So I shopped and hung out at some demos with Lou and Julia to pass the AM.

Additional Purchases: Dogs in the Vineyard (GenCon 2005 printing), Jihad (from the Forge booth); Alexander the Great (from Mayfair); Santiago, Parthenon, Saboteur, and Camelot Legends (from Z-Man, where I also got a couple handy Shadowfist utility cards to mark "Burned for Victory"); Kung Fu Fighting, En Guarde!, and Fishing for Terrorists (from Slugfest), and Run For Your Life, Candyman! (from Smirk and Dagger).

Serenity still wasn't in (and will be Print On Demand when it arrives, so I'll almost certainly wait on the real thing), but I was told on the way to the hotel to dump off purchases that Dungeon Twister has arrived, so I'm back for the dealer's room after snagging lunch.

Somehow, John Wick has heard about my AmberCon Cats games, so I shared a few episodes when we crossed paths.

Edwin has explained to me the relative ease of becoming no-longer-somewhat-dead. As if Starchild wasn't weird enough to talk to, now she's been pretty much dead often enough to starting being casual about it.

Posted by ghoul at 01:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

GenCon Day 2 (PM)

I was lead to a fantastic sushi restaurant (Bistro Chopstix, in the 5th/3rd building on New York) for dinner. Yum! Thanks, Joe!

Then it was off to more ShadowWorld (I'd eaten dinner with most of those who were playing)... The mission itself was a huge mess, succeeding only (so far as I can see just now) in proving that one more potential target wasn't meaningful in the end (there's one less fake Arc of the Covenant out there, for all the good that does us). It also explained quite a bit to me about how I need to interact with Duncan (another PC)... Which is to say, I need to very carefully and mostly not interact with Duncan, particularly not using any of Starchild's powers. It turns out that too close a connection was forged and the final result was a flashy and ugly death for both of us.

Which isn't half as bad as it sounds... The Circle is ready to rebuild Duncan (they've done so before), and while I wasn't able to figure out how to protect the two folk upstream of me (Starchild is part of a small but very close-knit -- that is, completely knotted up on a very deep level -- psychic "web"; there's just three of them), I did manage to get myself killed in a way that pushed my mind out of the immediate mess and back into the familiar knotted mess (if I understand correctly, I'm re-merged with Gail). I expect I'll be able to be separated from Gail and re-installed in yet another clone body on a reasonable turn-around (though last time they needed Duncan's help to do that separation... that could be a problem).

And, as this mission took place over a month after the one run 24 hours earlier, I had managed to re-create all my enchanted material, just in time to overload one of them in a completely futile attempt to prevent death. So, more workshop time once I am back to being me...

Today, I have NASCRAG (assuming we made round 2, which I think is fairly safe to assume) and then perhaps even more NASCRAG (if we make the finals) and/or more ShadowWorld (perhaps mainline timestream, where I'll know for sure if Starchild's alive, or WWII timestream where I'll see if Meyer can keep himself in far less trouble. He's just an Allied agent deep in Germany; so far as I know, he doesn't have a single personified force of nature or mentally linked nation wanting to kill him).

And, of course, more shopping.

Posted by ghoul at 09:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 19, 2005

GenCon Day 2

aka "Who Needs Sleep?"

Back up by 7:15, for a breakfast with Julia and Lou.

Grabbed another hour or so of nap time prior to getting to a Dogs in the Vineyard game. I put a trait on my character, expecting no chance to use it, but both the GM and I were amazed when the town he offered us (a corrupt rich man siphoning the money away from a struggling town of the Faithful) was easiest to take down by applying a youth spent learning shopkeeping and accountancy. (I was also a crack gunfighter, but I never drew my pistol). Great fun was had, some difficult issues needed to be faced but the amazingly capable characters Dogs provides made it well within our ability. I really, really want to play more of this game!

Then it was back to the dealer's room. I encountered two college roommates and a friend from the drama club, two of which now work for game companies!

I got to shake Ron Glass's hand and thank him for Firefly (while wearing my Blue Sun t-shirt). But that RPG sold out before I found their booth! (They may have more soft-cover printings in tomorrow, but I'll probably wait for a hard cover from my FLGS.)

And I spent money.

Riddle of Steel's three expansions are now mine; Paranoia's card game and WMD supplement; Roma Imperator and the bonus Squirrel Attack game; T&T's 30th anniversary edition and a replacement India Rails/Nuklear War variant; some bits from Cheapass Games so I could get the Penny Arcade Diceland die they were giving with purchase; and three Anachronism packs so I am now 2 from complete and was able to score 3 of the bonus packs as freebies.

So mostly an RPG day.

Tonight, it's more ShadowWorld!

Posted by ghoul at 06:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

GenCon Day 1

Twilight Imperium 3 rocks. It's a big, somewhat complex game, but as much fun to play (for those who like empire-building games) as it looks. Plus I got fairly lucky and managed a clear win. I could have been stopped on the last turn if the other 5 players had somehow been able to crack through both my outside fleet shell and my ludicrous home fleet (2 of the biggest ships in the game, the most anyone can have, and 3 of the next size down, plus a dozen or so fighters as screens and fodder), but no one had the resources in place to manage that (I'd been very friendly with my neighbors to that point). Go me!

Clear enough, in fact, that we ended 60 minutes early, and I was able to do a rapid (though expensive) dealer's room run.

Purchased: Order of the Stick Prequel Book plus 3 character pins and 2 t-shirts from Giant in the Playground; InSpecters, OctaNe, Against the Reich, Discordia, and Enemy Gods from the Wicked Dead/Memento Mori booth (thanks, again, Jared, for that Serenity ticket!); Beowulf, Descent, and the Hollywood Card Game from Fantasy Flight Games; and from the Forge booth...

City of Brass, Burning Wheel (the new set), Mountain Witch, With Great Power, Bacchanal, The Shadow of Yesterday, Conspiracy of Shadows, Capes, Polaris, and Breaking the Ice.


And thanks to Clinton and Paul for going through the long process of getting my credit card rung through. I doubt they were all that reluctant...

Then I joined Julia and Lou (plus 3 others, including the wife of one of the Twilight Imperium players from the AM) in NASCRAG (i.e., a D&D game with almost no rules and tons of silliness). We are... The Knights of Product Placement ("Your Business Name Here!")!! My math skills sang us through one puzzle like it didn't exist (I had it solved while the GMs were still stating it), and failed completely on a second (even though I knew how to do it, I just counted wrong). Julia and Lou ran us through one word puzzle in seconds as well. And we all did terrible accents (the characters are stereotypical Scots, Germans, pretty Southern girls, and, for Julia's character, a painfully Dru-ish Druid) and made horrible puns (I blame Lou... I try not to do puns). We ended a bit early (though we failed the time trial portion of the adventure, mostly because we and the GMs were giggling too much to push for the 30 minute limit). Great fun! And I fully expect we'll be playing in Round 2 on Saturday.

And, lastly, I went to ShadowWorld, not sure how long I'd be able to stay awake. It ended up to be 4:30 AM. And, as always, I'm in a far bigger mess at the end of the session than I was at the beginning. Starchild now owes the Queen of the Winter Court far more than I'm going to be comfortable paying, and is also starting over on all her recent enchantment work since the Queen wiped everything out with a wave of her hand (apparently, Starchild's enchanted poncho, sandals, sunglasses, and big peace symbol were not sufficiently stylish for dinner with the Queen... she does now have a very nice dress, though I don't see her wearing it overly much). And, throughout, Star was too overwhelmed by the simple POWER of Queen Mab to actually say anything she needs to talk out... Maybe next time. It was a rather odd experience, having Starchild completely clear-headed (her powers usually prevent that) and still cowed to near-silence, but it happened.

Today, there's Dogs in the Vineyard play, more dealer room time, and then more ShadowWorld.

Fun, Fun!

Posted by ghoul at 12:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 18, 2005

Just a Note

Even before hitting the GenCon dealer room, my BoardGameGeek.com collection has just passed 800 games.

GenCon purchases will certainly inflate this number a bit more.

I'm gonna need to put up some more shelves.

Posted by ghoul at 10:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 17, 2005


My drive up from Cincinnati is complete, and I'm positioned in my room near the Convention Center.

GenCon updates may follow, depending on the discovery of gaps to allow them to be created.

Posted by ghoul at 02:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 15, 2005

FLGS vs Con

This is a statement of principal. As such, it means fairly little, but I may as well make it.

I would rather make a purchase from a retail game store than from most game publishers. Because if there aren't stores, at least until online ordering and delivery scales up to a good bit better than it currently is, there won't be publishers anyway.

As such, I've done a fair number of gaming purchases prior to even getting to GenCon.

I have a feeling my total once this week is over will be scary-high. But that's pretty much why I'm going!

Posted by ghoul at 02:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 14, 2005

Lessons Learned...

Even though I've tipped past 44.9 (at 39,948 for 46.9 MPG since the last uptick, which is very good considering how much of that was very short driving), there is a lesson I have learned...

If you don't put gas in, it can still run dry.

Actually, the real lesson is "don't trust the gas gauge to act the same way on extremely long drives that it does normally", but the impact is much the same.

AAA membership is well worth having, even when you're able to roll into a rest stop on battery power. And their service remains excellent, taking less than 30 minutes (which I spent reading).

Also, as this was the only delay (there weren't even any significant construction traffic slowdowns), I was able to make it all the way from Concord, NH to Cincinnati, OH in just over 15 hours, passing over my original plan to overnight somewhere in northern or central OH when the drive got too tedious.

Posted by ghoul at 07:58 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 13, 2005

Off Toward Indy

I'm heading toward GenCon, with a planned stop to visit family along the way. All-told, this will be the longest vacation I've taken since moving to NH for my new job.

Oddly enough, being away from home may just cause more blog activity that usual, as I find free wireless to check in and, most likely, drop a note here as well. (And probably to do more than announce the milage bumps I expect on the Prius during this long, reasonably constant speed summer trip. Yes, I'm driving there and back, both because I actually like driving and because I wanted no significant space limitation on my GenCon game purchases!)

The weather for the first part of the drive, though, is starting rainy and unwelcoming... I sure hope that part doesn't last!

Update: Between initial posting and actually departure, all signs of rain have vanished. Good omen?

Posted by ghoul at 06:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 02, 2005


Apple introduces the Mighty Mouse

Explain that to me without admitting that the end times are upon us.

I mean... it's a mouse... from Apple... with more than one button.

It defies the order of things.

Posted by ghoul at 05:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 01, 2005

Ooooh... Nifty!

Well, well... Lookee what comes out at GenCon!

Now I know another thing that'll be coming home with me!

Update: That's another thing becaue I already knew about the new edition of Dogs and strongly suspected the now-confirmed Mountain Witch and a frightening number of board games...

Posted by ghoul at 11:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack