Thursday, September 12, 2019

New School Year Update

A new school year and I've got 29 eager 9 and 10 year-olds to guide and teach each day. They seem like a pretty nice bunch so far! Right now is the first real break I've had between teaching, planning, and working with my student teacher. I wanted to update you on a few things that I had mentioned during and before the summer.

You know I've been working on my board game? Well, I pitched the game to a board game company and they want to give it a try! my co-designer and I have been working on uploading everything to Tabletop Simulator (let's be honest, it's been all Aaron - I've just playtested it). It's up and working but we're trying to smooth it out a little bit still. Hopefully in the next week or two we'll show them the game. Even if nothing comes from it, we'll get some great feedback from an experienced and successful designer and producer. Very exciting! I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Living Like We're Renegades

This will be a short post, but I got very lucky today! I recently sold a few board games and with the new money I was looking to buy some expansions for games I already had. I called my local game store and asked if they had the Upper Management Pack expansion for Clank! Sure enough, they did. AND it was 10% off today. I didn't ask why, I just drove there was fast as I could!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

First Foray into the Dungeon

Image result for dnd logo
Not much to report here, but at the end of the month I'm going to be diving into my first ever Dungeons and Dragons session! I've wanted to try it out for quite a while, but I just haven't found the right group or the right time. A long time friend of mine messaged me this week, though, and said they have room for one more at the table for the beginning of a new campaign.

He said they could really use a ranger. Since I'm a dwarf at heart, I decided on a crossbow wielding dwarf gloom stalker (keep in mind that this is my first time and so I have no idea about what makes a "good" choice for a character). We only confirmed this last night and so I haven't had much time to think about it yet, but here's what I've got so far.

Thalgot Rockforge is looking for his brother, lost five years ago in the attack on a deep, dark elf city. Thalgot can speak drow, as he is often used as a scout due to his stealth and survival skills. As he seeks out Madam Eva, the mystical fortune teller who lives outside the small trading town of Charlton, what will he discover?

I imagine my character to look something like this...

...although I'd give him longer, darker hair on top.

This is my first time in a real RPG, so, any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

A Midsummer Night's Recap

You might guess that the summer is a great time to get ahead/caught up on gaming and blogging, but it is turning in to quite the opposite. At work, I have a computer in front of me all the time and the government mandates that I get breaks. Breaks, that I can use to type and write (so long as I'm caught up on all my marking). Even though I have all of this spare time in the summer, I'm rarely around a computer and usually playing with/colouring with/feeding/breaking up fights with my two kids. So what, if any, gaming have I been involved in?

Landscaping: The Real Time Dexterity Game has continued to take up most of my free time. I'll be happy when this game is done and then I WILL NEVER PLAY IT AGAIN.

Still haven't managed to play Renegade. Maybe I'm a dummy, but I just can't get started. The rules are tough and there are a lot of words/pieces to remember and manage. Liz at Beyond Solitaire mentioned in a recent blog post (click here for that) that she loved the game but it does have a high entry cost. That's what's keeping me from playing it still. Any suggestions?

Unbroken finally arrived this week. I believe it was due in December or January? I'm kind of a "Kickstart it and leave it" kind of a guy. I don't really follow the comments or threads that much, but I couldn't help keep a little bit of an eye on the controversy surrounding this project. If you wanted to learn more about that, you can check out my thread on BoardGameGeek here. I personally haven't had any negative experiences, I've only interacted with Artem, the creator, and he seems just lovely. I'll keep you posted though as I haven't received any official "asking for more money" emails. 

I've gone through my collection of games and am trying to pare down my collection again. I want to really keep games that I love and play. With so little time to play these days, that means few games. I think 2019/2020 will have a focus on expanding games that I already like rather than buying new games (here's looking at you, Clank! and Journeys in Middle-earth).

So what games/expansions am I really looking forward to in the next year? I won't be able to buy all of these, but they're the ones I've got my eye on.

Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated
Clank! is one of my favourite solo games (top 3 easily) and I'm excited to add more to it. The Upper Management Pack adds new minis and variable starting cards for each character. The whole game is supposed to add a legacy/campaign aspect that looks pretty cool. You organize a company of thieves and track your progress over a campaign? Love it. I don't know much about the Acquisitions Incorporated side of things, but it's supposed to be a pretty fun web show (comic? I can't remember). As long as they nail the solo, this will be a must own.

Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth expansions
I've made my way through one playthrough of the base game. It was good and I'm excited to get more characters and adventures. They recently uploaded a new campaign ($9.99 Canadian through the app). I think I'll play through the base campaign again (and hopefully win this time) and then pick this up.

Sleeping Gods
Ryan Laukat's (Above and Below, Near and Far) new game came live on Kickstarter today. It's a cooperative, open world exploration campaign game with leveling up. Sounds sweet. His artwork and stories are always amazing and I can't wait to see how it plays out in this game.

Those are the big ones. The other games on my wish list are:

Proving Grounds
Clank! Legacy
Clank! Upper Management Pack
Clank! Temple of the Ape Lords
Four Against Darkness
Sleeping Gods
Set A Watch
The Stygian Society
Too Many Bones
Roll Player
Hopplomachus: Origins
Batman: The Animated Series - Gotham City Under Siege
My First Castle Panic
Adventure Tactics
Wander: The Cult of Barnacle Bay

That's all I've got for today. I'll try and update again before the summer is out!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Godfrey the Great (Goblivion: A Playthrough)

King Loko the Brute was preparing to defend his innocent people from the invading goblins. What his innocent people didn't know, however, was that The Brute had picked this fight. Things got too boring without a good head or two to lop off.

Solo Board Game Extravaganza

It was a perfect storm for solo gaming yesterday afternoon. My three year old needed a nap (which almost never happens anymore), my wife and other daughter went out for ice cream with some friends, and my puppy was tired and fell asleep on the floor. I ended up having almost two hours to game. Friday night and Saturday night also brought themselves about an hour each of gaming time and so I grouped that together in this post.

What did I pull out for this haven of board gaming?

Friday night was spent on Goblivion. I had lent this to my brother-in-law and was eager to play it again. I didn't know how much time I would have to play and this one only takes about 30-45 minutes, so it was a safe bet. This game has quickly become one of my favourites. It's quick and easy to pick up, but there are a lot of important choices to make in regards to what and how to add or remove cards from your deck. It really feels like a deck-builder (and just better) version of Castle Panic. 

The most exciting battle came near the end of the game when these three stormed my castle. One gluttonous troll is terrifying enough, but two?!?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Landscaping: The Real Time Dexterity Game

This is a really good game because it really engages your mind and your whole body - especially your back, legs, and groin. It can be played multiplayer or solo and players can easily jump in and out whenever they want. It is strictly a cooperative game, but occasionally you get an unintentional traitor who screws up the rest of the team. There are expansions galore - in fact, if you have money, you could spend it ALL on new features for your yard. Here are some pictures from the event.

One of my neighbors dropped in during the first game and he had the skid steer expansion. Made it so easy to bring the dirt to the backyard.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Second Printing...

Not much to report today. Put a few more boards on the fence, ordered some rocks, marked a whole whack of math quizzes. June is in the air! My artist/co-designer and I are finally getting together next week to play and plan. I've had a lot going on in my head and the last few days I actually had a little bit of time to tweak the cards and do a second printing of them. I'm hoping to have a few more pictures and a few more ideas to write about in the next few weeks. The summer especially should be a great time for getting work done.
Getting my craft on.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

I'm Spawn It!

School and tutoring are heating up lately (literally - my portable classroom was 31 degrees yesterday) and I'm also trying to hammer out some landscaping, so gaming has been taking a backseat. Even though I haven't had much hands on time playing games or designing my own, I have been doing a lot of thinking, stewing, pondering, and listening to podcasts. I've especially been enjoying the podcasts from Every Night is Game Night with a focus on game design. I'm halfway through an interview with Jamey Stegmaier from Stonemaier Games (Scythe, Viticulture) entitled "What I Wish I Would Have Known before I Got into Game Design." Wow, that's a mouthful, but very informative (thank you The Board Game Design Lab podcast for putting this on a couple years ago).
Made it out in time!

I finally got a few playthroughs of the first mission/adventure/scenario of my game the last couple of days. Here are the thoughts running through my mind right now.

(1) I want to make my "magic" system really make sense with the game mechanics. What kind of system would need you to start out weak and build up your deck each time? In what world does that make sense?

(2) Should the enemies activate after each hero's turn? Or after all the heroes have gone? What has the most balance? Which way allows for the fewest boring enemy card flips in a row? So far I've been doing it after all the heroes, but I wonder if it would work better after each (kind of like Gears of War).

(3) On that note, I'm working on the spawn cards right now. Similar to Zombicide, the level of monsters spawned ramp up as the game progressed (although it's based on a round timer, not on experience gained). Just trying to find the right amount of cards for the deck (a little one? A small one?). I was thinking dice, but that's TOO random. So do I just do 6 different cards so it's not as random and you know what's coming?

I think that's all my brain can hold for right now. I'm hoping to meet with my co-designer and artist next week and hopefully we'll get a little further. Summer should be a good time to get cracking on this game as well! My friend was asking me how long until this game would be ready and I figured 18-24 months. 9-12 to finish making it, 9-12 for playtesting and tweaking. I'm really not sure though, but, it's fun!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Top Ten Non-Fantasy Games

Sometime today Altar Quest by the Sadler brothers will hit Kickstarter. I didn't know much about it until I listened to an Every Night is Game Night podcast on the weekend where Jason, Brady, Adam, and Mike (another solo gaming guest?) were discussing it as well as coming up with their top ten tabletop fantasy adventures. I'm looking forward to the Kickstarter, but it got me thinking about my top ten fantasy games. That'd be pretty easy to hit because I'm a fantasy nerd. But, what if I made a reverse list? Tried to figure out my favourite games that were NOT fantasy? That posed a greater challenge. Let's up the ante - no Science Fiction games either (sorry Gears of War, I love you so much). So, without further ado, here's the list.

I want to begin with an honorable mention for a game that would probably had made this list if I had played it more. History is not really my thing and my short time owning Black Orchestra did not help. The game was very thematic in a boring sort of way - wait, wait, wait, attempt assassination, fail. Wait, wait, wait, try again, get captured. Or something like that. But my friend brought over Freedom: Underground Railroad and wow, was it good! It's very sobering and thought-provoking to think about the theme of the game, but the game was full of exciting and important choices. I want to get that one back to the table. Also, if you're teaching Canadian or American history at all, this is a great game to give students a taste of the experience.