Category Archives: On the Tabletop

Adventures from cards, miniatures, pencil and paper RPGs, and other old fashioned games from before the internet ruined everything.

Warhammer 40k Gameplay First Impressions

Introduction

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my progress in painting some miniatures. Emboldened by that progress, I purchased a Warhammer 40k Recruit Edition starter kit from your local multinational conglomerate. As the images later show, I only assembled some of the Space Marines from that set. No paint, yet. In spite of that, I wanted to actually try some game play. As a result, what follows after a brief explanation are my Warhammer 40k gameplay first impressions.

Thankfully, the set comes with a map and some scenarios to teach you the rules in the context of actually playing the game. I still contend that the best way to learn is by doing. So, I sat down last night and I played through the first two scenarios. As he watched me set up the map, Quinn asked, “Is that Dungeons and Dragons?” “No, Warhammer,” I responded, “but it’s similar.” I realized too late that I should have asked him to play. Then, this article could have told parents how accessible the game is to kids. Based on my limited knowledge, quite. But, a missed opportunity in any case.

Band on the Run

This scenario finds three Space Marine soldiers against 5 Necron Warriors. I only assembled and painted 3 Necrons, so two empty based stand in for the other two. Also, as mentioned, no paint on the Space Marines. Next time, all models painted and ready for service. I promise.

Lone Wolf left on the battlefield

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I played through the scenario as read through and applied each rule. Surprisingly, the first two marines went down very quickly. After that, for some reason, the last guy stood his ground and tried to take on all five of the Necrons by himself. I honestly don’t know what I expected. He held his own for 5 or 6 turns before the dice ultimately betrayed him. After that, I came to my senses. Why not just run? The objective of the Marines was to make it to the other edge of the map to “reunite with their brothers”. So, I replayed the last few rounds of the scenario and he easily made it, thus ending in a draw, as the rules stated.

Surrounded!

In the second scenario, a sole Space Marine lieutenant (not 100% sure of the rank, but either a higher ranking soldier or simply a stronger one) squares off against a swarm of Necron bugs. This one introduces the player to close combat and the concept of units.

The official map

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Again, I ended up playing through this scenario twice. The first time, the bugs completely overwhelmed the single soldier. Maybe not completely shocking, but a bit surprising. Every part of the scenario talks about how strong and durable the soldier is and how squishy the bugs are. So, I reset everything, read through the rules again, referenced what I needed from the first scenario, and played again. This time, the marine held his own and eliminated the bugs with ease. That’s more like it.

The Verdict

My Warhammer 40k gameplay first impressions are overwhelmingly positive. The games move at a quicker pace than some other miniature games I played. Some of the rules take time to digest and work through, but that’s true about any game. Like I said in my introduction, I want to finish my armies and get out there and play an actual game. Before that, though, I have a couple of more scenarios to learn a few more rules.

Bant EDH Update #1: Cards I Love

Introduction

I first leaked my plans to build a new Commander deck in my MTGONE Esper Cards article. I continued to refer to the deck in each one of the other articles of the series. Ever since then, I planned to release a Bant Commander update article during this week. However, instead of the planned big reveal of the deck, I can only reveal my commander (or commanders…that’s what we call a tease in the biz, folks) and some other strategery and deck talk. So, this Bant Commander EDH #1 comes in with slightly less fanfare than anticipated.

Now that I chose my commander and theme, deck building should go relatively quickly. Then, once I buy the cards and play against Chris and Jason, I write an assessment. If necessary, I tweak the deck for maximum efficiency or, more likely, maximum fun. Look for those updates in the coming months. For now, join me as I talk about cards.

The Genesis of the Deck

Mondrak, Glory Dominus

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The first cards that caught my eye was Mondrak, Glory Dominus. I considered building around him as the commander. That meant I could include Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines and even swap her in as commander if I wanted. Then, I saw Tekthal, Inquiry Dominus, and everything changed. I needed a UW commander, got less utility from swapping commanders out, and maybe weakened my deck overall. But, you know me. If it ain’t jank, then jank it. Further research showed me that most of the UW commanders weren’t good for the overall token and counters (not counterspell) theme. Enter, green.

Your power is…GREEEEEEN.

Green practically swims in counters of all types. In fact, writing this article reminded me of another card that I used to build a tiny leader deck. Yisan, the Wanderer Bard with proliferate can cheat out all sorts of stupid stuff. Into the 99 you go, Sir.

Bant EDH Update #1: Honorable Mention

Slurrk, All-Ingesting

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In order to find my perfect commander, I searched the Google machine. Initially, I looked for strictly proliferate/token decks, but found few. Either I am on the cutting edge here or I just janked myself into a continued losing streak. Whatever the result, I consider it a win. Then, I just searched Bant commanders and it took me to this page. Kros, Defense Contractor first caught my eye. Being fun police makes me irrationally happy, as you know. The added bonus of giving potential boons to my opponents makes it just the right amount of jank.

Alas, I abandoned the cat for the Angel. Jenara just makes +1/+1 counters ripe for proliferating. But, wait, there’s more! As I scrolled, the page reminded me of partner commanders. First, the Ojutai card and Slurrk also just make +1/+1 counters, but they also fit the jank quota. Second, the Ojutai card and the golem maker fit everything that my deck tries to do. So, it’s settled? Well, not quite.

Bant Partner Commanders I Love

Alharu gives me the +1/+1 counters and tokens that I want. Thrasios gives me card draw and possible ramp. Partner lets me sing Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend” whenever I get a chance to cast them both onto the battlefield together. Really, what more can I ask for from a commander deck?

The Verdict

I overpromised a bit with this Bant EDH Update #1. I think I under delivered a bit, too, but that’s okay. It doesn’t happen often enough around here that once in a while is okay. Now that I picked my commanders, though, the rest of the process will take no time to finish. I already got some ideas of cards to include in the deck. I think the next step after building will be to play around with the deck in xMage to get a feel for it. Be on the lookout for that.

I Entered a Painting Contest!

Introduction

A few weeks ago, a post came across my Facebook feed from That’s Entertainment, the best local comic book store within 50 miles of my house. They said that they planned to host a miniature painting contest that was beginner friendly. I, very much a beginner when it comes to painting miniatures, immediately followed the link and signed up. And, so starts the story of how I entered a painting contest.

Technically, I actually entered nothing. They gave us 3 hours to start painting at the store. I took advantage of two of those hours and then wandered around the store for about 45 minutes to look for some back issues and find some new series to read. The latest TMNT story looks awesome and now I think I might order some older trades like the one for “The Last Ronin”.

The Miniature in Question

A few other competitors recognized this monster from their travels in Dungeons and Dragons. They also seemed to come in with plans and color schemes. Since I mostly just played with Quinn and the kids at school, I never encountered a hellwasp in game. I came in with the plan to try to make it look as much like the instructions as possible. To borrow a phrase from The Lego Movie, “I like to follow the instructions.”

I went with what I knew and primed the model black. Some others primed in their primary color and I think I might try that technique on some of my models because I like the look of their models. Also, the black base swallowed some of the highlights from the drybrush and made the model look dark. Another painter said the same thing about his.

Progress Pictures

Back View

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I like that the camera picks up some of the detail that my eye misses. Makes me feel better about my technique. Because, looking at it while I was painting, I felt defeated. Nothing worked out the way I wanted and I started to think that I wasted 15 dollars. Then I saw the pictures and I found the inspiration to keep going. I felt excellent after painting the wings. I really like how they look.

The Finished Product (For Now)

I still have to do some work. It looks too blue for my liking. The actual one has more of a purple look, but that’s not too big a deal. I also want to blend the wings better. But, when I showed it off to my family, Liam said, “That looks cool!” So, I felt even better about it. Join me in a couple of weeks so you can hear the actual story of how I entered a painting contest.

MTGONE Miscellany Edition Cards I Love

Introduction

Friday during the week of our Magic the Gathering previews means that we pick up all of the miscellany; multicolored, colorless, and lands. Can I admit that, secretly, I enjoy this article the most out of the three that I write? When I open packs, I still act like a preteen when I see that golden border. Like Pavlov’s dog, I salivate regardless of how terrible the card. And, artifacts, even though they changed from the iconic brown to silver, it still offers just enough of a difference that I double take to see the card. With all of that being said, join us for MTGONE Miscellany Edition. But, first a story.

It also means that we probably played some of the cards in the set on MTGA. As it happens, I played Mondrak and it feels just as oppressive as I thought it might. My mono red opponent launched two lightning strikes at it, ignoring my face. That’s when I knew I picked a winner. However, I misplayed because the card plays more like a 5 mana drop because of the ability. In that case, one of those bolts most definitely would have found my face instead. So, who knows how the game ultimately played out in that alternate universe.

MTGONE Lands I Love

Phyrexian Swamp

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I usually only pick lands because of their jankiness. I know spikes like their fetches and enemy duals or whatever, but I have little use for them. Once in a while, like now, I choose lands with art that simply inspires me. These qualify in a big way. I love every single one of these. Maybe even more than the constellation art from Theros.

Infected Swamp

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Once upon a time, I wrote the Phyrexian language off as a gimmick. More recently, I softened my stance. Ever since I saw my beloved Jace compleated, I went so far as to search if you can cure the infect. It turns out that you can, but things end up grim if you do. Then, I saw these lands. I know they might fetch a hefty price tag, but I want them for my Mondrak deck.

MTGONE Colorless Cards Honorable Mention (Monument to Standard Lands, A Stupid Sword, and Skullbomb)

Monument to Perfection

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Monument to Perfection made me search whether Golos, Tireless Pilgrim got the banhammer. He did. Otherwise, that card, along with the new crucible, are just straight busted. Texting Chris and that one just might be anyway. Maro teased a new sword a couple of days before the reveal and, of course, the MTG community absolutely lost their shit. Other than a stupid name, the card seems pretty good. Not as good as some of the other swords, but every cycle needs the underpowered version. Speaking of cycles, they gave us a skullbomb cycle. I like this one enough to include one or two in the control deck I mentioned in the previous article.

MTGONE Colorless Card I Love (The Filigree Sylex)

Yes, I understand that artifact and enchantment hate abound in every format of Magic the Gathering. With that being said, if I can resolve both the wrath and the “ultimate” of this card just once, I can die a happy man.

The Verdict

Overall, the MTGONE miscellany edition disappoints. But, as I mentioned, with every pack I open that contains a golden or silver card, it takes me back to being 12 years old and thinking that those colors meant something special. Also, those lands are just absolutely gorgeous. Plus, that Sylex gives me something to attempt every time I play my control deck in Arena.

Card Images taken from Mythic Spoiler. Banner image from Hipsters of the Coast.

MTGONE Gruul Edition Cards I Love

Introduction

I wrote about the white, blue, and black cards I love in an earlier article. As became tradition a few years ago, today I review red and green cards. Normally, because I almost strictly cast blue or black spells in the game with the occasional white splashed in, I consider this article the most difficult to write for every set. But, tradition beckons and besides, my fictional (at this point) Commander deck runs green, so time for some MTGONE Gruul edition cards.

By the looks of it, the page gets actual viewers now and not just bots. So, for those of you who are new, first welcome! I hope you enjoy the page. Let me know what you need to make yourself comfortable. Secondly, let me explain this article. I choose cards that I love, hence the title of the article. Often, that means that I choose jank or otherwise “fun” cards. Then again, more often, I am in agreement with others and end up picking the more powerful cards from a set in spite of myself.

MTGONE Red Cards Honorable Mention (A Walker, Act of Treason with a Stick, and a Possible Tiny Leader)

Slobad, Iron Golem

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I know I said I’m not the best at picking red cards, but these seem especially bad. Awaken the Sleeper reprints one of my favorite cards and gives me the versatility to melt some equipment in the process. Other than that, these cards more or less stink on ice. So, I picked a terrible Koth and a possible commander for a Tiny Leader goblin deck.

MTGONE Red Card I Love (All Will Be One)

They named this one after the set or vice versa. Therefore, you know it has to be good. I considered texting this to the group chat with Chris and Jason, but remembered that Jason shuns new cards in the name of crazy shit like playing only cards produced during a full moon in years that are a prime number. I kid because I love. Also, he can’t sue for libel because a judge will argue that no reasonable person would believe that after seeing that he, in fact, texted the group chat a copy of the card. I considered splashing red or going 5 color good stuff to include this in my deck, but that’s excessive jank, even for me.

MTGONE Green Cards Honorable Mention (Thrun, Green Crucible with a Bonus? Holy Shit, and Cankerbloom)

Conduit of Worlds

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Cankerbloom already gives you a grizzly bear plus for 1G. Plus, it adds the bonus of one mana and being able to absolutely wreck your opponent’s day. Thrun has what I called “almost opposite pro” where nothing non green affects it but it still takes damage if you block. Very weird wording on the card. Magic certainly came a long way from Serra Angel. Maybe I see now what Jason means by new cards. I need glasses just to play the stupid game now.

MTGONE Green Card I Love (Contagious Vorrac)

Speaking of text creep. Not only does this card have 55 words (not including reminder text), but it also has an ETB trigger, a may clause, and an if clause. In addition, it bears three different creature types. What are you doing to us, WotC?

The Verdict

Even among green cards, I found little from the set to put into my fictional deck. I told you these colors always gave me trouble. But, I still got a kick out of looking at the cards and I look forward, as always to seeing what cards I get from the MTGONE Gruul edition in my booster box and bundle that I ordered. Come back on Friday for the third and final installment that sweeps up all the miscellany!

Card Images taken from Mythic Spoiler. Banner image from Hipsters of the Coast.

MTGONE Esper Edition Cards I Love

Introduction

We last wrote Magic the Gathering content in December when we named it the card game of the year for last year. Before that, I questioned my commitment to the game, changing my mind in the process of writing the article. I bought new product for the two most recent sets and recommitted myself (not to the nut house, though I appreciate your concern for me) to the game. Now, a new set looms and I actually find myself researching Commander decks to bring to our next play session. I even mention some of those cards in this MTGONE Esper Edition article.

Since our last preview article came all the way back during the Forgotten Realms set, let me explain the process. I break the set into three subsets. As you can see from this article, I first review white, blue, and black cards. On Wednesday, the Gruul edition brings red and green cards. Then, to finish on Friday, I pick up all of the miscellany. Join me now for MTGONE Esper Edition.

White Honorable Mention (Elesh Norn, the White Sun, and Vindicator)

White Suns Twilight

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Vindicator finally gives us a white “brother” to Obliterator. I hate that card. While Vindicator seems less annoying, it still gives you another way to stonewall your opponents and/or ping off their threats.

I just texted Chris to talk about some investment strategies. Since I also have this article open at the same time, I mentioned to him about the Bant counters/tokens deck I plan to build. White Sun’s Twilight works perfectly with that strategy. Plus, poison really tilts Chris, so I get that added bonus from the card.

I love the original Elesh Norn. I draft the card every time I see it and splash white, if necessary to play it in my deck. People say that this one breaks Magic in fundamental ways, so I want a chance to play it before the ban hammer inevitably comes down.

MTGONE Card I Love (Mondrak, Glory Dominus)

This card immediately caught my eye when I first saw the spoiler. I think I even texted Chris and Jason and said that I wanted to build around this card. Then, I saw a blue card that doubles proliferate and I researched UW options for proliferate. Not finding many, I branched out into green, too. Green is lousy with counter generators. And that’s the story of how my first non net decked Commander deck is coming into shape.

MTGONE Blue Honorable Mention (A Drake, A Mermaid, and Jace Walk Into A Bar)

Jace, The Perfected Mind

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Jace got leaked before being spoiled as we now seem to have leak season (that sounds messy) and official spoiler season now with Magic the Gathering. Initially, I thought Jace might be nice, but not my favorite iteration of the character. I might put one in my deck as an alternate win condition. However, milling 100 cards takes a while.

The drake can get out of hand pretty quickly with the right combination of counters and proliferate cards. The mermaid gives me the opportunity for all kinds of silly blue shenanigans that no doubt will have my opponent flipping the table at some point in the game.

Blue Card I Love (Tekuthal, Inquiry Dominus)

Here’s the card I mentioned earlier that put me on UW and eventually Bant for my new deck. With this, Mondrak, and Elesh Norn alone, win conditions abound in the deck. I need to get onto xMage and start building this deck. The new cards aren’t implemented yet, but I can at least start to get the shell of the deck and add the new cards when they release on the program.

MTGONE Black Honorable Mention (Feed the Infection, Sheoldred has an Edict, and the Black Sun)

sheoldredsedict

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Since black no longer fits the theme of the new deck, I looked for cards that I might include in my UB control deck that I build on MTGA. Black Sun’s Zenith might take the place of flunk because of the added ability to bring things back from the graveyard. Edict is just a good removal card with versatility. I’m not 100% sure that Feed the Infection fits. I like the draw card I already have in there, but maybe I will test 2/2 or 3/1 to see which I like better.

MTGONE Black Card I Love (Not Really. Rats Piss Me Off)

I featured this one because as soon as I saw it, I thought, I’m going to start seeing this stupid card in those rat decks that people sometimes run. Way back when they released the Sanctum cycle, I wrote about a jank deck using all of them. Periodically, I see that deck and wonder if it just entered the zeitgeist or if I inspired it. The first opponent to play this stupid thing will have me thinking the same.

The Verdict

MTGONE Esper edition inspired me to plan and build my first non net decked Commander deck. Be on the lookout for the update posts over the next few weeks. As soon as I press schedule on this article, I plan to open xMage and start building the shell. See you on Wednesday, when I release the Gruul edition of the set!

Card Images taken from Mythic Spoiler. Banner image from Hipsters of the Coast.

My Thoughts on the D&D OGL

Introduction

Editor’s Note: I wrote this before the decision to reverse course by Hasbro. Turns out all of the gnashing of teeth and wailing worked for now. However, I now see that emboldened nerds and some of them push for more. Some people are never happy.

If you wonder what the D&D OGL covers, then join me as I give a TLDR version. As I understand it, the document gives the community the ability to make homebrew content and make money from that content. Wikipedia explains it in better detail if you want more than that. I only know about the document now because a leak showed that Hasbro/WotC meant to update it.

And by update it, of course, the mean to basically gut the thing and make it almost impossible for anyone but them to make money from the game. Please bear in mind that all of my information here comes from the sometimes less than reliable world of social media (Facebook mostly), so take this whole article with a grain of salt if you want. However, I will say that they reversed course pretty quickly once people started to get loud about it. So, methinks that they hit a nerve.

Warning: Anti-Capitalist Message Ahead

Once a student said to me, “I bet you like the pony guy.” “Vermin Supreme?” I responded. “Love him!”

I mean, just this weekend I said to a friend, “I’m about to sound like a communist sympathizer here.” I say this to provide context. Believe me when I say that I have no use for large corporations throwing their weight around to bully citizens. On the other hand, having grown up to see nerd culture become popular culture, I watch as nerds have almost weekly breakdowns over something or another. Captain Marvel? A more diverse Star Wars?

So, ignorant of the details in the first case and my opinion colored by the history of the second, initially I shrugged at the news. Obviously, I came down on the wrong side of history. People kept trying to explain to me that Critical Role might suffer because of it. I don’t interact with them at all, so that didn’t bother me.

I soon learned that Pathfinder came into existence because of the D&D OGL. Okay, I though, this could be big. Then, it trickled down into some of the Patreon campaigns that I support. Once that happened, I realized that I made a mistake by writing it off as another nerd temper tantrum.

The Verdict

I wanted to end New Year, New Games 2023 on a more positive note. Unfortunately, I also wanted to come clean. With all of that being said, I can’t find it in me to be all that fussed about the D&D OGL. Sure, it harms player and potentially the game. But, as Blizzard shows time and time again, if you give players enough time, they forgive and forget nearly everything. Come back after the next season of Stranger Things and this will all become a footnote in history.

Besides, unless you belong to Critical Role or one of the half dozen (maybe) other content creators that this affects, simply ignore the new OGL. Go on about your business playing Dungeons and Dragons as you do with your friends and family. Plenty of resources exist out there to enhance your gaming experience for every edition of the game. And, if it doesn’t, here’s an idea. Come up with the resource on your own and share it with those you love. My favorite D&D experience came from writing the adventure for Quinn. I loved it so much, I planned several others. Just get out there and have fun.

Warhammer 40k/Hordes Model Update

Introduction

I speak frequently of my desire to play miniature games like Warhammer. I even went so far as to order a few “mystery boxes” from Privateer Press and a subscription service I just found a couple of weeks ago. Once, about five years ago, I signed up for a beginner paint class at one of the local gaming stores. Last year, I ordered a learn to paint kit from Amazon. All of this done in spite of the fact that I had no time to actually sit down an paint the models. That all changed when I switched jobs. I finally painted two of the beginner models. That gave me enough confidence to write this Warhammer 40k/Hordes model update.

Hordes

The surprise box I got from Privateer Press contained units from the Skorne Command. After finally getting a chance to look at everything, the units included aren’t covered in the codex book. Peculiar. So, without a proper army, I decided to write this post instead of a post covering actual game play. Besides, I bought some games through Humble Bundle that I can play on Steam if I need to get the fix of playing the actual game.

When I finally opened the package containing the units, I cringed. Oh, I thought, these have to be assembled. Unwilling to take that risk at the time, I put them back in the box and promised myself that I’d come back to them. Unlike those promises in the past, I kept it. So, a couple of days ago, I took the risk and grabbed the glue. After examining the contents closer, I thought, this doesn’t actually look too bad.

The result. Honestly, other than one highlord (or whatever, some guy with a fancy helmet) who I ended up throwing away, it went pretty well.

You notice they are still only a “pile of gray plastic” as I saw it referred recently. I still need to come up with a story for the army. Yes, you know me. Nothing works without a good story. I brewed up an idea a couple of days ago. I researched if it makes sense, but found little either way. So, I that as a good sign. As long as it makes sense to me, who cares? Unless I find a play group, who else will ever see it?

Here goes. The unit got cut off from their army in a forest. Their commander (dude with the fancy hat) died from a trap. Ever since, they took matters into their own hands. Dying their armor green with silver accents to camouflage better. I still need to flesh out their mission.

Warhammer 40k

Okay, now the magic happens. Yes, I learned nothing. I might be overpromising and underdelivering with that opening. Nevertheless, I stand by my confidence. I came a long way from that first painting class. While my models still show evidence of beginner’s mistakes, they still look good. And, I even painted these ones!

The green wash caused me problems. But, the rest of the paint job went well. Still minor beginner mistakes like painting the wrong part, but overall, a success. One of the guys lost his arm, so he just grafted a gun in there and continues to march.

The Verdict

I love painting. It brings me zen in the same way that building Lego does. I may not be the best, but I’m getting better and that’s what counts. While this Warhammer 40k/Hordes model update doesn’t talk anything about actual war, look for that in the future. I both found some other models in my box while getting the supplies and ordered a beginner kit that has more Necrons and some other soldiers. So, I plan to put together a couple of armies and march them against each other soon.

Shadow of the Dragon Queen

Introduction

I told the story several times already. This year Christine asked the boys to put together Christmas lists. She requested several items needed and several items wanted. I never ask for anything for Christmas. While I love the spirit of Christmas, I find the actual holiday abhorrent. A day dedicated just to buying stuff? Gross. For some reason, though, I gave in this year and put together a list. On the list, I included Dungeons and Dragons books. I meant Shadow of the Dragon Queen.

Instead, Christine bought me Dragons of Deceit. Initially disappointed, I quickly recovered. Weis and Hickman, as you know, wrote the book. I love Weis and Hickman. Also, I got the idea to record the book club podcast and actually kept a schedule, more or less. Episode 3 comes out tomorrow or Saturday (pending a snow day) with Chapter 4 and 5.

From Disappointment…Hope, Then Disappointment

Because Santa dropped off the “wrong” present for me that actually ended up working out okay, I ordered the source book myself. I kept trying to talk myself out of the deluxe edition with the board game and ultimately failed. What can I say? I’m a sucker for those gimmick board games based on the other successful franchises I enjoy.

I can’t comment on the quality of the game. I haven’t had a chance to even look at it other than the box. It looks interesting and I always like to play those cooperative board games. We played Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time often and everyone joins in. I need to read the rules so that we have a chance to play over February break. Come back in March for my review.

The source book itself underwhelms. I expected a more robust campaign setting updated to 5th edition. Instead, they give us some rules on the special ancestries and subclasses of Krynn for the first few chapters. Then, the rest of the book is simply an adventure. Funny how things change. I remember wishing as a teenager that they released more adventure modules for the characters I built in Dragonlance.

The Verdict

Ultimately, like the novel, I like Shadow of the Dragon Queen in spite of potential warts. The adventure promises to bring some joy to a playgroup either at home or in school. At least Quinn and I will play through the board game once. Christine suggested that I try it with Quinn and his friend Tristan. Okay, plan on meeting here in about a month and a half for that recap.

Failing Up(?) in Pathfinder Solo

Introduction

A few weeks ago, I received an email from Humble Bundle. It contained information to receive a free (or discounted) copy of the Pathfinder Beginner Box. Always on the lookout for new games (especially since we are in New Year, New Games), I filled out the required information. The shipment came a week or two before Christmas. I spent part of Christmas looking through the set and learned about the Pathfinder solo adventure.

Like the D&D counterpart, it comes with some premade characters, an abbreviated version of the player’s handbook and dungeon master’s guide, a set of dice, and additional character sheets. Unlike Dungeons and Dragons, it also includes a solo adventure for those of us with no friends. Okay, that’s not entirely true. Quinn likes to play RPGs with me.

Choose Your Own Death

I took some time the other day to play through the adventure. In fact, it took far less time that anticipated. The Pathfinder solo module runs like the old choose your own adventure games with some dice rolls mixed into the fun. Obviously, the mode lacks role playing. Unless you count the “WTF Dice” comment that I put in my notes as I was playing through.

Proof. Also, that “dead” there is not for me. But, it didn’t take long…spoiler alert.

Okay, I think I got ahead of myself a bit here. First, I needed to find the adventure. I lost the insert that told me where to go, so I searched online. That brought no answers. I finally found it after looking through both books in the box. Then, I started. It played like a choose your own adventure at first. Do I want to search for the thing killing wildlife for 10 gold? You betcha! Then, suddenly, I found myself in combat with a mangy old wolf.

Wait? Do I need to use one of the character sheets? I picked Wizard at first until it felt like keeping track of spells might be too much for a newbie like me. But, no, no character sheet needed. They give you all of the relevant information in the adventure. Okay, wolf, no problem. Dead in one round. Do I want to continue? You bet I do.

A giant snake? Ha! I laugh at the “challenge”. Also dead in one round of combat. But, the dice low rolled me a bit. Take this as a warning adventurer. Between this and the RPG calendar, solo adventuring amplifies bad luck. You can’t rely on your party members to help you out when things go wrong.

Things went wrong quickly. I disturbed a living statue. The dice rolls blew up in my face both ways. The statue killed me in spectacular fashion. Go to #17, the book instructed. “Yeah, you’re dead”, it said. No saving throw. No do over. Just died. But, hey, try again, loser.

The Verdict

Overall, I mostly enjoyed the Pathfinder solo adventure. I missed the interaction with other players and role playing aspect of the game. But, the action moved quickly enough to keep me interested and rotten dice rolls gave me the necessary danger to make it exciting. I think I might take another shot at it. Also, seeing the structure of the adventure inspired me to put together a series of my own to go with the duos I developed for me and Quinn.