Kickstarter Curiosities: Saga World Builder: Modular tiles for tabletop and D&D games

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , , , ,


Greetings and Salutations , some of you may remember my previous post on Kickstarter Curiosities and other various Dungeon Master tools such as speciality dice and dice towers, today I'm going to focusing on project that has been done many times before ranging from the simple to the grandiose the dungeon tile.

The Saga World Builder: Modular tiles definitely settle on the simpler side of the equation but their sturdiness, versatility, low space requirements and ease of used definitely makes them worth a look.

video


Now on a personal note I think the tiles look great with definite classical dungeon map appearance, with significant enough variety and variation that a traditional dungeon crawl style adventures or even a hack and slash board game like Hero Quest could be played repeatedly without much design overlap.


Been able to simply drawn doors on saves time.

The focus on durability and been able to use board markers on the tiles is a testament to their quality and expands their use even further as I am no fan of the adhesive film items, having used such things in the past I found they had a tendency to be fiddly to use and keep clean.  

This might be a good inventory system for a few homebrew systems I've wanted to try.

The pricing is fair for a niche product though I do regret missing the early bird pack even the basic pledge offers 100 map tiles (6”x6" and 3"x3” erasable interlocking tiles), 160 objects (1”x1” till 3"x3” size printed on adhesion film) and 2 inventory boards (with 60 1”x1” slots).  

Having already met their €5,000 goal with a staggering €99,247 pledged there is no worry that it won't succeed and the fact ALL pledges from the basic set upwards will receive stretch goal bonuses is even better. I for one am very much hoping we can can get the larger village tiles.


So if this seems like a worthy addition to your gaming table I'd hurry as there are only 15 days left (at time of this posting) and the Kickstarter page can be reached by clicking the link below:

Saga World Builder: Modular tiles

 


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MCM London Comic Con 2017: Part 2

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , , ,



While I have already mentioned some of the games I came across at MCM London Comic Con 2017 there are quite a few more I simply can't discuss in any real detail, there was a distinct lack of advertising material this year with few flyers or leaflets and many others were on handhelds with mixed advertising around them so there wasn't much to take a photo of.

So here is a quick run down of what else caught my eye:

Cooking Mama Sweet Shop, Harvest Moon Lil’ Farmers and Drive Girls by Rising Star Games

With Cooking Mama on the 3DS it seemed business as usual with the new game focusing on sweets and deserts though I was unimpressed by limited choice 60 different recipes to create though its boast 160 different mini-games did catch my eye (though I personally hate any mini game that requires blowing into the microphone).


Harvest Moon Lil’ Farmers on the other hand was quite unexpected, going in blind I quickly discovered that the game was a collection of stripped down and bluntly dull mini games aimed at young children presumably toddlers given the simplicity.


Finally the strangest game released for the PS Vita by Rising Star Games Drive Girls, an action and driving hack ‘n’ slash hybrid uou can play as one of five different Drive Girls and transform from superheroine to supercar and back again, as you smash through wave after wave of mechanised Bug enemies in both arena and race course based combat.
Featuring a single player campaign it also boasts local and online multiplayer for up to four players, players can boost the Drive Girls’ stats in the garage by tuning and customizing their ride with new parts and decals using the currency earned after every mission. The tighter your tuning, the more protected the Drive Girls are against losing their armoured clothing in combat though if this feature remains in the Europe release I will be most surprised.



Farpoint VR by Impulse Gear

Alas I was unable to play this due to my unfortunate motion sickness that I get whenever I play VR games but the display was rather impressive (though I refused to take photos of those playing as I was unable to obtain permission from them beforehand) and it looked like an excellent first person shooter from what I observed. The controllers have a rather cheap plastic look to them but I can't deny they seem functional.

 

Star Trek Bridge Crew by Ubisoft
 
The second major VR game been advertised I was significantly less impressed by its fiddly looking controls and game making features (thus this may have simply been a result poor set up by those running the display.) The gameplay certainly seems to revolve around playing with friends and learning the various orders in which the ships systems need to be implemented, as the trailer was rather uninformative I've placed a link to Ubisoft's Lets Play below:


As you can see this is an example of the game play in its best conditions but I certainly think that much of the charm would be lost playing with strangers, for anyone looking for a non VR alternative to this then I recommend Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator.

ARMS By Nintendo
ARMS is a fantasy boxing game which is seen as many as a spiritual successor to Wii Sports Boxing due to similarities in controls and playstyles. In ARMS the left and right Switch JoyCons are your boxers left and right arms respectively, this control method can be affect your play style as weapons on each arm can be differently equipped. For example a Boomerang on your right arm and glove on the left arm.

Unlike earlier available demo's there are now 5 characters to select from and after a small tutorial you are put into battle with a choice of 3 weapons per arm.
Punching like Wii Sports Boxing is done by moving one’s hands in a similar fashion, with the position of fists contributing towards techniques, such as movement, blocking, and even the direction of blows like curving your punches. During your fight you can build up a meter which enables you to use “Flurry Attack” by pressing ZL and ZR.

The trailer while amusing is rather uninformative of play so the link below is the 2017 E3 presentation on ARMs:


Splatoon 2 By Nintendo

Admittedly the first I had heard of its release, the sequel to the popular Splatoon was on demonstration at MCM Expo and was set up to have up to 8 players per single match.
Chatting with a few others who took a moment to try the game, Splatoon 2 feels more like an expansion than a sequel to the Wii U original as the graphics are only slightly touched up (though the fluid effects are impressive as ever) though it also boasts some new weapons and some new arenas.
Now if it included local coop or V.S. then I may consider it an improvement on the original.



Mao Mao Castle by AsobiTech

Those older gamers amongst us may remember the Space Harrier series of games which for a time in 1985 dominate the arcade and home consoles, Mao Mao Castle harkens back taking heavy inspiration from the games design whilst modernising it and making it non violent.

Trying my own hand at the game I attempted to match some of the high scores in order to win a copy of the game, Asobitech had the LEAP motion controller on show to play the game, which you hold your hand and move it over the sensor to move the cat and make a fist in order to use the dash features. Unfortunately I was both too tired and completely clumsy with this method of motion control to get anywhere near the top scores but it certainly let me appreciate the games mechanics. 

Winner of the Castle Game Jam 2016 Mao Mao Castle is expecting release on Android and iOS and the demo is available on their website.



Agents Of Mayhem By Volition

Agents of Mayhem is a spin-off of the Saints Row series, taking place after the "recreate Earth" ending of the Saints Row IV expansion, Gat out of Hell and frankly as a Saints Row Fan I found myself eventually despising it shortly after playing through the two mission demo at MCM London.

I won't go into too much detail here as I have enough to make an article and a half of criticism but ultimately I found myself bored senseless while playing as did my friend who actually left halfway through their play through unable to stick it out until the end. The combat was over the top visually flashy but mechanically poor to control, confusing and tedious compared to the Saints Row games but it wasn't until making several of the characters PREORDER DLC BY SUPPLIER it finally earned my utter disgust and hatred.   



Finally below are some of my favourite cosplays of this year:

Optimus Prime:




Shovel Knight:


Monster Hunter:



Legend Of Zelda: Windwaker:


And finally anyone there may have seen myself and my friend from Buzy Bobbins as the Sorceress and Rannie from Dragons Crown.



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MCM London Comic Con 2017: Part 1

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , , , , ,


Greetings and salutations once I again I return from MCM London with mixed but mostly positive results, for you long time readers you may remember that last year was my first time attending.

For those of you unaware of MCM, the MCM London Comic Con is a multi-genre fan convention held in the London Borough of Newham twice yearly, usually on the last weekend in May and October. Interests range from Anime to video Games, tabletop roleplay games to cinema it really is a varied event with talk panels, video game previews, various celebrations of eastern culture and more cosplayers than you can shake a stick at.

 A quieter moment of  MCM
   
Let me say now that I had intended to post this a little earlier in the month but upon my return home from the comic con left me wiped out and the growing stress on the election was a distraction to say the least.

Arriving at London unable to secure our previous hotel our group was staying at a shared apartment which in all honest turned out to be not only cheaper but also far nicer and closer to ExCeL London.
Now it must be stated that after the Manchester Bombing things were a little more tense on arrival this year with additional security everywhere but to their credit this did little to interrupt travel through the London.

Travelling to the ExCel via DLR on the Friday did come with its own set of problems with works under way at the Custom House stop, thankfully the organisers had foreseen this and arranged staff and directions at the following stop Prince Regent. While this was highly effective there was some confusion in staff instructions regarding allowing visitors to "Swipe Out" at the station causing issues with travel payments resulting in some overcharging costs for many people initially myself included.

This was thankfully rectified by some very kind and helpful people at Transport For London who had a brilliant support number and we highlighted the issue on the MCM facebook page with advice for others in the same predicament.

 The bag checking queue...

The security staff inside the ExCel were organised extremely well, courteous and generally well humoured to those in costume, even with hundreds of people streaming in the queues were kept short and were no more than 15 minutes. Later we discovered that initially there was intended backpack ban but with the hot weather the health risk of people not carrying bottled water and the general inconvenience to the public it was decided against. 

and the rest of it on the quiet Friday start.


Now to avoid simply reiterating my post from last year I am going to make a few comparisons to my previous experience:

The Map
  
Just to highlight what I said last year: 
 
I found the map near useless apart from from a general gist of the layout, just look below to see what I mean:

Front with map
 Back with panels and events
Now the astute amongst you may already notice something important missing from this map, that's right there is no key referring to the numbers listed on the stalls apart from the big name logos. In addition there is no reference to the ExCeL London own hall numbers or the entrance area so it is extremely easy to get turned around and disorientated due to the similarity of the stalls and lack of directions posted about.

There is a key but its inside the 140 page advert and article event magazine which also has a copy of the map located between pages 62 and 65, after another advert the key is listed BY ALPHABETICAL ORDER OF THE STALLS which is bloody useless unless you already know what stall your wanting to find beforehand. I'm looking at the damn key to find out what 471 is not the other way round. The panel event program is also a nightmare to find and read through in the magazine with information scattered between articles so at least the map was an improvement in this regard.
 In short just as bloody useless this year with all the same problems.

Stalls:

Thankfully far more variety this year, only a single major stall focused in Pop Figures much to my relief and while many of the stalls of the previous year returned there was far more variation between their stock. A few stalls did earn my ire however with blatant absurd pricing and lets just say if I was selling my PS1 game collection for the amounts they were charging  I would be a few thousands pounds better off.

 Pokemon plush were everywhere this year

CEX also didn't make a reappearance this year which was for the better, last year they had annoyed me with their loud music blaring out over the hall drowning out the various talks and panels and while GAME was there they didn't take up nearly as much space this year. Unfortunately also missing were table top roleplay stands as not a single one was available this year, but in their place the Lincoln Steam Punk Society had turned up much to my surprise and were advertising The Asylum Steampunk Festival later this year.   

All in all a major improvement from the year before especially since more of the hall was available this year there was far more space between the stalls so the horrible overcrowding of last year wasn't an issue at all much to my delight.

 Just a small amount of the manga on offer

I also ran into some old acquaintance from the Sheffield Space Centre, this was my main source of anime and manga growing up 15 years ago and it was great to see them still going strong today as they always stocked a large variety of comics, manga, anime, even figures, model kits and table top roleplaying games. It was great to see them with a stall at MCM London this year and I discovered yet another niche manga series through them Monster Hunter: Flash Hunter.
I highly recommend popping to their store if in Sheffield or checking out their website.

Video Games:

This year there were no major video game talk panels though a smaller stage had been set up by Rice Digital covering a handful of games, when generally this layout worked well the sound team really dropped the ball on the Saturday and a lot of the commentators were inaudible.

It would of also been easier to hear if the esports commentator just behind the panel had shut up for 5 minutes.
  
With this said there were two games there were two games covered that stood out to me:

Akiba's Beat:
Akiba's Beat is an action role-playing video game for the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 video game consoles, a spiritual successor to Akiba's Trip: Undead and Undressed and the third game in the Akiba series its focus is to highlight the music culture of Akiba during its story.
In all honesty after the highly quirky arcade action and self acknowledging parody humour of the second game Akiba's Beat just came across as dull, slow paced and honestly rather boring in it mechanics, with very little originality that the series had previously been know for.
It seems that many other reviews agree with this observation.

      Advised Strong Language.


Project Rap Rabbit



Project Rap Rabbit is a global collaboration between Japanese developers NanaOn-Sha (PaRappa The Rapper, Vib-Ribbon) and iNiS Corporation (Gitaroo Man, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan), and UK-based publisher PQube Ltd.

Having developed some of the most revered music games of all time, they're committed to creating the greatest rhythm-action videogame in history with a new rapping adventure than infuses the best ideas from their past with innovative mechanics that  they hope will go on to shape the genre's future forevermore.

However not everything is going as planned as the Kickstarter for the project is woefully underfunded even with 2,549 backers only £129,806 of £855,000 goal has been reached and with only 10 days to go they have finally releasing a gameplay video of Rap Rabbit which is too little too late.

As one backer states:
Here's how this will go.
There will be this big unveiling of the gameplay video tomorrow. People from all over show up on this KS page as a result. They'll immediately notice that, after 3 weeks, the game is not even 20% funded, and that there's only a week and a half left to raise the remaining 80%. Maybe they'll hit that Remind Me button, but at the end of the day, they aren't gonna pledge.
Building up the Thunderclap, and hyping up the unveiling of the video, are both things that should have begun weeks before the campaign launched. Matsuura-san, Yano-san: PLEASE relaunch this campaign. Suspend it early so whatever resources you allocated to this one can be reallocated to the next one. But unless you have a massive E3 presence planned, there is no way this game is being funded with this particular campaign.

As a backer myself I totally agree with this prediction, there has been a complete failure to market the game to the community or the gaming media, I MYSELF have made seeming the only post on Reddit about the project (at the time of my posting) and I can help but feel that somewhere along the line the PR just flopped.


Just behind the Digital Rice Panel

Other than Digital Rice the Esports community really were making a hit with Tekken 7 with a massive set-up and tournament over the weekend and Guilty Gear XRD Rev 2 was making its own impact on its admittedly much smaller collection of consoles. The halls also boasted various arcade machine set ups with a one company selling the cabinets it was displaying, though I think the real moment that stole it was the Gandalf V.s. Gimli on the dance machines.



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Concepts: Players as Pawns: Example Of Play

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , , , ,



In my own personal experiences I have found that after the initial wariness my party constantly trust NPCs that have proven themselves to be useful and often begin to take everything they say at face value until proven otherwise. Providing an organisation can subtly influence a person in contact with the players this makes it easy to guide the players as pawns.

It is important however that opportunities to see through the deception should be present especially if the player characters will be disadvantaged by the manipulations, this doesn't have to rushed however especially if a large premise of the campaign revolves around the party becoming more and more aware of the situation as evidence slowly builds up.

This can be a difficult balance to achieve as too many clues will make it too obvious and too few will leave the players feeling rail-roaded into choices, but if done well can lead to amazing stories and feelings of great satisfaction (and often betrayal) once the players realise their predicament.   
  
Below is an example scenario of how a campaign with a 50's Noir theme would develop with players as pawns.

The characters have recently beaten down/arrested or otherwise removed a locally feared thug, shortly after they receive a small message from a local bar owner thanking them for their help and offering them drinks on the house that evening. The bar itself is in fact a safehouse and a cover for a small local brothel under the control of the criminal organisation that wishes to influence the party, they are also responsible for the invitation.
When the party arrives they are indeed treated to free drinks and are the heroes of the hour, a few of the waitresses or local girls flirt with them, the bartender chats happily with them thanking them for removing the thug and they have a great time with the promise of half price drinks whenever they are in and perhaps some favours. 
The party begins seeing this as their potential hangout and begin frequenting it more often though only the most astute characters should realise something is a little off about the place at this time I.E: The locals girls with different men each time, a general nervousness around some regulars, the girls vanishing into the backrooms on occasion.

At this point the bartender begins asking them questions along the lines of "If they had heard about those shady deals over in.." in a manner that he is under the assumption the party as local vigilantes already know and intend to do something.
Of course this is all a ploy to subtlety direct the characters towards a rival mob's shipments of drugs and weapons, for the criminal gang at this point everything is a win/win either their rivals suffer a set back or a possible future problem is killed off.

This drip feed of information continues with stories of "My brothers kid in the force says.." and "I've heard from one of the delivery lads.." each with just enough information or a name to have the party start investigating until the group trusts their bartender friend perhaps even coming to rely on him for information more so than other sources even in unrelated cases.

At this stage all these tips have been aimed at obviously illegal operation's that have had no connection to the Criminal Gang but the removal of which would help them stabilise their position in their territory and they can claim they had no hand in the attacks as they were done by a unaffiliated party thus preventing retribution attacks. However a minor complication/opportunity has arisen for the Criminal Gang, one of the corrupt police officers that they pay off so their businesses are ignored is demanding a larger cut. Not wanting to continue paying the corrupt officer nor obviously remove him the Criminal Gang begins a scheme to use the characters group as more direct pawns.

Informing the corrupt officer to collect his pay off from the players frequented bar with the code word "This months insurance" the players observing the transaction. If the party tries to intervene they are rebuffed and threatened by the arrogant and aggressive officer and the bartender pleads with them to not intervene. Once the corrupt officer leaves the Bartender privately breaks down and confides in the players informing them that he caught several of his waitresses prostituting themselves to customers for extra money but rather than throwing them out onto the street where they would continue he allowed them to use the backrooms so they would be safe and not risk been murdered however the police officer found out and has been blackmailing him since keeping all the records in a personal ledger.

The story is a complete lie but the group now face a dilemma, they could report the officer for corruption but their friend would be jailed for allowing prostitution on the premises so now they are increasing forced into the morally grey.

At this point the party may start planning ways to remove the officer whether it would be having him killed, threaten or even framing him for another crime but the Bartender informs them that in order to prevent himself been arrested in the investigation they would have to retrieve or destroy the ledger also. To add weight to this the Criminal Gang after ensuring any illegal goods are relocated elsewhere give an anonymous tipoff which results in a brutal police raid on the Bar a few days later. The players either getting caught up in the raid or seeing its after effects are further enraged and more seeds of distrust regarding the police are sown. Especially as they now believe this raid was a result of the threat made by the corrupted police officer.       
                
Where the campaign goes from here (as in discovering they have been tricked or been drawn deeper into the criminal world) heavily depends on the party and how they use the ledger, so I'll end my example here for now but I hope it helped to see how this theory works in practice.


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Wigglyturf Wars: A Game Of Gangster Pokemon And A Blind Hatred For Goldeen

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , , ,



Sometimes when looking at custom games and settings you come across something special, a simple system with an amazing concept that is easy to pick up and hard to put down, a game that you intend to play as a one off but keep play it for years afterwards.

Wigglyturf Wars is not one of those games.
By all means it is not bad and certainly no FATAL thank Arceus, Wigglyturf Wars falls into a certain niche of game which I enjoy the concept for but for one reason or another I could not recommend to a casual or inexperience player.

Created by two room mates known only as Jand and Frenchie Wigglyturf Wars was released into the public on 07 Jan 2015 by Jand.
The rules come in two parts, a spreadsheet and a word doc, both of which are linked below:
Doc: Link, Alternative Link
Spread Sheet: Link, Alternative Link

In the world of WTW, humans are non-existent; you play as a Pokemon and is set in Marina City, an industrial metropolis ruled by Pokemon. A number of factions control different areas, from the docks controlled by the psychopathic Golduck Vasili, to the business district run by the sinister Yakooza.
The story of Marina City is thus: for as long as the oldest Aerodactyl can remember, Marina City has been under the thumb of ruthless gangsters. Two years ago, the Persian, the sinister Crime Lord of Marina City, was assassinated by persons unknown, creating a power vacuum which was filled by several aspiring gang leaders.

The players must decide which of the 3 factions they will ally with or if they will aid the police in cleaning up Marina City.

A rather unusual and amusing setting which in all honest seems to have been created just for the Pokemon name puns, though I am a fan of police drama of film noir as settings go and I was tempted to treated it as a Pokemon themed Zootopia.
However the rules are very maths heavy and rely on having access to the pokemons base stats from the games and thus character creation and levelling is by no means simple, in addition by using this method a lot of the statistical unbalance between certain Pokemon has been transferred over to the tabletop making some Pokemon naturally weaker than others and unable to catch up.

The move system is intriguing but ultimately limiting with little freedom in move variation between Pokemon of the same type, though it can be argued that this is a common problem in RPGs that characters of the same class have little variation (though this is becoming less of a case in recent years).   

The majority of the rule set after character creation is focused on the combat and in a nutshell it isn't a easy read for example:

Attacking: The success or failure of an attack is based on the following formulae:
If using a Physical Attack:
((Attacker’s Attack Stat)*5 + d100 + SEB) – ((Defender’s Defence Stat)*5 + d100 + RB)
Or, if using a Special Attack:
((Attacker’s Sp. Attack Stat)*5 + d100 + SEB) – ((Defender’s Sp. Defence Stat)*5 + d100 +RB)
You can imagine how off putting this presentation can be to someone attempting to learn the rules and then take into account the large amount of additional effects most moves have it can become easy to see why the game requires a spread sheet.
This focus required on the combat rules has also come at another cost, a lack of adventure ideas or suggestions on how a budding gm would structure a campaign for the players to take over the city.

So with time consuming set-up, awkward maths and little in the way of guiding a new player or gm into building an adventure Wigglyturf Wars sadly will not see much play by other groups. However the concept is amusing and has possibilities and could perhaps find itself used in existing systems.
I would certainly like to see it taken and built upon in the future in whatever form it takes.


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Greentext: Tales of Chappa Fliks: Parts 5 and 6, Borderline TPKs and 80's Hacking Montages.

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , , , ,




Part 5: Heroic Sacrifices and Percussive Warp Core Maintenance


> Beginning a little earlier than normal the group having gotten used to the interface of Fantasy Grounds.
> we began to delve to some its other features, after the Dark Eldars plotting none of us wanted to be at a disadvantage in the future.
> Of course the fact that most players had chosen rather verbose names made the whispering feature a pain to use so some of the players gave up on it turning back to steam chat.
> myself and the Jedi Player with sensible character names were doing fine.

> Having been forced to miss a week we quickly recapped the key moments of the last session:

> Chappa and the Jedi has commandeered the salvage vessel, managing to pacify or intimidate most of the skeleton crew that was on board into following their orders and had managed to put good distance between themselves and the shipyard.

> The Jedi's contact a defecting Imperial Intelligence officer was also safely aboard the vessel and needed to be taken to the rebels as soon as possible due to important information she knows. 
> Party is current having bets between Hive Fleet, Death Star, or a Imperial Crusade incoming.

> Salvage Ship now confirmed by the Gm to be a CR90 Corvette with most of the weapons stripped leaving just its main two turrets but it does have extra room in cargo and docking because of this.

> Tau who originally was going to board the Corvette has taken control of near 50 servo drones that are designed to break down debris and has order them to start stripping down the space station. 
> He is now currently in a Imperial shuttle which is slightly damaged due to poor piloting.

> The Space Stations Warp Core has been ejected and thanks to some hacking by the Dark Eldar has had its stable orbit broken.
> It is drifting at increasing velocity towards the Imperial Naval Space Docks where two Star Destroyers are docked undergoing maintenance.
 > Should the Station and Docks collide their orbits would decay and the wreckage from them could kill millions and may even cause an impact event .
> On a side note most of the tannoys and screens within the Space Station are still showing ads for Mr T'Orks weapons business.

> The Dark Eldar, Bounty Hunter and Mr T'Ork were now currently drifting through space clinging onto the shielding of the Warp Core and no one else in the party knew this.

> Ewok and Jedi confirm our ship was away from the wreckage.
> Chappa points out that no one has said where they needed to go and hasn't a clue, Jedi fails knowledge roll on local surrounding systems.
> Intelligence Officer tries to interject but is distracted by panicking bridge crew.
> Radio Tau who also fails and doesn't care as long as they are away from this place.
> Hyper driving in a random direction seems colossally stupid. 
> Roll contacts to see if I know any rebel hideouts nearby.
> Roll 5.. a pass there's a small rebel resupply safehouse in a nearby system on a old mined out moon. 

> Inform the Jedi that's where I'm planning on going until Intelligence Officer states that was her idea too.
> ORLY.png
> If the defecting Intelligence Officer knows about it then its most likely in Imperial records. 
> Roll another contacts roll at penalty for a different location. 
> Realising that I require a dice explosion to pass.
> Dice Explosion... the dice gods are feeling kind, secretly changed co-ordinates to a location of a minor contact.
> Can actually hear the GM's twitch as he now realises he has to think of different plot for next sessions.

> Chappa broke out of jail by himself, saved a Tau from been killed, is the only pilot and has now stopped predictable ambush. 
> Must admit feeling a little smug, predict that dice will smite me later.
> Jedi keeps bridge crew from panicking as increasingly surly Ewok starts pressing important buttons.

> Meanwhile all hell begins to break lose at the shipyard.
> Apparently only one of the Star Destroyers has more than a skeleton crew on board at this very moment and the commander has realised what is happening.
> From a distance we detect 40 or so Tie Fighters launching from the Star Destroyers.
>Party Plays OhCrapOhCrapOhCrap.Wav
 > Incoming horrible laser death never arrives, Tie Fighters begin strafing the station trying to break it up into smaller segments.
> Tau Player who is usually a pragmatic killing machine to the point of annoying rest of party has seeming does a 180 in his usual play style.
> Orders drones to assist and the break down small chunks of the station that are drifting off.

> At this point his shuttles scanners also detect the rest of the party hanging off the Warp Core and he starts heading towards them.
> Dark Eldar begins boasting over his coms to Bounty Hunter and Mr T'Ork about his achievements, how he's not a genocidal maniac how he is a man of vision etc etc.
> Bounty Hunter sick of Dark Eldars shit and partly worried that the Dark Eldar will befriend the explosion addict Ork disables the Dark Eldars coms by breaking the relevant transmitter of his helmet.
> Mr T'Ork not paying attention realises that they are drifting away in “Boring direction”
> After some failed concepts decides on a plan of “Dibolical Kunning” after remembering he has a flame thrower.
> Mr T'Ork turns round and now begins using his flamethrower to propel the Warp Core. Actually goes quite well and the roll passes but the skill dice rolls a 1.
GM decides that the Warp Core is now spinning but is heading right direction.
> They must all roll endurence tests not to be sick.
> All three pass rolls to avoid puking in their helmets as they turn a little green or a darker shade in Mr T'Orks case.

> GM “Oh by the way, there is now a crack in the protective shielding and power spikes are detectable in the Warp Core.”
> Party Plays OhCrapOhCrapOhCrap.Wav
> GM and Jedi player are puzzled “But wait a moment aren't most of you guys engineers?”
> Bounty Hunter can only hack. 
> Dark Eldar has mad science for altering existing tech but is too busy wrestling with the Bounty Hunter and Mr T'Ork..
> Mr T'Ork has the explosives skill, “Its just a really big bomb, I'm going to roll it.”
> Fails roll. 
> Mr T'Ork in typical ork repair fashion begins smacking it with a large wrench deciding Percussive Warp Core Maintenance is the way.

> GM informs party that everyone is within the blast radius of the Warp Core except those on the ship which may have a small chance to survive.
> Party collectively brown trousers apart from myself and the Jedi Player
> Myself and Jedi now secretly conversing on the ethics behind abandoning the party and how long we should wait till we hyper drive away.
> Decide to wait for Tau they leave the others to die if they can't reach ship in 10 turns.
> The words “I'm not actively trying to kill the party..” keep coming up in this conversation. 
> Very glad no one else can see it.

> Typically Tau declares he's flying the shuffle along side the Warp Core forgetting its a small one man ship.
> Mr T'Ork fails a second repair roll. 
> The power spikes again GM reveals the Warp Core will explode in under 10 rounds. 
> Tau starts screaming at Mr T'Ork to stop helping for the Greater Good.
> Screw it we are leaving in 3 rounds.. no wait what are the Dark Eldar and Bounty Hunter doing?
> The Dark Eldar and Bounty Hunter now push off the Warp Core trying to drift in the direction of the ship and while fighting. 
> The Dark Eldar tries to throw something resembling a Thermal Detonator at the Warp Core thankfully the Bounty Hunter deflects it out into space.
> Jedi remembers our ship has a tractor beam and declares we have a plan. 
> In private chat we both conclude we are most likely going to die because we are too damn nice.

> GM laughs and reveals that he can see all private chats. 
> Then rewards both me and Jedi a Bennie.
> Party are suspicious. 
> I come up with a cunning ploy and distract them by posting pictures of dogs dressed as Ewoks.
> All play is suspended for 10 minutes. 
> Thank the Dice Gods for our short attention spans.

> Managing to stabilise the Warp Cores flight with the tractor beam thanks to good rolls by the Jedi. > The Tau exits the Shuttle and does okay in beginning repairs.
> Suddenly laser fire almost hits the Tau. 
> It seems a handful of Tie Fighters did come after us. 
> Curse the Dice Gods for our short attention spans.

> Threat vanishes as quickly as it appeared.
> Chappa seems to be an Ewok of many talents and obliterates the Tie Fighter with a well placed shot from the Corvette
> Attention back to our potential pursers we now realise that the Star Destroyers have both opened fire on the remains of the station.
> Escape pods launching from the Star destroyer that had initially launched the fighters it now surges forward ramming the incoming station. 
> For a moment it seems like it shields will hold before they overload and the station crashes into it.
> The Dark Eldars evil laughter cuts off once we realise with the sacrifice of the Star Destroyer that the forward momentum of the Station has been vastly reduce even as it collides with the shipyard.
> Some wreckage rains down on the planet but it is mostly small enough to burn up in orbit.
> Even though it is heavily damaged to the point of destruction the shipyards orbit doesn't decay.
> While most of the party give a sigh of relief at not destroying a planet we now realise the remaining Tie pilots are bearing down on us with vengeance in mind.
> Another Star Destroyer arrives in the system from hyperspace after hearing the distress calls.

> Desperate to buy more time the Jedi realises that the Warp Core could be used as a bomb.
> Prepares to launch it after he tinkers with deploying more power to the tractor beam.
> Its quickly pointed out to him that the Bounty Hunter and Dark Eldar have drifted into the beam and would be turned into paste
> Also the Tau and Mr T'Ork are still on the Warp Core.
> The words “I'm not actively trying to kill the party..” once again are uttered but publicly this time.

> A littler further repair work and the Tau rapidly gets back into his shuttle flying into the docking bay of the Corvette as Chappa begins to power up the Hyperdrive.
> Jedi remembers he is in fact a Jedi
> Uses the Force to pull Bounty Hunter and Dark Eldar in the docking bay. 
> In spite of parties protests in bringing the Dark Eldar, we did owe him a favour for getting our stuff.

> Mr T'Ork is now ready to go out in possibly one of the biggest explosions that he possibly could.
> Player is laughing regretting nothing.
> Dark Eldar manages to persuade the party that the Warp Core in spite of been unstable as hell is fixable and worth a lot of money and thus we finish loading it into the docking area.
> Repeated head desking as this point
> The session ends as Mr T'Ork does one final roll to try and fix The Warp Core as he rides in... 
> Failing again. It now has less than 5 turns till detonation.


Part 6 Race to Hyperspace


> Another two weeks and the group gathers once more.
> Jedi players headset mike doesn't seem to be working properly so I actually don't have much of clue about anything he said this session. 
> Though he spent most of the evening trying to fix it.
 > At this point we are pretty confident we are going to get away though as we recap.
> We suddenly realise we are two bad skill rolls away from a TPK... 
> Well myself and the Tau player anyway.

> As game resumes Tau bee lines to Warp Core attempting to fix it as party try to decide what to do.
> Jedi at this point remembers to close the hanger doors so Chappa can finally hit the hyperdrive button.
> GM asks rather sternly if we are SURE we don't want to jettison the unstable Warp Core as a makeshift bomb towards our pursuers.
> Dark Eldar points out that it is a highly valuable unstable Warp Core.
> Forgetting everything we have learned in the last few sessions about not trusting the Dark Eldar decide that the prize is too great to lose.
> We have one round left as Chappa sends the ship into hyperspace.
> Much to everyone's relief the Tau manages to repair the damage enough to buy another hour or two which will be more than enough time to affix a makeshift cooling system.
> Bounty Hunter begins to rant at Dark Eldar about morality.
> Amusingly enough be seems to predict the Dark Eldars replies before he can even speak and ends up holding up both sides of the argument.
> Finally stating “To Hell with it I need a drink..” and proceeding to start getting drunk from his hipflask.
> Amused the Dark Eldar states he's glad they had this conversation and then vanishes looking for engineering.
> Internally scream as I realise none of the other characters are following him.

> Now bored Mr T'Ork begins to explore the ship trying to find the armoury.
> Ends up trying to pursue a Servo skull.
> The Servo skull managing to escape Mr T'Ork encounters the ships cook whose kitchen is located next to the armoury room. 
> The Ship Cook seems to resemble if a wookie make love to an ogryn and someone shaved the result... badly.
> Ends up the cook options are limited to grilled, burnt or deep fried and has a instant dislike for Mr T'Ork.
> His skin tone makes her suspect he is a salad person.
> Realise that not only is the Ships Cook is bigger and more muscular than him but also wielding a massive cleaver that is bigger than his choppa.
> Mr T'Ork denies been a salad person.
> Out of character party does in fact point out that he is basically a fungus creature.
> Offers to obtain rare ingredients which is quickly changed to rare meats to deep fry for the cook.
> Party predicts we will be eating squigs for months.

> Dark Eldar locates engineering.
> The entrance is guarded by rather lax Storm Trooper who hasn't even realise the ship has taken off and hasn't even noticed the previous alarm.
> This doesn't stop the dark Eldar from doing what he does best. 
> Completely bluffs the poor trooper that he is the new commanding officer of the ship.
> Dark Eldar pausing from his inspection of the ship engines attempts to corrupt Storm Trooper through suggestive smile and homoerotic subtext.
> Dark Eldar player accidentally replaces his skill roll with ewok sith picture 
> Much facepalming and giggles ensue as we try to fix it.
> Only succeeds in replacing two other skills with the same picture. 
> Giving up the Dark Eldar player deletes the skills to retype them later after making the roll which obviously succeeds.
> We discover that the Storm Trooper is in fact an academy drop out after a grenade incident on Arrama 3.
> The Trooper now known as Sonny Gunn doesn't realise he's just a regular guard and not a trooper.

> At this point the ship shakes as if struck by a blast and is dragged from hyperspace.
> You'veGotToBeKidding.gif
> Fearing there may be shield problems the Tau becomes determined to attempt to wire the Warp Core that is currently in a transportable storage mode into the ships systems to provide extra power.
> Only relenting after 30 minutes of the party and GM explaining out of character the effect would be like trying to directly plug a nuclear reactor into lamp.
> The shaking Mr T'Ork is distracts from his wooing of the Cook and construction of a vending machine in the armoury.
> Finding a nearby console he activates the Green alert since “Green is da best and don't want these zoggin idots runnin faster in red..”
> Everyone on Ship WTF is a green alert as the corridor lights turn green.
> Party decided someone must of put a non recyclable in the wrong bin. 
> After several rounds of the party derping Chappa does the sensible thing and looks out the window.

> An Interdictor-class Star Destroyer... thankfully some distance away but still well within range of its interdiction field.
> General consensus is we are all dead. 
> But then we are hailed by a single Tie Fighter that reveals that this a regular stop and search due to the distress call from the shipyard and station.
> There relief for a moment until we realise we don't know the ship code, Captain or Imperial.
> We rush to find the Ex-Imperial Intelligence Officer 
> Except for Chappa who is piloting and the Dark Eldar who hacks his way into the coms.

> Dark Eldar begins informing the Tie pilot that we are on a mission of mercy loaded with food and medical supplies.
> Begin head desking in and out of character.
> Dark Eldar player picks up on this subtle hint that his bluff is remarkably stupid and decides to push it further by stating that several prisoners from the station are on board and have been captured.
> Having found the Ex-Imperial Intelligence Officer but too late to fix this Tau, Ewok and Jedi realise that the Dark Eldar may be the cause of the Bounty Hunters drinking problem.

> The Bounty Hunter who had been deceptively quiet during the session apart from a short failed attempt to seduce the Intelligence Officer again now also hacks into the coms system using a hacking deck from the shadowrunner home-brew expansion.
> A brief explanation by the GM explains why he had allowed that expansion for the Bounty Hunters player.
> Bounty Hunter piggybacking off the coms communication manages to discover the communication frequency for the Star Destroyer. 
> Using this he transmits a virus attached message to the Star Destroyer with an epic dice explosion of 32.
>The rest of the party aren't sure how this actually works but what the hell the dice gods said yes so that's enough.
>With his bluff slowly falling apart the Dark Eldar convinces Sonny Gunn to contact the Tie Fighter pilot.
> Somehow the bumbling npc manages to pull off a decent roll convincing the pilot that we will transmit coordinates of where we will meet the Interdictor-class Star Destroyer so we can be boarded.

> With a moment respite for the group the Tau makes his way to the bridge encountering the Servo Skull on his way.
> Servo Skull which now through suspiciously specific denials gives away that it in fact is an (of a debatable level) intelligent AI.
> Two bond over how crazy techpriests are.
> Using the scanners we realise there is an asteroid field extremely close to where we were shunted back into real space. 
> With a remarkable role and several bennies the Gm allows the Tauto make a claim that several of the asteroids have metals in them which would be attracted towards the interdiction field.
> The Jedi Player protests that's not how interdiction fields work and game is suspended for another 15 minutes.
> Begin to realise we should of really stuck to the more simple Star Wars elements for the game due to the little in depth knowledge we have since this is going to keep happening.

> GM rules the “Rule of Cool” and the game continues.
> Sending coordinates of a location near the asteroid field to the Star Destroyer. 
> We decide on a plan, first we would make our way to the asteroid field they quickly divert into it, then get rid of our Tie Fighter escort and try to escape the interdiction field while the Star Destroyer is pelted with asteroids.
> This goes wrong instantly.
> Bounty Hunters little foray into the Tie Fighters systems infected it with adware which has not gone unnoticed by the pilot who is growing increasingly irate with offers to “Extend his lightsaber”.
> Contacting us again the pilot decides enough is enough and demands we fly directly towards the Star Destroyer.
> However the Dark Eldar once again banters his way through the situation explaining that we believe on of the prisoners is loose and is currently on the outside of the ship. 
> As the Tie Fighter comes closer we jettison the salvaged garbage from the hold which smashes through the cockpit of the Tie Fighter killing the pilot.
> With our flimsy cover completely blown Chappa now pushes the Corvette engines to the limit steering towards the asteroid field. 
> Meanwhile the Jedi suddenly feels a dark pressure emanating from the Star Destroyer signalling the presence of incredibly powerful sith causing him to try and suppress his own aura.

> Expecting a massive ave of Tie Fighters incoming any moment the party prepares. 
> Mr T'Ork manning one of the turrets as the Tau takes the other wiring the Servo Skull AI into the targeting systems ordering it to aim fore disabling shots.
> Servo Skull becomes increasingly disturbing as it now describes the sensation of becoming so much larger and how it can feel everything within the ship.
> Great... we are bordering on creating another SHODAN.
> A few rounds of pilot rolls and we are slowly pulling away but its not fast enough. 
> This has given the Dark Eldar time to do a few power alterations to one of the turrets.
> Much to the anger of the Ships Engineer who resists whacking him with her wrench to see if she can figure out the changes.

> The first two squadrons of Tie Fighters that spewed forth from the Star Destroyer now reach us
 > Mr T'Ork (unknowingly aided by the AI) rains laser death amongst them taking serious penalties to make multiple shots that not only hit but destroy a fighter with each shot.
> The Tau also proves himself to be just as effective with deadly precision and six Tie Fighters have been destroyed in our opening volley.
> The remaining eighteen open fire strafing us but struggle to pierce the shields doing only superficial damage and two more are further destroyed by the Corvettes front guns.

> At this point the virus put in place by the Bounty Hunter activates and corrupts the internal communication system.
> Turns out its actually remarkably simple and replaces a number of keywords in a sentence with another. 
> During the rounds since it was used the Bounty Hunter Player has made a list of 40 words and then after a quick check the GM agrees with them.

> Dice are rolled to see which words will be used.
> The results are surprisingly sensible apart from an unusual sentence or two. 
> Importantly however is a series of conflicting orders regarding the interdiction field and entering hyperspace.
> The GM is suffering the ire of the dice gods as various sense motive and engineering rolls by the Star Destroyers crew utterly fail.
> The crew more motivated not to be shot for disobeying orders than common sense start following the instructions of the corrupted message.

> Another round of fire and the Tie Fighters are reduced to half a squadron remaining but many more are incoming as we enter the asteroid field.
> A few rounds of cat and mouse later the Start Destroyer attempts to enter hyperspace only for the interdiction field to reactivate seconds later. 
> The result is the Star Destroyer catapulting itself into the asteroid field.
> A large pulse from the interdiction field begins drawing in the nearest asteroids before the conflict shorts out systems throughout the Star Destroyer.
> Now unprotected has numerous asteroids slam into it.
> With the interdiction field down and not wanting to press our run of luck further we activate our own hyperspace engines and escape. 
> Mr T'Ork unplugging the complain AI as we do so.

I hope you guys enjoyed all this I must admit that the last two posts haven't been all that amusing but unfortunately I was finding it difficult to keep up with notes. I think if I do more posts I'll keep them to short scenes rather than trying to tell an entire adventure but it looks like our group have avoid TPK for now.



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A Brief Update And Simbrix Second Kickstarter: More Colours!

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: ,


First of all a slight apology for how late in the month this post is, in all honesty I've been darting about unable to settle in front of a screen as most of my free time when not job searching has been focused on trying to create a Choose Your Own Adventure combined with a Visual novel in the excellent simple to use Tyranobuilder.

Whilst I have no delusions about been able to complete the project in time for the 2017 Spring Game Jam (at least at any decent standard of quality) I really want to have the drive to focus on this and 'put my money where my mouth so to speak.'
However as frankly I am a terrible digital artist when it doesn't come to copy pasting and image manipulation and lack any audio editing software I have been reliant on scouring the Creative Commons for CC0 licensed material, so a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to https://opengameart.org

As a result I must admit I haven't been focusing as much attention to the blog or Youtube channel this month as usual, so again sorry about that.

So moving on let us focus on the main topic of the day, some of you may remember my review of a Kickstarter regarding Simbrix from way back in 2015. Having met the developer and designer I found myself charmed by the concept and having had my set for two years now I can say it was money well spent.

Simbrix: A curious hybrid of Lego, Jigsaws and Hama Beads

Having had two years of feedback Simbrix enters version 3.0 boasting the following:
  • 17 Custom colours and shades.
  • Improved colour proportion in each kit (because really no one needs that much hot pink).
  • Two new colour pack collections to chose from.  
  • More inspiration sheets (some of which were designed by my lovely friend over at Buzy Bobbins
  • 50 Extra bricks in each pack raising it to 900 and double the number of black bricks included in the Dueto Pack.

There are quite a few more options detailed over at the Kickstarter itself and even though it is 127% funded with 5 days left to go there are plenty of good cheap backing options for those looking to snap up a good deal.

In my past review I highlight the primary weakness was the lack of colour options and really think that this is a great step in improving a create craft toy even further and below you can view the new colour options and a handy pie chart:


Finally is just a short video that I found rather humanising about Simbrix as a company as whole, in my experience many small companies after reaching their goals on Kickstarter and developing often become a bit soulless forgetting or looking down on their origins.
So far Simbrix has avoid this trend but we will see in another two years shall we?



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