Sunday, September 30, 2012

Another boxed set...with an added bonus

Today I was down at the used bookstore when I happened upon a boxed set of Knight Hawks, the spaceship expansion for Star Frontiers. It was six bucks. I grabbed it...and thought it seemed a little heavy. It was rubber-banded shut, so I just bought it blind.

The bad news: It's missing the spaceship chits and some of the stuff for the "boardgame" part of Knight Hawks.

The good news: It contained extra copies of all the books in Alpha Dawn, plus six modules for Star Frontiers! It also contained the stats for an AD&D beholder, written on a 3x5 note card. It did have the rpg/campaign stuff for spaceships, even if the boardgamey stuff was missing.

I think the stuff for SF is all available online, so if I ever really have a burning desire to play Knight Hawks, I can just download the counters and put some cardstock in my printer.

...realistically, though, I'm more likely to just convert it all to SWN. ;)


Okay, so other obligations are going to prevent me from attending the gaming convention coming up this weekend. I had to cancel my Ninjas & Superspies one shot, which is too bad....

....although, it's also kind of okay by me. Ninjas & Superspies, despite the awesome cover, is a really terrible game. For one thing, in the time it took me to generate one pregen PC, I could have generated a party (or two) of pregens for other games.

All this is doing is prompting me to make a "Ninjas & Superspies Lite" the way I cobbled together a "Dead Reign Lite" a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, I can't be there, so it's a moot point.

Yeah, I'm missing out on a free copy of the Rifter... but the cost of admission on a Friday night is roughly equivalent to the cost of the Rifter, so.... there you go.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

More Reaper Goodness

I got my link to the Reaper Kickstarter Pledge Manager thingie today.
I traded in my miniature of Sophie, because I have no use for it in any of the games I would run with minis. (D&D, SWN, Pathfinder, and Savage Worlds) I used the credit to get the "Orcpocalypse" pack, which is a buch of orcs. I also plunked down a little extra to get a miniatures case, because I have absolutely no idea where I'd put them otherwise.

If I were younger and without obligations, I probably would have just bought one of every add on. Sadly, the days of ramen noodles and student aid paying my rent are long over. I can always buy more Bones minis when they hit the market, and in fact I almost certainly will.

Dan keeps telling me I ought to paint the minis, but I'm afraid I have no skill at it. I used to be decent when I was a kid (decent for a kid, anyway) but I haven't painted a mini in something like 20 years. I still have a case of unpainted minis from those days. I'm also afraid that the cost of getting a respectable, diverse paint set (which I did not have when I was younger, meaning that lots of dudes had red and blue color schemes going on with their clothing) would be more spending cash than I have or would want to part with.

Oh, there's also the fact that my free time has once again become kind of a premium thing, and I'm not sure I'd want to devote the time to painting an army of....geez, I think the total now is something like 260 miniatures...

Yes, I bought more miniatures in one fell swoop than I think I've owned in my entire life.

In other news, I was invited to play Rogue Trader tomorrow, as well as my (presumably) standing invitation to go back to the old Sunday group, but I have a looooot of lesson planning to do tomorrow.  I will probably be home working all day.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

An old gaming memory

So I recently had this hazy flashback to the early 1990's, when I bought what I believe was a 'zine in a local gaming store. (Or rather my dad bought it for me, because I was in fifth grade.)

I remember this thing had a setting for Fantasy HERO that was supposed to be Pangaea.
I remember it described Drow as "intensely clannish.
I remember that, according to dwarven custom, it was polite to make a lot of noise when eating (to show you enjoyed the food) and to leave some uneaten on your plate. (To show that you weren't a glutton)
I remember that there was a phrase, "lahd mah", meaning "contentment is" that was used before a toast. I remember there were some rejoinders printed for partygoers to shout back.

There was an adventure for Champions called "Hot House" that involved a latent super who had been laid off at a factory, and every time he takes damage, he exudes more heat, threatening to cause the chemicals to explode. So of course, a group of supervillains pick the day of the layoff to attack the factory... they were pretty lame villains: Master of Science, his sidekick Crossbow, and...I don't actually remember the third villain. There were also some stats for heroes and villains, but I don't think they were related to the adventure.

I tried typing in some phrases and things I remember into google, but even that mighty search engine couldn't pull up any internet archive of said 'zine. (Morningstar? Is that what it was called?) Given that this was two years before I would ever surf the internet for the first time, I very much doubt anybody bothered to put it online or archive it electronically in any way.

Bizarre that I just remembered this, after something like two decades of having forgotten all about it. I wonder what else was in that 'zine that I don't remember? I wonder what odd little fantasy race customs and other tidbits have perhaps subconsciously influenced my gaming all along.

I think I need to write Christian a letter...maybe I can coax him to send me one of his 'zines.

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Top Ten Best Rulebook Covers

 So, I've always wanted to do a post about gaming covers, but I never made myself sit down and decide until tonight. I often do judge a book by its cover, and these are my ten favorite core rulebook covers in all of gaming. I'm no art connoisseur, but I know what speaks to me... so here they are, in sort of a particular order, but not necessarily...

10.Dungeon Crawl Classics
The newest addition to my list, and if I'm not mistaken, the most recently published of all these books. The cover to DCC just makes me want to play the damn thing. It also gets the music to Shadowgate stuck in my head. Something about the lone adventurer facing down the unknown... very cool.

9.In Nomine (Original paperback version)
I remember seeing this in a game store called The Danger Room in Columbia, Missouri. I was captivated by it. It's pretty minimal, and I found myself instantly drawn to the book. I love how much the cover could capture my interest and imagination without much of anything on it at all. I found the subsequent version of  cover for this game to be fairly hideous.

8.Blue Planet (1st Edition)
This, like In Nomine, captured my imagination. I love the vivid blue. This cover gives me the urge to explore the unknown. I remember seeing this book at the first convention I ever attended, Conjuration, back in July of 1998. The cover alone was enough to get me to buy it.

7. Wraith: the Oblivion (1st edition)
The cover of the first edition of Wraith featured a glow in the dark title. My wife bought a beat up copy of this edition, which is worn in such a way that you can barely see the title on the cover unless you turn out the lights. This makes her copy extra awesome. I specify 1st edition because the 2nd edition of the game was a hardback book with no glowing letters, and thus it was lame.

<---Our copy is not nearly in as good a condition as this pic.

6. Big Eyes, Small Mouth (2nd Edition)
While I'm not really into anime anymore (except for the classics), I do think this is a beautiful illustration.The entire book has amazing production values. The artwork inside tended to be a mixed bag, but the good pieces were absolutely fantastic.

5. RIFTS Conversion Book I
 The awesomeness inherent in this cover needs no explanation. 

4. Ninjas & Superspies
 If you need me to tell you why I think this cover is awesome, I have nothing to say to you. Ever.  

3. Shadowrun (1st/2nd Editions)
I really love this picture. I love the ragtag look of the Shadowrunners, who look more like they just left a Joan Jett concert than a Neo/Morpheus look-a-like contest. I like that the cover features decking, magic, and gun just manages to  encapsulate everything that is Shadowrun in one picture. Hell, they thought it was so good, they didn't even change it out until 3rd edition, when the characters were really starting to look dated. I have found all subsequent editions to have lukewarm covers by comparison.

2. OpenQuest (Revised)
I bought OpenQuest because of this cover. I admit it. There is something about the color scheme, the murky yet lush look of the forest, the classic dungeon entrance, the rugged adventurers...this cover just sparks my imagination. I was a little weirded out by the pipe-smoking anthropomorphic duck that appears to be part of the adventuring party, but later I discovered that ducks are a mainstay of Runequest, from which this game is derived. I can appreciate the shout out to the game's source material.

1. AD&D 1st Edition Dungeon Master's Guide (later printings)
The green-robed wizard (who, in my childhood, I thought was "the Dungeon Master" flinging open the door to gods-know-what...this book captured my imagination at an early age and hasn't let go. To me, this illustration is D&D. This illustration is the very essence of what gaming is to me. 

I'm happy to say that I still own most of these books. I am unfortunately missing my copy of Blue Planet and have been for years...I bought it in high school, carried it around my senior year, and then... not sure what happened to it. I actually forgot it even existed until a year or two ago. I may well have lost it in one of the seventeen frickin' times I moved during/after college. I got rid of BESM 2nd edition during an unfortunate "I'm too grown up to like certain things" phase (that I have since gotten over), but I don't have a strong desire to replace it.
...oh, and I guess my Shadowrun book is 2nd edition, not 1st, but it's the same cover. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Some New Old Stuff

Ok, so...I bought some old games.

-Space: 1889, not the original rules but a reprint of them that was done in 2000. Marc Miller was apparently involved in the design of the system. This shows in the career rules, which aren't as neat as Traveller but are fun regardless.

-Villains & Vigilantes, an old printing of it. (Cost me two bucks!) I'm absolutely not down with the "play yourself with ability scores assigned by committee" thing, because that's just begging for some sour feelings. Luckily, the stats are all rated from 3-18... 
The big beauty of this game is that it's a mere 47 pages. A supers game in 47 pages?! Madness!
Plus, I like Jeff Dee's artwork. 

-Castles & Crusades PHB, an early printing. It was two bucks. I mainly bought it to reference the SIEGE Engine and do see another take on the old school/new school hybrid concept.