Friday, July 29, 2011

Desperate attempt to not let mini gaming die in my gaming group ...

Mini gaming in general has been on a terrible slide in my gaming group for nearly two years now and I fear its about to die.  To be honest there are six or so people beside myself in my gaming group (out of about 20 people in the extended group) who are mini game fans.  The local mini gaming community is pretty bad, consisting entirely of store trolls and kids ... neither which demographic I have the patience to deal with anymore.  So in a last ditch effort to save mini gaming ... ANY mini gaming ... in our group.  I'm going to toss a hail marry.  

The systems that have the most appeal are Warma-hordes and Dystopian Wars.  Two systems does concern me because we are splitting the interest but that is what the group wants overall so I'm going with it. Don't get me wrong there is a GW bent in our group ... but getting 40k/WHFB off the ground has actually been whats nearly killed mini gaming for us.  

The scale, investment and scope of those systems is just too big for most of the people in the group with an interest.  Getting things assembled and on the table has just proven insurmountable for most of the other people in the group.  To top it off 40k scales horribly ... 500 point games suck ... and ya there are some skirmish fan systems out there but they aren't supported, aren't balanced, etc. etc. and there is always an Achilles heal that kills off any effort with the GW stuff with our group.  We've tried three times over the past year and each time for one reason or another efforts to as a group do GW stuff fails.  The nice thing about both dystopian and Warma-hordes is the buy in is low.  40-50 bucks and someone is in with a starter force.  The games play ok at the starter set level and there is no need to immediately jump it up.  With GW there is.  With Dystopian the painting/modeling commitment is low as well.  Warma-hordes is identical to GW stuff in terms of painting modeling really ... but again at the boxed set level.

So I'm making one last attempt.  I'm going to try to just put up or shut up about mini gaming.  I'm going to focus on the following three projects:

1) Getting a sea board built with a few nice sets of islands done up.
2) Getting two 4x4 tables done and full terrained for Warma-hordes (with like 2 terrain sets for each board).

Once that is done:
3) getting two forces done for Dystopian (Brits and Prussians) and 2 starter forces for Warma-hordes completed.  So I can offer a game to anyone even if they don't have minis and don't ever have any desire to buy and paint stuff ... no worries they could use one of my loner armies and have fun on a mini gaming night.

Right now I have no way to really tell when mini gaming is going to be taking place because I won't have my fall schedule until at least next week or perhaps the week after.  Its sounding like Monday night might be my mini game night.  For those Monday night football fans ... I have no aversion to having the game going on in the background if you want to come over play some mini games and watch the game.  But we'll get into that once I know for sure that is going to be the case.  Wednesday might also end up being a better day. I'm pretty sure I'll have class on Tuesday and Thursday eve though so likely those nights will be auto-out. 

One day I'd love to get back into 40K or perhaps Warpath (mantics ruleset which you can 100% use GW minis with) and warhammer fantasy (or Kings of War.. again mantic system) but that is likely 2012.  Its just too big a endeavor all around.  Hopefully we find some more people up a Weber this year and bolster our numbers a bit ... that would help.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

BADASSDOM! (and why is LARP so lame)

First check out that trailer.  Looks awesome!!  Peter Dinklage ... Summer Glau ... Danny Pudi ... in the same movie about geek shit.  Come on this is going to be hilariously good!

Ok second and this was sparked from a discussion the local game group forums.

I'm a jerk for saying this but I feel compelled none the less.

Ok long ago in the days of yor in the garage of old ... we had a summit of begutted self proclaimed wise men to discuss LARP and why it was so epically gay ... sorry that is offensive to the gay community to link them with LARP in any way ... lets instead go with LAME ... as it were (and is).

The panel decided that for the following reasons LARP is actually classified as the epitome of lame, the saddest of activities that the vast majority of geeks are unwilling to accept.  Why though?

First and foremost its an activity that the very obese (peeps who make me look svelte) seem to gravitate towards. However perhaps the largest group of LARPers is the terribly socially awkward set.  People who just don't know how to interact with other humans at all on a common wavelength.   Toss in a good mix of folks who don't understand personal hygiene and you have your typical LARP group. Ultimately these groups unite to make LARP look like one of the singularly most lame things one could possibly do to all of us outsiders.

This is sad because really LARP could be cool ... it really really could be a fun cool activity.  There is really nothing more lame about the concept of LARP vs the concept of pen and paper RPGs.  Yet in practice ... yes there are some super lame D&D groups out there ... but by and large most RPG groups are kinda tame and don't really differ much from your average group playing a board game.  Why could LARP be cool and fun?  LARP could combine community theater, improvisational acting and perhaps even historical reenacting with gaming.  In concept that could really be cool if well executed.

Well that trailer sure makes it look badass eh.  I mean if hot chicks and cool dwarfs LARP'd in large enough quantities ... who the hell wouldn't want to LARP.  See that is the key there ... cute girls and more normal people (lets face it truly mainstream people would NEVER LARP) don't NOT LARP in high enough numbers to make the activity cool.  Boffer LARP I think might be in some areas an exception due to an odd association with martial arts, but boffer LARP is pretty lame too for the same reasons in general.

Hell ren-fair/SCA stuff struggles with that and its alot more acceptable because they are for the most part a historical reenacting group that practices crafting, etc.

I said years ago and I'll say again ... I can make LARP cool ... instantly.  How??

Simple ... give me ten average to hot girls ... (need at least 2 or 3 very hot girls).  Five somewhat normal dudes.  Most of the people in the group need to be intelligent.  You mix that up and that could be the foundation of a decent LARP group.  You can mix in 10 more people ... a couple socially awkward people ... a couple ultra-fatties ... and it would still probably be ok.  As long as the ratio of somewhat cute girls to the overall group size is about 30% ... and the overall semi-normal intelligent person ratio didn't drop below 60%  ... it would be fun and cool.

As we all know actual LARP never approaches those ratios and therefore is doomed to be eternally lame.

For proof of this I hold up Cos-Play ... how the fuck is Cos-Play now nearly mainstream (in the geek world anyway).  Simple ... the ratios listed above.

(half serious ... half satirical ... half sarcastic !!!  INDEED!!)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

LARRYCON II this weekend!!


What is LARRYCON one asks ... well its an excuse for good friends who now live in different areas to get together in the land of milk, honey and mormons otherwise known as Utah for a wild weekend of gosh darn honest to goodness gaming .. golly gee willikers!! Sigh ... sorry I've been in this wondrous land of friendliness for too long now I think. 

Last years LARRYCON was a blast!! Over the course of the weekend thanks to not only my friends Scott and Rob who trekked up from Las Vegas last Friday evening ... but to all the local gamers who I've met over the past year ... we pulled off a 25 person Micro/Home-Con. Several people crashed in my basement ... it was awesome and hilarious fun for an entire three day weekend!  This year a few more people are trekking up from Vegas and we'll have some local new faces as well so it looks to be bigger and better than the last one ... at least 100% larger and now with a kung foo grip!

Last year we  played (and several others I'm probably forgetting):

Hopefully this year we revisit some of those and add more to the list! 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Two free online games (microtransaction) ... World of Tanks and League of Legends

World of Tanks and League of Legends.

OK so far I've enjoyed World of Tanks.  Its a Call of Duty-esq (tanks only though) style game.  You play on large maps against other tanks.  You can play as German, American or Russian tankers.  But the battles are mixed so you are playing on teams with all three factions on the same side.  There is some sort of balancing algorithm at play in the game in terms of tank types (a mix of light, medium, heavy, tank destroyers and mechanized artillery) and I think it includes peoples crew training, upgrades, etc. in the balancing equations.  So the games are mostly balanced and generally fun.

So far my only complaint is the leveling is really slow ... clearly they want you to pay for the bonus experience.  But I've heard in the game and on the forums that even with the premium experience its an ultra grind.  Really though as far as microtransaction goes you are only mainly looking at buying quicker leveling not really additional content as far as I can tell.

World of Tanks Trailer:

Ok the second game is League of Legends its apparently based on the Warcraft III engine (ya I know blast from the past eh!) but I've heard its fun.  Your basically rumbling around with a single hero in a big battlground (again just think Warcraft III) where you fight either 2 vs. 2 battles or 5 vs 5 (or you can just fight the computer for a reduced exp reward).  Apparently they rotate the hero types each week and if you want to keep playing the same hero type you have to buy it.  I don't know what other microtransactions they have going on ... I haven't played it yet I've just been hearing about it.  I'm actually downloading it now and I'll update this post when I get some playtime in. Update:  Been playing the game for a few hours, its pretty cool so far.  Worth a look anyway.
League of Legend trailer 1:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

What is over the line in a game?

When is too far ... too far?

Recently on the local game group forums we've had a discussion going on what is too far with RPGs and video games.  I'm pretty opinionated on this in terms of I think any depiction of violence or abuse towards children is 100% taboo.  Apparently people don't feel that way.

even worse someone thinks its so funny they will sing Adam Sandler opera man style songs about it

Yet as offensive as it is I don't think it should be banned or burnt.  Its protected speech and people are fully entitled to consume it and view it.  Such is freedom ... good with the bad ...

It just saddens me that there seem to be no standards anymore in terms of this sort of thing.  But this is a broader discussion.  What do people out there think?  Especially with your own home gaming.  What are your lines ... or do you have any ... in RPGs?

Its just a game is the take on the internetz ... and therefore doing anything in it is ok and your an idiot if you read anything into it.  So there are no lines at all ever, under any circumstances when it comes to games now apparently according to most people on the internet.  Because its fictional and just pixels its all ok.  This is why video games are less and less appealing each year.  I suppose at some point it will all just be torture porn hentai with an anything goes attitude.  Sad really, but just sad to me I guess after reading more about this online I realize I'm in the minority to such an extent I might be the only person in the world who feels this way (well maybe there is one other but that's about it).   I know this is kind of old news for the internet ... but we have been talking about it in the local community and we started bringing it back to the world of tabletop games and I wondered if anyone else out there had thoughts.

Friday, July 1, 2011

New Gears of War boardgame preview

New Gears of War boardgame preview ... looks cool!

Oz roleplaying game ... odd or interesting?

 I don't know what to make of this ... something interesting or just a bit too out there to want to attempt.  See this is the kind of game I could see playing with my own kids as a family RPG.  Might be interesting.  But from how the developer teaser is worded it sounds like its geared towards adults and RPG nerds at that.  So I don't know how much mileage I'd get out of it for a game for the kids, I'd be better off hacking another system and just doing a sandbox game for them.  As for me I don't know if this would be something I could reasonably get a group of gamers together to try ... even for a one shot ... lol.  Here is a blurb from the Studio 2 page.
"All of the familiar characters from the Land Oz are in Oz: Dark & Terrible, with one exception. The Scarecrow is an Anidum; a creature containing a person's soul that has been transplanted into a mannequin, while the witch responsible walks around in the Husk with all its memories. The Tin Woodsman is a retired member of the Wizard's "secret service", the Tin Men, who ensure the citizens of the Emerald City remain loyal to their ruler and are willing to use whatever means necessary to achieve their goals. The Cowardly Lion is a disgraced exile from his rightful kingdom after his father betrayed the other Animals in a catastrophic battle against Blinkie, the former Wicked Witch of the South, who refuses to be like other Carnivores who eat the hearts of Humans to gain lycanthropic powers."

For sure an interesting concept though, I'm tempted to pick it up just to see the mechanics and the game itself, I'm sure it would be interesting if nothing else.