Archive for the ‘Role Playing Games’ Category

Kickstarter: Reactor Returns!

Posted: August 26, 2014 by Kane Blaireau in Kickstarter, Minatures, Role Playing Games

Long time no post, so lets get to it! Here is what I’m watching on Kickstarter right now.

Dungeon Saga: The Dwarf King’s Quest (ends August 31st). Yet another new game from Mantic on Kickstarter? Yup. I know they get a lot of flack for doing this, but they really are a small fish trying to compete against the goliath of Games Workshop. This particular game is a modern take on the old GW HeroQuest. Looks spectacular! Definitely one to watch for if you like beer and pretzels dungeon crawling.

Designer & Dragons (ends September 9th). A retrospective of the RPG industry, newly revised by Evil Hat Production (Fate).

Battle Systems Fantasy Dungeon Terrain (ends September 21st). Cardboard fantasy terrain pre-printed on heavy card. I actually did a double take on this. VERY impressive looking card terrain. The texturing gives an amazing amount of depth. I’m already a fan of cardboard terrain and this looks to be a leap in quality.

There you have it! Hoping to have these more often, so please send me a link to things I should be watching.


Going over the PAX Prime schedule. Looks like a good show this year. Honestly see more of interest to me than last year. Here is a rundown of what I’m looking forward to



10:30 Storytime With Mikey Neumann-The PAX keynote brought to you by one of the guys behind Borderlands. Should be fun. Studio heads are always entertaining in their own neurotic way.

11:30 Building Inclusive Communities in Analog Gaming Spaces-Whats better than gaming with a few people? Gaming with a LOT of people. Panel discussing how to make sure everyone is welcome at the table.

12 Molding and Casting for Beginners-I’ve done a tiny amount of molding. I get the basics, but a better understanding is never a bad thing. Does overlap the previous panel, so may have to rely on Noccie for notes on that one.

4:30 Queer Visibility in Tabletop RPGs-All about that inclusivity thing again. How much should you notice and how much should it matter? Should be an enlightening panel.

5:30 Developing the Thornwatch-Been looking forward to this game since Mike announced it. The mechanics sound very intriguing. I’m a big fan of new gaming ideas.

8:30 Concerts-The Doubleclicks should be more reason than anyone needs to get in the door. The rest is just gravy!



1:30 Orcs Must Die!-One of my favorite game series is getting a sequel. Can’t wait to see where its going.

3:30 Art of the DM-Seems like a semi-yearly panel. Always good to have more tricks in the DMing arsenal.

9 Retrogame Roadshow-I love old games. Seeing some of them go for absurd amounts of money should be fun!



10 Game Industry Rumble-A bunch of game industry folks beat the heck out of each other in the classic N64 Wrestlemania 2000. Whats not to love?

12 Digitizing the Tabletop-All about playing tabletop games online. Been wanting to try my hand so this should be a welcome leg up.

3 Tetris-The creator of Tetris, Alexey Pajitnov, talks about the game that defined a generation of handhelds.

6 A New Tabletop Gaming Canon-Tabletop gaming has been through drastic changes over the last decade. This panel looks at what games everyone should know going forward.

9 Collecting Games-Look at collecting games without getting ripped off. Definitely something on my radar.



10:30 The Art of the Table-More about GMing. Since that is my primary role most of the time, can’t have too many tricks up my sleeve.

1:30 Guilty Pleasures-Some games are terrible but you can’t help liking them. Should be fun hearing about what terrible games others play in the dark. I know I’ve got my own!


No guarantees I’ll make it to all of these, but I’ll be sure and write about the ones I do see. Hope to see you there!


Golem Arcana Unboxing

Posted: August 22, 2014 by Kane Blaireau in Board games, Kane, Role Playing Games

Last year at PAX, Noccie and I demo-ed a game called Golem Arcana. It is a game that marries traditional tabletop gaming with an app that keeps track of the minutia of the battlefield and character effects. It also has a very unique look and feel that is carried to the tabletop via their pre-painted miniatures. This all coming from the fine folks at HareBrained Schemes who you may recognize as the makers of the new Shadowrun Returns video game that they launched via Kickstarter. Having participated in that Kickstarter and thoroughly enjoying the final product, I was already on-board. They promised another Kickstarter to get Golem Arcana going and they delivered! TONS of content all at once instead of the slow release that plagues most games of its type. Last week, we received our pledge reward. Here is my unboxing adventure of this mighty box-o-stuff.

IMAG0232The box itself. Name and address blacked out to protect the guilty.


And inside the voluminous brown beast? The Kickstarter edition of the starter box surrounded by the add-ons.


The back of the starter box.


The starter box surrounded by its friends.


The inside of the starter box.


What lies below the tray of miniatures? Why the rules and accessories, of course! The rulebook itself is VERY sparse, but since this is run primarily via a downloadable app, that is not really surprising.


The control card and some counters on top of a battlefield tile.


Another beautifully rendered tile.


Character cards on top of yet another tile.


The Bone Golems.


The Wood Golems.


Booster box of Sand Golems.


The cards for the Sand Golems.


Sand Golems free of their containment field.


Black Widow expansion cards.


And the models.


This wee beauty was  bonus for having also Kickstarted Shadowrun by the same company!


Another add-on that I just thought was cool!


The pendant and item cards. Not entirely sure how these interact with the game.

We are planning on getting some play time in soon and will be sure and take pictures and write up a full blow-by-blow of the action!

Hey folks! Now that the holidays are over, more cool Kickstarters are starting to pop up again. Here are a few to keep an eye on.

Customizable 3D Printed Tabletop Miniatures! Made-to-order miniatures. This one has already blown by its funding goal and through a couple of stretch goals adding sci-fi  and mounts to the core of fantasy minis. They are a bit pricey, but for something that is basically print on demand, its hard to beat. Their really are no other options short of hiring a sculptor!

Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians! A tactical strategy game directed by the man behind Final Fantasy Tactics. Sounds promising, but not showing us much just yet. Definitely worth keeping an eye on if you like that sort of game, though.

Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen! Fantasy MMO brought to you by a bunch of guys who broke away from SOE and were behind EQ, EQ2, SWG and on and on. Worth keeping an eye on if you liked any of those.

Project Nimbus! Open world mech shooter. Looks to have elements of the greats such as Zone of Enders and Virtual On. Only a few days left so go take a look!

Red Box Games Norse Warrior Miniatures! Tre Manor is one of the best miniature sculptors in the business today. Get some of his amazing work early by backing this one!

Earthdawn 4th Edition! I am a fan of Earthdawn and am VERY glad to see it coming back again. I’m not sure who is behind the new FASA, but looks like they have plenty of people convinced that they know what they are doing. Epic heroic fantasy with its own take on the genre.

The Mini Box – Simple Storage Solution! Affordable miniature storage. Glad to see an American company doing that as we don’t have many choices this side of the pond.

Last, but not least KUNG FURY! Just go watch the trailer on the Kickstarter. If that doesn’t convince you…I don’t have anything to say to you.

As always, if YOU know of a Kickstarter that everyone needs to hear about, let me know in the comments!

Evil Dice?

Posted: January 15, 2014 by Noccie in Noccie, Role Playing Games
Tags: , , , ,

Do dice that don’t get rolled enough turn against their weilders or is it just chance at play?


Most roleplayers you ask would say YES, if you don’t love your dice they turn against you. Part of me wonders if this is just superstition. Is this phenomenon just our way of explaining a bad roll. I’ve definately seen it in action where dice prefer the way one person rolls them on the table over how another person rolls them. This is probably the result of an imperceptable reaction from our brain to our hands. It doesn’t explain the dice that just won’t roll well for anyone though. If dice are designed poorly, it can affect the way it rolls. The weight and balance of the physical item can definately be at the root of the problem but sometimes… there seems to be something else involved.

If you’ve ever watched role players at a dice booth during a convention, it’s a laborious process. Each dice is picked up, handled, weighed in the palm of the hand, rolled and tested again and again. Some people have dice that they only roll alone or dice that roll better with other dice. You will see people pick up dice, put them back, pick them up again and then put them back. When asked why, they aren’t sure. Something about the dice just didn’t feel right for them.

MLP Dice Booth PAX 2013

Penny Arcade 2013

I had one friend that used to pick up dice and proclaim, “Ooo… I feel a few crits in this batch.”

My dice are kept in two special boxes. They are pretty boxes that look like books and have a magnetic latch. I hunted for the proper vessel to keep them in. One box has all my 10 siders and the other box has my other dice. 3, 6, 8, 12, and 20 siders all share that second box.


Boxes of Dice

Boxes of Dice


I feel obligated to treat them nice and keep them away from my husbands dice. He uses two big bags of dice that are know to role unpredictably. He uses these for story telling to make the game more fair. That being he said, he knows that he has the ability to roll dice well, so he uses this batch of unruly dice to help the players survive his campaigns.


Every time we play together the whole party starts testing dice just before game. Rolling over and over to see if the dice in question is going to roll well tonight. It also warms up the dice and gets them ready. One roll never tells you anything. You have to roll it over and over. If you get an 18, 19, 20 a few times the players will tell you to stop quickly because otherwise you’ll use all the high rolls! OH NO! Maybe it’s crazy but this works out some how. Yes, rolling dice will always be a statistical nightmare but the numbers just don’t work out if you track and pay attention to your dice. Some dice simply roll better, more often.

I wonder if this is because  we’re putting positive energy into the dice we like? It could be metaphysical. I don’t think anyone will ever really know. I’ll leave you with this. Be nice to your dice. Praise them. Talk softly to them. Seduce them with your words and your rolling. Treat them like you’re dating your best friends sister and be on your best behavior. Let the know you appreciate thier work.

Wow that sounded a little crazy. Well… whatever. Do you have dice stories?

Here are photos of my dice.

Game Writing

Posted: November 4, 2013 by Kane Blaireau in Board games, Kane, Life in a Box, Minatures, Role Playing Games

I am a bit of an amateur game-writer. I have a series of unfinished tabletop games ranging from board games, skirmishes, wargames to RPGs. I say amateur because none of them have ever been fully finished or published yet. I am hoping to change this soon, but let me just tell you about my process.

First, inspiration hits me from somewhere. This can be a song, movie, video game or another tabletop game. I usually make some mental notes of mechanics I would like to emulate from that source. When I feel like I have a complete idea, I will start writing down the core mechanics. After this point things start to fall apart.

My next step is trying to get friends and family to test it. This generally involves weeks of pestering to get a single play session done. Take notes and hope for feedback here and don’t get discouraged when their isn’t any. Update the rules as needed. After so many attempts and no further feedback, the game usually stagnates here.

How I have gotten around the stagnation recently is by seeking out another game writer locally who can help focus test the game. This is not always an option and only one that has happened with me recently. The other option is to test by yourself in between those few and far between sessions with your friends and family. Always ask questions of anyone who is playing or even ask yourself.

So then, is everything working as intended? If not, how do I fix that? Then fix it and test again. If something else breaks, tweak it and push it until something else breaks. Once everything is either working as intended and/or breaking where intended, it is ready! That is easier said than done, but game design is a series of iterations (or irritations) rather than one big inspirational leap. Sometimes that does happen, but not to me or anyone I know! I am at the last part on my current board game project, Gate Siege. If you would like more information, find me at Crushed Earth Productions on Facebook. I’d be more than happy to have more play testers since we are in the final stages of design of the core game and have begun discussing what to save for the expansion.

Not only am I a huge video game nerd, I’m also a tabletop gaming junkie! Lately, video games have won out simply due to ease of set up and lack of time to play a long, involved tabletop game. Like most geeks, this has not stopped me from acquiring other games to add to the pile. Here is a list of recent acquisitions that I am hoping to go into great detail on in the near future.

Krosmaster Arena-This is an interesting one. Chibi (super-deformed anime) characters inspired by the video games Dofus and Wakfu in a head-to-head arena combat game. Apparently, this was originally a game WITHIN the video game. The boxed set comes with a basic mix of character types with additional models available in small boosters. In Europe, they are sold in blind purchase boxes. I wouldn’t mind some of those myself, but I’ll take what I can get. The models are not so much pre-painted as color molded, giving them a very animated look of simple, bright colors that I find rather charming. It uses some 3D card terrain to mix up the battlefield . Dice use is limited, forcing real tactical thinking.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game-This one has been getting rave reviews! No Dungeon Master needed adventuring with your character and the monsters actions being controlled by decks of cards. Built for 4 players with a 5-6 player expansion already available and decks extending the campaign coming soon. Even my hard to impress friends were excited about this one!

Warmachine High Command-A recent edition to the line of deck building card games where your deck is not fully built at the beginning of the game similar to Dominion. The big difference here is that each player has a separate deck specifically themed to one of the core factions in the Warmachine setting. You further direct the deck based on your choice of Warcasters (the settings epic heroes) and their preferred minions. Each player is looking to score more victory points (by capturing locations or having certain units in play) then their opponents before the game ending card pops out of the communal scenario deck. Surprisingly quick and, unlike Magic or the like, you start with resources enough to do something from turn one. Also, its an expandable card game rather than collectible, so if you want to add more you can, but its entirely optional and you always know what you are getting from an expansion.