Thursday, January 19, 2012

And My Plan Would Have Worked If It Wasn't For Those Meddling Kids...

Having finally returned to RPGs last year I have to say that I'm having a blast with it.  In fact my wife has even joined our Pathfinder game and now my daughter has asked to play as well.  The question is which game to play.  I've actually been thinking about bringing the family into gaming for a while and I've been looking for games besides the typical mainstream ones that we might have fun with.  I've managed to find a few so far and I wanted to share my thoughts on them.  This week we're going to look at one for all the Scooby Doo fans out there.

Meddling Kids was released in 2004 by Pandahead Productions as an introductory role playing game and I have to say that they've done a good job with it.  The mechanics are simple enough for anyone to grasp quickly and the writing is very well done for an intro to the hobby.  It breaks it all down into simple concepts and explains everything from character generation to skill challenges to experience points clearly and concisely.

Basically the game revolves around a group of kids investigating some mysterious goings on in their hometown.  In addition to running the game, the GM also controls their own character called the wild card who is part of the group and also helps with the investigation (basically the Scooby Doo for the gang).  The resolution mechanics revolve around rolling 3d6 plus the relevant stat and any modifiers from abilities either against a target number set by the GM or your opponents roll for opposed tests.  The rules also include a very thorough list of examples for all the target numbers making it easy for even the newest GM to pick a reasonable number.

A sample investigation with pre-generated characters is also included to give you an idea how to set up and adventure but I have to say that this is the weakest part of this product.  The overall impression that I got from the game is that the players are trying to solve mysteries involving monster in the vein of Scooby Doo (meaning its really just some guy in a mask) but the sample adventure ultimately focuses on the origin of Captain Bingo, the groups possessed chimp.  Yeah, I said possessed chimp.  I suppose its not really a big deal but it just doesn't seem to fit with the overall feel that they were trying to get so it just seems awkward.

Even with this drawback I still think that the game overall is nice gateway for players and GMs just getting into the hobby.  As far as where to get it, the PDF is currently available from and there is also a Kindle version of the rules available from

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Adventurers Assemble!

Back to Leviathos we go!!!  After a really long break we finally were able to get in a game of Pathfinder again.  As an added plus, we even had miniatures for most of the party thanks once again to the incredible search engine on Reaper Miniatures.  If you haven't checked them out and you're looking for miniatures then get on over there and give them a try.  They have a great selection that is thoroughly tagged so its very easy to find just what you are looking for.  In our case we have two half elves and their companions.

My character for this adventure is Caladrel, a Stormborn sorcerer with a little bit of wizard thrown in for good measure which is how I managed to get a familiar.

 Great detail on both of these miniatures made them really easy to paint though Caladrel's face seemed slightly off.  It still painted up well enough but something just seemed a not quite even about its proportions.  I also slightly modified his familiar Jhori by taking off the end of his spear as I mentioned before.

After all the glowing talk about Reaper I unfortunately had to break away for the next pair to get the right familiar.

 Keiyendora is the Nature Warden miniature from the Pathfinder range which just keeps getting better with each new addition.  Its great to see this line continue to expand even as the Pathfinder pre-paints hit the shelves giving people tons of options.  For her ape I actually had to get an old Heroclix figure because orangutans are just not that easy to find unfortunately.  Unsurprisingly there is not a lot of detail on this one but I'm still happy with how it turned out.

There was one other character who we had to use a random mini for but hopefully she'll be able to get hold of a figure before the next game.  This session was our first using the figures (and a white board for an impromptu  battlemat) and it definitely helped keep the whole thing in perspective.

Definitely looking forward to adding more minis to my collection plus I'm hoping to get back behind the screen soon as well.  Until next time...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Snowman's Year In Review!

Boardgames and RPGs and CCGs, Oh My!
 Total Games played in 2011: 131

Well its been quite the year for me in gaming.  Lots of boardgames and a return to role playing for me, plus my first time behind the screen and I even got my wife to join in on our latest Pathfinder game!  All and all, I'm pretty happy with with it but man there were some serious dry spells in there.  So which games were the big hits this year?  Lets take a look.

Top of the list is Unspeakable Words with ten plays (you can find my review of it here...).  This game is a lot of fun so not surprised to see it on the top of the pile.  It's also a great gateway game so if you're looking to bring some friends into the gaming fold I'd give this one a try.

Next up are the Ganesha Games family of games with nine plays split between Shadow Sea, Fear and Faith, and Mutants and Death Ray Guns.  All of these use variations on the Song of Blades and Heroes mechanics are make for fun and quick games.  I've been playing these games solo but I'm aiming to have SpacerGal give it a try some time soon as well.

The Red Dragon Inn series comes in third with eight plays split between the original RDI and RDI 3 (and here's the review for this one here...).  These are great games and I'm actually surprised we didn't get it to the table more though we didn't get our own copy until August.  Can definitely see us getting more out of this one in 2012.

Fourth place is a three way split between Guillotine, Pokemon, and Sorry Sliders.  Guillotine and Sorry Sliders are both quick filler games but fun to play.  Then there's Pokemon.  I used to laugh at this game but after playing it I can see the draw.  After all, five of those seven plays were between Christmas and New Years so that's gotta say something for it.  Add in the fact that there are a number starter decks available and you have a great entry point for the game without having to spend the usual fortune for a CCG.

Finally in fifth place there is another three way split, this time between Clue, Club Penguin CCG, and Mr. Jack.  Clue was something of a surprise for us as its been in our closet for years but we haven't played it in years until Pat and Seren suggested it.  I'm actually working on putting together a Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated mod for it as well but I have some more work to do on it.  The Club Penguin CCG a real life version of a game you can find on the Club Penguin website.  Fun and quick to play but really expensive considering it basically an advanced version of rock/paper/scissors.  Still might pick up some more cards for it (crazy as it sounds it is really fun...) but we'll have to see.  Mr. Jack is a deduction game where one player takes the role of Jack the Ripper while the other plays everyone trying to catch him before he escapes.  Definitely one of those games that makes you think (especially as Mr. Jack) because if you play it wrong you'll quickly find yourself out of options.

Let Us Look At Zee Vurld... Miniaturized!
Miniatures bought in 2011: 44
Miniatures painted: 32
Terrain pieces built: 4

In sharp contrast to my boardgames is the lack of miniature painting, purchasing, etc. that happened in 2011.  In fact the only reason that I painted so many miniatures was because I painted some 15mm sci-fi figures from Ground Zero Games!

The big change here for me was the fact that I stopped playing Warmachine and Hordes.  I still own the miniatures but between scheduling difficulties (having Tuesday and Wednesday nights off makes it difficult to get to an LGS...) and not being thrilled with the Mark II rules its not something that I see changing any time soon.  In fact I almost painted more minis for RPGs than I did for anything else and I can see that trend continuing in 2012 as I want to broaden my miniature catalog more.  I also want to get more miniatures for the various Ganesha Games systems that I dabble with as well, especially Mutants and Death Ray Guns.

And Now... On To The Future!!!
So what am I looking for in the New Year?  There were some months in 2011 that I did almost no gaming at all.  This is something that I want to change by bringing in more gaming with the family.  Not only is it fun to do its also a great way to spend time together besides just sitting there staring at the TV.  In fact I'm also hoping to introduce my daughter to RPGs as well but that's one that is still up in the air.  I've found a number of kid friendly RPGs that look really interesting but scheduling is the problem as always since you really need a group for role play.  Hopefully with the Christmas season behind us our gaming group is going to get more stable in the coming weeks.  There are also a number of boardgames that we have in our closet that have never even made it to the table and I want to remedy that as well.  I mean really, why hasn't Galaxy Trucker been played yet?  That's just crazy talk!

That's enough of my rambling nostalgic about 2011 but what about you?  If you have any thoughts or comments about your gaming in the year past or present I'd love to hear them so feel free to leave a comment here on the blog.  Until next time...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Damn you Harris!!!

While digging around iTunes for something to listen to I stumbled across something a little different.  I've found podcasts of D & D, Call of C'Thulhu, and Dark Heresy to name a few but this was one of the few Fate actual plays I've found.

Focus: Actual play sessions
Audio Quality: Three and a half out of five Tesla coils (FYI this is s Skype game which is why the audio quality is just above average)
Content Quality: Four and half wrenches out of five
Average Length: about two to two and a half hours
Release Schedule: pretty much weekly

Of Steam, Steel, and Murder is a Fate game set in an alternate history where electricity and steam engines abound.  Set in the city of Metapol, this storyline follows a group of Guild investigators (kind of like PIs but with a little more clout) as they delve into the dark conspiracy that is building within and threats to pull the world back into war.  I'm up to episode 20 out of the 40 plus that they've released so far and the paranoia is building every session as the PCs start to question just who is part of conspiracy and who isn't.  Definitely can't wait to see how things develop!

One of the great things about this story is the emphasis on investigation instead of combat and the Fate system does a great job supporting it.  With its quick and descriptive resolution system, the group is able to keep the game moving along very smoothly where a lot of other systems can start to really get bogged down on the crunch.  In fact I like how the system plays so much that I'm even thinking about giving Fate a try in the future as well.  As for the storyline, the GM reveals some of the information that the players might have missed in the wrap up for the episodes but there are ongoing complications as well.  Overall this podcast has a very rich plot and I definitely recommend giving it a listen.  Until next time...

Quick addendum...  I recently finished listening to episode 21 and just had to make a quick comment.  Overall I'm still enjoying listening to the game but there are a few in character debates that occurred during the last three episodes that really slow down the action.  If you listen I'm sure you'll see what I'm talking about.  While these are a bit of character development but they do tend to become rather repetitive and drag some so you might want to skip over them.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year Everyone!

Well the insanity is in full swing here in Sin City but we'd like to take a break from the revelry to wish everyone out there a safe and happy New Year!

As just a sneak peak what we're mulling around here at the Dispatch for 2012, Spacer and I have been talking about doing more board and card game video reviews and possibly even some actual play podcasts of our role playing games as well.  No definites yet but thought I'd share.  Time for me to dive back into the craziness!  Until next time...