Today is my birthday. I am old. I usually run 7 miles on my birthday but– man I gotta mow the lawn instead…
MOO is officially out today and I’m going to play a bit today despite the excellent weather. I recommend it. For CIV players it may be too simplistic, however.
We played THE CAPTAIN IS DEAD last night and it was fairly good. I do not like the cooperative games like Pandemic (especially Pandemic) where really it’s a SOLO game and the presence of all players but the most experienced is superfluous at best. However, coop games with hidden goals like Galactica and Dead of Winter are great games. The Captain is Dead falls into the Pandemic style, but it plays fast, has a TON of asymmetry with the characters you each play. I would actually play it again. What’s more, it doesn’t have any DVD or sound shit to go along with it, because that is fucking annoying.
Anyway, happy birthday to me. See some of you on SATURDAY for the drunken nerdery.
I signed up for FOUR Runequest/Mythras games at Gencon this year and made it to three of them. The first one we had a big group in and it was very good, probably the best RQ session I’ve had.
The scenario had the Roman 8th Legion which disappeared in England actually make it to the New world and set up a Roman style camp city in the Algonquin lands. The players played either First people or some of the Romans (all pre-generated). A mysterious attack on an Algonquin chieftain brings the two groups together– for a time. This was an excellent short adventure with mystery, exploration, traps and a brutal combat to cap it off. There was good use of passions as well, something I need to work on in my own RQ games. Dice-wise we were rolling criticals ALL day long– and my character, an Algonquin brave, was able to take down one of the mid-bosses with a single arrow shot! All in all, since this one was with friends, a good GM and the historical-weird stuff that is totally in my wheel house, I was super pleased with this game. I don’t want to go too deep into what happened as I assume the GM will publish this adventure somewhere.
The second game was also good, but I didn’t have any of my friends there so wasn’t too great, plus the were some very silly social justice warrior comments made due to the fact that playing a game with characters in 1100’s England is not the same as playing characters in a game set in the post 1995 world. This game was set in an era of the very early middle ages with iron-fisted feudal lords, miserable peasantry, xenophobia on a level incomprehensible to modern man for fucksakes! In this scenario, which had the same GM as the Algonquin-Roman game, we were to free King Stephen from the clutches of Geoffrey of Anjou after his capture at the battle of Lincoln. While this was also a historical scenario, it was very tough to get into at first since I was fairly unfamiliar with this conflict (the Anarchy is the official name) and there were a lot of names to remember. Also the problem, getting into a castle and into that castles dungeon, was quite difficult and could (remember this is Runequest!) have gone very badly for the characters at many points. Luckily and due to some smart play by our priest, we were able to bluff our way into the castle as workmen (workwomen in my character’s case) with a lot of help from the faculty staff and free the king in the end. The highpoint was giving some knights a laxative and then slaughtering them in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay fashion as they charged out of the loo in their long shirts. Rule to remember RQ/Mythras fans: ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET.
I was able to note a couple tweaks from RQ6 to Mythras that I definitely think make it a better game on top of already the best game. You can do a few new things with Luck Points than you could before, such as reversing the numbers on your rolled die or giving your character an extra action point (!).
The last game I made it to was CLASSIC FANTASY, which is a Mythras/RQ take on old school fantasy gaming. We had pre-gen characters again of your standard classes from Basic D&D. I played the wizard and other than roleplaying or providing tactical ideas, I pretty much only fired off my Magic Missile in combat. The scenario was interesting, but the GM did not drop us into the slaughter straight away (a staple of Old school games) but had a lengthy campaign-starting intro description that he actually repeated TWICE for us as there was a player that showed up late.
In old school fashion, the game was a dungeon crawl with some interesting traps and tricks scattered about and, of course, constant combat. We probably got into six fights during the session (I could only stay for 3 hours of it though), so many that we were a bit fight-numb. However, this was the first time I had play RQ with miniatures on a grid, like Pathfinder. It seemed to work well, with very little confusion about where everyone is. However, this turns a dynamic, imagination game into a tactical miniatures game where the focus is solely on the board and pieces in front of the players. If I was going to run a Classic Fantasy game, I would eschew the use of minis and especially a grid unless truly necessary. I use a map with miniatures in 13th Age all the time for fights, but it’s a gridless game with very loose (yet mechanically integrated) distances. Counting off spaces when you are playing Space Hulk or Advanced Heroquest (and you could lump 4E D&D into this board game group) is fine, but in and RPG? It’s just not necessary and is pretty annoying.
The Magic system in Classic Fantasy is just what you would expect– RQ mechanics on top of the standard Sleep, Magic missile, Cloud Kill, etc. I really had only magic missile, as noted earlier, and fired it off quite a bit, but mostly missed my casting rolls. Due to the class and level system being applied to RQ in Classic Fantasy, characters start a bit weaker than your standard RQ characters. A fighter in RQ is going to to have a 60%+ in his main combat skill, sometimes even into the high 70’s. Magic users in standard RQ will have a high casting value for Sorcery or Theism– they will fail from time to time, but it will be rare– usually their skill will come in to play when in opposition to something else. Classic Fantasy characters, at least the pregens we had, had 40’s and 50’s for their skills, so there was a lot of whiffing. While in close combat a whiff can mean death as the opponent can parry and get a special effect, casting spells or shooting arrow whiffing isn’t too fun when it’s close to 50%. When both sides have sub 50% skill at fighting, it can make for a long fight if special effects aren’t used.
Since there were so many combats, some vs monsters and odd things, there was some hand waving around the special effects. As a GM and player of RQ: don’t do this. Special effects are an integral part of the game, and it’s one of those things that makes RQ/Mythras D100 far better than Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Special effects make combat go quickly and make your rolls, especially in close combat with actual weapons matter every time you touch the dice.
Lesson from this last game for GMs: when you sit down to run a CON RPG game– time is fleeting so GREASE UP AND GET FUCKING. This isn’t your home campaign! Any dithering will be seen of as terrible. Throw the characters immediately into a situation and get them making choices, don’t wait, don’t explain much, just start PLAY. In my Lamentations game, after character creation, the players were at the base of the Tower of the Stargazer within minutes and the first roll for death was just a few minutes after that. Go go go. Players aren’t there to SHOP or listen to back story!
So yeah, Mythras, the direct heir to Runequest 6 is going to be good– and between drafts of this post, Mythras is now available in PDF format on Drive Thru. No announcement of the actual physical book yet, but Mythic Rome is next on the slab for release.
The big ass the Others Box was waiting for me when I got home from GENCON (pretty nice timing there) and I’ve played four times now with three very different groups of people. I know some that read this may not have gotten their kickstarts– I’m sad for you, truly I am. That waiting SUCKS ASS!
I was the SIN player three times, and played as Faith agents once. This is not a review (won’t review a game unless I’ve played it at least 10 times), but some feelings about the game and it’s mechanics, both because I do not normally like this style of game generally, and because it is a MONSTER. The Others will draw you in with it’s beautiful art (Adrian Smith), solid graphic design and cool miniatures, but does the gameplay match the aesthetic quality that it’s worth buying? I think so, but it’s not for everyone. Unlike Blood Rage, which is one of the best board games ever made, not everyone on the planet will like The Others.
What is the game like? One side plays as the Faith agents (the Xmen) and one player plays as a SIN (Cthulhu). The game is played on a small, fully revealed map filled with monsters. The Faith player has to complete a mission tree to win the game, and the SIN player has to kill off most of the Faith team (4 kills out of 7 members). The missions involve killing certain monsters, rescuing people or gaining objects. Each ‘story’ has an initial mission, then other missions after the first one is completed that the players can choose from. This is complicated further by a type of story: Terror, Corruption or Redemption, which determines the type of bad stuff that happens during the game.
How does it play? Unlike Dead of Winter where players have their own objectives, there is no real need to have multiple people playing the Faith team. The Others is essentially a 2-side, 2-player game. However, managing all the Faith team members can be a chore and just like in an RPG when planning an ambush or get-away, multiple heads are better than one. I think the game is best with three (two Faith players controlling two Faith Agents each, one Sin player), BUT, if you only have one friend to play with, The Others will be JUST FINE.
I’m going to compare the game play itself with Descent and Advanced Heroquest, which are similar to The Others in that you have a GM that is trying to kill the players. Descent though, while fun, is a mass of details, a total mess of counters and tracking all this shit everywhere. AHQ is a random dungeon crawl that can really drag with the totally random map. The Others stands on the shoulders of Decent, Doom the board game and Advanced Hero Quest in that it strips out all the bullshit you don’t need present in those games. Especially as the SIN player where you control all the monsters and events, it’s surprisingly easy to run and play. The Faith players, mechanically, have it very easy as well and can concentrate on WHAT they need to do and not crap on their sheet.
Faith Agents can take 2 actions in a round and actions, like the new XCOM, consist of moving and attacking or attacking and moving, with ‘attacking’ being replaced with ‘cleansing’ when needed to put out fires or destroy corruption. n The board is full of hazards, so moving around can be costly– no move is done without careful thought (unless you are the guys that demo’ed the game before I did at Gencon, as you were not putting any thought in).
The SINS player can only react to an Agent’s move/attack, and can only effect that acting Agent and none other, so there is a dynamic risk reward there. We’ve had multiple games where a hapless agent went in to complete a mission knowing she (looking at you Morgana) would immediately be swarmed and killed.
Faith characters consist of the following:
- Health Track
- Corruption Track
- Special Power
- Fight value
- Skill value
That’s it! The Xmen… I mean Faith agents can pick up items that add a few special effects (mostly just more dice) but running a single Faith team member or ALL of them at once is no problem as there’s not too much to keep track of.
There are four ‘classes’ (Bruiser, Shooter, Fixer, Leader) that equate to your standard thief, tank, caster, buffer and you must have two of each class and one leader to make up your team. Each agent breaks a rule in the game in some way and there are a LOT of them. Six full teams (Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Omega, Sons of Ragnarok) exist with all the expansions and a group of extras that can be a full team themselves. That’s just under 50 agents…lots of asymmetry for you there.
As SIN, you have a bunch of other stuff to deal with, but it’s not super complicated. You move the monsters and play little trick cards and remember the effects of your SIN on the game and the Apocalypse card. Probably the most complicated period is the end game where there could be members of the Hell Club, the Avatar, Controller, Abominations and Acolytes all on the table with multiple Apocalypse cards out to remember effects from. All in all, I feel that it plays REAL SMOOTH either side with very few burrs.
Play itself is exciting, with nearly every agent and monster move making a ton of difference. There’s very few slough-off plays for either side where nothing happens. Due to the Apocalypse track, the Faith side is always pushing ahead as it gets much unpleasant for them about turn 3 on.
Overall I would describe the play of the game as fairly fast and clean, with the only lags being when Faith players discuss what to do next, which they should and need to do throughout the game. Like games with an antagonistic GM, such as Fury of Dracula, it can be tough as SIN not to fuck up and accidentally hand the players the win, but ever game seemed fairly close.
The game takes about 3 hours for a single story. I think if we play more games, this will get shorter and may even hit between 1-2 hours.
Lastly, The Others has a lot of stuff out for it with it’s initial release, the box it came in dwarfed the Blood Rage box which I now keep in a massive pelican case so I can take it to work gaming club, people’s houses and stuff. I’ve humped that fucker 2 miles walking in mid-winter from the bus stop and that wasn’t fun. The Others has even more stuff– a mountain of miniatures and boxes. What should you buy? What should you not buy until you’ve played a bunch of games and know your group likes it?
The base set is FINE to start with, but get extra dice if you can. +3 for both sin and faith dice is really essential. You can play through the entire seven stories with just this set. It may be better to do this with just the Alpha team so Faith players don’t go insane with choices of Agents until they know what the fuck is going down.
Most of the expansions are additional Faith team members and the remaining seven Sin boxes (5 others). All five remaining Sins have a box with two types of miniatures and the cards that go along with them. Given multiple plays, your players may be able to put together a Faith team that can deal with your normal Sin choice (say Pride or Sloth that come in the main box) so you have a ton of choices to shake that up. For simplicity, I have run Pride every time, which is a good learning tool to punish the players for going alone about the city, but I’m ready for LUST or SLOTH next.
Faith boxes have full teams that you can jump in with that likely synergize with each other in some way. Most of the big Faith team boxes have extra stuff, like monsters (Hell Club members mostly), new city tiles, more cards or the dice bags. I would say get at least one of the team boxes, probably Sons of Ragnarok biker gang (7 characters, no other bullshit so it’s probably cheaper than the other boxes) or the Beta team. I did not get the Delta or Gamma team addons and I’m not regretting it at this point, but I may. Gamma is probably the team I would get next.
The Apocalypse box adds an 8th story into the mix with massive miniatures. You can probably wait on this until after you’ve played all the stories in the main game.
For those of you looking to pair down your collections and not buy massive games there’s a LOT of boxes of stuff with the Others to fill your shelves and unless you are going to replace Descent + expansions with this game, you may need a larger board game purge to fit it in your house!
There you go, after unpacking a lot of this massive CMON kickstarter and playing a handful of times, that’s what I think of the game. Bottom line is, I was worried that I would not like the game as I do not like Descent very much (why I kickstarted Massive Darkness I just don’t know…) and The Others was better than I thought it would be.
no man’s sky is a bad game. after 2 more hours of play for a total of 5 hours there is jack shit going on. the procedural nature of all the planets means they are all more the same than different. i can already feel the desire to quit this game. (though there is a small voice saying play some more because you may find some new shit)
the game is becoming more and more boring exponentially. if the first couple of hours of play could be BUILT upon no man’s sky would be a HIT, instead it almost immediate becomes repetitive and dull as shitcake.
this game is going to have to pull off a miracle to not be considered a complete and utter failure.
i could talk in deal about all the shitty stuff in the game(combat, resource management, doing the same search and find shit over and over) but you can just search youtube for reviews and there are plenty of them that talk about how the game is shite.
i’m not going to report anymore on no man’s sky. it’s not worth playing or talking about. there are 1000’s of other games that are carefully crafted experiences which are worth everyone’s time.
hello games, never again will i purchase your shit.
no man’s sky on PS4 has no install. wtf. no install. after playing so many games on ps4 and getting used to a 10-15min install process, NMS has no install. that was the first signal that there was no MEAT in NMS. SURE the game is procedural so you’d expect the game to be lean, but ZERO install? red flag. a 1GB patch did install, so i’m gaming on v1.03 of NMS. there was no manual in the game case. fuckthat for 60$ plus tax i want a unless manual! hello games is making hand over fist moneyhats i guess. i mean 10 people studio, sounds like they stayed independant, didn’t take dev money from SONY, so like let’s say hello games is getting like 20$ per copy sold for NMS. i bet they sold at least 500k copies, which is like 10 million bucks. or a million a person for 3+ years work on the low side. what does that matter? if you charge full price for game you need to give the player full price trimmings. this is what will come out in the press and with fans over and over, is NMS worth the full $60 price. after 3 hours last night i’d say for most players NMS is overpriced.
it’s a survival/exploration game. that should be said by the developer over and fucking over. that is what the game is. there are other games that do the same thing but don’t hide behind the whole “infinite universe” shit. from 3 hours of play i’m already seeing how in this “infinite” sandbox the similarities between locations (planets/moons) will be rather HIGH. that is disappointing if not expected. their procedural content generation technique is NOT designed new types of basic animal locomotion for example, no it is just using basic models like two-legged creature, four-legged creature, ooooh and yep you guessed it six-legged creature. and these creatures, what the fuck do they do, NOTHING. shit they don’t eat, shit, attach each other, mate, etc. they just are there, 3-4 at at time as background. ya sometimes they are hostile to you and you have to beat them back which feels like SHIT. the FPS combat on planets feels like shit and then you are shooting some little crab thing and it feels like stupid shit. you’ll never see TRULY fantastics creatures, like that monster from The Thing, Falor from The Neverending Story, Alien(s) from the Alien series, etc. the devs didn’t have the resources to create really fantastical types of creatures, nor the time / processing power to properly animate them and breath life into them with interesting AI. OF COURSE I’VE ONLY PLAYED 3 HOURS SO WTF DO I KNOW BUT THIS IS MY BOLD PREDICKTION. the creatures in the game will be super fucking boring and hollow.
survival from the very start! little to no tutorial showing what you should try to do. this is a strength because you a freaked out about how to even survive right out the gate. i have not died yet, but many people have immediately and talked about that experience online. that is excellent.
no one told me that killing plants/animals was “bad” with some shitty little tutorial messages. you find out that when you kill shit causing omnipresent sentinels to come and investigate with little scanner bots, if you keep killing shit while sentinels scanner bots are watching you, the bots start attacking thus a cycle of escalation like getting stars in grand theft auto begins. okay that is fine and works to add more consequence to your actions. you can’t just fucking kill everything you see without getting fucked by the the robot guys. okay fine. you find that out yourself while playing. perfect.
far as i could tell right away are tasked with repairing your ship, which requires collecting elements(iron, plutonium etc). you can mine shit with laser gun omnitool thing. that is fine. you can send out a scan pulse to find the shit you can mine. okay that is fine. the graphics of the planet you start on feel okay, they feel kinda low budget/procedural in nature.
SOUND, very meh. the music is okay but nothing in the ambient sounds of the planet i was on made it seem very alien.
the weather was clear and cold i think. you have to manage a resource which is your spacesuits power to shield you from either extreme cold or extreme heat. if the environment shield goes to zero, you start taking damage i imagine. i never let it go all the way down to find out though. charging your heat/cold shield takes the yellow elements.
TAKING DAMAGE. yes you take damage from being attacked and also just walking around over time, and you fix that game by consuming RED resources, which are elements like Carbon which you get by mining planets or killing animals. BUT you can also use a element like plutonium to heal yourself i think because it is red. i think, can’t really remember but there seems to be some leeway in what you can use to “heal” your character guy.
i think there is a combat shield or something, but i’m not sure really. something that sops up the first couple hits before they start doing real damage, but i’m not sure because there wasn’t a tutorial to explain and the game comes with no fucking manual.
you can’t just press one button on the controller to heal, you have to open a menu, click on which thing to repair(heal), which opens another menu and choose which element/item you are going to use. this is difficult to do when you are running away from something or being attacked as you still stop dead in your tracks to process this action. THAT IS FINE it adds tension and causes you to make sure your shit is fixed up nice before you try to explore something that might be dangerous.
gaymers everywhere have wanted the top to come off No Man’s Sky ever since the game was teased back in 2013 at the VGX extended night of game commercials and press jacking off ‘awards’. a PERFECT tease. have you experienced a perfect tease before? something that gets your cock/clit hard as steel? that feeling of INTENSE anticipation? YEP that feeling is what happened all the fucking way back in 2013 for me and many other gamers for No Man’s Sky. fuck i bought a PS4 because for a time it was suggested that Sony had scooped up NMS as a exclusive for the console, though originally it was going to be PC, or some shit but then it was going to be PS4 first then at some later time PC, fuckitall now it’s on PS4 3 days before the PC release. i digress, NMS launches TOFUCKINGMORROW.
okay, you don’t give 3 fucks about NMS because as you keep telling everyone, based on the trailers of the game you’ve seen NMS looks like a fucking boring gayme. that’s fine, stick to your CoD or macho Dark Souls masturbations, you’re not part of the target audience. trolling rock hard NMS fans is easy as slapping a child for making too much direct eye contact with the disabled.
NMS does not appear to be the work of jesus or peter molonyx. thankfully on the later. the devs of NMS have offered details about the game in a mostly restrained fashion, never over promising about the reality of what you can do in the game. the devs have hinted at things without spoiling what could prove to be a fun learn as you go exploration situation. the devs of NMS hinted that the game world of NMS is large (procedural generated galaxy or universe) but never did they say horse shit crazy stuff like pete molonyx is notorious for(and always failing to deliver). thank you devs of NMS, i think you should be honored for not overhyping your product. the fans are doing all that shit for you as they will/should.
a “big” game made by like 12 or so people, hyped to the MOON by fans. NMS releases tomorrow and i will give some daily reports on what the game is like. i will let you know from my hands on impressions from playing 2-3 hours night, how a middle aged married man with child plays games.
OH, fuck i almost forgot, the devs to my knowledge have said ZERO about DLC for No Man’s Sky. how? is it because they will offer that shit at a later date? the devs have said they plan on bringing more content and features, though they said it in a way so that one thinks it will be at no additional cost. hurray for that if that turns out to be the case. perhaps Sony will be paying them to keep players buying PS4s to play the game. who knows. a game coming out in today’s DLC assraping market which has no day one DLC announcements is a fucking winner.
we are at the last real day of the con, Sunday being mop up and all that. It’s crowded as fuck, with long lines and smells and bumping into huge backpacks. We are staying at the Alexander which is a hike from the con, but real shi shi and has tons of room for gaming. I made the mistake of getting new shoes before the con and my feet are fucked with blisters– so bad I have to wear flip flops for likely a week!
We got in a great Runequest game with a Roman legion in pre colonization North America. I got to play the Others for a bit (should be at my house today!) and picked up Bloodborne the card game which plays ok. Otherwise I haven’t bought much stuff, instead we’ve been eating like kings of the earth.
I ran my Lamentations of the flame princess event yesterday and it was good. I had only one player who was pretty much half asleep the whole time who did manage to wake up and free Calcidus the bad wizard from his salt circle. He then left the game shortly after as the other players then had to clean up that mess which nearly ended in a TPK.
We played LotFP later that day with steve, but that deserves its own write up.
Tomorrow begins the madness that is Gencon, the crush of the crowds, the heated toilet seats, the Fantasy Flight and CMON booth lines, the selling of THE OTHERS to people that didn’t kickstart it while those of us that did have to fucking WAIT FOR IT in the mails, the signs that tell people politely to PLEASE SHOWER DURING THE CON and finally, those that such signs were written for walking around in a thick crowd stinking up the entire vendor area. Some of the people you can smell a certain smell from the front (jungle rot?), and a different smell from the back (rectal sauces?).
I’m not in a lot of games this year, it being impossible to get into an event with friends due to the player to game ratio these days, but I am running one session of Lamentations of the Flame Princess, so we’ll see how that shit goes with fucking strangers. I’m hoping for some non-insane people. That’s all I ask. The game I got in to play was Mythras (runequest) Classic Fantasy which is the RQ take on the Old School D&D genre. Really looking forward to that.
Otherwise I have to say, after going to Gencon for at least 22 years straight now, I’m thinking I may take a break after this year and rely on some local cons for the gaming.
Stuff I really like to do though:
- Go through Warhammer bits boxes that these guys bring. Epic, Blood Bowl, WFB– so much good stuff…
- Talk to the Dungeon Crawl Classics guys. People put a lot of onus on LotFP, but DCC is the other “leg” of the OSR, one that puts out great shit consistently.
- Get drunk at the ram
- Taking pictures of strange looking people– and they keep getting stranger and stranger both in costumes and people you think are in costumes, but aren’t. Granted when I started going as a wee lad it was all bearded fat guys hunched over hexboards.
Tonight though BLOOD RAGE!
This has been long gone off the internet, but I wanted to keep it for posterity because it is a poignant run down of the failed design of Diablo 3 and its crippling interaction with the Real Money Auction House. The article is a great nostalgic read and a grim reminder of how far a license can fall when in the hands of the wrong company, the wrong developers and the wrong game designers.
A lot of the problems this guy notes I never experienced, I wasn’t even able to get through act 1 before quitting. Things have changed for Diablo 3 from what I hear since the above was written, but my issues with the game had little to do with the RMAH in the first place, rather the core ARPG gameplay itself, which is not good and the core character models, which are silly looking and all run funny. I’ve always thought of doing a review, but Diablo 3 is one of those special games that is so bad it’s not worth reviewing. It gets the patented: unplayable/unreviewable rating a la the Onion.