Sunday, July 19, 2015

Once upon a time . . .

The game, that is.

It has been a little while since I last posted about Family Game Night. Today I'd like to mention a game that we recently picked up, called Once Upon a Time: The Storytelling Card Game. The goal of the game is literally to make up a story. The challenges are that your story has to be based on cards you've drawn and that the other players can steal your story, taking it in their own direction. The key component in the game (aside from your imagination) is the cards.

The cards above are examples of Ending cards. Each player is given one in secret. This is the ending to which the player wants to steer the story. In addition, the player has Story cards, like the two on the right of this picture:

The player needs to use the Story cards to craft a tale that convincingly leads to their ending. If the player manages to use all their cards they can then play their ending card and win the game. For example, using the above cards, a player could create a story about a BRAVE knight that sets out on a quest to reclaim an ancient CROWN.

As I mentioned, players can steal a story from each other. If a player uses a term that I have in my hand, I can play my card to take over. For example, let's say that another player is telling a story about a knight and they describe him as brave, I can play my BRAVE card to steal the story. There are also Interrupt cards, like the CROWN above. If another player plays a card of the same type (a thing in this case), then I can play an Interrupt and again steal the story. It can get really fun questioning the active player to lead them to using a word on one of your cards. For example, last night I had the CROWN card and my wife was the active player. She mentioned a king. I asked her what he was wearing. She said that he wore a crown. BAM! The story was mine!

Last night, my brothers were over and we played a couple of hands (the entire game took us about an hour). We ended up with some crazy stories - a princess in love with a monster, an orphaned beggar that became a wizard, witches, dragons, fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles. Wait, some of that was from Princess Bride.

Anyway, I highly recommend this game if you are, and can find other people who are creative. The mechanics are super simple and the game can be set up in seconds. The fun is using your imagination to reach your goal and telling an amusing story.

By the way, there is a Tabletop episode where they played this game. I think our stories last night were better. :)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Good Home Project - Baccus 6mm American Revolution


Baccus 6mm American Revolution Era
Next up on the chopping block is my Baccus 6mm imagi-nations project. The figures are from Baccus's American Revolution range. All together there are 15 strips of cavalry, 48 infantry strips, 4 guns with crew, and 4 strips of mounted generals.

Here's what happens to unsold figures!

(Not really. My unsold medievals are heading to Goodwill)

Items for sale:

Partially painted.
I believe these are Patriot cavalry

"Blue" Infantry
Mostly painted but un-based
I believe the figures are actually British regulars
Bare figures.
From L to R - Mounted generals, artillery and crews (4 guns), cavalry
More infantry
"White" Army infantry.
Painted (very basic) and based.
The stands on the left have 2 strips per base.
The ones on the right and the command stands have 1 strip per base.


All figures are sold as-is in a single batch. I will not break up batches.

Buyer agrees to pay the specified price + shipping (via US Postal Service Priority Mail which is $5.95 in the US). Payments made via PayPal.

To purchase, contact me directly at warwell2 AT yahoo dot com

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Your World Sucks

I can't find it now but I vaguely remember reading a blog post once that made the statement that your world sucks. The basic point was that the blogger preferred his own, home-brew campaign world to any commercially available product. Essentially, the blog post espoused the creative process of making your own rather than slavishly adopting someone else's handiwork. This argument has come to my mind recently because of two developments:

  • Over on TMP (and elsewhere, I'm sure) there has been a lot of hand-wringing about the Age of Sigmar, the new set of fantasy rules by Games Workshop. The big issue is that they are discontinuing their venerable Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WFB) rules. Fans of WFB are up in arms about the change, partly because GW is completely re-doing the setting, making all their old army lists obsolete. Of course, this does not bother me a bit. I never really was interested in WFB, to a large extent because I was never all that crazy about their world. I much prefer playing out battles in my own imagi-nations.
  • Last weekend, I ran an RPG session inspired by Colonial Gothic. While I like the general concept of the setting (supernatural horrors during the American Revolution), there are many aspects about the setting as described in the rulebook for which I don't particularly care. What did I do? I tossed out the "official" backstory and substituted my own. Once again, I am essentially creating my own world rather than using a commercial product (although I like to "borrow" ideas from commercial games).
Anyway, I just find so liberating not to be tied to some official setting but to use my own. I also love the creative process. So, from my perspective, other people's worlds do pale in comparison to my own.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A July Fourth Adventure

Last night I invited my brother over and we celebrated Independence Day with a Revolutionary War themed role-playing adventure.

I've been trying to get my wife into role-playing games for some time but she hasn't been very interested. However, she does enjoy dungeon crawl style board games, like Mice and Mystics. Unfortunately, games like this have a lot of components that make them a drag to set up. A pen and paper RPG doesn't really need anything other some dice and pencils (although some nice miniatures are tempting)

I was discussing RPGs with my wife a couple of weeks ago. I asked her what kind of game would she most be interested. She mentioned something with werewolves and witches. It dawned on me - Colonial Gothic, a game of supernatural adventure set during the American Revolution. I created a simple adventure involving a kidnapped Benjamin Franklin (the first part of the adventure is described here on my Tales of the Templars blog).

We used the latest iteration of my Kevin's Krawl rules, which I initially created for dungeon crawl games but which I have been using for my Space Templar games. This version is sort of a mash-up of Traveller and the Dead Simple RPG.

Character creation is very simple, and involves the following steps:

  1. Select a Profession. For last night's Colonial Gothic campaign, the characters had a choice of Soldier, Scientist, Rogue, or Doctor. I am going to add Wizard as a profession but I did not announce it initially because the existence of magic is a secret in this world.
  2. Determine Attribute scores. There are 4 attributes (from Dead Simple) - Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Spirit (i.e. Willpower, Luck, etc.)
    • Characters immediately get 1 point based on their Profession. For example, Soldiers get 1 point in strength.
    • Characters then get an additional 2 points to allocate as they see fit among the 4 attributes.
  3. Determine other statistics:
    • Fight = Strength + Profession modifier (+1 for soldiers)
    • Shoot = Dexterity + Profession modifier (+1 for soldiers)
    • Defend = Dexterity + Profession modifier (+1 for soldiers)
    • Health - starts out at 3
  4. Determine stuff - the GM assigns starting equipment as reasonable
Task resolution is also simple, and is based on the Traveller rules. Roll 2D6 + attribute + profession modifiers + any other relevant modifiers. Typically, the target score is an 8, although the GM can adjust it. If a hit is scored, roll 1D6 to see if it wounds (on a 4-6) or simply stuns the opponent. As I noted before, the GM does not have to roll any dice. When characters are attacked, assume that they will be hit unless they make a successful Defense roll. I think this greatly speeds up play, and it gives the players the feeling that they control their characters' fates.

As you may notice above, the soldier gets a lot of professional bonuses in combat situations. Other professions also get modifiers. For example, rogues get a bonus for stealth in addition to any dexterity bonuses.

Last night's session went very well. It had a quick pace with plenty of opportunities for decision-making. Each character (we had a soldier, rogue, and doctor) had chances to use their abilities and benefit the party. My wife seemed to like it, especially because it was pretty straightforward without a lot of math. Because of her interest, I am planning a sequel.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Re-discovering the Tried and True

Ever since my interest in D&D began to wane in the late 80s, I've toyed with developing my own homegrown, generic RPG system. My ideas have gone through numerous iterations, inspired by countless published games, and those ideas have begun to coalesce around a system I call "Kevin's Krawl" (which I discussed last year). The task resolution system uses two 6-sided dice, to which attribute and skill modifiers are applied. It's quick, easy, and takes advantage of all the D6s I have floating around. I'm pleased with it, and have been pleased with myself for creating it.

Recently I was reading a copy of the Traveller RPG rules (the little black books from the 70s).

I realized that I did not create the 2D6 system. Traveller was using it 40 years ago, and I just ripped them off! Goes to show that sometimes tried and true methods work.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Good Home Project - 2mm Horse & Musket


Irregular Miniatures 2mm Horse & Musket
3 generic armies of horse & musket stands with very basic paint jobs (usually 2-3 colors per strip). Based on 20 cm x 10 mm cardboard bases with 1 strip per base. The artillery is actually the Renaissance cannons because the Irregular horse & musket cannons were too small to see.
The Blue Army
Cavalry, infantry, and artillery with command behind the artillery
The blue army consists of  8 stands of cavalry (6 with gray mounts), 36 stands of infantry, 4 stands of artillery, and an unpainted command stand.

The White Army
Cavalry, infantry, command, and artillery
 The white army consists of 3 stands of cavalry (1 on black mounts), 24 stands of infantry, a command stand, and 2 artillery stands

The Red Army
Cavalry behind skirmishers, infantry, and command behind artillery
The red army consists of 2 stands of skirmishers, 3 stands of cavalry (1 on black mounts), 10 stands of infantry, a command stand, and 2 stands of artillery


All figures are sold as-is in a single batch. I will not break up batches.

Buyer agrees to pay the specified price + shipping (via US Postal Service Priority Mail which is $5.95 in the US). Payments made via PayPal.

To purchase, contact me directly at warwell2 AT yahoo dot com