Just Arrived – A Thousand and One Nights

A Thousand and One Nights by Meguey Baker

A Thousand and One Nights by Meguey Baker

Today I came home to this beautiful little book waiting for me in the mail.

I have had my eye on A Thousand and One Nights: A Game of Enticing Stories by Meguey Baker since its successful Indigogo campaign, but have never pulled the trigger – until last Friday.

I have always loved the idea of Magic the Gathering’s Shahrazad card and Kris Burm’s GIPF project. A game within a game and by extension a story within a story.

A Thousand and One Nights is a game in which the players play Courtiers who in turn play characters in a story that everyone is collaborating to tell. Did I mention I have three daughters who are all eagerly writing their own stories and enjoy playing games?

“Tabletop Roleplaying” by XKCD (http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/tabletop_roleplaying.png)

I purchased this game for several reasons:

  1. Meguey Baker rocks! She is an engaging person and an all around positive force for good.
  2. I have few, if any, RPGs design by women and frankly that needs to change.
  3. Travis Scott’s Campfire hack of the game is a testament to the underlying game; If a gamer I love gaming with is willing to hack a game to a different genre, it tells me there is something fantastic going on in the base game – Lets call it the Apocalypse World Conjecture.
  4. I need some RPGs that are less intimidating to my wife.
  5. As a “blended family” with a rotating family structure – on any given day I have 0 to 4 kids in my house. So having a game that can easily play 3 to 6 people is fantastic.

Just Arrived – Monster of the Week by Michael Sands

Awhile ago, I sponsored the IndieGoGo campaign for Monster of the Week by Michael Sands. Monster of the Week is a part of the burgeoning Apocalypse World hack ecosystem.

Monster of the Week

Monster of the Week

I was pulled into the IndieGoGo campaign with the one-two punch of Apocalypse World engine and “It models seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

And today it arrived.

I’ve read a good portion of the PDF, but didn’t finish it. I find game books are easiest for me to read in physical form – in fact most books remain easier for me to read if I have a physical copy.

To my knowledge, this game is the first RPG I’ve purchased from a New Zealander.

I’m looking forward to reading this book and giving it a try. I’m going to run at least one session before GenCon so I should have this in my repertoire of games that I can run at Games on Demand.

More importantly, when I mentioned that the game was partly inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, my kids immediately perked up – they love Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Spike, and company.

The challenge remains not enough time for all the games. At least we got a few hands of Tichu in this evening.

Just Arrived – Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space

Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space

Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space

Today’s my birthday. And while I wait for Github‘s SSL issues to resolve itself so I can commit an update to the NullDB project, I figure I’ll write about the new RPG that entered our house.

My family loves Doctor Who. In fact, listening to my daughter postulate and formulate River Songs identity at the beginning of Season 6 was a rare treat. She was bringing to bear logic, and television tropes to formulate a grand conjecture. She was right. And her reasoning was sound.

There are other young ones in the family who have spontaneously made a red fez, grabbed a mop, and gallivanted around saying “Fezes are cool!”  And there is an unnamed contingent of my family’s youth contingent who have a crush on the 11th Doctor.

Doctor Who is a game that I’ve been curious about the game since I first saw it, but didn’t feel like I would get a chance to play it…or even find time to read it. But then a strange moment struck me, and I began thinking about an Apocalypse World hack that might involve time travel. And I knew I wanted to reference another game to see what they do, not because I’m going to rip the rules from there, but because I want additional information.

In any case, the game arrived and I cracked it open. Up for grabs as immediately playable characters are the Doctor, Donna Noble, Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, K-9, Sarah Jane, Rory, and Captain Jack. Sweet awesome sauce. Sometime soon, I hope to read it, but that may need to be after GenCon. I’m sure once my kids find out the game arrived, they will want to play.

For those who are keeping score, the production values of this game are fantastic. Gorgeous art work pulled directly from the show, heavy stock character sheets, a pack of dice. A boxed set for those who’ve never played an RPG before.

Just Arrived – Skyward Steel and Darkness Visible

My first ever RPG was Star Frontiers.  And while I’m at it happy 30th Anniversary by the way.  While the bulk of my RPG experience is in fantasy settings, I continue to dabble with Sci-Fi.

Darkness Visible and Skyward Steel

Darkness Visible and Skyward Steel

And at present, the options are glorious.

I’m sure there are plenty more – I’ve got several of the now out of print Alternity books on my gaming bookshelf.

So when a review at GameHead of “Stars without Number” stumbled through my Feedreader, I took notice. I had previously downloaded the free version of “Stars without Number” and was wondering if I should pull the trigger on purchasing the hard copy.

As a side note, I want my gaming material in hard-copy. As physical products I can pull them out, read them, legally lend them, and give them away.

The review, by Ian Williams, pointed out that “Stars without Number” is all about the sandbox style game.  And there were several supplements available for other sandbox style games – namely a naval campaign and an intrigue and espionage campaign.

I was hooked on the idea of sandbox tools for running a naval campaign and an espionage campaign.  So I purchased both “Skyward Steel” and “Darkness Visible“.  I’ve already put an order in to my locally owned book store to get a pricing quote for a physical copy of “Stars without Number.”

Other Reviews

And now for some other endorsements

  • Grognardia – “simple, flexible SF RPG that truly accommodates sandbox play like no other”
  • John Harper’s micro-review – “quite possibly the best sandbox-gaming RPG ever made”

Just Arrived – A Few Acres of Snow

I’m not referring to Northern Indiana’s lake effect snow, but instead Martin Wallace’s “A Few Acres of Snow.”

Just Arrived - A Few Acres of Snow

Just Arrived - A Few Acres of Snow

A Few Acres of Snow is a 2-player card-driven game about the French and British conflict in North America.  It won the 2011 Golden Geek aware for 2-Player Board Game and Innovative Board Game, and Best Wargame . And it’s card engine is inspired by Dominion.  Sounds fabulous – I love Dominion and innovative game designs.

I’ve been very curious about this game, eyeing it for the past two months.  I’ve tried to negotiate more than one trade on the BoardGameGeek, but most people were hanging onto the game.

Finally, over lunch this past week, my good friend and I stopped in at The Griffon and I picked up a copy. While I haven’t played it, the rules are impressive; Not in the crushing amounts of actuarial tables, but in the breadth of options. The rules speak to military sieges, raids, settlers, commerce, supplies from the homeland, fortifications, etc.

And at the end, a military historian provides a 3 page summary of the factors leading to the conflict, and how the random nature of the “Dominion” type deck creates the delays and unpredictabilities of ridiculously long supply lines (i.e. Europe giving orders by ship to the Americas).

Now the question is, will I be able to play this game with anyone?

Just Arrived – A Brief History of the World

I’ve been trying to find a few of the more involved board games that I enjoyed in high school and college: Axis & Allies, Diplomacy, and History of the World.  I’m somewhat interested in playing them again, but I’m more interested in making sure that I have a few of the more immersive board games available for my son.

There is something wonderful about setting aside several hours to strive for world domination. So this past week, I traded, via the Board Game Geek, for A Brief History of the World.

Maybe my son and his friends will be interested – I’ll play with them if they are interested in losing.  Some of his friends were even part of an Axis & Allies club at their school (they go to different schools).

My wife has pointed out to me that it is possible that my son just isn’t as nerdy as I am…or interested in the same things.  I figure I’ll suggest the game and see if they are interested in learning it.  If not, to the trading stack it goes.

Just Arrived – A Boatload of Louie

Brad Murray diligently notifies, via RPG Geek and Google+, the gaming world when Lulu is offering print coupons.  The discounts offered on Lulu are eaten by Lulu so the small publisher gets the same amount for each printed book.

So I decided to pull the trigger and buy John Harper’s Agon and Jason Morningstar’s Grey Ranks from Lulu.

…and I Got "A Boatload of Louie"

…and I Got "A Boatload of Louie"

…and I Got “A Boatload of Louie”

Lulu had shipped me the wrong books.  My wife started reading it and was laughing out loud. So definitely not a complete loss.

I’ve contacted Lulu and am waiting for them to correct the mistake.  However, I have to think that someone else, expecting a comic book, got some great RPGs out of the deal.  I’d love to hear the other person’s response.  I hope those books can find a loving home.  I know we’ve appreciated this mistake.