Sunday, December 16, 2012

Super SurfMonkey to the Rescue!

SurfMonkey came over this past Monday and brought with him two brand spankin' new super hero games! Legendary a Marvel Deck Building Game and the DC deckbuilding game. Pics below. 
We played Legendary first. It was a lot like Ascension, Shadowrift, and Nightfall mixed together. It is a co-op game with a scoring at the end. I thought that was a bit out of the spirit of the game as the heroes should be working together against the big bads and other villains. The game is gorgeous and the game board is a nice touch. However, all other superhero games are measured against Sentinels of the Multiverse for me, and this one does not surpass it in feeling like I am playing a superhero. It is more like I am a general guiding the superheroes in their struggles. Not quite the same to me. I lost, by the way.
Next up was the DC deck building game. Pure and simple, this game IS Ascension with a superhero theme.  If you love Ascension, you will love this game. The feel was more like being told a tale about the DC superheroes as they went through their many battles. It ain't no Sentinels.

To finish out the night we played a game of Sentinels of the Multiverse! SurfMonkey played Absolute Zero and Legacy (first time he had played the patriotic hero!). I played Tachyon and Ra vs. Baron Blade, Mad Bomber in the Ruins of Atlantis. In the end the heroes were victorious but not before taking many hits from the dastardly Baron Blade!

That was a great way to end out our superhero flavored night. We won't be meeting again until after Christmas. What will the New Year bring? Can't wait to find out. Happy Holidays, everyone!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Two Months of SurfMonkey

Two gaming sessions ago, SurfMonkey arrived with Netrunner and Star Wars: X Wing both Fantasy Flight Games games. Both were released at Gen Con this past August as well. Of course, famously Netrunner sold out at the Con in 7 minutes. Star Wars: X Wing is also selling quite well. Both of these games are huge hits. Were they a hit with us, read on and find out...

First up was Netrunner:

My faction for the game is pictured below...

I never played Netrunner back in the day, so this was my first exposure to it. I think the game is sound, but the two factions Surf and I faced off against each other were complete nemeses. As a result, the game was not very fun for me, but after another play, I think I may have more fun.

Next up was Star Wars: X Wing:

My experience with SW X Wing was a better one. I really enjoyed playing this game. The hidden tactical choices and the measuring sticks, and the MINIS! Just an awesome experience. I may be buying this one for Max and me for Christmas.

We finished the night with a game of Martian Dice. Good times. 

Month the Second:

SurfMonkey brought over the highly-anticipated game: Mice and Mystics by Geek Cave favorite: Plaid Hat Games. Now this is a game. It is a unique kind of story telling game that is part board game, part role-playing game. I really enjoyed it. Below are some pics of this gorgeous game:

These were my characters.

Love the components...

Awesome sculpts!

 Centipedes and spiders, oh, my!

I really like this game and look forward to playing it again. 

 For the second game of the night, SurfMonkey and I joined forces against the evil of the Ennead in the Multiverse, and we were its Sentinels.
 SurfMonkey brought his custom play mat. It added a cool visual dimension to the game. 

 The Ennead defeated.

Looking forward to next month when we may head back to Middle-Earth but not before we participate in a Mage War!

Thanks for reading, and until next time, roll some dice, sling some cards, and save the multiverse!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

D&D Next Campaign Journal: First Four Sessions

The past month, I have been running a D&D Next  campaign via Google+ Hangouts with a variety of friends. I am  thrilled with what I have seen out of the playtest rules so far and expect them to get even better as the process continues.

An important aspect of the rules is that it feels like D&D to me without many of the warts that plague all the other editions I have played (My D&D history thumbnail view: D&D Basic and Expert (Moldvay-style), AD&D 1st and 2nd editions, D&D 3.x, Castles and Crusades, D&D 4e, and back to C&C again), but the most important aspect of the rules is that they are FUN! I am really enjoying the options and simplicity of the rules and how they flow in play. I am DMing and playing Corso Shieldhill, halfling cleric of Arvoreen and have had no problem doing both. 

In this post I am publishing my campaign journal as a window into this incredibly fun experience. I hope you enjoy the story as much as we enjoyed creating it. 

D&D Next Playtest Campaign Journal:
Reclaiming Blingdenstone
A Society for the Advancement of the Adventuring Arts Campaign
A Forgotten Realms Adventure


Roster: I'alia: Elven Warlock
            Merlock: Human Fighter/Bounty Hunter
            Mordane: Human Cleric of Lathander

Newly recruited into SofAAA, the companions are sent into the Underdark to aid the svirfneblin reclaim their lost city: Blingdenstone. After a long and uneventful journey through the dark wilds of the Underdark, the party along with their deep gnome guide arrive in the deep gnome city. They made their way through the defensive maze and emerged into the city. The svirfneblin occupied portions of the city are lighted by violet gems embedded in the ceilings. Their first stop is a small trinket shop run by and aged and wizened svirfneblin woman. The weary adventurers humored her and bought a few trinkets. Then they made their way to the city's government center.

There in a squat building, they met Burrow Warden Kargien Dissengulp. He welcomed the SofAAA members and thanked them for coming to help in the deep gnome's recovery efforts. He also asked the party to find the lost crown of the former--and most recent--king of Blingdenstone: King Schnicktick. The adventurers sensed Kargien wanted the crown more for selfish ambition than any other reason. He also offered a bounty on the scalps of the orcs plaguing his people: 10 gp for each scalp, and 250 gp for the leader's scalp.

The adventurers continued their exploration of the city. In one chamber where weary deep gnome guards stood sentry, an group of orcs attacked. The party quickly dispatched the savage creatures but realized how dangerous the city really is.

From there, the group met Jalless the de facto healer of the city. Her infrimary was filled with wounded deep gnomes. It was here that the adventurers first met the gnome sentries, Diss and Gulp. She gladly accepted the party's offer to help her tend to the wounded gnomes, felled by orc attacks and kobold traps. When Jalless discovered that the party was seeking the crown of the former king, she implored them not to give it to Kargien as she does not believe he is worthy to wear it.

From there, the adventurers made their way to the far eastern side of the city. There they found a deep gnome who talked the adventurers into undertaking a mission to the trade city of Mantol-Derith to buy weapons for the deep gnomes to better fight the orcs and buy, therefore free, any deep gnome slaves on sale there. The drow have made it impossible for the deep gnomes to trade anywhere in the Underdark. The party agreed and made the long journey to the city. There they encountered drow, half orc, duergar, illithid, and beholder merchants and secured the needed goods and one deep gnome slave. In the goods the party brought back, was a scrap of a journal. On one side of the page was a journal entry and the other side, in another hand, was a cryptic poem.

Upon the adventurers' return to Blingdenstone, the deep gnomes are ecstatic and enervated by the success of the party's trade mission. The slave they freed was Jalless' beloved, and the pair had a heart-warming reunion.


Roster: I'alia: Elven Warlock
            Merlock: Human Fighter/Bounty Hunter
            Mordane: Human Cleric of Lathander

After a brief rest from their journey to Mantol-Derith, the adventurers began their quest to rid Blingdenstone of the orc threat. In the course of searching for the savage raiders, the adventurers stumbled upon the city's cold forges. The party found the forge rooms occupied by a humanoid race able to meld with stone and calling themselves pechs.

The pechs told the adventurers of the Raging Spirit in the Wounded Cavern. The adventurers' interest was piqued, but they wanted to stay focused on their current mission of stopping the orc raiders. They bid the pechs adieu and made their way further north. They encountered Diss and Gulp. The soldiers guided the adventurers to where the most recent orc incursion was. The party went on from there. Into the dark caverns where the svirfneblin ceiling lights do not shed their light. Under the light of the cleric's divine power, the members of the Society for the Advancement of the Adventuring Arts encountered many orcs patrolling these dark and damp halls. One group they found in an abandoned temple to a deep gnome goddess. The orcs were chipping ruby shards from a shattered altar when the adventurers attacked. The orcs through their rage put up a stiff resistance, but in the end were no match for the combined might of the adventurers.

Not far from that temple chamber, the party stumbled upon the orc base of operations. They found the biggest group of orcs thus far. a titanic battle ensued. The orc leader appeared shortly after the battle began, accompanied by his orog lieutenant. The adventurers took down the raging orcs, and even managed to defeat the orog champion, and just as they were about to fell the orc leader, he gained the upper hand. As Merlock was falling to the cold hard stone of the Underdark floor, he saw two squat figures bound over him, duergar weapons in hand and battle cry upon their lips: "For Blingdenstone!" Diss and Gulp had arrived to save the day (and the adventurers).


Roster: I'alia: Elven Warlock
           Sharlo Orcbane: Elven wizard
           Corso Shieldhall: Lightfoot halfling cleric of Arvoreen

The party awoke in Jalless' infirmary. There they were informed that they had been unconscious for three days. They had indeed been saved by Diss and Gulp and a group of svirfneblin soldiers who, with their shiny new duergar blades were able to drive the orc leader away and drag the heroes back to Blingdenstone.

After recuperating a bit more, the adventurers felt strong enough to continue their work aiding the svirfneblin in the reclaiming of their once proud city. Merlock and Mordane decided they wanted to stay and continue to help Jalless in the infirmary, especially now that her lover had returned. She was grateful for some time off to spend with him as they had been separated for over twenty years.

The trustees in charge of watching over the group sent to Blingdenstone saw this through their crystal balls and decided to teleport two new recruits to the gnome city to aid I'alia in continuing their quest to help the deep gnomes. The elven wizard, Sharlo and the halfling priest, Corso were sent immediately. They appeared before the other adventurers and explained their sudden arrival.  They wanted to make sure the orcs had been permanently run out of Blingdenstone and made their way back to the orc base. It was unoccupied, but they found a few items. One of which was a scrap of the same journal as the piece found on their trip to Manto-Derith. From there, I'alia and the pair decided to continue their quest to find the crown of King Schnicktick. They made their way to the House Center, the site of the forces of Blingdenstone during the drow invasion over 100 years ago. It is here that King Schnicktick's body rests. However, the party was told by more than one deep gnome that the House Center was haunted. A ghost story wasn't enough to keep the brave heroes from finding the truth and the crown of Blingdenstone.

A stone building, once the center of government in Blingdenstone, greeted the party as they entered the massive chamber. They found two entrances and were heading toward one when undead orc zombies shuffled out of the building to attack the adventurers. The party made quick work of the undead and entered the House Center. Inside they found and overcame fire beetles, pit traps, giant centipedes, and more zombies. They also found another scrap of the journal on a svirfneblin corpse.

After an extensive search of the House Center, they found site of King Schnicktick's last stand. His corpse was being used as a footstool for the current king of Blingdenstone, a drow wight. He was flanked by a group of skeletons and zombies, ready to do his bidding. After the adventurers refused to bow before the 'King of Blingdenstone,' he sent his undead to remove the disrespectful offenders. The adventurers defended themselves and the wight threw himself into the battle. After a pitched battle, the holy power of Arvoreen through his disciple, Corso and the combined magical might of the wizard and warlock proved to be too much for the 'King of Blingdenstone.' His evil tortured soul was released to the Demonweb Pits. The adventureres took the crown from atop Schnicktick's brow, a healing draught from around his neck, and a holy symbol of Sunnis from him as well. They paused to catch their breaths in the empty and sad throne room of Blingdenstone.


Roster: I'alia: Elven Warlock
           Sharlo Orcbane: Elven wizard
           Corso Shieldhall: Lightfoot halfling cleric of Arvoreen

After defeating the wight claiming to be the rightful king of Blingdenstone and reclaiming the crown of Schnicktick, the adventurers took a brief rest then made their way out of the House Center. When they emerged, the orc leader and six remaining orcs ambushed them. This time, the party defeated the leader with only one orc making his way back into the Underdark. It seems Blingdenstone is now fully purged of the orcish threat.

From there, the party returned to the infirmary to inform Jalless and Merlock and Mordane of their success in recovering the crown. Jalless once again pled with the adventurers not to turn the crown over to Kargien. They assured they would not--at least not yet. They wanted to take some more time to see if they could find a true heir among the remaining deep gnomes. Merlock and Mordane decided to stay and help Jalless even though the number of wounded was way less than before the orcs had been vanquished.

On their way to see Kargien to report their progress so far, they reentered the trinket store run by Henkala Shadowsong whom they met upon first entering Blingdenstone. When asked about heirs to the Schnicktick's crown, she mentions that Gurmadden's family is said to stretch back to the early days of Blingdenstone. She has heard rumor that he may be a lost cousin or some such of Schnicktick.

She has also had heard tale of the adventurers' deeds and aid to Blingdenstone, she felt she could trust the heroes. She asked the adventurers to rid the city of the evil elemental spirit known as Ogremach's Bane. Henkala knows the pechs can help them with the Bane as they are very in tune with the stone and with elementals. She implores the adventurers to ask the pechs for aid. Destroying or banishing the Ogremach's Bane would go a long way to returning Blingdenstone to its former glory.

The adventurers agreed and made for the forges immediately. On their way they discovered the Singing Stones, a tavern and meeting place for the weary gnome soldiers. The proprietor, Gurmadden, is eager to have the adventurers purge Blingdenstone of the kobolds and also to enter the Wormwrithings to find singing stones to replace the ones the drow smashed when they invaded. Gurmadden feels that if the singing stones were replaced, they could raise the morale of the deep gnomes and bring back a sense of wonder sorely lacking in the city.

The adventurers are not impressed with Gurmadden as a possible heir to the crown, and they feel that their mission to purge Ogremach's Bane is currently more important than replacing the Singing Stones. They plan on taking care of the kobold threats after.

They continue on their way to the forges to parlay with the pechs. After a lengthy negotiation, the pechs agree to help the party heal the Wounded Cavern but in return, they want a meeting with Kargien about a peaceful coexistence. The svirfneblin see the pechs as a pest who constantly closes their caverns, not having the patience for the pechs' claims they are healing the stone.

When the adventurers try to lead the pechs into Blingdenstone proper, the sentries refuse them entry. The party relents and decides to send I'alia to Kargien to tell him of the pechs' request for parlay and Sharlo and Corso escort the pechs back to the forges.

After a brief lunch with Kargien, I'alia convinces him to accompany her to the pechs, so they can talk. He is intrested in getting rid of the Bane, but is reluctant to allow the pechs into his city.

Kargien negotiates with the pechs and agrees to allow them to live in the caverns where the forges currently are in return for their help in purging the Bane. However, he still refuses them entry into Blingdenstone proper. They must circumnavigate the city to get to the Wounded Cavern.

The pechs agree. The party escorts them to where the Bane holds sway.  Before they made their way into the Wounded Cavern, one of the pechs detected the Sunnis holy symbol in I'alia's pouch. Gallus, the leader of the pechs, told the adventurers the holy symbol could be an effective weapon vs. the evil spirit. He also had mentioned that the Ogremach's Bane could only be harmed by magic. The pechs then formed a protective circle around the party, and they all advanced into the chamber where the Ogremach's Bane resided. Elementals surged toward them but swiftly turned and fled the power of the pechs. The Bane itself formed into a cloud of stone, rock, and debris and addressed the party. The adventurers weren't in the mood for much discussion and waded into battle. The pechs' circle protected them and the adventurers began to sling spells into the  cloud. The Bane tried in vain to harm them...until Corso flung himself into the cloud, wielding the Sunnis holy symbol. Corso got pummeled and cut but did significant damage carrying the holy symbol into the heart of the Bane. In the end, the Bane was destroyed, its cloud falling to the chamber floor. In the remains, the adventurers found some gems and a tattered piece of Evarell's Journal. After the defeat of the Bane, the adventurers escorted the pechs back to their chambers and are on their way to report to Henkala and Kargien.

I will be posting more entries every so often to keep you all posted on the exploits of the members of the Society for the Advancement of the Adventuring Arts. Thanks for reading. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

KatoKatonian and Stormbringr: Summoning Dungeon Commands

Strombringr and KatoKatonian stopped by for a brief visit on Saturday. Stormbringr and I taught Kato the game as he played against Maximan. In the end, Kato defeated Max's beleaguered forces. Kato played the Vanguards and Max the Shadow Elves. 

Next we sat down to play the new Wizards of the Coast miniatures skirmish game, Dungeon Command. I played the Heart of Cormyr faction while Kato played the Sting of Lolth faction. 

I won, but it was a hard-fought battle. The components are top-notch, the minis are pre-painted, so I can use them for playing RPGs. I enjoyed the game and am going to place it on my Christmas list.

Stormbringr was a great audience. Thanks for an afternoon of gaming. It was good to see you guys.

Until next time, may your warriors swing true, and your wizards spell someone's doom.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

SurfMonkey Gaming: The Cooperative Games Invasion

Monthly SurfMonkey time! The first game to hit the table was the phenomenally popular cooperative dice game: D-Day Dice. Dice, WW II, and tough decisions, what's not to like? There are several scenario boards in the base game; we played the 'tutorial' board known as the Tiger Exercise. 

You roll dice every turn as you make your way up the beach. You gain resources through the dice to help make sure you complete your mission of reaching the final bunker. Along the way you recruit specialists, gain troops, and requisition equipment. You also have to muster your troops' courage to make sure they can continue to move forward in the face of withering machine gun fire. 

SurfMonkey and I had a few tough moments, but in the end we were victorious, assaulting the final bunker and winning by the skin of our teeth. 

I must say, I quite enjoyed this game. SurfMonkey says it plays well solo. I am going to put this one on my wishlist and see if it makes its way into my hands by Christmas. 

The next game hitting the table was Shadow Rift, a cooperative deck-building game where you and the other players must protect your village from an incursion of monsters coming through a shadow rift that has opened near your town. 

You and the other players must try to seal the rift or build up the walls before the monsters clog your town with enough corpses to trigger the plague. We did very well, narrowly avoiding disaster on more than one occasion. I took on the role of main monster killer, while SurfMonkey ran his deck as the main village booster. That strategy seemed to work as we sealed both rifts before the monsters littered the village with too many corpses.

I like this game and would play it again. I think it will be a nice game to bring out to scratch a fantasy itch, but I think, if I had the itch this game scratches, I would rather play Rune Age. Time will tell. 

The final game we dared to play is one of my personal favorites, and a cooperative game to boot. Space Hulk: Death Angel the Card Game. Love it! 

Though I have played the Space Marines from the first expansion packs, I had not yet played any of the new locations. Last night changed all that. We played with the Adrenal Genestealers and the new location cards.

Long story, short: We got crushed. The relentless advance of the Genestealers and a few unfortunate Event cards sent our marines to their doom. 

I enjoy this game every time I play. I look forward to more Death Angel soon. I have a request into Kato Katonian to pick me up the second expansion at Gen Con 2012. He is on his way there as I type these words! Hopefully, the next time I play it will be vs. the if the Genestealers aren't difficult enough. Sheesh. 

Overall, two wins out of three in three separate cooperative games. Not a bad night, I would say. I think cooperative games are a nice departure from the heat of head-to-head competition. 

What will next month hold? Will there be new games coming out of Gen Con that make it to our table? Tune in next month to find out! 

Thanks for reading and see you soon. Until next time, play some games!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Questers and Creatures Session Report: Doom at Dark Tree

This past Saturday night, four former students came over for our annual game night. In attendance were Nick, Zack, Brandon, and Katie. They graciously agreed to play Q&C.

Nick, Zack, and Brandon came prepared with characters ready to go. I had printed out some pre-generated characters and Katie chose the most 'magical' one. She was to be the group's magic-user. Speaking of the group here is the roll call:

Faldrik: Dwarf Fighter/Archaeologist.

Goloin: Dwarf Cleric of Tristan / Aristocrat.

Hunter: Human Thief / Spell League Witch Hunter

Chanterelle: Human Magic-user of the Town of Wingit.

I took them through a module of my own design called QC 1: Doom at Dark Tree. It is a pretty basic adventure in the vein of most old school modules.

Faldrik brought his friends to the city of Northgate in response to an old dwarf who had claimed to have found the location of one of the lost Dwarf Stones, ancient relics thought to be able to bring the dwarven gods back to Mevun. He provided them a map to an ancient tomb where the last bearer of one of the Dwarf Stones, the dwarf wizard, Demdothor, had disappeared.

His interest piqued, Faldrik and the others decided to follow up on the old dwarf's information heading to a lost tomb outside a nearby village, Dark Tree. However, little did the questers know, a necromancer had taken up residence in the ancient tomb. The evil one turned his attention to the unsuspecting denizens of the small village.
When the questers made it to the village it was deserted. On guard, they continued onward to the tomb. Once at the ancient burial site, they discovered a host of undead. After making their way into its depths and fighting through skeletons and zombies, they found a necromancer and defeated him, bringing his evil machinations to an end.

They found the Dwarf Stone among the necromancer's treasures. Faldrik also found an ancient magical greataxe.

They soon returned to Northgate and brought the Dwarf Stone to the old dwarf. He was ecstatic to finally have one of the eight Dwarf Stones in his possession. He warned the questers to be wary, though, as an organization existed who would stop at nothing to prevent the dwarven gods from returning. That organization may have turned its attention on the heroes. Now the questers wait for the next opportunity to explore the unknown and combat evil.

Overall, I was pleased with how my system worked. I did increase the damage clerics do with their Smite Undead ability.

I really want to thank the players! Their backgrounds and passion for the game really inspired me. Thanks again for a great gaming experience, guys!

Friday, July 27, 2012

King of Tokyo: SurfMonkey Brings on a Rune Age While Waging a Summoner's War

On our monthly game night, SurfMonkey and I brought quite a few games to the tables. I suppose with the exception of one game, it was a night of Fillers. Not that there is anything wrong with that...

First up was the fast and furious King of Tokyo! A game I had heard raves about and that, IMHO, lived up to the hype. Dice rolling modified with cards providing special attacks and powers. SurfMonkey and I played two monsters each. 

The only improvement I think it needs is to provide a special ability for each of the monsters as to set them apart. Otherwise, though, it was fun and solid game by the designer of Magic the Gathering. I guess you really can't go wrong with a pedigree like that.

Next up, I exposed SurfMonkey to the fun dice roller, Martian Dice! I pulled out a last minute set of rolls that took me over the 25 point limit and utterly crushed SurfMonkey's hopes of stealing anymore Earthlings. A fun, quick filler that makes me smile when it hits the table.

It had been awhile since this deck builder had hit the table. I had been in the mood for it lately, and I am glad SurfMonkey suggested it. We tried the fully co-op scenario, Cataclysm. Man, is that one hard! We played it three times and only made it to the third stage of the Event deck once. Whew. Was it tough. He was playing the Uthark Yllan, and I the Latari Elves. I always enjoy this game and need to bring it to the table more. 

Although SurfMonkey and I have been playing Summoner Wars to death on the iOS, we still felt it needed to hit the table. If for no other reason than to try out my brand new faction dice! 

As always, it was an epic struggle. I was playing the Sand Goblins vs. his Shadow Elves. In a brilliant ending move, with one of his Summoner bearing down on my Summoner, I used Silts to bring the sneak beat down to Selundar, ending the battle. What a finish! What a game!

What do we have in store for next month? I know not. What I do know is it will be a good time. Until next time, good reader. Play more Summoner Wars!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

IMStuds and Summoner Wars

In between games of Summoner Wars on the iOS, I have managed to sit down for some good old fashioned Summoner Wars with Max. It was weird to switch from digital to cardboard but no less cool. A great game transcends mediums.

Max isn't the only one I have been playing against on the cardboard battlefields of Itharia. My brother, IMStuds was in town, and we managed to sit down for some Summoner Wars goodness of our own.

Now. I have been doing very well against him on the iOS, but how would I do against him face-to-face? 

Turns out I did pretty well:

1st game:

IMStuds: Cloaks

Me: Fallen Kingdom

I won

2nd game: 

IMStuds: Phoenix Elves

Me: Guild Dwarves

I won

3rd Game:

IMStuds: Vanguards

Me: Cave Goblins

I won. He wounded Sneeks

4th Game:

IMStuds: Cave Goblins

Me: Vanguards

I won. He almost won. Sera was beat up.

Good times. It was nice spending quality time with my bro. See you on the virtual battlefields!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Father and Son: Two Days of Tabletop Gaming

Over the past two days, Maximan and I have had the opportunity to play some games. We started with a Song of Blades and Heroes game (played the evil marauders, and Max the dwarven defenders), played two games of Summoner Wars, spent some time playing a Flying Lead scenario, and then finished with yet another Song of Blades and Heroes game (this time I was the good guys).

It was a great time spending time with my boy. 

Below are some pics from the games. Hope you enjoy checking them out as we did playing.