Monday, April 30, 2012

The First Full Episode of the d6 Countdown

Bitmap Studios has released the very first episode of our gaming podcast:

the d6 Countdown.

Please give it a listen and let me know what you think. You can email me your comments at

In this episode, we discuss what we have been playing: Magic the Gathering, Castles and Crusades, Summoner Wars, We Didn't Playtest This and its newest expansion, We Didn't Playtest This Legacies. iOS games Ascension and Nightfall.

Our question of the week was: What tabletop games do better than video games and vice versa.

Our d6 Countdown was Top 6 Favorite Magic the Gathering cards.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hey! I am on a podcast!

d6 Countdown!

Several of my former students and friends have created a podcast about video games and other geekery. They were generous enough to bring me on board to be the resident tabletop game expert. 

If video games aren't your thing, then you can fast forward to 22 minutes remaining to hear me talk about tabletop gaming. I suggest, though, you give them a listen. These guys run one awesome podcast, funny, entertaining, and informational.

Let me know what you think. 

You can email me at

Thanks for listening. We at Bitmap Studios thank you.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Constantine is Summoned and SurfMonkey Joins Us for a Play Test

On Tuesday for our monthly game night SurfMonkey and I welcomed Constantine to the gaming table.

Constantine arrived first. While we waited for SurfMonkey, Maximan and I introduced Constantine to my favorite game: Summoner Wars. I handed Constantine the Tundra Orcs while I grabbed the Vanguards since I hadn't played them since adding the reinforcements.


The battle was furious. A bad draw on my part, though, didn't yield any Guardian Knights to protect Sera until late game. By that time, the Tundra Orcs had marched across the field. Constantine also seemed to have an uncanny ability to trigger Fury in his units. Beginner's Luck and a little help from Maximan sealed Sera's fate.

We shall see if your luck holds the next time we meet across the battlefields of Itharia, Constantine.

By that time, SurfMonkey had arrived. This night we had agreed to playtest a science fiction-themed dice game I had developed way back in 2008. Recently I had revisited it, revising some of the units and mechanics of the game. Constantine was in on the ground floor of the play testing the original, so I thought it only appropriate that he join the play test of the newest version.

The first play test revealed a few weaknesses in the system. The second game seemed more solid with the new tweaks, so we focused on the units and their tweaks for the second game.

I am really happy with how the game felt. It is far from complete, and I need to integrate the feedback from the play test, but I think in a few months, I should be able to talk the guys into playtesting again.

Thanks, guys. See you next month!

Thank you good reader and stay tuned for the big announcement I promised last post.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

An Itharian Trilogy: Multiple Summoner Wars Session Reports

Over the past few days, Maximan and I played several games of Summoner Wars. There were some tense moments and tons of carnage. 

Was Max able to come back from his recent defeats? 

Did my unluck with dice continue into the future?

Check out the pictures below to find the answers to these questions and more.

 The field is set: Max's Mercenaries vs. the vile Fallen Kingdom

 The Rallul buries himself behind three walls. A most interesting strategy, Maximan...

 The Reapers advance...

 The Mercenaries put up a fight as evil marches on.

 Cultists, Reapers, and Skeletons, Oh, my! At this point, I have decided to wipe the board before advancing on Rallul's fortified position.

 Maximan has managed to bring a Bounder into my game space. My forces, however, quickly ended the fast-moving units threatening advance.

 I use some dark power to bring Skhull into being. Now to ravage the Mercenaries' line. Magos is on the move as well. 

 Skhull and Elat Bul is a dangerous combination. They are my wrecking balls!

 I, too, have firmly ensconced Ret Talus behind my own wall of Walls. 

 I summon more troops to finish my cocoon and protect Ret Talus from the approaching, tough Stone Golem.

 The death blow came from the undead Champions. They had broken through his walls and took Rallul down! 

 Our next game was dwarf on dwarf. Max: Guild Dwarves vs. Me: the Deep Dwarves. 

I move Tundle into a secure position where he remains for most of the game. 

 The Guild Dwarves advance slowly but inexorably. The battle swings back and forth like a pendulum of dwarven doom.

 An aerial view of the Itharian battleground.

 In the end, it is Piclo who delivers the death blow. Oldin is defeated.

 For a brief interlude, we played Max's newest game design, Card Battle. I won that game with my dinosaur card.


Our final battle of the trilogy was Maximan: Mountain Vargath vs. Me: Sand Goblins.

 As was the case for most of the game, I managed to keep his Common units to a minimum.

 I moved up and had my first bona fide Wall rush. He was a bit stunned when he realized he couldn't summon that Champion he had been holding onto.

In the end, I managed to send a Sand Wurm to seal the Mountain Vargath's defeat. 

Thanks, Max for the great games. I look forward to more Summoner Wars fun. 

Thanks, readers and until next time, play more Summoner Wars. 

Also, keep your eyes riveted to this site for a special announcement.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Starshield Boardgaming Knights Become the Lords of Waterdeep and Visit the 7 Wonders

On Monday night as is our custom, the Starshield Gaming Society sat down for a night of games, friends, and fun. First up on this beautiful Spring evening was the new hotness from Wizards of the Coast, The Lords of Waterdeep.

LoW is a Euro-style game with a fantasy theme ripped right from my soul: The majestic City of Waterdeep located in the Forgotten Realms, home to my imagination for over thirty years now.

Now, anyone gamer who knows me knows I don't like Euros. I am firmly an Ameritrash fan! However, with the theme I was willing...nay...excited even to crack open this gem and see what was inside.

Follow below to see how the games went...

 The board is absolutely gorgeous and really triggered my nostalgia factor, sending it into overdrive. Beautiful!
 The game in action. It is a worker-placement game that allows some direct player interaction through the use of Intrigue cards. 
 Our first of two games, I played as the Harpers. Except for the color, the factions are just for flavor. However, your Masked Lord does have a game mechanic. Which Lord was I? The Lord of Waterdeep card holds the answer, but I am not telling...
 A pic of the entire game board in action. Like I said gorgeous.
 It is a Euro game, but thanks to the Intrigue cards, I was able to get in some Ameritrash-style smack talk with Iczer in the first game. Weezoh heard the talk that is smack in the second after he started to gain too much power...

I love this game and highly recommend it to any gamer out there. Yes. I said it, I love a Euro game. It will appeal to both camps of the hobby gaming community; it is a perfect game for when the Euros and the Ameritrashers assemble.

Keep in mind, though, take away the theme and the Intrigue cards, and it's just another Euro worker placement. Take notice game publishers, take notice.

Below are some pics from our 7 Wonders game. The second pic is my end game spread. Though I didn't win, we discovered compliments of Weezoh's handy tally app, that I have the highest average scoring of all the Starshielders. Not bad for the resident Ameritrasher.

Looking forward to more games next Monday night. Keep the table warm, Zoltar. See you all soon.

Monday, April 2, 2012

It's Gror Time!: A Summoner Wars Session Report

On Sunday Maximan and I sat down for our third game of the weekend. Max had his heart on playing the Benders while I decided to go back to my roots and pull out the Guild Dwarves. This game would become one to remember. 

The battle unfolds with the images below:

The battle begins. The dwarves move in to strike early.

After two turns, the Benders' forces have been severely reduced.

The dwarves begin to converge on the Bender wall...

Yes. I finally attacked a wall with an Engineer. Huzzah. However, the Benders are beginning to mount a defense against the dwarf incursion. Gulldune is on the board with a Parasite pet.

A Spearman advances through the Bender defenses and scores a hit on Tacullu. 
Baldar hits the board.

The dwarves jam up the Benders right side attack avenue and keep working on the far wall.

Gulldune may have 'converted' several of the dwarves to the Benders' cause, but Baldar made quick work of the mind-controlling menace. Things are looking pretty good for the dwarves.

Maximan summons Kalu and Talu. The dwarves don't like the look of this new threat, so they converge on the twins and smash them the turn after they were summoned. Baldar, a Guardsman, and Heroic Feat ended the twins before the duo could swing into action.

The Benders aren't in a good way, and the dwarves have established a strong defense.

Gror. One of the toughest Champions in the game hit the table and started wailing on things with his crazy hammer. 
Tacullu is backed into a corner trying to avoid the fearsome hammer of Gror. By this time, Maximan's deck, Magic Pile, and hand were empty. There wasn't much left to do. He managed to unsummon a Guardsman as a last-ditch effort, but in the end as you can see from the endgame shot below, Gror finished the Bender Summoner with a ground-quaking blow. Well fought, Maximan, well-fought.

Another great game of Summoner Wars in the books. I am sure Maximan will have another shot at me this coming Spring Break. I look forward to meeting you across the battlefield of Itharia again, my son.

Until next time, good reader, may your dice fall in your favor and may Summoner Wars be your game of choice.