Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Frankenstein's Bodies - A Demo At Conpulsion

The gaming highlight of Conpulsion for me was taking part in the "Kickstarter Launch" demo of Frankenstein's Bodies.  Ok so it was also the only game I actually played but it was still the gaming highlight!  After all if I hadn't enjoyed it then it wouldn't have been a highlight, would it!  Anyway...

What is it?

It's a competitive card game for 2-6 players where each player is a junior surgeon working for Frankenstein.  So basically you get to create bodies from various parts and try to animate them.

You have a lab which will look something like this -

That lab is used to complete 2 bodies with as many parts of the same gender and ideally parts that share the same re-animation serum (denoted by colour).

Gameplay itself is "Draw 2, Play (up to) 2" with a 5 card hand limit.  Cards have various effects from the default of being a body part for you to place on the table to carbolic spray to remove infection.  Other cards such as additional Surgeons enable you to avoid infection and stop other players from stealing your body parts.
Oh yes, that happens a lot.  Body parts were flying around the table so much that I'm surprised there was no blood spatter.

Ah but Dave, is it any good?  Would you play it again?

It's very good.  Andrew and Jenny have produced a complete game that has been refined and playtested over a number of years.  It works, it is fun and has potential for future development / expansions.  It's theme may be a bit dark and potentially limiting with respect to audience but the game play is simple and effective with fluid rules.

I only refer to the theme as I'm not a horror guy and I suspect that this will primarily appeal to consumers who like horror themed games.  That initial spark of interest from the gamer will largely come from the theme and rightly so as it's a good iconic horror based theme.  The challenge for the game might be in getting those aren't into horror (like me) to pick it up off the shelf without really knowing much else about the game.

So you'd buy it then?
This is part of my quandary.  I don't "do" Kickstarter with 1 exception and that was entirely down to "this must happen" reasons.
The game is also £35 which does have that "cause for pause" value proposition associated with it.  The key benefit that this game brings over other £35 games is that it supports 6 players.
So will I buy it?  Not sure... I'm tracking the Kickstarter so we'll see if I "back" it.  I want to see the game make it into production but at the same time I want to see the game make it into shops as I prefer that to buying online.

Anything else?
One element of the game that held no resonance to me is it's origin but thought it worth sharing.
The game is set in the same "universe" as the RPG 'Dark Harvest: The Legacy of Frankenstein' by Iain Lowson set in a world where Frankenstein had got it right.
I have no knowledge of this RPG (other than knowing it exists) and I just want to stress that you don't need any knowledge of the RPG to play the card game.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Conpulsion 2014 - The positives.

Having just spent the weekend at Conpulsion 2014 in Edinburgh and having very mixed emotions and a wide range of thoughts I felt it best to compartmentalise those various elements and do a series of posts.

This is the first of those posts.

So, the positives.

Actually before we dig into that, some scene setting.

I go to Conpulsion to socialise with friends that I don't see very often.  It's my "local" convention and as such it normally turns into a gathering of people I know where we catch up, drink alcohol, talk nonsense and maybe play games.  I say maybe play games because that's not actually why I go which in itself is a bit weird.

Now with that in mind I look at the con from perhaps a different perspective than most attendees.

So what were the positives?

I got to spend some quality time with +Liz Mackie where we conspired to resolve every issue known to the gaming hobby.  Well either that or we just talked non-stop about almost every conceivable hobby related subject we could cram in.

I also got to spend a little bit of quality time and even play a game with +Robert Stewart.  Robert ran the first ever game of All Flesh Must Be Eaten that I played in at +ORC Edinburgh all those years ago.  Even if his Hawaiian shirt was more "Jungle" than Hawaii for me ;-)

I had a long non-gaming chat with my good friend +darren stewart and we've made a pact to meet up again in the next few weeks to continue those conversations.  Plus we can bitch about +myles loughran at the same time.  Only because we both love Myles so much though, honest!

I also got to have fleeting (all too fleeting in some cases) conversations with other people I used to game with at +ORC Edinburgh.

Those aside I got to catch up with Liam and +Stuart Clark outside of the realms of Black Lion Games which I rarely get the chance to do these days unfortunately.

I also managed to immerse myself in my hobby for a whole weekend and remind myself why I'm part of such a great community of people.

Oh, and I also played a game.  Just the one though... actually let's focus on the game in the next post.

Monday, 28 April 2014

The first East Neuk Tabletop Games session.

I should have done this post on April the 13th itself but unfortunately it's taken til now for me to get around to it!

So on Sunday April the 13th, Alan (+donjondo) and I hosted the first of hopefully many events under the banner of East Neuk Tabletop Games.

So how did it go?

It went really well.  We had more people than either of us reasonably expected to get and whilst most of the attendees were people we each knew there were some who had heard either through the grape vine or indeed through the flyers that had been distributed.

Games played were - Pandemic, Sentinels Of The Multiverse, Zombie Dice, Zombies!!!, Quicksand, Hey, That's My Fish and several other games that I can't remember.

All in all people had fun and want to come and play again.  That first meet (or moot?!) of ENT Games was completed and deemed a success!

If you're reading this and you happen to be near #Anstruther or indeed the #EastNeuk in general then do get in touch.

We're trying to bring together what appears to be a relatively strong but fragmented community of gamers and so far we're really only finding the board/card gamers.  There will be others that we haven't found yet, after all we've kinda thrown this together in the space of a few weeks.

Our next meet up is Sunday the 18th May and whilst that causes me some challenges (It clashes with the Event Registration for GenCon....) I am thoroughly looking forward to it.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Atomic Robo RPG!!!!!


-ahem- I have it in PDF that is as the printed version isn't out til June but I decided to be spontaneous and make sure I have it sooner than later by pre-ordering it via Leisure Games in London.

So why do I have the PDF now?  Intelligent publisher / retailer relationships.

A number of years ago a service called Bits & Mortar was set up to enable stores to provide PDF copies of RPGs to customers when they pre-ordered (or indeed bought) the physical product.  To me this is a no brainer service for a retailer to embrace as simply put IT COSTS NOTHING and PROVIDES EXTRA VALUE TO THE CONSUMER.

Sorry for the CAPS but I'm feeling both ranty and excited right now...

Anyway!  I have the Atomic Robo RPG!!!!! Time to read!

Monday, 7 April 2014

First there was an ORC then a DWARF. Now there's an ENT.

Ok so that post title needs an explanation...

When I moved from Glasgow to the East Neuk of Fife I had a bit of a purge of my gaming collection with the expectation that if I was to get back into gaming I was start anew.

The first breakthrough I had with my gaming was via the Ottakars Roleplaying Club as it was originally known but what is now the Open Roleplaying Community (Edinburgh) or simply ORC for short.

The second breakthrough came as part of starting this 2nd Chapter.  I had been to the Dunfermline Wargaming And Roleplay Fellowship (or simply DWARF for short) prior to opening KoA and during my time at ORC too.  However, it wasn't until the start of this 2nd Chapter that I really became part of that community.  DWARF isn't "just" for wargamers or roleplayers though. Quite a few people play board & card games there as well as CCGs.

So that's the ORC (A RPG club) and the DWARF (A Wargaming and RPG club).  What's the ENT?

Well... As part of my Hobby Objectives I have been looking to do the following 2 things.

2. Play more with more.
3. Home based gaming.

ENT is how I'm going to satisfy number 2 and in a round about way it also supports number 3.

So again.  What's ENT?  ENT is East Neuk Tabletop Games - so that's any of the games I refer to in my What Are Tabletop Games? post. Oh and it kicks off next Sunday the 13th April in Anstruther from 2pm to 5pm and it would greatly please both myself and +donjondo (Alan Stewart) if you were able to join us for it!

Full details can be found either on the Google+ Community or the Facebook Group or follow us on Twitter and indeed on the website.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Tabletop Day 2014 @ DWARF in Dunfermline

So this Saturday is Tabletop Day.  If you're not sure where to go and take part in one of the many thousands of events to celebrate our hobby then go to the Tabletop Day website and find out where your nearest one is.

If that happens to be Dunfermline in Scotland then come along to the DWARF event.

I'm bringing some of my board games -

Sentinels Of The Multiverse - 2 to 5 player co-op superhero card game. 45-60 minutes to play.
Gloom - 2 to 4 player card game where you make your family miserable and kill them off. 45-60 minutes to play.
Lords Of Waterdeep - 2 to 5 player board game where you are powerful lords vying for control of this great city. Roughly 60 minutes to play.
King Of Tokyo - 2 to 6 player board game where you play mutant monsters, gigantic robots, and strange aliens fighting each other to become the one and only King of Tokyo. 30 to 45 minutes to play.
Bang! - 3 to 7 player card game set in the Wild West where barrels are your friend and dynamite randomly explodes! 30 to 45 minutes to play.
The Resistance - 5 to 10 player card game where you are either in The Resistance or you're a Spy trying to stop the resistance! 30 to 60 minutes to play.
Jungle Speed - 2 to 8 player card game which is nothing like Snap! (with violence) whatsoever... 15 to 45 minutes to play.
Fluxx (Zombie, Star, "Standard" and I think 1 other variant) - 2 to 8 player card game where the rules and goal are always in Fluxx! 15 to 45 minutes to play.
Straw - 2 to 6 player card game where the players are trying to NOT break the camel's back unless it's with that elusive Straw. 30 to 45 minutes to play.

Plus I plan on running (if there's demand) 2 RPG scenarios.

The first one is a hack of my Prison Break scenario for Star Wars.  It's a hack as I need to condense it to no more than 90 minutes!  Doable but challenging!

The second one is an as yet undecided scenario for D&D Next/5th Edition.  I probably have toooooo many options here so will be picking something that fits the 90 minute slot as well as gives players a proper taste of the rules.