Monday, 30 September 2013

Getting to GenCon Part 1

So as I said in my post on GenCon 2014, my intention is to experience the "best 4 days in gaming" next year.

So what do you need to consider when planning such a trip?

How long do you go for?

Well to experience it properly surely you need to go for 4 days, right?  So that means Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Registration / Collection of your welcome pack etc is on the Wednesday (or early Thursday) so you really need to be there on the Wednesday.
You don’t want to be arriving on the Wednesday and rushing about checking in to your accommodation etc etc so arrival really has to be on the Tuesday.  Plus this is my first time at GenCon Indy so I want to be there for all it and experiencing it to the full.
So that means not only arriving on the Tuesday but leaving on the Monday.

How do you get there?

Well I live in Scotland so there are not a lot of options around mode of transport.  It’s basically flights from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Indianapolis.
For me it’s Edinburgh and right now flights aren’t really that well listed for August 2014.  Prices are also a bit all over the place this far in advance but right now the best price I can see for a 1-stop journey is roughly £900.
Not sure if that’s going to be the actual cost as flights are only just becoming available.  Plus at other times of the year they are nearer the £600 mark and that includes direct flights.
But for sake of a budget we’ll go with the £900 price.

Where do you stay?

The conference centre is in the Downtown area of Indianapolis and somewhat unsurprisingly there are a lot of hotels in that area too.   I’ve looked at a number of these but everything seems to be pointing me at another option.  Renting an apartment/condo.
Having checked a number of websites out I can see there are a number of options.  Some options are better with a larger group with others only working if the group I go with is small.
There is however something that’s makes me hesitate about going for an apartment.  I fully expect to be at convention from morning to night and so unless it makes more financial sense I suspect that an apartment might be overkill.
I mean I could eat at the apartment but likely won’t so having a kitchen is probably unnecessary except perhaps for the Tuesday on arrival and the Monday on departure…

So that's most of the logistics of physically getting to GenCon and where to stay but what about booking for the con itself?  That'll be in the next post.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

More Seasoning

In yesterday's post I talked about Beyond The Rim for Star Wars EotE RPG.

Today's post I'm talking about why I purchased an expansion for a board game that I'd only played once... That board game is Seasons.

As per the previous game report post the group came away from that first play thinking that Seasons was awesome and I know that by the time this post goes live that we'll have played it again.  So why buy an expansion?

Well before I get into that let's take a look at the expansion itself.
Seasons: Enchanted Kingdom is a "more of the same with something extra" expansion in that it doesn't really change how the game is played but it does bring more variation to the game with more power cards in particular. It also answers a question about the core set.

Each player has their own "board" which is used to manage the various resources in the game.  In that board there is a hole which didn't seem to make any sense.  At least until now!  The picture below shows there is now a crescent moon style insert to put into the circular hole.  This makes me think that as the designers were building the game this element was already in plan but wouldn't be ready for the initial release so they opted to leave the hole but not explain it!

So why did I buy the expansion?  Because I can see this being played a lot and I think the expansion will help to maintain that!  There's another expansion coming out next year and whilst I'll likely buy it no matter what I would love to see the game be scalable to support 5/6 players by including additional season dice.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Railroad Stations

Back in my post named "Expansive Gaming" I reflected on the nature of expansions for games.

I've recently picked up a number of expansions for games I've been enjoying and wanted to share the reasons why I've picked them up.

This post is about Star Wars EotE : Beyond The Rim - So this is a scenario/campaign book which I plan to use as part of my EotE RPG sessions.
I've come to really like the published stuff that FFG produce and whilst there's an element of railroading within the scenarios that I've seen that's normally something I can work around.

So if you think about that railroad scenario and rather than seeing it as a linear path you put stops along the way you can add a lot more into the game. In other words, you're adding more stations to the railroad where intersections or "side treks" to use an old D&D phrase can be placed on the scenario journey. Similarly you can have a number of these intersections prior to the start of the railroad you've been given. That might be a bit more tricky simply because you might have to unpick some of the background to enable it.

So Beyond The Rim is likely going to be the main content for my Star Wars EotE RPG Sessions.

In my next post I'll talk about another expansion I've picked up.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Holiday Posts - Guests?

I'm taking some time off work the week starting the 7th of October and starting to forward post more to ensure that there is content ready for publication during that week as we're having a family holiday.
I have couple of posts already done but whilst I was writing the third my brain went off on a tangent...

What if I managed to enlist some guest posts for that week instead and get their views on the hobby, their hobby or any ideas they'd be happy to share through the blog.

Now there are a number of people that I can think of who I'd be interested to read a post by but at the same time I don't want to single any of them out.

So how would it work (if of course anyone takes me up on the request)?  -  Guests would send me their post, I'd review them and see if I think they're a good fit and then I'd schedule them in the feed as I do with other posts.

So how many would I need?  -  I think 5 would be perfect. We're away the Monday to Friday so it would be great to have one for each day.

What can the guest write about?  -  I'd like the posts to at least align with the 3 headings of The Hobby (whatever that means to the guest), My Hobby (although in this case it would be the guest perspective) and My Ideas (again it would the idea of that guest).

So if anyone is interested let me know either in the comments or via email -

I'd like to have the posts concluded by Friday 4th October.  If there's no interest then as I say I have other stuff to fill the week.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Gaming Group Dynamics

Gaming Groups come in various flavours and many gamers are members of multiple groups at the same time.

As your gaming evolves so does your group dynamic and I wanted to explore those a little here.

Established "Static" Group
This is often the group that people first find themselves in.  Also referred to as the home group it is practically a closed shop to anyone else.  Indeed when in this static group it is often the case that the members will only talk about the hobby with those other members.
RPGs, particularly long term campaigns do really well in these groups.  Board and Card games also tend to be frequent past time.  I also know of a few static groups of CCG players who use that group for deck testing and drafting to improve their knowledge and ability within the group whilst still gaming outside of that static set.

"Not A Group" Group
When is a group not a group?  When it's a club or society of gamers who have managed to avoid the clique mentality.  Within that club you are likely to find fluid groups but as a whole the club members aren't fixed into a subset population of gamers like the static group.
Clubs tend to increase the likelihood of greater variance of games which give gamers the opportunity to try something else.
Wargames tend to do really well in clubs but really all formats of tabletop gaming can co-exist within that "not a group" group environment.

Fluid Group
Sort of where I am at the moment.
The fluid group differs from the static simply because the members are not fixed.  What does that mean Dave?  Well, the "not a group" may actually include a number of fluid groups within it.
If you play multiple formats of games then you may have different people that you play those games with and some of those people may crossover to different formats.
e.g. The group I am in for RPGs is fairly static although not completely but the group I'm in for Board/Card games is pretty fluid as it's largely just down to whoever is interested that night in playing games.  The make up of the fluid group may be from a finite pool of people but at the same time the members will vary from session to session.

It's entirely possible to be a member of each of these at the same time and similarly you may only be a member of one of them.  The key though is to recognise the benefits of being in the group(s) that you are in and understand the groups that you're not.
I'm not referring to the people within the groups (that'd be a far wider topic and verging on stereotyping) more that if you want to explore other formats of the tabletop hobby you have to recognise that the group you are in may not be the group you can explore that with.  Similarly if you're looking to immerse yourself in a long term RPG campaign then that's really not that easy to do unless that group is static.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Introducing A New Player or Players

As with the last post on introducing a new game to the gaming group there's also the prospect of introducing a new gamer to the gaming table.  As ever there are things that you should and shouldn't do.

New Player - Established "Static" Group
Should do - If this is a "static gaming group" then discuss with the group the prospect of someone new joining in, gauge their reaction and take on board what they think.  If it's a goer then have an ice breaker session giving everyone a chance to get to know each other outside the focus of the gaming table.  In addition to that and keeping the "Is everyone having fun? Including you?" principle to the forefront of my thinking everyone needs to give the new player time to learn as they play and encourage them to try things even if that means they are "doing it wrong" (whatever that means).
Shouldn't do - Don't drop the player into a game (RPGs specifically) where their actions are marginalised by the established plot.  Also if the player is entirely new to the hobby at large then try to avoid using jargon that the new player won't get.

New Player - Fluid Group
Should do - In the "fluid group" it's much easier to add a new player into the mix.  There's less "prep" needed to get everyone on board with it. Also through channelling the "Is everyone having fun? Including you?" principle there is still that strong need to ensure that the new player is indeed having fun.
Shouldn't do - The jargon element above still applies as does the New Game - New Group shouldn't do element of Introducing a New Game.

New Player - New Group
Should do - This is really the blank slate of situations.  The group has never existed in any real form before, the members may have connections with others away from the gaming table and yet they may not.  The only key should do that I have come across in this situation is to take it slow.  Don't try and force the group dynamic and I'd recommend playing some cooperative board games to help the players find their rhythm in how to play together and individually develop their own gaming styles.
Shouldn't do - Avoid games that have direct conflict as a key mechanic, unless of course that conflict is humorous in it's delivery (Gloom).  This is for a variety of reasons, one of which is again about that fun thing but also simply down to trying to engender a healthy group dynamic.

Any other New Player thoughts out there?

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Introducing A New Game

Introducing a new game into a group something that I've done a fair amount over the years, after all I do like to buy games so unless I'm happy for them to sit on the shelves unplayed I am going to introduce them eventually.  Is there a set way to go about it?  Not really.  I mean there are things you should do and shouldn't do but there isn't one way of doing this so what I'm saying here is some guidance rather than "how to do it".

New Game - Established Group
Should do - Bringing your latest purchase along to your gaming sessions still in the shrink wrap is something I've done many times.  Mainly because I tend to not have/make the time to take a good look at the game before I take to my gaming group.  The benefit here is that your fellow gamers will be just as interested in playing the new shiny game as much as you are and you might be lucky enough to have someone who will do the rules bit for you!
Shouldn't do - Well there's not much that can go wrong here after all the group are all gamers and all have a certain knowledge of the games that constitute the hobby.  What you have to be wary of though is only playing new games as that can dilute the enjoyed of the hobby not to mention dilute the value aspect of your hobby.  You also have to be aware of the types of games that your group like.  Turning up with the latest expansion for a game that you know those gamers didn't like the core set of is probably a non-starter...

New Game - New Group
Should do - The presumption here is that whilst the group is made up of non-gamers or perhaps fledgling gamers they all have enough of an understanding of the hobby.  Best to go with something that you know reasonably well (so not still in the shrink wrap!) and that isn't too heavy on the strategy or the luck side of things.  If it's a licensed game then make sure that the group are at the very least familiar with the setting and don't dislike it!
Shouldn't do - Don't bring anything that will take 3 hours to play in a 3 hour slot.  It may look awesome and indeed it may be awesome but if this is a new game for a new group then you will need to go over the rules a few times to clarify things which will eat into that time.  Plus it's best to have a game that gives you the chance to play it more than once if the players enjoy the first run.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Conventions: What do you want?

I can't really speak to what makes a good gaming convention as I've only attended 3 different named conventions.  One of those conventions I've attended on multiple occasions although it has changed a bit each time I've gone.  I know why I attend conventions but that's not the purpose of this post.

By asking the question "What do you want?" I'm aiming that at the convention organiser as opposed to the attendee.  The attendee wants a lot of things from a convention and each different attendee will have different demands of that convention.

But what does a convention organiser want?

The organiser must create a balance between the number of events held to attract the attendees and in turn enough attendees to fill those events.  This is very much a chicken and egg situation and is a core challenge for any convention organiser.  For a new convention trying to determine attendees is nigh on impossible but to attract attendees you have to provide events attractive enough to well attract them.
The balance isn't a simple case of anticipating 100 attendees and having 100 spaces to play games.  The various formats within the hobby bring complexity to the challenge of organising a convention as the mix of games on offer will influence the attendance.
For returning conventions the organiser needs to choose as to whether more of the same is the right option or whether they wish to grow.  Which brings us to the next thing an organiser wants...

The organiser doesn't want to do this just the once.  Well ok so they may want to do this once to prove that it can be done but doing something like this is rarely a once time deal.  Usually this is something they want to do once a year and with each year they want to do it better than the one before.
To do this the organiser must be prepared for things to go wrong and ultimately for the convention to not meet the needs of the attendees.
However for everything that doesn't work there will be at least one thing that goes well and results in an opportunity to improve the convention for next time.  A next time that will only happen with the next thing an organiser wants...

The organiser can't do it alone.  They need support and that support will come in a variety of forms.
One of those will be financial whether that be from sponsors (if there are any) or simply a mechanism of spreading the financial risk of the event.
Another key element of support is in the actual running of the event and the organising that goes into making it a success.  The day to day organising and prep for the event cannot be done by 1 person and somewhat more obviously the on the day running of the event cannot be done by 1 person.  The organiser must have a team and that team will also need support as there will be a need for more than that core to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible.

What else does a convention organiser want?

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Have you got a license for that?

Licensing of popular TV shows, movies and books has been fairly common place throughout the hobby for as long as I can remember.  In my post on MERP I only covered the RPG licensing of the setting for The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings.

Currently Middle Earth can be explored in a variety of forms whether that be wargaming with Games Workshop, collectable miniatures with Wizkids or any number of board and card games that are set in the world created by JRR Tolkien.  And that's just what's currently being published!

Star Wars is another regularly used license with Fantasy Flight Games releasing a RPG, Card Game and in the form of X-Wing a Board/War Game (I can't decide).  The key omission here is the lack of a full scale wargame along the lines of Warhammer.  I'm not sure why this is the case as I can't think of any reason why any gamer (including this one) wouldn't be interested in playing the Hoth battle using miniatures...

Superheroes (primarily DC Comics and Marvel Comics) have also had a number of instances in the hobby with Heroclix being the main example but RPGs and Board/Card Games also exist.  Plus to make sure no-one forgets there's an Atomic Robo RPG coming out!

Licenses for TV Shows have gone through a bit of a glut over the years with Firefly / Serenity, Stargate, Leverage, Supernatural, Smallville, Primeval and Dr Who all having RPGs. Some have multiple formats of games.

Now, none of this is bad as in many respects a product based on a licensed property increases the exposure of the hobby as a whole.  It's also fair to say that a number of licensed products are one-shot publications to maximise the opportunity to tie-in with the popularity of the TV shows involved.  Not saying it's a bad thing as afterall these are companies in the business of making money.

What am I saying then?  A licensed game doesn't make it a good game.  It doesn't provide any form of guarantee that the game will invoke the sensation of taking part in that license.

So by picking up a license, any license, a company gives themselves a good start in finding a player base for that game but at the same time that game better be good!  The thing that kills a licensed product quickly is when the players buy it in droves but find that it's actually "not that good".

What games based on licenses were you most disappointed with?

Saturday, 21 September 2013

2nd Breakfast

Last year on the 21st of September it was 75 years since the publication of The Hobbit and there was a fan-led celebration event to host a Hobbit 2nd Breakfast which was enjoyed the world over at precisely 11:00AM on the 21st.  I organised one at my workplace last year and it was surprisingly popular.  The eagle eyed amongst you will notice that this post has been published at 11:00AM instead of it's usual 12noon slot to "take part" in that celebration this year at least in a small way.

Rather than focus specifically on this celebration of one of the most definitive fantasy novels I thought I would use this as an excuse to talk about how it was a RPG in the world of The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings that really kickstarted my first foray into RPGs.

As I've said elsewhere the first RPG I played was the Red Box edition of Dungeons & Dragons however that wasn't the first one I owned as that was actually owned by my brother even if I played it more.

We were on a family holiday to York in England and I'd started to think about getting something of my own. Now I read The Hobbit when I was maybe 9 or 10 so my brain was ready to explore fantasy worlds when my brother Allan introduced me to D&D.  So when I spotted MERP on the shelf of the Games Workshop in York in 1985/86 I knew I had to have it.

That GW edition of MERP was however very different to Red Box D&D...  Also it wasn't really a Games Workshop RPG; it was the Iron Crown edition of MERP reprinted (with some errata) and given a new box/book design.

The rulebook was dense and the rules themselves involved so much more "crunch" than the Red Box D&D that at first I was put off.  I persevered and it very quickly became my game of choice and in time I had a number of supplements and had started to pick up some Rolemaster books to expand the games.  MERP was itself a scaled down version of the Rolemaster RPG system however mechanically there were compatible. I also had a go at simplifying MERP yet further into a homebrewed system but that's been lost over the years; I remember it being broken but fun!

Over the years my attention drifted back to D&D but I continued to run games in Middle Earth despite not using a system dedicated to that setting.

ICE lost the license to publish MERPs in 1999 and in 2002 Decipher brought out a new game which again came to an end when they too lost the license.  When we come to 2011, Cubicle 7 have released their The One Ring RPG.  Neither the Decipher nor the Cubicle 7 iterations of a game set in Middle Earth really caught my eye, although the artwork in The One Ring is very very good I have no specific desire to play in Middle Earth anymore especially when it would be against my Gaming Principles to buy it when I have no Game Time to play it in.

Anyway it's time for that 2nd Breakfast.  Time to open the belt out a notch.

Friday, 20 September 2013

The Daily Dilemma

This is post 67 and I've recently been rethinking my approach to the blog.  Actually rethinking is too strong a term, probably more accurate to say "more thinking".

When I set out to do this I wanted it to be a daily digest/brain dump of whatever views or insights I had about a particular topic of the hobby, how things were developing in relation to my hobby and also to capture any ideas I wanted to share.

I still want to do all of that but I have started to wonder if the signal to noise ratio of the blog is impacted by it being a daily post.

Looking at the stats (which is a bad idea in many respects) I can see patterns around what topics are read and what days of the week see the least traffic.  Nothing conclusive as yet to take from them really, after all this has only been going for just over 2 months and I've really only started to "promote" it in the last couple of weeks.

I'm comfortable with the daily post element and have sufficient content for that to continue for quite some time yet but I do wonder if that's necessary and worthwhile...

I can cover a lot more topics and nuances of each of the elements I referenced above.
There's no deep rooted analysis happening here, a lot of the content is surface/light-touch commentary rather than anything scientific which in some respects makes a daily post workable.
Ermmm that's it I think?

Signal to Noise - is the content lost on the reader. I can't really comment on that but I do wonder if daily posts are overkill.
Repetitive Content / Low Content - There are days (due to other commitments mostly) I can't make an update so forward posting is really the only way to maintain that daily post.  Does the content suffer or indeed do I run the risk of not having a post ready?

One of the options I thought of before was to structure the posts based on days of the week.  By that I mean having specific topics allocated to a different day.  So I'd talk about e.g. RPGs on a Monday, The Hobby on a Tuesday, etc.  Not sure that'll work and it may constrain my ability to make an update.

People of the internet, purveyors of this content, trolls under the bridge I ask you for your guidance!

Thursday, 19 September 2013


So today is the 19th September which means that it's International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Why is this relevant to tabletop games?  Well in reality it's not but why ignore such a prestigious event when it can be turned into a blog post about Pirates in games?

Pirates are iconic archetypes for practically all formats of tabletop games.

RPG wise there's a LOT of Pirate fuelled material that can be played including complete settings for Pirate games.  Green Ronin Publishing really kicked off their existence thanks to Freeport which was a scenario released for D&D 3rd Edition and I remember picking it up at the same time as my copy of the Players Handbook at GenCon UK in Manchester in 2000.

Wargame wise there are too many to mention, the stand out one is Warmachine which has a steampunk pirate vibe.  It's published by Privateer Press who themselves have a bit of Pirate vibe going on. As I say there are many more Pirate fuelled wargames.

There are no Pirate board or card games - is a lie.  BoardGameGeek has a filter showing in the region of 600 such games. I am not going to list them all!  I would however be happy to recommend Pirate Fluxx if you're looking for something light and silly to play.

CCG wise there are no (current) Pirate themed games, at least none that I'm aware of at any rate.  If you know of one that's currently in print then please let me know in the comments.

What else is out there?

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Newfangled Nonsense...

RPGs come in a vast array of flavours.  Setting is one way of splitting up the flavour of RPG but the split I'm talking about here is more on the ruleset.  I'm going to be very general about the terms I use here largely down to my blasé approach to rules in a RPG.

The level of detailed mechanics (crunch) in a game is normally one of the elements that a player looks at first before deciding whether it's a game they're going to like.  I used to say that you can determine the complexity of a game from just looking at the character sheet and see how many boxes there are...
Yes the setting is normally what draws them to the game but mechanics are important; at least in the sense of what level of control you want over your game experience.

Over the past 10 or so years there's been an increase in the profile of so called "story games" where the mechanics are such that they are designed to drive the story in the game.  Essentially these story based mechanics are to enable narrative control of the gaming experience rather than to be explicitly about achieving a task.

As I mentioned previously (way way back I think) I picked up FATE Accelerated Edition primarily as a pre-cursor to my anticipation around the release of the Atomic Robo RPG.

FATE as a system is mechanically different to what I am used to playing, it's also very different from what my current player base is familiar with playing and I suspect that for some that suspension of disbelief mechanically will be a challenge.

Within FATE the mechanic trigger of an Aspect is how a lot of abstract actions are handled mechanically. As is touched on within the FateRPG website these can be a direct replacement for a skill/feat/ability or whatever label is applied in other games, the key difference though is the abstract nature of how that aspect is perceived by the player and the GM.
e.g. Bland: Swordsman.
Tasty: Trained Fencer.
Bam!: Trained by Montcharles.

The equivalent in practically all versions of Dungeons & Dragons would be represented by level, proficiencies and other more objective and defined measurements.  Being able to say that you're a 12th level fighter with specialisation in Longsword makes it sound like you're pretty good with that Longsword.
Saying that you were trained by Montcharles sounds cooler though!

Both approaches work it's just a question of what style of mechanic you want in your games.

Me?  I'm mostly an objective mechanic player but that's probably more down to my analytical approach to things in general.  The subjective approach doesn't give me that same level of clarity around what bonus the character gets.  It does sound cooler though!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Online Resources

In the quest to better my gaming I've been looking at how I can streamline certain things about the play experience.  A lot of how that can be achieved is through using more resources to make things easier for me to prep for games and in particular RPGs.

I'm going to touch on just a few things that are out there on that thing called the world wide web.  You know that thing you're using to read this blog.

On the left hand side of this blog is a list of blogs that I read.  I used to read a lot of blogs, forums and online content about the hobby in general but now I tend to stick to only a few.  This is mostly down to available time and probably also a little bit of laziness creeping in.

For Board Games, especially ones that I've bought and played a few times, I tend to go to The Esoteric Order Of Games.  The what?  In a nutshell they take the rules of the a whole host of games and simplify/condense them into workable short hand rules.  Now this isn't simply a case of "ignore page 3, paragraph 4" style condensing this is professionally prepared rules.
Before buying a game, when I plan such purchases at least rather than impulse ones, I will check out this website to see if they have a condensed rules set available.  That's not a decision maker but it's certainly of interest.

For RPGs I tend to read Gnome Stew, Triumph & Despair and Thistle Games.  Again not necessarily to aid in decision making but more to almost gauge the mood of the market on what's hot and what's not etc.
Triumph & Despair in particular has a lot of great Star Wars EotE content.

For more general The Hobby type content whether that be intelligent FLGS related content or more otherwise I look at Black Diamond Games - Quest For Fun!, Starlit Citadel and The GSA.

Lastly I tend to watch my mate John's gaming blog The Varcan Cluster where he posts mostly about wargames which if you've been reading this blog for a while you'll know is not part of my hobby for a variety of reasons.  Doesn't mean I don't like to read about it!

Plus one that I don't have a feed for as I tend to have it as a permanently open tab is the FFG Star Wars EotE Forum where recently a fan has released a character generation app.  A very impressive one at that!

What websites/blogs do you always read?

Monday, 16 September 2013

Future Proofed Hobby?

In the past few years the hobby has gone through a number of changes.

Some games/formats have gone.
WoWTCG is probably the most notable although to be fair this had been coming for a while.

Some games/formats have shrunk and awaiting some sort of relaunch.
There's a perception in some parts of the hobby media that RPGs have shrunk in the past few years.  I'm not convinced of this and believe that the RPG market is actually as strong as it has been for a number of years. The perception of the shrinkage I believe is more down the an overall growth of the hobby and the percentage made up by RPGs has shrunk.
There's also a mixed expectation around what the release of the next version of D&D will do for the RPG slice of the market.  I expect it will result in an initial spike of the overall RPG market but whether it will be anything more than that is unclear.

Some games/formats have gone from strength to strength.
Outside of RPGs the other formats that comprise the hobby have grown market share, not least of all being Board & Card Games.  I have nothing other than circumstantial "evidence" to support this but I believe that the primary reasons a show like Tabletop has been so successful and that events such as GenCon in the US and indeed the UK Games Expo in the UK have continued to grow year on year is because of the overall growth of the hobby but specifically through the growth of the Board & Cards games formats.
It's also worth saying again that the continual growth of Magic: The Gathering is another sign that the hobby as a whole is growing in exposure across the world.
Wargames I don't have enough information to go on but I don't see any signs of their market share shrinking and with the overall market growing it suggests that they are growing with it.  The powerhouse that is Games Workshop continues to grow it's market overall and there are plenty of new games in the market thanks to Kickstarter (Mantic's range in-particular).

But what's missing?  What's the next evolution of the hobby?
If I knew that I'd be doing it.  I believe though that the next evolution is not in the development of the games we play or in how we play them but more in who is playing them.  The hobby market will grow and the games made will grow to support that market.  Whether the style or format of those games changes in any real way I would doubt it as ultimately the hobby is "tabletop games" and within the boundaries of that phrase there's really not a lot of scope for evolution other than in the development of the products that are played on tabletops and the people who are playing them.

Is there a bubble about to burst though?
Maybe... A number of retailers, particularly in the USA, are expecting the CCG (read Magic) bubble to burst at some point but at the same time are continuing their push for growth in CCGs and in particular the Board & Card game sectors.
If nothing else it's going to be interesting to watch.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Prison Break

I've referred to a one-shot scenario I've used for Star Wars on here a few times.

The scenario itself is inspired by an old RPG magazine by the name of Challenge which was published by Games Designers Workshop, a now defunct gaming company.

GDW were the publishers of a number of games over the years but Challenge wasn't solely an in-house magazine as not only publishing scenarios etc for Traveller it also covered games by other publishers like Star Wars.

Issue 49 of Challenge had a scenario in it called "Dandrians Ring" where the player characters had to rescue a defecting Imperial officer and return him to the Rebel Alliance.  The scenario itself was nothing special but what I liked in particular was the prison base - Alpha-Omega Prison.

Now as I said there was nothing special about the scenario but what I did find with it was that it provided a great setting to demonstrate playing in a Star Wars universe.  The setting is perfect for running one-shots and specifically works really well in demonstrating whatever ruleset you are using for Star Wars.

Last few times I've used this location I've ran the scenario in 2 different ways.

Prison Break IN

The party have been brought together by a common goal which brings them to Alpha-Omega Prison.  This common goal usually involves a NPC that they each either have a grudge against or some other reason to want to find the NPC.
All they need to do is get safe passage to the prison, break in and take on the defences of the base, extract the NPC (and perhaps other prisoners) and then get back off again.

Prison Break OUT

The party are all prisoners in the base and are all have a reason for someone to want them gone who has hired a group of bounty hunters to bring them back, alive in some cases.
The base has its power supply disabled as part of the attack which gives the characters a chance to get out of their cells.
In some variations I've had it that one of the PCs was a spy for the bad guy and in others I've had it that only one of the PCs was the true target but the characters don't know who that is.

In many respects these are very simple scenarios but alongside that simplicity comes lots of options on how the scenario plays out.
Both can also be used as kickoff scenarios for campaigns as there is potential for the characters to become a team and along the way make some joint enemies.  As I begin to pull together my plans for EotE I am looking to use this location in the campaign at some point.

Are there any specific locations (big or small) that you've used over and over again in one-shots or indeed built whole campaigns around?

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Seasons is a game of layers.

Not that long ago I picked up a copy of Seasons.

I picked it up on a whim really, I knew of it but only that there had been positive noises on the internet.  Plus the box had the typical Asmodee approach of "lets use lots of colours to dazzle the weak into buying our games", or at least that's my excuse!

So what is Seasons and why did I buy it?

2-4 player dice/card/resource management game, which scales in based on the number of players and can have varying levels of complexity.
Each player is a wizard looking to gather resources to build up their power and ultimately have the most power (represented by crystals and magic items) before 3 years passes.

I bought it because the board looked really really weird.  I also bought it because I knew who I could get to play it with me.

Having now recently played it I have to admit that 30 minutes in my fellow gamers and I were looking at each other scratching our heads and struggling to get to grips with the game.  However as we persevered through the game more and more the rules started to click into place and by the end of the 2nd year of the game we felt confident enough to re-introduce more rules that had confused us earlier.

By the end of the game all 4 of us agreed that the game was awesome.  Seriously, this game has so many layers of complexity and options about what you can do turn to turn it's obviously been written by some crazy mathematical genius type.  Reminder that we were using the most basic of rules when playing.  The layers of the game are further advanced by using a larger card pool to build the year decks.

I look forward to my next game of Seasons.  It really took us by surprised by how good it was; especially after that first 30 minutes of not really getting it.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Horror & Me

So it's Friday the 13th and other than trying to make sure nothing disastrous strikes today I also wanted to touch on Horror in games and my views on it.

As a genre Horror covers a multitude of things whether that be the splat fest of a slasher movie to something that bit more psychological.

As a gamer and general "geek culture" fan I've never been interested in horror as a genre and in many respects I don't understand why.
I enjoy a good mystery and I also enjoy intrigue in my games but the atmosphere that I think horror needs is often lost on me.
RPG wise I've tried to play and indeed run games like Call Of Cthulhu, Unknown Armies and I've previously mentioned that I own but have never ran the d20 based RPG - The End.
Cthulhu is almost iconic (some would say overly used as such) but having tried both the 1920s era and the X-Files style Delta Green setting I concluded that I couldn't generate the correct environment either through my GMing style or some other factor.
Unknown Armies I managed to run a few games with it but these really only scratched the surface of what UA is about as again I couldn't dig into the setting enough to make the scenarios work.

So why is that? Well the only real conclusion I have managed to come to is that I just don't "get" horror and in some respects I wonder if it's actually a harder genre of game to run to ensure that the atmosphere within the game works.
Now this isn't just for RPGs. Board games like Arkham Horror also just don't click with me. Mechanically I can enjoy the game but the experience is perhaps diluted because of this lack of connection with Horror. The card game Gloom works but that's probably more down to it's comedic elements and being almost Tim Burton esque in it's content.

So am I that bothered? Not really but at the same time I do wonder what I'm missing out on...

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Clubs / Societies and Community

As I said in my recent post about Game Time I attend a club on a Friday night to play games.

In a conversation with a friend about the post we got onto the topic of me organising a club or something a bit more local to me to see if that could improve my Game Time.  I've done this before, albeit not locally, and think I know what makes a club work.

So what makes a good club?

A good venue is key to any club.  Having a publicly accessible space to play games in where new members aren't intimidated by the venue is the core to a lot of clubs out there.
Clubs that have any barriers to entry are going to restrict membership and potentially alienate other members.
What do I mean by barriers to entry?

  • Hosting a gaming club in a pub/bar or any other licensed venue limits you to aged 18+ (or equivalent) members.  Even if that pub has a license for those under-age to be on the premises it can put people off.
  • Location.  If your location is obscure or off the beaten track then it is likely to have a reduced accessibility or just be seen as inconvenient to attend.
  • Public.  There's a difference between "publicly accessible" and "public."  Not everyone is comfortable enjoying their tabletop gaming hobby with non-gamers watching on.  Personally I think public gaming is a good thing but having ran a RPG club in public spaces I can understand why people don't like it.

The community / membership of any club defines the club.
When a new member comes to a club for the first time they're not simply checking out the venue or indeed checking the games that are played.  They are checking out the community itself to see if the people there are compatible with their own hobby.
I've been to a number of clubs over the years and that first 5-10 minutes of you arriving is critical to whether you will return.  In the build up to KoA opening when I was looking to understand more about the community I visited all of the clubs in the geographical area.  Some were great at welcoming me, others however made me feel like an outsider and in one case completely ignored me for over 10 minutes before I was greeted in any way.

By options I really mean what games are played at the club and what options are there within the community to play other games?
If nobody at the club plays your favourite game then there's a good chance that something has to give.  Either through introducing others to that game or through you trying out the games that are played.

What experiences do you have of clubs?

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Expansive Gaming

Expansions are a big part of the hobby.  For every board, card, role and war game that's published there's likely an expansion that goes along with it.  Not a 100% situation obviously but it's likely counter-balanced by some games which have multiple expansions.

So what does an expansion bring to a game?

More of the same -
A lot of expansions take the base game and just say "have some more of that".  That's fine and in a lot of games that's exactly what you want.
The majority of Settlers Of Catan expansions do little more than give you more.
Fluxx is another example.  The core game is fine as it stands.  The "expansions" for Fluxx are actually other editions of Fluxx but with a setting overlay onto the game.  Zombie Fluxx is just Fluxx with Zombies.  Does it change the game?  Not really.  Does it make the game better?  Again not really. Does it make it more fun?  Well if you like Zombies then it's likely going to add to your gaming experience but again the answer really is "not really".
Sentinels Of The Multiverse is sorta the same as Fluxx here as each expansion really only adds more Heroes, more Villains and more Environments.  No real change to the game.
Yes there may be some new rules but those are only triggered as a result of that specific character etc.

Something different and new -
This is where the game has a new element that changes the style of play or more specifically how succeeding at the game occurs.
CCGs like Magic: The Gathering can have this experience multiple times a year through their "story" block sets and with each core set comes a new set of mechanics or indeed a new way of using existing mechanics.
Personally I feel this isn't really that different from "More of the same" above just it only involves a subtle change to how the game is played rather than the game you are playing.

Expands the game overall -
What do I mean by "expands the game overall"?  Well I suppose I'm looking for are expansions to go further than those above.  e.g. Gloom's expansions are sort of "more of the same" but with each expansion also adds an additional player to the game.
The Scoundrels Of Skullport expansion for Lords of Waterdeep goes a bit further as it adds a new player to the game and also brings a new mechanic into play too.
The biggest segment of tabletop games inside this category is RPGs.  Yes a lot of RPG expansions can only be "more of the same" but a number of them add a lot of variations to the game being played.

Each of these are considerations on where that expansion sits on your "Do I buy this?" list.
I usually look for an expansion to be something that fits into the 3rd category as I want it to be more than a "rinse/repeat" exercise or a "we're going to mix it up a bit" exercise.  If that's all an expansion will give me then unless I REALLY like that game I'm likely to skip the expansion and pick up another game entirely.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Lords Of Waterdeep

I picked up Lords Of Waterdeep on a recent visit to my FLGS.

I had planned to buy it when it first came out but it was too early in my journey into the 2nd Chapter so I ruled it out.

When I learned that the expansion Scoundrels of Skullport was coming out I knew that the core game would be re-released to coincide.  When I also heard that Lords was going to be showcased on TableTop I decided to order it before it went out of stock.

So what is Lords Of Waterdeep?  Well it's a number of things to different people.

At it's core it's a board game set in a fantasy realm where players take on the roles of Lords (hence the name) who watch over the city of Waterdeep looking to impose their dominance over all that happens there.

Yeah ok so what does all that mean?  As a Lord you look to recruit adventurers to complete Quests to provide you with "victory points".  These essentially reflect your influence and status in the city.
Along the way you can purchase buildings to enhance the availability of resource (such as adventurers) and you also get involved in the Intrigue of the city.  You see in Dungeons & Dragons terms, the city of Waterdeep is quite famous.  It's one of the key landmarks of the Forgotten Realms setting for D&D.

As I've said previously D&D and me go way back but the published settings have never been that big a deal for me (with a few exceptions).  My connection to Forgotten Realms is more through PC video games like Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights than it is through the tabletop game but all the same it's a rich fantasy setting worth exploring.

So what about the game itself?  Well I've only played it once but I have to admit I thought it was excellent.  Indeed it's been well praised across the internet as a very well constructed game which I think took a number of gamers by surprise.  Not because Wizards/D&D are synonymous with poor quality products, more because those products are usually more designed to promote D&D itself e.g. Wrath Of Ashardalon

What different about LoW from other D&D setting based games is it's a game first and the setting is overlayed on to it.  Yes there are plenty of references to things in the D&D FR setting but those ADD to the game rather than take away from it.

So, as a purchase it's already achieved it's principle status of being played and I might end up playing it again at my next gaming night. More than that though I can see it being used as an "intro" game as part of my objective to introduce more people to proper board games.

Just need to give it a few more plays before I succumb and buy the expansion!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Game Time

As with any hobby, tabletop games require an investment of time to play them and if I've noticed anything as the years have gone on I have less and less game time available.

In my teens and early 20s I could get away with gaming practically every night of the week. Nowadays though there are many other commitments relating to family and others that limit when I can play games.

Where to play is another restriction but this is more to do with personal circumstance and choosing to keep the gaming group I am in fairly consistent.

As I've said before my gaming is limited to Friday nights at present.  Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays aren't an option for family reasons.  Actually, Saturdays might be an option but never consistently so easier to rule out.  This would leave me with Mondays and Thursdays.

My Monday night options are fairly limited unless I'm prepared to game in Edinburgh (where I work) which isn't ideal as I live about 90 minutes away from Edinburgh so would need to finish gaming no later than 9pm which isn't the easiest of options.
My Thursday night options are the same as my Monday night options so again somewhat limited.

Ok so both of these are based on the premise that I'm not gaming at home. However gaming at home on working week night is a challenge because I don't normally get home from work til 6:30pm/7pm and have family stuff after that.

So where does that leave me?  Currently it's Friday nights only.  Saturday days and nights have potential for home/away gaming and Sundays also have potential but that's dependent on family stuff. Currently I think once a month gaming on either of these is an option.
My Wednesday night commitment is something that only happens once a fortnight so again might be an option and the club I go to on a Friday has a "sister" club on a Wednesday night which might work.

Of course I now have another gaming commitment with this blog but then that's what the other nights are for!

How do you manage your game time?

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The RPG Experience

I've referred to this in a previous post about RPGs as that style of play choice which exists between a campaign and the "one and done" scenario.

What makes that choice for you and what are the reasons to choose one over another?

Campaign Play

This exists in a number of formats but the core of campaign play is the setting and that there is a plot far wider than that played out in the gaming sessions themselves.
Campaigns involve many sessions of linked-play similar in many respects to the chapters in a book, the episodes in a TV show or the issues of a comic book.
A key reason to opt for campaign play is not simply to develop the story but also to develop those characters who contribute to the story.

One And Done

As I've said previously I've used the one-shot scenario to demonstrate a RPG but also at conventions to explore a particular element of storytelling or indeed showcase a specific mechanic in a game.
The Polar Light scenario referred to in Character Motivations was built on a fairly simple premise but was written to explore how the characters would react as the plot developed.  As I've said before the scenario has been different each time I've ran it.
The Star Wars EotE scenario I ran for Free RPG Day is designed to cover as many bases as possible mechanically.  It also explores how characters react to the situation but that's more of a bi-product of the situation (a post for another time perhaps) as the objective of that scenario is to use as many rules as possible so that the players experience the system fully.

Which one is the right one for you?

As ever that has to be a personal choice but I find both formats equally rewarding.
Few things in playing RPGs is more worthwhile than Campaign Play, particularly when the characters are really driving the story and where the GM has to adapt and change that story as a direct result of their actions.
Similarly playing one-shot scenarios or simply playing a few games of something else outside that Campaign can add to your overall RPG experience.  Plus those one-shots may develop into ideas for future campaigns...

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Gateway Games?

As a "category" I'm not really that keen on the term Gateway Game.

Yes there are games out there that are great for introducing "the hobby" to non-gamers but at the same time there are, especially now, almost too many games that are seen as "Gateway Games".

That aside I do think there are a number of games which are great for introducing people to the hobby of tabletop games.

I've already mentioned Straw and  it's a nice simple game that introduces very light elements of the hobby. It's not alone though.

Fluxx - No matter what version of Fluxx you go with it's a lot of fun.  It can suffer from play fatigue if played too often but that's where the other versions come in.  The only real criticism though is that it mostly feels like a game of luck rather than a game of strategy.  Don't get me wrong it does have some strategic elements but given that the rules and objectives change throughout the game at times it's hard to see any real strategy.

Jungle Speed - A really fun party game which I regularly refer to it as "snap with violence" largely down to the physical element of grabbing the totem.  I've played this with gamers and non-gamers and it's been liked universally.

Hey That's My Fish! - Another game that I've mentioned and it has some very simple nods to the strategy and tactical element of area control games.  It also benefits from having Penguins in miniature form!

Gloom - At first view given the subject matter you might not think that Gloom is a great intro game. Granted the thought of playing a game about making your family as miserable as possible and then sending them to their untimely death isn't really the sort of "setting" you'd play with kids.  It is however is the sort of "setting" you'd play with people who have that darker sense of humour.  I've played this with non-gamers a few times and particularly those in older age groups (50+) found it very funny.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Numenera - For me?

I was in my FLGS the other day to pick up some stuff (future post will reveal) and I spotted a copy of Numenera on the shelf.

Now I mentioned Numenera in my post on New RPGs for GenCon but didn't really go into my thoughts about the game.

Some background - the game is written by Monte Cook and if you click on the link to his name you'll get his bio.

My exposure to Monte was through his work on D&D 3rd Edition and in turn the d20 system. As I've said before this particular edition of D&D was a trigger in my previous rediscovery of my hobby of roleplaying and for that I kind of thank Monte for his part in that.

The d20 system also brought about my principle of only buying if I'm going to use it...  How? Well the "d20 glut" as it's referred to in some areas also resulted in me buying a LOT of RPG products that both never used and in many cases never even read.

So, did I buy Numenera?  No.  I just can't see me running it and so I decided to stick to that principle.  It is however exactly the sort of game that pre-principles I would have bought.

It does looks great though, the artwork is impressive and the overall product quality is excellent and I'm sure it would look great on my shelf.  The issue is that it would do just that, sit on my shelf I mean.  So I didn't buy it.

I also have a slight irritation with the name...  Numenera = New Men Era.  Nice play on words and it fits for a setting in the far future but I dunno, as a name it feels kind of rubbish...

If I was gaming more frequently and indeed up for running another RPG in addition to D&D Next and Star Wars EotE then I still wouldn't choose Numenera.  This is no reflection on the game itself (the reviews are all very positive) but I'm already running Fantasy and Sci-Fi (well Space Opera) and as I've said elsewhere I plan on picking up the Atomic Robo RPG when it comes out which is sorta Sci-Pulp.

So if I was going to run another game then I would need to increase my gaming frequency (beyond the Friday night only slot at present) and it would need to be set in something other than a Fantasy or a Sci-Fi setting.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Using Character Motivations

About 8 years ago I had an idea for a "one and done" scenario set in the Antarctic named "Polar Light".

It used the All Flesh Must Be Eaten ruleset but it could just as easily have used Savage Worlds or indeed d20 Modern (remember that?).  I chose All Flesh simply because it was relatively new to me at the time and it felt right given the scenario plot.

Researchers on a scientific base in Antarctica are doing some deep drilling to investigate the mysteries of the Earth.  Y'know the usual stuff. They find something unexplained in one of their core samples and during the winter shutdown/lockdown of the site the scientists begin their analysis.
Over a period of weeks the skeleton team on the base start to experience some changes, not least of which involves a greater than normal level of isolationism amongst those on the base.
During the winter shutdown there are no communications from the base due to the storms and once these clear the bases misses it's check-in with the outside world and doesn't respond to messages.

The party consist of a number of scientists (2 or 3) and search & rescue specialists (3 or 4) each of whom have different motivations.
Their official mission is to go in and discover what's wrong at the base and to report back.
On arrival at the base they find diseased corpses and are attacked by (yep you guessed it) Zombies.

Ok so that's a fairly simplistic and very "X-Files" episode like, indeed I'm sure that some of it was inspired by The X-Files but this is where the Character Motivations comes in.

I developed 8 different motivations which would be allocated randomly to the player characters and were to be kept secret at all times.  This became the core purpose of the character for the scenario and gave everyone an agenda.  These 4 example motivations were designed to build conflict and suspicion amongst the group of characters.

Motivation 1 - A member of a CIA organisation named Project Rebirth which carries out research into genetics and re-animation.  On realisation that zombies are present the character will make all attempts to smuggle a core sample out with him and if possible a sample of a zombie…

Motivation 2 - An employee of Parks Engineering’s Geophysical Research division. Has been sent to retrieve 2 core samples but destroy all other core samples. Has spent the past 6 years of his life working in the Arctic, Siberia and Antarctic regions moving from one assignment to another.

Motivation 3 - A member of a cult/religious group named "Purity". Is aware of the find and was dispatched to destroy all of the core samples to ensure that nothing impure gets out. Will want to destroy the zombies as soon as they see them and all evidence of them.  Never been to Antarctica.

Motivation 4 - Sent by the USA Homeland Security to 'clean up' the area, destroying all evidence and then to create an accident to ensure that no-one leaves alive.  Has never been to Antarctica.

The first time I ran the scenario it was a Total Party Kill (TPK) due to one of the characters causing an explosion which wiped them all out.
Each subsequent time though I've had different results which in the main were as a result of how the players used the motivations to drive their characters to achieve whatever goal they had.  The motivations largely drove the momentum of the game to reach a conclusion whether that was a positive one for the characters or not!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

50 Days Later...

So this is post number 51 on this blog.

The 50 daily posts that precede this one cover various parts of my opinion on the hobby and some insight into my hobby of gaming.

I started the blog for a number of reasons that I've touched on over those 50 posts and I'm now beginning to look at what I want the blog to become.

As the former owner of a FLGS I am regularly contacted by people who are thinking of opening their own store and looking to me to provide them with some advice.  This has developed over the past couple of years into standard set of questions that I ask along with some reality-check information around what is involved.
I have so far resisted the temptation to do a series of posts about this as I really think that the advice has to be personalised to some extent depending on the individual situation.
If there's interest in me doing a more general post to cover this then please comment below or send me an email to and I'll reply.

A side-effect (not sure if that's the right phrase) of being a former FLGS owner is that I continue to keep my eye on the industry as a whole and I do this for a number of reasons but specifically the following.
It's become part of who I am and I continue to have an interest in the industry and the role of the FLGS within it.
I also haven't ruled out revisiting that business model.  Whether that be through opening a new store, buying (either outright or investment) an existing store or some other method I can see this happening, albeit not for a few years yet.

Alongside this I have variety of opinions on "the gaming community", indeed whether one actually exists, but that's a post for another time I think...

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

August's Gaming - A look back.

My gaming time is exclusively Friday nights at the moment.

During August I managed to play the following games over 3 sessions of gaming.

The Resistance twice.
Played it wrong the first time (which seems to be a pattern!) but got it mostly right the second time.
Excellent game and definitely has great roleplaying possibilities as well as acting as a simple bluffing game.

Sentinels Of The Multiverse twice.
First time with all of the expansions and some heroes getting their first outing.  Excellent fun as ever and great to introduce someone else to the game.

D&D Next once plus a character creation session.
I've posted elsewhere on this but I'm starting to look forward to the next playtest packet if only because it will be the last before the final game is released (likely) next year.

Bang! once.
The rules are so badly translated but once you work your way around them and increase your understanding it really is a fun game.  I seem to die most games so need to work on not having that happen!

So that's 3 sessions of gaming with 6 games played + 1 character creation session.  Not bad.

What do I take from that?  Board Games are very very adaptable to multiple plays in 1 night. Obviously that's down to the board game but being able to fill available time by playing a board game is a great thing.

The Resistance and Bang! in particular are really great as pickup games for large groups of players but Sentinels remains at the forefront of the board/card gaming section of this 2nd Chapter.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Plan for September

I'm going to try and do this every month.  Main reason is so that I can track my progress against those objectives I set.

So gaming plans for September are as follows -

Friday 6th
The second session of the D&D Next Playtest.  We'll finish off the scenario I ran the last time and I'll probably have to expand on it a little as the players were near the end.
Something of a frustration though is that there's a new (and apparently final) playtest packet coming out in mid September.  It's only a frustration because I've only just started to play the game and I suspect that the next packet will have some fairly big changes.
On the plus side though it looks like it will add some setting flavour into the game beyond the "core" races from Forgotten Realms/Greyhawk.  Kender (Dragonlance) and Warforged (Eberron) will be introduced into the next pack which if nothing else will bring with it some new options for players. Unfortunately though my player base don't know those settings, certainly not Dragonlance at any rate. Still it will give more options to the group as a whole and given this is supposed to the final playtest packet it will mean I can build a short "campaign" off the back of it.

Friday 13th
Oooo spooky!  Board Game night.
Want this to be focussed on games I haven't played much or at all since buying so Seasons, Pandemic and probably The Resistance.  We shall see though as I'll need to see what the rest of the players want to play.

Friday 20th
I suspect this will be more D&D Next.  At the moment I'll be sticking to the "one and done" approach for scenarios, at least until the next packet is out.

Friday 27th
Combination of Star Wars EotE character creation and more board gaming I suspect.

Now as you'll have noticed this plan is predicting that I game 4 weeks in a row.  That's my intention for September.
Also this only shows gaming on a Friday.  I'm currently looking at options to play on other nights whether that be weeknights or weekends is still up for debate but I'm keen to introduce even a once a month alternate slot for gaming and if I can't achieve that in September I want to make sure it's in place for October.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Gamers Guide to London?

I'm going to London in October for a week's holiday with my family and it got me thinking about how there are travel guides for practically everything these days.

That got me thinking.  Why isn't there a "gamers guide to <insert city>" out there?  Not even a blog or series of blogs that gives you the lowdown on what shops to visit, clubs to attend or anything like that.

Now I know there are lists of shops on various websites and lists of clubs too but I find it a bit odd that even a "Geeks Guide" type website doesn't exist.

So London, what do you have for me?

Store wise I know of 2.

The Orcs Nest - - I've been before whilst on a business trip and it's a well stocked shop if restricted by it's relatively small size.  I wasn't expecting it to be palatial or anything but it was smaller than I'd hoped.  But then again it is pretty much in central London so no doubt their overheads won't be small.  I'll no doubt visit again in October if only to have a browse.

Leisure Games - - Never been here but then again it's not central London which is normally where I go when in London for work.  This time though whilst the rest of my family are away doing stuff I won't (anything that involves being up high essentially!) I plan to take a trip out and who knows might end up buying something too.

Clubs?  There are several that I know of but on this occasion I'm not likely to be able to join in.  Maybe the next time I'm down with work...

Have I missed anything obviously gamer related in London?  If so, please let me know!