Saturday, December 03, 2011

What's the word on Agricola? I know Dennis brought it to the last Con. Thinking about getting it because it's got a family mode and can apparently be scaled down to a more casual play mode.
Space Empires 4x seemed pretty solid, but I only played it the one time :'( The rules and overall mechanics were very clear and straight forward. Playing with other people, I don't know how cumbersome the "hidden information" aspects would seem (basically having a generic ship tile over what you've really got in that fleet), but I think it wouldn't be too bad. You're welcome to borrow it at any time via someone visiting SoCal for xmas (Enron?), or even a flat-rate USPS box. Let me know! I jumped on it through GMTs special ordering program which was really great. I played $40 for it and now its listed at $65, sheesh. I'm still dying to play Kingsburg because I'm addicted to rolling dice and assigning them to shit. Also, Alien Frontiers. Has anyone played Ra? Looks casual friendly but fun, but I'm getting to this point where stuff thats more than 10 years old kinda scares me off because I figure there's a more refined version of that gameplay that's come out recently.
Hope you come to love Kingdom Builder. On the other hand, you can always resell it at Kubla and probably recoup a good chunk of change since it's a new game!

There's a lot of good games coming out. I was kinda overwhelmed by the Mage Knight rulebook you posted a while back, but it's starting to sound really interesting, especially since it's a solid solo game. ;_; Eclipse sounds cool; like Twilight Imperium, but, like, six hours shorter. Also interested in picking up the Space Alert expansion. I don't think we've even played the base game yet, but it looks like something that could change that! It adds an experience point and achievement system to the game. Also comes with badges for the various jobs!

I'm kinda interested in Space 4x, but none of the game stores I go to have it. How do you like it? Any more experience with the solo game in particular? ;_;

I also picked up Risk Legacy! It looks pretty fun. The baby has been going apeshit as of late, but if we get a calm period today, I think we'll break it out. I'll post a play session report on G+ if it eeems worth it.

Things are starting to look pretty good for GenCon! So far, we've got me, Enron, Pumpkin and Blackheart (Peter) looking interested. We'll see if everyone's still in come January registration/hotel signup but it looks like we've met the threshhold for awesomeness. And we could always cram 1-2 extra in the room!
Had a board game week-a-thon the past few days, now I'm back at the house for a week of shitty-work-a-thon. I saw the new Quarriors expansion out at all the stores. About $20 bucks, a few new creatures and the "corrupted quiddity" dice that I'm still uncertain about how they work. My girlfriend really liked Quarriors and almost bought it for me, but I STILL feel like I haven't played the game enough to invest in an expansion. I want to read some reviews before I bite.

Did pick up a couple new games. Tsuro, which is a fun tile placement/"path management" (I think) game with an asian theme. 2-8 players and dead simple to learn, the fun comes in trying to screw your opponents while staying alive. For such an easy game, it was really fun.

Also ordered from Indie Boards & Cards (the guys who put out Resistance, woohoo) their new cooperative game Flash Point: Fire Rescue. You play firefighters trying to rescue as many people from a burning building before it collapses. The fire-spreading mechanic looks similar to how disease spreads in Pandemic, but there's also a dice mechanic involved, so it's supposed to get pretty hairy. It just came in the mail, so haven't actually played it yet, but it's getting good reviews and supposedly scales really well from a family ruleset to more advanced hardcore gamier rulesets. Will get to play it in a few days, so I'll report back then.

Played more Kindgom Builder, and I like it, but I really don't know if I love it. Really need to play it with 4 players rather than 2, because I think we're really missing some competitive aspects that are probably buried there. That shit was $60 bucks goddammit, I better learn to love it.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

that would be awesome if you took another stab it. i dont know what the main program languages are that can be ported or easily converted to ios and droid, but maybe learn that.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oh yeah, and to answer your questions about AoW, yes it was a puzzle game with some wargame trappings. It wasn't exactly match 3, but similar idea. You had different units and creating formations with them had effects based on the unit type. I was really impressed by how far Aeryk and O-Rugs got with the proto. Actually thinking about it now makes me want to take another whack at the game, rather than converting it to a boardgame version. :) Maybe I'll just learn Java.
Close -- Hackmaster is the game played by the Knights of the Dinner Table. (Dork Tower is the comic by the asshole who draws Munchkin.) It's kind of a weird bird; somewhere around 2005 they licensed the rights to 1st edition AD&D and then grafted tons and tons and tons of crazy rules onto it to make "Hackmaster 4th Edition." Kind of a half-parody, half-real product. If you ever read the old-school Gygax 1st ed stuff in all its glory, with all the crazy yet awesome stuff like the "Potion Miscibility Chart," and the endless list of polearms, think that in overdrive. For example, they added a critical hit chart. Most companies would have you roll a d100. For this chart you roll d10000. The monster manual was published Encyclopedia style, in 10 volumes. The GM screen was this fully laminated thing of glory that had something like 10 panels. It folded into one of two different modes depending on whether you were in combat or not. It was really pretty comically overwhelming, but the really interesting part is, it apparently was really well-playtested and totally playable.

Then more recently they made Hackmaster Basic, which is the precursor to the full 5th edition. This is what I picked up. It's no longer technically a licensed product, so they were able to ditch a lot of the parody aspects, and it's quite stripped down, but it's still a kind of crazy, high-crunch, sort of gonzo AD&D mod that seems like it'd be really fun if you play in the spirit of the characters in the comic (bloodthirsty, and attentive to detail). I haven't read much of it yet but the neat thing about the combat is that actions are kind of split up over the turn instead of the normal "my initiative count came up, so I take my whole turn now." You move and can attack and counterattack several times over the course of a round. Supposedly it keeps combat a little more engaging for everyone by reducing downtime. We'll never know until we play!*

* We'll never know
Was HackMaster the Dork Tower people? Like the fake game they played in the comic!? That's rad if it is. I'm all for checking out and trying other systems. At first Jon's collection of forgotten RPGs was super depressing, but now it doesn't bother me as much, hahah. Dusty and cobweb filled pdfs.

I don't remember the AoW videos too well other than it seemed to blend match-3 gameplay with sort of olden times battle line type fighting. I'm probably way off, but what stuck with me was images that looked like tiles with different soliders on them and combining them to make different attacks.

I've been thinking about how important cool components are to a game. I think that might be why some of these recent dice games have seemingly done pretty well. Good gameplay obviously matters too, but fun pieces go a long way to bolstering a games image, least for me. That's why I was thinking of rummi tiles/dominoes as a component. Don't think I've really seen that. Puzzle Strike used poker chips which is different. I suspect a lot of games go for cards because they're probably much cheaper to produce and players like card games. (Thinking about it, cards are probably a billion times cheaper than dice/tiles, and can accomplish the same shit, gah!)

Rummikub is fun because you're working with a communal playing field. Everyone starts with 14 random tiles and the goal is to be the first person to get rid of yours. You play tiles in either straights of the same color or groups of the same number, different color. You need 3 or more tiles to make a legal set. The awesome twist is that other players can play off of the sets you've put out there, or they can even tear them apart and make new sets, as long as everything in the play area is still "legal" in the end. It's so good!

I don't know what theme could fit with that style of play. War game wouldn't really make sense, but maybe something that revolved around "influence" or like "assimilation"  - competing Borg cubes :) - Speaking of Star Trek, I hear that new game Fleet Captains is a blast. Not a big enough Trekker to drop $100 bucks on it, but hopefully I'll see it at the next con.

Baconlube, fuck.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

| It only looks like I'm walking out of a Starbucks, when actually I'm doing the robot going backwards INTO a Starbucks.

Was that really before iPhone? Sheesh.

I also spent a little time trying to massage it into a board game but yeah, not suitable for a direct translation. Puzzle games are something machines are great at managing the pieces for, humans, not so much. In some ways, it'd be easier just to make a wargame from scratch.

Although, thinking about it a little today gave me an idea for how to sort of map the puzzle idea to a board game that maybe would be somewhat fast and kind of fun in certain ways! Let me see if I can squirrel away a little time in the next couple days and I'll G+ that shit.

I didn't really debase myself too much in the orgy o' spending that is Black Friday/Cyberhund Monday. Picked up the Oddbox for myself (started playing Abe's Oddyssey again, man what a great game). Bought the HackMaster Basic PDF too (don't get depressed guys). Interesting combat system. Miiiight be different enough from D&D to be fun if we ever feel like doing vanilla fantasy again.

Man, I felt like I had a bunch of stuff to write when I sat down, but I can't remember any of it. I guess sheer exhaustion will do that to you. Here is a picture of some bacon lube.

| Art of War

As the design of the game stands, it could not be directly ported to a desktop version. That is absolutely NOT to say that a game in the same spirit, and with similar mechanics, would not work. I have dabbled with the idea many times myself, and just kicking myself in the pants for the poor management of the project as well as the timing: it was a GREAT smartphone app just waiting to be designed RIGHT BEFORE the iPhone came out, but instead was designed for an XBox - WTF?

You know me, I'm always up for a project challenge and I think AoW:Cardboard Edition might be pretty cool. The Rummy-esque mechanic certainly fits with the "3 in a row" unit activation mechanic of the video game. Could be abstracted out, but maintain the same feel and spirit of the game.

Thoughts from the designer?
Whatever happened with the Eric/Jon colabo Art of War?

I was just thinking of how to steal/borrow elements of Rummikub for some kind of board game involving tiles and pattern recognition/set collection and I remembered briefly seeing vids on the AoW gameplay. I don't remember if it was very tile-y, but I think at one point I was thinking about my Rummikub knock-off  "instead of numbers 1-13, it could be different types of soliders" and that made me think of  AoW.

THEN made me think of crazy ass Kickstarter and how D-Day Dice is at over $90,000 so far. That is fucking madness! In 45 days I think. I think it's gonna be the most raised for a single game yet. It looks cool but I don't know if it looks THAT cool!

 So, in conclusion (going back to my school daze paper-writing skills), maybe you guys can reimagine AoW as a physical casual-friendly game and once it's playtested to all hell, make it through Kickstarter! I don't know if it was even something that could be played in real life, but if it was even close to a "majong wargame" then maybe yalls can make it happen. I'm still gonna brainstorm ripping off Rummikub because that's one of my favorite old school games and I bet those mechanics could be hijacked for something more thematic.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dude, I'm telling you. Get Arkam City for $1 Dollar! (ONE US DOLLARS!) The first game you buy from OnLive is $1 buck right now, and I did it and it's amazing! It's weird future tech but it really works, and I didn't have to sign up for their yearly/monthly pass thing either (I don't think it's worth it) - just the regular free account. At least go and try the 30 minute previews of any game and see if it runs smooth.

Did you check out/buy the new war game Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles ? Looks like it'd be up your alley Eric and it's from the dude who did my Space Empires game. Has some good reviews and interesting comparisons to CC and some other popular war games I'm sure you play.

| Thanksgiving Shennanigans

- Went to Santa Barbara to hang with da aunt, uncle, and cuz. While we were there, cuz took me on a 6.5 mile hike - 3.25 miles almost straight up. Brutal going up, but then coming down I think is what did my hips and feet in. Surprisingly, my muscles aren't all that fatigued it's my bum hip, foot, and ankles. Good times. I EARNED my treat!

- Forgot about the Steam sale until Friday and the only thing that appealed to me enough to pull the trigger was Modern Warfare 2 for 14.99. I already had some of the other games and I just can't justify spending more that $15 on any game anymore. I'm quite content playing radicool games from 3 years ago for $15. Although, waiting for Batman: Arkham City will be tough... I almost picked up Driver: SF for 24.99, then remembered that I have no time to play games anyway, let alone a driving game.

- Started a bad-ass online penetration testing (read: ethical hacking) class on Sunday. I fear that much of my time over the next 60 days will be spent stuffing my brain full of assembly code and Python for buffer overflow reverse shell scripts, but I would love to get in on some online gaming action. It's one thing to talk about security academically for my job, its another to actually perform the attacks we try to prevent - hopefully this class will give me a nice little edge and perspective in the field that makes me all that much more employable.

- At the very least, HP closes down for the week of the 26th - forcing all employees to take their vacation days and all contingent workers (i.e. contractors, i.e. me) to file for unemployment during that time. There is also talk of forcing a furlough on contractors starting the week of the 16th, so mucho unemployment is possibly in my future. Wylie is off from school starting that week so at least I will be around to watch him during that time and if we don't frustrate and annoy each other into oblivion due to lots of idle time together, it should be a nice little break. This COULD even be a great time for some AT members to visit Casa de Hess for a lil' vacation of their own?

- Tis the season for World of Warcraft again. I really think this might be the year I actually avoid jumping back in around the holidays, as is my tradition, simply because I have scheduled this class at the same time and would really be shooting myself in the foot if I dabbled with my seasonal WoW addiction. I guess the Greench is just going to have to get killed without me this time around, and Smokeywood Pastures will need another poor sap to make their FedEx quest runs for them (Mike? Denis?).